Wednesday, December 24, 2014

What's Cookin Wednesday - Baked Chicken & Orzo

This recipe came my way via Lemons for Lulu.

  • 1 stick butter, divided
  • 6 chicken breasts
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper
  • 1 shallot, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 lb mushrooms, sliced,
  • 1 tablespoon fresh sage, chopped
  • 1 16 oz package orzo
  • 32 oz chicken broth

    Preheat oven to 375. In large skillet, melt 2 tablespoons of butter. Season chicken breast and add to butter in batches adding another 2 tablespoons in between. Brown chicken for 3 minutes, turn and brown the second side for 1 minute. Remove to a plate and keep warm.

    In a large stockpot, melt ¼ cup butter. Add shallots and garlic to butter, stirring constantly for 1 minute. Add mushrooms and sage. Cook until the mushrooms just begin to soften. Add orzo. Stir and cook until orzo is lightly toasted and fragrant.

    Pour orzo into a 13 x 9 baking dish. Top with chicken breast. Pour chicken stock over orzo and chicken. Bake for 45-50 minutes or until chicken reaches 165 degrees and liquid has been absorbed.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

What's Cookin Wednesday - Garden Rice and Red Beans

  • 3 tablespoon(s) vegetable oil
  • 2 large stalks celery, finely chopped
  • 2 large carrots, finely chopped
  • 1 medium (4-6 ounces) red pepper, finely chopped
  • 1 small (4-6 ounces) onion, finely chopped
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • 1.5 cup(s) long grain white rice
  • 3 cup(s) water
  • 2 clove(s) garlic, crushed with press
  • 1 teaspoon(s) chili powder
  • 3 cup(s) cooked red kidney beans, or 2 cans (15 ounces each) low-sodium red kidney beans
  • 1 can(s) (28 ounces) diced fire-roasted tomatoes
  • 1 tablespoon(s) tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon(s) (or 2) hot pepper sauce
  1. In 4-quart saucepan, heat 2 tablespoons oil on medium-high until hot. Add celery, carrots, red pepper, onion, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper; cook 5 minutes or until just tender, stirring occasionally. Stir in rice until well mixed, then add water. Heat to boiling on high. Cover, reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer 15 minutes. Reduce heat to low and simmer 15 minutes longer.
  2. Meanwhile, in 12-inch skillet, heat remaining 1 tablespoon oil on medium until hot. Add garlic and chili powder and cook 30 seconds or until fragrant, stirring. Stir in beans, tomatoes, and tomato paste. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in hot sauce to taste.
  3. With fork, fluff rice, divide rice among 4 dinner plates. Top with bean.


Monday, December 15, 2014

Makeover Monday

 I got this neat piece from my mama with a plan already in my head to make this a bit of a bar in our new home.  The apartment we live in has yellowish walls - so you can only imagine how yellow this piece really looked against the wall!

After creating a paint booth of sorts and filling our place with fumes :-)  We ended up with this piece and I LOVE the color!

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

What's Cookin Wednesday - Quinoa Tex Mex

Recipe from Chelsa's Messy Apron

  • 1 and 1/2 cups quinoa, well rinsed
  • 1 can (15 ounces) black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 can (14.5 ounces) diced tomatoes, undrained (I used Hunt's)
  • 1 can (15.25 ounces) corn, drained and rinsed
  • 1 cup sweet peppers, chopped
  • 1 poblano chili pepper (~3/4 cup), chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1/2 cup yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 and 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 3 cups water (or chicken broth)
  • 1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
  • 2-4 tablespoons taco seasoning
  • 1 and 1/2 cups mozzarella cheese, shredded
  • Optional: green onions, salt and pepper to taste
  1. Rinse the quinoa well. I rinse my quinoa in a mesh strainer under hot water.
  2. Place the washed quinoa, drained and rinsed black beans, undrained diced tomatoes, drained and rinsed corn in the slow cooker.
  3. Chop the sweet peppers and poblano chili pepper (remove seeds if desired). Add the chopped peppers, minced garlic, and chopped onion to the slow cooker. Stir everything together. Add in the chili powder, ground cumin, and water. Stir again and cook for 3-4 hours on high or until the water is completely absorbed and the quinoa is cooked through. All slow cookers cook a little differently so make sure to occasionally check the dish to make sure the quinoa isn't burning or sticking all to the sides.
  4. Remove from heat and stir in the chopped cilantro, fresh lime juice, taco seasoning to taste, and green onions if desired. Season with salt and pepper.
  5. Stir in the mozzarella cheese and enjoy immediately.

Great dish for using what I had on hand.  I usually have everything but the fresh veggies in my pantry.  I actually skipped the cheese for this dish.  Next time I might use a taco cheese blend...but this was AWESOME!  So filling, part comfort food.  Loved taking this for lunch...for about a week :-)

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

What's Cookin Wednesday - Spiced Chickpea Stew

  • 1.25 pound(s) Yukon gold potatoes, cut into 1-inch chunks
  • 3 medium carrots, chopped
  • 1 can(s) (15-ounce) chickpeas, drained
  • 1 pound(s) zucchini, cut into 1-inch chunks
  • 1 cup(s) water
  • 2 teaspoon(s) fennel seeds
  • 1 teaspoon(s) coriander
  • 1 teaspoon(s) salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon(s) cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon(s) pepper
  • 1 lemon, cut into quarters
  • 1 cup(s) frozen peas

    In 6- or 7-quart slow-cooker bowl, layer potatoes, carrots, chickpeas, and zucchini.

    Whisk water, fennel seeds, coriander, salt, cinnamon, and pepper in bowl; pour over vegetables. Top with lemon quarters. Cover and cook on high 5 hours; 10 minutes before serving, add frozen peas to cooker and re-cover.


Wednesday, October 29, 2014

What's Cookin Wednesday - Beef Orzo with Feta

Another recipe from Laaloosh!



  • 1 lb extra lean ground beef (96/4)
  • 10 oz whole wheat orzo
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 26oz can crushed tomatoes
  • 1/3 cup reduced fat feta cheese, crumbled
  • Salt & pepper to taste


  1. Prepare orzo according to package directions. Drain and set aside.
  2. While orzo is cooking, spray a large skillet with nonfat cooking spray, and set over medium high heat. Add in beef and cook until mostly cooked through.
  3. Add in onions, garlic, oregano, cinnamon and salt & pepper. Sauté until onions are tender and beef is cooked all the way through.
  4. Pour tomatoes into skillet with the beef mixture, and cook, and turn heat to medium. Continue to cook, while stirring occasionally, until mixture has thickened, about 15 minutes.
  5. Toss beef sauce with orzo and place into serving bowls. Top each bowl with 1 tbsp of feta.
Preparation time: 10 minute(s)

My main squeeze really liked this - I thought it was a great weeknight dinner because you can make it so fast.  Next time I'll probably add green peppers or mushrooms.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

What's Cookin' Wednesday - Cajun Black Bean Rice Chowder

½  Red Onion (diced)
2 Tbs Garlic Powder
1  Kielbasa (diced)
4 Slices Bacon (diced) (eliminated)
3  15.25 oz. Cans  Black Beans
2  16 oz. Cans Refried Beans
32 oz.  Chicken Broth
1 Tbs.  Cajun Seasoning
1 Tbs.  McCormick Steak Seasoning
2 C.  Cooked White Rice
1 ½ C. Frozen Corn Kernels
Salt & Pepper

In a medium frying pan lightly cover the bottom with EVOO and sauté the onion, when tender remove the onion and cook the kielbasa and bacon. When the meat is brown place it along with the onion into a soup pot. Add the broth, beans and seasonings, let the chowder simmer for about 15 min. then season with salt & pepper and add the corn and rice. Cook for another 10 minutes until thick.
This was yummy!  I only used 2 cans of black beans and 1 can of refried beans.  Next time I might sub some different beans instead of 1 can of black beans.  But we WILL make this again!

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

What's Cookin' Wednesday - Chicken Posole

Ingredients -
1Tbl olive oil
1 onion, thinly slicked
kosher salt & black pepper
1 32 oz container low-sodium chicken broth
1 28oz can diced tomatoes, drained
1 dried ancho chili, thinly sliced, or 1/4 tsp crushed red pepper
2 cups shredded rotisserie chicken meat
1 15oz can hominy, rinsed
1 lime, cut into wedges

Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat.  Add the onion and 1/4 tsp each salt & pepper and cook, stirring occasionally until soft and beginning to brown (10-12 minutes)

Add the broth, tomatoes and chili and bring to a boil.  Stir in the chicken and hominy and simmer until heated through, 3-4 minutes.  Serve with lime.

I thought this was ok.  Not great and probably not to be repeated.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Makeover Monday

As soon as I saw this piece I knew I wanted to show it some love!

Some repair work, custom paint and new handles bring this a new life!

This one moved pretty slow and other than wanting it out of the house as I was moving - I kinda was ok with that :-)  This turned out so cute!

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

What's Cookin Wednesday - Banana Bread

Sometimes, somehow - I have tons of bananas in my freezer.  I think this stems from the fact that I don't like bananas AT ALL if they have brown marks on them.  Just past green is my ideal ripeness!  So I went looking for a banana bread that was different from others I've made and this one made itself know :-)

1 cup dried fruits
1 1/2 cup of apple juice
1 cup flour
1/2 tsp baking sodea
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup of light brown sugar
4 Tbs unsalted butter, melted
2 medium bananas
3 Tbs of plain yogurt
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 egg whites
1/2 cup of chopped walnuts

Preheat the oven at 350F.  Place dried fruits in a small bowl, add juice, close the bowl with a lid and microwave for 30 seconds.  Once the time is up, without disturbing the dried fruits, set the bowl aside for 15 minutes.  The dried fruits will drink up most of the moisture.

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

Place bananas, yogurt, vanilla extract and egg whites in the blender and puree everything for 10 seconds.

In a separate bowl whisk together melted butter and light brown sugar until well incorporated.  Add the banana mixture and whisk some more.

Carefully add the dry mixture to the wet mixture and mix with a spoon just until incorporated.

Drain the juice under the fruits and add 1/2 of them to the batter.  Add half of the chopped walnuts too.

Line a parchment paper on the bottom of a spring form pan and pour the batter in.  Decorate the top with the reamining fruits and with the rest of the walnuts.

Bake the cake in the middle of the oven for 45 minutes or until it turns pleasantly brown.  Cool for 15 minutes and un-mold from the spring form pan.  Completely cooled cake can be dusted with confectioners sugar.

I skipped the walnuts (not a fan) and yogurt (thought I had and didn't!).  Used two flavors of Craisins as that's what I had on hand.  I also used a regular loaf pan.  While this bread was done (clean toothpick!) it had a wet look.  I didn't find this to affect the taste :-)

I enjoyed the bread, but probably wouldn't make again.  The banana flavor didn't come through and the bread.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Makeover Monday

This is as good as it gets for a before picture - THREE different covers for this chair!

 I loved the color & character of this chair and simply gave it a new cover.  Oh how I wished my new house had a porch!

It hurt a little when the purchaser told me they were going to paint and recover it :-(  To each their own - off to a new home in a nursery for a new baby boy! (ok, maybe the color & material weren't the best for a boy's nursery :-))

Monday, September 29, 2014

Makeover Monday

This was a simple makeover - I even used the same knobs!  But it was fun to bring a new life to a piece.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Make Over Monday

 This was a fun makeover.  I bought this cute bedside table/dresser at a yard sale when I first moved to ATL.  It was green...that always catches my eye!  At the time the color matched my bedroom, but the knobs were a bit wild.  You can see the round knob I used at the bottom of this photo.

And then I moved & got a new bedroom set and green just wasn't cutting it anymore.  So in came a soft yellow!  Such a cute all-purpose piece!

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

What's Cookin' Wednesday - Apricot Chicken Hash

8 skinless, boneless chicken thighs (1 3/4 pounds total) I used two chicken breast
1 Tbl lower-sodium soy sauce
1 pound red potatoes, unpeeled
1 large red pepper
3 Tbl apricot jam I used peach
1 Tbl fresh lemon juice
1 1/2 tsp vegetable oil
4 green onions, thinly sliced, plus additional for garnish
1/4 tsp salt

Preheat oven to 425F.  In large bowl, combine chicken and soy sauce; let stand.  Cut potatoes and red pepper into 1/2" pieces.  In small bowl, mix jam and lemon juice until blended.

In large microwave-safe bowl, combine potatoes and 1/4 cup water.  Cover with vented plastic wrap and microwave on high 5 minutes or until potatoes are just tender.  Drain.

Meanwhile, spread chicken on foil-lined 18" x 12" jelly-roll pan; brush with jam mixture.  Roast 15-17 minutes or until meat is no longer pink inside.

While chicken roasts, in 12" nonstick skillet, heat oil on medium 1 minutes.  Add pepper and cook 3 minutes, stirring.  Stir in potatoes, green onions and salt.  Cook 5-7 minutes or until lightly browned, stirring.

Skim and discard fat from pan juices; serve chicken and hash with juices.  Garnish with green onions.

This was YUM!  I roasted everything at the same time instead of making the hash and loved it like that.  Going into the rotation!

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

What's Cookin Wednesday - Garden Enchilada Bake

This recipe is mainly from Peas and Thank you (seems that the web-site is not working today), with some changes by me...mostly I like dairy! :-)

1c quinoa, rinsed & drained
1 1/2 c vegetable broth (I had none, so used water)
1 15oz can organic tomato sauce, divided
2 1/2 t chili powder, divided
1/2 t oregano
1 zucchini, shredded and squeezed to release all excess moisture
1/3 cup non-dairy (Tofutti) or regular cream cheese
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 t cumin
salt & pepper to taste
1 c non-dairy (Daiya) mozzarella chesse, shredded
1 3oz can sliced olives, drained skipped because I don't like olives!
1 avocado, sliced
cilantro for garnish skipped because the Mister doesn't like cilantro

Preheat oven to 375.

In a medium stockpot, combine quinoa, broth, 1/2 cup of tomato sauce, 2 t chili powder and oregano.  Bring to a boil over medium high heat.  Reduce heat, stir and cover, simmering for 15-20 minutes.  Remove lid and cook for an additional minute or two or until all of the liquid has been absorbed and quinoa is fully cooked.

Add shredded zucchini, remaining tomato sauce, remaining chili powder, cream cheese, garlic and cumin.  Heat until fully incorporated.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Transfer mixture to a large casserole dish (2qt or larger) that has been lightly spritzed with olive oil or cooking spray.

Top casserole with grated cheese and sliced olives.  Bake for 25-30 minutes or until cheese is bubbly.

To brown the top of the casserole, you can switch the oven over to the broil setting for the last several minutes.  Mine was actually brown after 25 minutes - so I didn't do this.

Garnish with avocado slices and fresh cilantro, if desired.

While this was cooking I thought it smelled like pizza and the Mister thought it smelled like lasagna.  This was a hit with both of us.  Next time I'll add more veggies (mushroom, peppers, more zucchini)

Serves 6

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

What's Cookin Wednesday - Sausage & Kale Stew (Crockpot!)

Sausage and Kale Stew With Olive Oil Mashed Potatoes 
Picture (and recipe) from Real Simple


  • 1 pound sweet Italian sausage links, casings removed and broken into pieces
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 28-ounce can diced tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • kosher salt and black pepper
  • 2 large russet potatoes (about 1 pound)
  • 1 small bunch kale, stems discarded and leaves torn (about 7 cups)
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup olive oil, plus more for serving 
  • Combine the sausage, onion, tomatoes and their juices, tomato paste, garlic, 1 cup water, and ¾ teaspoon each salt and pepper in a 4- to 6-quart slow cooker. Nestle the potatoes in the liquid and top with the kale.

    Cover and cook until the potatoes are tender, on low for 7 to 8 hours or on high for 4 to 5 hours (this will shorten total recipe time). Transfer the potatoes to a medium bowl. Add the milk, oil, and ½ teaspoon each salt and pepper to the bowl and mash.
    Serve the stew topped with the mashed potatoes. Drizzle with more olive oil, if desired.

    This was good - the potato cooking part was weird, but it worked!


Wednesday, August 20, 2014

What's Cookin Wednesday - Chickpea Curry

Picture (and recipe) from Cooking Light

  • 1 (3.5-ounce) bag boil-in-bag basmati or brown rice
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil 
  • 1 large onion, diced 
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons garam masala
  • 2 (15-ounce) cans chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • 1 (15-ounce) can unsalted crushed tomatoes 
  • 1 (6-ounce) package fresh baby spinach 
  • 1/2 cup plain 2% Greek yogurt 
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt 
  1. 1. Cook rice according to package directions; drain.
  2. 2. While rice cooks, heat a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add onion; sauté 5 minutes or until tender, stirring frequently. Stir in garam masala; cook 30 seconds, stirring constantly. Add chickpeas, tomatoes, and spinach; cook 2 minutes or until spinach wilts, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat; stir in yogurt and salt. Serve over rice.

 Super easy to make, super yummy to eat!

Monday, August 18, 2014

Makeover Monday

So recently our church merged with another church - one that used to be a church of 2,500 people in Southeast Atlanta...the church is over 120 years old!  I had no idea there were so many rooms in the building...and there was stuff in all of them (desks, pianos, pulpits, extra pews and chairs are the most popular...I have NEVER seen that many pulpits in one place!).  I happened to come in one evening when they were cleaning out rooms....and I turned into my mother :-)  I left with 6 pieces to restore/redo and 5 are done and sold (less than a work week later!)  Here are the few I did first.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

What's cookin Wednesday - Lentil "Stew"

2 cups lentils, rinsed
1 onion, finely diced
4 cloves garlic, chopped
1 (7oz) can fire roasted whole chiles
1 (14.5oz) can diced tomatoes
3 cups chopped kale
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp ground ginger
1 Tbl cumin
3 cups chicken or vegetable broth

Use a 6-quart slow cooker.  Rinse lentils until the water runs clear, and then put the wet lentils into your slow cooker.  Add diced onion and the chopped garlic.  Add the entire cans of fire roasted chiles and diced tomatoes.  Add the kale, dried spices and stir in the broth.  Cover and cook on low for 5-6 hours or until the lentils are bite tender and the onion is translucent.

YUM!  This will be back in the winter for sure!

Monday, August 11, 2014

Makeover Monday

Sometimes makeovers are as simple as taking one piece off a mirror....

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

What's Cookin Wednesday - Slow-Cooker Vegetarian Chili with Sweet Potatoes

Inspiration from Real Simple
Serves 4| Hands-On Time: | Total Time:


  • 1 medium red onion, chopped
  • 1 green bell pepper, chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • kosher salt and black pepper
  • 1 28-ounce can fire-roasted diced tomatoes
  • 1 15.5-ounce can black beans, rinsed
  • 1 15.5-ounce can kidney beans, rinsed
  • 1 medium sweet potato (about 8 ounces), peeled and cut into 1⁄2-inch pieces
  • sour cream, sliced scallions, sliced radishes, and tortilla chips, for serving


  1. In a 4- to 6-quart slow cooker, combine the onion, bell pepper, garlic, chili powder, cumin, cocoa, cinnamon, 1 teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon black pepper. Add the tomatoes (and their liquid), beans, sweet potato, and 1 cup water.
  2. Cover and cook until the sweet potatoes are tender and the chili has thickened, on low for 7 to 8 hours  or on high for 4 to 5 hours (this will shorten total recipe time).
  3. Serve the chili with the sour cream, scallions, radishes, and tortilla chips.
 This was YUMMY!  I'll plan ahead and make with dried beans next time.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

What's Cookin Wednesday - Orzo Stuffed Peppers

This was found in


  • 1 cup dry orzo
  • 3 cups baby arugula (I don't like arugula, so I used spinach)
  • 1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 4 small bell peppers, halved and seeded


1. Preheat oven to 400°. Cook orzo according to package directions in salted water; drain. Return to pot. Add arugula, feta, oil, and 1/4 teaspoon each salt and freshly ground black pepper; stir.
2. Season inside of peppers with 1/4 teaspoon each salt and pepper. Fill peppers; transfer to a 9- x 13-inch baking dish. Cover with foil; bake until peppers are tender (35-40 minutes).

Calories per serving:267
Fat per serving:7.4g
Saturated fat per serving:2.8g
Monounsaturated fat per serving:3.1g
Polyunsaturated fat per serving:0.5g
Protein per serving:10g
Carbohydrates per serving:41g
Fiber per serving:3g
Cholesterol per serving:13mg
Iron per serving:2mg
Sodium per serving:477mg
Calcium per serving:109mg

This was ok.  If I made it again, I'd probably cut the recipe in half because the leftovers weren't as good reheated in the microwave.  Overall, I think I'd prefer the orzo mixture with peppers instead of the stuffed peppers.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

What's Cookin Wednesday - Crock Pot Chicken Teriyaki

Another from LaaLoosh!


  • 1lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1 inch pieces
  • 1 16oz bag frozen pineapple tidbits
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 yellow pepper, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup reduced sodium soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp pepper


  1. Combine soy sauce, garlic, black pepper, and brown sugar in a small bowl. Stir until combined.
  2. Place chicken in bottom of slow cooker, cover with pineapples and top with sauce.
  3. Cook on low 6-8 hours.
  4. During last hour of cooking, add in bell pepper slices.
  5. To thicken sauce, also remove lid from slow cooker in the last hour of cooking. If you prefer a thicker sauce, transfer sauce to pan and boil with flour or cornstarch until reduced to desired thickness.
Preparation time: 15 minute(s)
Cooking time: 6 hour(s)
Number of servings (yield): 4
Entire recipe makes 4 servings
Serving size is about 1 ½ cups
Each serving = 5 Points +
PER SERVING: 217 calories; 2g fat; 25g carbohydrates; 27g protein; 2.5g fiber

The soon-to-be-mister enjoyed this very much.  I'm not a huge teriyaki lover, but this was much better than getting a pre-mixed/seasoned meal.  This will be in the rotation in the fall!

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

What's Cookin Wednesday - Quinoa & Lentil Salad

This was inspired by one of my favs


  • 1/2 cup quinoa
  • 1/2 cup green lentils, dry
  • 2 cups fat free vegetable (or chicken) broth
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp lime juice
  • 1 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp dijon mustard
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/3 cup red onion, diced
  • 1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
  • Juice and zest from 1 small lime
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  1. Cook quinoa according to package directions.
  2. Place warm quinoa in a medium sized bowl, and toss with garlic. Set aside.
  3. Rinse lentils well with water, then place in a large sauce pan with vegetable broth. Bring to a simmer, and let cook on medium heat until lentils are tender, but not too soft…about 20-25 minutes. Drain and set aside to cool.
  4. In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, mustard, red wine vinegar, lime juice and lime zest.
  5. Add lentils to quinoa, and toss in remaining ingredients, then drizzle the dressing over everything and toss well to combine. Season with salt and pepper as desired. Serve cold or at room temperature

Calories: 142
Fat: 3.5g
Protein: 6g
Entire recipe makes 6 servings
Serving size is 1/2 cup
Each serving = 3 Points +

This was a little bland for me the first time around.  So I added scallions when I ate it for lunch and that was just what it needed.  Maybe I have an issue with eating "tan" food :-)

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

What's Cookin Wednesday - Smoke Sausage & Pinto Beans

1 pound pinto beans, sorted and soaked overnight (or use quick-soak method below)
1 (12-ounce) package smoked turkey or chicken sausage (I used sundried tomato & provolone flavored) 
1 (14.5-ounce) can fire roasted tomatoes with garlic
1 (15-ounce) can whole corn kernels
5 cups chicken or beef broth

Put your dry beans into a large pot of water, and pick out any beans that float to the top or are oddly shapen or shriveled. Cover, and  bring to a boil. Boil at a rapid pace for 10 minutes, then remove from heat. Keep the lid on, and let the beans soak in the hot water for 1 hour before rinsing and using with your favorite recipe.

The Directions

Use a 6-quart slow cooker. Place the soaked and drained beans into your slow cooker insert. Add sliced sausage. Add the entire can of tomatoes and the whole can of corn. Stir in broth. Cover, and cook on low for 8 hours, or on high for about 6 hours. Serve when the beans reach desired tenderness. If you live in a high altitude your beans will take longer than they will if you live at sea level.
Other than not reading the direction and using canned beans instead of dried - this was awesome!  Mine turned out more soupy because of the wrong beans, so I will try again with dried beans.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

What's Cookin Wednesday - Sausage & Veggies

This one comes from one of the Best crock-pot blogs: A Year of Slow Cooking

6 smoked chicken sausage links
4 cups random vegetables (carrots, mushrooms, broccoli, bell pepper all work well) 2 cups or so of cubed potatoes 2 cups chicken broth 1/3 to 1/2 cup white wine if you have it on hand --- if not, feel free to omit completely 1 large handful of baby spinach (to add at the very end)

The Directions:

--cut all veggies into 2-inch chunks
--layer into crockpot, most to least dense
--add sliced sausage
--add broth and wine
--cover and cook on low for 8 hours or high for 4.
--right before serving, add a handful of fresh spinach and cover for 10 minutes to wilt leaves
I didn't change a thing! (well, except I missed the part where I load the veggies most to least I might have mixed a bit when I put the potatoes in last...oops!
This was so easy and so delicious!  So good that I forgot to take a photo!  Next time I might use kielbasa as I seem to always have that on hand.  But this is a great way to get some great veggies in and it's not a soup (yippee!!)  Try it - you'll like it. ;-)

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

What's Cookin' Wednesday - Oven Roasted Beer Chicken

Another from one of my favorite web-sites!


  • 2 lbs skinless, boneless chicken breasts, cut into 6 pieces
  • 1 12oz can or bottle of beer
  • 4 tbsp light butter, melted
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • Juice from one lime
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped (skipped)
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees, and spray a 9” x 13” baking dish with non-fat cooking spray.
  2. Season chicken generously with salt and pepper, and lay in baking dish.
  3. In a small bowl, combine the beer, and remaining ingredients. Mix well and pour over chicken.
  4. Cover with foil and roast in oven for about 20-30 minutes, or until chicken is just cooked through. Remove foil, and roast for another 10 minutes.
Preparation time: 10 minute(s)
Cooking time: 35 minute(s)
Number of servings (yield): 6
Calories: 215
Fat: 5g
Protein: 26g
Entire recipe makes 6 servings
Serving size is 1 piece of chicken

PER SERVING: 215 calories; 5g fat; 2.5g carbohydrates; 26g protein; 0g fiber

Yummy!  I didn't have all of the spices it called for, but this was still favorable and moist.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

What's Cooking Wednesday - Kale, Strawberry and Avocado Salad

This one comes from one of my favorite sites:


  • 5 cups kale, chopped
  • 1/2 cup strawberries, sliced
  • 1/2 an avocado, chopped
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • Juice from 1 lemon
  • Salt & pepper to taste


  1. In a large bowl, toss together kale, strawberries and avocado.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, lemon juice, honey, and salt & pepper.
  3. Drizzle dressing over salad and toss to coat.
Preparation time: 10 minute(s)
Number of servings (yield): 4
(Including the almonds which I eliminated) Calories: 192 - Fat: 14g - Protein: 5g
Serving size is about 1 1/3 cups

This was a hit!  So much so that I ate it for dinner, then ate it for lunch,  then made more for dinner and ate it again for lunch!  Yummy summer salad!

Monday, April 14, 2014

Makeover Monday

This is another lovely little piece that started with a frantic e-mail to my partner-with-a-truck.

This did have a door when I got it (see it on the left?), but I quickly took it off.  Well, quickly after my furniture guru adviser thought it was a good idea :-)

Starting building the shelves and shore up the supports.

Shelves done & outside painted!

Trying out drawer knobs....

Finished product!  You can't see this too well, but the inside is painted gray.  It's funny how each of these photos (from my phone) make it look like a different color blue.  For me this was adventurous for a piece I wasn't keeping, but after some Facebook feedback - I took a bit of a plunge...and it worked!  Who knows, maybe the next piece will be a more daring color!

Saturday, April 12, 2014

I like to eat! - The Optimist

I have wanted to try this place forever...and it did not disappoint!  I was a little worried about going on a Sunday early evening with my work clothes on (think t-shirt from a liquor manufacturer with paint on it, old shoes and a sweater with a bleach stain on the sleeve....smh) - and while I was probably the most under dressed person there (that might be an understatement!), I didn't feel like I wasn't welcome.  I think for this post - I'll let the food do the talking.  I loved everything!  Even the fuzzy fruity drink.... (I just realized I forgot to take a picture of our starter: fried clam roll = yes!)


Hushpuppies..I could have eaten the butter with a spoon....

Fuzzy drink with pomegranates in it & a vegetable (I can't remember!)


Dessert (I think it was this...but maybe not as they change their menu daily: CHOCOLATE & FRANGELICO CREMAUX, chantilly cream, hazelnut caramel)
This dessert was smaller than an i-phone and should be shared as it's soooo rich (and delish!)

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

What's Cookin Wednesday - Chicken & Orzo Skillet Dinner

Oh how I love 1-pot meals...ranks right up there with my love of crock-pot meals ;-)  This one hits the spot for sure!


  • 1 pound skinless, boneless chicken breast halves, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 8 cups water
  • 12 ounces uncooked orzo
  • 2 cups chopped tomato (about 2 medium)
  • 2 teaspoons no-salt-added tomato paste
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 3 cups baby spinach leaves
  • 3 ounces feta cheese, crumbled (about 3/4 cup) 


1. Heat a nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken. Sauté 6 minutes, turning to brown all sides. Remove chicken from pan; keep warm.
2. Bring 8 cups water to a boil in a large saucepan. Add orzo; cook 8 minutes or until orzo is al dente. Drain in a colander over a bowl, reserving 1/4 cup cooking liquid.
3. Add reserved cooking liquid, chopped tomato, tomato paste, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and peppers to skillet; cook over medium-high heat for 2 minutes. Add chicken, pasta, and 3 cups spinach leaves, stirring until spinach wilts. Remove from heat; sprinkle with cheese.

This was yummy and the servings were HUGE!  Love that 1lb of chicken is more than enough for this meal.  While my Dear One prefers canned tomatoes, I prefer fresh - this would have been that much better with fresh tomatoes!

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

What's Cookin Wednesday - Crockpot Ugly Chicken Dinner

One day in my pursuing of the internets I came across another crock-pot meal!  Yup - I love them (if you haven't caught on by now!)  This one promised to not be pretty....and it was right (but who needs pretty at home if it's yummy in your tummy?!)

  • 3 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and thickly sliced (I sliced mine about ½ inch thick)
  • 1 medium onion, sliced
  • 1 pound chicken, diced into chunks
  • 1 cup baby carrots
  • 1 green pepper, seeded and sliced
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  1. Grease crock (I used a 5 quart). Lay potatoes in bottom.
  2. Place chicken on top.
  3. Cover with onions, carrots, and pepper.
  4. Sprinkle each layer with salt and pepper.
  5. Slice butter into pieces and lay on top of everything.
  6. Sprinkle with garlic powder.
  7. Cover and cook on low for 6-8 hours or until potatoes are tender.

Yield: 4 servings

This was YUMMY!  But I felt like it needed something else with it.  When typing this up - I realized her pictures had an added carb loving self would choose brown rice.  But overall - yum!

Monday, March 24, 2014

Makeover Monday

On a blustery day in Fall 2013 - one of my neighborhood neighbors posted that they were cleaning out their basement and everything on the curb was FREE!  So I called my trusty partner-with-a-truck over to investigate.  I got pictures of car seats and a cool chair that I had no room for and two piece of furniture (one was the one I sent him for!).....both were waiting on my porch when I got home.

 When I first saw this piece I thought I could work my magic and make a changing table with drawers for one of my employees that was expecting (this week actually!), but when it got to my house I realized it was chest high...and probably not the safest changing table for baby ;-)

So I e-mailed my sister who always has good furniture ideas and said something like "should I try to save it or should I just put it back out on the curb?!"  "SAVE IT!"  she replied.

So I started stripping.....  and found this pretty green color underneath....oooo

I thought about keeping the green (because I loved it), but in a few places the stripper went beyond paint and I saw this:

 Dark brown wood!  Could I save it?  Would it all be like that?  Turns out I could, but it would not.  The top is more of a veneer (boo) as are the drawers and doors, but everything else was a pretty wood.

So I worked on it...then let it sit....and painted the doors and drawers...and let it sit.... looked for knobs in a different state...  took a screwdriver to the X pattern on the front (that you can barely see in the first pic) and here she is in all her glory!

One day when I'm bored I might tackle those white feet, but for now I'm calling this piece done!

Monday, January 13, 2014

2014 Plans...

I'm not a New Year's Resolution girl.  I make to-do lists every week (sometimes every day!), but I've never been one to make resolutions...maybe a year view is just too much for my little heart to handle most days ;-)  Last year my only goal (and maybe that's the issue, I'd rather call it a goal than resolution) was to be debt free and to have a 3+ month emergency fund set up.  I accomplished that goal on January 2, 2014.... so close to being done in 2013!

But as I was perusing the internets I found this gem and thought "I can do that!"

A bad habit I'm going to break: Daily Diet Coke.  I did a pretty decent job of getting this down to
            one Diet Coke per day two years ago, but yeah, that's not where I'm at now.

A new skill I'd like to learn:  running a successful Etsy shop.  Does that count as a skill?

A person I hope to be more like:  Jesus?  Is that cliche?  Isn't that what I think everyday?  Whatevs,
            that's my answer ;-)

A good deed I'm going to do:  I'm going to try to listen better to staff & customers and see how I can
             serve them.

A place I'd like to visit:  Well, I think so far on the list of place to go this year are the Cayman 
            Islands, Vancouver & San Antonio.  We'll see if NYC is in the cards for this year as well.

A book I'd like to read:  Lean In - thanks to my dad's Christmas gift I'm no longer on the wait list at
            the library!

A letter I'm going to write:  I'd like to get better at monthly letters to my grandparents.  I did a pretty
            decent job of that last year, but could be more consistent.  And maybe I'll write to my mom
            some too (no promises Mom!)

A new food I'm going to try:  I don't know yet!  Since I'm often researching trends I see lots of
            interesting things, but then usually have my chef make them for me!  We shall see - I don't
            usually have a problem trying new foods.

I'm going to do better at:  not being on my phone all the time.....

Here's to 2014!  Now that all the holiday/birthday partying is over I can think about what's next!

Are you a resolution person?  A goal setter?  Any big goals for the year?