Monday, April 13, 2015

Deep Clean Your Dishwasher, Drain, and Sink

Deep Clean Your Dishwasher, Drain, and Sink - The Cozy Nook

Recently I have had a funky smell coming from my sink/dishwasher area. I thought it was in the garbage disposal, but I also noticed it when I opened the dishwasher (after a cleaning cycle!). YUCK!

Time to do a deep cleaning!

I was simply going to tackle the dishwasher, but when I got some good info from TidyMom.net about how to clean my dishwasher and more, I decided to take it further!

I cleaned my dishwasher, drain, and sink, all at once and here’s how:

Dishwasher:

  • Fill a sink halfway with hot water and add a cup of vinegar. Use this water as your cleaning solution.
  • Scrub all removable parts.
  • Wipe down the entire inside.
  • After you clean the drain and sink, pour a layer of vinegar (about 1 cup) into the bottom of the dishwasher and do a quick, rinse cycle. The dishwasher will smell like vinegar when you are done, but that smell will go away after the first wash cycle you do.

Drain:

  • Pour 1/2 cup of vinegar and 1/2 cup of baking soda down the drain and cover immediately. Let sit for 20 to 30 minutes, while you are cleaning the sink.
  • After it sits, you can run hot water down the drain for a couple minutes to do a good flush.

Sink:

  • Drain the water you used to clean the dishwasher.
  • Start filling the sink with hot water. While it is filling, pour in a layer of vinegar and a layer of baking soda and essential oil if you wish (I used lemon). Use a wet rag to wipe down the sink basin and surrounding areas with the water in the sink.
  • Let sit for 20 to 30 minutes.
  • Drain the water. Wipe, rinse, and dry.

Voila!

Clean Sink - The Cozy Nook

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Sweet Potato Enchilada Skillet Casserole

Sweet Potato Enchilada Skillet Casserole - The Cozy Nook

I have to say, “This is delicious.”

Vegetarian. Full of flavor. Packed with nutrition.

Oh, and topped with cheese of course!

The original recipe, from “This Gal Cooks”, asked for some specialty items that I decided to work around, and my final product was still scrumptious!

I hope you try it!

Sweet Potato Enchilada Skillet Casserole
Original Recipe
Printable Version

1 cup white rice
2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and diced
1/4 red pepper, diced
1 medium zucchini, cored and diced
1 15 oz. can of black beans, drained and rinsed
1 4 oz. can of diced green chilies
1/2 c frozen corn
1 14.5 oz can Petite cut tomatoes with chipotle chilies (not drained)
2 10 oz. cans of red enchilada sauce (or ~2 cups homemade, can use half red and half green)
1/4 cup water
2 oz. cream cheese
1 cup colby jack or Mexican cheese, shredded
1/2 T olive oil
cilantro, for garnish

Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add the sweet potato. Saute for 5 minutes.

Add the zucchini and red pepper and saute for a few more minutes.

Reduce heat to medium low and stir in the rice. Cook for 1 minute, stirring often. Add the enchilada sauce, water, tomatoes, green chilies, black beans, and corn. Mix well and bring to a boil.

Cover and reduce to a simmer. Simmer for 18-20 minutes, or until the rice is tender, stirring occasionally.

Once the rice is done cooking, stir in the cream cheese.

Top with the shredded cheese and turn on your broiler. Broil until the cheese is bubbly.

Garnish with cilantro.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

A Few Ways to Spruce Up Your Family Bible Time

Spruce Up Your Family Bible Time - The Cozy Nook

There are a lot of ways you can study the Bible and talk about the Bible with your family.

You can:

  • Focus on a particular book of the Bible
  • Concentrate on a particular theme
  • Memorize Scriptures
  • Share what you are reading in your own, personal devotions

No matter how you study:

  • Don’t always be the leader. Ask your children to talk about something they learned by reading their Bible or at church.

Recently I have started doing a couple activities with my children during our morning worship times that help us grow in our knowledge of the Bible and make it fun too.

  • Bible Quiz – Ask each other questions about the Bible:
    • Where is Amos located?
    • Whom did Jesus raise from the dead?
    • What does Romans 12:1 say?
  • Fill-in-the-Blank Verses
    • “I can do all things through Christ who __________ me.” (Phil. 4:13)
    • “But the ________ of the _________ is love, joy, peace…” (Gal. 5:22)

How do you study the Bible with your family?

Saturday, April 4, 2015

There’s Hope for You in the Empty Tomb. He is Risen!

There is Hope - He is Risen! - The Cozy Nook

About 2,000 years ago a man was born, not just a man, but the Son of God. He came from heaven to give Himself up for us, for our sin, that we might be cleansed and redeemed.

Although Jesus’ mission was a glorious one, He had to endure much difficulty and suffering to accomplish it.

Jesus even said, “Father if it is Your will, take this cup away from Me; nevertheless not My will, but Yours, be done.” Luke 22:42

Jesus was mocked, beaten, and crucified. Jesus died, and His body was laid in the grave.

Perhaps it looked like sin had defeated him.

However, three days later, He rose from the dead!

And now we find an empty tomb, a tomb that provides every person with tremendous hope.

No matter what situation you find yourself in today, there is hope.

No matter what your struggles are, there is hope.

No matter what has defined you, there is hope.

God’s desire is to give us hope.
That is the gospel message.

God has provided a way out of sin, and He doesn’t leave us nor forsake us.

God desires for us to live abundant and victorious lives.

God didn’t just save us, He has a plan for our lives – to live pure, peaceable, godly, wise, fulfilling, amazing lives here on this earth.

Do you need hope today? Look to the empty tomb.

He is risen!

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Banana Split Dessert

Banana Split Dessert - The Cozy Nook

Every time I make this dessert I get raving reviews. Even this time when my dad asked me if I had made it and I said, “yes”, he had to ask my mom to double-check.

It’s so good and looks professional with all of its beautiful layers – graham cracker crust, sweetened and fluffed cream cheese, bananas, chocolate syrup, pineapple, whipped cream, pecans, and cherries. It’s decked out!

The original called for Cool Whip, but I always like to make homemade whipped cream. I am a bit of a purist in that way.

Banana Split Dessert
Printable Version

1 1/4 cup graham cracker crumbs
1 2/3 cups sugar
1/3 cup butter, melted
3 pkgs (8 oz each) cream cheese, softened
3 ripe bananas, sliced
~1/3 cup chocolate syrup (I don’t usually measure. I just drizzle.)
1 can (20 oz.) crushed pineapple in juice; drained
2 cups homemade whipped cream (or 1 16 oz. container Cool Whip, thawed)
1/2 cup chopped pecans
1 jar (6 oz.) maraschino cherries, drained and halved

In a 9 x 13 pan, stir together graham cracker crumbs, butter, and 3 T of the sugar. Press firmly into the bottom of the pan.

In a large mixing bowl beat the cream cheese with the remaining sugar on medium speed until smooth. Spread evenly over the graham cracker layer. (This can be a bit tricky and take a little patience).

Spread banana slices on top of cream cheese layer.

Drizzle with 2 T chocolate syrup.

Spoon drained pineapple over bananas.

Spread whipped cream on top. (To make homemade whipped cream, whip 1 1/2 cups of heavy cream with 1 T of sugar until peaks are formed. Since there is a lot of sugar in other places in this recipe, I like the whipped cream to be less sweet).

Top with pecans and cherries.

Drizzle with remaining chocolate syrup.

Refrigerate for 2 hours or overnight.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Easter Dinner

Easter Dinner - The Cozy Nook

We had our Easter celebration early, this past weekend, due to extenuating circumstances.

I hosted a gathering with my family, and here is what we enjoyed:
*designates someone else brought the food

As you can see, I had a lot of assistance. My mom and sister brought a few dishes. My daughter (11 years old) made the fruit salad on her own, with a little bit of help from my 9 year old son.

Besides eating, we held our traditional events: a (boiled!) egg fight for everyone and an egg hunt for the kids. My mom puts little treasures - candy and money - inside plastic eggs. All of the kids have an assigned color, and they hunt feverishly for their prizes.

My daughter did ALL of the d├ęcor. She did such a lovely job. I was very pleased and impressed.

Easter Decor - The Cozy Nook

What are you serving/eating for Easter?

Friday, March 20, 2015

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Bars

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Bars - The Cozy Nook

The other day my teenage son found this recipe online and printed it.

For a couple days, I was being asked to make these bars.

I admit. I initially thought, “Can’t we just make our standby chocolate chip cookie recipe? How different can this be?”

Well, I gave in and made the recipe, and our dessert recipe collection is better for it.

These bars are truly scrumptious. They are soft, chewy, not overly sweet, and have just the right amount of peanut butter.

If you think you’ve tried enough chocolate chip recipes, just try one more. ~wink~

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Bars
Original found here
Printable Version
*I actually doubled the following recipe and cooked it in a 9x13 pan

1/2 cup unsalted butter (1 stick), melted
1/3 heaping cup peanut butter
1 large egg
1 cup light brown sugar, packed
1 T vanilla
1 cup flour
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips + 2 T, for sprinkling

Preheat oven to 350. Line an 8x8 inch baking pan with aluminum foil and spray with cooking spray. Set aside.

Put melted butter into a large mixing bowl.

Let cool slightly and then whisk in peanut butter, egg, brown sugar, and vanilla.

Add flour and stir until just combined. Don’t overly mix.

Stir in 1 cup chocolate chips.

Put batter into prepared pan. Smooth lightly and sprinkle with remaining 2 T of chocolate chips.

Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until done. A toothpick inserted in the center should come out clean or with a few moist crumbs, no batter.

Allow bars to cool in pan for 30 minutes before slicing and serving. (We only waited about 15 minutes. It’s hard to be patient for such things. ~wink~).

Bars will keep at room temperature, airtight, for up to one week or in the freezer for up to six months.