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Change Your Space for Free

Change Your Space for Free

Want a new feel for your living space, but no budget? Simply rearrange what you have. A few simple tips: Do not block natural light. Allow room to flow naturally. Create a focus. Make sure the room is functional . You can also switch out rugs and pillows to create a new vibe. Just be sure the theme stays consistent in each piece or plays well with others. This may prove to enhance your mood and reduce stress. You also get a chance to get those pesky areas you can’t seem to reach when cleaning. Who knows what you might be inspired to change next?

Help! Leftovers Are Taking Over!

easter leftovers!

Do you have leftovers from Easter lurking in your fridge or freezer? When I host a dinner I tend to make too much food, because the worry of not having enough haunts me. Besides, who wants to waste? When I think about all the time and energy spent making each dish, I feel obligated to use them. I also hate eating the same things over and over. Here is what I am doing with my leftovers. Hopefully you will be inspired to do something with yours.

Leftover: Hard-boiled eggs and Ham (maybe a green veggie)

Fix: Ham, Egg, and Cheddar Gratin (Inspired by Williams-Sonoma Casual Entertaining)

Ingredients:

-6 Hard-boiled Eggs (split in length-wise halves)     -1/2 cup low-fat Cheddar or Velveeta if you prefer     – 2 cups of trimmed & diced Ham    -3Teaspoons Tarragon       -1/4 cup Onion, diced       -1 stalk Celery (or other leftover green veggie), diced     -3 cups reduced-fat Milk (room temperature)       -1/4teaspoon Nutmeg               -dash of Hot Sauce    – 3 tablespoons Cornstarch  -3 tablespoons water or broth    -1/4 cup low-fat Shredded Cheddar       -1 Tablespoon Butter (or substitute)       -Salt  – Pepper

Directions:

1.Preheat Oven to 400 degrees F.

2.Heat Butter in saucepan over medium heat. Once melted add the Onions and Celery until translucent. Add the Ham and heat through.

3.Once mixture is warmed, add 1 teaspoon Tarragon and stir. Pour Ham mixture into the bottom of a lightly greased baking dish.

4. In the same suacepan, pour Water and Cornstarch and wisk quickly. Cook over medium-low heat until boils and then pull it off the heat and turn stove off.

5. One cup at a time add the Milk, whisking in. Over medium heat whisk until thickened. Once the sauce thickens, add the 1/2 cup of Cheddar. Stir so that the Cheddar melts smoothly.

6. Take 6 halves of the Hard-boiled Eggs and dice them up. Add them to the Cheddar Sauce. Add the Nutmeg, Hot Sauce, and Tarragon. Salt and pepper to taste. Remove from heat. Pour Cheddar sauce into the baking dish.

7.Place remaining Hard-boiled Egg halves yolk-side up in the pan, distributing them evenly. Sprinkle Cheddar over the top.

8. Place baking dish in oven for 10 minutes or until golden and bubbly.

9. Serve and enjoy.

Tips:

-If for some reason the sauce is a little soupy, add toast to soak up. It is still super yummy!

-You can make  a roux with equal parts flour and canola oil if desired, instead of the corstarch slurry for thickening.

 

Leftovers: Ham Hock and Carrots

Fix: Soup Beans

Ingredients:

– 1 Ham Hock          -3/4cup Carrots (diced)          -1/2 onion diced       -2 cloves garlic minced

-2 cups Great Northern or Pinto Beans          -4 cups low-sodium Broth or Water    – Black Pepper

Directions:

1. In a dutch oven (or pot)  heat Onions and Garlic over medium heat ntil translucent. Add the Carrots and Ham Hock. Cook until warmed. Pepper to taste.

2. Stir in Beans and cook until warm. Add the Broth and bring to a boil.

3. Once at a boil, simmer for at least an hour. Serve.

Tips:

-You could transfer the ingredients into a crock-pot on your way to work, and put it on a medium low setting and come home to some good eats!

-Serve with cornbread.

-Freeze leftovers for a cold, rainy day.

Pinteresting Easter Ideas and Tips

easter decor
We are now on Pinterest. I just pinned my Easter inspiration boards. Check it out. They may inspire you too! I added a few healthful tips to the recipes on the comment box.
There are a few key tips to hosting a great family get-together.
-Serving some family traditional staples along with a few new fitting dishes will help it be a meal to remember.
-Preparing desserts and cutting your vegetables the day before can cut down on stress.
-Double check your recipes and make sure you have enough time to get everything cooked, warmed, and ready for the table.
-It is usually good to have a colorful array of food for Easter.
-Use plastic eggs to share a treat with big kids too (adults). You could put a nice note or memory, recipe, chocolate, or use your imagination to fill the egg. This makes a nice small guesture for guests to take with them.
-Have a few light snacks or appetizers to keep guests happy in case you run a little behind.
-Play some fun music or have a game for the kids to play.
-Maybe even set up a small hunt of your own.
The love and effort you put into the day will show. Your guests also want to enjoy you. They did come to see you after all! I hope you have a fantastic weekend with your family!

Holidays Are For More Than Childhood

balloons on clothesline

We are in that time of year where the major holidays have just passed with a few close ahead. The small ones float rather evenly in between. Remember how exciting was it to go to school  around any holiday? There were special crafts, snacks, colorful decorations, and interesting stories. It felt more like recess all day. Once we get to high school and college, the festivities are more rare. It is a shame we grow up and stop celebrating. When did we become too old to have fun? It seems as if doom and gloom is everywhere. We ought to take every chance to celebrate the good and enjoy life.  It makes a bad week a little better when you have something to look forward to. Think about how you feel planning and dreaming of vacation. When holidays come up, it is a chance to take a break from the stresses of life. We can be reminded of the good things life has to offer.

Birthdays are an excellent example! This is a great excuse to splurge on a piece of exquisite cake. It is not just getting older or another year of life. Your birthday is a chance to celebrate accomplishments, reflect on good memories from the past year, and share it with people who care about you. Why wait until someone is gone to celebrate their life? All those wonderful words can be spoken now. You can focus on the blessings and enjoy birthdays again.

Most of us celebrate big holidays, but what about small ones? For example, St. Patrick’s Day is coming up. Have you planned on anything fun? You can easily celebrate by wearing your green, fixing an Irish recipe, and cutting and glittering shamrocks with your family or for yourself and some friends. Holidays big and small remind us of what is important and helps us keep perspective. They brighten your everyday life. Life is more adventurous and exciting when you are reminded to live and that there are things to look forward to. Even if some of those moments are in the future yet, you can celebrate for the day it comes. What is better than finding an excuse to surround yourself with people you care about, sharing good food and memories? That is a simple joy in life. It reminds us of how rich we truly are, even while our finances are not stable. So go and enjoy! Have your cake and eat it too! I will be offering entertaining tips, ideas, and articles to help possibly inspire you to do so.