Monday, February 6, 2012


So, obviously it's been a long time since I've posted on this years in fact.  But recently, my family has undergone a HUGE change in eating style, lifestyle, diet, what-have-you.  We have gone VEGAN.  (I know what you are thinking....VEGAN?  This from a woman whose recipe blog includes a post entitled "Go Meat!"???  Yes, truly, me...a vegan.  No joke!  I suppose I owe you an explanation, and I will go into more details about our decision to change our lifestyle later.)  But for now, my first vegan recipe related post...
This has nothing to do with the recipe or this blog post, but what's a blog post without a picture?   I will add a picture of the recipe when I make it again, or when I get permission from the original author to repost her fabulous picture.  For now, enjoy this picture of a grouping of bell peppers that I painted for a friend.  :-)

In my veggie-quest, I have browsed hundreds of vegan and vegetarian dedicated blogs and websites in search of exciting new recipes that I think my family might enjoy.  Some recipes have been winners and others...well, not so much.  I found a recipe that my entire family enjoyed (well, most of the family anyway - my youngest is anti-bean or anything that even remotely resembles a bean), and I posted a comment on the blog to let the author know how much we enjoyed it.  Somehow she found me on this blog and posted a comment here for me to find since I didn't leave an email address.  To say I was embarrassed about the staleness of my blog is an understatement - forgive me, Heather!  Afterwards, I was encouraged by a friend to take the old blog and make it new to match my new cooking style, and thus this blog has been given new life.  Kind of like the way our eating habits have been given new life.   The recipe we enjoyed so much was found via Pinterest.  From it I was lead to Heather's wonderful blog, The Lovely Cupboard, and her recipe for Lentil Tostadas.  I love Heather's style on this recipe post.  The chalkboard list and pic of ingredients is beyond awesome.  And her photography of the finished product is divine!  Almost as divine as the taste of the recipe itself.  Almost.  Enjoy!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Home Cooking

I'm home at my mom's for the week. :) My dad is an awesome cook and tried a new recipe out on us last night. The recipe is for Shrimp Skewers, but he broiled them in a pan instead. It was delicious! Here's the recipe; enjoy!

Shrimp Skewers
2 lbs. medium shrimp, shelled and deveined
2 Tbsp. olive oil, divided
2 Tbsp. vegetable oil
1-2 Tbsp. Italian Herb Mix or Tuscan Sunset Seasoning (both from Penzey's Spices; look them up online or visit their store in Memphis)
1/2 - 1 tsp. granulated garlic powder
1/2 - 1 tsp. salt, optional
1/4 - 1/2 tsp. freshly ground pepper
1 cup bread crumbs
16-24 wooden skewers, depending on shirmp size

Place the shrimp in a bowl. Add the vegetable oil and 1 Tbsp. of olive oil, and toss to coat. Add the Italian Herb, garlic, salt and pepper and mix well. Start with the smaller amounts of seasoning and add more to taste. Add the bread crumbs and toss to coat. Cover and refrigerate for 2 to 6 hours. So the ends of the skewers don't burn off, soak them in water for the last hour the shrimp are in the fridge. Spray or brush the grill grate with oil before heating the grill so the breading doesn't stick. Thread the shrimp onto the skewers. Use 4 shrimp per skewer. Be careful that the bread crumbs don't fall off while skewering. If there is a lot of breading left over in the bowl, press it into the shrimp wherever it looks like it needs some. Sprinkle the skewers with the remaining olive oil and grill over medium coals until thoroughly cooked, 6 to 8 minutes, turning the skewers at least once to cook evenly.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010


Today at MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers), we had a very inspiring speaker named Ashley who spoke to us about ways to "go green." One of the things she taught us was how to make our own environmentally (and WAAAY less toxic) cleaning products. We even made an all-purpose cleaner to take home with us. It is SO cheap and smells fantastic. I am going to try it out here in a bit. Anyway, Ashley compiled some great recipes for different cleaners, so I thought I'd share them here. But first I have to tell you why this is important to me.

Several months ago, I was going to clean the toilet in my bathroom. I got out my favorite toilet bowl cleaner (the blue gel that gets under the rim) and went to work. As I squirted the gel into the toilet, I somehow got some on the toilet seat. I decided to leave it there and when I came back to swirl the bowl, I would clean it off at the same time. So 10 minutes later, I return to finish the job. The gel on the seat had eaten through the enamel coating on the seat!! I freaked out. I mean, what if my kids somehow got hold of that stuff. Talk about TOXIC?!?! I am so grateful to Ashley for sharing these safe recipes. And to show my appreciatation, I'm going to give a plug for her business here - She sells environmentally safe laundry detergent. Thanks Ashley!

All-Purpose Spray Cleaner

32-oz. OPAQUE sprayer bottle (must be opaque or the peroxide will oxidize, turning into water and losing it's antibacterial properties)
2 cups water
1 cup hydrogen peroxide
1 cup white vinegar
20 drops essential oil (from most health food stores; lavendar & tea tree are antibacterial; orange and grapefruit help cut grease)

Be sure to shake the bottle before using to mix the oils which settle.

Sophie Uliano's Veggie Spray Cleaner

1 cup water
1 cup distilled white vinegar
1 tablespoon baking soda
20 drops grapefruit seed extract (antibacterial & antifungal)

Combine in a large container (not a spray bottle!), then transfer to a spray bottle with a pump. Spray mixture on produce and rinse thoroughly after 5 to 10 minutes.

Creamy Soft Scrubber

Pour about 1/2 cup baking soda into a bowl and add enough liquid detergent to make a frosting-like texture. Scoop mixture onto a sponge and wash a surface. It rinses easily and doesn't leave grit. Make just enough to use or add vegetable glycerin and store in a sealed container to use later.

Window Cleaner

Pure Vingear in a spray bottle!

Toilet Cleaner

Simply pour baking soda into your toilet. Then pour a small amount of vinegar. Let soak for a bit and clean.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Perfect Chili Weather!

It has been so beautiful this week here in Memphis. What a nice change from the previous 15 days straight of rain! The sun is now shining, the temperatures have cooled and the air has dehumidified. PERFECT! In fact, it's even starting to get a little cooler in the evenings. Perfect weather for a good bowl of chili!

So, I've got a good one from my dear friend Jennifer Scroggs. She served this at Bunco last night and I just had to have the recipe. It's delicious! It's also a nice change from the typical beef & bean chili. She also served a delicious avacodo dip that she calls "Ugly Dip." It may not look pretty, but it tasted great! Thanks Jennifer!! So here ya go:

White Bean Chicken Chili (apparantly a Rachel Ray contest winning recipe)
32 oz. chicken stock/broth
2 cans white beans, undrained
16 oz. salsa
8 oz. pepper jack cheese
2 tsp. cumin
2 tsp. chili powder
2 cloves garlic, minced
pepper to taste
chicken, cooked and cut up or shredded (rotisserie chickens from the store work great!)
1/2 c corn tortilla chips, crushed plus more to garnish
sour cream for garnish
additional cheese for garnish

Combine first 9 ingredients in a crockpot and simmer on low. 30 minutes before serving, stir in crushed chips. Serve with additional chips, cheese and sour cream to garnish.

Ugly Dip
2 ripe avacados
3/4 cup sour cream
3/4 cup salsa
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. salt
pepper to taste

Mash avacados and mix with remaining ingredients. Chill for 30 minutes before serving with chips.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Go Meat!

I detest those Hillshire Farms commercials where all the hungry people are cheering for meat. But, I do love me some meat...especially when it is a delicious steak from Outback. For Jason's birthday, he asked for a steak dinner. So I lovingly obliged. Here's how I did it:

First buy your meat. Costco has really great meat so we bought a bunch there. I cooked all of it so we can have steak ceasar salads for dinner tomorrow night. Incidentally, we chose sirloins because of the price, but filets would have been even more delicious!

Then I looked up how to cook the perfect steak on the internet and found this article on I followed it to a T, except I added my own seasoning (see below), and I did not make the sauce listed. I made my own sauteed mushrooms & onions using the pan drippings instead. As the article says, this process generates a lot of smoke. I would recommend doing it outside on a grill for that reason, but we made it work indoors. The oven did just as great a job as a grill would have. Don't forget to take heed on their tip about removing the steak from the heat BEFORE it reaches the desired doneness because it does indeed continue cooking for about five minutes after you take it off the heat. I served the steak & sauteed mushrooms with a side of steamed asparagus and a wedge of iceburg lettuce drizzled with homemade balsalmic vinigrette and crumbles of blue cheese. Just as good or even better than Outback, and a lot less expensive! Enjoy!!

Outback Steak Seasoning (found somewhere on the internet)
2 tsp. coarse ground salt
1/2 tsp. ground pepper
1 tsp. paprika
1/4 tsp. onion powder
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
dash coriander
dash tumeric

Monday, June 22, 2009

Slow Cookin'

I'm trying a new recipe in the crockpot for tonight. I put it on at 7:30 this morning and it has been simmering away all day. The house smells absolutely delicious! Here's what's for dinner tonight. What are you having?

Hungry Girl's Slow Cookin' Pulled Chicken

1 1/2 lb. raw boneless skinless lean chicken breasts, halved (I use the frozen ones and you don't even have to thaw them!)
1 cup canned tomato sauce
1/2 cup ketchup
2 tbsp. plus 2 tsp. brown sugar (not packed)
2 tbsp. plus 2 tsp. cider vinegar
2 tsp. garlic powder
Optional: red pepper flakes, to taste

Place all ingredients except the chicken in the crock pot. Stir until mixed. Add chicken and coat well with the sauce.Cover and cook on high for 3 - 4 hours OR on low for 7 - 8 hours, until chicken is fully cooked.Remove all the chicken and place it in a bowl. Shred each piece using two forks -- one to hold the chicken in place and the other to scrape across the meat and shred it. Return the shredded chicken to the crock pot, and mix well with the sauce.If you're serving a group, keep the crock pot on its lowest setting, so the chicken stays warm. If you like, season to taste with red pepper flakes. Eat up!


Sweet Restaurant Cole Slaw (from

1 (16 ounce) bag coleslaw mix
2 tablespoons diced onion
2/3 cup creamy salad dressing (such as Miracle Whip™)
3 tablespoons vegetable oil (I used only 2 Tbsp canola oil)
1/2 cup white sugar (I substituted 12 packets Splenda and it was too sweet, so I'll try less next time)
1 tablespoon white vinegar (I used cider vinegar)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon poppy seeds

Combine the coleslaw mix and onion in a large bowl.
Whisk together the salad dressing, vegetable oil, sugar, vinegar, salt, and poppy seeds in a medium bowl; blend thoroughly. Pour dressing mixture over coleslaw mix and toss to coat. Chill at least 2 hours before serving.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Muffins for my Little Muffin

Zachary loves muffins. I mean, he LOVES them! He calls them "muff-muffs." Too cute, huh? I have to say that one of our new favorite products is the new toaster mini muffin-tops made by the Eggo waffle folks. However, they are a bit pricy for muffins and Zachary goes through a box in no time flat. Plus the ingredient list is too long and filled with a bunch of stuff I can't pronounce, so I decided to make my own muffins today. I found a recipe for Chocolate Chip Banana Muffins, and I adapted it to make my own recipe. They turned out pretty good, if I do say so myself. Zachary certainly approved!

Banana Muffins

1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 egg
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
1/2 cup plain skim milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup mashed ripe bananas (roughly two bananas)
1/2 - 3/4 cup chopped walnuts or chocolate chips (optional)

In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt. In another bowl, combine the egg, oil, applesauce, milk and vanilla. Stir wet ingredients into dry ingredients just until moistened. Fold in bananas and walnuts/chocolate chips. Fill greased or paper-lined muffin cups two-thirds full. Bake at 350 degrees for 22-25 minutes (for standard sized muffins) or 10-13 minutes (for mini muffins), until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool for 5 minutes before removing from pans to wire racks.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Kids Cookbooks

My mother-in-law recently gave me (and Ethan) a couple of cookbooks for kids. Ethan loves to help out in the kitchen and we have really enjoyed making a few of the recipes. One of his favorites was this club sandwich. We didn't have skewers, so we used chopsticks that we saved from our last Chinese night instead.

Last night we made pizza roll-ups, adapted from one of their recipes. They'd be great for dinner or even as a snack or appetizer. Here's what we did:

Pizza Roll-Ups

Crescent Rolls (we used reduced fat)
Your favorite pizza toppings
Mozzarella Cheese
Pizza Sauce

Heat oven to 375. Separate crescent roll dough triangles and lay flat on a baking sheet. On each triangle, add a bit of your favorite pizza toppings (Ethan's favorites are bell peppers, onions & mushrooms, and Joel's is pepperoni!). Now top with a pinch of cheese. You don't want too many toppings or you won't be able to roll it up! Now, roll it up from the wide end to the short end, just like you would if you were making the plain rolls. Bake in the oven for about 10 to 14 minutes, until golden brown.

While rolls are baking, heat pizza sauce on stove or in microwave. When rolls are done, serve with pizza sauce for dipping. YUMM-O!

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Happy New Year

So Christmas, and all of December for that matter, was much busier than I could have ever imagined. After enjoying Thanksgiving with my family in Texas, we wrapped things up at Ethan & Zachary's schools, finished Christmas shopping, decorating and wrapping, and went to see Jason's family in Alabama. It was a nice visit with everyone. My only wish is that we could have had more time to spend with everyone.

During this busy time we ate lots of great food! We had traditional turkey dinner at Mom's for Thanksgiving, and Faye prepared a standing rib roast for Christmas dinner. I made a special meal for Christmas Eve with a cheese lasagna (which we are still eating since it freezes really well). I also made New Year's Day dinner complete with black-eyed peas. The entree was Poulet de Normandy, a recipe that I got from Faye a few years ago from the little restaurant at which she was working at the time. So delicious! Here's the recipe:

Poulet De Normandy
1 package cornbread stuffing mix
1 stick butter, melted in a cup of hot water
2 cups cooked chicken, chopped or shredded
½ cup chopped onion
½ cup chopped celery
½ teaspoon salt
½ cup mayonnaise
2 eggs
1 ½ cups milk
1 cup mushroom soup
Grated cheese

Mix stuffing mix with liquid. Add onions, celery, salt and mayonnaise. Put half in a 9”X13” pan. Layer chicken. Top with rest of dressing mixture. Beat eggs and milk together and pour over casserole. Cover and refrigerate overnight.

Set out on counter for 30 minutes before cooking. Spread soup on top and bake at 325° for 40 minutes. Sprinkle top with cheese and bake for an additional 10 minutes.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

For Music Lovers and Carb-Addicts

Emily is here visiting us this weekend and we have been having a wonderful time. Thursday night we went to a Christian music concert at our church. We saw a group called the David Crowder Band and a couple of other artists (Jeremy Horn and Tyler Bass). It was my first Christian concert and I have to say I loved it! The music was really inspiring and uplifting, but that isn't what made the concert so great. What I liked most about it was seeing so many people unified in Christ. People were dancing and singing and completely immersed in PRAISE. It was a fantastic experience and I loved everything about it.

But I digress...Emily and I had lunch with Ethan at school on Friday and we enjoyed a quiet afternoon and evening at home. Tonight we went to the evening service at church and are getting ready to challenge each other on the Xbox Scene It trivia game. Ethan is so sad that Emily has to go home tomorrow, especially since she is taking Daisy-Dog home with her.

I asked Emily what her favorite Thanksgiving dish was and she said stuffing and pumpkin pie. So I went to pull her mom's recipe for stuffing and realized that some of Faye's best Thanksgiving dishes are the yummy, starchy sides. So here are some of my personal favorites from Faye's kitchen. (Incidentally, this is the dressing that I *tried* to make for our Thanksgiving dinner a few years ago, but it did not turn out well at all - it was too soggy. Late in the afternoon, when we were starving and tired of waiting to eat, we decided to go ahead and eat dinner. So I turned off the oven and we enjoyed our meal without the stuffing. Worse than that though, we forgot to take the stuffing out of the oven and found it the next day...and it *STILL* wasn't dried out!)

Cornbread Dressing
Martha White Buttermilk Cornmeal Mix (plus ingredients to make cornbread according to package directions)
Onion, diced
Celery, diced
Poultry seasoning or Sage, to taste
1 can cream of mushroom soup
2 cans chicken broth

Prepare cornbread according to cornmeal mix directions. Cool and crumble into a large baking dish.

Sauté onion and celery in butter. Add to cornbread crumbs along with cream of mushroom soup and seasoning. Add one full can of chicken broth plus additional broth until dressing reaches desired consistency. Bake for one hour at 350°.

Hashbrown Casserole
32-oz. bag frozen hash brown potatoes
1 pint sour cream
2 cups cubed Velveeta cheese or 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
3 Tablespoons grated onion
½ cup margarine

Pre-heat oven to 350°. Mix all ingredients together and pour into ungreased 9”X13” pan. Bake one hour.

Sweet Potato Casserole

5 sweet potatoes, boiled and skins removed
small can crushed pineapple, well drained
¼ to 1/3 brown sugar, to taste
2 to 3 Tablespoons butter
miniature marshmallows

Mash potatoes and mix with remaining ingredients. Bake at 350° for 25 minutes, until heated through. Top with miniature marshmallows and bake another 10 minutes.