Kitchen Hacks

I actually hate reading articles that claim that they have some useful hacks. It always turns out to be mainly rubbish and stuff I’d never want to use or do because it’s just ineffective or it makes the house look ugly. However, I think I have some good ideas for use in the kitchen.

My first is concerning bags clips. I have never liked using those because they can easily fall off. So, I use something that definitely won’t fall off. I use elastics. I just fold over the opened bag of frozen broccoli and then hold the fold in place with the elastic.

broccoli hack

The next one is concerning reheating certain types of leftovers. Some people hate reheated food from the day before. So, if that’s you, then go ahead and skip this two paragraph section. I find leftovers just fine to eat the next day. Of the foods I make ahead and reheat are bacon and waffles. For bacon, past one day isn’t good. For waffles, three days is the max for me. After that, they just lose their flavor.

To reheat the waffles, I just use the toaster oven on the warm setting for five minutes. To reheat the bacon, I do it differently as it has grease. You don’t want to overheat the bacon also as it will be gross. If you do it in the microwave, that makes it gross to me as well. I reheat it on the stove, but on a piece of foil instead of dirtying another pot. Usually, i will put it over the burner after I have used it and shut it off. Only takes a few minutes to be nice and warm. But you can turn on the burner on the low setting also. I have a stove where the top is flat. I don’t have burners that stick up and out. So, if you don’t have a flat top stove, this won’t work for you.

Bacon hack

Did you like these three kitchen hacks? Are you going to try them out? I use them all the time.

Snacking On-the-Go

snacks                                                                                 *

Snacks for children in the car and on-the-go that were “healthy” used to be an easier task. I would bring chew crackers and dried fruit and that would satisfy him until he was actually able to get some “real food”. That was when he was one year old. Now he is two and a half and “healthy” snacks are a little bit more harder to come by. Sure, I could carry some baby food packets because he still likes those. But in the back seat of the car and alone that’s not a good idea. He’d create a mess….as he always does when he can. Or, I could still bring dried fruit. However, he doesn’t like dried fruit anymore. He’s getting more picky and particular as time passes. He seems to want what mom is snacking on. Can you see where this is going?

Yep, anything I want to snack on, he wants to try. So, now he has tried slim jim, chips, muffins, and M&M’s. That’s only naming a few. He loves OJ and sometimes likes apple juice…so that’s still a win right there. I always keep single serve bottles of the juice in the passenger side of the car in the front seat. Thus, he can have his drink on the go when he needs it. I can grab it for him while I’m driving. Thus, I don’t have to make an extra stop to get him a drink.

So, I’m not really sure what to get for him as a snack on the go when we are going somewhere. Fruit takes time to prepare and the ones they sell pre-cut in the store are just disgusting. Same thing with veggies. He also does not like veggies anymore. He used to like a few, but he gave up on them. So, I guess I will just have to feed him snacks that aren’t good for him while we are traveling.

But, at home, he always gets a home cooked meal that is good for him. I cook twice a day everyday. So, I’m figuring that should balance it all out.


*Image was created by me.

How Many Books Do You Need?

“How many books do you need?!” That was the question my husband directed towards me the other day. I had ordered four books about weaning. Each book is about a different point of weaning so of course I ordered more than one book.

Weaning Book IMG_0488.jpg


I already finished reading the book in the image above this paragraph. It was about how to decide when is the proper time to actually wean the child. Another book I am reading is about how to do Baby Led Weaning. That book is actually about when and how to introduce solid foods to your baby without the use of purees. The book is below this paragraph. I haven’t finished reading it yet.


The other two books I have I have not finished reading yet. One is a recipe book so it really isn’t a book to actually read….just look through. I only read two books at a time. Since I have finished reading one of the four books, I have started reading another. So, I am now also reading Weaning Made Easy. It is in the photo below. Can weaning really be made easy is my question. I’ll see about that soon enough, but I think my child won’t be weaned easily. He doesn’t like chewing food as much as he likes chewing non-food items like cardboard and any other thing lying around….including your hand. He also loves breastmilk from the source and he has never liked it from the bottle.


So, I guess I need four books on Weaning so far, but who knows? Maybe I will get another just so that I can be really informed. Weaning is something that needs to be done right or the baby will not get enough nutrition. Also, he can end up really crabby if taken off the breastmilk too soon. Oh, and don’t forget the breastmilk makers. Those things need tender loving care also and it’s best to not wean too quickly for that reason also. Clogged milk ducts and other problems can occur if baby suddenly stops eating or severely decreases his feedings. I have already had clogged milk ducts a number of times already and they are painful. Sometimes he just doesn’t want to eat regularly.

But, yes, I like to read so that I can be informed on things that are important to me. Weaning correctly is very important to me for the reasons stated above. So, while I found four books that I think have valuable information on weaning, I may end up getting another. No, I think I am set with weaning. My next book I am going to get sort of involves weaning though. It is about putting the baby to bed and getting him to sleep through the night without the baby having to wake up to eat every four hours. It’s a no-cry method which is what I want. My baby wakes every four hours usually, so I want to get a book on this. I have already picked out the title because it was a book suggested in one of the books I just read. I just have to find the book and order it. Books, here I come!

An Easy & Delicious Dessert Idea

I eat dessert every day. It’s delicious and you do need something yummy and sugary. It’s not bad to eat some yummy and sugary dessert on a daily basis as long as you eat a small or moderate amount. One desert that I have tried recently that is yummy and has lots of flavors is the following. I’m gonna call it the Loaded Muffin. It’s not as dangerous as it sounds.


1 small chocolate chip muffin (Little Debbie – 220 calories).

Reddi Whip Whipped topping (I like the made with real milk one)

1 Banana

2 or 3 Strawberries

Cinnamon (optional)


This dessert is  400 calories. It depends on how much whipped topping you use. Don’t overload on the Reddi Whip and it will be 400 calories.


Slice muffin into 4 circular pieces and place in center of 6 inch plate.

Slice banana into bite-sized pieces of any thickness that you prefer.

Place sliced bananas around sliced muffin.

Muffin Dessert IMG_2814

Slice strawberries into bite-sized pieces and set aside. Make sure that you wash strawberries before slicing.

Cover each piece of muffin with the whipped topping.

Muffin Dessert IMG_2816

Take sliced strawberries and throw them on top of the whipped topping and bananas.

Muffin Dessert IMG_2818

If you want to add cinnamon, go ahead.

Now all u do is get a fork and enjoy. 🙂

Was that an easy desert to make? And nutritious?

My Website:

My email:

Filet Mignon for Dinner Anyone?

I cook filet mignonette for dinner once a week. It always comes out delicious. I only use this recipe for this type of beef cut, but if you want to try it on a different cut of beef go ahead.


*Green pepper



*Filet mignon

*BBQ sauce or ketchup

*Worchester Sauce





Step 1: Dice up some onions, green peppers, and mushrooms.

1/8 cup of each.

The amount varies depending on how many steaks you are making. I make two steaks. Thus, I do 1/8 of a cup of                 green peppers. Then I do one slice of the onion which equals about 2 tablespoons. The mushroom are the same                  amount: usually one or two mushrooms. I peel the outer skin off of my mushrooms instead of brushing the debris                  off. It’s easier that way (for me, anyway).

Step 2: Turn on stove to low heat.

Filet Mignon IMG_1284

Once pan has been preheated, put small amount of butter in pan to melt.

Throw in the diced onions, green peppers, and mushrooms. Let them cook for a minute, then push them to the                      side of the pan.

Filet Mignon 2 IMG 1278

Step 3: Trim off extra fat from sides of filet mignon.

Salt and pepper to taste.

Add about a half a teaspoon of Worchester sauce to each side of the steaks. One side at a time. Message the                     Worchester sauce into each side of the steak.

Filet Mignon IMG_1282

Filet Mignon IMG_1279

Step 4: Add flavored steaks to the hot pan with the diced onion, etc. Let cook till you can see the edges starting to brown.

Filet Mignon IMG_1283

Step 5: Flip steaks and let cook till the edges begin to brown. Depending on how you like your meat is how long you will you             cook them. Ten minutes at least. If you like your meat cooked well, continue to step 6.

Filet Mignon IMG_1287

I cook my steaks to almost well done. My husband’s, I’ll cook till med-well. So, he’ll get his dinner plate first.

Step 6: I like my meat cooked to almost well done. So, when I flip the meat to the cooked side, I will score it. This helps the               meat to cook faster and prevents it from being overcooked even if you want it well done. The heat cooks it more                   evenly when scored and thus more quickly as well.

Filet Mignon IMG_2828

Step 7: I like to add BBQ sauce or ketchup to the meat after it is cooked to a medium well state. I cut it in cubes while it is in              the pot. Then I quickly add BBQ sauce/ketchup to it. I let it cook for a minute more to set the sauce and cook it a                  little more.

Filet Mignon IMG_2838 Filet Mignon IMG_2839 Filet Mignon IMG_2841 Filet Mignon IMG_2842

I know that you aren’t supposed to cut stuff in the pot/pan while cooking it. But that’s what I do. Just make sure it’s                not a pan with a non-stick coating and you should be fine. I hate those non-stick pans. I have a thing against them                so I never use them unless I’m cooking chicken. It prevents the chicken from cooking too fast and drying out.

Step 8: Once the BBQ sauce has set, it is ready to eat. Don’t forget those diced onions, green peppers, and mushrooms to              the side. Put them over the top of the bite sized pieces of filet mignon. Enjoy!

Filet Mignon IMG_2844

I know that most say you shouldn’t cook anything together with meat in the same pan because of bacteria that can             make you sick. However, I never get sick. But if you want to cook the “veggies” separately then go ahead and do it               in a different pan. However, I do it in the same pan so the flavor of the veggies get absorbed by the meat.

I have different sides with this. Sometimes perogies, other times mashed potatoes, and sometimes mac-n-chz.

Filet Mignon IMG_2848

Interested in a unique book for a child this christmas? I’ve got one for ya. It’s an adventure/mystery book for kids ages 4-10. You don’t know what enjoyable story you are missing out on if you don’t try out this book. See my website or for my book, A PinkBoat Adventure by Kathleen Ivan.

Being Busy

I’ve been a little busier than usual. I have been working on author related stuff. I have also been busy dealing with family related stuff. Then, there are those day to day things that usually take up your time. However, time still goes by slower than I want it to here in the desert. It’s only been a year and two months here and thinking about having to spend another almost two years here isn’t a happy thought. So, I hope I can keep myself busy with enough things to forget really about where I am. Though the glaring sun every day makes that rather difficult. Anyways, I’ve been busy with a bunch of stuff.

Eventually, I intend on posting a recipe/instructions on how to make filet mignon for dinner. It’s something I do every week and it always come out nice and tasty when I make it. I make my husbands med-well while I always take mine nearly well done. That is a little taste of the article I will be posting soon. Hopefully this week sometime.

If you don’t already know it, I run two facebook pages besides my own personal facebook page. Then, I am also an administrator on another facebook page that another person created and is the main boss. All three aren’t really large facebook pages, but they keep me busy. I also maintain my author website which I created and designed myself. Right now, I am working on a new children’s book. I wrote the story, but I am also doing the illustrations this time around. I have about 1/3 of the illustrations done but none are actually colored in yet. So, I have lots of stuff going on that I am doing. I intend on having my new children’s book published sometime next year. I’m setting the deadline to June 2016, but I know issues will arise that will probably set me back to publishing in August 2016.

If you would like to enter a freebie/giveaway, please see the pinned post on my author facebook page for details. My author facebook page is the first link below.

Enjoy the rest of your day. 🙂

Kathleen Ivan

My facebook pages that I work on:

A facebook page that I help with that isn’t mine:

My author website:

HOW TO: Gluten-Free Banana Pancake

I make gluten free banana pancakes at home about once a week. They are important to make properly because bananas are quite wet, so u want to use the banana as a substitute to replace the egg and a majority of the milk that is usually used. This is how I make my pancake and it comes out delicious.


1 oz milk

1 medium banana

1/4 teaspoon of cinnamon

1/4 cup of gluten free pancake mix flour

Real maple syrup for pancake after it’s finished cooking

Butter for skillet to cook pancake


1. Get out a bowl and fork.

Use 2/3 of the banana and put in bowl with cinnamon.

Set the remaining banana on a plate and slice into 1/4 inch slices. Set aside.

Mash together the bananas and cinnamon with fork.

Let sit for a minute so that it becomes extra mushy and watery.


This is what I let my banana looks like when I use it for pancakes. I want it to get nice and sweet so that it adds to the taste of the pancake.

This is how the banana and cinnamon should look like when mashed together.

This is how the banana and cinnamon should look like when mashed together.

2. Next, add 1/4 cup of gluten-free pancake mix powder to the mashed bananas.

This is a relatively inexpensive brand that I use. I sometimes use a more expensive different brand.

This is a relatively inexpensive brand that I use. I sometimes use a more expensive different brand.

The measuring cup that I use with pancake mix.

The measuring cup that I use with pancake mix.

This is how it should look with the pancake mix flour added.

This is how it should look with the pancake mix flour added.

See how you can form fork marks in it?

See how you can form fork marks in it?

3. Gradually add 1 ounce of milk to batter.

Batter should not be thin but not thick either.

If it’s too thin, it won’t cook thoroughly.

The 1 oz of mik

The 1 oz of mik

The batter should look like this after adding the milk.

The batter should look like this after adding the milk.

See how it is thick enough to remain on the fork for a few seconds before it falls off. This is a good thickness for the batter.

See how it is thick enough to remain on the fork for a few seconds before it falls off. This is a good thickness for the batter.

4. Turn on stove burner to a low setting.

Add butter once warm.

Butter should melt and slowly bubble.

If the butter smokes and turns brown then the heat is at too high of a setting.

This is the setting I use on my

This is the setting I use on my “real fire” stove. It’s set between low and medium.

Here's the batter in the pan on a low to med flame.

Here’s the batter in the pan on a low to med flame.

A look inside the pan.

A look inside the pan.

5. I leave it cooking on one side for about five minutes.

This is so that it actually cooks out the moisture so that it won’t be wet and gooey in the middle.

It should bubble somewhat while it is cooking.

After five minutes, flip pancake.

It should be nice and dark brown colored.

This is how it should look after you flip it.

This is how it should look after you flip it.

A close-up view....Note how there are little holes from the bubbling while cooking. This allows air flow for proper cooking.

A close-up view….Note how there are little holes from the bubbling while cooking. This allows air flow for proper cooking.

6. Once you flip the pancake, the other side will cook faster.

Cook for 3 minutes.

It shouldn’t burn because the flame is really low.

After 3 minutes, flip again.

This is what the other side of the pancake looks like. It's a little odd looking, but it should be cooked through.

This is what the other side of the pancake looks like. It’s a little odd looking, but it should be cooked through.

A closer view. If you touch it, it should feel cooked and not wet.

A closer view. If you touch it, it should feel cooked and not wet.

7. It should be ready to eat and enjoy.

Get your plate with the set aside banana slices.

Add the pancake to the plate.

Top pancake with syrup and enjoy.

I added some dried cranberries to the banana slices.

Sometimes I add a side of blueberries to the banana slices instead.

The fully cooked pancake with some banana slices and dried cranberries.

The fully cooked pancake with some banana slices and dried cranberries.

Fully cooked pancake with some syrup.

Fully cooked pancake with some syrup.

I love the way the pancake tastes. It takes a while to cook the pancake, but the taste is worth it. Yes, this is a recipe that serves only one person, but you can make this for more just using the same methods and tips.

Enjoy your gluten-free pancake.

If this pancake isn’t for you, maybe you’d like my book instead.

Mushroom and Green Pepper Tilapia

I’m not sure if anyone has made fish the way I make it. This is the way I make it and I think it is yummy.

I use mayo, soy sauce, green peppers, mushroom, and some salt and pepper.

Diced mushrooms and green peppers in a stainless steel bowl.

Diced mushrooms and green peppers in a stainless steel bowl.

The mayo and soy sauce that I use.

The mayo and soy sauce that I use.

Don't forget the salt and pepper.

Don’t forget the salt and pepper.

I just made some yesterday for dinner.

Here is the recipe and a few pictures if you are interested.

This is for 1-2 fish filets.

I used a tilapia filet.

  • 1/8 cup of diced green peppers
  • 1 diced mushroom
  • 1 tsp mayo
  • 1 tsp soy sauce
  • 1/8 tsp Salt
  • 1/8 tsp pepper

Mix the above ingredients.

Green peppers, mushroom, mayo, and soy sauce in a bowl.

Green peppers, mushroom, mayo, and soy sauce in a bowl.

All ingredients mixed in a bowl.

All ingredients mixed in a bowl.

Place mixed ingredients on top of fish filet.

Mixture on top of fish filet in a ceramic baking dish.

Mixture on top of fish filet in a ceramic baking dish.

Then put in the oven.

Usually, it is directed to put the oven to 400 degrees, but I put the oven on 350 degrees instead so that it won’t overcook.

I also cook it for about 25 minutes.

Make sure the tilapia filet is thawed or it may need to be cooked longer.

This is how it looks when it is cooked.

Cooked tilapia fish filet.

Cooked tilapia fish filet.

I almost ate it all before remembering to take the photo. 🙂

It’s that good. You might want to try it also.

Egg Sandwich on Raisin Bread!

I don’t like eating the same things all the time. So, I switch it up. So, one morning, I decided to try something different. I tried some cinn-raisin bread instead of my normal rye bread. Yep, I used it as part of my egg sandwich.

I started off by making an over-hard egg. Here’s what my cooking an egg looks like. I add salt and pepper while the egg is cooking and before I flip the egg. I cook my eggs on really low and I cover them with a lid as they cook.

005 007

I put some mozzarella cheese on the sandwich. I get the mozzarella balls and slice them. Here is the bread and cheese waiting for the egg.


I always put the egg on top of the cheese so that the warmth will start to melt it slightly, but not completely. I don’t like completely melted cheese.

009 008

Then, I add some blueberries and cut my sandwich into two triangles. It’s more decorative and looks more tasty to me that way.


It really tastes delicious. I was surprised at how good it tasted when I first tried it.

I had some Honest Tea – Peach with it that day. I like their peach tea.


Cinn-raisin bread(Sun-Maid)                        180 (90 per slice)

egg                                                                60-70

mozzarella cheese                                         70 ( I used half this on the sandwich)

blueberries                                                     30 (2 oz)

Honest Tea                                                    80 (16 oz bottle)

                       Total Calories       430

Summary statement:

Try something different. You may like it. 🙂

Goat Cheese Breakfast

Have you ever tried goat cheese? I was surprised when I first tasted it because it’s similar in taste and texture to cream cheese. The taste is of course slightly different, but depending on your palette you may or may not notice. It also has less calories per serving. When I compared it to Philadelphia cream cheese, the goat cheese was 30 calories less per serving.

How did I choose to add it to a meal? I added it to my breakfast. I made an over-hard egg and placed it between two pieces of rye bread. Then I slathered some goat cheese on one of those pieces of rye. I let the warmth of the egg melt it a little before digging in. It tasted delicious. I also had a side of blueberries with the sandwich as well as a glass of green tea.

Goat Cheese Breakfast

1 serving Goat cheese                                                                                                                    70 calories

2 pieces rye bread                                                                                                                           180 calories

1 cooked egg

(your choice of over-easy, over-medium, or over-hard, sunny-side up)                                          60-70 calories

2 oz blueberries                                                                                                                               30 calories

16 oz Green Tea  (Honest brand name)                                                                                          70 calories

Total Calories                                                        410-420 

If you include the butter used to cook the egg, then you get about 500 calories, but it’s still a good idea for a low calorie and nutritious breakfast.

So, are you going to try goat cheese?

Previous Older Entries