Kid-Friendly Pasta Salad

My kids are usually not picky eaters, but they certainly have their favorites.  And one thing we can all agree on is Pasta Salad.  Not the mayonnaise picnic kind, but literally pasta and salad.  Seriously.  They request this meal at least three times a week!Kid-Friendly Pasta Salad from the garden And with our garden flourishing now, especially in the greens department, it would be easy to have pasta salad three times a week!Kid- Friendly Pasta Salad straight from the garden, with a secret ingredient!!I start off with a little minced garlic, and some chopped onion {I like red the best}.  Then mix in halved cherry tomatoes, avocados, a lettuce mix, and your choice of pasta {the girls love rotini or bow tie}.  Top it all off with freshly grated parmesan romano cheese.Kid- Friendly Pasta Salad straight from the garden, with a secret ingredient!!But the secret ingredient is the dressing.  And there is no secret at all, really.  It’s just a mix of 1/3 Vegetable Oil to 2/3 Pomegranate infused Red Wine Vinegar {you can also just use regular red wine vinegar}.Kid- Friendly Pasta Salad straight from the garden, with a secret ingredient!!I keep my dressing in a mason jar, with a spout lid that I got from Davy Crocket’s Distillery {now Ole Smokey Distillery} in Gaitlinburg, Tennessee.  Keep it in the pantry and just give it a good shake each time you pour it on your salad.Kid- Friendly Pasta Salad straight from the garden, with a secret ingredient!!And you’ve got a quick, healthy meal fit for even the most picky eaters!

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The Smell of Fall

I thought I’d do a little throwback Thursday today with this post.  It’s from a couple of years ago, but I make it consistently throughout the season.  It is my “recipe” for bringing the smell of Fall inside the house.  My mom used to make this, and leave it simmering on the stove for hours….letting the cinnamony smell penetrate the house over Thanksgiving/Christmas/Fall gathering of choice.  Such happy memories it brings back!

A couple of cinnamon sticks, 4 or 5 whole cloves, a splash of vanilla extract and the peel of an apple.  Throw it in a small pot with a cup of water and simmer.

As long as you keep water in it, it will spice up your kitchen for hours!

Quick 100 Calorie Breakfast Omelet

We’ve been trying to eat a littler healthier around here lately, and I’ve found a go-to recipe that I can make for a quick 100 calorie breakfast that is full of protein and satisfies both sweet and savory tooth!  I started making this omelet breakfast back when I was participating in my bootcamp’s weightless challenge.  Each week we had a challenge to participate in at home, on our own.  It was everything from drinking 100oz of water a day to cutting out dairy for a week.  One week, the challenge was to have a serving of veggies at every single meal.  As an avid salad eater and partial vegetarian {I only eat chicken, no other meat}, lunches and dinners were a snap during the challenge.  I struggled with breakfast, however {I do love me some cereal!}.  Hence, the pepper and onion southwest omelet was born!

Quick 100 Calorie, High Protein Breakfast Omelet and Strawberries #recipes #healthy #weightloss

And this sucker is so yummy and keeps me satisfied well into lunchtime {and I don’t eat until about 1:00 usually, when the kids go down for naps}.  So I made one for my mom one morning, and she asked me how I made it.  There isn’t much my momma doesn’t know, so I figured if she needed some pointers on making omelets, I might as well share it with y’all too!

Quick 100 Calorie, High Protein Breakfast Omelet and Strawberries #recipes #healthy #weightloss

Your ingredients can vary, obviously, if you prefer other veggies.  But I use two different colored bell peppers and a full onion.  I dice everything up at one time and store in the fridge for convince….two peppers and and onion are roughly equal to 4 cups of veggies, enough for 8 omelets.

Quick 100 Calorie, High Protein Breakfast Omelet and Strawberries #recipes #healthy #weightloss

I use about 1/4 cup of AllWhites Egg Whites, which is approximately 33 calories.  Spray some Pam down first, for easier flipping.  AllWhites costs about $4 in the grocery store, but I can get a 6-pack from Costco for under $10….well worth it since this is my morning routine now!

Quick 100 Calorie, High Protein Breakfast Omelet and Strawberries #recipes #healthy #weightloss

Cover your pan, and cook on medium low for about 2 minutes, until bubbles start to form on top.  Some of the liquid should still be there.  Sprinkle your veggies on half of the omelet…since there was still liquid on top, some of the veggies should have sunk in, which will help them stay in!

Quick 100 Calorie, High Protein Breakfast Omelet and Strawberries #recipes #healthy #weightloss

Fold the omelet in half so that the fold is facing away from the handle of the pan.  Gently slide the omelet {fold first} toward your plate, while using a spatula to lift the fold up just a bit.  This keeps the top of the omelet folded in half, so all of the egg and the veggies make it onto your plate.

Quick 100 Calorie, High Protein Breakfast Omelet and Strawberries #recipes #healthy #weightloss

 Can we just pause to admire my photoshopping genius above? Not bad for an amateur, huh?

Quick 100 Calorie, High Protein Breakfast Omelet and Strawberries #recipes #healthy #weightloss

Ok. Back to business.  I like the fold in the middle of the plate, so that way when I top the omelet with 2 Tbsp of salsa {I like Newman’s Own Black Bean and Corn Salsa}, all of the veggies and salsa stay away from my strawberries….no mingling here!

Quick 100 Calorie, High Protein Breakfast Omelet and Strawberries #recipes #healthy #weightloss

And viola!  Yummy sweet and spicy breakfast, full of protein.  It’s a quick 100 calorie breakfast!  Enjoy!

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Overnight Oats Recipe

Once again, I’m participating in my bootcamp class’ Summer Transformation Challenge.  Last time, I lost 30lbs and won the entire contest with weight loss and strength improvement.  Huge win, literally, not to mention a great boost to my self esteem!  Well, after missing a bunch of classes and getting lazy about what I put in my body, I’m up another 6lbs…Time to get rid of it {and the rest of my baby weight!} for good!  I’m hoping to lose 15lbs by Labor Day.

Overnight Oats Recipe

I found this recipe on the SITSgirls blog originally, and decided to try it.  It ended up being a huge hit with the kids too!  I did all the prep in about 5 minutes the night before.  In a mason jar, I layered:

  • sliced strawberries
  • 1/2 cup skim milk
  • 1/4 Steel Cut Oats
  • 1/3 mashed banana
  • 1 Tbsp chia seeds
  • 1/2 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 Tbsp honey
  • 1/4 tsp pure vanilla extract

Overnight Oats Recipe {chocolate and strawberry}

I found the Chia seeds at Publix for about $4 {but they were on sale for half price!}.  They don’t really taste like anything, but absorb the flavors around them.  But they are the perfect ingredient for breakfast because they are loaded with anti oxidants, high in fiber and omega 3, and they give you energy for the rest of your day.

Overnight Oats Recipe {chocolate and strawberry}

I gave all the ingredients a quick stir, screwed on the lids and then stuck the mason jars in the fridge over night.  The next morning, I stirred them again and they were ready to eat.  The steel cut oats were a bit chewy…it reminded me of how sometimes my jaw gets tired while chewing granola.  But the taste was good and chocolatey, so the kids liked it.  I will say that the chewiness added to the satisfaction factor….it took a long time to eat, so my stomach really felt full after breakfast.

Overnight Oats Recipe {chocolate and strawberry}

Tonight I’m going to try the recipe with old fashioned oats {which are a little lower in calories too}, to see if  they are a little easier to eat.  But either way, this Overnight Oats recipe was a delicious and ready-made morning meal for us!

Try it with blueberries, almond milk, nuts or agave for some different flavors.

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{Cowboy Up} Cowboy Party Food Ideas

Y’all.  Seriously. Get ready for some cowboy up in here.  Lincoln’s first birthday party was a huge success!  Cowboy hats and bandanas took over my brain, life and dining room table for a month before the party…so  over the next week or so, I’m gonna share everything with you!  We had our good friend and favorite family photographer, Rachel Weber Photography come out and take pictures during the party, and seriously…over a hundred fantastic shots!!! So, I’ve broken it up into a couple of different posts for ya…if you like what you see here, be sure to follow along or search “Cowboy Up” over on the right hand side of the page to see all of the posts, prep and DIY Cowboy Party Ideas!

DIY Cowboy Party Ideas from Palmettos and Pigtails

Although I’ve cropped some of the images to fit the style of the blog post, most of the images you see on this post were taken by Rachel Weber Photography.  She did Lincoln’s Newborn Photo Shoot, so I found it fitting that she document the First Birthday milestone too!

I threw in some of my family and friends’ photos too…but I watermarked those with my blog name!

DIY Cowboy Party Food Ideas from Palmettos and Pigtails

Our party was held at my neighborhood community center, which is an old farmhouse and a pavilion.  We put all the food {and seating} in the pavilion, and games and fun were outside on the Farmhouse lawn.  I served crock-pot chili with mini Trader Joe’s corn bread muffins.  I got the little chili bowls in the picture above from Hobby Lobby.  I ordered aluminum foil pans from Amazon, and used those as a tray/plate, with all of my food either being bite-sized or being in little bowls for easy eating.

I used my favors as a “centerpiece” on the food table.  They were little Hobo Sacks with a snack baggie of marshmallows, chocolate chips and Golden Grahams in a bandana, and tied to a branch with twine.

DIY Cowboy Party Food Ideas from Palmettos and Pigtails

Also on the menu were some finger foods for the toddlers {Goldfish, Veggie Straws, Mini Club Crackers, Quartered Grapes, Cubed Cheese}.  I also made little cups with Ranch dressing in the bottom and celery and carrot sticks sticking out for easy healthy snacking.  Pasta salad was in little cups, and mini macaroni and cheese bites were perfect for little {and big} hands.  Watermelon was a refreshing snack after the games!

DIY Cowboy Party Food Ideas from Palmettos and Pigtails

The cake served as a “centerpiece” for the second food table, opposite a cute {and edible!} cactus made from the bottom of a pineapple, a huge cucumber, and mini cucumber {or pickle} arms stuck with toothpick ends.

DIY Cowboy Party Food Ideas from Palmettos and PigtailsDIY Cowboy Party Food Ideas from Palmettos and PigtailsCupcakes surrounded the smash cake for the guests to enjoy while Lincoln…well, smashed!  {Pictures of that, coming very soon!}

I used local mama Michelle from Sweet Velvet Cakes for both the smash cake and the cupcakes, and I was so pleased!  She was super affordable, and worked really closely with me to get the look I wanted {I required a rope, hat and bandana!}.  Everything was delicious, and so cute!

I made a custom bib for Lincoln to wear while he was smashing cake…

DIY Cowboy Party Food Ideas from Palmettos and Pigtails

But my favorite project regarding the food was the silverware.  Since we went rustic, I ordered wooden silverware and bandana print napkins on Amazon.  I bought mustache and boot stamps, and let Millie and Jayna go to town hand-stamping the silverware!  They did an amazing job {and they loved helping out}!!

DIY Cowboy Party Food Ideas from Palmettos and Pigtails

Everything was perfect…we had just the right amount of food, and no leftovers!!

I hope you enjoyed my cowboy party food ideas…feel free to pin!  Stay tuned for the next post on my  DIY cowboy craftiness….

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Linking up here this week!

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As always, all opinions in the post are 100% my own.*

{eMeals} Steak Soft Tacos Recipe

This post contains affiliate links, which means that if you click on one of the product links, I’ll receive a small amount of compensation.  All opinions are my own.

School is out, the weather is hot, and there is no better summertime dinner than tacos.  They are quick and easy, and we have them at least once a week around here.  But rather than buy premixed seasonings and sauces, I prefer fresh.  It doesn’t take any time at all to throw some spices together for the perfect taco mix. Here’s one of our favorites, with steak {but we make ours with chicken, usually}.

eMeals Steak Soft Tacos Recipe

Steak Soft Tacos Recipe


  • 11/4 lb boneless top sirloin or flank steak
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil, divided
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1 large sweet onion, thinly sliced
  • 3 bell peppers (any color), thinly sliced
  • 6 (8-inch) low-carb flour tortillas
  • 3/4 cup fresh salsa
  • 3/4 cup shredded reduced-fat Mexican cheese blend
  • 6 Tbsp light sour cream
  • 1 large lime, cut into wedges


Cut beef into thin strips; toss with 1 Tbsp oil, garlic, cumin, salt, and black pepper. Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat; coat pan with cooking spray. Add beef, and sauté 4 to 5 minutes or to desired degree of doneness; remove from skillet. Add remaining 1 Tbsp oil to drippings in skillet; add onion and bell peppers, and sauté until vegetables are tender and caramelized. Heat tortillas according to package directions. Divide beef and vegetables evenly among tortillas; top each taco with 2 Tbsp salsa, 2 Tbsp cheese, and 1 Tbsp sour cream. Serve with lime wedges.


We’ve been using eMeals for several years now, and we LOVE it.  It is one of the smartest moves we’ve made regarding getting our house in financial order, and our lives healthier.  For your membership fee {$58 a year….$5 a month!}, you get 7 full meal plans with a grocery list to your local supermarket.  The  meal plans and shopping lists are built around your supermarket’s weekly sales, so on average your week of meals will cost about $87…and that includes the staples {which you probably already have!}.  They have 20 different types of meal plans…everything from Low Carb, to Gluten Free, to Kid-Friendly, to Paleo.  Go check out the website and you can see samples for each meal plan to help you choose.  Or better yet, take advantage of their free two week trial for all the perks!  Here’s the link to get to the free two week trial

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*I am an affiliate blogger for eMeals.  Any links in this post may contain an affiliate link, which means I may receive a small amount of compensation when you click on, or purchase from the link.*

1-2-3 Cake Recipe

We have a sweet tooth in our family.  If we have candy/cookies/cake/cupcakes available in the house…we eat it.  It doesn’t bode well for Dave and me, who have been on a mission to eat healthier and lose some weight.  No self control when it comes to sweets.  So, when my mom introduced my kids to 1-2-3 Cakes, it was the perfect compromise while still indulging our sweet tooth!

1-2-3 Cakes {Personal sized cakes for when you don't feel like sharing!}-ready in a minute!Ingredients: 
One box of your choice of cake mix
One box of Angel Food cake mix
1-2-3 Cakes {Personal sized cakes for when you don't feel like sharing!}-ready in a minute!
You will also need:
Small, microwaveable bowl
Assortment of sprinkles, chocolate chips, etc. for garnish
1-2-3 Cakes {Personal sized cakes for when you don't feel like sharing!}-ready in a minute!

1. Open both cake mixes and combine the two in a ziplock bag.

1-2-3 Cakes {Personal sized cakes for when you don't feel like sharing!}-ready in a minute!

*I used Strawberry Cake Mix for the remainder of the tutorial*

2. Put THREE Tablespoons of the cake mixture in the microwaveable bowl.

3. Put TWO Tablespoons of water in the bowl and mix well.

4. Garnish with sprinkles, chocolate chips, etc.

1-2-3 Cakes {Personal sized cakes for when you don't feel like sharing!}-ready in a minute!

5. Microwave your bowl for ONE minute.

6. Your toppings will sink to the bottom, and if you use sprinkles, they will melt into a rainbow of yumminess.  Use a fork or knife to separate the cake from the edges of your bowl.

1-2-3 Cakes {Personal sized cakes for when you don't feel like sharing!}-ready in a minute!

7. Carefully flip the bowl over onto a plate, and you are ready to eat your 1-2-3 Cake!  Perfectly portioned for one! 

I’m thinking about experimenting with this recipe to create a mini-layered smash cake for Lincoln’s birthday party…it’d be so nice to be able to make a 5 minute cake for him!!!

1-2-3 Cakes {Personal sized cakes for when you don't feel like sharing!}-ready in a minute!

We recently bought “Funfetti” cake mix….perfect since it already has sprinkles mixed in.  What flavor are you going to try?

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Cookie Butter & White Chocolate Covered Popcorn Recipe

Years ago, I went to a playdate at my friend Lara’s house.  She had several other moms there, and hoards of kids running around.  Each of us moms compensated for our noisy wound-up kids, by bringing a yummy snack.  I can’t remember what I brought, but I’m sure it was something totally non-creative and probably healthy.  But one mom brought this bowl of, only what I could describe as, crack.  Chocolate covered crack.  And it was so popular with us moms that I don’t think the kids even knew it was there!

Ever since then, I have been on a Pinterest quest to find said Crack recipe.  But to no avail.  This one, that I found at I Heart Naptime has been the closest yet.  Combining white chocolate and Trader Joe’s Cookie Butter is just genius, really.  So I figured that Bible Study night would be a good time to try it out.  Needless to say, it was addicting!  Even my friend who is a nutritionalist couldn’t keep her paws out of the bowl!!!

Cookie Butter and White Chocolate Covered Popcorn RecipeIngredients:

2 Tbsp oil for cooking popcorn
1/2c popcorn kernels
16oz tray of white/vanilla chocolate {I used Candiquik}
3 Tbsp Trader Joe’s Cookie Butter
3/4c M&M’s
2 Tbsp sprinkles {I used Wilton Spring Confetti sugar-sprinkles}
Cookie Butter and White Chocolate Covered Popcorn Recipe Instructions:
  • Pop the popcorn according to the package…heat up oil and popcorn in a 4qt pot with lid over medium, when the popping slows down {to about 5 second intervals between “pops”}, remove from heat.  Let cool.

Stove Top Popcorn

  • Follow the instructions on the Candiquik tray…heat up for a minute, adding 30 second intervals until completely melted.
  • Add the Cookie Butter to the melted chocolate and stir until completely mixed.

Cookie Butter and White Chocolate Covered Popcorn Recipe

  • Gently spoon the white chocolate mixture over the popcorn, tossing slowly as you go to ensure coating.
  • Sprinkle M&M’s and sprinkles into the mix and put the whole thing in the fridge for about 15 minutes to harden.

Cookie Butter and White Chocolate Covered Popcorn Recipe

  • * The original recipe also called for pink candy melts to be drizzled over the top to add more color*

I didn’t think it was necessary…it was very sweet and a little salty.  Perfection!

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*Palmettos and Pigtails is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to

As always, all opinions in the post are 100% my own.*

You can buy the products to make this recipe on

5 Must Haves for a Girls’ Night In {and a Giveaway!}

Life has been hectic around here lately.  Between spring cleaning, spring fever, sports, after school activities, traveling and the upcoming Flowertown Festival, I haven’t had a chance to catch my breath.  Let alone catch up with my girl friends.

So I decided to have a Girls’ Night In.  I didn’t feel like putting on anything but yoga pants, let alone go out on the town, so I invited the ladies in my Bible Study to have a Spa Night at my house on Monday.  I’m not sure if you’ve ever had one, but Girls’ Night In is the best.  It’s just about some good food, good drinks, and good friends.

Now, I love to entertain, but I just wanted to relax for this party, so I invited my friend Allison over to pamper us with some of her awesome Arbonne products.

1. Good food.  Have a mix of healthy, sweet and savory things to eat.  I like to make everything finger foods if possible to make nibbling easier.  For this evening party, I had pound cake cubes, a fruit platter with whipped cream, and a cheese cube and mini club cracker platter with honey.  I found colorful spring plates and napkins to complete my buffet.  Toothpicks replaced silverware!

Girls' Night In Ideas: Bite Sized Foods {both treats and healthy!} are a Must Have

2. Good drinks.  Keep in mind the tastes of the guests at your party.  At this particular one, I chose to serve chilled white wine and homemade Skinny Sangria.  I found the recipe over at Living Locurto if you want to try it.  Some said it was too sweet, but most of us loved it!  Low on carbs and sugar…

Skinny Sangria: One of Five Ideas for a Girls' Night In

3. Good SWAG.  You know me.  I am all about some free stuff.  So when I have parties, I love to give out little favors, or have a little something that my guests can take home.  When I threw my Pinterest project party, we all made a reclaimed wood sign to take for our homes.  When I threw Millie’s Mermaid birthday party, the little girls got to go home with a silky pearl hair clip.  For this party, spring was in the air…so the takeaway was little pots filled with gardening tools, seeds, and {of course} some Arbonne samples.

Girls' Night In Ideas: Favors or Crafts to match the theme of the night

4. Good Friends.  I’m blessed to be surrounded by many wonderful people that I can call friends.  I have a group at church, a group in my mom’s club, a group in my neighborhood, etc.  So when I plan my Girls’ Night In nights, I try to stick to one group at a time to keep it intimate.  That way everyone pretty much knows everyone else and can feel comfortable and relax.

Girls' Night In Ideas: Spa Night with Close Friends and Arbonne

5. Good Entertainment.  Whether you are watching the latest {or a classic} chick-flick, applying fun Jamberry Nail wraps, or even just laughing around a campfire, there needs to be a focal point to the gathering.  On Monday, it was a spa night courtesy of Arbonne.  Allison has us all wash our faces and apply a Seasource Sea Mud & Body Mask to our faces….which appropriately turned us green for St. Patty’s Day pics on Instagram!

Girls' Night In Ideas: Mud Masks, Foot Soaks and Homemade Sangria!

While our face masks were working their magic, our feet were soaking in buckets of warm water and Aromassentials Unwind Bath Salts.  Glass pebbles from the dollar store at the bottom of the buckets gave our feet a nice massage as they soaked, and we scrubbed Awaken Sea Salt Scrub to exfoliate.  My feet were so soft even the next day, which worked out well since I had a podiatrist appointment for my Plantar Fasciitis!

We also got to try out a ton of facial products after we took off our masks, including some spray toner {so you don’t have to waste cotton balls}, instant lift gel, and an intensive renewal serum…all of which tightened, toned and smoothed our faces.  After all the pampering, my face felt and looked fantastic!

Giveaway Time!

Arbonne Gift Set Giveaway! from Palmettos and Pigtails

Today I’ve got a fabulous Arbonne Giveaway worth $87.  Its the Complexion Perfecting Set, which includes a Purifying Cleanser + Toner, an Oil-Absorbing Day Lotion Broad Spectrum SPF 20 Sunscreen, and a Mattifying Powder.

The Purifying Cleanser + Toner cleanses and tones, visibly reducing oiliness for refreshed-looking skin.

The Oil-Absorbing Day Lotion Broad Spectrum SPF 20 Sunscreen helps absorb oil and provides sun protection, leaving skin with a fresh, matte appearance.

The Mattifying Powder takes away unwanted shine, while reducing the appearance of redness for a perfect, matte finish. It dusts on lightly over or under moisturizer or makeup.

This giveaway ends at Midnight on Thursday, March 26th.

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Good Luck!

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{eMeals} Beef Stew Recipe

Y’all, we have had a busy, COLD, week!  My mother-in-law surprised us with a quick visit from Florida, so we’ve been soaking up some “Sue Sue” around here.  The last thing I wanted to do was spend my evenings in the kitchen…too much catching up to do!

So tonight we are keeping warm with eMeals’ Low Calorie Beef Stew Recipe.  But, since I don’t eat beef {let alone cook it!}, I subbed in chicken and it was so, so good.  Talk about some great comfort food!

eMeals Beef Stew Recipe from Palmettos and Pigtails


  • 11/2 lb beef chuck roast, trimmed {or 6 chicken breasts, cubed}
  • 3/4 tsp salt, 1 tsp pepper
  • 1 Tbsp canola oil
  • 2 cups coarsely chopped sweet onion
  • 3 carrots, cut into 11/2-inch pieces
  • 2 celery stalks, cut into 11/2-inch pieces
  • 6 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 (14.5-oz) can fire-roasted diced tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup lower-sodium beef broth
  • 1 Tbsp cornstarch



Cut roast into 1-inch pieces; sprinkle with salt and pepper. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add beef; cook 6 minutes or until browned on all sides. Transfer beef to a 5- or 6-quart slow cooker. Add onion, carrots, celery, garlic and tomatoes. Whisk together broth and cornstarch; add to slow cooker. Cover and cook on LOW 6 to 8 hours until beef is tender. Divide into 6 servings.

Stay warm, and enjoy!Palmettos and Pigtails Signature

Meal Planning made Simple and Cheap!