Archive for the ‘My Work’ Category

Gluten-Free Pad Thai With Shrimp

Friday, February 21st, 2020

Pad Thai Recipe Header

Did you know you can make this takeout favorite at home? Try my gluten-free pad thai recipe for an easy weeknight dinner at home that your whole family will love!

When I went gluten-free I never realized how exciting it would be to recreate some of my favorite gluten-filled dishes at home.

Today I am sharing a Gluten-Free Pad Thai with Shrimp recipe that you can create in your own kitchen. The best part is that your guests will never guess that this delicious dish is gluten-free!

Have you ever had Pad Thai? It is one of my favorite dishes to order at thai restaurants.

If you haven’t, you are in for a delicious treat. Pad Thai, according to Wikipedia, is a stir-fried rice noodle dish commonly served as a street food and at casual local eateries in Thailand.

It is made with soaked dried rice noodles which are stir-fried with eggs and chopped firm tofu, fish sauce, dried shrimp, garlic or shallots, red chili pepper and palm sugar. It is then served up with with lime wedges and often chopped roasted peanuts.

Pad Thai With Sriracha and Peanuts

 

Pad Thai Recipe (Gluten Free)

If you have made fried rice at home, you will understand the concept of adding veggies and then scrambling eggs to your dish.

If you lack the coordination to scramble the eggs on one side of the pan and keeping your cooked veggies on the other, you can simply remove the veggies and scramble them separately.

While I love the delicateness of the rice noodle, I prefer a more linguine-style noodle in this dish to balance the lightness of the shrimp and because these hold up well to a lot of reheating.

I rely on Tinkyada noodles to create this dish because their texture happens to be my favorite in the gluten-free pasta world. You are looking for the Fettucini Style Pad Thai Noodles at your grocery store.

Here are a few commonly asked questions about this dish!

Pad Thai

Are soy sauce and fish sauce gluten-free?

Be sure that you are using a gluten-free soy sauce and fish sauce.

Personally, I rely upon the La Choy Lite Soy Sauce as my soy sauce substitute, but there are reports that some people have a reaction to this. I have not, but be sure to do your own research on what product will fit your gluten-free needs best.

If I don’t want to make the sauce, do they sell prepared pad thai sauce?

You can definitely purchase a prepared sauce, but be sure to read the label if you need a gluten-free pad thai sauce.

I don’t like shrimp, what other options can I put in my pad thai?

You definitely don’t need to put shrimp in your pad thai.

This is one of those recipes that you can customize with what’s leftover in your fridge (proteins or veggies) and what sounds good to you.

Feel free to switch it with chicken, tofu, bell peppers, carrots, extra garlic, chives, or anything else that you need to use up or are craving.

I prefer a peanut sauce. Do you have any recommendations?

The addition of peanut butter always makes everything better, doesn’t it? Check out this sauce for another fun option.

I love these peanut ginger chicken noodles for a different spin on an asian noodle recipe.

The best part about that recipe is that they are delicious hot, cold, or room temperature.

Pad Thai

What are some fun toppings for pad thai?

The fun part about sharing this with your family and friends is that you can also create a variety of toppings so everyone can personalize their dish. I love roasted chopped peanuts, sriracha, fresh limes, and cilantro on mine.

I hope you love this dish as much as we did and can enjoy this during the Lent season…or any season, really! We polished this dish off in no time at all and I can’t wait to make it again. Thanks to these sturdy noodles, the dish reheats beautifully and can be eaten for your lunches or a late night snack!

Gluten-Free Pad Thai With Shrimp
Author: 
Recipe type: Main
Cuisine: Thai
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 6
 
Did you know you can make this takeout favorite at home? Try my gluten-free pad thai recipe for an easy weeknight dinner at home that your whole family will love!
Ingredients
  • 1 package (14 ounces) Tinkyada Brown Rice Pad Thai Noodles⅓ cup fresh lime juice
  • ⅓ cup water
  • 3 tablespoons packed brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons gluten-free fish sauce
  • 3 tablespoons gluten-free soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon rice vinegar or white vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 8 ounces mushrooms
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 12 oz frozen peeled deveined medium shrimp, thawed (raw not cooked)
  • Sriracha Sauce (to taste)
  • ¼ cup finely chopped dry-roasted peanuts
  • ¼ cup firmly packed cilantro leaves
  • Lime wedges and chopped green onions for garnish (optional)
Instructions
  1. Bring a large pot of water to boil.
  2. Cook the noodles, in boiling water, as directed on package.
  3. After they are done cooking, drain and rinse with cool water; set aside.
  4. Meanwhile, in small bowl, stir lime juice, ⅓ cup water, the brown sugar, fish sauce, soy sauce, vinegar, and 1 tablespoon of the oil until well mixed; set aside.
  5. In nonstick wok or 12-inch nonstick skillet, heat remaining 2 tablespoons vegetable oil over medium high heat. Cook shrimp for approximately three minutes and remove from pan; set aside.
  6. Next cook mushrooms and then set aside.
  7. Using the same oil, cook garlic for about 30 seconds, stirring constantly, until starting to brown. Add eggs. Cook about 2 minutes, stirring gently and constantly, until scrambled but still moist.
  8. Stir in noodles and lime juice mixture. Increase heat to high. Cook about 1 minute, tossing constantly with 2 wooden spoons, until sauce begins to thicken.
  9. Add remaining ingredients except cilantro. Cook 2 to 3 minutes, tossing with 2 wooden spoons, until noodles are tender.
  10. Place on serving platter. Sprinkle with cilantro and garnish with additional chopped dry-roasted peanuts, and lime wedges.

 Recipe Adapted from Betty Crocker 

As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

Love this recipe? Check out our other favorite meat-free and seafood dinner ideas!

Shrimp Scampi Recipe Header gluten-free shrimp scampi

Shrimp Fried Rice Recipe from MomAdvice.com shrimp fried rice

10 Minute Fish Tacos Recipe Header

10 minute fish tacos

Happy cooking!

gluten-free pad thai recipe

 

How to Spray Paint Furniture

Wednesday, January 22nd, 2020

How to Spray Paint Furniture Header

Some of my absolute favorite transformations in our home have come from simple paint – it’s amazing the difference it can make! Spray paint dries quickly and creates a beautiful satin finish. Check out this picture tutorial on how to get that high gloss look with a touch of antique glazing.

Painting furniture can be time consuming that is why I have fallen in love with spray painting my furniture to get a fresh new look with a small time investment.

Today I am going to show you how to spray paint your furniture to give an old piece in your home a new lease on life with just spray paint and an easy antiquing and distressing technique.

How to Spray Paint Furniture Paint

Choosing a spray paint can be a lot of fun!

For this project I chose the Rust-Oleum American Accents Ultra Cover 2X paint.

The thing that makes this paint special is that it can cover twice the square footage of other general purpose spray paints.

This new paint contains 44% more solids which creates a higher performance than other paints and gives you better coverage with fewer passes.

What makes the paint economical is that one can performs like two cans, so it saves you time and money.

The price also fits nicely into a DIY’ers budget at a mere $3.87 per can

How_To_Spray_Paint_Furniture_1
I love this corner in our office, but have not loved this side table for many years.

These chairs are so fun, but the table added no personality to this corner. I had planned to donate it to Goodwill, but I wondered if I could give this piece a spray paint face lift that would reflect this fun space.

I decided to give the table a makeover with a little spray paint and antiquing.

Check out my video tutorial and picture tutorial for spray painting wood furniture below.

 

How to Spray Paint Furniture

Supplies Needed to Spray Paint Furniture


Spray Paint Primer (gray if doing a dark color or white if doing a light color)

1-2 Cans Rust-Oleum American Accents Ultra Cover 2X, any shade (I am using Moss Green)- make sure the one you choose is a spray paint for wood

Rust-Oleum Standard Spray Grip

Rust-Oleum Decorative Glaze in Java Brown

Sander

Sand Paper

Rags

Hardware (optional) or spray paint to paint it

Spray Painting Furniture Paint Supplies

 

How to Spray Paint Your Furniture

To begin, prepare your surface by wiping the entire piece down with a clean cloth. Disassemble any drawers and hardware to prepare it for painting.

How to Spray Paint Furniture Sanding

How to Spray Paint Furniture Sanding

How to Spray Paint Furniture Sanding Next, give the entire piece a good sanding to smooth out any imperfections. Sand any edges with a piece of sandpaper and use a sander to smooth the top of your piece. IT is important to take your time when you sand your furniture, so you have a great base for painting.

Once the piece is fully sanded, wipe it down with a damp cloth to prepare it for priming.

How to Spray Paint Furniture Invert Piece

To help prevent drips and to make sure we get into every crevice of this piece with paint, we are going to start with our piece INVERTED.

I promise, it is going to help the painting process go so much smoother than if you start with it upright.

How to Spray Paint Furniture Priming

Starting with your piece inverted, begin spray painting it with your primer. Be sure to be in a well ventilated area and give your primer a good shake to begin priming your surface well.

Hold your can 8 inches away from your surface and spray your primer in a sweeping motion side to side with a slight overlap. Allow the primer to dry for one hour.

How to Spray Paint Furniture Priming

How to Spray Paint Furniture Priming

Put the piece right side up and finish priming the top. Allow the primer to dry for one hour.

How to Spray Paint Furniture Painting

How to Spray Paint Furniture Painting

How to Spray Paint Furniture Paint Drying

Repeat the same process with your choice of Rust-Oleum American Accents Ultra Cover 2X in your favorite shade. Once the piece is fully painted, allow it to dry overnight before glazing.

How to Spray Paint Furniture Distressing

How to Spray Paint Furniture Distressing

How to Spray Paint Furniture Distressing

Using a coarse sandpaper, begin roughing up the edges on your piece to create a more antique look. Be sure to distress those edges so your antique glaze has somewhere to go!

How to Spray Paint Furniture Antique Glazing

How to Spray Paint Furniture Antiquing

How to Spray Paint Furniture Antique Glaze

How to Spray Paint Furniture

Using a clean rag, dip your rag in your glaze and then begin applying in a circular motion to your piece.

With a clean and damp cloth, remove as much of the glaze as you would like. I again, removed this in a circular motion from the piece until it added a hint of variation to the piece, but didn’t look sponged.

How to Spray Paint Furniture Hardware

How to Spray Paint Furniture Hardware

If you desire, you can spray paint your hardware. As you know hardware can be expensive to replace and sometimes older pieces have more custom fitting hardware so spray paint can be a great way to freshen it up.

We chose to replace the wooden handle with a black hardware piece and then spray painted the old gold accessories black with a can I had in my craft supplies.

How to Spray Paint Furniture Hardware Black

How to Spray Paint Furniture Hardware Black

We have spray painted many a handle in our home and you would never know it wasn’t that color originally.

Be sure to let this FULLY DRY before you slide those drawers back in!
How to Spray Paint Furniture

How to Spray Paint Furniture

How to Spray Paint Furniture

How to Spray Paint Furniture

How to Spray Paint Furniture

Here is my finished piece.

I am so darn proud of it and love how vintage this piece looks thanks to the glazing and sanding process that I did on it.

In full disclosure, there were some missteps along the way.

How to Spray Paint Furniture

Temperature Changes Effect Spray Paint

If you live in Indiana, you know that the drops and changes in temperature can be quite dramatic and that is just what happened when I painted this.

I put a final coat on my perfect table before I went to bed and woke up to a table and drawers that had bubbled in the night.

Try to pick a time of day when the temperature is warmer and will hold steady (nothing below fifty degrees) to prevent bubbling of paint.

I used the advice provided by Kate, at Centsational Girl, on what to do if your spray paint bubbles and it worked like a charm.

Shake Your Spray Paint Can Well

Having that handy trigger on the spray paint makes it easy to paint quickly, but I forgot to shake the can every so often to keep my paint looking even and glossy.

You definitely will want to make sure you shake it very well at the beginning, and shake it every so often when painting with it.

Who Knew You Needed to Be So Tidy?

Make sure after sanding that you really have a nice clear surface to begin your painting, otherwise you will have a crummy surface…literally.

The same can be said for choosing a nice clean rag when doing glazing and keeping the piece as clean as you can, which is super difficult if you are in your filthy garage like me!

Distressing Can Hide Flaws

Distressing the piece more not only helped me minimize the bubbles, but it also added character to the piece.

For my first spray painted furniture piece, I would definitely recommend it the first time to help you get the hang of how to paint with spray paint.

Practice Makes Perfect

This piece isn’t my best work, but I love it in spite of its flaws.

As with all skills, it takes a little practice to get the hang of spray painting furniture.

Even though I struggled a bit with my first project, I can’t wait to paint my record cabinet in our office next in the same shade and now I know what to do and what NOT to do when it comes to spray painting my furniture.

How to Spray Paint Furniture

How to Spray Paint Furniture

How to Spray Paint Furniture

 

What a difference a day makes?

Isn’t she lovely?

She has certainly brightened up this corner of our home!

I highly recommend giving this new paint a try!

Fast coverage and an inexpensive way to add a pop of color in your home!

As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

This post contains affiliate links.

Looking for more ways to refresh your living space?

Check out these other great DIY projects for your home!

 

How to Paint a Kitchen Table

How To Paint a Kitchen Table

 

How to Stain Furniture

How To Easily Stain Wood Furniture

 

How to Reupholster Chairs

 

Happy painting, friends!

How to Spray Paint Furniture

How to Spray Paint Furniture Antique Glazing

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Easy Cupcake Liner Holiday Trees

Tuesday, January 21st, 2020

Try this easy DIY with simple styrofoam floral cones and your favorite patterned cupcake liner for ruffles. While this craft is showcasing a Valentine’s Day tree, you can make these for ANY holiday!

Valentine’s Day is one of those tricky holidays that can quickly become awfully cheesy. Although we don’t do a lot of decorating, these cupcake liner trees have a way of making it into our decorating every year.

I thought it would be fun to share this craft with you today because it is such an affordable one that would be perfect to do with your family to celebrate the season.

If you have a mantle or coffee table that could use some festive décor, then you will love this easy and inexpensive project.

What I love about projects like this is that it is such an easy template to follow with so many other holidays. Decorate these foam tree trunks and turn them into Christmas trees, St. Patrick’s Day trees, Easter trees, birthday trees, or whatever else your heart desires.

Can I get a Mom’s Day Off tree to put out so I can get a break?

All you need are $10 in materials and you will have two festive trees in less than thirty minutes. Now that is a craft that I can get behind.

Best of all?

This one is SO EASY that it is a fun one to do with your kids each year. Whether you are on the hunt for Valentine’s Day or a Christmas craft, this one checks all the boxes.

Let’s get started!

Cupcake Liner Holiday Trees

Easy Cupcake Liner Holiday Trees Supplies

 

Supplies List:

2- 3-7/8 x 8-7/8 inch Styrofoam floral cones

2- 3-7/8 x 11-7/8 inch Styrofoam floral cones

Printed Cupcake Liners (holiday cupcake liners in one color or you can do layers of alternating colors and patterns)

Straight Pins

Scissors

Festive floral pick (I split one between two trees)

Directions for Holiday Cupcake Liner Trees:

Easy Cupcake Liner Holiday Trees Supplies

Cutting Edges Off Cupcake Liners

Cupcake Liner Edges Cut for Tree Remove one cupcake liner from your package and cut off the ruffled edge. For the small trees, you will need 12 ruffled edges and for the larger trees you will need 14-16 ruffled edges.

Attaching Cupcake Liners

Attaching Cupcake Liners Starting from the bottom of your tree, attach a ruffle and pin into place. For the base of the tree, you will be overlapping two ruffled edges to cover the base. Make sure that you secure the pins right at the top of the ruffle so they do not show.

Ruffling the Cupcake Liner Trees

cupcake liners to the top of tree

Repeat the ruffling until you have reached almost the top of the base, leaving just the tip of the base exposed.

attaching top cupcake liner to tree

finishing the top of a cupcake liner tree

scrunching cupcake liner down on tree

Now it is time to finish the top of your tree. Using a full cupcake liner, place it on top and press down to shape it on the top of the tree.

final ruffle on cupcake liner tree

Add an additional ruffle (with no top) around the outside and then pin into place with a pink or red pin.

valentine's day floral picks for top

Finish with a Valentine’s Day floral pick (or a holiday floral pick of your choosing to match your theme). You can now display these on your mantle or place on a cake stand or tray for a unique addition to a coffee table.

Easy Cupcake Liner Holiday Trees

Easy Cupcake Liner Holiday Trees

Easy Cupcake Liner Holiday Trees

I hope you can diy this easy craft and add a little Valentine’s Day festivity to your home. I plan to get these out every Valentine’s Day, they are just that cute!

As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

Love these holiday cupcake liner trees? Here are a few other great craft projects we think you will like!

DIY String Art Pattern Free Heart Template Header diy string art with free heart template

The Easiest Burlap Wreath You Will Ever Make from MomAdvice.com the easiest burlap wreath you’ll ever make

7 Easy Scarves and Cowls to Knit from MomAdvice.com 7 scarves and cowls to knit (free patterns)

DIY Chunky Knit Blanket from MomAdvice.com diy an affordable chunky knit hygge blanket

Happy crafting, friends!

Easy Cupcake Liner Holiday Trees

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DIY Roll-Up Jigsaw Puzzle Mat (Video)

Wednesday, January 15th, 2020

DIY Roll-Up Puzzle Mat from MomAdvice.com

 

This no-sew felt puzzle mat is the perfect foundation to build your puzzles on, allowing you to relocate your puzzle when you need to. Check out this fun DIY in honor of National Puzzle Day! 

This post was created in partnership with Waverly Inspirations. Thank you for supporting the companies that support our site! 

What shows your love for someone more than something handmade by you?

Today I am sharing a tutorial for an easy no-sew DIY Roll-Up Jigsaw Puzzle Mat that I created for my family.

This mat makes it easy to relocate your puzzle projects when you need to use your table and it’s made with just a few inexpensive materials!

Are you addicted to jigsaw puzzles like us?

My kids are at a fun age right now where we are really enjoying playing board games and assembling puzzles together.

Right now we are tackling 1,000 piece puzzles which feels so ADULT. We haven’t had the courage to go beyond that size yet, but I’m sure we will get there.

Even after our kids have headed to bed, the hubby and I spend time together listening to podcasts or good music, while piecing together puzzles. I find it be quite therapeutic after sitting in front of a screen all day. It helps me decompress in the evening while giving my brain a break from my to-do lists.

To maximize our jigsaw puzzle collection, a couple friends and I trade puzzles after we finish them which has been great because we always have something to work on, while keeping it rather frugal in the process.

Trading puzzles has been a great way to keep our collection fresh and continue to keep our kids interested in putting these together with us.

My only gripe with puzzles is where to relocate them when we need to eat at the table.

We also happen to have a, “helper,” in our house who likes to flip puzzle pieces when her mother is ignoring her (we love you, Lulu the Cat!). I thought a mat might be a great way to discourage our helper and could be a quick way to clear the table for the dinner hour!

Let’s create this easy no-sew roll-up jigsaw puzzle mat!

DIY Puzzle Mat from MomAdvice.com

DIY Roll-Up Jigsaw Puzzle Mat Tutorial

 

DIY Roll-Up Jigsaw Puzzle Mat from MomAdvice.com

Supplies Needed (all of these supplies can be found at Walmart!)

1 yard of Waverly Inspirations Fabric  (check out the fresh new Valentine’s Day prints,  I picked a classic pink gingham!)

1 yard of felt fabric (any coordinating color)

1 package of Waverly Inspirations Ribbon (any coordinating color)

Cardboard tube (you can use a durable mailing tube, gift wrap roll, or even use plastic PVC pipe)

Razor blade (if cutting to size)

Hemming Tape or fabric glue

Scissors

Waverly Chalk Paint in a coordinating color  and paint brush (optional, but you can paint the cardboard roll to coordinate- I decided to leave mine in its natural state!)

PUZZLES!! (check out my suggestions below for a few of our faves!)


 

How to Make a DIY Jigsaw Puzzle Mat

DIY Roll-Up Jigsaw Puzzle Mat from MomAdvice.com

1. Much like our reversible seat cushion project, we are going to begin by lining up the two fabrics with the right-side of the fabric facing INSIDE towards each other. That means the wrong sides will be facing out!

Trim your fabric and felt to the same size.

Remember, this mat can be ANY size that you want.

If you want it be the size of your kitchen table, for example, measure that first and use this as your guide for creating your mat. I created a generous mat for our large puzzles!

DIY Roll-Up Jigsaw Puzzle Mat from MomAdvice.com

2. Once your fabric has been trimmed, use your fabric tape and line all the sides , making sure to leave an opening so that you can turn the mat out once you have sealed all the seams.

Using a very hot iron, carefully and slowly, begin ironing to seal the seam (you can see another example of what sealing this seam looks like over here!).

Typically doing this requires pinning, but I did find that the felt held the tape in place and made it an easy project to do without pinning.

Do this along all the sides (make sure you left that opening to turn it out!!) until the two pieces are fused together.

Carefully, turn the right sides out and then finish by sealing that last opening with fabric tape or a little fabric glue.

DIY Roll-Up Jigsaw Puzzle Mat from MomAdvice.com

3. Trim your cardboard tube to the length of your finished mat.

If you want to paint this, you can! I finished each end with a little tied ribbon that can be used to tie the entire mat up when we are storing it.

DIY Roll-Up Jigsaw Puzzle Mat from MomAdvice.com

DIY Roll-Up Jigsaw Puzzle Mat from MomAdvice.com

DIY Roll-Up Jigsaw Puzzle Mat from MomAdvice.com

DIY Roll-Up Jigsaw Puzzle Mat from MomAdvice.com DIY Roll-Up Jigsaw Puzzle Mat from MomAdvice.com

DIY Roll-Up Jigsaw Puzzle Mat from MomAdvice.com

As you can see, you can roll up those puzzles (take your time and roll carefully!) when not in use.

Please keep in mind, it is not recommended for  long-term storage since it can damage your puzzle pieces, but it is recommended for a quick relocation so you can use your table when you need it.

I am so excited to break this in and I’m guessing it is going to be a smart item to take when we rent our summer cottages too!

Looking for a few great jigsaw puzzles? Here are a few of my favorites!

I had one of those puzzle

great classic books puzzle

story time puzzle

nancy drew puzzle

harry potter puzzle

nevertheless she persisted puzzle

harry potter puzzle

 

video games collection puzzle

old bookstore puzzle

color me puzzle

 

 

 

PS- Seriously, start a puzzle exchange with your friends. You won’t regret it!

Looking for ways to store those jigsaw puzzles? This strategy works so well at our house!

Happy crafting!!

diy-jigsaw-puzzle-mat-9

Do you want more craft inspiration from Waverly? Try these!

DIY No-Sew Reversible Chair Cushions

Fabric Wreath & Matching Garland

Fabric Bulletin Board Tutorial

Painting Pumpkins With Acrylic Paints

DIY No-Sew Hand Warmers

DIY Ottoman Serving Tray

15-Minute Scrappy Fabric Trees

Kid Craft: Easy Technique for Painting Gift Wrap

DIY Phone Charging Station

This post was created in partnership with Waverly Inspirations. Thank you for supporting the companies that support our site! 

DIY Roll-up Puzzle Mat

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How to Make a Homeless Care Package (Free Printable Supplies List)

Tuesday, December 10th, 2019

How to Make Homeless Care Packages from MomAdvice.com

Blessing bags for the homeless are such a beautiful act of kindness for those in need. Today’s post will show you how to make homeless kits for those in need. These hygiene kits are handy to keep in your car, for those that live on the street, or can be given as gift bags for your local homeless shelter. Be sure to print out our free printable supplies list for your homeless care kit.

One thing that you may not know about our family is that we are really passionate about caring for the homeless.

Creating a homeless care package (also known as a Blessing Bag) can be one fantastic way that your entire family can be involved in caring for those in need.

Today we want to provide a checklist of supplies for the homeless bags, a local resources sheet you can print out (if you are in our area), and some tips for involving the whole family in this project.

After all, homeless gift bags are a great idea to help teach your children kindness.

These homeless packs have been replicated by so many people and are the perfect activity for volunteer organizations you may be part of.

By involving others, you can alleviate some of the expenses by asking everyone to bring the materials to craft these bags.

Distribute the list and allow each attendee to bring travel size items, food, socks or bags to help the homeless in your area.

How to Make Homeless Care Packages from MomAdvice.com

I also appreciate that these homeless care packages can be prepared for your local shelters or kept tucked away in the trunk of your car for those you may see on the street looking for your help.

I love feeling armed in these situations and these kits are a simple way to show how much you care.

Over the past couple of years, I have also had the opportunity to work at our local food bank and food pantry. What many people don’t realize is that many of these items cannot be purchased using food stamps.

Items that are not food (like toothpaste, paper products, deodorant, shampoo, toothbrushes, etc…) are not eligible and that is why these items are often in high demand at church community pantries.

It is why these are the items that I choose to donate to our shelter each year.

How to Make a Homeless Care Package from MomAdvice.com

I wouldn’t be truthful if I didn’t tell you that my husband inspires me every day with his giving heart. Last winter, he was coming home late from work because he would see people in need and run to stores to get them supplies and gift cards.

That is his heart.

That is why I love him.

If there is one thing I firmly believe in, it is that giving should be a family affair.

We have to lead our children by our example.

I want my children to remember that what made our family special is that we always gave with our whole hearts.

My kids assisted in every aspect of this project.

My son came with me and did the number crunching on a good old-fashioned calculator, my daughter helped sort and organize all of the items we bought, and both kids helped fill the bags with all of the necessary items.

Here Are My 3 Essential Elements to a Great Homeless Care Package

Feed Their Needs

One of the greatest gifts you can give to someone who is homeless is personal hygiene items and food to nourish their bodies.

Begin by picking up items that will satisfy this area in their life first.

Simple items like shampoo, a razor, hand sanitizer, baby wipes, deodorant, a toothbrush, toothpaste, a comb, a bar of soap, and tissues are all great items to keep on hand.

Food like granola bars, crackers with peanut butter, beef jerky, trail mixes, dried fruits, and a bottle of water are also great items to tuck into your bags.

If you have the funds, small denominator gift cards (we did $5 Walmart gift cards) can also be great to give so that they can pick up a meal or item(s) they might need.

How to Make Homeless Care Packages from MomAdvice.com

Provide Warmth

We live in Indiana and the winters here are brutal for homeless people.

I can’t imagine how cold it would be to stand on the streets without the proper items

I need for warmth.

Add items like thermal boot socks, gloves, scarves, and hats to your gift bags.

Items like these may seem out of your financial reach, but I found all of these at the dollar store and the sets of gloves were a mere $.50 each.

Feed Their Souls

I am sure it goes without saying, but feeding someone’s soul is just as important as feeding their needs.

You can feed their souls in a variety of ways depending on your families beliefs and resources.

We created a local resources list (available for local residents to download) that they can tap into for further resources in our town.

A note that lets them know that they are on your prayer list, a note of encouragement by your children, or a scripture that you find comforting can also be excellent additions.

If these are not enough ideas, I encourage you to spend a bit of time browsing through the comments on this post.

Many people regularly volunteer at their shelters and food banks and have some great ideas to help.

Please also know, that we are real people (sometimes that doesn’t seem that way on the website, am I right?) and we did OUR personal best to put these together so we appreciate your KIND words on this post and definitely encourage you to share your own must-have items in a care package while being respectful of others in these comment threads.

How Do I Order My Homeless Care Package Supplies in Bulk?

Did you know that you can purchase items from Dollar Tree IN BULK.

Looking to save even more? Consider using this incredible rebates app to get cash back on ALL your holiday purchases.

We were able to place a bulk order with Dollar Tree and pick up the items we needed for these kits from our local store.

Don’t have room in your car?

No worries!

They can ship all the items directly to you.

How cool is that?

What Our Readers Suggest Adding to Your Hygiene Kits for the Homeless

I love seeing what contributions YOU recommend for these packs! Here are some of my favorites you shared!

“My husband and I travel a lot when he’s working on contract.

I save all the little complimentary shampoos, conditions, soaps, etc and when I have quite a few saved, I sew up pretty drawstring bags, divide the items I’ve save between the bags and then donate them to our local women’s shelter.

I’ve also started adding toothpastes and toothbrushes that I purchase to the bags.

Many times women arrive with nothing but the clothes on their back and this way they can be given their own personal care kit. I make each bag different so that they don’t feel like they are getting something that is assembly line, but something that was made just for them.”

“Many homeless also have dogs.

Perhaps you could add some things like treats, small pouches or pop-top cans of food, grooming supplies and toys.

And with the winter months coming, both owner and pet need to stay warm and dry…some large trash bags to put on the ground to keep from getting wet and even colder.

And I have seen fleece throws just recently at Walmart for like $2!”

“I currently make and deliver hot chocolate to a few homeless people I see on my way home from work (I work in downtown Chicago) and I pass out cold cans of pop in the summer.

I also make plates of food from leftovers after work luncheons and pass them out after work. (I don’t consider this stealing because I know that by 4:30 anything left in the kitchen will be thrown away.) I

know it isn’t not much, It won’t make a huge difference in the world, but it might make a world of difference to the person I’m helping.

Thanks for the list. I’m glad to see there are others out there who are concerned for the homeless and actually do something about it.

I hope the care package(s) I pass out, make the receiver(s) feel loved, thought of and cared for.”

“This is a wonderful idea! I got so excited when I saw this-I immediately began to think of other items that might be added, such a bar of soap or bottle of body wash, plastic glass and mug, plastic cutlery and plate, tissues, pen and notebook, small clock, personal wipes, instant oatmeal packets, instant soup packets, hot chocolate packets, instant noodle packets, towel, facecloth, thermal blanket, and in the summer, a sun hat, sunscreen, inexpensive umbrella and a fly swatter!

Many of these things can be found on sale, at Walmart, and the dollar store. They don’t have to be bought all at once and do lend themselves as a project for a family, like yourselves, or amongst a group of friends, a Sunday School class, a school class or a Brownie troop.”

“You might also check with your school district if they have children.

All our local schools have a homeless liaison who works to get food, clothing and housing for homeless families.”

“I regularly carry around coupon books from various restaurants, but this goes even further.”

“As truck drivers, my husband and I see many people standing on the exit ramps of the interstate highways.

We give ziplock bags with toiletries, (in a separate bag) and foods like you mentioned, plus single serve packages of oatmeal, grits, hot cocoa, ect. I add pack of sugar, jelly, peanut butter, plasticware, napkins, whatever we get from the take out and fast food restaurants.

I also pick up dollar store gloves, hats, socks, ect. We have added stamped postcards, Christmas cards and candy canes in season.

Notepads and pens are welcomed as are throws we get at thrift stores.

We were giving the gift books from the fast food places, but now they’ve gone to gift cards.

Chapstick is a good idea, as are deodorants, comb, sanitary items for the women, (yes, we see homeless women and children too).

We give small toys, stickers and tattoos for the kids. We stay in motels a lot and always ask housekeeping for extras.”

“I love this post. I am in the middle of coordinating a SOCKS party here in Nashville.

We are getting the big, thermal socks, and filling them with different items for the homeless.

We’ve been fortunate to have my dentist donate the toothpaste and floss, and McDonald’s donated 1,000 Cards for a free dollar menu item.

We also have tons of shampoo, conditioner, and soaps from hotels.

We’ll stuff it with snacks, hand warmers, and other items (many on your list).

We are getting together for our SOCK party and letting the kids stuff the socks and make the tags, which will say “I care”.

The kids are excited and I love what it’s teaching them. Thanks for inspiring others to give back!”

Aren’t my readers incredible? Just think of the possibilities with this one!

God has been so good to us, but 10 years ago we were in a very different place than where we are now.

My husband was unemployed for almost an entire year, our financial situation was a house of cards, and my heart was in a bad place.

Although I don’t like to admit it, I wondered what my purpose on this earth even was.

I never have forgotten that dark place and it is why we still try to be so careful with the resources we have been given and why I have such a tender place in my heart for those who are struggling.

If you would like to read more about it, I encourage you to read my book where I share how we recovered from this difficult financial period in our life.

Being careful though doesn’t mean that you can’t be a giver.

There are fantastic ways to give, both big and small, around the holidays.

Be sure to check our list of ten painless ways to give back to charities to help you get started.

I call these smaller ways to give the, “scraps of life giving.” I have talked a lot about that with my partnership with Pure Charity as well!

We want to help you give back to your community! Here are some resources to do just that!

Grab our Free Homeless Supply Checklist for your your care packages.

Don’t just click on the picture, head to this link to grab a full-size PDF version!

Grab our Local Resources List for your care packages (if you don’t live in Michiana, you can use this as a template for your own sheet)! Don’t just click on the picture, head to this link to grab a full-size PDF version!

Looking for more great ways to give back? Here are a few other great ideas!

diy no sew hand warmers

cabled ear warmer pattern diy cabled ear warmers

diy chunky knit blanket pattern

How do you give back in your community? How do you teach your kids to be givers?

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this post contains affiliate links.

How to Make a Homeless Care Package from MomAdvice.com

How to Make Homeless Care Packages from MomAdvice.com

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Overnight Slow Cooker Apple Cinnamon Steel Cut Oatmeal

Thursday, November 21st, 2019

Overnight Slow Cooker Apple Cinnamon Steel Cut Oatmeal from MomAdvice.com Apple season is one of my favorite produce seasons and one of my favorite snacks. Try this slow cooked honeycrisp apple oatmeal that you are going to love for a warm and satisfying breakfast on chilly fall mornings. The best part about all of this though, is my incredible tip for getting creamy oats that won’t burn or stick to your slow cooker.

Have you tried cooking steel cut oats in your slow cooker yet?

Today I wanted to share some tips for making the perfect overnight crock pot apple cinnamon oatmeal for the perfect fall breakfast for entertaining or just for a healthy way to start your day.

I love steel cut oatmeal, but it takes a LONG time to create steel cut oats. Not only that, oatmeal requires constant stirring over medium heat to achieve their best flavor and have a tendency to burn when not monitored.

Today I wanted to share some tips for making steel cut oatmeal in your slow cooker and the one SHOCKING tip for creamier slow cooked oats.

I promise, it’s a game changer.

How to Make Overnight Slow Cooker Apple Cinnamon Steel Cut Oatmeal

Overnight Slow Cooker Apple Cinnamon Steel Cut Oatmeal With Sliced Apples On Top

What’s the Difference Between Steel Cut Oats and Rolled Oats?

Rolled oats and steel cut oats come from the exact same whole cereal grain. The difference is really in how they are processed.

In whole form, they are known as “groats” and both types of oats are separated from their hard outer “hull” for our store shelves.

Here’s where those differences between the two types of oats really come into play. The rolled oats are steamed, to prevent cracking, and then they are rolled through the mill to be flattened.

Steel cut oats are, basically, chopped into pieces rather than going through that process of being flattened.

Overnight Slow Cooker Apple Cinnamon Steel Cut Oatmeal from MomAdvice.com

Are Steel Cut Oats Gluten-Free?

Many of our readers are pursuing that gluten-free life so I’m thrilled to tell you that steel cut oats ARE gluten-free…well, pretty much!

If you are celiac, oats can be processed in factories that are also processing wheat, barley, and rye.

If you are celiac, look for steel cut oatmeal that clearly discloses that on the label to be sure that you are not exposed to any of these allergy triggering ingredients.

Overnight Slow Cooker Apple Cinnamon Steel Cut Oatmeal from MomAdvice.com Overnight Slow Cooker Apple Cinnamon Steel Cut Oatmeal from MomAdvice.com

Do Steel Cut Oats and Rolled Oats Have the Same Nutritional Value?

Did you guys know that I went to school for dietetics?

Questions like this are my love language.

Often, when it comes to discussing processed foods, we immediately have a knee-jerk reaction that it isn’t good for you.

Can we all blame the Whole30 and Paleo movement for this? Hahaha!

Seriously, in MOST cases, processing means that the food has lost its nutritional value, but that is not the case when it comes to steel cut oats and rolled oats.

In fact, steel cut oats, rolled oats, and quick oats all have the SAME nutritional value.

I do find that steel cut holds up better in an overnight dish, but am thankful quick oats offers the same benefits if I need a nutritious breakfast or lunch.

Honeycrisp Apples

What Types of Apples Should I Use For Overnight Oatmeal?

Often when it comes to baking, I reach for a Granny Smith apple.

When researching different varieties of apples that are best to bake with, I discovered that the Honeycrisp Apple and the McIntosh apple were both great varieties to choose when baking.

Overnight Slow Cooker Apple Cinnamon Steel Cut Oatmeal double-boiler method in slow cooker

How Do I Prevent My Slow Cooker Oatmeal From Getting Burnt or Overcooked?

I admit that I have never had good success with overnight oats.

The oats were usually burnt or overcooked and I always had a hard time getting my slow cooker clean after a batch.

That is why I am so excited to share with you this easy technique to create a double boiler right in your slow cooker:

  • Find a oven-proof dish that you can place inside of your slow cooker and spray it well with a little cooking spray.
  • Place your oatmeal ingredients right inside of the dish and then, using a liquid measuring cup, pour water around the dish to create a water bath. It doesn’t need to be really full, just an inch or so.
  • Set your slow cooker to LOW and you will have perfectly creamy oatmeal with no burnt spots every single time.

Overnight Slow Cooker Apple Cinnamon Steel Cut Oatmeal from MomAdvice.com

Once you try this tip, you won’t make your oatmeal ANY OTHER WAY.

I promise you that you will will yield a creamy pot of oats every time.

How Can I Prepare This Apple Cinnamon Steel Cut Oatmeal in My Instant Pot Instead?

I would recommend going to this recipe for details on making steel cut oats in your pressure cooker. I haven’t tested this one out yet, but I’m looking forward to giving it a try!

Slow Cooked Honey Crisp Apple Oatmeal
Author: 
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4
 
This recipe can be personalized according to your family's dietary needs or what variety of apple is on sale at the grocery store. I loved preparing this one with almond milk! Try my technique for creating your own double-boiler to get a creamier oatmeal!
Ingredients
  • 1 cup steel cut oats (NO substitutions)
  • 3½ cups milk (or milk substitute)
  • 1 Honeycrisp apple, diced
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Instructions
  1. Spray your slow cooker with cooking spray or brush with melted coconut oil.
  2. Place the steel cut oats, milk, honeycrisp apple, butter, cinnamon, brown sugar, and vanilla extract into a slow cooker, and stir to combine and dissolve the sugar.
  3. Cover the cooker, set to Low, and allow to cook 6 to 7 hours (for firm oats) or 8 hours (for softer texture).
  4. Top with a little extra brown sugar, milk, or a drizzle of maple syrup.

 

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Looking for more great breakfast ideas? Check out these recipes to inspire your next morning meal!

chicken pesto frittata recipe (so good to make ahead for a big crowd)

sausage & vegetable frittata( great for anyone on a more restricted diet) Easy Sausage & Vegetable Frittata-3

Meal Prep: Breakfast Sandwiches Recipe from MomAdvice.com meal prep these freezer breakfast sandwiches

Make-Ahead Smoothie Packets from MomAdvice.com make these make-ahead smoothie packets for your freezer

Make-Ahead Breakfast Burritos from MomAdvice.com make these breakfast burritos for your freezer

How to Make a Breakfast Bar from MomAdvice.com don’t want a cook? no biggie! try this hack for an easy breakfast bar

Christmas Tree Cinnamon Rolls or just bake a roll of cinnamon rolls and shape into a christmas tree. done.

What are your favorite holiday breakfasts to share with loved ones?

Overnight Slow Cooker Apple Cinnamon Steel Cut Oatmeal from MomAdvice.com Overnight Slow Cooker Apple Cinnamon Steel Cut Oatmeal from MomAdvice.com

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5 Ways to Decorate Store-Bought Pies

Tuesday, November 19th, 2019

5 Ways to Decorate Store-Bought Pies from MomAdvice.com.

Need a quick and easy dessert for your holiday dinner? Just pick up a store-bought pie and dress it up with these great and simple ideas! These small hacks will make your pie look and taste homemade!

 

The holiday preparation continues this week on the blog.

Today I want to showcase 5 easy ways to decorate store-bought pies for the holidays.

Supermarket pies can still look beautiful and will taste even better with my ideas for some fun toppings and additions.

Although we have a fantastic pumpkin pie recipe on here and even a step-by-step picture tutorial for making the perfect pie crust, I know that many of us just don’t have the desire to tackle pie baking.

This post is especially for you and I hope you can create a swoon-worthy dessert table that will leave people guessing if you made those pies or not.

 

Spiced Whipped Cream

 

Add a Delicious Homemade Topping

Although your pie may not be homemade, your toppings can really stand out with just a few simple ingredients that will add a lot of flavor to your pie.

One of my favorite toppings is a Spiced Whipped Cream that gets its hint of spices from ground cinnamon, ground ginger, and a little sugar. It is the perfect accompaniment to your store-bought pumpkin or pecan pies for the holidays.

 

Cranberry Crunch Pie Topping

 

Another idea for layering on the flavors is to add texture through a fun crunchy pie topping.

One of our favorites that I created for our pies last year was an easy Cranberry Crunch Pie Topping made from amaretto cookies and fresh cranberries.

 

5 Ways to Decorate Store-Bought Pies from MomAdvice.com.

 

Add Unique Details

One of the greatest tools that I got for my holiday baking this past year was a set of piecrust cutters that I found on Williams Sonoma.

Not only are these great tools to keep handy for masking any flaws on your homemade crusts, but they can double as a great detail to adorn store-bought pies.

 

5 Ways to Decorate Store-Bought Pies from MomAdvice.com.

 

Purchase pie crust from the refrigerated section of the store and then roll out on a lightly floured surface.

Dip your cutters in a little flour and then push down and press these cutters to create your shape.

Bake these adorable details in a 400 degree oven for 6-8 minutes on a parchment lined cookie sheet.

Allow these to cool and then decorate the tops of your pies with these.

These little details are also so pretty to sprinkle on your dessert table and add that extra festive touch.

 

5 Ways to Decorate Store-Bought Pies from MomAdvice.com.

 

 

5 Ways to Decorate Store-Bought Pies from MomAdvice.com.

 

Make a Mini Pie Spread

When I spotted these adorable mini pies in the bakery section of our local Walmart, I knew this would be another fun spin on pies to try for the holidays.

These mini pies are less than $1 each and come in a variety of flavors year-round.

For smaller families, these store-bought pies offer the perfect serving size and give everyone exactly what they love the most.

Adorn these with the smaller size pastry cutouts and add a bowl of spiced whipped cream in the center so that everyone can create their own pie experience.

 

5 Ways to Decorate Store-Bought Pies from MomAdvice.com.

 

5 Ways to Decorate Store-Bought Pies from MomAdvice.com.

 

 

5 Ways to Decorate Store-Bought Pies from MomAdvice.com.

 

Give the Gift of Pie

One of my favorite things to give as a hostess gift is a sweet treat for their hospitality.

Nothing is sweeter than a little individual treat just for me after entertaining, at least that is my opinion, and one of my favorite gifts to give happens to be my little peppermint cheesecakes in a jar.

If you are short on time though, consider purchasing these mini pies as hostess gifts for the holidays.

Dress it simply in some festive ribbon and tie a bow around it to create a sweet little gift to give for the holidays.

At less than $1 each, these are a sweet way to say thank you without spending a lot.

 

5 Ways to Decorate Store-Bought Pies from MomAdvice.com.

 

Create a Beautiful Display

I love that when I posted a picture of this pie display on Instagram & Facebook that people were asking if this was even real.

I think it really goes to show that with a few easy details and staging, you can take store-bought pies to another level.

With this display I used mismatched cake stands in varying heights to create a display.

Don’t be afraid to drape a cloth napkin over a stand to make it cohesive or even create a stand out of a teacup and plate and cover it with the cloth napkin, if you are short on serving pieces.

If you have multiple dishes out, consider adding these cute chalkboard label frames to help people navigate the dessert table.

Sprinkle pastry cutouts along the tablecloth to decorate the display and pull in leaves, bare branches, or create a unique centerpiece like I did this year to add some color to the table.

I hope these ideas are inspiring and that you will find a new way to love store-bought pies this year with these creative details!

 Oh, and enjoy all that free time you have now that you aren’t baking this year.

Winning!

 

Don’t miss this series on how to make your Thanksgiving dinner ahead of time and freeze the meal!:

 

make-ahead mashed potatoes from MomAdvice.com

Make-Ahead Mashed Potatoes

 

 

 

Ultimate Make-Ahead Gravy Recipe from MomAdvice.com

Make-Ahead Gravy Recipe

 

 

 

Make-Ahead Cranberry Sauce from MomAdvice.com

Make-Ahead Brandied Orange Cranberry Sauce

 

 

 

Make-Ahead Green Bean Casserole from MomAdvice.com

Make-Ahead Gluten Free Green Bean Casserole

 

 

Bacon, Apple, and Cornbread Stuffing from MomAdvice.com

Make-Ahead Gluten Free Bacon & Apple Cornbread Stuffing

 

 

 

Buttery Dinner Rolls in the Bread Machine from MomAdvice.com

Buttery Bread Machine Dinner Rolls

 

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Dress Up Store Bought Pies MomAdvice.com

 

Other great Thanksgiving ideas from MomAdvice:

 

Centerpiece for all seasons MomAdvice.com

DIY Table Runner for All Seasons

 

 

Thanksgiving TV Episodes MomAdvice.com

6 Sitcoms that Make Us Give Thanks

 

 

 

How to Make a Pumpkin Spice Latte from MomAdvice.com

How to Make a Pumpkin Spiced Latte

 

 

 

5 Ways to Date Your Husband in the Fall MomAdvice.com

5 Ways to Date Your Husband in the Fall

 

 

 

Dress up Store Bought Pies MomAdvice.com

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Last Minute Thanksgiving Tablescape Ideas

Saturday, November 16th, 2019

Last Minute Thanksgiving Tablescape Ideas from MomAdvice.com I can’t believe that Thanksgiving is upon us!

This year I get to host both sides of my family at my home for the Thanksgiving holiday so I have been in full planning mode over the last couple of weeks.
 
As a hostess, I know that often our time is more focused on the food than the decorations, but you need not spend oodles of your time crafting or purchasing a lot to make your table beautiful.
 
In fact, this post shows you that that by shopping your very own home and adding a few inexpensive items from Goodwill, you are just minutes away from the perfect Thanksgiving table.
 
Here are six great last minute Thanksgiving ideas to pull together a beautiful time for your holiday feast.
 
Thanksgiving tablescape
 

Add Thoughtful Layering

I am seeing so many beautiful layers this year for Thanksgiving decor.

 

Holly Mathis Interiors shows you a beautiful table that you can achieve easily by layering items from around your house or from Goodwill.

A couple of items to note in this shot, you can add backyard leaf branches in glass jars to add a rustic element, flannel throws add warmth to the table without a more formal tablecloth, pumpkins add another natural element, and you can mix and match your chairs or mix in chairs found from the store to create that homey detail that I love.

 
How pretty is that?
 
Thanksgiving tablescape
 

Add Unexpected Textures

Once again, I am seeing that people are pulling away from the traditional tablecloth and going for the unexpected texture on table.

 
In Home Stories A to Z, she has used a beautiful cabled throw to add warmth and texture to the table.
 

White linens can be stamped with gold (I love my friend Michael’s easy gold foil napkins tutorial for this!)

Check your favorite thrift store for pretty knit blanket throws or white linens for stamping.

 

You never know what treasures you can find in housewares until you go browse!

Additional details like pretty ribbon, personalized tags, and a few well-placed feathers never hurt either, do they?

 
Thanksgiving tablescape
 

Make Your Guests Feel Cozy

 

If I was going to design my perfect Thanksgiving table, it would look just like this.
 
 
Gatherings of friends in the crisp fall air with cozy blankets are such a beautiful and lovely way to celebrate the season.
 
 
Once again, we see how cozy the mismatched look can be.
 
 
From mismatched pillows to blankets to chairs, it all comes together beautifully when placed around a table.
 
 
A glass vase can hold a rustic bouquet from the backyard and pumpkins offer a beautiful detail leading up to the barn.
 
 
This is definitely my dream tablescape and can be achieved just by bringing a few of the items you have from inside your house to the great outdoors. (image source: Lexington Company)
 
 

Thanksgiving Monogram plates

 

Personalize It

When something has my name on it, it immediately feels special to me.
 
I love this idea for taking a simple Plexiglas circle and adding a little calligraphy to it to personalize each table setting for your guests.
 
Is your handwriting as terrible as mine?
 
I sure hope not!
 
If it is though, Almost Makes Perfect provides the template you need to create your names and simply trace them, making this a beautiful and painless craft for the table.

 

Thanksgiving tablescape

 

Add a 5-Minute Detail

Centerpieces can be pricey and feel tricky to pull together especially if you lack that designer instinct.
 
I have found that the simpler the centerpiece though, the easier it is to see and chat with my dinner guests.
 
My sweet friend, Julie Blanner, is the queen of beautiful and simple decor and she shares her easy 5-minute centerpiece for the holidays on her blog.
 
With a quick trip to the grocery store and a platter, you can add a little natural beauty in no time flat!
 
I also love these give thanks printables to tuck in your cutlery from Craftaholics Anonymous.
 
That is another 5-minute detail I feel confident that I could execute!
 
 
 
Thanksgiving utensils
 
 

Dress up your Utensils

 
Julie over at The Craft Patch has these adorable utensil pouches that will make any table a little more fun!
 
Wrap around the napkin with the knives and forks and your table is set and beautiful!
 
 
 
Herb centerpiece
 

Put the Leftover Herbs to Work

 
My kitchen is filled with sage for our favorite stuffing and herbed turkey that I have loved to serve over the years.
 
If you have any leftover, it can add a beautiful detail to your table.
 
Simply place the herbs in a glass jar and tie with a simple satin ribbon to finish.
 
Not only is this pretty to look at, but it also smells so good too! (image source: Buzzfeed)
 

Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family and I hope these easy last minute ideas inspire you for your holiday meal!

 

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Last Minute Thanksgiving Tablescape Ideas MomAdvice.com

 

As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. This post contains affiliate links.

 

Here are some more great Thanksgiving ideas from MomAdvice.com:

The Best of Fall, Halloween & Thanksgiving-49 Ideas for Decor, Crafts, Recipes, Costumes & More

Best of Fall, Halloween & Thanksgiving

 

 

Make Ahead & Freeze Thanksgiving Dinner MomAdvice.com

Make-Ahead & Freeze Your Thanksgiving Meal

 

 

DIY Thanksgiving Centerpiece MomAdvice.com

DIY Thanksgiving Centerpiece

 

 

DIY Thumbtack Pumpkins MomAdvice.com

DIY Thumbtack Pumpkins

 

 

DIY Tablerunner for all seasons MomAdvice.com

DIY Table Runner for All Seasons

 

 

Last minute Thanksgiving tablescape ideas from MomAdvice.com

Make-Ahead: Brandied Orange & Cranberry Sauce

Monday, November 11th, 2019

Make-Ahead Brandied Orange & Cranberry Sauce from MomAdvice.com

Make your own cranberry sauce ahead of the big dinner with this easy recipe. Fresh cranberries, oranges and brandy make this super easy recipe delicious and the perfect match for your turkey! It freezes beautifully for make-ahead dish!

 

Certain aspects of Thanksgiving preparation seem intimidating to me.

Making a homemade cranberry sauce was one of those things.

This recipe for Brandied Orange & Cranberry Sauce though was so easy to create and so delicious that I can’t imagine buying the canned variety again.

The holidays seemed like the perfect time to tackle making my own cranberry sauce.

 

Make-Ahead Brandied Orange & Cranberry Sauce from MomAdvice.com

 

 

 

Make-Ahead Brandied Orange & Cranberry Sauce from MomAdvice.com

 

All of the flavor in this dish comes from, of course, the use of fresh cranberries and the zest and juice from fresh oranges.

You need a microplane (can be found at just about any kitchen supplies store) to achieve the finest orange zest to be incorporated throughout the dish.

The most time-consuming process about this sauce is the zesting and squeezing of your fresh oranges.

I promise that it will be worth it!

The other key component with this sauce is a tablespoon of brandy.

I tasted the sauce without the brandy and then I tasted the sauce after the brandy and the difference is substantial and worth the extra splurge.

An entire bottle of brandy costs about $6 and I incorporate this in everything from quick pan sauces for meats to my favorite slow cooker lemon chicken recipe to my fresh blueberry sangria lemonade.

 

 

Make-Ahead Brandied Orange & Cranberry Sauce from MomAdvice.com

 

You want to cook this sauce until the berries have popped and the sauce begins to thicken.

 After the full cooking time I have listed, you may believe your sauce is still too thin and watery.

Do not worry!  

Remove the sauce from the heat and allow it to come down to room temperature.  

A beautiful discovery will be found when you check back in your pot and realize that your sauce is thick and rich, just like you had always envisioned.

You see, cranberries have their own natural pectin (who knew?) that allows the cranberry sauce to thicken.

In fact, cranberries are one of the highest pectin containing fruits.

 

Brandied Orange Cranberry Sauce MomAdvice.com

 

 

This cranberry sauce recipe is a great make-ahead dish that you can start preparing now for your big day.

Once your sauce has cooled, you can place it in your freezer to save for the big day!

Just place your sauce either double-bagged in freezer bags and label or in a freezer-safe container.

I would pull it out a few days before the big day or for a quicker idea for thawing, place the freezer bag of sauce in a bowl of warm water for an hour, or until it has thawed. 

Any leftover sauce can be used to dress up your turkey sandwiches!


Brandied Orange & Cranberry Sauce
Author: 
Recipe type: Appetizer
Cuisine: Holiday
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 8
 
Once you make this cranberry sauce, you will never buy the canned variety again. Make this dish ahead & freeze for your Thanksgiving meal.
Ingredients
  • ⅓ cup orange zest (approximately the zest from four oranges)
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 cups white sugar
  • ⅔ cup orange juice (I used the juice from four oranges)
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 3 cups cranberries
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon brandy
Instructions
  1. In a small pan over medium heat, combine the orange zest and water. Cover and bring to boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes. Drain, reserving zest and ⅓ cup liquid.
  2. To the reserved liquid, add the sugar, cinnamon, orange juice and lemon juice. Bring to boil; reduce heat and simmer for 3 minutes uncovered, stirring often.
  3. Add cranberries; increase heat to medium-high and boil for about 30 minutes. The cranberries should pop and the sauce will be slightly thickened. Once cooled, the sauce will be much thicker (don't worry!)
  4. Remove from heat, stir in brandy.
  5. See above for directions on freezing or store in your refrigerator for up to two weeks.

 

 

Brandied Orange Cranberry Sauce MomAdvice.com

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Looking for more great dishes to make ahead? Check out these other ideas from MomAdvice.com:

 

Make Ahead Appetizers MomAdvice.com

7 Easy Make-Ahead Appetizers

 

 

 

Buttery Dinner Rolls in the Bread Machine from MomAdvice.com

Make Ahead Buttery Bread Machine Rolls

 

 

 

Ultimate Make-Ahead Gravy Recipe from MomAdvice.com

Make Ahead Gravy Recipe

 

 

 

make-ahead mashed potatoes from MomAdvice.com

Make Ahead Mashed Potatoes

 

 

 

 

Meal Prep: Breakfast Sandwiches Recipe from MomAdvice.com

Meal Prep Breakfast Sandwiches

 

 

 

Instant Pot Shredded Chicken from MomAdvice.com

Instant Pot Shredded Chicken for Meal Prep

 

 

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Make-Ahead Green Bean Casserole

Wednesday, November 6th, 2019

Make-Ahead Green Bean Casserole from MomAdvice.com

A completely fresh green bean casserole recipe that can be made-ahead and frozen for your Holiday feast. Once you try this fresh take on everyone’s favorite side dish, you’ll never go back to the canned type again! You can make this casserole gluten-free thanks to this smart recipe!

Have you been following along with our make-ahead Thanksgiving recipes? Today I wanted to share with you a make-ahead green bean casserole made with only the freshest ingredients.

The best part?

This one can be frozen and stored in your freezer for the big day.

I wanted to share my make-ahead meal preparation strategies for getting my Thanksgiving dinner on the table with less stress. As we all know, the more that we get done early, the more we can really enjoy the holiday with our family.

Have you been following along in our make-ahead series?

If not, here are the recipes I have created:

Make-Ahead Thanksgiving Dish Ideas:

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Green Bean Casserole is one of those dishes that our family absolutely loves. I really wanted to create a dish thought that didn’t rely completely on canned food ingredients and instead upon fresh ones.

Most of us grew up on the casserole that contained canned mushrooms, green beans (frozen green beans, if you are fancy), and a can of french fried onions.

Since we have been adding more fresh dishes to our holiday menu, I thought I’d improve on this basic casserole.

In this green bean casserole recipe, fresh green beans and mushrooms are tossed in a delicious cream sauce.

The casserole is then finished with a blend of french fried onions with buttery panko. This, truly, makes the ultimate crunch topping.

Make-Ahead Green Bean Casserole from MomAdvice.com Make-Ahead Green Bean Casserole from MomAdvice.com Make-Ahead Green Bean Casserole from MomAdvice.com

How to Make This Make-Ahead Green Bean Casserole Recipe

To prep this dish ahead, I purchased some inexpensive foil pans and to make sure that there is no leaking from the lid. If you are preparing right away, you can just add the bean mixture to a casserole dish instead.

On the lid, I jotted down the instructions for the big day.

The panko & onion topping was poured into a baggie and placed in my pantry so it doesn’t get soggy in the freezer.

Make-Ahead Green Bean Casserole from MomAdvice.com

The difference between the cream of mushroom soup canned casserole versus the fresh casserole is amazingly different.

The green beans are crispy, the mushroom cream sauce is rich and creamy, and the panko topping adds a crispy crunch.

Although this dish is far more time consuming than a canned casserole, one bite will tell you why it is worth the effort. As soon as I tasted my first bite, I knew that I would never go back to the canned casserole again.

Here are a few commonly asked questions about this make-ahead green bean casserole!

Where Can I Locate Panko in My Grocery Store?

Have you used panko before?

It really is one of my favorite items to bread and top dishes with.

Panko is a Japanese bread crumb that is light in texture and offers a coarse crumb texture to your breading.

Panko is made from wheat bread, but has a surprisingly golden color that looks just like that golden color and texture you love from your fried dishes.

While it may sound a little more exotic than our good old breadcrumbs, these are actually available at our local Walmart.

They often have these in two spots in the store- the Asian food section or the baking aisle.

I found the ones in the baking aisle were about twenty cents cheaper so I grabbed them over there. A box of these was about $2 so they are very inexpensive, but can add a lot of crunch to your dishes that you will soon become addicted to.

Make-Ahead Green Bean Casserole from MomAdvice.com

I’m Gluten-Free. Do You Have Suggestions On How to Make Green Bean Casserole Gluten-free?

Lucky for you, so am I! This make-ahead green bean casserole can be made gluten-free. Substitute the all purpose flour with this great cup-for-cup substitute.

I have linked to the most affordable flour option that I can because I know how expensive being gluten-free can be. If you use this link, it should take an additional 25% off your order.

They also make gluten-free panko (YAY!) and I found this shop had the best price on it for this dish.

I have found gluten-free french fried onions at our local ALDI. This ingredient is always available around the holidays so stock up when you see it!

Want to save even more on your holiday ingredients? I HIGHLY recommend checking out Rakuten because you will get an additional percentage back AND it grabs the coupons for you!

Do You Have Any Suggestions on What Type of Containers Work Well for Freezing My Dishes?

Honestly, I would suggest checking out your local dollar store and stocking upon their disposable foil containers for the holidays.

You can’t beat $1 per item, can you?

They are, admittedly, flimsy. If you are looking for something more durable, try this option.

Make-Ahead Green Bean Casserole from MomAdvice.com Make-Ahead Green Bean Casserole from MomAdvice.com

5.0 from 1 reviews
Make-Ahead Green Bean Casserole
Author: 
Recipe type: Casserole
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 10-12
 
A completely fresh green bean casserole that can be made-ahead for your Thanksgiving feast. Once you try this fresh take on this casserole, you'll never go back to the canned type again!
Ingredients
  • ½ cup panko
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil (or melted butter)
  • ¼ teaspoon table salt
  • ⅛ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 3 cups canned fried onions (about 6 oz.)
  • 2 lbs green beans, ends trimmed and halved
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 lb sliced white button mushrooms
  • 3 medium garlic cloves, minced
  • fresh ground black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1½ cups low sodium chicken broth
  • 1½ cups heavy cream
Instructions
  1. In a small bowl, mix together panko and fried onions with two tablespoons of olive oil (or melted butter). Set aside.
  2. Fill a large bowl with ice water. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add two tablespoons of salt and the green beans. Cook beans until bright green and crisp-tender, for about 6 minutes.
  3. Drain beans in colander and plunge into ice water to stop cooking. Set aside.
  4. Add butter to your now-empty pot and melt over medium-high heat until foaming subsides.
  5. Add mushrooms, salt and pepper them.
  6. Add the garlic next. Make sure to watch this so that it doesn’t burn.
  7. Cook this mixture until mushrooms release moisture and liquid evaporates, about 6 minutes.
  8. Add flour and cook for 1 minute, over medium heat, stirring constantly. Stir in broth and bring to simmer, stirring constantly. Add cream, reduce heat to medium, and simmer until sauce is thickened and reduced to 3½ cups, about 12 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  9. Add green beans to sauce and stir until evenly coated. Arrange in even layer in 3 quart (or 13 x 9") baking dish.
  10. Store your onion & panko topping in a baggie in your pantry. Freeze in a freezer-safe container or in a foil pan. Allow the casserole to thaw 1-3 days before your event, covered with plastic wrap.
  11. Heat the casserole in a 425 degree oven for 10 minutes. Add the onion topping and bake for an additional 20 minutes. You want to bake this until the top is golden brown and the sauce is bubbling on the edges.
Notes
Follow the instructions within the post to make this a gluten-free green bean casserole

Do you have any Thanksgiving meal planning strategies to share? Feel free to leave them in the comments below!

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Do you have any Thanksgiving meal planning strategies to share? Feel free to leave them in the comments below!

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