February 28, 2013

Recipe Challenge Day 28: Tomato Salad

This is a fun way to make salads new with fresh new tastes. I often am over loaded from summer to fall with tomatoes and other vegetable from the garden -> with no complaints of course but this means finding new ways to use up the variety . You can use whatever you have on hand, eggplant, zucchini, yellow squash, pretty much all goes here with this recipe.



1 tomato sliced up
Fresh mozzarella ball cut up in sliced you can use how many you like. 2 is plenty. 
Choice of greens, spinach, lettuce, or  arugula 
1/4 cup Sprouts
1 or 2 sticks of Grilled asparagus. ( or steamed) cut up
1/3 cup mix of chopped sweet onion, red and green peppers
Couple leaves of cilantro
Pinch of pepper
Drizzle of either your favorite salad dressing or red wine vinegar ( my fav with tomatoes) 

Directions , layer lettuce on the bottom tomato and alternate with other ingredients. Top with the cilantro and sweet bell pepper mix before drizzling dressing on it ( or no dressing at all! )  Cut it up and enjoy!  
 It's refreshing and I love using different vegetables with it. 

Do you have a favorite way to use up spare vegetables or a favorite salad? 

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February 27, 2013

Recipe Challenge Day: 27Chicken Parmesan

My kids love this dish, so do their clothes. There's always at least two out of four with red globs of sauce down their shirt or someone tried to carry their plate to the kitchen and ends up spilling the last bit of sauce off onto the floor. It's odd, as Sloppy Joe's are less messy than this meal in my house. They need smocks, or really large napkins to wrap around themselves. Maybe even a sponge shirt!

Easy Chicken Parmesan

I use the breadcrumb base when I make my own chicken fingers, so I took that mixture and breaded the chicken before baking the chicken for about 30 minutes at 350 degrees while the sauce and pasta was cooking.

1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
1/2 cup seasoned dry bread crumbs

2 beaten eggs
6 boneless and skinless chicken breasts.
12 ounces pasta sauce

 Heat skillet with oil, enough to coat the bottom of the pan on med-high heat.Take the first eight ingredients and mix them up in a bag or glass dish. Beat the eggs in another dish and dip the chicken in one piece at a time, before coating with bread crumbs. Pan fry the chicken a few minutes on each side till brown and transfer to a 9x13 baking dish. You can either pour the sauce over the chicken before baking in the over, or heat it up on the stove to serve along the chicken. Cook for about 25-30 minutes or until chicken is cooked and juices run clear. While the chicken is cooking prepare pasta as directed and serve with chicken and sauce.


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Wordless Wednesday

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February 26, 2013

Recipe Challenge Day 26- Seasoned Fish

No surprise here, I like things spicy. We eat fish each week and like always the kids tend to get tired of the same old ways I cook it. This week I tried something different, spiced up the fish with southwest seasoning! It was interesting and it was gone very fast so this was a win!

Ingredients for seasoning 
1/4 cup chili powder
1/4 cup onion powder
2 tablespoons ground cumin
2 tablespoons ground coriander
2 tablespoons dried oregano crumbled 
2 tablespoons dried basil crumbled
1 tablespoon dried thyme crumbled
1 tablespoon garlic powder

Mix all the ingredients together in an airtight container or ziplock bag. This is just like Southwest seasoning so you can add it to many things while cooking. Now for the fish

using about 1 1/2 pounds of your favorite fish, fillets.  Season lightly on both sides or one. You can either heat in skillet or in the oven your choice. Heat butter in skillet and cook fillets for about 3-5 minutes on each side till cooked through. Should be fork tender.

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February 25, 2013

Recipe Challenge Day 25- Caesar Dressing

 I'm on a whole sauce, dressing fix here lately. Still not as mobile in the kitchen to go all out for this recipe challenge but I thought it would be the best time to hit recipes that we use a lot and could be making ourselves. Using things that are most likely in the kitchen already why not make some and keep fresh healthy dressings on hand for the family?

 Here we go Caesar dressing-


2 small garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

In a medium bowl, whisk together the first four ingredients. Add the rest and mix thoroughly till well blended. Adjust to your liking i need much more pepper.
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February 24, 2013

Recipe Challenge day 23 & 24- Italian Chicken

Another double recipe day!  Using homemade Italian dressing I threw together a quick lunch that the kids really enjoyed.

Homemade Italian Dressing-

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1 garlic clove minced
1 teaspoon finely chopped onion
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
1/3 teaspoon celery seed
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/4  herb blend ( find that here)
1-2 tablespoon sugar

Mix all the ingredients together in an airtight container. Store in fridge and try to use as soon as possible.

Italian Chicken Sandwiches

1lb of chicken skinless chicken breasts - slice then into long tender pieces
Italian dressing from above
Tablespoon butter.

Heat oil in pan and take pieces of chicken and place in a zip lock bag. Pour dressing into the bag and mix up till chicken is fully coated. Once butter in skillet is melted heat the chicken and cook till no longer pink inside.

For sandwich-
Pieces of chicken
 Vegetables of choice
- Kale
- Baby spinach
- Bell peppers
- sprouts
- sliced onions
-julienned cut carrots
-slice cabbage

Pita bread
Assemble sandwich with vegetables of choice and chicken. If you wanted to use more dressing do not use what the chicken was sitting in, make extra dressing of course. Discard the extra marinade from the chicken
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Propagating Plants- Rosemary

Plant propagation is easier than you think, or at least with most plants. I've mentioned before how you can start new plants off of kitchen trimmings- regrow a bunch of onions, or lettuce even celery. African violets are easy to propagate as well, but I will share that another time today it's about Rosemary.
Rosemary is one of those plants which aren't all that easy to grow from a seed. Yes you can do it, yes I recommend doing it but it takes awhile for those to grow and the seeds are needy, not like something you can toss in the ground and see grow within a few weeks.  My best advice is to get a plant already started or head to a neighbors house and wave around a pot of soil while asking if you can make a mini plant out of their Rosemary bush. No I'm not joking! 

Here is how you can do it, this is the same deal as I've showed with Strawberry plants, it will take some time but you will love the results.

First find a branch low to the ground or see if you can bend it (without breaking it) over to lean against some dirt. Clear off a few leaves so you have a bare piece of branch.

 Now place a weight or something to keep that branch down against the dirt (keep that moist)  Wait several weeks, this can take up to a month or longer, no I am not joking.

 After several weeks you should start to see a little bud that is a root starting. If you see this you are in the clear. Wait a few more weeks, wait for those roots to get hairy and longer. Patience, you'll need it ! 

After a couple more weeks check back and you should see enough roots to move forwards. Cut the branch free making sure you get a couple inches past the new roots then grab a planting pot. Using moist dirt you can plant it. Pack the dirt in tight and you may want to use a stick to keep it upright. Now just leave it be and watch for new growth. Rosemary is slow growing, but you should see some fresh new leaves down the road. 

There you have it, your own Rosemary plant !  

I'll add to this subject the further along the year goes, I have several other plants I am "cloning"if you will, one is a very simple daisy bush that is somehow being killed off my yard. I'm making clones from clippings and hopefully can replant throughout the yard so stay tuned !

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February 22, 2013

Recipe Challenge Day 22- Shrimp Cocktail Sauce

This was fairy easy, I don't think I ever thought about making it myself- now I will forever do it! Tastes great and of course better than what they are putting on the shelves in the store!

1/2 cup chili sauce
1/2 cup ketchup
3 tablespoons prepared horseradish ( see here for homemade recipe )
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1/4 teaspoon  favorite hot sauce

Combine it all together and you are done! Easy as I said right? Now enjoy! 

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February 21, 2013

Recipe Challenge Day 21- Slow cooker Pot Roast

Slow cookers, gotta love them! Lately my days are being split between psychical therapy, the kids, kids homework, home projects, and even trying to deal with the never ending troubling phone lines. If you haven't noticed the recipe challenge has been on hold as far as posting. I keep losing internet for hours at a time. By the time it is back, I'm not up to blogging so it keeps getting put off. I'll get caught up one of these days!

Back to the slow cooker though, with busy days you need a no fuss meal so they come in handy.

1 boneless beef shoulder pot roast
1 cup chopped bell peppers
1 cup mushrooms
about 1/4 cup beef broth
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
3 tablespoons mustard
Salt and Pepper to taste

Directions, watch it now you may hurt yourself. Mix the mustard , broth and Worcestershire sauce together. Place all the other ingredients into slow cooker. Poor mix over meat. Cover, set to low for 8 hours or medium for 5-6 hours. Find a way to use those hours up, garden, crochet, read a book, nap since making dinner was such a workout.
 When the roast is done, it should be fork tender so shred it or cut pieces off then enjoy!
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February 20, 2013

Recipe Challenge Day 20- Herb Blend

This recipe is used nearly every other day in the kitchen, and I get tired of picking up little jars of the blend so why not make one yourself ?

Italian Herb Blend

12 tablespoons dried basil
6 tablespoons dried oregano crumbled up
4 tablespoons dried parsley crumbled
4 tablespoons dried thyme crumbled
2 tablespoons dried garlic (minced)

Mix together in a zip lock bag or an airtight container. This is good for 3 months. Use it to make dressing, dress up chicken or turkey. Use i bread recipes or even pizza dough to make it an herbal dough. Put about a tablespoon in olive oil in ice cubes and freeze. You will be able to take a cube out and melt in a pan while cooking. Frugal, easy why haven't you done it yet?

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February 19, 2013

Recipe Challenge Day 19- Artichoke Dip

Can you say yumm? This is worthy of saying it while you make it! I love when people hand me a recipe, manly one they keep saying is a must try. This one was so worth making. Easy as well to make so you don't have to worry about a lot of effort.

1 cup mixed  Parmesan  and Romano cheese
1 cup Mayonnaise
2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 cup artichoke hearts, drained and excess juice squeezed out
3 tablespoons thinly sliced green onions
1/4 cup finely chopped red bell peppers
1 teaspoon paprika

Directions Preheat oven to 350F
Lightly grease a small baking dish, 8x8 is good I used a small oval dish
Mix together the cheese, mayonnaise, and garlic powder.Next  stir in the artichokes,  onions, and peppers. After you mix it well transfer to the dish to cook for about 20-25 minutes or undtil heated through. Top with paprika and serve warm.

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February 18, 2013

Recipe Challenge Day 18- Farmers Skillet Eggs

I needed a quick breakfast the other day as we had no cereal or bread and I wasn't up to making coffee cake. This was a quick throw together and while the kids didn't eat it (they didn't say they hated it) my husband and I loved it. Full of vegetables you can pick and choose which you add in. 

Ingredients - 

6 eggs beaten
1/2 cup of each-
  •  Mushrooms
  • Sliced Peppers
  • Slice onions
1 full cup of baby spinach
Pepper to taste
2 tablespoons butter

 Put butter in a cast iron skillet and turn oven on to 375F. Place pan in the oven so the butter melts. While butter is melting beat eggs into a bowl and add your vegetables along with your pepper. Any other vegetables can be added the more the better . Mix and make sure all the vegetables are covered in egg. When butter is melted pour egg mixture into pan and cook for 15-20 minute or until the eggs have risen and cooked. Inserting a knife to center should come out clean. 

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February 17, 2013

Recipe Challenge Day 17- Homemade Horseradish Sauce

There is nothing like a great piece of meat that melts in your mouth! Rarely do I use sauce with meat, the kids slob it all over the meat but I enjoy the taste of the meat itself. I recently tried horseradish sauce and fell in love with it! I had a hot blend which literally would clear your sinuses if you didn't heed the warning of "less is more" . Best piece of advice right there if you happen to have a hot blend of this sauce on your hand. burned my nose, and what did I do? Went back for more of course.

A friend gave me this recipe, and it was tricky to make as I had to look for the root needed. Turns out stores don't always have this , so the recipe just sat there waiting to be made for awhile. It's easy to make as well and you will enjoy it!


12 ounce fresh horseradish root which have been washed and peeled ( mine were already peeled but I washed them again)
1 cup vinegar
1/2 teaspoon canning salt
4 ounce canning jars with lids and rings
  Using a fine grater, grate the horseradish into a bowl. It will make a little less than 2 cups Add vinegar and salt and stir well. Firmly pack into canning jars leaving 1/2 inch head space. Secure lids and rings.  Place in the refrigerator for three to four months or in the freezer for longer.


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Eat more Kale!

Why you should eat more Kale.

 Kale is :
  • low in calorie, high in fiber and has zero fat.
  • high in iron.
  • high in Vitamin K.
  • high in Vitamin A.
  • high in Vitamin C. 
  • high in calcium.
  • a great detox food.
  • filled with powerful antioxidants.
  • a great anti-inflammatory food.
  • great for cardiovascular support.
I think that is enough reasons to eat more of the lovely green kale! 
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February 16, 2013

Recipe Challenge Day 16- Gluten Free Chicken tenders

This is an easy quick recipe that the kids will love! I used a past recipe and just switched the flours to see if it would taste the same, which it did and it came out great. I used Bob's Red Mill All purpose flour to make the homemade Bisquick  Funny thing while making more gluten free products turns out baking powder may have gluten in it! I found a gluten free powder and had to look up if in fact the powder I had did indeed have gluten. I got mixed facts, some said yes, some said no while others were just "may have it ". I'm thinking it does as that's what most all said. Never even thought about whether it did or not, lesson learned!

For homemade Gluten Free Mix  (just like Bisquick)

This was handed down from my Mom :)

9 cups  Gluten free all purpose flour
1/4 cup sugar
2 cup shortening
1 tsp. cream of tartar <- yes this is gluten free!
1/3 cup baking powder ( gluten free powder!)
1 Tbsp. salt.

 Stir or sift together flour, baking powder, sugar, cream of tartar and salt in a large mixing bowl. With a pastry blender, cut in shortening until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Store in an airtight covered container for up to 6 weeks at room temperature. It can also be stored in the freezer for up to 6 months. Allow mixture to come to room temperature before using. Make about 12-1/2 cups. Use just like biscuit mix.

To make the Chicken Tenders -

2-3lbs of skinless boneless chicken breasts cut into strips
2 tablespoons Italian seasons
2 tablespoons garlic powder
pepper to taste (2 teaspoons)
2 cups of the GF mix above
Mix this all up in a shallow dish or a ziplock bag.

2 beaten eggs

Foil a baking sheet and spray with oil. Set oven to 450F

Take your chicken strips and dip into eggs mixture, place into flour and cover to coat. Place on prepared pan. Continued with the remaining pan, you may need another baking sheet. Set in oven and cook for about 12-15 minutes turning the chicken over halfway between. When juices run clear chicken is done. Serve with favorite dipping sauce and enjoy!
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February 15, 2013

Recipe Challenge Day 14 & 15- Valentines Dinner

My husband was sick on Valentines Day so I cooked the day afterwards and he brought me a real treat! Lobster! I have never cooked lobster, or not like this anyways. It was fun and oh so good.

I also made made peppered Shrimp so this is a double recipe for you to enjoy. 

Pepper Shrimp Ingredients
1 pound shrimp, peeled and deveined
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1 tsp. kosher salt
In the meantime, place the shrimp, extra virgin oil, pepper, and salt in a bowl and toss until the shrimp is coated well;

For the lobster tail. You should have the raw tail shell side up and using sharp shears cut down the center and stop just before the flap of the tail. Carefully peeling the meat back away fro the shell you want to pull it up off the bottom as well. Take the shell sides and fold them down, this would make the meat be ontop of the shell. Season with paprika, pepper, lemon, and butter to taste. Good for about 15 minutes on 350. Shell will turn bright red, meat will be white.
 I didn't get pictures of this process but it isn't hard at all!  Enjoy!

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February 13, 2013

Recipe Challenge Day 13- Gluten Free Bread

So yum! 

Came across this recipe on Gluten Free Goddess, you can find the recipe right here. I won't re-post the recipe as she hasn't gotten back for me to use it so just use the link above and check it out!  I tossed in oatmeal trying to spruce it up and it all fell off the top, I thought it was funny up until it littered my oven and burned. Oh well,  next time I'll push the oatmeal in a little more . This was a great bread. The blog Gluten Free Goddess Recipes has tons, and tons of amazing recipes if you need some inspirational gluten free meals to add to your menu!
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February 12, 2013

Recipe Challenge Day 12- Marinara Sauce

This is an easy recipe for Marinara sauce. I made a huge batch and canned it for later use. But unless your canning make what you need of course. I used my own crushed tomatoes that is why there's seeds in the jar, I didn't get them strained out to start with. No harm !

1 large onion diced, it should make about 2 cups
3 medium carrots diced
6 cloves of garlic minced
1 1/ 2 tablespoons olive oil
28 ounce can of crushed tomatoes

Place the onions, carrots and garlic in a food processor  Pulse them until finely minced. Heat oil in a pan and add the minced vegetables and cook till heated through. Stir in crushed tomatoes and bring to boil. Turn heat down to medium and cook for about thirty- 45 minutes . It should thicken up, if it's not thick keep cooking but no longer than an hour. Season with pepper and salt to taste. 
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Time to Plant again!

This is the best time to start planting for the summer garden. Snow outside? No problem- Start your seedlings inside and a couple weeks from now you can start taking them outside for some fresh air and sun. Some plants thrive in cold weather though ( wait till the last day of frost has passed though) So check your planting zones and get planning for that summer garden.

Mustard from my garden in full bloom !

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February 11, 2013

Recipe Challenge Day 11- Chicken and Brown Rice Casserole with Spinach and Baby Portebellos

I'm always putting spinach in things. This was a chicken mushroom deal then I tossed in the spinach. It must be chopped first though, I learned the hard way. Not sure why it was I didn't chop it up to start with, but believe me cut the spinach up! 
It drowned in spinach! The kids still ate it :) 

5 tablespoons butter, divided
1 medium onion, sliced thin
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 (10-ounce) packages baby portebello mushrooms, sliced
2 (6-ounce) packages prewashed baby spinach
3 tablespoons flour ( or a gluten free flour)
3 cups milk
2 cups Swiss cheese, shredded
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
2 teaspoons lemon juice
5 cups cooked brown rice
4 cups cooked, shredded chicken - roast boneless chicken breasts in 375 degree oven for 25 - 30 minutes

In a large saucepan, melt 2 tablespoons of the butter over medium high heat. Add the onions and cook for about 6 - 8 minutes. Add the garlic and mushrooms and cook for an additional 8 minutes or until softened. Add half of the spinach and cook, stirring constantly, until spinach begins to wilt. Add remaining spinach and cook to wilt. Remove from pan to a large bowl and set aside.

In the same saucepan over medium high heat, add the remaining 3 tablespoons of butter and melt. Whisk in the flour and cook for 1 minute. Slowly whisk in the milk and cook for about 5 minutes, whisking occasionally until mixture comes to a boil and thickens. Remove from heat and whisk in the cheese until melted. Add the salt, pepper, nutmeg and lemon juice. Pour cheese mixture over the spinach mushroom mixture and stir to combine. Stir in the rice and chicken. Transfer mixture to a greased 9 x 13 inch (4-quart) casserole dish.

***At this point, the dish can be cooled, covered and refrigerated overnight or frozen for up to a month. Either bake as directed below directly from the refrigerator or thaw the frozen casserole for 24 hours in the refrigerator before baking as directed.***

Bake, covered with foil in a preheated 375 degree oven for 35 - 45 minutes or until hot and bubbly.

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February 10, 2013

Signed Book Giveaway! 5 Lucky winners!


This dogtastic giveaway has been brought to you by authors Joe and Cathy Connolly

Giveaway ends on Sunday 3rd March at 11.59pm EST

A Dog Lovers lasting guide.......An beautifully illustrated interactive book that one fills in all of the information about their dogs life in the event they can no longer care for them to help ensure your pets are taken care of.

A thought provoking check list for dog lovers, who unfortunately and with much sadness can no longer take care of their dog.

This book will assist those who want to prepare for their dogs future in an easy to use format that will guide them through the process of telling the "story" of their dogs life, for their pets "Next Guardian".

None of us can predict the future, but in the event situations arise such as death, health impairment or left with no other choice but to give them up, this book will be there to assist your beloved pet with the transition from one home to another.

Enter Below and Good Luck !!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Twitter page 1 - http://beckvalleybooks.blogspot.co.uk/2012/11/twitter-follower-page-1-for-2nd-if-i.html
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Recipe Challenge Day 10- Gluten Free Cornbread

I made this using my friends recipe for Gluten free cornbread, came out great. I love how quick and easy it is to make for dinner. I like to spruce cornbread up with peppers, or cracked pepper sometimes.  If you want the full recipe head over to Something Like Life, you an do so here 

So yummy :) 
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February 9, 2013

Recipe Challenge Day 9 - Apples and Pork Chops

Apples, cranberries and stuffing gives pork chops a make over.
This recipe I found using ifood on my phone (got to love mobile!)

1/2 teaspoons butter
2  apples sliced
1 teaspoon brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon seasoned salt (I omitted this)
4 bone in pork chops, 3/4 inch thick and trimmed (about 2lbs)
1 cup apple cider or juice
2 tablespoons butter
1 1/2 cups stuffing ( use GF bread if your not able to eat gluten) 
1/4 cup dried cranberries
fresh parsley
One medium onion sliced (optional ) 

Heat oven to 375. Spray or brush 1/2 teaspoon butter on the bottom of a 13x9 inch glass baking dish. Spread apples in dish (if you plan on the onions layer them with the apples.)  In small bowl mix the flour, brown sugar and cinnamon. Sprinkle over apples. Sprinkle seasoning salt if using on both sides of pork (I'm not a fan of salt, so I skipped this step) Place pork chops over apples.

In 2 quart saucepan, heat apple juice and the 2 tablespoons butter to boiling over med-high heat. Stir in stuffing and cranberries. Cover, remove from heat and let stand for about 5 minutes. Fluff mixture and scoop stuffing over each pork chop.

Spray sheet of foil with cooking spray and place it down over the baking dish. Bake for 40-50 minutes . Bake 5-10 minutes uncovered towards the end or until the pork chops are no longer pink. (temp should reach 160) Sprinkle with fresh parsley.

I redid this one from a year or so ago, but I used GF bread to make the stuffing. It turned out gread and I did it in the slow cooker, so the recipe is very easy to spruce up and do more with! 

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February 8, 2013

Recipe Challenge Day 8 - Mushroom & Spinach breakfast

I guess this would be called a quiche, as it uses eggs, but really I just tossed it together for the kids to enjoy. Filled with spinach and mushrooms it has plenty of flavor. The great thing about this is, you start and finish it in one pan. I crack the eggs in, whip them up then dump the vegetables in with little care. All you do is cook for about 15-25 minutes in the oven and you have a healthy breakfast that also makes a great snack , or one of my favorites- a sandwich! I place a slice of the quiche on toasted bread and eat it up! My kids ate this, but they said "It's not their favorite" Fine with me, they still ate it :)


4 eggs 
3 cups baby spinach
1 cup mushrooms ( you can brown them in some butter in a pan before hand I don't always) 
2 tablespoons butter for the pan.

Just like you start corn bread , drop the butter in a cast iron skillet. Place pan in the oven at 375 just until the butter is melted. Using hot mitts of course, take the pan out and swirl the butter around to coat the sides of the pan. Crack your eggs in the pan or a bowl then place vegetables in . If it doesn't look like the eggs has coated all the vegetables add another one or two. This is up to you. Sprinkle with pepper to taste and cook for about 15 minutes. Check , eggs should start to get a nice golden color on top and knife inserted in center comes out without runny eggs. Cook till done, shouldn't be more than 25 minutes. 
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February 7, 2013

Recipe Challenge Day 7- Gluten Free Focaccia Bread

This recipe I came across on The Pure Pantry Gluten - Free and Delicious. It turned out great! I am loving this new gluten free adventure. While it takes some trial and error to get taste down with a few things, bread being one (think a loaf of bread) this Focaccia bread came out great . I like making this kind of bread for the kids after school. It's not to much but will keep them full till dinner time. A few of my kids enjoy putting salsa on it, or cheese, I just enjoy fresh Rosemary and roasted garlic. 

It came out great!

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“Oz The Great and Powerful"

Have you seen any previews for Oz The Great and Powerful?


Genre:                                      Fantasy Adventure
Rating:                                      TBD                 
Release Date:                           March 8, 2013

Cast:                                        James Franco, Mila Kunis, Rachel Weisz, Michelle Williams, Zach Braff
Director:                                   Sam Raimi
Producer:                                  Joe Roth
Executive Producers:                Grant Curtis, Philip Steuer, Palak Patel
Screenplay by:                          Mitchell Kapner and David Lindsay-Abaire (credit not final)

Disney’s fantastical adventure “Oz The Great and Powerful,” directed by Sam Raimi, imagines the origins of L. Frank Baum’s beloved character, the Wizard of Oz. When Oscar Diggs (James Franco), a small-time circus magician with dubious ethics, is hurled away from dusty Kansas to the vibrant Land of Oz, he thinks he’s hit the jackpot—fame and fortune are his for the taking—that is until he meets three witches, Theodora (Mila Kunis), Evanora (Rachel Weisz) and Glinda (Michelle Williams), who are not convinced he is the great wizard everyone’s been expecting. Reluctantly drawn into the epic problems facing the Land of Oz and its inhabitants, Oscar must find out who is good and who is evil before it is too late. Putting his magical arts to use through illusion, ingenuity—and even a bit of wizardry—Oscar transforms himself not only into the great and powerful Wizard of Oz but into a better man as well.

It looks like a movie worth seeing! 

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February 6, 2013

Recipe Challenge Day 6- Gluten Free Pizza Crust

Since my recent injury and surgery I've been going Gluten Free. Gluten causes inflammation and while I recover it's been something I can do without (with minor slip ups here and there)
We all love pizza in this house, no denying that. I've been trying different recipes for dough and though not all have been winners I thought I'd share one.

My girls helped make their own pizza! 


1 tablespoon honey
1 1.2 cup warm water
1 tablespoon yeast

1/2 cups amaranth flour
1/2 cup sorghum flour
1 1/2 cup potato starch
1 cup tapioca starch
1 1/2 tsp. sea salt
1 tablespoon xanthan gum

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
brown rice for dusting the pan

In a small bowl combine and mix the honey and water. Stir in the yeast and let it sit for about five minutes.
Cobmine all the dry ingredients in another bowl, then mix. Start adding in the oil, vinegar and yeast mixture. Mix together till well blended until a dough forms.

Grease and lightly flour the pan. Cut the dough in half and start to spread out the dough onto two pans (or one what ever floats your boat)

Oven heated to 425. Bake crusts for about ten minutes and then take out to put your toppings on . Place back in the oven for about 15 minutes until the edges are slightly brown and toppings are all cooked .
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February 5, 2013

Recipe Challenge Day 5- Homemade Gatorade

Homemade Gatorade!

 Yes, I am into the juicing now. Nothing beats, fresh organic homemade juice. Instead of grabbing a bottle of Gatorade at the store which could have up to a cup of sugar in it- Why not make your own for the family when you need it. You will love the taste, you control the flavor and it's healthier for you! It's easy as well, so don't fret.
Packed with the vitamins from the fruit and the coconut water you will be hydrated and with all the right nutrients you need. Stop reaching for the sugar packed drinks and make something fresh.


6 organages
1/2 lemon
1 cup coconut water

Juice all the ingredients and strain out seeds if there are any. Pick the best ripe fruits. There is no need to add sugar, but if you want sweetness adjust to your liking. 
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February 4, 2013

Recipe Challenge day 4- Creamy Confetti Succotash

I thought this would come out differently and honestly I don't like cream with vegetables. This recipe was given to me by a friend, very easy to do and works in a pinch if you need a quick vegetable side dish!

I lost the picture of the cooked version, but this was before the cream and with added tomatoes. 

1 tablespoon oil
1 small pepper diced
2 medium green onions 
2 cups corn
1 cup lima beans
1 / 4 cup half and half
1/2 teaspoon marjoram leaves
salt and pepper to taste 

Heat the oil in a skillet and add the onions and peppers till heated through. Stir in remaining ingredients and heat for about 10 minutes stirring throughout. 

Quick simple and my kids ate it without question! Winner :) 

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February 3, 2013

Recipe Challenge Day 3 - Creamy Italian Chicken

This is a great throw together dinner. The recipe didn't have vegetables in it so I added them to the pot. In the end the dish came out to be almost like a pot pie without the crust, perfect warm heart meal the entire family enjoyed!

4 boneless skinless chicken pieces, 
1 envelope Italian salad dressing mix
1/4 cup water
1 package cream cheese
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 cup of mushrooms
1 small bag of frozen mixed vegetables or put in about 3 cups fresh cut vegetables. 

Place chicken in the slow cooker. Mix salad dressing mix and water pour in over chicken. Cook for 3 hours on low. Mix the remaining ingredients until combined- including the vegetables  pour over chicken and cook a remaining hour or until the chicken is no longer pink inside. 

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February 2, 2013

Recipe Challenge Day 2- Peppercorn Roast

I love how easy this recipe is, someone passed it to me and they use the seasonings on chicken for the grill once in awhile. I'd like to try the same on certain fish as well, would be nice and spicy!


1 tablespoon whole black peppercorns, crushed
Coarse salt
2 teaspoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon crushed red-pepper flakes
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
2lb tri-tip roast

The directions are easy. Combine all the seasonings and rub over the meat. Let it sit for about 2 hours in the fridge. Heat some oil in a pan and brown all sides of the meat then transfer to baking pan and cook at 350 for 30-45 minutes or until the meat reads to your liking. We cook for medium rare which is 135.
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BOOK TOUR - "If I Should Die Before My Dog --" by Joe and Cathy Connolly

A Dog Lovers lasting guide.......An beautifully illustrated interactive book that one fills in all of the information about their
dogs life in the event they can no longer care for them to help ensure your pets are taken care of.

A thought provoking check list for dog lovers, who unfortunately and with much sadness can no longer take care of their dog. 

This book will assist those who want to prepare for their dogs future in an easy to use format that will guide them through the process of telling the "story" of their dogs life, for their pets "Next Guardian". 

None of us can predict the future, but in the event situations arise such as death, health impairment or left with no other choice but to give them up, this book will be there to assist your beloved pet with the transition from one home to another.

"If I Should Die Before My Dog -" website     If I Should Die Before My Pets Blog   

About the Authors
Author photo.jpg
Authors Joe and Cathy Connolly
Joe and Cathy Connolly have spent a lifetime owning, training and caring for dogs. Cathy grew up with a Collie breeder, dog groomer and dog handler while attending many different dog shows and eventually went on to work with other breeders as she grew older. They live in beautiful Northern Michigan with their 3 furry four legged children, one large dog, one small dog and the entire family is supervised by one bossy calico cat. 

Buy the book from....

My Review

If I Should I die before my Dog, by Joe and Cathy Connolly is a well thought out guide for any dog owner to ensure your furbaby's care when you can no longer do it yourself.

We have two dogs, Baby and Spot, I honestly never thought about the "what if" I cannot take care of them. With this book there's isn't anything read but full of pages you must fill out about your dog.  Though titled "If I should die before my dog" I think this is a great all around book to have on hand in case anything happens. You become, ill, or are unable to afford care for your pet, having this book filled out all about your dog can ensure whoever can and does take care of your pet, will have a great start in getting to know them.

Baby & Spot I know they look all grumpy, they don't smile well for photo's! 

 This book covers everything someone would need to know about your pet if something were to happen to you. It covers medical history, insurance and all the in between about your dog's life. Is your pet friendly to strangers? Does he have a routine silly ways he likes to do things? The book covers it all and I found it very informative. If I were to ever take on a pet from someone this would be the perfect guide to get along with them. You won't have to wonder if the dog likes kids, or has a thing about a certain toy, noise or a fear or storms or worse get's sick on car rides! Our two dogs get car sick, a trick that helps them cope? Ice cubes during the ride!  One of our dogs was older when we got him, I wish I had known things about him when we got him from his keeper. His fear of people walking up too fast on him, his fear of dog doors, his dislike of certain foods. These are things you should put in the book , tell your dog's life story to ensure his well being after you cannot care for him anymore.

 This is an essential book for all dog lovers, I highly recommend it for anyone with a dog!


I received this book to review through Beck Valley Books Book Tours, all the opinions above are 100% my own.

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February 1, 2013

Recipe Challenge Day 1- BBQ Baked Beans

The Recipe Challenge has started again!  Every year, for the month of February I post new recipes I am trying out, whether they came out good or not, the kids like them or hated them it will be posted!

This is a rather easy recipe and perfect for the Superbowl! My kids love baked beans, and so does my husband. He always puts ketchup on it, no matter what I do, it drives me a little insane but this one he didn't drop anything on it. While the homemade Honey BBQ sauce was great, it needs spice I think, next time I make it the ingredients will be adjusted. Found the sauce recipe in a Taste of Home cookbook, it's in no way shape or form mine. It was listed to be served with chicken or pork but I threw it over beans, worked just fine. 

Ingredients For Honey BBQ Sauce

8 ounces of tomato sauce
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon molasses ( I didn't have any so I just added more Brown sugar)
1-1/2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
1-1/2 teaspoons prepared mustard
1 garlic clove, minced
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon chili powder
1/8 teaspoon pepper

In a small saucepan, combine all ingredients. Bring to a boil. It will keep in the fridge until you want to use it. ** I double this recipe to make just over 2 and a half cups, original makes just over 1 cup)

Baked Beans

4 cups dried pinto beans soaked over night and sorted.
1/2 pound pork chopped up in cubes
1 onion chopped
2 gloves garlic minced

After beans have socked and been sorted place in a large pot or slow cooker. Toss in onion and stir, mix in the BBQ sauce and cook on medium heat for about 4 hours or until beans are tender. Halfway through cooking I had to add more BBQ sauce, but it came out good!


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