Lil

So it is your second birthday in heaven.  I think of you often and wonder if God lets you have a peek into our lives. I hope you see us happy and living the best we can without you. I hope you see the laughs and smiles on Hayley and Evan’s faces. You see that is where I see you the most in Evan’s crazy ideas and Hayley’s sweet smile.  I hope you see Jen laughing and enjoying being a wonderful mom just like you. She is such a great mom and you can see it in the kids. You would be so proud of her.

Jen and Hayley

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Jen and Evan

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I hope you see how much Buzz still loves and honors you. I hope you see that you are missed dearly and that we are missing a piece of our heart. I try to smile each time I think of you but a tear still comes to my eye. It’s a sign of I miss you, not one of goodbye because sometime we will be together again.  I hope you are listening all those times I talk to you. It makes me feel better knowing you are listening.

I stopped by to see you today and brought you some beautiful roses.

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As I visited you I found myself wondering what you were doing in heaven today. Were you baking, were you reading and enjoying the relaxing sunny day or were you watching over us as we were about to celebrate your birthday? I just wanted to reach out to you and give you a hug and let you know how much you are loved and missed.

Today we celebrated your birthday. Buzz got everyone together for a fish fry and he grilled roast too. We all brought a dish to pass. You would have loved having us all together.  All your grandbabies and neices and nephews were there laughing and smiling and having a great time. I still try to picture you laughing and talking to everyone. Making everyone feel welcome and loved. You were always the life of the party. Happy Birthday Lillian. We all love and miss you so much.

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Perfect Pear ProsciuttoA while ago Jon and I went to a get together at our friends Brett and Lisa’s house where they had a pizza making party.  Now Lisa started making this pizza and I won’t share her recipe because that is hers but everyone at the party thought she was nuts just adding fruit to the dough as the sauce.  But after her pizza was done let’s just say it was the star of the party.  We could not get enough of that pizza. So this pizza is an inspiration of mine from that pizza.

So long after the party I keep thinking about that pizza and how I could build my own. So here is the creation I came up with.

I started out really wanting to make my own dough but I didn’t have time the night I made this. I used Pillsbury pizza dough but promise me when you make this you will use homemade dough.

Then I took my mandolin and sliced the pear thin. This is the first layer. This is your sauce. I know crazy right but trust me.

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Then I took dried figs and sliced them into small pieces. Now in the summer I would use fresh figs but it is winter and I could not find one fresh fig.  Take the fig pieces and spread them out over the pears slices.

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Now take one package of prosciutto and lay the pieces all over the pizza.

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Sprinkle the gorgonzola cheese over the entire pizza.

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Bake in oven according to your pizza dough directions for 15 minutes.

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Then drizzle reduced Balsamic vinegar over the pizza and then enjoy.

Perfect Pear Prosciutto

It might sound like a strange combination but trust me. Jon was quite pleased with this creation. It will be made many more times in our house.

Perfect Pear Prosciutto Pizza

Pizza dough

one Pear

3 to 4 dried figs (if using fresh figs might use less)

1 pkg of prosciutto

Gorgonzola cheese

Reduced Balsamic vinegar


Throw All Slow Cooker Chicken Tortilla Soup

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I gave this recipe to my best friend Andie the other day for her Bunco ladies and she got such a great review that I have to share it with you. Plus this way her friends can get the recipe too. I love recipes that are so easy but taste like you were in the kitchen all day cooking away.  I should categorize these recipes under a Great Deceiver tab.  Chicken Tortilla Soup is probably one of my most favorite soups. It has (well as most of my followers know) my favorite herb Cilantro in it.

So I know when I  am pressed for time I have trouble coming up with ideas for dinner. This soup could be made over the weekend and then reheated for the rush night during the week that we all have.  But if you are like me I always make too much for Jon and me to eat so I freeze it.

Here are the first ingredients that you will need to make this soup.

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Rinse the beans and the corn ( I know that my recipe below calls for creamed corn but this is all I had on hand and it works just not as good as the creamed corn). Then add them to the slow cooker along with the broth, enchilada sauce, petite diced tomatoes, and Jack’s special salsa. Stir and set the slow cooker to low for about 5-8 hours. 

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One hour before you are serving add Cilantro and Cumin and Chicken.

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Here are some of my favorite add in’s to this soup. A squeeze of fresh lime juice, monterey jack cheese, cilantro and of course tortilla chips or if you have them tortilla slices.

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And this my friends is the end result. Yummy delicious soup. Hope you enjoy it as much as Jon and I do. 

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Throw All Slow Cooker Chicken Tortilla Soup

 3 cans of Black Bean Rinsed

1 can of Creamed Corn

1 can of mild Enchilada Sauce

1 can of petite diced tomatoes

1 tub of Jack’s Special Mild Salsa

1 Carton of Chicken Stock

1 Rotisserie Chicken (meat shredded)

Cilantro

Monterey Jack Cheese

Tortilla chips

Lime juice

Salt

Cumin

 

Put all the canned ingredients in slow cooker along with Chicken Stock and Salsa. Cook for 5-6 hours. One hour before you are serving add Cilantro and Cumin and Chicken.

When serving here are some options to throw on top of the soup.

More Cilantro…. (Which is a must for me)

Monterey Jack Cheese

Tortilla Strips

Fresh Lime Juice


TunaGarbanzoSalad

Looking for a healthy lunch option that will keep you full and satisfied? Well I created the perfect one. It has such great flavor you will want to eat the whole thing. Between the tuna and the garbanzo beans you will not be hungry after eating this because both are packed with protein. Plus Garbanzo beans are a great source of fiber. I also have this fight between eating well and enjoying a great food. I think this recipe not only tastes good but it good for ya!

Tuna Garbanzo Salad

1 can of tuna {I used tuna in olive oil} drained

1 can of garbanzo beans rinsed and drained

1-2 tsp of capers

1-2 Tbps of kalamata olives sliced

I Roma tomato

½ lime juice

Salt and pepper

Olive oil

I could tell you that it was really hard to put this together but it truly is a throw it all in and stir. But what I did before I threw it all in is some minor prep work. I took the tomato cut it into four pieces and spooned out the seeds and then cut it into pieces. Then I threw the tuna, garbanzo beans, capers, olives and tomato into the bowl. Stir it all together, squeeze the ½ lime over the bowl to add the juice and then add a splash of olive oil. Taste then add salt and pepper to taste. You will get the vinegar from the kalamata olives so no need to add vinegar. Watch the salt because the capers and olives have enough salt. I used very little salt.

 


Hearty Beef Noodle Soup

One of my favorite things to do on a cold raining November day is to make soup. My favorite memory of my childhood is when my mother would make her Beef Noodle Soup. Nothing beats coming in from outside and warming up to her soup. She always made her own noodles and it seemed like it took her all day to make it. It was the most delicious soup and it warmed you up the instant you tasted it. I have tweaked my mother’s recipe so I hope I did her recipe justice by my tweaks.  The only thing I really changed is the fact that I added mushrooms to the soup and used them as a garnish also. This soup is so earthy and has such a great flavor you will want to slurp up every last drop.

Put your soup bones in a soup crock and then fill it with water to cover the bones. Bring them to a boil and then simmer for a few hours.  After a few hours take out bones and let sit until cool. Then take the meat off.

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While you are waiting for the bones to stop simmering chop your vegetables (carrots, onion and mushrooms) into a fine chop. I sauté them in olive oil for a few minutes to break down the mushrooms a bit.

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Once you take out the bones skim the broth of all the fat then add your sautéed veggies.  Let the veggies hang out awhile in the broth simmering for a few minutes then add 2 spoonful’s of Better than Bouillon.

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Usually I would make my own noodles but today I was not feeling it so I used my go to noodles. Now you can add your noodles and beef  then simmer for another 30 minutes or until the noodles are fully cooked.  Season with salt and pepper or with Morton’s season salt is always a great addition.

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While the noodles are cooking sauté the remaining mushrooms for the garnish. Add the sauteed mushrooms on top of your soup and enjoy.  And as the French say “Volia” dinner is served.

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Hearty Beef Noodle Soup

2 beef soup bones

3 large carrots

1 onion

7-8 cremini mushrooms

2 spoon full of Better than Bouillon

Salt and pepper

1 package Reame’s frozen noodles

6 cremini mushrooms to sauté for garnish

Olive oil

Directions:

Put your soup bones in a soup crock and then fill it with water to cover the bones. Bring them to a boil and then simmer for a few hours.  After a few hours take out bones and let sit until cool. Then take the meat off.  While you are waiting for the bones to stop simmering chop your vegetables (carrots, onion and mushrooms) into a fine chop. I sauté them in olive oil for a few minutes to break down the mushrooms a bit. Once you take out the bones skim the broth of all the fat then add your sautéed veggies.  Let the veggies hang out awhile in the broth simmering for a few minutes then add 2 spoonful’s of Better than Bouillon. Now you can add your noodles and beef  then simmer for another 30 minutes or until the noodles are fully cooked.  Season with salt and pepper or with Morton’s season salt is always a great addition.  While the noodles are cooking sauté the remaining mushrooms for the garnish.  Top your soup off with the mushrooms and then enjoy.


Edited Garbanzo Bean Crunch

Here is one of my favorite healthy snacks.  Now I won’t lie it takes patience but after you taste them you will understand why I take the time to make them.  Garbanzo beans are so healthy for you.  They are rich in fiber and a great source of protein.  Because of that they will  keep you full between meals. So because I am trying to lose some weight and over all be a little healthier these are great snack.

So the patience part is rinsing the beans and shelling them. I take two cans of garbanzo beans rinse them and drain them. Drop them on a dry towel and fold over the ends and rub the beans dry. This will release some of the shells but you will have to take each one and take the shell off by rubbing the bean until it comes off. This is important because if you leave the shell on it will just steam the bean. With the shell off the heat will roast the bean.  So while you are doing this step preheat your oven to 425°.

Garbanzo Bean peeling

You will have a stack of shells by the time you are done.

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Once you are finishing shelling the beans put them on a cookie sheet. I use a silpat so that they will not stick to the pan. Pour olive oil over the beans until they are well coated. Sprinkle paprika over them until coated. Then sprinkle sea salt over top. Now I must tell you there are so many different ways of making Roasted Garbanzo beans. Try using your favorite spices. I love them just with sea salt or try them with lime and cilantro. Once you have the basics down play with different spices or maybe flavored oil.

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Now I don’t set a timer but I can tell you don’t walk away from this. I check mine every 5 minutes. After ten I take out and shake the pan a little to move them around.  Then I keep an eye on them when they are dark golden brown I take one out and try to see if it is still soft in the center. Put them back in if they are still soft. Give them a few more minutes.

Edited Garbanzo Bean Crunch

So instead of chips or ice cream try these out for a healthy snack.


Ham and Mushroom Tart

Need dinner quick and painless. I have the answer for you. This tart is so easy to make but packed with flavor. The almonds and rice gives this tart a great crunch. The ham, onions, mushrooms and Swiss cheese gives it so great flavor. 30 minutes cook time and 20 minute prep. In the summer Jon works long hours and it is hard to get dinner ready for when he comes home. With this tart I can prepare ahead of time and then stick in the oven when he gets home. By the time he gets done cleaning up from work dinner is done.

 

Ingredients

1 pie crust

8 oz of shredded Swiss cheese

Ham Mixture

1 package of small diced ham

2 green onions chopped

6 cremini mushrooms sliced

2 tablespoons of slivered almonds

1 cup of brown rice and wild rice (I use the prepackaged cups from Minute Rice)

1 tbsp of butter

Olive oil

Custard Mixture

3 eggs

1 cup of sour cream

1 tablespoon of Dijon Mustard

1 tsp of salt

1/8 tsp of black pepper

Dash of hot sauce

 

Preheat oven to 425°.  Place pie crust in pie pan. Place in oven at 425° for 10 minutes.  Take out of oven and let sit. Turn oven to 400°. While the crust is baking sauté your mushrooms in the butter and a dash of olive oil until tender and then add ham and green onions until cooked through.  Add almonds and the rice.  Take off the heat.  For the custard beat three eggs and then add the sour cream, Dijon mustard, hot sauce, salt and pepper.  Take the pie crust and a half of the Swiss cheese to the bottom of crust and then put the ham mixture on top of the cheese layer. Pour over the custard mixture and then top with the other half of Swiss cheese.  Put in oven for 30 minutes. Take out and let sit for about 3 to 5 minutes then slice like a pie and dish.

 

Here is how I layer the tart. First layer half the cheese on bottom of tart.

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Then add the Ham Mixture.

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Pour the custard mixture over the top.

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Take the other half of the Swiss cheese and sprinkle of the top.

017Bake at 400° for 30 minutes.

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Enchilada Bowl

Tonight was one of those nights when I come home from work and look in the pantry and said hmmm.  I am limited to a few items because I really need to go to the store.  I pulled out two cans of enchilada sauce, can of black beans and a can of whole corn. Enchiladas sound great but I don’t have corn tortillas and then wham it hits me I should create an Enchilada Bowl.  So here is what I came up with and it was so good and a little bit spicy.

I started out by cooking the white rice following the instructions on the bag. Cooked my pound of ground beef and then added the chopped onions, green pepper and jalapeno along with a beef bouillon cube.  I have been blessed this year with an abundance of green peppers and jalapenos in my garden.

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After those cook down I add salt and pepper and the chili powder to the ground beef mixture. I drain the corn and the black beans then add those to the ground beef mixture.  Put in the two cans of enchilada sauce and then let it simmer until the rice is done or a little longer. In the last few minutes add a tablespoon of butter to the sauce. Sounds crazy I know but trust me it smoothes out the sauce. Next add some chopped cilantro to the sauce.

So now we must assemble this gorgeous creation.  I put down a layer of rice in the bottom of the bowl. Top that with some Mexican shredded cheese. Then add a layer of the enchilada mixture.  Top with sour cream and more chopped cilantro.  I enjoyed the spicy hints to this dish but if you don’t want spicy you can eliminate the jalapeno and use mild enchilada sauce.

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Enchilada Bowl

 

1 pound of ground beef

2 cans of mild or medium enchilada sauce

1 can of black beans-drained

1 can of whole corn-drained

1 jalapeno chopped

½ green pepper chopped

½ onion chopped

Chili powder

Salt and pepper

1 beef bouillon

White rice-prepared

Mexican shredded cheese


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This morning we set out with great expectations to do some boating. Jon was going to dive and I made a picnic and was looking forward to sunning myself and relaxing.  But as the day unfolded we found ourselves looking to head home early.

Here is a summary on how our day went.  We get up that morning so excited to get the day going. We pack the boat and off we go. We get to Littlefield Lake and as we are trying to get the boat ready Jon notices that we have a flat tire on the boat trailer. We pull into a slot and Jon realizes that he does not have the right tool to take the tire off. Oops! We ask another gentleman there and he tries to help but he does have the right tool either. Then after searching the truck Jon finds one. Whew!

Now we have the boat in the water we make a few laps and Jon realizes that he does not have all his dive gear so now he cannot go diving. See where I am going with this. Now we have the boat anchored for lunch and take a dip before we eat because it was so sunny and hot.  I have made a delicious salad and brought some mandarin orange slices. Plus we had bought two bottles of the best Root beer you will ever try. Brundaberg Root beer is the best root beer hands down plus it comes in a cool bottle. The salad was the bomb.  Bomb meaning awesome!!! Insert my horrible singing voice. Plus I did take my Nikon with me but forgot my SD card in my laptop at home so all pictures today are from cell phone. So my pictures do not do my salad justice but trust it is awesome.

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So after we ate Jon decided to snorkel around the area and I decided to sun myself.  As soon as the picnic was put away the sun decided to hide under the clouds. It looked like it was going to stay that way.  So shortly after Jon snorkeled for a while and I read a few pages of my book. We decided to call it a day. Packed up the boat and heading to the boat launch.  We got the boat out and then the sun came out. All in all we had a good day not what we expected but it was a good day. Sometimes you just have to take what comes. Plans change and expectations are not what you expected. You just have to roll with it. I just want to end today’s blog with a picture I took over Memorial Day weekend on Saginaw Bay at sunset. It is a true picture of why I love to boat.  It is times like this where everything in my world seems right.

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Chicken Bacon Pesto Pasta

2 chicken breast sliced in half and grilled with Morton’s season salt.

1 ear of corn

1/2 of box of pasta (whatever you prefer I used Orecchiette pasta)

6 sundried tomatoes sliced

10 slices of bacon cooked and chopped into bite size pieces.

5 leafs of basil

tub of fresh mozzerella balls small ones

1/2 cup or more of pesto (homemade or store-bought)

 

Yesterday I grilled two chicken breast cut in half with Morton’s season salt and an ear of corn.  I then cooked the pasta according the directions.  I had earlier in the day cooked about 10 slices of bacon in the oven. I think there was more but I ate a few.  I placed the cooked pasta in a large salad bowl and chopped the chicken into bit size pieces added them to the bowl. I took the slices of bacon and did the same.  I then took my corn on the cob and cut the pieces of corn off and added them to the bowl.  I make pesto every year and freeze them in ice cubes tray then put them into a freezer bag to use later. So I took out 3 cubes which is ½ cup of pesto and let it set out and defrost.  Then I added it to the pasta mixture. I also added chopped sundried tomatoes.  I went out to my garden and took 5 basil leafs and  cut them in chiffonade style and put into the salad. Next I took little mozzarella balls and cut them in half.  Then I stirred the salad and add olive oil until coated well with pesto and olive oil.  I am not sure if you even had pesto before but the flavor it out of the world. You really don’t need any other seasoning. You can add a little salt but is not needed.

 


Jacked Up Grilled Potatoes and Onions

What goes better with steak? Why potatoes of course.  These are not your average grilled potato and onions. I have been looking for something different to try on the grilled to change up my grilled potatoes.  Well I found it.  I was reading this recipe online where you take a Vidalia onion and add a beef bouillon to it and grill it.  Which I am sure is great but why not add potatoes to that and make it even better.  These potatoes will melt in your mouth. They have such great flavor. I know my pictures do not even do this dish justice but they are definitely a must try.

 

First I took two sheets of aluminum foil and lay them over each other to form a T. Then I butter the top sheet by rubbing a stick of butter of it. This will help the potatoes from sticking to the foil.  I slice up the potatoes and onions. Place them in the center of the T.

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Then I add pads of butter to the potatoes and onions. I then took two beef bouillon cubes and crushed them into small pieces and sprinkled them over the potato and onions. (This is what makes these potatoes so jacked up.)

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I also sprinkled some all season salt and sea salt over the potatoes.  Then with my hands I toss the potato and onions until everything is mixed well.

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Fold up on side and then the other. Then I take another piece of aluminum foil and rolled the package until completely covered again.

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Place this on the grill for about 30 minutes on medium heat. Each grill is different. You will hear the butter sizzling when it is almost done.  You can check but make sure if you open it up to check it you sealed it well before putting it back on the grill.  Trust me on this.  Fire will happen.

Here is the ingredient list I used for two people.

2 russet potatoes

1/2 vidalia onion

1/2 stick of butter or less. ( I used less but forgot to measure)

2 cubes of beef bouillon

1 teaspoon or more of all season salt

dash of sea salt

I hope you enjoy it. I will now be making this more over this summer.  It is very addicting. The flavor of the beef bouillon just Jack’s up the traditional grilled potatoes and onions. Try it and see for yourself.

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