Carefully Considering Some Easy DIY Tea Towels from Pearl Bee
I’m working on a window shade project – pics, instructions and links soon! Why am I in the midst of such manic homekeeping? Maybe because I am (sort of/kind of/almost) doing the January cure at Apartment Therapy (my new daily fix). Even if I attempt this I am way ahead of normal operating procedure.
Yes, I cleaned the pantry, floors, fridge and washed the pillows (most of them – instructions from Martha here) and even organized my inbox. Next, I am getting prices on steam cleaning the furniture and rugs, and considering cleaning out the basement after a mini-flood from a cranky dishwasher. Maybe I should find my sewing machine first. But it’s way more fun to troll the web and find stuff like this from The Purl Bee
From my place in a chocolate centered universe, I considered that some people might mind that this gift is (gasp!) chocolate free, but I have learned that not everyone likes chocolate. Really, it’s true. So while either of these granola recipes stand on their own, if you really feel you must, oh, I don’t know, put lipstick on a pig, feel free to add chocolate kisses or Lindt truffles or chocolate coins (coins pictured are from Trader Joe’s – they have a great selection of holiday candy) to ease your mind. I package these treats in a variety of ways, tins, cello bags, parchment paper, waxed paper bags – get creative, use what you have on hand and top it with some ric rac or ribbon and a card. Add tea, coffee or hot chocolate and you have a lovely gift.
From years past, here are my two favorite granola recipes – be sure to head over to Pragmatic Mom‘s blog to see her spin on gifting granola.
Martha Stewart had some adorable packaging ideas (what else is new?) on Facebook today.Love the envelope – of course Martha has stamps that match the food inside (chocolate and hazelnut) and, yes, it is a brittle disguised as a candy bar (in case you are not buying my whole granola thing).
The summer of no-cook dinners is over and it is time to pull it together and actually use my kitchen to cook. Sigh. Well, I have a few tricks to making weeknight dinners easier and I will share them with you, because I am generous like that. Also, because I am pretty happy that I figured out to do this and am bragging a little bit. Let’s not get carried away, I didn’t split the atom, I just made easy dinners. Still.
First, plan a menu for the week. Hate to do that? I know, me too. Okay. Plan two days out and make the third day an easy default recipe (something you can make with your eyes closed). Here is my Monday-Tuesday solution.
Buy two whole chickens (on sale at Whole foods for 99 cents per pound) and roast them both at the same time. Make one your Monday dinner with roasted veggies. I added potatoes and apples to the pan, any root vegetable would be great or some squash (use a separate pan for squash and apples). Note, the apples will be mush if you leave them in for the whole time, they only take about 30 minutes. Check out Martha for the best recipe, I just tossed them in whole because I’m lazy. My go-to recipe for Perfect Roast Chicken is from The Barefoot Contessa. I ran out of time for the gravy but all was devoured without. Serve with a big green salad.
The next night use the second chicken for a fun Make Your Own Burrito Night. We always have tortillas, cheese, avocado, rice (we used frozen brown rice) and beans in the house, so all that is needed is some lettuce, salsa and sour cream if that’s how you roll. Feel free to sautee up some onions and peppers if you want to or add some of the roasted veggies from Monday.
Set up a station on the kitchen counter and let everyone build their own. Carve up the chicken and you are good to go. For little ones, put small containers on the table filled with the choices you most want them to eat. Have cut up some carrots, cucumbers, celery and peppers on the table for maximum veggie intake.
But Wednesday? What about Wednesday? No, I won’t leave you without. I made pork chops (again from Martha) but I think I am a little in love with Whole Foods for this:
I haven’t tried it yet (found it while I was trying to make sure the Whole Foods whole chickens were still on sale). Yum. My family are recent meatloaf converts and I am running this. Only one pan? I’m there.
Note- we didn’t use all the chicken for Burrito Night so I chopped up the rest for chicken salad. Also, if you are still looking for meals, take the chicken carcasses (never a pretty word), place in water and/or boxed chicken broth with some veggies to make a soup. Add pasta or rice. I use my pressure cooker for this quick soup. So very frugal of me, don’t you think?
Although my family may tell you that my idea of No-Cook meals this summer has mostly relied on prepared food from Whole Foods, I have actually made some of my No Cook Meals. Look out, Family! I may continue this trend/lifestyle/into our fall if the weather holds or at least until my Mother-in-law visits. So here are some links to places with good no-cook foods (you can put together a nice dinner from Trader Joe’s, too.
From Real Simple – 25 No Cook Recipes and a bunch of Fake It Don’t Make it recipes, too.
Eating Well has a great list of No Cook Recipes, too. Both of these resources also list the nutritional information, in case you need to know.
Entertaining? Still don’t want to cook? Me, either. Bon Appetit has a nice slideshow of good (a bit fancier) recipes, too.