Sardine Update

I promised an update to the spaghetti with sardines, and I am happy to report that it was a bit of a success.  The dish turned out far better than I anticipated, and it will be repeated again.  For the full review and photos, be sure to check out my main blog Tummy Treasure.

Menu Planning Monday: Pantry Week

orgjunkiempm1

Well, welcome to another pantry week.  Andy went back to work this morning! So that in and of itself is very exciting!  Over the last few weeks I’ve been doing less pantry cooking and more stocking up…well, now I have a pretty decently stocked pantry, so I need to do some cooking out of it!  The only thing I haven’t been stocking up on?  Meats. So this week, there’s a lot of chicken, as my meat section in the freezer is full of random chicken parts.  I’m going to try and keep it interesting so we don’t get sick of it!

Also this week, a very, very new to me ingredient.  Sardines. We’ll see how this one goes, as I’m a little frightened of the little fishies in a bottle.

Be sure to check out all the other entrants this week at I’m An Organizing Junkie!

Sunday: Mac-n-cheese, salad, cantaloupe

Monday: Chicken-N-Dumplings, Salad

Tuesday: Tomato and White Bean Soup, Grilled Cheese

Wednesday: Orange and Ginger Chicken, Rice, Corn

Thursday: Venetian Spaghetti with Sardines, Garlic Bread, Roasted Vegetables

Friday: BBQ Chicken, Potato Salad, Hot Vegetable

Saturday: Birthday party? Or leftover night.

Menu Planning Monday 3/30

orgjunkiempm1

Wow! Just two days until April- how did that happen, and considering we just had more snow blow through, you’d never guess that the calendar says it really is spring out there.

Anyway, I have kind of a boring week on tap for us in the kitchen.  Another bug has come around, so far it’s only affected Abigail, but I’m hoping it skips the rest of us.  This week is kind of a cook-once, eat-twice week.  Monday’s meatloaf will be the cheeseburger in the cheeseburger soup. Wednesday’s tacos will provide toppings for Friday night’s pizza.  Of course, all this is very subject to change as the week progresses.  When I look at last week’s menu, there are three or four of those days that simply vanished for one reason or another.

Anyway, here’s this weeks menu, and for much more inspiration, head on over to I’m An Organizing Junkie for this weeks Menu Planning Monday round-up.

Sunday: Blueberry Pancakes, Ham, Hard Boiled Eggs

Monday: Mini Cheddar Meatloaves, Baked Potatoes, Green Beans

Tuesday: Cheeseburger Soup, Fresh Bread

Wednesday: Taco and Burrito Night, Beans

Thursday: Chicken and Rice, Salad

Friday: Taco Pizzas

Saturday: Something on the grill…

A Cookbook Conundrum

So I have this wonderful bookshelf full of cookbooks- and almost all of the cookbooks get cooked out of at one time or another. (No, really, they do.)

shelf

There are (omg) 112 cookbooks on this shelf, plus room for just a handful more. This also doesn’t count the archive boxes of magazines up above…

But here is the problem.  Just this morning, I was looking at a small treasure trove of plum tomatoes and thinking about how I’d love to roast them and do something with them.  What is the question.  So what do I do? I head to my trusty friend, The Internet, and maneuver around to a few recipe sites looking for a recipe.  Meanwhile, I know that in all these cookbooks, at least 12 of them have recipes and suggestions to do things with roasted tomatoes.  But do I have the time or the inclination to sit and peruse my cookbooks looking for all these wonderful suggestions?

There is my problem.  In my mind I have the thought that, in theory, I could sit at the computer and type in all the recipe indices to a database so that I could do a quick search that way.  But omg, imagine typing in 100+ recipe indices… especially when many of them are books like my Cooking Light annuals, with thousands of recipes apiece.

What to do, what to do…. Suggestions anyone? (Btw, culling is sooo not an option.)

Spring Cleaning For Normal People: Baseboards & Spiders

It’s been a few weeks since I posted something from “Spring Cleaning For Normal People” and that is because the event no longer exists.  The sweet lady who was organizing it just decided she had too much on her plate and had to cut some things out.  I can’t say I blame her in the least, considering she is in the home stretch of bringing a new child into this world.  But I miss the event.  My spring cleaning is not finished, and every day I think of all the things I could be doing, but I don’t.  So I thought I’d make up my own spring cleaning challenges and keep posting them here.  If you want to play along, great. If not, great, just keep reading and pretending that you are really interested in how I clean.  It makes me feel better.

Anyway, this week’s spring cleaning challenge is the tops and bottoms of the walls.  Specifically, the baseboards.  In our home, we have wood baseboards on all the walls, and there is a little ledge on the top that just gets covered with dust and grime over time, and they need to be cleaned every once in a while.  Because they are wood in our home, I use a wood-friendly and gentle cleaner, Murphy’s Oil Soap.  I also use this to clean my kitchen cabinets.  I use a few tablespoons of the oil soap in a gallon of very warm water, and then I use a cotton towel to wash down whatever wood I am cleaning. This cleans of the wood beautifully and also gives it some much needed moisture to better help preserve the wood and keep it looking nice.  Ideally, when I do the baseboards, I also do the window casings as well, but since we still have plastic up on the windows (still a touch on the chilly side) I will do windows for a separate challenge.

Since I am washing the bottoms of the walls, I thought it also appropriate that I dust the tops of the walls for spiders.   You know what space I am talking about- where the ceiling and wall meet is a breeding ground for spiders-particularly in the corners.  To clean away any cobwebs, I’ll simply use a swiffer, or if I’m out of Swiffers as I suspect, I will wrap a soft cotton towel around my broom head, tie it with a rubber band or string, and spray the cloth very lightly with Endust to attract the webs.  A quick sweep of the celings and the spider webs are gone and I can breathe easy again.

If you are interested in playing along in Spring Cleaning For Normal People, leave a comment and I’ll check out your blog and add a link to this post during the week.

MPM: The Rainy Edition

Well, it looks like the spring rains are moving in.  I’m thrilled about that, the rain will melt the last of the remaining snow, which is all blackish-brown and gross looking.  The rain will also soften the ground and green everything up- I’m looking forward to that! So while my mind is looking ahead and is looking forward to eating lighter and more springish, it’s just not going to be particularly nice out this week, so comfort food is on the menu.  I don’t know that this menu is set in stone though… I’m also in the mood for curry, so I might squeak that one in somewhere.  Maybe the meatballs will turn into kofta.

Sunday: Baked ham, mac-n-cheese, carrots

Monday: Chicken (use a cookbook today to find recipe!), mixed veg, sweet potatoes

Tuesday: Ham and Potato Chowder, Fresh Bread

Wednesday: Meatballs, mashed potatoes, green beans

Thursday: Chicken Pot Pie , fruit

Friday: Taco Night

Saturday: Mini Cheddar Meatloaves, Salad, Green vegetable

Be sure to check out the whole Menu Plan Monday at I’m An Organizing Junkie this morning.  Much of this week’s menu is inspired by the many people who contribute.

Off The Exercise Wagon

Ah well, I knew it was too good to last.  At least for now.  Two weeks ago I pulled my neck badly (no idea how), so I had to forego the workout that week.  Then last week I was not feeling well with a nice cold, so no exercise for me.  This week, I’m still recovering a bit.  I’m tired and just making the most of where I expend my energy.  My original plan had been to take it back up next week, but now it looks like that’s not going to happen.  Zander’s preschool is ending the school year early, which means that I won’t get my three mornings a week to myself anymore.  I don’t feel right about setting him up with an activity for an entire hour while I exercise and shower, so I’ll just put it on the back burner for now.  I’m sure very soon we’ll be out doing yardwork and going for frequent walks, so the activity will still be there.

The benefit of Zander being home?  I get to try on my teacher wheels for a few weeks…we’ve decided that next year we are going to homeschool our children, and I’ve really been looking forward to it.  With Zander in learning mode from preschool, I don’t feel good about letting him have five months off instead of just summer, so we’ll be working on learning together.  As the time goes on, we’ll be blogging about our homeschooling adventure, so keep an eye out for that!

Menu Planning Monday: A Spring Edition

Lol.  Spring is in the air, and for my dear husband, that means it’s time to fire up the grill.  Yesterday we delighted in the first real burgers of the season with some friends.  And for a few days anyway, he’ll be grilling a few things here and there.   I also bulked up this week on salad veggies, so a lettuce salad will accompany most meals this week.   Friday is really the day up in the air. I’d like to do some kind of fish on the grill if it’s nice out, as it’s been a while since we’ve done fish.  I’m just not sure it’s in the budget to do a fish this week, so we’ll see on that.  I was kind of surprised when I was shopping last week to not see a bunch of screaming deals in the fish and seafood department this time of year.  Tuesday will also be a nice change.  Usually thats crock-pot night since we’re out late, but Andy has no plans this week, so he’ll be manning the grill while we’re at dance, so we get to come home to a delightful dinner not from the crock.

Sunday: Burgers, Salad, Pickles, Spinach Dip, Watermelon

Monday: Flank Steak, Potatoes, Salad

Tuesday: BBQ Chicken, Salad, Watermelon

Wednesday: Pork Fried Rice, Veggies

Thursday: Spaghetti and Grilled Meatballs, Celery and Apple Salad

Friday: Grilled Fish? Potatoes, Peas and Carrots

Saturday: BBQ Beans and Kielbasa, Fruit Salad, Broccoli

This week, since I’m An Organizing Junkie is out of town, we’re heading on over to $5 Dinners to share our menu plans for the week.  Thank you Erin for hosting MPM this week!

MPM: Down To The Wire

Well, it’s another week of menu planning, and once again, I so debated not planning this week.  However, we’re in the home stretch of Andy’s lay-off time, which means extra expendable cash is nonexistent, and I have to make my budget stretch.  The two best ways to do that are to menu plan, and utilize the pantry.  So this week, we’re going to try a couple of new-to-us recipes in order to utilize some leftovers that are hanging around.  Hmm, maybe recipes isn’t really the right word, because I’m just going to be winging it a few days this week.  If they turn out, I’ll write the recipes down and share them later on.

Sunday: Oven Fried Chicken, Mashed Red-Skinned Potatoes, Celery-N-Apple Salad

Monday: Pork Tamale Pie, Carrots, Orange slices

Tuesday: Spaghetti and Meatball Soup, Fresh Bread

Wednesday: Breakfast-For-Dinner Day

Thursday: Salisbury Steak, Garlic Mashed Potatoes, Veg of some kind

Friday: Skillet Gnocchi with Chard and White Beans, Pears

Saturday: Chicken Stew with Biscuits

As always, don’t forget to check out all the other meal planning inspiration at I’m An Organizing Junkie’s Menu Plan Monday.  This week, Laura also has a link up to check out a free e-book on menu planning.  I don’t know about you, but some weeks I can use all the help I can get!

Hidden Storage

I don’t know why I never thought of this storage solution before, but now that I’ve thought of it, and I’ve realized how well it actually works, I thought I should share it.

Here is my couch- notice, in particular, the little skirt at the very bottom of it.

Normally, what happens with most living room furniture is that underneath, it becomes a breeding ground.  Toys get lost under there, pillows get lost under there, clothes and food crumbs find their way underneath, and a few months later, you reach under for something and find a whole treasure trove of stuff you didn’t realize you were missing.

This is my secret:

These are Artbin storage boxes, and they are about the greatest storage solution I have ever found.  The clear box on the right is mine, and it holds the quilt squares for a quilt I’m very slowly working on.  The purple box on the left is Abigail’s, and it holds her cross-stitch supplies.  I really need to get one for my cross-stitch supplies one of these days.  The beauty of these Artbins are that they keep the dust off our delicate projects, and keep them fresh and clean.  But even better?  They fit right under our furniture. They slide right under and hide behind that little skirt.  When we lift up the skirt to pull out one of our bins, we’re also looking under the couch frequently, so random bits of stuff don’t get lost for as long as you would think.

Our loveseat is hiding a pair of Indian-style floor cushions, and you’d never know.  I picked up the Artbins at my local Jo-Anne’s for $20 each, but the do go on sale from time to time, and paired with a coupon, you can get a pretty good deal on them.  But to me, the important idea here is that there is something useful hiding in that space under the furniture that would normally just be empty space.  Now that is a hidden storage solution!