Saturday, November 28, 2020

Favorite Recipes for the Week of November 22nd

Happy Thanksgiving!  I trust you all had a wonderful time with the families in your own households this week!  It was odd not to have any guests or extended family to share the meal with this year, but I was very blessed to have a special meal with my husband and all of my own children.  My oldest son is 21, so every holiday we share could very well be the last one we’ll share with him while he lives under our own roof.  He doesn’t spend a lot of time at home any more now that he’s been steadily dating someone for over a year, but he made a point to have dinner with us and take a peaceful walk with his mom after the meal before taking off to see his girlfriend, so I was certainly thankful for that!  We all had a wonderful day together.


Egg ‘N’ Bacon SandwichesThe only change I made to this recipe was to use light English muffins so I could use a whole muffin per sandwich for just a few more calories rather than serving it as an open-faced sandwich.  It was delicious!  I could eat these any day of the week and never tire of them.  I served them with some sweet fresh cantaloupe for a total of 266 calories.  Here’s a photo from Taste of Home.
 Egg ‘n’ Bacon Sandwiches


Vegetable Beef Stew.  My husband enjoyed this lunch so much that he texted me to tell me how good it was.  My young son wasn’t so fond, but I also thought it was very good.  It hid a healthy amount of nutritious butternut squash, as well.  I served it with a small buttered roll and salad with light dressing for a total of 348 calories.  Here’s a photo from Taste of Home.


Mushroom Turkey Tetrazzini.  This tasty dish is an old favorite.  It uses 4 cups of cubed cooked turkey, making it an excellent way to use up leftover turkey from Thanksgiving dinner.  What’s more, it makes 8 servings, so there’s plenty to go around.  I serve this with green beans (or other leftover vegetables) and a salad with light dressing for a total of 362 calories.

That’s it for now!  I had a wonderfully relaxing weekend, completely free of Black Friday shopping for the first time in my married life!  One thing coronavirus has brought to us is a far less busy lifestyle with more quality time to just “be” together.  That’s probably the most positive thing to come out of this crazy, messed up year!  I can’t lie…I’ll be glad to bid farewell to 2020.  But in the interest of focusing on the positive, I’ll share my holiday photos.

Saturday, November 21, 2020

Favorite Recipes for the Week of November 15th

I actually took a night off this week and picked up dinner after ordering online from our favorite Italian restaurant, La Bella Italy.  The portions are generous, so that led to also not having to make lunch the next day.  So although I didn’t make as many new recipes this week, I still have some favorites to share with you.


Ham ‘n’ Cheese Squares and Custard Berry ParfaitThis was a simple ham and swiss combination added to eggs, baked in a square dish, and cut into individual serving squares.  Everybody liked this.  However, I detest caraway seeds almost more than anything else on the planet, so I definitely omitted those.  I think a sprinkle of onion flakes would also add a nice flavor to this, which I’ll probably add next time around.  I also used nonfat Greek yogurt for a punch of extra protein.  I served each square with a Custard Berry Parfait and toast for a total of 305 calories.  The custard and blend of fresh berries (I used strawberries, blueberries, and blackberries, which were all on sale this week) were a nice complement.  I didn’t get a picture of this one, so here are stock photos from Taste of Home.



Taco Salad Wrap.  This recipe made a lot of wraps at one time, which was great.  They were a hit with everyone.  I liked the addition of the crushed baked tortilla chips inside each wrap for a little bit of added texture and flavor.  I added some fat-free sour cream, as well.  The wraps were generously sized and very satisfying.  I served them with some baked tortilla chips and fresh salsa on the side for a total of 438 calories.


Braised Pork Chops and Spanish Rice.  These pork loin chops were so thick, and after browning them on all sides in a skillet, they slow-simmered in water on the stove for about an hour.  They were so moist and tender!  Then the juices were used to make a quick gravy at the end to serve on top.  Delicious!  I served them with the easy Spanish Rice and a salad on the side for a total of 336 calories.  My rice was done before my pork chops were ready, and since my son needed to leave before it was all done, I threw some jalapeno smoked sausage slices in with some of the Spanish rice for him to eat before he left with a sprinkle of cheese on top, and he said that was really good, too.  For the rest of us, it was worth waiting for the chops.  Yum!  My husband was a huge fan. 

Well, it’s Thanksgiving week, and I hope you all enjoy spending time with your families (from your own households, please…you know…pandemic and all).  It will be odd for us to not have guests this year, but 2020 has been a highly unusual year.  I’ll have at least one great recipe next week to share that will help you use up your turkey leftovers, so be on the lookout for that. 

Take care!

Saturday, November 14, 2020

Favorite Recipes for the Week of November 8th

It was unseasonably warm this week in North Texas, so I did less cooking and relied more on leftovers.  Also, our volunteer neighborhood association put together a drive-by catered dinner that was enough for a dinner and lunch for each of us, so I got a nice break from the kitchen this week.  Despite that, I still have some weekly favorites to share with you.


Overnight Yeast Waffles and Homemade Breakfast Patties.  The waffles were just okay…nothing special in terms of flavor.  But I found this thin batter worked best in my waffle stick maker than in my Belgian Waffle Maker.  The batter wasn’t thick enough for that.  I don’t have a standard waffle maker, but the waffle stick maker worked just fine.  It made a lot, which made for quick breakfasts for a few days!  I reheated them in the air fryer each morning, which made them crisp and fresh as if they had just been made.  The sausage patties, however, were out of this world!  My husband raved about them.  The cayenne pepper gave them just enough kick to be noteworthy, and the rich flavor will catch you off guard, considering these are straight ground turkey with no pork whatsoever.  They are very low-calorie, and your family will never know the difference!  I will definitely be making these again and again!  Here are stock photos from Taste of Home.



Ham ‘n’ Northern Bean Soup.  This was originally Ham ‘n’ Chickpea Soup, but considering my husband made me promise I would never serve him chickpeas when we got married, I made a quick substitution with Great Northern Beans instead.  It was wonderful, and he really like this hearty soup!  I used some flavorful smoked spiral ham ends and pieces that I cut up in into little chunks in place of the bland cubed ham you can buy pre-packaged.  It was really good!  I served it with a pepper jack cheese stick and 1/3 cup red grapes for a total of 435 calories.  Yum!  Here’s a photo from Taste of Home.



German-Style Short Ribs.  This recipe was a huge surprise to me!  I wasn’t sure what kind of sauce it was going to make, because it had an interesting array of ingredients, including mango chutney (which I had to go to the Indian grocery store to find) and apple cider vinegar.  I thought it was going to be some kind of sweet barbecue sauce, but it was nothing like that.  These cooked all day in the crockpot, and when I removed the lid, poured the grease off the top, and stirred it, the meat literally fell from the bones, making them easy to remove from the pot.  I ended up with a large bowl full of round bones for my dogs to enjoy (making this their favorite recipe, too!), and enough meat for 8 servings since I had a bit more than the recipe had called for.  That only lasted for 2 meals, though, since all my kids were home the first night, and all of them loved this dish!  The slightly sweet sauce lent so much flavor to the meat.  It was delightful!  Even my very picky teenage daughter, who rarely eats anything I made, actually ate this whole meal.  I served it with some buttered egg noodles and a small salad for a total of 449 calories.  I found a giant package of beef short ribs at Sam’s Club for about $5.49/lb. that was the perfect size for this recipe.  Here’s a photo from Taste of Home.

That’s a wrap!  I hope you have a wonderful week and find some time to start your Thanksgiving shopping.

Saturday, November 7, 2020

Favorite Recipes for the Week of November 1st

Thursday, November 5th of this week was our 26th wedding anniversary!  It’s difficult to plan any kind of special outings or activities during a global pandemic, in sharp contrast to last year’s wonderful 25th anniversary extended weekend trip down to Fredericksburg, TX.  But we bought each other flowers and cards, and I planned to make my husband’s favorite dinner…calzones and roasted vegetables…with some Italian-themed appetizers and a tiramisu for dessert.  Thanks, Trader Joe’s, but having everything I needed!


Fajita Frittata.  This was a really hearty and satisfying breakfast, and it was something different from the usual, which I really enjoyed.  It contained everything you’d put into chicken fajitas, but it was stuck inside of a baked egg dish with a layer of cheese melted over the top.  I served it with the salsa on the side for dipping, a Sage Breakfast Patty, a cup of mixed berries, and a slice of wheat toast with jam for a total of 325 calories. 


Ranch Chicken Salad Sandwich.  This was a delicious sandwich with wonderful flavors and textures.  We all found ourselves looking forward to having it again for a couple of days.  I cooked the chicken ahead of time earlier in the day, so it was ready to prep before bed for some weekday lunches, and the recipe came together really fast.  I served it with some baked potato chips and some fresh pineapple or grapes.  When I packaged it up, I kept the chicken salad filling and toppings beside the bun so it wouldn’t make the bread soggy as it sat in the fridge for a couple of days.  That allowed me to prep a bunch of containers ahead of time. 


Weekday Lasagna.  My husband and I, as well as my 12-year old son, really loved this lasagna.  It was one of the easiest lasagnas I’ve ever made, just because there was no need to buy oven-ready lasagna, yet I did not have to pre-cook the noodles, which are so hard to work with when cooked.  Also, it did not contain any ricotta cheese, which my daughter does not like, and my husband really liked the homemade meat sauce.  I was very happy with this recipe in so many ways!  I also made some roasted Garlic Green Beans on the side.  The recipe called for boiling them, but I roasted mine in the oven, which is how I like them best.  I also served it with either some buttered wheat toast or 1/2 a garlic breadstick on the side for a total of 386 calories.  I loved that I got to enjoy lasagna, my favorite Italian dish, without an overload of calories.

I hope there are some new recipes here that your family will enjoy. 

In other news, I also got to add a new great nephew to my family on Friday.  Welcome to the world, baby Wesley!

Wednesday, November 4, 2020

REVIEW: Bible Unearthed by Drive Thru History® Adventures

Disclaimer: I received a FREE copy of this product through the HOMESCHOOL REVIEW CREW in exchange for my honest review. I was not required to write a positive review nor was I compensated in any other way.

We’ve always been huge fans of any program from this vendor, so we were really thrilled to be able to review Bible Unearthed by Drive Thru History® Adventures.


Product PhotoBible Unearthed is a brand new online video course from Drive Thru History® Adventures.  In fact, it’s so new that it’s not yet available but will be coming very soon!

This program includes a series of 12 video episodes highlighting archaeological discoveries that corroborate people, places, and events in both the Old and New Testaments of the Bible.  It also includes worksheets that contain 5 discussion questions and 1 expository question with a corresponding answer guide, plus“Dig Deeper” articles for further research.

This is a self-paced course, but the suggested pace is to complete one lesson per week over the course of 12 weeks.

This course will be available for just $59.95 with lifetime access.  As an alternative, you can purchase an Adventures All-Access pass to all available Adventures courses for a period of one year for just $119.95.


This program can be used in various ways to meet your family’s needs.  My last homeschooled student is just 12 years old, so I did not want to use it as curriculum. I actually wanted to use it just for the video content for myself!  I am quite familiar with Drive-Thru History®, particularly since I have previously reviewed both The Gospels and Acts to Revelation in recent years.  I found this program to be an excellent follow-up to those series.

Although I didn’t use the course materials that go along with the episodes, I do want to give a quick overview of what is provided.  The suggested pace is to complete one episode with its corresponding materials each week.  A week’s work could include watching a video episode, completing an optional activity when provided, reading a “Dig Deeper” article and/or doing outside research when provided, re-watching the episode while reviewing the written materials, and completing the worksheet with short answers, comparing the student’s responses with the answer guide.  Grading is optional.  The worksheets and bible readings can be printed for students who prefer to work from hard copies.  The program also suggests that advanced students may want to use a particular book about bible archaeology as a supplemental resource for additional research.  It’s written by Titus Kennedy, who is the featured archaeologist who leads the video episodes alongside Dave Stotts and Randall Niles.  In addition, participants in this course can join the Adventures Community Facebook group to discuss and comment further with others who are using the Adventures courses.

Lesson Text Worksheet Poster
Lesson Text                               Worksheet                Supplemental Material

Each episode lasts about 15 minutes, so it doesn’t require a huge time commitment.  Personally, I found that once I sat down and started watching an episode, it was nearly impossible to stop at just one!  In fact, I think I completed all 12 episodes in just two sittings!  They were just that interesting.  And my 12-year old son wandered in on one of those occasions and ended up watching a couple of episodes with me himself.  He was nearly as fascinated as I was!  This series really draws in your attention like a magnet.

The series begins by discussing what archaeology is, how a site is mapped and documented, and what tools are used.  Then it goes into the impact of archaeology and the kinds of things that can be corroborated with archaeological discoveries.


Then it goes into the way in which artifacts and archaeological sites either corroborate or dispel information that has been put forth as historical facts, such as in the Bible.


Next, it talks about what a typical day looks like in the life of an archaeologist and what kinds of activities they do when they are out on a dig site.  Then it goes into what kinds of things are being discovered today.  It takes you through some of the cities from Bible times that are currently being excavated and starts to outline some of the artifacts that correspond to Old Testament places and people.  In addition to excavations, Titus Kennedy talks about some of the forgotten artifacts he’s found in places like museum basements.


Next, it covers some of the archaeological mysteries that remain…places and objects that are still being sought after, but that have not yet been discovered or verified.  This includes Noah’s Ark, the Ark of the Covenant, and the sites of the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah.

Then comes some exciting material…the “top 25” archaeological discoveries pertaining to the bible.  These are itemized in the text in chronological order.  The video goes through some of them and talks more about them.  Here, we get into some of the New Testament correlations. This was my favorite of all of the episodes, as it was so meaty and took viewers on location to some of the sites.  I felt very “wowed” after watching this episode.


Following that, the series got into how people can become archaeologists, what education is required, and what kinds of jobs they can do in archaeology, and what types of tasks you would perform.  Next, it goes into trends in archaeology.  Here, it talks about some of the fake news out there about finds that supposedly contradict the bible vs. verified finds that corroborate the historical truths in the Bible.  Each of the speakers in the video discusses what brought them to their current level of faith, whether it was that they started out not believing, but archaeology brought them to place of belief, or those that always believed and had their beliefs confirmed by all they learned in archaeology.


Then it moves onto “weird” discoveries in archaeology.  These include things like the pyramids with discussions of how they were built, ziggurats and what their purpose may have been, an ancient “analog computer” known as the Antikythera Mechanism, and the giant stone heads found on Easter Island.  Then it goes into discoveries that were found accidentally.  These include the Rosetta Stone, the Dead Sea Scrolls, the Xian Terracotta Army, or Venus de Milo.  From teenagers exploring a cave to a farmer finding something unusual in his barn, each of these discoveries were found by ordinary people, not professional archaeologists.


Finally, the series wraps up in the final episode with some of the sites that have yet to be excavated, including the cities of Bethlehem and Colossae.  The locations are known but have yet to be explored.  Who knows what historical treasures may be found there?  If you were ever going to be motivated to explore the field of archaeology, this might just be the inspiration you need to take that next step!

Course Complete

This course was truly an adventure!  I got to explore so many fascinating places and hear right from the archaeologist himself what it was like to find these great discoveries first-hand.  From the ancient pool of Siloam to the tomb of Jesus, the Bible came to life in a new way for me in these episodes.  I learned so much about how the discoveries of coins, pottery, documents, and inscriptions help to corroborate the ancient leaders, events, and places to the truly historical record we have in the scriptures.  I love that I get lifetime access to this course, because I can definitely see myself watching this series again in the future!  My husband enjoys historical documentaries, as well, so I think he would enjoy watching this, as well.  It’s definitely worth your time, and I would encourage you to take a look! 

See what other Crew members have to say about Bible Unearthed by clicking the banner below.

Saturday, October 31, 2020

Favorite Recipes for the Week of October 25th

It was so cold this week!  It was definitely a good time for soups and stews and the like.  Here are our favorite recipes for the week.


Sage Breakfast Patties.  These homemade sausage patties were delicious!  The lighter blend of 1/3 pork sausage and 2/3 ground turkey with some added spices gave the traditional flavor of pork breakfast sausage without all the fat.  You would never have guessed they contained so much ground turkey!  We were very pleased to enjoy one of these breakfast patties with a couple of slices of bacon, an egg, a slice of toast, and a small box of orange juice for a total of 311 calories!  We ate these for about 4 days and still had some leftover to put in the freezer for another time.  Personally, I stacked everything but the sausage together and folded it over into a half sandwich and enjoyed the sausage on the side.  Yum!  I would definitely make these breakfast patties again.


Zesty Sloppy Joes.  These were great for a quick and delicious lunch!  I served them with baby carrots, a pickle spear, and a piece of string cheese for a total of 388 calories.  I didn’t take a photo, so here’s a stock photo from the Taste of Home website.

Sloppy Joes for a Crowd


Chicken Mexican Manicotti.  This was an interesting twist on a traditional chicken enchilada!  All the flavors were there, but instead of being rolled up in a corn or flour tortilla, it was stuffed into manicotti shells!  We weren’t sure how to approach it the first night, so we didn’t add toppings that first night.  But after that, we realized it really tasted just the same as a regular enchilada, so we topped the leftovers with traditional toppings like tomatoes, lettuce, and sour cream. Delicious!  I never realized that tortillas and pasta were so interchangeable, but they truly are!  That’s a tip I’ll keep in mind for future reference.  My husband liked it because it was such a pleasant surprise and just a bit of a different take on an old favorite dish.  I served these with a tossed salad with light dressing and 1/2 garlic breadstick for a total of 465 calories.  Here’s a stock photo from the Taste of Home website.

Personally, I was a huge fan of this Three-Meat Spaghetti Sauce.  My whole family thought this was absolutely delicious.  In fact, I think it’s maybe the best spaghetti sauce recipe I’ve ever tried!  So many great flavors.  This one is definitely a keeper!

That’s it for this week!  I hope you try a new fall delight in your menu this week!

Saturday, October 24, 2020

Favorite Recipes for the Week of October 18th

We had a crazy week of wild weather…started out 86 every day, but then an early morning storm blew through on Friday morning and brought with it a sharp cold front.  Today, it got so cold that we started a fire in our backyard firepit at sunset and sat outside for a while!  The air was very crisp, and I understand we will have some 30’s and 40’s early next week!  The weather in north TX always likes to catch you off guard.  I spent the afternoon switching out my son’s wardrobe and having him try on his fall and winter clothes to see what he has outgrown…turns out he outgrew at least half of his clothes and shoes!  I guess some shopping is in my future…


Lighter Blueberry French Toast.  My husband isn’t super fond of blueberries, but he will eat them if I put some in front of him.  He wished this recipe had less blueberries, but for me, it was delightful!  I love the blueberry syrup/sauce.  I made this up ahead of time and separated out the blueberry sauce into little cups that could be reheated in the microwave, and the French toast could be re-crisped in the air fryer so it wouldn’t be soggy.  After doing that each morning, I cut my French toast into bite sized pieces and then poured the hot blueberry sauce over the top.  Yummy!  I served this with a little box of orange juice on the side for a total of 345 calories.


Antipasto-Stuffed Baguettes.  These were absolutely delicious!  My sons ate them cold, but my husband and I ate them hot.  They were easy to reheat wrapped in foil and were still delicious left over.  I used take-and-bake French baguette bread loaves that came in a 2-pack from Walmart.  These sandwiches were a delightful combination of flavors that I served with baked chips and grapes for a total of 441 calories.  Each loaf of bread made 3 sandwiches, so the portion size was quite generous.  I didn’t slice them into tiny sections as the recipe suggested…instead I just sliced each loaf into 3 whole sandwiches.  We ate them so fast that I failed to take a photo, so here is a stock photo from the Taste of Home website. 

Antipasto-Stuffed Baguettes

I have to give some honorable mention, though, to a delicious side dish we had with lunch one day this week.  It was a Honey-Dijon Potato Salad.  My husband and I were really surprised at how flavorful it was.  It’s one of the best homemade potato salads I’ve ever made.  We had it with turkey hot dogs.  My husband said it was so good that he saved it for last so the flavors would linger in on his palette. 


Enchilada Casser-Ole.  This had to be the dinner winner for the week, just because you can’t go wrong with the classic flavor combination of enchiladas.  This casserole was so easy to make without the step of rolling up individual enchiladas.  It reminded us of the flavors of a taco pie that I used to make for my kids that was always a family favorite.  I served this with fresh toppings (lettuce, tomato, and light sour cream) and a 1/4 cup of Birds Eye Southwestern-Style Rice on the side for a total of 452 calories.  Again, we all dug right in and failed to get a photo, so here is the stock photo from the Taste of Home website.

Another fabulous dinner worth mentioning is these unique “Little Kick” Jalapeno Burgers.  This is more of a turkey slider, but it’s filled with fresh chopped jalapenos and topped with the unusual toppings of salsa and sour cream.  The flavors will surprise you!  It was absolutely delicious, and even my 12-year old son couldn’t wait to have them again.  It makes a really small burger, but it was full of flavor and very satisfying.  I served them on little Hawaiian slider buns with a salad and grapes for a total of 327 calories.



For dessert this week, I splurged and made our favorite chocolate chip cookies that I bake using my Perfect Bake system.  The recipe is called Neiman Marcus Chocolate Chip Cookies, and the espresso powder is what boosts and intensifies the chocolate flavor in these cookies.  They poof up and make perfect little domes that are chewy on the inside and crispy on the outside.  Fabulous!

I’m happy to report that I had my annual checkup this week and fasted for all of my blood tests.  My cholesterol was in the normal range for the first time in years (barely, but it’s in there!), and everything came out great!  So this goes to show that some regular exercise and eating reasonable portions of great homemade foods like the recipes I’ve been featuring can keep your health in check!  You don’t have to go crazy with extremes of eating and exercise…just keep it reasonable, use fresh foods, and make your meals from scratch.  I exercise 5 days a week for about 30 minutes plus a little extra for ab work.  That’s it!  And I do indulge in treats like those chocolate chip cookies and ice cream and such.  Just keep it reasonable!

That’s all for now!  Have a great week.