Grilled Haddock Sandwich

Grilled Haddock Sandwich

This Grilled Haddock Sandwich makes the proper lunch or dinner and is choked with flavor!

Which means that we’re virtually halfway through March? Time certain is flying’ and that I want it might bog down simply a bit. However I’m thus glad that summer is finally here. And what a stronger thanks to celebrate daddy (and the primary official day of summer.

My daddy loves food. Fish, shrimp, lobster and everything in between, he loves it all. However one dish that he’s significantly keen on is fish. And that i need to say that I’m identical, too. Whether or not it’s salmon, cod, or walleye, I’m not meticulous and am passionate about it all identical. Once I was younger, my family and that i would head to MN each summer and pay per week there. In between fishing, hiking, and swimming, we have a tendency to perpetually manage to catch a number of fish that my daddy would fry up for dinner. And people were a number of the simplest items of fish that I’ve ever had.

But since I’m powerless to catch some cannon fodder for my daddy this weekend, I came up with ensuing best thing! This Grilled Haddock Sandwich makes the proper lunch or dinner and is choked with flavor. It’s straightforward to arrange and nice summer meal to impress daddy with.This Grilled Haddock Sandwich is seasoned with salt, pepper, garlic powder, and paprika. It’s cooked on the grill so lidded with recent lettuce, tomato slices, avocado and a zesty ranch dressing. From begin to end; you’ll have this meal prepared in but twenty minutes. Sounds pretty sensible, right?

And if you don’t wish to use a grill, no problem! The haddock tastes even as sensible as once it’s baked within the kitchen appliance or cooked on the stove. And since I’m victimization solely the freshest fish from Sizzlefish, i do know that I’m creating a meal-time winner.Once you bite into this Grilled Haddock Sandwich, your style buds can thanks. The haddock is utterly seasoned, whereas the recent toppings and ranch salad dressing give the proper bit. It’s a sandwich that you simply will very sink into! It’s additionally excellent for celebrating Father’s Day, the beginning of summer, or any time you’re feeling like you’re within the mood for a few delicious foods.

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2 haddock filets
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 teaspoon salt, divided
1/4 teaspoon pepper, divided
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder, divided
1/4 teaspoon paprika, divided
2 bakery style rolls
¼ cup mayonnaise
1 tablespoon dry Ranch dressing mix
Tomato slices
Avocado slices
1. In a small bowl, combine the mayonnaise and ranch dressing mix. Set aside.
2. Preheat grill.
3. Drizzle one tablespoon of olive oil over each filet.
4. Sprinkle each filet and both sides with ¼ teaspoon salt, ¼ teaspoon pepper, ¼ teaspoon garlic powder, and ¼ teaspoon paprika.
5. Using a grill basket, sear the fish on one side for about 5-6 minutes, then flip and cook on the other side for about 5 minutes, or until tender and flaky.
6. Remove from grill.
7. Place one piece of haddock onto each roll.
8. Slather one side with the ranch mayo.
9. Top with lettuce, tomato, and avocado.
10. Serve immediately.
11. Enjoy!


This Grilled Haddock Sandwich makes the proper lunch or dinner and is choked with flavor!
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This Grilled Haddock Sandwich makes the proper lunch or dinner and is choked with flavor!
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Still More Must See Italian Towns Off the Beaten Path

Italy is a very popular destination no matter what time of year.  I seriously doubt they have an off season like other vacation spots.  I’ve only seen 2 seasons, busy and busier.  It’s said to be empty in August during the dog days of summer when the Italians leave the cities to head for the shores.  Yes it’s less busy in August mostly because the natives are on holiday so you may find shops and restaurants closed for the month, this is true in the smaller towns and cities, not so much in the major ones.  But although the locals have fled the heat the tourists still flock to the big cities like Rome, Florence, and Venice.  That’s why we like to leave the big crowded cities and head over to these 5 Italian towns off the beaten path.

Mind you though we head for the less crowded Italian towns off the beaten path it doesn’t necessarily mean we stay there for days on end, some of them don’t have the accommodations we prefer, like large hotels with air conditioning!  We usually use one of the cities as a hub and take day trips from there when possible.  For us this works out better, but if you’re ok with small hotels, B&Bs, and other types of accommodations then go for it!

Today I’m sharing my 5 favorite Italian towns off the beaten path.  They are by no means the only Italian towns off the beaten path that are worth a visit; in fact in my opinion all Italian towns are worth the visit!

Though many of them don’t boast the large museums and famous art work you’ll find in the larger cities, you’ll be surprised at what you’ll find in many of them.  From quiet piazzas, little trattorias serving awesome regional specialties, quaint wineries where you can participate in the harvest, and interesting festivals and events that some towns are known for.


Matera is a city in the Basilicata region in Southern Italy.   The modern city of Matera is pretty much a typical town and there’s not a whole lot to do there. It does however boast a very nice pedestrian free zone that connects the two Sasso Districts, Sassi Barisano and Sassi Caveoso.  This zone is lined with shops, restaurants, and churches including the cathedral.  But the main attraction in this city are the Sasso Districts.

Matera  or more specifically the Sassi di Matera (meaning stones of Matera) in my opinion is one of Hollywood’s best kept secrets.  Probably because during the years between the late 1950’s to the early 1990’s Italy would have liked to hide the town from the map.

Matera is definitely off the beaten path.  It’s not so easily accessible and is not on every tourist’s bucket list, although that is changing!  Thanks to Hollywood Matera is getting noticed!  Mel Gibson’s The Passion of The Christ and the most recent Wonder Woman film were both filmed there.

The couple of times we visited Matera it was basically empty, we went in the fall and spring, a great time to go weather wise, specially if you want to walk down to the Sassi.   We didn’t see a lot of tourists in the modern and old sections of the city.  There were a handful of tour groups milling around, but finding a seat at one of the restaurants wasn’t difficult at all!

Matera is said to be the third oldest continuously inhabited place on earth.  Proof of its habitation dates back to the Paleolithic age, yes that’s caveman days, when ancient man found shelter in the caves that dot the walls of the gorge.

Over the years inhabitants built homes, shops, wells, and churches in the caves.  By digging in the soft tufa rock they were able create new spaces and enlarge existing ones.  The cave dwellings and churches don’t look like caves from the outside, everyone one of them has an intricate facade and many are grouped into little “neighborhoods” where several homes share a courtyard.

This worked out well for many years until the town became over populated and living conditions became very unsanitary.  People were living stacked in the caves with no running water, electricity, and poor ventilation; and raw sewage was literally running through the streets.  Diseases were rampant and the infant mortality rate was very high.  It became the shame of Italy and so in the late 1950’s residents, many forcibly, were moved to the modern city above.

The Sasso district was left abandoned for years until some enterprising folks along with help from the government began transforming the caves into luxury hotels, shops, and restaurants.  This pretty much started after the Sasso and the Rupestrian (stone) churches within all became a UNESCO World Heritage Site.  So slowly the tourists are beginning to trickle in.  But the tourists that do go are very determined ones because as I said it is quite off the beaten path.

Getting to Matera isn’t difficult if you’re staying in Bari and the surrounding area.  It is connected by light rail the FAL line to Bari.  You can take this very slow train from the FAL tracks located in Bari’s main train station to Matera, that’s the end of the line.  Depending on the train you might have to transfer in Altamura  but no worries, the trains are marked and there are only 2 tracks in Altamura.

For more information on Matera check out my article here!


Another one of my favorite Italian towns off the beaten path is Bolzano.  Again it’s not on every tourist bucket list and those that do make it up to Bolzano are pretty determined tourists.

Bolzano is in the South Tryol region of Northern Italy.  It’s not easily accessible, but can be reached by public transportation for those with a mind to do so.

Located in the the Dolomites/ Italian Alps Bolzano can get fairly busy in the winter as there are ski lodges up in the mountain top.  It’s also a popular place for hikers as there are many beautiful trails in the area.  But having said that it’s still a pretty quiet town, specially in the early fall and late spring when the ski season is over.

Even if you’re not into winter sports or even hiking or trekking there are still plenty of things to do in Bolzano.  You can visit Otzi the iceman, he resides in a freezer in the archaeological museum in town.  His well preserved body was discovered in ice in the Italian Alps and the museum is pretty much dedicated to studying ice mummies.  You can also visit the cathedral located across from the town’s main square, Piazza Walter, some castles in the area, ride the cable car up to Sopra Bolzano where there is a bee museum and other interesting sites, you can dine in the many restaurants, and of course shop in the mall and the open markets.  Or you can stroll by the river and relax in the park along side it.  It’s a wonderful spot for a picnic!

Bolzano is an Italian town with a German feel.  The residents speak both languages, the buildings look more German than Italian, some folks do dress in lederhosen, and the cuisine features both Italian and German/Austrian dishes.

You can get to Bolzano by train from Italy, Germany, and Austrian.  From Northern Italy there is a high speed train that leaves from Verona Porta Nuova station.  The ride takes just under an hour and a half.

For more information on Bolzano check out my article here!


Padua is a town located in the Veneto region, a train ride away from Venice.

It’s a college town that’s a bit off the beaten path, at least the tourists don’t crowd there as they do in nearby Venice and Verona.  It does get a bit busy when there are festivals and concerts in town, but other than that it’s pretty quiet.

There are several churches and chapels in town that are worth visiting, but to me the best feature is the Prato della Valle, the oval green space in the middle of town.  It is a huge space said to be one of Europe’s oldest and largest squares, even though it’s oval shape it’s still considered a square.  It is bordered by a moat and is accessible by crossing one of the 4 bridges. Positioned around the moat are statues of Padova’s important citizens.  I love this place!  It’s a great place to let kids run around!

The square has some restaurants and bars around it, but for more food choices and shopping you can wander the shaded streets that connect the square to the museums and university.  Like I said it’s hardly ever crowded and is a relaxing place to spend half the day just wandering and sipping wine with a fine meal in one of its many restaurants.

For more information on Padua check out my article here!


Vicenza is a city in the Veneto region of Northern Italy.  It’s about a 45 minute train ride away from Venice.

For those interested in architecture, particularly the designs of Palladio then Vicenza is on their bucket list.  This little Italian town is home to most of Palladio’s work.

Here you’ll find his Basillica, Teatro Olipico, La Rotonda (the villa that inspired Thomas Jefferson when he designed Montecello), and a handful of other villas.

You can also make your way up to Monte Berico where you’ll find a church and a spectacular view of the town below.  Other tourist sites in the area include a museum dedicated to all things Palladio, wineries, olive groves and presses, and a lively market in the main square on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

For more information on Vicenza read my article here!


Marostica is a town on the side of a hill in the Vicenza province in Northern Italy’s Veneto region.  It’s claim to fame is its live chess game the town puts on ever 2 years – every even year to be exact.

Yes a live chess game right in the main town square in front of the castle.  Very Alice in Wonderland!  It is definitely an Italian town off the beaten path!  It’s not the easiest place to get to unless you have a car.  The closest train station is in Bassano del Grappa and from there you must take the bus to Marostica.  But unless the chess festival is going on (September on even numbered years) you’ll more than likely have the town to yourself.  There’s not much to do there, specially when there are no chess matches, but you can explore the 2 castles and the churches then relax at the town square.  Very restful!  A great place to get away from the maddening crowds!

Ready for an Italian adventure?  Call Savvy Nana Travel, we’ll help you plan an adventure of a lifetime!





6 March Kids’ Birthday Party Ideas

6 March Kids’ Birthday Party Ideas

Planning a kid’s birthday is lots of fun, the hardest part is usually choosing a party theme. Once you’ve chosen a theme everything else falls into place.  March parties are exciting because the weather is getting better opening up the possibility of outdoor venues.  Here are 6 party themes that would be great for a March party.


MarchMarch is National Crafts Month, what a great time to host an Artsy Craftsy Party!

The colors for the party will be a burst of sunshine to herald in Spring.  You can keep kids busy and entertained with various arts and crafts projects that can double as party favors!

Bottle Your Brand
The Hostess With TheMostess
Kara’s Party Ideas
Paige’s Party Ideas



MarchMarch 12 is Plant a Flower Day.

In honor of this day a Flower Garden party would be a fun theme for a girl’s birthday party.

 Catch My Party
The Imagination Tree
Paper Glitter
Party City
Kara’s Party Ideas



MarchSt. Paddy’s Day is in March, how about a Leprechaun themed party?

Rainbows, Pots of Gold, Shamrocks, and Leprechauns equals a fun St. Paddy’s Day themed birthday party.

Platinum Touch Events
Sweeten Your Day Events
Rook No. 17
Housing A Forest



MarchBig Bird’s birthday is March 20!

Your toddler will love a Sesame Street Party!  You can center the party around your child’s favorite Sesame Street character or have them all at the party, the more the merrier!

Savvy Nana’s Parties
Catch My Party
 Britt Party Rental
The Chickabug Blog



MarchIn honor of Star Trek’s Captain Kirk’s March 22 birthday host an Outer Space Party!

Kid’s will love it!  A rocket ship photo booth would be lots of fun!

Hey this theme works for Star Trek fans of all ages!

Kara’s Party Ideas
Artsy Craftsy Mom
Hostess With The Mostess




MarchIn honor of Wonder Woman’s March 22nd. birthday host a Wonder Woman party for your little Wonder Girl!

Have guests come dressed as their favorite super hero, kids and adults love to dress up!

Anders Ruff
Kara’s Party Ideas
Hostess With The Mostess
We Heart Parties

For more party ideas follow my boards on Pinterest!

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Basic Overnight Oats Recipe

Basic Overnight Oats Recipe

Overnight Oats!  What the heck is that?  At least that’s what my family said when I told them we’d be having them for breakfast.

Ok overnighovernight oatst oats is basically raw oatmeal that’s been soaked in a liquid and allowed to sit in the refrigerator for a minimum of 6 hours.

Overnight oats for breakfast is a great way to start your day.  You can make them a head of time, they last refrigerated for up to 5 days, they’re filling, nutritious, versatile, and heart healthy, you can have them on the go, and most importantly they’re yummy!

If you look around you’ll find like a million recipes for the best overnight oats in the world.  Some are vegan, some have fruity flavors, others have nuts, and still others include yogurt, and more.  Seriously the possibilities seem endless!  But at the end of the day no matter what flavor or topping you prefer you still have to start out with basic oats.

Yes the French Toast or Banana Nutella overnight oats recipes look delish but really those are just ingredients you can add to make your breakfast to suite your taste or your mood.  But in my case I make overnight oats for myself, my husband, and grandkids; of course everyone likes something different.  The best solution is to make a batch, ok a big batch of overnight oats, portion them in containers (they can’t even agree on the containers they want to use), then just before eating each person can “customize” it to suite their taste.

So today I’ll share with you my basic recipe for overnight oats, even then you can switch out some of the ingredients to suite your needs.  For example if you have mild allergies you can use non-dairy liquids such as soy or coconut milk.  You can change up the liquids even if you have no allergies just to get a different taste.

Also I used rolled oats as I feel they have the best texture.  Rolled oats are the ones you must cook, not the instant ones you just add water to and microwave.  If you like your oats a bit on the crunchier side you can use steel cut oats.

The 2 most important things to remember when mixing overnight oats are the proportion of liquid to oats, I like to use 1 to 1 proportions; and that pinch of salt!  Yes overnight oats must be seasoned to taste good and if you forget the salt there’s no amount of sweetener or toppings you can add that will make them taste right.  So remember the salt!

overnight oatsHaving said that here’s my recipe it makes 9 pint size mason jars (half filled) – you can portion them out in mason jars or small plastic containers with a lid.  Be sure the lids lock onto the containers.

Ingredients for oats:

6 Cups Rolled Oats

6 Cups Liquid – milk, coconut milk, soy milk, almond milk, or whatever type of milk you prefer – I use 2% milk or coconut milk

1/2 Cup Natural Sweetener – honey, molasses, maple syrup, coconut sugar, agave syrup, or whatever sweetener you like – I usually use coconut sugar or honey – try to stay away from white sugar

1/2 Cup Chia Seeds (optional)

2 Tbs. Salt


Fruit – fresh, dried, or frozen berries, bananas, mango, papaya


Nuts – sliced almonds, pecan pieces, etc.

Chocolate chips

Nut butters – peanut, almond, etc.

Shredded coconut

Or whatever topping you like


Mix all the ingredients for the oats together in a large bowl.

Divide them into portions enough to fill your mason jars or plastic containers half full.

Cover tightly.

Refrigerate overnight or at least 6 hours.  Overnight oats can be refrigerated for up to 5 days.  The longer you refrigerate them the creamier they become.

Before serving/eating add the toppings of choice.  Mix them in the oats and enjoy!



Basic Overnight Oats
Print Recipe
Servings Prep Time
12 jars 15 minutes
Passive Time
6+ Hours
Servings Prep Time
12 jars 15 minutes
Passive Time
6+ Hours
Basic Overnight Oats
Print Recipe
Servings Prep Time
12 jars 15 minutes
Passive Time
6+ Hours
Servings Prep Time
12 jars 15 minutes
Passive Time
6+ Hours
Basic Oats
Servings: jars
  1. Mix all the ingredients for the oats together in a large bowl. Divide them into portions enough to fill your mason jars or plastic containers half full. Cover tightly. Refrigerate overnight or at least 6 hours.  Overnight oats can be refrigerated for up to 5 days.  The longer you refrigerate them the creamier they become. Before serving/eating add the toppings of choice.  Mix them in the oats and enjoy!
    overnight oats
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5 Unique Activities  to Really Experience France

5 Unique Activities to Really Experience France


So you’re heading to France, yay!  That’s one more place to cross off the bucket list right?

But is that all a trip to France is all about?  Is all you want are a few selfies in front of the Eiffel Tower, a mind numbing tour of the Louvre and the D’Orsay, and perhaps a glass of wine and a crepe?  If it is then travel on and good luck!  But if you’re looking for ways to really experience France then read on.

Of course you should visit the Louvre and the D’Orsay and any of the many museums you want in Paris and believe me Paris is not lacking in museums!  And by all means take your photo in front of the Eiffel Tower and do all the touristy things one expects to do in Paris.  But for a truly unique experience in France try at least one of these activities; I promise you won’t regret it; and it will be memorable!


Eiffel Tower Dining

Don’t just climb up the Eiffel Tower, take the time to dine at one of the restaurants located in the tower.

There are several restaurants, bars, and shops in the tower that should suit everyone’s taste and budget.  Treat yourself to seasonal french cuisine at The 58 Eiffel Tower located on the first floor.  This is where you can have an upscale picnic lunch or chic bistro dining.  Or indulge yourself at The Jules Verne located on the second floor Michelin starred chefs offer mouth watering gourmet cuisine.  For smaller budgets check out the buffets for fine quality snacks they are located on the esplanade and the first and second floors.  Or you can have a drink or two at the Champagne Bar located on the top where you can enjoy unparalleled views of the city.

The restaurants require reservations or tours.  Contact Savvy Nana to help you plan your Eiffel Tower dining experience.

Hot Air Balloon Ride

Up, Up, and Away! For a truly memorable experience float above the French countryside in a hot air balloon,  Enjoy a bird’s eye view of palaces, gardens, farms, villages, and chateaux as you gently glide over Fountainbleu or the Loire Valley in a colorful balloon.

Sunrise and Sunset rides are offered and depart from various locations around the country.

Contact Savvy Nana to help you plan your hot air balloon ride in France!


Historic Champagne Cave Tour & Tastings

Many champagne houses located in the Champagne region of France offer cellar or cave tours and champagne tastings; in fact some offer their tours free of charge.  But there are only a handful of Champagne houses that store their bubbly in historic chalk caves that date back to the 4th. Century and even fewer still that rests on the property of a 13th. Century abbey as well.  (There’s only one that fits both descriptions, Tattinger!)

Rest assured that these historic champagne caves now designated historic monuments and UNESCO heritage sites are worth the visit.  Not only will you learn the history of the sparkling drink and how it’s made, at the end of the tour you  get to sample this lofty beverage too!

Even if you’re not a champagne drinker one sip of this glorious drink straight from the caves will turn you into a big fan.  Like Dom Perignon, the 17th. century monk whose contributions are important to the production and quality of the bubbly, supposedly said when he took his first sip “I am tasting the stars!”  Fine French champagnes is really like tasting stars!

Contact Savvy Nana to plan your historic champagne cave tour and tasting!

French Pastry Making Class

France is known for its delicious french pastries, specially macaroons and puff pastry.  So indulge your sweet tooth and learn how to make delicious french pastries from master pastry chefs in and around Paris.  Take a macaroon or pastry making class taught by a master chef or at one of the famous patisseries in town like Laduree.

Of course the best part of the class is tasting your creations!  Contact Savvy Nana to plan your pastry making adventure in France!

Market Days

As in most of Europe Market Days in France are a way of life.  Most of the locals use the open air markets to shop for much of their daily needs like fresh fruits and veggies, fresh meat and poultry, and so much more.

Most markets are held in the town’s main squares where all sorts of vendors set up stalls to display their wares.  In many towns vendors have schedules and set up specific days for instance Mondays could be for food vendors, Wednesdays for general merchandise, and Saturdays for antiques, books, and other collectables.   Check with your hotel or on line for the market schedules in the towns you’ll be visiting.

If you’re lucky enough to be in France during the Christmas season be sure to wander around the Christmas Markets, many of the larger ones are in the Northern region not far from the German border.  These markets are huge events that have rides, shows, food kiosks, and of course handicrafts for sale.

Ready to plan your vacation in France?  Call Savvy Nana for custom itineraries!





Instant Pot Beef Stew

Instant Pot Beef Stew

Instant Pot Beef StewLast Christmas one of my daughters gifted me an Instant Pot Lux80.  (There it is in the box.) I have to admit it looked intimidating; took me almost a month before I took it out of the box, and only after watching videos and reading lots of internet articles.  Now what exactly is an Instant Pot you may ask.  The best answer would be that it’s a crockpot on steroids.  It can do just about everything a crockpot does but it does it faster.  That’s why it takes only 35 minutes to make Instant Pot Beef Stew!

35 minutes to make tender falling apart beef stew!  Yes I kid you not the actual cooking time for Instant Pot Beef Stew is 35 minutes!  And yes the meat, you can use even the least expensive cuts, are literally falling apart!  Ok, the actual time I spent making Instant Pot Beef Stew was closer to an hour, that included chopping, browning, AND cooking and venting.  So really dinner was ready in about an hour.  Sure beats cooking stew in your crockpot all day!

Can you tell yet what I first made in my handy dandy new gadget?  Yup, you got it I made Instant Pot Beef Stew!  And the best part is it doesn’t take a lot of planning.

When I made beef stew in my old crockpot I had to thaw out the beef the night before then get up early to chop veggies and brown the beef on the stove top.  I had to do all that before I could toss it all in the crockpot and press cook.  Now it wasn’t that big a deal, that is until I realized what my new Instant Pot could do!  I didn’t have to thaw meat the night before, I could actually toss semi-frozen meat in the pot if I wanted to!

instant pot beef stew

Did I mention that my Instant Pot Beef Stew turned out amazing?  My family raved about it!  In fact I had made a big pot – the model I have is 8 quarts – and we had the left overs for dinner the next day!  So without further ado here’s my recipe!  Hope you love it as much as we do!

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3 Lbs. Beef Cut into 1″ cubes – you can use any cut of beef you want, I usually use a chuck roast

2 Tbs.  Olive Oil

1 Tbs. Italian Seasoning

1/4 Cup Worcestershire Sauce

2 Tbs. Minced Garlic

1 Large Onion Cut in large pieces

2 Cups Baby Carrots

2 Cups Baby Potato Medley

2 Cups Celery Cut in large pieces

3 Cups Beef Broth

1 Cup Tomato Sauce

Salt & Pepper to taste

1/4 Cup Corn Starch

1/4 Cup water


instant pot beef stewPrep ingredients – Cut all the meat & veggies to size

Separate Beef from the veggies as you will be using it first and you don’t want the veggies sitting in raw beef juices

Add olive oil to Instant Pot and set on Sauté

When pot is hot enough place cubed beef into pot


Instant pot beef stewBrown all the sides of the beef

Add Italian seasoning, salt, pepper, garlic, worcestershire sauce, and mix well

Switch pot off and add veggies, beef broth, and tomato sauce

Stir well making sure to scrape off any meat or seasoning at the bottom of the pot

Set Instant Pot on Manual and adjust time to 35 minutes

Secure lid making sure the valve is on the sealing position

When pot beeps wait 10 minutes then set the valve to venting to release remaining pressure

Meanwhile dissolve cornstarch in water

When pressure has been completely released remove pot lid

Stir in cornstarch water to get desired thickness.  If you want thicker sauce add more dissolved cornstarch slowly until you get the thickness you want.

Serve with steamed rice or some nice crusty bread to sop up all that meaty goodness!

Left overs can be stored in the fridge for a day or so, stew always tastes better the next day!  Or for longer storage place stew in freezer safe containers, label with date, and freeze until needed.  It will keep in the freezer for about 2-3 months.  Reheat in the microwave or stove top.





instant pot beef stew
Instant Pot Beef Stew
Print Recipe
instant pot beef stew
Instant Pot Beef Stew
Print Recipe
  1. Prep ingredients - Cut all the meat & veggies to size Separate Beef from the veggies as you will be using it first and you don't want the veggies sitting in raw beef juices
    instant pot beef stew
  2. Add olive oil to Instant Pot and set on Sauté When pot is hot enough place cubed beef into pot Brown all the sides of the beef  Add Italian seasoning, salt, pepper, garlic, worcestershire sauce, and mix well
    Instant pot beef stew
  3. Switch pot off and add veggies, beef broth, and tomato sauce Stir well making sure to scrape off any meat or seasoning at the bottom of the pot Set Instant Pot on Manual and adjust time to 35 minutes Secure lid making sure the valve is on the sealing position
  4. When pot beeps wait 10 minutes then set the valve to venting to release remaining pressure Meanwhile dissolve cornstarch in water When pressure has been completely released remove pot lid Stir in cornstarch water to get desired thickness.  If you want thicker sauce add more dissolved cornstarch slowly until you get the thickness you want.   Serve with steamed rice or some nice crusty bread to sop up all that meaty goodness!
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Cold Soothing Bath Salts

Cold Soothing Bath Salts

Yup!  Cold and Flu Season is definitely upon us.  We’ve been battling winter colds at my house since December!  We’ve all had our flu shots but they don’t exactly protect you from cold viruses, so we suffer with stuffy noses, scratchy throats, and in some cases fevers and chills.  That’s why I’ve made jars of these Soothing Bath Salts; they’re a great alternative or even addition to the Vaporizing Shower Melts I make.

Like the shower melts  these Soothing Bath Salts help clear your sinuses.  They are great way to relieve stuffy noses caused by colds and allergies.  Just toss a hand full or two of these Soothing Bath Salts into your hot bath, sit back, relax, and breathe in the soothing aroma of mints and eucalyptus.  Trust me your stuffy nose will clear up pretty quickly.

Soothing Bath Salts are so easy and inexpensive to make; the most expensive ingredients would be the essential oils, but a small vial of these oils go a very long way!  If you don’t already have essential oils you may want to consider investing in a small bottle of  basic oils such as lavender, peppermint, eucalyptus, and lemongrass.  By the way treat oils as you would medication and keep them out of reach of children and pets; some oils are harmful to them; so do your homework before you use any oil.  Also never apply essential oils directly on to your skin; always use a carrier such as coconut, jojoba, or avocado oils, or dilute them in water.

I like to color my salts so that they coordinate with the shower melts and bath bombs I make.  I use gel based food coloring but you can use soap coloring or any kind of food coloring you have.  Or you can just leave them white.

Once you make these Soothing Bath Salts store them in airtight containers until ready to use.  They last for a pretty long time, but I wouldn’t keep them longer than 6 months to be sure the scents haven’t faded.  I like to store my salts in mason jars.

These bath salts also make great hostess gifts, holiday gifts, and party favors!

Another tip use metal or glass bowls when mixing your bath salts.  Plastic bowls and utencils will hold smells which may not wash out.

So having said all that here’s how to make these Soothing Bath Salts!


2 Lbs.  Epsom Salts

8 drops Eucalyptus Essential Oil

8 drops Peppermint Essential Oil

4 drops Spearmint Essential Oil

4 drops Lavender Essential Oil

Food or soap coloring


Place Epsom Salts in a large metal or glass bowl.

Add essential oils and mix very well.

Add food color

Place in airtight containers and enjoy!


DIY Valentine Gifts for Men

DIY Valentine Gifts for Men

Valentine Gifts for menRomance is in the air!  Valentine’s Day is right around the corner and by now most of us moms and grandmothers are winding down our Valentine crafting.  Classroom and teacher gifts are done or nearly done, as are gifts for friends and families.  By now many of us have had our fill of cutting out hearts and cupids and are ready to move on.  But we may have neglected one of the most important people in our lives, our significant other!

Let’s be honest, Valentine’s Day is a female holiday.  We expect our husbands and boyfriends to take the initiative and come up with fabulous Valentine gift.  We expect flowers, chocolates, jewelry, dinners, etc.

I admit I love the pampering, and most of the gifts my husband has given me.  Okay, the weed trimmer wasn’t a big hit, but it was certainly memorable.  Over all I think he’s gotten this Valentine thing down pat, even though at times he goes overboard with humongous boxes of chocolates or a truck load of blooms.

I must confess that most years I tend to neglect doing something special for him.  By the time I get around to getting him a gift it’s usually the day before Valentine’s Day and I end up buying a shirt or a bottle of cologne.  Occasionally inspiration strikes and I do something special.  One year I remembered early enough to reserve an ocean view table at our favorite gourmet restaurant, another year I checked us in to an oceanfront suite for the night.

This year I tried booking a table at a restaurant during the last week of January.  I tried all our favorites, they were sold out unless I want to have dinner at 10 o’clock.  So I searched the web for inspiration. I found many great ideas and will be incorporating a couple in my Valentine’s Day plans. I’ve decided that a moonlight picnic on the beach is just what we need.  We live in Hawaii so the weather should be cooperative, if not then on to plan B, a picnic at home.

Here’s a round-up of DIY Valentine gift idea for men.   Perhaps they will inspire  your Valentine planning.  Whatever you decide have a wonderfully romantic Valentine’s Day!

valentineIf you’re still feeling crafty then this cool chocolate guitar may be just what you need.  Specially if your Valentine is a music and chocolate lover!

Edible Crafts online has a great tutorial to show you how you can make this guitar for your lover boy!

Click here for the tutorial![spacer height=”-20px”]

valentinePicnics are always romantic.

If the weather is bad you can still have a romantic picnic in your livingroom.  Set the scene with candles and “picnic” on a blanket on your floor.  Serve food you would serve if you were actually going on an outdoor picnic, but keep it simple; pasta salad, cold chicken, cheese, crusty bread, fruit, chocolate dipped strawberries, etc.  And wine,  Don’t forget the wine!  (sparkling cider makes a nice non-alcoholic alternative, specially if you have to drive home)  Pack everything in a picnic basket if you have one.

valentineAfter  dinner snuggle up in your romantic bedroom.

I’d add a candle or two , a couple of wine glasses, a bottle of wine, and a small box of truffles to this design by Everyday Art. [spacer height=”-20px”]

Men's ValentineI love this heart box by  Theresa of Crafting the Web!

Fill it with his favorite treat!

Click here to learn how to make it![spacer height=”-20px”]





Men's ValentineBacon is supposed to be “manly”, treat your man to Chocolate dipped roses by Everyday Dishes![spacer height=”-20px”]

Men's ValentineHere are more Bacon Valentines from PrettyOrganized you’ll find recipes and free printable tags on their site.[spacer height=”-20px”]

Men's Valentine

 Give him a gift that lasts the whole year.  This Pre-planned date night book by Thinking Closet let’s you celebrate Valentine’s Day once a month doing something you both enjoy.[spacer height=”-20px”]


Men's ValentineThis Sensual Valentine by What’s On My Porch will stimulate all his senses.

Decorate cardboard boxes and fill each one with a corresponding item.  His favorite candy, a massage bug, his preferred cologne, a CD, and some sexy lingerie he’ll love seeing you in.  Tailor the items to your man.[spacer height=”-20px”]


French Toast for Valentine’s Day Breakfast

French Toast for Valentine’s Day Breakfast

Contrary to it’s name French Toast did not originate in France.  In fact it originated long before France was even a country.

French Toast is basically made with stale bread dipped in an egg and milk mixture then fried up for a tasty meal.  Being that bread, eggs, and milk have been staples since they started to prepare bread in some form it makes sense that it’s been around for centuries.  And of course back in the day people weren’t wasteful so turning stale bread into a meal using basic ingredients that were readily available makes sense too.

The first mention of a similar dish dates back to a cookbook attributed to Apicius back in 4th. Century Rome.  It was then called Pan Dulcis, or sweet bread, and made pretty much how we make it today.  The dish spread throughout Europe in the Middle Ages, specially the practice of using stale bread.  In France it was known then as it is now as Pain Perdu which literally means Lost Bread.  It is known by this name in Belgium, New Orleans, and other places where the French had some sort of presence.  We call it French Toast for the similar reason we call fried strips of potatoes French Fries; simply because it was popularized in America by French immigrants.

french toast

French Toast has become a staple on diner and coffee shop menus.  In fact it is one of my favorite breakfast foods mainly because not only is it easy to make and very tasty, I almost always have all the ingredients in my kitchen!

Now there are many fancy variations of this humble dish like the Crème Brûlée French Toast I make on Christmas mornings. Now that requires a bit more fussing.  But the basic French Toast recipe is so easy that you can make it even on weekday mornings, or at the very least on weekends.

This year Valentine’s Day falls on a weekday so I know cooking breakfast is pretty much not on the top of your priority list.  But wouldn’t it be super sweet to wake up just 15 minutes earlier this Valentine’s Day and surprise your sweetheart with a stack of French Toast?

Garnished with fresh fruit, powdered sugar, or whipped cream can dress up this humble dish and make it look like you’ve been up for hours preparing it!  So go ahead, wake up your Valentine with the cinnamony aroma of fresh made French Toast!  The kids’ will love them too!  Here’s my recipe!


3 Large Eggs

1/2 Cup Milk

1/4 Cup Sugar

1 Tsp Cinnamon

1 Tsp Vanilla

6-8 Pieces Bread – any type will do, you can use day old or fresh, whatever you have on hand.



Garnishes like fresh fruit, powdered sugar, whipped cream, etc.


Beat eggs in a shallow bowl.

Add milk and sugar and stir well.

Stir in cinnamon and vanilla.

Melt butter in a frying pan.

Dip both sides of each piece of bread in egg mixture.

Place bread in frying pan and cook until both sides turn golden brown.

Place French Toast on serving dish and garnish any way you want.

You can place butter, syrup, and garnishes on the table so everyone can serve themselves.





french toast
French Toast
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french toast
French Toast
Print Recipe
  1. Beat eggs in a shallow bowl. .
  2. Add milk and sugar and stir well.
  3. Stir in cinnamon and vanilla.
  4. Melt butter in a frying pan.
  5. Dip both sides of each piece of bread in egg mixture.
  6. Place bread in frying pan and cook until both sides turn golden brown.
  7. Place French Toast on serving dish and garnish any way you want. You can place butter, syrup, and garnishes on the table so everyone can serve themselves
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3 Pros And Cons To Buying A New Motorhome Versus A Used One

3 Pros And Cons To Buying A New Motorhome Versus A Used One

When you decide to own a motorhome, one of the biggest challenges you will face is whether to buy a new or a used one. Few people don’t care about whether the motor home is new or old. However, have caution as these type of people may be ignorant to the pros and the cons that come with each motorhome. It is for this reason that we want to spend a few minutes looking at the pros and the cons of buying a new motor home versus a used one.

1. The cost

Many people believe that it is expensive to buy a new motorhome than a used one. This is far from the truth. A used RV will need that you save enough money. Once you buy it, you need to have some issues fixed. The cost of fixing the issues may be prohibitive. You may end up spending more money compared to buying a new one. In fact, this is what makes the question of buying a new motorhome versus used one debatable. It is true that a used RV is cheaper and you will pay low insurance premiums. But there are other issues which the previous owner may not disclose to you. These issues will drive the cost higher. Also, a used RV is subject to less depreciation compared to a new RV. But it may be much difficult to get a motorhome that will give you the kind of service you want.

2. The Warranty

It is true that there is no motorhome that is perfect. Motorhomes whether new or used come with their own problems. These problems must be fixed before you put the units on the road. The former owner of an old RV may have fixed the issues for you. It will save you from the hustle of fixing them. But this is not always the case. A used RV may have hosts of other issues which may need that you dig deeper into your pocket to have them fixed. The unit will not come with a warranty because it is not transferable. So, you must find a way of fixing the issues. But a new motorhome comes with a factory warranty. Any emerging issue during the warranty period will be fixed by the manufacturer. It saves you from unnecessary costs.

3. Features and upgrades

When you buy a new motorhome, you get to choose the features you want. Right from the chassis, you can have your new motorhome designed and customized to your needs. The manufacturer will adhere to your recommended floor plans. They will also customize the cabinetry to your requirements. This is not the case for a used RV. For a used RV, it may be difficult to carry out structural changes. The things you may be able to upgrade are the TVs, the DVD players, and air conditioning appliances.

Buying a motorhome may look easier. But you need to do some research about them before you decide whether to buy a new or a used one. The use to which the RV is to be put to and the financial situation you are in should be the main considerations.