Thursday, December 8, 2016

Healthy Recipes to Share

I’m having so much success and enjoyment using healthy recipes from the Comfort Food Diet cookbooks from Taste of Home that I’ve decided I’d like to periodically share with you some of my favorite recipes from recent weeks.

I love using my electric pressure cooker to prepare meals, because it’s so easy, really requires little to no prep work, and it saves SO much time in slaving over the stove and in actual cooking time.  I often throw frozen ingredients or dry pasta or rice in there, and it cooks beautifully while everything else cooks at thePot  Roast with Vegetables Recipe same time.

Here’s my favorite pot roast recipe so far that I adapted for my pressure cooker:  Pot Roast with Vegetables
I cut the roast into slabs to ensure it cooked all the way through in the pressure cooker and used the meat setting for 40 minutes.  It was total perfection!  I think next time, I’ll substitute beef broth for the water for even more flavor.  I’ll never make pot roast any other way again!  It was so good.

Hot Berries 'n' Brownie Ice Cream Cake RecipeWe also had an *amazing* dessert:  Hot Berries 'n' Brownie Ice Cream Cake
Now this looks to have some odd ingredients in the sauce, but don’t let it throw you off from trying it.  Be sure to make it exactly as it says.  I never imagined mixing balsamic vinegar and cayenne pepper with fruit, but this is “the bomb!”  My husband even agreed that this dessert was really something special, and it’s the berry sauce that really put it over the top.  You’ve gotta try it!  It makes a lot of portions, too, so it’s great for a crowd.  I made just half of the berry sauce the first night so I could make a fresh batch halfway through (since berries are delicate and don’t keep for long).

Here’s a delicious recipe for pancakes…my favorite one so far:  Blueberry Oat Blueberry Oat Pancakes RecipePancakes
I used fat-free sour cream and white whole wheat flour for extra lightness, and the fresh blueberries made these absolutely amazing!  They were so full of flavor, and partially grinding the oats into oat flour gave them a more traditional texture for all the whole grains that was in them.  I will be making these many times in the future!  My daughter isn’t a fan of blueberries, so I may try them with apples and cinnamon next time.

Slow-Cooked Pork Tacos RecipeI first made these for lunch, but later made them again for dinner…they were that good:  Slow-Cooked Pork Tacos 
I think the salsa verde is what gave these such a great flavor.  I’d never really cooked with it before.  This is amazing served with Spanish rice and refried beans on the side, along with traditional toppings like lettuce, tomato, cheese, and sour cream.

So now I’ve shared with you a great breakfast, lunch, dinner, and dessert recipe.  If you like this kind of post, please leave me a comment, and I’ll put together some more of my favorites for next time.

Enjoy your healthy and satisfying comfort foods!

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Thanksgiving 2016

I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving!  I was obviously out of sorts this year, because I did not take a single photo of the event!  Our guests called an hour before the meal to say they couldn’t make it, and we spent our very first Thanksgiving with just our own family in probably over a decade! 

We had such a lovely meal.  I made so much food, and it’s clear that my kids have grown, because we managed to finish off the leftovers in record time, despite having a whole turkey instead of just a breast!  The homemade dinner rolls were the best I’ve ever made.  We had pumpkin pie, pumpkin gingerbread trifle, and fruit salad for dessert.  And my kids polished off 3 bottles of sparkling cider! 

By 5:45 PM, Hayden and I were headed out the door for our Black Friday shopping adventures.  We started with Walmart, where we got right in line for a new tv for my living room.  Then we picked up a few things for him…he got a new tablet because his would no longer charge, and he got his first real cell phone with the understanding that he could activate it when he gets a job next summer and can pay his own bill. 

Next, we headed off to Target.  We didn’t get much there, but at least we could get some popcorn and an Icee to hold us over! 

Then we were off to Kohl’s.  We found plenty of things there!  In fact, with the promise of Kohl’s cash to inspire us, we spent quite a bit of time splitting up our stuff in such a way that we could order half at the kiosk and half in the store so we’d get 2 rounds of Kohl’s cash (some items were not available in-store).  We spent forever in there, but it was worth the effort.

We got home so late and satisfied our hunger with leftovers on a homemade roll before heading off to bed.  The next day, I realized that in all the excitement, I’d forgotten to get a tv wall mount!  I even looked at them in Walmart.  Of course, all the area stores were sold out by Friday.  I found an even better deal at Amazon, though, and it arrived on Monday.  Saved by Prime shipping (even though it was delayed one day)!  They added an extra month to my Prime membership for the delay.  We moved the existing living room tv up to our master bedroom and mounted it on the wall.  Boy, is that ever nice!  We’ve always had a tiny tv sitting up high on top of my dresser hutch, and my old eyes were getting too bad to see words on the screen.  Now I just have to rearrange some furniture in our room, and we’ll be all set.

Other than the tv, our list consisted mostly of things people needed rather than wanted.  Even Hayden’s tablet and phone were necessities, as he will be getting his permanent license in April, and he uses Android apps on the tablet in class.  I have to say my kids don’t really want a lot of things any more…no one asked for toys at all.  They are getting older and are starting to see how great it is to get things you need instead.  Money is a lot tighter than usual, so crossing things off the “need” list works out as a win-win for all.

What great deals did you get this year? 

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Ready for Thanksgiving?

Target was out of the $1.39/lb. turkey breasts and was actually out of turkey in general.  They said it would be after Thanksgiving before any more came in, if then.  I was shocked by that, since I went on Sunday!  It seems they were ill-prepared for the holiday.

So on Monday, while I was doing my regular grocery shopping, I figured I’d just go ahead and grab a turkey breast there, regardless of price, and get it over with.  It was $1.59/lb. there.  But then I saw signs saying you could get a Honeysuckle White whole turkey or just 59 cents/lb. with an additional $35 grocery purchase!  I was definitely spending that already, so after comparing the two, I realized it would cost much more to buy an 8 lb. breast vs. under $8 for a 13-lb. whole turkey!  So I got the whole turkey.  Now I personally only eat white meat, but I figured between our dinner guests and my kids, they could probably polish off the dark meat, too.

The only downside is that getting a 13-lb. turkey means I can’t cook it in my Ronco Compact Rotisserie as I normally do, because it has a 10-lb. limit.  That’s a bummer, because it’s nice to put it in there, set the timer for 3 hours, and keep both my oven and my stovetop free for other things while the vegetables simmer in a special pan made for the top of the rotisserie.  Too bad.  Now I’ll have to juggle the timing of everything else, but there’s nothing to be done about that now.

I can still cook my potatoes in the electric pressure cooker, and I will do the stuffing at the end.  I’ll have to time my homemade dinner rolls so that they can go in after the turkey comes out.  That will be a challenge, because if they sit out too long after they’ve risen, they can end up falling or drying out.  After all that work, that would really be a shame!  And I’ll have to probably bake my pumpkin pie tonight and warm it tomorrow, as well as bake the gingerbread cake for the dessert tonight so it can cool and be ready to crumble for the trifle.  It’s gonna be a late night!

Sigh.  Best laid plans!

Here’s my menu:

  • turkey
  • ham
  • mashed potatoes
  • turkey stuffing
  • gravy
  • whole cranberry sauce
  • organic cut green beans
  • organic sweet corn
  • fruit salad
  • pumpkin trifle
  • pumpkin pie
  • 3 flavors of sparkling cider
  • warm spiced cider

I also got my Christmas tree and decorations down from the attic today.  My son had to go to physical therapy, though, so I didn’t have time to get to it today.  It’ll have to wait for Friday, I think. 

How are your preparations coming?  I hope you all have a safe and happy Thanksgiving with your family and friends!

Friday, November 18, 2016

Get Your Online Shopping Coupons from Groupon!!!

Disclaimer:  This is a sponsored post, and all opinions stated here are mine.

Image result for groupon logo

I think we’re all familiar with Groupon by now and their awesome discounted offers for local dining, activities, and events.  And last week, I talked about all the great merchandise available to you through Groupon Goods.  But did you know that you can also shop online at many of your favorite merchants using amazing coupons from Groupon Coupons?!?

Everybody who knows me knows I’m the coupon queen.  Friends at church even call me Shopping Girl!  Seriously, if there’s a deal to be had, I’m the one to find it.  So imagine how excited I was to discover this great cache of coupons at Groupon Coupons

Let’s look at a couple of examples.  With the holidays coming up, and so many people in your life who are inevitably hard to buy for, how about something personalized from Things Remembered?  I remember one year, I wanted to do something extra special for a milestone anniversary for my parents.  My mom had always wanted a clock with a pendulum, so my siblings and I went in together to her one.  To make it extra special, I went to Things Remembered and had them engrave a special gold plate marking their 35 years together.  It attached with adhesive to the front of the clock we’d purchased, and my mom treasured it for so many years, and it was always on the wall by her chair.  My parents have both passed on, and that clock is now on the wall beside my own chair.  It’s that personalization from Things Remembered that made it such a special keepsake. 

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Things Remembered has such a variety of items to choose from, and they even carry NFL and MLB items for the special man in your life!  They also have beautiful frames for graduation pictures that can be personalized!  Pick out the perfect gift and take advantage of Groupon’s awesome coupons like 20% off and free shipping on personalized gifts!  How awesome is that?  And that’s just one of 32 coupons for this vendor currently listed on Groupon Coupons.

Naturalizer

And everybody needs shoes, right?  And women like to look great wearing them, .  With the cold weather coming on, I inevitably turn to specialty stores like Naturalizer where I can buy narrow shoes for my slender feet.  I have a thing for booties in the fall and winter, and I know I can count on Naturalizer for quality.  I’ll never forget the first birthday I celebrated with my husband about two months after I got married.  I’d had my eye on a pair of booties at Naturalizer but didn’t think I could afford them.  My husband surprised me that year with those very shoes and a matching leather jacket!  I was so surprised and so happy, anNaturalizer Ashley Bootd I can tell you that I still have those shoes and wear them to this day, and it’s been 22 years!  I must admit that I’ve just about worn out the soles, so you can bet I checked for a great coupon at Groupon before looking at the selections available at Naturalizer.  Check these booties out…how cute are they?

And Groupon has a great coupon for 25% off any order and free shipping at Naturalizer!  Where else have you seen such amazing coupons?  And that’s just one of 25 coupons for this vendor currently listed on Groupon Coupons.

Groupon Coupons are definitely something you want to check out while you’re doing your shopping this holiday season. 

Happy shopping!

P.S.  Want to keep up with Groupon and all their latest offers?  Check them out on Facebook and Twitter!

#GrouponCoupons #ad

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Meat Deals for Thanksgiving

It’s always a challenge each year to find reasonable prices for a good sliced ham and a turkey breast for our Thanksgiving meal.  It seems the prices go up significantly every year! 

Most years, I usually find that Target ends up with the best deal on a Market Pantry Turkey Breast.  I just eat white meat, and I cook it in a rotisserie with a 10-lb.Image result for market pantry turkey breast weight limit, so just the breast works out great for me.  I try to get as close to the limit as possible.  In several past years, I’ve waited until the week of Thanksgiving and found the turkey breast for 99 cents/lb. at Target.  So far this year, I haven’t seen any prices anywhere near that in any of the sale ads.  Target still has the cheapest price I’ve seen for a turkey breast, but it’s $1.39./lb. this year.  I’m thinking of holding off until Sunday to see if they come out with a better price in the new sale ad, but I also hesitate to wait until we’re so close to the big day!  Have you seen any better price?  If so, please share!

In the past, I’ve usually just bought my quarter sliced ham at Wal-mart, which seems to have the best price on ham in general.  But this year, I stumbled upon an awesome price at my Kroger Marketplace!  The sign said the Private Selection Image result for private selection quarter sliced hamquarter sliced ham was on sale for $3.99/lb., but when I picked up the honey double-smoked variety, all of those were marked at $1.99/lb.!  I must have stood there looking at it for quite some time in shock and disbelief, and then my son said “well, you should probably get it then!”  So I plopped in a quarter sliced ham for $4.25, and low and behold, they had mailed me a coupon at home for another $2 off, making my final price $2.25!  Now that had to be the deal of the century!  I’m sure I’ll never get so lucky as that again!  I was shopping there this morning and noticed there were none on the shelf, so I’m thinking everyone who noticed it swiped one, too, while the gettin’ was good!

I have to admit that other than that, I haven’t done any shopping for Thanksgiving as of yet.  I’m so busy shopping every other day with a list of what I need for my 3 from-scratch meals every day on my Comfort Food Diet Plan that I haven’t really thought about it that much.  I guess I’d better step up my shopping, huh?  I suspect all the basics will start disappearing from the store shelves by this weekend.

I usually make rotisserie turkey breast, sliced ham, stuffing, mashed potatoes, homemade dinner rolls, gravy, whole cranberry sauce, and a couple of different vegetables.  Then I make fruit salad and usually pumpkin trifle for dessert.  I might change up dessert this year, but I haven’t decided yet.  We shall see.  The fruit salad will never leave the menu, though.  It’s my childhood favorite, and my mom always made it for us.  It was the only time of year that we got to have it!

What do you have planned for your Thanksgiving menu this year?

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Kwik Stix Review and Holiday Gift Recommendation

Disclaimer:  This is a sponsored post, and all opinions are mine.  I received two packs of Kwik Stix to try in exchange for my honest review.

Earlier in the year, I had a chance to review the standard colors in the Kwik Stix 12 pk by The Pencil Grip, Inc.  My middle school-aged daughter loved them so much that she jumped at the opportunity to check out two new sets of colors that have come out just in time for the holidays!

Check out these Metalix and Neons!

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Haylee dove right in as soon as the box arrived!

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These are available for just $5.99 per six-pack!  I wish my photos could do the colors justice.  They are so vibrant and vivid!  Haylee had so much fun getting to work on her creations with these great solid acrylic paint sticks.  And I continue to love that they make absolutely no mess at all.  The last time she painted with regular acrylic paints, she failed to wash her brushes in a timely manner, and they were totally ruined!  So was anything she got the paint on accidentally, so I’m practically in love with these no-mess Kwik Stix!

Her first creation was made using the Neons.

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Next, she did a picture with half Neons and half Metalix colors so you could see the contrast and the shimmery appearance of the beautiful Metalix!

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And with the holidays coming, she decided to use the Neons to draw a Christmas tree and the shiny Metalix to do the tinsel and other decorations.

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The Kwik Stix sets continue to be a favorite art supply for Haylee.  They work well on paper, cardboard, poster board, wood, and canvas!  They store conveniently in their original packaging with a form-fitted tray inside the outer box.  What’s more, your child’s creations dry in just 90 seconds, so there’s no need to hang them up to dry!

They are affordably priced and would make a great holiday gift for the artist in your household!  Pick up a few sets in a variety of colors and let your child’s imagination take over!  They are sure to be a favorite in your home, too.

Monday, November 7, 2016

It’s Time to Holiday Shop Once Again!

Disclaimer:  This is a sponsored post, and all opinions stated here are mine.

Image result for groupon goods

Now that Halloween is behind us, we’re all faced with that task of shopping and preparing for the holiday season.  I don’t know about you, but every year, I find myself completely challenged in coming up with gifts for the men in my life.  I’m telling it like it is…kids are easy to buy for in comparison!

This year, I have my husband and a 17-year old son on that list.  Man, that’s tough!  My husband never wants anything, and my son is not one to ask for anything.  Getting ideas out of either one of them is like pulling teeth!

That’s where Groupon Goods comes in.  Most everyone, I think, knows about Groupon with its offers for discounted visits to restaurants and things to do.  You might even be aware of the travel deals from Groupon Getaways.  But are you aware of Groupon Goods and all that it has to offer? 

image for Beats by Dr. Dre Solo2 On-Ear Headphones—Refurbished

At Groupon Goods, you can find all kinds of merchandise, from small appliances to fancy headphones, electronics to housewares, and bedding to clothing.  The possibilities are endless, and the selection changes all the time!  That makes it a great place to start looking for the perfect gift for that hard-to-satisfy friend or family member on your list.

In truth, I even shop for myself there!  My most recent purchase was an awesome food dehydrator.  I’d been wanting one for quite some time, and I’d shopped around a great deal trying to find the features I wanted at a price I could afford.  Then one day, a Groupon Goods deal showed up in my inbox, and there it was!  It even included the accessories that I expected to have to purchase separately.  And the best part…the price was just right!  I am very pleased.

Ronco 5-Tray EZ-Store Turbo Dehydrator with Leather and Herb Screens: Ronco 5-Tray EZ-Store Turbo Dehydrator with Leather and Herb Screens

So check out the selection and start crossing those gifts off your list without even heading out the door to fight the crowds!

The best way to stay informed is to sign up for emails.  If nothing else, it reminds you to go to the site and check out what’s newly available.  You can also check them out on Facebook and Twitter

Happy shopping!