Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Irish Soup

I'll be honest. I didn't have any high hopes for this recipe. Ham, potatoes and cabbage were all on sale from St. Patty's day so I threw a soup together to fill the holes on a budget and hopefully taste ok in the process. I think it far surpassed that, though. It turned out really good! My hubby isn't always a big soup fan, especially not a brothey soups, but he said it was great. So, I figured I should write it down so I at least have a chance at recreating it again someday.

Irish Soup

6 c. water
4 tsp. beef bullion
1 lb. cooked ham, diced (I used deli ham)
1 small green cabbage, chopped
3-5 potatoes, diced
garlic powder
salt and pepper

Combine all ingredients in a large pot. Simmer on medium for at least 30 minutes or until potatoes are tender. 

*It goes well with a loaf of warm, crusty bread!

Monday, March 4, 2013

Meal Plan - March 4

Coconut Rice Shrimp Chicken Bowl
Pea and Potato Curry
Pizza with Homemade Ricotta and roasted carrots
Enchiladas and rice

Breakfast Burritos
Egg Salad
Grilled Cheese and Tomato Soup
Oat Milk
Slow Cooker Coconut Rice Pudding
Fig Bars (if needed/wanted)

Happy Cooking!

Friday, March 1, 2013


I am SO excited to share my latest wood working project with you! A new bookshelf/cupboard for the living room created during nap times last week. (Note: projects definitely take longer with a little one around)

We had a couple of old shutters laying around and I've been trying to come up with the perfect way to use them. We've also been wanting a skinny bookshelf for the living room. With the help of some some "Pinspiration" I designed this little gem to satisfy both needs.

Since the shutter is old and distressed, I wanted to the bookshelf to match so I broke out the hammer, screws and other random tools and went to town on the surface! (I must admit I may have enjoyed this a bit too much...) I coated the shelf with a Dark Walnut stain and put three layers of clear sealer on the shutter to keep the paint from chipping any further.

So yep, that's that. I am slightly in love with it. I can't wait to find the fun, funky knob to add to the shutter, too. I'm thinking something with a pop of color, maybe an aqua or teal. Or red. Red is always good.

Until next time.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Gluten Free Protein Pancakes

Happy National Pancake Week! I have a yummy new pancake to share with you in light of the holiday.

Due to some allergy issues in the family, I was recently advised by our physician to not give Bambina gluten until she is at least 1. This was a bit disheartening as we are just starting to explore the world of solid foods and doing Baby-led Weaning I want her to be able to eat what we are eating. So I decided to play around with some pancakes this morning to make something tasty for us, but gluten free for her. These came out nice and fluffy and with the extra eggs, cottage cheese and yogurt the Hubby commented that they filled him up more than normal pancakes which is always a plus around here!

Gluten Free Protein Pancakes
3 eggs
3/4 c. cottage cheese
3/4 c. yogurt (I mixed plain and vanilla)
2/3 c. *rice flour
1/3 c. oats
1 tsp. baking powder

Heat griddle to a medium heat and lightly grease. Mix ingredients in a small bowl until well combined.
Pour batter onto preheated griddle with 1/4 c measuring cup. Flip when small bubbles appear on the surface of the pancake and continue to cook the other side (approximately 2-3 minutes per side) until batter is no longer runny. Makes about 10 4-5 inch pancakes.

*If you don't need them to be gluten free just substitute the rice flour for white or wheat flour.


Monday, February 25, 2013

Meal Plan - Feb 25

I'm really not sure where last week went, but here we are again and it's time to plan for another week of yummy eats.

Chicken and Wild Rice Casserole with roasted veggies
Healthy Mac and Cheese (or at least some variation of this recipe) with roasted veggies or salad

GF Protein Pancakes (recipe coming tomorrow)
Egg Sandwiches
Leftover Chili and Salad
Texas Roadhouse Rolls

Happy Cooking!

Monday, February 18, 2013

Meal Plan - Feb 18

I'm trying to take this week and use more pantry items that I've already purchased so here is what I've come up with...


Potato Chowder (with homemade bone broth) and 5 Minute Naan

Scalloped Potatoes and Beans and Salad



Happy Cooking!

Monday, February 11, 2013

Meal Plan - Feb 11

Here's the scoop for the week:


Spaghetti with homemade Italian Sausage, Homemade French Bread and salad

Cheesy Vegetable Chowder and leftover French Bread

Chicken in a Crockpot with Baked Zucchini Sticks and salad

Chicken Soup (of some variety yet to be determined...)

Sweet and Spicy Ground Turkey and Sweet Potato Stew with Coconut Milk over brown rice (love this dish!)

Shredded BBQ Beef Sandwiches on homemade Hamburger Buns (the last attempt at hamburger buns came out pretty good, but I'm want to see if I can improve on it a little)


Chunky Granola (no oil added) and milk or yogurt
Fried Egg Sandwiches (yep, still on that kick)
Leftover soup...

Happy Cooking!

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Hawaiian Chili

I have a recipe creation to share with you all from last night. I'm pretty happy with the way it turned out. I meshed ideas from a few different sources added in my own twist and this was the result.

Hawaiian Chili

1 lb ground beef
1 onion, chopped
1 can (28 oz) baked beans ( I used Bush's Onion Baked Beans)
2 cans (14 oz) kidney beans
2 cans (28 oz) chopped tomatoes
2/3 can (20 oz) pineapple tidbits, drained (the whole can would probably be fine too if you like pineapple)
1 heaping tsp cumin
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp chili powder (adjust to your spiciness preference)
1 heaping tsp cinnamon
1 tsp thyme 

Brown ground beef and onion. Drain fat if neccessary. Add remaining ingredients. Let simmer for at least 20 minutes to allow flavors to blend. Serve and enjoy.

(This makes a fairly large pot of chili. It works great at our house since hubby is a chili lover, but don't say you weren't warned!)

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Pumpkin Cottage Cheese Muffins

I started out wanting to make these Cranberry Sweet Potato Muffins, but per my usually style I didn't have all the ingredients I needed. So instead of waiting to go the store I reengineered the recipe a bit and came up with these Pumpkin Cottage Cheese Muffins.

Pumpkin Cottage Cheese Muffins
2 Tbsp oil
1/4 c. plain yogurt
1/4 c. brown sugar (increase sugar to 1/3-1/2 c. for a sweeter muffin)
1 mashed banana
1 c. pumpkin purée
1 egg
1/2 c. milk
1 c. cottage cheese
2 c. whole wheat pastry flour
2 tsp baking powder
2 tsp cinnamon 
1/4 tsp cloves
1/4 tsp allspice

Combine first 8 ingredients in a bowl. Add dry ingredients and mix until just blended. Scoop into greased, paper lined or silicon muffin pans. Bake at 350 for 30 minutes or until centers are no longer sticky.

I have to admit I still really want to try the original recipe, too. Sweet potatoes in a muffin just sounds yummy!

Meal Plan - Feb 4

I hope you all enjoyed the weekend festivities! Things were pretty low-key around here, but I'm ok with that.

Today is the start of the Healthy sELF Challenge via The Lean Green Bean. You can get the full details here if your interested. I decided to join so that means tonight is Meatless Monday, but here is the full menu for this week.


Best of Everything Veggie Patties with sauteed mushrooms, homemade Hamburger Buns and Sweet Potato Fries

Spicy Sweet Honey Chili with Corn Bread or Cauliflower "Breadsticks"

Vegetarian Enchilada Casserole with Baked Zucchini Sticks

Broccoli Cheese Soup

Stir Fry with Brown Rice


Fried Egg Sandwiches (still been loving these for lunch post-workout)

Tuna Melts

Banana Pancakes/Waffles (no oil, little sugar and SO fluffy)

Ham and Egg Breakfast Casserole

Pumpkin Cottage Cheese Muffins (recipe coming soon)

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Brownies

Happy Cooking!

Friday, February 1, 2013

5 Minute Ribbon Holder

I've really been into quick, easy projects lately. Might have something to do with a certain 5.5 month old monopolizing my time...

Actually, this little project came about because I was fed up with not being able to find my sewing table. It was buried under piles of supplies that had no home so I decided it was time to build a home at least for my ribbon spools.

Wood scraps from the shop + 5 minutes = no more spools of ribbon scattered across my table. Why I did not do this sooner, I do not know.

5 Minute Ribbon Holder

1 - 1x4 scrap (approx 3.5" long)
1 - 1/4 inch dowel (mine was about 12" long but longer or shorter would work just as well)
wood glue

Drill a 1/4 hole in the center of your 1x4 for the dowel to fit into. Glue dowel in place. Let dry. Add ribbon spools and admire your newly tidied work space.

Would it be cute painted a fun color? Absolutely! Will I ever get around to it? Probably not. Thankfully that does not affect its functiionality.

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Healthy Banana Pumpkin Baked Oatmeal

I always LOVED baked oatmeal growing up, but with a half cup of butter and a cup of sugar it isn't the healthiest way to start your day (though the taste was delish!). I am happy to report that their are much healthier alternatives out there for baked oatmeal that are equally tasty, though. I found this one and this one that I liked the sounds of and merged them into my own version using ingredients I almost always have on hand. Pantry staples = easy weekday breakfast with little planning necessary. And that my friends, makes this mama happy.

Banana Pumpkin Baked Oatmeal

3 c. Oats
2 tsp Baking powder
2 tsp Cinnamon
1/4 tsp Cloves
1/4 tsp Allspice 
1 Egg
2 c. Milk
1/2 c. Vanilla Yogurt
2 Bananas, mashed
1 c. Pumpkin

Combine all ingredients in a large bowl. Pour into a lightly greased baking pan and bake at 350 for approx. 40 minutes or until center is no longer wet. Serve warm. (Optional, top with a dollop of yogurt, sliced bananas, milk and syrup...) Enjoy!

It also works great to cook it up in the evening. When morning rolls around just warm up a piece for a quick 5-minute breakfast. 

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Italian Herb Bread

This is one of my favorite go-to bread recipes. It tastes amazing. And, really how can you go wrong when you're using basil, oregano and garlic! I usually mix it up in the bread machine and bake it in the oven, but it works just as well using a stand mixer with a dough hook or going the old fashion way and kneading it by hand (then you get your arm work out in for the day, too!) though you might want to add a bit extra flour so it's not as sticky if you're kneading by hand.

Italian Herb Bread 

1 1/4 cup Water
1 1/2 Tbsp Olive Oil
1 tsp Salt
2 tsp Sugar
3 1/2 cups Flour
2 tsp Yeast
1 tsp Onion Powder
1 tsp Dried Basil
1 tsp Dried Oregano
1 tsp Garlic Powder
1/4 cup grated Parmesan (option)

Dump all ingredients in your bread machine and set to dough mode. When it's complete, remove dough and place into a greased bread pan and let rise for about 30 minutes. Bake at 350 degrees for about 25 minutes or until top is golden brown and sounds hollow when tapped. 
Let cool a bit before slicing (if you can restrain yourself!).

Monday, January 28, 2013

Meal Plan - Jan 28

It's been snowy and wet here lately which means there's lots of cozy, comfort food on the menu for this week. Here's what's cooking:


Baked Potato Bar and modified Russian Black Bread (I'm hoping this bread tastes as good as it sounds!)

Crockpot Scalloped Potatoes and Ham* with Roasted Brussel Sprouts (I didn't get around to this last week so it's making another appearance.)

Spaghetti Pie and Salad

Homemade Pizza with 5 Minute Artisan Bread for crust


Ham and Egg Breakfast Casserole

Healthy Mexican Sweet Potatoes (these are so yummy! I cooked the taters in the microwave, left out the onion and chipotle peppers and didn't bother to broil it at the end last time I made them. They were still awesome!)

Soup of some type (if needed)

*I haven't had any luck finding a scalloped potato recipe without processed foods like canned soups and Velveta cheese neither of which I like using. If you happen to have one that you'd like to share I'd love to try it. Otherwise, I may be creating my own. If that's the case I'll share it on here assuming it turns out!

Happy Cooking!

Friday, January 25, 2013

No Sew Baby Mobile

I know this is back tracking a bit, but I want to record some of the projects I did for Bambina's nursery for future reference since the whole thing is pretty much DIY. Her mobile was one of the first things I made and I used the scrapbook paper I found for it as the color scheme for the rest of the room. 

I got the basic idea from this cute mobile, but instead of fabric and sewing I went with glue and paper.

Ribbon (approx. 11 feet)
Double-sided Scrapbook Paper (enough for 28 1.5" circles)
Craft Glue
8" diameter cross stitch hoop
Jute or extra ribbon for hanging

1. Find some coordinating paper that you love (mine was double sided which worked out great) and cut out 28 circles approximately 1.5" diameter.

2. Cut four pieces of ribbon at 17" and four at 14.5". I used two different colors, but you could use all one, too.

3. Glue four circles to each 17" ribbon and three circles on each 4.5" ribbon. I spaced them so the three circles on the short ribbon matched the three spaces on the long ribbon. Be sure to leave about 2" at the top of your ribbon for folding over and gluing to the hoop.

4. Remove the outer circle from your cross stitch hoop and discard or set aside for future crafting project of your choice. Fold about an inch from the top of your ribbon over the inner circle of cross stitch hoop and glue in place. Repeat 7 times, spacing the ribbon evenly around the hoop.

5. Using more ribbon or jute, tie three strands around the top of the hoop. Knot together in the center. Cut as long or short as desired for hanging.

It's that simple! I was pretty pleased with the way in turned out and love the extra color it brought into the nursery.

Let me know if you have any questions.

Happy Creating!

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Soy Banana Bread

I am always on the look out for a new, healthy banana bread recipe to try. However, I often fall back on this Soy Banana Bread recipe as a tried and true favorite. A friend first shared it with me several years ago and now I'd want to pass it on to all of you! And don't be scared away by the soy flour, it can easily be swapped out with regular wheat flour. I do love that it adds some extra protien to an otherwise carb- heavy snack though so if you're feeling adventurous give a try!

Soy Banana Bread

Sift together:
1cup + 2 Tbsp Soy Flour
1 1/3 cup Whole Wheat Pastry Flour (or 1 cup white flour and 1/3 cup bran)
2 3/4 tsp. Baking Powder
1/2 tsp. Baking Soda
1/2 cup Sugar (I often cut this down)

Add in:
1/4 cup Oil (or 2 Tbsp Oil and 2 Tbsp Yogurt)
1 Egg, beaten
1/3 cup Milk
1 cup Mashed Bananas (2-3)
1/2 cup Chopped Nuts (option)

Mix until just moistened. Spread into a greased 9x5 pan. Bake at 350 degrees for approximately 50 minutes. Enjoy!

So do you have a favorite go-to snack bread recipes?

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Meal Plan - Jan 22

Well, I know I already said this once before but things have been busy, busy so here's getting-back-to-meal-planning-after-the-holidays, take two!

Black Bean Burgers - (I'm picturing these serving as a wrap in ww tortillas with avocado and maybe a dollop of sour cream)

Scalloped Potatoes and Ham and Roasted Brussel Sprouts

Fried Egg Sandwiches and popcorn (these have been tasting delicious for lunch lately!)
Roasted Cauliflower and Cheddar Soup (might add some leftover ham to this)
Carrot Cake Muffins (no sugar added)
Egg Casserole

Happy Cooking!

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Meal Plan - Jan 8th

Well, after a bit of a hiatus for the holidays I'm ready to get back to meal planning and cooking some wholesome, nourishing foods again!


Soup, Salad and Herbed Wheat Dinner Rolls

Individual Chicken Pot Pies

Stir Fry

Soy Banana Bread
Avocado and Egg Salad Wraps
Cuties (Ok, so not something I'm making, but I've been really loving these tiny little fruits lately!)

Happy Cooking!