Monday, September 15, 2014

Floral Designer or Restaurateur?

Despite the horrible humidity and high temperatures here, I am really enjoying the look of autumn in the craft stores. Especially the 50% reductions! Now is the time I get other tasks done quickly so that I can have fun with my purchases. Last year at the after-season clearance sales (wowowow 90%), I was able to collect many nice items to add to these new ones. Here are my creations from last week:

I usually work in the craft set-up area in my garage, but the heat forced me into the house. My kitchen is the easiest place inside to protect with drop clothes and for clean-up. What happens when I need to cook? Luckily with the cooking plan that I have been sharing with my daughters, I do not cook often. [See "Home Cooking" and "Order in the House" for my menu planning and cooking methods.]

Now 25 days have passed, and all our meals are eaten - so out goes the floral shop and in comes the restaurant prep. I enjoy my process (shopping one day and cooking the next); however, the shopping and putting-away, along with prep and clean-up are time-consuming and tedious for my personality. Want to know my short-cut methods so that I can enjoy the creative process of cooking? FIRST, here are meals:

RECIPE LINKS: Summer Vegetable Bake, Salisbury Steak with Caramelized Onion Gravy,  Best Ever Roast Chicken, Lasagna Rolls, Butter Bean Soup with Cabbage and Ham (With extras such as asparagus, small golden potatoes, carrots, celery, peppers, eggs. cheese, salad fixings = $28 total from each of us independent ladies)


1. Plan meals in a way that suits you. I am very visual (My magnetic refrigerator "Pinterest" display).

2. Shop to save money and time. I shop on "senior day" if I can, purchase "buy-one-get-one-free" items, select sales and reliable store brands, and occasionally use coupons. Since I will be cooking that afternoon or the next day, I help separate items at check-out so that once home I do not put things in the pantry - just the appropriate bags in the refrigerator. I will be using all the items anyway during the next hours.

3. Plan the most efficient cooking order for prep, in-between clean-up, crockpot cooking, stovetop cooking, oven cooking, and final clean-up. My entire cooking process has never been more than four hours (every 20 or so days). I think that is "pretty good" since I have only one heating unit working on my old stovetop. I need to replace the entire stovetop, but it has not made the top five of the major repair list yet!

4. Enjoy your free time! Bye for now...I am off to pursue another creative project.