Category Archives: household

Menu Plan Monday 9-13-08 — Disaster Mode

We are home from the hurricane and are so thankful to have a home! We have power, but no water. Hopefully we will have water in one or two days. My menu plan is at best sketchy, as it is difficult to cook without running water. Now when I say we don’t have running water, I don’t mean we don’t have any water. Before we evacuated I put 15 gallons in igloo type jugs and filled both of the tubs. The water in the tubs we use for toilets and washing, and the igloo water is for cooking, & drinking. We have no regular milk, but I keep a store of powdered milk on hand for emergencies. We do have the ability to refill our containers at Gene’s office if we run out. I also have a couple of cases of bottled water as well.

We are using paper products & plastic utensils to cut down on washing, but I’m having to use pots and pans to cook. For my roast I will use a disposable roasting pan. The stores here are running very short on food; tonight when we went to Wal-Mart there was no produce, meat, frozen food, or any other food that required refrigeration. All of their cold items were ruined when they lost power, as was their produce. The shelves at the store were empty, which made shopping easier… since there was nothing to choose from. Lindsay took pictures of all of the empty shelves on our trip tonight. It is amazing that this is the reality living in the 4th largest city in America right now. We are actually quite blessed, as many in other parts of the city have no stores that are open.

Sunday night:  Tuna Helper

Monday night: Baked Sweet potatoes

Tuesday night: Pot roast, roasted veggies, homemade bread

Wednesday night: Hamburger helper

Thursday night: leftovers

Friday night: Quesadillas

Make sure you visit Laura to get great menu ideas from all the ladies who share.

Works For Me Wednesday 7-9-08

I love baking soda! I buy boxes and boxes of the stuff. I have found tons of uses for it, and it makes my life so much easier. At times I wonder what I ever did before I found it. One of my favorite uses for it is when cleaning the stove. If you have greasy stubborn spots on the top, just dampen, add a little baking soda and wait about 5 minutes. The baking soda will absorb the grease, and the grittiness of it will help scrub the stain away. The best part is when dealing with those gross drip pans. You know the ones that get food permanently adhered to them? Well, if you just fill your sink with hot soapy water and add about 3 tablespoons of baking soda and the drip pans. Then you wait for about 10 minutes. Amazingly when you pick up the drip pans, almost all of the dirt will be removed, and what isn’t easily comes off. You almost feel like you are cheating when you do this because its so easy.

If you want some other great ideas, just drop by Rocks in My Dryer

Kitchen Tip Tuesday 7-08-08

Every Tuesday Tammy hosts Kitchen Tip Tuesday. This week she is talking about her pantry and food storage. Since I don’t have Photoshop re-installed on my computer yet I am going to use photos I’ve already uploaded before. Today Tammy linked to a post she did in the past about using jars for storage, which I also do. We live in a mobile home, so my kitchen is rather small. I wanted to be able to store food, but do so in an attractive way, since it is out in the open. I hope that what I have done, will spark some ideas about how to organize your kitchen. In January I did a post on my small kitchen, if you would like the full tour, feel free to stop by that post.

This is the top of my refrigerator. The beans are actually stored in juice decanters that I found at Wal-Mart. Lindsay and I were looking for unusual jars, and saw these. They are great for the beans and have an airtight seal.

This is the pantry that Gene built me. In the jars on the top shelf I have egg noodles, oatmeal, instant potatoes, brown sugar, & pancake mix all stored in cracker jars. I also have a few items stored behind the jars such as extra boxes of powdered milk. On the lower shelves you will see jars with powdered sugar, & cornmeal.

These jars hold my unbleached flour, prairie gold flour, sugar, and two of them hold cereal. I love these jars because of the wide mouths and the ease of use when baking. I was forever spilling sugar, and flour all over the place when trying to get it out of jars with smaller openings. The small openings also caused me to have to use a very small cup to scoop, which made it take much longer to measure out the big batches I make.

This is a shot of the whole pantry. A lot of people wouldn’t like it because it’s open, but I have found it helps me to keep things more organized. I considered hanging curtains on it, but felt they would be always getting in the way. I don’t mind the kitchen looking like a work center, because that’s what it is. I have come to realize that my kitchen is many things. It is the heart of our home, a place we work together, play together, laugh, joke and sometimes cry. It is a place where memories are made. While I want it to be practical and functional, I also want it to look welcoming and cozy.

Well, I’m off to organize my kitchen cabinets. I am going to be doing some de-cluttering and re-organizing of my cabinets this week.

Menu Plan Monday 7-7-08

I am getting my menu posted a little late, but hey, I have a good excuse. We had company for dinner tonight and on top of that some of the girls have been sick with a stomach bug and allergies.  That caused my day to be quite busy, with no time for the computer.

I will try to come back during the week and add links to recipes that I have planned for the week. I can’t wait to see what’s everyone’s planned and if you want to get in on the fun, drop by Laura’s blog.

Brisket, Gold mashed potatoes, gravy, corn off the cob, honey glazed carrots & yeast rolls

Meatloaf, leftover vegetables, macaroni & cheese

Red beans & rice, cornbread & salad

Cajun injected chicken, stuffing, gravy, cranberry sauce, butter beans

Lentil soup with leftovers, & homemade bread

Sausage rice & cheese casserole, salad & homemade bread

Pasta casserole with pepperoni

Thursday May 8, 2008

I am finally getting back in the swing of things since the trip and have been cooking some. Tuesday night I got my Mother’s Day present early (we’re not much for waiting for the actual day around here). Here is what they gave me:


Ain’t she a beaut!! I was so excited! I have been wanting some enameled cast iron, but didn’t know they had any this nice. You can read about it at the Lodge site. I couldn’t wait to use it, so last night I roasted a whole chicken in it with vegetables. Tonight I was really glad I had it as well as I needed it because I was cooking so many side dishes. My menu tonight was:

Apricot Glazed Pork Chops

1 large Family Pack of Pork Chops
8 T. apricot preserves
2 T. water
Tony’s , salt & pepper to taste

This was such an easy dish; I seasoned my meat with a little Tony’s on each side (after tasting I think they needed a little more Tony’s and some salt and pepper). I then mixed the preserves and water and spread it on the pork chops. I baked them at 350 until they reached 160 degrees (which took about 30 min).

Steamed Cajun Cabbage

1 large head of Cabbage
1 stick of butter sliced
1 tsp. Tony’s
1 tsp. salt
a few grinds from the pepper mill
about 1 1/2 inches of water in the bottom of the pan

I steam my cabbage on med heat for about 45 min, watching the water level to make sure it doesn’t cook out. If I cook it more slowly the cabbage sort of melts, which is the way I love it.

Mashed Sweet Potatoes

5 Sweet Potatoes, peeled & sliced
1 Stick of Butter
1/4 cup of half & half
1/4 cup Brown Sugar
Dash of Cloves
Dash of Nutmeg
Dash of Allspice

Steam the sliced potatoes in a pot with 1 1/2 inches of water in the bottom. I use a simple metal steamer for this. After the potatoes are finished move them to a bowl and add the other ingredients. Use a hand mixer to cream the potatoes. For the spices I go by smell, so unfortunately I don’t have exact measurements. You can serve these as they are, or you can put them in a 9 x 13 pan with marshmallows on top and brown it in the oven.

Steamed Cauliflower
1 head of Cauliflower, cut into chunks
1/2 tsp Tony’s
1/2 tsp Salt
1/2 cup grated cheddar cheese

Chop cauliflower and put in a pan with about 1 1/2 inches of water. Sprinkle Tony’s and salt on the cauliflower cover and steam until tender. Take out of pan and put in a serving dish, straining out the water as you do this. Sprinkle in cheese and toss.

Butter Beans
1 bag frozen butter beans
1 smoked turkey neck
1 tsp. Tony’s
1/2 tsp salt
a few grinds of pepper from a mill
water to cover beans

Cook beans over med. heat for about 45 min, or until beans are tender. I buy smoked turkey necks on hand just for beans. I usually buy a pack with 6 or so in it, and then wrap them individually in plastic wrap and then put them all in a ziploc bag. I keep them in the freezer and take one out as I need it.

I have been buying a lot of strawberries lately, going to whichever store that has them for $.99 a pound. We have had strawberry shortcake, strawberries with ice cream and one of our favorites is warm brownies with strawberries, ice cream, cool whip, and chocolate sauce on top. Tonight we didn’t have any of the things we have been eating our berries with, so we decided to try something new. Caroline made Tea Cakes and we had them with strawberries, whipped cream and melted chocolate chips. Talk about good!

Tea Cakes

1/2 cup butter

1 cup sugar

2 cups flour

2 tsp baking powder

2 eggs

1 T. milk

1 tsp vanilla

1/2 tsp salt

Cream shortening and sugar. Add eggs, milk, vanilla and mix. Then add in dry ingredients. Roll into balls (using flour on hands if needed), and pat down to 1/2 in thickness and lightly sprinkle with sugar. Bake at 325 for about 10 minutes. Yield: about 2 dozen

I hope you have a good week, and hopefully I will be posting more in the near future.