Thursday, December 29, 2011

Volunteering at Lucky Puppy Pet Rescue

TJ and a local resident

Kameryn and the latest small residents

We volunteered at the Lucky Puppy Pet Rescue in Bonifay, FL while we were workamping at Florida Springs RV Resort & Campground.  Their property and setup was wonderful!

Ms. Becky, not only is a genius when it comes to farming, but is also a Science Teacher!  Everything was a teaching moment and we loved her for that!

TJ got to help Ms. Becky with her herd of cows, tractors, fencing, potato planting, raking out pens, burning debris, and various other projects!

Kameryn got to do what she does best.... loved on all the lil puppies til they were good and tired!  Ok, she actually raked up some pens too!

Brogan... well... he's 11 and you know, all boy, so he was kinda all over the place... the puppies, the dogs, raking, etc!

Another lil place to bless and be blessed!

Lucky Puppy Dog Rescue
1255 Lee Road
Bonifay, FL 32425
(850) 814-6500

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Zucchini Cakes with Mushroom Ragout

I found this on the Better Homes & Gardens website and it looks pretty good.  So, I'm thinking this will be tomorrow night's dinner!  I mean, easy, quick, delish... yeah, that's my speed....
Nonstick cooking spray
1 cup shredded zucchini
Jiffy mix package corn muffin mix
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1/4 cup milk
1 egg
1/4 teas cayenne pepper
4 1/2 cups quartered sliced mushrooms
1 cup drained bottled roasted red sweet peppers
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Lightly coat twelve 2-1/2-inch muffin cups with cooking spray; set aside.
In mixing bowl combine zucchini, muffin mix, cheese, milk, egg, and cayenne pepper; spoon evenly into prepared muffin cups.
Bake for 11 to 14 minutes or until golden.
Meanwhile, heat 1 Tbsp. olive oil in large skillet over medium-high heat.
Add mushrooms; cook 3 to 4 minutes or until tender, stirring occasionally.
Season with salt and pepper.
Place roasted peppers in blender.
Cover; blend until nearly smooth.
Arrange 3 cakes on each plate with some of the mushrooms and pepper sauce. Makes 4 servings.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Marinated Veggies

Delish!  I am soooo addicted to these, which is probably why I adore "Best Broccoli Ever"!  But, I'm serious, they will disappear quickly!

1 Cauliflower, cut into bite sized pieces
1 Bunch Broccoli, cut into bite sized pieces
1 carton Cherry Tomatoes

1 cup Vinegar (I use white, but you can use cider vinegar, or whatever!)
1 1/2 cups EVOO  (Ok, I use a little less!)
1 Tablespoon Dill Weed (dried)
1 Tablespoon Sugar
1 teaspoon each granulated garlic powder, black pepper, and salt

Wash and prepare the veggies. Place in a large bowl. Mix the marinade ingredients together and pour over the veggies. Mix until the veggies are coated with the marinade. You may serve immediately, but flavors actually improve the next day.

Gooey Butter Cookies

LOVE these things!  My aunt makes these into bars every Christmas and they are my absolute favorite (along with the zucchini bread!) thing to receive every year!

I haven't made these yet, but will try them this weekend for my children's church play potluck!

1 - 8oz. pkg. Philadelphia cream cheese
1/2 - cup butter, softened
1- egg
1/4 - tsp. vanilla
1 - yellow or butter cake mix
1/2 - cup powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In a medium bowl, cream together the cream cheese and butter.
Stir in egg and vanilla.
Add cake mix & stir until well blended.
Powder sugar your hands well.
Roll balls into 1" or 2" and roll balls thoroughly in powdered sugar.
Place 1" apart on un greased cookie sheets press down cookie slightly.
Bake for 8 - 10 minutes.
Leave on cookie sheet for 3 minutes or more before removing to cool on wire racks.

Overnight French Toast Casserole

So, I'm making this tonight to have for Potluck Breakfast with Santa in the morning!  I'll let you know how it turns out!

1/2 cup butter, melted (1 stick)
12 - slices Texas toast or any leftover bread
1 - cup brown sugar
1 - tsp cinnamon
1/4 - tsp nutmeg
1/2 - cup chopped pecans (optional)
1 - tsp vanilla extract
5 - eggs
1 1/2 - cups milk

Melt butter and pour in a 9x 13.
Mix together brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg and if nuts if you are using them.
Whisk eggs, milk & vanilla together.
Layer bottom of pan with half the bread pieces.
Sprinkle half brown sugar mix over the bread.
Layer second half of bread.
Pour egg mixture over the bread slices, making sure all are covered evenly.
Sprinkle remaining brown sugar on top.
Cover and refrigerate overnight.
In the morning, remove from the refrigerator and cover with a new piece of foil.
Preheat oven to 350 bake the casserole for 30 minutes.
Then uncover and bake 15 more minutes french toast bake should be browned and set. Optional:  Remove from the oven and pour some maple syrup on top and place back in the oven to caramelize for about 5-7 minutes.

Homemade Dog Shampoo

Dog Shampoo Recipe

4 oz glycerin - I melted down, but you can buy the liquid glycerin, which I totally recommend!
2 c mild liquid dish soap (ie. Ivory, Dove, or Palmolive)
2 c water
2 c apple cider vinegar

You can also add a few drops of essential oils like eucalyptus or citronella - it helps keep bugs away. Using Palmolive will keep fleas at bay.

I used this Publix brand because it smelled good!

Homemade Glass Cleaner

All items were bought at Dollar Tree!

3 Tbs ammonia
1 Tbs white vinegar
1 cup water
1 drop blue food coloring (optional)
spray bottle

I tripled recipe (except food coloring) because of 28oz spray bottle

Homemade Laundry Soap

Lowe's bucket 5 gal - $2.36
lid - $.99 (go figure!)
Fels Naptha - $.99 - I only found at Publix, top shelf stain removers
Washing Soda (55oz) - $2.99
Borax (4lbs 6oz) - $3.99
Cheese Grater - $1 Dollar Tree

Taken from:

GREAT TIP:  To keep the liquid detergent stirred up, put a few marbles
in the storage jug.  The marbles will help mix everything and keep it

Liquid Laundry Detergent
First Recipe:
3 Pints Water
1/3 bar Fels Naptha Soap, grated
1/2 cup Washing Soda (Arm and Hammer, NOT baking soda though!!)
1/2 cup 20 Mule Team Borax
2 Gallon bucket to mix it in
1 Quart hot water Hot Water

Mix Fels Naptha soap in a saucepan with 3 pints hot water and heat on
low until dissolved. Stir in Washing Soda and Borax. Stir until
thickened, and remove from heat. Add 1 Quart Hot Water to 2 gallon
Bucket. Add soap mixture, and mix well. Fill bucket completely with
additional hot water, and mix well. Set aside for 24 hours, or until
mixture thickens. You may add additional HOT water if the mixture
becomes too thick.  Mix Well before each use. Use 1/2 cup of mixture
per load. Makes 64 loads. Cost per load .03.

Second Recipe:  (This is what I always make, but being in a camper, a little hard to carry around!)
1 bar grated Fels Naptha soap
5 gallon bucket
1 cup washing soda (Again, Arm and Hammer)
1 cup 20 Mule Team Borax
4 1/2 gallons water

Put grated Fels Naptha in saucepan and cover with water. Heat on low
until dissolved. Fill bucket with hot water and add soap. Stir to
combine. Add 1 cup washing soda and 1 cup borax and mix well. As it
cools, it will thicken. If mixture becomes too thick, add hot water to
thin it to desired consistency.  May be used immediately. Mix well
before each use. Use 1/2(normal) to 1 cup per load (heavy). Cost per
load .04.

Powdered Laundry Detergent (Think I may try to keep this handy!  It'd be easier to carry!)
1 cup grated Fels Naptha Soap
1/2 cup washing soda
1/2 cup 20 mule team borax

Mix and store in airtight container or bag. For light or small loads,
use 1 tablespoon. For normal loads, use 2 tablespoons. For heavy loads,
use 3 tablespoons. Cost per load .15.

To make a large batch - grate 6 bars of Fels Naptha Soap and then add 3
cups of Washing Soda and 3 cups of 20 Mule Team Borax.  Mix well and
store in covered container.

TIP: The above recipes will NOT make suds in your washer so don't be
alarmed.  Fels Naptha Soap is a pure soap and typically makes little or
no suds in the water.  This makes it perfect for use in the new HE
washers as well as tradional washers.  You will also notice the need to
either reduce your laundry softener or in most cases you can even
eliminate the use of softener. many uses!

Vinegar!  Oh, how I love it!  Odd, but true.  So many flavors, so many options, both food and otherwise!  So thanks to, I have an enormous list of things to do with vinegar! 

So, some History and interesting facts (gotta make it educational!)
The word vinegar comes from the French word “vinaigre” which means “sour wine.” It was probably discovered by accident thousands of years ago—after a cask of wine had gone bad. When the wine was first made, natural sugars were fermented into alcohol. Over time, bacteria in the air transformed the alcohol into acetic acid, which gave the “sour wine” its bite.
Vinegar’s role in history is well documented. This versatile product was used by everyone—from kings and conquerors to explorers and everyday people.
  • The Babylonians used vinegar to preserve and pickle food.
  • Hippocrates prescribed vinegar as a remedy for a variety of ailments.
  • Caesar’s armies used vinegar as a beverage.  (Ok, EW!)
  • Hannibal drenched huge boulders in hot vinegar which cracked them into small pieces, enabling his army to continue its journey across the Alps.
  • Helen of Troy bathed in vinegar to relax.
  • Jesus was offered vinegar before he was crucified.
  • Early Europeans used vinegar as a deodorizer.
  • During the Bubonic Plague people poured vinegar on their skin to protect themselves from germs.
  • Cleopatra dissolved pearls in vinegar to prove that she could consume a fortune in a single meal.  (Ok, can you say, Smart WOMAN?  Naturally!)
  • Sailors used vinegar as a food preservative during long voyages.
  • World War I medics used vinegar to treat soldiers’ wounds.

I bet you didn't know it was made from corn alcohol!  It's combined with water and nutrients and then fermented until all the alcohol is gone.

It's been around forever (!) and it's ususally used for cooking or cleaning/disinfecting.

The International Museum of Vinegar is in South Dakota and the Vinegar Festival is held there in June.  (Can you say ROAD TRIP?)

Vinegar can be made from a variety of fruits, honey, cane sugar, cider, raisins, and even, go figure, Beer!

Here are a few uses, other than food, that are of particular use to me:

Stop a dog from barking with a spray bottle filled with equal amounts of water and white distilled vinegar. When the dog barks, spray the vinegar water in its direction but not in the face.
Remove pet odors. After cleaning, cover the area with baking soda. Let it stand overnight. The next day vacuum up the baking soda and wash the area with white distilled vinegar. Rinse and let dry.
Get rid of the deposits and water lines that form in aquariums and fish bowls by wiping them down with white distilled vinegar and following with a good rinse. For stubborn deposits, soak for several hours or overnight.

Stave off high blood sugar and other Alzheimer's risk factors with a daily dose of vinegar.  It can curb appetite and food intake, helping prevent weight gain and obesity.  Two or three tablespoons of vinegar with white bread cut expected rises in insulin and blood sugar by about 25 percent. Pour on the vinegar - add it to salad dressings, eat it by the spoonful, even mix it into a glass of drinking water. Any type of vinegar works because it's the acidity that counts.
Stop insect stings and bites from itching by dabbing them with a cotton ball saturated with undiluted white distilled vinegar.
Soothe sunburn with a spray of white distilled vinegar, repeating as often as you like. Ice-cold white distilled vinegar will feel even better, and may prevent blistering and peeling.
Clean a hairbrush by soaking in a white distilled vinegar solution.
Tone facial skin with a solution of equal parts white distilled vinegar and water.
Eliminate bad breath and whiten your teeth by brushing them once or twice a week with vinegar.
Make nail polish last longer. Wipe fingernails with cotton balls dipped in white distilled vinegar before putting on nail polish.
Sooth a sore throat.  Mix apple cider vinegar, water and honey.
Get rid of Foot Odor and Athlete's Foot.  Soak 'em in vinegar for about 10 mins. daily.
Stop Hiccups.  Drink a teaspoon.
STOP Dandruff.  Massage white distilled vinegar into your scalp, rinse, then wash with regular shampoo and watch dandruff disappear.

Fresh air.  An open dish of white distilled vinegar will help remove paint smells from a room.
Kills most mold, bacteria, and germs.
Clean the microwave by mixing 1/2 cup white distilled vinegar and 1/2 cup water in a microwave-safe bowl. Bring it to a rolling boil inside the microwave. Baked-on food will be loosened, and odors will disappear. Wipe clean.
Clean the shelves and walls of the refrigerator with a half-and-half solution of water and white distilled vinegar.
For cloudy glassware, soak paper towels or a cloth in full-strength white distilled vinegar and wrap around the inside and outside of the glass. Let sit awhile before rinsing clean.
Remove dark stains on an aluminum pot by boiling a mixture of 1 cup white distilled vinegar and 1 cup hot water.
Wipe grease off exhaust fan grids, the inside of your oven, or anywhere grease gathers with a sponge soaked in white distilled vinegar.
To remove a label, decal, or price tag, cover with a cloth soaked in white distilled vinegar. Leave the cloth on overnight and the label should slide off.
Deodorize the toilet bowl by allowing 3 cups white distilled vinegar to sit in it for about a half hour before flushing.
For an economical and environmentally friendly floor cleaner, mix a solution of 3 drops dishwashing liquid to 1/3 part white distilled vinegar, 1/3 part alcohol, and 1/3 part water. Spray sparingly and mop for a fast clean-up.
Some carpet stains can be removed with a paste of 2 tablespoons white distilled vinegar and 1/4 cup salt or baking soda. Rub into the carpet stain and let dry. Vacuum up the residue the next day. (Always test on an out-of-sight part of the carpet first).

Get stained white socks and dingy dishcloths white again. Add 1 cup white distilled vinegar to a large pot of water, bring it to a rolling boil and drop in the articles. Let soak overnight.
Remove smoky odors from clothes by filling the bathtub with very hot water and 1 cup white distilled vinegar. Hang the garments above the steaming water and shut the door so the steam can penetrate the fibers.
Get cleaner laundry and bring out brighter colors! Add about 1/4 cup white distilled vinegar to the last rinse. The acid in white distilled vinegar is too mild to harm fabrics, yet strong enough to dissolve the alkalies in soaps and detergents. Besides removing soap, white distilled vinegar prevents yellowing, acts as a fabric softener and static cling reducer, and attacks mold and mildew.

Keep car windows frost-free overnight in winter by coating them with a solution of 3 parts white distilled vinegar to 1 part water.
When doing car maintenance, soak rusty bolts and screws with white distilled vinegar to make them easier to remove.
Loosen chewing gum stuck to carpeting or upholstery by soaking it in white distilled vinegar.

And, of course, Cooking.  There are sooo many uses, but here's some tips:
Turn out great rice by adding a teaspoon of white distilled vinegar to the boiling water.
To keep eggs from cracking when boiling add a tablespoon or two of white distilled vinegar to water.
If you’ve added too much salt to a recipe, add a spoonful of white distilled vinegar and sugar to try correcting the taste.
Make onion odors disappear from your hands by rubbing with white distilled vinegar.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Sugar Toffee with Chocolate and Toasted Walnuts

Well, I had to find SOMEthing for Christmas that was easy and different!  This is it!  Totally LOVE!

Sugar Toffee with Chocolate and Toasted Walnuts
adapted from Skillet Toffee recipe on The Kitchn

1 pound unsalted butter
2 cups granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
8 ounces semi-sweet chocolate chips
3/4 cup toasted and chopped walnuts

1.  Line a rimmed half-sheet pan with parchment paper.
2.  Melt butter in a wide pot over medium-high heat. Stir in sugar and salt as the butter melts.
3.  Stir constantly with a silicone spatula, regularly scraping down the sides. It will bubble and hiss as you stir.
4.  Cook until the toffee mixture has achieved a deep, golden brown color. It will darken a bit more once you take it off the heat, so stop a shade lighter than you want the end product to be.
5.  Once you’ve reached your desired level of doneness, remove pot from the heat and stir in the vanilla. It will sputter and spit when you add the vanilla, so be careful.
6.  Pour the toffee into your prepared baking sheet. Let cool for approximately 10 minutes before evenly sprinkling the chocolate across the top. When the chocolate begins to melt, use an offset spatula to spread it out into an even layer.
7.  Sprinkle nuts across the warm chocolate and pat gently with your palms to embed the nuts into the chocolate.
8.  Let the toffee cool for 4-6 hours, until it becomes stiff and brittle. Break into pieces. Store in an airtight container. This candy will keep well at room temperature for weeks (if it lasts that long).

Microplane Winner! from!

Ok, REALLY??  Did I just win something on the Internet for the very first time ever???!!  I am SOOOOO the random winner! : )

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Stuffed Zucchini with Bread Crumbs

Ok, like, YUM!  Seriously, never thought I could replace meat as a main dish.  But, this works!
You'll spend about 30 minutes making this.  This makes 4 servings, so increase the amounts if you need to.
  • 2 medium zucchini, about 1 pound
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped onion
  • 2 cups soft bread cubes (I used whole wheat bread)
  • 1/2 teaspoon seasoning (I used seasoning salt, Mrs. Dash, etc.)
  • salt and pepper
Wash zucchini; cook whole in a small amount of boiling water for about 8 minutes.
Drain and cut into halves lengthwise. Scoop out pulp; chop. Melt butter in a heavy skillet, sauté garlic and onion for a minute, or until onion is tender; stir in chopped zucchini pulp, bread cubes, poultry seasoning, salt and pepper. Stuff zucchini with bread mixture.
Place zucchini in a greased baking dish and bake at 350° for 20 minutes, or until zucchini is tender.

Vegetarian Gravy

What to do with those mashed potatoes or anything that requires being drowned in soppy goodness?  Here's a quick and easy recipe that is vegetarian, using basic ingredients that you'll have sitting around in the kitchen. Not only will you save time, but this recipe is healthy and can be made vegan too!

Yields 2 cups

- 3 tablespoons of margarine
- 2 tablespoons of finely chopped onion
- 2 cloves of minced garlic
- 3 tablespoons of flour - (I use whole wheat flour)
- 2 tablespoons of soy sauce - (I use low sodium soy sauce)
- 1 cup of water
- salt and pepper to taste

1) Put margarine in a pot and saute the onions and garlic over med-high heat.
2) Reduce heat back to medium after onions and garlic have become golden brown.
3) Make a roux by gradually adding the flour, while continuously stirring to avoid lumps.
4) Still stirring, add soy sauce and water to the mixture.
5) Add salt and pepper to taste.
6) Once the gravy has reached desired thickness, turn off the stove and you are done!

Vegetable Broth

After searching high and low and finding NO Vegetable Broth in any of the stores in our area, LIGHTBULB, it's time to make my own. 

So basically, it's easier than I thought!  You can place all kinds of scraps of vegetables - ends, cut up portions, (uncooked) leftovers, whatever in a pot with a lid,  8 cups of water, bring to a boil, simmer for an hour, and strain out the vegetables to leave - voila! - Vegetable Broth! 


You can follow a recipe - which, I do both - but here's one such recipe:

1 onion
1 carrot
2 stalks of celery - chopped
1 potato - chopped in large chunks
3 garlic cloves
3 bay leaves
1 tbsp soy sauce
8 cups of water
salt & pepper

Put in pot with lid, bring to a boil, simmer for one hour, strain the vegetables out, and you have vegetable broth. 

This can be used in recipes, gravies, base for soups, etc.

Friday, December 9, 2011

The Biggest Loser Boot Camp DVD

The Biggest Loser Boot Camp DVD - so I picked this up at the Library yesterday (go figure!), watched it, and then tried it after Zumba tonight... Ok, can we say 'glutton for punishment'? It doesn't look like much when you're sitting in a chair, but Bob is a friendly motivating drill instructor and happy to be one! The Warm Up will leave you huffin' and puffin'.  Boot Camp 1, well lets just say, it's no wonder Ali was the first female Winner.

To get the maximum results from the DVD, it suggests that the user follow the set six week program. The six week program consists of

Week 1 - 2:  warm up, boot camp 1, and the cool down for 30 minutes.
Week 2 - 3:   warm up, boot camp 1, boot camp 2, and the cool down for 45 minutes.
Week 5 - 6:   warm up, all 3 boot camp levels, and the cool down for 55 minutes.

Boot Camp 1
A twenty miunute dumbbell weight routine. The workout alternates between upper and lower body exercises that are interspersed with heart rate raising intervals of quick but easy to follow movements to increase the calorie burning effect. It is appropriate for beginner exercisers. Modifications are shown; beginners may want to try the workout Boot Camp 2
A medicine ball and dumbbells are used but not required.  The exercises in level 2 focus on getting the heart rate up and keeping it up.  It's an intermediate level workout and can be made easier by using lighter or no weights and doing the modifications shown. This workout covers all of the major muscle groups and is fun and easy to follow at fifteen minutes long.
Boot Camp 3
A bodyband, dumbbells or exercise tube is used, but not required for these exercises. Using some type of resistance will of course make the exercises more difficult and more effective. The level 3 workout is ten minutes long, easy to follow and has low to no impact on the joints. The exercises are fun and unique, with boxing moves thrown in among the lunges.


Ok, so Zumba - lots of hip shaking and latin dance moves.  In my mind, I can do the moves, in reality, yeah, um, not so much.  I have to modify most of the moves for various physical injuries, can't move as fast, can't balance, too fat to get it going in the right direction, you know - usual reasons to quit.  HOWEVER, I have been doing it for about 4 weeks, 3x a week, and I'm just now getting the hang of most of it!  Yay me!  I do really like it, even if I gripe!  And my partner (which I recommend, or you'll quit for sure) is my hero!  She keeps me going!  So, if you're thinking about it - Go For It!  If you're doing it already - Kudos!  If you're tracking calories (and this burns alot!), go to .  You'll probably burn 500-1000 calories doing 45 minutes - which is phenomenal and beats the stationary bike or treadmill! : )

Mid 90s - Zumba is Born
Beto Perez, was working as a fitness instructor in his native Columbia, one day Beto was teaching an aerobics class but forgot his normal music, so instead improvised with his own personal tapes he had in his bags. This was the music he had grown up with of salsa and meringue.
The class loved it and in that moment the Zumba® Fitness-Party was born.

1999 - Zumba Moves to the US
Beto moved to the United States and started teaching Zumba classes in Miami Florida. The students loved it and these classes soon became extremely popular with word spreading quickly via word of mouth. Soon after via a students mother Bet met her son Alberto Perlman and his fellow entrepreneur Alberto Aghion.
2001 - Zumba® Fitness Established
The three Albertos agreed to work together to establish the Zumba Fitness company, registering the trademark for the word Zumba® and putting in place a plan to establish it as a global brand.  Zumba® Fitness started recording and selling DVDs, then moved onto infomercials which brought wider public awareness and led to the demand for Zumba Instructors. At this point Zumba really started to hit the big time.

2005 - Creation of Zumba Academy
In 2005 Zumba established a Zumba Academy to teach and license Zumba Instructors who would then teach Zumba classes. The company was further expanded into the area of merchandise around the Zumba brand with the creation of Zumbawear.

2008 - Best Selling Home Fitness DVD
In 2008 the Zumba Fitness® Total Body Transformation System featuring Beto and two of Zumba’s great stars Tanya Beardsley and Gina Grant became one of the widest selling home fitness DVDs.

2010 - Zumba Gaming
Zumba became the first fitness brand to release a program to all major gaming platforms, with the release of Zumba for the Wii, Xbox, and PS3.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Blueberry Zucchini Bread

Can you say... BEST BREAD IN THE WORLD???

2 eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar; lightly packed
1 cup shredded zucchini
3/4 cup all purpose flour
3/4 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon baking soda
1-1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 cup fresh blueberries

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Lightly grease an 8.5 x 4.5 loaf pan.

In a large bowl, beat together the eggs, oil, vanilla, and sugars. Fold in the zucchini.

Beat in the flours, salt, baking powder, baking soda, and cinnamon. Gently fold in the blueberries. Transfer to the prepared loaf pan.

Bake 55-65 minutes in the preheated oven, or until a knife inserted in the center of a loaf comes out clean. Cool 20 minutes in pans, then turn out onto wire racks to cool completely.

Sweet Potato Fries

  • 3 large sweet potatoes, cut into wedges
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • dash cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp salt or seasoned salt


Pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees. In a large bowl, toss together all ingredients until potatoes are evenly coated with oil and spices.
Place potatoes on a single layer on a baking sheet and bake for about 30 minutes, or until done.

Easy Grilled Eggplant Parmesan Sandwiches

1 eggplant, sliced
1 tbsp oil
Sea Salt
tomato sauce (Fresh Homemade or Canned)
whole wheat dollar rolls

Slice eggplant into rounds.  Toss and cover with oil.  Place on George Forman Grill and salt.  Add grilled eggplant round to roll, cover in Tomato Sauce, and add mozarella and parmesan.

Cauliflower/Broccoli Fritters

This is an AWESOME way to prepare broccoli/cauliflower. It's just like the taste of a potato pancake. Your kids will love them! Makes approx 24 fritters depending on how big you make them.

Servings: 12  Size: 2 fritters Calories: 108.9  Fat: 6.6 g  Protein: 3.8 g   Carb: 9.4 g  Fiber: 2.1 g
  • 4 cups steamed cauliflower (roughly chopped)
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan
  • 1/4 cup parsley, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup hot water
  • salt and pepper
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
In a large bowl, combine broccoli/cauliflower, flour, garlic, eggs, grated cheese, parsley, salt and pepper. Add water so that batter becomes slightly more dense than pancake batter.

On medium-low heat, add 1 tbsp of oil in a 10 inch skillet coating bottom of the pan. Use a 1/4 cup measuring cup to form fritters. You can fit 4 fritters at a time. Cook until golden brown, turn and cook another few minutes. Add a little more oil to the pan, and repeat with the remaining batter. (OR you can just spray a griddle with Pam).

Makes 24 fritters.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Juicing and Detoxing

Your body is designed to detox your cells of toxins as part of it's natural self-regulatory cleansing process.

Juicing is a powerful way to assist and speed up this process by incorporating cleansing ingredients and concentrated nutrition to help your body work better.  It's been estimated that people on average have at least 5 to 10 pounds of accumulated toxins in their cells, tissues and organs.  These include chemicals, pesticides, heavy metals, drug residues, food additives and a long list of toxins from our environment that are attacking us on a daily basis.  Fortunately regular juicing can help improve your body's ability to detoxify and repair on the cellular level.  Think of juice detoxing as motivation for dropping some unhealthy toxic pounds that are holding you back from looking and feeling your best!

Below are few Great Detox Juice Recipes for both weight loss or cleanse your body of toxins.  Use organic ingredients if possible to avoid adding more toxins into your body!!!

Cucumber Greens Delight Detox
1 cucumber
1 large cup of spinach
1 large cup of parsley
1 celery stock
1/2 medium lemon (not the peels) ( fruit exception because of it's alkalizing effects on the body and helps with taste. )

Create Your Own Detox Recipes:
Below are a few ingredients you can use as a guide and mix and match to keep things interesting:
Cucumber: a base of choice for most detox recipes since they are water dense which helps eliminate toxic waste as well as having a reputation for dissolving kidney stones, cleansing and rejuvenating the skin.
Celery: Is often reccomended in weight-loss programs and is a natural diuretic and helps to cleanse and flush toxins from the body. Juice the entire celery stick including the chlorophyll rich green leaves.
Lettuce: dark-green lettuce types are nutrient dense and natural body cleansers.
Carrot: This delicious addition to your detox juices will help add sweetness but still let you benefit from the incredible benefits of this amazing vegetable such as digestion stimulant, liver cleanser, and high levels of beta-carotene.
Cabbage: Powerful body-cleansing vegetable recommend often for weight loss, alleviate constapation and improving poor skin.
Beetroot: One of the most powerful cleansing and blood beneficial juices available. Because of it's powerful kidney and blood-cleansing properties start of drinking in moderation or diluted with other juices.
Green Bean: Is also a body cleanser and known to aid in weight loss.
Asparagus: This akaline veggie helps reduce acidity of the blood and cleanses body tissue.
Spinach: Rich in chlorophyll, spinach not only cleanses but also helps with rebuilding your digestive tract as well as stimulating the liver and gall bladder as well with aiding with blood and lymph circulation.
Tomato: Helps reduce acid in body, and is beneficial for stimulating blood circulation, liver cleansing and blood purifying.
Watercress: Considered a powerful intestinal cleanser and toxin neutralizer and is good for the kidneys, bladder, blood circulation, cleansing the skin and said to stimulate fat burning.
Apple: Known for a wide range of health benefits including promoting health colon flora, reducing the colonic bacilli, eliminating body toxins, controlling blood pressure, and blood-sugar levels.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Best Broccoli Ever

1 1/2lbs fresh broccoli (or bag of frozen)
10 large cloves fresh garlic unpeeled
1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
3 tbsp olive oil
2 tsp salt

Separate broccoli (whether fresh or frozen).  Crush garlic.  Fill large pot with water and add all ingredients. 
OR use steamer for broccoli.  Once steamed, put in bowl with all ingredients.

Garlic Butter Green Beans

1 large can of green beans or 2 cans
1/4 cup butter
1/2 onion, sliced
Garlic Powder
Garlic Salt
Sea Salt

Put 1-2 tbsp butter in pan and add onion, cook until translucent.  Drain Water out of green bean cans, add Green beans, garlic, and salt.  Place lit on pan, stirring  and adding rest of butter periodically.  Cook green beans down.  Add Garlic to taste.

Oven Baked Fries

Serving (2)
5-6 Potatoes

I leave the skins on, but if you'd like, peel and wash them.  Preheat your oven to 450.  Mandolin or cut potatoes into fries.  Place fries in water to soak.

2 Tbsp Peanut Oil (I use Olive Oil or Coconut Oil)
1/2 teas chili powder
1/2 teas paprika
1/2 teas sea salt
1/2 teas blk pepper
1 teas Dijon mustard

Mix together.  Drain Fries and add sauce mixture.  Get your hands dirty and mix well.  Place on non-stick pan, no clumping or overlapping.  Place in your preheated 450 oven for 20 minutes.  Flip the fries and bake for another 10 minutes. 

Take 'em out and enjoy!



2 cups Pinto Beans, cooked
Any Grilled Vegetables - bell peppers, eggplant, zucchini, onions, potatoes, corn, etc.
1 pkg Meatless Soy Chorizo
1 pkg Taco Seasoning

Mix and Brown Beans, Chorizo, and Seasoning. Add to Whole Wheat Tortillas. Add toppings, such as, sour cream, cheese, onions, lettuce, tomatoes, or even any other vegetables!

There is a Whole new HEALTHY way to eat out there! If it's too daunting a task to tackle, try one meal a week to start. Just START! : )

Brown Rice & Lentils

Brown Rice & Lentils

1 cup long-grain brown rice
1 cup dried brown lentils
3 medium yellow onions (about 1 1/2 pounds), thinly sliced
3/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley

Bring rice and 2 cups water to a boil in a medium pot. Reduce heat to low, cover pot and simmer until liquid is completely absorbed and rice is just tender, about 40 minutes. Meanwhile, in a separate medium pot, bring lentils and 5 cups water to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover partially and simmer until lentils are tender but not falling apart, about 30 minutes. Drain, rinse in cold water and drain again.

While lentils and rice cook, bring 1/2 cup water to a simmer in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add onions and cook until beginning to soften, stirring occasionally, about 8 minutes. Add 1/4 cup water, cumin, cinnamon and salt and reduce heat to medium. Continue to cook about 15 minutes or until onions are soft and browned, stirring frequently and adding 1/4 cup water halfway through cooking or if onions begin to stick to skillet. Remove 1 cup cooked onions and set aside. Stir lentils, rice and pepper into skillet with remaining onions. To serve, top with reserved onions and garnish with parsley.

Eggplant Lasagna


Oven Ready Whole Wheat Lasagna noodles (or use the regular boiled ones)
1 container Ricotta (1/2 Cottage Cheese and 1/2 Ricotta, if you choose)
Shredded Mozarella Cheese
Grated Parmesan
Garlic Salt (or minced cloves)
Vegetables - (sliced longways) Eggplant, Spinach, Zucchini, Onion, Mushroom, etc.
2 Cans of Diced Tomatoes
Sea Salt

Cook the diced Tomatoes in a saucepan, with the spices you like, such as, oregano, basil, garlic, etc. (I also used "Just a Pinch" Seasonings). Let the sauce cook for a little while until you get just the right flavor!

Cheese Mixture
Mix Ricotta (and/or Cottage Cheese) with Garlic, Parmesan, and Mozarella to taste.

Spread a thin layer of Sauce on the bottom of casserole dish. Add a layer of noodles, a layer of cheese mixture, a layer of vegetables, and repeat the process. On the top, add a layer of noodles, sauce, and sprinkle with mozarella.

Bake until brown and bubbly, around 45 mins.

Brown Rice "Burgers"

Brown Rice "Burgers"
1 cup brown rice cooked
1/4 cup pecan
1/4 cups walnuts
1 medium potato diced small
1 carrot diced small
1 stalk celery diced small
1/2 cup green & red pepper diced small
2 cloves garlic minced
2 teaspoons shoyu soy sauce
1 tablespoon nutritional yeast
dash of oregano
dash cayenne pepper
olive oil

Place about a tablespoon of olive oil in a large skillet and put in the first 5 ingredients, except nuts. Allow to cook about 8 minutes on low to soften the veggies, then add the garlic and soy sauce and continue cooking another couple of minutes.

While the vegetables are cooking, process the nuts in a food process until totally ground. When the veggies have cooled put them into the food processor, and add the dash of oregano, cayenne and yeast.

Process until all the ingredients are well combined.

Add a little more oil to the skillet and let it get nice and hot on a medium temperature. (I personally used a griddle.) You will need to wet your hands when making the patties because they are a little sticky. Cook until golden brown on both sides about 7 minutes per side. Don't flip until a crust forms on the bottom. Serve with your favorite toppings.

Makes 4 patties.
So, obviously, you can try ANY vegetable dish, but I'm going to list a a few MAIN dishes to get started. You can add any tvp (textured soy product) or Soyrizo (meatless soy chorizo) to any or all of these. Since I'm not much into "Exactness", some of these are pretty general to taste and to the size of your family/guests.


1 can of diced tomatoes (or do it fresh!)
2 cups Pinto Beans
1 cup Red Kidney Beans
1 chopped onion (I put a little more)
8 chopped cloves of garlic
Chili powder, Cumin, Seasoning Salt, Oregano (or anything that suits your tastebuds)
Vegetables - any you desire such as, mushrooms, corn, celery, green bell peppers, red bell peppers, etc.

Put beans in slow cooker covered in water and cook until tender. Drain 1/2 and add other ingredients. Cook a couple of hours.

Add Sour Cream and Cheddar Cheese (vegan if you have or can get it!) and add some Multigrain Mini Crackers for crunch and texture! The kids ate the whole crock pot and kept asking for more!

Adventures in a Plant Based Diet and New Way of Living

Onto the next adventure!  A Plant Based Diet!  We stumbled upon this, after watching "Forks Over Knives," "FoodMatters," and "Food, Inc."  It will open your eyes to our "quick and convenient" (and unhealthy) society!

These are the types of diets we learned:
Omnivorous - An omnivorous diet is one in which both animal and vegetable foods are eaten.
Carnivorous - A carnivorous diet is one that contains animal flesh—that is, meat.
Lacto-ovo-vegetarian - This is the most common of the vegetarian diets, one that does not include animal flesh but does use the by-products of the chicken and/or cow—eggs and milk products (vegans, or strict vegetarians, do not eat these foods).
Lacto-vegetarian diets - exclude meat, fish, poultry and eggs, as well as foods that contain them. Dairy products, such as milk, cheese, yogurt and butter, are allowed in a lacto-vegetarian diet.
Vegan - This is the strict, or pure, form of vegetarianism. No animal products are consumed, including meat, poultry, fish, eggs and dairy products — and foods that contain these products.  This diet is only fruits, vegetables, legumes, grains, nuts, and seeds. This means No eggs, cheese, yogurt, ice cream, butter, or other milk products are eaten.
Macrobiotic - A macrobiotic diet consists almost exclusively of cooked foods. Raw foods are felt to be difficult to digest and too cooling for our system. Thus, it is primarily a vegetarian, almost vegan, diet, but it seems to contain more protein and nutrients than the standard vegetarian cuisine.
Raw Foods - It basically consists of uncooked whole foods. Foods are eaten in their uncooked, most potentially nutritious state, with the vital elements of nature still contained in them.

The thought of not eating meat is almost like a drug addict not getting his fix!  However, it was a lot easier than originally thought!  We have now made Vegetarian Chili, Lasagna, "Burgers", Tacos, etc. just to name a few!  And lo' and behold - no one is dying of lack of (what they thought) protein!  There is soooo much out there you CAN eat (and actually more of!) that doesn't have the huge amounts of fat, calories, sodium, etc.  Quantity and Quality!!

In all actuality, Dairy has been more difficult to 'get' around and substitute.  But, one thing at a time!  We'll work on that soon.  For now it's
Fried Foods
Boxed/Prepared Foods

Fresh Fruits and Vegetables

As always, everything is Fat Free or Low Fat and always seasoned with Sea Salt and Pepper.  If you're using Celery or Celery Salt, you may not want to use the Salt, as Celery has a natural "saltiness" flavor to it. 

Sunday, November 6, 2011

National Peanut Festival Dothan, AL

November 6, 2011 - What a wonderful night to remember!  Royal Tailor, Leeland, and Building 429.... Aaah, their songs are music to my ears!  The National Peanut Festival was huge both size wise and people wise!  Lots of expensive rides, food, and activities to keep the kids entertained and wanting more!

The Highlight, of course, and the reason for the trip to Dothan, not only to see what the National Peanut Festival was all about, but to see three Fabulous Bands do a tremendous job of walking in their gifts!  Going to see Christian Artists at these festivals is definitely a must-see from now on!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Oct 25, 2011 - Feb 27, 2012 Florida Springs RV Resort & Campground

So, here we are, our 3rd location since moving into the RV full-time. We're at a privately owned Campground as Camp Hosts again. Lovely Owners, Andy & Alicia, are constantly upgrading the campground that they purchased 3 years ago! It's a campground that has short term (1 night) & long term (residents) on the premises.

A beautiful, fish filled, swimming area is in the middle of the park with paddle boats for the summer. A professional putting green is available for $1 an hour (or free for camp hosts)! Outside movies and bonfires on the weekends! There's a clubhouse, a washer & dryer, and REAL bathrooms!! The park is in the process of building a restaurant and a dog park! If you're traveling in the panhandle on I10, this is the place to stay over night or for a while!

Florida Springs RV Resort & Campground
Andy & Alicia Gonsalves
90 Son-In-Law Road
Bonifay, FL 32425

July 25, 2011 - Oct 25, 2011 Falling Waters State Park, Chipley, FL

Ok, so we stayed for 2 weeks and then when it was time to leave, they asked us to be Camp Hosts! Our first time doing such a thing! 

Falling Waters State Park is a great place for a weekend get-a-way, Camp Hosting, or for staying a while. The campground is very clean and the sites are nice and 'foresty'. You can access the hiking trail to the falls from the campground. There is a small playground in the campground and a larger one at the main entrance to the falls. There is a swimming area that is roped off. Lots of turtles and lots of tall pine trees. It is a very nice and quiet location for camping. It's Home of the Tallest Waterfall in FL, but sometimes it flows and sometimes it doesn't. Just depends on the amount of rainfall. There's a couple of geocaches here if you're into geocaching! October is full every weekend, so book in advance! Park Ranger Scott Sweeney is the BEST!

Falling Waters State Park
1130 State Park Road
Chipley, FL 32428
(850) 638-6130

Sunday, July 10, 2011

July 9-10, 2011 Kathryn Abby Hanna Park in Jacksonville, FL

We visited this lovely city park on the east coast right on the beach in 2005 for GeoWoodstock!  The campground itself is not on the beach and more in a cozy lil' forest-y area with a camp store.  It's probably best for biking or driving to your destinations around the park area because unless you're into taking lengthy walks with the younger guys, it might take a while to get to where you're going!  It is a 450 acre park with beaches, a fresh water lake, a water playground with fountains, kayaking, fishing, and campsites. Playground or beach, either way, it's a family friendly park! 

Katheryn Abbey Hanna Park
500 Wonderwood Drive
Atlantic Beach, FL 32233
(904) 249-4700

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Blueberry Pickin'!

Blueberry Pickin'!

We went Blueberry Pickin' Today! (8lbs worth!!) We'll be making lots of jams, pancakes, muffins, french toast, pasta, burgers, desserts, etc. with them!   We learned alot more than they are Antioxidants and good for memory!  We learned that really blueberry crops have only been around commecially in Florida for about Two Decades.  The Rabbiteye is the most common.  You need at least Two plants to cross-polinate, but having Three or Four is better for bigger, juicier berries!  The University of Florida has about 15 varieties and they try a different one each year.  Usually, Blueberries grow between May and August, but with Florida crops and the different varieties, they've found they can get them as early as March.  This is especially important for growers, since the earlier they get them to market, the higher the price they recieve.  UF has gotten a block grant, with hopes for more, to research mechanical harvesting and disease understanding.

The only understanding I have is that they are MMMmmm, MMMmmm Good!  One of the Pioneer Recipes we found was for Blueberry Buckle! Kind of like a Crumb Cake! Yum! Can't wait to try.

We'll be cleaning, rinsing, and freezing our Freshly Picked Blueberries today!  In the spirit of All Things Blueberry, we'll be trying to cook everything with Blueberry tonight!  Interestingly, there are more recipes than I thought for Blueberries, both sweet AND savory!!  Shocker!

We'll let you know how it turns out!

Information on how you can pick Blueberries:

The warmer night and nice gentle showers have really ripened the berries quicker than I expected!  The bushes are now loaded with lots of ripe berries.  We have a record volume of berries ready to be picked now!  Our next day to be open is this (Saturday) April 30.  Picking will continue to be good through the following Saturday (May 7).  After May 7, I'll update you on how the picking looks for the 5 to 6 days remaining to be open during the early season and information on where to get Peaches, Thorn-less Blackberries, and Vegetables.

(Blackberries will be in season about Three Weeks from now!)
TWO Seasons to U-Pick at B & G Blueberries

Picking times are 7:00 AM until 1:00 PM -
     EARLY SEASON: (Good Crop) April 23, 26, 27, 30, May 3, 4, 5, 7, 10, 11, 12, 14, 18, Maybe 21 ($3.50 per pound) 
     NORMAL SEASON (Great Crop) - June 4, 10, 11, 15, 17, 18, 22, 24, 25, MAYBE July 2 ($2.50 per pound). Check our answering machine for any changes to these dates.

We sell Plants, (Blueberry, Thorn less Blackberry, & Persimmon), fertilizer & pine bark.  Pre-picked Blueberries – Call for details.

From Silver Springs go east on SR 40 to CR 315. Go left 5 1/2 miles to NE 100 St. Go left and follow the Blueberry signs ¼ miles to B & G Blueberries.

Friday, April 29, 2011

Ok, so Pioneer Cooking... It's pretty good! We started out by making Steak and Onion Pie, Shortnin' Bread, and Country Style Chocolate Cake (made with mash potatoes!)

After a nice little trip the store for a few things, twe were on our way to preparation!

Wow! The Steak and Onion Pie surprised me with how wonderful it tasted! It reminded me of a beef pot pie without the vegetables in it! It also wasn't difficult to make and after all the requests for more, we'll probably be making this again!

I also made Shortnin' Bread. When you first bite into it, it tastes like hard tack. Hard tack was a simple, hard cracker or biscuit made from flour, water, and salt and was commonly used for sustenance for long sea voyages or military campaigns.  The difference in the Shortnin' Bread (because they look and feel the same) is that it starts to taste like hard tack, but then you get this sweetness to it. It's a three ingredient recipe and all you need is flour, light brown sugar, and butter. It' worth making again!

For dessert, I made a delicious Country Style Chocolate Cake. It reminded me of a dense brownie, even though it was cake! By tasting it, you would never know that it was made with mashed potatoes! Although without some sifted powered sugar or icing, it just tasted like dense chocolate.

Pioneer cooking, ok, so NOT outside with a fire or open hearth. Still using a Dutch oven, it was all and all some good eatin' and everyone agreed we should do the Pie and Bread again! Not completely thrilled with the cake, but 2 out of 3 wins isn't bad!

Steak and Onion Pie

2 medium onions, sliced
1/4 cup shortening
1 lb round steak
1/4 cup flour
2 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp paprika
Dash ginger
Dash allspice
2 1/2 cups boiling water
3 medium potatoes, diced
1 unbaked pastry top crust

Cook onions slowly in melted shortening until yellow.  Remove onions and set aside.
Slice meat into one-inch cubes and toss in a mixture of flour, seasonings, and spices.
Brown meat cubes in the hot melted shortening.
Add boiling water.
Cover skillet and cook over low heat approximately one hour.  Add potatoes and cook 15 minutes more.
Arrange onions over top of mixture.
Pour into 8 inch casserole dish. Fit pastry crust over top.  Slit top with knife and seal edges of crust.
Bake in 450 for 25 minutes.

Shortnin' Bread

4 cups flour, sifted
1 cup light brown sugar
2 cups buter, softened

Combine flour and sugar.
Work the butter in gradually until well mixed.
Place dough on a floured surface and pat out (do not roll) to a half-inch thickness.
Cut into shapes with glass or cookie cutter. 
Place on ungreased cookie sheet.
Bake at 350 for 20-25 minutes.

Country Style Chocolate Cake
(Made with mashed potatoes)

2/3 cup butter
2 cups sugar
4 egg yolks, beaten
1 cup hot mashed potatoes
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup cocoa (unsweetened)
2 cups cake flour
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp cloves
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1 cup milk
1 cup chopped nuts
4 egg whites

Cream butter and sugar until fluffy.
Beat in egg yolks.
Blend in mash potatoes, vanilla, then cocoa.
In separate bowl sift together remaining dry ingredients, add to creamed mixture alterntely with milk.
Beat egg whites to stiff-peak stage.
Fold in nuts, then egg whites.
Pour batter into two buttered loaf pans 5x9 or a 13x9x2 pan.
Bake at 350 for 40-50 minutes.

(We personally would add some sifted powder sugar, for some added sweetness on top!)

Pioneer Cooking

What is pioneer cooking?
Well, the pioneers did four types of cooking:  boiling, roasting, baking, and steaming. The pioneers cooked over an open fire with blackened iron cookware and utensils. The cookware used were different sized kettles, Dutch ovens, long handled fry pans, iron griddles, and tea kettles. The utensils that were used the most were skewers, a spit, trivets, long handled spoons, dippers, and cooking forks. Some of their utensils were wooden and handmade.
The area know as their "kitchen" was in the corner of their "home" or near the fireplace. They had a few open shelves and a wooden trough-like box that was their sink with no drain. Wooden buckets were used for transportation of their water. Their refrigerator was a wooden box built over a spring or stream that allowed milk and butter to sit in the cold water.
We like camping, but this is really roughing it (and all the time!)!!  It will be interesting to find out how tasty pioneer food really is!

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Welcome to our first Blog!

Inspired by Julie and Julia, we're going to start our first Cooking Blog - Homeschool Style! Not only are we going to cook, but we'll learn about the time period or culture of our subject, as well! Just as Julie did with Julia! Since we can't travel back in time or to other cultures of the world, what better way than to do a little learning via food! Typically we have found that EVERYone Eats, they just don't eat the same things! So, we're going to figure out just what makes them tick, er, eat!