Unfortunately I have some sad news to share. 

On Wednesday, Joel lost his maternal grandfather to MRSA, an infection he contracted in the hospital.

He lived a long, full life, but it's never easy to see someone go.
Tomorrow, Joel and his brother are driving down to Tennessee (where Joel's family is from) to spend time with their family, and be there for the wake and funeral.

Since I won't be joining them, I thought I'd cook and bake lots of healthy goodies for their long car trip.

My cooking/baking philosophy is very similar to Sandra Lee, who lives by the motto, "Keep it simple, keep it smart, and keep it semi-homemade".

Here are a few of the Semi-homemade treated I cooked up this afternoon.

Ranch Oyster Crackers
 click here for the super easy recipe.

 Black Bean Brownies
yes, these sound disgusting, but TRUST. They are amazing, guiltless, and really fudgey.

 1. Drain the can of beans well
2. Fill the can (with beans still inside) with water
 3. Place into a blender and puree
4. Combine with brownie mix

5. Bake according to mix directions 
Apple Cinnamon Muffins 
Click here for the recipe I used
3 individual packages of Apple Cinnamon oatmeal give it all the taste. Can't get easier than that!
Sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar

 I made some turkey sammies, too.

I picked up some other road-trip necessities at the store, so I think the boys should be well fed on their trip.

Cooking up all of their treats made me feel like I was doing what I could to show my sympathy and support for their family.  

Keep them in your prayers if you would.


  1. You are so sweet Tess! What a great way to show your love and support even though you can't actually be there. I'm sure Joel will appreciate it :)

    Very sorry to hear about his grandfather passing though. :(

  2. You are so sweet! They will be so appreciative of all your delicious snacks!

  3. That is a very thoughtful thing you did and I'm sure it was appreciated. I'm so sorry to hear of your family's loss. :(

    I am a big fan of those oyster crackers! And I'll have to try the brownies that way, if you say they're good, I'll trust ya! :)

  4. Will keep Joel and his family in my prayers! Those snacks look great! However, I can't pretend I'm not skeptical of the bean brownies. haha

  5. what a sweet gesture :) i love the ranch crackers but the black bean brownies seem a bit too crazy for me. have you tried diet coke cake??

  6. So sweet! What a thoughtful girl you are!!

  7. those muffins look seriously amazing!