So some (ok...maybe many :) of my ideas/projects come out of something that didn't originally work but end up working in a different way. This one actually came out of something working... just in a way that I hadn't thought about. As I was making the Southwest Turkey Soup the other day (blog post from yesterday) - I was also making up a batch of chicken fajitas so we'd be set for quick meals for the week. I never buy the taco/fajitas spice mix in the ready made packets as they are full of salt and other no-no's...I always just use my "pinch of this and that" and make my own. I used that same "pinch of this and that" for both the turkey soup AND the fajitas and they were both great. So it hit me, it would be easier if I went ahead and made up a batch of this mix and had it ready since I use it on so many things. Then it hit me, I should/could make a large batch and give as holiday goodies for teachers, neighbors, and friends. After a trip to the Dollar Store/Grocery for spices/jars, Jen's Devilish Delish Seasoning Mix has been created and made in proportions to fit a 8oz. Ball Jelly Jar. This set of jars comes in a set of 12. You could use any jar/container to suit you but just giving full disclsoure on the project. The 12 jars will run you about $7 at grocery store. Then to make the mix to fill 12 jars I bought at Dollar Store: 3 bottles (3oz-ish) each of Chili Powder and Paprika, 2 bottles (2oz-ish) each of Black Pepper, Onion Powder, Garlic Powder, 1 bottle (3oz-ish) each Cayenne Pepper and Red Pepper Flakes and a large 16oz container of Kosher Salt. 8 ingredients in total. Then in assembly line method, the following goes into each jar: 3 T of both Chili Powder and Paprika, then 1 T of each of the following: Cayenne Papper, Salt, Red Pepper Flakes, Onion Powder, Garlic Powder and Black Pepper. This will fill each jar approx. 3/4 full. Then you can label/decorate to suit. I've done with Christmas motif on lids, tags and ribbon but you could do for any holiday or just in solid colors. Sky's the limit on the decor but no matter what you've got a great goodie at the ready EVEN if it's for use in your own spice cabinet!!
Now, I didn't make the turkey this year but I am glad my Mom did and saved the leftovers for me to make soup. As you know, I am all about making meals in advance to stay organized even if it's not in the crock pot. This one takes awhile on stove top but no tending to it is really needed...just a bit of time. It's worth it though and was great to have ready last night before basketball practices - Ryan even wanted to take some in his thermos for lunch today - so kid approved as well! Take your leftover turkey, all bones, all meat and put in very large pot. Cover all with water and add generous shakes of chili powder, cumin, red pepper, etc other spices to suit. Bring to boil and then turn to simmer and let sit for at least an hour to two. Remove with straining spoon all bones and unwanted meat bits, fat etc. Return all good meat bits to strained broth and add: 1 can drained, rinsed black beans, 2 cans rotel tomatoes/green chilis, 1 small can tomato sauce, 1 can diced tomatoes, 1 can mexicorn, 1 package frozen sliced onion/pepper faijitas blend, and season some more to taste. Simmer for an hour. Check seasonings again before serving. Serve with Tabsaco at the ready and you can add sliced avacado on top if it suits you or top with fritos as the kids like. Hope this gives you another reason for be thankful for the leftover Thanksgiving turkey :)
My dogs think I was considering their needs when I bought this storage bench a couple of years ago. The dogs love it as it's a nice place to lie on by the window. I love it for the real reason I bought it - it hides all the little things that were once strewn around the family room. It holds all the gaming items, accessories, disks and less used remotes. Always think about how your furniture and other items for the home can serve more than one purpose. I like things that are pretty and look good but I love things that serve a purpose. So many options for inexpensive storage benches and ottomans, coffee tables, etc.! This bench was a $50 steal my local Ross store. Before Santa comes this year with more little goodies - maybe its time to find a place to store them.
I am hoping this post finds you rested and relaxed after a great holiday weekend. Maybe you are also ready for something else to eat this week other than Turkey. I decided a change would be nice for us for tonight and made Beef Stroganoff in the crock and will be ready for us tonight after a long and busy day.
This recipe has been adapted and tweaked to our liking based on a couple of other recipes. Always start with a liner in your crock and then add: 1 can golden mushroom soup, 1 can beefy mushroom soup, 1 large onion diced, 1/2 soup can of water, 3-4 tbsp Worceshire Sauce, a couple of shakes of Tabasco to taste, generous pinch of pepper and garlic salt and optional: a squirt of HP or other British "brown sauce" - similar to A-1 Steak Sauce. Stir to combine and then add 2 lbs stew meat cut into small bite size pieces. Cook on low 6 hrs or 4 on high. In last few minutes of cooking, add one 8 oz container of cream cheese with chives & onions by spoonfuls. Stir into mix and let melt down for about 10 or so minutes before serving. Serve over noodles, potatoes or rice of choice. And if you really feel adventurous, buy the box mixes and make/serve with German Chocolate Cake for dessert as I am going to do so we can feel like we are taking a trip to Europe on a Monday night.
This may be the most important "to-do" list you have this week. May you all enjoy a blessed Thanksgiving!
At some point, as I did yesterday, you realize that having the dry erase board is only as handy as actually being able to read what's on the dry erase board. As I was trying to transfer items off the board to my phone notes for the shopping list, I decided enough was enough and got to figuring out how best to clean. Based on a bit of internet searching, I first tried the recommendation of WD-40. It did work and got a lot of the dried on mess off but wasn't quite there. Then I tried the simple idea of a dab of alcohol based hand sanitizer on a paper towel and it was amazing. Got every bit of excess old dried on mess right off. Literally looks like a brand new board!
Happy Thanksgiving week everyone! Hoping this Monday finds you looking forward to a great week filled with food, family, friends and football. For us, it's also going to be filled with 3+ basketball games as Brendan's team is in a Thanksgiving Tournament this week. This recipe is one recommended by my sister and her friend Kim for a family friendly meal. I made in crock over night so we'll have dinner ready tonight before game one tonight!
In a large crockpot with a liner add:
6-8 chicken boneless/skinless breasts
1 bottle italian dressing
1 jar mild peperonchini (do not drain first - add whole jar)
Cook on low 8 hrs. Remove chicken and shred. Add some of liquid (discard peperonichini) from crock to keep moist. Serve on buns of choice with bbq sauce or sauce of choice. Tangy and delicious!
Thanks to everyone who sent emails and got in touch about the magnet baking tray idea from last week. Getting emails and feedback is not only fun but continues the inspiration for more ideas. Plus, it lets me pass on ideas from others! I got several emails saying how they used my idea and created a board for kids to use magnet letters and numbers, one hanging on wall - another one was using as a way to keep the kids occupied in the car. Another idea that was passed back to me was using the idea so little girls could play with magnetic "paperdolls" to be able to dress/design while sitting and using the magnet board. Those ideas made me think of the traveling that many of us will do with the kids for the holidays over the next several weeks. It got me wondering how else can this handy board be used? How about a game board? A piece of paper or solid color contact paper onto your old baking sheet, a few magnets and you've got tic-tac-toe for the road. I have also seen all kinds of travel/magnetic checker and other games you can buy that could be played on the sheet. Almost any regular game that uses a basic board, checkers, chess, etc. could be made by adding peel and stick magnet pieces to the bottom of the playing pieces. Use any of these ideas and you've got one more trick up your sleeve for a road trip whether it's a long trip to see relatives or just headed to the mall to do shopping! Thanks again for the feedback - it makes me love what I do even more and keeps me thinking ahead for more fun ideas!
Years ago when the boys were young, I bought these very inexpensive closet hanging organizers. Best $10 (each) I've ever spent when it come to their rooms. It has served different purposes as the kdis have grown older and they are still as handy today as they were 6+ years ago. When they were young, it was great to load each day's shelf with a set of clothes that we would decide on together so getting ready in the morning went quickly and without argument. It gave the boys a feeling of independence to be able to get ready by themselves and me piece of mind knowing what they would come downstairs dressed in. As they got older, it was great to make sure certain clothes needed on certain days would not be forgotten, i.e. special items for school or sports. Even now it's a saving grace, as I have gotten the boys to do most of their own laundry. A blog post on that to come :) But now, as they fold and put away their own laundry it's easy for them to stuff a shelf of the organizer and cuts down on things being shoved into draws and forgotten about...
This was the question I was asking myself when a different project failed...I thought I had come up with a great idea to use a metal yard stick tacked up under cabinets or by a desk area to be able to tack papers, etc. via a magnet... only to find out a magnet wouldn't stick to it :( Still love that idea but will need to find some similar metal strip at a hardware store and test it...So after that, I found myself wandering around my house wondering what will my magnet stick to...Here's one answer and project that came out of it. Got any old cookie sheets that are at the end of their lives? Good - now grab a roll of contact paper at the Dollar Store, cut, peel and stick, add magnets and if you are lucky like me and there is a hole at one end of your sheet - you are one hammer and nail away from a new magnet board hung and ready to use! Possibilities are endless! You could spray paint sheet before contact paper, edge sheet with ribbon, tons of ways to disguise and decorate to suit your needs. I LOVE re-purposing things and finding fun/stylish solutions to stay organized. One project may have failed but I like what I came up with on round two!
Jen Payne, CPA, Professional Organizer and mom to two boys: Brendan (17) and Ryan (15).