Archive | April, 2011

“April Is The Cruelest Month”

Is April the cruelest month?

Well, after reading the somber poem, it appears that author, T.S. Eliot, and I have this is common- April IS the cruelest month!

Any mom of four is busy.  However, April brings new meaning to the word “busy” for me.  With three of my four children’s birthdays falling in April- simply take one Disneyland Bon voyage party for my teenager, a “fairy garden” birthday party and one Chuck-E-Cheese birthday party…. add that with our annual “Beepin Egg Hunt” for Nevada Blind Children’s Foundation, plus the usual Spring Break and Easter- that totals up to overwhelming.  And, when you then add in one week of a spring flu bug for my son, it quickly had me wanting to scream “JELLYBEANS!”.

Jellybeans by Toni Spilsbury, The Organized Cook

"Jellybeans!" by Toni Spilsbury

To make April all the more “cruel” this year, my deadline with my book publisher to re-shoot the entire book food photos was this past week.

So cruel.

You see, in order to re-photograph each recipe in the book, I must first cook each recipe in the book.  So, it’s been an “up-at-dawn”, “cooking”, “shooting”, “sending out birthday invitations”, “ordering cakes” and “tending to sick son” few weeks.

Chicken Pot Pie from The Organized Cook

Chicken Pot Pie from The Organized Cook

If it sounds like I’m complaining, I’m really not.  I know I’ll look back at this “cruel” month with fondness- no matter how much I feel like “pulling my hair out” today.

The upside?  The food photos came out wonderful, with the help of friends and mentors.  Plus, I had lots of family dinners to send home with friends and family- I was a hero for a few nights.

Baked Ziti from The Organized Cook

Baked Ziti from The Organized Cook

The downside?  Unread emails, snailmail, posts, comments…the list goes on.  And so will I.

Happy April, everyone!

Peep In My Cup

Peep In My Cup




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From Herb Baked Salmon to Salmon Salad Croissant

So what’s on the menu this week at The Organized Cook?  My Herb Baked Salmon is one of my easiest recipes and one of the simplest meals I make, but it tastes like I spent a lot of time cooking it.  By simply mixing together a marinade, in the morning, of olive oil, melted butter and garlic and pouring it over salmon fillets topped with lemon slices and dried dill; I leave it in the refrigerator to marinate all day.  So, when it’s time for dinner, 35 minutes in the oven gives my family this healthy, gourmet dinner.

Weekly menu planning for family dinners is- no doubt- the best approach in saving money on your grocery bill and saving time in the kitchen.  The Organized Cook takes menu planning a few steps further by integrating additional methods in our Weekly Meal Plan System.


Salmon Salad Croissant

Salmon Salad Croissant

So, what makes this recipe so unique?  A method I refer to as reincarnating the leftover.  If I’m going to take the time to cook this delicious salmon dinner, why not throw in a few extra salmon fillets to store afterwards as leftovers.  Then, a day or two later, I simply flake the salmon, add some minced shallots, capers, dried dill and mayonnaise for…. Salmon Salad Croissant Sandwiches, served with a Bacon Spinach Salad for a super easy- and healthy- dinner.








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Organization Is The Ingredient.

Many of us can agree that family mealtime is important.  If you’re like me, you want to get it done as efficiently as possible while creating healthy, delicious meals for your family.  You want to make it simple, make it quick and spend less time at the grocery store, less time in the kitchen and more time at the dinner table with your family.  


Organization is the ingredient.
I love to cook.  But, I didn’t want to spend all of my time cooking- I wanted to maintain balance in my life.  I quickly learned that careful planning and organization of my family dinners were the key ingredients that allowed me to prepare home cooked meals for my family each night and still have time in my schedule to do things I love.  My Weekly Meal Plan system is available in The Organized Cook™.







Sign up now to receive The Organized Cook Weekly Meal Plan in your email in-box each week and receive:

  • weekly family dinner menu
  • grocery shopping list
  • easy-to-follow recipes
  • cooking instructions
  • time and money saving tips
  • seasonal special party and menu planning guides





Let The Organized Cook™ do the planning and organization for you; and show you how to make the task of cooking family dinner easy and affordable.



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Sorry, Julia. We Moms Don’t Have the Time.

Did you have a chance to see the movie Julie and Julia?  It is a great movie about a modern-day girl, Julie, cooking her way through Julia Child’s famous cookbook, Mastering the Art of French Cooking.

I have cooked many recipes from this book and it’s an all-day event.  The dinners are fabulous, but this type of cooking is just not practical for us modern-day busy moms.  For many of us, gone are the Julia Child days when stay-at-home moms had all day to prepare a fabulous French dinner while sipping highballs, smoking a cigarette and watching Days of Our Lives in our pearls.  Today, our lives are busier than ever. What Julia Child did in the mid-1900s by bringing fabulous French cooking to the housewife, I aim to do by bringing clarity, simplicity and organization to the busy modern-day mom in The Organized Cook™.




Ratatouille.  I made this vegetable dish and loved it.  Unfortunately, incorporating this gourmet recipe into my weekly meal planning as a side dish wasn’t practical because it took up too much of my time.  So, I figured if there were a way to combine a ratatouille into a main dish with a steak or chicken- and add a few short-cuts- it may work.  What I got from my culinary  experiment was one of my family’s favorite dinners: Toni’s Ratatouille Pan-Simmered Steak.  I didn’t even use seasoning with this dish because after it has simmered for an hour with eggplant, zucchini, peppers and tomatoes, it has such a fresh flavor.

I’ll keep experimenting in the kitchen on new family dinner favorites while finding new ways on how to save my valuable time and money at the  grocery store.  Learn more about how The Organized Cook™ can help you.





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