The Sad Story of One Backslidden Cook

Hello friends!  

So Amanda and I have been reminiscing about my cooking days as though they were ages ago. Um, it was only a year ago that I was flipping out gourmet fruit tarts like I was the Barefoot Contessa.  Let’s just say that apparently my passion for cooking faded quickly.   I went from thinking about cooking every second of the day to loathing going to the grocery store altogether.  Not sure how that happened.  But it did.  Maybe it was a temporary newlywed high. Or maybe it had a little something to do with cooking on a tight budget.  I started planning my meals and it really became a chore to cook.  I’m not sure what happened but I just know it happened. 
Has this ever happened to you? Is there any hope for a cooking revival for me or am I done for…?  Maybe considering my familial history (a.k.a. my Mom), cooking is just not in my destiny.  Perhaps it was only a fool’s hope that cooking would really stay dear to my heart.
To make matters worse, I really don’t like cooking in the summer.  I prefer making winter meals because I love the warmth of the oven on a cool day.  All this to say, I am in a full on cooking crisis.  I have one and only one recipe that I really like right now and I thought you might, too.  It is wonderful for a warm day.  When we make it I try and make extra because it lasts so well throughout the week.  It pairs great with basic Turkey Burgers, if you are a Turkey Burger fan.  
So here it goes, my one little recipe just for you.  This is pretty much the only thing I’ve made in the past two months.  I wish I were exaggerating.  Please don’t judge me.
Couscous with Spiced Zucchini
1 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup plain couscous
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
1 lb zucchini, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
3/4 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 cup chopped fresh mint (crucial to the recipe, don’t leave it out)
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice


Bring broth with 1/4 teaspoon salt just to a boil in a small saucepan, then pour over couscous in a bowl and let stand, covered, 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork and set aside until ready to use.

Meanwhile, heat oil in a 10-inch heavy skillet over moderately high heat until hot but not smoking, then sauté onion with 1/4 teaspoon salt, stirring occasionally, until golden, about 6 minutes. Add garlic and sauté, stirring, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add zucchini and remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt and sauté, stirring occasionally, until just tender, about 5 minutes. Reduce heat to moderately low, then stir in coriander, chili powder, cumin, and pepper and cook, stirring frequently, 2 minutes. Gently stir zucchini mixture into couscous and cool to warm or room temperature. Just before serving, stir in mint and lemon juice.

Makes 4-6 side-dish servings. 

Recipe from Gourmet Magazine September 2005 

Do you have a recipe that rocks your world right now? Or would you rather just eat out?  

Love to all,


P.S. This is for Roxanne Worsham… since you are going on vacation and all.  I usually don’t share my secrets but here it goes.  This is the mascara I use and I buy it over and over and over again:

I go light on the bottom but way heavy on the top.  The natural look is not for me- I like blackest black 🙂 


201 Responses to “The Sad Story of One Backslidden Cook”

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  1. 151
    Nichole says:

    Oh this makes me feel so much better!! I really LOVE cooking for a party of some sort. I go all out for them. For instance, I planned and prepared quite a feast the evening before Mother’s Day to celebrate w/my husband’s mother and sister. Even baked a cake from scratch!!! I had never done that before. Ever!!! Might not do it again since it took so dang long. Anyway, the point is that when my feast is over I have such a huge letdown. The preparation and anticipation is such a drug for me. I’m such a Martha sometimes it scares me. So then I swing way over to the opposite end and go on strike until my husband threatens to sell my SUV if I don’t stop serving him frozen meals. The kids only like about three meals. THREE. That’s it. I need an audience who appreciates more than that. One thing that I have to FORCE myself to do is grab a cookbook (I am a huge fan of Pampered Chef) and choose one recipe a week to try. One. Then, if the other meals have something from a box or the freezer…at least I’m trying. I keep hoping my man will fire me. Man, he’s stubborn.
    Thanks for keepin’ it real.

  2. 152
    katiegfromtennessee says:

    Mrs. Melissa!:)

    I think you will get in the cooking spirit again. You will be thrifty this time though being all gourmet on a budget:) I think you could do it!:) I don’t have a fav recipe right now, I am tired most of the time, so eating out is looking really good to me right now. When I was at home more while I was doing temp work, I wrote out my meals, and made tasty and healthy meals too. I even have a meal folder, but alas, too much work and tiredness has taken it’s toll. There’s hope for us yet:) Thanks for the mascara tip, I was wondering if that was natural, or what you used, cause you have some eyelashes, girl!



  3. 153
    Anonymous says:

    Melissa- I totally understand about the cooking thing. Let me encourage you to go to and sign up for the magazine0 it’s free. My “go to” recipe is from there.

    1. make a box of stove top stuffing and set aside.
    Spray a 9×13 cooking pan.
    2. Pour in 1 can Apple pie mix.
    3.Put stuffing on top.
    4. Place pork chops on top.
    Cover with foil.

    Bake at 375 for 30 minute. Uncover and bake another 10 minutes.

    Super easy!

  4. 154
    Anonymous says:

    Dear Melissa,
    Don’t give up cooking. You are amazing and just think of all the money you will save on restaurant meals, so you can bless your husband’s budget and be generous in your Compassion ministry, etc.

    Use your grill. The best investment you can make. Grilled shrimp on skewers with cheesy grits and a salad.

    Get salmon filets at the grocery store, shreded carrots and a zuchini. Reach into your refrigerator for Miracle Whip or Mayo, your cupboard for some seasonings you love and julienne that zuchini.
    Take heavy duty aluminum foil and tear off enough to make two packets.
    Put your salmon fillets down on each, put a little Miracle whip or mayo on the fillet, sprinkle with spices, toss on the shredded carrots and zuchini, wrap packet so it forms a sealed bundle (leaving a little air space at the top) Either put it on a hot 400 degree grill for 20-25 minutes or in the oven. Serve with rice or couscous. No muss, no fuss and delicious. Do the same with any other fish and veggie combination you might like. with a Salad and bread it is a FEAST!

    Good luck.
    Vera, from Tremont, Illinois

  5. 155
    dm says:

    My favorite recipes these days are cinnamon sticky buns(i leave out the corn syrup and use smaller biscuits) and mini maple cinnamon rolls from They are both pure pleasure:)

    Have an awesome day!

  6. 156
    Kathy W says:

    Well, I have just the opposite problem, Melissa. I HATE to cook, anytime, and my Mom is this amazing cook who bakes and cooks for tons of people, all the time. She is forever taking food to someone; then brings us some too, because, “It’s just too easy to make two pies.” or something similar. When she introduces new people to me they ask, “Do you cook like your mom?” What makes it worse is we go to the same church!!

  7. 157
    Mary Gardner says:

    What about eating more RAW meals over the summer months? Check out a great web site that I'm enjoying: for recipe ideas & more. This is a delicious salad dressing (or dip for veggies if you make it thicker)
    1 cup soaked raw cashews (about 2 hrs. soaked is enough)
    3/4 cup water
    2 Tlbs. fresh lemon juice
    l clove garlic (optional or you can use more if you like garlic)
    pinch of salt
    handful of fresh dill or basil or both
    Process in blender 'till smooth and creamy. Store in refrig for up to five days.
    You can add 1/2 a chopped red pepper to make a thousand island type dressing too. Try it; I bet you'll like it! Happy Summer Cooking to everyone, Mary from NJ

  8. 158
    Emily says:


    Here is my family’s favorite recipe. I like it because there really is no “cooking” required. And the end result? To! Die! For!

    Easy Mexican Chicken

    Put 6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts in a crockpot (yes, they can be frozen)

    Add: 1 cup salsa
    1 package taco seasoning

    Cook on high for 5 hours, or low for 8 hours

    Remove the chicken from the crock pot. Add 1/2 cup sour cream (regular, lite, or nonfat) to the juices in the crockpot and whisk until smooth. Then put the chicken back in the pot with the sauce.

    You can shred the chicken for tacos or salad, or you can serve the chicken breasts whole. I usually serve it shredded with grated cheese, lettuce, tomatoes, onions, olives, and chips or tortillas. YUMMY!

    This makes enough to serve 4 people easily. I usually double it so I have enough for another meal or two. It makes excellent leftovers.

  9. 159
    Anonymous says:

    Im very much like you in the cooking arena. But honestly, I am like that with many new things. I get passionate and excited about this and that and then after a few months, its gone. I think its a personality flaw in me. Thankfully, the only thing that I am consistantly passionate about is Jesus and that never has worn off on me.

    Winter time? Love cooking the comfort foods..meat loaf, turkey and dressing, lasagna, and lots of desserts. Summertime? Out at the beach for pizza, appetizers and lots of ice cream!

    Shelly from Tampabay

  10. 160
    Anonymous says:

    Dear Melissa,
    You are in, what some would call, a cooking drought. I go thru it, we all do. I have been in one, but now am back on cooking. I love summer cooking, berries, fresh spiniach, summer squash. Since you are now a GA girl like me, I suggest you go to a farmers market, Serenbe, south of Atlanta has a great one on Sat. buy lots of veggies, throw them on the grill with some boneless skinless chicken which have been marintated in lemon juice and fresh herbs. Then dessert can be fresh berries with ice cream. Lots of pick your own famrs around ATL this time of year. Have fun! The heat in ATL is awful, stay out of the kitchen as much as possible and make your man do the grilling!


  11. 161
    dm says:

    Two more of my favorites…
    meaty manicotti-I use jumbo shells, but the filling is great:)
    Cheesy Stuffed Chicken Meatballs In Marinara Sauce -ok, I use jar spaghetti sauce, but these meatballs are soooo good!

  12. 162
    rbrinkley says:

    I love to cook but I almost never do it – too much trouble for one! But I did do a big deal mother’s day lunch for my parents that included lamb chops – when I do it, I go all out. The last thing I cooked, was really baking – Super Gooey Chocolate Drops (check for the amazing recipe) the best part is why I was making them – our ladies Bible study just finished the wonderful Esther study and we gathered at one of member’s home last night to watch One Night with the King. We also had Haman’s Ears and popcorn!

  13. 163
    Anonymous says:

    The greatest thing I’ve done in a long time (cooking wise) is go to For $5 a month, they will plan weekly menus around the sales for the store of your choice, then provide you with the menu, recipes (very easy ones and tasty, too) and the shopping list by aisle in your preferred store!!! I love it because after 16 years, I’m tired of cooking the same things week after week. Anyway, though I didn’t provide a recipe–what is it they say? Give a girl a recipe and feed her for a day, tell her –nevermind, that was kind of corny huh?

  14. 164
    Leslie says:

    This recipe is soooo good. It's my Aunt Carol's…

    1 lb frozen broccoli florets
    2 sticks butter
    4 cloves garlic (Carol uses 6)
    1 pt 1/2 & 1/2 (2 cups)
    1 lb penne pasta (or any other pasta you prefer)
    3 cans cream of mushroom soup
    1 large can parmesan cheese (I use the parm/romano cheese mix can)
    4-6 diced cooked chicken breasts

    Boil shells. Melt butter and garlic in skillet. Add 1/2 & 1/2, soup, 1/4 of parm. cheese. Simmer. Drain shells by pouring over broccoli in a colander. (If you like you're broccoli cooked a little more like me – boil the broccoli in a pot and drain.) Stir together sauce, pasta, broccoli, and cooked diced chicken. Pour into a greased 9 x 13 pan. Top with remaining parmesan cheese. Bake at 375 degrees for 40 minutes. I make it the night before and then bake it the day of company. 🙂

  15. 165
    Lindsey says:

    I love my crock pot! I’m worn out when I get home from taking care of kids all day so I just put everything in there before I leave in the morning and come home to a wonderful smelling house and a delicious meal!

    Foolproof Roast

    1 can of Cream of Mushroom soup
    1 can of Cream of Chicken soup
    1 rump roast (whatever size you’d like– if it is a big roast, i.e. 6 pounds or more, do 2 cans of each soup)

    Place the roast in the crock-pot with the fat side up. Pour the soups over the roast. Place it on low, and let it cook 6-8 hours or until tender.

    You can make desserts in the crock pot too!

    Pear and Cherry Buckle–from Sandra Lee

    1 (26-ounce) can cherry pie filling
    2 (15-ounce) cans diced pears in syrup
    1 teaspoon almond extract
    1 (18.25-ounce) box yellow cake mix
    1 stick butter, cut into small pieces
    1 (1.19-ounce) packet maple and brown sugar instant oatmeal
    1/4 cup sliced almonds
    Whipped topping, for serving
    Spray a 5-quart slow cooker with butter-flavored cooking spray and set aside.

    In a large bowl, combine pie filling, pears, and almond extract. Pour into prepared slow cooker. Sprinkle cake mix over fruit mixture. Dot with butter. In a small bowl, combine oatmeal packet and almonds. Sprinkle over cake mixture.

    Place 8 paper towels over slow cooker bowl and secure with lid. (This helps to trap steam.) Cook on LOW setting for 4 to 6 hours. Do not lift lid to check cake for the first 3 hours.

    Serve warm with whipped topping.

    You could also use peaches, apples or pineapples as the fruit. Just make sure the ounces of fruit that you use is roughly the same.

  16. 166
    Anonymous says:

    Melissa, this recipe looks great with salmon. I love blackened salmon with lots of lemon squeezed over it and a pat of butter melting on top. I do mine on the grill but you may not have one since you live in an apartment. I HATE cooking, definitely a quick cook.


  17. 167
    Anonymous says:

    Hi Melissa-
    I think that we go in and out of desires to cook. I love to grill,
    and also grill veggies at the same time — often that is dinner with some good break and olive oil.

    Lately, when I don’t feel like cooking I make my own version of veggie fajitas. I shop at Sams– there is just two of us but we eat lots of fruits and veggies and never seem to waste what we buy.
    Back to the dish.

    I get whole grain (or regular)
    fajitas at Trader Joes and I put them on foil on a cookie sheet.
    Then I put great tomatoe slices in the middle, big handful of fresh spinach, put my favorite cheese
    on top and melt the cheese under the broiler. Take out and top with sliced peppers of any color,
    broccoli slaw, Sam’s wonderful
    salsa in the big jar in the frige section. Top with avocado slices.
    We love it. Sometimes we add
    tortilla chips for some crunch.
    Hope you like it!

  18. 168
    Traci says:

    I’m with Janet. Forget the cooking. We want eyeliner and lipstick secrets! To wear while we are eating out of course :-).

  19. 169
    heiditheophilus says:

    a kitchen-aid mixer will revolution your life and spark a new passion in your gourmet endeavors…@ least in regard to desserts…if you have one of these try making a pavlova…their fab!

  20. 170
    jodi says:

    Check out the Kraft foods website. They have a topic for everything. Quick and Easy, On a Budget, Healthy, etc.

    And definitely check out their recipe for Bruschetta Grilled Chicken! Oh MY! So easy and tastes sooo good!

  21. 171
    One Happy Chic says:

    Melissa, your condition is easily diagnosed and definitely curable. You have a horrible case of OCD – Overzealous Cooking Disease. This disease results in the selection of recipes with entirely too many ingredients that require more than one bowl or pan during the cooking process. You can easily cure yourself of OCD by selecting simpler recipes – defined as no more than 4 ingredients and only one bowl/pan. LOL!!

    Love from one backslider to another!

    Crawford, Texas

  22. 172
    Anonymous says:

    Okay Melissa, Quick and easy summer meal: Put some chicken breasts in Italian dressing to marinate and then throw on the gas grill. (Make sure not to over cook it). Chop zucchini, yellow squash, yams, carrots, garlic cloves, and anything else you want. Toss with a little olive oil and some italian seasonings and roast in the oven at 450 for 20 minutes. Yum!
    Snohomish WA

  23. 173
    Anonymous says:

    I have a new favorite product that makes cooking meals for my family fun again! I happen to be a consultant with the Pampered Chef, but I would rave about this product whether I sold them or not. It truly has changed the way I feed my family! It’s the Deep Covered Baker, which is part of their stoneware line. It can go in the microwave or the oven, and meat from the microwave has never tasted better! Pork tenderloin in 12 minutes! Chicken in 15 minutes! And no hot oven heating up your house! I have prepared chicken pasta dishes, easy BBQ chicken, Chicken Fajitas, and pork and beef as well. My intention was not to advertise my business, but truly to share the cooking options that have saved my boring menu with this one product! Check it out… if you know a consultant, call her/him and ask about it… if you don’t have one, check it out on my website at

  24. 174
    Maria Cristina says:

    LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this post Melissa! thank you and thank you, Siestas, for the yummy recipes you have posted!! The recipe that *always* rocks my world and it can be eaten at any season of the year is one that I have also shared on Tammy Maltby’s Hospitality page on FB and I’m pretty sure she can attest to the yumminess! Here goes (word of warning! do not let the word “processed” amongst its ingredients discourage you!!!)

    maria cristina

    total prep and cook time: 1h 10 mins approx

    ingredients for 4 servings

    1 quart of WHOLE milk
    8 ozs of semolina flour
    1/2 stick of butter (or 2 ozs)
    3 egg yolks
    3 ozs of smoked semi-soft processed cheese, coarsely grated
    1 round ***fresh!!*** mozzarella (the one you buy inside its own liquid), sliced into thin-ish rounds
    1 15 ozs can of chopped tomatoes
    1 garlic clove, crushed
    1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil
    4 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
    salt, pepper, nutmeg

    STEP 1
    bring the milk to a boil, add butter and a pinch of coarse salt. GEntly pour in the semolina in a steady, “rain”-like fashion and cook, stirring constantly , for approx 15 minutes. Add a pinch of nutmeg, the smoked cheese, then turn off the heat. Fold in the three egg yolks, one at the time, and leave to cool slightly.

    STEP 2
    with the help of two wet tablespoons, take a bit of the semolina and shape into gnocchi, each as big as an egg, and place them in a row in a buttered 13″x9″ baking dish and continue until all semolina gnocchi are neatly nestled in a single layer.

    STEP 3
    heat the olive oil in a small saucepan, together with the crushed garlic clove. Add the chopped tomatoes, cook for 10 – 15 mins, and season with salt and pepper.

    STEP 4
    heat the gnocchi in a preheated 350F degree oven for approximately 10 minutes, or until golden on top. Pour the tomato sauce over them and sprinkle the basil. Lastly, distribute the mozzarella slices evenly on top of everything, and put back in the oven to cook until the mozzarella has gently melted, but hasn’t turned color.

  25. 175
    jami says:

    Loreal is going to thank you for that post. I’ve never even seen your eyelashes in person, but I’m pretty sure we will all try that mascara! 🙂

    FANTASTIC ribs
    Buy as many baby back ribs as you need.
    Rub them the night before with salt, pepper, garlic.
    (or any specialty seasoning you want)
    Let them sit in the fridge over night.
    Cook all day (@8hrs) in the oven on 250.
    Throw them on the grill for 10-15 minutes basting them with your favorite BBQ sauce.

  26. 176
    Jane says:

    No judgement here. I hate to cook. If I lived alone all I’d need is a jar of JIF, some crackers, and a gallon of milk.

  27. 177
    Anonymous says:

    Bless you girl, bless you! I’ve sat here on LPM blog with pen in hand and recipe cards and I have a new found joy! New recipes from Siestaville to share with Summer guests…thank you Siestas for such inspiration. It took a repentant “backslider” to get the grace flowing, and now we’ve all got fresh inspiration. LOL!
    Pam H.
    OC Siesta

  28. 178
    Anonymous says:

    Wondering if there was a run on your mascara at Walgreen’s this week! I bought it yesterday, very pricey for me but decided to splurge. It’s worth it1 Tried it this morning. Thanks for sharing!

  29. 179
    Rachel in Louisiana says:

    Thanks for the recipe. I love mint! I’ll have to try this one. Don’t worry too much about the cooking crisis. I think it goes in waves…sometimes I hate it and other times I love being in the kitchen.

  30. 180
    Marge says:

    I consider myself a foodie, think about food often during the day, lovingly, longingly… but, even I have experienced the ebb and flow of cooking creativity.
    What really gets me back on track in the summer is going to the local farmer’s market. Just seeing all those lovely vegetables waiting to be prepared and enjoyed is enough to get me out of my slump.
    On the other hand, there’s nothing wrong with a dinner out!

  31. 181
    Anonymous says:

    Melissa – I go through spurts of cooking alot – then not wanting to for periods of time. Like you, I enjoy it much more in the winter. Have a funny story about that – my daughter has always loved helping me in the kitchen and when she was first married, she’d call almost every week night on the way home from work and be anxious to tell me what she was planning for supper. After she’d been married awhile, she called one day and in a wondering voice said “Mom it’s the funniest thing – I just don’t really want to cook supper tonite.” I swallowed some laughter and tried to give her some ideas. I told my girl friend. She looked at her watch and said, “What’s she been married now – about 2 and a half months…hmm… yea, that’s about right…” Happens to the best of us but you can bounce back, girl!
    Becky B.

  32. 182
    Anonymous says:

    I totally understand your pain. I’ve been there, but am happy to say I’ve been back on the cooking kick fo rthe last 10 years. Here’s my new favorite and easy summer side dish:

    Grilled Okra and Tomatoes

    1 pkg. whole, fresh okra
    1 pkg. whole, fresh cherry or grape tomatoes
    olive oil
    salt and pepper

    Toss all together and put in a grill basket. Grill until tomatoes start to get a little mushy.


  33. 183
    Anonymous says:

    We are always on a tight budget and sometimes as much as I love to cook, I just don’t feel like cooking. (I am a passionate cook!) What keeps me motivated when I am less than motivated is cooking simple recipes which have few ingredients. Recipes you can dump together like in a casserole or crockpot can get you through the days it is harder to cook. I don’t know how you plan your meals, but, I find I do better when I don’t plan the menu like the school lunch menu. I plan what recipes I will cook during the week, but, not what days I will cook which recipes. This allows me to feel creative and not boxed in because some days I want to cook spinach alfredo not spaghetti! I keep some things on hand always, like tortillas. You can bake them in the oven on both sides, pull them out, top them with lettuce, spinach, chicken, cheese, sour cream, black beans, steak, tomatoes, the options are unlimited! Hope this helps…

  34. 184
    Cyndi says:

    Two words – Dream Dinners. Have you tried this concept? Dream Dinners is a place where you go and put together pre-planned meals. they have all the ingredients right there in front of you plus the recipe. You just measure stuff out and put it in ziploc bags then take it home and freeze it. When you want to eat one of the meals you just thaw and follow the cooking instructions and voila! A “home-cooked” meal for the fam! It’s so easy and the food is really good. You can choose to make 3 servings or 6 servings depending on your situation. It’s a bit pricey, but for the fun and convenience it’s great! Plus it’s cheaper than eating out.

  35. 185
    More than Survival says:

    I know what you mean… sometimes cooking is so much fun and then other times it is just a chore!! I am a stay at home mom to four with a PASSION to help families enjoy meals together. I have created a service to get families organized and take the stress out of supper. I create family friendly, easy to prepare and budget happy monthly menus complete with all the easy recipes and organized weekly shopping lists. To check it out and give the sample menu a try visit
    It is my prayer that my service reduces stress for women and encourages families to build memories around the supper table!

  36. 186
    Dedra Herod says:

    Finally! The gorgeous eye secret is out! I have been waiting years to hear how your lashes got so luscious! Don’t worry about the whole cooking thing. It will come and go in waves, stay permanently a joy to be in the midst of, be somewhat joyful albeit boring at the same time. Nevertheless, as long as He is glorified around every table.. don’t think it matters who/who/what is put on the table.

    Be blessed and so wonderful to giggle with you!

  37. 187
    The Marquarts says:

    ok…sadly enough…i just look for pics sometimes when i don’t have time to read! i saw your mascara and i got some yesterday. i haven’t tried it yet, but i thought it was worth a shot. i use mac and it seems it’s all down my face by the end of the day. either i’m always crying…or it just doesn’t stay on well. ;0) i got the waterproof…thinking it might work! thanks!

    *you can get a WIDE variety of info on this blog!! ;0)

  38. 188
    Carolina Light says:

    Here is a fun little summertime treat – easy, forgiving – I think you’ll like it.

    I’m a dump cook and don’t usually measure stuff like this so, just go by what looks good. Here goes –

    Fruit Salsa and Cinnamon Chips

    For the salsa: Prepare your choice of fruit by finely chopping. (I like a combination of strawberries, blueberries, peaches and a granny smith apple.) Add the juice of one orange (or more, if needed) and a spoonful of apple jelly. Stir gently and chill.

    For the chips: Spray 8-inch flour tortillas with butter flavored cooking spray. Sprinkle with cinnamon and suger. Cut tortilla into 8 triangles with a pizza cutter. Bake at 375 until crispy.

    Voila! Fruit salsa and chips.

  39. 189
    Anonymous says:

    Lisha from West Columbia, TX:

    Here’s a great cake recipe from my sister in Christ, Pam. She has gone to be with the Lord but every time I bake this I think of her and her love for God.

    Poppy Seed Cake (family favorite)
    350 for 1 hour
    1 Duncan Hines Butter Cake Mix
    1/2 c. sugar
    3/4 c. oil
    1/4 c. poppy seed pie filling – this is found with the pie filling section in the grocery store.
    1 c. sour cream
    4 eggs

    Heavily grease and sugar bundt pan. Put all ingredients but eggs in mixing bowl. Beat with fork — adding eggs one at a time. Cool 5 minutes and remove from pan.

  40. 190
    Jkhb says:

    M – during the summer months I grill a ton so we don’t heat up the kitchen. So get some chicken, beef or pork and make some k-bob’s with what ever veggies you like. It seems like everything tastes better grilled. Oh and I like to sprinkle my meat and things with Montreal steak seasoning YUM. I cook around some picky eaters so I don’t make many cassaroles but I have a Yummy dessert that is super easy. 1 can cherry Pie filling, I can crushed pineapple juice and all dump and spread evenly into a 13×9 pan and take a yellow or white box cake mix the full size one not a jiffy and dump and spread over the fruit mixture. Dot the top with one stick of butter and bake 350 for 30 to 40 min. till it looks bubbly and toasty on top. It is kind of like and cobbler but with out any fuss. It is super easy for something you have to make fast and you can keep the ingredients handy at your house. You can click on my blog to get the recipes for baby back ribs yumo! Also try looking up something on I use it all the time and it has ratings and suggestions on what others did to make the recipe better. Happy Cooking, I cook in spurts too.

  41. 191
    Jkhb says:

    Melissa, sorry I forgot to tell you that the recipe name was dump cake. Others call it something else but I can’t remember what. My daddy use to sign up for bringing things for his work and forget to tell my Mom he need her to cook something and bring home those ingriedients so I could make that recipe and then she would not be made to make something at last minute. When I was a teen I would always fix food for my daddy! (I will always fix it for him now he just lives to far away to cook for now) Hope this helps you. Some of the best things can be just tossed into your crockpot and presto! If you are on a budget making a menu for the week or month helps and you can buy bigger cuts of meat and use them for 2 different recipes and freeze one for a quick dinner later.

  42. 192
    Melissa says:

    “Great Value Traditional Spagetti Sauce” from Walmart!
    It costs about half of what you would pay for a name brand and it is very good.
    I just heat it and pour it on whatever pasta I have on hand, then sprinkle with parmesan. Occasionally I will add ground beef or turkey.
    Add salad and you are done!
    Thanks for this post, I hope to get some good ideas!
    Asheville, NC

  43. 193
    jane says:

    I have trouble finding mascara. Can I just say that I am going right out today to try this one??! Thanks for the info! It’s nice to share make up secrets. 🙂

  44. 194
    Dee says:

    I hate cooking. I have five kids, ages 6-15 and feel guilty on occassion about my meal planning and creating (or lack of). I make sure there is a lot of fresh fruit & veggies and meals will usually include one or two of those. The main meal item is typically something quick (I won't even mention, so no one is tempted to judge and I don't 'cause a brother to stumble'). I am 37… if you don't like it now, you may never like it. But you are so gifted & enjoy so many other things… cooking may not be your 'calling'. It sure isn't mine. Now eating… that's another story (o:

  45. 195
    Stephanie says:

    I love to cook, but hit a big slump right after Christmas for like 3 months. Just now back to loving it. But sometimes I would rather just eat out. check out my food blog for some recipes. I even have an easy meals tab for quick and painless meals. It’s

  46. 196
    Stephanie says:

    I also just thought of another easy recipe you can either put this on the grill or roast it in the oven. Cube equal amounts of potatoes, summer squash, zuccini, mushrooms, and red onion. Coat with zesty italian dressing, salt & pepper and either bake in the oven at 350 for about 30 minutes or grill in an oven bag for about 30 minutes, flipping once. Just serve with grilled chicken or turkey burgers

  47. 197
    The Brannans says:

    Melissa, your eyes always look great! I’m definitely going to look for this mascara. thanks!

  48. 198
    JL says:

    So….I am eating my Asian Beef Lettuce Wraps for probably the 4th time in 2 weeks & thinking y'all will love this! It is worth the initial investment of a couple of weird ingredients bc you will make it all the time!

    1 lb lean ground beef (or turkey)
    2 T peeled, minced fresh ginger
    1/4 c matchstick carrots
    1/4 c soy sauce (low sodium is better for you )
    1 T rice vinegar
    1/4 t dark sesame oil
    1/8 t crushed red pepper
    1/2 c sliced green onions
    1/4 c fresh cilantro
    iceburg lettuce leaves

    Heat skillet & cook meat, carrots & ginger. Saute until browned. Stir in soy sauce & next 3 ingredients. Cook 1 minute.

    Remove from heat & stir in gr. onions & cilantro. Spoon into large lettuce leaves & serve. Enjoy!!

    Hope you LOVE it! I ususally use turkey and overpour a little on the ingredients bc every time I buy turkey it is 1.25 lbs. I make it spicy!

  49. 199
    Casi says:

    Melissa – oh my word, girlfriend – I purchased that mascara Saturday evening at the good ol' Wal-Mart and only have two words to describe its effect on my life:


    Thank you for divulging your secret as I have often admired your eyelashes. My photos from our upcoming Disney trip thank you in advance.

  50. 200
    kristi walker says:

    Hey Melissa,
    I've been onto LPM blog for a while, but with 4 kids I rarely have time to "backtrack". Today was one of those exceptions and I came upon your entry. I thought I'd send you some encouragement if the cooking bug hasn't rebitten. I've found, in my 13 years of marriage, that it's a pendulum, so don't get too discouraged if you're not back on the cooking phase.

    I've also found that a good crock pot adds a little splash when I just don't feel like it. And then there's Paula Deen to inspire, if you can stand the butter content! I just love her desserts, but I'm also calorie conscience, so I can only go there about once a month! If you're really wanting to get the "urge" back, pick up Julie and Julia(the movie). Worked for me twice now. Of course, my beef bourguignon still isn't perfect, but it's terribly fun to try! (feeling the cooking bug stirring as I type!)

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