Friday, June 30, 2023

Easy Sausage & Penne Pasta Bake Recipe

Easy Pasta Bake Recipe
My family loves pasta!  A few months ago, I was searching for a new pasta dinner recipe.  When I came up empty handed, I decided to create my own pasta dish.  

Admittedly, my ingredients are a combination of several of the ingredients used in the recipes I viewed.  After all, they all start with a marinara sauce and pasta.  My selection of meat is directly from my own manicotti recipe which I have cooked for decades and uses sausage.  

After trying several different combinations over a few weeks, I finally came up with a new favorite.  My son and I liked it so much that we made it for Mother's Day this year for my mother.  She also loved it and raved over the new meal.  Frankly, I hated to tell her how easy it is to make. 

Now that this recipe is mother approved, I will start making it in larger batches for holiday meals when our extended family is here for a week.  I love to cook, but I don't want to spend all of my time in the kitchen during family visits & reunions.  This will be a great dish to serve everyone along with a salad for dinner one night.  Now, I just need 6 or 7 more crowd pleasing, easy family size dinner recipes to cook for a dozen or more people. 

For the vegans in our family, I plan to make this recipe using a vegan pasta sauce, vegan cheese & vegan sausage crumbles so we are all basically eating the same meal together.


  1. In a large skillet, cook sausage, then drain
  2.  Add parsley, basil, Italian seasoning & marinara sauce. Simmer for 15 minutes. 
  3.  Meanwhile, preheat oven to 350°.  Cook pasta according to package directions, then drain pasta well 
  4.  Gently stir cooked pasta into sausage mixture 
  5.  Gently stir in 1 3/4 cup mozzarella cheese 
  6.  Transfer to an ungreased 13x9 baking dish 
  7.  Sprinkle with 2 1/4 cups Mozzarella cheese
Bake 25-30 minutes  


Easy Pasta Bake - Sausage and Penne Pasta Recipe



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Easy Sausage & Penne Pasta Bake Recipe Written by:
House of Sylvestermouse

© 2023 Cynthia Sylvestermouse

Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate, Ebay (EPN) and/or Esty (Awin) Affiliate, I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”

Thursday, June 29, 2023

Reviewing Homemade Immunity Cubes

Stay healthy by keeping these immunity cubes in your freezer

I have recently caught a pretty bad cold/flu virus that has been going around which although annoying was a great chance to try out my immunity cubes that I had made a couple of weeks prior.

I got the recipe for these cubes on Instagram and I'll be honest I've found quite a few quick and healthy recipes on Instagram. The immunity cubes were created by the user @feelgoodfoodie and they are made as follows.

Immunity Cubes - Ingredients

12 oz fresh lemon juice

2 thumbs fresh ginger

2 inches fresh turmeric root

Directions for Making Immunity Cubes

Juice the lemons until you made the required amount of lemon juice (I used 5 medium-large lemons) and put the juice into a blender cup. Peel both the ginger and turmeric and add them both to the cup. Next, blitz them all together in your blender.

Strain the liquid into a jug and then grab an ice cube tray.

Now as a note I decided to purchase a new ice cube tray for this as I wanted to make sure I could easily remove one cube at a time (also this includes turmeric so I had to be prepared for staining, which you can see in the photo is a real concern!). I choose to go with a silicone-bottomed pop-out ice cube tray (like the one I've linked to). This worked really well for removing said cubes when needed.

Pour the liquid into the ice cube tray and pop into the freezer.

Once frozen your immunity cubes are made and ready for when they are needed.

How to Use Immunity Cubes

When you are feeling sick simply take the ice cube tray out of the freezer, pop one of the cubes into a mug and add boiling water.

You can add honey or not, it's entirely up to you. On days when my sinuses were blocked, I didn't bother with the honey, but when I had a sore throat I added some raw honey. Honestly, I think it tastes a lot better WITH the honey!

I found that they definitely seemed to help me and in my opinion were a lot better than the Lemsip sachets I used to have when I was younger. The hot drink is always nice when you have a cold and it's also a great way of getting fluids into you and that's all without counting the health benefits of all three of the ingredients.

Ginger, tumeric and lemon cubes to help boost your immunity


Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate, Ebay (EPN) and/or Esty (Awin) Affiliate, I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”

Wednesday, June 28, 2023

Calling all Bibliophiles! A Fantastic App Review!

Bibliophiles Unite!  This is a song that many of my fellow reviewers are sure to get on board with.  Why, well, let's just say that in the world of the "Written Word" , books are one of the favorite topics here at Review This

And why not?  After all there are just so many ways that you can get lost in another world or find yourself in this one.  It's all up to you and what you set before your eyes and mind.

I love reading and have been fortunate to be a part of a few different reading groups!  What I love about some of these is that they also have their own "apps" (short for applications).  These apps can be used on all your devices, phones, tablets and desktop computers to download books that are not yet published.  

girl on a stack of books

These books are known as ARC's (short for Advanced Reader's Copy) and you must belong to the group in order to get these books.  

All of these books are FREE!  Yes, you read that correctly, FREE!  

So if you love to read, there is no greater happiness than to read a book by an author you may or may not have heard of before, and help them to become better known.  

The whole idea behind these free reading apps, is that in exchange for the privilege of reading a not yet published work, you will give it an honest review!  This way the author will gain some valuable feedback on their "story".  It will not only help them with a reaction to their work, but may also contain some much needed constructive criticism, so they can work even better at their craft.

So what are these free reading apps and how do you become a member?  It's really quite easy.  

The first app I like is Netgalley!  

When you join this group, you will be asked to complete a profile.  This will include you name, email address and what types of books you like to read.  They will also ask you for a place (website) where you will share your reviews.  This could be your own website or another social media channel.  The important part is sharing the titles that you have read and enjoyed.  It's s small price to pay for the pleasure of reading some great books.

The next app I like is BookSirens!  

While this app seems to focus more on Romance, it doesn't always have romance as it's only subject.  Let the app know what you like and they will send you titles to choose from.  Whether you choose one or not, it's entirely up to you.  No one makes you read anything that you don't want to read and if you ask for a book but really don't like it, you can send in a DNF (DID NOT FINISH) review.  

Voracious Readers Only is another app that can fill your mind with lots of stories.  Four easy steps will get you started on being part of this group of readers.  

I am a reader not a writer, so for me these services are free, but you can also use them if you are a writer.  For that there will be some costs involved and you would have to get in touch with each platform to see what you are willing to spend as an author.  

All of these services are very happy if you post a review to Amazon, BookBub, Goodreads etc.  They are also happy if you are talking about books that you have read with friends and family.  There is even help available if you want to organize a Book Club, so that more eyes can read and discuss the stories.  Everything is done to help the authors get their names into the public eye.

Authors work very hard to get their stories written and can use all the help they can get to make sure their work is enjoyed by a good crowd.  By writing reviews, you not only help yourself to some great stories, you help struggling authors hone their work and get their names out there.  One of the best books I read as an ARC was "Lessons in Chemistry" by Bonnie Garmus!  I reviewed her book right here! 

I think this is a WIN-WIN situation.  I get all kinds of books to read (free of charge), I don't have to wait for my next great book and it's always fresh and new!  The author gets, my honest opinion of their work and possibly some constructive criticism to help them better hone their skills.

This summer I will be busy with my Kindle, my Tablet, and my phone, so that wherever I am I will always have a book on hand!  

image of devices

Happy Reading to all my book reading friends, come and join me on one or all of these platforms and enjoy some really good new authors at the same time.


Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate, Ebay (EPN) and/or Esty (Awin) Affiliate, I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”

Tuesday, June 27, 2023

Reviewing Choisya Or Mexican Orange Blossom Shrub


Choisya Or Mexican Orange Blossom Shrub

Choisya or Mexican Orange Blossom is a gorgeous shrub for the garden and one I would highly recommend. It is an evergreen shrub with fragrant white star shaped flowers and lovely sunny aromatic yellow foliage. 

It is related to oranges and other citrus plants and its leaves release a beautiful scent when crushed. It gained its common name Mexican Orange Blossom from its scented flowers 

One of the most sought after varieties and the one we have is the Choisya Sundance. It has bright yellow leaves that add a gorgeous splash of colour to the garden shining out against darker foliage or a dark fence. 

There are other varieties of Choisya some with darker or narrower leaves you may wish to consider. Regarding size they vary between about five to eight feet in height and spread, though will take pruning. 

Choisya Sundance has white scented flowers borne mainly in May and June and yellow-green leaves are very aromatic. It is hard to describe the scent but it is perhaps a little like basil or orange blossom and very gorgeous. I love brushing the leaves and flowers and pruning is a joy! 

Mexican Orange Blossom Shrub

Growing Conditions For Choisya or Mexican Orange Blossom

It is always important to know the native growing conditions of any plant so we can try to give it similar conditions in our own gardens. Choisya or Mexican Orange Blossom is native to North America and Mexico where it grows in sunny locations in well drained soil.  

So it is a wonderful shrub to have in any sunny border. This is not a shrub that will thrive in deep shade, it must have sunshine for at least a significant part of the day, though will cope with light shade. 

It does best in a sheltered position so near a wall or fence or in the company of other shrubs or in a garden with a good hedge or shrubs all around. 

As an evergreen flowering shrub it has beautiful colourful yellow foliage all year round and can be planted in the garden, on patios in a large pot or planted as a stand alone specimen shrub. It pairs very well with spring flowering bulbs like daffodils and tulips and early perennials.

Choisya or Mexican Orange Blossom prefers a south facing location in order to get as much sunshine as possible all day. So for most people a south facing position in the garden is ideal. 

The exception to this is if you live somewhere with exceptionally hot summers in which case a west facing location may be better as that gives the plant respite in part of the day from hot burning sun which may scorch its leaves. We certainly do not live in an exceptionally hot climate but  I did notice last year during our prolonged heatwave that some leaves did turn brown but I simply pruned them off in August and the plant recovered.   

Choisya Shrub

Soil Conditions For Choisya

Choisya thrives in well drained soil, that is rich in organic matter. It dislikes sitting in wet or damp soil so drainage is very important. It can tolerate a wide range of soil types from clay to sandy soil but it does prefer slightly acidic to neutral soil. It may not thrive quite so well if you have very alkaline soil in which case you would be better growing in a large pot filled with ericaceous (or acid) soil compost.  

If you are unsure of your soil type you can buy an inexpensive kit to easily test your soil, which is useful to do in any case then you know your soil conditions for all future planting. One like this Soil Tester Kit  is not difficult to use and can give you a decent information about your soil. 


Planting Choisya or Mexican Orange Blossom Shrub

It is usually best to plant shrubs in Autumn/Fall or failing that in early Spring. When planting it is essential to incorporate lots of organic matter such as rich compost. Dig a very large planting hole about twice as wide and deep as you need in order to add all the organic matter.

Very few of us have perfect soil conditions, so this helps to improve the drainage especially on clay soil and to retain moisture if in a very light sandy soil. It is vital to water deeply after planting and to give it a good watering at least once a week until it establishes itself. 

I would always plant Choisya or Mexican Orange Blossom shrub where you are going to brush against it regularly. Although many shrubs are planted at the back of the border, this one deserves to be where you can touch it and smell it every day! So you may like to plant it as a specimen shrub or at a corner or place where you walk past and can brush against it. 

If you do not have a garden or if your soil is very alkaline you can also plant Choisya in a large pot or container. Perhaps choose a variety that is on the smaller side. For container planting it is best to pot and repot in Spring only. I have one in a very large pot and it is doing very well. I planted it first with crocks and good drainage in the bottom to prevent drainage holes getting blocked with soil, then added a mix of high quality ericaceous (acidic) and loam based compost.

 It does require much more deep watering more often than it would if grown in the ground and I need to pay more attention to it to check if it looks stressed or having any issues.

In winter container grown plants are more vulnerable, so I wrap her in fleece and keep by a sheltered wall. 

I also do keep it much smaller at around three foot so it does not outgrow the container too quickly. However, it is worth it as I wanted one in this particular location and it is very happy. 

Feeding Choisya

Choisya in the ground do not generally need feeding although they do benefit from an annual mulch in Spring. In containers top dress each year in spring with fresh compost. If the shrub is not flowering or has few flowers give it a feed in Spring of potassium or sulphate of potash like Bio Nova Liquid Potassium.


Pruning Choisya or Mexican Orange Blossom Shrub

Once established Choisya needs very little care and maintenance. The main task is to do annual pruning to the desired size and to shape the plant how you like it to look. 

It is a fast growing shrub and can grow to be six foot wide and tall which looks amazing if you have the room. However it can easily be pruned to keep it smaller than this as required. 

The best time to prune it is when it has finished flowering usually around July to late summer. Try to get all pruning done by August as the shrub needs time to recover before winter cold sets in. I usually prune with a pair of sharp secateurs like the Wolf Bypass Secateurs  though you may need Loppers for thicker branches if it is a large shrub. It is simply a matter of shortening each branch to the desired length.

Watering Needs

For the first year after planting it is very important to water your Choisya or Mexican Orange Blossom regularly. This helps to establish a strong reliable root system for the health of the plant. It is vital to not skip this step. 

 As it grows older it can tolerate drought better and will rarely need watering if it is planted in the ground. However, it is advisable to water deeply and thoroughly perhaps once a week if you have a long period of drought. Do remember that it hates sitting in wet so check the soil first. 

This basic level of care will help promote healthy growth and enable prolific flowering.  

I would always find room for this gorgeous shrub, even in a packed garden I would have to have it! 

Choisya or Mexican Orange Blossom is a joy in all seasons with fresh spring growth, gorgeous white scented flowers in May and June, evergreen and scented leaves all year round and providing much needed structure in winter. 

Grow it tall and wide or prune to the desired smaller height. A beautiful evergreen, scented and well behaved shrub that I would not be without in the garden.

Choisya Or Mexican Orange Blossom Shrub

More Gardening Articles

Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate, Ebay (EPN) and/or Esty (Awin) Affiliate, I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”

Monday, June 26, 2023

Hallmark Christmas In July Movies 2023 Reviewed

Yes, it is the summer event all Hallmarkies are eagerly awaiting. A perfect way to escape summer heat and humidity with Hallmark's Christmas In July 2023 movies. As usual your favorite Hallmark Christmas movies from years' past will pop up along with a few new Hallmark 2023 movies.

Santa with snowglobe - christmas in july banner

Here are a few favorite Hallmark Christmas movies showing this July. 

The number one do not miss, do not pass go 2022 Christmas movie that was a huge hit and deservedly so! Three Wise Men And A Baby starring three A Team Hallmark male leads Andrew Walker, Tyler Hines and Paul Campbell. And written by Paul Campbell and Kimberely Sustad another Hallmark A team actress.

Reminiscent of Three Men And A Baby with its' chemistry, cute storyline and of course the Hallmark magic. This movie will make you smile, the actors will make you laugh and this movie is a reminder that when Hallmark is at its' best - it can be pure entertainment.

Another top must see for Hallmark Christmas In July is A Cozy Christmas Inn with David O'Donnell and Jodie Sweetin. This is a sequel to the hugely likeable Christmas Under Wraps in which O'Donnell was the lead. Many of your beloved characters return to "Garland" and if you loved Christmas Under Wraps you will at a minimum Hallmark like this sequel. Sweetin and O'Donnell make this sequel charming and worth putting on your July watch list.

All Time Favorites Coming Back For July:

Christmas Under Wraps - Candace Cameron Bure, David O'Donnell

The first Alaska movie which predates A Cozy Christmas Inn. The adorable town of Garland is introduced with its' town CEO who coincidentally looks very much like Santa, a visiting doctor stationed in rural Alaska and a handsome son whose Dad maybe the Santa CEO? Hmmm. Many Hallmark Christmas movies have arrived in the years since this debuted and this is a Hallmark classic that remains a fan favorite!

The first week in July is ending strong with another top ten Hallmark Movie Christmas favorite - A Christmas Detour with Candace Cameron Burr and Paul Greene. The chemistry, the storyline, the actors keeps this movie on the top ten list of all Hallmark movies for Christmas. 

One to lookout for >> Crown for Christmas  - Danica McKellar and Rupert Penry-Jones

Another top ten of all time Hallmark Christmas Movie. Keep your eyes peeled and hope Crown For Christmas makes its' annual July appearance. This movie is not only a Christmas favorite but a favorite for movies with a palace theme. Hallmarkies will watch again... and again. 

New 2023 Christmas Movies

Hallmark fans will be delighted that Christmas In July this year will include  brand new Christmas movies - albeit early.

A Royal Christmas Crush premiers July 8 - original new movie

The Christmas Reboot premieres July 15 - original new movie

More Hallmark Christmas Movies Reviewed

A Cozy Christmas Inn Reviewed 2022  by The Savvy Age

Hallmark Christmas Movies 2021 Reviewed by The Savvy Age

You, Me & The Christmas Trees by The Savvy Age

A New Year's Resolution by Cynthia 

Hallmark Christmas Movies 2020 Reviewed by The Savvy Age

Finding Father Christmas by Cynthia

Christmas Tree Lane by The Savvy Age

Broadcasting Christmas by Cynthia

Top Ten Hallmark Christmas Movies by The Savvy Age

Debbie Macomber's Mr. Miracle Hallmark Movie Review by Cynthia

Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate, Ebay (EPN) and/or Esty (Awin) Affiliate, I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”

Sunday, June 25, 2023

What Does It Mean to Be Self-Aware - Eight Quick Tips

What Does It Mean to Be Self Aware

Have you ever wondered what it truly means to be self-aware? 

It's more than just knowing your favorite color or having a sense of humor. Self-awareness is about understanding your thoughts, emotions, and actions on a deeper level. It's a journey of self-discovery that can lead to personal growth and fulfillment. 

Here Are a Few Quick Points to Consider When Trying to Tap Into Your True Self

1. Mindfulness Matters:

  • Embrace mindfulness practices to stay present in the moment. For example, take a few minutes daily to focus on your breath and observe your surroundings. Breath exercises are the easiest technique to include in your day and can be done almost anywhere.
  • Pay attention to your thoughts and emotions without judgment. Notice when negative thoughts arise and gently redirect your focus to the present. However, allow yourself to feel the disturbance to process it and ultimately let it go.
  • Cultivate a non-reactive mindset to observe your experiences objectively. When faced with a challenging situation, take a step back before responding, allowing yourself to choose a mindful and thoughtful approach.
2. Embrace Your Emotions:
  • Recognize and accept the full range of your emotions. For instance, if you feel sadness, allow yourself to fully experience it without suppressing or denying it.
  • Understand that emotions are valid and serve a purpose. If you feel anxious before a big presentation, acknowledge that it's your body's way of preparing you for the challenge.
  • Learn from your emotional responses to gain insights into your inner world. For example, if you feel jealous when a friend succeeds, explore why you're experiencing that emotion and what it reveals about your desires or insecurities.
3. Reflect and Question:
  • Take time to reflect on your beliefs, values, and attitudes. Consider why you hold certain opinions and how they shape your actions.
  • Ask yourself why you think, feel, or act a certain way. For instance, if you get angry in traffic, inquire into the underlying reasons for your emotional reaction.
  • Challenge your assumptions and seek deeper understanding. If you believe negatively about a person, question its origins and consider alternative perspectives.
4. Seek Feedback:
  • Although this can be difficult, be open to constructive Feedback from trusted individuals. When a colleague provides Feedback on your work, listen attentively and consider their perspective.
  • Listen attentively without becoming defensive. Instead of immediately defending your actions, take the time to understand the other person's viewpoint.
  • Use Feedback as a tool for self-improvement and personal growth. If a friend points out a recurring behavior pattern, reflect on it and explore ways to make positive changes.
5. Explore Your Strengths and Weaknesses:
  • Identify your unique strengths and leverage them in your life. For example, if you're a good listener, use this skill to build stronger relationships.
  • Acknowledge your weaknesses and work on areas for improvement. If you struggle with time management, find strategies or tools to help you become more organized.
  • Embrace self-acceptance and understand that imperfections are part of being human. Recognize that everyone has strengths and weaknesses, and it's okay to have areas where you can grow.
6. Connect With Others:
  • Foster meaningful relationships to gain insights into yourself. Engage in deep conversations with friends or family to explore different perspectives and learn more about your values.
  • Engage in empathetic conversations to understand different perspectives. Practice active listening and strive to understand the experiences and emotions of others without judgment.
  • Seek support from trusted friends and mentors on your self-awareness journey. Share your thoughts and challenges with those who genuinely care about your well-being, and seek their guidance when needed.
7. Learn From Life Experiences:
  • Embrace both successes and failures as valuable learning opportunities. When you achieve a goal, take a moment to reflect on the steps that led to your success. Similarly, when you face setbacks, reflect on the lessons you can extract from those experiences.
  • Reflect on challenging situations to gain wisdom and resilience. If you encounter a difficult problem at work, take the time to understand your emotional response and identify ways to handle similar situations better in the future.
  • Embrace a growth mindset to continuously evolve and adapt. Instead of viewing challenges as obstacles, see them as opportunities for personal growth and development.
8. Practice Self-Compassion:
  • Treat yourself with kindness and understanding. Practice self-care activities that bring you joy and relaxation, such as taking a warm bath or engaging in a hobby you love.
  • Forgive yourself for past mistakes and embrace self-compassion. Understand that making mistakes is part of being human, and use those experiences as opportunities for growth and learning.
  • Celebrate your achievements and practice self-care regularly. Recognize your accomplishments, no matter how small, and take time to appreciate yourself for the progress you've made.

Becoming self-aware is a transformative journey that allows you to understand yourself more deeply. By practicing mindfulness, embracing emotions, and seeking Feedback, you can better understand your thoughts, feelings, and actions. Remember to reflect, connect with others, and learn from life experiences.

Above all, be kind and compassionate to yourself throughout this process. Embrace the adventure of self-discovery, and you may find a world of personal growth and fulfillment.

Bonus: Free Word Scramble Downloadable eBook About Self-Care


Disclaimer: This article is not meant to be, or replace, professional medical advice. 

Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate, Ebay (EPN) and/or Esty (Awin) Affiliate, I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”

Saturday, June 24, 2023

Book Review of Things My Son Needs to Know About The World

 Author Fredrik Backman brings us a selection of charming and humorous essays about fatherhood in Things My Son Needs to Know About the World.

"Things My Son Needs To Know About the World, a memoir by Fredrik Backman


Backman wrote this collection of heartfelt and amusing anecdotes to give his newborn son the tools and understanding he'll need to make his way in the world. The essays touch on a variety of subjects. Each section has a title that conveys the big and small lessons in life Backman wishes to impart to his son. Many are ones that I immediately related to as they brought back memories of life with my own babies and how scary and sometimes overwhelming it can be when you are a first-time parent.

Titles such as...

  • How to find the team to which you belong
  • What you need to know about stuff
  • What you need to know about being a man
  • What you need to know about what happened to the singing plastic giraffe
  • What you need to know about when I hold your hand a little too tight

The essays alternate between humorous side notes, sometimes only a paragraph or a half-page long, and longer essays.

Fredrik Backman and Fatherhood

father and son
Along with the advice to his baby son, Backman also reveals many of his own false steps and fatherly flaws. Between the sleep-deprived lows and the wonderful highs, the author also shares how he fell in love with his son's mother and learned to live a life that revolves around the people you care about unconditionally.


Written in Backman's wonderful style and delightful way with words, this Swedish author brings us an insightful and irresistible collection of 'firsts' that is perfect for new parents.

Backman has an unparalleled understanding of human nature and conveys it all so well.

He ends with reminding us that:

You can be whatever you want to be, but that’s nowhere near as important as knowing that you can be exactly who you are.”

Links to Other Fredrik Backman Book Reviews:

book review of Things My Son Needs to Know About The World
Available on Amazon

*Book Review of Things My Son Needs to Know About the World was written by Wednesday Elf

A Memoir by Fredrik Backman

Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate, Ebay (EPN) and/or Esty (Awin) Affiliate, I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”

Friday, June 23, 2023

Air Fryer Fried Dough

 Easy to make air fryer fried dough reviewed.

Air Fryer Fried Dough

You will find this sweet treat at your local County Fair or Church Bazaars. They go by many different names, fried dough, doughboys, or elephant ears. Whenever we visit a local fair the first thing I look for is the fried dough. Fried bread dough with sugar or sugar and cinnamon all over it.

These little sweet treats are just as easy to make at home with your air fryer. Over the weekend, I picked up some fresh dough at our local grocery store to make some pizza. I had some dough left over, but it wasn't enough to make another whole pizza so I decided to use my air fryer to make these little sweet treats.

How to make Air Fryer Fried Dough:

  1. Take a small portion of bread dough in your hand and begin to shape it into a 4 to 5 - inch disc. not too thick.
  2. Set them on a cookie sheet and lightly coat both sides with oil.
  3. Spray the air fryer basket with cooking spray or you can lightly brush it with oil.
  4. Preheat your air fryer to 350 degrees and set the timer to 9 minutes.
  5. Set them in the basket and turn them over after 5 minutes.
  6. While they are cooking melt about 1/2 stick of butter.
  7. Put 1/2 cup of white sugar in a flat dish. You can add cinnamon and mix it together if you like sugar and cinnamon.
  8. When they finish cooking brush with the butter and coat with the sugar mixture.
Make sure you flatten them before adding to the air fryer, as you can see from the picture I made mine a little too thick. They puffed up so much that I considered filling them with strawberry jam but didn't enough on hand. I had room for four at a time in my air fryer basket, I ate one one them before I took the picture. 

If you don't have an air fryer it's just as easy to make these on the stovetop. Check out my recipe here for County Fair Fried Dough.

We love our air fryer, we have a Ninja Foodi Grill and we use it all the time. It's a real time saver for quick indoor grilling or air frying. Check out my review here: Ninja Foodi Grill Review.

For my County Fair Fried Dough recipe on the stovetop, I use my cast iron skillet.


Ninja Foodi 5-in-1 Indoor Grill with Integrated Smart Probe, 3.9 L (4 qt.) Air FryerNinja Foodi 5-in-1 Indoor Grill with Integrated Smart Probe, 3.9 L (4 qt.) Air FryerCheck the PriceLodge LCC3 Cast Iron Combo Cooker, Pre-Seasoned, 10.25Lodge LCC3 Cast Iron Combo Cooker, Pre-Seasoned, 10.25Check the Price


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Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate, Ebay (EPN) and/or Esty (Awin) Affiliate, I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”

Thursday, June 22, 2023

Book Review of When the Rain Ends


beach and ocean scene
AI Image Creation

I have read several books by Mary Ellen Taylor in the past and have always been moved by the way she develops her interesting characters.  This book was no exception.  It deals with a mother and daughter who have their life changed by a series of events and the way they manage the challenges that life throws their way.  A very interesting novel that has a lesson for all of us in dealing with life.

Book Summary

Dani Manchester is hit by two very challenging life events in a short time and it throws her into a very unsettling time.  Dani is an artist and seeing colors and shapes are important to her work.  When she learns that her eyesight is failing due to a genetic disease she is devastated and unsure where to go next.  Then her ex-husband and father to her teenage daughter dies and she feels everything that is important in her life is disappearing.

Dani and her daughter Bella live in the Outer Banks of North Carolina and Dani makes the decision to move to a small town near the Virginia border.  Here she wants to make a new start.  The property she buys has some silos on them that Dani is planning to renovate and open an art gallery.  This is a big move for the single mother and daughter and Bella is rebelling about the move.  

In this moving story we hear how they meet some new people who become important in their new lives.  They work through their grief and come out stronger.

As in her other books, Mary Ellen Taylor does a wonderful job of developing her characters and you find yourself wanting to turn the pages to find out what will happen next.  

The Book on Amazon

Other Books I have Reviewed by Mary Ellen Taylor

Here are links to two other books that I reviewed by the author and thoroughly enjoyed.

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Wednesday, June 21, 2023

Terrific High Protein, Sugar-Free Rocky Road Cottage Cheese Ice Cream

Cottage cheese ice cream is an increasingly popular trend, and for good reason. We're learning more and more about the importance of prioritizing protein in a healthy diet and for muscle building, fat loss and weight loss. After reading several popular recipes, I decided to develop my own delicious sugar-free, high protein cottage cheese ice cream recipe in one of my favorite flavors, Rocky Road.

In addition to being a decadent, silky, rich chocolate ice cream, it's also low carb and sugar free. As a bonus, it has a silky smooth texture with a base that doesn't require cooking or churning in an ice cream machine. Just process the base ingredients in a food processor, freeze partially, stir in the add-ins and finish freezing.

Enjoy this review of my Easy, Decadent, High Protein, Sugar-Free Rocky Road Cottage Cheese Ice Cream recipe!

Rocky Road Cottage Cheese Ice Cream - High Protein, Sugar-Free, Keto-Friendly & Low Carb
This decadent Rocky Road Cottage Cheese Ice Cream recipe is quick and easy to make, packs a punch of high-quality dairy protein and is low carb, keto diet friendly, sugar free and high in dietary fiber.

Why You'll Love This Rocky Road Cottage Cheese Ice Cream Recipe

There are so many things to love about my new Rocky Road Cottage Cheese Ice Cream Recipe!

  • Quick and easy to make. The ice cream base takes just minutes to whip up in the food processor. Other than stirring in the Rocky Road mix-ins (mini marshmallows, chocolate chips and nuts), the rest of the time is just waiting for it to freeze.
  • No ice cream machine required. The only equipment you need is a food processor.
  • Rich, silky-smooth, creamy, no churn ice cream. Even though this ice cream doesn't need to be churned, it's rich and creamy (thanks to the whole milk cottage cheese with 4% butterfat) and has a silky texture. Also, unlike most sugar-free ice cream (both commercial and homemade), it's soft enough to scoop straight from the freezer without setting it out on the counter for 10 minutes or so.
  • Rich chocolate flavor. The combination of my favorite unsweetened cocoa powder and chocolate whey protein, plus a bit of salt, provide the rich chocolate flavor in the base.
  • Chock-full of chunky Rocky Road add-ins. Thanks to ChocZero's fabulous new sugar-free mini marshmallows, Lily's sugar-free chocolate chips and walnut chunks, this Sugar-Free Rocky Road Cottage Cheese Ice Cream will satisfy even the sweetest sweet tooth!
  • More than 17 grams of high-quality protein in a decadent, sugar-free dessert! Can't beat that with a stick, as they say!
  • More than 15 grams of dietary fiber, just 7.4 net carbs, 0 grams of added sugar and just 254 calories per generous serving. Perfect for a healthy low carb lifestyle and can fit into a low calorie, low carb or keto diet.
So, what are you waiting for? Let's make some decadent, creamy, low carb Rocky Road Cottage Cheese Ice Cream! Here's the quick and easy recipe.
Dish of Rocky Road Cottage Cheese Ice Cream with Spoon
You would never guess this delectable Rocky Road ice cream recipe is made with cottage cheese and sugar-free maple syrup, mini marshmallows and chocolate chips and packs 17.4g of protein!

High Protein, Sugar-Free Rocky Road Cottage Cheese Ice Cream

Serves: 8 generous portions

Ingredients for Rocky Road cottage cheese ice cream recipe
Ingredients for making this Rocky Road cottage cheese ice cream recipe


Ice Cream Base:

16 ounces (2 cups) whole milk (4% milkfat) cottage cheese, large curd (preferably organic)

3/4 cup sugar-free Wholesome Yum Keto Maple Syrup sweetened with monk fruit and allulose

1 tsp. vodka (optional but recommended, to keep the sugar-free cottage cheese ice cream scoopable straight from the freezer)

4 scoops Perfect Keto Chocolate Whey Protein Powder (can substitute another brand, but it will affect the amount of protein per serving and may affect taste and texture)

3 Tbsp. Ghirardelli Majestic Premium unsweetened cocoa powder (can substitute another high-quality, Dutch processed unsweetened cocoa powder, but it will affect the taste)

1/4 teaspoon salt


2 ounces ChocZero Mini S'mallows sugar-free mini marshmallows (or use regular-sized ChocZero S'mallows sugar-free marshmallows and snip them into quarters with a pair of kitchen shears dipped in water)

112 grams of Lily's No Sugar Added, Stevia-Sweetened 55% Cocoa Dark Chocolate Baking Chips or ChocZero Dark Chocolate Baking Chips

2 ounces walnut halves or pieces, broken into small pieces

Chocolate cottage cheese ice cream base in food processor
The cottage cheese chocolate ice cream base become silky-smooth in the food processor.

Tools, Supplies and Equipment

Food processor

Silicone scraper spatula

Approximately 5-cup freezer-safe airtight food storage container (my 4.7-cup Rubbermaid Brilliance Food Storage Container fit this ice cream recipe perfectly; the less air space above the ice cream, the less chance of freezer burn)

Partially frozen chocolate cottage cheese ice cream base with prepared mix-ins
The partially frozen chocolate cottage cheese ice cream base is ready for the mix-ins.


  1. Place the ice cream base ingredients (cottage cheese, keto maple syrup, optional vodka, chocolate whey protein powder, unsweetened dark cocoa powder and salt) into a food processor. Process until silky smooth with no lumps, scraping the bottom and sides of the bowl once or twice.

  2. Scrape the ice cream base into the freezer-safe, airtight food storage container and freeze for 2–3 hours.

  3. While the mixture is in the freezer, weigh out the mix-in ingredients (sugar-free mini marshmallows, dark chocolate chips and walnuts). Break the walnuts into small pieces. Set aside the mix-ins.

  4. After 2–3 hours, remove the container from the freezer, open it and stir the mix-ins into the chocolate ice cream base thoroughly. (Take care not to spill any of the mixture over the sides, since there will be only a small amount of headroom between the mixture and the top of the container walls.)

  5. Re-seal the airtight container and return it to the freezer for at least 4 more hours.

  6. Divide into eight portions and serve.
Container of sugar-free rocky road cottage cheese ice cream
Finished Rocky Road cottage cheese ice cream, ready to eat. Doesn't it look scrumptious?

Nutrition Facts

I entered the recipe into the Carb Manager Premium app using the ingredients shown in the photo. Here is the nutritional information it calculated.

Per serving (1/8 recipe):

Total Carbs: 45.3g

Dietary Fiber: 15.4g

Net Carbs: 7.4g

Protein: 17.4g

Fat: 13.7g

Calories: 254

Screenshot of my custom recipe's nutrition facts in Carb Manager Premium
Basic nutrition data calculated for my custom recipe in the Carb Manager Premium app.

Don't Eat Sugar-Free But Still Want a Delicious Protein Boost?

Although I haven't tried it, I'm betting you could substitute regular maple syrup, marshmallows and chocolate chips for the sugar-free versions in this recipe. If you decide to give it a try, please let me know how it turns out.


Bowl of Rocky Road cottage cheese ice cream with spoon

Easy, Decadent, High Protein, Sugar-Free Rocky Road Cottage Cheese Ice Cream Recipe by Margaret Schindel

Posts About My Keto Diet Journey

My First Year on The Keto Diet

Preparing to Succeed on the Keto Diet, Part One

Preparing to Succeed on the Keto Diet, Part Two

Low Carb Muffins & Cupcakes: Treats to Enjoy on a Keto Diet

Low Carb Keto Chocolate Yogurt Granola Chip Pudding Recipe

Good Dee’s Keto Cookie Low Carb Baking Mix Review

Hamama Microgreens Growing Kit Review & Success Tips

My Favorite Hamama Microgreens Seed Quilt Accessories

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The Ultimate Keto Hot Chocolate Recipe

The Best Low Carb Keto Gift Ideas: Keto Gift Guide

The Best Low Carb Keto Cinnamon Muffins

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The Good Chocolate 100% Organic No Sugar Dark Chocolate Review

The Best Advice to Maintain Your Keto Diet Weight Loss

My New Irresistibly Delicious Keto Cheese Crackers Recipe

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Easy, Decadent, High Protein, Sugar-Free Rocky Road Cottage Cheese Ice Cream

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Reviews of the Keto Diet by Barbara C. (aka Brite-Ideas)

My Personal Keto Testimonial

How I Stayed Committed to the Ketogenic Way of Eating

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