Tuesday, March 24, 2015

"Roasted Sausages, Peppers, Onions, & Potatoes" As "National Cleaning Week" Begins

Long ago, I remember when I was young, spring time meant cleaning or “Spring Cleaning” as my mom would say. This meant that homes all over the country, mostly housewives opened the windows, shook out the rugs, cleaned closets, drawers, and spiffed up the house for springtime. It just seemed right due to the fact that all winter everything was closed up tight. Today, in 2015 we are far too busy to dedicate a week or a couple of weeks just to spring cleaning.

Were you all aware that the 4th week in March just happens to be “National Cleaning Week?” This week is for cleaning up after one season and getting ready for the next. It's for getting your environment clean so you can feel good about yourself and your home. The environment where you spend most of your time can be at home, at work, your shop, basement, or anywhere that you spend a lot of time. It's when we put away and toss out everything from one season to the other and clean up everything that we are going to keep out for the new season. We wash and scrub everything.  

For some reason when we "spring clean" it makes us feel really good. It feels like were getting rid of the old and gloomy winter days and welcoming the new birth of spring. We put away all the winter clothes and joyfully bring out the spring clothes. We open all the windows and doors of the house and we start letting the house air out. We welcome the new spring breezes that blow through all the windows into our house to freshen up every single corner. What do we do next? We clean, clean, clean! We wash the windows, we mop the floors, we swipe the cobwebs out of the corners of the ceiling, and we clean all the air conditioner vents. 

Not only do we clean inside, there is outside that needs cleaning up as well. We pull out the grill that's been stored in the garage through winter and we start cleaning up the grills and adding new parts while replacing the old tank (if it’s not charcoal). We start organizing the potting shed and dragging out the rakes, shovels, hose, and potting soils. We pull out the flower pots and get them all cleaned up because we know they are soon to be the new home of a beautiful flowering plants. We get all the old junk that has collected up on the back porch or the yard over winter and put it all away to make room for the hanging baskets and flower pots. We sweep the leaves that have collected from the winter. We pull all the matching chair cushions out of storage and put them back on the chairs. 

Now I know you must be thinking, oh my goodness where do I start? So much to do and what do I do first? This must be overwhelming for everyone, but not to worry I have some tips that will help make your home and outside look amazing. Pick one thing a week that you would like to tackle. It may be the front closet or the upstairs windows. If you don’t have time to fit these things into your schedule can you hire someone? There are lots of teens looking for part-time work. You don’t need to be the only one in the household looking after all of these things. Teach your children early on about the ‘chores’ that need to be done. Break tasks down and don’t overwhelm them with the sudden urge to have a cleaning day. You’ll only turn them off and make it more difficult to get things done. Find a way to get and keep your organization. Get rid of clutter. Become a minimalist. If it is not necessary – get rid of it and let someone else use it. There are a number of books and sites out there on simplifying life and dejunking your space. Put one or two of these ideas into practice and feel the stress lift. My rule for getting rid of things is, “If I haven’t used the item in a year, then it is out!”

What does “Spring Cleaning” mean to you? If you have any tips or ways to spring clean that you want to share, just comment below…..would love to hear from you.........

Make your own cleaners:

*********WARNING: Never mix cleaning products containing bleach and ammonia as dangerous fumes will result.****************

General Purpose Cleaner:
1 teaspoon borax
1/2 teaspoon washing soda
2 teaspoons vinegar
1/4 teaspoon dish washing liquid
2 cups hot water

Combine all the ingredients. If you don't have washing soda (generally found in the laundry section of supermarkets), use 1 teaspoon baking soda instead. For a more pleasant smell, use lemon juice instead of vinegar. Be sure to label the bottle accordingly.

Heavy Duty Disinfectant Cleaner:
1/4 cup powdered laundry detergent
1 tablespoon borax
3/4 cup hot water
1/4 cup pine oil or pine-based cleaner

Slowly stir the detergent and borax into the water to dissolve. Add the pine oil (available at hardware stores and supermarkets) and mix well. For bathroom cleaning, use the mixture full strength. In the kitchen, dilute it with water.

Wood Cleaner:
1/2 cup vinegar
1/2 cup vegetable oil
Mix the ingredients well, rub on the floor, and buff with a clean, dry cloth.

Carpet Freshener:
1 cup crushed dried herbs (such as rosemary, southernwood, or lavender)
1 teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons baking soda

Combine all the ingredients in a large jar or other container with a tight-fitting lid. Shake well to blend. Sprinkle some of the mixture on your carpet, let it sit for an hour or so, and then vacuum it up. It will give the room a pleasant smell and neutralize carpet odors.

Now that you have this valuable information you are ready to clean your house inside and out. Just remember your home is your castle, so make sure you enjoy your life and surroundings, not to get overwhelmed, and if you don’t finish a project remember, that "tomorrow is another day"…..

When you are in a cleaning mood, you have no time to create an elaborate dinner, so I am sharing my mom’s recipe for her “Roasted Sausages, Peppers, Onions, & Potatoes” dinner. It is all in one pan and you can prepare it all ahead and store in your refrigerator till you are ready to bake it. 

“Roasted Sausages, Peppers, Onions, & Potatoes

3 medium Yukon Gold potatoes, peel & cut into 1-inch chunks
2 red bell peppers, cored, seeded & cut into 1-inch pieces
2 green bell pepper, cored, seeded & cut into 1-inch pieces
2 large onions cut into 1 inch chunks
1/4 cup olive oil
2 Tbsp of oregano
Salt & pepper to taste
1 pound Italian-style link pork sausages 

Preheat the oven to 375°F Spread the vegetables in a shallow roasting pan. Drizzle with the oil, and sprinkle with salt, pepper, and oregano. Make sure vegetables are in a single layer so they will all brown. Pierce each sausage, if using links, in two or three places with a fork. Place sausage in between the peppers, onions, and potatoes. Bake till sausage, vegetables, and potatoes are cooked and browned. Bake about 45 -60 minutes. Serve with a salad and a piece of Italian bread. Enjoy!


Till Next Time………….

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  1. You asked for spring cleaning stories:
    I recently read more about middle-class life and the lives of poorer people in the past, like 100 years ago or more. One thing often forgotten is that using coal or wood to heat a house (which was the normal way, if you were lucky enough to have heat at all) was incredibly dirty. Surfaces and rugs accumulated horrible black sooty dirt from the fires. Modern furnaces and cooking stoves have solved this problem. But that's probably why spring cleaning was such a major undertaking -- you had to get rid of winter dirt that you hadn't kept up with.

    Air from outdoors at all seasons was not as clean back then, either, so it was a continual struggle that we have managed to put behind us now.

    1. Dear Mae,
      Yes, I remember my family talking about the coal and even wood. That would make the house dirty, especially the carpet and the smell of the wood would be found on clothing etc. I agree that is why Spring Cleaning was a big deal.Thanks for your comment and stopping by Mae, always interesting stories. Have a great rest of the week...
      Dottie :)

  2. Wow, my sausages are so simple compared to yours!

    1. Thanks for your comment...enjoy your day! :)

  3. Good evening Dottie ,
    Love this post and so true , we don't have the wood and coal that always left soot behind .
    We have to clean out all of the stuff we accumulated in the past year that we thought we could not live without .
    With 4 kids it's hard because they all say they wants to keep stuff they hadn't seen since last fall . I let it go for a couple of days and tell them there are other kids less fortunate than them and they give it always with smiles on their faces .
    I also take good care of their clothes , they grow so fast and I donate them to the homeless shelter.
    Dottie , this is a must need post , so many people forget and just put it all in the trash to be picked up .
    What they say , one person's trash is another person's treasure .

    I love roasted potatoes and I will definitely try this one for Thursday's dinner , thanks so much for sharing . Have a great week and get some rest Nee :)

    1. Good evening Nee,
      Thanks for your visit and your comment is always welcome. This all started out as my friend started to clean out her closets and I happen to say, I should do a blog post on this "Spring Cleaning". Who knew that the 4th week in March is known as "National Cleaning Week." Just seems that it all came together. It is not what I normally do but it was fun doing the research and love the photos. I agree Nee it is hard when you have 4 children and have to weed out things..My mom would always tell us that there were less fortunate children that needed these things. That would always get us. We would do that as well, always donate to the shelters, as we always took care of our clothes. Remember that is when we would change our clothes after school, and then we even had Sunday wear, so our clothes were always kept good. Yes, I think someday i will write about recycling which is also important for our environment. But you are correct dear friend, one person's trash is anothers treasure. Enjoy the sausage, peppers, and potatoes. Have a fun and productive week...
      Dottie :)

  4. No, I didn't know this was cleaning week! Guess I better get busy! But first, I'll make your sausages and peppers to fortify myself -- really good looking recipe. Thanks.

    1. Hi John,
      Hope that your week is going well. Thanks for your visit. Yes, I didn't realize it either, but I think it is perfect for this time of year. We are still trying to get into that warmer weather, but it is spring on the calendar. I want to wash the windows of the house, mother nature better get in gear. I am thrilled that you enjoyed this post and the recipe. Yes, it is delicious as it is my mom's recipe...so you now that is going to be good! Enjoy! Have a great week, and thanks for your comment....
      Dottie :)

  5. Dear Dottie, Spring cleaning was something my mom did every spring just before Easter when all the company came for dinner.
    I try to keep up but I just don't seem to every catch up... I don't know how my mom did it!
    The sausage and peppers looks delicious!! That and a nice piece of Italian bread would be delicious! xoxoxo and blessings dear. Catherine

    1. Hi Catherine,
      Yes, you are right, it just seems to be a perfect time before the holiday when company was to come. My job was always polishing the furniture, and the silver. When you are young, you hate it, but then when you have your own house you can understand why our mother's did what they did. Things are so different now in 2015. For some reason we just don't have the time or strength that our mom's did. Thanks for your comment on the recipe. You can bring the bread, I will have everything else, and the wine is chilling...Dinner is ready! Have a great rest of the week dear friend!
      Dottie :)

  6. What a lovely post and very useful! I like spring cleaning too. It is kind of uplifting cleaning your house. I must say that my kitchen is never perfectly clean as like you I am sure, do so much cooking. I clean everything every day especially the stove, the sink and the floor but it is never really clean! My mum always had a spotless house, everything was immaculate and tidy and I must say that felt good. If you are clean outside you are clean inside too.. so they say!
    I love your sausage recipe, soon I will be in Italy again and I want to buy sausages as they are so good there! Hope you are having a good week my friend. Ciao! xx

    1. Dear Alida,
      Thank you for your comment..Yes, I always did spring cleaning especially as the holidays of Easter and Palm sunday rolled around. I always knew to take out the Gorham silver polish and polish the silver, plus the furniture.My kitchen also always needs to be cleaned. Between the cooking, the weather, and just plain old dust, it is hard to keep it up. My mom always kept a clean house, we would tease her and say, so when can we eat from the floor? Thats how clean things were when I was young. Now a days it is so hard to keep up with things...I have heard of that saying, if your are clean outside then you are clean inside. Another one is if your car is clean in and out, that is how you keep your house. Yes, sausage is a comfort food for us. But this recipe is easy and in one pan, so cleanup is not a big mess. I envy you dear friend, going back to Italy and home. Enjoy and be safe! Thanks for stopping by, have a fabulous and fun weekend.
      Dottie :)