Food

Blueberry coffee cake πŸ§

I’m on day 2 of my littlest being home sick this week. She’s had a fever on and off, so she just wants a lot of snuggles. I’ve accepted the fact that I’m not getting much done. So I’m basically at her side reading and I try to sneak off here and there to do laundry, clean, make beds, etc. …until she feels my absence and yells for me to come back. Aside from that my oldest has half days this week so she’s home by 11:30, and we are all still recovering from daylight savings time…..which basically means I have zero time without children and coffee is my best friend. But today I was craving some baked goods and coffee cakes hold a special place in my heart β™₯️😍

I love love love *I Am Baker* and I honestly haven’t tried a recipe I didn’t liked yet! This coffee cake recipe I found on there uses fresh or frozen blueberries so it’s different than some of the more traditional plain coffee cakes. Every summer the kids and I go blueberry picking and fill the freezer with bags of blueberries to use for smoothies, baking, etc. so I still have plenty on hand to use. This recipe was really easy to follow and uses ingredients we all have in our kitchen.

https://iambaker.net/blueberry-coffee-cake/

Honestly SO easy to make! The cake comes out soft, light and not too dry & crumbly like many coffee cakes turn out, which is why my kids actually loved it! It did take me about 15–20 more minutes to cook through than the recipe said. I covered the top with foil to keep it from burning on top but the middle definitely needed the extra time to cook all the way. I did do the glaze, well actually my daughter did, and although she said she wished she made more (mostly because she licked the bowl when she was done) I think it was just the right amount. The crumb topping was already sweet so too much glaze would’ve been a lot for me.

This is one of those recipes to keep for potlucks or if you’re having company over since it’s made in a 9 x 13. You could make it the night before and have it in the morning with coffee. Or do what I did and it’s an excuse for an afternoon snack with coffee πŸ˜‹β˜•οΈπŸ°

~Elena πŸ’–

Faith, Food

Lenten meal ideas for meatless Friday’s!

I’m always looking for and Pinning meatless meal ideas for Lent. During the rest of the year we do try to eat seafood weekly but still I’m constantly looking for different recipes that I know the kids will eat. I’m pretty fortunate that my kids seem to love seafood…my littlest one is still a bit hesitant but coming around. My husband is a lover of casseroles which is pretty new to me because I did not grow up on casseroles. But there are plenty of seafood casserole recipes that seem fairly easy and look really good. So I’m learning as I go!

Tuna is an easy staple we always keep in our cabinet so it’s definitely a go-to during Lent. My kids surprisingly love tuna too! And …I finally gave in and tried the canned tuna at Aldi and was pleasantly surprised. I’ve only purchased the Albacore in water so I can’t speak for any of the others. But it’s just as good as some of the pricier supermarket brands.

As Ash Wednesday hit I wasn’t thinking at all and even mistakenly gave my kids meat for lunch. Now I do know since they’re young they don’t have to abide but we do it as a family and that works for us. Once they left for school it hit me that I made the mistake but wasn’t making it again for dinner! So I raided the cabinets and found tuna and pasta, then recalled I had saved a Tuna Tetrazzini Casserole recipe at one time. Here’s the link:

https://www.thespruceeats.com/tuna-tetrazzini-casserole-3061727

It was so good you guys, I may have had thirds!! Most of the recipes I searched called for heavy cream or a creamy soup can, but this one is much lighter and I even used 1% milk. I probably used a little more spaghetti then it called for and omitted the green onions so as not to scare the kids off. This one will definitely be used again throughout Lent! Let me know if you try it!

~Elena πŸ’–

Home

Ok, I went ahead and tried Brandless for all those wondering if it’s as good as those ads we keep seeing!!

In my mission to organize my house and make things better & more efficient, I’m choosing something different every few weeks that I need to work on. Recently I bought a new utensil crock for my counter because the one I had was way too small and overcrowded!

I had my eyes on the Le Creuset one in white, the larger size. Unfortunately I’m too cheap to spend the $72 Macy’s was asking for something that simply holds things on my counter. It’s currently on sale for $50 but still πŸ€·β€β™€οΈ So in searching I found another one! This one is a tad bigger than that one and perfect!! It’s the Martha Stewart utensil crock and it comes with a wooden divider that can be used at the top or squeezed down into the bottom if that works better for you. AND It’s on sale for $22πŸ‘πŸ» so here’s the link:

https://www.macys.com/shop/product/martha-stewart-collection-ceramic-tool-crock-created-for-macys?ID=6373281

Now that I got the holder I needed, my utensils looked all mismatched ….which means I need to buy more things of course! So like everyone else I’ve been seeing the ads for Brandless. The reviews look good and the prices can’t be beat so I decided to got for it. I ordered a box of 8 things and I think my total was like $27, which is amazing! They came quick and I was so impressed with the packaging and how nice they all looked. So far everything I’ve used seems like great quality and for $3 per item you just can’t go wrong. If my kids break it or accidentally burn a utensil then I don’t feel bad about having to throw it away and get a new one.

When you go on the website there are tons of other products as well ….from home goods & snacks to toiletries & baby products. And seriously for the price tag it’s worth trying different things and seeing what’s a keeper, I will definitely be ordering again!

Before
After πŸ™ŒπŸ»
And how nice are they?!?!!

https://brandless.com/

~Elena πŸ’–

Food

Dutch Oven recipe review: Lemon Chicken and Potatoes

I love easy weeknight meals that don’t take a lot of prep work and that use ingredients I have readily at hand. Even more so I love meals that can be made in one pan or pot, instead of dirtying 3 pots, 2 pans, a mixer and other random gadgets that all need to be hand washed and dried. πŸ™„

Lately with the cold weather I love heartier meals and use my dutch oven as much as possible. I have a one pan lemon chicken recipe I do from time to time but decided to search up some dutch oven recipes and found a similar one.

I rarely make a meal with chicken breasts because I have 3 kids who won’t eat a whole breast and heaven forbid I cut them in half for them to share! So most often I will slice them into tenders or buy tenders depending on price. In a quick search I found this extremely easy lemon chicken recipe for the Dutch oven. It was a total one pan meal…zero prep work aside from cutting up onions and potatoes.

This recipe calls for cut up chicken pieces but I substituted tenders, although I think thighs would be amazing cooked this way. There was no need to stray from the recipe at all because it was so easy. I cooked it for just about an hour like the recipe instructed and didn’t even check on it once since I was doing laundry or maybe I just forgot to check on it 😬 I did not broil it at the end because I didn’t use chicken with skin on. It came out perfectly cooked and was really juicy. The onions were cooked so good in the juices that my kids didn’t even complain once about onions on their plates! This ones a keeper and great for weeknight.

Here’s the link:

Lemon Roast Chicken and Potato’s

~Elena πŸ’–

Home

Organizing, Cleaning & Decluttering

Every year one of my new years goals is to organize and declutter around my home. I’m sure I’m not the only one who adds this to New Years Resolutions ……and I’m also sure I’m not the only one who doesn’t get done as much as I intend. We moved in to our current home coming upon 3 years and although it was move in ready, I still have a lot I want to do to make it ours. And I’m always looking for ways to make things work better and more efficiently for my family. But there are some tasks that just seem daunting and tedious, therefore I put them off and try to avoid them as much as possible. Right now decluttering is all the rage. My FB feed is full of ‘if it doesn’t bring you joy get rid of it,’ apparently everyone’s doing it. I don’t have time for that. If everyone’s doing it there is a 99.9% chance I’m not, lol! But seriously though, I know what areas of my home I need to work on to better organize, clean out and/or declutter but getting to them is another story!

Last week I started with my linen closet which I’ve been putting off forever. The problem is that my kids are in and out of there getting towels for showers or sheets to build forts. They don’t really care about the mess they leave behind when they get out what they need. Which means my neatly folded piles are all over the place and things are shoved back in without any care. Every so often I attempt to tidy up the closet but in actuality I pull out a pile or two, refold and put them back in without doing the entire closet. This time I decided to pull everything out and throw it on my bed that way there was no turning back, no cheating and I’d be forced to do it all. I took out all the crappy towels to use as rags, made a pile we don’t need to donate and decided to make room under each kids bathroom sink for their own pile of towels. This way they have no reason to even be in that closet…wishful thinking! I even got rid of all the remaining crib and toddler sheets, finally! Here’s my before and after pics, let’s hope I can keep it this tidy for a while.

Before/After

This week I worked on my kitchen drawers and my jewelry. Let’s start with my kitchen utensil drawers which I’m so embarrassed to share. πŸ™ˆ They are super long and don’t have any dividers, so that and the constant opening & closing make it chaos. Recently at Bed, Bath & Beyond I stumbled upon the Madesmart collection of products and I was in love. I bought a few small, individual trays to organize my junk and silverware drawers a little better but I didn’t realize how much stuff they actually carried until I went online. I came across the large expandable utensil trays and ordered 2 of the grey with 2 BBB coupons. They expand all the way and fit perfectly in my drawers vertically. They are amazing! The expandable ends pop in and out and fix in place with plastic pegs like the little pegs on the back of a baseball cap, so you can set it exactly where you need it and it locks in place. Now nothing moves when I open & close my drawers, and everything has its place!

Before
After
https://www.bedbathandbeyond.com/store/product/madesmart-reg-expandable-utensil-tray-in-white-grey/1013843864

Last but no least, my favorite item EVER was for organizing my every day jewelry. I have a freestanding jewelry armoire so in theory everything should be nice and organized. πŸ™„Not true!! But the jewelry that I wear most often, I tend to toss on top so I can easily grab it the next day. Well …..it was getting a bit out of control! I hate digging through the drawers especially if I’m in a rush so more often I’ll just leave the house with out any more than my watch and rings on. Recently I was eying the Lauren Conrad jewelry organizers at Kohls but wasn’t looking to pay $36-$50. I was online last week and they finally went on sale! So I ordered the blush pink double jewelry bar and tray for under $15. There were about three different styles and a couple of colors, but I really love the two bars so I have one for watches and one for bracelets. This way I can keep the jewelry I’m wearing lately right on top to grab, then seasonally I can switch out from what’s in the drawers. And it just looks so pretty!πŸ’•

Before
After

https://www.kohls.com/product/prd-3373044/lc-lauren-conrad-gray-double-jewelry-bar-tray.jsp

I know it’s daunting and hard to get started, but pick one thing a week and I promise once you start you’ll be on a roll!!

Not sure what to tackle next….pantry, closets, we shall see. But now that I’ve lit the fire and started, I’m excited so stay tuned!!

~Elena πŸ’–

Home, Uncategorized

It’s Tuesday!!

My kids watch these silly YouTube shows about life hacks all the time. Most of the things they share are just dumb and I often wonder why people even think of trying these things. But once in a while they’ll show me something and I’m like….hmmmm why didn’t I think of that!

So today’s Tuesday trick is my idea of a life hack! I watch the news every morning on my iPad while I make my kids lunches, in the evening while I’m making dinner I usually put whatever Netflix show I’m catching up on or even randomly throughout the day when I’m doing dishes or baking, something is on the iPad on the kitchen counter. I just finished Netflix ‘You’ and recently started ‘The Killing’ on Amazon Prime Video….sooooo good! But some days there is so much stuff on the counter that the IPad is either in the way or so out of the way I can’t see it.

At my last IKEA trip I bought this little tablet stand which is inexpensive and perfect. But still it takes up space and often gets pushed back so far that I can’t see it around whatever it is I’m doing. I started googling and checking Amazon for some device to mount the iPad. But I’ve seen them mounted in kitchens and I don’t want anything permanent that will get in my way. Plus I cook & bake ALOT so I need my counter as open as possible without obstructions. I also don’t really want to spend fifty bucks or more on something I may not like or even use very often, or what if it doesn’t work for the space I have. I don’t know what made me do it but I opened my corner cabinet and decided to perch the stand I got from ikea inside the door …and perfection! It worked!!! Now it hangs perfectly in the corner, plus it’s not permanent so I take it down whenever I need to move it or the kids want to borrow it. Problem solved! Keep in mind this will only work if your iPad or tablet is in a case so it doesn’t slip. Mine is in an inexpensive rubber case from Five Below so it stays right in place. And I take it down at night because I don’t trust the cat πŸˆπŸ˜‚

I’m not kidding it’s perfect. Go spend $3.50 and get this little stand from Ikea!!

~Elena πŸ’•

Food, Uncategorized

Tuesday Trick 🍰

It’s Tuesday and that means I’m sharing something simple that we do around my house! If you’ve been following along with the blog you clearly know that both Erin and I like food. I do more baking and cooking at my house, she does more of the eating at restaurants though. lol. My kids love and have come to expect after school snacks and special desserts on a regular basis. I’m lucky that I get to be a stay at home mom and therefore have more time for all the cooking and baking but some days are too hectic. My husband always says it’s my own fault that they assume homemade goods will be baked often, oh well πŸ€·β€β™€οΈ

Some years ago I came across Cake in a Mug posts on Pinterest and life changed forever!!! I mean instead of me making crazy desserts all the time, I can now just make each kid their own mug from time to time. Which also means that I’m not home alone with a half eaten cake as often, because we all know what goes best with an afternoon coffee. I’ve made a few variations over the years and a few mistakes as well. It’s super simple and just requires 2 box cake mixes. One box of Angel Food cake, but it must be the kind that only requires water. If the ingredients needed require anything else it won’t work for this, I’ve made that mistake! I have found that Betty Crocker and Duncan Hines are the best, I’ve tried some store brands and they’ve never come out as good. The second box can be any cake mix you like. We’ve only used Butter, Yellow or Devil’s Food… whatever you choose make sure it’s one you know you will like because this will last a while. I take a gallon sized bag (or you can use a large container) and mix the two cake mixes together really well. That’s it!!! Depending on how often you make this it should last you a while as long as you keep it sealed.

When you are ready for your dessert, mix 3 tbsp. of the mix with 2 tbsp. of water and microwave for 1 minute. I usually write that on the bag or container with a sharpie so we don’t forget and my kids can make it themselves. I keep an extra measuring spoon in the bag. When we mix it I let the kids throw in chocolate chips, marshmallows or whatever they want in there and mix well. After it’s cooked we top it with powdered sugar or some cool whip, and you’ve got yourself a quick & easy dessert. If the kids aren’t home or asleep, you can double the recipe and cook for 2 minutes. Drizzle with some caramel or fudge….I imagine this would be amazing πŸ˜‰

Who doesn’t love a little cake without all the mess?!!!

~Elena πŸ’•