By Barbara Rigsby

The Cullman Times

After Thanksgiving and Christmas are over, I am putting away the big china turkey, the cornhusk Pilgrims and the paper maché pumpkins, trying to wrestle with the artificial tree, save all the bows and leftover paper and boxes and wondering just where to put the extra little items acquired during the holidays. I knew when I bought the Christmas china that I would enjoy it, but where was I going to store any more things? Things, they begin to be a problem as we age … our space remains the same but our acquisitions grow yearly.

“Home…a place to store our stuff while we go out and work to buy more stuff, etc.”

When I was a girl, our home had a small clothes closet in each bedroom, a small cabinet under the bathroom sink for linens and a kitchen with limited cabinets and drawers. We seemed to manage just fine, we just did not have that much to store. What we had, we used. Storage was just not a problem. But as the years passed, lifestyles have changed. There is no longer just a family car for Dad to get to his work and home, but a car for everyone in the house over 16. So we are free to scavenge … to search the endless malls, mail-order catalogs and online shopping where anything your heart desires is available for purchase. All this change has brought about new businesses, storage units to rent, metal storage buildings to sit out back of our homes and Pods (I love that word — portable storage). Closet companies will come into your home and remodel and remake your space so you can store and add and gather to your stockpile. It is almost like a game to see who can acquire the most stuff, but there are no winners. There are catalogs for your problems (“Get Organized”), and stores that sell times to make your storage easier and simpler.

There are containers to hold most anything you can imagine, plastic containers for magazines, photographs, art supplies, Christmas decorations, bread, lettuce and eggs. In the comic strip “Cathy” she is trying to organize her home completely with plastic containers. I ordered the Space Bags: clear heavy plastic bags that you can put lots of things into, insert your vacuum nozzle and suck out all of the air, making a much smaller package. Now, where we go from here is anyone’s guess.

I am trying to get selected for the TV show “Get Organized,” where they send in a lady with black trash bags and an attitude and she clears one room in your home. Have you noticed they do not show any other room? In my mind, I can see all of this stuff stacked all around different rooms.

One of my resolutions was to simplify. Now I have really thought about it and did a lot of planning in my mind, but so far I have accomplished zilch … zero. We have brought all this on ourselves and it is almost a sickness. I need to have a giant garage sale and clear myself of this unneeded bric-brac and clothes and shoes I have owned 20 years ago or more. Before moving to Cullman I had a large successful garage sale and an estate sale in Montgomery, so I came fairly clean and organized — no mayo jars, oleo containers, Christmas bows and boxes. But it didn’t take long before this stuff multiplied like a fungus.

Parmesan chicken breasts

1?2 c. melted butter

2 tsp. Dijon mustard

1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce

1?2 tsp. salt

1 c. bread crumbs

1?2 c. grated Parmesan cheese

6 boneless skinless chicken breast halves

In a pie plate combine the butter, mustard, Worcestershire sauce and salt. In a plastic bag, combine crumbs, cheese and paprika. Dip chicken in butter mixture and then shake in the crumb mixture. Place in an ungreased baking pan. Drizzle any remaining butter over the chicken. Bake at 350º for 40 minutes or until done. Garnish platter with parsley. Any leftover chicken is good for a sandwich the next day.

Cook’s note: While you are baking the chicken, do a pan of roasted potatoes, roasted at the same temperature and time. While this is baking, make up a quick salad and dinner will be ready. Enjoy!

Oven roasted onion potatoes

2 lbs. red new potatoes, unpeeled and sliced a 1?2 inch thick

1?3 c. vegetable oil

1 pkg. dry onion mix

1?2 tsp. freshly cracked black pepper

Combine the ingredients in a plastic bag. Shake until coated. Empty into a baking dish, 13x9. Cover and bake at 350º for 35 minutes or until tender. Uncover and bake 15 more minutes until crispy browned and tender.

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