Sunday, August 7, 2016

Basil, Bacon and Bowtie Pasta Salad

I love perusing Pinterest in search of some new and tasty dinner recipe to try. I was searching for a new pasta salad recipe to test as we get in a rut sometimes, and change is good, right? Warm weather calls for cool but flavorful meals. I came across a BLT pasta salad recipe that had some possibilities, but Nature Guy and I both agreed that the lettuce would most likely end up wilted before we finished the salad. Not a huge fan of soggy lettuce, I decided to go with the bacon and tomato in the salad and come up with my own recipe, leaving out the lettuce.

We are fortunate to have an abundance of fresh Basil right now, along with fresh parsley. The squashes are starting to encumber their vines with multiple succulent fruit, so I was in luck for more fresh goodness to toss in. A nice feature of this salad is that with the pepper bacon, herbs, and dressing, there is no need for extra seasoning. This recipe is for 4 servings, which for us gives us two meals without leftovers going on forever. Enough of the blathering, here's the recipe. Enjoy!

Basil, Bacon and Bowtie Pasta Salad

1 1/2 cups bowtie pasta cooked according to package directions, drained and cooled
2 strips of thick pepper bacon, cooked until crisp, and crumbled
1/3 cup chopped purple onion
1/2 medium yellow zucchini or squash, thinly sliced (I used a mandolin)
1 1/4 cups grape tomatoes, cut in half
3/4 cup fresh cooked or frozen green peas, thawed ( you can place them in the colander and pour the hot cooked pasta over them, to help them thaw quickly)
1/2 cup real mayo (seriously, don't ruin a good thing with low or non fat mayo. If you are worried, use 1/4 each plain non fat yogurt and mayo, stirred together)
1/4 cup Ken's Steakhouse Italian dressing (we used the lite version, which only has fat reduced, no gross chemical taste) 
1/4 cup each fresh minced basil and parsley 

Cook pasta according to package directions. I usually place frozen veggies in the colander and drain my pasta into it to help thaw them. Stir together under cold water and drain. In a medium bowl combine pasta, peas, cooked, crumbled bacon, onion, tomato, squash and minced herbs, then toss gently. Stir together the mayonnaise and Italian dressing. Pour over salad and gently toss. Serves 4

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Korean Style Kimchi

We have had an interestingly wet, cool, hot, cool, warm, wet, hot, cooler, warm, summer. It has my vegetable garden growing produce in abundance. I've had several heads of napa cabbage grow to Alaska size and it's wonderfully delicious in salads or stir fries. I can't find enough ways to use it as other produce is also coming on fast so I wanted to find a way to preserve the flavors of summer for winter enjoyment.
We love spicy everything, although as we age we have toned the sizzling hot down to enjoyably spicy. Having said that there is still a place at the table for a bit of sizzle now and then. Kimchi is a great pro-biotic type of condiment that goes well with rice and any topping. This recipe is pretty spicy, so adjust to your taste. If you are worried, add less chili powder than I suggest, and taste a piece of cabbage. You will know if it's too much or not enough. Let me know if you give it a try. Enjoy!

Prep Time:


  • 1 head (about 2 pounds) napa (Chinese) cabbage
  • 1/4 cup  sea or canning salt ( pure salt with no additives is best)
  • 4-6 scallions, chopped
  • 1/2 pound daikon radish or turnips, peeled and cut into thin strips
  • 1 carrot, cut into thin strips
  • 5-6 garlic cloves, grated
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup Korean red pepper powder (gochugaru) to taste( I used 1/4 cup)
  • 1 teaspoon fresh ginger, grated, or 1/4 teaspoon dried
  • 1 teaspoon cane sugar ( helps with the curing process)
  • 2 tablespoons fish sauce, optional, but it gives it the characteristic umami flavor 
  • Cold water, filtered or spring 


  1. Cut the cabbage lengthwise and remove the core, then chop the remaining cabbage into one-inch strips.
  2. Place cabbage into a glass bowl and sprinkle with salt, mixing it together with clean hands.
  3. Cover salted cabbage with cold water. Cover with plastic wrap. Let sit at room temperature for 4-24 hours. Note: You may need to place a weight on top of the cabbage to keep it completely submerged under the brine.
  4. Drain the brine from the cabbage. Reserve brine.
  5. Place remaining ingredients in large bowl and mix together.
  6. Add cabbage to bowl and toss with clean hands.
  7. Repack cabbage into individual glass jars with lids, packing tightly and adding brine if necessary to cover. Leave about one inch of space.
  8. Close lids.
  9. Allow to ferment at room temperature for one to seven days, depending on your preference.
  10. Refrigerate once kimchi is at desired fermentation level.

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Blueberry Pecan Muffins

Ahhhh, the joys of summer harvest! A soft and oh so delicious muffin, chock full of luscious blueberries and pecans, and topped with cinnamon sugar, fresh from the oven. What better way to start the day? 
We are so very fortunate to be able to buy these berries in bulk at a reasonable price. I'm enjoying a lot of great produce from other sources, as well as our garden, so I will be sharing more delectable treats and recipes as the summer harvest progresses. For now, on to the muffin recipe!

Blueberry Pecan Muffins

1 1/2 cups fresh or frozen blueberries
2 cups all purpose flour
1/3 cup sugar
2 T flaxseed meal
1 T baking powder
1/2 t. salt
1 egg
1 cup almond milk
2 T each canola oil and coconut oil, melted
Cinnamon sugar for topping

Turn the oven on to 375 degrees and grease a 12 cup muffin tin.

Sift together all dry ingredients except for the nuts. Combine with the nuts in a medium mixing bowl. That's right, I still sift, and it does make a difference in how the muffins turn out. Whisk together all wet ingredients and gently stir into the dry ingredients. I was taught by my Home Ec teacher to only stir about 11 times, so I try to do that. I added the berries after the 11 stirs and then stirred 11 more times. The idea is to keep the muffins from turning out tough and full of air holes.

By ice cream scoopfuls add batter to the greased muffin tins. Sprinkle with cinnamon sugar and then bake for 25 minutes. Enjoy!

Sunday, July 3, 2016

The Power of Prayer

We recently had an opportunity to take a long trip and visit various family members. One evening we were asked questions about religion, and what we believe. It caught us off guard, but helped us realize that we need to be better at articulating what we know to be true. It's not enough to just know, we need to be able to share when asked.
One of the topics that came up was prayer and the reason we pray. I'm afraid we somewhat fumbled in our answers, but I've had a lot of time to reflect on that conversation and in particular that question. I know some of the reasons why I pray, to express gratitude for the blessings I have, to pray for the health or situation of either myself or those I know or know of.  In James 1:5-6 we read,
 If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.
 But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed.
 Even the Savior prayed as we see in Matthew 14:23 -  23 And when he had sent the multitudes away, he went up into a mountain apart to pray: and when the evening was come, he was there alone. 
 So why do some prayers seemingly go unanswered? Perhaps it's because we don't understand the purpose of prayer. More often though it's because we don't see the whole picture the way our Heavenly Father and the Savior do. We might think that we, or someone we love needs to have a certain blessing, not realizing that while our request may be a righteous one, it may not be what that person needs to grow at the moment. Perhaps we don't recognize the answer because it's not what we asked for. 
Our society has put forth the idea that life shouldn't be hard, we should never have challenges, and everyone should have the same amount of material goods in order for life to be fair, or to prove that God loves us, or that He even exists. If our prayers aren't answered, then either there really isn't a God, or He is a mean and hurtful God. For those who are parents, most realize that if we give everything to our children and never expect anything from them, most will become lazy and ungrateful, even mean and hurtful sometimes. Our Heavenly Father wants us to learn and grow, and the way we do that is by learning to make choices that will bring us the most peace and happiness. Lest anyone mistake my meaning here, it doesn't mean that we must experience everything, even those things that God has said aren't good for us. Some things we must take on faith that they aren't in our best interest to indulge in or do. 
In Moses 1:39 it states "For behold, this is my work and my glory—to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man." This earthly life is a test. We have a purpose for being here, and one of them is to gain a body, to have experience, and prove that we will do all we know to be right and good. Sometimes we are abused and hurt through no fault of our own, and while it is hard to watch the harm that others inflict on us or other people, Heavenly Father is mindful of our pain and suffering, and will be there to welcome us home on the other side. Some have a debilitating illness, either chronic, or deadly. How we handle what others have done to us, how we handle the lot given us in life, or whether we are willing to help those in need of help, comfort or care, determines our eternal destiny. 
Prayer, thoughtful and considerate, can give us strength to meet the challenges that beset us. Whether our challenges are with other people, financial, or physical, as we seek guidance, again asking for that wisdom, we will receive the help we need to be able to deal with each situation. Perhaps the issue will be ongoing, but the help and strength we receive as we ask for it, is immeasurable. 
Prayer can help us as we care for others. As I tended to my father-in-law as he was dying, the help I received was incredible. There were the long road trips back and forth each week that due to weather were sometimes quite dangerous. I was blessed with alertness to avoid the large semi trucks whose vans were sometimes blown about in the wind. I had several hair raising near misses as they struggled, or were just negligent in their driving and wandered all over the road. There were the many nights getting up over and over again to get a drink for or cover the feet of, or uncover the feet of, or move the legs back where they should be, or even just comfort Dad as he struggled to get through the night. He couldn't get up on his own so thankfully the nurses had a way of taking care of his bladder needs so we could all snatch a few minutes of sleep here and there. Most nights Dad and I were awake more than asleep, but the little cat naps during the day helped me be able to assist him and Mom in their daily routines. Lifting Dad off the toilet and helping him down to it should have put me down right away, but I was blessed to be able to help him until after he passed away. It was after he passed that my back went out and I spent months trying to get rid of the pain and be able to walk more that a few steps at a time. Again notice that I didn't avoid the aftermath but I was able to get back to walking again with the help of good physical therapists. The biggest surprise to me was cleaning Dad up after he had gone to the bathroom. I have the most sensitive sense of smell and I expected to gag my way through each bathroom visit, and yet, I have to say, his stuff didn't stink. It was the little things I was able to do, and with a tenderness in my heart and patience to be up all hours of the night that was a gift. Prayer, mine and those around me, helped me to be able to do all I was able to. I learned so much in the process. 
Prayer can help us when we have a disagreement or an issue with another person. When I was younger I used to pray that the other person would change, and do things or think the way I do. Now I ask that I can see a way to think about the situation differently, and I pray for the other person as well, that Heavenly Father will help us both do the right thing. 
There have been times when we as a collective body are asked to pray for rain, and I've seen the results of that collective prayer. 
I could go on but there are those much better at sharing their wisdom and thoughts than I so I will add this link to a talk by Truman G. Madsen. Souls Aflame: The Prayer Heritage of the Latter-day Saints
Please take a moment to read this if you will. Feel free to comment any time. My prayer is that prayer can be more meaningful to all of us.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Grecian Game Hens

My all time favorite recipe from my husband, and always requested for my birthday or Mother's Day. This is sooooo to die for! Keeping it simple so here's the recipe!


  (2 packages) NEAR EAST BRAND





Monday, May 2, 2016

When You Have Hens That Lay, It's Time for Egg Salad Supreme!

 We have an abundance of eggs this time of year, so I am trying to incorporate them into our diet. I started with 6 hard boiled eggs, (I will share a trick I learned about them in my next post)
 Then I diced up orange bell pepper
 and green onion, all 1/4 cup each.
 Next I added 1/4 cup each of real mayonnaise
 and plain non-fat yogurt.
 A couple of squirts of yellow mustard.

1/2 tsp each of black pepper, garlic salt and seasoning salt. 
Whaalaa! Egg Salad Supreme! It's super yummy, creamy and crunchy at the same time. We really enjoyed the egg salad on our home made multi grain bread with home grown carrots. Enjoy!

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Not All Roses Are Red...

    the resplendent dew

on a new pink rose of mine

      glorious morning
so fresh and new
a lovely sign
of love adorning....
Adorn your wardrobe with a bouquet of roses in pink and copper. 
Available by clicking PFATT Marketplace 

Friday, February 19, 2016

Almond Joy Cake For Two

 There are days or nights I should say, that I wake up in the middle of the night with ideas floating around in my head. I wanted to make a chocolate cake for two for Valentine's Day, and found a recipe that fit the bill, except that is for the frosting. For some reason the night before I made this I woke up thinking about Almond Joy bars.... oh yum! Then that went to thinking about the cake, and then why not make a frosting that is coconut flavored with a touch of almond, to okay, I need to look this up. So I found a recipe for coconut frosting, and tweaked it to my liking.
I must confess that for some reason my cake didn't end up being a cake for two, it was more like 4-6. My cake turned out tall and fluffy, so I probably should have cut the top to flatten it for stacking. You will see why when you read the directions. Give it a try, you will be amazed at the soft luscious chocolate cake and the coconut creamy frosting. Not bragging, it's just that good!

Cooking spray
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup buttermilk
1 large egg, at room temperature
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/3 cup hot water

3 1/2 tbsp Coconut milk
1 1/2 cups Powdered sugar
1/2 tsp each almond extract and vanilla
1/4 cup each butter and coconut oil

Toasted slivered almonds and sweetened coconut to top the cake with. 

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 9-by-2-inch round cake pan with parchment paper, and spray with cooking spray. Or, if you are lucky like me you have an old fashioned pan with a slider that goes around the pan to loosen the cake from the pan. I greased and floured the pan and it worked great.

Whisk together the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a medium bowl. Beat together the buttermilk, egg and vanilla in a measuring cup. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry, and beat with a wooden spoon until well combined, scraping the side and bottom of the bowl once or twice with a rubber spatula. Stir in the hot water until it is all absorbed and the batter is smooth (it will be thin).

Pour the batter into the prepared pan, and bake until the top is shiny, the cake is just beginning to pull away from the side of the pan and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with a crumb or 2 attached, about 20 minutes. Let the cake cool in the pan on a cooling rack for 20 minutes. Turn the cake out of the pan, remove the parchment paper and let the cake completely cool on the rack, right-side up, about 1 hour. (The cake will be thin, but don't worry-it will magically be OK once it's stacked with frosting.) This is where the original instructions and mine differ as my cake turned out fluffy and rounded on top so I should have leveled it to make it stackable.

To assemble: Cut the cooled cake into 4 even quarters. Frost the top of each quarter with about 2 tablespoons of the frosting. Stack the frosted quarters directly on top of each other on a serving plate, resulting in a 4-layer wedge of cake with frosting between layers and on top. Frost all 3 sides of the cake with the remaining frosting until completely covered. Press coconut into frosting, at your preference, both on top and the frosted sides. Sprinkle toasted almond slices on top. Chill for at least 30 minutes. Halve and serve.

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Wearable Hugs and Kisses


If kisses were water, I would give you the sea,
If hugs were leaves, I would give you a tree,
If love was time, I would give you eternity.

Stop by the PFATT Marketplace

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Butterfly Bliss Upcycled Vintage Brooch Choker

May the wings of the butterfly kiss the sun
And find your shoulder to light on,
To bring you luck, happiness and riches
Today, tomorrow and beyond. 
~Irish Blessing
Find this lovely choker at SIMPLY SHERYL'S

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Hearts a Flutter Necklace for Valentines Day

Gorgeous heart beads, ruby red crystals, and sparkly silver embellishments shine in this one of a kind pendant necklace. Available at Simply Sheryls

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Tasty Tuesday - Latin Lover's Pizza

We had half the pizza gone by the time I realized I wanted to share this recipe. Yes, often times I don't plan to share, unless it's so good I would be stingy not to.

We've been trying to eat what we have on hand rather than run to the store ten times a week for this or that. Saves us money and we don't let things go to waste. Nature Guy wanted pizza so pizza he was going to get. I didn't have the usual ingredients on hand that we always put on, well at least not all. I did have canned mushrooms, onions and olives so that was a start. I also had frozen grape tomatoes so I used those diced for the fresh tomatoes.

What makes this pizza Latin is the dry salami instead of pepperoni, pepper jack cheese instead of mozzarella provolone, and green olives. So we figured we covered Italy, Mexico and Spain and thus the Latin. Anyhew, let's get to the recipe. I hope you give it a try, it was so good we are doing this again soon.

Latin Lover's Pizza     Preheat oven to 450 degrees

1/12 cups warm water
2 scant T. yeast or 2 packets
1 t. sugar
1 1/2 t. salt
3 T. olive oil
4 c. flour
1/4 c. each flaxseed meal, oats and cornmeal

In a large bowl or mixing bowl combine the yeast, water and sugar. Let sit for 5 minutes until the water gets foamy.  Add the oil, salt and 2 cups of flour, along with the other dry ingredients. stir or mix until well combined. Continue to add the flour 1/2 cup at a time. Once you have a nice ball of dough you can knead on a well floured board until smooth and elastic. Or let your mixer do it for you while you work on other ingredients. Once the dough is ready cut in half for thin crust, ***(see below),or use the whole thing for thick crust, and roll out on floured surface to the size of your pan. Sprinkle the baking pan with cornmeal to help keep the crust from sticking. Place rolled out crust on pan.

1 6 oz can tomato paste
1 1/2 cups diced fresh tomatoes
2-3 cloves garlic, crushed
1 t. each Italian herb blend, and basil

Combine all ingredients in medium bowl and spread on crust.

1 can whole or sliced black olives
1 small jar stuffed green olives
1 4 oz can mushrooms
2 cups pepper jack cheese
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
1 cup chopped onion
20 slices of dry salami, chopped

I like to sprinkle the sauce with the Parmesan cheese before adding any other toppings. Then I add the onion, meat and cheese, then the mushrooms, and olives. Bake at 450 degrees for 10 minutes. Turn the oven down to 425 and continue to bake for another 15 minutes or until the cheese is bubbly and golden. Slice and enjoy!

***I make a small loaf of bread with the other half of the dough by forming a loaf and putting it in a well oiled bread pan or small cookie sheet and letting it rise until doubled. This can be baked at 375 for 35 minutes.

Monday, January 4, 2016

A Red Letter Day For Our Little Farmette!

 I opened the back hatch to the coop prepared to clean out several days of yuck, and perhaps find one brown egg, as I had already found two this morning. Much to my surprise and joy I spy a pretty blue egg as well as a brown one! My Daisy has finally come into her own, and can hang with the rest of the mother hens now, whoohoo!
Slow she and Bella have been, with us waiting still on Bella. I kept telling Nature Guy they would not be heading to the soup pot any time soon as I knew that they were a little behind on the uptake. Their combs hadn't popped until just this last week, which I've read was an indicator of their being mature enough to start laying. They won't have the regular combs the other girls do, just a pea comb, but they are such pretty birds. We officially hit a milestone, and got four eggs today.

I guess I'm officially a chicken nerd now. Our five hens have been so much fun to have around, and yes, there is some mess involved, but it's all good as they give back to us in eggs.

Saturday, January 2, 2016

Pretties for Your Precious.... Boho in Color

 After the holiday decor comes down, and winter sets in with vigor, the color of life seems a bit drab and in need of a spot of new color. The pretty blue pendant choker above, is an easy fix for those days, when just a touch of color will do, nothing too fancy, but pretty is as pretty does.
For a little more sparkle and pizazz, this multi-layered necklace is just the ticket. Both this necklace and the choker above are hand crafted by me. Add a bit of color to your wardrobe today by visiting my etsy shop: SIMPLY SHERYL'S

Friday, January 1, 2016

Away Go the Mangers....

 I have been moping around the house, trying to put away Christmas decorations and fighting a touch of sadness. Not really sure why as Christmas was nice and peaceful. Maybe it's the sugar blues, but whatever it is, I'm sure this too shall pass. I have been playing around with display ideas for my smaller manger scenes. I haven't finalized my idea on the one above, but I tried displaying this one in a covered cake pedestal, with tea lights underneath to show off the iridescent color of the pieces. You can't really tell in this photo how pretty the scene really looked. I may leave the top off next year. It was a fun experiment though.

This little set is displayed in a butter dish or pickle tray, I haven't determined which. I wanted to permanently glue these pieces to the glass, but it was recommended by a friend that I not do that. I also want to turn this into a pedestal style display, but that will  have to wait until next year, as everything has been tucked away now. I do know that my dining room will be my manger room. I would love to find a pretty tinsel tree in sky blue or turquoise to sit on my tea cart in front of the bay window area. I saw a gorgeous retro looking turquoise tinsel tree at BeeCrowBee, a local hand crafted soap and body care shop here in Joseph. I wonder if I will still be on the look out next season. Time tends to change things. It's been fun to decorate my home the way I want, and I look forward to next Christmas, as I will already know where things go, and be able to get these projects finished. Who knows, I may stumble upon an even better idea! Happy New Year!