Thursday, May 30, 2019

Hawaiian Chicken Lettuce Wraps

A sure sign spring has finally arrived.
"It's impossible," said pride.
"It's risky, " said experience.
"It's pointless," said reason.
"Give it a try," whispered the heart. 

Hawaiian Chicken Lettuce Wraps
The dish is light, fresh and perfect for a late spring meal. Pair the meal with fresh fruit and a salad. Recipe adapted from Real Food Publication Summer 2019 and makes 4 lettuce wraps.
  • 1 TB. olive oil
  • 1 lb. ground chicken
  • 1 cup sweet mini- peppers (red, yellow and orange), diced
  • 2 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 cup sweet onions, diced
  • 1/3 cup hoisin sauce
  • 1 TB. soy sauce
  • 1 TB. rice wine vinegar 
  • 1 TB. brown sugar
  • 1 TB.grated fresh ginger
  • 1-2 tsp. Sriracha
  • 1 (8 0z. can) water chestnuts, drained and diced
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 cup fresh pineapple, diced in small pieces (look for a small container in produce) 
  • 1/3 cup water or pineapple juice 
  • 1 head butter lettuce
  • 1/3 cup chopped peanuts or roasted cashews

  • In a large fry pan heat oil over medium heat. Add ground chicken, sweet onions, peppers and garlic. Cook until browned 5-8 minutes, stirring constantly.
  • Wipe pan clean of excess fat with paper towels, moving chicken from side to side in the pan until it is cleaned.
  • Stir in hoisin sauce, soy sauce, wine vinegar, ginger, Sriracha, pineapple and water or pineapple juice. brown sugar and water chestnuts. Cook on medium low for 5-6 minutes. Season with salt and pepper as needed.
  • To serve place 1/2 cup Hawaiian chicken filling on one butter leaf lettuce, top with green onions if desired and chopped peanuts or cashews.

Wednesday, May 29, 2019

Sesame Asian Slaw

Just living is not enough
one must have sunshine, freedom, 
and a little flower.
Hans Christian Anderson
Sesame Asian Slaw 
Cook's Notes: A savory slaw recipe which easily doubles as a side salad or add in chicken for a main dish. Make your own sesame vinaigrette dressing for a healthier option full of Asian flavor. Recipe serves 4 and was inspired by
Salad Ingredients:
  • 1/2 bag (14 oz,) bag of coleslaw or 1/2 bag chopped Asian salad mix
  • 1 cup sweet mini peppers, red, yellow and orange, diced
  • 1/2 cup red onions, diced or green onion, diced
  • 2 handful of torn baby spinach leaves, stems removed
  • Optional 1/2 cup fresh cilantro 
  • 1/3 cup sliced almonds
  • 1/4 cup toasted sesame seeds
  • Crunchy salad topping tortilla strips (found in produce)
  • Optional 2 cups chicken diced 
Sesame Vinaigrette Dressing Ingredients:
  • 2 TB. mild flavored oil e.g. avocado or olive oil 
  • 1 TB. low sodium soy sauce
  • 1 TB. rice vinegar 
  • 1/2 tsp. honey or maple syrup
  • 1/2 tsp. toasted sesame oil
  • 1/4 tsp. ground ginger 
  • 1 small garlic clove, minced
  • Mix all salad ingredients.
  • Whisk all ingredients in a jar or a blender. Taste test to balance ingredients. 
  • Refrigerate until needed and add dressing right before serving.  

Tuesday, May 28, 2019

The World According to Bella

Holiday Wrap-Up
Mrs. S thought I needed to look festive. We were having company for lunch. I didn't know what to expect. Turns out  some of the guests were very small. I must have looked huge to them but they didn't seem to mind my size. The littlest one really liked my new bed. She settled in quite happily playing with her toy. 
I went to another room and watched her from afar. I did guard my ball just in case she'd crawl to get it. 
But the bigger one came and took the ball away. There was nothing I could do. Mrs. S had given me strict instructions to have  good manners and share. But gosh it was hard. The two of them made a lot of noise. So after awhile I went under the dining room table to escape all the commotion. But they found me and now we were three under the table. 
The bigger one thought I needed my nose wiped and she had a napkin. You will be happy to know I was real patient and let them hang out with me. They kept wanting to give me lots of hugs, sloppy kisses and crawling on me hoping for rides. When Mrs. S said it was time to show them the lake I made a beeline for the door. I had hoped for a boat ride and jumped right on board. But they all decided it was much too cold and windy.  The rest of the day was uneventful. I needed a nap after they left. 

Hope your day was fun and you were warm. We were not. Lucky for me I wisely did not shed all of my fur coat in Arizona as I certainly need it now.  
Love, Bella

Sunday, May 26, 2019

Kid Friendly Memorial Day Foods

It doesn't take a hero to order men into battle. It takes a hero to be one of these men who goes into battle.
by Norman Schwarzkopf US. Army officer who commanded Operation Desert Storm

Cook's Notes: I realize

but never the less these ideas can be used anytime for summer meals.
One of my favorites and so easy is an ice cream sandwich coated with sprinkles.
Let ice cream bar soften a little and add the sprinkles. Lightly wrap in wax paper and refreeze.
A bowl of  yogurt pretzels
a bowl of string mozzarella sticks 
and watermelon on a stick
veggie kabobs 
or a fun veggie tray with ranch dressing
are some healthier options while waiting for the main meal. 
When I saw the title for this recipe BEST EVER BAKED BEANS I was a bit skeptical. We all have what we think is our own best baked bean recipe. But one spoonful of this side dish will have you smacking your lips and wanting more. We had a 4 year old guest who loved every spoonful. It was that good I will never buy from the deli again since it's so easy to put together. The recipe required no adaptation except I halved it to serve for a smaller group. I could say it served 6 but since so tasty a realistic guess would be 4. It can be prepared the night before and then reheated. 
Recipe from Food Network  

Best Ever Baked Beans
  • 1/2 lb. ground beef
  • 1 cup sweet onions, diced 
  • 3/4 cup mini sweet peppers, diced yellow, orange and red
  • 1 can (28 oz.) Bushs Baked Beans Maple and Bacon Cured  
  • 1/4 cup barbecue sauce (I used Sweet Baby Ray brand) 
  • 1/4 cup ketchup
  • 1 TB. spicy brown mustard or yellow mustard
  • 1 TB. Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tsp. soy sauce
  • 2 TB. brown sugar
  • Optional 4 slices of cooked crumbled bacon
  • Brown ground beef, onions and peppers
  • Drain and crumble ground beef.
  • In  large saucepan add ground beef, peppers, onions and rest of ingredients. Cook on low 30 minutes uncovered. 

Saturday, May 25, 2019

Mom Bossing

Mom Bossing: The Freedom to Create the Business You Love

Thinking about stepping away from your 9-5 job to create your own business and work from home? Then Rebecca Flansburg's book Mom Bossing:The Freedom to Create the Business You Love may well be that empowering tool you need to become a solo entrepreneur.
It's the sequel to her first book Freelance Freedom: Creating the Work-From-Home Life You Crave, a comprehensive guidebook to a freelance career.
Flansburg's entrepreneurial and visionary spirit with her own businesses and blog champions moms working from home. Her newest book is written to be a practical resource guide to help moms with families create a business, either full or part time. Flansburg chose the title Mom Bossing because it was catchy and speaks to a niche of women who are savvy business owners who also happen to be raising kids and running a household.

Mom Bossing is an engaging read written in no nonsense conversational tone. Each chapter builds on the next with a step by step plan offering practical advice on how to implement a business while working from home. "12 Habits of a Wildly Successful Solopreneur" is a thought provoking chapter. The traits of successful women who have worked from home and found success was enlightening giving the reader much to ponder. The marketing aspect of the book was particularly informative with lots of practical ideas and resources to promote one's business and build up a client base. Flansburg offers her wisdom on the importance of setting up a business website and developing a blogger's platform. She feels strongly these marketing tools will showcase the talents, skills and expertise of the solopreneur.
Flansburg is an energetic, self-motivated, full-time freelance writer, and virtual assistant with expertise in content creation. LAMS communication her virtual assistant services business), offers clients all over the globe assistance in writing, blogging and social media. Flansburg is a freelance writer for many local and national publications. In addition she writes for OPB (Other People’s Blogs) like She is also the project manager for MCCBD (Multicultural Children’s Book Day), a national children’s literary event. She is one of the co-authors of a mom-owned brand publication and website with an Up North focus and has co-authored a soon to be published children's book Sissy Goes Tiny with Ba Norrgard.

Flansburg is a cheerleader for all those moms who have thought of taking a leap of faith, to start their own business working from home. It is evident she has lived every word written sharing her real life experiences of being a sole entrepreneur with all its mistakes, pitfalls, challenges and rewards. With Flansburg's insights and encouragement it's her hope readers will take away from Mom Bossing that "you are not alone! Being a successful business owner, wife, mother, daughter, and sister is not easy...but totally worth it. Entrepreneurship is a long adventurous journey filled with twists and turns and unpredictability.”

One of Flansburg's favorite quotes found in Mom Bossing.

FOLLOW Rebecca Flansburg on her new Amazon Author Page!!

Friday, May 24, 2019

Memorial Day Cooking Part Two: Grilled Entrees and Drinks

Moroccan Grilled Chicken Kabobs with Tzatziki SauceTasty grilled skewered chicken marinated in a Moroccan style spice blend. It is easy to make marinating the chicken in lemon juice, olive oil and a blend of spices and then grilling it to perfection. The spice blend is made with a number of ingredients including a base of paprika with a touch of heat being provided by some cayenne and a hint of the exotic by the cinnamon, ginger and turmeric. Grilling the chicken only takes a few minutes. As a time saver serve kabobs using a prepared box of herb couscous or Basmati Rice (Roasted Chicken Flavor and Herbs with Orzo Pasta). Pair the meal with fresh fruit and homemade chocolate brownie.
Recipe adapted from and serves 4.

  • 1 pound boneless-skinless chicken, cut into chunks
  • 2 TB. lemon juice (half of a fresh lemon)
  • 2 TB. olive oil , Garlic Olive Oil or Eureka Lemon Fused Olive Oil
  • 1 tsp. paprika
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1/8 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp. ginger
  • 1/4 tsp. turmeric, saffron or curry
  • 1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. pepper
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • lemon slices
  • 10 large wood skewers (soaked at least 30 minutes in water).
  • optional veggies to thread on skewers: zucchini (green or yellow), sliced into 1/3″ rings, medium bell peppers, cut into 1″ pieces, 1 medium sweet or red onion, sliced into chunks, medium sized mushrooms, rinsed and dried on paper towels

  • Place chicken pieces in a bowl, drizzle with olive oil and lemon juice. Combine spices in another small bowl and sprinkle over chicken pieces. Place in a freezer zip loc bag and marinate the chicken for several hours or overnight in the refrigerator.
  • Drain marinade and skewer the chicken with veggies. Grill over medium-high heat until cooked, about 10 minutes per side.
Serve with Tzatziki Sauce-a Greek cucumber yogurt dip. It’s a healthy sauce you can serve with chicken, grilled veggies, pita chips, gyros and as a raw veggie dip.
  • 1/2 English cucumber, peeled about 1 cup
  • 10 oz. plain Greek yogurt
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/3 cup chopped fresh dill or 1-1/2 tsp. dried dill
  • 1 TB. freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp. sea salt, or to taste
  • 1/8 tsp. black or lemon pepper
  • The cucumber should be peeled, finely diced and strained of it's juices. I squeezed it really tight by the fistful with two paper towels. Getting rid of excess juice is important so that you tzatziki sauce isn't watery the next day.
  • Combine the strained and chopped cucumber with plain Greek yogurt, lemon juice, minced garlic, dill, salt and pepper.
  • Mix everything together in blender pulse a few times, but not puree it. For best flavor make the sauce the day before for flavors to meld.
Some other Ever Ready Specials include:
Raspberry Balsamic Sauce Served Over Grilled Pork
Foil Packet Lemon Shrimp with Corn and Zucchini   
Lemon Dijon Salmon with Spinach, Squash and Potatoes 
Both recipes found at

Ever Ready Drink Specials
Strawberry Mojito 
Cherry Margarita

  • 2 cups strawberry margarita mix
  • 1 cup club soda
  • 2 cups crushed ice
  • tequila (for adults only)
  • lime slices and fresh strawberries for garnish
  • Sugar sprinkles
  • 1 teaspoon corn syrup

  • Prepare glasses. Using your finger or a small paint brush just for food, bush corn syrup along rim of glass. Dip Glasses in sprinkles and set aside. 
  • Combine margarita mix and crushed ice in a blender, blend until desired consistency. Add club soda and pulse just to combine. 
  • Pour into prepared glasses. For adults only, top with a shot of tequila. Garnish with fruit and enjoy.

Thursday, May 23, 2019

Memorial Day Cooking: Part One

Last Minute Ideas -Memorial Day Cooking
A blitz of easy ideas 
Mix green/red grapes, strawberries, raspberries and blueberries in a large bowl. Make sure fruit is patted dry before adding the dressing .
Drizzle Honey Lime dressing over mixed fruits and refrigerate for several hours. \

Honey Lime Dressing : mix 1/4 cup honey and juice from 2 limes (about 3 tablespoons)
Fruit Salad

Watermelon Heirloom Tomato Salad 

Red-White-Blue Mousse Parfaits
Lemon Berry Shortcakes
Shrimp Cups

Fruit and Cheese Tray
Root Beer Baked Beans

Potato Cucumber Salad with Ranch Dressing

PART Two: Fire Up the Grill and Patriotic Drinks

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Hot Udon Noodles with Stir Fry Pork

While spring in stalled in the grips of rain, wind and cold enjoy these photos of a season once remembered. 

Add an Asian flair to your next dinner with Hot Udon Noodles with Stir Fried Pork 
Cook's Notes: An easy stir fry dinner with a sauce that is flavorful and packed with your favorite Asian flavors. Recipe serves 6 and was inspired by Cook's County June/July 2019
Japanese Udon Noodles were used instead of spaghetti noodles. Udon noodles are traditionally served in broth-based soups and stir-fries.
  • 1/2 package of Udon Noodles
  • 1 TB. toasted sesame oil
  • 3/4 lb. fresh ground pork
  • 1/3 cup green onion, diced
  • 1 cup mini sweet peppers red, yellow, orange, diced
  • 3 garlic clove, minced  
  • 1 TB. soy sauce
  • 2 TB. hoisin sauce
  • 1 TB. sherry
  • 1 TB. rice vinegar
  • 1-1/2 TB. Asian Sweet Chili Sauce Sauce
  • 1 tsp. sugar
  • 1 cup water  
  • 1 heaping teaspoon cornstarch
  • 3 handfuls of torn spinach leaves, stems removed
  • Optional red pepper flakes or Sriracha Sauce
  • Garnish salted cashews
  • In a wok or a large skillet pan heat oil and add ground pork. Brown meat about 8 minutes with mini peppers, onions, and garlic. Crumble meat using a pastry cutter. 

  • Wipe pan free of grease
  • In a glass measuring cup add water and cornstarch, mix well. Add soy sauce, hoisin sauce, sherry, rice vinegar, chili sauce and sugar, whisk to blend. 
  • Add to pork mixture and cook on low until thickened. Taste test to adjust flavorings. 
  • Add in spinach leaves and stir fry until wilted.  
  • Add in dash pepper flakes or Sriracha if needed
  • Cook Udon noodles according to package directions. 
  • Serve Stir Fry Pork over drained noodles. 
  • Garnish with cashews.

Cinnamon Apple Muffins

GET TO KNOW YOUR APPLES Pink Lady , great balance of sweet and tart. Granny Smith , maybe the most popular baking apple. A little more tart ...