Recipe Share Wednesday: Wild Rice Chicken Supreme

Wild Rice Chicken Supreme

  • 1 (6 oz.) box Uncle Ben’s long-grain wild rice (chicken flavor is better, but original will do)
  • 1/4 cup butter or margarine
  • 1/3 cup onion, chopped
  • 1/3 cup flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • black pepper to taste
  • 1 cup half and half
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 2 cups cooked chicken, cubed
  • 1 teaspoon dried parsley
  • 3 tablespoons slivered almonds

Cook rice as directed on package; set aside. Melt butter in medium saucepan; add onion and saute until softened. Blend in flour, salt and pepper with whisk. Gradually whisk in half and half and broth. Cook on medium to medium-low heat until thickened. Mix sauce, chicken, parsley and almonds into cooked rice. Bake in lightly-greased (or spray with cooking spray) 2-quart casserole dish for 30 minutes at 350 degrees. Serves 6-8.

 

If you want a side dish, make as directed leaving out the chicken.

Where has the summer gone?

Holy cow! It’s July 30th!! Summer has flown by so far (and a lot of our summer floated by during our unexpected “monsoon” season) . I can’t believe that August is almost here. (And with that, I’ll have a 22-year-old on the 18th. Yikes! Holy cow times 22!) The kids start back to school on August 19th – just over three weeks away. Since there’s not much summer left, I think we should take the rest of this week to rest. Next week, we’ll start our “back to school” challenges to get us ready for the big day – whether it’s kindergarten, middle or high school, college, or you’re a teacher going back to work (even if you’re just going to have to get used to the added traffic that school adds to your daily commute) – the beginning of the school year presents challenges for everyone.

What do you think provides the biggest challenge during the school year? Mornings? Afternoons? Homework? Dinner? Scheduling? Housework? The ever-dreaded laundry? These are the things we will address starting next week and continuing through the month of August. Because the key to staying on track is to not start already behind, right?

So this week take some time to relax. Watch a movie. Read a book. If you’re crazy like me, you’ll train for a 5K. I thought last night’s training session was going to kill me. It didn’t, but boy, am I sore today!

Have a great day and a relaxing week! Do something fun and spontaneous!

Blessings,

Lynne

Recipe Share Wednesday: Taco Lasagna

Taco Lasagna

Prep. 20 min.; Bake 25 min.

1 pound ground beef
1/4-1/2 cup chopped onion
2/3 cup water
1 envelope taco seasoning
1 can (15 oz) black beans, rinsed & drained
1 can whole kernel corn, drained
1 can (14 1/2 oz) diced tomatoes (plain or Mexican style), undrained
1 can (16 oz) refried beans
3 cups shredded Mexican blend cheese
6 (8-in) flour tortillas

In a large skillet, cook the beef and onion over medium heat until meat is no longer pink; drain. Add water and taco seasoning; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, for 2 minutes. Stir in black beans, corn, and tomatoes. Simmer, uncovered, for 10 minutes.

Place two tortillas in a greased 13-in by 9-in by 2-in baking dish. Spread with HALF of the refriedbeans (beans will spread more easily if they have been heated) and HALF of the beef mixture; sprinkle with one cup cheese. Top with two more tortillas; spread remaining beans and beef mixture over top and sprinkle with one cup cheese. Top with remaining two tortillas and remaining cup of cheese.

Cover and bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes or until heating through and the cheese is melted.

Motivation

motivation – the condition of being eager to act or work; a force or influence that causes someone to do something

What motivates you to make changes in your life? To maintain an exercise regimen? To simplify your calendar? To remove the clutter from  your home or work environment? To be a better parent, friend, or just a better person? Each of us has something that motivates us to make changes. For me, I am exercising to improve my health so that I feel better physically and emotionally. I simplified my calendar to relieve stress. Clutter gets removed for the same reason; it’s a source of stress for me. Feeling better and being healthier as well as living with less clutter reduces stress, thus making me a better person all around. 🙂

Getting motivated isn’t always hard; staying motivated isn’t quite so easy. I like to read motivational books and look up motivation quotes. Here are some quotes that I wanted to share with you. Sometimes just reading them gives me the motivation I need. Sometimes, I write them down and post them somewhere conspicuous so that I see them regularly.

Hope you find one here that motivates you!

Blessings,

Lynne

  1. “Problems are not stop signs; they are guidelines.” – Robert Schuller
  2. “Believe you can and you’re halfway there.” – Theodore Roosevelt
  3. “What you do today can improve all your tomorrows.” – Ralph Marston
  4. “The three great essentials to achieve anything worthwhile are, first: hard work; second:” stick-to-itivenes”s; and third, common sense.” – Thomas Edison
  5.  “The thoughts we choose to think are the tools we use to paint the canvas of our lives.” – Louise Hay
  6. “There is no one giant step that does it. It’s a lot of little steps.” – Peter Cohen
  7. “Obstacles are what we see when we take our eyes off the goal.” – Rita Davenport
  8. “Worrying does not empty tomorrow of its troubles; it empties today of its strength.”
  9. “Those who think they have not time for bodily exercise will sooner or later have to find time for illness.” – Edward Stanley
  10. “The only thing that ever sat its way to success was a hen.” – Sarah Brown

 

Monday – Weekly Challenge Day

Good afternoon!

I hope you all had a great weekend! I did and I especially enjoyed my really long nap yesterday. 🙂

So, I’ve been looking back over all the challenges we have done this year. There have been a lot of them. Some of you did them all at the beginning of the year, which was awesome! Some of you did one or two. But here we are in JULY already! School here starts in just four short weeks. So if you haven’t gotten organized yet, what better time than now? I mean, what are you waiting for? I personally am waiting for the closet cleaning fairy to come, but I’m realizing that it’s not going to happen and that I’m going to have to clean out my closet myself. It’s one of those things that I do, and then I need to redo, and then soon enough, I need to redo again. I don’t know why that happens. Perhaps I need to get rid of some clothes. I’m not a clothes horse by any means, but maybe I still have too many.

So here is my challenge to you this week: Go back and look at the weekly challenges from January and February. Pick one that you either didn’t do or could really stand to do again. One thing I know about clutter: you clear it out and new clutter will quickly take its place if you aren’t careful! Here’s a list of the challenges we did.

  • Laundry (“Conquering the Laundry Monster”)
  • Kitchen
  • Kids’ Rooms
  • Living Room
  • Master Bedroom
  • Bathroom
  • Mail (“Ending Mail Madness”)
  • Menu Planning 101
  • Pantry (“The Pantry Project”)

You can find them under “Weekly Challenges” on the blog page, and under “Notes” on the Facebook page. If you have trouble finding what you’re looking for, let me know and I”ll send you the direct link. Especially if you have kids starting school in a few weeks, you might want to take those weeks and work on laundry, the kids’ rooms, and menu planning. Those seem like ones that would benefit you before school starts. 🙂

Back at the beginning of the year, y’all were really good about sharing pictures of your “before” and “afters.” We did get some pictures last week (Thanks, Darya!), but I’d love to see more!

So get to work on getting organizing before the chaos of school hits you unaware and unprepared!

*And if you’re reading this on Facebook, let us know what project you’re going to tackle by commenting on the post.*

Blessings,

Lynne

Happy Saturday!

Good Saturday morning, everyone!

I hope you have something fun and relaxing (or just relaxing) today. I really hope you don’t have any major chores to undertake today, but if you do, don’t let them consume your whole day. Set an amount of time you’ll work, and stop when that time is up. The work will still be there; the Saturday won’t. Enjoy your family instead.

Blessings,
Lynne

Have You Ever Thought About What It Would Be Like?

Have you ever thought about what it would be like to have no electricity? To wash your clothes by hand? Sometimes when I start whining about all I have to do around the house, I start thinking about how hard it must have been for mothers “back in the day.” I get that a lot of them didn’t work full time outside the home like a lot of us do today, but they all had gardens, cooked everything from scratch and – for goodness sake! – sewed their own clothes. (Me and a sewing machine don’t get along very well!)

It made me think of my grandmother who did all of the above and never once in all her life did I hear her complain. Life was hard for her, I have no doubt,  but I have never seen a more content person in my life. This is why I think people were more content than we are now.

One reason people were more content was because there were not so many things to distract them from what was important. There was no social media, no TV and they didn’t have children in five different activities. They only had to focus on what was important.

Another reason people were more content was because they only had the necessities. You know where I am going with this, don’t you? The more stuff you have around, you the more discontent you will feel. Spend time in a part of your house this week that has no clutter and you will find yourself being drawn back to that place because it brings contentment. Try it. If you find this to be true, I encourage you to start de-cluttering the rest of your house so you can have complete peace.

I also think that they were more physically active – which we all know makes us feel better. 🙂 A lot of people at that time walked places. They farmed or worked in their garden. Really, every activity at that time was physical. Funny how things have changed. Stop right now and think about how many daily activities require you to move longer than five minutes…that will not take long. 🙂 We live in a convenience world. The easier the better. But here is the thing. We are the most discontented we have ever been.

Just wondering why it is so hard for us to slow down and enjoy life and be thankful. Have you ever wondered how it was back then? What are your thoughts? Please share them!

~ Teresa

Thursday – Check-up Day

Hey, everyone!

So how’s your week going? Did you take some time for yourself yesterday? I took a lovely, long nap. It was bliss! 🙂 I think I’ll sleep well tonight on my fresh-from-the-clothesline sheets. I love that smell! So far today, it has been sunny. However, since my husband washed his car, I feel certain that it will rain at some point. I have done my dusting and sweeping. I need to run the mop through the downstairs, but I think I’ll save that until after dinner since I’ll inevitably spill something on the kitchen floor while fixing dinner if I mop now.

I went to the grocery store today and spent $200! Two. Hundred. Dollars. $203.31 to be exact. It’s always such a shock to the system. How the things in the cart came out to be that much money always amazes me. Of course, all of that was not all actually food. Still, I don’t like it. So I’m going to work on a menu plan for the rest of July and try to cook from my stash/stockpile as much as possible. I keep thinking I’ll do it but haven’t gotten around to it. I think now is the time, don’t you?

Are you working from a menu plan this week? If you are, how is it going for you – especially if you’ve not done it before? There is a longer post with an explanation of how to do that. You can find it on the blog. If you’re a Facebook follower, it will be harder to find so I’ll put the link in the “comments” section. Lots of fresh fruits and veggies right now. Take advantage of them and enjoy them in season when they’re so much tastier! We have been eating a lot of vegetables and less meat. I’ve been thinking that menu planning might need to be done over the weekend (Friday or Saturday) rather than on Monday. Then you can get your grocery shopping out of the way over the weekend. So if you haven’t already, make a menu plan before you grocery shop this week. Maybe you won’t spend as much as I did.

Keep plugging along as summer continues. Don’t let yourself get too far behind in your household chores that you start the school year being stressed and frustrated. Putting good habits into practice now can save you a lot of aggravation later. Start thinking about what you want your mornings, afternoons, and evenings to look like after school begins and start working toward that goal now. Get your kids into the habits you want them to have such as choosing clothes the night before, etc. so that they’ll already be used to it and it won’t be too much of a change. Another thing to start thinking about as August lurks around the corner is to stop sleeping in too often. If you do, the shock of the alarm clock on that first day of school will not be pleasant. Besides, if you get up early, you get to nap during the hot part of the day, right?

I hope you have a great evening! I’m going to have my afternoon coffee. Better late than never! 🙂

Blessings,

Lynne

Recipe Share Wednesday: Chicken & Dumplings

One of my mom’s recipes 🙂

 

1 (3-4 pound) hen or chicken – I use chicken breasts only because I don’t care for dark meat; use the bone-in, skin-on kind so the broth is “rich” enough

1 1/2 cups self-rising flour

3 tablespoons shortening or oil

1/2 cup cold water

1/2 cup milk

salt and pepper to taste

 

Boil chicken; let cool then remove meat from bones and tear or cut into bite size pieces. Strain broth and return broth to pan. Combine flour, shortening and water in bowl; mix well to form dough. Knead lightly on floured board or (clean!) counter top. Roll out to approximately 1/8 inch thickness and let sit for five minutes. Cut into strips (a pizza cutter is an excellent tool for this) and drop into broth in small batches. DO NOT STIR! Just gently shake the pan. Add milk; cover and simmer on low heat for 15 minutes. Add chicken – again gently shake, don’t stir!. Simmer another five minutes.

Tuesday Tips: Getting Ready for Mornings

Happy Tuesday!

Well, my laundry is done and – GASP! – hanging on the line because we have SUNSHINE today!!! Woo-hoo! My bathrooms are cleaned. So I’m sitting down to my afternoon cup of coffee (that my sweet hubby just fixed and brought to me) to write today’s blog post. I asked Teresa for a Tuesday Tips topic and she suggested “preparing for the morning.” As in preparing for it the night before. Saves time. Saves frustration. Saves energy.

Since I don’t work, I don’t always usually plan a whole lot for the following morning. Except on Sundays when my wardrobe is determined by whether I’m volunteering in guest services (capris or jeans and a blue t-shirt) or in Kidz Creek (capris or jeans and a yellow t-shirt). And I’m usually pretty good about laying those out on Saturday night. I didn’t do that this past Saturday, however. I know not why. My husband was working nights over the weekend and came in and went to sleep about 30 minutes before I got up. Now, we have room-darkening blinds AND curtains in our room, meaning it’s really dark in there on a sunny day, but especially on a cloudy day like Sunday. So there I was scrounging around in my closet trying to find the right clothes without resorting to using a light source. I think I pulled down every pair of jeans before I found the ones I wanted. And possibly all of my t-shirts. I finally got it together, but I was a few minutes late to church.

I don’t know why I don’t plan that kind of stuff every day. I often find myself staring into my closet and: 1. Wishing my daughter would organize by color, etc. as she says it ought to be; and 2. Wondering if I could just stay in my pajamas because, hey, they’re comfortable and I have nowhere to go. Alas, after answering the door for the UPS man around lunch time one day, I decided I might be better off dressing when I get up. I was a tad embarrassed. 🙂

So, here are some things that will help you – and anyone in your household, especially the kiddos – to have smooth mornings so that you can savor that cup of coffee instead of “running around like a chicken with your head cut off,” as my mom might say.

1. Plan what you’ll wear.

Even if you’re just staying home, you can plan an outfit. I’m not talking accessories and all (thought you certainly can do that), but plan to change out of your jammies. As the beginning of the school year approaches – rather quickly, it seems – this will become even more important. Dropping your kids off in car line while wearing said jammies can be done. I would never be quite brave enough for that. I just know that the day I did, I would either be in a fender bender, get stopped for speeding, etc. Or worse, my kid would leave his lunch bag or backpack in the car and I’d have to walk it into the school. Something would definitely happen and someone would see me in my pajamas. (Side note: I really don’t understand people going to the store in their pajamas and bedroom slippers with curlers in their hair. I see them. I just don’t believe it.) Have your kids and even your spouse get their clothes ready as well. Then everyone starts the day knowing one thing is already taken care of. It’s a good habit to get into early on.

2. Plan your breakfast.

Whether it’s cold cereal, fruit, or a breakfast worthy of Cracker Barrel, plan what you’ll have. If ingredients can be set out ahead of time, sit them on the counter at night. For example, when I’m planning to have grits or oatmeal, I sit the canister on the stove top as my reminder for the morning. When I’m planning my weekly menu, I try to make a general plan for breakfasts as well. I don’t always get it done – especially in the summer when no one is on a regular schedule – but it’s a goal. I also prep my coffee pot the night before and sit my mug beside it. Then all I have to do is pour the water through and wait those three, long, agonizing minutes until the coffee is brewed. 🙂

3. Plan for and prep your lunch(es).

If you’re going to work or going to be out, plan for lunch and snacks. If your kids take lunch to school, prepare as much as possible the night before and have the lunchboxes or bags on the counter and ready to be completed. If you’re taking leftovers to work, make your plate as soon as you’re done with dinner. I often make my husband’s lunch plate before we eat dinner to ensure that he actually has something to take and it doesn’t all get eaten. Sandwiches can be made the night before and stored in the fridge. Anything you can do after dinner that you don’t have to do in the morning saves time. Bedtime can be a few minutes late; school or work, not so much.

4. Put things by the door.

Book bags, sports equipment, briefcases, purses, KEYS.  Have you ever been late because your child couldn’t find her book bag? Or you couldn’t find your keys? Pick a spot – preferably near the door you’ll be exiting in the morning – and put all the stuff you’ll need there. Then it’s just a matter of grabbing the lunch bags and picking up your other stuff as you head out the door. This is another really simple task that saves tons of time in the mornings. Really!

And since you have the time,

5. Prep for dinner.

If you’re doing your menu plans, you’ll know what’s on tap  for the evening meal. If you need meat to defrost, sit it in the fridge before you head out the door. If something is going in the crock pot, sit the crock pot on the counter the night before (again as a reminder) and put meat in the fridge to defrost and gather the other ingredients you’ll need so that all you have to do in the morning is throw it together, usually taking fewer than ten minutes. Walking in the house after a busy day to the smell of dinner cooking is a wonderful feeling. Wonderful, I tell you. You can even set the table in the morning if you like.

What are some of your time-saving tips for making mornings run more smoothly? Please share them with us! Pretty please?

Have a blessed day!

Lynne