Archive for September, 2013

Please join me and many other menu planning bloggers over at I’m An Organizing Junkie for Menu Plan Monday.  You might just find a new favorite meal if the long list of plans.

This seems to be the summer/fall of never-ending yard work for us.  Usually we will have a few weeks in the summer when it gets hot and dry that we don’t have much to do.  That did not happen this year!  We are still mowing and trimming our little hearts out every week just to keep up.  C & I are going to try to finish pressure washing this week as well (I hope!!!!) so the menu is pretty simple.  We also have a couple of evenings out planned so that also makes the menu a little short.  It makes me a little tired just thinking about it, but it’s all good.

Famous pork chops with oven fries

Aunt Barbara’s beef stew (new-didn’t get made a couple of weeks ago)

Baked ham slices with oven fries

Pizza night

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This recipe has a funny story behind it.  My mother-in-law, J,  had successful open heart surgery in July and was unfortunately subjected to hospital food for a couple of weeks. The one meal she actually enjoyed was a vegetable soup and she asked the dietary worker what it was.  I then asked J what it was so I could try to duplicate it for her and she said the worker told her it was “minstrun”.  What?  I wracked my brain for hours trying to figure out what it was and it finally hit me that it was MINESTRONE and we just had a little communication/pronunciation problem.  We all had a good laugh out of it and I went on the hunt for a recipe to try.

I found this Elie Krieger recipe on the Food Network’s website and used that as my starting point.  This is a fairly simple and really healthy dinner idea and the taste was great!


2 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil

1 cup diced onion

2 stalks celery, diced

1 large carrot, diced

1 1/2 cups cut green beans

Freshly ground black pepper

2 tsp. Italian season

1 tsp. minced garlic

1 28-ounce can no-salt-added diced tomatoes (I used some home frozen diced tomatoes.) 
1 14-ounce can tomato sauce
6 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
1 15-ounce can low-sodium kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 cup rotini pasta 


Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook until translucent, about 4 minutes. 


Add the celery and carrot and cook until they begin to soften, about 5 minutes. Stir in the green beans, Italian seasoning, minced garlic and black pepper; cook 3 more minutes.

Add the diced tomatoes, tomato sauce and the vegetable broth to the pot and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium low and simmer 10 minutes. Stir in the kidney beans and pasta and cook until the pasta and vegetables are tender, about 10 minutes.


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Who loves to read?  I DO!!!!  A lot of other people do, too, so please join me and other readers over at Rose City Reader for Book Beginnings.  There is always a variety of different book genres listed for your enjoyment.

Before I get to my book for today, I am proud to announce the winners of last week’s book giveaway.  They are Greg at Book Haven and Aloi at Guiltless Reader.  Yay for them!  They now will received copies of “Cleans Up Nicely” to read and review on their blog.

My book today is “Drums of Autumn” which is the next installment of the Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon. 

“I’ve never been afraid of ghosts. I live with them daily, after all.  When I look in a mirror, my mother’s eyes look back at me; my mouth curls with the smile that lured my great-grandfather to the fate that was me.”

This series is one of my all-time favorites and I can’t wait for the next one to come out.  There is always some new adventure and intrigue happening to Jamie and Claire or some threat to their happiness.  Will they survive and live to love another day?  Of course they will!

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More Olloclip fun:

Chestnut tree through a fish-eye:


Wide-angle hay:


Macro love:



I did absolutely no editing on this one. The sun was just at a perfect point.


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Good morning and welcome to this week’s edition of Menu Plan Monday!  C & I had a lazy laidback weekend and enjoyed every minute of it.  I did almost no cooking the whole time and it was a nice little break, but now I am ready to get back in the kitchen at least a little.  I think we all need a break from things now and then.  I know it helps me regroup and actually want to get back at it again. 

This week is full of old favorites with one new recipe thrown in next weekend.  The weather is supposed to be gorgeous all week long so hopefully we can get a few more outside chores done and maybe just get out and enjoy it too!  Have a great week!


Hamburger stew

Taco ring (2 nights) with fresh fruit

Grilled pork chops with oven fries & salad

Pizza night

Honey apple pork loin with oven fries

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

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Do you have recipes pinned from quite a while ago that you just haven’t tried yet?  I know I do and I really need to do a little purging on my board, but it’s hard.  This honey butter pork loin from Momma Hen’s Kitchen is one I pinned quite a while ago and finally tried it.  Why did I wait so long?  This is an easy and tasty main dish that can be made in the oven like the original or in the slow cooker like I did. 


4 tbsp.  butter

2 tbsp. honey

1 1/2 pounds pork tenderloin, trimmed

1/2 tsp. seasoning of your choice (I used Penzey’s Salt Free Mural of Flavor)

1/2 tsp. black pepper

3/4 cup water


In a large skillet over medium heat, melt the butter with the honey.   Season the meat with the Mural of Flavor and black pepper. Brown the loin on all sides to form a nice crust.



Place the pork in a slow cooker and pour the honey/butter mixture over the meat along with 3/4 cup water.  Cook on low for 4 to 5 hours until the meat is tender and registers at least 160 degrees.



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I have gotten a little behind on my H5FF posts so I am going to play catch-up today.  Here goes!

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1. C & I went to see Jeff Dunham perform at the Kentucky State Fair and had a blast.  Great show and we had some pretty fun people sitting around us.


2. We finally finished decorating the mantle after starting months ago.  I really like the way it turned out.


3.  Happy fall, y’all!  I finished my little autumn display last weekend and put my fall wreath on the front door.


4. My in-laws gave me an Olloclip for my birthday and I have so much fun with this little gadget.  It is a small lens that clips to your iPhone that includes a macro, fish-eye, and wide angle in one little package. 


5.  If you a book lover like I am, but cheap like I am, you probably love your local library.  I know I do, but sometimes there is a book that I want to read that they don’t have in physical form.  Recently, C & I discovered Kentucky Libraries Unbound which has ebooks available for library card holders.  This is so awesome!!  We love it!

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Welcome to a special edition (at least for me) of Book Beginnings hosted by Rose City Reader. A couple of weeks ago, I won a copy of “Cleans Up Nicely” by Linda Dahl to review and I also got the opportunity to give away two other copies for review.  So listen up, my dear readers especially my fellow Book Beginnings peeps: if you have the opportunity to read and publicly review this book, leave a comment below by next Tuesday at 6:00pm Central Daylight Time and I will announce the winners next Thursday.

Here are the first lines:

“Her destination, that summer of 1977, is a luxury apartment building, upper Fifth Avenue, a slice of New York life completely alien to her.”

Even though this a pretty descriptive first line, it leaves many things unanswered.  Don’t worry though, questions are answered and much more. This book tells the story of a “starving artist”, sometimes figuratively and sometimes literally, trying to make it in New York City during the 1970s.  I enjoyed the story and the characters, but I wonder, if this fiction is even close to the reality of the time, how these people survived.  I am surprised they all didn’t die from liver failure as much partying as they did. 

If you are looking for a book that has interesting characters and a story that flows along quite entertainingly, give this book a try. 

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Who has been out enjoying this beautiful late summer/early fall weather?  We have!!!  This weekend has been so nice weather-wise that it has been hard to make myself go inside to get some chores done so I just didn’t.  I finally finished painting my hutch on Saturday, along with sowing a fall lettuce crop, setting out a fall display, and actually HAND-WASHING my car.  Woo hoo!  I also took a little time to watch most of the UK-U of L football, but we won’t talk about that right now.  Let’s just say it didn’t go my way.

This week is supposed to be nice temperature wise but with a little rain moving in.  Hopefully it won’t be a complete wash-out.  I still plan on getting outside as much as possible so this week’s menu will be on the simple side, but I still have a new recipe or two to throw in. Have a great week, everyone!

Salsa sloppy Joes with chips & fresh fruit

Pioneer Woman’s Easy Calzones with Marinara (new)

Deep dish pizza casserole with salad

Tomato soup & grilled cheese

Takeout night

Aunt Barbara’s Beef Stew (new-not my Aunt Barbara)

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

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Don’t look now, but my book today is the next one in the Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon called “Voyager”.  Please join me over at Book Beginnings hosted by Rose City Reader for this book and many others.  Here are the first lines:

“He was dead.  However, his nose throbbed painfully, which he thought odd in the circumstances.”

These lines won Ms. Gabaldon an award for the best opening lines and I can see why.  Her writing is so descriptive and her books are so chocked full of facts woven in with the fiction that sometimes it makes you wonder which parts were based on real events and which ones weren’t.  These books are addicting…once you start on Claire and Jamie’s adventure, you can’t stop until you have seen what happens next.

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