Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Wednesday Wisdom: Clutter and Health

Today's tip comes from my favorite Australian organizer Peter Walsh in his book "It's All Too Much". In it he asks us to do a reality check on Clutter and Health.

Often people say that their homes aren't dirty, they're just cluttered. But clutter inhibits you from being able to clean your home well, as it's hard to clean behind and around things. Clutter promotes the buildup of dirt and allergens and increases your household's chances of respiratory problems. The health problems caused by clutter aren't just physical. In 1996, psychologists defined compulsive hoarding syndrome as a psychological disorder. In homes with severe cluttering, the residents nearly always suffer from anxiety or depression or both.

Is clutter holding you back from living your best life. There is a way out, start by asking for help.

To Simplified and Joyful Living,

MS. Simplicity

Friday, November 20, 2009

Food Friday: What's for Dinner? Caramel Rolls, French Dip and Cheeseburger Soup

These yummy recipes are from Ray's Aunt Glenora, mom of three girls and daycare provider. If anyone knows what kids like to eat, it would be her. Enjoy!
Pull Apart Carmel Rolls
3-4 cans refrigerated buttermilk biscuits 1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 c ice cream 1/2 cup margarine
1/3 cup sugar 1/2 cup cinnamon/sugar mixture

Tear biscuits in four pieces: roll in sugar and cinnamon mixture. Place in a lightly greased 9x13 pan. Mix ice cream, brown sugar, white sugar and margarine together; melt and pour over biscuits. Bake at 350 for about 30 to 40 minutes.

French Dip Sandwiches
4 to 6-lb beef roast any cut
1 can beef consomme
1 can water
1 pkg Italian dressing mix (dry)
1 pkg au jus mix (dry)

Place all ingredients in a slow cooker and cook all day (8-10 hours) on low. Pull meat apart and place on hoagie buns and dip in juice.

Cheeseburger Soup
1 lb ground beef 3/4 cup chopped onion
3/4 cup shredded carrots 3/4 cup diced celery
4 TBS butter or margarine 3 cups chicken broth
4 cups diced peeled potatoes 1/4 cup flour
8 ounces American cheese 1-1/2 cups milk
salt and pepper to taste 1/4 sour cream

Brown ground beef in 3 qt. saucepan;drain and set aside. In same saucepan saute onion,carrots and celery in 1 TBS butter until vegetables are tender.
Add broth, potatoes and beef: bring to boil. Reduce heat: cover and simmer for 10-12 minutes until potatoes are tender. Meanwhile in small skillet melt remaining butter. Add flour cook and stir 3 minutes or until bubbly. Add to soup, bring to boil. Cook and stir for 2 minutes. Reduce heat to low. Add cheese, milk,salt and pepper. Cook and stir until cheese is melted. Remove from heat blend in sour cream.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Motivational Monday: Display Your Shoes

I am not a fan of shoe boxes. Why you might ask....well thank you for asking. They take up a lot of space in a closet and you don't know what is in them!

I recently worked with a client who had a great shoe collection that were stored in every nook and cranny of her walk in closet, in boxes on top of boxes. So when she went to take out a pair of shoes, she would have to rearrange the boxes, wasting time. This particular client has great shoes, so I asked her what she thought of displaying them out in the open for her to enjoy and for her to have easy access to. She loved the idea and you can see in the picture above, what a beautiful display it became. She purchased a sheer curtain to help keep the dust off of the shoes, but sheer enough so that she can still see the shoes.

She couldn't display all of them, so the ones that are not on display we left in the boxes but took pictures of the shoes to tape to the box so she knows what is in each of the boxes.

What we also found interesting is that shoe boxes take up a lot of room. We were surprised how much more room she actually had in her closet once the boxes were taken out of the closet.

Best of all remember my tip about shoe racks?

To Simplified Joyful Living,

MS. Simplicity

Friday, November 13, 2009

Food Friday: What's for Dinner? Spaghetti, Cheesy Bread and Juan Hot Stew

Today's recipes come from Jenny a mom of 2 (soon to be 3) who works more than full time outside the home. Enjoy!

Spaghetti SauceWhen my husband and I were first married, he was shocked to see that I made homemade sauce as he had grown up "on the bottle." This sauce is a hit with him and our whole family, and it's not uncommon for him to take a second helping with a big piece of bread instead of noodles.

1 can tomato sauce (not the super big one)
1 can tomato soup
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 small can tomato paste
1 pound hamburger
Brown sugar and yellow mustard to taste

Brown your hamburger, drain off excess fat. Add canned ingredients to the hamburger and heat on medium till cooked through. Add brown sugar and yellow mustard to taste (start with a small sprinkling of sugar, then taste, add mustard, repeat if necessary). My mom and grandma add a can of water to make their sauce a bit more liquid, but we prefer it thicker at our house. Reduce heat until you're ready to eat. It's great right away and even more wonderful if you let it simmer for awhile. Serve over spaghetti noodles and whatever else you love with spaghetti - which in our house is my next recipe!

Cheesy Oven Bread

(I just came up with that name - I'm not sure what I usually call it. Probably just bread.) This bread is perfect for sopping up extra spaghetti sauce or with a plate of spaghetti sauce (husband's aforementioned preferred route). This is not low cal by any means, but it's so delicious you won't even care.

1 loaf French bread
1 pack sliced mozzarella or Swiss cheese (your call)
1 onion
1 stick of butter

Dice onion and sauté in butter until onions are slightly soft and starting to color. Cut thick slices into your French bread, but do not cut through the bottom of the loaf. Gently open the loaf at each slice to drizzle the onion/butter mixture into the open area, making sure the bottom of the loaf remains intact. After drizzling the onion/butter mixture, stick 1/2 a piece of cheese (or the whole piece, folded) into each opening. Continue until the whole loaf is dressed up. Wrap the loaf in aluminum foil and place in a 350 oven for 20 or so minutes (honestly, I don't know how long I cook this but 20 sounds like a good number as a start). Check the loaf around that time - if you want it soft, it should be ready. If you prefer a more toasted loaf, keep it in a bit longer. Note: if you have onion boycotters in the house you can make 1/2 the loaf with the onion/butter/cheese and the other 1/2 with butter/cheese or forgo the onions all together and just use the butter and cheese - your call.

Juan Hot Stew
We get a bunch of venison each fall. I'm not a big fan of the steaks (read: yuck, can't stand them), but love the sausage. One year we had a surplus of sausage and I decided to get creative with how we used it. Juan (One) Hot Stew is the result. Now this is a standby each fall/winter/spring (or until the time the sausage supply runs out).

2 links of sausage (not the tiny Jimmy Dean links - the hefty, butcher type of link)
2 14 1/2 oz cans stewed tomatoes
1 14 1/2 oz can diced tomatoes
1 15 oz can blacked beans, drained (and rinsed, if you so choose)
1 15 oz can corn & pepper mix, drained
1 cup water
0-3 jalapenos (your call, but this is the "Juan" part of the recipe) Additional hot peppers, if desired Pinch of cornstarch, if desired

Cook sausage (grill, fry, boil, whatever) and cut into 1/2 thick slices. Combine stewed tomatoes, diced tomatoes, drained black beans, drained corn & pepper mix and water into a pot (or crock pot). Add slices of sausage and your choice and quantity of peppers. Bring to boil, then reduce heat and simmer until stew is thick (you can add a little bit of cornstarch if you want to thicken the stew a bit - I'm 50/50 on the addition). Serve with milk, crackers, bread, whatever!

Image courtesy of Google Images

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Wednesday Wisdom: Stat time

Getting rid of excess clutter would eliminate 40 percent of the housework in the average home.

National Soap and Detergent Association

Monday, November 9, 2009

Motivational Monday: Guest Welcome Basket

I have house guests several times a year, and I always rush at the last minute to get my guest clean towels before I go to bed. So I thought I would put on my “Martha Stewart” hat and create all of the necessities my guest would need while staying with us. Here is a quick check list to help you get your own guest welcome basket started:

• Fluffy towel for each guest
• Two washcloths for each day the guests are staying
• A bottle of water
• Sample bottles of shampoo, conditioner and body wash (you know the ones you took from your most recent hotel room stay)
• Toothbrush, toothpaste and floss
• Something sweet to eat

This takes just minutes to put together and what a great thing to show my guests that I appreciate them staying.

To Simplified, Joyful Living

MS. Simplicity

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Food Friday: What's for Dinner? Tortilla Soup, Egg and Sausage Casserole and Taco Melts

Please welcome today's home chef Diana W. who is a busy mom of 3, volunteer and entrepreneur. Enjoy!

Ground Round Mexican Chicken & Tortilla Soup
1 lb. shredded chicken breast
1 can Fiesta Nacho cheese soup
1 can Cream of Chicken soup
1 soup can of milk
1 can enchilada sauce (mild)
Crushed tortilla chips
Shredded cheddar cheese

Bake chicken breast in a casserole dish with a small amount of water for 1 ½ hours. Cut it up in small shredded places
Add chicken and all ingredients (except for tortilla chips and shredded cheese) to crock pot and heat on low for 2-3 hours. Serve with crushed tortilla chips and shredded cheese.

Egg & Sausage Casserole
• 1 pound pork sausage (I use the precooked sausage patties – so it is really quick to cook them up in the microwave
• 1 (8 ounce) package refrigerated crescent roll dough
• 8 eggs, beaten
• 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
• 2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese
• 1 teaspoon dried oregano

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Lightly grease a 9x13 inch baking dish.
Line the bottom of the prepared baking dish with crescent roll dough, and sprinkle with crumbled sausage. In a large bowl, mix beaten eggs, mozzarella, and Cheddar. Season the mixture with oregano, and pour over the sausage and crescent rolls.
Bake 25 to 30 minutes in the preheated oven, or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean.

Grands Taco Melts
1 package (1 oz) Old El Paso® taco seasoning mix
2/3 cup water
1 1/2 cups Old El Paso® Thick 'n Chunky salsa
1 lb lean (at least 80%) ground beef, cooked, drained
1 can (16.3 oz) Pillsbury® Grands!® refrigerated biscuits (any variety)
1 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese or Mexican cheese blend (4 oz)
1 cup sour cream, if desired

Heat oven to 375°F.
In medium saucepan, cook taco seasoning mix, water, 1/2 cup of the salsa and cooked ground beef until thickened.
Press each biscuit into 6-inch round. Fill each with taco mixture and 1 tablespoon cheese. Fold dough over filling and press to seal. Place on greased cookie sheet.
Bake 9 to 14 minutes or until golden brown. Serve with remaining salsa, cheese and sour cream.

Image courtesy of Google Images

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