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I had been in a recipe rut, just making the same things over and over. Starting my Etsy shop has been pure joy, but keeping house, homeschooling, cooking, and building inventory for a shop all together, is a big job. I have been so distracted, even meal planning slipped, and when that happens, you end up ordering take out more, and paying full price for groceries.

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It’s not even mid-September, and I’m ready for fall. I think a lot of people are. Summer is a nice idea, and several aspects are appealing, like the beach, concerts in the park, $1 movies, and no school. But when it comes to the weather, I loath humidity and high temperatures. I live in North Carolina, where many welcome cool breezes to blow the thick, Southern humidity away. When your glasses fog up upon stepping outside the car, it’s just too darn hot.

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Cheese Steak Salad

Eating out is really expensive, especially for a family of four or more. I’m always looking for ways to enjoy our favorites at home, as it saves money, and calories. One of my favorite things to eat is a cheese steak sub. Thin, tender slices of meat entangled with sweet caramelized onions and peppers, topped with silky cheese. As delicious is that is, the roll and mayonnaise accompanying the sub puts the calories over the top, so I needed a solution.

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My daughters started year around swim, which means one day a week we are gone from 1:00 – 5:15, because we also have pottery that day. Having a nice family meal during the week is very important to me, so I need a fast dinner option for our busy day. I’ve been eyeing a technique for awhile now called “One Pot Wonders,” where you put all the ingredients in a pot (including uncooked pasta and raw meat) and boil it into submission. No, these aren’t soups, they are main dishes. It looked intriguing, and frankly, too good to be true. Even my foodie cousin Jenny murmured to me, in a better-you-than-me tone, “You try it first, and tell me.” (Come to think about it, she said that about having children too . . . ) We were both skeptical, and I knew there was a 50 percent chance of ordering an emergency pizza. But, if you don’t try, you will never know. So I did, and now I do. It was really good.

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Stuffed Sweet Peppers

Last weekend I got a 23 pound box of red bell peppers for $18. They came in all different shapes and sizes, so I had to purpose them differently. I sliced, diced, and chopped some for the freezer. I roasted many of them, and flash froze for another day. I employed the biggest, most choice peppers, as vessels for a main dish.

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