Easy Peasy Oven Roasted Ribs


A common misconception that I’ve run across being a gluten free  girl is that I feast nearly on a diet that consists of  a very fussy, high maintenance almost “chick-like” fare consisting mainly of bunny food like organic lettuce, edamame, tofu and spring fed water.  Hrmpf, if only they knew.  Not only did I never seem to ditch my inner adolescent tomboy *smile*, this girl … right here…  is not afraid to eat seriously, messy, comfort food in any shape or form.

Take last night’s dinner, for example.  Easy Peasy Oven Roasted Ribs.  Roasted in the oven in 15 minutes on each side, throw them in your crockpot for the day and ladies and gentlemen, you will have the most delicious, tender,  meat-falling-off-the-bone ribs you have ever made without the fuss.  It’s that simple.

But for those who like to look at pictures and follow recipes along (like me) … I’ll start by introducing:

The cast of characters:


Nothing out of the unusual and totally customizable to your taste.   In our home, we are big garlic and onion powder fans, so in this picture, you see Smithfield ribs (on sale for $7.99!), garlic salt, onion powder, salt, pepper and granulated garlic.   You should also add to this list your favorite barbecue sauce.  If you are gluten free or are serving this dish to a person you love that is gluten free, please be sure to check the ingredients to make sure it does not include modified food starch.  And on that same note, as silly as this seems, check and recheck the ingredients listed on the packaging of your ribs.  Food manufacturers are actually sneaking in wheat and modified food starch in places where they definitely DON’T belong like MEAT for example.  Trust me on this one.  I know.  Nothing ruins a great meal for person with Celiacs or Crohns Disease  than being surprised with a unexpected gluten reaction.

While the oven is preheating, remove the packaging of your ribs and generously sprinkle the ribs with the spices on one side and place them on a foil lined pan for easy clean up.  Bake for 15 minutes.  Flip the ribs over and repeat the process.

ribs partially cooked

After both sides have been browned in the oven,  remove the ribs and let them cool just a little bit to make them easier to carve.  Cut ribs in slabs of 2 to 3 (depending on the size of your ribs) and place them in your crockpot standing up on their side.

ribs in crockpot

Standing the ribs on the side is important as it allows the grease to drain off the ribs and helps the ribs brown.  Using a pastry brush, very lightly sauce each all sides of each riblet.  I’ll warn you, this part is messy but oh-so-worth-it!  I also sprinkle on just a smidge more spices on at this point if I’m feeling naughty.

And that’s it; that’s all she wrote!  Cook on low for 8 hours you will get ribs that will make grown men cry and teenagers hug you:

finised ribs

The bad news:  They won’t want to go out for ribs ever again.  Oh the sacrifices we endure for our families 🙂

Easy Peasy Oven Roasted Ribs 

• Any type and amount of beef or pork ribs that will fit in your slow cooker
• Salt and pepper
• Garlic powder, Onion powder, creole seasoning, seasoning salt or whatever tickles your fancy


1. Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees

2. Remove packaging, rinse meat, and place in deep baking pan in single layer

3. Sprinkle both sides of meat with salt and pepper to season. (I prefer to season mine individually so the spices don’t cook off during the cooking process)

4. Bake meat in oven for 15 minutes, flip meat over and bake on other side for 15 minutes

5.Remove meat from oven cover all sides of meat completely with bbq sauce and place in slow cooker on side if possible

6. Cook on high in crock-pot for 6 hours or on low for 8 – 10 hours

7. Serve and enjoy!


The Pie that landed me a proposal


This pie recipe, will always be, near and dear to my heart.  You may have seen it floating around the internet under the name Shoney’s Strawberry Pie.  But in our home,  we call it the Engagement pie or The Pie That Will Make Any Man Propose  😉

One summer’s day, not too awfully long ago, my then boyfriend (and bachelor of 20 years, I might add) turned to me and said, “Honey, You know what my Mom use to make when I was a kid that I loved?  Strawberry Pie. ”  “Really?”, I replied.  “Go on.  Tell me more like what?  A glazed pie, a cream pie, a gel pie, what…?  I’ve never really made a strawberry pie but I’ll give it a shot. What made it so special?”  He looked at me and smiled with a some what quizzical expression and said, “I think … oh heck I don’t know.  You know me.  I don’t exactly have a refined palate like you do.  My Mom is a very traditional Southern cook.  She just cooks and bakes really wholesome good food.  Oh wait!  I think she calls it Shoney’s pie or something like that.  I don’t know why I like it so much.  I think it just invokes so many good memories from  my childhood.  It always just tasted so fresh and tastes like Summer to me.”

So with this arsenal of information, I scoured the internet and poured through reviews of various Shoney’s pies and gluten free pastry pie crusts and voila!  The perfect gluten Strawberry Pie.

Three days later… on a sunset beach, he proprosed.   During the very surreal moment where a beautiful diamond was being placed on my finger, I smiled and said, “It was the pie that closed it was the deal wasn’t it.”  We both laughed.  He replied, “I’m not saying if it was or if it was or wasn’t…but is it too early to ask if we can have this on our 50th anniversary together?”

I now present to you… The Engagement Pie 🙂

To make the Pie:

  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 6 tablespoon strawberry Jell-O
  • Enough cleaned strawberries to cover the pie shell


Blend sugar, cornstarch and water together and cook to almost pudding stage. Add Strawberry Jell-O. Place drained whole fresh strawberries into baked deep-dish 9-inch pie shell. Pour cooked mixture over berries. Chill 2 hours at least. Top with whipped cream.

To Make The Most Amazing Homemade Whipped Cream:


  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
  • 3 tablespoons powdered sugar


Whip heavy whipping cream with vanilla, almond extract and powdered sugar until stiff. I use a Kitchen Aid Mixer and let it really set up to the consistency of frosting.

To Make The Gluten Free Pie Crust:


  • 1 1/4 cups gluten free flour
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup cold butter or margerine, cut into chunks
  • 1/4 cup shortening, cold
  • 1 egg
  • 3 tablespoons cold water
  • 1/4 teaspoon apple cider vinegar


Combine flour, sugar, xanthan gum and salt in large bowl. Cut in butter and shortening with pastry blender or fork until mixture resembles coarse crumbs.

Combine egg, cold water and apple cider vinegar in small bowl; beat with fork until mixed. Add egg mixture to flour blend mixture; stir just until moistened. Shape pastry into a ball; flatten slightly. Wrap in plastic food wrap; refrigerate until chilled (at least 1 hour).

Remove from refrigerator; let stand 15 minutes at room temperature. Unwrap pastry; place onto parchment paper lightly floured with gluten-free flour blend. Lightly flour pastry with gluten-free flour blend.  Roll out pastry into 12-inch circle. Transfer pastry to ungreased 9-inch pie pan, pressing firmly against bottom and sides and sealing any cracks as necessary. Crimp or flute edge.

For baked unfilled pie shell, prick crust all over with fork. Bake at 475°F. for 8 to 10 minutes or until lightly browned. Fill as desired.

BeTWEEN the lines of insanity and pride


Take heed to all Moms out there in there in Bloggy World of those beautiful babies and toddlers that I see pictures of every day.  One day, in the not so very distant future your precious baby will go grow into a very complex creature into called a Tween.

Wikipedia defines tweens as:

tween is a person who is between the ages of 10 to 12 years old.[1] The term is often described in popular media as referring to a preadolescent (usually female) who is at the “in-between” stage in their development when they are considered “too old for toys, too young for boys”.[2][3][4]

Urban Dictionary, however, sums it all up neatly three paragraphs:

A girl ages about 9-14…too old for toys, but too young for boys.

Very easy to market to, will usually follow any fashion trend set for them, will most likely go through the phase of ‘finding themselves’ as they ‘grow up’.
 LyK oMg, I aM jUsT gOiNg ThRu TeH hArDeSt TiMe Of My LyF…i RaN oUt Of EyEsHaDoW!!!!  OMG!!!! DO YOU NEED ME TO COME OVER FOR SUPPORT?!?!?!?!?!

Just like being a “new Mom”, there is no amount of preparation to being a Mom of a Tween.  Suddenly, at the blink of an eye … gone are the days where “your little girl” comes running out of elementary school, with the latest craft she’s made in class as she collapses into your arms.  A car ride home in the life of a Tween is now about the trials and tribulations about middle school, the politics of lunch rooms, the latest Shane Dawson youtube video, Death by Cinnamon challenge (WTH?)  and OMG!! I cAn toTotAllY NOT beLiEvE hoW sHe WaS tRasH tAlkInG … (all the whole while she is texting, updating her facebook status and tweeting btw)

Back the truck up… can I have this kid back instead??


*sigh*  Just another day in the life of a Tweenager.

But then just as I was about to give up all hope on ever understanding her… or at least relate to her life through the Middle School years, I woke up to a text.

It had only one line:  http://louloubell.simplesite.com

LouLouBell was my daughter’s nickname so I knew instantly that my daughter had bravely stepped into the land of blogging for the first time.  Quite an accomplishment for a girl, who for the most part, is an introvert.  What I was NOT prepared for was I about to find.

A blog all about her, her life plan (as much as it can at 12 lol).  Her hopes and dreams to be a gluten free pastry chef, her inspiration (me!), how she was going to accomplish these dream, a cookbook review, a restaurant review and even the beginning of an online campaign to stop cyber bullying.  As I continued to read on, I saw my very own words of encouragement to her about pursuing her dreams and overcoming her fear (which at the time was returned with the typical eye roll).   I was … and still am astounded.

As it turns out,  the tween years really are not that much different than the sweet earlier years of childhood in many ways.  Their development and maturity continues to grow with leaps and bounds… and when we think we have them all figured out, they constantly change 🙂  but in a good and different way.  I have never been prouder.

Happiness Revealed

The constant quest for happiness is something that is unique and personal to each and every one of us.  To some of us, it means power and money.  To others, it means recognition for a job well done. And still to others, it can be as simple as building meaningful relationships that make life… an easier journey to walk through .  While there is no clear answer what the true answer to happiness is, Louie Schwartzberg, does a great job in reminding us that each day is a gift.  How we choose to look at the world can truly be our own happiness barometer.

Perfect pesto

I.Love.To.Cook.  Actually, let me rephrase that.  I.Love.To.Eat.Good.Food!  A lot of people would challenge me on that, given me on my most recent weight loss but again, I attribute this to Gluten Free living.   As I mentioned earlier, I have been gluten free now for nearly two years now.  Actually, come to think about, more like 18 months.  I eliminated all wheat and modified starch from my diet in January 2012.  Since that time, I have lost 22 pounds!   The crazy part about all of this is that I really did not intentionally try to lose this weight.  It just sorta happened.  While living gluten free does come with it’s challenges and limitations, it is overall a healthier way of living.  Contrary to what the media tells you  and all of the cookbooks that are now widely available, you really don’t need a bunch of expensive proprietary ingredients to live this way either.
Case in point?  Last night’s dinner 🙂  Perfect Pesto!  If you like Tilipia, love the taste of pesto, want dinner on the table within 30 minutes and have an amazing meal that rivals your local Italian restaurant then this is the meal for you!
1 pound of Tilapia.
Prepared pesto.
That’s it.  No foolin’.
Grease an oven pan very thoroughly.  Fish sticks very easily to a hot pan. It’s not fun to have to scour a pan after a delicious meal.  Trust me on this one.
Cover each filet with a generous amount of pesto.  I think the original recipe I followed said 1/4 cup.  I never follow directions.  As a former teacher, I’m a real rebel that way *lol*.  I just made sure each filet was thickly covered with pesto from top to bottom.  Bake in a preheated 400 degree oven for 30 minutes.
That’s it.  Your done.  Fin.
Result?  Amazingly tender, tilapia.  The olive oil from the pesto and the basil melts into each flake of the filet into yummy goodness.
For the pasta, I used corn based pasta linguini.  Tossed it with homemade garlic oil (olive oil I had sauteed 3 garlic cloves in) and bit of parmesan cheese.  That’s it!
Doesn’t sound or look like your typical “diet food” does it?

Back to basics

So lately I have been struggling.  I am not a very patient woman.  Ha!  There’s the understatement of the year!  Well, technically I really am .. but I’m not.  I have the patience of a Saint when it comes to working in the capacity of a teacher, a caregiver or a friend in need.  I do NOT, however, have ANY patience when it comes to indecisiveness — particularly my own.  It’s even worse when life dictates that I don’t have any control of which path I choose to take in my life.  Yeh, I know what you are thinkin’… she might be a little bit of a control freak.  I’ll admit it.  Maybe I am.  But in all fairness, I don’t try to control the people around me.  I just hate being stuck in limbo without a plan.  I find it maddening at times.

This past week has been filled with many heart-to-heart discussions chocked full of emotional hurdles that we would have to overcome to make our dreams come true.  While these conversations are “the good stuff” that binds a good relationship together … at the end of the day, I still find myself overwhelmed and emotionally drained at times.  Sprinkle the additional stress of being recently laid off and an upcoming expensive vacation and the uncertainty of the future… and well, you see where my head is at the moment.

This morning I was feeling particularly blue and knew it was time to start searching for the beauty in life again. It was time to get back to the basics. As my friend, Tiffany at Life In The Making says “Go on and find what makes you happy and get to it.”  For me, that meant it was time to start by writing in gratitude journal again, being creative in the kitchen, finding beauty in nature through photography and seeking solace in the arms of my beloved… which I intend to do the moment he comes home tonight 🙂

Today I leave you with 3 gratitudes and a hopes for a much brighter tomorrow.  

1.  New unexpected friendships.

2.  My Nikon DSLR camera

3.  Unexpected romantic gestures – one year later. 

Five on Friday

So Darci over at The Good Life Blog is hosting a rather cute blog hop of sorts. 

 blog about 5 things…. things that you’re loving, things that are on your mind, etc.  Really, any five things — how easy is that?”

Since I’m a “glass is half full” kind of girl, I’ll focus on 5 things that make me happy.  


Mountains.  And boy have they ever been on my mind a lot these days.  These mountains, in particular, are the Blue Ridge Mountains, taken in the great state of North Carolina.  I don’t know what it is about mountains that bring me so much peace but I find myself longing for cool mountain breezes and a simpler life almost every waking second of each day.


This guy.  If you want to know why.  You’ll have to read yesterday’s post 😉 


Fall Leaves.  It doesn’t matter what time of the year.  Autumn leaves continue to make me smile.  It just never gets old.  


These 3 stooges who tried to hold their “disinterested teen pose” for the camera…

but failed miserably and reverted back into their smiley but old goofy selves. 


Ft. Clinch, Fernandina Beach, Florida 2013 

Nature.  A constant source of beauty that I am surrounded by here in Florida which I know I take for granted.  There are definitely worse place to live 😉