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Organization

Holiday Binder: Thanksgiving Prep Checklist


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It’s October folks! While we’re certainly not trying to rush through fall to get to winter, we’re starting to think ahead to preparing for “the holidays.”  A couple weeks ago, I posted a template for starting a Holiday Binder for your family to streamline your Thanksgiving and Christmas preparations. I also promised you a more detailed guide to preparing for Thanksgiving weeks in advance to avoid the last minute mayhem that can come with hosting Thanksgiving in your home. (I’ll also be posting a Christmas Prep Checklist early-mid November so stay tuned!) 

Click here for our Sincerely Doris Jane Holiday Binder – For Post!

A few tips and suggestions before you get started:

  • I like to use plastic page sleeves for each page to protect pages while I’m cooking. This also allows you to check things off with a dry erase marker as you complete them and provides a pocket for handwritten recipe cards.
  • What is a “set-up space?” (see 6 weeks to go) Whether it’s holiday prep or preparing for a vacation, I like to designate a corner of a room, or a whole room to gathering all my supplies, checklists or any packing that needs to be done. I like to be able to put things in this space as I think of them and then shut the door behind me to keep my toddler away.
  • Give yourself an extra page sleeve to start holding your coupons as you find them.
  • Use extra pages to make notes and reminders for the following year as things come up.

So tell us, did I miss anything? Has this been helpful to you? Comment below and tell us how you stay organized during what can be a crazy time of year, but doesn’t have to be.

Home Decor

5 Fall Favorites for Your Home


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      Now that it’s finally starting to cool off here in Ohio, we’re finally ready to embrace the fall season that seemed to start months ago on social media. Fall was my favorite season before it was all #fallyall and pumpkin spice lattes (which I actually hate, am I the only one? ick.) I’ve always loved the crisp air and changing leaves and carving pumpkins. AND October is my birthday month, so what’s not to love, right?

     Aside from all the outdoor opportunities that come along with a chill in the air is the chance to decorate indoors for a cozy, bowl-of-chili-and-college-football feeling. Speaking of college football, while my husband’s been rooted to the couch every Saturday (and Sunday, if I’m being honest) I’ve been shopping….and shopping small/local, which you guys know is where we always find the best stuff. So let’s get down to (small) business here shall we? Here’s my top 5 fall favorites for your home:

  1. A cozy candle from Flores Lane’s NYC line will bring autumn goodness into your
    home. Bye bye pumpkin spice candle, helloooo warm fall scents like bayberry, basil, grapefruit, tobacco and sandalwood.

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    photo cred: @joi.knows.how
  2. Sara’s House has these adorable vintage paper placemats (remember the Santa placemats we were going nuts over last winter? These are the fall version) and these terracotta pumpkin lanterns would be the perfect centerpiece or accent to your kitchen or dining room. and how cute are those teeny little pumpkins!
  3. Handmade wall decor from Designs by Dor is the perfect way to bring a little handmade flair to your home. We love these two wall signs … now all you have to do is decide which one to order! 
  4. Miller Street Boutique is a beautiful little boutique in Fairfield, OH that has a little bit of everything. The antique touches perfectly complement the gift items, boutique clothing and, of course, home decor.
  5. DIY Lemon & Rosemary Stovetop Potpourri from Rachel Schultz is another great way to make your whole house smell heavenly without the open flame (in case you have curious little counter climbers like I do.) 

….and of course a couple great big mums and a couple pumpkins on the front porch to greet your guests. What’s your favorite way to decorate for fall?

Organization

Holiday Binder: Getting Started


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     I’m a list maker. I always have been. Packing lists, cleaning lists, grocery lists, to do lists. You name it – it’s probably on a post it or in a notebook somewhere in my house. It’s truly the only way I keep my life in order. Without a list and my planner I’d be wandering around in circles in my kitchen asking myself what it was I came in there for. I have binders and folders and itineraries for just about everything we do.

At about this time every year I start thinking about preparation for the holidays. I know what you’re thinking – lady, it’s barely September. Hold your sleighbell-slingin’ horses…but we all know once the pools close and the kids go back to school it’ll be November before we have a chance to blink.

My husband and I entertain a lot around the holidays. Whether it’s having both of our families over for Thanksgiving every year or having friends over for Christmas parties we keep ourselves rather busy. However, with all that fun comes a good deal of preparation in the weeks prior. Lots of grocery shopping and coupon watching and trying to find specific recipes in the unsorted mess I call a recipe box.

     So this year I decided to try to simplify things a bit and put everything into one place. Enter … the Holiday Binder. A place to put everything you need to keep yourself organized and make your holiday prep a piece of cake … pumpkin pie.

Click the link below for our printable table of contents page.

We’ll be posting our Thanksgiving section in a couple weeks. 


What you’ll need:
– Sincerely, Doris Jane’s table of contents printable
– Dividers (we like the kind with a pocket for stashing original recipe cards)
– Recipes printed on 1 sheet (print them in a Word doc to make them easy to read)
– Sheet protectors (to keep those recipes clean)
– 1 2″ binder
– Sharpie
– Family recipes
– Calendar / Planner
The holidays don’t have to be hectic. Let us help you control the chaos and follow along as we build our holiday binder over the next couples months! We’re excited to hear how you’ve adjusted this to fit your family!
Recipes

Healthy Grab’n’Go Breakfasts and Snacks


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We’ve all been there. You’re running late, your hair is wet, and your clothes are a wrinkled mess. So, what do we all sacrifice to get out of the house on time? Breakfast. Then, before we know it, its 12 PM, we haven’t eaten and we are the mayor of grouch city.

The best way I’ve found to keep myself away from the last minute grab at the Cheez-It box (aside from actually keeping track of time) is to have a tastier/ healthier option ready to go. So, without further ado here are a couple of my favorite grab’n go breakfasts and snacks, perfect for those busy mornings or back-to-school lunches.

Ps. I have a bit of a sweet tooth if you’re wondering why the majority of these contain some sort of Cocoa powder.

  1. ‘Dude Approved’ Copy Cat Rx Bars: This ones a bit of a hodge podge. I’m not one for exact measurements so just know that this consistency should resemble that of one that can be rolled OR pressed into an 8×8 pan– I personally prefer the rolled option. Both are messy but the rolled version is a tad less of a mess. 
  • 1 C (ish) – Dates
  • 1/2-1 C – Egg White Protein
  • Handful of Raw almonds
  • Unsweetened coconut flakes
  • A spoonful of coconut oil
  • Splash of almond extract
  • Unsweetened cocoa powder

** My boyfriend, who never ever admits to enjoying anything labeled healthy, had more than one of these after claiming that they tasted like cherry cordial ice cream … I’ll take that as a win 😉

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2.  Flourless Blackbean Avocado Brownies (Vegan and Gluten Free) 

I know what you’re thinking because I thought the same thing. “If you’re going to eat a brownie, just eat the brownie”. But when Shelby, from @move_gently, introduced me to these tasty treats, my hardened heart was melted.

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3.  Protein shake/ smoothie 

Having a sensitivity to whey, I stick to plant based proteins. One that I have come to know and love is Garden of Life’s Raw Organic Protein (the chocolate one of course). Emmy’s fav is EAS chocolate protein powder.

  • Quick tip: I love to mix mine into a smoothie with spinach, frozen bananas, strawberries, and almond milk. Em likes her spinach/banana/peanut butter smoothies with protein powder and whole milk or almond milk.

4. Shelby’s Cafe Coffee

  • 1C brewed coffee
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1-2 tsp coconut oil
  • 1 tsp honey
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Curious where you can get the recipe for the pancakes? Follow the link to Shelby’s instagram, @Move_gently

Blend in a blender or Nutribullet. Pour into favorite mug and top with a sprinkle of cinnamon

5. Oatmeal Bake

Easy ingredients, easy baking, and delicious. Plain and simple.

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6 . Banana Oat Blender Pancakes

Gluten and dairy free for all you sensitive tummied people !

We’re all busy and we’re all hungry so … what are your favorite grab ‘n go recipes?

Recipes

Grandma Hutchinson’s Polish Pierogies


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We have a guest today! Emily Fagan of thiswifestyle.com was kind enough to share her Grandma Hutchinson’s Polish Pierogie recipe with us – We can’t wait to try it! Check out the recipe, as well as a little information about Emily, her blog and her Grandma below!

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Hello! My name is Emily Fagan and I am the writer of the blog This Wifestyle. I am so honored to be sharing a recipe today from my Grandma Hutchinson’s food splattered recipe book. Something I love about this blog is that stories and principles from our grandparents’ time are cherished and shared with the world! Today I am going to let you in on part of my family, and share one of my grandma’s recipes.

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Heritage is a part of every family. Where do we come from? What is our story? I remember being around 7 years old when my Grandma Hutchinson started sharing her heritage. She proudly told me that she was 100% Polish and that her family came to the United States in the early 1900s. Both her parents could speak Polish and it was a HUGE deal (and disappointment to my great grandparents) that she married a man who was NOT Polish. Nevertheless, she has made sure to pass down some parts of her heritage to my mother, and to me.

Pierogies has been a part of my life for as long as I can remember. Whenever we would visit my grandparents for a holiday, pierogies were always at the dining table. Over the years, I have been able to help my Grandma Hutchinson make pierogies and she would always talk about how this dish was a part of her upbringing as well. Her mother would also make pierogies on holidays to share with the family (pierogies are very labor intensive, so they are not the easiest dish to serve every night with dinner).

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According to the Culinary Arts Institute’s Adventures in Cooking series, Polish food is liked because it is hospitable. And although it has traces of German and Russian characteristics, it is something entirely of it’s own due to this hospitality.[1] The Polish people make a big deal of Christmas Eve and serve a huge feast on this day. It is customary that a seat is left empty at the table for any guests that may choose to arrive (even if none are expected). [2] Finally, Polish food is heavily influenced by natural resources in Poland. Smoked sausage is common due to the abundance of juniper wood, sour cream is a staple because of the successful dairy industry, and cabbage frequents the dinner table due to plentiful crops.[3]Growing up, I was not aware of all of this. I DID know that my Grandma Hutchinson loved making pierogies because of her Polish heritage and as a result, I developed a connection with pierogies and plan on sharing this part of my heritage with my own children one day. I believe we are entering into a time when families are losing sight of where they came from. I cling to my heritage because I think it’s important to know where I come from. I hope you enjoy my grandma’s recipe!

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Grandma Hutchinson’s Pierogi Recipe

Ingredients for Pierogi Dough

6oz of Cream Cheese

4 Cups of Flour

1 Cup of Water

Ingredients for Sweet Cheese Filling

1.5 Cups of Ricotta Cheese

1 Egg

3 Tablespoons Sugar

¼ Cup Raisins

½ Teaspoon of Vanilla Extract

¼ Teaspoon Cinnamon

Directions

  • The first task you’re going to do is pour 4 cups of flour into a bowl (Kitchen Aid mixing bowl or regular bowl that you can use a hand mixer with).

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Slowly mix in the cream cheese and the egg. Mix together until the ingredients resemble a doughy consistency. Set aside.

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  • Next, add 3 cups of water to a cooking pot. Add in ¼ cups of raisins and bring to a boil. Boil for 10 minutes.
  • While waiting for the raisins to boil, add all of the other ingredients needed for the pierogi filling to a bowl and mix together. Once the raisins are done boiling, drain the water and add the raisins to the cheese mixture.

Set this mixture in the freezer for about ten minutes while you complete the next task.

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  • Take your pierogi dough and separate it into four sections. With each section, you are going to follow the steps below until you are out of dough.
  • Spread flour out onto the countertop and then add one section of dough. With a rolling pin, roll the dough out to a very thin layer ( like sugar cookie dough).
  • Using the top of the bowl, cut medium sized circles out of the dough. After your dough is cut into circles, pick up the excess dough and place it with your other piles.
  • Fill a large cooking pot up with water and add a little olive oil and salt. Set the burner to high and wait for a boil.
  • Take your pierogi filling out of the freezer and use a tablespoon to scoop some out and place in the middle of each dough circle.
  • Using some tap water, wet a brush or your fingers and coat the outside of the pierogi circles with a thin layer of water. This will create an adhesive to close up your pierogi. Fold one side over to the other and press down on the sides.
  • Once your first batch is done, add your pierogies to the boiling water. Let your pierogies boil for 10 minutes. Remove one at a time and set on a plate to dry. Repeat these steps until all of your pierogies are cooked.
  • After your pierogies have been boiled, you’re going to need to cook them on a skillet. Add butter and place your burner to medium heat.

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Add a few pierogies and flip them back and forth on the burner until they start to brown. Finally, use a sprinkle of sugar on top of your pierogi before you eat! I hope you enjoyed this family recipe! Check out my blog for more recipes, DIYs, and random millennial thoughts!

-Emily Fagan

thiswifestyle.com

[1] Culinary Arts Institute Adventures in Cooking series, 7

[2] Adventures in Cooking, 8

[3] Adventures in Cooking, 9