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Me, my thoughts and my life

What comes first: ingredients or recipe?

When you are thinking about meals what do you consider first?  Do you take ingredients and create a recipe or do you buy ingredients that fill a recipe?

For me it is usually recipe first and then I collect the ingredients.  I tend to be a planner and like to only go shopping once every two weeks.  Also, I hate trying to think of things to make.  In order to play to my strengths I usually browse Pinterest and collect recipes for the week.  Since I only cook for myself 3 recipes last all week (leftovers, yummy!).

This week was different.  I wasn’t really interested in any recipes so I filled my shopping list with just general things.  Then while walking the aisles I found some very pretty pork chops.

pork chops

I am very picky on how my pork chops look and more often then not I pass them by.  While I didn’t have a specific recipe in mind I decided to get them and then check Pinterest (again, obsessed).  I found this recipe for Glazed Pork Chops which I am hoping will be amazing.

glazed chops

By the time I was done cooking I wasn’t hungry anymore so I decided to make mashed potatoes and steam some broccoli to create either lunches or dinners for the week.

pork meal


What I am currently reading:  Honor’s Splendour by Julie Garwood

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I Saved the Stew!

I love soups and stews!  Both eating and making them. 

In the eating side there is nothing better than a hot bowl of soup.  For me it is very soothing and comforting; kind of like a warm hug in food form.

Olaf - Hugs

There are also endless possibilities and combinations for soups.  Creamy, clear, think, thin, chunky, smooth, spicy, hearty (can I stop? do you get the picture?).

I love taking soup to work for lunch.  It is easy to transport and heat and it has most of the food groups so it is a balance meal!

With the idea of lunch for the next few weeks I perused (did I spell that right?) my Pintrest boards (addicted remember?) and found this recipe for Amish Beef Stew.  I liked the simplicity of this recipe and the fact that it was made in the crock pot.  The one question I had was about the amount of liquid.  The recipe only calls for 1 cup of tomato juice.  For 3 cups of meat, and about 8 cups of veggies that just didn’t seem like enough and I was right (also, my crock pot couldn’t hold all of the ingredients).  My mom taught me to follow a recipe all the way through at least once and then you can make changes.  Well, sorry mom but this time I couldn’t do that.  I followed the directions as much as possible but at the time the cooking should have been done the potatoes were not cooked and there was almost no liquid.

beef stew

So, I moved everything to my stew pot and added a can of beef broth and some more tomato juice and cooked it longer.  Now, I haven’t tried the stew yet but it smell wonderful!


What I am currently reading: The Prize by Julie Garwood

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Prep Day: Week of Salads

I seem to go through cycles of foods.  For example, one week I only want Mexican and another only Italian.  This week is seems to be salads.  My favorite kinds of salads are the complicated kind that you get in a restaurant.  However, if you are only making this salad for 1 person it is time consuming and can be wasteful.  This is my way around that.  I prep lots of ingredients and that can be easily combined in a variety of ways.

prep day - salad

Clockwise form the top: Shredded chicken, yellow pepper, green pepper, red pepper, celery, carrots and in the center 4 hard boiled eggs.

From these ingredients I plan to or have made the following dishes.

  • Omelet
  • Chicken Curry Salad (pictured below with a slight variation)
  • Buffalo Chicken Wrap
  • Entrée Salads with a variety of the ingredients
  • Asian inspired Entrée salad
  • Chicken Salad (like this)
  • Tossed Salad (maybe like this but with chicken)

Nice variety right?  Only 2 hours worth of prep time (FYI – the Shredded chicken takes 2 hours in the crock pot). 

chicken curry salad



What I am currently reading: Turbulent Sea by Christine Feehan

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Treat Box

This weekend while I was bored I decided to browse the DIY & Crafts section of Pintrest (yes, I know this can be dangerous).  I found a few things to try in the future and a cute treat box to try then.  I was excited to find this tutorial because I like to bake, eat 1 or 2 pieces of whatever it is, and then give the rest away.  I tend to just bring all of the extras to work in a Tupperware container but this way I can do individual portions as presents (Valentines Day is coming up).

Treat Box front

Of course new craft projects require a trip to JoAnn’s or Michaels (again, dangerous I know).  In this case I lucked out.  The cardstock I needed to buy is on sale 5 for $1 instead of $0.59 or $0.69 each.  I may have to go get more before the sale ends on the 18th.  Anyway, not the point.

Treat Box side

The Pin leads to the Cosmo Cricket Blog with a wonderful video tutorial on this Treat Box so I will let them explain.  A few notes though. 

  1. The paper used is 12” x 12”
  2. I don’t have the scoring tool mentioned but found that the back of a butter knife works wonderfully
  3. Taping is not necessary but helps keep the box together before tying shut
  4. The final dimensions are 6” long by 2” wide by 5” high.  I think these final dimensions can be changed to 6”x3” by 4.5” but I haven’t tried yet.
  5. The cap that is mentioned at the end gives the box a nice finished look.  I need more paper, and a punch.


What I am currently reading:  Dangerous Tides by Christine Feehan

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Books & Me: Genres

So books are in the title of my blog and at the end of each I tell you what I am currently reading but I realized that I have never written about my book preferences or philosophy if you will.  In thinking about this post I realized that I don’t really talk about books with people.  To me reading is personal and I am always worried that people will judge me based on what I read.  I have recently decided that this is a personal issue that I need to work on so here goes.


My favorite genre of books is romance novels.  When most people here this they are surprised (you would have to know me to understand).  I don’t read them for the sex scenes I read them for the stories.  This genre, especially the contemporary subset, usually have strong female characters.  Granted there are usually unique circumstances that they have to overcome but it is always a good story.  Also, 90% have happy endings.  That is my one rule in all entertainment (movies & books).  There has to be a happy ending.  Thus, you will never find a Nicholas Sparks anything on my shelves.


I also enjoy books from the young adult genre.  Not all of them (Twilight is stupid) but some.  The writers of these books have a great creativity that I love.  I theorize that because young adult’s minds are more open to the fantastic the authors are able to stretch their worlds farther.

not alone


What I am currently reading: Oceans of Fire by Christine Feehan

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Essentially Eclectic

A Creative Place for Wherever Life Leads

Meanwhile, back at the ranch...

music, poetry, musings, photography and philosophy from a woman who found her way back home and wants you to come over for a hike and a cocktail.

Belle of the Library

... the musings of a BARELY thirty-something, married, Southern librarian with a wildly inappropriate sense of humor, an inability to gauge most emotional cues, a dear best friend since ninth grade, and a stubborn, mouthy, redheaded country boy to accompany her through life.


Me, my thoughts and my life

Peanut Butter Fingers

Take your finger, dip it in the peanut butter jar & voila!