Monday, December 31, 2012

Blackeyed Peas, Cabbage, Turnip Greens & Glazed Pork Loin Chops

Southern traditions run deep in our family and as we ring in 2013 we will be celebrating the day enjoying many of our New Years Day traditions. I have blackeyed peas soaking and all the other delicious foods for the day prepped, marinated and ready to cook.

My Mother always told me these are the reasons why she prepared these foods on New Years Day:

Blackeyed Peas are for GOOD LUCK. 
Cabbage and Turnip Greens are for WEALTH.
Glazed Pork Loin Chops (in lieu of Ham, Hog Jowl, or Fatback) for GOOD HEALTH.

I pray many blessings for you and your family in the New Year!  

Bon Appetit & Happy New Year!

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Birthday Board

I love this idea and think I need to make one of these boards to keep up with our growing family birthday's.  Thought I would share!

Looking Ahead to 2013

As I look back on 2012 and as I look ahead to 2013 I have decided to get back to blogging; I missed sharing with you guys.

It's 12.30.12 and this weekend I have created our 2013 Home Budget, finished our meal planning for the next two weeks, grocery shopped and prepped our meals for this week.

For me, a new year is not about resolutions, it's about getting back into a routine and following my heart to be a better me. Now you may say "oh she's making resolutions" but for me I'm ready for a fresh start and as I look forward to 2013, I plan to do the following:

1) Be a better wife.
2) Read the bible daily.
3) Eat cleaner and healthier.
4) Exercise more.
5) Travel.
6) Enjoy life.

We are planning to eat cleaner and healthier eating fresh fruits, vegetables and fresh meats, eating smaller portions, starting the day with breakfast and put exercise back into our daily routine. This will help Terry and I feel better and hopefully in the long run look better as well.

The past few months, I have started meal planning for the upcoming week, prepping the meals (in 45 mins to an hr on Sunday afternoons) so either in the morning before work I can put dinner in the crock pot, or just put it in the oven for 1/2 hour when we get home from work. This saves so much time and frustration trying to figure out what to make for dinner each night, last minute trips to the grocery, etc. This also saves money, planning your meals in advance, buying only what's on your grocery list will save you $$ when you go to check out.

Many of you are aware of the Lifestyle Plan that I wrote several years ago. I don't use the four letter word (diet), it just add pounds. LOL! I prefer to say I'm on a Lifestyle Plan and after trying numerous diet plans, I combined several and wrote my own 7-7-7 Lifestyle Plan with daily food journals weight/measurement journals and exercise journal several years ago. I was very successful but have fallen off the wagon the past year or two. It really does help you keep track and stay on track. I set small goals that are attainable not large goals that I can't meet that leave me feeling depressed for not reaching them. With every pound I lose, I put $5 in a envelope so when I reach one of my attainable goals I can buy myself something new or I can continue saving the $$ to go towards my new wardrobe when I reach my goal. For me its all about being comfortable in my own skin, not what I weigh or what size I wear. I learned a long time ago that I have to be happy with myself in my own skin not what others think of me or see me as.

Now on to today's meal:

I have "Fiesta Chicken Soup" cooking. It smells delicious and is only 112 calories per cup. Here is the recipe if you'd like to try it sometime.

Slow Cooker Fiesta Chicken Soup
Slow Cooker Fiesta Chicken Soup
Yields: 8 | Serving size: 1 cup | Calories: 112 | Previous Points: 2 | Points Plus: 3 | Total Fat: 2 g | Saturated Fats: 1 g | Trans Fats: 0 g | Cholesterol: 21 mg |Sodium: 220 mg | Carbohydrates: 13 g | Dietary fiber: 3 g | Sugars: 1 g | Protein: 12 g
  • 1/2 tablespoon olive oil for sautéing
  • 1/2 cup diced onion
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 (15 oz.) can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 (15 oz.) can kidney beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 (4.5 oz.) can diced green chili peppers
  • 1 (14.5 oz.) can diced tomatoes
  • 1 1/2 cups chicken broth, low sodium, fat free (use an additional 1/2 cup for a soup)
  • 1 cup frozen or fresh corn
  • Juice from 1 lime
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper (more or less to taste)
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • Kosher or sea salt to taste
  • 1/2 cup freshly chopped cilantro
  • 2 chicken breasts fillets, skinless, cut into 1-2” cubes (no need to pre-cook)
Sauté onion in olive oil over medium-low heat until tender, about 5 minutes. (This step is optional. If you prefer simply add all the ingredients to the slow cooker and eliminate the oil.)
Add sautéed onion and all remaining ingredients to the slow cooker, stir to combine. Cover and cook on low 6-8 hours.
This recipe is featured in our cookbook, Skinny Ms. Slow Cooker.

Until my next blog post, Bon Appetit!

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Southern Chess Squares

I needed a quick recipe for a work function and you must try this recipe; it's so easy and delicious!

 Southern Chess Squares

 1 yellow cake mix (dry mix)

1 egg slightly beaten

1 stick butter (softened)

1 box confectioners’ sugar

3 eggs slightly beaten

1 8 oz. cream cheese (softened)

Preheat oven to 350. Grease a 9 x 13 Pyrex dish with cooking spray. In a bowl blend with a spoon yellow cake mix, 1 egg slightly beaten and softened butter until blended like dough. Press this mixture into bottom of Pyrex. Next with your mixer, mix together confectioners’ sugar, remaining 3 eggs and softened cream cheese until well blended. Pour this mixture over your uncooked crust mixture and bake at 350 for 35 minutes. Let cool. Cut in 24 squares.

Bon Appetit!

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Addtional Info for the Stuff Pork Chop Recipe of last post

I have decided the next time I make this recipe I am going to add some roasted walnuts and a little nutmeg to the stuffing filling and will use sour cream in lieu of whipping cream in the topping with a few roasted walnuts crumbled on top.

Gourmet Boneless Pork Chops Stuffed w/Gorgonzola & Apples

You have GOT to try this recipe! It is simply Easy Gourmet cooking and delicious. I honestly thought this would take a long time to prepare but it was quick and super easy.

2 boneless pork chops
1 chopped fresh garlic glove
1 chopped green apple (use 2 apples for 4 pork chops)
1 container Gorgonzola Cheese Crumbles
1 tsp butter
1/4 tsp Thyme
Whipping Cream or Half & Half

In a hot skillet add butter, peeled and chopped garlic clove, chopped green apple and thyme until starting to soften and brown approx 3-5 minutes over medium heat. Remove from heat, transfer to a bowl and add 1/2 of your gorgonzola cheese crumbles; stir together.

Take your pork chops (depending on their size), either cut a slit in the side so you can stuff or if larger chops you can just stuff the center, fold over and toothpick the end. Take your cheese/apple mixture and stuff your pork chops, being sure not to overstuff them.

Once you have stuffed your pork chops, in a hot buttered skittet, brown the chops on each side 3-4 minutes per side then place in preheated oven on 400 for approx 10 minutes until done. (Optional: you can grill your chops 3-4 minutes each side on medium heat then turn heat down to low for approx 7-10 minutes until done.)

While the chops are browning on each side, in a separate sauce pan, add your remaining gorgonzola cheese and add 2 TBSP of whipping cream or half & half and whisk over low heat until melted. Be sure not to burn (if you want a thinner topping add more cream). FYI...I just made this dish and I personally didn't like the cream sauce on top.

Once you take your cooked chops out of the oven, place each one on a plate and drizzle the hot cheese mixture over the top and serve with fresh sauted vegetables.

This dish didn't take long to prep or prepare, I thought it would take longer but it was easy, quick and delicious.

Bon Appetit!

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Catching Up!

Sorry it's been so long since my last post. We have had a lot going lately. I think things should be settling back down so I can at least make weekly posts.

Yesterday, Terry & I hosted a family wedding shower for my niece Sarah Melton. We served Southern Favorites and Sarah's favorites as well. Nana's Individual Banana Puddings, Chicken Salad in Phyllo Pastry Shells, Brad Melton's BBQ Sliders, Smoked Tuna Dip fresh from the gulf, Southern Style Powdered Sugar Sprinkled Brownies, Chocolate Covered Strawberries, Southern Sweet Tea, Bottled Coca-Cola's and Bottled Water. It was delicious and a hit!

I'm going thru recipes and will be posted some good and easy summer recipes soon!

Have a blessed day!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Grilled Hawaiian Chicken w/Fresh Pineapple

Grilled Hawaiian Chicken Served with Grilled Vegetables

Easy and simple grilled chicken recipe:
4-6 Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts
½ bottle Worcestershire Sauce
½ Lg Can Pineapple Juice
Cavender’s Greek Seasoning
Fresh Pineapple - cut in rings

If you have thick chicken breast, pound them down with a meat mallet (this also tenderizes them).
Rub honey on both sides of the breasts and sprinkle with Cavender’s Greek Seasoning (both sides).

In a large bowl, mix ½ lg. can of pineapple juice with ½ bottle of Worcestershire Sauce and place your chicken breasts in marinade after rubbing with honey and adding seasoning. Be sure the marinade covers the breasts; you may need to add more liquid to your marinade. Cover and let marinate for 1-2 hours preferably but if you only have 30 minutes that is fine too.

Cut your fresh pineapple in rings and brush with butter then rub with honey on both sides.
Heat your grill and spray with cooking spray so your breasts do not stick to grill. Place your chicken breasts on the HOT grill for approx 10-12 minutes on each side. In the last 2 minutes of grilled, add your fresh pineapple rings 1 minute per side and remove from grill. BTW, fresh grilled pineapple is delicious with any meat you choose to grill. Serve your chicken breasts topped with grilled pineapple.

Here are a few easy Grilled Vegetable Recipes to go with your Hawaiian Chicken or any other meat you choose to grill:

Balsamic Broccoli – Take fresh or frozen broccoli and place inside two large strips of aluminum foil. Drizzle with Balsamic Vinegar and a little olive oil and then sprinkle with Cavender’s Greek Seasoning. Fold foil over to cover the broccoli and be sure the sides are closed and place on grill for approx 20-30 minutes in the foil to steam and cook. You can also add a little Italian dressing to the veggies in lieu of just adding olive oil to change the flavor profile.

Squash & Onions – Take fresh squash 1-2 large pieces and 1 sweet yellow onion and cut in slices. Place inside two pieces of aluminum foil and drizzle with olive oil, garlic powder and sprinkle Cavender’s Greek Seasoning. Fold foil over to cover the squash and onions and fold up the sides and place on grill for approx 20-30 minutes. Feel free to add fresh Zucchini to this mix or do the same with Zucchini and Onion. You can also add a little Italian dressing to the veggies in lieu of just adding olive oil to change the flavor profile.

Fresh Grilled Corn on the Cobb - Take fresh corn on the cobb, rub with butter, sprinkle with a little black pepper and add 2 tsp. milk to each cobb after placing inside separate aluminum foil pieces and fold up the edges of the foil then steam on the grill for approx 20-30 minutes inside the foil, take out of the foil and grill on each side of the cobb approx 1-2 minutes for each side. You can add honey to your butter and then rub honey butter on your uncooked corn. You can also add a little blackening seasoning in lieu of pepper to kick it up a notch.

Bon Appétit!

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

When is enough, enough?

I am hoping this blog post doesn't offend anyone but I am very annoyed today and not sure what to do next. Let me give you the back story here.

We moved to Jackson, TN back the end of July. The first three months we were bombarded with local churches stopping by, ringing the door bell, inviting us to church, inviting us to dedicate our life to the Lord, leaving literature. If I was home I spoke to these individuals letting them know we are CHRISTIANS. A couple of the local churches continue, even today, to come by during the day and ring the door bell again (typically while my husband is sleeping after closing the restaurant the night before and it not only wakes him up but sends our dogs in a barking tissy). Several months ago I made a Christian Home sign with a cross and no-soliciting over our door bell which seemed to help some. There is also a huge metal cross decor piece on our front door.

The churches we visited when we first moved here didn't even come by the house instead they sent emails, letters or postcards thanking us for attending and welcoming us to come back again. I understand outreach ministries but when the same churches keep coming again and again after we have told them we are Christians and have a church home, what do we do short of calling the pastor and asking them to stop coming to our home? It honestly feels like we are being harrassed to try there church. Were do you draw the line?

I am a CHRISTIAN. I proclaim HIM as my Lord and Savior. I read HIS word. I pray. I am active in church. I strive to live my life in christ like manner. My husband is a CHRISTIAN. I am all for proclaiming HIS name but not in a harrassing way. You should live your life with a christian walk but not by hounding and harrassing others to come to your church or dedicate your life to the Lord in their presence. Ours isn't the only house they hit, they go to all the houses in our neighborhood. I am a BELIEVER and I'm Aggrevated. What are the non-believers thinking?

Suggestions are appreciated.


A Frustrated Christian

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Ding-Dong - Psalm 34:8

Ok, so how many of you enjoyed an occasional ding-dong as a kid? I did and this week my Boss's wife sent a Ding-Dong Cake to work and I have to say it was amazing! It looked and tasted just like a ding-dong.

I remember when I used to visit my Grandmother she would walk with me down to Mr. Beek's store in her neighborhood and we would buy ding-dongs; Grandma-ma liked them too!

I thought I would share the recipe with you today. I can't wait to have an occasion to make this recipe one day soon.

Ding-Dong Cake
1 Box Devils Food Cake Mix (mix and bake according to directions)
1 Container (tub) of Chocolate Frosting
1 (8 oz) Cool Whip (thawed)
1 (4 oz) Cream Cheese (softened at room temp)
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar

Make cake mix according to directions; using 2 round cake pans for a 2 layer cake. Cool the layers completely and stack bottom layer on your cake plate. For the filling, mix the softened cream cheese (at room temperature) with the powdered sugar and then fold in the thawed cool whip. Put the filling mixture between the two cake layers. Place the top layer on top of the filling layer. For the topping place the chocolate frosting container in the microwave for 30 seconds, stir and then drizzle all over the cake so it will run over top and down the sides. Refrigerate Cake (I personally recommend you use the chocolate fudge icing (any brand is good) and you might want to get a 2nd container so you have plenty to cover the cake).

Psalm 34:8 "O taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the one who takes refuge in Him".

Bon Appetit!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Pink Eye & Chicken Burritos

So I woke up today with pink eye. I have no kids and I am a hand washing, hand santizing freak...Shouldn't be contagious after tomorrow with 24 hours of meds.

When I got home from the doctor I went through the pantry and freezer and made chicken burritos in the crock pot. Easy recipe...just put a package of frozen boneless, skinless chicken tenderloins in the crock pot, add 1 can of rotel tomatoes, 1 cup sour cream and 1 package spanish rice. Cooked on high for 4 hours. Served on flour tortillas. A delicious and easy dinner!

While dinner was cooking and I was enjoying a nap thanks to Benedryl, the dogs went nuts and I look out and "Chance" a neigbors dog from the next neighborhood over, was across the street making his way to our house. When he gets out he always ends up at our house and I take him back home. He is a black/white boxer mix that was rescued a few months ago, he is still a puppy but so friendly and affectionate. We rescue him about once every week or so, but afraid that soon he will become the 5th member of our family... for now Terry or I always take him back home.

This is the day the Lord has made and I will rejoice and be glad in it (even with pink eye)

Have a blessed day! Try the chicken burritos they are delicious!

Bon Appetit!

Thursday, March 8, 2012

My Grandmother, My Mentor, My Rock

Heaven gained an angel last night as my Grandmother went home to be with the Lord. We, her family, was gathered around her rejoicing and weeping as she drew her last breath here on earth and made her heavenly journey. She had a gathering of family and friends awaiting her heavenly arrival as well; her Momma, Daddy, brother and sister, her daugther and her husband, my daddy, her two husbands, cousins and many other family and friends were there by God's side greeting her with open arms and today she is walking the streets of gold, no longer in need a walker, wheelchair or any assistance from us. Her homegoing was peaceful after a battle with leukemia.

My Grandmother was a spiritual woman. She loved the Lord, had a gentle spirit and a servants heart. Many people stay I take after my Grandmother that way, which is such a compliment. I spent boo-kuttles of time at my Grandmother's house growing up from infant until she moved into the assisted living, 6 years ago. We moved to FL right after and every visit home included time spent with my Grandmother. Since we moved back to TN last July, I have spent many hours by her side and would not have traded a minute of it.

I have so many grand memories with my Grandmother. I always LOVED spending time with my Grandmother and so many of my memories throughout my life revolve around Grandma-ma.

She was self-employed as a seamstress so there were always ladies coming ang going from Grandma-ma's house trying on clothes she had made them, derpping off and picking up their alterations and it never failed that I would step on at least 10 straight pins that had fallen into her shag carpet in the bedroom when I came to visit. If there were scraps of fabric leftover she would make me something out of them. Many times she made me dresses, clothes for my dolls, blankets, an apron, a bible cover, a purse and even a scarf/bandana for my hair (when I was a pre-teen and that was in style)...

She was my mentor. She was always telling me she loved me and she was proud of me. She never failed to teach me something when I was with her, whether it was a way to sew, a scriptute verse, a way to be kind to others, a way to show someone I cared, etc. She was a giving and loving person and I have strived to be like her.

She will be missed on this earth but over the course of her 91 years, she touched many lives including mine and I will always remember her sweet spirit, smile and the fact that she LOVED me and was PROUD of me and told me that every time I saw her.

Today Grandma-ma, I am so blessed to have had a Grandmother like you, who loved me, encouraged me, taught me, and who loved to spend time with me. I pray the Lord will use me my next next 50+ years the way he used you every day as you spread his love through all you said and all you did for others. Lord, give me a servants heart and a gentle spirit like my Grandmother for all the days of my life.

I love you and will miss you Grandma-ma but I know I have another angel looking out for me and can't wait until the day I make my journey to Heaven and you and the rest of my heavenly family are there to welcome me with open arms.

God Bless!

Sunday, February 19, 2012

5 Fresh Ingredients to Enhance Any Meal - Do you know what they are?

Personal Update before our blog on 5 Fresh Ingredients...
Sorry it's been a a couple of weeks since my last post but it's been a bit hectic around here. Hope you all had a good Valentine's Day. Terry and I had a delicious Gulf Coast inspired dinner at the house on Valentine's and he showered me with beautiful spring flowers and gave me his heart all over again via a gold and silver heart & key pandora charm for my bracelet. On a different note, I am so proud and excited for my husband, his project - his work, Hadley's (Southern Food Done Right) Restaurant opens tomorrow, Feb. 20th in Jackson, TN. It will be open from 6 am to 10 pm 7 days a week serving breakfast, lunch and dinner in a fast food (made fresh, never frozer) but upscale atmosphere. It's been a long 7 months of hard work on his part since we moved to Jackson but's the first Hadley's is finally opening. If you are in the Jackson area, stop by and try it out. Ok, back to the topic of today's blog...

Today as I am preparing Turkey Chili I am reminded of a few staples I keep around my kitchen and most of these items will enhance just about every meal you prepare.

I keep the following in the crisper of my refrigerator: fresh sweet onion(s), 4-5 full garlic heads, package of fresh rosemary, a package of fresh basil and sharp cheddar cheese (place your onion and garlic in separate zip lock bags in the crisper of your refrigerator to eliminate any odor issues).

Most all recipes I make call for onion and typically if it calls for onion, I usually add a little fresh garlic as well to enhance the flavor of the dish. Depending on the dish, I will chop fresh onion and garlic and saute together in a cast iron skillet or saute' pan before adding to my recipe.

I use fresh rosemary and basil in so many recipes but will add to plain white or brown rice, to yukon, red, or white whole or cubed potatoes and roast with a little olive oil in the oven for a different side item, you can add fresh rosemary to fresh green beans while steaming then transfer to a hot cast iron skillet or saute' pan and add a fresh roasted pine nuts or pecans and it makes a delicious side item. In addition, you can always add to chicken, pork, beef or even seafood when grilling, baking or roasting.

A little cheese can be added to just about anything you may be preparing. When we make fresh salads to go with our dinner, I will grate a fresh cheese over the top to give us a little boost of added protein.

I keep a cabinet full of dry spices which are easily accessible and enhance any and all recipes but from time to time, fresh just gives the recipe added flavor and try to use as many fresh ingredients as possible. We also use Cavender's Greek Seasoning on everything and they make it in salt-free as well which is what I like to use.

BTW, do you have issues chopping onions and tears rolling down your cheeks? When you refrigerate your onion prior to cutting it, it eliminates the tears. Take your onion from the refrigerator and cut immediately. If you are short on time and forgot to refrigerate your onion, place the onion in the freezer for 5-10 minutes then chop.

Let me know if you would like my Turkey Chili Recipe via blog comment and I will be happy to share it with you.

Think about it the next time you go to the grocery...what did Scarlet mention in her blog that I need for my refrigerator?

And God said, “Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is on the face of all the earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit. You shall have them for food." Genesis 1:29

Bon Appetit!

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Recipes & More!

Ok, I am hooked on, formerly Skinny Crock Pot on facebook but now it's a full website with all types of recipes, health tips, fitness tips, beauty tips, etc. I have yet to make a recipe that wasn't absolutely delicious and good for us with lower calories and great taste! You must check it out! I check out this site as much as I check out pinterest and you all know how much we are all addicted to pinterest... :)

This morning while taking care of my sick husband I put dinner in the crock-pot before leaving for work and I love coming home to the aroma of a delicious dinner ready to eat! I was never a big fan of the crock-pot but I have fallen in love with it this fall-winter!

Let me know which are your favorite recipes on SkinnyMs.

Bon Appetit!

Monday, February 6, 2012

It's a new day!

Thank goodness it's a new day!

So let me recap for you...I've worked a lot of extra hours at work, worked from home for the Architect in Destin on his year-end financials and helped Terry as needed with Hadley's all the while in spare time visitng and chekcing on my Mom and Grandmother in Covington. It's been a busy January and February so far. Lsat Saturday, my day off, I worked all day for my husband at Hadleys working on new hire personnel files and getting all the staff in the system for payroll (bonus of not being paid, they showered me with samples of the menu); spend Sunday with Mom taking her to Memphis to check on my Aunt who was in a car accident Saturday afternoon and visiting my Grandmother, while Terry was at a work meeting in Halls. I got home at 4 and started making our super bowl treats. We weren't able to go to our friends house for their annual Super Bowl Commercial Watching Party unfortunately and we were both asleep within 10 minutes of the end of the game. Long workweek last week, busy weekend, busy Monday today and I don't see it letting up anytime soon.

I came home today worn out but I put in Wii Zumba DVD and started dancin'! Our twin nieces always loved Zumba and told me I would love it but I never went to classes with them when we lived in Florida. Guess what? I do love it! I know I probably look a bit ridiculous since I can't get all the moves down but I am moving the entire time the instructor is moving and I have to be honest with you, I have made up some pretty fun routines out of what she shows me and I can't always do what she is doing exactly right but I make the best of it. The good news is that Zumba (so far) doesn't hurt my bad knees like walking or using the treadmill and it works out my entire body. Hope this is successful and I continue to come home and want to Zumba.

On a different note, I don't know if any of you have had to have HRT Hormone Replacement Treatments or not but I am having a hard time finding a treatment my insurance will cover. I do not want to take hormone pills, I want the injections, they work better accroding to so many studies but I might have to find a second job to be able to afford it. My hormones, or lack there of, have caused so many issues with me since my hysterectomy a few years ago, I actually did great and leveled out for about 2 years after my surgery but the last 9 months to a year have been horrible!!!! I look in the mirror and don't recognize the person looking back at me.

Today, I am proclaiming it's a new day! I am thanking God for the weather, the abundance of work for me to do (aka job security), for my health, my family, my friends, and all my babies out there (nieces, nephews, their children, my 4-legged kids, etc.). I am taking charge of my life and going to strive to enjoy each new day!

I might need a pep talk or pick me later in the week but today, Monday, February 6, I'm going to make it!

Take time to hug your babies, your husband, your parents, your friends, tell them you appreciate them and that you LOVE them! You never know what the next hour holds!!!!

Have a blessed day!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

A picture is worth a thousand words...

We have all heard the saying "a picture is worth a thousand words", did you know it originated from a chinese proverb? As I sit at my desk and I surrounded by smiling faces (i.e. pictures of family, friends, children, youth, adults, etc.) and it got me to thinking... How many pictures do you have in a box or a drawer in your house or stored on your camera? It's time to pull them out and share your life's story with others.

I had several blonde moments when I could not figure out how to print the pictures that we post to facebook. I don't have a photo printer at the house and other than clicking and printing I had uploaded photos from my iphone and our nikon to facebook directly and still couldn't print the ones on facebook or print facebook pictures I was tagged in. Thanks to ALICE EARLE I was able to copy pictures from facebook to my laptop picture file and then send those prints to snapfish which in turn sent me 50 free pictures for my first order (I love FREE!!!).

Anyway, with that said I found myself with LOTS of pictures but not enough frames to showcase them. I changed out photos and then added frames and it is so pleasing and peaceful to look around our home and see beautiful smiling faces looking back at me. I am using pictures as accents in our home and just LOVE having frames everywhere.

I challenge you to print off or unbox your family pictures and update your frames around the house, add new frames and hang your family photos on the walls. When you are having a bad day, just look around your home or office and someone you love will be smiling back at you!!!

Have a blessed day!

Monday, January 23, 2012

Life worth Living

"Do what makes you HAPPY

Be with those who make you SMILE

LAUGH as much as you BREATHE

LOVE as long as you LIVE"

This saying is above my desk in the kitchen.

It's funny how your life changes, whether you have planned out every detail or flown by the seat of your pants, your plan for life may not have worked out just as you had it planned out in your head as child, teen, young adult or even as you did when you were thirty-something, forty-something or fifty-something. I gave my life to the Lord when I was 7 and my life definitely has not worked out like I planned it but I have to believe it has worked out the way the Lord planned it.

I have always been a planner and organizer but as life has changed, I have had to learn to roll with the punches and be spontaneous. I do my best to do what makes me HAPPY. I strive to be with those who make me SMILE. I LAUGH just about as much as I Breathe and I LOVE open heartedly and hope to do so as long as I live. The Lord teaches us to love one another, to give of our time and offerings and to serve the Lord and others.

When my time comes to leave this world and join my earthly Daddy and heavenly Father in Heaven I want to be remembered as someone who was HAPPY, SMILED, LAUGHED and LOVED among other things.

I encourage you to live life to the fullest! Make whatever changes you need to make to make yourself HAPPY. Remember to LAUGH. Remember to SMILE and remember to LOVE yourself as well as others.

Have a blessed day!


I was so thrilled to be able to have lunch and visit with some of my dear friends this weekend (Andrea, Dave, Connor, Libby, Scott, Angela & Hailey); I haven't seen them since 2007. The kids have grown, they were so polite and just adorable, each with their own little personalities. It's funny, even thought it's been years since we have actually seen each other, we picked right up where we left off the last time we saw each other. I have to say I am so thankful for Facebook because we are able to keep up with each others lives, check out photos of the family, kids and milestones in their lives.

I am hoping I won't have to wait another 5 years to see them. I so need to make a trip to Charlotte to visit soon!!!

I am so blessed to have such treasured friendships. A friend loves at all times. Proverbs 17:17

Praying BLESSINGS for all my friends. Love you all!!!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Perfect Roast Every Time

You know you've made the perfect Roast when you pull into the garage and smell it before you ever get out of your car!!!

This morning before leaving for work I put a Roast in the crock-pot and I'm so excited now to come home from work and have dinner be ready to serve.

The key to the perfect crock-pot Roast is lots of onions (fresh chopped onions, Campbell's French Onion Soup in a Can and dry onion soup mix package) and cooking it on HIGH in your crock-pot for 6-8 hours. If you try to cook a Roast on low, it may take a couple of days to get it good and tender and I love me some tender Roast.

I typically will brown my Roast in each side in my cast iron skillet then place it in a hot crock-pot (I drizzle a little Olive oil in the bottom so it won't stick). I add Cavender's Greek Seasoning to both sides of the Roast, place it in the hot crock-pot. Add 1/4 cup worcheshire sauce. Add 1 can of Campbell's French Onion Soup Mix. Add fresh carrots, whole peeled red or white potatoes, fresh chopped onions, 1 pkg of dry onion soup mix on top (today I added a 2nd can of Campbells French Onion soup because I had it in the pantry). Cover and cook on HIGH for 6-8 hours. The finished product is a very flavorful, tender Roast.

BTW, I love Crock-Pot cooking. This is new for me, I never liked it before but to put dinner in a pot and cut it on and 8 hours later come home from work and have your dinner cooked fresh, your house smelling like the spent all day preparing a delicious meal, is priceless to me. I have been cooking something in the crock-pot at least once a week for the past few months trying different recipes from the Ms. Skinny website (previously the Skinny Crock-Pot recipes from Facebook). They have delicious, healthy, low calorie recipes that anyone can make and have a great family meal. Check it out at I have tried a couple of their Ms. Skinny Oven recipes as well, all delicious.

Well, time for Roast. Try my recipe, you will love it!

Bon Appetit!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Turkey Ziti...Its what's for dinner tonight!

Here's a simple, low calorie recipe that I thought I would share with you.

Baked Ziti (low calorie-heart healthy recipe)

1 pound ground turkey breast
2 jars Bertalla Tomato & Basil Spaghetti Sauce (use low sodium or sugar free if you can find it)
1 small can tomato sauce (or you can puree 2 fresh tomatoes)
Fresh Garlic, peeled
1/2 onion-diced
2 Tbsp. Basil
2 Tbsp. Parsley Flakes
1 Teaspoon Oregano
2 Tbsp. Cavender's Greek Seasoning
1 box Whole Wheat Rigatoni or Ziti
1 cup low fat cottage cheese
1 cup skim mozzarella cheese, shredded
1 cup low fat ricotta cheese

Brown your ground turkey breast draining any grease. Add your garlic and onion, saute. Add tomato sauce and spaghetti sauce. Add your dry seasonings. Mix your cheese mixture up in a separate bowl. Boil your pasta as directed and drain.

Spray a 9x13 pyrex dish lightly with PAM cooking spray. Add 1/2 your cooked ziti-pasta mixture. Top with 1/2 of your meat sauce. Add your cheese mixture. Top with remaining ziti then add top layer of remaining meat sauce. Place in oven on 350 and bake uncovered for 25-30 minutes. Serve hot with a fresh garden salad.

Delicious and approx. 310 calories per 8 oz.serving.

Bon Appetit!

Little Blessings...

Little Blessings…

Thought I would share with you some blessings that have come my way.

When we moved to Jackson back in the summer, I was able to spend time getting our home settled and spent a lot of time with our ailing family. I also began my mission to look for work. I finally landed a job in early November in a position that I am over qualified and paid much less than I am accustomed but I have learned to enjoy my M-F 8-4 job with very little responsibility and I count that a BLESSING. It is such a relief not to worry about work at night and not be the one who is called every time the alarm sounds or some emergency arises.

My 11 year old SUV died on me in late November and after much searching we found a gently used luxury SUV for a great low price and today I paid my first car note in many years. I count that a BLESSING because I have a great vehicle that I should have paid off in less than 3 years and have a better trade in value when I upgrade for new in 2014.

I am still able to work remotely on a quarterly for the Architect in Destin and I worked a few evenings that last two weeks on his 4th quarter accounting needs and made enough to pay my first car note; ding!ding!ding…BLESSING!

I received a call last night through another contact in Destin who is need of my services at night every two weeks for invoicing and payroll. If it all works out, that will be a great form of extra income every two weeks, minimal time on my part and with this extra income it will pay my car note each month. I consider this a BLESSING. Praying I will receive this BLESSING within the next month.

Santa brought us a Gold’s Gym treadmill for Christmas and as I hobbled off it this afternoon, another BLESSING because it gets my heart rate up and works out my tired and stiff muscles.

I made dinner last night for tonight so I don’t have to cook; another BLESSING in my book.

How has God blessed you? Are you thanking Him for the little BLESSINGS in your life? Think about it and say Thanks!

Enjoying my blessings and wishing you many blessings in the days ahead.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Hormones, recipes and more...

As I get older each and every year my body changes and for me these changes are not good. I'm bigger than I've ever been in my life, yes I said it out loud but believe it has to do with major hormone issues or lack there of. Is anyone else out there having hormone issues? I had to have an emergency hysterectomy back in '07 and I had been on so many hormones trying to help all my issues that I refused hormone replacement meds and went the natural herbal route. Well that worked great for a few years but the herbal remedies are full of soy and I am now allergic to soy. I haven't had anything in almost a year and MUST find hormones! Trying to get into to see a doctor here and get lab work done but this is just nuts. The weight gain, the loss of energy, the mood swings and the night sweats have got to go!

I decided this year I am not focusing on unrealistic new years resolutions and goals. This year I just want to be happy being me, in my own skin. Currently not so happy with me in my own skin but working on changing that!

I starting the year planning out our meals each week, selecting healthy and heart-healthy recipes for us that are really simple and easy to prepare. I just love Skinny Ms. website and recipes. I have made a lot of their recipes for the slow cooker and oven and they are low in calories and just delicious. You should check out their website You can take your favorite recipes that you know by heart and look at making those recipes with healthy ingredients. For one, we are using fresh ingredients. Processed foods are not the best for us and I know fresh costs a little more but aren't we worth it? If you plan your meals and make your shopping list before you go to the store, you cut down on purchasing "extra's" that may not be on your plan or that are not good for you.

Anyway, today just talking about what was on my mind. Please post your thougths, any suggestions you have for me regarding my hormone issues and any great healthy recipes you make.

Thanks and Bon Appetit!

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Thoughts on 2012

Happy New Year! 2012 is going to be great year. I know many of you, like me, make New Year’s resolutions and in most cases don't follow through with those resolutions. So this year in lieu of setting resolutions, I am setting achievable goals for myself and our family.

We are writing down our goals and posting them in our home. We are setting milestones along the way so as we achieve a goal we can reward ourselves and more forward to achieve the next goal.

Something I started a while back that I recommend that you do is sit down and plan your weekly menu ahead of time; it helps with grocery shopping and really helps you to plan healthier meal options. Use the internet to search for healthier meal options, you can get recipes from your smartphone, laptop, tablet or Kindle so there's no excuse.

Today, as we celebrate the New Year on January 1, 2012, I am cooking traditional foods like Black-eyed Peas, Cabbage and have Easy Rosemary Chicken in the crock-pot. BTW, if you have not tried Skinny Crock Pot, now called Ms. Skinny Slower Cooker on Facebook, you should take a look. They have delicious, lower calorie recipes that are so easy to make for your crock pot so when leave for work in the morning, your dinner is ready when you get home or for busy Moms, you can let the crock pot do your cooking giving you more time during the day to do what more of your to-do list or give you more time for you.

I always add chicken broth, onions, a teaspoon of sugar and Cavender's Greek Seasoning to my cabbage as it boils. I add the same thing to my black-eyed peas as they simmer on the stove. If I have bacon, I add a little bacon to both but today we have no bacon so just using the above. I boil my cabbage and black-eyed peas for about 1/2 hour on med-high heat, then cover and simmer for several hours.

Wishing you and yours a healthy, happy 2012!!!

Bon Appetit!