Archive for December, 2011

I saw this idea on Snob on a Budget’s blog and I think it’s a Pretty Wonderful one!  I just love this idea and it’s the perfect time to start it for next year!


A lot of times we forget what the holidays are all about.  Christmas in a Jar is a great way to stay grounded and really appreciate all the good things that you have in your life.  The idea of this tradition is to save spare change throughout the year in a jar.  On Christmas Eve, go to the home of a family in need, knock on their door, leave the jar on their doorstep and run away.  If you have children, you can encourage them to take part in saving their pennies, choosing a family, and then knocking on the door and running.  Teach the spirit of giving!  It’s one re-gifting idea that is actually a good one!


You can find the bestselling book on Amazon.com!

Christmas Jar- a bestselling book sold on Amazon.com!


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Girls, I’m serious.  If I needed to choose one meal to live off of, I would choose these turkey meatballs.  Honest to {insert diety of choice here} these things are UN REAL!  Tasty, flavorful and UN. REAL.  Yes, UN. REAL.!  Have I proven my point yet?  UN…….ok, I think I did!  Try them now!  Self.com says they’re healthy! Go wild!

Oats can help you drop pounds by revving your calorie burn and curbing cravings, which makes them even more amazing!

Turkey Meatballs = Love

Serves 4


  • 1/2 cup instant oats
  • 1/4 cup nonfat plain yogurt
  • 1/2 cup packed baby spinach, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup packed basil, chopped, plus 1 sprig
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan
  • 1 egg white
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped, divided
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 pound all-white-meat ground turkey
  • olive oil cooking spray
  • 1 can (26 oz) diced tomatoes, plus juice
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 4 oz whole-wheat pasta, cooked according to the package instructions


  1. Heat oven to 400˚. Mix oats and yogurt with 1/4 cup water in a bowl until oats begin to absorb liquid. Add spinach, basil, Parmesan, egg white, half the garlic, salt and pepper, and stir. Add turkey and mix until well combined. Form into 16 2-inch meatballs.

  2. Coat a large, oven-safe stockpot with cooking spray. Add meatballs and bake until they begin to brown, 10 to 15 minutes. Turn and bake 10 minutes more. Add remaining garlic, basil sprig, tomatoes and wine. Cover and cook until meatballs are cooked through and sauce begins to thicken, 20 minutes. Serve immediately with pasta.

You'll need...

Cut up your spinach

Add it to the yogurt/oatmeal/water mixture

Add the pepper, salt, garlic, basil...

Add turkey, mix turkey...stay with me here- I know it looks gross!

Roll the balls and pop em in the oven!

Ohhhh heaven! You DO exist!

The skinny

314 calories per serving, 3.3 g fat (1.3 g saturated), 40.4 g carbs, 3.7 g fiber, 22.9 g protein

Recipe courtesy of self.com:


GO!  Now!  Seriously!

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Great garage doors!

I think garage doors are under-appreciated.  A good garage door makes a HUGE difference in the appearance of a home.  These are classy, don’t draw too much attention and they look beautiful with the lighting shown.

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This soup is a really easy thing to make during a snow storm!  In fact, I believe this is precisely how it was introduced to me a few years ago.  Let me just give you a bit of a back story…

My neighborhood in Pennsylvania is a close one.  We love our neighbors and take any excuse we can get to have parties with them often.  These parties aren’t necessarily parties but just involve comfy clothes, alcohol, good food and a LOT of laughing.  So during one of our winter snow storms, our neighbor Beata made this amazing soup while some of us were outside shoveling.  We came in for a break from the cold and practically drank this soup out of the pot!  It’s just one of those tastes that brings back the memories of the snow-day.  It is warm, comforting, hearty, and fairly healthy!  Definitely worth a try, especially for those snow-days!


You can view the complete recipe online at: http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/106143?mbid=ipapp
Cheese Tortellini Soup with Cannellini, Kielbasa, and Kale
2 tablespoons olive oil
12 ounces fully cooked smoked kielbasa sausage, thinly sliced
1 onion, chopped
1 cup chopped fresh fennel bulb
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 1/2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme
1/2 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper
10 cups canned low-salt chicken broth
4 cups chopped kale (1/2 bunch)
1 15-ounce can cannellini (white kidney beans), rinsed, drained
1 9-ounce package cheese tortellini

1 cup grated Asiago cheese* or Parmesan cheese

Heat oil in heavy large pot over medium-high heat. Add next 6 ingredients and saut? until vegetables are soft and kielbasa is brown, about 12 minutes. Add broth and bring to boil. Stir in kale and cannellini. Reduce heat to low and simmer until kale is wilted, about 4 minutes. (Can be made 1 day ahead. Cool slightly; cover and refrigerate. Bring to simmer before continuing.) Add tortellini to soup. Simmer until pasta is just tender but still firm to bite, about 5 minutes.
Ladle soup into bowls. Serve, passing cheese separately.
* Available at Italian markets, specialty foods stores and some supermarkets.

Bon Appétit
February 2002

Warms the heart and soul!

I used whole wheat ravioli instead of tortellini just for some variety.  It was delicious!  Enjoy!

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I often cook with the assistance of my iPhone because I’ll need a recipe that I have found online.  Well this time, my washed kale leaked onto the counter where my little iPhone was sitting.  It starts repeatedly blinking notifications at me saying that “this device is not supported by the iPhone”… “well, what device are you referring to, little guy?”  Apparently it just didn’t know what to do with itself.  I picked it up and it was sitting in a sizable puddle of water.  Rut-roe….

So I delve into the depths of my mind and remember that I was told once that you should put your phone in a bag of rice to dry it out.

Drying as we speak


Well, whoever told me that was correct!  This little tid-bit of information can save your phone as it did mine!  After I took the phone out of the rice a few hours later, it had no more notifications blinking at me and was seemingly back to normal.  I think this is a PRETTY good bit of information to tuck into your memory!

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This recipe is GREAT for a special occasion because it’s pretty indulgent and a tiny bit expensive- depending on what’s on sale in the grocery store.  This wouldn’t qualify for the pretty-healthy category, but it’s amazingly delicious!  Enjoy…..every once in awhile!

Giada De'Laurentis' Whole Wheat Pasta with Shrimp, Lobster and Bacon

Total Time: 50 min
Prep Time: 15 min
Cook Time: 35 min
Yield: 4 to 6 servings
Level: Intermediate


  • Kosher salt
  • Two 4-ounce lobster tails
  • 1 pound whole wheat penne pasta
  • 1 pound thick-cut bacon, cut crosswise into 1/4-inch-wide strips (about 2 1/2 cups)
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • One 14 1/2-ounce can diced tomatoes
  • 3/4 cup clam juice
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1 cup chopped fresh basil
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • 1 pound large shrimp, peeled and deveined


Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the lobster tails and cook until they begin to curl, 5 to 7 minutes. Using tongs, remove the lobster tails and set aside until cool enough to handle. Add the pasta to the boiling water and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender but still firm to the bite, 10 to 12 minutes. Drain and place in a large serving bowl.

Using kitchen scissors or a heavy knife, cut along the underside of the lobster tails and remove the meat. Chop the meat into 3/4-inch chunks. Set aside.

In a large nonstick skillet, cook the bacon over medium-high heat until brown and crispy, about 10 minutes. Remove the bacon and drain on paper towels.

In the same skillet, add the garlic and cook until aromatic, about 30 seconds. Add the tomatoes (and juices), clam juice, cream, 1/2 cup basil, 2 teaspoons salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Bring to a boil and scrape up the browned bits from the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon. Reduce the heat to medium and simmer until slightly thickened, about 5 minutes.

Add the shrimp and cook, stirring occasionally, until just cooked through, about 3 minutes. Add the lobster and bacon. Simmer until warmed through, 1 to 2 minutes.

Pour the tomato mixture over the cooked pasta and toss until coated. Garnish with the remaining 1/2 cup basil and season with salt and pepper.

From FoodNetwork.com: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/giada-de-laurentiis/whole-wheat-penne-with-lobster-and-bacon-recipe/index.html


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Check out this great recipe that I found on Self.com!  It is SUPER easy, SUPER quick and OH-SO delicious!   This is great for a quick and easy dinner idea when served with soft taco shells and would be wonderful as an appetizer!  Just serve in Tostitos Scoops and you have yourself an awesome appetizer!  Enjoy!

Seviche style shrimp and avocado tacos

Seviche style shrimp and avocado tacos*

*found on self.com

Look for cooked, peeled shrimp at the seafood counter; or quickly thaw frozen cooked, peeled shrimp in a colander under cold running water. Marinate shrimp in a nonreactive bowl, such as one that is glass or ceramic; an aluminum or copper bowl will react with the citrus juice to give the shrimp a metallic taste.

Yield:6 servings (serving size: 2 tacos)Ingredients:

  • 3 limes
  • 1 cup chopped seeded tomato
  • 1 cup diced peeled avocado (about 1 avocado)
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 pound cooked peeled medium shrimp
  • 12 (6-inch) corn tortillas


  1. Finely grate rind from limes to measure 1 tablespoon; juice limes to measure 1/4 cup. Place rind and juice in a large bowl. Add tomato and remaining ingredients except tortillas; toss well to combine. Cover and chill for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  2. Heat tortillas according to package directions. Spoon about 1/2 cup shrimp mixture down center of each tortilla; fold in half. Serve immediately.

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