Meatless for the Holiday Season

I own a lot of cookbooks and in comparison this is one of the best I’ve purchased in awhile.

cookbook cover

My husband and I spent the holiday season being proactive by trying to drop a few pounds in anticipatin of the gorging the holidays bring.  I’ve made five of the recipes in this book and while two might need some tweaking the other three have been a success.

potato tian prebaked

This is a potato, squash and tomato tian post baking.  Delicious and easy!

potato tian bakes

After one hour in the oven here is what the finished product looks like.

vegetarian chilivegetarian chili with extras

Pictured above is the dish my favorite critic gave two thumbs up and five stars – vegetarian chili.  My house smelled amazing for hours.  My husband liked this one so much he couldn’t wait to eat the leftovers the next day and even turned down a lunch date.  Make sure you use the type of tomatoes the recipe calls for.


Goat cheese and asparagus frittata was one I need to develop a bit more technique with.  It was a little dry because I overcooked it but has potential for the future.

I didn’t take a picture of the gazpacho and wasn’t totally taken with it, but want to try again because I think it can be a great recipe and good use of tomatoes.  Next time I make it I will use a sweeter onion and regulate the salt better.  The recipe does not give a quantity for the salt and I used a coarse salt which can be saltier.

The other day I made these eggplant stacks (picture doesn’t do it justice).

eggplant stacks

These changed my husband’s opinion on eggplant.  Very good and easy.  I have about 15 more recipes bookmarked in this cookbook and will keep you posted as I try them.  The recipes are not hard and do not call for a bunch of crazy ingredients forcing you to buy products you’ll only use once.  This is definitely a book worth purchasing.  You don’t have to be a hardcore vegetarian (a lot of these recipes have cheese) to appreciate the flavor in some of these meatless entrees and they could double as sides to a main course meat dish.  Buon appetito!


EZ and Delicious Dessert

One of my favorite EZ and delicious desserts (and a great fall-back selection when you’re busy!) is this great Crisp.  You can make it with any fruit so there’s no end to its variety.  It can be made with pie filling (cherry or blueberry is good) but if I make it with premade filling I use one can of filling along with fresh fruit.  And it’s delicious with a mixture of fruits.  If you use all fresh fruit you can prepare the fruit just as you would if you were making a pie.  It is a very “forgiving” recipe.  The Apple Crisp is sooo good for this season and the coming one!

Fresh Apple Crisp

1 stick of butter

6 – 8 large apples

3/4 cup of sugar

2 – 3 tbsp. of flour or cornstarch (*depending on apple variety)


1 – 2 tbsp. lemon juice (*as above)

1 tsp. cinnamon

1/2 cup of nuts (your choice)

one box of yellow or vanilla cake mix

Melt butter. Set aside. Lightly grease a 9″ X 13″ casserole.

Peel and thinly slice 6 to 8 apples (depending on size) and mix with sugar and flour or cornstarch.  Add a dash of salt, the lemon juice and cinnamon.  Toss all together and put in casserole. Spread fruit out evenly in dish. Spread dry cake mix lightly and evenly over fruit.  Drizzle butter over top of cake mix slowly and evenly.  Sprinkle nuts over all.  Bake at 350 degrees for about 45 minutes.  Top should be light brown and juices should be bubbly when done.  Cool until servable.  Scoop into dishes.  May be served either warm or cold, with or without ice cream or whipped cream.

Fall – “The Layering Season”

Fall has always been my favorite season in part because of the leaves

changing, pumpkin pies & holidays approaching , but mostly because of the transformation in fashion!

Scarves, sweaters, hats and coats are just a few of my favorite

accessories that make an appearance as it starts to get chilly out!

Another term for fall or autumn in my book is “the layering season”!

To say that I am a “fashion expert”, “fashionista” or even “fashion

enthusiast”…is quite a stretch to say the least. I consider myself

more of a fashion wannabe, and I’m proud of it! I love to turn to the

all-knowing Pinterest when I am looking for style inspiration.

Here is a very simple outfit Pin that I am sure every woman has worn

on a fall afternoon — sweater, jeans, scarf and boots.


I used the above outfit for inspiration on my fall outfit the other day.

I changed the look to reflect my personal style and color palette. I

tend to have a darker taste notice the grey, dark green & black.

Ellen Fall Outfit

I added the jewelry to give the outfit a bit of bling!

Ellen Jewelry 2

 Let’s face it I want to be fashionable all the time, even while

walking my dog, Nelly through the neighborhood. I added this coat for

a pop of color and warmth. I like…the color, length or maybe the

weight of the coat?

 nelly photo bomb

This outfit is very basic and perfect for this time of the year! Plus,

it’s always nice to wear a big comfy sweater when you are loading your

dinner plate with pies, pies, pies…or is that just me?

My outfit – Sweater: Forever 21 ($21.89), Green Khakis: Nordstrom Rack

($35.00; last season), Boots: Burlington Coat Factory; Bestey Johnson

($39.99), Scarf: Kohl’s; APT 9 (gift; last season), Jacket: Burlington

Coat Factory ($45.00), Jewelry: Premier Jewelry (gifts; last season).

My Special Apple


I have fallen victim numerous times to the gadgets, gizmos, and goodies that align the shelves at the checkout line. My latest temptation came from a beautiful red apple sitting all alone at my local HomeGoods store.

A red apple, while scrumptious looking, is plain and ordinary. This apple screamed out to me that it wanted a commanding place of honor and to be transformed into extraordinary. Entrusted with a can of Pittsburgh Paints High Gloss Enamel paint in Capricorn Blue I granted its wish.

blue apple1

My first attempt at painting this apple was unsuccessful. I didn’t care for the color and it was dull and not shiny like an apple should be. I tried again and was very pleased with the outcome.

Here it sits amongst my treasures.

apple on shelf