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1 pork shoulder roast

1 packet fajita seasoning mix

There’s nothing easier than pulled pork in the crock pot!  I wanted to season it with a Mexican flair as I planned to serve it over rice with tostones (I had some in the freezer that I’ve been meaning to cook up).

Rub roast with seasoning mix.

Place in crockpot and cook on low 8-10 hours.   Shred.  Add in seasoned bread crumbs to thicken juices, if needed.



KIMG0083 (1)

4 c. leftover chicken

1/3 c. mayo

3/4 c. grapes, chopped

1/4 c. ranch

1 Tbsp. Sriracha

Place leftover chicken in food processor with mayo, ranch and sriracha.  Pulse until creamy.  Add in grapes.  Serve in lettuce boats.


I found a good price at Target on the Lundberg rices that I love so much.  They even had a Black Pearl variety I’ve never had before.  I made curry chicken and cooked this Rice Melange in the rice cooker.  Yummy.


2 1/2 c. Lundberg Jasmine Brown Rice

1/2 c. Lundberg Black Pearl Rice

5 1/4 c. water

2 Tbsp. butter

1/2 tsp. salt

1 Tbsp. crushed garlic

1 can black beans, drained

Combine ingredients in rice cooker.  It will take 40-45 minutes to cook, perfect when you are baking boneless breasts since they have the same cooking time.

I bought some cauliflower rice the other day and had no idea how I was going to prepare it.  Luckily, I found a recipe that called for ingredients I almost always have on hand.


2 bags cauliflower rice (I used Eat Smart – fresh)

1 bag frozen seasoning vegetables (onions, peppers, celery, and parsley)

2 cans tomatoes with green chiles

1 Tbsp. olive oil

1 Tbsp. minced garlic

1 tsp. smoked paprika

1 tsp. taco seasoning

1 c. shredded cheese (I used cheddar, monterey jack, and habinero lime fontina)

3 eggs

Saute frozen seasoning vegetables in oil until softened.  Add seasonings and garlic.  Cook for about a minute, and then add in tomatoes and cauliflower.

Simmer 10 minutes until cauliflower is tender.

Meanwhile, spray a 13 x 9 baking dish and preheat oven to 350F.

Beat eggs and set aside.

Allow cooked cauliflower to cool 5-10 minutes and then stir in eggs and half the cheese.

Spread into prepared baking dish and top with remaining cheese.

Bake at 350 for 30 minutes.

This would work well with spaghetti squash, zucchini, broccoli slaw, etc.  You could also change up the seasonings and make it Italian or Indian – lots of great variations!  You could also add in any leftover cooked veggies, or even cooked rice or quinoa.  Cheese substitutes would work well, too, as long as they are the kind that melts well.  My friend Danielle swears by Trader Joe’s veggie cheese that is supposed to be like mozzarella.  Add in tofu to make it a complete meal.  I can’t wait to try this on a meatless night!



I love stuffed chicken!  I used to shy away from making it because the filling tends to leak out.  Turns out, it’s yummy and pretty anyhow.


2 1/2 lb. Boneless Chicken Breasts (Cut into 8 cutlets and pounded thin)

1 pouch Sesame Stir Fry Sauce (any sauce will do!)

4 oz. goat cheese

1/2 package broccoli florets, steamed

3 packages Pereg Coucous with Pumpkin Seeds

1 Can garbanzo beans

Preheat oven to 350F.  Top each cutlet with goat cheese and broccoli.

Put a little sauce in the bottom of a 13 x 9 baking dish.

Roll up cutlets and place seam side down in baking dish.

Top with remaining sauce.

Bake 35 – 40 minutes.

Meanwhile, make Couscous according to package directions.  Add in broccoli and garbanzo beans before serving.

My son, Donnie, loves Cheesesteak, but is eating healthier nowadays and limiting his cheese intake.  A sale at the local market on deli roast beef inspired a healthier take on Cheesesteak!


1 1/2 lb. deli roast beef, mine was sliced a little thicker than usual.

8 oz. baby portobello mushrooms, sliced

1 sweet onion, sliced or chopped

1 yellow pepper, chopped

1/4 c. champagne vinaigrette dressing

2 Tbsp. olive oil

1 Tbsp. balsamic glaze

In a large bowl, combine mushrooms, onions, and yellow pepper.

Add roast beef, cut into thin strips.

Combine dressing, oil and balsamic glaze.

Toss with steak and veggies.

Spread out on a foil lined sheet pan, with the meat piled up in the center, surrounded by a single layer of the veggies.


Bake at 400F until veggies are tender, about 15-20 minutes.

You could at this point, top it with cheese for sandwiches, or have a sandwich without cheese.  The really healthy way is to eat this atop brown rice or other healthy grain.  It also works well atop a salad.


Ground meat is one of the best buys around for reasonable priced meals for your family.  I buy in bulk when there’s a sale and prepare stuff ahead as much as possible.   Meatballs are baked and then frozen.  Meatloaf is frozen to defrost the day ahead of being made.  Ground meat seasoned with salt and pepper is cooked, crumbled and drained and then frozen.  Burgers are made and then frozen.  This past week Aldi had a sale on 5 lbs. of ground beef  for $9.95.  Another market had ground turkey on a BOGO sale so it ended up being $2.20 per pound.  One of these days, I’m going to experiment with grinding my own meat.  Ironically I bought a meat grinder to make veggie burgers, but it’s sitting in my pantry gathering dust.

First, let’s talk about meatballs.  I used to buy the frozen, precooked variety until my kids rebelled and said only mine would do, claiming the others are like little rubber balls.  I see their point.  The only way I can make this happen, though, is to cook them ahead and freeze them.  I make rather large batches, so I have at least enough for two meals when I’m done.


3-4 lb. ground meats (use a blend of at least two – beef, turkey, chicken, and pork are all great)  Keep in mind, though, that beef really throws off a lot of grease, whereas the others are leaner and less greasy.  For that reason, I try to use less beef.

2 eggs

1/ 2 or so seasoned bread crumbs (in a pinch, I’ve used oatmeal, instant grits, and leftover quinoa)

2 heaping Tbsp. sweet pickle relish

1 Tbsp. Dijon mustard

16 oz. cottage cheese (or ricotta if you don’t have any cottage cheese)

Optional add ins:

Pesto, seasoning packets from Rice-A-Roni (ha ha – when I make prepared foods like that I always use 1 packet per two boxes to reduce the sodium, and keep the spare packet around for future use)

Prepare two 13 x 9 baking dishes by spraying with coconut oil.

Mix meats and wet ingredients by hand, gradually adding in the bread crumbs/oatmeal/whatever, so that you can form meatballs that do not fall apart.  Add sparingly, as you can always add in more, but you can’t take them out once you’ve put them in!  Sometimes when using ground chicken, the meat is impossibly sticky.  Using the grab and roll method with flour on your hands, and rolling the meatballs in a  little seasoned flour takes care of that!

Scoop meat mixture using an ice cream or cookie dough scoop if it’s not too sticky and place meatballs in baking dishes.  If there is no beef, drizzle with a little olive oil.  If there is beef, skip this step.

Bake at 375 F for approximately 40 minutes (depending on meatball size) or until golden and the internal temperature is at least 160 F.

Allow to cool, and place in containers to freeze for future use.

I defrost them overnight the night before I am going to make them for dinner.

Meatballs are so versatile.  Some variations we have enjoyed are:

Ground meat 1 Buffalo meatball and potato casserole




ground meat 3 gen tso meatballs

barbecue ranch meatballs

Or simply bake them with your favorite spaghetti sauce topped with cheese!

Sometimes I make them big, like little mini meatloafs.  You can even cook them in a muffin pan.

The recipe for crock pot meatloaf follows much the same recipe as my basic meatballs.  Cooking it in the crock pot is by far the easiest way to make a moist, delicious meatloaf.

Crock pot meatloaf

You can stuff uncooked jumbo shells or manicotti with meatloaf mixtures, too, or add in a little sausage to give it a zing.

Stuffed shells

The recipe I use for burgers is more or less the same.  I put them in a Tupperware and freeze them until the night before we’re having them.  I cook them on a baking sheet, rather than standing at the stove flipping burgers.

burger cooked in the oven

There are a load of recipes you can make with precooked and frozen ground meat or sausage:


Stuffed Poblano Pepper Casserole

Stuffed peppers

cabbage rolls casserole.jpg

Cheeseburger Mac and Cheese

Hawaiian crock pot dish.jpg

shepherds pie

sloppy joe

Lazy day casserole

My sister Sue recently shared some photos including some of matching family cars taken during our summer vacation one year.   I love this.  I hadn’t seen this picture in years!


They are parked in front of a cottage our family used to visit each summer in Geneva on the Lake, Ohio, on Lake Erie.  Our family, consisting of mom, dad, Sue, Don, and me would be joined by Uncle Sherman (Lease), Aunt Harriet, Jerry, Barbara, Uncle Tom (Miller), Aunt Jane, Tommy, Sally, Kathy, my dad’s parents, Art and Helen, and sometimes friends, including the Kunz family, Tom Coughlin, Jerrie Simon (I think) to name just a few.  There would be sleeping bags everywhere.  People sleeping all over the place! There was an old boat house down on the lake where the really brave boys would sleep, as it was beyond rustic and housed spiders of all shapes and sizes.  Or maybe they just told me that to keep me from wanting to hang out with them!   Lake Erie was the closest thing to the sea shore we had, and we loved it!

Sue shared some pictures of how it looks today, including “Shank’s Cottage”  which belonged to a friend of Uncle Sherman’s named Elmer (I think) Shank, who rented it to our family each year.


Nicely updated, but it still has some of the charm I remember!


There were arcades where we could play bingo and other games for tickets to claim amazing prizes (or so we dreamed).  Miniature golf and an amusement park called  what?  Pop’s maybe, with kiddie rides.  Vacations at Geneva were a dream come true!


Eddie’s Grill has been there forever!


This is the Sunken Bar circa 1966-67

Geneva 1 Sunken BAr

I remember my grandma and Uncle Sherman cooking spaghetti for dinner, both with cigarettes hanging out of their mouths.  Mom used to joke that ash was their secret ingredient.

We used airplane tire tubes as our flotation devices.  So many fun times!!

We rented a scooter one year and have some fun home movies I now have a yen to dig up!

Family vacations are money well spent.  Nothing in my childhood memories matches the times we had at Geneva on the Lake!

Miscellaneous pictures I found searching online:

Another Proud Mama Update

As you know, I am proud of all my children.  My son Austin is no exception.  He also has always been very clear on who he is and what he wants.  His creativity led him first to remodeling and decorating.  He could have done that for a living.  However, he found himself drawn to doing hair.  He also followed his passion.  After much research, he decided that Aveda was the place for him.

Austin Aveda Show.

He landed a job with Ted Gibson of “What Not to Wear” fame while still in school.

Hair 8 Ted

Another part of who Austin is presents itself in his willingness to give back.  The following story and picture ran in our local paper:

Nine economically-disadvantaged teens and young adults, some homeless, got a bit of pampering at Blend Beauty Lounge and then dinner at J72 Chef’s Lounge all for free during the “Beauty and the Feast” event in Davie. The girls are residents at 4 KIDS of South Florida, a non-profit that finds homes for children, teens and young adults in crisis, based in Fort Lauderdale. The owners of the establishments said they simply want to reach out to the less fortunate if even for just one day.

(Taimy Alvarez / Sun Sentinel)


Austin giving back

Currently at Blend Beauty – every day, he helps women to feel more beautiful.

Hair 7

From beautiful blonds using Balayage.  (his kid sister Molly the Baker is his model)

Hair 5

To vivid and amazing colors.  Color correction, too.  (friend Stephanie is his model)

Hair 1

Gorgeous, one-of-a-kind coloring (his sister in law Bree is his model)

Hair 4

Letting people express themselves with beautiful, unique hair (friend Anandi is his model)

Hair 3

Wow – amazing (significant other Daniel is is model)

Hair 2

Austin is an artist.  His vision, eye for color, his talent, are a gift.  I love when he does my hair and makes me feel beautiful.  (his sister Olivia and I are his models)

Livy and Mom

He keeps the whole family looking beautiful!  Austin introduced me to unique hair, and I’ll never go back to boring colors.  Maybe it’s my inner rebellious teenager, but I choose to continue to embrace the opportunity to express myself with colorful hair!

Hair 6

Thank you for letting me share another proud mama moment.  More of these “tributes” to my children are to follow.  They are all truly the best thing!



My daughter, Andyy, moved to rural Georgia.  Apparently, locally their go-to meat is pork.  She asked for ideas of how to cook pork, and I came up with these suggestions:

Pulled Pork (a great way to have pork for more than one night).  Pick any sauce you like – even the lemongrass basil and Thai coconut curry I gave you would be good.  Barbecue sauce is also good.  Or you can mix barbecue sauce with maple syrup and Dijon mustard.  You can also just use ranch dressing mixed with teriyaki.  Any time you make something in the Crockpot, it’s like it makes more liquid, so usually about a cup of the marinade is all you need, reserving the rest for adding in after you shred it, if you want.  You can also freeze leftover pulled pork for a night when you didn’t remember to plan and need to throw something together.

I like pork butt and pork shoulder for pulled pork because they have some nice fat for flavor.  A tenderloin works too.

Poke holes in the roast and marinate for 30 minutes (or even overnight)  Cook in the Crockpot for 8 -10 hours until you can fell it break apart easily when you stick a fork in and turn it.  I shred it with forks first, and then use kitchen shears to break up some of the more stubborn pieces.

You can serve pulled pork lots of ways:

With Asian noodles (if you did an Asian style sauce)

Atop rice and beans (works well with barbecue)

Sandwiches topped with cole slaw or sweet pickles

Over roasted potatoes

Uses for leftover pulled pork:

Cornbread casserole

Chili and Pulled Pork Salad (both use the Chili)

Cuban sandwiches (since you have the Panini press)

Fettuccine Alfredo with pulled pork and broccoli

If you look at my blog, here are the links:

Pulled Pork Sandwiches:

Pulled Pork sandwiches with Coleslaw 016

You need to be sure you have hearty buns that you toast and whatever topping you want.  These pair nicely with corn on the cob, beans, potato or macaroni salad, or just a nice big salad.

Cornbread Casserole:

Cornbread Casserole

You need cornbread mix, canned corn and canned creamed corn, sour cream (optional).  You will also need salsa if you want to lean towards a Mexican take or canned tomatoes mixed with some Italian seasoning or spaghetti sauce (if you don’t want it to be Mexican style) to mix with the leftover pork.  The recipe doesn’t call for it, but you can also top this with shredded cheese before baking – Mexican cheese or Italian, depending on which direction you took.

Chili and Pulled Pork Salad together:

Chili Salad

For chili, you need salsa, canned beans, and canned whole kernel corn.

When you serve it with a salad, romaine, cucumbers, tomatoes, bell peppers, avocado, any salad topping you like with whatever dressing you like.

Cuban Sandwiches:

You need buns, yellow and spicy mustard, pickle slices, turkey lunchmeat, sliced cheese.  A nice side dish is roasted potatoes or roasted sweet potatoes.  The recipe called for sliced pork, but pulled pork will also work well!

Fettuccine Alfredo with Pulled Pork and Broccoli

You need noodles, jarred alfredo sauce, and frozen broccoli florets.


Bone in:

You need barbecue sauce, chicken broth, and a Crockpot.

Country style boneless:

Cheesy Breaded Boneless Ribs:


You need bread crumbs, seasonings, and shredded cheese.

Lots of variations – Italian, barbecue, Mexican, etc.

City Chicken:


If the ribs are too fatty, you may want to cube up a tenderloin, but I like the flavor of the fat in this.

You need flour, seasonings, eggs, breadcrumbs, small stubby skewers, foil to wrap them, oil to make them crisp)

Barbecue in the Crockpot:


You need barbecue sauce, beer, onion, garlic, seasonings for the ribs.

You need noodles, cheese sauce, cream cheese, and shredded cheese for the mac and cheese.

Pork Chops

My Mom’s pork chops:

Grace’s Pork Chops

Grace's Pork Chops

You need flour and seasonings, sour cream, cornflake crumbs.

Ground Pork


Cook and use in tacos, quesadilla, spaghetti sauce, make meatballs or burgers, chili.


I’ll be doing another one of these posts in upcoming days addressing recipes for ground meat, and ground pork will do just fine in all of them.



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