Tradition and Simplicity

posted in: homemaker | 4

There were five of us- three wide-eyed girls and two moms- sisters-in-law bound by heart – waiting with bated breath. We were crowded together in the kitchen while the men- my dad, uncle, and older cousin, caught up over apple cider, crackers, and cheese in the living room. My fully Italian Aunt, her shiny black curls pulled back neatly, her apron tied and smoothed primly, was about to unmold the layered Thanksgiving jello. I don’t remember the first year. No, … Read More

Adding Margin to your Days

posted in: homemaker | 5

What does it mean to add margin to your days? Ah, margin. The two red lines gently guiding you to give more breathing room to your paper. I can see those lines so clearly when it comes to paper and pen- but when it comes to my time, it’s just so easy to fill my page to overflowing. In fact, I rarely consider margin at all when I am planning my week- let alone my meals. Rather, I am usually … Read More

Cook dinner by formula, not recipe

posted in: homemaker | 2

by Tracy Grossmann I think we tend to view people who develop recipes as sitting in a lab, using beakers and grain-measuring tools, precisely doling out the exact amount needed for perfection. If the recipe calls for 1/4 teaspoon and we fudge it up to 1/2, well, the whole thing might just collapse. In reality, most of our recipes come from a time when people dumped, poured, and stirred in the same ingredients to hone their favorite dishes, learning over … Read More

Two quick (and easy) ways to put meals in your freezer

posted in: homemaker | 0

by Tracy Grossmann Do you make freezer meals? Some people are masters at this. Armed with carefully crafted lists and ninja-like cooking skills, they fill their freezers with a month’s worth of dinners in just one day.   However, though we love the results of this type of major freezer cooking day, traditional freezer cooking involves some pretty in-depth planning. First, we need to find the recipes we want to use (that our kids will eat+ like). Then we need to … Read More

3 Secrets that Will Make Your Canning Day a Success

posted in: extra | 6

My husband still remembers being sardined into his mom’s minivan between his brother and sister, the backseat folded down and piled high with fruit and vegetables from Eastern Washington. The orchard-fresh, abundant goodness made the trip over the mountains more than worthwhile. The heavenly smell of ripening peaches filled the air as they drove, and the kids all had bellyaches by the time they got home from eating so much fruit. His mom would spend the following weekend canning all … Read More

Dinner Isn’t Really About the Food

posted in: extra | 0

By Tracy Grossmann It was at the beginning of this school year that I picked up the Autobiography of Ben Franklin. My husband has long been a fan of biographies, and I have provided them in a steady stream to my kid-readers, who also love them. I, however, have rarely read biographies (in fact, I can’t remember more than I can count on one hand, I’m sorry to say!) Anyway, I was fascinated to find this little gem of wisdom … Read More

Kids in the kitchen – a few tips

posted in: extra | 2

Kids in the kitchen: “Mom? Can I make muffins for breakfast?” It’s a question that should be music to my ears. “Can I make dinner tonight? Then you could rest.” What a treat! Should I not be thankful, being in the third trimester of pregnancy, and, many days, in need of just such a rest? I have been blessed with a few older boys who love to create in the kitchen. And yet, I find myself saying “no” more than … Read More

The Easy Way to Make Your Meals Taste Better

posted in: extra | 5

A while ago, at the local, super-popular restaurant we love to go to, my son ordered a delicious Warmed Spiced Applesauce. Boy, was it tasty! I wondered what their secret was. I recently stumbled across this fascinating TED Talk by a Cornell Researcher named Brian Wansink. The entire talk is extremely interesting, as he talks about how our environment and other cues can influence how much and what we eat. He has conducted many, many studies on the psychology of eating, and … Read More

The very best thing you can do for your grocery bill (and how Simplified Pantry can help!)

posted in: extra | 9

by Tracy Grossmann On Thursday we ran out of half and half. Because I am allergic to creamer, this is my morning coffee essential. In essence, it was kitchen Armageddon. I had to get to a grocery store. There are those kind of items in every kitchen- essential items that, when they become depleted, warrant a trip to the store- true emergency or not. In my kitchen, it’s when I run out of flour, or milk, or – because I apparently … Read More

Simplify breakfast & feed the troops without going crazy

posted in: homemaker | 2

If I am being honest, breakfast is often my hardest meal of the day to cook. Cooking breakfast, at some level, is admitting that the day has actually begun, and I am responsible to be an Adult to participate. I know I need breakfast. I know that my family needs breakfast. My children need a good breakfast to think well during their studies, to nourish them after a long overnight fast. My husband needs food with enough umph to get … Read More

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