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Sunday, August 28, 2011

These are a few of my favorite things...

At work I have a boss and mentor who is always asking questions to make sure we have proper procedures in place to ensure we are doing our job efficiently and in a way that makes the most sense without adding extra steps.  Last week I decided to take a look at my home life in that way too.  Since I've been sa'darn busy with work this summer, I thought it only made sense for me to be sure that when I am home and having a little down-time, that I am doing it as efficiently as possible.  I found a few things around the house which have been a big time-saver and life-easer, so I thought I would share:

Maybe you all have already used these for years, but I'm new within the last year or so to them.  They are frozen chopped onions.  I enjoy cooking, but rarely do an entire meal from scratch... I'm a 50/50 Homemade kinda gal to get by.  My husband loves onions, and for something like $.99 per bag, I always have a bag on hand to add to omelets, ground beef, stir fry... just about any meal.

This little guy is pretty new to me, I've only used it once... but talk about quick, easy and affordable mani/ pedi!  Since my left hand looked a lot more polished (no pun intended) than the right, I just went back with a Q-Tip with nail polish remover on it and straightened up my edges. I think it was about $3 at Wal-Mart.

See the metal contraption- it's called a "Kwik-Kut" and it's awesome.  I pictured it here with the delicious guac.  It's basically a round blade with a handle and can be used for so much.  You just basically mash with it.  I've used it to cut up broccoli, cauliflower and carrots and then mixed them together with Greek yogurt and ranch dip.  Obviously makes a beautiful dip, egg salad, you could even cut biscuits.  I had searched many, many stores for this and had mentioned it to my girlfriend who is Super Woman of Shopping (shout out to Katie Perry!)  Next thing I knew, she had found them online and ordered them for me!  Love my girlfriends; they too are things that get me through the day!

Now, I'm most certainly the LAST PERSON ON EARTH to this party, but my husband and I just recently got android phones...
How did I survive?

Additionally, I have honed my grocery list and budget skills immensely since my hubs was laid off from his job with a custom home-builder in the height of the economic down-turn.  Every month we map out how much income we have, what days the bills are paid, how much we need for groceries & gas, etc- and then adjust it every time we spend something that wasn't budgeted for.  We have nearly eliminated the use of credit (only as it's intended, for real emergencies) and have paid off a number of bills in the past year.

As far as the grocery shopping is concerned, I've created an Excel spread sheet which was an idea I morphed from Real Simple and it's lined up in basic columns, the first of which being the meal, then the columns following are Produce, Dairy, Butcher, Bakery, Pantry, Household, Misc, etc.  So, for example; my husband eats the same lunch every day.  I list "Brian's Lunches" in the meal category.  Under dairy goes "American Cheese" under bakery goes "Honey Oat Bread" under Pantry goes "Cheez- Its" and so forth.  By separating them by column of area of the store, when shopping, it's quick and easy to get everything needed without running all over the store.
Lastly, there's this thing:
I keep it in the back of my car.  Since it's an SUV- if I've bought a few groceries, but not enough to fill the back/ trunk (if so, kudos to me!) then stuff rolls around.  Talk about distraction while driving while my fancy new Smart Phone is going off and there's a gallon of milk rolling & somersaulting on every turn!  So, I collect things in the basket in the car and bring them into the house this way.  Believe it or not, it's helped keep my car clean.  On days when I couldn't carry everything inside at once, it would usually stack up in the car, but now I have no excuse. 

Any tips or advice you have for a working girl who delicately balances her love of domesticity with her love of her career?  What's the best tool/ device/ life-saving item you use to keep your sanity?


Dragonbug said...

i need to upgrade my phone, and i have that basket thingy from walmart. i love it. great post.

Jessica said...

I am a 75/25 store bought girl (some friends of mine say I cook like Sandra Lee, Semi-Homemade) and am ALWAYS thrilled when I learn of new things to make cooking easier. I did NOT know of these onions.I am very excited to get myself a bag!

katie said...

Whooop Whooooop! Thanks for the Shout-Out and I'm so glad you're loving the Kwik-Kut :) Sorry I'm behind reading this, you know the whole get-in-a-car-crash-and-be-in-a-wedding-on-your-anniversary-right-before-a-trip thing really cut into my blog reading/general sitting around time :D I'm back now, patiently awaiting the arrival of all new entries!!
Chopping and slicing are some of my favorite parts of cooking, so I don't really look for short cuts there. I choose clean-up short cuts. Foil and parchment are my best friends. I also spluge on better dishwashing liquid so I don't have to pre-rinse my dishes. I hate doing dishes, so the time i don't have to spend doing that is worth a couple extra bucks.

katie said...

Oh, and I LOLed reading about Brian's cheese and cheez-its.

Carla in Seattle said...

One of my favorite cooks is Sandra Lee and she is "Semi-homemade". She uses 50% store bought ingredients and makes the BEST recipes! You should really check her out. :)