Monthly Archives: August, 2016

Pizza Casserole and a Betta Fish

Things are calming down finally after a whirlwind month!  Between starting school, starting another soccer season, working on the house and celebrating a birthday, the calm is greatly welcomed!  The oldest’s birthday was a success, no party just immediate family.  She was given an Xbox One and a betta fish, the two things she asked for specifically.  When she was given the fish, she looked at me and said, “What if I’m just not ready for a fish?”  LOL, uh…too late now.  Luckily it doesn’t have to be fed three times a day and have its diaper changed!  I don’t think she thought that was too funny.

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I baked her cake myself and tried – unsuccessfully – about four times to write happy birthday in pink icing – her favorite color.  I flubbed it each and every time, I finally gave up and just covered it with the candles and called it good!  Nothing fancy, but it sure did taste good!

I made this recipe a few days ago and because everyone like it, it’s making it to the blog!  It was so easy and really super tasty!  The only complaint – too much bread, not enough guts!  But –  it is supposed to be representative of pizza and usually that’s a lot of bread.  We, however, usually order thin crust because we like the toppings!  When I make this again, I’ll double the recipe and only use 1/2 the can of biscuits!  Other than that, it was an easy meal to whip up and the best part – the kids ate the vegetables with very little complaining!

Other items that could be added as well: sausage, black olives, pineapple, ham or whatever else you like on your pizza!

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Pizza Casserole (Weight Watchers Recipe)
original recipe here from food.com

1 lb. 96% lean ground beef
1 medium onion, chopped
1 16 oz. can tomato sauce
1/2 t. dried basil
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 t. Italian seasoning
1/2 c. mushrooms, sliced
1/2 c. bell pepper, diced
1/2 c. tomato, diced
16 oz. refrigerated biscuit dough, should be 8 biscuits per can
1 1/4 cup fat free mozzarella cheese, shredded

Preheat oven to 350*.  In skillet, brown meat over medium heat, stirring to crumble.  Stir in onion, tomato sauce, basil, garlic and Italian seasoning.  Add veggies.  Add quartered biscuit dough to the pan of sauce and meat; stir gently until biscuits are covered with sauce.  Spray a 9″ x 13″ casserole dish with cooking spray.  Dump the mixture into the dish.  Bake for 25 minutes.  Sprinkle with cheese and bake an additional 10 minutes or until biscuits are done.  Let stand 5 minutes before serving.

I have discovered podcasts recently – well, ok, one podcast in particular.  In all the years with an iPhone, until a couple weeks ago, I had never, ever listened to a podcast.  One that initially sounded interesting to me was Sword and Scale.  I’ve always enjoyed reading and watching true crime so this podcast was a perfect fit!  It has really captured my attention.  If you enjoy true crime, I would recommend listening to a couple episodes and try it out!

I’ll be updating soon on the changes in the basement so keep a lookout!

xoxo

On Wednesday We Waffle

Well, ok…on some Wednesdays!!  Today, according to the news, happens to be National Waffle Day!!  (I had to confirm since you never know if what the news is reporting is the truth.)  According to sites online, it is indeed National Waffle Day, which is celebrated every year on August 24th!

This morning when I heard, I decided I’d break out the ole waffle iron and make some for the girls for breakfast.  Yesterday I had signed off here with the goal of baking a lemon cake.  I ran to the store, purchased what I needed and grabbed a few extra lemons just to have on hand.  With the lemon cake, I also made a lemon cream cheese icing – something told me to save the leftovers!  So, with all that in mind, I thought some version of a lemon waffle would be awesome!  And I knew I had the lemons on hand!

I came across this recipe, confirmed we had all the ingredients and whipped them up in a flash!  One at a time they came in for breakfast.  The youngest said as she was taking her dish to the sink, “those were better than I’d thought they’d be, I thought they’d be plain old waffles.”  She ate hers with a little bit of butter and icing.  The older one just ate hers with butter, said they were “really good”.  In my book, they were a hit!  I thinned mine with milk instead of water and I used more than the 3/4 cup that the original recipe called for but still the ricotta made them very, very filling!

Here’s the original recipe I followed from Joy the Baker!

Lemon Ricotta Waffles with Poppy Seeds

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

3 tablespoons granulated sugar

1 tablespoon fresh lemon zest

1/3 cup unsalted butter, melted

2 large eggs

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

1/2 cup part-skim milk ricotta cheese

3/4 cup water or milk (I used water)

2 teaspoons poppy seeds (optional)

In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.

In a small bowl, rub together granulated sugar and lemon zest until the sugar is scented with lemon. Add the lemon sugar to the bowl with the dry ingredients.

In a bowl or large measuring cup, whisk together butter, eggs, vanilla, lemon juice, ricotta, and water. Whisk until thoroughly combined.

Add the wet ingredients all at once to the dry ingredients and stir to combine. Add the poppy seeds (if using) and stir to incorporate. Try not to over mix the batter. It’s ok if a few lumps remain.

Heat you waffle iron according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Dollop batter into the waffle iron and cook until golden brown. Serve immediately. These waffles can also be individually wrapped and frozen. They’re great heated up in the toaster or in the oven.

Have a wonderful waffle filled Wednesday!

xoxo

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When you simply couldn’t eat another bite…

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…night night!

 

I Hit the Soup Jackpot with This One!

“Man may work from sun to sun, but a woman’s work is never done” this fits my life recently…this is exactly the way I feel.  I spent all last week cleaning house and very little time doing much else.  I try not to do things half heartedly or half @ssed as I like to say, so cleaning is so much more than wiping a counter or swiping the brush around the toilet bowl.  Cleaning is all that plus re-organizing, de-cluttering, moving furniture, re-arranging, and then all the basics – dusting, mopping, vacuuming, etc.  It’s at least a three day job the way I go about it and that’s ok.  It’s very rewarding, I genuinely feel accomplished when it’s all said and done – AND not to mention, Goodwill loves me afterwards!

I finished house cleaning on Thursday and Friday was spent running errands here and there.  I polled my friends on FB to ask their favorite home decor store and surprisingly the majority said Target.  Really?  Hmmm.  I hit one of my favorites Tuesday Morning, they opened a brand new updated store here in town and it’s great!  I know I spent almost 3 hours in there just looking at everything!  I found some awesome buys too!

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I spent the weekend mainly recovering and cooking.  However, Sunday afternoon, the youngest and I tackled her closet.  That job took about 4 hours give or take, but we managed a bag of trash and a bag of Goodwill donations, plus a few dresses to put on our local flea market/yard sale site.  The best part – it’s done and won’t have to be done again for a while!  My OCD occasionally gets the better of me and I have to infiltrate and do it my way.  I can only allow it to go so long without my “expertise”.

Yesterday, I straightened up from the weekend, ran the vacuum through again and did the laundry.  I was thrilled and thought, well for the week, I’m good to go!  Last evening, we had soccer practice, I won’t mention who exactly, but someone decided to put their mud caked cleats on and walk through the newly vacuumed house…grrrrr.  This morning, I politely asked them to re-vacuum their steps to suck up said mud.  I was determined to sit and catch up this morning before running off again.

Saturday, I did my routine of cleaning out the fridge and freezer in anticipation of our regularly scheduled weekend grocery shopping trip, but after surveying the situation I figured we could make it at least another week on what we had so we postponed.  In the fridge, I found a head of cauliflower and a leek that I’d bought.  For the life of me, I have no inkling of what I was going to do with them or even where I’d gotten the idea, so to use them before they went bad, I did a little search on the internet and found a soup recipe.  Well, let me just tell you – DE-LISH-E-O-SO!!  If you like tasty, creamy, and good for you – MAKE THIS RECIPE!  I followed the original recipe with a few tweaks since a lot of people said the original was bland.  I add salt throughout the cooking process until I was happy with the flavor and didn’t think it was bland at all.  It was a hit!

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Low-Carb Cauliflower Leek Soup 
Adapted From All Recipes

2 T. olive oil
3 T. Land O’Lakes light butter
1 leek, cut into slices
1 large head cauliflower, chopped
1 med – large onion, chopped
3 – 4 cloves garlic, chopped
8 cups Swanson vegetable broth
salt and pepper to taste
1/4 c. light sour cream

Heat the olive oil and butter in a large pot over medium heat and saute the leeks, cauliflower, onion and garlic for about 10 minutes.  Stir in vegetable broth and bring the mixture to a boil.  Add salt if necessary.  Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 45 minutes.  Taste again and add more salt if needed.

Remove the soup from heat.  Blend the soup with an immersion blender.  Season with salt & pepper.  Mix in sour cream and continue blending until smooth.

The fact that this soup was almost nothing but veggies, the fact that everyone liked it including my extra picky, I-don’t-like-any-vegetables daughters, the fact that it was just as good the next day, yeah – you have to try this!  I really was shocked at how yummy this soup was.

When my oldest first tried it, she said, “I don’t know whether I like that or not.  Don’t tell me what’s in it.”  I said, “It’s bacon & cheese.”  She didn’t question it.  My youngest said, “Mmm, that’s good.  What’s in it?”, all the while shoveling it in her mouth.  I told her the ingredients (she can’t stand onions and garlic) and she said, “You know, if you had told me that before I wouldn’t have eaten it.”  I said, “I know.”  She willingly ate two bowls, plus two bowls the next day – of vegetables, that she KNEW were vegetables.  <Insert evil laugh here>  Makes a mother proud!!

I’d better run, it’s almost 10 a.m. and I have a lemon cake to make!  Keep your floors clean and your soup warm!  Have a great Tuesday everyone!

xoxo

Weekend Recap

We had great weekend, well, ok, I had a great weekend!  I managed to stay on track with the ole diet, plus we ate out, I cooked and H. even made some cookies!  I turned down Frosty’s, fries, ice cream, etc. and I’m thrilled that I did!  I worked out Friday and Sunday and even despite the rain, managed to get in an hour bike ride!

It rained a lot but that’s ok, we needed it and it did cool it down which is always good when it’s been so hot and humid out.  Since it rained, we napped a lot – ok, I napped a lot.  To me the sound of a rainstorm equals sleep.  I do think I died a little on Saturday.  We laid down for a nap, which usually lasts about an hour and I for some reason, slept for almost three?!?  That never happens!  S. went to 2 birthday parties this weekend and was out until 10 p.m., that’s late for us, so I suppose I was catching up?!  LOL, we’re such old people.

H. had a friend over on Saturday and on Sunday she made the cookies and painted some.  We talked about moving all of her artwork to one wall in her room so she could “showcase” it, so last night she grabbed the hammer and some nails and went to work.  She did it all pretty quickly and I thought it came out great!  She said, “Maybe I’ll be an Interior Decorator?”  I thought, yes, please!  You can start with this house!  LOL

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Today they deliver the TV stand for the basement.  I’m excited!  We’re only waiting on the couch to be delivered now and I can start on the paint & carpet selection!!  I’ll update once they’re finished with the stand!

Since starting work on the TV room downstairs, I threw myself out of there and into the unfinished storage room which now quadruples as a home gym/craft/library/storage room.  I’ve created a pretty awesome workout area if I do say so myself.  It’s just the right size for what I do.  The elliptical, the stationery bike and my college stereo and record player were already in there, so I added a 5 x 7 piece of carpet, a TV and a DVD player and now I’m ready to go!  I have a couple more things to do to dress it up a little, but it’s coming along!!

Have a great Monday everyone!

xoxo

 

Spaghetti & Meatballs

In my new cookbook, Fix It and Enjoy It! Healthy Cookbook, I found a recipe for turkey meatballs.  They sounded so easy, and any time everyone’s willing to eat poultry instead of red meat, I’m a happy camper.  This recipe didn’t disappoint, they were moist and tasty and the recipe made a bunch!

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Meatballs

1 lb. extra lean turkey sausage (I used Jennie-o patties and broke them up)
2 lbs. extra lean ground turkey
3 egg whites
1/4 cup grated Parmesan
2 large garlic cloves, minced
1  medium onion, minced
1 cup bread crumbs (I used Progresso Italian)
1 small can evaporated fat free milk
1 1/2 t. dried  oregano
1/2 t. ground pepper

Mix all ingredients together thoroughly.  Form into balls.  (I used a 1-1 1/2″ cookie dough scoop to make the balls and it made probably 40 meatballs.). Place on broiler pan (I used a cookie sheet) and bake at 400* for 15 minutes.  Cut into center of meatballs to make sure they’re cooked through.  If not, bake for another 10 minutes or so.  Use immediately or freeze for spaghetti and meatballs.  Or bake at 350* for 30 minutes in baking dish with low sodium mushroom or celery soup.  Or heat with tomato sauce and make meatball sandwiches.

I served them with Barilla veggie spaghetti noodles and Newman’s Own Organic Marinara sauce.  I’m going to make meatball subs tomorrow!  Have a great weekend everyone!

xoxo

I Should Have Known Better

One of the things that’s taken me way from writing lately, is our basement.  Since we moved in our home in 2012, I’ve never spent much time down there except to play a few games of pool and maybe watch a movie or two, but it hasn’t been the “hang out” place I thought it would be.  I have been taking small steps towards making it more comfortable and homey, but it’s been slow going.

We have our cat to thank for speeding up the process a bit.  Our last adoptee is Molly, I’ve mentioned her here before, is an older cat and she obviously came from a home that didn’t make her mind her cat manners.  We have three cats and four litter boxes, when we kept a litter box downstairs we had no problem, but thinking we had combatted the problem sufficiently of her relieving herself, we removed the box from downstairs – uh, bad move.  A couple weeks ago, the oldest had a friend over and they headed downstairs to play some video games and came up holding the couch cushion.  Molly had peed on it.  So….I finally had to say goodbye to our 25 year old couch.  I wasn’t sad about it, not thrilled that that was the reason it had to go, but it was long over due.

I decided to bite the bullet and try online ordering.  I’m not a big fan of online buying when it comes to clothes or furniture because I like to “try before I buy”.  But, I figured since it’s usually the kids and once a year my mom, it doesn’t have to do too much overtime like the furniture upstairs.  I also thought, because it’s a basement and basically a teen hang out area, I would use bolder colors to try to liven it up.  Here are a few pieces that I ordered…

Now, by looking at these items, you would think the floral pattern chair would kinda tie everything together, that the swivel chair’s purple and the green is a cheerful color…weeeelllllllll, not so much.  It’s actually all kinda drab.  The couch hasn’t arrived as of yet, so I can’t speak concerning it’s color yet.  But I’m hoping it’s close to the photo shown!  Mind you, this is all in the pre-stages so everything looks kinda thrown together and a mess.  For now simply focus on the coloring. Here are the photos of the furniture we have received so far…and what it’s looking like so far…

We have one light in this room and one window.  It’s really dark.  I realize that unless you see the room and furniture in person, you really can’t tell, but the chairs are more of a blue gray color than a purple, and the ottoman, well, you can see is more of a dull green.  Don’t get me wrong, I like the colors, it’s just not what I was going for.  And because of the less lively color pattern, I’m obviously going to have to liven the room up with paint and splashes of color using pillows, artwork and the like.  Which is not the worst thing in the world, just again, not what I was going for.

I would love to hear opinions!  I’m still looking for the right wall color and can’t wait for the couch to come in.  That will probably be the decision maker, but it’s not supposed to arrive until the end of August and I’m ready to get this show on the road!!  So help me out, what are your thoughts on this?  Can it still be as fun and cute as I was going for?  I hope so!

Have a great Tuesday everyone!

xoxo

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