Category Archives: Recipes

Spending Saturday in Nashville

This morning I got to spend just a little while with my little man before we dropped him off with Papa and Gamma so Andy and I could trek down to Nashville to visit his brother and sister-in-law and baby niece, Sara.  She is 7 months old and just had surgery to repair her VSD (Ventricular Septal Defect) at Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital.

Vanderbilt Childrens Hospital

When we got to the room, Sara was not quite asleep and not quite awake either, but she came to life quickly and it was so wonderful to see her sitting up in the bed awake with huge grins on her face the whole time we were there.

I have to say that it will also make you count your blessings when you realize there are 8 floors to this hospital, full of sick and recovering children, and when your own son has only been to the doctor a few times in his life, with the most severe diagnosis being strep throat, you have to take a second and praise God for his mercy and grace.

Trader Joes

When we left the hospital, we made a quick (and I mean QUICK) trip to Trader Joe’s for two reasons. Number one, I wanted to get back to my Ryman and number two, that place was CRAWLING with people.  It happened to be THE PLACE for everyone in Nashville today evidently, so we scanned around looking at all the wonderful treats and selected a few new things to try.

Chocolate Almond Granola

I highly recommend the Just the Clusters Chocolate Almond Granola Cereal if you like chocolate or granola at all!  It is wonderful!


The Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Salted Caramel Truffles…I mean, do I really need to even explain that?!

Vanilla Caramel

The Dark Chocolate Tahitian Vanilla Caramels are also wonderful and VERY rich.


We’ve never tried the Lobster Ravioli or the Butternut Squash Triangoli, but I am feeling a pasta night coming on really soon.

Meanwhile, back at Papa and Gamma’s house, my Rylnn was having a blast!  He got to spend the entire day outside doing all kinds of things and he got to help them build a frame for a beautiful swing that is now sitting in my front yard…Pictures of that to come tomorrow!

Rylnn Help Papa

Tomorrow at church, our Sunday School class has “Connect Time” which is basically breakfast for the church so I whipped up some Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies (they have oats in them so I believe that qualifies them to be a breakfast dish).  I adapted this recipe just a little bit from a jar mix that someone gave me for Christmas one year.

Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies

1 cup flour

1 tsp cinnamon

½ tsp nutmeg

1 tsp baking soda

½ tsp salt

½ cup packed brown sugar

¾ cup sugar

1 cup chocolate chips

2 cups oats

1 ½ sticks softened butter

2 eggs, beaten

1 tsp vanilla

Preheat oven to 350.  Then, I turn my mixer on and just start dumping ingredients in.  It’s just that easy.  Then I drop them by small spoonfuls on a greased cookie sheet and bake for 10-13 minutes.  Makes about 3 dozen.

Oatmeal Cookies2

Oatmeal Cookies1

Oatmeal Cookies

 Now I’m off to finalize Mother’s Day preparations for tomorrow!

Quinoa Black Bean Stuffed Peppers

Yesterday afternoon was absolutely glorious!  The weather was warm, but not that KY summer humid yet, the sun was shining, we got to play outside all evening…I feel like I should be singing some Broadway song with jazz hands and a kick line 🙂

I know that we are in our “terrible twos” now but I am loving this age right now!  His personality is so funny and sweet and I just love watching his brain work as he tries to figure things out and come up with the right words for everything as he plays and discovers new things.

Since we watched Papa (my dad) use the bush-hog on the back of the tractor last week, Rylnn has to “put his bush-hog on” at least once or twice a day now.  These may look like clamps and hinges to you, but I assure you, they are in fact a bush-hog.

Rylnn Bush-hog

He also decided that he needed to fish (again, like his Papa) and then air up his tires.  I love his concentration face 🙂

Rylnn Concentration

Rylnn Fishing

Rylnn Tires

For supper we tried some of the stuffed peppers that I had mentioned yesterday and I thought they were great.  I decided to stuff ours with quinoa, black beans, and some broccoli slaw that I sauteed for about 10 minutes over medium heat with some coconut oil, and then topped them with cheese.  I used sliced Muenster Jalapeno cheese for one and then shredded Parmesan and cheddar for the other two.

Stuffed Peppers Stuffed Peppers1 Stuffed Peppers2 Stuffed Peppers3

I really liked them, but if I make them again, I will definitely add some garlic and some onion (for some reason my mind simply went blank yesterday and I forgot to add any seasoning except for some salt!) and I would add just about a tablespoon of cheese between the layers, because who doesn’t like more cheese?!

Quinoa Black Bean Stuffed Peppers

3-Bell Peppers

2-Cups Quinoa

1/2 –Bag Broccoli Slaw

1-Tbsp Coconut Oil

2-Cups Cheese, divided (whatever flavor you prefer, and it doesn’t have to be shredded)

1-Cup Black Beans

1-Tbsp minced garlic

½-Small onion chopped

Pre-heat oven to 350.

Sautee the broccoli slaw over medium heat with garlic and onion. 

Cut the tops out of the bell peppers and place in foil covered baking dish.  Stuff each pepper with quinoa, broccoli slaw mixture, and black beans, adding about a tablespoon of cheese between each layer.  Top each pepper with remaining cheese and bake at 350 for about 15 minutes or until cheese is melted. 

I believe I could also add some salsa, sour cream or my Grandmamma’s hot pepper relish to have on the side with these peppers 🙂

Then we swiped some chocolate cake from Gamma (my mom) and I don’t know if I just wanted chocolate cake that bad or if my mom is just that good of a baker (it’s the second one, I promise!) but I swear it tasted better than any chocolate cake I’ve ever had 🙂

Chocolate Cake

Last night’s workout came from Danica’s Blog and it was a killer.  I only did the circuits through 2 times and I was done!  My arms are screaming at me this morning after the last two nights of workouts, so NO ARMS this evening!


Hope everyone has a great Thursday and remember, tomorrow’s Friday!!

I Feel Pretty

Today, I feel pretty.  I don’t have on a new outfit or new shoes, I didn’t do anything differently with my hair or makeup, but for once this morning when I looked in the mirror, I felt pretty.  Kinda like this…

Okay, maybe not quite like that, but it was nice to look in the mirror and not immediately think, “Well that’s as good as it’s gonna get today!”

Last night I did the Peanut Butter Fingers Workout that I mentioned yesterday afternoon with the exception of the bottom two shoulder sets.  I have the broadest shoulders of any girl I have ever seen (hello linebacker!) and I certainly don’t need any help making those more defined or bigger so I substituted a few oblique sets since my love handles absolutely need to be toned a tish.  However, I have to say that I think I have found THE workout for me…That workout style was perfect!  I didn’t get bored once switching between the treadmill and weights and while my arms were DEFINITELY fatigued by the end of the workout, I wasn’t so tired and worn out that I felt like I was going to pass out like I usually do after 30 minutes on the treadmill.  I will definitely have to plan more workouts like this!

I’m super excited that we have nothing planned this afternoon after work, so I can enjoy this beautiful 80 degree weather running around outside with my Ryman for the rest of the evening.

After seeing a recipe for some stuffed bell peppers on Cookie Dough Katzen’s Blog, I think I’ll be creating some version of those myself for supper because they just look so darn tasty, and not half bad for you!

Tried any good recipes lately?

More Peas, Thank You Winner!

Another B-E-A-utiful afternoon for a run!

Running1 Running2

However, the bad news is my legs felt like molasses running through quicksand.  Combine that with some anti-histamines already in my system drying me out as I try to fight off an impending allergy attack…needless to say, it was not a great run.  I did happen to see a black racer slither right over this bridge and that sped me up considerably as I RAN THE OTHER WAY!

Running Bridge

After the run, I picked up my Ryman and we headed over to Papa and Gamma’s (my mom and dad’s) for some play time and supper.  If you have ever read my blog before, you know how I feel about my mother’s cooking.  It’s hands down the greatest and that’s all there is to say about that!

Tonight we had grilled pork chops and asparagus, garlic bread, fried potatoes, and homemade applesauce with chocolate chip pound cake for dessert.  It was fantabulous!

Supper Supper1 Supper2

Then we headed right back outside to finish out the beautiful day.

When we got home, I found a package on my doorstep!  A few weeks ago, I won Tina’s Carrots ‘N’ Cake blog More Peas, Thank You cookbook giveaway!  When I opened the package, I was surprised by not only the cookbook, but a tumbler, a fruit-infused water bottle, and an insulated tote!  I get so excited when I get mail anyway, but I was totally surprised to see all the goodies that came with this wonderful vegetarian cookbook.

More Peas More Peas1

I love that the cookbook starts by introducing not only the author, Sarah Matheny, but her family as well and then lists all of her pantry, fridge and freezer basics to help you be prepared to start any of her recipes.  She also has a substitution and a metric conversion section (always helpful) and all of her recipes start with a story and most mention or reflect her faith.  I love it!

I flipped through most of the vegetarian recipes and I’m really excited to try some of the dinner dishes, but this one recipe caught my eye immediately…I mean chocolate and peanut butter.  I think so.


Now it’s off to shower and to the bed…

This was my first EVER giveaway win…Have you ever won a giveaway?

Sunshine and French Bread Pizza

This afternoon was made for running!  Look at this beautiful-ness!

Running Trail Running Trail1 Running Trail3

I was actually able to just let myself run, and while it was still hard (running is NEVER easy for me) I really didn’t focus on my time and I enjoyed it so very much.  I even wound up finishing just around a minute slower than I usually run, so I was happy with that too.

Running Trail2

After that, I grabbed up my Ryman and headed home to play outside when Papa rode up on the Kawasaki Mule with some minnows to dump in the pond, located just beyond our front yard.  Rylnn was SUPER excited so we jumped in and rode to the pond so Rylnn could “help” his Papa and then we HAD to go across the road and see Babydoll the horse, and Rylnn actually wanted to get on her (shocking!) so he sat on a horse for the first time ever.  I was one proud Mama!

Papa Minnow Papa Minnow1


Babydoll Babydoll1

From there, we had to go see the chickens and Rylnn just walked right in like he owned the place (my brave boy, I’m so very scared of them!) and then we came back to the house so we could start a late supper.


Rylnn helped me make our French Bread Pizzas, which are a wonderful, quick and super easy and CHEAP dinner.  I just take a whole loaf of french bread and slice it in half (just because that’s all we’ll eat between the three of us, but you can use the whole loaf or even two if you have several eating) then slice it lengthwise and top with sauce and all your favorite pizza toppings.  (It’s also a great way to use up leftover red or white sauce).

French Bread Pizza French Bread Pizza2


Tonight, after a quick brush of olive oil on the crust, I used red sauce on one half and white sauce on the other, then added mushrooms to one half and then red and green bell peppers to both and topped with cheddar and parmesan cheeses and stuck them in the oven at 350 for about 20 minutes.  Depending on what toppings and how much cheese you use, the time will vary.

French Bread Pizza3 French Bread Pizza4 French Bread Pizza5

After supper, it was back outside to enjoy the rest of the daylight, then bath and bedtime.  I love these wonderful warm, sunny days!

Florida Day 5-Heath Bits PB Cookies

Today started out a bit windy and cloudy, but we were still able to spend a little bit of time outside this morning.

photo (95)

And Rylnn continues to love on his baby cousin…

photo (96)

When everyone was napping this afternoon, my sweet tooth got the best of me and I found a recipe on Pinterest for Heath Bits Peanut Butter cookies via Tortillas and Honey blog.

I had half of the Heath bits the recipe calls for, but they still turned out amazing!

photo (94)

photo (93)

Heath Bits Peanut Butter Cookies 
From Hershey’s

1/2 c. shortening(regular or butter-flavored both work)
3/4 c. peanut butter 
1 1/4 c. packed light brown sugar 
3 Tbs. milk 
1 Tbs. vanilla extract 
1 egg 
1 1/2 c. all-purpose flour  (I used bread flour and it worked fine).
3/4 tsp. baking soda 
3/4 tsp. salt 
8 oz. toffee bits, divided ( I only had 4 oz and used them all in the dough)

Heat oven to 375°F. 

Beat shortening, peanut butter, brown sugar, milk and vanilla in large bowl until well blended. Add egg; beat just until blended. Combine flour, baking soda and salt; gradually beat into peanut butter mixture. Stir in 1 cup bits; reserve remainder for topping (no topping for me).

Drop by heaping teaspoons about 2 inches (mine was 1 Tablespoon which was perfect) apart onto ungreased cookie sheet; top each with reserved bits.

Bake 7 to 8 minutes or until set. Do not overbake. Cool for 2 minutes, then remove to wire rack and let cool completely.

Philip and I got our last run in this evening, and true to form, he pushed me!!  We finished the week with a total of 10 miles and I’m super proud that I was able to keep up my cardio so well while on vacation 🙂

Tomorrow we’re really hoping to get outside and take some cousin pictures before we have to pack and be ready to fly back home Saturday.  I can’t believe we only have one full day left…Time truly does fly when you’re having fun 🙂


Haircuts and Homemade Taco Seasoning

Let’s pick up with lunch this afternoon…I found a fabulous Cran-Walnut bagel and a few handfuls of almonds which made a spectacular lunch and then snacked on a few clementines to hold me over until supper.


Grabbed up Ryman after work and we headed home for a little playtime and a little supper.  He always has to “help” me cook and while it can be stressful sometimes, I wouldn’t have it any other way because I know someday, I am going to miss those messy little fingers in my food and cleaning up after all his craziness.


Tonight was taco salad night, which is one of my personal favorites, and it was wonderful.  My secret ingredient is my Grandmamma’s hot pepper relish which is the most fantastic stuff I have ever put in my mouth and I will try to top basically any dish with it.  I also make my own taco seasoning because I think it tastes way better than store bought, it’s super easy, and I know exactly what ingredients I’m eating.

Taco Salad

Homemade Taco Seasoning

1 tbsp chili powder

2 tsp onion powder

1 tsp ground cumin

1 tsp garlic powder

1 tsp paprika

1 tsp oregano

1 tsp sugar

½ tsp salt

If you’re using a very lean meat, add just a few tbsp of water.

 Honestly, I don’t measure anything exactly so it’s really a no fail type of recipe (my favorite!).  I usually make up several servings when I make it and put them in little snack bags so I can just pull them out when I need them.

After supper, Rylnn and I headed back into town to get him a haircut, which was the most extraordinary experience of my day!  He sat in the chair all by himself, and if you don’t have kids you may not understand this, but this was a HUGE deal.  He was spectacular and was rewarded with not one, but two suckers from Miss Shanna and was told that he was her best customer all day.  Then we stopped by Subway on the way home and split a chocolate chip cookie.  I love this kid!

Ryman Haircut

Finally got Ryman home, bathed, and in the bed and I snuck in a hard quick 25 minutes on the elliptical and now I’m off to finish laundry for the big trip Saturday.   Tomorrow I also have a haircut, which I am super excited about.  My hair is longer right now than it’s ever been and I’m just tired of dealing with it, so I’m ready for a new “do.”  Here are two before pics:



After pics to come tomorrow…Have a great night!

Homemade Alfredo and Autism Awareness

Well hunger seemed to be the name of the game for me today!  I was able to get in a 3 mile run this afternoon and then spent the rest of the day snacking on Clementine cuties and the leftover shrimp that I was peeling for our supper, with Rylnn’s help of course.  This girl could not get enough food today!


For our supper tonight, I made Shrimp Linguine Alfredo, with homemade alfredo sauce, because it’s SO much better than any store bought that I’ve had and I loved it!  So yummy and filling for this girl that can’t get enough to eat today…Also split two chocolate chips cookies with my Rylnn so hopefully I’m done eating for today!


Homemade Alfredo Sauce

1 stick butter

1 8oz pkg cream cheese

2 tsp garlic powder

2 cups milk (used skim)

6 oz grated Parmesan


 Simply melt the butter in a saucepan and add the cream cheese and garlic powder.  Slowly stir in the milk and stir constantly to avoid lumps and then add the Parmesan and pepper.  It will thicken up to the consistency of store bought alfredo sauce, so if you want it a little thinner, simply add a little more milk.


Today is also World Autism Awareness Day and as a mother of a 2-year-old boy (nearly five times more likely than a girl to have autism) and the sister to a former elementary classroom teacher that saw autism on a daily basis, I am well aware of the seriousness of this disease.  Click here for some more facts and information about this disease that now affects 1 in 88 children and 1 in 54 boys and seems to have its roots in very early brain development.  The most obvious signs of autism and symptoms tend to appear between 2 and 3 years of age and the quicker the diagnosis, as with most diseases, the better the chances are of effectively dealing with this disease.


Off to make packing lists (I know I’m a dork) so I don’t forget anything when we leave for Florida in T minus 5 days!!  Any packing suggestions for a plane and a 2-year-old, I am ALL EARS!

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