Archive for March, 2013

As you may can tell from several of the recipes that I post here, I love slow cooker recipes and pork loins are one of my favorites.  This recipe comes from Taste of Home where you can always find something tasty to fix.  I didn’t take the time to make the gravy, but I bet it is delicious as well.



1 boneless pork loin roast (about 2 pounds)

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon onion powder

1 teaspoon ground mustard

salt & pepper to taste

2 tablespoons canola oil

2 cups reduced-sodium vegetable broth


In a zip top bag, combine the flour, onion powder, ground mustard, salt & pepper.  Put the loin in the bag and shake to coat. 


In a large skillet over medium heat, brown the meat on all sides.  Place in a slow cooker and pour the broth over the pork loin.  Cook on low for 5 to 6 hours or until tender.





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It’s Friday so it is time for Book Beginnings over at Rose City Reader.  Hop on over there to check out Ms. Rose City’s book choice and other bloggers’ choices as well.  It is always entertaining.

My first lines are from Philippa Gregory’s “The Kingmaker’s Daughter”:

“My lady mother goes first, a great heiress in her own right, and the wife of the greatest subject in the kingdom.”

Ms. Gregory is successful yet again at letting us in on the inner workings of England’s royal life during the War of the Rose time period.  This book is part of a series that she is writing about the two families involved and they have all been entertaining so far.

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Is is actually Spring?  I think the calendar may be wrong because it is cold and wet and dreary and, well, you get the picture.  Where’s the sunshine?  There is so much that we want to do outside, but it is just too cool and damp to do any of it yet.  I guess that means more time to cook more comfort food even though our diet won’t like it too well.

This is an odd and short menu week for me.  I have a couple of new weeknight dinner ideas to try, Easter is next Sunday, and we have a couple of nights/days out planned.  This Tuesday is my homemakers/cooking club meeting and I will actually be one of the presenters this time. *Gulp*  I will be making a couple of dairy free ice creams and talking a little about lactose intolerance. Wish me luck…I will probably need it.

Next Saturday, C & I are going to the first Kentucky Green Living Fair in Somerset which is being organized by Sustainable Kentucky.  I am really excited about it and can’t wait to see the booths and a couple of the seminars planned.  After that, I hope we get to drive up to Stanford to the Bluebird Café and then to Lancaster to Marksbury Farms.  It will be a very full day, but we don’t go that direction very often so I want to try to squeeze as much in as possible.

Sunday is Easter, of course, which means celebrating our risen Lord Jesus Christ at church that morning and then eating with both sides of the family at lunch and dinner so I will have multiple dishes to make for that.  Happy Easter to everyone!

Enchilada beef (new)

Pizza night

Taco pork chops (new) with oven fries

Brown sugar honey glazed ham (new)

Cinnamon pecan sweet potatoes (new)

Pineapple upside down cupcakes (new)

Please join me at I’m An Organizing Junkie for Menu Plan Monday.

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Pinterest obviously is now my main source of new recipes to try and, no surprise to anyone, that is where I found this one.  It is supposedly one of quarterback, Tim Tebow’s favorite meals, but that is not why I tried it.  I am always on the look-out for a new way to fix an old dish.  This turned out pretty well, but still not as good as take-out pizza. 

Here is the link to the original recipe from Taste of Home and you will be able to see that I tweaked my version to use the ingredients I had on hand.

Deep Dish Pizza Pie

1 lb. Italian sausage, cooked and drained

1 jar pizza sauce

1 tube refrigerated buttermilk biscuits

2 cup shredded cheese of your choice


Separate the biscuits and press them into a greased deep dish pie plate to form the crust.  Mix the sausage with the sauce and pour that into the pie dish.  Top with shredded cheese and bake at 400 degrees for 15-18 minutes or until the crust is golden brown and cheese is melted.



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Is it Monday again already?  Time sure does fly whether you are having fun or not, unfortunately.  Well, C & I took time for a little fun and adventure this weekend and it was well-deserved.  C has been a comic book fan from way back and we went to the Lexington Comic & Toy Convention this past Saturday.  It was really fun, but very very crowded.  So crowded, in fact, that is was overwhelming for both of us.  I am not usually an anxious person, but being in the middle of a large moving crowd can set my nerves on edge. 

If we go back next year, at least we will be better prepared on what to expect.  Check back on Thursday because I hope to have some photos featured of the events and people in costume. 

This week looks to be just a normal week for us.  The office that I work in is open one Saturday morning a month so this Saturday is my turn to work.  We will probably being sticking close to home because of that so hopefully I can get some more cleaning done after work.  I hope all of my readers have a great and blessed week!

Bubble up pizza (didn’t get made last week)

Sausage bake


Ham biscuits with oven fries

Pizza night

Bruschetta meatloaf (new) with potatoes of some kind

Chocolate cream Swiss roll (new-if time permits)

Please join me at I’m An Organizing Junkie for Menu Plan Monday.

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Welcome to today’s edition of Book Beginnings hosted by Rose City Reader.  Many thanks to her for hosting this great link party!  My book today is by one of my all-time favorite authors, Adrianna Trigianni.  I have read all of her books thanks to my local library and would love to re-read them which is a rarity for me. 

Her latest book is called “The Shoemaker’s Wife” and here is the beginning:

"The scalloped hem of Caterina Lazzari’s blue velvet coat grazed the fresh-fallen snow, leaving a pale pink path on the bricks as she walked across the empty piazza.  The only sound was the soft, rhythmic sweep of her footsteps, like hands dusting flour across an old wooden cutting board."

Ms. Trigianni is one of the best authors that I have read at setting a scene.  Can’t you just see this woman sweeping across an empty town square in a beautiful blue coat with the snowflakes falling around her.  I know I can.  This book was an epic tale and adventure with travel, war, love and loss.  I loved it!

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Lady Behind the Curtain Dessert Challenge

Today’s post is this month’s entry for the Dessert Challenge hosted by Lady Behind The Curtain.  Every month she gives us bloggers two ingredients to use and post about then we all link up together on the second Thursday of that month.  The spotlighted ingredients for March are almond paste and pastry.  When I first saw those two listed, I felt a little nervous about finding the almond paste to buy, much less finding a recipe.

I was right about finding the paste…I couldn’t find it locally and it was going to be too pricey to ship so I just found a recipe for it and made my own.  This is really going to be two recipes in one post so it is long: one for the almond paste and one for the sweet almond pastry using that paste.  The almond paste recipe was from Two Tarts and the pastry recipe was from the Pepperidge Farm website.  Enjoy!


For the almond paste:

3 cups raw almonds

3 cups powdered sugar

2 egg whites


*This recipe makes a lot more than you need for the recipe, but it will keep in the freezer for up to six months.*

Heat a big pot of water to boiling.  Pour 3 cups of almonds into the water and boil for one minute.  Drain immediately and let cool for a few minutes before peeling their loose brown skins off.  The skins will just peel right off with very little effort.



Put the almonds in a food processor and let it run until the almonds are in very tiny pieces.  This will take 2 to 3 minutes.


Add the powdered sugar and process until the mixture is very finely ground, another 2 or 3 minutes.  I had to stop a few times and shake the bowl so it would evenly process.  Add the egg whites and process until thoroughly combined and it will look like this:


Now on to the final product:

Vegetable cooking spray

2 eggs

1 tbsp. water

6 oz. almond paste

3 tbsp. granulated sugar

1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

1 sheet frozen puff pastry, thawed according to package directions


Preheat your oven to 400 degrees and prepare a baking sheet with parchment paper or spray with non-stick spray. Combine 1 egg with the water for an egg wash.  Set aside.

Place the almond paste, granulated sugar, 1 egg and vanilla in a food processor. Cover and process until the mixture is smooth.


On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough into a rough 12×10” rectangle.


With the short side toward you, spread the almond mixture on the lower half of the dough.  With a sharp knife, cut small slits in the other half.  Then fold the half with the slits over the half with the almond mix and seal around the edges using a fork.  Place this on the baking sheet and brush with the egg wash.



Bake for 12 minutes then reduce the heat to 375 degrees and bake for 20 more minutes.  Cool for about 15 minutes and enjoy!




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Please join me and many other menu-planners over at I’m An Organizing Junkie for Menu Plan Monday.  You will always find great ideas for new dishes in the lists provided. 

We are finally seeing some warmer weather and a little sunshine around here, thankfully.  I spent several hours Saturday cleaning an area in our garage and ended up with 8 garbage bags of stuff to dispose of.  Whew!  I am a little ashamed to admit that some of the boxes had been there since we moved seven years ago (YIKES!), but that was the last area that I really needed to clean out.  Now I can go back and re-organize the other areas and have a pretty nice garage finally. 

This week’s menu is a little short since we have a couple of nights out planned.  I’ll will have lots of photos about our adventure very soon.  I hope everyone has a wonderful week!

Bubble up pizza

Cheesy steak sandwiches with oven fries (2 nights)

Pizza night

Sloppy Joes with curly fries

Cookie dough fudge (time permitting-new)

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February was soup month for me, specifically hamburger soups.  I have been eyeing this recipe for a while and finally had a chance to try it out.  I found it on Pinterest (of course) and it was pinned from Easy Natural Food.  The name of the site says it all…this recipe was simple and natural and yummy.  I didn’t have any hot sauce to perk up my mild salsa so next time, I will get a spicier salsa.  I also added just a little salt and black pepper for a flavor boost as well.


2 tbsp. olive oil

1/2 cup diced onion

1 tsp. minced garlic

1 lb. ground beef

2-3 ribs celery, chopped

1 medium/large carrot, sliced

1 cup corn (I used canned.)

16 oz. jar salsa

3 cups beef or vegetable stock

2 tbsp. tomato paste

Salt & pepper to taste


Over medium heat in a large pot, heat the oil and then add the onion and garlic.  Cook until the onion is soft, but not browned. Add the ground beef and cook until it is no longer pink.  Add the remaining ingredients and simmer for about 30 minutes.  Enjoy!




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In slowly finishing the upstairs, we have painted the walls and hung hardware in the bathroom.  I have even refinished an antique metal bed to use in one of the bedrooms.  The next thing on the list was a couple pieces of furniture to be used in that same room.  I really wanted something that at least looked antique to match the bed, but did not want to pay antique prices.  Enter more family furniture like the bed. 

In my great-grandparents’ old house were some pieces that no one had room or use for so my Nanny offered them to me.  I jumped at the chance, not only because they have family history, but also because they are two beautifully detailed pieces of furniture that were begging for a make-over.  I made sure that it was okay with Nanny to completely re-do them before I started and she was excited that I was so excited about them.  Here they are in their pre-redo glory:




I just love that scalloped edge on the dresser and both pieces are in excellent shape.  I do need to put new drawer runners on them, but they are okay for now.  Refinishing furniture was a new endeavor for me so online I went to search for a few ideas.  Here are some links that I highly recommend for product ideas and how-tos:

Before Meets After, Censational Girl, and Just A Girl. I am sure there are many more than that, but these three really helped me a lot.  One thing that was consistent with all of theses were their use of Zinsser primer.  I know why now…it is tintable so it is easy to use with dark paint and it hides a multitude of sins.  Along with this primer, most also use Elmer’s Wood Filler to hide pesky holes and dents in the wood.  Sherwin Williams is my paint of choice so that is what I used here.  It is oil based enamel in black satin.


First I cleaned the pieces with warm soapy water and dried them thoroughly.  Next I light sanded to remove any chipping paint and smooth out the worst dings.  I didn’t sand these completely smooth because I wanted some of that old distressed look.

I filled in the worse of the dents with the wood filler and also filled in the knob holes in the dresser drawers because I wanted to use different pulls.  Let the filler set up and sand until smooth.  Cover all of the surfaces completely with primer.  I used 2 coats for a nice base for the paint.

Paint the pieces any color you want.  In my case, I wanted black to go in the purple bedroom with the silver bed frame.  I think I put 3 coats of paint on the pieces to get the desired look I wanted.  On the dresser, I then measured each drawer front to find the center and drilled new holes for the pretty glass knobs I found at Hobby Lobby and attached them.

For the chiffarobe, I wanted to add a little extra pizzazz so I stenciled a floral design on the door in silver and highlighted the pretty trim in silver as well.  I was thrilled with how they turned out and can’t wait to start my next project!





Speaking of my next projects, here is a sneak peek:


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