Broccoli Cranberry  Salad Recipes with Bacon and Walnuts

Broccoli Cranberry Salad Recipes with Bacon and Walnuts

I’ve been creating low carb broccoli dish for years, however typically not with cranberries, since the shop bought ones are filled with sugar. Since I started creating sugar-free dried cranberries recently, it had been time to alter up my broccoli dish instruction and add those in. when one or two experiments, this straightforward broccoli cranberry dish with bacon and walnuts has become a daily at our house.

When I was trying to find ways that to use my new sugar-free dried cranberries, i used to be torn regarding what quite cranberry dish recipes to form. Sweet or savory I’m therefore glad I settled on this broccoli dish with bacon. Give it a attempt. It simply may become a replacement favorite at your house, too. And, if you celebrate Christmas, you’ll love adding its red and inexperienced palette to your vacation table!

Making broccoli bacon dish could be a breeze. mix all the ingredients during a giant bowl, whisk the dressing during a tiny bowl, and blend ’em along. That’s it! This makes a good make-ahead or nightlong dish, and also the flavors get even higher if you refrigerate it for a moment. Healthy olivie dish could be a nice nightlong dish still. There are not any greens to wilt or get slimed, therefore it stores well and is totally fantastic consecutive day.


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1 bunch Broccoli (chopped into small florets)
1/4 cup Red onion (sliced)
1/2 cup Sugar-free dried cranberries (or any dried cranberries)
1/2 cup Walnuts (chopped; or pumpkin seeds for nut-free)
1/2 cup Bacon bits (cooked)
1/2 cup Mayonnaise
1 tbsp Olive oil
1 tbsp Lemon juice
1 tsp Orange zest
1/2 tsp Garlic powder
1 1/2 tbsp Sweetener of choice (optional, to taste – preferably powdered or liquid*)
1/2 tsp Poppy seeds (optional)
Sea salt (to taste)
Black pepper (to taste)


1. Combine the chopped broccoli, red onion, cranberries, walnuts, and bacon bits in a large bowl.
2. In a small bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, olive oil, lemon juice, garlic powder, orange zest, sweetener, and poppy seeds (if using). Adjust sweetener to taste. Season with sea salt and black peper to taste.
3. Stir the dressing into the vegetable mixture. Refrigerate for an hour for better flavor (optional).

Broccoli Cranberry Salad Recipes with Bacon and Walnuts
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Broccoli Cranberry Salad Recipes with Bacon and Walnuts
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Almost Homemade Chocolate Cake

Almost Homemade Chocolate Cake

We love Chocolate Cake!  It’s one of my favorites!  I mean seriously what’s not to love?

So whenever I get hungry for a quick fix of chocolate cake I grab a box of my favorite mix, add a few extras, and bake an almost homemade chocolate cake. Of course I could make it from scratch, but sometimes I just don’t have the time.  When I’m pressed for time it’s either box mix or make a run to the store and many times it’s just easier to use the cake mix.

But just because I use a cake mix that doesn’t mean my cake has to taste like it came out of a box.  By adding and substituting a few things anyone can make a box mix cake taste like it was made from scratch!

Here’s how I make my almost homemade chocolate cake.  I’m pretty sure you’ll have the ingredients in your kitchen.  I usually have a box or two of cake mix, one yellow and one chocolate, and a couple of cans of frosting in my pantry; I like to stock up on them when they’re on sale.

What you’ll need:

1 Box Devil’s Food Cake Mix – or any type of chocolate – any brand will work

1 Cup Milk

1/3 Cup Butter, melted

5 Large Eggs

2 Tsp. Vanilla Extract

2 Tsp. Instant Espresso Powder

2   9″ Round Pans

Raspberry Preserves

1 Can Chocolate Frosting

Cooking Spray

Here’s what to do:

Heat oven to 350º

Grease the 2 pans

Substitute the water the box mix calls for with milk, and use melted butter instead of the oil

Use 5 eggs instead of however many the box mix calls for

Place the mix, milk, butter, and eggs in a bowl and mix on medium speed with electric mixer

Stir in vanilla extract and espresso powder

Pour equal amounts of batter into the 2 pans

Bake in oven for 25 minutes or until a tester comes out clean

Remove from oven and let cool about 10 minutes

Flip cakes onto a rack and cool completely

When cakes are completely cooled use a wire or sharp knife to level the tops and make them flat

Dust off any crumbs

Place 1 layer on cake plate, bottom side on the plate

Spread a thin layer of raspberry preserve on top to seal the crumbs

Spread a thin layer of raspberry preserve to the top of the second layer

Spread a layer of chocolate icing on the first layer

Flip the second layer over and place it on top of the first layer – your cake should be top sides together

Spread a thin layer of raspberry preserve on the top and sides of your cake – this seals in any crumbs

Frost the top and side of your cake

Garnish with fresh fruit or whatever you like before serving.


This cake is really great with a scoop of vanilla ice cream or a cold glass of milk!



Easy Salt & Pepper Shrimp Recipe

Easy Salt & Pepper Shrimp Recipe

Salt & Pepper Shrimp Recipe

One of my favorite Chinese seafood dishes is Salted Pepper Shrimp, we used to order it every time we dined at a Chinese restaurant.  Since I found a recipe for it we can enjoy it at home.  I modified it to fit our tastes and I think made it a bit simpler to make.  Served over steamed white rice it’s yummy!

1 lb.  Medium to Large shrimp – peeled and deveined
1 tbls. sea salt
1/2 cup corn starch
2 tbls. ground white pepper
2 tbls. ground black pepper
1 tbls. garlic powder

3 tbls. chopped green onions
2 tbls. minced garlic
1/4 +  cup peanut oil


Place shrimp in a small bowl and cover with warm water
Add sea salt and let soak for 30 minutes to 1 hour

Salt & Pepper Shrimp

In a shallow bowl mix together corn starch,  1 tbls. each of white and black peppers, and garlic powder

Drain shrimp and lightly pat dry with a paper towel

Heat peanut oil in wok or large frying pan on medium heat until hot

Coat each shrimp in cornstarch mixture and place in wok

Cook until shrimp turns pink – turn halfway for even cooking – you may need to add more peanut oil if it gets too dry

Place cooked shrimp on paper towel to drain – Do not turn stove off

If pan is dry add a tbls. more peanut oil – add mince garlic and stir until it starts turning golden

Add fried shrimp back into pan

Add chopped green onions and stir til green onions turn bright green and starts to soften

Remove from heat and serve over white rice


salt & pepper shrimp
Easy Salt & Pepper Shrimp Recipe
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Servings Prep Time
4 Servings 15 Minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
15 Minutes 1 Hour
Servings Prep Time
4 Servings 15 Minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
15 Minutes 1 Hour
salt & pepper shrimp
Easy Salt & Pepper Shrimp Recipe
Print Recipe
Servings Prep Time
4 Servings 15 Minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
15 Minutes 1 Hour
Servings Prep Time
4 Servings 15 Minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
15 Minutes 1 Hour
Servings: Servings
  1. Place shrimp in a small bowl and cover with warm water
  2. Add sea salt and let soak for 30 minutes to 1 hour
  3. In a shallow bowl mix together corn starch, 1 tbls. each of white and black peppers, and garlic powder
  4. Drain shrimp and lightly pat dry with a paper towel
  5. Heat peanut oil in wok or large frying pan on medium heat until hot
  6. Coat each shrimp in cornstarch mixture and place in wok
  7. Cook until shrimp turns pink - turn halfway for even cooking - you may need to add more peanut oil if it gets too dry
  8. Place cooked shrimp on paper towel to drain - Do not turn stove off
  9. If pan is dry add a tbls. more peanut oil - add mince garlic and stir until it starts turning golden
  10. Add fried shrimp back into pan
  11. Add chopped green onions and stir til green onions turn bright green and starts to soften
  12. Remove from heat and serve over white rice
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Lebanese 7 Spices Mix

LebaneseI’ve heard it said many times that Lebanese cooking is the best cuisine the Middle Eastern countries have to offer.  Lebanese restaurants are the go to places when one has a yen for Arabic or Middle Eastern food.  This seems to be one of the few things that Arabs from around the world can mostly agree on.

I must confess that in my experience this is usually true.  Lebanese cooking is definitely top notch and any where we travel we look for a Lebanese restaurant.  Among my favorites are Al Halabi in Dubai’s Mall of the Emirates and Wafi Gourmet in both the Dubai Mall and Wafi Mall; Reem Al Bawadi in Amman; and Mandaloun not far from the Spanish Steps in Rome.

But what makes Lebanese cuisine so great?  I’m not exactly sure, but I believe that one of its secrets are the spices they use.  Their Lebanese 7 Spices Mix in my opinion is the key to their delicious entrees.

Lebanese 7 Spices Mix contains many of the spices found in cuisine in and around that region.  It has cumin and coriander for sure and 6 other spices making it actually an 8 spices mix.  Why it’s called 7 Spices is beyond me unless the ground black pepper isn’t counted as a spice.

lebaneseAnyway whatever you call it seasoning grilled meats and stews with this Lebanese 7 Spices Mix makes for a delicious meal!  I like to keep a jar on hand and use it in marinades and of course for one of the family’s favorite dishes Mesaf or Fatiyeh, a dish of stewed meat in yogurt sauce.

You can mix up  a batch of Lebanese 7 Spices Mix to add to your stews too.  Just be sure you store it in an airtight container.  I use pint sized mason jars to store all my spice mixes.

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Lebanese 7 Spices Mix
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Lebanese 7 Spices Mix
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  1. Combine all ingredients into a small bowl and stir until well blended.
  2. Transfer to an airtight container for storage.
Recipe Notes

To use in rubs or marinades stir 2 Tbs. Mix into 1 Tbs. Olive Oil and rub into meats.  Or add the same proportion of mix to oil and combine with 1 Tbs. Vinegar to make marinade.

When using in stews or other dishes 1 Tbs. of mix is for each serving.

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Italian Night – Tuscan Jumbo Scallops with Pasta Recipe

Italian Night – Tuscan Jumbo Scallops with Pasta Recipe

Italian food, gotta love it!  Pizza and pasta, what’s not to love? Every so often I like to have an Italian Night where I serve one of our favorite Italian meals with all the trimmings.  Recently I made this delicious Tuscan Jumbo Scallops with Pasta.  It’s the perfect Italian dish for seafood lovers!

Bet you don’t think of Jumbo Scallops when you’re hungry for some Italian cuisine.  Well think again because these Jumbo Scallops over pasta is one of the best Italian dishes you’ll ever have.  It combines perfectly seared Jumbo Scallops in a creamy sauce served over a bed of plain spaghetti.  So if you’re looking for something to wow family and friends this is it!

So plan an Italian night to shine the spotlight on this incredible dish.  Bust out the olive oil, pasta bowls, and of course the wine glasses!  Paired with a nice dry Pinot Grigio this Tuscan Jumbo Scallops with Pasta dish is simply to die for!  Here’s the recipe!


2 Tbs. olive oil

1/2 Cup onion, diced

1 Tbs. Minced garlic

2 Lbs.  Jumbo Scallops – lightly season each side with salt and pepper

4 Tbs. Butter

1 1/2 Cup Chicken Broth

3/4 Cup Heavy Whipping Cream

3/4 Cup White Wine or chicken broth

1 Jar Sun dried tomatoes – drain, reserve the oil, slice tomatoes

2 Cups fresh spinach leaves

1 Pkg. Spaghetti

1 Tbs cornstarch dissolved in 1 Tbs water

Chopped parsley and fresh black pepper for garnish

Shredded fresh parmesan cheese grated for topping


  1.  Heat 2 Tbs of butter in a heavy skillet, cast iron if you have one.
  2. Add the Jumbo Scallops and cook for 3-4 minutes or until the bottom forms a brown crust and is no longer sticking to the pay.
  3. Gently turn the scallops and cook for 3-4 minutes or until the bottom forms a brown crust.
  4. Remove from pan and place in a foil covered pan for now.
  5. Melt 2 Tbs. butter in the same skillet and add the onions.  Cook for 5 minutes stirring until the onions have softened.
  6. Add garlic and cook another minute.
  7. Pour in the wine and deglaze the pan (pour a cold liquid in the hot pan to get up all the brown bits stuck to the bottom of the pan.  These brown bits are where all the flavors are. )
  8. Let the wine cook down until it’s reduced by half, aboout 2 minutes.
  9. Pour in broth and cream and bring to a simmer.
  10. Pour in the dissolved cornstarch and whisk until combined.  Cook another 5-8 minutes until the sauce thickens.
  11. Add spinach and sun dried tomatoes and some of the reserved oil from the jar.  Stir spinach in the sauce until it wilts.
  12. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  13. Place Jumbo Scallops into the pan.  Cover pan and turn off the heat.
  14. Cook spaghetti according to the package directions.  Drain then add to the pan of scallops.
  15. Toss spaghetti in the sauce to combine and serve immediately.

jumbo scallops

The Chocolate Chip Cookie

The Chocolate Chip Cookie

A chocolate chip cookie, the ultimate comfort food.  Who can resist them? But do you know its history?  Most of us don’t and it’s really quite interesting no matter which version you believe!

For starters the chocolate chip cookie is a true American concoction that came to be quite accidentally when its original baker ran out of Baker’s chocolate, or nuts.  But I’m getting ahead of myself.

Ok back in 1930 a dietician named Ruth Graves Wakefield and her husband Kenneth purchased a Cape Cod style house in Whitman a town between Boston and New Bedford,  Massachusetts.   The house was originally built in 1709 and was used by travelers to rest, change horses, have a meal, and pay any tolls needed to use the road.  Ruth and Kenneth soon turned their home into a lodge which, with a nod to its past, they named “The Toll House Inn”.

Now Ruth was a skilled baker and soon drew in visitors from all over the northeast.  Many came to sample her delicious baked goods.  One of her favorite desserts were Butter Drop Do Cookies and her recipe which dated back to colonial days called for Baker’s chocolate.  So one day in 1937 Ruth was making these Butter Drop Do Cookies and found herself lacking the chocolate, so she chopped up a bar of Nestle’s Semi-Sweet Chocolate into tiny pieces thinking that the chocolate would melt and spread throughout the dough.  When it didn’t the chocolate chip cookie was born!  Well that’s one version; another version is she ran out of nuts and substituted the chopped chocolate; still another version claims she accidentally dropped a bar of chocolate into the dough and it broke into tiny morsels.  Whatever the version it’s all part of chocolate chip cookie history!

The new cookies were a hit and Ruth called them “Toll House Chocolate Crunch Cookies”.  Her recipe was published in news papers all over New England and the sales of Nestle’s Semi-Sweet Chocolate bars rocketed.

Then in 1939 when “Betty Crocker” (she was a fictional character who had a radio show) featured them on her radio series “Famous Foods from Famous Eating Places” the chocolate chip cookie went big time!  Ruth being a shrewd gal approached Nestle’s and struck a deal, they could print her recipe on all their semi-sweet bars and later bags in exchange for a lifetime supply of chocolates.  Lucky lady!

In the 1940’s Ruth sold Nestle’s the name “Toll House” and the cookies were widely known as Toll House Cookies.  Nestle lost the trademarked rights to the name in 1983, Toll House is now legally the generic name for a chocolate chip cookie.

The cookie has become the most popular cookie worldwide and is the official cookie of Massachusetts.  As for Ruth and hubby they sold the Toll House Inn in 1966 and it burned down on New Year’s Eve 1984.

So now you know its history.   I’m sure you also know many versions of the chocolate chip cookie recipe have popped up, you may even have your own, I know I do!  But have you ever tried The Neiman Marcus Chocolate Chip Cookie?  It’s one of our favorites!  You can order it for dessert at their Mariposa Restaurant where you get a boxed set of 3 cookies and a recipe card, very cute!  Or you can buy the giant sized cookie at their Bistro.  And you can also buy tins of them from the Neiman’s gourmet food department at Christmas time.  We do all 3!  A box of 3 from the restaurant costs $6, the giant cookie at the Bistro is $5, and a tin of them will set you back about $20+.

But Neiman’s is nice enough to share their recipe, remember the boxed set at Mariposa comes with a recipe card.  So if you don’t feel like shelling out $5 or more for a cookie or two; or if you’ve never tried the Neiman Marcus Chocolate Chip Cookie then read on because I’m sharing it today!

The Neiman Marcus Chocolate Chip Cookie
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2 Dozen
2 Dozen
The Neiman Marcus Chocolate Chip Cookie
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2 Dozen
2 Dozen
Servings: Dozen
  1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees
  2. Cream the butter with the sugars using an electric mixer on medium speet until fluffy - approximately 30 seconds
  3. Beat in the egg and the vanilla extract for another 30 seconds
  4. In a mixing bowl, sift together the dry ingredients and beat into the butter mixture at low speed for about 15 seconds
  5. Stir in the espresso coffee powder and chocolate chips
  6. Using a 1 oz. scoop or 2 Tbs. measure, drop cookie dough onto a gr eased cookie sheet about 3" apart.
  7. Gently press down on the dough with the back of a spoon to spread out into a 2" circle
  8. Bake for about 20 minutes or until nicely browned around the edges. Bake a bit longer for crispier cookies.
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MSC Cruise – Never Again!

MSC Cruise – Never Again!

Last spring my family and I had the misfortune of going on an MSC Cruise, NEVER AGAIN!  But I’m getting ahead of myself.

Let me begin by saying that we are a family of avid cruisers.  We’ve all gone on many cruises with various cruise lines particularly Princess, Celebrity, and Royal Carribbean.  And this was NOT our first MSC Cruise, in fact it was our second.  We sailed on the MSC Lirica in Spring 2018; that was pretty bad!

So why you ask did we go yet again on another MSC cruise if the first one was so bad.  I guess the answer is price, MSC has some amazing cruise deals and most of the time kids sail free.  This is a huge deal when sailing with our daughter and son-in-law who have 2 kids and we usually take along one or two of our other grandsons.  So free cruise fare for kids staying in the same room with their parents or grandparents is a very big savings.

We also figured that due to our first bad experience on an MSC cruise our expectations were pretty low but because of the great price we could still go on MSC if only to get from port to port.  It’s definitely cheaper than flying to all those different places not to mention dragging kids and luggage, sorting out transfers to and from airports, booking hotel rooms, and finding a place to eating after a tiring day running around.  We figured as bad as an MSC cruise was it at least got us from port to port without schlepping luggage, provided a reasonably clean room to sleep in, and fed us after a long day at port, even if the only thing we found palatable was the pizza.  In short we were prepared to use the cruise sort of like a bus/hotel.  Sounded like a great idea at one time; but after this past experience I wouldn’t take an MSC cruise even if they gave it to me for free!  Yes it was that bad!

We sailed on the MSC Meraviglia on a 7 day round trip cruise from Rome’s port in Civittavechia.  At first glance w thought Wow!  This ship is amazing!  And it was!  the Meraviglia is one of MSC’s newest cruise ships that features state of the art technology, an amazing play area and pool for kids and adults, Cirque de Soleil shows, a chocolate shop, an awesome arcade complete with 3D simulators and F1 Racers, and first of it’s kind on sea digital display ceiling!

And that was where the Wow factor ended.  Everything else was mediocre at best and terrible most of the time.

The food was mediocre at best, the buffet served the same thing pretty much the whole 7 days.  Breakfast had bland made to order omelets (assuming you could fight the hoards and actually order one), runny tasteless scrambled eggs, under cooked bacon swimming in fatty oil, and only sunny side up fried eggs.  The best thing at breakfast was the croissants and other pastries at the bakery section.  Lunch pretty much consisted of pasta, pizza, and some type of ethic food like paella one day which everyone fought to get to.  And dinner was a rehash of the same things.


The buffet layout was weird to say the least, it had a narrow aisle which everyone squeezed thru and blind corners where the ethnic foods were so that one pretty much had to claw one’s  way to.  And as huge as the buffet area was there were never ever enough tables and that’s because service was so bad.  Buffet staff took their time clearing off tables during the meal rushes.  Yup there were tables but you pretty much had to clear the plates yourself or find personnel willing to do so.  Of course if you were Italian you got much better service than guests of other nationalities, it is after all an Italian company.

Now I talked about service, actually I should say the terrible service.  Again we noticed if one was Italian it seemed they got better service than the rest of us.  The bad service was every where, in any dining venue except possibly the main dining room because you did get to know your waitstaff if you had fixed dinner seating.  If you didn’t have fixed dinner seating all I can say is good luck finding someone to help you make reservations and find your table.

Bad service abounded from every bar and cafe on board, to the shops, to the specialty restaurants whose menus and packages were out right confusing and the pricing highway robbery!  Even the customer service desk and the shore excursion desk had very bad customer service.  If you complained (we complained daily because our neighbors in the next cabin would pound on the walls, run down the hallway, and scream and yell every night between 2:30 to 4:30 am!)  it was never dealt with.  In fact we were never believed, because it seems they decided that I loved getting up every night at 2:30 am to call customer service to tell them my neighbor was knocking on the door.  And then there was the time those same neighbors spent an afternoon on their balcony while we were docked in Barcelona tossing bread at the seagulls.  Yup everyone just loves to have frantic seagulls dive bombing their balcony as the birds fight for the bread.  Of course customer service didn’t believe us.  Did I mention our neighbors were Italian?

And the shore excursions!  They sold us round trip shuttle bus tickets to Marseilles, unfortunately they didn’t tell any of us, there were fellow passengers with us at the shuttle stop, that there would be no MSC shore excursion staff to help you at the shuttle stop in the heart of Marseilles, and that the buses don’t stop to pick up returning passengers at the shuttle stop if they don’t feel like it and they don’t follow the posted schedule unless they want to.  So yes we all appreciated waiting almost an hour for a return bus that was scheduled to pick up every 15-30 minutes.  We especially loved the fact that it as very cold and raining while we watched the buses pass by without stopping to pick us up.  It was a great experience for the infants and toddlers that were there too.

Of course those of us who had to wait at the bus stop marched over to the shore excursion desk to complain.  In a nutshell we were told that there was supposed to be MSC staff at the bus stop but he’d have to check out why they weren’t there (could it be because it was cold and raining?), and that the shuttle bus was contracted to a local company by MSC and therefore MSC has no control over what they do.  Really?

Ok all this was pretty bad and we had already decided this would be our last MSC cruise, the free cruise fare for the kids just wasn’t worth the aggravation of everything they put us thru.  But the final straw came on the last day after we disembarked from the ship.  We were already on the train to Rome when I handed my grandson Devon what I though were his new airpods which I had found the night before on his pillow.  At that time I thought how nice, the cabin attendant (I don’t know who it was because said person never introduced his or herself and I saw several different people cleaning our room during the cruise) kindly placed the airpods and the case on the pillow so that we wouldn’t forget them.  I put them in my purse for safekeeping.  (mind you Devon wasn’t allowed to remove the airpods from the room.  He only used them while in our room to avoid loosing them.)

So on the train I gave them to him to use during the ride.  He immediately told me that someone had switched his airpods for a broken pair.  And sure enough they had been switched.  How do we know?  Well his new pair were in excellent condition and paired to his iphone as Devon’s Airpods, the pair that I had thought were his popped up on his iphone as John’s Airpods; Devon’s Airpods were not on the train with us.  Not to mention there are no Johns in our family and John’s airpods would not charge up.  So I can only deduce that one of the people servicing our cabin was a thief and switched the airpods for  his broken pair.

As many cruises as we’ve been on, well over 30, we have never had anything stolen from us.  Bad enough to steal but even worse when you’re stealing from a child!

This was the final straw I will NEVER sail on an MSC Cruise EVER AGAIN!

All I can say is that if you do sail with MSC keep your valuables locked up and your expectations very low!



Chipotle Flavored Roasted Cashews

Chipotle Flavored Roasted Cashews

Roasted Cashews are one of my husband’s favorite snacks, specially when he’s on his “keto diet”.  Although cashews have some carbs they are also high in fat, so when consumed moderately they can be part of a keto diet as long as you count their carb content as part of your carb consumption for the day.

I’m not really an expert on all things keto so I’ll leave that up to you.  But I digress.  Recently I purchased a tub of roasted cashews from Costco, the brand we usually buy, and when my husband snacked on it he insisted that the cashews were not roasted nor were they salted.  I can’t imagine what happened but after tasting them myself I had to agree.  Perhaps this was part of a weird batch, who knows!  But I do know that unless I did something with them we’d end up tossing the container away and that’s a waste!  So I decided to roast and flavor them myself.  I can’t be that hard.  Anyway I tossed some in my cast iron skillet and sprinkled a bit of this and a bit of that over them and lo and behold they came out delicious!

Everyone in the family loved my latest creation, this one I’m calling Chipotle Flavored Roasted Cashews!  I’ve  had to make it several more times since then, it disappears that fast!  I’m also thinking of using different seasonings.  I’ll let you know how that goes!

But in the mean time here’s my recipe for Chipotle Flavored Roasted Cashews. A quick tip, when roasting cashews or any type of nut be sure you keep stirring the pan because they tend to burn quickly and you do not want burnt cashews!

Anyway make up a batch or two of these Chipotle Flavored Roasted Cashews and see how quickly they disappear!  You can serve them hot from the pan, that’s really delish!  Left overs can be stored in airtight containers in a cool dry place.  But I doubt you’ll be storing them for long.  Yes they’re that good!

By the way you can double or triple this recipe.  I just prefer to make it in small batches because we really love them warm and in Hawaii the humidity makes it hard to keep them crunchy.


Chipotle Flavored Roasted Cashews
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1 Cup
1 Cup
Chipotle Flavored Roasted Cashews
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1 Cup
1 Cup
Servings: Cup
  1. Heat Olive Oil in shallow skillet
  2. Mix seasonings together in a small bowl
  3. Add cashews to the hot oil stirring continuously to avoid burning the nuts
  4. Sprinkle seasoning mix over cashews and stir to distribute evenly
  5. When cashews are slightly browned remove from heat and serve or let cool and store in airtight containers
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5 Reasons To Welcome A Dog Into Your Family

5 Reasons To Welcome A Dog Into Your Family

Pet ownership is on the rise in the US, with almost 68 percent of all households or about 85 million families reportedly welcoming a pet between 2017 to 2018. About 60.2 percent of these pet owners are taking care of at least one dog in their home. It will not be a surprise if the number will continue to increase over time, since more and more families are contemplating to get their own pup especially after learning that these furry pets can help improve a person’s health. If you are still unconvinced if you want to introduce a dog to your family, perhaps these benefits may help seal the deal.

Dogs Can Inspire You To Live A More Active Lifestyle

Most members of the family are starting to have a sedentary lifestyle because of technology. But if a dog will be added to the household, everyone will be encouraged to have some form of physical activity like walking. You can ask your kids to take turns walking the dog from time to time to establish their bond with their furry friend and encourage them to drop their gadgets and go out to exercise. Families can also enjoy different games with their pets such as ball fetching. You can also try getting a tool that can get dogs to play with you such as an automatic ball fetch machine to make the game more fun for the dog and all members of the family. Aside from engaging dogs in a strenuous physical activity, this machine can also help in stimulating their minds and prevent them from being bored.

Dogs Can Tell If Someone Is About To Get Sick

There have been several instances when dogs have been able to help save someone’s life. In 2011, a study revealed that a specially-trained black Labrador retriever was able to detect colorectal cancer accurately by sniffing a patient’s breath or stool. Another report mentioned that trained pups are able to smell even the faintest hint of peanut, which will be helpful if someone in your family has fatal peanut allergies. If you are planning to welcome a furry member in your home, you might want to have it trained for specific health purposes.

Dogs Can Make A Person Happy And More Sociable

It is common for people aged 60 and above to get lonely. But a study showed that having pets can help senior members of the family to have lesser chances of being diagnosed as clinically depressed. Dogs can also encourage their human owners to interact with other people, especially when they have to go out for a walk. Having a canine companion can make children more approachable and interact with other kids who also love playing with their pets.

Dogs Can Serve As Your Constant Companion

There are times when kids would feel so alone, especially if the parents are always out for work. But letting your children take care of a dog at home allows them to have someone a companion while waiting for you to return. Constant cuddles with their pet will also give them comfort and can help ease their loneliness.

Dogs Can Inspire Stronger Connections Between Humans

You may think that you need to train your dog for basic obedience, but your dog may be training you to be more empathetic to other humans as well. According to a research, those who have a strong attachment to their pets may also have strong connections with their families, their communities, as well as other relationships.

Owning a dog may be a big responsibility for everyone in the family. But if you will consider all these benefits, the challenges of welcoming a four-legged pal into your household could outweigh all the risk. So the next time your children ask you to get a pup or two, you might want to give in to their request.

DIY Fizzing Toilet Bowl Cleaning Tablets

DIY Fizzing Toilet Bowl Cleaning Tablets

Cleaning the toilet bowl is probably one of life’s most unpleasant tasks.  I know I hate cleaning my toilet bowl and am always looking for ways to make the task easier, faster, or at the very least a bit more pleasant.

That’s why I decided to try this DIY Fizzing Toilet Bowl Cleaning Tablets.  They’re pretty easy to make and doesn’t really need a bunch of costly ingredients.  In fact most of the ingredients are already in your kitchen or can be purchased inexpensively at Walmart or other discount store.

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After trying these toilet bowl cleaning tablets I can safely say that they aren’t really going to leave your toilet bowl spotless without any effort (elbow grease) on your part.  They will however leave the toilet bowl and the bathroom smelling very nice.

These toilet bowl cleaning tablets work best if your toilet bowl isn’t super dirty and have rings around it.  Trust me if you have built on rings inside the toilet bowl no tablet, spray, or cleaner will magically remove them.  The only way to get rid of those rings in my experience is a good old fashioned scouring with a pumice stone!  I prefer using a Pumie, that’s a pumice stone attached to a handle so you can scrub without getting your hands too close to the toilet bowl surface.  So before you toss in one of your DIY fizzing toilet bowl cleaning tablet don a pair of disposable gloves , grab a Pumie and scrub!

Once you’ve got the rings out of your toilet bowls these DIY Fizzing cleaning tablets will easily keep the bowl clean and fresh when used weekly.  In short they’re a great way to maintain the freshness of your toilet bowl and bathroom!  I keep a jar in each bathroom and toss them into the toilet every few days just because I love the smell!  I used Neroli essential oil to scent my tablets because I love the citrusy scent of Neroli, but you can scent your tablets with your favorite oils!

Other essential oil scents that would give your bathroom and toilet bowl a fresh scent would be: bergamot, lemon, and orange blossom for a citrusy scent; eucalyptus, tea tree, and peppermint for a minty pine scent; or lavender, ylang ylang, or rosemary for that calming scent like you find at the spas. Or you can mix and match these and other oils to get the scent that you love!

To make these fresh smelling Fizzing Toilet Bowl Cleaning Tablets here’s what you’ll need:

2 Glass bowls – 1 large and 1 small

2 Cups Baking Soda

1/2 Cup Citric Acid powder (you can find this in the canning section of most markets or order it from Amazon)

1 Tsp White Vinegar

2 Tbs Hydrogen Peroxide

30 drops of essential oil – your choice – I love Neroli Essential Oil

Candy or soap molds – I prefer silicone molds that come in various shapes and sizes like hearts and roses. (I usually use the baking or candy molds but keep a set to be used just for making non-food items and one set I use strictly for food like the wine gummy bears I love! –  I guess you can use a set to make everything just be sure you thoroughly wash them between uses.)

Once  you’ve gathered your supplies it’s time to make your fizzy tablets!  Here’s how!

  1.  Place baking soda in the large glass bowl and using a fork or whisk  break up any clumps.  You want the powder to be fine and powdery not hard and clumpy.
  2. Stir in the citric acid powder and set the bowl  aside for n ow.
  3. In the small glass bowl mix the vinegar and hydrogen peroxide.
  4. Slowly, and I mean slowly like one drop at a time, add the vinegar mixture to the baking soda mixture.  Again do this very slowly, just a little liquid at a time.  If you add too much of the liquid mixture you the baking soda and citric acid will react and you will have a big mess on your hands and no cleaning tablets.  That situation is not salvagable!
  5. Add the essential oil of your choice and mix gently.  Again add oil drop by drop.
  6. Scoop powder into your molds.  Don’t overfill the mold as the powder will expand as it dries.  So fill it about 3/4 full and gently press the powder into the mold with your finger.
  7. Let dry overnight.
  8. Gently pop  out each tablet and store in a sealed glass jar.  Be sure you label them and keep them out of children’s reach!  Keep the jar in your bathroom and pop one in your toilet whenever you want to freshen it up!