Tidying the Nest

Hey!

Earlier in the summer amidst all of the clutter and chaos my house became after we began a renovation on an RV all summer (post to come), I looked around and thought, “This house is a disaster and as soon as the kids move out I’m purging all this stuff BIG time!” Technically, I might have actually said that statement out loud more than a few times. I think my receptors to words like clean, tidy, organized, and stress-free were heightened because I heard these words everywhere associated with Marie Kondo’s book. So, after much hype on blogs and GMA, I drank the koolaid and bought the book.

Ms. Kondo is touted as an organizer extraordinaire. She has developed a method of organizing called the KonMari method that has literally swept Japan’s households clean of clutter. Ms. Kondo describes her methods in detail throughout the book as well as sharing some of her personal history. All of that aside, I was underwhelmed by the book. I’ve read organizing books before, and just maybe I was hoping for a cleaning fairy wand, but I was disappointed.

What I did like about the book:

Her methods for folding are genius. I’m still working through the discarding of my clothes but I’m impressed so far. As a lifetime baller of socks, the idea for storing socks has really helped me save time and helped me to quickly get to the socks that I want. Also, the order and manner of discarding is unique. When I sorted my tops, for instance, the book instructs you to pile all of your tops from everywhere in the house (except the ones in the laundry) together to sort. Instead of room by room or closet by closet, she has you gather all of the like items into the same location before you discard. I found this idea easier than other methods and quicker. Lastly, Ms. Kondo states that the discard will take months. She’s right. Her approach is more comprehensive but I believe it will yield better results. This idea is obvious yet candidly refreshing.

 

What I did not like about the book:

Some of the practices that she would like you to incorporate as you are tidying are unrealistic and are perhaps better understood in a Japanese culture. I found some of them odd and off-putting. For instance, she suggests that you remove all of the contents from your purse each night, thank the purse for its service and allow it to rest for the evening before refilling the purse in the morning. Not going to happen here. Poor purse. She also requests that you verbally greet your home when you arrive and as you tidy your space and discard items that you thank the items for their service. Again, not for me. These practices are probably a reflection of her Shinto beliefs.

Ms. Kondo also shares parts of her personal history to explain her passion for organizing. I found most of these personal stories distracting to the book’s purpose. One story would’ve been sufficient instead of interspersed throughout the book. Perhaps, these personal insights would’ve been better suited to a memoir rather than a book on organizing. In addition, I also found the English translation glitchy at times. While the words were probably translated right, the overall gist was wonky in these places.

 

Ms. Kondo’s mantra to use while discarding is: Does it spark joy?  Overall, I’d say this book is a 2.5 stars joy out of 5 stars joy rating. I’m encouraged to use what I like from the book and discard the rest.

Blessings,

Mimi

So clean house! Make a clean sweep of malice and pretense, envy and hurtful talk. You’ve had a taste of God. Now, like infants at the breast, drink deep of God’s pure kindness. Then you’ll grow up mature and whole in God.” 1 Peter 2:1-3 The Message

 

A Nibble or A Choke

Hello!

It’s Catie (I know…I’m still here….but no worries, my Mom will be back soon!)

So recently, I heard this quote and immediately felt that it resonated with my most recent cooking endeavors.

“Someone once told me not to bite off more than I could chew. To which I replied, I’d rather choke on greatness than nibble on mediocrity.”–unknown

I’ve already mentioned that I have a flair for the dramatic. (Yes…you should feel for my husband and parents.) So, I attempted to make the very ambitious Chicken Marsala recipe from the cookbook, SkinnyTaste by Gina Homolka.

IMG_1952In my defense, I had very noble intentions for being so ambitious. You see, Chicken Marsala is one of my mother’s favorite dishes and as you’ll see, she’s SuperMom–What can I say? I live to please.

For any of you who do not know, Chicken Marsala is an Italian dish that involves a breaded and fried chicken that is covered in a creamy Marsala wine and mushroom sauce. Yum!

Actually, the whole endeavor started off rocky. First, I had never tenderized chicken before nor witnessed chicken tenderized in my life. So I was completely unprepared when I got out the breasts, cut them, and proceeded to attempt to wrap them in plastic wrap. However, all I succeeded in creating was a Salmonella ridden wadded mess. I recovered though with the thoughtful guidance of SuperMom.

Next, came the actual hammering of the chicken or “tendering” of it. Apparently, I’m something of a wuss. According to some, I was using about as much force to pound the chicken breasts as I would’ve used to bat my eyelashes–you could say, I was getting nowhere. All was saved though (again), when SuperMom came in to show me how it’s done, and let’s just say she’s no wuss….<>.

Then, I began the actual cooking and frying up of the chicken breasts which was no sweat because I am Mississippi born and raised after all.  I could probably fry just about anything up in my sleep. It’s in my blood. However, the tricky part came after the frying.  I’m using an iron skillet, ( is there really anything better??), but what I didn’t account for was the fact that an iron skillet takes a little longer to cool back down than other skillets. So, when I started making the marsala sauce, I ended up, not with golden and tender shallots and garlic, but burnt unrecognizable pieces of what use to be shallots and garlic glued to the bottom. Cue SuperMom back with her magical powers to fix it!

She cooled and cleaned down the skillet in enough time for me to re-chop the garlic and shallots. (Bet you wish you had a SuperMom!) In the end, despite the fact that apparently I had bought imitation Marsala wine instead of the real stuff, and used beef broth instead of chicken broth (what? I’m learning…) it ended up pretty good (or so SuperMom said…she could be biased though).

We paired it up with baked sweet potatoes (which I forgot to spear before putting in the oven –almost had some ‘splodin spuds…whoops!) and collard greens. Delizioso! (Delicious! For those of you who don’t speak I-talian)

Until next time,

Catie

Friday Finds #5

Hey!

I’m dropping in for a quick Friday Finds post.  I know I’ve been scarce on the blog lately  but my darling daughter, Catie, has done an awesome job filling in for me.  Soon, I’ll divulge what I’ve been doing.  Click on the pics below for more details of each find.

In case you missed the beginning of Catie’s Cooking Challenge, we had grilled vegetable sandwiches with homemade pesto mayo.  Delicious!

sandwich 1With the holidays coming and cards to be addressed, Jones Design Company comes to the rescue with “How to Create Fake Calligraphy.” Looks do-able!

If calligraphy is too much for you, Wordmark.it is wonderful.  You can compare what you want to say in all of your fonts at one time in order to choose the right one.   — Genius!  Thanks, Just a Girl for sharing!

I could look at these winning photos from the National Geographic Photo Contest all day.

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Winning photo by Marko Korosec

 

Last, but certainly not least, 10 Old School Southern Rules to make those of you from the South smile in remembrance and the rest of you think we’re crazy!     https://i1.wp.com/d3j6r9fi0pmzp0.cloudfront.net/style/wp-content/uploads/2014/06/FI_Southern-Rules.jpgBlessings,

Mimi

“I’ve known all along from the evidence of your words that you meant them to last forever.”  Psalm 119:152  The Message

The Battle of Meal Planning

Hello!

It’s Catie, blogging for my mom!

This will be my third week now of cooking meals every night (or most nights) and I’m gong to be blunt here and say, it’s hard! Who knew being a grown up would  require so much work?!!

I equate this work much to how I imagine it’s like to prepare for battle.  First, you must plan your strategy (the week’s menu). It must be detailed enough that you know exactly what you are going to do, but flexible enough to accommodate the dietary preferences of your allies (the family members).  You know … don’t schedule a week of meaty meals when someone is going vegetarian. Keep thy allies happy! (or you will find yourself washing your own dishes..)

Next, you have to check the supplies and decide what must be bought. This step is by FAR the most crucial. Just as you wouldn’t want to go to battle without a sword (this is more of a medieval battle than a modern one), you  don’t want to find yourself elbow deep in marinating meat searching for that supposed bottle of thyme (Can we say Salmonella hands….Ew!)

Once you know what supplies you need, you must be cunning and quick in the grocery store! Dodging the slow or aisle hogging shoppers and quickly choosing the products needed, all while remaining on budget and on point.

Finally, you arrive home, and the battle begins!

Kinda Dramatic….I know.

Anyways, the results of my little battles have been very yummy!  For instance, a couple of days ago, I made this delicious Columbian Steak with Aji Picante sauce from the cookbook SkinnyTaste by Gina Homolka. Gasp! A non-Mexican food meal you ask? Yup…and it was good!

IMG_1423

Mmm mmm!

Until next time,

Catie

I Believe in a Thing Called….Crock Pot

Hello!

For those who have not read the two previous posts here and here, this is not Mimi but Catie, her daughter, here to blog in her place for one month. To start off, I am currently attempting to boost my cooking skills using the waistline friendly cookbook SkinnyTaste by Gina Homolka.

For my third night of cooking, I delved into the magical world of Crock Pots. Now, apart from marveling at all the pins on Pinterest that my clearly culinarily-superior friends post, I have not had any experience with this cooking style. So, I never understood the draw. However, after this meal, I can say that my life is forever changed.

On the menu: Slow Cooker Santa Fe Chicken.

It was seriously magic. I dropped in the ingredients: chicken broth, Rotel, beans, corn, cilantro, an array of spices, and chicken breasts into the pot and then, and this is the really cool part, I put the lid on it.  Poof, done! I was off the hook for the next 6 hours.

Six hours later when I came back, perfectly falling apart, fully flavored chicken greeted me. We had it as soup for dinner, but while we ate, everyone was excited to try it as a filling in other meals such as enchiladas or nachos. (Did I mention how much my family loves Mexican food?…really, its a problem…intervention, anyone?)

Crock pot chicken

Delicious looking right? I can say, truly from the bottom of my heart, that from this moment on, I am a HUGE believer in the power of a Crock Pot. I just may pin those recipes now on Pinterest with the best of ’em!

Until next time,

Catie

The Laws of Physics: Cooking Challenge 2

Hello!

To recap: I am, Catie, blogging in the place of my Mom this month as she completes some of her own projects. I am currently attempting a cooking challenge to help bolster my repertoire of recipes and learn some basic cooking skills. I am using the cookbook, Skinny Taste by Gina Homolka. Day one was a successfully delicious Grilled Vegetable Sandwich with Pesto Mayo.

One of my all time favorite Date Night places to go eat is the Bonefish Grill in Madison,MS. And without fail, though I may browse the menu FOR-EV-ER, I will always inevitably order the Bang Bang Shrimp.  Now that my husband and I are both in school, such Date Nights happen less frequently, but my love for this dish does not waiver.  So when I saw in my trusty cookbook, Skinny Taste, a knockoff for this very beloved meal, I knew what I must cook! Also, since this meal is particularly spicy, (hence the name “Bang Bang!”)  I thought a dessert of Watermelon Lime Granita would be just the ending we would need.

Unfortunately, there are no pictures of this delicious meal. (Yep, it was That good.)

But here is the picture from her blogsite, Skinnytaste.com and I promise, cross my heart, mine looked the exact same (cough, cough).

skinny-bang-bang-shrimp

The Bang Bang Shrimp was quick to whip together. Mix up the sauce, (mayo, hot sauce, and sweet chilli sauce) coat the shrimp in corn starch (not corn syrup–I had an almost whoopsy with that one!), cook the shrimp, mix the sauce with the shrimp, and then layer over a bowl of shredded iceberg lettuce, and red cabbage.

I’m feeling like a pro….

Until the Watermelon Lime Granita ….

Now this dessert takes 5 hours prep time. No biggie, no sweat, I got this! I blended those fruits up, I poured them into a pan, popped them into the freezer and walked away. Well, I have a suggestion to make for all the novices out there like me: if your freezer is not empty, don’t pour your blended fruit juice into a pan and then, place it into the freezer like she instructs. Instead, cover that pan with a lid, before all laws of physics break loose. I came back 2 hours later, opened the freezer and before I had opened the door an inch, WHOOSH! Watermelon-Lime-Slushy everywhere! It was all over me, all over the floor, all over the walls, every nook and cranny was coated in that pink sticky stuff! Needless to say, I became my own clean up crew for this little incident.  All that was able to be salvaged of my cooling dessert was about 1 cup full left in the pan.  My mom and I can attest to the fact that it was very tasty, but I’m not sure it outweighed the mess. (yes, I’m still a tad frosty about it! ) However, lesson learned: Items in freezer will shift when liquids are involved!

Until next time,

Catie

 

Friday Finds #4

Hey!

I have some fun finds for you today.  Just click on the picture to visit the sites.  Happy Friday!

This peach walnut dump cake looks yummy and easy from Mostly Homemade Mom. The other recipes look really good too!

These pumpkin designs are cool from Alisa Burke.

Halloween and Fall graphics from The Graphic Fairy and don’t you love that they’re free?!

50 Fantastic Halloween and Fall Graphics  //  The Graphics FairyAwesome and inexpensive Halloween crafts from Better Homes and Gardens — I think this wreath looks really easy to make.

Sophisticated Swarm Wreath

I think this idea from My Soulful Home is really clever.

Pumpkins from Scrubbing pads a repurpose http://mysoulfulhome.comBlessings,

Mimi

“Then I was the craftsman at his side.  I was filled with delight day after day, rejoicing always in his presence,”  Proverbs 8:30  NIV Bible