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Albondigas Soup with Quinoa

So, the other day I was wondering how to use hamburger meat. Our most common meals are tacos, meatloaf, spaghetti and meatballs, and if I am in a rush and haven't planned I will cook chili mac.

Although the kids love meatloaf, I was wanting a change. With the colder weather, I thought soup. Hey, I thought, growing up mom use to make albondigas soup. It had been literally decades since I had albondigas (meatball) soup. Sadly mom isn't here for me to call up and ask for the recipe. So off to the internet I went in search of a recipe.

After searching and finding recipes that didn't sound like moms, she didn't add tomato sauce for one (at least I think she didn't), I finally found one that was close. Actually I found two and combined them. One didn't have rice, which I remembered was in the meatballs. The other added vegetables that I don't remember being in the soup, like green beans, but it did have the rice in the meatballs. Picky I know!

The first time I made the recipe, I made it with rice. The other day I decided to use quinoa in the place of rice. Quinoa is something I want to cook more with, but I am having a hard time with recipes. I actually bought a quinoa cookbook, but it hasn't arrived yet.

Albondigas Soup with quinoa - meatballs

It was a hit at our house. Funny because I do remember not liking or caring for meatball soup when I was growing up. I ate it because mom made it, but now I think it is delicious, especially on these cold evenings.

Albondigas Soup w/Quinoa
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 6
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 bunch cilantro, finely chopped
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • ¼ tsp garlic salt
  • ¼ tsp onion powder
  • 1 egg
  • ⅓ cup quinoa
  • 2 TBS coconut oil
  • 64 oz chicken broth
  • 4 large carrots, cut into ½" pieces
  • 3 stalks celery, cut into 1" pieces
  • 3 potatoes, cubed
  • celtic sea salt
  • black pepper
  1. For meatballs, combine the ground beef, ½ the cilantro, ½ the onion, garlic, garlic salt, onion powder, egg, and quinoa in a bowl.
  2. Shape into golf size meatballs.
  3. Set aside.
  4. In a large pot, cook remaining onion in coconut oil on medium-high heat until translucent, about 8 minutes.
  5. Add chicken broth, carrots, celery, and potatoes.
  6. Bring to a boil and carefully drop in the meatballs.
  7. Add in the remaining cilantro.
  8. Lower the heat and simmer for 45 minutes.
  9. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Albondigas Soup made with quinoa



It has been a while since I shared a favorite recipe.

I am not sure if my son would consider this a favorite since he does not like kielbasa. 🙂 MaryEllen and I are the ones who enjoy it the most, so it is one of our favorites.

This is another tried and true recipe that has made it to my 'keep' folder. We've been enjoying it for many years now. I only make it once in a while because the kielbasa I buy has sodium nitrates in it and I try to limit the nitrates.

I like it too because it is a fast meal, done in 30 minutes or less. The times I put in the recipe below are approximates, but I consider it a 30 minute dish.

Polynesian Supper

Polynesian Supper
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 6
  • 1 pound fully cooked smoked sausage, cut into ½ inch slices
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 medium green pepper, cut into 1-inch chunks
  • 1 can (14.5 oz.) diced tomatoes, undrained
  • ½ cup beef broth
  • 1 Tablespoon brown sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper
  • 1 can (20 oz.) unsweetened pineapple chunks
  • 2 Tablespoons cornstarch
  • Hot cooked rice
  1. Cook the sausage, onion and green pepper until the sausage is lightly browned.
  2. Add tomatoes, broth, brown sugar, garlic powder and pepper.
  3. Drain pineapple, reserving juice
  4. Stir pineapple into sausage mixture.
  5. Bring to a boil; cook uncovered for 5 minutes.
  6. Combine cornstarch and reserved pineapple juice until smooth.
  7. Gradually add to sausage mixture.
  8. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened.
  9. Serve over rice.

Since I am trying my best to eliminate grains from my diet, I had this the other day with quinoa. It was pretty good. The family had rice, but maybe next time they will try it with quinoa...Donnie had cereal. LOL!

Polynesian Supper



With the cooler weather, we have been enjoying hot cocoa. It has been cold and rainy, perfect weather for a hot mug of cocoa.

Hot Cocoa Maker

The kids' Auntie Reff gave us this handy cocoa maker a few years back for Christmas. During winter, we joke and say that it is privileged with counter space. It stays on the counter top. This IS a privilege considering that our counter-top space is minimal.

It came with a book of recipes and we have enjoyed the hot cocoa with vanilla (never thought of adding vanilla), mochas, and cappuccino. There are a few other recipes that we haven't tried yet, but the one we use most often is basic hot cocoa.

When milk is low, I whip up a batch of this cocoa mix which is great to have on hand.

Hot Cocoa Mix

Basic Hot Cocoa Mix


  • 4 cups powder milk
  • 1 cup cocoa powder
  • 2 cups sugar (I use 1 cup Fructevia)
  • dash of salt

Directions: Add all ingredients together in a container and mix together. I roll the container around gently until it is all mixed evenly.

Making a Mug: Spoon 1/4 cup cocoa mix for every 8 oz. of hot water. Stir until dissolved.


I have also used coconut milk in the machine when I was watching my dairy intake. I was so glad I didn't have to give up hot cocoa. Any way you look at it, hot cocoa is a fun winter treat. We do add miniature marshmallows sometimes, but they make it too sweet.

Do you have a favorite winter drink?




Another family favorite is this recipe for Chili Mac. It was originally titled Taco Macaroni Skillet, but we know it as Chili Mac. This is a fast and easy meal all cooked in one pan. My kind of meal. It is my go-to meal when I am in a hurry or forget to plan. 🙂

You can add buttered bread and a salad to square it out.

My husband likes more noodles, so I increase the macaroni to 2 cups and add about 1/2 cup more water. I also use regular milk because I don't usually have evaporated milk on hand. I also mix together my own taco seasoning. The original recipe called for 12 ounces of ground beef, I add one pound. These are pretty much how I made it our own. 🙂

This is another recipe that I have made for years. I originally found it in The Very Best Baby magazine, which I subscribed to when the kids were born. I searched the internet for the recipe, but could not find it. Of course I was searching for Chili Mac. LOL! The magazine I am not sure if it is still around. As I was typing this post, and looking at the recipe beside me, I noticed its true name, Taco Macaroni Skillet. Once I searched for that, I found it! It is actually from Nestle. You can find it here if you would like to print it out.


Chili Mac Recipe


Chili Mac


1 pound ground beef
2 cups water
1 can (14 1/2 oz) diced tomatoes (undrained)
1 can (4 oz) diced green chilies
1 package (1.25 oz) taco seasoning mix
1 1/2 cups elbow macaroni
2/3 cups evaporated milk
1/4 cup cheddar cheese (shredded)


Cook beef in a large nonstick skillet, stirring frequently until brown; drain. Stir in water, tomatoes, chilies, and seasoning mix. Cook until mixture comes to a boil.

Add pasta; return to a boil. Reduce heat to low; cover. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 14 to 16 minutes or until pasta is tender.

Stir in evaporated milk. Remove from the heat; stir in 1/4 cup cheese. Sprinkle additional cheese over top. Cover; let stand for 5 to 10 minutes before serving.


Taco Seasoning
This is the recipe I use from AllRecipes. I add 2 tablespoons to the Chili Mac. When I make this, I usually quadruple it so I have some on hand for tacos and other dishes.


1 tablespoon chili powder
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon black pepper

In a small bowl, mix together chili powder, garlic powder, onion powder, red pepper flakes, oregano, paprika, cumin, salt and pepper. Store in an airtight container.





I thought I would share a favorite breakfast food we enjoy once in a while, the volcano pancake. I have been making this for years and first found it in the Taste of Home Magazine from 1999. Boy how time flies.

Here is a picture of it while in the oven. Once it comes out, it does settle down a little. It is always fun to see how big it gets. 🙂
Volcano Pancake

Here is the recipe from Taste of Home.


6 eggs
1 cup milk
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter, melted


In a bowl, beat the eggs. Add milk, flour and salt; stir until smooth. Pour butter into a 13-in. x 9-in. baking pan. Add batter.

Bake at 400° for 30-35 minutes or until a knife inserted near the center comes out clean. Serve immediately. Makes: 8 servings.

You can add syrup or jam or even apple sauce. We usually have it with syrup.



Today, I finally made kale chips. I have been wanting to make some for a while. I watched this video and then tried it on my own. I only used olive oil and sea salt. I want to experiment with other flavors. Not sure what yet though.


Here is the kale I bought to make these delicious kale chips.

Kale ready to be made into kale chips


I removed them from the stem and cleaned them in cold water.

Washing the kale


After, I added some olive oil and massaged it into the leaves. After, I added the salt and tossed the kale so the salt was evenly distributed.

Adding the oil to the kale chips


Finally, I added it to the dehydrator and turned it on. It took about 3 hours to dry.

Adding kale chips to the dehydrator


They came out yummy.

Kale Chips
Kale Chips


Well, I am off to have a snack,


The other day I made this scrumptious 'chocolate nut' ice cream. I am trying to cut as much dairy out of my diet as possible, but oh how I enjoy ice cream.

The reason for cutting out dairy is to see if it helps with my allergies. My nose seems to always be stuffed or running. I still have phlegm in my throat. But, I have noticed an improvement since I have reduced my dairy intake. 🙂

The only dairy I usually eat now is butter and cheese. I need to look for a few substitutes for those. Also, sour cream. I don't eat sour cream much, mostly in burritos or tacos, so that isn't too much of a problem. I don't know if I will ever be dairy free.

Anyway, back to the yummy ice cream.

Here is what I added to the blender. When I made this previously, I used less peanut butter, but I could hardly taste it, so I added more this time. Last time I also used chocolate rice milk, but this time I decided to use cocoa powder. Cocoa powder I have on hand more often.


1 1/2 cups water
2 Tbs. cocoa powder
1 Tbs. stevia blend
6 bananas frozen
3 Tbs. peanut butter, almond butter or any nut butter you enjoy.


Add all ingredients to your blender and blend until smooth.

I guess the texture is more like a shake, but I like ice cream better. 🙂


Yummy Green SmoothieThe kids and I enjoyed a green smoothie today. Usually, we just have banana smoothies and I add ice, flax seed, wheat germ, etc. It varies every time. Sometimes we add strawberries or blue berries.

Today, we tried spinach and apple along with our usual banana. I did have to add about a half cup of water to get it going. I don't have one of those 3-horse power blenders. Mine is an everyday Cuisinart.

It came out good! The kids liked it too...always a plus. They like raw baby spinach anyway, so it wasn't hard convincing them to try it.

We watched a few videos on youtube and then went and experimented ourselves.

I've been wanting to try a green smoothie for a while now and am glad I finally did. Next time I am at the grocery store, I am going to buy some kale and try that too.

I bought this ebook and look forward to trying the recipes. But, you can just experiment too.

Yummy Green Smoothie

Here are the YouTube Video's we watched.

This guy made us laugh. He was so nonchalant, he gave some good tips on how to start with green smoothies.

Here is the last one we watched. We enjoyed her accent. 🙂

Here's to your health,

Last week for the Friday Freebie, we had The Potato worksheets and information. October 27th being national potato day, I thought I would share a few ways we enjoy potatoes.

First, we like them with our eggs and grits breakfast. We slice them thin and fry them slowly until crisp and tender. Midway, we add onion and garlic salt to taste. Yum! I like them when they get really crisp and crunchy.

Another way we like them is scalloped. I know, lots of cheese! That is why I don't make them often, so when I do, it is a treat.

Recipe: Scalloped Potatoes


  • For Sauce:
  • 1/4 cups chopped onion
  • 2 TBS margarine or butter
  • 2 TBS flour
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • pepper to taste
  • 1 1/4 cups milk
  • 3/4 cup cheddar cheese
  • 3 cups potatoes (peeled and thinly sliced), about 3 medium potatoes


  1. Preheat oven to 350


  1. Cook onion in butter until tender.
  2. Stir in flour, salt and pepper. Add milk all at once. Cook and stir until thick and bubbly. Remove from the heat.

Putting It Together:

  1. Line half the potatoes in a greased 1 quart dish. Cover with half of the sauce. Repeat layers with remaining half.
  2. Bake covered for 35 minutes. Uncover and bake another 30 minutes or so until the potatoes are tender.

Number of servings (yield): 4

Meal type: dinner


I also like them roasted with chicken.

Recipe: Roasted Potatoes With Chicken


  • 1 1/2-2 lbs chicken pieces, skin removed
  • 1lb new potatoes
  • 2 tsp dried basil
  • 1/2 tsp dried thyme
  • 3 TBS olive oil
  • 1 tsp garlic salt


  1. Preheat oven to 375
  2. Line 9x13 pan with foil and place potatoes and chicken in the pan
  3. Mix the remaining ingredients and sprinkle over chicken and potatoes
  4. Cover and bake for 30 minutes. Turn chicken and potatoes and bake uncovered 20 - 30 minutes longer or until chicken is no longer pink and potatoes are tender.

Number of servings (yield): 4

We do have the occasional french fry from Wendy's when we are traveling. Luckily, the kids aren't much for french fries, so a large between us three is enough.

Once in a while I will fry them up to go along with our hamburgers. The kids prefer homemade over commercial, but it isn't one of my favorite things to make.

We enjoy them baked here and there too. I will sometimes make a cheese sauce and cook up some broccoli to go along with it. But mainly, the kids eat it with butter and sour cream. I don't like my potatoes dry, so I tend to put a lot of sour cream when I have it that way. Not good for my waist...if you know what I mean.

Now, I am sure this national potato day also includes the yummy sweet potato...but oh how I do not have time to go into that. We LOVE sweet potatoes, especially this time of year. I WILL have to share those some other time. Until then...

Have a great week,