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February 2018
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Let’s have more meals at the family table!

Family dinners at the table…THIS has been on my mind for a past couple weeks. I do it in my household, almost every day.  I do have younger children.  I understand that it does get tougher as children grow older and have activities after school, but it is SO important.  I guess I never thought that there was any other way to have your dinner. Since I was a child, even in a divorced household, we always had every meal we ate in our home at our kitchen table.  Since my addiction of reality tv, I now see that rarely do families sit down together and also, a very alarming thing to me is that tons of families aren’t even feeding their children vegetables, that just blows me away!

Now, I’m not saying i’m perfect and I’m not expecting families who never eat together to start eating at the table 5 days a week, but you sure as hell can set a goal and go from there! Try two nights a week and build from that. Even if you are crunched for time and have to order a pizza, bring it to the table, it still counts!  Here are some benefits from having family meals together (courtesy of WebMD):


  • Everyone eats healthier meals.
  • Kids are less likely to become overweight or obese.
  • Kids more likely to stay away from cigarettes.
  • They’re less likely to drink alcohol.
  • They won’t likely try marijuana.
  • They’re less likely to use illicit drugs.
  • School grades will be better.
  • You and your kids will talk more.
  • You’ll be more likely to hear about a serious problem.
  • Kids will feel like you’re proud of them.
  • There will be less stress and tension at home.

And here’s another tidbit, it doesn’t take super mom or super dad to do this. There are so many ways to whip up a healthy meal in a jiffy. I am a stay at home mom and also going back in school myself, so my schedule is super crazy and I still manage to get it done.  Another fun thing we do every night at the table is a game called “Roses and Thorns” it’s a great conversation starter and a fantastic way to find out something about your child’s day that you may have normally never found out about. The game is simple, go around the table and each person states their “rose” or, best part of the day, and then they state their “thorn” which is the worst part of their day. Everyone plays…mom and dad, or grandma, or aunt and uncle…everyone at the table participates.

Here is  a simple, healthy family meal that is easy to make. Combining lean red meat, brocolli, and tomatoes is a great way to get key absorption of iron and vitamin C.

Erin’s Goulash

2 lbs lean ground meat (you can use chicken, beef, pork, turkey) sometimes I  do 1lb ground beef, 1lb sweet italian sausage

1 large chopped sweet onion

2 cups uncooked  elbow macaroni

1- 29 oz can tomato sauce

2 cans diced tomatoes

3 cloves garlic minced

2-3 cups of water

2 bay leaves

2 tablespoons soy sauce

Lawry’s seasoning salt and fresh cracked pepper to taste

Cook ground meat, garlic and onion in large stock pot or dutch oven, drain grease. Add tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, soy sauce, water, and bay leaves to pot. Bring to a boil, then add uncooked elbow mac. Turn heat down to medium, cover with lid and simmer 20 minutes. Next turn heat to low or off and goulash will thicken.

Serve with fresh steamed brocolli and your kids will have maximum absorption of vitamin c and iron from combining the red meat and veggies!

If anyone has any questions about nutrition and sneaky ways to get healthy foods into your childrens’ diet, feel free to email me at

Taco Stew


I found this recipe on the wildly popular Crock Pot Girls Facebook page. They do a crock pot video on You Tube every Monday. This was their recipe last Monday. I use creamed corn instead of regular or frozen corn.

This is basically a kicked up chilli. It has the best flavor and I’m pretty sure we will be making this instead of regular chilli forever more. It is THAT good!

Taco Stew

1lb cooked & drained ground beef (you can cook with half a chopped onion as well, I prefer with the onion)

1 can Rotel

1 can diced tomatoes

1 can Ranch Style Beans (any flavor)

1 can Ranch Style Pinto Beans

*NOTE* For my friends out east and in the midwest you could use a can of Busch’s southwest flavor grillin beans and then a regular can of pinto beans since you don’t have Ranch Style brand out there.

1 pkg taco seasoning

1 pkg dry ranch dressing mix

1 can creamed corn

Spray inside of crock pot with non stick cooking spray. Add cooked ground beef and all ingredients into crock pot. Cook on low 4-6 hours. I usually turn to ‘Warm’ after five hours. Serve with cheese, sour cream, tortilla chips or Fritos. 🙂

Baked Potato Casserole


I got this recipe from my aunt who is a great cook and baker. She even said that she would not normally use instant potatoes for anything, but it works great in this. It is very delicious and an easier version of a twiced baked potato.


2 pouches of Idahoan original mashed instant potatoes

1/2 cup cream cheese

1/2 cup sour cream

5 slices bacon- cooked and chopped into bits

1-pkg of dry ranch dressing mix

Shredded cheddar cheese- approx half of a bag

Prepare instant potatoes according to instructions. Add sour cream, cream cheese, ranch mix, bacon, and generous handful of cheese. My measurements of the sour cream and cream cheese were approximate amounts, as I did not measure it. Please taste this and make adjustments if necessary. Pour into a 9 x 13 pan that has been sprayed with non stick cooking spray. Top with more shredded cheese. Bake for 20-30 minutes at 350.

Sunday Gravy


So, maybe I watch a little too much “Sopranos” & “Real Housewives of New Jersey,” cause I am ALWAYS craving Italian food lately. Clicking on a blog the other day I saw a recipe for ‘Sunday Gravy with braised meats.’ Well, reading gravy/braised/meats totally sold me. The first recipe called for fennel powder (which I knew I would never find) and white wine. I only had merlot on hand, then it made me wonder if this recipe could vary and boy it sure did!  After looking at about seven different blogs I took bit and pieces from each and compiled a recipe that turned out delicious! Bon apetit!

Sunday Gravy


1 pkg sweet or hot italian sausage
1 rack of baby back ribs
2- 28 oz cans of crushed tomatoes
5- fresh basil leaves chopped
Handful fresh chopped Italian flat parsely
4 large cloves of garlic put thru a press or finely diced
3 tablespoons tomato paste
3/4 cup red wine
1 sweet onion diced
1 tsp beef bullion (or one cube)
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tsp fennel seeds crushed up
Salt & pepper

This gravy needs to simmer for at least three hours so be sure to use a dutch oven or a thick bottomed pot.

Strip the membrane off the back of your baby back ribs. If you don’t strip the membrane they will not be as tender.

Season your ribs as you’d like, I used Lawry’s seasoned salt & pepper.

Cut ribs in two rib pieces, meanwhile heat dutch oven to med-high with olive oil to cover bottom.

Sear off the sausage & ribs, in batches if necesaary. Remove meat & turn heat down a bit.

Now, add onion and garlic and sweat down for a few minutes. Turn heat to medium-low, add tomato paste, and allow to cook a few minutes longer while scraping off bottom of pan to get the meaty bits loose.

Add boillon base and red wine. If you have white wine use white, either is fine. Bring to simmer.

Add rest of ingredients except meat. Bring to low simmer, then add meat. Keep on low simmer for 3 to 5 hours.

Serve with pasta, green salad, and crusty Italian bread. Hope you love it as much as my family did! 🙂

FREE Dinner & Movie at AMC Esplanade 14

All right food lovers…don’t say I never gave you anything for free. This offer extends out to anybody reading this that is living in the Phoenix area. The amazingly cool people at AMC Theaters are offering all of my local readers a totally free movie and dinner to celebrate the re-opening of AMC Esplanade 14 as a Dine-In theater.  They are offering my readers a free ticket along with a free entree and free fountain drink. There are a lot of links to follow, but each link coincides with a different date. This offer is only good until this Saturday, September 3rd. To get the free movie ticket you need to register with gofobo first.  After you click on the movie time of your choice it will take you to gofobo, then you can create an account with a link at the top.

Explore the links below to find the perfect time this week for you to see a movie in a cool, comfortable AMC theater and dine free.  Act now before space is gone and thank me later 😉   Also, don’t be a cheapskate, tip your servers accordingly!!