Jean’s Kale and Toasted Walnut Pesto Recipe!

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Kale is a super food and is readily available at most famers markets year round. It is a cold hardy crop and grows in hoop houses (type of green house) even in regions where winters are cold and frigid.

For pesto lovers who long for this yummy treat when basil isn’t as readily available, try this awesome alternative! You’re sure to be pleased.

As promised, here is my yummy Kale and Toasted Walnut Pesto recipe that I taught and demonstrated at my Winter Farmers market, The Old Winery Farmers Market!  Check it for more recipes at www.oldwineryfarmersmarket.com
Enjoy friends!

Kale and Toasted Walnut Pesto

1/2 c. plain walnuts
2 medium garlic cloves, peeled and ends trimmed
3 c. kale, chopped and de-stemmed
1/2 c. grated Parmesan cheese
1 cup olive oil
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper

Method:

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1. In a medium sauté pan over medium heat, stir the walnuts until just lightly toasted, about two minutes. Remove from heat and let cool about 5 minutes. I put them in the freezer to speed it up.

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2. Pour oil in blender; add garlic, walnuts, cheese, salt & pepper, blend on high till thoroughly mixed.

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3. Turn the blender off and put 1 cup of the kale in, blend on high; shut it off and press down and return to blending; repeat this will each cup of kale until it is thoroughly blended and it is a smooth consistency.

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Use your kale pesto on pasta, meats or fish. For another super yummy way to use it, check out this link at Food Network http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/damaris-phillips/squash-tartlets-with-kale-pesto-recipe/index.html

Happy Day,
Jean

Jean’s Easy Blender Mayonnaise

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Have you ever wondered how that make that stuff? Well a lot of times it’s a lot easier than you would think…

I thought I would share my recipe for the easiest and yummiest mayonnaise that I’ve ever made!
If you like this recipe, you can see almost 1000 more awesome recipes in my cookbook, Lovingly Seasoned Eats & Treats!  Available through PayPal by clicking this link or go to my Facebook page and Private Message me there to order by mail with a check payment.  https://www.paypal.com/cgi-bin/webscr?cmd=_s-xclick&hosted_button_id=RF3LVG5Z3NEHG

Enjoy friends!

Easy Blender Mayonnaise pg. 82 in my cookbook, Lovingly Seasoned Eats & Treats
Yields: 2 to 2 1/2 cups

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2 eggs
1 tsp. salt
1 1/4 tsp. dry mustard
1/4 tsp. paprika
1 tsp. sugar
1 Tbsp. lemon juice
1 1/2 c. vegetable oil or canola oil

Method:

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1. In blender, put eggs and spices; blend on medium to high-speed until thoroughly mixed.

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2. On high, SLOWLY pour in half of the oil. If you add the oil too fast, the mayonnaise will curdle.

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3. Next, again slowly add lemon juice; then rest of oil and continue to blend until smooth and creamy.

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This tastes even better that store-bought… simply b/c there are no preservatives and it’s home-made!
Enjoy friends.
Jean

Organization Day 6 : Zonal Cleaning

DSC02172Welcome to the next article in my new series on Organization.  In the last article I explained The Walk Through and how you’ll incorporate it into Zonal Cleaning.

The cold days of winter are quick on their way here in the Thumb of Michigan and I’m anxious to finish up my homes fall cleaning. It is such a good feeling when everything is fresh and clean.  I just feel so much better when I know this task is completed and I can check that off my to-do list for the fall.

Today we are going to touch on the next item in my organization series, Zonal Cleaning.

If you missed the last post in the series here’s a link to it http://fordragonfliesandme.com/2013/11/18/organization-day-6-the-walk-through/

So you walk into your child’s room and it’s a disaster. You feel frustrated… unappreciated… you blame yourself for not teaching the child properly… you slam the door shut and walk away.

How many of you have done this? I know I have… and it is an overwhelming feeling!

But is slamming the door shut, walking away and not dealing with it the solution to the problem? No! We all realize it isn’t, but what is the solution you wonder, as I have so many times… even today!

Zonal Cleaning is at least part of the answer!

“OK Jean,” you’re saying to yourself, “What is zonal cleaning?”  In the previous article I explained that the walk through was not ‘cleaning’ day,  it’s something that should be done repeatedly through the day and especially right before bed.  Zonal cleaning on the other hand is cleaning day.

We’re on day six of my organization series and so far you’ve  gotten everything down on paper and you’re ready to roll into the work… and that’s where we start today. When you were creating your routines, writing them down and putting them into your journal, you were actually preparing for today’s lesson on zonal cleaning.

You see, each room in your home is a zone and while you created the cleaning order for each room you were actually designing your plan of action to tackle the zones- each room in your home

I realize the best way to teach someone anything is to give examples.  Here’s a look at how I zone clean my family room.

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~Weekly jobs: (unless otherwise mentioned- like the walk through)

*Start the room with a walk through.
*Feather dust from the top down: Ceiling line and down corners of the wall; picture tops, curtains, lamp shades, blinds, table tops and any other dusty spots you see.
*Wipe down/dust any shelves in the room
*Wash windows, wipe down ledges; wash all glass- pictures, clocks, etc.
*Straighten book case- organize books that are out-of-place; any decorative elements; table tops
*Vacuum.

~Once a month tasks:

* Take down mini blinds/shades and wash.
*Take down curtains and wash.
*Wash lamp shades.
*Pull out all furniture that can be moved; clean up behind; use broom to sweep any dust from the baseboards out onto the carpet so it can be vacuumed.
*Vacuum under cushions of couch and chairs with removable cushions.
*Spot clean any spots on the furniture.

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~Spring & Fall Cleaning:

*Wash ceilings and walls, wash carpets.
*All the once a month chores as well.

As you can see, zonal cleaning is basically your daily routines broke down into rooms or zones.

In my next article I’ll explain to you the basics on Menu and Meal Planning and how easy it is along with a sample of one of my months menus!
Happy Day,
Jean

Garden Themes!

 

My breakfast patio is one of my quiet spaces...

My breakfast patio is one of my quiet spaces…

Have you been dreaming of a new garden but just can’t figure out what you want to do? Well… check out my new post at Your Home with Karie Engels for 4 awesome ideas!

Click the link to take you right on over!

http://yourhomewithkarieengels.com/2013/11/21/garden-themes

Happy Day,
Jean

Organization Day 5: The Walk Through

My officeWell today I thought it was time to touch base on a common statement that occurs in my home every single day… The Walk Through. “What is a walk through?” you ask. Well, it is the next step in my organization series.

The walk through is a very basic concept that I believe most of us do everyday, but never really had a name for it.  It’s easy to apply to our daily schedules and routines and it’s one that children can completely understand. The walk through is simply going through a room and picking up everything that is out-of-place AND putting it away where it belongs.  Simply eh?

In the next post we’ll learn what Zonal Cleaning is and how to apply the walk through in it.

It’s been said that if you do something consistently for thirty days, it’ll become a habit or a routine~ that works with good or bad  stuff, so be careful!  I’ve incorporated this aspect into our daily lives over the last ten years and now it’s just a normal part of cleaning up for me and my children.

Here are a few tips when going through this step in the organizational process of getting your home where you want it to be:

Basket and bag for walk through

*Each time a walk through is done, take a plastic bag and basket along with you. You’ll use the bag for trash and the basket for items that need to be put back in their proper place.

*As you go through, it’s best to start from the top down. For example table tops, book or other shelves, couches and chairs and then onto the floor. Be sure to look under the furniture. Gather up what needs to be put away in the basket, put trash in the bag.

*While you’re doing your walk through straighten things up as you go, fix haphazard cushions, re-fold any throw blankets, straighten pictures on the wall, tidy books and magazines on tables in the room as well as on the shelves, straighten any decorative objects or table clothes/ linens.

Once you’ve completed the walk through, I suggest you vacuum or sweep the floor. That gives the finished look!

The walk through is not ‘cleaning’ day, it’s something that should be done repeatedly through the day and especially right before bed. Vacuuming only once unless needed more.

I focus on three daily walk throughs- right before lunch- this is when we typically vacuum, just before supper (or just before dad gets home from work) and then before bed. There is nothing nicer then getting up in the morning and coming down to a tidy house!

Keep posted for my next topic in my organization series: Zonal Cleaning.

Happy Day,
Jean

Jean’s Cabbage Roll Caserole

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What do you do with cabbages like this?
Well most of it is going into sauerkraut, but I’m planning
several yummy meals of my

Homemade Cabbage Roll Casserole!

Now those are some whopping cabbages! For those of you interested in the variety, they’re Late Flat Dutch. This variety grows quite large with a flat, dense consistency and are a great storage variety!

I only use this variety to make my sauerkraut for two reasons:

  • First is because they’re ready to harvest later in the season when I’m not as busy with my other canning- convenience.
  •  Secondly, it’s very dense and tight which makes it heavier, therefore gives you more in quantity.

It also makes a mean cole slaw and my families favorite, Jean’s Cabbage Roll Casserole.  So as promised over at my Facebook page… which BTW if you haven’t been over to, click the button over to the left of this post and Like it! We have loads of fun there.

Jean’s Cabbage Roll Casserole

6 cups shredded cabbage
1 lb. raw ground beef or pork or a combination of both
1 cup white rice- I use Basmatti
1 med. white or yellow cooking onion, chopped
1 quart (4 cups) tomato juice
2 c vegetable broth or chicken is good too
2 bay leaves
2 tsp. sea salt
1 tsp. black pepper

Method:

1. Chop/shred cabbage

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2. Add meat
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3. Chop onion and add into mixture.
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4. Add rice.
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5. Add tomato juice, water, bay leaves, salt and pepper.
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6. Mix all together with your hands thoroughly.
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7. Bake in a 300 degree oven on center rack for 3 hours, or until cabbage and rice are soft and meat is done.
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Serve with dinner buns and enjoy the flavors of fall!
Happy Day,
Jean

Organization Day 4 : My Daily Home Blessing

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“There is no place like home…”

In my previous post on using journals, day planners and calendars I mentioned my Daily Home Blessing and told you I’d share that with you in an upcoming post… so here it is.   If you missed the last post, here’s a link to it.
http://fordragonfliesandme.com/2013/11/08/organization-day-3-using-a-journal-and-day-planner/

Some of you may be wondering what my Daily Home Blessing is and how it applies to my home and life being more organized.  Well… as a mother of six, keeping the children happy is a key to a happy home 😉 I’m sure whether you’re a parent or not, you’d agree.

My goal in the daily home blessing is two-fold:
1. To train my dear children in the fruits of the spirit and help them to apply these qualities to their daily lives.
2. …not just them, but myself.

We as wives and mothers strive to be a blessing in our homes… if you’re neither of these you’re still looking to feel peace and comfort in your home environment.

With that said, I feel that helping my children to be scheduled and strive for organization now, will help them tremendously when they have homes, garages, vehicles and more of their own.  If they don’t learn now that everything has its place and everything in its place, when will they?

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happy mom + happy children + organized home environment + structure
= Happy Home
… at least most of the time!

I believe that by teaching my children that they can find happiness and joy in applying these fruits to their everyday life, they’ll become happier and content… doesn’t always work right off the go, but I’m looking for long-term results.

I thought today I’d share what I did over the years with my older children. All though this practice has fallen by the way side over the last few years, reviewing it over again has stimulated me to get back into the process with my two youngest ones… and believe me, I think it’ll help!

My Daily Home Blessing
by Jean Smith

Goal: To train my dear children in the fruits of the spirit and help them to apply these qualities to their daily lives…
not just them, but myself.

Each day is assigned 1-2 fruits of the spirit (9 fruits in 7 days)

Daily Breakdown of the fruits…
Sunday, Love
Monday, Joy and Peace
Tuesday, Longsuffering and Gentleness
Wednesday, Goodness
Thursday, Faith
Friday, Meekness
Saturday, Self-control

At lunch (or supper would be fine too) we talk about that days fruit and how we are trying to apply it to our day.

We talk about our successes as well as our failings for the day.

We encourage each other on in our weaknesses’ and strengths.

We also review the verse and I encourage the children to share their thoughts about it.

“But the fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance;
against such there is no law.”
Galatians 5:22-23

I believe that an organized and structured home provides a more peaceful environment and teaching my children to apply the fruits of the spirit is a step in that direction.

Happy Day,
Jean

Fall Harvest Recipes: Squash is on the menu tonight

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Fall is filled with wonderful things… including all the winter squash we’ve harvested. We’re reaping what we’ve sown and it’s time to enjoy it on our tables.  Try some of these recipes to put some adventure into your squash cooking this season!

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Butternut squash is a fall favorite for many. My version will add a ‘zippy’ twist to it’s traditional, smooth, balanced flavor.
Zippy Butternut Squash Soup
8 c. chunked, peeled butternut squash
4 c. chicken broth
1 large onion, chopped
1 Tbsp. curry powder
1 tsp. sea salt
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
1/2 tsp. coriander
1/2 tsp. fresh ground white pepper

Method:
Combine all ingredients into a large kettle. Bring to a boil on high heat; reduce heat to simmer and cover.
Simmer for 40 minutes. Add additional broth if needed.
Remove from heat and let cool for about 15 to 20 minutes.
Puree in a food processor or blender in small batches, no more than 2 cups at a time, until smooth.

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Acorn squash is an all-time favorite for many families. Here’s a really special treat that even the little ones are sure to enjoy!
Apple Stuffed Acorn Squash
2 acorn squash, halved and seeds removed
3 sweet apples, peeled, cored and chopped. I like Gala, Gold Delicious or Empire
1 stick butter, softened
1/4 c. brown sugar
1/2 tsp. cinnamon

Method:
1. In a large bowl combine apples, butter, sugar and cinnamon and mix well.
2. Divide the apple mixture evenly between the 4 halves and fill the cavities.
3. Cover and bake at 325 degrees for 45 minutes. Uncover and bake for another 15 minutes.

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We love this yummy variation to squash!
Sausage Stuffed Squash
1 Sweet Dumpling Squash, halved and seeds removed
1/2 lb. breakfast sausage or Italian Sausage
1/4 c. chopped red onion
1/4 c. celery, finely chopped
1/2 c. regular bread crumbs
1/4 c. Parmesan cheese
1/4 c. shredded co-jack cheese

Method:
1. In a large skillet brown sausage, onions and celery together; drain off excess liquid. Stir in cheeses and bread crumbs.
2. Divide the sausage mixture evenly between the two squash halves; place in a baking dish and bake at 325 for 35-45 minutes covered. Test with a knife if it inserts easily; bake the last 10-15 minutes uncovered.
When your knife slides in and out easily it is done.

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Here is a super yummy recipe to put a twist in breakfast time!
Maple Squash Pancakes
1 c. cooked and mashed squash
2 eggs
1 1/2 c. milk
2 Tbsp. oil
1 tsp. maple flavoring
2 1/2 c. biscuit mix, like Bisquick
2 Tbsp. brown sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon

Method:
1. Beat the eggs and cooked squash together until well mixed; add milk, oil and maple flavoring blend in.
2. Combine dry ingredients and stir into liquid.
3. Fry on a hot, lightly oiled skillet.

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Pie is not reserved for apples… try this yummy variation to coconut cream pie.
Spaghetti Squash Pie
1 unbaked 9″ pie shell
3 eggs
1 cup sugar
1 Tbsp. flour
1 1/2 c. milk
1 tsp. coconut extract
1/4 tsp. sea salt
1 1/2 cup cooked spaghetti squash
1 Container whipped topping
1/4 cup sweetened, toasted coconut
1 Tbsp. butter

Method:
1. Beet eggs slightly and add remaining ingredients except the squash, mix well; now stir in squash.
2. Pour mixture into un-baked pie shell; bake at 450 degrees for 20 minutes; reduce temperature to 350 degrees and bake 20 t 30 more minutes, or until golden and when a knife inserted comes out clean.
3. While pie is baking toast coconut in butter, stirring constantly.
4. Remove pie to a cooling rack for half hour and refrigerate. Top with whipped topping and sprinkle toasted coconut on top.
Serve chilled.

Winter squash is abounding at your local farmers markets and road side markets. Pick up a few  extra and try freezing some so you’ll have it handy all winter long.

Happy Day,
Jean

Organization Day 3: Using a Journal and Day Planner

journalWelcome to Day 3 of my new Organization series! Today we’re going to discuss the importance of using a journal and day planner as well as calendars.

If you missed the first post in the series, here’s the link http://fordragonfliesandme.com/2013/10/29/organization-series-day-1-creating-and-maintaining-routines/ . You can find the second one by using the ‘next’ button at the bottom of that page.

A brief re-cap of the previous two posts puts you at the point where you’ve created and P.M.S.’ed your lists and routines. Now you need a place to keep them so they stay organized and are easily accessible.

This is where a journal, day planner and calendars come into play. Using these tools will help you keep on track with visual ease. I could never keep up with my many ‘hats’ without them.

My journal is primarily used for household tasks and responsibilities where my day planner and calendars keep my work related projects scheduled.

First lets look at the journal. It can be as complex or simple as you the designer want it to be.  Be aware that it’ll evolve and grow along with your children and as home renovations occur.

I thought it would be helpful if I explained how my journal is set up, so here we go.

I use a leather-bound 1 1/2 inch 3-ring binder for my journal. It’s filled with top loading plastic sleeves and side tabbed divider sheets.

My Sections are in this order: Zones, Daily Routines, Daily Home Blessing, Menu Plans & Grocery Lists, Tools, Personal and Activity Frequency List.

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Here’s what is in each section:

Zones refer to each room of your home and is where you’ll put your room-by-room detailed cleaning routine lists. With this concept of zone cleaning, spring and fall cleaning can almost be eliminated.

Daily Routines holds my morning, daily, after school and evening routine lists as well as each day of the week’s schedule of routines that get done. This is where the example of my morning routine I shared with you last time would be placed.

Here’s an example of my Monday Routine:
*Purge magazines and newspapers
*Fill bird feeders
*Bathroom (this is where you’ll go to your Bathroom Routine)- tub, sink, toilet, floor
*Wash all area rugs and throw blankets, laundry
*Kitchen floor, sweep, dishes

The Daily Home Blessing is my Mission Statement. I’ll share this in another post!

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Menus & Grocery lists. I decided to spend one day with the help of my husband and children to design our weekly menus for a year.  That may sound a bit scary but not really… you see I didn’t make 52 separate menus. I designed two groups of menus according to the seasons. Spring & Summer’s menus focus on the fresh produce we’re growing and that’s available. The second is Fall & Winter which features what we’ve canned, frozen and what’s in the root cellar along with what we’re still growing in the fall garden and winter hoop house. I created eight weeks of menus for each group. This allows me to rotate over two months. I keep that weeks menu on the fridge so we don’t have to think about meal prep, especially during our busy gardening and canning season. Having a menu helps in grocery shopping and meal prep every morning. I will go into detail on menu planning and grocery shopping in an upcoming post… so stay tuned.

My Personal section holds things that inspire me. I have several poems on mothering, being a help meet, cartoons, drawings from the children and cards from friends and loved ones.

Frequency of Activities section simply holds a list of how often I want to do particular tasks.

*Each section has a Title Page. I have family photo’s, pictures the children have made, poems, cards and other special things to me.

As I said, your journal is exactly that- yours. Let it be a reflection of what you love, who you want to be, your faith and your passions!

Now onto Day Planners and Calendars.

I purchase a new day planner along with a desk calendar every year. I live by my day planner and calendars because they allow me to visually see what I have going on and aid me in planning ahead through the year.

I also have my Google Calendar, but honestly… I like my tangible planners and calendars best. It’s not always easy for me to jump on my desk or laptop. I know lots of friends that use their calendar on their phones as well. I think this is a great idea, especially for setting up appointment reminders.

As a writer, I have many dead-lines for articles and projects that cannot be forgotten. I keep a list of the magazines, blog, etc. in my day planner in the side bar on the Month-at-a-glance page. I  write what articles need to go to which one and the due date. Having these visible on this page makes it really easy to organize my writing time through the month.

I also own/manage a winter farmers market. I keep all the events, special guest vendors, permits due as well as any other important info I need to remember here. Otherwise, all 24 weeks of floor plans, that were completed well before opening day are in a work file. I print out that weeks floor plan on Monday so I can be specific in business emails and remind any vendors of ‘need-to-know’ info.

I also keep all my appointments in this part of the planner.

IMG_8351On the Daily Pages of my planner I keep more detailed information. Here are some examples
*On office/desk day I’ll jot down all my phone calls that need to be made.
*I put down what’s for supper if it requires something needing to come out of the freezer, like meat.
*I’ll add extra chores to be done that may not be on that day’s routine. For example, during canning season my kitchen gets a bit more messy. The day we do apple sauce I may want the floor washed or the cupboards wiped down when we clean the following day.
*Errands and appointments.
*Birthdays and anniversaries.
This is my favorite spot because I love the feeling of accomplishing my tasks and seeing them be crossed the list!

My desk calendar is basically a large visual and it’s where the children leave me notes of what is on their agendas.  I then add them to my planners.

Well… now you have the ideas of how to create your own journal and an outline on what to include in your planners and calendars. Go ahead and start working on these until I get back with the next article in the series…how to do a ‘walk through’ and then the how-to on Zone Cleaning!  Keep posted!

Happy day,
Jean