Nothing Fancy, Just Good Food

Month: September 2014

Day 5-8 AdvoCare 24 Day Challenge

So today is only Day 8 of my AdvoCare 24 Day Challenge, it’s been barely a whole week, and I’m already seeing a huge difference!! Not only am I feeling better but, I’m also fitting into clothes that didn’t fit when I started! Whoo-hoo!!! This morning, I woke up, jumped out of bed, and began getting ready for my day. I could tell it was going to be a good day! It took everything in me not to whistle as I went about my morning routine. I went downstairs, grabbed my Orange flavored Propel water for my fiber drink, a regular bottle for my Spark, made my breakfast, and hauled it back upstairs to eat and drink while I got dressed. I’ve decided that drinking the SPARK on an empty stomach is giving me indigestion. My body is weird and I often get indigestion if I drink coffee on an empty stomach. So I’ve been drinking it with my breakfast instead of 30 minutes before. It seems to be working out and I’m feeling a good deal better in the morning! But, this morning I felt better than ever! After I finished my breakfast, makeup, and hair I began getting my clothes together. Rewind, to last week when I tried on a pair of jeans, last Friday before my 24 day Challenge began, and they didn’t fit. I hung them up in my closet and today I grabbed them by accident. I saw they were the wrong ones and went to put them back. Somewhere between my mirror and my closet I decided to see if they were closer to fitting! I pulled them up and buttoned and zipped them with ease! I was on cloud 9! I had to call and tell err-body!! I am still so dang excited!! My mom absolutely couldn’t believe it. She keeps telling me that she can’t believe I’m dieting because it doesn’t seem like I’m suffering! And she’s right! I don’t feel like I’m dieting at all! I mean obviously every now and then I’m like “ohhhh fried chicken.” Or “Yum! Chick Fil A Spicy Chicken Sandwich” or “Dang, Mom, get those tater tots away from me before I devour them and the finger that is holding the one in your hand!” But with a couple deep breaths I’ve been doing pretty dang good! I’m proud of myself 🙂 Saturday, Day 6, was my hardest day! I don’t know if it’s the fact that I’ve been doing a good bit of cardio or if I just didn’t eat enough Saturday morning but I was STARVING all day! ALL DAY! I went to lunch with my mom and sister at SoulShine, she was 30 minutes and I had to order some hummus while I waited! And then, it took all the will power in my entire being not to eat all the pita bread and all the hummus that came with my order. I did eat my little portion, a grilled chicken salad, and then some cucumbers from my salad dipped in the hummus! I was insatiable! When I got home, I chugged some water, and took the dogs for a long walk. I went over to my friend Chad’s for supper and visited with him and Bella. As soon as I got there I was ready to eat. Of course, we had steaks and I was ready to put them on the grill but he wanted to finish watching one of the twelve games he was flipping between at the time. So I ate some almonds and tried my best to calmly wait for him to finish his game. It was difficult and it was pretty obvious to him because he laughed and said, “Hungry huh?” I just quietly nodded with a guilty look on my face! He finally took the hint and started his grill! I gobbled my steak and brown rice and finally filled the bottomless pit that was my stomach that day! I can’t really complain though. I’ve lost a couple inches and a couple pounds and the best part is that I’m feeling great! More energy, I’m sleeping better, I’m getting my routine down. So far I’ve only needed my SPARK once a day. There was one day that I needed another one but that was just because I was staring at a computer screen from 9-7 and I couldn’t have coffee… This weekend I’ve cooked a couple of really good things. I did forget to take some pictures before the food was devoured; but, I got some before they were cooked 🙂 I made some pork tenderloin, mashed sweet potatoes, roasted veggies, and guacamole on Sunday. And tonight, I made some grilled tilapia and roasted green beans and red potatoes. I’ve never really been a huge guacamole fan, but I’ve gotten to where I can eat it with a little salt. I found some organic, blue corn tortilla chips that don’t have any sugars, but they do have carbs and calories so I’m still careful not to eat too many of them! For those of you that are interested those are Garden Of Eatin’ Organic Blue Corn Chips. They are delicious and a healthier alternative to regular chips when veggies just won’t do it! I’ve also been eating a lot of Simply Organic roasted almonds, green and purple grapes, strawberries, and apples. I bought some Brown Sugar Splenda to sweeten Sweet Potatoes, but you have to be careful with that because, while it is Splenda, the serving sizes are small! 1/2 tsp. packed. So, use it but don’t be too generous with it! I’ve also been substituting coconut oil and olive oil for butter and no one has really missed it. And if they did, they added it to it while fixing their plates! Pork Loin is among the many, many things that my mom doesn’t like to eat. That woman and her pickiness, I swear are going to be the death of me 😉 So, I made her pork chops with the same marinade on them as the pork loin. I put a lot of stuff on my pork loin, but it’s worth it! I bake mine in the oven; but, you can do it on a grill if you’d like.

Pork Tenderloin:

1 pork tenderloin,

1/2 cup Dale’s sauce,

1/2 cup Worcestershire,

1/4 cup Olive Oil & Vinegar dressing,

3 Basil leaves,

2 Sage leaves,

4 green onions,

Garlic salt, white pepper, onion powder, and red pepper to taste.

The pork loin usually comes cut in half; however, if yours isn’t, I would cut it in half. It takes FOREVER to cook if you keep it whole. Pour the dressing, Worcestershire, and Dale’s over the loin. Sprinkle the seasonings to taste. Chop the basil, sage, and green onion. Sprinkle that over the top as well. Bake in a 375 degree oven for about an hour. You can also use Herbs De Provence on this and it’s delicious! I just refuse to buy the Herbs De Provence because it’s about $10 for a jar of it and that’s just ridiculous. Although, I did find some at Ramey’s for $3.99. This is also really good with Peach preserves. I know that sounds weird but it’s really good! I can’t have any preserves though so that’s for you unhealthy people out there. 🙂 I’m sure you can get organic preserves or no sugar added preserves too if you’d like.

Roasted vegetables are a Hall family favorite. Mostly broccoli but I mix it all together to make it go further; plus, I really like carrots and corn. I added asparagus to this too because I know my brother and sister in law love it. I’m not opposed to it, but it drives me crazy breaking off the tough ends! It takes forever! So, I only do that every now and then. 🙂 Its’ really easy and it doesn’t take a whole lot of time. I used Simply Organic Canned Corn, Organic Baby Carrots, and Organic Asparagus Stalks, but I used a container of chopped and cleaned fresh Broccoli from Kroger. It’s cheaper and it’s easier to use! Roasted Veggies:

1 bunch Asparagus,

1 bunch regular carrots or 1 pkg. baby carrots,

1 can corn,

1 pkg. chopped broccoli or 2 medium heads broccoli,

1/4 cup olive oil,

Garlic powder, sea salt, and ground black pepper to taste.

Lay the carrots and asparagus on the bottom and put the corn and broccoli on top. Splash the olive oil over the vegetables and sprinkle the seasonings over them. Roast at 375 for about 20 minutes. Until the carrots are soft. This is also good with a little lemon juice. roasted veggies

My sweet little niece hasn’t been eating very well lately but she devoured this! Mostly the broccoli and the carrots and then some of her mom’s pork! I caught little Mr. “I’m not hungry, I don’t like that, that smells gross, can I have some candy” Jeffery digging some out after we put it up and I was a little disappointed when I noticed there was no more broccoli left.. 🙂 Bottom line, it was delicious and healthy and everyone enjoyed it without realizing it was “diet food.”

My mom, ever the picky one, had to make some rice because she didn’t want to try my mashed sweet potatoes. She said that she would never in her life eat mashed sweet potatoes, sweet potato pie, or sweet potato casserole. The only sweet potatoes she eats are sweet potato fries and baked sweet potatoes. I told her that one of these days I was going to blind fold her and feed her all the foods that she won’t eat because of what I tell her it is or because of the way it looks. Seriously, she bakes a sweet potato, opens it up, and puts pretty much everything that I put in this in it, then mashes it up and stirs it all around so that it looks exactly the same as my mashed sweet potatoes, and eats it like it’s going out of style… It’s pretty much exactly the same thing except it’s baked and served with the skin on. Hmmm…maybe I should make twice baked sweet potatoes and see if she’ll eat that!!

Mashed Sweet Potatoes:

6 sweet potatoes, peeled,

1 tbs. coconut oil,

1 tbs. ground cinnamon,

1 tsp. brown sugar Splenda,

Splenda to taste.

Put the sweet potatoes in a boiler and cover with water. Bring to a boil and let boil for about 15 minutes. Until the potatoes are fork tender. Drain the water off and add the coconut oil, cinnamon, and Splenda. You can add a little Parkay Spray Butter or I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter spray. And if you aren’t dieting you can add regular brown sugar and regular butter. I thought about chopping up some pecans and throwing them in too. I was just in a hurry! mashed sweet potatoes

Ms. Ellie Frank ate this up too! Even though my mean mama wouldn’t even taste a bite! URGH! I hate when someone says my food isn’t good when I know it is! Annoying! 🙂 She really liked my guacamole though… I guess I’ll have to give her a break on the mashed sweet potatoes. She and my dad both said it was the best they ever ate! They were probably just saying that but I thought it was pretty good too! The secret to good guacamole is a good avocado. There are lots of ways to tell if an avocado is ripe or not. Firmness and color are great indicators; however, I use a little trick that is much easier. Flick off the little dried up stump that is on the end of the avocado. If it’s brown, it’s too ripe; if it’s yellow, it’s not ripe enough; if it’s a pretty green color it’s just right.


3 ripe avocados,

1 lime,

1/2 red onion,

4 green onions,

Salt to taste.

Cut the avocado in half, remove the seed, and scoop out the green. Roll the lime on the counter top, cut in half, and squeeze the juice into the bowl. Chop the onions and add to the avocado. Sprinkle in the salt and mix it all together until all the chunks are out! I ate it with the Blue Corn chips that I mentioned earlier but you can also eat it with veggies. My family has never been really big on fish. Unless it was fried of course! 🙂 I bought Tilapia filets from the meat department at Kroger. They didn’t have any packaged already so I asked for some at the counter. They were about a half inch thick. I wanted a nice sweetish, soy sauce type of marinade on them so I mixed together a sort of dressing. It was really simple to make and I already had all the stuff at home. Grilled Tilapia:

3 tilapia filets,

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil,

1 tbsp. white wine vinegar,

1 small lime,

1 small lemon,

3 tbsp. soy sauce,

1 tsp. brown sugar Splenda,

1/2 tsp. minced garlic and ground mustard, Salt, red pepper, and black pepper to taste.

Lemon Pepper, for the top of the fish.

Place the fish in a shallow dish.


In a separate bowl, mix oil, white wine vinegar, lemon juice, lime juice, Splenda, soy sauce, garlic, salt, and peppers. Stir it together really well and pour it over the filets. Then sprinkle with lemon pepper and allow to marinate for about 30 minutes.

tilapia marinade

I transferred the filets over to a foil covered cookie sheet and sat that on the grill. I allowed it to cook about 5 minutes on each side. Now it got really tender and a little hard to flip, so they fell all apart. I suggest wrapping the filets in individual tin foil pockets. It’ll be easier to cook and clean up is just unwrapping the fish and throwing away the foil! Serve with a little dish of cut up lemons and limes to squeeze over the top while you eat! Yummy!!

Okay, so I promise I know other way to cook vegetables other than roasting them but that just seems to be the theme this week! I made roasted red potatoes and green beans on the side of this tilapia and it definitely worked really good together! I bought fresh green beans from the farmer’s market. With these, you have to snap the ends off or they’ll be kinda stringy. So wash them and snap the ends off before you use them. You can do fresh frozen or organic canned if you want, but for AdvoCare purposes fresh is best! 😉

Roasted Red Potatoes & Green Beans:

7 small red potatoes,

1 pound green beans,

1/2 cup olive oil & vinegar dressing,

1 small onion,

Garlic salt and black pepper to taste.

Scrub and chop the red potatoes into small wedges. Clip the ends of the green beans. Place the potatoes in one side of a casserole dish and the green beans on the other side.

roasted potatoes and green beans

Chop the onions and sprinkle on. Pour the dressing over and season judiciously.  Bake at 400 degrees for about 30-40 minutes. Check on them every 10 or 15 minutes and stir. This will help the veggies cook more evenly. The beans will still be a little crunchy but the potatoes should be fork tender! Everyone seemed to love this! Especially my mom! She said that if this was diet food, she’d eat it every day!! Judd really liked the fish and I thought the boys wouldn’t touch it! Jeffery took a bite of mine and said it was good but he just wanted chicken! 🙂 Melissa seemed to like it too so I would say it was pretty well received! 🙂

I took the puppies walking again today right before I started cooking supper. They were not a hundred percent impressed. Duchess came with us this time and I couldn’t find her leash so I just let her walk free. I got a quarter of a mile into my walk and I looked back to see where she was. The silly girl had just laid down and was waiting for me to come back to her. She was like “Ok, I’ve had enough, you have fun and I’ll catch up later.” lazy duchess lazy duchess 2

I took her back home and continued to walk before Whiskey tuckered out on me too. He didn’t lay down though… I was walking along with his leash in my hand when it suddenly started to pull back. I looked back and my sweet, silly boy had decided he was going to walk back to the house with or without me. So I turned around and took him back. It’s funny though… He started running when we got to the house… one minute he could barely walk another step and the next he had enough energy to run back home!

Whisker's in a hurry

Oh well… I guess I’m going to have to start bringing him back halfway through!! These lazy bums! 🙂 Ya’ll have a good night! Can’t wait to see what the next couple days have in store for me!!

Days 1-4 AdvoCare 24 Day Challenge

Hey ya’ll! I hope ya’ll have been doing as good as I have over the past few days! I just started my AdvoCare 24 Day Challenge! I noticed a difference on the very first day and have been a little up and down since then. I feel awesome, there’s no doubt about that; however, I wasn’t eating enough and on Day 3 had a little problem with my sugar getting low! The problem was pretty much that I wasn’t hungry. Days 1-10 are the Cleanse Phase, this eliminates the toxins from your system and allows you to start fresh pretty much. They AdvoCare Challenge is pretty much a low carb, low sugar, low calorie plan. I don’t want to call it a diet because it has been so easy to follow that it’s not really a diet to me. Can I go to the fast food restaurant down the street and get whatever I want? Not if I want to actually lose weight haha but I can go to Wendy’s and have a salad or grilled chicken wrap or some chili. I can go to Chick-fil-a and have a grilled chicken something with a fruit cup. I’m still able to lead my regular life and eat out with family and friends when I want to without the “diet” restricting me too much! I am in no way trying to sell AdvoCare to ya’ll but if you want an easy to follow way to lose weight, gain energy, or just plain feel a little better from day to day… I think ya’ll should try it. 🙂

It’s no secret that I want to lose weight. I’m a very confident person and I like the way I look. I’m happy… I love to eat and I love to cook and I just really love food; but, not everything I love is good for me and over the years a lot of the things I love have helped me put on quite a few pounds! My decision to start doing AdvoCare started with a doctor’s appointment, like most decisions to lose weight do. This time, it wasn’t anything the doctor really said, although my blood pressure wasn’t perfect; it was what the scales said. I went to the doctor at the beginning of the summer and just a couple weeks ago and I realized on my last visit that I had gained almost 10 pounds in a 2 month time period. When I realized this, I was like “uh-uh honey, I’m losing some weight, I ain’t going up another size in clothes!” I’ve heard about AdvoCare (mostly about SPARK) a good bit over the past year and I checked into it a while back. I thought it was too expensive and I didn’t want it badly enough. So, a word to the wise… if you don’t want it, if you don’t have the motivation, don’t spend the money on it! When I saw those scales at the doctor’s office though, I figured I could give it a try for at least one month and if I didn’t like it fine and if I did like it that would be good too. So I spoke with my friend Stephanie, who I believe I mentioned in my last post. Her husband and her do AdvoCare on and off throughout the year. Most recently, she had a bridesmaid’s dress to fit into and wanted to lose a couple of pounds real quick. 😉 And she did in just a couple short weeks! Another friend lost almost 30 pounds while he was doing it and another lost 12 without really following the diet. Soooooo, I put my hat into the ring and here we are on Day 4 and my mom is even thinking about joining me on it!

Day 1 was the easiest day for me. I know that sounds weird but I was super pumped and ready to do this thing. I guess the more excited by it I was, the easier it was. That’s not to say that it hasn’t been easy the past few days, but a little of the excitement has worn off! Sunday, I went to the grocery store and got all sorts of fruits and vegetables. Stephanie told me that it was mostly about eating organic, or clean eating, and staying away from sugars. She said that anything that had under 3 sugars in a serving was good to go! I can have a lot of fresh fruit, or canned fruit as long as there are no sugars added, lean proteins, and fresh veggies. I can also have complex carbs which is good for me because I love bread and potatoes. I just have to make sure I’m not eating too many of those and when I do eat bread or pasta, I need whole grain. So I went to the grocery and got a bunch of stuff and grilled some chicken for supper that night. I grilled extra chicken because I knew I would want some for lunch the next day. I thought that I would need to start bringing my lunch because it would be hard to eat out but I really can eat out and I just didn’t realize it. But more on that later… I got a big head of organic leafy greens, pickles, pickled baby corn, red onion, carrots, almonds, sunflower seeds, bell peppers, black olives, and a lot more. On Monday morning, I woke up and mixed my SPARK. I made my lunch while I drank it. Grilled chicken salad with pickles and baby corn, almonds, and carrots. Yummy! I put a little oil and vinegar dressing on the side and made a little cup with some grapes and strawberries. I also had some natural peanut butter and an apple for later that day if I got hungry. I’m supposed to stay away from hydrogenated oils and dairy products for the Cleanse phase. No alcohol either! After I made my lunch, I got together a little breakfast. I had to drink this fiber drink first and I was advised that the texture was horrible and to mix it with orange juice or orange flavored propel or vitamin water. I was also told to CHUG! This worked for me, the texture was awful, but by the time I drank all my SPARK and my fiber drink, I didn’t want breakfast. I knew I had to eat a little something though so I scrambled a couple eggs, with no butter, and grabbed an apple to eat as I got dressed for work. This is what I used for my eggs:

AdvoCare Eggs 🙂

2 eggs,

1 tsp. water,

1/2 tsp. dried minced onion,

1/2 tsp. chopped bell pepper,

Garlic Salt and ground black pepper to taste.

I just beat the eggs real quick in a bowl, covered it, and put it in the microwave for 2 1/2 minutes. This was just because I was in a hurry and didn’t want to wash a skillet before work! You can do it in a skillet BUT use a tiny bit of olive oil instead of butter! You can also use coconut oil if you’d like!

That night, after work I made a quick chicken stir fry. Chicken stir fry has always been a huge staple in our house. My mom used to call it Chicken Wok Stuff! She pronounced it Wolk and we always picked on her for it. She gets so frustrated when we do that! 🙂 I thought I would have to change it drastically for it to be “clean” but I really didn’t have to change much! I used lite Soy Sauce, Organic veggies and chicken, and brown rice instead of the other stuff. It was really good and super easy!

Healthy Chicken “Wolk” Stuff:

1 large pkg. organic chicken tenderloins, boneless & skinless of course,

2 heads organic broccoli,

1 yellow onion,

1 pkg organic carrots,

1 can water chestnuts, check to make sure on the sugars, the can I used didn’t have any but depending on the brand they may have some due to the way they are packaged.

2 cups Uncle Ben’s brown rice,

2 eggs,

1 cup lite Soy Sauce or reduced sodium Soy Sauce, divided,

Garlic powder, onion powder, and red pepper to taste.

Cut the chicken tenderloins into chunks and add them to a skillet with a little olive oil or coconut. Start cooking your rice according to package directions. I didn’t use butter though, I did splash in a little olive oil. Season your chicken lightly. Peel and cut your onion into the size of your choice. I like them a little bigger in this but you can do smaller pieces. Cut the broccoli and carrots up and add all the veggies into the chicken. Drain the water chestnuts and cut them into smaller pieces. Add that to the chicken mixture. Now pour half the soy sauce on top of that and let it all cook down for about 10 or 15 minutes. This varies based on how crunchy you want your veggies. As long as your chicken is done! Once the rice is done, scramble your eggs. Add the scrambled eggs to the rice and pour in the remaining soy sauce. Stir it up and serve! You can add more veggies to this, edemame or green beans would be good. You can also double the amount of carrots and broccoli if you want more veggies than chicken. Don’t eat too much rice though! It’s really easy for that rice to stick to the bottom of the pan so I do recommend adding something to help with that and using a really good non stick skillet. White rice doesn’t stick nearly as easily, especially when you use butter. But for my purposes, the brown rice tasted excellent. The boiler was tough to clean, which we all know I hate but I think using a little more oil will help next time.

That was Day 1 and I thoroughly enjoyed it! Day 2 was pretty easy as well. I had a office meeting to cook for and I scoured through recipes trying to find something that was AdvoCare friendly. Then, I realized that my normal recipe for grilled chicken marinade was already AdvoCare friendly! Not only that, but I had a few people ask me for it after! I’ve already posted it on here before but I will post it again! I used Organic, boneless, skinless, thinly sliced chicken breasts. They are difficult to find though so if you buy the regular boneless, skinless that’s fine too. It’s really a matter of preference!

Grilled Chicken Breasts:

4 boneless, skinless breasts,

1/2 cup Worcestershire,

1/2 cup Dale’s low sodium,

To taste: Tony Chachere’s, garlic salt, and McCormick Cowboy rub.

Place the chicken breasts in a shallow dish, in a single layer. Pour Worcestershire and Dale’s over them. Using a fork, pick up each breast and allow the sauce to coat both sides. Now sprinkle the seasonings on and allow to marinate for around 20 minutes.

I ate that chicken for lunch on Monday, lunch on Tuesday, and supper on Tuesday night! It was delicious! And the best thing was, it was good for me! Yesterday was Day 3 and I got a little sick. I’ve always had a little trouble keeping my sugars steady. I’m not diabetic or hypoglycemic; but, sometimes my sugar bottoms out. I can’t drink anything with a lot of sugar. My coffee is sweetened with Splenda and my drinks are diet! On Wednesday, I wasn’t hungry when I woke up, especially after I drank my SPARK and fiber drink. I choked down a rice cake with peanut butter. Not that it was gross, just didn’t want food! I left home with the plan of going to see Bella, going to the bank, and meeting my sweet sister in law and nieces for lunch. When I left the house, I was nauseated and dizzy. I went about my errands and drank a cold water but it didn’t let up. At lunch, I got a half turkey sandwich on wheat bread and a side salad from Jason’s Deli (I <3 Jason’s Deli) and I felt much better. I had a p3 pack that afternoon and felt fine! I spoke with Health & Wellness Advisor, Emily, and she said I wasn’t eating enough! The crazy thing is, even though I wasn’t eating enough, I was full! So, I’ve added a snack in the afternoon and if I’m hungry at night, after supper, I’ll have a little fruit or some organic almonds! That afternoon, after eating my little p3 protein pack, I was able to walk my little fuzz butt about a mile and a half. Although he liked he, he didn’t like it. He thought it was too much activity for his little self. I guess he needs to get in shape too! This was 20 minutes after our walk 🙂 poor baby was worn out!


Last night I had another grilled chicken salad! I know… I need to add more variety to my diet. But honestly, that’s all I wanted! Today, Day 4, I had 100 calorie, organic, maple and brown sugar flavored oatmeal with a banana for breakfast. I found this on the same aisle as the regular oatmeal. I added a little Splenda but it tasted just like the regular stuff! You can add a few chopped pecans or almonds to this too and it would be awesome! For lunch, Stephanie and I had a grilled chicken go wrap with a side of chili from Wendy’s, and a couple pickles for my snack. Tonight I’m going to Applebee’s with a friend. Applebee’s has a great low calorie menu and if all else fails, I can get ANOTHER grilled chicken salad 🙂 Tomorrow will be Day 5 and the halfway mark for my Cleanse phase. Meaning, I will move on to the Max phase and be taking a couple of different vitamins and eating a little differently. Not much though… maybe I can have just ONE ice cold beer. It’s funny, I don’t drink much and when I do, I mostly drink beer. Before I started the Cleanse phase, I didn’t think much about having a beer. I would on occasion, if I was at a friends house or out to dinner. I can go weeks without even thinking about taking a sip of alcohol. But around this time yesterday, an ice cold Michelob Ultra started sounding REALLY good. And when I say ice cold, I mean with little ice chips floating in it… Okay….. next subject before I blow my whole cleanse phase on a single beer! 🙂

I’ve got a great menu planned for next week and Monday is my first weekly weigh in and measurement! I’m planning some baked or grilled Tilapia with roasted veggies, a filet with a sweet potato, baked Italian chicken, a recipe for salsa chicken that Stephanie gave me, and a AdvoCare friendly, Chicken Taco Soup. I’ll let ya’ll know how I do… finger’s crossed it’s good 🙂 Even if I don’t lose in pounds, maybe I’ll lose in inches. If not, that just means I’ll have to try harder next week! I’m really proud of myself to be honest with you. I guess I’m finally just motivated or maybe this is just the right plan for me. I don’t feel like I’m missing out on anything. I feel like I’m eating what I normally would eat, just with a little more attention to what ingredients I’m using! I’m not really craving anything… other than that beer. 🙂 But that’s a good thing because the downfall of all diets are impossible cravings! I hope this helps ya’ll! If any of you are doing AdvoCare and want to share your stories or any of your recipes I would love to have them… I love to hear success stories and know I’m not the only one going through this! And if any of you are thinking of signing up and want to know a little more about it, I’d be glad to help all I can! Ya’ll have a good night!





A Little Bit of Everything!

Hey ya’ll! Sorry it’s been so long since I’ve posted! I’ve been busy in the kitchen and I’ve gotta say I have some awesome recipes for ya’ll! But first, I’ve got some bad news and some good news! The good news is that I’ve decided to start the AdvoCare 24 Day Challenge!! Whoo-Hoo!! I’m about to get into shape! The bad news is… I won’t be posting very many Hearty Southern Recipes! Ya’ll will be getting some healthy, low carb, low sugar recipes though! So… this is our last “unhealthy” blog for a while and for the next couple months, I’ll scatter in a few regular recipes but mostly, it’ll be healthy stuff. I’m thinking about doing this 24 Day Challenge in a journal format… day 1, day 2, etc… ya’ll let me know what you think! As for now, I’m telling ya’ll about my week leading up to the 24 Day Challenge. 🙂

My nephew, sweet little Judd, had to have this big metal spacer put in his mouth last Monday. It was painful and he had some problems eating. I wanted to make something soft to make sure he was able to eat so I made spaghetti and meatballs. This was a little flawed because he couldn’t eat the meatball. He had to cut it up into small pieces to eat it but it still hurt too bad so he had to eat some mashed potatoes. The next night, I wanted to make sure that he could eat without any problems so I made Loaded Potato Soup. MY FAVE! And his too! A couple nights later, he was finally feeling better so I did something special for him. I got all the stuff for us to make our own pizzas. Which would have been super fun, if they hadn’t gotten distracted and decided to play in a mud hole instead… but that’s a story for later! Right now, I’ll tell you about that pasta sauce.

I know I’ve given ya’ll umpteen jillion recipes for Spaghetti Sauce. You’re probably getting tired of it by now… but it was a goal to learn to make my own and I accomplished it so nah! 🙂 I canned mine so I used a whole box of canning tomatoes. If you don’t want to do that, you don’t have to. I’m going to give you the recipe for the canned version, but down at the bottom I’ll tell you how to do it without making 9 jars of sauce!

Spaghetti Sauce:

1 box of canning tomatoes,

4 green bell peppers,

2 large Vidalia onions,

1 head of garlic,

6 basil leaves,

3 tbsp. dried oregano,

1 tbsp. thyme,

1/2 cup salt,

1 tbsp. vinegar,

1 tbsp. black pepper,

2 tbsp. garlic salt,

1 tbsp. sugar,

1 16 oz. can tomato paste,

8-9 quart sized mason jars with a lid,

Large Stock pot.

Wash the tomatoes really good, making sure to get any dirt off of them, cut off any bad places in the tomatoes, anything that’s discolored or mushy. Put them in the pot and cover with water. Bring them to a boil and allow them to boil for around 20 minutes. Until the skin is blistered and peeling off. Remove from heat and drain the water off. Let them cool while you put your mason jars in the dishwasher and turn them on. Peel and core each tomato, placing the rest of the tomato back in the stock pot or any large pot. Once all the tomatoes are peeled and cored, add 2 tbsp. salt and 1 tbsp. vinegar to the pot of tomatoes and bring it back to a boil for 15 minutes. While that’s boiling, get out a food processor.. You can use a knife, the food processor just gets everything really finely chopped and saves so much time!! Peel and crush the garlic, core the bell peppers, and peel the onions. Cut the onions and bell peppers into fours and add them to your food processor along with your garlic and basil. Once it’s nicely chopped, add the oregano and thyme. Push the pulse button once or twice to get it blended. Now, add that mixture to the tomatoes on the stove and add the tomato paste. This is the tricky part. I stirred all that together and got a new pot out. I then added the sauce to the food processor a cup at a time. This helped with the chunkiness that I had a problem with in my last sauce. If you have an EMULSION BLENDER, you can use that instead of putting the sauce into a food processor, I’m just not high tech enough yet 🙂 After I did that, I added the rest of the ingredients. Once it had boiled for about 30 minutes (stir occasionally), I put the lids of my mason jars on to boil. Once they had come to a rolling boil, I got out the following items:
2 large dishrags,

a small funnel,

a large ladle,

a pair of long tongs.

Lay one dishrag out, protecting your countertop and the jars from heat. Get your mason jars out of the dishwasher and make sure they’re dry. Fit the funnel over the first jar and start ladling the sauce into the jars. You’ll want to leave a little room in the jar so don’t fill it all the way. Fill the first jar, make sure the lip of the jar is clean and has no seeds on it, then pull one lid out of the still boiling water. Place the lid on the top and screw it closed. set it on the dishrag you laid out. Do the same with the rest of the sauce. Now, wait for the lids to “pop.” It could take a while. As the jars cool, the lids of the jars will seal, and the middle will pop down. DON’T TOUCH IT IF IT DOESN’T POP!! Just let it happen naturally. If for some reason, the lids don’t pop. You can reheat the jars and try again or put them in the fridge. They’ll last in the fridge for about a month. When you get ready to use the sauce, just warm it like you would any other jarred sauce.

If you don’t want to can the sauce and only want to make it for one night: just use about 5 tomatoes and do the same thing just don’t put it in the jars and you don’t have to use the vinegar. You can also just use canned tomatoes or tomato sauce and tomato paste. You would also only need one bell pepper, 1/2 of a large onion, 2 cloves of garlic, 1 basil leaf, and the other seasonings to taste! Mix it all together and allow that to simmer for about 30 minutes. The longer it simmers, the longer the flavors have to marry so you want it to have enough time to get all the flavor out!

Now, it’s up to ya’ll if you want to just make it a tomato sauce or add meat. I serve it over any kind of pasta. On this occasion, I used wheat pasta, so I mixed the sauce all together with the pasta to hide it from my nephews! Then, I topped it with homemade meatballs and some parmesan cheese. The meatballs were amazing, if I do say so myself. 😉 I used a mixture of different meat, which I will tell ya’ll all about now:


1 lb. ground turkey,

1 lb. 90/20 lean ground beef,

1 lb. ground Italian sausage,

1 egg,

1 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce,

2 tsp. ground sage, or 3 fresh sage leaves,

2 basil leaves,

1 tsp. garlic salt,

1 tsp. ground black pepper.

Chop sage and basil leaves. If you’ve never chopped these, I’ll tell you the easiest way. Layer the leaves on top of one another and roll them up. Chop them into strips and the cut again into smaller pieces. After chopping, mix all the ingredients together. Then roll into balls and cook at 375 degrees for 20-30 minutes.


You can use just turkey on this if you’d like but you’ll need to add something for fat, like sausage or a less lean ground turkey. I would use just ground turkey and ground Italian sausage if you didn’t want the beef! The Italian sausage gives it a little extra flavor and the fat content needed so that it’s not super dry! You can also do these in the crockpot, just make sure they’re covered in some kind of sauce; whether it’s beef broth, my previous recipe for Swedish meatballs, or the recipe I just gave you for Spaghetti sauce, it does need some moisture in there if you use that crockpot. Cook it low and slow for 8 hours and check up to make sure that liquid does not cook out!

Loaded Potato Soup has always been a favorite of mine. Mostly, I just love potatoes. And bacon. And anything with cream… but that’s why I’m doing the Advocare 24 Day Challenge!! 🙂 Seriously though, this was the first time I made the recipe and I didn’t have one to go by. I just kind of winged it and it really turned out perfectly; however, it made me realize how fattening it was! But!! If you only have it every once in a while I think it’s okay!

Loaded Potato Soup:

8 small red potatoes,

1 stick butter,

1 pint heavy whipping cream,

8oz. pkg. cream cheese, softened,

1 can Nestle Crema,

8 oz. sour cream,

1 cup shredded cheddar cheese,

1 medium yellow onion, chopped,

4 strips bacon, cooked and crumbled.

Salt, black pepper, onion powder, crushed red pepper, and

I know… it’s lots of cream. Don’t judge me! 🙂 Wash the potatoes, peeling half of them. Place the potatoes in a large boiler and cover with water. Sprinkle some salt into the water and boil the potatoes on medium to high heat until fork tender. Drain the water off of the potatoes and smash them with a spoon or electric mixer. Add butter, whipping cream, cream cheese, crema, and sour cream. Stir well and bring to a boil. If it’s too thick to stir, add a little milk or water. Once boiling, add the onions and seasonings. Allow to simmer for 15 minutes, then add bacon and cheese and allow to simmer for 10 more minutes. The longer it simmers, uncovered, the thicker it will get. I like mine thicker. If you like it soupier, add water or milk, or just simmer with the lid on. This creates condensation and allows the soup to be a little thinner. If you do choose to keep a lid on it, just make sure you stir occasionally. This is enough for about 8 people.

Last year, tragedy struck our family when Judd and Jeffery’s dad passed away. It was very unexpected and it was very hard on us all. Especially on Judd and Jeffery. It’s hard to lose a parent at any age; but, when you’re only 9 and 7 years old, it’s harder because you don’t really understand why. A sweet friend and co-worker brought food over after the funeral. I’ll never forget the day,  we were all sitting down to eat after the funeral, and Stephanie knocks on the door. Judd and Jeffery were drained from all the emotion and stress of the morning and were just playing with their food. My mom got up to answer it and I was having a hard time with the death myself and didn’t even really pay attention to what was going on. She brought in a huge bag of stuff and we told her thank you and a little while later she left. Afterwards, I realized what she brought and my eyes welled with tears. It was all the stuff we needed to make pizzas and I knew the boys would enjoy it so much that it would take all that emotion off their shoulders and offer them some fun. We set out to work in the kitchen a little while later and the fun that they had was contagious! They couldn’t stop laughing and giggling and since they were, I was too! Their laughter filling our house was all that we needed to cheer up after such a hard time in our lives. Recently, Judd’s been asking when we were going to do that again so I went to the store and bought all the stuff. They told my niece, Hazie, and we all decided to make them together. BUUUTTTTTT, in true childhood fashion, they started digging in the dirt and playing with cars and bikes and scooters and decided they didn’t want to help cook! So, it was just me making the pizza!

The recipe is really flexible, you don’t even really need a recipe for it. You can buy everything store bought and just make it however you want. I bought Italian sausage, pepperoni, onions, black olives, mozzarella cheese, and Monterey jack cheese. You can do feta cheese, kalmata olives, chicken, pesto, spinach, pretty much anything you want! I’m just going to give you the recipe for mine! I used a store bought crust because it takes a while when you use active dry yeast. You can also use crescent roll dough, biscuit dough, tortillas, pita bread, French bread, or even white bread!

Pizza Sauce:

14 oz. canned tomato sauce,

2 tsp. olive oil,

2 cloves garlic,

1 tsp. oregano,

1 tsp. garlic salt.

Peel and mince garlic. Heat olive oil in a boiler and add the garlic. Sauté for about 2 minutes and add tomato sauce, oregano, and garlic salt. Stir well and bring to a boil. Let it simmer for about 10 minutes.

While that’s simmering, shred your mozzarella cheese. I know that shredding cheese is frustrating and time consuming; but, honestly it’s cheaper to buy a block of cheese than it is to buy the bag. You can also take the time to brown any hamburger meat or Italian sausage. Once that’s done, spoon the sauce on the dough in a circular motion. Sprinkle cheese and add toppings! Bake at 350 degrees for about 15 minutes, until cheese is melted and golden brown. These are our pictures from last years pizza making party!! Please excuse the mess!!




I hope ya’ll enjoy these yummy recipes as much as I have! Today was Day 2 of my Advocare 24 Day Challenge and ya’ll can expect some yummy, healthy recipes before you know it! I’m already feeling awesome and can’t wait to see how the next 22 days go! I have so much more energy already and I wake up feeling better! I’m shocked at how awesome I feel after only 2 days! Not only that but I’m not starving myself! I’m eating healthy but it’s not gross food! I’m eating a lot of salads, grilled chicken, and fruit. Tomorrow night I’m making turkey burgers and green beans! I made a great chicken stir fry last night with fried brown rice! So ya’ll be on the lookout for those recipes and a few more! I’m really excited about this challenge and hope ya’ll enjoy the lighter side of Not So Gourmet! Don’t forget to go like and share my Not So Gourmet Facebook page!!



From My Family’s Heart to Your Family’s Table!

Hey ya’ll! Whew! What a week! It’s certainly been full of blessings! Growing up, my brother had one group of close friends. They were like brothers to me, always hanging around, spending days at a time at the house, riding bikes, then four wheelers and eventually trucks, playing video games, jumping on the trampoline, terrorizing me, while I annoyed them. Now, they’re all grown up and have families, jobs, and other obligations, It’s hard for them to all get together. I’ve grown up too and while I’ve made a group of my own friends, I’ve somehow entwined myself into my brothers group of friends as well. A close friend and old co worker of mine married a close friend of my brothers and they had two beautiful little baby boys. Their youngest was diagnosed with Ewing’s Sarcoma not too terribly long ago. He’s about a year and half old now and although he’s had a long hard road to recovery, he’s done with surgery and two long phases of chemo! He’s been such a trooper! And his family, The Millers, have been so awesome and so strong throughout this long journey! They have truly been in inspiration! Never once did I hear a negative thought come from them… They were so strong in their faith and just thanked God for his many blessings! And I’m so proud of their little Nugget for KICKING CANCERS BUTT!! Another close friend of my brothers works in industrial construction and had a terrible fall at work. He had a bad break in his leg that has required surgery and will require months of physical therapy. He’s got two little ones at home and they just sold their house and had to move out not long after he got out of the hospital. They’ve managed pretty well but I know it must be painful and miserable! That being said, in true southern fashion, I had to take them a casserole! 🙂 I don’t know why our immediate response to hospitalization, illness, disease, and death is “Oh, let’s take them a casserole!” But it is and I did and I’m not ashamed 🙂 I enjoy sharing my food with others and when certain tragedies have befallen our family, I know I appreciated not having to worry about supper. Chicken Spaghetti has been a staple in our household for years and it’s the first thing that comes to mind when I’m taking a meal to a friend! When I was a kid… I hated it! HATED IT!! I would CRY if my mom tried to get me to eat it! Same thing with spaghetti, which is hard to believe! All I would eat is buttered noodles with parmesan cheese when we had any kind of spaghetti for supper! I love both of them now, not only do I love it, I crave it! It’s one of my favorite meals to cook! I’ve already told you about my aversion to tomatoes, so don’t expect to see any nasty tomatoes near my delicious, cheesy, creamy chicken spaghetti. 🙂 This is how we do it (No, I didn’t mean to reference Montell Jordan).

Chicken Spaghetti:

4 chicken breasts,

1/2 stick butter,

1 pkg. spaghetti noodles,

1 cream of chicken soup,

1 cream of mushroom soup,

1 8oz cream cheese,

1 cup cheddar cheese, softened,

1 medium onion,

1 medium green bell pepper,

Garlic salt and Black Pepper to taste.

First, cover chicken breasts with water, add butter and a little salt. Allow this to boil for 10-15 minutes or until chicken is fully cooked. While the chicken is boiling, chop the onion and bell pepper and sauté them in a pan with a small amount of olive oil. I saute mine until they are translucent. You still get the flavor of the onion and the bell pepper, but it’s not quite as strong and there’s not a big crunch. This helps the kiddos eat it without complaining too much! Once the chicken is done, pull it out of the water. Don’t drain it! Get the chicken out of the water, use a slotted spoon to skim the “foam” off the top, and bring the water to a rolling boil. Add the noodles and cook them according to package directions. This gives the noodles tons of extra flavor! Chop the chicken up while the noodles are boiling and add the cream cheese, cream of chicken, and cream of mushroom soup. Season the chicken mixture judiciously and add the bell pepper and cheddar cheese. Drain the noodles and add them, small portions at a time to the chicken mixture. This makes it easier to stir. Once the chicken and noodles are mixed well, pour the mixture into a greased casserole dish and sprinkle more cheese on top. Bake in a 375 degree oven for 20 to 30 minutes. Now, I would normally post a delicious and cheesy looking picture here, but unfortunately my blog hosting site is still messed up! I’ve been emailing someone there but they haven’t answered yet! Soooo, you’ll have to look on my Facebook page for pictures of the deliciousness that is this Chicken Spaghetti!

One of our favorite suppers has always been breakfast! My mom has never been much of a morning person and she HATED making breakfast. So we usually had cereal, a pop tart, or leftovers for breakfast. Our real breakfast was mainly at supper time. My mom would make bacon, eggs, biscuits, tomato gravy, pancakes, homemade preserves, and so much more. Sometimes, I make it for us too; but, when I make it, I try to stick with what we have on hand. Sometimes, I use left over steak and make steak and eggs. Or left over baked potatoes and make skillet hash browns. My dad loves eggs and green beans of all things. My favorite meal in college was a fried egg, bacon, and cheese sandwich. I even mix it up sometimes with some chorizo and tortillas to make a make Breakfast Burritos. They sell chorizo at Kroger by the Jimmy Dean sausage now. In fact, Jimmy Dean has a chorizo option. If you’re not familiar with chorizo, it’s a slightly more greasy, spicy Mexican sausage. Here are a couple of my favorite recipes for Breakfast!

The Best Scrambled Eggs Ever:

6 eggs,

1 tbsp. milk or water,

1 cup cheddar cheese, shredded,

Tony Chachere’s, Garlic Salt, and Black Pepper.

Melt a couple teaspoons of butter into a skillet. Crack the eggs into a bowl, add 1 tbsp milk or water, 1 cup cheddar cheese, and seasoning and beat until all yolks are broken. Pour into the skillet and stir continuously until they’re all cooked, about 7 minutes.

Breakfast Chorizo Tacos:

6 eggs,

1 pkg. chorizo,

1 cup cheddar cheese, shredded,

1 medium onion, chopped,

1 cup salsa,

4-6 flour or corn tortillas,

Tony Chachere’s, Garlic Salt, and Black Pepper to taste.

Crack the eggs into a bowl and add 1 tbsp. water into the eggs. Add the tony’s, salt, black pepper, and cheese to the eggs and beat together. Start cooking the chorizo, once it’s cooked, drain some of the grease off, and add the beaten eggs to the sausage. This gives the eggs the flavor of the chorizo. You can do this separately and mix it later if you want but I’m lazy 🙂 After you add the eggs, add the onions, and allow them to cook. Warm the tortillas in a wet paper towel or rag. Once everything is cooked, spoon the egg and chorizo mixture into the tortilla and top with a little more cheese and some salsa. You can add chopped up bacon or regular sausage to this as well. When we’re hunting, on the last day, I get as many leftovers out of the fridge as I can to use for this. Last year, we were leaving our deer camp and we didn’t want to haul a lot of food home with us. We didn’t have the room or the cooler space. We had a package of chorizo, a package of Jimmy Dean sausage, and half a pack of bacon. We also had left over baked potatoes. I added it all to the eggs and we loaded up our soft corn tortillas with the delightful mixture. It was heavenly!

Pigs in a Blanket:

1 pkg. Conecuh smoked sausage,

1 pkg. large Crescent Rolls,

8 slices Kraft American Singles,

scrambled eggs, optional.

Cut the sausage into 8 pieces. Open the package of crescent rolls and unroll the dough. Put one piece of cheese, one piece of  sausage, and a teaspoon full of eggs (if you choose) on the large end of the crescent. Roll the sausage inwards. Repeat for the rest of the sausage. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes or so. Just until the crescents are golden brown. These are great for supper or breakfast. Even for lunch. They’re also perfect for game day treats.


2 cups water

6 tbs. grits,

1/2 stick butter,

Bacon bits,

Shredded Cheddar Cheese,

Salt and Black Pepper to taste.

Bring water to a boil, add salt, grits, and butter to the boiling water. Cover and reduce heat for 15 to 20 minutes. Uncover, add a little salt and pepper, cheese, and bacon bits to the grits. Mix together well and cover until you’re ready to serve!

Apple Cinnamon Muffins:

2 cups all purpose flour,

1 1/2 tsp. baking powder,

1/2 tsp. salt,

3 eggs,

1 cup milk,

2 cup brown sugar,

1 cup granulated sugar,

4 apples,

2 tsp. cinnamon,

1 cup chopped pecans,

2 sticks butter.

Mix flour, sat, and baking powder together and set aside. Cream one stick softened butter with 1 cup brown sugar and 1 cup granulated sugar until smooth. Add eggs, one at a time, waiting for the first to be well incorporated before adding the others. Add 1 tsp. of cinnamon. Alternately add flour and milk until well incorporated. Peel and chop the apples. Gently fold the apples into the batter. Pour into muffin cups and bake at 350 for 30 to 40 minutes or until golden brown. Once the muffins are done. Melt the other stick of butter. Mix together the extra brown sugar and cinnamon and pour the melted butter over it. Spoon small amounts of the brown sugar icing over the muffins and allow to completely cool. These are absolutely delicious for desserts, breakfasts, or a delectable sweet side dish for breakfast for supper!

I really hate not sharing my awesome pictures with ya’ll in this post! But I hope ya’ll make them and enjoy them as much as we have! I have a really special “relationship” with all of these recipes. They bring back so many memories of my childhood and make me excited to teach them to my nieces and nephews and my future children. Speaking of which, I have a new NIECE on the way! And I couldn’t be happier… I can’t wait to spoil her with mani/pedi’s and movie and pizza dates!! Don’t forget to go like and share my Facebook page. And I’ll be posting pictures there since I can’t post them here on this darn website!! Ya’ll have a good night now ya’ hear? 🙂









Lazy Suppers

Hey Ya’ll!! Please excuse me while I yawn! I’m exhausted! What a busy, busy week and weekend it has been! So busy that I don’t even really remember what I’ve done! Haha… no, my work has been really crazy, plus my dad has needed me to do some work for him, plus I’ve been trying to drum up new business, plus we’ve had open houses, tail gates, vet appointments, shopping to do… I’ve just been crazy! I plan to do things and my plans are shattered five minutes later. Ah, the life of a real estate agent! Speaking of which, today marks the end of my first year as a REALTOR! I’m no longer a rookie! I feel very accomplished! In the past year I haven’t sold the volume of properties I necessarily wanted to; however, I’m sort of an over achiever. 🙂 I see my mom and how much volume she does and it makes me feel like I should be doing more. I have to continuously remind myself that she’s been in this business for 17 years and I’ve been in it for just one. It’s difficult. This business is difficult in and of itself. I face challenges every day… being more outgoing, telling everyone that I’m doing real estate, reminding my friends that I’m not only flipping houses but also selling them, pushing people to either buy or sell or use me if they do both. It’s a constant challenge, a constant battle with being lazy and being aggressive. It’s also super expensive and time consuming. But, I don’t think I would change it for anything in the world. I really enjoy it. Much more than I thought I would. But a lot of that is because I have awesome co-workers! They’ve helped me out so much and helped me meet new clients and given me clients that they couldn’t help or couldn’t meet with, they’ve let me sit at their open houses and given me great advice. I sure am a lucky girl!

Sooooo, since I’ve been so busy, I decided to tell ya’ll about some “lazy suppers.” I have some pictures but I’m having issues uploading them here so, feel free to send me your pictures and I’ll update this post with more pictures when I can! First, I’m going to tell ya’ll about these amazing and easy chicken and sausage sandwiches. I’ll also give you a recipe for a taco/burrito bar without using taco seasoning. Then, a wonderful recipe for pasta salad and a childhood favorite for boiled cookies. I know ya’ll will love all these recipes for their taste; however, ya’ll will also love them because they are cheap, easy, and fast. I’m also going to include a couple of links for some recipe’s I’ve already posted that are super easy and simple, but I’ll go into those later!

These chicken and sausage sandwiches are so delicious and versatile. I used thinly sliced boneless skinless chicken breasts and Country Pleasin’ Green Onion smoked sausage. You can use different regular chicken, organic, skin on, bone in. Whatever you want. I almost always use thinly sliced boneless skinless, simply because it’s cheaper. My nephew’s dad always used to us chicken quarters on the grill and they were absolutely fabulous, so every now and then I’ll do that; but, this is so easy. Also, I used this recipe for sandwiches; you don’t have to do that. It’s actually really good without the bread. Up to you!

Chicken and Sausage Sandwiches:

4 chicken breasts,

1 pkg. smoked sausage, sliced,

1/2 medium red onion,

1/2 medium red bell pepper,

1/2 cup Worcestershire sauce,

1/4 cup Stubb’s chicken marinade,

Garlic salt, cayenne pepper, and lemon pepper to taste,

French bread or Hoagie buns.

Place the chicken breasts in a casserole dish, pour the Worcestershire and Stubb’s over the chicken and sprinkle the garlic salt, cayenne, and lemon pepper over the chicken. Now slice up the sausage, onion, and red bell pepper and add that to the casserole dish. Bake at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes.

When it’s done, take it out of the oven and slice up the chicken breasts. Place on the bread and top with your choice of cheese. I used pepper jack and swiss. I sprinkled a little left over feta on a few of the sandwiches too. Then I put them back in the oven and allowed the cheese to melt and the bread to toast. About 10 minutes. I made these last Wednesday and my nephews are still talking about them! They even ate some of the peppers and onions and that’s difficult for them so it was definitely a winner! Sometimes, after a day at work, the last thing you want is to come home and baby sit a big, elaborate supper and clean for hours. This can be made in a skillet too, I just felt like relaxing. So, I prepped everything, threw it in a dish, and baked it. You could also do this with bacon instead of sausage and no onions or peppers. You could even do pork chops too. Sometimes, a sandwich is the best thing for supper. Sometimes, we feel guilty and lazy for serving our families sandwiches instead of putting a little more effort into a meal. This way, you get the best of both worlds!

Tacos/Burritos are one of the easiest, simplest, and most hearty meals you can have. It’s super fast and pretty much everyone likes it. You can really do a lot with something tacos and burritos. I like using the seasoning packets but for some reason I always forget that I can make tacos, so I forget to buy them. It’s like one of the meals that always seems to slip my mind. I don’t know why, I just let it slip my mind. I like to set up a “bar” for my family. Judd and Jeffery just want meat and cheese, my mom and I want lettuce, I want black olives, mom wants salsa, daddy wants beans. Everyone wants something different. So, I put out little bowls of lettuce, cheese, salsa, black olives, green olives, sour cream, onions, and tomatoes. I just make the meat and heat up the tortillas. To heat up soft tortillas, wet a paper towel or rag, wrap the tortillas in the wet towel and microwave for about 30 seconds. Now, sometimes, we want hard shell tacos. If this is the case you can buy hard tortillas or you can buy soft tortillas and bake them. You can do that by draping them over the racks in your oven, turning a muffin pan over and draping them over the humps, or just putting weights in the tortillas to shape them. As I said earlier, I always forget to buy the seasoning packets; but, I always have a LOT of seasoning in my spice rack! I love different seasonings and spices and I love to experiment. We have a Mexican lady that cleans our house once a week, the inventor of Olga Noodles, that mixes together this great seasoning. It’s sort of like the red seasoning that you put on your chips at Mexican restaurants. As I’m talking about this I’m silently giggling because the reason I know that she makes this seasoning is because she made it for me after I stole the shaker from a Mexican restaurant. Any who, she mixed it up for me and I used it all so I had to mix up my own. It wasn’t the same as hers, but I still like it. This makes a lot so you’ll want to keep it in a little baggie and just use it as you go.

Taco Seasoning:

1 tbsp. chili powder,

1 tsp. onion powder,

1 tsp. garlic powder,

1 tsp. Cayenne pepper,

1 tsp. salt,

1 tsp. paprika,

1 tsp. black pepper,

1 tsp. ground cumin.

Hold your breath and slowly mix it, or just add everything to a sandwich bag, close it up, and shake it up. When you’re making the taco meat for your tacos, just cook the meat with a teaspoon of this seasoning. After it’s done, add another teaspoon of the seasoning and stir well. Taste to make sure you don’t want more and serve it up. You can also use this for chicken or ground turkey.

For burritos, just fill a large soft tortilla with the fillings of your choice. You can use anything from rice, beans, and taco meat, to chicken and rice. If you use beans, black beans are really good with it. You can even have your kids help out with this one. Have them fill their tortilla and you can just put it in a casserole dish and bake it. It’s really easy and simple and the kids would love it. Kind of like letting them make their own pizzas. It would be a lot of fun for them and it would give you time to do something else, like clean up a little or take a call or just relax. Now, when you get your filling inside the shell, fold in one side close to the filling, then fold the bottom and the top inward, holding that tightly, roll up and stick a toothpick in it. Line up all the burritos in a casserole dish, sprinkle a little cheese on top and bake for about 20 minutes at 350 degrees.

Pasta salad has always been a constant side dish in our household. Over the years the recipe has changed a little but it mostly stays to the same old thing. Not this year though. This year, Calah Hall had a stroke of genius. We always think, “what can we add to it to make it different?” and every time the answer is “Oh, I don’t know!” The other day, I was in the grocery store, craving pasta salad, and it hit me. I did a mad dash all the way back through the store gathering ingredients. I came home, made this beautiful, wonderful, delicious creation and put it in the refrigerator. The next day dawned bright and early and I ran out of the house like a chicken with my head cut off. Olga was here cleaning but I didn’t think much of it, I just left for work. I got back home kind of early that afternoon and went the fridge for a drink. There, I found a tragedy. I had placed the pasta front and center in the fridge for everyone to see and now it was nowhere to be found! I searched every nook and cranny, as if it had shrunk into the bottom of our crisper all on it’s on. I ran to our other refrigerator(yes, we have two refrigerators, I’ve already told you we have a billion people in our family we need two… heck we need three 🙂 hoping that she had just taken it and put it in a Tupperware container. But no, unfortunately, she had mistaken it for trash. It was gone and I wanted to cry. So, I got in my car and went back to the grocery store. This time, I came home and finished the pasta salad just in time for my mom to leave for Starkville. My mom, her friend Ms. Pam, and my sister ate about half the bowl. So I found myself in a dilemma. I was supposed to go over to a friends house with this pasta salad the next day. And that my friends is how I found myself making this pasta salad for the third time in as many days. Believe me, none of it went to waste. Well, except for the first bowl. I’m still so upset about that! It was so delicious… Ah well… no reason to cry over spilled milk. This is what ya’ll will need for the best pasta salad in the history of pasta salad!!

Pasta Salad:

1 pkg Multi Colored Rotini Pasta,
1 small purple onion,
1 can water chestnuts,
1 can black olives,
1 jar pickled baby corn,
1/2 cup, 7 or 8, Kalmata olives,
5 oz. crumbled feta cheese,
2 tsp. poppy seeds,
1/2 bottle or 8 oz. Kroger Brand Olive Oil and Vinegar dressing,
Garlic salt, salt, pepper.
Prepare the pasta according to package directions, I usually add a little olive oil and salt to the water so that the noodles will have a little flavor and they won’t stick to each other or the boiler. Chop onion, olives, corn, and water chestnuts. Drain the noodles and stir in the poppy seeds, garlic salt, and pepper. Taste the noodles and see if they need any more salt. I like mine salty 🙂 Now add the onion, olives, corn, and water chestnuts and stir. Now stir in the feta cheese and the dressing. You can use whatever dressing you want. I use the Kroger Olive Oil and Vinegar, it’s usually on sale for like 2 for $5 or 2 for $3. You can also use Italian dressing or any other kind of olive oil and vinegar dressing. Newk’s Greek dressing is really great for it too. You also don’t have to use Kalmata olives I just like to add a few because I love Kalmata’s. I also added a little dried, minced onion too but the taste didn’t change much so I left it off. Now, if you make it ahead, which I recommend doing because it’s best cold, you may want to add a little dressing before serving so it’s not too dry.
    Boiled cookies have always been a favorite in my family. They’re so delicious. I made them for one of my friends a couple years ago and he couldn’t believe it. He told me that his grandmother used to make those for him but he hadn’t had any since before she passed away. He said that his mother had never gotten the recipe because she didn’t cook much and he had missed these cookies so badly! It made me really happy that I could make him so happy. It really makes you realize the power of food. One little cookie that takes 10 minutes to make can bring back 34 year old memories with a single taste. Good memories, bad memories, sad memories, happy memories. Everything is remembered by this simple little cookie. It’s not just the one cookie but all food that has the power to do this. It makes me glad that I’ve chosen to write all these recipes down and share them with ya’ll. Hopefully, I can give ya’ll a new family favorite that you and your kids will cherish for years!
All you need are a few simple ingredients for these. They’re drop cookies and you don’t have to bake them. I know the name, boiled cookies, makes you think of something awful and gross. They really do deserve a better name. Like Chocolatey, Oatmealy, Goodness cookies… Hmmmm…. Anyway! My mom and mamaw made these all the time throughout my childhood. Now, we usually only make them for the holidays and here and there throughout the year. The bad thing about these cookies, is that you can’t eat just one. The good thing about them is, you probably wouldn’t have to try too hard to make them healthy. I’m not much of a health guru though so I’ll give you the full throttle version. 🙂
Boiled Cookies:
2 cups sugar,
3 tbsp. unsweetened cocoa,
1/2 cup milk,
1/2 stick butter,
1/2 cup peanut butter, (I like crunchy but you can use creamy),
1 tsp vanilla,
3 cups quick rolling oats.
Lay out a long piece of wax paper on a clean counter top. Mix first 4 ingredients together in a medium saucepan and allow it to come to a boil. Let boil for 1 minute. Not a second more!! Remove from heat and quickly add peanut butter, vanilla, and oats. Stir just enough to blend all the ingredients together and using a teaspoon or a tablespoon, drop the cookies one by one onto the wax paper. Let set about 10 minutes. It’s very important to measure all of this out and go by the directions. These cookies, while easy, are very finicky. If you don’t do something right, they’ll be super dry or too runny. Sit back and enjoy the fruits of your labor. They’re awesomely delicious!
I did a few other blog posts a while back with some things that ya’ll may have missed. One was titled Angelo’s Eatery, Philly Cheesesteaks, and Pimento and Cheese. Normally I would include a link to this but I’m having some serious issues with my blog site for some reason. This is also the reason I haven’t included any pictures in this blog. I’m hoping I can have it back up and running in no time 🙂 The other is the Chicken Salad and Crunchy Romaine Salad that I posted recently. Ya’ll go back and check out those blogs and you will have yourself an arsenal of quick, easy, lazy suppers! Hope you enjoy them 🙂 Be on the lookout for my next blog on Chicken Spaghetti coming up Sunday night or Monday morning!!





Labor Day Weekend!

Hey Ya’ll! What a fun weekend it has been!! Friday I had a closing for one of my sweetest and easiest going clients ever! Friday night was nice and relaxing, my dad came home from Texas to spend the holiday with us and he was pretty late so my mom and I had Newk’s salads! Saturday, the best day, GAME DAY!! I went over and saw my sweet Bella, cooked some steaks on the grill, and watched the MSU game. WE WON!! 49-0… Just sayin’ 😉 I think Bella was happy… What do ya’ll think?

Bella silly

She was partly happy because the Bulldog’s won and her’s a bulldog!! She also really just wanted some of her mommy’s steak… Anywho, Sunday was a full work day for me! I even had to miss church to show some nice folks a few or 15 houses! So, my wonderful mama made a nice big pot of red beans and rice for us! Monday, we went over to my brother’s house for Prime Rib and a little family time! My brother sure does know his way around a smoker! It was delicious! Speaking of my brother, that little loser called me at 8:15 yesterday morning asking me to make him some Twice Baked Potatoes… I told him okay and hung up on him! Haha, ask and you shall receive but at least let me get my beauty sleep! I told ya’ll that to tell you this. We had lunch at their house and I didn’t have all the stuff for what I was bringing. I got up and ran to the grocery store around 10; but, those potatoes take a while to bake. Since I was in such a hurry, ya’ll will not be seeing picture of the Potatoes or the Lemon Ice Box Pie today… I’m sorry! I’ll try to put some other pictures in here though! They’re both super easy. I’m also going to give ya’ll the recipe for some grilled chicken that I made tonight; but that’s not all folks! I invented a recipe for dirty rice this week that I just absolutely have to share! It’s the first time I’ve made it and I didn’t have anything to go off of and it turned out perfectly!! I’m super proud of it. So I’ll be sharing that too! But first, look at these two cuties!

Frankie me and Hazie

I sure love these two beauties! Can’t wait to see the new lil’ Mr. or Ms. Hall! With these fabulous genes, it may just be Ms. America or even the President of the United States. I mean come on… we Hall’s are smart and beautiful! 😉

The grilled chicken is pretty simple. I wish I could tell ya’ll that I have some super secret recipe or marinade. The chicken is right on point but the marinade is really nothing special! First, it’s all about the chicken. I’ve started buying thinly sliced chicken breasts. The regular ones are just too darn big! But you can use whatever type you want. This would even be good with bone in chicken. Thighs, wings, drumsticks, whatever. I use boneless, skinless chicken breasts. This is what you’ll need.

Grilled Chicken:

4 chicken breasts,

1 cup Stubb’s marinade, for Chicken,

2 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce,

1 tbsp. Dales low sodium,

1 tsp. each, garlic salt and Tony Chachere’s. If you have it, MSU Cajun Bully Seasoning is an awesome substitute for Tony’s in this and many other dishes!

Start by putting the chicken in a shallow dish. Mix the Stubb’s, Worcestershire, and Dales together in a small bowl and pour it over the chicken breasts. Take each chicken breast and let the bottom side get some of the marinade on it. Now mix the garlic salt and Tony’s together and sprinkle it liberally over the chicken. I usually let this sit for at least 15 minutes, longer if I think about it. Then I slide it on the grill! I can’t tell ya how long. It just depends on the temperature of your grill. You’ll be able to tell if it’s right. If you have a meat thermometer, 165 is the internal temp. I tell by the way it feels. If it’s limp and there’s a lot of juice coming out, it’s not done. If you pick it up with a fork or tongs and it’s pretty stiff, no juices coming out, it’s probably done. Ya’ll are smart, ya’ll can tell! 🙂 Now, I’ve never used this in the oven but I’m sure it would be awesome if you wanted to bake it instead of grilling the chicken.

grilled chicken

It was really good all by itself, but I made it earlier in the week and put it on a bed of romaine lettuce with some of that White Wine Vinaigrette Dressing from the Crunchy Romaine Salad. It was delicious and even though the dressing is made with sugar, I felt super healthy! That dressing can also be made with Splenda or you could use a bottled vinaigrette, Italian, or even some Ranch dressing! It was awesome and it looks so gorgeous!

grilled chicken salad

So, after I got off the phone with my brother, rolled around in bed for like 20 minutes trying to go back to sleep, groaned a few times, ignored another phone call, and stretched, I jumped out of bed and quickly got dressed! I literally ran (well not really, I don’t run… if you see me runnin’ you should run too ’cause I’m running from something BAD!) to the store. I gathered all the things I would need because I pretty much didn’t have anything at all that I needed for it. It was like that old TV show. You know the one? Where they give you a buggy and a certain time period and then you run through the store and whoever gets the most expensive groceries wins? Something along those lines. Man, I always wanted to be on that show! Supermarket Sweep, I think. Anyway… It was like that. Except I was trying to get the cheaper stuff… ya’ gotta be frugal! After my sweep of the grocery store, a quick stop at Sonic to get a cold drink, and the drive home, I threw the potatoes in the oven and started getting the other stuff ready. I was ready to scream at my brother by the time I was done. But then I tasted these potatoes and I was just about ready to kiss him! They were super delicious! This is a pretty simple recipe. It just takes a little time, but no real skill. The recipe is also super versatile, so you can change it to suit your needs. Loaded Baked Potatoes are just about my favorite thing in the world! So, that’s what I did.

Loaded Twice Baked Potatoes:

8 russet potatoes,

1 cup sour cream,

1 cup cheddar cheese,

3/4 cup Real Bacon Bits,

3 green onions,

1 stick butter,

Salt, Black Pepper, Tony Chachere’s.

Wash and scrub potatoes well, make sure the skins are clean. Dry them off and place them on a cookie sheet. Bake in a 450 degree oven for 1 hour. I left mine “naked” I didn’t put any olive oil, salt, or even aluminum foil on them. This helps that skin get tough so it’s easier to cut, scoop, and refill the skins. Once they’ve baked take them out of the oven and turn the temp down to 350 degrees. Get a large towel, grab one potato at a time, and cut it in half. Using a spoon, scoop out the center of the potato. You can do this two ways. First, you can either leave a little bit of the inside in to give yourself a stiffer potato, or you can scoop out as much of the inside as possible. In order to keep the shape of the potato, I left a small amount of the potato around the edges. Like this:

twice baked potatoes By the way… this isn’t my picture… I found it online! 🙂

Scoop out the potato and put it in a bowl. Once you’ve scooped out all the potatoes, lie the empty skins on the cookie sheet. You may need another cookie sheet. Now, add the sour cream, cheese, butter, green onions, bacon bits, salt, pepper, and Tony’s to the potato and mix it up really good. I added white pepper to mine, but I know that not everyone has white pepper. I personally love it! After that, refill the skins and top with a little extra cheese. Then bake for about 10 minutes. Just until everything is melted. You can do so much with this recipe. It would be good with ham or turkey. Some black olives. You could even do taco meat or pulled chicken or grilled chicken. I think it would be excellent with some grilled chicken, pesto, and feta cheese. Pretty much anything you like in a potato would be great in this. This was enough for our lunch and our dinner and we still had one half left over. You could easily make this for one person too and just make it your meal!

I love Lemon Ice Box pie… honestly, I just love pie… who doesn’t?!?!? But, Lemon Ice Box is super easy and I normally have most of the stuff in my fridge and pantry for it. Except the lemons. I use fresh lemons, I’m pretty sure you can use the bottled juice; I’ve just never done it. It sure is a pain in the rear to juice those lemons though! It just takes forever to only get a half a cup of juice! I know, I’m pitiful! I must say though… this pie was well worth it! I’ve already given ya’ll a recipe for an fabulous homemade Graham Cracker Crust. Ya’ll can use a store bought crust, I won’t hold it against you! But I love the sweetness and crunch of the homemade. It’s easy, fast, and cheap to make and I’m sure you could make it and freeze it or seal it in a zip lock bag or container to have on hand for no bake pies like this one! I used my Graham Cracker Crust and filled it with this lemony, velvety, filling that just melted on your tongue and had just a hint of that lemony tartness that I LOVE about Lemon Icebox Pie. Then I topped it with some Homemade Whipped Cream that complimented it perfectly! To quote my niece, Hazie, “It was the best since EVER!” 🙂 Here’s what ya’ll will need!

Lemon Icebox Pie:

2 cups heavy whipping cream,

1 cup sugar,

6 egg yolks,

2 cans sweetened condensed milk,

1 cup lemon juice,

2 Graham Cracker Crust’s.

Whip the heavy whipping cream and half the sugar together until it reaches a stiff peak. Set aside for later. Whisk the egg yolks with the rest of the sugar until they are light and pale yellow in color. (I recommend using a stand up mixer or electric mixer for both of these steps.) Once the yolk mixture is a light yellow, slowly whisk in the sweetened condensed milk and lemon juice into the yolk mixture. Gently but thoroughly fold in half of the previously whipped cream. I recommend tasting the filling before you put it in the crusts. You may want a little more lemon. Now, fill the crusts with the mixture. Put the pies in the refrigerator and allow it to sit for at least one hour. The whipped cream needs to be refrigerated during this time as well. Top the pies with the rest of the whipped cream. You can also garnish these with Nilla wafers or Meringue. I don’t particularly like Meringue so I don’t use it. You can also make the crust with Nilla’s but I’m partial to graham crackers. You may be asking why you can eat this filling without cooking it when it has egg yolks in it. The acidity in the lemons “cooks” the eggs, so it’s completely safe!

When I was growing up, we had Beef Rice-A-Roni a lot. I loved that stuff and still do! We didn’t have a lot of money so we stretched what we had as much as we could and Rice-A-Roni was cheap! I also have a hankering for Popeye’s dirty rice! I know… I probably shouldn’t but it’s so yummy! This past week, I came home from work late. I was exhausted and didn’t want to go to the grocery store. I had a few things that I could throw together but nothing sounded good. Suddenly, I saw this box of Uncle Ben’s Original White Rice and I thought about the package of hamburger meat I had in the fridge. I knew I needed to use the meat before it went bad and I had plans to go to the grocery store for my dad’s weekend home the next day. I figured, “Why not try making a dirty rice kinda dish?” I started looking for beef broth and couldn’t find any, I called my mom to bring some but she was going to be too long. So, I tried it without it and guess what? It was the best Dirty Rice-A-Roni that I’ve ever had. It was a little spicy, a little salty, but the best thing was that it was super filling and we had plenty left over for my nephews to take to school for lunch and for my dad to have as a late supper when he came in from Texas. Not only that but it was so easy to make and it made a lot! So this is what you’ll need!

Homemade Dirty Rice-A-Roni:

1 1/2 cups Uncle Ben’s Original or Long Grained White Rice,

3 1/2 cups water,

2 tbsp. butter,

1 1/2 lb ground chuck or ground round,

1 pkg. Jimmy Deen Sage ground sausage,

1 medium onion, peeled and chopped,

3 tbsp. Worcestershire,

1/2 cup. low sodium Soy Sauce,

1 tsp. minced garlic,

Cayenne Pepper, Chili powder, Salt, and Garlic Powder to taste.

Add the rice, water, and butter to a boiler and bring it to a boil. Once it reaches a boil, reduce heat to low, cover, and let it simmer for 20 minutes. While that’s cooking, brown the sausage. What I did was let that sausage cook while I was waiting for the rice to boil, once the rice boiled, I covered it with a plate and used that plate to hold my sausage while I cooked my hamburger meat. It’s all about multi tasking and consolidation! 🙂


Once I had that heat reduced, the sausage cooked and waiting on the plate, I added the hamburger meat and onions to the same skillet I had used for my sausage. Then, I seasoned my hamburger meat with the minced garlic, cayenne, chili powder, salt, and garlic powder. I also added a little of the Worcestershire at this time.

hamburger meat and onions

I know it looks greasy, but that juice at the bottom is from the Worcestershire and the water from the onions and the grease all combining together. But the grease is really important in this dish. You see, when I add the rice, the grease and the juice coats it. The rice soaks the grease up and instead of being a greasy, nasty mess, it turn’s into this little kernel of flavor that will knock your socks off! So what you need to do is add the ground sausage to the hamburger meat. Mix it together, then add the rice. Stir it all together really well and then add the soy sauce. You want to make sure all the rice is coated in those delicious juices at the bottom of the skillet. It’s ready for you to eat. Taste and make sure it doesn’t need anymore seasoning and then serve it up. I serve it with English Peas and Corn. I’ve also already received requests for MORE!

Dirty Rice2 Dirty Rice

I would have loved to add some green or red bell pepper and maybe even a few finely diced carrots. Of course that would cook in with the hamburger meat and onions so it would be soft. You can add more spice or less, but I don’t recommend omitting the spices all together. Even if you only give it a little bit, the flavor gets in it and that’s what’s important, even if its not necessarily spicy! This dish brought back memories of my childhood and it really ended up being a little cheaper than the boxed stuff. I’m not sure on numbers; however, the boxed stuff only feeds four, whereas, this makes enough for at least 6 large servings. You could also use Minute Rice or Brown Rice or Rice Noodles even.

I hope ya’ll enjoyed this post and will enjoy these recipes as much as my family did! I’m sorry there weren’t more pictures but I’ll make up for it on the next one! Ya’ll have an awesome night and let me know how your recipes turn out!




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