Sunday, November 29, 2009

Enjoying the holidays- no stress!

I am soooo not organized for Christmas this year. I think I am going to just "show up" for it.

I am buying for those that I really need to buy for. I want to have fun this Christmas. I don't want to spend extra money I will just fret over after the holidays. I will gather with my friends and family and enjoy the holidays, the way I think they were meant to be enjoyed.

In many years past, people did not make "perfect" arrangements, or worry about who spent the most money on a gift. They enjoyed a few days off of work, and spend time with those they loved. That was the best gift of all.

I don't want want to forget the true meaning of Christmas this year. I have felt this way in years past, but got caught up in the "we have to do this for it to be Christmas" attitude. Not this year. I will not be distracted by all of the preparations, and I WILL enjoy the holiday. I swear!

This year I am skipping the stress... I am having fun with the things that matter to OUR FAMILY. Traditions that we WANT to carry on. I think it may be the best Christmas ever!

I am keeping things simple this year. We will think about how Holidays in the past were celebrated, and focus on the simplicity of baking a pumpkin pie in my favorite pie plate, baking cookies for my kids, and decorating the house so when the holidays are over, I do not regret doing so in the first place.

I am looking forward to Christmas more this year, than in years past. I really am!

Is anyone else taking a "less is more" approach to the holidays this year?

Friday, November 27, 2009

Turkey Pot Pie

Yesterday, I was in culinary heaven. Only once a year do you get to have Thanksgiving dinner. It is the most glutinous day of my year. I do not hold back as everything made on Thanksgiving seems to be my favorite dishes. But what do we do with the leftovers after the big meal? We could do the whole meal over again, but it just is not the same...I made Turkey Pot Pie today with our leftovers. It is a favorite of all of my kids. It is hard to find something that the entire family actually enjoys. Pot pie is a family favorite.

Here is my recipe:

6 T. butter
6 T. flour
2 C. turkey or chicken broth
1 C. milk or heavy cream
salt, to taste
2 cloves of garlic, pressed
1/2 t. black pepper
4 C. cubed cooked turkey meat
1 lb. frozen peas and carrots
1/2 C. chopped onions
1 Pillsbury Pie Crust or 9" home-made
1 sheet of Puff Pastry

Pre-heat oven to 425 F.

In a med. saucepan, melt butter over med-low heat w/ the pressed garlic and chopped onion. Whisk in the flour and cook for several minutes, stirring occasionally. Gradually stir in the broth until absorbed. Add the milk/cream slowly, stirring constantly so that lumps do not form. Season with salt and pepper. Cook, uncovered, over low heat until the sauce has thickened, stirring occasionally. Allow to cool for at least 30 minutes.

thaw the frozen vegetables for 15 minutes. Lightly butter or spray a pie pan or an 8 X 8 pan. Line the bottom of the dish with the pie crust. Add cooked cubed turkey and vegetables. Pour in the gravy mixture. Cover with pieces of puff pastry.

Bake for about 40 minutes or until golden brown. Enjoy!!!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Thanksgiving Greetings

Picture by terr-bo

Just thinking how thankful I am to all of my family and friends for all the support
they give myself and my family.
I am thankful for the great new people I meet everyday through my basket biz.
I am thankful for my wonderful and very talented children.
I am thankful for my fun job and for the great kids and teachers
I get to work with at the school district everyday.
I am thankful for the most wonderful, supportive and best husband in the world!
Happy Thanksgiving to all!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Smile

When your instant coffee smiles at you in the morning, you know it is going to be a good day...and it was! Connecting with friends, sharing stories and laughing the day away. Nothing more to be said. I love days like this!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Mini Casserole

WEDS. 11.18.09 2:00PM-------- SORRY, THEY ARE SOLD OUT------------------------

This really great Longaberger Bonus Buy is only available today only, Weds. Nov. 18th! It is an online special so you can either go to my website to order it ( www.longaberger.com/jeanninezito ) or e-mail me today, and I will order it for you. I suggest you order early, as quantities and colors are limited.

This product had never even hit the regular line. If you have seen the Mini-Pie Plate, they are sized similarly (6.75" d X 2.5" h)

This would make a great hot dip holder or an individual covered soup bowl! With the lid it will keep hot things hot for a very long time! Pair it up with the soup and salad plate and you have a really functional match. They also make really cute candy dishes! More ideas:

Fits great on top of the Woven Traditions Chip and Dip Bowl
Candy dish
Hot and cold dips
Cranberry jelly during the holidays
Perfect for French Onion soup Desserts
Create your own chip and dip platter by placing it in the middle of a large platter
Personal size apple crisp
Breakfast souffl├ęs
Chicken pot pie, stews, chili
Great for gift giving
Fondue

Your favorite Longaberger Consultant:
Jeannine Zito
www.longaberger.com/jeanninezito

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Date Night on a budget

With the kid's schedules, work and volunteer commitments and the lack of extra money, personal time together with my husband always seems to get pushed off. A few weeks ago, we decided that we needed to find the time to go out and spend a few hours together. After all, the kids are getting older, can stay by themselves, and we need to get to know each other again- as the "young-uns" will be leaving us in the next few years for college. The budget problem will not go away soon for us, so I thought I better strategize and investigate how to do this "Date Night" thing with the hubby on a regular basis. (dating is cheaper than marriage counseling)

I have been collecting coupons like a fiend. I rip up the Weds. and Sunday newspapers and harvest coupons and stash them away for future dates. My plan is to go out with my husband once a week from this point on... I think the budget can handle $100/month. Sound impossible? Here is how I think it will work...

*Plan Ahead- We will pick one night a week that we can go out. Weekends are general eliminated as our schedule is too tough on weekends with the kids. Weeknight also affords better deals at the restaurants as well. If you need a babysitter, try trading babysitting services with another couple that also has small children. One week you sit for their kids, and the next week, they sit for yours. You get regular dates, without having to pay for a babysitter.

*Use Coupons- Seemed too good to be true, but Restaurant.com is a God send! Pay just $1-$10 for $25 coupons! Last Holiday season, my husband and I used a couple of these coupons to take friends out. Make sure you read the fine print, as there are sometimes limitations, like days of the week you can use them, or perhaps have to spend a certain amount to get the discount, but hey!...plan ahead! A nice dinner at a new restaurant could cost less than $20!

Costco offers discount movie tickets. For only $16 you can get 2 tickets for an evening movie. Using your cinema reward card can get you an even deeper discount. Check your local theater for membership or rewards card benefits.

A movie and a dinner on the same night?! No, I don't think we will make the $100 budget for the month doing that, but a movie one week- and a dinner on another- we can do.

*Do it anyway- If the babysitter can't come, or you overspent on previous weeks, don't scrap the date! Even if there is no cash for a cheap date, keep one night sacred. Make a pact to make sure you stay connected. With dinner at home, open a bottle of wine, start a fire in the fireplace, and treat each other as if you were on a date...after the kids are in bed. :)

Two weeks ago, I made a beautiful Pot Roast that I got on sale with root vegetables, dill and my favorite spinach salad. (Recipe in a future blog) Since I RARELY make a roast, as it usually does not fit in the budget, that was a special occasion to him- even without the quiet time together that we were able to enjoy.

Reconnecting with one another is important for every couple. Don't let the hectic pace of life or a tight budget put it off.

Any date night tips out there? What do you do to keep the romance?

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Go Green Use A Basket!

As we all strive to become environmentally conscious, I have come to realize that our ancestors "got-it" long before us. They did not use Paper or plastic bags at the market. They used environmentally friendly and sustainable items like wooden baskets. Don't use paper or plastic, go Basket!

I have just ordered this beautiful hardwood maple Large Market basket for my grocery shopping. Why should I use the store's small plastic basket when I can use my own?

The best part, is when I am not using it for groceries, I can use it for holding toys, kindling, craft projects, magazines, guest towels, or poolside.
I could use it to hold newspapers, games, hanging folders, telephone books or cook books.
It makes a great Library basket, knitting basket, quilting or crocheting basket.
Oh, and with the holidays coming, don't forget it makes a great basket to carry small gifts to their destination!

It has 2 swinging handles, sage green accents and a reinforced bottom for "super strength". It is 16"l X 11.25"w X 8.63" h and can hold up to 30 pounds! I would give out before the basket does!

Since this basket is Sale priced today Weds. Nov. 11th only, I suggest you get yours now. OR, you could wait until tomorrow, and pay $30 more. Just a thought.

Don't miss out on a wonderful opportunity and a wonderful basket!

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Muffin Pan Pies



Images from Eggs on Sunday





One of my favorite places to visit while visiting Door County, Wisconsin is a wonderful little shoppe called "Sweetie Pies". They make the most delicious pies. I buy them frozen, so all I have to do is to pop them into the oven and bake. They are homemade and are made to look that way. No one knows the difference. Ha!



My husband does give me a bit of a hard time in that I do not attempt to tackle the daunting task of making a flaky crust. Mine always turns out pretty tough. What can I say? I am not a baker by nature. I did however, find a really good recipe for a pie crust using butter and not lard or Crisco. It is wonderful! To make your own wonderful Muffin Pan Pies using the butter crust pie recipe click here. To find the beautiful glazed pottery muffin pan shown in the top picture to make your Muffin Pan Pies in, click here.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Need a Tissue?

Everyone I know seems to be getting sick. The change in weather brings on the common cold but others are getting the s_ _ _e Flu. I have managed to avoid it for the moment. (I am knocking on my hardwood maple baskets as I speak.) Good transition because...this Weds. Nov. 4th, Longaberger is having a sale on the Tall Tissue basket and Lid.

This basket can solve your gift-giving, decorating or storage solution dilemmas. Here are a few things I have found to use this handy basket for:

*Utensil caddy
*Pens, pencils, desktop organizer
*Scissors, rulers
*Snack basket- chips, pretzels, nuts
*Combs, brushes
*Bread sticks
*Holds rolled fingertip towels in the guest bathroom
*Keeps remote controls and game controllers handy
*Keeps envelopes, postcards and stamps at your fingertips
*Even makes a beautiful planter with a protector.


How can you live without this!?