Sunday, March 27, 2011

Sundays, PS and DQ

Don't you just LOVE Sundays??! I know I do! What better way to spend your day than worshiping the Lord and spending time with your family! After church today, my two favorite boys and I headed to Penn Station for lunch. LOVE this place! If you have never heard of or been to a Penn Station, here is a little taste of what you are missing:
Hot grilled sandwiches....fresh-cut french fries....fresh-squeezed lemonade....fresh-baked chocolate chunk you see a recurring theme here? FRESH!! This is not your average sub sandwich place. All I have to say is the bread....ohhhh, the bread!! The authentic hearth-baked bread is SO fresh and soft and chewy. It is definitely what makes the sandwich!

Another thing I love about PS is that the grill cooks prepare your sandwich right in front of you -- on the huge grill behind the counter using fresh meats, veggies, and cheeses. My two favorite subs are the Chicken Cordon Bleu and the Philly Cheesesteak (what they are known for). I have tried almost all of them, and LOVE the ones I have tried, but these rank at the top of my list. :) Thank you, Jeff Osterfeld, for your vision and for developing Penn Station!!


The DQ part of this post is just to let you know that I also enjoyed a Strawberry Cheesequake blizzard from Dairy Queen after our amazing "family" lunch. YUM! The only negative thing I can say is that there was only a hint of strawberry (usually they are full of the strawberry topping -- this blizzard wasn't even pink!)...though I can follow that up with a positive -- there was cheesecake throughout the entire blizzard, even to the bottom. :)


One last thing. This will be my last post for a few weeks. I am having baby boy #2 this Thursday (c-section)!! WooHoo!! I appreciate your prayers for us as our lives are about to change over the next few weeks. We are so blessed and excited! I will miss my bloggy friends, though. Hopefully I will be back up and posting soon. See you in a few weeks!

Friday, March 18, 2011

And the winner of the Progresso Soup-er You Giveaway is.......

#4 -- Snowpuff!

Congratulations, Snowpuff! I will be sending you an email soon to get your info to submit to MyBlogSpark so you can receive your prize package. :)

Thank you to all who entered this giveaway! Be on the lookout for more fun giveaways in the near future! :)

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Progresso Soup-er You Giveaway!!

I love Progresso Soups. There is just something about a can of chunky, hearty, tasty, full of veggies and other goodies, soup that does not have to be mixed with water. Just imagine my excitement to find out that Progresso makes several soups that are 100 calories or less! Also, these "Light" soups contain a Weight Watchers point value on the can, which is so helpful for those of us who are or plan to be on the WW diet plan. Yay!

Recently, MyBlogSpark and Progresso sent me a package in the mail that contained several goodies, including several cans of the Progresso new Light soups in different flavors. I have not tried all of them yet, but from those I have tried I love them all! One of my very favorites is the Zesty Santa Fe Style Chicken with only 2 WW points per serving. It.Is.Delicious! It contains corn, rice, black beans, chicken, and other goodies and has just the right amount of spice. One of the flavors I cannot wait to try is the New England Clam Chowder.

I have not started my weight management plan as of yet (due to being pregnant), but once I have my little boy (only 3 weeks left! Woohoo!) I plan to start a weight management plan to get rid of these extra pounds I have put on from the pregnancy as well as a few more. I plan on joining Weight Watchers again, and these soups will be perfect to add into my diet - especially since they have the WW points value right on the can.

What about you? Do you currently have a weight management plan? Do you plan on "getting in shape" once Spring arrives? Why wait - start now with Progresso Light soups! I promise you that you will not be disappointed. Even better, why not try and win a Progresso package for yourself so you can try the soups for free?

MyBlogSpark and Progresso have graciously allowed me to have a giveaway on this blog for one of their Progresso Souper You packages. Here is what you will get:

All you have to do to be entered to win this awesome package (complete with yoga mat, aerobic bands, water bottle, arm bands, soups, etc.) is to leave a comment telling me either: A) What flavor of Progresso Light soups you would most love to try or B) How you would incorporate Progresso Light soups into your weight management/healthy living plan. Good luck! (Giveaway will end on Wednesday, March 16 and winner will be announced shortly thereafter).

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Cake Mix Cookies

I have been posting a lot of "sweet" recipes lately, so why stop? :) Just last week, a dear friend of mine blessed us with a crib and an entire nursery theme (complete with curtains and everything)! She wouldn't take anything for them, so I decided to put on my apron and bake up some goodies for her and her family. I decided on this pumpkin bread for her and her hubs, and wanted to make some kind of cookies for the girls.

I had a couple of cake mixes in my pantry - one dark chocolate and one basic yellow. I had heard of cake mixes being used to make cookies, so I started browsing the net to find a recipe. I found this recipe on Betty Crocker's website, but decided to use the dark chocolate mix instead of the yellow. What kid doesn't like "double chocolate" cookies?? :) Here is the recipe:

Mix Easy Chocolate Chip Cookies

1 box Betty Crocker SuperMoist yellow cake mix (I used Pillsbury Dark Chocolate - shhh! don't tell!)
1/2 cup butter or margarine, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 eggs
1/2 cup chopped nuts (I omitted these)
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees (325 if using a dark or nonstick cookie sheet). In large bowl, beat cake mix, butter, vanilla, and eggs with electric mixer on medium speed until smooth, or mix with spoon. Stir in nuts and chocolate chips. Drop dough by slightly less than tablespoonsful 2 inches apart onto ungreased cookie sheet. Bake cookies 10-12 minutes or until edges are set (centers will be soft). Cool 1 minute, remove from cookie sheet to cooling rack. Enjoy! Makes 42 cookies (according to recipe).

(Photo from

Thursday, February 24, 2011

My Latest Love........

Pillsbury Sweet Moments - Chocolate Caramel Brownie Bites

Friday, February 18, 2011

Yes, you can have your "PIE" and eat it too!

O'Charley's Ooey Gooey Caramel Pie. Enough said. I could eat the EnTiRe piece....hey, maybe even two! But this piece of pie is usually rather large, and I just cannot "hold it" after indulging in my dinner entree'. I LOVE O'Charley's and AlWaYs get the same thing: salad with their signature honey mustard dressing, bowl of "overloaded" potato soup, and the famous chicken tenders. Oh, and I snag a couple of their yummy yeast rolls, too. So after all of that, who in the world has any room for dessert? I guess I should have it as my appetizer. :)

But wait! I have found a way to incorporate this dessert into my dinner! Check it out:

This O'Charley's famous "Ooey Gooey Caramel Pie".....

....has produced offspring!!

Now don't let your eyes be fooled. This pie only produced ONE offspring (the one on the far left), but it's close relatives Brownie-Lover's Brownie and Cinnamon Sugar Donuts have AlSo produced offspring! You can have this amazing trio for dessert (if you have room), or you can choose one of these minis to accompany your dinner (which is what I did). The mini caramel pie was the perfect size/compliment to an already delicious and filling dinner. And the best part? It was a mere $1.99. Y.U.M.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Happy Valentine's Day!

I hope each of you have had a wonderful, blessed day full of LOVE today! I cooked dinner for my two valentines, nothing special - grilled chicken, baked potatoes, sweet corn, and cornbread muffins (in V-day cupcake liners for that special touch!) - and a cake for dessert. Now I did make the cake extra special -- a 2-layer white cake with chocolate frosting in the shape of a heart. :)

My husband gave me my Valentine's Day gift last week so I could enjoy it. I had to start a 3-day special diet today because I have to take the dreaded 3-hour glucose screening on Thursday (for my pregnancy). Yuck. So I was very happy to get to enjoy my present early! Here is what he got me:

And yes, they are all gone! I had a little help from hubby and my little fella, but enjoyed quite a few myself. Hey, it's fruit which in my book means it's healthy! :)

What did your sweetie get you for Valentine's Day (or what did you get your sweetie)?

Friday, February 4, 2011

McAlister's Deli = YUM!

One of my favorite deli places to eat here in the 'ville is McAlister's. This restaurant not only has sandwiches, soups, and other "deli" favorites, they also have salads, Spuds, nachos, chili, pot roast, desserts, and their McAlister's Famous Sweet Tea!

Tonight, my hubby and I and our little man ventured to McAlister's Deli for dinner. My "little guy" slept the entire time (he hasn't been feeling well), which meant Mommy got to enjoy a "hot meal" with Daddy for once! Oh the little things in life. :)

This particular McAlister's is fairly new and one we have not been to before. The food was hot and a little better than the food at the McAlister's we usually frequent, yet the people were not as nice/friendly as those at the other establishment. The workers at the other establishment go above and beyond what they are supposed to - stopping by to refill your drinks, checking on you every so often, greeting you with a smile and chit-chat. Oh well, we still had a good experience overall. :)

Hubby had the McAlister's Club -- smoked turkey, hickory ham, applewood smoked bacon, cheddar, swiss, lettuce and tomatoes with signature McAlister's Honey Mustard and lite mayo on toasted, sliced white bread -- with Baked Lays and a Diet Dr. Pepper.

I had the Choose Any Two combo -- 1/2 sandwich and a bowl of soup. I had the Broccoli Cheddar soup and 1/2 of a Horseradish Roast Beef and Cheddar panini with a big ole glass of sweet tea. And then......I had a piece of their "oh my gosh this is to die for" cheesecake. It.Was.Devine. That was truly one of the best pieces of cheesecake I have ever eaten! (And no, I'm not just saying that because I am pregnant and was craving cheesecake!).

Needless to say, we had a great time tonight. I just love getting to have a nice dinner with my family (even if a certain toddler does sleep through the entire meal!).

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Easy Skillet Pasta

I was struggling with what to make for dinner tonight. I have cooked every night for the past two weeks and was running out of ideas! There is only so much you can do with a pound of hamburger or some chicken tenderloins, right? Plus, my hubby has started a strict diet and I am trying to eat healthier. So, I ventured to the WWW and checked out the Kraft website. I typed in some ingredients I had on-hand (hamburger, spaghetti sauce, mozzarella cheese) and a few seconds later I had a huge list of recipes that included those ingredients. How awesome is that?!!

I decided on a super easy "skillet pasta" that only took 30 minutes total to make. Here is the recipe from the Kraft website. I changed mine just a little, so here is my version:

Easy Skillet Pasta

2 cups tri-colored rotini pasta, uncooked
1 lb. ground beef
1 tsp. minced garlic
1/2 tsp. dried oregano
1 jar spaghetti sauce
2 slices Kraft Singles cheese, quartered
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Cook pasta until tender, drain and set aside. Brown hamburger in a skillet, drain. Stir in minced garlic, oregano, and spaghetti sauce. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to simmer. Add Kraft singles and stir until melted in. Add pasta. Stir until pasta is coated. Sprinkle with parmesan cheese and mozzarella cheese. Cover and let stand 5 minutes or until cheese is melted. Makes 6 servings.

I basically just omitted the peppers and some of the garlic, and changed a few of the steps. This was SO delicious! My hubby said it tasted like lazagna. Score! And, it was only 6 WW points per (1 1/3 cup) serving. I'm looking forward to having this again tomorrow! YUM!

Monday, January 17, 2011

Thursday, January 13, 2011

The perfect compliment to Santa Fe Soup (or any soup/stew)

I posted this recipe a couple of days ago. If you like soups/stews, you will LOVE it! Today I have a recipe that would go perfect with the Santa Fe Soup, or any other type of soup or stew, for that matter. Actually, it would be great just by itself! Here is the recipe. Hope you enjoy!

Sausage Cornbread Bake

1 lb. pork sausage
1 onion, chopped
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 1/2 cups buttermilk self-rising cornmeal mix
1 can cream style corn
1/2 cup sour cream
1/4 cup vegetable oil
2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1/2 cup milk

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Grease a 10-inch oven-proof skillet. In a medium skillet, brown the sausage and onion, drain well. Set aside. In a large bowl, combine eggs, cornmeal mix, creamstyle corn, sour cream, oil, and milk. Pour half of cornmeal mixture into 10-inch skillet. Sprinkle with sausage mixture and shredded cheddar cheese. Pour remaining batter over top. Bake for 30-40 minutes. Let stand 10 minutes before serving. Makes about 8 servings. Enjoy!!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

One of the best things since sliced bread!

Last year, my mother-in-law bought me one of these either for my birthday or for Christmas (I cannot remember which!) and I.Love.It. In fact, I don't think I will ever go back to my old way. You can make so many things in this -- and even "individualize" them! It is so convenient. You can make cornbread in this, rice krispy treats, brownies, cheesecake, individual granola bars, and even ice cream bars! The possibilities are endless!

Another thing I like about this is that it doesn't take up a lot of space, it is dishwasher safe, and it is non-stick (although I still spray it with non-stick cooking spray, just in case). I have used it so many times so far and am very pleased with the results. Okay, are you ready to find out what my favorite "thing" is??


Tuesday, January 11, 2011

When it's freezing outside and you need something to warm your tummy.....make this!!

This is one of my FaVoRiTe soups, especially on a cold, snowy day. It is very filling, and pretty spicy. Pair it with some cornbread and you will be in comfort food heaven! :)

Santa Fe Soup

1.5-2 lbs ground beef
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 can diced tomatoes
1 can kidney beans
2 cans pinto beans
2 cans white shoepeg corn
1 can Ro*tel tomatoes
1 pkg. taco seasoning mix
1 pkg. ranch dressing mix
1 cup water

Brown ground beef, drain. Add onions. Cook for a few minutes or until onions become translucent. Pour into crockpot along with other ingredients. Stir well. Cook on High for 2 hours, then on Low for at least an hour or longer. Enjoy!!

*This is great paired with cornbread or corn chips or tortilla chips.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Mashed Potatoes = Blah...

I LOVE potatoes! I love them any way you can cook them. One of my favorite potato dishes is a cheesy potato casserole. It is super easy to make and soooo good. However, tonight was the first time I have made it for my family.....weird, huh? Especially since potatoes are one of the only veggies my husband will eat. I have been trying some new ways to make potatoes other than the traditional "mashed". I am just so tired of having "mashed" potatoes for dinner all of the time. Even my little man won't hardly eat them anymore!!

For the cheesy potato casserole, you can shred up fresh potatoes or you can buy the frozen shredded hash-brown type. I took the easy way out and bought the frozen kind. Hey, easy and convenient are my two favorite words when it comes to cooking! I hope you enjoy this casserole as much as we did. :)

Cheesy Potato Casserole

1 bag frozen hash brown (shredded) potatoes
3/4 can cream of chicken soup
1/2 cup sour cream
1 T. onion flakes (or you could use 2 T. finely chopped onions)
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese (I actually used colby-jack because it was what I had on-hand)
Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix all ingredients together. Pour into a 11x7 baking dish (or 9x13) and bake for 15 minutes. Remove an sprinkle with corn flake topping. Return to oven and bake for 30 more minutes.


2 cups crushed Corn Flakes cereal
3 T. butter, melted
Mix together and sprinkle on top of potato mixture.

**I paired this with honey mustard grilled chicken and green beans. YUMMY!! Would also go great with any pork dish.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Happy New Year!!

Happy New Year everyone (even if it is 4 days late)!! I hope each of you had a wonderful Christmas and New Year's and that you are ready to make the best of 2011. I know I am! The coming year has so many new things in store....including a new addition to our family! We will be having Baby Boy #2 towards the end of March and we are so excited and blessed!

Looking back on 2010, it was really a great year. There were some challenges, some adventures, and many memories. I kind of slacked on the blog last year, so I am hoping to make up for it this year. :) I am hoping to create a new blog look, post more recipes and restaurant critiques, and have more giveaways. I do need your help, though.

What suggestions do you have for my blog? What would you like to see more of? Less of? Anything new that I should incorporate? Let me know your thoughts!!

Again, Happy New Year! May each of you be blessed in 2011!