Monday, May 01, 2006

Praline Pie

Pie_plate


Here's a retro pie for you to try -- it sounds interesting to say the least!

Texarkana, Texas Praline Pie

3 egg whites
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla
20 butter crackers, crushed
3/4 cup pecans, chopped

Preheat oven to 425 deg.  With your mixer, beat together   egg whites, baking powder, and vanilla until stiff.  Gradually add in sugar a tablespoon at at time.  Fold in cracker crumbs and chopped pecans.  Pour into a well-greased pie pan.  Bake for 30 minutes.  Cool.  Top with whipped cream.  Serves 8-10.

Sounds rich, doesn't it?

Class Is Beginning

Housekeeping 101 Starts Today

Class_name_1
Check your email, girls!  Your first lesson is waiting for you in your inbox!
Happy Dusting!

Sunday, April 30, 2006

Club House

Have_you_heard_about_it_1

Here's what has been floating through my mind the last couple of days...   A Housekeeping Club.  This wouldn't be related to the Housekeeping College at all, this is something different that I'm picturing in my head. 

If you participate in Amy Karol's "Mail Order" then you have some idea of where I'm going with this.  I love what she has done for a crafting club and it's absolutely amazing to get a package in the mail with the club-like goodies in it.  It has inspired me.  I don't want to copy her, or anyone else that has a similar thing, but I like the idea of a club.  For housekeepers.  Not a chat room club or a forum style club where we all post and talk and yada yada yada....  No, I want a CLUB where you get a membership card and other goodies and you have to know a secret pledge and all that good stuff!  Think back to when you were in second grade...that type of club!  But for housekeeping, not selling cookies and earning campfire badges.  I have more thoughts on this in my head.  And I want to have every little detail figured out before I would start one, but if I DID start one, would anyone be interested in joining?  I'm thinking membership cards, a member's only apron, a handbook and a few other things could be in the initiation packet?   Yeah, I'm going to do it.  It's just too fun not to!  Drop me a line and let me know if you would be interested.  I'm going to get to work on the details.  As soon as I have it all figured out, I'll send out the info!

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Housekeeping 101 Information


Housekeeping 101 Information

All class supply lists have been emailed to class participants for Housekeeping 101, Spring Session 2006.  Please be sure to check your inboxes to print them out.  Class starts May 1st!!!

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Breakfast Biscotti

Biscotti for Breakfast

Biscotti

I made some of the biscotti that I gave you the recipe for in an earlier post.  This time I decided to take a photo of it so you could see just what it would look like!  Please ignore the filthy vase in the background, as these flowers are past their prime and I just haven't gotten around to tending to them yet.  (I know -- how horrible of an example to set, especially on this blog! I usually don't let them get this way, I promise!)  Anyway, these biscotti are so yummy dunked in your coffee or with a nice hot cup of English Breakfast Tea.  Try making it -- it's so easy, I promise.

The Toothpick, a Very Useful Tool

Have you ever taken a really good look at your dishwasher door?  I have.  YUCK!  On a very regular basis I scrupulously clean that thing because it grosses me out that my dishes would come out of something that has such nasty gunk stuck in the crevices.  Take a look at this:

Dishwasher_door

This is with regular cleanings, too, so if you've never done it, you might want to look at your dishwasher door.  And the absolute best tool for this job?  A toothpick!  Just slide it along the crevices (using new ones as you need to, of course!) and it will pull all that yuck right out.  Then spray a little vinegar into it, pour a cup of vinegar into your empty dishwasher, and run a normal wash cycle with no dishes inside.  Your dishwasher will be sparkling and fresh again!  You'll thank me for this disgusting post, I promise...  Now get to it!

Friday, April 21, 2006

Simple Pleasures

The lovely Ms*Robyn has tagged me!  So, I'm taking my turn now, but be on the lookout!  I may be tagging you next!

TEN SIMPLE PLEASURES

1.  Remembering to set the timer on the coffee maker the night before, and thusly having a fresh hot cup of coffee waiting for you to start your day...

2.  The soft breeze of a warm spring day gently waving the curtains back and forth, bringing in the scent of freshly cut grass...

3.  Johnson's Baby Lotion soaked into every pore of my babies' bodies after bathtime and then snuggling them for a rock-a-bye before bed...

4.  Freshly laundered, ironed, lavender-scented sheets on your bed at the end of a long tiring day...

5.  A chocolate chip cookie fresh from the oven with a tall glass of cold milk...

6.  Holding hands with my husband...

7.  The soft purr of Forrest Gump, our cat, when he's sleeping in the sunshine...

8.  A clean house, freshly folded laundry, dinner in the oven, and no one is crying...

9.  A mid-afternoon nap in a hammock...

10.  Two little hands grasping your cheeks, pulling your face in to a small cherubic face, and a head bobbing up and down in first attempts to give Mommy a kiss...

Those are ten of my simple pleasures, but there are many more like them...  now I tag 10 people and forgive me if you have already been tagged: Autum , Julie , Amanda , Mirre , Beki , Peggy , Flossy , Kristy , Tash , and Kali .  I enjoyed this one, and I hope you do, too!

The Good Home Cookbook, coming October 2006


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Over at Collector's Press (which is where I have gotten my incredible library of retro books from) they are putting together a new cookbook, "The Good Home Cookbook".  I was one of the lucky ones who was able to participate as a recipe tester for this massive work!  (I tried out recipes for "Ambrosia", "Baked Apples", "Old Fashioned Tapioca Pudding" and more, just to name a tiny few!).  If you would like a peek at some of the recipes in advance or just to read about the creation of this cookbook and the journey it will have taken before it is published in October 2006, just head on over to the blog by Richard Perry, Collector's Press founder, at this link.  If you want to get your hands on the cookbook before they are sold out, you can pre-order it at Collector's Press on this page.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

I'm Famous!

Retro Revival has me on their links page!  I didn't have any idea this page was linked there until just now when I happened to take a peak at their links to find some new places to surf.  Lo and behold, there I was!  Between that, the email from the owner of The Laundry and the email from Darla Shine, I'm about to fall off this chair that little old me could possibly have attracted that kind of attention!  Wow, what a ride this has been so far....

Interesting....

Interesting Find...

My_vacuum_its_my_best_helper

I ran across a website for a professional cleaning company in the Northwest that had more than just information on how to hire them to clean your home.  This company actually publishes some great cleaning tips and information on their site.  Go check it out here

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Sign Up Now....

Housekeeping 101 Is Now Enrolling

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For those of you who are interested in joining the Housekeeping College, please read on!  I have decided to make this a "6-week course" and have a daily lesson for each of you.  You don't have to write a research paper or send me a completed pot holder or anything like that!  No, rather on each day of the week, excluding weekends, I will put a new 'educational' post on the site.  At the end of the 6 weeks, who ever answers at least 15 of 25 questions on a "pop quiz" correctly, will get a diploma and an official housekeepers packet!  (I'm not telling what's in it--you have to complete the course to find out, but I promise it will be worth it!)

At the end of 6 weeks, I will start up another session called Housekeeping 201 to continue the college.  Anyone who wishes to enroll for the first time will be able to take the Housekeeping 101 course as I will repeat it concurrently. 

Here's the administrative fine print to note:  Registration must be completed by April 25th.  Class begins on May 1st!  To register, simply complete and return this form o me:  Download housekeeping_college.doc

On April 28th, I will send to all participants a list of supplies for the class.  Don't worry, you won't be required to purchase a Dyson or a stand mixer!  No, simply things like a notebook that will be specifically for this purpose and things like that.  Items you may not even have to purchase, they may already be in your possession! 

This will be fun, and I'm excited to see how many sign up!  If anything, the packet at the end will be worth it!

Monday, April 17, 2006

Q & A

A Question Already!!!

Here is an email I received just after posting today...

I have a question.  How do you do it?  You have 4 small kids, and I only have 3 and I feel I can't get anything done during the day unless I turn on the tv for them which I hate.  If I sort clothes, the 16 month old is right behind me unsorting them.  If I try to scrub a toilet, a 2 1/2 yo is swinging the yucky dripping wand around the bathroom.  How do you keep your kids occupied while you clean?  My house isn't a pigsty or anything, but I could do so much better.  Tell me, domestic goddess, how do you do it?

Well, first of all, I am definitely not a domestic goddess!  There are days where my house has gone to the dogs (or to the kids, rather!).  It's simply a matter of maintenance.  You try to keep everything from going below a certain standard.  If you do a really thorough housecleaning once a week, or even less often really, then you have a basis to start from and you simply maintain it by picking up after activites, swiping a cloth over a surface, etc.  It's easier to keep something clean than it is to start from square one.  But for me, the secret is that I have swings installed from the beams in my basement!  The kids are addicted to swinging and they could spend hours doing it.  But ususally they are underfoot and wanting to play.  So, I get them involved.  My 4 year old loves to clean.  She's at the age where it's big fun for her to be able to do the things that Mommy does.  I give her a damp cloth and let her go to town.  If anything, it at least gets the top layer of dust and leaves me with an easier job when I go behind her.  And one of the twins, Aelin, is perpetually putting things away.  She's been like this since birth.  She has to have things in their place or she gets unglued.  So she is great for picking up the clutter as I vacuum.  And Annika, my other twin?  Well, she likes to just run in circles and call it help!  Hey, she's occupied and it's not tearing apart anything I've done!  The baby still takes quite a few naps during the day, so he is usually asleep while I clean.  My secret is to just get them involved.  Or else wait till naptime!  And somedays I do just that.  I will do a speed clean during naptime if I haven't managed to get anything done in a day.  I work up a heck of a sweat, but it gets done somehow!  And I have to admit, there are times when I'm doing a yucky job, such as cleaning toilets, and I break out the Disney videos or a Blues Clues dvd.  I don't think kids need tv every waking moment, but a half hour here or there won't cause a learning disability. 
And if you've been able to create a system for yourself that helps you maintain a certain level of order in the house, then having days where you let things go won't mean the house has descended into condemnation.  That's what we're going to try to work toward here.  And I highly recommend the book "Home Comforts:  The Art & Science of Keeping House" by Cheryl Mendelsson.  I purchased it years ago when it first came out and it has been the one source I couldn't live without in helping me find my systems and my levels of acceptability here in our home.  Because sometimes you just need to say forget the dusting, I want to play with my kids!

Housekeeping College

Housekeeping College

Housekeeping

I know that when I was in high school, there was only 1 period where Home-Ec was offered, and now you can't even find it in most curriculums.  I wasn't able to take that class as it was offered at the same time as Physics, and, well, back then I was much more interested in getting into the Navy's Nuclear Program than getting into an apron.  How foolish I was!  I never did join the Navy, and now I find that I didn't even like working with the engineers I once collaborated with on highway designs.  Nope, now I am in love with wearing aprons and all things domestic!  Go figure...

So, my personal mission this week is to try and find out if there is a movement to save the Home-Ec instruction in our schools.  And if there isn't?  I think I'm going to start one!  And I don't want it to be exclusive to girls.  Many men are waiting longer and longer to marry and settle down.  They need to know how to take care of home as well, and when they do have a family, a little knowledge would be a good thing in order to get them to pitch in when the baby's been up all night with fever and mom needs a rest. 

Back to my original thought, it seems that very few of us have ever been taught the right way to "keep house".  Since I felt that this site needed a more definite plan and a path to follow, that's what is going to be found here at The Helpful Housewife.  I'm going to continue to put the little tidbits out here that have been characteristic of the site all along.  But as a concurrent theme, I will start posting about the way to keep house properly.  Not a strict, this-is-the-only-way methodology, but a general guideline of hygenic standards and pleasant added touches.  I hope you enjoy this new format.  I'm going to try to post daily, Monday through Friday, with a longer post on Friday to carry throughout the weekend.  (Hey, even I need a break!  I'm a little tired out suddenly between the three sites, the kids, the farmers market, the aprons, the husband, the laundry....shall I go on?!)

And, as another new item, I want you to utilize the "email me" link on the page.  If you have any question about a housekeeping issue (cooking, cleaning, laundry, gardening, pets, anything at all) please email me your question.  I will then post it with the answer on the site (no names mentioned unless you want it there!) so that all can benefit from it. 
Now, go get dinner started and freshen yourself up before hubby gets home!  Tomorrow will be the beginning of our new education!

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Easy Chicken Casserole


Here's an easy recipe you can whip up.  Enjoy it!  It's yummy!  Plus, kids will eat it.  Mine love it.  And if you need something that feels and tastes like you really put a lot of effort into it, but you don't have the time?  This does the trick.  In fact, it's a go-to recipe for me whenever we have a potluck, a few friends over, or just need to make it seem like I made an effort for my husband.  Not that any of those occasions don't deserve effort, it's just that having an easy stand by recipe gives me more time to spend with them instead of over the stove!



CHICKEN CASSEROLE

Cook 1 box of Uncle Ben's Long Grain Wild Rice according to package instructions.  Cool.

Preheat the oven to 350F.

Saute the following in a small amount of butter:

1/2 c.  chopped onion
1 c. chopped celery

Mix onion and celery with:

1 small can mushrooms
1-10.5 oz can cream of chicken soup
1 can sliced water chestnuts
1 c mayo
1/2 tsp poultry seasoning
3 c diced cooked chicken
cooled rice


Spread in a 9 x 13 pan.  Top with one bag of Pepperidge Farm bread stuffing which has been tossed with melted butter.  Bake at 350F for about 45 minutes.   Be careful not to overbrown.

***  I like to substitute light mayo, and the lo-fat healthy request soup from Campbells.  I also use any old bag of stuffing mix as long as it is just the traditional flavor.  But I only use half a bag--a full bag is way too much for our tastes.  Half a bag creates an even layer over the entire casserole.  That way you aren't eating a lot of dry, baked croutons with a little bit of chicken dish. 

Re-Stocking the Pantry

Today Is The Day To Re-Stock

Shopping_in_color


You've got a sparkly refrigerator and a spotless pantry.  Today you are going to go through them and make note of anything you need to restock and take yourself shopping!  Remember:  fresh is best, frozen next when it comes to produce.  Look for vibrant color and absence of blemishes.  Be sure to check expiration dates on all purchases.  Ask the butcher about the cuts of meat and choose those that look the brightest, firmest, and most marbled for meats.  The fishmonger can direct you to the freshest fish and recommend a new way to prepare it, too!  Steer clear of processed foods, but don't ignore aisles with the dried pastas.  Even though fresh pasta is wonderful, it's nice to keep a box of spaghettini or farfelle on hand for a quick pantry meal. 

While making your list, consult your cookbooks, recipe cards, and your weekly menu if you have one (I highly recommend it!).  This way you are sure to purchase all of the items you need.  But don't forget to take the list with you!

You may also want to check if you have any manufacturer or store coupons.  This may help you decide where to shop.  Many stores offer double coupons on Wednesday.  With the money you save grocery shopping, you can go get a manicure tomorrow!

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Cleaning out the Pantry

The Pantry Is NOT A Mushroom

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Good morning, darling Housewives!  Now that our refrigerators are sparkling and pretty inside, it's time to move on to our next task.  We are going to tackle the pantry now.  And in case you were wondering why in the world I could admonish everyone by saying the pantry is NOT a mushroom, it is because most people treat the pantry that way.  They keep it in the dark and it's covered in dirt!  I know that us Housewives don't do that, but you would be surprised to peek into the pantries of those who are homekeeping-phobic or those who would love to be an efficient homemaker but have no idea where to start or what to do.  Pantries tend to be neglected more than any other area of the home with exception of the utility closet, but most use their pantries as a utility closet as well. 
I'm going to tackle this as if your pantry is a multi-purpose area.  If you are fortunate enough to have separate closets for brooms and paper/cleaning goods, and the like, then only take out the points that would pertain to you.  Let's get started!

To keep foods fresh and to prevent pest infestation, we need to keep the pantry clean and dry at all times.  This doesn't mean filling a bucket with bleach water and scrubbing it down everyday.  You can maintain a high level of cleanliness with afew simple preventative measures.  But a good, thorough initial cleaning is in order, as well as at least one per year thereafter.  Here are the steps to take for that initial scrub-down:
  1. Remove everything from the pantry.  Every can, box, bag, crumb of food.  Remove all cleaning supplies or paper products that you may have stored there.  The pantry should be completely empty. 

  2. Sort through the items you pulled off the shelves/hooks and discard anything that's past it's prime.  If you have items that are still good and you don't plan to use them, DON'T TOSS THEM OUT!   Set aside a box of these items to deliver to your local food pantry, shelter, or church for those less fortunate.  These places are always in need of donations and every little bit helps.  Any cleaning product that you are going to get rid of need to be properly taken care of.  Be sure to read labels for disposal guidelines.  Most can be flushed down the drain with lots of water and the container recycled.  If you have some things that are a little stronger and require different disposal techniques, be sure to do so appropriately.  Contact your local waste management company for advice or instructions on where to take these things.

  3. Now that you have room to work, it's time to clean.  First, dry dust the shelves and walls to remove any dust and crumbs.  Sweep the floor to prevent any dirt/dust from becoming wet and hard to clean up.  This way any drips from the cleaning will not create a bigger mess. 

  4. FIll a bucket with warm water and a drop of two of a gentle dishsoap or an all-natural cleanser.  (I really like Dr. Bronner's liquid soaps for this type of job. The peppermint or eucalyptus scents work especially well, although any of them are perfect for this project.)  Grab about 6 cleaning cloths from your rag bin stash and lets get to work.

  5. Wash down each shelf.  As your cloth gets too dirty to continue, toss it in your washing machine and grab a clean one.  Keep going until all shelves have been cleaned.  Next, wipe down the walls.  Start at the top and work your way down.  If any drips get on your clean shelves, simply wipe them away. 

  6. Using a spray bottle, lightly mist your shelves with a very weak vinegar and water solution.  This will help to ensure a thorough rinsing of any residue, and will also act as an antiseptic for anything that may have  been setting up home in your pantry.

  7. All that is left to scrub is the floor.  This is one of the times that I encourage a little bleach in your water.  This will ensure that no pests decide to meander on in and make themselves comfortable.  Give the floor a good scrub with a natural bristle brush and rinse thoroughly.  Leave the door open to air and dry the pantry while you go on to the next step.

  8. Now I want you to wipe down any jars or cans that will go into your pantry.  Dust off any boxes that will be returned to the shelves or, ideally, empty the contents of the boxes into airtight glass or plastic containers. 

  9. When placing items back in the pantry, place like items together.  Heavier items go toward the bottom and lighter items at the top.  Place all cleaning products on the bottom shelf or on the floor so that there is no chance of contamination of the food items.  If you have small children, you are probably thinking this is absolutely insane for childproofing reasons.  It really isn't.  In our main floor pantry, we keep snack foods, cereals and cleaning products, while the bulk of our items are in our basement pantry.  We simply put a hook-and-eye latch on the door at our eye level.  This keeps the children out of the pantry and away from the cleaning supplies.

  10. Using your vacuum, clean the bristles of your broom and the strings of your dust mop.  Hang the mops/brooms back on their hooks (don't stand them up in a corner--this ruins the bristles) and place any bucket or cleaning caddies on the floor beneath them.  This is also where I hang our plastic grocery bag catch-all and my cleaning smocks/aprons.  TIP:  to cut down on the massive collection of plastic grocery bags, ask for paper bags the next time you go to the market.  You can always plant another tree, but we can't always create another landfill, that's my motto.  I've found that paper bags are easier to  manage when putting them in the car.  They fit side by side very neatly.  I usually bring my own canvas and oilcloth totes to use.  When I'm low on paper bags for holding my recycling items and newpapers on trash day, I will ask for paper at the market.  When I am low on plastic bags that I use for changing the litter box, lining the utility room wastebaskets, or containing dirty diapers while away from home, then I ask for plastic bags at the market.  But for me to get any type of disposable bag from the market, it has to serve a dual purpose later. 

  11. Step back and admire your clean and organized pantry!  To maintain this work of art, all you have to do is remember to rotate out your items that you keep in there, wipe up any spills or crumbs immediately, and vacuum the floor every week or so to keep any dust bunnies at bay.  Occasionally wipe a mop over the floor to maintain, but with proper attention to the pantry on a minimal daily level, the floor should stay clean for longer periods.

For more information on a sparkly pantry, you can go to the following places for some great tips, ideas and instructions:  Real Simple Magazine, Home Comforts : The Art and Science of Keeping House, Keeping House: Hints and Tips for a Beautifully Clean Home , and of course, Alison has the most wonderful site on all things housekeeping vintage-style!

Friday, March 31, 2006

Is Your Refrigerator In Need of Some TLC?

Is Your Refrigerator In Need of Some TLC?


Frig




Your task for today?  Empty your refrigerator and freezer.  I mean EMPTY them.  Sort as you empty.  Anything that is beyond the sell-by date, has been leftovers for more than 3 days, is just going to sit there until Cookie Monster is elected the next US President, or even looks questionable although the date is still good on it, MUST BE TOSSED OUT.  Anything that is still edible and safe to keep, place it in coolers to keep it from spoiling.  Take all ice out of your ice maker or your ice cube trays and put it in plastic ziploc bags and then toss the bags in the coolers as added insurance to keep things cold. 
  1. Now, turn off the refrigerator and freezer.  Vacuum the coils and the floor around, under and behind it. 
  2. Remove all shelves, bins, drawers, racks, etc. 
  3. Vacuum or wipe out any crumbs and foreign matter from the appliance.
  4. In a generous bucket or container, place a drop or two of a gentle dishsoap and a generous sprinkling of baking soda.  Fill the bucket with warm (about 100 deg.F) water.
  5. Gently wash the inside, then outside of the frig/freezer.  Then wash all of the shelves, etc., that you just removed from the frig/freezer.
  6. Open two new, small containers of baking soda and label them with the date "July 1, 2006".  (This is when you will toss them out and replace them with new ones labelled "Oct. 1, 2006").   Now place one open box in the frig and one open box in the freezer on a center shelf.  (Once a week you may need to shake it up, or empty a little of the top of each box to keep it active and absorbing foul odor if you don't have the flow-through mesh version from Arm & Hammer).
  7. Turn the power back on to the appliance and begin to return items back to the frig/freezer.  Be sure to wipe down all containers as you put them back in.  You don't want sticky puddles on your newly cleaned shelves!  Place larger containers to the back and smaller to the front so you can see everything in there.  Bottles of dressings, sauces, etc. are best stored in shallow compartments on the door. 
  8. Remember, the coldest parts of the frig and freezer are at the back on the bottom.  This is the best area for storing meats, etc.  Eggs and cheese can go closer to the top.
  9. Toss out the old ice cubes that you had in the ziploc bags.  They probably hold old freezer odors anyway!
If you want, you can pretty up your frig now.  I have an old coffee can that I covered in a pretty contact paper that I use to pour drippings into. I have lemons and limes in a white bowl with scrollwork around the edges and my eggs are out of the plastic container they are sold in and placed in an egg holder.   I try to keep plastic storage containers out of the frig and use glass storage dishes.  Now, not only can I see everything that I have on hand and know that it's all fresh and sanitary, it's pretty to look at too!



The links above are to the 2-cup, 5-cup, and 12-cup glass refrigerator dishes that I use for refrigerator storage.  I have two of each size.  Why?  Because I hate the plastic storage stuff - it absorbs odors, it stains, and often the lids become warped and don't fit.  You frequently have to replace them, but these glass containers are almost indestructible and will last forever.   And these are pretty- these remind me of the old Anchor Hocking and Fire King dishes of the 1950's.  These also stack very well in my cabinets and in my refrigerator, and do not fall over when you bump them with a carton of milk in the refrigerator.  And they don't stain when you use them for tomato sauces!

If you want more ideas on how to make the inside of your frig nicer, go see Alison May over at Brocante Home and read about "Brocante-ing Your Frig". She has such wonderful ideas for making life prettier.  There are even more at her Vintage Housekeepers Circle.  Go sign up today!

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Italian Biscotti

To Go With Your Tea...

Italian Biscotti

Recipe

1 pound butter, softened
4 cups sugar
8 eggs
1 tablespoon baking powder
2 teaspoons vanilla
4 tablespoons anise seed
6 ounces almonds, chopped
8 cups all-purpose flour
1 bag dried cranberries
1 cup pistachio nuts, shelled


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix butter, sugar, eggs, baking powder, vanilla, anise seed and almonds until well blended. Stir in flour gradually. When smooth, stir in dried cranberries and pistachios. The dough will be sticky but not difficult to handle. Divide dough into four equal parts. Shape each section into a loaf about 15 inches long and 4 inches wide. Bake loaves for about 45 minutes on a baking sheet with sides. (If dough begins to spread and become too flat during baking, reshape with a spatula.) Remove loaves from oven, and allow them to cool. When cool, cut each loaf into 1-inch slices. Place slices back on baking sheet and bake for 10 to 15 minutes, until golden. Makes about six dozen large cookies.

Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Ice Cream Topping

I think I may have invented the world's easiest recipe for making milk chocolate ice cream topping.  I got desperate one night for chocolate and, ouila!!!, instant craving fix.  Desperation is the mother of invention in my kitchen... 

You'll need:

1- 16 oz bag of milk chocolate morsels

1- 14oz can of condensed milk (I used fat free to make myself feel less indulgent, but use what you want!)

Pour them both into a microwaveable bowl.  Heat on high for a minute or so.  Stir.  If not quite completely smooth, heat 20 seconds more and stir again.  Pour it over your ice cream and enjoy!  I put the leftover topping in an empty jelly jar (with lid) in the refrigerator, but honestly?  I could have just eaten the whole bowlful, skipped the ice cream, and not worry about a container for putting it in!

Monday, February 27, 2006

Modern Retro Housewives



"Her alarm clock chimes before the sun rises. She's not only up and at 'em, she's dressed to the nines in heels and a full face, wearing perfume. Her apron is starched and matches her outfit, and breakfast is on the table. Her husband and children come to the table dressed and pressed: they've been raised that way, and she's done the ironing."

"The year is not 1944, or even 1954...it's 2004, and the modern retro housewife is keeping house like Grandma did. She’s starting early and staying up late. Her day begins just after daybreak, when she gets up and gets dressed. No sweats or boxer shorts and t-shirts for her, she's wearing silk pajamas and pin curls. She bathes, dresses, combs out her hair and does her face. She's a modern-day Donna Reed, and she doesn't wear Donna Karan."

I just love this little article....

Friday, February 24, 2006

Requested Routines


UPDATE: THE NEW ROUTINES HAVE BEEN POSTED HERE  FOR THOSE OF YOU WHO HAVE BEEN DIRECTED TO THIS PAGE IN SEARCH OF A SCHEDULE.....

For Nixie, Jane, Michelle, and all of the other Happy Housewives Club gals that have requested these files:  I'm posting them here in one convenient location for all!  I'm warning you, I'm nuts.  But this helps keep me organized with these kids running everywhere!

What Gets Done On What Day?

The Daily Checklist of Minimum Requirements

The Master List for Everything!

My Former Self In A Past Life

"She not only ironed the pants in the family, she wore them too. The housewife of the 1940s and 1950s was a lean, mean, household machine. Armed with “amazing” new products and tools guaranteed to make her life easier and more efficient, she smiled her way through the day. A domestic goddess in ruffled apron and coiffed hair, she was the epitome of postwar perfection."



I love this book!  I swear, I was meant to live then.  I adore the entire culture of that era housewife!  Now, this is not the only book in the series, and I have several of them.  I especially like the cookbooks I own from the retro series.  Talk about wonderful comfort food!  Go to the retro series page at www.collectorspress.com to see the whole line.  Fun fun fun!!!!


Every Woman Needs A Sanctuary



There are two places on earth that should be a woman's sanctuary: Her bed and her bath. Soft Surroundings' luxurious line of sheets, blankets, duvet covers, pillowcases and towels are destined to deliver soul-satisfying comfort.

This little paragraph on the Soft Surroundings website really struck a chord with me.  Andy laughs lovingly at the fact that I adore ironed, lavender-scented cotton sheets.  But our bed truly is my sanctuary.  Every time I slide in between those freshly pressed and fragranced sheets I feel a wonderful calm come over me and a comfort that cannot be described.  It feels like I am at a luxury 5 star hotel, where pampering is the norm.  So no matter how energetic our day or how frantic our day, bedtime is my favorite little treat to me.  And I suspect it is to him as well, although he won't quite come right out and say so!