Recipe Contest Winner!

I hope you all had a fabulous long weekend.  It started with a delicious Thanksgiving dinner and ended with friends for lunch on Sunday.  It was productive and low key at the same time, just what I needed!

So I am sharing all the wonderful nut recipes that I received – they are in no particular order.    If the recipes were submitted by food bloggers, I added their pictures to this post, but that in no way swayed the judging.  Hannah and Jacob reviewed all the recipes and at the end I’ll announce their winner!


1. Open container of nuts.
2. Pour nuts into bowl.
3. Remove nuts from bowl and place in mouth for 15 minutes.

Um pretty sure that’s not a recipe Charlie, so you are automatically disqualified. Open-mouthed smile



Butter Pecan Pound Cake

1 Butter Pecan Cake mix
1 can Coconut Pecan Frosting
1 cup milk
1/2 cup chopped pecans
2/3 cup oil
4 whole eggs

Mix all ingredients together. Spray Bundt pan with PAM and pour mix into pan.
Bake @ 325 for 55 to 65 minutes (I test after 55 minutes).


Jacky:  Holiday Spiced Nuts (link to recipe is here – these look amazeballs!)  Jacky and I both have a love of nuts though. Open-mouthed smile




I LOVE rice krispie treats with peanut butter – add several scoops of smooth or chunky peanut butter in while you melt your marshmallows.

honestly, that’s about it for my favorite recipe. hope it counts, because i would love some nuts to snack on!


Ashley submitted two recipes:

Cocoa Coconut Nut Bites and

Homemade Almond Milk


Randi sumbitted her Mom’s Pound Cake:

My mom’s sour cream coffee cake
1 stick butter
1 c. sugar
1.5 c. flour
1 tsp soda, mixed with 1 cup sour cream
1.5tsp baking powder
2 eggs
1tbls vanilla
cinnamon sugar and mini choc. chips and chopped nuts

oven at 350.

cream butter and sugar. Add in eggs and vanilla. Add in dry ingredients. Dont overmix. Add it sour cream. Pour into 9x 9 square pan or for a thinner cake, a 9 x 13. Sprinkle top with cinn/sugar , nuts and mini chips. Bake for 30 min, or until set in center. Check with a toothpick.


Shauna made a browned butter and walnut tortellini:



Abbe submitted Easy Chocolate, Peanut Layer Bars

Easy Chocolate Peanut Layer Bars


Kim submitted Pecan Pie Bread Pudding:



 Carmell Made Sundae Cone Pot de Crème:

  • 1 1/2 cups mini semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 cup semi-soft vanilla ice cream
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup Whitley’s salted peanuts; chopped
  • 12 ounces whipped topping, semi-frozen*
  • 6 sugar cones


Place the chocolate chips into a blender. Crack in eggs and blend for a few seconds until incorporated.

In a small sauce pan, over medium-high heat, melt ice cream. Add salt and vanilla. While continuously stirring, bring mixture just to a boil. With blender on high, immediately pour the hot mixture in a thin stream through the top of blender lid. Blend until chips are completely melted and smooth, with no flecks remaining.

Divide mixture between six, 4 to 5 ounce cups or jars and refrigerate for at least 3-4 hours, or until chilled and set.

Meanwhile with a serrated knife cut the tip, 3 inches down, off of sugar cones; making mini cones for garnish. Crush remaining cone remnants into coarse crumbs and reserve. 

To serve, generously sprinkle tops with peanuts then place a scoop of frozen whipped topping and a mini sugar cone over each. Combine reserved crushed cone pieces with the remaining peanuts and serve alongside desserts with additional whipped topping. Enjoy!

*If desired replace the frozen whipped topping with lightly sweetened whipped cream; beaten until stiff peaks form.

pot de creme


Danielle submitted Honey hazelnut corn bread:

  • 1 cup of yellow cornmeal
  • ½ cup of finely roasted hazelnuts
  • 1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon baking powder
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cup whole milk
  • 3 large eggs
  • 3/4 stick butter, melted
  • 1/3 cup honey

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Toast hazelnut for 3-5 minutes while the oven is preheating. Into a large bowl, mix the cornmeal, hazelnuts, flour, baking powder, sugar, and salt. In another bowl, whisk together the whole milk, eggs, butter, and honey. Add the wet to the dry ingredients and stir until just mixed. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes or until golden brown.  Serve with Vanilla Ice Cream or Whipped cream. Garnish with chopped hazelnut and caramel.


Donna-Marie submitted Spicy Asian Peanut Cheddar Dippers ! 

This is a fun way to serve a pub cheese spread! Small dippers made with 4 inch pretzels! What makes these wonderful is the peanut flavor in both the ground peanuts and the Spicy Asian Peanut Sauce that  found both in the cheese spread and is the dipping sauce! Quick and easy to make and eat .

  • 1 – 8 ounce block sharp cheddar cheese, chopped into small hunks
  • 1 stick butter, softened
  • 1 /2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 /3 cup Spicy Asian Peanut Sauce, divided
  • 1 – 8 ounce package 4 inch pretzel rods (not sticks)
  • 1 cup coarsely ground peanuts

Place the cheddar cheese in the bowl of a food processor. Coarsely chop. Add the butter, Parmesan and 1 /3 cup of the Asian Spicy Peanut Sauce. Mix until well blended. Remove from bowl and place in small dish. (yield 1 1 /4 cups).  Take 1 1 /2- 2 teaspoons  cheese and form around the bottom half of each pretzel rod. Roll in peanuts. Place on wax paper. Continue until all are done. They may be covered and chilled until needed.

To serve place dippers around the 1/3 cup Spicy Asian Dipping sauce on a large platter or serve 2-3 dippers with a small spot of sauce on an individual plate. Serves 10-14 


Carmell submitted Peanut Butter Poke Cake with bananas and candied bacon

  • 1 white cake mix, prepared according to box directions for 9×13 dish
  • 14 ounce can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1/4 cup +1-3 tablespoons half & half
  • 3 large bananas
  • 8 ounces frozen whipped topping, defrosted
  • 1 cup bacon, cooked & crumbled
  • 3 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup Whitley’s Salted Peanuts, chopped


With a fork, generously poke holes all over baked, cooled cake. In a small mixing bowl add condensed milk, peanut butter, and 1/4 cup half & half; whisk until combined (if needed, thin mixture with additional tablespoons half & half). Pour mixture over cake, cover and chill 6-8 hours or over night. Slice 2 bananas into rounds and spread over cake. Spread with whipped topping.

In a small dish combine bacon with the maple syrup, place in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. cook and stir continuously until bacon is candied, syrup will sizzle and reduce until little bubbles are no longer visible. Spread bacon on a glass plate, once cooled, pull apart into pieces. Sprinkle peanuts and bacon over cake before serving. If desired, garnish each serving with a slice of the remaining banana.



Carmell also submitted Peanut Butter Praline French Toast with strawberries and bananas

1/2 cup peanut butter
1/2 cup brown sugar

4 tablespoons butter

1/4 cup light corn syrup
2/3 cup half & half
3 bananas, sliced
French Toast
4 eggs
1 teaspoons vanilla
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup half & half

7 (1 in. thick) slices french bread

1/2 cup WHITNEY’S Salted Peanuts, chopped

1 pound strawberries sliced

sweetened whipped cream, for serving

1.  Spray 13×9-inch glass baking dish with cooking spray. In 2-quart saucepan, mix topping ingredients. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until smooth, do not boil. Spread topping in baking dish.
2.  In shallow bowl, beat eggs with fork. Beat in half & half, vanilla and salt. Dip bread slices into egg mixture, making sure all egg mixture is absorbed; arrange over topping in dish. Cover; refrigerate at least 8 hours or overnight.
3.  When ready to bake, heat oven to 375°F. Uncover baking dish; bake 20 to 25 minutes or until bubbly and toast is golden brown.
4.  Place large heatproof serving platter upside down over baking dish; turn platter and baking dish over. Remove baking dish, scraping any extra topping onto toast. Garnish with peanuts, Whipped cream and strawberries. Serve immediately.
Variation: Instead of strawberries serve with 1/2 cup chopped crisp bacon, whipped cream and maple syrup.

praline french toast


Shannon submitted:


Ingredients for Backlava Recipe:
1 pkg phyllo dough; thawed according to package instructions
2 sticks melted unsalted Butter
1 lb (about 4 cups or 3 3/4 cups chopped) walnuts, almond, pistachio and pecans finely chopped

1 tablespoon of vanilla extract
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 cup granulated sugar

2 tablespoon of salt
2 Tbsp lemon juice (juice of 1/2 lemon?)
3/4 cup water
1/2 cup honey or agave
Melted chocolate chips & chopped walnuts for garnish, optional


To make the sugar syrup, bring your honey, water, sugar, salt and lemon juice to boil. Boil it for about 5 minutes until it has slightly thicken but is still runny and set it aside.

Preheat the oven to 350 degree

Plus the nut in a food processor and stir with the cinnamon and vanilla extract

To layer the baklava, add 10 sheets of phyllo dough (buttering each layer), follow by 1/2 cup of nut mixture. Then add 5 sheets of phyllo dough follow by 1/2 cup of mixture. Keep on repeating with 5 phyllo dough and nut mixture. At the last layer, add 10 sheets of phyllo dough on top.  Butter the top of the baklava.  Cut the baklava into vertical strips and then by diagonals so you can cut it easier later.  Bake the baklava in the oven for 1 hour – 1hour and 10 minutes.  Once it is golden brown and done, pour the sugar syrup on top.  Let the sugary goodness sit , top it with powdered sugar if desired and chocolate, nuts and then serve!


Jill submitted:

Inside Out German Chocolate Pound Cake

  • 1 German Chocolate Cake mix
  • 1 can Coconut Pecan Frosting
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans
  • 2/3 cup oil
  • 4 whole eggs

Mix all ingredients together.  Spray Bundt pan with PAM and pour mix into pan.

Bake @ 325 for 55 to 65 minutes (I test after 55 minutes).


Lisa submitted three recipes:

Spicy Peanut Chicken

Cherry Almond Tart

Bacon Cashew Salad


Hidemi submitted two recipes:

Peanuts Macaroni Cheese


  • 1 cup Dry Macaroni Elbows
  • 1 tablespoon Unsalted Butter
  • 1 teaspoon All-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup Milk
  • 1 and 1/4 cups Roasted Unsalted Peanuts, divided
  • 2/3 cup Chicken Broth
  • 1 teaspoon Dried Basil
  • 1 teaspoon Dried Oregano
  • 3/4 cup Shredded Cheddar Cheese
  • 3/4 cup Shredded Monterey Jack Cheese
  • 1/4 cup Shredded Parmesan Cheese
  • 1/4 teaspoon Cayenne Powder (adjust the spiciness if you prefer spicier or not spicier)
  • Salt and Black Pepper to taste


1. Cook macaroni elbows followed by the directions of the package and drain in a colander.

2. Put 3/4 cup of peanuts and chicken broth into a blender and puree until smooth.

3. Chop 1/2 cup peanuts coarsely.

4. In a saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Add all-purpose flour and whisk to combine. Reduce heat to medium-low and whisk in 1/2 cup of milk little by little whisking constantly. Add peanuts mixture, the rest of milk, basil, oregano, cayenne, salt and black pepper to taste. Simmer for about 5 minutes.

5. Stir in macaroni elbows then all 3 kinds of cheese. When the cheese melts, add salt and black pepper to taste again.

6. Turn off the heat, stir in chopped peanuts to the saucepan.

and . . .

Peanuts Chicken Curry


  • 4 Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts
  • 4 cloves Garlic
  • 2 Medium Onions
  • 2 teaspoons Grated Ginger
  • 4 tablespoons Olive Oil
  • 1/2 cup Water
  • 2 Bay Leaves
  • 2 tablespoons Tomato Pesto
  • 2 tablespoons Soy Sauce
  • 2 cups Canned Coconut Milk
  • 2 tablespoons Lemon Juice
  • 1/2 cup Roasted Peanuts
  • 2/3 cup Chicken Broth
  • 2 teaspoons Ground Coriander Seed
  • 2 teaspoons Ground Cumin
  • 1 teaspoon Turmeric Powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon Nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon Cardamom Powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon Ground Cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon Ground Black Pepper
  • Salt to season

Chopped Cilantro for Garnish


1. Cut chicken breasts into bite size. Peel and mince onions and garlic cloves.

2. In a small bowl, mix together coriander, cumin, turmeric, nutmeg, cardamom, cinnamon and black pepper.

3. Put peanuts and chicken broth into a blender and puree until smooth.

4. In a large pot, put olive oil and bay leaves. Heat over medium heat. When it gets fragrant, remove the bay leaves (discard) and put garlic and ginger. Cook until fragrant. Add onion and cook until onions are lightly browned. Add chickens and cook until chickens are no longer pink.

5. Add spice mixture to the saucepan and stir to combine. Stir in water and tomato paste. Cook stirring to dissolve tomato paste. Then cover with a lid, reduce heat to medium-low heat and cook for about 5 minutes.

6. Open the lid and add peanuts mixture into the saucepan. Stir to combine, cover again and cook for about 10 minutes stirring once or twice halfway through.

7. After 10 minutes, open the lid, add soy sauce and coconut milk to the saucepan and simmer for another 10 minutes stirring once or twice halfway through. Lastly add lemon juice and salt to season.

8. Put the curry into each serving bowl or plate. Top with cilantro.


So I hope I got all the recipes submitted! 

So without further aideu, the winner is  . . . . . . . .

Carmell Made Sundae Cone Pot de Crème!  What put it over the top was Hannah’s love of ice cream and Jacob’s love of chocolate.  Camille – email me at with your mailing address and I’ll give the info to my Aunt for you to receive your $50 Whitley’s Nuts prize pack.

I can’t believe I have to work five days in a row this week – gah!  I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving.  I am off to get in a few steps in before work – it’s a balmy 37 degrees!  Make it a great day!

Happy Thanksgiving!

I just wanted to write a quick note this morning.   I want to thank all of you who take time out of your day to stop by this little blog of mine.   I never would have imagined 7 1/2 years ago how many wonderful people I would meet through this blog and how your support, especially this past year has kept me going and keeping one foot in front of the other.  I knew I had to get up and get out of bed, because I have many readers who fix their cup of coffee and hit up my blog before they even begin their day.  It’s give me purpose.  It’s given me love.  It’s given me support.  And for that I am forever eternally grateful for all of you.

Last Thanksgiving my Mom brought Boston Market to the hospital for us to eat.  My brother did a guest post about his famous potato soup.  My twin sister filled in and wished you guys a Happy Thanksgiving from me.  And I got to spend another day with my step-son before he left the day after Thanksgiving, which also ended up being the day we brought Tony home for hospice.

And I am thankful for the nurse who decided to shave Tony even though I thought it was pointless at the time.  He was so gentle with him and he looked so good after he was done – I don’t think he’d had a shave for six weeks before that!

hospice 021

So today my Mom is coming over.  I am so thankful for her because last year she gave up the trip of a lifetime that she’d been planning for over a year in order to stay home and be with me.  That gesture still amazes me to this day, and I am forever grateful for you Momma.

So this is going to be a little eclectic Thanksgiving this year because while I have mentioned that Hannah is somewhat of a picky eater, she LOVES Asian food.  That and Mexican food can keep that girl happy for a very long time.  So she is actually making this soup.


So the crack part of this soup?  Fried chicken skins!  My daughter literally bought a whole package of chicken thighs at Aldi for $3.83 just for the chicken skins.  After she skinned the chicken she looked at me and said “I hope you can do something with this chicken because I am not going to eat it.”   Love her.

Jacob?  His family tradition is ravioli.  So that’s going to be a side dish.  Since it’s just the four of us, I bought a fresh turkey breast and turkey leg.  While it’s a bit rainy our high will be around 55 degrees so I think I can handle that.  Other than that – the traditional stuff , mashed potatoes (which I am going to have my Mom make because hers are awesome), stuffing, green bean casserole, carrots and pumpkin pie for dessert.

So from me to you, thank you for being there for me this past year.  I hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving and you have a four day weekend like I do.  I don’t really have much planned other than switching out my desktop computer, cleaning the basement – you should see our basement.  As we were settling in getting the upstairs all decorated our mantra for most everything we didn’t know what to do with was “just put it in the basement!”   I am dog watching my SIL’s dog – he’ll be arriving later today, so having three dogs will be interesting.  I do have baby gates, so if they all don’t behave, they will be blocked from the remodeled living room.  And on Sunday our twin friends D&D are coming over for lunch.

I think it will be just the weekend I need as we ease into the one year anniversary of Tony dying.  Next Wednesday will be one year, and while I will never not miss him, I think it’s time to close that chapter of my life and put myself first with my health and exercise.

Oh, I almost forgot to tell you.  I had my diabetes appointment yesterday, and while all my numbers were fine except for my blood sugars (eek, my A1C jumped up to 7.4), he thought I might be a perfect candidate for a clinical trial for a new medication that works in conjunction with insulin.  I have six appointments from December through February, and if after all of those results I qualify for the year long international study, I would get all my medication, text strips, etc. free for a year!  And while I have insurance, it’s not free, so that would be huge.  And of course, he always likes to sneak it into every appointment I have “you could really stand to lose about 30 pounds.”  Yep, I know that.

But here is the miracle of miracles.  Last January 10 I weighed in his office and yesterday when I got on the scale – I lost 1/2 a pound.  And while you are thinking “how the hell is that good news?”  Well, it’s because had I not exercised at all, I could have easily gained 40 pounds in a year as I ate through my grief.  So I’ll take that as a win any day!

HAPPY THANKSGIVING!  I’ll be back tomorrow with my recipe for ciabatta bread.  It was so good and didn’t last very long in the house. 

Don’t forget, you still have time to get your nut recipe to me – the contest ends of Sunday.  You can get the details here.


Thank you!

I wanted to thank everyone for your comments, texts, instant messages on Facebook and comments on Instagram yesterday after talking about the beginning of the end of Tony passing away.  I will admit I couldn’t read any of them when I was at work for fear of crying right there on the spot, so I waited until I got home.  I let the tears flow freely and it felt . . . good. 

When I was driving to work yesterday, the sky was so pretty.  The clouds don’t even look real!

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I figure if you put an egg on anything it can be considered breakfast:

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All the snow we got last weekend will probably be gone in a couple days.  It was 43 degrees when I went for my walk:

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One of the Mom’s that Hannah used to babysit for gave Hannah this North Face jacket and she doesn’t like it all that much, so she gave it to me.  OMG – this coat is amazing – it’s so thin but so warm – I haven’t looked at the label but it must be down feathers in there.  I was actually hot by the end of my walk.

I entered another recipe contest (Shauna and Laurenyou can find the link here!)   I can’t write the recipe here yet, but I had to use summer sausage and potatoes in my dish.  I am calling this Summer Sausage Potato Soup with Sauerkraut.  My secret though?  I used mustard potato salad for the potatoes, which gives the broth a nice briney kick.  So good!

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The day before yesterday I bit the side of my tongue.  How I even did that is beyond me, but it turned into a canker sore and it was so painful yesterday afternoon to even talk, let alone eat.  I finally heated up some leftover pasta around 9 with a bit of butter.  It feels better today and hopefully by tomorrow it will be gone.  I can’t not eat on Thanksgiving!

Alright, got to get this show on the road, I slept in a bit this morning.  I have my rescheduled diabetes doctor appointment today at lunch – I was glad they were able to squeeze me in before 2016.  My insurance company will not cover my glucose meter (Accu-Chek) anymore and I had to switch to One Touch.  I got the new meter in the mail and my old meter is the equivalent to a flip phone – my new one has a USB port, and hopefully I won’t be technically challenged to use the damn thing!

Happy Friday to all of us who have a long weekend.  Make it a great day!

Bush’s Baked Beans Chili

I normally don’t meal plan the week of Thanksgiving.  It’s a short work week, and let’s be honest, I think most of us can eat through our fridge and pantry for a few days without running to the grocery store.  Case in point – in the top basket of my freezer I found a few frozen bagels.  I set an everything bagel in a ziploc bag on my counter overnight.  I hate defrosting bread in the microwave because I think that it gets too hard if you end up cooking it.  I pulled out most of the inside bread and ended up with a 2 ounce bagel – with a scrambled egg, ham and cheese, breakfast was delish.  Pretty sure the everything bagel is the best thing ever invented.

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Oh wait – the next best thing ever invented?  Cream cheese stuffed everything chicken that my friend Nicole made – this recipe is on the very top of my must make dishes.  Probably next Monday for #meatmonday when Hannah is at school.  Genius Nicole.  Genius.


It was birthday celebrations for one of our named partners, and his very favorite pie is cherry pie.  The second request was peach pie.  Only one tiny problem with that.  Um, neither fresh cherries or peaches are in season right now.  So I had to go the canned route – I ended up using Mariano’s brand canned pie filling.  I had to strategically place the pies in the back of my car – you know, next to the bag with my workout shoes and my gym bag.

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I actually had work to do yesterday which is a nice change of pace for me.  I didn’t eat breakfast until around 9:45 and around 1 thought I’d head to the gym.  I checked my phone and it said it was still 31 degrees out, so I thought a walk outside was out of the question.  Um, no!  It was awesome!  No wind and it felt great.  Those shoes?  Sent to me by blog reader Jaclyn – she had a couple pairs of Merrell shoes she never wore and knew that I had the same size shoe (well, one foot anyway!) and they are perfect for this time of year.  Thanks again Jaclyn!

PicMonkey Collage - walk

So Hannah accuses me of having too many cans of Bush’s beans in the house and has banned me from buying any more until I use up the ones I have.  It is a little ridiculous to have twenty cans of beans, but they are my favorite.  So when I was trying to come up with stuff to make with what I had, I decided to try using baked beans as one of the three kinds of beans that I used.

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So those three beans were the inspiration for this pantry/fridge chili.

Bush's Baked Bean Chili
Serves 12
A slightly sweet, smokey and spicy chili.
Write a review
Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
35 min
Total Time
40 min
Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
35 min
Total Time
40 min
173 calories
29 g
10 g
2 g
11 g
1 g
193 g
231 g
7 g
0 g
2 g
Nutrition Facts
Serving Size
Amount Per Serving
Calories 173
Calories from Fat 17
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 2g
Saturated Fat 1g
Trans Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 1g
Monounsaturated Fat 1g
Cholesterol 10mg
Sodium 231mg
Total Carbohydrates 29g
Dietary Fiber 9g
Sugars 7g
Protein 11g
Vitamin A
Vitamin C
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your Daily Values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
  1. 1/2 pound ground sirloin
  2. 2 tablespoons finely chopped onion (baby steps guys, baby steps!)
  3. 28 ounce can Bush’s baked beans with bacon and brown sugar, undrained
  4. 1 15 ounce can Bush’s kidney beans, undrained
  5. 1 15 ounce can Bush’s black beans, drained
  6. 28 ounce can crushed tomatoes
  7. 3 tablespoons chili powder
  8. 1 teaspoon paprika
  9. 1 tablespoon cumin
  10. 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  11. 1 12 ounce can white shoepeg corn, drained
  1. In a stock pot, brown the ground sirloin. I typically don’t add any oil to the pan because even with ground sirloin, there is enough fat rendered.  Add the onion and cook the onion and beef until the beef is nearly cooked through.  Add in remaining ingredients and simmer for 30 minutes.  That’s fucking it.  How easy is that?  This chili is smoky, slightly spicy and sweet.  You know, again like me!  And don’t get your panties in a bunch thinking “omg, now Biz is eating green onions?!”  Um, no – those were just for show.  Hannah makes me buy them, and because I am the best Momma ever, there is a never ending supply of onions in my house now.
My Bizzy Kitchen
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This makes a lot too.  Jacob and I ate it for dinner Sunday night, and I had some for lunch, two of my bosses had it – both declared it amazing.  Duh, because I made it.  And I still probably have 3 servings left.  Nice!

I had planned to go to the gym after work for strength, but my blood sugar was only 142 – a bit too low for me and I didn’t want to have to eat more to work out, so I ran some errands.  First up?  Getting my eyes threaded at Wal-mart.  Fuck that hurts – I sent this picture to Hannah and said “only the young girl was working” which means she’s not the most gentle when it comes to threading, but she’s literally done in 120 seconds.  But a couple hours later the redness and swelling goes away.  With waxing it would take days!

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I found two pork chops in the freezer too and thawed those out for dinner.  #meatmonday!  Jacob loves sauerkraut as much as I do, and I had a can of potatoes, so sautéed the potatoes, sauerkraut and pork chops all in my cast iron skillet.  Once the pork was done, I took everyone out of the pool, and added 1/3 cup of water to deglaze the pan, added one tablespoon of butter and one tablespoon of sriracha mustard that my friend and blog reader Laura gave me – so good!  It cooked for about a minute and got nice and thick.  I asked Jacob to taste it before I put it on his pork chop and he said “you can pretty much put that sauce all over my food.”

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So even though my dinner looks like 50 shades of beige, this was a delicious, super quick dinner.  Gotta love a quick pan sauce!

Two more days until a long weekend – woop!  Don’t forget to enter my recipe contest – you can find out the info here – I’ll accept recipes until the Sunday after Thanksgiving, and will announce the winner next Monday – a $50 peanut prize pack!


This week ends my year of firsts without Tony.  While he wasn’t exactly conscious on Thanksgiving, he was still here.  My Mom brought in turkey dinners from Boston Market.  One year ago today I got the call from Tony.  He’d been in the second hospital for nearly a week.  I had planned on working the three days of Thanksgiving week and planned to spend the four day weekend at the Chicago hospital.  But he called my office the Tuesday before Thanksgiving.  His voice was weak.  He said “the doctors just came by and told me I’m dying.”  What??!!!  Tears immediately started running down my face.  My boss and another partner were in the office and I yelled “I have to go, my husband is dying!”  In my head I thought he was dying like right that second.  As the tears streamed down my face in the 40 minute drive to the hospital, I just kept saying “stay alive until I get there!” 

Seeing his face when he saw mine is something I will never forget.  I hated that I couldn’t be with him all the time, but with all of our trips back and forth to mayo I was out of days off from work.  We made phone calls.  We discovered his son Joe was already in town – a trip he planned a month before not knowing this trip would be the last time he’d see his Dad.  That night Hannah brought me clothes and Joe and I ended up staying at a Marriott right by the hotel that night.  I had to search back, and realized I did write about that night after Tony died.  I haven’t read all my posts from last year yet, because it’s still painful.  I am thankful to have this blog though because it captured my thoughts and emotions that I otherwise would have probably forgotten.

So this week, as we roll into Thanksgiving Day, be thankful for your spouse, significant other, your children, family and friends.  Because in the end that’s really all that matters.  Hugs!

Pumpkin Spiced Peanut Bread Pudding and Recipe Contest!

It’s no wonder where I get my drive to stay busy.  My Mom and my Aunt Martha are shining examples that age is just a number and you get so much more out of life if you stay active.  I know I’ve talked it about it before, but there are some times of the year I literally need to schedule time with my Mom weeks in advance. 

My Aunt Martha downsized her real estate holdings – one of the apartment buildings she owned with my Uncle was getting a bit much to handle, and as luck would have it, she found a buyer and while that headache is gone, it’s left her with a lot of free time on her hands.  So by chance, she and her new friend (not sure if he’s your boyfriend or not Aunt Martha?!) stumbled upon a wholesale peanut business.  I am sure everyone in the south is familiar with Virginia peanuts.  I don’t know what it is about them, but they blow Planter’s peanuts straight out of the water.

Whitley’s Nuts are in a whole other league from any other Virginia peanut I’ve ever had.   Stephanie, I am wondering if you’ve tasted these nuts before?


And Hannah and Jacob could not keep their hands out of the chocolate covered peanuts!


My Aunt sent me a selection of their peanuts – so far, the salt and pepper ones are my favorite:

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One of the peanuts that I was on the fence about before even trying it was the pumpkin spice one.  I am not sure why, but I didn’t think I was going to like them at all.  Well, turns out I was wrong – I love them!

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I guess I thought these would be overly sweet, but they aren’t at all.  Perfect blend of sugar, pumpkin spice and of course the salt.  Yum! 

So my Aunt and I thought we could do a little recipe contest on my blog here.  Basically just send me your favorite nut recipe either with a link in the comment section if you have a blog, or if you don’t, you can just email it to me at  Bloggers, go through your archives on this one!  I figured I had to do some sort of recipe developing too – and since its our named partners birthday, and he LOVES bread pudding I decided to make a pumpkin peanut spiced bread pudding with chocolate chips.

Pumpkin Spiced Peanut Bread Pudding
Serves 12
A great way to use up day old bread - or do what I do and swing
Write a review
Prep Time
60 hr
Cook Time
45 min
Total Time
1 hr 45 min
Prep Time
60 hr
Cook Time
45 min
Total Time
1 hr 45 min
190 calories
32 g
6 g
6 g
4 g
3 g
127 g
119 g
22 g
0 g
3 g
Nutrition Facts
Serving Size
Amount Per Serving
Calories 190
Calories from Fat 50
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 6g
Saturated Fat 3g
Trans Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 1g
Monounsaturated Fat 2g
Cholesterol 6mg
Sodium 119mg
Total Carbohydrates 32g
Dietary Fiber 2g
Sugars 22g
Protein 4g
Vitamin A
Vitamin C
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your Daily Values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
  1. 1.5 cups soy milk
  2. 2 cups skim milk (really 3.5 cups of any milk will work, that’s what I had at home)
  3. 3/4 cup sugar
  4. 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  5. 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  6. 2 tablespoons melted butter, cooled
  7. 6 cups chopped up bread (I used one loaf of day old Jimmy John’s bread)
  8. 2/3 cup Whitley’s pumpkin spiced peanuts
  9. 2/3 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  1. In a large bowl, mix the milks, sugar, vanilla, cinnamon, and butter together.  Dice up the bread and add that to the milk/egg mixture and push down so that all the bread gets soaked in.  Let sit for one hour.  Heat oven to 350 degrees.  Spray a 9x9 pan with Pam.  Add in the peanuts and chocolate chips and mix to combine, pour into pan and bake for 45 minutes.  It will still look “loose” after 45 minutes, but that’s okay – it will be fine once its cooled down.
My Bizzy Kitchen
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I made two batches of this bread pudding.  One for work and the other for Jacob’s grandparents who LOVE bread pudding, especially his Nana.  I decided to make a whiskey glaze for the work version, since he loves whiskey.   All I did was put 1/4 cup sugar, 1/2 cup apple juice (I had a lone juice box in my pantry from when Hannah’s friends son was over) 1/4 cup whiskey, pinch of cinnamon, 2/3 cup water mixed with 2 teaspoons cornstarch.  Put the sugar, apple juice, whiskey and cinnamon and bring to a low boil, or until the sugar melts.  Mix the water with the corn starch, add that to the sugar mixture and cook to a rolling boil for 1 minute until thickened.  Remove from heat, cool and store in a mason jar.  The glaze will keep for over a week in the fridge.

So what’s the prize you might ask?   FIVE 12 OUNCE CONTAINERS OF ASSORTED WHITNEY’S PEANUTS!  That’s a prize worth over $50. 

  • salted
  • salt and pepper
  • chili habanero
  • Chesapeake crabby
  • white chocolate

But the best part is that my Aunt is able to offer you a sample pack for the peanut lover in your family, just in time for the holidays.  You’ll get five 3 oz. assorted peanuts in these flavors:  salted, honey roasted, Chesapeake crabby, habanero and salt and pepper.   Only $15 including shipping.  These are amazing nuts people, and long time readers know how much I love nuts in my mouth. 

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If you are interested in buying the sample pack, just shoot me an email and I’ll give you her contact information, or just leave a comment below saying “I want that!” and I’ll email you directly.

Looking forward to some nutty recipes! 


I am sure you’ve heard that we got some snow over the weekend.  We ended up with about 13 inches when it was all said and done.  I took these pics early Saturday morning before the snow had even stopped.

PicMonkey Collage - snow

I had plans to drive to Oak Park Saturday morning to meet with some high school friends, but I backed out.  What I hate more than driving in rain is driving in snow.  Not so much me driving in it, but I think some people either over compensate and drive 10 miles an hour, or don’t give a shit and drive like it’s a dry road.  I spent lots of time in my kitchen this weekend!  So many recipes to share with you later this week:

Bush’s Baked Bean Chili – sweet/smokey/spicy:

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Ciabatta bread – check out this dough!

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My first cherry pie!  You guys, stop looking for the best pie dough recipe, because I’ve already found it.   Remember the peach pie I made for Tony last summer, but I had to give it away because Tony and I had to go back to Mayo?  I gave it to my neighbor and he said that while he’d only had a couple of peach pies in his life to compare it to, he said the crust was the best he’d ever had in any type of pie.  Go get the recipe here at Natasha’s Kitchen, but I do make the dough in my food processor.  Add the dry ingredients and pulse to combine.  I chopped up the butter and cream cheese into one inch pieces and added them to the flour mixture and pulsed until combined.  I add between 3-4 tablespoons of heavy cream and you’ll know when its combined because it will pull away from the sides of your processor – literally takes a minute to put together.  Wrap in plastic, chill for an hour, roll out and bake.  You can follow her instructions here on how to do the lattice top – this is only my second lattice top and you’ll see it looks really good. 

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Hooray for a short work week!  So whose going to show me they are nuts for nuts!  Bring on the recipes and good luck.  Hannah and Jacob will be the judges by the way for all the entries.

Make it a great day!


Simple Biscuits

I love sleeping in.  Like a lot.  I am like a teenager in that on the weekends I could easily sleep in until 10 or 11 in the morning.  But last Saturday?  I was up at 7:45.  I went to the bathroom and told myself it was too early to get up and I went back to bed.  Only one problem.  I was wide awake!  Try as I might, I could not fall back asleep.  So I got up and made biscuits.


Lately I’ve been using unsweetened cashew milk in place of milk and I love it.  It’s only 25 calories a cup and it’s delicious.  These biscuits are so easy to put together.  My secret though?  I keep sticks of butter in my freezer and grate the butter right into the flour mixture, then use a fork to mix the dough together so that my hands don’t warm up the butter.  Super cold butter into a hot oven is the key to fluffy and delicious biscuits.

  • 3 cups flour
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup unsweetened cashew milk

In a bowl, mix the flour, sugar, salt and baking powder together.  Shred the butter right into the dough.  Put the egg in a dish and whip until combined, and then add the egg and milk to the flour mixture and using a fork, mix just until all the flour is incorporated.  Roll the dough into about a 1/2 inch circle and using a biscuit cutter (or a drinking glass!) cut into biscuits.  Bake at 450 for 10-12 minutes.

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I ended up using one of the biscuits for my breakfast sammie.  So good!

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Work was boring as usual.  I told my co-worker though that I’d bring her lunch because the last of my Blue Apron dinners didn’t fly so well with Hannah and Jacob.  I think the word “lentil” scared them away!  This was definitely took a lot longer than the other meals I’ve made – probably 45 minutes from beginning to end.   The best part?  The fried rosemary on top.  Tony was the first person to tell me about fried rosemary and it is amazing – try it!  This meal also made a lot of sauce – like about 4 servings worth!

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In case you are wondering, I have the most amazing photo studio!

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I had to leave work early for my diabetes doctor appointment.  It’s getting darker earlier, there is so much construction on I-90, but I gave myself 30 minutes to get there.  Only one tiny problem.  The signage is all different because of the construction, it was dark and I was driving behind a big truck when all of a sudden I realized I missed my exit.  Damn!  I thought, no problem, I’ll just get off at the next exit and turn around.  Um, no.  The next exit?  SEVEN miles away and it was the exit to go to O’Hare Airport.  Now its inching towards 5:00 p.m., rush hour, and what I thought could be a 10 minute delay, turned into 50 minutes.  I tried calling the office but the service picked up.  I finally made it to the doctor office at 5:30 – 45 minutes late, when just as I pulled in, I saw my doctor pull out.  Fudge crackers.  

So now I’d been driving for an hour and fifteen minutes and I had another 45 minute drive before I got home.  So crazy.  The only good thing?  I came up with this dinner on the drive home.  I told the kids that we were having leftovers for dinner because we had enough food in the fridge.  Hannah fixed herself breakfast, Jacob ate chicken off of a rotisserie chicken and me?  I made this chorizo seasoned burger over crispy potato rounds.

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The last time I got together with my friend Jacky she gave me this chorizo seasoning in a jar.  OMG.  So good!  I mixed that into my beef patty and cooked it off with sliced mushrooms on the side. 

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I couldn’t decide which picture to post of my dinner, so you get all three.  You’re welcome.  The spicy bbq sauce brought it all together – who even needs a bun when you have potatoes?!

I am not looking forward to snow.  The weather reports have us getting up to 8 inches of snow tonight and I have a brunch in Oak Park tomorrow so I hope it’s not too bad.  I don’t like driving in bad weather.  The only time I like snow is on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, and then I want it all to melt Open-mouthed smile

Okay, we can do this – only one more day until the weekend!  Make it a great day!

Korean Beef BBQ Ribs

The best part about making lots of naan is that they can morph into other meals – like a breakfast naan panini.  So good.  The naan is still a bit chewy on the inside but the outside is a bit crunchy.  I scrambled my usual egg, ham, spinach and cheese.  I only used 3/4 of an ounce of cheese but check out this cheezy goodness!  Believe it or not, with the fruit, this plate is about 430 calories and super filling.

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Wednesday is my new rest day.  After doing two days of strength, my body needs a break, so I hit up Goodwill on my lunch break.  I’ve been inspired lately by Andrea and her “fashion over 40” series on her blog.   She loves necklaces and scarves, but what I really like is how she puts an outfit together – a skill I typically don’t have.  In fact, since Hannah’s moved back in, there have been more than a dozen instances where just as I was leaving for work she’s said “you’re not fucking wearing that outside are you?!”  I really don’t know where she learned to swear like that.  So I hit up the jewelry section of Goodwill (um, pretty sure Andrea doesn’t buy her jewelry there!) but I am cheap and all necklaces are $1.99!

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1.  Um, can you tell I love silver?  2.  The multi-colored necklace on the bottom right is really long, so I could wear it long or wrap it around.  Thoughts? Do you like any of them?  Do you think I should give them back to Goodwill? Or just throw them out?!  For the record, Hannah only like the one on the bottom right.

So I’ve noticed a bit of a pattern around the house lately.  If I am not home, Hannah and Jacob will almost always get take out.  Like 99% of the time.  My twin sister and I were talking about it yesterday because it seems to be a generational thing that kids eat out so much these days.  Growing up eating out, or even ordering or picking up a pizza was a big deal!  We didn’t typically even go out on birthdays, just get our favorite dinner.  For me and my sister – always taco fiesta.  And I believe my brother always wanted lasagna. (Go ahead and pause for a moment to jump over to my brother Charlie’s blog titled Moving is Moving).  I’ll wait!

I had some boneless beef short ribs in the freezer and thought I could cook them in the slow cooker on Saturday when I was meeting my friend Alison and her family out for dinner.  I showed Hannah a picture on Pinterest of what I thought it would end up looking like and asked “would you eat that?”  And she said yes!  First thing for her – no bones.  Second thing for her – not a lot of fat (I trimmed a lot of it off).

Crock Pot Koren Beef BBQ
Serves 6
A great way to cook boneless short ribs!
Write a review
Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
6 hr
Total Time
6 hr 5 min
Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
6 hr
Total Time
6 hr 5 min
626 calories
15 g
204 g
26 g
78 g
9 g
342 g
1720 g
12 g
0 g
16 g
Nutrition Facts
Serving Size
Amount Per Serving
Calories 626
Calories from Fat 238
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 26g
Saturated Fat 9g
Trans Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 5g
Monounsaturated Fat 11g
Cholesterol 204mg
Sodium 1720mg
Total Carbohydrates 15g
Dietary Fiber 0g
Sugars 12g
Protein 78g
Vitamin A
Vitamin C
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your Daily Values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
  1. 2 packages of boneless beef short ribs (about 8 ribs)
  2. 1 cup beef broth
  3. 3 cloves minced garlic
  4. 2 tablespoons grated fresh ginger
  5. 1/2 cup soy sauce
  6. 1/3 cup brown sugar
  7. 1 tablespoons sesame oil
  8. 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  1. Spray your crock pot with Pam.  Place the frozen ribs into the crock pot.  In a large mason jar with a lid, put all the remaining ingredients and shake really well.  Pour the mixture over the ribs and cook on low for 10 hours or on high for 6 hours.
My Bizzy Kitchen
When I got home from being out, Hannah said “guess what Mom?!  I ate a whole log of meat!”  By whole log of meat she meant one whole short rib.  While they stay intact in the crock pot, as soon as you take them out of the crock pot they are fork tender and start to fall apart.  The kids ended up just spooning some of the juice from the crock pot over the pork and white rice I made for them.  I would have taken the sauce and skimmed off the fat, and then put that in a pot and bring it to a boil and mix 1 tablespoon corn starch with 1 tablespoon of water and made a thick sauce to pour over the top.

For my lunch, I just brought and heated the rice separately.  When I cut up the beef I added fresh chopped broccoli and heated the beef and broccoli up for 2 minutes, then served it over the white rice.  I did add a bit of sriracha just to balance out the sweetness of the brown sugar, but seriously this is just as good as take out.  Make a big pot of this in the crock pot over the weekend and you have lunch for a couple days during the week.

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While I had Blue Apron this week, it’s been mostly for my lunches.  Last night I made the last dinner which was a lentil bolognese for my lunch.  When I was meal planning for the rest of the weekend, I realized we haven’t had shrimp in like a really long time.  I love shrimp!  Um, note to self – remember Jacob doesn’t like shrimp!  Oops.  But Hannah does, as long as the shrimp are small.  I showed her this recipe and said “would you eat that?!”  And she said yes!

Luckily when I got home from work Hannah had already peeled and deveined the shrimp for me – best sous chef evah! So this meal literally cooked in less than 15 minutes.  While the original recipe called for serving it with pasta, I had a tube of polenta in my pantry that needed to be used up, and pan fried rounds of polenta for the base.  My dinner picture doesn’t actually show all the sauce, but it was super delicious.

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My only changes were that I used 1 cup of half and half.  Hannah and I both thought it needed more salt and pepper and I added parsley and Italian seasoning to the pan.

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Also, sitting on top of the polenta is just a quick stirfry of shredded zucchini.  Holy yum, this was delicious!  Creamy, the shrimp were perfectly cooked.  Love having a dinner that all of us can eat without any modifications!  As we were eating it I told Jacob the only thing that would make this better was having steak on the side and he said “and not having shrimp. I don’t really like shrimp.”  I love that he eats anything that I make though! 

After dinner the kids got their cleaning pants on.  They mopped the kitchen floor, vacuumed the back room and the stairs going to outside, mopped the tile by the back door and deep cleaned the bathroom. So nice!  So I told them I would reward them with this soup:

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Yes, you heard it right here people – I will be making them French onion soup!  Which means slicing and caramelizing lots and lots of onions.  If that isn’t thanks and love enough, I am not sure what else is!

Alright, time to get this show on the road.  I wish I had a stove at my desk!  Make it a great day!