Category Archives: Recipes

Scaling Down

It is Day #3, Week #2 of our attempts at weight loss.  I am trying a new plan based upon an article I recently read.  It said that if you go at least 48 consecutive hours with no/almost none carbs, then it will spur a metabolic boost that will help lose weight later in the week.

The first week I tried this, all went well until Day #3 when I made a mad dash for the donut shop, effectively undoing the progress I had made.

This second week, however, I am more focused.  I made a concious effort to buy extra no carb foods so that I could experience some variety.  Based upon our weigh-in this week, I also implemented this same strategy for both of the boys.  We are all slightly overweight….not much, but slightly.  Having to go without carbs for two days has really been an eye opening experience.  We have all seen just exactly how awful our carb intake has been. “You don’t miss it, until you no longer have it”, right?!  Well, we definately missed the carbs, but at the same time are gaining a knowledge of what is healthy and what is not.

I’ve done a considerable amount of research over the last few days.  My question was, after the two days are done, then just how many carbs (and calories) are healthy for each one of us?  Thankfully, I now have a plan to monitor for myself and the boys during the rest of the week.  I will attempt to stay at 1200 calories/180 carbs per day.  Both of the boys will be at 1970 calories/295 carbs per day. 

Preliminary results are good!  Our weights this morning revealed a 1.5 lb loss for me, 3.3 lb loss for the youngest son, and 4.6 lb loss for the eldest son.  I’m so grateful that they were able to see results, and that their “suffering” paid off!  Ok, they really didn’t SUFFER……I just realize that finally they have experienced hunger pains for the first time in forever.  Prior to this plan, they basically wanted to eat every five minutes, it seemed.  I would justify giving additional snacks because they are “growing, energetic boys”.  However, what I realize now is that they were consuming too many calories and carbs. 

We’ve never had trouble with them eating vegetables…’s not that they wouldn’t eat a well balanced meal.  It is just that they also wanted two helpings of meat, Texas garlic toast, sugary cereal (for breakfast AND snacks), popcorn melting in butter, ice cream, and what WAS the occasional Dr Pepper was now a “3-4 times a week Dr Pepper”.  Add that to too many hours playing video games and being stuck in the house too long and we begin to see the effects of an unhealthy lifestyle.

I don’t want a weight issue to be with them into adulthood.  I want to claim a healthy body for myself as well.  So, this is the plan, at least for now and it’s working 🙂

One interesting thing to note is that normally my weight starts small(er) in the mornings and then fluctuates 1-2 pounds within the day, ending at a higher weight in the evenings.  This is typical, I think, for most people.  However, weighing in after lunch actually showed me 1/2 lb LESS than what I weighed this morning!  Hmmmm……maybe the metabolic boost thing is working?  (despite having 3 muffins, a piece of bread, and caramel rice cakes today)

Lastly, I wanted to share one very, very low carb treat we’ve found this week.  It’s refreshing, cold, and creamy so it’s likely to stay on the weekly menu for a while!

Orange Creamsicle Dream Dessert Drink

8 oz diet orange soda

2 tbsp heavy whipping cream

1 cup of ice cubes

Mix it all in a blender and enjoy!  It makes one serving, so just add what you need to multiply according to the number of people you will be serving.  The drink’s texture is a little bit weird as the cream does not mix with the ice like most sugar laden smoothies.  However, we ate the chunks with a spoon and then when the ice broke down enough to liquify, it became a really cold wonderful creamsicle drink!

We’re having pork chops tonight…..AND summer squash……AND mashed potatoes!  I only get 1/2 a cup of potatoes so you can bet I will be slowly enjoying every bite!

Nutrition Info:  103.5 Calories, 11.1 g Fat, 0.8 g Carbohydrates, 0.6g Protein

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Filed under Children, Commitment, Family, God, Health, Life, Parenting, Recipes, Resolutions

Please don’t make me eat another egg!

Recently I read an article that said if you severely limit your carb intake (little to none) for 48 hours straight, then it will cause a metabolic boost that will help loose weight the rest of the week.

This seemed like a workable plan for me.  I figured two days without bread, sugar and starch would be better than what I had been doing, so there could only be a healthy consequence by trying this plan.

Last week was Week #1.  My two carb-less days went ok, however, by day #3 I was seriously starving.  We celebrated the accomplishment with a trip to the donut shop…..sigh.

Realizing that my Overly-carb’d Day #3 absolutely busted any progress I had made with Day #1 and #2, I remained determined to keep trying this plan.

Today is Day #1, Week #2.  So far, we have had watermelon for breakfast, and a grilled chicken/avocado salad for lunch (no dressing).  Tonight I plan on making an egg omelet.  It’s not a perfect no carb day, but  very close.

Tomorrow, what will be have to look forward to?  Eggs, meat, some veggies.  I will admit I’m not very excited at eating the same thing again.  I like variety.  There’s not many foods that I don’t like, and so I want to eat them all!  (thus, my growing weight problem) 

Do any of you have any no/very very low carb recipes?  I’m also looking for an internet link to a simple fruit/veggie list and each one’s carb counts.   I sure could use some ideas to keep this going!


Filed under Health, Life, Recipes

What’s Cookin’?

I’m still going through mounds of recipes collected but never tried.  Probably somewhere within the pile are the directions for making twenty different variations of blueberry muffins.  There’s cheesecakes, savory favorites, side dishes, and of course a thousand different kinds of breads.  Why do I always  collect the recipes, but never actually cook them?!  As a result, my self-commanded challenge this year is to cook my way through all of them.  

If the prepared recipe makes the grade, it will be included in my “Best of the Best” recipe collection and handed down to my kids.  One thing we have learned as a family is that when Grandpa was cooking his “fabtabulous” homemade biscuits, we all should have written down the recipe.  Now that he is gone, many of us lament about not having the tasty legacy to pass on. 

Hopefully, with all our favorite family foods in one book, my kids and grandkids will remember how much I love them!

Here are some recent tries that didn’t make the “A+++” grade.  They were good, but just not good enough!

Chicken Marsala (with not much chicken!)

Breakfast Pizza (the picture is green…the food was not 🙂

Lime Cilantro Pork Chops


Like I said, these were all good, but not the “Wow” factor our Family Cookbook requires. 

Two tasty treats that DO warrant saving are:

  Coconut Cream Pie

The crust is not homemade, but that doesn’t matter….the filling and meringue definately make up for it!  Also, this is the first time I’ve been able to use my new Kitchen Aid mixer for meringue, and it did not disappoint.  Never has mixing been so much fun and so easy!  Thank you again, my sweet and thoughtful husband, for making Valentine’s Day really special this year!

Coconut Cream Meringue Pie

2/3 c sugar, 1/4 c cornstarch, 1/4 t salt, 2 cups milk, 3 egg yolks, lightly beaten, 1 cup flaked coconut, 2 T butter or margarine, 1/2 t vanilla extract

Meringue:  3 egg whites, 6 T sugar, 1/4 t cream of tartar, 1 9″ baked pie crust, 1/2 c flaked coconut

For filling:  In a saucepan, combine the sugar, cornstarch and salt.  Gradually stir in milk until smooth.  Bring to a boil, cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened.  Gradually stir 1 cup hot filling into egg yolks.  Return all to the pan, stirring constantly.  Bring to a gentle boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes.  Remove from the heat; stir in chopped coconut, butter and vanilla until butter is melted.  

For meringue, in a mixing bowl, beat egg whites on medium speed until foamy.  Add cream of tartar, beat until soft peaks form.  Gradually beat in sugar, 1 Tablespoon at a time on high until stiff peaks form.  Pour filling into crust, spread with meringue sealing edges to crust.  Sprinkle with coconut.  Bake at 350 degrees for 13-15 minutes until golden brown. 

Also, this Quick Chicken Parmesan really makes the mouth water! 

Quick Chicken Parmesan

4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves

1/3 cup seasoned dry bread crumbs

1 ounce fresh Parmesan cheese, grated

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper

1 egg

1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons olive oil, divided

1 garlic clove, pressed

1/3 cup chopped green bell pepper

1 can (14 1/2 ounces) Italian-seasoned diced tomatoes, undrained

1/3 cup pitted ripe olives, cut in half

Place each chicken breast between 2 pieces of Parchment Paper.  Flatten chicken to at least 1/4 inch thickness.

Combine bread crumbs, Parmesan cheese, salt and black pepper in a bow.  In another bowl, lightly beat egg.  Dip chicken breasts in egg; coat with bread crumb mixture.  Sprinkle with any remaining bread crumbs, and set aside.

Heat 1 tablespoon oil in skillet until hot.  Add chicken breasts; cook 3-5 minutes per side or until chicken is no longer pink and juices run clear.  Remove chicken breasts from skillet; keep warm in oven.

Heat remaining 2 teaspoons oil in skillet.  Press garlic into skillet.  Add bell pepper; cook and stir until pepper is crisp-tender, about 2 minutes.  Add tomatoes and olives; stir.  Simmer 5 minutes.  Serve tomato sauce over chicken.  We also paired it with fettucini  and alfredo sauce which made for a very filling and scrumptious meal!

So…..that’s a little of what’s been cookin’ around here.  What’s going on in your kitchen?  Got any great recipes to share?  (No wait!  I’m not supposed to read any more recipes until I finish cooking through what I’ve got!  Ugh….I’m a recipe-aholic I think!  Somebody help me 😉


Filed under Family, Family Traditions, God, Life, Recipes, Resolutions

Easter Food Fun

Every year for the last 14 years, we have celebrated the Resurrection with our dearest friends.  An impromptu invitation on “Easter Eve” in the middle of Walmart began what has become our cherished tradition.

Both our families know that despite rain, hail, sleet, and snow, we are equally determined to attend this event and enjoy our time together.  We’ve watched our kids grow up and now have seen several marry and have kids of their own.  We eat ….. alot!  We also play alot, sit around and try to keep each other from napping and then open the leftovers again later to eat again!

Normally, I make the same things:  Banana Pudding, Chocolate Cake, Bread, a Vegetable, etc.  Not THIS year though!  I had extra time and decided to play with some recipes that had long been selected for experimentation.


I decided to make this bunny cake

and this broccoli salad (in my Grandmother’s beautiful bowl 🙂

I don’t eat alot of raisins, but they really work in this salad.  Normally my BFF makes this and I do the banana pudding, but this year we switched out on those two items!

I also decided to volunteer for bread duty this year.  To make it fun

I started with thawed, frozen bread dough, shaped it like this, brushed with egg, let it rise a bit and put into the oven.

Isn’t he cute?!!  As a bonus, the bread dough also naturally made a little belly button for him!

We needed more bread than what the bunny affords, so I made extra rolls and placed them all in the basket together.  Who needs a chocolate bunny when you can have BREAD!

I still made the chocolate cake, but didn’t get a picture of it.  Usually it goes so fast, there’s no way to capture it on film 😉

Our annual BFF Easter event is always a blast! It was aNOTHER great time with our friends family.  I can’t imagine spending the best day of the year with anyone else! 





Filed under Blessings, Cakes, Children, Easter, Family, Family Traditions, Friends, God, Joy, Life, Recipes, Resurrection, Time

Smothered Sirloin Steak in Parmesan Peppercorn Sauce

1/2 cup Italian Dressing, divided

1 lb well-trimmed boneless beef sirloin steak (and as you can see I didn’t take the time to trim very well)

1/3 cup sour cream

4 1/2 tsp grated parmesan cheese

1/4 to 1/2 tsp black pepper

1 large onion, thinly sliced

Pour 1/4 cup of the dressing over steak in a resealable plastic bag.  Seal bag; turn to coat.  Refrigerate 30 min or overnight to marinate.  Combine sour cream, 2 Tbsp of the remaining dressing, parmesan cheese and pepper.  Refrigerate until serving time.

Heat remaining 2 Tbsp dressing in large nonstick skillet on medium heat.  Add onions; cook 7 to 8 min. or until golden brown, stirring frequently.  Remove onions; set aside.

Drain steak; discard marinade.  Cook steak in same skillet on medium heat 3 to 4 min. on each side for medium doneness. Place on cutting board; slice crosswise into thin strips.  Serve steak topped with sauce and onions.

Makes 4 servings.

(recipe found in Kraft Food and Family magazine, Spring 2006)

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Filed under Family, Recipes

Savory Tomato Pie and Swiss Cheese Potato Pancakes

Although a little soggy, this pie had a lot of flavor.  It resembled the taste and texture of quiche.  The potato pancakes were nice, but then isn’t most everything FRIED just wonderfully marvelous?!

Savory Tomato Pie

5 green onions, sliced

3/4 cup chopped sweet onion

2 tablespoons butter

2 pounds tomatoes, peeled, seeded and chopped

1 unbaked pastry shell (9 inches)

3 eggs

1 cup half-and-half cream

1-1/2 teaspoons salt

1 tablespoon minced fresh basil or 1 teaspoon dried basil

1/2 teaspoon white pepper (I used black)

In a large skillet, saute onions in butter until tender.  Add tomatoes, cook and stir over low heat until softened.  Remove from the heat; cool.  Line unbaked pastry shell with a double thickness of heavy-duty foil.  Bake at 450 degrees for 5 minutes.  Remove foil; bake 5 minutes longer.  Reduce heat to 350 degrees.

In a mixing bowl, beat the eggs, cream, salt, basil and pepper until smooth.  Stir in the tomato mixture.  Pour into pastry shell.  Bake for 45-50 minutes or until a knife inserted near the center comes out clean.  Let stand for 5 minutes before cutting.  Yield:  6-8 servings.

Swiss Cheese Potato Pancakes

1 package (3 ounces) cream cheese, softened

2 eggs

2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

4 cups shredded peeled potatoes (about 1 pound)

1/4 cup shredded Swiss cheese

2 tablespoons grated onion

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon pepper

dash cayenne pepper

3 tablespoons butter

3 tablespoons vegetable oil

In a mixing bowl, beat cream cheese until smooth.  Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.  Add flour; mix well.  Stir in potatoes, Swiss cheese, onion, salt, pepper and cayenne pepper. 

In a large skillet, heat butter and oil over medium heat.  Drop batter by 1/4 cupfuls; press lightly to flatten.  Fry until golden and crisp, about 5 minutes on each side.  Drain on paper towels.  Yield:  16 pancakes.

(Recipes from Taste of Home Spring 2008 magazine)

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Filed under Family, Recipes

Colby Corn Chowder and Ranch Biscuits

Finding a new soup recipe always interests me.  I love soup, but some in my family only accept certain kinds.  To please all, the soup must be creamy, full of flavor and it always helps to accompany it with some bread.

This corn chowder and ranch biscuits surely fit the bill!  My family has now permitted “Soup Night” more often 🙂

(As found in Taste of Home magazine, Spring 2008)

Colby Corn Chowder

6 large potatoes, peeled and cubed

1 teaspoon salt

1 large onion, chopped

1/4 cup butter, cubed

2 cans (14 3/4 ounces each) cream-style corn

4 bacon strips, cooked and crumbled

3 cups milk

8 ounces Colby cheese, cubed

Place potatoes in a Dutch oven or large soup kettle; sprinkle with salt and cover with water.  Bring to a boil.  Reduce heat; cover and simmer until potatoes are tender.  Meanwhile, in a large skillet, saute onion in butter until tender.  Stir in corn and bacon; heat through.  Drain potatoes.  Add milk; heat through.  Stir in corn mixture and cheese.  Serve immediately Yield: 12-14 servings (about 3 quarts).

Ranch Biscuits

2 cups biscuit/baking mix

4 teaspoons dry ranch salad dressing mix

2/3 cup milk

2 tablespoons butter, melted

1 teaspoon dried parsely flakes

1/8 teaspoon garlic powder

In a bowl, stir the biscuit mix, salad dressing mix and milk until combined.  Drop 2 inches apart onto a greased baking sheet.  Bake at 425 degrees for 10-15 minutes or until golden brown.  In a small bowl, combine the butter, parsley and garlic powder; brush over warm biscuits.  Yield: 9 biscuits.  (…and of course, we doubled this recipe!  9 biscuits?!  Who only eats NINE biscuits?!!)


Filed under Children, Family, Recipes

Sunshine and Sunflowers

Oh how bright the sun shines when there’s a pretty little girl and a chocolate cake!  I just couldn’t resist making this cake for our little “Boo”!  It’s the first thing she and I have made together.  I made the cake layers.  She “helped” me with the icing, tested the “Peeps”, and continued to “fix” the icing as I added the chocolate chips.

2000 calories and probably 5000 grams of sugar later, the cake was done!

Notice the little finger at the bottom of this photo 🙂

Whoops!?  How did that happen?


Filed under Blessings, Cakes, Children, Family, God, Grandchildren, Joy, Love, Recipes

Green Bean Casserole Remix

This is NOT your regular green bean casserole!  No canned beans, no soup cans, and no french fried onions required!

Instead, this yummy-down home-delectable-creamy-goodness-of-a-dish is going to please your inner bean-lover self!

Found at Pioneer Woman,THIS is the recipe.  It creates a wonderful sauce that we also used to top a bed of white rice.

To compliment such great side dishes, I decided to go with something found on Pinterest during my one visit there.  I haven’t yet committed to the Pinterest craze — mainly for fear that I will be hooked!  Still, the one time I did look, this garlic chicken recipe really stood out.

All you do is saute’ 4 minced garlic cloves in 3 teaspoons olive oil until tender.  Remove from heat and stir in brown sugar.  Place chicken breasts in a lightly greased baking dish and cover with the garlic and brown sugar mixture.  Add salt and pepper to taste, then bake uncovered for 15-30 minutes at 500 degrees.

Once again, the family showered me with praise and insisted on doing the dishes thanked me for such a great dinner.  The boys ate without complaint.  Hubby (who doesn’t normally like chicken) thought it was wonderful, and Daughter 2 devoured her dinner (even thought she thought it was a pork chop instead of chicken, lol).

All-in-all both were wonderful new dishes for my Cooking Extravaganza week!  I’m going to slow down on the food now and try to post something more than recipes.  After all the eating we’ve done in the last several days, maybe I should make Fitness and Weight Control my next subject 😉


Filed under Blogging, Family, God, Health, Life, Recipes

Peas and Crepes

Black Eyed Pea Soup

4 slices bacon, diced
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1 med. onion, chopped
1 med. bell pepper, chopped
2 cans Black Eyed Peas, undrained
2 cans diced tomatoes, undrained (or one can tomatoes and one can rotel tomatoes)
1 cup water
1 1/4 to 1 1/2 tsp ground cumin
1 1/4 to 1 1/2 tsp ground mustard
1 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp pepper
salt to taste

Cook bacon over medium heat, until crisp. Remove to paper towels, reserving drippings in pan. Cook garlic, onion, and bell pepper in bacon drippings until tender. Add peas, tomatoes, water and seasonings. Mix well. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer 15-20 minutes.

Strawberry Banana Crepes

1 cup Mascarpone cheese
2 Tblsp confectioners sugar
3 to 4 teaspoons minced fresh basil
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1-1/2 cups sliced fresh strawberries
3 eggs
3/4 cup plus 2 Tblsp milk
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
5 teaspoons butter, melted
1 Tblsp sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 cups sliced strawberries
1/2 cup sugar
2 Tblsp orange juice
1 teaspoon strawberry or vanilla extract
dash salt
4 teaspoons butter, divided

For filling, in a small bowl, combine the cheese, confectioners’ sugar, basil and lemon juice. Gently fold in strawberries. Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a blender, combine the batter ingredients; cover and process until smooth. Let stand for 30 minutes.
For topping, in a small bowl, combine the strawberries, sugar, orange juice, extract and salt. Let stand for 30 minutes.
Melt 1 teaspoon butter in an 8 in nonstick skillet. Pour about 1/4 cup batter into center of skillet; lift and turn pan to cover bottom. Cook until lightly browned; turn and brown the other side. Remove to a wire rack. Repeat with remaining batter, adding remaining butter to skillet as needed. When cool, stack crepes with waxed paper or paper towels inbetween.
Spoon filling over crepes; roll up. Serve with strawberry topping. Yield 8 crepes. (Recipe from Taste of Home magazine, February & March 2008 edition)

If you are like me and have no idea what mascarpone cheese is and/or cannot find it in your local grocery store, try this substitute:
16 ounces cream cheese
1/3 cup sour cream
1/4 cup heavy whipping cream (I used half and half)

Blend all three ingredients together until smooth.

My family is all going to bed with full and happy stomachs tonight. Let’s just say we now believe that there are crepes in heaven!


Filed under Family, God, Love, Recipes