Archive | March, 2011

The Earth Is Generous To….

The earth is generous to those who know the land and its secrets.

What a great quote.

I wish I had someone to credit this great quote to, but, in fact, I heard it in the most random place.  It did get me thinking about my own home garden.

Well, I wouldn’t actually call it a garden.  It’s more like a well-intended plot with an adjacent potting bench, tools and equipment.  What’s that other saying?… the best intentions? 

Anyhow, I’m not going to pretend that I know anything about gardening; it’s merely been a place for the kids and I to have a little fun by plopping some seeds and plants into the dirt and hope for the best.

After hearing this today- “the earth is generous”- it made me go assess my “garden”.

It’s a disaster.  There’s no way the earth is going to be generous to me if this is the best I can do.  And so I wonder if I couldn’t just try to know it- and its secrets- a little better.

And how great would it be to pass down and share those secrets with my children.  It reminds me of the book Secret Garden– who could ever forget that famous line, “might I have a bit of earth?”  I was only 7 when I read that line and it’s depth was branded onto my soul.

Well, I do have a bit of earth.  Let’s see what I can do with it now.

Any hope?




Email this to a Friend Email this to a Friend
Comments { 0 }

Still Chilly? Try Toni’s Chili.

Chili is one of those dishes that just doesn’t seem to go well with Spring and Summer.  It’s the same as wearing your white strappy sandles in January- it doesn’t “go”.

Spring is almost here.  So, this may be our last chance to enjoy this heart-warming meal.

Kid Friendly

I’m always looking for ways to make any meal fun for kids.  This dinner makes it easy- try whole-grain fish crackers and shredded cheese in fun bowls for kids to “dress up” their chili.

Hearty Tip

Ground sirloin instead of ground beef makes a big difference to this hearty chili- with a combination of kidney, cannellini and pinto beans, this meal is sure to keep your family warm.


The Organized Cook Weekly Meal Plan Subscription

Toni’s chili recipe is on the menu in The Organized Cook.  Sign up now to receive these time and money-saving Weekly Meal Plans.

Take “back” the family dinner.









Email this to a Friend Email this to a Friend
Comments { 0 }

Manic Monday Giveaway- Creative Designs by Toni

When I posted a link to this menu board on Facebook a while back, I received so many comments.  “I want one!” is what many had to say…. including me!

Toni from Creative Designs by Toni has made another menu board for our Manic Monday giveaway this week.  This cleverly designed chalk board is handmade by Toni and is perfect for displaying your weekly family dinner menu.

It’s easy to enter- simply visit and “like” Creative Designs by Toni Facebook page, then visit and “like” The Organized Cook Facebook page and leave a comment about Toni’s designs so we know you entered.  The winner will be announced on Friday.

So, what’s on your dinner menu this week?  Let The Organized Cook do the planning and organization for you.


Email this to a Friend Email this to a Friend
Comments { 3 }

To Brine or Not To Brine

I wanted to begin this blog by saying, “I brined for the first time”.  That was before looking up the definition of the word “brine” to find that it’s actually a noun defined by Merriam-Webster as “a mixture of salty water used especially to preserve or add flavor to food“.

Apparently, it can also be used as an adjective such as “maple brined-turkey”.

So, to be grammatically correct; I made spice-brined pork chops this weekend.  Basically, I wanted to see what all the fuss was about and to determine what value or flavor it added to my dish.

To say the least, I will brine again!… or, I should say, I will be making brined meats again….or soaking my meats in a brine again.

It was actually pretty simple.  The night before cooking, I made a bath of hot water and brandy (optional) and added brown sugar, salt, onion slices, black peppercorns, whole cloves and bay leaves.  I poured the brine over my pork loin chops and placed it in the refrigerator, covered, to soak overnight.

Delicious.  The pork chops were really the most flavorful I think I’ve had.  You can use a brine before grilling, broiling or baking, and it’s worth a try.

For a quick and easy sauce to accompany my brined pork chops:

Toni’s Quick-n-Easy Onion Apple Sauce


  1. Butter- 3 tablespoons
  2. Apple- 1 whole, diced
  3. Onion- 1/2, diced
  4. Flour- 2 or 3 tablespoons
  5. White Wine (optional)- 1/4 cup
  6. Chicken Broth- 1/2 cup


  1. Saute apple and onion in butter
  2. Add flour and saute for another minute, until flour is absorbed
  3. Add wine and broth to desired consistency
  4. Serve over pork chops

Simple Side-Dish: Sauteed Mushrooms

Whoops!  Forgot to plan a side-dish?  I did.  Thank heaven for a half-empty package of mushrooms in the refrigerator.  Sliced and thrown into a saute of butter and olive oil with a dash or white wine, they make the perfect last minute side-dish.

Email this to a Friend Email this to a Friend
Comments { 0 }