Easy 2 Ingredient Pancakes

Categories: Cooking

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As you may know by now, I’m all about easy, but fun recipes, and today is no exception. I saw it on Pinterest, and like many things there, it seemed a little to easy/good to be true, but I’m going to try to make 2 Ingredient pancakes.

Here’s what you need:

- A packet of instant oatmeal
- an egg

Directions:

1. Mix them together and let it sit for about 30 minutes
2. Spread it onto a hot, oiled pan
3. Cook one side at a time

That’s it.

So, how did mine turn out?

I got it all put together, and though I found out you don’t want the pan too hot, it did make a good pancake. My photo is sort of unfortunate, but it really was good and it’s reasonably low in calories, too!

Like the original post says, it’s not a typical fluffy, round pancake, but it’s really simple to do and you can use any flavor oatmeal you like. It’s also a great way to use up those oatmeal packets no one ever seems to get around to finishing!

Breakfast ideas for work

Categories: Food, Meal Planning

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I’m not a big breakfast eater.

There, I said it. Yes, I know breakfast is the most important meal of the day and all, I really do. But, even as a little kid, I was never really hungry until mid-morning. Actually, you can set a clock by my stomach. If I’m hungry, it must be 10:30 am, which is seriously inconvenient because places have stopped serving breakfast, but aren’t serving lunch, yet.

By the time I get hungry, I’m well into my work day and I don’t always have time to go get something. Sometimes I remember to bring something with me, but not always since I’m usually scrambling to get everyone out the door in the mornings. So, I try to keep a few things in the office that make a fairly decent breakfast.

My office has a refrigerator and a microwave, so I can keep a few perishable things on hand.  Some of the things I try to keep in the office:

1. Instant oatmeal packets

2. Grapenuts and yogurt (I try to bring enough yogurt for the week on Mondays)

3. Apples

4. Peanut butter and crackers

That’s about it. I’m getting tired of having the same things around, though. Do you have any ideas for breakfast foods to keep at work? Please share them so I can go to the store tomorrow!

5 tips for moving your child out of the college dorm

Categories: Organization, Tips and Tricks

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It seems like it was just a few days ago that I was writing tips about how to pack for college as I was sending my first child away, and now it’s time to think about coming home? Time certainly does fly as she’s just a few weeks away from finishing her first year.

Since she’s several hours away and doesn’t have a car this year, this is going to require a little planning. Even though it hasn’t happened yet, here are a few things I’ve learned so far:

1. Know the rules and the dates of move-out - My daughter has to be out of her dorm 24 hours after her last exam and, after looking at the exam schedule I noticed her last exam is on the final day of school, so it’s not going to leave much time to pack. Also, you have to check out with the RA and there’s a room inspection, so we need to be sure to leave time to clean, too.

2. Check your own schedule - School is several hours away from home, so moving her out will mean an overnight stay for us on a weekday, so vacation time is required on my part, and I even remembered to request it early!

3. Make hotel reservations early - Plan your trip as soon as possible, I’ve discovered that the trip to move her out also coincides with the university’s graduation and the nearest hotel I could book is 45 minutes away! Even if I could have gotten a room in town, the prices were all sky high, so I imagine it pays to reserve early.

4. Ship boxes to your student ahead of time - Since she’ll be in exams, it’s not going to leave a lot of time for packing. I’ve sent boxes to her so (crosses fingers) she can pack a little at a time. If school is a long way from home, have your student ship the boxes back packed with things they can spare before school is done.

5. Bring back a little at a time - If it’s an option, bring back a little with you when you visit since move-out day may be crazy and vehicle space is limited. I’ve already brought some winter clothes of hers home, and I’m going to visit next week and I hope to bring back things like unused kitchen items, shelves and other miscellaneous items.

I hope planning ahead a little pays off, I’ll let you know how it goes!

5 accessories to keep your electronic gadgets working on the road

Categories: Organization, travel

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With a kid 4 hours away in college, and other kids in sports, we do a lot of traveling. And, like it or not, traveling these days often involves a lot of electronic gadgets, and the gadgets require their own gadgets to keep them working when you’re on the road.

Over the years, we’ve perfected our travel electronics routine and have learned to have certain accessories on hand to keep everything going, and everyone happy. I keep a bag I call (oddly enough) the “electronics bag” with these supplies in it, and it has saved our sanity on the road more than once:

1. Car lighter socket splitter - when everyone’s in the car, there’s never enough sockets to plug things in. so we keep a 3 way splitter in each car. (Shop carefully and be sure to get a quality one for safety, though.)

2. Extra ear phones - Self-explanatory. Someone is bound to forget theirs and blame everyone else for it. Preserve your sanity and theirs by producing that spare set when you’re 100 miles from nowhere.

3. Spare phone charger - Just like the ear phones, someone is bound to forget a phone charger. Occasionally, that someone is me. Fortunately, we all have the same phone, so we just have one kind to keep a spare for.

4. Inverter - This gadget can provide a handy 110V outlet to power small gadgets (again, be careful and buy quality, test it out to be safe) that don’t have a car adapter.

5. FM modulator - If I’m driving kids by myself, once I get everyone settled in the back seat, I like to listen to podcasts. My car is older, and doesn’t have a line-in jack or a place to connect an iPod, so this gadget that uses an FM radio frequency to play your stuff can be handy. They’re not always the best sound quality, but they serve their purpose for me.

What kinds of things do you take on the road to keep your electronic gadgets going? Tell us in the comments below.

How to get rid of mystery smells in the closet wall

Categories: Cleaning

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I live in an old house. If you live in an old house, you will get where I’m coming from. If you don’t, you may be slightly horrified. Either way, I need some help.

I’ll just lay it out here: the closet in one of the bedrooms smells like dead animal.

Yes, old house living means that every now and then, something crawls into the wall and dies. Usually, the smell is gone in a couple of weeks, but it’s lingering for some reason. It’s not horrific, but it’s definitely there. The closet is upstairs and doesn’t have vents, so it’s not coming from somewhere else.

So far, we’ve:

1. Put an air cleaner/purifier thing in there.

2. Cleaned out the entire closet.

3. Put a pan of charcoal in there.

4. Put several cups on vinegar in there.

We’re trying to avoid calling a professional service, but we’re at the point we’re considering taking the wall out. Do you have any suggestions about how to get a dead animal smell out of a closet?

I’m all ears, let me know in the comments below.

Get ready for summer now: 5 ways to get ahead

Categories: Productivity, summer living

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It’s still winter, but summer will be here before you know it. I know, easy for me to say since I’m not sitting in the middle of a blizzard like some of you. But, in less than 10 weeks, I’ll have to go retrieve my college freshman and bring all that stuff home. Can you believe it?

Not to give spring the short end of the deal (I love spring, I do!), but summer for working parents brings it’s share of scheduling and preparation challenges, and I like to get ahead where I can.

Here’s 5 things you can do to get ready for summer now:

1. Plan out the summer calendar - I print calendars for June, July and August and we lay them out at home and everyone writes in their summer plans or special events. Camps, vacations, birthdays and even back-to-school dates go on there so we can spot potential conflicts early.

2. Sign up for camps - Now is the time to sign up for summer camps. If you have young kids and have never done this before, just trust me.  Traditional camps, sports camps, music camps, drama camps are ready and waiting for you to sign up, don’t put this one off. If you’re lucky, there might even be a discount for signing up now.

3. Book that vacation - If you ‘re going to have the chance to get away this summer, check that calendar you made and pencil in some vacation time. If you need to look for accommodations, now’s the time to do it so you can get the dates you want before they’re all gone. (Taking my own advice in 3…2…1…)

4. Shop now - Bathing suits and other warm weather clothing items are hitting the shelves. When it comes to the kids, it seems like no matter what size they are, the rest of the world had kids the same size and the new stuff is gone in a snap. I’ve learned to just bite the bullet and buy bathing suits when I see them instead of doing it “later” because the red bulls eye store doesn’t always restock them.

5. Apply for summer jobs - Get your teens out of the house and encourage them to apply for summer jobs now. For example, your college student should be getting an internship lined up (*ahem* is someone related to me out there listening?), and potential lifeguards should be signing up for training now. The competition is tough out there, don’t wait.

Even though it may not seem like it now, summer really does come fast. Check some things off your to-do list now and be ready to relax a little and enjoy it!

Recipe idea: Sausage, egg and cheese biscuit cups

Categories: Cooking, recipes

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I was cleaning out the refrigerator yesterday, and I noticed I had some biscuits and some sausage that had just about outlived their usefulness, and I didn’t want to waste them. I wasn’t sure what to do with them (other than just making sausage and biscuits), and then I remembered muffin tin cooking is all the rage, so I thought I’d give it a shot.

I wasn’t sure what I was doing, but they actually turned out pretty well, so I thought I’d share.

Sausage, egg and cheese biscuit cups
Ingredients:

3 large eggs
3 tbsp half-and-half
1/4 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese (or what you have on hand, I used cheddar and jack)
1/2 lb. cooked sausage
Salt and pepper to taste
1/4 tsp. mustard powder
1 can of whomp* biscuits, (I had Pillsbury Grands on hand, so I separated each biscuit into 2 layers because they’re big).

Directions:

1.    Preheat the oven to 375° F. Spray a muffin tin with cooking spray
2.    In a medium bowl, combine the eggs, half-and-half, mustard, salt and pepper and whisk together
3.    Flatten each biscuit into a larger flat circle and place into a cup in the prepared muffin tin. Press the dough into the bottom of each cup and up the sides.
4.    Divide the sausage and cheese evenly into each cup
5.    Divide the egg mixture evenly between each cup and carefully pour over sausage and cheese, but not too full.

Bake 15-20 minutes until biscuits are brown and eggs are set.

I was thinking these would be a good, quick breakfast during the week, but as it turns out, people have been eating them all day around here, so I guess they’re good any time?

I’d like to try some more things in the the muffin tin, do you have any favorite recipes?

(* What? You know, whomp biscuits - you know, the ones you whomp on the counter to open…)

Super Bowl appetizer idea: Boursin cheese-stuffed mushrooms

Categories: Cooking, Food, Holiday Entertaining, recipes

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The Super Bowl is coming up, and I consider it the official end of Appetizer Season, so it makes me a little sad. I love appetizers and I’m always on the lookout for something new, or at least “new” to me.

I’m fortunate to be able to take a girl’s trip to the beach each January with my friends. Aside from the obvious benefit of getting to go on vacation, I always end up with a few new recipes.

We cook at least one of the night’s we’re there, and this year we ended up just having an appetizer spread. I particularly like it when I learn about an appetizer that’s really quick and easy because we know I’m all about the quick appetizer.

I may be the last one to know about this, but I am in love with Boursin cheese-stuffed mushrooms.

Boursin Cheese-stuffed Mushrooms

Ingredients:

  • Large, fresh mushrooms (as many as you want to make)
  • 6 oz. of boursin herb cheese spread (usually found in the refrigerated section with the fancy cheeses at the grocery)
  • Melted butter to brush on mushrooms

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees

2. Wash and de-stem mushrooms, brush lightly with butter

3. Spoon the cheese into the mushroom caps

4. Bake on a baking sheet at 450 for 15 min.

If you’re feeling especially fancy, you can finely chop the mushroom stems and add them and some Parmesan cheese to the boursin cheese and top with bread crumbs and butter and bake until lightly browned.

That’s all there is to it!

What are you taking to the Super Bowl party? Tell us in the comments below.

5 ways to get rid of an old mattress

Categories: Decluttering, Kids Cook

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This post is brought to you by the 3 sets of mattresses currently occupying space in my living room.

old mattresses

I’ve had to do a lot of research over the past couple of months about ways to get rid of an old mattress. I’m actually starting to see why there are mattresses dumped on the side of the road, it’s not always easy to dispose of them. There’s no city service in our area that will take them away and we don’t have a truck, so we’ve considered several options.

1. Ask if the company you bought the mattress from will haul the old one away - Though this wasn’t an option for us (long story), before you buy, ask if the seller will haul the old mattress set away. This will be worth your effort, I promise.

2. Post it for free on Craigslist - If the mattress is in decent shape, try posting it for free on Craigslist. You never know what people will want.

3. Take it to the city dump - If all else fails, borrow or rent a truck, hand over the money and take the mattress to the city dump.

4. Donate it to a charity - Though this option isn’t available as frequently as it once was, perhaps there’s a shelter or a refugee resettlement-type program in your area that will take usable mattresses. Donationtown may provide some ideas.

5. Look for a mattress recycling center - My research has shown that recycling mattresses is becoming more popular. Check Earth911 for an option near you.

I don’t know what we’ll end up doing, but it’s got to be soon, or we’re going to have to put Christmas lights on the things.

How about you? Do you have any suggestions for disposing of old mattresses? Pleas share in the comments below.

Quick dinner idea: Meatball Sandwich Casserole

Categories: Cooking, Entertaining, Lunches, Meal Planning, Uncategorized, recipes, summer living

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The holidays can be a crazy time of year with shopping to be done, preparing for guests and getting kids ready for exams. We’ve been out late a lot during the week lately, and traveling on the weekends, so there’s not been a lot of time to fix dinner. Since it seems my family insists on eating every night, I figured I should try to do something about feeding them.

As a matter of fact, I even had most of these things in the pantry and fridge already, so this was easy.

Meatball Sandwich Casserole

Slices (about 1/4 inch thick) baguette French bread(enough to cover a casserole dish)
olive or vegetable oil to brush on bread

1-2 pounds (depends on what size dish you’re using) frozen cooked Italian-style or regular meatballs, thawed. Works best if they are smaller, bite-sized meatballs.
1 bag frozen chopped onions thawed and drained (I sauteed mine, but I’m sure it’s fine without)
NOTE: you’re supposed to use the onions and green pepper mix to make it like an authentic meatball sandwich, but no one here but me likes green peppers.
1 1/2 cups pasta sauce (I used a tomato-basil one)
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • Heat oven to 350°F. Brush 1 side of each bread slice with oil.
  • Line the bottom and side of a casserole dish with bread, oil side up and slightly overlapping slices.

  • Bake 5 to 10 minutes or until edges are light golden brown.
  • In large bowl,  mix meatballs, onion (and bell pepper), and pasta sauce.
  • Spoon meatball mixture into crust; and bake uncovered 25 to 30 minutes or until thoroughly heated in center.

  • Sprinkle with cheese; bake 5 to 10 minutes longer or until cheese is melted.

It was a hit with everyone, and it’s been just as good the next day!

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