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adapted from recipelion.com
I'm not really big on baking. Cheesecakes are one thing, but if I goes beyond that or apple pie... I either have something up my sleeve or a stick up my butt. I usually bake when I'm stressed or in a bad mood, and then I try to give as much of it away as possible so that I don't also eat my feelings.


This cake, however, may have changed my view a little bit on what a couple hours and a few moments of delicacy can really mean; happiness. (And yes, the picture above is the one I actually  made. Doesn't it make you curious??)

 
 
(adapted from Epicurious.com)

The other day we had a MAJOR cleaning day at the house. Our early spring cleaning/pre-baby deep clean where you do everything you normally wouldn't... Like the blinds! 
Anyway, I worked up quite the appetite, and (as usual) that day I had not eaten enough. 

I was CRAVING swedish meatballs! But, not the microwave lean cuisine kind that you can get at your local grocery for 2/$5.00. I wanted the kind like Ikea serves. If you have ever been there & eaten before or after you've shopped, you know that they are the epitome of meatball excellence, but have a much different flavor or texture than an italian meatball. I wanted all of that! With gravy and egg noodles and the comfort that comes from a full belly. Mmm... So, the recipe below is one I found on Epicurious and just adapted to fit my kitchen and style of cooking. My hubby, who had never before tasted swedish meatballs, and our son LOVED it and wished there was more when it was done. Worth the time and effort-- trust me!





 
 
Hubby is sick. One of the puppies is sick. I'm not feeling well, and a six year old boy is on Christmas break. This is one of those days that you just curl up on the couch with your favorite pint of ice cream and pray you make it through. But, I promised my hubby that I would make chicken noodle soup this weekend. Although, I'm not sure if it was because he loves it, or because he didn't think I could & advised me to just buy it from Costco.


Giving Costco due credit, they have FANTASTIC rotisserie chicken noodle soup. One container usually only lasts about two days in our house; we eat it for every meal. For me, someone who always associated chicken noodle soup with throwing up and your mom forcing liquids down your throat, even coming near the idea of making and/or eating it seems like a big feat. But, now that everyone is kind of 'on the outs' over here, I decided to make today a lazy day and do what I could. The recipe below is adapted from two different ones I couldn't decide between so I mixed, matched, and substituted. {You could also freeze this without the noodles and add them when reheated.}

 
 
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If 18 kindergartners giving me a thumbs up on this recipe, doesn't make you wanna try it... I'm not sure what will! 


I saw this recipe... Guess where? Pinterest!... and decided it I would make it for my son's class treat. He was also "Star Student of the Week" this week, so that made these extra sweet!


 
 
Okay, let's just admit it... There are times when you feel like you are superwoman and can do everything at once without help from anyone. At least that's how you feel if you're like me... 

I hate asking for help and hubby gets on my case all the time because I end up feeling overworked, over-stressed, and overly tired. So, MOM, if you end up like that at the end of many more days than you'd like, what do you do about it?

Well, with 3 dogs, a step-son, a child on the way, a husband to take care of, working from home, & being a full-time volunteer it's already hard enough to meal plan for each week and make sure everything else is taken care of, not to mention "alone time" for a workout..etc.
So, at times like this it's a little extra important to be self-sufficient and give yourself a helping hand; if you have any left to spare.


 
 
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This was DIVINE!! 

Here I am with the flu and a fever... the works! And my hubby, Jon, went along with my plan for dinner. All I assisted with was relaying directions. We altered the original recipe a bit, but it came out tasting like a dryer version of my mom's vegetarian soup; a definite favorite of mine! Hence, why this recipe was so close to home.



I obviously didn't want to fool with the fresh ingredients and infect the rest of my lovely household so I sent hubs to the store to get what I needed for dinners for the rest of the week. Less than $20 and I have everything I need til Friday! I don't make it a habit to cook on the weekends...

If you need a quick 30 minute recipe (under 400 calories) during the week, this is a definite top 10 go to. I found this on pinterest so it does have an actual link, but since we added a few things differently, I'll post the version we made here. (excuse my over-exposed instagram pic) 

SKILLET GNOCCHI WITH KALE & WHITE BEANS

  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1 16-ounce package shelf-stable gnocchi, (see Tip)
  • 1 medium yellow onion, thinly sliced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 small bunch of Kale
  • 1 15-ounce can diced tomatoes with Italian seasonings (or you can use plain diced tomatoes and add enough dry Italian seasoning to taste)
  • 1 15-ounce can white beans, rinsed
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 1/2 cup shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
  • 1/4 cup finely shredded Parmesan cheese
PREPARATION
  1. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add gnocchi and cook, stirring often, until plumped and starting to brown, 5 to 7 minutes. Transfer to a bowl.
  2. Add the remaining 1 teaspoon oil and onion to the pan and cook, stirring, over medium heat, for 2 minutes. Stir in garlic and water. Cover and cook until the onion is soft, 4 to 6 minutes. Add kale (or spinach) and cook, stirring, until starting to wilt, 1 to 2 minutes. Stir in tomatoes, beans and pepper and bring to a simmer. Stir in the gnocchi and sprinkle with mozzarella and Parmesan. Cover and cook until the cheese is melted and the sauce is bubbling, about 3 minutes.

 
 
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(Photo courtesy of bhg.com)
{These were eaten too fast for me to take a photo of my own!}

Ever since my husband I got married, I am always trying to find new & healthful ways to feed a grown man who could be satisfied very easy with a baked potato and a cup of chili every night! *Sigh* The life of a bachelor...

I have ALWAYS loved ANYTHING with pesto. I'm such an Italian at heart! The sandwich was literally an entire Italian meal between a couple pieces of AMAZING ciabatta bread! Hubby was eating so fast I had to make him slow down before he choked! But, all of that flavor for less than 500 calories... could you blame him? Pinterest, I tell you; it knows the way to people's hearts!


 
 
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(Photo courtesy of Google Images)

Okay, so I'm not even gonna try to pretend that I don't eat junk food. I know that the heading on the top of this page says that I try to find healthy ways to feed my family... and I do! BUT, I also find it necessary to indulge every once in a while on something rich and delicious. Like... cheesecake!


Cheesecake is a family favorite all the way around. Before I married Jon, my mom always made no-bake cheesecakes that were amazing & always topped with yummy fruits. I thought, that there was no way possible someone could love cheesecake more than my mom... Well, I was wrong! 

Cheesecake was not only my hubby's favorite dessert when we started dating but also could've easily been his favorite breakfast and midnight snack. It incidentally ended up being our wedding cake too! (Not one, but 4!) Since, then I have tried to find new and inventive ways to make cheesecake; to keep it interesting and keep our friends guessing. If you clicked the link to my former recipe box of blogs you saw that there was a link for Pumpkin Spice Latte Cheesecake. I made that for our 2012 superbowl party... Wondering what I'll make for 2013? Stay tuned!

This recipe was adapted was OKC.com...