April 28, 2011 § 3 Comments

There are many times in our lives when what you need to do isn’t really what you want to do.  Most of us suck it up and move forward with the need rather than the want; however, even though the “need” decision is made, it doesn’t mean it’s any easier if it isn’t what you “want”.  

I was googling around and found this quote by an American author and poet. She’s makes a good point…

“If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude.” – Maya Angelou

Often, life is about acceptance.   Acceptance of need vs want.  Acceptance of loss vs gain.  Acceptance of love vs hate.   Acceptance is so much about releasing whatever it is that has a hold on you and allowing yourself to change your attitude.  To quit fighting it.  If you can do this, then you can release that negative energy into the universe.  The end result is a release which enable you to move forward to create a happier existence. 

So my goal today is acceptance of the inevitable.  To let what is to be – be, and in the end, may happiness abound.


Fully Loaded Potato Salad

April 25, 2011 § Leave a comment



This is my adaptation of a potato salad my mother-in-law made one evening last summer.   My husband and I loved it so much that I immediately came home and made it the next day.  This version of potato salad is like eating a bake potato fully loaded with all the fixings.  The only twist is the lemon.  Don’t omit it though.  It is a must in this salad and won’t taste the same without it. 

My prediction…This potato salad recipe will end up being the only version you’ll ever make again.

Fully Loaded Potato Salad

  • 3 lbs or 5-6 medium russet potatoes
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1/4 cup flat leaf parsley, chopped
  • 2 green onion, chopped
  • Zest from 1/2 a lemon, plus its juice
  • 1 tablespoon cider or champagne vinegar
  • 3-4 slices of bacon, cooked crisp
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon fresh ground pepper

Place russet potatoes into a large pot with salted water.  Boil potatoes until fork tender.  Remove from water and let cool on cutting board.  In a medium size bowl, combine the mayo, sour cream, parsley, green onion, lemon zest, lemon juice, vinegar, salt and pepper.  Set aside.  Cook the bacon in a pan until crisp.  Drain on a paper towel.  Once the potatoes have cooled, remove skins and cut into small chunks.  Add the potatoes to the dressing mixture.  Toss to coat.  Just before serving, chop the bacon into small bits and incorporate 1/2 of the bits into the salad.  Sprinkle other half onto the top.  Eat it up.

Note: Recipe can be double to accommodate a larger crowd.

Bird Nest Treats

April 22, 2011 § Leave a comment

This a great activity to do with the kids during Spring Break or on Easter Sunday.  They taste so good and are extremely easy to make.  They are pretty much an irresistible sweet treat.  These nests make perfect Easter favors too.

Bird Nest Treats

  • 1-12 oz bag of semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 3 1/2 cups of chow mein noodles
  • 1 bag of either Cadbury mini eggs, jelly beans, or Hershey’s candy coated chocolate eggs

In a double boiler, melt the entire bag of chocolate.  You can also melt the chocolate in the microwave, 30 seconds at a time (I prefer this way).  Once the chocolate is melted, add the chow mein noodles.  Carefully mix together trying not to break the noodles.  When coated, place small piles of chocolate noodles on wax paper.  Let the kids decorated the top with the candy eggs.  Let dry at room temp. for at least a couple of hours.  Makes about 18 nests.

Jumping in with both feet

April 20, 2011 § 4 Comments

I’ve had the unbelievable opportunity to be able to be a stay-at-home Mom for a couple of years now.  I have (without a doubt) loved every minute of it.  But alas, as all good things do, this precious time will soon be ending.  Due to many circumstances beyond our control, I am going back to working at a job outside the home.   In a twist of fate, my husband will soon be taking on my role and responsibilities as a stay-at-home Dad.  We are both embracing this soon-to-be transition and are committed to jumping in with both feet

One of the home responsibilities he will be taking on is cooking the family dinner.  We are old school in tradition.   Our family sits down and eats a home cooked meal almost every night.  It is our time together after a busy day of crazy schedules.  We love this time and truly cherish it. 

Last weekend was my husband’s first opportunity to show off his cooking skills.  For a man who had only cooked a handful of items in the past, he rose to the challenge and didn’t disappoint.  Sunday morning, I ran to the store and picked up dinner items I knew were easy to fix.  Timing is a big trick to cooking.  It can be a challenge to get everything on the table, hot and ready to eat all at the same time.  The outcome after his efforts – an amazing meal.  The table was set with beautiful tulips.  Everything was cooked perfectly and tasted like he’d made this meal a hundred times before.  I would have never guessed this was his first time.  I only gave him quick instructions for each item, he did all the rest himself.  He has talents I never knew existed.

I’m looking forward to many more “meals a la Brian”.  I’m thinking BBQ’d ribs…


Brian’s Menu

Grilled Chicken Breast with a sweet dijon marinade

Grilled Adelle chicken apple sausage

Baby red potatoes oven roasted with extra virgin olive oil and seasoning

Tomato, Basil and mozzarella salad dressed with extra virgin olive oil

Artichokes cooked in seasoned water and served with mayo

Note: All recipes available upon request.  E-mail me at for info.

Fridge Friday: Triple Play Taco Bake

April 15, 2011 § 4 Comments


The “Fridge Friday” idea came to me at the end of last week when we had eaten everything from our weekend shopping trip and hadn’t yet been to the store to replenish our supply.  I looked around in the fridge for something to fix for dinner.  There wasn’t much but thought I might be able to make something with all the miss match items that remain.   I was up for the challenge.  A little meat, a little cheese, some torillas…Voila!   The result: Triple Play Taco Bake. 

Taking inspiration from the start of baseball season, I felt the Triple Play Taco Bake was the perfect name for the dish.  So, I know you want to ask what the triple play is in this recipe.  It stands for Easy, Tasty and Affordable.   This truly says it all.

I am so happy with the way this turned out, I will be posting a “Fridge Friday” every month.  I’m so excited to see what’s next.  Aren’t you?

FYI…Some of the measurements I have listed are a little odd since much of what I used was a leftover ingredient.  Also, the ground beef and tomato sauce were from the freezer.  They weren’t used up the first time, so I froze them.  They definitely came in handy.

Triple Play Taco Bake

  • 1/2 lb cooked ground beef
  • 9 oz tomato sauce
  • 1 tablespoon taco seasoning
  • 1/3 cup pico de gallo salsa
  • 6 oz Colby jack cheese, grated
  • 2 oz cheddar cheese, grated
  • 3  flour tortillas, burrito size
  • 10 grape tomatoes, cut into quarters
  • 2 green onions, chopped
  • 6 black olives, sliced

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  In a bowl, combine the tomato sauce, meat, taco seasoning and salsa.  Put a bit of canola oil in the bottom of a casserole dish.  Put in a couple of tablespoons of sauce in with the oil.  Spread evenly on the bottom of the dish.  Add a tortilla (trim to fit, if need be).  Now layer  1/3 of the sauce onto tortilla.  Add 1/3 of the Colby cheese.  Repeat 2 more times until you have 3 layers.   On top the third layer, put the remaining 2 oz of cheddar cheese, grape tomatoes, green onion and olives.  Cover with foil.  Cooking in oven for 40 minutes.  After the first 30 minutes, remove foil and cook the remaining 10 minutes uncovered.


April 12, 2011 § 1 Comment

Bubbles, bubbles in the tub,

it’s time to get in for a scrub.

Bubbles make me laugh and smile.

They make me want to soak awhile.

Bubbles have a special power.

They make me stay in the tub an hour.

Oh, and have you heard?

Bubbles can make a santa beard.

Without my evening bubble bath,

Mom and Dad would hear my rath.

Bubble baths keep me happy, it’s true.

I hope bubbles can do that for you. 

                                                  – Graham

The Quick Fix

April 11, 2011 § Leave a comment

I cannot tell you how many times I’ve  started cooking something and gone to the fridge to get an ingredient only to find it was spoiled, there wasn’t enough or was completely missing.  What to do now?  I don’t want to run to the store for one item, plus I have other things on the stove cooking.  Here are a few tricks to helping you either get that missing item or substitute it with something else. 


Buttermilk is a staple in baking.  It has a ton of flavor and actually helps your baked goods rise to be light and fluffy.  This is an ingredient that is actually very easy to make.

1 cup whole milk or low-fat milk

1 tablespoon white vinegar or lemon juice (I’ve also used cider vinegar when in a pinch)

Stir to combine.  Let stand at room temp. for 15 minutes.  Stir again.  Let sit for another 15 minutes.  Use or store in fridge.  Will store for about 2 weeks.

Heavy Cream

This substitute for heavy cream cannot be whipped up to make whipped cream.  This is only good for baking or sauces.

3/4 cup milk

1/3 cup melted butter

If you need this mixture it to be thicker (for a sauce), add 1-2 tablespoons flour to melted butter then add the milk.

Sour Cream

This isn’t as quick a fix as the others above, but will work nicely if you cannot make it to the store and have these ingredients handy.

2 cups light cream

2 tablespoons buttermilk

Pour ingredients into a hot, clean mason jar or anything with a tight-fitting lid.  Place lid on tightly.  Shake well.  Let set in a warm spot until mixture thickens up (5-8 hours).  Store in fridge.  Mix well before serving.  Will last in fridge for about 2 weeks.

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