Monday, July 30, 2012

Monday Mayhem: Enough is Enough

There comes a time in everyone's life when they must say "Enough is enough and I've had ENOUGH!"
Three years ago, I blogged that that I was going to get my house cleaned and organized.  Guess what.  It didn't happen.
In fact, it just got worse, if that's at all possible.
Finally, I had to say that enough was enough, and I couldn't live like that any longer. It wasn't healthy, mentally or physically for me or anyone else in my family.  I couldn't have people over to my house, I couldn't let my kids have friends over to play, I couldn't let extended family come over.  I knew it was bad.  I knew it needed work.  Somehow, though, I couldn't seem to get the energy or interest to do it.  I don't know why.  Over the last seven years me and my hubby have gone through a difficult pregnancy, the birth of our twins, post partum depression that turned into agoraphobia, my feet giving out on me, the death of my darling dad, hubby losing his job (but thankfully finding a new one very soon), major appliances dying, children starting school, children sick with strep for almost an entire winter....
Well, needless to say, I've been exhausted.
However, this past spring, I seriously took the bull by the proverbial horns, and decided that I was tired of the mess.  I was tired of not being able to find anything.  I was tired of the house ALWAYS looking like a bomb went off.   And I was tired of being alone. 
I was raised in a home that was always neat, tidy, organized, and clean.  And I wasn't giving my kids that gift.  Now, I'm finally getting done what has needed to be done for years.  I made a plan, and I'm sticking to that plan, no matter what.
Every month or so, I'm tackling one room or area of my house.  I'm de-cluttering, de-stashing, organizing, re-organizing, planning, and working.  Working harder than I have ever worked before.

The first "room" I finished was one of the hardest:  The screened in porch.  It took me over a month to sort through, throw away, clean up, and get it to a place where it could be useful once again.

mess, disorganization, hell

mess, hell

This is what my screened in porch looked like about 3 years ago.  Kind of humiliating that is has gotten nothing but worse in those 3 years.  There was so much crap piled up on that table, that we could barely see the sliding glass doors.   It was insanity. 
After over a month of work, many bags of trash, and a strong desire to get rid of all the excess in my life, this is the new, improved porch:

 There is now space to breathe, space to work, space to relax, and space to actually eat dinner.  Life is getting better.  Sand is becoming more blue again.  And this month, I'm tackling the living room.  Next Monday, I will show what I have accomplished there. 

Friday, February 17, 2012

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Tuesday, February 14, 2012

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Tasty Tuesday: Spiced Pot Roast

Spiced Pot Roast

4-5 pound chuck roast
1/4 cup shortening
1 tablespoon dry mustard
1 tablespoon salt
1 1/2 tablespoons brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 cup minced onion
1/4 cup cider vinegar
1/4 cup water
6 potatoes pared

Brown meat in shortening.  Put meat and drippings into slow cooker.
Mix mustard, salt, brown sugar, pepper and dump over meat.  Mix minced onion, vinegar and water and add to the meat.  Cover, and cook 4 hours on HIGH.  During the last 45 minutes, add potatoes. 
When done, remove meat and veggies from slow cooker. 

Gravy recipe
Measure liquid and pour into a sauce pan and put on stove. Get a clean, empty jar with a tight fitting lid.  Into the jar, put 2 tablespoons of white flour for each cup of liquid in the sauce pan.  THEN add to the jar 1/2 cup of cold water for each cup of liquid in the sauce pan.  Close the lid tightly on the jar, and shake the heck out of it.  This will mix the water and flour.  Turn the heat on medium on the stove under the meat juices.  Once the juices start to simmer, SLOWLY pour the water flour mixture into it, stirring continually, using a whisk.  This will prevent lumps from forming.  Cook over low-medium heat until the gravy is thickened.  You now have gravy with NO LUMPS.

This recipe goes great with the Noodle Pudding recipe from last week.
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Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Tasty Tuesday: Noodle Pudding

This recipe is a little bit of calorie-laden heaven that I got from my husband's grandmother.  Nana is a wonderful lady and a FABULOUS cook.  We are so blessed to have her in our lives!  A note from Nana : "This is a pasta dish to be served with meat, fish or chicken.  Definitely NOT a desert."  But I beg to differ.  I have been known to top it with whipped cream and have it for desert.  Sorry Nana.

Nana's To-Die-For Noodle Pudding

Preheat oven to 350 F.
Butter a 9x13 casserole dish (yes, real butter)

In a blender mix:
1 1/2 sticks of melted salted butter (yes, it has to be butter, not a substitute)
1/2 pint sour cream
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 pint creamed cottage cheese
3 ounce package of cream cheese
2 teaspoons vanilla
4 eggs

Cook 12 ounces of broad egg noodles according to package directions.
Mix noodles and the yummy goodness from the blender in the 9x13 casserole.
Bake for 45-50 minutes.

This dish makes a fabulous side dish, but it's also pretty rockin' for desert, or for breakfast heated over the next morning. 

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Tasty Tuesday: Family Slow Cooker Chili

Family Slow Cooker Chili

1 pound ground beef
1 large can tomato juice (or tomato vegetable juice, spicy or regular or low sodium)
2 cans kidney beans
1 onion chopped
garlic powder to taste
2 teaspoons chili powder
salt and pepper to taste

Brown ground beef, drain off the fat.  Put into slow cooker, along with tomato juice, kidney beans, onion, garlic powder, chili powder, salt and pepper.  Cook on LOW for 10 hours.  If you are going to be home all day, you can also throw everything into a large cook pot on the stove and cook it on LOW for around 10 hours too. 
Serve with sour cream, shredded cheddar cheese, and tortilla chips.

Macaroni Chili:  Cook 2 cups of elbow macaroni according to package directions.  Spoon macaroni into a separate bowls, and spoon chili over it.  Do not add macaroni directly to chili to cook, or else it will turn mushy.

The lovely thing about this chili is that any kind of cooked meat can be added to it while it is in the slow cooker.  This is just a basic recipe.  We also cook chorizo or linguica and throw that in, too.  Or cut up pieces of leftover steak (beef or buffalo).  It freezes wonderfully, so I generally try to double or triple the recipe whenever I can.  I then put it into the fridge to cool off, and after it has cooled, put it into separate serving dishes and freeze.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Tasty Tuesday: Slow Cooker Split Pea Soup

I'm in love with my slow cooker.  So much so, I have two of them, and am considering getting a third one. Here's one of my family's favorite recipes.  The soup freezes really well, and is so wonderful, warm and filling on a cold winter day.

Slow Cooker Split Pea Soup

1 pound split, dried peas, rinsed and sorted
1 ham hock (you know, the bone in the ham, with all the little bits of meat hanging onto it)
8 cups water
2 carrots diced
1 small onion cut up
1 stalk celery cut up
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper

Combine everything in the slow cooker, and cook  on HIGH for 2 hours.  Take out ham hock, cut the meat off the bone, and add the meat back to the soup.  Let cook for another 1/2 hour.

Serve with crust bread and lots of butter.  Yummy.  Winter comfort food!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Tasty Tuesday: Rich Turkey Vegetable and Noodle Soup

Rich Turkey Vegetable and Noodle Soup

2 quarts turkey broth
1 cup cut up potatoes
1 cup cut up carrots
1 cup cut up celery
1/4 cup chopped onion
1 package frozen baby lima beans
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup *UNCOOKED* egg noodles
2 cups cut up cooked turkey meat

In a large pot, put broth, vegetables, salt and noodles.  Simmer for 15 minutes.  Add turkey, heat through and serve with crusty bread. 

This recipe also came from my darling Uncle Linford.  How lucky we were to have him in our family, and have so many fond memories from my childhood of spending time with him and his family!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Tasty Tuesday: Turkey or Chicken Broth

Rich Turkey or Chicken Broth

Place into slow cooker:
Chicken or Turkey carcass (bones, neck, giblets, all that stuff leftover from dinner and what is pulled out of the bird before cooking)
Just enough water to cover bird parts
1 Chicken bullion cube
1 teaspoon salt
12 whole peppercorns
4 whole cloves
1 stalk celery, cut up
1 carrot, cut up
1 small onion, cut up

Cover, cook on HIGH for 4 hours. 
When finished, strain, let cool, and if you want you can skim a lot of the fat off the top. 
I like to separate the broth into 1 or 1 1/2 cup segments, and freeze.  This way whenever a recipe calls for 1 cup of broth, it's ready to go, no measuring needed!

This recipe came to our family from my darling dad's brother, Linford.  What a great uncle!  Next week, his fabulous Rich Turkey Vegetable and Noodle Soup!

Friday, January 6, 2012

Elfling Creations Giveaway on Shealynn's Faerie Shoppe: 11th Day of Christmas

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Cute Belle Pixie with Racing Snail sculpture by ColtPixy on Etsy
Cute Belle Pixie with Racing Snail sculpture by ColtPixy on Etsy

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