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.


Why Is Spring Cleaning a Thing Anyway?

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spring cleaning tradition
Heather says:

Why did Spring Cleaning become a tradition?

In the past many homes were heated with wood fire or coal stoves, both of which produce soot that gets deposited on walls, windows, and flooring. Over the winter this soot and the mud and filth tracked in would build up. Spring cleaning meant opening the windows wide, washing the walls, welcoming in the fresh air and cleaning out the dust, soot, and mud from the winter.

While many newer homes have forced air or other means of heating, it’s still nice to open the windows in the spring and welcome in the new season. Improved heating methods also have done nothing to stop the tracked in mess of mud and salt.


What is the point of welcome mats, door mats, and runners?

Finally spring cleaning serves as a convenient time to perform annual and semi-annual chores both inside and outside of the home.

  • Replace the batteries in your smoke detectors.
  • Check your fire extinguisher(s).
  • Wash your windows.
  • Rotate mattresses and clean them while you’re at it. You do have a mattress pad, right?

How to clean your mattress and why you should

How to store blankets without inviting mildew

Here at Home-Ec 101 I’ve been giving the site a makeover. I hope you’re enjoying the new more Pinterest friendly graphics. When I started this site, back in the dark ages of ’07, Pinterest didn’t exist. I am not a graphic designer and for years I stressed about how to fix this. Finally, I realized I should hire people who are good at this. HE101 is getting its own Spring Cleaning and articles that have been buried in the depths of the site are getting dusted off, tweaked, and brought out into the light.

My physical home is also getting a makeover and in the next few weeks I should finally have a bathroom that isn’t cringe worthy. Yay! It’s a big project that involves ripping out the subflooring, repairing joists, and adding an extension to a sewage pipe. I’m bringing in a contractor to handle the big stuff, but I still have to finish stripping the wallpaper. Can I tell you how much I hate stripping wallpaper?

While we aren’t a 100% done with the site makeover, if you haven’t looked at the Clean It section of the site, I invite you to take a quick poke around and tell me what you think.

Do you have an opinion on whether or not I should keep the Chore Post-It on the site?

Clean Up with Home Ec 101

Click this picture to read cleaning tips for every room of the house!

guide to spring cleaning

Click the picture to learn more!


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

How To Clean And Shine a Dull, Grimy Kitchen Table

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Dear Home Ec 101,
I love receiving your info! So much fun to read! Anyway, I really need help with the following: I
bought a beautiful dining room table and chairs from a friend with children. Unfortunately, she has never instilled the clean-hands rule with them and the table is sticky and dulled with finger marks every single place hands can reach! I am confident that I could remove them, but no luck and I am at my wit’s end. I have tried Murphy’s Oil Soap, liquid dish washing detergent, vinegar, vinegar and oil. Please help.
I have a formal home and this looks so dirty and tacky that I am embarrassed.
Greasy Grimy Finger Prints

How to remove ground in dirt and grime from wooden furniture
Heather says

The clean hands rule is such an uphill battle, I can sympathize with your friend and because my kids leave the frustrating grime, I can sympathize with you, too.

That doesn’t accomplish much, does it?

I am going to make an assumption from the information provided, the hand prints and grime are noticeable because the table is a lighter, blonde wood without a high gloss finish. Do not use the following suggestion for a glossy piece of furniture.

Removing built up dirt and grease from a table has a fairly simple, if tedious solution. Grab a box of baking soda and some cheap vegetable oil, leave the fancy EVOO for another time. You’re also going to need a sponge or rag, a bowl, and a whole lot of patience.

Mix the baking soda and oil in the bowl in a 2:1 ratio. ( For every 1/2 cup of baking soda, you’ll use 1/4 cup of oil, make sense?) Stir to form a paste and apply with a rag or sponge following the grain of the wood.

The baking soda acts as a very mild abrasive and brings the grease into the solution. Remember the adage about like dissolving like? That’s what is happening here, the baking soda can get down into the tiny crevices and bring the bits of greasy dirt into the oil. Tasty!

Once you’ve removed the grimy hand prints from the table, wipe the entire table down with a damp rag with just a tiny bit of soap or cleaning agent like Murphy’s. (I, as most of you are tired of hearing, am a fan of Method’s line, especially the wood cleaner) and then wipe again with a rag that’s just dampened with water.

Now to restore a nice shine to the table, you’ll want to wax or oil it. Paste wax is the easier of the two options. And if you’ve ever waxed a car, you’ve got the basic idea. Wax on, wax off.*

Supplies needed:

Apply the paste in a circular motion, this works the wax into all of the tiny nicks, pores, and cracks in the finish of the table. Allow the wax to dry for a few minutes and then buff the table with the grain rather than in circles.

I know that was a lot of work, but on the bright side, if there aren’t kids in your home, you probably won’t have to repeat the oil and baking soda trick.

Waxing your table every six months or so will help maintain the finish of your table.

Submit your questions to

*Award yourself One Internet if you said that like Pat Morita, please take care of it, all of my friends live in it.



Home-Ec 101 Guide To Spring Cleaning

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guide to spring cleaning

The snow is finally melting and the smell of spring is in the air. The urge to open the windows and clean the house has come upon me. If I try hard enough I can squash it, but it is actually a good thing so I guess I won’t. Here are some articles with tips, tricks, and info to help; just click the title of the post you want to read.

Why Is Spring Cleaning A Thing Anyway?

Spring cleaning serves as a convenient time to perform annual and semi-annual chores both inside and outside of the home.

Don’t Forget To Dust Your Computer

The next time you are at the store and snicker when you see the canned air – grab a can anyway. Why? Because it’s time to clean out your computer.

Friendly Spring Cleaning Encouragement

Since I can’t send my mom over to your houses for cleaning encouragement, I’ll have to do my best here. There’s something very spiritual and emotional with a good, all-over cleaning and decluttering.

Spring Cleaning: The Family Room

This has been a hard one for me to write, because I have a small house. My living room or family room or great room or whatever you want to call it is also my office, sewing room, dining room, etc, etc, etc. So the way I spring clean my living room wouldn’t necessarily be the same as yours.

Spring Cleaning: Bedrooms

Let’s talk about spring cleaning your bedrooms. Here we go, wheee!

Spring Cleaning For Disastrously Mess Homes

So how can you get that super-messy house under control? First, you have to be completely determined that you are going to get your house under control once and for all. It might take you months, but I doubt it. Check your supplies and make sure you have enough cleaning supplies, laundry detergent, and trash bags.

Spring Cleaning: Room By Room

If your kids are anything like my 4 year old who is part Tasmanian Devil, it can be hard and frustrating to have kids who go right behind you messing up as you’re cleaning. Don’t stand for it- put them to work.

There are plenty of people with super messy houses, it happens. Now you’ve just got to get it clean and I know you can do it!

Happy Cleaning!

Clean Up with Home Ec 101

Click the picture for lots more tips!