It’s Taco Tuesday!

Taco Tuesday is my favorite dinner night of the week! (Not that I won’t eat tacos on other days; I’m not crazy!) Here’s what’s on the menu for tonight: oven-baked tacos, Mexican rice, and refried beans. I’m hungry already! Here are the recipes:

Oven-Baked Tacos (couldn’t get much easier…I use those shells with the flat bottoms)

Source: www.keyingredient.com

Ingredients

  • Ground beef (I use one pound)
  • Refried Beans
  • Taco Seasoning (see recipe for homemade seasoning below)
  • 12 Can Tomato Sauce
  • Cheese

Directions

Brown your ground beef and drain completely, then add refried beans, taco seasoning and about half a can of tomato sauce. Mix together and scoop into taco shells, (stand them up in a casserole dish). Sprinkle the cheese on top and bake at 375 for 10 minutes.

Mexican Rice

Source: allrecipes.com

Prep 5 min Cook25 min Total30 min

Serving: 4

Ingredients

  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 cup uncooked long-grain rice
  • 1 teaspoon garlic salt
  • 12 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 14 cup chopped onion
  • 12 cup tomato sauce
  • 2 cups chicken broth

Directions

Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat and add rice. Cook, stirring constantly, until puffed and golden. While rice is cooking, sprinkle with salt and cumin.

Stir in onions and cook until tender. Stir in tomato sauce and chicken broth; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 20 to 25 minutes. Fluff with a fork.

Refried Beans

Source: www.favfamilyrecipes.com

Ingredients

  • 1 can refried beans 
  • 13 c. sour cream
  • 1 Tbsp. Valentina hot sauce (I omit)
  • 34 c. grated monterey jack cheese (or a cheddar/jack blend)

Directions

In a small sauce pan combine the refried beans, sour cream, and hot sauce over medium-low heat. Stir constantly and when the beans are heated through (don’t bring it to boiling) remove from heat and pour into a glass pie pan or 9×9 dish.

Top with grated cheese and heat in the oven or microwave until cheese is melted.

Taco Seasoning (I use 1 1/2 tablespoons per pound of meat)

Source: allrecipes.com

Prep 1 min Total 1 min

Yield: 1 ounce

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 14 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 14 teaspoon onion powder
  • 14 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 14 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 12 teaspoon paprika
  • 12 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper

Directions

In a small bowl, mix together chili powder, garlic powder, onion powder, red pepper flakes, oregano, paprika, cumin, salt and pepper. Store in an airtight container.

Advertisements

(Mostly) Meatless Monday: Recipes/Batch Cooking

(Mostly) Meatless Monday/Batch Cooking/Recipes Included 🙂

Today I’m making two big batches of soup. We’ll have some for supper, then the rest will be frozen in individual servings for later. I love soup any time of year. Tonight I’m making White Bean, Kale, & Carrot and Veggie Corn Chowder. I’ll also make a pan of cornbread because…well…cornbread!

Here’s the recipe for the White Bean, Kale, & Carrot soup.

Ingredients

1 tablespoon olive oil
2 teaspoons garlic minced
1 small onion diced
4 cups kale chopped
2 large carrots peeled and sliced
4 cups broth chicken or vegetable (I use veggie broth)
2 15 oz. cans white beans undrained
2 teaspooons Italian seasoning
Salt and pepper to taste

Directions

In a stock/soup pot, heat olive oil over medium heat.
Add garlic and onion; saute until soft.
Stir in broth, carrots, beans, seasonings, garlic and onion.
Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and cook until carrots are almost tender, stirring occasionally.
Add kale; cover and simmer for about 15 minutes or until kale is done, stirring occasionally.

Here’s the recipe for Veggie Corn Chowder (from 100 Days of Read Food)

100 Days Veggie Corn Chowder
Source: www.100daysofrealfood.com
Prep 15 min
Cook 15 min
Total 30 min
Serving: 6

Ingredients

3 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons Whole-wheat flour
1 medium onion, diced
3 large carrots, peeled and diced
3 large celery stalks, diced
3 cups corn kernels fresh or frozen (no need to defrost)
1 teaspoon salt
cayenne pepper to taste
2 cups chicken stock
2 cups milk

Directions

1. In a large soup pot over medium heat, melt the butter. Whisk in the flour and keep whisking until the mixture darkens but does not burn, 4-5 minutes.
2. Add the onion, carrots, and celery and stir occasionally until the veggies begin to soften, 5-6 minutes.
3. Add the corn, salt, and pepper to the pot and cook, stirring, for another 2 or 3 minutes. (If using frozen corn, add a minute to the cooking time.)
4. Pour in the chicken stock and milk and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer for 10 minutes, until thickened.
5. Partially puree the soup by transferring only half to a countertop blender, then returning the puree to the pot, or by sticking a hand immersion blender in the pot and briefly pureeing for less than a minute. Ladle into soup bowls and serve warm or freeze in individual portions for another day.

And finally, here’s the cornbread recipe. I could just eat the whole pan right out of the oven. I heat one greased iron skillet in the oven while it’s preheating and use another iron skillet to prepare the cornbread in. Cornbread batter poured into an already hot iron skillet has the perfectly crunchy crust.

Grandmother’s Buttermilk Cornbread
Source: allrecipes.com
Prep 15 min
Cook 40 min
Total 55 min
Serving: 9

Ingredients

1⁄2 cup butter
2⁄3 cup white sugar
2 eggs
1 cup buttermilk
1⁄2 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup cornmeal
1 cup all-purpose flour
1⁄2 teaspoon salt

Directions

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease an 8 inch square pan.
Melt butter in large skillet. Remove from heat and stir in sugar. Quickly add eggs and beat until well blended. Combine buttermilk with baking soda and stir into mixture in pan. Stir in cornmeal, flour, and salt until well blended and few lumps remain. Pour batter into the prepared pan.
Bake in the preheated oven for 30 to 40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Hello! What’s up? Plus…Slow Cooker Pork Tenderloin/Chops

Howdy!

Long time, no post…I know. I wax experiencing technical difficulties. I think I have it figured out now.

Today, I have two Crock Pots going using the recipe below. I have a tenderloin in one and chops in the other. One is for us and one is to share.

Here’s the recipe:

FYI:  I LOVE my Crock-Pot Slow Cookers! 

  • 3-4 pounds pork tenderloin
  • 1⁄2 medium onion thinly sliced
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 2-3 cloves garlic
  • 1⁄4 cup soy sauce
  • 3⁄4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1⁄4 cup white wine
  • 1⁄4 cup honey
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1⁄4 cup water

Pour water into bottom of slow cooker. Place tenderloin in cooker; lay sliced onions on top. Mix together remaining ingredients in bowl and pour over meat. Cook on low for 7-8 hours.
To be served tonight with mashed potatoes, sautéed zucchini and yellow squash, and yeast rolls. 
The house is smelling good!

I also got my sheets washed and out on the clothesline this morning. I love the smell of freshly air-dried sheets! ❤️ Unfortunately, they didn’t get completely dry before the thunder started, but hopefully they were out there long enough to get the good smell!


And right now, I’m doing some front porch sittin’ while it’s not quite as hot as it has been this week. 


(Pardon those knees!)

But my time is about up because I’ve got to get the rest of supper cooked so it can be delivered.

Y’all have a great evening! 

Lynne 

Annual Kitchen Organization Challenge, Part 1

Hi, all!

I’m back and ready to get started on kitchen organization and decluttering. Especially the decluttering part. I have reached a point in life where I just want less stuff to take care of. It’s time for a reality check as to what I use and don’t use in my kitchen. I love my kitchen gadgets and when I buy stuff, it’s usually for the kitchen.

As I was looking back over previous blog posts – and getting notifications from Facebook about my memories – I realized that the beginning of the year always seems to start with reorganizing and decluttering the kitchen. So I guess I start out strong and then gather things in over the course of the year and need to declutter and organize again. I’m going to (try!) to implement this rule for myself: If you bring something new in, something old has to go out. (That scared me just typing out those words. For real!)

So…let’s get started on kitchen organization. Today is easy – no physical labor required. 🙂 What I want you to do today (or tonight) is to simply walk into your kitchen and look around. That took me approximately 4.8379 seconds as I have a small kitchen. But this was a very important step. I felt my kitchen wasn’t functioning as well as it could be…that things where’re where I needed them to be. So I stood there sipping a cup of coffee, notebook on the counter, and looked around. I thought about dinner prep and what would make that more efficient. I thought about what was near the stove and what was in the pantry.

I asked myself the following questions:

  • Do I have a designated prep space?
  • Are my pots and pans and cooking utensils near the stove?
  • Are like items in the same location (baking products, coffee stuff, etc.)?
  • Is the organization in my kitchen meeting my needs?
  • Is there ANYTHING that could be moved from the counter top to another location. (Cluttered counters are getting on my nerves!)

So, I just want to take a few minutes to look around your kitchen and determine whether or not it’s working for you. If it is, then you can just sit back and relax this week. 🙂 If not, start thinking about what you can do to make it more functional. Functionality is key in kitchen organization. Key, I tell you. The fewer steps you have to take when prepping dinner (or any other meal) saves you time, right? And saving time is good. Very good.

I spent time over the last week reorganizing my kitchen cabinets and pantry. I got some new stuff for Christmas that I needed to make room for. So I got rid of some stuff instead of overcrowding the cabinets. I’m still not satisfied, so I’ll be doing this challenge along with you this week. So take a good hard look at your kitchen and see where you might want to start making changes. 🙂 Write it down. Make a list. You have to have a plan!

I’m taking my pen, notebook, and coffee and heading to the kitchen now.

Have a blessed Monday!

Lynne

Good morning!

Good morning!

Sitting here enjoying a few quiet minutes before getting started on the day.

Praying each of you has a day in which you find joy in the small things and an unexpected blessing or two along the way. Share a smile with someone. It might make their day.

Working on our first Weekly Challenge of 2016. It involves your pantry/food storage “system.” So take a look at the way you store your food and essentials. Really look at it. Start pondering on how well (or not!) your system is working for you. Next week we’re going to make it fabulous.

It won’t cost a lot of money, but it will – hopefully – save you time and energy when you’re in the kitchen.

I’m working on mine this week. I’m taking embarrassing “before” pics. I don’t know how the pantry gets destroyed so quickly. (Well, I do, but I don’t want to name names.)

So enjoy your week. When you find yourself with 15 minutes or so to spare, clear out your “junk drawer.” And if something in there us really junk, throw it out. Yes, out. I’m going to handle that this morning.

Y’all have a blessed day!

Lynne

Menu Planning in the Works

Good afternoon, all!

I’m starting with some menu planning for the coming week and the month of January. Going to use these themes for January. We’ll see how it goes and change it up in February if we have to. (Don’t tell Hubby, but he is going to join me in eating healthier.)

*Meatless Mondays

*Tex-Mex Tuesdays

*”What’s Up?” or “What’s New?” Wednesdays (undecided on name, but it will be new recipes or it might be family member’s choice)

*Throwback Thursdays (leftover buffet night)

*Family Friday (pizza or pasta)

*Soup and/or Sandwich Saturdays

*Slow Cooker Sundays

I have been scouring the internet for new recipes and downloading them to Plan to Eat which is what I use (and love!) for meal planning and am ready to get started. (This is not a usual Sunday and we have leftovers from the THIRD Christmas dinner, so we will actually be having leftovers tonight. Which is fine by me!)

We sometimes have other leftover nights if the fridge is full, but we definitely do Thursdays. Sometimes we have soup twice in one week. (I love soup!) Sometimes I’m really just not in the mood to cook and I order pizza. True confession right there.

What do you think? Do any of you do themed nights? I think it just makes it simpler when you’re meal planning. I know that the last couple of weeks with all the stuff that we’ve had going on that I’ve not been meal planning and man, oh man, can I feel it! And I don’t like it.

Meal planning is one of the easiest ways to simplify your weekdays, in my humble opinion. (That and learning to say the word “no.”)

Let’s give it a try together. I’ll post my week’s menu here as soon as I’m done.

Y’all have a blessed day!

LynneMenu

Introducing: The Schedule

schedule

noun
1. a plan of procedure, usually written, for a proposed objective,especially with reference to the sequence of and time allotted for each item or operation necessary to its completion;
2. a series of things to be done or of events to occur at or during particular time or period;
3. a timetable.
Synonyms: agenda, itinerary, lineup, list, docket, order of business
Antonym: DISORGANIZATION (Preach!!!)
I know some people don’t like the idea of having a schedule.
  • It’s too constricting.
  • It leaves me no freedom.
  • I like to be spontaneous.
  • I’d rather just fly by the seat of my pants.
WHY? A schedule is the opposite of constricting – at least for me. A schedule gives me a sense of peace. Please note that the schedule is written on a piece of paper. It has not been carved in stone. Please also note that the schedule is not full. There are empty spots. Free spots. Room for spontaneity. Room for fun. Room for rest. Room for a nap!! 🙂
And though the schedule does have times on it, most of them are pretty flexible. Unless it is a set appointment (like with the trainer at the gym at 8:30 on Wednesday mornings), most things can be moved around. I think of the schedule as more of a guideline…a general idea of how the days should flow if I want to get things done and not feel overwhelmed. It can also serve as a wake up call. If there are no empty spaces at all, busyness has taken hold of you and you have lost your margin…your free space is gone.
Now, I have two adult children and work part-time outside the home. When I worked full-time, the schedule looked a lot different. When I homeschooled those two now-adult children, it looked different. Everyone’s schedule will look different from yours. And that’s okay. It’s more than okay.
And some days, nothing on the schedule happens like it should. Nothing. That’s also okay. Probably very stressful, but okay. But if you generally keep a schedule and stick to it most days, one day will not throw you into a downward spiral toward total disarray and disorganization. You just get up the next morning and start over.
See that antonym for schedule at the top there? Disorganization. Know what the synonyms for disorganization are? Chaos. Confusion. Disarray. Disorder. Disruption. And my personal favorite: unholy mess. Who wants THAT? Not me!
I have my schedule. I have a chore chart. I use the Daily Docket which is a “to do” list. I try not to do chores on Saturday because my main work day is Sunday and I like to rest up. I usually don’t do laundry on Saturdays. Unless it was raining on Friday and is sunny on Saturday and I can hang my sheets outside.:) Some weeks things don’t go as planned and I spend the whole day Saturday doing laundry and other chores. Then I’m tired. And grumpy. And I drink excessive amounts of coffee. (Excessive even for me!)
If you work full-time, Saturday may be your laundry day. But if you can find a way to do it during the week, do. When I worked full-time and had two under the age of three and a half, I threw a load in before I went to bed at night, then put the load in the dryer when I got up and let them dry while we got ready for the day. Then I folded them after dinner. You have to do what works for you.
Every couple of months, I’ll spend part of a Saturday deep cleaning a particular room. Vacuuming blinds. Wiping down window sills and baseboards. Washing curtains. The things you don’t get to every week and really don’t need to. Occasionally, when Hubby works day shift on the weekend, I’ll have one day of a great cleaning frenzy. He usually comes home to rearranged furniture on those days. 🙂
The point is that everyone needs some sort of “outline” of their days. Some people account for every single minute. Some people just need a list that has five things that just need to get done that day, not in any particular order or timeframe. What works for you is what’s right for you.
When I started working on this new schedule a few weeks ago, I didn’t realize how much I’d missed having one. I had gotten out of the habit and I felt out of control. I was tired. I was grumpy. I was drinking excessive amounts of coffee. Then I sat down and started looking at this…at what matters to me and what I need to get done. I can’t tell you how many schedules I wrote and tossed. Lots. I really, really had to think hard about it. And these pictures show what I ended up with.
The schedule. http://highland.hitcho.com.au/schedule.pdf
IMG_3490-0
The chore chart. http://highland.hitcho.com.au/householdchores.pdf
 Chore Chart pic
The Daily Docket. http://theartofsimple.net/downloads02/
 Daily Docket pic
So here’s my challenge to you. I’ve given you the links to the schedule, the chore chart, and the Daily Docket that I use. You can Google or go on Pinterest and find many (many, many, many) more options. Find one you like. Take some time to think about it. Write down a list of your priorities, absolute must dos (like go to work!), and things you’d like to do. Make several copies of it or write in pencil.  Then make yourself a schedule. You can make your kids a schedule.
When you’ve gotten one on paper, share it with us in the comments. Or you can join us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Simplify2013?fref=ts. You should join us there anyway. 🙂
I look forward to seeing what you come up with!
Blessings,
Lynne
(whose schedule indicates that it’s about bedtime!)

Planning, Laundry, Menus

Happy Friday!
We are going to do some challenges next week – one small one each day. Yay!

For today (and/or tomorrow, wash everyone’s sheets and give everyone in your family some nice fresh sheets to fall asleep on tonight. (Plus, we’re getting this one out of the way before next week.)

If you can hang them on the clothesline, all the better. One of my favorite smells is clothesline-fresh sheets. Ahh!

Also, if you aren’t a meal planner, plan three easy meals for dinners next week. Here’s what’s on my plan:

Monday: Slow Cooker Chicken Marsala, Mashed Potatoes, Green Beans

Tuesday: Tacos, Refried Beans, Mexican Rice

Wednesday: Slow Cooker French Dip Sandwiches, Steak Fries

Thursday: Leftovers

Friday: Baked Potato and Salad “Bars”

Saturday: BBQ Sandwiches, Baked Beans, Roasted Veggies

I’ll post links to these recipes in the comments when I get home to my computer. (I’m on the road right now. Not driving!)

Y’all have a great weekend! Get those sheets washed! 🙂

Lynne 

Happy weekend!

Exercise …✔️.

Grocery shopping…✔️

Soup in crock pot…✔️

Rewarding cup of coffee in hand…✔️

Time to rest up for our church’s big egg hunt tomorrow.

I have a big crock pot going with 15 bean soup for dinner. I’ll make some extra yummy homemade cornbread to go with it. And it will make delightful leftovers after the really busy day I’ll have tomorrow. 

Now I’m drinking coffee and perusing healthy cookbooks and recipes online. Plannin, planning, planning. Trying to lose 10 pounds before my doctor visit (checkup) on April 23 and be ready for a 5K on April 25. 

Happy Friday, y’all!

Lynne 

😀