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Three Essentials for Cinco de Mayo

I always look forward to Cinco de Mayo.  I love any excuse to enjoy the flavors of Mexican food.  This year Cinco de Mayo is on a Thursday.  That means you may find yourself facing your Cinco de Mayo celebration at the end of a long day of work near the end of an even longer week of work.  With a little preparation ahead of time, you will be able to celebrate at home without a lot of fuss and trouble.  There are three essentials for any Cinco de Mayo celebration in my opinion. You can easily have the preparation work done ahead of time for each of these three easy Cinco de Mayo recipes.  That way you can enjoy Cinco de Mayo without a lot of muss or fuss. First, you'll want to plan for your celebratory cocktail.  Of course, it must be a margarita.  For me, it will be a classic margarita, on the rocks with salt on the rim. A Classic Margarita Donna's Classic Margarita Print Recipe Makes two cocktails 4 ounces Tequila 2 ounce Grand Marnier or Triple Sec

How to Take Control Over Your Mail Clutter

Paper Clutter Is it time to tackle your paper clutter?  Do you fight a daily battle with the paper that comes into your home via the mail?  Are there piles of paper everywhere you look around your home? I've been fighting the paper fight for a long time and have developed an attack plan that works for me. Seven Tips to Control Mail Clutter First, deal with your mail right away .  This is a daily activity.  One of the first things I do is quickly flip through my daily mail on the walk from the mailbox to my door.  I stop at the recycle bin and toss the junk mail into the recycle bin before I enter the house. That easily takes care of half of the paper clutter. Designate a home for mail .  You'll want a handy place to drop your mail once you get in the door.  Let's face it.  Life gets in the way.  You may not be able to sort through your mail the second you get in the door so your mail needs a place to hang out while it waits for you.  A decorative basket on your

Your April Garden To Do List

During the month of April, garden activities begin in earnest in the Northeast.  If you are thinking about starting a garden you'll want to have that project well underway by now.  My post, Five Steps to Starting a Garden  will help you get started. Seven April Gardening To-Dos Some other gardening activities to think about adding to your to-do list this month in the Northeast garden are: Check that your garden tools are in working order:  Check the handles on your spades, hoes, and rakes. Can you find your pruners?  Checked your hoses and nozzles to ensure there are no leaks and the water flows freely through the nozzle.  The spray nozzle on my hose gives me a shower every time I use it.  I really need to replace the nozzle that worked fine last year. Clean up debris from your garden beds:  You probably have some accumulation of debris from the winter. Remove all fallen leaves, sticks and any remains from last year’s garden.  Now is a good time to re-edge your garden bed

Dark Chocolate Mousse Cake

I made this dark chocolate mousse cake for Hubby's birthday last week.  As my son tells it, cakes in the Just One Donna household follow a hierarchy.   Hierarchy actually refers to the cake's level of complication and overall decadence. Chocolate Mousse Cake Lowest in the cake hierarchy are the boys' birthday cakes. Those cakes were usually a store-bought ice cream cake, which was always what they asked for. Next comes holiday cakes, which are usually selected from the list of family favorites.  At the top of the hierarchy is Hubby's birthday cake.  He has quite a sweet tooth and the cakes are usually carefully selected to surprise and delight his taste buds. This dark chocolate mousse cake has been hanging out on my Let Me Eat Cake Pinterest Board .  It is a Bon Appetit recipe from 2001 which I think qualifies it for an oldie, but goody label.  Oldie, but goody, or not, this one decadent chocolate cake. It is made in multiple steps and takes a few hours, but

How to Make a Fruit and Vegetable Smoothie

The best thing about a smoothie for lunch is that when you mix fruits and vegetables together to make your smoothie you optimize your vitamin and minerals consumption in one healthy drink. A smoothie like this is just packed with all things good for you. This is one of my favorite fruit and vegetable combos for a healthy lunch smoothie.  Isn't the color beautiful?  That deep color comes from the addition of a medium-sized, red beet. Without the beet, this smoothie is a muddy green color.  It tastes yummy but doesn't look as pretty.  The beet does add some earthiness to the taste but the earthiness is mild. Leave the beet out if you don't like earthiness. A Yummy Meal Replacement Fruit and Vegetable Smoothie Fruit and Vegetable Smoothie If you have never tried smoothies as a meal replacement I suggest you give it a try.  I especially enjoy a smoothie in the spring and summer. By using frozen fruit you can get a frosty smoothie that you eat with a spoon.  That'

How to Start a Garden

Starting a vegetable garden in your backyard can be good for both your mind and your body.  I've had my own backyard vegetable garden for a few years. There's nothing better than going out my back door in the morning to pick my vegetables for dinner. Don't start your backyard garden thinking it will save you a lot of money.  It's best to view your garden project as a hobby that will help you to: Salad Greens from My Garden Make better choices about the food you eat. Control the chemicals and potential contaminants you might ingest from your fresh vegetables. Get more regular exercise. Relax and de-stress in a natural setting. Feel a sense of accomplishment and pride in your results. Boost your mood. If this will be your first vegetable garden you'll want to keep a few tips in mind. Five Tips For Starting Your Garden Start small.  You may want to start with a few pots on your deck or patio.  You can have great success planting herbs, l

Five Tips to Survive a Kitchen Renovation

Kitchen Renovations can be very stressful.  A well thought out plan will help to reduce your stress but what happens when you turn the plan over to others to do the work?  Sure, you've got a great plan and you are most feeling in control and excited about your kitchen renovation plan. Now it is time to get the work done to make your vision come to life. Kitchen Design Plan Here are my five tips for how to survive the work phase of your project.  These recommendations are the result of my own experience with my own successful kitchen renovation.  I hope my experience helps you to weather the upheaval a kitchen renovation brings with a minimum of stress. Five Tips for a Successful Kitchen Renovation  #1. Hire the Right Professionals Ask for Recommendations:   Talk to family, friends and neighbors to get recommendations for kitchen designers, plumbers, electricians, painters, and carpenters.  It is best when you can actually see the work that has been completed.