Wednesday, February 25, 2015


Many of you will recall my asking for prayer for Jennifer's (Beaufortbelle) sweet daughter Brooke. Brooke's journey of battling Hodgkins Lymphoma started back in September of 2014.  At a time when she should have been doing what every recent college grad hopes and plans to do, interview and get their first "real" job.

Instead, she found herself in the midst of the most intense battle of her life to date. And, coming to terms with the word CANCER.  Being stuck with needles-too many times to recall, receiving her port to make treatments easier (well, less invasive...let's be truthful here...nothing about CANCER nor its treatments is easy), rounds of CHEMO, hospitalizations (which included extended stays in the E.R. because there were no rooms available), set backs due to illness from a weakened immune system in the midst of flu season, followed by radiation.

During Brooke's most recent hospital stay, she had a visit from a sweet therapy dog.

Throughout this entire process, Brooke showed more poise and grace than anyone I know.  She continued to smile, to "worry" about others, and give of herself when she could.  That is just Brooke. Kind, Caring, Gracious, Compassionate, Giving.  Believe you me, it can all be verified by reading the comments her friends left on her Caring Bridge site.

On January 21st of this year, Brooke was able to announce to the world and all those who had been praying for her that she was indeed in REMISSION! Praise God.

That did not mean difficult days were over.  One more hospitalization and radiation treatments were in order.

Again, Brooke showed grace and courage through it all.

Outside the Duke Cancer Center after her last treatment.

Attending the Duke/UNC game to celebrate!!

I know you are all probably wondering where I am going with all this.  I will tell you...

Brooke will be participating in RELAY for LIFE in April.  She will walk with her friends and fellow supporters from her Alma Mater, Wingate University.

Brooke is currently raising money for the event.

Let's face it.  Unfortunately, we all know someone who has been affected by CANCER.  I personally long for the day I never have to hear that word uttered to anyone ever again!!!

And, while we feel helpless most of the time there is something we CAN do...and that is give.  Give so that more research can be done, better screenings developed, more advanced treatments, and finally and the most important reason of all is a CURE!!

I am including a link to Brooke's Relay for Life page.  Give if you feel led to.  If not for Brooke, than give in honor or memory of someone else you do personally know.  As I mentioned earlier, we all have been touched in some way by CANCER.

Brooke's Bag N Cancer Page

Thank you and God Bless!

Monday, February 23, 2015

Yummy Cinnamon Sugar Doughnuts~

Y'all, I have been craving doughnuts for the past couple weeks.  Ever since going gluten free a year and a half ago, I have yet to find a yummy fresh doughnut.  The frozen ones just don't cut it.  So, when hubby stumbled upon this recipe by my favorite cook, Ina Garten~Barefoot Contessa, I knew we had to give it a try.

And, it could not have been easier to convert to gluten free.  All we had to do was sub regular flour for our gluten free all-purpose flour!

The recipe is very simple, and made with ingredients that we normally have on hand.  In a matter of 30 minutes we had fresh, hot, super scrumptious donuts.

Butter, cinnamon and sugar...what's not to like?????

Linking up with 11 Magnolia Lane for their Pretty Preppy Party.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

What's for Dinner Wednesday's~

This dish was actually supposed to be for another night, but since last night's soup did not make it into the crock pot in time we improvised.  Another great thing about meal planning, we had everything for another dish on hand.

Banh Mi-Style Roast Beef Sandwiches
Serves 4

Cooking Light Gluten Free Cookbook


1/8 tsp kosher salt
1/8 tsp freshly ground black pepper
3/4 pound flank steak, trimmed
2 TBS rice vinegar
1 TBS fish sauce (such as Thai Kitchen)
1 TBS lower-sodium soy sauce (make sure it is gluten free)
1 1/2 tsp sugar
1 jalapeno pepper, thinly sliced
1 C matchstick-cut carrots
1/2 C thinly sliced radishes
1 (7.5 oz) gluten-free baguette, halved lengthwise and toasted
1/2 C fresh cilantro leaves


1.  Heat a large cast-iron skillet (or any skillet) over medium-high heat. Sprinkle salt and pepper evenly over steak (hubby was a little more generous with the seasonings).  Add the steak to pan; cook 5 minutes on each side or until desired degree of doneness.  Remove steak from pan; let stand 5 minutes.  Cut steak diagonally across grain into thin slices.
2. While steak cooks, combine vinegar and next 4 ingredients in a medium bowl.  Combine carrots and radishes in a medium bowl; add 1 TBS vinegar mixture, tossing to coat.  Let vegetable mixture stand 5 minutes.  Add steak to remaining 5 TBS vinegar mixture; toss well to coat.
3 Arrange steak on bottom half of bread; top with vegetable mixture and cilantro.  Top with top half of bread; cut into 4 equal pieces.

So yummy!  You could easily stretch this to serve 8 as the 4 were huge!!


Monday, February 9, 2015

A Meal for Your Monday~

Thought I would pop in and share a yummy dish we had for dinner last night.

The recipe came from my Make Ahead Paleo cookbook, by Tammy Credicott.

This dish can be made ahead using her directions, or you can just make it the night of.

Chicken Picatta Bites

Container #1
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into cubes

Container #2
2 Cups artichoke hearts (in water or frozen, squeeze out the excess water)

Container #3
1/3 cup chopped fresh parsley (hubby did not realize I had this on hand, so he omitted)

Container #4 (SAUCE)
1/2 cup lemon juice
1/3 cup white wine
1 cup chicken broth
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 TBSP capers

For Serving Day
2 TBSP coconut oil (we used olive as I cannot eat coconut products)
Sea salt to taste
Freshly ground black pepper to taste

Serves 4

Prep Day:

1. Place the chicken, artichoke hearts, and parsley in separate containers (#1,#2, and #3)

2. In a jar with a tight-fitting lid (container #4, we used a mason jar), combine the lemon juice, white wine, chicken broth, garlic, and capers to make the sauce.  Shake well.

3. Store the containers in the refrigerator or a cooler until needed.

Serving Day:

1. In an electric skillet set (or deep frying pan) set to medium-high heat, heat the coconut oil.  Add the chicken, and season it with sea salt and pepper.  Cook the chicken, stirring occasionally, until it has browned on all sides, about 5 minutes.

2. Shake the sauce jar to combine the ingredients.  Add the sauce to the skillet, and stir.

3. Add the artichoke hearts to the skillet, and bring the mixture to a slight boil.  Simmer, uncovered, for 5-7 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through.

4. Serve the chicken bites with parsley sprinkled on the top.

We have made several tasty dishes from this cookbook.  They are all gluten-,grain-, & dairy-free.

The book is broken down into several sections:
Make & Freeze-make it now for easy eats later
Low & Slow-healthy dinners when you walk in the door
On the Go-portable fare that doesn't disintegrate in your cooler
Room Service-one pan, virtually no mess, all in the comfort of your hotel room!
Travel Treats-sweeter treats that travel well
Week in a Day-cook once for a stress-free work week

Along with lots of other helpful tips and information.

Hope you enjoy!!

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Thursday, February 5, 2015

My Favorite Spot~

Last week my hometown girl, Amanda of Dixie Delights, posted about her favorite "spot" in her home and asked everyone to share theirs.

She then shared her readers favorite "spots' on Instagram and her blog.  You can see all the beautiful spaces here.

Well, I missed the boat on that one.  However, one of her readers and BFFs, Ron of the Uptown Acorn posted his favorite "spot" on his blog as well. He also encouraged his readers to share their favorite spots.

I finally got around to taking a picture of mine and thought I would share it with each of you.

My favorite spot is in a corner of our family room.  I love the natural light it receives during the daytime hours.  The chair is a recliner, so I have opted not to put a footstool with it (we do have the matching chair and ottoman in another corner of the room).  However, if I come across a really cute one I just might add it to the space.  The window just to the right overlooks our beautiful Koi pond and waterfall.  Not so pretty right now as the net is on for the winter months to keep our resident Heron from having a gourmet feast!!

I think I will spend a good bit of time in this spot today as I am still fighting this cold.

Hope you are all staying warm and enjoying your "spots".  Be sure to check out all the beautiful, inspiring spots over on Amanda's blog.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

What's For Dinner Wednesday~

Hi Everyone.  Sorry for being MIA.  I had great intentions on posting more consistently after the new year, but as usual life has gotten in the way. I have been fighting a cold that has gotten worse and we are babysitting the grand-pups for a few days.

As you all know, we LOVE a good flank steak, so when I stumbled upon this recipe on Pinterest while meal planning I knew we had to give it a try.

It did not disappoint.  The only thing we would do differently is marinate the flank steak in a bit of olive oil with salt and pepper in our Vacu-vin marinator for about 30 minutes before preparing.  We have found our flank steaks to turn out moist and very tender if we do so.

We served it with brown sugar glazed carrots (baby carrots roasted with a bit of brown sugar and butter until tender, easy peasy).

This is a week full of new recipes, so I will be sure to share the ones we enjoyed the most with you at a later date.

Now I am off to nurse this cold, and pray it doesn't last long.  5 of my little ones as well as a fellow teacher are out for the count with the same symptoms this week!!

Praying you are all well and staying warm!!