Living free because Jesus Christ chose me. Wife to Anthony, mom to Samuel. Love reading, blogging, crafting & cooking! Sac State MA alumni, passionate about life.


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Entries in recipes (9)


Homemade Bread...from Scratch

Normally baking bread is not something I do. That is until a few months ago when I came across this recipe from Paula who blogs at, Dishing the Divine. She convinced me that I would be able to make bread and I thought it would be fun to give it a try.

Over the past few months, I have made this recipe (following it exactly) a number of times. I have learned that if you use HOT water, the dough won't rise. Pretty much this is the only "imperative" step to follow.

Paula's directions say you should cover the bread with a damp towel. I hadn't noticed this until this last batch! The dough immediately rose faster when I did this simple step. 

Last week, I decided to modify it!

Ingredients (Modified from this recipe)

  • 1 1/4 cups warm water (105-115 degrees)
  • One packet Instant Yeast
  • 1 tbsp. Honey
  • 2 cups White Whole Wheat Flour
  • 1 cup Rolled Oats (old fashioned, not instant)
  • 1 1/2 tsp. Salt
  • 1 tbsp. Butter, melted for coating pan


In a mixing bowl, mix all ingredients together except butter. I like to add the yeast, water, and honey first and then mix all the other ingredients. I have heard that metal can effect your yeast, so I always use a wooden spoon and a glass bowl.

Brush a loaf pan (9 x 5) with the melted butter. Place the dough in the pan and cover with a clean, slightly damp cloth for at least 30 minutes. 

Before rising

I like to place mine on the back of the stove while it heats up. Or in the summer, I put in on the patio table in the shade.

After rising

Heat oven to 350 degrees and bake for 35-40 minutes. Bread is done when it pulls away from the pan. Remove from pan and place on a wire rack to cool. Serve with butter and honey for a delicious addition to any meal.

Happily linking to:


Weekly Roundup

I hope you all have had a nice week. There were lots of great posts this week and it was hard for me to highlight just a few! But, I did it:

  • Angie's Almost Pay Day Lasagna ~ I may just be slightly, err, totally obsessed with lasagna. Any food that has more than one type of cheese is a winner in my mind!
  • How to be humble. ~ Jon of the coolest writers and bonus, he works for Dave Ramsey wrote this post and did I need to be reminded of this. Thank you, Jon.
  • Shingle Springs Coffee ~ Anthony, my wonderful husband, officially started his own site and shared about the recent trip we took to this awesome coffee shop. 
  • Mini Egg Nog Doughnut Muffins ~ Mini, egg nog, doughnuts and muffins all in one recipe! Sign me up. These look amazing and seem easy to make.
  • Quick letter to my female students & Quick letter to my male students ~ Our friend, PC is a college pastor and is an expert on this age-group. These letters are insightful. I think you will really agree with them.

Thanks for reading my blog. Knowing I can share my thoughts is really an honor.

P.S. Next week I'm going to be sharing a series about 12 Christmas Characters.


Weekly Roundup

This week, I enjoyed the following posts from writers around the blogosphere:

  • Impacting Your Child's Blueprint ~ "What on earth is a Blueprint? We all have one - it's the mindset that shapes our thoughts and actions for all of life..." Great reminder about the impact we have on the young people in our lives.
  • Creamy Avocado Pasta ~ A dairy-free way to make a cream-sauce. As soon as we have some ripe avocados this is being made!
  • One Yard Wonders Sew Along- Festive Flag Banners ~ I was so excited to see that this fabric studio had made a mini pennant/banner because of a question I asked them. Seriously, they have wonderful customer service and I am so happy with the fabric I purchased.
  • Submission is an Inevitable Part of Marriage ~ "Submission is a disposition or an inclination to follow the leadership of another." Wow. I haven't read anything this insightful on the role of submission in marriage or heard anything about this in a very long time. 
  • Baked Apples with Maple and Granola ~ A great recipe for me to use up some of the 1/2 bushel of apples we got last weekend.
  • On Being Present ~ "I’m learning to stop with all the “let’s get it done” and just enjoy. I’m learning it’s just as important to devote my all to the balance act of a new groove..." The concept of being present is something I've been trying to do the past few months. All too often, I look back and realize I was hoping for the next (fill-in-the-blank) to come and missed out on what happened in the moment.

Did you read anything great this week?


Chicken Enchilada Bake

I got this recipe from the October 2011 Everyday Food magazine. I used cotija cheese and made homemade tomatillo sauce for the first time. Cotija cheese reminds me of feta, but has a smoother taste. 

I increased the recipe quantities and it yielded a 9x13 and an 8x8 pan. Unlike the original recipe, I didn’t wrap the tortillas, instead I layered them like you would assemble lasagna. I added a couple “dollops” (a few tablespoons) of sour cream to my green sauce so it wasn’t as spicy. WARNING: do not touch your face, particularly your eyes, once you’ve touched the jalapeno. Dangerous. Please heed this warning learned the hard way!


  • 3 pounds Tomatillos (remove husk, wash, & cut in quarters)
  • 2 tbsp Oil (I used olive oil & corn oil)
  • 1 white onion, diced
  • 2 jalapeños, seeded & diced *
  • 5 garlic cloves, minced *
  • Salt & pepper
  • 12 corn Tortillas
  • 3 cups cooked chicken (I used chicken cooked in the crockpot)
  • 5 tbsp Sour Cream
  • 3 oz. Cotija cheese (crumbled)
  • ½ cup fresh cilantro

* I used the food processor to finely chop all of these ingredients.


Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a blender or food processor, puree tomatillos until very smooth. Preheat a large skillet over medium heat with the oil. Add onions and jalapeños and cook until softened, about 8 minutes. Add garlic and cook for 30 seconds. Add the tomatillo puree and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until sauce is slightly thickened, about 10 minutes. Add salt and pepper. At this point, I added a few dollops of sour cream and some cilantro.  

Spray pans with cooking spray. Add a little sauce to the bottom of each pan. Make a layer of tortillas. Spread chicken over the top. Add some of the sauce. Repeat process. Divide the cheese over the two pans.

Cover and bake for 20 to 25 minutes. Remove foil and broil if you’d like the cheese to brown. Let sit for a few minutes before serving. 

Mix a few tablespoons of sour cream with some water. Add the cilantro to the sour cream and drizzle over the top of the bake. Enjoy! This dish was served with a tasty side of Mexican Rice using Jessica's recipe. The white rice was substituted with Trader Joe's wild rice blend. 

Do you have any Mexican dishes that are baked and easy to prepare?


Apple Hill Adventure

On Sunday, Anthony and I got to take a quick trip up to Apple Hill. I was inspired by this post by Jen who blogs at 100 Days to Christmas to visit an apple orchard. So up the hill we drove. We have both been there numerous times over the years, but this year we decided to start early. Apple Hill Growers are a collection of 50 various orchards located in El Dorado County (near my in-laws' house). They grow different types of fruits and veggies. We saw that there was a lot of traffic on the way home, so we stopped at one of the closest ranches called Abel's Acres

After enjoying a little lunch at the ranch, I got a delicious pumpkin-apple pie and Anthony bought some garlic fries (our breath was horrible afterwards!) and some apple donuts for us to eat later.

We walked around for a few minutes and unfortunately we were pressed for time, so we didn't get to see everything they had at the ranch. I did get to fill up a box of apples though! We bought all "g" apples: Gala, Golden Delicious, & Granny Smith. Ha ha. 

I found this adorable, teeny tiny apple and had to show it to Anthony and he being the wonderful photographer snapped a pic of it!

Here is the 1/2 bushel of apples we purchased for $16. Looking at this box, I can only imagine all of the wonderful recipes waiting to be made. Anthony can't wait either!

Do you have apple orchards where you live? What would you make with a box of apples?


Weekly Roundup


This week I enjoyed the following posts from various writers in the blogosphere:

What have you read this week that was thought-provoking and/or delicious?


Fried Rice

We always have leftover rice when I make it in our rice cooker. We had leftover teriyaki chicken too. So, what did I decide to make? Fried rice! This is a great way to use up leftovers and super fast to prepare.


  • Rice (3+ cups)
  • Meat (if you have any)
  • 2 Eggs, slightly beaten
  • Peas
  • Shredded veggies (carrots, zucchini, etc)
  • Green onions, sliced
  • Soy Sauce, as much as needed to season 

Spray a large sauté pan with non-stick spray. Heat over medium heat. Pour eggs in pan and break up when they start to set. Remove from pan & set aside.

Spray pan again and sauté the veggies until soft (about 3-4 minutes). Add meat, rice, green onions, peas, and soy sauce. Heat through. Carefully stir in cooked eggs. Add water if needed. Serve with additional soy sauce as desired.



Pulled Pork & Deli Potato Salad

This past weekend, I made dinner for some friends of ours. At the last minute, Anthony and I spontaneously went to Berkeley to visit our newest favorite coffeehouse, Cafe Yesterday, so I needed to make something ahead of time. Pulled Pork in the Crock-pot was the last minute workhorse! For a side dish, I turned to my go to blogger, Jessica Fisher (Life As Mom & good(CHEAP)eats), for the Deli Potato Salad recipe

Pulled Pork

  • Pork loin (I used 7.5 pounds)
  • Pappy's Favorite Rub/Seasonings
  • Olive Oil
  • Onions, sliced
  • BBQ sauce (see below for the recipe)
  • Bread (I used sliders)


Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cut the pork into large pieces, for the 7 1/2 pounds, I cut 6 pieces. Rub each piece with olive oil and your favorite seasonings. Place a few onion pieces on the fat side, wrap in foil and place fat side facing up on a baking sheet. Bake for 1 to 1 1/2 hours. Let cool slightly. Remove any extra fat and the onion pieces. Tear the meat with forks. 

If cooking immediately, place in the Crock-pot with BBQ sauce on low-heat for 4-6 hours. The meat may need stirring if it begins to brown on the edges. Serve with your favorite bread & additional sauce, if desired.

BBQ Sauce (for 7 Pounds of Pork)

  • 4 cups of Ketchup
  • 1/2 cup Worcestershire Sauce
  • 1 teaspoon Ground Mustard
  • 1/3 cup Brown Sugar
  • 1 teaspoon Minced Garlic
  • 1/2 cup Water

Mix all ingredients. Serve!


One Chicken, 3 Recipes

Last Saturday, I posted how I planned to cook a whole chicken and make three separate recipes with the chicken. I am happy to report, I was able to make all 3 recipes I hoped to! The 5 1/2 pound chicken rendered about 5 cups of cooked meat. 

I saved the skin, bones, and drippings to make chicken broth. I added water to the top of the Crock-pot, celery stalks, onion pieces, black pepper, salt, a little vinegar, and cooked all on low for 8 hours. For a more detailed recipe on how to make broth, check out this video. I yielded about 12 cups of broth. To watch how I strain broth, check out this video.

I used the broth in chicken noodle soup.

For the soup, I used a variation of Jessica's recipe. Butter noodles from Trader Joe's (quite delicious), shredded carrots & zucchini, chicken, dried marjoram, onion powder (normally I use minced onions), salt, and pepper. Both Anthony and I loved the soup. 

The second recipe I made with the chicken was a chicken salad.

I used this recipe from Emily who blogs at Live Renewed. The "add-in's" I used were chopped apple pieces, toasted almond slices, and celery. I served it inside pitas and it was great. The minimal mayo really helped the salad feel light, perfect for summertime.

Lastly, I made a pizza with the chicken.

I used this recipe that I've shared before. This time though, I used small slices of zucchini and fresh basil instead of the aspargus spears. 

Overall, I am pleased with all of the recipes I was able to make using the cooked chicken.

What recipes do you make when you have leftover chicken?