Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Do not change yourself to be more dateable!

For those of you who think you are not good enough to be yourself and be loved for who you are, this video is for you! You are beautiful just the way you are.

Do not change yourself to be more "DATEABLE"
Posted by Chris Crocker on Monday, April 27, 2015

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Monday, December 8, 2014

Quick and Easy Snack Ideas: Apple Slices with Yogurt and Granola

Need a quick and easy snack that is full of healthy ingredients and also fulfills that sweet tooth? Try slicing your favorite apple (mine is Fuji because it is so delicate and sweet) and adding a couple of tablespoons vanilla yogurt and top with your favorite granola. Voila!

What is also nice is that you can prepare these in advance (adding a little lemon juice to the apple slices so they do not brown) and throw them in the fridge the night before.

For some variation, change up the fruit. My alternate favorite is sliced strawberries and a handful of blueberries instead of apple slices.
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Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Best Sweet Potato Casserole with Streusel Topping!

Thanksgiving is a time for family fun and much eating and rejoicing. What does one do when one does not like turkey, stuffing, cranberry sauce or sweet potatoes? One eats a sad, lonely plate of tossed salad and green bean casserole, that's what. Until one day, when a sweet long-lost relative comes to the table with an amazing sweet potato/yam casserole with a pecan streusel topping instead of those ill-placed marshmallows. Here is my saving grace this Turkey Day - I hope y'all enjoy!


     Prep. time: 30 minutes
     Baking time: 30-45 minutes
     Yield: 6-8 


Potato Mixture:
  • 3 medium sweet potatoes and 3 medium yams (3 cups)
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 2 TB. butter, softened
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1-1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • 3/4 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/3 Cup sugar
  • 1/4 Cup cream (you may also sub half & half)

Streusel Topping:
  • 4 TB. chilled butter (1/2 stick)
  • 1/4 Cup flour
  • 3/4 Cup packed light brown sugar (dark brown sugar is ok too)
  • 1/2 Cup chopped pecans

  1. Preheat oven to 350°. Lightly grease a 9x13 baking pan and set aside.
  2. Peel, quarter and boil sweet potatoes for 10-15 minutes until fork tender, drain and dry well. Or, pierce 3 sweet potatoes with a fork and microwave until softened. (This can take anywhere from 6-15 minutes, depending on your microwave and the size of the potatoes, so pay attention the first few timesyou do it!)
  3. Repeat with the remaining sweet potatoes.When cool enough to handle, peel the sweet potatoes and place in a mixing bowl. Mash with a fork or potato masher. 
  4. Add the salt, butter, eggs, vanilla, cinnamon, sugar and cream and mix until smooth. Spoon into the baking dish and spread evenly.

 For the Streusel topping: 
  1. In a medium bowl, combine the butter, flour and brown sugar. 
  2. Mix with 2 forks or knives, a pastry blender or your fingers to the consistency of coarse meal. 
  3. Stir in the pecans. Sprinkle over the sweet potato mixture. 
  4. Bake at 350° for 30-45 minutes or until the topping is crisp and lightly browned.

Nutritional Information:
Servings 8; Serving Size 3/4 cup (184g); Calories 360; Calories from fat 140; Total fat 16g; Cholesterol 70mg; Sodium 190mg; Carbohydrate 53g; Dietary Fiber 4g.

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Pumpkin Pie Muffins from Leftover Pumpkin Pie Filling

Do you have leftover pumpkin pie filling that needs something yummy made from it? I don't mean canned pumpkin pie filling, but real, homemade pumpkin pie filling. How about some pumpkin muffins that are not too sweet and perfect for the next morning when you are in complete recovery mode.

While you are waiting for your pie to finish cooling, mix up a batch of these:

1 1/4 cups leftover pumpkin pie filling (this is how much I had leftover)
1 Tbsp baking powder
1 cup flour
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup milk
chopped walnuts or pecans (optional)

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.

In a medium-sized mixing bowl, mix together the leftover pie filling, brown sugar, flour, baking powder, and milk until well blended. I used my KitchenAid mixer with the paddle attachment and it was mixed up in a minute. 

Add 1/2 cup chopped pecans and mix on the lowest setting until mixed throughout the batter.

Coat muffin tray with shortening or you may use paper cups. Pour batter into muffin tins. Fill muffin cups 2/3 of the way full. 

Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes.

Let muffins cool to the touch before placing the muffins on a wire rack to finish cooling completely.

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Sunday, November 16, 2014

My Puppy Love Toby

This is Toby - short for Toblerone. He is my baby. DH and I adopted him a year ago and he is the highlight of my day. How can anyone be grumpy after being greeted by this face each morning? He is the most empathetic, playful and cuddly dog there is. Of course, everyone probably says that about their own dog. And they are all probably right. :)

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Mommy's Meatloaf

Today I bring to you one of my all-time comfy dinners, which is a staple around this house, as well as a tummy healer when sore (it must be the love).

Now, I know you are all thinking, "but, this is meatloaf. How exciting and yummy could this possibly be?"  Well, try it and you'll be converted for life.  The best way to serve this wonderful meatloaf is with your favorite mashed potatoes and one of my other staples: Green bean casserole!

The best thing - correction, the 3 best things about this meal are as follows:
  1. This recipe makes a ton, and it lasts for days (saves a ton of $$$$)
  2. You can prepare it all in advance and bake it whenever you are ready (like after a long stressful day at work!)
  3. Leftover meatloaf sandwiches! I use spicy brown mustard, sliced meatloaf on white bread. It sounds weird, I know, but YUM.

The smells throughout the house when the meatloaf is baking are unbelievably mouth-watering.  Even if you are not hungry when the meatloaf goes into the oven, you sure will be salivating when the oven dings!

And.... ladies and gentlefolk, here is the long-awaited Mommy's Meatloaf recipe, followed closely by the Green Bean Casserole Classic! 

Mommy's Meatloaf

  • 2 lbs ground meatloaf mix (1/3 beef, 1/3 veal and 1/3 ground pork - not sausage meat)
    • You can just use ground beef if your local market does not carry this mealoaf mix.
  • 1 raw egg
  • Italian seasoned breadcrumbs (approximately 1 cup)
  • 1/2 yellow onion
  • 1/2 potato (any kind will do, I use whatever I have laying around, Russet, Red, a few Nu, Yokon, etc)
  • Worcestershire sauce (approximately 1/3 cup)
  • Put the egg, onion and potato in a blender and puree.
  • Mix the puree with all remaining ingredients in a large mixing bowl. 
  • Add more breadcrumbs if the mixture is too wet. You can tell that it is the right consistency when you are able to form a cohesive mass (like a giant meatball) and it stays together while in the mixing bowl.
  • Grease a 9 x 5 bread pan (I cheat and use Pam, but beware Pam has Soy Lecithin which leaves that sticky stuff on your pan that will never come off no matter how hard you scrub!)
  • Roll the ball of meatloaf mixture into the greased bread pan and bake, uncovered at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 1 hour 15 minutes, or until the top is browned and the loaf is cooked fully through.

Green Bean Casserole

  • 1 cup whole milk (or 2 % if trying to reduce the fat)
  • 2 - 14 oz cans cut green beans
  • 1 can condensed cream of mushroom soup
  • 1 can sliced water chestnuts
  • ground black pepper to taste
  • French's Fried Onions

  • Mix all ingredients but the fried onions in a medium baking casserole dish
  • Bake uncovered for 30 minutes or until bubbling
  • Remove from oven and cover with fried onions
  • Place back in oven and bake for 10 minutes or until golden brown.

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Slow Cooker Beef Chili

This is the best and easiest chili recipe I have ever made. You can prep it the night before and put the insert in the fridge. Leave it out on the counter while you get ready in the morning to come to room temp, and turn it on before you leave for work. Coming home to that amazing chili smell on a cold winter evening is what makes the few minutes the night before all worthwhile.


1 large onion, chopped
1 large green pepper, chopped
3-4 cloves of garlic, chopped
1.5 lbs chopped beef, browned
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground oregano
1 tsp ground turmeric
1 tsp ground basil
1 heaping TBSP chili powder
4.5 TBSP red wine vinegar
2 14.5 oz cans diced tomatoes with spicy green chilies
1 15 oz can dark red kidney beans


Brown beef and drain excess fat.  Place beef in bottom of slow cooker.  Layer chopped vegetables on top of beef, then add drained and rinsed kidney beans.  Add all spices and vinegar, then gently mix together all ingredients in slow cooker, carefully not to mush the beans.  

Cook on high for 4 hours or low for 8 hrs.  Serve in a bowl over a bed of white rice, and top chili with shredded sharp cheddar and a dollop of sour cream.

I have mentioned this before, but I LOVE my Zojirushi rice cooker

I can set the rice to be ready at a certain time, so that the rice can be set up the night before, and be ready the next evening along with the chili.

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