Thursday, April 28, 2016

Pesto Chicken Pizza

Originally posted on 4/24/14.

Hey, this is my contribution to throw-back Thursday!  As I was reading through the recipe again I got really hungry.  Might have to get the grandsons over to help me make this again really soon.

Not an original recipe (see source below) but we all get to tweak away at someone else's in this recipe blog world, don't we?  This is a great quickie dinner that you can throw together in about 30 minutes or so if you have the ingredients on hand.  Or you can just send your daughter and her fiance out to the grocery store to get the stuff for you while you clean off the kitchen island so that there is room to actually EAT there.
Pizza Dough (home- or ready-made)
Basil Pesto
Cooked Chicken (I used a rotisserie chicken from my local grocery store)
Shredded mozzarella cheese
1.  Preheat oven to temperature for your pizza dough.
2.  Spread dough onto pan or pizza stone; sprinkle corn meal on pan first so your pizza doesn't stick.
3.  An extra step if you are using the refrigerated dough, is to pre-bake it for 6-8 minutes before adding your toppings.
4.  Spread pesto, chicken and cheese over the crust.
5.  Bake for suggested time for dough, about 8-10 minutes.
Adding a salad would be a great idea.
Source:  Shawni Pothier, 71 Toes Blog.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Fish Tacos with Lime Sauce

Who doesn't love a good fish taco?  They can be hard to find--can't stand when they are too fishy.  The tilapia in this recipe is so mild you will swear you are eating chicken.  I kept snatching nuggets and snacking on them while I was frying up the other batches.  A nice healthy alternative to fast food tacos.  Now, authentic Mexican tacos...that's another thing all together.


1 lb. fresh tilapia fillets
3 limes (I used Thrive Limeade powder instead--a tsp. or so should be enough.)
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 t. chili powder
2 T. olive oil
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 t. salt
8 6-inch flour tortillas
1 cup shredded angel hair cabbage (I prefer it thin)
1/4 cup shredded carrots
1 jalapeno or serrano pepper, thinly sliced

1.  Rinse fish and pat dry.  Cut into 1-inch pieces.
2.  For lime sauce, juice two of the limes into a bowl (cut your 3rd lime into wedges for serving).  Stir mayonnaise and chili powder into juice.  Transfer 1/3 cup of the sauce to another bowl; toss fish in this.  Set remaining sauce aside.
3.  In a medium to large skillet, heat oil over medium heat.  Combine flour and salt in a shallow dish.  Work with about 1/3 of the fish chunks at a time, toss them in the flour and add to hot oil.  Cook for 2-4 minutes or until fish flakes easily, turning to brown evenly.  Add more oil as needed.  Drain fish on paper towels.
4.  Wrap tortillas in paper towels (loved this.  worked great!); heat in microwave oven for 30 seconds.  Top tortillas with fish, cabbage, carrots and jalapeno.  Drizzle with Lime Sauce.  Serve with lime wedges.

NOTES:  Add lime juice to mayo gradually and to taste.  Thrive Limeade powder is available seasonally, so may not be listed on my consultant site.

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Brownie Cookies

There is this bakery in town that has some of the most delicious goodies out there.  And their sandwiches and salads are pretty darn good, too.  Anyway, one of my favorites things there is their brownie cookie.  Oh my crispy, chewy goodness.  Yes, very good.  I don't have a recipe to make them at home, but I do have a box of brownie mix--with a brownie cookie recipe right on the box, baby!  Just thought I would try those out and they did not disappoint.  Try some for yourself with your own brownie mix or recipe.  The only difference is to cut down on the oil.  And of course, you don't bake the cookies as long as the brownies. That would not be a good thing, at all.

1 pkg. brownie mix
2 eggs
1/4 cup vegetable oil (I used coconut oil)
1 T. water
chopped nuts pecans (we always add these to brownies)

1.  Make mix according to directions on the box.
2.  Drop by tablespoonfuls onto parchment lined cookie sheet.  Definitely use this measurement.  The first time I made these I used a small cookie scoop and they were too big and ran together.
3.  Bake at 325 degrees for 12-14 minutes, until the edges have crisped.  Don't over bake.
4.  Cool on wire rack.
5.  Enjoy!

Here's a tip!  Melt peanut butter in the microwave and drizzle over your cookie.  My son-in-law was at the house when I baked this batch, and he requested the peanut butter.

Sunday, April 10, 2016

More Meaningful Prayer

I don't know about you, but I have always struggled with having a daily, meaningful prayer life.  My parents tried to instill regular prayer into our lives as a family, but we were not always as supportive to them and consistent as we could have been.  How do you make take the time in your life for this vital communication with a loving Heavenly Father?  Please comment and share with us, if you would like to. 

For me, reading over some  highlights from our recent LDS General Conference helped me today as I was trying to figure out a thought to share with you.  This has a lot of truth to it, when you think about how our prayers can be at times, or all of the time.  I am really going to work on this--it's definitely a crucial building block for increased spirituality in our lives.
“We need to pray from our hearts. Polite recitations of past and upcoming activities, punctuated with some requests for blessings, cannot constitute the kind of communing with God that brings enduring power. Are you willing to pray to know how to pray for more power? The Lord will teach you.”

Image from

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Shawarma-jo Tacos

Thank you, Disney Cruise Line!

 Why?  Well, it was there--by the pool deck--that I had my first taste of shawarma.  I thoroughly enjoyed the shaved, slow-roasted chicken with its unusual spice set.  The fresh fixins and delicious garlic aioli made it a special treat.

I've been wanting to figure out how to recreate it but, doggone it, I don't have a roasting spit or the patience for all-day roasting!  And ever since I started using Thrive Life foods, I'm been a little spoiled in the quick meal prep department.  I want it.  And I want it now.

So I combed the internet, looking for just the right recipe to "Thrive-alize".  After a less than stellar attempt, I found a recipe that fit just right.  Thrive's Seasoned Chicken Slices make it super fast.  They are freeze dried and reconstistute quickly.  Once the spices have been added to them, they really only need to heat through!

 Why the funky name?  Well, I thought I'd use my Thrive dough mix to try and simulate naan bread.  Didn't work.  But what happened was a scone-like bread circle that my family has previously used for Navajo Tacos.  So I thought, well.....let's mix the two.  Add a little garlic sauce, and there you go! 

If you don't want to try this recipe with Thrive foods (why wouldn't you, though?  It's so super fast!) then I encourage you to visit the recipe site that I used as a springboard for my Thrive-alized version, Jo Cooks.  And if you don't have time to do the bread, pick up some naan bread in your grocery store.

Give shawarma a try.  Your hunger will be AVENGED!


Taco Bread
 1 1/3 c. hot water
 2 1/4 tsp. THRIVE Instant Dry Yeast
 1 tsp. THRIVE Iodized Salt
 4 c. THRIVE Honey Whole Wheat Dough Mix
Chicken Shawarma
 4 c. THRIVE Seasoned Chicken Slices - Freeze Dried
 2 c. hot water
 1/4 c. fresh lemon juice
 1/2 c. Olive Oil
 2 tsp. Paprika
 1/2 tsp. Ground Turmeric
 2 tsp. cumin
 1/2 tsp. Ground Cinnamon
 2 tsp. ground black pepper
 1 tsp. THRIVE Iodized Salt
 4 clv. Garlic, minced
Garlic Yogurt Sauce 
 1/3 c. fresh lemon juice
 1 c. Vegetable Oil
 1/4 c. plain Greek yogurt
 6 clv. Garlic, peeled
 1 tsp. THRIVE Iodized Salt
 1 tbsp. THRIVE Parsley
 diced hothouse cucumbers
 halved grape tomatoes
iceberg lettuce, sliced thinly

 Taco Bread 
1. Dissolve yeast in hot water (hot from the tap). Add salt. Whisk. Stir in Thrive dough mix.
2.  Knead for 5 minutes. Lightly cover dough with a little vegetable oil, place in bowl, cover with towel, and allow to rise until dough has doubled in size.
3.  Punch dough down. Divide into 8 equal pieces.
4.  Place nonstick or cast iron skillet on stove on medium heat.
5.  Take one piece of dough, roll into ball, then flatten as thin as possible with your hands. Place on skillet and cook on each side until golden brown and cooked through.
6.  Repeat with remaining dough pieces. Set aside and cover to keep warm.
Chicken Shawarma
1.  Put the chicken into a bowl and add the 2 cups of water. Toss with a spoon every few minutes while you let it reconstitute (about 15 minutes).
2.  Put remaining shawarma ingredients into a small bowl, whisk well, and pour over the chicken (after the chicken has sat for 15 minutes). Toss to coat the chicken well.
3.  Drizzle a little vegetable or olive oil in a large skillet and heat to medium high on the stove. Pour in the chicken and allow it to heat through for about 5 minutes.
Garlic Yogurt Sauce
Place all sauce ingredients in a blender and process for 1-2 minutes. Allow to rest while you prepare the toppings.
Assembling the Tacos
Place a bread circle on a plate and top with some chicken. Add toppings and drizzle with sauce.

This recipe is highly customizable; reduce or increase the shawarma spices as you see fit.
Too much garlic?  Simply reduce.
Want a creamier sauce?  Increase yogurt and decrease oil.
Play around with it and make it your own!

Sunday, March 27, 2016


Try as I might, there are just no words to add to this beautiful message.  Just enjoy, and let it touch your heart on this Easter Sunday.

Thursday, March 24, 2016


This recipe first posted on July 28, 2011.

Since we are getting ready to launch our new blog, I thought it would be fun to share the very first recipe I ever posted.  Haha.  The photo quality isn't all that, and I did have a date stamp on the photo.  Didn't know about PicMonkey back then or I would have cropped that out and done a little more editing!  But still, this is one of my favorite recipes.  Hope you enjoy it again!

(Sorry about the date stamp! I'm a newbie.)

When I left El Paso, TX  9 years ago, one thing I brought back to North Carolina was a good salsa recipe.  I learned how to make it in a Relief Society Homemaking  mini-class (the Relief Society is the women's auxiliary of our church).  I loved our Hispanic members and learned so much from them, including how to make homemade tortillas.  This recipe started there, but I have tweaked it along the way.

6-8 roma tomatoes
1-2 fresh jalapenos
1 clove garlic, minced
Fresh cilantro (I use a handful)
Lime juice, to taste
Salt, to taste

1.  Roast the tomatoes and jalapenos in the oven until skins are nice and crispy.  I put mine in a toaster oven.  Remove from oven and let cool enough to handle them.

2.  Peel the tomatoes and "gut" and de-stem the jalapenos.  If you leave the seeds in the peppers you will have a spicier salsa--muy picosa!

3.  Place tomatoes and jalapenos in a food processor along with the rest of the ingredients and process to desired consistency.  I prefer slightly chunky. You can add water to thin it.

4.  Serve with tortilla chips.

A few tips--a squeeze or two of lime juice is all you need.  Salt to taste, but take into consideration the saltiness of your chips.  I buy a dozen or so jalapenos at a time and roast them and then keep them in the freezer so I can have them on hand when I need a salsa fix or when my sister Amy comes to visit.

"Cool" Tip--I used to waste so much fresh cilantro until I saw a neat thing on an Emeril Legasse show.  Loosely chop the cilantro bunch and distribute into the sections of an ice cube tray.  Lightly fill with water and freeze.  Once frozen, pop cilantro cubes out of tray and store in a Ziplock bag in the freezer.  Easy to pop into soups, pasta sauce, chili, etc. I thaw several cubes out when I am thawing the jalapenos and then they are both ready for the salsa.