Thursday, May 30, 2013

Gluten-Free Greek Pasta Salad with Chicken

Goodness!  I feel a bit rusty!  LOL  It's been a long time since I've posted one of my own recipes, but you all know that's because I've been working very hard on a beautiful cookbook to present to all of you!  I threw this together so quickly the other night that I did not even stop to take pictures along the way!  I apologize for that!

I don't know how Greek Pasta Salad popped into my head this week, but I'm so happy it did!  I picked up all the ingredients at the grocery store this week and waited for the perfect night to make it......when I was extremely busy!  That's because this recipe is really easy.  So, let's get to it!

P.S.  If you're not gluten-free, make this with regular pasta ;)

Servings: 10-15

16 oz. Gluten-Free Pasta
3 lbs. boneless skinless chicken breasts
2 Tbsp. Greek seasoning/rub) (I used Pampered Chef Greek Rub)
2 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar
1 cup water
1/3 cup chopped red onion
1 cup cherry tomatoes, cut in half
1/2-3/4 cup crumbled feta cheese
1/2 cup sliced Kalamata olives
12 oz. (approximately) Greek Salad Dressing (I used Ken's Greek with Feta Cheese, Black Olives and Imported Olive Oil)

Directions: (Use a 3 Quart or smaller Slow Cooker for this recipe)
In your slow cooker, place your boneless skinless chicken breasts and sprinkle with the Greek seasoning/rub.  Pour the apple cider vinegar and water into your crock, around your chicken, trying not to "wash off" the seasoning!  Cook on LOW for 5 hours, or on HIGH for 2.5 hours.  When it is done, let it cool and cut it into bite-sized pieces.  

Cook your gluten-free pasta according to the package directions.  Mix in about half of the Greek Dressing and set it in the fridge to cool for a couple hours.  Once it's cooled, mix in the red onion, cherry tomatoes, feta, kalamata olives, the cooled chicken and the remaining Greek dressing.  Stir it up, serve and ENJOY!

Print Friendly and PDF

10 Easy Foods to Grill Out This Summer that Kids will Love - Guest Post

I LOVE to use my grill during the summer, but often don't know what to make besides hot dogs and hamburgers.  It's awesome to use the grill when you don't want to heat up the kitchen on a hot day, and you don't have time to wait for your slow cooker.  Check out this great article on 10 Easy Foods to Grill Out This Summer that Kids will Love!  It will give you some great ideas!  I know my kids would gobble this stuff right up! Print Friendly and PDF

Friday, May 17, 2013

Food For Gifts: Tips for Handmade Gifts - Guest Post

Food For Gifts: Tips For Handmade Gifts

When we were younger (when we had no income and no means by which to buy our parents something that wouldn’t have come out of their own pockets), we used to make them gifts ourselves. In many ways, those might have been the most thoughtful and relational gifts we could have ever given.

Why? Because we put in the effort of making it with our own hands.

We live in a society that is getting increasingly “gift weary” because of the high amount of focus on birthday and holiday shopping. Gift cards, in particular, have made it easy to view gift giving as an obligation with little or no thought (or effort) required.

While you can give a gift card with thought and sincerity, you can still (even as an adult) make something yourself that will be considered far more thoughtful.

It’ll probably also cost you a lot less, so everybody wins.

Since food lends itself easily to this style of gift giving, let’s look at a few ideas for homemade gifts in that category.

1. Fruit Infused Vodkas

Finding a cute and attractive glass bottle to keep it in is easy and fairly inexpensive. The process to actually make the fruit flavored vodka is even easier. Essentially, just buy the vodka and add the fruit. You can find plenty of recipes and instructions online.

2. Jams and Preserves

Since these are so easy to make, it’s odd that you see people buying them as gifts so often. Making them yourself is a pretty simple process and you can get creative with flavors and the jars you use to present them. Pinterest is a great place to go for flavor and presentation ideas.

Your out of pocket expense will be pretty low for this one.

3. Spice and Dry Rub Mixes

It might sound a bit redundant for someone who probably already has an adequate spice rack, but having a spice or rub mix already made for you is great when you’re ready to cook a meal that calls for it.

The person you gift this to will appreciate the fact that you took the time to mix it all up. Like the vodka and preserves, you can present it in a variety of different “gifty” ways.

Try making a few different kinds, labeling each container and giving them in a gift basket. These are especially great if you know people who love to cook.

4. Flavored Sugars

Different flavored sugars are easy to make and, like the spice mixes, are best offered in different flavors or variety packs. These might be ideal for someone you know who drinks a lot of tea or coffee, or who likes to bake on a fairly regular basis.

5. Homemade Cookie Dough

 Presentation is everything with this one. The best way to wrap it up is to make it into a log, like you will often see at the store. To start, use some kind of baking paper, then wrap that paper up in something decorative and tie it off at the ends. Once it’s all wrapped, add a decorative label and you’re good to go.

You could also reuse a gift box (i.e. wine box) or gift bag that you have received in the past for any of these homemade gifts.

One of these gifts is sure to please and the recipient will definitely appreciate the fact that you took the time to make the gift yourself (and it won’t burn a hole in your wallet!).

Marcela De Vivo is a freelance writer from the Los Angeles area whose writing covers everything from healthy eating and cooking to technology and manufacturing. When it comes to budgeting, she enjoys saving money by making thoughtful handmade gifts for her friends and loved ones. 
Print Friendly and PDF

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Cookbook Update from Hope 5-14-13

It's been pretty quiet here as I've been editing away the manuscript of the cookbook!  I can't believe I'm in the final stages of getting this cookbook to you!  Here's what's going on:

This Week (May 13-18):
The Cover for the book is being developed!
Hope is editing the manuscript.
Hope will having fans vote on which author photos she will use in the book!

Next Week (May 19-25)
The ebook and print book will be formatted.
Back cover will be developed.
Hope will make final choices!

Somewhere around May 25-26 (maybe sooner, maybe later)
Hope will upload "Slow Cooker Recipes: 10 Ingredients or Less and Gluten-Free" to
Hope will start taking pre-orders for an autographed copy of "Slow Cooker Recipes: 10 Ingredients or Less and Gluten-Free"

Can you believe it's almost time for you to purchase MY cookbook?!!!!  My goodness!  I can hardly wait for you to see this!!!!!!!

Print Friendly and PDF

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Barbecue Brisket Slider Recipe - Guest Post

Barbecue Brisket Slider Recipe

Everyone loves barbecues. But according to government run Food Safety councils across the globe, undercooked meat on a BBQ is one of the biggest health concerns in the developed world. This is because raw or uncooked meat contains germs that can cause life threatening levels of food poisoning. This is why using a slow cooker is a great way to ensure that not only is the meat well cooked, but it also helps the barbecues taste better because of the evenly applied heat.
In this article, we will teach you how to make barbecue brisket sliders using a slow cooker. Here are the ingredients you will need –

1 flatly cut beef brisket
1 tablespoon of Cumin powder,
1 tablespoon of Onion powder
½  tablespoon of Garlic powder and Cumin
Smoked paprika
½ tablespoon of Cayenne pepper
12-16 small potato rolls
½ cup mayonnaise
½ cup honey barbecue sauce
½ cup brown sugar
Hamburger buns
Salt and pepper to taste
Above all, a slow cooker

How to make:
To start off, you will need to prepare the beef brisket. For this, take out the trimmed beef brisket and sprinkle it with a good amount of salt and pepper. Over this, evenly sprinkle the Cumin powder, Onion powder, garlic powder, Cumin and Cayenne pepper that we had listed in the ingredients. As you do this, remember to evenly spread the powder all over the surface of the brisket. This is not only to give a uniform taste but also helps the brisket absorb these tastes unto it which makes the brisket taste better overall. Apply these powders to both sides of the brisket.
Pour your honey barbecue sauce and brown sugar into the slow cooker and stir it to mix evenly. Once this is done, slowly dip the seasoned brisket into the sauce mixture. If you have a little sauce remaining, pour this on the top of the brisket. It is now time for the slow cooker to get at work. Close the cooker with its lid and let the brisket cook on low for 9-10 hours.
After this is done, the brisket is thoroughly cooked. Take it out of the cooker and slice off the top layer from the brisket.  Now turn it upside down and run your knife against the grain of the brisket. This will shred the brisket into thin fragments.
In the meantime, the sauce from the slow cooker would begin to cool off and you should be able to notice the fat from the sauce rise to the top. Skim this layer off the sauce and discard.
Now drop the shreds of brisket back into the slow cooker that already contains the sauce with the fat skimmed out. Heat it for around an hour. You can add some water if you notice the sauce beginning to thicken up. Continue this till the meat is completely cooked.
Serve the shreds of the brisket on the hamburger buns. Add the potato rolls and mayonnaise for added taste. Your kids will love this food. 

Print Friendly and PDF

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Fiesta Chicken with Rice and Beans - Guest Post

Fiesta Chicken with Rice and Beans

Spring is here, meaning it’s time for fresh spring recipes that you can eat on the porch while you’re soaking up the sunshine. While many people pack up their slow cookers at the first sign of warm weather, there’s absolutely no reason to do so. Slow cookers are great kitchen tools all year round—in fact, you’ll actually be limiting your spring cooking options if you pack yours up until next winter!
While you will probably want to stay away from heavier winter staples like thick stews, pot roasts and creamy soups, there are dozens of ways to make lighter spring recipes in the slow cooker! They’re versatile enough to handle virtually any type of dish you’re craving; just use seasonal spring ingredients to keep your meals light so they won’t weigh you down.
This easy recipe for Fiesta Chicken with Rice and Bans is the perfect example of how warm-weather dinners are easy to make in cold-weather kitchen tools. It uses tomatoes, corn, taco seasoning mix and black beans for a burst of spicy spring flavor, and a chicken breast and rice combination that will fill you up. Eat it on its own, or put a fun spin on taco night and try spooning the fiesta chicken mixture into tortillas and taco shells.
Plus, tomato recipes like this one don’t require unhealthy cream or butter bases, making this a dish you can feel great about serving your family. Try it tonight and enjoy!

Fiesta Chicken with Rice and Beans

·         PAM® Original No-Stick Cooking Spray
·         2 10 oz. cans Ro*Tel® Original Diced Tomatoes & Green Chilies, undrained
·         1 15 oz. Hunt’s® Tomato Sauce
·         1 15 oz. can Rosarita® Premium Whole Black Beans, drained and rinsed
·         1 cup frozen whole kernel corn
·         1 1.25 oz. package 30% less sodium taco seasoning mix
·         2 cups water
·         1 ½ pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into 24 pieces
·         1 ½ cups parboiled white long-grain rice, uncooked

Spray the inside of a 4-quart slow cooker with cooking spray. Place all remaining ingredients except for rice in the slow cooker. Cover and cook on LOW for 7 ½ hours or until chicken is tender.
Add rice, stir and cook for 30 more minutes or until rice is tender and liquid is absorbed. Stir again before serving.

Author Bio: This is a guest post by Meredith K. on behalf of Hunt’s®. For more easy slow cooker recipes and dinner ideas from salads to easy meatloaf recipes, visit 

Print Friendly and PDF

Thursday, May 2, 2013

An Update on the Cookbook

Well, hello everyone!!!!!!!  Happy Spring!  It's been so beautiful here in Michigan.....and it's about darn time!  There have been lots of exciting things happening the last few months and I want to give you a quick update.

I've been feverishly working on typing up my cookbook so I can submit it to editors.....(my die hard friends and family!)  The week of May 13th, my graphic designer will work with me on designing the cover.  The week of the 20th, the book will be formatted for eBook and Print.  After that, I upload it to Amazon and, well......the rest is yet to come!

A few weeks ago, I had a cooking marathon at my house.  I made 22 dishes in 2 days!  YUP!  Crazy, right?!  I'll tell you....we have plenty of food for at least another 3-4 weeks in our freezer.

My photographer, Robert Wyse of Wyse Eyes Photography took tons of beautiful pictures of every recipe in my cookbook.  We even took a few outdoor shots.  It was 40 degrees.

As you can see.....we're pretty high tech using a laundry basket and what not!  LOL  

If you didn't get to see my "Behind the Scenes" videos I posted on facebook, you can find them below:

I cannot WAIT for you to see this cookbook!  I'm so proud of it, and it's turning out just the way I envisioned!  As an added bonus, because I've recently gone gluten-free, all of the recipes in my cookbook will either be naturally gluten free, or have adaptations as to how to make them gluten free.  This book will appeal to anyone and everyone!  I put in only recipes that anyone can make, with my usual witty comments and step-by-step instructions.  Due to the cost of printing books with photography, I will not be adding step-by-step pictures, however.  I want to keep the book affordable for you.  I am busy making sure the directions are even more detailed so you'll know just what to do.

When I know what the book will cost, I will take pre-orders.  All pre-orders will receive an autographed copy from me! :)  

Thank you for all of your support and kind words while I've been working on this massive undertaking!  I sincerely appreciate it!
Print Friendly and PDF