Monday, September 26, 2016

Cheers!!!! We are celebrating #AppleWeek.

Welcome to Apple Week, where Ellen of Family Around the Table and Carlee of  Cooking with Carlee, have invited several of us to post our favorite apple recipes according to a theme chosen for each day.

Today is Monday so we are celebrating with Drinks and Appetizers.  It's like a potluck and each of us has brought either a drink or an app to share.  You will find all of our goodies at the bottom of this post.  But the fun doesn't stop here....we are going all week long!!  Here are our themes for each day.
  • Monday- Appetizers and Drinks
  • Tuesday- Mains and Sides
  • Wednesday- Sweets
  • Thursday- Decorations, Crafts or Projects
  • Friday-Anything Apple 
You can see that it is going to be a great party.  You are going to want to scroll to the bottom of each post where you will find links to the others who are joining in the fun. I will be here each and every day but I won't be posting on Thursday as we are in the process of moving and I have already packed up all of my craft supplies.

I have recently gotten a Vitamix for my birthday and my first thought was to make homemade apple juice but what the heck kinda party is that!!!  I'll save it for when my Angel Face comes to visit.  So I went to my bartender extraordinaire, who also happens to be my husband, and asked him to create me an apple drink that did not contain apple schnapps or apple liqour of any sort because I think it tastes fake and it makes me gag.  

So when we were out for a drive one day we stopped by the cider mill and picked up some cider, apples and donuts.....yes I know they are not on my eating plan....but they had just come out of the fryer and were still warm!!! They were shaken in cinnamon sugar and smelled so delicious.  We broke open the box the minute we got in the car.  I controlled myself and only had one but it was very difficult.....believe you me!

Frank created these while I was making dinner.  While dinner was simmering on the stove he handed me one as a pre-dinner cocktail. is very decadent and sweet.....much better suited for an after dinner dessert so that is what we did.  Into the refrigerator it went and it was a perfect ending for a nice meal.

Caramel Apple Martini
created by Frank

3 jiggers apple cider
2 jiggers caramel vodka
caramel syrup
cinnamon sugar
apple slices

Rim two glasses with caramel and then dip into cinnamon sugar. Place the cider and vodka into a cocktail shaker. Fill the shaker with ice and shake well to chill and combine.  Pour into prepared glasses and garnish with an apple slice.  

Monday: Appetizers and Drinks

Tuesday: Main Dishes and Sides

Wednesday: Sweet Treats

Thursday: Apple Projects

Friday: Anything Apple Goes

Fall Harvest Muffins #MuffinMonday

The last Monday of each month I join my friend, Stacy of Food Lust People Love, and other like minded bloggers to celebrate Muffin Monday.  I try to join in each month because muffins are a great thing.  They can be savory or sweet.  They freeze well, so last until the next month when it is time to make another batch.  They are portable so you can grab one as you run out the door or hand one to your family as they run out the door, feeling good that they are starting the day with a (somewhat) healthy breakfast.

The muffins I am sharing today contain a good amount of sugar but they are also chock full of fruit, veggies and nuts so are better than a bowl of sugary cereal.  They taste better than cereal too so your kids won't balk about eating breakfast.  They also make a great afternoon snack to stave of the hangries before dinner.  You know the hangries...that anger people get when they allow their blood sugar to drop because they haven't eaten in 4 or 5 hours.

I adapted this recipe from one found on the Land o Lakes website.  I substituted a pear for one of the apples, zucchini for the carrots, pepitas for the nuts and dried cranberries for the dried cherries. I pretty much made it my own but I did get the original idea from this recipe. 

Muffins are so quick and easy to put together that you can squeeze in making them between showering and leaving for work, or between television programs or before you do the dishes so they can bake while you clean.  You get the idea.  Anywhere you find a free half an hour.

Simply combine your dry ingredients.

Stir in your add ins.

Add the wet ingredients.

Stir just until moistened.

Scoop into tins lined with papers or treated with baking spray.
Pop them into the oven for 18-20 minutes.


Fall Harvest Muffins
inspired by Land O Lakes

1 1/2 c. flour
1 c. sugar
1/2 c. old fashioned oats
1 T. cinnamon
2 t. baking soda
1/2 t. salt
1 med. apple, peeled, cored and cut into 1/4" dice
1 med. pear, peeled, cored and cut into 1/4" dice
1 1/2 c. grated zucchini
3/4 c. dried cranberries
1/2 c. roasted pepitas (pumpkin seeds)
3 eggs
1/2 c. butter, melted
1/2 c. applesauce
2 t. vanilla

Combine flour, sugar, oats, cinnamon and salt in a large bowl.  Add apple, pear, zucchini, cranberries and pepitas to flour mixture.  In a small bowl, whisk together the butter, eggs and vanilla.  Pour over dry ingredients and mix just until moistened. Place 1/4 c. batter into each of 18 muffin tins that have been lined with paper or treated with baking spray.  Bake in a preheated oven for 18-20 minutes or until a wooden skewer inserted in the center of  a muffin removes cleanly. Print Recipe

More Monday Muffins

#MuffinMonday is a group of muffin loving bakers who get together once a month to bake muffins. You can see all our of lovely muffins by following our Pinterest board.

Updated links for all of our past events and more information about Muffin Monday, can be found on our home page.

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Mujaddara, Majadara, Majadra, Mejadra....Lentils and Rice #SundaySupper

However you spell it.....

However you pronounce it......

However you season it.....

Whatever color lentils you use.....

Whether you use white rice or brown rice.....

You always get great results with this delicious dish of Lentils and Rice that originated in the Middle East.  It is one of my favorite things to order when eating out and it makes a perfect Meatless Monday meal and is also wonderful as a side dish for Shwarma Chicken or Shish Kebab.

So when the folks over at Sunday Supper Movement told us that it was World Vegetarian Day this was the first dish that popped into my mind.  I could easily and happily be a vegetarian if I got to eat like this every day.  Well, not really, but I could go meatless more often than just on Mondays LOL.

There are as many different recipes for this dish as there are spellings and pronunciations but the bottom line is that you want to have caramelized and crispy onions, lentils, rice and some traditional Middle Eastern seasonings.

I never make mine the same way twice.  This time I used red onions but I have used yellow, white and sweet onions too.  I had some leftover brown rice but have used white long grain and basmati rice before.  Sometimes leftover, sometimes cooked along with the onions and lentils.  I used brown lentils this time and precooked them as I was using leftover rice.  You can use precooked lentils as well.  Season with garlic, cumin, coriander, cayenne, cinnamon or any other seasonings you love. Use a little or a is up to you.  This is one of those recipes that you can't ruin and you can easily make your own according to your tastes and what's available in your pantry and fridge.  Enjoy!!


1 c. lentils, cooked per package directions
1/4 c. olive oil
1 lg. red onion, sliced thin
salt and pepper to taste
1/4 t. cumin
1/8 t. cayenne pepper
1 c. brown rice, cooked per package directions
1/2 c. vegetable broth

Heat olive oil in a large skillet over med heat.  Add the onions, season with salt and pepper and cook, stirring for 15-20 minutes, until softened and caramelized.  Add the lentils, rice, cumin, cayenne and broth.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover and let simmer for 10-15 minutes.  Print Recipe

More Great Vegetable Recipes


Sunday Supper MovementJoin the #SundaySupper conversation on twitter on Sunday! We tweet throughout the day and share recipes from all over the world. Our weekly chat starts at 7:00 pm ET. Follow the #SundaySupper hashtag and remember to include it in your tweets to join in the chat. To get more great Sunday Supper Recipes, visit our website or check out our Pinterest board. Would you like to join the Sunday Supper Movement? It’s easy. You can sign up by clicking here: Sunday Supper Movement.

Friday, September 23, 2016

The Weekly Menu for September 24-30

I hope you are all having a Fabulous Friday. I spent the day repacking the pod, straightening the house, baking in the kitchen, working the food pantry, lunching with friends and napping. I was trying to get some reading in there but it turned into a nap LOL.  A Fantastic Friday for me.

Tomorrow, Frank is taking a friend's son up for a flight in the morning.  We will sing at 4pm Mass and then the Little Miss is spending the night.  Sunday we are taking her to the Renaissance Festival where we are meeting up with friends.  She is going as a princess or a fairy, not sure what her Mom decided.  I am going as a Lady (yes, a real live Lady...stop laughing) and Frank is going as a Viking. Yes we are those people!!

This was a few years ago.
Stay tuned for this year's photos.

On Monday, and for the next few months of Mondays, I will be attending training at our church and dinner is served before the sessions so Frank is on his own.  The rest of the week will just be spent packing and picking out flooring for the new house.

My #fmd eating plan has pretty much gotten way laid here.  I am going to be kind to myself.  I will try to eat cleanly and healthily but will wait until after the move to rededicate myself to the program.

I have a couple of big blogging events happening.  Monday starts #AppleWeek.  I will be posting some wonderful apple recipes for you each day except Thursday.  The following we starts #PumpkinWeek.  Some of the recipes you see on the menu for this week won't be posted on the blog until then.

Braised Pumpkin with Crispy Pork
Red Rice

Ren Fest

Dinner at Church/Leftovers for Frank

Pumpkin/Leek Soup

Pot Roast (moved from last week)

Hot Beef Sandwiches (with leftover pot roast)

Date Night

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

The Guest Room: An Audible Book Review

Wow.....all I can say is Wow!!  This latest novel by Chris Bohjalian is mind boggling and frightening...not Stephen King scary, more like John Grisham OMG, these things really happen right under our noses and we are oblivious to it.

Image result for the guest room audiobook

This novel, about the very real and ongoing problem of Sex Slavery.  Every day, young girls are taken from their homes and lives and turned into slaves that are used to provide sexual release to men who either don't realize or don't care.  I had, of course, heard about sex slaves and I know that there is a sex crime ring that is located in a neighboring State but I never really understood.  Oh sure, if something was mentioned on the news or in the media....I would tsk tsk  and shake my head at the evil in the world.  I know that many young girls run away from disfunctional families and wind up in the hands of men who exploit them and use them for monetary gain.  But listening to these narrators, who were so excellent and who drew you into the story so well, was like being hit between the eyes with a brick.  It was the difference of knowing that cancer is a terrible disease and then having someone you love or yourself get cancer and KNOWING it is a terrible disease.  

Chris Bohjalian is quickly becoming one of my favorite authors. In this novel he brings  to life a young woman who was forced into prostitution.  It also tells the story of an average American, middle class family and how their lives were torn apart by the sex slave trade as well.  I normally prefer reading a book myself over an audible book but I can't believe that I would have enjoyed reading this book nearly as much as I enjoyed listening to it.  Mozhan Marno and Grace Experience did that tremendous of a job.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Black Bean Salsa for #CrazyIngredientChallenge

Time for Crazy Ingredient Challenge, the fun little cooking challenge that happens on the 20th of each month.  At the end of the month prior we all vote on ingredients and the top vote from each list wins.  This month, the ingredients we got to work with were black beans and mayonnaise.

I tossed around a lot of ideas:  soup, quesadillas, salad, enchiladas but it came down to a matter of timing.  I got busy with packing, closing on houses, celebrating our grand-daughter's birthday, going out of town, etc. and lost track of time.  The next thing I knew it was September 19th and I needed to make a dish fast.  I decided on a black bean salsa that we could snack on before dinner.

Just because this recipe is fast and easy doesn't mean it is not good.  In fact, it just jumped into the perfect recipe category...easy, peasy and delicious.  It is even more perfect because you can make it with whatever ingredients you have on hand.  I added some tomatoes, onions and jalapenos. This recipe is perfect for the Fast Metabolism Diet during Phase 3.  Of course, I am on Phase 1 right now but I made an exception for this yummy salsa. I served it up with brown rice crackers.  It's a keeper.

Black Bean Salsa

1 (15 oz) can black beans, drained and rinsed
2 T. diced onions
1 tomato, seeded and diced
1/2 jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced
1/4 c. mayonnaise ( I used safflower mayo for FMD)
Juice from 1/2 a lime
dash of cayenne pepper
salt to taste
1/4 t. cumin

Place beans, onion, tomato  and jalapeno in a bowl.  Whisk together the mayo, lime juice, cayenne, salt and cumin.  Pour over the bean mixture and toss to coat.  Print Recipe

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Two Wonderful Amazing Years........

How did this happen?

How can my Angel Face be 2 tomorrow??

Wasn't she just born a minute ago?

Wasn't she just 1 yesterday?

I can't seem to remember what life was like without her!

She is one of my greatest blessings!