Manly Potato Mixture (aka Potato Salad) |

Whenever my husband says, ” I won’t eat ____,” it challenges me to create a recipe that he does like.

And one of those things is potato salad.

Actually anything under the mayo/salad category is a no-no in his book.

Egg salad (or deviled eggs)

Chicken Salad

Macaroni Salad

He says it’s all gross.

So I set out to create a potato salad that he likes.

And you know what? I did it.

But he said he will only eat it if I call it something other than potato salad.

His suggested names were:

Manly Potato Mixture


Yummy Potato Goodness.

Anyway this potato salad is delightful and contains no mayo.





Manly Potato Mixture (aka Potato Salad)

serves 6

  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • salt and pepper
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • 3 lbs red potatoes
  • 3-5 slices of bacon, cooked and diced
  • 1/4 cup sun dried tomatoes, diced
  • 1/2 can of olives, sliced
  • 4 oz block cheese (cheddar or pepper jack), cut into cubes

In a microwave safe bowl combine the oil and garlic. Microwave for 1 minute to infuse the garlic into the oil. Then add the lemon juice, oregano, and s/p. Set aside.

Wash and dice the red potatoes into 1/2 inch pieces. Fill a large stock pot with the potatoes, add enough water to cover them, and 1 tsp of salt. Cover and bring to a boil. Boil for 15 minutes or until fork tender. Drain. Pour the potatoes into the serving bowl. Toss with the dressing. And then allow to cool for 20-30 minutes. Add the remaining ingredients.

Serve at room temperature and enjoy.

Easy Limeade |


This is a fun recipe for cookouts and small get-togethers.

I love the addition of sweetened condensed milk. It takes the edge off of the potent citrus zing.

I hope you enjoy it as just as I do.

Easy Limeade (adapted from

4 limes
7 cups cold water
1 cup sugar
1/3 cup sweetened condensed milk


Thoroughly wash the limes and cut into thin slices. Place them in a blender or food processor. Add six cups of cold water and 1 cup of sugar. Blend on high until the lime slices are pulverized (at least 30 seconds).
Place a mesh strainer over the mouth of the pitcher. Carefully pour the blended lime mixture through the strainer. Discard the pulp. Then add the sweetened condensed milk to the pitcher. Mix well and refrigerate for a few hours. Serve and enjoy with lots of ice.

Note: Pick limes with thin skin. Thin skin makes for juicier limes. And if your limeade is bitter add a little more sweetened condensed milk.


Almond Cherry Muffins |


Warning: Only proceed if you like delicious muffins and don’t mind a few extra calories every once in a while.

This recipe combines two things I love. The essence of almond pound cake and cherries but in muffin form. Yum!

I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as I do.

Adapted from Taste of Home, Cherry Almond Muffin

Yield: 18-20 muffins


  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 cup cold butter, cubed
  • 2 eggs
  • 3/4  cup sour cream or Greek Yogurt
  • 1/3  cup milk
  • 1 tsp almond extract
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 cups fresh (or frozen) cherries, pitted and chopped
  • 1/4  cup almonds, sliced


  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3 tbsp sugar
  • 4 tbsp cold butter
  • 1/4 cup almonds, sliced

Preheat oven to 350°. Grease muffins tins with cooking spray or fill muffin tins with liners. Set aside.

Muffin Batter:

In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Cut in butter until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs(this takes a while but it’s worth it). In a separate bowl, beat the egg, sour cream, milk and extracts until smooth; stir into dry ingredients just until moistened (batter will be thick). Then, fold in the cherries and sliced almonds. Set aside.


Combine flour and sugar in a small bowl; cut in butter until crumbly. Stir in almonds; set aside.

Fill greased muffin cups 3/4 full with batter. Sprinkle with topping. Bake at 350° for 27-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in muffin comes out clean. Cool for 5 minutes before removing from pan to wire racks. Yield: 18-20 muffins.

I liked these muffins right from the oven but I think they were even better the next day. Store in an airtight container. Enjoy!

Note: If you buy your spices and nuts in the Ethnic/Hispanic food aisle in the grocery store, they are almost always much cheaper. I only paid 75¢ for the sliced almonds for this recipe and the extracts where half the price of the store brand.


Simple Roasted Sweet Potatoes (3 versions)

If you had asked me a 10 years ago if I liked sweet potatoes I would have said no.

I didn’t mind the taste but the only way I had ever eaten them was when they were covered in marshmallows.

And I REALLY don’t like marshmallows.

But then I discovered sweet potatoes not covered in brown sugar and white fluff.

And simple sweet potatoes are just delightful (and cheap and SO good for you). And my husband even eats them now too.

Here are three ways we enjoy them on a weeknight.

Serve them with chicken, pork or as a veggie dinner.




Three different ways to make roasted sweet potatoes!

Printer version Roasted Sweet Potatoes here.

Southwest Style Roasted Sweet Potatoes*

Serves 4

  • 2 lbs sweet potatoes (2-4 potatoes)
  • olive oil
  • 1 tbsp chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • dash of cayenne

Preheat oven to 425°F.

Peel and dice the potatoes. Place the potatoes on a baking sheet lined with a silicon mat or parchment paper. Drizzle with olive oil. Then add all the spices and toss.

Bake for 25 minutes. Stir half way through the baking time. Serve warm or at room temperature. (for extra yumminess top with a little cheese).

*also makes a great filling for veggie tacos

Roasted Honey-Glazed  Sweet Potatoes

Serves 4

  • 2 lbs sweet potatoes (2-4 potatoes)
  • olive oil
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 2 tbsp honey

Preheat oven to 425°F.

Peel and dice the potatoes. Place the potatoes on a baking sheet lined with a silicon mat or parchment paper. Drizzle with olive oil. Then add all the spices and toss.

Bake for 25 minutes. Stir half way through the baking time. Drizzle with honey while still hot. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Rosemary Roasted Sweet Potatoes

Serves 4

  • 2 lbs sweet potatoes (2-4 potatoes)
  • olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp rosemary (chopped fine)
  • 2 tbsp Parmesan
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Peel and dice the potatoes. Place the potatoes on a baking sheet lined with a silicon mat or parchment paper. Drizzle with olive oil. Then add all the spices, Parmesan, and toss.

Bake for 35 minutes. Stir half way through the baking time. Serve warm or at room temperature.

A Green Smoothie Challenge- April

In addition to striving to be more active (see this post and this post), we are also trying to get healthy food in our bodies on a regular basis.

And while doing some research on recipes, I came across this challenge for a month of green smoothies.

All you need is a blender.


Here is how it works:

You sign-up on the Simple Green Smoothies website and they send you the recipes and instructions via email.

Note: each smoothie recipe makes enough for 2 people.


It’s as simple as that.

I will try to do at least one update throughout the month to let you know my thoughts and how I am doing.

It’s starts April 1st. Want to join me? 

Follow Simple Green Smoothies on Facebook and Instagram for daily smoothie inspiration.

And if you prefer to get all the recipes and shopping lists in printed form at the beginning of the month go here. 

Old Fashion Banana Cake and a Tip for Ripening Bananas for Baking

This has been my dad’s birthday cake for ages.

It’s quick, simple and reminds me of February 26th every time I eat it.

It also reminds me of the time my sister (who was in 6th grade) and her friend ate this whole cake during a sleepover. It’s really that good.


Two things to note about this handwritten recipe:

1. My handwriting will never be as good as my mom’s handwriting is.

2. And my mom’s maiden name is written on this recipe which means that she had to call her to-be mother in law in California for the recipe.

Oh the things we do to please the men in our life.


The bananas I was using were not to the overripe stage yet.


So I cut them up, covered them, and then heated in the microwave for 3 minutes.



Then simply mash the bananas. Allow to cool for a few minutes before adding to the rest of the ingredients.



Any white frosting can be used for this cake.

We typically use the Jiffy white frosting because that’s how my grandma always made it for my dad.

But cream cheese frosting is great too.

2-3 cups powdered sugar

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 tsp half and half

4 oz cream cheese

Whip until smooth.



Click here for the printable version of this Old Fashion Banana Cake.

Recipe Review: Freezer Chicken Burritos ($1.43 each)

Freezer Chicken Burritos

I was kinda doubting that these would be any good because I have made other “freezer” meals that haven’t turned out so well.

But this recipe is an overachiever. It is perfect lunch-packing food or just for an easy weeknight dinner.

The finished product is SO good, even the cilantro which I doubted would taste good after freezing.

I made and assembled all ten in about 30 minutes.

Now go forth and make chicken burritos!

Mild and Hot





Freezer Chicken Burritos (adapted from Martha Stewart’s Bean Burritos)

makes 10 burritos

  • 2-3 chicken breasts ($4)
  • onion powder
  • chili powder
  • garlic powder
  • salt and pepper
  • 8 oz grated cheese ($2)
  • 1 bag frozen brown rice ($1.50) *
  • 1/2 bag frozen corn ($1) *
  • 1/2 cup salsa ($1)
  • hot sauce (if preferred)
  • 1 can of black beans, rinsed and drained ($1.60)
  • 1 bunch cilantro ($1.50)
  • 10 burrito-sized flour tortillas ($1.79)

Slice the chicken breasts in strips (fajita style). Coat with onion powder, chili powder, garlic powder and s/p. Add a little butter (or coconut oil or olive oil) to a skillet over medium heat. Toss in the chicken strips to cook through, 5-8 minutes. Set chicken aside.

Toss the brown rice, corn, black beans and salsa (plus hot sauce if you like things spicy) together. Set aside.

Chop the cilantro. Set aside.

This next part is key. Heat the tortillas in the microwave for 30 seconds or so. Then one at a time place the tortillas on a damp dish towel to assemble each burrito. Layer the chicken, rice mixture, cilantro and cheese. Wrap up in foil. Freeze up to 3 months.

To reheat: unwrap and place on a microwave safe plate. Cover with a damp paper towel. Microwave for 2-3 minutes. Slice in half and serve with salsa and sour cream.

*no need to defrost

A Goal to Entertain More And Worry Less Plus a Chili Recipe

In addition to getting healthier (see this post and this post), I wanted to entertain more this year..

And soon as we made that a goal my next thought was, “What in the world will I make for these people I am having over?”

It might just be me but usually that thought causes me to panic.

I know I am a good home cook,  but the thought of producing a Martha Stewart like dinner party causes me to sweat.

But here is what I have learned. Few people like a dinner party-esque type of get togethers.

People love simple food, prepared well which is why I served chili and grilled cheese at the last “dinner party” I hosted.

I might add that I also had worked a full day, rushed home and had about 20 minutes to prepare before my guests arrive.

You read that right. I made grilled cheese for dinner guests.

And it was the easiest stress-free meal.

But the key to making a simple meal great is quality ingredients, which in total cost me about $15 for 4 people (with leftovers). 

That totally kicks any good restaurant bill in the pants.


I purchased fresh bakery bread and a nice melting cheese to make the sandwiches, but a day in advance I prepared a simple chili from the recipe my mother always used.

 Then after the guests arrived I threw together an arugula salad with an orange honey mustard dressing which I made by blending a little orange juice, Dijon mustard, honey, olive oil, and s/p.

I am going to make easy entertaining recipes a series this year because if you are like me you need all the encouragement you can get when it comes to hosting people in your home.

Here is my mother’s recipe for basic chili.

Mom’s Slow Cooker Chili

serves 8-10

  • 2 lb ground beef (or venison)
  • 2 small onions, diced
  • 4 tsp chili powder
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1- 28 oz can tomato sauce
  • 2- 28 oz cans petite diced tomatoes
  • 3- 14 oz cans beans, drained and rinsed (I prefer black beans)
  • salt and pepper to taste

Brown ground meat in a large skillet. Drain fat from the skillet if using beef. Return meat to the skillet and add onion, spices and garlic. Cook for 5 minutes over low heat.

Add meat mixture and the rest of the ingredients to the slow cooker. Cook on low for 4-6 hours. Serve with hot sauce, shredded cheese and sour cream.

Freezes well up to 3 months.

Corn Bread Muffins

Sneaky Kale Banana Chocolate Chocolate Chip Muffins |

Sneaky Kale Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins

I had a bag a kale in the fridge and bananas in the freezer, and I needed a breakfast item for the week.

And that’s about as hard as I thought about creating this recipe.



 Sneaky Kale Banana Chocolate Chocolate Chip Muffins
(printer-friendly version→ Sneaky Kale Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins)
Yield: 12 Muffins
  • 3 small bananas, over-ripe
  • 1 cup kale (chopped finely)
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 1/2 cup coconut milk (or sub dairy milk)
  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tbsp light brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt (or 1/4 tsp table salt)
  • 1-1/8 tsp baking soda
  • 1-2/3 cups all-purpose flour (or 1 cup all purpose and 2/3 cup whole wheat)
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips


  • brown sugar
  • old fashion oats
  • chocolate chips
  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Grease or line 12 muffin cups.
  3. In a large mixing bowl (or electric mixer),  mash the bananas and kale. Add the vanilla, egg, oil and milk. Mix well. Add the sugars and stir again.
  4. Using a spatula, stir in the cocoa powder, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary. Mix until the cocoa is completely incorporated. Stir in the salt and baking soda, then gently fold in the flour and chocolate chips, until just combined.
  5. Divide the batter among 12 muffin cups, about 3/4 full. Sprinkle with the chocolate chips, brown sugar, and oats.
  6. Bake for 15-17 minutes, until the muffin tops look set. Remove from the oven and place the muffins on a cooling rack. Serve warm or at room-temperature.
  7. Keeps up to 5 days, refrigerated.