Saturday, August 31, 2013


If I only had a dime for every time I have made this chicken salad...I would be a rich girl! Ha!  I have made it for just about every baby and wedding shower I have ever given and for luncheons galore.  It is quick to make and super easy, as well!

I first had chicken salad made with grapes at a local, little bakery.  I went there probably every week.  But, unfortunately, the owner sold out and when the new management took over, they did not offer!!  So, that left me to try to figure out how to make that amazing chicken salad.  I tried different ingredients until I came up with this one and it is my favorite. 


1 - 12.5 ounce can Tyson Chicken Breast, drained
2 Eggs, boiled, peeled and diced
4 tablespoons Mayonnaise
2 heaping teaspoons Sweet Relish
Sweet Green or Red Grapes, approximately 20 halved
2-3 tablespoons chopped Pecans or Walnuts or sliced Almonds
Salt and Pepper, to taste

Put the chicken in a medium bowl and using a fork, separate the chicken.  Add the other ingredients and stir well.  If you feel like it needs more mayonnaise, you can add it at this time.

Serve on lettuce, bread or croissants.

Makes about 6 whole sandwiches, depending on how much mixture you place on each sandwich.


Thursday, August 29, 2013


This dressing has been my very favorite for years now.  The flavors of garlic, dijon mustard, and honey work so well together and make any salad over the top delicious!

One of the reasons I like this dressing so much is that it tastes so fresh (because it is), and it is super easy to throw together!  It will keep in the fridge for several days to a week.  It could probably last longer but I am over cautious when it comes to food safety!  Tonight, I grilled some tilapia, made some garlic brown rice (it was from a box and scrumptious), and served this salad and dressing along side of them.  Healthy, filling and super tasty!

If you are used to buying bottled dressings, I would urge you to just give this a whirl.  I think you will see that it is worth the little bit of extra time it takes to make it from scratch!

 (I usually double this recipe)
2-3 Garlic Cloves, minced
Enough salt to make a paste
1 tablespoon White Wine Vinegar
1 tablespoon fresh squeezed Lemon
2 teaspoons Honey
1 teaspoon Worcestershire
1/2 teaspoon Dijon Mustard
1/4 cup Olive Oil
Fresh Ground Pepper
With the back of a spoon mash the garlic and salt into a paste.
Combine the other ingredients and add to the garlic paste.
Whisk all ingredients together until well incorporated.
Serve over your choice of salad greens.


This morning, I decided I would start trying some of my favorite breakfast items in gluten-free form.  Pancakes are probably my favorite breakfast dish. I decided to use Pamela's first because 1) my friend Nita has raved about it for a while now and 2) Brown Rice Flour is the first ingredients and 3) I can buy it at a local grocery store without having to drive 20 miles. 
Food labels list the ingredients in order from the greatest quantity to the least.  Of course, any pancake mix always has flour as its first ingredient.  So, the fact that Brown Rice Flour is a healthy substitute left me hoping that it would be as good as the enriched flour pancakes I have eaten all my life.  It does have white rice flour and sweet rice flour and some starches.  I need to do more research into those items.
However, when I poured the dry ingredients into the bowl, I noticed some brown flecks in it.  I looked back at the list of ingredients and there is was, "Natural Almond Meal (may appear as brown flecks).  Now, that's exciting...healthy almonds!   To the mix, you add 3/4 water, 1 large egg and 1 tablespoon of oil (I used Canola).
It cooked just like a regular pancake.  It puffed up with the little bubbles and it was easy to flip over.  Great so far!
Now of course, I had to put butter and syrup on it!  I never said it was healthy....just healthier!  And...drumroll tasted just as good as my regular pancakes.  I asked my husband what he thought...he said he couldn't taste a difference!
So, there you have it...Pamela's Baking Mix makes great pancakes and they are gluten-free....that was a shocker for me!

Wednesday, August 28, 2013


Okay, throw out everything you ever thought about meatloaf.  This recipe is one that will make a hater into a lover with the first bite!

I cannot remember where I got this recipe but it was so good that I wrote it in my personal cookbook that I take with me even in  hurricane evacuations!  A recipe has to be one that is tried and true and given a thumbs up by my family.  Have I convinced you yet?

This meatloaf is three different layers of flavor and is moist and juicy...yummm!!  I made it last night and served it with sweet potatoes, garlic green beans, and buttered corn.  I am giving you the recipe that I have always made but last night I changed it up just a bit to lower the sugar and to make it gluten free.  I used Organic Coconut Palm Sugar which is close to a brown sugar.  Whatever you would use brown sugar for, the coconut palm sugar would be a good replacement.  I actually just used half brown sugar and half of the coconut palm sugar.  The other thing I did was to replace the crackers with some Gluten Free Pretzels that I think taste just like crackers.  I gave those a whirl in the food processor and added them in the same increments as the crackers.  Let me just say, that the taste difference was negligible.

Whether you make it just like the recipe below or you change it slightly like I did, please give it a try.  Your family will thank you : )


2 lbs. Ground Sirloin
1 small onion, chopped
1 medium Green Bell Pepper, diced
3/4 cup Light Brown Sugar, firmly packed
1/2 cup Saltine Crackers, crushed (about 20)
2 large Eggs
1.4 cup Steak Sauce (I use A-1)
3 tablespoons Ketchup
1 teaspoon Salt
1 teaspoon Garlic Salt
1 tablespoon Garlic Powder

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Combine the 11 ingredients above. Put meat on a 15X10 jelly roll pan OR a pan that allows room for the meatloaf to be formed and not touch sides.  Form the meat into a 14X8 loaf.  I never measure I just eye it. 

Brush the top of the meatloaf with the Mustard Sauce below. and then pour the tomato sauce mixture over the top.  Bake for 1 hour or until loaf is not longer pink in the center.

Let the meatloaf stand for 15 minutes, drain before serving. Meatloaf will be soft in texture.

Serves 6-8 adults.

1/2 cup Light Brown Sugar, firmly packed
1/4 cup Prepared Mustard

1 cup canned Petite Diced Tomatoes
1- 8 ounce can tomato sauce
1/4 teaspoon Salt
1/2 teaspoon Garlic Salt
1/4 teaspoon Pepper

Tuesday, August 27, 2013


My Banana Muffin recipe made gluten-free!

Have I mentioned how much I LOVE carbs????  I think just about all my favorite foods contain carbs but I have been toying with the idea of going gluten-free. I have had some recent health issues and it made me wonder if that might help alleviate the issues.  I would always rather try the natural remedy before the medical remedy.  My sister-in-law has dealt with heartburn and indigestion for years and was recently put on a drug to control it.  She was told by a friend that going gluten-free helped her husband totally get off his medications for heartburn.  She was skeptical at first, but lo and behold, it actually helped her to get off of her medications, as well.  Now she will only eat gluten (wheat) when she is really craving something....she just prepares herself to suffer later.

This is just one bag, there was another bag and a cooler full of freezer/fridge items : )

My sweet son, Christopher, brought me tons of gluten-free foods from Austin...he was just a wee bit worried ; ) He lives a couple of blocks from Whole Foods Market.  If you ever get a chance to go to that Whole Foods, you will be in for a treat.  Great store!  I will be posting some of my favorites from the things he brought me this week.  I went to Basic Foods in Beaumont last week and was so excited to see so many great brands and choices when it comes to gluten-free. 

I wanted to post this flour mix that I purchased.  It is totally gluten-free and you replace your flour with it in same amounts...hence the name...Cup 4 Cup.  I bought it from Williams-Sonoma because I had heard so many good things about it.  It is expensive but I tried it out on my Banana Muffin recipe and I could not tell that I had changed anything.  It was really good.  I am trying to come up with a recipe for my own flour mix because the one drawback of the Cup 4 Cup is that the main ingredient is Cornstarch which is high in carbs and doesn't have any nutritional value.  However, cornstarch is gluten-free.  I am just thinking that with as many different flours and starches that there are out there, surely I can find something a little healthier...who knows?!  A friend of mine loves the brand Pamela's and they carry that at HEB.

I am reading the book "Wheat Belly" by William Davis, M.D.  My friend Nita called me the other day so excited about it and said that I had to read it.  I, of course, ran and got it pretty much immediately....if it is that good, why wait...right?  I am just beginning the book but I already feel like it is going to be a game changer.  It goes into depth about the effects of wheat in our diets and how many health issues can be resolved by just giving it up.

I know this is not going to be easy and I don't even know if I can live without dramatic does that sound? I mean, if I want a hamburger or onion rings, or regular pasta or a donut, I think I will allow myself to have it, occasionally.  I just want to take gluten/wheat out of my diet on an everyday basis.   We'll see, in time, how this will all work out.  For now, I am finding out there is a lot of food I can still eat and most of the symptoms of my health issue have been resolved.  I just feel better knowing that I am eating healthier.   I want to be around to see my little grandbaby Alex and my future grandchildren, grow up.

If any of you have gone gluten-free, I would love to hear how it is going, what products you love, recipes, etc.  We can all encourage each other!  Love it! 

Saturday, August 10, 2013


Wow!  Look at all the beautiful, vibrant colors in this salsa.  There is so much good stuff packed in here both in flavor and nutrients! 

It was Hippocrates who said," Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food!"  Smart man.  This dish is packed with lots of "medicine" that God gave us to enjoy and it tastes amazing!
Let's break down this dish and look at the healthy aspects of it. 
First of all we have black beans which are low in fat, low in cholesterol and loaded with fiber.  They are heart-healthy and great for digestion.  They are high in antioxidants that fight against free radicals which help to fight against cancer.  In addition to all these great things, they are high in iron and manganese.
Next, we have tomatoes.  Tomatoes are rich in antioxidants.  They prevent skin damage from UV rays and offers protection from skin cancer.  They also, like black beans, fight against free radicals. They are good for your eyes, skin, heart, prostate & bones.  Packed full of Vitamin A, C, Potassium, B-Complex, and minerals, tomatoes should be a part of a healthy diet each day.

Green Onions are my all-time favorite accompaniment to a good sandwich.  They are a great source of Vitamin A, C and Folate.  I have read that they can even lower blood pressure.  Maybe that's why mine is so green onions!

I think just about every dish I cook has garlic in it so it is good to know that garlic contains high amounts of antioxidants!  Garlic can lower your cholesterol, it is antifungal, it thins the blood, lowers your blood pressure, helps your joints, and reduces the risk of cancers such as stomach, colon, pancreas and breast. 

Cilantro is rich in antioxidants just like the other ingredients listed above, so it helps fight against cancers.   It is packed with Vitamins A, C, K, B-6, Folate, and the minerals Calcium, Iron, Potassium, and Manganese.   It helps lower blood pressure, reduces bad cholesterol and raises good cholesterol, and is good for bones.  One thing that really stood out to me was that Cilantro has established a role in the treatment of Alzheimer's disease patients by limiting neuronal damage in their brain.  Awesome!

Cumin helps control diabetes.  It reduces hypoglycemia.  And this is interesting, cumin 
aids in digestion by causing the liver to secrete more bile which aids in the breakdown of more fat and absorption of more nutrients. It contains Magnesium which promotes good heart health.

Limes are considered healthy diabetes super foods.  They contain high levels of soluble fiber which help regulate the body's absorption of sugar into the bloodstream and lowers blood pressure. They also have a low glycemic index.  The natural amount of acid in limes helps clean the excretory system by washing and cleaning the tracts, therefore helps alleviate constipation.  Also, an overdose of lime juice with salt acts to purge without side effects, providing relief from constipation.  Hmmmm...who knew those margaritas did all that!

Last but not least Olive Oil.  Olive Oil.  This should be a super food. Olive Oil helps in reducing the risk of some cancers.  It helps lower blood cholesterol, helps improve the control of blood sugar, helps prevent rheumatoid arthritis, and it is thought to prevent the onset of osteoporosis.  It is also touted as helping to protecting against skin cancer and breast cancer.  Olive Oil is also good for the scalp and hair growth.

So many reasons to fix this recipe and store it in the refrigerator to eat with chips, serve over omelets, put into tortillas, mix in with corn, or grab a big spoonful and eat as a snack.  I've made this for years but never realized just how good it is for your health. 


1 16 ounce can Black Beans, rinsed and drained
2 Tomatoes, diced
4 Green Onions, chopped
2 Garlic Cloves, minced
3 tablespoons Cilantro, freshly chopped
2-1/2 tablespoons Olive Oil
2 tablespoons Fresh Lime Juice
1/2-1 teaspoon ground Cumin
Salt and Pepper to taste

Combine ingredients in a bowl.  Cover, refrigerate and serve with tortilla chips.


Thursday, August 8, 2013


Eating healthy does not have to be boring or tasteless.   I have tried so many times to like this dressing when I go out to eat and it is just....tolerable in most restaurants.  Bottled balsamic dressing is not even worth it...I'd rather just eat plain lettuce. So, I decided to see if I could improve the taste just a bit. I did....and now it is one of my favorites! 

This dressing is seriously the quickest, easiest dressing ever.  The most important part is to purchase a good balsamic vinegar.  It makes a difference.  My favorite balsamic vinegar is one that I bought at a cooking expo.  It was an aged balsamic vinegar from Modena.  I have saved the label so I could order some online.  I saw the label just this week and then when I went to look for it, of course, I cannot find it.  But here is America's Test Kitchen's review of balsamics that they recommend.  Balsamic vinegar should be aged and thick like a syrup....although the one I used tonight was one I bought at HEB grocery store.  I just took a chance,  It was Central Market brand but when I took at little sip, it burned the back of my throat a little. 

However, I realized that have another bottle that I bought at the same expo and it was called Leonardo and Roberto's Gourmet Blend Traditional Balsamic Vinegar. It has a smooth, sweet taste.  It is so good that I could probably just put it on my salad without making a vinaigrette.   As balsamic vinegar ages, it gets richer and sweeter and loses its acidity.  So, this is one brand that I can testify to the taste.  Another thing, balsamic vinegars are a little costly for the good ones.  This bottle cost around $50 but it is worth it and it goes a long way!  If you do not want to purchase online, I am thinking that any gourmet kitchen store would probably have a good balsamic vinegar.  Beaumont is about 20 minutes from my home and they have a great kitchen store called Kitchen Concepts, I bet they would probably have several to choose from for those of you who live close.

Tonight, I cooked salmon and served it with baked sweet potatoes and a salad with this dressing.  I hope you will give it a try...healthy, easy, delicious....perfect combo!


1/4 cup Balsamic Vinegar
1/2 cup Olive Oil
2 teaspoons Brown Sugar
2 Garlic Cloves, minced
1/2 teaspoon salt and pepper (I always taste and add a little more!)

Put in a mason jar or cruet with a lid and shake well!


Wednesday, August 7, 2013


Hint: Be sure and cover the limas with water before you cook them or the outside skin will shrivel like mine did...ugh!

Low in Cholesterol and High in Fiber! 

Those are two very good reasons to eat a big helping of Lima Beans!

Grandbaby Alex and PawPaw (husband)

I always cook for my family member's birthdays and let them choose the menu.  Yesterday, my husband turned **, haha!  He had two requests....make him something that was healthy and low in fat and....this is the one that makes me proud he is my husband....he asked me to bake a lemon pie for him to give to elderly couple that he visits.  They are in their 80's and the wife is paralyzed on one side from a stroke a few years back and the husband takes care of her.  He knows that they don't get  lot of homemade desserts and decided to bring them one.  Lemon Pie was their request so, I made for them and one for my sweet husband using the Lemon Pie recipe on my blog. 

I decided to make the Lemon Chicken, with Lima Beans.  My sister-in-law, Judy, brought Confetti Salad, baked Spaghetti Squash (I will have to blog that soon), and a Razzleberry Pie (no recipe, it was boxed yumminess).  It was a good birthday supper!

This recipe calls for packages of frozen lima beans but I bought some lima beans at the farmer's market a couple of weeks ago and put them in the freezer.  I forgot that the limas had to be cooked before adding the other ingredients. Of course, I was running behind so I decided to cook them in the microwave, which was okay but I noticed that the outside of the beans were a little shriveled.   I did not cover the limas with water and I think I should have.  If I would have covered them with water and then cooked them, I think the skins would have been shiny and taut.  Live and learn or rather cook and learn.  They were still veryyyy good and healthy

Cooking, to me, is a labor of love....sometimes!  Justtttt kiddinggggg...I really do love cooking good food for my family.  I like when they walk in the kitchen and start lifting lids, sneaking bites, and the minute it is finished the plates start filling up.  That is the reason I don't usually get the best pictures...I don't have time before my family starts digging in!  I wouldn't want it any other way!

Hope you give the lima beans a try.  Each 1 cup serving only has 173 calories and 1.4 grams of fat and a great source of fiber!  Limas are definitely our friends!


2 - 10 ounce packages frozen Baby Lima Beans
Cooking Spray (I use Pam)
4 slices Canadian Bacon, cut into thin strips
2 tablespoons shallot, chopped
2 Roma Tomatoes, seeded and chopped
1/4 cup Water
1 teaspoon Chicken Bouillon Granules
1 teaspoon Worcestershire Sauce
Few Shakes Hot Sauce
Salt and Pepper to taste

Cook beans according to package directions, drain and set aside

Cut the tomatoes in half, seed and chop.

Chop the shallot.

Slice the Canadian Bacon into strips.

Coat a large skillet with cooking spray.

Place over medium high heat until hot.
Add Canadian bacon and shallots; sauté until shallots are tender.

Add lima beans, tomato, and remaining ingredients.

Salt and Pepper to taste.

Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium, uncovered 2 minutes, stirring frequently.


Monday, August 5, 2013


Okay, I know this is not the best picture.  Please do not let this picture stop you from baking this cobbler, it is seriously one of the best I have made.  I received a lot of compliments today over it. 

What made me decide to make a cobbler today?  My sweet mom has alzheimers and she lives about 5 miles from me in a wonderful, private home with 7 others women about her age.  She looooovvvveeessss peach cobbler so yesterday she asked me to make her one....and serve it with ice cream! I really hate that I had to make this in a disposable pan but I didn't want there to be any clean up for the ladies that work at the house.

I have made this recipe so many times over the years.  I changed something this time though.  I was looking through Trisha Yearwood's cookbook, Georgia Cooking In An Oklahoma Kitchen, and her recipe was similar but she added a stick of butter to the pan beforehand (my mother in law always added it to the top) and she used self rising flour.  I decided to try the stick of butter (next time I will use less) but "stick" to all purpose'd you like that little play on words...hehe!  Other than that one little change, it is my mother-in-law's recipe that she gave me probably 25 years ago.  Thank goodness she actually knew the measurements because her cornbread recipe is literally "take one big handful of flour and 2 big handful's of cornmeal, etc.!" Ha!  Not an exact type of recipe! 

When my sister-in-law, Judy, and I brought the cobbler over to my mom's, the ladies were eating supper....perfect.  They were ready for dessert!  They ooh-ed and ahh-ed over this cobbler.  One of the ladies who works there said she didn't like cobbler but she got some on her finger when dipping up a bowl for the ladies and it was so good that she dipped herself a bowl too.  I doubled this recipe and I am so glad I did because today the ladies daughters had just about all come for a visit so it served 14 or 15 people with some still left over.

My mom cannot remember a lot of things but she still remembers her favorite dessert!  So many times, I have forgotten to thank God for the little things but today I am very grateful that she still got so much joy over something so small!


2 15-ounce can of sliced Peaches
1 stick of Butter
1 cup of all purpose Flour
1 cup of sugar
1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 cup Milk

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Drain both cans of peaches but reserve the juice from one can for the recipe. (Leftover juice is good poured into a big glass of tea!)

Place 1 stick of butter in a 9X13 dish and place in an oven to melt.

In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar and baking powder.  Stir until combined.

Pour in the milk and the reserved juice into the dry ingredients and whisk until well blended.

Pour mixture over the melted butter.

Place the peaches evenly on top.
Batter will rise over the peaches.

Put into oven for 1 hour.
Sprinkle sugar over the top and serve with yummy vanilla ice cream!