Monday, April 3, 2017

Keepers & Menus: The Value of Housewifery and Tips on Cakes

What do you think of the new/re-tooled graphic? I took this picture about 2 years ago while visiting a local founding family's house-turned-museum.  It reminds me of an era-gone-by where women knew their responsibilities in the home were equivalent to managing a business and they took this position seriously and with confidence.  The community at large respected housewives, if nothing else, but because it was the way of life for many women but I also believe they understood a woman's value... especially at the helm of a home.  Even if they had a side job washing laundry for others or teaching piano; housewives, up until the last handful of decades, were respected for their roles of Keepers at Home.

I know I often talk here about the importance of writing up menus, keeping lists, and tracking chores.  But it wasn't until I read this article, Are Organized Records Just Too Overwhelming? at, that I realized the deep roots of my passion for organization:  It isn't just about being organized... it is realizing, like our predecessors did, that if we take our 'job'/calling as housewife seriously, then we ought to set out to work at it as we would a main-stream job.

I imagine I am not alone when I say I struggle with feeling justified for my passion in my 'position' as Domestic Engineer.  We live in a culture which takes the art of Housewifery as a joke... a cop-out from 'real life'.  The "Your just a housewife" mindset has severely damaged the confidence of women everywhere in being (or even thinking of being) a housewife.  Whether we have kids or not is irrelevant.  Taking care of our husbands, our home and, if one is blessed to have them, our kiddos is HUGE.

Reading Saw Publishing's article spoke more then just organizing records... it encouraged me as a housewife to embrace my JOB and to welcome every single idea of domestic managing as not just another tid-bit, but rather, an imperative bread trail leading to complete home management!

Needless to say, I couldn't miss a chance to share this awesome information with YOU so be sure to check out Saw Publishing's article today for some inspiration!  It looks like she has a lot of other great articles and resources as well!

Food from last week...

Thin-sliced steak.  A rare treat in our home because #1, steak is NOT my specialty and #2, it is usually expensive.  I got mine on sale and, strangely, my family LOVES it when I cook steak.  My trick?  1 part Worcestershire sauce + 1 part olive oil + splash of apple cider vinegar + salt, pepper, onion powder and garlic powder.  Mix around in Ziploc bag or Tupperware container, plop in steak and seal out as much air as you can.  Stick in fridge for an hour, all day, or (best yet) over night.  I use the marinading juices to saute onions and sliced garlic and, when I have them, mushrooms.  I topped my steak with feta and served with boiled potatoes (I boil them in onion soup mix) a salad and some thick-cut fresh bread, toasted with butter.

A word on cake mixes...

It was my birthday last week and Ashley made me a cake.  Her younger, more kitchen confident sister, was going to help but ended up caught in some Algebra.  Ashley didn't want to wait so she steamed ahead.  First of all, the cake was DELICIOUS, I keep dreaming about it, it was sooooo good (triple-chocolate-fudge -- total diet wrecker and worth every calorie!!)  However, upon encouragement from her dad and naivety on both their parts, I felt I would help the world-at-large with some tips I've picked up over the years, should others need it:
  • ONE cake mix box makes 2 square or circle cakes OR it can make one 13x9 cake.  This cake can easily feed 10+ people depending on how big you cut the pieces and if you want left overs.
  • Follow box directions and tips, they are always helpful.  When it tells you to grease your pan, I recommend cooking spray or shortening/lard.  I, personally, find butter as a pan greaser to scorch to bottom of the cake.
  • Unless your box tells you otherwise, only fill pans about half full.  Anymore then that and your cake batter will bubble over and end up caked to the bottom of your oven!
  • ONE container of frosting is enough for a cake if you do a thin layer but TWO containers will allow you to really lather it on. (They did totally got this part right!!!!!  yumbo)
  • Let your cake cool down quite a bit before turning it out of the pan (unless your directions tell you otherwise).  It helps if you use a rubber spatula or butter knife and loosen the cake a long the edges before you take it out.  (13x9's can be a bit trickier, but not impossible, to get out of their pan).
  • To turn a cake out of a pan, place the serving plate upside down on the cake in pan (you should be looking at the bottom of the plate and the top of the plate should be kissing the cake!), holding both the pan and plate, do a quick flip and set the plate down with the pan inverted now on top.  You may need to tap the bottom of your pan to get the cake to loosen some more. Gently lift the cake pan off.  If you are dealing with a REALLY moist cake, don't be discouraged if it falls apart some.  Best thing to do: practice, watch how-to You Tube videos and don't give up!
  • To soften frosting for more spread-ability, use a sturdy butter knife to stir it a bit in the container before spreading onto cake.
  • DON'T ice a cake while it is warm.  The frosting will melt as you go and you will have a hard time getting it to do what you want.  I like to bake a cake the day before I need to use it.  I will turn it out onto a cooling rack or serving tray and cover lightly with a flour-sack cloth overnight.  The cake is then firm and ready to be frosted the next day.
Just because it comes in an 'easy to make' cake mix, doesn't mean it is easy if you aren't use to baking!  Don't give up.  Buy them on sale and keep on trying!!
  By the way, is anyone else playing this game?  Brenden works at Albertsons so we have to get the employee tickets.  As usual, I only have one left to get in most squares!!  But that's not why I am playing.  Brenden wanted me to play and then he tipped me off to one of the cashiers who is REALLY generous with handing them out!!  So, amidst menu planning last week I was opening tickets and managed to score some FREE donuts for the kids and GREAT coupons for food I actually buy!  I'm not laughing at this game anymore, I'm enjoying saving more then I expected!


Menu for this week...

- cereal and blueberries
- waffles
- eggs
- fresh bread with butter and jam

hubby: sausage and rice
me and kids: leftovers, grilled sandwiches, grilled tuna sandwiches, mac-n-cheese, ravioli


BBQ Chicken over Slaw Salad with Baked Potato
Crazy easy:  Grease 13x9 baking dish with olive oil, coat bottom of pan with BBQ sauce of choice, lay in chicken breast, pour more over top to completely coat chicken and pop in oven on 375 for about an hour.  I threw baked potatoes in a dish next to them and hubby and I went for a walk!

My slaw salad is green salad cut to thin strips like slaw with red cabbage and green onions.  I put a bit of ranch and cheese and feta (when I have it) on top and it really makes the flavor in the BBQ chicken POP!


Stroganoff over Mashed Potatoes with Green Beans

Chicken and Cheese Chimichangas with Salad
Roast Chicken with Broccoli Parmesan and Fresh Salad

Burgers with Sun Chips


What are you doing and cooking this week?



  1. Thank you so much Amanda, for your lovely acknowledgement of our article on Organized Records. We have learned a great deal from old books on housekeeping. It certainly was a career for some of our mothers and grandmothers. And one we would do well to mimic. Glad to see a kindred spirit in this area.

    1. Thank YOU for your encouraging website. It blessed my heart and I pray it will bless others as well :-)