Blog Archives

Sunday in the kitchen

I went to the park this morning, excited to try out my new Brooks running shoes. As I expected, they were fabulous. All the other miles I did this week were walking, today I *mostly* ran. My new shoes were definitely worth every penny.


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I also really liked my new water bottle. It holds 16 oz. of water plus room for ice. My iPhone fits perfectly in the zipper pocket and it’s very comfortable holding it while running. I was a hot mess when I finished my 3.11 miles. Florida humidity is no joke, even at 7am.

When I got home from the park, hubby gone to Starbucks. He likes to take Blue and Ozzie with him on the weekends, they love to go for a ride and the folks at Starbucks get a kick out of them at the drive thru. And of course they get treats from them. Much excitement for Blue and Ozzie! And bonus for me this morning, because hubby brought home a Very Berry Hibiscus Refresher for me. Oh so refreshing after a run!


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After some grocery shopping and breakfast, I put together our dinner, which was slow cooker chicken. This is such an easy recipe, smells wonderful while it’s cooking, and makes for good leftovers. Do you sense a theme to the meals I make? Any meal that creates lunch for hubby the next day makes me happy.

Slow Cooker Chicken

  • 3 boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 6 red potatoes (medium to large)
  • 1/4 white onion
  • Bottle of fat free Italian dressing
  • Celery salt and pepper

Clean the potatoes and cut them into thirds (depending on size). Leave the skins on. Layer bottom of slow cooker with potatoes. Cut onion into small strips and put on top of potatoes. Cut chicken breasts into halves or thirds depending on size. Add whole bottle of dressing. Top with celery salt and pepper. Cover with lid and cook on low for 5 – 5 1/2 hours.


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I don’t normally serve any side dishes with this as it’s pretty filling itself. The dressing make the chicken very tender and juicy, it just pulls apart with your fork.

What slow cooker meals do you like?


Sunday in the kitchen

I can hardly contain my excitement on this post. This evening, I made a dish I’ve been wanting to make for awhile. I’ve been looking up recipes for this and honestly, they’ve all seem a little complicated. It finally occurred to me that I don’t have to follow a recipe exactly, just use it as a guideline. And after I asked hubby yesterday if he thought he might like this dish and he said yes, I was so excited to make it today.

What did I make? Paella, or my version of it… I know this is a very loose version of Paella and is nowhere near the true dish, but it came out fantastic. I know this, because as I type this, hubby is sitting next to me eating a second helping of it.

True Paella has chorizo sausage in it and I was concerned it would be too spicy for hubby. He doesn’t like spicy foods (the total opposite of me), so I wanted to make a version he would enjoy. Hubby suggested I use mild Italian sausage, which we know he loves. Good idea, honey! It worked out very well.

So, here is my recipe…

  • 3 boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 3 links mild Italian sausage
  • 1 bag Vigo yellow rice (serves 8)
  • 1 chicken bouillon cube
  • 1/4 White onion, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 red pepper, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • Paprika
  • Minced garlic
  • Adobo powder
  • Olive oil

Cook chicken breasts in olive oil. I like to cook them whole and then cut them up about halfway through. I find it easier to cut then when it is raw.

In another pan, cook sausage in olive oil. When it is done cooking, slice into bit-sized pieces.

In a large saucepan, cook rice as per instructions on package. This will take about 20 minutes to cook. I turned it off while it was still on the moist side as I wanted to keep the dish as moist as possible.

When the chicken is almost done, add paprika (1 teaspoon), adobo powder (I used about a tablespoon of it), and add onion and red pepper. Continue to cook until onions are almost clear. Add minced garlic (about 1 tablespoon) and cook for about 5 more minutes.

In a small saucepan, bring 2 cups water to a boil and add bouillon cube to dissolve.

In a large skillet, combine rice, chicken, peppers, onion, sausage, and chicken bouillon. Cover and heat on medium for about 10 minutes until bouillon is just about gone. Again, I didn’t want this to be too dry.

This made enough for probably 6 people, so we definitely have leftovers.

I am very happy with how this came out and I don’t think would change anything the next time. I would, however, like to add shrimp as well.

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Fixins’ for my version of Paella. The beer isn’t
in the recipe but it was nice to drink while I cooked it!


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Chicken, peppers, and onion cooking…


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Mmmmmm Italian sausage…


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I can’t even tell you how delicious this smells!


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Ready to eat!

I hope you enjoy the rest of your Sunday!

Sunday in the kitchen

Happy July 1st! It’s hard to believe that we are halfway through the year already. It’s no secret that I dislike the summer months, so I am very glad that June passed so quickly. Here’s to hoping that July and August do the same.

Today was much different than last Sunday. This time last week, it was very windy and rainy as we waited for Tropical Storm Debby to decide where she was headed. Today, it has been sunshine and hot. I haven’t left the house at all today. I made breakfast, lunch, and dinner at home (this rarely happens!) with napping and reading in between. I like to call it a mental health day.

For dinner tonight, I made one of hubby’s favorites, turkey rolls. His mom used to make this and I got the recipe from her years ago. It is very easy to make and makes great leftovers. After eating dinner, there will be enough left for lunch for 3 days. I love that!


Turkey Rolls

  • 1 1/4 lb. lean ground beef
  • Canola oil
  • 1/4 white onion, diced
  • 2 slices white bread
  • 2 packets turkey gravy
  • 1 pack pre-sliced oven-roasted turkey breast (12 slices)
  • Salt and pepper

In a large skillet, sauté white onion. Add ground beef and cook till browned. Tear slices of white bread into small pieces and add to ground beef and onion, cook for about 5 minutes. While the ground beef mixture is cooking, make turkey gravy following directions on packet.

Drain ground beef mixture in strainer. On a plate, add a spoonful of ground beef mixture to each slice of turkey breast and roll up. Put in 9×13 glass baking dish (ungreased). If there is any ground beef mixture left over, add to top of turkey rolls. Pour turkey gravy over top of turkey rolls.

Bake in 350 degree oven for 30 minutes. Enjoy!


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Happy 40th Birthday Honey!

Today, hubby turned 40. I am no longer alone in the land of 40 and I’m very happy about that.

As is typical for us, we went to Kobe’s Japanese Steakhouse for dinner. It’s a favorite of ours for our birthdays and anniversary. It’s a fun time and the food is always good.

I thought for sure we were going to get rained on as we drove to the restaurant. The sky looked very ominous.

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I made sure to take a picture of us in the car AND when we got there. I’m pretty sure I drive hubby a little insane with all my picture taking, but he expects it at this point.

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I enjoyed a nice glass of white zinfandel to start with. Hubby had chicken and shrimp, and I had filet mignon and shrimp. And we always get double yummy yummy sauce. It was delicious and of course there was too much so we came home with a to-go box.

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It was a great evening out. Happy Birthday Honey!! I love you so much! 🙂

Birthday and Father’s Day fun!

Yesterday morning, I gave hubby a bag of Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups (his fave!) and Father’s Day cards from Blue and Ozzie. When I saw these cards, I knew I had to get them. They were PERFECT. Who says father’s of furbabies can’t be honored on Father’s Day?

mikes cards 1

blue card 1      blue card 2

ozzie card 1      ozzie card 2

Then, hubby and I went for a walk at the park with Blue and Ozzie. We love talking the boys to the park. They are so happy and so excited when we go! I couldn’t resist getting a picture of the boys with hubby. He loves his boys!

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In my BIG, crazy family, there is something to celebrate just about every month. A tradition was started years ago, as the family grew, that we would get together and celebrate birthday’s, holidays, anniversaries, etc… It works out that almost once a month we get together, sometimes having a dinner for multiple reasons. My hubby’s birthday is on June 22, so every year, we all get together on Father’s Day AND celebrate hubby’s birthday.

Hubby decided he wanted to go to Hooter’s for his birthday. No one in this family ever complains about going to Hooter’s. All jokes aside, we are a Hooters-loving family. Smile

It was really a nice afternoon, with the usual, family craziness. There are a lot of us and we are loud. It always requires planning to eat out. I went to Hooters an hour early just to make sure we could get a table for 18. 18!!!

As always, there was a lot of talking and laughing. I really treasure our family time. The kiddos are adorable and there is silliness and laughter. Pair that with yummy bad-for-you-food and beer, and it’s a GREAT afternoon.

As always, I took way too many photos and Instagram’d the heck out of them. It’s hard to get photos of everyone and everything, but this is a great representation of the fun we had yesterday to celebrate my hubby’s (40th!!) birthday and Father’s Day.

me and my honey 061712           autumn monster

uncle mike autumn 1         silly autumn

autumn and daddy        autumn and cooper

cutie cooper        cutie cole

cooper and grandmommy         uncle toe and autumn

cooper and cheryl        cooper and uncle nick

uncle mike and cooper         joey jenni

me and jenna        chocolate and beer

Sunday in the kitchen

What a weekend this has been! With all the rain we had last week, I took advantage of the sunshine this weekend and got caught up on some work, determined not to start next week any more behind than we had to. Thankfully, hubby was willing and ready to help out, as he always is. We completed a project in Plant City yesterday and then this morning, we drove to Cape Coral and Sarasota for a couple projects. A lot of driving, including heading both south and north on my least favorite bridge, the Sunshine Skyway. It’s a pretty bridge and I always seem to take pictures of it, but it just freaks me out. Here are pictures of it from today…

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When we finally got home just after 1, hubby was working out in the garage for a bit, so I sat outside with Blue and Ozzie, despite the heat. They didn’t seem to care – look how happy they were!

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I skipped yoga in the park with the wonderful ladies of the Tampa Bay Lady Bloggers so I could have an evening at home with hubby and make a yummy dinner. I am bummed that I missed the meet-up, but after the craziness this weekend, I really just wanted to be home before the craziness starts again tomorrow.

For dinner, I made oven fried chicken – a variation of a WW recipe in their Best Darn Food Ever cookbook. Their version calls for buttermilk (reduced fat), but I hate to buy buttermilk for one recipe and not finish it. Plus I am not really a fan of buttermilk. It’s a bit too heavy for me. So, I just use fat free or reduced fat milk. Their version also calls for bone-in chicken breasts, sage, and rosemary. My version is a little different.

Here is what you need for my version:

  • 3 boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 cup Plain Panko breadcrumbs
  • 2 tbsp. Parmesan cheese
  • Paprika
  • Basil

Cover a cookie sheet in foil and spray with non-stick spray (I use butter flavor).

Mix the salt, pepper, breadcrumbs, parmesan cheese, paprika, and basil in a large bowl. On the paprika and basil, I like A LOT. I love the flavors and the more you use, it adds a little color.

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Dip the chicken breasts in the milk and coat with the breading mixture, covering both sides thoroughly. Set on cookie sheet.

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Bake in oven for approximately 30 minutes. Spray tops of chicken breasts with non-stick spray (butter flavor) and cook another 15 minutes. This will help it brown.

The chicken comes out very tender and juicy, full of flavor. You can serve just about any side with it. Tonight we had baked potatoes and white corn. For the two of us, I make 3 pieces and hubby will take a piece for lunch the next day. It reheats nicely in the microwave.

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Thanks for reading!

Sunday in the kitchen {and a doozy of a headache}

This holiday weekend has not been what I had in mind when I looked forward to it all week. Thursday night, I had a sinus headache that thankfully went away on it’s own in a matter of hours. Friday evening, I was hit with another and it was a doozy, right above my right eye. I was in bed by 8pm just so I could be in a dark room with no noise. Saturday morning it was a little better but still there. After I helped hubby’s mom for a bit in the morning and came back home, it hit me again – this time on the left side. I’ve had a lot of headaches in my life and I can honestly say that the one I had yesterday was high on the list of worst headaches I’ve ever had. I could not get comfortable, I alternated between an ice pack on my head and a hot wash cloth. This headache was on the left side and it was throbbing. I actually threw up and that always makes me cry, and then I stood in the shower for 20 minutes with the hottest water possible running over my head. It helped a little but when I got out, I crawled right back in bed. I skipped dinner but was thankful when hubby finally came home from work and insisted I drink an ice cold frappuccino in hopes of the caffeine helping, along with maybe some brain freeze.

I haven’t been able to take any medication since Monday when I went to the eye doctor for the hemorrhage in my right eye. And while I know my body enough to know when a headache is sinus, stress, or whatever, I actually think I had a migraine yesterday. One side of my nose kept opening up which led me to believe it was still sinus-related, but the throbbing and my desire to be in a dark cool room makes me think it was a migraine also.

Today has been better, but I’ve still spent much of it doing nothing and napping. Still unable to take anything until all the blood clears from my eye, I have to rely on taking it easy. It’s not fun but I do NOT want to have another headache like I did yesterday. It. Was. Awful.

So, here is where I’ve spent much of my weekend. Thank goodness we have a super-comfy bed.

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Despite my headache, I did manage to make brownies and cook dinner today. It wasn’t anything new or terribly exciting, but it was nice to cook dinner for hubby. I think he thinks I’m silly when I take pictures of food all the time, but I just love to take pictures of the food I make.

I made hubby a steak (no picture of that!) and a side of shrimp cooked in Carolina BBQ sauce. If you’ve never done this, it’s super easy, and he loves it.

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I also had half a loaf of crispy sourdough bread from Publix leftover from Friday, so I sliced it up and toasted it with butter and garlic. Always a yummy addition to any meal.

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I made myself my super-easy rice, beef, and diced tomato dish. It sounded good and there are leftovers to have for lunch tomorrow!

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And because I was feeling down in the dumps when I went to the store this morning, I decided to make brownies. If a girl can’t enjoy a glass of wine or an ice cold beer, then chocolate is the next best thing. They came out sooooo good!

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I was very glad to have hubby home with me today. He was working yesterday and I know he couldn’t be home with me. Blue and Ozzie, being the super smart Aussies they are, knew that I did not feel good yesterday and they were super snuggly. Whether I was laying on the couch or in our room, they were right there with me. Today, hubby has been good company, letting me sleep and relax. He also says my eye looks much better, which makes me happy. I am so ready to be over this.

I hope you are all enjoying the holiday weekend!

Meal Planning

I decided to take stock of what we have in our kitchen and see what kind of meal planning I can do for the rest of the week and even into the next week. When I grocery shop and I buy chicken or ground beef, I package it up into single servings and freeze it. I buy boneless, skinless chicken breasts and freeze one per bag. I split up the ground beef into single-serving patties and freeze them. Depending on how I need the ground beef for whatever it is I’m making, I can either cook it as a patty or crumble it up. Over time, it starts to add up in my freezer and I am pleasantly surprised at what I have.

After taking stock today, this is what we have both fresh and frozen:

  • 17 chicken breasts
  • 3 pork chops
  • 2 Italian sausage links
  • 4 pcs. Tilapia
  • 3 hamburger patties
  • 1 new York Strip Steak

The chicken, considering I make 2-3 pieces at a time depending on what I’m making and if I am making extra for lunch the next day, could make 5 1/2 meals alone! The pork chops is 1 meal, the sausage links are 1 meal, the tilapia is 4 meals, the hamburger will likely be 2 meals, and the steak is a bonus for hubby. Technically, we have enough for 13 dinners.

After checking to see what meats/poultry/fish we have, I went through the freezer to see what frozen veggies and foods we have:

  • 1/2 box fried shrimp
  • 1 bag hushpuppies
  • Chicken and Vegetable Steamer meal (for 2)
  • Garlic Chicken Steamer meal (for 2)
  • 1/2 bag sweet potato fries
  • Chicken rice
  • Brown Rice
  • Brown and Wild Rice Medley
  • Garden vegetable medley
  • Mixed veggies
  • 2 bags broccoli
  • Asian medley

Next up were fresh veggies and cheeses:

  • 3 baking potatoes
  • 2 sweet potatoes
  • 1 zucchini
  • Onion
  • Mozzarella cheese
  • Mild cheddar cheese

In our pantry, we have the following:

  • 1 can Italian diced tomatoes
  • 2 cans black beans
  • 1 1/2 box penne pasta
  • 1 box angel hair pasta
  • 1 bag No-Yolk egg noodles
  • 1 jar spaghetti sauce
  • Soft taco dinner kit
  • Italian bread crumbs
  • Panko bread crumbs
  • Carolina BBQ sauce
  • Turkey gravy
  • Mexican rice
  • Teriyaki noodles

All this, while possibly boring to you, means A LOT of meal options for us over the next two weeks and hopefully, a much lighter grocery bill! And while not all of these items are super healthy, they can be made healthier by how I prepare them. So many options for yummy meals in our house!

Do you meal plan? Do you use any specific websites to enter your ingredients to get ideas?

Not at all good for me

When I asked hubby what he wanted for dinner tonight and he said Italian sausage and garlic bread, I knew right then what I was going to make for myself. I wanted pasta and ooey-gooey melted mozzarella cheese. I decided it would be even more delicious with ground beef and sauteed onions and artichoke hearts. Not at all good for me and it probably had a bazillion WW Points Plus value. I didn’t even calculate it. But oh my, was it yummy. I topped it off with a glass of Barefoot Moscato. Doesn’t it look wonderful?