Pretzel Turtle Bites

These are so easy and so good… a little salty.. a little sweet.. chewy, crunchy… yum. I called them Chocolate Caramel Pecan Pretzels.. which was a mouthful! Someone informed me that they are Pretzel Turtles. That’s sooo much easier to say. I never knew they had a name. Thanks! ;)

Chocolate Caramel Pecan Pretzel

What you’ll need

1 bag of pretzel snaps

1 bags of Rolo Minis (or 2 if you are taking them to a party, like I plan to do. ;) )

1 bag of pecan halves


chocolate caramel pecan pretzel 2

This is the kind I used. You could use full sized Rolos if you like.

Line a baking sheet with foil or parchment paper and cover with pretzels. Then put one Rolo on each pretzel. Pop them in a warm oven for about a minute until chocolate is softened.

chocolate caramel pecan pretzel 3

Then immediately top each one with a pecan and push down slightly. Boom! Done. :)

chocolate caramel pecan pretzel bites

Coke Ham.. It’s the yummiest ham ever!

My Grandma made ham this way… my Great-Grandma did too.  It’s become a tradition in our family to have Coke Ham at the holidays. We aren’t too crazy about turkey in this family.. so the turkeys get pardoned at our house at Thanksgiving… Christmas too. ;) The Coke helps break down the fat, and tenderizes the meat. At least, that’s what I assume it does. I totally just made that up. I’m not really sure what kind of magical sorcery happens when it cooks, but whatever it is.. it’s yummy.

Coke Ham

It doesn’t get any easier than this either, and the flavor is awesome.

All you need 

a ham

large roasting pan

2 liter bottle of Coke.

We usually get a large ham since we have a lot of mouths to feed. The one in the photo is about a 20 lb cured ham.  Place the ham in a large roasting pan, pour the Coke in the pan until it comes up a couple of inches on the ham. Cover with a lid if you have it, or heavy duty foil. Bake for 8 hours at 250, basting several times. I usually put mine in the night before and let it cook all night long. By morning, it is fall-off-the-bone tender, and juicy. Mouthwatering good!

This year I bought an electric Oster Turkey Broiler that sits on the counter top. It was awesome! It kept the oven free for any other baking I needed to do. Money well spent.



Chicken Diablos

We were in Austin last month and we ate at a place called The Oasis. The view overlooking Lake Travis was gorgeous. If you are ever in town, it’s a must see. I had the Chicken Diablos off the menu and my tastebuds fell in love. I decided to do my best to recreate them tonight for dinner. I got pretty close, if I do say so myself.


Chicken Diablos


What you’ll need

3 boneless chicken breasts

bacon cut in halves or thirds depending on size of strips

jalapeños halved and sliced into strips and then cut in half again (you’ll want each piece to be about 1/2 inch long)

3/4 cup sweet bbq sauce

2 tablespoons of brown sugar



Hammer, beat, pound (whatever the proper term is for this) the chicken out until its about 1/2 inch thick. Cut into small, a little larger than bite sized pieces. Wrap the chicken around a strip of jalapeño and then wrap bacon around the chicken. Secure with a toothpick. Place on cookie sheet and bake at 375 until bacon is crisp. In a small bowl, add bbq sauce and 2 tablespoons of brown sugar. Mix well and brush over chicken. Return to oven for an additional 5 minutes. Serve with left over bbq sauce for dipping.


View from our table

Lake Travis Sunset

Banana Bread

The smell of banana bread is filling my house. It is wonderful!  That has to be one of the best aromas in the world.. the smell of fresh baked bread. Mmmmm… mmmmm


Banana Bread Recipe



What you’ll need

3 ripe bananas

3/4 cup of sugar

1 3/4 cups of flour

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

1 1/4 tsp baking powder

1/3 cup butter (save the butter wrappers!)

2 eggs

1/2 tsp vanilla

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1 tablespoon of milk


Cream butter, sugar, and milk in large mixing bowl on medium speed with mixer. In separate bowl combine flour, soda, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt. Add dry ingredients to mixing bowl a little at a time and mix until combined. In the bowl that held the dry ingredients, add 3 ripe bananas and mash well with a fork. Add bananas and mix well. Pour into buttered loaf pan (this is where the butter wrappers come in handy ;) ).  The loaf pan I used is 9 1/4″ x 5 1/4″.  **I dusted the bottom of the pan with cinnamon and sugar. It gives the bread a yummy crust on the bottom. Use flour instead if you like. Bake at 350 for 55-60 minutes. Bread is done when knife or toothpick comes out clean.


Double Fudge Caramel Poke Cake

That’s a mouthful, in more ways than one. I wasn’t quite sure what to call this yummy cake. I thought about “Gain 5 lbs Instantly Cake”.. “Straight to the Hips Cake”.. “Instant Cavity Cake”.. you get the idea. It will definitely satisfy your sweet tooth.

double fudge caramel poke cake


What You’ll Need

1 Box Chocolate Fudge Cake Mix (plus any ingredients to prepare according to box directions)

1 Jar of Caramel Topping

1 Jar of Fudge Topping

1 Bag of Heath Chips (found by chocolate chips in baking aisle)

1 Box Jello Instant Chocolate Pudding

1 Tub of Cool Whip


In large mixing bowl combine dry cake mix, and instant pudding mix. Add ingredients that the cake mix calls for plus an extra 1/3 cup of water. If you aren’t using jumbo eggs, add 1 extra egg. Beat with mixer until combined. Pour into 9×13 pan and bake until toothpick comes out clean. Heat caramel in microwave until it pours easily. While cake is still hot, take a wooden spoon handle and poke holes all over the cake… or you can use what I used.. the handle of a knife. ;) Drizzle caramel sauce all over the hot cake making sure to get plenty in the holes. Let cool completely. Top with cool whip then sprinkle heath chips all over. Drizzle with caramel and warmed fudge. Store in refrigerator.

I may need to invest in a treadmill. ;)


Fire Crackers Recipe

These crackers are so addicting.. you won’t be able to stop at just one. I promise. If you like to give your tastebuds a little kick, these are a must try.  Trust me. ;) This Fire Crackers Recipe is the bomdiggity… and so, so, easy. Yum!


Fire Crackers


What you’ll need

1 Box of Saltine Crackers

1 1/4 Cup of Canola Oil

1 pkg of Hidden Valley Ranch Dressing Mix

1 Tsp Garlic Powder

3 Tbsp Crushed Red Pepper Flakes (most recipes call for 2 Tbsp but I like extra pepper in mine)

2 Gallon Size Ziplock Bags


Place 2 sleeves of crackers in each bag.  In separate bowl, add oil, ranch seasoning mix, crushed pepper and garlic powder. Stir until mixed well. Pour 1/2 of the mixture over the crackers in each bag. Seal and tumble until all crackers are coated. I usually set the bags flat on the counter and just tumble them a few times over the course of an hour or so. You can tell when they’re ready because you won’t see any of the liquid pooling in the bottom of the bags.  The longer they sit, the more the crackers will absorb all of the yummy goodness. You can store them in the baggies or transfer to an airtight container. That’s it! You might want to make a double batch, because one doesn’t last very long around this house. ;)

Stuffed Bell Peppers

I remember my grandmother making these and they were always so good. I love stuffed bell peppers, so this was what was for dinner tonight and they were a big hit!

Stuffed Peppers


4 large bell peppers (can use green, red, yellow)

1 small yellow onion – chopped

2 cloves of garlic – minced

1/2 tsp italian seasoning

1 lb (ish) lean ground beef (I had a little more than a pound so I used it all)

1 small can of sliced mushrooms

1/2 cup cooked minute rice

1 small tomato diced (or 1/2 can of diced tomatoes)

1/4 cup sour cream

shredded cheddar cheese

salt & pepper to taste

1/4 cup Bisquick


Cut bell peppers in half and remove stems, seeds, and membranes. Boil in water for 5 minutes then drain and set aside. Brown hamburger meat with onion, garlic, salt and pepper. Add tomatoes, italian seasoning, mushrooms, sour cream, rice, and Bisquick. Mix well. Arrange peppers in casserole dish and fill each halve with mixture and bake at 350 for 25 minutes. Top with shredded cheddar cheese and place back in oven long enough for cheese to melt.



Frito Chili Pie Casserole

I have loved Frito Chili Pie since I was a little girl. I used to call it Cheeto Frilly Pie. ;) However you say it, it’s delicious. With the weather turning cooler, (which I hate) this Frito Chili Pie Casserole is the perfect ‘warm your bones and your belly’ meal.


Frito Chili Pie Casserole



I made my own chili, but if you want to keep it simple just use your favorite brand of prepackaged chili seasoning and follow the directions on the package. If you want to make your own, my recipe is below. We are a bean-free chili kind of family, but throw in a couple of cans of your favorite beans if you prefer it that way. Just be sure to drain the liquid before adding.



1 1/2 lbs lean ground beef

3 cloves garlic minced

1 yellow onion chopped

1 – 14.5 ounce can of diced tomatoes (drained)

1 – 8 ounce can of tomato sauce

3 1/2 Tbsp of chili powder

1/2 Tbsp cumin

1/2 Tbsp sea salt

1 Tsp pepper


shredded cheese

sliced jalapeño peppers

1 bag of Fritos


Brown hamburger meat with onion and garlic. Add the diced tomatoes, sauce, chili powder, cumin, salt, and pepper. Let simmer for 30 minutes on low heat stirring occasionally.


Spoon chili into 9×12 casserole dish (mine is 9×9 but deep) and then line the edges with Fritos. Top with shredded cheddar and jalapeños. Heat in 350 degree oven for 15 minutes. Serve with additional chopped onion, peppers, and cheese. I love adding mustard to the top of mine. Weird? Maybe a little.. but it’s so good. :)



This is the first piece of Rachael Ray Bakeware that I have purchased and I love it! You can get it from Amazon and there are other beautiful color options.

#36 Spicy Chicken w/Peppers and Onions

Low Calorie Chicken and Peppers


Man, I’m on a roll! This low calorie, good for you stuff isn’t as hard as I thought. Most people think of low calorie as low taste.. or at least that’s what I usually think when I hear ‘low calorie’. It sooooo doesn’t have to be that way! And THAT, my friends, is awesome!!!

One of our local Mexican restaurants serves something similar to this.. I don’t remember what it’s called, but it’s #36 on the menu. ;) So, this is my version of #36 Spicy Chicken w/Peppers and Onions. (I’m sure whatever the official name is on the menu sounds way cooler.. but oh well)

What you’ll need

3 boneless chicken breasts sliced and diced (small pieces)

1 small onion diced

1 bell pepper diced

1 jalapeño pepper diced

1 poblano pepper diced

2 cloves minced garlic

1/2 tbsp extra virgin coconut oil

salt & pepper (I also used a little cayenne pepper for added spice)

Heat skillet to medium/high and add coconut oil. Toss in everything but the chicken, salt, and pepper. Cook until onions start to get transparent.  Add the chicken, along with salt and pepper. Cook until chicken, onions, and peppers are browned.



Yummy Sweet Iced Coffee – Low Calorie and Low Carb



I’ve come to the realization that I don’t like warm drinks.. not a fan of hot chocolate or hot coffee.. I prefer my coffee iced.  Maybe it’s because of my cold, cold, heart. ;) Just kidding. This isn’t the best picture. I took it with my cell phone, but you get the idea.

If you are anything like me, you don’t like to drink your calories/carbs. This recipe is so stinkin’ good and has less than 3 carbs and less than 30 calories. Yay!


All you need is:

Your favorite coffee

Ice (duh)

Silk Original Almond Milk (only 60 calories per serving, but there’s nowhere near a cup in the recipe.. probably less than a 1/2 cup)

Sugar Free Coffee Syrup (zero calories)

Add all ingredients to taste. I prefer a stronger coffee since the ice melts and I don’t like mine too watered down… but that’s me. I add 2 tablespoons of Sugar Free Syrup, and 2 or 3 good heaping splashes of the Almond Milk. I also add a packet of Splenda for a little extra sweetness.