27 April 2017

Copycat Wheat Thins #RecipeMakeover

One of the things I miss the most about being gluten free is crackers.  I used to have some sort of cracker every day, cheez its, wheat thins, saltines...they were a part of my daily intake. So to have to cut them out cold turkey has been hard.  It's been eight weeks since I started this gluten free journey and it does get easier over time.

copycat gluten free wheat thins

I decided to research some possibilities for adding a gluten free cracker in my life. I knew I wasn't going to be buying pre-made crackers.  Those are expensive and really don't have a lot of flavor. So I took to the web and started looking for a recipe.

I found a lot of recipes that used a lot of strange ingredients. That is one thing that I have struggled with: ingredients that I am completely unaware of and what they are for.  I looked for something that would be ingredients that I, and others, would recognize.  Here's what I came up with.

copycat gluten free wheat thins

Copycat Wheat Thins

1 1/4 c gluten free flour (I used King Arthur's)
1 1/2 c almond flour
2 1/2 t baking powder
3 T coconut oil
1 c sweet potato puree
1 squirt of Stevia

Preheat oven to 400. In a mixer combine the almond flour, baking powder, coconut oil, stevia and sweet potato.  Mix well. Add gluten free flour 1/4 c at a time, beating well after each addition.  Dough should come together and be slightly damp.  Using two sheets of parchment, place one sheet on your countertop.  Place 1/4 of the dough in the center. Put the other sheet of parchment on top.  Roll the dough to 1/8 inch thickness.  Remove the top parchment.  Score the crackers with a pizza cutter.  Bake for 10 minutes. Using a spatula, turn the crackers over in patches. No need to try to keep it in one piece.  Bake an additional 4 minutes.  Remove from oven.  Slide parchment onto countertop to cool.  Break along scored lines.

I love these nutty little crackers!  I also love that I know each and every ingredient that went into them.  They are perfect with soups and snacks.  I can't wait to see how they work with dips!

26 April 2017

Gluten Free and Sugar Free Lemon Pie #RecipeMakeover

My all time favorite dessert is lemon anything and lemon pie is on the top of that list! When I started going sugar free, I knew I was going to need to come up with something that felt like a treat without cheating.  I researched many recipes on the internet, and combined several to come up with a recipe that I loved.  Here is the results of that research!

gluten free sugar free lemon pie

Lemon Filling

1/2 c lemon juice
3 egg yolks
1/3 c Truvia blend
3 T cornstarch
2 c cold water
2 T butter


2 c almond flour
4 medjool dates
1/4 c cocoa
2 stevia packets
3 T coconut oil
1 t vanilla
dash of salt

Process all the ingredients of the crust until a fine crumble.  Press into pie pan.  Refrigerate until ready to use.  For the filling whisk together Truvia, cornstarch and salt in a medium saucepan. Add the water and stir to dissolve. Heat over medium heat, stir constantly until mixture becomes glossy and thick and starts to boil. Reduce heat, and cook for one minute, stirring rapidly.  Remove from heat, and add 1 tablespoon of the hot mixture to the beaten egg yolks.  Repeat six times.  Then add the egg mixture to the pot all at once and stirring rapidly.  Cook for 30 seconds, until blended and thickened. Whisk in the lemon juice and butter. Pour into pie shell.  Refrigerate until cool.

gluten free sugar free lemon pie

I made these in individual cupcake tins.  To serve, remove from cupcake cup with a flexible spatula. Top with sugar free cool whip and a pretty mint leaf.

25 April 2017

Smoked Bourbon Apple Crisp #RecipeMakeOver

I received this product for free in exchange for my honest review!

My husband loves to smoke meats all throughout the year and bought this fancy dancy thing called a Green Egg that he absolutely loves.  In the winters in Missouri, though, it is somewhat of a difficult process, keeping the correct temperature inside the Green Egg.  In effect, we get smoked meats only when the weather gives us a little break.  When we learned about Smokin' O's, we were very excited to give them a try.

Smoked Bourbon Apple Crisp

Smokin' O's is a wood product that can be used inside your gas grill.  The gas grill has an easier time of maintaining heat even in the cold, so that means we can smoke our favorite meats even in the winter.  It is so easy to use, too.

We grilled up some steaks and they were wonderful. The smokiness was just a hint, the way I like it. We used the applewood Os and they were fantastic.

Our recipe, though, is a little bit of the unexpected.  Have you ever had smoked apple crisp?  Neither had I, but I knew this was a great time to try it.  It met all of our expectations for yumminess!  Now you don't need a smoker to get that great smoked flavor on all your foods!

Smokin O on the grill

Smoked Bourbon Apple Crisp

3 apples, cored and sliced
1 T lemon juice 
3 T bourbon, or more, up to 5T
4 T brown sugar
1 t cinnamon, or my favorite, Cake Spice from Penzey's
1 c almond flour
1/2 c rolled oats
4 T butter, melted
1 applewood Smokin' Os

Preheat grill to medium.  Light Os following package directions.  (If using an oven, preheat to 350) 
Toss apples, bourbon, sugar, cinnamon and lemon juice together.  Pour into a 6" cast iron skillet.  Mix flour, oats and melted butter together and pat on top of apples.  Place on grill, lid down, for 30 minutes, checking after 20 minutes for doneness and to put on a foil tent if top is browning too quickly.  Serve warm with ice cream or whipped topping.

The smokiness is just enough for this dessert to be different, decadent and delicious.  We highly recommend Smokin' O's for your next BBQ and grilling.  Let us know if you do!  To get more great ideas on how to use Smokin' O's for yourself, follow them on Facebook!

24 April 2017

Welcome to 2017's #RecipeMakeover *Starbuck's Caffe Latte

Recipe Makeover Logo Square

After a long winter of snowstorms, stews, and sweets, spring is the perfect time to get back to the basics - delicious, whole foods and dishes packed with fruits and veggies that are great for your overall health.

To eat a healthier diet, you don't need to make drastic changes (unless recommended by a doctor). It's not about denying yourself that occasional treat; it's about taking baby steps to reduce the amount of sugar, carbs, red meats, and empty calories in your meals.

Speaking to occasional treats, check out this #recipemakeover of a Starbucks classic: Caffe Latte. The typical Caffe Latte isn't a horrible drink (130 calories and 11g of sugar) so I decided to see what I could do with it.

Starbucks caffe latte makeover

#RecipeMakeover Starbucks Iced Caffe Latte

1 c brewed Starbucks K cup (make the 8 oz size)
10 oz cashew/almond milk combo
1 package stevia

To the coffee add the stevia.  Stir until dissolved.  Pour half the coffee into a kettle and bring to a boil.  Reduce to half.  Pour the coffee syrup (still rather thin) into the bottom of a glass. Fill with ice. Add cashew/almond milk blend until about an inch from the top of the glass.  Pour the rest of the coffee on top of the milk.  Serve.

Difference:  Calories 60, Sugar 0

Cost wise Starbucks: $3.97  Mine: $1.59 (74 cents for the milk, 5 cents for the stevia packet and 80 cents for the K cup)

For time efficiency, brew up several cups, reduce by half and store in a squirt bottle in the refrigerator.

This week, I've joined forced with 40+ of my food blogger friends to present #RecipeMakeover. During this week, we'll all be sharing our favorite better-for-you alternatives to unhealthy dishes. Follow along on any of the blogs below or with the hashtag on social media to find nutritious dishes that are packed with flavor.

A huge THANK YOU to our sponsors, who have made #RecipeMakeover possible! They've provided a number of awesome products that you can win by entering our #RecipeMakeover giveaway below.

Just follow the instructions below, and you could win the following prize pack:
  • Butter-flavored coconut oil and digestive blend from our sponsor Barlean's - Barlean's butter-flavored coconut oil is an organic, dairy-free alternative that can be used as a 1:1 substitution for butter. Their digestive blend is an organic, vegan combination of flaxseed, chai seed, quinoa, unsweetened shredded coconut, and a proprietary pumpkin blend, that is delicious sprinkled into salads, smoothies, oatmeal, and more.
  • Sampler pack of original, mesquite, and applewood Smokin O's from our sponsor Smokin O's - Instead of frying, choose a healthier cooking option like grilling! Smokin O's is an innovative new product that allows you to add a natural wood taste even if you are using a propane grill, and they work great in charcoal grills and smokers too. No soaking, no mess, no wait - just delicious wood flavoring from a 100% natural product with no binders or chemicals.
  • 4 flatbread pizzas from our sponsor American Flatbread - Choose from any of America Flatbread's 15 all-natural, handmade pizza varieties, available at your local grocery store. These pizzas feature 100% organically grown wheat crusts and are topped with fresh herbs, vegetables, and cheeses (no rBST growth hormone!). They’re all-natural, with no preservatives, artificial colors or flavors, and handcrafted from scratch and par-baked in wood-fired ovens.
  • 5 containers (48 oz) of ice cream from our sponsor Turkey Hill - Ice cream for a health food event? Try out their line of no-sugar-added products for a sweet treat without the guilt or their line of light ice creams, which have a rich taste with a fraction of the fat. They also have a rainbow sherbet option, which is Vitamin C and naturally low in fat. These all make great dessert options for special occasions. Turkey Hill also believes in implementing green initiatives to cut down on waste, reduce packaging, and minimize outputs into the environment.
  • 15 tuna creations pouches from our sponsor StarKist - StarKist tuna pouches all have at least 13 grams of protein, and their BOLD line now includes three gluten-free varieties: Tuna Creations® BOLD Thai Chili Style; Tuna Creations® BOLD Jalapeño; and Tuna Creations® BOLD Hot Buffalo Style.
  • Mueller Spiral-Ultra 4-Blade Spiralizer from blog hosts, The PinterTest Kitchen - this 4-in-1 gadget allows you to spiralize your favorite veggies, and it also has extra attachments for a juicer, mandolin and grater.
This prize pack is valued at over $200, and one lucky winner will get it all! This giveaway is open world-wide except where prohibited. A winner will be randomly drawn on April 29, at the conclusion of #RecipeMakeover, and the winner will be contact via email.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thank you to all of our participating bloggers. Click the links below to find out what recipes they're cooking up for #RecipeMakeover:

The PinterTest KitchenFix Me a Little LunchRosie Discoverscrave the goodZesty South Indian KitchenThat RecipeThe Domestic DietitianAuthentically CandaceEat, Drink, Be Healthy!Body RebootedCindy's Recipes and WritingsFaith, Hope, Love, & Luck Survive Despite a Whiskered AccompliceFeeding BigNatural ContentsSeduction In The KitchenEveryday EileenFamily Around The TableFairyburgerJane's Adventures in DinnerKitchen Counter ChroniclesKate's Recipe BoxKelly Lynns Sweets and TreatsChocolate SlopesLittle House Big AlaskaMakes, Bakes and Decor2 Cookin' MamasMeadoe Out on a LimbStrawberry Blondie KitchenMel ClaireCookaholic WifeFor the Love of FoodThe Saucy SouthernerCook's HideoutTwo Lazy GourmetsInk and SugarCookingwithsapanaThe Chef Next DoorSarah Cooks the BooksChef Sarah ElizabethFrankly EntertainingPalatable PastimeOur Good LifeThe Food Hunter's Guide to CuisineA Day in the Life on the Farm

Stay tuned to see all of the delicious recipes bloggers create during #RecipeMakeover!

23 April 2017

Smoked Brie, Bacon and Basil Grilled Cheese Sandwich #SundaySupper

National Grilled Cheese Day was April 12, but really, is there ever a bad day to have a grilled cheese? This lovely, lovely sandwich can be made on the grill, too, and with a little extra smoke, this decadent sandwich is good enough for guests!

Brie, Bacon and Basil Grilled Cheese

What is it about melted brie cheese anyway?  It is so good with sweet, like honey and it fabulous with salt, like bacon. It is a perfect appetizer, but on this sandwich, makes a main course that you will want over and over again.  Get you some brie.

I don't add a spread to this sandwich but my husband does like to add a little mustard. He likes something with a little heat. If I were to add a little something, I think honey mustard would be the winner.

Brie, Bacon and Basil Grilled Cheese

Smoked Grilled Brie, Bacon and Basil Grilled Cheese

Sliced Brie Cheese
8 slices of your favorite bacon
1/2 c basil leaves
4 slices of good bread

Preheat grill to medium.  Light pellets (we use Smokin' O's if you need some ideas!) for smoke. Butter bread on one side.  Cook bacon on a griddle on the grill.  When bacon is done, lay 2 slices of bread butter side down on the grill.  Top with bacon and a slice of brie cheese.  Let cheese melt slightly, then top with basil leaves.  Top with remaining bread and carefully flip.  Let the sandwich finish cooking.  Remove and plate.  Cut the sandwich in half before serving.

Go ahead.  Read the names of these sandwiches and tell me you didn't drool.  Go on.

Sunday Supper Gourmet Grilled Cheese Sandwich Recipes

Dessert 'Wiches

Not You Average 'Wiches

Protein Filled 'Wiches

Sweet and Savory 'Wiches

Veggie Loaded 'Wiches

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.

21 April 2017

Plant Markers for Your Garden

It's planting time and if you are like me, it is difficult to remember what seeds/plants I planted where. So having a plant marker system is really important for me.  Each year I go and look at a simple way to mark my plants in the garden.  This year, using the Dollar Store as my go-to craft supply, I found these infant spoons and these white plastic spoons that made the best plant markers.

plant marker

All you need for these plant markers are packages of white plastic cooking spoons and packages of baby spoons and Sharpie markers.  That's it!

Write a list of all the plants you want to identify and favorite garden sayings.  I used the plainer baby spoons for the actual plant markers and the white spoons for the sayings.  Unpack all the spoons.  I used a black Sharpie for the baby spoons since they were a bit darker in color.  I used the colorful Sharpies for the sayings. Once I had all my materials laid out, I started writing.

I don't have fantastic penmanship when it comes to Sharpies on rounded surfaces.  However, these are just for me and my own fun, so I am happy with how colorful they are!

plant markers
For these plant markers, bury the bowl part of the spoon.

plant markers
For these markers, insert the handle of the spoon into the soil.

The sayings I chose were:

In the garden my soul is sunshine.
Now entering the SEEDY part of town.
Veggies in Training
MOJITO.  um...I mean MINT.
Plantus Unknownus
Once Upon a Thyme
Please. Water Me.
I don't remember planting this.

I have $4 invested in the spoons and about $8 in the Sharpies, but I use the Sharpies for a lot of other projects, too.  So a total of $12, with a lot of Sharpie left over!

Be creative!  Enjoy the process.  Don't be perfect, enjoy the imperfections!  Happy Gardening!

20 April 2017

Daffodils~Color Our World Yellow

Planting daffodils occurs in the fall, but the glory comes in the spring, when daffodils spring up out of the ground, usually at the first sign of warmth.  This year my daffodils came at the end of February. They were lovely and I enjoyed them so much.  For our month Color Our World segment, we are looking at the color yellow.  

Yellow is between orange and green on the color spectrum and is considered a primary color.  In Europe, Canada and the United States, a survey stated that people most often associate this color with amusement, gentleness, and spontaneity, but also with duplicity, envy, jealousy, avarice, and, in the U.S., with cowardice, according to Wikipedia. I think I like the way China sees it, where it is seen as the color of happiness, glory, wisdom, harmony, and culture.  Yellow was one of the first colors used by cavemen, through clay colored with ochre.  Yellow is considered the most visible color and is preferred by birds and insects. Yellow is the most common color of flowers. Yellow is the least often color stated as someone's favorite color.

Back to our daffodils.  

Most daffodils come from the area around the Mediterranean Sea where they have been cultivated for hundreds of years.  The Romans, who thought that daffodils had healing powers, brought the flower to Great Britain where they grew mostly as weeds, until a group of men started planting them purposefully in their gardens.  They require little care, needing about an inch of water a week during the blooming season.  Dividing them every five years rejuvenates the plant.  

Go out and enjoy these beautiful flowers while they last.  They are already gone in Zone 8, but just now appearing in Zone 6, where these pictures were taken.  Daffodils flower language is Friendship.

18 April 2017

Personal Pursuit of Happiness: Personal Life Commandments

The Happiness Project, written by Gretchen Rubin, was a book I read in 2010 when having been diagnosed with breast cancer in 2009.  It was an interesting read, but at the time, I wasn't ready to work on being happy yet. I was still traumatized with my diagnosis and working on getting my life back.  Happiness could wait.

Fast forward seven years and I am back on the Happiness train!  I started by writing my Personal Life Commandments, things I have used throughout my life to guide me in decision-making.  I want to share them here, for future generations of Olivers, Holts and Steffes to better understand me.

1.  Keep Smiling.  This was a saying that my father-in-law, Giles Steffes, said to us when we were going through some tough times.  A sort of "this too shall pass" sort of statement.  It has helped us through tremendous grief and heartache.

2.  Breathe.  Learning how to breathe seems a little ridiculous, but it is an important concept in controlling your happiness and reducing your stress.  Reminding myself to "breathe" has helped me in the most basic of ways.

3.  Do Things Your Future Self Will Thank You For.  This showed up on my Facebook feed and it had to become a part of my personal life commandments.  This notion makes me think of the adventurous girl I was back in the day!

4.  Kindness Matters.  Kindness matters to ALL, not just the strangers (random acts of kindness people) but to your family and friends.  It's easy to forget that those nearest to us need our acts of kindness as well.

5.  Belly laugh daily.  It is important to me to laugh outrageously every day.  It brings oxygen into my system and makes me smile more often throughout the day.

6.  Dance.  I never feel so alive than when I am dancing.  The music, my body feels 100 times lighter and my brain is tickled with the whole notion.

7.  Leave a mark.  Not the hitting kind!  Leave a mark on mankind.  As a teacher, I had the blessing to teach over 300 students and as a principal touch nearly 4,000 students.  My goal was to be sure that each of them knew that I cared. I feel like I accomplished that goal.  Now I am trying to impact public education the best way I know how, and that is to teach pre-service teachers.

8.  Practice gratitude.  I have been so blessed in my life.  So many wonderful opportunities, so many wonderful friends and fabulous family members.  I've known illness, death and heartache, but I have been blessed so much beyond those negatives.

9.  Embrace my creativity.  I need to be creative, to have an outlet, to make and grow and express myself.  When I don't, I feel less than myself.  I have to remind myself of that.

10.  Be Terri.  Be the best me I can be, and right now that means focusing on my health and mental well being.  My word for this year is CONQUER and I believe I am on the right path for doing this.

Do you have a list of personal life commandments?  If so, leave me a link so I can visit you!  This was a wonderful chance to dive in and really ask myself what was important to me.  There are some that didn't make the list, but that are super important, too.  Love with abandon, Schedule Priorities, Quality Counts, Be Mindful.  These are all things that I do use, but the top ten are listed above.

Be well.


16 April 2017

Overnight Sausage and Broccoli Egg Bake #SundaySupper

What I really love about Easter is the brunch!  This easy to make, yummy to serve casserole is so convenient.  You can make it the day before and store in the refrigerator until time to bake or you can make it the morning of and bake it right away.  So if you forget, it is no big deal.

The flexibility goes on and on.  This casserole is made without cheese, but it is so easy to add a cup of cheese to the egg mixture if you want it.  You can exchange the sausage for bacon, too.  If you wanted to add asparagus instead of broccoli, go for it.  This is a dish made for all humankind.

Overnight Sausage and Broccoli Egg Bake

6 eggs
1/2 c almond milk (you can use regular milk)
1 glove garlic, minced
salt to taste
1/4 t red pepper flake
1 c broccoli florets (I like mine small)
1 c sausage, fried and drained (you can use ground or links here)

Butter the bottom of an 8 by 8" dish.  You can use a nonstick cooking spray, too. Beat together eggs, milk, garlic, salt, red pepper flakes.  Spread broccoli and sausage in the dish.  Pour egg mixture over the sausage and broccoli.  This is where you can cover it and place it in the refrig until the next day.  Preheat over to 350 degrees.  Bake for 25 minutes, checking doneness by making sure the eggs are set.  Let stand for 10 minutes before serving.

Make Ahead Sunday Supper Brunch Recipes

Breakfast Pastries


Sides and Veggies


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.

15 April 2017

Roasted Carrot and Coconut Milk Soup #SoupSwappers

Our theme this month in Soup Swapper Saturday is Root Vegetables!  Since I have been eating such a restricted diet (sugar free, dairy free and gluten free) I have turned to soups to make a meal interesting!  Root vegetables are delicious roasted, so I decided to try my hand at a roasted soup blended in my Blend-Tec!

The recipe is very easy with easy clean up.  Isn't that how we'd like all meals to be?  Served with a green salad and a vinegar dressing, this is a tasty and healthy meal.  I topped my soup with a little bit of whipped coconut cream!

Roasted Carrots and Coconut Milk Soup

  • Roughly 1 pound carrots, washed, dried and cut into 1/2 inch coins
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil
  • 1/2 large white onion  cut into quarters and separated (to prevent burning)
  • 3 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 c coconut milk
  • juice of one medium sized lime
  • 3/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • Pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 425.  Prepare a cookie sheet with nonstick foil.  Lay carrots and onion in one layer and toss with coconut oil.  Salt and pepper vegetables.  Roast for 30 minutes, turning over at the halfway point.  Remove vegetables.  Pour vegetable broth and lime juice into blender, add vegetables. Blend until smooth.  Pour into a kettle and heat gently.  Stir in coconut milk.  Salt and pepper to taste.

Roasting carmelizes the sugars in the vegetables, so no extra sugar is necessary.  If you need a little more sweetness, add sugar by the teaspoonful until the desired sweetness!

If you are a fan of root vegetables, check out these other wonderful recipes.  Your taste buds will thank you!

13 April 2017

Gluten Free Chocolate Chip and Spice Cookies #FoodnFlix

Camilla from Culinary Adventures with Camilla is our host for our monthly film inspiration at Food n Flix.  The idea behind Food n Flix is to watch a movie and gain culinary inspiration from it.  The Taste of Spice, this month's film, was full of wonderful inspiration.  Camilla's summary of the movie is A Touch of Spice is a story about a young Greek boy growing up in Istanbul. His grandfather, a culinary philosopher and mentor, teaches him that both food and life require a little salt to give them flavor. Fanis grows up to become an excellent cook and uses his cooking skills to spice up the lives of those around him. Upon leaving reuniting with his grandfather, three decades later, he realize that his own life need a touch of spice!

I loved this movie but I did find it difficult to rent. I ended up going to my public library and opening an account so I could have access to a wider variety of movies to rent.  That turned out to be a good thing!  For me this movie had a lot of similarities to My Big Fat Greek Wedding (which I loved) and I loved that I recognized some of the elements of Greek film.  In the movie the older Greek men are constantly talking about the "root" word in Greek means....  

The movie had a lot of lovely quotes that I want to remember...

"Cinnamon makes people want to say yes."
"Our lives need salt occasionally."
"Weddings without music are like relationships without arguments."
and my favorite: "Desserts are the epilogue of the fairy tale."

So, I focused on a simple dessert, one that wouldn't take the focus off the main meal, but that a good amount of spice.  I am eating gluten free, so I kept that in mind for these cookies.

Gluten Free Chocolate Chip and Spice Cookies

1 1/2 c almond flour
3 packets stevia
1/2 t baking soda
1/4 t cream of tartar
2 t Penzey's Cake Spice
1/4 t salt
1/4 c butter, melted
1 t vanilla
1 egg
3 T sugar free chocolate chips

Preheat over to 350.  Line cookie sheet with parchment.  In a medium bowl, mix flour, stevia, baking soda, cream of tartar and cake spice.  In a separate bowl mix together butter, maple syrup, vanilla and egg.  Combine and stir together.  Add chocolate chips and stir.  Refrigerate the dough for 30 minutes. Scoop 1" balls of dough on the cookie sheet.  Place 2" apart.  Bake for 8 minutes or until the tops are firm and dry.  Remove from oven and cool completely.  

Makes 1 dz cookies

The texture is definitely different, a little "grainy" but a lot like oatmeal cookies.  They are chewy and very satisfying! A quick nutritional calculation shows these cookies at about 100 calories each and 8 carbs (4 are sugar.)  Not bad for a treat!

See the movie, make some spice cookies and come back here and tell me about it.  Join us next month for our Food n Flix movie!

11 April 2017

Spring Cleaning: Heart and Home

I have been on a journey to be the best version of myself.  I have been working on my health and taking the time to really listen to how my body responds to nutrition, water, exercise and stress.  I have learned so much and am finding myself in one of the best places I have been in for years.  It's not a complete redo, but it is definitely a make over!

While I have been reading about a "spring clean of my soul" I have also been thinking of the spring cleaning of my home.  One of my favorite book series, the Little House books, often talks about taking everything out of the house, cleaning everything and then bringing everything back in.  Thank goodness we don't have to do that any more, but it is a time to change the the batteries on the smoke detector, sort the clothes we no longer wear, and get ready for your neighborhood's annual garage sale.  Getting rid of clutter is the prime focus of many books, my favorite being The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo, and feels so amazing!  My dear friend also found this process of throwing    Decluttering your home is important, but also declutter your life.  What projects are you involved in that isn't your heart?  What things should you pass on to someone else who might need the chance to shine?  Make a commitment to examine your commitments and pass the one(s) that aren't priority to some one else.

I am also always eager to freshen up my decor.  I often see what I don't like, instead of looking at the good bones.  So when evaluating your decor (whether that is home or heart) remember to look at the good structure and enhance it!  New pillows for a great sofa?  A different color of candle with a spring scent?  Refocusing energy to those activities where you really shine?  Do what gives you energy, not what saps what energy you have!

For me, I cannot have a routine!  I guess my routine is to not have a routine.  I need to mix it up or I get easily bored.  My dad always told my sister and me that we were in charge of our own entertainment.  There was no reason ever to be bored.  If you find that you need a change, look at what you can tweak to create more interest or what you need to totally revamp.  Even the smallest change will help you feel better!

Enjoy your spring!  Watch the flowers bloom, the birds dart around and the showers of April.  The trees start to blossom and baby animals are all around.  While appreciating all the benefits of spring, consider if you are giving that same appreciation to the people in your life.  I like to share my treats with my neighbors, write notes to my husband, and call my mom at unexpected times.  These little pleasures that come from your home also brighten your heart.

I was inspired by an article I saw in the St. Charles StreetScape magazine, written by Nikki Peters.  

09 April 2017

Lemony Salmon and Asparagus Foil Packets #SundaySupper

We are a family who loves our salmon.  You can see that with Panfried Salmon and here.  What we particularly like about this salmon dish is that it can be prepared in advance, thrown on the grill, eaten from the packet and then it's easy clean up!  Lots to like, and it tastes fantastic!

Lemony Salmon and Asparagus Foil Packets

2 salmon filets
2 T butter
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 T fresh lemon juice
2 T wine (red or white)
salt and pepper
lemon pepper
1/2 pound asparagus spears
1 T fresh chopped parsley
1 lemon, cut into 4 wedges

Preheat grill on high.  Reduce heat to medium.  Using heavy duty, nonstick foil, tear two sheets, each 18 inches long.  Create sides by folding up each side approximately two inches.

 This will keep the liquid ingredients from running out.  In the center, on the nonstick side, lay one salmon filet skin side up. Season filet with salt and pepper and lemon pepper.  Sprinkle 1/2 of the minced garlic onto the filet.  Lay one tablespoon of butter on top of the garlic.  Pour one tablespoon of lemon juice over the filet. Trim the woody ends from the asparagus spears.  Lay on top of the fish.  Bring up 2 sides of foil over salmon so edges meet. Seal edges, making tight 1/2-inch fold; fold again, allowing space for heat circulation and expansion. Fold other sides to seal.

Place on grill and grill 13-16 minutes.  Turn a quarter turn ever 6 minutes.  

To serve, place packet on plate.  Cut an X with kitchen shears, peal back foil carefully, as hot steam will escape. Sprinkle with fresh parsley.  Serve with lemon wedges.

25+ Best Sunday Supper Seafood Recipes


Main Dishes

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.

05 April 2017

In the Garden~April

Project Beautiful bloggers are her to share In the Garden, April version, to all of you who are working in the yard this month!  You will be able to use this list to get many areas of your garden ready and in order for the 2017 garden season!

You can find out about purple martins here.  If you are planting a salad bowl, you can find a step by step process here.

Many gardening tips can be found with the other Project Beautiful bloggers.

Are you a garden blogger looking for a tribe?  Contact me via email at terri@terristeffes.com to find out how you can join Project Beautiful!

04 April 2017

A Sentence A Day~March

I have been writing this type of journal, the one where you write a sentence a day, for almost a year now.  I love thinking about my day and summarizing in one sentence.  It means that I need to leave out certain things, which typically for me is anything that was negative.  I hope that doesn't show up as my life is all cherries and roses, because it certainly isn't.  It is just that the negative can catch up with you and stay a long long time, if you let it.

So here is March!  The month that came in like a lion and out like a lamb.

March 1.  March surely came in like a lion this year, with wild tornadoes and high winds over much of the state, causing major damage and the loss of life.

March 2.  Ashley and Eric came in for the True/False Film festival, our seventeenth year for this fun, family-oriented, fast-paced event.

March 3.  We saw great films today and managed to run across several long time Columbia friends, which is one of the things that makes it so incredibly wonderful.

March 4.  Great films today, and got to eat twice at Glenn's Cafe, a family favorite restaurant.

March 5.  Our last day at True/False, with a bunch of great films under our belt, great food, and a small visit with Bob and Renee Hasty, too!

March 6.  We are in a book club here in New Town and we met to discuss the two books we've tried to discuss since January!

March 7.  I got to go to a new garden club meeting and hear a great speaker talk about how to get birds to come into your gardens.

March 8.  My work took me to Columbia for the next three days, where I was able to speak to folks who do a split FTE like I do, and learned that others have the same stress as me!

March 9.  More Shared Learning, but afterwards I was able to attend a friend's pearl party, where you buy the setting and then pick the oysters for the pearls to put in the setting, which was fabulous fun!

March 10. I met up with my Jefferson City friends after work and we made wind chimes and I made a decorative glass plate for our living room.

March 11.  Bob and I went to the St. Louis Home and Garden show at the America's Center with a friend of ours from New Town, and saw a lot of wonderful things!

March 12.  Bob and I spent the day rearranging the second story of our house: we moved the study into the loft, and made the study into a second guestroom, so we can have more friends and family stay at "Lakeside Resort!"

March 13.  I used a new technology tool at work today, one that I am going to be using a lot in the summer, and I found it easy and fun to do!

March 14.  Our team of consultants met in Columbia today and I found it to be one of the most inspirational meetings I have been to, I felt fired up and ready to take on the world!

March 15.  It is so difficult to watch teachers struggle with new ideas when the only thing getting in the way of their progress is themselves.

March 16.  Eleven pounds lost in the last five weeks!

March 17.  We celebrated St. Patrick's Day with our dinner club having a wonderful meal at a restaurant called Bishop's Post.

March 18.  Bob and I spent a fun night in Columbia seeing a band called Here Come the Mummies, which was sincerely, THE most fun concert I have been to in a very long while.

March 19.  I was blessed to attend a bridal shower for a friend in Illinois, the bride and her sister were the only ones I knew but the food was lovely and so delicious!

March 20.  First Garden Club meeting of the 2017 season always makes me happy!

March 21. A great day to try out some convertibles!

March 22. I spent the morning with a group of women whom answer the desire of my soul to connect on a deeper level with God.

March 23.  Since the election of Mr. Trump, I have been determined to be more active in my world and one of my first steps was to join the Democratic party and to attend my first Kitchen Table Talk with Senator Clair McCaskill.

March 24. We started car shopping today to find me a much wanted convertible, which ended up at dinner at Cooper's Hawk Winery, a lovely, fitting ending to the day.

March 25.  More car shopping, which is exhausting, but still enjoyable, none-the-less.

March 26.  My mother was taken to the hospital and rushed to Columbia to their cardiac unit yesterday and today the surgeons implanted a pacemaker, a device that will help regulate the beat of her heart.

March 27.  My mom was released from the hospital today and my sister went home to be with her for a couple of days.

March 28.  Thankfully today was a light day at work and I was able to have a "normal" day and got to bed at a reasonable time and slept like a baby!

March 29.  Happy ninth anniversary to my daughter and her husband, a match that could only have been made in heaven, just like her parents and grandparents!

March 30.  A decision has been made on the car, and I am the negotiator, so let's see where this goes!

March 31.  I didn't get the car yesterday, and it was quite the let down but I am still on the hunt so it is not over yet!

Thanks for following along with my one sentence a day journaling.  I love doing it and I feel like my writing is improving, slowly and surely.  If you decide to give it a try, please let me know so I can follow you!

03 April 2017

Easter Bunny Fudge #TasteCreations

It's time for all things Easter this month, and Taste Creations is no exception.  This month we are serving you all kinds of homemade candy treats to make for the holiday.  When I was doing my research for what I wanted to make, I ran across this Unicorn Fudge  by Sprinkles for Breakfast (isn't that a darling name?) and inspiration struck.  The fudge recipe is so adaptable to the holidays, you will be seeing me make it for all kinds of things.

 Why homemade treats?  One of the main reasons, for me, to make my own treats is simply to control the ingredients that go into the food.  If I can limit the amount of bad stuff that goes into a food that is already not the best healthy choice, then when the treat is used as a treat, it isn't horrible.  How is that for logic!

You will love how easy this recipe is.  I am totally enamored by how easy it is and how good it tastes.

Easter Bunny Fudge
(as inspired by Unicorn Fudge made by Sprinkles for Breakfast)

20 oz white chocolate disks 
1/4 c butter, melted
1 14 oz can sweetened condensed milk
1 drop red food coloring (more if you want it darker pink)
pastel sprinkles of your choice

Prepare an 8 by 8 inch square pan with parchment paper or nonstick foil. Melt the white chocolate disks in the microwave following the directions on the package for melting. Add the drop of food coloring and mix until incorporated fully.  Add melted butter and condensed milk and stir. Watch the magic happen!  The fudge will come together and make candy!  Pour into the prepared pan and smooth with a knife or roller.  Sprinkle on sprinkles and press into the fudge.  Refrigerate until hardened, then cut into squares with a knife.  Store covered up to a week in the refrigerator.

Check out these other tried and true homemade Easter goodies by my colleagues in Taste Creations!  If you are a food or lifestyle blogger who would like to join us in Taste Creations, please contact us via our Facebook page or by emailing me at terri@terristeffes.com

Nikki at Tikkido has Easy Easter Egg Buttermints

Rosemary at An Italian in My Kitchen has No Churn Nutella Swirl Chocolate Chip Ice Cream

Your Easter celebrations will be wonderful with these adorable and yummy treats!  If you are a food blogger and would like to join our monthly Taste Creations event, email me at terri@terristeffes.com and request to join!

02 April 2017

Homemade Bloody Mary Mix and Frozen Bloody Mary Pops #SundaySupper

When tomatoes are in abundance in our garden, we like to make a batch of Bloody Mary mix.  It doesn't last long but it is the best Bloody Marys of the year!  We have learned to make it to our tastes, so you will want to experiment with what you like.  For example, I am not big into celery, so I use much less than most people.

Bloody Marys are a drink you can have all year.  They are always appropriate.  We are big fans of the Bloody Mary with a fantastic garnish.  For me, the drink must be wonderful but the garnish must knock your socks off!  Bacon is one of my favorites, and in fact, we played with that on this post!

Another item on your list, is a great vodka.  We like Cardinal Spirits, a vodka that is crafted in Indiana that was introduced to us by our daughter.  Love it.

Bloody Mary Mix

Around 6 pounds of fresh tomatoes.  These do not have to be pretty!
3 ribs of celery
2 cups of fresh parsley (flat leaf Italian)
2 T sea salt
the juice of 1 lime (maybe more, if you like the taste)
the juice of 1 lemon
2 T prepared horseradish (not the creamy stuff, the grated stuff)
3 t Frank's hot sauce
1 T black pepper
2 T Worchestershire sauce

Using your juicer or power blender, process tomatoes, celery, parsley and half the salt.  Place the juice in the fridge for 30 minutes, then strain it through cheesecloth to remove the solids.  Stir in the rest of the salt, lemon and lime juices, horseradish, hot sauce, pepper and Worchestershire sauce. Refrigerate.

To make the drink, take 2/3 c of mix and add 1 oz of good vodka.  Create a beautiful garnish and serve!

To take this to another level, I made popscicles from the mix and a bit of vodka, about 1/3 c to a pitcher of mix.  I stuffed the pop molds with olives and celery leaves, then poured the mix into the molds.  Due to the alcohol, I had to freeze these over night to get as firm as I wanted them to be.
These are definitely different and will be a fun ending to a grilled steak dinner!

Sunday Supper Recipes Using Fresh Tomatoes

Chicken Recipes

Main Courses

Pizza, Pies, and Pastas

Side Dishes


Soups and Salads

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.