Daily Tidbits

Be Kind. Do Good. Love is a Verb.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Family Favorites: Brown Sugar Muffins

The perfect breakfast muffin.

Brown Sugar Muffins

These have become my teenage son's specialty.  He can whip them up quickly and they're delicious.  Not too sweet and perfect with a glass of milk or to eat on the run.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Family Favorites: Hamsters

No, not the furry little pet, but a delicious breaded chicken roll-up!


My brother-in-law came up with original name and while a bit questionable, these little bundles are simply delicious.  This is a hearty, filling meal and makes a lovely presentation.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Family Favorites: Quiche

I love breakfast.  I love breakfast for dinner.


Quiche isn't necessarily a breakfast food but, traditionally, eggs and bacon are.  This is my tried and true quiche  that I make fairly regularly.  Using one of my frozen pie crusts, it's a relatively easy dinner to make.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Pork Chops with Sauteed Apples

Printable Recipe

1 T olive oil
1/2 cup sliced onion
2 apples, peeled, cored and sliced (I prefer Granny Smith)
1 t. dried thyme
4 boneless pork chops (about 5 oz each)

Heat the oil in a skillet, add the onions and saute them for several minutes to soften.  Add the apples and thyme and cook until golden and soft, probably about 5-8 more minutes.  Remove the onion/apple mixture from pan and set aside.

Season pork chops with salt and pepper. Grill. Top with the sauteed onions and apples mixture and serve. It's great with Rice Pilaf as a side.

Serves 4

The leftovers are delicious on top of a salad.

Holly's Note:
Forgive the photo.  It tastes much better than it looks! 

I was not familiar with Robin Miller before I reviewed her book.  But, as we are trying to eat healthier at our house, it sounded like a terrific book, and so far it is.

This was a delicious meal.  It earned serious raves from my husband and a place in our dinner rotation.  I have modified the recipe to suit my tastes better, and I cooked things longer than the recipe recommended, but you can find the original in her book, Robin Takes 5, available here.  You can see my book review here.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Robin Takes 5...Review

It's 5:00 PM. Everyone's hungry. It's takeout or fakeout, meaning nuking a processed meal from the freezer. But there's a third option that doesn't include processed food or an unhealthy heap of calories and fat--Robin Takes 5.

Imagine quickly preparing delicious meals for yourself, your friends, and your family with just 5 fabulous ingredients. Does it get any better? Absolutely, with Robin Takes 5. The book features 500 recipes and each dish is a mouthwatering 500 calories or less. Two-color recipe text complements full-color photography inserts. In addition, helpful icons note ideal recipes for holidays and entertaining as well as recipes with less than 500 mg of sodium. That's not all--nutritional information is given for each recipe.

In Robin Takes 5, 500 recipes highlight at least 10 different ethnic cuisines, and dishes range from soups, pizzas, and pastas, to chicken, beef, pork, seafood, side dishes, and desserts. Consider 70 recipes just for chicken, such as Cashew Crusted Chicken with Roasted Jalapeno-Mango Chutney, and 50 dessert recipes, such as Orange Marmalade Tart with Chocolate Covered Almonds. Consider yourself armed for mealtime. The next time the clock strikes 5:00 PM and you want both noshing and nourishment, check out Robin Takes 5.

I was not familiar with Robin Miller before I received her book.  But, I love cooking and as we're trying to eat healthier at our house, this sounded terrific.  Every recipe has just about 5 ingredients and is less than 500 calories.  I've marked it up.  Seriously, it's full of post-it tabs.

I do wish there were more photos, but it's easy to read and the recipes are easy to follow.  Most recipes are fairly fast to make and not time intensive and the ingredients are ones you are likely to have on hand.  I prepared the Pork Chops with Sauteed Apples for dinner and my family loved it.  It received rave reviews and has earned a place in our dinner rotation. The leftovers are perfect on top of a salad.  Next on my list is Smothered Steak with Onions, Mushrooms and Mashed Potatoes.

Thanks to Eric at Planned Television Arts for the opportunity to review this book.  You can learn more about Robin Miller here.  You can purchase your own copy here.

Read 1/12

* * * * *
5/5 Stars

Shrimp Scampi

Printable Recipe

Serves 4

3/4-1 lb shrimp, peeled and deveined (I like medium-size)
3 T Butter
2 T Olive Oil
2 Garlic Cloves, minced
1/4-1/2 cup Diced Onion
1/2 cup White Wine
Splash of broth (chicken, vegetable, doesn't matter)
1/2 t. red pepper flakes
3/4-1 lb cooked pasta (I prefer shaped pasta)
Parmesan Cheese
Salt/Pepper to taste

Cook pasta according to directions.  While pasta is cooking, heat butter and olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat.  Add onions and garlic and saute a couple of minutes.  Add white wine, broth, red pepper flakes and shrimp. Sprinkle a little basil over it. Let it simmer 5-7 minutes or until your pasta is finished.  Drain pasta, sprinkle some Parmesan cheese over it and add your shrimp mixture. Toss it all together and enjoy.

Holly's Note:
I love shrimp, but I never cook it because my husband doesn't like seafood.  My teenage son does though, so I tried a Shrimp Scampi the other night.  I looked online and found different variations, but all recipes had basically the same ingredients, so I just really came up with my own.  This is really one of those dishes where you don't even need a real recipe. Just do everything to taste.  Since it was just the two of us eating, I didn't even use a full pound of shrimp or pasta.

I think one key is letting everything simmer together for several minutes so the sauce thickens a little and the flavors blend together.

Also, while most recipes call for long pasta (linguine, fettuccine, angel hair), I prefer shaped pasta.  I think the dish is more flavorful because shaped pasta gives you so many nooks and crannies in which to trap the sauce.

This was very light, yet filling and absolutely delicious.  It would be very easy to add your own seasonings for whatever flavor you want.

This post has been shared on Food on Friday.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Things I Never Thought I'd Say...

Something I never imagined myself saying, as a mother:

"Knock it off! We don't sword fight at the dinner table!"

Yep, sword fights with table knives.
At our house.
With two active boys, I really shouldn't be that surprised.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Italian Cream Sodas

4 oz. Any flavored syrup (my favorites are Raspberry or Blackberry)
4 oz. Half/half
10 oz. Club soda
Whipped cream (optional)

Pour syrup and half/half over the ice. Slowly add the club soda.  Stir and enjoy.  Top with whipped cream if desired.

Holly's Note:
Last summer, a girlfriend introduced me to Italian Cream Sodas.  My husband and I were painting our living room on a hot August afternoon, when my girlfriend dropped off two Moxie Java Raspberry Italian Cream Sodas for us.  Boy did they hit the spot. Unfortunately, there is a Moxie Java around the corner from our home and it was too tempting for me to stop by every day to get a soda.  At $3+ each, that adds up.

I went online and found out how to make my own which is significantly easier on my pocketbook.  I get my Torani syrup at Cash & Carry, but Walmart, Albertson's and Cost Plus all have them too.

It's also very easy to adjust to personal tastes.  I like a bit more syrup and my husband likes a bit more half/half and we don't add whipped cream.  The proportions here are a good place to start though and you can adjust your amounts to personal preference.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Family Favorites: Stuffed Meat Shells

Do you ever want an easy peasy dinner that everyone will love?

Stuffed Meat Shells

This is one of our absolute favorites.  It's a go-to meal that we have regularly.  The shells freeze really well and it's so easy to just pull a bag of shells out of the freezer, throw them in a pan with sauce and bake.

Thursday, January 5, 2012


(Graphic found at Noggins and Nonsense via Pinterest)

I love the word "Homemaking".  I have no problems putting "Homemaker" down when I'm filling out a form that asks for my occupation.  I love being at home.  I think home is the most important place in the world and I think happy homes make this world a better place.  There is no better place for children to grow up than in a home they know is a safe place where they feel loved.

I worked outside of my home for many years and I well understand the challenges it brings. But I believe our home was a happy place when I was working, as it is now, because I was just a different kind of homemaker then.  I believe every wife/mother is a homemaker because, in my experience, whether I stay at home or work outside the home, the tone of our home is still mainly my responsibility even with a supportive and helpful spouse and children.  It's a lot of pressure, but it's true.

I cook to provide sustenance and meals for my family, but I also cook because I enjoy it.  My husband says that one of my love languages is food.  I think he's right.  I have this intense urge to feed people when they visit.  I'm often the first to volunteer to take a meal into someone who is sick or in need of help.

I've always shared recipes and food-related topics here on this blog, but I'm thinking of branching out and covering more thoughts that come from my heart or impressions that have been on my mind.

Homemaking is just one of those.