This Week's Menu

Pumpkin Cupcakes


Paper baking cups
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/ 1/2 t baking soda
1 1/2 t ground cinnamon
3/4 t salt
1/2 t ground nutmeg
1/2 t ground ginger
1/2 t ground allspice
1/2 t ground cloves
1 15 oz can pumpkin puree
3/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3 large eggs
3/4 cup vegetable oil
Preheat oven 350. Place paper baking cups into miniature muffin pans. Combine flour and next 7 ingredients in a medium bowl. Combine pumpkin and next 4 ingredients in a large bowl. Add flour mixture to pumpkin mixture stirring just until moistened. Spool batter into cups, filling 2/3 full. Bake in batches 15 - 17 mins. Let cool in pans on wire racks 5 mins then remove from pans and let cool completely. Spread frosting.

Orecchiette with Sautéed Greens


I borrowed Chef Recipes Made Easy from my library a couple of years ago, and yes I still have it! (I know, I know) I use so many of the recipes, but I'm finally going to add them to my blog and give it back. This is a favourite of mine as we often get mixed salad from Costco and I end up with too much to eat so I use it with the orecchiette, one of my favourite pastas!

Here are the ingredients but really you can add as much as you like, the scallions make it so don't skip those!


1 bag/box of orecchiette usually 12 oz
4 T butter
1 bunch scallions thinly sliced
3 garlic cloves thinly sliced
1/4 cup dry white wine
2 T oilive oil
5 oz baby arugula
6 large swiss chard leaves coarsely chopped
1/4 cup parmesan cheese
salt and pepper


Cook the orecchiette reserving 1/4 cup of the cooking water.

Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan, melt the butter. Add the scallions and garlic and cook over low heat until softened, about 2 mins. Add the wine and cook over moderate heat until reduced by half, about 5 mins. Add 1/2 cup of water and puree the mixture in a blender until smooth. Season the scallion sauce with salt and pepper.

Wipe out the pasta pot and heat the olive oil. Add arugula and swiss chard, cook over high heat until wiltered, 5 mins. Add the pasta, scallion sauce and reserved pasta cooking water and simmer, tossing and stirring until the sauce is thick, about 3 mins. Stir in the cheese, season with salt and pepper.

Now you can cook it the pro way or just toss everything together and cook then add the pasta and toss, yes I know I'm lazy and hate cooking lol !!!

Serves 4.


2 Week Menu


Eggplant Pasta
Meatloaf, Stir Fried Broccoli & Cauliflower, garlic, oil, Baked Squash
Crunch Wraps
Chicken Caesar Salad
Salmon & Creamed Spinach
Penne with Sausage Marinara
Crunch Wraps
Tuna Curry

Perfect Blueberry Pancakes



1 1/4 cups Gluten Free Flour
1 T baking powder
1/2 t salt
1 T sugar
1 t baking soda
1 1/4 cups almond milk
2 eggs
2T melted butter
1/2 t vanilla
1/8 t nutmeg
1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries


Combine dry ingredients in a medium bowl. Whist together the liquid ingredients in a large bowl. Add liquid to dry, combine well. Preheat griddle or pan to medium heat. Pour batter by 1/3 cupfuls onto sprayed griddle. Sprinkle with blueberries. Cook until bubbles appear and bottom is golden brown. Flip and cook a minute or two longer. Makes about 6-8 pancakes

Mongolian Beef - Chinese Restaurant Cooking Secrets - PoorMansGourmet

On the subject of Chinese Beef here's a great tasting recipe from Poor Man's Kitchen. Mongolian beef is a lot like General Tso's. You don't have to use the cornstarch if you want to cut the calories/starch, sometimes I'm more in the mood for clean food!


1 lbs Beef Chuck or Beef Flank Thinly Sliced
1/4 cup Corn Starch
vegetable oil, for frying (about 1 cup)
2 teaspoons vegetable oil1/2 teaspoon Ginger, minced1 tablespoon Garlic, chopped
1 tsp Hoisin Sauce (optional)
1/4 cup Soy Sauce
1/4 cup Water
1/4 cup Rice Wine Vinegar
1/4 cup Brown Sugar
1 tbsp Corn Starch deluded in 2 tbsp of Water
1/2 tsp Chili Flakes (optional)
2 large Green Onions, sliced on the diagonal into one-inch lengths

Beef in Black Bean Sauce

A tasty meal for when you're in the mood for something  a little salty! I added orange peppers & baby bok choy tonight! This recipe serves 2 so you'll definitely need to double or tripple for a family!


1 tbs crushed black beans
1 tbs soy sauce
½ tbs dark soy sauce
½ tbs oyster sauce
1 cup salt reduced chicken stock / broth
1 tsp corn flour / corn starch

200g thinly sliced beef - if you'd like to know how to 'velvet' your meat here's the link to my video:
½ coarsely chopped onion
1 clove minced garlic
Vegetables (I used broccoli and carrot)

 Serves 2 Enjoy!

First steps to getting healthy - Exercise

There's nothing like comfort to make us lazy. I believe that's why we struggle so much with weight gain. Between bad foods and sedentary lifestyles. And the world is now one big temptation. But if we want to stay healthy we need to practice self restraint in the foods we eat and keep moving to keep our bodies strong and energetic. I find myself needing to bring myself back on task and pay attention to what i'm eating and how much i'm getting out. For myself with 7 children, it's all too easy to prepare meals that everyone likes and sit at my desk trying to provide it. I think that is one of the biggest dangers to working at home. It's keeping time to yourself to provide what you need. So here's my inspiration to get healthy post today, hope it's inspires someone else!

5 Must Watch Food Shows

Forks Over Knives

Chew Over This

Food Inc.

Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead

Great Apps for 5 Minute workouts

I'm not much of a workout person, I prefer to keep active and go outside and run around with my kids, hike, swim, waterski, tennis, badmington, whatever the activity. But as I get older I'm finding I have to do some kind of strength exercise. I like very simple straight forward workouts that don't take a lot of time but give me the punch I need. These apps have great exercises that are easy for anyone to do anywhere, anytime with no need for equipment if you're travelling or away from home.

Go Fitness - Exercises and Workouts (free) great strength building with just a few core exercises, perfect to use without having to spend time building a plan etc.

Yoga Break Great if you haven't done any yoga before, short and sweet exercises, video and audio (I believe I got this free thru Apps Gone Free but it's currently $2.99

Daily Ab Workout (free) 5-10 minute ab workouts with video instructions

There are quite a few 5, 7, 10 minute workout type apps for free, here are the few I've tried and liked.

7 Minute Workout 12 high intensity bodyweight exercises. 30 seconds per exercise, 10 seconds rest between exercises.

5 Minute Butt and Legs quick workouts

Taking a course is an excellent way to start a walking program. Listen, learn and get fit all at once! I'm currently taking a free course with Udemy on Social Media Marketing. When all else fails turn up the woofers and dance while the housework!

For the more serious the Beachbody Home Workouts are very reasonable.


Caesar Salad Dressing

One of our summer favs! Chicken Caesar Salad.

Chicken Caesar Salad


4 chicken breasts
3 romaine lettuces

2 cloves garlic
1/4 cup lemon juice (or concentrate)
1/2 cup olive oil
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1/4 cup parmesan cheese


I cook my chicken in a little olive oil, salt and pepper, until it's browned a little.

Start with the garlic and lemon juice, blend for a minute and slowly drizzle the oil. It will be smooth and creamy. Add the worcester and blending again slowly add the cheese.

That's it very simple, the dressing will last about a week but I usually use all of it. You don't need the chicken but with it but makes a perfect light summer meal. If you find it a little spicy you can cut the garlic and lemon juice down slightly.


Cooling Down

Cooling down this summer can be a delicious experience. Salads are back in season and with so much variety to choorse from you can put your recipe book away and get creative with your own favorite ingredients.

My favorite way to make salads in summer is very simple, with a family of 9 everyone has different likes and dislikes, so to please everyone I chop everything up into separate bowls and they can add what they want to make their salads with a choice of salad dressing. My MIL calls it a rainbow salad, very appetizing name for little ones! Put leftovers in the frig for lunch the next day. Carrot, celery, zucchini sticks make a great snack choice with this awesome organic hummus dip from Costco. Get your friend to take you there for some if you're not a member.


Mix blueberries and walnuts into your greens with raspberry vinigarette, add lemon juice for a zest twist on a shrimp sald, or create a chilled vegetable salad full of crunchy vegetables.

Kids also love cold treats on a hot day, so why not combine some juices in ice pop molds with chopped fruit. Get family and friends together this summer and cool down with these yummy ideas and some of your very own.

See more Fun Food Snacks on my Pinterest board.


How to Make Gluten Free Flours at Home


I found myself with 2 5lb bags of flour last night, both with bugs! I gave up a long time ago on these, my house was infested with them for years before I was around. I compromised by keeping all my grains and anything else they might like in the freezer. But I have only so much room, and when we shop only once a month it gets a little crowded.

I was making these delicious curry basil falafel, and couldn't find anything to use to substitute. I tried a little breadcrumbs but they were still not cooking well so I finally added some ground oats.

Its very easy to make most of the basic gluten free flours. I find them way too expensive and when used in most dishes the home made is an excellent cheaper substitute with the added plus of not having to fill my freeze with 5 different flours.

Basically you just thrown the cup of whatever you need in the blender....and don't forget the throwing part lol. When I used almondsin baking I simply grind them first then add most of the ingredients right into the blender. They grind up surprisingly well in my 3rd hand 10 year blender which is outlasting my Vitamix! Yes we killed our Vitamix, like everything else in the house. Luckily Costco has a lifetime warranty on their products, so my husband took it back.

So to make oat flour you throw it just the same way, I find 1 cup at a time works perfectly. If you need to see formatted instructions, wiki seems to have everything these days. The only further comment I would make is that you may find you need a little extra moisture with some of these flours, maybe an extra egg, or I tend to use ground flax mostly.

And I just realized I have wheat berries in my frig, which I obviously haven't used for a very long time. If you don't have a problem with gluten and not substituting for health purposes, adding different flours to your cooking will add extra nutrients and in some cases cut down on the carbs and calories.

How to make flour

How to make rice flour

How to make oat flour

How to make coconut flour

All purpose gluten free flour

In case you require some specific flours for baking these are the basic recipes for baking flours you could adapt.

How to make cake flour

How to make self raising flour

In case you're interested my very old still working blender is an Oster. Gosh it's on sale for $34.99 right now, maybe I should buy myself a new one :)))

For a great list of gluten free flours and the best flours to use as substitutes has a wonderful list right here!

Chocolate Covered Strawberries Regal Style

How cute are these chocolate covered strawberries!!! My daughter will love making these!!

Quick Minestrone Soup


Did I ever mention my Mother-In-Law was a caterer. She worked for many of the high society ladies in NYC, Long Island and West. She cooked everything perfectly, not like me. But I did learn to cook quite a few of her recipes. This minestrone is to die for, lots of flavor. You really don't need the meat at all, the kale and herbs gives the soup all the flavor. Enjoy!


1/4 cup olive oil
1 small onion, coarsely chopped
4 garlic cloves, crushed in a garlic press
4 pound prewashed and cut kale (6 cups)
3 carrots diced
4 potatoes diced
2 zucchini diced
1 (14 1/2-oz) can "petite" diced tomatoes in juice
1 cup ditalini pasta
5 1/4 cups chicken broth (42 fl oz)
2 cups water
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 (19-oz) can kidney beans, rinsed and drained
2 tablespoons each basil, thyme, oregano
Sausage or Bacon (optional)

Accompaniment: grated parmesan.

Heat oil in a 5- to 6-quart heavy pot over moderately high heat until hot but not smoking, then cook onion and garlic, stirring occasionally, until golden, about 3 minutes. Add kale and sauté, stirring, 1 minute. Add vegetables, kidney beans, tomatoes with juice, pasta, broth, water, salt, and pepper and simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are tender and pasta is al dente, about 10 minutes.

Simmer, stirring occasionally, until soup is slightly thickened, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

Makes 6-8 servings.
Prep time 20 mins
Approx cost $7

Chicken Cacciatore

1 1/2 pounds plum tomatoes, coarsely chopped (scant 4 cups)
8 ounces crimini (baby bella) mushrooms
1 very large red onion, thinly sliced (about 3 cups)
5 tablespoons olive oil, divided
2 tablespoons Sherry wine vinegar
1 4 1/2- to 4 3/4-pound chicken, cut into 8 pieces, excess fat trimmed
1 1/2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary, divided
1/2 cup dry red wine (or red wine or sherry vinegar)
1 14 1/2-ounce can diced tomatoes in juice
1 cup low-salt chicken broth
1/3 cup thinly sliced basil, divided
2 tablespoons drained capers, divided
12 ounces gemelli or penne, freshly cooked
Preheat oven to 400°F. Combine plum tomatoes, mushrooms, and onion in large bowl. Add 3 tablespoons oil and vinegar; toss to blend. Sprinkle generously with salt and pepper. Spread vegetable mixture in single layer on large rimmed baking sheet. Roast until onion slices are golden brown and all vegetables are tender, stirring frequently, about 50 minutes. Remove from oven and set aside. Reduce oven temperature to 350°F.
Sprinkle chicken with salt, pepper, and 1 tablespoon rosemary. Heat remaining 2 tablespoons oil in heavy large deep ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken and sauté until golden brown, about 6 minutes per side. Transfer chicken to bowl. Add wine to skillet and boil until wine is reduced by half, scraping up browned bits, about 1 minute. Stir in canned tomatoes with juice, then broth and bring to boil. Reduce heat to medium and simmer 10 minutes to blend flavors. Return chicken to sauce in skillet. Place skillet in oven and roast uncovered until chicken is cooked through and juices run clear when pierced with knife, about 25 minutes. Remove skillet from oven. Stir in roasted vegetables, remaining 1/2 tablespoon rosemary, half of basil, and half of capers. Simmer over medium heat until vegetables are heated through. Season with salt and pepper.
Place pasta in large shallow bowl. Top with chicken and sauce. Sprinkle remaining basil and capers over.

I was in a hurry to get this meal on the table and I skipped roasting the vegetables and just fried them in the skillet after the chicken was browned, then threw it together as a one pot meal. I also had to use water instead of broth, dried basil instead of fresh, and I skipped the capers, but it tasted just as good. My whole family complained while it was cooking....mushrooms & tomatoes, yuk....but it was devoured without a word at the table. Always a tell tale sign. I served it with the rissotto & peas & asparagus.

Makes 8 servings
Prep time 20 mins
Approx $10

Natural Ways to Fuller Lips

Have you ever wanted fuller lips? Here's a short video highlighting some natural alternatives to expensive and inadequate plastic surgery using safer lip balms and makeup items.

Free Carb Counter

The Weird Way Your Shoes Could Be Making Your Breasts Sag

From Table to Farm: Ramps

One thing I love about the internet, is the journey you can take in a morning. Today I learnt about ramps....never heard of them before, I may have seen them in my backyard though :)

Video courtesy of

101 Japanese Recipes for Beginners - Free Kindle Book

Japanese food is essentially, fresh, seasonal flavours cooked simply in water. For this reason, it is wears the “healthy” tag well. Simplicity is the third principal virtue of Japanese cooking. Seasonal vegetables are washed and cooked lightly in water, always simply to bring out their subtle flavour. Even dishes that require tedious preparation remain in essence, aesthetically simple. Great importance is placed on the freshness of the fish. And when it comes to vegetables, seasonality is paramount. So freshness and seasonality are the two most important principal virtues of Japanese cuisine.


Cane Vinegar Chicken With Pearl Onions, Orange & Spinach

I love a dish of interest...and this one is certainly interesting




4 chicken thighs, each weighing 5 to 6 ounces (total of 2 1/2 pounds chicken thighs)
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
16 pearl onions, peeled
1/4 teaspoon smoked hot paprika
3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1 cup cane vinegar
1 cup chicken stock
2 large navel oranges, cut into supremes
1 tablespoon fresh mint leaves
2 cups cleaned spinach (stems removed)


Season the thighs with the salt and pepper. In a wide, heavy-bottomed pot that has a lid, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the thighs, skin side down, and let them cook without moving them around for 7 minutes. You are encouraging good caramelization of the skin and developing a ton of flavor in the process. After 7 minutes turn the thighs over and add the onions, paprika, and garlic to the pot. Cook for 5 minutes and then add the vinegar, being careful not to let it flame up. This is a good time to get a spatula and loosen up all of those pan drippings. The vinegar needs to cook down by half, and when it does, add the stock. Cover and reduce the heat to low. Cook for 20 minutes over low heat, remove the lid, and add the oranges, mint, and spinach. Stir lightly and serve immediately. Serves 2-4. See Recipe...

Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) for Well Being

EFT is a powerful self-help method that is very effective for regular stress management as well as for breaking all kinds of addictions. Specifically, EFT is a form of psychological acupressure, based on the same energy meridians used in traditional acupuncture to treat physical and emotional ailments for over five thousand years, but without the invasiveness of needles.

Instead, simple tapping with your fingertips is used to input kinetic energy onto specific meridians on your head and chest while you think about your specific problem -- whether it is a traumatic event, an addiction, pain, etc. – and voice positive affirmations.

This combination of tapping the energy meridians and voicing positive affirmation works to clear the "short-circuit" — the emotional block — from your body's bioenergy system, thus restoring your mind and body's balance, which is essential for optimal emotional health and the healing of physical disease.

For a demonstration of how to perform EFT, please view the video below featuring EFT practitioner Julie Schiffman. This is a general demonstration that can be tailored to just about any problem. You can also find text instructions and photographs of where to tap on

Tap...into the power of your chakras

Thai Sweet Chili Sauce

3 large garlic cloves, peeled

2 red Jalapeño peppers, seeded (Your mileage may vary, so adjust the heat accordingly. Keep in mind, however, that the heat is the strongest the day you make the sauce and starts to dissipate gradually the longer it is kept in the refrigerator. I usually start off with more pepper than I would like and let the sauce sit in the fridge for a couple of days before I use it. This sauce keeps for a long time, and after a couple of weeks, you can't even taste the pepper.)
1/2 cup sugar
3/4 cup water
1/4 cup white vinegar
1/2 tablespoon salt
1 tablespoon cornstarch or potato starch
2 tablespoons water

In the blender, purée together all the ingredients, except for the last two.
Transfer the mixture to a saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Simmer over medium heat until mixture thickens up a bit and the garlic-pepper bits begin to soften, about 3 minutes.
Combine the cornstarch and water to make a slurry. Whisk in the cornstarch mixture and continue to simmer one mor minute. The cornstarch will help the sauce to thicken slightly thereby causing nice suspension of the garlic-pepper bits; otherwise, you get a thin sauce with all the little pieces floating at the top.
Let cool completely before storing in a glass jar and refrigerate.
(Makes a little over a cup)

Gluten Free, Diabetic safe Desserts Since I've been on a low carb diet for quite a while I've been looking everywhere for great recipe books. Guilt-free Desserts is a lot more than a recipe book! Not only will you have 50 new dessert recipes, you’ll also have all the information you need to makeover your favorite family desserts… with just a few simple substitutions. Guilt-Free Desserts includes everything you need to know about the latest baking ingredients and how to use these inexpensive and readily available products in you own kitchen.

Not only are these recipes healthier, and will help you lose weight, yep they did.....I found a vast improvement in my overall health getting rid of the excess flour and sugar.

When I bought this there were 2 freebies included. Check them out, you won't be disappointed!