New! Welcome Home Essentials $79.99 This delightful colonial home gift box is filled with essentials for the first days of moving in to a new home or apartment. Delicious gourmet snacks, basic health and beauty items, scented items for the home, basic helpers for the kitchen, combination screwdriver set, and a small first aid kit. Send a Welcome Home Essentials to greet a relative or friend that is relocating, to welcome a new neighbor. This thoughtful gift is perfect as a realtor gift for presenting to the new home buyer or tenant. Click on the image to connect to my store page.
There's nothing quite like a homemade meal, served on dishes with silverware, glasses and cloth napkins! Sound like a dream or a rare occasional occurrence? It doesn't have to be if you take a little time to prepare and keep items handy near the dining table. Cloth napkins can be purchased at large discounted retail stores such as Target, Walmart and Kohl's. Watch for sales on table linens to get reduced prices. If you're handy with a sewing machine, then cut squares of fabric 12" x 12" or larger and hem them on all four sides. Make or purchase three sets of 8 in different colors or patterns to coordinate with your decor. Store them in a drawer of a hutch or cabinet for easy table setting. Toss them into the laundry after each meal and always make sure that you have a clean set for the next meal. Cloth napkins are softer, handle spills more effectively and are more economical than paper napkins as they can be laundered for several years before the fabric wears out. Start with three sets of eight napkins, but continue building your stock if you decide to use them at every meal! Avoid using fabric softener as it will reduce the absorbency of cloth napkins, table linens ( washcloths and bath towels too)
Now for the food. Eating healthy and well doesn't require you to spend hours in the kitchen for every meal. Stock your refrigerator with salad greens, fresh raw vegetables, lean cuts of meat, chicken and fish, and plain nonfat yogurt, mozzarella cheese, feta cheese and eggs. Stock your pantry with baking or sweet potatoes, pastas, pasta sauce ( or marinara sauce ) , brown rice,olive oil,lemon juice ( or fresh lemons) black olives, low fat bottled dressings ( or make your own fresh and refrigerate), sun dried tomatoes, canned tomatoes, chicken bouillon cubes, and white cooking wine. Herbs and spices are absolutely wonderful if picked fresh from a garden, but refrigerated herbs and bottled spices will work as well. These basic food items will give you the versatility to prepare many satisfying and healthy dishes. I enjoy incorporating as many Mediterranean style recipes into my regular cooking as possible.
Cooking healthy should be enjoyable to be sustainable in your lifestyle. Here are some tips that I have employed in my own home to get the most value from my effort. Save yourself valuable preparation time during the week, cook up a little more meat, veggies, pasta, rice,etc to use for another meal. One piece of grilled steak, sliced thin against the grain becomes a delicious meal for two over a bed of fresh salad greens with tomato, feta cheese, almonds and Greek dressing! Leftover rice? Toss it into a frying pan with a cup of chicken broth or bouillon and a handful of sliced almonds. Simmer until all of the liquid is absorbed. Top with cooked chicken breast, sliced and you have a satisfying pilaf. Substitute pine nuts for almonds if you prefer.
If you prefer to spend time cooking over the weekend, then prepare meal items in bulk and freeze or refrigerate food items for quick meals during the week and homemade lunches! I like to buy the foods that I use most often in bulk to save money and repackage them in smaller quantities per meal. This will enable you to keep a keep a well stocked freezer and pantry. While it does involve more time to repackage the food initially, the benefits are worth the time investment as the week gets busier! Purchase your dairy and produce items weekly as they deplete faster and cannot be stored for long periods of time without spoilage.Keep raw vegetables and cheese cut up in small zip bags and ready for healthy snacking. Having quality food ingredients available at home with a stock on simple and quick recipes will help you to avoid a steady diet of heavily processed foods which lead to weight gain and health problems. Your home is your haven, so prepare to eat well, think creatively, and enjoy the little pleasures of life!
Leigh S., owner of Leigh's Lovely Gift Baskets