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Thursday, July 31, 2014

Last Minute Tortilla Bake

The other day my husband mentioned, in passing, that our daughter and her family were coming over that evening.  I had no plans for supper and no time to go to the store so I threw this dish together "on the fly."  It's not super amazing or anything, but it was tasty and filling and I was able to feed the 6 of us--which included my two grandsons, ages 4 and 2--from items I had at home.  Don't you love throwing things together and having them magically turn into a meal?
12 corn tortillas
rotisserie chicken (left over from a previous meal)
Colby Jack Cheese
Salsa Verde (Herdez is a great brand, in the Hispanic Food section of your grocery store)
Purple bell  peppers (we picked these up at a local farmers' market and I thought they would be a fun garnish)
1.  Spray a 9x13 baking dish with cooking spray.
2.  Cover bottom of dish with 6 corn tortillas, chop or chunk the chicken and spread over the tortillas, spoon desired amount of salsa over top, and sprinkle with about half a cup or more of cheese.  Repeat layers one more time and sprinkle with purple bell pepper strips.
3.  Bake 30 minutes at 350 F., or until cheese is melted and tortillas are crispy on the edges.
I served this with a big bowl of cut up watermelon, stir-fried zucchini with Mediterranean seasoning, and a Roasted Corn Blend that I found at Sam's in the frozen vegetable section.  I stir-fried that with some olive oil.  Yummy.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Greek Yogurt Chicken Salad

My favorite sub from Subway is the Orchard Harvest Chicken Salad sandwich.  It's so good, but only available during certain spring and summer months.  Bummer!  While I was looking for a copycat recipe online, I came across this chicken salad.  While not exactly the same as the Subway recipe, it's still pretty tasty.  There are so many wholesome ingredients included in this chicken salad too--apples, grapes, onions, cranberries, almonds.  And best of all--NO MAYONNAISE! 

Ingredients List:

1 lb. cooked chicken breast (cube raw chicken and boil in water 10 minutes to cook)
1/2 c. diced red onion
1 diced Gala apple
2/3 c. red grapes, halved
1/3 c. dried cranberries
1/4 c. sliced almonds
1 (5.3 oz.) container plain Greek yogurt
1 T. fresh lemon juice
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. ground black pepper


Mix all ingredients together and chill.

Yield: 6 servings (1 c. each)

Source: Greek Yogurt Chicken Salad

Nutrition Information, per Serving: 206 Calories, 6.5 g Fat, 2.3 g Fiber, 20.4 g Protein

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Easy Mexican Salsa Rice


2 c. instant brown rice
2 c. water
1 envelope enchilada sauce mix (or you could use taco seasoning)
1 c. salsa
1 4 oz. can chopped green chilis


Combine all ingredients together in a microwaveable bowl.  Microwave on high for 8-9 minutes, or until rice is tender.  Let sit for 3-5 minutes and it will soak up most of the liquid in the bowl.  Fluff with a fork and serve.


Sunday, July 27, 2014

Finding Courage in Difficult Times

After I wrote this article, I saw this picture and could not resist it! It's PERFECT! Sometimes you just gotta hold your head high and keep marching forward! 
I am usually a happy and positive person - definitely an optimist. But lately I've had to face the fact that sometimes LIFE IS HARD and there's not much we can do about it! (I really wanted to write "Life Sucks", because that seemed to more accurately express my feelings, but I don't like that word, so I won't use it.) J

I know so many people who are suffering from health issues, terminal illnesses, financial troubles, broken marriages, struggles at work, temptations that haunt them, children who are straying from what they have been taught, the death of a spouse or child or parent, being a victim of name it! These are serious and stressful situations. They are life crushing and life changing, and so hard to deal with. How do we manage and survive these things?

There's only one answer. We need to rely on our Heavenly Father and His Son Jesus Christ and the love they have for us. It is real. They know us and love us, and we will feel their love and help when we reach out to them with our humble hearts and honest prayers. We need to trust in the Atonement of Jesus Christ and that it can heal us and make up the difference when we have done all we can. We need to understand that if we are trying and worthy, we can have the wonderful blessing of the companionship of the Holy Ghost, and we can be guided and protected and taught.

COURAGE - We need to have the courage to move forward in the right path, regardless of the consequences. We need to have the courage to just try to hang on one more day. We need to have the courage to try a little harder and do a little better. We need to have the courage to turn things over to the Lord and let go of the burdens that weigh us down or cause us so much hurt and pain. We need to have courage to believe that there are better days ahead and blessings waiting for us. 

One of my favorite scriptures is Joshua 1:9: 
"Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the Lord thy God is with thee withersoever thou goest."

We can find many stories of courage in the scriptures - The prophet Daniel stood up for his beliefs and what he knew was right, even though he was threatened with death. The 2000 Sons of Helaman (the Stripling Warriors) were examples of faith and courage to obey God, to follow the teachings of their parents to be obedient in all things, and to trust that the Lord would protect them. I think of the courage of Esther who risked her life to save her people. The list goes on and on. And we all know of modern day examples of courage from family and friends in our own lives. 

May we have the courage we personally need to pick ourselves up and move forward to happier and better days. Our attitude will make all the difference!  

Here is a beautiful 3 minute video of examples of courage:

I couldn't get the video to load here, so just click this link:
The Courage of Esther and Others 

Friday, July 25, 2014

Lime Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

Lime Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting!  Say what?!  Seriously, how good does that sound?  First of all, cream cheese frosting on anything makes it delicious.  You know what, I don't even think I need a 'second of all.'  Cream cheese frosting really says it all.  In fact, it's a complete sentence. 

Cream cheese frosting.  Need I say more?

Ingredients List:

1 box lemon cake mix
1 small box lime gelatin (mix only)
3/4 c. buttermilk
1/3 c. vegetable oil
3 large eggs
3 drops green food coloring

8 oz. reduced fat cream cheese, softened
1/2 c. butter, softened
1 lb. powdered sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract


1. For the cupcakes, place all cake ingredients into a large mixing bowl.  Mix together 1 minute, with an electric mixer.  Scrape down sides of bowl and mix again, about two minutes.

2. Line two 12-cup muffin pans with cupcake liners.  Divide batter evenly among both pans, using a large cookie scoop.  Bake at 350 degrees for 18 minutes, or until they spring back when pressed lightly in the center.

3. Remove pans from the oven and allow cupcakes to cool completely before removing to a wire rack.  Once cool, frost cupcakes.

Frosting Directions: Cream together cream cheese and butter with an electric mixer.  Add sugar and vanilla and beat until smooth and creamy.

Yield: 24 cupcakes

Source: The Novice Chef

Nutrition Information, per cupcake: 264 Calories, 11 g Fat, 0 Fiber, 2.5 g Protein

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

French Silk Pie

 The Pioneer Woman is a genius. 

This is.

By far.

The best pie I have ever eaten.

You need to make this pie, like right now.

Ingredients List:

4 oz. unsweetened baking chocolate
1 c. salted butter (softened)
1 1/2 c. sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
4 eggs
1 package baked pie shell (not deep dish)
Sweetened Whipped Cream (recipe to follow)


1. In small microwave-safe bowl, melt 4 oz. chocolate until stirrable, at 30 second increments.  This will probably take 1 1/2 to 2 minutes.  Set aside to cool.

2. In large bowl with electric mixer fitted with a wire whisk, cream butter and sugar.  When melted chocolate is cooled, add this to the creamed mixture.  Add vanilla.  Beat thoroughly until completely combined.

3. Turn mixer to medium speed.  Add eggs, one at a time, leaving about 5 minutes between each egg addition. 

4. Pour into baked pie shell.  Smooth out pie filling.  Chill in fridge overnight. (Yes, that's right, there's no baking the pie!)

5. Top with Sweetened Whipped Cream.

Ingredients and Directions for Sweetened Whipped Cream:

In a chilled mixing bowl with chilled beaters, beat 1 c. heavy whipping cream until it begins to thicken.  Add 3 T. powdered sugar and 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract; beat until soft peaks form.  Store in fridge.

Yield: 8 servings

Pie Source: The Pioneer Woman

Sweetened Whipped Cream Source: Taste of Home

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Frozen Key Lime Pie

I shared my first Key Lime Pie recipe on March 14--Pi Day!  You can find the link to that pie here:  And to tell you the truth, I like that pie better than the one I am posting about today.  But, variety is the spice of life, and since I love to try new recipes and different foods, let's discuss a new variation of the Key Lime Pie! 

I have passions.  One of them is good food, and if I can watch good food being made on TV before my very eyes, I'm one happy (and hungry) girl.  One of my favorite Food Network hosts to watch is Ina Garten, AKA the Barefoot Contessa.  She makes some of the most delicious-looking foods, including today's Key Lime Pie.  I really enjoyed making this pie, and since it's frozen, it has a different texture and appearance compared to most traditional key lime pies.  Once the pie is out of the freezer, it does melt fairly quickly so don't take the pie out of the freezer until you're ready to serve it.  I hope you enjoy this pie, especially during these hot summer months!

Ingredients List:

1 1/2 c. graham cracker crumbs
1/4 c. sugar
6 T. melted butter

6 XL egg yolks (at room temperature)
1/4 c. sugar
1 (14 oz.) can sweetened condensed milk
2 T. grated lime zest
3/4 c. freshly squeezed key lime juice (4-5 limes) (you can use regular limes)

1 c. (1/2 pint) cold heavy cream
1/4 c. sugar
1/4 tsp. vanilla extract
8 thin lime wedges or slices, for garnish


1. For the crust: Combine crumbs, 1/4 c. sugar, and melted butter in a bowl.  Press into a 9 inch glass pie plate, making sure the sides and bottom are even thickness.  Bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes.  Cool completely.

2. For the filling: Beat the egg yolks and 1/4 c. sugar on high speed in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment for 5 minutes, until thick.  With the mixer on medium speed, add the sweetened condensed milk, lime zest, and lime juice.  Pour into the baked and cooled pie shell.  Freeze.

3. For the decoration: (Use a chilled mixing bowl and chilled beaters for best results.)  Beat the heavy cream on high speed in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment until soft peaks form.  Add the 1/4 c. sugar and vanilla extract, and beat until firm.  Spoon onto the frozen pie and decorate with 8 lime wedges or slices.  Freeze for several hours or overnight.  Serve frozen.

Yield: 8 servings

Source: The Food Network