Back when I first started the business - I had time to blog each week. I soon found as I was blessed with more and more clients each week that there was less screen time. I want to keep the Blog tab available as I have posted certain tips and recipes here that may not be elsewhere but I'm not actively posting here. You can find me posting weekly to my business facebook page where I link helpful articles, tips and of course great before and after project pics. Use the button that the top of the page to be taken directly to the FB page and make sure to LIKE me on FB to get info in your news feed.
Well friends - it goes without saying that many things don't go to plan - my crock pot- pot roast recipe to be featured on Monday was one of them :) The meat was tough and chewy and overall was disappointing but for those who know me: 1) I'm stubborn/not easily dissuaded 2) I'm a master of leftovers/making something from nothing. That's how tonight's dinner was created...whether you've got a roast/stew that wasn't up to snuff or just have leftovers from one that was great...I took the roast, taters, carrots, onions the whole lot minus the liquid and whizzed it up in batches in the food processor. This in and of itself makes a lovely "hash" great fried up for breakfast with a fried egg. I however tried another trick by taking refrigerator biscuits, flattened into muffin cups, scoop of the hash, squirt of ketchup and topped with shredded cheese and baked up made for the great quick meal for the boys tonight. They loved it and I conquered the leftover universe :) Sigh my excitement is short lived as I now need to move on to other crock pot recipes to try for weeks to come...stay warm, happy, organized and well fed! xxx
I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday break - I truly had a break as the family took a electronics free cruise with our large extended family to celebrate my parents 45th anniversary. Very blessed to all be together and be "disconnected" for a bit. We are back and I'm officially back at it - organizing homes and now spending more time staging homes for sale as the market continues to improve. I'm even in the process of taking a course to get my Home Staging Expert TM designation. Today also happens to be my birthday - which has me reflecting on the incredible last year. I am blessed beyond belief to do what I love, with clients that bring me joy and all within a few miles of my house! I wish nothing but the same for all of you - I know we all have some New Years Resolutions...
Did you know that your New Years Resolutions for eating healthier and exercising more can go hand in hand with getting the house organized? Accomplish both by cleaning out a spot in a spare room/basement/garage to create a workout area, organize your kitchen and pantry so that preparing meals is easier, create a meal plan and budget, and more. Pare down on some of the tedious tasks and leave yourself with more time for the fun things, play with your kids, take a new course (like I'm doing), set a fitness goal (I'm doing a charity power walking marathon in London in May)...whatever you do may it bring you joy this new year.
I wish I could make the lbs fall off of all of us but at least I CAN help get the house organized so that the rest becomes a bit easier. If you live in Alpharetta GA area - Let me know how I can help you!
Peace, happiness and blessings to you all for a fantastic 2014!
As I greet many of my clients at their doors, one of the first things said to me is "hope you are ok with dogs"...My favorite things to reply is YES and not to worry as we have 4 of them at the House of Payne :) That usually puts the client at ease about their one or two that greet me at the door. Yes, we have 4 wee beasties - all rescued, all small and all spoiled rotten. Prior to this group we had two Jack Russell Terriers that were our kids before kids. Around the holidays I like to make their favorite homemade treats to have in their stockings (yes our dogs have stockings along with all of ours = spoiled as mentioned before)...I've been making these since I got the recipe in 1998!! These are fun to make with the kids as its easy and low mess. Hope your furry friends enjoy these!
"Chiken Inna Biskit"
2 c. whole wheat flour
2/3 c. yellow cornmeal
2 T. veg oil
1/2 c. chicken broth
1/4 c. milk
Heat oven to 350. Mix 2 eggs and milk and set aside. In second bowl beat 3rd egg and set aside. Mix flour and cornmeal, stir in oil, broth and egg/milk mixture. Knead until dough is firm. Let sit 15-20 mins. Can roll on floured surface and cut out like cookies or cheat like me and spoon into balls and flatten with fork. Brush with beaten egg and bake 25-30 mins until brown. Remove and cool.
Bringing it all out of storage is not. Many trips up an down stairs, heavy boxes, few hands to help are usually the case BUT not when you call me in to help! That's what part of my work this week has been - helping clients bring out Christmas decor and for one client - then we re-organized the basement storage area. It'll be SO much easier putting everything away in January. Mind you that can be made easier too - if you book a session with me to help you put it all away :) I like doing the stairs and working hard with clients - saves me a trip to the gym and then I really earn my glass of wine at night! Cheers!
Whew...well there went November in a flash as expected and I know I've been behind in posting on the blog but I've been busy just like you! I've been helping all kinds of great clients get ready for the holidays. I tend to post more often on my Facebook page so make sure to LIKE and follow me over there. There is a link on the home page of the website.
OK so it IS beginning to look a lot like Christmas - how about making the house SMELL great too? I love this "recipe" given to me by my sister some years back. It is a great item to bag up and gift with an ingredient/instruction gift tag for neighbors, hostess gifts, teachers - anyone really :)
3 Cinnamon sticks
3 bay leaves
1/4 c. whole cloves
1 lemon, halved
1 orange, halved
4 c. water
Combine all in saucepan and bring to boil, Reduce heat and simmer, as long as you like, adding water as needed to keep mix from drying up. Can be stored lightly covered in refrigerator for several days.
Before you get all caught up the things to be bought and made in the weeks to come, use this week to get started right. The 3 week in November each year is the drop off time for Operation Christmas Child - better known as "pack a shoebox time" Drop off locations can be found in various community centers and places of worship all over the country. It's fun to take the kids shopping for small items to pack the box with and start this season of gifts by actually giving away. In recent years, we have enjoyed the process even more by doing our donation tags for the box online as then you can track your box to the country/region it was sent. The kids enjoy looking on a map to get the magnitude of the process and where that simple box that was once at our house has now been transported to. For further information please go to www.samaritanspurse.org
Here's a family favorite recipe that fits theme too as it makes 3 delicious loaves so some to give and some to keep!
Best Evah Pumpkin Bread:
1 c. veg oil
3 c. flour
1 tsp. cinnamon and nutmeg each (or 2 tsp of apple pie spice)
1 1/2 tsp. salt
2 tsp. baking soda
1 T. baking powder
2/3 c. water
2 c. canned pumpkin
1 c. chopped nuts or chocolate chips (white choco chips are great in this!)
Beat together sugar oil and eggs with spoon. Sift together dry ingredients. Add sifted dry mix alternatively with a bit of water to wet mix, beating well after each addition until all dry/water and wet mixed together. Add pumpkin/nuts/choco chips and stir well. Pour into 3 greased loaf pans. Bake 350 for approx 70-90 mins until tester comes out dry.
The two biggest tips I have for getting ready for big holidays meals are: delegate and pick some items for the menu that you can prep ahead. You know people in your family/friends being invites all have some dish they are known for so take advantage of that and ask them if they can bring that to the meal. If you have friends/family coming that aren't cooks - ask them to be in charge of bringing extra ice, the honey baked ham or even the Gladware containers for packing up leftovers for folks to take home.
The following is a great recipe you can prep early and have on hand for your meal - if you can manage to wait to eat them til then ;)
Pecan Pie Muffins:
1 c. packed light brown sugar
1/2 c. all purpose flour
1 c. chopped pecans
2/3 c. butter melted and cooled a bit
2 eggs lightly beaten
In a large bowl: combine brown sugar, flour and pecans then set aside. Combine butter and eggs and stir into sugar mix. Fill greased and floured (very important!) mini-muffin cups 2/3 way full. Bake 350 for 20-25 mins. Immediately flip onto wire rack to cool. Yields 2 dozen.
Here we are everyone - one month to Thanksgiving and Hanukkah and less than 2 months to Christmas. I'm not sure about your clocks and calendars but it seems like mine all of a sudden hit warp speed right about now. One minute carving pumpkins and handing out candy and next thing I know we have a family room littered with wrapping paper on Christmas morning. Over the next few weeks my posts here on the blog and and on Facebook will be focused on things to help you stay organizing, prepared and peaceful so you can enjoy the craziness of the weeks to come.
Each Monday as an alternative to our regular Crock Pot feature - I'll be featuring one of our family holiday favorite recipes. I have also posted here before about the idea of gathering your family favorites and making your own cookbook via Shutterfly or similar site. I did this several years ago and gave out as Christmas gifts to many people in my family. It's fun to have all your beloved recipes in one place along with pictures to relive the people and places that made them special in the first place.
Today's feature Stuffed Celery is one of my husband's family's most beloved recipes and 20 years ago when I first had it - I wasn't a huge cream cheese or olive lover but I thought this stuff was the bomb. This is great all year long but is always a holiday staple - make in a double batch as I promise your crew will love it too. The stuffing part can be made a couple of days in advance and then stuff celery right before serving. Also great with other veg or even a spread for crackers.
8oz light cream cheese softened
2 garlic cloves - chopped
1/2 c. toasted pecans
1/2 c. green olives with pimentos
4 or so shakes tabasco
1-2 T light mayo (for spread-ability)
Chop up the olives, garlic and pecans in food processor into small chunks. Add to bowl w/ softened cream cheese, mix with mayo to blend and add tabasco to taste. Chill at least 1 hour to let flavors meld and then stuff celery.
Another FULL Disclosure - These were delicious!!! Thanks to Missy Smith who sent the recipe to me. We had them last night and received thumbs up all around
3 lb beef chuck roast
16 oz beef broth
1 can french onion soup
6 oz. red wine
1/8 cup of Worceshire
1 tsp Garlic powder/ or I used squeeze of fresh from tube
salt and pepper
sliced provolone or swiss cheese (whichever you prefer)
good sub rolls
Trim fat off of meat and season with salt and pepper. Pour broth, soup, wine and garlic into crockpot. Place roast in pot and cook on low for 6-8 hours. Slice meat very very thin or chop into bite sized pieces. Put meat on yummy sub roll, top with cheese and broil for a couple minutes to melt cheese.
Use the "soup" from the crockpot as the Au Jus for dipping.
Jen Payne, CPA, Professional Organizer and mom to two boys: Brendan (17) and Ryan (15).