Cleaning · Home making

Dealing with the Messes at Home

Recently I stooped over to the cabinet below my kitchen counter to retrieve the toaster and as I lifted the appliance from its resting place, I saw crumbs on the cabinet shelf which had fallen from the inside of the toaster. I moaned….

I cleaned crumbs from out of there not long ago and it looks like a mess again!

My husband quickly reminded me that it’s just because we use our kitchen every day. That’s means it needs maintenance. True! I cook and bake a LOT, so of course there will be regular messes in the kitchen.

The truth is that when people simply live in a house there are constant messes. So if we know that simple fact, wouldn’t it also make sense that we wisely organize our efforts in keeping it clean?

As we continue our series of Maytag, Messes and Meals, we remember that the first step in all of these areas is PLANNING. Nothing grand will ever just happen (unless you’re Cinderella!). Here’s what I do in an effort to keep it clean (note that I didn’t say “perfect!”

Plan when to do household chores. For example:

Monday – Laundry, Dust
Tuesday – Sweep, mop and vacuum
Wednesday – Deeper kitchen cleaning – Fridge, oven, stovetop, microwave
Thursday – Iron laundry
Friday – Deep clean one room
Saturday – Magic Eraser on walls and door frames, clean glass

My little grandsons and I had fun working together!

Plan to do some chores EVERY day
Bathrooms cleaned after showers.
Kitchen cleaned after each meal. Wiping the stove off and the oven each time you use it will keep it from being a huge task. Beds made each day. This only takes a few minutes. It takes up the biggest part of your room, and making it will make the room look instantly cleaner!

Before bedtime – Get the house tidied up before heading to bed. Put away dishes in dish drainer, throw away the paper, put away shoes, Put drinking glasses or snack bowls in the dishwasher. Clear off the kitchen counter. Fluff the couch pillows.

It’s wonderful to wake up in the morning to a clean, straightened up house!

Feel overwhelmed with the current condition of your house?

  1. Decide which area needs the first attention – perhaps the entryway or the kitchen counter. The first area that is seen or the place that is most disturbing to you might be your sore spot.
  2. Designate three areas/bags – To keep, Throw away, Give away
  3. Set a 30-minute timer.
  4. Pick up one item at a time and deal with it. (You might want to ask someone to come over and help you make some hard decisions!)
  5. Keep moving until the timer goes off.
  6. Continue this daily or twice a day until that area is cleaned.

Sometimes it’s helpful to watch cleaning videos to get inspired.  A couple You tube channels I love are Do It on a Dime and White Cottage Company.  They have awesome cleaning videos with good suggestions about products and tools. Their cleaned up messes will inspire you, too!

Maybe you’re asking why this even matters?

Ecc. 9:10a

Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with your might; 

Remember that we’re creating a little “heaven on earth” space for our families to resort to. It won’t be nearly as peaceful if it is cluttered and dirty.

With some good planning and daily effort, our homes can reflect the beauty of our Creator.

Refresh your home with some planning and hard work. It’s worth it!

dinner in 30 minutes · Fast meal · Fish

Tandoori Grilled Shrimp

Tandoori Grilled Shrimp

It amazes me how cheaply, yet how well we can eat at home. A dinner of a pound of shrimp would be pretty high at a restaurant. Last week I made Tandoori Grilled Shrimp Skewers for under $10. We got four FULL skewers and two meals out of it, and was it ever scrumptious!! Also, as I always say, fish is a super fast meal. Because these were grilled, my kitchen didn’t even get heated up. Is that enough positives to make you want to try them for yourself?

This marinade is a lighter version and only needs 15 minutes to coat the shrimp and make it so flavorful. Grilling the shrimp only takes 2-3 minutes in each side. Dinner is ready in under 30 minutes!

Tandoori Grilled Shrimp Skewers

  • 1/3 cup(s) , or plain non fat Greek yogurt
  • kosher salt, 1 1/2 tsp
  • fresh lemon juice, 1 1/2 tsp
  • olive oil, 1 1/2 tsp
  • curry powder, 1 tsp
  • ground cumin, 1 tsp
  • ground coriander, 1 tsp
  • granulated garlic,1 tsp
  • ground ginger, 1/2 tsp
  • uncooked shrimp, 1 pound(s) , large, peeled and deveined
  • cooking spray, 1 spray(s)
  • cilantro, 2 Tbsp , fresh, chopped 
  1. Combine yogurt, salt, lemon juice, oil, curry powder, cumin, coriander, garlic and ginger in a large bowl; add shrimp and toss to coat. Marinate for 15 minutes at room temperature or covered, up to 2 hours in refrigerator.
  2. Divide shrimp among 4 metal or wooden skewers (if using wooden skewers, make sure to soak them for 20 minutes before use).
  3. Off heat, coat a grill or grill pan with cooking spray. Preheat grill to medium-high heat. Grill skewers until shrimp are cooked through (opaque) and slightly firm, flipping once, about 2 to 4 minutes per side. Serve garnished with cilantro.
Tandoori Grilled Shrimp

The next time you think you should just go out for dinner, think about something this fast, this delicious, and this cost-effective instead. You get choice seating, a view of HOME and a satisfied appetite! I can’t wait to make these again!!

With love from my country kitchen,

dessert · Fourth of July · Main dish. · summertime

Fourth of July Favorite Foods

With Fourth of July coming up next weekend,  I thought I’d pull some of my favorite menu items from my blog and make a few suggestions for your cookout, just in case you’re looking for some new ideas!

Let’s start with the main course:

You can’t beat a hamburger on the grill, and this Herb and Cheese Stuffed Burger is one of the best!  It takes the term “Cheeseburger” to a whole new level!  The cheese is inside the burger, and it’s not just some cheese-flavored slab, this is an herb cream cheese, friends!

Herb & Cheese Stuffed Burgers

Ingredients
1/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese
2 tablespoons cream cheese, softened
2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley
3 teaspoons Dijon mustard, divided
2 green onions, thinly sliced
3 tablespoons dry bread crumbs
2 tablespoons ketchup
1/2 teaspoon salt
I1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary, crushed
1/4 teaspoon dried sage leaves
1 pound lean ground beef (90% lean)
4 rolls, split

Directions
In a small bowl, combine the cheddar cheese, cream cheese, parsley and 1 teaspoon mustard; set aside.
In another bowl, combine the onions, bread crumbs, ketchup, salt, rosemary, sage and remaining mustard. Crumble beef over mixture and mix well.
Shape into eight thin patties. Spoon cheese mixture onto center of four patties; top with remaining patties and press edges firmly to seal.
Grill burgers, covered, over medium heat or broil 4 in. from heat for 5-7 minutes on each side or until a meat thermometer reads 160° and juices run clear. Serve on rolls with lettuce and tomato if desired. Yield: 4 servings.
Lettuce leaves and tomato slices, optional

If you’re going to grill steaks, use a great marinade to make them even more flavorful!  Here’s my go-to recipe:

Teriyaki Sauce

1/2 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup salad oil
2 tbl molasses
2 tsp ground ginger
2 tsp dry mustard
3 cloves, garlic, minced

Mix well, then marinate meat at least one hour.

Oh, and if you need a side for either the burgers or the steak, the Onion Rings pictured above are some of the best!

Golden Onion Rings
Combine 1 cup plus 2 tbl all purpose flour, 1/2 tsp salt, 1 slightly beaten egg, 1 cup milk, and 2 tbl salad oil. Beat together just till dry ingredients are well moistened. Coat onion rings with batter. (I prefer a vidalia onion) Fry a few at a time in deep hot oil (375 degrees), stirring once to separate rings. when onions are golden, drain on paper towels. Just before serving, sprinkle with salt.

Now, let’s finish with a refreshing dessert!

Strawberry Pizza
Ingredients

Crust:
1 C flour
1/4 C powdered sugar
1/2 C butter

Filling:
1 (8 oz.) cream cheese, room temperature
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 C granulated sugar
1/4 tsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice

Topping;
1 C fresh strawberries, mashed
4 Tbsp. granulated sugar
1 Tbsp. cornstarch
8 – 10 strawberries sliced.
Instructions

Crust:
In a medium bowl, combine flour, sugar and butter.
Form into a ball with hands and press into a 14 inch ungreased pizza pan (I used my Pampered Chef pizza stone) I floured my fingertips to keep it from sticking and I pressed it out with my hands.
Bake at 325 degrees for 15 minutes. Cool.

Filling:
In a medium bowl, combine cream cheese, vanilla, sugar and lemon juice.
Spread on cooled crust.
Topping:
In a saucepan over medium heat, combine strawberries, sugar and cornstarch.
Simmer until thick and glossy. Cool.

Spread on top of cream cheese filling.  Cut fresh strawberries crosswise to make rounds that resemble pepperoni, place on pizza and serve.

I hope that inspires you to plan ahead for a fun and delicious 4th Of July menu!  

Anyone have a traditional recipe that you always fix for your family cook-outs?

Happy Independence Day!

refreshment at home · Home making

Managing Your Laundry

I’m half way through the day and I have done two loads of laundry, ironed linens and put them away, and also pressed our clothes for the weekend. Then I got brave and peeked into the clothes hampers in our closets. I saw more dirty clothes wadded and waiting for the the Laundry Lady (that’s me!) to rescue them from the basket and repeat the process of my earlier hours.

Laundry Never Ending Story Wall Quotes™ Decal | WallQuotes.com

It’s true, isn’t it? Laundry never stops. It could be really easy to get cynical and resentful, but as I shared recently in this post, we need to make sure our heart is right in regards to our home. Having a right heart will safeguard us from attitudes that can make us begrudge the work that is so repetitious, but also God-given.

Home began In the Garden of Eden. As a matter of fact, the only thing we have left from the Garden of Eden is the family. What a gift!

And the Lord God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it. Gen 2:15

The word, “dress,” literally means to work it; for though a paradise, the garden still had to be tilled and planted. Seeds needed to be sown. and the cultivated plots kept in order; but all this really added to Adam’s happiness, because Adam hadn’t sinned yet and responded willingly to the husbandman’s care. 

“To keep it.” The animals weren’t all so peaceful and domesticated that Adam did not need to fence his garden against their plundering. Ever had deer eat your garden?! 

God made the family – Adam and Eve. He provided the place for them to live, and also gave them the responsibility of caring for it. They were to WORK. Work was not a result of sin.  Sometimes we treat it as though it is a curse, but work is a blessing. Work is necessary in order to keep a home a suitable place to live. Someone needs to oversee that the work is done – they need to manage it all.

As the wife, it is our responsibility to be the manager – keep the order. That involves training our children to help, but we are to be busy managing the home so that those that live there can serve God best. If our home is only confusion, we will be hindered in serving God or doing what he calls us to do.

But how do we get it all done? Let’s look to the practical side of this management.

What kind of atmosphere do you want it to have? 

Inviting?

Restful? 

Peaceful?

None of that can happen if it’s mayhem.  

In her book, A Woman After God’s Own Heart, Elizabeth George gives a checklist for managing your time and your home. In today’s post, we’ll just elaborate on the area of laundry. I hope to give you some practical help here!

1. Plan! Nothing grand just happens – you have to plan. The more detail the better – the more you’ll get done.

A goal without a plan is just a wish.


Do you have goals for your home, or are they only wishes? We plan our work, and then we work our plan. How do we plan?

  1. If you don’t have some type of daily planning book, get one. It can be a spiral notebook or a formatted daily planner. If you use a plain notebook, list the days of the week on the page. 
  2. You will plan in the three areas – Maytag (Laundry), Messes (House cleaning) and Meals.
  3. Write down the major things you want to accomplish each day under each category.
  4. When the task is finished, check it off.
  5. Stay focused on your list and don’t get sidetracked by other chores. The list will help you do that!

Let’s start today with how you can plan for getting the laundry done

Maytag –
Plan when will you do the laundry.  Will you do one load each morning? Will you designate one day to do it all for the week?
Plan when you will fold the clothes. Note that if you leave the clothes in the dryer for hours after they’re dry, they will wrinkle. Help yourself by setting a goal to get to them as quickly as you can. This will keep your family from searching for their clean clothes and finding them still in the dryer, or spilled out on the living room couch.
Plan when you will put the clothes away, or who will put them away. Will you take each family member’s clothes to their bedroom? Will they each find their pile and put them where they belong?
Plan to teach your children to help. When they’re little they can help you sort. Folding wash cloths and sorting socks is another task they can do. As they grow older, make them more and more responsible for their own clothes. I know a mom who taught her girls to do their own laundry by the time they were ten years old. #smartmom

Whatever your Maytag goals are, keep moving forward and don’t check that chore off your list until it’s all been folded and put away. Seeing that chore on your plan will remind you that it still needs to be tossed into the dryer, or that it’s ready to be folded and put away.

Plan your work and work your plan.

Don’t just wish you could get caught up on the laundry – have a goal AND a plan about how you’re going to tackle it. As with all of life, ask the Lord to help you have the right attitude and to do even the laundry for His glory. He gave you that family who dirties up all those clothes. If we could think of our laundry as a blessing because it represents the people who live there, would we have a better attitude? Pretty sure so.

Refresh your Maytag responsibilities and your attitude about it.

dinner in 30 minutes · Fish · Mexican Food · Side dish · Tacos

A New Twist On Taco Tuesday

If you grimace at the thought of Fish Tacos, it’s probably because you’ve never had a really tasty one! We are HUGE taco fans in any shape or fashion, so I am always willing to try a new recipe for our favorite fare because they come together in under 30 minutes, they’re healthy when broiled, and they’re so yummy!

Smoky Tilapia Tacos

I recently came across a new recipe for Fish Tacos in my favorite source – a Cooking Light Magazine. If you’ve been with me for any length of time, you know I adore their recipes. They did not disappoint! This has become my new favorite Fish taco recipe! Their recipe has a little kick added, which I have found the fish really needs in order to be exceptional. Don’t worry if you don’t have all the seasonings, just wing it and enjoy! I’ll share my substitutions and omissions in the following recipe.

Smoky Tilapia Tacos

Ingredients

  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon Spanish smoked paprika –I used regular paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground coriander – I left this out
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 3/8 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
  • 2 pounds tilapia fillets – I used frozen Polluck
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh cilantro – I’m not a huge fan, so I omitted this
  • 2 teaspoons canned chopped green chilies
  • 1 diced peeled avocado
  • 12 (6-inch) corn tortillas – I used my homemade flour tortillas
  • Cooking spray
  • 6 lime wedges

How to Make It

Preheat broiler to high.

Combine first 4 ingredients and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Brush fillets with oil, and sprinkle with spice mixture. Place fillets on a baking sheet. Broil 6 minutes or until fish flakes easily when tested with a fork.

Combine remaining 1/8 teaspoon salt, cilantro, chilies, and avocado in a bowl; lightly mash with a fork.

Heat tortillas on a grill pan coated with cooking spray 20 seconds on each side or until lightly charred. Divide avocado mixture and fish among tortillas. Serve with lime wedges.

To accompany the tacos, Cooking Light suggested a recipe for Pinto beans which are canned, and are cooked very similarly to the way I share here. Then they are topped with the best cream! I added this cream to the tacos, too, which gave them such a full flavor! These take only Minutes to put together!

My husband declared he’d rather I never fix refried Beans again, and only serve these with Mexican food. I heartily agree! I bet you will, too!

Simmered Pinto Beans with Chipotle Sour Cream

Simmered Pinto Beans with Chipotle Sour Cream

Ingredients

  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 1/2 cup chopped red bell pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 cup unsalted chicken stock
  • 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 (15-ounce) can unsalted pinto beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 3/4 cup reduced-fat sour cream
  • 3 tablespoons low-fat buttermilk
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons minced chipotle chiles, canned in adobo sauce

How to Make It

Heat a saucepan over medium-high heat. Add oil; swirl to coat. Add onion, bell pepper, cumin, and garlic; sauté 2 minutes. Add stock, salt, black pepper, and beans; simmer 7 minutes. Stir in juice and parsley.

Combine remaining ingredients; serve with beans.

Pure heaven!

Refresh your Taco Tuesday by fixing a fishy version with a side of the BEST beans you’ve ever eaten!