WHAT'S FOR DINNER? HOMEMADE CORN DOGS - gluten free version too

8-10 hot dogs, room temp! If you don't have them at room temp, they'll be ugly like mine are.

Mix & set aside for 10 minutes:
1 C Bisquick (For gluten free, Bisquick makes a gluten free Bisquick!!)
2 T cornmeal
1/2 t dry mustard
1/4 t paprika
1/8 t cayenne
1 egg

Heat the oil over medium-high heat
approx 6 C vegetable oil (2 inches high in the pan)

Dip and coat your dog in Bisquick mixture. Place 2 dipped dogs in the hot oil. Only 2 at a time or the temp of the oil will drop. Cook turning with metal slotted spoon for 2 minutes or until golden brown.

Drain on paper towel and insert sticks if desired.


Preheat oven 350°. Mix together: 1 T garlic powder, 1 T seasoned salt & 1 t pepper. Sprinkle both sides of 5-6 chicken breasts. Place in pan and bake, uncovered for 16-28 minutes or until it's mostly cooked through.

Meanwhile, sautee 8 oz sliced mushrooms, 3 T minced red onion & 2-4 cloves minced garlic with 1/4 C butter & 2 T olive oil over medium heat. Do NOT salt mushrooms before they're browned or they won't ever brown. When the mushrooms are browned, deglaze the pan with 1/2 C white wine. Cook a minute or two until it's reduced. Add 2 bags spinach (or 1 large bag like from Costco). Stir occasionally until spinach is wilted. Add 4 oz cream cheese & 1/4 C Parmesan. Stir until melted. Season with salt & pepper.

Remove chicken from oven. Turn chicken over & divide and top with spinach mixture. Sprinkle shredded mozzarella cheese on top of each breast. Place pan back in oven and cook for 12-14 minutes longer.


Using a melon baller, make balls out of apples. Melt Kraft caramels with 2 T water according to package directions. Put sticks in round part of apple balls, skin side down. Dip in caramel, covering completely. Place on waxed paper.

WHAT WE'RE MAKING? FREE Table Decorations for holidays, birthdays and other parties using paint chips

I'm having Thanksgiving at my house for the first time in my life. Although I'm excited about it, I can't stop thinking about what to use as a centerpiece. While in Walmart, I had the perfect, FREE idea.

Now this type of thing doesn't just have to be for just Thanksgiving, you could use any colors for other events: Christmas, Hanukkah, birthdays, Easter, 4th of July, weddings, etc.

Now I know that confetti is not a new idea. Make your own large confetti using FREE paint chips from Walmart, Lowe's, Home Depot, etc. and a shaped punch tool from Stampin' Up or Hobby Lobby; the possibilities are endless.

While at Walmart, the kids & I picked around 10 different but matching colors. I took as many as I wanted, ok maybe left a couple of each color but they didn't seem to care. I even asked two different employees, one that laughed at me. When we got home, we had a "punch" party on the floor with the kids. Now throw (or place) them on your table.

WHAT'S FOR BREAKFAST? Bananas Foster Syrup for pancakes, french toast, crepes, etc.

Melt 1/4 C unsalted butter with 1/4 C brown sugar in saucepan over medium heat. Stir in 1/2 C maple syrup then add 3 sliced bananas and stir to coat. Cook 1-2 minutes longer to thicken, constantly stirring. Remove from heat. Serve.


I made beef stew from the pot roast I made yesterday. But I didn't have any bread or crackers to serve with it, like I thought I did. I remember that my mom bakes leftover pie crust with cinnamon and sugar, why couldn't I use pie crust to make salted crackers?

With homemade or store bought pie crust, cut out shapes using a biscuit, cookie cutter or glass. Prick with fork, sprinkle sea salt on top. Bake for 6-7 minutes at 450°.


Boil 1 lb or more chicken breast, thighs or tenders for 15 minutes.
Remove slice, reserve 1 3/4 C chicken broth. 

Make a roux by melting 1/3 C butter. Saute 1/3 C diced onion then add 1/3 C flour & 1/2 t salt. Gradually add 2/3 C milk then the reserved broth, stirring constantly. Add chicken and cook down for 5-10 minutes.


Cook 2 chicken breasts, diced with 1 T spicy grill seasoning or other. Set aside. Melt 3 T butter over medium heat. Add 1/4 C + 1 T flour, 2 cloves minced garlic. Stir well. Gradually add 3 C milk, whisking constantly. Remove from heat. Ad 1 C shredded mozzarella & 1/4 C shredded Parmesan. Add half pound cooked pasta, the cooked chicken & 1/2 C diced sun dried tomatoes. Top with 1/4 C shredded Parmesan & 1/4 C Italian bread crumbs. Bake at 400° for 25 minutes uncovered. 


5 lb brisket, fat trimmed
1 T olive oil
salt & pepper to taste
1 lg onion, quartered
6 oz tomato paste
4 cloves minced garlic
2-4 C beef broth
1 small bag baby carrots
3 potatoes
parsley, to taste

In oil, brown brisket on all sides in a Dutch oven pot. Cover. Place rest of ingredients (except for potatoes & parsley) in pot and bake for 2 hours on  375°. Remove brisket & slice. Return to pot, add potatoes, cover and cook another 3-4 hours on 325°.


In a food processor, chop:
18 large Oreos

1/4 C melted butter

Spread and press in the bottom of a greased pan.

In a double broiler, mix & melt:
14 oz can sweetened condensed milk
1 t vanilla
1 C semisweet chocolate chips

Spread on top of Oreo crust.

Sprinkle 1 C semisweet chocolate chips & 1 C little snack size Oreos on top OR 6 regular sized Oreos broken by hand.

Bake 20 - 25 minutes on 325°. 
Let cool completely before cutting or they'll fall apart. 


Combine & mix in a bowl:
2 small apples, diced
2 t lemon juice
1/2 t cinnamon
1/4 C sugar
2 T flour
8 caramels, chopped

Using homemade or store bought pie crust, use a round biscuit cutter or a glass to make small circles, 2 for each pie. Place a teaspoon or more of the apple mixture in the middle of a pie crust circle. Sprinkle a pinch of sea salt on top. Place another pie crust circle on top. Using a fork, crimp the edges & poke holes in the top to vent. Brush on egg wash (1 egg white mixed with 1 T water) & sprinkle with sugar. 
Bake in a preheated oven 450° for 15 minutes. Cool at least 10 minutes before serving. 

WHAT'S FOR DINNER? Chicken Parmigiana

Lay in a pan:
2 chicken breasts, halved

4 T tomato paste
1 T basil
1 T oregano
1 T rosemary
2 cloves minced garlic

Divide and spread on top of chicken.

Top with:
slices of mozzarella
1/4 c Parmesan

pepper, if desired

Bake at 425° for 20 minutes. 


1 C citrus juice
(we used grapefruit, other could be lemon, lime, pineapple, orange, key lime, etc.)
1 C heavy cream or full fat coconut milk
3 T honey, agave or other sweetener
(we used The Date Lady's date syrup)
1/4 t citrus extract or essential oil
(we used Young Living's grapefruit essential oil)
1/2 t vanilla

Blend well. Pour into molds. Let stand 5 minutes and cap/stick. Place them in the freezer for at least 6 hours.

WHAT'S FOR DESSERT? German Chocolate Date Balls

In a food processor, blend:
3/4 C dates
We use Date Lady dates!
1/2 t vanilla
1/16 t salt
2 T cocoa
2 T shredded coconut
1/2 C pecans

Roll into balls.
Makes 10-14. 

If they're too sticky, you can always roll them in a nut flour or powdered sugar.


Whatever your recipe for Pie Crust is, it should be good and flaky, even if it's Pillsbury. 

Use a bowl or ramekin to cut out circles in the dough. Brush edges with water. Drop a dollop Nutella in the center of each. Fold over to seal with a fork. Prick centers with fork. Place on parchment paper lined cookie sheet. Brush with egg wash. Bake at 350° for 15-20 minutes or until golden. 


1 1/2 C Bisquick
For GLUTEN FREE, use GF Bisquick
1 1/2 C shredded cheese
1/2 C milk

Mix & drop on cookie sheet. Bake 10 minutes at 400°.

2 T melted butter
1 T oregano
3/4 t garlic powder

Mix and brush on baked biscuits.

Bake another 5 minutes at 400° then 5-6 minutes at 350°.



Fill glass 1/3 full red CranApple juice
Fill to top with ice.
SLOWLY pour 1/3 full white Sobe Pina Colada
SLOWLY pour the rest of the way with blue G2 Gatorade
Serve immediately.


1/2 C mayo
1/4 C shredded Parmesan
(get the good stuff)
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, halved
1 T Italian seasoned bread crumbs

Mix together the mayo & cheese. Spread on top of chicken. 
Sprinkle with bread crumbs. Bake at 425° for 20 minutes.

Cheesy Corn

Pour 1 bag frozen onions & 1 bag frozen corn in a skillet. Heat over medium high heat until liquid is gone and it starts to brown. Add a little olive oil and saute until starting to brown a little. Add 1 large finely chopped tomato & 8 oz Queso Blanco Velvetta. Stir until melted and mixed through.


My dad gave me all his old silk ties he wasn't wearing anymore. I've been trying to think what I was going to do with them and yesterday morning, I had a great idea...for at least a few of them.

Lay out your tie. Start pleating/folding it in areas that's pleasing to your eye using straight pins to hold it. Keep in mind you'll need it to slip over and off your head.

Hand stitching: Turn the tie over and tack down the folds from the back side of tie.

Machine stitching: Stitch the pleats into place, as I did.

Decide where or even if you need to cut off the tie at the smallest side.
I had to cut off about 6". Turn the end under a couple of times and stitch.
Then decide where to place it to the large part of the tie and pin it. Using a needle and thread, tack it down being careful not to go all the way through to the front of the tie. Finally, tack on your vintage button or other embellishment(s). 

WHAT'S FOR DINNER? WHITE PIZZA with homemade crust and sauce

It's hard cooking for a food critic, especially when you're married to one. I feel like I have to cook as well as a culinary artist. And thus I'm always trying new recipes, making recipes up and constantly in the kitchen. It might just be easier if I went to culinary school. Hmmmmm.....

I've tried for years to find the perfect pizza crust recipe. Most of the ones I've tried are too thick, airy, etc. and not like the pizza crust you'd find at a pizza parlor. After my long search for the Holy Grail of crusts, I think I've found it. It's the most perfect pizza crust, in my humble opinion and Ryan says it's fabulous. 

Pizza Crust

2 1/4 t yeast
1/2 t brown sugar
1 1/2 C warm water
1 t salt
2 T olive oil
3 1/2 C flour

Mix well. Rise 1 hour. Knead. If you like a thinner crust, divide dough in half. Roll out onto cornmeal using a little flour for the stickiness, as needed. Preheat oven 425°. If you're NOT using a seasoned pizza stone, rise 15-20 minutes first. Top with toppings and bake for 15-20 minutes.

For WHITE PIZZA: top homemade crust with white sauce, mozzarella & shredded chicken

White Sauce 

1 clove minced garlic
2 T butter
3 T flour
1 C milk
1/4 t salt
1/8 t pepper
2 T basil
1/2 C Parmesan or Romano cheese, shredded

Heat butter in a small saucepan. Add garlic and cook for a minute. Add flour and stir until thoroughly mixed. Slowly whisk in milk, adding gradually. Stir in remaining ingredients. Will thicken upon standing.