January 13, 2013

Kitchen Clean up and Healthy Living

This week I spent a lot of time going through my homemaking mentor lessons and getting them sorted, organized and put into plastic sheet protectors and into notebooks.  Many of these were in the form of pdf downloaded files and for many people just looking them up on their computer would be fine; but not for me.   I wanted them in notebooks, organized and indexed for quick reference.    You know when you think something will only take you a certain amount of time?  Well, I thought it would take one evening; but it took several evenings of interrupted time.  Yeah, I was constantly chasing our 70 lb. labradoodle puppy, Molly, around the dining room table when she would jump up and grab paper.  This is her favorite game and I am always an unwilling participant.

This project is not entirely complete in that I still  need to index the lessons, but at least they are in notebooks and divided into categories such as Cleaning/Organization, sewing, and  gardening/canning.   

First of all, if you want to know a little background about these lessons, go to my previous post.  Basically Martha Greene wrote these lessons with the help of other homemakers with the intent of mentoring other like minded women.  These lessons are all copyrighted so I won’t be able to actually show you the lesson except for a picture of what the front of the lesson looks like. 

I have always needed help in the homemaking department as my mom didn’t show me how to keep house.  My mom was busy with a lot of her volunteer activities and she never really mentored me.   It was a case of it was easier for her to just do it than spend time showing me how to do it.  I can be guilty of this myself. 

For years it was easier to excuse the fact that I couldn’t keep house as I was working 50 hours a week outside the home.  That was a great excuse.  I’ve been home 3 ½ years and still can’t quite find anything that works for me.  So I am beginning at the beginning and acknowledge that I need training and education.

I have chosen the lesson “Kitchen Sparkle” to begin my journey.  This lesson comes in two parts with each part being divided into daily tasks.  It is suggested that each part will take one week.  This appeals to me as I work better on a large project by breaking it down into smaller jobs.

I decided that I had to tackle my kitchen first as it is time to clean out cupboards and give a lot of items away.  We are now “empty nesters” and I don’t need as many pans and baking dishes.  Also, it is time to take a hard look at those kitchen gadgets and really decide if I need them.   

These Kitchen Sparkle lessons are basically a very thorough deep cleaning of the kitchen from the ceiling to the floor along with going through the cupboards, cleaning them out and decluttering.  The lessons are divided by days so it helps you stay on track. 

I will post how I am coming along on these lessons and what is working and not working.
Lastly, my husband and I have become quite committed to making some changes in our life as it affects our health.  Both of us are fairly active, but as you age, ahem, things can still catch up with you and for us it has been the foods that we have been eating.  We have been making some changes but are now stepping up to the plate and becoming totally committed to a healthier lifestyle. 

We are making sure that we get in plenty of time to exercise and we are changing our diet.  I have set a goal to lose weight (10 lbs.) but not by dieting.  I cannot bear to go through another diet which is totally going against what I have believed in the past.  Instead, I am becoming totally committed to eating “cleaner” foods.  We are limiting processed foods and trying hard to push them out altogether.  A priority to our diet will be eating whole grains; less fat and sugars; less sodium; more fruits and vegetables and leaner proteins.  When we are planning on a meal where the meat may not be as lean, we will eat smaller portions of that meat.  Our goal is to eat as much of our food in its natural form.   I am reading a lot of labels these days. 

However in saying all of that, we are not gourmet type people.  We don’t eat weird things.  So I am researching recipes that we will like and I am taking our old family favorites and making them over into healthier versions.  Gone are the canned cream soups for casseroles and now I am making my own cream soup mixes which are lower in sodium.

These meals must not only be healthy, but must fit into the frugal category. 

Today for lunch I made crock pot chicken fajita soup.  The soup was seasoned with a taco 
seasoning that I made which is lower in sodium than its store bought counterpart.  We also had a nice tossed salad of romaine lettuce, carrot and red pepper.  For dessert I made individual chocolate chiffon cakes baked in ramekin dishes, sprinkled with some confectioner sugar.  This dessert  was only 190 calories. 

Yes, I will post recipes under a new label entitled “Healthy Eating.”

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