French onion soup has always been a favorite of mine. It has such a rich flavor and the gooey cheese on top always hits the spot. I have wanted to make it at home for years but never found a recipe that looked easy enough. I recently spotted today’s recipe on Skinnytaste, one of my favorite blogs, and decided to give it a whirl.
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Last week I promised my Aunt Shelly’s butternut squash soup recipe. While I was visiting Michigan my mom and my Aunt met up at my Grandma’s house to do some organizing and set up her Christmas decorations. Aunt Shelly brought this soup for lunch and it really hit the spot on a chilly day (even though Granny had her heat set to 82 degrees). I snapped some pictures and fount the recipe online so I could try it myself. Instead of using a food processor or a blender she uses an hand blender that you can use on the stove top (I need to add one of those to my Christmas list!). Serve it with chives and croutons! Enjoy!
I love making soup! It is so comforting and makes the perfect light dinner. I usually make a double or triple batch and freeze some of it for easy meals down the road. Recently I tried this recipe for white chicken chili using rotisserie chicken, one of my favorite ingredients. I like to pick them up at the cafe inside Calafia in Palo Alto but you can find them almost anywhere.
I love baked potato soup but I have always had a hard time recreating it at home. Last year I tried to make it from scratch and I ended up with a huge pot of gunk, it looked and tasted like glue (we had to order a pizza for dinner that night.)
Ahhhh…..there is nothing better than a Saturday spent loading up on goodies at the farmer’s market and enjoying a full day of college football on the couch. That is exactly what my day is going to look like today and I couldn’t be more excited!
On fall days like today I like to make something easy comfort food that we can snack on all day long like sloppy joes, soup, mac and cheese, chili, and casseroles. This recipe for Tuscan bean soup is so easy, the sauteed spinach on top really adds a punch of flavor. I serve it with warm bread and chive butter.
I hope all of your teams win today! Don’t forget that I am hosting “Touchdown Week” starting September 19th, if you are interested in sharing your tailgating traditions and a recipe send me an email.
In between holiday dinners and parties, I am always looking for a light and simple dinner to make. Tonight I made “weight watcher soup” and Ina Garten’s cheesy buttermilk biscuits, try out these recipes this holiday and your waist line will thank you.
Weight Watchers Soup
I hope you all had a safe and fun Halloween! Usually we don’t do much to celebrate because neither one of us like to dress up in costumes and we are both chickens when it comes to scary stuff but this year we had a special treat and were able to have our friends Russ and Laura and their daughter Sarah over to trick or treat in our neighborhood and have dinner. Sarah is two years old and it was fun to watch her say trick or treat and cheer “Go Standford” with her cute costume on.
The only thing I love more than tomato soup is Ina Garten from the Barefoot Contessa. When I recently spotted this recipe in her cookbook I knew I had to give it a try. I feel like my cooking has been kicked up a notch over the last year and this recipe is proof of that. On Sunday Chris and I bought all of the ingredients at our local farmers market and enjoyed homemade soup with grilled cheese sandwiches. I must say the meal was a little slice of heaven. This is a really simple recipe and the process is quite relaxing, give it a try!
Moving is a great opportunity to clear the clutter and enjoy a fresh start. When a client hires Kuzak’s Closet to help manage their move and organize their new home we take care of all of the details – from the space planning to the unpacking.
We’ve been working on several relocations lately and today I wanted to share my favorite tips and some pictures to inspire you to embrace the opportunity to start fresh.
Tip#1: Sort and purge before you move! So many people pack up all of their possessions and take them to their new home without sorting and purging. Why bring unwanted clutter into your new home? Take the time to eliminate all of the items you no longer use or need. You’ll be surprised at how much easier it is to unpack!
I develop a sorting and purging schedule with my clients prior to their move. We typically schedule 4-5 sessions to work on each space in the home. This helps me understand their storage preferences and gives me an idea of how often things are used which is a great help when it comes to setting up systems in their new home. This is a picture of a toy pile that I sorted through the day before one of my clients moved…
One of my very favorite client organization projects is creating a home Command Center. Every home has multiple catch-all spots for every day items like mail, office supplies, magazines, instruction manuals, gift cards and coupons. I want to help you consolidate everything into one central location, so I am sharing my best how-to tips.
I’m so glad I decided to write a post each week called Fab Friday. It forces me to slow down for a bit and reflect on the little moments in my week that made me smile.
This week there were SO many fun events. For example, this picture from last week’s Estate Sale cracks me up. The sale was a complete madhouse and a crazy success, we sold $9,000 in two days out of a mobile home park-AMAZING! The streets were lined with cars and trucks loaded with goodies, fabulous! The guy on the truck closest to the camera is named Gary, he is an estate regular and he makes me smile.
Another estate shopper that makes me smile is named Miguel. He is knows the way to my heart (and a good price) is food. He brought the entire estate crew steak tacos on Saturday, fabulous!
After the sale was over we celebrated with a little college football and a lot of pizza. I have been sticking with my diet for the most part but pizza always makes me cave. This pizza is from Skip’s in Los Altos, it’s so good! (more…)
Since last week’s post there have been many fabulous things going on in my life. I am so thankful for my friend Lori who calls to check in with me a few times a week and even manages to get me out of the house for social events once in a while. She called me last Friday afternoon to ask me if I wanted to participate in a fun run that night.
It was a 5k and I’ll be honest, it’s been a long time since I ran that far. I couldn’t keep up with Lori and her daughter Hayley but I’m proud to report that I was able to run more than half of the race. Lori met me at the finish line which was a nice surprise, gotta love fabulous friends!
Hot or Not?! made a surprise comeback on the blog this week. I love that series, so many fabulous ideas and comments from all of you! I shared my new flannel sheets as one of the HOT items, they are fabulous! Look for the Threshold label at Target! (more…)
I hope you all had a great weekend. We went out to dinner for our 7th wedding anniversary (which is actually today) and just had a quiet weekend around the house. I just started “The Plan” yesterday so I’m on a 3 day cleanse. The plan is all about identifying which foods aren’t healthy for your body’s chemistry. After the short cleanse I will start to introduce food items one day at a time to see if I have a reaction. Ever since I found out that I have an inflammatory problem last year I’ve been sticking to a list of good foods and avoiding “bad” foods but I don’t know if it is really working for me. I decided to do The Plan to see what really works for me once and for all. The process is 20 days long, I hope I can make it to the end!
Prior to starting The Plan I made this great recipe for summer corn chowder. There is nothing better than fresh corn on the cob, hopefully it will be one of my good foods! We have a local farmer’s market every Thursday and the corn booth is one of my favorites because the farmer is really funny. He is always trying to talk me into dozens of ears of corn so I’ve been trying to find other ways to make it besides boiling it or grilling it.
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Chris rides his bike to Google everyday to work which is wonderful because I get full use of our car. Lately it has been chilly at night so I wanted to make a hearty hot meal that he could enjoy after riding home. Tonight I made turkey, chorizo, and chipotle “stoup,” a recipe I found in my Rachael Ray cookbook a few nights ago. It was really delicious and an easy one-pot-meal. Chris gave it a thumbs up. (Gotta love that he is always up for a photo opportunity.)
Today is the 7th edition of Hot or Not?! which means this summer series is almost halfway over! Ashlie and I have been having fun trying new products and getting input from our friends and blog readers about what to try next. Today we are actually spending the day together, that is HOT! We only get to see each other a few times every year (that is NOT!) so we are going to have some fun shopping and catching up.
We are ending today’s edition of Hot or Not with a reader’s pick. My college friend (and sorority sister) Ang emailed me to share her thoughts on a new product. If you have a product that you want to tell the readers about please don’t hesitate to contact me!
Organizing kids artwork is a BIG challenge for most of my clients. Recently I had a client ask me to organize her son’s artwork and come up with a system that would be easy for him to enjoy and preserve the pieces for years to come.
She dropped off a box full of their favorite pieces from preschool along with these nice art portfolios from The Container Store. She told me that I didn’t need to use them if I had a better storage option but after doing some research online I decided that they were perfect. I like them because they are just they are just the right size for larger pieces and they are user friendly for small hands.
Many times when I help my clients organize their kitchens and refrigerators, I notice that they don’t have their freezers stocked properly. They either don’t have anything in it or it is stocked so full that they can’t get anything out. The key to using your freezer effectively is having it organized properly so you know what you have so you can pop it out and prepare a meal in an instant. Make sure to keep like items together (fruit, veggies, soups, desserts, breads, dinners, etc.). Go through your freezer on a regular basis, try to toss any of the items that have freezer burn and make a list of items you need. Try to buy things when they go on sale, you will save money at the register and down the road when you aren’t ordering take-out a couple times per week.
My freezer is usually stocked with easy meals from the Trader Joe’s freezer section and homemade favorites but now that I have been on a low carb diet since May I have had to make adjustments. It has been especially hard to find quick breakfast and lunch options (I am a cereal and PB&J girl) but I have figured out what I like. I am going back to the doctor on Monday to be reevaluated and I will find out how much longer I need to keep up my low carb lifestyle and if I need to have any further surgeries. Until then, here is a look at what is in my freezer…
I have a small group of professional organizers that I hang with. You might think we get together and compare label makers – funny but not true! We talk about best practices, give organizing advice, and sometimes we refer clients to each other. I call us the Dream Team because we all have a different niche, experience, and successful businesses. My friend Lori from More Time For You originally met with the client from today’s project for a consultation but she passed the project on to me because she thought it would be right up my alley…messy garage+rat problem = kuzak’s closet, ha! During her consultation she took a few photos to pass on to me and then suggested that the client give me a call.
The client lives in a beautiful home in Atherton that has a carriage garage in the back of the house. The garage is very old so it is difficult to prevent pests from getting in, especially mice and rats. California has fruit rats that are very common and difficult to get rid of. I had them at my old house in Mountain View, you might remember be talking about them in this day in the life post. Anyway, the rats made a mess in his garage and he really wanted help getting the space cleaned up and organized.
Over the weekend I headed to Napa to the annual regional organizing conference with my organizing buddies. I’m sure you are thinking that we all get together and compare label makers and have races to see who can sort through a box in record speed but in reality it is a great event for professional development. There were over 150 local organizers present and I left with some great ideas and a list of to-dos to improve and expand my business.
I drove up with my friend Lori from More Time for You. It was great to chat about the projects that we are working on and brain storm about how to make things better. We drove through San Francisco on our way to Santa Rosa and enjoyed a clear view of the Golden Gate Bridge on the way.
The next morning the conference started bright and early. I decided to wear my cute Zara blazer for the event (sorry I cropped out my head but this picture was taken before I had my morning latte, ha!) I wore it with black slacks and a cute pair of gray striped heels.
The keynote speaker was Julie Morgenstern which was exciting. She is probably the most successful organizer in the industry. Her talk was about reaching your potential and becoming a go-to-expert. I took lots of notes and came away with a good feeling about where my business is currently at and where it has the potential to go.
During the day I attended three breakout sessions. The first was about expanding your business into a multi-person business. I have a few people working for me now but I really need to get to the point where I can have 1 or 2 other organizers helping my clients too.
The second session was about clearing the mental clutter. The speaker reminded all of us how we impact our client’s lives and the value that we bring (we all need to be reminded of that from time to time.)
The last session was about helping couples achieve their organizing goals. The speaker works with hoarders and chronically disorganized clients like I do so I could relate to a lot of her case studies.
I wish I would have taken more photos of the day but there were so many people to meet and lots of things to learn. Lori and I drove home together and didn’t stop chatting about the conference for the entire 2 hour drive. I have been to conferences like this before and have been disappointed with the session topics or the speakers so I’m glad that I was able to come home with lots of ideas swirling in my mind.
These are my top three to-do’s (some long term some short term)
1. Wrap my mind around hiring an additional organizer and begin a search.
2. Drill down and define my niche in the industry and who my target market is.
3. Develop written organizing guides and processes so I can delegate more effectively
I figure if I share these goals on the blog I have all of you to keep me accountable! Thanks! Have a great week and I’ll be back soon with some more great before and afters from last week.