My Top Ten Favorite Recipes

As I was linking up my weekly recipe post yesterday, I thought it might be a good idea to organize some of our favorite recipes that I use on a regular basis so I can keep them all in one place. As I was doing that, I realized ten of those would make a great “Top Ten Tuesday” post. ๐Ÿ˜‰ Some of these are my own recipes and some are from other bloggers or websites. So here they are (In no particular order), ten of my all-time favorite recipes:

1. Baked Chili Cheese Dip. Oh, so good and not just good for Super Bowl parties!! I can almost eat the whole thing myself. (But I do share it, promise. ๐Ÿ˜‰ ) Thanks, Sarah!

2. My Slow-Cooker Chili. Okay, obviously I’m partial to this one. However, It is ALWAYS a hit when I make it – even with those who aren’t big fans of chili.

3. Corn Pone. I am forever indebted to my friend Rita for this recipe. (Btw, it’s a great complement to the chili recipe above!)

4. No-Knead Crusty White Bread. If you are intimidated with the idea of making yeast bread, but have always wanted to try it, this is the perfect recipe to start with. This bread recipe is complements of King Arthur Flour.

5. Basic Brine for Chicken. This isn’t a recipe per se, but since I tried brining my chicken using this brine recipe that I found on the Bargains to Bounty, I’ve been hooked. I don’t grill much, but I have been using this recipe to brine my chicken (and cornish hens!) before roasting and it has made a huge difference in my poultry! I can now have the crispy skin that I love while keeping the inside moist and delicious.

6. Sausage, Peppers and Potatoes. I owe this fabulous dish to my mother-in-law. It is a staple (practically weekly) recipe in our home. Both my husband and son get excited when I make this, which is crazy, because it is one of the most simplest dish anyone could make!

7. Apple Butternut Squash Soup. This delicious soup is courtesy of Sandra Lee from the Food Network. My son doesn’t like butternut squash at all, but will eat this soup, thanks to the sweetness of the applesauce.

8. Caramelized baked chicken. The only thing I can say about this chicken is YUM. ๐Ÿ˜‰

9. My mother-in-law’s Cheese Cake. I can’t NOT include my mother-in-law’s cheese cake recipe in this list -even if I only make this once or twice a year. It is “da bomb”!

10. Homemade Pizza. My husband isn’t a big fan of homemade pizza, but I make this when he is working late and it’s just my son and me, because we love it. We use Money Saving Mom’s pizza dough because it is quick, easy and delicious. (Our favorite topping is cheese and pineapple – which drives my Italian hubby crazy! It’s just not authentic Italian pizza to him. ๐Ÿ˜ฎ )

Have a favorite recipe or recipes? Do share a link to it in the comments!

(Linked to Top Ten Tuesday and WFMW.)

Ten Must-Have Firefox Add-ons

If you spend any length of time online, like most of us do, you probably want a a reliable, safe and enjoyable browsing experience.ย  That’s why I use Mozilla Firefox. It’s safe, secure and almost never goes down or freezes. It also offers a ton of add-ons that brings greater function and fun to browsing to the web.ย  Here are ten favorites of the ones I use:

1. Stop Autoplay. This is one of my favorite add-ons. ๐Ÿ™‚ I can’t stand it when I go to a website only to find videos or music playing without warning. It’s worse when I have to search the website just to find the autoplayer so I can pause it or shut if off. This add-on prevents that. ๐Ÿ™‚ If you do want to watch the video or listen to the music, all you have to do is click the little play arrow.

2. Extended Copy Menu. This add-on adds more functionality to the pop-up menu when you do a right click. It enables you to copy as plain text, or HTML.ย  This is very helpful when you want to just copy the text of something from a webpage or something without all the added formatting.

3. Read it Later. This add-on allows you to save webpages to read later with just one click. It saves the pages in a reading list that you can read online, offline or even on your phone.

4. Reminder Fox. This allows you to add reminders and to-dos right in your browser. This works really well for me because I always forget to open yahoo or Gmail calendar and I don’t like the extra email reminders. ๐Ÿ™‚ With this add-on you can easily set dates and reminders and they discretely show up on the corner of your browser.

5. Aviary Talon. This is yet another snipping tool that allows you to take screen captures and and edit images right in your browser. This is fast and easy and allows you to save the images to your computer, host online and/or edit in a basic image editor.

6. Xmarks Sync. If you own more than computer, this add-on is a definite must-have! This add-on backs up and synchronizes bookmarks, passwords and even your history across browsers and computers. Whenever you close the browser, and you’ve made changed your bookmarks in any way, Xmarks pops up and asks you if you want to synchronize them.

7. LastPass. This add-on is a free, secure password manager and form-filler. You can import your passwords from almost any source, and with a master password, you only have to login once, and than it will automatically fill in your forms and passwords.

8. TwitterBar. If you are active on Twitter you will love this add-on. I used to use it all the time; but, alas, I haven’t been posting on Twitter in a while (do hope to get active on it again, soon, though!). In any case, this add-on allows you to post updates to twitter right from your Firefox address bar. You can even post to multiple Twitter accounts if you have them.

9. ColorfulTabs. This is a fun but useful add-on. Each time you open a new tab, ColorfulTabs opens it in a new color. It helps each tab to stand out more clearly and looks nice, too. ๐Ÿ™‚

10. Update Notifier. Once you’ve installed all these wonderful add-ons, you are going to want to keep them updated. That’s where this add-on comes in. As its name says, it will notify you whenever your add-ons has updates available.

Your turn! What’s your favorite add-on for Firefox? Do share in the comments!

(Linked to Top Ten Tuesday and Works for me Wednesday.)

10 Prolife Charities Worthy of Support

We all know that Christmas time is a popular time for giving money to our favorite organizations. Right before the year’s end is usually someone’s last chance to donate in order to get his or her tax break. If this is you and you are looking for organizations, I’ve got some great suggestions. ๐Ÿ™‚ All of these suggestions are for organizations either directly or indirectly support life in all its stages.

Prolife Charities Worthy of Support

Also, don’t forget to donate during other times of the year, too. These and all charitable organizations need help year round!

1. Little Sisters of the Poor. It’s no secret that I love the Little Sisters of the Poor, having spent time with them and can personally attest to them. ๐Ÿ™‚

2. Sisters of Life. They do a wonderful work of taking in pregnant woman and giving them practical assistance. They also host retreats and other pro-life activities.

3. March for Life. They are the organization the organizes and runs the annual march for life each January in Washington, DC.

4. American Life League. ALL tackles all aspects of pro-life issues and offer how-tos, news, and ways to get involved in the pro-life movement.

5. Life Legal Defense Foundation. As its name suggests, Life Legal Defense Foundation is an organization of volunteer attorneys who deal with life issues from a legal standpoint.

6. Focus on the Family. Focus on the Family is a well-known Christian ministry dealing will all issues of family life.

7. Human Life International. HLI is one of the largest pro-life organizations in the world. It is a teaching apostolate that empowers local pro-life leaders around the world.

8. Priests for Life. Priests for Life is a wonderful organization, founded by Father Frank Pavone. Their website is a wealth of information regarding all things pro-life.*

9. Rachel’s Vineyard. Rachel’s Vineyard is a healing ministry for those who have been affected by abortion: the women who have had them, the fathers, the grandparents; all those who are secretly mourning the loss of the aborted child.

10. Citizen Link. Citizen Link (an affiliate of Focus on the Family) is a family advocacy group. They empower everyday people to let their voice be heard about critical issues regarding the sanctity of human life.

Your turn: what are your favorite charities?


Tweetable: Prolife Charities Worthy of Support

*A reader, in the comments, expressed her negative experience with Priest for Life so I looked up their charity rating: My experience with them have always been positive, but use your own discretion in deciding to support this group or not.

Ten Silly Things my 5-year-old is Grateful For

For November, I’ve been working on gratitude and thankfulness with my son. Each night before he goes to sleep, I have him tell me at least one thing he is grateful for for that day. It’s been fun listening to what he’s come up with. ๐Ÿ™‚

Here’s some of the things he’s told me so far:

1. “I’m thankful for my friends, especially my best friend and all my friends. Oh, except for that big one who isn’t nice.”

2. “My toys, especially my transformers, ’cause they can turn into anything they want!”

3. “That I watched Sid the Science Kid this morning!” (I don’t let him watch much TV, so when he does, it’s a big treat.)

4. “I’m thankful for all my sticks. I love all the sticks in the world! It makes me be like Star Wars!” (It’s true, you should see the the pile of sticks outside my door!)

5. “I’m thankful that rocks are shiny and lots of shapes and all around us on the ground. And, and, that rocks are rocks!”

6. “I love Nutella and tortillas for breakfast!” (Of course, it’s not something he gets everyday. But, you knew that already, right? ๐Ÿ˜‰ )

7. “I’m thankful that God made pizza in this world. Pizza is my favorite.”

8. “That I finally ‘winned’ (won) at Wii Bowling!”

9. “I’m thankful that I am going to be turned into a superhero!” (Yeah, he really does think he’s going to become a superhero. I let him believe it because that’s how I get him to eat his veggies. I’m a bad mom.)

10. “That I’m a monkey and can do all money things and that’s why I love Monkey Joes.”

(This post is linked to Top Ten Tuesday.)

Ten More Blogs I Love and Recommend

A while back I did a top ten post of blogs I love and recommend. However, since I have a lot of blogs that I love (and over 100 in my blog reader), I thought I’d highlight a few more blogs. So, in no particular order, here are ten more blogs I love:

1.ย  A Woman’s Place. A Woman’s Place is a sweet blog and Cam makes some beautiful rosaries and such for her Full of Grace Creations.

2.ย  Free Spirit Haven. Angela is the faithful prayer warrior who hosts Fearless Fridays each week. But, her other posts are awesome, too. ๐Ÿ™‚ (She’s also the one who introduced me to the whole intermittent fasting concept.)

3. Shower of Roses. I enjoy peeking into the lives of other moms and this is one of those mom blogs (dedicated to St. Therese) that I am addicted to. ๐Ÿ™‚

4. This That and the Other Thing. On this blog RAnn reviews a wide variety of books. Since I’ve found RAnn’s blog my reading list has gotten much bigger! She also hosts Sunday Snippets each week.

5. Thoughts on Grace. I never leave Colleen’s blog without something to think about. Her meditations aren’t long, but they are powerful and insightful.

6. The Lair of the Catholic Caveman. I love these guys. They are real men who say what they believe needs to be said – and aren’t afraid to ruffle some feathers in the process. If you don’t like “in-your-face” or “straight-talk” kind of writing, stay away. This blog isn’t for wusses! ๐Ÿ™‚

7. Evan’s Cove. Evan posts a lot of terrific videos. On Mondays he posts a video that is inspiring and enlightening. I also love his occasional comic relief videos from classic Muppet episodes! (Put the lime in the coconut…comes to mind. lol!)

8. Suffering with Joy. Barb writes on an eclectic assortment of posts, all of which are well-written. She also posts some yummy-looking recipes (that I can’t wait to try!).

9. Carpe Diem, Gorgeous!. Who can’t love a blog with a name like this?! (In English: “Seize the day, Gorgeous!) ๐Ÿ™‚ I love Colleen’s (not the same Colleen as above!) open and honest writing style.

10. Never Fading Wood. Lily is a fellow Fearless Friday prayer warrior and writes a lovely blog over at Never Fading Wood.

(This post is linked to Top Ten Tuesday.)

My Top Ten Favorite Cookbooks

cook books

I love finding new recipes to try. Thankfully my 5 year old isn’t a picky eater and is usually willing to try a new food or two! ๐Ÿ™‚ However, I often go in spurts.ย  I’ll try new recipes every day for a while and then I’ll get into a rut and make the same foods each week for a while (or longer!) Either way, here’s a list of my standby cookbooks that I return to over and over again when looking for a new recipe or a twist on an old one:

1. Better Homes and Garden Cookbook. This classic is my all-time favorite cookbook and I reference it quite often. I’ve yet to make a recipe from this book we didn’t like!

2. The Cake Mix Doctor. If you don’t have the time or inclination to bake fancy cakes from scratch, this is a good book to have on hand! Using regular ole cake mix from a box you can make some awesome looking (and tasting) cakes relatively easily.

3. Fix-it and Forget-it. I use my slow-cooker at least once or twice a week, especially in the winter when I make lots of of soups and stews. If you’re not into using your slow-cooker much, you might after trying some of the recipes from this book. ๐Ÿ™‚

4. Fix-it and Forget-it for Entertaining. This is another cookbook in the Fix-it and Forget-it series. As indicated, it offers recipes for the slow-cooker that are suitable for entertaining; however, I also use many of the recipes for everyday use.

5. Whole Foods for the Whole Family. This cookbook is put out by the La Leche League International and I got it when I was pregnant with my son. The recipes are based on natural ingredients that have been processed as little as possible.ย  We’ve enjoyed many of the recipes in this book.

6. Whole Foods From the Whole World. Another book based on the above principle of using unprocessed, natural ingredients, with recipes from around the world. There are many tasty recipes in this book that I like to make in conjunction with Andrew’s home-schooling. As we learn about different countries, I try and make a couple of recipes from this book pertaining to each country.

7. Going Solo in the Kitchen. I got this book way back before I was married and have enjoyed many of the recipes since. And, because there are only three of us, I can double many of the recipes and still serve them to our family.

8. Jiffy Mixes Recipe Book. I mentioned a while back that Jiffy Mix offers this booklet for free, so you might want to consider getting a copy. This book doesn’t just have dessert recipes, but several main dishes that are actually quite good.

9. Recipes for Life from God’s Garden. I got this book several years ago at an all-natural health store open-house when I was going through a “raw-foods only” eating phase. I don’t adhere to the principles outlined in this book; however, there are several recipes that I still use to this day.

10. My Homemade Cookbook. (See tattered cover, above!) Before I got married, my wonderful mother-in-law took the time to write out some of their family-favorite recipes for me! Naturally, I use this home-made cookbook a lot. Rather, I used to. I know most of the recipes by heart now. ๐Ÿ™‚

What cook book (or books) is your favorite or regularly used in your home?

(Connected to Top Ten Tuesday and Works for me Wednesday.)

Top Ten Fabulous Scents

For her last week’s Top Ten Tuesday list, Jubes over at Notes of Jubilee posted her top ten delightful aromas. It was such a fun list (and spot on!), I thought I’d piggyback off her list (with her blessing!) and share my own favorite scents.

Image by Hans (2015) via Pixabay, CCO Public domain

(And like Jubes said, don’t judge me ’cause the list is mostly food.ย  ๐Ÿ˜€ It’s not my fault so many foods smell so good! lol!)

1. Fresh cut grass.

This might not be on the top of most people’s list; but, I’m fortunate in that I don’t have any outdoor allergies. It is on of the things I look forward to in Spring and Summer.

2. The ocean.

Growing up in Keansburg, NJ, we lived near Sandy Hook. Sandy Hook runs into the Atlantic Oceanย  and so that salty ocean smell was never far away. I loved it (Still do)! It’s also one of the things I missed most when I lived in OH.

3. Mountain air.

When I was a kid we used to vacation in Catskills, NY and I remember to this day how wonderful the air smelled. There is something about the mountain air that is crisper and cleaner than anywhere else.

4. Pine trees.

Pine trees are one of my favorite smells of the Christmas season. I could never get an artificial tree unless I absolutely had to. Yes, cleaning up pine needles is a chore. Yes, the sap can be sticky. Yes, you have to be careful of fire. But, when you walk into your house and the lovely pine scent fills your nostrils, it makes it all worth it!

5. Mulled wine.

Every holiday season, my friend Jen puts a bottle of Tomasello Spiced Wine in her small crock-pot along with some cinnamon and cloves.Sometimes she adds orange slices.ย  She then puts the crock-pot to it’s lowest setting and just lets the aroma fill her house. Oh, I can’t tell you how awesome it is! (It also tastes really good, too!)

6. Baking bread.

Who doesn’t love the smell of freshly baked bread straight from the oven?! I have some in the oven right now as I write this and oh, boy, does it smell good.

7. Lemons.

Need I say more? ๐Ÿ˜‰

8. Cilantro.

I love the smell and taste of Cilantro. It is an herb and is actually the leaves of the coriander plant. People really love it or really hate it, apparently (from what I’ve been told). It has a pungent smell that seems to turn some people off. Not, me!

9. Lavender oil.

I don’t generally like the smell of perfumery stuff but I love the smell of lavender oil. It has a fresh, gentle scent that I enjoy. Did you know that it also has health benefits? Yep, it does!

10. Incense.

Unfortunately for me, I’m allergic to most incense! It’s a real bummer, too, because incense smells so good (which is why I added it to this list anyway).

As always, feel free to chime in! Let us know what your favorite scents are.

(for more fun lists go over to Oh Amanda who hosts Top Ten Tuesday each week.)

Top Ten Favorite Christian Music Artists

A lot of people enjoy listening to Christian music so I thought I’d share some of my current favorites.ย  I’m always on the look out for great Christian musics, so if you have any suggestions, do share… ๐Ÿ™‚

1. Avalon. Well, I actually only have one album of theirs: “Testify to Love: The Very Best of Avalon” but I absolutely love it! I listen to this over and over again! One of my all-time favorite Christian Albums.

2. Mark Mallet. I’ve mentioned Mark before. Besides his blog, though, he has a music ministry. His voice is amazing and when I pray along with his rosary CD, I am transported right into heaven!

3. Casting Crowns. What can I say? Casting Crown rocks! ๐Ÿ˜‰ย  Get a taste of their latest song “Until the Whole World Hears” in video on their official website.

4. Mercy Me. My mother introduced me to Mercy Me a couple of years ago. I am so glad she did! You can find more about them here.

5. Dana. You may be familiar with Dana. She performed for Pope John Paul II back when he visited the United States. I got to meet her briefly during the Youth 2000 event the late Cardinal O’Connor hosted in 2000. I love her soothing voice (even when singing “fast’ songs!).

6. Third Day. I’m not a huge fan of rock music; but, I’ve been a big fan of Third Day for a long time. One of my favorite songs from this is the well-known “Cry Out to Jesus.” They have a new album coming out in October and I can’t wait to check it out.

7. Jars of Clay. Although Jars of Clay have been around for a long time, I’ve just recently discovered their music. They have some really good songs.

8. John Michael Talbot. I love John Michael Talbot’s soulful voice. Listening to his music lifts my soul into heaven and many of his songs have helped me enter into a prayer.

9. Critical Mass. What a little edge to your Christian music? Critical Mass has it. ๐Ÿ™‚ They are another group that whose music I’ve just discovered, but so far I like what I’ve heard.

10. Francis Koerber. If you enjoy sacred music, you will love Francis Koerber. He is a composer of original ( and very beautiful!) sacred music. You can listen to his music here.

(Add your list to Top Ten Tuesday.)

Top Ten Blogs I Love and Recommend

I thought for this week’s Top Ten Tuesday I would offer some link love to some of my favorite blogs. Mind you, this list is not exhaustive: I have over 100 feeds in my Bloglines account! However, since this is a top ten list and not a top 100 list, I’m going to force myself to pick just some of my favorites. ๐Ÿ˜‰ (I may have to do a top ten favorite blog series!)

1. Blogging with Amy. Amy has, hands down, the best WordPress tutorial out there in the blogosphere. She has a whole series on building your blog from scratch (often including videos!) that are super easy to understand, and even easier to implement. I am frequently referring back to her blog for one thing or another!

2. A Year of Slow Cooking. I love my crock-pot and use it all the time, so this blog was a great find. I’m always on the lookout for new recipes to try – especially for my slow cooker – and there are so many easy and wonderful recipes on this site.

3. Mark Mallett. This blog is not for the faint of heart. Mark writes heavily about the “End Times” and the tribulations to come before Christ returns to earth; all written in a powerful and hopeful way. The video series he has done is also very powerful. Btw, he also has an amazing singing voice. He did a concert/worship event in OH while I lived there, and it was AMAZING.

4. Oh Amanda. Now, I’m not just including this because Amanda is host of the Top Ten Tuesday link-up!ย  I genuinely love her humorous writing style. I always leave her blog with a smile on my face. ๐Ÿ™‚

5. Mary Grace Holmes. I have been a lurker on this blog for sometime now. Her honesty in dealing with her struggles to have children and suffering through the loss of four babies have deeply touched my heart. I have never had to deal with a miscarriage, but I do relate to the desire of wanting to have more children. She is an inspiration to all who are struggling to conceive. (P.S. She is expecting again, so please join me in praying for her and her growing little one.)

6. Living in the Two Hearts. Again, I’m not including this because Anne is a client. She truly has beautiful reflections and meditations on discipleship, scripture and prayer. She doesn’t write on her blog often, but when she does, her writings are truly guided by the Holy Spirit.

7. Big Binder. I don’t live anywhere near Michigan and I still love reading Jen’s blog! She has the writing style where you feel like you’ve been friends with her forever. I can almost see myself having a grand time, sitting with a cup of tea and shooting the breeze with her! (Oh, and she just started co-hosting a weekly “recipe roundtable,’ so go check that out.)

8. Many Little Blessings. Angie’s also owns the Homeschool Classroom and Catholic Mothers Online, and all three of her sites are fabulous. She recently written several posts based on her experiences at the Savvy Blogging Summit that where chock-full of helpful information and tips! Her homeschooling tips and links are awesome, too. ๐Ÿ™‚

9. The Kennedy Adventures. I love Dianna’s blog tagline: “We may not have it all together, but together we have it all!” Isn’t that awesome?? I enjoy reading her posts which deal with marriage, being catholic, motherhood and other woman-related topics. She also hosts the weekly “Saints and Scripture Sunday” link-up.

10. I Owe it All to Him. I always come away from Cindy’s blog inspired and refreshed in spirit. She has a true heart for the Lord and it shines through in her blog writing.

Okay, so these are some of my “must-reads”, what are yours? Don’t keep them to yourself, share the love in the comments so we can all find more great blogs to read!

10 Random Things I Want to Learn Before I Die

Just for fun I thought I would share some things I’ve always wanted to learn. Most of the things on the list are crafty things. I don’t consider myself crafty by nature, but I do have a desire to try! For more fun top ten lists head on over to Oh Amanda’s.

1.Fillet a fish. You’d think since I grew up in New Jersey, I’d know how to do this. No can do. I’ve caught my share of fish, but never had to fillet one, so I didn’t. Why would I want to learn to fillet a fish? No reason, really, just because I don’t know how!

2. Sign language. I’ve always been fascinated with sign language. When my son was a baby I got a baby signing book out of the library and he learned to sign some basic words before he could talk. Once he started talking, he wanted nothing more to do with sign language. Still, it would be fun to learn if I had someone to sign with. ๐Ÿ™‚

3. Latin. It turns out that I will be learning this sooner rather than later. My son and I practice a few prayers in Latin a few days a week, and recently he told me he wants to learn more Latin. If I can find a program geared toward young ones, I’ll probably get started with it.

4. Ballet. If you knew me, you might not be surprised about this, but you’d might laugh. You see, I have mild Cerebral Palsy, and so I don’t at all have the leg strength or flexibility for ballet (BUT, I can walk, Yay, me!). I absolutely love Ballet, though and can watch it for hours. The music, the costumes (most of them, anyway), the dancing, the story; it’s all magical to me. So, even if in reality I won’t ever learn ballet, I can still want to learn. ๐Ÿ™‚

5. Irish Step Dancing. The chances of learning how to do Irish Step Dancing is pretty much nil; but, I’m adding it to the list anyway because it’s so much fun to watch!

6. CSS (Cascading Style Sheets). I know enough CSS to be dangerous. lol! Mastering CSS would be very beneficial for my business, so I really want to make the time to learn this soon.

7. Drawing and painting. Some day I would love to take a beginner’s drawing and/or painting class. People who are creative and can use a brush to create beauty amaze me. I would love to try my hand at playing with colors, textures, etc.

8. Quilting. Quilts are so beautiful – and comfy! I love how some of the patterns seems quite intricate and detailed. That’s right up my alley! I have a good eye for detail and think I would enjoy the labor of creating a quilt.

9. Sewing. A few years ago, a friend of mine helped me sew a baby’s hat for someone and I loved it. It would be so much fun to be able to learn to sew my own clothes or curtains or whatever I wanted. I think I just may put down a sewing machine on my wish list for Christmas. ๐Ÿ˜‰

10. A Musical Instrument. When I was with the sisters, I started learning to play the organ. It was a lot of fun but I never got comfortable enough to play in the chapel. As a matter of fact, whenever I had to play with someone watching I’d freak out and not be able to play at all. After I left the sisters, I did have an organ for a while before I was married, but I never had time to practice. The instruments I would most love to learn to play is the harp (Yep!) or the clarinet. Who knows, maybe Andrew will want to learn an instrument and I can learn with him!

Your turn! Why don’t you share in the comments some of the things you’ve always wanted to learn?! Don’t be shy!