Archive for April, 2013

Welcome to this week’s Menu Plan Monday post hosted by I’m An Organizing Junkie.  Every week, I and many other menu planning bloggers link up our meal lists for everyone to see.  Check it out and you will find lots of ideas and recipes. 

C & I are still in spring cleaning/home improvement mode here, but the weather is just not cooperating.  We have had storms, rain, and more cool temperatures this past weekend and next weekend is shaping up to be more of the same.  I did manage to wash windows and clean out from under our bed Saturday so that knocked a couple of small items off the list.  We also gave our four legged friend a bath, brushed her teeth, and trimmed her nails.  Ellie got the five star spa treatment and hated every minute of it.  Oh well, she certainly smells better now.

This week’s menu is a little short because we have a couple of nights where we will probably have take out or eat out, but I do hope to get in one new recipe next weekend.  Have a great week, everyone!

Spicy beef vegetable soup

Taco ring (2 nights)

Grilled pork chops & oven fries

Italian sloppy Joes (new) with curly fries

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This is my first new recipe for dairy free ice cream this spring, but it probably won’t be my last.  I tried to make a strawberry flavor last year, but the coconut milk seemed to overpower the strawberry.  This recipe seems to be much more strawberry-er (not a word, I know) than the last one.  I think the addition of the strawberry preserves really help.

I found this recipe by doing a Google search and it is from chiliving.com.


2 cans coconut milk

2-3 cups strawberries (I used frozen and just let them thaw before using.)

1/2 cup honey

1/4 cup strawberry fruit spread (unsweetened)


Put all of the ingredients in a blender and process until smooth.  Pour most of the mixture into the bowl of an ice cream maker and process according to the directions of the ice cream maker.  I had about a cup of the mixture left over.


Since dairy free ice creams freeze to an extremely hard texture, it can be difficult to scoop out of the container.  I decided to try a trick I saw on Pinterest of scooping the ice cream into cupcake liners and freezing them that way.  It worked!  Now I have several scoops of ice cream in the freezer ready to eat at a moment’s notice.  Love it!



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Welcome to another Friday which means it is time for Book Beginnings!  Head on over to Rose City Reader to see what I and other bloggers have been reading lately.

My book today is “Notorious Nineteen” by Janet Evanovich which is another in the funny and entertaining Stephanie Plum series.  It is always a hoot to see what mischief and mayhem Plum the Bounty Hunter can get into next!

“I don’t know why we gotta sit here baking in your car in the middle of the day, in the middle of the summer, in the middle of this crummy neighborhood,” Lula said.  “It must be two hundred degrees in here.  Why don’t we have the air conditioning on?”

Now, if you have read any of this series, you know there must be a reason there is no air conditioning in Stephanie’s car.  She is lucky to even have a car for more than a few days!  These books are funny and easy to read.  If you haven’t tried them, grab one and see if you can read it without laughing out loud. 

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Wordless Wednesday


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Good morning, folks!  I am heading back to work today after taking a short vacation last week and I think I will get more rest at work than I did at home.   I spring cleaned on Wednesday and Thursday then painted the master bathroom and bedroom Friday and Saturday.  The color is pretty much the same as it was, a pale cool blue.  In fact, it may just be a shade lighter and I also touched up the baseboards and door trim, too.  It is amazing what a fresh coat of paint will do for a room.  Everything looks so fresh and clean. 

What brought this paint party on, you ask?  Well, when we built our house seven years ago, we installed plain old frameless mirrors in the master bath.  They are nice and big, but not so pretty especially with the plastic clips.  I have been wanting to frame them for a while and I found out about this product called Mirror Mate.  I promise to have a whole post about them when the project is done, but for now I have ordered three samples so we can choose the one we like best.  Can’t wait!  Before we install these, I wanted the room to have a fresh coat of paint so that is why I had a paint roller or brush in my hand for two days.

I also took a little time to plant some lettuce starts and carrot seeds, too.  Let the gardening begin!

There were a couple of menu items that didn’t get made last week because we had leftovers to eat instead.  These are getting postponed to this week.  I hope everyone has a safe and blessed week!

Bubble-up enchiladas

Cheesy steak sandwiches with oven fries (2 nights)

Tacos with fresh fruit

Pizza night

Shredded pork BBQ with curly fries

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

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A couple of weeks ago, I was searching for something new to cook for Sunday dinner.  Where did I go? Straight to my “recipes to make” Pinterest board, of course.  I had pinned this a while back, but had not had the chance to make it so this was my choice of the day.

The original version is from Martha Stewart, but I tweaked this just a little to suit our tastes.


1 tablespoon vegetable oil

2 pounds boneless beef chuck, cut into 1/2-inch cubes

Kosher salt and ground pepper

1 medium onion, sliced lengthwise

2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

45 oz. beef broth

1/2 pound carrots, cut into 1-inch chunks

2 medium russet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch dice

1 bay leaf

2 cups egg noodles

Please ignore the red wine vinegar in the photo…I didn’t use it.


In a large pot, heat oil over high. Season the beef cubes with salt & pepper. Cook until seared and brown on all sides, about 6 minutes. 


Reduce the heat to medium. Add onion and season with salt and pepper. Cook until onion begins to soften, about 5 minutes. Stir in flour until beef and onion are coated and cook 1 to 2 minutes.  Watch it closely so the flour doesn’t burn.  Add broth and 3 cups water, stirring and scraping up browned bits. Add the bay leaf.  Bring to a boil; reduce to a simmer and cook until beef is tender, about 25 minutes.

Now it is time to add the carrots and potatoes and cook until potatoes are tender, about 10 minutes. Add noodles and cook until tender, about 8 minutes.




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Spring is finally here…

Forsythia from a start from my Nanny’s garden:


Bridal Wreath from a start from my great-grandmother’s garden:


Wild violets


Bartlett & Bradford pear trees in full bloom:



It all makes my heart glad!

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Good morning and welcome to this week’s Menu Plan Monday post.  Please join me and many others over at I’m An Organizing Junkie and you will find menu planners with some great food ideas.

I am afraid my menu plan for last week did not go so well, but that just means I can re-use the ideas for this week.  Right? Right?!?!  Yep, that’s right.  I am taking a few vacation days this week to do some spring cleaning and painting that I haven’t had time for so I hope to get lots accomplished in the days ahead.  C & I have a few landscaping projects so I am hoping to get the inside of the house in good shape so we can work outside in the coming weeks. 

What’s that?  Will there be photos of the our projects?  Well, of course there will be!  Just keep checking back and eventually you will see what we have planned. 

Bubble up enchiladas

Grilled pork chops with oven fries & salad

Spicy beef vegetable soup

Sausage bake with fresh fruit

Cheesy steak sandwiches with oven fries

Cheese stuffed mini meatloaves (new) with curly fries

Pineapple upside down cupcakes (new)

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Welcome to this week’s edition of Book Beginnings hosted by Rose City Reader.  If you love books as much as I do, please check out this great link party to see what other bloggers are reading and writing about.

I have been re-reading a few old favorites the last couple of months and this week’s line comes from “Outlander” by Diana Gabaldon.  This is the first book in a series that follows a time-traveling female doctor from the 1940’s to the Scottish Highlands in 1743.  It is an epic tale that continues through several books and I believe the next one comes out soon.  Can’t wait!

“It wasn’t a very likely place for disappearances, at least at first glance.”

This makes you wonder what you might find at a second glance, doesn’t it?  If you haven’t read these books, please give them a try because I think they are wonderful!

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Welcome to this month’s edition of the Lady Behind The Curtain’s Dessert Challenge!

Lady Behind the Curtain Dessert Challenge

The two special ingredients in the spotlight for April are pretzels and caramel.  This turned out to be a pretty easy choice for me since I had a recipe pinned that used both of these tasty items…Caramel Pretzel Bites from La Dolci Vita.  The original recipe makes 50, but I just made 25 bites.


25 pretzel nuggets

25 soft caramel pieces

12 oz. semisweet chocolate chips


Unwrap the caramels and, using a rolling pin, flatten each one into a circular shape. Place a pretzel nugget on the caramel and wrap the caramel around it.



Melt the chocolate chips in the microwave by heating them on high for 45 seconds.  Stir to start the melting process and then microwave at 30 second intervals, stirring after each to completely melt the chips.  This shouldn’t take more than about a minute and half, if that long.

Dip each caramel/pretzel bite into the chocolate until they are completely coated.  Let the chocolate set and then eat up!





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