Uncategorized · Homemaking

A Little Goes a Long Way

cleaning-house-2Housework, laundry, cooking, kids, sports, church, work. As moms, wives and homemakers we are busy people. Life gets overwhelming, and it’s easy to fall behind on our daily tasks.

I have tried many systems over the years of trying to keep on top of everything, but none seem to work on a long term basis, because one size does not fit all.

There are some things however that I’ve learned over the years that are helpful in keeping things caught up. So when those busy days come I am able to feel like my head is at least above water.

Before Bed Pick Up – After the kids have gone to bed and right before my husband and I head that way, I do a quick pick up around the living room and kitchen. I fold throw blankets, pick up the odds and ends that have accumulated through out the evening and put them back where they belong. It’s a blessing to wake up to order in the morning.

Dishes – Load the dishwasher and run it before bed. Nobody wants to wake up to stinky, crusty dishes. Blech!

Laundry – A dirty word! But a necessity none the less. There are six of us in my family. That six includes three teenage boys and a husband that works a physical job. Laundry is my nemesis. BUT, I refuse to let it be my master. I used to have a laundry day every week, but I found that I would have so much it was overwhelming and would take me literally all day. I had no time for anything else. I also had to factor in the possibility of something ‘coming up’ on my laundry day and me not getting it all done, which meant carry over to the next week. Being a slave to the laundry room- no bueno! So, I now do a load or even two every day, and more often than not my laundry basket is empty by the end of the day.

Here’s how to get started. Designate a day to get all of your outstanding laundry done so you start with a clean slate. You need to enlist your kids! I have my kids bring their laundry to the basket every evening before they go to bed, and I put a load in right before I go to bed. First thing in the morning I switch it over and add another load if I have one. As soon as your dryer load is done, pull it out and fold it immediately, then take it to the appropriate room and put it away. Or if your kids are old enough have them put it away. It only takes a few minutes of your time, rather than letting it pile up and taking hours to sort. It takes discipline to establish a routine, but it is so worth it.

Bathrooms – Yuck! I hate cleaning bathrooms. Once again, it is necessary and if you have a desire to be hospitable and have people in your home, the last thing you want to offer them is a dirty bathroom. Gross. A great tip is to keep a toilet brush, cleaner and Clorox disinfecting wipes in the cabinet under every bathroom sink. Every morning, I do a quick wipe down of the toilet, sink and mirror so at least my bathrooms are guest worthy and the weekly deep clean I do doesn’t become a two hour job! I spend maybe five minutes on each bathroom every day. Easy!

Bedrooms – Make your bed! Sorry to break it to you, but grown ups make beds! Yes, ‘adulting’ is difficult, but really, it takes thirty seconds to make a bed. Do it. It will feel so much nicer and look way tidier. It’s a good habit to get your kids into also. How can you tell them to make their beds if you don’t.

The point of this post is this, it takes discipline and may involve getting up just a few minutes earlier. A little bit of work every day will bring peace of mind and much less stress to your every day.

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Main Dishes · Uncategorized

Honey-Mustard Chicken

aussie chicken

Ingredients

 

4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves – pounded to 1/2 inch thickness

6 slices bacon, cut in half
1t seasoning salt
1/2 cup prepared yellow mustard
1/2 cup honey
1/4 cup light corn syrup
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1 tablespoon dried onion flakes
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 cup sliced fresh mushrooms
2 cups shredded Colby-Monterey Jack cheese
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
Directions
Rub the chicken breasts with the seasoning salt, cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
Preheat oven to 350F (175 degrees C).
Place bacon in a large, deep skillet. Cook over medium high heat until crisp. Set aside.
In a medium bowl, combine the mustard, honey, corn syrup, mayonnaise and dried onion flakes.
Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Place the breasts in the skillet and saute for 3 to 5 minutes per side, or until browned.
Remove from skillet and place the breasts into a 9×13 inch baking dish.
Pour half of the honey mustard sauce over the chicken, then layer each breast with mushrooms and bacon.
Sprinkle top with shredded cheese, then pour the rest of the sauce over the whole dish.
Bake in preheated oven for 15 minutes, or until cheese is melted and chicken juices run clear.
Uncategorized

Turning a Main Dish into Left-Overs

hamRecently I have been finding it super helpful to choose a main dish that I can turn into leftovers for either lunch or dinner for the following day or two.

This weekend we had company for Sunday lunch, so I purchased a 7lb bone-in ham to roast for a delicious ham dinner with mashed potatoes and veg on Sunday.

I used the left over ham to make my Ham & Egg Scramble for breakfast this week, and I still had enough left to make my delicious Crockpot Split Pea & Ham Soup. 

Both of these dishes are delicious and hearty and perfect for lunch or dinner. Planning your main protein ahead with leftovers in mind can save a lot of time and money. Three or four meals out of one meat is a pretty good deal I think!

I’ll be posting more leftover ideas over the next few weeks. If you have any recipes to share please let me know!

Crock Pot · Main Dishes

Crockpot Split Pea & Ham Soup

Split pea soupI LOVE soup! I LOVE my crock pot! To me soup and crock pots are a marriage made in heaven; a gift to us from God! Here is a delicious, no fuss soup for any night of the week.

Ingredients:

7-8 cups water (I use half water half chicken stock)
1 (16 ounce) package dried split peas, rinsed and sorted
salt & pepper to taste
1 bay leaf
pinch dried thyme
3 medium carrots, cut into 1/4 inch slices (1 1/2 Cups)
2 stalks celery, finely chopped (1 Cup)
1 medium onion, chopped (1/2 cup)
2T butter
1 ham bone or 1-2lbs cubed ham
1/2 – 1 cup half and half or heavy whipping cream (optional)

How to:
Mix all ingredients except the cream in 5qt crock pot.
Cover and cook on low heat 7-8 hrs or on high heat 5-6 hours until peas are tender. If using ham bone remove it from cooker; place on cutting board. Pull meat from bones, using 2 forks; discard bones and skin.
Stir ham into soup. Stir in cream
Stir well before serving.

Breakfast · Sweet Treats

Apple Rolls

These Apple Rolls are perfect for a breakfast or brunch. It’s ok to take a little help from the store! They are quick, easy and delicious!

apple rolls

Ingredients:
1 large Granny Smith apple (peeled and finely chopped)
3/4 C chopped walnuts (optional)
1/2 C brown sugar
3 tubes 8 count cinnamon rolls
1/2 t cinnamon

How to:
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Grease 2 muffin tins

Peel and finely chop the apples.

In a medium bowl stir together the diced apples with the walnuts and brown sugar.

Divide the apple mixture evenly into the muffin tin. Put cinnamon buns, cinnamon side down, on top of the apple mixture. Put the muffin tin on a baking sheet and bake until the tops are golden brown, about 8 to 10 minutes.

Remove the muffin tin from the oven and allow to cool for 5 minutes. Put a clean baking sheet on top of the muffin tin and flip to remove the sticky buns.

In a small bowl, combine 2 containers of the vanilla frosting with the cinnamon 1 to 2 teaspoons of milk. Mix until very thick and of pourable consistency. Drizzle over buns and serve.

Main Dishes · Soups & Stews

Taco Soup

This is a family favorite and so easy and versatile. You can tweak the recipe to accommodate what you have on hand in the pantry. It freezes great too!

taco soup

What you need:

4-5 cups cooked chicken or ground beef (browned) or left over pot roast

1 -16oz can black beans or kidney beans

2 -10oz cans chopped tomatoes with green chilies

2 cups frozen corn

1 1/2 T cumin

1 1/2 T coriander

2T chili powder

ground red pepper (optional to taste)

salt & pepper to taste

6 cups chicken stock or beef stock (depending on what your protein is)

2T vegetable oil

masa or corn flour mixed with water to make a smooth paste

How To:

Pour the oil into a large heavy bottomed saucepan. Add the chicken and spices. Cook for 2 or 3 minutes until the spices are fragrant. Add the beans, tomatoes, corn and stock. Stir until it comes to a gentle boil. Let simmer for 30 minutes. Combine the masa or corn flour and water until it is a smooth paste. Stir into the soup stirring until the broth thickens a little. Ladle into bowls, and top with your choice of garnish. E.g. sour cream, shredded cheese, avocado or guacamole and cilantro. Serve with tortilla chips for scooping!

Breakfast · Sweet Treats

Cinnamon Coffee Cake

This coffee cake has been in my arsenal for a LONG time!! I was making this before I had children. It is still a favorite today. My kids often ask for it as a Saturday breakfast treat. It’s moist and flavorful. There is never much left!

GE DIGITAL CAMERA

Ingredients: Cake

  • 1C softened butter
  • 1C sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 3C flour
  • 1/2t salt
  • 3t baking powder
  • 1C milk
  • 1t vanilla

Cinnamon layer:

  • 1 1/3C brown sugar
  • 1/2 melted butter
  • 2t cinnamon

How to:

Cream together butter and sugar. Add eggs and vanilla. Combine dry ingredients in a separate bowl. While mixer is running add flour and milk alternately. Mix until just combined. Spread into a 9×13 pan.

Cinnamon layer:

Melt butter, add to brown sugar and cinnamon. Pour over the surface of the batter. With a knife swirl in the cinnamon mixture until evenly distributed throughout the batter. Bake uncovered at 350 for 35-45 minutes. Until lightly golden and set.