Roasted Cauliflower

Last week was a whirl wind of activities! We learned that our deployed son was coming home! Now, we were already planning for his return, since we had a window when he told us he was coming. However, that window closed and he was still on the other side of the world. So when we got the new date, I didn’t tell a soul for fear that it would change again. It didn’t, and I finally got my hug!


Then the next day I was totally surprised to have my 2Lt show up at my door!!! It seems that everyone in the family knew he was coming except me. That’s ok, because I just love surprises like that!! He came to surprise his girl who was playing in her first university symphony orchestra concert. He had to tell her though, because she already had plans for the weekend!


I just love having my family come home, and my heart was almost full!  I was totally missing my girl,  but I am thankful that she and Sammy should be here for Thanksgiving. I can’t wait to squeeze that little man again!

This recipe was originally created for potatoes, but I used it last week with cauliflower. It turned out great, and the hubby loved it. It could be used as a potato substitute or as a veggie side dish.

1 large head cauliflower

1/4 to 1/2 c. water

1 tsp. garlic powder (or fresh minced garlic)

1 tsp. onion powder

1 tsp. sea salt

1/2 c. dried parsley (I used dried cilantro since I had no parsley)

1/4 c. butter, melted

Cut the cauliflower into small pieces and place in a microwave-safe dish. Add the water and cover. Microwave until mostly tender. Strain the water and gently squeeze the cauliflower to remove any extra water.

Lightly spray the dish and return cauliflower to it. Sprinkle the garlic powder, onion powder, salt, and parsley or cilantro over the top of the cauliflower, and gently stir to combine. Pour the butter on top of the mixture.

Place in a 350* oven and bake uncovered until cauliflower is tender and slightly golden, about 30 minutes.  Enjoy!


Bacon-Wrapped Jalapeno Poppers

Wow! It’s been several days since I’ve been here on the blog! I just checked the views and we are at 20,998! Almost to 21,000. I know that is just small stuff to those who are really into the blogging world. But for little old me, that is amazing!

Last weekend we had all the family together again!!!! I was so glad that it worked out for my girl and her man to come as well as son #2 and his favorite lady friend. It has been since last Labor Day that we were all together, and with one of my Blue Stars heading overseas for several months, and another one of my Blue Stars also leaving soon, it will be a while before we can all be together again. I cherish the times we can all be under my roof and around my supper table!

We decided to have our 4th of July celebration on Saturday since my girl and her hubby would have to travel home on the 4th. Saturday was such a fun day!! While some of the guys went for a run, the girls and I  went shopping! Seriously, what else would we do, right?  In the afternoon  and evening we played some bocci out in the yard, played several very loud rounds of Scattergories, ate some amazing food, set off some fireworks, and laughed–a lot!

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In addition to grilled steaks, we had potato salad, baked beans, tomatoes, hummus and salsa with chips, watermelon, etc. You know, all the good stuff that goes along with 4th of July! For dessert I had gotten a birthday cake for Barbi, but she decided that it would be better to celebrate all the July birthdays instead of just hers. Our combined ages equal 106!

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On the spur of the moment I decided to put together some jalapeno poppers to add to the meal. These are very easy to make, and all the guys loved them! I really don’t have a recipe that I follow, but I will try to give close estimates on the amounts. They are THM-friendly, too!

The jalapeno peppers that I used were huge! Our local Aldi had them in a package of 5 for less than 75 cents! The bigger peppers are much easier to work with than smaller ones.

5 jalapeno peppers

2-3 oz. cream cheese, softened

1 wedge of garlic and herb cheese (got mine at Aldi)

Sprinkles of onion powder, garlic powder, salt (to taste)

5 slices of bacon

Cut the peppers in half length-wise and remove the seeds. Combine the cheeses and spices and mix well. Spoon the cheese mixture into each pepper half, using all of it.

Wrap each stuffed pepper half with a slice of bacon and place on a jelly roll pan.

Bake in 350* oven for about 15-20 minutes. The bacon should be getting crispy. Enjoy!


Honey Garlic Slow-Cooker Meatballs

It is always a good feeling to see your adult children being successful out in the world. It is an especially good feeling for those of us who were home schooling moms! I remember the anxiety I felt when my children graduated from our home school and began their college careers. Would they do well in their classes? Would they participate in class discussions? How would they manage having a schedule of 6 different classes and 20-hours of part time work? Seriously, I was a nervous wreck while my kids were going to college. However, my worries were ridiculous! I have 2 that have graduated and gone on to their chosen career fields. They did well in school, even making the dean’s list several semesters. And they have done fantastic in their fields of work! I have 2 that have started college and are not yet finished, but have taken up other careers (military included) and plan to finish college at a later date. Whew! Big sigh of relief here!

Ben has recently taken up his military career and has his own apartment on base. A good friend of ours sent him off with a brand new crock pot and a pack of recipes. Ben always enjoyed fiddling around in the kitchen while he was at home, so I had no doubt that he would manage well by himself. After he moved into his apartment, he took some of the recipe cards and went grocery shopping on base. He got the ingredients for this recipe that he said is amazing. It sounds really good to me, too, so I will have to give it a try myself! It’s definitely not a THM recipe, but with a little tweaking, I could probably make it one!

1/4 cup brown sugar,

1/3 cup honey,

1/2 cup ketchup,

2 tablespoons soy sauce,

3 garlic cloves; peeled and minced,

1 (28oz.) bag of fully cooked, frozen meatballs.

In medium bowl, mix brown sugar, honey, ketchup, soy sauce, and garlic.Place frozen meatballs in crockpot and pour sauce on top. Cook on low for 4 hrs. stirring every 45 min. Serve with rice or in a sandwich.

Salsa Verde

May 1, 2015! Can you believe it is May already? Or maybe you are thinking that it is finally May! Either way, the year is passing quickly. One week from today my college senior commissions in the AF, and one week from tomorrow he graduates! How is that even possible?  My 3rd child is old enough to graduate from college?? It seems like only yesterday when we dropped him off, a scared knob at a military college. Today he is a confident senior, sure of his calling in life, and ready to do it.

May 1 is the 5th anniversary of The Cookbook Experiment!! We have had almost 17,000 views to the blog (just need 90 more!) and this post is #333!

May 1 is the 9-month mark since the hubby has been eating healthy and exercising. As of this morning, he is down 48 pounds! He has gone from a size 58 suit coat to a 46!! He will be in that uniform for the commissioning next week!!!

And just a bit of fun family trivia…we always made May 1 the birthday of the very first pet to join our family. We knew her birthday was around that date, so that was the date we chose for the vet records. Today is the 16th birthday of the first cat we ever had. Barbi wanted a calico kitten for her birthday that year. By the time we found one and went to get it, the owner had already given it away to another family. But they still had a solid black one which we took home that afternoon. Properly named Blackie, she has been a faithful pet for all these years.

Today’s recipe is a new one for me.  I often make fresh salsa during the summer when tomatoes are in abundance. However, when I realized that the 2 tiny cilantro plants that I put into the garden 2 years ago have become so prolific that I now have over 15 plants, I knew that I had to come up with some new recipes for cilantro! This recipe happened to be in our local paper this week. It is wonderfully easy! And the article written with the recipe gives lots of ideas for additions to the basic recipe as well as ways to serve it. So if you like green salsa, give this recipe a try!

2 cloves garlic

1/4 tsp. salt (the hubby said it needed more)

zest and juice of 2 limes

1 bunch cilantro, large stems removed

5 oz. fresh spinach leaves, stems removed

1/2 c. olive oil (I used less)

Put the garlic, salt, lime zest and juice into a food processor and process until garlic is chopped finely. Add cilantro, spinach leaves and part of the olive oil. Process until smooth, adding more oil as needed.


And that’s all there is to it!  I added a small onion and some peppers in with the garlic. Hubby thought it wasn’t quite hot enough for him, so he added some ground red pepper and some ground white pepper.

Other ideas can be using kale instead of spinach and adding tomatillos, capers, or jalapeno peppers.

This salsa can be served as a dipping sauce for chips or spooned over grilled chicken or fish.

Thai Grilled Chicken

We are approaching mid-August and already the hot and  hazy lazy days of summer are beginning to taper off.  We have had a few cooler mornings here lately which let me know that fall will be here before I realize it! A lot of schools are back in session already; others will start next week.  Sam and I began our 20th and final year of home schooling last Thursday. I can’t believe that my baby is a senior in high school!!  Like his brothers, he wants to go into the military….sigh.

With the slightly cooler temperatures comes a greater desire to cook out on the grill.  I know that lots of you grill outside all summer long, but here in the South, it is just too hot to stand over a grill!  This recipe for Thai Grilled Chicken is taken from a grilling cookbook that I picked up at the Aldi grocery store a few summers ago.  If you have never shopped at Aldi, you need to make a trip there if you desire to save on your grocery bill and don’t mind using off-brand foods.

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts

1/4 cup soy sauce

1 tsp minced garlic

1/2 tsp. olive oil

1/2 tsp. either ground red pepper or red pepper flakes

2 tbsp. honey

1 tbsp. lemon juice

Place chicken in shallow baking dish. Combine soy sauce, garlic and pepper. Pour over chicken; turn to coat. Let stand 10-15 minutes. Meanwhile, combine honey and lemon juice in a small bowl. Heat in microwave about 20 seconds to soften honey.

Spray cold grill with cooking spray. Prepare grill for direct cooking. Drain chicken and reserve marinade. Place chicken on grill over medium heat; brush with marinade. Discard remaining marinade. Grill, covered, about 6 minutes. Brush both sides of chicken with honey mixture. Grill 6-8 minutes more or until chicken is not pink in center and juices run clear.  Serve with rice and stir-fried broccoli pieces.

If it is still too hot at your house to grill outside, this chicken also makes up great in a skillet on the stove!