Archive | June 2012

Potato Salad With Green Salad Elements- Website Recipe Update

Whenever I am invited to a get together that requires one to “bring a food” I always try to be the first one to jump on claiming the potato salad spot. To me, it seems that potato salad is a very common potluck food. I know, however, from my own tastebuds, and from compliments of others, that my potato salad is anything but common. And what can I say- my head just gets a little bigger when I get to bring my special dish of spuds and hear the raves. So- I am sharing my “secret” recipe with you so you can get your own rave reviews at summer party get togethers this season.

I just ask that you try to remember to share the credit of where you learned how to make this delectable dish…


  • 8 Medium sized Russet potatoes- peeled and cubed into 1 inch squares.
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped onions of choice
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped carrots
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped olives
  • 1/2 cup cubed cheese of choice (cheddar and/or pepperjack work great)
  • 1 cup of favorite ranch dressing
  • 2 tbs mustard of choice (spicy or plain yellow
  • Black pepper

Other Possible Additions:

  • Bacon bits
  • Finely chopped bell peppers
  • Chopped celery pieces
  • Chopped hard boiled eggs (add a bit more ranch to keep “moist” if you add eggs)


  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil.
  2. Add potatoes and boil for 20-25 minutes or until when poked by fork they are tender but not too mushy.
  3. Drain potatoes and rinse with cold water for 2 minutes.
  4. Pour potatoes in a large salad bowl.
  5. Dump all other ingredients (except black pepper) into bowl with potatoes and mix together until all is coated with the ranch dressing.
  6. Top off with a few shakes of black pepper to taste and refridgerate for 2 hours before serving.

Take it places and show it off! Keep salad cold in a cooler while away from the house and refridgerate leftovers when back at home.

DIY Delectable: Mom’s Too Hot To Bake Cookie Mix- Website Update

I will never forget the taste of gooey peanut butter chocolate covered oats melting in my mouth on warm summer days. Mom was famous for her “no bake cookies” that she’d put together for us because they were quick, tasty, and didn’t need a hot oven to make. I remember mom putting some in my lunchbox when I was 6 years old and because they were so delightful, there would be bully boys in my class who would steal them and eat them out of my lunchbox before I’d get to eat them.  Oh I’d get so mad.

I like to continue the tradition of this sweet treat in my household too. As I was making them, I came up with the idea of putting a “mix” together and using it as a teacher appreciation gift for my daughter’s teacher. I’ve included instructions for you to use this idea too. A cookie mix makes a great neighbor gift, teacher appreciation gift, hostess gift, or housewarming gift (among other ideas). Enjoy!


What you’ll need to create this gift mix:

  • 1 half pint canning jar*
  • 2 larger canning jars* (you may want to experiment which jars you have that can hold the ingredients well)
  • 3 cups of oatmeal
  • 2 cups of sugar
  • ¼ cup cocoa
  • ½ cup peanut butter candies
  • Cute small basket
  • Ribbons for décor
  • Recipe card
  • Fine line permanent marker

*You may also use recycled jars from mayo, pickles, spaghetti sauce, etc. Make sure they are super clean!

What to do to create this gift mix:

  • Pack the oatmeal into a quart canning jar.
  • Pack sugar into other quart canning jar.
  • Pour cocoa into the half pint jar and pour peanut butter candies over the cocoa.
  • Place all 3 jars into the basket and make a pretty ribbon handle to present it with.

Write the below recipe onto the recipe card with a fine line permanent marker:

Mom’s Too Hot To Bake Cookies

  1. In a medium saucepan mix together ½ cup butter, ½ cup milk, and the sugar, cocoa, and peanut butter candies included in this mix. Bring to a boil.
  2. Boil for one minute before adding 1 teaspoon of vanilla.
  3. Pour in the included oats and lower heat to medium. Stir constantly for 2-3 minutes.
  4. Remove pan from heat. Lay out aluminum foil and spray down with non-stick cooking spray. Drop large tablespoons of cookies onto aluminum foil and let cool before eating.
  5. Will probably be gooey and chewy! Enjoy!

Include recipe card with jars and cheerfully gift your mix!

Check out my website for an easy DIY 4th of July table centerpiece:

Summer Food Favorites for Kids

1. The first “food” that comes to mind when thinking about summer treats are those great frozen juice stick popsicles that I keep stocked in my freezer during the season. Always available and ready for a cool treat after a summer swim in the pool or dash through the sprinklers.

2. Cereal- It can just get too hot to make pancakes, eggs, waffles, hashbrowns, etc. A good whole grain cereal and milk is a great start to a day for my kids.

3. Sandwich fixings- Perfect for those nights when I don’t want to hover over a hot stove for anything! I try to keep all the favorites in my fridge: cheddar cheese, provolone cheese, ham, turkey,  peanut butter, jelly, pickles, lettuce, mayo, onions, and mustard. I guess the only downfall is when we run out of bread and no one notices until it’s time to mae a sandwich. 🙂

4. Lemonade mix- Always a super inexpensive flavored drink that can be mixed up and kept cold in a large super cleaned pickle jar in the fridge. Easily made and ready for my kiddos and their friends after a few hours of outdoor exercise.

5. Crackers and Cheesesticks. Some days my kids just aren’t hungry for a full lunch. Out come the wheat crackers and stringed cheese. A great grain and protein combo to give them energy without over filling them.

6. Strawberries, watermelon, grapes, and apples. Wonderful fruits for a cool and juicy tastes on thirsty tongues- and fingerfoods that happen to make great compost additions when down to the cores, rinds, or green tops.  Our pig likes them too!

7. Different flavored applesauce cups for breakfast, and colored Jello cups for dessert after dinner. Two simple and cool additions to meals that add fun and flavor to a meal.

8. Popcorn- always a summer movie late night treat that satisfies our mouth’s need for salt. Of course- popcorn is eaten all year long- but out on the lawn with the laptop and an “instant online” movie it becomes a summer food!

Looking forward to many days of spoiling my kids’ taste buds this summer! I’d love to hear your “summer food” ideas- please share!

When Throwing a Party, Don’t Forget to Eat Your Own Food!

Last night’s graduation party for my youngest sister was a total success… Great times visiting with friends and family. And, of course, a time to show off my cooking skills. On the menu we had: my famous potato salad with green salad elements, watermelon, raspberry jello with bananas, celery with peanut butter, tortilla chips, Sun Chips, and chipotle chicken bacon quesadillas with various toppings (quacamole, sour cream, tomatoes, olives, and cheese dip). I was so worried there wasn’t going to be enough food so I made sure there was a LOT of each item, and took about half the party time making the quesadillas. Then I was also watching the drinks (lemonade and raspberry iced tea) to make sure they stayed filled.

As I completed the table spread I had guests come in the house a few at a time to dish up. The quesadillas were a hit! (See how to build one below…) In fact- only a few servings of the other foods were eaten – but the quesadillas were nearly cleared by the end of the party! I was so excited at how everyone was impressed with what I threw together and it was nice just mingling and watching everyone socialize. When the meal was all done I began to clean up all the tons of food that was left- packing up the leftovers of the “extra foods” and sending them home with my youngest sister, and packing up the 2-3 quesadillas that were left and sending them home with my other sister’s husband’s brother as he’s a huge bacon fan (he just ended up eating them at the house instead of taking them home to enjoy them).

As the house cleared of guests who made their way home, I had to finish clearing all of the tables and counters of the dirty dishes and quesadilla toppings. While cleaning, I couldn’t figure out why my stomach was hurting and felt like I was so hungry. I finally get to the last area of the kitchen to throw away the dirty paper plates that have piled up, and what do I see but my paper plate full of my dished up 2 quesadillas, chips, jello, and toppings. I forgot that after I took a bite of one of my quesadillas, I set my plate down to make more lemonade. Then I just didn’t think about it. Needless to say, I enjoyed my saved plate of food and was just glad I had at least dished up a plate otherwise the leftovers would have been all gone and I would have missed out. 🙂

Congrats to my sister! And I’m so glad everyone liked the food!

To Build A Chipotle Chicken Bacon Quesadilla:

1. Butter 2 two tortilla shells on one side each

2. Place one tortilla, butter side down, into a large skillet pan.

3. Sprinkle with shredded cheese.

4. Top cheese with: cooked chipotle marinated chicken, cooked bacon pieces, onions of choice, peppers of choice, olives, and fresh or dried cilantro leaves.

5. Sprinkle again with shredded cheese.

6. Top with 2nd tortilla butter side up.

7. Use a pizza pan to help flip the tortilla around and place the other buttered side down into the skillet.

8. Do not cook for too long or tortilla will burn and you’ll be sad!

My Birthday Bash with Breakfast, Bouncing, Cake, and Candles

I am a little late on posting about my birthday bash with my husband, daughter, and son. But that’s the thing about getting older- all of the time that is supposed to be spent living needs to be divided around to dreams, goals, wants, and obligations too. But here I am now because I wanted to share. So- another thing about getting older- even though you know you shouldn’t junk out for a whole day- because your body just isn’t the same as it used to be- a birthday is one of the greatest excuses to just give in.

On my 25th birthday, oops- I mean 27th birthday, food junking started late. I wanted to have raspberry and whipped cream topped pancakes for brunch and I was set on making it. Well, my husband had to “run to the bank” (key words for last minute shop) and he took our daughter with him, so brunch was going to wait until they got back. That ended up being about 12:45pm… so this ended up being more like a lunch. Doesn’t that just look good though? It was too- a pancake buttered down and topped with raspberry jelly before placing a glop of thawed out frozen raspberries and topping it all off with whipped cream. I could eat these any time of the day.

Our next activity was to put together the trampoline we got as a Father’s day gift for my husband (and the family obviously). We couldn’t wait until Sunday to do it because it was such a nice day out- so up it went! Building it helped our tummies settle from brunch before we all bounced away!

So, while my husband was “at the bank” I baked a chocolate cake, as I had planned to, so my kids could decorate it for me and it would be like them “making” me a cake. How fun does that look? And a total satisfier of all the choclate cravings that have come up over the last year!

But of course, when my very thoughtful husband came back from “the bank”, he bought a cake so he could save me the trouble of making one. Too late. 🙂 Still- very sweet gesture. Or was it just because he didn’t want to eat my cake? I don’t even want to know… I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt for just being sweet.

Later in the evening we had our little “birthday bash junking” with a bunch of snack foods and cake and ice cream. I had made these candle holders as a sample of a customizable item to sell in my gift shop, but after I started cutting the cakes up my husband insisted that I light candles up and blow them out. So I gave in and had him take a photo too. After the photo was taken I thought it should be deleted- but changed my mind. It will serve as my reminder that you’re never too old to junk out and have a birthday celebration- even if its mostly centered around breakfast, bouncing, cake and candles. Here’s to a great year for me! 🙂

Garlic and Onion Wine Roast- Website Recipe Update

I am very proud of this meal as it is my first try on creating a meat marinade on my own. It had also been a while since I had made a roast in the oven instead of the crockpot due to my fear of drying the meat out. This roast, however, turned out moist and delish- I was extremely excited. The gravy was also very scrumptious over both the meat and potatoes.

I hope you try this and enjoy it as much as I did!

Ingredients needed for marinade:

  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 tbsp red wine vinegar (any varying flavor)
  • 1/4 cup dried minced onions
  • 2 tbsp minced garlic
  • 1 tbsp black pepper
  • 2 tbsp kosher salt
  • 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce


  1. If frozen, thaw out a 2 lb London Broil roast.
  2. Place roast in 2 inch deep glass baking dish that it will fit in snugly. I used an 8×8 square cake pan for mine.
  3. Cut small slits and poke holes all over the roast so the meat can infuse the flavor.
  4. Mix all marinade ingredients together and pour over the roast. Cover with aluminum foil and keep in your fridge for an hour or longer.
  5. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Pour 1/2 cup beef broth around roast (not over roast) before covering the meat again with foil and placing the pan on middle rack of oven. Heat for 30 minutes.
  6. Remove roast and pour another 1/2 cup beef broth into sides of the pan. Re-cover the meat and place back into oven and heat for another 30 minutes.
  7. Remove roast and set oven to 400 degrees. Pour in another 1/2 cup of broth, recover, and place in oven for 15 minutes. Then uncover the roast and cook for another 15 minutes.*
  8. Remove from oven and keep covered for another 10 minutes or so to let rest before slicing and serving. Use excess juices for gravy (see recipe below).

To make gravy with pan broth and juice:

  • Mix 2 tbsp of corn starch with about 1/4 cup of water.
  • Place 1 1/2 cups of hot juices in a sauce pan.
  • Pour the cornstarch water into the pan and heat over medium until gravy is thick enough to your liking.
  • Serve over your meat and potatoes. Sop it all up with your dinner roll!

Suggested side dishes:

  • Mashed potatoes (maybe with a little ranch and garlic salt mixed in)
  • Sliced fruit (apples are good)
  • Dinner Roll

*The roast turned out to be 140 degrees internal temp when checked with a meat thermometer. It was not pink at all but very tender and moist. I have read elsewhere to not let a London Broil go over 130 degrees internal temp- perhaps you can play with the numbers by adjusting the last half hour of cooking per my recipe to your own tastes. Enjoy!

Stay tuned for my posting of: Potato Salad with Green Salad Elements- or go to my website this week to see it now!


Watch Out- Daddy’s Cooking!

This is not to be a prejudiced post against any male chef in this online community of great cooks- it is just a silly story that some women and children can relate to in regards to the daddy figures of the family. I feel safe to say that there is a general perception of men not being able to cook as well as women in the common household. I do know this perception can be debunked many times over, however, as proved by both of my sisters and my sister in law ending up with men who did ALL the meal cooking. In my household (and please give a shoutout if it is your household too) the woman does the cooking- because there’s a lot of love, time, patience, and creativity that goes into it that my husband can’t quite pull off as often as I do.

I don’t mean that the man of my house CAN’T cook- he just doesn’t do it very much (maybe once a year?) as I’m sure it’d be too much work to make a good family meal each night. He’s got enough on his plate as it is (pun intended). So, in honor of Father’s day, I thought I’d give credit to my husband for a time when he delighted me with a perceptive breakfast food for Mother’s day (last year). I wish I had a photo of what he made for me, but you’ll have to just use the pan image above and imagine it.

I had been craving a good omelet forever. I had never made them at home before so I opted to buy our family an omelet pan as a “house gift” when we bought our first house last year. Ok- so it was more for me and my craving than anything. Anyway- I hadn’t had the energy to try making the egg dish because I was afraid of ruining it. A couple of weeks went by after buying this pan, and it was Mother’s day. I was “allowed” to sleep in but I kept smelling this delicious aroma of roasted onions and bacon. My kids kept coming into my room and telling me to stay in bed because Daddy was cooking a surprise. This worried me a tad- but the scent was so good that I had faith whatever it was could only be a good thing. After about a half hour of my kids going in and out of the room, they told me it was “safe” and ready to come out now.

My darling husband prepared me an omelet. And it was AMAZING! Olive oil, free range chicken eggs, olives, bacon bits, onions, and seasoning salt. I was completely surprised. Needless to say- my husband making me this beautiful meal out of such great thoughtfulness made me overcome my fear of making omelets. After all- if he could do it then so could I, right? Now I just wonder what kind of thought I can put into my Father’s day meal for him that will amaze him- because my cooking does that anyway…

Tell me your story of a surprising meal by a man- and not by a man who is a great cook. I know there are a lot of you out there. 🙂

Happy Early Father’s Day!