Episode #311: Plan Ahead for Your Next Instant Party – How to be Ready to Celebrate at a Moment’s Notice

Episode #311: Plan Ahead for Your Next Instant Party – How to be Ready to Celebrate at a Moment’s Notice

Who doesn’t love a good get-together with friends or family? How do you make an instant party when you don’t have time to run to the store and you haven’t done a deep clean in awhile?

Kathi and her clutter free expert, Tonya Kubo, join in on this fun episode full of tips that make your next party stress free. They share their favorite party recipes, cleaning ideas and ways to let your guests help out so they feel like they are part of the fun. No one wants a stressed out hostess and with these tips you’ll be able to relax and enjoy your guests instead of worrying about tiny details (you know, the ones that probably don’t really matter!).

Recipes mentioned in the show:

Kathi’s Macaroni Salad recipe for Instant Pot
Tammy’s Maltby Cake Recipe
Kathi’s recipe for “really quick chili”
Tonya’s Icebox Cakes (2 recipes):

Tonya’ Cowboy Caviar

2 15-oz. cans of black beans, rinsed and drained
1 16-oz bag frozen sweet corn, thawed
1 red bell pepper, diced
3 Roma tomatoes, chopped
1/2 red onion, minced
1-2 jalapeno peppers, minced (taste first to check heat)
1 cucumber, peeled and diced (optional)
1/4 bunch cilantro, chopped

1 Tbsp olive oil
Juice from 2 fresh limes, about 4 tablespoons (lemon works too)
Dash of red-wine vinegar
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper

Mix together dressing ingredients and set aside. Mix salad ingredients in a bowl stir in dressing to blend. You can serve immediately but it’s even better after 2 hours in the fridge.
Notes: This can be made the night before. You can sub the black beans for any type of firm canned bean. Black-eyed peas and pinto beans are great substitutions.

Share your favorite tips! Win Kathi’s What’s for Dinner Solution!

To win:
Leave a note in the comment section below. Tell us what your favorite cleaning tip or recipe is for your parties. Winner will be chosen on July 10, 2018.

*Giveaway is for US residents only.



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Meet Our Guest

Tonya Kubo

Tonya Kubo

Tonya Kubo is the illustrious, fearless leader of Kathi Lipp’s Clutter-Free Academy Facebook group. She and her husband, Brian, are raising two spirited girls in the agricultural heart of California. She writes about fighting the demons of comparison, clutter and compulsion on www.tonyakubo.com.

The Clutter Free Kitchen: 9 Ways to Stop Wasting Food

The Clutter Free Kitchen: 9 Ways to Stop Wasting Food

1. The Use-it-Up Shelf

In my fridge I have a small shelf that has cheese that has been opened, butter sticks that are cut in half, salami that’s about to expire and salad toppings (shredded carrots, chopped celery, sliced cucumbers) that need to be eaten first. I have put a piece of tape on it that screams “Eat me first!”

The “Use It Up” shelf is a reminder that these things need to be eaten first so that we are not wasting food and money. Why eat cheese that will expire in three months when you have some that will expire in three weeks?

 2. Tag Your Pantry

Use blue painter’s tape to mark anything that is going to expire in the next month. Make sure those boxes and cans are towards the front, so you can see what needs to be used up when you’re thinking about what to make for dinner.

3. Meal Plan

And speaking of what to make for dinner, deciding early in the week what you’re going to cook for the rest of the week is one of the best ways to make sure you use all the fresh ingredients you have in your fridge.

4. Store Smart

  1. Don’t store bananas and apples together (apples quicken the ripening of bananas).
  2. Store fresh herbs in a jar of water in the fridge.
  3. Trim asparagus ends and keep them in the fridge in a glass of water (just like you would with a bouquet of flowers) to help them last longer.
  4. Keep citrus good longer by putting it in a plastic bag in the fridge for up to three weeks.

5. Prep Food as Soon as You Get Home

It’s easy to be optimistic in the store; “Of course we will use all of these vegetables. I will lovingly make salads and veggie soup every night for my family.” But when the dinner crunch is looming, it’s so much easier to grab a frozen pizza and vow to make the salad tomorrow night – until tomorrow night comes….

One of the best decisions we’ve made is to prep our shop. When we get home from the store (or that evening) I will go through and wash and spin salad, grate carrots, slice veggies, hard boil some eggs, and generally prep as much food as I can for the coming days. We are about six times as likely to eat fresh food when it is prepped.

6. You have permission to eat all the veggies/fruit in a day.

My friend, Jenn, told me that her kids didn’t want to eat the fruits and veggies that she bought because they were afraid she was saving them for special recipes. Then there would be soft carrots and limp celery and all that money went to waste. Now Jenn tells her kids “Eat all of the fruits and vegetables in a day, it’s fine!” That way she makes sure they are not going to waste.

We now get some of our fruits and veggies from imperfectproduce.com (Use this link to get $10 off your first order! Our orders turn out to be about $15 every other week.) We love the freshness of all the produce we’ve received. (The reason they are imperfect is usually an unusual shape or size or too large of a crop.) We find ourselves eating up the fresh produce because we get to pick what’s in the box and know that we will use and love all of it.

7. Shop Your Pantry Before You Shop Your Store

We’ve all done it—arrived at the store and then thought to ourselves, “Do we have milk? I can’t remember. I’ll pick some up just in case…” And that “just in case” jug of milk is now the fifth gallon of milk in your fridge.

Before you go to the store, do a double take of what you actually have at your house so you’re not spending your valuable grocery dollars on stuff that you already have.

8. Use Your Freezer

I freeze just about everything except for salad. I am a freezer ninja! But here are a couple of ways I use my freezer that might not have occurred to you:

Soup Bag: I have a freezer bag that I use for any veggies that might be on this side of ripe: leftover salad fixings (sliced mushrooms, onions, celery, carrots, etc.) and then when the bag is full, I sauté everything in there and use it for the base of a veggie soup. It comes out different every time, but it is consistently delicious.

Berry Bag: I love fresh berries and eat a lot of them (on my morning oatmeal, whenever we have company over and I make Instant Pot Cheesecake,) but sometimes even I can’t go through the several types I can buy in a week (strawberry, blueberry, blackberry). So when they are starting to get ripe I’ll throw them into a bag in the freezer and use them to make smoothies or defrost them and make Warm Berry Compote . Both super easy and a great way to not waste a single, beautiful berry.

9. Fall in Love with Cooking Again

As I was writing this article early Saturday morning and thinking through the “Use it Up” principle, I started to feel the guilt of the apples sitting in our fruit bowl that needed to be used up. Since Saturday morning is the only time during the week I cook an actual breakfast (the rest of the week is YOYO – You’re On Your Own) I decided it was now or never. I found a great recipe for Sautéed Apples and put those on top of wheat pancakes for our breakfast. It was a major win.

There is really no better feeling in the world than to cook something from ingredients you already have (and would go to waste if you didn’t use them.)

It’s easy to get into a rut of making excuses for not cooking, but if cooking is something you once enjoyed, it’s time to fall in love with cooking again. Here are some ways to do just that:

  1. Read great books about people who love to cook. I’m currently listening to Coming to My Senses: The Making of a Counterculture Cook by Alice Waters but have enjoyed so many other books by people who love to cook (professionally and for the ones they love). Here is a list of books I’ve loved to listen to while I cook:

Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life by Barbara Kingsolver and Camille Kingsolver

The Dirty Life: A Memoir of Farming, Food, and Love Paperback by Kristin Kimball

My Life in France Paperback by Julia Child? and Alex Prud’homme

  1. Watch real cooking shows. Yes- it’s fun to see people make life-sized gingerbread houses with fully animatronic witches made out of 4,000 gumdrops. But if you want to get inspired to get into the kitchen, watch real people making real food. I love America’s Test Kitchen (PBS) and always want to run into the kitchen and create after seeing any of their chefs doing their thing.

3. Cook with people you love. This is my best tip. Make an event out of it and get in the kitchen with good food and lovely people.

I would love to hear you ideas about how you’ve reduced food waste in your home.



Episode #286: Instant Pot and the Clutter Free Kitchen

Episode #286: Instant Pot and the Clutter Free Kitchen

Kathi is talking Instant Pot on today’s podcast episode. She loves her Instant Pot and has saved a ton of space in her clutter free kitchen as well as time and money since implementing it in her home. She gives us her 5 (plus a bonus!) favorite recipes for basic Instant Pot cooking in this episode. These are great recipes for any size family and will get you comfortable with using your new favorite kitchen appliance.

If you have been on the fence about getting an Instant Pot or have one and don’t know where to start, this is a fun and helpful episode. And Kathi isn’t getting paid for her endorsement! She just loves her Instant Pot and wants all of her friends to know about the benefits she has experienced while implementing hers. Check it out on Amazon for more info on getting one here. {affiliate link}


What’s your favorite Instant Pot beginner recipe? Give us the name and the link or instructions in the comments below for your chance to win a copy of Kathi’s book, The What’s for Dinner Solution.

*Open to US residents only.


Hard Boiled Eggs- The Prairie Homestead

Perfectly Baked Potatoes in 10 Minutes- The Intentional Mom

Mom’s Classic Pot Roast with Onion Gravy- The Kitchen Whisperer

How to Freeze Brown Rice- The Kitchn

Whole Frozen Chicken- Retro Housewife Goes Green

Yogurt- This Old Gal

More at The Instant Pot Community Facebook Group

Eps #243: Clutter Free Kitchen: Tips to Loving Creating in Your Own Home

Eps #243: Clutter Free Kitchen: Tips to Loving Creating in Your Own Home


French Toast from America’s Test Kitchen

1 large egg
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted, plus extra for frying
¾ cup milk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
? cup unbleached all-purpose flour
¼ teaspoon table salt
4 – 5 slices day-old challah bread, (3/4-inch-thick) or 6 to 8 slices day-old sandwich bread

1. Heat 10- to 12-inch skillet (preferably cast-iron) over medium heat for 5 minutes. Meanwhile, beat egg lightly in shallow pan or pie plate; whisk in butter, then milk and vanilla, and finally sugar, flour, and salt, continuing to whisk until smooth. Soak bread without oversaturating, about 40 seconds per side for challah or 30 seconds per side for sandwich bread. Pick up bread and allow excess batter to drip off; repeat with remaining slices.

2. Swirl 1 tablespoon butter in hot skillet. Transfer prepared bread to skillet; cook until golden brown, about 1 minute 45 seconds on first side and 1 minute on the second. Serve immediately. Continue, adding 1 tablespoon butter to skillet for each new batch.

Insta-Pot Chicken Enchiladas 

3 chicken breasts
1 cup stock

Pressure cook 12 mins, slow release, shred.

1 jar green enchilada sauce
1 carton sour cream
1 bag jack cheese

Roll chicken mix in corn tortillas.  Cover with a jar of green enchilada sauce and more jack cheese.  Bake at 350 for 20 min

Kathi and co-host Erin MacPherson discuss Clutter Free Kitchens.  When your kitchen is clutter free you can cook more and find everything. They also share the tools they use that they can’t live without.  From the instant pot to the ninja coffee maker they each share their favorite kitchen tools.

This post isn’t about things you should run out and buy.  You don’t need more stuff, but this about you having things that make you happy and your life more enjoyable.  Kathi talks about purchasing tools, not trinkets to make your home a better place to be.

Share with us your kitchen tool that you can’t live without in the comments.

The List of Kitchen Tools:

Below is a list of the kitchen items Kathi and Erin can’t live without.

Victorinox Swiss Classic 3 1/4″ Paring Knife, Spear Tip, Serrated, Red

Instant Pot $99

Aerolatte Original Electric Hand Held Milk Frother, Satin 19.99

Ninja Coffee Maker $138

The Complete America’s Test Kitchen TV Show Cookbook 2001-2017: Every Recipe from the Hit TV Show with Product Ratings and a Look Behind the Scenes Hardcover – October 4, 2016

Spicy shelf stack Organizer

Share this episode!

Meet Our Guest

Co-host - Erin MacPherson

Co-host - Erin MacPherson

Erin MacPherson lives in Austin, Texas with her husband Cameron, her sons Joey and Will and her daughter Kate. She is the author of “The Christian Mama’s Guide Series“, a staff writer for Dun & Bradstreet and a freelancer for publications like Thriving Family Magazine, MOPS MomSense, FamilyLife Magazine, Daily Guideposts and BEMag. She blogs about her life, her kids and her faith at ChristianMamasGuide.com.

Kitchen Prep for the Overwhelmed Cook

Kitchen Prep for the Overwhelmed Cook

by guest Kelsee Keitel

“I am really not looking forward to cooking dinner tonight. In fact, I’m kind of dreading it.” I had become an overwhelmed cook.

I never imagined those words would come out of my mouth … at least, not yet.

At 23, I expected cooking dinner for my new husband would be a breeze. After all, we’re young and energetic, and cooking is one of my favorite hobbies.

But night after night, I found myself overwhelmed at the thought of starting dinner.


Before I could even begin to make dinner, I had to conquer a messy (and often hectic) kitchen. That extra work felt so overwhelming.

Did I mention I can get a little hangry? When I want to eat, I want to eat … not clean the kitchen.

The more overwhelmed I became, the longer I procrastinated making dinner, and the more likely one or more of the following outcomes would happen:

  • My husband and I would BOTH get hangry. Not fun.
  • I’d eventually cook while feeling stressed and pressured. Also, not fun.
  • I’d feel a little like a failure. Not fun either.
  • We would opt for fast food instead. Not healthy.

One night, after snapping at the hubby while hangry and agitated, I decided to clean the kitchen before bed. It turned out to be a solid move because I wasn’t nearly as stressed when it came time to cook dinner the next night!

After that successful evening, I made it a goal to tidy up the kitchen every night before bed.

Now I’ll confess I can be a little of a perfectionist. I was tempted to do a floor-to-ceiling scrub at first. But then I decided to simply make the kitchen manageable for tomorrow night.

For me that meant wiping down the counters and reloading the dishwasher.

It might be something different for you. Think of this mini cleaning session as a part of your prep-work for the next night’s meal.

One Small Win: Commit to tidying up the kitchen each night, and you’ll relieve those “It’s too much! Where do I begin?” feelings before they ever hit.

Overwhelmed cookKelsee is a graduate student and blogger, living in Indianapolis, IN with her newly wed husband. She is passionate about cultivating sisterhood through vulnerability and introducing young women to the freedom and abundance of life in following Christ. When Kelsee is not snuggled up with a book and sipping tea, she can be found experimenting in the kitchen or chatting with her mom.

You can read more about how Kelsee experiences divine moments in the midst of ordinary life over at kelseekeitel.com or on Instagram and Facebook.

Eps #243: Clutter Free Kitchen: Tips to Loving Creating in Your Own Home

Episode #216-The Basics of Canning with Melissa K. Norris


Buy The Made from Scratch Life

Do you long for simpler days? Do you wish you had the time to offer your family home-grown meals? Does your heart cry for a quiet place in this fast-paced world?

Blogger and homesteader Melissa K. Norris inspires with practical and easy methods to help you cook from scratch, garden, preserve your own food, and see God’s fingerprints in your everyday busy life. You’ll learn how to

plan, plant, and harvest for eating and preserving
troubleshoot common gardening problems with natural solutions
improve your family’s health with natural cooking and cleaning methods
Whether you live in the middle of the asphalt jungle or on the side of a mountain, you can experience the pioneer lifestyle and start your own homesteading journey. Because when you surround yourself with things made from the hand of God, you can’t help but see Him.

Melissa’s Canning Applesauce Recipe

Start your canning with this delicious recipe from Melissa K. Norris! Click on photo for free download.

Does the idea of canning your own food scare you? What do you need? What CAN you can? Will I give someone botulism and kill them???? Today I talk with Melissa K. Norris, author of The Made from Scratch Life, about how to get started with canning. We talk about which foods get canned using different methods, what the basic equipment needs are and did you know there is a difference between Pressure Cookers and Pressure Canners??? Melissa teaches us about all of these things and more! Let’s all give canning a try and post pictures in the comments! Mentioned in this podcast: Online Canning Course: Live Home Canning Class Presto Canning Kit Melissa’s podcast: Pioneering Today Podcast Win a copy of Melissa’s book The Made from Scratch Life by leaving a comment telling me one step you are going to make towards homesteading!



Start your canning with this delicious recipe from Melissa K. Norris! Click on photo for free download.

Meet Our Guest

Melissa K. Norris

Melissa K. Norris

Hey, there, I’m Melissa K. Norris. I’m just a plain country girl who loves Jesus, playing in the dirt, stuffing food into Mason jars (after I wash my hands of course), and hunting down as many traditional old-fashioned skills as I can to put into use on our homestead.

Occasionally I chase down a chicken and I’ve been known to wrangle a cow or two back into the pasture when they get the hankering to leave our field.

Visit www.MelissaKNorris.com for heirloom gardening, preserving the harvest (all forms of canning, dehydrating, and any other way to preserve food at home), raising critters aka livestock, from scratch cooking, frugal living, and any other kind of old-fashioned skill I come across and am determined to master.

P.S. I love to chat, so you can visit with me and listen to my podcast at www.MelissaKNorris.com/podcast