Monday, April 27, 2009

Menu Monday - April 27

Hi everyone out there in my blogosphere. Last week was a really big challenge for me personally and I am sure it was for you too! Let's see, one evening was spent working out at my gym with my great and fantastic personal trainer Amy. Another evening was spent with my son at his high school award ceremony. And my mother in law was visiting. All of this proves to be very interesting when it comes to sticking to a schedule. I was able to do about half of my plan. But this week it's all different. My mother-in-law has left and gone back home and the activities this week seem to be mild. So I am going to attempt another successful menu week. What do you have on the menu? Feel free to add to the list.

Monday - Spaghetti with Marinara Sauce, Garlic Bread, and Salad

Tuesday - Chicken in the Crock pot, Cooked Carrots, Buttered Noodles

Wednesday - Minestrone Soup, Salad

Thursday - Pasta with shrimp, orange and arugula

Friday - Sliced Steak on a Mixed Green Salad

Saturday - BBQ Wings, Macaroni n Cheese, Green Beans

Sunday - Lasagne, Garlic Bread, Broccoli

Have a great time creating your own menu! And leave me a note to let me know your successes so I can share them with others.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Kitchen Series Part 2 - Under The Sink

How well do you organize the storage under your kitchen sink? If you neglect that cabinet space you are probably not taking advantage of quality space. Most people don't like it because of the pipes. It's hard to put shelves in that space so a lot of people don't use it wisely.

The first thing I would recommend to get for under the sink is an organizer like this.

These organizers can be built around the pipes under the sink. On these shelves you should put your kitchen cleaners (please make sure if you have small children that you childproof the cabinet), garbage bags, and other kitchen paper products. Under the sink is where I put my cutting boards, sponges, dish rags, and dishwasher soap.

Be sure to utilize this space as wisely as possible and keep it neat. You will find that a lot of storage space in the unlikeliest of places.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Menu Monday

This week promises to be a really busy week which makes Menu Monday all the more important. There is going to be some crockpot cooking and some frozen stuff in there but it's unavoidable due to the hectic schedule. I still manage to squeeze in some homemade dishes.

Monday: Crockpot pork roast with mashed potatoes and broccoli

Tuesday: Hamburgers with tator tots and corn on the cob

Wednesday: Teriyaki Chicken served with warm ginger carrot slaw and veggies

Thursday: Celebration Dinner out with the family

Friday: Minestrone soup in the crockpot and Pizza

Saturday: Steak with baked potato and cauliflower

Sunday: BBQ hamburgers, hotdogs, french fries and birthday cake in honor of my daughter's birthday.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Organizing Tip For Today

Everywhere I go there is always something that pops into my head that I must remember whether it is remembering to pick up milk on the way home from work, mail a special letter, send someone an important email, RSVP a party, etc etc. When you have kids the list is endless. I don't carry a PDA so instead I carry around a small notepad in my purse to document just those things that pop into my head at a moments notice. When I get home I then transfer the activities to my Outlook calendar as reminders. I have found that this is such a timesaver and it helps me not to forget some important reminders going on in the day.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Kitchen Series Part 1 - A Clean Pantry

The other day I organized my pantry and now it is so functional and easy to get to everything. Here are some tips to organizing your pantry.

1. Take everything out of the pantry before you organize it.

2. Discard anything that looks old and outdated.

3. Put your items into groups that make logical sense (cereals, canned veggies, paper items, etc)

4. When you put your grouped items back remember to put the most commonly used items at easy reach and put the items you use less frequently up on top or down on bottom. The key is to make your trip to the pantry quick and easy.

5. Use containers for items such as flour, sugar, noodles, and rice. Those items are easier to scoop and use in a hard container rather than the bag that they come in. Plus there is less mess and bugs. Also, use a small basket for little items that can get lost with the bigger items like soup packets, gravy packets, etc.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Easiest Birthday Cake Ever

I have made plenty of birthday cakes in my lifetime and it seems that the more easy the cake the better it tastes. I am not sure why that is..I think part of the reason is because in order to make cakes look beautiful it takes a lot of sugary and sometimes not very tasty ingredients like fondant and marzipan and crisco. But here is a birthday cake that I have made for the past few birthdays and it is always a hit and super easy.

1. Take any flavor store bought cake mix and follow instructions on the box. In this recipe I use chocolate. I put mine in a bundt pan because it turns out even all over and it is really easy to frost. There is no fuss with a bunch of pans and trying to make the cake straight.

2. While the cake is cooling, start on the ganache frosting. I take 1/2 cup of semisweet chocolate chips and 1/2 cup of heavy cream and put it under medium heat over the stove stirring constantly until the chips are melted. Once they are melted, add 1 tablespoon of butter to the mixture and stir until melted. Place the chocolate in the refrigerator for about 20 minutes to let it firm up. (Stir it every few minutes while it is in the refrigerator to keep it smooth). The best part about this frosting is the cleanup. There are no messy beaters, no large bowls, and you get to lick the pot!

3. After 20 minutes you should see the frosting a bit firmer. Take it out of the refrigerator and pour the ganache over the cake.

4. Decorate the top of the cake however you like.

5. This cake is a real crowd pleaser but look out because there will be no leftovers after you make this one.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Menu Monday

I like the idea of starting a Menu Monday....this is my first week doing this and hopefully I will get much better with photos and descriptions.

Monday - Leftover Turkey from Easter, Stuffing, Green Beans, Mashed Potatoes.

Tuesday - Ribeye Steak, buttered noodles, green beans, brownies

Wednesday - Pizza, mixed green salad

Thursday - Shrimp with orange pasta

Friday - Asian pork in the crockpot

Saturday - hamburgers/hot dogs, slaw salad, brownies

Sunday - Lasagna, garlic toast, mixed green salad

Enjoy your menu this week!

Monday, April 6, 2009

Basic Rule of Organizing

I have noticed over the years that if I follow this simple rule of organizing, I can generally keep my house clean and organized without too much effort.

The rule is this: If it takes less than a minute to do, you need to do it right then.

Here are a few examples of this:

1. Undressing - when you undress and your clothes are not going in the hamper, you need to hang them up. Hanging up your clothes takes less than a minute. So don't put your clothes on the floor or chair. Hang them up.

2. Bringing in the mail - It takes less than a minute to sort your mail so do it as you are walking into the house. Don't put the mail in a pile to get to later. Do it right then. Don't start piles that take less than a minute to sort through.

3. Cleaning up the kitchen while you are cooking - this is a big one for me because I can cook a big meal and literally have no clean up work to do afterward. While I am cooking or making the meal, I put the items away back in the refrigerator or pantry as I am cooking the meal.

4. Car organization - a lot of reasons people have disorganized cars is because they just don't think of their cars as much as their homes yet clutter can grow rapidly in the car. The one minute rule really applies when you are going from your car into your house. Be sure to clean our your car of trash or stuff that need to go from your car to your house. If it takes one minute to do it is well worth the effort to do it right then.

Always remember the rule of one. You will be much more organized and clean if you do.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Saving Money On Groceries

All of us are always looking for ways to knock a few bucks off of our grocery bills. The grocery game promises you just that. It's so easy and fun and you even get a trial month to figure out if you want to continue. The weekly savings alone pays for the monthly fee many times over. The methods used are tried and true but you have to try it to believe it.

Because of the lists and message boards on this site that have taught me so much on how to save I have cut my grocery bill down from $200 a week to $100 a week for a family of 6. And I don't sacrifice quality of food. I am still able to get quality meat, good fish, fruits, and vegetables.

I hope you try it and comment back to me and let me know how you did.

If you like this post, please tweet me.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

**Gadget Watch**

Here is a really neat gadget that I saw today. I have to go out and get one. My laptop bag is getting really disorganized and sometimes I cannot find my jump drives. This is a must have if you have a laptop.