Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Yummy recipes and temptation~

Been a bit MIA due to this darn cold I cannot seem to get rid of.  Seems that we are all passing it around down here!!

Wanted to share a couple new recipes we tried this week, along with the blogs they are from.

The first is for Indian Style Meatballs with Roasted Garlic Cream Sauce from Mike over at The Iron You.  My sweet friend Brandi of Don't Disturb This Groove shared Mike's website with me after learning I am now following a gluten free diet.  Mike has tons of great healthy recipes on his blog.

Makes 22 bite size meatballs (perfect for appetizers, or you can make larger for an entree)

1/2 lb/226 gr organic grass-fed ground beef
1 large free-range egg
1 small sweet potato
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 tsp garam masala
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp fine grain sea salt

1 Tbs olive oil

2/3 C plain greek yogurt
3 garlic cloves
1 tsp maple syrup
extra salt and pepper for seasoning


Cook the sweet potato in a pot of salted water until tender, about 30 minutes.  In the meantime, roast the garlic in a heavy skillet over medium high heat, turning occasionally, until you get black spots all over, about 10-15 minutes.  Transfer to a cutting board, remove the papery skins and smush into a paste. (we had already peeled cloves on hand so we just roasted those).  Combine yogurt with roasted garlic cloves, maple syrup and a sprinkle of salt and pepper in a blender or food processor.  Process until smooth then set aside until ready to use.  Once the sweet potato is cooked, peel and mash using the tines of a fork.  Transfer to a large bowl and add ground  beef, egg, onion, spices and salt.  Mix until well combined.  Scoop 1 heaping tablespoon of meat mixture and form meatballs about 1 inch wide.  In a large pan (or skillet) heat the olive oil over medium high heat.  Cook the meatballs in batches until golden, this will take about 15 to 20 minutes. (We roasted ours in the oven while our sweet potato fries were cooking as well) Serve hot with garlic cream sauce.

As I mentioned we served ours with spicy sweet potato fries, which turned out to be a great compliment.  They are spicy, so if you do not like a lot of heat you may want to reduce the garam masala or cayenne just a tad.

The second recipe comes from the very sweet Diana of Nana Diana Takes A Break.  This apple chunk cake is AMAZING!  And as Diana will tell ya...Not For the  Calorie Conscious. LOL  Let me just tell ya, it was worth every extra inch added to my waistline!!

You can find the recipe here.

My photo does not do this cake the justice that it deserves.  Diana's however is mouth watering! I should also mention that I adapted a couple things to make this gluten free.  Easy conversion!

and, would someone please hide this from me...as if the cake hadn't already done me in...this just keep calling my name...

Be sure to pay Mike and Diana a visit.  One your waistline will thank you for, the other...well...your inner sweet tooth will!

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Weekend Recap~

We had a fabulous time in the great state of Texas this past weekend.  The town of Waco is always hopping during Homecoming Weekend.

Friday night we enjoyed the Pep Rally and Bonfire...

The tower lit for Homecoming.

The heat is on...the U was the first to succumb to the intense flames. (The opponent for the weekend was Iowa State University)

Saturday morning we attended the Homecoming Parade.  Baylor has the honor of being the oldest Homecoming Parade in the country, rich with a lot of tradition.

This year we had a lot to cheer about as several of our youngest's sorority sisters were on the Homecoming Court and one took home the title of Queen!  They also won for best float in class A!!  

The flags of many countries-Baylor is quite diverse.

The Golden Wave Marching Band.

Bruiser-Baylor's Mascot.

Holding this guy down was no small feat...it was quite chilly and extremely windy.

Baylor's own, Holly Tucker, from the Voice.

Homecoming Queen.

A Baylor Picnic.

It is no wonder they won...the details were amazing. 

Not sure what I loved best, the "Dr. Pepper" can, the BU flip flops, the sunglasses, the huge basket overflowing with goodies, the ant hill-complete with moving ants.  It was AMAZING!

No picnic is complete without a good sandwich and some watermelon.

It was fun getting to hang out with this crew...such an amazing group of girls!

Baby girl is 2nd from the left.

Saturday evening brought game time...and the sun!  

Full House!

Beautiful sunset.

A little card trick in the end zone.  Who comes up with these things anyway???

The band spelling out Baylor before the game.

A surprise message on the jumbotron from none other than Blake Shelton.  He introduced the half-time performer...

Holly Tucker, Baylor's own.  Amazingly talented young lady.  She has quite the career ahead of her.

Yes, this was the score in the 3rd quarter.
Final score...71-7!
Sic 'em Bears...
Undefeated, and moving on up in the rankings baby!

I also wanted to thank all of you who follow along.  Simply LKJ hit 200 followers over the weekend.  

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

These are a few of my favorite things...

Yes, I know...you now have that song stuck in your head.  You're welcome!

Just a snippet of a few new things you will find around my home that put a smile on my face.

My new Coton Colors God is great platter.  Every time I see it I can't help but remember my childhood.  This was the prayer we said before every meal.  Of course, by the time we were teens it was a competition to see who could say it the fastest or shorten it the most.  I grew up with 3 brothers...food was a priority! LOL

My Happy Everything plate.  Yes, I know I am jumping the gun with the Thanksgiving turkey.  Need to order the sweet little jack-o-lantern for this month (the store was out).  

My Target bar cart.  This is by far one of my most favorite recent finds.  At $130...you cannot beat the quality for the price.  Right now I have it styled very simply.  I am a less is more kinda gal, and I hate to dust!!! Just saying.  This piece fits right in with our Pottery Barn furniture, it looks that high end!

A recent find while shopping with baby girl.  Yes, my girls now eat more than chicken nuggets.  But, there were many years that that was ALL they would eat.  We only went to restaurants that had them on the menu.  And, if I were to be honest...#1 is still a chicken finger and fries kinda gal.  (Love ya Elie!!)

I think every mom needs one of these, or two, or a dozen, or...you get the point!  My new prayer box.  #2 got another version that was super cute as well.

Inside is the sweetest message, note paper and a little pen for jotting down those worries, prayers, concerns.  I am glad He is handling them for me!!!

I hope everyone is having a great week.  Can't believe it is Wednesday already and we are half way through the month of October (and no, I am not even going there...despite the fact that every store I have walked in lately seems to scream...Christmas is just around the corner).

We are headed to our home away from home tomorrow...the great state of Texas.  Nothing beats Baylor's Homecoming Parade!!!

Hopefully I can share pics along the way...if this not so tech savvy mom can figure out how to load pics to my ipad then publish them!  Wish me luck.

Have a fantastic weekend everyone!!

Gluten Free Philly Cheesesteak Stuffed Peppers

I love a good Philly Cheesesteak sandwich.  And yes, I could make them with GF bread.  But, after having them this way last night I can honestly say...I don't miss the bread at all!!

8 oz Thinly Sliced Roast Beef (we found GF pre-sliced at Trader Joes)
8 slices Provolone Cheese
2 Large Green Bell Peppers
1 Medium Sweet Onion
6 oz. Baby Bella Mushrooms (we omitted because hubby doesn't do mushrooms)
2 Tbs. Butter
2 Tbs. Olive Oil
1 Tbs. Garlic-minced
Salt and Pepper-to taste

Slice peppers in half lengthwise, remove ribs and seeds.
Slice onions and mushrooms.  Saute over medium heat with butter, olive oil, minced garlic and a little salt and pepper.  Saute until onions and mushrooms are nice and caramalized. About 25-30 minutes.
Preheat oven to 400*.
Slice roast beef into thin strips and add to the onion/mushroom mixture.  Allow to cook 5-10 minutes.
Line the inside of each pepper with a slice of provolone cheese.
Fill each pepper with meat mixture until they are nearly overflowing.
Top each pepper with another slice of provolone cheese.
Bake for 15-20 minutes until the cheese on top is golden brown.

Recipe found via Pinterest found here.

Super simple and so delicious!!

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Introducing Michaela Noelle Designs~

It is a privilege to introduce all of you to one of my favorite bloggers, and dear friend, Michaela.  I started following Michaela's blog, Michaela Noelle Designs, almost 3 years ago.  At that time, she was a design student attending school in Seattle, Washington quite a ways from home.  Michaela instantly won a special place in my heart.  She is in-between both of my daughters in age, is a wonderful young woman with a heart and passion for Christ, and is amazingly talented.  Imagine my surprise when I learned that in the fall of 2012, her brother would be attending the same university as my youngest.  Michaela and I made a promise to meet up on their campus sometime in the fall.

I had the pleasure of meeting her in person in November of last year.  She is the sweetest, most authentic person you will ever meet.  I would proudly call her one of my own!

Michaela is launching her interior design business today, fulfilling a life long dream of hers.  And, I am very proud to introduce her and her business to you.  She is an amazingly talented young lady!  Please take a moment to visit her blog today.  I promise, you will NOT be disappointed.  Michaela is currently living back home in California, but don't let that stop you, as she offers e-designs (and I have seen the product of them...amazing!).

Michaela, I wish you the best in your new endeavors.  You are in my thoughts and prayers as you embark on this new journey.

Be sure to say hello...Michaela Noelle Designs.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Spicy Buffalo Chicken Soup Recipe w/Gluten Free Changes

I have been looking for some new soup recipes lately, for two reasons.  The first being, I am now on a gluten free diet (I do not have celiac however) and the second, I found out I have a high sensitivity/slight allergic reaction to tomatoes!

While many recipes calling for noodles can be easily adapted, finding soups that don't use tomatoes or a vegetable base can be a bit more challenging.

I was thrilled when I saw my friend Laura of Elegant Nest had a post over the weekend with several soup recipes.  Many of which did not include tomatoes and could easily be adapted to be gluten free.

So, on Saturday night we decided to give this one a try...

Original source of recipe can be found here.

Buffalo Chicken Soup

Serves 2 as a meal, 4 as a starter

Ingredients:  (gluten free changes are noted in red)

2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 8-10oz), cooked and shredded
2 TBS olive oil
1 sweet onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 TBS flour (we used Bob's Red Mill GF All Purpose Flour)
32 ounces low-sodium chicken stock (we use Kitchen Basics)
1/3-1/2 C buffalo wing sauce (we used Texas Pete Buffalo Wing Sauce)
1/3 C freshly grated cheddar cheese
1/4 C freshly grated parmesan cheese
sliced whole wheat baguettes, toasted with parmesan cheese (we used Udi's GF frozen french loaf)
sliced green onions, crumbled gorgonzola and cilantro for topping (we omitted the gorgonzola since we didn't have it on hand)


Heat a large pot over medium heat and add olive oil.  Add onions with a sprinkle of salt to the pot, stirring to coat, then cook for about 5 minutes until soft.  Add in garlic and cook for 1-2 minutes more.  Sprinkle in flour and stir for another 1-2 minutes.  Add in stock, buffalo sauce, chicken and grated cheeses, stirring constantly.  Bring to a boil, then reduce and let simmer for 10-15 minutes, stirring every so often.

Serve soup and top with toasted baguettes, cilantro, green onions and gorgonzola.

For a quick weeknight meal you could even pick up a pre-cooked rotisserie chicken and shred that rather than cooking the chicken breasts.

The soup was delicious!!

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

The Sunshine Award

My dear friend and fellow empty nester, Katie of Preppy Empty Nester, recently awarded me the Sunshine Award.

Katie prepared a list of 10 questions for me to answer along with 11(yes, Katie always has to one up everybody) other bloggers.

Here goes nothing...

1. You ladies are all creative and talented.  What was the biggest blooper that you made while decorating?

Letting my girls talk me into painting their bathroom bubble gum pink, which led to hubby having to install a dimmer switch.

2.  Which child is your favorite?  Oh wait...What is your favorite movie and song of all time?

It's a Wonderful Life.

"Every time a bell rings, an angel gets its wings."

I once was lost but now I'm found.

3. If you wrote a memoir, what would the title be?

Simply... LKJ
just being me

4. What has been one of your most embarrassing moments?

Fainting in a shopping mall, while pregnant, with older child and friends who were from out of town in tow.
I guess it could have been worse...at least I wasn't wearing this!

5. What is your biggest regret?

Not finishing college.  I attended one semester of nursing school, decided it was not for me, and while trying to decide what to do next, I got a job, met hubby 3 months later and well...the rest is history!

6.  If you were awarded an all expenses paid vacation for two weeks where would you go?

Back to Italy!  We went to Venice, Lake Como and Bellagio several years ago and I have been dying to go back since.

7. How many homes have you lived in?  Which one was your favorite?

12!  (and no, I am not a military brat)  My favorite, our current home...the home I have raised both of my girls in, and have managed to live in more than 3 years (that was the average before).

8. If you could sit next to any famous celebrity on a 5-hour flight, who would it be?

Definitely Gordon Ramsay!  I love Hell's Kitchen, Master Chef, and am obsessed with his new show Master Chef Junior (if you have not watched it, you need to).  I could talk cooking all day!  And if I am being honest, I love that the man just tells it like it is...there is no sugar added to his words. LOL

Now if you really want to know the truth (Katie loves dirt)...I would pick the middle seat between he and Hugh Laurie!  I was seriously addicted to House and his sense of humor.  And, if I could have worked with someone like him, I just might have stuck out that nursing career!!! LOL

9. What would your friends say are your 3 best qualities?

So glad she did not specify qualities (this girlfriend is not about to talk about her booty).

My way with words...they know they are going to get the God's honest truth. (now you understand why I have a love of Gordon!)
My sense of humor (thanks dad)...when you are the only girl in a house full of boys...you cope!
My organizational skills.  I was doing what most Organizational Bloggers are doing YEARS ago.  We just didn't have blogs waaaaay back then!

10. Why do you blog?

Because I have no friends in real life and y'all make me feel loved.  Just kidding!  I love people, I love being surrounded by people and their creativity.  I grew up in a house full of boys people...this girl needs some girl bonding!!!  It gives me a chance to connect with others who are experiencing this crazy phase of life...not sure who came up with the phrase "empty nest"...last I checked the hubster and both dogs were still here and quite needy!!!   I have "met" some amazing people I would have never had the opportunity to meet otherwise.

Okay, so now it is my turn to pass this along to 10 (very unsuspecting) bloggers that I adore!  And who, by the way whether they know it or not...bring a little sunshine into my day.  ***disclaimer...participate if and only you have time and would like to.  Please feel no pressure to pass along.  If ya just want to share your answers to my prying questions...that is A O K!!!  If you are busy, this momma of two grown girls TOTALLY gets it..no hard feelings.

Katie, For Lauren and Lauren
Sybil, Peace It All Together
Becky, This Is Happiness
Megan, Honey We're Home
Amanda, Dixie Delights
Michaela, Michaela Noelle Designs
Meg, Henning Love
Ashli, Mini Manor
Courtney, A Thoughtful Place
Cassie, Hi Sugar Plum

Okay girlfriends,  I know most of you are superstar bloggers with a ton of content and posts already scheduled for the next several weeks...but, if you want to participate here are your set of questions and the "rules":

1. Be sure to include the award logo in your post on your blog.
2. Link to the person who nominated you.
3. Answer 10 questions about yourself and write 10 questions for your nominees to answer.
4. Nominate 10 bloggers to receive the award.  Link your nominees to the post and comment on their blogs letting them know they have been nominate (or email them...works for me!)

Alrighty gals...here are your 10 questions (aren't you glad your not competing in the Miss America pageant?)

1.  Where are you in birth order?  only? oldest? middle? baby?
2.  Your greatest disappointment thus far in life?
3.  Favorite song to sing along to in the car/shower?
4. Least favorite feature?
5. For tanning beds or against?
6. Favorite time of the year, and why?
7. One thing you wish you knew in high school that you know now?
8. Most romantic thing your husband has ever done for you?  (this was prompted because as I am taking pics of my hubby's shepherd pie he made us for dinner, he told me to take a closer look...he carved...I luv you, in the mashed potatoes.  Go ahead and hate me now!) and of course my girls are reading and saying...TMI!
9. Do you prefer bare feet or shoes? (FYI...I hate shoes)
10. If you could be a color, what would it be and why?