twisted chicken & grits

A Mexican twist, that is!

I have never met a grit I didn't like, so when I saw this recipe online one day, I knew we'd be giving it a try.

I borrowed this recipe from Veggie Converter, who uses a substitute for chicken. I think you could use any protein you like, really.

Fiesta Chicken & Grits
2 c cooked polenta or grits
1/2 large onion, diced
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 4 oz. can fire roasted green chiles
2 c taco seasoned chicken, cooked (coat chicken in olive oil and taco seasoning)
1-2 c Mexican cheese, shredded

Brown onions and garlic in olive oil. Add red pepper and green chiles. Continue to cook until the vegetables reach desired tenderness. Add polenta or grits, chicken and cheese and cook until heated through.

The finished product:

Delicious! Just needed a little extra salt added. Cornbread would go nicely. Enjoy!

Linked up at Little Brick Ranch Foodie Friday


salty or sweet?

What's your preference? 99% of the time it's salty for me, but every once in a while I like something sweet.

Today, after a weekend of rainy, cold weather, we gathered with some friends at Amanda and Dave's house for an afternoon of  fun. We all brought some treats to munch on, and between the six of us there was quite the spread!

I made one of my favorite cold dips - 7-layer dip (or in my case 6 layers).

* Layer 3 - 8 oz. sour cream mixed with just about a tablespoon of mayonnaise (for a binding agent) and a packet of taco seasoning
Optional layers - olives, onions, pico de gallo...really anything you like!

Just layer all of the ingredients and you're ready to go. It's best served cold or room temperature with tortilla chips.

To satisfy my sweet tooth, I tried a recipe on Two Peas and their Pod for Vanilla Pudding Chocolate Chip Cookies:

The verdict?

They were a hit! The pudding made the cookies very soft in the center - even after they'd been out of the oven for a while. The recipe can be found here: Vanilla Pudding Chocolate Chip Cookies.

Thanks for hosting us, Amanda and Dave!

Linked up here: Little Brick Ranch


taking a bow

My sweet, sweet, sweet, best/grad school/bridesmaid/I was in her wedding/our husbands were separated at birth friend Molly graced me with my very first blog award!

Although I suspect she was just being sweet, I am so honored!

Along with the award I am required to share seven things about myself. I think these are supposed to be unknown things, but my life is an open book...

1. I like to set the alarm for earlier than I have to get up just so I can go back to sleep.
This took some getting used to for my husband when we got married, but I am down to just about 20 - 30 minutes before I need to get up. I used to set the alarm for hours before my wake-up time...

2. I love all things organizing.
Though I suspect most bloggers do (it just seems to fit the personality), I love to buy cute paperclips, binders, label-makers, storage boxes, ANYTHING to organize my things. I even like to organize my organizational tools.

3. I'm a sucker for a good deal...with a coupon.
My husband always says that the marketing guys have my number. If it's on sale and I have a coupon...it's mine! (Not just anything, of course. Just the things I really need want.)

4. I love editing.
Which is a good thing b/c that's part of my job. But while others may find it boring, busy-work, I really like it. It's almost a game for me...see how many mistakes you can find. 

5. I l-o-v-e to cook. If I had unlimited resources - i.e. time and money - you'd all be fat and happy.

6. I despise Halloween as an adult. Finding a costume worthy enough can put me into full-blown, freak-out mode. Just ask my husband as he witnessed my breakdown in the costume store this past year.

7. My least favorite feature is my nose,
which is ironically what is the most distinguishing about me. Gotta love those strong Italian genes.

It's also my duty to pass it on. So the Versatile Blogger Award goes to...

These three blog about anything from food to crafts to blogs to home. Enjoy a good read!


momma's meatloaf

I get it...meatloaf isn't everybody's idea of a good meal. To be honest, I don't like any meatloaf except my Momma's, and I always shy away from it on a menu. But it's an often requested meal at the Somerville's, and, to his delight, I occasionally give in to my husband's pleadings.

Start with the following:
1 lb ground meat*
1 egg
8 oz. tomato sauce
Shredded cheddar cheese
Crushed up cornflakes
1 small onion, chopped
S & P
2 hardboiled eggs (optional)

*I imagine you could do the same recipe with ground turkey, however, I've never tried it. If you do, let me know how it is!

Combine the meat, onion, egg and salt and pepper in a large mixing bowl. Add half of the can of tomato sauce and as much shredded cheese and crushed cornflakes as it takes to get a firm mixture.

Form a loaf on your cookie sheet. I have found that if I try to use a loaf pan, it takes a lot longer to cook the meat. Also, line your cookie sheet well with aluminum foil for easy cleanup.

If you like, make two indention in either side of the loaf and insert the peeled, hardboiled eggs. Shape the meatloaf around them. 

Mix the remaining tomato sauce with water and spoon a little bit of the mixture over the meatloaf. Cook at 375 degrees for 45 min - 1 hr, spooning the tomato sauce mixture over the loaf at each 15 minute interval.

We like to top ours with a little ketchup. Voila!
Ok, I can be honest and admit that meatloaf is not the most appetizing-looking meal. 
But I hate seeing recipes online that don't show the finished product...so here it is in all it's glory.
For this particular meal, I served the meatloaf along a twice-baked potato and some cornbread. A veggie would have been, ahem, healthy, but we had a late snack and the potatoes beat out the veggie!



What a lovely weekend.

I took a little roadtrip to Chattanooga with Shannon to see her baby sister perform in an Indoor Percussion competition. Blast from the past for me (I played in an indoor drumline for my high school many moons ago), and I'm almost embarrassed to admit how much I enjoy watching marching band and drumline shows.  And I really enjoyed our lovely conversations in the car and over dinner...especially when Shannon realized she hadn't figured the time change into our travel plans and had to hit the gas! We made it just in the nick of time to see Jessie perform. Meanwhile, our hubby's had a little boy's night watching basketball after they got home from their respective jobs. I think we had the better day.

I love that spring is springing. My lovely bulbs that  Bob planted last fall are just starting to bloom.

My tulips are peeking out too...

The pups enjoyed the lovely weather outside as well. They took advantage of an open back door and went back and forth from the backyard to the house.

After a looooong walk, this little Cavalier is sl-eepy!

 We're all counting down the days to the next lovely weekend!


looking like a million bucks

Guess how much this big guy is worth? No, seriously, guess. 
Photo Courtesy MSNBC

Good. Ness. Big Splash (as he's known to his breeder, Hong Dong to his Chinese owner) is awfully cute, but, wow. Oh, but I do kind of want to hug-him-and-squeeze-him-and call-him-George...

According to MSNBC, Big Splash/Hong Dong is a prized red Tibetan mastiff, a breed whose owners include the likes of Genghis Kahn. And the Buddha. 

Of course, I think these sweet babies are worth more than a million myself, but I might be bias.

So...any takers? :P


We celebrated Ireland last night by venturing to the local pub for a beer or two with our favorite Irish friends - Leigh and Scott.

Leigh and I post-workout, pre-beer.
A Shepard's Pie, some cabbage and two buckets-o-beer later...
Couldn't get more Irish (in America) than these two's surnames - Lindsey and Kelley.
Bob didn't wear a hint of green all day - you owe him a pinch next time you see him.
The band was obviously playing an Irish medley at this point.
I love impromptu nights with sweet, sweet friends on the first warm, dinner-on-the-patio night of the spring!


scenes from the dog park

This weekend, Grace, Tanner and I joined Beauford and some of his basset friends at the dog park.

They played together...
and Grace protected the entrance to the dog park, where Beauford stood welcoming dogs and their masters.
 When we got home, it was time for a bath (hence the wet ears)...
 and a nap.


let sleeping dogs lie

Somebody is a sleepy boy!

I can just hear him thinking a few years from now, "Awww, Mom!!!"



Today marks the beginning of Lent. The 40 days (not counting Sundays) between Ash Wednesday and Easter. Like many others, my family sacrifices something for this period of time each year...sort of a mini-fasting.

Each year, I rack my brain trying to come up with something that I do on a recurring basis that would really seem like a sacrifice. I usually have trouble coming up with one and, at times, flipped it so I did something to better myself - like exercising more, going to church more often, etc. In successful years, I have given up Reese's Peanut Butter Eggs, sweets, eating out, cheese (I love it), and other various things. When I was little, I would try to give up something that I really didn't like...like pork chops. My mom put a stop to that quickly!

This year, I am really going to test my willpower and bid farewell to this sweet friend until Easter:

Well, any soda really. I'm really only writing about this to help me make the decision to give it up and to keep me accountable.

Goodbye, delicious DDP...see you at Easter!



Mr. Eggy Pop (or should it be Ms. Eggy?) will be heading to my sweet niece for Easter (don't worry, she's only 11 months old, she can't read and this doesn't spoil the surprise, but thanks for being concerned...)

Mr. Eggy Pop originated over at Sew4Home, and I just love him. In fact, his brother will probably be gracing my tabletop come Easter Day...


carrot cake, mmmm

I made this scrumptious looking masterpiece a while back and keep forgetting to blog about it. It was my first attempt at carrot cake and the recipe already has a permanent home in my cookbook!

Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Icing
Oh my, my, my it certainly was as delicious as it looked! And, because it's carrot, good for you, right? Sure.

A friend requested carrot cake and since I had never made one before, I gave it a whirl. I love, love, love carrot cake - I thought I was the only one, but there are a few new converters now...

When looking for a good recipe, where do you look first? Why, Pioneer Woman, of course! Her Momma's recipe for Sigrid's Carrot Cake is a-maz-ing. Try it...you won't be sorry.

Since I don't know how to make any recipe true to form, I finely chopped the carrots in my food processor (who likes stringy carrots in their cake? Not this girl!) and left out the pecans in the icing.


music to my ears

I'm loving this song right now....just the sweet, sultry sound of my man Keith singing about his love. 

(Not the greatest video, but just close your eyes and imagine Keith singng to you...)

 And this one...Miranda's a lucky girl.


lunch on the go

The Food Truck is back! It seems to be the hot thing for quick and simple dining lately.

Surprisingly, I've been dying to try one of the two (that I know of) food trucks around town - Mas Tacos (which now has a physical location) and The Grilled Cheeserie.

Today, my fun co-worker Shannon and I ventured out to try The Grilled Cheeserie. She blogged about it over at Why Not on a Tuesday so give that a read for the details and some pics, but I'll leave you with a quick picture of my delicious lunch.

Cheddar and Jack cheeses on Sourdough with sliced tomato and pickles and a side of tater tots.

Up next...Mas Tacos Por Favor!