Greek Gyro Meatballs with Tzatziki Sauce

I'll be honest, I don't think I've ever had an authentic Greek Gyro sandwich.  As a matter of fact, I can't even recall one time in my life that I have ever had lamb.  Sheltered, I know!

In order to break out of my sheltered little cocoon, I set out to widen my palette and cook something that my taste buds hadn't experienced before!  I decided upon Gyro meatballs.  I'm sure I could have made something a little more authentic however, a pita doesn't really mesh well with a gluten free lifestyle. . .so, meatballs it was!

My first step was to pick up some ground lamb.  Well. . .my local go to grocery store only carried lamb chops and I didn't feel like, nor did I have time to scour the city for ground lamb, so I wound up with ground sirloin.  First step fail!

Before I discourage you from making these delicious morsels, let me give you the recipe and you can decide for yourself what meat you would like to use!

Gyro Meatballs
Adapted from here.

Meatball Ingredients:

2lbs of ground meat.  I used ground sirloin but I'm betting that lamb would be delicious!

2 tablespoons lemon juice

2 teaspoons rosemary (I used fresh)

2 teaspoons oregano (I used fresh)

2 tablespoons minced garlic or 2 minced garlic cloves

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 teaspoon salt

Generous cranks of fresh ground pepper

1/4 red onion (chopped or minced) depending on your preference

Several large leaves of living lettuce

Tzatziki Sauce (Recipe from here) Ingredients:

6 ounces plain (nonfat) Greek yogurt

1/2 cup cucumber, peeled, seeded and chopped

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

2 teaspoons lemon juice

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 teaspoon red wine vinegar (I used balsamic vinegar because I was out of red wine vinegar)

1 teaspoon chopped dill or dill weed

Salt and pepper


In a mixing bowl, combine the meat, lemon juice, rosemary, oregano, garlic, olive oil, salt and pepper, and red onion.

I like to use a wooden spoon to really combine my ingredients but feel free to stick your hands in are really get to mixing if you prefer! I get grossed out by raw meet.  This is something really weird. . .I know.  I use a spoon!  The end!

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees.

I let my mixture sit for a bit while I made my tzatziki sauce so the flavors could really meld together!

Form your meet into balls.  I made mine rather large so I got about 18 meatballs out of the batch.

Place your meatballs on a broiler pan.  You could use a cookie sheet with a lip, but I like to use a broiler pan so the grease can drop through to the bottom. 

Bake your meatballs for 15 to 20 minutes depending on the size.  Make sure you check the center of one to make sure its done to your likeness.  I usually like my meatballs to be medium well. . .still juicy but, for the most part, brown all the way through!

*I think that grilling these would be delicious, however we currently only have a charcoal grill and I have NO IDEA how to light the darn thing and Chuck was still at work!

While your meatballs are baking (or grilling), mix all the ingredients together in a bowl for your tzatziki sauce.  Stick your sauce in the fridge while you wait for your balls to be done!

Once your meatballs are done, plate it up by placing one or two large leaves of living lettuce on your plate, topped with a couple spoon fulls of tzatziki sauce, followed by 2 or 3 meatballs!

I served our meatballs with mashed rose potatoes, roasted broccoliflower and steamed broccoli.

I must warn you that the tzatziki sauce is delicious and you will want to eat it on everything!  Good thing it's not fat and calorie laden!  You're welcome!



Gluten Free Chocolate Frosted Double Chocolate Chip Doughnuts

. . .now that's what I call a mouthful. . .literally!

Growing up, Sunday mornings meant brunch at Nana's house.  After 10:30 church, all the cousins and aunts and uncles would gather at my Grandmother's house for eggs, sausage, Spam, toast, fruit. . .and. . .doughnuts!  Uncle Bob and Aunt Marian usually brought them, and I looked forward to a cream filled long John. . .every. . .single. . . Sunday!  

Times have changed.  Nana passed away, families have split up, food allergies have been discovered, and suddenly. . .the thrill of a long John has lost its' processed appeal!  Don't get me wrong, doughnuts are delicious and I've been known to suffer through the digestive disaster to enjoy a Krispy Kreme piece of heaven, but I needed to find a " healthier" gluten free alternative.  I needed to create something that everyone could enjoy!  Let me introduce you to my little gluten free slice of heaven!

Gluten Free Chocolate Frosted Double Chocolate Chip Doughnuts
(Doughnut recipe tweaked and adapted from Against All Grain)

Makes 12 to 14 doughnuts


8 large eggs (fresh, organic, or cage free are best)
1/2 cup butter, melted
1/2 cup slightly warm coconut milk (in the can)
1/2 cup honey
2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup coconut flour
1/8 cup coco powder (I use raw cacao powder)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup mini chocolate chips

Chocolate Frosting Ingredients:

2 tablespoons honey
4 tablespoons coconut butter 
4 tablespoons coconut milk (in the can)
2 teaspoons butter
Few shakes of cinnamon
2 teaspoons coco powder
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Baking Instructions:

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

Grease your doughnut pan with butter.

Using a stand mixer, beat the eggs and butter on medium speed until combined and a bit creamy in appearance.

Add the coconut milk, honey, vinegar, and vanilla and beat again on medium until combined.

In a separate medium bowl, combine the dry ingredients ( coconut flour, cacao powder, baking soda, and salt).

Slowly incorporate the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients and mix on high for about 30 seconds until smooth. Gently stir in the chocolate chips.

Fill the doughnut mold all the way full.  I found the easiest way was to put the batter into a quart size bag, snip off the corner, and squeeze the batter into the mold.  I then used a little spoon to smooth out the top of the mold as much as possible!

They should look something like this!

Stick them into the preheated oven and bake for 17 to 18 minutes.

Don't forget to watch in anticipation!

Remove from oven and let sit for approximately 5 minutes before removing from mold to cool on a wire rack.

Make the frosting while you are waiting for the doughnuts to cool:

Combine all of the frosting ingredients in a small bowl. Stir until combined.  Pop bowl in microwave for about 20 seconds just to put a little "melt" on the ingredients. Stir again until smooth.  It should have a thick chocolate sauce consistency.

After doughnuts have cooled about 10 minutes, dip each doughnut into the warm frosting.  It is important that you "frost/glaze" the doughnuts while the frosting is warm.  It smoothes out automatically when warm.  Twist as you lift out the doughnut to give it a glaze effect and to knock off any access frosting.



Healthy Greek-Gluten Free-Pasta Salad

I have a love hate relationship with work pot-lucks. . .I LOVE food and I love to eat!  I LOVE to try new foods and. . . I LOVE not having to pack my lunch one day per month!  Unfortunatley, I HATE not knowing what ingredients people use in their dishes.  I HATE that my mind gets the best of me wondering how clean people's kitchens are when preparing the food and. . . I HATE that I usually end up with a plate of veggies and fruit because I can't get past the previous things that I mentioned that I hate about pot-lucks!

Wow!  Crazy much?  Yep. . .that's me!  I decided that the best solution to this portion of my insanity is to always bring something healthy, that I know that I like!  After all, I know how insanely clean my kitchen is!  Enough about my OCD, lets talk about food!  Tomorrow, my portion of the pot-luck menu consists of the following:

Healthy Greek Pasta Salad - Gluten Free


  • Box of some type of gluten free pasta ( we like Ancient Grains quinoa pasta).  There are tons of different gf pastas out there.. . .just use what you like!  If you are not worried about making this dish gluten free, you can use a box of your favorite pasta!
  • Carton of low sodium chicken broth
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 cup ( or more) of sliced, quartered cucumber
  • 1/2 cup halved cherry or graphic tomatoes
  • 1/3 cup sliced Kalamata olives
  • 1/4 cup finely diced red onion
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 1/2 cup, fat- free, feta cheese


In a medium pot, bring contents of chicken broth carton (approx. 4 cups) and 2 cups of water to a rolling boil.  Add a pinch or 2 of salt if desired.  Cook pasta until al-dente or until desired tenderness.  Be careful when you are cooking gluten free pasta.  Some gf pastas can get mushy if you cook them even 30 seconds longer than suggested cooking time!  Drain pasta and set aside to cool.

While pasta is cooling, start chopping your veggies!  In a large bowl, combine cucumber, tomatoes, olives, and red onion.

To make your dressing, stir together lemon juice, olive oil, white wine vinegar, garlic, salt and pepper.

Add cooled pasta to your bowl of mixed veggies.  Slowly drizzle dressing over the pasta veggie combo, and stir to coat everything in the bowl.

Finally, add in the feta cheese and toss a few times to lightly distribute the feta throughout the bowl!

Refrigerate until ready to serve and don't forget to SHARE!


Yosi Samra vs. Payless

I came across this ADORABLE pair of Yosi Samra Elastic Patent Cap Toe Flats on Shopbop earlier today!  I fell. . .in. . .love!  These are so versatile!  They can be worn with just about anything from dress pants to skinny jeans to shorts!  I did not however, fall in love with the price. . .$70.00!  Yikes!

With a little bit of budget minded searching, I came across a great pair of look-alikes from Payless Shoes called the Women's Claire Scrunch Flat (in Ivory)!  I already own this same pair of shoes in black and I love them!  I purchased them in a BOGO sale over a year ago.  They have been my go-to ballet flat since!  They are a collaboration with Dexter Shoes so they are EXTRA comfortable!  The best part?  They are on clearance for a mere $15 right now!

What do you think?  DO you ever wear budget friendly look-alikes?


It's like takin' a cabinet door from an estate sale

Estate sales. . .you either love um' or hate um'.  We hit one AWESOME one this spring that had treasure upon treasure.  Chuck scored the best garden tiller EVER for a mere $100.  I think it was from the early 70's but it runs like a champ and it is built like a brick "poop" house. . . if you catch my drift!  A few others we went to. . .um. . .not so nice!  I had to walk through Granny's 4000 piece doll collection just to get through the breezeway.  Yikes!

We always debate about stopping when we come upon a random sale.  We are not sale mappers/planners.  I can only count on one finger the times we tried to plan out a garage/estate sale day.  It's always a crap shoot.  Like I said. . .love or hate. . .it really just depends!   

So, it one of our "on a whim" stops, we encountered a little house that had pretty much been picked over.  We found an easy parking space on the street, right across from the house, so we decided to run in for a quick look!  Low and behold. . .we found this little gem for $5:

Someone had taken an old cabinet door, screwed legs to the bottom, put some laminate in the center, and called it a coffee table.  Well. . .since we just so happened to be in the market for a coffee table, and my husband and I saw the potential in it, we snatched it up.  My husband could hardly believe I didn't even try to haggle the price down.  Hey, $5 is $5. . .no reason to insult someone!

Sorry I didn't catch a pic of the table with the laminate still on.  it was so ugly, we couldn't wait to rip it off.  The picture above and below show the laminate off, and the table ready for sanding!

Look at those sexy feet and the sander in action!  As you can see, it was a bit warmer out when we were working on our little project!  Try to wear flip flops now and you will freeze your little piggys off!

We started by sanding down the edges of the table.  Although the wood looks like it was stained well, it was actually a poopy brown color.  Wow, I think I have referred to poo three times in this post already!  Once we started sanding the top, we found that the wood was actually oak!  The grain of the wood was beautiful!

We needed not sand the center (recessed) part of the wood since we were going to be covering it up, but we did need to make sure that all the previous glue / resin from the laminate was gone so our new veneer would sit flat!  Chuck took a little tool and cleaned out all the crevices!

We then stained the wood with some stain that we had in our stash in the barn.  I honestly can't tell you what color it was, but it was Minwax.  I'm thinking it was something like "Walnut" but please don't quote me on that!  Whatever it was, it was pretty dark and it made the grain of the wood "POP"!

About two years ago, we were given two huge boxes of real wood veneer by my Brother-in-law's Father (say that fast 10 times).  He has an awesome wood shop and knew that we dabbled in projects.  He figured we would totally put it to good use. . .and we have. . .Thanks Tim!  So we rolled it out to take a look at what we had to work with!

Next, we drug out a piece of luan that we had in the back of the barn and measured and marked the width of the recessed part of our table top that we wished to fill.  Since our veneer was very thin we were able to just fold and snap the pieces (to give the table more of natural look), and we began lining them up and laying them out!  This was the fun part!  It was sort of like working with a puzzle! 

Using contact cement and a roller, we adhered our veneer to our luan.

Once complete, we let our luan / veneer combo dry overnight!  Chuck then measured and marked the width again, since we covered up the original markings when we adhered the veneer.

After a quick run down the table saw on both sides, we set it on the table top to make sure the width fit.  We then measured and marked the length and ran the other two sides down the table saw.  Perfection!

Making another appearance was our contact cement!  We used the contact cement and roller to adhere the insert to our table top!  We then let the piece sit overnight, once again, to make sure the cement was set-up and dry.

Next up was to put a couple coats of polyurethane on the entire table top for protection.

Final step was to spray the legs black!  How I managed to take 7000 pictures of the table and none of the final step. . .the world may never know!

What I do know is how much we love love love our "new" $5 treasure!  And looky there. . .I didn't even have to refer to poo again!


I'm Back. . .Back in the Blogging Groove!

Wow!  It's been quite a long time!  Like. . .a really. . .really. . .LOOOONNNNGGGG time!  It wasn't you, it was me.  I promise!  I needed a break.  Between my husband starting his junior year (full time) at the University of Michigan and us completely gutting and renovating our home. . .BY OURSELVES - WHILE LIVING THERE - WITH THREE CHILDREN. . .over the past year, I was tired.  Dog tired!  I needed to take a break from something. . .and by something, I mean Inked Owl!  But. . .

My break is over and I'm back!  Back with fresh ideas, rockin' second hand fashion finds, DIY projects, new yummy dishes, you name it, I've got it. . .fresh!

I shall start you off with the best "new" designer looking deal that I have stumbled across in a long time.  Ladies may I present to you. . .Tarjay chic:

Can you believe this beauty will only set you back $27.99?  It was totally sold out online so I made a trip over to my local Target store and found one!  Actually, I found 3. . .hiding behind a load of other dresses. . .on the back wall. . .like a wicked stepchild!  I bought the small, but as of last week, there was still 1 size medium and 1 size large.  Send me a message if you would like me to pick one up for you!  It seems to be the "bargain dress of the season" on all of the fashion blogs!!!  The best part about it is that it fits great and is machine washable!  I'm all about avoiding the dry cleaners!!!
Moving right along. . .every shift dress, or pair of leggings, or pair of skinny jeans, needs a great pair of shoes.  Let me tell you girls. . .I am in the business of buying shoes!  When I found these wedge booties on clearance at Target for just $24.98 a pair. . .I was smitten!  So smitten in fact, that I bought them in 2 different colors. . .Taupe and Black! 

Women's Merona® Kamoni Wedge Bootie

I wore the black pair out to dinner the other night and then walked around the mall in them and they were totally comfy!  I honestly couldn't tell that I was wearing a budget pair of booties!  They looked ultra chic too!  Double thumbs up!!!

So there you have it!  Fashion on a budget.  And when I say budget, I mean BUDGET!!  With the hubs going to school full time and my job as the only source of income, I have to get really creative to keep up with the trends!  Creative can be fun though. . .and challenging!  I'm always up for a good challenge!

What do you think?  Could you make a budget dress look ultra chic?


This post is full of bull. . .dog!!!!

Hello there my lovelies!!!  I thought I'd pop in quickly to give you the following public service announcement:

BULLDOGS. . .especially Miniature Bulldogs. . .are the best (and cutest) dogs ever!  Best and cutest ever I say?

Want proof?

Yeah. . .I totally want another one!  I'm smitten!