Three Step Meatballs

IMG_3258.JPG

I made these meatballs for supper last night, but these are far from the kind that take hours to make. And no one need know.

My secret: pre-made meatballs with an easy homemade sauce.

I add similar seasonings to my mom’s homemade spaghetti sauce but limit the quantity of sauce to just cover the meatballs. They taste authentic, and with a nice covering of shredded mozzarella cheese, they are husband and kid pleasers, too.

Here’s what you need:
1 can no salt added basil, oregano and garlic diced tomatoes
1 bag frozen meatballs (italian or regular)
1 Vidalia onion, chopped
1 t. each of italian seasoning; garlic & herb no salt seasoning; and, ground cinnamon
Salt and pepper to taste
1 t. olive oil

Here’s what you do (in three steps)
1. In non-stick skillet, add oil, onion and seasonings, sauté until translucent (about 7-10 minutes).
2. Add the tomatoes (with the juice). Simmer for 3 minutes.
3. Add the meatballs, stir and cover. Cook for about 15 minutes on simmer (medium-low heat). Stirring infrequently to check to see how tomatoes are reducing and not sticking to bottom of pan. Serve warm. Top with cheese, optional.

Step three can also combine the sauce with meatballs and bake in covered dish in oven at 350 for 20 minutes. Just depends if you want another dish to wash. And, I modified my dish to cook it all the way on the stovetop because I am just not… washing…. Anymore… Dishes!!! (Than I have to.)

IMG_3265.JPG

I served them with my favorite veggie these days: roasted carrots. These are how they are supposed to look and they taste like candy! I put my meatballs on a bed of quinoa and it was delicious–and healthy!

IMG_3260.JPG

Enjoy!

p.s. Don’t mind my “fine china”. It was Monday night and this was as good as it was going to get!

College football, family and spinach artichoke dip

IMG_3226.JPG
Football Saturday. A Gator Fan, Bulldog Fan and a Tiger Fan go for a walk in downtown Easley, SC. They discover a 100 year old department store to plunder and a hidden amphitheater that is showing a family movie at 8 p.m. tonight – Frozen. Around the corner from the park, they discovered a little alley with zinnias and other summer flowers in full bloom, screaming their beauty knowing full well the first fall freeze is just around the corner.

I missed my brother and his new bride. It’s so wonderful to have my family here visiting with us in our new home for the first time. After our short tour around town, we stopped at the grocery store and picked up the ingredients for this spectacularly super yummy spinach artichoke dip. Thanks to The Girl Who Ate Everything for the recipe! The only change-up to her recipe was that we didn’t add cayenne and topped the dip with a sprinkle of paprika. Killer. I could eat it all!

IMG_3218.JPG

IMG_3213.JPG

My brother and his bride

IMG_3215.JPG

My little brother and me. He’s not so little anymore.

My heart’s smiling.

My mother-in-law’s hamburger pizza

My husband lost 60 pounds by switching to a low carb diet. This is one of the recipes my hubby loves and my mother-in-law taught me to make.

I have tried to make it just like her, with the exact same ingredients but it never tastes just like hers. So instead of going crazy over that discrepancy, I’ve just decided to modify it… on purpose.

IMG_3016.JPG

Low Carb Hamburger Pizza (my version)

Here’s what you need:
1-2 lbs. ground beef
1 small Vidalia onion, chopped
1 t. onion powder
1 T. Italian seasoning
4 T. Pizza sauce
2 c. Italian blend shredded cheese
Pepperoni

Here’s what you do:
1. Brown onions and beef, drain. Mixin the seasonings. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
2. Spread two tablespoons of sauce on the bottom of a pie plate. (If you have enough meat, prepare two pie plates, thus need for four tablespoons sauce.)
3. Top with beef mix, shredded cheese and pepperoni to suit your taste.
4. Bake 20-25 minutes until browned on top. My hubby likes it well done so I sometimes cook for 35 minutes.
5. Cool five minutes then serve. I usually pair it with a salad or roasted carrots and broccoli.

If you want to make several and freeze, cover with aluminum foil and wrap with one full layer aluminum foil after step 3. Freezes for up to two months pretty well. I don’t always defrost before cooking; in which case I cook at 375 for 45 minutes.

Easy, low carb dinner. If you are watching your fats, use lean beef, 2% cheese and turkey pepperoni.

September’s closing

I have been silent this summer. Partly because of increased work responsibilities, partly because of disinterest and the other part because I have been keeping my thoughts to myself. Mulling over things, reminiscing, remembering. Working out and cleaning out, and putting away.
Don’t we all do that as season’s change? Clean up and pack up our summer clothes in boxes and pull out our winter clothes from storage. Clean off the deck and pack up the pool supplies for the next summer. Winterize our yard and gardens.

I have been cleaning up and cleaning out my heart. I have been settling in to my new life as wife and sojourner with my amazing husband that God has blessed me with. But along the way, I have been startled to learn that I really have had to leave behind. I have been trying so hard to hold on to everything and everyone that I am at the point I need to let go so I can fully step into and embrace my new role. For me, this has been one of the greatest internal realizations and growth spurts in my life.
Being dependent on my husband and being relied on as a wife are two new roles of responsibility and submission that I am just now starting to understand and relax into. My head got it; my heart wanted it; and now, I am finally getting the hang of it.
I love my life and the comfortable secure placement God has brought me to in this new season. I am at peace. I am full of joy. And I am so happy to be right where I am, in this moment; which happens to be sitting next to my hubby in our new family car riding to our parents to wish my mother-in-law a happy birthday.
Knitting away…
Little by little God’s weaving my tapestry together; knitting together the frayed pieces of my life and heart into a beautiful, comforting kaleidoscope of memories and new beginnings.
I am so thankful. Thanking Him for all of these blessings.

IMG_2982.JPG

IMG_3015.JPG

IMG_2934.JPG

IMG_3057.JPG

Happy Fourth of July Weekend & Peach Delight!

20140705-115153-42713029.jpg

20140705-115209-42729071.jpg

20140705-115223-42743008.jpg

20140705-115404-42844959.jpg
Note: As I sat on the back porch swing this morning, sipping my coffee – lovingly prepared and served by my hubby with a little whipped cream on top like he knows I like it – I started counting my blessings. And couldn’t stop. We really are blessed by all that God has provided for us. Sure, there are things and stuff that we’d like to have but it is not necessary for us to have those things to be happy. Happiness – true inner peace – comes from knowing God and his son Jesus Christ. It’s contented trust in Him that He will give us those things our hearts desire and find pleasure and joy in – like yesterday’s adventure. Just a little porch swing philosophizing for you…

Happy Fourth of July from our family to yours!
(Yes, I know it’s the Fifth of July but these were our photos from yesterday and I wanted to share… and we’re still celebrating.)

Yesterday morning I picked a few blackberries from the brambles I found in the backyard. My husband took the weed-whacker to the overgrown area around the patch last weekend, making an open pathway for me to access the little treasures. I have the best husband and I can’t stand snakes! To find blackberries in my own backyard, after a few weeks of spying them in the ditches along our backroads, makes me incredibly happy. Picking blackberries is part of my youth and a summer tradition.

Later that day we traveled 130 miles one way south to the Lexington County Peach Festival in the tiny town of Gilbert, SC. Located a little to the east of Columbia, this festival is a South Carolina tradition. We celebrated their 56th year with a new personal favorite – a Peach Delight! According to what I was told, Blue Bell ice cream company is located in Lexington and every year they make a special batch of peach ice cream, only to be sold at this festival. You cannot buy it in stores – and I’m kinda glad. If it was readily available to me all year round, I’d be in major trouble every week at Weight Watchers! The Peach Delight is just that, a true, refreshing delight on a hot July afternoon: peach ice cream piled with fresh peach slices, whipped cream and a cherry on top. Perfect!

The Peach Tea was also wonderful – and I’d recommend both! But the Peach Delight is a MUST.

The last photo is of my hubby (the drummer) and his band mates – The East Coast Band of Spartanburg, SC. This 30-plus year old band headlined the festival. We were also blessed by several friends from around the state and south who joined us at the festival. It was a wonderful time to catch up with each other and their young and growing families. I’m so glad I get the opportunity to travel around the state and learn about new places and events. It’s a joy to travel! I hope I never grow weary of learning and experiencing new things and opportunities.

Embrace your life – and where God takes you! :)

Have a great July Fourth Weekend – and remember why we’re able to say “I’m proud to be an American!” (It’s amazing to think our country is “free” because of the remarkable men and women who were and are willing to lay down their life for us. Thank you doesn’t seem enough, but I say it from my heart in bountiful gratitude.)

Fourth of July

Happy 4th of July Weekend!

Killer Black Beans and Brown Rice – Thanks, Rachel!

I was hungry. Really hungry.
So I started a quest from pantry to Pinterest and back to find out what I could eat – in a relatively short period of time – that would not only be good but all of the ingredients were already in my pantry.
I happened upon this recipe for Mexican Black Beans and Brown Rice from Rachel’s Pantry. (Rachel, I found your recipe on Pinterest through a search for brown rice and beans.)
Since I didn’t have ALL of the ingredients, here’s how I improvised.
(Don’t worry. You can improvise, too. You could add a can of corn instead of beans or extra tomatoes, whatev!)

My Killer Black Beans and Brown Rice – looks good, doesn’t it?

20140623-210115-75675220.jpg

Here’s what you’ll need:
1 15-oz can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 10-oz can “Rotel” type tomatoes and chiles
1 c. brown rice – prepare as package directs
1 small Vidalia onion, chopped
1/2 c. frozen red and green bell pepper and onion slices (like you would use for fajitas – I always keep some in the freezer)
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 T olive oil (if you must – I love my non-stick pan so I don’t use this if I don’t have to)
1 small can of green chiles (because I wanted more veggie and I love green chiles)
2 T cumin
1 T chili powder
1 t. dried cilantro (or you could use some fresh)
1/2 t salt
1/2 t Adobo seasoning
Pinch of red pepper flakes
1/2 c. water

Here’s what you do:
1. Prepare rice as directions state.
2. In large saute pan, saute onion, garlic, olive oil and pepper/onion mixture. Cook for about 5-7 minutes. Add tomatoes, green chiles, beans, seasonings and water. Bring to slow boil as you reduce – about another 10 minutes. (I cook it down so the seasonings can mesh before I add the rice.)
3. Stir in prepared rice and simmer for about a minute or two. Remove from heat – but serve it hot.

Suggestions from friends and family to make it better:
Uncle Don said to add some sausage and fried plantains for a good Cuban supper.
Another family member said to add a few hot dogs for an easy, kid-friendly meal.

It makes a great packed lunch and heats up well in the microwave. I was thinking it’d be REALLY good if you used it as Zucchini Boat stuffing.

What do you think you’d like to do with it? Besides eat it! :)
It has a killer flavor and yes, it did hit that hungry spot.

Proud Nerd: Desktop Organized!

Tonight while my husband practices with his band and I spend the evening half-listening/watching “So You Think You Can Dance” while cruising Pinterest, I found this intriguing article. Which turned into a challenge.

Follow the directions and you’ll be as thrilled as I am.

I organized my desktop — on my computer!

“Desktop Organization Backgrounds | Clean up your Computer {2 new backgrounds!}” from Moritz Fine Designs was easy to follow and now, after a quick analysis of how I use my computer, is ready for me to use it… better. 

My computer desktop was starting to look like my physical desktop – cluttered with papers in need of filing.

In hind sight, I probably should have made my largest block the “Files to File” area, but I am hoping the smaller area will force me to stay more organized. 

Here’s what it looks like:

desktop organizer image

Design by Moritz Fine Designs customized by Daylilygrl

Here’s what I did:

1. Followed the directions in this article’s how-to. I chose the aqua circle background to download.

2. In PicMonkey, I used a modern font and organized my blocks into the following: Design Projects, Files to File, Programs, Inspiration, All So Daily and Plan Ahead. I also added my favorite Bible verse and a thumbnail of a favorite photo from our wedding.

3. After saving the file, I just right-clicked and set it as my desktop background. 

4. Then, I had to sort and move files. And, delete some unused shortcuts. I used Programs to put my shortcuts for everyday programs I may need for budgeting, design or writing. Under inspiration, I have some folders of personal photos and training guides in social media or marketing design. I put my Outlook and recycle bin in the All So Daily block. 

And, now it’s clean and ready for work.

Even better, it’s personalized and makes me feel smile that I took the time to find a unique way to approach my everyday work environment in a beautiful way.

How would you organize your desktop blocks?

Daylilies!

20140607-093701-34621699.jpg
I absolutely love daylilies! These beautiful flowers bloom for a day; a glorious, perfect blossom for one day. They get one day to be their best! The rest of the year they look like overgrown grass in need of a mower.

What an excellent example that we should take every day with an expectation of excitement and wonder. If we only had one day to be our most beautiful, how would we live the rest of our lives in preparation for that moment? If we fell short along the way and allowed ourselves to wither and die because of unmet, unrealistic expectations in our mundane, everyday life, we would miss the opportunity for God’s perfect plan for our life: to bring forth His beauty in us as a reflection of His glory to others, causing joy and happiness within each other. And, unlike daylilies, we have this opportunity everyday!

Hope you have a wonderful Saturday!

20140607-093702-34622997.jpg

Zucchini Turkey Chili

20140530-182323-66203134.jpg
In an effort to add more veggies to my diet, and inspired by a lone zucchini in the fridge left out of another recipe earlier in the week, I modified my chili recipe for this delicious alternative.
Basically just chop and add a zucchini to your regular chili recipe to accomplish this feat, but here’s my general recipe:

1. Brown and drain 1.5 to 1 pound ground turkey with one chopped Vidalia onion.
2. Add to large stock pot:
turkey and onion mixture,
one packet of chili seasoning,
one packet taco seasoning
One can chili beans
One can kidney beans, drained
One can tomatoes with green chiles
One can corn (optional)
3. Bring to boil and add chopped zucchini.
4. Reduce heat to simmer and cook about 30-45 minutes.
5. Serve hot. I top with a dollop of plain Greek yogurt and shredded 2% cheddar cheese.

Zoe and SugarPie enjoyed some outside time in the sun this afternoon before the thunderstorms chased them back inside.

20140530-182500-66300994.jpg

Zuppa Toscana: Karen’s Recipe

20140219-222025.jpg

My sweet friend and co-worker, Karen, shared her Zuppa Toscana recipe with me because she knew I had been craving it. (Pretty bad when you have been talking about soup so much at work!)

To honor Karen’s fiery personality (she’s a saucy firecracker, I tell ya!), I used hot and spicy Italian chicken sausage from Trader Joe’s. The sausage also had some vino in it so I didn’t need to add the wine, which was optional in Karen’s recipe. Nor did I add the pancetta, but I bet it would be delicious!

Here’s what you need:
2 oz. pancetta or 1 T. real bacon bits
1 c. chopped onion (I used sweet)
1 T. garlic, chopped
1 lb. turkey Italian sausage (or whatever)
1-1/2 c. sliced potatoes
4 c. chicken stock
2 c. chopped kale (I used 2-1/2 c.)
1 c. fat free half and half (or fat free evaporated milk)
3 T. white wine (optional)

Here’s what you do:
1. Sauté pancetta, add garlic and onion. Add sausage, sliced. Cook until browned through. Drain, if needed.
2. Add chicken stock and potatoes. Cook 3/4 way till potatoes are done.
3. Add wine and kale, simmer 10 minutes then reduce heat and add half and half. Do not boil.
4. Serve immediately.

Note: Karen adds more oregano, parsley and fennel seed if wanted.

Fortunately, I didn’t need to add more seasonings because of the well-flavored chicken sausage I used. And, I didn’t drain the small amount of grease before I added the rest of the ingredients but I did add the first cup of broth and deglaze the pan. All of that savory goodness mixed in perfectly!

Yum! Thanks so much, Karen! You are a culinary goddess. ;)

On a workout note, I completed Day 30 of the Ab/Squat Challenge: 40 sit-ups, 100 crunches and 100 squats.

Woohoo! Hurts so good.

I also met my personal goal to increase my workout and desire to workout during the month of January. As a reward, I joined a local gym that I had been eyeing for a little bit. I have been twice since I joined Friday and this Friday I will have an assessment with a trainer. I am excited to see how I am assessed. To say the least.

20140219-222049.jpg

Here’s a selfie from Saturday night’s date night. Hubby and I celebrated our first wedding anniversary Sunday. More about what I have learned (and need to learn) about marriage next week.
20140219-222125.jpg

I think it’s time to take my measurements again. :)

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 503 other followers