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The Cardinal

Three inches of snow had fallen overnight.

As I looked out the upstairs window, I saw that our snow plower had come that morning.  The driveway was cleared of snow. Heading downstairs, I walked to the laundry room window and peeked to see if my husband had had a chance to shovel the walkway.  Ahhh – I had to add this to my list of things to do.

After breakfast I headed to the garage and grabbed the snow pusher. I was glad that my brother-in-law had told me about the difference between a snow shovel and a snow pusher.  This pusher made my job a lot easier.

Opening the side door in the garage that led to the outside, I was greeted with a beautiful blue sky. Stepping outside, I shoveled a pathway to the front of the garage doors and over to the front walkway. I was glad that this snowfall was light because it made my life much simpler.

Once the snow was shoveled, I headed indoors, went to the kitchen and started preparing my husband’s lunch for the next day. With the ingredients out on the counter top, I turned around and happened to look out the window where a cardinal was staring at me.  The cardinal kept still then looked this way and that.

I wondered if I could quickly grab my camera to take a picture of him. Moving slowly away from the window, I grabbed my camera, focused and started taking pictures.  “He” kept still with the exception of turning his head this way and that ~ as if he was posing.

I felt blessed by the opportunity to view and take pictures of this beautiful bird.

Approximately 30 minutes later, he flew away.

It has been said that “When cardinals appear, angels are near.”  So glad I had angels visiting me.


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Cauliflower Tomato Casserole

Paleo Cauliflower Tomato Casserole

Well, here I am again with another new recipe. This one is paleo and vegetarian but not vegan.  You could use vegan cheese to solve that problem though.

Cauliflower is not one of my “go to” vegetables although, add a little aged cheese and my mind magically changes its mind.

This paleo Cauliflower Tomato Casserole is very easy to make and most of the recipes can already be found in (most) of your cupboards.

Although I had purchased the cauliflower just a couple of days before, there were some parts that didn’t look “healthy” to me ~ mainly the brown parts ~ so I cut those areas off and used the rest.


I first cut the cauliflower into smaller florets, rinse them clean and put them in a pot to steam until they were soft.

Steam Cauliflower

While the cauliflower was steaming, I prepared ingredients that will be combined with the cauliflower once it’s steamed ~


I combined the ingredients in a bowl (with the exception of the almond flour and cheese).  Only half of the can of diced tomatoes is used.  These ingredients will be combined with the steamed cauliflower.

Combine Ingredients

The almond flour was tossed with my favorite cheese ~ Kerrygold Aged White Cheddar ~ although any cheese can be used. This was then tossed over the cauliflower mixture.

Aged White Kerrygold Cheddar

Combine cheese and almond flour

Once everything was ready, I popped my uncovered casserole dish into the oven for approximately 15 minutes or until the top started browning.

So ~ here’s the recipe for you to try. Let me know what you think.

Cauliflower Tomato Casserole (Paleo)


Cauliflower Tomato Casserole (Paleo)

Paleo Cauliflower Tomato Casserole


  • 1 large cauliflower
  • 1/2 (14.5) can diced tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons capers
  • 2 tablespoons chopped onion
  • 3 tablespoons oregano
  • large pinch ground cloves
  • large pinch ground cinammon
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/4 cup almond flour
  • 1/2 cup aged white cheddar cheese, shredded


  1. Preheat the oven to 400 Fahrenheit.
  2. Grease a casserole dish with olive oil or coconut oil.
  3. Cut the cauliflower into small florets and steam them until soft.
  4. Once the cauliflower is steamed, in a large bowl, add the florets and all the other ingredients except the almond flour and cheese then toss together.
  5. Add this cauliflower mixture to the casserole dish.
  6. In a medium sized bowl, combine the almond flour and cheese.
  7. Sprinkle the cheese mixture over the cauliflower mixture.
  8. Bake (convection oven) for approximately 15 minutes, uncovered, until the cheese is melted and the top is brownish.
  9. Note: For a regular oven bake approximately 25 minutes.
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I adapted this recipe from a book called Linda McCartney’s Home Cooking.

I sure hope you enjoy it!

For additional paleo recipes, click here.

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A Star Quilt

Star Diamond Quilt

When I first started quilting I made the the mistake of telling my family & friends on Facebook that I was looking for projects so I could practice sewing and quilting.  I had not done either in my life and thought having planned projects would be a good way to learn.

However, the last time I posted pictures of my quilt on Facebook another person said they wanted one.  I currently have four (4) more free quilts to make for people.  This after making six quilts already. So ~ after the four more free quilts I’m planning on charging for making quilts. Gotta pay for the fabric someway …

The star quilt I recently made was for an aunt who is Native American.  She requested the colors of blue, lilac and yellow on a white background with a brushed baby blue back.  She also wanted the size to be anything bigger than a crib but not larger than a full size.

So I made a lap quilt.  It was a little challenging for me since I had never cut in “degrees” before (mainly 45 degrees), had never quilted on flannel and had never sewn with invisible thread.

All these challenges were overcome quickly.  A quilting ruler took care of the measuring and searching on Youtube and the internet gave me lots of ideas from other people’s failures and successes.

Over and over the same problem kept rearing it’s ugly head though ~ sewing the diamonds together. The corners must meet at the correct corners or else the connection is crooked.

Sewing Triangles

MOST of the sewn triangles came out okay and those that didn’t I found I had to go back and re-do.

Sewing Triangles Together

Since lilac was one of the colors that my aunt wanted in this quilt, I had a dilemma.  I wanted the quilt to be a surprise but there are so many variations of lilac ~ from light to dark ~ that I decided to go with different variations ~ both light and dark. I chose darker blues and only one fabric in yellow.

Do you see from the picture below why the diamond and other pieces must be cut and sewn very carefully? They have to fit together in order not to have a crooked large diamond.

Making a large triangle

It was fun to put the colors together and make the diamonds.  Once all the diamonds were completed I put them on the floor to see how they looked.  I was then able to move them around to see which design I liked the best.  I did make a mistake although one wouldn’t know it was a mistake.  In the picture below, I had the two “plum-ish” looking colors across from each other which I really liked.

Star Diamond Quilt

Unfortunately when I finally sewed the diamonds together I made the mistake of sewing them in a different location. No problem though ~ just a different look.

Star Diamond Quilt

I’m not sure why the designer didn’t have us applique the large star on a white piece of fabric. Instead, the white background fabric is cut into triangles and squares and are set into the corners between the diamonds.

I believe appliqueing would have been much easier but I’m one to stick to a design ~ at least the first time.

After I basted the top, back and batting together, I had to decide how to quilt it.  Since I have a small sewing machine I decided on a very simple “line” design.  Normally I would make a quilt in two or three pieces, quilt it and then sew those pieces together.  This design didn’t allow for that.

I’ve learned from a quilting teacher that most of us veer when we sew so she recommends using blue painting tape to help you stay on track.

Quilting with blue painters tape

Once the quilting on the diamonds was completed, I used the masking tape to mark the lines for the rest of my design.

Using blue painters tape to quilt

A major problem I had with this quilt was when one of the middle star pieces was too “short” to meet the other pieces in the middle.  Instead of taking care of it initially, I thought I’d take care of it by hand quilting it in the end.  That was a major mistake as I wound up having to cut another small diamond piece, lay it over the “mistake,” hand quilt it on and also use fabric glue underneath as a “just in case.”

A quilting mistake

Fortunately for me, you can’t see this small hand quilting from afar ~ you have to get really really close.  See how it looks below?

Star Diamond

The quilt came out quite beautifully.  I used a technique that modern quilters use and washed the fabric for the back and the top before cutting.  The batting was not washed initially.  Once the quilt was finished, I washed it all and the batting then shrunk which gives the quilt a nice wrinkled look.

Star Quilt

Star Quilt

And here’s the quilt with a section of the baby blue flannel showing.

Star Quilt

It didn’t take very long to make this quilt. I purchased the pattern on the Craftsy website ~ it’s by Sam Hunter of Hunter’s Design Studio.

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The Value Of Man

Voyageurs National Park

“The value of man, the estimate God places on him, is revealed in the cross of Calvary.” (My Life Today)

When we look to Jesus we are better able to see the value of our fellow human beings because we will see them through His eyes.

Challenge for today: When criticism of another person comes to your mind, stop, pray and ask God to show you the value He has placed on them and to give you the strength to treat them as He would treat them.

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A Warm Winter in Minnesota

Small Pond in Winter, Minnesota

With the month of February now over, we just finished having 23 out of 28 days that were above average.  And, hardly no snow this winter which is way different from the first year we moved to Minnesota which had over 80 inches of snow.

The last 3 winters have been mild in the Twin Cities.

With temperatures in the 40’s, I’ve been able to get out and start walking sooner than normal with no fear of slipping on ice ~ a nice break from the indoors.  I even saw red berries on a tree which is quite uncommon.

Winter Berries, Minnesota

But alas! Warm winters bring more bugs in the summer and living on a wooded acre lot means a LOT of bugs.

For now I’ll enjoy the warmer temperatures as the birds start migrating back ~ pretty soon our local hawk will be building its nest in the neighborhood.

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Beef & Cheese Filled Plantain Balls

Paleo Beef & Cheese Filled Plantain Balls

As a Puerto Rican, we ate lots of plantains growing up.

My favorite were the maduros which were yellow and very ripe even to the point of having a black skin. These were the sweet ones as opposed to the green plantains which were not sweet at all and were usually served with a garlic dip.  But the maduros ~ well, we just fried them up and ate the slices. Simple and delicious!

It’s interesting that almost every time I go to the grocery store and see the very ripe plantains they bring the price down because they assume (incorrectly) that the plantain is too ripe.  So it’s a bonus to pick up these delicious maduros.

Ripe Plantains aka Maduros

Now, being one to have a sweet tooth, I searched for a recipe to incorporate these plantains into a meal.  And, right on my bookshelf I found a book called Puerto Rican Cookery that had been given to me as a gift many years ago. It had a recipe for plantain balls but I decided to adapt it to suit my taste.

Besides the plantains, the rest of the ingredients are quite simple:  ground beef, cheese and seasonings.

The plantains are boiled in water until they look like they are going to pop out.  Then they’re taken out to cool.   Once cooled, I peeled them and added them to a bowl with butter and arrowroot starch.  Then I mashed them up.

Boiled Plantains

The ground beef is put in a skillet with the seasonings and cooked through.  This will be used to fill the plantain balls along with the shredded cheese.

Cooked Ground Beef

I added a little arrowroot powder to my hands before I picked up some of the plantain mixture to fill it.  It needs to be flattened so it can be filled with the ingredients.

Beef & Cheese Filled Plantain Balls

The plantain balls will come out looking like this …

Beef & Cheese Filled Plantain Balls

And once baked they’ll look like this …

Beef & Cheese Filled Plantain Balls

These Beef & Cheese Filled Plantain Balls are paleo … deliciously paleo.  And, if you choose, you can also fry them instead of baking them but I prefer them baked.

I served my plantain balls with Crispy Baked Eggplant Dippers and sliced tomatoes.

Ready to try this simple and tasty recipe?

Beef & Cheese Filled Plantain Balls

10 Large Balls

Beef & Cheese Filled Plantain Balls

Paleo Beef & Cheese Filled Plantain Balls


  • 4 very ripe plantains
  • 2 quarts water
  • 1 teaspoon salt, plus additional for beef mixture
  • Black pepper, to taste
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons arrowroot powder
  • 16 ounces ground beef
  • Oregano, 1 teaspoon
  • Garlic Powder, 1 teaspoon
  • 1/2 to 1 cup Aged White Cheddar Cheese, shredded
  • Olive Oil
  • Olive Oil Spray


  1. Preheat the oven to 375 Fahrenheit.
  2. In a large pot, add the water and 1 teaspoon salt then bring this to a boil.
  3. Slice the plantains in half and add them to the water with the skin on.
  4. After 15-20 minutes, remove the plantains from the water and set aside to allow them to cool.
  5. In a large skillet, add 1 teaspoon olive oil and allow this to warm.
  6. Add the beef, oregano and garlic powder to the skillet and cook until the beef is thoroughly cooked.
  7. Season the beef with salt and pepper and stir until well blended then set the beef aside.
  8. Once the plantains are cooled, remove the peel and add them to a medium sized bowl along with the melted butter and 1 tablespoon arrowroot powder.
  9. Mash the ingredients in the bowl.
  10. Coat your hand with a little bit of arrowroot powder then take a large spoonful of the plantain ingredients and make a flat patty in your hand.
  11. Add beef and cheese to the center of the patty then cover it with the plantain mixture to form a ball.
  12. Continue to make the balls until all the ingredients are gone.
  13. Spray olive oil in a casserole dish then add the plantain balls.
  14. Bake for approximately 30-40 minutes until the balls are golden.
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Does the BBB Give Fair Ratings?

A couple of years ago we went to a local fair and a representative from the Minnesota newspaper The Star Tribune was there and offered us a year’s worth of Sunday papers for only $1.00.

Wow, we thought.  That’s cheap.  They are practically giving it away.  We’ve been told by others that the reason they “give” the paper away is that they have to get a high subscription rate in order to charge advertisers certain rates.  Irregardless, we went ahead and signed up for the paper.

A year later we received a renewal notice for $26.00 for a year’s worth of Sunday papers of the Star Tribune.  I signed up again although we really didn’t read the paper as much as we thought we would.

Towards the end of the subscription, I called to have the paper temporarily stopped as we would be out of town.  When we arrived back home, the paper had been delivered ~ twice.  I called and lodged a complaint and was told by a supervisor to specifically ask to speak to a supervisor and they would make sure the paper was stopped.  The next time we went out of town I called and did as I was told ~ spoke to a supervisor and was assured our paper would be temporarily stopped.

But it wasn’t.  At this point, I called and asked them to cancel our subscription and was assured it would be cancelled.  My online account showed the cancellation and there was no money due yet the Sunday papers kept coming.

After 2.5 months of getting a “free” paper, we again were going to be out of town so I called and told them that they needed to stop the paper as we no longer had a subscription.  I was assured, again, that it would stop.  But it wasn’t.

When we returned from being out of town,  the paper had been delivered again.  Feeling frustration creep into my voice, I called again and was assured they would stop delivery.  The following Sunday ~ guess what? ~ the paper was delivered again.

So I called again.  This was now getting to be ridiculous.  I spoke to a supervisor and was assured … wait, I’m pretty sure I heard that same assurance before so after I hung up with the supervisor I sent an online complaint to the Better Business Bureau here in Minnesota.

When I pulled up the online information on The Star Tribune I was shocked at what I saw. They had 100% negative reviews but an A+ rating.  How can that be?

BBB Rating of The Star Tribune

It seems ridiculous to me that a company that has 100% negative reviews can have an A+ rating.

Recently a friend of mine sent me an article re the BBB and how they appear to have what the article called a “pay for play” scheme. Although the article is from 2010, I have the feeling that it’s still quite applicable.

“To prove the point, a group of Los Angeles business owners paid $425 to the Better Business Bureau and were able to obtain an A minus grade for a non-existent company called Hamas, named after the Middle Eastern terror group.”

I had always believed that I could trust the ratings on the Better Business Bureau site but this is disturbing to me.  My trust in them has fallen to zero.

And the resolution to my problem?  Within 4 days of filing my complaint, I received a response from someone at The Star Tribune letting me know the newspapers would stop being delivered.

Almost 3 months later, I’m glad to say we’ve received no newspaper.  I’ll never subscribe to this company again.

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Spinach, Cheese and Olive Stuffed Chicken Breasts (Paleo)

Spinach, Cheese and Olive Stuffed Chicken Breasts (Paleo)

This paleo Spinach, Cheese and Olive Stuffed Chicken Breast recipe came out absolutely great!

Normally my chicken breasts come out a tad too dry but not this time.  I surprised even myself!

I decided on chicken breasts for tonight’s meal because I haven’t had them in quite awhile and I felt inspiration well inside of me.  If that inspiration ever wells up inside of you, go for it!

As usual, the recipe is simple and uses ingredients that most people already have in their cupboard.


I only used two “slices” of the aged cheddar white cheese and then I chopped it up.  You could use more cheese, but I liked the “hint” of cheese and this white cheddar does not have an overpowering flavor.

Kerrygold Aged Cheddar Cheese

Chopped Kerrygold White Cheddar Cheese

The spinach, olives and cheese will be combined in a bowl after they are all chopped.

Combine Filling Ingredients

After I cleaned and dried the chicken breasts, I sliced it down the middle but not all the way through ~

Slicing A Chicken Breast for Filling

Slice the Chicken Breasts

Next I stuffed them with the spinach mixture ~ (you’ll be tempted to overfill them, but remember that the pocket will be closed up).

Add mixture to chicken breasts

I added a tablespoon of olive oil to the bottom of a casserole dish then the chicken breasts.  Next I seasoned the chicken with salt, white pepper and oregano then closed the chicken pockets with toothpicks.

Season the chicken breasts

I baked the chicken (covered) for approximately 35 minutes before removing it from the oven.  I then added the juice of half of a lemon and a half tablespoon of butter on the top of each of the breasts then back in the oven it went, uncovered, for approximately 5 more minutes.

Add Lemon Juice and Butter

Then ~ perfection.  Moist and tasty.   I’m sure you’re ready to see the recipe, eh?

Spinach, Cheese and Olive Stuffed Chicken Breasts (Paleo)

2 servings

Spinach, Cheese and Olive Stuffed Chicken Breasts (Paleo)

Spinach, Cheese and Olive Stuffed Chicken Breasts (Paleo)


  • 2 boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • Olives, a handful, chopped
  • Spinach, 1 cup chopped
  • Aged White Cheddar Cheese, handful, chopped
  • Oregano, a sprinkle
  • White Pepper, a sprinkle
  • Salt, to your taste
  • Olive Oil
  • 1/2 Lemon
  • 1 tablespoon Butter
  • Toothpicks


  1. Preheat the convection oven to 375 Fahrenheit.
  2. Clean and dry the chicken breasts then set them aside.
  3. Chop the spinach, olives and cheese and toss them in a small bowl.
  4. Slice the chicken breasts in the middle but not all the way through (you want to make a small pocket).
  5. Fill the pocket with the spinach mixture then use toothpicks to hold the two sides of the chicken breast together.
  6. In a casserole dish, add approximately 1 tablespoon olive oil to the bottom.
  7. Add the chicken breasts to the casserole dish, sprinkle with oregano, white pepper and salt then cover with aluminum foil.
  8. Bake for approximately 35 minutes then remove from the oven.
  9. Squeeze the juice from half a lemon over the chicken breasts, throw the peel in the casserole dish, add 1/2 tablespoon butter to the top of the chicken breasts then return to the oven, uncovered, for another 5 minutes.
  10. Next ~ enjoy!
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Paleo Pistachio Chili

Paleo Pistachio Chili

Motivation for a new and simple paleo chili recipe gave me the inspiration for this recipe.

The main spice in this recipe is chili powder. Sounds simple enough, no?

Chili Powder, Pistachio Nuts and Canned Diced Tomatoes

The handful of pistachio nuts were a last minute idea and I was glad I added them.  They gave a nice crunch to every bite.

The veggies I choose to use were cabbage, green onions, onion and green pepper.  I sauteed them in a tablespoon of olive oil to cook them through a little

Saute Vegetables

The chili is served on a bed of shredded lettuce which gives it a crispness when you bite into it.  I sliced the lettuce up, cleaned it with water then put it in a mesh holder to allow the water to drain.  After a few minutes, I take a paper towel and dry it to remove most of the water.

Prepare Lettuce

I like to use the Organic Ground Beef that I purchase at Costco.  It doesn’t taste grainy when cooked like other ground beef I’ve tasted.

Costco Ground Beef

Once the vegetables are sauteed, I added the ground beef to them until the beef browned.

Add Ground Beef to Sauteed Vegetables

Next I seasoned the beef with the chili powder and salt.  Then I added the canned diced tomatoes.

Season the Beef then add the Diced Tomatoes

Once everything is combined and cooked through, I added the pistachios, stirred and it was ready to serve.

Paleo Pistachio Chili

Pretty simple, no?  Check out the recipe and let me know what you think.

Paleo Pistachio Chili


Paleo Pistachio Chili

Paleo Pistachio Chili


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 green pepper, diced
  • 1/2 onion, diced
  • 3-4 green onions, diced
  • 1/4 head green cabbage, sliced thinly
  • 1 14.5 ounce can of diced tomatoes
  • Handful of pistachio nuts whole or chopped
  • 1-2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 2 cups loosely chopped lettuce
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1.5 lbs ground beef


  1. In a large warmed skillet, add the olive oil and allow it to heat through.
  2. Add the green pepper, onion, green onions and cabbage to the skillet and saute.
  3. Once the vegetables are soft, add the ground beef and cook it through until browned then stir it together with the vegetables.
  4. Season the beef mixture with the chili powder one teaspoon at a time until you get the taste you want.
  5. Season with salt.
  6. Add the can of diced tomatoes to the beef mixture and stir to blend it all together. Allow this to cook through.
  7. Lastly, add the pistachio nuts and stir.
  8. Serve in a bowl with chopped lettuce layered on the bottom.
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