March 27, 2016

Ricotta and Spinach Stuffed Chicken

2 Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breast Halves
1/2 c fresh spinach
1/4 c ricotta cheese
2 mushrooms finely chopped
Salt to taste
Pepper to taste
Paprika to taste
1/8 c Cheddar cheese

Preheat oven to 400 degrees, make 5-6 slices in each half breast of each chicken cutting about three-quarters of the way down.
Sautée the spinach, once the spinach is sautéed, add in the mushrooms and sauté. Finally add in ricotta cheese and heat until well mixed together.
Fan open the chicken breasts and spoon in spinach mixture.
Top off with cheese (I will often substitute Parmesan for cheddar instead). Sprinkle with salt, pepper and paprika.
Put in oven for 25-30 minutes. This is an awesome and easy meal!! Happy Eating!!

**You can substitute bell peppers for the mushrooms, add them in addition to, or just have the spinach, all taste great!**

March 7, 2016

Split Pea Soup

1 (16 ounce) package dried green split peas, rinsed
1 meaty ham bone or 2 cups of diced ham
1 cup of sliced carrots
1 cup chopped yellow onion
2 ribs of celery, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 bay leaf
1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
6 cups chicken broth


Layer ingredients in slow cooker in the order given, adding worth last.  Do not stir the ingredients. 

Cover and cook on high for 4-5 hours or on low for 8-10 hours or until peas are soft (and if using ham bone, ham falls off the bone).

Use emulsifier to blend ingredients together until you reach desired consistency.

I usually serve with Pineapple Sausage that I grill on the barbecue.  It gives an excellent contrast to the soup that the family really enjoys.  This is the perfect rainy day meal.Hubby Rating: 10!  This is one of his favorite rainy day meals...this along and the corn chowder soup.  That is DELICIOUS (I will be sharing that recipe soon!).  Happy eating!

December 19, 2015

A Letter To Santa

Hello Again!
As Christmas is fast approaching and our Elf on the Shelf has been up to all kinds of activities.  Tonight, we decided to have our elf set up a letter writing station for our son to write his letter to Santa.  He is in first grade, so he is well on his way to writing quite well, but in the spirit of the season it is easy for the little ones to become fixated on what cool toys and gadgets they would like for Christmas.   In an effort to have my son have a bit more of a review of his year and think about the things that he really wants, needs, and likes I came up with a a pretty cute letter!  I thought I would share in case anyone else wanted to use a similar idea.  Happy Holidays to all of you!!

October 25, 2015

What You Should Know Before Buying a Home

1.     Before you start looking for a home, get pre-qualified for a loan. Banks, credit unions and mortgage bankers make home loans; mortgage brokers process them. The lenders will take an application, process the loan documents, and see the loan through to the funding stage.  A pre-qualification does not require you to run your credit.that is a pre-approval.  I suggest getting pre-qualified to see what you can afford and what you would be most comfortable spending.
2.     If you have marginal or bad credit, consult your lender. You may be able to qualify for a loan depending on how long ago and what reason(s) caused the bad credit. A lender should be able to advise you on whether your credit history will prevent you from qualifying for a home loan.
3.     You will need a down payment. Down payment requirements vary depending on the type of loan. Many down payment assistance programs exist. These programs may loan or grant you the funds necessary for the down payment.
4.     You will need funds for closing costs Closing costs are charges for services related to the closing of your real estate transaction. They include, but are not limited to:
a.    Escrow fees charged by the company handling the transaction
b.    Title policy issuance fees charged by the title insurance company
c.     Mortgage insurance fees
d.    Fire and homeowners insurance
e.    County Recorder fees for recording your deed
f.      Loan origination fees
5.     Some loans have "points" and some do not. A point is a loan origination fee equivalent to 1% of the loan amount. Together with the interest rate they constitute the yield on your loan for the lender. Some lenders charge a higher interest rate to compensate for charging no points. It is important to comparison shop lenders to make sure your loan is at a competitive yield.
6.     Be aware of the two main types of loan categories.
a.     Conventional Loans. Conventional mortgage loans are available with fixed or adjustable interest rates. Some loans may require mortgage insurance.  A conventional loan is for loans $417,000.00 and below.  Any loan amount above $417,000.00 is considered a jumbo loan.
b.     Government Loans. These include Federal Housing Administration (FHA) fixed and adjustable rate mortgage loans, and Veterans Administration (VA) fixed rate mortgage loan (you can only get this loan if you or your spouse is a veteran).
7.     Why might you have to pay mortgage insurance? Mortgage insurance protects the lender from potential loss if you should default on your mortgage loan payment. Generally, conventional loans that require larger down payments do not require mortgage insurance. Mortgage insurance is always required on FHA mortgage loans.  You will pay PMI if you do not own 20% or more of the home.
8.     Make a list of must haves (non negotiable), wants (willing to compromise on), and absolute cannot live with. 
9.     Determine if you and your family would be comfortable living in a home that needs some fixing up, a remodel, or is turn key.  Keep in mind that turn key homes will have a premium price tag because you are ultimately paying for the renovation.  Purchasing a home that requires some fixing up will come with a lower price tag but requires some sweat equity.  If you are feeling very adventurous you can consider purchasing a home in original condition.  You will be able to get more house and land for your money, but you will have to put more work into it.  The upside is the property value will go up more significantly, and you can make the home exactly as you want it, the down side is that it will be a lot of work, time, and money (still a better deal than turn key though)
Taking the time to fill out the table below may be pivotal in helping you with the home searching process.  Keep in mind what you are willing to negotiate and what you must absolutely have.  This will help the process become more streamlined and less aggravating for you along the way!

Must Have
Can Live With/Without
Cannot Have
Number of bedrooms
Number of bathrooms
Number of stories
Property type
Price range
Square footage
Lot size
RV Parking
Turn key, fixer upper, needs some work

October 18, 2015

Skin Care

It all started one October afternoon last year.  I was in the self checkout line in our local Home Depot and looked up at the security camera and saw the most haggard looking image staring back at me.  I was appalled!!! The person that I saw in that image looked ten years older and grumpy.  So... the hunt began, my vanity got the best of me.  Should I get Botox? Is there really a miracle cream out there that will rid me of my old, tired looking skin? How do I fix this?!!?

After a ton of research, I have finally discovered what I have found to provide me with the best results, hopefully the same results will occur for you!
Advanced Dermatology products are by far the best.  The package comes with a 90 day supply of a cleanser, two night creams and two day creams (you use the creams in conjunction with one another).    You pay for the product monthly, which is a little spendy, but the results are guaranteed and the company will give you a full refund if you are not satisified.  I honestly feel that my skin looks and feels a lot better since starting to use the product.  If you are interested in trying it out just go to
In addition to using Advanced Dermatology I have started to use the Clarsonic face brush.  I was my face with mild soap, followed by a facial scrub, use Clarsonic, and follow up with the Advanced Dermatology cleanser.  I will warn you, during the first couple of weeks of using the Clarsonic, your face may break out.  Mine definitely did, but it's normal because all of the impurities that are deep within your skin are coming to the surface.  Don't worry, it's only temporary and once your skin adjusts you will see and feel great results.
Overall, I have learned that the older that I get, the more care I need to give to my skin.  I think that I have found a great system for keeping my face looking as young as possible....I even got carded at a local restaurant this past weekend!  That hasn't happened in a looooooonnnnnggggg time!!

October 13, 2015

Chicken Fajitas

As the year is going into full swing with school, piano lessons, and sports I have needed too figure out a way to still balance keeping up with the house and making dinners.  My goal is to prepare at least 15 items a month before making any repeats.  For my family this works out really well because we inevitably end up going to family's/friends' homes for dinner at least once on the weekend, we go out to dinner on Friday nights, and often have enough food from one of the previous meals that I prepared for left overs at least once a week--so realistically I will only be preparing something new four times a week!  I can do that!! Here is what we had for dinner last night:

1.5 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breast
1 green bell pepper
1 yellow bell pepper
1 orange bell pepper
1 red bell pepper
1 sweet yellow onion
1 lime
1 lemon
a pinch of garlic salt


  1. Cut the chicken into strips or cubes about 1 inch thick and 3 inches long.  
  2. Place chicken inside of 1 gallon Ziplock bag.
  3. Cut all of the bell peppers and onion into strips.  Add to Ziplock bag.
  4. Cut the lemon and the lime into thirds, squeeze 1/3 of the lemon  and the lime into the bag (I also zest the skin of the citrus for added flavor)
  5. Add garlic salt to bag, close bag and shake everything up. Let sit in fridge for at least one hour.
  6. Once ready you can prepare your fajitas in the oven at 350 for 40 minutes, on the skillet on low-medium heat, or on the grill.  I personally prepare mine on the grill anytime the weather permits, I also use a Grill Mat!  It has been one of my favorite purchases.
  7. Once done, heat up the tortillas and serve.  Garnish with the remaining citrus, and black beans if preferred.
***I will usually cut up some lettuce, tomato, and avocado and serve with the meal.****
This is such an easy meal and is a great change up to typical baked chicken (at least in my house!)

October 11, 2015

We've Been Booed!

As Halloween approaches, I always enjoy spreading some holiday cheer--from the decorating the house, going to endless pumpkin patches in search of the perfect pumpkin, enjoying the cool weather (which us Californians have not had the luxury of experiencing!), and all things fall!  This year a new tradition will be starting in our household all thanks to a very crafty and considerate friend...we've been BOOED!!! The rules are simple, make a little "We've been BOOED!" sign, a treat basket, and a little note explaining the rules of the game of spreading Halloween Cheer--enjoy the treats, make two more signs and notes, create two little treat baskets and secretly deliver your 'boos' to your friends/neighbors!
It is so much fun!  My little one loves dropping off the package that he helped me make, and running to the front door or our 'boo recipient' to ring the bell and run!  If you haven't been 'booed' yet, you may want to considering starting the 'boo' tradition in your neighborhood!!  Happy Haunting!!