First lets pick a winner!

True Random Number Generator 89 63

MB says:

WOW! 300,000 is a lot! Congrats on the big blog milestone. I’ve been doing my part to get you to 400,000 in no time ;)

I love Cabot cheese and love looking down on the Cabot farms when I’m out on my snowmobile in the winter. I’ve never made your salsa but would love to try it.

Congrats to MB!  Please email me at with your mailing address! 😀

I started out my Monday morning. . .

On my way to the pool in 61 degrees 😀

I knew it was chilly when my friend and I walked in and the life guard was wearing a hoodie with sweat pants!  But once we got going, it was fine.  We swam for 30 minutes 😀

Since I had baked potatoes left over from Saturday’s bbq, they made an appearance at breakfast.  I ended up making an egg beater hash with a fruit salad on the side.

I am sure everyone has stopped by Homesick Texan before.  Last week (or maybe the week before) I saw her recipe for zucchini enchiladas.  I never got around to making it last week so I did and wow, is this enchilada sauce good!  I did make a few adaptations (like leaving the damn onions out), but you’ll have to wait until tomorrow for that recipe since its my lunch for today.

I’ll whet your appetite with this picture:

best part is that a serving is only 316 calories! (2 enchiladas)

It was such a gorgeous day in Chicagoland – especially after all the heat, humidity, storms and rain.   I decided to get my bike out – Errign are you happy I rode outside?! 😀

We live just a mile from a preserve that will never be developed – something like 200 acres of trails and marsh land.

I always think these look like corn dogs!

I am not sure how far I went, but there is this one hill on the way back.  Even when I was 140 pounds, I could not ride this hill without stopping and having to get off my bike and walking the last part.

Well guess what?  I have to think its because of the 100+ miles I’ve done in the last 7 weeks on the bike machine at the gym, but I beat the hill! I was huffing and puffing at the top, but I did the whole hill without stopping 😀

I know it doesn't seem like much, but its hard!When I got back and our dog saw I was wearing gym shoes, he wanted to go for a walk.  So I took him to the river and back, only 15 minutes but that’s about his limit now.

the river is really high because of all the rain, I think its no wake because there weren't any fast boats on it yesterday

Since we ate such a late breakfast, and it was pretty close to dinner, we snacked on some cheese and crackers while watching some of the Sox game.  I will ignore their loss yesterday and will still brag that we are still leading the division by 1 game 😀

And since I still had more baked potatoes, I did rosemary potatoes on the grill.  I believe Tony is done with the potatoes!

Tony’s uncle actually bought a 1/4 of a cow for meat for their family reunion last week.  We were lucky enough to score two strip steaks.  I did a Mexican rub with cumin, paprika and a touch of chipotle pepper and then finished it off with a pat of lime garlic butter.  I mixed 2 tablespoons butter with the zest of one lime, added 1 teaspoon of garlic and the juice of half a lime.

These steaks were huge!  We each only ate about 1/3 of our steaks.  I sliced the leftovers up thin for lunches for Tony this week.

Hope everyone had a great weekend!  Let’s make it a good week! 😀

Broccoli Cauliflower Gratin

Tony’s family was over yesterday.  They came over a bit earlier than expected so it was a mad dash to the store for Tony to pick up some stuff for apps, and me doing a quick 15 minute house clean.  Luckily the house wasn’t too bad to begin with – just wish I had had Hannah’s help, but she was at work. 😦

My camera was charging most of the day yesterday, so I don’t have a whole lot of pics, but I have a great recipe.  The second baked bean recipe is a work in progress.  It was out of Bon Appetit’s magazine:

Tony brought me home the root beer:

These were good, but something was missing.  I ended up having to add about 1 cup of bbq sauce to bring it around.  I’ll have to go back to the drawing board on this one, or just stick with the one I know is delicious – my crock pot baked beans with Italians sausage.

I did have snacks:  cheese and crackers, sesame sticks (i.e. crack sticks) and a fruit tray with pudding dip.

I never even fixed breakfast, so my brunch ended up being 4 cheese and crackers – I loves the pepperjack cheese! 😀

For my side dish I decided to use what I had on hand.  I ended up with a giant cauliflower and a small head of broccoli.  This recipe is based on one by Ina Gartin, but I reduced the amount of cheese and butter.

Broccoli Cauliflower Gratin (printer friendly version here)
Makes 8 servings  (198 calories, 10.2 fat, 17.2 carbs, 4.6 fiber and 11.7 protein)


2 pounds cauliflower
1 pound broccoli
3 tablespoons butter, divided
2 tablespoons flour
2 cups skim milk
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon grated nutmeg
3/4 cup cheddar cheese
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup bread crumbs


  1. Cut broccoli and cauliflower into florets. Boil water and blanch until fork tender, about 6 minutes.
  2. Melt 2 tablespoons of butter. Add flour and make a paste. Slowly add the milk to make a roux. This will take about 8 – 10 minutes.
  3. Remove from heat. Add pepper, nutmeg, and both cheeses.
  4. Melt remaining 1 tablespon of butter in sauce pan. Add panko bread crumbs and cook over medium heat until browned.
  5. Put broccoli mixture in casserole dish sprayed with Pam. Top with browned bread crumbs and bake at 375 for 25 minutes.

This was delicious – almost like a veggie mac n cheese 😀

I also had a baked potato bar – all the fixins were on the dining room table – sour cream, cheddar cheese, bacon bits, and yes, there were chives in my house!  I think Hannah had at least two heaping tablespoons on her baked potato!

We did a boneless pork roast on the grill.  I seared it on all sides, then cooked it on top of a cast iron skillet.  Once it reached 160 degrees I pulled it and let it rest for 15 minutes.

My plate:

And I made giant smores for half of the group – turns out not everyone likes marshmallows!

By 6:30 everyone was gone and Tony and I just snuggled – we could not find a movie to watch, but we did manage to get through all our shows on the DVR.  Did you hear about Gordon Ramsey’s new cooking show?  I told Tony “another food show to DVR!”  Pretty soon all the shows on our DVR will be food related!  The new show airs after Hell’s Kitchen on Tuesday night.

Later in the evening though, since we ate dinner around 3:00 – I made us potato and bacon pita pizzas using 1/2 a leftover baked potato, the rest of the bacon bits on my homemade pitas.   I baked them for 15 minutes at 400 degrees on my baking stone.

As I am typing this, I totally want to go to caloriecount and see exactly how much I ate, but I am not.  I think I did pretty good – probably could have used a lot more fruit and vegetables though!

I am off to update the 101 Days of Summer challenge – week 8 already!  Enjoy your Sunday!

Oh, and I found a way to do the BSI – Onions this week – Hannah is going to make one of her favorite dishes and will be posting the BSI for me this week- thanks Hannah!

And last day to enter my cheezy giveaway!  I’ll pick a winner and post it tomorrow morning 😀

Another day in Lake Geneva

As we were driving up to Lake Geneva for the second time in a week, I was thinking how much my Mom would enjoy this town.  I think later in the summer my Mom, Hannah and I will spend a day there walking around all the shops.

We ended up picking up a quick lunch on our way up.

this was breakfast and lunch, so I had three 😀

Lake Como was just as beautiful:

My great nephew was fishing – although he was afraid to put the worms on and take the fish off.  I hate that too, but he wanted to fish so got the courage to cut the worms in half and take the hooks out of the fish.  I may have screamed once or twice though!

Part of their resort package included afternoon tea, sherry and cookies.  Hannah and I each took a sip of the sherry – ick!

Then Hannah and I walked around for a bit.

We had a wonderful time talking with my MIL’s family.  Before we knew it, it was time to head home.  We stopped at a place close to our house.

Hannah and I were both starving, so we split cheese sticks.

Then I saw a pasta dish that I wanted, but Tony suggested I request for it to be spicy.  The chef came over and was like “what kind of spice do you want?”  Crushed red pepper, cajun. . . I decided on cajun and boy was it good.  With the sour of the goat cheese, and the spice of the sauce, I was one happy camper.  The broccoli was just okay.  I probably ate about 3 pieces of broccoli, half the goat cheese and about a cup and a half of pasta.

It was a stormy night last night.  Here are the pictures from the restaurant to our house, which is about a 10 minute drive:

Was that a gorgeous drive home or what?

Gotta scoot – Tony’s family is coming over for a bbq this afternoon before his parents head back to Florida.  Come back tomorrow for yet another baked bean recipe – its out of Bon Appetit and its called Root Beer Baked Beans!

You still have until tomorrow to enter my 300,000 page view giveaway – good luck! 😀

I didn’t wake up . . .

until 10:30 this morning!  God I love sleeping in!  We are headed back up to Lake Geneva early this afternoon to meet up with my MIL’s family at the tale end of their reunion.  They have had a wonderful week! 😀

Breakfast was zucchini bread.  But an egg zucchini bread!  1/2 cup egg beaters mixed with 1/2 cup shredded zucchini put on toasted rye bread and topped off with cheddar cheese.  Don’t you love the classy baby shower paper plate? 😀

And then a McDonald’s mini parfait – I really like these!

Even though my work day was busy, I was able to get to the gym.  I did a 7.3 mile race that I had completed before.  Not only did I beat the pacer bike by 5 seconds, I beat my previous time by three minutes!

Here is my sad attempt at taking my sweaty face:

Lunch was from my freezer – my roasted yellow pepper soup and a corned beef and swiss cheese sammie.

Dinner was inspired from Food Network’s June magazine:

My local grocery store does not carry double cut bone in pork chops, so I used boneless chops.  Since their recipe was for 4 pounds of pork, I adapted their glaze recipe – I left out the onions, maple syrup and prunes.  I wasn’t sure how that would turn out, but I love how it turned out.  When you taste it on stove after its cooked down, it does taste a bit too much on the vinegary side, but once on the grill, it caramelizes and was so good.

Apple Glaze For Pork


2 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup ketchup
3/4 cup apple juice
1/4 cup bourbon
1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 pinch salt
1 pinch pepper


Put all ingredients in a sauce pan and mix with whisk. Bring to a boil, then simmer for 30 minutes until reduced and thick.

You’ll notice I haven’t put the calories for anything.  I am trying to not micromanage so much and decided not to put everything I eat into calorie count.  Instead I am going by my blood sugar numbers.  Look at my 30 day average!

I test my blood sugar about six times a day.  I had a doctor appointment on Wednesday, and when my doctor was scrolling through my meter, he said “I wish all my patients had numbers like these!”   I took my quarterly blood test so in a week I’ll know the rest of my numbers.

BSI is going International!  While we have had Marianne from Canada host before, we now go to India!  Hema chose . . . Onions!  Since it’s so late in the week, this BSI contest will run until July 31.  I know Debbi will be happy with this ingredient! 😀

Thanks for all your wonderful comments to my 300,000 giveaway post!

And look what Tony found for me!

so hot and good!

Happy Friday! 😀

300,000 Page Views = Giveaway!

I love seeing every milestone on my blog!  It’s like the little engine that could!

Who would have thought that way back in September of 2008 I would be getting comments and so many visitors.  When I look back on older posts, I realized that pretty much only my family was reading and commenting for the first few months!

It took me six months to reach 40,000 page views, in which my lovely Tony posted a guest post.  Go ahead and read it, I’ll wait! 😀

And now I’ve reached another 100,000 in four months.  I want to take this opportunity to thank everyone who takes time out of there day to see what I make, see Hannah grow up and share my life with Tony.  It really means a lot to me that so many enjoy my little hobby! 😀

So let’s get on with the giveaway loot!  My wonderful friend at Cabot Cheese has graciously offered their $60 cheese package!  Not only do you get to sample their 50% and 75% reduced fat cheese, you also get a two pound block of their award winning Vermont Cheddar Cheese! 😀

You know how I loves the cheese!  What I love about Cabot’s reduced fat cheese is that I don’t feel like I am being cheated – it tastes just as good as the full fat stuff.  Please bear in mind that this will ship when the temperatures cool down a bit, so you may need to be patient on this. 😀

But wait, there’s more!  I love Eating Well magazine because it uses real ingredients, nothing too fancy, just good clean food.   So I will be giving away this cookbook!

And what’s better than one cookbook, but two?!  I found this one at my Library and loved that it had simple, straight forward recipes:

But wait . . . there is more!  Who wants four jars of my baja fresh salsa??!!  I know dozens of you have made it, but if you haven’t yet, now is your chance to get it!

Here is my picture way back from 2008 – I think I’ve learned a couple things about taking photography these last almost two years!

Once canned, it will last up to a year or more.  But I doubt it will even get you to the end of summer.  Each year I say I am going to can more for the winter, but usually by December I am all out.  I’ve been known to grill in December though to make more!

To win, simply leave me a comment.  It doesn’t matter what it is.  You can leave a comment telling me about your favorite cheese, what your last favorite thing you cooked, or maybe your most requested recipe to make for family gatherings – I’ll leave it up to you!  I’ll pick a winner on Monday, July 25.  Good luck!

I am tired – I didn’t get home from theB-52’s concert until 11:30 last night.  I’ll leave you with a few pics – have a great day!

I've not seen this boxed wine before. It was only 16.99 for a 3L container and it was pretty good

so much food!

sea of people

this was really good - it was Italian salami, mozzarella cheese and a hot pepper rolled together

and this delicious couscous salad, which I will get the recipe and post it later - it was really bright because of the citrus