Sunday, February 23, 2014


The healthy weekday breakfast is an allusive thing.  We say we're going to do it, we aspire to it, we long for it, but let's face it we don't always hit the mark.  Bananas are good, a cup of yogurt it fine, but even those yummy things get old.  If you like the idea of making these oatmeal cups ahead of time and freezing them for a quick,  out-the-door breakfast, give these a try!  Olivia baked them and look how beautiful they are!  The thing I really like about these is that you can vary the toppings and keep them interesting.  Give them a try and feel good about your breakfast, even if it has to be fast.


  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups applesauce, unsweetened
  • 1 banana, mashed
  • 1 apple, diced small (with skin left on)
  • 6 packets of sweetener
  • 5 cups, Old Fashioned rolled oats 
  • ¼ cup flaxseed meal*
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 3 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2¾ cups milk (I used 2%)
  • Optional toppings: raisins, almonds, dried cherries chocolate chips
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Mix eggs, vanilla, applesauce, banana and Stevia together in a bowl.
  3. Add in oats, flax, cinnamon, baking powder, salt and mix well with wet ingredients.
  4. Finally pour in milk and dump in apples.  Stir to combine.
  5. Spray a 12 and 6 capacity muffin tin with cooking spray or use cupcake liners. Pour mixture evenly into muffin tin cups.
  6. If using toppings add them onto the tops of muffins now. 
  7. Bake 30 minutes until a toothpick in center comes out clean.
  8. Cool and enjoy or freeze them in gallon freezer bags.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Pork Chops with Pineapple Gravy and Mexican Couscous

Olivia saw a recipe similar to this on the Food Network and made a couple of additions and substitutions to make it her own special meal.  There is nothing better than a good boneless pork chop cooked properly so that it is moist and tender.  My husband prefers them to steak any day.

The pork chops in this recipe are seasoned to perfection and the orange juice in the couscous coupled with the jalapeno pepper makes a great combo.  Try this soon to perk up your late winter-can't wait until spring menu.

Pork Chops with Pineapple Gravy 
and Mexican Couscous
Recipe courtesy of Marcela Valladolid


Four 4-ounce boneless pork chops, about 1/2-inch thick
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
5 cloves garlic, finely minced
2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon olive oil
2 teaspoons finely chopped rosemary, from 1 sprig
2 teaspoons finely minced thyme leaves, from 1 large sprig
1 cup pineapple juice
1/3 cup dry white wine
1 pound fresh pearl onions, peeled, or frozen, thawed and drained (or chopped onions)
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, softened
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
Mexican Couscous, recipe follows

Mexican Couscous:

1 tablespoon unsalted butter

1 cup dried couscous
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh cilantro
1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted
1 jalapeno pepper, stemmed, seeded, deveined, and finely chopped

1/3 cup orange juice
Kosher salt


Generously sprinkle the pork chops on both sides with salt and pepper. In a medium bowl, stir together the garlic, 2 tablespoons of the olive oil, the rosemary and thyme until combined. Rub the mixture evenly on both sides of the pork chops and let stand for 5 minutes.

Heat the remaining 1 teaspoon oil in a large heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Sear the pork chops on each side until golden brown, about 4 minutes per side. Reduce the heat to medium, add the pineapple juice, wine and pearl onions. Cover and simmer until the pork chops are cooked through, about 8 minutes.

Using a slotted spoon, transfer the pork chops and onions to a serving platter and cover to keep warm. In a small bowl, mash the butter and flour together with a fork until it forms a paste; whisk the paste into the simmering liquid and cook for about 1 minute, until the sauce is thickened. Taste and adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper and drizzle it over the pork chops just before serving. Serve with Mexican Couscous.

Mexican Couscous:

In a small saucepan, bring 1 cup water and the butter to a boil over medium-high heat. Add the couscous, swirl the pan to evenly incorporate it, remove from the heat, cover, and let stand for 5 minutes.

Add the cilantro, pine nuts, orange juice, and jalapenos to the couscous, and fluff it with a fork until evenly combined. Season with salt and transfer the couscous to a serving dish. Serve immediately.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Hot Roast Beef Sandwiches

How many times have you walked in the house at the end of a work day and you have no clue what dinner is going to look like and all you really want to do is sit down for a few minutes and unwind?  Here is an easy solution to that dilemma.  Take just a little time one day to put together make ahead sandwiches that you can wrap in foil, put in the freezer, and pull out any time to warm in the oven and have a satisfying  meal with perhaps a bowl of soup or a salad.

The Pioneer Woman recently did this very thing on her weekly Food Network show.  Her recipe for a sandwich sauce is listed below, but Olivia (who does not have a fondness for mayonnaise) came up with her own great alternative sauce as well.  Be creative in your use of  ham, roast beef, turkey, etc.  You can also use artisan buns, regular hamburger buns, Hawaiian sweet bread rolls, etc.  These little homemade sandwiches would also be a great snack for the kids.  Test your oven to see how long it takes to warm yours up.  I would start with a 350 degree oven at 15-20 minutes like it says below.  This will be a great go to meal when you have somewhere else to go in the evening, or the urge to cook just isn't there.  Be sure to use a marker to identify your foil wrapped sandwiches in the freezer, unless you like surprises!

Alternative Sauce:
1/3 cup low fat sour cream
2 tablespoons French onion dip
2 tablespoonsWorcestershire sauce
1/4 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
pinch of salt
1 teaspoon horseradish (or to taste)

Mix all ingredients and use in place of the sauce in the recipe below.

Recipe from Ree Drummond

  • 12 whole Hamburger Buns
  • 1 pound Thinly Shaved Roast Beef 
  • 1 pound Cheese (Provolone, Swiss, Mozzarella, Even Cheez Whiz!)
  • ¼ cups Mayonnaise
  • 3 Tablespoons Grated Onion (or 1 Tbsp Dried Onion Flakes))
  • 1 Tablespoon Poppy Seeds
  • 1 Tablespoon Spicy Mustard
  • 1 Tablespoon Horseradish Mayo Or Straight Prepared Horseradish
  • Dash Of Worcestershire

Preparation Instructions

Slice rolls in half. Mix together mayo, grated onion, poppy seeds, spicy mustard, horseradish, and Worcestershire. Taste it and adjust ingredients however you wish.
To assemble, spread dressing on top and bottom buns. Lay on roast beef or ham, then one or two slices of cheese (I cut them to fit the small buns.) If you’re using Cheez Whiz, spread a layer on the top bun.
Wrap each sandwich in a foil square, and either keep in the fridge or bake right away. To bake the sandwiches, put them on a baking sheet in a 350 degree oven for 15 to 20 minutes. The buns should be slightly crusty and the cheese should be melted.

Sunday, February 2, 2014


The month of February is here already!  Where did the month of January go?  In our part of the country, January got lost somewhere in a snowdrift.  The groundhog saw his shadow on February 2nd and winter still has a firm grip on us.  The little bright spot in all of February is Valentine's Day. You don't have to be "in" love to share the love on this sweetest of holidays.  This recipe will help you create that tasty oasis in the month and is a great dessert to share with someone you want to "feel the love."

Olivia found this recipe on  It is not only silky smooth and delicious, but it stores well in the refrigerator for a few days so you can enjoy it beyond the holiday.  We hope you like it.



1brownie mix (9 x 13 pan size) (with oil, water, and eggs needed according to package directions)
1additional large egg
1 pkgcream cheese, softened (8 oz)
1 cpowdered sugar
2containers whipped topping (8 oz)
1 pkgchocolate instant pudding (3 oz)
1 pkgvanilla instant pudding (3 oz)
3 1/2 cmilk

chocolate syrup


 Mix brownie mixes according to directions.
 Add egg.
 Bake (according to directions) in 9×13 inch greased and floured cake pan.
 Mix cream cheese, powdered sugar and 1 container whipped topping.
 Put this mix on top of the cooled brownies.
 Blend puddings and milk together and put on top of the cream cheese mixture.
 Spread 2nd container of whipped topping on top of pudding mixture.
 Put chocolate shavings or chocolate syrup on top.
 Refrigerate until ready to serve.