Chicken Rice Casserole

Grandma Marilyn’s Wine Chicken– serves 4 to 6 people

4 cups chicken (4 medium chicken breasts)

2 cups rice

2 cups water

1 can cream of chicken ( or cream of broccoli or cream of mushroom) soup

1 cup frozen peas

1 teaspoon garlic salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper

2 tablespoons wine (if you don’t have wine, then use orange juice or even 1 tablespoon tang powder)

In a baking dish, layer rice then chicken pieces. Pour water on top. Then wine or orange juice, garlic salt, pepper. Spread can of creamed soup evenly over pieces of chicken. Spread peas on top

Cover. Cook at 350 degrees 1 hour.

My Short on time version:

Buy precooked chicken or cook the chicken. (Melt butter in skillet & cook 4 chicken breasts until white all the way through. Cut up into pieces.)

Cook 2 cups minute rice according to directions.

Cook your frozen peas in microwave.

Don’t add extra water to your recipe, but add the soup, garlic, pepper and wine (or Orange juice)

Since everything cooked, mix everything all together and serve.

Chicken- breaded

Grandma Marilyn’s breaded chicken

Can use chicken pieces (my family calls it “bone-in chicken”), chicken breasts, chicken thighs, etc.

Break 2 eggs into a bowl and mix with fork. (Replace as you run out.)

Make your breading mix into a separate bowl:

1/2 cup bisquick (or any biscuit mix)

1/2 teaspoon paprika (or chili powder if you want a bit spicy)

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon dried mustard (if you don’t have any, just skip)

Dip chicken piece in egg, roll in the breading mix, then lay on a baking sheet.

Bake 45 minutes at 350 degrees F

Caregivers: Your THINGS deserve priorities too.

Woman soring through piles of things

I’m a pile maker. This article describes the things I’m doing to conquer my piles and declutter my home. I give tips on what kinds of things helped me get organized.

I admit it. I’m a pile maker. Piles in the closet, piles in shelves, piles in cupboards, piles in the corner. I’m always digging through a pile somewhere looking for stuff. I was sitting down a couple days ago and thinking about getting better organized. A couple times, I’ve gotten the right idea & I have a few little plastic drawer carts for things like the kid’s craft supplies. That works great. So I was thinking, how can I apply that to the rest of my “stuff?”

I sat down & started making categories for the things I saw in the piles. I realized that the bulk of the piles were all my stuff. I never thought of it this way before, but it turns out to be categories for my interests. Child Development, Counseling, Zen Spiritual, Home Economics, Computer Games, Reading/Education, Physical activities, Clothes & body care.

My husband’s stuff consists of weights, hockey gear, books, computer gadgets and equipment and clothes. Then we have kids stuff such as bedding, toys, clothes. My husband’s stuff and the kids’ stuff all have places to go. I have designed our space for their stuff. Not mine. My stuff just gets piled in random obscure places that are left over. I give my interests and my stuff low importance. Wow. That was an eye opener.

I have a lot of books and files. So I started looking at which ones of my interests could go into filing cabinets. Child development is my preschool curriculum files, books and resources -that can definitely go in a filing cabinet grouped by topic. Counseling/Psych has a lot of research files and books. That can go in a file drawer. Reading/Education is mostly all books, so that can go on a bookshelf together. Zen Spiritual is books, papers & videos on Christianity, Reiki, Taoism, & Feng Shui. That can go in a file drawer. Computer games I want to keep can go on the bookshelf and my notes on computer games I’m designing, can go into a file drawer. I’m keeping only what I really need. Nice new books will go to the library, older stuff is going to the Salvation Army or the Goodwill thrift stores.

Home Economics is a big category for me. My craft supplies are decently organized in the drawer carts like I mentioned. However, I don’t have a place for scrapbooks, so I will have to plan bookshelf space for those. Next are Finances. I used to have that nicely organized in a file cabinet, but we’ve moved since then & I never got started again. I found a good list of family records to keep and I’m shredding everything that is not in that list.

In the kitchen, I am designating part of a cupboard just for cookbooks & recipes. Also put my control journal in this cupboard. What is a Control Journal? Its a 3 ring binder for keeping track of chores, meal planners, grocery lists, supplies, and addresses of your friends, families, doctors, vet, insurance agent, etc. Two good places for forms and checklists are the Yahoo Control Journal Group and the Flylady

And then there is the physical activity stuff. I had designated a couple of shelves of a plastic bookshelf for my husband’s hockey gear. But things don’t stay on it well and it takes up a lot of room when stuff is side-by-side. I was thinking about those little plastic drawer carts that worked so well for my craft supplies. I had some old empty file boxes and so I filled them up with things like iceskates, tennis rackets, balls, & snow gear. ‘Made my own drawers to put on the shelves – I don’t put lids on them, letting things like a tennis racket stick out. This could also work with plastic bins or baskets. And you could even label them so that if kids or spouses get into them, they know where to put stuff back. This was so convenient, I think I’m going to get another one and do the same thing with tools.

The one I saved for last is the one I was most dreading: my clothes, jewelry, shoes, hair, skin and body care. Our bedroom has a tiny closet, so I used Fashion Mash to organize my clothes into outfits. I found that some things I never wear because they just don’t match anything and so they are going with stuff that doesn’t fit anymore to be donated. Since our closet is so little anything that can be folded like jeans, sweaters and even some T-shirts are going in drawers and on a shelf. We have this old wicker trunk, so my shoes went in it and now my cat enjoys sitting on it.

And here is where yet another drawer cart came to the rescue. One drawer has my hair stuff. A second drawer has my jewelry. The third drawer has the skin care, deodorant and everything I use in the morning. The last drawer has my nighttime stuff, fingernail polish and things I use less often. Makeup and most personal care products have a shelf life, so take the age of your products into consideration when you decide what to keep.

I’m still working on some of it. I’d love to hear back on anyone else’s organization tricks & tips!

Sleep and Feng Shui

You deserve a good night’s rest! How simple Feng Shui can help you sleep.

Restorative sleep is essential to our ability to function at our capacity. Sleep distruption is linked to accelerated aging, hormone imbalance and even serious health conditions like diabetes and hypertension. The ancient Chinese practice of Feng Shui can make a difference!

Empty phone stand prompts you to put away your phone at night.

Let’s talk about devices. Electronics are a metal element and YANG energy. Plugging in right next to your pillow is a bit like bringing a busy office to your bed. You want relaxing energy coming your way, not stimulation that will ramp you up.

Additionally timing the use of blue-light emitting devices like phones and tablets is very important. Melatonin, a natural occurring hormone in the brain, is released to promote sleep at night. Blue-light from devices reduces your production of this critical sleep signal. I recommend plugging in your phone or device out of reach before you lay down so that you are not tempted to use it. Wherever you decide to charge your phone, using a phone stand for charging can prompt you visually to put your phone away.

5 Reasons to Shop Local

Why do why environmentalists advocate that people “eat locally?” This article lists 5 reasons why it is good to eat locally grown foods.

“Shop Local” These words are among the many pieces of graffiti at a nearby playground. When I saw it, I started asking myself why environmentalists advocate that people eat locally?

1. Quality

Local food producers do not have to focus on shelf-life, but can grow the freshest and finest tasting foods without worrying about survival during shipping. Since we recently began receiving weekly deliveries of our fruits and vegetables from a local organic company, I have discovered that carrots have an amazing flavor of their own. Regular store bought fresh carrots are so bland, you just about have to have ranch dip or something with them. I actually like raw carrots now!

2. Better for the environment

Local food doesn’t have to be shipped as far which saves on the use of fossil fuel as well as the pollution put out by burning said fuel.

3. Supporting the local economy

When a business is not locally owned, each time you do business with them, your dollar leaves your community. Locally owned businesses provide sustaining support to the community by providing a place for neighbors to connect, and by giving back to local causes.

4. Local Decisions

Decisions are made by business owners who experience life locally. They are not part of a national or international product campaign about the best selling foods. They produce diverse foods that reflect local culture and respond more readily to customer feedback.

5. Seasonal Diversity

Because food isn’t shipped from Timbuktu, it can be ripened longer on the vine with out getting all banged up and bruised during handling. We can eat food when it is tasting its very best, plentiful and least expensive.

Using Feng Shui to maintain or achieve a healthy weight

Obesity is a major global health issue, resulting in numerous diseases, specifically increased risk of certain types of cancer, heart and liver diseases, type 2 diabetes and stroke. As societies around the world have had increased overweight populations they have experienced significant economic costs of increased health care and a loss of productivity in their work force.

Can Feng Shui Help you lose weight? Absolutely. Feng Shui is about harmonizing the individual with their surroundings. When you are out of harmony this causes stress. According to the Mayo Clinic, chronic stress puts your health at risk due to elevated cortisol levels. It is critically important that you learn healthy ways to cope and reduce life stressors to avoid health problems.

Red and Yellow color collage
Red and Yellow- Yang Energy colors

Color Balance. Changing little things through out your home can have an impact on how your appetite is stimulated through energy flow. Does your kitchen have too much YANG energy? Reds and Yellows in the kitchen can draw too much attention to that area of your home. Focus on making your kitchen more YIN through clearing your counters as much as possible and changing your colors. If you do have yellows or reds in the kitchen, use them to attract your attention to healthy foods like pretty bowls to display fruits and vegetables.

Declutter. Is there clutter in the places of your home where you work or relax? That is a YIN energy and acts as a vacuum, drawing energy away from you. Clutter isn’t just about piles of things. Your wellness is impacted by emotional and spiritual clutter too. Past trauma or an overloaded schedule can be kinds of YIN and that energy draw will affect you no matter where you are in your home. We’ll be talking more about decluttering your emotional and spiritual life aspects more in the days to come. For now, look at ways to open up the flow in your space. Open the curtains, let in the daylight. If you have a lot of clutter, try to tackle a small space each day, because it takes time to build the habit of putting things away with out getting overwhelmed.

About Us’s goal is to bring to you resources and guidance for authentically balancing your life and enhancing your feng shui.

The Luckyhonu Oracle is an authentic automated I Ching divination tool based on the 64 ancient principles in the Book of Changes.

The site was founded by Margaret M. Howe in 2007. It is currently managed by Row33 Media Group.