HOMEMADE CHICKEN BROTH & STOCK UP TIPS

At this time of year, I’m usually stocking up for winter in the wild and snowy north, but not this year. We’ll pretend though because I can’t seem to cook any differently and am longing for cool, crisp fall evenings for soups and stews.  I originally wrote this post years ago, but nothing has changed – I still do things exactly the same.

I start with LARGE bulk packs of meat.  I then break them down by size and meat right down to cutting certain recipes into bite sized pieces.  Then I wrap them in freezer paper because I really hate freezer burn!  And I package them into pre-labeled ziploc bags for the freezer.

I didn’t get a secondary picture, but I then wrap the center of each one with a strip of duct tape.  Yep, you read that right, duct tape.  Just a small strip.  Enough so when they’re stacked in the back of the freezer you can identify the meat.  I buy it in colors – red for beef, green for chicken and blue for pork.  It makes it soooooooo much easier when you’re searching in the freezer for the right meat.
Many times this prep includes rotisserie chickens.  My market at home has buy one, get one free on Tuesdays.  Can you figure out when I did my shopping? By the time I get home and put away the groceries, the rotisserie chickens are cool enough to pick off the bone.  The bowl below is the skin, congealed juices and bones I collected as I stripped 2 birds.
I think Martha (MM) and I met over some post about buying in bulk and we found a common ground – saving money!  Talk to your butcher.  Many times you can save even more than the advertised sale prices.  For example, recently my local market was running a sale on chuck roast.  None of the roasts were as large as I really needed for company so I asked the butcher if they had one the size I wanted and instead she offered up a manager’s daily sale (in the bulk section just a few feet away from the ones I was looking at) where I could buy twice as much for half as much saving me $8 over what I intended to spend and gave me enough for 3 meals.  I made ALL the chuck roast as Pot Roast & Veggies for company and then used the leftovers to make Ortega Chile Bake and Beef Chili.
I then use a large stock pot and cover the “debris” with water.  I set it to simmer on a low temp and let it go for an hour or so.  I don’t add any seasonings since I’ve normally bought mesquite broiled or lemon herb, but adjust according to your tastes.
Then I drain it into my large 8 cup measuring cup and allow it to cool.
I have several of these containers that I bought just for chicken stock in the freezer.  I haven’t bought chicken stock in over 10 years now.  It’s just so easy to make your own.  Even if I start with raw chicken and poach it for a recipe I add seasonings and by the time the chicken is done, there is several cups of broth ready for the freezer.

Today’s flavor was Mesquite broiled so it left us with a spicy red color also.

So what do you do to get ready for winter?  Have I motivated you to stock up?

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HAPPY HOMEMAKER & MENU PLAN MONDAY week 33 of 2017

HAPPY MONDAY everyone! I hope you had a wonderful week/weekend. It was tax free weekend around here with the kids starting back to school today plus a SERIOUS heat advisory so I avoided going anywhere and pretty much stayed inside with preseason football and racing all weekend. I did make it to the Farmer’s market early Saturday morning and picked up just a few groceries for some luscious salads, but other than that it was a productive weekend at home. We know for sure that we won’t be staying here, but are still uncertain exactly when we will be moving since we are still waiting for tests 3 & 4 to be performed to determine surgery type and date.  So, I’ve started packing ALL non-essential items (Christmas china, winter clothes, studio items, etc…).  This will help on so many levels after my surgery and keep me busy now while I wait for the test and surgery.  LOL it’s a vicious circle, but keeps me busy.

OUTSIDE MY WINDOW & THE WEATHER OUTSIDE

We are back into serious heat advisories and triple digit temperatures, but it’s blue skies full of fluffy clouds and sunny.

ON THE BREAKFAST PLATE

Honey Nut Cheerios with a banana and coffee

AS I LOOK AROUND THE HOUSE

I am very happy with everything I got done over the weekend.

WEEKLY TO DO LIST & HOUSE PROJECTS

  • LAUNDRY… just a couple loads
  • LIVING AREAS… GORGEOUS
  • BEDROOM… GOURGEOUS TOO
  • KITCHEN… just a little tidying to do
  • STUDIO… I did a seriously DEEP clean Saturday and am not sure I want to make a mess so soon.
  • YARD… YAY, nothing
  • BLOG… still working on some recipe updating and planing for future posts as I continue combining my old blogs into this one.

MONDAY – APPOINTMENTS & ERRANDS
TUESDAY – When I cleaned the studio, I got the table top photo booth set up for ebay pictures and want to get at least 20 items a day photoed, edited and listed.
WEDNESDAY – ebay, packing
THURSDAY – ebay, vacuuming
FRIDAY – ebay, ?? out for our anniversary
SATURDAY – helping my uncle
SUNDAY – ??

CURRENTLY READING & TELEVISION / DVR

  • READING – Ava Miles #3 Dare Valley – Grand Opening

Pre-season Football and NASCAR have dominated around here quite a bit lately, but we still have a few summer shows going.

  • ZOO
  • DOUBT
  • STRAIN
  • SALVATION
  • NIGHT SHIFT
  • MIDNIGHT TEXAS
  • CHESAPEAKE SHORES
  • AMERICA’S GOT TALENT
  • GUY’S GROCERY GAMES
  • THE “F” WORD will conclude this week also – I love this fun new side of Gordon Ramsay, but not sure this show will make it.  The background noise that Gordon is always trying to talk over drives me crazy.
  • MASTER CHEF – there are some interesting characters left this season and some I can’t wait to see go JEFF HAS TO GO!
  • FOOD NETWORK STAR finished this week– I LOVED Jason, Corey and Rusty.  Corey and Rusty had their unique styles, but Jason was so funny on the Holiday Baking Championship which he won against professionals.  He is pretty innovative with flavor combos and I just love his country accent and euphemisms that I was pulling for Jason to win ALL SEASON! SPOILER ALERT: AND he did!

NEW THIS WEEK:

MENU PLANS FOR THE WEEK

MONDAY
TUESDAY
WEDNESDAY
THURSDAY
FRIDAY
SATURDAY
SUNDAY
BREAKFAST
FRUIT & COFFEE
SCRAMBLED EGGS
FRUIT SMOOTHIE
FRUIT & COFFEE
SCRAMBLED EGGS
RED PEPPER HAM STRATAS
SHIRRED EGGS & HAM
LUNCH
FRUIT & CHEESE
SOUP
MEAT ROLL-UPS
SALAD
MEAT & CHEESE
C.O.R.N.
??
DINNER
CEDAR PLANKED SALMON & GARLIC CHEESE CAULIFLOWER & BROCCOLI BAKE
JUCY LUCY BURGERS
SLAM DUNK WINGS & TWICE BAKED POTATOES
BBQ SAUSAGE & CREAMY CUCUMBER SALAD
OUT TO EAT FOR OUR ANNIVERSARY
PORK CHOPS with PEPPER JELLY
MARRY ME CHICKEN & GARLIC MASHED POTATOES
DESSERT

SUCCESSFUL RECIPE LINKS FROM LAST WEEK

HEALTH & BEAUTY TIPS

HOMEMAKING/COOKING TIP

ON MY MIND

PRAYING for all the hatred and animosity to come to an end in our country.  We have to start helping each other up instead of tearing each other down!

2 1/2+ more weeks until tests 3 and 4. Some days I’m not sure I can last that long let alone until the surgery, but since there is no alternative I’ll just draw on my strength and live with the pain and put one foot in front of the other every day moving forward.

FAVORITE PHOTO FROM THE CAMERA

My old guy still likes to play and is seeming more puppy like lately. He never lets his favorite tennis ball get too far from him.

INSPIRATION

 

Be sure to link up with Sandra at Diary of a Stay at Home Mom for Happy homemaker Monday and with Laura at I’m an Organizing Junkie for Menu Plan Monday.

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HAPPY HOMEMAKER & MENU PLAN MONDAY week 32 of 2017

OUTSIDE MY WINDOW & THE WEATHER OUTSIDE

It’s still very warm and humid with a chance of thunderstorms ALL week, but a bit more tolerable than it has been.  I ran to Costco and did some errands on Saturday and got caught in one of the worst thunderstorms I’ve ever been in.  I think partly because the people around me were so panicked and unable to cope.  Gheesh people, it’s just water.

ON THE BREAKFAST PLATE

BOOST Nutritional drink and coffee

AS I LOOK AROUND THE HOUSE / WEEKLY TO DO LIST & HOUSE PROJECTS

  • LAUNDRYjust a couple loads
  • LIVING AREASmostly tidy, but need to do floors AS ALWAYS
  • KITCHEN… NOT quite clean, but just a little tidying will do
  • STUDIOJust don’t know where to start this week in here
  • YARDhubby needs to mow and edge, bit nothing for me to do 😀
  • BLOGsome recipe updating and planing for future posts

MONDAY – APPOINTMENTS & ERRANDS
TUESDAY – PAPERWORK, CLEANING
WEDNESDAY – EBAYING, SORTING and PACKING
THURSDAY – PAINTING TOUCH UPS
FRIDAY – ??
SATURDAY – WORK AROUND HOUSE, FOOTBALL & RACING
SUNDAY – WORK AROUND HOUSE, FOOTBALL & RACING

CURRENTLY READING & TELEVISION / DVR

With being under the weather and being cooped up so much I’ve been watching a bit more TV.  Rented a few movies the past couple weeks too.

There are a couple new shows starting on the Food Network this month that I’m really looking forward to.

READING: I switched over to Marie Force’s #10 book in the Fatal Series.

  • GREAT BRITISH BAKING SHOW – I just love this show and I’m not ready for it to be over! SPOILER ALERT! – I do think Candace winning was the best though.
  • MIDNIGHT TEXAS
  • THE NIGHT SHIFT
  • SALVATION
  • ZOO
  • FOOD NETWORK STAR – I LOVE Jason and Matt and Rusty.  Jason was so funny on the Holiday Baking Championship which he won against professionals.  He is pretty innovative with flavor combos and I just love his country accent and euphemisms.
  • AMERICA’S GOT TALENT – always a fun watch – loving the new softer side of Simon and love that Laverne Cox golden buzzered Celine this past week – such a grown up voice out of such a cute little girl.
  • The Returned
  • The OA
  • Friday Night Lights
  • DATE MY DAD
  • MASTER CHEF – there are some interesting characters this season and some I can’t wait to see go home as well as a couple I thought I was NOT going to like that are growing on me, but JEFF HAS TO GO!
  • THE “F” WORD – I love this fun new side of Gordon Ramsay.


MENU PLANS FOR THE WEEK

MONDAY
TUESDAY
WEDNESDAY
THURSDAY
FRIDAY
SATURDAY
SUNDAY
BREAKFAST
FRUIT & COFFEE
SCRAMBLED EGGS
FRUIT SMOOTHIE
FRUIT & COFFEE
SCRAMBLED EGGS
FIESTA EGG & POTATO BOATS
WAFFLES
LUNCH
FRUIT & CHEESE
SOUP
MEAT ROLL-UPS
SALAD
MEAT & CHEESE
C.O.R.N.
C.O.R.N.
DINNER
BOURBON HAM BALLS  & BROCCOLI SLAW
PEANUT CHICKEN WINGS & SALAD w/ HOMEMADE ITALIAN DRESSING
CHILI MAC CASSEROLE & SALAD w/ ZESTY BUTTERMILK DRESSING
C.O.R.N.
CHICKEN & DUMPLINGS
CHILI CHEESE DOG CASSEROLE
C.O.R.N.
DESSERT

SUCCESSFUL RECIPE LINKS FROM LAST WEEK

HEALTH & BEAUTY TIPS

HOMEMAKING/COOKING TIP

ON MY MIND

I literally dread  having to call customer service ANYWHERE!  I had to call AT&T as well as AMAZON several times this week. Lately every customer service I have had to call is outsourced to the Philippines and they are reading from a script, don’t truly understand what they are doing and don’t seem to really care. I spent over an hour on hold with AT&T to deal with a rude and obnoxious man who told me “to deal with it”.  When I asked for a supervisor, he said he was the supervisor.  I told him he reported to someone so I wanted to talk to them.  At the 2 hour mark I was transferred to the customer loyalty department who was 1) in the USA 2) completely apologetic and said I should have been informed from the get go that the computers had been down most the day and that no one could have helped me.  They gave me a direct dial number to use the next day which also got me a wonderful man here in the states who took care of my problem in nothing flat.

FAVORITE PHOTO FROM THE CAMERA

This is only my favorite photo because I had a wonderful customer service representative at Amazon who finally made a week’s worth of horrible interactions with not so nice customer representatives right in the end.  The new plates should be here before the end of the day.

This picture popped up on Facebook yesterday as a memory though so ALL is good in the favorite photo department.

INSPIRATION

Be sure to link up with Sandra at Diary of a Stay at Home Mom for Happy homemaker Monday and with Laura at I’m an Organizing Junkie for Menu Plan Monday.

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HAPPY HOMEMAKER & MENU PLAN MONDAY week 31 of 2017

Did you have a great weekend? Ours was full of errands, cooking and racing. Because of the crowds here we try really hard to go no where from Friday afternoon through Monday. So, we have begun to really enjoy our homebody weekends.

OUTSIDE MY WINDOW & THE WEATHER OUTSIDE

Last week was pretty nice until Friday and Saturday when the heat indexes surged upward again to unbearable around 120, but they are supposed to drop again this week to just around 100 – won’t matter much with the threat of rain every day though with the humidity. I really am ready to leave this 2 season (late spring and horrible summer)  place and go back to ALL 4 seasons!

ON THE BREAKFAST PLATE

Scrambled eggs and green tea

AS I LOOK AROUND THE HOUSE

The bug guy is coming Wednesday for our quarterly spray so today is going to be my deep clean day before he does that, but at least the clutter is all picked up and ready for the deep clean.

WEEKLY TO DO LIST & HOUSE PROJECTS

  • LAUNDRYjust a couple loads
  • LIVING AREASmostly tidy, but need to do dusting and floors
  • KITCHENready for it’s DEEP clean
  • STUDIOready for it’s DEEP clean
  • YARDA little pruning and deadheading of some blooms
  • BLOG… still working on some recipe updating from my old blogs and am scheduling the posts I move over to slowly migrate day by day into the new blog.

MONDAY – DEEP CLEAN

TUESDAY – APPOINTMENTS & ERRANDS

WEDNESDAY – BUG GUY, SORTING and PACKING

THURSDAY – PAINT MAILBOX, PRUNE BACKYARD

FRIDAY – MOVIE or BOWLING

SATURDAY – WORK AROUND HOUSE, RACING

SUNDAY – WORK AROUND HOUSE, RACING

CURRENTLY READING & TELEVISION / DVR

Had a MAJOR DVR glitch last week after a power outage from the phone guys working in the area pulling in new fiber optic cable and in the end LOST ALL of the Christmas movies I had been stockpiling on the DVR from the July premiere on Hallmark!  Not to mention we had to go without television while we waited for the new DVR to be shipped to us.

There are a couple new shows starting on the Food Network that I’m looking for to.

I’m still only half way through with Book #2, French Roast of Ava Miles’ series for Dare Valley. I keep falling asleep LOL. And then there are my summer standards:

  • MIDNIGHT TEXAS
  • THE NIGHT SHIFT – I’m ready for T.C. to come home.
  • SALVATION – We’ll see where they go with it.  I’m still undecided.
  • AMERICA’S GOT TALENT – always a fun watch – loving the new softer side of Simon and fun side of Tyra.
  • ZOO – is back. I wasn’t sure I liked the 10 year jump into the future, but am getting used to it since they are using the same characters, just took some adjusting.
  • FOOD NETWORK STAR – I LOVE Jason and Matt and Rusty.  Jason was so funny on the Holiday Baking Championship which he won against professionals.  He is pretty innovative with flavor combos and I just love his country accent and euphemisms.
  • AMERICA’S GOT TALENT – always a fun watch – loving the new softer side of Simon
  • The Returned
  • The OA
  • Friday Night Lights
  • DATE MY DAD – it’s pretty cute and I want to look as good as Raquel Welch does when I’m her age!
  • GREAT BRITISH BAKING SHOW – I just love this show – they are always so civilized and nice with recipes that make me WANT to be a better baker. SPOILER ALERT!! NO NO NO I didn’t want Benjaminia to go home!!!!
  • MASTER CHEF – there are some interesting characters this season and some I can’t wait to see go home as well as a couple I thought I was NOT going to like that are growing on me.
  • THE “F” WORD – I love this fun new side of Gordon Ramsay with his funny antics and pranks with disguises.

CRAFTS / PROJECTS

I’m starting on a new canvas this week (I hope)

MENU PLANS FOR THE WEEK

I’m still working with old recipes that need new pictures to make them look right with an experiment each week.

MONDAY
TUESDAY
WEDNESDAY
THURSDAY
FRIDAY
SATURDAY
SUNDAY
BREAKFAST
FRUIT & COFFEE
SCRAMBLED EGGS
FRUIT SMOOTHIE
FRUIT & COFFEE
SCRAMBLED EGGS
DUTCH BABIES
HAM & RED PEPPER STRATAS
LUNCH
FRUIT & CHEESE
TUNA TARRAGON
MEAT & CHEESE ROLL-UPS
SALAD
MEAT & CHEESE ROLL-UPS
C.O.R.N.
C.O.R.N.
DINNER
MAC & CHEESE HOTDOG STUFFED PEPPERS
BAKED CHICKEN TAQUITOS
C.O.R.N.
HONEY SESAME CHICKEN  STIR FRY
HONEY GLAZED FRIED CHICKEN
SOMETHING ON THE GRILL
DESSERT
PEANUT BUTTER BLISS BROWNIES

SUCCESSFUL RECIPE LINKS FROM LAST WEEK

HEALTH & BEAUTY TIPS

HOMEMAKING/COOKING TIP

ON MY MIND

Spending a lot of time wondering what makes some people tick. Especially those that are so self-centered and feel they are entitled to everything without having compassion, empathy or even sympathy for others let alone respect for them.

THINGS THAT ARE MAKING ME HAPPY

  • Two of four tests are completed in helping diagnose the next step in my health process. One was normal, the other was not and the doctor will be able to tell more about that status after tests three and four.  Unfortunately tests three and four are a month off so I’m still miserable and unsure until then. Still praying for a non-surgical end to all of this.
  • “Summer” is half over which means psuedo Fall is not too far off. Real fall never really happens here LOL.

FAVORITE PHOTO FROM THE CAMERA

These days my old Gunny spends more and more time in his favorite position, NAPPING next to his favorite toys. I’m really glad we got him an orthopedic bed a while back.  He LOVES his bed!

INSPIRATION

Have a wonderful week and be sure to link up with Sandra at Diary of a Stay at Home Mom for Happy homemaker Monday and with Laura at I’m an Organizing Junkie for Menu Plan Monday.

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HAPPY HOMEMAKER & MENU PLAN MONDAY week 30 of 2017

I hope everyone had a great weekend. Can you believe we are more than half way through this year already? I spent the weekend sorting and packing and have been able to make even larger donation boxes and feel quite liberated by it.  While the weather was better, it was still not great and I can’t tolerate the heat with what’s going on in my body so spent the weekend inside and was able to catch both NASCAR races and watch some Hallmark Christmas movies too.

OUTSIDE MY WINDOW & THE WEATHER OUTSIDE

We’re still having high temperatures in the mid 90’s, but the dew points have dropped making the heat indexes a bit lower so it’s a bit more tolerable even with high humidity.

ON THE BREAKFAST PLATE

Nothing as I’m fasting for an 11AM test.

WEEKLY TO DO LIST & HOUSE PROJECTS

  • LAUNDRY… just a couple loads
  • LIVING AREAS… I spent the weekend sorting and packing so have a bit of mess, but nothing I can’t live with.
  • KITCHEN… quite clean, but I plan to make a mess soon.  I’m such a messy cook as I invent
  • STUDIO… Nothing this week
  • YARD… Hubby just mowed so we’re good for now
  • BLOG… still doing some recipe updating and planing for future posts as I re-do some pictures from the blogs I’m combining

CURRENTLY READING & TELEVISION / DVR

Midnight Texas Starts tonight. I have been stockpiling Christmas movies on the DVR all week during the Christmas in July premiere at Hallmark and we found a few more Netflix shows we’ve been trying.

I’m still only half way through with Book #2, French Roast of Ava Miles’ series for Dare Valley. I keep falling asleep LOL. And then there are my summer standards:

  • THE NIGHT SHIFT – I’m ready for T.C. to come home.
  • SALVATION – We’ll see where they go with it.  I’m still undecided.
  • AMERICA’S GOT TALENT – always a fun watch – loving the new softer side of Simon and fun side of Tyra.
  • ZOO – is back. I wasn’t sure I liked the 10 year jump into the future, but am getting used to it since they are using the same characters, just took some adjusting.
  • FOOD NETWORK STAR – I LOVE Jason and Matt and Rusty.  Jason was so funny on the Holiday Baking Championship which he won against professionals.  He is pretty innovative with flavor combos and I just love his country accent and euphemisms.
  • AMERICA’S GOT TALENT – always a fun watch – loving the new softer side of Simon
  • DATE MY DAD – it’s pretty cute and I want to look as good as Raquel Welch does when I’m her age!
  • GREAT BRITISH BAKING SHOW – I just love this show – they are always so civilized and nice with recipes that make me WANT to be a better baker.
  • MASTER CHEF – there are some interesting characters this season and some I can’t wait to see go home as well as a couple I thought I was NOT going to like that are growing on me. I was quite surprised with this week’s ending, at least with the final challenge and who Yachecia choose to battle against and was impressed that she chose to save 6 others instead of herself.  I really thought she’d pick Jeff. I just don’t care for him and I really thought he should go after yelling at Gordon Ramsay.
  • THE “F” WORD – I love this fun new side of Gordon Ramsay with his funny antics and pranks with disguises.

MENU PLANS FOR THE WEEK

MONDAY
TUESDAY
WEDNESDAY
THURSDAY
FRIDAY
SATURDAY
SUNDAY
BREAKFAST
FRUIT & COFFEE
SCRAMBLED EGGS
FRUIT SMOOTHIE
FRUIT & COFFEE
SCRAMBLED EGGS
BAKED OMELETS
SHIRRED EGGS
LUNCH
FRUIT & CHEESE
SOUP
MEAT ROLL-UPS
SALAD
MEAT & CHEESE
C.O.R.N.
??
DINNER
ITALIAN BBQ CHICKEN and SALAD
SLUMBERING VOLCANOES
C.O.R.N.
FONTINA STUFFED PORK CHOPS
CHICKEN and ONIONS in WHITE WINE CREAM SAUCE
C.O.R.N.
SESAME CHICKEN
DESSERT

SUCCESSFUL RECIPE LINKS FROM LAST WEEK

HEALTH & BEAUTY TIPS

HOMEMAKING/COOKING TIP

 

ON MY MIND / THINGS THAT ARE MAKING ME HAPPY

The first of the four yucky tests is over and the second is later this morning and then I have to wait 5 weeks due to scheduling availability for test three and four which fortunately will both be performed at the same time while I’m under anesthesia by my doctor. Last Friday’s test was a ClusterF**k of technicians and misread orders that left me flustered and agitated.

At this point I almost don’t care what they find as long as the find something that can be cured and cured sooner than later.  This has all been going on for over a year now and it is no way to live!

FAVORITE PHOTO FROM THE CAMERA

The older (over 100 in human years based on the current dog years to human years calculator) Gunny gets, the easier it is to do this to him on a regular basis.  He also sleeps through thunder and door bells now too.

INSPIRATION

Be sure to link up with Sandra at Diary of a Stay at Home Mom for Happy homemaker Monday and with Laura at I’m an Organizing Junkie for Menu Plan Monday.

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HAPPY HOMEMAKER & MENU PLAN MONDAY week 29 of 2017

OUTSIDE MY WINDOW & THE WEATHER OUTSIDE

Once again it is sunny with fluffy clouds looking really nice – until you open the door. We’ve needed rain and then we got it in a BIG storm Saturday night, but once again we are getting super high temperatures (82 ALREADY this morning (not even 8AM), but then again it doesn’t get very low even in the middle of the night) on its way to mid 90’s, high dew points (82+ degrees), high humidity (81%+)  making the heat indexes extremely high, (feels over 100°+ according to weather underground‘s calculations). IT’S JUST PLAIN miserable and makes you dehydrated so quickly!  Oh, and there is a threat of thunderstorms all week that will just make it even more sticky!

ON THE BREAKFAST PLATE

Orange flavored Nutrition Drink and Green Tea

AS I LOOK AROUND THE HOUSE / WEEKLY TO DO LIST & HOUSE PROJECTS

  • LAUNDRYjust one load today of sheets
  • LIVING AREASIt’s a bit cluttered as I’ve spent the past few days sorting and packing a few things.
  • KITCHENquite clean – hubby cooked yesterday so I did a DEEP clean after.
  • STUDIOI did a DEEP clean yesterday as I was sorting and packing, but the rest of the house suffered for it.
  • YARDjust mowing and watering
  • BLOGstill doing some recipe updating, making lists for recipes that need new pictures and planning for future posts as I combine old blogs into this one. I’m doing some recipes and pictures in advance for BLOGMAS 2017

CURRENTLY READING & TELEVISION / DVR

We rented the Lost City of Z this past weekend. It was interesting, but seriously not what I thought it would be.

We’re done binging on The Walking Dead with the finish of Season 6 and are eagerly awaiting season 7 on NetFlix.  I can’t wait for season 7 so we can be totally caught up before the season 8 starts in the fall. We also finished Between and are waiting on its next season.

We’re still catching up on Dare Devil and Jessica Jones. We’ve also added The Fall with Gillian Anderson from the X-Files to our list of newly started series along with Travelers.

I’m half way through with Book #2, French Roast of Ava Miles’ series for Dare Valley.

  • SALVATION – We’ll see where they go with it.  I’m still undecided.
  • AMERICA’S GOT TALENT – always a fun watch – loving the new softer side of Simon and fun side of Tyra.
  • ZOO – is back. I wasn’t sure I liked the 10 year jump into the future, but am getting used to it since they are using the same characters, just took some adjusting.
  • FOOD NETWORK STAR – I LOVE Jason and Matt and Rusty.  Jason was so funny on the Holiday Baking Championship which he won against professionals.  He is pretty innovative with flavor combos and I just love his country accent and euphemisms.
  • AMERICA’S GOT TALENT – always a fun watch – loving the new softer side of Simon
  • DATE MY DAD – it’s pretty cute and I want to look as good as Raquel Welch does when I’m her age!
  • GREAT BRITISH BAKING SHOW – I just love this show – they are always so civilized and nice with recipes that make me WANT to be a better baker.
  • MASTER CHEF – there are some interesting characters this season and some I can’t wait to see go home as well as a couple I thought I was NOT going to like that are growing on me.
  • THE “F” WORD – I love this fun new side of Gordon Ramsey with his funny antics and pranks with disguises.
  • SUPERHUMAN – some of these people amaze me SOOOOO much!  I wish I was this talented.

CRAFTS / PROJECTS

Here are a few more ideas from my Pinterest board for Christmas cards and cute wrapping idea with photos for tags.

KITCHEN WISHES

I LOVE this kitchen I found on Pinterest and want to do my next kitchen quite similar, but maybe not so blue. I think it is the back splash and shades I don’t like in particular. I have sunflowers as a decoration now and love and want to keep a sunflower theme, so am thinking a distressed white with a hint of blue for the cabinets and a pale yellow for the backsplash and not shades, but short shutters instead, but LOVE the layout overall.

MENU PLANS FOR THE WEEK

Starting next week I’ll be making recipes exclusively that need “NEW” pictures.  I can probably go through the rest of this year with NOT repeating anything LOL.

MONDAY
TUESDAY
WEDNESDAY
THURSDAY
FRIDAY
SATURDAY
SUNDAY
BREAKFAST
FRUIT & COFFEE
SCRAMBLED EGGS
FRUIT SMOOTHIE
FRUIT & COFFEE
SCRAMBLED EGGS
DUTCH BABY PANCAKE
ROASTED RED PEPPER STRATAS
LUNCH
FRUIT & CHEESE
SOUP
MEAT ROLL-UPS
SALAD
MEAT & CHEESE
C.O.R.N.
??
DINNER
HOT CHICKEN SALAD
RITZY CHEDDAR CHICKEN
CHICKEN UNDER A BRICK
FONTINA STUFFED PORK CHOPS
MEXICAN NOODLE  BAKE
LEMON BUTTER CHICKEN
C.O.R.N.
DESSERT

SUCCESSFUL RECIPE LINKS FROM LAST WEEK

HEALTH & BEAUTY TIPS

HOMEMAKING/COOKING TIP/TUTORIALS

TUTORIAL LINK FROM LAST WEEK: GETTING THE MOST OUT OF YOUR PRESSURE COOKER

ON MY MIND

I finally met with my new surgeon last week.  I have to say I like him and I really like that he “HEARD” the whole story and his first inclination is to “FIX” the problem and maybe without surgery though it will require 4 more tests, one of which requires anesthesia, one of which is a 24 hour study that will be less than comfortable, another that requires nuclear medicine for an all day test and one that is short, but uncomfortable and one that will be just plain miserable.  BUT, if any one of these points to a way to “CURE” me without surgery, I am ALL for it.

He already took me off of 6 prescriptions that other doctors put me on trying to “SOLVE” my problem which I am THRILLED about.  So many times doctors just keep throwing medicine after medicine dealing with the symptoms instead of the root cause.  In this case it’s kind of a CHICKEN OR THE EGG situation, but he is trying hard to figure out which came first.

I did the research and if these tests go the way I’m now hoping, I’ll be able to get off ALL my current prescriptions and just take two different ones to create a better way of life with NO surgery.

THINGS THAT ARE MAKING ME HAPPY

  • Finding a surgeon whose first instinct is NOT to cut, but cure.
  • Cleaning up the old blogs and deleting old data

INSPIRATION

Be sure to link up with Sandra at Diary of a Stay at Home Mom for Happy homemaker Monday and with Laura at I’m an Organizing Junkie for Menu Plan Monday.

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GETTING THE MOST OUT OF YOUR PRESSURE COOKER

Cooking under pressure requires much less liquid than conventional cooking methods since there is less evaporation. You can always use more liquid than recommended in a pressure cooker recipe, but never use less. The whole concept of pressure cookers is simple. Water or any cooking liquid comes to a boil at 212° at which point it produces steam. Steam is hotter than boiling water and can reach approximately 250°. Trapped steam builds up putting approximately 10 to 13 PSI (pounds per square inch) on food, making it cook by at least 25% faster. For this reason there are a few VERY important things to remember.

  • Begin cooking under pressure over a high heat.
  • Once the pressure cooker comes up to pressure, lower the heat to a low heat setting so that it maintains the pressure without exceeding it. If pressure appears to be dropping, raise the burner up slightly. This is easy when using a gas range, but if you are cooking with an electric range you will need to use two burners; one on high heat to get things going; the other on low to maintain the pressure.

Pressure cookers cook quickly since they use the pressure created from the built-up of the hot trapped steam in the pot. Because of this there are a few important things to remember.

  • Always use at least 1 cup of cooking liquid.
  • Never fill the pressure cooker more than half way full with liquid. You can always reduce liquid by boiling off excesses later until you reach your desired consistency.

Even though steam doesn’t weigh anything, it needs space in the pressure cooker to build up. For this reason always remember:

  • Never fill it more than two-thirds full with food.
  • Never fill it more than half full with liquid.

The key to cooking with a pressure cooker is timing.  Timing is as important as developing pressure. Once you have reduced pressure according to the recipe directions, be sure to set a digital kitchen timer for the recommended cooking time. Remember:

  • All cooking times are approximate and might be understated, but it’s always better to under cook something than overcook it.
  • If food needs to be cooked longer, do so in 1-5 minute intervals under pressure.
  • The harder (tougher) the food, the longer the additional time!

Size really does matter when it comes to recipe preparation. A few important things to remember are:

  • For consistent results, cut foods into pieces of uniform size to promote even cooking. Large pieces of meat take considerably longer to cook than say smaller cubed pieces as do pieces with bones.
  • When mixing foods, such as meat, potatoes, and vegetables, begin by cooking the meat, say halfway, release pressure then add the potatoes; cook then for 2/3 their recommended cooking time, and at last add the quicker cooking vegetables. You may need to follow this “stop and go” routine several times, but it’s important so that the food retains its texture as well as flavor.
  • For extra flavor, brown or sauté foods first just like you would when cooking with conventional cookware. For instance, brown the meat and vegetables for a stew, before adding other liquids and cooking under pressure. Be sure to deglaze the pot, scraping up any browned bits clinging to the bottom with a small amount of wine, broth or even water, so they are loosen, adding flavor to your food, as well as discouraging scorching.

Rapid or Natural Release? Unlike your great-grandmother’s pressure cooker, an important safety feature of today’s pressure cookers is that they can’t be opened until you completely release the pressure from the pot. 
Depending on what you’re making, you will release steam, and therefore pressure, from your pressure cooker by either using one of the two following methods:

The Natural Release Method: when cooking tough or large cuts of meat, remove the pressure cooker from the heat source and let the pressure dissipate on its own as the pressure cooker cools down. This can take up to 30 minutes.

Quick Release Method: when cooking most recipes that contain foods that are softer, read the owner’s manual and follow the manufacturer’s instructions on how to release pressure as soon as the food is done cooking. The easiest way to do so, is to move the pressure cooker from the stove to the sink and run cold water over the top side of the lid and pot until the all the pressure is released, taking less than a minute.

You can adapt your favorite recipes for the pressure cooker pretty simply. Even though the pressure cooker is best suited for cooking foods that require long cooking times such as soups, stews, and beans, you can cook almost anything in it. The following are a few hints for adapting conventional recipes to the pressure cooker:

  • Prep ingredients as called for in the conventional recipe.
  • Make sure you are using enough liquid to create steam (usually a minimum of 1 to 2 cups).
  • Try and match the conventional recipe to a similar pressure cooker version and adjust the ingredients and cooking time accordingly.
  • Cut back on the cooking time at least 25%, up to 50%. Remember, you can always go back and cook the food longer if need be, while overcooked mushy food cannot be saved!

Make sure you store your pressure cooker correctly. The most convenient and best way to store your pressure cooker after using it is to place the lid upside down, on top of the pot. Always wash the pot, lid and rubber gasket by hand with soapy, warm water; dry well before putting away. Make sure to check that the safety valves are clean and unobstructed and that the rubber gasket is always pliable and flexible before inserting it under the lid. DO NOT STORE IN A CLOSED SEALED POSITION.

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HAPPY HOMEMAKER & MENU PLAN MONDAY – week 28 of 2017

Last week was busy and productive too. I actually stayed on schedule with my second chat time which makes me feel like I may really be getting back on track with my blog.

OUTSIDE MY WINDOW & THE WEATHER OUTSIDE

It is sunny with fluffy clouds looking really nice – until you open the door!

We need rain and got a little last night, but once again we are getting super high temperatures (88.9 ALREADY this morning) on its way to 95, super high dew points (88+ degrees), super high humidity (98%+)  making the heat indexes extremely high, (feels like 124°+ according to weather underground‘s calculations) well over 100 degrees, miserable and makes you dehydrated so quickly! Last night’s rain just makes it feel that much worse. This is why they have me staying indoors so much.

Have I mentioned that I really like weather underground as it gives you so much information, but love the videos on The Weather Channel to.  In another life I would love to have been a storm chaser.

ON THE BREAKFAST PLATE

Orange BOOST and coffee

AS I LOOK AROUND THE HOUSE

There’s a little to be picked up, but not too bad.

WEEKLY TO DO LIST & HOUSE PROJECTS

  • APPOINTMENTS… FINALLY the appointment with the surgeon later this week which should give me a timeline for getting life back on track as well as a few other appointments that will keep it a busy week.
  • LAUNDRYI’m doing a major baking soda & vinegar wash and rinse on ALL the linens to freshen them up from the horrendously hard water we have here.
  • LIVING AREAS Did the floors last week, but need to a deep clean on the bathrooms. The horrendously hard water will take a toll on our brand new sinks and toilets if I don’t do this regularly.
  • KITCHENquite clean, but I plan to make a mess soon as I probably only have this week and maybe next to cook before things get crazy and hubby goes into bachelor cooking mode. 
  • STUDIOI’m doing some recipe updating and planning for future posts as I consolidate all my old blogs into this one. At least I’ll feel like Im cooking while I’m on such a restrictive diet for the next few months.
  • YARDNothing – I ordered a new “lawnmower” for hubby and it will be here tomorrow though.

CURRENTLY READING & TELEVISION / DVR

We’re still binging on The Walking Dead and afnished Season 6 last night unaware that season 7 is not yet on NetFlix. I’m really glad my brother advised us not to get too attached to any one character! I was mad when they killed off Hershel and now I’m mad that Tyreese is gone too!  I can’t wait for season 7 so we can be totally caught up before te regular season starts in the fall.

We’ve added The Fall with Gillian Anderson from the X-Files to our list of newly started series along with Travelers and Between.

I’m still almost done with Book #1, NORA ROBERTS LAND of Ava Miles’ series for Dare Valley. I do love to read series where you really get to know ALL the characters, but just haven’t been reading much lately – figure I’ll have plenty of time to do that soon.

  • NIGHT SHIFT
  • SUPERHUMAN – some of these people amaze me SOOOOO much!  I wish I was this talented.
  • AMERICA’S GOT TALENT – always a fun watch – loving the new softer side of Simon
  • DATE MY DAD – it’s pretty cute and I want to look as good as Raquel Welch does when I’m her age!
  • GREAT BRITISH BAKING SHOW – I just love this show – they are always so civilized and nice with recipes that make me WANT to be a better baker.
  • MASTER CHEF – there are some interesting characters this season
  • THE “F” WORD – I love this fun new side of Gordon Ramsey

CRAFTS / PROJECTS

Here are a few more ideas for homemade Christmas presents.

MENU PLANS

MONDAY

TUESDAY

WEDNESDAY

THURSDAY

FRIDAY

SATURDAY

SUNDAY

BREAKFAST

PROTEIN DRINK and COFFEE

PROTEIN DRINK and COFFEE

PROTEIN DRINK and COFFEE

PROTEIN DRINK and COFFEE

PROTEIN DRINK and COFFEE

QUICHE LORRAINE

PANCAKES & BACON

LUNCH

SALAMI & CHEESE WRAPS

GRILLED CHICKEN & TOMATOES

SOUP & SANDWICHES

MAC & CHEESE WITH HAM

SALAD & FRUIT

PASTRAMI SANDWICHES

APPETIZER PLATES for the RACE

DINNER

PAN SEARED PORK CHOPS with PARMESAN BUTTER

CROSS CHICKEN with MUSHROOM GRAVY

CHICKEN GUMBO and SALAD

CAST IRON SKILLET CHICKEN

KICKING MEATLOAF with PARMESAN POTATOES

BUNLESS BURGERS CRY BABY BURGERS with

SEAFOOD SALAD with PARMESAN CRUSTED ROLLS

DESSERT

RUM RAISIN NOODLE BAKE

SNICKER DOODLES

SUCCESSFUL RECIPE LINKS FROM LAST WEEK

HEALTH & BEAUTY TIPS

HOMEMAKING/COOKING TIP

ON MY MIND

FAVORITE PHOTO FROM THE CAMERA

I gave all the plants serious showers, haircuts and root refreshings this past week.

INSPIRATION

Be sure to link up with Sandra at Diary of a Stay at Home Mom for Happy homemaker Monday and with Laura at I’m an Organizing Junkie for Menu Plan Monday.

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Kitchen Aid ~ Designer Color DIY Makeover

That said, let’s move on to something fun. Do you have an appliance that needs an update? You know the one that works fine, but doesn’t look so great. With a little masking tape and some of today’s wonderful spray paints, you can DO-IT-YOURSELF and easily.

This post was originally written for Barbara. We were chatting and talking about the wonders of Kitchen Aid mixers and realized we had the same one. I purchased mine after the 1994 Northridge earthquake as a replacement for my old one that had been literally destroyed along with the rest of my kitchen. That was 23 years ago. A few years ago when we moved to our old house, the original white (the only color available back then) just stood out like a sore thumb, now that I had room to keep it on my counter top but it was in perfectly good shape. I couldn’t justify spending the money in this economy for a new designer color. So I purchased a $5 can of Copper Hammer paint and did it myself! The copper color goes with my new “old” country style kitchen.

Do it Yourself ~ Etched Kitchen Storage Jars

I found the coolest idea over at Martha Stewart years ago, but am finally getting around to doing them. The following instructions are from her site. All of my glass jars were written on with Sharpie on the rear or the bottom, but this idea of Martha’s is soooooooooooooooo much better.

Keep pantry staples organized with a set of glass storage jars customized with etched lettering.

1. Clean and dry the glass. Using painter’s tape, mark off the area you want to etch. Attach vinyl stick-on letters and decorative tape; press hard to ensure they are attached firmly.

2. Cover work surfaces (be sure to work in a well-ventilated area). Put on protective gloves and an old shirt with long sleeves. Paint an even layer of etching cream onto glass. Let stand for amount of time indicated by manufacturer’s instructions.

3. Rinse with warm water in a stainless steel sink. (Avoid porcelain sinks; the cream damages glazed surfaces.) Remove letters and tape.

TECHNIQUES TO MAKE WEEK DAY MEALS EASIER

There are many ways to make your life easier in order to still have made from scratch recipes every day of the week and not resort to hamburger helpers or take out.

By having a menu plan ahead of time you can get organized whenever you have the time. When I do the shopping, I buy in bulk to cut the cost and since I have my menu plan ahead of time, I break down the bulk package into meal appropriate sizes before freezing when I get home. During the winter, I like to spend Sunday afternoons preparing for the week’s meals. If I know we’re heading into a particularly busy time I always make double batches and freeze half for another meal. There are times we literally eat out of the freezer for the whole week, but they are all homemade meals.

Remembering to defrost your meat is key to easy meal preparation on weekdays. The most time consuming part of cooking with fresh ingredients every night of the week is the chopping and preparation of vegetables. If you are sticking to your meal plan you can do these all at once. For example if you are going to need a 1/2 cup chopped onion for each of 3 meals, then choose a large onion and chop the entire onion, storing it in Tupperware and taking out what you need for each meal as you need it. I also gather together the seasonings for each meal and have them ready to go.

The key here is to be able to start cooking immediately and just add ingredients without having to do chopping and prepping.

To recap:

  1. Menu Plan
  2. Defrost Meat
  3. pre-chop vegetables
  4. pre-measure seasonings
  5. pre-set table when/where possible
  6. prepare double batches when appropriate

HAPPY HOMEMAKER & MENU PLAN MONDAY week 27 of 2017

I hope everyone had a great week. Mine was busy and productive. We’re still not completely unpacked from the move here which is making it a pain in the butt to start packing all over again.  I’m trying to go through box after box of old paperwork and shred what I can to lighten the load, but it is so time consuming.  We’ve been trying to piece together all the missing pieces of our life that were lost or stolen during the last move.

I am trying to get back into a more regular blog schedule also and started writing my weekly wrap up with Chat Time this past Friday.  We are still trying to research and make decisions about moving, but my upcoming surgery is messing with our timelines.  We were supposed to go next week and check out an area we are interested in, but had to cancel when the only opening the surgeon had for my consultation was in the middle of our trip. So, it seems like the more we move forward, the more we stand still. BUT, at least we are NOT moving backward.

OUTSIDE MY WINDOW & THE WEATHER OUTSIDE

It is sunny with fluffy clouds looking really nice – until you open the door! We need rain, but instead we are getting super high temperatures (89.2 ALREADY this morning) , super high dew points (88 degrees), super high humidity (98%)  making the heat indexes extremely high, (feels like 125° according to weather underground‘s calculations) well over 100 degree, miserable and makes you dehydrated so quickly! I do like weather underground as it gives you so much information.  We’ve been using it to compare places in our research also.

ON THE BREAKFAST PLATE

Black Cherry Yogurt and Green Tea

AS I LOOK AROUND THE HOUSE

I’m thinking all is good around here.  Just a few stray areas to be cleaned up, but I did a super deep clean over the weekend as the 4th of July celebration is here tomorrow.

WEEKLY TO DO LIST & HOUSE PROJECTS

  • LAUNDRYjust a couple loads
  • LIVING AREASmostly tidy, but need to do floors (AGAIN)
  • KITCHENYAY, clean for once!
  • STUDIOI did a DEEP clean last week so all is good for now
  • YARDnot a darn thing
  • BLOGI’m doing some recipe updating and planning for future posts.  I’m even thinking ahead to BLOGMAS 2017 making some headers and lists.
  • COMPUTER… I need to do MAJOR back-up and move some of the photos on both computers to their respective flashdrives.

CURRENTLY READING & TELEVISION / DVR

We’re still binging on The Walking Dead and are part way through Season 5. I’m really glad my brother advised us not to get too attached to any one character! I was mad when they killed Hershel!

We also started the Travelers and Between.

I’m almost done with Book #1, NORA ROBERTS LAND of Ava Miles’ series for Dare Valley. I do love to read series where you really get to know ALL the characters.

  • NIGHT SHIFT
  • SUPERHUMAN – some of these people amaze me SOOOOO much!  I wish I was this talented.
  • AMERICA’S GOT TALENT – always a fun watch – loving the new softer side of Simon
  • DATE MY DAD
  • GREAT BRITISH BAKING SHOW – I just love this show – they are always so civilized and nice with recipes that make me WANT to be a better baker.
  • MASTER CHEF – there are some interesting characters this season
  • THE “F” WORD – I love this fun new side of Gordon Ramsey

CRAFTS / PROJECTS

I saw a mixed media project that really interested me when we at hubby’s military reunion a few weeks ago. It will be a multi-layered mixed media project that will need drying time between the layers because of its intricacies. I am gathering all the parts, and there are quite a few, to make my own as best I can from memory.  It’s also a project that I can do while I’m laid up so I’m hoping to finish it during that time. I tried to find a similar image online, but can’t even come close so hope the image in my mind works on the canvas and I have some pictures of the actual work soon.

I’ve also been searching pinterest boards for Christmas ideas to incorporate into our Homemade Christmas and my Blogmas posts. The link above is for my HOMEMADE CHRISTMAS GIFT IDEA BOARD. Here are a few of my current research ideas.

MENU PLANS FOR THE WEEK

We will be barbecuing for the 4th of course, but the rest of the week I will be trying new recipes wile I can.  Hubby is (in a weird way) looking forward to being able to eat bachelor style while I can’t cook or eat regular food.

MONDAY
TUESDAY
WEDNESDAY
THURSDAY
FRIDAY
SATURDAY
SUNDAY
BREAKFAST
FRUIT & COFFEE
SCRAMBLED EGGS
FRUIT SMOOTHIE
FRUIT & COFFEE
SCRAMBLED EGGS
BLT FRITATTA
PANCAKES & EGGS
LUNCH
FRUIT & CHEESE
SOUP
MEAT ROLL-UPS
SALAD
MEAT & CHEESE
C.O.R.N.
??
DINNER
INSIDE OUT HOT BROWNS
MARINATED SKIRT STEAK with APPLE SLAW with CARAMELIZED CIDER DRESSING
TANGY CHICKEN FRICASSEE
SAUSAGE CHEDDAR BALLS and SALAD with PARMESAN HERB DRESSING
CHICKEN with SNAP PEAS and SALAD
HOT CHICKEN CASSEROLE
C.O.R.N.
DESSERT

SUCCESSFUL RECIPE LINKS FROM LAST WEEK

HEALTH & BEAUTY TIPS

HOMEMAKING/COOKING TIP

ON MY MIND / THINGS THAT ARE MAKING ME HAPPY

  • No major house projects going on at the moment
  • Doctors have pin pointed the source of my health issues – now just the wait time to get it fixed and then the long recovery that will follow
  • FINALLY getting organized now that the house projects are completed on the HOUSE FROM HELL

FAVORITE PHOTO FROM THE CAMERA

Another beautiful sunset earlier this week after a storm.

INSPIRATION

Be sure to link up with Sandra at Diary of a Stay at Home Mom for Happy homemaker Monday and with Laura at I’m an Organizing Junkie for Menu Plan Monday.

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