World’s Best Potato Salad

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If you are a fan of traditional, southern potato salad, then you will love my recipe!  I’m not trying to be boastful or anything even though it sounds like.  Anyone I have ever made this potato salad for has told me over and over how they think it is the best they have ever had.  And of course, I’m kind of partial to it myself.

Ingredients:

  • 6-8 Idaho potatoes
  • 4 boiled eggs
  • 1 bunch of green onions
  • 1/4 cup chopped bread & butter pickles, and chopped dill pickles combined-plus 2 tbsp of the bread & butter pickle juice
  • 1/2 mayonnaise
  • 1 tbsp spicy brown mustard
  • 1/2 sour cream
  • 2 tbsp milk
  • Crispy, chopped bacon
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Paprika for decoration

I wash the potatoes then boil them whole.  I have really bad wrists and cannot peel and chop all of the potatoes.  When I boil them whole, it makes skinning them a piece of cake.  PLUS, I keep the skins to make homemade potato skins for a snack for my son afterwards.  After the potatoes have cooked through, I dip them out of the water and put my eggs into the boiling water.  I boil the eggs for four minutes then turn off the water and let it sit for about 5 minutes.  Then I place the pan in the sink and run cold water over the eggs until I can comfortably put my hands down inside the pot.  I peel the eggs right then.  If I let them sit too long, the eggs fall apart when I peel them.  But if I peel them while the eggs are still soft and I’ve just submerged them in cool water, the shells slip right off and my eggs stay pristine.

While the potatoes and eggs are boiling I chop the pickles and onions.  After the potatoes are skinned and the eggs are shelled, I chop them and add them to a big mixing bowl with the pickles and onions.  In a separate smaller bowl I combine all the wet ingredients including the milk, sour cream, mustard, mayonnaise, and the pickle juice.  I whisk together all of the wet ingredients and when well combined I pour over the chopped veggies in the other bowl.  Stir gently.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.  Sprinkle with paprika.  Then top with the bacon crumbles.

BONUS:  Every time I make potato salad, we have homemade potato skins as a snack.  I keep the peelings, season with herbs and spices, bake on stoneware so they are crispy, then enjoy!

What’s your favorite potato salad recipe secret?


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Healthy Living Check Up

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You all know I have been on a mission to continue losing weight and become healthier.  One thing I started two months ago was preparing my breakfasts and lunches in advance in portioned containers.  Not only does this control everything I eat, but it saves me TONS of time every single day.

The pic above is a typical breakfast for me:  steal cut oats, cottage cheese, a boiled egg, two slices of bacon, and I also have 8 oz of grapefruit juice mixed with 2 tsp of apple cider vinegar.  On top of all the other things I normally do this has been my only significant dietary/lifestyle change lately.  As a result, I have lost 10 pounds in the last month alone!  I’m not saying exactly which part is working or if combined with what I already had implemented is just snowballing but something is definitely clicking for me.

How are you doing with your health goals?


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Freezer Cooking and Easter Dinner Made Easy

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I have people tell me all the time they don’t know how to do something or don’t have time to do something when I talk about the freezer cooking or making staple items from scratch at home.  So I thought I’d give you a little window into my world today.  Then you can see how I accomplish what I need/want to do at home along with my other life responsibilities and make time for myself and things I like to do.  If you have read some of my other posts you know I am more organic about the ‘schedules and organizing’ of food prep days, menu planning, and things of that nature.  Today I had a goal:  to pre-make Easter dinner, freezer cook some things, and do some of my weekly prep things for meals next week.  Here is the goal of today’s session:

  • Strawberry Lemonade
  • Lemon Tea
  • Roast Chicken Dinner for a family from work
  • Clean/trim/cook 12 lbs of asparagus
  • Use asparagus trimmings to make cream of asparagus soup
  • Make potato salad and deviled eggs
  • Pre-cook the Easter ham and ham glaze
  • Cook a meatloaf
  • Make homemade breakfast sausage
  • Make hamburger patties for the freezer
  • Plant the rest of my seedlings
  • Finish 3 loads of laundry

And I obviously wanted to do this making as little mess as possible, and leave as little mess as possible when I was finished.  When all was said and done, it to me 3.5 hours to go from the above picture of raw ingredients to DONE!  Here is a timeline to show how my day flowed.

11:30-Noon  Preheat oven, mix ham glaze and cook on medium low heat, cleaned ham and got ready in roaster, cleaned/trimmed/seasoned 12 lbs of asparagus and placed it all in pans to roast, prepped meatloaf to bake, and put potatoes & eggs on to boil.

Noon-12:30  Chopped green onions & pickles, started the third load of laundry (other two were in process before 11:30am), research sausage recipes.

12:30 progress

12:30 progress

12:30-1:30  Chop potatoes & eggs, make potato salad, make lemon tea, put in second batch of asparagus to roast, glaze ham.

1:30-2:00  Run dishwasher, put last load of laundry in dryer, mix up 5 lbs of breakfast sausage, make honey butter, take 15 minute break.

1:30-2:00 progress

1:30-2:00 progress

2:00-2:30  Put on meatloaf, roast chicken, put in last batch of asparagus, divide up sausage into 1 lb rolls.

2:30 progress

2:30 progress

2:30-3:00  Clean up kitchen, write another blog post.

Everything I ended up with at the end.

Everything I ended up with at the end.

And as I sit and write this post, I am waiting for the chicken skin to brown and take it out of the oven.  I’m also reflecting on what didn’t get done.  I didn’t get the asparagus soup made or the hamburger patties.  I boiled the eggs for deviled eggs but haven’t made those yet either.  Plus, I need to put the green beans tomorrow morning at the crack of dawn so they can cook down on low all day like my grandma used to do it.  I’ll find an hour or so in the next few days to get that taken care of though.

And this is how Easter dinner turned out-simple, homemade, and delicious!

And this is how Easter dinner turned out-simple, homemade, and delicious!

That’s a brief glimpse into how I form a plan of what needs to be done, or what I want to get done, and how I try to maximize my time and energy to get it done quickly so I’m not slaving away every day for an hour or more to just make one meal every evening.

Do you make use of planning food prep days to make life simpler?


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Meal Planning: The Unorganized Version

103_2663Now, I have read the posts, followed the bloggers, and watched in awe as SuperMoms around the country make detailed lists as a guideline to coupon shop and meal plan for their families.  My hats are off to all of you who are successful at it and make it look so easy.  Because I’ve tried and it’s not as easy as it seems.  At least it isn’t to me.  In case there are any more of you out there like me who cannot get on this bandwagon successfully, maybe my unorganized version of meal planning could work for you.

Once every couple of weeks I go through the cabinets, food storage areas, fridge, and freezer to find things that I know have been around the longest.  I don’t date anything when I buy it.  I do add new items to the backs of cabinets or the bottom of the freezer so older items are grabbed first.  But anything that’s around for a while, I just kind of pull and grab and set it all out on the counter.  I make sure to pick out veggies, carbs, proteins, snacks, and anything I know I can batch cook for quick freezer meals.  The above picture was a recent pull and grab from all of our food storage areas.  This amount of food lasted us about three weeks.  Here is a list of all the items I made freezer batches with.

  • Banana Nut Pancakes
  • Banana Nut Muffins
  • Breakfast Taquitos
  • Bean Burritos
  • Banana Steel Cut Oatmeal
  • Salmon Patties

Here are pics of some of the meals we had over the weeks with the items I pulled from our food storage.

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Stewed Zucchini with Grilled Chicken and Saffron Rice

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Ribeye with Beef Flavored Kale Rice and Grilled Onions

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Braised Short Ribs with Parmesan Rice

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Kale Hash and Eggs

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Tortellini Salad

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Kale Grits and Eggs

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My Grandmother’s Eggs and Macaroni Noodles

Some nights we had soup already batch cooked from the freezer.  Some nights we had sandwiches.  Some nights AND mornings we just had cereal.  The point is, coupon shopping, saving time in the kitchen, and cooking for your family can be as daunting as you make it.  You can relax and be a little more organic about it like I try to be, or you can try to do the SuperMom marathon that just wears me out.  Find a system that DOES work for you and reap the benefits of saving time, money, and still planning nutritious meals for your family without wearing yourself out in the process.

What type of meal planning works for your family?


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How I Do Healthy, Easy

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I realize my situation is not the same as most single moms.  I am home with my son more than most.  But that doesn’t mean I have more time to spare.  At any given moment I have homeschooling tasks, freelance writing assignments, edits/additions for my soon to be published book, household responsibilities, and doing whatever the 16 year old needs.  I haven’t even mentioned cooking, shopping, errands, marketing myself online, or anything I do to relax when I have time, like read or starting my new book proposals for all my writing ideas!

I am a big supporter of freezer cooking-not in huge amounts though like a lot of moms do.  I choose to cook a little extra when I’m making a dish then freeze individual portions of leftovers for lunches or nights when I don’t cook for whatever reason.  I try to have a very healthy, large breakfast and a similar lunch then a lighter dinner.  Making individual portions of light dinners is a bit overwhelming for me for some reason.  I am OCD and organized so I love the moms that have 21 plastic containers in their fridges for 3 meals/day for a week.  But the application of that for dinner at my house fizzes out.

I also don’t like to get out individual salad ingredients every night and go through the same thing every time I want to make my healthy salad of choice.  It dirties up more dishes, takes time each time you get it all out, and blah, blah, blah…  If you are like me and struggle with this as well, maybe I can help.  I found a solution to my dilemma.  My local Aldi has kitchen gadgets and containers of some sort almost every visit I make.  A few weeks ago I found this huge bowl with a sorted tray inside.  At the time I didn’t think too much of it.  But at home I had an epiphany of an idea.  This is what I came up with.

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I use the bottom bowl part to put my salad greens in and the sorted tray I use for the salad accompaniments.  The great thing about this container is you can adapt it for several applications.  You can put greens, pasta, quinoa, couscous and any other salad base you can think of.  You can even make a theme bowl.  For example let’s say you want to make a Greek salad bowl.  I would put greens in the bottom and feta cheese in the middle spot.  Then around the center I would put black olives, tomatoes, red onions, and cucumbers.  If you want to make an Italian pasta salad put the pasta in the bottom and Parmesan or Mozzerella cheese in the center.  Around the sides you could put canellini beans or chopped meat like pepperoni, pepperoncinis, tomatoes, artichokes or croutons.  The possibilities are endless!

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What ways have you made eating healthy easier for you and your family?


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