Category Archives: The Chaotic Kitchen

It’s not just for breakfast anymore.

We have a tradition of eating breakfast for dinner on Friday nights. It was born out of necessity when our youngest son was about 6 and going through a phase where he would only eat soft foods. We never figured out why…but we sure did worry for awhile since he was losing weight.

In an effort to get him to eat, we implemented several strategies, one of which was Friday night breakfasts. He’s long since outgrown the issue, but the tradition remains.

One of our favorite meals is Family Style French Toast. It’s so easy to make and absolutely delicious! I’ve also served it for brunch at family reunions.

Hope you enjoy! Oh, and if you have any great breakfast recipes, I’d love it if you’d share. We’re always looking for something new to try.

Birthday Dinner

Today is my birthday. We have a tradition in our family. The birthday girl/boy gets to pick what we have for dinner—whatever they want.

Hence, my husband dutifully asked me last night what I wanted for my special meal.

That’s a difficult question for me.

  1. I want something I love and don’t get very often.
  2. But more importantly, I don’t want to have to cook it!

Up until a couple years ago, my mom would make the one meal that she always made when I was growing up that I don’t seem to be able to do justice—pounded steak and fried potatoes. But she’s just not up to cooking a big meal for all of us anymore. I am getting better at fixing it, but my husband wouldn’t have the slightest idea how to make it.

This is my birthday dinner, so while pounded steak and fried potatoes fulfill point number one, they don’t fulfill point number two.

Have to pick something else.

Thin Pancakes.

My granny, and then my mom used to make these for me when I was little. You call them crepes. Served one at a time, slathered with real butter and white sugar. Rolled up and cut into bite sized pieces.

A little heaven on earth!

Because they are very quick to cook, and you can only really make one at a time, it’s almost impossible to fix these for yourself.

It was necessary that my husband learn to make these. If we had signed a pre-nup, that point would have been a line item in the document as justifiable grounds for divorce if he didn’t.

So, several years ago, I asked my mom for the recipe.

Before I share that, I have to tell you that she used to complain about her mother’s “recipes.” Apparently, my granny made THE best chocolate chip cookies ever. When my mom asked for the recipe, she replied, “I just follow the directions on the package, but I change it a little.”

She would also use “handfuls” as a measurement. According to my mom, her mother had the smallest hands on the planet.

You can see how this form of recipe recording would be troublesome to one who was trying to duplicate a much loved family favorite.

And now I give you my mother’s recipe for Thin Pancakes. And I quote:

“About 4 eggs—blended a little bit. About a cup of flour. Shake a little salt in there. Blend—make sure it’s mixed together. Put milk in until it looks about right. Blend. Need a pan that slopes and that is really hot. A little Crisco in the pan between medium high and high.”

Thanks for the recipe, Mom! And thanks for cooking, Michael!

My birthday dinner was delicious!

MMMM….Monday!

Who likes Mondays? Whether you’re a stay at home mom, like me or a high powered CEO, it’s back to the grind.

Laundry…grocery shopping…cooking….conference calls…reports…meetings…

What better way to perk up a Monday than with a great new recipe?

I’ve said before that coming up with new and different dishes to try and that my kids will eat is a challenge. From here on out, we’re not having Monday at My Chaotic Bliss. We’re having MMMM…Monday! I’ll share Recipes from the Chaotic Kitchen weekly.

I hope you find some inspiration!

Today’s recipe is one that my boys love! In fact, it’s so easy to make that Zachary (11) made it for his dinner yesterday.

Recipes from the Chaotic Kitchen

People often tell me I’m a good cook. Maybe. I do know I can read, and I think if you can read and follow directions, you can cook. My definition of a truly good cook is someone who creates a dish out of thin air–to me, that’s a good cook. I don’t think I’ve ever done that. Everything I make comes from a recipe.

Maybe it’s the mother in me, but I truly delight in serving a meal to someone who enjoys it. But with a busy family of six, it’s sometimes difficult to find the time in all the chaos.

My favorite recipes are those that require relatively few ingredients and are quick to prepare. There are exceptions of course, but our day-in and day-out favorites are both quick and easy to fix. Oh yeah, and it’s helpful if at least two of my four kids will eat said dish!

One of the worst parts of my “household duties” is coming up with a menu day after day, week after week and month after month, coordinating the grocery list, finding the recipes, etc. It’s hard not to get stuck in a rut of eating the same seven dishes week after week.

I’m always looking for new dishes to try and know many of you probably are, too. I’m also looking for some way for the recipes, the planner and the grocery list to all magically “talk” to one another so I don’t spend hours on the process. I came across a great site, thanks to The Organized Mom, that comes as close to this magic as I’ve found. It’s called Kitchen Monki.

KitchenMonki.com is a recipe sharing site, but it’s so much more than that! You can plan your meals using your own recipes or one of the ones others have shared. You can also create your grocery list from the recipes you choose. The items in your list are automatically sorted by grocery aisle and you can sort them by the different stores you shop. You can add notes for a specific brand or the details of the coupon you have for a particular item. Once you’re done, you can send it to your phone or print a PDF and take it with you. Like the sound of all of that, but don’t want to share Aunt Mildred’s secret recipe? Choose to keep the recipe private. You still get all the functionality described above, but no one else can see your recipe.

On top of all that, if you’re a blogger like me, you can easily embed the recipes you share on Kitchen Monki to your own blog–no formatting required! So now, I can share my recipes with my readers, thereby making my blog more interesting. Check out my “Last Minute Cranberry Relish” below. Yummy!

So now we have the birth of a new category: “Recipes from the Chaotic Kitchen.” I’ll share some of my favorites with you. If I find other tips and tricks for making planning and preparing family meals easier, I’ll share those, too. If you have tips or suggestions, let me know in the comments.

Together, maybe we can make the process less chaotic and a little more blissful!

First the chaos, then the bliss: part 2

It’s finished! Our amazing kitchen, compliments of Merillat is complete and we survived with our sanity, marriage and sense of humor still in tact.

Kitchen remodels are often the stuff horror movies are made of–contractors who screw things up, delay after delay, unexpected costs that leave your budget in the dust, not to mention the complete inconvenience of having to be without running water, a dishwasher, stove and more for an extended period of time and the steady stream of professionals coming in and out of the house.

If you’re reading this post hoping to hear the gory tale of our experience,  move along. I have nothing but good things to report.

I attribute the success of this remodel mainly to three factors:

  1. Our designer, Amy Wuest, from KSI Kitchens and Bath. If it weren’t for Amy, I would still be standing in front of the wall of cabinet door designs trying to make the first decision! While everything you see in my kitchen was chosen and approved by Michael and me (oh, who am I kidding? It was me.),  Amy narrowed the field of choices and expertly led me to decisions at every turn. She always listened to what I thought and would offer her input when I asked, but would then say, “It’s your kitchen, you have to like it.”
  2. Our contractor, Brian Smith (a.k.a. contractor extraordinaire) and his team. Prompt, courteous, efficient, neat and most importantly, good! You can design the most beautiful kitchen in the world but if the people building it don’t know what they’re doing, you’re sunk. By the way, work began on September 9 and was finished October 12–the exact date Brian estimated it would be done!
  3. It was paid for by someone else! If it weren’t for Merillat, we wouldn’t have the kitchen at all. From the VP of marketing to the interns, everyone we’ve had contact with at Merillat has been amazing. In fact, when they found out we wanted to have a party to thank all of the people who helped us win, they offered to take that on as well. It’s not part of the prize we won, just something extra they’re doing for us (as if a $30,000 kitchen isn’t enough!).

Even at their best, kitchen remodels are chaotic, but once you get through that, the bliss of enjoying the beautiful new space is well worth it!

So here it is…the finished product…drum-roll, please…soundboard.com

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