Everything Else

Finding your Happy Place

Yesterday our squad spent time together shooting clay – tons of fun and a gorgeous day.  This morning I sent the boys out the door and hunkered down on the couch for awhile to watch some food network.  I decided to hit the kitchen just as a text came in from Hubby – he and the Boy found their happy place!

It was kind of ironic that they found their spot just as I was stepping into the kitchen to find mine!

2 pans of Banana Nut Muffins – and a try of almond cookies later – I’m blogging and getting ready to fold laundry…laundry is not my happy place, but I guess we call it the “toll” to pay so I can spend more time in that happy place ūüôā

Happy Sunday, Everyone

Everything Else

Resources for Sourcing Humanely Raised Meat & Poultry

free range90% of all red meat consumed in the US is factory farmed.  Factory farms are all about profit, and not at all about compassion.  Factory butchering operations are all about profit, and not one bit about humanely treating animals.  It’s a disgusting, heartbreaking, gut-wrenching system of animal abuse – and every time we pick up a package of meat or poultry from a grocery store – we’re perpetuating that abuse.  I’m not a vegan, peta-thumping activist – I eat meat.  I just think we need to think long and hard about the corporate farming practices we support when we’re buying supermarket meat & poultry. Continue reading “Resources for Sourcing Humanely Raised Meat & Poultry”

Everything Else, Menu Planning

Taking Time to Eat Dinner

Menu Planning - Your Guide to Stress Free Evenings. A great way to get dinner on the table and save yourself a headache, every night!I’m a big proponent of family dinner – at the dinner table – every night. ¬†We all lead extremely busy lives. ¬†Between school, work, sports, boy scouts, pets and maintaining a home, sometimes putting a meal on the table seems impossible – but it doesn’t have to be. ¬†In my opinion, the #1 tool to enable a family dinner every night is a menu plan.

I’ve shared my menu plans on and off for a few years here – and I should share more – because I feel this is one of the most important tools we have in our arsenal. ¬†By planning out a week or two in advance, even a month, you can have a solid idea of not only what is for dinner each night, but also what to buy at the grocery each week. ¬†There is nothing worse than not only trying to figure out what to have for dinner, but then making a decision only to find you don’t have half the ingredients. ¬†The menu plan combats ALL of this.

So here are my tips for menu planning.

  1. Set aside time to do it. ¬†I plan 30 days at a time, which helps me make sure I’m not repeating things too much, but also lets me experiment just enough to keep it interesting.
  2. Don’t over-plan for the time you have available. ¬†We have Boyscouts on Mondays and usually Tuesday and Thursday are sports practice/games. ¬†I add these things to my menu calendar as I plan so I know to plan a quick easy meal for those nights.
  3. The menu is flexible and available for family input/changes until I shop for the week.  I always shop on the weekend so everyone knows to make any changes for the following week by Friday before.
  4. Use a menu board or physical calendar to post the menu.  While its convenient to have it in your phone or on your Google calendar, its not front and center in the kitchen each day.
  5. Each night, after dishes and before bed, look to see what’s for dinner the next day. ¬†Take the meat/protein out of the freezer if needed and put it on a platter in the fridge for a slow and safe thaw.
  6. Cook once, eat twice, or more. ¬†When you have the time to cook, make a large batch and freeze some, or at least put some away for leftovers for lunches or dinner another night that week. ¬†If I’m planning a meal that i know will have leftovers, I put leftovers on the calendar for the next night or the night after. ¬†If we have leftovers that I wasn’t planning on, or if I made an extra-large batch, I freeze them to be a quick meal on a night I just can’t get something else done. ¬†Your freezer is your best friend when it comes to great meals in a jiffy. ¬†Soups and casseroles freeze well and can be thrown in the oven or reheated quickly on the stove.
  7. Be flexible. There are nights when everything falls apart. I’m sick, one of the kids are sick – or a work deadline crops up that impedes your time to cook. ¬†While our goal is a family meal on the table every night, pulling soup out of the freezer or having a bowl of cereal is NOT unheard of.
  8. Get the kids involved. ¬†Have them take 1 night per week or per month and pick a recipe and get their ingredients on the grocery list. ¬†There’s no rule that says ONLY mom cooks around here.

If you have tips that help keep evenings moving smoothly around your home, we’d love to hear them. ¬†Share below or on Facebook!

Baking, Breakfast, Budget Friendly, Everything Else, For the Freezer, Recipes, Weight Watchers

Honey Sweetened Cinnamon Scones

These are amazing – and fast to whip up.  I found the recipe at MoneySavingMom.com – and made it almost verbatim, but I did it ALL in the Food Processor – which makes this amazingly easy.

The dough itself is only sweetened with Honey – but they are topped with cinnamon sugar and a powdered sugar glaze – the scone itself without the topping is sweet – you don’t need the extras with the sugar, but there’s so little all together it makes not a ton of difference -and the sweetness on top adds some depth.

This is actually a really nice base dough – you could use it to make a variety of scone options – and the white whole wheat flour adds a nuttiness that would make almonds and almond flavoring a great option – I’d make these as written the first time – so you can see the consistency of the dough and the “feel” – then when you edit the recipe – you’ll know if you need more flour or moisture.

These work out to about 7 PointsPlus each – which isn’t terrible – considering what a satisfying sweet treat they are.

Continue reading “Honey Sweetened Cinnamon Scones”

Everything Else

What’s your Favorite Pot & Pan Set?

cookwear collageI bought a long-coveted Cuisinart anodized aluminum set 5 months ago – and the finish is wiping off the outside – So my wonderful Amazon (mine, because they love me as much as I love them) is taking them back, no questions asked, for a full refund.

This means every pot and pan I have (that isn’t enameled cast iron) is in a box – and I have to buy a new set. ¬†My question? What’s your favorite?

I’m okay with anodized aluminum again – really my only requirements are:

  • Good Quality
  • Nonstick insides
  • Oven Safe

My budget is between $150 Р$200 and I need a stock pot and a couple of skillets for sure.  What are your favorite pans?  Are you a diehard fan of one thing in particular?

 

Everything Else, Mom Approved

Faux Fiestaware Dinnerware!

I love Fiestaware Dinner000_0034ware but I just couldn’t justify buying a set or two when the dishes I already had were perfectly good. I was just tired of them. Then one day at one of my favorite thrift stores, namely Goodwill, it hit me. I‚Äôll make up my own set.

I started looking for dishes when they were having one of their ¬Ĺ price sale days and just kept hunting until I had a service for about 10. I even managed to find lunch plates. Then one day at

Wal-Mart I found some bowls for $2 each and Voila! I had a set of Faux Fiesta. I don’t think I have invested more than $20 or $25 in the entire set.

I have used this set of dishes to entertain and our guests commented on how much they liked Fiesta Dinnerware. They just assumed they were the original thing. No way was I going to tell them any different.

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Here are some pictures of my set. I hope this will inspire you to recycle, reuse and still look classy.