This is such an easy dessert and so delicious! You will want to make it for every event! It’s also so pretty and a bit fancy! It will look like you spent hours on it!! I was inspired to create this recipe from a delicious peanut butter pie my sister-in-law Angie used to make. Enjoy! 🙂
You will need:
Creamy peanut butter and powdered sugar
2 large boxes instant chocolate pudding (I believe it’s the 5.1 oz)
2 large boxes instant vanilla pudding
Milk (to make pudding) **I have used almond milk but it doesn’t set the pudding as well. But it works!
1 large 16 oz tub of Cool Whip thawed
1 Hershey chocolate bar
A Trifle bowl and a vegetable peeler
In a small bowl put about 1/2 cup of peanut butter and start adding the powdered sugar a little at a time…use a fork or a whisk. The idea here is to create a crumble. The peanut butter will soak up the powdered sugar and it will almost look like granola, (it takes a little while) This is something I have never measured lol. You can add more peanut butter or the powdered sugar. You really can’t mess this up! And if you make too much it’s so yummy by itself! Put to the side.
Prepare both the chocolate and vanilla pudding according to box directions in separate bowls.
Now the fun begins!! 🙂
You can layer this in any order you’d like. I do recommend ending with cool whip.
I like to put a layer of the cool whip, crumble, vanilla pudding, cool whip, crumble, chocolate pudding, cool whip, crumble and in that order until I hit the top. Top off with cool whip and the remaining crumble. Take your Hershey bar and using a vegetable peeler create chocolate curls all over the top. Take the remaining chocolate blocks and arrange them in the center. If you prefer you can also put the chocolate curls throughout the layers. And really you could use any of your favorite candy in this recipe. Reese’s cups would be awesome!
Refrigerate at least 2 hours or overnight before serving.
When serving it scoops out like pudding so I would recommend serving in little dessert cups or bowls. Eating it straight out of the trifle bowl works too!! HAHA 🙂
I call this Good Grief Guacamole because that’s what you say when you taste it! 🙂
As most of my recipes this is super easy! And there are so many ways you can change it up and substitute ingredients when needed. I like to say there aren’t many rules in cooking or decorating or even entertaining because most of the time when you change things up it works out for the better! But, even if it doesn’t, you probably learned something…and that makes it all worth it! 🙂
You will need:
8-10 ripe Avocados
1 large red onion chopped
The juice of 2 limes and some zest
Approx 12 oz of medium fresh deli salsa (the reason I prefer this type is because it is not as “saucy” as normal salsas. You could also use a pico. It works great too! You can add more or less salsa to this recipe depending on your taste preference. If the salsa is watery you may want to pour off some of the excess liquid first)
Fresh Cilantro chopped
Salt and Pepper to taste (I like a lot of pepper!)
Prepare the avocados (peel and discard seed) and put into a large mixing bowl.
Add onion, lime juice, cilantro, and the zest. The zest of 1 lime is plenty but you can certainly put in more if you prefer.
Gently blend with a pastry blender or potato masher. (I like to leave the avocado a little chunky)
Add the salsa and salt and pepper to taste. I do not add salt but most of you will prefer it.
Gently stir it all together and transfer to a serving bowl.
Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 min. Serve within 4 hours to prevent discoloring.
Can be served with tortilla chips, pretzels, veggies etc. Awesome on sandwiches or in dips. Use your imagination!! ENJOY!!
I call this recipe “magic” because it’s literally like you wave a magic wand and dinner is done!! Any day and anyway. I make this weekly. It’s fast, easy, and the serving possibilities are endless! We are talking.. burritos, tacos, nachos, pizza, taco or burrito bowls, salads, or anything else you can come up with. And guess what? It’s one of my Healthy Selection recipes! You just can’t go wrong. Another plus is you can easily interchange some of the ingredients to match whatever you have in the pantry. So, just don’t sit there.. make this tonight!! And don’t forget it’s great leftover 🙂
First you will need:
1 lb. Perdue ground chicken ( you can also use ground turkey or any other meat or seafood.. but when you use beef the nutritional numbers will change)
2 TBS Canola Oil
(I prefer Simply Organic herbs and spices in my recipes)
“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose” Romans 8:28
Every year it’s the same. I swear that THIS is the year I will start to downsize my Christmas decor. Especially after the 6th day of hauling it up and down the stairs and limping because my back and pretty much every joint in my body aches and I am completely sleep deprived (what’s new lol). After I have finally put up the 8th tree, hung the 100th piece of garland, and found that perfect spot for yet another snowman (I have never actually counted how many I have, probably best that way). I stand around staring at it all in all its glory, with chills running down my spine just marveling at its spectacular sentimental beauty and COMPLETELY forgetting all the misery leading up to this point. Kind of like giving birth…as soon as they hand you that beautiful baby all the pain goes away. 🙂
I realize I am getting older and soon downsizing will be the smart thing to do, but I am in denial. The thought of choosing from this collection what to keep and what to part with makes me so sad! I don’t know if I could choose! Literally every piece has meaning in some way. Either who gave it to me, who made it, where I was when I bought it, or the most meaningful, who handed it down to me.
When you walk around my house there is so much to take in. It takes a while! You almost need a tour guide! I always say…”If you see floor or wall when you decorate for a holiday you have not done your job!” So… when you enter my house you truly don’t know where to look first! If I had to pick a number, I would say it takes me approximately 6-8 full days to get everything decorated. Inside and out. I do get a little help on the outside. My husband just recently over the last couple seasons has taken a bit of an interest in it. **If you look on the reels section of my Instagram page you can watch a reel of my outside decor.
Everyone thinks I’m crazy. Especially my husband. I often feel bad during this time because it turns out to be a lot of work for him and my youngest child. Since she’s the only LUCKY one, lol, to still be at home they get the pleasure of hauling dozens of bins and boxes up and down the basement steps. I am lucky enough to have plenty of storage in my house. In fact, I have an entire room in my basement JUST for my Christmas decor. Then another room for all the other holidays. Fall comes pretty close to Christmas as for the amount of decor, so it takes up most of that room. Then I have another room just for entertaining items. Stoneware. dinnerware, serveware, and tablescape decor. Like I said my house was made for me! It was one of the many reasons I fell in love with it. So much really smart and well planned out storage. Including closets etc. But here’s the kicker…the more storage you have…the more you fill it!!! UGH!
I truly have tried to limit what I buy over the past 5 years or so. I only buy things I feel are just too special to pass up. Like something I’ve never seen or is just really unique. I WILL however still gladly take something someone made for me or wants to hand down. Just too meaningful. 🙂
When I walk around my house looking at it all, it makes me very emotional. All the things all the kids in my life have made for me, family heirlooms, decor I have had over 40 years… it’s all timeless. How do you let that go? I know as a Christian I should not glorify material things. I am quite sure I can’t take it with me! But…I have always said that when I get to Heaven, God will put me in charge of kids, food, and Holidays! 🙂
My hope of course is that I will hand it all down to my children. But ya know, their generation is much different than ours. Most of them struggle to buy their own home so they say…where will I put it? I totally understand that. That is another reason I have held on to it because I just CAN’T go drop it off at goodwill. I have to give it to someone who will love it the way I do.
Now I will admit, a lot of my decor doesn’t measure up to all the modern gorgeous styles you see everywhere you look. Most of what I display is what I describe as, “Sentimental-Whimsical-Vintage-Traditional” There are times when I feel very “out of style” or like I shouldn’t be sharing MY style or MY decor on my page because it doesn’t measure up to all the beautiful and latest out there. But then I will get a comment here and there that will make me realize there are others out there just like me, and they understand the love you can have for your collection, and it makes me feel a bit normal again LOL!
So, in-the-meantime, I will struggle with the hauling, the joint pain, the grumbling, the “Why do I do this?” the “Why do YOU do this?” the “You are crazy!” and the general craziness of it all! Because my heart can’t do it any other way. 🙂
**Stay tuned for my next article with tips on how to decorate for Christmas with very unusual affordable things you would never think of! Check out my Instagram page for the first post of the series on the subject! 🙂
“Enter His gates with Thanksgiving and His courts with praise; give thanks to Him and praise His name.” Psalm 100:4
Every year it’s the same. I know Thanksgiving is coming but as it gets closer the same panic ensues thru me. It’s accompanied by excitement and just a sheer love of the holiday but the fear of not pulling it all together in time seems to always take over.
Although, I have to admit I have gotten much better over the years and in my “older” age of chilling a little more and just basically learning to suck it up and work around the challenges.. I have also in all my many years of entertaining learned what works and what doesn’t…and those of you who know me, know I LOVE to share my tips and knowledge! LOL!
“I can endure all these things through the power of the one who gives me strength.” PHILIPPIANS 4:13
I am very excited!! I have recently had some big changes in my life. Found myself living in a very different house…not really an empty nest but pretty close. Most certainly an atmosphere I hadn’t experienced in 34 years! Our youngest went off to college but comes home some weekends and of course on her breaks. I am sure that will change swiftly when her softball season starts to kick in come January. So needless to say, the house has become a lot quieter and my Momma duties have slowed way down! Part of me is heartbroken, but the part of me that has been put on hold for all these decades…and I wouldn’t change it for anything, has had an exploding rebirth!
It took me a while to accept this. It’s like I didn’t know HOW to be myself…well, my old self. It felt completely unnatural. I found myself having time for things I hadn’t even THOUGHT about in so long. Like taking time to really FIX my hair or OMG going to bed ON TIME!!! I hadn’t had more than 4-6 hours sleep a night in decades! I have since remembered how WONDERFUL sleep can be! Been cleaning out closets, drawers, reading, crocheting, etc. Amazingly though, still feeling like something was missing. I was having a hard time TRUELY enjoying this new found existence. Couldn’t shake the sadness of all my babies being gone and I couldn’t settle into it. Something or SOMEONE was working on me and I just hadn’t figured it out yet.
When I was growing up I had a plan from a VERY young age. I WAS going to be a Mom and the best one that ever lived! I knew as the years went by that I had talents that God gave me. Talents that could have been very marketable or could have turned into some nice careers for me…but, none of that mattered to me. I told my husband before we even walked down the aisle that I was going to be at home with our children, and if that wasn’t something he agreed with than he needed to find another girl! Luckily for me he agreed and didn’t run for the hills!
Now let’s face it, not having 2 substantial incomes in a family nowadays is a struggle. And we did our share of struggling to make ends meet…and sometimes we didn’t. I always did what I had to do to bring in extra money and still be able to be at home. Fortunately, we were blessed with my Husband’s hard work up the ladder and his income growing over the years that we were able to make it all work and send our kids to college. It has never been easy and still isn’t but that’s how life is. God never promised us a perfect life…but He did promise EVERLASTING life and to be with us always.
When we took a transfer with my Husband’s company to Tennessee I had the opportunity to not have to work. We were in a new place and we needed to get settled and had a 6th grader, (our other 3 kids were grown or in college and stayed in Ohio) who at the time had a lot of adjustments to make. So, we felt we would revisit bringing in some extra income at a later date. Once we were settled, I got inspired to do something I had always thought about but never took seriously. Remember, I was MOM and that was my job! I wasn’t exactly sure what lane I would pick, because I enjoy sharing SO many things I have learned over my very educational life! I was often told that I have a plethora of knowledge that I need to share with the world. I was always like…yeah that would be fun and I would really enjoy that…I LOVE to help people and make their lives easier but my life is just too busy and my family needs me…just no time. Well, I started to revisit that idea when I wasn’t working and my daughter was now settled in school and making friends. I started to feel like it could actually be a possibility! Whoa!
Now my oldest son has a knack for technology, among other things, but I knew he was the one I needed to go to for advice of how to implement this great idea I was brewing! So long story short, he helped me take my little concept and form it into a reality. I could see in my mind, almost like a vision, how and where this dream of mine would go and I was ready! So I got to work! Creations_by_Char became a reality! After I felt comfortable with the concept I started a blog and social media pages. I went to work on formulating recipes, tablescapes, holiday entertaining, you name it! I was on a roll!
As time went on, we decided some extra income was needed so I took on some work from home to help out. I was still able though to continue on my mission to make my little “brand” a reality! And, it was beginning to really work!
A little show lol called The Chew on ABC was beginning to use some of my food photography and one day wanted to showcase one of MY recipes ON THE SHOW!!!! I almost died! To this day I still can’t believe it! They literally made my recipe and taste tested it on the air! Michael Symon ate MY Mushroom Horseradish burger on the show LIVE and LOVED it! At that moment I really felt like I was on my way! I felt like maybe my little idea wasn’t so crazy after all! So, I kept at it!
I have NEVER wanted to be famous and STILL don’t want to be. I like my “under the radar” life, but I would love to get paid for my abilities and help our family financially. I kept working hard and the ideas just kept flowing. I truly felt God was helping me along and wanted this to be my path. When He talks, I listen and I really believed he was guiding me down this new road I was on.
As many of you know my new little path was taken down a big detour and brought to a screeching halt when my husband fell ill and had 2 heart attacks. You can read about it in my story called “17 Days” at the top of my blog page.
As with my role as a Mother, I didn’t and still don’t regret my sacrifices as a Wife to help my Husband and my family through that challenging and very scary time of our lives. As you can imagine through those coming years of adjustments, financial struggles, and all the unknowns, my little dream was put back in that little box…for safe keeping…just in case I would be blessed again to open it and say hello. To again revisit that part of “Char” that made an appearance for a short time that I was still so grateful for.
Then to add to all the craziness, we took another transfer and moved back to Ohio. It felt like the right thing to do with all that had happened. We wanted to be close to family and be back with our older kids. So we got settled AGAIN and life went on. We got SUPER busy with school and sports with our youngest and I started working full time from home. My little “dream box” by now was pretty dusty and had cob webs! And still, I was fine with it. The Mom and Wife role was now 24/7 and it wasn’t changing anytime soon!
So, here I am, years later with another opportunity to open that little box. This time however, the feeling of being guided by God is even more strong and I have been listening! I do still work from home so my time is somewhat limited but recently I had some time off and I think God gave me a little kick in the butt and it motivated me! SO….my mind got to work! All those old creative juices started flowing and I am ready to carry on with my plan! We live in a different world now than when I started so my goals and inspirations have changed a little but it’s all still coming from my same heart filled with the desire to spread positivity, creativity, and love.
I want to get back to old fashioned values and bring it to today’s world, our youth, and our beautiful Mother’s, future Mother’s and families. I want to bring back forgotten joys we have lost along the way. I want to share God’s love and inspiration and bring people to His word. I want to get families excited again about the dinner table and slowing down to ACTUALLY talk and enjoy each other. I want to bring attention to the value of prior generations and their knowledge and the beauty of what they lived and experienced. I want to give women the courage and inspiration to take a break and BE OKAY WITH IT…to slow down and see beauty where it has been overshadowed by all the craziness of this world. There is so much in this world to see and appreciate and it lives in simple little places that the forces all around us want to take away and hide forever. I want to with God’s help, bring out my dream and bring about a way of thinking filled with faith, hope, joy, beautiful things, knowledge of all I have learned on my very long journey of hills and valleys, and hopefully have fun along the way! And maybe, y’all will have plenty to teach ME along the way too!
So please join me as I start this new chapter of Creations_by_Char! Please follow me on Instagram and Facebook so you don’t miss it when I finally become brave enough to go LIVE! I plan on going live in my kitchen with cooking, entertaining, holiday planning, crafts, projects, life lessons and so much more! If God gives me enough strength, I may even sing a song or 2! Ya just never know! 🙂
Thank you for supporting me along the way and please spread the word! I want to inspire and help as many as I can! A dream isn’t a dream without beautiful people to join you along the way!
Matthew 5:16 “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in Heaven”
Those of you who have followed me through the years know of my love for Thanksgiving. I really can’t remember how many years I have been hosting it but it’s been a lot! I remember the first Thanksgiving meal I made and even though it wasn’t the greatest, I was only 18 and it was pretty darn good considering that! I do recall that the love of this holiday started long before that. There is just something so special about it that no other holiday can capture.
When I was growing up we always went to either my Aunt’s or my Grandmother’s house for Thanksgiving. The memories are STILL embedded in my brain in total detail. The smells, the comforts, getting to see my cousins, and just the sheer happiness I always felt that day. I remember getting out of the car when we got there, which was pretty quick since we didn’t wear seatbelts lol, and smelling the food cooking outside before we even got in the door. It was an instant flood of joy literally through my soul. Now I LOVE Christmas just as much, but you have to agree, that between the Christmas movies, the decorating, the stores being flooded with Christmas retail before HALLOWEEN has even happened, it has really begun to thoroughly overshadow Thanksgiving more and more every year…..and it makes me so very sad.
Thanksgiving is so special for so many reasons. I love it’s simplicity. I love how old fashioned it is without anyone even realizing it. So, what IS Thanksgiving….really? We learn about it’s beginning when we are in school. It’s history we all know, with the Pilgrims, the Native Americans and the Mayflower. I think we celebrate it every year not even realizing what a gem it is. What a joyful and blessed tradition those special people created for us. It is truly one of the most underrated, simple, and old fashioned, traditions still alive and well in this world. Unfortunately, today we have lost sight of some of our most traditional pastimes, that we need to remember and get back to before it’s too late. We owe it to our youth to hold on to these special traditions so they can pass them down as well.
If you stop and think about it, what is complicated about Thanksgiving? Well, NOTHING! That’s the beauty of it! Let me explain it the way my kids like me to explain things…my GROWN kids…We cook…we eat…we watch football…we sleep…we clean up…we go home. That simple! Can we say that about any other holiday? Nope! And it’s all in ONE day! There is no gift giving, no shopping deadlines, no trees to decorate or to bring home from the tree lot, no worrying about Aunt Mildred giving you that look because she didn’t like the gift you gave her, (well, she could still give you that look if she doesn’t like the way you cooked the turkey :)) no stringing lights on the house and fighting about it or falling off the ladder, no fighting people at the stores, (WELL.. I guess THAT could still happen if you and 3 other people have just realized there is only one turkey left in the cooler…ya know, supply chain and all) no endless wrapping…are you getting my point? It’s just as simple as it gets. Now, if you are the one that hosts it, maybe not so much….but, it’s still easier than Christmas, in my opinion. Yes, we have to meal plan, do some decorating, (well, some of us go a little crazy in that department, but if you are a NORMAL person you do SOME decorating haha) shop for what you need, etc. But, so much can be done ahead so on the day of, it just flows! I explain how I do this in an article I wrote a few years ago about entertaining in the Fall.
So…I guess what I am trying to say is PLEASE don’t get so consumed with Christmas every year that you let it overshadow the absolute beauty and simplicity of Thanksgiving. It’s sad how some people can’t wait for Thanksgiving to be over so they can rush to the “pre-Black Friday sales” before their Thanksgiving meal has even had a chance to digest! And if that’s your jam, and it makes you happy, than who I am to judge? I am just fighting for a tradition that modern times and the retail world want to push further and further away. The stores aren’t going anywhere and neither are the sales. I remember when people who worked in retail and food got Thanksgiving off because EVERYTHING was closed. I even remember almost running out of gas on one of our Thanksgiving trips because there were no gas stations open!
And, as for putting up Christmas decor before Thanksgiving…I am for it, but then I’m not. Let me explain… I used to put all my Christmas decorations up starting November 1. It made everything so much easier! You had SO much time to put it up and it was ALL done by mid November and then you could enjoy it longer. But…then I started hosting Thanksgiving and I just could not do it anymore! Remember the “smells” I was telling you about? Well, all the beauty of that goes right out the icy frosted window when it’s mixed with pine and peppermint!!!! It feels UNNATURAL! Also, when you put up 6-10 trees there isn’t much room for 20-30 people to eat turkey! Santa is ho-ho-hoing, reindeer are flying around, Christmas music is humming from all the snow globes and mechanical snowmen. Now the small children are confused because they see trees and Santa’s and are wondering why all they get is a chair at some “kids” table in another room with a plate of food they don’t even like and NO PRESENTS! See what I’m talking about? 🙂
My solution for this, over the years, is I keep my Christmas decor up throughout January. I alter it a bit to more of a “Winter” theme. There is another article I wrote that you can read if you haven’t. It’s called…”Not Totally Letting Go of Christmas…Just Movin on to Winter” It explains how I transition from Christmas to Winter but still have that wonderful feeling around us like we get from Christmas decor.
In this world of crazy, and I mean crazy, and more everyday…if you are lucky enough to celebrate Thanksgiving with family, loved ones, friends, or anyone special to you, please appreciate and savor it’s beauty and soak it all in for that ONE day…that ONE meal. It’s a time to just BE. To just love and appreciate each other, good food, God’s love and what amazing joys are still all around us….and don’t forget the SMELLS!!!!
This is similar to my other chunky meatball recipe but with ground chicken..LOVE.. and lower in sodium and just so much healthier! These meatballs are so versatile. You can have them with pasta, rice, pasta sauce, white sauce, or just by themselves. I love to add mushrooms to them but my daughter wouldn’t stand for that…so I don’t have them in this recipe. Try to add them if you are a fan or for variety. And for large groups you can double or triple the recipe very easily. Enjoy! 🙂
You will need:
2 lbs. Perdue ground chicken
1 egg beaten
1- 1/3 TBS Olive Oil
10 saltine crackers crushed
1 medium white or yellow onion chopped a little “chunky”
1/4 c fresh chopped Basil ( chop a bit more for garnish)
(I prefer Simply Organic or Olde Thompson herbs and spices in my recipes)
The ever frustrating world of produce! We love to eat it and we know how healthy it is but dealing with it is sometimes a job! We walk through the produce section amazed by all the vibrant colors and the great fresh, healthy feeling we get by looking at God’s beautiful bounty all around us. It’s so fun to stop and smell and pick the very best selections of all the varieties we have to choose from. We feel like such healthy “produce pioneers” picking those gorgeous colorful carriers of nutrition to take home to our families and serve in the most beautiful creative ways! Yeah…well….
then everyday life and reality hits. We get the…”Mom! Ewwww! Something stinks in the frig!” When you finally get to it, because you can’t stand it anymore you start your search with the many containers of what you think used to be leftovers. Then when that doesn’t work you open the produce drawer which is packed and you haven’t seen the bottom of for who knows how long. And you begin your search for “the smell”. You start pulling out bags of fruits and vegetables that are now different shades of brown and somewhat unrecognizable. You eventually give up and just bring the garbage can TO the frig. Before you know it the produce drawer is almost empty, except for that one lone grapefruit that still has a breath of life and a couple lemons that you figure can be salvaged for juice. And as you scrape off the sticky gooey remnants of produce from the civil war era (because now it has turned into a project you wish you would have ignored a little longer) you are startled by the 2 rolling grapes that come out of no where that now look like raisins…or maybe they used to be limes?? Who knows???
Ahhhhh…that road of good intention. We just have such great plans for all those beautiful fruits and veggies we bring home. Then at the end of the day when we are tired and cranky and everyone is hungry the last thing you feel like doing is bringing out all that produce to wash, cut, chop and slice and that’s BEFORE you start cooking!
Trust me, I have been there! And even with my new system I have my moments of not wanting to deal with it. But.. I know in the long run I will save money and our family will eat healthier. That’s a pretty good motivator!
*** My grandson nibbling on a “big cold carrot” lol one of my old tips for a teething baby 🙂 Not recommended though once they have teeth but when they don’t it feels so good on their gums!
-TIP #1 Don’t buy more than you can eat! Just because the strawberries are on sale don’t buy more than your family can eat before they go bad. You can usually figure about a week of shelf life give or take for most produce and there are exceptions but produce is perishable so we want to buy it a little at a time. Weekly is a good schedule. Now if you are feeling ambitious and you want to make some awesome recipes with what’s on sale then of course buy more and take advantage of the great prices! Remember though, a sale isn’t a good bargain when it ends up in the garbage!
-TIP #2 Figure out what types of produce you can’t live without and make them a priority. You have a better chance of eating your produce if it’s what you like. For example, in our house grape tomatoes, cucumbers, avocados, pineapples, apples and onions are things we feel we can’t go without. And luckily those are items pretty readily available most times of the year. Then there is lots of produce we love but it’s not always at a good price, available, in season or worth buying so I make my decisions for those items by what I see good in the store that week. Sometimes it’s on sale but I don’t like the way it looks or sometimes it’s not on sale but they got in the most beautiful shipment that week so I will splurge.
-TIP #3 Try to plan your meals around what looks good or is on sale that week. For example… you see yellow squash is in season and on sale and you buy a bunch of it and you are so excited because you got a great deal on it. But, then you take it home and have no clue what to do with it or have no recipes to use it in. That is not a type of produce you just buy and nibble on it has to be used “in” something. So chances are if you buy produce without a plan it will more than likely end up at the bottom of the drawer for too long or in the garbage…and now you are losing money 😦
-TIP #4 When you shop do it on a day you will have time to food prep. I know that sounds challenging. It’s tough enough sometimes to find the time to shop at all but I promise you if you can make this work it makes all the difference in the world. When you come home and you start to put the groceries away DO NOT put the produce away…yet. I put all my produce together on the counter and make it wait for me to dress it up and make it pretty! *If at all possible, before you go to the store or the night before do an inventory of your frig. Get rid of anything old, figure out exactly what you need or don’t need, make room and wash surfaces, drawers and containers. This will make the food prep go much faster after shopping. Well, gee, I guess that was another tip! LOL
-TIP #5 Now is when we wash, cut, organize and store all our produce and make it ready to eat! You will open your frig and won’t be able to resist it! I promise when you take that extra time to prep all that produce BEFORE it goes in the frig you and your family WILL eat it and it won’t go to waste! You will find you are eating so much healthier because the fruits and veggies are right there stacked in a colorful free vending machine in your frig!
Here’s how I prep!
Get yourself some type of stacking containers. Glass or plastic. Snapping lids work the best and have a variety of sizes.
*There is not much prepping to do with root vegetables. Just make sure you store them in a cool dry place and rotate them when you buy new.
I use a colander and a large bowl to wash my produce. You can use a store bought produce wash or use a little vinegar or lemon juice or an organic all natural dish soap diluted with water. I wash one veggie or fruit type at a time. For example…I put my container of strawberries in the colander then put the colander in the bowl and spray it with a little wash. Fill it gently with water and let it soak for a couple minutes. Lift out the colander and rinse gently and well. Then I cut up the produce and put it in the container. I repeat this with all the produce. You will want to cut everything into bite size ready to eat pieces before putting it into the containers.
When I wash delicate berries like blackberries or raspberries I do soak them but rinse them VERY gently and lay them out on a paper towel to dry a little before putting them in the container.
I even prep and put in containers produce like melons and pineapple. Now with apples it is best to wash them and wrap them in plastic wrap so it’s known they have been washed and they stay clean.
-TIP #6 I put small pieces of paper towels in the containers to help absorb excess moisture which is something that molds your produce and shortens it’s freshness time. Some produce I put a piece at the bottom AND one on top but one is better than none. It really does help!
-TIP #7 Any produce whether prepped or still in it’s original container needs to be rotated everyday if possible. What I mean by that is it needs to be jiggled around. The worst thing for produce is that it sits in one position too long… let’s mold grow. If it’s up right flip it to upside down or on it’s side and so on and so forth. For your prepped produce in containers just give them a jiggle or open them up and move the produce around a little. If the paper towel is really wet replace it.
-TIP #8 DO NOT refrigerate tomatoes! Please don’t! It breaks them down and kills their flavor. I always have a washed bowl of some type of tomatoes on my counter to snack on!
-TIP #9 Strawberries and grapes are the dirtiest! Soaking them to me is a must. A quick rinse just doesn’t do it! Go ahead and check out the bottom of your soaking bowl next time you soak them. Ick!!! I mentioned earlier that I cut up strawberries and put them in to a container. Grapes I wash and leave on the stems and put them in a pretty bowl in the frig.
If you can find the time to follow these tips you will surely avoid the produce drawer abyss and get back to enjoying the beauty that God put on this earth for us to eat. The money you will save and the happiness you will feel when you open your frig and see the “fruits of your labor” will make it all worth it! 🙂
Please let me know if you have any questions! I would be happy to answer them!
This recipe really intrigued me. It’s like a big meatball biscuit casserole thing! LOL! Refreshing these recipes right now is a little challenging with us being in this quarantine but It’s a great time to learn the “art” of substituting ingredients in recipes. I LOVED this dish with the mushroom gravy but I will say I think a darker brown gravy with or without mushrooms may have went with it a little better. But, really any gravy you have or prefer would work great. And no gravy at all would be fine too! It would be good without it as well! Enjoy!! 🙂
You will need:
1-1/2 lbs ground beef, chicken, or turkey (add a little olive oil if using chicken)
(I am not a fan of onion soup mix so I substituted with these next 6 ingredients + the pepper flakes and Worcestershire sauce)
1-1/2 tsp Tastefully Simple Rustic Herb Seasoning (or any herbal seasoning you have)
2 tsp parsley flakes
1-1/2 tsp onion powder
2 tsp dried minced onion (or just add more fresh onion)
1 small yellow onion minced (about 1/2 c)
1/4 tsp poultry seasoning
1/4 tsp pepper
1/4 tsp Kosher salt
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes (to taste)
2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1 slightly beaten egg
1 Tb water
1/2 c panko breadcrumbs (or regular breadcrumbs)
1/4 c parmesan cheese
1-1/2 c sifted flour
1-1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp Kosher salt
1-1/2 c milk
3 Tb melted butter
(although this batter amount was good as it is I feel like it would be better increased slightly by 50%. Doubling would be too much but if you want more batter around the meatballs give it a try!)
Combine ground beef with next 11 ingredients. Blend egg with water then add to meat mixture. Add breadcrumbs and cheese and blend well. Form into meatballs and place in a well greased 13×9 baking dish. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Sift together flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside. Beat eggs until foamy (I used a whisk but you can use a mixer) Add milk and butter and mix well. Add dry ingredients and whisk or beat until smooth. Pour batter over meatballs.
Bake 50-60 min or until golden brown.
Let meatballs rest 5 minutes. Then cut into desired size slices and cover with gravy of choice. Top with parsley or grated cheese and serve with your favorite side.
You will need:
3 Tb butter
1- 8 oz pkg mushrooms (any kind) cleaned and sliced
2 tsp pepper
approx.. 1/4 c flour
1 to 2 cups any stock (beef would be best but all I had was chicken)
1-1/2 Tb Worcestershire sauce (1 Tb if using beef stock)
In a skillet on med/high heat melt the butter then add mushrooms. Add pepper and sauté until browned. Add a drizzle of olive oil and stir. Sprinkle flour over mushrooms and blend. Add stock a little at a time stirring with a whisk until desired thickness is achieved. Reduce heat to low and stir in Worcestershire sauce until well blended. Add more stock if gravy is too thick. Remove from heat and cover to keep warm until meatballs are done.