Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Stay Flexible As More Holidays Approach

One thing I experienced this past holiday season more than any other time, is the importance of being flexible. Even as plans change for various reasons like, someone does not feel well, weather, someone forgets to bring the dish they promised, unexpected guests show up, a recipe does not turn out well, the desire to play an after dinner game that requires an even number of players when you have an odd number and you don't want to leave anyone out, etc. you can still have the best time ever! Do not allow yourself to become flustered. As the host, your attitude showers over the guests so stay light hearted, keep a smile in your heart and on your face and realize what will be will be. It is such a blessing to have loved ones around, food to eat, plans to make and revise. Be grateful for the little things and do not overdo to the point where you become exhausted and unable to REALLY enjoy the moment.

BTW, we worked out the game issue by having one person play on both teams for one game and allowed  the odd man out to be the scorekeeper for another game and rotated so he or she could eventually play  allowing someone else the chance to be the scorekeeper.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Today is Cyber Monday! Check out Newsnet5 for up to the minute Deals!!!

http://www.newsnet5.com/ Some of these deals will popup and disappear in a matter of moments so make sure you stay connected. There will also be some companies that will offer e-mail messages regarding deals on specific puchases so get ready to shop and SAVE!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Holiday Leftovers Make Terrific Main Meals

Whether you want to make a delicious soup, chili, quiche or turnover, leftovers make the most wonderful base. Here are a few suggestions:

Soup - To tomato paste, add diced onion and any veggies you have remaining from the holiday like the green bean casserole, potatoes, corn, broccoli, etc. If you wish, saute and season the ground meat of your choice and add to the mix.

Chili - To tomato paste, add black beans, chick peas, a chili seasoning packet along with a bit of chili sauce and/or catsup then add leftovers like slices of turkey, chicken or seafood.

Quiche - Take a prepared pie crust and in a separate bowl, add eggs, milk or half and half along with leftovers like macaroni and cheese, stuffing, veggies, turkey, etc. The delicious flavor of the sage from the dressing along with the cheese from the mac and cheese makes the base fluffy. Once mixed together, pour into the pie crust and bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes of so. You can even make several different types of quiche with leftovers. If macaroni and cheese is not available, make sure you add several types of cheeses to the milk and egg mix. Even if you are not a lover of Swiss, it is fabulous in quiche. I also like to use several Cheddars and Monteray Jack.

Turnovers - Take any leftover refrigerated bisquit dough, my particular favorite is crescent roll dough, roll the dough out. In a separate bowl, take any leftover meat or veggies from the holiday and cut into small pieces, add creme of mushroom, creme of broccoli or cheddar cheese soup to the mix, then sprinkle with cheese. Add this mix to one side of the refrigerated bisquit dough, then flip the unused side over to complete the turnover. Use a fork to press the edges closed, then take the fork to poke a few holes in the top of the turnover. Bake at 400 degrees until browned...about 15 to twenty minutes. Feel free to dorn the top with any leftover soup mix or leftover gravy depending upon which flavor you feel would work best for the inside mix.

Add left over cranberry sauce, rolls and/or salad to anyone of these dishes and you have another fantastic meal!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Emptynesters or nearly so....How Much Are You Spending On Groceries?

If you take note you may find you are spending more than necessary, especially those of us that are basically cooking for just ourselves or a limited number here and there. Here is a wonderful way of cutting back and enjoying yourself at the same time. Take note of local diners in your area, especially family owned ones that have been around awhile! You may be pleasantly surprised to find home cooking at reasonable prices, a pleasant atmosphere, friendly staff and no dishes afterwards!  I recently found a place that prides themselves in healthy cooking and has been around for 25 years.  In addition to preparing standard fare, there are meatless soups, salads, vegetarian and vegan items that are priced very reasonably. The jazzy sounds of various musical artists takes me back to the 60's and 70's. I get a moment all to myself to reflect on the day and recharge for taking care of Mom,  all for $5 - $8.  It is amazing the energy I have gained just by making this one change in my life. And in doing this, you may also help keep a family business going!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Don't Have Time To Thoroughly Clean The House...Try These Affective Tips

With the holidays fast approaching we often do not have time to get to everything we want to do before guests arrive. Here are some quick and easy ideas to help you “Fake a Clean House”!

Flip the cushions!

Make your couch look new just by flipping the cushions over to the other side. Bonus: Since it’s the biggest object in the living room or family room your newly “cleaned” sofa will draw guests attention, making the whole space seem tidy.

Stack books!

Gather books from here and there and pile them neatly at the edge of a desk, shelf or coffee table; just make sure the spines are facing outward. You then have a clutter buster that doubles as a decorator accent!

Clean-bathroom magic!

Light a scented candle and dim the lights to soften the mood and camouflage a less than perfect bathroom! Also, you can ‘hide’ things in your shower, and just close the shower door or curtain.

Clear the sink!

Not time to wash dishes? If you aren’t using the oven, pile them into a big casserole pan and store them on a rack inside the oven until the guests leave. Remember to take them out before baking!

De-clutter fast!

If you haven’t used this trick, it’s time to give it a try. Guests are arriving and you haven’t had time to de-clutter, grab a laundry basket and pass through each room they may see, toss excess items into the laundry basket and then stash it out of sight in a bedroom or bedroom closet (one that the guests will not be using).

Candles make scents!

And finally…studies show that a pleasant scent makes guests think a room is cleaner. Use floral candles, and you’ll get a bonus: The scent of flowers is a mood-booster.

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Smart Ways to Use Bundt Pans

Roast a chicken

Place the Bundt on a flat pan (to catch liquid) and slide the chicken onto the Bundt's column so it's resting upright. Fill the rest of the Bundt pan with veggies. Vertical roasting helps your chicken cook faster and more evenly for tastier, juicier results.

Pretty Ice

Use your Bundt pan to make a pretty ice ring for a punch bowl! Fill it with water or some of the punch itself and freeze overnight. Pop the ring out and float it in your punch bowl.

No more over-turned dog bowls

If it seems like you are always refilling your dog's outdoor waterbowl? Simply take a Bundt pan and put a decorative stake through the center column into the ground to hold the bowl in place. When your dog takes a drink it won't tip.

Herb planter

Reuse an old Bundt plan to plant herbs...simply drill a few holes in the bottom for drainage and fill with soil and plant seeds. Soon you could have fresh herbs to use to create those special meals you love to make for your family and friends.

Monday, November 01, 2010

More Money, More Money, More Money

With the Holidays quickly approaching everyone is looking for ways to make a little more spending money.

Here are some suggestions:

Books – Those books you have already read and don’t need anymore can earn you anywhere from $1 to $50 each. Head to Cash4Books.net, SellBackYourBook.com, MyBookBuyer.com or Powells.com and type in your book’s 10- or 13-digit ISBN number (usually on the back of the book jacket near the bar code or on the back of the title page) to get an instant price quote.

Want cash faster – Call your local used book-seller. Many offer cash for books that are in good condition.

Electronics – If you have unused iPods, cellphones, printers, computers or other electronics laying around why not trade them in for a check or store gift card, even if they are broken. Check out BuyMyTronics.com, YouRenew.com BestBuyTradeIn.com.

If you want your cash faster and you bought a laptop, iPod or cellphone at Best Buy at any time and still have your receipt you can sell it back and get cash or a gift card on the spot.

CDs, DVDs & Video Games  - These items equal cash too. To find out how much you can get for CDs and DVDs check out Spun.com and BuyBackMedia.com and for old video games check out G2KGames.net and local places like Game Stop.

Jewelry - Check out the local Gold Purators (buyers of gold). Nine times out of ten you will earn more for your broken and unwanted pieces with gold buyers than dealing with a jewelry store. Don't take a chance mailing your items. Do your research and check out local places like Cash4Gold, Gold Guys and Cash Land to name a few. Actually Cash Land will take electronics and consider the value of your stones in your jewelry so you get the most there. You have the choice of doing a loan or sale with Cash Land.