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Thursday, March 26, 2015

Almond Butter Quinoa Brownies

I am not saying that I have jumped on the quinoa bandwagon, but I got a free "Eating Well" magazine in the mail this past week and was just flipping through it and left it open on the kitchen island.  Next thing you know I have a request to make these lovelies.  Okay, I was game.  These are actually pretty good.  And I had all of the ingredients on-hand, including a hand-crank grinder that I haven't used in forever*.  Pretty handy little tool, really.  Mental note to use this more often.  

1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened (I used salted because that is what I had.  Paula Deen says that's okay.)
3/4 cup smooth or crunchy natural almond butter
2 large eggs
3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1 t. vanilla extract
3/4 cup quinoa flour (I used my hand-crank grinder to make this)
1 t. baking powder
1/4 t. salt
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Line an 8-inch square baking pan with foil allowing it to slightly overhang on opposite ends so you have "handles" to lift the blondies out of the pan.  Coat the foil with cooking spray. Seriously. These things are a little sticky when you cut them and pull them off of the foil.

2.  Beat butter and almond butter in a mixing bowl with an electric mixer until creamy.  Beat in eggs, brown sugar and vanilla.  Whisk quinoa flour, baking powder and salt in a small bowl.

3.  Mix the flour mixture into the wet ingredients until just combined.  Stir in chocolate chips.

4.  Spread the batter evenly into the prepared pan and bake about 25 minutes--until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with just a few moist crumbs on it.  DO NOT OVER BAKE.

5.  Remove from oven and let cool about 45 minutes in the pan.  Lift the blondies out of the pan with the foil  and transfer to a cutting board.  Let cool completely and cut into bars.

6.  Makes 24 blondies.

7.  These should keep up to 5 days in the fridge, in an air-tight container.

*Check out this cool grinder...

SOURCE:  Eating Well Magazine.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Chicken Satay and Thai Peanut Sauce

For this post, you get two recipes in one! The chicken satay recipe came from here. And the most amazing Thai Peanut Sauce recipe came from here.

Thai Chicken Satay:

2 normal to large sized chicken breasts
1/2 cup coconut milk
1 tablespoon curry powder
1 teaspoon turmeric powder
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
12 wooden skewers

1. Soak the skewers in water while prepping your chicken and sauce. This will help keep the skewers from burning when you place them on the grill. 
2. Cut the chicken into thin slices. 

3. Mix all of the ingredients together in a bowl, add the chicken and massage. The chicken does not need to marinate in the sauce for very long, in fact only a few minutes. Place the chicken on skewers and drop them on the grill at medium heat. Flip the skewer just before you start to see grill marks on the chicken. This makes for the perfect “doneness” without drying it out. 

This marinade also goes great with shrimp! 

For the Thai Peanut Sauce:

One 13.5-ounce can of full-fat, unsweetened coconut milk
2 ounces (approximately ¼ cup) of Thai red or Massaman curry paste
¾ cup unsweetened (natural) creamy peanut butter (Do not use regular peanut butter or anything with added emulsifiers. I get mine fresh ground in the bulk section at Winco.)
½ tablespoon salt
¾ cup sugar
2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar or white vinegar (Do not use white wine, red wine, balsamic, or anything else — not even rice vinegar)
½ cup water

Put everything into a medium heavy-bottomed pot and bring to a very gentle boil over medium heat, whisking constantly.
Let the mixture simmer for 3-5 minutes over low heat; be careful not to let the mixture scorch at the bottom of the pot.
Take the pot off the heat, let the sauce cool down to room temperature (or slightly warmer), and serve the sauce with satay or fried tofu.

This peanut sauce keeps in a glass container in the refrigerator for weeks. Refrigerated sauce will thicken up considerably. All you have to do is thin it out with a little bit of water to desired consistency, reheat, and serve. The sauce also freezes beautifully.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Lasagna Soup

Have I told you how much I absolutely love Thrive?  I mean, seriously.  It's amazing.  I have saved so much time in the kitchen just by using Thrive foods--they are ready to use right out of the packaging--no more chopping onions, no more greasy meat prep, etc.  And the taste is unmatched!  Not to mention the nutrition bonus of eating freeze dried foods of the highest quality.  You are really missing out if you haven't tried Thrive for yourself.

I love "throw and go" cooking with Thrive foods.  The other day I made some spaghetti sauce using that method; and for me, that means just tossing in what I like and adding enough water along the way to rehydrate the foods to perfection.  This is all without any measuring!!!  Love it.  And my spaghetti meat sauce, which I began making AFTER I started the pasta, was done before the pasta was!

But sometimes I do like to try recipes and measure.  Lasagna Soup intrigued me when I saw it and, lemme tell you, it did NOT disappoint my taste buds.  Several in the family went back up for seconds of this tasty dish.  This one is definitely going to be made many times in our house!  And, bonus, you can also vacuum seal this (layered in the order listed) in a quart mason jar and keep it on the shelf for emergency quick meals (although going directly into the pot was fast to begin with).  Just dump and go.  (Email me at for more info on jar meals!)


¼ cup Thrive Tomato Powder
1 tsp Thrive Chef's Choice Seasoning
 ¼ cup Thrive Tomato Sauce 
3 TBSP Thrive Mixed Bell Peppers
 1 TBSP Thrive Chicken Bouillon
¼ cup Thrive Freeze Dried Onions
 1 tsp  Garlic powder
¾ cup Thrive Freeze Dried Sausage Crumbles 
¼ tsp Crushed Red Pepper
2 cups Thrive Farfalle (Bowtie) Noodles

1. Dump all the ingredients into a pot or Dutch oven.  Stir in 8 cups of water.
2.  Bring to a boil.  Turn the heat down to medium.  Simmer for 10-15 minutes until the noodles are al dente.

Top with shredded mozzarella cheese and serve with salad and breadsticks!  Easy peasy!

For more information on how you can save time and money while eating nutritious, convenient food from Thrive, 
email me at  
You can also visit my website to learn more.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Peppermint Patty Cake with Vanilla Mint Frosting

Since we just celebrated St. Patty's Day, I can't think of a better way to celebrate than to make a Peppermint Patty Cake!  Don't let the length of this post deter you from making this cake!  It's delicious!  Also, don't let the fact that there are 6 (YES, SIX!) sticks of butter in this cake deter you either! 

Ingredients List:

2 sticks butter
4 T. cocoa powder
1 c. boiling water
10 whole mini Peppermint Patty candies
1/2 c. buttermilk
1 tsp. baking soda
2 large eggs
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/4 tsp. mint extract
2 c. all-purpose flour
2 c. sugar
1/4 tsp. salt

4 sticks butter, softened
2 whole vanilla beans (caviar scraped out)
6 c. sifted powdered sugar
dash salt
4 T. half and half
1/4 tsp. mint extract
extra mini Peppermint Patty candies, for decorating

Cake Directions:

1. Grease and flour 2 round cake pans.  Line with parchment paper to make your life easier.  Set pans aside.

2. In a medium saucepan, melt 2 sticks of butter and stir in 4 T. cocoa.  Pour in boiling water, let mixture boil 30 seconds, then turn the burner to low heat.  Add 10 patty candies and stir until almost completely melted.  Remove from heat; set aside.

3. Mix together the buttermilk, baking soda, eggs, vanilla, and mint.

4. In a large mixing bowl, stir together the flour, sugar, and salt.

5. Pour the hot cocoa mixture into the large mixing bowl (with flour mixture.)  Stir to slightly cool.  Pour in buttermilk mixture and stir until smooth.

6. Pour into prepared cake pans; bake for 32 minutes at 350 degrees.  Remove from pans and cool completely.

Frosting Directions:

1. In a large bowl, beat butter until fluffy.  Add vanilla caviar.  Slowly add powdered sugar and salt; beat until fluffy.  Add half and half and mint; beat until fluffy.

2. Once cake is cooled, assemble and ice cake.  Decorate with patty candies.

Yield: 12-20 servings, depending on how big your slice of cake is!

Source: The Pioneer Woman

Nutrition Information: Do you really wanna know?!

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Mormon Morsels: To Bridle

I was reading an article the other day entitled "Bridle All Your Passions."  It was interesting to me to read about what that really means.  My first thought would be that I have to give up something, but that is not the case and that is not the purpose of a bridle.  I don't ride horses, but I have friends who do.  I am sure they understand the importance and usefulness of the bridle they put on their horse.  Are you starting to get a feel for where this is going?

Elder David A. Bednar, a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints quoted in this article: 

"We are told to bridle all our passions, not to suppress or kill all our passions.  Controlling our emotions and desires does not mean to stamp all of them out because they are all bad.  Just as we bridle animals because they are useful and helpful, we bridle our passions so that we control them and allow them to serve a higher purpose."

I really like that.  We all have things that we are passionate about that are good things or better things or best things.  I am passionate about de-cluttering and organizing.  That can go two ways.  I can either go bonkers and organize every "jot and tittle" of my home or I can take some of that energy and help a friend who might be drowning in clutter or laundry or paper or whatever.  

What we must learn to do is harness the passions and energy in our life and make them work 
 for our good, as well as for the good of others.

Source:  David A. Bednar