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Wednesday, May 29, 2013


This is a review of

Doesn't a Simplified Pantry sound nice?

How about a Simplified Dinner?

I am living a somewhat more simplified life these days.

Well, sort of. 

I mean, about half of our "stuff" is packed away so we can pretend that a homeschooling family of eight doesn't actually live here....thus, making our home much more marketable to a new family who may want to live here!

So, yes, my life is a little simpler.  I can pick up and clean the house more quickly.

But, in some ways it is a little more complicated.  We usually buy quite a bit in bulk, from toilet paper to carrots, but pretending we don't really live here sort of puts the kibosh on buying that 50 pound bag of potatoes and having it take up residence partly inside the pantry and partly on the kitchen floor.

So, anything that might help simplify things and still get my family fed, sounded great.

We got a chance to try three products by Mystie Winkler.

Simplified Dinner - Gluten Free

Paperless Home Organization

And, the one I opted to try out.... Simplified Dinner option. 

I was intrigued by the concept of paperless home organization....but it scared me more, I like my hand held, physical sheets of paper with lists on them, you, I opted for food instead.  Emoji

(See?  Doesn't it just send chills of fear down your spine?  No?  That is just me?  Oh....nevermind.)

Okay, so you are probably thinking....."whoo hoo....another cookbook to clutter up my space and I will maybe use 1 or 2 of the recipes in it."

But, you would be wrong.

This is where I may fail a bit in trying to explain to you just why I liked Simplified Dinners so much.  But, I will try.

It isn't just the recipes (which everything I tried was good). It isn't that the recipes are earth shattering or new and exciting (because a lot of them were things I had at least heard of before).  The thing that I liked the most about Simplified Dinner is......the way it is formatted.

I know that sounds weird and it is why I can't really explain it to you.

In addition to agreeing with Ms. Winckler's reasons for simplifying everything from what she keeps in her pantry, to her recipes....and even the thinking part of cooking, she organizes things the way I like them organized.

I mean, in the first part of the book, she is talking about how she really simplified and starting cooking with few ingredients and she found that it brought her freedom.  Which is exactly the opposite of what we have been told.  She talked about the overwhelming amount of choices at a grocery store and with her simplified approach, she could peacefully walk past 90% of the stores offerings because "that is not part of the plan."

I do get overwhelmed with too many choices.  I had a love/hate relationship with Perkins back in the day.....because while I loved their food and have a lot of great memories sitting there and chatting with friends....their menu had too many choices.  It stressed me out.  So, I would end up ordering the same thing....every time.

So, I get it.  Simplifying and limiting yourself can be freeing.

Okay, so I want to make it clear that Ms. Winckler isn't advising you to cook the same 10 meals in rotation either.  She has a lot of options and variations on her menu items.  She also has more ideas and recipes that she shares on her blog

So, for how the book is laid out, each page has a basic way to make something....say a crockpot meal.  So, there will be steps 1 through 4 on the basics of putting together this meal.  Then underneath,  in little box thingies, there are the specifics for the different meals.  So, if you want to do the sweet and sour pork, you skip step 1 and follow the specific instructions for steps 2-3.

All the recipes are like this....same basic step by step the top....then, recipe specific ones down below.  They are not page long recipes.  They aren't even half a page long.  They are little boxes a little big larger than a mailing label long.  Simple.  Easy.  Do-able.

This was the part of the formatting that I really liked.

The more I have been reading about genetically modified foods and the whole farming industry, the more I really want to go back to eating simply.  I want to get away from relying so much on processed foods to quickly feed my family....but don't want to stay in the kitchen for longer than I already do either.

These recipes were good.  They had normal people ingredients.  The process was simple.  There is variety so you don't get bored.

So, I am not sure if I was able to convey the beauty of Mystie Winckler's  Simplified Dinners, but I hope so.  For me, where I am right now, it was just what I needed to get us through this transitional phase of our lives....but, I have come to like it so probably won't just be used in transition.

In this case, don't just take my word for it, you can look at these sample pages from her Simplified Dinner or the gluten free version.

You don't get glossy pictures of the recipes, in this book, but that is fine by me.  If it means I can get the ebook for just $12.99, then I am totally fine with no shiny pictures!  But, I actually get to share a coupon code with you, so you can try the books out and get 30% off.  Just enter TOS2013 at checkout!  But it is only good through June 3rd, so go ahead and jump on the Simplified Dinner bandwagon.  I did.

Other TOS Reviewers were not afraid to try the Paperless Home Organization and had reason to try the Gluten Free Simplified Dinner options.  Go see what they had to say.