Monday, April 29, 2013

Russian chicken

What's for dinner tonight?  Do you ever get tired of trying to figure that out?  Boy I do!  That's why I love having several different, easy, fast go to meals.  This is one of them.   I got this recipe from my Aunt C years ago, and it has been a family favorite ever since.  This is not a low carb recipe, though you could use sugar free jam in it and that would help a little on the carb count.

I love to cut my chicken up bite size.  You can do strips or whole breasts if you want to though.  The bite size just seem to have more of the goodness seeped into it.

We love to eat this over rice or with a baked potato and some veggies.  
I hope you love it as much as we do!

Russian Chicken
1 8 0z. bottle of Russian Dressing
1 cup Apricot or Peach Jam
1 pkg. Dry Onion Soup Mix

Mix all together in a glass baking dish and cover
Bake 350 for 1 hour

Keeping it Simple

Friday, April 26, 2013

The Laundry Room Crisis

How many of you have a clean and organized laundry room right this very minute?  This is how mine looks on a good day.  There is always clothes drying on the rack.  A pile of dirty laundry on the floor.  A basket or two to work around, and folded laundry on the washer and dryer.  Yes, I know I am lucky to have a laundry room.  A lot of you have small spaces to contend with.  I am grateful for this space.  My spaces before where very small, a corner really in an unfinished dark, damp basement.  I never left clothes on the floor because of the spider issue I had. (I so HATE spiders)  However, after 9 years in this home I need to re-think my laundry room.  I have never painted in here or even hung a decoration.  The rugs are old ones from my kitchen.  As I visit my favorite blogs, and see beautiful pictures on Pinterest, I dream of a laundry space that is not only functional,  but so inviting that I would want to go into the space and enjoy what I am doing.  Right now this space raises my blood pressure, and I so don't like being in here to do anything.  It's always a mess, so congested and you can barely get the laundry done.

My Laundry Room

So LOVE my ironing board! It has been a great thing having it in the wall, between the studs.  However, notice how close it is to my Craft closet doors.  When it's down, it gets in the way of the doors ALL of the time.  Especially when we need to be in the craft closet and ironing at the same time.  (Like when we sew quilt blocks).  I also sometimes use it as a folding center.  Comes in handy if I'm really far behind in laundry. But this space is definitely congested with the rack, closet, basket, garbage can and so close to the washer and dryer.   It's a one woman spot, I go nuts when one of my children come in here to visit while I fold laundry or iron.  

 The Craft Closet

When I saw this space on my house plans and realized I couldn't afford cabinets here I didn't want to waste the space.  I had the builder put in this closet.  My grandmother had something similar in her home, and I thought it would be a great use of space.

Inside the Craft Closet

It has some issues.  It's great space, but so hard to get to and I am so not using it to it's fullest potential.
Last spring I started to organize this space because it was truly a nightmare.  But like many things in my home I started and got to overwhelmed with the "What should I do with that? And the, How can I solve that?"  I gave up and shut the doors and just cuss the thing everything every time I open it.  I do love having this space.  I'm not a huge crafter/sewer lady, but I do a few things and a girl has got to have somewhere to store all the stuff.

Cabinets above the washer and dryer.

Notice that there is so  much wasted space above my cabinets.  We have 9ft ceilings in here.  Surely there is a way to use that space that would help keep my clutter under control.

So need to do something about this chaos!  
Every time I open this cupboard I cringe.
What was I looking for?  

Cabinet next to the washer and dryer.  
Love my sink!  Every laundry room needs a sink.

Showing all my messes is quite liberating for me!  See all you friends of mine who think my home is so clean and perfect.  Look again!  But PLEASE don't judge me.

Having a rod to hang clothes right from the dryer has been awesome!  The storage solutions for around the sink are desperately needed however!

The final spot in our room tour..The broom closet.

This closet is behind the door that you enter the room in.  Banging doors!  What a pain this is!  Especially when you are trying to get the vacuum out of the closet and around all the clutter issues that are on the floor.   My hubby thinks we should take the doors off, I however am not sure I can handle seeing all the messes that are lurking behind those doors. 

What's in here you say?  A little of everything.  Coats that are hardly ever worn.  The brooms, mops, vacuum and all its parts, the humidifiers, and helmets.

Ok, now that I have barred it all so to speak...let me share my plan of what I hope to accomplish in the room.

The Plan
Clean out every nook and cranny!
Buy containers/organizers to solve some of the clutter issues.
New rug
Paint entire room and trim
Drying Rack
Knobs on Cabinets
Towel bar
Jar for detergent
Jar for pocket finds
Craft closet organization
Hamper of some sort
Soap dispenser
New Ironing board cover
Something on the counter in craft closet to keep it from getting marked up.

I hope to do all of this on a 400 dollar budget.  We will see how close I come.  I always tend to go over.

What do you think about my space?  Have any great ideas for me?  I can't wait to get started!

Keeping it Simple

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Allergies Got Ya Down?

We have allergies at this house big time.  There isn't one of us that isn't affected in some way or another.  In fact I have a daughter who has to have weekly allergy shots just to keep things under control.  Here are some of the things that we do that have helped the most besides a shot or the over the counter allergy drugs that we all take. 

This is an Air Purifier we have two in our home.  Those with the worst allergies sleep with these running all night long.  During the day I move them around the house.  Some day we will have more.  It has really helped a lot and I am so amazed and grossed out when I have to change the filters on this because, WOW! does it get dirty and I just can't believe there is that much crud we are breathing in everyday.

Humidifiers are so important with allergies and illnesses of the respiratory system.  Keeping the right humidity can be a challenge.  We live in a very dry climate, and we all have very dry skin at our house.

Some of us use nasal irrigation to help keep things washed out.  It has made a huge difference especially for me because I was always getting sinus infections.  Now hardly ever do I get one.  I know it sounds gross and uncomfortable.  Really it isn't and it feels so sooting.  Give it a try.  My daughter likes the syringe and I like the pot.  We use sea salt and sometimes we like to put a dash of colloidal silver in too.

And this is the picture of my daughters box of Allergy serum that we take to a clinic every week where she receives a shot.  If you have some chronic allergies and are suffering with asthma or eczema or congestion.  This might be a good option for you.  It can be a hassle at times.  My daughter has severe eczema.  This has really been a answer for her and has totally changed her life.

Hope you feel better.

Keeping it Simple 

Monday, April 22, 2013

Chocolate Vanilla Cream Pie

My mom always made this yummy pudding pie when we were growing up. It is one of my favorites.

Yes, now you know my secret.  I don't EVER make homemade pie crusts.  I can't really say why, other than I just don't like to.  So,  I buy Pillsbury or Marie Calendars.   It works.  They're good and it saves me time.  

So first bake your pie crust. 

Then mix up the chocolate pudding and pour into your pie crust.  Let set.

Then mix up the vanilla pudding and pour carefully over top the chocolate pudding.

Then top with cool whip and grated hershey's bar.  Yummy and way fast!

What I love about this is, I can keep all of these things on hand pretty much all of the time. When I need a fast dessert to take to someone or if I want to treat my family I'm all set.  It is so fast and so easy.


Keeping it Simple

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Friday, April 19, 2013

Dutch Oven In The Oven

I love one pan meals!  This is so easy and so Yummy!  I love to make this on Sundays because it can cook while I'm at church and when you come home to the smell of this...Oh, it really is quite heavenly.

This meal is also perfect to take to someone who is sick or recovering from surgery or having a baby.

Dutch Oven in the Oven

1 large oven pan
1 large whole cut up chicken
6-8 carrots
4-5 potatoes
3-4 onions (don't worry it won't it won't be oniony the more onions the sweeter it is.)
2 cans Cream of Chicken Soup

You can brown the chicken on the top of the stove in a little cooking oil if you want to.  I don't.  Add the vegetables.  I add a little bit of water like 1 cup.  Then spread 2 cans of cream of chicken soup over and salt and pepper. Put in oven covered at 325 degrees for about 2-3 hours.  This dish is a old family favorite.  The kids get so excited when I make this.  It has lots of sauce and is so good left over too.


Keeping it Simple

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Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Mexican Layered Casserole

I was diagnosed 2 years ago with insulin resistance.  My doctor put me on a Low Carb diet.  Its been a challenge to say the least.  I have been trying lots of new recipes only to be disappointed in the flavor and overall yumminess of it.  But I have found a few things my family and I really love.  Here's one of them.

Mexican Layered Casserole

1 pound ground beef
1 packet of Taco Seasoning
1/2 med onion
2 gloves garlic
1-1 1/5 block of cream cheese (softened)
Chopped tomato
Chopped Lettuce
Shredded Cheese
Salsa or favorite taco sauce (optional)

Brown Hamburger with onions, and garlic until fully cooked.  Add in taco seasoning mis,  Stir together.  When fully cooked and mixed, pour into square casserole dish and let cool for 5-8 minutes.  Spread softened cream cheese on the top making sure it is spread evenly over the ground beef and covered.  Sprinkle shredded Cheese on top.  Put lettuce and tomatoes over the shredded cheese.  Add salsa or taco sauce if desired.  Refrigerate the leftovers.  

We like to scoop this out and eat with chips or put it on a tortilla.  It is kind of like 7 layered taco dip.  Hope you enjoy.

Keeping it Simple 

Monday, April 15, 2013

Master Closet Clean Out

How many times do you open a closet and think..."I really need to clean this out. It's such a mess. I can't find what I'm looking for and it doesn't smell fresh." This is how I have felt about our master bedroom closet. Now, I have to say that I am constantly straighting and cleaning up closets around here, but I have never totally taken everything out of this closet and really did a through deep clean.

What will we find behind those doors?...

I know! It's a little deceiving.  You thought I had just a standard closet didn't you? My closet measures 9 1/2ft wide and 4 ft deep with 9ft ceiling.  The way our home is laid out it had to be this way instead of a more standard walk in closet.  I have loved it .. But WOW! What a mess!

As you can see we have some clutter issues going on and we need to refold and re-color coordinate again.  My sweet husband loves it when I spend some time in our closet and reorganize his things...just as long as I don't throw anything away.  I need to ask first.  Which I'm ok with that.

The shoes have gotten out of control! It's obvious by the dust we haven't worn some of them in quite a while. And the bags...  I have been making a few purchases for summer and when I can't decide what I want to keep for sure this is what I do with them,  I store them on the closet floor.

My Hubby has a hard time sometimes keeping things folded... we may need to work on that, or on a solution for hiding that a little better.  

WOW!  I didn't realize just how much we had in this closet.  Do we really need all of this?  I really think that is the BIGGEST question you have to ask yourself when you are cleaning out a closet or a drawer.  Do we need it?  What purpose does it have?  Can I live with out it?  What do I really want this space to look like and how do I want it to function?  We have to let go in order to have what we really want. 

As my closet got more empty and my room more messy and filled with the things from my closet, I was astonished!  WOW!  Look at all of my space!  I really like it empty.  It feels clean and big and I love it that way.  Of course I have to put the stuff back.  But it's not all coming back...

I sorted and vaccumed and wiped everything wall and shelf down.  I deodorized the carpet with baking soda...OH, it smells clean and fresh.

I was AMAZED at what I found!  A lot of trash...things that aren't even worthy to go to good will.  I can't believe how dusty everything was...this has got to be part of the musty, dusty smell we both couldn't stand.

It looks great and feels great but I am on the hunt now for some baskets to hide some of my hubby's clothes that he can't seem to keep in this state of folded:)  A hat rack of some sort for his hats, they really need a home.  The bins you see at the top of my closet hold gifts for my children's up coming birthdays or christmas.  I would like to have that looking better as well.   

I can't believe how happy this makes me!  I love clean and organized spaces.  I'll let you know what solutions I come up with to solve my closet dilemmas.  Oh, and what to do about all that wasted space at the top of my closet.  9ft ceilings are tall.  I'm sure I can come up with something to better use that space.
If you have any suggestions or ideas for me. I would love to hear.  Leave a comment.

Keeping it Simple

Friday, April 12, 2013

Peach Jell-0

Jell-0...Who doesn't like Jell-o? I grew up eating all sorts of variations of Jell-O. I really like it. I know a lot of people who don't know how or what to do with Jell-O. I thought I would share a favorite. Jell-0 is always better if you add fruit to it and the fruit juice. I can a lot of our fruit but you can use frozen or canned fruit.

Peach Jell-O
1 large box of Peach Jell-O
Follow the instructions on box, but when adding the second cups of water add some of the fruit juice. Add in the fruit. I never have a problem with it setting up. Then top with cool whip is you so desire.


Keeping it Simple

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Sausage scrambled Eggs

Sausage eggs are so easy and you can easily get two mornings of yummy breakfast.  I like to buy sausage in bulk.  Then I divide it up into what we need for each breakfast.  Put it into a ziplock freezer bag and freeze.  Then when you want some sausage just pull out...defrost 1 minute in the microwave and then throw it into your pan and brown.  Then add eggs, grated cheese and salt and pepper to taste.  When you add sausage to your eggs you get such a yummy flavor.  And the BEST part is left overs.  That's right the eggs still taste great the second day.  Especially for a breakfast burrito. So cook one morning and the next  just warm up in the microwave.

Usually I would make up a pan of these Yummy sausage eggs and we eat them just like this.  I serve it with muffins or just toast and fruit.  Then the next day we have burritos.  We just add what we want of the eggs onto a tortilla then cheese and salsa.  Yummy and way easy and fast!

For my family of 6 this I use like 1 sausage patty (you don't need a lot) so 1/4-1/2 of a pound of sausage.  Then like 12-16 extra large eggs.  I get my eggs from a neighbor and they are huge.  This feeds all six of us breakfast one morning and 3 of us the next day.  Not all of us like burritos.


Keeping it Simple

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Italian Chicken Carrot Potato Bake

I saw a recipe on Pinterest but I wasn't totally excited about it, but thought I could tweak just a few things and it would be great. It was great! My family likes flavor and I love simple. This recipe has both.  I hope you enjoy it.

Italian Chicken Carrot Potato Bake

Spuds( red or russets)
Boneless skinless chicken breasts

Put desired amount for your family in a casserole dish and sprinkle with Italian dressing dry packet. Then sprinkle with parsley, cut up butter chunks and spread evenly over carrots and spuds. Put a clove of garlic in the pan too, it adds great flavor. Bake 350 for 1 hr or until cooked.

What I love about this is you can adjust the amount of food so easily.


Keeping it Simple

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

We love our Sammy!

Salmon is by far one of my most favorite foods.  Anytime my hubby takes me out to dinner I usually order salmon.  It is so good for you.   I try and make this for my family at least once a month.  My kids love it.

This is my seasonings I sprinkle over salmon.  

I mix them up and store in this container.  You only need a little.  It has quite a punch of flavor.

Spice for Salmon

1/2 tsp Garlic Powder
1/4 tsp Cayenne Pepper
1/2 tsp Salt
1/2 tsp Pepper
1/4 tsp Paprika
mix together and store in a container.

Sprinkle to desired season.

We bake, or grill our salmon.  Either way, I do it the same.  I spray my pan or tin foil,( if I'm grilling) with PAM.  Then I place salmon in the pan, sprinkle seasonings on it and top with a sliced lemon.  Sometimes I drizzle a little lemon juice over the salmon too. Now bake or grill until Salmon flakes off with a fork.  It shouldn't be red...but be careful not to over cook it.

Notice how red my salmon is.  The red salmon is the best! 
 I buy mine from Zaycon Foods, or at Sam's Club.

One of my most FAVORITE dinner.  Let's eat!


Keeping it Simple

Monday, April 8, 2013

Linen & The Loo

I heart organizing March monthly challenge was Linens & The Loo. Was I up for the challenge? You bet! So I went to work on our bathroom tower cabinet. This pretty much holds everything that use to be in our linen closet in our other homes. Our current home , which we've lived in for the past 9 years does not have a linen closet. I wanted one but when we built due to floor plan and budget restrictions we didn't have the room. So we did this tall set of cabinets in our master bathroom. It holds everything but the sheets.

This cabinet is quite deep.  It's very hard to see everything and my children are constantly asking where things are.  What do I spy, another shelf sitting on the top shelf.   Do you mean to tell me these past nine years I could of had another shelf to help tame this mess!   

Well lets roll our sleeves up and get to work!  I had no idea all the stuff I would find in this cupboard.  I am kind of embarrassed it has gotten this bad.

Next I started sorting like things into piles.  WOW!  We have a lot of big bandaids and no little ones.  Crazy!  This is what happens when you don't clean out your cabinet in two years.  

Then I made a quick stop to my local Dollar Tree store for some cheap yet functional plastic containers.  OH! How lovely this looks!  I am LOVING THIS!  Why have I put this off?

This lazy susan was already in the cabinet.  It was just holding a lot of old stuff we never used.  Now it holds what we use every day.

Pulled out my trusty label maker and labeled all the bins, so the kiddos and hubby knows what's in there and don't mess it up....hopefully. 


Now my sheet storage......

This cabinet is above my washer in my laundry room.
Let's take a peek inside shall we......

Not too bad...It hasn't been too long since I went through this cabinet.  

There that is PERFECT!

I hope this has inspired you to clean out a cupboard today...Don't forget to wash out the cupboard.  It's so great to have at least one clean spot in my home.

Keeping it Simple 

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