Friday, August 31, 2012

Weekly Menu for 9/2/2012 - 9/8/2012


Day Menu Item Shopping
Sunday
Onion Rings
Bette Hagman pizza/french flour mix (or gluten free “all purpose” flour mix)
2 Large Yellow Onions
Monday
Vegan Dude Food: Chili Cheese Fries

2 Russet Potatoes
Ground Paprika
Chili Powder
1 package Gimme Lean Beef
1 Onion
4 Cloves Garlic
Vegan Worcestershire Sauce***
Tomato Paste
Hot Sauce
Vegetable Stock
Cumin
Raw Cashews
Lemon
Nutritional Yeast
Dry Mustard
Vegan Nacho Cheese
Tuesday
Guinness Meat Pie

1 Small Brown Onion

Minced Beef**
Tomato Paste
Gravy Powder
Frozen Mixed Vegetables
½ can Guinness*

2 cups mashed potatoes
24 pcs puff pastry shells (vol-au-vent cases)
Wednesday
Skinny Artichoke Dip

13.75 oz Artichoke Hearts packed in water
Shallots
Fat-Free Greek yogurt
Light Mayonnaise
Parmesan Cheese
Part Skim Mozzarella Cheese
Bread Crumbs
Thursday
Deluxe Nachos
Corn Tortillas
Dark Red Kidney Beans
Olive Tapenade
Shredded Cheese
Salsa
Greek Yogurt (or dairy-free sour cream)
riday
Eggplant Pizzettes

Dry-packed Sun Dried Tomatoes
Barbecue Sauce
Balsamic Vinegar
1 eggplant (about 1-1/4 pounds)
8 ounces Smoked Provolone
Shallot or Red Onion
Pecans
Fresh Mint or Basil for garnish (optional)
Saturday
Tater Tot Nachos
1 24-ounce package Tater Tots
1 pound Ground Beef
1 Onion
1 packet taco seasoning
Lettuce
Shredded Cheese
Sour Cream
Salsa
September 2, 2012 - September 8, 2012  

You will also need:


Eggs, Baking Powder, Vegetable Oil or Olive Oil, Salt, Pepper, Milk of your choice, Onion Powder, Garlic Powder, Butter, Salad, Salad Dressing, Gluten-Free Bread, Gluten-Free Flour Mix

* Guinness beer can be substituted with chicken broth, vegetable broth, or ginger ale
** TVP can be substituted for the minced meat
*** Braggs Amino Acids can be used in place of Worcestershire Sauce

This week is all about Pub Grub, aka Bar Food.

Bar food or pub grub is always a special treat and what better time to try these recipes than on game night, poker night, or movie night.  Turn your living room into a dine-in movie theater.

Remember to adapt each recipe according to your specific dietary needs.  The recipes have been chosen so you they can easily be modified.  For example, the ground beef can be substituted with TVP and the bread crumbs can be purchased gluten-free bread crumbs or you can make your own using stale bread.

How did you enjoy this week's menu?  Did you enjoy the websites?  How were the recipes?  Were they easy to follow and the ingredients easy to find?  Did you have quite a bit of the ingredients already on hand?

Did you find cooking different meals having similar items easier?  Were you able to prepare multiple meals at once?

What would you like to see on future menus?

P.S., Each Friday, we post our weekly menu showcasing our dishes as well as dishes prepared by others throughout the internet.  Please add your menu, appetizer, main dish, dessert, drink, table-scape, or tutorial below.
Please share me with your friends! Please forward this post to your friends or better yet share on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+.  THANKS!  Your comments and help in spreading the news about this site is ALWAYS appreciated!  Be sure to sign up to receive future articles delivered directly to your inbox.
Substance of Living

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Keeping the House Clean like Grandma on Mom's Schedule

I'm the last person that will tell you to not keep a list of things to do.  I'm the queen of lists.  I'm visual.  I like to color code my events with highlighters or changing the font on the computer.  Guess I haven't given up my box of crayons.

I am one of the first to say to keep it simple.  My life hasn't always been that way, but the simplest methods have stayed with me through the years.

If you're anything like me, you might have a list in the kitchen telling you what time of day to do a particular chore.  For example, sweeping the kitchen floor, cleaning out a drawer, going over my to-do list in the morning while the coffee is brewing.   In the evening, my list might include doing a load of laundry, sort the mail, scrub the tub after baths are complete.

DH and I have pinky promised each other that we will completely 100% unpack and put everything away in our new home.  See, we've moved so many times that we get, I don't know, 80% maybe 90% complete and leave the rest in boxes out in the garage or storage unit.  Each time we would say that we would schedule time to go out there and go through the boxes.  We are still lugging around boxes that we haven't seen the contents in some cases 10 years.  Isn't that terrible?!

Not this time!  We want a beautifully decorated and clean/organized home but we also want to get to know our neighbors and do things.  We don't want to be slaves to the house.   

We are proposing the K-I-S-S method of living.  We want to Keep it Simple Sweetie.  Therefore, my task is to figure out how we are going to do that in as few steps as possible.



There are basically four separate times of the day.  Morning, afternoon, evening, and night.  I feel that if we can master the rhythm of the day with our tasks then we will be ready to enjoy our neighbors, have company, or whatever joy life brings our way.

Some items don't really need to be done every day so they can be added in as time permits.  As long as everything gets done daily, weekly, or monthly then everything will have been accomplished.

My mother has a philosophy that if she ensures company comes over (out of town guests) at least once every three months then her house gets a "Spring Cleaning" four times a year.

Morning: Coffee.  Make the bed.  Take a shower and other personal hygiene to get me ready for the day.  Clean the litter boxes.  Take out the trash.  Go over my 6 Most Important Items for the Day and add anything else that might need to get done within the day.

If the dishes weren't done the night before, I like to at least have had them soaking and do not even think about them until I've had my first cup of coffee.

Afternoon: Pick up as I walk through the house.  I'm a piler so I don't mind each of us having a pile as long as it doesn't get too big.

Like I've said before, I'm very visual so I like to keep my floors clean, pillows fluffed, blankets folded, towels hung, and all is right in my world.  If my bed is made there can be a little dust on the dresser.

Dusting the furniture is like frosting the cake. The cake doesn't bake with the frosting but the frosting makes the cake picture perfect.

Using my time-tested 60 minute program, the house either gets 60 minutes of cleaning a day or gets 60 minutes every other hour.  This depends on what else is going on in our lives on any particular day.


Evening: Enjoy the evening having dinner and family time.  Do a load of laundry.  Prepare dinner.  We like to cook together listening to some good music, sipping a glass of wine or other beverage, and catch up with the day's events.


Night: The clean laundry of the evening gets put on our bed, so we are sure to fold and put it all away before climbing into bed.  Nightly kitchen clean up.  Load the dishwasher.  Wipe off counters.  Swish the floor - this is a combination of sweeping and mopping, one of the advantages of modern technology.  No need to break out a broom and then get out the bucket and mop.

I'm really good with “clean enough” most of the time.  If a particular chore didn't get completely done or something wasn't done to "white glove" standards, it's okay because this is a never-ending cycle and will be revisited later in the day, tomorrow, next week, or next month.

The dust bunnies can keep each other company this week because my family needs me more.  Sometimes we have to put on our rose-colored glasses and hope that our company is actually coming over to visit us and not inspect our home.

I still believe in lists and charts.  They are not written in stone but on paper.  I am allowed to move items around or skip an item as long as it all gets done...eventually.

How do you keep your house clean and what are your frustrations?  Share with us what you do and what you need help with.

P.S.,  If you have written a post on this particular subject, please share your link with us and remember to grab one of our Substance of Living Buttons to place on your post.  Thank you!

Please share me with your friends! Please forward this post to your friends or better yet share on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+.  THANKS!  Your comments and help in spreading the news about this site is ALWAYS appreciated!  Be sure to sign up to receive future articles delivered directly to your inbox.
Substance of Living

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Cherry-Lime Vodka Martini


Cherry-Lime Vodka Martini

Sports and libations have gone together as long as the two have been around.  Golf is no different.

Since moving, I've been taking golf lessons so that DH and I can enjoy a morning out.

This past Thursday my instructor and I were talking about what drinks we enjoy.  We both enjoy a good martini and in honor of us sneaking on to the 10th hole, I wanted to celebrate him with a drink neither one of us have had.


Cherry-Lime Vodka Martini

For those of you who play golf, you know that the 19th hole is actually the libations hole.  In my case we snuck on (please don't tell anyone) for a quick terrain-reading course; which was in fact, the 10th hole.

Ingredients


3 oz. (2 shots) Lime flavored Vodka
1 oz. Grenadine

 
P.S., We're linking with Sumo's Sweet Stuff

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Substance of Living

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

5 Gluten-Free Websites for August 2012

Gluten-Free websites I've learned about this month:

Please join me in a new journey to find at least 5 websites each month that will be highlighted in (at a minimum) the following categories:

  • Gluten-Free
  • Vegan
  • Vegetarian
  • Decorating
  • DIY
  • Money Management

If you have a website or know of an author that you'd like to see showcased please let me know.

A Gluten-Free Day

A Gluten-Free Day


Emilia, the author/chef/photographer of this site lives in Finland.  She cooks gluten-free along with some soy-free, egg-free, and diary-free.  She prefers psyllium husk powder over xanthan gum and feels the former lends a texture more similar to gluten when baking.


Emilia answers a question many of us have:  "What I do if I accidentally eat gluten?"

"I always know when I have eaten gluten because I get at first a strange empty feeling in my stomach, after that I start having pains.
My general strategy is to take L-Glutamine powder one tablespoon every four hours or so, this helps the stomach to heel and it really helps with the pain. I also take some turmeric and DL-Phenylalanine; the turmeric helps with the healing and because I get depressed from gluten I take the DL-Phenylalanine which helps to elevate my mood.
B-vitamins are also important if you ingest gluten because it eats away the B-vitamins, the body needs them to process gluten and sugar, and this might also be behind the reason of the so called gluten depression."


Simply Sugar and Gluten-Free


Simply Sugar and Gluten-Free

Amy Green, author of Simply Sugar and Gluten-Free cookbook, has maintained a weight loss of over 60 pounds since 2004 by eliminating sugar and gluten from her diet.

Amy says, "My food cravings, migraines, and depression vanished and was able to maintain a 60+ pound weight loss. Today I live with enormous freedom."

 Easy Eats

Easy Eats

Easy Eats is an on-line gluten-free and lifestyle magazine that is full of recipes, conversational interaction, and a "What's Cooking" blog that is posted between bi-monthly editions of the magazine.



Free Spirit Eater

Free Spirit Eater
 Meet Kym, an award-winning foodie blogger, who lives in (or near - not quite sure) New York City and is (self-proclaimed) obsessed with the 60s.  This isn't actually a gluten-free website but she is acutely aware of the term and it appears most of her items are either gluten-free or could easily be modified.



The Dusty Baker

The Dusty Baker

Lastly, you have to meet Jacqueline.  She is amazing!

Jacqueline lives in New York City, NY has been "gluten and cow dairy-free for almost 20 years."  She is a private chef, she writes for Easy Eats and Serious Eats NY.

She uses food as medicine to keep her body healthy.


It has been a lot of fun learning about new foodies, blogs, writers, and great people who are inspiring.  While compiling this list, I noticed that a few of the sites were connected in one way or another.  Isn't that wild?!  What a small world we really do live in.

I wish you and everyone a wonderful month.

 
P.S.,  How did you like these websites?  I'm thinking about making this a monthly entry because I come across so many helpful sites.  If you know of a site that should be highlighted here on Substance of Living, please let me know at substanceofliving at gmail dot com or in the comments section below.

Please share me with your friends! Please forward this post to your friends or better yet share on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+.  THANKS!  Your comments and help in spreading the news about this site is ALWAYS appreciated!  Be sure to sign up to receive future articles delivered directly to your inbox.
Substance of Living

Monday, August 27, 2012

Household Budget Worksheets

Are you like me and secretly wish you were more like Martha Stewart when it comes to your house, garden, decorating, entertaining, and just about every other aspect?  If only Martha could advise me on finances I'd not need look any further.

However, I've recently come to start channeling Suze Orman where my finances are concerned and went online today to find a spreadsheet by her and wasn't able to find anything.  She has several books about family planning, trusts, and why finances are so important but sometimes just the basics are needed.  Do you remember the show where the guy says, "Just the facts, Ma'am."? 

So, until Suze starts emailing me personally, here are some budget worksheets to get us started.  There are more out there for holidays, vacations, gift purchasing, weddings, and just about everything else.

Here are the basics...


Quick-Start Budget by Dave Ramsey



Household Monthly Budget by Practical Spreadsheets



Household Budget by Freebie Finding Mom

August and September are back to school for many families and that also means back to the basics.

What spreadsheet do you use to keep your family budget balanced?  Do you use other budget type worksheets or software programs?



Please share me with your friends! Please forward this post to your friends or better yet share on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+.  THANKS!  Your comments and help in spreading the news about this site is ALWAYS appreciated!  Be sure to sign up to receive future articles delivered directly to your inbox.
Substance of Living

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Gourmet Banana Butter

Gourmet Banana Butter

You've probably had maple butter with your hush puppies at fish camps or all-you-can-eat fish restaurants.  This would be delicious as well.

This will make a delicious gift.  Gifts from the kitchen are economical and always appreciated.  There always seems to be a last-minute gift to give or dinner to attend and this can be made with plenty of time to spare.  This is such an easy item to make and combine a couple loaves of bread during the holidays for a gift.



Gourmet Banana Butter IngredientsIngredients


1/2 cup Butter
1 ripe small to medium Banana
1 teaspoon Cinnamon
2 tablespoons Brown Sugar
1 teaspoon Carmel Liqueur

Allow the butter to soften.  This takes about 5-15 minutes depending on the type of butter you're using.  I like to freeze bananas when they become a little too ripe to eat so I brought one out and thawed it in the microwave for about a minute.

Add all the ingredients into a mixing bowl and using your mixer, start out on a low speed to incorporate everything then gradually increase speed.

The Making of Gourmet Banana Butter

The first minute or two of mixing the butter will seem to have too much liquid but then magically between minutes 2-5 it thickens and smooths out.  It will be be a little soft from the heat generated with increased speed.  This will also add some air and the butter will increase in size as well.



The Making of Gourmet Banana ButterThe Making of Gourmet Banana Butter

Note:  This recipe can easily be converted to vegan by exchanging the smart balance butter I used with your favorite vegan butter.  

Once your butter is nice and smooth, slip it into the refrigerator for a couple hours or over night and enjoy on some sourdough bread, bagel, rolls, breakfast pastry, pancakes, waffles, or anywhere else you'd enjoy a little sweetness.
Gourmet Banana Butter


Turn an ordinary breakfast or meal into something special by adding this gourmet butter on the table.

Gourmet Banana Butter

Have you tried or made gourmet or herb butters?


Please share me with your friends! Please forward this post to your friends or better yet share on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+.  THANKS!  Your comments and help in spreading the news about this site is ALWAYS appreciated!  Be sure to sign up to receive future articles delivered directly to your inbox.
Substance of Living

Saturday, August 25, 2012

The Sticky Stuff in our Lives

7-7-7 Challenge

Stuff is sticky.  I don't think I'm hoarder but I've certainly been known to collect things.  Now, I'm in the process of downsizing and simplifying.

I've assigned sentimental value to my collections.  This, I received for my 20th birthday; This, I bought while visiting Texas, This, oh my goodness, I can't get rid of this - this was found on the trail while hiking on a break during a bike ride.  The memories are there every time I look at an item.

What I've found over the past few months is that the memories are still with me.  I don't need the stuff to keep the memories alive.  In fact, some of the memories are allowed to slip away if they so choose.

Some items were sold on Craigslist, word-of-mouth, or through a moving sale.  The majority, however, were donated to local charities.  Then some of the things were passed along to family, friends, or neighbors.

7-7-7 Challenge

Initially, the thought of having to get rid of things for our upcoming move scared me.  I wondered how on earth I was going to live without my stuff.  That's how the 7-7-7 Challenge came to exist.  I felt that I could get rid of one item a day and at the end of 7 days, take a picture of everything.  That way my attachment to the item would remain but someone else would be able to enjoy it as well.  That idea gave me a warm fuzzy.  I feel that the karma of my letting go will bring good energy to it's new owner.

We've gotten rid of so much already and yet we still have more than we could possibly need.  Where and when did we start collecting?  We are in our new home and we are still getting rid of things.  In fact, we have an entire bedroom full of things that will be donated.

Each release frees me a little more.


I'm releasing the past to clear a path for the future by using the law of attraction.  Remembering is wonderful but living in the past stifles today and limits the potential of tomorrow.


7-7-7 Challenge

Take a look around your house.  Do you have boxes that haven't been opened in over a year?  Are you really going to fix that toaster or buy a knob for the radio sitting in your garage?

How do you feel after a garage sale or a trip to the nearest charity donation collection?

Have you said "yes" to the 7-7-7 Challenge?  Whether you have, or on the fence, or still not convinced, please leave your thoughts below.

Please share me with your friends! Please forward this post to your friends or better yet share on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+.  THANKS!  Your comments and help in spreading the news about this site is ALWAYS appreciated!  Be sure to sign up to receive future articles delivered directly to your inbox.
Substance of Living

Friday, August 24, 2012

Weekly Menu for 8/26/2012 - 9/1/2012



Day Menu Item Shopping
Sunday
BBQ Chicken, Spinach and Pasta Frittata

Elbow Pasta
1 Small-Medium BBQ Chicken
1 Small Red and Green Capsicum*
5-6 Scallions
Garlic
Fresh or Frozen Spinach
Fresh Basil
Eggs
Cheddar Cheese
Parmesan Cheese
Chili Flakes

Lemon wedges for serving (optional)
Monday
Vichyssoise

3 Large Yukon Potatoes
1 Large Onion
15 Ounces Chicken Broth
1 Pint Sour Cream
green onions (optional)
Tuesday

Brown Rice Vegetable Casserole
Chicken Broth
Brown Rice
2 Large Onions
Soy Sauce**
Basil
Cauliflower Florets
Broccoli Florets
4 Medium Sweet Red Peppers
2 Garlic Cloves
Salted Cashews
Cheddar Cheese
Wednesday
Broccoli Three Cheese Bake

French fried onions
1 bag Frozen Broccoli and Cheese Sauce
  Cream Cheese
1 Red Pepper
Red Pepper Sauce
Thursday
Mom's Minestrone Soup

3 (14 ounce) Cans White Beans
Pancetta or Bacon (Vegan Bacon)
2 Cloves Garlic
1 Onion
2 Celery Stalks
1 Carrot

Rosemary
1 (14 ounce) Can Diced Tomatoes
1/2 Head Kale
1/2 White Cabbage
3 Leeks
3 Zucchini
 Parmesan Cheese
7 to 8 cups chicken stock
Fresh Basil
Fresh Italian Parsley
Friday

Vegetable Paella

Vegetable Stock (8 1/2 cups)
Saffron
Paprika
1/2 bunch cooking greens (collard greens, spinach, kale, sorrel or chard would all work)
2 bunches Asparagus
1 lb Fiddleheads***
Eggs
1/4 lb Summer Sausage
Saturday
Veggie Reuben Panini

Cabbage
Onion
Carrot
Parsnip OR Mushrooms
8 slices Rye Bread
4 slices cheddar or Swiss cheese
Dillweed
August 26, 2012 - September 1, 2012  

You will also need:

Vegetable Oil or Olive Oil, Salt, Pepper, Milk of your choice, Salad, Salad Dressing, Gluten-Free Bread, Mayonnaise, Ketchup

* Capsicum can be replaced with Bell Peppers
** Braggs Amino Acids can be used in place of Soy Sauce
*** Fiddleheads can be substituted with Green Beans or Nopales

This week is all about weekday lunches and easy dinners.

Some of these dishes have meat or meat broth, however, they can easily be made vegan.  In addition, the pasta is now fairly easy to find in gluten-free forms.
How did you enjoy this week's menu?  Did you enjoy the websites?  How were the recipes?  Were they easy to follow and the ingredients easy to find?  Did you have quite a bit of the ingredients already on hand?

Did you find cooking different meals having similar items easier?  Were you able to prepare multiple meals at once?

What would you like to see on future menus?

P.S., Each Friday, we post our weekly menu showcasing our dishes as well as dishes prepared by others throughout the internet.  Please add your menu, appetizer, main dish, dessert, drink, table-scape, or tutorial below.
Please share me with your friends! Please forward this post to your friends or better yet share on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+.  THANKS!  Your comments and help in spreading the news about this site is ALWAYS appreciated!  Be sure to sign up to receive future articles delivered directly to your inbox.
Substance of Living

Linking with: Hearts 4 Home - Our Simple Country Life