I normally love empanadas; I mean, how can you go wrong with pie crust and cream cheese?

You can go gluten-free wrong, that’s how.

Despite this quick favorite going “wrong” however, the family still enjoyed them, so I’ll share anyhow.

I define an empanada as anything that stuffs cream cheese into a pie shell. Pretty open slate, and if you use pre-cooked chicken pieces and pre-made pie shells, hey – easy peasy, 1-2-3. Since our family has mostly gone gluten-free (“mostly” meaning gluten-minimal), I thought I’d try to incorporate a sans wheat version of one of my faves into the family recipe Rolodex. Continue reading



To say I’ve been busy lately would be a lame excuse because…well…I really haven’t been. I’ve just been a little lazy – including in my dinner making! So I thought I’d share a couple of my favorite quick-meal ideas for when I really really really don’t feel like making dinner. 🙂

Nacho Casserole

Nacho Casserole

This one is, dare I say, self-explanatory. I couldn’t believe there was something easier than nachos, but I found it! It also helps distribute the meat and toppings better so no one’s fighting over the cheesier chips…

Ingredient Ideas

  • 1 can black beans, drained
  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 6 tomatoes-on-the-vine, seeded and diced
  • handful of cilantro, roughly chopped
  • 1 package of shredded cheese (or 2 cups)
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • Spices to taste: garlic powder, cumin, salt, pepper, oregano, and basil


First, cook the ground beef with spices and 1/2 the onion. Next, in a baking dish, stir the ground beef, black beans, and 1/2 the bag of shredded cheese together. After everything is evenly stirred, top the meat mix with the rest of the shredded cheese and bake in a 425 degree oven until the cheese on top is melted and bubbly, about 15 minutes. Finally, top the dish with the sour cream, tomatoes, remaining (raw) onions, and cilantro. Serve with tortilla chips.

Voila! Easy peasy. 🙂

Latkes / Potato Pancakes


Wait…what?! That’s not an easy dinner! Why, it’s barely an easy breakfast!

Don’t fret! There’s actually a very easy way to accomplish these lovely latkes without so much a picking up a grater…. Hungry Jack Diner Style Hashbrowns – just add water! For only about $1.50 and a cup-ish of water, you’ll have all the potatoes you need for about 6-8 nice-sized patties. Just add the rehydrated potatoes, one egg, and some garlic powder, salt, and pepper to a bowl, mix well, and fry them up pancake-style on a skillet. Voila! Simple dinner, and tasty! I recommend serving these babies with sour cream and kielbasa for protein. 🙂


– Verbena



I just wanted to share this little gem of a salad. 🙂 The family loved it! Nice and fresh taste with a touch of sweetness from the pomegranate…

The base ingredient mix came from the Better Homes & Gardens “Garden Fresh Recipes” special edition magazine:

  • 2 fennel bulbs, sliced thinly with some “fronds” chopped up and put aside
  • 4 apples, sliced
  • 1/4 small red onion, sliced
  • 1/2 cup pomegranate seeds
  • 2 tbsp mayo
  • 3 lemons, zested and juiced
  • 6 tbsp canola oil
  • Parsley, fresh (handful or to taste)

This salad mix has two parts: 1) the main ingredients; and 2) the vinaigrette.

  1. First, mix together the apples, fennel, red onion, and pomegranate seeds.
  2. Next, separately, whisk together the lemon zest, lemon juice, mayo, and canola oil for the vinaigrette.
  3. Finally, toss the vinaigrette with the apple-fennel mix, then sprinkle the “fronds” and parsley into the salad.


– Verbena


So, over on Solitary Witchin‘, Lisa has posted a Bannocks recipe that I decided to try:

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“Bannocks” by Lisa L. on

Bannocks are popular still in Scotland and figured into the Celtic celebration of Beltane. Sometimes little charms were added when bannocks were prepared in cake form; each charm was symbolic of the recipient’s good luck for the coming year.

2 cups hot Milk
1 1/2 cups Instant Oatmeal
1 Egg
1/2 teaspoon Baking Soda
1 tablespoon grated Orange Peel
1 tablespoon chopped Almonds

In a large bowl, pour the milk over the oatmeal; let sit for 10 minutes. Beat in the egg, baking soda, orange peel, and almonds. Consistency should be a thick pancake batter. If the batter is too thin, add more oatmeal; if too thick, add a little milk. Heat griddle over a medium heat; grease. Pour the batter onto the griddle; cook until bubbles form. Flip and cook the other side. Best served with butter and honey.

Yield: about 12 (2-inch) bannocks.

Magical Attributes: Providence, good health, luck

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They sounded yummy! And not to mention their traditional and magickal nature…. Here’s how mine came out:


Yes, I acknowledge that they look nothing like Lisa’s picture…or any other picture that you’d find searching on Google for what they’re supposed to look like. So where did I go wrong?

Oh, right. I was lazy. 🙂

In the recipe, it says to 1) use instant oatmeal; and 2) add oatmeal if the batter is too thin. And what did I do? Well, I…1) used regular oatmeal (I wasn’t specific enough when I sent hubby out to the store); and 2) added flour to the too-thin batter. I microwave-cooked the oatmeal in the milk instead of soaking hot milk in the oatmeal as well; that was my way of compensating…

And voila! I ended up with bannock-style pancakes! Which actually tasted really good, especially with the recommended butter and honey. The family loved them! Kind of nutty, a little zing from the zest, and a more textured, thicker nature than pancakes from the oats…

Just wanted to share! Maybe I’ll give it another go closer to or on Beltane.

Blessed be!

– Verbena


Today’s technically a two-fer dinnertime share-time! If 1 am counts as “today” that is. 🙂

This recipe doesn’t come from a magazine or anything – it’s totally an improv thing that I’m putting out on the idea board!

Here’s what I did…

  1. First, I took three bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs, spread butter and olive oil on their tops, then sprinkled them with garlic powder, salt, and pepper after putting them on a non-stick pan.
  2. Next, I diced up 1/2 of a red onion and sprinkled it around the chicken thighs with some cherry tomatoes.
  3. Then the thighs were baked in a 425 degree oven for about 45 minutes, or until the internal temp reached 165 degrees.
  4. For the pasta, I boiled a 16 oz box of penne pasta according to the package directions, then added a tbsp of butter and 2-3 tbsp of pesto (or maybe more…I love basil!). My personal pesto mix included a cup of basil leaves, a handful of slivered almonds (pine nuts are expensive!), the zest and juice of one lemon, two garlic cloves, and salt, pepper, and olive oil to taste.

Voila! Dinner was served! Here are some pics…

ChickenPrep2 PestoHerbed-Chicken-Done2


– Verbena

Arugula|With|Bacon|&|Poached Egg

Yay! Dinnertime share-time!

Next from the Better Homes & Gardens “Garden Fresh Recipes” magazine on my dinner list is the “Frisee with Bacon and Poached Egg” entree.

Yes…the title of this recipe doesn’t have “frisee”. You are correct. That’s because Whole Foods didn’t have any. So I used arugula. 🙂

The recipe in the magazine reminded me of another recipe from my absolute favorite show “French Food at Home” with Laura Calder called “Bacon and Egg Salad“. So I blended the two recipes into a delicious, flavorful, filling…yet light dish. Well, it felt light. No guarantees on calorie count…

Here were the main components… Continue reading


Dinnertime share-time again! Last night I put together an AWESOME, flavor-packed salad that was super healthy and super tasty – even for the kids! We’re not just talking second helpings here. We’re talking NO leftovers after 4th and 5th helpings!

Yeah. It was pretty good.

This was supposed to be the “Couscous Salad with Tomato and Arugula” from the Better Homes & Gardens “Garden Fresh Recipes” magazine; however, after adding, subtracting, and preparing, it mostly matched their recipe in title, although it was a loving tribute all the same. Continue reading