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Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Not To Be Outdone

Our Bridget. Proving that she can be sweet and cute - when she's sleeping.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Monday, April 14, 2014

Healthy Freezer Eating for the Busy Hayley Household

I'm still trying to get a handle on my crazy work schedule and my love's increasingly crazy work and church schedule.

We're having more nights where we're eating separately or grabbing something quickly before heading off together to an event. That kind of lifestyle demands pre-cooking on the weekends and freezer-friendly meals.

And that's why I made this healthy (meatless and low-fat) freezer-friendly meal. Just grab a burrito, thaw and go!

Lentil Spinach Burritos
  • 1 1/2 c dried lentils
  • 15 oz. can diced tomatoes
  • 6 oz. baby spinach
  • 2 t crushed garlic
  • 1 medium onion
  • 2 t cumin
  • 1 t oregano
  • Burrito-sized tortillas
  • Queso fresco (or feta if you like goat cheese unlike my husband)
Pour 6 cups water and lentils in a saucepan. Bring to boil, cover, reduce heat to low. Simmer for 20 minutes. Drain well in a colander. While lentils are cooking, dice onion. In a large skillet, saute onion, garlic, 1 t cumin and oregano on med-high for about 7-8 minutes. Reduce heat to med-low. Add cooked lentils, tomatoes with juice, roughly chopped spinach, 1 t cumin, and salt/pepper to taste. Heat for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Spoon the mixture onto tortillas, top with cheese and fresh spinach. Roll up tightly, tucking in both ends.

Either eat immediately or wrap in plastic wrap and store in the freezer for devouring later!

Sunday, April 13, 2014

How-To: Clean Your Blinds

My new yearly commitment to cleaning meant that I had to tackle something that I hadn't touched since we moved in nearly five years ago - our blinds:

You can enlarge that photo to see just how dirty our blinds are. But do yourself a favor (or perhaps I should say do me a favor!) and trust me. They.Are.Dirty.

I was pondering how to clean my blinds without killing myself or ripping the blinds out and throwing them away when I found a tutorial online for a simpler way to get them clean.

All I needed were old socks, vinegar and water. I am married to a boy, which means old socks are easy to find and sneak out of the drawer. (Just don't think you can do that without them noticing that their old "favorite" socks are being used in a non-boy approved way.)

Mix equal parts water and vinegar. Slip a sock over your hand, dip into the vinegar water mixture and scrub away.

The sock makes cleaning go quickly because you have a lot of control over where you're focusing your efforts. If you want to get really fancy, you can slip the sock's mate on your other hand and use it to dry as you go.

Pretty soon you'll find yourself with nice, clean blinds:

No matter what, cleaning blinds isn't a fast process - at least, not if you have 19 sets of blinds. Yes, I counted. I have 19 sets of blinds - 11 downstairs, 8 upstairs.

But it's faster and easier than using a rag. It's also less expensive than ripping down the blinds and having to replace them all. So that's something.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Another Great Salad: Ginger-Sesame Chicken + Trader Joe's

I found this great greens mix at Trader Joe's and knew I needed to make something with it:

I still had meat from a rotisserie chicken in the fridge (those birds are worth every penny of the $5.99 cost for the number of meals they will contribute to).

I was inspired by this recipe. Instead of marinating and grilling the chicken, I made the marinade as a salad dressing.

Ginger-Sesame Salad Dressing
  • 1/8 c soy sauce
  • 1/2 T ground ginger
  • 1/8 c canola oil
  • 1 T hoisin sauce
  • 1/2 T sesame oil
  • 1/2 t Sriracha sauce
  • 1/8 c red wine vinegar
Toss the chicken with the dressing, slivered almonds and wonton strips.


Friday, April 11, 2014

How-To: Wash Your Kitchen Rugs

We've been in the Hayley House for a number of years now and I've decided it's long-past time for me to unpack all of the boxes.

There are a lot of boxes. I'm not going to take a photo to share with you - it's embarrassing and makes me look like a somewhat of a hoarder, which I'm not.

I've also decided that I should really really try to develop a system for cleaning the house on a regular basis. I'm not talking about sweeping and mopping (though it's awfully good to do those on a regular basis!).

I'm talking about scrubbing the windows and blinds, oiling the locks and maintaining the garage door, cleaning rugs and the dishwasher filter, and so on.

I have a spreadsheet that I built, using a list I found on the internet of monthly tasks. I've been working through each task as I have time - in the interest of full disclosure, I'm still dealing with some February tasks (though I'm also taking care of April tasks)!

Last weekend, I washed my kitchen rugs.

If you've never washed your rugs before, it's pretty simple. If you have a rubber-backed rug, you can toss it in the washing machine. Wash on a short cycle in cold water with a slight amount of detergent. Do NOT use bleach as it will eat through the rubber.

Air dry your rugs. If the weather won't cooperate to dry them outside, toss them over the shower or lay them on your washing/drying machine. Do NOT dry them in the dryer or you will melt the rubber backing.

Another cleaning task checked off the list!