I'm always adding new articles because I have found so much good stuff to share that you will surely find of great use to you and your family and friends. Much of what I share involves getting back to the basics and doing for ourselves. Simply click the above image to see the latest of the greatest finds.

I'm big into DIY projects and finding ways to improve things, saving time and money. Quite frankly, I'm tired of paying for overpriced junk and for other people's mistakes. If I'm going to pay for anyone's mistakes, they should be my own. If you agree, then click the above image for all sorts of ingenious ideas.

There's a plethora of stuff and information that I've found to share and I like to feature my favorites for quick and easy future reference -- for myself as well as all of you. Some I've already tried myself and will do again; some I am looking forward to trying. Just click the above image to see what I've added to my faves list.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Cinnamon Apple Dessert Chimichangas...OH, MY MY MY!

Fruit pie chimichangas? Pure genius! Friends have always teased me, saying that I can slap just about anything on a flour tortilla. I don't even have your traditional sandwich anymore because it goes on a tortilla instead. Something I learned when I was a poor college student. So, I can't believe I didn't think of this myself!

Although, I have thrown some cherry sours on one and nuked it -- that's all we had and the store was closed. They were surprisingly good. Haha! Anywho, these are like fried apple pie burritos that are covered in cinnamon, sugar and a drizzle of caramel. OMG!

For those who don't know, a chimichanga is a fried burrito. So, basically, this is a fried apple pie burrito. OMG! I'm squealing with delight at the mere thought of it! I still can't believe I've never dreamed this up, myself, especially after slapping all sorts of things on tortillas (various meats, eggs, potatoes, sandwiches, leftovers, etc.) for about 25 years! Where was my brain all that time? Hahaha!

My sister and her family came for a visit one weekend and we all love Mexican food. So, I made these for them with apple and blueberry pie fillings. I even combined the two on a few. I made a whole 20-count package of tortillas and they ate them all!


For the Apple Pie Filling

4 baking apples, chopped* 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1 1/2 cups water 1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 cup cornstarch 1 Tbsp. lemon juice
3/4 cup sugar

* Juanita used a mix of granny smith and gala apples.

For the Chimichangas

8-10 small flour tortillas 1 Tbsp. cinnamon
1/2 cup sugar Oil for frying


For the Apple Pie Filling
  1. Combine the water, cornstarch, sugar cinnamon, salt, and lemon juice in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil. Cook for approximately 3 minutes or until the mixture becomes very thick.
  2. Add the chopped apples and reduce to a simmer. Allow the apple mixture to simmer until the apples become just tender (approximately 10 minutes). Allow the mixture to cool.
For the Chimichangas
  1. Mix cinnamon and sugar in a shallow bowl and set aside.
  2. Spoon applie pie filling across the bottom 1/3 of the tortilla.
  3. Roll in both sides of the tortilla before rolling up the bottom of the tortilla over the filling, and then continue to roll the tortilla up like a burrito.
  4. Meanwhile, heat a small skillet with 1/2 inch of oil. Once oil is hot, fry the chimichangas on all sides until the tortilla turns golden brown (approximately 30 seconds on each side).
  5. Remove the chimichangas to a paper towel-lined plate and allow to drain briefly. Immediately roll the warm chimichanga in the cinnamon sugar mixture to coat and serve.
  6. You can serve the chimichangas drizzled with caramel sauce if you desire.
Recipe from

Easy Crockpot Recipe: New Potatoes, Green Beans & Ham

This crockpot recipe is so wonderful and easy to make! It contains three of my favorite foods and will have your house smelling so good while it cooks that your mouth will be watering the whole time you wait!

Carole in Orlando, Florida, posted this recipe on Food.com and says she once had no broth, so mixed a packet of Lipton's Garlic and Herb soup with 4 cups of water and it "really added richness to the broth." Fix a batch of cornbread and you have some good down home comfort food. Oh, and did I mention it was easy to make?!? You betcha!

Prep Time: 15 mins Total Time: 8 hrs 15 mins Servings: 6-8

8 red potatoes, scrubbed and halved 2 cups ham, cut into bite sized pieces
1 16-oz. pkg frozen green beans (or fresh) vegetable or chicken broth
1 large onion, cut into about 8 wedges salt and pepper to taste

  1. Add all the ingredients to the crockpot, cover, and cook on low for 8 to 10 hours (or on high for about 6 hours).
  2. This may also be cooked in a dutch oven on the stove, but you'll need more broth. The crockpot makes broth as it cooks, so doesn't need as much. Use your own judgment on the amount of broth.
  3. Serve with fresh, sliced tomatoes and corn bread for a great Southern meal.
See! Told you that was easy!
Now ya just gotta wait for it. That's the hard part!
Hehehe =)

Recipe from Carole in Orlando, Florida

Traditional Hummus: This Middle Eastern Dip is Addicting!

This Middle Eastern dip is traditionally made with chickpeas, tahini, lemon juice, and olive oil, but it lends itself to several variations. I've included a few suggested variations at the bottom. Simply prepare and refrigerate it a day ahead, then let it stand at room temperature for 30 minutes before serving. Garnish with a lemon wedge and fresh parsley sprig, and serve with flat bread, pita chips, rye chips, bagel chips, or other choice of dipping chip.

Prep Time: Approx. 10 min Total Time: Approx.10 min Yields: 3 1/4 cups


2 cans (15.5 oz) no-salt-added chickpeas (garbanzo beans), rinsed and drained 3 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
2 cloves garlic, crushed 2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 cup water 3/4 tsp. salt
1/4 cup tahini (sesame seed paste) 1/4 tsp. black pepper

  1. Place beans and garlic in a food processor; pulse 5 times or until chopped.
  2. Add 1/2 cup water and remaining ingredients; pulse until smooth, scraping down sides as needed.
  3. You can either serve it immediately or prepare it ahead of time and refrigerate it. Just be sure to let it sit at room temperature for 30 minutes before serving.
Other Suggested Variations

"This is a very good basic recipe and lends itself to many interpretations. I added another clove of garlic, some yogurt, cumin, paprika & cayenne to increase the flavor and spiciness." ~ Gateway Cook

"The basic recipe works well. I strongly suggest cooking your own chick peas using onion, good quality oregano, garlic and chicken stock. Then the absolute best tahini is the Tohum organic brand which can be found on Amazon." ~ Ronaldl

"I really like this hummus recipe, and usually make it 2-3 times a month to eat on flat bread or pitas for breakfast or a snack. The only change I've made is to add a teaspoon of cumin." ~ Belanos

"I really liked this hummus. The only thing that felt missing was a touch of olive oil. I'm used to restaurant presentation where the hummus is served with a topping of olive oil so I was looking for that flavor. My solution: when I make myself a serving sized bowl from this recipe I just add a touch of salt and a dash of olive oil to make the flavors pop." ~ Nallix

Recipe from

Peanut Butter Puddles: A Quick, Easy & Dreamy Choco-Peanut Butter Breakfast Food!

Want to impress everyone with minimal effort? Try these Peanut Butter Puddles, which are simply cinnamon rolls with chocolate and peanut butter embellishments. Three ingredients and 20 minutes make these creamy, dreamy choco-peanut butter rolls quick, easy and sweet as can be.

Prep Time: 10 min Total Time: 20 min Yields: 8 Rolls


1 can (12.4 oz) Pillsbury refrigerated cinnamon rolls with icing
1/4 cup creamy peanut butter*
1/3 cup chocolate chips, melted

* You might even try Peter Pan's Honey Roasted Peanut Butter (love that stuff!)

  1. Heat oven to 400°F. Spray cookie sheet with cooking spray. Separate dough into 8 rolls; set icing aside. Place rolls 2 inches apart on cookie sheet, cinnamon topping side up.
  2. Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until golden brown.
  3. While rolls are baking, place icing in small microwaveable bowl. Microwave uncovered on Medium (50%) 5 to 10 seconds or until thing enough to drizzle. Stir in peanut butter; mixture will stiffen. Shape mixture into eight 1-inch balls.
  4. Remove rolls from oven; immediately press and flatten 1 peanut butter ball into center of each roll.
  5. Place chocolate chips in the same bowl you used for the icing/peanut butter mixture. Microwave uncovered on Medium (50%) until the chocolate chips are melted enough to drizzle. Drizzle rolls with chocolate chips.
Tips & Techniques

After drizzling with chocolate, sprinkle tops of rolls with finely chopped roasted peanuts, if desired.

Recipe from

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

What Can WE Do To Save the U.S. Postal Service?

I recently came across two sites, Delivering for America and Save the Post Office that opened my eyes to how critical the problem is with our U.S. Postal Service and how close it is to falling by the wayside.  I also read  a specific article on the latter's site called Invisible Hands: The Businessmen’s Campaign to Dismantle the Post Office.

I'm appalled to learn what is taking place behind the scenes to destroy a long-cherished organization that was designed to bring Americans together, offering them one of the best mail delivery services out there. As a result, I felt compelled to do my part by sharing some important information with my readers to educate them on the problem at hand and letting them know how they can take an integral part in helping to save a vital institution to the American people -- everyday citizens and businesses alike.

In addition to this blog post, I certainly intend to write a letter to my Congressmen -- Texas Senators and all of its Representatives (not just the one for my area). It is actually Congress that is to blame for the problem the USPS now faces due to the mandate they passed in 2006 which requires the Postal Service to pre-fund retiree health benefits 75 years in advance and paid within a 10-year span.  No other agency or private company is required by law to pre-fund retiree health benefits.  While some do choose to pre-fund benefits, it is done so voluntarily and certainly not to the extent that they're running their business into the ground.

To make matters worse, the current Postmaster General, Patrick Donahoe, has pretty much "thrown in the towel" when it comes to dealing with the challenges the Postal Service faces.  Rather than look for long-term solutions, which includes lighting a fire under Congress to do away with or at least modify the mandate, Donahoe is merely suggesting short-sighted solutions that will only put the Postal Service in an even deeper hole than it is already in.  All while withholding certain facts from and making unproven assertions to the public as well as Congress in order to further his own agenda, which is merely a band aid that will only cover up the wound rather than heal it.

So, What Are the Facts?

You can find a plethora of factual information on the Delivering for America site, which is supported by the National Association of Letter Carriers (NALC).  However, I will do my best to relate the most pertinent facts for you so you can see the big picture in a small one.  First and foremost, keep in mind that the Postal Service would be operating in the black if it weren't for the Congressional mandate to pre-fund retiree health benefits, which makes up for nearly 80% of the red ink it's currently operating under.

Another thing to keep in mind is that you cannot compare the likes of UPS and FedEx to the U.S. Postal Service as they only deliver a mere fraction of the daily deliveries that the Postal Service does.  The Postal Service currently delivers mail six days a week to 152 million households and businesses while UPS and Fedex only deliver packages five days a week to no more than 20 million customers each week.  As a result, you cannot compare the labor costs because no other agency or private company in the world serves every household and business in the country like the Postal Service does.

It is a common misconception that the Postal Service has been having problems for years when that is far from the truth.  As a matter of fact, the Postal Service was debt free in 2005 and continued to realize a profit through 2006, but now holds $15 billion in debt, which is entirely traceable to the pre-funding mandate.  Plus, despite the worst recession in 80 years, the Postal Service actually did very well operationally.

Yes, First Class revenue has fallen over the past decade due to more Americans communicating online with the advancement of technology.  However, with the notable increase in consumers shopping online due to that same advancement of technology, revenue from its package delivery service has greatly increased right along with that trend.  It wasn't until the Postal Service began making the mandatory payments to pre-fund retiree health benefits that their financial troubles started.

So, the bottom line is that rather than reducing or eliminating services, like doing away with Saturday delivery and their last-mile reach program (assisting carriers like UPS and FedEx to deliver packages), the Postal Service should be focusing its resources on revamping itself to adapt to the 21st century way of life.  Not only is it a proven fact, but also common sense that reducing the level and quality of service to customers will only hurt business rather than improve it.

Unfortunately, the postmaster general and many members of Congress are focusing on how to patch a problem so they can continue with the mandated pre-funding.  When that fund currently holds $45 billion, which will cover retiree health benefits well into the future, why is it necessary to continue with the pre-funding when they should be reverting that revenue towards the development of a new business model?

Be Well-Informed When Writing Your Congressmen

I strongly suggest that everyone write to their Congressmen requesting a strategic plan for postal reform; otherwise, we may lose a vital American institution that has been serving everyone in the country for nearly 250 years.  In addition to everything mentioned above, some other key points you could cover include:
  • The short-sighted Congressional mandate to pre-fund retiree health benefits 75 years in advance over a 10-year period is responsible for nearly 80% of the Postal Service's debt.  It is unreasonable and unnecessary, not required by any other agency or private company, and needs to be done away with or modified to significantly reduce the annual payment so that it doesn't bankrupt the Postal Service.
  • Americans must have a strong Postal Services.  Households and businesses across the nation depend on our only universal communication network that delivers 160 billion pieces of mail each year to more than 152 million customers throughout the country.
  • It is entirely possible for the Postal Service to continue thriving in a digital age without a taxpayer bailout by innovating and adapting itself as it always has in its nearly 250-year history throughout many societal and economic changes.
  • Destroying the American institution that delivers our mail six days a week at affordable rates will only cost Americans a great deal in the long run when they're left to rely on privately-owned companies such as UPS and FedEx.
  • Without a strategic plan of reform, Congress will be alienating every household and business in this country, including our infirm, disabled, elderly, and missing children who also rely on the Postal Service for security due to the voluntary Carrier Alert program launched 30 years ago.
  • Without our Postal Service, we will no longer have the universal network chosen to play a valuable role in aiding the Department of Homeland Security by efficiently distributing medicine in the event of a biological attack.
For all of the different facts related to the problems the Postal Service is facing, the importance of the services it provides, and how a strategic plan of reform could still save it, I have a provided a list of links for your reference.  To find out exactly where to send your letters, click the Send A Letter To Congress button that follows:

It is vital that we take action to save our Postal Service from those who aren't doing enough to develop a long-term plan devised to bring it back to its former glory.  If we don't, can you imagine what life would be like without having our Postal Service to deliver our daily mail?  Not only would we be losing an American institution that has served us like no other for nearly 250 years, but the cost of sending mail would greatly increase since we'd be left merely with the likes of UPS and FedEx who will no longer have the Postal Service to compete with.  Let's not forget that they charge extra for Saturday delivery, either.

For more valuable information and the latest updates, please visit either of the following sites by clicking on their logo:

We must do whatever we can to
Save Our Postal Service!