Posted by: Lauren | December 5, 2010


Saturday morning I woke up to this:


So cozy, but Joe was working, so I bummed around and didn’t feel like driving in it, or rather trying to get out of the driveway.

So I made these:


Mama Pea’s Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Dough Balls. Joe was home by the time I made them, so he ate copious amounts of dough and thought it was delicious. I ate a bite once they cooled and was amazed at how they melted in my mouth. They are very rich! My sweets appetite has been totally off though, so just a bite to test was fine by me.



I’m so weird, sometimes I am a total cookie monster and can eat 7 cookies in a day (yes, did that a few weeks ago with these vegan Super Charge Me Cookies), and other times (very few) I make big batches of cookies and give them away and don’t even feel like one. Anyone else like this? I know, I’m weird.

Here are the changes I made to the Dough Balls:

  • replaced the margarine with organic butter
  • used 1.5 cups of white wheat flour instead of the mix of whole wheat pastry and all purpose (I didn’t have the whole wheat pastry flour).
  • used 1 cup semi sweet chips instead of 1/2 cup chocolate chips and 1/2 cup peanut butter chips (I only can find peanut butter chips with nasty ingredients, so I was fine with just the peanut butter in the dough).
  • I was able to get 2 dozen dough balls out of the recipe (it is a very dry dough that comes together when you mold the dough in your hand). I also baked them on parchment paper, because that stuff is amazing.

I’ll be baking some more and bringing them to a Christmas Cookie Exchange with my Bible study girls on Tuesday!

Earlier for lunch I made us a meal we’ve been loving:


Scrambled eggs, Dr. Praeger’s veggie burger (I just cut one in half for lunch, hence why you can’t see it under the pickle), baked sweet potato (wrapped in foil and baked at 350 for one hour in toaster oven), and salad with apple and peppers topped with Trader Joe’s Champaign gorgonzola dressing. Mmmm I love this meal! (We eat our scrambled eggs with organic ketchup and the veg burgers with mustard.)

For dinner I made a recipe that my Aunt Sharon sent to me, but had to make several changes based on what I had on hand. I’ll share her recipe, and my adapted one as well! It was deeelish!


Chicken Tetrazzini (my adapted version)

  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped
  • 1/2 large onion, chopped
  • 1/2 package sliced and chopped mushrooms
  • Cream of Chicken substitute*
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 3/4 cup whole milk
  • 1/4 cup parmesan cheese
  • 1 tsp each sea salt and pepper
  • 8 oz spaghetti, broken in half, cooked al dente
  • 3 chicken breasts, boiled and chopped
  • 1/3 cup panko bread crumbs
  • 1/3 cup parmesan cheese

*Cream of Chicken Substitute

  • 1 Tbsp butter
  • 3 Tbsp flour
  • 1/2 chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • salt and pepper

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

2. Melt butter in a skillet.

3. Saute onions, mushrooms, and celery just until tender.

4. Add wine, allow to cook for a minute, then add soup, milk, stirring to blend. Cook until mixture thickens somewhat.

5. Add parmesan and chicken. Season with salt and pepper.

6. In the bottom of a lightly greased 13×9 baking dish, scatter cooked pasta.

7. Pour soup mixture over pasta and top with parmesan cheese and bread crumbs.

8. Bake 25-30 minutes.


Aunt Sharon’s Turkey Tetrazzini

  • 2 T butter
  • 1 bunch green onions
  • 1 or more stalks of celery
  • 8 oz linguini, broken in half, cooked al dente
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 cups chopped turkey breast
  • 1 can cream of chicken soup
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine (or dry cooking sherry)
  • 1 cup extra sharp shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup half and half
  • 1/2 cup parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 cup panko crumbs
  • sauteed mushrooms or jar mushrooms (optional)

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2. Melt butter in a skillet.

3. Saute onions and celery just until tender.

4. Add soup, wine, milk, and cream, stirring to blend. Cook until some of wine evaporates and mixture thickens somewhat.

5. Add cheddar cheese and turkey.

6. Add salt and pepper (sauteed mushrooms if deisred).

7. In the bottom of laightly greased 9×13 inch baking dish, scatter pasta

8. Pour soup mixture over pasta and top with Parmesan cheese and panko crumbs. Bake 25-30 minutes.


YUM! I always loved it when my mom made Turkey Tetrazzini growing up. This a definitely a “comfy” meal to have in the wintertime.

Some more comfy food:

This sad picture does not do this dish justice! My Aunt Kathy gave me this slow cooker calendar that has some awesome recipes in it. This one was called “Football Bean Serve” but I think I’ll call it…

Turkey Bean Stoup this serves 12, but it didn’t last long around here! I’m sharing my adapted recipe:

  • 1 lb ground turkey
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 cups diced celery
  • 2-3 cups diced carrots
  • 2 15-oz. cans kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 or 2 15-oz cans pinto beans, drained and rinsed (I used one)
  • 2 15-oz. cans diced tomatoes
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 Tbsp. garlic powder
  • 1 Tbsp. dried oregano
  • 1 Tbsp. cumin powder
  • <1 Tbsp. sea salt (calls for 1 Tbsp, I used just shy of that)

1. Brown turkey with onions in a skillet over medium heat (I added a little EVOO). Add celery and carrots and cook until just wilted. Place in slow cooker.

2. Add remaining ingredients. Stir to combine.

3. Cover and cook on low 6-8 hours (I cooked it for 6 hours).

4. Serve over cooked brown rice. Serve with sprinkled cheese on top if desired.

This is a keeper recipe that everyone will like, serves a crowd, and is so easy! It isn’t chili, but it isn’t soup, so we’ll go with stoup a la Rachael Ray.

I bulked up some pasta sauce with eggplant sautéed in olive oil with garlic, spinach, and roasted plum tomatoes. I love hearty, veggie heavy pasta.


I’ve made this soup several times this season and people really enjoy it, and it couldn’t be easier. I made this at my sister’s and I told her, “It looks pretty plain, but I think it tastes really good.” Then she took a bite and was amazed and was so impressed with how flavorful it is. I think the onion and garlic sautéed in olive oil is key.

Easy Vegetable Soup

  • 1/2 onion, chopped
  • 1 tsp garlic, minced
  • 1-2 tsp olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp each sea salt and pepper
  • 2 carrots, chopped
  • 32 oz organic chicken broth
  • 1 cup mixed frozen vegetables
  • 1/2 or 1 cup cooked brown rice, or 1/2 cup minute brown rice

1. Saute onion and garlic in olive oil on medium heat until soft, then add chopped carrot and cook for several minutes. Add frozen vegetables and salt and pepper and cook several more minutes.

2. Add chicken broth either cooked brown rice, or I had a box of “Minute Brown Rice” so I added 1/2 cup of that directly. It is partially precooked, so it won’t absorb the broth like uncooked brown rice would, and it cooks in just 10 minutes. Enjoy!


Isn’t Katie’s centerpiece pretty? It was from a wedding. 🙂


I love my sissy and Joe and I love hanging out with her and Sam. Katie and I are usually in sweats on these comfy cozy nights…


I found this photo on my camera that Joe took of K and my feet. Thought it was funny.


After about 7 years, Joe and I got new glasses…nice little break for our contact wearing eyes.

Or you can just call us 4 eyes.

Oh and check out Joe’s Christmas colors. I won’t deny that that was done on purpose.

He’s cute.


Sam made deeelicious bbq pepperoni pizza.


I made this tasty quinoa dish for Joe and I for lunch last weekend when we were so busy raking, cleaning up the attic, decorating, and hanging the lights outside. It was so easy and fast.


Greek Quinoa

  • 1 cup quinoa (cooked to package directions)
  • Sea salt and pepper
  • Chopped plum tomato
  • Sliced pepperoncini peppers
  • Feta cheese

Combine and enjoy!

I don’t care for savory things for breakfast, but I love eggs for lunch and dinner. One day for lunch I sautéed purple cabbage, carrots, peppers, and frozen peas and corn in butter with some salt and pepper and enjoyed these veggies with 2 over easy eggs and hot sauce.


Look at those colors!


Healthier Eggplant Parmesan

This may be healthier, but it is just as tasty as the original! I baked the eggplant in a similar way to these Zucchini Chips with the help of a recipe from Eating Well.


  • 2 medium sized eggplants, sliced 1/4 in thick
  • 1 jar pasta sauce
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 Tbsp water
  • 1/2 cup panko bread crumbs
  • 1/2 cup breadcrumbs
  • 1/2 cup parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 tsp each salt and pepper
  • sprinkle of mozzarella cheese

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Place parchment paper on baking sheet.

2. Whisk together eggs and water. In a separate bowl, combine panko, breadcrumbs, parmesan, salt and pepper.

3.Dredge eggplant slices in egg and panko mixture. Lay on parchment paper and bake for 15 minutes, turn the eggplant slices over, and bake for 15 more minutes.

4. In a 13×9 in baking dish layer sauce, eggplant, sauce, eggplant, sauce and top with mozzarella cheese. Bake uncovered for 15-20 minutes.

This is just as good as the fried version!

Saw this on sweet Heather’s blog for some Elvis inspired waffles, specifically peanut butter waffles with grilled bananas and bacon. Um, yes. Go here for her recipe and links.



Cinnamon Roasted Nuts recipe adapted from here

  • 4 cups mixed nuts (I used 1 cup almonds, 1 cup pecans, 1 cup walnuts, and 1 cup peanuts. I’ve also made these with a bag of mixed nuts. I would’ve added cashews! They’re delicious in this!)
  • 1 egg white or 3 Tbsp liquid egg whites
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  1. Preheat oven to 250 degrees F (120 degrees C). Place parchment paper on jelly role or baking sheet.
  2. Lightly beat the egg white; add vanilla extract, and beat until frothy but not stiff. Add the nuts, and stir until well coated. Mix the sugar, salt, and cinnamon, and sprinkle over the nuts. Toss to coat, and spread evenly on the prepared pan.
  3. Bake for 1 hour 15 minutes in the preheated oven, stirring every 20 minutes, until golden. Allow to cool, then store nuts in airtight containers.

My momma gave me this ornament. It’s a favorite. 🙂


As is this one from Aunt Kathy.


IMG_5208Are you feeling all comfy cozy where you live, or just bummed that it’s cold? Try and focus on the positives of winter!

“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God.” 2 Corinthians 1:3-4





  1. I’ve read only good things about Mama Pea’s dough balls. I need to make those soon. We have family coming in town for the holidays, and I know they would love that recipe.

    So much yummy comfort food in this post. I love all the colors in your purple cabbage saute. So pretty, and I concur. Eggs are the best for lunch and dinner. I love making big savory scrambles.

    Glad you enjoyed your Elvis Waffle. It looked quite tasty – could so go for that right now. 🙂

    Please tell Joe to enjoy a dough ball for me and stay warm!

    • Aww thanks Heather! I let him know! You’re so sweet.

  2. Yes, I’m like you with cookies!!!!! Funny how that is! Now, if someone else makes cookies, I will eat a couple. Funny about eating my own baking, cooking. Great pics re: Turkey Tettrazzini and thanks for sharing my recipe. One small modification to my recipe. Add 1 cup of extra sharp, shredded cheddar which gets melted into the milk/soup mixture. Then, add parm on top. I use both….probably gives more flavor. My recipe was confusing. Glad you enjoyed it! Love the new glasses and the pic of the snow! How cozy! Love and miss you!

    • Sharon, your recipe you sent totally made sense!!! I just didn’t have cheddar cheese so I replaced it with a little extra parm. I updated your recipe in the post because I forgot to add in that chedda. 🙂 The house will smell amazing when you make the nuts! Love you SO much!

  3. P.S. Love your Christmas tree, the lights outside (cool with snow on them) and I’m definitely going to make those cinnamon nuts! YUMMO!!!

  4. This all looks oh-so-good! I just got some Himalayan pink salt and organic peppercorns from Sustainable Sourcing as a Thanksgiving hostess gift and can’t wait to try them out in some of these recipes. Thanks for sharing!

    • Jessica, so cool! I will have to check out that site…sounds up my alley. The weird thing is, my husband just asked me yesterday if you can get organic pepper and where peppercorns come from. Crazay!

  5. Love it all!!! Funny that you have a island like the ornament, before you had house right? I don’t like to eat my food sometimes, especialy if I am cooking for a long time. looks like you had fun without Dad and I, me sadders.

    • Momma, I love you. You’re so cute. Yes-before we had the house!

  6. Wow this post could be a cookbook!!!! I love the kitchen island ornament…it sure looks just like your actual island (minus the peanut M&Ms on top…oh wait I ate them all, that’s why). Oh and the moose plate under the dough balls is so cute. Where did you get it??

    • hahah no not peanut! Almond! Good thing I didn’t give you peanut M&Ms! We’d need some epi pens up in here or somethin!

  7. Lauren you amaze me. I can’t believe what a wonderful cook you are. I cooked when we were first married, but not like you. You do such a fantastic job. I love how you experiment and you substitute ingredients. To me that takes talent. That is one thing I am not good at, at all. I think you should be on Food Network. That Joe is one spoiled man. You can tell how much you really enjoy it too. Love the pics. Great Job Lauren. 🙂
    Love, Aunt Kathy

    • Aunt Kathy, this is so incredibly sweet and encouraging! Thank you so much! Some days I get more creative than others, and have more fun with it, and other days, it’s “what can I make that is easy and fast and sorta healthy?” 🙂 Love you!

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