Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Eating Locally 'In Season' In Michigan Year Round, Some Meat Recipes for a change~ Rabbit In Sour Cream and Chicken Tagin

Eating locally is a way of life... a mind set... a position in the community... a thought process... You either believe it is better for you and your family or you don't.  For Localvors and Foodies...  you get it... that is the best way I can describe you...  We are not grocery store shoppers loading our carts with packages filled with chemical processes that 'they' call food! This is a subject that is continually attracting more and more attention from the media and concerned people who are being daily poisoned by the garbage on the grocery store shelves... pink slime anyone?  People are trying to take back their natural right to eat 'real food'! I often refer in my blogs on how to grow and raise your own food, but I realize and am utterly aware that this is just not a possibility for all of you reading this... my heart aches because of that. I also realize that not everyone really wants to do it themselves but loves the sheer fact they can support some of us who do... and with that I say 'thanks'.  Over the next few blog posts I am going to touch base on how to practice, support and incorporate this into your life from both perspectives... thanks for joining me!

Happy Galvanting Chickens at our farm!
So what does it mean to eat seasonally you may be wondering. You get the locally part... even though we still eat banana's~ yes I do too... but seasonally, now that can be a challenge.  Many simply don't have the ability to grow & raise their own. So what do you do then? Well again, support your local farmers markets. In most major cities there are year round farmers market. Our farm started The Old Winery Farmers Market two years ago in Farmington, Michigan. Farmington already had a wonderful and vibrant May through November market, which we have been vendors at for the last five years. Yet it  lacked the much desired Winter Market... so was born The Old Winery (see our web site). We are not the only winter market in the metro Detroit area, not at all. Michigan can boast of two of the oldest markets, Eastern Market, Detroit and Royal Oak Farmers Market, Royal Oak and ours of course, The Old Winery Farmer's Market to name just a few!  Although TOWFM is not as old, our building is, we are located in Farmington's Historic Old Winery building.

Lettuces and Tomatoes growing in one of
our hoop houses.
With so much study on Season Extension growing methods, much done by Michigan State University, including heated and unheated high tunnels (green houses) we here in Michigan and in other Northern climates can grow fresh salad greens, spinach, lettuces along with carrots & beets to name a few. We have the ability to store Root Storage crops like apples, onions, cabbage, winter squash, rutabaga, carrots, celery, Brussels sprouts, pumpkins, even tomatoes for a certain amount of time... (lots more on this in a couple months).  We have the ability to store grains, make home made pasta and bread from those grains. Seriously, this is such a huge topic, I couldn't do it justice in the small amount of time I have here. Personal research is key to any type of learning process... so research!

With all this we should take into consideration that there is no reason why we can't eat seasonally to some degree.

So, what to do then...
*If it's an option grow and raise as much as you can on your own and then what you can't, find local farmers/producers who can.
*Shop local at the Farmer's Market in your community.
*Find a Winter Farmer's Market near you and shop there.
*Join a CSA~ many have summer and winter share options.
*Find a Co-op~ they will have access to seasonally produced goods.
*Know your farmer/ producer... shake their hands and talk awhile.
*Search the web for farmers/ producers in your area if you don't know any, and then, get to know them. Let them be your farmers. that tells you who to go to, but what about what to eat... next time we will discuss that! Keep posted for more!

A regular market friend gave me these two recipes... she is an incredible cook I believe... enjoy from me & Mary Margaret!
(Rabbit Russian style)  Rabbit in Sour Cream adapted from

Time:  approx. 1 1/2 hours

1 3-5 lb rabbit, cut into 10-12 pieces
1 medium onion, coarse chopped
2 cups sour cream
1/2 cup dry white wine
2 TBS brandy
3 TBS unsalted butter, melted
2 bay leaves
pinch nutmeg
salt (to taste)
ground black pepper (to taste)

1. Brown the rabbit.  Either saute in the butter or bush pieces with butter and
broil until light brown.
2. Place pieces in bottom of a warm Dutch oven or heavy casserole.
3. Saute onion in remaining butter until golden, about 10 minutes.
4. Drain the onions then add to the rabbit.
5. Whisk together sour cream, wine and brandy.  Pour over the rabbit and onion.
6. Bring to simmer, add nutmeg, salt (can omit), pepper and bay leaf.
7. Cover and simmer over low heat, or if broiled, place in 350-degree oven for
45 minutes.

Chicken Tagine with Preserved Lemon, Green Olives and Thyme from Tagines &
Couscous by Ghillie Bashan

Time:  2 hours plus 2 hours marinating

1  7-lb chicken or 8-10 thighs
2 TBS olive oil plus pat of unsalted butter
2 preserved lemons (NOT fresh lemons)*
6-7 oz cracked green Greek olives (NOT pimento-stuffed cocktail olives)
1-2 tsp dried thyme

1 large onion, grated or minced fine
3-5 garlic cloves, crushed
1 inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and grated leaves from 1 small bunch
cilantro, minced pinch of saffron threads
1 fresh lemon, juiced
1 tsp coarse sea salt
3-4 TBS olive oil
black pepper

1. Make the marinade by mixing ingredients in a small bowl.
2. Cut up the chicken into serving pieces if not using thighs, remove skin and place in shallow flat-bottom pan.
3. Coat pieces with the marinade, loosely cover with foil and refrigerate at least 1 1/2 to 2 hours.
4.Heat the olive oil with butter, remove chicken from marinade (reserve marinade) and  either

(1) saute chicken in a heavy casserole or tagine or (2) place pieces in a jelly roll or shallow metal pan, brush pieces then broil till lightly brown.
1. If broiled, place chicken in heavy casserole, dutch oven or tagine** with reserved marinade.  Add just enough water or stock to come halfway up the chicken.
2. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer 45 minutes.  Turn pieces from time to time.
3. Slice the preserved lemons into strips.  Rinse and drain the olives if packed in liquid.  Add to the tagine with half the thyme.
4. Recover and simmer 20 minutes more, then salt and pepper to taste.  Sprinkle remaining thyme on top before serving.
Serve with plain couscous.

*Preserved lemons are available in Zingerman's of Ann Arbor and many Middle Eastern groceries.  They are better homemade, but only if you use them frequently enough to be worthwhile.

**Tagines (ta-ZHEENs) are conical North African pots, either earthenware or heavy metal.  While a cast iron Dutch oven works fine, presentation is more authentic with a tagine.  Many cookware shops carry them or can order one for you.
Notes:  I prefer to brown meats under the broiler to reduce fat and
spatter/mess.  I also either eliminate salt or use next to none.  Herbs and
spices taste better anyway.  If you don't know how to butcher a chicken (for
2d recipe), Mark Bittman's method on the New York Times website is very
quick and easy to do.

Happy Day,


Saturday, August 18, 2012

Coming Soon....

Hello my friends!  Keep watch this week, I will be touching base on Eating Locally as well as seasonally.  Canning season is full swing here at the home front and my time is limited to how much time I get to spend doing 'this' love of my life...

Now is the a perfect time to be seeding those beautiful Heirloom Lettuces.

Stayed tuned this week for some great photo's and tips on eating local & in season in the coming months of Autumn and yes, Winter!

Happy Day,

Friday, August 10, 2012

More on Organization: Working on Menu Planning & Grocery Lists, The Organized Home Makers 10 Commandments (adapted from the FlyLady!) & More Yummy Market Fresh Recipes!

I don't mind cooking, it's not my favorite thing to do, but we gotta eat right?  Taylor is the one who is in love with being in the kitchen. It's funny though... she firsts loves to bake~ that is my least favorite; she likes to cook and I don't mind, especially with garden fresh goodies; she doesn't mind canning, but I love it and we are both OK with yeast baking stuff~ although I will say, I like that a bit more than her... but neither one of us can make a pie crust to save our lives~ honestly... we just have never been able to master that! Taylor would be happy to sit in a rocking chair with a pile of cookbooks and cooking mag's where I would be there with my gardening ones!  We balance each other out I guess...
Anyway lets head into the last of this series on Organization with Menu Planning and Grocery Lists... be sure to check out my blog spots & web site for lots of great photo's to go along with the post!

NEXT SERIES of blog posts will focus on Eating In Season. It will be based on some great ideas from another one of my favorite books, "Animal, Vegetable, Miracle", by Barbara Kingsolver with Steven L Hopp and Camille Kingsolver.  this book gives a journal of this families life when they made a decision to eat locally and seasonally. We have tried to incorporate this into our families life... 
*Menu Planning~
(see a sample of a weekly menu attached!) I love to make my life simpler in the way of the everyday stuff that needs to be done... like preparing meals for my family.  I would rather take a day and sit down with a few of my favorite cookbooks and make a couple months worth of menus so I don't have to think about what to make!  Taylor & I do run out of ideas and our meals can quickly fall into a rut of the same stuff over and over again!  "What's for supper tonight?" can quick become spaghetti all too often without menus!  I am sure many of us can relate to that!  Here are a few tips in menu planning:
*First take 1-3 of your favorite cookbooks and 2 blank monthly calenders and a PENCIL! Don't take more than this... you will get side tracked!
*Be sure when you start you take into consideration what days off children might have from school, regular extra curricular activities happening, each family members day's off for whoever may work outside the home. (Don't plan a favorite meal for someone when they won't even be home for it!)
*Before you even go into the cookbooks, fill in a few of the day's with some meals that you know each family member enjoys... think about the groceries each meal will take beforehand.  Fill in one breakfast, lunch and supper for each family member with their favorite thing over the two weeks of menus- don't duplicate any meal and don't include any deserts... YET.
*Now that you have several of the days & meals filled in decide if your family wants to have a 'night out' meal... jot in in the appropriate box. 
*Next, decide how often you want to have desert with meals... fill in accordingly.
*Now go to the cookbooks... I encourage you to try at least one new recipe each day that you have an opening.  This will be fun and will help you & your family make new favorites.  It will also help you from getting in a rut of the same old thing.

~Some extra tips when planning your menu: *Do you have a garden? Do you shop primarily at the Farmers Market during the season?  Do you have any of your own live stock that you raise? Do you have your own chickens for eggs? These should all play a factor in your menu planning.
*Take into consideration what season you are in... spring will hold more salads if you have a garden; summer will be the mother load of produce and will eliminate much grocery shopping for fresh produce, so incorporate meals that save you from buying 'stuff'; fall will give you more root crops and squashes as well as it being butcher time- plan accordingly.  
*Once your menus are done, you will see how easy it is. 
*Have your family members help when doing the menu.  This can be a fun family activity and sharing time of who liked and didn't like what!
*You now have two whole months planned out, and it was so much fun and so easy. If you feel adventurous try doing another month and plan it out seasonally. 
*Include this job in your control journal in one of your desk day jobs.

~Grocery Lists: ... are really not that complicated and won't take up too much time here.  Here are some tips from The Flylady and me!
*First thing I recommend is keeping a magnetic note pad or grocery list right on the front or at least the side of your fridge! Each time you run out of something jot it down or tick it off the pre-made list.
... Google 'grocery list' and you will be able to download anything you want!  Keep a master in your control journal and make a copy for each week, unless you have a pre-printed note pad.  Here are a few sites to try...

*You will need to go over your menu for the next week and shop accordingly.
*As I mentioned you can save a lot of money when you grow your own or at least eat seasonally. But if that is not an option for you shop the farmers market, which is the next best thing.  There are many winter farmers market as well that you can shop & support and still eat seasonally with root crops, storage crops and fresh greens. I will go into that more this fall!
*Stick to the list when you go to the grocery store.  I am sure most of you shop at several stores for different items. As I mentioned earlier I do the majority of grocery shopping at two stores, one being a local bulk food store.  I do some of the house hold shopping for toiletries at yet another.  Have a list for each store and coupons/ ad's to go with each.
I always make sure I have my grocery list, coupons and shopper bags ready to go.
*If you have empties to return, be sure they are ready to go and in the trunk.
*Don't go shopping when you are hungry... you WILL buy things you normally don't because 'they look good' at the time!

~To end our organization series I would like to incorporate my version of  The Organized Homemakers 10 Commandments adapted by me from the FlyLady's!
1. Thou shalt start your day with meditation and prayer-fulness to get it off on the right foot.
2. Thou shalt keep your sink clean and shiny and your counters free of dirty and clean dishes.

3. Thou shalt get fully dressed and wear shoes... this I agree with the FlyLady wholeheartedly!
4. Thou shalt stick to your daily routines by using your control journal faithfully.
5. Thou shalt not get side tracked by the computer or anything else... stay focused.
6. Thou shalt pick up after yourself... put everything in its place as soon as you are done with it... set the example!
7. Thou Shalt stick to one project at a time and use the P.M.S. guild faithfully!
8. Thou shalt do something everyday for someone else as well as your self!
9. Thou shalt smile when you don't feel like it because it is contagious and remember to be happy!
10. Thou shalt end your day the way you started it... or at least the way you should have started it (see #1).

~Here are some easy recipe's to use up all that great garden produce that is piling in right now... or that you picked up at the Farmers Market! Enjoy friends!

 Italian Garden Frittata
6 egg whites
4 eggs
1/2 c grated Romano cheese, divided
1 tsp minced fresh sage
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1 small zucchini, sliced
1 small onion, diced
1 tsp olive oil
1 tomato thinly sliced

1. in a large bowl, whisk the egg whites, eggs, 1/4 c Romano cheese, sage salt & pepper; set aside.
2. In a 10 inch over proof skillet coated with cooking spray, sauté zucchini and onions in oil for 2 minutes.  Add egg mixture, cover & cook for 4-6 minutes or until eggs are nearly set.
Uncover; top with tomato slices & remaining cheese.  Broil 3-4 in. from the heat for 2-3 minutes or until eggs are completely set.  Let stand for 5 minutes.  Cut into wedges.

Veggie Stuffed Eggplant
1 medium eggplant
1/2 c chopped onion
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 c each chopped fresh mushrooms, chopped zucchini & chopped sweet bell pepper
3/4 c chopped tomatoes
1/4 c toasted wheat germ
2 tbsp minced fresh parsley
1/2 tsp thyme
1/4 tsp each salt 7 pepper
Dash crushed red pepper flakes
1 tbsp grated Parmesan cheese

1. cut eggplant in half lengthwise; remove pulp, leaving a 1/4 in. thick shell.  Cube pulp; set shells & pulp aside.
2. In a large nonstick skillet coated with cooking spray, sauté onion & garlic until onion is tender.  Add the mushrooms, zucchini, bell pepper & eggplant pulp;  sauté for 4-6 minutes or until vegetable are crisp tender.  Stir in the tomatoes, wheat germ, parsley, thyme, salt, pepper & pepper flakes; cool for 1 minute.
3. Divide mixture evenly between the eggplant shells; sprinkle with cheese,  place on a baking sheet.  Bake at 400 degrees for 20-25minutes or until shells are tender.

Happy Day,

Thursday, August 9, 2012

More Organizational Tips: De-clutter With Flyladies '27 Fling Boogie', Dining Room & Closets and Yummy Pasta with Veggies!

Personally I don't mind a bit of 'organized' clutter... now Flylady says there is no such thing but I disagree!  I like a homey look with a row of neat and dusted antique clay pitchers that top my bookshelf in my family room... I like the floral's and old blue mason jars that adorn the top of my kitchen cabinets and I like the three bowls that set as center pieces on my dining room table. I like 'details' in my decorating!  I can honestly say that 99% of my friends as well as acquaintances have told me over & over again that they have seen something or picked me up this or that because, in their words, "It looked just like you Jean!"  My friends know what I like because my home & gardens are a reflection of me. Now don't get me wrong... as I mentioned in a few blogs ago, my upstairs hallway is NOT ME!  It is dark paneling and really old, ugly carpet... it is my boys play space.  I realize that my home is not just a reflection of me, but also my family, I just like certain things and I like things to look a certain way... and that way just happens to  say "me"! My goal is to make our home both cozy & welcoming while allowing our children to be children. My challenge to you in all this is to do the same.  Don't decorate your home to 'please' others or even the latest & greatest trends... make you home yours & your families~ and have fun doing it!

Now on to the topic at hand~ Clutter and how to conquer it and organize it! (Be sure to keep watch, next time we will focus on tips How To De-clutter using the tools we've learned today!)
Clutter can take the best of us down... even the most organized person can start to accumulate 'stuff', especially when you have several other people living in the same house as you!  It gets worse when they are not as interested in organization as you are, but there is a way and the Flylady refers to as the 27 Fling Boogie in her book, "Sink Reflections".

The Following excerpt was taken from notes given at a class on organization focusing on this book:

De-clutter 15 Minutes a Day
- here are 4 great tools that make it super easy for anyone- they have been adapted from "Sink Reflections", by Marla Cilley.

1. The 27 Fling Boogie~
*We do this assignment as fast as we can. Take a garbage bag and walk through your home and throw away 27 items.  Do not stop until you have collected all 27 items.  Do not stop until you have collected all 27 items.  Then close the bag and pitch it! DO NOT LOOK IN IT! Just do it!
*Next, take an empty box and go through your home collecting 27 items to give away. As soon as you finish filling the box, take it to the car. You are less tempted to rescue the items.
*Rule of thumb: if you have two of any item and you only need one, get rid of the least desirable.
2. The Hot Spot Fire Drill~
*Here is a problem that we all have and continue to struggle with- Hot Spots! I mentioned this term a few posts ago, but here it is again.
*A Hot Spot is an area, when left unattended will gradually take over.  Like a hot spot in a forest fire, if left alone, will eventually get out of hand and burn up the whole forest.  This is what happens in our homes.  If left unattended, the hot spot will grow and take over the whole room as well as making the house look awful.  When you walk into a room, this is the first thing you see.

*CLUTTER ATTRACTS CLUTTER!  Do you have areas like this that continue to grow if left alone? Does the rest of the family see this as a place to put things when they do not want to put them where they belong? It is our job to nip this in the bud.  Get rid of the pile, find the surface underneath and stop this hot spot from becoming a raging clutter inferno.
*Do a few of these a day. Take five minutes per 'drill' and see if it doesn't help immensely.
3. The 5 Minute Room Rescue~
This is a reminder to spend just 5 minutes clearing a path in your worst room.  You know this area of your home; the place you would never allow anyone to see. Just 5 minutes a day for the next 27 days and you will have a place that you can be proud to take anyone!
4. Work In Your Zones~
*Each week we will be in a different Zone.  After a full month, you will have worked your way around the majority of living areas of your home.  do not worry if you have not gotten to every room in your house the first month.  As one area gets cleaned, it will become easier to do and you will have more time to face those areas that don't seem to fit in any zone.

~Tips To De-clutter: 
Once again the Flylady uses some specific techniques in her book to help de-clutter and one of those tools is a timer... see how! Taking 15 minutes each day to declutter an areas or zone , using the 27 fling and clearing your hot spots are some of the most powerful tools you can use to create a more peaceful home.
*When To De-clutter:  Decide how often you are going to de-clutter a zone.  do a little every day- use a timer- Only try to do a small amount at a time.  the house didn't get to be a mess overnight and it won't get perfect that fast either. Set the timer to do only two sessions at a time.
*De-cluttering Equipment: You will need garbage bags, boxes, magic markets, and a dust rag.  If you need to label the boxes- give away, throw away and put away.  Line the throw away box with the garbage bag.
*Set your timer:  Decide on the length of time you feel comfortable starting with- 10, 15, 30 or 60 minutes.  Do the job as fast as you can and do not pull out more stuff then you can put away in that length of time.  this means just one drawer, one closet, one magazine rack!  Not all of them at once.
*Start at the entrance to the room:  Then, work your way around the room clockwise.  Do not skip a spot. Whatever happens to be next, just do it.
*De-clutter Away:  With boxes at your feet and dust rag in your waistband, start off by cleaning out and getting rid of the things that do not belong in this room.  Don't worry if you don't have a place for everything right away.  By the time you finish you will.
*What to De-clutter?:  Things to ask yourself as you get rid of your clutter:
~do I love this item?
~Have I used it in the past year? 6 months?
~Is it really garbage?
~Do I have another one that is better?
~Should I really keep tow?
~Does it have sentimental value that causes me to love it?
~Or does it give me guilt and make me sad when I see the item?
Cleanse this room of everything that does not make you smile!
*Get rid of the garbage:  When the throw away box gets full, pull out the bag, close it, and put it in the trash can or wherever you keep your garbage. Put a new bag in the box and keep going until the timer goes off.
*Donations:  When this box gets full, put it in the trunk of your car and next time you are in town, drop it off.  Grab another box and keep going till the timer goes off.
*Put Away Stuff:  When this box is full, take the box in your arms and put everything in the box away where it belongs.  If you don't have a spot for them , then put them in a logical spot.  By the time you have finished you will have a place for everything and everything will be in it's place.
*Timer Goes off:  when the timer goes off, you have to put away all the boxes, but first you have to empty them all.  Do it quickly!

 Here are my Zone Cleaning check lists for:
~The Dining Room:
*Always start with a walk through.
*Dust: ceiling lines and corners of walls; all pictures/wall hangings/curtains; furniture- tables, chairs; Light fixture
*Wash windows; wash down window ledges; wash all glass on pictures, cabinets, etc.
*Wipe down cook stove; clean out ashes of cook stove during cool season months.
*Purge old papers from baskets/ newspaper crock/ cabinet drawer- children's stuff.
*Sweep & wash floor.
~Monthly chores:
*Take curtains down and wash
~Spring & Fall Cleaning chores:
*Wash down ceiling & walls plus all weekly & monthly chores.

~Closets: ...can be one of those Hot Spots we discussed yesterday! Here are a few ways to conquer the closets.
*Have 3 Baskets or boxes ready when you start your closet clean up:
1 for things that you are keeping and need to be put in their proper place.
1 for things that go to the resale shop
1 for things to be thrown away
... now go to it following the 27 fling boogie system... And don't look back!
*Pick up any clothes/coats that may have fallen down and rehang- straighten any clothing that is out of order
*Straighten shoes/boots-
*Straighten what is on the shelves and organize what is in there.
*Be sure to dust the corners
*Sweep or vacuum the floor
... couple tips...
*If you have a lot of shoes, invest in one of those shoe bags that hang on the back of any door and keep them in order.
*If you are fortunate enough to have a walk in closet, use shelves and racks along with totes to keep things in order.

*I love pasta and I love the bounty that comes out of our gardens... here is a wonderful combo of the two!

Linguini & Market Veggie Plate

8 ounce package Linguini Noodles- 
2 medium zucchini, halved & sliced
1/3 c chopped onion
1/4 c fresh basil, chopped
1 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
2 tsp each salt & pepper
2 tbsp Olive oil
2 tbsp butter
2 garlic cloves, minced
4 medium tomatoes, quartered
1 c shredded Mozzarella cheese
1/2 c shredded fresh Parmesan cheese

1. Cook spaghetti according to package directions.
2. Meanwhile, in a large skillet, saute the veggies, fresh herbs, & spices in butter & oil for 4-5 minutes or until vegetables are tender.  Add garlic & cook 1 minute longer.
3. Add tomatoes.  Bring to a boil.  Reduce heat, cook and stir for 2 minutes or until heated through.  Sprinkle with cheeses; cover & simmer for 2-3 minutes or until cheese is melted.
4. Drain spaghetti; serve with vegetable mixture. 

Happy Day,


Wednesday, August 8, 2012

More on Organization: Weekly Schedule At A Glance, Focused Event Days~ Errand & Desk Days, More Yummy Market Fresh Recipes!

Everyone that knows me knows I love to create schedules, make lists and have multiple day planners & calenders.  I love everything about organization. Over the years I realized that I inherited this trait from my mother... who I may say has even the labels of her spice jars and canned goods all facing in the same direction and to size... they even might be alphabetized- I've never dared look.  Her cupboards are immaculate and she never has dust. Mind you, it is just her and my dad and she only had me!  I am glad that I have this trait thanks to her... even though I never realized it while I was growing up.  It has only been since I have had a home of my own and my family have I realized all the important things she taught me... or at least tried to!  My 'other' mom, is also extremely organized~ she's actually the one who introduced me to The Flylady program.  She has helped me tremendously in many area's, especially with sewing 'stuff'.  Her material/craft closet is also immaculate and completely organized right up to type's of fabrics and colors.  Her craft stuff is always tidy and in it's place!  What wonderful examples I have been blessed with!  Anyway, back to schedules & lists...

Here is my Weekly Schedule At A Glance... this really has helped me in the past when I first started with this program!
*Please note that this doesn't include any of our farm related chores that we do here at the farm.  I am only focusing on the daily home chores that most of us face. (Be sure to keep watching, next time I will be focusing on Menu Planning and Grocery Shopping!)
*Use Put Away Basket Daily for my walk through's!

*Focus on what we have planned for the week through my P.M.S. list- do list of appts/calls/errands for the week.
*Back Entry zone cleaning, Bathroom & Upstairs Hallway, stairs- Ryan & Taylor
*Zone clean Kitchen~
clean out fridge; put clean foil on stove burners- Taylor/Mom

*Main floor of house- floors- Ryan
*Laundry- mom
*fill bird feeders- Kyle/Evan
*water porch pots on tables- Kyle
*All outside yard chores: mowing, weed whacking, weeding- boys
*general machine maintained- boys

*Laundry- bedding, dish towels and anything that didn't get done yesterday-Mom
*Zone Clean Pantry, Family & Dining rooms Taylor/Mom
*Moms office day- phone calls, pay bills, etc.
*purge any old mag's/newspapers/etc.- Mom
*Menu planning day/ create grocery list from menu- think about what is going to be baked next week as well.
*Zone cleaning Bedrooms
*Sewing/mending if any.
*Baking day if no sewing~ Taylor
Errand and Grocery Day~
*try to schedule all errands for today- post office, cleaners, doctor's appts., shopping etc. 
*Grocery Shop- do any budget shopping today too.
*Laundry- Taylor
*This is our market prep day and we do all running for this. 
*Laundry~ as needed

SATURDAY: *We are at market all day and the boy who is home takes care of general home duties.
*Grocery Shop on way home from market
*Any meal prep for Sunday gets done today.
This is our day of rest & worship... and we never feel guilty! Praise the Lord!

On to Focused Event Days now, I will try to give a more detailed break down of what we do... here it is!
*Errand Day~ this day needs to be structured to have the best time and gas management possible.
*I always make a list of all the places I need to go and I write them down in the order I plan on doing them.  When I do this I think about the direction's of the errands and map out the best possible route to take.  I try, if possible to start with the furthest stop first and make my way back toward home.  This doesn't always work, but most of the time it does.  I also try to do any grocery shopping last, especially in the summer because of the extreme heat that could damage the goods. 
*If I have appointments to keep, I try to make those first thing in the morning where I can do the remaining errands in a timely fashion afterwards.
*I also try to spread any appointments out over the month so I do not over book myself just causing everyone frustration.  Also take into consideration when making appt.s for my children if it is the school season, to make them after school if at all possible.
*Grocery shopping~ this is 'typically' done on Errand day but not always due to the fact that I like to shop at one particular grocery store that has a very large selection of Organic goods that I like to purchase.  This store is an hour away from our country home and we drive past it every Saturday on our way home from market... so my main grocery shopping is done on Saturday. The other place I like to purchase other items in bulk is done at a store right down the road from us and that is the shopping that gets done on Errand day... usually!
*Go over the menu for that week and check to see if there is anything I need- write it down on list right away~ I would too quickly forget.
I always make sure I have my grocery list, coupons and shopper bags ready to go.
*My Checklist before I leave:  My purse with checkbook with checks in it, debit card; all lists; Bill stubs, banking papers if needed; sale ads; mail to go out; anything else I need to meet my list.
...Again lists are crucial here!  Another important tip when going grocery shopping is to NEVER go when you are hungry! You will end up buying things because they 'look' good at that present moment!  Stick to the list and the budget.

Here are some yummy recipes to enjoy the bounty out of your own garden or from the market!
Lime Cucumber Salsa
1 large cucumber diced

1-2 garlic loves, minced

3 green onions, sliced

2 tbsp minced fresh cilantro, parsley or basil

2 tbsp fresh lime juice

2 tbsp Olive Oil

1 tsp grated lime peel

1/2 tsp salt, optional

1/4 tsp pepper
1. In a large bowl, combine all ingredients.
2. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours before serving.

Spice Cantaloupe
2 c cued cantaloupe
2tbsp lime juice
1 tbsp sugar
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1. In a medium bowl combine cantaloupe, lime juice, sugar & nutmeg; toss gently to combine. Spoon into serving dishes.
Sausage & Veggie’s on the Grill
1 pound Garden Gates Italian Sausage
1 medium zucchini, cut into 1/2 inch slices
1 medium yellow squash, cut into 1 inch slices
1 medium pepper, sliced
1 medium onion, sliced
1 c fresh mushrooms, sliced
1/4 c Olive Oil
2 tbsp fresh oregano, chopped
2 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
1-2 garlic clove, minced
1. In a large bowl, combine the first six ingredients.  In a small bowl, combine the oil, herbs & garlic.  Pour over sausage mixture, toss to coat.  Divide between two pieces of heavy duty foil.  Fold foil around sausage mixture & seal tightly.
2. Grill, covered, over medium heat for 25-30 minutes or until meat is no longer pink & vegetables are tender.  Open foil carefully to allow steam to escape.
Happy Day,

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

More Organizational Tips: Learning The Walk Through, The Family Room and Upstairs Hallway, & More Yummy Market Fresh Recipes!

I think the Family Room in a home should speak loudly about the lady of the house. It should be a reflection of her personality and what she loves... for me, it's the cottage garden, the perfect blue, summer sky and coziness of soft summer hues exploding throughout the room, flower blossoms and of course dragonflies!  My family room speaks all this and I love sitting in my rocking chair with a warm cup of coffee with a good gardening magazine or some inspirational piece... throw in a little boy ready to cuddle, and it's even better.  The family room is the cozy spot of the home where each member can curl up with a good book & where we can share & talk about stuff.  The family room is often referred to as the living room in decorating mags (I am not referring to the Formal Living room here)... but it is more than that.

I thought today would be a good time to touch base on the Walk Through concept since I have mentioned it so frequently.  It is a very simple concept to apply and it is one that my children completely understand.  The walk through is simply going through a room and picking up AND putting away everything that is out of it's place. 
Here are a few tips when going through this step in the organizational process of getting your home where you want it to be: (Be sure to check out my blog spots and the web site for great photos!)

*Take a plastic bag and basket along with you each time... use the bag for any trash that needs taken care of and the basket for stuff to be put away that doesn't have a place in the family room.
*As you go through, start from the top down... table tops, book or other shelves, couches & chairs and then onto the floor- don't forget to look under the furniture.  Gather up what doesn't have a place and put in the basket, put trash in the bag. 
*While you are doing this straighten things up as you go... fix haphazard cushions, refold any throw blankets, straighten pictures on the wall, tidy the books or mags that belong on the tables in the room, tidy up books on the shelves, straighten any decorative objects or table clothes/ linens.
... After the walk through I always vacuum or sweep the floor. That gives the finished look!
The walk through is not 'cleaning' day, it is something that should be done repeatedly through the day and especially right before bed; vacuuming only once unless needed. I focus on three daily walk through's; right before lunch- this is when we typically vacuum, just before supper (or just before dad gets home from work) and then before bed.   There is nothing nicer then getting up in the morning and coming down to a tidy house! 

Now lets touch base on how to Zone Clean the Family Room... be sure to keep watching, next time we will focus on Dining Room and closets along with menu planning!
~Weekly jobs: (unless otherwise mentioned- like the walk through)
*Start the room with a walk through.
*Feather dust from the top down: Ceiling line and down corners of the wall; picture tops, curtains, lamp shades, blinds, table tops and any other dusty spots you see.
*Wipe down/dust any shelves in the room
*Wash windows, wipe down ledges; wash all glass- pictures, clocks, etc.
*Straighten book case- organize books that are out of place; any decorative elements; table tops 

~Once a month tasks: * take down mini blinds/shades and wash.
*take down curtains and wash.
*wash lamp shades.
*Pull out all furniture that can be moved; clean up behind; use broom to sweep any dust from the baseboards out onto the carpet so it can be vacuumed.
*Vacuum under cushions of couch and chairs with removable cushions.
*Spot clean any spots on the furniture.
~Spring & Fall Cleaning:
*Wash ceilings and walls, wash carpets; all the once a month chores as well.

Our Upstairs Hallway is the main traffic highway for the whole family. All the bedrooms are upstairs in our cozy, old farmhouse not to mention our main bathroom. I am very thankful for an extra wide hallway considering what an old house this is.  I have two dressers and a book shelf in that hallway~ and even with these large pieces of furniture, there is still the 'normal' width of a hallway.  My Zone Cleaning for the upstairs is the same as the the Family Room with three exceptions- there are no blinds and lampshades to deal with; but we add vacuuming the stairway and dusting all the moldings over the doors.
... the hallway provides a play space for the boys as well... there have been many farms and fields in this
play zone and lots of laughter... not to mention a few screams (both of laughter and the other!)


~Cabbage is coming in by the truck load along with yummy melons... here are a few tasty treats!
Market Fresh Tangy Slaw
1 head each; red and green cabbage, shredded- should make about 8 cups
1 large carrot, peeled and shredded
1 medium red onion, finely chopped
16 oz. bottle of red wine vinegar and oil salad dressing
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup organic raw sugar
1 Tbsp. mustard
1 tsp. celery seed
1/2 tsp. sea salt
1/4 tsp. pepper

1. Toss together veggies
in a large serving bowl; set aside.
2. Combine remaining ingredients; pour over veggies. Refrigerate until ready to serve.  Toss before serving.
*Let refrigerate for at least 3 hours to allow the flavors to blend!

Cabbage Strudel– makes 2 rolls

8 tbsp butter

1 c chopped onion

8 c thinly sliced cabbage

1 c shredded  carrots

1 tsp salt

1/4 c shredded cheese– Swiss or other

3/4 c bread crumbs

1 tbsp snipped fresh parsley or thyme

1/8 tsp black pepper

12 sheets frozen ph7yllo dough– thawed

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Grease a 15x10 inch baking pan– set aside.

2. 2.  in a large skillet melt 2 tbsp of the butter and add onion; cook about 5 minutes or till tender.  Add cabbage & carrots; sprinkle with salt.  Cook about 10 minutes or till tender.  Remove from heat; stir in cheese, 1/2 c of bread crumbs, pepper & herb

3. In a saucepan melt the remaining butter.  Unroll phyllo dough, cover with waxed paper & damp towel.  Brush with some butter; top with 1 teaspoon of crumbs.  Repeat layers with five more sheets phyllo., melted butter & crumbs.  Spread half the cabbage filling over phyllo layers, leaving a 2 inch border on one of the long sides & both short sides.  Fold both short sides over filling; roll up from l long side.  Place roll, seam side down, in prepared pan.  Repeat to make a second roll.

4. Bake about 35 minutes or until golden.  Transfer to a wire rack; cool for 30 minutes.  To serve cut with serrated knife into slices.


Watermelon, Feta & Mint Salad
4 c 1-2 inch chunks melon
1/4 c (4oz) crumbles feta cheese,
1/4 c loosely packed fresh mint leaves, torn & washed
2 tbsp olive oil
Freshly ground black pepper
120 macadamia nuts, chipped (optional)

In a large bowl combine watermelon, feta cheese, mint & olive oil.  Season with pepper & sprinkle with nuts.  Cover & chill for up to 4 hours.

Happy Day,