Simple advice for a better life.

Birthday Party AppetizersWhether you are cooking at home, dining out, or ordering take out, there are almost always some leftovers to deal with after the fact.

There is nothing wrong with having leftovers.   After all, you spent time and money on this food, so you deserve to enjoy it to the last morsel.

Some prepared dishes are not suitable for later use as a leftover…they lose their taste and texture, so it is best to just part with them right there and then.

Numerous others, on the other hand, are still great for at least one or two meals, or even to be frozen for that rainy day when you have no time or desire to cook.

Some people do not like leftovers, and never keep them.  However, if you are like me, you don’t mind them, and feel that you get your money’s worth if you use them.

Most Europeans don’t believe in leftovers….maybe because they hardly ever have any.

They serve their meals already preportioned per plate, and make just enough to feed the crowd they accounted for.  The portions are large enough to satisfy the consumer, so there is no need, or room, for seconds.  Therefore, there are no leftovers.  Any remaining food on each plate, which hardly ever happens, is discarded.  It is almost impolite to ask for a “Doggie Bag”.

Here in the USA we have no problem asking the waiter/waitress to pack up our leftovers to take home with us.

It is very important to keep track of your leftover food in your fridge, which is one of my pet peeves.  I almost feel like I am a fridge police, whether it is at home or at work.

There is nothing worse than seeing “old” food sitting in the fridge way past its safe consumable time.

My personal time line for using up leftovers in up to 3 days…4 being the absolute max.

Now I will share my best way of using up leftovers, and keeping your fridge fresh, and ready for restocking.

Since most of us work full-time, and don’t have much time for cooking during the week, we prepare extra food on weekend, to hold us over for couple of days.  Then by mid-week, it’s time for some take out.  By Thursday we have leftovers to use, or lose.

I consider Thursday  a “Leftover Smorgasbord Dinner Day”.  We pull out all the leftovers from the past few days, and add something new if needed, and call it a day.

Everyone is to create their own plate of food from the smorgasbord spread available.  We also use disposable dishes and utensils that day, to save time on clean up effort.  Whatever food is remaining after this dinner, gets discarded for good.

This is the BEST way to free your fridge of leftover food, and to prevent any food from hiding in there for too long.

Since we have no dishes to wash on this day, we devote our time to cleaning up the fridge, and getting it ready for fresh food from Friday or Saturday shopping.

It works very well every time, and it also is fun, economical, and stress free.

I suggest you try it too, and share your comments.

Have fun!

Happy Thanksgiving Day!

Roasted turkey ready to servePumpkin-RollOrange-Apple-Cranberry sauce 2

It is time again to give thanks for all our blessings, and to spend time together with family and friends.

Thanksgiving holiday this year will be low key at my house, since all my children and their families, will be spending it with their in-laws.

I am counting my blessings, because we will be all together for Christmas!

Today I will not be posting any new recipes, but will provide links to my previous posts, for your convenience.

Roasted turkey ready to serve

Here is my favorite turkey roasting recipe.

stuffing ready to serve 2

Stuffing with Italian Sausage and herbs.

Orange-Apple-Cranberry sauce 2

Homemade Apple Orange Cranberry Sauce recipe.

Sweet Potatoes casserole - ready to serve

Sweet Potato Casserole.

I did not post a recipe, since it was a very simple process of cooking sweet potatoes, mashing them with a seasoning of brown sugar and cinnamon.

Then, placing the mashed potatoes in a greased casserole dish, covering them with a layer of miniature marshmallows, and placing them under broiler just long enough to form a golden crust.

Need to watch them carefully, since the marshmallows can burn VERY quickly!!

Pumpkin-Roll

Since I am not a big fan of Pumpkin Pie, I bake Pumpkin Roll as one of my Thanksgiving desserts.

HAPPY THANKSGIVING DAY TO YOU ALL!!!

Diaper Cake - right side view 2I was very excited about an upcoming baby shower for someone at work, and decided that it would be fun to make another diaper cake.

The first ever diaper cake I made, was for my daughter’s baby shower, almost 7 years ago.  If you are interested in my cake assembly instructions, you may click on the link above.

A couple years later I made a diaper cake for a baby shower for my daughter-in-law, so this time I was excited to make my third creation.

Since it has been said that pictures “speak a thousand words”, I will share my cake pictures from several different angles.

The diapers and the accessories for this cake were part of the baby registry, so it was very easy for me to put it all together.   I also crochet a blanket for the baby, plus a tiny one for the puppy placed at the top of the cake.

Hopefully you will find these pictures enjoyable, and will be encouraged to create one of your own, for someone special.

 

Diaper Cake - right side view 3

Diaper Cake - left side view

 

 

 

 

 

 

Diaper Cake - first layerDiaper Cake - front viewDiaper Cake - top layer

Diaper Cake - back side - Blanket

The baby blanket was draped over the back of the diaper cake, as in the above picture.

If any of you made diaper cakes before, and would like to share your pictures with me via email, I would love to post them on my blog.

Thank you!

My Sister’s Flower Garden

yellow flowersMy sister and I share a passion for gardening, which we inherited from our mother.

Even though we both are separated by the ocean, we plant similar flowers, and gardening is one of our hobbies.

We exchange flower and vegetable seeds via snail mail, as share pictures of the fruits of our labor.

Today I will share some pictures my sister sent to me of her flower patches.

Beauty of Mother Nature

multicolor ivy (Morning Glory)

 

 

 

 

 

 

There is a small water garden between the bunch of flowers and the front of the house.  Also, to the left of this picture is a wood carving, my brother-in-law created  out of a tree stump.

The Morning Glory really is thriving in this spot of the garden, climbing freely over the split rail fence in the back of their property.

yellow flowers

These flowers bring childhood memories, as our mother had them in her garden, and many of our neighbors did as well.

They need a special spot to thrive in, since they can easily reach 6 feet in height.

Hydranga

Potted plants

 

 

 

 

My sister uses every possible available spot, to plant some flowering plants all over her property, and even in window boxes.

Roses and Morning Glory

Pink flowers

 

 

 

 

Here is another view of the Morning Glory climbing on a mash fence closer to the house, and a closer view of the flowers in front of the house.

This is only a small percentage of the flowers my sister plants.   She has a myriad of varieties of flowering plants in other spots of her spacious property.

She also grows several different fruit trees, Raspberry bushes, Red Currents bushes, Strawberry patch, and a bunch of vegetables.

pickling cucumbers

She told me that this year her cucumbers were “multiplying like rabbits”.

She pickled many of them, and gave lots of them to friends, and they still kept on producing.  That’s how it is with gardening…it’s feast or famine…:-)

I hope you enjoyed these pictures.

Today is my sister’s Birthday, hence I am dedicating this post to her.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY MY SWEET SISTER!!

Birthday InvitationAnother birthday rolled by, and this one was for a three-year old boy, who loves watching football with dad at his side.

He is very proud to yell out their favorite team name, which you will figure out from these pictures.

Not a  surprise to his parents, that he wanted a football theme for his birthday party.

Boys are very active at this age….or at any age for that matter…so his mom decided to have less structured party, and let them enjoy lots of free playtime outdoors.  It worked out great!

Today I will share some pictures from this party, in case you are searching for football theme ideas for your little football player’s birthday party.

The invitations were creatively constructed, to resemble a ticket to a football game.  Love that idea!

 

Football decor 2NY Giants Flag

 

 

 

 

NY Giant's decor

New York Giants is the favorite team for this little boy and his dad…what else would anyone expect from someone who grew up in New York  State..:-)

Football Helmet watermellon carving - close up view Party Food

 

 

 

 

How about this fresh fruit arrangement, topped off with a football helmet carved out of a watermelon.  Nicely done!

Football party food 3Pretzels and Strawberries with Nutella Dip

 

 

 

 

 

 

Football Field - Taco Dip

This little boy loves food….so his mom had lots of goodies all over the party area, to pick from.

The above replica of a football field is spread over the top of a Taco Dip.

Red-White-and Blue punch

customized NY Giants bottled water

There was a tri-color punch, as well as spring water, in an appropriately labeled bottles (brainstorm of the parents of the birthday boy).

Football is ready to run with

NYYankees and NYGiants -  sand box play

 

 

 

 

 

 

Football Field tablecloth - coloring station

Little boys might love football, however, playing with trucks in the sand box, was favored over the football helmet coloring station, set up as an additional activity.

Birthday Cake - Yankees and Giants well represented

Interesting moment at cake time…not only Giant fan was present, but the New York Yankees had their young supporter as well.

It would be wonderful if at least one of those team players would stumble upon this post, just to find out how much support they had with this bunch of fans…:-)

Football Party Favors

After all the snacking, and fun in the sun, the little football players were ready to go home for a long nap, taking along a nice leather football, as a  party favor.

 

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