Archive for the ‘For the Home’ Category

03/31/10
Amy

(Cooking) Resurrection Rolls


Resurrection Rolls are a fun and easy way to incorporate the real meaning of Easter into the holiday, while simultaneously introducing an easy and yummy family tradition. These sweet rolls begin by wrapping a dipped marshmallow in biscuit dough. When they bake, the biscuit holds it’s shape, but the marshmallow disappears leaving an empty “tomb”.

rollsResurrection Rolls

1 can refrigerated biscuit dough (10 biscuits)
10 large marshmallows
4 T butter
4 T sugar
1 1/2 t cinnamon

1. Melt butter in a small bowl. Mix cinnamon and sugar in another small bowl. Set aside.

2. Pat each biscuit into a flat circle.

3. Roll a marshmallow in the melted butter and then roll it in the cinnamon and sugar mix. Set dipped marshmallow in the center of the flattened biscuit and wrap it by pulling the edges of the biscuit all towards the top. Thoroughly pinch closed and place seam side down in a paper lined muffin cup. Repeat with all marshmallows.

4. Bake at 375 for 10-12 minutes.

*Optional – Top with a small amount of a powdered sugar glaze.

*Tip - Be sure to use fresh marshmallows. If the marshmallows are older and have started to harden, they will not fully melt.

03/29/10
Amy
tags:   ,

(Money-Saving Tips) Easter Baskets on a Budget


You think of the cost of filling Easter baskets as minor. Afterall, the baskets are small and you are filling it with small items….right? These small items can add up, though, especially if you are filling multiple baskets.

Before you spend too much, try visiting your local dollar store. Their Easter section will supply you with everything from Easter baskets to grass filling and plastic Easter eggs to candy. Then browse their isles for non-candy basket fillers. They have small real tools (a little boy’s dream!), hair bows and clips, coloring books, flash cards, pencils, calculators, little handbags, stickers, etc. You’ll be surprised at what you can buy for a dollar! And before you know it, you will have filled your baskets without breaking the budget.

03/26/10
Amy

(Healthy Living) Sweet Endings


If you are like me, you and your family are probably somewhat programed to finish off your meal with a bit of something sweet. When we are used to having desserts, our body is faithful in reminding us of that fact. But sweet doesn’t have to mean a lot of sugar.

At the end of dinner, bring out a bowl of fruit salad or even just an open a can of fruit (in fruit juice, not corn syrup). This sweet ending to your meal can help curb the sugar cravings and possibly help eliminate a couple of desserts a week.

strawberries1

03/23/10
Amy
tags:   ,

(Cooking) Grown-up Grilled Cheese Sandwich


I’ve always been fond of grilled cheese sandwiches, but as an adult, the traditional sandwich has not held the magical appeal that it once did. But then I made this recipe. It was then that I realized that the grilled cheese sandwich had just grown up.

grilledcheese

Grown-up Grilled Cheese Sandwich

1. Lightly butter one side of two pieces of thinly sliced Italian bread. (Note: Do not skimp on the bread!!! It truly makes the sandwich.)

2. On the non-buttered sides of the bread, spread 1/2 T basil pesto.

3. Put 1/4 c. Italian cheese blend on the pesto side of one piece of bread. Layer 2 thin slices of salami on top of the cheese. Then add 1/4 c. Italian cheese blend on top of the salami. Top with the second slice of bread (pesto inside).

4. Cook on a griddle over medium-low heat until the bread is golden brown and the cheese is melted, flipping halfway through cooking.

Enjoy!!

02/17/10
Amy
tags:   ,

(Home Management) Cleaning out the Fridge


One of the best ways to establish a new habit is to build on an existing routine.

Trash day comes on the same day every week. It is a routine. Cleaning out food from the fridge that is growing as a science project is a task that you often procrastinate doing until you can ignore it no longer.  It is a task that would be the most effective as a routine. Since trash day is a routine that has already been established for you, build on that and try to make trash day (or the day before trash day) your routine day for cleaning out the fridge. This gives you a natural weekly reminder as well as an efficient way to not stink up the garage with the old food.

*Tip – To simplify this routine even more, read my easy idea for date-labeling food.

02/12/10
Amy
tags:   ,

(Money Saving Tips) Paycheck-to-Paycheck


There are few things more stressful than needing to shuffle funds or worrying about your bank account going negative at the end of the month while you wait for the next paycheck to come in. Especially if you are self-employed, paychecks can often be delayed, putting great strain on the budget.

But with a just a little bit of organization and planning, you can easily eliminate this stress from your life.

Begin by setting up an additional checking account. This will be your “holding account” and it is what all of your paychecks are deposited into. Before each month begins, you and your spouse work together to determine your budget and the amount of money you need to meet that month’s expenses. On the first of the month, transfer the amount of money you determined that you need into your regular checking account. Any extra money in the holding account can then be transferred into savings. As that month progresses, your paychecks will again replenish your holding account and will wait for you there until you do your budget and transfer again at the beginning of the next month.

Gone are the days of living paycheck-to-paycheck. You will always be one month ahead.

*Tip – If you do not initially have the money to set your one-month-ahead-plan in motion, temporarily use your holding account as a savings account. Deposit your savings into that account until you accumulate one month’s worth of expenses.

01/28/10
Amy
tags:   ,

(Organization) Manual Box


After purchasing a new electronic, assembling a new piece of baby equipment, or installing a new appliance, you are usually left with an instruction manual. After it sits on the counter for a couple of months, it is tempting to throw it away, but it is risky. When you need an instruction manual, there isn’t an easy replacement.

As a part of your box system, designate a box for the sole purpose of storing instruction manuals. It removes the manuals from “clutter” status where they are likely to get lost, damaged, or thrown away and provides you with a predictable place to look if you should need it.

manuals

01/27/10
Amy
tags:  

(Healthy Living) Deodorant


deodorantIn an ideal world, I would use an all natural deodorant with no antiperspirant. I’m all too aware of the less-than-ideal ingredients in mainstream deodorants. But I will admit to you that I like to be dry and I like the extra-strength protection more. So it is one ideal that I have decided to let slide.

There is one simple thing you can do, though, to help reduce the amount of deodorant your body absorbs: wait for 10-15 minutes after you shower before applying your deodorant. The moisture and steam from the shower causes your pores to open, allowing them to easily absorb anything you apply to your skin. In contrast, pores close more tightly when your skin is dry and cool. So if natural deodorant isn’t your cup of tea, try making a simple adjustment to when you apply your deodorant. Maybe you don’t have to completely write off your ideal either.

01/25/10
Amy
tags:  

(Cooking) Chocolate Cream-Filled Cupcakes


I have tried a lot of chocolate cupcakes in my day, but this one hands-down, takes the cake. They are amazing. The assembly for any filled treat requires a bit of time and patience, but trust me when I say this recipe is worth it.

Chocolate Cream-Filled Cupcakes

jan20Cupcakes
1 c flour
1/2 t baking soda
1/4 t salt
1/3 c cocoa powder
3/4 c sugar
1/2 c sour cream
1/2 c oil
1/2 c boiling water
2 eggs
1 t vanilla extract

Filling
3 T water
3/4 t unflavored gelatin
4 T butter, softened
1 t vanilla extract
1/8 t salt
1 1/4 c marshmallow cream

Glaze
1/2 c semisweet chocolate chips
3 T butter

1. Mix flour, baking soda, and salt.

2. Whisk (boiling) water, cocoa, and chocolate chips in a separate bowl until smooth and the chocolate chips are melted. Add sugar, sour cream, oil, eggs and vanilla to chocolate mixture and blend.

3. Fold the flour mixture into the chocolate and egg mixture. Stir until moistened.

4. Pour batter into 12 greased muffin cups. Bake at 325 degrees for about 20 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean. Let cool slightly and then remove from muffin cups. Cool completely.

5. Filling: Mix water and gelatin and let it stand for 5 minutes. Microwave for about 30 seconds or until the gelatin dissolves. Add butter, vanilla and salt. Cool for about 5 minutes before mixing in the marshmallow cream. Blend until smooth. Refrigerate for 30 minutes or until set. Set aside 1/3 c. Put the rest of the filling into a pastry bag (or us a ziploc bag with a corner clipped off).

6. Once the cupcakes have cooled, cut a cone shape out of the top of the cupcake, about 2 inches deep. Remove cone and cut off the tip (to create space for the filling). Fill the cupcake with about one tablespoon of the filling and then replace the circular top.

7. Glaze: Melt chocolate and butter in a bowl (30-60 seconds) and stir until smooth. Let the glaze cool (10-15 minutes) and then top each cupcake with about one tablespoon of the glaze. Let sit for 15 minutes and then use the remaining filling to pipe decorative curlicues across the top of the cupcakes.

01/22/10
Amy
tags:  

(Home Management) The Laundry Rut


laundryI am famous for my laundry ruts. I do several loads of laundry one day and never complete the process. The clothes are cleaned, but they remain in laundry baskets for several days until I need the baskets to run new loads of laundry. The clean laundry then gets carelessly dumped on the bedroom floor. At some point that day, knowing that more loads of laundry are on the way, I might finally work on putting away the clean clothes from several days ago. Consequently, I become sick of folding laundry long before the new loads are dry. The vicious cycle repeats.

In response to my frustration over this major household management weakness, I recently imposed a new rule upon myself. Imagine my surprise when it truly worked!! But would it stand test time of time? Weeks later, there are still no piles of laundry on my bedroom floor.That, my friends, is a victory.

The rule is simple: Do not start a second load of laundry until the first load is washed and put away.

It sounds almost too simplistic to be revolutionary, but it works. I can complete one load of laundry. I might procrastinate on two loads, but one load can be completed quickly. It is manageable! We tend to work on chores and projects that we know we can successfully complete and having that small victory is both motivating and energizing. You will find that you actually accomplish more.

So the next time you find yourself in a laundry rut, try the One Load Rule and kiss those piles of wrinkled laundry goodbye.