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Monday, April 21, 2014

Green Beans with Toasted Walnuts

Change up your next green bean side dish simply by adding some toasted walnuts and balsamic vinegar. Take those beans to the next level of flavors. This side dish is a snap to make and will be a great compliment to nearly any entree.


1 pound fresh green beans, trimmed
2 tbsp butter
1/2 - 3/4 cup toasted chopped walnuts
3 cloves of garlic, minced
2 tsp balsamic vinegar


To toast the walnuts:  Heat a small skillet over med-high heat (no oil, butter, spray is needed).  Add the chopped walnuts and toast till lightly browned.  Takes about 5 minutes or so.  Stir often to prevent burning.

In another skillet, melt butter over med-high heat. When melted add the green beans and saute them for about 4 minutes, turning the beans a few times.  You want the beans to still have a "crisp" bite to them so be sure to not to over cook them.

Add the walnuts and heat through, about 1 minute, then add the garlic and cook 1 more minute, stirring to prevent the garlic from burning.

Turn off heat, and add the balsamic vinegar, toss the beans and walnuts to coat with the vinegar.



Sticky Chicken (Crockpot)

Busy schedules need more crockpot meals! I am winding down the semester, just a couple more weeks to go before finals so the rush is on to get it done.  Thank goodness I'll have a couple of months to get the brain cells to regenerate before my one summer class begins in July.  This week, I've been trying to get everything ready for Easter, a care package to the daughter who's getting ready for her finals, and keeping up with my own studies.  With all of that, I don't have the time (or brain cells) to be thinking "what's for dinner" - I want it be ready when it's dinner time!

This sticky chicken recipe is perfect over rice but this particular night I chose to roast up some red potatoes and saute some green beans with walnuts.  Yes, I did say I needed dinner to be ready; however, the green beans cook up fast and the potatoes - I sort of cheated, they came from the frozen food section of the grocery store.  They're precooked and preseasoned with sea salt and pepper and all I do is toss them on a baking sheet and in the oven they go for about 20 minutes. It's a no-brainer!


4-6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts 
1 cup of your favorite BBQ sauce (I use Sweet Baby Rays)
1 cup apricot preserves (peach would work too)
1 packet dry onion soup mix (do not mix with water)
2 tbsp water


Spray your slow cooker with non-stick cooking spray. This makes for easy clean up.  

Place chicken breasts inside the crockpot.

Mix together the BBQ sauce and preserves in a small bowl. Pour over chicken.

Sprinkle the dry soup mix over the top and then sprinkle the water over the soup mix. 
Cover with the lid. Cook on low for 5 - 7 hours. 

Serve as I did with green beans with walnuts and balsamic and roasted potatoes or over rice is great too.


Thursday, April 17, 2014

Springtime Pudding Cookies

It's that time again to send my daughter a care package and this one is double duty being Easter and her Finals are approaching.  Typically I send her items she has mentioned she needs and little things she wants and always homemade goodies.  She won't be home for Easter as she'll be preparing for those finals so I sent her Easter goodies, some healthy snacks and these delicious springtime pudding cookies.  So easy to make and they really don't last long at all when I make them.  I get requests from several of her friends to send them cookies at their college or when they come home on breaks and visit they ask if I am making them.  Now, if someone were to make a care package and send it me so I can have some snacking foods to get through my finals I wouldn't mind at all.

To make the cookies, prepare the Pudding Cookies batter and add a container (2.5 ounces) of sprinkles to the batter and bake according to the recipe directions.  I add a few sprinkles to the top of the cookies to make the colors stand out a bit more. I love shopping at Target's dollar bins around the holidays, it's there I find the containers of sprinkles that I used. I divided the batter up before I added any candy chips because I made half the batter with chocolate chips and the other with white.  Easy!  Perfect for Easter snacking or anytime. Change out the sprinkles for any holiday or occasion.  


Sunday, April 13, 2014

Sunday Spotlight #2 - Strawberry Scones

Strawberries combined with a sweet glaze poured over delicious soft scones - pure heaven or as close as it can get with food! I made a batch of these strawberry scones from Jam Hands and they were gone in 24 hours flat.  I've never really been a fan of scones, well that is until I tried some that weren't just "plain". These would be perfect for a breakfast anytime or as an afternoon treat - who am I kidding, they are good anytime.

If you're not a baker or think you can't bake, this is an easy recipe to try because you can't mess it up. Really, it's that simple!  The biggest thing there is to worry about it is making sure you are using COLD butter.  I don't own a food processor, never really saw the need for one but I know it makes it easier to crumb together the dry ingredients with the cold butter.  I used a hand held pastry blender and it worked well.  Once you have the crumbed mixture ready, add the wet ingredients and combine to form a dough.  See, easy!  Flatten dough into a disc on a flour-surface and either cut into the traditional wedges or as Ali, did, in rounds then bake.  When the scones are cooled, you whip up the glaze and pour on the scones - and then devour them.

Ali, from Jam Hands has an amazing site and if you haven't been over there to check it out, I encourage you to do so.  She's got a well-rounded array of recipes from sweet to savory and there's something for everyone there.  We loved her simple and sweet Amish Meatloaf and her Mocha Toffee Brownies are out of this world with a glorious coffee taste to them. I can't wait to try other recipes from her site like, Bacon and Cheese Deviled Eggs and the Green Bean Casserole Grilled Cheese (Genius to combine a favorite casserole with a classic grilled cheese.) I could list more but trust me when I say you'll be pinning and bookmarking many of her recipes to try.  I sure did!

Click here for the full recipe for the Strawberry Scones.


Friday, April 11, 2014

Easy Jambalaya (Crockpot)

Another easy crockpot meal for your recipe files. Chicken and kielbasa (or smoked sausage) with rice and a few other ingredients

Monday, April 7, 2014

Pineapple Crush Smoothie

It's a rainy and dreary today and I need a pick me up.  Usually a great cup of coffee or tea does the job but today, I need something more. Yes, it's going to be a long day!  I bought some fresh pineapple

Friday, April 4, 2014

Springtime Treat: Coconut Bird's Nests

© Ali Safarov - Fotolia.com

I do believe Spring made its brief appearance here in Middle Georgia and I say brief because the temps will be near 80 this week.  That is Summer temps in my book! It’s a small price to pay for not having snow but once in a blue moon.  Spring is my

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