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Heather says

Does anyone remember the movie The Money Pit? I now watch this with a knowing chuckle.

Many of you know that I moved into what I refer to as the “fixer-upper” back in October. As there are some truly awful people out on the interwebz I was not very open about the exact state of the house that I moved into, other than the sharing the fact that it was pretty rough. Some of you out there know what home renovations are like and still others know what it’s like to live in a home being renovated. The word frustrating and disheartening comes to mind.

The bathroom floor had water damage that had caused the flooring to badly warp and there was a hole into the crawlspace. On the advice of my exterminator -if you are local I will share his name- I made a temporary, amateur repair to the main bathroom floor. Let’s call it effective, but hideous. It looked like I had a tumour of expanding foam growing where the tub met the floor. Nothing was coming in or out, nothing, but still I had nightmares that I would step out of the shower and fall into the crawlspace.

But it was all okay, it would just be a month or two and I would be able to repair it, no big deal?

I knew that a roof would be needed within five years and I had factored that into my decision to go ahead with the move.  For a reason neither I nor the company I hired to do the work understands, my insurance company decided the roof needed to be replaced before I could insure the place. (The contractor was more than happy to install the new roof, but it was not the critical need the insurance said.) The bathroom remodel was delayed.


Time moves slowly in the interim between hiring a contractor and the day he shows up. I had been spoiled by the roofing experience, I got the estimate and work started the next week.

I am currently in the middle of heavy travel season with my day job, so of course the contractor was only able to begin work while I was on the road.

I have a garage freezer that I have slowly been stocking  with meat as it goes on sale and vegetables. I have fallen in love with the frozen bags of onions and bell peppers, they make my life easier, yes the foreshadowing is a bit heavy handed.  You see where this is going. . .

The workmen tripped a breaker on a little used outlet.

The one the freezer is on.

Home Ec 101 to the rescue.

I wrote a post about this years ago: The Freezer Was Left Open, Now What

I spent Saturday minimizing damage and thankfully, most of the  meat in the bottom of the upright freezer was still frozen solid. If you ever have to freeze a lot of food, this tutorial may come in handy.

And despite all of the frustration, today I have five gallons of chicken gumbo in my freezer and more importantly, by close of business today, I will have a fully functional bathroom. I still have to paint, but I don’t think anything will be more satisfying than the jig I did to test the solidity of the floor.

Has Home Ec 101 ever saved your day?

Menu Monday 29

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Menu Plan Monday

Heather says

Ah, Spring  when a young man’s fancy when Heather’s schedule explodes and she wonders if cloning technology could please step things up a bit.

This week I’ll be headed to Atlanta, I’m speaking at WordCamp and I’ll be helping out in the Happiness Bar (think Apple Store version  not martini) at least for the hour(s) I’m assigned and more likely as long as they’ll let me be useful. It’s my time speaking on a topic not grief related since everything fell apart and I’m so glad to feel like I’m hitting my stride once again.

That said over the next few weeks expect a few gaps in the menu plans.

How did last week work out? Did you stick to your plan or fall off the wagon. I didn’t stick to the plan, but we didn’t resort to the drive through, so I’ll call it a sorta success.

What are you looking forward to making? Are you trying anything new?

Monday – L/O Chicken Gumbo over rice 

Easily Make Gluten-FrAee Chicken Gumbo

Tuesday – Buffalo Chicken Tacos and Salads

Wednesday – Meatloaf,  Macaroni, Collard Greens

Easy Recipe and Technique for Making Meatloaf


Macaroni and Cheese - Stove Top


Thursday – CORN – Clean Out Refrigerator Night

This probably means I’ll be making breakfast skillets or maybe Mustgo Soup, either way, if it’s leftover it needs to get used up so it won’t need to get thrown out when I get back on Monday.

Those of you who read this far? I have a little treat for you.

A meal planning printable / shopping list creator. I find it easier to create the shopping list as I plan. Let me know what you think.

Menu Monday 28

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Heather says

Let’s kick off with an important Home-Ec 101 housekeeping note: I selected the winner of the $100 Amazon Gift Card via random drawing and notified (her?) yesterday morning. I am waiting for a response. If the email address starting with kweiss looks familiar, please check your spam folder, it’s important.

And back to your regularly scheduled, if a bit late, Menu Monday.

Last week was a very busy week with a fair amount of overtime.. On Friday I decided instead of going the Spanish and tapenade route that I needed to just be creative and made fish tacos while we binged on House of Cards Season 3.


I’ll make them again this week just to confirm the recipes / technique, but it’s been requested to go on the frequent flyer program and it will. Thankfully fish tacos really aren’t a labor intensive meal: I used grouper, but any firm white fish will work, Chef Prudhomme’s Red Fish Magic seasoning, a thin coat of olive oil, and baked until just done. The shredded cabbage was just tossed with a tiny bit of honey, lime juice, and fresh cilantro. What made the tacos though was the sauce. I used just a couple of canned chipotle peppers, just like I do to make chipotle mayo, equal parts mayo and sour cream, a minced garlic clove, a squirt of lime and a little cilantro.

We may or may not have eaten ourselves into food comas. Which completely defeated the point of abstaining from meat, but sometimes after a very long week, good food and better company is the answer. Unfortunately, stress is delicious.

What’s on the menu for this week?

  • Monday – clean out refrigerator night As soon as I get off from work, we’ve got some yard work to tackle. As annoying as Daylight Savings is, I’m thankful for the brighter evenings.
  • Tuesday – Sausage Peppers and Onions over Cheese Grits
  • Wednesday – French Toast, Bacon, Fresh Fruit
  • Thursday – Pork Chops with Raspberry Sauce, Okra, Rice and Peas
  • Friday – Fish Tacos (you’re not surprised, right?)
  • Saturday – Salads with steak – I’m craving red meat, I’m thinking I’ll do blackened beef tips, but I reserve the right to completely change direction
  • Sunday – we’re attending a thing with food, yay!

So tell me, Home-Eccers, what did you do that worked last week? What failed (my ability to stick to the plan).

Did you try anything new? Will you be trying anything new this week?


If you’re just trying to get started with menu planning, this series may help:

Menu planning saves time, energy, and money. You don't have to wait until you are an accomplished cook to start. This is the couch 2 5k of feeding yourself healthy, budget conscious food.


Menu Monday 27

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Heather says

I’m writing the menu this week from a hotel room in Charlotte, I was up here for business. I’ll be packing up and heading home shortly and when I get there, the minions will want to be fed.

Having a menu plan makes life easier. Tonight’s dinner is simple, fast, and flexible enough that if I’m missing an ingredient I can substitute with another. While I can’t know how I’ll feel on a given day, I can take a look at the calendar and know if I’m going to be short on time and when life throws a curve ball, we can suck it up and have sandwiches, or as the kids have dubbed it a snacky dinner.

What does your week look like? Will you be trying anything new?

How to menu plan

  • Monday Sausage Skillet, I’ll be substituting in kale and bell peppers in lieu of the cabbage in the recipe.
    Sausage Skillet
  • Tuesday Taco Tuesday- on Tuesday! + salads
  • Wednesday – Brinner or Breakfast for Dinner Whole Wheat Banana Oatmeal Pancakes, we’ll ruin that healthy with some bacon, and fresh fruit
  • Thursday  – Chicken Picante, I need to redo the pictures, but the recipe is solid (in other words, please don’t pin this one, yet)
  • Friday -Spanish baked cod with olive tapenade, roasted brussels sprouts (no bacon this time)
  • Saturday – To Be Determined it may be clean out the refrigerator night (CORN) or it could be a recipe I need to photograph, it’s going to depend on my energy and enthusiasm, I think a stuffed flank steak might fit the bill.
  • Sunday – Chili rubbed honey pork chops, rice and peas, roasted broccoli

Menu Monday 26

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Heather says

Well, last week didn’t work out as planned. There were a lot more let’s make do with what we have that’s quick dinners, but I was able to reshoot one of the most popular recipes on this site.

Quick beef and cabbage skillet, it’s a handful of ingredients and thirty minutes until you’ve got a warm, filling (and believe it or not paleo if you’re into that) meal.


Quick Beef and Cabbage Skillet HE101

If I keep this up and manage to re-shoot one recipe a week, I may manage to catch up by 2018.

I kid.


I also started to make an interesting chicken fajita soup but I left the wheat-free flour somewhere else and ended up making a tortilla soup that the family loved, but it was too thrown together to write up. It’s still movement in the right direction and I’ll take that.

So what’s up for next week? Well, I’ll be sharpening my knives if the sharpening stone and ceramic rod arrive (they should).  Lent starts this week and I’m going to buckle down on the whole let’s not eat out thing, unless I’m on the road for work. I have to have the practical caveat in there, sorry.

And on the menu:

  • Monday – Meatloaf, mashed potatoes, cabbage, carrots
  • Tuesday – We’re headed out with some friends for Fat Tuesday, otherwise it’d be the perfect excuse for Shrimp Etouffee
  • Wednesday – Lentil casserole, baked sweet potatoes, kale (Ash Wednesday)
  • Thursday – Taco soup, tortilla chips (or maybe I’ll remake last week’s soup with a lot more attention to detail)
  • Friday – Fish and tomato stew, with bread and / or potatoes
  • Saturday – Sloppy joes / tacos, broccoli with cheese sauce (experimenting with a gf version) and what the heck chips
  • Sunday – Let’s shoot for the Chicken, mushrooms, and peppers dish, rice and peas, acorn squash

What will you be cooking this week?

Are you trying anything new?