Preparing for Thanksgiving Leftovers – Healthy Dishes – Turkey Cobb Salad for 2 No Bleu!

It’s time! We are ready yet again to over indulge in a Thanksgiving feast. Yes, moderation is important in general, but life is short so go ahead and live a little for one day. The key to minimizing caloric impact is to get right back to smart nutrition the next day. Start preparing now by saving this recipe to help utilize your Thanksgiving leftovers after the big day.

Use some of that leftover turkey to whip up a post holiday Cobb Salad. Not usually a fan of Cobb’s? We’ve changed it up a bit by eliminating bleu cheese in favor of feta, because a lot of people miss on out delicious Cobb Salads due to distaste for bleu cheese. The ingredients in this variation are also based on what’s amply available in the produce section at this time of year. You could say this recipe is all about being in the moment.

Servings: Two people

List of Ingredients:

3/4 cup (4 oz) shredded leftover turkey

1 romaine heart, cross cut

1/3 head Bibb lettuce, cross cut

1/3 (small) head radicchio, chopped

½ teaspoon fresh parsley, chopped

½ teaspoon tarragon

1 tablespoon chives, chopped

1 hard-boiled egg, chopped, seasoned to taste with salt and pepper

½ medium avocado, firm but ripe, diced, seasoned to taste with salt and pepper

½ large peeled carrot, grated

1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese

Salad dressing – Champagne Caper OR Dijon Garlic

In a large bowl toss all of the lettuces with the half of the parsley and tarragon (1/4 teaspoon each.) Add 1 tablespoon of salad dressing and toss again. We recommend doing this in a container with a lid so you can thoroughly coat the lettuce with dressing. Split the contents of the bowl and place the ingredients on two plates.

Then toss the turkey with half of the chives (1/2 tablespoon) and 1 teaspoon of salad dressing. Place it on top of the lettuces on each plate. Toss chopped eggs with ½ teaspoon of salad dressing. Place it alongside the turkey. Toss the grated carrot with the rest of the parsley and tarragon and 1/2 tablespoon of salad dressing. Lay them along the other side of turkey, and then follow by doing the same with avocado next to the carrots. Top everything with feta cheese and the remaining chives.  Drizzle with additional salad dressing to taste and serve.

This recipe is perfect for maintaining your weight, meeting your daily fiber needs, avoiding gluten (if necessary,) and using up all that turkey in your fridge. Enjoy!

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How to preserve autumn leaves as keepsakes or for your DIY projects

Autumn leaves are among nature’s most beautiful keepsakes. We get so much enjoyment from them. Watching them change colors, seeing their splendor in long expanses of trees, and trying to catch them as they flutter to the ground. After you’ve caught a few favorites you can preserve them using a very simple method. You may even have learned how to do this back in elementary school. If so, enjoy the trip down memory lane!

  1. Set up the ironing board.  Make sure to protect the board with an old sheet or kitchen towel., Using an old iron, turn the iron to low heat. Don’t use steam or mist for any part of this process.
  2. Lay a paper towel on the ironing board. Place the leaves on the paper towel and cover them with another paper towel.
  3. Remove the moisture from the leaves. While moving the iron continuously, iron over the top paper towel. Use two new paper towels and turn the leaves over. Iron again.
  4. Discard paper towels, and place a piece of wax paper on the ironing board. Ensure the waxed side of the paper faces the leaves. Set the leaves on the wax paper and cover with a second sheet.
  5. Iron over the surface of the wax paper. Be sure to apply steady, even pressure.
  6. Lift and remove the top piece of wax paper, and then peel and remove the rest of the wax paper from both sides of the leaf. The leaf is now protected by a wax coating
  7. If you want to frame or archive the leaf, you can also opt to leave it pressed between inside the wax paper.
Make sure to supervise children near a hot iron and never leave the iron flat on the ironing board.  Your memories of fall and this fun activity can last all year long!  
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Halloween Party Games — Witches Broom Balloon Race

Tired of pin the tail on the donkey? Try this energetic game for kids. It’s incredibly easy to set up, and it amuses all who are present in the room! It’s much harder than it sounds when you explain it to the kids, so everyone is soon belly laughing when it starts to go awry. The fact that it’s so challenging also allows for the kids to have long lasting fun. 

Witches Broom Balloon Race

  1. Purchase orange, purple and black balloons and blow them up. Don’t use helium. Buy enough balloons for each child to have three, in case one pops mid-race.
  2. Purchase “witch” brooms from the holiday section at the store. Make sure they’re kid sized. Preferably not taller than the child using it. Avoid bristly brooms that are designed for actual function because they will pop the balloons. Opt for something like holiday tinsel or yarn brooms. Also purchase witch hats so each child can wear one.
  3. Locate an indoor space that will allow the children enough distance for a race. (This game doesn’t work as well outdoors.)
  4. Put everyone on the starting line and give each child a balloon. Instruct them to sweep the balloon all the way to finish line using their witch broom. This can include going down hallways, up stairs, and so on. (Set rules about not swinging the brooms at each other and being careful about those around you. Otherwise the game can go from witches broom to samurai warrior real fast!)
  5. Sit back and giggle as they discover just how hard this is going to be! The younger they are, the more mystified they’ll be by the challenge.

Make sure to have your camera ready for this game. You don’t want to miss the priceless candid shots you’ll be able to capture. Better yet, take video!

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Snow! On My Floor? What Do I Do First?

Some floors are made to take a large amount of traffic and rough treatment. Other floors are a little more delicate and need more protection. Both types of floors deserve to look their best throughout the year and winter brings with it special considerations.  

If you notice snow on your floor, don’t panic; you can get the snow up easily without harming them or your sanity.

First, remember that it’s not snow that’s harms your floor so much as what often comes with it. Snow is just frozen water after all, and water is easily avoided or removed.  A mat near the front door can serve as a decoration and trap a large amount of snow from boots and shoes.  Choose a door mat that coordinates nicely with your home and a great majority of snow will never see the inside of your house.

Snow is often the conduit for salt, dirt, sand, and grit, all of which can hurt your floor after it’s melted.  If your first line of defense does not catch all the snow, a second indoor mat can be a big help.  Also providing a location for wet boots and shoes can help guests by giving them an out-of-the-way spot to store wet items. 

If any moisture or dirt gets through these barriers, get out the wet dry vac and suck up as much water and snow as you can without agitating the floor. You don’t want to work the sand and grit into your floor where it could do the most damage, so remove the bulk of it to get it up as quickly as you can!

Finally, soak up any remaining moisture without moving solid dirt over the surface of the floor.  After the surface is dry, dirt and salt can be swept up. 

Be sure to ask any questions you may have about winter conditions and your floor!

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Five Finger Foods in Five Minutes

When you’re trying to get ready for guests, the last thing you want to worry about is the prep time for snacks and finger foods. Worrying about snack food shouldn’t be a competing issue as you are preparing dinner! Pull together these fast finger foods in just five minutes. This will leave you plenty of time to sit down and relax before your guests arrive.

Caprese Sticks
Pull these simple, yet elegant and delicious Caprese sticks together in just seconds. Drizzle a little olive oil over grape tomatoes and cherry-sized fresh mozzarella balls. Now thread them both onto skewers, alternating with small basil leaves. Serve on a platter and you’re done.

Seven Layer Dip
Put out a platter of seven layer dip surrounded by a pile of tortilla chips and watch it disappear. Nothing is easier to make! Layer refried beans, sour cream, guacamole, salsa, more sour cream and guacamole, and top with shredded cheese.

Brie Phyllo Cups
Find a package of readymade Phyllo cups and you’re ready to make an elegant finger food in just minutes. Arrange the cups on a baking sheet and place a slice of brie in each one. Pop in the oven at 400 degrees for five minutes until the brie melts, and you have a warm, savory appetizer.

Cream Cheese Pickle Rolls
Sometimes referred to as Redneck Sushi, these pickle rolls are sure to be a hit with any crowd. Spread a slice of pastrami with cream cheese and set a dill pickle in the center. Roll the whole thing up and then slice into bite sized portions. Keep refrigerated until you’re ready to serve.

Goat Cheese and Pear Crostini
Slice a loaf of fresh French bread into ½-inch slices and place them under a broiler set to high for a minute to toast their tops. Then spread with goat cheese and place a thin slice of fresh pear on top for a mouth watering sweet and savory bite.

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Your Choice — Tell Us Your Favorite!

Would you choose a formal bedroom or one that leans towards a cozy getaway?  Why?

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What’s the Best Flooring to Use in a Bathroom?

Bathrooms are one of the most frequently used rooms in a home. And yet they rarely get the kind of foot traffic that a kitchen or a mudroom sees. In addition, bathrooms are often wet and subject to spills from toothpaste, hairspray, soaps, and lotions that can all affect the floor. Combined, all of this means that the flooring choice you make for your bathroom could be more complicated than it appears at first glance.

Durability

When considering what type of flooring to use in your bathroom, consider the durability of it in terms of its use. For example, you probably rarely wear shoes in there, so it’s less important that you use tile that could be scratched, so a choice such as glass tile that could not be used in an entryway can be used in a family bathroom.

On the other hand, you have a lot of water and some acid and alkaline substances in the bathroom. So the tile you use should be impervious to those substances whenever possible. So porcelain, ceramic, and glass tile all tend to hold up fairly well to these products.

Stone tile can be used in the bathroom, but depending on the type you choose you may need to consider a few things such as:

  • Sealing it regularly, particularly in shower areas, tub decks, and kids’ bathrooms
  • Wiping up spills as soon as you notice them to prevent etching and staining
  • Potentially choosing a stone that is less likely to stain or scratch such as granite, slate, or quartzite
  • Selecting a stone that is not slippery when wet to avoid spills

Style

It’s all well and good to consider the function of the tile first, but style definitely has an impact on what you will ultimately use in your bathrooms. Porcelain is probably the most versatile of all the bathroom flooring materials around. It comes in styles that mimic the look of stone, metal, glass, wood, and even fabric so you can match any style. Ceramic tile is often more traditional in appearance, which works well in some older and more formal homes. Glass is the most contemporary, but can also be a fun choice for kids’ bathrooms.

Be sure when you choose your style that you take the material into account first to ensure that it holds up as well as possible over the years.

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The Importance of Cabinet Hardware

Nearly every homeowner overlooks cabinet hardware during their new kitchen or bathroom design. These hinges, knobs, and pulls play a crucial role in your new kitchen, but they frequently get left to the last second for choosing. Don’t make this mistake in your kitchen or bath; the right choice in cabinet hardware can make all the difference in the world.

Why Cabinet Hardware Is so Important

You’d think that your choice of cabinets would actually be the more important decision in the new design, but stop and think for a few minutes. How will you open your new cabinets and drawers if you don’t have knobs and pulls? How will the cabinets swing open if there are no hinges?

Cabinet hardware helps your space function the way that it should. But it goes deeper than that, as well.

For example, someone with arthritis may want to consider using cup pulls or pulls that are large enough to slide their hands through without gripping. Someone living with a spouse who continuously leaves the cabinet doors open will want to look into self-closing hinges that automatically shut the door when you let go.

Also, the style and finish of your knobs and hinges can add a subtle cohesiveness to the entire room. For example, a rustic-style kitchen could make great use of strap hinges in an antique black finish combined with matching wrought iron pulls. These don’t seem like major considerations, but picture the same kitchen with shiny chrome flush mount hinges and contemporary knobs instead; that look would conflict with the overall design.

When to Choose the Hardware

Ideally, the time to choose the hardware is when you choose the rest of the accents in the kitchen. This allows you to match things such as metal finish, detail, or color. For example, if you have pewter tile accents in the backsplash, and a pewter-tone faucet, choosing pewter knobs helps pull everything together.

Regardless of the choices you make, be sure to put equal thought into your cabinet hardware as every other area of the room to create the best design.

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How Can I Give My Outdated Kitchen a Makeover on a Budget?

Kitchen renovations can completely transform a home both functionally and aesthetically. Unfortunately, a complete kitchen renovation is often a major expense and undertaking that can cost many thousands of dollars and several weeks or even months to complete. If you want to spruce up your kitchen without breaking the bank however, there are a few tricks that can help.

Break Out the Paint

While you’ve probably considered painting the walls of your kitchen to help brighten it up, you may not have realized that paint can be used to update nearly every part of an older kitchen.

Start with your cabinets. If they are in good shape, but are 80s-style oak or are old and peeling, remove the doors and spray paint them a more updated color. Combine this with some new cabinet hardware to bring them into the 21st century.

Another area you can paint is your counters. If you have an old countertop, consider investing about $50 in some faux-granite paint. This paint uses granite chips, several colors you sponge on and a protective urethane top coat to produce a rock hard, highly polished counter that resembles real stone.

You can even paint your appliances with special appliance paint, so if you have ugly black or scuffed white appliances give them a quick paint job to update them.

Add a New Backsplash

Backsplashes in most kitchens are only about 30 square feet, so even the most expensive tile out there is probably not going to break your bank. Backsplashes are a fun way of injecting some color, style, and personality into your kitchen. They are also fairly easy to remove, so if you do decide to go in for the big kitchen remodel in a few years you won’t be regretting your decision to put them up.

Invest In One Change

The other way you can update your kitchen is to make a few small changes while at the same time making one big one. Get your cabinets refaced, get new appliances, or replace your countertop or flooring. Having one big purchase and a few minor updates can often be almost as good as renovating the entire space.

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How to Make Your Small Bathroom Look Bigger

Small bathrooms can be a homeowner’s biggest design challenge. These baths can feel cramped, often don’t have enough room for all of your stuff, and if you decorate them the wrong way, they can somehow feel even smaller. There are a few tricks that can help you open your small bathroom up, both aesthetically and functionally.

Make Your Floor Seem Bigger

There are several tricks involving just the floor of your bathroom that will make it appear larger. First, opt for a sink or vanity with a pedestal base or hanging from the wall. You can even find toilets designed to hang from the wall. This tactic increases the amount of visible floor space and makes the room seem larger.

Next, select the largest size tile you can comfortably fit in the room and install it on a diagonal. Large tiles have fewer grout lines, so they are less likely to emphasize the size of the floor, while the diagonal layout draws the eye out to the corners of the room, visually widening it.

If you have a shower in the bathroom, lay the same tile on the shower floor as well in a mosaic size, or lay a mosaic everywhere in the bathroom to make the two spaces seem like part of the same floor. Glass shower doors also open up the space more than an opaque option.

Finally, take the wall furthest from the door and run the tile right up it. This creates an optical illusion that makes the room seem much larger than it actually is.

Gain Some Storage

Done right, well-placed storage can help make the room feel larger as well. Start with niches, small cutaways in the wall that will let you place items without actually taking up space in the room.

Next, opt for cabinets on the walls above the toilet and next to the shower to give you the storage you need without eating up precious floor space. Install shelving just below your bathroom mirror, but above the sink to give you an out-of-the-way place to hide toiletries.

Keep It Light and Bright

Finally, keep the palette for the whole room very light and simple, using just one or two cool colors through the whole space. Combine these tricks to make your small bathroom seem larger and appealing.

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