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 onion, chopped

3  cups water 
24 ounce can tomato sauce
2  15-ounce can diced tomatoes
2 cloves garlic, minced 
2 tablespoon Italian seasoning 
4 bay leaves 
3 tablespoons soy sauce 
1 tablespoon salt 
2 teaspoon ground pepper
2 teaspoon garlic powder
2 cup dried small pasta 

In a Dutch oven, saute the ground beef over medium-high heat, until no pink remains. Break up meat while sauteing; pour off any grease. Add the onions to the pot and saute until they are tender about 5 minutes. Add 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.



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