Taco Soup


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This is a simple recipe that I love. It originally came from my Mother-in-Law on a family vacation. I decided to make it today because I needed a break from dinners that messed up my whole kitchen. I also needed to use up some V-8 juice in my quest to use up stuff in our house.

Taco Soup

1 Pound Ground Beef
1 Onion, chopped
2 Quarts of Tomato Juice
1 Packet of Taco Seasoning
1 Can Corn
1 Can Kidney Beans
1/4 Cup Sugar
1/2 Teaspoon Salt (I usually don't use all of this since there is so much salt in the taco seasoning)
1/2 Teaspoon Pepper

Brown the ground beef and onion. Add cooked meat and onion mixture to your crock pot. Add all remaining ingredients to crock pot, turn to low, and let sit until warm about 4 hours.

Serve with grated cheese, sour cream, and tortilla chips.

Yes that was easy :)

Marshmallow Goodness



This is one of my go-to desserts. If we have unexpected company and I need something quick I almost always have the ingredients on hand to whip this up. My favorite time to eat it is when the chocolate is still warm and gooey around the marshmallows. Chocolate and marshmallows-what a great combination!!

If you ever have a dessert emergency keep this idea in your back pocket. You will be sure to impress your guests!

Marshmallow Goodness

2 Cups Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips
2 Tablespoons Butter
1 Can Sweetened Condensed Milk
1 Bag Mini Marshmallows

In a microwave safe bowl combine the first three ingredients. Microwave in 30 second increments stirring between until all ingredients are melted together and smooth. Once you have reached this point stir in the marshmallows and press into a prepared 9x13 pan.

You can also add nuts to this but I hate nut so I never do. I know everyone else likes them that way though :)

To see more yummy ideas visit Balancing Beauty and Bedlam for Tasty Tuesday.

Pumpkin Snack Bread with Icing


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I know it really isn't the season for this but I am working to clear out my freezer to make room for the coming summer. We plant a big garden at my Grandparents house and have lots of stuff that gets a home in the freezer for the rest of the year. Right now I have quite a bit of stuff that still needs to be used up so for several weeks I have been working to use things we have.

Tonight what I wanted to use was some pumpkin that I cooked and pureed down last October. I was so excited when I learned how to do it that I made tons of pumpkin to freeze for later. I decided tonight was perfect to make Pumpkin Bread with Cream Cheese Icing since I also had a little cream cheese to use up after the Taquitos last week.

I took the finished dessert to my parents to have after dinner and it was a huge hit. I was happy everyone liked it even though pumpkin isn't really a flavor you think of in April.

Pumpkin Snack Bread
(this is from a magazine but since all I have is a copy of a copy I am not sure which magazine)

1 Cup Brown Sugar
2 Eggs
1 Cup Pure Pumpkin
1/4 Cup Canola Oil
1/3 Cup Plain Yogurt
1 Teaspoon Vanilla
1 3/4 Cup Flour
1 1/2 Teaspoons Baking Powder
1 Teaspoon Ground Cinnamon
1/2 Teaspoon Nutmeg
1/2 Teaspoon Baking Soda
1/2 Teaspoon Salt

In a large bowl, with wire whisk, combine brown sugar and eggs. Add pumpkin, oil, yogurt, and vanilla; stir to combine.

In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, baking soda, and salt. Add flour mixture to pumpkin mixture; stir until just combined.

Pour batter into loaf pan and bake at 350 degrees for 45-50 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in center of loaf comes out clean.

For the icing I used this recipe from All Recpies.com Cream Cheese Icing -It was a winner :)

Menu Plan Monday



Menu Plan Monday! I love to read menu plans every week and see what other people are making. I get so many great ideas from other blogs that the stack of recipes to try is becoming more of a never ending pile that is about to take over my desk. This week I am going to try a few different recipes I have gotten from online. The flat bread I am most excited about.

I hope you find some inspiration from my menu plan and I would love to see yours too. Leave a comment with your web address if you don't mind sharing your brilliant ideas with me. Thanks and have a great week!


Monday: Mom and Dad are back so dinner at their house!! I am bringing dessert to use up stuff in my freezer.

Tuesday: Mediterranean Vegetable Stew, biscuits, jello

Wednesday: Hummus and homemade flat bread, broccoli, fruit, cranberry buckle

Thursday: Taco Soup, Mexican cornbread, salad

Friday: French Dip Sandwiches, pasta salad, fruit

Saturday: Mexico Auction at our Church

Sunday: Bridal Shower for my Cousin and possible dinner out


Cranberry Muffin and Smoothie

Breakfast Sandwich

Breakfast Sandwich

Baked Peanut Butter Oatmeal

Baked Peanut Butter Oatmeal

To see tons of great menu plans visit I'm and Organizing Junkie.

Party Time


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Over the weekend I attended a lingerie shower for one of my best friends. Two of the other bridesmaids put the shower together and I thought they did an amazing job. The theme was red since it is the brides favorite color. The food table was gorgeous my pictures don't do it justice. There were mini cheesecakes, lip shaped cookies, strawberries filled with a delicious creamy center, and mini cakes.

My favorite by far was the little strawberries filled with creamy goodness. Luckily for you and me I have convinced the hostess to share her recipe for the filling. Once you make the filling all she did was hollow out the strawberries with a melon bowler and pipe in the filling. She also drizzled chocolate over the top. A perfect bite size treat. I could have eaten the whole plate but for everyone else's sake I remembered my manners.

Now what are you waiting for?? Go make these tonight. A perfect dessert after your perfect dinner.

Strawberry Filling

1 Cup Powdered Sugar
8 Ounces Cream Cheese, softened
1 Teaspoon Vanilla

Beat with a mixer until thoroughly combined. Put in a pastry bag and pipe into hallowed out strawberries. If you don't have a pastry bag a Ziploc bag with the corner cut off with work too. The only draw back is that you will not have a pretty texture on the filling.

Roasted Vegetable Mac n Cheese


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I tried a second recipe from Country Living this week called Vegetable Mac n Cheese. The overall result tasted very similar to a restaurant macaroni and cheese. I wouldn't say that the vegetables make this dinner any healthier though. It also took a long time to make. Next time I will make it ahead of time and just cook it for the last 30 minutes on the day of dinner. I would also add more veggies and cut the cheese a little bit. Overall, good dinner.

Sheena - hope this helps out with your leftover noodles!

Click here for the recipe.

Giveaway at the Happy Housewife



I don't know about you but I love pasta and really anything that is considered a carbohydrate like bread, potatoes, rice, etc. I don't think I could have done the no carb thing a few years ago. Anyway a while ago I was making homemade noodles for our chicken noodle soup and I kept thinking how much better they would have been with a real pasta machine.

My thoughts were answered today when I saw this post on Happy Housewife with the pasta machine she used. Now the only reason I am mentioning this is because at her site right now she is hosting a giveaway for 1 pasta machine. If you have any interest in making your own pasta head over there now and enter to win.

Good luck!

Fresh Green Bean Casserole



My fiance is out of town again this week for work and so when I made my shopping list for the week I included green beans! He is allergic so I usually have to avoid making them. Green bean casserole has always been a favorite and so I wanted to try out a healthy alternative to this dish. I found this recipe at Country Living and decided to give it a try. In the end it is true to it's name being healthy, but not so true to the casserole part. It is a fine plain green bean dish with a little extras but I wouldn't call it a casserole at all. I ended up adding a little lemon, pine nuts, and leftover noodles to one half and a little bacon to the other half (shown). Both changes were good. Overall, I wouldn't say you should run out and try it but if you are looking for a small change in your green beans then here it is.




Last night we had four friends over for dinner. I wanted to make sure that everyone had plenty to eat so I made two boxes of spaghetti. This is what is leftover! Can you believe with 6 adults including 3 men that I have this much left!?! I was shocked. My dilemma now is what do I make with all this leftover pasta? I am hoping someone will have an idea for me. If you do please share! I would love to hear your comments or see posts you have done with leftover pasta.

Thank you for the help!!

Menu Plan Monday



Today it is sunny and beautiful outside. It makes me crave warm summer days when we eat dinner on the back patio. We are having guests for dinner tonight and if the patio table was a little bigger I would be making everyone enjoy their food outside.

My weekend was super fun and for a reason not most people would not get excited about....we got a new metal shelf unit from Costco for all of my can food stockpile. Lining up all the cans just put a smile on my face.

Now onto my menu plan. I actually started on this early in the weekend for once. I am hoping we can stay on course with everything I have planned. I wish you a wonderful week and thanks for checking out my menu!


Lemon Chicken, twice baked potatoes, peas, fruit

Tuesday: Chicken Ranch Pizza, salad, fruit

Baked Creamy Chicken Taquitos, Mexican cornbread, salad, fruit

Chicken Strips, sweet potato fries (these are so good I could eat them every day), fruit, cranberry buckle

Picking my parents up from the airport and dinner out! Excited to have them home.

Quiche, biscuits, fruit

Brown Rice and Black Bean Burritos (since we never got to them last week), fruit, veggie TBD


Banana Bread and Smoothie

Cinnamon Rolls

Cinnamon Rolls

Thursday: Breakfast Sandwich

Friday: Cranberry Muffin and Smoothie

To see more menu plans visit I'm An Organizing Junkie.

Balsamic Roasted Pork Tenderloin



Tonight I made a meal from one of my favorite cookbooks. I have talked about it before but I love Robin Miller's Quick Fix Meals. My husband got this cookbook for me on our first anniversary since he said the gift was traditionally supposed to include something paper. I thought it was super cute that he knew what a traditional first year anniversary gift was.

Over the years this has become one of my absolute favorites because of how the book is laid out. My favorite section is the Morph Recipes. Morph recipes include a main recipe to start with and then several recipes to make from the leftovers of the first recipe. I love it!

Tonight was the Balsamic Roasted Pork Tenderloin. It was so tender and perfectly seasoned. The recipes to make with the leftovers include Wonton Soup (I have made this many many times and love it), Pork Fried Rice, and Pork Sloppy Joes. Look for one of these in my meal plan next week as I use up the leftovers.

If you have room to add another cookbook to your collection this is the one and no I am not being sponsored by Robin Miller although that would be cool. Only in my dreams!

Balsamic Roasted Pork Tenderloin

Two 2-Pound Pork Tenderloins
Salt and Pepper
1/4 Cup Balsamic Vinegar
2 Tablespoon Honey
2 Tablespoon Dijon Mustard

Preheat over to 400 degrees.

Coat a shallow roasting pan with cooking spray. Place the pork in the prepared pan and season the top and sides with salt and pepper.

In s small bowl, whisk together the vinegar, honey, and mustard. Spoon the mixture all over the pork, then roast until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part reads at least 160 degrees, about 45 minutes, basting every 15 minutes if possible.

Let the pork stand for 10 minutes before slicing one-third of it crosswise into 1-inch thick slices. Serve the sliced pork for this meal and refrigerate the leftovers up to 3 days or freeze up to 3 months.

My Favorite (Healthy) Foods


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I have been thinking about doing a favorite (healthy) food list for the last week because as a person with a degree in Community Health Education, I am often asked what I like to eat. This is a list of different foods in my kitchen that I end up buying very often. Click on each food item to learn more. Also, if you click on the links you can find coupons! I know Sheena probably just loved me saying coupons! : )

5. Cuties - A great way to add some fruit! They have a VERY sweet taste that will satisfy any sweet tooth out there. Plus, two small cuties has 4 grams of fiber! What dessert can do that?!

4. Nature Valley Granola Nut Clusters - Nut Lovers - This granola snack is great because it is an easy way to get some nuts into your diet. It has a sweet honey flavor that is very addicting. Make sure you only eat the recommended serving on this one as there is some sugar. Sheena gave me this as a sample and now I am hooked!

3. Alexia Spicy Sweet Potato Fries - I LOVE these! Alexia's entire brand of products is all natural and has zero trans fats. Sweet Potatoes have more vitamin A, vitamin C, and calcium. Also you should always try to eat the rainbow in a day for your health so this gives you your orange! These fries are so good that I would eat these every day if I could. Try them soon!

2. Nature's Path Organic Flax Plus Red Berry Crunch - This cereal was an unexpected find for me and now I can't get myself to buy anything else! It has flax seeds and is a great source of Omega 3's and you wouldn't even know it! It is a bran cereal with clusters and dried strawberries and raspberries. Also, the fact that it has 6 grams of protein and 5 grams of fiber is great! Mmmm!

1. Ben & Jerry's Ice Cream - I know, you are shocked that this is on my HEALTHY food list! Ben & Jerry's is a great because not only is the ice cream some of the best tasting EVER, but it has some of the most simple ingredients you can find. There is a lot to be said about eating "clean" and only products with ingredients in which you can read and actually understand. Although you still want to eat a small amount since it is a dessert, have confidence knowing that is it real food and not made up of strange chemicals. And an added bonus to it all is that they have awesome activism and give to charitable organizations and are also into protecting the environment!

Is there anything that you absolutely love and want to share? We would love to hear about it! Leave us a comment and let us know! Thanks for reading!

A Very Fun Experience


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Over last weekend I was on a girls trip with friends to the beach. While we were there we went to a cool shop where we learned how to make chocolate goodies!

We made Sea Foam, Truffles, Turtles, and dipped marshmallows. The last was what I got most excited about because I love marshmallows.

The class started with Sea Foam. Have you ever made this before? It reminded me of making caramel corn. He started with a big glob of corn syrup. Have you ever seen so much corn syrup? I wish I had gotten a picture of it because he measured it with his hand. It was a crazy consistency that I have never seen for corn syrup. Once it was heated to temperature we poured it into pans to cool.

Next was truffles. These fun little molds made it so easy. I think I will get some for home. They make impressive goodies with minimal effort. I wondered how we would get the hollow center for the truffle filling and I was happy with how easy the answer was. First we filled the mold, then we tipped it upside down and dumped all the chocolate out. It felt very strange to dump out all the chocolate we had carefully filled the mold with but it left just a perfect coating on the outside. After this harden we pipped various fillings into them. My favorite was the berry.

Our final activity was caramel. We made Turtles and dipped marshmallows. The caramel was amazing.

When we were all done we left with gobs and gobs of candy and a huge sugar high. It was a great experience like nothing else I had ever done.

If you are reading this thank you for such a fun experience Candice!



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If you have been reading my blog posts for long you can see a recurring theme-I am always looking for creative ways to use leftovers. I hate to see small bits of vegetables or meat thrown away after our dinners. I know I can always make soup but when the weather starts to get nice soup isn't on my mind. What I like to make then is stir-fry.

I usually pull a little of this and a little of that to make my stir-fry. I always include either noodles or rice, lots of veggies, and a meat. From there the possibilities are endless and there are no measurements needed. I just thrown stuff in until it looks right to me. I usually end up getting carried away with all the veggies and the dish just grows and grows.

Tonight I made stir-fry using the following list of ingredients but like I said above substitute anything you have on hand and take out anything you don't like.

Yakisoba Noodles
Frozen Green Beans (from our garden last summer..woo hoo! I was happy about that!)
Frozen Corn
Frozen Peas
Fresh Pineapple-super good!
Shredded Pork (in the freezer from a previous meal)
Teriyaki Sauce

I usually cook the veggies first while the noodles are boiling (if I use rice then it is while the rice is cooking). To cook the veggies I cut them up into my desired size, usually small and bite size, and toss them in the frying pan. When they reach my desiered tenderness I add the drained noodles, meat, and teryaki sauce. Then I let the whole pan sizzle away until we are ready to eat but usually less than 10 minutes.

This meal come together so quickly and it makes you feel good knowing you are being so resourceful. The next time you have a little bit of this and a little bit of that try this and smile at your thriftiness.

Menu Plan Monday



The weekends always go by way too fast and this weekend was so much fun it went by even faster. Tonight is one of those nights where I must force myself to get this meal plan out and ready for the week. I have learned it never pays off to skip it and play the week by ear.

I am happy with the progress I am making in clearing out the freezer. I have been cooking for several weeks now with an empty freezer in mind. I am hoping this week I can make even better progress than last week.

One big change on the meal plan this week is that my Mom and Dad are not hosting dinner on Monday night like usual. Sadly I will not get to enjoy my Mom's wonderful dinners but it does give me an extra night of working towards my empty freezer goal.

I hope you see something in my Menu Plan that sounds fun to try! Have a great week!


Monday: Pork Stir Fry, peaches, cranberry muffins

Tuesday: French Dip Sandwiches, sweet potato fries, peaches

Wednesday: Balsamic Roasted Pork Tenderloin, rice, green beans, fruit

Thursday: Brown Rice Black Bean Burritos, Mexican Corn Bread, fruit

Friday: Pizza and salad

Saturday: Out to dinner?

Sunday: Spaghetti, garlic bread, green beans, salad, fruit


Monday: Banana Bread and smoothie

Tuesday: Cinnabon

Wednesday: Cinnabon (other half)

Thursday: Steel Cut Oats (to recover from the Cinnabon)

Friday: Steel Cut Oats

That's all for tonight! Come back soon!

See more plans at I'm An Organizing Junkie.

Freezer Cooking


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I am in love with my freezer. I have always used my freezer but it wasn't until recently that I fell in love with it. In the past I used it to store things like meat, frozen veggies, and ice cream but it turns out that is just the tip of the iceberg.

When I started reading blogs about a year ago I began to learn more and more about the freezer and its amazing capabilities. I had never thought before about making an extra casserole and storing it in the freezer, mixing up a big batch of cookie dough frozen to be dropped on a cookie sheet, or stocking up on cheese at rock bottom prices for a time when no cheese deals were to be had.

I have a gotten inspiration from several blogs that I follow like Once A Month Mom, The Finer Things, and Money Saving Mom to name a few. When they do their once a month cooking days I drool at how organized they are with meals lined up at the end of the day. There are also books that I have gotten great inspiration from like Don't Panic Dinner's in the Freezer, and Once a Month Cooking Family Favorites.

Little by little with the help of my online "friends" and books I am gaining confidence in my freezing abilities. What once was a bag of potatoes about to pass their prime is now mashed potatoes or twice baked potatoes cooked, wrapped, and waiting for me on a busy day. The leftover chicken I roasted is no longer sitting in the fridge begging for someone to use it, instead it is little packs of shredded meat perfect for stir fry, casseroles, soup, and more. The bones no longer get tossed since I use them for a savory stock that I store in the freezer. I am excited just talking about it!

Now what brings me to this topic tonight it the pie crust I made during my lunch. I wanted to serve quiche for dinner and trying to streamline the process I decided to make the crust early then fill and bake when I got home. I made my crust, filled and baked according to plan, and dinner was delicious. My problem now was that I had an extra baked pie crust. What do to? I was talking to my mom on the phone and she said something that was music to my ears.....FREEZE IT!

My mom has been freezing pie crust for years and says she always has great results when she pulls them out to cook with. Sometimes she even likes them better than fresh. So tonight I froze my first pie crust. I will keep you posted on how it works once I pull it out of the freezer to use...whenever that might be.

If you are interested in making a crust and freezing it here is the recipe I used.

Perfect Pie Crust

1 Cup Shortening
2 Cups Flour
1 Teaspoon Salt
1/4 Cup ICE Cold Water

Mix the shortening, flour, and salt with a pastry cutter until the dough looks like small peas. Take care not to over mix. Once you reach this point sprinkle with the cold water and combine with your hands to make a ball.

Divide the dough in two and roll out on a well floured surface. Put in pie pans and bake at 425 degrees for 10 minutes. Once they are baked allow to cool completely, wrap well in plastic wrap, date and in the freezer they go.

Now that you have heard my love affair with the freezer what do you think? Do you use the freezer like this? Do you have great freezer meals to share? I would love to see what meals you store in the freezer.

My Grocery Deal



I wouldn't normally share a great deal I got on groceries but this deal was too good to pass up. I was able to get everything pictured at Safeway for a grand total of $1.35! I saved 99% of my total. I am into coupons and saving money but a total like that doesn't happen everyday.

When I get the "perfect storm" with coupons it encourages me to keep at my clipping, filling, and deal shopping.

Have a great Thursday!

Best Dessert Ever


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A while back we had friends over for dinner and they brought this yummy little creation for dessert. I loved it so much I had to ask for the recipe. It turns out it is a super simple idea from non other than Kraft Foods call Striped Delight.

This dish is so easy and very addictive. Don't do like I did, however, and leave a half empty pan in the fridge because temptation will win and you will eat it. What makes this dessert so easy is that most people have all or most of the ingredients on hand.

Since Kraft has great pictures of the dessert including a little "how to" video I wont re-create the wheel and instead just direct you to their site.

Give this a try and you will not be sorry you did. Just remember share to with friends or plan to spend a lot of time at the gym working it off.

Easter Recap


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I wanted to share with you two of the things I made for Easter that I was very proud of. The first was these cupcakes I saw on the cover of All You. They caught my eye the second the magazine came and I knew they would be on my list of things to make.

There was a few decorating items I couldn't find but I still think they turned out well. What the directions said to use was black string licorice for whiskers, a heart shaped runt for a nose, small M&Ms for eyes, large marshmallows for ears, and small marshmallows for the bunny cheeks. What I couldn't find was the string licorice or heart shaped runts. Granted I didn't go to a specialty candy store as I wasn't willing to make that kind of sacrifice for cuteness. I ended up using regular black licorice that I cut down for the whiskers and large pink sprinkles I had on hand for the nose. Since it started to look too cluttery with the marshmallow cheeks I left them off all together.

Below is a picture of how they look in the magazine and a picture of mine. I have to say they turned out pretty darn cute!

Just to show you how good they were this poor little bunny lost his face to a hungry toddler.

The other dessert I made was this very cool cake. I NEVER make cakes but when I saw this on Picky Palate I knew I had to try it. I varied some from her recipe but not much. What I changed was the frosting and the shape of the cake. To save time I didn't make the homemade cream cheese frosting and to save heartache (when it didn't look right) I skipped cutting the cake into an egg shape.

I took about a thousand pictures of this because I was so happy with it. I think I might take up cake baking. They look so elegant for very little stress.

Menu Plan Monday



Happy Easter!! I hope everyone had a wonderful Easter with friends and family. We celebrated both Saturday and Sunday with two big meals that we are trying to let our stomachs recover from this evening.

My plan this week involves trying to use up a lot of stuff that I have in my freezer. It seems like I have been doing this for a few weeks now and I still have a lot of stuff I need to use. I have to quit hitting all the sales because we are quickly running out of places to put all of this stuff.

I hope your week goes well and you enjoy some delicious meals!

Dinner Plan

Monday: Mom and Dad's House

Tuesday: Pork Fajitas, grilled veggies, homemade tortillas, pineapple

Wednesday: Empanadas, peas, leftover pineapple

Thursday: Sloppy Joe's, oven fries, green beans, strawberries

Friday: Meatballs, pasta, strawberries, peas

Saturday: Hubby is on his own because I will be out with friends

Sunday: Breakfast for Dinner

Breakfast Plan

Monday: Banana Bread and Smoothie

Tuesday: Steel Cut Oats

Wednesday: Steel Cut Oats

Thursday: Banana Bread and Yogurt

Friday: Chocolate Muffin

See more menu plans at Organizing Junkie.

Baked Creamy Chicken Taquitos



I made these for dinner using up leftover pork that I had in the freezer so I really should have called them Baked Creamy Pork Taquitos. I saw this on Our Best Bite and knew I had to try them.

I always like Mexican food and since these are baked and not fried they immediately went on my list. I don't like making fried food because all the hot oil scares me. I guess it isn't good for you either but the scared thing is my main reason for not frying. But back to these.....

When they came out of the oven all hot and crispy on the outside I knew it was a winner. I will definitely be making these again. I am always looking for ways to use up leftover meat and this is just perfect!

Visit Our Best Bite for better pictures and great directions if you want to try these too!

No April Fools Day Joke


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So here it is as promised! And this is no April Fools Day joke! It's mashed potatoes made from cauliflower instead of potatoes from Rocco DiSpirito's new cookbook, Eat this. I wasn't sure what to think about it so I just had to try it. After roasting the cauliflower in the oven you simply combine it with greek yogurt, salt, and pepper in a food processor. I also added roasted garlic which turned out to be a great idea! Overall, I think this was a huge success and I would definitely recommend you do this if you are trying to get more veggies in your meal or if you have someone who is fussy with their veggies (aka your kids...or your husband!)

Also, I had never really tried greek yogurt and I am very impressed. I am going to have the rest of it with my breakfast tomorrow morning with some berries, granola, and honey. I am looking forward to it!

Click here for the Mashed (Cauliflower) Potato recipe : )