This drawer has been messy and a disaster for years. I couldn't find the right size lid, the bowls didn't stack, it was frustrating.
Studies have shown that clutter can make you gain weight and being organized and having less stuff can help you lose weight.
Less is More, our theme for 2017. I started with something small but, caused me a lot of frustrating moments.
I emptied the drawer and donated everything. I purchased new plastic containers, ones that the lids and bowls stack. I also, bought glass containers with lids and a couple of larger size containers. I prepped, primed and painted inside the cabinet, it is amazing how a little white paint helps!
You can see the difference, I spent $40, a little paint and time and made a major difference, On to the next project:
I am archiving all our family photos. It will take me all year to finish and I will post about it later. Better get to work!
We are sharing this post to these blog parties.
Hello followers - this is Casserole Gal Kristen! CG Rhonda (my mom) recently posted her healthy living for 2017 post here & now it's my turn to share!
To be honest, this has been an incredibly difficult post to write, as I am opening up (just a teeny bit) about health problems I've had since I was a teenager. These past couple of years, the issues aggressively attached my body & brought about major changes in my life. They're kinda private.
This is me - October 2015 - ecstatic about the purchase of vintage camper, destined to become my food truck. I'd been having serious monthly complications, but based off the past 20 years of my life I figured...this was just my life. Earlier that month, I had an ovarian cyst rupture. The weekend after this picture was taken, my husband & daughter witnessed a horrific tragedy that killed 4 people. I was struggling to work, struggling to take care of my family, just struggling. I made an appointment to see a specialist.
By December (after tests, ultrasounds, appointments....) I was scheduled for a laparoscopy exploratory surgery and a DNC, as well as tissue sample collection to test for cancer. Afterwards, my doctor confirmed that I had Dysfunctional Uterine Syndrome and Endometriosis (along with PCOS and a couple other already known problems) but I was cancer free!
We hoped I would heal, we hoped to have another kid...I hoped for a normal month. Within a few months, however, my conditions had become almost unbearable and I could feel another large cyst had developed.
The doctor told me that if untreated, uterine, ovarian or cervical cancer were inevitable, and that it was highly unlikely I could have another child. Even if I became pregnant, chances were very high that myself and our child wouldn't survive. It is a miracle I had one baby, let alone two beautiful, healthy kids! So I decided, at the age of 34, to have a complete hysterectomy. In the 6 months between my two surgeries, the endometriosis had grown around my uterus, engulfed a tube & attached to my body cavity wall, grown in my intestines attaching a section of them to a different area of my body cavity, and I did have another large cyst.
It has now been 7 months since my 'hyster' and I feel like a completely different person. There are still lingering issues and pain however, so a friend recommended I try the AIP or Autoimmune Protocol Diet. It can help those suffering with chronic illness, inflammation and autoimmune diseases.
With AIP, you eliminate all gluten, grains, dairy, beans, legumes, eggs, nuts, seeds and nightshades. Buh-bye coffee, chocolate and sugar! After a period of time, you slowly add certain foods back into your diet and see if there are reactions.
My body has endured a lot of trauma this past year and a half, so I'm hoping this diet helps heal my wounds, restores my gut health and helps as my body adjusts to surgically induced menopause. (Can I just say.... night sweats & hot flashes are serous business. Wowzer.)
Keeping with our 2017 theme - Less is More - I have a list of goals!
1) Obviously I'm eating less - haha - and while I am following the diet for my health, I would be thrilled if I WEIGHED LESS too!
2) Less stuff - areas of my home are clutter mine fields! Plus, I saved all the baby stuff I could in case we had a 3rd kid - I need to take the time to emotionally and physically sort thru the boxes and keep only the truly special items. We plan to donate as much as possible to local shelters.
3) Less stress - I'm having fun & starting back old hobbies like crochet, embroidery and sewing. Working on my stress and emotional health is very important to me this year - I need to achieve balance and peace with myself.
4) Exercise - 2 babies, 10 years in an office job, 2 major surgeries and a LOT of bed rest & lack of movement, plus menopause has seriously changed my body. As I regain strength and endurance, I plan to take exercise and weights classes, walk, run, row and be active again!
Thank you for letting me share! If you know anyone with PCOS, Endo, cysts, fibroids, etc.... and they would like to talk with someone, please send me a private message thru our facebook page. I will gladly share my experiences & provide encouragement!
Sharing this post to these blog parties.
Pictures of roasted whole heads of cauliflower keep floating around the internet, popping up in my instagram and pinterest feeds --- I finally decided to try it myself!
There are so many variations, but I had these ingredients on hand - so why not?
Lemon Caper Roasted Cauliflower
1 head cauliflower
1 Tb minced garlic
2 Tb capers
Salt & Pepper
1. First prep the cauliflower by trimming any greens still attached, and carefully cutting out a bit of the core.
2. Rub olive oil over the entire head - get dirty! Sprinkle top and bottom with salt and pepper.
3. Place cauliflower in a cast iron skillet and cover tightly with foil. Bake at 350 F for 30 minutes.
4. Remove foil & increase oven temperature to 425 F. Continue baking cauliflower till it is slightly browned on top and it is fork tender on the bottom.
5. Carefully remove the head from your skillet and set aside. Move skillet to stove top and medium heat. Saute garlic in a couple teaspoons of olive oil, till soft & fragrant. Add capers & lemon juice. Add cauliflower back to the skillet and spoon the pan sauce over the whole head.
6. Serve hot! You can remove it from the pan to slice and serve - or bring the skillet to the table!
Review?? My husband and I LOVED this! We almost ate the entire head in one setting -- and it was a side dish. This is now in regular menu rotation and I'm playing with different flavors. Also, it could easily be the main part of the meal- not just the side dish!
We will be sharing this delicious dish to these blog parties, check them out!
I remember the days I could eat pretty much what ever I wanted and not gain weight, well those days are long gone. I am now over 50 and have gone thru menopause, which means that extra weight hangs on me like a toddler that is afraid of Santa Claus.
Part of it is my fault for 2016, I didn't eat that well and slacked off on exercising. Plus, we ate out often and every time we went by a Quick Trip I got a Cappuccino. Not only was this not healthy it isn't being money wise.
My husband and myself challenged ourselves to eat a healthy diet, lose some weight and save money during 2017. We are going from January 1st to February 14th, without eating out, eating ice cream, chips, candy and my favorite, a Cappuccino from Quick Trip. After, Valentine's Day we will eat out and buy a Cappuccino and then set another goal, probably April Fool's Day. This isn't easy when we both have a sweet tooth and I love to bake!
To help us with our goals purchased a used Elliptical, it takes up a lot of room but, I am determined to get on it at least 4-5 times a week. The good thing about this machine is, I can do it no matter the weather. I love to walk outside but, so many days the weather doesn't cooperate.
Keep moving is key when you are over 50 and the elliptical is easy on your joints, not my lungs or my thighs, both of those burn like fire!
I have been slowly learning more about Linda Melone and researching her site http://lindamelone.com/ I follow her on Facebook and have listened to a couple of her Web Cam posts. Any motivation helps.
Another goal is to unclutter and organize our home, we plan on moving in 3 years and I want to have Less to Move.
All of this goes with our theme of Less is More. I will share more on what and how I am accomplishing my goals.
What are your goals for 2017?
Our youngest child just graduated college. To celebrate the moment and the transition into our new role as parents, my husband and myself came up with this cocktail. We really aren't frequent drinkers but, we felt this accomplishment needed a celebration and recognition.
There is a lot of meaning going into this drink, as you can see it is colorful. The rim is dipped in salt or sugar, representing the tears you have during the years as a parent and a child. The red maraschino cherries represent the heart that we put into parenting. The green lime represents the money we have invested in our children. The orange and orange juice represents the color of Oklahoma State University, the college that all three of our children have a degree.
The Empty Nester Recipe:
Use a 2 cup glass, rub lime juice on lip and dip in salt or sugar. Put a couple of hands full of crushed ice in glass. Set Aside.
1 Tblsp Grenedine
2 Tblsp frozen orange juice, slightly thawed and right from the can
1 Tblsp Simple Syrup
2 oz Rum
Using a pint size canning jar (one with measurements on the side) Place first 4 ingredients in jar and shake until the orange juice has dissolved.
Add 7UP to 2 cup mark. Pour into your glass, garnish and enjoy!
Blog Parties: Made by You Monday, Mix it Up Monday, Full Plate Thursday,
Foodie Friday and Everything Else, Weekend Potluck, Thoughts of Home on Thursday,
It's time for a giveaway!
Let us help make your holiday meals extra special with our tried & true recipes, AND a $20 Sprouts gift card!! Perfect for any last minute items you need for Christmas dinner!
This giveaway is in no way sponsored by Sprouts, or any other company. Only open to US citizens/mailing addresses.
All three of us have enjoyed watching The Gilmore Girls TV Show, and are delighted that they are having a reunion! On November 25th, Netflix is debuting FOUR movie length episodes! Can you feel our excitment?!? If you are a fan of the show you have missed Rory, Lane, Emily, Luke and of course Sookie since the series ended.
So, in honor of the return we have planned a Gilmore worthy menu for your watch party-- so make our recipes, invite some friends over and enjoy the show!
First recipe is Casserole Gal Rhonda & her Snowball treats!
Lorelai loves snow and can even smell it coming. This cookie is shaped and looks like a snowball, it is a recipe my Mom made every Christmas growing up. They are delicate like a snowball, with a gentle roll in powder sugar.
7/8 cup softened butter
4 Tb powdered sugar plus 3/4 cup powdered sugar
2 Cups flour
2 tsp vanilla
1 tsp water
1 cup finely chopped pecans
Mix butter, 4 Tb powdered sugar, flour. Add vanilla and water, mix well. Add pecans; mix. Dough will be crumbly. Roll in balls the size of walnuts, place on ungreased cookie sheet and bake at 325 degrees for 20 minutes. Let cool completely and roll in powdered sugar.
Next is Casserole Gal Rachel with a perfect Gilmore inspired beverage!
Everybody knows how much Lorelai and Rory (especially Lorelai) love coffee. So I made Coffee Punch for Two. Although honestly, these are definitely Gilmore Girl sized portions of coffee. This recipe can be customized to however you want it, you can make the coffee as strong as you want, add as much ice cream as you want, add flavored syrup, whatever! I think this would definitely be a recipe that Lorelai and Rory would love!
20 oz strong coffee
1/2 cup milk
1 cup plus extra chocolate ice cream
1 cup plus extra vanilla ice cream
Once the coffee is brewed, pour it into a large pitcher and put it in the refrigerator. Once it is completely cold (this may take several hours), mix in the milk, then 1 cup each of both ice creams. You can add more or less of the ice cream. Let the coffee and ice cream mixture sit for a few minutes. Meanwhile, drizzle a little chocolate syrup inside of two cups. Once the ice cream in the punch is good and melty, give it a stir and fill the cups about 3/4 of the way full. Top them off with more ice cream and chocolate syrup.
Our last recipe is from Casserole Gal Kristen - an anytime treat!
The Gilmore Girls love their pop tarts! And in true GG fashion, you can eat this pie morning, noon or night. With large cups of coffee, of course....
Pop Tart Pie
1 lb strawberries, rough chopped
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup water
3 Tb cornstarch
1 1/2 cups flour
2 Tb sugar
1/2 tsp salt
First, start your filling - simmer the first 3 ingredients till strawberries are soft. Carefully spoon out 1/4 cup of the liquid and whisk in the cornstarch. Once all lumps are made smooth, pour the slurry back into your pot of strawberries. Simmer for just a few more minutes until the mixture has thickened. Remove from heat and cool completely before using in pie.
Next, make your crust! Combine the dry ingredients in a medium bowl. Cut butter into chunks and toss into the flour mixture. Using your hands, crumble the butter into pea sized pieces. Add cold water, 1 Tb at a time, mixing with your hands until crust comes together to form a soft ball.
I used a small Rachael Ray casserole dish, but you can use a pie pan, brownie pan, really any smaller shallow dish you want! Roll out dough and place in desired dish - press into the bottom and up the sides, at least two inches. Your sides need to be high enough to fold over the top later. Pour in cool filling and spread evenly. Roll remaining dough and cut to fit the top of the pie (I literally placed my casserole dish on top of my dough and cut around the base.). Carefully place on top of filling and fold over pie sides, pressing very carefully to seal the edges. Brush with the tiniest bit of water to heal seal edges if needed.
Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes, then brush top with 1 egg white and back another 10 minutes, or until top is golden brown.
Let pie cool completely before icing. I used a simple powdered sugar based frosting - 1/4 cup pwd sugar & 2-3 Tb milk - to drizzle over the top before adding my pearl sprinkles.
Slice and Serve! This is delicious with whipped cream or ice cream. Or both. It can be made the day before too!
Thank you followers! We hope you enjoyed our party planning post - please share if you try our recipes, love Gilmore Girls & have your own watch party!!
For a main course make Casserole Kristen's Chicken and Dumpling Casserole. It was inspired from a Gilmore Girls episode.
I can't believe that Thanksgiving is next week! I am definitely excited for the holidays. And with all the traveling that happens around the holidays, these Pecan Pie Bars are perfect. They taste delicious and travel really well. My husband had to travel a few hours for a family get together a while back and I made these for him to take. After they were baked and cooled, I cut them into bars and put them into aluminum pans with lids. He said they traveled well and everybody loved them!
Recipe (slightly modified from Rock Recipes)
1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
1/3 cup sugar
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) cold butter, cut into big chunks
2/3 cup packed brown sugar (I used dark brown sugar)
1/3 cup plus 1 Tblsp flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups light corn syrup
1 1/2 cups halved pecans
Put 1 3/4 cups flour, sugar and butter in food processor. Process until it looks similar to cornmeal.
Spray a 9x13 casserole dish with cooking spray. Line dish with foil or parchment paper and spray again. Pour flour mixture into prepared pan and press down. Bake at 325 degrees for 20 minutes.
While the crust is baking, mix together the filling. Whisk together the brown sugar, 1/3 cup plus 1 Tblsp flour, eggs, salt and corn syrup. Let the mixture sit while the crust finishes baking, at least 5 minutes. Roughly chop the pecans.
As soon as the crust comes out of the oven, stir the pecans into the corn syrup mixture and then pour over the crust while it is still hot. Bake at 325 degrees until it is no longer jiggly and it is lightly browned on top. This took 40 minutes for me.
Let the bars cool to room temperature. Then place the bars in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours or overnight. When you are ready to cut them into bars, carefully pull them out of the pan by lifting up the foil. Place the bars on a cutting board and cut into squares. Check that there is no foil stuck to the bottom of the bars before serving.
A few years ago Casserole Gals Rhonda and Kristen had a testing of Dipping Apples. We tried several different types of apples, candy, chocolate and caramel. We had a blast and our family enjoyed our experiments.
We used Gala, Braeburn, Honey Crisp, and Fugi apples.
How good does this look? We melted caramel, dipped the apple, stuck as many mini marshmallow to it as we could and drizzled it with milk chocolate.
We used crushed graham crackers after we dipped the apple in melted caramel, drizzled it with melted milk chocolate and add a gummy worm on top.
Crushed M & M's make this caramel dipped apple colorful and a very enjoyable treat.
If you love pecans you will love this one. Melted caramel, rough chopped pecans and melted milk chocolate.
We even experimented with white chocolate, sugar crystals and sprinkles. You can make them gluten free and easily be careful of any other allergies.
We used treat bags and ribbon to decorate our apples. These would make a very welcomed treat for your guests for the holidays, a birthday party or teacher gifts! This is a great project for older kids.
Let your imagination go, try different candies, maybe chopped candy bars, more than one flavor of melted chocolate, different colored cellophane, bows, ribbon, have fun!
The holiday season is coming and everything gets busy. We have several casseroles that can be made a day ahead or can be made and frozen. So after a full day of shopping, decorating, wrapping etc. warm up one of these casseroles and enjoy a home made meal.
Spaghetti Casserole has been a family favorite for several years. Prepare a simple salad and you have a wonderful meal.
Chicken and Dumpling Casserole, comfort food at it's best. Dish up a bowl and enjoy a warm meal on a chilly evening.
Chicken Enchiladas this is a recipe from Casserole Gal Rachel and she makes it every time Casserole Gal Rhonda visits, because it is one of her favorite meals. Something different from the turkey and ham meals we prepare for the holidays.
Lighter Lasagna is a great casserole to prepare during the holidays. It is a meal you don't have to fill guilty about.
Alfredo Chicken Pasta Casserole gives you a few vegetables and a great taste.
Don't forget about dessert! Finish your meal with a lucious Lemon Blueberry Poke Cake!
We hope you enjoy our casseroles and have a glorious holiday season!
Cooking everything in casserole dishes!
With busy lives & sometimes quick meals, we mom & daughters team are always looking for healthy, tasty & convenient dishes to serve our family. So, please join us as we share everything from appetizers to main dishes & desserts!