Category Archives: Tuesday’s Taste

My Journey to Health – Day 2

This day was a really great day! I felt good, we exercised in the morning, and my headache was gone. I’m really starting to feel the effects of this healthy eating and healthy lifestyle.

My breakfast this morning was scrambled eggs with a little bit of Parmesan cheese, half a tomato, and a little bit of fresh basil from my garden. It’s really fulfilling to go out into your yard, pull something out of the ground, put it over your food, and eat it. How satisfying! Not to mention tasty.

My Journey to Health - Day 2

My first snack was one cup of red grapes. How much easier can that get?!

My Journey to Health - Day 2
Then, lunch. Oh, beautiful lunch! The salad was so delicious. I had cooked the ground turkey the day before, and it was ready and waiting to be put into this beautiful salad. Super healthy, packed full of flavor, and really delicious.

My Journey to Health - Day 2
My second snack was a hard boiled egg cut open with a splash of balsamic vinegar. The vinegar gave it a needed kick that made me feel like I was eating something more than an egg.

My Journey to Health - Day 2
Dinner was chicken in foil with red skinned potatoes, peppers, onions, and some herbs. I think this is my favorite meal so far. It was easy, well-rounded, and very good.

My Journey to Health - Day 2

And there you have it, Day 2… done. In the morning I exercised to T25 with my husband. I am so proud of his effort to do this with me. It’s way easier with somebody going along with you and helping you stick to it. And he has been a champ with lots of unhealthy temptations out there.

Looking forward to the days ahead…



Cheese Burger Pockets

SAM_1590Author: Cassie Stevens

Cheese burgers baked in the bun! Oh yes I did!! I seen a similar post about this on Pintrest the other day while I was browsing, so of course, I had to try it out.

I started with my basic white bread recipe. Then cut one of the halves into eighths, because I had four hamburgers.

SAM_1575Four tops and four bottoms.  I then added the meat and cheese to one side and sealed the dough rounds together.

SAM_1579The next time I do this I am going to try another cheese like mozzarella, and use a little more.  I like a cheesy burger.

SAM_1582Once I sealed it up, I used an egg wash to cover the top of the buns.  I then let them rise while the oven was heating up. So, just a few minutes.  Here is all four of them before the egg wash:

SAM_1586I baked them until they were a beautiful golden brown on top.  I think they were very good for the first time making them. They tasted great. I seasoned the burgers with salt, pepper, garlic powder, and onion powder. I accompanied these cheese burger pockets with mashed potatoes and baked beans. YUM!!!!! Try it out tell me what you think….~ C


Spicy Shrimp and Butter Grits ~ Southern Comfort Food

sg6Author: Cassie Stevens

I am a southern girl, and I eat like it too.  Cornbread, beans, grits, mashed taters, all kinds of gravies, butter, BBQ, etc.  Southern comfort foods, and this is one of them.  Shrimp and grits! YUM! better yet, spicy shrimp and grits! YUM! YUM!

Shrimp and grits started out as a seasonal fisherman’s dish of shrimp cooked in bacon grease served over creamy grits in the south where they were also known as “breakfast shrimp.” The popular cuisine of corn grain provides a new twist in a variety of ways that it can be made. This has caused chefs to try to create new variations of the basic shrimp and grits recipe.sg2

You may be wondering what grits are made of. Well grits, formerly “hominy,” is ground corn that has been mashed. This dish was invented by the Native Americans from the Carolina region. Grits were used as one of the ways for Native Americans and white people to communicate in the latter part of the 16th and beginning of the 17th century before people learned how to speak the same language. An important event happened in 1584, when Native Americans gave some of their grits to Sir Walter Raleigh, and the people who came to live in Jamestown, Virginia a few years later.sg3

The colonists were learning about maize (corn) from the Native Americans, who were well versed in that area. Multiple items quickly became basic food sources for the settlers, including corn and grits. These items had been a normal part of the Native American diet for a long time.sg1

Centuries later, in 1976, grits were  declared as the official state food of South Carolina and are well known for their significant contribution to the culture and economy of South Carolina, and the power of the people who live there. The region stretching from the Carolinas to Louisiana is now called America’s Grits Belt.sg4

For many people in this region, a day without grits is like a day without sunshine. They hate and have no respect for prepackaged instant grits or quick grits. For them, the only way to eat real grits is to cook them the old fashioned way slowly with stone ground grits. However, there are a number of ways to spice up the meal like adding shrimp.

For many decades, shrimp and grits were a mainstay of the diet of the people who lived in and around Charleston, South Carolina.


I live in Tennessee, not far from the origin of shrimp and grits. I love it! Well, in this recipe I used, lemon juice, butter, cayenne pepper, salt and pepper, parsley, garlic, and onion powder. Spicy!

I cooked my grits then added a little butter, salt, and cream to my taste. Viola! the best ever spicy southern shrimp and grits. Gotta love it! Good southern comfort food! Enjoy! ~ C


10 to 15 cooked shrimp (depending on size)

Juice from half a lemon

1 tbsp salted butter

1 dash cayenne pepper (or to your heat preference)

1 three finger pinch dried parsley

1 tsp garlic powder

1 tsp onion powder

Salt and pepper to taste

In sauce pan combine all ingredients until heated through. Serve over cooked grits.


Sloppy Philly Cheesesteak

Sloppy Philly Cheesesteak :: Pen Pals and Cookin' Gals

There are very few things that smell better, more like a loving home, than sauteed meat and onions. Dinner tonight was fast, easy, and cheap – the opposite of me! Ha!

Sloppy Philly Cheesesteak :: Pen Pals and Cookin' Gals

Sloppy Philly Cheesesteak


1 lb Lean Ground Beef (90% to 95%)

1 Tbl Worcestershire Sauce

1 Med Green Bell Pepper, chopped

1 Med Onion, chopped

1 Cup Beef Broth

Cook ground beef for 4-5 minutes on medium-high heat. Add chopped onions, chopped pepper, and Worcestershire sauce. Cook for 2-3 minutes more or until onions and peppers are soft. Add beef broth, cover and simmer for 5-10 minutes. Serve hot over rolls with cheese of choice.

Servings: 4

Nutrition Info (for the beef mixture only): Calories: 175, Fat: 6g, Sat. Fat: 3g, Cholesterol: 69mg, Sodium: 305mg, Carbohydrate: 5g, Fiber: 1g, Protein: 24g

I made these 30 Minute Rolls, and simply made each roll twice as big. I added the cheese to the bun and toasted it under the broiler until just melted.

These are SO tasty, melt-in-your mouth, awesomely delicious. I know it’s going to be one of my go-to, IT’S 5:00,WHAT AM I COOKING? meals from now on. Hubs could hardly contain his enthusiasm. He told me 3 times how good they were!

What are your favorite go-to fast, easy, and cheap meals?


Soft and Fluffy Bread Machine White Bread

Author: Veronica Hilliard

 I used to be daunted by making bread. It seems so difficult if you’ve never made it before. The water has to be warm, but not too hot! Do I use all-purpose or bread flour? How long should I knead it for?

Bread is one of my favorite things to make now that I’ve gotten better at it. And you can do it too! I make this white bread in my bread machine (a cheap Oster from Walmart). I use a bread machine because I have a inquisitive and overly helpful (almost) 4 year old and a climbing 1 year old monkey baby, who so sweetly bug help me. But you can easily modify this recipe to be done by hand if you don’t have a bread machine or children. 🙂 I’m joking. Sometimes I have the time to help my daughter help me. Then we have a blast making memories together.

Soft and Fluffy Bread Machine White Bread :: Pen Pals and Cookin' GalsRecipe modified from this one found on

Simple White Bread for Bread Machine


1 cup warm water (110 degrees F/45 degrees C)

3 Tbl white sugar (or 3 Tbl maple syrup, or 2 Tbl honey)*

1 1/2 tsp salt

3 Tbl olive oil (or oil of choice)

3 cups bread or all-purpose flour**

2 1/4 tsp active dry yeast

Directions: Add the ingredients to the bread machine pan in order, adding the yeast last in a slight well in the flour. Set your machine to a 1 to 1.5 lb loaf, on the white, or basic setting. Cool completely before slicing for best results!

*If you want a substitute for processed sugar, try maple syrup or honey. Maple syrup adds a little manganese and calcium to your bread with a better taste than plain sugar. Honey has trace amino acids, vitamins and minerals that table sugar doesn’t; and it’s easier on your blood sugar. If you are using these liquid alternatives use slightly less water, about a Tsp or two less. 

**Bread flour has a higher gluten content, helping it to rise better than all-purpose. If you don’t mind a slightly less fluffy, chewier bread, all-purpose is fine. I do recommend trying bread flour once or twice though to see how you like it. Bread flour can be found bleached or unbleached, in wheat or white, and also organic.

If you don’t have a bread machine just add your water, sugar, oil, and yeast. Let it sit for about 10 – 15 minutes until the yeast has proofed (gotten foamy). Add the flour and salt and knead until smooth. Set in a greased bowl, covered, until the dough has doubled in size, 1-2 hours – depending on the warmth of your house. Punch down, knead again, and place your loaf into a loaf pan. Cover lightly and let rise to double again, 1-2 hours. Bake at 350 degrees F for 30 to 40 minutes, or until the outside is a light to medium brown, depending on your preference.

Now do you see why I prefer the machine? Ain’t nobody got time for that!

Anyway, I hope ya’ll enjoy it. 🙂 ❤ Tell me what you think if you try it.

Do you prefer a bread done by hand or from a machine? Do you notice a difference?

Tuesday’s Taste: Chocolate Almond Butter Fail!

Tuesday's Taste: Chocolate Almond Butter Fail! :: Pen Pals and Cookin' GalsAuthor: Veronica Hilliard

Have you ever had this great idea to make something, and then it sort of flops? It’s ok, but not all you’d imagined it to be.

That’s what happened to me today with this chocolate almond butter.

I’ve been thinking a long time about what to do with the almond meal that results from my homemade almond milk. I’ve put it in my oatmeal, in my smoothies, and in some brownies. But I want to do something spectacular with it. This was NOT that case.

Tuesday's Taste: Chocolate Almond Butter Fail! :: Pen Pals and Cookin' Gals

We drink so much almond milk that I have bags of these in my freezer waiting to be utilized. I hate waste so I’ve got to figure out something different to do. It’s a beautiful and nutty “flour” almost. Earlier, I had a niggling thought in the back of my mind, probably my Norwegian Grandma visiting from Heaven, telling me, “Make marzipan or kransekake!” I didn’t listen. Should have. Instead, I thought of my sweet husband who loves his Nutella, and the discussion we had a week ago that ended with me saying, “I’m done buying that crap, it’s full of sugar and PUFA’s!” That’s where I lost him. But he kindly supports me as I slowly clear our shelves of all his favorite snacks. So he begrudgingly promised that he would be ok without it, and I enthusiastically promised that I would find an alternative. Hence my experimenting today. Too bad it flopped.

Tuesday's Taste: Chocolate Almond Butter Fail! :: Pen Pals and Cookin' Gals

Giving the almond meal a quick go-round in the blender made it even softer. I felt pretty good about it at this point.

Tuesday's Taste: Chocolate Almond Butter Fail! :: Pen Pals and Cookin' Gals

I then added coconut oil 1 tablespoon at a time to try to get some moisture back into it. It was pretty ok at this point, but I was beginning to see it wouldn’t work.

Tuesday's Taste: Chocolate Almond Butter Fail! :: Pen Pals and Cookin' Gals

Last step was adding some bittersweet chocolate chips. It looks like it would be tasty, right?

Tuesday's Taste: Chocolate Almond Butter Fail! :: Pen Pals and Cookin' Gals

Yeah, it’s tasty, sort of. It’s more like a dip than a butter. It’s also really grainy. It’s not the smooth, buttery, spread that I’d imagined. I tried to give this plate to my (almost) 4 year old as a snack and she ate everything but the spreaded graham crackers and told me that the spread was gross. I shoved a spoonful of it in hubby’s mouth as he came through the door after work. His reaction? “Uh, what is it?” Yeah… fail. Maybe I can work this into a cookie or my next batch of brownies. Ooh! Maybe I’ll use it as a scrumptious body scrub in the shower tomorrow! 😉

I’m currently soaking some almonds to make more almond milk tomorrow. That means even more almond meal. But I’m also planning to use about a cup of those to try to make a smooth and creamy almond butter. I’ll let you know how it turns out!

Since my recipe failed (sort of), I haven’t left ya’ll hanging…

Try this recipe for Chocolate Almond Butter from Running and Roasting

Or this one for Chocolate Roasted Almond Butter from The Kitchen Paper

Or try this recipe for a Chocolate Coconut Cashew Butter from Averie Cooks

What would you do with it? Can you think of anything to do with this beautiful, fresh almond meal? I welcome ideas!