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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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Sunday in the kitchen

It’s a rainy, windy day here in Tampa Bay. With Tropical Storm Debby hovering over us, it is the perfect day to stay home and do nothing. Well, almost… Hubby and I made a run to Starbucks this morning and we went to Publix to do our weekly shopping right when they opened. I know I’ve said it before, but I love doing our grocery shopping early Sunday mornings before the rest of the world is there. This morning was no different and I’m glad we went early because the weather has gotten worse since then. A few pictures I took…

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When we got home and put away all the goodies we bought, I made breakfast (hubby’s choice: eggs, hash browns, and toast). He was a happy camper. After some blogging, reading, and napping, I made my way back into the kitchen to try out a recipe I found on Skinnytaste earlier in the week.

The recipe is Black Bean, Avocado, Cucumber and Tomato Salad (click the link to go to the Skinnytaste site).  Everything about this recipe makes me want to try it. It sounds so fresh and delicious. I have been eating avocados like crazy this week, so I know they are perfect right now.

I cut the recipe in half since it would be just me eating it. Here is what I used for the way I made it:

  • 1/2 cucumber, peeled and diced
  • 1 medium ripe tomatoes, diced
  • 1 hass avocados, diced
  • 1/2 can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • red onion, minced
  • cilantro, minced
  • lime juice
  • salt and fresh pepper

I use way more onion and cilantro than most people might but I love the flavors. The recipe calls for 1 tbsp. of each (when the recipe is cut in half). I didn’t even measure it, but I would bet I had at least 3 times that.

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I just love all the colors of this. I knew as it came together that it was going to be as wonderful as it sounded.

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Once it was ready, it was lunch time (great timing!). I decided to have it with tortilla chips and melted cheese. It turned out to be a perfect lunch for a rainy, windy day.

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Saturday in the kitchen…

Happy Saturday everyone! Since my blog schedule is all out of whack this week, I figured it wouldn’t hurt if I did my “in the kitchen” post on Saturday instead of Sunday. Tomorrow we will be celebrating my hubby’s birthday and Father’s Day so I won’t be doing much cooking.

After the crazy week I had, I wanted I wanted to make something new and yummy this weekend. I decided to make scones, specifically a recipe in a book I am currently reading for a book club. The book is called A Homemade Life by Molly Wizenberg. Her blog is called Orangette and you can find it here. (I will discuss this book in more detail in a later post, after our book group get-together.)

a homemade life

It’s actually written by a blogger-turned-author and the recipes in it are to die for. I am so used to reading recipes that are healthy or low-fat or low carb and these are just wonderful, no worries about the calories, delicious recipes. And since I love scones, I knew when I saw the recipe, I had to try it, even it was a modified version.

The recipe in the book is for Scottish Scones With Lemon and Ginger. I decided to modify it and try something a little more simply the first time around, since I have never made scones before. I left out the lemon and ginger and just added cinnamon. Since hubby doesn’t like scones (i.e., has never had them before, therefore he thinks he doesn’t like them), I am sharing them with my SIL Jenna. She likes cinnamon, and so do I, so there you go!

Here is the recipe as I made it, which varies from the actual recipe in the book. If you’d like the actual recipe as it is written in the book with lemon and ginger, I can reference it for you. If you happen to already have this book, it’s on page 174.

  • 2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 4 tablespoons cold salted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/2 cup half-and-half, plus more for glazing
  • 1 large egg
  • Cinnamon
  • Brown sugar

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt. Using your hands, rub the butter into flour mixture, squeezing and pinching with your fingertips until mixture resembles a coarse meal and there are no butter lumps bigger than a pea. Add the sugar and cinnamon (to taste, I like a lot!), and whisk to incorporate.

Pour 1/2 cup half-and-half into a small bowl or measuring cup and add the egg. Beat with a fork to mix well. Pour the wet ingredients into the flour mixture, and stir gently just to combine. The dough will look dry and shaggy, and there may be unincorporated flour at the bottom of bowl. Don’t worry about that. Using your hands, squeeze and press the dough into a rough mass. Turn the dough, and any excess flour, out onto a cutting board or countertop, and press and gather and knead it until it just comes together. Don’t overwork the dough,  ideally do not knead more than 12 times.  There may be some excess flour that is not absorbed, but it doesn’t matter. As soon as the dough holds together, pat it into a rough circle about 1 inch thick. Cut the circle into 8 wedges.

Place the wedges on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat. Pour a splash of half-and-half into a small bowl. Using a pastry brush, gently brush the tops of the scones with a thin coat to glaze. I sprinkled brown sugar on the top of half of them. Bake for 10 to 14 minutes, or until pale golden. Transfer them to a wire rack to cool slightly, and serve warm, with butter, if you like.

Store in airtight container if you plan to eat in a day or two. For longer storage, seal in a heavy plastic bag and freeze them. Before serving, bring to room temperature. Either way, reheat them briefly in a 300 degree oven. Makes 8 medium scones.

I failed to take pictures of each step as I made this picture (shame on me!), but I have pictures prior to them going in the oven.

scones ready to cook

                                                         Ready to go in the oven!

scones out of the oven

                                                             Hot out of the oven.

scones finished

                                                                 Ready to serve.

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                                                        Warm, yummy goodness.                     

scone buttered taste

                                                       Served warm, with butter.

These came out of oven every bit as delicious as they look. In my opinion, warm is definitely the way to serve them. I imagine they are fabulous for breakfast with a hot cup of coffee. I plan to make them again and my options are limitless. I would love to try them with blueberries or raspberries, or orange or cranberry.

They were really very easy to make. I hope you’ll try them!

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 ~ Mother’s Day!

Happy Mother’s Day! I hope you are all having a wonderful Sunday. This morning started with a delicious breakfast at Paradise Restaurant in Safety Harbor with hubby and I, my mom, hubby’s mom, my brother, SIL, and niece, and my sister. It was a very nice morning.

My family! My sister, Mommy, me and hubby, niece, sister-in-law, and brother.

Hubby, hubby’s mom, and me!

Me and my most adorable niece.

Yesterday, I submitted a new blog post to The Indie Chicks about my mom, just in time for Mother’s Day. I hope you’ll pop on over and read it. It was very special for me to write and share with everyone. My mom is the strongest woman I know and I look up to her in so many ways.

Today, I’d like to share a recipe I actually made for dinner last night. It is a favorite of mine, super easy to make, and makes great leftovers. You can really add just about anything you want to this dish, there are so many ways to do it. Here is my version:

Brown Rice with Beef and Tomatoes  (makes 2 servings)

  • 1 bag Steamfresh Brown Rice
  • 1/2 pound lean ground beef
  • 1/4 White onion, diced
  • 1 can diced tomatoes (garlic and onion)
  • Olive oil
  • Butter

Sautee onions in olive oil and add ground beef, cook till browned and drain. Heat up can of tomatoes while brown rice is cooking in microwave. Put rice in casserole dish and add butter, ground beef and onions, and tomatoes (minus the juice). Stir and serve! This makes 2 servings. Perfect to make when you are short on time.

Enjoy!! If you try this recipe, I’d love to hear what other ingredients you add.

Have a great Sunday!

Recipe: Chicken and Broccoli Noodle Casserole

I talked earlier in the week about  making Chicken and Broccoli Noodle Casserole for dinner. This is the second time I’ve made it and it was just as good as the first time.

I found the recipe on Skinnytaste. By the way, if you have not checked out this website, you must. Go there – NOW. There are so many recipes, great photos (which is a requirement for me when making new recipes), nutritional info with WW Points Plus values, and a very easy search feature.

For this specific recipe, you can find it here: .

I made the exact same serving the recipe called for. It was enough for dinner for 2 of us t and then 3 servings for lunches. To me, that is a great meal. I love dinners that create lunches. Often times, I enjoy it more when it is reheated as all the flavors have had time to sit and mix together. This one is no exception.

Give it a try, it’s definitely worth it!

All ready to go in the oven!

Right out of the oven. I love the crispiness of the cheese and topping. Mmmmm….

Three servings left over for lunch!

If you try this recipe, be sure to come back and let me know what you think!

Super easy pulled pork

I’ve been wanting to make pulled pork for a longgggg time now. I’ve either been afraid to try it or did not have the time. Today was the day. I decided not to be afraid of it and I found a super easy recipe.

Hubby and I are big fans of Bulls-Eye Carolina BBQ sauce. It is a mustard base sauce and as the label says, it’s tangy, sweet, and spicy. I had the brilliant idea this morning to see if the Bulls-Eye website had any recipes for pulled pork. And they did. And miraculously, it was using the Carolina sauce.

The recipe called for 4 ingredients. 1 bottle of Carolina BBQ sauce, 1/2 cup packed brown sugar, 4 tsp. hot sauce, 1/2 tsp. paprika, and 1 bonesless shoulder pork (3 lbs). I chose to leave out the hot sauce as hubby is not a fan of spicy. It was also my first time buying shoulder pork and I was pleased to find that it is not expensive.

So, the recipe as I made it is as follows:

1 1/4 bottle Carolina BBQ sauce

1/2 cup packed brown sugar

1/2 tsp. paprika

3 1/4 lb. boneless pork shoulder

Mix the sauce, sugar, and paprika together. Put pork in slow cooker and pour sauce mixture over it. Cook on low for 8-10 hours.

The aroma of the sauce cooking quickly filled the kitchen. It smelled SO good! At the 8 hour mark, I checked it and found that it was easily pulled apart with a fork. I took it out, pulled it all apart, and put it back in the slow cooker and mixed it with the sauce. I cooked it on low for another 25 minutes.

I can’t even begin to tell you how tender it was. It almost fell apart just looking at it. The sauce and brown sugar were the perfect mixture and complemented each other very well. I definitely chose an easy recipe going into this, but there wasn’t a darn thing wrong with it. It had the flavor we love and it was so incredibly tender. I *might* try and make my own sauce from scratch next time. Maybe. This might be hard to top for easy and delicious.

Here is how it looked when it was all done…. Hubby had his on a bun, I just ate mine with a fork. De-lish!

Homemade pulled pork

Happiness Is…

A day late on my Happiness Is… post for the week. Better late than never!

Happiness Is…

  • Looking forward to a family day. Today we are celebrating Easter, and my sister and dad’s birthday. Jenni and Daddy always celebrated their birthday’s together. When we celebrate Jenni’s birthday, it is second nature to honor my dad’s birthday as well.


  • Going to breakfast Saturday morning with my hubby. We always have so much going on and I am always trying to get a run in on the weekend mornings. I decided yesterday it was a great day to go out for breakfast since we were both home with no real plans. Off we went to Village Inn for a delicious breakfast. It was a great start to the day.


  • Having time to finish reading a fantastic book, Starters by Lissa Price.


  • Getting good news at my mom’s follow-up appointment on Wednesday. Still very happy – and thankful – with the results and knowledge that she is cancer-free!


  • Making a delicious dinner last night, without worrying about how many points it is. Sometimes you just have to not worry about it, and that’s exactly what I did.


  • Being okay with not running this weekend because I got a run in Friday morning and I know I’ll get two morning runs in this week.


  • Knowing that last week I met my goal of 3 runs for the week!


  • The gorgeous weather we’ve had this weekend. It cooled down Friday afternoon and has been so nice!


  • Seeing my sunrise photo from last Tuesday featured on the Largo Patch website and Facebook page. I knew when I took the photo that it was a great one.