Wednesday, October 17, 2012

RECIPE - Chicken Spaghetti

I made the best chicken spaghetti yesterday, according to my family of critics.  I have made this dish ever since I can remember.  It was one of our favorites growing up and when my mother became a single parent when I was 12, I took over the task most of the time.  She always made it with cream of mushroom soup and velveeta cheese.  I have played with it over the years with the help of ideas from other people.  I do believe I have concocted the correct amount of ingredients from all recipes to come up with a GREAT combination.  Here is how it goes (I don't have EXACT amounts.  I grew up in a southern kitchen.  There was never any measuring utensils around):

2 chicken thigh/leg combo...whatever that's called (it's what I had on hand but I'm sure breasts would work just as well but make sure it has the skin on it) skinned and diced or shredded
1 large block of low fat velveeta -cubed (I have used mexican velveeta and it is great)
1 can low fat cream of mushroom
1 can low fat cream of chicken
1 can rotel (any heat that you like)
1 cup fat free sour cream or greek yogurt
1 onion
1 cup half and half
1 tbsp butter
1 16oz pkg of whole wheat spaghetti
salt and pepper to taste

Boil chicken (mine was frozen so I boiled it for about an hour) in a large pot of water.  Remove chicken from water and bring to a boil.  Add spaghetti.  While spaghetti is cooking, cut up onion and put in a microwave bowl.  Add butter and microwave until onions are tender.  In another large pot, add soups, velveeta, sour cream, rotel, chicken, and half and half.  Cook on medium heat, stirring very regularly until cheese is almost completely melted.  When onions are softened, add to soup mixture.  Drain spaghetti and add to soup mix and combine all ingredients until spaghetti is coated.  Put in 13X9 casserole dish and bake for about 30 minutes or until velveeta is complete melted and top is browned.  Let sit for about 10 minutes and eat with a salad.  It is mmmm mmm good.

This is not my picture (didn't really think to take that picture darn it), but it is what it resembles:

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Lunchbox ideas - 10/10/2012

Today, my Honey started his new job.  This job was a Godsend and we are so very thankful.  Now I will be the maker of his lunch as well.  They all have different lunches for tomorrow.  What the heck was I thinking.  Anyway, here we go.

Reygan's Lunch
Meatball sub casserole (leftovers)- recipe found (of course) on Pinterest and here:
Dinner salad - lettuce, spinach, shredded carrots, shredded cheese, tomatoes, and bell pepper
Fruit salad - oranges, apples, and grapes
Animal Cracker mix - animal crackers, semi sweet choco chips, almonds, and banana chips
The only difference with Eryn's was the main part (she was not a HUGE fan of the casserole like the rest of the family was.  She had a grilled sandwich that consisted of turkey, cheese, and tomato.

Bryan's lunch:
meatballs - left out of the casserole
refridgerator pickles - recipe found on pinterest
grapes and apples
Animal cracker mix

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

LUNCHBOX IDEAS - 10/09/2012

I took a day off yesterday from making lunches.  It was quite nice!!  My girls and I went to the Texas State Fair and had a great time.  While we were gone my wonderful HONEY made the girls lunches.  They had peanut butter and crackers, cheddar cheese, and grapes.  Even though they love my lunches, their lunch today was a good, simple variety.  I'm back today, so here is what they are getting tomorrow:

"confetti" mac and cheese - I took a store bought package of mac and cheese.  I put the fresh brocolli and carrots in with the macaroni until they were soft.  I drained them and added the cheese and cut up fresh spinach and smoked sausage.  The girls LOVE this.  It was something I was afraid they wouldn't like last time, so I didn't save the extra I had left over.  This time I did :)
grapes and watermellon for Reygan
grapes, apple slices, and cantaloup for Eryn
dessert mix - animal crackers, banana chips, semi sweet choco chips, and almonds

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Review of Pinterest Recipe - Apple Oatmeal Crisp

I also made this today.  I had alot of apples about to go bad if not eaten soon, so I made this and am going to make "fried" apples tomorrow.  This recipe is WAY too dry.  It would be so much better made with the fried apple recipe.  instead of layering it with apples, layer it with the fried apples and then bake it.  It would make it more like a crisp instead of dry yuckiness.  Here is the recipe:

recipe image
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup rolled oats
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup butter, melted
3 cups apples - peeled, cored
and chopped
1/2 cup white sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Lightly grease an 8-inch square pan.
2. In a large bowl, combine brown sugar, oats, flour and butter. Mix until crumbly. Place half of crumb mixture in pan. Spread the apples evenly over crumb mixture. Sprinkle with sugar and cinnamon and top with remaining crumb mixture.
3. Bake in the preheated oven for 40 to 45 minutes, or until golden brown.

Review Pinterest recipe - Green Chili Cornbread

We had pinto beans tonight and I needed an awesome cornbread recipe to go along with them.  My Honey makes the most amazing pot of beans and I make the cornbread.  It's usually just plain ole cornbread, but I wanted to make a wow one this time.  I found one on Pinterest that looked really good.  It is found here:

This cornbread beats all other cornbreads.  I did make a couple additions.  I added about 1/2 cup extra cheese (mixture of cheddar and pepper jack).  I also added 2 chopped fresh jalepenos with the fresh Hatch chilis.  I only had some fresh corn on the cob, so i cut off the corn and it made it so much better.  Gave it a little more sweetness.  I only used about 1/8 cup of Splenda instead of the sugar.  One more little change I made because it is what I had on hand is instead of sour cream, I had some homemade ranch.  I used a cup of the ranch and only used 1 1/4 cup of milk.  I might add some onions next time.  You must try this for your next cornbread needs.
Green Chile Cornbread


  • 1 cup plus 2 Tbsp cornmeal
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 Tbsp baking powder
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) softened unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 3/4 cups milk
  • 2 cups of chopped, roasted green chiles (Anaheim or Hatch) (2 7-ounce cans of whole green chiles, drained, chopped)
  • 1 cup corn (frozen is fine)
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar or Monterey Jack cheese (4 ounces)


1 Preheat oven to 400°F. Grease a 8x12 inch baking dish.
2 In a large bowl mix the cornmeal, flour, salt, baking powder and baking soda. In a separate bowl, beat the softened butter and sugar. Beat the sour cream and eggs to the butter sugar mixture. Add the milk and the dry ingredients, a third at a time and alternating wet/dry. Mix in the green chiles, corn, and shredded cheese. Pour mixture into prepared baking dish.
3 Bake for 35 minutes, until top is browned, the center springs back when pressed down, and a skewer inserted into the center comes out clean. Let cool almost completely before serving.
Makes about 12 serving pieces.

Pinterest recipe review - Pumpkin Bread with Salted Caramel Drizzled Pumpkin butter Cream

This was the most moist, flavorfull any kind of bread I've ever had.  Instead of all of the different spices it called for, I used a tablespoon of pumpkin pie spice (which, of course is all of those spices together).  I did mess up on the frosting because I'm thinking I used too much butter, but the bread itself is good enough without it.  I found the recipe on Pinterest and here:
Here it is:

For the Bread
1 C all-purpose flour
3/4 C white whole wheat flour
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp allspice
1/8 tsp cloves
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
2 eggs
3/4 C brown sugar
1/4 C granulated sugar substitute
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 C low-fat plain yogurt
2 tbsp canola oil
1 1/4 C pumpkin puree

For the Frosting
1/4 C butter, softened
2 tbsp pumpkin puree
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 C confectioner’s sugar, sifted
2 tsp milk
For the Caramel Drizzle
3 tbsp brown sugar
1 tbsp water
1 tbsp butter
1/4 tsp salt


1. Preheat oven 325. Grease and flour a 9×5 loaf pan.

2. Whisk together flours, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, cloves, salt, baking soda, and baking powder until well-combined. Set aside.

3. In a separate bowl, using an electric or stand mixer, beat eggs until creamy. Beat in brown sugar and sugar substitute on medium speed for one minute. Add in vanilla, yogurt and oil. Beat until well-combined.

4. Add flour mixture and pumpkin, beat until just combined. Scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary.

5. Spread batter into prepared loaf pan. Bake for 35-45 minutes or until toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Allow bread to cool in pan for 10 minutes before removing it to cool completely on a wire rack.

6. While bread is cooling, begin preparing the frosting. Cream together butter and pumpkin puree. Add in cinnamon and vanilla and beat until creamy. Slowly add confectioner’s sugar and milk. Beat until well-combined and creamy. Spread frosting over the top of the cooled bread.

7. In a small saucepan, stir together brown sugar and water. Dissolve sugar over medium-high heat.

8. Continue heating until caramel turns dark brown and starts to boil, making sure to stir constantly to avoid burning. Add butter and salt. Stir to combine and remove from heat. Continue stirring for another 1-2 minutes to cool the caramel somewhat before drizzling over the top of the frosting.

9. Slice bread and serve! Store leftovers in the refrigerator.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

LUNCHBOX IDEAS - 10/04/2012

Tomorrow's lunch is, again, tricked up leftovers from what we had for dinner.  Dinner was pot roast, carrots, and mashed potatoes, so I did a little rearranging and came up with the following:

Grilled pork pot roast and cheese on a southwest tortilla - George forman's are the best!!
Loaded potato patties - I had about 2 cups of mashed potatoes left over so I added about 1 cup of italian bread crumbs, 1 cup of pepper jack and cheddar shredded cheese, 1/4 cup of green onions, and 1 egg.  Mixed it all together, made it in to patties, and put it in a hot skillet with about 1tbsp of oil.  Cooked it for about 3-4 minutes on both sides until they were firm and brown.
homemade crockpot applesauce - recipe found on pinterest (easier than you would imagine and freezable)
cantaloup (my youngest daughter does not like cantaloup - crazy I know - so she got grapes)
animal crackers

My oldest daughter is a little skeptical about the wrap, but I do believe it will be awesome. 

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Lunchbox ideas - 10/03/2012

Just an interesting side note.  I put up a pumpkin today.  Cut it in half...dug out the seeds and strings...put some cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice, and splenda in the middle...covered it in a shallow pan and put it in a 375 degree oven for 1 1/2 hours.  One pumpkin is the equivalent of 11 cans of canned pumpkin.  Yum.  Can't wait for the pies, breads, and pumpkin rolls.
Anyway, lunch tomorrow is gonna be yummy.  Wraps have become their favorites.  So, there is one in there for tomorrow.

Turkey or ham wrap (according to the girl) - includes guacamole, tomato, meat, and cheese on a southwest tortilla (made in our local HEB) - rolled it up and put it on the george kinda like a melt
fruit salad - 1 pkg sugar free banana, cheesecake, or vanilla pudding, bowl of sugar free coolwhip, 8oz vanilla greek yogurt, 1/2 cup milk.  Whip all this together until smooth.  I added blueberries, grapes, orange chunks, bananas, and smashed up walnuts.
veggies and dip - brocolli, carrots, bell pepper, cherry tomatoes with honey mustard dip

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Recipe - Tweeked Elvis Cookies

Tweeked Elvis Cookies

1 Cup butter - softened
1 1/2 cups light brown sugar or 1 cup splenda brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup splenda
1 1/2 cups peanut butter
2tsp vanilla extract
3 very ripe bananas (the riper they are the sweeter they are)
1 3/4 cups whole wheat flour
1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup semi sweet choco chips
1/2 cup peanut butter chips
1/2 cup walnuts


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Lightly grease a baking sheet.
  2. Stir together the butter, brown sugar, white sugar, peanut butter, and vanilla in a bowl. Mash the bananas into the mixture until there are few lumps. Sift together the flour and baking powder in a separate bowl; add to the banana mixture and stir until thoroughly incorporated.  Fold in chips and walnuts.  Drop rounded tablespoons of mixture onto the prepared baking sheet.
  3. Bake in preheated oven until lightly brown and firm, about 15 minutes.

Lunchbox ideas - 10/02/2012

Today is boring.  The girls are going to have mostly leftovers.  Didn't have to do much except throw some frozen cookie dough I made last week in the oven.

cheese pizza
salad - lettuce, shredded carrots, brocolli, bell pepper, grape
elvis cookies - recipe on pinterest and here on my blog

Monday, October 1, 2012

Lunchbox idea - 10/02/2012

Today was a busy day so I am so thankful for my honey.  He had dinner ready when I got home and all I had to do was eat and then get the girls to see their dad at the nursing home.  We had tacos, so I decided to use the leftover taco meat for "soft tacos".

soft tacos - taco meat, sour cream, lettuce, tomatoes, cheese.  put all ingredients on corn tortilla then place another on top.  place on george forman grill and grill until golden brown.
salad - brocolli, bell pepper, lettuce, carrots,  cherry tomatoes
fruit - watermellon and grapes
dessert-animal crackers, banana chips, semi sweet choco chips

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Lunchbox ideas - 09/30/2012

I went overboard on groceries this weekend.  I went to 2 farmer's markets, Sam's club, and Walmart.  I used price match at Walmart, as I always do, but came away for the whole day with a back end of my SUV full of stuff.  I bought a pumpkin in hopes that I will be able to use the insides for pumpkin something or other dessert.  I've never cooked with fresh pumpkin, so this should be very interesting.  I also bought 2 herb plants...basil and oregeno.  Never grew these kind of plants..really any kind of plants.  I tend to kill them..even cactus.  So that's going to be even more interesting.  Thank goodness I am saving money on laundry and dishwashing soap, or I would break us with groceries.  I won't have to go shopping for a month at least.
Tomorrow's lunch is one of the girls favorites.

turkey or ham and cheese wrap (turkey for Eryn and ham for Reygan) - guacamole, cheese, and meat
salad - lettuce, spinace, brocolli, tomato, bell pepper
fruit - oranges, watermellon, grapes
cheese its
animal crackers

Thursday, September 27, 2012

LUNCHBOX 09/27/2012

Got a garage sale tomorrow, so this is going to be short and sweet.

bagel pizza - bagel thins, spaghetti or pizza sauce, and motzerella cheese.  They are better if you toast the bagel before you add the sauce and cheese...then put in oven at 350 until cheese is melted.
salad - lettuce, broccoli, bell pepper, and tomato
orange wedges
honey mustard dressing
animal crackers


I absolutely love all the DIY stuff out there.  I haven't bought laundry detergent, dishwasher detergent, or all purpose cleaner in months...maybe up to a year.  The following is my favorite all purpose cleaner and it works awesome.  I found the recipe on Pinterest and here:  It also has several other cleaners.


2 cups hot water (I nuked it for about 2 minutes)
2 tbsp Borax (dissolve in hot water)
1/4 c whte vinegar
1/2 c castille soap (I used Dr. Bonner's peppermint castile soap.  Smells great...really clean smelling)

After the Borax has been dissolved mix other ingredients and then add to a spray bottle.  I recycled an empty cleaning bottle. 

This works great.  I use it to clean off cabinets when cleaning up after meals including my flat top stove. 

RECIPE: Breakfast muffins

Yesterday I made Sausage biscuit bites.  They only have biscuits with sausage and cheese balls in the middle of them.  I make stuffed breakfast biscuits all of the time.  They are a little time consuming and can be difficult to get the biscuits to wrap around the filling without breaking apart.  So, what I made yesterday got me to thinking.  I could put the breakfast stuffing I put in the stuffed biscuits in muffin tins and I wouldn't have to work so hard getting them stuffed.  I came up with this and everyone loves them just as well as the stuffed biscuits.

1 can wheat grands
1/2 lb sausage
3-4 small potatoes (I used red potatoes)
5 eggs
1/4 c fat free milk
1 c cheese (I use cheddar and pepper jack)
1/2 onion
1/2 bell pepper
salt and pepper to taste

  1. preheat oven to 375 and lightly grease muffin tins (you end up having 16 biscuits)
  2. cut biscuits in half and roll them (with a pastry roller or with your hands) into a small circular shape and place in muffin tins
  3. pan fry potatoes and crumbled sausage
  4. add onion and bell pepper and cook until softened
  5. drain and place aside
  6. in small bowl beat eggs and milk together
  7. place potato mixture in middle of biscuit
  8. sprinkle with cheese
  9. add egg mixture to fill to top of muffin tin
  10. bake for about 17 mins

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

LUNCHBOX 09/26/2012

I was looking at the new postings on Pinterest this morning and came across a recipe that I thought would be perfect for breakfast this morning.  Easy and quick and something the girls could grab and go.  So, I got up and made it right then and there.  The girls LOVED them.  They are sausage biscuit bites.  The recipe is located here:  I halved the recipe and used a can of wheat grands cut in half instead of flaky biscuits.  I had a few left over, so I put them in the girls lunch for tomorrow.  Here is what they are having:

sausage biscuit bites
salad (lettuce, brocolli, cherry tomatoes, and bell pepper) with honey mustard dressing
boiled egg
banana almond chocolate chip cookies (Elvis cookies) - recipe found here with a few additions: (I added almonds, about 1/2 c of semi sweet choco chips, 1/2 c peanut butter chips.  I also substituted splenda brown sugar for brown sugar and used granulated splenda for 1/2 of the sugar.)
watermelon and grapes

Tuesday, September 25, 2012


Today's lunch is a trusty stand by.  I Love having veggies already cut up.  The only thing that took more than 5 mins was the apples and that took all of 15 mins...only about 5 mins of work.

"LUNCHABLES" - summer sausage, cheddar cheese, ham (for Reygan, turkey for Eryn), whole wheat ritz
"fried apples" - Cracker barrels knock off recipe found on pinterest and here:
salad with honey mustard dressing
animal crackers

Monday, September 24, 2012


Today is going to be short and sweet. 

left over Crockpot chicken rio - recipe found on pinterest and here: - I added some homemade ranch dressing to it to make it a little more creamy and will be good cold.
tossed salad - lettuce, bell pepper, brocolli, and cherry tomatoes with honey mustard dressing on the side
orange slices for Reygan and apple slices for Eryn
piece of birthday cake


What a weekend!!  I left Friday evening for the Women of Faith conference and spent all day Saturday there as well.  It was a great time but the changes they made caused it not be as good as in the years past.  I enjoyed my girlfriends, though, and I needed the weekend for myself.  Yesterday we had a little birthday party for my girls' dad.  We got him from the nursing home and he came over to watch some Cowboys, eat a home cooked meal, and eat some cake.  He almost didn't make it a few weeks ago, so I am so glad the girls got to spend this birthday with him.  I finally got around to making the lunches about 8pm.  So, here is what they got:

beef quesadillas (left over meat from the meat in the burrito casserole I made for lunch)
birthday cake
fresh quacamole
sour cream
cherry tomatoes
carrot chips

Thursday, September 20, 2012


Where did this week go?  I go tomorrow to the Women of Faith conference but I have so much to do before then.  I won't even know how to act not having to worry about doing anything here at the house....can't wait.  Tomorrow's lunch is some leftovers but good least for one of the girls.  Can you believe that someone doesn't like pork chops.  How the world did I raise a child to NOT like pork chops.  CRAZY!! 
Here is what they get:

Reygan - Honey Garlic baked pork chops (diced up)
Eryn - boiled egg and chunks of cheddar and ritz crackers
pasta salad - suddenly salad with cherry tomatoes and spinach added
crockpot applesauce - recipe found on pinterest (Eryn got mango)
chocolate chip graham gold fish

I have not written about what they take for drinks, but we saved the little bottles that gatarade was in and they take juice or water with a crystal light pack.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012


I decided I am going to start putting my lunchbox fixins (ha, I'm from Texas, can you tell) on at night after I fix them.  Today, I did my 1 1/2 communte in to work...that's 3 darn hours on the road when I have to go in to work.  Again, thank goodness I only do that twice a week.  When I got home, had to finish up dinner because Bryan did not know how to cook fresh brocolli...then, I had to get Reygan to Church and Eryn and I went to the Ellis County College fair.  Holy Cow...I think everyone within a hundred mile radius came to this thing.  Every college you could think of was there.  Eryn had decided to get her basics at a junior college but decided she would have an open mind after tonight.  We are running behind on this college we got to get it in gear.  Anyway, tomorrow's lunch was an easy one to make...kind of simple but I'm thinking they will like that.

Reygan has left over oven roasted chicken...Eryn has turkey chunks
boiled egg
and a mixture of banana chips, almonds, and semi-sweet chocolate chips


We went to the farmer's market this past weekend knowing that tomato season was coming very very close to the end.  We were looking to buy a couple of cases of tomatoes and knew it would be difficult to find some that the prices were not greatly inflated.  We asked several venders how much they were charging for a case of tomatoes and the answer was $25.  We got down to about the 7th or 8th vender and asked again and he said $10 for vine ripened beef steak and $8 for romas.  Nevertheless, we bought 2 cases and wanted more but knew we didn't have that much time to get them put up before they went bad.  So yesterday, as I worked away at my computer, Bryan put up 10 quarts of tomato juice.  I asked him to leave me out 8 of the tomatoes so that I could make some soup for dinner.  I ended up making tomato basil soup and it was DELICIOUS.  Here is the recipe for my tomato basil based on several different tomato soup recipes:

8 large beefsteak tomatoes (skinned and cored.  I boiled them for about 60 seconds and then dunked them in ice water to make the skin come off alot easier)
1 medium onion
1 tbsp olive oil
2 tsp minced garlic (2 cloves)
3 tbsp dried basil or 1/2 c fresh basil
2 tsp oregeno or about 3 tbsp of fresh oregeno
1 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups chicken broth
1 can chilis (I froze some Hatch chilis, and that is what I used)  you can also use a can of rotel
1 tbsp light brown sugar
pepper to taste

cheese, fresh basil, cream...whatever you like to garnish tomato soup.  We didn't use anything but a grilled cheese :)

add olive oil to large sauce pan.  dice onions and add in to pan (some people also add celery but i'm not a big fan.)  saute onions until soft and add garlic.  while onion is sauteing, I diced the tomatoes.  Add tomatoes (juice and all), and the rest of the ingredients to the pan.  Bring to a boil on high heat.  Once boiling reduce heat to simmer.  Let simmer for at least 30 minutes stirring occasionally.  I then dipped the mixture into a blender and blended until it was the consistency I preferred which is soupy with just tiny tiny chunky pieces...just enough to feel it on your tongue going down and it didn't feel like it was a drink. 

My sweetheart who told me, as I was making it, that he didn't really like tomato soup LOVED this soup.  He also said he didn't really care for tomato soup and grilled cheese, but ate 2 grilled cheese along with his large bowl of soup.  I hope you enjoy this as much as we did.


Bryan put up all the tomatoes (about 45lbs of tomatoes).  Ended up being 10 quarts plus 2 quarts of tomato basil soup.  We ate 1/2 a quart for dinner last night.  As I was making the grilled cheese to go with the tomato soup, I went ahead and made 2 more for the girls to have for lunch.  By the way, homemade tomato basil soup is so very good.  I will post the recipe shortly. 
Here is what the girls are getting for lunch:

Eryn - turkey, avacado, and cheese grilled cheese
Reygan - ham and cheese grilled cheese (she is the crazy girl who doesn't like avacado...nuts)
pasta salad - used bacon ranch Suddenly salad but added some fresh spinach and cherry tomatoes for that little extra nutrition kick.
orange slices and grapes
honey and oats granola bar

Tuesday, September 18, 2012


Side note:  I love Josh Hamilton and the Texas Rangers...just sayin.  Yesterday, I drove my 1 1/2 hours home from work (thank goodness I only have to do that twice a week) and when I got about 20 minutes from home, my ex sister-in-law called and said they were in Texas (they are from Kansas) and going to see my ex husband who is in the nursing home here in Waxahachie.  They wanted to see the girls and I.  I did have my night planned out.  I was going to come home, eat a bite, and then go to my oldest daughter's open house.  First of all, open house for seniors?  Anyway, we haven't seen the girls aunt and uncle in about 7 or 8 years, so of course we wanted to see them.  So, this is how the night went instead...I came home, honked and the girls came to the car, ran to the nursing home to see these people I love for about 30 minutes and then to the school for 15 minutes of rushing around meeting teachers of my senior girl.  We actually got there 15 minutes before they closed the school down.  We finally got to eat a bite by Rey in the shower and then to bed.  I say all that to express to you what a rushed day that was.  Lunch was a rush as well.  I decided to make some macaroni and cheese with a twist because mac and cheese tends to still taste pretty good cold.  The girls have been saying that some of the stuff I pack just aren't very good cold.  So here is what I came up with.

mac and cheese - whole wheat macaroni, canned chicken, diced fresh carrots, brocolli flowerettes, peas and diced cherry tomatoes.  using cooked macaroni I added a little butter, salt and pepper.  I then added a mixture of cheddar, velveeta, and motzerella cheese.  While the macaroni was cooking, I cooked the brocolli, carrots, and peas until tender.  I drained and added this to the mac and cheese.  I then drained a can of chicken and added it to the mixture.  Mixed it all up and voila...healthy mac and cheese with some extra protein.

watermellon, blueberries, and grapes
turkey slices with laughing cow light swiss cheese
cherry tomatoes
Elvis cookies (banana, peanut butter, chocolate chip cookie found here: I used splanda and splenda blend brown sugar as well as whole wheat flour for half of the flour.  I also added the chocolate chips.)

Monday, September 17, 2012


What a weekend.  We went to the farmer's market on Saturday and came away with 50lbs of tomatoes for $20.  It was a great deal.  We asked several venders before we got this one and the others were asking $25 for 25lbs.  NO THANKS.  So excited to can some tomato juice for soups this winter.  Got some Roundrock pure honey as well.  Last week we got 40lbs of bananas for $8, so I think I'm set for a little while.  Anyway, today's lunch is going to be good for the girls.  They like everything I packed so we shall see how it is cold.

spinach quesadillas - sauted some green onions and chopped tomatoes with spinach.  I also added a little salsa, cumin and garlic salt.  I then wiped out the pan and layed a whole grain tortilla in bottom...topped with cheddar cheese...added sauted spinach...topped with more cheese...layed another tortilla on top.  browned both sides (about 2-3mins on each side)
homemade quacamole
sour cream and salsa dip
fruit salad with grapes, blueberries, and pineapple (only one girl likes this so the other one got crockpot applesauce with blueberries)
quakes - carmel corn

I will update with a review of how they liked it.

Saturday, September 15, 2012


I was looking for a casserole to make this morning...really more of a brunch because it's 10:30am and the girls are still asleep.  Sometimes I wish I could do that again.  Anyway, I came across this recipe: .  I liked alot of the ingredients in it but wanted to make some adjustments.  So, here is what I came up with:

3 shredded potatoes (or package of frozen hashbrowns) - browned just a little
12+- oz cooked sausage (I used links and just chopped them up before cooking.  you could cook it and then crumble.  May be easier to do after cooking.)
1/2 onion diced
1 bell pepper diced
2 cups no-fat milk
5 eggs
1 tbsp dijon mustard
1/2 cup plain greek yogurt
1 10.75 oz can cream of mushroom (low fat)
1 cup shredded cheese (I used about 1/4 cup motzerella and the rest medium cheddar)

  1. cook sausage, onion, and bell pepper until sausage is completely browned
  2. place 2 of the shredded potatoes in the bottom of a greased 8-inch square baking dish (13x9 will work). 
  3. top evenly with sausage mixture
  4. whisk together milk, eggs, and dijon mustard and pour evenly over sausage
  5. whisk together cream of mushroom and greek yogurt and spoon over top
  6. sprinkly with cheese
  7. cover evenly with remaining potato
  8. bake at 350 for 1 hour or until eggs are set
Here's what is looks like when complete:  It actually looks alot better than the picture...someone dug in before I took the picture.  The taste is incredible.

Friday, September 14, 2012


I made this yesterday and was not a huge fan.  I found the recipe on Pinterest and here: .  In the recipe it says to add mixture of cornstarch and water to liquid after the chicken has cooked in it to thicken it.  I went exactly by the recipe and the liquid never thickened.  The flavor is pretty good but not great.  We put it over fried rice (recipe found here: I used brown rice instead of white).  The rice is always awesome, but the chicken mixture sure did make it soupy.  I will not make it again.


Thank goodness it's Friday.  It has been one of those weeks.  Also, this is the first time since I had WLS that I gained a couple of pounds back.  Scary...gotta get off my butt.  Today's lunch picture looks not so good.  I promise what's in that picture is not burnt, but suppose to look that way.
Today's lunchbox includes:

Grilled cheeseburger wrap - found recipe on pinterest and here:
potato cake - recipe on pinterest and here: - I used whole wheat flour instead of all-purpose and some minced onion
mixed veggies - brocolli, bell pepper, and tomatos with homemade ranch dressing - recipe found here:
pineapple (apple for the oldest)
low fat pecan sandies

I found out the other day that the friends of the girls are jealous of their lunches :)!!  I LOVE that.

Thursday, September 13, 2012


My 13 year old daughter has the best hair...thick, easy to grow, and has the most beautiful natural highlights.  Both of my girls had those beautiful highlights but the oldest decided she wanted to go black, so it is taking quite a while to get back to normal.  I have done this a few times but last night I sat for 30 minutes and put my 13 year old's hair up in pin curls.  It takes longer than normal because her hair is unbelievably thick, but it is so easy.
  1. Devide the hair in to sections.
  2. devide those sections in two and then twist
  3. roll up in to a bun like thing and pin end around bun and to head
  4. repeat with other sections
  5. leave overnight
  6. in the morning...using a blowdryer, dry each pincurl for a few mintes
  7. undo the twists
  8. flip head over and using fingers shake out curls
This is how it looks:


I was told last night "I think you spend more time on their lunch than on breakfast and dinner combined".  Lunch is sometimes using your creativity and I just enjoy cooking and putting things together.  Now, don't get me wrong, there are days I just don't want to do it and on those days the poor little girls get either whatever they pack or sandwiches, cheeseits, and fruit.  Today is not one of those days.  I, of course, prepared these last night.  Mornings are used to wake up and drink time to make lunches.  Today's lunch is pretty darn good.  I ate one last night and they are wonderful.
Here's what they are having today:
Baked Cheddar-Broccoli Rice Cups - recipe found on pinterest and here:
watermelon and cantaloup
chocolate chip banana oatmeal cookies - recipe found here: - I halved the flour with whole wheat flour and the sugar with splenda.  I also used 2 bananas instead of just one...had LOTS of bananas on hand.

UPDATE:  This was just said there was not enough cheese and they both said it would be ALOT better warm.  Not for a cold lunchbox.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012


I'm just a little tired this morning.  Sons of Anarchy started last night and didn't end until 10:30, so I didn't get to sleep until after 11pm.  That is way past my bedtime :).  So, today I am a little fuzzy and the coffee is not working.  The Rangers did win though, so that is making me smile instead of the fuzziness.  I spent a little more time on lunch last night than I really wanted to.  When I actually go in to work, that is 3 hours of commute on top of my 8 hours of work.  I'm usually gone from 7:30am to 6 or 6:30pm.  I should have just thrown some sandwiches together with some cheeseits and grapes, but no, I didn't want to disappoint the rotten girls :).  So, I did this instead:

english muffin pizzas - whole wheat english muffins, spaghetti sauce, motzerella cheese, pepperoni
banana pudding -
pasta salad - added grape tomatoes and fresh bell pepper to boxed pasta salad mix

UPDATE:  one girl LOVED this.  The other one did not like the pizzas on English muffins but LOVED everything else except I was asked to not put grapes in with the banana pudding.  I will try these pizza bites on thin bagels.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012


Thought I would try something out of the ordinary for our household.  I had some carrots and celery that we needed to use up, so this one came up.  I found the recipe on pinterest and here: .  I added bell pepper that I got from the farmers market to it.  It did have a good flavor and my teen girls liked it, but my sweety and I decided it needed something.  It was a little bland and we are used to pretty big flavor.  The cornmeal dumplings really need a little something added to them.  They really had no flavor.  I think if some sugar and a little salt or chili peppers would make it more interesting.  Also, the chicken soup part needs some green tabasco or chilis or maybe some rotel to give it a little extra flavor.  I still had about 2 cups left over and decided the dogs would love it mixed with their dogfood today.  It won't go to waste, but not really worth the time to put up know it would not get reheated as leftovers or lunch.

Chicken and Cornmeal Dumplings


I just cannot get going this morning.  The coffee is NOT working.  I have to actually go in to work today and I am not looking forward to it.  The lunch I made for the girls today is kind of mismatched and a little boring but not only did I work yesterday, but also had to take my youngest for her yearly check up, grocery shop, finish putting up the bananas, put dinner together in the crockpot, and watch the Hunger Games with the family.  No wonder I'm tired.
Here is what the girls get today:

Peanut butter and Jelly sandwich with White whole wheat bread, natural peanut butter and sugar free grape jelly (was going to try to make the rollups but was sidetracked by the movie playing and forgot to flatten the bread.  Rolling it up was not working with the bread not flattened :)
Ritz bits
Dinner salad with honey mustard dressing
Low fat low sugar banana pudding (2 small boxes sugar free french vanilla pudding, 2 cups milk, 1 cup vanilla greek yogurt.  use mixer to mix until smooth.  in another bowl mix together 1 8oz low fat cream cheese and 1 can low fat sweetened condensed milk.  Mix until smooth then fold in sugar free Cool Whip.  Add to pudding mixture and mix until combined.  In a 9x13 pan layer vanilla wafers in bottom then top with a banana.  poor half the mixture on top and then top with another layer of vanilla wafers and bananas.  poor the rest of the pudding mixture and top with vanilla wafers...I used low fat vanilla wafers.)
UPDATE:  I was afraid they would not like the honey mustard dressing.  Eryn only likes ranch and Reygan only likes zesty italian, however, they both loved the dressing.  They liked the lunch but not really the spicy ritz bitz.

Monday, September 10, 2012


What a weekend.  I have been working up bananas for 2 days.  40 pounds of bananas is more than I thought.  I made honey banana walnut bread.  Banana oatmeal chocolate chip cookies (great cookies.  Used splenda blend brown sugar and wheat flour for half of the flour.  The girls LOVE them.)  Banana pancakes this morning. And Nutella banana freezer pops.  Today I'm making peanut butter chocolate covered bananas to put in the freezer.  I froze more than 20 pounds of the bananas for the holidays. 

Today's lunch looks good to me and my daughters are excited. 
taco quesadillas (used left over taco meat that I had frozen, grilled onions and bell peppers, refried black beans, and cheese on whole wheat flour tortillas)
fresh guacamole (roasted tomato salsa, lime juice, garlic powder, and cumin mashed together with avacados)
fresh crockpot peach cobler (found the recipe on pinterest and here: .  This recipe calls for cherry pie filling but I used about a quart + of peaches that I had frozen.  I also used sugar free cake mix and added about 2 tsp of cinnamon on top.  My sweety LOVED it and it is now gone after only 24 hours.  We usually cook this on the second night of camping in the Dutch over.)

UPDATE:  this is one of the girls favorites.  They loved everything.  Reygan did say the peach cobler was a little too sweet...holy cow...never heard her say anything was too sweet.

Sunday, September 9, 2012


Today was a great day at Waxahachie Bible Church.  I love my new ladies class...been going to Church all my life but there are still alot of things to learn and I did that today.  We also had an amazing speaker for our 9/11 memorial service.  Brian Birdwell is a Texas State Senator who was in the Pentagon when the plan crashed into it.  Not only was he in the building, but within yards of the darn plane.  He was coming out of the restroom in the same hall the right wing went in to.  He was pretty much burned alive.  See his story on I Am Second: . 
To top it off, when I got home, lunch was ready.  All I had to do was throw in the rice.  We had slow-cooker Jambalaya...recipe found on Pinterest and here: .  The flavor was great.  I used fresh tomatoes and canned fresh tomatoes.  I also used red and yellow bell peppers I bought from the farmers market yesterday.  Everything came together wonderfully.  I, personally like a little more tomatoes, but my sweetheart said it was perfect the way it was.
Still working on the bananas.  The honey walnut banana bread was wonderful.  It is so moist. 
This is of the Jambalaya without the rice.

Saturday, September 8, 2012


Today we went to the Dallas Farmers market for some fresh herbs, tomatoes, and whole allspice.  We ended up coming home with 40 pounds of "ripe" bananas.  40 pounds for only $8.00.  My plan for Christmas this year was homemade baked goods and this takes care of half of that plan and then some.  I am freezing more than half of them but I have already started the bread making.  Honey Walnut banana bread in the oven right now.  I found the recipe on (of course) Pinterest and here: .  Next is Nutella ice cream (recipe found here: and Pinterest), then Low Calorie banana nut muffins and tomorrow banana pudding.  The bananas were no where near too ripe and are still good to eat right now.  I was so excited...still am but working them up is more tedious than I imagined. 
Here are my bananas:

Here is my banana bread:

I also made my vanilla.  I received the vanilla beans from Olive Nation and they are wonderful.  I ordered them from and received them 4 days later.  Also, they are only $27 for over 50 pods.  The farmers market had them 3 for $!  My vodka was only $5.49 for a 5th.  I only used half of the vanilla beans in 2 bottles of, that makes it $24.50 for 2, 750ml of pure vanilla which is about 51 oz.  I just bought 2 oz for $4...I believe that's a huge savings of $75 and better vanilla.  I cannot wait until it is done...yum.  I also put some vanilla beans in my sugar.  The recipe for vanilla is 15 vanilla pods per 5th of vodka.  Slit the vanilla beans down the middle and place in vodka bottles.  Let sit in a cool, dark place for 1-6 months...the longer the better. 

Friday, September 7, 2012

sugar-free candied nuts - bariatric friendly recipe

I just spent 15.00 on a 1/2 pound of cinnamon nuts at the mall the other day.  $15...crazy and they were full of sugar so I didn't get to eat very many.  My girls got to enjoy them.  So, I decided to see if there was a recipe I could make at home costing way less than $15 and stumbled across something even I could enjoy and not get sick.  I have just made the perfect snack for us gastric bypass people.  sugar-free candied walnuts!!!  Low carb - check...sugar free - check...protein - check...great taste - check!!!  I found the recipe on pinterest and here:
I'm going to be making this for my mother, who is a diabetic, for Christmas..mixing up the nuts a a matter of fact mixed nuts is a perfect idea.  You can really do any nuts with this recipe....pecans, walnuts, almonds...etc. and a mixture of all the above.  It couldn't be easier to make.

RECIPE REVIEW : recipe from Pinterest - Crockpot Chicken Parmesan

I was just a little skeptical about Chicken Parmesan in the crockpot, but I do love my crockpot, so I decided to give it a try.  I was pleasantly surprised.  I got the recipe on Pinterest and here:  I did a little tweaking in which I did not use a jar of marinara sauce.  I instead made my own.  I used some roated tomatoes I put up in the freezer.  I roast them by cutting up about 8 tomatoes, halve 2 jalepenos (seeded if you do not like a little more kick), and quarter a yellow onion.  I cut the tomatoes in half and place the skin side up on a cookie sheet (must have about 1 inch sides).  I then put the halved jalepenos and onions on top of the tomatoes.  I sprinkle about a tablespoon of garlic and 1 teaspoon of sea salt over the tomatoes, jalepenos, and onions.  Lastly, I drizzle about a tablespoon over the top.  I roast them in a 350 oven for about 1 1/2 hours.  Most people peel off the skin of the tomatoes at this point, but I just leave them on and put the mixture (after it has cooled) in my Ninja and pulse until everything is still a little chunky but well mixed together.  I then put it in quart size freezer bags and put in freezer.  For the marinara sauce, I used the ingredients in this recipe found on pinterest.  I mixed all the ingredients including my quart of tomatoes and let it simmer on the stove  while I prepared the chicken according to the chicken parmesan recipe.  When it got about 20 minutes before the chicken was done, I prepared the whole wheat spaghetti.  After 6 hours, this was a GREAT flavor sensation.  I believe the marinara sauce made all the difference.  You must try this recipe if you are looking for something easy and tasty and won't heat up the house.

Lunchbox for teens 09/07/2012

TGIF!!!!  Today is going to be very very busy.  I have to complete all of my coding for the month of August today and then leave early to drive 2 hours to see my nephew play highschool football.  That part I am looking forward to, but why or why did I wake up at 4:15am and not go back to sleep.  I believe I will have to take a nap later on today. 
Today's lunch is partly leftovers from last night which I will review later.  Here is what is in there:

Eryn's lunch:
crockpot chicken parmesan with whole wheat spaghetti - found the recipe on pinterest and here:
southwest blackbean salad - left over from yesterday's lunch batch
low fat pecan sandies
cherry tomatoes

Reygan's lunch:
crockpot chicken parmesan
salad with lettuce, broccoli, cherry tomatoes, and bell pepper
fruit snacks
lemon-berry drizzle bread - found the recipe on pinterest and here:

The lemon-berry bread is so very good that I baked it yesterday and today it is more than half gone.  Everyone but Eryn loves it.  It is pretty simple to make as well.  I did do a little tweaking in which I used half whole wheat flour and half all purpose flour and halfed the sugar with splenda.  Also, instead of the whole milk, I used 1/4 cup fat free milk and 1/4 cup vanilla greek yogurt.  It turned out GREAT! 
Here are the pics of today's lunchboxes:

Eryn's Lunch

Reygan's lunch

UPDATE:  This one will be done again.  They both liked it even cold. 

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Recipe from Pinterest review - Crock-pot Hungarian goulash

The days I actually have to go in to work are always hectic...especially during the school year...and especially this year.  The girls father is in the nursing home here in town which is good for the girls since they get to see him everyday if they want to, but can be very stressful making sure he is comfortable.  He's a 51 year old blind, diabetic man on hard it must be to have to live in a nursing home at that young, my girls and I do everything we can to bring up his spirits.  With that said, most of the meals in our household are one pot, crock-pot meals and we love it.  Last night, my sweetheart put on a Hungarian goulash.  I got the recipe on pinterest and here: .  The flavor was wonderful!!  I did not have stew meat but did have a couple of sirloin steaks, so I cut them up the night before so that Bryan could get it prepared and put in the crockpot early yesterday morning.  I really recommend this recipe.  It contains ingredients that most of us have on hand.  You do have to brown the meat, but that only took about 5 mins and while doing that, he cut up the veggies (fileting his finger as he did it...ouch).   For the noodles, we used whole wheat rotini.  My teen girls and Bryan had seconds ( I would have if my little pouch would have let me.)

Lunchbox for teen girls 09/06/2012

I cannot believe it is already Thursday.  Where did this week go?  Yesterday's lunch was a HUGE success.  They loved the guacamole turkey (or ham) wrap and definitely want it again.  As soon as I got home from work yesterday I sat down to dinner, prepared by my sweetheart, and then went straight in to making lunches.  Today's lunch is a definite trial, but I know that my oldest daughter liked it when I made it a couple of months ago.  We shall see how they like it in their lunchbox.  Today I remembered to put a joke in their bags.  Let's see if these blonde girls get them.

Today's lunch:

Southwest Blackbean salad - found recipe on pinterest and here:
watermelon and grapes
goldfish cookies
turkey (or ham depending on the girl) and cheese rollup

Looks good to me!!!

UPDATE:  They liked this but asked that I shred the cheddar cheese I put on here instead of just put chunks.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

lunchbox for teen girls 09/05/2012

Well...I did not post the lunchbox yesterday.  It was kind of the same as one last week.
homemade "lunchables"
cherry tomatoes
fruit salad (one box sugar free vanilla pudding, 1 cup milk, 8oz vanilla greek yogurt, sugar free cool whip...whip these together...add blueberries, grapes, and bananas (girls didn't like the apple in it).  Huge favorite for them)
salad (lettuce, bell pepper, cucumber, avacado with low fat zesty italian dressing)

Today is another first for them, so we shall see how they like it.  They are really enjoying the lunches and are excited everyday to see what is.  I have, however, forgot to put their notes and jokes in their lunches the last two days, and believe me, I have heard about it. 
Today's lunches include:

guacamole turkey wrap - used blue mesa tortilla.  spread layer of guacamole.  top with deli turkey breast or honey ham depending on child, deli american cheese, and lettuce and wrap like a burrito.
cherry tomatoes from farmer's market-yum
low fat pecan sandies
crockpot applesauce - found the recipe on pinterest and here:
cheese its and cheese ritz bitz

UPDATE:  this one was their favorite so far.  Liked everything except the spicy ritz bitz.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

RECIPE REVIEW - slow cooker spicey black eyed peas

Have I mentioned how much I LOVE my crockpot?  It's a great creation.  Texas summers are torture and the added heat from the oven is unbearable.  So, I use my crockpot almost every day.  Yesterday, I put my fresh blackeyed peas in the crockpot around 9:30am and baked my cornbread at the same time so that my kitchen was not so hot in the afternoon.  Worked out great.  The peas had the best flavor I have ever tasted.  My senior daughter loved them.  They had just the right amount of burn without being TOO spicy.  If you like blackeyed must try this recipe.  I bet the liquid ingredients would be great with pinto beans as well.  I didn't have any ham, so instead I used mesquite smoked sausage, skinless.  It really turned out great.  We had jalepeno, cheese cornbread with it.  The recipe does not call for cheese, so just add about a cup or as much as you would like for whatever cheesyness you are looking for.

here are the recipes for the cornbread found on pinterest and here: and the peas found on and here :

Jalapeno Cornbread

Butter milk cornbread with the spicy hit of jalapenos!

Servings: makes 4-12 servings

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 35 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes
  • 1 cup buttermilk (or milk) - I used almond milk but I have also made it using regular milk and adding vinegar to make it buttermilk
  • 1/4 cup oil, butter or bacon grease
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup cornmeal
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons sugar - I used splenda
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 jalapeno peppers, seeded and finely diced
  • cheese
  1. Mix the buttermilk, oil and eggs.
  2. Mix the cornmeal, flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a large bowl.
  3. Mix the dry ingredients in to the wet and then mix in the jalapeno peppers.
  4. Pour the Mixture into a grease 9x5 inch loaf pan and bake in a preheated 375F oven until a toothpick pushed in the center comes out clean, about 30-40 minutes.

Slow Cooker Spicy Black-Eyed Peas


  • 6 cups water
  • 1 cube chicken bouillon
  • 1 pound dried black-eyed peas, sorted and rinsed
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, diced
  • 1 red bell pepper, stemmed, seeded, and diced
  • 1 jalapeno chile, seeded and minced
  • 8 ounces diced ham (didn't have any, so used mesquite smoked sausage)
  • 4 slices bacon, chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cumin
  • salt, to taste
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper


  1. Pour the water into a slow cooker, add the bouillon cube, and stir to dissolve. Combine the black-eyed peas, onion, garlic, bell pepper, jalapeno pepper, ham, bacon, cayenne pepper, cumin, salt, and pepper; stir to blend. Cover the slow cooker and cook on Low for 6 to 8 hours until the beans are tender.        

Friday, August 31, 2012

Lunchbox for teen girls 08/31/2012

I was surprised, but BOTH of the girls liked yesterday's lunch...even the green egg salad wrap.  Their favorite was the "fruit salad" and want that everyday.  Sorry kids...I do not have any pudding or cool whip until I go shopping.  You will have to wait :)  Today's lunch is a mixture of leftovers of lunch and dinner stuff.  Each of the girls have a little different lunches.  Eryn baked the chocolate chip banana bread using whole wheat flour and splenda brown banana bread.

Rey's lunch
crockpot chicken fajita soft taco (recipe on pinterest and here with fresh guacamole, sour cream, cheese, lettuce and tomatoes
cheese its
egg salad
cherry tomatoes
cube cheese
banana bread (recipe found on pinterest and here

Eryn's lunch
veggie soft taco (guacamole, sour cream, lettuce, tomato)
southwest chicken spaghetti (recipe on pinterest and here
cherry tomatoes
cube cheese
banana bread

Sorry for the pics...I was in a hurry