Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Giveaway Winner

First of all I have to give a big “Thank You!” to Jen Boss for the Home Executive planner giveaway.  I’m on week three of using mine and I’m still just really loving it. 

And now what you’re waiting for – the giveaway winner is…
giveaway random number
(I’ve sent you an email Carol)
Thank you to all of you – I wish I could give each of you one!   Jen does sell these planners on her website (you pay through paypal) and she also has a list of stores that carry her planner as well.  If you didn’t get a chance to look through the Home Executive planner, go here and flip through

And now because I should have a little bit of something that is food related…

black bean burger

These are a recent favorite around my house – black bean burgers with tomato, salsa, guacamole and lettuce.  Now lest you start to think that I’ve been cooking, I have to admit that there is no recipe for these burgers.  Here’s the secret:

black bean burger 2

Yes, Costco to the rescue again.  Don’t be afraid of the “chipotle” on the label.  These are not spicy.  They do have great southwest flavor though.  Another great thing?  You keep this box in your freezer and throw these burgers on the grill right from the freezer.  No thawing necessary.  They cook up in 6-8 minutes or so.  Perfect for those hot Summer evenings!

Monday, August 27, 2012

Organizer Giveaway

Last week we were browsing through a bookstore and my husband spotted this:

home executive planner 1

He flipped through it and instantly knew I would be interested.  He handed it to me and literally within two page-turns I knew it was perfect for our family and I bought it immediately.

As most of you know, I have been keeping a weekly menu for years.  I also usually have in my kitchen somewhere a moleskine that I lovingly refer to as my “magic notebook.”  Inside that book goes all of my to-do lists, appointments, reminders and grocery list.   It worked for me, mostly.  I still found myself checking the calendar on my phone and using a separate note pad for my menus. 

When I first saw this Home Executive organizer I instantly loved that all of those separate things that I used daily were now in one place.  Let me show you.

First of all, I love the design, the colors and the protective plastic cover on the front and back. (see photo above)

Each month has a two page layout like this: 

home executive planner 5

It includes a recipe, a note section and holidays for that month.  Then if you flip the page, each week of that month has it’s own two-page layout:

home executive planner 2

The dates are listed on the left, and there are columns for a menu, grocery list and whatever else you can think of.  At first I thought I would use the three sections on the left page for “Mom” “Dad” and “kids.”  But after using the planner for just a day I decided to do “morning” “afternoon” and “evening.”  My to-do list I put on the right side, next to the grocery list.

This is what last week looked like (I blurred all names): 

home executive planner 3

I’m on week two of using the organizer and I’m still a huge fan.  HUGE.

Here are some other features of the organizer -
  • There are pages to help you with your plans for Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years
  • The planner goes from August 2012 to Aug 2013 (with additional month calendars for Sept – Dec 2013
  • There are five pages open for “notes” in the back
  • Additional pages included in the back are “babysitter notes,” “emergency plan,” “important people and places,” a “year at a glance” page, a master list of all holidays, and a birthday list organized by month. 
  • My kids’ favorite feature are the three pages of stickers at the back.  (They already added several stickers to the calendar.) 
home executive planner 4

This Home Executive planner was designed by Jen Boss of Picket Fence Publications.  You can see more of the planner here.  Would you like one of your own??  Jen has generously offered one of her Home Executive planners for me to give away to a lucky reader!  Thank you Jen! 

To enter the giveaway, click over to my other blog (LINK HERE) and  leave a comment on the giveaway post telling me what feature of the Home Executive planner you think you would like the most.  The giveaway is open until Monday, September 3rd at midnight (MST).  The winner will be randomly selected and announced on both blogs on Tuesday (Sept 4th).

** You don’t need to be a follower of my A Bright Corner blog to be eligible for the giveaway.  I just need all of the comments to be in one place so that selecting a random winner will be easier for me!**

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Homemade Soft Pretzels

baked pretzels 1
Have you ever tried making pretzels?  I always thought they were too much work and not worth the bother.  I couldn’t have been more wrong.  I tried making my first batch a few months ago and we loved them so much (and ate them so quickly) that I made a second batch that same week.

Think you’re not a fan of pretzels?  That’s what I thought too, but my only frame of reference were those pretzels you can find at any mall.  These are (like most things homemade) significantly better. 

I used this recipe from Alton Brown.  I recommend weighing the flour and not just scooping it out of the bin.  Also, when he says to divide the dough into 8 equal pieces I did 12. 

pretzels finished

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Orange Pound Cake

orange pound cake
I have another cake recipe for you this week.  This is another Cooking Light recipe (from January 2012).  It is meant to be a Grapefruit Pound Cake but since I had a whole bowl of lovely oranges and absolutely no grapefruit, I decided to make this into an Orange Pound Cake.  Check out my adroitness.

I followed the recipe as written but swapping 2 T grated orange rind for the grapefruit rind and 1/2 cup fresh orange juice for the grapefruit juice.  The cake is lovely (can you spot the pretty little bits of orange peel?) and delicious.   This makes a delicious, summery dessert and would be terrific with a few fresh strawberry slices.

orange pound cake 2

Monday, July 2, 2012

Texas Sheet Cake

texas sheet cake 1

I’ve had my share of Texas Sheet Cakes.  There really are recipes everywhere for this sort of thing.  Most families have their favorite recipes.  I had one.  That recipe called for plenty of butter (both in the cake and in the frosting) and way too much sugar for anyone’s good.  A few months ago I found this recipe and tried it.  Really good.  Really.  Very.  Good.  Less sugar and less butter-great!.  The cake was still really sweet – almost too sweet.  I left out the nuts (kids don’t like ‘em) and we found that we didn’t use all of the frosting.  Instead we set the extra aside and used it as an ice cream topping.  Next time I’ll cut the sugar down and omit the cinnamon.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Slow Cooker Lasagna

I cannot remember how I came across this recipe but it was one of our busy-day favorites during the winter months.  Really nothing beats homemade lasagna that someone has lovingly worked on for hours but let’s be honest – that’s way too much work for a weeknight meal that most of my family members are going to devour in less than 8 minutes.  This recipe (for me) is a nice balance.  Not a lot of prep work, but a decent tasting lasagna (maybe a bit messier though) that everyone in the family enjoys. 

slow cooker lasagna

The last few times I made this recipe I added a few tablespoons of basil pesto in with the ricotta/mozzarella mixture.  It’s fine without it, but if you have some on hand then add it in!

mozzarella pesto ricotta

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

What’s For Dinner?

fish tacos

Tonight?  Fish Tacos!  My sister shared a sauce recipe that she loves on her fish tacos.  She found it here, but I make mine a little different.  Here’s what I do-

First of all this makes a bit more sauce than we need.  So I cut the mayo amount in half but use the same amount of plain yogurt.  We don’t ALL like spicy food, so I don’t use all of the jalapeno or cayenne pepper (start with a bit and add it as you taste.  Stop adding them when you like it!)  I do like a bit more cumin and oregano so I sprinkle a bit more on than the 1/2 tsp.  As you can tell, I don’t do exact measurements when I mix up this sauce. 

For the fish, we tried some leftover baked tilapia one week and it was just okay.  Then I found this at our local Costco.  Big hit.  Huge hit.  Baked AND crispy.  I make a batch for dinner, the adults eat them as tacos and the kids eat them like chicken nuggets.

panko breaded cod

Add a package of corn tortillas, shredded cabbage, some pico de gallo and a couple of limes and you have a quick weeknight dinner!

 Hi Cathy!  Your hubby said you were wanting some new blog posts :)