Monthly Archives: February 2014

Garlic Breadsticks

Garlic breadsticks are amazing! We found this recipe in a magazine that’s no longer in print many years ago and they have become a family favorite. I’ve brought them to serve with supper with friends and they all love them as well.

Garlic Breadsticks that are easy and delicious!

Shape them as thick, thin, short or long as you’d like. It’s a great project to get the kids involved on. My daughter loves rolling snakes and shaping dough anytime we make something with yeast.

In the winter when my house is cool, I always allow for longer raising times or place in a warm location.

5.0 from 1 reviews
Garlic Breadsticks
 
Ingredients
  • 1¼ cup warm water
  • 1¼ Tablespoon olive oil
  • 1¼ Tablespoon sugar
  • 1¼ teaspoon salt
  • 3¼ cups flour
  • 2 teaspoons yeast
  • Melted butter or oil
  • Garlic Salt
Instructions
  1. Place flour, salt, sugar, yeast, and olive oil in a bowl (or mixer bowl).
  2. Add the warm water an mix/knead until smooth.
  3. Cover bowl with a towel and raise for 30 minutes.
  4. Shape in to bread sticks.
  5. Raise 30 minutes.
  6. Brush with oil or melted butter.
  7. Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 10 minutes.
  8. Remove and brush with oil or butter and sprinkle with garlic salt and return to oven for 2-5 more minutes.
  9. Taste best straight from the oven.
Notes
Makes around 16

 

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5 Minute Pick Up

It’s easy enough for two adults to have piles of belongings out that need put away. Then when you add kids to the mix, there is always something not where it belongs. Most of the time, there are a lot of somethings not where they belong.

Everywhere I look, I see toys, paper, coloring stuff, mail, laundry and on and on. It stresses me out and puts me on edge. The blanket that our daughter has to have to go to sleep is harder to find. Even when you don’t have a ton of toys, goodness, can they ever get spread out.

The 5 minute pick up is a quick, easy, and painless way to keep mass amounts of stuff from being strewn around your house. 5 minutes, seriously! Who doesn’t have time for that?

5 Minute Pick Up - a simple way to keep toys and clutter from taking over your house. We love doing this after supper each night.

 

Each night after the supper dishes are done, we set the timer for 5 minutes and have at it. Mom, Dad, and the 3 year old. With a little direction and finding things for her to put away, our daughter is more than capable of cleaning for 5 minutes. Little brother just crawls around and wonders what is going on. In a few months, when he’s able to follow basic commands, he’ll be able to participate by placing his ball in the toy box.

You’d be surprised what a difference just 5 minutes can make. Things can go from looking like a tornado has gone through to being relatively put together. Depending on how messy your house gets during the day, you might want to make a few 5 minute pick ups a part of your routine: once before lunch, once in the afternoon, and once after dinner. On a night our house is especially destroyed, we’ve been known to have a 10 minute pick up. Do what works best for your family.

It’s way more relaxing to go to bed not worrying that you might trip and fall when you are up with the kids in the middle of night and knowing that you don’t have a disaster to tackle in the morning because it’s already taken care of!

What do you do to try and keep the toys and clutter picked up in your house?

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Planning Makes Perfect

Planning Makes Perfect

I woke up and everywhere I looked there was more things I wanted to accomplish. Perfect time to make a list of what to tackle after work. Laundry, making dinner, going on a run, a few minutes of reading, doing the dishes, spending time playing the baby and reading to my little girl. Nothing like a list to keep me productive.

As we walk home for lunch my hand happens to land on my daughter’s head. She feels a little warm. Hmm, maybe that’s why she’s been quiet all morning. The thermometer confirms that something’s going on.

The afternoon is now spent getting a little girl comfortable and hoping the little guy doesn’t come down with whatever it is. Sigh. It’s hard to not feel a tinge of remorse for all the items on my list that are not getting accomplished.

Having goals to work toward. Making lists. Planning what needs accomplished. Working ahead.

These are all good things. Great things, actually.

Doing these things have made such a difference in my life, but they have also become my idol at times. I have had to learn (and am still learning) to know when to forget my lists.

Planning has helped by:

  • Reducing stress. Surely I’m not the only one who feels a sense of calm when there is a plan. If I’m trying to come up with an idea for dinner at 5 o’clock and the kids are going crazy I can almost guarantee my anxiety level is going to be through the roof.
  • Helping life run more smoothly. Having what I need set together so I can grab it on the way out the door keeps things from becoming frantic.
  • Getting more accomplished. Having goals and knowing what I’m trying to accomplish gives me something to work for. It energizes me to finish more projects.
  • Weathering the storm. When a crazy day comes I can pull a meal out the freezer from a cooking ahead session. The house needing foundation repair doesn’t send me into a panic; there’s money in savings for that.

Goals, lists and plans are there to work for us. However, we can’t let them rule our lives to the point that we become enslaved to them and they become an idol.

What? Planning and lists can become an idol? Yes, if I am so engrossed in my to-do list and following the plan I have for the day that I neglect to see the opportunity that God has placed before me at that moment, I have a problem. I just allowed what was meant to be a good thing take over and rule my life.

I must remember the purpose of planning is so that when circumstances arise and God asks me to follow Him, I’m able to say yes.

Planning Quote

Proverbs 19:21 “Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand.”

When it’s time to forget the list:

  • Sickness. Your baby wakes up with a fever and needs extra snuggles. Forget the list, give your child the love and care he needs without regret. Enjoy those quiet moments together.
  • Relationships. The phone rings and it’s a friend you haven’t talked to in ages. Forget the list and build a friendship.
  • Children. A crazy toddler is begging for your attention. Forget the list and take a trip the park. An hour out of your agenda will make a little girl’s day and you’ll have a memory together you wouldn’t otherwise.
  • Serving. An opportunity to be a blessing comes up. Forget the list and make the meal, watch the child, sit with someone at the hospital. Be the hands and feet of Christ.

How has planning helped you? Have there been times that you’ve needed to learn to let the list go?

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Hamburger Noodle Casserole

Hamburger Noodle Casserole. Freezes great and is kid friendly.

I’m excited for my first post as a contributor to The Best Blog Recipes!

My family stumbled across this simple recipe for Hamburger Noodle Casserole, using ingredients likely on hand, in a magazine years ago. It became a family favorite.

This recipe works well for freezing and as a meal to bring to another family. As a mom with little kids on a budget, I don’t have time, energy, or money to necessarily go and do a lot of things. I’m already feeding my family, though, and one way that I can minister to others is through providing supper for someone. Maybe a baby has just been born, there has been a death, or maybe it’s sickness. This would be a great meal to deliver and bless them with.

Bring it in a disposable pan and you won’t have to worry about getting your dish back. If it’s for a small family, divide it between two 8 or 9 inch square pans and bring one packaged for their freezer. Be sure to label it with contents and baking instructions. They will then be able to enjoy a meal on another stressful day. If you are making it for your family, I highly recommend you make extra for your freezer as well. Make the best use of your time in the kitchen and get two meals made at once.

My husband isn’t a lover of cream cheese or sour cream so what I do when making this recipe for our family is to cut the amount of cream cheese in half. He doesn’t even know either ingredient is in there. (Don’t tell him!)

FREEZING INSTRUCTIONS: Completely assemble the dish as the recipe states. Also, put the shredded cheese and green onions on the top before you cover with foil and freeze. Bake covered at 350 degrees for 60 minutes. Uncover and bake an additional 15 minutes or until heated through.

You can also let the unbaked dish sit in the refrigerator a day or two before baking.

Head over to my post on The Best Blog Recipes for the full recipe and directions!

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Menu Plan and Goals

We took a day trip Saturday to spend time with my husband’s parents and brother, sister-in-law, and nephew. Most of the day was spend at a science & discovery center (our daughter still wasn’t ready to leave after hours there) followed by an hour at a park and dinner.

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

 

This is what we all felt like by the time the day was over:

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

Being gone on a Saturday certainly cuts into the ability to accomplish projects, but we tackled as much on Sunday as possible and I’m very much looking forward to spending next weekend at home!

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

Supper:

  • Spicy Indian Chicken Sandwiches (recipe coming)
  • Bean and Rice Burritos
  • Leftovers
  •  Quinoa crust pizza (forgot to soak the quinoa, so we didn’t have it last week)
  • Out of town

Lunches:

  • Butter Chicken and naan (recipes coming – one of our favorites!)
  • Picnic
  • Salads (My husband and me)
  • Leftovers (for my daughter)

Breakfasts:

Goals:

  • Keep plugging away in  Mansfield Park and start another book from this list.
  • Price supplies for room sprays
  • Contact the Herb Festival
  • 3 Scripture cards
  • Write 4 posts
  • Exercise. Plan to at least do the video from the 28 days of Pilates every day. Started last week and each day is only 5-9 minutes, so it’s hard to come up with an excuse not to get it done.

What’s on your menu this week? What are your goals?

Linking up to Menu Plan Monday

Best Alfredo Sauce

This is one of the easiest meals in the world to make and it is super tasty! We had a pasta bar when we were visiting my family earlier this year and my brother-in-law declared this the best alfredo sauce he’d ever had!

The best alfredo sauce. So creamy, flavorful, and super easy! We love this recipe.

Most recipes say this amount will cover a pound of noodles. Not even close! Please make a double or triple batch if you are needing enough for that much pasta. This recipe will serve 4-6 depending on portion size, what else you are serving with the meal etc. Sliced blackened chicken would taste amazing served on top of the pasta.

Leftovers of the sauce will turn solid in the refrigerator. Slowly reheat and whisk to combine again and it will be perfect.


4.7 from 3 reviews
Best Alfredo Sauce
 
Ingredients
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 stick (1/2 cup) butter
  • 2 cups freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 small clove garlic, finely minced
  • salt and pepper
Instructions
  1. Place the butter and garlic in a skillet and melt butter.
  2. After butter is melted add heavy cream and whisk. The mixture will be separated, just keep whisking as it heats and the butter and cream will combine.
  3. After mixture is hot and combined, turned off heat and whisk in the cheese and salt and pepper to taste. Stir until cheese is melted.
  4. Serve immediately over your choice of noodles.
Notes
Optional - can top with a little freshly grated nutmeg.

 

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The Gratitude Principle

The Gratitude Principle. Where do you have your focus? Comparison will take our joy away!

Focusing on what you have will make you more grateful than focusing on what you don’t have.

I’m sure you’ve been around (and chuckled at) a child that this has happened to.

Take my daughter, for instance. She can be happily playing at the park munching on her apple thinking it’s the perfect treat. Suddenly, another child comes into her periphery with a cupcake topped high with chocolate frosting and sprinkles near his mouth. The apple becomes not enough.

“Mommy,” she says running over to me a little excited “I want a cupcake!”

When my response is, “No, not now. You have an apple. It’s yummy, eat that!” her voice gets a whiny edge to it. “No, I don’t want it. I don’t like apples. The cupcake is better.”

All of the adults standing by understand what’s going on and chuckle, knowing that she was loving the apple seconds earlier.

The Gratitude Principle. Where do you have your focus? Comparison will take our joy away!

How much harder it is for us to see those same tendencies in our own lives as adults.

Looking at the social life and activities of my friends make me no longer content with spending a lot of time at home. All of a sudden I want to sign up for this activity and that and host parties every weekend.

I have a lovely first home. It even has 2 bathrooms and meets the needs of our family wonderfully. Then I might go to small group at a home with a more open floor plan and bigger yard more suited for entertaining. My home isn’t so great anymore.

Maybe it is my vehicle. Sure it’s not new, but it runs well and we can cram a lot of baby gear into the back. It meets our needs perfectly. Or it does until our neighbor drives up in a slightly newer and larger SUV.

My husband and kids are great until I compare them to the one that always seem considerate and the ones that listen so well you are sure the mom never has to worry about them misbehaving in public.

Comparison steals my ability to enjoy what I have.

I am no longer content and satisfied.

I no longer have gratitude for the multitude of things, way of living, and personality that God has blessed me with. Instead I find myself wishing my family was different and unsatisfied with my (perfectly good) belongings and financial status.

As Crystal Paine says,

“Comparison only leads to discontentment.”

My voice becomes whiny. What I have is no longer enough. It’s no longer good enough. Just like my daughter and her apple.

That’s not okay!

If instead I look at the home, car, family, life, personality, and opportunities that I have right now and realize that I have been given so much and not focus on what those around me have, I stay content.

Thankfulness and gratitude are then easy to come by.

Let’s keep our focus on what we have, instead of what others have.

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Discernment – The Other Secret to Success

Discernment: The Other Secret to Success. We need more than discipline. We must know what to say NO to.

We all make goals and plan what we need to do to end up where we want.

The side to success that we know and focus on is the dos on our lists. To accomplish those dos, we use discipline.

dis·ci·pline

1. training to act in accordance with rules; drill: military discipline.
2. activity, exercise, or a regimen that develops or improves a skill; training: A daily stint at the typewriter is excellent discipline for a writer.
3. punishment inflicted by way of correction and training.
4. the rigor or training effect of experience, adversity, etc.: the harsh discipline of poverty.
5. behavior in accord with rules of conduct; behavior and order maintained by training and control: good discipline in an army.

That means we go out to run at the end of day when we just want to sprawl out on the couch.

We eat almonds for an afternoon pick me up.

We read from the books on our list.

We sit down to study for our test.

What’s on our list, we do. We need that discipline and progress to succeed.

How often do we end up overwhelmed and burned out? Exhausted and emotional, not knowing how we can do it all? Maybe we trek along okay but don’t find ourselves succeeding as much as we think we should.

There’s more.

There’s another important component to success and achieving your goals. That is not doing. This means learning to say no. We must have the maturity and wisdom to see our life as a whole. Realizing that all the pieces of our life are intertwined and knowing that saying yes to one thing will affect our ability to say yes to something else.

Saying no is as important as saying yes/do.

Discernment: The Other Secret to Success. We need more than discipline. We must know what to say NO to.

This requires discernment.

dis·cern·ment

: the ability to see and understand people, things, or stituations clearly and intelligently

That means saying no to the great deal.

Saying no to the plate of cookies. (Or seconds or thirds.)

Saying no to staying up late.

Saying no to signing up for that class.

Saying no to things those around you are pressuring you to do.

Decisions must be made with discernment and intention, remembering the end goal.

The ability to say no to the good so we can say yes to the best, to those things we are focusing on in this immediate stage of life, is hard. We want to do more, be more, say yes more, not miss an opportunity.

Discernment: The Other Secret to Success. We need more than discipline. We must know what to say NO to.

It takes strength, wisdom, maturity, intentionality, and discernment to be able to say no. This ability, even just understanding the need for this ability, is harder to learn and get a grasp on than the discipline of doing and saying yes to those items on your goals.

If we don’t learn to say no, we sabotage our ability to succeed, our happiness, and even our health.

This means saying yes to what is best for us (and our goals) and whom God want us to be and no to things that that look good, things we might even want to do, so we don’t waste our limited resources of time, energy, finances, and emotions that we need to reach our goals and focus on where God wants us to be.

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Menu Plan and Goals

One big development has occurred this week. The little guy has officially started crawling on all fours. No more getting around by inching forward and rolling. Once he tackled that skill, he was on to attempting to pull himself up. Last night, for the first time, he made it past his knees and used the couch to pull up to standing. He was pretty proud of himself. He also had 2 teeth come through (in the same day)! I’m waiting for tooth number 8 to come in, before I let myself get too excited.

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

The Valentine’s treasure hunt using picture clues was a hit! It took our daughter the first two clues to really understand what was going on and after that she took off running. She wanted it to keep on going. I suppose that might have had something to do with the little goodies she kept finding.

After a whirlwind weekend, I’m looking forward to a (hopefully) quieter week.

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

Suppers:

  • Fettuccine with Alfredo Sauce, broccoli, and bread sticks (recipes coming the next two Fridays!)
  • Small Groups (soup theme). I brought mexican soup and rolls
  • Pizza with a quinoa crust (new recipe)
  • Leftovers x 4

Lunches:

  • Salads (weekday lunches for Shaun and me)
  • Leftover pizza (weekday lunches for our daughter)
  • Grilled cheese (weekday lunch for our daughter)
  • Breakfast Quesadillas on corn tortillas
  • Guacamole and fruit

Breakfasts:

  • Pancakes
  • Oatmeal
  • Lemon Muffins

Goals (affiliate links used):

  • Stuff brochures in envelopes (already labelled and stamped) for mail for the membership drive for our concert series association.
  • Read. Minimal reading happened last week, so I really be happy for anything. I’d love to finish From Playpen to Podium, read more of Mansfield Park, and start another from my list.
  • Finish 4×6 scripture cards (again, didn’t happen last week)
  • Write recipe contributor post
  • Write/Schedule 3 posts for next week
  • Budget meeting
  • Send e-mails for research (noticing a trend, that didn’t happen last week either)
  • Play with the room spray scents
  • Exercise (maybe, hopefully. . .)

What do you have going on this week? Anything fun on your menu?

Linking up to Menu Plan Monday