Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Low Carb Cauliflower Potato Salad

If you are looking to loose weight, eat healthier, or just stay away from starchy carbs like potatoes and pasta, then this is the salad for you!

I love potato salad, but I know I shouldn't eat too much. When I make this low carb potato salad, I can eat until my hearts content and not feel guilty at all.

Using cauliflower over potatoes really cuts the carbs. And when you slightly steam the cauliflower and cool it, the taste isn't as strong. You can barely tell that there isn't potatoes in the salad. SERIOUSLY!

I was skeptical until I tried it. Now I am a believer.

Low Carb Cauliflower Potato Salad

4-5 cups bites sized slightly steamed cauliflower cooled
4 hard boiled eggs chopped
1 1/4 c chopped dill pickles
2/3 cup onion chopped small
1 1/2 tsp yellow mustard
3/4 c mayonnaise
1/4 c dill pickle juice
1/4 c milk
(If you have fresh dill, toss some of that in too.)

-Put first four ingredients in a large bowl.
-In a smaller bowl, whisk the last for ingredients
-Pour the liquid over the other ingredients
-Stir and season with salt and pepper to taste
-Keep refrigerated until ready to serve

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Texas Straw Hats

It's been busy around here! We sold a house, bought another, moved everything we own to just one state, had a baby girl, started the 2 year old boy in preschool, our beloved dog of 11 yrs passed, and Dan started his 8th year in the NFL. Did I mention Dan was gone at camp for 1 of the past 2 months?

We are still living among a few unpacked boxes, the walls are bare, and the baby sleeps in a pack and play...when she sleeps. Some days, I have no idea which way is up. I consider a shower a victory, and it feels like I just won the lotto if I get to go grocery shopping alone at 10 PM after the kids are in bed and kitchen clean. Some days I want to pull out all of my hair. But then I make myself pause.....and just breath, then smile. These are the days. The days I will someday miss.


The hours of every day can drag. But the months and years continue to whiz on by. I try my best to slow down. Enjoy what is important. Ignore what is not.

The house is occasionally a mess. But my kids are the happiest kids you will find.


Today, Dan's 1st game of his 8th NFL Season, he met and surpassed his 800th point made in the league. We came home and celebrated with Texas Straw Hats, and baby snuggles.

Texas Straw Hats is a warm and hearty meal you can toss in the crock pot for your family in the morning. Go enjoy your kids all day. Then come back to easy dinner. It's great to serve a crowd after church, or for your friends you are hosting for the big football game!

Texas Straw Hats are perfect for warming the soul on a chilly day. The lunch ladies back in school used to make these. I cleaned my plate every time. I don't have the original recipe, so I used a version of my own. You can use your favorite chili recipe if you want, or use my tried and true one I've listed below. I suggest more goods than liquid, as liquid can make chips soggy quickly.

Texas Straw Hats

3 lbs ground beef
1-1.5 cups diced onion
1 diced green bell pepper
2 cans chili beans
1 or 2 cans pinto beans rinsed and drained
4 TB chili powder
2 TB cumin
1 tsp garlic powder
29 oz can tomato sauce
28oz diced tomatoes with liquid
1 tsp Italian seasoning
1/2 tsp sea salt
1 tsp paprika
2 cubes of beef bouillon, crushed
1 TB Worcestershire sauce
1 TB brown sugar
Frito Chips - regular or chili
Shredded cheddar

Brown beef in skillet
Drain from liquid and reserve a few tablespoons of liquid in pan
Saute onions and green pepper in reserved liquid
Put browned beef, onion/pepper, and all remaining ingredients besides the chips and cheese into the crock pot.
Turn on low for 6-8 hrs
Serve over a bed of Frito chips and top with cheese

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Cajun Black Eyed Peas

These were the best Black Eyed Peas I've ever had! Maybe even better the next day, served over quinoa. The spice is just perfect. Makes you feel like you're in the South. Mmm Mmm!

I think I will make a double batch next time, as I wanted more leftovers.

Cajun Black Eyed Peas

2 cans black eyed peas drained and rinsed
1 small/medium yellow onion diced
2-3 cloves of garlic peeled and minced
1/2 package of center cut bacon (approx 6 slices)
1tsp Cajun seasoning
1/8tsp paprika
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp chili powder
2 cups water

-Use scissors to cut bacon strips into smaller chunks about 1/2 or 1/4 inch x 1/2 or 1 inch
-Fry bacon in pan until you have your bacon bits
-Remove bacon from pan to drain on paper towel
-In bacon drippings saute the diced onion for 2 minutes. Add minced garlic for 2 more
 or until onion is iridescent.
-Add black eyed peas and spices. Stir.
-Add water. Stir.
-Simmer low, covered for 1- 1/2 hr.
-Let cool and store in fridge until ready to reheat and use.
-Serve over brown rice or quinoa with a garnish of the homemade bacon bits

Saturday, June 6, 2015

Cold Pea Salad

This salad is so simple to make, yet everyone loves it when I take it to cookouts. It is fast to throw together, and can be made ahead of time. The peas give this salad a fresh feel to it. Most come back for 2nds and even 3rds.

Cold Pea Salad 

2-16 oz frozen peas, thawed and if needed, drained
6 strips of bacon, cooked and crumbled
3/4 cup Cheddar Cheese, diced small. (Just a little bigger than peas)
3/4 cup Mozzarella cheese, diced small. (Just a tad bigger than peas)
1/2 of a red onion, diced small
1 cup mayonnaise
3 TB sour cream if you have it on hand
salt and pepper to taste

In a large bowl, mix together all ingredients except bacon.
Stir softly until well blended.
Refrigerate covered until ready to serve. 
Remove from fridge, stir in bacon and serve.

(I have also made this salad with the peas frozen. As long as there is not any frost built up on the peas, it is fine to do this. If there is frost build up, the salad could be runny when the frost melts into water. If you use frozen peas free of frost, be sure the peas are thawed in time to serve. I like to use frozen peas so that they thaw part way in the fridge, and then the salad can sit out at a BBQ before serving and be ok.

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Salted Caramel Butter Bars

     I found these Salted Caramel Butter Bars on Pinterest. In the past, I have found a handful of recipes on Pinterest that were disappointing. I think some people are just great photographers, which makes you want to try their food. Then, it's a let down. 

     This is NOT the case with these Salted Caramel Butter Bars. They are AWESOME. I cut them in a smaller size than usual, as they are rich. Their buttery base accompanied by the soft caramel layer within is like heaven in your mouth. 

     I gave away a few to a couple of my neighbors, and fed more than a few to a couple of Dan's teammates that were over for dinner. And of course, I enjoyed quite a few with my morning coffee for a couple days in a row. 

Salted Caramel Butter Bars
Recipe slightly adapted from: The Domestic Rebel

  • 2 cups (4 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 & ½ cups powdered sugar
  • 1 Tbsp vanilla extract
  • 4 cups all-purpose flour, plus 2 Tbsp set aside
  • 1 (11.5 oz) jar salted caramel sauce
  • Sea salt

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Line a 13x9" baking pan with foil, extending the sides of the foil over the edges of the pan. Spray the foil liberally with cooking spray and set aside.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat together the butter and sugar until creamy and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Beat in the powdered sugar and vanilla. Lastly, beat in the four (4) cups of flour until a soft dough has formed. Press HALF of the dough evenly into the bottom of the prepared pan. Refrigerate the remaining dough.
  3. Bake the crust for 15 minutes. Remove from the oven but keep the oven on. In a small bowl, combine the caramel sauce and remaining 2 Tbsp flour until blended. Pour the caramel mixture evenly into the crust, then crumble the remaining dough on top to cover the caramel layer. Sprinkle lightly with sea salt, and remember that there's salt in the caramel sauce, too :)
  4. Return to the oven and continue baking for an additional 25-30 minutes or until golden brown and the caramel is bubbly. Mine took about (33-34 minutes). Cool completely before cutting into squares.

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Peep Nest Cupcakes

Peep Nest Cupcakes

Kids will have so much fun making and eating these Peep Cupcakes. They will feel so sneaky making the secret nests in each Peep Cupcake. Have fun this Easter making memories with your family and friends!! 

-Cake Mix 
-Vanilla frosting
-Green food coloring
-Easter Egg candy of choice. I chose whopper eggs.
-Easter sprinkles
-Peep Chicks

-Make cupcakes according to directions.
-Once they have cooled, us a small knife to cut a little "nest" out of the center. 
-Put an Easter Egg candy and Easter sprinkles in the nest. 
-Mix green dye in the frosting until it is a green as you wish. 
-Pipe the frosting around the cupcake and place a peep on top the nest to cover the goodies.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Easter Peep Pops


This Easter, make some Peep Pops with the kiddos! My niece Chloe and I made some while Colby was taking his nap. Peep Pops are delicious little chocolate covered Peeps on a stick.

Easter Peep Pops

1 bag of Wilton candy melts (chocolate or any Easter color you wish)
2 packages of bunny peeps
Cheap zipperless sandwich bags
Microwave safe bowl
Waxed paper

-Poke stick into bottom of each Peep. Poke at least half way through.
-Cut marshmallows in half.
-Lay out a sheet of wax paper.
-Melt the candy melts according to package directions in microwave safe bowl.
-Dip each Peep into the chocolate. Use a spoon or the spatula to cover it entirely.
-With the Peep over the bowl, tap the stick on the edge of bowl to help the chocolate drop smoothly off to make a nice even coating.
-Lay the chocolate covered Peep on the wax.
-Place one of the cut marshmallows on the Peep bunny to make the tail. When the chocolate dries, the tail will stick.
-Once all of the Peeps have hardened and set up, peel them off the wax paper one at a time and place a sandwhich bag over each of them.
-Use a pretty colored ribbon to tie the bag shut.

Monday, December 1, 2014

Leftover Cranberry Sauce Recipes

Leftover Cranberries from Thanksgiving or Christmas? NO problem! Here are a few ideas for your leftover cranberry sauce.

I made this recipe for Cranberry Sauce this year.
Crockpot Cranberry Sauce

It was FABULOUS! I made a batch a week before Thanksgiving to see if it was the one I wanted to share with everyone else. Sure enough! It was! I used it up in a few creative ways because I knew I would be making more in just a few days for the real Turkey Day. To use it up, I came up with quite a few goodies!

If you have leftover Cranberry Sauce this year, try these yummy ideas.

Leftover Cranberries for Breakfast

Cranberry Peanut Butter Toast
-Make your toast, spread a thin layer of peanut butter, and then top with a thin layer of leftover cranberry sauce

Cranberry Oatmeal
-1/3 cup old fashioned oats, 2/3 cup water, 1 TB chia seed, sprinkle of cinnamon, 1/8 cup chopped walnuts.
Toss all ingredients in a bowl. Stir, microwave for 2 1/2 min or until oatmeal is done.
Add a spoonful or too of leftover cranberry sauce. Stir and enjoy.

Cranberry Orange Zest Muffins
Click blue wording above for recipe.

Leftover Cranberries for Appetizers and Snacks

Cranberry and Pecan Baked Brie
Click blue wording for link to recipe. Use Leftover Cranberry Sauce in place of craisins and cut the sugar in half as the cranberry sauce is already a little sugary. 

Cranberry Goat Cheese Toasted Baguettes
-Fresh Goat Cheese
-Cranberry Sauce

-Mix goat Cheese with Cranberry Sauce - proportions to taste
-Set aside covered in fridge
-Slice baguette thin. Butter lightly on both sides and toast in 400 degree oven for just a couple minutes on each side or until toasted like a grilled cheese.

Leftover Fresh Cranberries for Christmas Decor
(From  www.fruitcake.com)
Start with a bag of fresh cranberries, a thick sewing needle and heavy nylon thread. Measure a length of thread proportionate to the area you are decorating. Thread the first cranberry, loop the bottom of the thread up and over it and tie it in a knot. (If you are having trouble pushing the needle through the cranberries, try using a push pin first.) String the rest of the cranberries onto the thread. Finish by tying the last piece on the same way you did the first cranberry. Cut away any extra thread. Decorate with your cranberry garland!

Monday, November 17, 2014

Crockpot Cranberry Sauce

Crockpot Cranberry Sauce is so easy to make. It's sweetness with a hint of tart is just PERFECT! A little orange zest comes out once in a while as well due to the orange marmalade.

This is a MUST MAKE Cranberry Sauce for Thanksgiving and Christmas! I will be making this Crockpot Cranberry Sauce every single holiday from now on. So So Good!!!

By far my favorite Cranberry Sauce to date. 

Crockpot Cranberry Sauce
Recipe from The Frugal Girls

1 bag of Fresh Cranberries (12 oz)
1/4 cup water
10oz jar Smucker's Orange Marmalade (3/4 cup)
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 tsp cinnamon

Toss all ingredients in the crockpot and stir until combined
Cover and cook on high for 3 hours
After 3 hours, or after cranberries have began to pop, stir the cranberries. If any are left whole and have not popped, gently smush them while stirring.
Leave the lid off and continue to cook on high for 15-30 minutes or until most liquid is gone.

*Keeps for 1 week or so in fridge.
*Great make ahead recipe.
*After Thanksgiving, use this spread on peanut butter toast, or in these breakfast muffins.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Mojito Fruit Salad

I apologize for the lack of a great picture in advance. I've made this salad twice, and both times it all gets eaten before I get a chance to take a good pic. This Mojito Fruit Salad is far too tasty to wait for a picture to share so I'm posting anyway.

Mojito Fruit Salad takes me back to the Florida Keys with every bite. I would drink my way through the Keys with Mango Mojitos. MMmmm!

Mojito Fruit Salad
Recipe adapted from Farmhouse Rules

1 pear
2 small apples (As long as you have about the same amount of apple, pear, and mango. 
   My apples were tiny so I used two.)
1 mango (or peaches if they are easier to find)
1/8 cup honey
1/8 cup lime juice
Handful of fresh mint

Dice/cut fruit into small pieces. I like mine about the size of my finger nail.
Toss all in bowl and stir into the honey and mint until it is mixed evenly throughout.
Mince the mint and stir that in. 
Let sit in fridge for 1-24 hours before serving. 

Optional-My guess is you could put a few drops of rum in as well if you wanted to make an adult salad. 

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Pumpkin Coffee Cake with Pecan Streusel


This delicious Autumn inspired Bumpkin Coffee Cake is a true delight. I made it a couple Sundays ago while the baby was napping. By late morning I was making deliveries around the neighborhood to all of the other football wives. The men were out of town that Sunday for the game in Detroit. We kicked butt in the game. Dan kicked a game winning
58 yarder! Therefor I am officially calling this Pumpkin Coffee Cake my good luck coffee cake.

Moist and delicious, I slightly adapted this recipe from the BHG website. Pretty much what I did differently was add more spice. I use more nutmeg than recommended and added cinnamon and cloves. Because what is Fall with no cinnamon and cloves?

I love that there is absolutely NO dryness to this coffee cake, I believe the use of brown sugar, and sour cream are to credit for that.  It is pure perfection. 

Pumpkin Coffee Cake with Pecan Streusel
Slightly adapted from Better Home and Gardens

-Pecan Streusel Ingredients-
1/3 c flour
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
3TB cold butter
1/3 cup chopped pecans
-Coffee Cake Ingredients-
1 c canned pumpkin
1/3 c packed brown sugar
1/3 c dried cranberries
1 TB flour
2 c flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp ground cloves
1/2 c butter, softened
1 c granulated sugar
2 tsp teaspoons vanilla
2 eggs
1 container regular sour cream (8oz) 


-Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

-Grease and flour a 9-inch springform pan, or spray with baking spray; set aside. 

-To prepare Pecan Streusel, stir together flour, brown sugar, and nutmeg. Cut in the cold butter using a pastry cutter or running two butter knifes across one another, until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Stir in pecans. Makes about 1-1/2 cups.set aside.   

-To prepare the coffee cake, In a small bowl, stir together pumpkin, brown sugar, dried cranberries, and the 1 tablespoon flour; set aside.

-In a medium bowl, stir the 2 cups flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, nutmeg, cinnamon, and ground cloves. 
-In a large bowl, beat butter with an electric mixer on medium to high speed for 30 seconds. 
-Add the granulated sugar and vanilla. Beat until combined, scraping side of bowl occasionally. 
-Add eggs one at a time, beating after each addition. 
-Alternately add flour mixture and sour cream to butter mixture, beating on low speed after each addition just until combined (batter will be stiff).
-Spread 2-1/2 cups of the batter in the prepared pan, building up edge to form a 1-inch rim. 
-Spoon pumpkin filling into center of pan, spreading to make an even layer. 
-Carefully spoon the remaining batter in small mounds on top of the pumpkin filling; gently spread batter to cover pumpkin filling. 
-Sprinkle Pecan Streusel over batter.
-Bake for 60 to 70 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. 
-Cool in pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Loosen and remove sides of springform pan. 
-Cool completely on wire rack. 
-Makes 12 servings.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Tortellini Salad

I made this Tortellini Salad the other night to take to a friends house. They invited a few of us over for ribs so I decided to whip up something new. I love our Buffalo Bills friends. They are always willing to try new things. Everyone really liked this salad so I am sharing it with you.

I love the flexibility of Tortellini Salad. I am sharing the ingredients and measurements that I like to use, but feel free to follow your taste buds and add whatever you like. You could go the Greek route with feta, cucumbers, tzatziki etc. You may choose to make it a Tortellini Caprese Salad, or maybe add artichokes, green olives....whatever you like!

I suggest using my recipe the first time. You will LOVE it! Then, the second time, get creative and add or omit anything your taste buds desire!

Tortellini Salad

All measurements can be adjusted to taste. These are my measurements and how I like it. Feel free to add more or less of anything, add artichokes, different cheeses, peppers, green olives, etc.
-1 - 19oz package of frozen cheese tortellini - Cooked according to package directions,
  rinsed and cooled to room temperature.
-Half a bag of fresh spinach roughly chopped small
-8 oz fresh mozzarella diced
-A dry pint (2 cups) of cherry tomatoes - washed and halved or quartered
-1 - 3.8 oz or 2 -2 oz can(s) sliced black olives, drained
-Approx 8 oz. stick of pepperoni sliced thick and cut into bite sized pieces.
  (Can use hard salami too)
-Small handful of sliced banana peppers or peperroncinis
-Approximately 3/4 cup Paul Newman's Olive oil and Vinegar dressing
-Approximately Basil Pesto 6oz
 (I used Classico brand. it was an 8oz jar so i had a little left.)
-Fresh ground pepper

-Toss all ingredients except dressing and pesto in a large bowl.
-Carefully toss.
-In a small bowl mix the dressing and basil pesto.
-Pour mixture over the salad and toss to coat evenly.
-Store in fridge for 2-3 hrs to let flavors blend and dressing simmer down and soak in a
-When ready to eat, remove from fridge, toss to redistribute dressing.
-Taste and Serve.
(If you like a sharper taste, or think it needs a little extra dressing, feel free to add more dressing to it. But I think this is perfect for my buds)

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Taco In A Bag

Taco In A Bag, Walking Taco, Traveling Taco. Whatever you call it, it is gooood.

Back in grade school, Taco In A Bag was sold at high school basketball games in order to raise funds for one of the many school clubs. I totally forgot how fantastic these Walking Tacos were until recently, when my sisters and I were talking about how it is one of my brothers favorite weekend meals.

I decided to make Taco In A Bag for my son's 1st Birthday. I could make everything a day in advance,easily use up leftovers, freeze extra taco meat, and the clean up is a breeze as you throw most everything away! BINGO!

Taco In A Bag is perfect for feeding a crowd. Taco Salad in a bag? With minimal clean up? Yes Please! Tailgating, Camping, Casual Party, etc. It's great for any occasion!

Taco In A Bag

Individual bags of Nacho Doritos
Taco Meat
Shredded Lettuce
Shredded Cheddar
Taco Sauce
    Diced Tomatoes
    Diced Onion
    Sour Cream

-Dice, cut, cook and store all Taco In A Bag ingredients ahead of time to make life easy.
-Reheat meat and keep warm on stove on low or crock pot
-Set out all ingredients
-Hold the bag of Doritos in one hand. With a long side up, use scissors to trim JUST the top 1/8 inch off of the bag, all the way across the long way so that the bag of chips is like a pocket.
-Using both hands hold the bag open side up, and use fingers to crunch the chips.
-Once the Doritos are crunched into smaller pieces, add all of the taco ingredients into the bag that you like, starting with meat.
-Use a plastic fork to mix and eat directly from the bag. 
-When you are finished, toss the bag and fork......or keep the fork and make another Taco In A Bag!

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Chocolate Chip Cookie S'mores

S'MORES!!! A staple of summertime fun! Here's one I tried the other day. Fun and something different. 
Use peel and bake cookies for convenience. Dip in hot fudge at the end for a little extra chocolate. 

-Big Marshmallows
-Chocolate Chip Cookies (peel and bake for convenience)
-Optional - Dipping Fudge or Chocolate Sauce

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

How To Cut Watermelon Sticks

This is my new favorite way to cut and enjoy watermelon. Watermelon sticks are fast and easy to cut, and convenient to snack on. Watermelon sticks are perfect for all ages, and will be the talk of your next cookout. I eat more watermelon when it's cut into sticks. It makes it a one hand activity instead of two....and way less mess.

Follow the pictorial below so you know how to cut watermelon sticks.

How To Cut Watermelon Sticks

Start with a whole seedless watermelon

Slice in half

Place one half aside, and leave the other half on the board

One half at a time, slice in rows as shown in picture. This will leave you with the traditional half moon slices.

 Cut and discard the very ends of the watermelon half. One half moon piece at a time, slice from rind to fruit to cut into sticks.
(Another example)

(Another example)

 (Another example)

 Can easily be cut many sticks at a time. Mainly it is like dicing an onion. Cut all rows one way, then cut the opposite direction.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

One Pot - No Peek - Mushroom Beef Tips

No Fuss. No Mess. Delicious. Three important characteristics of a darn good meal. These One Pot - No Peek - Mushroom Beef Tips provide a hearty home cooked meal, without all the work.

Everything is mixed up and cooked in the same dish. Simply throw it in the oven and walk away. Go outside and play with your kids, run errands, go see a movie. In 3 hrs, come back. Ta-da! Dinner!

Tender, juicy, fall apart beef, with thick brown gravy and big yummy mushrooms. Mmm!

One Pot - No Peek - Mushroom Beef Tips

2lb Chuck Roast
1/2 onion
8oz fresh mushrooms
.87 oz packet of Low Sodium Brown Gravy
1 can Cream of Mushroom Soup
1.25 oz packet of Lipton Beefy Onion Soup Mix
1 1/4 cup water

In a 9x13 baking dish, or a large pan with lid that is bakable, put the soup, soup mix, gravy mix, and water. Whisk until mixed.

Use kitchen sheers to cube up the meat into 3/4-1 1/2 inch cubes. Toss into wet mixture and mix.

Cut onion into pieces, and rinse mushrooms. Toss in and mix until everything is coated evenly.

Cover with lid or tinfoil, and bake at 300 for 3 hrs.

Serve over mashed potatoes, quinoa, egg noodles, or rice.