Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Whole30 / Paleo Ranch Dressing

I woke up this morning and realized that I was out of my favorite Tessemae's Lemon Garlic dressing ... it was 7:45am and I needed to get to work fast!

So, instead of stopping at Whole Foods and spending $5.49 for a bottle of dressing, I made this instead, in minutes.  

Yes, by 8:00am, I was out the door ... and it was the BEST batch I've made yet (must have been from the free pouring of the herbs and spices?)

It's Whole30 approved. Dairy Free. Grain Free. Obviously, Gluten Free!

And easy easy EASY to make!!

This recipe is totally from Whole Sisters and I give them FULL credit ... this is just me saying I made it, I loved it and I want to share it with the world!! Give the girls a drive by and check out their site, it's chock-full of good stuff!

Here's how I made it

egg, room temperature
1 tbs lemon juice, room temperature
1 cup olive oil
2 tbs red wine vinegar
1 tsp salt
1 tsp black pepper
3/4 tsp onion powder
3/4 tsp garlic powder
1/2 cup canned coconut milk
handful of parsley, leaves pulled off and stems discarded
dash of dried dill

Grab yourself a tall jar and make sure your immersion blender fits in the top ;-) I speak from experience! Place everything in jar, insert your immersion blender and let it rip. Make sure you go up and down to pull the parsley in to the blades. Once everything is combined and creamy, give a taste, say "yummm, real ranch" and cap that bad boy and place in the fridge. 

I just poured some in a small jar to take to work with me for that salad that salad I made earlier ... I am looking forward to using it to dip my chicken in this evening at dinner time as well ... 

Go ahead, make it and you will NOT be disappointed! 

Looking forward to sharing with some of these GREAT Parties ... go check them out!

*This post contains affiliate links ... click here to read my disclosure :-)

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Fluffy Waffles from Scratch

*Repost because this is what's on the breakfast menu for Father's Day and well, it's been awhile since we've made waffles and I have everything on hand!!

Ever since I bought the family a waffle maker for Christmas, we've been utilizing it one way or another weekly, be it hash browns, grilled cheese sandwiches, OR WAFFLES!

Hash Browns ... takes a LONG time

But this weeks' recipe IS for waffles ... just because I've made them every Sunday morning for the past month ... at long last, I found something to use up the flour I have in the pantry ... the first few waffles I made had me backing away from the belgium waffle ... they puff up really fast and then the thing started whistling ... just the steam escaping but after the first two waffles, I realized to put just a tad less batter in the waffle iron!

The only downside to this recipe is the amount of eggs...6 total for one batch. And I usually double the recipe because we usually have 6 adults around to eat by the time it's all ready ... 19 year old, 21 year old, 23 year old, 25 year old and then me and Hubby (which I don't feel necessary to tell you how old we are!) ... so there's some heavy eating going on.

All the young'ums have hearty appetites and can afford to eat 2 or 3 of these things doused with real maple syrup and real butter. Don't cut corners with certain ingredients ... in this case, the butter and syrup. I buy mine at Costco and find it's way cheaper and better quality than what you can buy at your regular grocery store ... just sayin.

Good grief. I just remembered the days where I would stock up on pre-made frozen waffles with coupons and sales ... they were horrible tasting when I look back on them now. I can't believe I fed these to the kids when they were in grade school and middle school and felt GOOD about giving them a good breakfast. Sorry, children. If only I had known then what I know now!

The original recipe comes from Yammie's Noshery ... and well, what can I say ... anyone from the Midwest is A-ok in my eyes ;)  I did a few things differently, primarily, reduced the amount of sugar a bit as I found the original recipe was way too sweet for us since we don't eat a whole lot of super sweet things (HA! Had you fooled, for a minute there didn't I?) in the morning!

Here's what you need to make about TWELVE really yummy waffles (if you don't eat them all today, you have an easy way out for breakfast tomorrow OR dinner tonight:

12 eggs. Yes TWELVE. I know, the whole dozen. UNLESS you use EXTRA LARGE eggs (from Costco, where else?) then use TEN. Still alot, I know, but it's worth it!
2/3 cups canola oil
2 cups milk
2 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup sugar (IF you like yours sweeter, up it a little)
4 cups flour
1 tsp salt
2 tbs baking powder

Mix all your wet ingredients and sugar in large bowl, whisk to make sure all is combined.

Add flour, salt and baking powder in separate bowl, stir to mix well.

Tip: Write the expiration date of the baking soda on the lid so you always know it's alive and well!

Remember, this is a RE-POST so yeah, it would be expired by now!

Pour the dry ingredients in to the wet ingredients and stir well ... I say don't over stir as you will have tough waffles and that defeats the whole purpose here!

Turn on your waffle iron to high and let it heat up til ready.  Once heated, add batter to the iron and close, follow the directions of your particular iron.  Note, don't over fill, but don't under fill, either. Such a fine line :-)

Once done, pull out the waffle, drop on a plate, slather with a little butter and some real maple syrup and be prepared to say "ummm....yummmm" Enjoy!

Looking forward to sharing with some of these GREAT Parties ... go check them out!

*This post may contain affiliate links ... click here to read my disclosure :-)

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Ranch Style Steaks

I still had those 3 NY Strip steaks I picked up at Walmart a few months ago in the freezer.

Not the BEST deal but better than the usual, full price

And well, because I was/am sort of on a Freezer/Pantry/No Spend Challenge this month, I figured now is the time to make them!

I had everything on hand, believe it or not! Here's how we did it!

1 onion, thinly sliced - I had half a red and half a sweet so I used those two!
1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced - I used a bag of mini peppers. The whole bag
1 clove of garlic, chopped fine
1 oz pkg ranch dry dressing mix
generous shake of cayenne pepper (depending on taste, not TOO generous!)
1/3 cup oil (I opted to use Avocado oil cuz I have that on hand but original calls for canola oil!)
1/3 cup sun dry julienne cut sun dried tomatoes (pantry stock up from a great deal for $1 each per bag forever and a day ago!)
large ziploc bag - or a shoebox!
1 1/2 lb steak (we've done ribeyes, t-bones and now, NY Strips)
1 24 by 12 inch sheet of foil
1/2 cup crumbled bleu cheese

*This is an old picture and the recipe was doubled so it's a lot of stuff*

Add onion, pepper to bag, or in my case, a shoebox. Add ranch dressing, oil, and tomatoes, shake (stir) to blend. Toss in the steaks, zip up (cover up) and put in fridge for 10 minutes to 2 hours (2 hours for me) to marinate.

Preheat grill (or, gasp, grill pan on the stove top ... but seriously, you just don't get the same effect ... not to mention, it's summertime, TIME to grill!)

Transfer veggie stuff to center of foil, discard marinade, bring up sides of foil to make a packet and double fold to seal. Place steaks on grill, 3 to 4 minutes each side for medium rare (um, not for Hubby). Place foil pack along side while steaks cook, 7 to 10 minutes, til tender.

Remove steaks, let stand 5 to 10 minutes.  Top steaks with veggies and cheese. Serve with favorite salad on the side.

Oh, yes we did this. It was tasty. We have done this using boneless skinless chicken breast and a handful of shrooms too (which was excellent!)

Honestly, its delicious without any cheese ... so if you too are on a Freezer/Pantry/No Spend Challenge and don't have cheese, it's ok to skip. We had cheese this time around.

Go ahead, give it a try ... it's definitely worth the time!

Looking forward to sharing with some of these GREAT Parties ... go check them out!

*This post may contain affiliate links ... click here to read my disclosure :-)

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Ranch Chicken in the Crockpot

*This is a repost from a while ago but it's what I gave this recipe to Princess this past week and Hubby heard me, it's on the menu for a fast crockpot meal ...*

I wanted to type Raunchy Chicken but figured not too many people would find it funny UNLESS you knew me and my friend Cat ... Cat always has a hard time putting the right word in and most likely would have said raunchy ... especially if there had been a glass of wine or two involved.

Any ways.

The original recipe is modified from the Real Mom Kitchen ... (which, thanks to Pinterest, I've discovered!) and since I had chicken on hand, figured why not? Bonus for me: I had EVERYTHING on hand ... because we are STILL in a sort of Freezer/Pantry/No Spend Challenge for June ... 

So, I give to you, my readers, fans, followers, stalkers, what have you:

Raunchy Chicken

6 normal size b/s chicken breast (freezer)
1 packet of dry ranch dressing seasoning mix (Aldi's for i think 49 cents?)
1 can of cream o' chicken soup (the real deal, Campbell, picked up for ... 50 cents with coupon ... and HEY ... if you have a real suitable substitute, I'm all ears!)

Toss all in crockpot, cover and cook on low for 6 hours. Yeah, that's it! Of course, if you are thinking clearly, you will toss the soup in the pot, then the ranch dressing, give it a quick stir, then toss in the chicken, sort of bury them a little and then walk away.

Ummmm... yeah, too easy, huh? When serving, feel free to sprinkle with some chopped parsley to make it pretty and special =D

*Princess and her guy were over this past weekend and they were talking about the salsa chicken they made in the crockpot and how much they were loving the crockpot, so I pulled out a can of cream of celery soup and a package of ranch dressing mix and told them how to make it ... they both love this recipe and were so glad that I shared with them!

Looking forward to sharing with some of these GREAT Parties ... go check them out!

*This post may contain affiliate links ... click here to read my disclosure :-)

Saturday, June 11, 2016

Sesame Noodles

For a while there, it seemed everywhere I looked there was  a sesame noodle recipe!

Now, I don't see this so much ... wonder why?

It's a favorite in the household and a great party carb to have on hand for those get togethers ...

Hubby loves this stuff and was actually asking me the other day why I haven't made it lately. Ummm, the last time was a BBQ holiday, probably Labor Day, 2014? Whoa....time to make it soon now that summer is fast approaching!

It's a really fast, easy AND frugal recipe to throw together and everything can be done while the noodles cook. I've modified the heck out of it to use what I had on hand the first time I made it, and well, it was good so I stayed with it!

1 lb thin pasta (angel hair, thin, or just plain ole spaghetti will work.)
1/2 cup soy sauce (I use my JCS Soya Sauce, it's nice and thick, not thin and runny)
2 tbs sesame oil
1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
2 tbs sugar
2 tbs chopped cilantro (optional, my Hubby hates cilantro)
1 tbs ginger root, can use powdered stuff (or the tube refrigerated stuff, which is what I use)
1 tsp hot chili oil ( I never have this on hand so I use crushed red pepper flakes or the stuff in tube if I have)
1 cup green onions (less is better, very strong flavor if a full cup is used)
1 cup snow peas
small handful of sesame seeds toasted in a skillet (optional)
handful of thin sliced red peppers (optional, I used those peppers below)

Aldi, Aldi and ALDI!

Cook pasta according to directions. Rinse in cold water to cool down.

In a LARGE bowl, mix remaining ingredients except the onions, snow peas AND red pepper if using.

Put pasta in bowl and toss to coat evenly.

Add onions, snow peas and pepper stir gently and sprinkle with sesame seeds. Cover bowl and stick in the refrigerator to chill well before serving so all the ingredients can mix and mingle and get ready to party as well!


Looking forward to sharing with some of these GREAT Parties ... go check them out!

*This post may contain affiliate links ... click here to read my disclosure :-)

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Lemon Basil Riced Cauliflower

*hey, hey, it's yet another repost but honestly, this one is so worth putting back up!*

Have you had the pure joy of seeing one of these bags at Trader Joe's yet??

That there bag is pure heaven for a mere $1.99 each ... and when you see them, you better be snatching up more than just one or two as they go F A S T when they have them in stock! Just tonight I was talking to a girlfriend who was at the store on University south of 595 and she said they had some at 6:30pm! That was a miracle and she snatched up 5 because, you know, you don't want to be that person that clears the shelf ;-) Right??

Luckily, I just nabbed another 5 bags a few weeks ago and I've been hoarding them.  I could have been that person and took all 12 that were in the box but I know how frustrated I've been when I keep missing the re-stocking so I figured I'd play nice and leave some for the next person!

Now, I'll admit, I had 1 bag left in the freezer and I was holding out ... I broke down and bought a whole head of cauliflower and "riced" it myself by running the florets in the food processor for a few minutes til the texture is right ... it just was not the same, not to mention, tiny pieces of cauliflower were found all over the kitchen for the next several days and it was just plain annoying!

So ... I grabbed a bag the other morning for breakfast and made this awesome recipe!

1 bag of riced cauliflower
zest of 1 lemon
juice of a half of a lemon
fresh basil, sliced in to ribbons (tip: use scissors to cut the leaves quickly)

Toss the bag of riced cauliflower in a non-stick skillet (I use a green pan and it works great) on medium heat.

Once the rice is heated (no longer frozen) and liquid (if any) is gone, add the zest to the rice and give a quick fluff. Squeeze the juice over the rice and dish up!  Garnish with the basil strips.

This makes 4 servings for me and I just store in the fridge and reheat in the skillet with whatever protein I'm having at that meal!


Looking forward to sharing with some of these GREAT Parties ... go check them out!

*This post may contain affiliate links ... click here to read my disclosure :-)

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Grocery Cart Sunday!

Hey, hey, even though it's a holiday weekend, I'm still trying to stay on task with things around here, so here you are, another Grocery Cart Sunday post!


Where shopping is a pleasure ... well, it used to be anyway. Now, not so much. It seems that their prices are high and the produce is just so-so ... am I getting spoiled from Aldi's you think?

I originally intended to go on Friday after work with the thought process that I'd get out of work earlier since we've been slammed and working late every night, but no such luck, I could have left early but I just had to finish up a bunch of stuff just for my own peace of mind over the weekend.

So, instead, I woke up bright and early on Saturday morning, with the intention of going to Publix to buy the paper products and use my $5 off $40, then drive to Aldi's to get my fruits and veggies and then BACK to Publix to by the cold stuff and use my other $5 off $40 coupon. Guess what? It was pouring rain, thundering and lightning so I didn't get out to the store until 3pm that day. So NOT what I wanted to do on a Saturday afternoon!  AND it messed up my whole plan ... I only went to Publix instead of driving all over town in the afternoon.

I spent a lot. I got a lot too, sort of. And I think, yes, I do need to do a Freezer/Pantry/No Spend Challenge in June ... maybe budget $40 a week (that way I can use my $5 off each week and spend $35 ... ideally!) ... yes, I believe we will be doing that!

Ok, here's what I bought:

*remember, we have friends coming over for a pool party this afternoon ... Hubby had picked up the ribs during the week and spent, I believe, $12 or so*

TP $4.99
Paper towel $4.99
2 6 pks Cayman Jack @ $9.49 for both (b1g1f)
38 oz bag of cheese tortillini $4.99
2 pkgs of Nathan hot dogs $6.49 for both (b1g1f)
1 lb italian sausage $5.09 (recipe testing)
2 dozen large eggs $1.59 each
4 large cans of baked beans @ $2.39 for 2 (b1g1f))
2 large bags of chips $4.99 (b1g1f)
2.31 pounds of tomatoes $2.98
instant oatmeal $2.50
tabasco green sauce $2.50
4 lemons $3.38 (!!)
4 limes $3.78 (!!)
12 pk coffee kcups $6.99
2 pkgs napkins $2.35 (b1g1f)
2 pkgs angel hair pasta $1.69 (b1g1f) (recipe testing)
paper plates $3.25 (b1g1f)
Dunkin Donuts Kcup coffee $9.49 (hubby)
garbage bags $6.99
2 boxes sea shell pasta $1.69 (b1g1f) (recipe testing)
2 bottles ketchup $3.65 (b1g1f)
dill relish $2.39 (b1g1f)
bag of coleslaw $1.89
6 ears of corn $1.80
celery $2.79
2 avocados $2.00
barcardi mixer $3.09
limeade $2.09 (recipe testing)
2 containers fresh salsa $2.50 each
2 pkgs burger buns $3.19 (b1g1f)
2 pkgs hot dog buns $2.50 each
pool float $9.99 (my relaxation)
bananas $1.69

Used one $5 off the $40, and then there were three $2 off something or another but still, my grand total was $145.33.

Yeah. That was a lot.

Then Winn Dixie for a quick stop for shrimp (the stuff it the freezer went to feed the fish), garlic, carrots, a pineapple (pina coladas) and beer ... oh and that there almond milk because Publix no longer carries it! $42.21 ... eek.

My budget is blown! So, yeah, I think there is a Freezer/Pantry/No Spend Challenge for June, after all!

How did your grocery shopping trip(s) go this week??

Looking forward to sharing with some of these GREAT Parties ... go check them out!

*This post may contain affiliate links ... click here to read my disclosure :-)

Oriental Cabbage Salad

*Time for a favorite salad to have at your BBQ parties and holiday get togethers! It's on my menu today!

Most people like this, even if it's based on cabbage. Just an absolute delicious salad for those summer bbqs!

Bag of coleslaw (or just plain cabbage, shredded, small to medium size head)
8 green onions, sliced thin
1/2 red pepper, diced
1/2 cup peanuts (or other nuts you like), toasted and cooled
1/2 cup sesame seeds, toasted and cooled (can be skipped if you don't have!)
2 pkgs ramen noodles, crushed
1/2 red pepper, chopped


4 tbs sugar. You can use a sugar substitute of choice if desired (I used 3 packets of Stevia in the Raw and it was perfect!! I may do it this way from now on)
1 tsp black pepper
1/2 cup olive oil (or oil of choice)
2 tsp salt (I've always used less)
6 tbs rice wine vinegar
*or, you can do like I sometimes do and just use the seasoning packet and omit the salt and pepper*

Place all veggies in a large mixing bowl.

Just before serving, mix in the seeds/nuts, crushed noodles and toss gently with the salad dressing. Serve.

*Feel free to not dress the complete salad. Serve up smaller bowl and replenish as needed (only because the leftovers will be soggy but still yummy!)

Looking forward to sharing with some of these GREAT Parties ... go check them out!

*This post may contain affiliate links ... click here to read my disclosure :-)

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Watermelon & Mint Cubes of Joy

Not very long ago, I shared with you how to Deconstruct a Watermelon. What? You didn't see that yet? Ok, go ahead, click on that there link and go check it out. It's ok, I'll chill here and wait for you to come back ...


E A S Y 

I figured with Memorial Day Weekend here and a bunch of BBQ parties are happening, now is the time to share!

Ready? Let's do this!

1 small, seedless watermelon, deconstructed and cut in to bite size cubes
handful of mint, leaves only, rough chopped
1 lemon, cut in half
Himalayian (pink) salt

Toss the watermelon on a larger serving platter.

I ended up using this mint as there were NO mint plants to be found at the store!

Squeeze lemon juice over the watermelon. Give a quick shake/stir of the watermelon.

Sprinkle salt over the watermelon. I'm not a big fan of salt so I was conservative ...

Sprinkle mint leaves over the top.

Spear a bunch of cubes with toothpicks and serve up!


Looking forward to sharing with some of these GREAT Parties ... go check them out!

*This post may contain affiliate links ... click here to read my disclosure :-)

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Bacon Wrapped Water Chestnuts

It's time for the big start to summer for many this weekend and well, we are like, O M G it's summertime now AND Hurricane Season! Eek!

So, what do we do? We start evaluating the pantry and freezers to see what we have in there that might need to be moved in a hurry and used up in the event of a pending storm coming at us ... 

And then, we see that can of water chestnuts sitting in the pantry and think "uhm, bacon wrapped water chestnuts sound really good right about now" ... and then you just pull the can off the shelf, grab some bacon out of the fridge and go to it ... it's that easy!

*And if you are doing Whole30, use a sugar free bacon (normally MOST low sodium bacon IS sugar free, but read your labels!) and you've got yourself a pretty nifty little appetizer to share ...

Here you go:

2 cans of WHOLE water chestnuts (not the sliced ones!) 
1 pkg of bacon - slices cut in two

Grab a large baking sheet and lay out a large piece of parchment paper over it. Turn oven on to 375 degrees. I think I may have fallen over that Amazon sells Kirkland's parchment paper (Costco)??!!

Drain the water chestnuts and dump them out on the cutting board (or plate, whatever).  Open your bacon and cut it in half.

Wrap each water chestnut in bacon, as tight as you can, secure with a toothpick pierced all the way through.  Toss the bacon wrapped nuts on to the baking sheet and spread out to give a little room between them.

*Yes, I do stand mine up but it's not a requirement*

Bake for 15 minutes or til the bacon is cooked to your liking. Yes, you can burn these so keep an eye on them ;-)

I serve mine naked. I know a lot of people make these and then douse them with bbq sauce or some other glaze (teriyaki sauce?) which is fine and dandy, but for me, I like them just bacon and water chestnutty ;-)


Looking forward to sharing with some of these GREAT Parties ... go check them out!

*This post may contain affiliate links ... click here to read my disclosure :-)