dinner 101

Crock Pot Mashed Potato Bowl with Apple Gravy

It’s been raining for 4 days. FOUR. This was pretty much exactly how we all felt…wonky eye & all.One good thing that’s come of this weather, besides getting to know eachother realllllly well, is this new recipe. It came from my culinary creativity that was inspired by a deep desire to not go to the […]

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Meet The Buffaloaf. (and a really awesome giveway!!)

Before I tell you what the heck a ‘Buffaloaf’ is let me give you a quickie personal update since last I mentioned I was having voodoo doll problems… I’ve been doing a lot better this week, thank you so much for all of your sweet well wishes! I still have some pain & stomach problems […]

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Cheater’s Steak House Salad

Want to make a nice date night dinner for you & your honey but have less energy than a sloth competing in a watching paint dry contest? Here’s a little backdoor trick I pulled last night… (apparently I’m also still tired today because after staring at my screen for 10 minutes that was the best […]

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Cheater’s Salmon (or chicken) Florentine

I made this last week & put the picture below on Instagram & Facebook & so many of you asked for the recipe that I had to put it up. There’s a bit of a secret to this dish though, it’s where the “cheater’s” comes from, (remember cheater’s broccoli cheese soup & the cheater’s chicken […]

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No tears lasagna recipe

My only local crafty friend is leaving me. So sad. To be honest we talk more online than in person, even though we’re only 40 minutes apart & have kids the same age it’s just so darn hard to get together. Much less actually craft together. But I’m still sad to know I can’t drive […]

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had a bad day brussel sprout, onion & bacon mac cheese

Does this ever happen to you? You read or see a recipe that just somehow connects to you on a spiritual gastroenterological level & for days YOU CANNOT STOP THINKING ABOUT IT. That happened to me, our sitter Amy was telling me how she had whipped up a macaroni & cheese dish with brussel sprouts […]

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recipe review: Artichoke & Tomato Pasta

If you’re anything like me when you get a new magazine you dog-ear pages with recipes or projects that look good. In fact when I’m done my magazine won’t even lay flat because of all the folds I’ve made. How often I actually ever go back & try one of those articles is a completely […]

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Leftovers Egg Cups

The concept is all over Pinterest, pour eggs or egg whites over various veggies, meats & cheeses to make convenient & tasty individual breakfast cups that you can grab & eat all week long. I’m terrible about eating breakfast. Absolutely terrible. So the idea that I could premake some yummy breakfast-in-a-cup meals sounded great. Even […]

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Homemade Everything Bagel Steak Sandwich

You should know something before you roll your eyes at the thought of making homemade bagels… I have never made bread before. EVER. And I can admit why, I’m ok with saying it, I was scared. I was very scared of yeast. I have to activate it? And let it rise? Whaa? It just sounded […]

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Cookie Butter Bars

I mean really, let’s break it down nice & simple. “Cookie” and “Butter” Need I say more? I believe I’ve mentioned Speculoo’s Cookie Butter before…it’s sinfully good. I’d say it tastes like a mix of cookie dough & gingerbread. They sell it seasonally at Trader Joe’s & this year I brinked on the bridge of […]

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Slow Cooked Pork Roast with Apples & Onions

Sometimes I cook a meal that is insanely good. Often it has zero to do with my cooking skills. It’s more that somehow the culinary stars align…I don’t know if it’s the quality of the recipe, the nature of the produce or perhaps that day I didn’t get interrupted every two seconds by somebody who […]

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Mermaid Cupcake Aprons…Whaaa?

This is what happens when you let your children pick their own fabric. You get mermaids mixed with cupcakes & polka dots. Somehow though, in some weird way, it kind of works, no? I’m such a sucker for my girls & I putting on our aprons to cook together. It’s so sappy sweet I could […]

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Avocado Butter

I know, in the one picture it looks like, well, a dookie. But if you can get past that oddity you’ll be glad you did because this spread is the most buttery, velvety, rich yet light garnish you’ve ever had. Susan told me about how a friend had served her avocado butter on top of […]

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Cheater’s Crock Pot Chicken & Dumplings

I used How Sweet It Is’ recipe for the crock pot base but as much I desperately wanted to make biscuits from scratch it just wasn’t.gonna.happen. And you know what, I’m sure there’s something to be said for making them yourself but the can-o-biscuit-dough was pretty darn good if I say so & yes, I […]

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15 minute tortellini soup

I was at a playdate with my girlfriends the other day & we were talking about how we all get sucked in to making ‘kid food’ at dinner. It’s such a slippery slope, make chicken nuggets or mac n cheese for your kids because they won’t eat what the adults are having & beware, you […]

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Sweet & Savory Cranberry & Bacon Chili

Mmm, nothing says January like a big bowl of hot chili. I’ve been working on my signature chili recipe for years. I remember I first started when my BFF Brooke made a giant pot of amazing chili in our college apartment. I don’t know if it was because Chick-fil-a was closed after an all night […]

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Beginner’s Salmon: Lemon Butter & Thyme

Everyone knows how good fish is for you but in reality a lot of my friends don’t cook it because they ‘don’t know how’. Come to think of it I was intimidated by the thought of cooking something that came with scales on it until I tried this salmon recipe of my mom’s. It’s a […]

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“Lite” Chicken Marsala

Welll, it’s not exactly low-fat but it is less calories than the regular Chicken Marsala. Perhaps we should call it “lighter” Chicken Marsala…This is one of my go-to favorite recipes. Year round it’s always good, the sage is earthy while the wine sauce is light & sweet. Just the perfect balance & it’s not too […]

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cool as a cucumber & horseradish soup

Normally I don’t do chilled soups. Having cold soup is weird, it feels counter intuitive. When I saw this recipe for cucumber, yogurt & horseradish soup in MS Living however my interest was peeked. Mm, that does sound really refreshing…cool cucumber & yogurt with a subdtle bite of horseradish. Tempting… Throw in a few days […]

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Watermelon & Feta Salad

Mmm…to me, this is summertime on a plate. Watermelon & Feta Summer Salad (serves 4) 2 lbs of fresh, ripe watermelon chopped into cubes & seeded 2 cucumbers, peeled, seeded & chopped 1 cup feta crumbles 3 small yellow tomatoes, cut into wedges. Red tomatoes are perfectly fine, we had these & I thought the […]

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Sneaky Veggie Smoothie

When Plum Organics baby food contacted me & asked if I’d be interested in contributing to their Facebook collection of recipes my answer was an automatic “YES!” I’ve been sneaking purees in my cooking for awhile now (remember this sneaky chef cookbook review?) & Sophie Monster loves their baby food pouches so I was more […]

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Lettuce Wraps of Love

(heart bowl from Valentine’s collection at Target) P loves lettuce wraps. The other night he had a really rough day & had to work late, I was stuck with reconfiguring leftovers anyway so I found a way to make lettuce wraps & texted him a pic showing him what was waiting for him. I’m ultra […]

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Beer & a juice box porkchops

Deglazing is probably my favorite cooking technique. All those yummy brown bits are transformed into a delicious gravy or sauce with just a bit of liquid, heat & scraping. I was just kind of screwing around with this recipe and used the dark beer I was drinking & an apple juice box I had leftover […]

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Stuffed Biscuits

Mmmm, I gorged myself on these during dinner tonight but I’m hungry all over again just looking at the pictures. This entire week I’ve been cooking our dinners out of a muffin tin. Yep, you heard me, a muffin tin. A few weeks ago I was sent a cookbook to review that has nothing but […]

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Orange Chicken in a bag…seriously.

Can you believe this… Is from this? Yep. I always wonder about those meal in a bag gimmicks, I mean how good could they actually be? Well this was actually pretty darn good. Now don’t go setting your expectations too high. It’s still basically a frozen dinner but I’d totally recommend keeping a few of […]

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Comfort Food: Sausage & Pea Risotto

Today was rough. Comfort food was in order. Sausage & Pea Risotto: 1 package of pre-cooked sweet italian sausage, sliced crosswise into 1/4″ thick pieces 3/4 cu frozen peas 1 cu risotto rice (arborio) 2 cu chicken broth 1 cu dry white wine (nothing too terribly sweet, I used a chardonnay) 1/2 lg onion, chopped […]

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Cheater’s Broccoli Cheese Soup

Here’s another sneaky semi-homemade meal for you to keep in your arsenal…I love broccoli cheese soup when it has two things, fresh big pieces of broccoli & lots of gooey cheese. This version is so good in my opinion that I never bother to make it from scratch. Perfect for a last minute lunch on […]

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Cheater’s Chicken Parmigiana

I can’t believe I didn’t know about these Perdue already baked chicken breasts. My sweet friend Kelly told me about them & how she uses the Italian ones to make a quick & dirty chicken parm. I had to resist the urge to kiss her. I feel like I’m in the newborn baby daze from […]

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Warm your heart creamy chicken broccoli bake

Do you ever just try and throw ingredients together & “make up” dinner? It’s one of my favorite things to do but I find the results are either ‘rock n roll’ or major ‘crash n burn’. My family is a trooper though & they eat it regardless. Although this could be because I give them […]

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Best Superbowl Recipes

I’ve got to stop pinning food late at night…it’s killing me.I’m not a big football fan. I’d say it’s probably my favorite of all professional sports but honestly, that’s not saying much. I do however love Superbowl Sunday because I have a major love affair with good appetizers. I love going to restaurants & just […]

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Sweet Potato & Sausage Soup

Weird name, I know. Trust me when I tell you though, IT’S SO GOOD. If sweet & savory describes your taste, & not just your personality (teehee), then add this to your ‘must try’ list. P, Sophie, my girlfriend Megan who just happened to be stopping by during dinnertime & myself finished all of ours […]

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Ginger & Garlic Turkey Sliders

Sorry for the craptastic cell phone photos, the whole family was starving & I worried that if I went hunting for our camera they might attack. Regardless of the photos you’ll just have to trust me that these were DELICIOUS. I served them with my new favorite way of making frozen (yep, frozen) corn, along […]

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Beer Beef Stew

I don’t think you have to be local to be experiencing this crazy cold front. From what I hear even people in Miami are freezing their thong bikinis off. I swear it went from sunny (albeit cold) to this within 5 minutes… Having this kind of weather makes me do two things…insists my kids wear […]

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Baked meat lovers pizza

The other night I made cavatappi pasta (because it’s swirly looking so Sam actually “liked” it) with sweet sausage & spaghetti sauce. Last night I had some pre-made meatballs that I needed to use. Enter the bright idea to layer them all together. First into the lightly greased ceramic dish went the leftover pasta & […]

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Brainfog=Yogurt Pancakes

I sat down to write today’s post last night & after looking at a blank screen for 15 minutes I decided to show you a picture of a pancake instead.I’m sorry for the superficial posts this week, my health issues are leaving me utterly exhausted & with a massive brainfog. Sentences, how form, are they? […]

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Recipe Review: Deceptively Delicious

Remember when Jessica Seinfeld went on Oprah with her super cute cookbook about how to sneak vegetables into your kid’s diet by using purees? For some reason I actually bought it even though I didn’t have kids yet. The artwork was super cute & the food sounded really good I guess. Well, in my laundry […]

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Recipe Fail: Ginger Soy Pork Chops

This recipe sounded so good, and up through plating it & all of us sitting at the table to eat I was pretty darn sure it was going to TASTE good too. I mean look at it…Yum, right? But then I cut into it…Mother Scratcher! Pork is such a tricky little beast to cook sometimes. […]

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Eggs in the Grass

Not necessarily the most appetizing recipe title I’ve ever had but you really are making little egg nests. Anyway, despite the title take my word when I tell you this is one of the best tasting dishes I’ve ever made. Definitely in the top 5. I realize fried eggs in spinach might take a little […]

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Chicken Tacos with Avocado Creme

Can someone tell me the difference between a sauce being called “cream” and “creme”? Creme sounded fancier & these are some dolled up avocados so I went for it. It’s not a very complicated meal but the sweetness of the mayo gives such a nice compliment to the spice of the taco meat & tang […]

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Chinese Hot Pot & the Mystery Plant

Have I told you before that my stepfather-in-law is from Hong Kong? I love when he & my mother-in-law visit because yes, the kids love to see them & yes, visiting with family is lovely & all but really, I get so excited because he cooks the most amazing dishes for us & it’s totally […]

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Pasta with Chicken Sausage, Peas & Mushrooms

This is what Giada calls a ‘sauceless pasta’. Upon hearing that phrase I almost immediately said, ‘no thanks lady’ & flipped the page, but then I was intrigued. How could a pasta without sauce be anything beyond a pasta princess’ nightmare?? So I gave it a skim…apparently we here in the states have been doing […]

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Simple Pesto

If you’ve never made homemade pesto trust me when I say you’re missing out. It’s summertime in your mouth. Fresh basil, toasted pine nuts & sharp parmesan cheese. Mmmmm… This stuff is so good I could easily eat it by the spoonful. In fact I might just have done that, & then gotten a belly-ache, […]

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Turkey Burger Sliders with Avocado Aioli

Mmmmm, now I’m hungry. Season your small turkey patties with garlic powder, salt, pepper & worcestershire. (I always over-season ground turkey because it tends to be bland from the low-fat content) Grill them in a hot oiled skillet for about 2-3 min each side. Top with a tomato slice, crisp bacon & the avocado spread. […]

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Roasted Brussel Sprouts, Bacon & Apples

SO. STINKING. GOOD. I’m completely convinced that when combined with a caramelized coating & crispy bacon ANY item can taste amazing. Hence the brussel sprouts being inhaled by every member of my family. Even this one…“Don’t take my PICTURE!” The recipe is from EveryDay Food & is as follows:Ingredients * 3 slices bacon, cut into […]

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Black Bean Tacos with Feta & Cilantro Slaw

This recipe is originally from Smitten Kitchen however I made some of the adjustments she suggested & a few of my own to make the tacos below. I added beef, avocado & made my own cilantro slaw recipe. And let me just say, THEY WERE GOOD.(for Samster’s plate I just took some of the bean/beef […]

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Guiltless Spinach "Gratin" with Poached Eggs (aka heaven)

I have a confession to make. I haven’t been cooking much at all lately. Last week we ordered take-out 6 times, the 7th night P. cooked.I know, right? I actually love to cook. It’s relaxing & I think that food cooked at home tastes better than a restaurant’s anyway. (And of course is stupidly cheaper) […]

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Best Hummus Ever Recipe

I think you know me well enough by now to know that I’m all about saving time. If something is just as good store bought I’m not about to make it myself. HOWEVER, some things are worth it & a big garlicky tub of homemade hummus is totally one of those. I promise, there is […]

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Salad Party

Just thought I’d pop in & share two of my new favorite salad recipes that have me all excited for summer, yum!! If you have a link to a tasty salad recipe please share, I need more! Barefoot Contessa’s Tuna & Avocado SaladMartha’s Warm Spinach & Bacon SaladPlease do not copy & paste any of […]

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I Don’t Know What I Want to Be Beef with Creamed Potatoes

As a take off of my last post I thought it was only fitting to make this beef dish which is also suffering an identity crisis. It’s kind of beef stew meets beef bourguignon. The whole thing slow cooks until it’s divinely, fall apart tender & then is served over sweet & decadently creamy cream […]

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Homemade Hamburger Helper

Tonight’s dinner happened by accident. Accident/I didn’t feel like going to the grocery store.I only had ground beef for a meat & no fresh veggies, but I did have milk, cheese, noodles & basic dry seasonings. After doing a bit of googling for a homemade hamburger helper recipe I found this one for Cheesy Chili […]

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Warm Bacon Spinach Salad

Mmmm, this is one of those recipes that every time I make it I always ask myself why the heck I don’t make it more often. Sooo yummy! Last night we had it with grilled chicken breast strips on top, it was heavenly. This is a Martha Stewart Everyday Food recipe & since I forgot […]

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Lite Ranch Dressing Recipe

You are SO gonna love me for this one…We love ranch dressing in our house, it’s by far both P’s & my favorite. Problem is it’s so bad for you, I mean it’s like 90% mayo & buttermilk…not exactly figure flattering. And I don’t know about you but every “lite” ranch I buy taste like […]

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Tuna & Avocado Salad

I snagged this recipe from my mom’s Barefoot Contessa cookbook & man, oh, man was it DELICIOUS! This will definitely be one of our summer staples. The only change I think I’ll make next time is with the dressing, the vinaigrette the recipe makes is wonderful but I think it would be good to also […]

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White Wine Lemon & Mushroom Chicken

For this dish I was able to put one of my favorite new “tips” to good use, when you have to open a bottle of wine for cooking (or other purposes) freeze any leftovers in pre-measured portions. Last time I opened a bottle of white wine I filled up a few little tupperwares (actually for […]

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Crock Pot Enchiladas

Enchiladas are one of my staples. They’re that one dish I can brag about because yes, they are THAT good. But I gotta admit, this new way is even BETTER. And EASIER and JUICIER. Mmmmm. Crock Pot Enchiladas (feeds 4)*3 large chicken breasts*1 lg bag of shredded mexican cheese blend (or just mont jack/cheddar)*2 cans […]

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Brown Sugar Brie with Green Apples

I first learned about making a baked brie back in college. A sorority sister made it for a little get together, after that I was completely hooked. My roommate & I would make one & eat the entire thing for dinner. (ugh, even thinking about doing that now makes cellulite show up on my thighs. […]

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Orange Roasted Pork with Veggies

YUMMMMMMMMMMM….I mean seriously, YUMMMMM! This was OH. SO. GOOD. Or as Dora’s backpack would say, “mmm, mmm, MMMMM…Delicioso!” Definitely going into my favorite recipes stockpile. Two quick thoughts, don’t be intimidated by searing the tenderloins first & then baking them. It’s not as complicated as it sounds and gives it the yummiest crust. Two, if […]

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Curb the Cravings: Healthy Snacks

Ohhh, I have such a tough time eating well when I’m preggers. All I want to do, all day long, is eat, eat, eat. And I crave the bad stuff, the salty fried stuff. BUT one thing I learned from my pregnancy with Samster is sure, I can eat ‘whatever I want’ because I’m pregnant […]

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Spinach & Garlicky Mushroom Spaghetti Sauce

Mmmmmmm, not to brag, (well, ok, it is to brag but that’s allowed in small amounts around here) but this sauce was SOOOOO good last night! I mean, I was ready to call Giada up (because I have her on speed-dial, don’t you?) and tell her to go ahead & retire because my skillz were […]

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Healthy Start: Veggie Cream Cheese

I love breakfast, one of my favorite things about the weekend is being able to go out for a big yummy breakfast…mmm. Unfortunately for everyday life there’s just not a lot of time (or energy for that matter) to make anything more than toast with coffee. Maybe a frozen waffle if I’m feeling crazy. That’s […]

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easy spinach artichoke dip

I’m not sure how much national news it’s making but here in D.C. we’ve had a bit of a snowstorm come visit us. (see pics below recipe) The one good thing about being snowed in is I have plenty of time to make yummy treats & get some major crafting done too. Oh, and laundry, […]

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One Pot Dinner: Dirty Turkey Raisin Rice

I know I’ve been posting a lot of recipes lately, I hope you don’t mind. Sometimes I just get in a craft funk & don’t feel like sewing or crafting. Bleh. I think my craft battery just needs to recharge. That & my craft room is a DISASTER so I don’t even want to look […]

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Mustard Soy Chicken

It happens around once a week. It’ll be 4:30p & I’ll realize that I have no idea what I’m going to feed my family for dinner…look in the fridge, chicken. Plain ol’ chicken. That’s when I always turn to this quick & easy marinade. If you have some fresh fruit slices to throw on top…even […]

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Reader Recipe: Ranch Roast

I just love when you guys send me your favorite recipes, I made this one the other night and the family was so happy with the results that I just had to share. Thanks so much to Christy at Embellished Bayou for sharing! Slow Cooker Ranch Pork Roast: 1 2.5-3 lb. pork shoulder roast, 1 […]

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BEST SOUP EVER: Acorn Squash Bisque

I LOVE LOVE LOVE this Martha Recipe and make it almost every cold & rainy spell we get during the Fall & Winter. It’s really easy but the blending at the end produces such a velvety smooth texture you’ll swear it was gourmet. I often make this for guests & readily take the compliments that […]

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Recipe Review: Verdure al Forno

I have to tell you, honestly, the Samster Mommy family is eating GOOD this week! On Monday night I made Verdure al Forno, and no, I had never heard of it before! Have you? Let me translate for you- “cheesy veggie goodness”Alright, the direct translation is actually more like “vegetables in the oven”, you slice […]

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Recipe Review: Make it Fast, Cook it Slow

My third test drive was Thursday night, I had Coq Au Vin on the list and was pretty excited, it looked very yum going in… We put it in first thing in the morning so it’d have plenty of time to simmer, Samster was quite helpful in her own special mess-making way… And then the […]

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Crap-Pot: Part II

Hmm. I’m starting to get kind of bummed here. I really, REALLY wanted this cook book to be amazing. I mean, it’s from a blogger so I kind of love her already & she has a witty sense of humor in the cookbook which keeps it fun but we’re now 0-2 for actual recipe results. […]

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A week of YUM!

Here’s a little splish splosh of some of my favorite easy recipes, just in case you needed some ideas for the week. Tampa is going well although I spent 5 hrs in the ER today. Not exactly soaking up the sunshine in that swine flu dungeon. I don’t have H1N1 but I did have a […]

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Zesty Crock Pot Chicken

I LOVE MY CROCK POT. Seriously, there’s nothing better than getting all the prep done in the morning (when I actually have energy) getting the kitchen all clean and having a super yummy dinner all ready to go by 5 o’ clock. Not to mention the house smells downright delish! Here’s my new favorite…Tried & […]

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Apple & Brown Rice Turkey Burgers

(sorry, that’s a crappy picture) We have a restaurant that makes these and I just love them, the apple keeps the turkey juicy while the brown rice (which your family won’t even know is there unless you tell them) helps to fill you up and add some healthy grains to the plate. Here’s my knock-off […]

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Nancy’s Super Yummy Tuna Salad

My car is in the shop so we’ll probably be eating out again tonight since I can’t get to the grocery store. YAY! I’m stuck inside with a 10 mth old alllllll dayyyy longgg!!! It’s actually not that bad, Sam and I have been hanging out in the craft room a lot, and hopefully the […]

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Grocery List 6-1-09

Thursday’s Honey Teriyaki Chicken with Asian Slaw A bunch of these are from my everyday food magazines that are piling up on my desk, I haven’t tried them yet but boy do they look yummy! I was also very bad over the birthday week so we’re back on the low-fat, low-carb, extra veggie and lean […]

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Grocery List 5-26-09

Friday’s Pork & Apple Kabobs We’re back from vacation which means a completely empty refrigerator, here’s what’s on the menu for this week! Monday- When it’s this rainy out I just have to make soup, this time some Taco Soup & Cilantro Lime Chicken Salad should meet my cravings! The salad is based on my […]

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Grocery List 5-3-09

I think everyone in my house is finally over the stomach bug that’s going around, and yes, I did completely overreact and send everyone to the doctor to make sure we didn’t have swine flu. So it’s time to start getting back on track with meal planning. Here’s the Samster Mommy Menu for this week! […]

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Grocery List 4-20-09

By the way, want to know an AWESOME secret if you have a baby? CORN ON THE COB. (The look I got when I tried to take it away) Seriously, why didn’t I think of this sooner?! Sam has been going nuts for a well cooked corn on the cob, it’s perfect for teething, is […]

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Grocery List 3-6-09

Finally I’m back to grocery shopping! Sorry I didn’t post this yesterday, after a weekend of traveling I’m still trying to get life back in order (: Monday- Lighter Sesame Chicken Tuesday- Taco Tuesday! Beef & Chicken Soft Tacos Chicken & Beef Soft tacos- For the meat I start off with two skillets, one for […]

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Grocery List 3-10-09

Yesterday I did something that I try to never do. It never turns out well. I went grocery shopping without a list. I know, that doesn’t sound like a big deal but whenever I do that I always end up with too many random things that looked good and am missing ingredients of the ones […]

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Grocery List 3-3-2009

I was going to put off shopping until tomorrow but then I realized that it’s actually Tuesday, not Monday…sheesh. Here it goes! Tuesday- Tilapia Filets with Spinach, Capers & Tomatoes (Everyday Food Magazine) *Super light, healthy and ridiculously easy…literally ready in 10 minutes. Also Tilapia is a really mild fish if you’re a little seafood […]

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Grocery List 2-23-2009

Happy Monday, here’s to a yummy week! Monday- Chicken w/Penne & Brocoli Boneless, Skinless Chicken breasts (1 per person) Fresh Broccoli- stems trimmed Parm Cheese Milk (any kind will do) Your Fav Hardy Pasta (I like penne for this) This is my quick and dirty 15 min dinner…cut each chicken breast into bite size pieces, […]

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