The Final Touch to a Redecorated Bathroom

artwork found at MichaelsWe redecorated one of our bathrooms a couple of years ago and I never was quite able to finish because I couldn’t find the last item I wanted to hang on the wall.

When the project was first started, it took me a long time time to decide what to do in that room after I stood on a ladder for many hours with a scraper in one hand and a spray bottle of Dif in the other.  I thought I never would get that ugly outdated wallpaper off the wall, but I finally did.  But once I had it down to clean bare walls — now what?  I am not a genius or even talented at home decor – that would be my daughter.  Those genes must have been a distant throw-back because she didn’t get it from me.

I went through some magazines trying to figure out what I wanted and I finally stumbled across a color combination – flooring, fixtures, wall color,  etc. that suited me.  It was like a light bulb went on when I saw the photo, so from there I was on a mission to find similar floor tiles, similar vanity and sink top, similar paint.  I had this photo taped to the window in that room as I brought home numerous paint samples to find the right shade of purple.

It all went together well and I found a large print to put on the largest wall, but I never found what I wanted to hang over the toilet.  (Side Note:  A friend once told me that a bathroom has a female wall and a male wall.  The artwork across from the toilet is for the ladies, and the artwork over the toilet is for the gentlemen, but I digress….)

While strolling through Michael’s one Saturday afternoon I literally stumbled across the artwork that I thought might be perfect.  I wasn’t even looking for it — it just found me.  And guess what folks — IT WAS ON SALE!  Can this sequence of events get any better?

So the item was purchased and hung on the wall and I can say once and for all that the room is finished!

The struggling designer………..DebraJ

I did not receive compensation or receive any free gifts to create this post.  The ideas and opinions are my own.

Juicing — It’s Not Easy Being Green

Juicing - It's Not Easy Being Green.

Juice is still a wonderland for us as we experiment with a variety of combinations.  We are always amazed at how well the combinations turn out and how good they taste.  This one blended pineapple, cantaloupe, oranges, apples,  ginger and spinach.  It was certainly GREEN but it had a wonderful sweet flavor.  I was sorry when it was gone!

Juicing - It's Not Easy Being Green.





Juicing - It's Not Easy Being Green.

                               Green is good………...DebraJ

I did not receive any compensation or free gifts to create this post.  The ideas and opinions are my own.

Beef Diablo

A quick little pot roast in the crockpot is always a hearty and welcome dinner to come on to after a long day at work.  You really can’t go wrong with a nice roast placed inside a crockpot regardless of what you add.  This recipe is a little different than some of the other roasts I have tried.  The ingredients blend together to make a thick paste to cover the top of the roast, and as the roast cooks it permeates the other items in the pot but continues to offer a little protective covering to keep the roast nicely moistened on the top.

BB_Beef Diablo

Peel the potatoes and onions.  Quarter the onions and thickly slice the potatoes (about an inch or so) and place all into the bottom of the crockpot.  Sit the roast on top of the vegetables.  Then mix the ingredients together in a small bowl that will form the paste.  Blend together — it looks a little weird, but give it a try.

Spread the paste mixture over the top of the roast.  Cover and cook in the crockpot using the suggested cooking times in the recipe below, but always keep your particular crockpot’s individuality in mind when you set your timer.  They are like children  – no two of them are exactly alike.

BB_Beef Diablo.2


Once the crockpot has finished cooking, allow the meat to rest for at least 10 minutes then move to a warm platter.  Dip the vegetables out of the crockpot with a slotted spoon and place around the roast.  The potatoes will be slightly golden from the influence of the mustard, but be brave – they taste very good.

Beef Diablo
..a little twist to change the basic potroast recipe.
Serves: 6
  • 4 pounds Beef roast - any variety. Less tender cuts work well.
  • 3 Potatoes, peeled/sliced
  • 1 Onion, sliced
  • 2 tablespoons Flour
  • 1 tablespoons Prepared mustard
  • 1 tablespoons Chili sauce
  • 1 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon Vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon Sugar
  1. Trim all excess fat from roast.
  2. Place potatoes and onion in bottom of crockpot.
  3. Make a smooth paste of flour, mustard, chili sauce, Worcestershire sauce, vinegar and sugar.
  4. Spread over top of roast (cut roast in half, if necessary, to fit easily).
  5. Place roast in crockpot on top of potatoes and onions.
  6. Cover and cook on LOW setting for 10 to 12 hours (on HIGH setting for 5 to 6 hours). 4 to 6 servings (about 3 quarts).

 Roasted again………DebraJ

I did not receive any compensation or receive any free gifts to create this post.  The ideas and opinions are my own.

Roasted Carrots with Crushed Pistachios

Whole Roasted carrots

Carrots are yummy, but nothing is better than a roasted carrot.   I found some cool long thin whole carrots with leafy green tops at one of our local grocery stores and decided to roast them whole.   I trimmed the greens off leaving a tiny stub of green (for decoration) and then washed the carrots carefully.  I left the carrots in a drainer and allowed them to dry thoroughly. 

Whole Roasted carrots

I took the clean carrots and rubbed them down with some olive oil and placed them flat on a cookie sheet.  Whole Roasted carrots rubbed with olive oil


Whole Roasted carrots rubbed with olive oil

Whole Roasted carrots rubbed with olive oil

These went into the oven for 45 minutes 375 degrees.  I took them out

of the oven midway and rolled them around a little bit and spritzed with some more olive oil because they were beginning to dry out a little bit.

When they were fork tender (not smushy) I removed them from the oven.  I served them on a platter and sprinkled a handful (about 1/4 cup) of crushed pistachios over the top.

Roasted carrots are a little firmer than other traditional cooking methods, and because the heat from the oven releases some of the moisture form the carrot, the sugar and flavor is more concentrated.

Whole Roasted Carrots with Crushed Pistachios

These made a pretty presentation and I plan to utilize this simple method of preparing carrots again soon – that is, IF I can find them in the stores again.

What’s up Doc?.…………..DebraJ

I have not received any compensation or free gifts for this post.  The ideas and opinions are my own.

A Goblet of Juice a la Week-end


A Goblet of Juice

The week-end again – so time to crush some more fruits and vegetables.  We use a hodge-podge of mixtures based on what sounds good and what we have available.  Today’s juice was the result of smashing the following produce:

1/2 cantaloupe

1/2 pineapple

2 oranges

1 apple

1 bunch of fresh parsley

1/2 cucumber

A big handful of spinach


2 roma tomatoes

A Goblet of Juice

This one came out green but had a sweet flavor.  We loved it.  In fact, we haven’t made a combo yet that we disliked.  I guess that momentous occasion will arrive eventually – I’ll be sure to share if we come up with a stinker.

Juicing for breakfast seems to provide a lot of energy and when a large portion of the juice is from vegetables, it seems to stick with you and holds off hunger.

I read somewhere that some people skim off the foam, but we like it, so we don’t bother with that detail.

Cleaning up the juicer is a chore, but not as bad as I had anticipated.  I think I had heard so many horror stories about clean up of the juicer that anything less than horrible seemed easy.

A Goblet of Juice

I can surely recommend this blend………….DebraJ


I have not received any compensation or free gifts to create this post.  The ideas and opinions are my own.

Chicken & Mushroom a la Stroganoff

I found a great deal on mushrooms at Aldi so I bought 3 eight-ounce containers  – after all they were a good price.  Now I am faced with thinking of a way to use them before they go slick in the fridge and at this point I am at a total loss.


I thought something in the crockpot would be a great idea on this cold and snowy day, so I went down to the basement and perused through the freezer and found a package of boneless chicken breasts.  So………….the experiment begins….

Here are are the ingredients I assembled:

3 eight-ounce packages of mushrooms, cleaned and sliced

1.5 lbs boneless chicken breasts

1 can healthy cream of mushroom soup

1 package onion soup mix

1/2 cup white wine

1/4 cup chicken broth (or water or wine)

Sour cream


I washed and patted the chicken breasts dry Chicken Stroganoffand cut them into bite-size pieces.  I drizzled a little olive oil in a nonstick pan and sauted the chicken pieces in the skillet until the were heated on all sides, but not cooked through.

Chicken Stroganoff

I then placed the warmed chicken pieces in the bottom of my large crock pot and placed the fresh sliced mushrooms on top.

Chicken Stroganoff

In a small bowl I combined the mushroom soup, onion soup mix and wine.  I used Moscato wine because (1) it was what I had available open and (2) I like it.  I realize better cooks than me will cringe and anyone with a thimble full of knowledge about wine will object – but hey, I never pretended to be an expert (and this IS an experiment).  Some experiments turn into fabulous results and others turn into big mess (but we won’t discuss those here).

Chicken Stroganoff   Chicken Stroganoff



I poured the soup mixture over the chicken and mushrooms and drizzled the broth over the top for moisture.  The crock pot was set on low and it cooked for about 6 hours.

The smell is great, so I have high hopes.

Cook the noodles according to package direction and toss them with a little olive oil after you drain them.

Stir the sour cream into the chicken mixture just before serving.  Spoon the chicken mixture over the hot buttered noodles.

Chicken Stroganoff

HEALTHY:  I tried to keep the ingredients manageable so it would fit into a healthy eating plan using portion control

FREEZER:  I believe this would freeze well if it was placed in an airtight container prior to adding the sour cream.  After it is thawed, warm and add the sour cream just before serving.

ECONOMY:  This recipe was already fairly inexpensive due to the sale on the mushrooms.  The ingredients create a large portion to serve so the per person cost is low.

a la dinner…..DebraJ

Fresh Fruits and Vegetables – Coop Day!

BB_Coop_3. 2_2013

We participate in the Community Helpings Coop in the St. Louis area and we truly enjoy the experience.  Every other week (or so) we pick up an assortment of fruits and vegetables.  The excitement builds as we consider what we are going to make with the items that come in the produce basket.  I guess you could say it is one of those whimsical events.

This experience has forced us to work with foods that we haven’t used before.  As an example, we had never cooked or eaten kohlrabi and we found that we actually like it a lot.  I find myself looking for it in the stores, and I never find it.  The only place I have found it outside of the Coop has been at Soulard Market.

This time we received apples, oranges, bananas, cantaloupe, strawberries, leeks, broccoli, carrots, turnips, spring mix, acorn squash, grapefruit and tomatoes.

It’s a fairly cool set up — the order for the produce basket is placed on-line by Friday at 8 p.m. and then we pick up from the site on Monday evening.  In addition to the produce basket we can purchase other items that are available, including chia seeds, flax meal, and other nutritious foods.

BB_Acorn SquashBB_Fruit.2




























Hooked on Produce………… DebraJ

I did not receive any compensation or receive any free items for this post.  The ideas and opinions are my own.


Easter Menu Decoration

Easter Menu Decoration

I found the template for this cute bunny at “Holiday with Matthew Mead” and I saw the template used in a variety of ways, one of which was a cut out with the menu printed on it and a pretty white carnation as the tail.  I thought I might replicate that for each place setting for our Easter dinner but I decided to frame my menu and I added a cotton ball to the outside of the frame for the bunny tail.  Take a look!

This year we had chicken breast baked in the oven with Cranberry Gravy.  On the side we had stuffing with onions and apples and pecans, roasted whole carrots with crushed pistachios, and green beans with sesame oil seasoning.  We also had deviled eggs, but I didn’t remember to bring them to the table until I was getting the cream for coffee out of the refrigerator.  I went ahead and put them out and the dinner guests didn’t seem to be bothered by their late arrival as they dug into them.

Dessert was a lemon meringue pie and a chocolate eclair cake with some freshly brewed coffee.

BB_Easter Menu.4Dinner was rather low key since it was all adults.  No kiddies pushing for Easter egg hunts or other such activities.  I enjoyed all my guests but always see the four empty chairs at the table from those who are too far away.
  I remember the days, not so very long ago, when I was preparing Easter Baskets, assembling a new set of spring clothes for each little one in the house, and putting shiny new shoes on tiny little feet.  Who knew it would all go so fast?

Bunny tracks..……….DebraJ

I have not received any compensation or free gifts to create this post.  The ideas and opinions are my own.