Showing posts from April, 2017

Beef and Portabella Tostados #SundaySupper

Celebrate Cinco de Mayo without giving into the less-than-healthy food you find in most restaurants. This Beef and Portabella Tostado is a completely healthy option but still celebrating the wonderful foods of the South.  Serve it with black beans and roasted corn for a complete meal! I'm all about grass fed beef these days, and buying it from a local farmer.  Yes, you do pay more, but for me and my family, I am happy to pay more for the extra assurance that my food doesn't have harmful chemicals or antibiotics added to it.  My farmer even delivers to my house! A few little hints while making these: clean the gills out well.  Salt the inside of the mushroom. I added a little cumin for some interest.  Delish. Beef and Portabella Tostados 8 large portabella caps, cleaned 1 lb grass fed beef 2 c shredded lettuce 1 tomato, chopped 1 avocado, sliced into 8 slices 1/4 c chopped cilantro 1 t cumin 1 t chili powder 1 t garlic powder 1 lime, cut into fourths sal
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Chicken Soup for the Soul Dog Treats #chewyinfluencer

We were given this product in exchange for our honest review. Do you remember the Chicken Soup books? They now make a dog food line, too!  Wilson is super happy about that!! Chicken Soup for the Soul publishes the famous Chicken Soup series that shares heartwarming tales that nourish the soul. With over 100 million books sold to date in the United States and Canada alone, including a selection of titles for loving pet owners, “chicken soup for the soul” is one of the world’s best known phrases. It all started in 1993 with the simple idea that people could help each other by sharing stories about their lives. The founders themselves had been motivational speakers for years, including stories in their talks, and the audiences repeatedly asked if these stories had ever been published so they could share them with friends. Realizing they were onto something, the first book was published and called Chicken Soup for the Soul, because they wanted it to soothe and provide comfort, j
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The Ebb Tide #ourgoodlifebooklist

I was given this book in exchange for my honest opinion! I am a Beverly Lewis fan, ever since I saw the movie Saving Sarah Cain on Lifetime years ago. I started reading her fiction books any time I could find it, often picking it up at used book stores. It was my secret vice, reading about the life of the Amish. This book is a bit different. The Amish are still present, but now getting a bit more "worldly."  The main character, Sallie, is invited to be a nanny for an "english" family while they go to the beach. The couple is wealthy and are paying Sallie to nanny.  Sallie is in her 20s but has yet to be baptised into the Amish order, so she can still do this adventure. I really like Sallie as a character. She is adventurous and is saving for a trip, but when a child in her order needs an operation, she prays for guidance and ends up giving her savings to the boy for the operation. The opportunity for the beach trip comes shortly after her contribution to th
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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. 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 Wheat Thins 1 1/4 c gluten free flour (I used King Arthur's) 1 1
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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! 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 Crust 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 h
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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. 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
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Welcome to 2017's #RecipeMakeover *Starbuck's Caffe Latte

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. #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 ha
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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! 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. 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.
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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. 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 wh
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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 c
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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 yo
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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,

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 a

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

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

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 on

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. A Guide to Northeastern Gardening Blooming Secrets The Garden Frog Day to Day Adventures Sensible Gardening Garden Chick The Freshman Cook Are you a garden blogger looking for a tribe?  Contact me via email at to find out how you can join Project Beautiful!

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 incred