Recipes, Uncategorized

No Ricotta Lasagna

no ricotta lasagna
I am no fan of Ricotta cheese!  I feel it dulls down the flavor of lasagna and for years I made lasagna and included the ricotta simply because the recipe called for it.  Back then I was afraid to not follow recipes to the T no matter what!  Then I realized how stupid it was to include an ingredient I didn’t like, so now I make my lasagna with no ricotta and we love it!  I substitute extra mozarella and cheddar cheese for the ricotta and the result is a wonderful, delicious cheesy lasagna!
1/2 lb ground beef
1/2 lb ground italian sausage
1 onion, chopped fine
12 no boil Barilla lasagna noodles
2 jars Prego spaghetti sauce (I like the meat flavored)
dash of garlic powder
2-3 cups shredded mozarella cheese
1-2 cups shredded mild cheddar cheese
parmesean cheese to taste
Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees.  Spray a 13 x 9″ glass baking dish with non stick cooking spray.  Chop onion finely.  Add onion to ground beef with dash of garlic powder and brown, meanwhile in a second frying pan brown sausage.  Drain both ground beef and sausage and add to 2 jars of Prego sauce in a large sauce pan.  Heat sauce through.  Spread about 1 cup of sauce on bottom of baking dish, then add 1 layer of lasagna noodles.  Spread more sauce over noodles, then add handful of mozarella and cheddar cheese, with a sprinkle of parmesean.  Repeat layers until you have used up all the noodles.  Finish with a toping of all three cheeses, try to reserve enough sauce to dollop around the top of the lasagna here and there.  Cover with aluminum foil that you have sprayed with non-stick spray.  Bake 50-60 minutes, then uncover and bake another 5 minutes.  Let sit 15 minutes before cutting.  Serve with garlic bread and side salad.  Serves 6-8.



Holiday Cards, Simon Says Stamp, Simon Says Stamp Monthly Card Kit

Simon Says Stamp November 2018 Card Kit

I love love love the card kits from Simon Says Stamp!   The kit for November just came yesterday and I couldn’t wait to tear into the box and play.  So many awesome goodies!


There are also sequins in the kit but I somehow misplaced them, sure I hope I find before my kidlets do!

I decided to create a Thanksgiving card since the holiday will be here before we know it and I need to start sending cards out.  I created a card base from the Desert Storm cardstock and  cut a focal image panel and an inside panel from the Ivory cardstock.  I then chose the Green Leaf Cardstock to create a mat to frame the focal image piece.

I stamped a sentiment from the stamp set in black ink then used various “autumn” color inks and many of the leaf images from the set to create a frame around the sentiment.


I had a couple ink boo boos but luckily I found some coordinating ribbon in my stash which saved the day!


I think it turned out great!  There are so many images in this stamp set that I should be able to create oodles of cards to send out this month.  Can’t wait to see what SSS comes up with next month!   If you want to check the kits out for yourself just click this link to learn all about it and subscribe.  Simon Says Stamp November 2018 Card Kit

I hope you enjoy your day and get to do some crafting!  Thanks for stopping by!


Turkey Approved!  🙂



Mom’s Homemade Chili

*My mom passed away in April of 2017.  Nothing has been the same since and there is a huge hole in my heart and in my life without her.  This was her recipe and I know it by heart.  Sure wish I could make it for her today. 😦  This post is dedicated to her, with love, respect and my forever admiration.  

Southern Baked Beans; Paula Deen

My mom used to make this for my dad all the time.  She’d put the normal amount of chili powder in then he would dump a whole lot more into his bowl!  He said if your eyes and nose aren’t running it’s not chili, LOL!  Mine’s not quite that hot, but feel free to kick it up a notch if you want it hotter!
1/2 lb hamburger
1/2 lb ground sausage (I use mild Italian)
1 bottle Campbells tomato juice
2 cans dark kidney beans (I use Bushes)
1 onion, diced
1/4 cup chili powder
Garlic powder
Onion powder
Cumin  (the spices I’m not sure how much I use, I just sprinkle it in, maybe 1/4 teaspoon each??)
Brown the hamburger with the onion, I put all the spices, with a dash of chili powder into the hamburger as I cook it.  Brown the sausage in a separate pan. Drain grease from hamburger & sausage.  Drain and rinse kidney beans (some people don’t do this but I do)  Put all ingredients into your crockpot, including your spices  – this is when you want to put in the 1/4 cup chili powder.  You can use more or less chili powder depending on how spicy you like it.  Cook on high 6-8 hours.  Serve with corn bread on the side.  



Southern Baked Beans

Southern Baked Beans; Paula Deen

This recipe is from Paula Deen and it is sooooo good!!!    (and no, this is NOT a low fat recipe, LOL!)
1/2 pound bacon
1 large onion, diced
1 16 ounce can pork and beans
3 tablespoons yellow mustard
5 tablespoons maple syrup
4 tablespoons ketchup
Preheat oven to 325 degrees.  In a skillet fry bacon until crispy and crumble.  In the same pan using the bacon drippings, saute the onion until brown.  Mix bacon, onion and drippings with the remaining ingredients.  Pour into a baking dish and bake covered for 45-60 minutes.  
Yield:  4 servings

Drawstring Bags

Who doesn’t need all kinds of bags and totes, especially when you have kids?!  I love these little bags I made for my twins, plus I made a “big girl” one for my sixteen year old!  

I was inspired to make these by watching Dana from Made Everyday.  Her video is below, thanks Dana for sharing your awesome talents!

Here are the two bags I made for my twins:


Of course my Matthew had to have sharks for his bag!  I used fat quarters to create the bags.  I got mine at Walmart where they are less than $2.00 and come in lots of cute designs.

Here is Amy’s bag, princess themed for her!


Here is another view of Matthew’s bag showing it open:


I used ribbon for the drawstring but you can also use cord if you prefer. 

Watch Dana’s video below to see just how to put the bags together.

Thanks for stopping by and have a wonderfully crafty day!


Frog in the Ditch – An Americanized Version of Toad in the Hole

*originally published in my cooking blog “One Bite at a Time: From My Kitchen to Yours”

When I first published this recipe my dear Mother In Law, Margaret, was still alive and well and happy.  Sadly, we lost Margaret six years ago to cancer.  This blog post is dedicated to her memory.  We still love and miss her so! 

toad in the hole

I love British food and having a British husband has opened all kinds of new food experiences and recipes to me!  My mother in law is quite possibly THE best cook in the world, when we visit England I live for her home cooked meals.  She makes an awesome Toad in the Hole, which, if you are not familiar with it, is basically sausage in a pastry like batter.  When my husband moved to America he brought some pretty good British cookbooks with him and I’ve had fun trying to replicate the recipes.  NOT an easy task though since American ingredients differ greatly from British ingredients!  Take sausage for instant.  In Britain they have the most wonderful sausage full of flavor.  It has a lighter texture than American sausage (their hot dogs are different as well).  Problem is you can’t find British sausage here, at least not where I live!  And believe me, we have looked!!!  The same with flour.  With American flour you get a tougher, flakier pastry than what you get with British flour, which gives you a softer, more substantial pastry.  This is why the bread you find in British grocery stores is soooo good!  Not the light squidgy stuff we get here.  British bread makes the best toast!  The closest I have been able to find here to British bread is Italian or the specialty bakery bread that costs $$$$.
It’s so disappointing that there is a common misconception that British food is bland and tasteless.  NOTHING could be further from the truth!  Trust me, I am just about THE pickiest eater you will find, and I love pretty much everything I’ve ever had to eat in England.  (exceptions being Branston, Marmite, Christmas pudding and Blood pudding! Ick!)  
So on to the recipe!  The traditional Toad in the Hole, prepared correctly, is delicious but it takes a lot more work and patience than I currently have!  Plus like I said, I don’t have the proper ingredients.  Still, Glen and I have managed to come up with what we think is a suitable substitute to have here in America.  When we visit England we get to have the real thing from Glen’s mom!  This recipe has been adapted by yours truly from Delia’s How to Cook Book One.  Hope you like it!
1 tube of breakfast sausage (I use the mild but it’s up to you)
3/4 cup white flour
1 large egg
3 fl oz. (75 ml) semi skimmed milk (I am guessing this means 2%)
2 fl oz. (55 ml) water
salt & pepper
1 onion, sliced and separated into strips
2 teaspoons oil
1 teaspoon sugar
Pre-heat your oven to 425.  Mold the sausage into links (I usually get 5-6).  Cut your onion.  Mix oil and sugar in a bowl and toss the onion to coat.  I use a small rectangular (glass) baking dish (sorry can’t remember the measurements, smaller than the 9×13).  Spread your onions on bottom of pan, place sausage links inside.  Cook in oven till done, I usually give them 30 minutes just to be sure they are done!  
Now you are ready to mix up the batter.  Sift the flour into a large bowl, make a well in the flour with a large spoon, break the egg into it and add salt and pepper.  (I also had a sprinkle of onion powder).  Whisk the egg into the flour.  Measure your milk and water into a measuring jug and gradually add the liquid, whisking  until smooth.    When your sausages are done, pour the batter over them and return to the oven.  Cook for another 20-30 minutes, be careful or it will burn and you won’t be able to cut it!  
I make a brown gravy to serve over top (usually just the brown gravy packets).  A typical serving is two sausages in the batter.  It may be tough to cut so use a sharp knife (thanks again to American flour!)  Serve with mashed potatoes and for that authentic British twist baked beans on the side!    
Not sure how many this serves, it’s perfect for Glen and I so if you have a bigger family you will want to double the recipe and use a bigger pan.
Now I’m sure there are better American versions of Toad in the Hole out there, I haven’t looked, but this is the one we use and enjoy.  You can use a link sausage if you like, but in our experience it lacks that authentic British flavor.  Feel free to tinker around with your recipes, that’s what makes them fun!!!
Quilting, Sewing

Charm Square Quilted Bag From Alanda Craft

You all know I LOVE Miss Alanda from Alanda Craft!  When I saw her video for this adorable quilted bag made with charm squares I knew I had to make one each for my girls!  

I made one for them both but for some reason did not get a finished pic of Maddie’s.  Here is the one I made for Amy:


Isn’t this adorable???  Amy loves it.  It’s funny I told her that she could use it to keep her underwear and jammies in when we went on trips.  Later I went to get her dressed for the day and all her underwear was missing!  I finally found it – in the bag!  Ha ha!  I have to keep reminding myself that kids like to take things LITERALLY!

The bag is super simple to make, I just followed the instructions provided in Alanda’s video which I am posting below.  My only oops came when I forgot to add the fuseable fleece!  Soooo, Amy’s bag is a bit thin, but I am happy to say that it is still holding up strong, even with her stuffing various things into it.

The bag is created using Charm Squares.  If you are not familiar with Charm Squares they are small, about 4 x 4 or 5 x 5 squares of fabric used in quilting.  I got mine from Walmart, I think there were about 23 squares in a pack for under $5.  You can get a bigger selection at Michaels but the price will be higher.  OR you can cut your own squares from your scraps.  I did need to add a few extra squares from my scraps because I didn’t have enough for the project but it worked out fine.  

Here is the layout for creating the bag (this is actually the layout for Maddie’s bag!)


Here is Alanda’s video which shows the entire process.  Now I need to make one for myself!  🙂

Thanks so much to Alanda for her awesome creatiions!