Tammy's Kitchen

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Housekeeping Blues

Blah! ;)

 Every now and then I get what I call the "housekeeping Blues". Okay, so it actually happens to me at least a couple times a week! I feel completely lethargic and overwhelmed. Usually, the house just needs a good straightening and a little cleaning. Once the house is organised and/or cleaned, I feel immensely happier and energetic. Sometimes all the time it takes me is an hour or so, but getting started is like climbing a mountain!

So, whether I just need to pick up the house or actually do some real cleaning, here's what works for me!

1. I start with an easy room, particularly one at some sort of "end" of the house: the front door, the back door, or just anywhere that feels like the "end". In our last house, it was the bathroom! In our current home, that's either the back porch or the childrens' bedroom. No matter how "BLAH" I feel, I can usually at least muster up enough motivation to clean the boys' bedroom (they don't play in there, so no toys). ;)

2. I pick up/organise that one room first. I take out anything that doesn't belong there, and put those things away. I straighten up what does belong in there. I wipe down things if needed (or dust). I don't do the floors yet. I just make things look tidy and move on.

3. I work my way "around" the house, moving from room to room, cleaning each room as described in step two. If in the bathroom, I clean the toilet and wipe things down. If in the kitchen, I put dishes in the sink to soak and wash all counters/stove, but don't wash dishes or the floors yet. In my house, I usually do the rooms in this order: children's bedroom, bathroom, kitchen, porch, living room, and upstairs.

4. When I've tidied every room, and all that's left is the dishes and floors, I vacuum every room. Then I mop the linoleum, and while it's drying, I wash the dishes. By then the floor's dry, and I put the (two) rugs back after I shake them out.

Under the rug, oh yeah!!

"Sounds great, but I have kids!"

Keep them with you in whatever room you're currently working. Use a baby carrier for tiny ones, and make the older ones (the ones who can walk) help put things away.

Find any and every thing they can do to assist you in your cleaning. Sometimes I give my two-year-old things to throw away. If I have several things, I give them to him one at a time, so he makes several trips to the trashcan. He feels like he's really doing something important, it keeps him busy, and it keeps him out of trouble! And I want to instill in my children a love for order and tidyness, and joy in working alongside their parents.

Dishes, oh dishes...

As a side note...

I hate dusting and I hate shaking out rugs. I usually skip dusting if possible. Tongue out I only have two rugs in my house, because I hate having to move them to clean. If I have more rugs, I feel even less like cleaning. I love rugs. I love a clean house more. Someday when I've really got my act together, I'll have lots of rugs on the floor and clean under them all, every week. Wink

Other tips:

If possible, put on some favorite music. Then try to straighten up an entire room before each song finishes. :D

Just make yourself do it. I have to do this one a lot. Sometimes the only way for me to get motivated is to just make myself start cleaning out that dirty diaper, or start sorting the laundry. I'd rather nap on the couch, but oh well!! Boy, this article is so helpful. :P

Homemade Yellow Rice recipe, submitted by a reader

Homemade Yellow Rice recipe

One of the perks of maintaining a recipe website is that we get to try everyone's favorite recipes! I especially love getting to taste-test a new recipe before it's online, and then blogging about it to share it with others! 

A few weeks ago, a reader named Kristina sent us her recipe for Homemade Yellow Rice! Kristina originally came to TammysRecipes.com during a search for MSG-free recipes, and decided to submit her own yellow rice recipe, which is a great substitute for those boughten seasoned rice packets.

Joshua and I tried the recipe, and we both agreed that Kristina's Homemade Yellow Rice was absolutely wonderful!! It was a beautiful shade of yellow (as you can see in the photo I took!) and tasted wonderful! We made a double batch and had no problems using the leftover rice. Kristina gave some other suggestions for using this rice, which are included in the "Additional Notes" below the recipe.

So, if you enjoy seasoned rice and would like a delicious alternative to purchasing pre-seasoned rice packets, make your own Homemade Yellow Rice!

Cream-Filled Pumpkin Cupcakes: an autumn must-try ;)

Cream-Filled Pumpkin Cupcakes recipe  Okay, I just added a new recipe that I feel I MUST blog about. ;) This is actually not a "new" recipe, at least not to us. We've been making these Cream-Filled Pumpkin Cupcakes for years, and everyone loves them!

A couple weeks ago, I made these Cream-Filled Pumpkin Cupcakes, and sent a large container of them with Joshua to work, to share. Of course, I saved some at home for Yehoshua and me to eat. ;) This is my favorite cupcake and worth making year 'round, not just in Autumn. ;) In fact, most of my home-canned pumpkin gets used to make these cupcakes.

So if you have some pumpkins, or you want to try a festive Fall treat, or you love Twinkies with a pumpkin flavor, Wink I urge you to try these Cream-Filled Pumpkin Cupcakes!!

Tea Review: Nordqvist Green Teas (4 varieties)

Nordqvist green teas

I was excited to receive four new (to me) flavors of Nordqvist tea from my friend Pinja! I could hardly wait to try them, and indeed, I didn't wait! I started some water, and soon Yehoshua and I were trying the first cup!

Nordqvist's Japan Sencha is an unflavored Japanese green tea. I was impressed with the fresh taste and light flavor of this tea. Definitely a good pick when you're in the mood for a cup of green tea!

Nordqvist's Lady Green was our next taste, and Yehoshua declared that it was "really good"! Lady Green is a green Sencha tea with cherry and vanilla flavorings. We found it to be a smooth-tasting green tea, with soft and warm cherry-vanilla undertones. The flavor was excellent, enhancing the flavor of the green tea without over-powering it. Perfect for a rainy autumn afternoon, just like the day we tried it!

Yehoshua had been misbehaving, and I said to him, "Yehoshua? Do you need to go to bed? Or do you just need some green tea?"

Yehoshua replied, "I just need some green tea, Mama!"

Nordqvist green teas

And so off to the kitchen we danced, where our warm mug of Nippon Green tea waited. Nordqvist's Nippon Green tea was a dark yellow brew, and had very subtle flavors of strawberry, lemon, and vanilla. As with the Lady Green, the flavors matched and enhanced the green tea perfectly, and if I hadn't read the back of the teabag, I would have been baffled as to exactly what that delicious taste was! I would describe Nippon Green as simply "a very good green tea"!!

Finally, the last tea bag to enjoy: China Green. This one was my personal favorite, a blend of green Sencha tea, elderberry, and quince flavorings. I wasn't expecting to like this one best, but was pleasantly surprised! Again, I would not have been able to identify the flavors, had they not been written on the bag, but more likely due to the fact that I'm not exactly sure what "quince" tastes like, and it's been years since I've had elderberries! The fruit flavors in China Green are fairly pronounced, but still not out of balance with the delicate flavor of Sencha green tea. Delicious!

Pinja lives in Finland, and wrote that she frequently buys these green teas to drink. Her favorite is the Nippon Green!

Yummy? 

"Is it yummy?"

 Yummy!

"It's so yummy!"

Eating: At home or abroad?

I posted a new poll: How many meals per week, on average, do you eat away from home?

I don't know if anyone noticed, but when I posted this week's menu, I had added some new recipes to the website for it. Homemade Chicken Pizza is a delicious white chicken pizza. Not quite as simple as Tammy's Easy Pizza, but worth the work for a special dinner. :) Easy Beef Stroganoff is my own recipe, and I love to use it when I have leftover steak to incorporate into a meal. And Philly Cheese Steak Wraps are Joshua's late-night delight... or a quick and easy dinner. ;)

We've also been busy trying new recipes, and I have a couple I can hardly wait to blog about! But, wait I must... because I have many things in line to post about ;)

Another Rummaged Delight: Bunny Mug

I just couldn't resist posting a photo of Yehoshua's newest treasure, compliments of today's rummage sale. This cute Bunny Mug is his very own cup from which to drink tea. He loves this mug, and always points to the Papa Bunny's black hat and says, "Hat! Mama, hat!"

It's so fun to delight my little boy with such treasures, worldly and fleeting though they be.

 Yehoshua's new Bunny Mug

How much more our Heavenly Father must joy in our delight when he sends blessings our way!

Chocolate Chip Banana Muffins... gone flat

Chocolate Chip Banana Muffins 

Somehow, I don't think this is how Chocolate Chip Banana Muffins are supposed to look.

I could blame the recipe, but it's a family favorite of the lady who passed it on to me.

So, I'll blame Yehoshua. He's the one who sneaked into my bananas and ate TWO of the remaining four. I had my heart set on making these muffins today. And now I was one banana short of the three bananas this recipe called for.

But a chef like myself doesn't even bat an eye at having two (small) bananas when the recipe calls for three.

I just got right busy substituting things. I hadn't been planning to substitute on this recipe. I planned to measure everything just how the recipe said for once. But I should learn to not turn my back on my little Curious George toddler.

So, I added an extra egg. Then I added some applesauce. I would have added pumpkin, except I was worried that might give the muffins a funny taste. The batter did seem a little thin, but for all my adding, I didn't even think to add a little extra flour.

So, I made some flat-topped muffins. The good news is that they taste delicious!! The bad news is that photos of flat-topped muffins aren't suitable for a website recipe. So, someday I'll be making these again... with the proper number of bananas... and then I can share the recipe!

Rummaging Delights

My clothesline!

YHWH has blessed us so much. This is what my clothesline looks like right now! This morning, bright and early, my two sisters and I headed out to a rummage sale. My mom watched Yehoshua and Eliyahu while we spent over 2 hours rummaging and exclaiming with delight over our finds! At $1.00 per heaping grocery bag, things seemed practically free. I spent $3.00 today, and came home with clothing for myself, Yehoshua, and Eliyahu, childrens' books, two back packs, a few toys, and an ice cream scoop for Joshua. ;)

All day yesterday, Yehoshua ran around wearing pants with no underwear, because his underwear was all in the wash. Today I found about 20 pairs of like-new boys' underwear, sizes 2-6.

I'm just thrilled, because so many things I had desired to have, we found! I got several new shirts for myself, just as my older ones seem to be wearing out. Yehoshua got a jump rope. Eliyahu got a chew toy. ;) I even found a few really nice things to give to other people! :D

Homemade/Recycled/Free Dishcloths

Homemade dishrags

Ever since I can remember, my mom has used homemade ("recycled", if you will) dishcloths for washing dishes. Well, except when we had company over. ;)

When I got married, I quickly wore out all my flimsy store-bought dishcloths, and decided it was time to switch to something a little more durable... and cheap... homemade dishrags!

Here is how to make them.

1. First, take a clean old sock, preferably one with a hole in the heel or some other irrepairable place. The higher quality of sock you use, the longer your dishcloth will last!

2. Cut the sock down the back, through the heel, and out to the toe, so that it lays flat or nearly-flat when opened.

A sock cut into a dish rag

And that's it! You now have a brand new dishrag, which should last at least as long as any store-bought dishcloth!

Never heard of using socks as dishrags before? Don't worry, you're not alone. My dad was once talking about frugality to someone, and said, "We use old socks for dishrags." The lady laughed, until she realised he was serious! Then she was embarrassed! :D

However, even if the idea sounds a little crazy to you, I urge you to try it next time you have an old sock you're going to throw out. I find that the terrycloth inside part washes dishes just wonderfully!

Homemade Dishrags
5 Easy Frugal Recipes for Household Products:
Scouring powder, laundry soap, and more!

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