What’s for Dinner? Borrow My Meals

Feel bored, overwhelmed, or just too busy to worry about what to eat this week?  No worries.  I hope you find some inspiration here.  When all else fails, borrow my meals.  Each week I will be posting What’s for Dinner? 

Everyday Granola 
As in, “I could eat this granola Every. Single. Day”.  The base recipe comes from My Gluten Free Kitchen.  I took Michelle’s advice and customize each batch depending on my mood.  I added toasted unsweetened flaked coconut to this month’s and served it with vanilla yogurt and fruit from our co-op basket.

Banana Bread Mini-Loaves adapted from 8 Weeks to a Better You Recipes

Stewed Cabbage & Tomatoes with Smoked Sausage
I had some stewed cabbage leftover from making cabbage rolls.  I added a little salt and pepper and reheated it over medium-high to high heat until the liquid evaporated.  Then I cubed smoked sausage (which I browned in another pan) and added it to the cabbage.  Serve it spooned over leftover rice, and that’s lunch in a hurry. Both boys commented they liked these little German bowls even better than the cabbage rolls.

Grilled Pork Chops with Grilled Spicy Garlic Bok Choy & Ginger Rainbow Carrots
For the bok choy and chicken teriyaki, I use tamari because it is gluten free and the brand I found is non-gmo.

Grilled Spicy Garlic Bok Choy
5 heads baby bok choy
2 Tablespoons chili oil
2 Tablespoons tamari or soy sauce
2 Tablespoons honey
2 cloves garlic, minced
To Prepare:
Heat grill to medium to low heat (400-350).  Combine tamari, chili oil, honey, and garlic in bowl.  Slice bok choy in half length-wise, place on a rimmed platter, and brush with chili-tamari mixture.  Wrap tops of bok choy with foil.
Grill bok choy until slightly softened and charred (5 minutes or so on each side).  Remove foil and arrange on serving tray.  Brush with remaining chili-tamari mixture while hot.

Grilled Ginger Rainbow Carrots
1 bunch rainbow carrots
½ X ½ inch cube of crystallized ginger
Salt, pepper, drizzle of olive oil
To prepare:
Clean carrots and cut lengthwise and crosswise once.  On a square of heavy duty foil, toss olive oil, salt, pepper, and ginger with carrots.  Fold to seal foil tightly.  Grill over medium to high (375-400) heat for approximately fifteen minutes or until desired tenderness.

Tex-Mex Sweet Potato Skins
These may be my new favorite dish. Could you pack more good for you into four bites? Thank you! Thank you Tieghan at Half Baked Harvest for the inspiration! They are works of art.
4 small organic yams or sweet potatoes, baked at 375 for one hour, halved lengthwise and cooled about ten minutes then hollowed out to make a potato skin
1 cup black beans
1 chicken breast, small dice or shredded
1 cup cooked or frozen spinach
1 cup Monterrey Jack cheese, divided
2 Tablespoons olive oil
2 Tablespoons lime juice
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon Mexican oregano
2 teaspoons chili powder

To make:
Combine oil, lime juice, garlic, cumin, chili powder, and oregano to make a seasoned oil. In a separate bowl, combine chicken, beans, spinach, and half a cup of cheese to make the stuffing. Brush skins with seasoned oil, place on asking stone or lined baker, and bake in a 400 degree oven for 10 minutes or until they begin to crisp. I added the remaining seasoned oil to the stuffing. Stuff the potatoes, top with remaining cheese, and bake for an additional ten minutes. Serve & listen to everyone rejoice at how yummy they are (including resident sweet potato hater). Decide Tieghan might be your new favorite food blogger.

Giada’s Rise & Shine Juice
If I make it again, I will add an apple because on the show the apples she demonstrated with were large and the ones in my co-op basket were very small and I will not add the carrot.

Cucumber Melon Juice
1 handful spinach leaves
4 cups watermelon
1 large cucumber, peeled

Smoothie Add-in:
Frozen honeydew melon

Snacky, Snacky:
Roasted salted almonds & pretzels
Plums, peaches, melon


Corn! Enjoy the Sweet Season


Corn gets a bad rap.  It’s so extorted by the government, abused by the food industry, and completely misunderstood.  When it’s non-engineered straight from the garden sweet summer goldenness — it can only be called yummy in my tummy.

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Gather: 4-6 ears fresh corn

1/2 cup mayonnaise (eye-ball it)

1/2 cup butter, softened

A healthy sprinkle of and fresh cracked pepper

Dash of chili powder & cayenne pepper

Mix. Slather on semi-cooled corn fresh from the grill.

1/4 cup queso fresco, crumbled (though I have used parmesan before)

Grill the corn in the husks.  Shuck. Slather.  Devour.


Soak the corn before placing it on the grill to avoid flaming corn husks. 20-30 minutes seems to be plenty long enough.



Grilled Corn & Black Bean Salad

(perfect for Meatless Monday)




4 ears of corn, grilled & kernels removed from cob

1 red onion, chopped

1 large handful of cilantro, chopped

1 can black beans, drained & rinsed

1 avocado, cubed

1 handful of cherry tomatoes, halved

olive oil, salt & pepper



In a large bowl, add:  cilantro, tomatoes, red onion, drained beans, and avocado – set aside.


Just use a knife to remove the kernels from the cob. Using a bowl keeps it from going all over everywhere as you cut.

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Zap your citrus in the microwave for about 10 seconds to enhance the amount of juice yielded.

Dress with avocado & lime juice, seasoned with agave and chili powder.  Enjoy!  Healthy cholesterol lowering monounsaturated fat from the avocado, protein & fiber from the black beans, along with lycopene and vitamin C from the tomatoes.  The taste gets a boost from the cilantro and lime.  Relish in the fact that it is filling & hearty despite being vegetarian.





While you’re picking your corn buddy, check out the Seafood Watch app. It tells you which fish are sustainable, which are sea friendly, and which choices are not so great.









Poblano Corn served with Grilled Red Snapper
2 roasted and seeded poblano peppers, chopped
4 ears of fresh corn, cut off cob
1/2 red onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1/4 c crumbled queso fresco
1 big handful cilantro, chopped.
Salt and pepper to taste
Olive oil, as needed for sauté

Sauté onion in olive oil until soft. Add garlic, peppers, and corn; season to taste. Sauté until corn is done. Add in cilantro and quest fresco. Serve warm.





Hungry for more? Try Cornmeal Crusted Tilapia with Spicy Corn Relish or Roasted Veggie Quesadillas  (w/ or w/o chicken – easy for Meatless Mondays!)


Gather: sautéed spinach, leftover grilled corn, chopped onion & red peppers, and Monterrey Jack cheese

Melt:  Melt butter over medium heat in a thick sauté pan. Heat a tortilla in butter, pile on toppings, fold over, and watch it become golden gooey goodness.


Just What Every Southern Girl Needs


Every southern girl has certain things tucked away in her little bag of “tricks”. Rituals, traditions, and mannerisms she was taught while growing up.  They are the unspoken rules of the south, and we take pride in passing them down.  Rules you hear from the time you are a toddler:   Give Me-maw sugars, call your mamma, say grace, mind your manners, be welcoming to guests, don’t return a dish empty, write your own thank you notes.  Always have a little black dress, pearls can go with anything, and don’t let your roots show too long.  Take Easter pictures in the bluebonnets, serve watermelon for 4th of July, and don’t forget your friends’ birthdays.  Work hard, do good, and don’t brag about it. Learn to fry a chicken, guard your pecan pie recipe, and have a go to casserole.  Around here it’s all about Faith, family, taking care of those you love, and being the best version of yourself.

The other thing a southern girl understands is the need for good, strong women in her life. Two women that I love dearly who happen to possess all those wonderful southern attributes also share the same birthday. In honor of these lovely ladies, I am celebrating one of the most humble yet satisfying meals, the casserole. Every southern girl I know has a casserole committed to memory that they can assemble at a moments notice -pot luck, friend had a baby, or someone has a death in the family.

The concept of this recipe came from my bestie.  She is a saint.  In fact, she may already have a saint named after her.  I’m not sure…I’m not catholic.  She is, so she would know.  Any who…She has been my best friend forever.  Literally, since birth; I cannot imagine life without her.  She’s been here good, bad, ugly, and wonderful.  She’s my cheerleader, sounding board, and tough love.  She stayed with me in the hospital with my second baby when he was just days old and I had a nasty infection.  She loves my kids like she loves her own.   She brings me flowers.  She brings me chicken spaghetti.  What can I say, she gets me.

Chicken Spaghetti
It ain’t pretty, but it sure is good.  This version is old school, no canned soups here! If you like it more on the soupy side, half again the sauce portion as the noodles absorb a LOT.

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Feeds 8 or makes two 8X8 pans   
12 oz thin spaghetti – comes out to about 3 cups when broken into pieces (if you are making this ahead, go ahead and use regular spaghetti)
1 can of Rotel (drained)
3 cups of boneless skinless chicken breasts or a mix of breasts and thighs, (roughly 4 breasts or 2 of each breasts and thighs)
1 Tablespoon of butter
1/2 green pepper, diced
1/2 red pepper, diced
1 medium onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
4 Tablespoons of flour
4 Tablespoons of butter
2 cups of reserved chicken cooking liquid (you can use chicken stock too)
2 cups of warmed milk
2 cups of grated sharp cheese, (½ cup reserved for top)
1/4 # american cheese or queso blanco (just ask at the cheese counter)
2 teaspoons of garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
Chili powder, salt and pepper to taste

To Prepare:
Place chicken and generous sprinkling of salt in a deep pot.  Fill a pot 2/3 full of water.  Bring water and chicken to boil, reduce to simmer, cover and cook 20-40 minutes until chicken is cooked through.  Use tongs and remove chicken pieces.

Allow them to cool, cube, and place in a large bowl with the Rotel.  While chicken is cooling, return water to a boil and cook spaghetti in the chicken liquid until al dente.  Reserve 2 cups of the chicken cooking liquid before draining pasta.  After draining, add the pasta to the chicken/Rotel mixture.

In a sauté pan, melt 1 tablespoon of butter, add onion and both peppers and sauté until softened.  Add this to the chicken/pasta/Rotel mixture.
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Make the sauce:   Melt 4 tablespoons of butter in a sauté pan over medium heat, add 4 tablespoons flour, and cook the flour and butter to create a light rue.  Whisk in chicken cooking liquid.  Then whisk in warmed milk.  It should thicken slightly.  Season to taste with cayenne, salt, pepper, chili powder and garlic powder.  Reduce heat slightly and slowly melt in 4 cups of sharp cheddar and the queso/American cheeses.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Pour the sauce over the mixture in the bowl.


Stir to combine.


Fill into one 9X12 greased pan or 2 8X8 greased pans, cover with foil, and bake 30 minutes until bubbly.  Remove foil, top with additional ½ cup of sharp cheddar and bake 10-15 minutes until cheese melts.


One pan for you, and one to share.  This makes a good dish to take to someone.  Just cover in plastic and foil, freeze and tell them to bake it a little longer.  Save the second pan for yourself…needless to say, there won’t be leftovers.

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YUM!  One of these days I think I’m going to try adding sautéed mushrooms, but Boogers doesn’t like them, so I’m going to have to wait awhile.

My mother in law’s signature casserole is the Mexican Chicken Casserole; although she makes a mean lasagna. The name in no way is a reflection of what it actually is, as no Mexican or for that matter anyone of Latin descent actually makes it. I have taught and worked with many people from south of our border over the years and all agree, Tex-Mex is not Mexican. Maybe I should be p.c. and rename it Texican Chicken Casserole…It’s often called King Ranch chicken, a much more logical name since Texas does have a King Ranch. They even have a saddle and leather shop that makes gorgeous things.

It is yummy, creamy, cheesy, and slightly spicy. I do make my version slightly different from Man’s mom, but I’m grateful to her for sharing with me. I love that lady! God smiled on me when he chose Man’s family. I serve it with sour cream, salsa, and a side of guacamole. Now if that’s not Texan, I’m not sure what is.

King Ranch Chicken Casserole
Currently I make this dish with canned soup like my mother-in-law does. One of these days, I may get around to changing. Probably not, but maybe.
4 cups chicken, shredded or diced – You can boil one and shred the meat (if you do, reserve some of the stock), use a rotisserie chicken from the deli, or some leftovers from the grill. I think the best is a mix of light & dark meat.
2 1/2 cups Cheddar or Cheddar Jack mix cheese, shredded & divided
1 small onion, chopped
1 small green bell pepper, chopped
1 jalapeno, seeded & chopped
1 can Rotel diced tomatoes with chilies
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 cup reserved chicken stock, low-sodium chicken broth, or water
1 package corn tortillas, 10 count
salt, pepper & chili powder for sprinkling

Sauté the onion, bell pepper and onion in a little butter. In a separate bowl, combine soups with stock and Rotel to make your “sauce”. Mix very well. Then begin layering the casserole starting and ending with a layer of sauce (sauce, tortillas, handful chicken, sprinkle of pepper mixture, handful shredded cheese, pinch of salt, pepper and chili powder, tortillas, sauce…). Reserve 1/2 cup of cheese. Bake covered at 350 for 30-45 minutes. Top with remaining half cup of cheese and continue to bake uncovered for another 15 minutes or until bubbly and cheese is melted.


My latest favorite casserole – just a little spicy. This was originally a Meatless Monday recipe I found on Tastebook, but there wasn’t a lot to it. It would have made a great dip, but a meal….not so much. I live in Man-land, so we must have MEAT! So, I added chicken, changed up some stuff, and here is what you get. Hmmm….maybe I should add chicken to spinach artichoke dip and call it a casserole. I doubt it would get many complaints.

Lazy Girl’s Chicken Chile Relleno Casserole
2 cups leftover shredded chicken or cubed Tex spiced chicken
4-6 poblano peppers, depending on size
1/2 cup milk
4 egg whites
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
2 cups grated Monterey Jack cheese
2 cups grated sharp white cheddar cheese
1/4 cup vegetable or canola oil
2 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 Tablespoons chili powder
1 (15 ounce) can tomato sauce
1 1/2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon onion salt
½ teaspoon salt
¼ t dried oregano
2 T chopped cilantro, for garnish

To Prepare:
Preheat oven to 450 degrees.  Place peppers directly on rack in oven and roast until charred on all sides.  Remove to a bowl and cover tightly with plastic wrap.  Allow to cool until able to be handled.   Wear disposable gloves to do this next part, so you don’t accidentally scorch your eyes later in the day.  Peel the skin off each pepper and slit in half lengthwise. Remove and discard seeds. Then chop or slice the peppers to your liking.

Lower the oven to 350 degrees.  Lightly spray a 1 1/2-quart casserole with no-stick spray and set aside.

While the peppers roast, make the sauce.  Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat; whisk in flour and chili powder to make a roux.  Cook while whisking until lightly browned. Gradually whisk in tomato sauce, broth, cumin, garlic powder, onion salt, salt, and oregano. Stir until smooth, and continue simmering over medium heat about 10 minutes, or until slightly thickened.

In a medium bowl, beat together the milk, egg whites, and flour until smooth; set aside.

In another bowl, combine the Monterey Jack and cheddar cheeses. Set 1/2 cup of this cheese mixture aside for the topping. To assemble the casserole, ladle some sauce on the bottom of the baking dish. Then layer half each of the chili peppers, chicken, the cheese mixture, and egg mixture.

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Top with half of the sauce. Repeat layers.  Pour the remaining tomato sauce over the top, cover, and bake 30 minutes. Remove foil, sprinkle with reserved 1/2 cup cheese mixture, and bake about 20 minutes more or until knife inserted near top comes out clean and cheese is melted.

Serve with:
Avocado slices and corn chips

Now for some red velvet cake to celebrate. Off to wish my BFF a happy, happy birthday and give my mother in law a big oil’ birthday hug.


Strawberries! Going, going, get them before they are gone!


Nothing quite so lovely as enjoying strawberries all summer long, but as summer heats up, they start to look a little sad and taste a little cardboard like. Enjoy them at the peak of their season!

Strawberry Basil Lemonade

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Strawberry Banana Smoothie

Gather & Blend:

1 cup fresh or frozen strawberries

1 banana

1/2 cup yogurt

1 cup milk or almond milk

dash cinnamon, drizzle honey, 1 tsp flaxseed

20140102-095701.jpg 20140102-095750.jpg</Summerfruit Smoothie

Gather & Blend:

small handful cherries

6 large strawberries

1 black plum

1 banana

1/2 cup yogurt

1 cup milk or almond milk

1 tsp flaxseed, dash cinnamon, drizzle of honey

Make your favorite blueberry muffin recipe, but this time toss in all the berries for a colorful and tasty change!


What’s your favorite way to enjoy these beloved berries?

I may have a smoothie problem

The After the Gym Mango Strawberry Banana Yogurt Protein Smoothiebecause 3-year-olds say the full name of everything
Gather & blend:

If I would have had greens, I would have dumped a handful of those in too. Watch the serving size. Especially with the fruit or you may be gulping way more calories than you think.
1/2 cup lowfat vanilla yogurt
1 ripe banana
1/2 ripe mango
6 large strawberries
1/2 Tablespoon whole flaxseeds
12 ounces of water ( if I had coconut water I would have used that)
Scoop of ice cubes
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
protein powder to package directions ( I use an unflavored, unsweetened egg white powder)
Honey to taste if you need to sweeten the deal

The entire blender has at least 292 calories, just from the fruit and flax, so portion it out! At my house, it makes 4 smoothies.

Other smoothies I’ve featured:

the Hulk smoothie

Refrigerator Smoothies

Pick Me Up

Watermelon Smoothie

Strawberry Banana Smoothie & Summerfruit Smoothie


Cook Once, Eats for the Week: Tex Spiced Chicken


This is a lovely spice rub I have used for all kinds of chicken….whole to cubed. I have put it in quesadillas, stuffed tacos with it, grilled it on a salad, made killer nachos, and used it to prep chicken for countless casseroles and rice dishes. My favorite is in this version of Chicken Georgia.

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Tex Spice Rub
1 roasting chicken, 4-5 thighs or 4 breasts
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon cracked black pepper
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1/4 teaspoon paprika

Chicken Georgia via Texas
4-6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 onion
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cracked black pepper
1/2 teaspoon agave nectar
1 tablespoon butter
1 green bell pepper
1/2 container of cremini mushrooms
1 clove of garlic
4-6 slices of Monterrey jack or mozzarella cheese

To make:
Rub chicken with Tex Spice Rub and heat grill.
In sauté pan melt butter with onions over medium heat, adding bell peppers, mushrooms, garlic, agave, and spices once onions begin to soften. Continue cooking until onions and peppers caramelize, stirring now and then while you grill the chicken.
To serve, top hot chicken with sauté mixture and slice of jack or mozzarella cheese.
Serve With: Tex-Mex potatoes, Cilantro Lime Rice, Sour Cream Corn or Grilled Zucchini

Chicken Enchiladas with Sour Cream Sauce
This is my version of a PIn I found from Joyful Momma’s Kitchen. It has quickly become a favorite
10 corn tortillas
2 cups cooked, shredded chicken (rotisserie or tex roasted)
3 cups shredded Monterey Jack cheese (you could even do pepper jack)
3 Tablespoons butter
3 Tablespoons flour
1 1/2 cups low sodium chicken broth
1 cup sour cream
2 (4 oz) can diced green chillies
Splash of pickled jalapeño juice
Optional: pickled jalapeños to layer on top of cheese upon removing from oven
To Make:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 8×8 pan.
In a bowl, mix chicken, 1 can green chilies, and 1 cup of Jack cheese. Spoon tablespoonfuls of chicken mixture into tortillas, roll up, and place in pan. In a sauté pan over medium heat, make a roux with melted butter and flour. Cook at least one-two minutes. Add broth, jalapeño juice (for a kick), 1 cup of Jack cheese, and second can of green chilies. Whisk until smooth. Continue cooking over medium heat until thick and bubbly. Reduce heat to low, and stir in sour cream. Do not boil. Pour over enchiladas and top with remaining cheese. Bake covered 30 minutes until bubbly. Remove foil and broil 2-3 minutes to brown the cheese. Do not walk away.

Be super lazy (or genius) and layer sauce, tortillas, and chicken mixture to create a sour cream enchilada lasagna!

I do use Lexi’s tips- her blog is awesome.

You can make this ahead and keep it in the fridge up to 24 hours. Just put it in the oven and increase the time a bit. You will want to make sure they are heated through.
**This sauce does not freeze well. The enchiladas themselves freeze really well. I freeze a few pans of them double wrapped in foil and then I just make the sauce the day of. Thaw them first, add the sauce, cook according to original instructions.”

Tex-Mex Potatoes
4-6 small red skinned or Yukon gold potatoes
1/3 onion, diced
1/3 each, red & green bell pepper, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
salt, pepper and chili powder to taste
To make:
Cube and boil potatoes until just fork tender. Drain. Heat 4 tablespoons oil in a pan over medium high heat. Sauté onion, peppers, and garlic until softened. Add potatoes. Season liberally with salt, pepper, and chili powder. Cook several minutes to combine flavors.

Cilantro Lime Rice

makes approximately 4-6 servings
1 cup of white or brown rice, rinsed
juice of 1 medium lime
1 1/2-2 cups of low sodium chicken stock or water
1 teaspoon of salt
3 Tablespoons fresh cilantro, chopped
1 teaspoon of unflavored oil

To make:
In a small saucepan, add rice, water/stock, oil and salt with half of the lime juice. Boil on high until most of the water evaporates. When water skims the top of the rice, reduce to low, cover and simmer about 15 minutes. Turn off heat and allow to rest an additional 5 minutes. Fluff with a for, mix in cilantro and remaining lime juice and serve.

Watermelon Lush
watermelon lush

1 cup ginger ale
2 cups watermelon, cubed
2 cups ice
1/2 lime, juiced
1 handful mint
pick your poison, mine would be a shot of tequila
simple syrup, to taste

Tostitos Corn Chips
Something to try next time you’re shopping…pick up some of these… organic, no artificial preservatives, and gluten free.

Cinco de My Favorite Margarita

mex main hut blog

Man & I will celebrate our big 12 this May. We honeymooned in Mexico, and when I drink my favorite margaritas, I forget to take pictures, so maybe you will let me slide by with these pictures from our getaway. The resort was beautiful and despite some set backs, we had so much fun together.

mex boat

Man is so adventurous, he always gets me to do something I would NEVER do by myself and our first official trip together was no different. I hate to think of all the things in life I would miss out on without him. Twelve years seems to have flown by – I still feel the same, but when I look at our wedding photos, I think “Wow, we look so young!”


Then there are those days when it feels like we’ve been married forever: “we reason through problems so differently”, “he’s so stubborn”, or the famous, “why doesn’t he just know what I want him to do?!” AND…that’s what the margaritas are for! Kidding!

Years ago, I came across an article about Tim Love (a local chef who I am admittedly a fan) and there was this margarita recipe. So I tried it….needless to say, many rounds later and it always gets compliments.

igana beach chair blog

Margaritas for 4
8 oz silver tequila – try Patron
8 oz triple sec
4 oz freshly squeezed lime juice
16 oz sweet & sour mix (recipe below)
12 oz orange juice
1 can lemon lime soda
Lime & salt for garnish

For sweet & sour mix: 1:1:1:1 ratio lime juice: lemon juice: water: powdered sugar

Happy Cinco de Mayo! Cheers to my wonderful superhero husband, honeymoons in Mexico and Margaritas!

beach view blog

Need a feast for your drink? Try one of these…
Rub flank steak or rib eye with garlic powder, salt & pepper – grill and serve with grilled mushrooms, onions & peppers on top or round-up Some smoky BBQ.




I didn’t forget about grilled cheese month

I didn’t forget about grilled cheese month, I just like to procrastinate. I just like to build suspense. I just didn’t schedule the post. So, without further adieu, grilled cheese rocks!

When my best friend was in college, I would drive down to visit her for the weekend, and we almost always ended up at a local restaurant chowing on grilled cheeses with chicken. Such a simple idea, but being new to cooking, so groundbreaking. Don’t forget the ultimate indulgent sandwich monte cristo, which some would categorize as a deep fried fancy grilled cheese. You have your croque monsieur, quesadilla, and panini…call them what you want, they all equal grilled cheese, grilled cheese, grilled cheese.

French Dip Pressed Grilled Cheese
This sandwich is a beefed up version of that original concept. A panini like grilled cheese made with country bread, provolone, caramelized onions, then topped with beef slow cooked until it falls apart.

Slow Cooker French Dip Beef
3 pound beef chuck roast
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 large sweet onion, sliced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon dried thyme
2 Tablespoons red wine
1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
1 1/2 cups beef broth

Seasoned the roast heavily with salt and pepper. Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium-high heat and sear on all sides. remove to a plate. In the same pan, add a bit more olive oil and sauté the onion until golden. Add garlic, and sauté for a minute longer. Add wine and broth, increase heat, and deglaze the pan. Pour the onion mixture into the bottom of your slow cooker. Add the seared meat and any juices on the plate, bay leaf, Worcestershire, and thyme.

Cover with a lid and cook on low for 8 to 9 hours hours, turning meat every few hours until the meat easily shreds using a fork. Remove the meat to a large bowl, shred, and tent with foil to keep warm. Set aside. Spoon off excess fat from the top of the remaining au jus and discard the fat along with the bay leaf.

Strain au jus into a small saucepan and boil until reduced. Mix into shredded beef.

Recipe adapted from Good Life Eats & Recipe Girl

Can’t get enough cheesy goodness? Check out these…

Which grilled cheese is your favorite?

S’more Stuffs – Target’s healthier snack food finds

So, we went to Target…many mom stories start that way. I had not been in awhile and I was pleasantly surprised at the options of organic and non-gmo lunchbox, snack and kid friendly foods.
Amy’s Organics


I am a big fan of this vegetarian brand. I will drive across town in the winter to buy her canned soups, chili, and refried beans. The kids prefer homemade Mac and cheese even to this brand’s boxed, but they really like her snacks. Target has carried this line for awhile and runs sales on it from time to time, but we still found something new. Fruit snacks! $3 for a box of 5, so into the Easter stash they went. Still pricey for fruit snacks, but they are already luxury status at my house and they were the same price as other brands just less snacks inside. Not a big trade-off in my book for quality.

Sea-friendly canned tuna
Wild planet offered albacore chunk tuna that is pole, troll and hand line caught. It boasts lower mercury, higher sustainability, no BPAs in canning, and no fillers. We picked up a can for less than $5.

Non-GMO Certified
There were several non-gmo certified products to choose from. We found non-gmo go-go squeez pouches, cereals, and jam. That was all that was on my grocery list, so I will have to hunt for more next time. I think consumer voice is starting to change availability at major retailers, so whoo! Hoo! for that. Just be careful though, it needs to be organic or certified non-gmo to truly be free of generically modified organisms. Everything we picked up was $2 or less!

Cute & Quick Ideas to Spread Some Joy at Easter

I have become the queen of throwing things together at the last minute. With small children, special dates and holidays seem to always be creeping up on me. Here are some very cute and very time crunch friendly Easter ideas!

Good Fridaysharing the spirit
Follow tradition and pick up some hot cross buns at a local bakery to deliver to a friend on the way home.

Choose a flower with symbolic meaning like pansy, dogwood, or Easter lily and give it to someone this weekend who might not be able to get out to a church service or who needs extra comfort this year. Other spring flowers such as azalea, daisies, and mums also have symbolic meanings. There are some sweet and pretty arrangements if you want to the floral shop route.

While you are preparing for your brunch or Easter dinner, make a little extra and take it by to someone you know who has a new baby at home, has been ill, or is recovering from surgery.

Fun little something’s for this weekend
Check out all of the precious ideas on my Pinterest board.

Make a bunny breakfast , bunny cinnamon rolls, or this scrambled egg bowl.

If you are heading out and need to bring a dish, these little chicks are too fun! If eggs aren’t for you, create these carrots, or these, or even these! Wow, carrots are popular this time of year!

These butterflies are C-UTE! You could combine them with this Easter jellybean message, or this one, or attach the message card to a jar like this.

Sorry all, I’m not big into Easter baskets and egg decorating. Maybe next year… I think this is AWESOME and we just may have to try egging some houses.