Welcome to the land of Denakis

So, this happened. And was delicious! July 31, 2015

Filed under: Recipe — Desiree @ 3:35 pm

Featured image

Stuffed Acorn Squash.

Serves 4

(Double, triple as necessary)

2 acorn squash (.98), halved

1/2 pound of Ground Meat

1 cup short grain brown rice (.60)

1 tbsp olive oil

¼ onion, sautéed (.05)

1 cup mushrooms, sautéed (1.25)

1 carrot, peeled, chopped roughly, and steamed (.38/.25=.10)

1 cup winter greens, chopped roughly and steamed (.50)

¼ cup vegetable broth (.50)

2 tbsp  butter, melted

1 tbsp fresh thyme, chopped finely

1 tbsp fresh sage, chopped finely

salt and pepper to taste


Cut the squashes in half and roast for about 25 minutes on 350 degrees.

Cook the rice in the rice cooker according to directions.

Sauté meat and onion in olive oil until softened. Add in mushrooms for the last five minutes of cooking.

Steam carrots and winter greens for a short period of time.

Combine broth, butter, thyme, sage, salt, and pepper in a separate bowl.

Combine rice, sautéed veggies, steamed veggies, and broth mixture in a large bowl. Mix thoroughly.

Stuff mixture inside each squash half.  Bake for 15 to 20 minutes.


Long time – no see! July 21, 2014

Filed under: Healthy,Recipe,Uncategorized — Desiree @ 9:41 pm

Yeah, I’ve been a bit MIA.  Just a bit… (Understatement!!!)


So, I’m going to share with you one of my favoritest snacks ever right now.  SOOOO filling and actually good for you!

Yes, really!

SQ Quinoa Salad

This is my SW Quinoa Salad.  I have a to-die-for black bean and corn salsa recipe so I got creative one day and added quinoa.  I will never look back.

Quinoa is all the rage right now.  According to HuffingtonPost: (

” …quinoa has three dietary trends to thank for its popularity boost. First, quinoa is a great gluten-free option that’s riding the recent gluten-free diet trend. Second, it is also considered a “superfood” from a marketing standpoint because it is nutritionally dense. And third, its status as a complete protein (because it has all nine of essential amino acids) caters to the ever-growing population of vegetarians and vegans, as well as those who are just trying to eat less meat. Since the grain shares the properties of all three of these health food trends at once, quinoa could be here to stay.”


The recipe couldn’t be more simple.  It’s open a bunch of cans, chop up a few things, omit what you don’t want, add something else.  Completely customizable.  Or delicious just this way!

I eat this a variety of ways.  With tortilla chips.  With a spoon and dig right in.  Mixed in with scrambled eggs.  As a dressing for my taco salad… I could go on and on…

 Just believe me and make some for yourself.




2 (15 ounce) cans diced tomatoes with jalapenos
2 (15 ounce) cans white corn
2 (15 ounce) cans black beans
1 bunch fresh cilantro
1 medium red onion
1 bunch green onion
1 cup cooked quinoa, cooled
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1/4 cup olive oil or 1/4 cup grapeseed oil

Combine all ingredients into a large bowl and mix well to combine flavors. Refrigerate to allow flavors to meld.
Eat as a stand alone salad or dip into it with tortilla chips! Also great used as salsa!
Very easy to leave out ingredients, or add your favorite flavors. I’ve made this without onion products with zero problems and lots of flavor.

You can find nutritional facts and other tidbits here: (yes, this is my recipe!)



Stuffed Squash – 2 varieties! October 15, 2011

Filed under: Healthy,Recipe — Desiree @ 2:03 pm
Tags: ,

Stuffed Acorn Squash:

(I doubled this)
2 acorn squash, halved
1/2 pound of Ground Meat, any variety
1 cup short grain brown rice
1 tbsp olive oil
¼ onion, sautéed
1 cup mushrooms, sautéed
1 carrot, peeled, chopped roughly, and steamed
1 cup spinach, chopped
¼ cup vegetable broth, or 1 Tbsp Better Than Bullion
2 tbsp  butter, melted
1 tbsp fresh thyme, chopped finely
1 tbsp fresh sage, chopped finely
salt and pepper to taste


  • Cut the squashes in half and roast for about 25 minutes on 350 degrees.
  • Cook the rice in the rice cooker according to directions.
  • Sauté meat and onion in olive oil until softened. Add in mushrooms and spinach for the last five minutes of cooking.
  • Steam carrots  for a short period of time.
  • Combine broth, butter, thyme, sage, salt, and pepper in a separate bowl.
  • Combine rice, sautéed veggies, steamed veggies, and broth mixture in a large bowl. Mix thoroughly.
  • Stuff mixture inside each squash half.  Bake for 15 to 20 minutes.

*Will post pictures later, when I find them!*


Stuffed Zucchini/ AKA Zucchini Boats


2 zucchinis (plus chopped meat from other squashes)
1 onion
2 chopped garlic cloves
1 cup spinach, chopped
1 tbsp sour cream
1 egg
bread crumbs
salt & pepper, to taste
Parmesan cheese
half pound of bacon, chopped and fully cooked


  • Preheat your oven to 400 (200C).
  • Wash zucchini, cut in half, lengthwise
  • scoop out zucchini innards, and coursely chop
  • chop up meat from any other squashes
  • (wring out excess moisture from squash guts)
  • combine all ingredients, and spoon into zucchini.
  • Place in baking dish or sheet and cover with foil
  • Bake for 35 minutes and remove foil, baking for an additional 15 minutes.
  • Enjoy!
Unfortunately, I have no “finished” photo, we were HUNGRY!  But here it is before it was popped into the oven:
Stuffed Zucchini

Before baking

It was good…


Menu, recipes and control. August 9, 2011

Filed under: Menu,Recipe — Desiree @ 10:45 am
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I recently started a new job where I work 2nd shift, most commonly referred to as “swing.”  It starts at 1pm and gets over, well, when I’m done.  Sometime between 9:30 and the next day.  (Last night I clocked out at 11:16.  I think)

Anyway, I’ve been meaning to implement the family control journal for a few years now but really lacked any motivation.  I originally got the idea from  I recently bought a set of journal/planning pages from Etsy and got re-motivated.  I then mashed the two ideas/formats together and came up with this:

(As we start using this I will share how it’s working and how to make your own customizable family planning center)

Since I do get to come home for lunch/dinner (kind of) I will try to prep dinner if it’s not already in the crock pot.  Jason works long, hard hours and right now he’s commuting 2 hours a day (until next week!  YAY!) so I don’t want him to have to deal too much with meal making if he doesn’t have too.

So, lots of crock pot and casseroles it is!  The casseroles are easy because I can prep and assemble and then slide it into the fridge and when Jason’s ready, or when I pop in at my lunch break I can put the dish in the oven, turn it on and let it works it’s oven-magic.  Don’t do this with glass dishes.  I made that mistake once, it was a bbq rib disaster.  Stoneware is the way to go with this.

Here is this week’s menu and recipes:

Sunday:  Shepherd’s Pie
Easy peasy: brown up ground turkey (cook it all the way!) add some frozen veggies, add a soup base (like low sodium cream of mushroom) and place that in 9×11 casserole.  Make up some  mashed potatoes and spoon over the top.  Bake for 40 minutes at 350 degrees, sprinkle cheese over the top and bake for an additional 10 minutes.  I used swiss cheese and it was yummy!

Monday: CP Cashew Chicken over rice   I will repost a better link by the end of the week.

Tuesday: Pork Carnita tacos
Pork shoulder roast in crock pot.  Add whatever seasonings you want!  Mole, crushed red peppers, garlic, onions, etc.  When done (8-10 hours) shred with fork and serve with regular taco toppings ie:  shredded lettuce, sour cream, shredded cheese, avacado, etc.

Wednesday: CP Beef Stroganoff with noodles
I use Smart Taste noodles that have added calcium and fiber!  Stock up when they are on sale!

Thursday:  CP Macaroni and Cheese   I use regular medium cheddar cheese instead of sharp.

Friday: Potato Soup   Don’t want cheese or ham? Leave it out!  GOOD recipe!

Saturday: Baked Chicken and Cheese Risotto
1 can cream of mushroom soup, low sodium (or make your own creamy mushroom sauce!)
1.25 cups water
1/2  cup milk
1.5 cup frozen mixed veggies
2 pound skinless, boneless chicken breasts, cut into bite size pieces
1/3 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1/3 cup shredded swiss cheese
4 Tbsp grated parmesan cheese
1 cup uncooked Arborio (risotto) or regular long grain rice

1. Stir the soup, water, milk, veggies, chicken, cheeses and rice into a 13×9 baking dish.  Cover with foil.
2. Bake at 400 degrees for 35 minutes.  Uncover the dish and stir.
3. Bake for 10 minutes more or until hot and rice is tender but still firm.  Let the risotto stand for 5 minutes before service.
Delicious with homemade bread and salad!


Menu for 4.10 – 4.17.11 April 10, 2011

Sunday: Cheesy Penne Pasta Smoked Sausage Casserole
Monday: Sausage & Ravioli Bake
Tuesday: Crispy Chicken Burritos
Wednesday: Crock Pot Chicken Cassoulet
Thursday: Chicken with Cheesy Chili Sauce (Carry over from last week)
Friday: Burgers and Fries
Saturday: Chili
Sunday: Roasted Chicken with Mashed Potatoes, Gravy & Broccoli


Crispy Chicken Burritos (A Copy Cat Recipe)

  • 3 pounds of Boneless, Skinless Chicken breast, boiled until done
  • A Brick of Cream Cheese, (Low-fat ok)
  • 1/2 cup of sour cream
  • green onions, chopped (a bunch)
  • taco seasoning, about 1 tsp
  • Garlic Pepper seasoning, to taste
  • 20 8 inch tortillas

Shred or chop chicken.  Mix with all ingredients except tortillas.  Assemble burritos by placing about 1/8 cup (I use a scoop from Pampered Chef and do 2 scoops) of chicken filling onto tortilla, roll like a burrito and place on cookie sheet sprayed with cooking spray.  Assemble until you run out of ingredients.  Spray assembled burritos and bake in oven at 375 degrees for 20 minutes, flipping once after 10 minutes.


I was so upset while grocery shopping today.  It seemed like a lot of my every-week purchases have gone up in price.  I’m mostly upset because it seems like they never went down after the last gas hike, so now they are just adding to it.  I was especially floored with the price of milk.  It’s gone up $.49/gallon in 4 weeks.  I spent $170.29 this week, which is about $40 more than I usually spend.  Add in extra gas expenses (simply because of the increase of gas prices and extra trips made) and this week is going to be EXPENSIVE!  This does not make for a happy me 😦

On a side note, anyone want to have a party so I can afford groceries and gas? lol… no, seriously…


I am the simplest complicated person I know September 20, 2010

Filed under: Recipe — Desiree @ 6:13 pm

Seriously!  I’m not feeling well.  Don’t worry, I’m not going to die, I just have a cold.  So, obviously I’m female if I feel that way, right?

So anyway, I not totally up to par and I swear my cold medicine is making me paranoid.  It’s odd, but whatever.  It could totally explain a lot in this post if I tell you that upfront.

Where was I?  Oh, yeah, potato soup!

I love potato soup and have the simplest yet bestest tasting recipe ever.  But I can’t find it.  I’m sure the pig ate it sometime last winter.  The recipe, not the soup.  Dude, I put ham in the soup so it wouldn’t be very kosher to feed it to Kosher.  (hee hee, that was FUNNY!)

Oh, soup recipe.  So I’m pretty sure I remember how it went.  It really is strange I can’t find a back-up copy anywhere, not my blog, not by recipe storage, not even my OneNote.  Bizarre I tell you!  So I’ll figure/remember it as I go, right?

So as I’m gathering ingredients all of a sudden I don’t want ham, I want turkey bacon.  And OOOOH – this leftover chicken would be nummy!  Hmmm… do I have any bullion paste left?  Oh, there it is.  Phew!  Corn or no corn?  No corn.

So, you see how this is going.  So random and I’m a bit worried how it’s going to come out.

But it smells divine!


Back-to-school breakfast September 8, 2010

Filed under: Recipe — Desiree @ 10:00 am
Tags: ,

Stuffed French Toast.  Yummm

Here is what I made the boys on the official back-to-school day!

Stuffed Peanut Butter and Banana French Toast!


  • Bread, 24 slices
  • Peanut Butter
  • Banana, 2 (sliced very thin)
  • 6 eggs
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 2 Tbsp sugar
  • Jelly (for Jaizy who doesn’t like bananas!)

Spread one side of all the bread with peanut butter and layer half of them with thinly sliced bananas.  Smash on the other slices to form a peanut butter and banana “sandwich.”

Whip up some eggs in a shallow container and mix in milk and sugar.  Dredge each “sandwich” into egg mixture and place on griddle, set to about 300 degrees.

Cook like you would normally cook French Toast and serve with either applesauce or syrup!  Yum!

Jaizy’s:  Silly girl doesn’t like bananas so I just made up a peanut butter and jelly sandwich (I wish I had some fresh strawberries, that would have been GOOD)  and cooked as described above.

This is also good with chocolate chips or Nutella instead of banana slices for an ultra decadent breakfast or dessert!  You could top with whipped cream and drizzle with chocolate syrup!


H-O-T spells yummy summer food! July 9, 2010

Filed under: Recipe — Desiree @ 9:17 am
Tags: ,

Don’t you love it when you try something new and it turns out delicious?  This doesn’t have to refer to food necessarily, it could really be anything 😉

Yesterday was hot.  I know you know what I mean when I say hot.  100 degrees hot.  And to think the high last week was mid-60’s!  Crazy!

Anyway, with hot weather comes a whole new set of meals.  Ones that don’t include turning on the oven, or the stove if you can help it. I’m lucky, I have a little countertop oven that I use outside which is n-i-c-e!  It has been so handy to me over the last 5 years.  And then there’s the grill.  Oh, you gotta love the grill any time of the year, but it’s a potential lifesaver during the summer.  When else can you jump in the pool in between flipping burgers?

Anyway, last night was a hot one and even with air conditioning I didn’t want to turn on the stove so we boiled a pot of noodles outside on the grill burner (Best invention ever!) and came inside where it was cool to cut up some pasta innards.    But what to use?  What to use?  The original menu plan called for burgers, but we had eaten that the day before because it was too warm to cook in the house.  So I decided to call upon my kitchen staples.

Earlier this week I had made Spanakopita and it was lovely!  Of course that recipe calls for homemade pesto sauce and the recipe yields enough for at least 3 large meals, so I froze some extra and put it to use yesterday!  Here’s the surprising meal that was oh-so-good!

Pesto Pasta Salad


  • Smart Taste Pasta, rotini style, 2 boxes
  • 1 package of turkey pepperoni
  • 1/2 – 3/4 cup prepared pesto sauce
  • 8 oz mozzarella cheese, cut into cubes
  • 1/3 cup red onion, diced
  • 3/4 cup Parmesan cheese
  • Whatever else you want to add!  This would be lovely with sun dried tomatoes, or roasted garlic, maybe some bell pepper.  I just used what I had around the house.

While the pasta is cooking, cut up pepperoni into halves, cheese and onion and set aside.  when pasta is done rinse in cold water, maybe adding some ice cubes to bring it down to cool temperature.  Place in big bowl and add all the remaining ingredients, tossing to coat pasta with pesto sauce well.  This could totally be made earlier in the day and refrigerate until serving time.  Serve with salad and say Yummmmmmm….Pesto Pasta Salad


It's been awhile and nothing is as it should be. July 2, 2010

Filed under: Other,Recipe — Desiree @ 8:10 pm
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Life is crazy!  Did you know that?  I’m sure you do, because it seems I’ve heard that before somewhere…

Nothing is as it should be and hasn’t been for awhile.  First we were dealing with end of school activities and with 3 different schools, there were a lot of activities to deal with.  Throw in an ailing family member (who was able to make it to heaven just a week ago) and a couple of kids’ birthdays, I’m sure you can imagine how “un-normal” things have been.

On top of all the un-normal stuff, we’ve been working on normal stuff as well.  Getting the garden in, buying a fridge, getting tires on the van, getting used to summer vacation, wishing, hoping and bribing the rain to go A-W-A-Y and I’ve been working on a different format for my menu planning and all that jazz.  I think I’ve found something that works, but more about that later.

Tonight was a fun one though.  I’ve been recovering from a *fun* summer cold ( ahem, not fun!) and a boring dinner menu this week  (Really, what WAS I thinking?) so when Jason came home from work today, which by the way was NOT a normal work day for him so you can see, everything has been all messed up, I asked him what he wanted for dinner because I was not making what was on the menu.

He said:  I don’t know.

Oh, how I hate that answer!

(But I SO love to use it!)

So, after a while he was all, Maybe I want pizza?  And I jumped on it!  Grabbed the ads to see what was on sale, looked on the websites and got coupons and drove my butt to PapaMurphys.  I’m usually not a fan, but what the hell, it’s easy, I have coupons and it’s easy.  Oh, I said that already.

So, to jump around a bit, today was rainy.  Yuck.  It’s rained a lot lately and it feels more like April than July.  What’s up with that?  So I had black bananas in the freezer so I thawed them out and made Chocolate Chip Banana Banana Bread.  It was nummy.  Really nummy.  So nummy in fact that while I wasn’t looking and waiting for pizza number three to cook Jaidelyn took it upon herself to get a fork, knife and place to server herself up a GIANT piece!  I caught her right in the knick of time and sent her on her way, putting the plate on the counter.  Went to feed the pig and came back to no plate on counter.  “Umm… Jason?  Where’s Jaizy?”  “She’s in her room.”  “Does she have banana bread with her?”  “Oh shit!”  He and Matthew jump up and check and yup, there she is sitting at her little tea table enjoying a huge-ass piece of banana bread.


Pizzas number 1, 2 & 4


Pizza # 3 baking

Time-out Jaizy

Jaizy in Time-Out because...

Chocolate Chip Banana Banana Bread

MONDO piece of Banana Banana bread

So she did time in time-out.  But damn, it is cute how she is sneaky!  One day, I might be proud…

Chocolate Chip Banana Banana Bread

Makes 1 9×5 loaf pan.  To make 2, simply double recipe.

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs, beaten
  • 2  cups mashed very overripe bananas
  • 1 cup of semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1  Preheat oven to 350°.
    2  Lightly grease 9 x 5 loaf pan, or spray with flour cooking spray.
    3  In large bowl, combine flour, soda and salt.
    4  In separate bowl, cream together butter and brown sugar.
    5  Stir in eggs, mashed bananas and chocolate chips until well blended.
    6  Stir banana mixture into flour mixture; stir just to moisten.
    7  Pour batter into prepared loaf pan.
    8  Bake in preheated oven for 60-65 minutes until a toothpick inserted into center of loaf      comes out clean.
    9  Let bread cool in pan for 10 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack.
    10  Keep out of 3 year old’s hands and room.


    Cost breakdown of HM Granola Bars May 2, 2010

    Filed under: Other,Recipe,Tips & Tricks — Desiree @ 11:22 am
    Tags: ,

    Someone asked me to do a cost breakdown on my granola bars!  What a job!  But I did it and I’m happy to report that it cost me:
    1.5 cup Peanut Butter: $1.17
    1.5 cup Honey:  $.72
    3 cups Cereal: $.43
    3 cups Oats:  $.48
    4 Tbsp Protein Powder: $4.32
    1 cup Flax Seed: $.76
    1 cup Trail Mix: $1.00
    Total: $8.88 for 32 bars/ $.28 each bar

    Now… buying all the ingredients cost a little more because obviously you can’t buy just what you need.  Here is what it cost me to buy each ingredient and how many it is a serving (and where I got it):

    Ingredient *Total $ Svgs Svg size Where?
    Peanut butter $3.12 32  (4 cups) 2 Tbsp Homemade
    Honey $8.00 65 1 Tbsp Fred Meyers
    Cereal $1.75 10 1.25cup Winco- Generic
    Oats $1 13 .5 cup Albertsons – Generic
    Protein Powder $14 13 27 grams (= to appx 1 oz) Fred Meyers – Designer Whey
    Flax Seed $6.50 34 2 Tbs Bob’s Red Mill
    Trail Mix $5.00 28 3 Tbsp Walmart
    Total: $48.00

    Prices may vary a bit depending on where you live and where you shop.

    So, obviously it cost a bit to get the ingredients.  Some of these you might have around the house, I usually do.   And of course with these ingredients you can make lots of other stuff.

    You might notice that my ingredients listed are slightly different than what my recipe calls for.  I didn’t have brown sugar on hand this week so I just compensated with extra peanut butter and honey.  I also added protein powder this week.  It was chocolate flavored.  Yummmmmm….