Here’s the story Olivia wrote for me on Mother’s Day

A Mother Never to Forget by Olivia Moffitt

     It’s Sunday allright, but not old football sunday.  It’s Mothers Day in Monticello Illinois.  Not for any old Mom living in who knows Missouri I guess.  But in one town, in one little neighborhood, Walden Pond.  On one little street, Giant City Road, number 105, is a house that belongs to the Moffitts, Chris, Melissa and Olivia.  Melissa Moffitt is the one who is not like any old Mom.  Melissa Moffitt is a Mom that I could never thank for all she has done for me.  I could never show how much I love her without using the word LOVE so many times and the word would be overused.  Every time she smiles, I smile.  Whenever she cries I cry.  When she jumps off of a cliff I will miss her constantly calling or texting me to see if I am ok and safe.  I do not know what I would do without the best Mom to walk this planet.  Who will come check up on you at night to see if your sound asleep.  If a nightmare strikes in the middle of  the night she will come racing up the stairs and come and talk to you to get your mind off of things.  I love my Mom sooo much that my heart feels like it is going to burst.  You have to admit that you have felt this way before.  I have plenty of times.  And surely more to come.  When you are feeling down always think about your Mom and how much she loves you and you love her.  Have the connection with your Mom like I do  with mine.  Oh and also don’t forget about Dad!  Feel free to share the LOVE.  Happy Mothers Day to everyone!

How lucky am I?!



We had my favorite salad for dinner last night and lunch today:

Taco salad(minus the taco chips)

1lb ground turkey

packet of low sodium taco seasoning

low fat shredded taco cheese

iceberg lettuce

salsa(I love Mrs Wages salsa mix(schnucks) combined with petite diced canned tomatoes-my favorite salsa)


low fat sour cream

dark red kidney beans

fat free thousand island

Directions-brown ground turkey and add almost all of taco seasoning packet and water as directions state on back of packet.  Reserve approx 1T of seasoning to add to approx 1/2 cup thousand island dressing.  Layer chopped lettuce, cheese, onion, kidney beans, taco meat, salsa, thousand island and sour cream.  The taco seasoning/thousand island ratio might be off-.  I have an entire bottle of dressing that I’ve mixed taco seasoning with because we eat this salad so much.  I usually make two salads for dinner and then use the leftover turkey for 2 more salads the next day at lunch.


A few recipes for South Beach Phase 1:

Egg Muffins (from here)

(Makes 12 muffins, recipe created by Kalyn with inspiration from The South Beach Diet book.

15 eggs (for silicone muffin pans, use 12 eggs for metal muffin tins or individual silicone cups. You can use less egg yolks and more egg white if you prefer.)
1-2 tsp. Spike SeasoningI found this at Schnucks in Champaign
1-2 cups grated low fat cheese (I like sharp cheddar or a blend of cheddar/Jack cheese, use less cheese if using meat)
Optional, but highly recommended, 3 green onions diced small.
Optional: chopped veggies such as blanched broccoli, red pepper, zucchini, mushrooms, etc. (Using veggies will reduce the fat content)
Optional: diced Canadian bacon, lean ham, or crumbled cooked turkey sausage

Preheat oven to 375 F. Use regular or silicone muffin pan, 12 muffin size. If using silicone pan, spray with nonstick spray. If using regular muffin pan, put two paper liners into each slot, then spray liner with nonstick spray.


In the bottom of the muffin cups layer diced meat, if using, vegetables, if using, cheese and green onions. You want the muffin cups to be about 2/3 full, with just enough room to pour a little egg around the other ingredients. Break eggs into large measuring bowl with pour spout, add Spike, and beat well. (I used to add a bit of half and half or milk, but lately I like the way they turn out without it.) Pour egg into each muffin cup until it is 3/4 full. I like to stir slightly with a fork. Bake 25-35 minutes until muffins have risen and are slightly browned and set.

Sloppy joe stir-fry slaw (from here )

  • 8 ounces raw lean ground turkey
  • One 12-ounce bag (about 4 cups) dry broccoli cole slaw
  • 1 cup Hunt Manwich Original Sloppy Joe Sauce
  • Spices: salt, black pepper

Bring a skillet sprayed with nonstick spray to medium-high heat on the stove. Add turkey and season with 1/8 teaspoon salt and 1/8 teaspoon pepper. Cook and crumble until browned and fully cooked, about 8 minutes.

Add slaw and sauce to the skillet and mix well. Stirring occasionally, continue to cook until sauce is hot and slaw has softened, about 6 minutes.

Serve and enjoy!

Ranch Green Beans

1 bag frozen french cut green beans

1/2 pouch of dry Hidden Valley Ranch dressing

Add 2-3 T of water to green beans in  skillet.  Heat over medium heat for 10 mins.  Add Hidden Valley Ranch seasoning mix, stir.  I sometimes add chopped fresh mushrooms and cook with the green beans.

Roasted Cauliflower(from here)

“Tender roasted cauliflower tossed in olive oil and garlic is topped with Parmesan and cheese and broiled until golden brown. “
2 tablespoons minced garlic
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 large head cauliflower, separated into
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
salt and black pepper to taste
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F (220 degrees C). Grease a large casserole dish.
2. Place the olive oil and garlic in a large resealable bag. Add cauliflower, and shake to mix. Pour into the prepared casserole dish, and season with salt and pepper to taste.
3. Bake for 25 minutes, stirring halfway through. Top with Parmesan cheese and parsley, and broil for 3 to 5 minutes, until golden brown

Chicken Divan (from here)

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 C. mayonaise
8 oz. l/f or f/f sour cream
1 t. curry powder (I like to add more to taste)
1/4 C. chicken broth
1 large package of frozen broccoli cuts
1 C. l/f shredded cheddar cheese

Preheat oven to 350.

In a large pot, boil the chicken until mostly cooked (approximately 15-20 minutes). While the chicken is boiling, boil the broccoli in water for approximately 10 minutes (this will make the broccoli more mushy in the casserole dish which makes it taste better to me). Drain the broccoli in a strainer. Mix the mayo, sour cream, curry powder, chicken broth and cheese in a medium size bowl. In a 9×13 inch glass casserole dish, layer the broccoli, then the chicken on top. Pour the cheese mixture over the top of the chicken. You can add a little more cheese to the top if desired. Bake for 30 minutes.

4 servings

Easy Salsa Baked Chicken (from here)

4 medium sized chicken breast
1 tsp taco seasoning
1/4 cup salsa
1/4 cup shredded, lowfat cheddar cheese

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Place chicken in a lightly sprayed baking dish. Sprinkle taco seasoning on both sides of chicken breast and spoon the salsa evenly over all.

Bake at 375 for 25-35 minutes or until chicken is tender and juicy and its juices run clear.

Sprinkle evenly with cheese and bake an additional 3-5 minutes.

South Beach Diet

Chris and I started back on this diet Monday.  We originally tried it 7-8 years ago.  I lost 35 lbs, can’t remember the number Chris lost but remember it to be quite a bit.  We really like this diet, it’s supposed to cause you to lose belly fat first and 8-10 lbs in the first 2 weeks of phase 1.  Phase 1 mainly consists of lean meats, vegtables, eggs, low fat cheese and nuts.   I made a big pot of Turkey and White Bean Chili on Monday night for dinner.  Crustless Quiche for breakfast Tues and today.  Pesto Chicken, Stuffed Tomatoes and Roasted Asparagus for dinner last night.  Walnut Crusted Chicken with spagetti squash and steamed brocolli for dinner tonight.  Today I roasted some chicken breasts and made a bunch of chicken salad(chicken, low fat mayo, lots of dill, lemon juice, red onion, celery and Truvia to sweeten) for the next several days lunches.  The only dessert were having during phase 1 is sugar free jello.  I’m trying to keep recipes as simple as possible.  Eating string cheese and walnuts or almonds in between breakfast and lunch and between lunch and dinner helps keep us full.  It really helps to plan ahead and be prepared to prevent cheating.  I’ve also always like to keep a container of some sort of soup in the fridge each week for the nights I don’t feel like cooking.  Recipes below:

Turkey and White Bean Chili from South Beach Diet Quick and Easy Cookbook


1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil

1 medium onion, roughly chopped

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 lb turkey cutlets, cut into 1/2-inch pieces. (I used lean ground turkey)

1 tbsp chili powder

1 tsp ground cumin

1 (15-oz) can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained

1 (14.5-oz) can Mexican diced tomatoes(I used 2 10 oz cans of Ro-tel diced tomatoes with lime)

1 cup lower-sodium chicken broth

1 tsp Salt and freshly ground black pepper


Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook 1 minute more.
Add turkey, chili powder and cumin; cook, stirring often, until the turkey is no longer pink inside, about 5 minutes.
Add beans, tomatoes with juice and broth; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover and simmer until flavors blend, about 15 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste and serve.

Pesto Chicken from South Beach Diet Quick and Easy Cookbo0k

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts

1/2 C pesto

2 oz. shredded part skim mozzarella cheese (1/2 C)

salt and pepper

Heat oven to 375 degrees

Season chicken with salt and pepper.  Spread 1/4 cup of the pesto in a 9 x 13 baking dish.  Lay chicken breasts over pesto in an even layer and spread remaining pesto on top of chicken.

Cover baking dish with foil and bake chicken until cooked through – 20-25 minutes.  Uncover and top with cheese.  Bake until cheese is melted, 5 more minutes.

Stuffed Tomatoes from South Beach Diet Quick and Easy Cookbook


  • 4 plum tomatoes, halved lengthwise
  • 3 ounces shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese (1/2 cup)
  • 1/4 cup roughly chopped fresh basil leaves
  • 2 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper



  1. Heat oven to 400° F. Scoop out the inside of each tomato half with a melon baller and roughly chop the scooped pulp. Combine tomato pulp, mozzarella, basil, Parmesan, garlic, and a pinch of salt and pepper.
  2. Place tomatoes, cut side up, on a baking sheet. Spoon in tomato mixture and bake until cheese is melted and lightly browned, about 10 minutes. Serve warm.

Crustless Quiche(allrecipes.com(


  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 (10 ounce) package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained
  • 5 eggs, beaten
  • 3 cups shredded Muenster cheese=I used swiss and cheddar jack
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Lightly grease a 9 inch pie pan.
  2. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until onions are soft. Stir in spinach and continue cooking until excess moisture has evaporated.
  3. In a large bowl, combine eggs, cheese, salt and pepper. Add spinach mixture and stir to blend. Scoop into prepared pie pan.
  4. Bake in preheated oven until eggs have set, about 30 minutes. Let cool for 10 minutes before serving.


Walnut Crusted Chicken my own recipe

1/2 c very finely chopped walnuts

1/2 Tablespoon italian seasoning

parm cheese

4 chicken breast

marinara sauce-I used Paul Newman’s

Season chicken breasts with garlic powder, salt and pepper.  Mix walnuts with italian seasoning, 1 T parm cheese.  Press chicken breasts into nut mixture.  Brown in 1 Tablespoon of olive oil for 2 mins per side.  Top with small amt. of marinara sauce. Bake in 375 oven for 40-45.  I served these over spagetti squash  I roasted alongside the chicken.


Chris, Olivia and I are all recovering from miserable colds.  Olivia finally went back to school today having missed Tues and Wed.  And while I hate her being sick, I’ve loved having her home and making her breakfast in bed.    After dropping Liv off at school, I headed to Champaign to run some errands.  How sad is it that the highlight of my week is a trip to Sam’s?  I took my time and browsed through a couple of magazines.  Midwest Living has a great article with 10 Slow Cooker recipes.  I thought the following sounded great:

Short Ribs over Cheesy Polenta 

Prep: 20 minutes + 30 minutes (for polenta)
Cook: 9 to 10 hours (low) or 4 1/2 to 5 hours (high)
View Nutrition Facts


  • 2-1/2  to 3 pounds  boneless beef short ribs
  • 2  large  onions, cut into thin wedges
  • 1  cup  thinly sliced carrots (2 medium)
  • 1  medium  fennel bulb, cored and cut into thin wedges
  • 1  14.5-oz. can  diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 1  cup  dry red wine
  • 2  Tbsp.  quick-cooking tapioca, crushed
  • 2  Tbsp.  tomato paste
  • 1  tsp.  dried rosemary, crushed
  • 1  tsp.  salt
  • 1/2  tsp.  ground black pepper
  • 4  cloves  garlic, minced
  • 1  recipe  Cheesy Polenta


1. Trim fat from meat. In a 5- or 6-quart slow cooker combine onions, carrots, and fennel. Top with meat.

2. In a small bowl combine undrained tomatoes, wine, tapioca, tomato paste, dried rosemary, salt, pepper, and garlic. Pour over meat and vegetables.

3. Cover and cook on low-heat setting for 9 to 10 hours or on high-heat setting for 4-1/2 to 5 hours.

4. Meanwhile, prepare Cheesy Polenta. Spoon polenta into shallow bowls. Spoon meat and vegetable mixture over polenta. Makes 6 servings.

Cheesy Polenta:In a large saucepan bring 2-1/2 cups water to boiling. Meanwhile, in a bowl stir together 1 cup coarse-ground yellow cornmeal, 1 cup cold water, and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Slowly add cornmeal mixture to boiling water, stirring constantly. Cook and stir until mixture returns to boiling. Reduce heat to medium low. Cook for 25 to 30 minutes or until very thick, stirring frequently and adjusting heat as necessary to maintain a very slow boil. Stir in 1/3 cup crumbled gorgonzola cheese, blue cheese or shredded Parmesan cheese.

Short Ribs over Cheesy Polenta
And this one too….

Pulled Pork Sandwiches with Root Beer Barbecue Sauce




Prep: 25 minutes
Cook: 8 hours low; 4 hours high
View Nutrition Facts


  • 1  2-1/2- to 3- pound  boneless pork sirloin roast
  • 1/2  tsp.  salt
  • 1/2  tsp.  ground black pepper
  • 1  Tbsp.  vegetable oil
  • 2  medium  onions, cut into thin wedges
  • 1  cup  root beer
  • 2  Tbsp.  minced garlic
  • 3  cups  root beer (two 12-ounce cans or bottles)
  • 1  cup  bottled chili sauce
  • 1/4  tsp.  root beer concentrate (optional)
  • 6  to 8 dashes  hot pepper sauce (optional)
  • 8  to 10  hamburger buns or Kaiser rolls, split (and toasted, if you like)
  •      Lettuce leaves (optional)
  •      Tomato slices (optional)


1. Trim fat from meat. If necessary, cut roast to fit into crockery cooker. Sprinkle meat with the salt and pepper. In a large skillet brown roast on all sides in hot oil. Drain. Transfer meat to a 3-1/2-, 4-, or 5-quart slow cooker. Add onions, the 1 cup root beer, and garlic. Cover; cook on low-heat setting for 8 to 10 hours or on high-heat setting for 4 to 5 hours.

2. Meanwhile, for sauce, in a medium saucepan combine the 2 cans or bottles of root beer and bottled chili sauce. Bring to boiling; reduce heat.

3. Boil gently, uncovered, stirring occasionally, about 30 minutes or until mixture is reduced to 2 cups. Add root beer concentrate and bottled hot pepper sauce, if you like.

4. Transfer roast to a cutting board or serving platter. With a slotted spoon, remove onions from juices and place on serving platter. Discard juices. Using two forks, pull meat apart into shreds. To serve, line buns with lettuce leaves and tomato slices, if you like. Add meat and onions; spoon on sauce. Makes 8 to 10 sandwiches.

Make-Ahead Tip: Transfer pork mixture to covered container and chill up to 24 hours. Or transfer to 1-, 2-, or 4-serving freezer containers; seal, label, and freeze up to 1 month. Thaw overnight before serving. To reheat, transfer to saucepan; cover and heat over medium-low heat until heated through, stirring occasionally. If necessary, add 2 to 4 tablespoons water to keep mixture from sticking.

Pulled Pork Sandwiches with Root Beer Barbecue Sauce
One more…..

Wild Rice and Chicken Soup

Cook: 6 to 8 hours on low or 3 to 4 hours on high
Prep: 20 minutes
View Nutrition Facts


  • 2-1/2  cups  chopped cooked chicken
  • 2  cups  sliced fresh mushrooms
  • 2  medium  carrots, coarsely shredded
  • 2  stalks  celery, sliced
  • 1  10-3/4-oz. can  reduced-fat and reduced-sodium condensed cream of chicken soup or cream of mushroom soup
  • 1  6-oz. pkg.  long grain and wild rice mix
  • 5  cups  reduced-sodium chicken broth
  • 5  cups  water
  •      Celery leaves (optional)


1. In 5- to 6-quart slow cooker, combine cooked chicken, mushrooms, carrots, celery, cream of chicken soup, rice and the contents of the rice seasoning packet. Gradually stir in chicken broth and the water.

2. Cover slow cooker; cook on low-heat setting for 6 to 8 hours or on high-heat setting for 3 to 4 hours. Garnish with celery leaves, if you like. Makes 8 to 10 servings.

Wild Rice and Chicken Soup

Apple Dumplings

Olivia had a friend spend the night on Thursday and they wanted to bake something.  I remembered I’d bought everything to make these earlier in the week.  It was a perfect recipe for beginning bakers.  They were amazing!  And yes, that is Mountain Dew in the ingredient list.  It makes the sauce extra good.  I promise you’ll love em!  Serve warm, with french vanilla ice cream.  Gotta get back to healthy cooking one of these days….

2 large Granny Smith apples, peeled and
2 (10 ounce) cans refrigerated crescent
roll dough
1 cup butter
1 1/2 cups white sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 (12 fluid ounce) can or bottle Mountain
Dew ™
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease a 9×13 inch baking dish.
2. Cut each apple into 8 wedges and set aside. Separate the crescent roll dough into triangles. Roll each apple wedge in crescent roll dough starting at the smallest end. Pinch to seal and place in the baking dish.
3. Melt butter in a small saucepan and stir in the sugar and cinnamon. Pour over the apple dumplings. Pour Mountain Dew™ over the dumplings.
4. Bake for 35 to 45 minutes in the preheated oven, or until golden brown

Potato Soup

Baked Potato Soup

I made this for dinner on Wed.-Olivia loved it-enough said!  I added appox 1 cup of chopped ham. 



  • 2 large or 3 medium baking potatoes, baked or microwaved
  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter or margarine
  • 1/4 cup chopped onion
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 can (14.5 fl. oz.) chicken broth
  • 1 can (12 fl. oz.) NESTLÉ® CARNATION® Evaporated Milk
  • Cooked and crumbled bacon, shredded cheddar cheese, sliced green onions (optional)


MELT butter in large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion; cook, stirring occasionally, for 1 to 2 minutes or until tender. Stir in flour. Gradually stir in broth and evaporated milk. Scoop potato pulp from 1 potato (reserve potato skin); mash. Add pulp to broth mixture. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until mixture comes just to a boil. Dice remaining potato skin and potato(es); add to soup. Heat through. Season with salt and ground black pepper. Top each serving with bacon, cheese and green onions, if desired.

VARIATION: For a different twist to this recipe, omit the bacon, cheddar cheese and green onions. Cook 2 tablespoons shredded carrot with the onion and add 1/4 teaspoon dried dill to the soup when adding the broth. Proceed as above.