Spinach & Rice Casserole

Hey y’all! I hope everyone is well and warm! It’s cold over here on the east coast! I should say it’s chilly. My brothers and my son live and work in much colder states and they would say it’s not cold. 😊

Since the weather has changed here, I’ve been thinking about cold weather dishes. You know what I mean by that right? Those dishes that just warm you up and make you think of home. Well to me that means casseroles, stews, soups, chilis, and things of that nature. Honestly anything can be a cold weather food if you like it to be….ijs! Since I’ve been on this health journey, Chef Scott has given many wonderful recipes to the group and spinach casserole has been one of my favorites. I love spinach however I never really ate frozen spinach with the exception of spinach dip. The one where you defrost a small box of spinach and squeeze the water completely out, add it to some sour cream and a packet of dry ranch dressing…yasssss…that is so good! Look, you’re getting two recipes today. Lucky you! 😊

I’m sharing with you my version of a spinach casserole. Honestly, I was taking some leftovers out of the fridge from yesterdays dinner which included BBQ ribs, cabbage, lima beans & corn, and some rice that was cooked in the liquid from the ribs(I pressure cooked them in the Instantpot then put them in the oven w/ sauce). I like to repurpose if I can so, I thought about the casserole and decided this would be a wonderful way to use this rice. The ingredients are simple and you may have them at home. Let’s cook y’all!

Spinach & Rice Casserole


2 bags of frozen spinach

1- 10.5 oz can of cream of celery soup

1 small sweet onion finely diced

1 cup of cooked rice

1/3 cup of shredded cheese(your choice)

1 tsp Mrs. Dash salt free table blend

1/2 tsp paprika

1/2 tsp garlic powder

S & P to taste


*Preheat your oven to 350°

  1. In a sauce pot, put in your 2 bags of spinach and enough water to cover it on medium heat until it comes to a slight boil. Cut off the heat and drain. Reserve 1/2 cup of the cooking liquid. You’re basically helping it to defrost and making it easy to combine with the other ingredients and reducing your oven time.
  2. In a 9 x 13 combine the spinach, rice, finely diced onion, condesed cream of celery soup, seasonings and cooking liquid if your mixture is to thick. Sprinkle cheese on top if you want it to be crispy
  3. Bake for 30 minutes. I add my cheese on top so that I get that crunchy texture as it bakes. You could bake for 15 minutes without the cheese and then pull it from the oven to add cheese and finish baking for another 15 minutes. It’s entirely up to you!

Well y’all, I hope you enjoy this tasty side dish. I can eat it as an entree, YES ma’am, it’s that good!

Remember to be kind to each other. It doesn’t cost a thing to smile or say hi. You never know how your one act of kindness will turn someone else’s day around!

Until next time, keep cooking!

In Between Holidays

Hey yall! I hope everyone had a wonderfully blessed Thanksgiving. I know, I know…RONA aka Covid-19 has really taken this pandemic to a whole new level. I mean seriously…did you ever think that the country would run out of toilet paper and paper towels? I didn’t see that coming. 😯 2020 has been a challenging year for many of us. However, it’s made me realize that even during these different and difficult times, there is joy to be had. We can be thankful for life. This pandemic has taken many lives and it’s tough. My thoughts and prayers go out to anyone who has suffered a loss due to this pandemic. Take advantage of the time you have.

I’ve learned new skills, read alot, started a health journey and I’ve come to realize that when it seems all is lost…you dig deeper and go harder to accomplish your goals. Yes, you may have to edit the route you were taking and that’s okay. Change is the only constant in life. Without change, how do we grow? With that being said, I’m going to start sharing with y’all some of the recipes that I’m creating on my fitness journey. Some are adaptations of old, tried, and true dishes we all know and love. Others will be new to me because I look in my fridge and pantry and go from there. I hope you enjoy what I have coming. Don’t worry, I still have some of the more tempting and decadent dishes you’ve come to expect from me. I’m only adding to your repertoire and mine as well. So come on this journey with me. I’ll add some health tips in as well and let’s see how far we can go together.

As always any time you have suggestions or questions please feel free to leave a comment or email me. I’m working on this cookbook still and I never thought it would take me this long. However, I want it to be just right 😊. Send me all the positive vibes you can!

Remember…kindness doesn’t cost a thing. You never know who you may help with a smile, a kind word, or a random act of kindness! Keep cooking yall, until next time…💜

P.S. No recipe today. Keep an eye out because its coming soon!

Vanilla Bean Pound Cake

Moist dense vanilla bean pound cake

My grandma and I share recipes alot! I mean ALOT! Even when we’re just talking it seems that our conversation tends to gravitate towards food. I think it’s mostly because she want to make sure that I carry on some of the things that she has taught me over the years. I love it. We always have something to talk about no matter what.

Over the last few weeks we’ve discussed different dishes or items that we make and one of my most least liked dishes to make are “the deviled eggs”! I’m all thumbs… more like Edward Scissorhands… lol. My eggs look like they’ve been drug across a pile of jagged rocks. Yes I can laugh at myself and yes practice makes better. However my grandmother is the Queen of deviled eggs. I mean I will eat them when she makes them! Yes there are dishes that I will eat only if she cooks them. Sad but true. Even cooks/chefs have items we don’t like….I’m just saying…🤷🏾‍♀️. One particular recipe that I got from her is the Sour cream pound cake. I’ve changed it up some and according to my grandma, mine is now better than hers. I don’t believe it….because to me hers is the best…hands down…the absolute best! I now call my version Vanilla bean pound cake because the focus is the vanilla bean, not the sour cream.

Well now that I’ve put that out there…lol…you have to respect all food. Its life giving and soul filling. We tend to overlook some of the simplest gifts on earth and I for one love food! It has been the glue that binds many families for generations. I believe that many business meetings have gone well because the participants chose to sit down to lunch or dinner and work through a deal that was enhanced with the food whether it was a burger or the best steak money can buy. The point is…FOOD brings us all together. It helps to create an atmosphere of peace and harmony and most of all love!

Here we go….hold on because this is probably the easiest pound cake you will make! You will want to share it with your family, friends, and strangers….its good y’all! Or at least my family and friends think so…lol.



3 sticks unsalted butter, softened

2 c sugar

6 large eggs (room temp)

1 tbs vanilla bean paste

3 c SRF(self rising flour)

1 c full fat sour cream


1 1/2 c confectioner’s sugar

2 tbsp heavy whipping cream


1. Preheat oven to 315°. Grease your tube pan.

2. In your mixer cream butter and sugar.

3. Add eggs

Note: I usually add them quickly…2 @ a time, let them incorporate then add the next 2. I’ve also added them one at a time…the outcome was the same. You don’t want to over beat them before you add your flour.

4. Add vanilla bean paste.

5. Add all of the SRF and the sour cream.

NOTE: Start the mixer on low! Unless you want a face full of flour…lol…then gradually turn it up to medium.

6. Mix until incorporated on medium speed.

NOTE: Hence the reason you don’t want to over beat the eggs early on. However it should only take a few minutes at the most 5-7 minutes to get a smooth creamy batter.

7. Pour into greased tube pan and bake for 1 hour. Depending on your oven, it may be a few minutes less or more. Check for doneness with a cake tester or a small skewer. Insert and remove. If it comes out clean…it’s done. Remove from the oven and let cool completely.

8. The glaze…yummmmmy…combine the sugar and heavy cream in a small cup or bowl and stir until smooth. Pour over cooled cake.

This beautifully dense moist cake is suitable for any occasion. It can be prepared the day before and stored in a cake plate. It doesn’t have to be refrigerated right away. In my opinion, it’s the perfect pound cake.

Slice and enjoy by itself or with fruit, whipped cream, and definitely invite someone over to enjoy it with you!

Let me know what you think when you try this recipe. I’d love to see your pictures so be sure to comment and subscribe!

Remember, kindness doesn’t cost a thing! Share a smile with someone you pass or an encouraging word to someone who needs it. You never know how your simple act of kindness can turn someone else’s day around. It will make you feel better too!

Until next time y’all!


Summer Fruit Salad

Hey y’all.  I hope your Monday has been great this far with the best still to come…clockout time…lol. If you’re not working…good for you!

Many of you know how much I love strawberries…so with that in mind, they will dominate in this little medley. Yesterday my family had a breakfast because my cousins were in town. We usually gather at my grandma’s home and  bring dishes from our respective homes. However to take the load off of everyone, I let Granny know I would do the cooking and she could rest. She and I both love fruit and I decided to add a simple fruit salad to the menu full of meats, grits, eggs, muffins, and baked apple & walnut croissant French toast(recipe is here on the blog from January). Yes it was alot however everyone loved it. 

Many times it’s the simplest things in life that bring the most joy and this salad is one of my joys! It includes 4 simple ingredients and you can choose different fruit if you like. However I’m using strawberries, blueberries which are locally grown, and some good ole Georgia peaches that my sister surprised me with a few nights ago when she came to visit! These peaches are awesome and ohhhh so sweet! I think I’ll make my first batch of peach jam with some of them. Anyway, back to this simple fruit salad and the yummy taste of summer….


2 quarts of fresh strawberries

1 pint of fresh blueberries

4 ripe peaches

2 tbsp sugar

That’s it! Nothing could be easier.  Right. Let’s get started.

1. Wash and remove tops of the strawberries. Cut them in quarters(4 pieces). Set aside.

2. Wash blueberries gently and leave them whole.

3. Peel and cut the peaches. I find the easiest way is to turn the peach upside down on a flat surface(cutting board) after peeling. Then cut each side in a downward motion. You should end up with 4 pieces. Then slice those into smaller sections. Anything left on the core should be used or EATEN at your discretion 🙂

4. Combine your fruit into a pretty bowl and sprinkle with the sugar and stir gently. The fruit will start to release its juices and oh my all you need is a spoon of whipped cream or simply eat it plain as my family and I did.


Enjoy. Please let me know what you think or how your version turns out. 

Until next time….Happy cooking. Get in the kitchen with those you love and share some good quality time together. It can be therapeutic.  Oh and of course always be kind to one another. You never know how your smiling face will impact someone’s day, week, month, year, or life!

Green beans with baby red potatoes and onions

I love this time of the year. Gardens are producing some of the best fruits and vegetables that you can possibly find. Strawberries were very good this season although I only got to go pick at the end of the season. It’s time for blackberries and  blueberries in my neck of the woods right now. Soooooo many wonderful options to create with berries. However this post is about some veggies….root veggies at that. 

The stars of this show are the baby red potatoes  and onions. They turn boring but good old green beans into a magical side dish. My grandmother, dad, and uncle are some of the best gardeners I know. My grandma always plants a garden, at least as far back as I can remember and my uncle always helps her. I contribute cucumber seeds and wait for them  to blossom and grow every year….I digress….I told you it’s my favorite time of the year for veggies.

Anyway, i was visiting my granny a few days ago and before i left my uncle said, “Niece, would you like some potatoes and onions?” My reaction….”yes as long as I dont have to go dig them up…” it had been a long day….needless to say he said pull up by the field and that he’d get them for me. Pleased about this I told him I didnt need a lot just a few potatoes and a couple of onions. Since it’s been so dry here, they were small and just the way I love them. Small enough to wash and clean without a lot of cutting and they’re ready to drop in the pot.


The onions were small as well and that’s great because there wasnt a lot to peel and cry over…lol…get it…onions make you cry…ok, well I tried. So let’s get to this recipe….I hope you try it and let me know how it goes! Let’s cook!



  1. 3-4 slices of salted fat back
  2. 1 very small onion
  3.  10-12 baby red potatoes
  4. 2 lbs of fine long green beans
  5. Enough H20 to cover your contents
  6. S & P to taste


First, you need to fry your fat back to render the oil and smokey, salty goodness.  Once that’s done, reduce your heat to medium and add the onion and cook until its translucent. Then you will add your green beans and water. You will also add you salt and pepper to taste. Depending on the saltiness of your fatback, you may not need to add salt. I’d definitely add a teaspoon of black pepper. Then you will cover your pot and cook for about 25 minutes. Then add your potatoes and cook for another 15 minutes or so. It doesnt take long for the potatoes to cook through….they are babies remember….smile…..this side dish is an excellent accompaniment to baked chicken and mashed potatoes or rice. Two starches…I know….it doesnt happen everyday….lol. I hope you enjoy!

Here is what my pot looked like


Food is love. Remember to be kind. It doesnt cost a thing and love one another. Until next time yall….have a great week!



Winter Breakfast Change-up….Baked Croissant Apple & Walnut French Toast!

Hey y’all! Long time no write…lol. You know I missed ya! Well I have some goodies to share with you. I know it’s been pretty cold here along the coast of eastern North Carolina and I personally want Jack Frost to leave me alone…lol. The routine of having to bundle up with layers of clothing isnt I deal however I do it and move on through my day. I hope you’re staying warm and trying new dishes. 

A few years ago I ran across a recipe that was similar to the one I’m going to share with you only it used bananas, which are easy to obtain anytime of the year. It was tasty but heavy. I wanted to simplify it and create something that was buttery and flavorful yet lighter. So a few days ago, I was on Pinterest looking at bread pudding recipes and ran across a recipe for an croissant french toast. I decided right then that this could work for me with a few tweaks of course.

I added some things and took away some things to make it quick and easy…or at least quicker to put it together. This is a recipe that requires some time for the bread component to absorb the custard part. Instead of using fresh apples, because I didn’t want to take the time to peel and core them, then cook them done like you would for a hand pie, I used a large can of apple pie filling and a single serving of cinnamon applesauce. It was the perfect match for this dish. I also used 12 small croissants because that’s what I had at home. Use what you have, no need to go out and purchase something if you have a perfectly good substitute.  Changing something up can give you the confidence to explore new things. Try it. What can go wrong  could be just right for you. 

Both the pie filling and applesauce are sweet, there isnt a need for additional sugar or seasoning unless you would like more  cinnamon.  The pie filling I used had some in it. No additional butter either.  The croissants are layered with butter during the process of making them. So making the custard is easy and quick. I mixed it in my measuring cup. It’s the 4 cup size. It consists of eggs, heavy cream, whole milk, and vanilla bean paste. I switched out the half and half for heavy cream and added an egg along with the vanilla bean paste. The other recipes I looked at used traditional vanilla extract. You can use either one. It’s something about the paste that let’s you see the tiny, black speckle of the ground vanilla seeds in your creations that make me oh so happy….lol. I love it! 

With all that let’s get the pre-party started! This dish does need several hours for the croissants to absorb the custard…at least 4 hours, preferably overnight. 


Baked Croissant Apple & Walnut French Toast 


1 large (15-16 oz) can of seasoned apple pie filling

1 single serving of cinnamon applesauce

12 small croissants

5 large eggs

1 c heavy whipping cream

1/2 c whole milk

1 tbsp vanilla bean paste

1/2 c walnut pieces


1. The night before….or at least 4 1/2 hours before you want to have this cozy, warm, deliciousness…use a 9 x 13  baking dish and spray the sides with non stick baking spray.  Pour the pie filling in and spread across the pan. Then do the same thing with the applesauce.


2. Tear the croissants into small pieces and layer on top of apple mixture.

3. In a mixing bowl, whisk together  eggs, milk,  vanilla bean paste, and heavy cream until the eggs are well incorporated.  Pour over the croissants and push down to make sure everything is moist. Then spread the walnut pieces on top.

4. Cover and refrigerate!

5. Preheat your oven to 350° F.  Make sure you’ve allowed at least 4 hours to lapse…remove dish from fridge…its time for the magic to happen!

6. Uncover and bake for 35- 40 minutes. It should be golden brown and beautiful. It will rise and fall once you remove it from the oven.  Let it set for about 15 min before slicing into it. Top with maple syrup or maybe a dollop of cool whip.!

Let me know how it turns out!

I’ll post pictures soon…I’m having some technical difficulties….but I want you to enjoy this so I had to share!

Be kind to one another and remember Life is Good! It’s what you make it!



Finally some pictures…my family totally enjoyed this. It was something different without the added sugar.




Sip & Shop…

Hey y’all! I hope you’re enjoying your Saturday! I know it’s been a while…i miss y’all! 

I have some new recipes and some new items that will knock your socks off! I’ve become a consultant with Tastefully Simple and I can’t tell you how much I’ve enjoyed experimenting with these products! So simple and tasty of course and you can use given recipes or create some of your own. The spices are phenomenal and the beer bread mix is simply outstanding! All of you bread lovers out there will enjoy this quick and easy loaf. There are only 3 ingredients…the mix of course, one bottle of beer (your choice), and melted butter! You can’t go wrong with this! It’s amazing!


There are lots of other products as well so don’t miss out on the easiest way to get in the kitchen. We even have meal kits!

I know, you’re dying to find out how to get your hands on these great products…come see me today at the Sip & Shop in Leland, NC at the Holiday Inn from 6-8 pm. I’ll have some free samples! I promise you don’t want to miss this event! There will be other vendors there as well. Paparazzi jewelry, a makeup artist, and several others. So join me this evening for a few minutes and see what all the fuss is about. You won’t be sorry! I have a website where you can order and have the products sent directly to your home as well if you can’t make to the event. You have options! It’s easy! 


See you soon!


It’s a journey not a trip!

Hey yall! How are you? I’m sure you’re as happy about this warmer weather as I am! Spring and winter had a fight and winter won…lol. I’m just saying… it’s been an unusually long winter and I for one am ready to enjoy this warmer weather.

And with that being said….its strawberry season again! I have been so busy at work that I haven’t gotten a chance to really enjoy them this season and it’s almost over. Ive made 4 pies. Enjoy them while you can!  Just as you should stop and smell the roses, enjoy, participate, be creative, do something different or out of your comfort zone…enjoy the moments of your journey. YOLO! You only live once! 

On a other note, gardens are planted and if not they will be soon. There is nothing better to me than fresh spring veggies from the garden. No worrying about what’s in your food. Simply because you or someone in your family has grown the best produce in the world right your backyard or in my cousin’s case…planters because she has extremely sandy soil. But she was determined to grow something and her garden boxes are looking great. 

I wish I had a green thumb.  Unfortunately I’m not so lucky when it comes to plants. However I have some exceptional gardners in my family and they always send me some goodies.

I’ve been working on several recipes with an Asian theme for my cookbook. I’ve also been creating a lot of cakes.  So bear with me during this time. I’ll have some new recipes for you soon. In the mean time….love your family and friends, be kind to strangers, and always extend a smile. You never know how your smallest kindness will impact another individual’s day/life. Cook for someone you love! 

These are some of my latest projects. Let me know what you think…enjoy life and each other! Talk to you soon!

Veggie Beef Soup

Hey yall! Happy New Year! I’m still trying to get all of this blogging tech down. I thought I set up an automatic posting for the leftover  recipes.  Unfortunately they weren’t posted nor were they saved. However, I’ll give you the scoop along with this comforting soup. 

My first leftover recipe was Turkey & dressing sliders. Use some sweet Hawaiian rolls, turkey, dressing, cranberry sauce/relish, and a little mayo. It sounds like a lot of bread but it’s ohhh so good. The other was a veggie stewp.  Basically you combine your leftover veggies…especially the green bean casserole…along with a little veggie stock and a can of your favorite condensed soup and voila you have stewp! A mix of a stew and  soup!

It rarely snows here in our little town. It’s usually a cool winter but it has definitely been a cold one this year. Temps have been in the low double digits. So what’s better than a nice pot of warm, delicious, soup….nothing! Add a nice hot grilled cheese. Woohoo! Warm and tasty.

I normally like to use frozen veggies but you can use canned veggies too. Frozen seems to hold up to the cooking process better. I use two different cuts of beef. It’s entirely up to you if you prefer the same or different cuts. The veggies are too. Just keep in mind if they’re fresh, it may take a longer time for some to cook. This means you want to cut them in similar sizes to cook evenly and some will go in the pot before others.

Veggie Beef Soup

1.5 lbs ground beef

1 lb stew beef

3 cloves of finely minced garlic

1 tbs Italian seasoning

Salt & Pepper to taste 

1 bag of mixed veggies

1 bag of white sweet corn

1 bag of French cut green beans (they’re cute)

1 bag of baby lima beans

1 bag of sweet peas

1 large can of diced petite tomatoes

1 cup of orzo pasta (looks like rice)

3 containers of 32oz boxes of stock (beef, veggie, chicken…your choice)


Instructions…very easy

1. Brown the stew  beef with half of the garlic and salt and pepper. Set it aside. Cook the ground beef and pour off the grease. Add the stew beef with the ground beef. Add remaining garlic.


2. Add the frozen veggies, Italian seasoning, and the stock. Cover the pot and let simmer on medium heat for about 45 min or until stew beef is tender and veggies are done.


3. Add tomatoes and orzo and continue to cook for another 15 minutes or so until pasta is done. Make sure you taste to check the seasoning and adjust as necessary.


Time to eat! Grill cheese, cornbread, or crackers are a great accompaniment to this hearty soup. This soup can be frozen or invite your family and friends to help eat it. Sharing is caring!  Enjoy and let me know what you think. Let’s cook!







Giving thanks!!

Happy Thanksgiving yall! I hope you’ve enjoyed spending time with family and friends along with great food! I’m thankful for my family and friends and all of you that take a little of your time to read my posts. 

We can safely say that there were a lot of passed down recipes made today. Im sure they were delicious. Of course we all have a few recipe horror stories…that sweet potato pie was my thorn…lol. However, the way I see it…you keep trying until you get it just right or you leave it alone if it doesn’t live up to what you thought it could or would be. As for me…I keep trying until I get it right. I love to tinker with recipe ideas. Sometimes an idea is better than a recipe because it gives you freedom to try different things.

Some of the memes on Facebook had me laughing so hard today because some people feel that there are some traditional recipes that should not be altered. I am the queen of alteration when it comes to a recipe. Don’t misunderstand me, sometimes a subtle change can make all the difference in the world and there are times when a major overhaul is in order. You know what I’m talking about…that quick recipe that you found and it looked so good in the picture. You had all of the ingredients, you prepared it exactly as written and it was flat when you tasted it for the first time. Your first thought was it needs a little something to jazz it up or OMG…never again…lol. I think these are the times that stimulate your creative juices in the kitchen. You decide to try something that could potentially be the best thing you’ve ever created! Trying the old with the new and learning how to put flavors together is a good thing! Now on a side note…I don’t ever want to see hotdogs cut up in my collard greens! I love them both but not together! There was a video posted about this…seriously…lol.

Some of my favorite Turkey day dishes are ham, turkey wings (the flat piece), baked macaroni and cheese, collard greens, mustard greens, succotash, potato salad, green bean casserole, cornbread dressing, cranberry sauce, and all of the desserts that come along for the ride. The chocolate layer cake is always a hit and sweet potato pie, strawberry cream cheese pie, chocolate supreme (my mama’s is the best), walnut pound cake, let’s just say I could be here for a while listing desserts…lol. 

Over the next few days, I’ll remix some leftovers and share the recipes with you…heres that creative juice in action. You don’t want to miss it!

It’s late and I hope that you’ve had a beautiful day with family & friends surrounded by great food! Stay positive and continue to move forward. Your kind word or smile could be the turning point for someone! Thank you for stopping by and until next time…cook with and for those you love!