Dijon Balsamic Dressing

Nick decided that before he departed for Afghanistan that he would try a last ditch effort to get in shape. So we were attempting to put spinach in everything we ate for what seemed like weeks. When it came down to crunch time {both to get healthy and to use up all of the spinach} he was drinking weird green smoothies and eating spinach by the slice.

Really. That is not an exaggeration.

Well, finally after what seems like an eternity we finally used it all up on a salad. But to spice an ordinary salad up {to Nick’s liking} he decided to make his own salad dressing, which just happens to be totally amazing. Take a look.


Nutritional Information
Servings: 6
Serving Size: approximately 2 tablespoons
Calories: 93.8
Fat: 9.3 g
Carbohydrates: 1.7 g
Fiber: 0 g
Protein: 0 g
Points+: 3


Recipe Adapted from In the Kitchen with David, Comfort Foods that take you home, p. 92

  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1/3 cup balsamic vinaigrette
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 ½ teaspoons salt
  • 1 ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil


  • Put the garlic in a food processor and pulse until finely chopped
  • Add the balsamic vinaigrette, mustard, salt and pepper and pulse for 3 to 4 seconds. With the food processor running add the olive oil in a slow, steady stream, until the dressing is emulsified, 10 to 20 seconds
  • Enjoy over your favorite Cobb salad! 



Spinach & Sun Dried Tomato Frittata

Breakfast and brunch around here are a big deal, especially on the weekends. During the week Nick usually scoots out the door with a mug of coffee and a lunchbox full of leftovers, but Saturday and Sunday are a different story. Usually Nick waits until mid morning to tell me he is hungry, which is usually his way of suggesting some sort of delicious brunch. Well, I usually don’t put up too much of a fight. He works hard all week and he happens to love breakfast. Sometimes I poke fun at him, but it is all in good humor.

Recently, we had some spinach to use up {we foolishly purchased two HUGE bags full of spinach and then ended up traveling around a bunch for a month.} We hate wasting food, so we did not want the spinach to spoil. Therefore, I knew it had to be put to good use for breakfast. Take a look.


Nutritional Information
Servings: 8
Serving Size: 1 piece
Calories: 94.8
Fat: 6.3 g
Carbohydrates: 1.5 g
Fiber: .18 g
Protein: 7.8 g
Points+: 2


Recipe Adapted from In the Kitchen with David, Comfort Foods that take you Home, p. 49

  • Vegetable Oil Spray
  • 6 large eggs
  • 1 ½ spicy sausage links
  • 1 ounce sun dried tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons fresh basil
  • 1 garlic clove
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon pepper
  • 2 cups coarsely chopped spinach
  • 2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese



  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees F
  • Spray an 8-inch ovenproof nonstick skillet with the vegetable oil spray
  • Heat the skillet over medium heat
  • While the skillet is heating up, whisk the eggs in a medium bowl until frothy
  • In a blender, add the tomatoes, basil, garlic, spicy sausage, salt and pepper and pulse until everything is small diced
  • Add the sausage and tomato mixture to the eggs and combine
  • Add the egg mixture to the skillet and cook without stirring until the eggs begin to set on the bottom, about 1 minute
  • Top with the spinach leaves
  • Carefully loosen the edges with a heat-proof spatula ad continue to cook for another 1 or 2 minutes
  • Transfer the skillet to the oven and bake for 5 to 7 minutes, until the frittata is puffed and golden brown
  • Place a plate large enough to hold the frittata bottom side up on top of the skillet
  • With the plate and skillet firmly pressed together, invert the frittata onto the late
  • Sprinkle with the Parmesan
  • Slice into thin wedges and serve
  • Enjoy!! 




The Perfect Hard Boiled Egg

I don’t know about you but I love egg sandwiches. I have a particular love for hard boiled eggs layered on top of toasted bread, American cheese, salt and pepper with a drizzle of mustard…. the regular stuff, not that fancy Dijon mustard. I will go through periods of my life where I will not eat eggs but eventually my love for eggs comes pummeling into my life without much warning.

I figured this was a great time to blog about eggs with Easter being right around the corner. If you are like me, coloring hard boiled eggs was a tradition growing up. I still think about doing it, but life is so busy for us right now. Last Easter we found our house and put a deposit on the land to have the house built and this Easter we are dealing with a deployment. Nick leaves Monday. So, you guessed it, I will be shedding plenty of tears! 

Anyway... where was I? Ah, yes, my love for eggs pummeling back in to my life.

That’s exactly where I have been lately. No lie, there was a week where I ate only scrambled eggs for dinner. Yep, every-single-night was the same dinner – fluffy scrambled eggs with some cheese, toast and a side of ketchup (again, the real stuff a.k.a. Heinz). I rekindled the relationship between scrambled eggs and ketchup a few months ago. Nick always eats eggs that way and I used to scoff at him. You know, because that’s the juvenile way to eat scrambled eggs. I held my head low when I realized that ketchup and scrambled eggs would always be a great match.

After that week or so of eating scrambled eggs every chance I could I quit cold turkey; that is until 2 weeks ago. 

Two weeks ago I made the mistake of making hard-boiled eggs. When I took a bite of that hard boiled egg it was instant magic. The sparks started to fly and I fell in love all over again. Making a hard-boiled egg sandwich is a work of art that not everybody has the gift of creating. In fact, I would not suggest just anybody making a hard-boiled eggs sandwich without proper planning and instruction.

Anyway, I was always worried that my eggs would not come out right. My mom, of course, makes the best hard-boiled eggs yet I never considered calling her up for help. I know, stupid mistake. Either way, Nick and I stumbled across the best way to hard boil eggs {interestingly enough, it’s the same one my mom uses. Duh!} So today I don’t have much of a recipe, just instructions to make the best hard-boiled eggs! Take a look!


Nutritional Information
Servings: varied
Serving Size: 1 egg
Calories: 80
Fat: 5 g
Carbohydrates: 0 g
Fiber: 0 g
Protein: 7 g
Points+: 2


  • Eggs
  • Salt
  • Vinegar
  • Water



  • Add a layer of eggs on the bottom of a stockpot
  • Cover the eggs with ice-cold water until the eggs are submerged and the water covers the eggs by an inch
  • Add a half a tablespoon of salt to the water
  • Add a tablespoon of vinegar to the water
  • Over medium heat bring the water to a rolling boil. Allow the water to boil for one full minute. Then remove the pot from the water, cover and let the eggs sit for at least 20 minutes





Vodka Spiked Spaghetti

I don’t know about you but I happen to love simple recipes that pack a punch. For instance, pasta is an easy dinner any weeknight. I was not one of those kids that loved pasta growing up either in fact I detested it. However, every week, without fail, my mom would make spaghetti. I ate it, but I never understood why we had to have it. I mean, I would have rather had fried shrimp and French fries.

You don’t know this, but I’m chuckling out loud because now it all makes sense. You see, my mom was a hard-working woman who not only had to work a hard day each day, but also had to juggle a picky eater, she had to maintain a household and a husband. She was an amazing mom and woman; she still is. But I never appreciated that spaghetti each week. It was a humble meal, but it was hot and she always put a little twist on it.

I always thought we were having spaghetti because she liked it and wanted to have it for dinner, which annoyed me because I did not want it. I remember she used to pile her plate with spaghetti and top it off with a bunch of grated Parmesan cheese. I do that now, you know. Often times I wonder if it is because my mom did it or if it was the beginning of my love for cheese. I still do that to this day – pile a load of cheese on my spaghetti. It reminds me of my mom. It makes me thankful that she took the time to make me a hot dinner after a hard days work. She could have easily come home and made me a peanut butter and jelly sandwich; I was lucky!

As I got older I realized pasta was not so bad. I actually like it and crave it now, especially with my individual twists. I try not to use bottled sauces, so my pasta usually comes in different sauce flavors so I don’t get bored with it. Take a look at my newest addiction.



Nutritional Value:
Servings: 4
Serving Size: 2 ounces pasta
Calories: 421.7
Fat: 11 g
Carbohydrates: 52.3 g
Fiber: 5.5 g
Protein: 9.1 g
Points+: 9


 Recipe Adapted from 6 Bittersweets

  • ½ pound dry angel hair pasta
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • ½ cup finely chopped onion
  • ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • ½ teaspoon chicken bouillon
  • ½ cup vodka
  • 2 (14.5 ounce) cans diced tomatoes, undrained
  • ¼ cup whipping cream
  • ¼ cup half & half
  • 3 tablespoons thinly sliced fresh basil
  • Salt &pepper
  • Grated Parmesan cheese, to garnish



  • Cook the pasta according to the package directions. Drain & keep warm.
  • Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium high heat
  • Add onion to pan, sauté 4 minutes or until tender
  • Add pepper, garlic and bouillon, sauté 1 minute
  • Add vodka and bring to a boil
  • Reduce heat, and simmer 3 minutes or until liquid is reduced by about half
  • Stir in 1/3 teaspoon salt, pepper and tomatoes then bring to a boil
  • Reduce heat and simmer 15 to 20 minutes
  • Remove skillet from heat and let cool slightly
  • If you have an emulsion blender, puree the sauce in the pan {otherwise, place tomato mixture in blender and process until smooth.}
  • Return tomato mixture to pan. Mix in the cream, and then cook the sauce for 2 minutes over medium heat, stirring constantly
  • Remove from heat. Stir in cooked pasta & basil.
  • Serve & Enjoy!! 




Hearty & Creamy Tomato Soup w/ Grilled Cheese Croutons

I {sometimes} have a serious addiction to QVC and their food-related products. Often times you could find me sitting in front of the television on a Sunday afternoon watching In the Kitchen with David. I happen to love David. He has a great attitude and personality and, most importantly for QVC I suppose, he’s a great sales person. I would probably buy anything he sells on television. Obviously, I cannot afford to buy everything but I have scored some seriously awesome items from QVC. One of my favorite things, however, is David’s cookbook. My mom gave it to me for Christmas and I got started making his recipes right away.

Oh, and he has an extremely splendid array of recipes. The first one I ended up trying was a homemade tomato soup recipe. I have been dying to make tomato soup with an awesome crouton topping and I noticed he had a great recipe that suited my needs so I gave it a shot.

I have to tell you this is probably the BEST tomato soup I have ever had in my life. Since I made it Nick has been raving about it to everybody who will listen. I think I may have to make it again before he is deployed. He loved it that much. Take a lookie look!


Nutritional Value
Servings: 6 
Serving Size: about 1 1/2 cup soup + 3 croutons
Calories: 226.2
Fat: 14 g
Carbohydrates: 23.2 g
Fiber: 4.9 g
Protein: 5.1 g
Points+: 6



Reciped Adapted from In the Kitchen with David, Comfort Foods that take you Home, 69-70

{Creamy Tomato Soup}

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • ½ large onion, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper, plus more to taste
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 2 tablespoons all purpose flour
  • 1 (28 ounce) can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 (6 ounce) can tomato paste
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 3 cups chicken broth
  • ½ cup heavy cream 

{Grilled Cheese Croutons, makes 72}

  • 4 tablespoons Smart Balance Butter
  • 6 slices bread
  • 4 ounces American Cheese {I used Land ‘o Lakes deli cheese}


To make the soup ~

  • Heat the butter and olive oil in a large stockpot over low heat
  • Add the onion, salt and pepper
  • Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is soft, 6 to 8 minutes
  • Add the garlic and cook for 2 minutes more
  • Sprinkle with the flour to make a roux, and stir constantly for 3 more minutes
  • Stir in the tomatoes, tomato paste, sugar and chicken broth. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat, cover and simmer for 30 minutes
  • Taste the soup and add salt and pepper, if necessary
  • Remove the soup from the heat and allow it to cool slightly
  • Working in batches, puree the soup in a food processor or blender {or with an immersion blender}
  • Return the soup to the pot and stir in the cream
  • Reheat over low heat just until hot. Do not boil


To make the croutons ~

  • Heat a skillet over medium high heat
  • Spread the butter on one side of each slice of bread
  • Place 3 slices of bread, butter side down, in the hot skillet
  • Top each slice with cheese, then the remaining bread slices, butter side up
  • Grill until the sandwiches are toasted and browned and the cheese has melted, 3 to 5 minutes per side
  • Remove the sandwiches from the pan and allow them to cool slightly
  • Cut the sandwiches into 1 inch squares
  • Serve the soup, accompanied by the Grilled Cheese Croutons
  • Enjoy!!





Mini Stuffed Sweet Peppers

I think it is interesting to make something I once would snub. After I started this blog I knew that my journey would take me to crevices of the food world that would be uncomfortable and require great dedication to control my gag reflexes.

Wondering what I am even rambling on about? Yeah, I ask myself that all of the time. I have this weird way of being able to hear everything I’m saying during conversations, which is a nuisance especially when I am droning on and choose not to stop. For instance, I’m doing it right now. I could easily delete all of these words, yet instead I keep typing.

I need serious help.

Really, help me.

Anyway, where was I? Oh yes, gag reflexes. I am not sure many of you know this, but I am a picky eater. Seems odd that I would choose to start a food blog, eh? As a kid, my mom used to make meals based on what I liked. And while I appreciated it back then I am convinced it led to my obesity. Of course I am not blaming my mom, but I think there is something to be said about making a well-rounded meal for the entire family. If I did not like that meal and chose not to eat it, it would seem I would have eventually gotten the picture; hunger would ultimately set in and would have been forced to eat whatever was on my plate. But because my mom would make me another meal {separate from what she cooked and I did not like} I became spoiled… and incredibly picky.

Obviously I did not turn to vegetables and fruits. Nah, instead I became a connoisseur for fine fried food and eating out. You get the picture.

However, ultimately I completely overhauled my life and started this blog {fast forwarding through most of my life… you are welcome}. 

Now I find myself having to think about eating foods that still gross me out or don’t sound so appealing. One of those foods is stuffed peppers. I never liked the idea of a stuffed pepper. However, Nick loves them. I attempted making them once way back when I first started this little cooking blog but was ultimately not satisfied. {Still to this day I have to fight the urge to make another meal for myself when I don’t like what is on the table…sadly, sometimes I still revert back to my childhood habits.}

Still I wanted to give Stuffed Peppers a try. I’ve been looking for the right recipe for months. I have scoured the Internet, magazines and cookbooks but none of the recipes ever seemed good enough for me to try. That was until last week.

Something miraculous happened last week. I had 2 pounds of mini sweet peppers I had to use lest they go bad and I knew it was time to attempt stuffed peppers again. I found a recipe almost immediately that seemed worthy of an attempt. I knew it was divine intervention. Take a look!



Nutritional Information
Servings: 7
Serving Size: 2 whole peppers, 4 stuffed halves
Calories: 129.2
Fat: 5.6 g
Carbohydrates: 8.8 g
Fiber: 1 g
Protein: 10.4 g
Points+: 3



Recipe Adapted from Delish 

  • 5 ounces spinach
  • 2 slices sandwich bread, finely chopped
  • ¼ cup milk
  • 1 large egg
  • 3 tablespoons grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
  • ½ tablespoon onion powder
  • 1 pound hot Italian sausage, cooked and finely chopped
  • Salt
  • Ground Pepper
  • 14 mini sweet peppers, halved lengthwise & cored
  • Cooking Spray, like pam
  • 1 (14 ounce) can tomato sauce
  • 1 cup chicken broth


  • In a large skillet, cook the spinach over high heat just until wilted, about 1 minute. Drain and press out all of the water. Coarsely chop the spinach. Set aside
  • In a large bowl, knead the chopped bread with the milk, egg and cheese to form a paste
  • Knead the onion powder, sausage and spinach. Then season lightly with salt and pepper
  • Using lightly moistened hands, divide the mixture among the pepper halves and lightly pack it in
  • In a skillet, spray generously with cooking spray. Add the stuffed peppers, filling side down and cook over high heat until well browned, about 5 minutes
  • Turn the peppers over and cook until the skins are browned and blistered, about 4 minutes longer
  • Add the tomato sauce and chicken broth, cover and simmer until the sausage filling is completely warmed through and the peppers are tender, another 6 to 8 minutes
  • Transfer to plates and serve with some rice!


{P.S. these were the best stuffed peppers I have EVER had. The spiciness of the sausage paired nicely with the sweetness of the peppers and tomato sauce. Not to mention I made some white rice and it all came together well. They also heat up nicely the next day!! No more gagging for this foodie!}



Reuben Soup

I think it’s safe to say that winter is pretty much over in Northern Virginia, if we can even claim that it started. I would argue winter does not exactly happen here – a dozen cold days doesn’t equate to winter. Sometimes I wish the epicenter of government were in Maine, now that’s something I could get used to. As it happens, I’m here in the DC metro living life until destiny takes me some place else. I figured we would have another cool day or two, so I decided to make a festive soup for St. Patrick’s week. It turned out great. Take a look.


Nutritional Value
Servings: about 10
Serving Size: 1 ¼ cup
Calories: 332.4
Fat: 23.3 g
Carbohydrates: 13.5 g
Fiber: 1.6 g
Protein: 16.5 g
Points+: 9


 Recipe Adapted from Closet Cooking

  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1 tablespoon onion powder
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • ¼ cup flour
  • 6 cups chicken broth
  • 8 ounces corned beef, shredded
  • 1 ½ cup sauerkraut, drained
  • 4 medium potatoes, peeled & cut into bite sized pieces
  • 2 bay leaves
  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • ¼ cup half & half
  • 2 cups Swiss cheese
  • Pepper, to taste
  • Rye Bread {optional}



  • Melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium heat; add the onion powder, garlic and red pepper flakes. Sauté until the garlic is fragrant, about 2 minutes
  • Mix in the flour and cook, stirring constantly, for 2 to 3 minutes
  • Add the broth, deglaze the pan, add the corned beef, sauerkraut, potatoes, pepper and bay leaves. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer until the potatoes are tender, about 15 minutes
  • Add the cream, season with pepper {if needed} and remove the bay leaves
  • Top with Swiss cheese and broil until the cheese melts, about 5 minutes
  • Enjoy!!  




Cheesy Reuben Dip

Soon it will be St. Patrick’s Day. I never really got into the whole drink green beer and party in the street scene. It just was not my thing. Don’t get me wrong, I may have had a couple of shots of whiskey while wearing some ridiculous green hat or over-sized green sun glasses; but it was always in the safety of an apartment with my friends…nothing more ridiculous than that.

Now don’t get excited, I don’t have a green beer recipe for you. I know many of you would really appreciate that, but drinking beer is still not my scene. Moreover, having a shot of whiskey is not something I do now anyway. I never quite acquired the taste of alcohol - any of it - so I simply don't drink. I can see you all rolling your eyes

I digress.

However, just because I don’t throw down with you beer-loving foodies, I can whip up a mean St. Patrick’s Day treat without much thought. Almost two weeks ago two of my Reuben recipes were featured in the Huffington Post. Check out these Reuben Eggrolls & Reuben Quesadillas. Well, along with my two recipes there were several others featured in the Huffington Post, so I decided to make one that looked absolutely divine. Can you disagree with this recipe?!


Nutritional Information
Servings: approximately 15
Serving Size: about 1/3 cup
Calories:  119.5
Fat: 9.6 g
Carbohydrates: 1.3 g
Fiber: 0 g
Protein: 8.8 g
Points+: 3


Recipe Adapted from A Farmgirl's Dabbles 

  • 1 lb. shredded corned beef
  • 8 ounces shredded Swiss cheese
  • 14 ounces sauerkraut, drained very well
  • ¾ cup low fat plain yogurt
  • ¼ cup Fat Free Thousand Island Dressing



  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees F
  • In a large bowl, mix all ingredients together
  • Spoon into an oven-proof serving dish
  • Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until it is bubbling and nicely browned on top
  • Serve with your favorite crackers or bread {I used thinly sliced rye bread. I quartered each slice and toasted it for several minutes.}  


This was an incredible dip. I love all of the ingredients that go into making a Reuben and this was no exception! I lightened this recipe up a bit by substituting plain low-fat yogurt for the mayo. I'm not a mayo girl myself, so it worked perfectly! Make it, seriously!




Sage & Gorgonzola Cheese Puffs

It has definitely been a hectic couple of weeks. Honestly, I don’t even know what happened to the month of February. All of a sudden it was here, Punxsutawney Phil was popping out of his hole, Valentine’s rolled on by and BAM here we are in March!

What the heck?

Today is my anniversary – Nick and I have been together for 5 years. It has definitely been a struggle, but with any great relationship comes hard work and dedication, right?

It would be best if you agreed because any dissent may result in this foodie throwing a temper tantrum in the kitchen.

Anyway, moving along. Nick and I celebrate 5 years today. His gift to himself was volunteering for a deployment to Afghanistan. Therefore, in a couple of weeks he will be leaving me and I’ll be on my own {again} for another year of my life. I know this is something he wants to do and, like a good girlfriend that I am, I supported and encouraged his decision. However, I am still dreading the moment he leaves me and will worry like a crazed lunatic until the moment he comes home.

With all of that being said, I should warn you of something else – I am a stress and emotional eater. And while I would like to tell you all that I make healthy choices I cannot, therefore in the next year I may be making a lot of hearty, comfort foods that may {typically} pack a big punch on your waistline. However, I will attempt to minimize the effects. If you are willing to come along for the ride I will stand by my decision to health-ify those non-healthy-hearty-soul-soothing comfort foods that we all love in moments of stress.

Today I have a light and fun recipe, very similar to the one I made last week. Remember those Cheddar Cheese Puffs? Good! Take a look at these.



Nutritional Value
Servings: 12
Serving Size: 1 Puff
Calories: 74.4
Fat: 5 g
Carbohydrates: 3.9 g
Fiber: .1 g
Protein: 2.5 g
Points+: 2 



Recipe Adapted from Cookin' Canuck

  • ½ cup water
  • 3 tablespoons butter, cut into small pieces
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup flour
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon fresh sage
  • ½ cup crumbled Gorgonzola Cheese {you could add more if you want!} 



  • Preheat oven 400 degrees F
  • In a medium saucepan, heat the water, butter and salt. Do not boil the mixture.
  • Once the butter melts, stir in the flour. Stir quickly until the mixture binds together.
  • Continue to stir for another minute, while the pot sit on the heat
  • Transfer the mixture to a bowl and let the mixture cool slightly. Stir in the 2 eggs, one at a time.
  • Ensure that the first egg is fully combined into the mixture before adding the second egg
  • Add the minced sage and crumbled Gorgonzola. Stir to combine.
  • Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  • Spoon the dough onto the parchment paper. Each puff should be 1 to 2 inches in diameter, and they should be spaced an inch apart.
  • Bake, without opening the door, for 10 minutes and then lower the temperature to 375 degrees F for another 15 minutes, or until the puffs are golden brown and crisp on the outside.
  • Pierce each puff with a small, sharp knife to release the steam, which will stop them from becoming soft
  • Serve immediately. 




Cheddar Cheese Puffs

I used to be a chocolate addict. Really, I could eat it by the pound. Well, maybe that’s a slight exaggeration, but you know what I’m saying. However, the last couple of years have been a completely different story. While I still have the occasional need to satisfy my sweet tooth, it usually includes Sweet Tarts, Smarties or Lemonheads & friends. My mouth is watering just thinking about all of those sweets that I love so dearly. Honestly, when I start eating those things I cannot stop eating them. I can seriously go through one of those large boxes of Sweet Tarts in a couple of days. I eat them until my tongue is sore.

I need help; maybe candy anonymous meetings?

However, most of the time I crave comfort food. You know the kinds of food I’m talking about – macaroni and cheese, gumbo, chicken pot pie, mashed potatoes and gravy, cheesy filled carb-rich foods that force people to the gym wear sweats for two days.

Ahhh, yes. That is what I crave eighty-five percent of the time.

Well, I was craving bread this weekend but I did not want to make any ordinary kind of bread. Instead of making regular ole biscuits I decided to make fluffy, light and airy puffs of heaven. Oh, yes, they are heavenly. Take a look.



Nutritional Information
Servings: 16
Serving Size: 1 Cheddar Cheese Puff
Calories: 138
Fat: 10.4 g
Carbohydrates: 5.9 g
Fiber: .18 g
Protein: 5 g
Points+: 4



Recipe Adapted from Simply Recipes 

  • 1 stick butter
  • 1 cup water
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon fresh garlic, minced {or garlic salt}
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 ½ cup grated extra sharp cheddar cheese
  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh rosemary
  • Freshly ground pepper



  • Preheat oven to 425 degrees F
  • In a medium sized saucepan, add the water, butter, salt and garlic. Bring to a boil over high heat
  • Reduce the heat to medium and add the flour all at once. Stir rapidly. The mixture will form a dough ball that will pull away from the sides of the pan. It helps to use a wooden spoon to stir, as the dough will be rather thick. Continue to cook for a couple of minutes.
  • Remove the pan from the heat and let cool for a couple of minutes. Stir so the dough cools more evenly. You want the dough to be warm, just not hot so the eggs do not begin to cook when they are added to the dough.
  • Add the eggs one at a time, stirring after each addition until the eggs are incorporated into the dough. The dough should become rather creamy
  • Stir in the cheese, rosemary and pepper
  • Spoon out small balls of the dough onto a baking sheet, with at least an inch separating each spoonful
  • Place in oven and cook for 10 minutes at 425 degrees
  • Lower heat to 350 degrees and cook for another 15 to 20 minutes, until puffed up and lightly golden
  • {At this point, if you wanted, you could easily sprinkle the tops with additional cheese/garlic or brush the top with buttery garlic spread. I found the original recipe to be somewhat bland so we added the garlic to heighten the flavor just a bit. It’s totally your call!}



Enchilada Casserole

I don’t know about you, but I happen to love Mexican food. Having lived close enough to throw a rock across the Mexican border, I became used to getting good, quality and authentic Mexican cuisine whenever I wanted. I remember when we first moved to Sierra Vista that is all I wanted to eat. I think we ate at a local restaurant, La Casita, 4 times a week for the first few weeks. Shameful. I know. I really could not get enough of it, and I knew it was a winner because Nick didn’t tire of it easily. It was a huge win for me!

Often we would go there on a Friday or Saturday night for a date night. There was usually an insignificant wait for such good food. I would probably have waited all night for a table; however, luckily I never had to do that! We would sit there for hours eating chips and salsa, delicious Mexican cuisine, and some sweet desserts. We would talk about politics, life, careers, dreams, everything and anything. It was one of the best times of my life. I loved living near the MI installation. I loved seeing soldiers in their uniforms every single day. And, I loved living across the country. I loved the distance between what was once my life and the path that was beginning to be my future.

However, our stay was short lived. We ended up back on the east coast and every time I crave Mexican I think of Sierra Vista. Last week I was in the mood for Mexican so I decided to whip something delicious up. Take a look!



Nutritional Information
Servings: 12
Serving Size: 1/12th Square
Calories: 321.6
Fat: 15.7 g
Carbohydrates: 25.5 g
Fiber: 3.2 g
Protein: 20 g
Points+: 8



Recipe Adapted from Six Sisters' Stuff

  • 1 ½ lbs. ground beef
  • 3 cups salsa
  • 1 packet taco seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 6 flour tortillas
  • ½ cup reduced fat sour cream
  • 2 ½ cups shredded cheese
  • Lettuce, tomato, cilantro, optional


  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees
  • In a large skillet, cook beef over medium heat until meat is no longer pink; drain
  • Stir in the salsa, sour cream, cumin, and taco seasoning
  • Lightly coat a casserole dish with cooking spray
  • Layer a generous amount of the meat mixture on the bottom, sprinkle with shredded cheese
  • Place a tortilla on top of the meat mixture. Layer with another generous serving of the meat mixture and more cheese
  • Repeat this process for as many layers as you like or until the meat mixture runs out
  • Top with shredded cheese
  • Cover with foil {that has been greased with cooking spray} and cook for 30 minutes, or until hot & bubbly
  • Top with lettuce, tomatoes & cilantro if you so desire!

Enjoy! xoxo

S'more Pretzel Bites

Who doesn’t love a good snack? I, for one, cannot say no to a delicious looking bite-sized morsel of goodness. However, I am not one to choose the sweets over the savory most times. I would rather have cheese, bologna and crackers instead of candy. However, every so often having a sweet snack is something I crave. That’s what happened last week. I had a great idea to make S’mores! Who doesn’t love a puffed up marshmallow with melting chocolate sandwiched between two salty pretzels? However, it’s chilly outside and we don’t have a grill yet or a fire pit to roast any mallows. Of course, that was no deterrent for a determined gal like myself. I remembered a few weeks back Nick and I toasted some marshmallows over the comfort of our fantastic gas stove! He is a great roaster of marshmallows. I am being completely serious; he made the best-roasted marshmallow I had ever had in my life. It was a bit seared on the outside but perfectly ooey and gooey on the inside. Heavenly. Seriously.

However, giving my craving some serious thought I thought maybe it was not so safe to try to toast a S’more sandwich over an opened flame in my kitchen. Come on, burning some grass or outside stuff seemed more acceptable than the possibility of burning down the house, or, maybe even worse, causing damage to our beautiful appliance. So I decided to use the microwave. Yes, I hear you gasping. She used a microwave? Yes, yes. Calm down. Take an aspirin.
They turned out great. Take a look.


Nutritional Information
Servings: 52
Serving Size: 1 S’more Bite
Calories: 38.9
Fat: 1.1 g
Carbohydrates: 6.9 g
Fiber: .2 g
Protein: .5 g
Points+: 1



Recipe Adapted from Love from the Oven

  • Pretzels
  • 5 Chocolate Bars {I used Hershey Bars}
  • Marshmallows {You can use either small or large, if you use large just split in thirds}


  • Sit the marshmallow pieces on your pretzel; add some chocolate and then microwave for a few seconds, until the marshmallow begins to rise
  • Pull them out; add the second pretzel and let set. I put mine in the refrigerator for a few minutes.
  • I stopped at this point, but you could easily submerge these little guys in melted chocolate. I tried with one of the pretzel bites but it was just too sweet for me. I know there are plenty of you out there who can handle the extra chocolate. So go ahead and cover them with melted chocolate.

Enjoy!! xoxo Mel

Tuscan Sun Dried Tomato Alfredo Ravioli

The last few days have been a whirlwind. Since Nick and I bought our house our parents have been encouraging us to come pick up some of our belongings from their homes. Time was beginning to become tight because Nick’s parents recently built a new house, sold the one they live in now and are planning to move out in mere weeks. So, with a government holiday on Monday, we decided to take the plunge. That’s just what we did. For 5 days we rode all around Pennsylvania and Virginia in a big Penske truck. Other than a bout with a stomach bug that quickly halted all plans on Saturday and Sunday we had a great time.

While in Pennsylvania we celebrated Nick’s mom’s birthday. It was a great time. We actually went to an awesome place called the Accomac Inn. It has a rich history and beautiful home by the Susquehanna River. I cannot wait to go back there. I had Scallops with Andouille Sausage followed by the Surf & Turf, which included lobster, steak, scalloped potatoes, and fresh vegetables. It was so good, but so much food. I mentioned to Nick that I should have ordered another Scallop appetizer instead of the dinner. I would have been satisfied with that! If you’re ever in the area it is definitely worth stopping by for great food and fantastic service. I certainly cannot wait to go back there!

Before we left on our great journey northward I made an awesome ravioli dish. Please excuse the pictures; it just doesn’t do the recipe justice. I promise it was delicious, hearty and filled with great creamy and tomato flavor!


Nutritional Value
Servings: 8
Calories: 250
Fat: 13.1 g
Carbohydrates: 21 g
Fiber: 2.7 g
Protein: 9.6 g
Points+: 6



Recipe Adapted from MyRecipes.com

  • 17.5 ounces refrigerated cheese & basil Ravioli
  • 1 ounce Sun Dried Tomatoes, small dice
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 ½ cup half & half
  • 1 teaspoon lime juice
  • 2 medium sized tomatoes, chopped
  • Garlic salt
  • Ground pepper


  • Prepare pasta according to packaged directions
  • Meanwhile, heat butter over low heat until it melts completely to coat the bottom of a large pan
  • Increase the heat to medium heat, pour in the half & half a little at a time while whisking continuously to smooth out any lumps that may form.
  • Add the lime juice, tomatoes, pepper, garlic & sun dried tomatoes and whisk a bit more.
  • Add the Parmesan cheese then remove from heat*.
  • Pour over the pasta & enjoy!

*The cheese will thicken the mixture quickly. So remove as soon as you find the right consistency and before the cheese begins to separate in a funny way.

xoxo Mel

Strawberry Shortcake Bites

Happy Valentine’s Day! I hope your day is filled with love and laughter. This day is not limited to the romantic type of love, either; cram your heart with love from your family and friends today, too! Because I know many of you will be super busy today trying to make it special for the loves of your life, I have a quick and simple recipe for a fun dessert tonight.



Nutritional Value
Servings: 50
Serving Size: 1 strawberry shortcake
Calories: 20
Fat: .1 g
Carbohydrates: 4.2 g
Fiber: 0 g
Protein: .3 g
Points+: 1




Recipe Adapted from Weight Watchers 

  • Angel Food Cake {I used a boxed kind}
  • 2 tablespoons vanilla chocolate, melted
  • Strawberries, quartered
  • Toothpicks 


  • Bake the cake according to the boxed directions
  • Cut the cake in half, you will only need half of the cake for this recipe
  • Alternately, thread strawberries and shortcake quarters into each of the skewers/toothpicks
  • Melt the vanilla chocolate over low heat and drizzle chocolate over shortcake bites



Heart Shaped Pizza

Oh boy. Tomorrow is Valentine’s Day. Is it a total cliché that my heart flutters with excitement about all of the flowers and chocolates, and all of the diamonds that float around during this particular hallmark holiday. Oh, don’t worry. I am not one of those people that actually get spoiled on Valentine’s Day. Hell, I have to remind Nick what day of the week it is most weeks, so remembering to plan something for Valentine’s Day is an expectation that I need not have.

Really it is okay. I realize I may sound ungrateful or jealous or something along the lines of pretentious. I don’t pretend not to be those things sometimes, but not because of Valentine’s Day. Anyway, where was I? Oh yes, I was about to sing the praises of Nick. He spoils me everyday. I don’t need a special day for him to go beyond what he already does for me. What does that prove after all? He is the best thing to happen to me and I am beyond excited that he’ll come home on Thursday evening, having worked a long 12+ hour day, and I will have a special meal for him. Because, let’s be honest, every meal I make is special.

So I think I just simultaneously praised Valentine’s Day and snubbed my noise at it. See there is the pretentiousness I was talking about. I am really pulling out all of the stops for this post.

If you want to do something special for your love on Valentine’s Day or surprise your kids you should totally consider this very easy recipe. There is no hiding I am slightly obsessed with pizza. Well, I decided to cookie cut pizza dough in the shape of hearts. Oh yes, hold your applause. These little heart shaped pizzas will be a great surprise for your kids’ lunch boxes or a nice snack for your love when he gets home from work on Thursday.



Nutritional Value
Servings: 6 pizzas
Serving Size: 1 heart pizza
Calories: 42
Fat: 1.5 g
Carbohydrates: 5.4 g
Fiber: .3 g
Protein: 1.5 g
Points+: 1



Recipe Adapted from Quick & Easy Recipes

  • Pizza dough – homemade or store bought {I sold out and went with store bought}
  • Sauce
  • ¼ cup shredded cheese
  • Heart shaped cookie cutters



  • Preheat oven to 450 degrees
  • Grease a baking sheet
  • Cookie cut pizza hearts out of the dough
  • Arrange the pizza hearts on the baking sheet
  • Add the sauce and sprinkle with cheese
  • Bake for about 8 minutes
  • Remove & Enjoy!! 


Guest Post: Slow Cooker Balsamic Pot Roast

Good Morning everybody! I'm so excited to have a guest blogger today - Bobbi, from Bobbi's Kozy Kitchen! I love Bobbi. She is always so bubbly and is always so friendly! Like me, Bobbi has battled weight issues during her life. It is always inspiring to find people who can sympathize and encourage you along this journey of life and food. She managed to lose a significant amount of weight and keep it off. Much of what she blogs about is inspired by her need to stay healthy without compromising flavor or quality. She's totally my type of girl! When she agreed to do a guest post for me today I was elated, and she doesn't disappoint. I practically drooled all over my keyboard when she shared this recipe! 


Blog | Facebook | Twitter 

My name is Bobbi. Just like Mel I did not coming from a “cooking” background. Quick and easy and fast food were what was on my menu most of the time. Due to those choices my weight skyrocketed and I ended up faced with a huge life decision. I chose to have gastric bypass surgery. After my sugery and subsequent weight loss. I learned to change my thinking when it came to food. I used to be all about quick and easy. Then I realized it was more about quality. I learned to love fresh herbs and veggies, and found out I really enjoyed cooking for my family and friends. Where food had been my enemy for so many years, it was now my friend.

Now food has also allowed me to meet new and wonderful friends via food blogging. I have to admit I did not jump enthusiastically. My kids basically pushed me kicking and screaming into it. I thought they were crazy to think that other people would want to read my rantings or cook my food. But I promised I Would give it a shot. Now I can’t imagine doing anything else. Oh my kids get a real kick out of that and never let me forget that they were the ones that made me do it. But all joking aside, they are my biggest fans and I adore them!

Mel is one of the first “foodies” that I got to know when I started this journey, we clicked off the bat and I am so proud to say she is my friend. But I don’t have to tell you how wonderful she is right? OK I will anyway, she is true gem that I will treasure always! I am so thrilled an honored that she asked me to guest post. I hope you all enjoy it!!

I have talked about how my slow cooker had been banished to the bottom of my pantry some time ago. I don’t know why exactly. I guess it had something to do with the fact that I could never find slow cooker recipes that my family enjoyed. It seemed all I had to do was mention I was thinking about making a slow cooker meal and the whole family would groan. Not a big vote of confidence that the meal would be met with enthusiasm and praise.

Also, many recipes called for canned condensed soups or packets of seasoning mixes. I am not saying that using those things are a bad thing, but when I am trying to reduce calories, fat, and sodium, those ingredients don’t really fit the bill. So that left me with trying to come up with flavorful recipes that my picky family would eat, that didn’t use those items and still wouldn’t break the bank. A challenge I shied away from for quite some time. But I have now chosen to pick up the gauntlet and face the challenge dead on. WOW that was quite dramatic wasn’t it? I will bet you would never guess I was a theater major in my younger years? No way right? Ok Bobbi quit yapping and get to the food!

I am happy to say that this recipe was able to fit all of my criteria. The family loved it, the flavors were fantastic, and at about $15.00 for ingredients it was a great budget meal! 

Slow Cooker Balsamic Pot Roast   

Nutritional Value:


  • 1 Beef bottom roast (about 3 ½ pounds)**
  • Olive oil
  • Kosher salt and cracked black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves, chopped (can sub 1 teaspoon dried thyme if fresh isn’t on sale)
  • 1 large onion, sliced
  • 6 carrots, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1  cup balsamic vinegar
  • 2 ½ cups beef stock
  • Mashed potatoes 


  • Drizzle a small amount of olive oil on a paper towel and rub the inside of the slow cooker. Season the roast with salt and pepper and place in the bottom of the slow cooker. Place the onions, garlic, and carrots around the roast. Pour the stock and the vinegar into the cooker, cover and cook on low for 10 hours.
  • Remove the roast and allow it to rest for 10 minutes. Slice the roast and serve alongside the vegetables and mashed potatoes. Drizzle with the sauce.


**I bought my roast on sale. You can use a chuck roast if that is on sale though. The veggies can be swapped for whatever you enjoy and/or can find on sale, and I always have balsamic vinegar in my pantry. 


Nutritional Value*:: Servings: about 10; Serving Size: approx. 6 ounces; Calories: 327.9; Fat: 16.8 g; Carbohydrates: 2.4 g; Fiber: 0 g; Protein: 39.7 g:: Points+: 8

*Nutritional Value estimated based on the remaining liquid not used. Mashed potatoes not included in calculations. 

Valentine's Day Buttons

It seems like this year is already getting by me. I thought life would slow down a bit after we settled on the house, but I was surely wrong. It seems like we’re always on the go and something or another is popping up and demanding our attention.

Owning a home was something to which we aspired, even though so many people told us how demanding it could become. Never once did I believe that the house would be as arduous as people say.

It is. We have had contractors in here almost every week since we moved in because of one thing or another. It is well worth it, but also very stressful. I am thankful we built a house in a community and with a company that has a reputation of being best in its industry and is more than willing to manage some minor problems with the house. Be aware building a new house is awesome, but it comes with thrilling little surprises!

Besides the house sucking time away from us, we got word that Nick is deploying to Afghanistan. Now time seems of the essence. I suspect everything is flying past us because we have so many loose ends to tie up in a very short period of time. Thinking about the details of him leaving me again leaves me breathing heavily and on the ledge of tears. Instead I think I’ll just eat more.

What else is happening in life? Oh yes, it’s Valentine’s Day week. Hello?! Is this thing on?? Valentine’s day is fast upon us. Let’s talk diamond rings, tennis bracelets, and other expensive jewelry all of you handsome gentlemen should be scouring for at the stores. Or, maybe, because this is primarily a food blog, we should talk about a fun little treat you could make to snack on throughout Valentine’s Day! I think we have a winner! I found these on Pinterest, a love affair that will likely be around for a while. Take a look at these Valentine’s Day Pretzel Buttons! 



Nutritional Information
Servings: 65
Serving Size: 2 buttons
Calories: 63.1
Fat: 3 g
Carbohydrates: 8.3 g
Fiber: .1 g
Protein: .9 g
Points+: 2



Recipe inspired by g*rated

  • Square Pretzels
  • Hershey’s Hugs
  • Valentine’s M&M’s 


  • Preheat oven to 200 degrees
  • Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper
  • Place the pretzels on the paper and top each of them with a hug
  • Bake for about 4 minutes until the chocolate is shiny and soft, but not melting. They should still hold their shape
  • Carefully place an M&M in the center of each hug and press down to spread the chocolate
  • Place in the refrigerator to allow them to harden.


Weekend Breakfast Roundup!

People tell me breakfast is the most important meal of the day, which is why I routinely find myself rummaging through the refrigerator for leftover Swedish meatballs or pizza and, let's not forget, macaroni and cheese. You see, if this is the meal that is going to count why not eat the good stuff up front? Who needs grains and oatmeal, or cereal? All of that stuff can be snacked on throughout the day. 

I digress.

Where was I? Oh yes, breakfast is the most important meal of the day. So I decided to compile some of my favorite breakfast recipes for all of you to drool over. 











MyHabit.com & Serena Bass Giveaway!!

This is my favorite time of year. When I say that to people I can almost feel them wince at me. As if I have been marked with a scarlet letter people make an immediate decision to think I am nuts. I just cannot help myself.

It is more than a brisk day out in the world today. Many would say it is frigid; it’s exactly what I love about the winter. It’s my old friend coming back from a long vacation, opening my lungs up to a clarity it forgets about yet longs for the rest of the year, and sometimes it brings the best present of all: snow.

I love snow.

I long for snow.

I would do a rain dance in sub-zero temperatures to see my favorite white snowy flakes falling from the sky.

I’ve been waiting all season for cold temperatures and snow. I’ve got the cold weather the next couple of days, now I just need some significant snow to make my heart flutter with joy.

As exciting as this season is to me, I have something more exciting to announce. I have partnered with MyHabit.com and am pleased to announce that I am offering a $100 gift card to one lucky follower of my website. MyHabit happens to be one of my favorite websites. What girl wouldn’t love designer names at discounted prices?

MyHabit.com is a private fashion sale site offering up to 60% off hand – picked selections from designer and boutique brands. What’s better? It’s an Amazon.com company. It was created in response to customers’ desires to shop designer brands and house ware pieces at discounted prices. Not to mention they offer free shipping to all shoppers in the United States.

Serena Bass is the latest tastemaker curator for MYHABIT. She has curated a kitchen & tabletop event. In the YouTube video below, Serena shares her recipe for the perfect, quick and easy pasta arrabiata.

So here’s what you need to know about entering for a chance to win the $100 gift card. 

First, watch the YouTube Video. Don’t worry it is legit!

Second, come back here and in the comment section below rate what you liked about the video and tell me what your favorite item is from the Serena Bass sales event! {If you click the "favorite item" link, it will take you directly to the Serena Bass collection. Look through all of her lovely items and pick the one you like best. Come back and tell me!}

Third, sign up for MYHABIT.com

 That’s it! There are only three easy steps to this contest and you will be entered to win a $100 gift card.

The contest will run through Monday, January 28, 2013. I will announce the winner on Tuesday, January 29, 2013.


Chocolate Peanut Butter Muffins

Is it too late to say Happy New Year? I hope not. It is so hard to believe we are already more than a week into an entirely new chapter. Last year served as an incredibly transitional year for Nick and I. Nick was promoted. We added a new fur baby to our lives. We built a brand new house; our first house. We grew as a couple, we laughed, I cried, and we argued like any two people who love each other do. It was an incredible whirlwind. We slid into the end of the year pretty smoothly – we moved into our house the week of Thanksgiving and took us to the New Year to get acquainted with everything. 

We are still not completely moved in. We still have “stuff” at hour parents house. We have a long way to go with decorating this place – we need furniture, a formal dining room set, a kitchenette table w/ chairs, formal living room furniture, televisions, curtains, and so on. We may be old by the time we get this place in complete working order, but it will be another adventure.

We love adventure. And as long as I’m building a life with Nick, nothing else really matters.

The New Year also brought sufficient pain, which is why it has taken me so long to get back into the blogging world. When everybody else was celebrating the coming of a new year, I was in excruciating pain. I was plagued by kidney stones; still am, kind of. I’ll spare you the details, but I’m trying to pass a huge stone and it’s not fun. 

So I’m starting off slow with this recipe. Starting off slow does not mean I’m holding back on the taste.


This recipe is packed full. Take a look at these fantastically delicious Peanut Butter Chocolate Muffins! I happen to love this kind of combination of flavors. The best cookies I’ve ever known {besides my moms chocolate chip cookies} are peanut butter chocolate cookies. I used to long for grocery shopping on Sunday because I would wander over to the bakery and beg my mom for the chocolate cookies with peanut butter chips! 


Servings: 20
Serving Size: 1 cupcake
Calories: 232.8
Fat: 16.5 g
Carbohydrates: 22.5 g
Fiber: 1.3 g
Protein: 4.3 g
Points+: 7


Recipes Adapted from Pass the Sushi

  • 1 ¾ cup flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • 1 cup Peanut Butter Chips, reserve about ¼ cup for sprinkling
  • 1/3 cup + 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup skim milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract


  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees F
  • Combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cocoa, sugar and ¾ cup of the peanut butter chips together in a large dish
  • Mix together the milk, oil, egg,  and vanilla extract
  • Pour the liquid ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix together
  • Spoon the batter into greased muffins tins
  • Sprinkle each with a few peanut butter chips
  • Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the muffins are springy and a toothpick inserted comes out clean.

(My oven cooked these pretty quickly; keep your eye on them!}


Remove & Enjoy!

xoxo Mel