Friday, October 31, 2014

Moist Meatloaf

By Lisa VanWilliams

This is not your typical meatloaf recipe but it is a serious dose of comfort food the whole family will enjoy. It has a few extra things in there that flavor the meat and give it a softer texture. The sauce bakes into the meat and gives a little burst of barbeque flavor you don't expect. Plus it's super moist and great for sandwiches the next day. 

1 pound ground beef 80/20 or leaner
1/4 cup milk
1 egg
1/4 to 1/2 cup seasoned breadcrumbs
salt & pepper
1 clove fresh chopped/minced garlic
dash of garlic powder
1 tablespoon Teriyaki sauce
1/2 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon mustard (we use Gulden's)
1/4 cup your favorite barbeque sauce
1/4 cup ketchup

Preheat oven to 350. Add meat to bowl and break it apart. Pour in the milk and mash it together, break it down so it's kind of mushy. Add the egg in.  Now you need to add the breadcrumbs to thicken it back up to the right sticky meatloaf consistency. Add the salt & pepper, fresh garlic and powder, teriyaki, Worcestershire, and mustard and mix together.  Throw it in a casserole dish and flatten it out.  In a cup mix together your barbeque and ketchup and spoon over the top of the meatloaf mix.  Bake it oven uncovered 1/2 hour until all bubbly. Enjoy!

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Facebook Etiquette 5 Dos and Don'ts

By Lisa VanWilliams

It's officially over ten years now since Facebook has been born. It's drastically impacted several areas and created new outlets for others like marketing, socialism, blogging, media, and health to just name a few.  You can become part of groups that have similar interests, you can friend anyone in the world that has crossed your path that you want to stay in touch with. There is no Emily Post on Facebook to go over proper etiquette, but everyone should try to follow some simple social rules.

As of March 2013, Facebook reported having 1.11 billion monthly active users, globally.*

It's not just friends & family, it's acquaintances, career colleagues, and more than meets the eye. So when you post something, you should take some things into consideration.

1. Do like and comment on all your friends best photos. Try not to sabotage them with unflattering pictures and nights that should be better left forgotten.

2. Don't fight on Facebook.  That includes judging others, making nasty comments (If you cant say anything nice, don't say anything at all), and having respect.  There is a time and a place talk to someone if you have something to say, and Facebook is not it. It's awkward for everyone, and it makes you look bad in front of everyone intertwined.
We love the saying, "If you have a problem with me, give me a call. If you don't have my number then that means you don't know me well enough to have a problem...."

3. Don't post private matters, message them instead.  No one wants to know if your Aunt Meg's foot fungus has cleared up. Try to filter what other people don't need to know.  Or you can always go old school and pick up the phone.

4. Do be mindful of what you post.  We all come from different backgrounds, cultures, religions, and beliefs. What you might think is harmless, could end up hurting someone's feelings. 

5. Do share.  Share your great days, beautiful families, happy moments, life-changing days, hard times, and great ideas because the people that truly LOVE you want to see this. 


Spooktacular Fruit Cups

By Lisa VanWilliams

Today was my daughters first Pre-K Halloween party and we sent her in with these little fruit cups for her class. We heard they were a big hit. It's all about presentation and even the little ones get excited when they see something they like.  We found the clear cups and pumpkin trays from the Dollar store and you can use any mix of fruit you prefer.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Shepherd's Pie

By Lisa VanWilliams

I think my husband would eat this every night if I would make it for him. This is a twist on a traditional English recipe that will fill any hungry man's stomach guaranteed and it tastes even better the next day.  It has a few easy steps and it can be made pretty quickly.

6 potatoes peeled, cooked, & mashed
1 pound ground beef 80/20
1 medium onion diced
1/2 red pepper diced
1/2 green pepper diced
2 cloves garlic diced
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1/2 tablespoon Montreal Steak seasoning
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
salt & pepper
1 cup frozen peas
1 can cream of corn
1 can whole kernel corn
1/2 cup shredded Romano or Parmesan
1/3 cup grated Parmesan
couple dashes of Paprika on top

Start by peeling, cooking and mashing the potatoes. Put to side.  Preheat oven to 350. Then in a pan add olive oil, peppers, garlic, and onions and sauté them until they are soft.

Add your hamburger meat, salt & pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, Montreal Steak seasoning, Worcestershire sauce, and cook until meat is no longer pink.  Add in the frozen peas once the meat is almost cooked and stir together. 

Put your meat mix into the bottom of a 13X9 pan.

Now you layer it up.  Add your whole kernel corn and then add the cream corn over that and spread it out evenly. 

Dollop your mashed potatoes across the meat mixture and then spread them out. 

Sprinkle top with grated cheese, then shredded cheese, and finish with Paprika on top. 

Bake in oven 1/2 hour on 350 until it starts to brown. Enjoy !

Indian Corn

By Lisa VanWilliams

Indian corn makes its annual appearance every October and November and it's beautiful rich color palette seems to represent Fall perfectly.  Indian corn is a result of cross pollination and there are tons of hybrid varieties offering a multitude of colors and textures.  Ornamental corn is a great way to seasonally brighten up your home with come colorful kernels. Hang them on the door, put them in big basket, crate, or box, tie them to some string and hang on the fence, or surround a nice big candle.

Here are a few ideas:


Monday, October 27, 2014

Decorating With Lanterns

By Lisa VanWilliams

We love the nostalgic look of lanterns and they can warm up any spot with a few decorating ideas. Whether your going for a Moroccan theme, beach & nautical décor, seasonal flair, or just want a showcase for your candle, there are tons of ideas that can be done with these to cozy up your home.  You can find these lanterns all over the place like Home Goods, Marshalls, Pottery Barn, & Christmas Tree Shops just to name a few. Find one you like, and be inspired !


Saturday, October 25, 2014

Buttermilk Whole Wheat Flour Fried Chicken

By Lisa VanWilliams

This lightly crusted crisp chicken is great to warm you up any night of the week, and it tastes just as delicious as it looks. The buttermilk makes the chicken nice and moist and you can spice it up to any level.  Canola oil is low in saturated fat and it promotes healthy cardiovascular function.

If you have a cast iron pan, use it for this. These would be great with some honey mustard dip, or you can do like we did and put them onto a pile of mashed potatoes and corn. That's a plate of home-style Southern comfort food right there.

4 chicken breasts cut into chunks
1 1/2 cups buttermilk
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
1 teaspoon salt & pepper
1 teaspoon Cajun spice or Cayenne (more if you need a kick)
dash of Worcestershire Sauce
dash of tabasco
2 cups whole wheat flour
1 tablespoon baking soda
1 tablespoon onion powder
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon paprika
Canola oil

Place your cut up chicken pieces in a bowl or plastic bag to marinate for 1/2 hour up to overnight. Pour in the buttermilk, and then add the mustard, salt & pepper, Cajun or Cayenne, and a dash of both sauces. Mix it all up, cover and refrigerate.
In another bowl or flat pan, pour the whole wheat flour.  Then add in the baking soda, onion powder, garlic powder, and paprika. Mix together. When you are ready to start frying take pieces of the chicken out of marinade (drip dry off lightly) and drop them into the flour mix and coat them. Pile them up until your oil is nice and hot and drop them into hot oil and cook them up until they are nice and brown. Enjoy!

Fab Peeler

By Lisa VanWilliams

Using these peelers is as easy as putting butter on bread. If you missed out on these at the Big E and did not get these steals (it was $12 for two), you can still order them online.  Eggplants, potatoes, turnips, & cucumbers will mock you no more.   Zena Swiss brand has been making peelers since 1947 and the Rex is the model of the peeler.  They have great reviews online and you can find these on Amazon for $5.59 here:

For more info about the company, their products & styles, you can view at:

I will be posting an awesome recipe soon that could require some peeling.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Garlic & Sage Fontina Baguette

By Lisa VanWilliams

If you are looking for a new twist on garlic bread, you might want to try this one out.  The buttery flavor of the Fontina cheese pairs great with the aromatic roasted garlic and sage to make this rustic bread.  You can switch up the herbs if you prefer rosemary and thyme instead.

1 French baguette cut in half
6 roasted garlic cloves (some stores have pre-roasted at deli bar)
3-4 large sage leaves
1/4 cup olive oil
sprinkle of garlic powder
dash of basil, parsley, & oregano
salt & pepper

Cut baguette in half. Puree or mash all ingredients together and spread on bread. Top with a few pieces of Fontina and broil until bubbly, crusty, and brown. Enjoy!

Thursday, October 23, 2014

iPad Cover Cases

By Lisa VanWilliams

If you are clumsy or let your kids use your iPad, you might like this product. We love our protective cover case and I know it's saved our iPad from breaking more than once for sure.  Don't let this happen to your device. For $19.95 Amazon sells these great cover cases by KaysCase Kidbox that will save and protect accidents like this from happening. They have great reviews and come in a rainbow of colors.  Check them out on

Wall Art Decals

By Lisa VanWilliams

We love these easy to do wall decals that make a big impact. You can use them as a focal point in your house or you can add some fun characters to your kids rooms.  We have a Disney Princess room for my daughter and a Thomas the Train room for our son. The best part is when they are done with this phase, they just peel off the wall with no damage and onto the next stage!

Here are few ideas:

You can find these decals online at tons of places and there are so many different options and styles to choose from - find something that inspires you and brighten up that plain tired wall!