Monday, July 28, 2014

It's a Red Gold kinda day

Last week I announced that I was the lucky winner of a Red Gold Summer Grilling Package in a raffle hosted by Heather at It's Yummy for my Tummy.

Just a few minutes ago the UPS guy showed up and delivered my package.  YAY!!!  I love winning things.

I held myself back from tearing it open immediately so that I could take a photo.

Inside was this handy dandy apron and a six pack of tomatoes.
The tomatoes come in 4 different flavors and I am anxious to start experimenting.
They also included some recipes that I may use as guides.
There are 3 different styles of tomatoes...Green Chile, Garlic and Onion and Lime and Cilantro.
My brain is already going non stop with different ideas.
Make sure you tune in for photos and recipes of the dishes I decide upon.
In the meanwhile you can visit Red Gold Tomatoes for great recipe ideas!!
Thanks again Heather and Red Gold, what a great start to my week!

Secret Recipe Club-Tropical Pork Pineapple Kabobs

Today is reveal day for the Secret Recipe Club.  Way back on June 24, I was assigned a blog.  My challenge was to go through the blog, get to know a little bit about the blogster and find a recipe of hers that I would like to try.  In the meanwhile, somebody else has been assigned my blog and is getting to know a little about me and picking a recipe of mine that they would like to try.  Who is assigned to who is a secret, hence the name of our club.  It is a lot of fun and you can learn how to join us by going here.

The blog I was assigned belongs to Bean of Without Adornment.  Bean is an engineer by trade.  She is also a housewife, photographer, baker and cook.  She loves her husband and she loves God.  She, like me, suffers from depression and works through it each day.

I especially loved going through her "Cakes" section.  Bean has taken several Wilton courses and this is something that I have been wanting to do so I was very interested and awestruck by her creations.  It was neat watching the progression of her cakes through the courses.

Then I moved onto her recipe page and spent several days perusing some great recipes.  I am definitely going back to try some of her rhubarb recipes because I have a lot of rhubarb that needs using but I really was looking for a main dish meal instead of a breakfast or dessert.  Then I was very intrigued by her Swedish Meatball Stew and it went right on to my "to try" list but stew is more of a fall/winter type meal in my mind.  Then I found it....The Tropical Pork Pineapple Kabobs.  This is a perfect recipe for anytime of the year.  Bean  made it in February and served it with an Apple Squash Boat which also went right onto my "to try" list for this fall.

It is July in Michigan and we don't have any apples or winter squash yet so I wanted to make my Kabobs more of a summer feast.  I decided to serve it with my Rice Mingle Salad on the side.  I stuck pretty much true to Bean's recipe except I cooked my Kabobs  on the grill instead of in the oven.  I also added a little bit of cumin to the marinade and included onion along with the peppers, pineapple and mushrooms on the Kabobs.

Bean's recipe did not include any amounts because she, like most cooks, just throws things together....a little of this, a handful of that.... That is how I cook also but my kids have forced me to be a little more cognizant because they get frustrated when they call me for a recipe and ask how much of something and I say "I don't know, just throw in a handful" so as they went off onto their own and started cooking I try to keep in mind that my handful is about half a cup, my pinch is about a teaspoon and my pour of oil or vinegar is usually around a tablespoon.  I included amounts in my adaptation for any newbies that may want to try this fantastic recipe.

They were delicious.  The pork is tender as can be.
Be forewarned, if you only make one kabob per person, as I did, you are going to have a lot of people wishing for seconds....they were that delectable!!

Tropical Pork Pineapple Kabobs
adapted from Without Adornment

1 Pork Tenderloin, trimmed of fat and silverback, cut into 1" chunks
3/4 c. pineapple juice
1/4 c. olive oil
1/3 c. brown sugar
1 t. cumin
1 t. chili powder
salt and pepper to taste
1 red pepper, cut into 1" pieces
1 pineapple, peeled, cored and cut into 1"chunks
8 oz. Whole Mushrooms
1 sweet  onion, cut into 1" chunks

Place juice, oil, sugar and spices into a resealable plastic bag. Seal and shake to combine and dissolve sugar. Place pork pieces into the marinade, seal the bag and refrigerate for 1-4 hrs.

If using wooden skewers, soak in water for 30 minutes.  I used metal skewers for this dish.

Preheat grill to med high heat.  Place pork onto skewers alternating with the vegetables and pineapple.  I allowed 5 pieces of pork per skewer.  Place skewers onto preheated grill and cook approx. 10 minutes, mopping with the marinade that is left in the bag occasionally. Flip skewers over. mop with more of the marinade and cook an additional 5 minutes or until desired temperature.  I know many people still prefer their pork well done.  I prefer mine med well so as to not dry it out.  Print Recipe

Sunday, July 27, 2014


The shower was a huge success....

Mom and Dad

Relaxing before the guests arrive

Cute as a button

Fresh as a daisy

Drinks and appetizers.

Gifts, gifts and more gifts!!

Diaper Raffle

Uncle Josh, Dad, Mom, Grandma Cheryl and Grandpa John

The Guests

The Dinner Buffet

Let's spend an hour opening presents!


More Sweets.

It was a long day!!

Photos courtesy of Aunt Jennifer.....

I am sharing this post at Inspiration Monday....come and get inspired!!

I am exhausted but here is my Weekly Menu

Wow, the shower was awesome.  We had about 70 people attend.  There was fun and laughter.  There were tons of gifts to open.  Everyone ate plenty, drank enough, played hard and enjoyed the day.  I don't know why I didn't get an opportunity to post my weekly menu on schedule LOL.

This morning my TC Family headed back north as we headed to Mass and then to our friend, Eleanor's 90th Birthday Celebration.  We were supposed to pack up all of the baby gifts and head over to Ting and Tony's to drop them off and have dinner but I begged off because I am exhausted and just want to sit here with my feet up.

Tomorrow we will take the stuff down to them and grab dinner out somewhere

For Try it Tuesday I am making a dish I found using my leftover Italian Sausage.  The original recipe can be found at

On Wednesday I am making BBQ Pork Quesadillas to use up some more of my leftovers.

Thursday we are leaving for the air show in Oshkosh, Wisconsin and will be gone until Sunday.

Please stop by each day for recipes and photos.  I am also linking up with MPM so head on over there and see what other great menu ideas you can find.

We had more than enough pasta for the shower!!

Weekly Menu

Baby Shower-See Menu here.


Out for Dinner

Try it Tuesday
Hearty Italian Sausage and Potato Skillet

BBQ Pork Quesadillas

We are outta here.....see you Sunday.

Wow!! I am Honored....

My friend Lisa, over at My Sweet Peanut, nominated me for A Very Inspiring Blogger Award.  I was flabbergasted and surprised and pleased.  Thank you, Lisa...not only for this nomination but for your constant support of my blog, your comments, your praise, your likes and your shares mean the world to me.

Here are the Rules for the Award.

1. Thank and link to the amazing person who nominated you.  – Check!
2. List the rules and display the award. – Check!
3. Share seven facts about yourself. – Check!
4. Nominate 15 other amazing blogs and comment on their posts to let them know they have been nominated. – this is going to take some time but I will do it.
5. Proudly display the award logo on your blog and follow the blogger who nominated you. – I have been following LIsa since the first day I found her blog.

Seven Facts About Little Ol' Me...

1. This is my second marriage.  We just celebrated 22 years and we are still going strong.
2. I belong to the Catholic Church and I am very proud of it.  I spent many years searching for the right place for me to worship my Lord before finally returning home to my catholic faith.
3. Being a Mom is the most important job I ever had and even though I blew it more often than not my kids are wonderful people of whom I am very proud.
4. I love reading, cooking, entertaining, hiking, travelling and scuba no particular order.
5. I was a care giver for my Mom until last month when I finally admitted that I could no longer handle it and placed her in a memory care center.  She has adjusted fabulously which makes me happy and eliminates my guilt.
6. I am blessed with the best family in the world.  Family to me does not necessarily mean blood relations but those people who are constantly there for you and with you through all the seasons of your life.  
7. I thought I would have a hard time coming up with 7 facts about me but looky here....I am all done!!

Fifteen Bloggers Who Inspire Me

1.  Lisa, of course, from My Sweet Peanut.  Lisa also cares for her mom who suffers from Alzheimer's.  She shares her story with humor, love and compassion.  She is also a fantastic Mom and shares her life with her kids with us.  She inspires me to always see my glass as half full.

2.  Paula, from Smidgens, Snippets and Bits.  Paula found me when I was doing a 31 day writing challenge and decided to write about Dealing with Alzheimers and Dementia.  Paula, was caring for her husband and reached out to me with love and support.  Paula's caregiving journey just ended.  I mourn with her and for her.  I look forward to sharing her journey as she puts her life back together and finds herself amongst the rubble.  She inspires me each day to not take those I love for granted.

3.  Amy, from Amy's Cooking Adventures.  Amy's was the first blog I followed and it was she that inspired me to start my own blog.  She also helped me set it up and get it going.  Amy also introduced me to the Secret Recipe Club of which I am now a proud member.

4.  Evelyne, from Cheap Ethnic Eatz.  Wow if you want some inspiration in your cooking, you want to stop by Evelyne's blog.  Evelyne also invited me to join Food n Flix which I just love.

5.  Lisa Jo, from Surprised by Motherhood.  Lisa Jo is the most loving, compassionate and caring person in the blog world I think.  She is constantly reminding you to treat yourself with all of these same traits.  She inspires me to be less judgmental and more supportive.

6.  Kendra, from Catholic All Year.  I have just recently started following Kendra but she has a lot of great information about raising a large family in the catholic faith.  It is fun to follow her adventures and it inspires me to live my faith more completely.

7.  Debra, from Elliot's Eats.  I met Debra through Food n Flix, she invited me to join Cook the Books which is another wonderful cooking club.  Debra has some amazing recipes that inspire me to no end!!

8.  Zippiknits.  I don't even know her real name, but zippi inspires me with her photography and her constant support of my blog.

9.  Laura, from I'm an Organizing Junkie.  Not only does Laura inspire me to clean out closets and storage areas but she keeps me on task with my menu planning by hosting Menu Plan Monday each week.

10. Amy, from Gospel Homemaking.  Amy inspires me each Thursday when she encourages us to Thrive at Home.

11. Sarah, from Little Bus on the Prairie.  How can you not be inspired my a young Mom of three with one on the way moving out of her house and into a bus to raise her children while their new house is being built. Can you say brave???

12.  Julie, from Redhead Can Decorate.  Julie inspires me to not be afraid to try creative things...what is the worst that can happen???  She also lives here in Michigan so I kinda feel a bond.

13.  Cindy, from Hun What's for Dinner. Tons and tons of recipes for when you need inspiration at dinner time.

14.  Julie, from White Lights on Wednesday.  Another great place for recipe inspiration.

15.  Damyanti, from Daily(w)rite.  Very different from the other blogs I read. Damyanti is a true author and inspires and encourages others to write as well.  My goal is to one day write as well as she.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Nearly Finished

I know that my posts have been scarce lately but I have been busy getting ready to have a baby shower here tomorrow!!!

But I figured I had 5 minutes available so I would link up with Lisa Jo Baker at Five Minute Friday.  I was saddened to hear that Lisa Jo had decided to hand off the reins of Five Minute Friday to another host beginning next month but I appreciate all the hard work she put in to making FMF a comfortable, friendly place for us to write our hearts out for 5 minutes each week.  Good luck Lisa in all your future endeavors.

Today's prompt is FINISH.


I spent today finishing up all the running around that needed to be done to be ready for the baby shower we are hosting this weekend.  For those of you who are new to my blog, our Chinese daughter, Tingting is having a baby girl in September.  We are very excited and have been working hard to throw her a nice shower that is actually more of a summer party in which we will be celebrating life.

My Traverse City family arrived last night so Jen and Spence went running around with me today as I did the last of the shopping.  We hit Menard's, Costco, Target, met Amy and Ting for lunch, Nino Salvaggio and then stopped to see Mom on the way home.  We left the house around 9 am and got home after 3 pm.  We were pretty worn out but excited because we were finished....with the running around at least.

Jen and I wasted a couple of hours lying around in the pool and catching up with our lives.


So now I am going to finish up my Friday post LOL.  Last week, I visited the Farmer's Market because it was Fish Day.  I got some lovely local walleye fillets so that is what we are having tonight for Fish Friday along with some Mac and Cheese and Glazed Carrots.  Frank put together the Mac and Cheese while we were lounging in the pool so it just needs to go in the oven.  He also made the batter for the fish and I have it soaking until it is time to fry it.  Frank is also making the glazed carrots.  That just leaves me to throw together the tartar sauce before frying up the fish.

Making your own Tartar Sauce is easy as can be.
Only 4 ingredients and 3 if you don't like onion.

Half a minute later you have Tartar Sauce that tastes better and is much less expensive than store bought.

It is going to be delicious on these Walleye Fillets.

Tartar Sauce

1/2 c. Miracle Whip
1/4 c. Sweet Relish
2 T. onion, finely diced
2 T. lemon juice

Mix all ingredients in a small bowl.  Print Recipe

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Local Flavors

You know what I love about being a blogger??  Besides visiting with all of you each day, of course.  I love all the opportunities I have to join different clubs.  Now most of the clubs to which I belong are cooking clubs because cooking is one of my loves but it is not, by any means, my only love.

Those of you who visit me regularly know how much I love living in Michigan and supporting my local businesses.  Well I found a club that will not only allow me to visit and support my local businesses but to share this great State of Michigan with another lucky person.


Let me introduce you to The Local Flavor Swap.  This is a very neat club.  The members fill a package with 5 items that represent their state.  These should be items that the sender would be happy to receive themselves.  You are given a partner and they are doing the same for you.  At a designated time everyone ships their packages and blogs about what they were lucky enough to receive.  FUN, FUN, FUN!!!  And there are still a few days left for you to join up, just go to the site above and fill out an application.  They accepted me so they must not be too picky LOL.