Pie Crust, My Feeble Attempt

Happy Pi Day! Two days late. Oh well. I had good intentions, and since I have never been good at math, it seems fitting that I would celebrate Pi Day a little late. ūüôā

Pie crusts can be rather intimidating, you know?¬†Handling the dough too much can make your pie crust tough, something I have a tendency to mess up on. I¬†can never get it right on the first attempt at rolling it out. Then there’s the issue of butter vs. lard vs. oil. I also¬†read you can use coconut oil (so does pie count as a superfood then?). Sometimes it’s just easier to forget the controversy and head to Aldi and pick up a package of pie crusts for $1.49. Continue reading “Pie Crust, My Feeble Attempt”

Homemade Ranch Dressing Mix

Today is National Ranch Dressing Day. Apparently that’s a thing! I wonder who gets to determine days like that. Is there a National Wine Day? Oh wait, that’s everyday! At least in my world. Well, maybe every OTHER day…cough. ūüôā

In honor¬†of National Ranch Dressing Day, I decided to post my go-to ranch dressing mix recipe. It’s¬†really good and you just might not ever go back to the store-bought stuff.¬†I hardly ever buy it at the store anymore. In fact, probably in the last two years, I’ve only bought it once and that was for when I catered the dinner theater (that I still need to post about!) and had to feed 40 people. Yes, it’s that good. And you can use it to flavor other dishes too. I’ve sprinkled it on chicken¬†and also¬†mixed it into ground beef for hamburgers before. YUM! Continue reading “Homemade Ranch Dressing Mix”

Another Season, Another Reason for Makin’…Compost!

Well, hello again! I just realized it’s been a¬†month since I posted last. My apologies for the lack of activity on here. I know all of my adoring fans have missed me so much (hi Mom!).

Life has been pretty hard lately – back-to-back sicknesses including the flu (all 4 kids had it!) and other very difficult trials. In¬†the midst of everything,¬†we’ve still had to do life: school, work, normal household stuff, adulting, that kind of thing. Adulting is hard, you guys. And confession time: I am STILL working on painting my kitchen. Yes, even one month later. Sigh. One day I will be done, but that day is definitely not today. Continue reading “Another Season, Another Reason for Makin’…Compost!”

Easy Egg Casserole

breakfast casseroles

I don’t know about you all, but I have had a very busy two weeks. The main reason? I have decided to paint my kitchen. It was green, probably what you would call a light forest green, and I needed a change. The green had to go! I liked it when we first moved in nine¬†years ago but probably for the past¬†couple years or so I was just kind of over it. I had been putting it¬†off because…painting. Ugh! Continue reading “Easy Egg Casserole”

Chicken Cordon Bleu Casserole (low carb!)

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Last month, I¬†catered and directed a dinner theater. Yes really! It was complete with fancy decorations, red carpet ropes, and lots and lots of glitter! I will have more on that later, but it was SO. MUCH. FUN!! The pics and details will be¬†coming soon, at least that’s my plan anyway. It was the biggest project I have ever done. Lots of good food, good acting, and wonderful guests! Continue reading “Chicken Cordon Bleu Casserole (low carb!)”

In Which the Author Discusses the Egregious Nature of Exercise and the Delights of Wine

So it’s 9:45 p.m. I am sitting here in my yoga pants and a t-shirt, thinking that maybe I should work out. But then again, my bathrobe, my Boba Fett slippers, a glass of wine, and an old movie are calling my name. The kids will be going to bed soon and David is working late. And it will be just me. Really I should exercise. Really, really. But man, I just don’t wanna. While I work up some much-needed motivation, I figured I would talk about some of¬†the exercises I do most often, those that I¬†dislike the least anyway. ūüôā Continue reading “In Which the Author Discusses the Egregious Nature of Exercise and the Delights of Wine”

Artisan Bread

 

wheat field

Ah, bread. There’s nothing quite like the smell of homemade bread wafting through your house. I used to be very intimidated with the idea of making my own bread.¬†I was sure I was going to mess it up somehow, and admittedly I have had some bread-making blunders over the years, but once you get the hang of¬†it, it’s really not a big deal. And even seasoned cooks have had blunders, so put your worries aside and know that you’re not alone! Continue reading “Artisan Bread”

Exercise Myths Debunked, Lisa Style!

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Exercise is hard, you know? So I thought for a little fun, I’d post my take on some of the exercise “myths” of our day. Because I know that so many people are being misled,¬† I feel it is my civic duty to set you all straight. You’re welcome. ūüėČ With it being the start of the new year and all, a lot of people are beginning to exercise more, getting gym memberships and the like. Let me tell you, people are just being misled!*

Continue reading “Exercise Myths Debunked, Lisa Style!”

Tips for Easy Meals

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When David and I were first married, I had very little experience with cooking. I mean very, very little. When I still lived at home with my parents, I cooked some¬†but definitely not very much.¬†After we were married, my¬†go-to recipe was spaghetti because it was easy and we both liked it. Tired and needed an easy meal? Spaghetti. Company coming over? Spaghetti. A romantic meal for two? Yeah. Spaghetti again. ūüôā¬†I did expand my menu repertoire over the years (thankfully!) and as you might imagine, we really don’t eat spaghetti that often anymore. David has been a very willing guinea pig too, which I really appreciate. I have had a few flops but most things have actually turned out¬†well!

If you need some help in planning meals for your family either due to lack of experience or feel like you just don’t have time, here are some things that have helped me quite a bit over the years.

1. Don’t make it difficult.
Your meals don’t have to be fancy and elaborate to be good and healthy. There is a time and a place for that but if you are¬†tired after a long day of work or homeschooling or¬†you’re¬†just starting out in your cooking adventures, go with an easy recipe. Even now,¬†nearly 17 years after our wedding day, a lot of my recipes don’t have much more than five ingredients or so. And you know what? I have gotten more compliments on those recipes than on more elaborate ones!

(Psst. Here’s an easy recipe for you:)

2. Use your Crock Pot
Several years ago when I first started working from¬†home, my older two kids were pretty young and I was working from 2p.m. until¬†about 8 p.m. every weeknight. I¬†used my Crock Pot ALL the time! It was a lifesaver for me. Now, you do have to do some planning, but dinner cooks all day long¬†and¬†when the busyness of the evening comes around, it’s ready! Some meals are so easy that you don’t even have to defrost the meat. I will be posting some of those recipes soon.

3. Enlist some help!
My older two children (who are now 14 and 15) are a huge help to me in the kitchen. This obviously didn’t happen overnight and took some training, but it¬†definitely pays off. They were able to¬†do some pretty basic things even when they were younger, and¬†I got¬†to spend some quality time with them too. Now that they’re older, they¬†can take over a lot of the meal preparation, and this¬†has saved my sanity on more than one occasion.

4. Find a few meals you and your family like and stick with them.
I have a friend who kind of just rotates¬†through about five or six meals that she makes for her family. She doesn’t have a whole lot of experience and cooking isn’t really her thing, so this works really well for her. It’s easy and economical. Her kids don’t complain and they love those meals. I have seen them chow down! This sounds like a great option. Maybe after awhile your family will get tired of those same meals, so then you can change it up and come up with another five or six meals that¬†they really like. I think planning meals this way is an excellent, easy, and frugal idea. And I’m all about being frugal!

I hope that these tips have been helpful.¬†If anyone has other suggestions, I would love to hear them!¬†If¬†you have some inexpensive and easy recipes to share, please do so! The more, the better! ūüôā

Easy Roasted Chicken and Vegetables

roasted chicken thighs

There is a time and a place for luxurious, fancy meals.¬†Those can be really fun. Most days, however, I just need easy. Easy and good. This recipe serves both purposes. You just need to remember to pull your chicken out of the freezer ahead of time. Ahem. ūüôā

I’ve said it before, but it bears repeating. I don’t often measure anything in my recipes so the following is kind of an estimate. You can vary it depending on the amount of people you are serving.

Easy Roasted Chicken and Vegetables

1 lb.¬†of carrots, cut up (Use baby carrots to make it super easy, and you don’t even have to cut them up!)
3 lbs. (or so) of potatoes, cubed
3-5 lbs. of raw chicken breasts, cut up (or you can use thighs)
1-2 packets of ranch dressing mix OR 2-4 tablespoons of homemade ranch dressing mix
1 stick of butter, cut up

Toss everything together and put it in your Crock Pot on low for 6-8 hours.

Enjoy!