August 04, 2015

pineapple stir-fry with coconut rice

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I get excited when a recipe calls for coconut rice.  It is so much a favorite of mine that when I find a good recipe that includes it, I will make it multiple times.  In fact when my kids see the rice going in the rice cooker that is always their first question, "is that coconut rice!?", and when I say yes I am the best mom ever.  Come to think of it maybe I should make it daily!?;)  My second favorite part of this dish... the pineapple.  I am picky when it comes to mixing fruit into a dinner dish, so if I post one that means it was delicious!  The sweet fruit goes perfectly with the cool cilantro and fiery, red peppers!

As you can see the chicks are getting so big and work up quite an appetite after playing!!!  I can't wait to finish building the coop this weekend and then I will post some pictures.  



July 31, 2015

orzo with sun-dried tomatoes and broccoli rabe

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Image result for rapini
Oh broccoli rabe, also known as rapini, how I love you... if you haven't ever tried it now is the time!  Love kale, spinach, and collard greens?  You will love this then.  It has a slightly bitter taste and a stronger flavor than the usual greens.  I really enjoy it paired with the sweetness from the sun-dried tomatoes and nuttiness from the cheese and pine nuts.  This pasta can also be made with spinach or kale, you will just want to throw them into the water for 1-2 minutes, shortening the cooking time since they wilt very quickly.

Chicken update: They are growing so quickly!!  They seem to have another centimeter of wing feathers each morning when we wake up... reminds me of when my babies were small and they seem to grow right in front of my eyes!:)  The kids take them out to play each day and watch over them.  As you can see they also sit and read, while watching over the flock as they call it, which is a win/win for everyone!  As you can see in the background our chicken coop has be started... yay for their new home!!!



July 29, 2015

pulled pork tamale bake

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How are the chicks... well we had a tragedy this past weekend.  I found a four foot snake that had gotten into the brooder and eaten four of them.  I didn't grow up on a farm, loved being on my grandparent's farm, but there is a certain mindset that people who have grown up on a farm have and I am beginning to understand it now.  Nature is brutal.  There are things that you can't prevent no matter how hard you try, you only do your best.  My kids were distraught to say the least.  However, I also as a parent know that it begins the lesson of death and that life has a finality to it, no matter how hard that is to grasp at times as we tend to live like life is never ending.

So... the brooder is now is my basement/garage (it is unfinished and has a garage door), no more chances, and even although I know that there aren't any snakes down there I find myself checking... even a couple of times in the middle of the night.  I know, I know that's crazy!  I'm not sure who was more upset about it... myself or the kids?

Sunday we went and picked up four more chicks, and the kind gentleman actually gave me five, to help my poor, sensitive son to cope since he lost his special chick, the only one with spots.  So, now we have 17.... oh my!;)

On a happier note we will start building the coop this weekend and have spent the past few days working on the foundation and leveling out the site with cinder blocks... talk about a hard job!!!

On to food!  We had some leftover pulled pork and used it to make this dish, which I have had an eye on for quite some time.  The roasted poblano peppers and pork are sandwiched between a cornbread crust... sound good!?  It's amazing.  If you would like to make it a vegetarian entree you can substitute 4 cups of vegetables, such as black beans, mushrooms, zucchini, bell peppers, and/or tomatoes.  It's delicious and I served it with tortilla chips that were handy to scoops up an stray bites!:)



July 27, 2015

cilantro and lime coleslaw

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I  am super picky about my coleslaw (trust me I have made several different recipes and this is the first one you are seeing) so I usually prefer to make it instead of buying some at the grocery store.  There are so many variations to this classic dish that no two seem to be the same.  My personal favorite way to eat slaw is on barbeque tacos or sandwiches and this recipe is perfect for that!  The cilantro throws in a southwest taste along with the lime juice, but not so overwhelmingly so that you couldn't take it to your next cookout and eat it with plain burgers and brats.  Make it ahead of time and it will only get better as the flavors come together!

July 22, 2015

southwest chicken and rice skillet

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Chick day is here!!  They finally arrived at the post office this morning and we got the call at 7 am to come get our babies.  They were all bundled up in this little box, huddled together.  They are even cuter than I realized they'd be... and so tiny!  My kids are beyond excited and already deciding which ones they want to be "theirs" and the names. So fun!!!
 

So in keeping with my latest trend of quick, easy, and budget friendly, here is another dish that you will want to add to your weekly rotation.  It is so versatile that you can add just about any veggie, plus it takes very little effort to prepare.  Perfect for a busy weeknight as school starts back in a couple of weeks and sports start to ramp up.


July 20, 2015

lentil spinach coconut curry

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Well everything is in place for the chicks.  The brooder (where the chicks will live for the first few weeks of their life) is all set up and ready!!!  We are super excited and I can't wait to post pictures of them!  They will arrive Tuesday-Thursday... so check back.

Since I have been busy during the day with all my "projects" I have been focusing on quick, easy dinners at night.  This one is no exception.  It is budget friendly and delicious!  I always serve any Indian with naan, being the bread lover that I am, rather homemade or store-bought (it is easy to find, usually by the bakery bread in a package), and cucumber raita which I make in a few minutes. We ate this dish as a main course but it can also be served over rice.

July 17, 2015

potato, leek, and pear gratin

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Anything with the word gratin is always delicious!  It's like one of those foods that reminds you of your childhood, sitting around the table with family, discussing the day.  Maybe that was just me... it's possible, if it is... just bear with me!:)

This version of the original potato gratin is even better... at least in my opinion!  I made it with parmesan cheese, but gouda would also be amazing.  The thyme and pear just add to the flavors that all come together in this delicous potato dish!


July 15, 2015

cauliflower and quinoa burgers with greek salad

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So... I had mentioned that my neext project was going to be a fire pit.  Well, slight detour!  I began looking up baby chicks (never start unless you are going to order, which we were... just in the Spring!) and next thing I know I have 15 chicks (that was the minimum order), which includes 6 different breeds, in my "cart".  My husband was looking at me inquisitively and I ask him what I should do... to order or not to order!?  He knows that it is my time and will ultimately will be my project, so he leaves it up to me.  You know how you hover over that "finalize purchase" button... well sometimes it is easier to just quickly push it.  All in.  Make that decision.  So... I pushed purchase.  I am kind of nervous... 15 chicks to take care of?  What am I getting myself into?

Since then I have continued researching my new endeavor.  Can I just say that I am sooooooo excited!!!!  The more I research and read, the more I can't wait to get started.  However, I have learned that it is similar to raising children in the way that everyone has their opinion/way to do it and thinks that they are right.  For example, some people would tell you that a rooster is a must, but others would tell you "don't even think about it... they are awful".  So... what to do... I'll keep you updated!:)       

On to the delicious recipe that you foodies are waiting for...

I have tried a couple of times to make veggie burgers of one type or another.  Usually they end up falling apart and crumbly (not sure if that is a word... but it works!)  These on the other hand were amazing.  They stayed together, tasted delicious, and were easy to make.  The salad next to them... perfect.  It is such a compliment to the patties and I would encourage you to make it! 

Next up... felafel.  I LOVE it but have only made it once and now that I have successfully done these I am feeling adventurous!


July 13, 2015

chickpea and kale shakshouka

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Remember the driveway project?  So.... guess who ordered a bobcat to smooth and level the gravel?  This girl!!!  Two hours in and I caved!  It's possible that I would have been shoveling gravel well into September.  In fact... it even took the bobcat 2+ hours!  However, after all that work we finally have rocks and not just sand and mud... yay for a cleaner car!;)  On to the next project/idea... a fire pit.  

Traditionally, shakshouka is a dish of eggs poached in a sauce of tomatoes, chili peppers, and onions, often spiced with cumin. It is believed to have a Tunisian origin.  I loved the idea of adding kale and instead of poaching the eggs, just baking them.  The pictures don't do it justice... I actually almost didn't post it (since it isn't pretty and looks like a blob), but it was soooo good that I had too!!!  I served this with a thick slice of toast and even although we ate it for dinner it would make a hearty brunch dish. 


July 11, 2015

Grocery List- Week 28

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Meals for the week:

-chickpea and kale shakshouka served with toast
-cauliflower and quinoa burgers with greek salad
-potato, leek, and pear gratin served with grilled chicken or steak

**reminder- the serving suggestions have not been added to the grocery list**

Produce
  • 1 onion
  • 8 garlic cloves
  • 2 large tomatoes
  • 1 large bunch kale
  •  4 small tomatoes
  • 2 green onions
  • 1 cucumber
  • 1/2 lemon
  • 1 head of cauliflower
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 leek
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme leaves
  • 2 yellow fleshed potatoes (about 1 1/2 pounds total)
  • 2 firm ripe pears
Baking/Spices/Nuts
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
  • 1 tablespoon dried mint (can also use 1/4 cup fresh mint)
  • 3/4 cup whole wheat flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1, 12 ounce BPA-free can evaporated milk
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
Dressings/Oils/Vinegars
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil 
  • 2 tablespoons grapeseed oil
Ethnic
Pasta/Rice/Beans/Canned Goods
  • 1 1/2 cups cooked chickpeas (1/2 uncooked or 1 can)
  • 1 cup pitted greek olives
  • 1/2 cup quinoa
Freezer

Dairy
  • 6 large eggs
  • 6 oz feta cheese
  • 3/4 cup finely grated parmesan cheese
Seafood/Meat

Miscellaneous

July 08, 2015

sushi salad over gilled fish

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My new project this week has been the driveway... I decided that our bare driveway (which when it rains becomes mud puddles in some spots) needed some rock.  The turnaround/parking spot that we cleared last week was just mud so I had to start with sand.  The whole day on Tuesday was spent hauling, spreading, and leveling sand.  I will say that the kids had a blast building sand castles! 

Then today I had 36 tons of gravel delivered.  Anyone ever graveled a driveway with a rake and shovel before?  Oh my!  My callouses and one, perhaps two, blisters are feeling the work.  I feel like I have man hands!!!  The truck that brought it emptied it in rows and did a great job of unloading it so that it will take the least amount of work possible, which is still a lot... and that work is HARD work.  Wish me luck... oh and my husband for getting him into this mess!!!

Love sushi?  This salad is for you.  Never tried sushi... then here is something similar.  One of my absolute favorites!  It is all the deliciousness from a roll, but in salad form.  This would also be amazing with grilled shrimp or salmon.   

July 06, 2015

simple fruit cobbler

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This past weekend the kids and I picked blackberries with the plans to make a dessert.  My friend had given me this super quick recipe and I thought I'd try it out.  Unfortunately, we didn't get enough so we ended up using some blueberries that I already had, but it was delicious!

With only 5 ingredients and 5 minutes to mix it up... you can't go wrong!  There are always those times when you want an easy dessert for guest, or family (after making dinner for 2 hours a homemade pie may not happen), and here it is!  You can use any type of berry, so use whatever you have or pick some from your bushes that are ripe.  Plus, the kids have so much fun helping and this is simple enough they will love making it!

July 03, 2015

sun-dried tomato and goat cheese grilled chicken

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When we moved into our new house we went from 1/4 acre to mow to 3 acres... quite the difference.  Needless to say, being stubborn like I am and determined, I wanted to just use the push mower we had to mow the 1 1/2 acres around the  house... yes I said push mower, saving the money that a new lawnmower would cost to spend on a fence.  Well, after an acre... it died.  It would start again and mow another 2-3 rows then die again.  Turns out it is 17 years old... so not so shocking that it quit working.  So yesterday we got a new lawnmower... I might just be in love!:)

After working in the yard all day some grilled chicken sounded amazing... but it needed to be simple because spending a couple hours cooking wasn't on the menu (wait... seems to be that is quite the trend lately!).

These are delicious with the sweet sun-dried tomatoes balancing out the creamy goat cheese.  I served them with roasted asparagus that I drizzled with olive oil and sea salt, then broiled for 5-7 minutes, just until slightly tender but still crispy.  SO good!   


July 01, 2015

homemade cinnamon rolls

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Once in awhile everyone needs a cinnamon roll... the rich, ooey gooey icing, cinnamon and sugar... Mmmmmmmm!  I have been making these for years and they seem better each time.  If you are going to have them, homemade is the only way to go.  They are so much healthier that way, although you don't probably think of a cinnamon roll as healthy, but when you don't have all the preservatives, high fructose corn syrup, and hydrogenated oils... they aren't so bad.


These are so good you will have a hard time stopping at one... don't say I didn't warn you!:)

June 29, 2015

southwestern grits bowl

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Yesterday was a wonderful day!  We got some more yard work done (surprise, surprise!) before I left and went to help out a friend with a newborn photography shoot.  I had so much fun helping her (and taking picture of course!) and staring at those adorable baby toes.  Something about a baby... it's amazing how fast they grow up and then you miss those sweet moments... "sigh"...

Anyway, I have been craving grits and needed a way to use up some extra veggies.  In order to make it a one dish meal I feel that it needs a variation of textures.  Maybe that's just me, but I love crunchy next to soft and even more I appreciate the variation in flavors.  This recipe is perfect for all the garden veggies you will have and would also be great with fresh (or pickled) jalapenos and/or okra.  Throw an over easy egg on top and make it for breakfast!  Hungry yet?:)  


June 27, 2015

soba noodles with broccoli and tahini sauce

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What a long day full of yard work, yard work, and more yard work!  Good thing we love doing it and being outside!  Even in the 90 degree heat there is no where else I'd rather be than working on a project outside. 

To say that the weeds and vines have been taking over around our house would be an understatement!  Somewhere around 20 wheel barrow loads later, and 5 hours, we now have a turnaround for the driveway... which had always been there somewhere underneath the mess.  After all that something simple sounds good for dinner... I'm tired!!!

This dish is perfect for the ending of a busy day!  It comes together quickly and is filling, even without the meat, but you can swap out the tempeh for chicken if you would like.  I served it with vegetable spring rolls and it was perfect!! 

June 24, 2015

zucchini noodles with mushroom wine sauce

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I could eat pasta every night.  Add crusty bread and butter... done deal.  However, let's be honest... I usually try and a bit healthier and not carb load on a nightly basis.

This is the best of both worlds since it has the mushroom wine sauce and instead uses zucchini noodles, which means you are eating lots of veggies!  Extra garden vegetables anyone!?:)  Plus it is so simple, and quick to make, that it is perfect for summer. 

June 22, 2015

mexican pizza

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So... I have this problem.  I can't seem to do much else until I am completely done unpacking and organizing.  It's like a mental block that I can't focus on anything until it's done!  I know someone out there can relate.... and don't get me wrong.... it can be a good thing.  For instance my house is almost completely unpacked AND organized.  However, it also means that dinner/laundry/cleaning/blogging/meal planning gets left in the dust.   So my goal for this next week is to get back on track and by Friday feel back to my routine. Let's just say that my inbox is so full of e-mails that you almost wear your finger out scrolling!  Yes, it's that bad!!!

In the meantime dinner has been full of quick and easy recipes that are also healthy.  This pizza was amazing and it is just as good cold the next day!  Customize it according to what you have on-hand.  It would be delicious with jalapenos, black beans, fresh tomatoes, etc.  You get the picture.  So have some fun with it!:)

June 18, 2015

greek pasta salad

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I'm baaaaack! 

The past 3 weeks have been full of unpacking, yard work, organizing, painting, organizing, yard work... I think you get the idea.  I am so thankful our new home and so glad to finally be starting a new chapter!:)

This past weekend my  Dad was in town and I needed a side for grilled chicken that was easy, simple, and came together quickly.  This pasta salad was delicious and great because I could make it ahead of time... one of my favorite things when having people over!  It would also be great with grilled steak, fish, or tofu. 

June 03, 2015

squash quinoa-n-cheese

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If I were to ask you what was your favorite comfort food I know quite a few of you would have mac-n-cheese on your list.  It is an all time favorite.  Even if you started with the boxed stuff from Kraft, at some point you graduate to the gooey, homemade kind that is to die for.  The kind that always gets finished off at the family dinners.  This dish was inspired by the original, and is a healthy version that is just as delicious!  The fun part?  It even has butternut squash, which is perfect when paired with the nutty quinoa and sharp cheddar cheese.


May 28, 2015

moroccan bean salad

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Salads, salads, everywhere!  There is something about summer, sunshine, and salads... it's like snow and hot cocoa... they just go together.  To end this week, here is another salad staple at picnics and cookouts, and since this has been a week full of family cookouts and friends gathering around the grill, here is a delicious version that you are going to love.  The most important part of a bean salad is to vary the texture and have plenty of flavor.  No one wants a bowl of mush!

The most standard bean salad uses vinegar, but here is a version using olive oil and spices.  You will also have to decide between canned beans and cooking your own.  I always prefer to cook my own for a couple of reasons.  One, being that they are healthier, BPA free, and are not sitting in a liquid with preservatives.  Second, they tend to be less mushy because you control how long they cook and they are just fresher.  However, sometimes... there just isn't time and you have to buy them canned.  I totally get it!

May 26, 2015

tarragon potato salad

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Everyone loves potato salad.  It is one of those dishes that comes standard at cookouts and family picnics.  There are so many different versions of this dish that I won't even try and count!  This just happens to be one of my favorites and I will add that my husband agreed (which says a lot because his mom makes an amazing potato salad).  

AND... drum roll please... we are scheduled to close on our new house this Friday!  Yay!!  Just in time for the kids to get out of school and summer to begin!!  I will say that the past month, yes I said that correctly... MONTH since we have lived in our home, has given me a huge heaping dose of perspective.  The next time I feel like complaining about something, whether it be a wall color I want to change, a counter top I would like to replace, or that vase that I "need" to buy, I hope to feel just a bit more content with what I have.  It doesn't really matter if some dirt gets tracked in or there are a few dirty dishes in the sink, because I have a house... with a kitchen... that has everything I need...

May 25, 2015

Happy Memorial Day

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"Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one's life for one's friends."  John 15:13

May 23, 2015

simple kale salad

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I love kale and this salad is delicious!!  For being so simple the flavor is anything but, with the sweetness from the currents, nuttiness from the pine nuts and parmesan, and then you add the lemon juice!  Amazing.  I know some people have put off trying it or aren't quite as "on board" with it as I am, but I actually prefer it to normal lettuce.  I think it holds it's texture much better, without becoming soggy and has great flavor.  I often use it instead of lettuce and here is another reason why....

Kale, also known as a super food, is rich in potassium, folate, vitamin C, and phytochemicals.  It is one of the many cruciferous vegetables (in the same family as broccoli and cabbage) which has been shown to fight cancer with it's complex chemical composition. 

See... it doesn't get any better!:)


May 20, 2015

pav bhaji (vegetable stew) with naan

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This Indian stew is amazing!  Pav bhaji is a mish mash of vegetables that is simmered in onion and tomato sauce and spiked with a variety of spices.  This version is a bit healthier than the traditional one, replacing the butter with olive oil.  It is hearty and full of so many different vegetables that you won't even miss the meat, however if you would like to add some... lamb or chicken would be perfect.  The recipe serves more than usual, but I wanted the leftovers and it just made things easier with some of the veggies like the cauliflower. 

Prep is important, because once you start cooking the recipe moves quickly, so make sure that you have everything chopped and diced before beginning.

May 16, 2015

southwestern pasta salad

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I don't know about the weather where you live, but the weather here couldn't be any more perfect.  It's sunny, 75 degrees, and a slight breeze.  Perfect for grilling out with family and friends!  Here is a pasta salad that will compliment any meat or seafood, but can also stand alone as a vegetarian entree. 

Since I don't have a whole kitchen full of gadgets and tools I needed something that not only came together quickly, since I was short on time, but also something simple.  This pasta can actually be made even simpler with canned beans and frozen corn, but if I have the time I prefer fresh.  If you have a busy evening of ball games or meetings, make this ahead of time and pop it in the fridge.  Then when you get home... dinner is ready!:)


May 14, 2015

What's for dinner...

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Tonight is our last night in the hotel... unfortunately it's not because we are moving into our house.  One of our wonderful friends has a great-aunt that is in Florida which equals empty house.  So, we will be spending the next two weeks in a house before we closing on our new home.  On a positive note... it has a back yard (which equals happy dog) and is only 10 minutes from school verses the 40 minutes we are currently driving (which equals happy me and happy husband).

For dinner I will be making cold sesame noodles and vegetables with peanut sauce.  My favorite part is that I can make it while the kids get their homework done, stick it in the fridge, and then after we all go swimming... dinner is ready.  This quick and easy, cold noodle dish is perfect after a day in the pool, summer picnic, or dinner on the patio.  It goes great with grilled chicken or can be eaten as a vegetarian main dish. 

http://www.eatprayjuice.us/2014/08/cold-sesame-noodles-with-vegetables-and.html

May 11, 2015

grilled mexican corn on the cob

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I hope everyone had a wonderful Mother's Day!  Mine consisted of pool time, grilling, reading, relaxing, etc. etc. etc.  It was amazing.  As you can tell it was also delicious! 

This corn is similar to what you would get from the food trucks in Mexico and perfect to serve alongside just about anything, but I love it especially with BBQ.  Corn on the cob doesn't have to just be butter and salt and after eating this... you probably won't do it the same again!

BBQ rub

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In the south, it is quite daring to add anything "BBQ" to my blog.  Down here in Georgia, where people are serious about their BBQ, you'll find some of the best around.  Like mind blowing, didn't know it existed while in Indiana, good!

So as daunting as it is... here is a rub recipe.  I used to think BBQ meant slather the sauce on and then grill it.  I know some of you are laughing and some of you are probably thinking "yeah... so... that's what I do".  However, the sauce will cause the meat to burn before it's cooked and also not penetrate the meat to season it.  So... grill it with a dry rub and then add the sauce at the end... if you must!:)  This recipe is by far better than any of the bottled stuff at the grocery store!     

May 07, 2015

curried sweet potato and rice skillet

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My favorite part of this skillet is the "cover it and leave it" part.  So, instead of being busy in the kitchen, like I usually am, I was able to practice my long division with my daughter.;)  I can tell you that being busy in the kitchen might be more fun than math (at least for me), but I'd always take time with her over the "busyness".

Hotel life... oh where to begin... let's just say that I feel sorry for the people below us!  My son, who is a active 7 year-old, hasn't grasped the fact that people live below us and he can't jump, run, stomp, etc.  I think you get the picture.  I must say 100 times a day "stop jumping/stomping/running"!:)  Silly boys... so much energy.  I still haven't gotten used to the fact that I can't just send him outside with his younger sister, while the older one does her homework.  Unfortunately our closing date keeps getting pushed back...wish me luck...
   

May 06, 2015

chocolate coconut bars

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I made these bars a couple of months ago with two of my favorite things... chocolate and coconut.  If that's all I said, I think you'd get the picture.  These bars are similar to Hello Dolly Bars, a southern dessert, that may sound familiar.  To put it simply... they are amazing.  Straight from the oven they are warm, gooey, and have toasted coconut on top.  Are you heading to your kitchen yet?

When my husband ask me to make a dessert for a meeting I replied, "of course" after about 30 seconds, knowing that it would give me an excuse to make these bars.  I have been eyeing them for some time, but needed an excuse, because if they were just sitting around my kitchen I would eat a couple... or a lot of them!  Let's be honest.