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Thursday, July 23, 2015

Meals for Others

So yeah, my blog is on life support. At one time, this filled a much needed void, and now life is changing. I am preparing for some big life changes, and although I love writing and sharing, the blog isn't going to be what it used to be. Don't worry, I'm not shutting it down, and you'll still have access to all my great ideas and recipes. One of the new things we are working on is starting a Greenhouse growing business. If you haven't already, PLEASE go like our Facebook page "From Greenhouse to Kitchen" --Click Here to Like our Page

And every once in awhile, I'll even post something that has inspired today. I've had the opportunity to help a lot of my friends and neighbors out recently, and I've gained so much from the experience. This week I get to bring dinner to a wonderful friend who has been blessed with twins--yeah!

When I had my twins cooking was the last thing on my to-do list, and lots of neighbors and family helped us out. It feels good to pay it forward and help out others. I enjoy a challenge and am always looking for new meal ideas--so when presented with the opportunity to bring a meal into someone who is sick, or a new parent, or whatever, I am often stumped on what to bring. My family eats a lot of spicy and "grown up" dishes that may toddlers don't eat, so what to bring is sometimes challenging.

Here are a few home-run ideas that may help you out when you get the chance to serve, or if you just want to try something new for your family. Enjoy!

Mac N Cheese
Swedish Meatballs
Katie's French Dip (at bottom of post)
Martha's Ideas
Fixings for easy sandwiches the kids can do themselves

And if none of that helps....Little Caesar's, KFC, Subway, and Carl's Jr. can help you out in a pinch.

Until next time....  

Friday, July 3, 2015

Online Sale

UPDATE:  It's that time of year again! The time where we celebrate freedom, family, friendship. It's also the time of year when the voices in my head (yep,  I was Inside Out before it was cool) start screaming that it's time to purge, sort, and redecorate my entire house. So, I cleaned out the basement...and I found lots of treasures. Everything is FOR SALE and open to offers. Seriously...make me an offer! Thanks to everyone who has purchased new treasures from us. We appreciate you!! Here's a few last gems that are waiting for new homes.

 New stand, in plastic, for 55 inch TV $10

Panasonic tv WITH remote. Works great, just too big for our small room. 54 inch big screen tv; 27 inches deep. Has a great picture and sound. S-Video / Composite cables, can be converted to HDMI with cables (not included). Needs a new home. $25 OBO

 Aeropostale Polos size Small $2 each

 U of U 3T jersey-does have small mark on bottom $2

 Size XL girls, D-signed by Disney $2

Both Juniors size M- Left is Anchorblue brand; right is Hollister. $2 each
 Children's Place size 10-12; $2 each

$5 Black velvet, size 7-8 girls, great condition
Franklin Mint 1980 Christmas plate $10
SHOES! My daughter is earning money for dance company and needs to offload some of her shoe collection. From left to right in pics: Pic 1: Nine west peep toe heels, size 8.5, heel height 4 inches, $5; Fioni Night, silver sparkle strapy sandal, size 9, heel height 3 inches, $5; Unlisted brand, striped open toe heels, size 8, heel height 3 inches, $5: Pic 2 in middle: Sofft brand round black pump, size 7.5, $3; Madden Girls, size 8, brown with silver buckle on toe, kitten heel, $5;GAP strappy brown sandal, size 8, $5; Pic 3: Breckelle’s black and white open toe, size 8, $2; Naturalizer black strapy heel, size 8, heel height 3 inches, $3; Steve Madden white open toe backless heel, size 7.5, heel height 3 inches, $3; American Eagle, red and white polka dot wedge, size 7.5, $2

 Set of 3 stainless steel canisters, used, but in good shape $3 for all

Vintage Beaded purse- some of the beads are coming off in the lower corner. $10, obo

 set of 3 connected 4x6 frames and set of 2 connected 5x7 frames $2 for all

 Cute spring basket $1

Monday, June 8, 2015

What are You Doing?

It's been awhile since my last post. I'm back to helping out a new nonprofit called Women of the World. We help refugee women achieve self reliance, economic empowerment and a voice in the community. I love my work! Check out for more info.

So since I've been educating a lot of people on what Women of the World does, I've been thinking about What I Am Doing. We have a "Family Mantra"-- a series of thoughts or mottoes or missions, to help keep us focused. After a year of working on these I thought I should put it down on the everlasting internet for all to consider.
Think Before You Speak - Gossip - Young Women's Lesson Handout - YW

Motto 1: Think Before you Speak. If I had a nickel for every time I heard this as a child..... This above reminder can be found on Pinterest, and was particularly aimed at squelching gossip. However, I use it to help my kids choose their words more carefully during disagreements with each other. This is a good reminder for all of us to make sure we are truthful, helpful, inspiring and kind.

Motto 2:  There is a Good-Better-Best scenario for all things. Now, I am not one to throw religion around. I like to keep those thoughts to myself, however this is from a talk from an LDS (Mormon) apostle Dallin H. Oaks.  Here's the link to his talk. Basically the idea is that we have to skip over "good things" some times to make room for the "best things." No matter what your religious views, this is just good logic. We teach our kids this perspective in an effort to help them make the best choices possible. It's important for all of us to realize things are rarely black & white; there's a lot of grey.

Motto 3: Know what you are doing and WHY you are doing it. This stems from the long-used parental argument of "If your friends jumped off a bridge (skyscraper, building, out of a plane, etc.) would you?" Back in the day I guess that parent logic worked for some kids. My point of view is that if my child (or I, for that matter) wanted to jump off of the proverbial bridge, they (I) should understand the motivations for jumping before hand. Mass-thinking, everyone following the leader, can lead to a lot of negative outcomes. Our decisions to do, or not to do, something should be our own. Peer pressure is a hard thing to overcome, even as adults. What a great tool to do what you want because YOU want to--own the decision. This can be dangerous because you will have no one to blame when those negative decisions are made. However, without failures, how do we learn?

Motto 4: Stay out of "the box." If you haven't read any of the Arbinger Institute books, you should. They teach great tools to dealing with conflict in work situations, family situations, positive spousal communication and simple ways to parent children, especially those who need extra love. Click Here for their webpage. To really water it down, the Arbinger books talk about being "in the box" and ways to get out of "the box." It's all about perspective. When struggles occur, all parties need to step back and consider all the perspectives involved--it's often more than "your" perspective and "my" perspective. Once our perspectives are enlightened, problem solving becomes possible. We've taken several months to learn how to recognize our triggers that cause us to "get into the box" and how to best approach others when they are "in the box." It's a work in progress, and more than just telling someone they are "boxed in." However, I have seen changes in our family that have at the very least, resulted in a productive form of voicing differences. At least they listen to each other before they speak--so progress, right?

Motto 5: You can only control 2 things in Life- your actions and your reactions to others' actions. This is a lesson I learned very early in life. Crap happens. It happens to everyone, and you can only decide to sink or swim. In our world where everyone competes on Social Media (yes, we are all doing it at some point) and fears of the unknown abound, let your mind take refuge in the fact that most of the time the things coming at you are out of your control. What can you do? Not a damn thing, except to look at the situation with an honest perspective and choose your course of action. In respect to our children--we can't truly control their actions, even when they're little. Anyone with a toddler knows this. You can lead, guide, maybe bribe and cajole them, but ultimately if they are going to do something, good or bad, it's up to them. I strongly believe having honest, open communication with family members, friends, co-workers, spouses, etc. often (daily) will allow us to get to know each other and build a foundation of trust. And isn't that where avoiding conflict starts--trust? I trust you because I know you, and your character. We can work this out because I trust we can make a good decision/solve a problem together.When trust is broken, well the game changes. It can take years to "fix" that situation, and everyone has to be willing to take responsibility and action to fix it. "Do your best, forget the rest."

This is not a perfect road map on successfully navigating life. These are the tools I use every day as a spouse, parent, daughter and friend to steer myself in a direction where I can more easily choose to be happy. Life will never be perfect--and how boring would it be if it were? When life is rocking and rolling against us, we will need people, not things, to make it through. Hopefully these ideas will steer us in the right direction.
But don't sit on your tail end and do nothing while waiting.... Go out there and SHOW people why you are waiting.
Twitter / CosmopolitanUK: Life lessons from Disney ...
Powerful analogy of an apology. This is brilliant, never read something so true! Good lesson why an apology may not be enough to set things right.
Woman Pictures, Photos, and Images for Facebook, Tumblr, Pinterest, and Twitter
Too bad I had to educate myself in this, and it's been a hard road...but my future kids will know the difference.
Marci Coombs: Young Women stuff. Tons of lesson handouts and other YW ideas

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

New Adventures in the Garden

Thanks to all of you who've stuck with me so far....

We are off on a new adventure! We have started a new hobby of growing plants and veggies for our own yard. Since we've had a lot of success this year, we've sold the extras. This has been great as it provides our neighbors and friends with great plants at a great price and it helps support our growing habit...hahahaha.

I am busy setting up Instagram and Facebook accounts, and hopefully in the future a new website. If you're on Facebook, please LIKE and SHARE our page From Greenhouse to Kitchen. I am putting not only what inventory we have to share and sell (right now we're all sold out!!) BUT also recipes, gardening tips that I actually use, and organic gardening ideas to help us all produce the best possible fruits, flowers and veggies.

We are so excited about this process and hope you'll all help spread the word so we can grow in this adventure together.

We will have Anaheim peppers and Red Peppers available around the first part of June, so if you're interested shoot me a text, email, phone call, FB post, Instagram post, etc, etc.

Thanks all and have a productive summer!

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Easiest Meal Planning Ever

My pal Carrie introduced me to They have a huge database of recipes that you can use to literally print out menus, meal ideas, shopping lists, and nutritional info. You can also manually input your own recipes. AND they have a free app (the website is also free!)

Please check it out! You will love it--and no, no one paid me to endorse this. It truly is that amazing.

One of the other awesome things I found was in Real Simple magazine. They ave 10-15-20-and 30 minute meals.

Here are the links for your viewing pleasure.
10 minute meals
15 minute meals
20 minute meals
30 minute meals

There's lot of other cool ideas on there too- like Make Ahead, One Pot, Quick & Easy!


Thursday, April 2, 2015

Perfected Chile Verde

Back at it again... but this time it's perfect!

Perfect Chile Verde 2015
Katie Larsen

2-3 lb. pork roast
1 large can Green (Verde) Enchilada sauce
32 oz. stewed tomatoes
1/2 med. yellow onion, chopped
1 green pepper, chopped
2 cans of Hatch Anaheim green chiles
1 Tbsp. chili powder
1 -2 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. oregano
1/2 tsp garlic powder
pepper to taste
** 2 packets or poultry or pork gravy

I put my roast into my crock pot frozen, because I forgot to thaw it. It turned out awesome!

Place roast in crock pot.
Mix all other ingredients together EXCEPT gravy, and pour over roast.
Cover and cook on high for four hours; then low for 4-6 IF YOUR ROAST IS FROZEN
If you remember to thaw your meat, put crock pot on low for 8-10 hours

When roast is finished cooking, take it out and shred it. Mix 2 cups of the sauce (that's in the crock pot) with the 2 packets of gravy in a sauce pan, over medium hit until thickened. Add sauce to meat and serve.

You can double the batch and freeze half for later too.

Saturday, March 7, 2015

13 Money Saving Kitchen Hacks

Here are some great hacks I use every week to make the most of the products I buy and the money I spend. Let me know what you do to stretch your pennies.

1. Freeze the juice from canned fruit into ice cube trays and use it in smoothies. My brilliant Abby came up with this idea. We were just pouring the juice down the drain and she questioned our lack of using this recently discovered gold mine. She's really into smoothies and decided to try freezing the juice. It totally works! You can freeze a few at a time and store them in a plastic bag or container.

2. Use the heels of bread or contents at the end of the cracker box for homemade bread crumbs. See this helpful post for details.

3. Dry or freeze your fresh herbs for later use. Tutorial Here.

4. When fresh fruit is in season, buy extra and freeze it. If you have a garden you can freeze part of your harvest for later. I freeze blueberries, strawberries, blackberries, and bananas regularly. TIP: If a banana is going bad, peel it and freeze it in a zipper bag. You can use it later in baking or smoothies.

5. When cheese is on sale stock up. Cheese can be shredded and frozen for later use. You won't be able to tell the difference.

6. Invest in good storage containers. I've tried to use the cheaper dollar store, or discount store, version of big storage containers, but they don't seal as well as the better brands like Snapware. Also use a clear container with a label. Not only will your food not spoil due to bad seals, but you can see what you need to buy when you are running low. I suggest using only 2 sizes (a 15 cup and 11 cup size are my preferred) because it saves on space, stacks up nicely in a cabinet, the smaller in front of the larger) and you can easily find the ingredient you need.

7. When storing sugars (brown, white, powdered) put them in a plastic bag first, and then into the container. This helps lock out moisture and prevents clumping. If your brown sugar does clump, add a piece of bread to the bag and reseal. After a few hours the sugar will become softened and you can throw away the bread.

8. Buying bulk is great even if you don't have a big family. You can portion out chicken, meat, dry goods and other big boxed items into what your family needs for the week. Freeze or store the rest and you'll save money, and build your food storage.

9. Use pieces of cardboard to line the bottom and sides of your large freezer to prevent freezer burn on bakery, bread and other items.

 10. Reuse grocery bags. I know we probably all do this, but those plastic bags are not great for our environment. If I can use them for other purposes besides bringing home my groceries then I keep them out of the land fill. Check this link for awesome ideas!

11. Vinegar is your friend. It cleans everything and is super cheap. Here's a list of what vinegar can help you with.

12. Dawn dish soap will take grease stains out of towels, aprons, clothing, etc. We've proven this in a 5th grade, award winning Science Fair Project. It works! Buy it, use it. You won't be sorry.

13. Quick Pasta. Bring water to a rapid boil, add pasta. Cook for 3 minutes, cover and take off the heat. Let pasta sit in water, covered, for 8-10 minutes. Drain water. The pasta will be perfectly cooked, and you're saving energy! This tip is courtesy of my friend Chelsea & her mom--I use it all the time, and it works!

Hoping to make your life easier this week ~Katie

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Make an Impact at the Dinner Table Tonight

Here's my challenge: Have dinner together 3 times this week. I feel like I live in my car, and although the kids are getting older and can help more in the kitchen, their schedules are also filling up. As our children grow there are more schedules to juggle. It becomes an increasingly difficult task—finding time to have dinner on the table, homework done and everyone present. Having dinner together has a positive influence on children and family unity. Children who have regular family meals are 50% less likely to try drugs and alcohol (  Family mealtime is an opportunity to connect with each family member, discuss family plans and have FUN. 

Often we ask our kids, “What was your favorite part of the day?” Sometimes their answers surprise us! Here's an easy way to get started on your Family Dinner Conversations this week. Try printing these conversation starters out, cutting them into strips and placing them in a bowl or jar; at dinner each person can draw a question to ask others, or you can all answer the same question; make up your own rules and just HAVE FUN. 

1.     If you were given $10,000 what would you do or buy with it?
2.    Tell one positive thing about yourself.
3.    What country would you like to visit and why?
4.    Tell about what you would like to do on a rainy day.
5.    Who is the person you most admire, why?
6.    Tell about your favorite vacation.
7.    What qualities are important to you in a spouse?
8.    If you were on an island what 3 modern conveniences would you have to have with you?
9.    If you could choose to have a new talent what would it be?
10.  What famous person would you like to have lunch with?
11.  Describe a perfect evening.
12.  What do you like about your life?
13. What did you learn today?
14.  What’s is the funniest thing that has happened to you?
15.  What is the house of your dreams?
16.  If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be and why?
17.  Give one word that describes each family member.
18.  Which fairy tale character are you most like?
19.  What do you want to be when you grow up?
20.How do you handle a tough situation?
21.  Complete this sentence “I hope……”
22. If you could change your name, what would it be?
23. What is your least favorite chore? Most favorite?
24. Would you rather leave to age 35 as a millionaire, or age 85 with meager means?
25. What is your favorite birthday memory?
26. Would you acknowledge your faith in God if it meant you’d be arrested and imprisoned for 5 years? Explain
27. If you were an animal instead of a person, what animal would you be? Why?
28. If you could double your beauty, but it would cost you half your intelligence, would you do it? Why?