Monthly Archives: January 2014

Italian Layer Dip

Basil, olive oil, and balsamic vinegar. All things I love and this dip puts them over the top. No pasta or heating of the oven necessary. This appetizer is refreshing, creamy, and light. Served on top of bagel chips (or thinly slices baguettes toasted in the oven) and you have the perfect combination. Serve it with a nice salad and you’d have an ideal meal for a girls’ night.

This would also make a great addition to your Valentine’s dinner.

I’m a little sad this is the last Friday in January. Coming up with fun dips all month has been a blast and very tasty. If you’ve missed any of the dips when an international flair, you can find them here.

In case you are wondering what to do with the rest of the container of ricotta, next Friday I’ll have a recipe to share with you that will solve that problem.

Italian Layer Dip. Yum! A creamy ricotta and cream cheese base topped with tomato, basil, olive oil, and balsamic. Refreshing and flavorful.

5.0 from 2 reviews
Italian Layer Dip
 
Ingredients
Base
  • ½ cup ricotta cheese (full fat is thicker and holds up better)
  • 4 ounces cream cheese (room temperature)
  • ⅛ t. salt
  • 2 T. fresh parsley, minced
  • 2 T. grated Parmesan
Topping
  • 3 roma tomatoes (1 cup) deseeded and diced
  • 2 T. finely chopped red onion
  • 2 T. chiffonade basil
  • ⅛ t. garlic paste
  • 2 T. olive oil
  • 2 T. balsamic vinegar
  • salt and pepper
  • Additional basil for garnish
  • Grated Parmesan
Instructions
Base
  1. Combine the cheeses until smooth.
  2. Stir in salt, parsley, and parmesan.
  3. Spread on the bottom of a plate or pie pan.
Topping
  1. Combine all topping ingredients in a bowl. Adjust salt and pepper to taste.
  2. Let sit for an hour.
  3. Using a slotted spoon to let as much of the liquid off as possible put on top of the cheese layer.
  4. Garnish with additional basil and freshly grated parmesan.
  5. Refrigerate until serving.
Notes
Serve with bagel chips or thinly slices baguettes that you toast in the oven.

Linking up to Motivation Monday, Recipe Sharing MondayMindful Mommy Monday, Pin It MondayHappiness is Homemade, Natural Living MondayGood Tips TuesdayTGIMLiving Proverbs 31Mama Moments MondayBabies and Beyond, Tending the Home Tuesday, Share Your Stuff TuesdayTitus 2 Tuesday, Do Tell Tuesday, Teach Me Tuesday, A Wise Woman, WFMW, Welcome Home Wednesday, Homemaking Link-Up, Lovely Ladies, Wednesday Link Party, What’s Cookin’ Wednesday, Show and Share WednesdayMixing Bowl Party,  All Things ThursdayFabulously Frugal Thursday, Simple Lives ThursdayProverbs 31 Thursday, Thriving ThursdayHouse to HomePin It ThursdayThrifty ThursdayFoodie Friends FridayThe Weekend ReTreatHearts for HomeFamily Fun FridayLet’s Get Real,  Frugal Homeschool FridayFollow Our ThriftFellowship FridaysStrut Your StuffLink Party PaloozaWeekend Wind Down, Show Stopper Link PartyTitus 2sdayOld Fashioned Recipe Exchange

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Love Songs for Valentine’s Day

Playlist of love songs perfect for your Valentine's Day at home date night!

Valentine’s Day is just around the corner. Now is the time to start coming up with ideas and making plans otherwise we’ll find it sneaking up on us. 

Some of us might spend a night on the town with our love and others might have a quiet evening at home. Maybe it’s because money is tight and there isn’t anything extra in the budget for a meal out or baby-sitter for the kids. Maybe it’s just simpler and more enjoyable to stay home.

That doesn’t mean it can’t be fun! Whatever the reason, I have the perfect thing to making your evening at home a little more special.

I have a valentine’s playlist for you (and an idea for how to turn it into a gift). Perfect background music for eating your late supper after the little kids are put to bed, to visit and play games by over dessert, or to snuggle up on the couch in front of the fire place and chat by.

To be honest, I know little about music. The radio is on when we are driving in the car and that’s about it. Don’t worry, I didn’t come up with this list. My husband did and he is a music person. Maybe a little more than just a music person. He might verge on being a music hoarder. With probably over 1500 CDs in his collection (and he’s recently gotten rid of several) and having worked in radio for years, he knows what he’s talking about.

You could actually turn this (or a playlist of your favorite love songs) into a personalized gift. While we were dating, my husband compiled a CD of love songs and had a letter to go with it saying what each song was and how it reminded him of me and our relationship. It was pretty sweet and we still have it after being married 7 1/2 years.

If you have a Spotify account, we have a playlist all set up for you to stream! (If you don’t have one, it’s free and easy)

  1. I Could Not Ask for More – Edwin McCain
  2. Groovy Kind Of Love – Phil Collins
  3. You’re the Inspiration – Chicago
  4. Hands To Heavens – Breathe
  5. I’ll Be Over You – Toto
  6. Open Arms – Journey
  7. Love of My Life – Jim Brickman
  8. Kiss Me – Sixpence None The Richer
  9. At My Most Beautiful – R.E.M.
  10. I Love You Always Forever – Donna Lewis
  11. Meet Me Half Way – Kenny Loggins
  12. Godsend – DC Talk
  13. Will You Still Love Me? – Chicago
  14. That’s What Love Is For – Amy Grant
  15. More Than Words Can Say – Alias
  16. I Will Be Here For You – Michael W. Smith
  17. Only You – Yaz
  18. Faithfully – Journey
  19. Glory of Love – Peter Cetera
  20. Friday I’m In Love – The Cure

What’s your favorite love song?

Playlist of love songs perfect for your Valentine's Day at home date night!

Linking up to Thrifty ThursdayMommy Brain MixerFellowship FridaysThe Weekend reTreatLet’s Get RealFamily Fun Friday, Faith Filled Friday, Essential FridaysFollow Our ThriftFrugal Homeschool FridayStrut Your STuffLink Party PaloozaWeekend Wind Down Party, Show Stopper SaturdayMindful Mommy MondayPin It MondayHappiness is HomemadeGood Tips TuesdayTGIMLiving Proverbs 31Mama Moments MondayBabies and BeyondTending the Home TuesdayShare Your Stuff TuesdayTitus 2 TuesdayDo Tell TuesdayTeach Me Tuesday, A Wise Woman, WFMW, Welcome Home Wednesday, Homemaking Link-Up, Lovely Ladies, Wednesday Link Party, Show and Share Wednesday, Fabulously Frugal Thursday, Proverbs 31 ThursdayThriving ThursdayHouse to Home

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Lilla Rose Flexi Clip Review and Giveaway

I am excited! Today I have the first giveaway ever on From this Kitchen Table. What is it for? A Lilla Rose Flexi Clip. I’ve seen this product reviewed on countless blogs over the past couple years. I’ve even tried to win several times (never happened).

Melody Detwiler is an Independent Consultant with Lilla Rose and contacted me to see if I’d like to do a Lilla Rose Flexi Clip review and giveaway. No surprise, I said yes. After I decided which size to get (Melody will help you figure it out if you need assistance) I received this extra-small Flexi clip in the mail.

clip

Except for the few days that I had my hair down and straightened, this clip has been my companion. It works perfectly for pulling my hair back into a pony tail (and makes it little dressier then an elastic band) and if I do a thick half back it will work for that as well.

clip2

One of my favorite things about this clip is that it doesn’t pull at my hair like a pony tail band sometimes does. Also, when I used to wear my hair partially pulled back I’d use a smaller claw clip. What happens when you rest your head on the back of the couch or lay down for a second with one of those? Either a piece snaps off, they jab into the back of your head or both. Doesn’t happen with the Flexi. I Don’t have to worry about anything breaking off or poking into my head.

Another great feature of Lilla Rose is how they have something for everyone. Not only do the Flexi Clips come in 7 different sizes they also have bobby pins, hair sticks, hair bands and more. That’s not all. Each product has numerous style options. I can pretty much guarantee you’ll find a color you like.

Review and Giveaway for a Lilla Rose Flexi Clip

You won’t have to worry about losing the clip piece in the Flexi clip – it’s all connected!

(Keep reading to the end of the post for the giveaway!!!)

There is also a special deal for all new customers, up to a $16 value. You simply purchases 3 or more items on Melody’s site, then email to tell her you have done so. She will reply asking what you would like for your free item! Free item will ship separately from order, and take a little longer to arrive.

Review and Giveaway for a Lilla Rose Flexi Clip

Also, if you love hosting parties, Melody has another special. If you book a Facebook party in February, you’ll receive a pair of bobby pins! Melody will provide pictures, tips, and ideas you just invite your friends!

t is for new customers only, up to $16 value. Customer simply purchases 3 or more items on my site, then emails to tell me they have done so. I will reply asking what they would like for their free item! Free item will ship separately from order, and take a little longer to arrive.

Now, it’s time for the giveaway! One of you is going to win a Flexi Clip from Melody. Enter using the Rafflecopter form below!

Must be 18 or older and live in the U.S.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Linking up to Fellowship FridaysEssential Fridays, Frugal Homeschool Friday

Menu Plan and Goals

Beautiful weather returned for a few days this weekend. We spent part of the (Sunday) afternoon playing in the backyard pretending to be flying. Oh to have the imagination of a 3 year old. After both kids were covered in dead grass they headed to the bath. Only a few hours later some friends called wanting to know if we could meet at the park. Might as well take full advantage of the gorgeous day. Now both kids are in bed and as I sit and type this I can hear the wind howling outside. I think the arctic air is on its way back.  At least in this part of the country the cold only stays around a few days. Unlike my sister in Minnesota where the heat wave is in the 20s. Brrr. I’m thankful that’s the high on our coldest day and not warmest.

Menu Plan and Goals - Deanna Michaels @ From this Kitchen Table

If you haven’t noticed, our food stays pretty simple around here. In fact, most of what I cook gets served more than once. Right now, it’s what works. It frees up a lot of time for me during the week and is one fewer thing to worry about.

Menu Plan and Goals - Deanna Michaels @ From this Kitchen Table

Suppers:

Lunches:

  • Vegetable Soup
  • Salads
  • Leftover pizza and sweet potatoes for our daughter

Breakfasts:

  • Green Tropical Smoothies
  • Soaked Oatmeal (cut back the honey)
  • Pancakes from freezer

Goals (affiliate links used):

  • Read 10 chapters in Pride and Prejudice, read The Purity Principle, and start Maximized Living Nutrition Plans
  • Get the concert series membership drive envelopes printed and ready to be stuffed
  • Make 5 memory verse cards
  • Plan February blog schedule
  • Blogging On the Side Interview

What do you have going on this next week?

P.S. Be sure to come back tomorrow! I have my first giveaway on the blog coming up!

Linking up to Menu Plan Monday

Oriental Layer Dip

One of my favorite meals is a sesame ginger salad (I’ll get the recipe up here sometime). It has a unique twist, is refreshing, and makes my taste buds extremely happy.

This dip is a play on that salad. A cream cheese base layered with some tasty toppings all pulled together with a dressing that will make you want to come back for more.

Serve with sesame chips and don’t forget you can adjust the toppings to fit your taste and even the ingredients in the dressing. (If you don’t have hoisin and don’t feel like buying a bottle, just leave it out. I think you’ll still enjoy the finished result.)

This post is part of a series. Don’t forget to find all the recipes for layer dips with an international flair here.Such a fun twist on a layer dip. The oriental flare is refreshing. Perfect served with sesame crackers.

4.7 from 3 reviews
Oriental Layer Dip
 
Ingredients
Dressing
  • 1½ T. vinegar
  • 1½ T. soy sauce
  • 1 T. olive oil
  • 2 t. sesame oil
  • 1 t. hoisin
  • ¼ t. finely minced ginger
  • ⅛ t. finely minced garlic
  • 1/16 sambal, optional (or to taste)
Base
  • 8 ounces cream cheese (at room temperature)
  • 1 T. milk
Topping
  • ⅓-1/2 cup finely chopped or shredded chicken
  • 1 T. torn cilantro leaves
  • 3 T. grated carrots
  • 1 T. finely chopped celery (optional)
  • 1 -2 T. thinly sliced green onions
  • 1-2 T. sliced almonds
Instructions
  1. Place all the dressing ingredients in a small bowl and mix with a fork.
  2. Combine the cream cheese and milk and cream and stir until smooth. Spread on the bottom of a glass platter or dinner plate.
  3. Layer the chicken on top of the cream cheese and drizzle with a little over half of the dressing.
  4. Next layer the carrots and then finish by sprinkling on the remaining ingredients. Adjust topping ingredients amounts according to the size of your plate.
  5. Finish by drizzling with the remaining dressing.
Notes
Serve with sesame crackers

Every Friday in January I’m going to be sharing a layered dip with flavors from around the world! Be sure to subscribe via e-mail, like us on Facebook, and follow on Pinterest so you don’t miss out.

Linking up to Recipe Sharing MondayHappiness is HomemadeMindful Mommy MondayPin It MondayMotivation MondayMama Moments MondayLiving Proverbs 31TGIMNatural Living MondayGood Tips TuesdayShare Your Stuff TuesdayBabies and BeyondTitus 2 TuesdayTending Home Tuesday, Do Tell TuesdayTeach Me TuesdayLovely Ladies LinkyWelcome Home WednesdayHomemaking Link Up, Wellness Wednesday, Fabulously Frugal Thursday, All Things Thursday, Pin It ThursdayThriving Thursday,  Proverbs 31 ThursdaysSimple Lives ThursdayThrifty Thursday, Mommy Brain MixerFellowship FridaysFoodie Friends Friday, The Weekend reTreat, Let’s Get Real, Family Fun Friday, Follow Our ThriftFrugal Homeschool Friday, Strut Your STuff, Link Party Palooza, Weekend Wind Down PartyShow Stopper Saturday, Old Fashioned Recipe Exchange

 

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When Surviving is the Only Option

Today’s post is a follow up to How to Go From Surviving to Thriving from last week. Many of us have the ability to cut unnecessary things out of our lives, learn to prioritize, and plan better to take us to thriving. There are people, though, who have said no to everything that they can, plan and prioritize perfectly and still find themselves surviving. Barely surviving even. I have so much to learn from people in that situation and hope you find yourself encouraged and challenged by this post no matter which situation you find yourself in.

Guest Post

The vast majority of people I see have so much control over their circumstances, hence the ability to learn to plan, prioritize, say  no, etc. With a little effort, their lives can be vastly different.

However, there are many times I see people in the most horrible life situations, and they are such an inspiration. What is it about them that makes them different from others going through the exact same things?

How can one person be inspirational and even upbeat while the other is downtrodden and miserable? They CANNOT change any of their circumstances. They can ONLY change themselves and the way they look at life.

What have they found in their soul and spirit? I want to be like that.

What happens when your season of “just surviving” goes on and on and on. There were years when I felt that survive was all I could do. “I just need the strength to get through today” was my prayer every morning. Thriving seemed to be a very dim light at the end of a very long tunnel.

I know there are others out there in the same situation – single moms, moms of a handicapped child, severely allergic child, or a chronically ill child, a mom with a husband who never helps or is never home, a mom whose husband is deployed overseas, or a mom who has a debilitating disease or cancer.

When will their season of “just surviving” ever end? Is there any hope for them?

I used to pray that I only had to be “on duty” 23 hours and 50 minutes a day. Just 10 minutes of “me time” a day. That wasn’t too much to ask, was it? I looked forward to my 10 minutes, and if I didn’t get it, I was so disappointed and frustrated. I felt sad – life had let me down. It began to steal the joy from my life.

Then, one day I was reading a very old Bible study book. Something jumped out at me and gave me a slap in the face. I was to commit 100% of my life to my family. Not 95%, not 99% – but 100%. Seriously!?!? Was I really willing to do that?

I was convicted that day and began my journey of giving 100%. I couldn’t change my circumstances. I had already cut out all of the unnecessary things that devoured my time and energy. The only thing left to change was my heart and my attitude. I determined that, for whatever reason, God had designed my days to be challenging. I was up to the task. I was in 100%.

My days continued to be exactly like they had been – no sleep, messes to clean, diapers to change, meals to cook, homeschooling, disciplining feisty kids. All of this by myself while my husband was on the road. Just like the previous week, I found myself with exactly zero minutes of “me time”. But, now I wasn’t disappointed. How could I be disappointed when I got exactly what I expected? After all, my part of the bargain was 100% of me. Was I tired? Absolutely. More that you will ever know. But I found my joy was still there. It was not being stolen anymore.

And then, the best thing began to happen. Occasionally, I got ten minutes of “me time,” and I was so excited! I was given a gift that day, and I saw those few precious minutes as a blessing. A few days earlier when I got those ten minutes, I deserved them (or so I thought), so I never appreciated them or saw them as a blessing.

The same life. The same ten minutes. But with a different heart attitude.

Life hadn’t changed. I changed.

Are you in a long season of “just surviving” or do you know someone who is? What kinds of things have others done or what things could others do that could give you a few minutes of desperately needed “me time”? I would love if you would comment and let me know how to be a blessing to you!

Linking up to Mommy Brain MixerLet’s Get RealThrifty ThursdayFellowship FridaysEssential FridayFaith Filled FridayThe Weekend ReTreat, Let’s Get RealShow Stopper SaturdayStrut Your StuffWeekend Wind DownLink Party PaloozaHappiness is HomemadeMindful Mommy MondayPin It MondayMotivation MondayMama Moments MondayLiving Proverbs 31TGIMNatural Living MondayGood Tips TuesdayShare Your Stuff TuesdayBabies and BeyondTitus 2 TuesdayTending Home TuesdayTeach Me TuesdayLovely Ladies LinkyWelcome Home WednesdayHomemaking Link UpFabulously Frugal ThursdayAll Things ThursdayPin It ThursdayThriving Thursday,  Proverbs 31 ThursdaysSimple Lives Thursday

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Say Goodbye to Survival Mode

Say Goodbye to Survival Mode. I loved this book. It spoke so much truth and encouragement into my life.

Have you ever read one of those books

  • Where you continuously find yourself saying, “yes, yes”?
  • Where you are affirmed in a lot of what you are doing?
  • Where you think, “I’m so glad I’m not the only one that thinks that!”?
  • Where you get the kick in the pants that you need?

Crystal Paine’s new book, Say Goodbye to Survival Mode, was one of those. She talks about how she went from simply trying to keep up with everything to passionately living on purpose. In the 10 chapters of this book, Crystal will give you the steps you need to “say goodbye to survival mode and hello to a life that matters. A life that makes a difference. A life on purpose!” Just take a look at the chapter titles:

  • Stop Trying to Do It All 
  • Say Yes to the Best
  • If You Aim at Nothing, You’ll Hit It Every Time
  • Discipline Is Not a Bad Word
  • Be Intentional with Your Bank Account
  • Manage the Home Front
  • When You Feel Like a Failure
  • Yes, You Can Make  Difference
  • Sometimes It Is about You
  • Kick-Start Your Success

As a part of the launch team for Say Goodbye to Survival Mode I was able to read a review copy last month. I loved it and found myself writing down quote after quote. In fact, I loved it so much I purchased a copy. If you know me, that’s saying something. Spending money isn’t something that comes easily to me. I can’t wait to receive my hard copy in the mail and reread it and have my husband read it as well. I’m sure that every person won’t be able to apply everything in the book, but I’m pretty confident that everyone will be able to find encouragement and advice that will help them. Reading this book is like sitting down with a friend. Crystal shares her story and lessons she’s learned (often the hard way) over the years. She will help you:

  • feel healthier and more energetic by setting priorities and boundaries
  • eliminate stress with savvy management of your time, money, and home
  • get more done by setting realistic goals and embracing discipline
  • rediscover your passions—and the confidence to pursue them

Say Goodbye to Survival Mode. I loved this book. It spoke so much truth and encouragement into my life. I love quotes, so I have to share with you a few of my favorites.

  • Time doesn’t expand limitlessly. When I yes to one thing, I must say no to something else.
  • The problem was that I was trying to be someone I wasn’t created to be.
  • Getting up early is not rocket science. You just have to do it.
  • You have to be willing to cut back, give up things, spend your time differently, and say no more often.
  • Here’s the beautiful thing about a budget: while it’s hard and limiting at first, over time, you’ll realize that it’s your means to enjoy life without headaches and worry. Ultimately, it’s a pathway to freedom. And when you tell your money how to work for you, you can be intentional about how you use it.
  • You have to feed your soul before you can be a great leader, owner of a company, daughter, sister, wife, friend, boss, manager, or mother. You may think you do not have time to feed yourself spiritually, but I assure you that you cannot afford not to.

That list could keep on going, but I’ll let you start your own list of quotes that spoke to you when you read the book and read it you must! So many things spoke true to me and helped and encouraged me. My stage of life right now is one of exhaustion and I needed this book. I needed to hear that it’s okay to do even less and simplify even more than what I’m already doing. I needed the freedom to not feel guilt over those decisions. This post that I wrote last week talks a little more about some of the ideas in the book and 5 things I have to do to go from surviving to thriving. If it’s not in the budget to purchase another book right now, I’d highly encourage you to ask your library to add it to their collection. SPECIAL, LIMITED TIME OFFER: To celebrate the release of her book this week, Crystal is offering a collection of amazing prizes for those who buy the book. Simply go to www.GoodbyeSurvivalModeBook.com now for details. You can also pick up the book anywhere books are sold, including Amazon.

Say Goodbye to Survival Mode. I loved this book. It spoke so much truth and encouragement into my life.

Linking up to Fabulously Frugal ThursdayThe Pin It PartyThriving ThursdayHouse to HomeMommy Brain MixerLet’s Get RealThrifty Thursday, Fellowship FridaysFaith Filled Friday, Essential FridayThe Weekend ReTreat,  Let’s Get RealStrut Your StuffWeekend Wind DownLink Party Palooza, Happiness is Homemade, Mindful Mommy Monday, Pin It Monday, Motivation Monday, Mama Moments Monday, Living Proverbs 31, TGIM, Natural Living Monday, Good Tips Tuesday, Share Your Stuff Tuesday, Babies and Beyond, Titus 2 Tuesday, Tending Home Tuesday, Teach Me Tuesday, Lovely Ladies Linky, Welcome Home Wednesday, Homemaking Link Up

 

Menu Plan and Goals

Once again, it’s Monday. I wish I could drag out the weekend just a touch. Yesterday was our first small group since May. We had it at our house and kept it simple with pancakes and waffles. The nice thing about hosting is the extra motivation to get things picked up around the house. :-) It was a fun evening for a few nice families from church.

The need to declutter has been coming on strong. The plan is to keep on chipping away at it. First up was our bedroom. A bit more to do, especially in the closet, but sizable progress was made. This next week appears to be fairly uneventful so I’m hoping to tackle another project or two.

On the baby front, we now have 4 teeth. Two on the top and two on the bottom. He’s pretty cute, but is still working on his two other bottom teeth. Ugh. I wish they’d hurry up and come it so he’ll sleep longer than a 2 1/2 hour stretch. Soon. (I hope.) It’s crazy waking up in the morning feeling more tired than you did going to bed.

Menu Plan and Goals at From this Kitchen Table

Starting back eating big salads for lunch last week was fabulous. I’ve missed it, even though sweet potatoes were pretty tasty too. Something about lots of fresh veggies that makes me happy.

Menu:

Suppers:

  • Crockpot pinto bean and chicken tostadas
  • Small Groups at our house (I’m making pancakes and waffles)
  • Homemade pizza
  • Leftovers: tostadas, skillet lasagna, pizza

Lunches:

  • Salads
  • Skillet Lasagna (recipe coming in a few weeks)
  • Leftovers

Breakfasts:

  • Leftover pancakes and waffles
  • Sweet potato hashbrowns

Snacks:

  • Fruit
  • Don’t have this planned well. We’ll figure something out though, my daughter loves her snacks (and actually if I don’t eat between meals I end up starving too)

Goals (affiliate links used):

  • Read the last 4 chapters in Primal, 8 chapters in Pride and Prejudice, and start a new book.
  • Type up the last layer dip recipe (didn’t happen last week) and 1 more recipe
  • Finish Christmas thank you cards
  • Continue memory verse with my daughter and make verse cards
  • Go through clothes in our closet

Linking up to Menu Plan Monday