Wednesday, October 24, 2012


I'm really excited about sharing this recipe with you. This is a gluten free, high fiber, high protein, no processed foods, casserole dish. My husband, teenage son and his friends can't get enough of it. I'm going to have to start making two pans at a time. It also makes great leftovers.

I used to be the Queen of cooking with canned soups. I bought cream of chicken and cream of mushroom soup 5 cans at a time. It was so easy to mix in a can of soup into some rice or pasta or pour over some meat, sprinkle with cheese and everybody loved it. Fast & easy. But, those canned soups are loaded with sodium, preservatives and lots of chemicals that apparently my liver didn't like too well and now I also know aggravates my arthritis. So trying to cook meals my guys enjoy eating without using the canned soups has been very challenging.

Also, since throwing out most of the processed foods, Kevin's blood tests have improved greatly. We have to draw blood once or twice a month and mail it to a lab for testing. The lab sends the results to his nephrologist that he sees once a month. The doctor and nurses are just amazed that his numbers have improved so much (i.e., calcium, phosphorus, potassium, magnesium, etc.). If that's what eating REAL food can do for someone whose kidneys don't work, just imagine what it can do for a normal person! All of those chemicals and preservatives put so much stress on all of your organs.

Since I can't eat regular pasta because of diabetes and arthritis, finding good pasta alternatives has been a challenge as well. I like whole wheat pasta and can tolerate it in small amounts, but have noticed my body feels better when I use brown rice pasta or quinoa pasta.

Quinoa is now considered a superfood. It is gluten free, anti inflammatory, high in fiber, high in protein, loaded with heart healthy fats, magnesium, Vitamin E, calcium and many other "good for you" things too numerous to list. Quinoa is great for diabetics and of course, anyone with celiac disease or gluten intolerance. This quinoa pasta can be found at any natural food store or in the organic section of the grocery store.


16 ounces quinoa spaghetti
3-4 cups chicken, cooked & shredded
½ stick butter or olive oil
2 shallots, chopped
1 bell pepper, chopped (green or red)
1 cup mushrooms, sliced or chopped

3 tbsp flour (all purpose or gluten free) 
2 cups chicken broth
2 cups milk
2 tsp minced garlic
Salt & pepper

2 cups of shredded cheese (cheddar, Italian, your favorite)

Cook quinoa according to package directions MINUS 1-2 minutes, pasta will finish cooking in the oven. Drain & place in large bowl with shredded chicken.

Melt butter or heat olive oil over medium to medium high heat. Add chopped veggies and cook until veggies are soft.

Add flour to veggies in skillet and sauté until flour is incorporated into mixture. Whisk in chicken broth. Whisk a couple of minutes, then add milk. Continue to whisk until it reaches gravy like consistency. Add garlic, salt & pepper and mix in well.

Add sauce to pasta and chicken and stir together until thoroughly combined. Transfer to greased 13x9 casserole dish.  Top with your favorite shredded cheese.  Bake at 375 degrees 25-35 minutes or until cheese is melted. 

NOTE:  My husband loves cheddar cheese and I love white cheeses (provolone, mozzarella, etc.), so I put cheddar on half and shredded Italian cheese blend on the other half. My son's friend scooped out of the middle because he wanted both. Ha ha!

I hope your family enjoys this as much as mine does.

Blessings to you all,


Thursday, October 11, 2012


The annual Red River Rivalry is this weekend. Oklahoma and Texas football fans will be glued to their television screens. It is supposed to be cool and rainy. All of these things add up to perfect chili weather. Here is my family's favorite chili recipe. Enjoy!    BOOMER SOONER! 


6 pounds of ground beef, ground turkey or ½ of each

3 packages Williams original chili seasoning unsalted
2 cans Rotel tomatoes
1 small can tomato paste
3-4 cans tomato sauce (depending on how moist you want it)
1 large onion – chopped
Minced garlic (to taste, I use about 3 teaspoons)
McCormick Hot Shot (Black & Red Pepper blend)
McCormick Mexican Chili Powder
Louisiana Hot Sauce (OPTIONAL – a few shots or more if you like it hot)
Shaved or chopped dark chocolate (OPTIONAL – 1-2 ounces at the end – adds great depth)

Brown beef and/or turkey with chopped onion in a family size skillet or 2 regular skillets.  Salt meat and add 3-4 shakes of Hot Shot (depending on how spicy you want it) while browning.

In a large saucepan, Dutch oven or crockpot, add browned meat, Rotel tomatoes and chili seasoning packets. Thoroughly mix together.  Add 2 cans of tomato sauce and 1 can tomato paste and mix thoroughly. If you need more moisture, add more tomato sauce.  After it reaches desired consistency, add minced garlic and a few shakes of Mexican Chili Powder.  You can also add the dark chocolate at this time. Mix thoroughly and let simmer for at least an hour, stirring every 10 minutes or so.

All ingredients can be adjusted to your specific tastes. If you don’t like it too spicy, leave out the McCormick Hot Shot and Rotel tomatoes.   

NOTE: I use a meat mixture of 80-90% ground round or ground chuck and ground turkey. It cuts down on the fat content, but when allowed to simmer so spices can meld together, you can’t tell it has turkey meat in it. I've also used 1/2 beef and 1/2 deer meat and it was just as good. Deer meat is extremely lean and good quality protein. 

Using low fat meat in this recipe makes it really healthy. Lots of lean protein, very low fat and loaded with antioxidants and vitamins. 

Blessings to you all,

Tuesday, October 9, 2012


I LOVE FALL!! We go camping every Fall with our friends, The Beanes. Teri enjoys the gorgeous Fall weather as much as I do, so it works out well. We take a stack of books... now she takes her Kindle, I am still in the stone age and still take my stack of books. We relax, read, sit by the campfire & just enjoy the beauty of the season. This year, my cousin, Larissa, and her husband, Eric, borrowed his parents' RV & came with us. Larissa is related to both of us. Larissa's Mom is Teri's cousin. Larissa's Dad was my Dad's brother. The more we spend time together, the more we realize how much alike we are. I am so thankful to have her and her "Hottie" in our lives.

We had so much fun. Our wonderful hubbies cooked an awesome breakfast for us each morning.

We have always taken our dachshund, Slick, camping with us. She is almost 20 years old & not getting around very good, so she stayed home with Grant. As we were loading the RV to get ready to go, she sat at the bottom of the steps & cried. It was so sad.  I think it really hurt her feelings when we took Hank & Lucy instead. Hank & Lucy had a great time. They were very well behaved especially considering they are only 9 months old. They didn't stay the whole time. We were concerned about having them in the RV while doing dialysis, so I took them back home.

We take the dialysis machine & equipment with us & do it in the RV. We were getting ready to hook him up and realized that we forgot to bring needles. My son and his wife had come down to visit since we were so close to Durant and Tiffany remembered that she had seen a dialysis clinic in Durant. She quickly found the phone number and after calling Kevin's dialysis nurse, Tiff & I made a trip into Durant and "borrowed" needles from the Durant Dialysis Clinic. We are so thankful that we have an RV and that we can take the equipment with us, but we are sure hoping that this is the last time we have to do that. Hopefully he will have a new kidney and feeling great the next time we go camping.

One of the easiest meals to make while camping or anytime, is a "boil".  Everyone calls it something different. Some call it Frogmore Stew, others Shrimp Boil, Crawfish Boil, etc. We use a turkey fryer. Fill the pot with water (I think it would taste even better if you used chicken broth), add 2 packages of Old Bay or Zatarains seasoning. When the water starts to boil add an onion (cut into chunks), small potatoes or chunks of potatoes. Cook until the potatoes are tender, probably 10-15 minutes. Then add frozen small corn of the cob. Cook another 5-8 minutes. Then add smoked sausage and/or brats. Cook another 5 minutes. Add fresh or frozen shrimp and cook another 5 minutes. Serve on newspapers, platters or large bowls. You can add as much or little of each of these items as you want or need, depending on how many are eating and what your favorites are. You can use crawfish or frog legs or crab legs, etc. There's really no set way to do it. Just throw in whatever you like. Just remember to put the item that has to cook the longest in first, then the rest according to how much cooking time they require. Shrimp only requires a few minutes of cooking time. If cooked too long, it gets tough & rubbery. Easy one pot meal and very little mess.

Happy Fall!

Blessings to you all,