Whether you have a family of eight, or are single and dining alone, I want you to make family dinner time special. I want dinner to be something you look forward to each and every night.
Your life is busy, your life is crazy, and you need a time every single day where you have an opportunity to connect with your family, or your roommates, or even just to catch your breath.
Sometimes it can be the food that helps make dinnertime special. In the comments below, I want you to tell me what your family’s favorite meal is. (And if you include the recipe, you will be entered into our prize drawing twice!)
For more ideas, I have a newsletter filled with great recipes and tips for every area of your home. You can sign up here to get it delivered to your inbox once a month.
(Plus when you sign up for the newsletter, your will receive The Ultimate Guide to Man Food an e-cookbook that will rock your husband’s culinary world.)
In addition to the food, sometimes it’s the dinner conversation that will make your dinnertime special. That’s why today’s giveaway is this amazing book by my friend Mary DeMuth.
(BTW – if you are not subscribed to her blog, reading her books, following her on Facebook, or just generally being a Mary stalker, just do it. She’s challenging and brave and kinda amazing.)
The number one favorite of my all time favorite kitchen tips? Clear off your counters. Here are my tips to enlarging your kitchen by cleaning off you counters.
Reclaim some counter space. The most valuable real estate in your entire house is the space on your counter. There should be nothing on the counter that doesn’t either: 1. Work for you on a regular basis (i.e. My coffee maker sees more action than the funnel cake stand at a county fair, so it deserves a place on the counter. My food processor I only use once a week or so. It has not earned the right to be on the counter.) Or 2. Make you happy to look at.
On a regular basis I have to fight with my “stuff” to keep it off the counter. I promise you, clutter and appliance migrate there in the middle of the night. I am constantly waging a battle to keep my counters cleared.
Here is a list of things that have not earned the right to be there (but keep trying to sneak their way on):
Kid’s school projects
Dishes that just don’t want to get put away
Things that have earned the right to be on my counter:
Canisters (they are not just decorative, they hold everyday essentials like coffee filters, packets of sweetener, and dog treats.)
Toaster Oven (so we don’t need to fire up the big over very often,)
A container of frequently-used utensils
A butcher block of knives
Your use of counter space is going to be different than mine, but you get the idea – be thoughtful about what you give your permission to live on your counter.
Another great counter space saver is to see what you can have mounted under your cabinets or on your walls. For the longest time, I had a vertical paper towel rack that sat on the counter. It was a constant frustration to me that it took up so much space. Then one day it occurred to me that just because our house wasn’t built with an under-counter towel rack, didn’t mean I couldn’t do the job myself, (or bribe my cute husband to do it with a plateful of chocolate chip cookies.) I also have a microwave and CD player/radio mounted under my cabinets to save space.
And on my walls? I have a very cute set of stainless steel measuring spoons and a coffee scoop. I use them every day, they look great on the walls, and everyone in my house knows where to put them away.
I am constantly looking for those eleusive kitchen tips to make my kitchen life run smoother. Now it’s your turn: Tell me your favorite kitchen tips – whether it be for shopping, unpacking your groceries, cooking, cleaning, meal planning, meal planning calendars, anything! One of my lucky commenters will win the (yet to be released!)Creative Slow-Cooker Meals by Cheryl Moeller. You know I’m a HUGE fan of the Slow Cooker – so I know you will just LOVE this creative book!
Here are the kitchen tips you’ll get from Cheryl’s Book
Creative Slow-Cooker Meals: Use Two Slow Cookers for Tasty and Easy Dinners comes a new kind of cookbook and a new attitude toward planning meals. With an eye toward the whole menu, not just part of it, columnist Cheryl Moeller teaches cooks to use two crockpots to easily create healthy, homemade dinners.
Don’t worry about your dinner being reduced to a mushy stew. Each of the more than 200 recipes has been taste-tested at Cheryl’s table. Join the Moeller family as you dig into:
• Harvest-time Halibut Chowder
• Salmon and Gingered Carrots
• Mediterranean Rice Pilaf
• Indian Chicken Curry
• Apricot-Pistachio Bread
• Shrimp Creole
• Rhubarb Crisp
… and many more!
I’m so glad that you’ve decided to join us for THE WHAT’S FOR DINNER SOLUTION Challenge. For five days, you’re going to go into the week knowing what you’re eating, and then cooking. (And I’m giving you a handy meal planning calendar – to boot!)
(BTW – the challenge is for Monday through Friday, but if you’re coming to the party late, you can just tell us what you’re eating for the next five days.
I want to know what you going to eat Monday – Friday. Just leave your menu in the comments below.
Also, if you’re having trouble coming up with what you’re going to eat each and every single night, check out my list of 50 Dinner Ideas. I keep these is my recipe binder and next to me when I’m working on my meal planning calendar, for inspiration.
Planning out your weekly menu’s helps you stay on track with your budget at the grocery store and guarentees you have a great meal every night!
And for one of my blog readers, it will be a double win: not only will you have your meals planned out, but one randomly drawn commenter will receive THE WHAT’S FOR DINNER SOLUTION! (We’ll announce the winner on Wednesday!)
I cannot wait to see all the yummy meals everyone is going to eat this week. And don’t forget to download your free meal planning calendar! This is great inspiration to anyone who feel they are in a cooking rut.
Oh – and if you’re wondering what we’re eating this week:
Monday – (Kimber and I are going to be out of town visiting my parents) Roger is having leftover lasagna
Tuesday -Veggie and Leftover Chicken Stirfry with Brown Rice
Wednesday – Turkey Chili and Salad
Thursday – Pesto Chicken
Friday – Pita Pizzas
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