What I Have Learned About Cooking

10 Things that I have learned about cooking, since having a cooking blog:

  1. I have learned that I LOVE it. I think that I cook with love, and when I cook for someone, I like to watch them (not being creepy at all, I promise!) 😉 eat and enjoy it. If they don’t like it… I’m CRUSHED! I shouldn’t be… but I am.
  2. I have also learned that it’s ok to not cook EVERY meal EVERY day completely from scratch. That’s exhausting.
  3. I have learned that I need to give myself permission to mess up. It’s ok if I don’t make a perfect delicious meal every night.
  4. I have learned that it’s not as hard, as I used to think it was, to make meals with mainly whole ingredients.
  5. I have learned experimenting is FUN!
  6. I have learned that when I have fun cooking, my kids join in, and they try new things!
  7. I have learned that because I love cooking so much, it can be better than eating out! (Unless I don’t feel like cooking…)
  8. I have learned I need to invite people over more, I need to be better at entertaining. I need to use this thing I enjoy, and share it with others, and get to know people better and invite people into my home and not be such a hermit. 🙂
  9. I have learned that I get scared to bring food places because I think people will expect my food to be AMAZING because I have a food blog… and then I question myself and second guess myself and decide I can’t cook anything that good… and don’t sign up to bring anything… sometimes.
  10. I have learned that I don’t know it all… and I still want to take cooking lessons!

What have some of you other moms or chefs, or bloggers out there learned since taking on a “new venture”? Share it in the comments!!


Just adding this picture because I DESPERATELY want to go apple picking… and the season is coming up soon (some apples have already come into season!)… Does this picture (from last year) get you excited?!

And now, for the quote of the day:


Balsamic Chicken Caprese Style

Sigh… Pinterest and it’s endless scroll… it wastes so much of my time! I meal plan on pinterest. I also do some searches on foodnetwork.com etc… but mainly on pinterest. It sends me to GREAT blogs and websites, etc for amazing and creative recipes. I then, revamp the recipe and make it my own. The problem is, there are sometimes random cool things as “ads” mixed in with the recipes. I then like them because they are tailored to my liking. 1 hour later, I’m supposed to have my planning and shopping lists done and I’m over in humor laughing at memes with Ryan Gosling in them! Now, I know what you are thinking… “why wouldn’t you be?!”. Right? But… I do have to get things done… 🙂

So… I made this recipe the other night and the chicken turned out PERFECTLY! I used red peppers instead of tomatoes… so it’s caprese STYLE… but you can definitely use tomatoes if you aren’t weird like me…


4-5 servings
  • 2 lbs chicken tenderloins
  • salt and pepper
  • 3 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  • 1 cup low sodium-chicken organic FF broth
  • 2-3 TB balsamic vinegar
  • 5 Tbsp. Dark Brown Sugar
  • sliced sweet red mini pepper
  • sliced fresh mozzarella
  • fresh basil
  • 1/2 cup fresh basil pesto


  1. Salt and pepper both sides of all of your chicken tenderloins and set aside.
  2. Heat oil in saucepan on medium-high. Brown chicken on both sides. Reduce heat to medium-low and add your minced garlic.
  3. Cook until garlic is tender, being careful not to burn it. Add your low sodium chicken broth, balsamic vinegar and brown sugar. Turn heat up to medium-high and simmer for 10-12 minutes, spooning the broth mixture over the chicken every once in a while to make sure the chicken stays moist and soaks in the mixture.
  4. Preheat broiler. Make sure your skillet is OVEN SAFE! Take your slices of mozzarella and cover each slice of chicken with a slice of mozzarella.
  5. Broil until cheese is slightly melted. Place a sprig of fresh basil on top of the mozzarella and then add a red pepper slice (or tomato) on top. Drizzle with any remaining sauce and about a TB of pesto! YUM!!!!!!


This is sweet with a bit of tang and a WHOLE LOTTA freshness from that basil pesto. You’ll enjoy every bite!

And now, for the quote of the day:

Quick and Easy BBQ Pork-loin in the Crock pot!

So… are you feeling the cooler mornings and lower humidity too???? I LOVE it! My hair doesn’t turn into a ball of frizz 2 seconds after I wake up! Woohoo! 🙂 This is my favorite time of year…. well, I take that back. When it’s cool enough all day to wear a sweatshirt ALL DAY, then it’s my favorite time of year. Where you can comfortably spend the entire day outside, LOVE. My kids play outside before we start school, after, we go to the park… we go on walks… It’s just such a fun time of year. All of the holidays and traditions start!!! AND…. crockpot season starts! Ha! Ok, well, technically you can use the crock pot any time of year, but aren’t you usually more inspired to use it during the cooler months? I am! Warm HOT food ready for you when  you get home? Plus… EASY!

This recipe I just tossed together. It’s SOOO easy. I’m telling you. It will probably take you MAYBE 5 minutes… then turn the crock pot on and leave. (This does NOT include the mashed potatoes).



1 pork tenderloin (mine was approx 3 lbs)
2 TB brown sugar
2 TB olive oil
salt and pepper to liking
1 bottle BBQ sauce (use your favorite, I used Sweet Baby Rays Hickory brown sugar)
1 cup chicken broth (or water)

Mashed potatoes… (you can use the steam and mash from the frozen section for a really quick mashed potatoes!!)



Set out crock pot and either put in a crock pot liner, or spray with cooking spray. (This helps make clean up way easier!) Take your pork loin (mine was FROZEN! Easy, huh?) and place into the bottom of the crock pot. Drizzle with the olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper and then press the brown sugar firmly onto the top of the pork loin. Pour the chicken broth AROUND the sides (so as not to get the brown sugar off the top of the pork loin) and then drizzle the BBQ sauce over the top of the pork loin. Put the lid on, turn the crock pot on LOW for 8-10 hours or HIGH for 4-6 hours. That’s it! Seriously! Serve it with mashed potatoes, or salad, or steamed veggies…etc! OR, just pull it apart and make SANDWICHES! It’s DELICIOUS! Try it, NOW!


And now, the quote of the day:

Quick Leftover Rice – Chicken Fried Rice

So, I’m sitting on my back screened-in porch, watching my kids play in the sprinklers, and watching our little “home-made” terrarium filled with tadpoles…. while I food-blog. Honestly? Pretty good day! We collected tadpoles for a home-school science project to document the frog’s life-cycle. It has been so much fun! We’ve only had them almost a week, but they’ve already grown! Watching my kids want to check on them as SOON as they wake up has been really fun. It’s also been pretty cool for me! The funniest was when we went to catch them, and my daughter decided that she wanted to hold a tadpole. I said, if you can catch one, and not squish it, you can hold one. So, she sets out determined to catch one. I give her a couple of tips and she catches one! She holds out her hand SQUEALING at the top of lungs at me “I GOT ONE, I GOT ONE, I GOT ONE”, with her little hand shaking violently over the rocky ground. Out of pure thought for the poor tadpole, I told her to quickly put the tadpole back into the puddle before she drops it out of excitement onto the ground! She, luckily, properly followed instructions and the tadpole lived to see another day… at least, if a bird didn’t find that puddle later that day… 😉 My daughter doesn’t have to know that though. 🙂 I will honestly try my very best to always remember that high-pitched squeal, her excited face, and her shaking hand with that slimy little tadpole in it! Brings a smile to my face just thinking about it! So Much Fun!

So… later that night, after ALL OF THAT EXCITEMENT and trying to haul WAY to much water from the tadpole’s “home” back to our house… I did not have a lot of energy to cook dinner. BUT, I did have leftover rice from the other nights dinner. And you know what is perfect for leftover white rice? (Especially leftover from chinese takeout). Fried Rice!!!!!! This recipe is quick, easy and delicious!!!


3-4 Servings… depending on how hungry you are!


3-4 cups of leftover rice (or just cooked…)
1/2 cup of leftover chicken cut into 1/2 to 1″ cubes (rotisserie works GREAT!) or cook up a couple of chicken tenderloins and slice
1 cup frozen mixed veggies (I used the peas, carrots, corn and beans mix)
1/4 of a yellow sweet onion sliced and chopped fine
1 TB olive oil
1/2 tsp minced garlic
2 eggs
1 tsp toasted sesame oil
3 TB coconut or soy aminos (or soy sauce) (or more, depending on your preference)
2 green onions





  1. If you do not have leftover rice, go ahead and start to prepare it in your rice cooker or stove top pan now.
  2. Heat olive oil in a large skillet on medium heat.
  3. Add onion, garlic, and frozen vegetables into the heated oil. Stir fry until tender.
  4. Add the rice and chicken and stir until incorporated. Add the sesame oil and stir again.
  5. Bring all of the rice to the side and crack your 2 eggs  into the pan (as you see above) and scramble the eggs. Once cooked, stir and incorporate throughout the rest of the rice dish.
  6. Add soy sauce to pan. Stir in soy sauce and remove from heat.
  7. Garnish with some sliced green onion and ENJOY!




And now, for the quote of the day:

Leftovers Skillet MishMash Meal

One thing that I have found since I have started this food blog, is that every time I go to a restaurant… I become very… weird about food. I like, want to dissect it. I want to know the ingredients to see if I can re-create it. I want to see if I can figure out what spices they use… if I could make it better! Any other food blogger out there experience this? What happens after that, is that you go BACK after you’ve re-made the dish… and you like YOURS better. That’s what happens when you re-make a dish to suite your specific likes. I’ll have to do this with a dish soon and post it. I love restaurant make-over dishes, OR copy cats!!!!

By the end of the week do you have a fridge and freezer of very little vegetables, a couple pieces of chicken that didn’t quite get eaten and half of a jar of spaghetti sauce? Do you ever wonder WHAT DO I DO WITH THEM??? Well… you do THIS!


Depending on how many leftovers you have: mine served 4 people


1 TB olive oil
1 TB butter (optional)
1/2 cup low sodium FF organic chicken broth (or water)
1 zucchini sliced and halved
2 chicken tenderloins cooked and chopped into bite size pieces
1/2 onion chopped
3 yukon gold potatoes – washed, sliced and cut into bite size pieces
3 carrots peeled and washed and chopped
1/4 tsp garlic powder
salt and pepper to taste
1 TB shredded parmesan cheese
1/2 jar (or more if you have it) of Vodka Sauce (or any leftover spaghetti sauce)
1 large handful of organic spinach



Thaw and chop your chicken from previous meals. You can even use whatever leftover rotisserie chicken or turkey that you have! Heat the 1 TB olive oil in a large skillet. Add the onions and carrots. Sautee until the onions become translucent. Add the diced potatoes and the chicken broth (or water). Stir around and add the lid and let simmer until the potatoes become soft (test with a fork). Remove the lid and add the zucchini, chicken, butter, and spaghettis cause. Stir until well incorporated and has started to simmer again. Let this simmer until the zucchini is cooked to your liking. I like mine still a bit crunchy, but some like their’s almost to mush… Up to you! Then, right before you serve, add the spinach and the parmesan, toss and SERVE!

This was SOO good, so easy, and really great to empty out my fridge of the last few items of things right before I went grocery shopping. Then you don’t have a mixture of old with new!


And now, for the quote of the day:

“Naked” Egg Rolls

Do your kids ever try to tell you jokes? Mine LOVE to tell jokes. Most of them are pretty much the same thing in like 100 different versions. It starts to get hard to give a “realistic” sounding laugh! So, we’ve been looking up kids jokes online and have been telling each other jokes here and there. Just for fun, I’m going to share with you a few of my favorites:

Why did the boy throw the butter out the window? To see the butter-fly ……

My daughter’s personal favorite: How do you make a tissue dance? You put a little boogie in it!

Why do cows wear bells? Because their horns don’t work.

What do you call a cow with no legs? Ground Beef

What do you call a blind dinosaur? A Do-you-think-he-saur-us

Want to hear a pizza joke? Never mind… it’s too cheesy!

HAHAHA… my little girl just GIGGLES at these jokes, which, in turn, makes them quite funny to me!! 🙂

Anywho…. on to food blogging… 🙂

Ok, so, have you ever CRAVED Chinese food… like, eggs rolls, but didn’t want the deep fried fattiness of it, but you DID want the food and flavor? I made egg rolls… “Naked”..!!! No wrapper, no frying, but ALL OF THE FLAVA! Yeah! Seriously, this completely satisfied my craving for Chinese food the other night! DELISH! Give this one a try some night when you’re craving Chinese food, but not the deep fried aspects of it. There is a little bit of chopping vegetables involved… but it’s WORTH IT!


Serves 3-4 people, depending on serving size


  • 1/2 lb breakfast sausage (NOT maple flavored, or anything crazy)
  • 1/2 head cabbage, chopped/shredded
  • 1 cup shredded carrots
  • 1/4 cup chopped sweet yellow onion
  • 1 teaspoon toasted sesame seed oil
  • 1/2 cup soy aminos (or coconut aminos) OR low sodium soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon seasoned rice vinegar
  • 1 TB olive oil
  • 1/2 cup of chicken broth (or water)
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
  • sliced green onion
  • 1/2 cup UN-Cooked rice, rinsed and set aside


Cooking Instructions

  1. Put the rinsed rice into a rice cooker and put the water suggested on packaging into the rice cooker and close lid and turn on. (OR follow cooking instructions for stove top on the rice packaging.)
  2. Start by shredding and chopping your cabbage into thin, bite size pieces.
  3. In a large skillet, cook and brown the breakfast sausage. (Do NOT use links, unless they are un-cooked and you remove them from the casing BEFORE you cook them.)
  4. Start julienning your carrots. You can either use a cheese shredder, knife or mandolin.
  5. Add the olive oil, carrots and onion to the skillet and toss to combine. Let onions start to brown. Stir in the soy sauce, sesame oil, seasoned rice vinegar, chicken broth (or water), garlic, and fresh ginger.
  6. Cover and cook until the vegetables are soft, about 15 minutes. Toss in the cabbage during the last 3-5 minutes so it will soften, but not become mushy.
  7. Serve over the cooked rice, and garnish with green onion.



You’ll really like this one, I promise!

And now, for the quote of the day:

Quick Turkey Kielbasa and Pepper Skillet

When I was first married, I did a LOT of the quick skillet meals. The ones that are frozen, you dump in your skillet and a few minutes later it’s all done?! Well… look at the ingredients sometime. It’s not just whats on the front picture. It has a LOT of things that if you made something similar at home, you wouldn’t add. You won’t even understand what all of the ingredients are!

So, if you want a dinner that’s PARTIALLY homemade, that’s done in around 20 minutes… try this one!


Servings: 4


1 whole turkey keilbasa sliced and halved
2 TB butter
4-5 sweet mini peppers sliced thin and seeded
1/4 sweet yellow onion sliced thin
1/2 cup chicken broth (low sodium, free range organic)
1/2 tsp garlic powder
salt and pepper to taste
2 large organic carrots sliced
1/4 tsp  dried oregano
dash cayenne pepper



Melt butter in a large skillet on medium heat. Add the diced potatoes and carrots. Add the chicken broth and all of the seasonings and cover and let simmer for 8-10 minutes, or until they are softening. Remove lid and add the onions, peppers and kielbasa and cook until heated through and the onions start to become translucent.

Serve and ENJOY!

See, Quick and easy!!


And now, for the quote of the day:

50 Inspirational Quotes to Live By in Daily Life | http://blog.piktureplanet.com/inspirational-quotes-to-live-by-in-daily-life/

Slow Cooker Short Ribs and Carrots with Creamy Rosemary Mashed Sweet potatoes

For those of you with little boys… how do you keep clothing on them? And… if you can keep clothing on them, how do you keep shoes on them!?!?!?! It’s CRAZY! Every time I turn around, there is a trail of my son’s clothing from one room to another… and there he is, NAKED. Sometimes he’s in his underwear… but often naked. The other option is that he will use the restroom, and put on everything BUT his underwear… so I’ll go into the bathroom and find at least 1 pair of underwear on the floor by the toilet. WHY?! Girls are just a completely different species than boys! I’m so grateful for my little sister who has little boys… I can call her and tell her the crazy things my little boy is doing, she’ll laugh and say “oh, mine did that the other day too… completely normal!”. Ha! Thank goodness for other people to relate to!

So, chasing after my little boy and putting his clothes on seems to take up more time than it should… and so the other night, I put THIS in the crockpot on a yucky and RAINY day.


Slow-Cooker Short Ribs with Carrots and Mashed Rosemary Sweet Potato Mash


Short Ribs

3 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
4 to 6 beef short ribs (about 3 1/4 pounds)
Salt and pepper
1 small yellow onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
1 TB fresh chopped rosemary
3/4 cup dry red wine, such as Cabernet Sauvignon
1 cup beef broth
5 carrots diced

Mashed Sweet Potatoes

4 Sweet Potatoes
2 TB butter
1/4 cup cream
salt and pepper to taste
1 TB chopped fresh rosemary



In a large skillet, place 1 TB butter and heat to med-high heat until butter is melted. In the mean-time season beef with salt and pepper. Add beef to skillet and brown all sides, trying to render most of the fat off of the side of the short ribs, about 8 minutes. (Brown beef in batches, if necessary.) Transfer to the crock pot. Add red wine and beef broth, onions and carrots and all seasonings. Turn crockpot to high for 4-6 hours and LOW for 8-10 hours..

When you are about 30-45 minutes from serving your meal, wash, peel and dice the sweet potatoes. Boil in a pan with the water JUST covering the potatoes. Boil for 10-15 minutes, or until soft and then drain. Place softened and cooked potatoes into a large bowl and whip in the remaining potato ingredients (cream, butter, etc) with a hand mixer until mashed and creamy.

Once everything is done and put together, SERVE AND ENJOY!

This is comfort food, delicious… and strangely… low carb!


And now, for the quote of the day:

"A fear of the unknown keeps a lot of people from leaving bad situations." - Kathie Lee Gifford