Apr 062014
 

In today’s busy world we all need some easy recipes to use to help make life a little easier.  I was looking on Pintrest one day for some new ideas of meals to make and came across these great recipes.  The first recipe is a Slow Cooker Breakfast Casserole.  This recipe yields 8 servings.

Slow Cooker Breakfast Casserole

Ingredients Needed:

  • cooking spray to oil the crock
  • 28 oz bag frozen O’Brien Potatoes
  • 1/2 lb. diced ham
  • 8 oz shredded cheese (I used cheddar and monterey jack)
  • 12 eggs
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • garlic powder 1 tsp

Instructions

  1. Spray the inside of the crock with cooking spray.
  2. Put the potatoes on the bottom of the crock.
  3. Layer ham and cheese on top of potatoes.
  4. In a large bowl, beat the eggs.
  5. Stir in the milk and salt,  pepper and garlic.
  6. Pour over top of other ingredients in the crock.
  7. Cook on high for 4 hours or low for 8 hours.

Final step is to enjoy your breakfast or brunch casserole.  I’ve made this a couple times now and the first time I served toast with it.  The second time I served pastries and fruit.  Depending on the size of your crock and how many people you need to feed you can always double the recipe to make more.  Any left overs warm up great.

 

This easy slow cooker Chicken Cacciatore is sure to be a hit at your house.   This dish is full of chicken, bell peppers and onions in homemade tomato sauce.  Red wine brings more flavor to the sauce, but you can leave this out if you need to.  Serve the chicken and sauce over hot pasta.  I used bow tie pasta, but you can use any shape you like.  This recipe feeds 6-8.  I love this recipe because you can throw it in the cooker and walk away for hours.  It’s great for our busy life styles.

Here’s what you’ll need to make Chicken Cacciatore:

 

Slow Cooker Chicken Cacciatore

Ingredients

  • 2 lbs. chicken tenders
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 1 green pepper, sliced
  • 1 red pepper, sliced
  • 28 oz can crushed tomatoes
  • 6 oz tomato paste
  • 1/2 cup red wine (optional)
  • 3 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 tsp. oregano
  • 3/4 tsp. basil
  • 1-2 bay leaves
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 lb. pasta, cooked

Instructions

  1. Place chicken in bottom of slow cooker.
  2. Add onions and peppers on top of chicken.
  3. Stir together remaining ingredients, except the pasta.
  4. Pour sauce over chicken and peppers.
  5. Cook on low 7-8 hours or high for 5-6 hours.
  6. Serve over cooked pasta.

 

This is wonderful since you have your meat, veggies, and bread with the pasta.  You can always make garlic bread or have a salad with this easy meal as well.  I’ve included both when I wanted left overs to go a little farther.

Yield: 4-6 servings

Honey Lemon Pepper Salmon – 15 Minute Meal

Need a healthy meal that is quick and easy to fix.  Here it is and it taste wonderful.  Pair salmon with a veggie and you have a very healthy meal.  We like to use the bags of frozen veggies at our house.  We put the veggies in the microwave following the directions on the package and we’re set.  I also like to make sweet potatoes.  I microwave the sweet potato just like a regular baked potato.  Once it is done I cut it in half and scoop out the potato.  Using a fork I mash it up and serve.  I do not add any butter or sugar.  This keeps the meal more healthy for all of us.

Ingredients

  • 4-6 salmon fillets
  • 3 Tbs. butter, melted
  • 2 Tbs. honey
  • 1 tsp. lemon pepper

Instructions

  1. Place salmon on greased or buttered baking sheet.  I like to put tin foil on a baking sheet for easier clean up.
  2. Drizzle butter and honey over the top.
  3. Sprinkle with lemon pepper.
  4. Bake at 375 degrees for about 15 minutes.

Once everything is done, sit down and enjoy an easy delicious meal with your family.  Easy recipes like the above is a must in our house as we are all very busy.  This way I spend less time cooking and more time enjoying my family.  Hope you enjoy these recipes as much as my family has.

Mar 132014
 

It may be March but this does not mean warm weather is upon us yet.  Or not warm enough that when you need to wash your car everything won’t freeze.  This weeks blog is about getting your car clean without using water, (unless you really have too).  These tips are great for the cold months or in the extreme heat when water restrictions are put into place.

car wasahWhat you need to wash without water

  • Soft cloth
  • Baby wipes
  • Vacuum cleaner

A soft cloth is all you need to spot clean your car.  This is great if you have minor dirt or need to polish the chrome or metal on your vehicle.  I love this trick especially when your going out for a night on the town and want to polish up the car.  Pull out the baby wipes if you need a little moisture to help get dried on bugs or spots of dirt off.

Use a car-wash spray if you really need a good cleaning without water. Meguiar’s makes a detailer spray that is great for cleaning off your whole car as long as you are willing to put a little elbow grease into it.  Meguiar’s also has lots of great car products that give your car a brand new look.

Don’t forget the  inside of your car. If you don’t have the time to really clean the outside of your vehicle, take a few extra minutes to vacuum the interior, which can make it feel bigger and completely clean.

Now the tips above are great if you don’t have to wash off extreme dirt or salt from the winter roads.  If you do need to go through a car wash or you wash it by hand remember a few tips so your doors and locks don’t freeze.  First step use a towel to wipe down the inside of the doors.  Make sure to fully wipe the door itself and the car.  Purchase some lock de-icer from a local retailer and keep in your purse or bag just in case the locks freeze.  You don’t notice this as much since remote car start and automatic locks are very common, but it never hurts to have some de-icer just in case.

Protecting your cars paint in the cold monthswinter car

1.  Wash your car using a professional car wash soap.  You can find this at your local auto-parts store.  Make sure to completely remove all dirt and residue when washing.  Make sure to wipe the entire car dry before you continue to step number 2.

2. Purchase quality non-abrasive car wax from your local auto-parts store and wax the paint finish.  Follow the directions on the container.

3. Apply paint sealant over the finish, after allowing the wax to settle, according to the dry time indicated on the container. Follow the application directions on the paint-sealant container. Paint sealant highlights the shine from the wax and creates a barrier of protection against snow, ice, and salt.

4.When removing snow and ice, use the soft brush on the opposite end of the scraper, instead of the scraper itself.  If you are not able to park in a garage or have covered parking consider purchasing a car cover to help keep your paint in good condition during the winter months.

How to Repair a Rusty Car Framerusty car

After the harsh winter we have had you may find that your car has some new spots of it’s own.  I found these step by step directions to get your car spot free.  Yes you will need to put some elbow grease in but it’s worth it in the end.

1.  Cover a large radius around each rust spot with tape and newspaper. Tape as close to the rust as possible. This will prevent any rust particles or paint from ending up on other areas of the frame.  If you do not cover enough around your rust spot you could make more work for yourself.

2.  Sand away the rust with a metal grinder. Work carefully; if you work too fast you could take out chunks of the car frame. Hold the grinder at a 45-degree angle at all times. Wear safety goggles because sparks will fly while using the grinder.

3.  Sand the surface by hand with 120 grit sandpaper until the surface is smooth to the touch.

4.  Apply a coat of rust converter to the surface. This will convert any leftover rust particles into a paintable surface. It also will prevent any rusting in the future. Allow the converter to dry fully before you continue to step five.

5.  Apply three coats of paint primer. Wait until each coat is tacky before applying the next.

6.  Apply two coats of oil-based paint to the surface. The car’s manufacturer may sell the exact paint needed. Your vehicle’s title has the name of the paint color for easy matching.

7.  Remove the tape and newspaper to expose the frame of the car. Wait 48 hours before washing, waxing or exposing the surface to the elements.

You now have repaired your car’s spots.  Enjoy your hard work!

Mar 072014
 

2014 has been a very brutal winter throughout most of the US.  If you did not plan on a harsh winter in your area but Mother Nature had other plans you may want to read this post.  Male, Female, young or old we could all use a refresher when it comes to winterizing our cars.  Don’t fear even though Jack Frost keeps blasting with his wind we can still keep our cars in working condition.

Steps to winterize your carworn tred

Good Tires

The tread on your tires should never fall below 1/16 of an inch in depth. If you regularly drive on slick, wet surfaces, you’d be even better off with twice that much. You can buy a gauge to measure the tread depth the way the professionals do, but there’s an old trick that will give you a rough idea of how much tread depth you have left and it won’t cost you more than a penny.

Take a Lincoln-head penny, the kind you find in your change every day, and insert Abe’s head (head-down) into the tread. If Lincoln’s entire head remains visible, you don’t have enough tread. Take your car into the mechanic and ask about getting a new set of tires.  It’s up to you and your budget what kind of tires you select.

Look for tracks or cuts in the sidewall, grooves that are distinct enough to be visible to the naked eye. This could be a sign that your tire is developing a leak or worse, that it’s nearly ready to blow out.  Again take your car into the mechanic and have them checked.

 

Car Battery

The cold is very hard on car batteries.  In years past I’ve had a newer battery and it still did not survive the winter.  Other years my battery has been old and it did just fine.  Some important things to look at when checking your battery are, the battery itself, cables, terminals, and fluids.  To read the level of charge in your battery you will need to turn off the engine.  Some batteries have a built in hydrometer eye that will tell you the amount of voltage remaining in the battery.  You can also use a handheld hydrometer to get the information if your battery does not have it.

So, is your battery able to endure the winter weather? Compare its voltage with these figures:

  • 12.6V to 12.8V: full charge
  • 12.2V to 12.4V: half charge
  • 11.8V to 12.0V: discharged

While you’re inspecting your battery, look around for the manufacture date. Knowing how old your battery is can help you to know when it will begin to lose charge.  If you find you need a new battery never buy one with a six-month-old manufacture date.  I have read this on multiple sites and have had mechanics tell me this.

raod trip

Engine Oil in the Winter

The oil in your engine changes depending on how hot or cold the engine is running. Because the outside temperatures will influence the internal temperature of your engine, you need to make sure you’re using the proper oil for the conditions.

During the winter months, if you live where temperatures get below freezing, you’ll want to switch over to thinner―less viscous―oil. If you run a 10W-30 in the summer, for example, try moving to a 5W-30 when changing your oil in the fall or winter. If you are in doubt, refer to your manual or the manufacturer.  Again your mechanic can guide you what products are the best.  I like to know what I’m talking about prior to my mechanic visit as I don’t want to be the ‘dumb’ female that gets taken advantage of.  I do not mean that women are ‘dumb’ in any way shape or form but I do know that some places will take advantage of women if they can.

Engine Coolant

You car’s coolant system is not intended only to keep your engine from overheating. It is also responsible for protecting your valuable engine against corrosion. Before the weather gets too cold, make sure you are using coolant with ethylene glycol to help protect your engine.

Every vehicle requires a certain ratio of coolant to water, and your owner’s manual or repair technician can explain what your engine needs. For most vehicles, a winter ratio is 60% coolant to 40% water. Adjusting this ratio is an important step in winterizing your car, so if you need help, ask someone who is experienced and knowledgeable.

Emergency Kit

If you don’t already have an emergency kit in your car, consider putting together a few basics and stowing them in the trunk. Naturally, you’ll want to be sure your spare tire is in good shape with all the tools to change it out. But you might also want a few other emergency items in case you slide off the road and get stuck in a snow bank:

  • Flares
  • Blankets
  • Boots
  • Radio
  • Engine oil
  • Washer fluid
  • Coolant
  • Flashlight
  • Non perishable snacks

When you take the time to winterize your car, you become more comfortable driving in cold, snowy climates. A short commute quickly becomes difficult when your vehicle isn’t equipped to handle snow and ice. By planning ahead, you can make winterizing your vehicle an annual ritual in the name of safety and vehicle reliability.

Jan 112014
 

For 2014 first blog post I’ve chosen to do a product review of two website’s products.  Everythingdoormats.com and Everythingyardflags.com.  Both websites are owned by N&W Sales LLC.  The company has been around for three and 1/2 years and continues to expand. Everything Yard Flags is the newest website being open for three months.  Don’t take it’s youth for granted for the products are just as high quality as the products on Everything Doormats website.

Everything Doormats Review

It can be very difficult to find high quality products that you like and that are priced right.  I’ve worked retail for over 15 years and add to that all the shopping I’ve done that’s a lot xoxo door matof retail knowledge I’ve gained through the years.  I love to find bargains and items that are priced right.  What I have found through the years is that this does not mean you will get quality for that bargain or what you felt was the right price.  What I love the most about the flags and mats is that the price is exactly right for the high quality that you get every time you make a purchase from Everything Door Mats or Everything Yard Flags websites.  The owner firmly believes to give high quality, great customer service and never shows hidden costs.  For example on other websites they state “free shipping”.  On these websites shipping is not “free” or is it built into the cost of the mats like the other retail sites.  I love working with companies that are upfront, honest and give great service all while providing it’s customers with high quality products.

Holiday door mats is one style of mats Everything Door Mats carries.  I fell in love with these mats the first time I saw them.  It is so easy to dress up your home with these fun mats that can be changed out for every season or whenever you feel the need for a new mat.  These mats can be indoor or outdoor and was made with recycled rubber back that is environmentally friendly.  The rubber back also works to hold the mat in place and almost every surface, making this one of the best slip resistant mats available.   Another great feature about the Holiday mats is they can be used as a stand-alone mat or you can pair it with the outdoor trays or indoor trays.   More great features is these mats will endure almost any weather conditions.  They are made to be used indoor or outdoors with dye sublimation process that gives mat an astonishing finish.  The top surface is stain and fade resistant.  Best of all, all mats are made with attractive colors and clear wording that are fit for almost any environment.

vday flag

 Everything Yard Flag Review

The Holiday flag line is again an extraordinary product line.  There are over 400 Holiday flags to choose from depending on the season you wish to purchase for.   All the flags are made from the finest material in the flag industry, 300 Denier polyester fabric.  Flags are Dye-Sublimated printed assuring lasting beauty making an eye catching flag with vivid colors.  All Holiday flags are both fade resistant and mildew resistant.  Some Holiday flags come in two sizes 12.5 x 18 inches or 28 x 40 inches.

The Everything Yard Flags website also carries NFL, NHL, Collage, NASCAR,  Military, Funny, Animal and Patriotic House and Garden Flags totaling over 2000 different styles to choose from.  I have to admit it was very hard to choose just two for this upcoming holiday season.  Thankfully my daughter was able to help me choose.  We selected the Red Hot Zebra Valentine Spring flag for my garden flag holder and the XOXO Valentine’s Day House Flag.

I hope all of you enjoy your purchase from the Everything Doormats Website and the Everything Yard Flags Website.  I know I’ve enjoyed each and every purchase as well as my family and friends.  Happy 2014!

Nov 012013
 

Nov 1

Wow it’s November and Thanksgiving is only a few five weeks away.  I know it seems like a long time but I work retail and this means the Holiday season is truHappy Turkey Dayly upon us.  Let the decorating begin!  This is the last step to my fall decorations, adding turkeys and pilgrims.  Thanksgiving is a great time of year to show everyone how much they mean to you and how thankful you really are.

My decorating got easier this year with the launch of our newest website,  everythingyardflags.com.  The owners of everyingdoormats.com are thrilled with the product selection that is now available for all of you.  Many flags are available in garden flag or house flag and some match the doormats that are available on the doormat website.  I have so many favorites that I’ve a very hard time choosing only one for each season.  I got so excited that I had to add a house flag pole so I could have more than one flag up at all times.  I’ve even picked out flags for family and friends for Christmas gifts.  Who knew shopping would be so easy?

Thanksgiving Decorating:Bountiful Blessings

To begin my decorating I start at the front of the house and select my yard flag and now house flag too.  I also switch out my doormat at the front door to add to the festive look of Thanksgiving.  I removed the Halloween yard sign from outside and added a few more gourds around the pumpkins.  I left the pumpkins the kids decorated on the front steps as they still look good.  Once they go bad  I’ll toss them and do a small pumpkin and gourd display out front.  I have a few more weeks until I have to worry about that.  I like to use hay bales or corn stalks to add another dimension to the pumpkin gourd display.

As I said above we have a new website for yard flags, I am so excited to have access to so many great new flags.  I’ve always relied on local retailers to find my flags and now I have a website at the tip of fingers to order so many wonderful flags.  This really made Thanksgiving so much easier.  In previous years I’ve had a hard time finding a Thanksgiving flag that I really liked.

As I move inside my house again I switch my Halloween mat that I had placed inside the door with another Thanksgiving mat.  I have a screened in front porch so another mat is always helpful to keep this area clean.  On my front door I have a wreath decorated for Thanksgiving.  Mesh is the new rage and I found this picture on pinterest and thought I would try to make it this year.

fall wreathI purchased orange, cream and brown mesh, and some fall beaded garland.  I started with a wire wreath form and then took my mesh ribbon and started to gather the mesh around the wire wreath form.  I use pipe cleaners to hold the gathered mesh in place.  I went around with each color so they would overlap each other.  Once I had all the mesh in place I took the beaded garland and wrapped it around the wreath.  I then took a turkey sign I found and placed it in the middle.  I have to admit my wreath did not turn out quite the same as the picture but it still looked pretty good.  I’ve learned that you can always fluff the mesh as little or as much as you need.  Some loops I made a little larger than others.

You really can’t make a mesh wreath incorrectly as all it takes is to gather the mesh and and attach it to the wreath form with pipe cleaners.  When I had all three colors attached to the metal wreath form I was able to pull the mesh to make it look fuller in any area that was too flat.

As I move farther into the house I add turkey figures and these cute pilgrims I found a couple of years ago to my fall decor that I had in place.  I keep my candles and leaves up that I placed in September when the kids went back to school.  I also have a couple of plaques that I’ve made over the years special for Thanksgiving that I incorporate with my previous fall decor settings.  I will explain how to make these in next weeks blog post.