Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Christmas Wrap up, Pantry organization, New year 2015

This year we enjoyed a very quiet Christmas at home, the 4 of us and our 6 fur babies. One of Elvis's favorite places to be was under the Christmas tree. :-). He could be stalking Kathleen, that's her red hair at the bottom ;-)

Love this picture of my girls on Christmas Eve by the tree.

Table all set and ready for Santa to come...

Our tradition of reading The Night Before Christmas....

Santa knew the girls were good this year :-)

Kathleen was the one to find where Santa hid the pickle ;-)

One of Hayley's favorite gifts.....Olaf!

Sweet Cooper....

First round of organization for the new year, Kathleen and I tackled was my kitchen pantry! Moving in it was a matter of just getting things put away quickly, then we had a lot of company and time flew by. It has been driving me crazy to not be organized, as everything is so much more efficient when it is. Kathleen and I took everything out, hence the mess! LOL

It was also an opportunity to purge some junk foods that had snuck their way in ;-) 2015 is bringing many changes for us...

So all emptied and cleaned...

I got this shoe holder from Five Below to store more items on the door. It's great for raisins, nuts, beans, etc. Things not too heavy or bulky so the door still closes easily.

Have to laugh at Elvis, he always has to go in climb the shelves and check out what we're doing!

O.K. so I have to share we snuck in some fresh juice to keep us going... An apple, a carrot and a pint of strawberries...Yummy and so healthy!

And after 2 days, we are done! I got the colored bins at Five Below also; they are metal and are great for storing items, especially if something leaks it can be easily cleaned out. I love the chalkboard feature on them as well to label what's inside! I also got the stack able blue containers (second shelf) and the wire baskets on the bottom from Five Below. During this process I got out my notebook and recorded everything I have on hand. I also did this with my refrigerator and freezer. Then I can easily menu plan based on what I have and crossing off what I use and making a new list as I go to replenish my staple items. Good organization is key to a successful, motivating kitchen :-) Plus it doesn't have to cost a fortune when you get creative with items available. There are still items I need to use up and eliminate for bringing back, but I can make items and send to Jerry's work. The guys in his shop always appreciate when I bake goodies for them :-)

This was a healthy dinner I made last night, that became lunch for today. So simple and healthy! I cooked up Chicken breast, then used frozen stir fry vegetables, and orzo pasta. Using my dutch oven (which I love) I added some vegetable broth in the bottom, then placed frozen vegetables in to cook. In another pot I boiled the orzo in the vegetable broth also, then drained and set aside. The chicken I had precooked the previous night, so I just got it up in bite sized pieces. When vegetables were done I added the orzo and chicken in with them and stirred and heated through. Delicious and healthy! Today for lunch I reheated and cut up some yummy strawberries. I like making meals that have leftovers or options to freeze.

Wanted to share another healthy recipe with you that I got from my sister, and have been using for years, this is so delicious! I made a big batch for Jerry's Christmas party and it was a hit!

Pasta Salad

Box of bow tie pasta
Red, yellow and orange peppers
Red onion (to save time you can buy these prechopped in your local store, I also prechop onions myself and freeze for future use)
Feta cheese
1 cup of red wine vinegar
3/4 cup of sugar

Boil pasta (do not overcook and make it really mooshy)
Boil sugar and vinegar, stirring until sugar dissolves; remove from heat
Chop onions and peppers
Cut up and boil asparagus about 5 mins (Don't want it to get too soggy)

Mix all ingredients into pasta, sprinkle in feta cheese add the vinegar/sugar mix. Stir well and serve right away. If you store it in the fridge add just a touch of olive oil before serving and be sure to stir well to keep the noodles from sticking.

Delicious and healthy! You can use wheat bow tie pasta to make it even healthier. It's a hit at gatherings. ;-)

Hope everyone had an amazing Christmas! Hard to believe this is the last day of 2014! I'm praying for a much better 2015 for my family, it's been a tough year for us. But being together supporting and loving each other has been a true blessing. Focusing on what's good has definitely gotten me through.

Saw this quote and just had to share makes sense for so many things in our lives and the direction we want to go. I had to share it and I encourage you all to follow your heart and do what makes you happy! 2015 is full of new beginnings!

You know I love good quotes so have to share a few more for the new year.

"You can talk with someone for years, everyday, and still, it won't mean as much as what you can have when you sit in front of someone, not saying a word, yet you feel like you have known that person forever...connections are made with the heart, not the tongue"   C. JoyBell C.

"The love of family and the admiration of friends is much more important than wealth and privilege" Charles Kuralt

"New Years Day. A fresh start. A new chapter in life waiting to be written. New questions to be asked, embraced and loved. Answers to be discovered and then lived in this transformative year of delight and self-discovery. Today carve out a quiet interlude for yourself in which to dream, pen in hand. Only dreams give birth to change"   Sarah Ban Breathnach

Wishing you all a very happy, healthy, successful 2015!!! Many Blessings to you all!



McVal said...

Happy New Year!!! Good job on the pantry. I need to do a clean up of my garage but I'll wait until the weather warms up a bit...
Leon got that Olaf stuffed toy too!

CelestinaMarie@SouthernDayDreams said...

Dear Jill, what a lovely post sharing your special Christmas. Great pantry project. I love wonderful organization like this. Thank you for sharing the wonderful pasta recipe.
Love the quote. Wishing you and your dear family a very Happy New Year.
Blessings and Love to you.

Victorian1885 said...

Happy New Year Jill! Your girls are growing up so fast! I look forward to following you again in 2015.

Heather said...

Wow your pantry looks amazing and I had to laugh I did the same here cleaned out the junk food. With 3 teenagers in my house it seems to just appear haha! Anna and I are going to go sugar free in January to try and get a detox from all the crappy food we have been eating. ~Your pantry looks amazing and your pictures are great it looks like you had a really nice Christmas ~Thanks for sharing all those great quotes as well I love a good quote Happy New Year Love Heather

Camille said...

What a lovely post my friend. Happy New Year to you and yours...may 2015 be full of many blessings! I trust you had a wonderful quiet time and are all recovering from your recent accident. Hugs to you! Camille

Beloved's Redheaded Bride said...

Happy New Year. It looks like you had a nice visit from Santa. The girls are growing up right in front of my eyes! Way to fast.

Kerri said...

Your pantry looks fantastic! My pantry is a disaster and has been on my list of things to do but keeps getting pushed to the bottom! Maybe we'll get snowed in one of these days and I'll get around to cleaning it.
Happy New Year Jill!

Tara said...

My favorite? The girls by the tree on Christmas Eve! So glad you had a wonderful holiday Jill! Blessings in the New Year! ~tara

Sara said...

Happy New Year!! We are starting the year out healthier too! Love the organization you did with your pantry...looks great!


~ Noelle said...

Love the pantry now ;)
Thanks for that pasta recipe, might have to try that soon!