This is one of my daughter's favorite meals so I indulged her and made it this afternoon. It's perfect for a cold winter's day (windchill is -1 as I type), when your husband is just getting home from hunting and your friends and family are all getting ready to get together to watch the Super Bowl. I hope you all have a wonderful, cozy and fun evening tonight with your loved ones. 

Serves 4-5
Adapted slightly from Paula Deen

1 pound lean ground beef 
1 large onions, chopped
1 1/2  cups water 
15-ounce can tomato sauce
15-ounce can diced tomatoes
2 cloves garlic, minced 
1 tablespoon Italian seasoning 
2 bay leaves 
1 1/2 tablespoons soy sauce 
1/2 tablespoon salt 
1 teaspoon ground pepper
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 cup dried small pasta 

In a Dutch oven, saute the ground beef and ground turkey over medium-high heat, until no pink remains. Break up meat while sauteing; drain off the grease. Add the onions to the pot and saute until they are tender about 5 minutes. Add 1 1/2 cups water, along with the tomato sauce, tomatoes, garlic, Italian seasoning, bay leaves, soy sauce, salt pepper and garlic powder. Stir well. Place a lid on the pot and allow this to cook for 20 to 25 minutes.
Add the pasta, stir well, return the lid to the pot, and simmer for about 20 minutes...
Turn off the heat, remove the bay leaves and allow the mixture to sit about 15 minutes more before serving. Add salt and pepper if needed and sprinkle Parmesan on top if desired...

  • I know right where I am going to be cuddled up watching the game tonight...



This is my daughter's favorite brownie recipe. It is perfect because I always have the ingredients on hand and it doesn't require high end chopped chocolate or espresso, or anything that I need to make a special trip to the store for. Its basic but its delicious and its easy enough for her to make on her own.

These brownies are the perfect combination between fudgy and cakey. They have a rich chocolate flavor and like all chocolate baked goods, taste better on the day after they are baked. They are easy to make and also freeze well.


Adapted from joy of baking
Makes 16 brownies

5 ounces (150 grams) (little less than 1 cup) dark chocolate chips
1/2 cup (1 stick) (113 grams) unsalted butter, cut into pieces
2 tablespoons (15 grams) cocoa powder
1 cup (200 grams) granulated white sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3 large eggs
3/4 cup (95 grams) all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup (125 grams) dark chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (180 degrees C) and place the rack in the center of the oven. Line an 8-inch (20 cm) square pan with parchment paper. 

Melt the chocolate and butter in microwave, stirring every at 30 seconds until melted. Let cool for a few minutes. Stir in the cocoa powder and sugar. Next, whisk in the vanilla extract and eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. 

Finally, stir in the flour, salt and chocolate chips. Pour into the prepared pan and bake for 25-27 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out with a few clumps clinging to it. Do not over-bake. Remove from oven and let cool. Serve at room temperature. These taste better on the day after they are baked and they also freeze well. 


One of the many good things about owning dogs and being married to an adventurous husband is you are constantly exploring and getting lost in God's beautiful world...


  • This is what our new taco night looks like. Everyone loves it and it couldn't be easier to make. 

  • Sheet Pan Chicken Fajitas 
  • Adapted from number-2-pencil

  • 1 1/2 lbs chicken breast, sliced thin
  • 1 green bell pepper, 1/4 inch slices
  • 1 red bell pepper, 1/4 inch slices
  • 1 small red onion, 1/4 inch slices
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon of kosher salt
  • ground pepper
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon of chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon of garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon of onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon of ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon of smoked paprika
  • tortillas, warmed
  • Optional:
  • Cheese, Limes, Salsa, Avocado, you get the idea

  • Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
  • In a large bowl, combine onion, bell pepper, chicken slices, olive oil, salt and pepper and spices. Toss to combine. Spread chicken, bell peppers and onions on baking sheet.
  • Cook at 425 degrees for about 20 minutes, until chicken reaches 165 degrees. Then turn oven to broil and cook for additional 1-2 minutes just letting the veggies pick up some color. Watch carefully to make sure they don't start to burn. 
  • In the last five minutes of cooking, not while the broiler is on, let tortillas wrapped in foil warm in the oven. Serve in warm tortillas.

  • My loves...
  • I made little hearts with adjectives that describe them and hang one on their door everyday for the month of February...

They were quite excited this morning to read their word for the day...

I added the hearts below if you want to print them off for your children...




Love these cookies; they are a household favorite. It seems almost anything with cinnamon and sugar is. These are much puffier and softer than my other snickerdoodle cookie recipe found here.

Soft and Thick Snickerdoodles
Adapted from Sally’s baking Addiction
Makes 24 cookies

1 cup (2 sticks or 230g) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
1 and 1/3 cup (267g) granulated sugar
1 large egg
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 cups (375g) all-purpose flour 
2 teaspoons cream of tartar
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 and 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 cup (50g) granulated sugar

Preheat oven to 375°F (190°C). Line two large cookie sheets with parchment paper

Make the topping: toss 1/4 cup granulated sugar with 1 teaspoon cinnamon in a small bowl. Set aside.

Make the cookies: In a large bowl using a hand-held mixer or stand mixer, cream the softened butter for about 1 minute on medium speed. Add the sugar on medium speed until fluffy and light in color. Mix in egg and vanilla. Scrape down the sides as needed. Set aside.

In a medium size bowl, whisk together the flour, cream of tartar, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt. With the mixer running on low speed, slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients. The dough is quite thick.

Take 1.5 - 2 Tablespoons of dough and roll into a ball or use a cookie scoop. I use a medium Pampered Chef cookie scoop. Roll the dough balls into the reserved cinnamon-sugar topping.  Press cookies just a little with the flat bottom of a glass and sprinkle extra cinnamon-sugar on top if desired. Bake cookies for 11-12 minutes or until the edges are just set up. Do not over bake.

The cookies will be very puffy and soft. Allow cookies to cool slightly and then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. 

And speaking of my new Labradoodle puppy Otis...


This is my favorite potato salad. Its so easy, delicious, fresh and the vinegar gives it the perfect kick. You can serve it cold but it is best served warm. I wait to sprinkle the bacon on right before serving because no one wants chewy bacon. Also when I store leftovers it in the fridge, I store the bacon crumbles in a separate bowl so they stay crisp.

Bacon and Vinegar Potato Salad

6 cups white potatoes, diced (I do not peel but you could)
6 slices bacon, diced (I use a scissors to cut up)
1 medium onion, diced
1/3 cup white vinegar
2.5 tablespoons water
1.5 tablespoons white sugar
1-2 teaspoons salt
 ground black pepper
 fresh parsley

Boil potatoes in salted water until tender, about 10-15 min. Sauté bacon pieces in frying pan, stirring constantly until crisp. Drain bacon pieces on paper towels but reserve a little bacon fat in the frying pan. Add the onion to the reserved bacon fat and sauté until softened. Add salt and pepper.

Tale off the heat and add vinegar, water and sugar. Add cooked potatoes, stir together and season with more salt and pepper if needed.

Serve warm and finish with crispy bacon and parsley.




Here is a great little recipe for some homemade granola bars...way better than the store-bought kind and perfect for a summer treat now the kids are out of school. 

  • Makes 12 bars 

  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups quick-cooking/instant oats, such as Bob's Red Mill, Gluten Free, Quick Cooking Oats (do not use regular old-fashioned oats)
  • 1-3/4 cups Rice Krispies
  • 1/3 cup chocolate chips

Optional Add ins:
  • sliced almonds
  • dried fruit 

  • Spray 9 x 9-inch baking pan with nonstick cooking spray

  • In a pot, combine the butter, brown sugar and honey. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring constantly. Lower the heat and simmer until the sugar dissolves and the mixture is slightly thickened, about 2 minutes. 
Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the vanilla and salt.Add the oats and rice cereal to the pan and fold with a rubber spatula until well combined. Sprinkle in a few chocolate chips (they may melt a little).

Transfer the mixture to the prepared pan and press down lightly with a rubber spatula to even out. 

Sprinkle the chocolate chips over top, adding more or less to suit your taste, and press down firmly with the spatula so the chips stick.The mixture should be tightly compacted in the pan. Place the pan in the refrigerator for 1 hour to cool.

Using a sharp knife, cut into bars. Store the bars in an airtight container/baggie in the refrigerator.

Note: If you are substituting dried fruit for the chocolate chips, mix it in along with the other ingredients as opposed to sprinkling over top.



I took my kids to Hawaii to show them my old stomping grounds. It was so much fun to show them places I used to live, where I went to school and beaches I used to explore. I love everything about Hawaii: the people, the smells the truly is paradise.

We went to the market one day and my son found a woman who indulged him; she offered him about 30 samples of her jam. He was in love with a banana-apple jam so we bought a jar and he was able to have a little taste of paradise on his peanut butter sandwiches for about a week after we returned home.

We don't have those sweet little apple bananas here but we thought the regular bananas tasted just as good!

Makes Approx 2 cups
Adapted from chiquita 

1 cup mashed banana (about 2)
1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
1/4 cup lemon juice
1 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

In a large saucepan, stir bananas, lemon zest and lemon juice; bring to boil over medium heat. Stirring constantly. Stir in sugar: bring to full rolling boil, stirring constantly. Remove from heat stir in vanilla and cinnamon.
Keep refrigerated and eat within one week.

Hawaiian Sunsets...

Kona Ice Cream...

and Coconuts...what more could a girl ask for!



This is a delicious healthy meal that you can make for a weekly meal prep. I prepared Cauliflower Rice (Recipe Here) as a side. My goal was to have this portioned out for myself for the week; however, my family finished it off before I could get my Tupperware out!

Ground Beef, Sweet Potato and Zucchini - Clean Eating
Serves 4
Recipe adapted from

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 lb extra-lean ground beef or ground turkey
  • ½ cup onions
  • ½ cup red bell pepper
  • 2 ½ cup sweet potato, diced (cubed small)
  • ¼ cup bone broth or water
  • 1 medium zucchini, quartered
  • 1 tsp minced garlic 
  • 1/3 cup tomato sauce
  • ½ teaspoon of oregano
  • 1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper (optional)
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Heat a frying pan to medium-high and add ground beef. Use a wood spoon to break up the beef while it cooks. Stir occasionally and cook for about 7 minutes. Once browned place in a colander and run water over beef until grease is drained then set aside.

Heat a little olive oil to pan and add onions, red bell pepper and cook for 3-4 minutes or until the onions are soft. 

Add sweet potato and bone broth and cook for 5-6 minutes. Put a lid on the pan. The steam will help to cook faster the sweet potato. Stir occasionally.

Add the zucchini and cook for 3 minutes. Add garlic, salt, pepper and oregano.

Add the ground beef to skillet again and mix everything together.

Add the tomato sauce. Stir and serve. Goes well with cauliflower rice.

Summer is almost here...



This is my favorite cereal/granola. I omit raisins and toss in whatever fresh fruit I have on hand. It is a good base recipe that you can add to or change out to your preference.

Adapted sightly from Alton Brown
Makes about 6 cups

3 cups rolled oats
1 cup almonds, slivered or chopped
3/4 cup shredded sweet coconut 
1/4 cup plus 2 Tablespoons dark brown sugar
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup pure maple syrup 
3/4 teaspoons salt
1 cup raisins (optional)

Preheat oven to 250 degrees F.

In a large bowl, combine the oats, nuts, coconut, and brown sugar.

In a separate bowl, combine maple syrup, oil, and salt. Combine both mixtures and pour onto 2 sheet pans. Cook for 1 hour and 15 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes to achieve an even color.
Remove from oven and transfer into a large bowl. 

Add raisins (if using) and mix until evenly distributed.

This morning, I felt bad for the squirrels. I have had an empty peanut butter jar hanging in my tree for months now. I finally gave in and pulled on my snow boots, pulled out the ladder from the back of the garage, walked through the snow and slush into my backyard, climbed the wobbly ladder and filled the peanut butter jar with fresh crunchy peanut butter. The squirrels were busy feasting all day long. This little guy is my favorite...





8-10 ounces mushrooms, ends trimmed and sliced
2 Tablepoons unsalted butter
1/2 red onion, chopped
2 Tablepoons chicken stock or dry white wine
kosure salt and freshly ground pepper
1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
2 Tablespoons fresh chopped green onion/chives
8-10 slices french bread
olive oil

Preheat the oven broiler.

Melt butter in large skillet over medium-high heat. Add red onion and sautée, for about three minutes. 

Add mushrooms and continue cooking; stirring for about five minutes.

Add chicken stock, reduce heat to medium, cover, and cook for about five minutes.

Uncover and stir in chickpeas continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until most of the liquid has evaporated, about two minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste. 

Set the bread on a baking sheet and drizzle with a little olive oil. Set under broiler for about a minute, watch closely so it doesn't burn. Top each piece with mushrooms and chickpeas and sprinkle with chives and serve immediately.

I love studying the Bible; however, I didn't in the past. it seemed overwhelming, I would read it, not understand half of it and forget it. I was lucky enough to be raised as a Christian and I was a Christian but a weak one in hindsight. I didn't have the longing for His Word. Something changed and I praise God it did. I found myself really needing God and wanting to know Him more. I tried a new approach, I started studying it instead of just reading it. I bought a journaling Bible so I could record my thoughts and cross reference. And most importantly, I started to pray to be addicted to His Word...and it worked. For the last 4 years I can be found late into the night with my head in the Bible. It absolutely amazes me how I can study the same books over and over again and it hits me in a completely different way every time, for me that is absolute proof it is the Living Word. When I am in His Word, time is still... it is just me - my Creator - my King - the Savior and Redeemer of my soul...I don't think there could be anything better.




Makes 14 cookies

1 cup instant oats
3/4 cup whole wheat flour
1 ½ teaspoon baking powder
1 ½ teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 Tablespoon coconut oil, melted and slightly cooled
1 large egg, room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup honey or pure maple syrup
3/4 cup shredded carrots

Frosting: (optional)
Powdered Sugar
cream or milk

Notes: It’s incredibly important to measure both the oats and flour correctly, using the spoon­-and-level method.  If scooped directly from the container using the measuring cup, you’ll end up with too much, which will dry out your cookies and make them crumbly. To make your own instant oats, pulse 1 cup of old ­fashioned oats in a food processor about 15 times.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the oats, flour, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt. 

In a separate bowl, whisk together the coconut oil, egg, and vanilla. Stir in the honey until thoroughly incorporated. 

Add in the flour mixture, stirring just until incorporated. Fold in the carrots. 

Chill the dough for at least 30 minutes. (If chilling longer, cover with plastic wrap, ensuring it touches the entire surface of the cookie dough.) 

 Preheat the oven to 325°F, and line a baking sheet with parchment paper  

Drop the cookie dough into  rounded scoops on the baking sheet. (If chilled longer than 1.5 hours, flatten slightly.)

 Bake at 325°F for 12­-15 minutes. Cool on the baking sheet for at least 15 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack.

Drizzle with frosting if you need your cookies a little sweeter. To make frosting pour about 1/2 cup of powdered sugar in a bowl add 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla and add a splash of cream. Use a whisk and mix. Add more cream until you have your desired consistency.

This little guy and his partner flew into my backyard the other night and hung out with me for awhile. 



This recipe for slow cooker pork canritas is so easy, flavorful and delicious. Instead of the traditional method of cooking the pork in lard to render little crispy bits you simply cook the pork low and slow for about 6-8 hours and as a final step you broil the shredded pork resulting in perfect little crispy carnitas. The biggest trick is to make sure you watch the oven like a hawk when you are broiling the meat, it can dry out fast if you are not watching closely.

Adapted from here  
serves 6-8

1 tablespoon chili powder 
2 teaspoons ground cumin 
2 teaspoons dried oregano 
2 teaspoons salt, or more, to taste 
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
4 pound pork shoulder, excess fat trimmed
4 cloves garlic, peeled2 onions, quartered 
2 oranges, juiced 
2 limes, juiced cilantro, garnish (optional)

In a small bowl, combine chili powder, cumin, oregano, salt and pepper. Season pork  with spice mixture, rubbing in thoroughly on all sides. Place garlic, onions, orange juice, lime juice and seasoned pork into a slow cooker. Cover and cook on low heat for 8 hours or high for 4-­5 hours.

Once the pork is cooked,

 preheat your broiler to high heat and prepare a baking sheet with aluminum foil. Use a fork to shred the meat into bite-sized pieces, 

and return the shredded meat into the slow cooker for a few minutes. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the meat to the prepared baking sheet, spreading it out evenly in a single layer. 

Reserve the remaining broth from the slow cooker.Place the sheet under the broiler for about 3-4 minutes, or until the edges of the pork begin crisping up. You don't want to broil much longer than that because the meat will dry out. Remove the sheet, and use a spatula or tongs to toss the pork. Then ladle about 1/4 cup of the remaining slow cooker broth over the porkGarnish with cilantro. 

Serve immediately in tacos, burritos, salads, omelets, you get the idea.



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