Happiness Challenge Day 14

Food is love. If you love someone, you feed them. By feeding someone, you are keeping them alive; you’re sustaining them. In my family, it’s no different.

For as far back as I can remember, going to my great grandmother’s house, you were always asked, “Did you eat?” Even though my dad, my mom, and I were capable of getting coffee, a cup of milk, a banana, a butterscotch krimpet, my great-grandmother would insist on getting it for us. Going to my grandmother’s house for Sunday breakfast, the same thing happened. My grandfather was the one always getting something for someone. I am absolutely shocked he had ever eaten a meal let alone a hot meal. It was a little bit of a culture shock for my kids when we were up in Philly. Sunday breakfast came around and so did we to my grandmother’s house. My grandfather was asking, “Do you want something? Do you want coffee? Do you want chocolate milk? Do you want orange juice? Do you want a bagel.” That’s because food is love. I really miss breakfast with my grandfather.

My dad calls me at least three times a week. He still asks, “What did you eat?” It’s not unusual if I talk to him in the morning for him to ask what we had for dinner the night before. He’s not so much concerned with me eating. He’s checking up on the kids. That’s OK. I get it. I’m just the bearer of the grandchildren. I don’t count anymore. I know that’s his way of asking if we’re taken care of.

I know we’re not the only family that this happens with. I will always share memes on Facebook of Italian grandmas and Latina grandmas asking if the kids are hungry. Because it’s true. And “have a little” does not mean a small sampling of whatever is being served. “Have a little” is a full freaking serving. And if you don’t eat it all, that is considered disrespect. After all, Grandma went through all that trouble just to make sure you were fed. That she had no idea you were coming over is not the point. Grandma slaved all day over the hot stove just to make sure you had a meal. If you hadn’t shown up, she was going to feed it to the neighbors. So you better eat every last forkful or you will break her heart.

I’m not a bad cook when it comes to being a home Chef. I don’t know fancy terminology like Julianne, dice, or slice. I just cook. I don’t measure things out like I should. It’s a couple shakes of this, couple tablespoons of that. If I’m cooking you can guarantee there’s going to be garlic in it. Garlic is Italian gold. Garlic keeps everyone healthy; everyone needs to be healthy in this house. With two in school and me working, no one needs to be sick. And we’re creeping up on flu season. I just do not have time for any of that.

I have some things that I make that I use my crock pot for. Oh my God! I love my crock pot. I’m going to leave my favorite recipes at the end of this chapter just so that you have them. Mess with the recipes. If you don’t like something, don’t add it. Do you like. If you don’t like garlic how can you not like garlic savage but if you don’t like garlic don’t put Garlic in if you ran out of parsley something else my recipes are pretty much whatever you want to make them. The reason I love my crock pot so much is I know out of work I have a meal waiting for me. I may not have to do a whole lot with it I might have to make it aside or two to go with it the big part is done. I don’t have to go to the store I don’t have to I don’t have to wait for anything to thaw and I absolutely love walking into a house and smelling dinner it’s comforting maybe this is the reason I’m shaped The Way I Am anymore. Food is Comfort that’s why there’s a whole thing called comfort food. So we’ve got tortellini soup that I make that my grandma used to make whenever someone was sick there’s enough garlic in that to kill anything running around in your body walk around for a week smell like an old Italian guy am I sweet and sour meatballs are pretty amazing and I love pineapples my family does not I love bell peppers my family does not I’m so worried about these flat tastebud having people that I live with pure like if it has color strayer beaver can’t seem to be bothered with it. That is. The time of year that I really live in the kitchen is December starting in December I bake much like you 50,000 words I do 50,000 cookies in December it’s really not even a joke. I’m not exaggerating on that. The first year I got a cookie press 100. Kicked out cookies the entire month. Cookies for everyone for Christmas. I made sugar cookies and snickerdoodles I made pumpkin cookies. I need peanut butter cookies. Then to chocolate chip because chocolate chip does not fit through the cookie press. But I made so many cookies and if you’re Baker I’ll tell you that this is the best thing ever at the dollar store they sell little boxes little gift boxes cookies the ones I bought were blue with little white snowflakes on them and had a clear window on the front oh my God it even had a place to write everyone’s names on dollar Store? I love the dollar store why do people love the dollar store. YouTube there are so many different dollar store Halls. It’s real big thing on YouTube. You should check it out. Come December I turn into a cookie factory. How to do it if it weren’t for this one miraculous thing that I found. While walking through Target a cookie press I’ve never even thought about a cookie press before but in that moment to have it I had to have press. That cookie press you two and a half Christmas seasons. Cookies left and right with that cookie press. Last year handle broke off do you might be asking how did you break the handle off simple one it was plastic to is a cheap cookie press for twenty bucks I’m a using the cookie press in the exact right way when I first got it there was a little bit of a learning curve for me. And I wasn’t quite understanding things. And I may or may not have actually thrown it across the room at one point. And maybe it hit the wall. I’m not saying these things actually happened. Little conjecture at this point. And there were no Witnesses. This is all just speculation. Since then purchased a new cookie press with a metal handle. And I watch tutorials and how to use the thing. That was one of those moments I was very grateful for Amazon Prime and it’s two day shipping. I had massive quantities of cookie dough chilling waiting for it to show up. Christmas food is one of my favorite things what are my favorite Christmas Foods my grandmother used to make we’re pit cells. What if it’s la it’s like a flat waffle. Crispy it’s like a very flat thin. You can get them vanilla or a nice I’m sure there are other flavors. Those are two that we just wound up always having. My great-grandmother used to make them she had a pizzelle maker I’ve been looking at them on Amazon I think eventually it’s going to happen they don’t have to pop on the Pinterest find a recipe. Because I’m fortunately when my grandmother passed she took that recipe with her. We’re having a potluck on Friday and holy cow I just realized it’s Friday today is Wednesday wow I got to get cracking I will probably make cookies I don’t know who decided to coordinate a potluck friday before Thanksgiving. I guess it’s because we’re not going to be there for the Friday after Thanksgiving. That kind of makes sense now. Trying to Wrangle a potluck with some of these people trying to herd cats. We have a big whiteboard on the door into our section that has everyone’s name and what everyone’s bringing. One guy wrote armadillo eggs I don’t know what armadillo eggs are I want to find out. And potlucks. People bring things thinking their thing is the most amazing food on the planet and you don’t want to make them upset so you try it and you wind up got to run to the bathroom every 5 minutes that’s why I tend to stick with simple things like everyone likes cookies. I did make a trail mix one time. That was really yummy and I have a lot of people who are big fans of it. And it’s been asking me to make it ever since. The thing is it’s seasonal maybe I’ll put the recipe for that as well. Options I really do like cooking for people. Anytime I try a new thing for dinner before I take a bite out of it this reaction I wait to see how they like it or don’t like it. I know I’ve probably upset some of my more liberated female friends. I don’t want to say I base my self-worth on whether my family enjoys my cooking but if my family fed I feel like I’m doing my job as a mother I’m doing my job as a wife. So when they actually like something I make which is few and far between for the kids I assure you. My kids don’t need anything you like anything. They like plenty of things he needs to be deep fried and covered in sugar. But when I make something and they actually like it it brings joy to my heart. Actually know how much it means to me you them willingly eat make. They’re not eating out of that obligation they’re not eating out of the fact that their bodies need food to survive they are eating out of enjoyment and that makes me happy. So today I will put something in the Crock-Pot so that dinner can be ready for me tonight. I will think about something my family enjoys to eat I will prepare it before I go to work. And when I come home I will have my children join me and making the sides today my family.

Today I’m going to share with you my top 5 recipes to make for my family. I love cooking. I love eating too. But I really do love cooking. When you cook for someone you are feeding them. You are sustaining them. Food is life and to share that is the true magic and love. That’s why I try to cook good, healthy family favorite meals as much as I can.

I’m not much of a measuring cook. I’m more a pinch of this, a dash if that kind of cook. These are those kinds of recipes too. I’m also the kind of cook who sees a recipe, but leaves out ingredients if they don’t fit my family’s tastes. I like lots of garlic. You may not and that’s ok. Make these recipes yours.

#1 Tortellini soup
This is my go to, number 1, oh my gosh, someone is sick, let’s fix this now remedy recipe. For one serving o tend to make one cup of broth, one cup of pasta and one chicken breast. Aside from that, play with the recipe and see what works for you and your family.

You need:
Chicken broth or bouillon
Chicken breasts
Tortellini (we like three or five cheeses)
Garlic (fresh is best)
Lemon juice
Red chili flakes
Mozzarella cheese
Parmesan cheese
Garlic bread (the thicker the better)

Start the broth. Add the herbs, garlic, red chili flakes and let it come to a rolling boil before turning it down to a simmer. In a skillet, cook the chicken with a little lemon juice. When it’s all cooked, cut it up into smaller than bite sized pieces. Add it to the broth. Set another pot of water to boil the pasta in. Cook the pasta to just before al dente. Add it to the broth and let everything mix and mingle for about 15 minutes. Now here’s the fun part. Put a big chunk of garlic bread in your bowl and pour a big old ladle full on it. Sprinkle with the mozzarella and Parmesan. Rub a dub dub bring on the grub.

#2 sweet and sour meatballs
My kids love this except for the green and red peppers. But my husband and I love them so we tell them one each and then they don’t have to eat anymore.

You need:
16 ounces frozen meatballs
8 ounces sweet and sour sauce
1/2 cup soy sauce
A little grated fresh ginger
1 can pineapple tidbits
1 green bell pepper
1 red bell pepper
Crunchy chow mein noodles

In your crock pot goes everything but the rice and crunchy noodles. Set your crock pot to high for 3-4 hours or low for 6-8 hours. Make the rice according to the package. Then put the rice on a plate, meatballs on the rice, chow mein noodles on top of it all. Yum yum give me some.

#3 pork tenderloin
Seriously, dinner doesn’t get any easier than this.

You need:
1-2 pound pork tenderloin
A jar of chunky applesauce

Put it in your crock pot for 6-8 on low or 4-5 on high. Sides are up to you, but we like mashed potatoes and green beans. How easy was that?

#4 pepperoni pizza pasta bake
This is a Friday night favorite. A little complicated, but totally worth it .

You need:
Pasta (we like rotini)
Pasta sauce
Parmesan cheese
Mozzarella cheese

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Boil the pasta. Put it in a 9×13 dish. Cover the pasta with the sauce. Then add a layer of pepperoni. Then pile on the mozzarella cheese. Bake until the cheese is all melting and gooey and stretchy.

#5 pork carnitas
We are big taco fans here. I’m in love with my crock pot. Put those together and this is what you get.

You need:
1-2 pound pork tenderloin
1 jar salsa
1 can diced tomatoes (we like the garlic and olive oil ones)
Burrito tortillas
Sour cream

Put the tenderloin, salsa, and canned tomatoes in the crock pot for 6-8 hours on low or 4-5 hours on high. Drain half the juice and shred the pork. then go to town putting the pork on the tortilla then adding your favorite toppings.

Hope these help you come up with some new favorite meals for your family.

Bonus Snack Recipe

We decided on a snack. So, here it is.


Rice Chex

Milk Chocolate Chips

White Almond Bark


Dry Roasted Peanuts



1. Lay out the Chex cereal on waxed or parchment paper.

2. Melt the chocolate chips.

3. Coat the Chex with the chocolate.

4. Put some confectioner’s sugar in a gallon size zipper bag. Seriously, make sure it zips or clicks or whatever it takes. Trust me.

5. Put the chocolate covered Chex in the bag. Put some more sugar in the bag.

6. Let your four year old burn off some energy by shaking the snot out of that bag.

7. Put the Cheerios and peanuts in a bowl. Obviously, if someone you know will want to eat this has a peanut allergy, then leave out the peanuts. Maybe use marshmallows. Hey, I could have added marshmallows.

8. Melt half a bar of the white almond bark.

9. Drizzle the almond bark over the Cheerios a s peanuts.

10. Let your four year old sprinkle the sprinkles while your fifteen year old drizzles the almond bark.

11. If you were lucky enough to holiday theme colored M&Ms, yippee for you. Otherwise, start sorting.

12. Put the Cheerios and peanuts mix on top of the Muddy Buddies. Now it’s time to get fancy. Start laying out your pretzels out on top.

13. Pour the M&Ms all over and boom!

So, I set that all in the freezer to set up. After that, I’ll cut it up and put it in a bag.

I hope you enjoy it.


3 thoughts on “Happiness Challenge Day 14

Add yours

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