Is this thing on?


Sorry besides books and recipes I haven’t been much of a blogger.  Apparently we’ve had lots going on.  But nothing that really requires a lot of “reporting”

Shortly into April, we decided to take dairy out of Maria’s diet, because of her tummy aches that were less and less random.  We also started her on a probiotic regularly to see if that was the problem.  So far it’s going well. She has been a champ on missing out on some of the foods she loves the most…  ice cream, anything with cheese, yogurt…  And her tummy issues seem better.  We’ll probably start to reintroduce some things in again this month.  It sure has opened my eyes to how much we all eat dairy.  And also the challenges to making this work, which includes extra grocery trips to the local food co-op for the non-dairy versions of a lot of things (cream cheese, sour cream, cheese, yogurt…)

Maria has had 2 overnights in the last few weeks.  And what we’ve learned from that is that Charlie is a talker!  But only if there isn’t someone (Maria) here to dominate the conversation.  It’s pretty cute and definitely makes me worry less about his speech.  Although I wish I could figure out how to give him more opportunities to dominate the conversation.

I’ve definitely been doing a lot of cooking lately too. Trying new things (without dairy) and just trying to be more holistic with eating as well which means I’m trying to understand what the ingredients are in my food.

So good stuff going on, we’re enjoying the warmer weather and looking forward to Maria’s birthday in a few weeks followed by preschool graduation and the start of summer!



Cheesy Chicken and Rice Bake

Yummmm…  this was delicious! I found this recipe via pinterest.  Followed it pretty much exactly.  I used sour cream instead of Greek yogurt (since I ordered my groceries delivered last week and the Greek yogurt choices were limited).  I also used precooked chicken and made the rice 2 days before when I was prepping another meal.  I then put it all together the night before.  Yummy!  The kids weren’t so sure about it, but I will keep trying! (oh, and I omitted the cilantro – I am not a fan…)

Cheesy Chicken and Rice Bake

2 whole Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts
4 cups Cooked Brown Rice
¾ cups Frozen Corn
15 ounces, fluid Can Black Beans, Drained And Rinsed
1 cup Plain Greek Yogurt (or Sour Cream)
4 ounces, fluid Can Green Chilis
½ cups Salsa
1 cup Low-fat Cheddar Cheese, Plus More For Topping
2 Tablespoons Fresh Cilantro For Garnish

Preheat oven to 350F. In a large bowl, combine all ingredients except for cilantro and mix thoroughly to combine. Make sure the yogurt and cheese are stirred in throughout the entire bowl. Season with salt and pepper if desired. Transfer to an oven-safe dish and top with extra cheese if you would like. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until heated through. Garnish with chopped cilantro.


Crockpot Apple Crisp

I bought some apples this weekend.  And first I was thinking applesauce in the crockpot, but then I realized I didn’t allow for enough time, so then I went to apple crisp in the crockpot.  Only after I had it all ready, did I realize it’s not hard to make apple crisp in the oven.  But this was good and it made the house smell wonderful for 2+ hours while it was cooking.  The flavors were great too. I loved the subtle ginger & lemon flavors.

I did make one modification to the recipe I started with.  After mixing up the topping, I realized it didn’t look crunchy (because I had omitted the nuts) so I mixed in a cup of oatmeal.  And after I had it cooking away, I read the reviews and found many others had done this too!  One review mentioned this would be great for a potluck at work, the whole office could smell it cooking and it could be served warm!
Crockpot Apple Crisp
this is the leftovers, because I was so excited to eat, I forgot to photograph before putting this away.

Crockpot Apple Crisp

1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 pinch salt
1/2 cup butter, cut into pieces
1 cup oatmeal
1 cup chopped walnuts

1/3 cup white sugar, or to taste
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
6 cups apples – peeled, cored and chopped
2 tablespoons lemon juice

  1. Mix flour, brown sugar, 1/2 cup of white sugar, 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt together in a bowl. Combine butter with the flour mixture using fingers or a fork until coarse crumbs form. Stir in walnuts and set aside.
  2. Whisk together 1/3 cup sugar, cornstarch, ginger, and 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon. Place the apples in a slow cooker, stir in the cornstarch mixture; toss with lemon juice. Sprinkle the walnut crumb topping on top. Cover and cook on High for 2 hours or Low for 4 hours, until apples are tender. Partially uncover the slow cooker to allow the topping to harden, about 1 hour.

Oatmeal Waffles

I went looking for an oatmeal waffle recipe the other day. Not sure why, but it sounded good. And these were very good!  I did tweak the recipe (flour & butter) based on some reviews, and they turned out great.  A more filling hearty waffle.  Yum!

Oatmeal Waffles

1 cups white flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup quick-cooking rolled oats
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 eggs, slightly beaten
1 1/2 cups milk
4 tablespoons butter, melted
2 tablespoons brown sugar

In large mixing bowl, stir together flour, oats, baking powder, cinnamon and salt; set aside. In small mixing bowl, stir together eggs, milk, butter and brown sugar. Add to flour mixture; stir until blended. Pour batter on to grids of preheated, lightly greased waffle iron (amount will vary with size of waffle iron). Close lid quickly; do not open during baking. Use fork to remove baked waffle.

This recipe made 8 waffles in my waffle maker (makes 4 square Belgian waffles at a time)


Recipe Collection

I am good at trying recipes. Good at documenting them and pretty good about documenting them on my blog, but have been looking for a way to get them printed. I hate writing them out on cards. I’d rather print them off so I can read them.  But then I end up with sheets of paper and printing them every time I make them. Plus I have a bunch of ones that I am finally admitting are not going to be made again (or ever)…

So now I am taking my favorites and converting them to cute printable 4×6 photo-sized cards.  I had them developed and stuck them in a little 4×6 pocket photo album. Perfect.

Here are a few…

Rosemary Ranch Chicken Kabobs


Sweet Restaurant Slaw

Here’s the link to all the one’s I’ve finished. Feel free to borrow or share. I will be adding more out here too… not done with all my recipes…

Sun-Dried Tomato, Pesto, & Chicken Stuffed Shells

I found this link to freezer meals last week. Which led me to this recipe for Pesto Chicken Stuffed Shells

I modified only slightly to also add some sun-dried tomatoes that I had in my refrigerator. Plus I also doubled this and froze half for my friend Sara.

Sun-Dried Tomato, Pesto, & Chicken Stuffed Shells

12-16 jumbo pasta shells
water for boiling pasta
4oz cream cheese, softened
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese + 1/4 cup for topping
3 tablespoons prepared pesto (homemade or store bought)
3 tbsp sun-dried tomatoes in oil (drained and chopped)
2 cups shredded cooked chicken (see Leftover Chicken)
2 cloves garlic, minced
salt and pepper to taste

In a large pot over high heat, boil water and prepare pasta shells as directed on package. Cook pasta shells only until al dente. The pasta will finish cooking when the dish is baked. Drain the pasta shells and set aside.

In a large bowl, combine the rest of the ingredients, except the 1/4 cup of cheese for the topping. Fill the pasta shells with the filling and place in a 9×9 (or 8×8) baking dish. Sprinkle the remaining 1/4 cup of cheese over filled shells.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and bake shells uncovered for 30 minutes or until shells are bubbling hot and cheese melts.

The leftovers- Maria loved this.  So kid-tested, mother-approved!Sun-Dried Tomato & Pesto Shells

* To make ahead/freezer meals – Prepare as directed but place filled shells in an oven- and freezer-proof baking dish. Top with remaining 1/4 cup of cheese over filled shells, cover and freeze. When ready to prepare, defrost. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and bake shells uncovered for 35-40 minutes or until shells are bubbling hot and cheese melts.

Leftover Chicken

Do you know those recipes that call for 2 cups leftover chicken?  Or even any recipe that starts with “First cook the chicken…”  Blah!  That’s what I say to that.  That adds easily 10 minutes to a recipe.  Blah!

My answer to that.  2 big bags of frozen chicken breasts, a little bit of water and a crockpot!

Cook on low for 6-8 hours.  Remove chicken and cut into pieces or shred.  It makes about 10 cups. Freeze in 2 cup quantities.  Now you’re ready for those dumb recipes, without spending money on those pre-cooked bags of chicken which never seem to last very long in our house.

French Toast Sticks

Wondering what to do with leftover hamburger and hot dog buns?  May I recommend French Toast sticks?  Yummm!

French Toast Sticks

Gather what you need: eggs, milk, cinnamon, vanilla, leftover buns (the unhealthy white ones are excellent!), cinnamon & sugar sprinkles* (all quantities to be determined by how much bread you have…)

French Toast Sticks

Cut Bread into 1″x3″ piecesFrench Toast Sticks

Whisk together remaining ingredientsFrench Toast Sticks

Dip bread pieces in mixture. Fry in greased pan (I used canola spray, but butter would be yummy!)
French Toast Sticks

Sprinkle with cinnamon & sugar. Serve immediately or freeze**.

P.S. My kids didn’t even need syrup!  But you could also add it to the dipping mixture for a little maple flavor.

* I always have some cinnamon and sugar mixed in my Pampered Chef shaker to use on toast.
** To freeze, lay a piece of wax or parchment paper on a flat pan.  Lay single layer of bread sticks on paper. Freeze for 1-2 hours. Transfer sticks to a plastic zipper bag or freeze-safe container.

Slow Cooker Beef Stew

Tuck this one away for next fall.  I made this a few weeks ago with some stew meat I had in the freezer. It was most likely my last stew/soup for the season! But it was delicious and EASY!  Originally found at

Slow Cooker Beef Stew

2 pounds beef stew meat, cut into 1 inch cubes
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 clove garlic, minced
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 onion, chopped
2 cups beef broth
3 potatoes, diced
4 carrots, sliced
1 stalk celery, chopped


  1. Place meat in slow cooker. In a small bowl mix together the flour, salt, and pepper; pour over meat, and stir to coat meat with flour mixture. Stir in the garlic, bay leaf, paprika, Worcestershire sauce, onion, beef broth, potatoes, carrots, and celery.
  2. Cover, and cook on Low setting for 10 to 12 hours, or on High setting for 4 to 6 hours.