Cooking for Two {Again} Part 2: Simple Recipes

As promised!  Here are some of the recipes that I use often when cooking for just me and the Hubs.
All of the recipes are simple to cook, and generally use simple ingredients.  I like simple. And easy.

Just click on the graphic below 
 to open the PDF file:

Don't forget to go to the Recipes tab at the top of the page to get even more yummy recipes!
My Aunt Letha's Creeping Crust Cobbler is a wonderful way to use juicy summer peaches.  Or try Mom's Potato Salad for your 4th of July Barbeque!  Uh, I'm hungry.

**Just to be honest, many of the recipes are not my originals, they are modified in most cases, and I've used them for so many years, I may have forgotten the original source. In addition, most of the photos are not my own, I grabbed them off Google.  If you see a photo that belongs to you, and you wish for me to remove it, just email me and I'd be glad to!

 Blessings, Juju

Cooking for Two { Part 1 }

"How I'm Re-Learning to Shop, Store and Cook for Just Us Two" { long sub-heading, I know ! }

Having been a wife, mom, and homemaker for nearly 32 years, I've had to adjust along the way to go from shopping and cooking for 2, then up to 5 when all of our kids were still at home. When I was a working mom, I loved having leftovers { also known as "LOs" } in the freezer ready for times when I was too tired to cook after work!   However, when we became "empty nesters", I seemed to have forgotten how to only cook for just the two of us.  We'd end up having leftovers until we were sick of them!

With our re-energized efforts to eat more healthy foods, and cut our portion sizes down, it has also affected our shopping and storing of the food we purchase. Here's a few tips & tricks I'm re-learning:

1. Shop once a week, and don't purchase in bulk or stockpile food items, to avoid waste. Don't waste money on pre-packaged smaller sizes, just get ziplock-style baggies for storage and freezing.
2. All dry goods are stored in Rubbermaid containers. { Especially in a tropical climate where bugs can invade food staples.  I also did this in our previous homes in Idaho, Texas, New Mexico, etc. for the same reasons. }

3. Flour, Bisquick, Pancake Mix, and Bread crumbs are now stored in the freezer, in airtight containers. (Butter is also stored in the freezer.) The flour, etc. does not freeze, so it's still ready to use. Again, this is to preserve it  longer, and to avoid bug infestation. { I didn't have to do this in other climates. }
4. Re-package meats into single-meal sized packages before freezing, to avoid having too many leftovers.
1/2 pound or 1 pound packages of ground beef - press flat for easier freezer storage
2 individual portions of Canadian Bacon or Bratwurst per baggie -
place those inside another baggie with instructions & nutrition label
5. Cut down recipes into 2-serving sizes, or 4-serving sizes. Online calculators can sometimes help!
6. If making a larger batch of a recipe, immediately freeze the extras into 2-serving size portions, labeled with the date.

Obviously, you can see where I'm headed here: buy less, package into smaller portions, and modify your recipes for 2 to 4 serving sizes. So far, so good... re-learning is not that hard, is it?

Next time: Cooking for Two {Again} Part 2: Simple Recipes

Until then ~

   Blessings, Juju

No-Rust Mason Jar Foaming Soap Dispenser

Yeah, that's kind of a long title, but it's what works...Just like this great soap dispenser that Hubs and I made!  And truth be told, I just explained it to Hubs and he did the only real work involved.

It's really all about the lid here, people:

Supplies needed:
*Mainstays (Walmart Brand) Regular Mouth Canning Jar Lid OR Ball brand Plastic Storage Caps (saw them at Target)
(they're plastic, and won't rust!)
*An Empty foaming soap dispenser (this one is from Bath & Body Works)
*Fine point Sharpie Marker (waterproof works best)
*A Pint-Sized Regular Mouth Mason Jar (that's a 2-cup capacity)
*A REALLY sharp knife (OR a hole cutting bit & a drill)
*Finally, a Hubs like mine that will handle the really scarey, really sharp knife for you, if you are a huge klutz like me, and will likely end up in the emergency room bleeding all over their nice tiled floors!
*Unscrew the pump off of the soap dispenser.
*Use the top of the empty bottle to draw a hole in the underside of the lid.
**Now is the part where the hole cutting bit and drill would have come in handy, but if you have a Hubs handy and he's better at handling sharp things than you are, then you can go with that.
*Hubs took his really sharp knife and cut an X in the center of that circle I drew in the lid.
*Then he carefully, and without injury, cut each quartered section out, following the line.
*See that line I drew around the collar of the bottle? You (and by you , I mean the person least likely to slash their hand open) will need to cut that part off. Hubs used his knife, since it was already in his hand, but an Exacto knife would have worked well, too.
*The top of the bottle that you just cut off needs to fit snugly from the bottom of the lid, extending out the top of the lid. Hard to say, and I don't have a photo! Arg, I think I'll have to take one to show you....

Well, I took 2 photos for ya...I hope you enjoy them. Yes, I had way too much fun with those arrows!
*With the collar inside the lid as shown above, take the pump and screw it back on to the will snug up as you tighten the pump, but you might have to hold on to that lip on the bottom as you tighten.
Ta Da!!  All you have to do is dump some liquid soap into your little blue Mason jar and screw your new NO-RUST lid into place!
**UPDATE!  Hubs and I purchased a 1-1/2" hole-cutting bit for his drill, and tried it out. He actually taught ME how to do the drilling (use a scrap piece of wood under the lid, that's very important so you don't end up with a hole on your cute little wooden TV tray...).  It cut the hole perfectly, and I was done in 10 seconds flat! Whoo Hoo! Now, I'm buying more Bath & Body Works containers, and making these lids up to send to my Mason-Jar Lovin' daughters!

*Oh, and about that jar with the handle...Nope, it's not lemonade in it.  I actually decided I wanted a clear jar for the kitchen, so I grabbed one of our Mason Jar drinking glasses from the cupboard. The lid fit perfectly, of course...And the liquid soap is something I just whipped up:
>>You will need Dr. Bronner's Liquid Pure Castle Soap (I got the Citrus-Orange at Target) and water.
>>Two ounces of liquid soap Plus 10 ounces of water = Done!
{ONLY use a foaming pump with this soap, otherwise it will squirt sideways if you use a regular pump!}

So, what do you think? Are you brave enough to handle the scarey knife, or know someone who is?  (Or are you smart enough to run down to Home Depot or Lowe's and buy the hole cutting bit for your drill?)  This project only took about 15 minutes for Hubs to cut the hole, and I'm enjoying having a fresh-citrus-y smelling soap in the kitchen!  If you tackle this project, I'd love to hear about it!

Inspired by: Pretty Handy Girl

  Blessings,  Juju