Archive for June, 2010

My guess is that many, many bloggers before me have already sung the praises of the Flylady, so I will merely add my voice to the chorus of the formerly-frazzled folks trying to juggle it all (full disclosure:  I’m still frazzled a good bit of the time).  At her core, Ms. Fly believes in simplicity and small bites, and she has spent a decade perfecting a brilliant house-running program, which I use and as a result have, at times, actually felt like one of those “together” women.

Take Kelly’s missions.  I don’t know who Kelly is, but if I ever meet her I’m going to plant a big, fat kiss on her cheek.  This enlightened domestic intellectual broke down the basic areas of the home into zones, and each weekday she sends her readers on “missions” in that week’s particular zone.  So, if this week’s zone is the kitchen, on Monday she may send us beneath our sinks to weed out anything unnecessary, and then to wipe down the inside of the cupboard.  The project takes 15 minutes, tops, but to be honest, if no one had called me to go forth and disinfect, well, I’ve been known to neglect the under-sink area until the city threatens to condemn it.   Another favorite mission calls for wiping down the toilet exterior – because nothing says I love you to a stomach-flu stricken spouse like a clean toilet base.

Daily missions take no more than 15 minutes, and now that I’ve been doing them for a while I can walk around feeling for the most part like there are no unpleasant surprises waiting for my loved ones. 

So, if you’re looking for a method for your madness, check out the Flylady.


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In my early efforts to keep up this blog (at least until I figure out what the heck I’m doing), I’m going to loosely theme my days.  Each Mondays I’ll review a recipe that I’ve found to meet the following criteria (criterii?): 

–  Uses mostly raw ingredients;
–  Is frugal;
–  Must not include prep work and/or cleanup that will make me want to set my hair on fire.

The blurred child is my son, who evidently moves faster than the speed of light.

We’ll start with the kneadless (as opposed to needless) bread, which I found in a Mother Earth News that was adapted from a New York Times article.  The gist with the bread is that you mix the ingredients the day prior, and then do absolutely nothing except let it do it’s yeasty thing for up to 18 hours.  I’m not kidding.  I’d estimate the hands-on time to be six minutes, and when it comes out of the oven you’d swear it came straight from a rustic oven in the French countryside.  I’ve made the bread several times, and while the loaf’s appearance has improved each time (you can see today’s lopsided loaf at left), the flavor and crunch are incredible.  My four year-old always lurks around the island, lying in wait for the bread to cool.  You can find the recipe here .

Main course tonight is a Summer Harvest Beef Stew, which I stole borrowed from a lovely blog called A Sonoma Garden.  There’s a bit of chopping and ingredient gathering involved, resulting in a total prep time of about about 15 minutes.  Not much mess, which I L.O.V.E.  It simmered stove-top for 1.5 hours and filled my house with a not-too-hearty-for-summer tomato, garlic, thyme aroma.  Served over rice.  You can find the recipe here.

The bottom line:  

The bread is fantastic.  Seriously.  The family swarmed around the island tonight while my husband cut the loaf into slices, and I actually had to shoo them.  If you appreciate home-baked bread even a little you MUST try this recipe. 

The stew was light and flavorful (I added salt; the recipe does not call for any) and reasonably priced.  I had all the ingredients in my pantry except, obviously, the stewing beef and bell peppers.  My husband loved it and even the kids ate it without holding their respective noses.  The best part?  The recipe calls for a “surprise ending” that includes a bit of sugar, cocoa and balsamic vinegar – the combination within the stew just sort of makes you blink, then smile. 

Criteria met.  Four out of five stars.

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I did it. I finally did it. I’m home (and I’ve been here for 1.5 weeks). Although, after 20 years in the working world, at the moment I feel like I’m simply taking vacation time. It hasn’t sunk in yet that I’m not going back. Ever.

But it’s a cool Sunday morning and the world is silent – except for the red-wing blackbirds, but they’re never silent – and knowing that tomorrow morning I will wake up and cook pancakes for my kids instead of nearly break my neck trying to rush us all out into the rat race, well…

If I made the wrong decision, the evidence has yet to surface.

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