I thought I was seeing things and had to look twice. This isn’t a catchy title, it’s real. Dark Chocolate cookies made with Avocados! – Oh my Gosh. I’m not domestic and yet I suddenly need to make these. Click on the READ MORE link above to see the recipe.

Things My Belly Likes

Not content with being the star of salads and every vegan’s go-to food, avocados have been making a bit of a splash on the dessert scene lately.

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Monday menu : November 1, 2010

It’s November, can you believe it? Where did October go? I was going to learn how to make Apple Butter in October, but I guess I procrastinated the month away because that never happened. I’ve been sitting here this morning, trying to plan my menu for the week and I hate to say it, but I’ve got nothing. Well, I have my outline, you know fish on Mondays but still. I need inspiration today. Fortunately for me,  WordPress has added a nifty new feature where it will plug-in related blogs at the bottom of your posts. This little trick has led me to some new and exciting places that I’ve been checking out all morning.  This is where I like to go when my cookbooks come up empty.

1. Ree Drummond: The Pioneer Woman. Ree lives in Oklahoma and is married to a rancher. While her recipes might not always be low in fat, a lot of them are and her detailed directions make them easy to make. She writes about a LOT more than just cooking. I love her website. Granted, I have to set a timer when I go there because otherwise I’d never get anything done.

2. Abi Joy HopkinsSupport Future Artists.  Abi also lives in Oklahoma. I’ve known her for 17 years and she is a delightful young woman whose artistic talents extends to the dinner table. I go to her blog when I’m looking for something fresh and creative. Oh man, you should really check her out. Abi cooks with whole foods and in a day where most young women do not know how to cook — she is an inspiration.

3. Elizabeth Edwards: Mom Cooks   Elizabeth lives in Michigan (one of the dozen or so states I’ve lived in throughout my life) and I had to include her. I love her writing style and honesty. She’s a stay home mom just like me. She’s close to my age and I can totally relate to her. I’m thrilled with this new find. (Discovered via WP widgets)

4. Jenn Fowler: Frugal Upstate. I will admit, it was the title of her blog that caught my eye. “Upstate” can only mean one thing, she must be from New York. I was right!  Okay, so reading her blog does make me a bit homesick. (I was born near Rattlesnake Gulch, outside of Syracuse.) Jenn refers to herself as a “suburban subversive, plotting to reinvent the way we stay-at-home-moms think about keeping up with the Joneses.” After reading her blog, I can’t help but wonder if my penchant for resale shops didn’t come from my time in NY. (Discovered via WP widgets)

5. When all else fails, I check out All Recipes dot com. It’s a free website where readers share recipe tips and ideas, complete with photographs. I fall back on this one a lot. I can save recipes to my virtual box, print them either as full-page or index cards, and they even have a subscription services where I receive daily recipes. I love it.

 I’ve decided to try one recipe from each page this week and then one from my cookbooks. The tricky part is going to be decided which ones. They are all so good. I’ll let you know how it goes, how’s that?

Have a great week ya’ll.

Edited at 1:45 to add:

I have my choices for the week:

Today: Breaded Fish, tartar sauce, green beans, and sweet potato fries from Mom’s Cook. No recipe, just took one of her menu ideas since it took me so long to plan today — note to self: do not pig out on leftover Halloween candy while menu planning — it kinda kills it. LOL

Tue: Malsaysian Mango Chicken Curry from All Recipes 

Wed: Roast Chicken with Autumn Veggies from Support Future Artists — this will be perfect as I’ll use the leftovers for chicken soup on Friday. – I’ll be out with my Dad on Friday night, so I’ll just cook up the soup for the guys.

Thursday: Spaghetti with artichoke hearts and tomatoes from The Pioneer Woman

Still looking for a saturday dish – will try something from Upstate and let ya’ll know how that turns out.

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Monday Menus: October 11 2010

Confession: I sometimes treat my stay at home role as something I’m doing until my son graduates and I can go get a “real” job. The downside of that is multifaceted. Not only do I miss the moment, my family misses the connection while I dream and plan my days away.

Choosing to leave my telecommunications job in 1997 to stay home and raise our boys was definitely the right choice. Staying home was a lot more fun when they were little and in grade school because I had things I could be involved in. I loved being a home room mom, planning school events and even serving on the Parent Teacher League.  Now that my boys are in high school and college, there isn’t as much to do other than drive them places.  Yes, we made sacrifices so that I could stay home – losing my salary was a rather large one. And yes it was worth it. But I have to tell you, housecleaning, does not fulfill me. I need goals and things to focus on that are healthy and productive.

With D-man a junior in high school I find myself chomping at the bit for freedom instead of enjoying our last two years together.  I have freedom, and I think that is part of my issue. Gaining 60 pounds since they started high school is no coincidence. I eat – in part – because I’m bored.

Boredom is one of the things that really gets me into trouble when it comes to eating, that and lack of planning. I live with all men and it’s easy to just pick up grab and go junk food and not have healthy choices in the house. My guys could live on chicken wings and bacon – I think we need a better variety, don’t you? This new menu will definitely challenge my cooking skills. I went with a few new easy cook books. Better Crocker Healthy Heart, Dr Gott’s No Sugar No Flour, and The American Heart Association Cook book.  All three of these list calories per serving and all three are good for cooks like me – short on patience and time.

On the positive front, even with my feeble efforts of just not snacking so much, I’m down eight of the 15 pounds I gained post hysterectomy. Not too shabby for a month’s efforts.  I want to keep that momentum going and starting this week I  am grabbing my books and planning a real menu for the week and post it here.

Menu For Week of October 11, 2010

  • Make ahead Real Oatmeal for breakfast (From Dr Gott)
  • Make ahead Easy Fruit Salad, for lunches or snacking.
  • Mon: Glazed Beef Tenderloin with Herbed New Potatoes
  • Tues: Baked Fish with Italian Rice
  • Wed: Glazed Chicken over Couscous Pilaf – this is my night at the Looney Bin (Comedy Club) so I need something easy that I can make ahead and leave for the guys.
  • Thurs: Morning Star Tex-Mex Salad
  • Friday: Spring Time Pasta and Sausage
  • Sat: Date Night – eating down town with family the going to see Jeff Foxworthy at the BOK Center.
  • Sun: Grilled Garlic Sage Pork Roast


I haven’t figured out what kind of snacks I need available in the house yet. We have the standard fruit and cut up veggies, but I’d like to add variety. I am eliminating chips, ice cream and sugar laden cookies and cakes. I can hoover a pan of brownies in a day, and so can my 17 year old I’ve discovered. I’ll play with some healthy recipes this week and let ya’ll know what we like next week.

My Husband, The Prophet

Jeff:  Ooh blueberry cobbler! My favorite. Is that what you are making for dinner?

We’ve been together for 22 years and he knows me. Having dessert for dinner on a cold icy snow-stormy night would not be that far-fetched. But not tonight. Tonight I wanted to impress him. Contrary to popular belief, I really do like to impress my husband from time to time.  I think he rocks.

Me: No, I’m making Cornish hens for dinner. The cobbler is for dessert.

Before you start thinking I’m this wonderful cook or something, I really need to tell you that my house has a kitchen because it came with one. And my family is well fed because, well… I try, but you know…I’m not Julia Child. I’m not even that other Julia chick that wrote the blog that got made into a movie. I’m the daughter of a baby boomer. I don’t sew and cooking is questionable. 

Granted I do have my days where I am able to cook fantabulous meals. I think I just made that word up. Fantabulous is a good word. It means edible.

Apparently though, today is not one of those fantabulous days.

In honor of today’s winter storm I want to be daring and cook a fancy meal. I want to cook the kind of meal that is great to eat by candlelight, in case the power goes out. With my Cornish hens thawing in a sink full of cool water, I whip up a mean blueberry cobbler thing — (Cheaters cobbler: canned blue berries with yellow cake mix sprinkled on top. Dot with butter and bake for 30 minutes at 350 degrees.)

I bake the hens at 350 degrees for 90 minutes. They are brown and yummy looking. The legs wiggle when I move them and juices from the breast runs clear. They are P-E-R-F-E-C-T.  I carefully set each plate with one Cornish hen, mashed potatoes and steamed snow peas. Everything looks and smells wonderful! My husband smiles, I smile and my son (who is already cutting into his hen) asks, “Mom is chicken supposed to bleed red all over everything?”

You know, blueberry cobbler for dinner on a cold, snowy night isn’t really that bad.