Thursday, January 28, 2010

Tuscan White Bean Soup

I wanted to share this soup with you after trying it recently.  It's really delicious, healthy, inexpensive, and super simple to prepare; what else could you ask for?

I topped each bowl with a slice of grilled sweet potato
(A couple nights before my husband grilled sweet potatoes, and I had him grill a few extras. I do things like this often, for another dinner)

Each mix serves 4 as a side, and only needs water and olive oil added.  With the two mixes it made about 6 hearty, main dish servings, when served with the sweet potato and bread.
It also only takes about 15 minutes start to finish

Just heat and eat

I served with a side of garlic herb bread that I showed you how to make in this post

Enjoy!  Let me know if you try it.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Own Your House

Do you have something in your home that's bugs you?  Something that makes you feel annoyed, irritated, stressed, and no, ladies I'm not talking about your husbands or kids, HaHa!

I had this picture.  This picture that would just stare at me every time I walked by it.  It was in my bedroom in a place I liked to sit, relax, pray, do my daily devotions,  read etc.

It reminded me of sad and stressful things that have happened to me in my I replaced it with happy pictures.

Pictures of my husband and kids making happy memories and having fun together.   I don't know why it took me so long to do this, but I'm glad I did.  Why don't you look around your house ad fix something that bothers or upsets you today.  You'll be so glad you did!

Thanks for stopping by, and have a blessed weekend.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Healthy Delicious Garlic Herb Bread

I buy a multi pack of these wheat sub rolls/ baguettes at Sam's.  They are $3.84 for a pack of 6, which I think is a great buy.  They are made freshly each day, and every time I've been there they have plenty at the bakery.

I cut these in half lengthwise

Then I spread pesto on some

and olive oil, garlic pepper blend, garlic salt, basil and parmesan on the others

these are some of the ingredients I use

after I prep these I put the loaves back together, and cut them in half like so

I then put 4 half loaves per gallon size bag, zip it most of the way shut, stick a straw in and suck out the remaining air.  This is my way of vacuum sealing.

Last label the bag and freeze.

Bake these in the oven at about 375 degrees for 8-10, or open loaves and place face down on a grill for just a few minutes.  Either way they're great!

These are delicious and much, much healthier than the store bought garlic bread with the yellowish, orangish "spread" on them.

You could also spread marinara sauce and shredded mozzarella on these and make french bread pizzas
Enjoy and let me know how these turn out.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Look What I found at Pier One

These flowers were only .98 a piece.  I put them in a vase with wine corks, cause that's what I had on hand, but I think they would look much better in rice.  I'll pick up a bag next time I go to the store.

These were only .48 apiece.  They were probably clearanced because they are fall flowers, but what do I know; I'm not much of a gardener.  Besides I like them and that's what matters.

Thanks for stopping by.  Hope you find some great deals while your out this weekend.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Organizing Part 2

In this post I thought I'd focus on organizing the closet, the master closet specifically.  Again I know it's a little wierd, but I love organizing my closet.  I love hanging my clothes, folding clothes, and placing my shoes and purses just so for maximum efficiency.

Since I love all of this so much, I thought I could share a few tips that would be helpful to those who aren't quite as compulsive as I.

1.  Keep a bag to donate in or near your closet.  I purge on a weekly basis any clothes, shoes, and accessories that I don't need anymore.  A great time to do this is when your folding the laundry.

2.  Keep a least a finger width between hangers.  I know this sound a little much, but it makes the clothes look and hang so much nicer, and allows you to see what's hanging much more easily.

3.  Organize in a way that works for you, so that it's easy to get dressed in the morning.   I group like colors together, and arrange color grouping short to long sleeve.

4.  Clean your closet now and then.  The closet get dusty and dirty just like the rest of the house.  Take a few minutes now and then to use the vacuum, or mop and dust cloth.

5.  Keep shoes and accessories organized in a way that works best for you, and I can't stress enough purge regularly anything you haven't used for awhile.

6.  My last tip would be that less is more.  This is huge, but so many have trouble with this concept.  It makes life easier.  There are many others less fortunate than you, who could really use what's just collecting dust in your closet.   A few guidelines that may help you decide if you should hang on to an item.

Does the item make you look good?
Does the item fit?
Is the piece giving you the image you want to project to others?
Have you worn the item within the last 6 months?
If you answered no to any of these questions it's time to donate.

Here's a peek inside my closet

Hubby's side

My side

Workout area

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Organizing Part 1

This week I'm focusing on organizing my home and I thought I'd share a few tips that I find helpful.

Today I'm focusing on organizing  the refrigerator.  I know, I know try to contain your excitement...most of us hate to do this, and therefore don't do it often enough.  I actually enjoy organizing (don't be jealous, it's a blessing and a curse).  Like you all know, when you like something you're good at it.  I consider myself to be an efficient organizer, so here's how I keep my fridge in order.

1)  I put leftovers toward the front.  In this way they get eaten, saving time and money on food prep.
2)  I keep all beverages on the top shelf, and on one door shelf.
3)  I keep products in containers, some dairy, eggs, and leftover on the second shelf.
4)  I keep bread products and nuts on the forth shelf.  It is best to store raw nuts in the fridge if possible.  
     Salted and roasted nuts are fine in the pantry as the salt/sugar preserves them.
5)  Cheese and meat are in the small drawer.
6)  The middle drawer contains my produce that needs to be in a crisper.
7)  The bottom drawer contains produce that needs to stay dry like onions, garlic, and potatoes.  Potatoes    
      are best kept in the pantry, as long as your house is cool.
8)  On the door I have butter or butter spread on top
9)  Next is olives, pickles, capers, soy sauce, minced garlic and such
10)  condiments below that
11)  beverages
12)  sweet stuff, like preserves maple syrup whipped cream, peanut butter

I arrange my freezer as well

1)  I keep meat in the two upper sections
2)  Next breakfast items and frozen snack/appetizers
3)  Below that is lunch items
4)  In the bottom drawer I keep frozen veggies
On the door I keep ice packs, ice cream or desserts, boxed frozen veggies, chopped frozen veggies (this is what I call my freezer pantry),  and single serve frozen dinners and pancakes or waffles.

My refrigerator doesn't always stay or look like this, but it IS what I go bak to when it gets disorganized.

One thing you'll notice is that I don't have an overly abundant amount of food, and I did just do a full weeks grocery shopping.  It is so much easier with your refrigerator, and with everything else I can think of, to keep organized when you have less.

Trust me when I say that keeping your refrigerator organized will save you SOOO much time and money.


Friday, January 8, 2010

Look What My Son Helped me Do!

Things have been looking so drab outdoors lately.  It's just been so darn cold, and I needed a little pick me up.  This project did just the trick.  I can't stop looking outside!

We found these stones around our property, and on vacant land in our neighborhood.

This didn't cost one dime; just a lot of elbow grease.

I'd say it was worth it wouldn't you?

I was so happy with the way this turned out that I'm planning to go all the way around the side and front of my house with these stones.  Now, imagine it in the spring with beautiful green grass and flowers in the beds.  I think I have spring fever already!  Won't it look great?

Thursday, January 7, 2010

By Popular Demand

I was told by multiple people I that I MUST blog about a dip I prepared over the holidays.  I served this on Christmas day as well as at a neighborhood Christmas party.

Here is the recipe for my olive ricotta dip, by Rachel Ray

    • 1 cup large olives with pimiento
    • 1 clove garlic
    • 1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened
    • 1 cup ricotta cheese
    • 1/2 cup chopped hazelnuts, toasted
    • 1 sliced whole-grain baguette
    • Parmesan pita crisps, store-bought
    • 1 celery heart, cut into sticks


    Preheat oven 425 degrees F.
    Place olives in food processor and grate in garlic, add cream cheese and ricotta cheese. Pulse the cheese and olives into a fairly smooth spread. Transfer to a serving bowl and top with hazelnuts. Toast the bread on a baking sheet 5 to 10 minutes to lightly crisp. Surround the spread with bread, pita crisps and celery.

I served this with celery sticks and various whole grain crackers.  It was a huge hit!

This was also easy enough to double, which I did for my two different holiday gatherings.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

A few Good Deals

Here are a few cheap get healthy offers.

If you resolved to improve your health this year, is offering several health-related magazine subscriptions for $5 through Saturday (1/9/10).
Here are a few good ones:
Check out these and additional health & fitness magazine deals
Thanks, Coupon Cravings

Also A great deal from snapfish
Have some of those holiday photos printed with the coupon code NewYear50  for 50 4x6 prints for 50 cents and if your a new customer they will give you an additional 20 free!

Sunday, January 3, 2010

What I've Been up To

So I've been a bit MIA lately, but I wanted to wish you all a belated Happy New Year, and show and tell you what I've been up to.  

I Planned a surprise 40th birthday party for by husband.

Christmas was wonderful as usual!

Belated Christmas with the in-laws

Hiking in the mountains

We met friends from high school on a New years trip to the mountains.

Me and my oldest son

Me and hubs

Me and my was cold!!!

Snow tubing, what a blast!!!

sunset in the mountains

I'm so glad the holidays are finally over!   I know this is hard for many of you to understand, but I actually love January.  I love the time to clean, purge, organize, redecorate, reevaluate, donate, set new goals for me and my family, and get our finances in order.  

I hope you'll check back with me this month to see what I've been cleaning and organizing and hopefully I'll be saving a little money in the process.