Thursday, October 28, 2010

Thursday, October 21, 2010


Domestic Servitude was recently contacted by CSN stores to host a giveaway on the blog. Yay!

CSN has over 200 stores with a wide range of items for your home as well as other aspects of your life. So many great items that can help in making the home pretty as well as efficient. You can get cookware, flooring, luggage and even a bar stool. So many things added to my wish list after browsing all their stores.

So, what do you get to win? A $45 gift certificate to use at any one of CSN stores!!

To be entered in this giveaway you can do one to 4 of the options. Please do one comment for each entry option:

1. Become a follower and leave me a comment letting us know you stopped by.

2. Head on over to CSN and take a look and let us know what you would love to have in your home.

3. Post this giveaway on your blog and leave a comment with the link.

4. Tweet about the giveaway and leave a comment with the link.

Enter before 10pm (mountain time) on November 1st. Winner will be announced on Tuesday the 2nd.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Cooking Ahead

This is a guest blog post by my friend Rheya who works a very busy schedule so does a lot of cooking ahead. Whenever she talked about, I am always intrigued with the idea so I asked her to write about it for us.

While I would love to be a stay-at-home domestic, the truth is most days I love my job. To me, my job is just another form of service, not only to my Master, but to my community. Most evenings, when I arrive home I am tired and not wanting to think of what I will need to put together a tasty dinner.

So I rely on either meals I’ve cooked ahead and frozen or my trusty crock-pot for dinner during my work week.

By cooking ahead, I can also lower my weekly grocery bill on a weekly basis, thereby allowing room to stock up on basics that I will need for upcoming marathon cooking sessions and taking advantage of sales and coupons.

Before starting a marathon cooking session, I take stock of what I have. That way as I’m making my grocery list, I can make sure I don’t over buy. I try to plan the meals based on a few simple rules:

What freezes well? Generally stews, chilis, raw meat in marinades, casseroles, and things in sauces freeze best.
What does Sir like? Generally, the more simple the better.
What do I have on hand? Lots of canned tomatoes? Is the garden in bloom? Do I have an abundance of cream of mushroom soup?
What are the stores having specials on? Is my local grocery store having a special on ground beef? What about the bulk food club I belong to?

After that I make a list and I go first to the bulk food club. Generally there I stock up on meats, dairy, canned and frozen veggies and dry pasta I may need for the cooking session. Then I go to my local grocery store and pick up other items. One other place I check is my local drug stores if I know they are having a sale on Campbell’s Condensed Soups.

Now that you’ve got all the supplies, start early on a morning and get cooking. First thing I do is get out utensils I may need including my industrial sized cutting board. I tend to chop up a bunch of onion first, then carrots and celery or whatever veggies I have. Make sure phyllo, puff pastry or frozen veggies has been moved to the refrigerator thaw, de-skin the chicken or turkey if needed.

I find that I’m most organized when I can start one pot simmering (such as spaghetti sauce), one pot or skillet stir-frying or sautéing (chili, peppercorn chicken) and something baking in the oven (herb chicken legs). During breaks I put together marinades for raw meat that will freeze in the marinade.

Once everything is cooked, I prep it for freezing. If it is a casserole, it goes in its pan covered in foil into the refrigerator with a label that says what it is and when it was made. Sauces and chilis and I tend to bag in freezer bags. The best way to get things neatly into a bag, I’ve found is by taking a small mixing bowl and draping the bag over the edge of the bowl, lining the bowl with the bag and then scooping the sauce and the chili in.

Everything should be cooled to room temperature and sealed tightly before putting it into the freezer. I take things out the night before to thaw in the refrigerator.

I also make a list of what I’ve cooked indicating how many pre-packaged servings I have and check it off as I go so I know what’s left.

And now for a recipe!

Peppercorn Chicken (makes 4 servings, can easily be doubled, tripled, etc)

1 lb Chicken Tenders
2 Tbsp Cooking Sherry
1 Cup Milk
1 Package Brown Gravy Mix
½ Tsp Ground Peppercorns (I used a mix of black, white, pink and green)

Preheat pan on medium; coat with cooking spray. Cook chicken until brown. Stir in remaining ingredients. Cook 2-3 minutes stirring frequently or until sauce thickens.

Store in a gallon-sized freeze bag, label with date and cool to room temperature, make sure all air is squeezed out before sealing and store in deep freeze.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Laundry Soap Change

An update on my laundry soap: I've upped my bar soap from a half a bar to a full bar, and have become a Fels Naptha convert. I like the product a lot better.

For a real whitening boost, try adding a scoop of Clorox OxiMagic to the load. I've been using that in place of chlorine bleach for awhile now, plus I'll toss a scoop in a load of bright clothes, too.

For a degreasing or deodorizing boost, add a splash of regular pinesol to the load. Though it smells quite strong during and just after the cycle, by the time the clothes come out of the dryer, they are just pleasantly scented, much as they would be with a fabric softener. I had found that the homemade laundry soap wasn't so great at removing strong odors (such as my teenage son's tendency to bathe in cologne before school.) But Pinesol works great for this!

And as always, white vinegar as a fabric softener not only keeps your clothes soft and static free, it has the added bonus of de-gunking your washing machine.

Happy laundering. :-)

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Fall Cleaning

I have these on the blog already but stored in a different place. The other links might not work much longer so please use these. Included in these links is one that is a more whole house general list instead of broken down into detailed room lists.

Download and Print:
Dining Room
Closets and Laundry Room
Living Room, Family Room and Office
Basement, Attic and Garage
Smaller General List

Friday, October 15, 2010

Friday Favorites

All food finds today...

Healthy Halloween and Fall Favorites - Pumpkin Spiced Biscuits, Beef Daube Provençal and Maple-Chile Popcorn are among the recipes collection

Cooking Lights Best Banana Breads - The banana fosters bread and the peanut butter banana bread look so very good

21 Crowd Pleasing Chicken Casseroles

36 Yummy Pumpkin Recipes - too many wonderful recipes that are perfect for Autumn

Cocktail Hour Bar Snacks

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Product Review: Glass Cleaning Cloth

I purchased a microfiber glass cleaning cloth a few weeks ago. I don't recall the brand name, and didn't think to snap a pic before I tossed out the packaging. But I bought it at Wal-mart, in the cleaning aisle. It's a blue, waffle-weave patterned cloth specifically advertised for windows/mirrors, etc.

It claimed to work with just water and was priced at an outrageous $1.97. ;)

I was in the cleaning aisle because I was low on Windex. I figured, for a price less than a new spray bottle of cleaner, I'd give it a go. Anything that helps me reduce the use of chemical cleaning products AND reduces paper towel waste AND costs less than 2 bucks? I'm game to try.

It works wonderfully. It works so much better than Windex. I love it. I've been on a window and mirror cleaning spree since I bought it.

It doesn't streak. It doesn't leave lint. It's just so easy. I've wet a corner of it under the faucet and it worked great. I've spritzed windows with a water bottle and it worked great. I've used it just barely damp and it works great!

I've had it now, like I said, for a few weeks, use it pretty much daily (we have lots of windows and lots of mirrors!), and today is the first day I've put it in the laundry. I'm not sure how well it'll hold up through laundering, as it seems to me that microfiber cloths tend to not take well to being laundered over time. But even if it only lasts a couple of months, at less than two dollars a cloth, I still think it'll be a money saver. Plus, it just works better!

Bonus Cheapskate Homemaker Tip: Using an electric knife, cut your paper towel rolls in half (so you end up with two toilet paper-sized rolls of towels). Often, especially with the kids or when just covering a dish in the microwave, a full sized paper towel is way bigger than I need. I can always take more if I need more, and this way, I have twice as many towels to use. :)

Friday, October 8, 2010

Friday Favorites

31 Days to Less Messy Nest - Nester did 31 Days last year and I really enjoyed it and got some useful tips so I am sure this year will be just as good

Zippered Case by Design Sponge - Says Sewing 101 on it so hopefully not to hard? It just looks like something that would be practical as well as giftable.

Moving Tips Budget Guide - there are many helpful links on moving in the left sidebar

Thousand Dollar Bars - These look too good to me. That link goes to the blog entry about it - with more photos. Here is a link to the actual recipe.

Toss Out Guide - with fall cleaning here for me - I often go through these type of things too to see what we are hanging on to that we don't need to be


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