Monday, June 26, 2017


Most people like hash browns.  The thing a lot of people don't like about hash browns is that they aren't always crispy.  In fact, sometimes they are down right limp and a little on the soggy side.  Olivia made this delicious oven baked version that is probably a little healthier than the standard fried version (depending upon the kind of oil you use).  They are made really flavorful by adding garlic powder, paprika, cheese, and chives.  If you are making breakfast at home this upcoming holiday weekend, you might give these a try.  Happy Fourth of July!


  • 1 16-oz. bag refrigerated hash browns
  • 1/4 c. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp. paprika
  • kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 1 c. shredded Cheddar
  • 2 tbsp. finely chopped chives


  1. Preheat oven to 400°.
  2. On a large rimmed baking sheet, toss hash browns with olive oil, garlic powder and paprika. Season with salt and pepper, then add egg and cheese and gently mix until evenly combined.
  3. Spread the hash browns into an even layer. Bake until crispy, about 30 minutes.

Saturday, June 17, 2017


Fresh vegetables are plentiful this time of year.  You can either grow your own or find plentiful options at local farm stands and produce auctions.  Olivia found a large quantity of cauliflower at a good price at a nearby produce auction this week. 

In addition to keeping some for eating raw and roasting, we are both freezing some for future use.  If you have never preserved summer's bounty by freezing vegetables, it is an easy process. 

We are sharing how to do cauliflower.  You can process  it when it is in season or even when you see it on sale in the grocery.  The first step is to remove the outer leaves and inner core.

 Next you can cut the head into smaller pieces and wash them thoroughly.

Start a pot of boiling water with some salt in it on the stove.  When it reaches a rolling boil, place one batch at a time in the water and blanch the cauliflower for three minutes.

With a slotted spoon, place the cauliflower on towels to drain.  Draining the vegetables aids in keeping the vegetables from getting icy and deteriorating faster when frozen.

When the cauliflower has drained, place it in a quart sized freezer bag and label it.  After it has cooled down, place it in the freezer.  Most packages will keep for at least a year.  Take it out of the freezer when you are ready to eat and heat it from a frozen state for 8-9 minutes or steam it on top of the stove.  Enjoy!

Sunday, June 4, 2017

BBQ Chicken

Barbecue Chicken
Summer isn't officially hear yet, but it sure feels like it around here.  The temperatures have been in the 80s and the smell of grills cooking wafts through the neighborhood.  Whether it is steaks, burgers, fish, pork or chicken, who can resist the grilled goodness of meat?  Olivia came up with this yummy combination of salad dressing and barbecue sauce to create a delightfully simple marinade for chicken.  The ingredients are few, everything goes in a ziplock bag, and the combination of zesty and tangy is outstanding.  Try this if you are looking for something different.  Happy grilling!


1 cup bottled zesty Italian salad dressing
1 cup bottled medium - spicy BBQ sauce
4 chicken breasts
1 gallon sized storage bag

1)  Mix the Italian salad dressing and BBQ sauce in the gallon sized storage bag.
2)  Place chicken in bag and seal.  Rub the sauce around on the chicken inside the bag.
3)  Marinate overnight in the fridge.
4)  Remove the chicken from the marinade and grill.

Sunday, May 21, 2017


Olivia and I are blessed to have good friends.  They are the kind who invite you to join them for holiday meals and feed you the yummiest of food.  This happened at Easter.  A couple we know from church invited us to join them for the Easter meal.  It included this delightful massaged kale salad.  When I first heard the name I found it somewhat humorous.  After all, who gives their greens a "massage" as part of the recipe?

In this case the massaging of the kale gives it a great texture and breaks down the greens so they absorb the other flavors in the recipe and the kale, which can be bitter sometimes, takes on a pleasing texture and taste.  The mango, nuts, cheese, and honey give this salad a terrific appeal that you will love.

If you are tired of eating the same old salads all the time, you owe it to yourself to give this one a try.  The Memorial Day weekend is coming up and this would make a super accompaniment to your barbecue.  Give it a try!


Monday, May 15, 2017


Olivia found this great recipe on the Food Network site.  It is a super way to jazz up the same old same old taco shells.  If your taco night gets a little repetitive, this could be a great way to step outside the box and create a tasty alternative to the plain hard shelled taco.

The recipe is simple and straight forward.  Just brush your standard hard shelled taco shells with a little vegetable oil then sprinkle with the seasoning mixture.  The combination of the cumin, coriander, and chili powder gives this recipe just the right amount of kick to make your taste buds wake up and say, "Fiesta time!"  Enjoy!

Seasoned Taco Shells:

Sunday, May 7, 2017


This time of year is very busy for us.  Olivia and I both garden so there is a lot of outdoor clean up, soil preparation, and planting to be done.  This means meal preparation has to be quick and easy.

Olivia found this fantastic pork loin recipe that can be made in the crock pot.  The recipe comes from  It is moist, flavorful, and best of all the leftovers can be morphed into a second meal that is equally great.  When Olivia discovered she had left over teriyaki pork, she chopped some up, browned it slightly in olive oil and stirred in some steamed vegetables for a delightful stir fry.  The leftover "sauce" from the crock pot made an excellent topping to drizzle over the stir fry and rice.

Who doesn't like a meal that is just as delicious and creative the second day as it was the first?


  • 3/4 cup unsweetened apple juice
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 tablespoons reduced-sodium soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon white vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 boneless pork loin roast (about 3 pounds), halved
  • 7-1/2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 3 tablespoons cold water
  • Directions
  1. In a greased 3-qt. slow cooker, combine the first seven ingredients. Add roast and turn to coat. Cover and cook on low for 7-8 hours or until meat is tender. 
  2. Remove pork to a serving platter; keep warm. Skim fat from cooking juices; transfer to a small saucepan. Bring liquid to a boil. Combine cornstarch and water until smooth. Gradually stir into the pan. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened. Serve with meat.Yield: 8 servings.

Nutritional Facts

4 ounces cooked pork: 247 calories, 8g fat (3g saturated fat), 85mg cholesterol, 194mg sodium, 9g carbohydrate (5g sugars, 0 fiber), 33g protein.  Diabetic Exchanges: 4 lean meat, 1/2 starch.

Sunday, April 23, 2017



Olivia and I hope you and your family and friends had a great Easter holiday.  We certainly did.  We were invited to the home of friends for dinner and had a super fun time and lots of delicious food.  Olivia took the yummy desserts of cake and lemon tarts.  I offered to bring the bread.  I haven't made yeast bread from scratch for quite some time so I was a little worried that it would be edible.  I did a test run the week before Easter and the bread turned out great.  The loaf pictured here is the one I took to our friends' home.  It turned out great as well.  The leftover bread from the first loaf was still in the refrigerator today so I made french toast out of it and it was very good and held together well.  I like this recipe because it it fairly easy and seems to be foolproof.
I got it from the Taste of Home website.  I learned the hard way years ago that one of the easiest ways to ruin yeast bread is to not use fresh yeast.  The other way is to get the liquid too hot and kill the yeast.  If you remember those two tips, you are on your way to successful bread making.  Another handy tip is to use the dough hook on your mixer if you have one.  It says lots of elbow grease and makes for a lovely dough.  Enjoy!


  • 3-1/4 to 3-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 package (1/4 ounce) active dry yeast
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 3 tablespoons canola oil
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon water
  • 1/2 teaspoon poppy seeds


  1. In a large bowl, combine 2-1/2 cups flour, sugar, yeast and salt. In a small saucepan, heat water and oil to 120°-130°. Add to dry ingredients along with eggs. Beat on medium speed for 3 minutes. Stir in enough remaining flour to form a soft dough.
  2. Turn onto a lightly floured surface; knead until smooth and elastic, about 6-8 minutes. Place in a greased bowl, turning once to grease top. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1-1/2 hours.
  3. Punch dough down. Turn onto a lightly floured surface. Set a third of the dough aside. Divide remaining dough into three pieces. Shape each into a 13-in. rope. Place ropes on a greased baking sheet and braid; pinch ends to seal and tuck under.
  4. Divide reserved dough into three equal pieces; shape each into a 14-in. rope. Braid ropes. Center 14-in. braid on top of the shorter braid. Pinch ends to seal and tuck under. Cover and let rise until doubled, about 30 minutes.
  5. In a small bowl, beat egg and water; brush over dough. Sprinkle with poppy seeds. Bake at 375° for 25-30 minutes or until golden brown. Cover with foil during the last 15 minutes of baking. Remove from the oven and cool.

    Nutritional Facts

    1 slice: 134 calories, 4g fat (1g saturated fat), 40mg cholesterol, 123mg sodium, 20g carbohydrate (1g sugars, 1g fiber), 4g protein.

Sunday, April 16, 2017


Tacos seem to be a favorite of just about everyone.  Some people like them simple and some like them loaded with all the fixings.  The basis though of any good taco is moist, flavorful meat filling.  Olivia developed this recipe for a taco bar carry-in she had at work and she reported that it was a big hit.  I think what makes this meat special is that it has more than just the standard taco seasoning packet.  It is loaded with flavor from the tomatoes, chiles, cumin, garlic, onion, and cilantro.  When you make this, Olivia suggests using a crock pot liner, especially if you are making it for a crowd and want easy clean up.  Whether you like your tacos soft or crunchy, I think you will find this meat filling a crowd pleaser.



3 lbs. ground beef
2 Tbsp. dehydrated chopped onion
1 Tbsp. dried cilantro
1 tsp. dehydrated minced garlic
1 tsp. salt (or to taste)
2 tsp. cumin (or to taste)
2 envelopes taco seasoning
1 cup warm water
2 cans Original Rotel
1 small can chopped green chiles
1/2 jar taco sauce

1)  Brown ground beef in a large skillet over medium heat until meat is cooked through.  Drain the meat thoroughly and leave it in the skillet.  Add the onion, garlic, salt, cumin, cilantro, and taco seasoning to the warm water in a small cup.  Add the spice and water mixture to the skillet and stir just until thickened and all of the spices are mixed in with the meat.

2)  Transfer the meat and spice mixture to a crock pot.  Stir in the Rotel, chiles, and taco sauce into the meat mixture.

-If you're going to serve the tacos the same day, keep the crock pot on "keep warm" until ready to serve the tacos.
-If you want to make the meat ahead, put the crockpot crock in the fridge overnight.  The next day, heat the mixture in the crock pot on low, stirring frequently, and once heated through, move the temperature to "keep warm".

Sunday, April 9, 2017


I really like Easter.  It is just as big if not bigger to me than Christmas.  It has deep religious meaning for us but even despite the Easter Bunny, it lacks much of the superficiality of Christmas.  Everything about it, including fresh Spring salads, screams of rebirth, renewal, and fresh starts.  If you like to have a lovely salad with your Easter feast, or you are just looking for a new dressing idea, you might want to try this recipe soon.  Olivia made it and it is delicious.  It is creamy, tangy, and full of flavor.  Make enough to keep for a few days in the refrigerator.  Believe me, you will want more.  From our family to yours, we hope you have a blessed Easter holiday.

  1. 1/4 cup white vinegar
  2. 1/4 cup lemon juice
  3. 2 teaspoons sugar
  4. 1 teaspoon dry mustard
  5. 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  6. 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes (This really doesn’t add much heat; it’s better with it!)
  7. 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  8. 4 cloves garlic
  9. 1 cup neutral oil or extra-virgin olive oil
  10. 1/3 cup Parmesan cheese (either fresh or from a can)
  11. 3/4 tsp. Italian seasoning (add more if needed)
  1. Place vinegar, lemon juice, sugar, mustard, salt, red pepper flakes, black pepper, and garlic in the jar of a blender and blend until smooth. While the blender is running, add the oil in a steady stream. Remove the blender jar from the blender and mix in the cheese and Italian seasoning by hand. Transfer to a storage or serving container and refrigerate for at least 1 hour before serving.

Sunday, April 2, 2017



Easter is coming soon and you may have company coming for the traditional fare.  If you want a nice appetizer to keep the crowd happy while you get dinner on the table, try this amazing cheeseball Olivia developed herself taking a cue from some of her favorites over the years.  I must warn you this spread can be addictive.  It is creamy, full of flavor, yet has just a hint of crunchy texture from the  green onions and bacon--that's right--I said bacon.  I like to eat it on multi grain Ritz crackers, but you can spread it on any cracker you like or even a piece of celery.  Once you and your guests have tried it, everyone is certain  to want more so be sure to make plenty!  If you and yours celebrate Easter, we wish you a beautiful day filled with promise and hope.  Enjoy!



1 1/2 cups pecans, chopped
2 (8 oz) softened cream cheese
1 1/2 Tbsp mayonnaise
1 tsp lemon juice
1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp salt
8 slices crispy bacon, chopped finally
1 small can of crushed pineapple, drained
4 chopped green onions
1 1/2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
In a skillet over medium heat, toast the pecans for a few minutes.  Make sure you stir the pecans often so they don't burn.  Your nose knows when they are finished!
In a medium mixing bowl, cream together: softened cream cheese, mayonnaise, lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce, garlic powder and salt until well mixed.  Add the chopped bacon, chopped green onions, and pineapple to the cheese mixture then whip it in just until blended, to avoid pureeing all of the ingredients.
Lastly, mix in the shredded cheddar cheese by hand using a large spoon.  Shape into a ball.  Roll the chilled cheeseball in the toasted chopped pecans.  Wrap the cheese ball in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 2 hours or until firm.
Serve with assorted crackers

Sunday, March 26, 2017


Olivia suggested I post this impromptu recipe because it was somewhat of an accident and based upon other recipes I had seen online.  I had some salmon fillets in the freezer and my husband isn't a huge fan of salmon.  I was trying to figure out a way to use it and I decided to broil the fillets with a glaze so I could use them on my salads for lunch.

I've seen various honey mustard glazes online for both fish and chicken and decided to make my own version.  I broiled the frozen salmon on one side for eight minutes.  I then turned them over and applied the glaze.  I broiled the glazed side for another 8-10 minutes (depending upon the size of the salmon pieces).  Here is the combination I used.  It makes a very small amount--just enough for two pieces--but you can adjust accordingly.  Enjoy!

2 T. stone ground mustard
2 T. honey
splash of cider vinegar
1/2 tsp. caraway seeds

Sunday, March 19, 2017


If you like pastrami, there is nothing about this recipe you won't like.  When Olivia smoked a corned beef brisket for herself, she made one for me and I LOVED IT.  I initially used it for delicious sandwiches using Swiss cheese and marbled rye bread.  That was out of this world.  I found myself going back again and again to the leftover pastrami and cutting off a small piece for a snack.  The taste of the "crust" created by the rub is definitely addictive.

The recipe Olivia used came from  She cheated slightly by using a store bought corned beef FLAT CUT  (not point).  This bypassed the brine step and went straight for the rub.  Olivia mixed the rub, let it sit overnight in the refrigerator on the corned beef, and then smoked it the next day.  It is really delicious and I guarantee you will like it.

Home Cured Corned Beef and Pastrami
ServingsPrep Time
8-10 people15 minutes
Passive Time
5-7 days
Corned Beef and Pastrami Brine
Servings: people

  1. In a large stock pot, combine all of the ingredients for the brine except the ice. Bring to a boil and stir until all of the salt and sugar has dissolved in the brine. Remove from the heat and stir in the ice until the brine has cooled to room temperature.
  2. Place the brisket in a large food-safe plastic container and pour over the cooled brine. Keep the brisket in the cure for 5-7 days, turning and stirring the brine mixture at least once per day.
  3. Once the brisket is cured, you can prepare as corned beef (like in this recipe: ) or you can pastrami by following the rest of the instructions.
  4. In a small saute pan over medium heat, combine the coriander seed, mustard seed, and peppercorns. Toast the spices for 2-3 minutes or until just fragrant. Transfer to a mortar and pestle or a spice grinder and pulse until well combined. Stir in the remaining rub ingredients.
  5. Coat the cured brisket in the pastrami rub and wrap tightly. For best results, let the roast sit in the pastrami rub for 1-2 days. Preheat your smoker and cook at 250 degrees until the internal temperature reads 195 degrees. This typically takes anywhere from 6-8 hours. Wrap the smoked pastrami in plastic wrap and chill completely before slicing thin and stacking high on your favorite rye bread.