Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Instant Pot Shredded Mexican Beef

I LOVE this new recipe.  I have eating more Whole 30/Paleo dinners lately.  We usually make Carnitas often but I wanted to try something with beef.

Please visit Nikki at Tasty Thin for more details.  I changed the seasoning but did everything else pretty much the same.

I decided to use Tajin seasoning instead of a homemade taco or fajita seasoning.  I found Tajin Seasoning at Walmart - it consists of ground chile peppers, salt and dehydrated lime juice. I thought the meat was so good with this seasoning.  Our youngest daughter, Meg, raved about it.  It had a nice, Mexican "lime" flavor!

Try it.  You can make rice bowls, street tacos, etc.  You will love it!

Instant Pot Shredded Mexican Beef (adapted from Tasty Thin)

3-4 lb chuck roast
1 large onion, sliced
7 oz can of green chiles
2 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce (more if like spicy), diced or cut small with kitchen shears
1 Tbsp adobo sauce (if whole 30, use dried chipotle seasoning)
2 Tbsp tomato paste
3 tsp garlic, minced
3 Tbsp lime juice
2 Tbsp homemade taco seasoning or fajita seasoning ( I love the Tajin seasoning - used 3 Tbsp)
1 cup beef broth

Cut roast into a few large chunks and trim off the fat.  Heat Instant Pot on the Saute setting.  Add meat and brown for 3-4 minutes, turning occasionally.  I seasoned with salt and sprinkled on some extra Tajin seasoning. (may need to saute in a little olive oil if roast isn't fatty enough)

Add onions and green chiles to Instant Pot with beef.  Add the rest of the ingredients.  Seal lid and set for 50 minutes on Manual setting.

When cycle is complete, allow pot to depressurize naturally for 15 minutes.  Remove lid.  Take beef out and shred with two forks.  Serve warm!  Make rice bowls, nachos, street size tacos, etc.

*We ate without all of the juice.  I did store the leftovers in a small amount of juice to reheat later.

Monday, December 10, 2018

White Chocolate Snack Mix - version 1

I love Christmas treats and I love making them and I love sharing them.  I have eaten the yummy white chocolate snack mix but never made it.  I love it!  I usually love only things in milk or dark chocolate but this snack mix is way yummy. I love that I could throw it in any Christmas chocolate.... or change it up to Fall M & M's or Easter M & Ms, etc.  You could use different nuts, switch up the cereal.... add some Cheerios, etc.  Easy and yummy and makes a lot... to share with friends!

White Chocolate Snack Mix

2   10 oz bags of white chocolate chips (could add another bag or some white almond bark for extra                    coverage)
1 box cereal (rice Chex or Crispix, etc.)
16 oz bag of shaped pretzels
1  10  oz bag of M & Ms
2 cups of salted, cocktail peanuts

In a microwave container, melt the white chocolate slowly, in 40 minute increments, until melted. Mix the cereal, pretzels, M & Ms and peanuts in a very large container
(large silver roasting pan, extra large bowl or an unscented trash bag).  Pour the melted white chocolate over the crunchy mixture and gently toss to avoid breaking.  Store in an airtight container and enjoy over the holidays.  Share with friends!

Thursday, December 6, 2018

Pesto Torte

This is a great holiday recipe - easy, make-ahead AND red and green! 

I made it years ago and thought I put it on You Go Girl.... but I don't think so.  I usually make a couple at a time and keep them in fridge so they are ready to go.  I like to make a few smaller ones instead of one larger one.  You could use any small container..... and line it with plastic wrap.  I used a small loaf pan... but you could use a small bowl. 

Pesto Torte

8 oz of cream cheese, softened (or 1/2 cream cheese and 1/2 goat cheese, blended together)
basil pesto
toasted slivered almonds or pine nuts or chopped walnuts
sundried tomatoes in oil, drained and chopped
shredded Parmesan cheese
Balsamic glaze for drizzle, optional

Line a small loaf pan or small bowl with plastic wrap.  Spread 1/3 of cream cheese in bottom of lined container, getting it even and in the corner.  Top with a layer of pesto.  I then like to sprinkle a little bit of shredded Parmesan and sprinkle a layer of slivered almonds.  Top with another layer of cream cheese, spreading thin and into the corners.  Top with a layer of chopped, drained sun-dried tomatoes.  Sprinkle on more shredded Parmesan and then more slivered almonds.  Top with last layer of cream cheese.  Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerated for several hour or several days. When ready to serve, invert onto a plate and pull off plastic wrap.  Top with a sprinkling of shredded Parmesan, slivered almonds and drizzle with a balsamic glaze.  Garnish more if desired. Serve with favorite crackers.

Monday, October 29, 2018

Skillet Mexican Street Corn

Hi all!  I am so sorry I have been MIA!   Company in town and then we traveled - just busy doing life. 

The girls were in town recently and we had friends over.  I love to cook ahead of time so I don't spend all day in kitchen when we have guests.  We were going to spend the day at our local pumpkin patch and I wanted something quick to re-heat when we got home. 

I decided on Carnitas.  I got this recipe from my college roomie.  She made it with corn on the cob she that she prepared on the grill... and it was amazing.  I just didn't have that kind of time.  I remembered buying this frozen Fire Roasted Corn from Trader Joe's... and we loved it! It is great to keep on hand.  I brought three bags and decided to just be creative with it. 

I found this great recipe for Skillet Mexican Street Corn over at Simply Healthy Kitchen.  Please visit Susan and follow her recipe.  She actually cut corn off the cob to make this yummy corn. She has amazing pictures and detail!   I would totally do this if I had more time.  I pretty much took her recipe.... seasonings and all... and added to my frozen Trader Joes Fire Roasted Corn.  It was so yummy!  We topped our Carnitas with it. I think it would be amazing on any chicken, fish, shrimp etc.  Some enjoyed in small street-taco size tortillas or layered as nachos. 

I also made Mexican Pinto Beans to enjoy with our Carnitas and our Skillet Mexican Street Corn.  It was a fabulous meal! 

A few other items I made when the girls/guests were visiting....Amazing Pumpkin Bread, Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Caramel BarsHeavenly BrowniesSausage Pinwheels, Easy Overnight Cinnamon Rolls, The Pioneer Woman's Tator Tot Breakfast Casserole, The World's Best Snack Mix, Tomato Basil Soup and Mini Ham & Cheese Sandwiches. You probably see a pattern.... I make almost everything ahead of time!

Also, excuse my pitiful picture.  This was second day re-heated corn and Carnitas.  It was prettier the first day!

Skillet Mexican Street Corn (adapted from Simply Healthy Kitchens)

6 ear of fresh corn, husks removed and kernels cut off the cob (4-5 cups)
      ( I used frozen Trader Joe's Fire Roasted corn)
1 Tbsp oil
2 Tbsp mayonnaise
1/4 cup green onions, thinly sliced
1 jalepeno pepper, seeded and stemmed and finely chopped (optional)
juice of 1 medium lime
2 ounces of Cotija cheese, crumbled (or Queso fresco or feta)
1 tsp chili powder
( I added a little cumin too)
Salt to taste

Heat oil in large skillet over medium high heat.  Add corn and cook without stirring until corn begins to char (about 2-3 minutes) Toss corn and let cook for an additional 2-3 minutes (without stirring).  Give the corn one final toss and repeat cooking 2-3 minutes until corn is charred on all sides.  Turn off heat. 
(Since I was using the frozen Fire Roasted Corn from Trader Joe's, I just heated the corn.... in a little oil...in the skillet on medium heat until warm and turned off the heat)

Add remaining ingredients and stir to incorporate.  Add salt to taste.  Serve immediately. 

Serve over rice, beans, meat, etc.  Garnish with extra Cotija cheese, green onion, cilantro, lime... can even add sour cream, cheese, avocado.  Possibilities are unlimited!

If fresh corn is not available, you can use frozen corn (thawed) or canned corn.... 4-5 cups

Printable Version

Monday, October 1, 2018

Roasted Butternut Squash

I hardly ever cook squash - other than zucchini.  I grew up eating "fried squash".  Also, as I am typing this.... the word SQUASH is just a really weird word to me. 

Anyway, someone at Chris's work has given him several butternut squash and spaghetti Squash for us to enjoy.

Since we roast most veggies, I thought we would roast the butternut squash.  Chris cut it for me.  He cut off the ends and cut it in half.  He scooped out the pulp and seeds and then he carefully cut off the the thick skin and cubed the squash. 

We do so many mini potatoes, sweet potatoes, green beans, etc... I though this was a nice change.

Roasted Butternut Squash

1 large squash, cubed
1 Tsp olive oil
1 tsp of rosemary
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp onion powder
salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 450.  Cut off the ends of the squash, cut it in half, scoop out the pulp and gently cut off the skin of the squash and cube.  (or you may find it easier to "peel" or cut the skin off before you cut it in half - so it isn't too slippery)  Mix the dry seasonings in a small bowl. Place the cubes on a cookie sheet.  Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with the dry seasonings.  Roast for about 15 minutes or until tender and has a nice roasted brown edge. 

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Italian Smashed Potatoes

Hi friends, I am so sorry that I have been MIA!  I have been doing Whole 30 during most of August and September!  If you don't know much about Whole 30, you should totally check it out.  It isn't easy but I highly recommend it! 

During whole 30 in September, we enjoyed a lot of grilled meat and roasted veggies.  Blue Apron has had Whole 30 compliant food for the month of September.  Since it is just Chris and me, we have enjoy Blue Apron meals for several weeks.  If you haven't tried Blue Apron, you should.  We have tried unique foods, unique ways to cook different foods, etc. 

All of that to say, I haven't cooked as much lately.... at least not new recipes. 

We did have an Italian birthday lunch at preschool last week.  I made a yummy Antipasto Salad that was Whole 30 compliant.  Susan made a Whole 30 Zuppa Toscana soup and Barb made these amazing Italian Smashed Potatoes.  Both were fabulous! 

I will make the soup soon, when it gets a little cooler outside.  I made the Italian Smashed Potatoes this weekend - they are fabulous!  They are buttery and and soft and crispy on the edges.  I highly recommend these potatoes!  Barb made two pans of them for 16 teachers and we ate almost every bite!

Italian Smashed Potatoes (adapted from The Whole Cook)

1 1/2  lbs baby yellow potatoes
3 Tbsp olive oil
3 Tbsp ghee (or butter if not doing Whole 30)
1 Tbsp garlic, minced

Italian Seasoning:
     1 tsp garlic powder
     1 tsp dried oregano flakes
     1 tsp dried basil flakes
     1/2 tsp onion powder
     1/2 tsp crushed red pepper
     3/4 tsp salt
     1/2 tsp pepper

Preheat oven to 450.   Mix the Italian seasoning together in a small bowl. Bring a pot of water to boiling and add potatoes.  Allow them to boil 5 - 8 minutes or until potatoes are soft to the touch.  Oil your baking sheet with olive oil to prevent sticking.  After potatoes have boiled and are soft, spread potatoes in an even layer on the oiled baking sheet.  Don't have the potatoes touching each other so they will brown.  Use a potato masher or a fork and gently press down on each potato so they are a bit flattened.  A potato masher works the best as it flattens the potatoes evenly.  Melt the ghee (or butter) in microwave.  Stir in the garlic to the melted ghee.  Pour mixture evenly over the potatoes.  Sprinkle the Italian seasoning all over the potatoes - use it all.  Bake for 20 - 25 minutes or until the potatoes have some browning and are crispy on the edges.  (I check at 15 minutes - all depends on the size of the potatoes).  Remove from oven and serve warm!

Printable Version

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Shrimp and Tomato Salad

I have been eating healthier this summer.  I have actually been doing Whole 30 for a little over a week.  I am so thankful for the Whole 30 Recipes on Instagram.  They have a guest blogger each week and I have found some amazing people with wonderful recipes and ideas.  If you are on Instagram, you should follow Whole 30 Recipes. 

One of the guest bloggers I found is Mac at Healthy Little Peach.  She has been a guest blogger a few times over at Whole 30 Recipes.  I love her recipes - most are easy and all are so yummy.  I love listening to her talk - great southern accent!

I needed a summer dish to take to a summer cook-out... and doing Whole 30... I wanted something I would enjoy and be excited about.  Mac shared this Shrimp and Tomato Salad on the Whole 30 Recipes Instagram page.  I made it a second time last night - I LOVE IT!  I could eat the whole bowl.  It reminds me a little of a fresh tasting ceviche - but the shrimp is already cooked.  You should visit Healthy Little Peach and on Instagram!

Shrimp and Tomato Salad ( adapted from Whole 30 Recipes and Healthy Little Peach)

2 cups cooked shrimp
1 large cucumber, diced
1/3 cup red onion, chopped
1 avocado, diced ( I used two)
2 cups multi-colored cherry and grape tomatoes, cut into fourths
1 1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp garlic, minced
1 tsp pepper
1/4 cup olive oil
3 Tbsp red wine vinegar
juice from 1 lime
juice from 1 lemon
2 Tbsp cilantro, chopped

Chop the cucumber, onion, and slice the tomatoes in fourths.  Cut the shrimp in half; Cut the avocados and remove the pit and cut into large cubes; Transfer all of the veggies and shrimp to a mixing bowl;  Add the seasonings, olive oil, vinegar, juices and cilantro and gently toss to combine.  Child for 1 - 2 hours before serving.

Monday, August 6, 2018

Orange Spiced Nuts

I love making different flavored nuts and snack mixes.  I think they are great to have on hand to take to a party, etc.  My friend Michelle shared this yummy recipe with me.  I love these yummy Orange Spiced Nuts.  I chatted with Michelle and this recipe originally came from the Pioneer Woman.  Ree calls them Fancy Roasted Cocktail Nuts. I made them recently to add to a charcuterie board and they were a perfect addition.  We couldn't stay out of them!!

My first batch burned so I lowered the temp and cooked them a little less.  I see that The Pioneer Woman has a few other flavor suggestions to try.

Orange Spiced Nuts (adapted from The Pioneer Womans Fancy Roasted Cocktail Nuts)

1 cup roasted unsalted Cashew halves ( I used salted)
1 cup Walnut halves
1 cup Pecan halves
1 cup whole roasted unsalted almonds ( I used raw)
1 Tbsp fresh Orange zest ( I used more... or zest of a whole orange)
2 Tbsp fresh rosemary, minced
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp sea salt
1/4 cup pure maple syrup

Preheat oven to 300. 

In a large bowl, stir to combine nuts and spices.  Drizzle maple syrup over the mixture and stir to evenly distribute. 

Spread out evenly on a sheet pan and roast for 30 minutes.  ( I put mine on parchment paper).  Roast for 25 - 30 minutes - stirring once halfway through.

When the nuts come out of the oven, immediately remove them to a bowl.  I left mine on the parchment paper - gently making sure they didn't stick to each other. Store in an airtight container for several days.

Thursday, July 12, 2018

Strawberries and Mixed Greens

We have been enjoying summer salads.  Chris will grill chicken and then we have a roasted vegetable with it or toss it with a fun summer salad.  Love the Pear and Walnut Salad I posted recently.  I also brought back the Mandarin Orange salad into our rotation. 

I have had this Strawberry Salad in my recipes for years and just decided to make it again.  I LOVE it.  I made for the 4th of July.  We extra greens and strawberries so we have enjoyed it for several meals - as a main course with grilled chicken or as a side dish.  My hubby added feta cheese to the mix! 

Strawberry Salad


1 bag of spinach leaves or mixed greens
1 pint of strawberries, sliced
2 oz sliced almonds, toasted
feta cheese or another cheese, optional


1/2 cup sugar
1 Tbsp poppy seeds
2 Tbsp sesame seeds
1 1/2 tsp minced onion
1 1/4 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1/4 tsp paprika
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup cider vinegar

Mix all ingredients together and refrigerate overnight or 4-6 hours.  Take out of fridge a little before serving to get to room temperature... or easier to shake and mix.

Toss salad and dressing just before serving.

Printable Version

Monday, July 9, 2018

Yummy Salsa - with a few Jenna additions

Our middle daughter is an awesome photographer and is fortunate to take pictures all over the world.  She recently did an engagement shoot in Colorado for some Baylor friends.  You should follow Jenna Routh on Instagram to see her great work or visit Jenna Routh Photography.

Jenna got this salsa recipe from a friend in Colorado.  She came home and raved on and on about it.  Jenna has made it several times and made several additions.  Jenna likes more of everything - lots of flavor.  We found the Del Monte Mexican tomatoes at Walmart.  I know the family in Colorado orders them through Amazon.

 Leslie's Salsa - with lots of Jenna additions..... Jenna likes lots of cilantro and lime so adjust according to your taste

2 cans Del Monte Mexican Tomatoes (jalapeno, garlic and cumin), drain juice of one can
2 garlic cloves, finely minced
1 jalapeno, roasted and chopped (more if want hotter)
3/4 cup onion, chopped
3/4 bunch cilantro, finely chopped
juice of a whole lime
salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 350.  Wrap jalapeno in foil and put in oven for about 10 - 12 minutes.  Take out and dice. (wear gloves if sensitive to jalapeno juice)  In a blender, add tomatoes, onions, garlic, jalapeno, cilantro, lime juice and salt/pepper.  Blend to get your desired consistency.  Serve with favorite chips.

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

monogrammed waffle robes from Etsy

You have also probably noticed that ... I LOVE monogrammed gifts.  I am from Texas and we love monograms.  I remember when my girls were little and they had little monogrammed "panty covers" with little eyelet edges to wear over their diapers/panties.  SO cute!

Please visit The Fancy Pigeon for great gifts - whether for graduation or a birthday or for a bridesmaid gift.  I love this waffle robe  - it has been one of my "go-to" gifts for high school graduates.  For my out of state gifts, I often order directly from The Fancy Pigeon and she ships it directly to the person I am celebrating and always includes a note for me.

Another great gift!  Please visit Allison at The Fancy Pigeon.  Remember - these are just my opinions and I love to share things I love!

Friday, June 29, 2018

monogrammed burlap bags from Etsy

Have I mentioned that I LOVE Etsy! 

I am always looking for great gifts for my preschool teachers.  This is one of my favorites!  I absolutely LOVE this monogrammed burlap bag.  The teachers use it all of the time... for school, for travel, etc. 

Visit Dash Forward on Etsy and check out all of their fun items.  I especially love this burlap bag in all of the colors.....Monogrammed Jute Bag

The bags came in promptly and perfectly - all 18 of them! 

What a great gift - and so reasonably priced! 

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Tator Tot Breakfast Casserole

I needed a breakfast casserole recipe for a wedding shower that is gluten-free.  I LOVE the Asiago Breakfast Bake... but obviously not gluten free so needed to find another one. 

The Pioneer Woman, Ree Drummond, was my first thought.  Also, if you ever get a chance to visit The Mercantile in Pawhuska, Oklahoma.... .you totally should.  We stopped when The Mercantile just opened on one of our many drives to Texas.  We didn't get to eat at the restaurant but we did get to meet Ree and get treats and coffee from the coffee shop upstairs.  I know they now have a new hotel and even have Lodge Tours of the Lodge on their property. 

Back to the recipe... her Tator Tot Breakfast Casserole is amazing... like all of her recipes.  I love that I can make it the night before.  I did read a lot of the reviews and some recommended baking the tator tots first to get them crispy.  I did bake them for about ten minutes or so... not sure if it made any difference.  It was great!

Tator Tot Breakfast Casserole (adapted from The Pioneer Woman and The Food Network)

16 oz bag frozen Tater Tots
butter, for the baking dish
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 lb spicy bulk breakfast sausage
1 medium onion, finely diced ( I used less)
1 cup milk
1/2 cup half and half
1/4 tsp seasoned salt
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper (I used less)
4 large eggs ( I used six)
1 red bell pepper, finely diced
1 green bell pepper, finely diced
2 cups grated cheddar cheese
1 cup grated pepper jack cheese
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Line up the tater tots in a buttered 9 x 13 baking dish.  Add the olive oil to a large skillet and heat over medium heat.  Add the sausage and onion and cook, breaking up the sausage with a wooden spoon, until browned and cooked through.  Drain any excess fat and set aside to cool.  Sprinkle over the tator tots when cooled. 

In a large bowl, mix the milk, half and half, seasoned salt, cayenne pepper, eggs, diced bell peppers and half of both cheeses.  Mix well and pour the mixture over the tots and sausage mixture.  Top with the rest of the two cheeses.  Cover with foil and refrigerate over night. 

Preheat the oven to 350.  Bake, covered for about 25 minutes.  Remove foil and continue to bake until the cheese is brown and bubbly and the casserole is cooked through - probably about another 20 - 30 minutes.  Cut into squares and serve. 

Printable Version

Friday, June 15, 2018

Reese's Stuffed Rice Krispie Treats

This is one of those random recipes that appeared on Facebook from Delish.  The girls love Scotch-a Roos so I knew they would love these......Reeses Stuffed Rice Krispie Treats.  Yum!  I made them this past weekend when Jenna was home.  Jenna shared a few with her friend Sarah and her family.  Sarah texted me this morning and said her mom said...."best thing I've ever put in my mouth"!  They are yummy!

Reese's Stuffed Rice Krispie Treats (adapted from Delish)

cooking spray for pan
5 Tbsp butter
1   10 oz bag mini marshmallows
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
pinch kosher salt
6 cups Rice Krispies Cereal
12 - 16 regular size Reese's Peanut Butter Cups, unwrapped
1/4 cup creamy peanut butter, melted for garnish
1/4 melted semi-sweet chocolate chips, melted for garnish

Line a 9 x 13 pan with parchment paper. In a large pot over medium-low heat, melt butter.  Stir in marsh mallows, peanut butter and salt... stir until mixture is melted.  Remove from heat.  Immediately add Rice Krispies and stir with a rubber spatula until combined.  Working quickly, press a thin layer of rice krispie mixture into the bottom of the lined 9 x 13.  Add a layer of Reeses Peanut Butter Cups.  Press the remaining Rice Krispie mixture on top of the peanut butter cups.  Drizzle the melted chocolate and peanut butter, then refrigerate until cool... about 30 minutes.  Slice into squares and serve.

printable version

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Brownie Batter Dip

My friend Susan is a great cook.  She and her hubby have three children and she cooks a lot.  She is ALWAYS trying a new recipe.  Recently, I was at Susan's house for a Stella and Dot party and she had this yummy Brownie Batter Dip.  She said her children love it.  Jenna was in town photographing a wedding so I thought it would be fun to try a new recipe.  I hate to cook stuff like this for just Chris and me. He won't it much of it and I don't need it.  Jenna and Meg... and friends loved it.

Great, easy, fun new recipe.  You kiddos could make it.  We loved it with Nilla Wafers and Pretzels.  I think it would be great with graham cracker sticks, shortbread cookies, strawberries, bananas, etc.

Brownie Batter Dip

1  8 oz package of cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup butter, softened
2 cups powdered sugar
1/4 cup cocoa
1/4 cup flour (can choose to use a gluten-free flour)
3 Tbsp brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla
mini chocolate chips

Using an electric hand mixer, mix cream cheese and butter.  Slowly add the powdered sugar... mixing carefully. Add cocoa, flour, brown sugar and vanilla....mix well.  Serve with pretzels, graham cracker sticks, shortbread cookies, Nilla wafers, strawberries, etc.  Store in refrigerator but allow to soften at room temperature to serve.

Printable Version

Monday, June 4, 2018

Pear Walnut Green Salad - yummy!

My friend Vicki had me over for dinner a while back.  Both of our husbands were traveling and she made this quick, easy and yummy salad.  She added grilled chicken.  It was great with a grilled meat and I have also eaten it as a side dish.  In the past, I have not been a huge fan of goat cheese.  It was always SO strong.  She added goat cheese on the salad and it was really good.  The soft texture and flavor was perfect with the pears and the walnuts.  She got her goat cheese in a 3 pak at Costco.  I just got mine at the local grocery store.  You totally need to try this salad this summer.... or anytime!

Pear and Walnut Salad

Mixed Greens - I bought the "spring mix"
ripe pear, peeled and sliced
toasted walnuts
goat cheese - cut into little bite size pieces
grilled chicken or salmon - optional
Brianna's Blush Wine Vinaigrette dressing (could choose another favorite but love this one)

Just add the desired amount of ingredients and toss with dressing just before serving.

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

LAY/N/GO - great gift - I LOVE mine!

I love this product - the LAY/N/GO!  Annie got one, monogrammed, for being in a wedding and I LOVED it.  I am always looking for fun gifts for my girls - that they will actually use.  I ordered one for them for Christmas...... and they actually use it.  I rocked it!

LAY/N/GO is great for keeping your makeup or jewelry in a quick, drawstring bag.  It flattens out when you are using it so you can see everything and you can quick, drawstring it up to pack it away.

Annie and Meg both live in a house and share a bathroom with another girl(s).  The LAY/N/GO is perfect for getting ready and then drawstring it up to pack away or take with you.  This is great for people that work out before or after work and need their make-up with them.  I gave one to my hairdresser for Christmas.  She teaches a lot of classes and IS always on the go.

I ordered my gifts in sets of two from QVC.  I am a QVC junkie!  They came in a set of two - a solid one and a print.  My girls wanted only solids.  I have a leopard one, my hairdresser has a red one with lips on it, etc. I have also seen them on Amazon.  I know they come in different sizes as well.  I have the basic one - 21 inches when open.  And another plus - it is washable.

Link - QVC LAY/N/GO - check out all of the patterns AND you can visit LAY/N/GO directly.

This is one of the sets I ordered from QVC - lots of choices. 

                                                          Great for toys, too!

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

I LOVE this stuff

I LOVE this stuff - Trader's Joe's Everything But the Bagel Seasoning.  Truly, it is amazing!  I told a friend about it and she said, "it is a game changer!".  I am so thankful we have a Trader Joe's in Omaha.  It is a little drive from my house so I try to make a trip ever few weeks.  We just enjoyed their pre-packaged seasoned Carne Asada last night.  I don't love Indian Food and Chris loves it.  They have several frozen Indian flavored meals and Chris enjoys all of them.  Try to visit a store when you can and enjoy exploring. Look for the Cookie Butter too!

Everything But the Bagel Seasoning - can't say enough.  I eat it on avocados or boiled eggs or chicken salad... or homemade rolls/bagels. It adds texture to whatever I am eating.  I especially love it on avocado toast.  Recently, I have been making sweet potato "toast" in the toaster and adding whatever to the top - a nut butter and bananas and cinnamon or avocados and Everything But the Bagel Seasoning or even Chicken Salad.  I learned this wonderful technique from a food blogger - Kelsey over at Little Bits of Everything.  Kelsey is a hoot - you will so enjoy following her.  Hop over to her sight or follow her on Instagram.  She has lots of great recipes and gives details on hot to make "sweet potato toast". 

Again, you have to get this seasoning  - $1.99 at Trader Joe's.  Great recipes on the Trader's Joe's website too! 

Monday, April 30, 2018

Mandarin Orange Green Salad

I LOVE this salad!  I have been making it for over 20 years.  It is my "go-to" salad to take to friends... along with Chicken Tetrazzini.and maybe a yummy bread and Monster Bars.   You really can't go wrong with this salad - it is yummy with any meal. 

Mandarin Orange Salad

Green leaf lettuce or mixed greens
1 large can mandarin oranges, drained
2 or more green onions, chopped
sliced almonds, toasted
fresh parsley, optional

Dressing:  (I usually double when taking to someone)

1/4 cup canola oil
1/4 tsp Tobasco
1/2 tsp salt
2 Tbsp granulated white sugar
2 Tbsp tarragon vinegar
sprinkling of dried tarragon (if you have it)

Mix the dressing the night before.  Toss ingredients together.  Just before serving, add chilled dressing slowly to achieve desired consistency. 

Printable Version

Thursday, April 26, 2018

Big "O" Key Ring

I LOVE my Big "O' key ring.  What a great gift!  I was wanting one and Jenna surprised me with one for Christmas!  You have to visit O-Venture - so many great goodies!  They have so many different textures and colors.  I have the red embossed leather one!

                             I am behind the times!  It was one of Oprah's favorite things in 2014!!

Monday, April 23, 2018

Creamy Lemon Cheesecake Crumb Bars

Thank you to my friend Gretchen for this yummy recipe!  Gretchen is a fabulous cook and she has such a gift of hospitality.  Gretchen and her husband are always opening up their home for guests.  We have stayed with them many times during our trips to Texas.  We were just there in October.  They included us in a family gathering - with her sister Jennifer and her family!  This is the best family!

I made this recipe for our teacher lunch this week.  I am always nervous about making a new recipe to take some place... when I haven't made it before.  These were great.  I didn't put quite enough crumb topping in the bottom... so I had LOTS of crumb topping for the top.  I would also pat the crumb topping down into the cream cheese mixture... as I had lots of loose crumb topping... and I might bake them a little longer.  Every oven is different!

I love the lemon, the cheesecake and the crumb topping!

                    excuse the preschool kitchen - the toaster and light socket in the back

Creamy Lemon Cheesecake Crumb Bars

2 1/3 cups all purpose flour
2 1/3 cups old fashioned oats
1 tsp salt
2 tsp baking powder
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup white sugar
2 sticks cold butter, chopped into cubes

Mix all of the dry ingredients in a bowl. Add the cold, cubed butter.  Mix with a mixer on low.. until crumbly.  I used a fork some too.  Line a 9 x 13 pan with parchment paper and spray the parchment paper with cooking spray.  Press half of the crumb mixture into the bottom of the pan.

8 oz cream cheese, softened
3 egg yolks
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp lemon zest
2 can sweetened condensed milk
1 cup lemon juice

In a mixing bowl, beat cream cheese until light and fluffy.  Add egg yolks, one at a time, beating after each addition.  Add vanilla and lemon zest, continue to mix and add the 2 cans of condensed milk.  Beat for 3 minutes on medium-high.  Turn to low speed and add 1 cup lemon lemon juice.

Pour mixture over crust.  Crumble the rest of the topping over the cream cheese mixture.  Using the back of the spatula, gently press the topping into the cream cheese mixture - so not to have so much loose topping.  Bake at 350 for 30 - 40 minutes.  Cool completely.  Refrigerate or freeze until ready to cut and serve.

Printable Version

Friday, April 20, 2018

BOOM stick by Cindy Joseph

My crazy friend Heather mentioned BOOM by Cindy Joseph on her Facebook/instagram page..........."I have Stuff to Tell People". She mentioned BOOM back in the fall and I told Jenna that this would be a good Christmas gift for me.  Jenna got it for me and I love it.  I have since ordered another BOOM  - one for home and one for preschool.  I have also given BOOM as a gift.  I love it!

Please visit Boom by Cindy - be sure to watch the videos.  She has other great products too!

Here is an excerpt from Cindy's page...

Is there a woman who hasn’t dabbed a little lipstick on her cheeks for a quick touch-up?

“The whole idea of less is more, that women shouldn’t be slaves to dozens of makeup products, is what I really believe in,” said Cindy Joseph, a makeup artist and model who’s pared down her own cosmetics kit to just a few items. Three of them are from her new line of multiple-use cream sticks called BOOM!.

Jennifer Aniston is a BOOM! lover!

The line is not just for Boomers like Joseph. “BOOM! is the sound of a revolution in cosmetics,” she says. “Cosmetic companies are constantly adding products; I’m taking away. Mine is the only company that is pro-aging, not antiaging.
Jennifer Aniston believes in aging gracefully and not over-doing it on the makeup. When asked by Self Magazine what is in her purse when she leaves for the day, she said, “Boomstick Color: It’s an all-in-one stain for eyes, cheeks and lips that’s so much fun.”
“There is this pressure in Hollywood to be ageless,” said Aniston. “I also understand that age is kind of awesome... Don’t over-product — that’s the other thing.”

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

an Etsy favorite - personalized koozies

I love Etsy!  I have been ordering from Etsy for years - gifts for my teachers, wedding gifts, sorority gifts, graduation, pillow covers for me, etc.  I have never been disappointed!

My Baylor girls, not my Baylor daughters, but MY Baylor girls from when I was at Baylor in the eighties.... do at least one girl's trip a year. We went to Santa Rosa Beach at Watercolor... just near Seaside.. this past weekend.  It was so fun!  12 of us this trip!  We can talk for hours!

I love Happy Thoughts shop on Etsy!  Alice is great!  I have ordered from her several times.  I noticed she has her own website now too - www.happythoughtsgifts.com.

I wanted to get a little treat for my Baylor girls - just a little fun "party favor"  or a "sussy" as they call it in the south....for our Florida weekend. I sent Alice a message just a few weeks before the trip and asked her if she could get them done quickly.  She said no problem.  I gave her the names and let her pick the designs.  I have also given this gift to my preschool teachers.  I love these fun koozies!

Check out Etsy for your next gifts!

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Dark Chocolate Sea Salt English Toffee

I LOVE English Toffee!  I have a recipe on the blog that everyone should try.  There is an art to candy making - they key for me is a candy thermometer.  I usually make Milk Chocolate English Toffee with Cashews.  We are having a teacher appreciation day at preschool today and decided to change up my toffee just a little bit.  I made Dark Chocolate Sea Salt English Toffee - WAY yummy too! 

Dark Chocolate Toffee with Sea Salt

1 cup butter
1 cup sugar
pinch salt
cashew pieces
dark chocolate - I used Ghiradelli 60% chocolate chips
sea salt

Butter a glass dish. Sprinkle with cashews... or any nut. In a heavy pan, cook butter, sugar and salt on medium high stirring constantly. Bring to a boil and boil for about 12 minutes or until your candy thermometer reaches hard crack stage - don't give up. The mixture will turn a golden color. When it reaches about 302 degree F, pour evenly over cashews. This hardens immediately so pour it where you want it to go. Top with chocolate chips ....evenly over the top. Allow a minute or so to melt and spread with a knife.  Sprinkle with sea salt. After chocolate has hardened, score with a knife and cut into squares or break apart.

Enjoy this TO DIE FOR treat!

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Tuft & Needle - mattress in a box delivered to your door

I have another great item to share!

If you talk to me regularly, you know I just don't sleep.  I have added Young Living essential oils to my routine...and that has helped... but I just don't sleep great.

This may be too much "TMI" for some of you....Chris and I have had a queen bed since we got married.  In the last year, I always felt like I was keeping him awake so I would end up sleeping in one of the girl's rooms or on the couch.. or several places a night. He calls me the "nomad" sleeper.  Tucker, our 7 lb yorkie-poo follows me where ever I go.  If I move locations, he moves with me.

About two months ago, I told Chris... "We need a king bed - Tucker and I are coming back".  I just need a king bed - just more room to move and not feel like I am driving him crazy.

Chris read about Tuft & Needle and REALLY wanted to give it a try.

We got the King mattress. There are two choices- we went with “The Mint”.

                           This is the mattress - comes just like this

A few fun facts...*95 out of 100 people keep the mattress but if you try it for 100 days and don't like it, Tuft & Needle will refund your money, pick up your mattress and donate it to your favorite charity.  You just can't lose!  *And....the mattress comes in a 19 x 19 x 44 inch box.

We started off with just the mattress and slept on it for a few weeks.   Chris loved it as is but I was thinking I might like a little more “squish”.. Chris read in the reviews that they had a softer foam pad they would send we if you needed a little extra "something".... for no extra charge.  We just got the new layer and I love it.  Chris thinks the new layer is "too hot" for him so we are taking it off for a bit to re-evaluate.

Chris thought the customer service was point on.   We were both very pleased with the service.

Please visit the Tuft & Needle website.  Currently, they are having $100 off if you spend $1000.

Thursday, April 5, 2018

All Birds - wool runners

Hi all - I enjoy cooking but with my girls out of the house, I just don't cook like I used to.  I promise to still share favorite recipes.

On another note, I am always sharing other fun "favorites" with friends.  I have one friend that says I am usually in "the know".  I am SO NOT "in the know" but we do have three daughters that keep me up on fun stuff.  So, I am going to share some of my "favorites".  I promise to get some recipes in too.

I just turned 55 last week - can't even believe I am the same as the speed limit.  I am 7 months older than my husband and he is loving it.  He is telling everyone that I am in a "different bracket" from him now.  He is right!  He said I could pick up coffee for him at McDonalds now - for free!  I am glad he is enjoying a chuckle out of my 55ness!

I walk a lot at preschool.  I am a preschool director and I often get my 10,000 steps in while at work.  My middle daughter was telling me about these cool new "wool runners"... all birds.  I was in Austin during my spring break and Jenna wore her all birds every day.  She went on and on how comfy they are.  She wore them without socks - you can wash them on the wool cycle and they also have a WAY comfy innersole that comes out and you can wash.  Jenna was kind enough to order the exact pair for my birthday - I LOVE THEM!  They are so comfy, not hot and just amazing.  They come in fun colors - even a new light pink and red for spring.  And - they have men's shoes.  I think Chris would like some for Father's Day.   Free shipping too - woohoo!

I am not making any money from this - just wanted to share!!  Check out all birds - I love them!

                         Women's Wool Runners

I had noticed another pair of all birds that would be perfect for a preschool director - and they are.  I wore them yesterday.  They are called "women's wool loungers".  They do look a tad like slippers but I wore them with jeans and cute shirt yesterday to preschool.  So comfy!  Annie and Meg gave me these for my birthday!  It was an "all bird" kind of birthday!

                             Women's Wool Lounger 

Review of this shoe from The Points Guy (thanks to my friend Lori)

 They also have a new Tree Runners - but I don't have them yet!  

Monday, February 26, 2018

4 ingredient Pickled Onions

I love these pickled onions!  I have been eating more low-carb and sometimes I just need crunch... and flavor.  These pickled onions are super easy to make and they will keep in your fridge for a few weeks.  I have enjoyed them layered with Boar's Head lunch meat and cheese, on a pizza, on eggs.... or just as a little side dish.  They are especially yummy on a burger or a sub sandwich.  I highly recommend keeping these in your fridge.. as a staple next to your condiments!!  Visit Fed and Fit for the recipe!

4 ingredient pickled onions (adapted from Fed and Fit)

1 red onion, peeled and thinly sliced
1 1/2 - 2 cups of vinegar ( I mixed red wine vinegar and white vinegar , could also use apple cider
2 tsp fine sea salt                   vinegar)
1 tsp black peppercorns

Place the sliced onions in a large wide-mouth mason jar.  Pour vinegar over the top, adding more if need to, to cover the top of the onions.  Add the salt and peppercorns.  Seal the jar and shake vigorously to combine.  Refrigerate at least one day before serving.

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Pork Egg Roll in a Bowl

I follow some great food bloggers.  I so enjoy the videos and just the variety of amazing recipes.  I have been trying to eat more low carb.  I love the "Whole 30 Recipes" Instagram - they have a different food blogger each week.  I love another Instagram food blogger... "Little Bits of Real Food by Kelsey".

Another one of my favorites is Kyndra over at Peace, Love and Low Carb.   Kyndra has great recipes.  I just got her new cookbook off of Amazon - Craveable Keto.

I have made several of Kyndra's recipes.  I especially loved this recent Crack Slaw as she calls it or... Pork Egg Roll in a Bowl.  Chris and I thought it had a ton of flavor.  We can't wait to make it again.

 Pork Egg Roll in a Bowl - adapted from Peace, Love and Low Carb

2 Tbsp sesame oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup onion, diced
5 green onions, sliced on bias (white and green parts)
1 lb ground pork
1/2 tsp ground ginger
sea salt and black pepper to taste
1 Tbsp Siracha or garlic chili sauce, more to taste (omit if doing whole 30)
14 oz bag cole slaw
3 Tbsp coconut aminos or soy sauce
1 Tbsp rice wine vinegar
2 Tbsp toasted sesame seeds

Heat sesame oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.  Add the garlic, onion, and the white part of the green onions.  Saute until onions are translucent and the garlic is fragrant.  Add the ground pork, ground ginger, sea salt, black pepper and Siracha.  Saute until pork is cooked through.  Add the coleslaw mix, coconut aminos and rice vinegar.  Saute until the coleslaw is tender.  Top with green onions and sesame seeds. Serve warm.

4 servings

Per serving - Calories 255, Fat  18.7 g, Protein 14.8 g, Total carbs 8 g, Net carbs 4.2 g

Printable Version

Thursday, February 1, 2018

Slow Cooker Crack Chicken (or Instapot)

I needed a hearty appetizer for a party this week.  I am also trying to eat low-carb and this recipe was perfect.  There are several different versions out there.  You can use plain dry ranch, or spicy ranch.  I chose to use Fiesta Ranch.  i love it - so much flavor!

I cooked mine in the slow cooker for 4 hours on high.  You can also cook it for 8 hours on low.  You could also use your Instapot.  The key with the pressure cooker is the water or chicken broth. See below for details on both.  This is great to snack on, make a dip with, enjoy on a sandwich or a topping for baked potatoes.  My hubby enjoyed it over rice.

I needed mine for a dip.  After cooking in the Crockpot/slow cooker, I shredded it and put it in a sprayed baking dish.  The next day, I cooked it a 350 for about 30 minutes, then topped with shredded cheddar cheese and crumbled crisp bacon.  I baked for about 5 - 10 more minutes.  Serve with chips, crackers or even veggies.

           This isn't a pretty picture - but this is how the chicken looked after shredding before baking and topping with cheese and bacon.

Slow Cooker Crack Chicken

2 - 3 lbs boneless chicken breasts
2   8 oz cream cheese
1 pkg dry Fiesta Ranch mix
8 or more slices of bacon, cooked and crumbled
cheddar cheese, grated
green onion, chopped (optional garnish)

Spray slow cooker with cooking spray.  Add chicken, two cream cheese and sprinkle with the dry ranch mix.  Cook on high for 4 hours or on low for 8 hours - or until the chicken is done and easy to shred.  Take chicken out and shred using two forks.  Whisk the cream cheese mixture to blend.  Add shredded chicken back in.

Serve on buns with cheese and bacon crumbles and green onion.  My husband enjoyed it over rice.  I enjoyed it as a dip - using kohlrabi slices as my "dipper".

For a dip - place chicken mixture into a prepared baking dish.  If refrigerated the night before, bake at 350 for about 30 minutes.  Top with grated cheese and bacon pieces and bake for another 20 minutes or so. If warm right out of the slow cooker, top with bacon and cheese and serve.  You could always bake it 5 - 10 minutes to bring all of the flavors together.

*I baked a pound of bacon in the oven.  If you haven't baked your bacon, you should.  The pieces all bake so evenly and so nicely.  Follow the baking directions on the package.

For the Instapot/Pressure cooker - 

Brown 8 slices of chopped bacon on the "saute" mode.  After bacon is cooked and crispy, remove and save.  Drain bacon drippings.  Place chicken and cream cheese in Instapot.  Pour 1/2 cup chicken broth over chicken and cream cheese.  Top with 1 pkg of dry ranch dressing. Seal and cook on high pressure for 15 minutes.  Allow pressure to naturally release for 5 minutes.  Then, do a quick release of pressure.  Be careful of any steam.  Removed lid and take chicken out.  Using two forks, shred the chicken on a plate.  Whisk the cream mixture.  Add the shredded chicken back in.

See above - serve on buns with cheese, bacon and any other garnish.

Printable Version