Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Chocolate Chip Pancakes

As most of you know I am on a quest to use as few box mixes and canned goods as possible, I like these because they are delicious and can be thrown together quickly.  After I make the rest of my family's pancakes I like to add a few pecans to the batter for mine.  These are easy to freeze and can be reheated for a quick before school breakfast.

1 cup all-purpose flour 
1/4 cup white sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder 
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup milk
1 egg
1 tablespoon oil
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup chocolate chips

Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a bowl; make a 'well' in the center of the flour mixture. 
Pour milk, eggs, and 1 tablespoon oil into the well. Mix until well moistened.
Add in vanilla and chocolate chips.  
Place a griddle over medium-high heat. 
Spoon batter onto the griddle.  
Cook until bubbles form and the edges are dry, 3 to 5 minutes. 
Flip and cook until browned on the other side, 3 to 5 more minutes. 
Repeat with remaining batter.

Monday, December 30, 2013

Mushy Peas (Don't let the name scare you off)

Hubby liked these and said I should make them again, but he also said that he liked the pea salad better.

1 (10 oz) pkg frozen green peas
1/4 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon butter
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper

Bring a shallow pot of lightly salted water to a boil over medium-high heat. 
Add frozen peas, and cook for 3 minutes, or until tender. 
Drain peas, and transfer to a blender or large food processor. (I didn't want mine runny so I just used a potato masher)
Add cream, butter, salt and pepper to peas, and process until blended, but still thick with small pieces of peas. 
Adjust seasonings to taste, and serve immediately.

Double Chocolate Mint Brownies

I stole this recipe from one of my Gooseberry Patch cookbooks that I was given as a gift (Best-Loved Baking Recipes) to make for a snack for the kiddos.  We all enjoyed them and I really like the almond extract (instead of the mint).  I will say though that these will not be one of our regulars.  Keep in mind these are VERY rich.

1 c. All-Purpose Flour
1 c. Sugar
1c. Plus 6 tb Butter (Softened and Divided)
4 Eggs (Beaten)
16 oz. can Chocolate Syrup
2 c. Powdered Sugar
1 tb Water
1/2 t. Mint Extract (I used almond)
3 drops Green Food Coloring (I didn't add this)
1 c. Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips

Beat flour, sugar, 1/2 cup butter, eggs and syrup in a large bowl until smooth.
Pour into a greased 13x9 baking pan. (I lined mine with foil and then greased that makes cleanup MUCH easier)
Bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes (Mine took 28)
Cool completely IN the pan.
Combine powdered sugar, 1/2 cup butter, water, extract, and food coloring.
Beat until smooth.
Spread over brownies and chill.
Melt chocolate chips and remaining 6 tb butter in a double boiler.
Stir until smooth.
Pour over chilled mint layer.
Cover and chill until set.
Cut into small squares and serve.

Menu for 12-30 to 1-5 (Still working)

I am hoping that this week settles down a bit and that we can have more meals at home.

B- Cereal
L- Popcorn Chicken
D- Ritz Chicken Casserole, Roasted Potatoes and Mushy Peas (New Recipe)

Tuesday (New Year's Eve)
B- Pancakes and Bacon
L- Mini Pizzas
D- Meatball Subs and Chips

Wednesday (New Year's Day)
B- Monkey Bread (kids loved it)
L- Leftover Monkey Bread
D- Orange Chicken, Fried Rice and Vegetables

L- Cheese Pretzels and Mandarin Oranges
D- Beef in Red Wine Sauce, Baked Potatoes, Buttermilk Biscuits and Green Bean Roll Ups

B- Cereal
L- Leftovers
D- Date Night (We have a gift card for Outback and two free movie tickets)

B- Biscuits
D- Cheeseburger Soup

B- Chocolate Chip Muffins and Mandarin Orange Glazed Muffins
L- Cindy's House
D- Leftovers

Friday, December 27, 2013

Southern Hushpuppies

  • Being from the south you grow up eating hushpuppies so here is a recipe that worked out pretty well for us.   My middle child who is my picky eater had 3!  That is a major accomplishment.
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups yellow cornmeal
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped yellow onion or 2 green onions, finely chopped (I used 1 tsp, next time will use 2 tsp)
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 1/2 to 2 cups buttermilk
  • Peanut or vegetable oil, for frying
  • Salt
 Sift the all-purpose flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder, salt and cayenne together over a large bowl. Stir in the green onions, eggs and 1 1⁄2 cups of buttermilk. Stir gently and add additional buttermilk if the batter is too thick (it should be the consistency of thick cornbread batter).

Pour oil into a large, heavy-bottomed pot to a depth of 2 inches and heat over medium-high to 350 degrees F. Drop 8 to 10 spoonfuls of the batter into the hot oil and cook until golden brown, turning often, for about 4 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and place on a paper towel-lined plate and sprinkle with salt. Continue with remaining batter.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Double Delight Cookies

For Christmas at my parents house I was given several new cookbooks (my family knows me well) and I have been going through them the past few days highlighting the things I wanted to make.  This recipe is from Meals in Minutes (Gooseberry Patch) and I knew instantly that I was going to need to make these.  Double chocolate and pecans need I say more???  Probably not but I will anyway, the dough for these cookies is silky smooth and absolutely beautiful.  My mouth is watering just looking at the cookies I am about to pop into my oven. 

1 c. Butter Flavored Shortening (I used butter, it is just a personal preference)
3/4 c. Sugar
1/2 c. Brown Sugar (Packed)
2 Eggs (Beaten)
2 tb Milk
1 tsp Vanilla Extract
2 tb Baking Cocoa
2 1/3 c. All Purpose Flour
1 tsp Baking Soda
1/2 tsp Salt
1 c. Pecans (Chopped)
1 c. Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chunks

In a large bowl beat shortening and sugars
Blend in eggs, milk, and vanilla
In another bowl combine cocoa, flour, soda, and salt
Add to shortening mixture
Blend well
Fold in pecans and chocolate
Drop by tablespoonful 2 inches apart on ungreased baking sheets
Bake at 375 for 10-12 minutes

Makes 6 Dozen (I halved the recipe)

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Chicken Burritos

This meal was made out of pure necessity, seeing as how we are eating out so much this week I decided to scrounge something up at home for our lunch.  Last night I had made a roast to take to some friends for dinner and it shrunk to less than half of the original size so while at the store I bought a rotessire chicken from the deli.  We used it for our dinner last night and then I chopped it up for lunch today.  I would say that was money well spent.

Chopped Chicken (ours was garlic flavored)

So I took the chicken and cheese and placed them in the middle of my tortilla
Rolled it up burrito style (fold in ends, one side and then roll)
Placed in baking dish topped with more cheese and leftover queso dip
Bake at 350 till cheese bubbles

Simple and easy.  I love to take old things and make something new, fun and delicious with them.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Menu for 12- 23 to 12- 29

This is a crazy week for us so our menu won't be "normal".  I LOVE CHRISTmas week, it makes me so happy.  What could be better than celebrating the birth of our Savior.  If you learn nothing else from my blog I want all of you to know that yes I am a sinner but because of amazing grace I am redeemed.  Isn't that an amazing thought, I know (through the number of page views) that there are several of you who may not know me and may not be in touch with the true meaning of CHRISTmas but I encourage you this week to reach out and find out what being a Christian is all about.  It doesn't mean I am better than you but it does mean that I have the love of my amazing God who has saved me.  I pray that all of you have that peace this CHRISTmas and if you don't seek someone out who will  talk about it with you!

Monday (Taking dinner to friends who just had a baby)
B- Pancakes and Bacon
L- Sandwich
D- Roast, Potatoes, Carrots, Popovers and Cookies

Tuesday (CHRISTmas Eve)
B- French Toast
L- Chicken Burritos
D- Cajun Tex in Marshall... looking at lights! (We ended up at Applebee's our original place was closed)

Wednesday (CHRISTmas)
B- Breakfast with Phillips Family
L- Leftovers
D- Christmas at Cindy's (I am taking Macaroni and Cheese and Green Bean Bundles)

B- Hashbrown Casserole
L- Cheese Quesadillas
D- Hamburger Steak, Brown Gravy, Hushpuppies (New Recipe) and ?

B- Biscuits and Gravy
L- Egg Salad
D- Parmesean Crusted Steak, Baked Potatoes, and Corn on Cob

Saturday (Dallas)
B- Chick Fil A (We have gift cards)
L- Outback Steakhouse (We have a gift card)
D- Macaroni Grill (We have gift cards and have never been here before)

Sunday (Dallas)
B- Cracker Barrel (You guessed it, we have gift cards)
L- Disney Jr Live!!!
D- Snacks

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Peanut Butter Cookies

You know those times when you have a friend or family member call and say hey I will be at your house in twenty minutes... well if you find yourself in need of a quick cookie recipe this is it.  These cookies are so good and so easy to make that you can throw them together at a moment's notice. 

I also use these as a form of bribery.  ;-)  My dad absolutely LOVES them and if we ever need his help with anything I promise him I will have these ready for him to snack on.  Plus the fact that I have his grandkids also helps out a bit.  ;-)

1 cup Peanut Butter
1 1/3 cups Sugar (divided)
1 Egg
1 tsp Vanilla

Preheat oven to 350
Grease baking sheet
Combine pb, 1 cup sugar, egg, and vanilla
Mix well
Roll into balls
Sprinkle on sugar (I typically don't use the whole 1/3 cup)
Bake 12 minutes
Cool before removing

Friday, December 20, 2013

Beef in Red Wine Sauce

This was beyond delicious!  The red wine sauce is so great ALL five of us really enjoyed it, and I might have grabbed a piece of bread and soaked up the remaining sauce... Even my picky eater told me a couple of times how much he liked his "steak". This recipe will definently be added into our rotation!

2 cups Sirloin (cut into 1 in pieces)
2 tsp Olive Oil
1 Yellow Onion (diced) (I used 1 tsp onion powder)
2 cups Mushrooms (sliced) (I HATE mushrooms so we left them out)
1 Garlic Clove (crushed) (I was out of cloves so I used 1 tsp powder)
1 tb Flour
1/2 tsp Thyme (dried)
1/4 tsp Pepper
1/3 tsp Nutmeg (We don't like nutmeg so it went out the door.)
1/2 cup Dry Red Wine
1.5 cup Beef Broth
3 cups Egg Noodles
2 tb Parsley

Brown beef cubes in olive oil over medium heat
Turn the cubes frequently to make sure they cook evenly
Add the onions and cook 2-3 minutes longer till they are fragrant
Add garlic and mushrooms
Reduce heat to medium low
Cook for 4-5 minutes longer until mushrooms are brown
Combine the flour, thyme, black pepper, and nutmeg in a small dish
Sprinkle the flour over the meat and mushroom mixture
Stir well
Allow it to "toast" for 30 seconds to a minute
Stir in red wine and beef broth
Stir until the liquid comes to a boil and starts to thicken slightly
Reduce heat to low
Cover loosely
Cook for 20 minutes
The sauce will continue to thicken up (If it gets to thick add a little beef broth)
When the meat is cooking start cooking the noodles
When both are done stir together and serve

Beef in red wine sauce... yummy!

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Pecan Ice Box Cookies

I know, I know I have never mentioned that I LOVE pecans right?  ;-) Hmm well as I am sure you have figured out I have a passion for anything with pecans.  Recently my dad helped me out of a pickle (in the south that means he helped me with a problem) and I told him I would make him some cookies.  Immediately he asked for these so I set out to find a recipe and figure it out.  The dough for these cookies was so good that I am surprised we had any leftover to give my dad, the kids and I kept sneaking bites while I was rolling the logs. Just so you know these are a dry cookie.
4 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 1/3 cups brown sugar
1 1/4 cups crisco
2 eggs
1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1 cup pecans, chopped
Cream crisco and sugar, add eggs 1 at a time mixing in between, add extracts.
Mix dry ingredients, add dry ingredients to wet in 3 batches, batter will be dry, if too dry and crumbly add 1-2 tablespoons of milk. 
Fold in nuts.
In parchment or cling wrap roll into 6-7 logs and refrigerate overnight.  (I did 4 hours and I only had 4 logs)
Slice and bake on ungreased baking sheet @ 350 for 13-14 minutes.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Bacon Green Bean Bundles with Brown Sugar Glaze

Hubby loved these and said that they are his favorite green beans I have ever made.  Nathan devoured them, Belle enjoyed them, and Jacob... well he liked the bacon.  We will be adding these into our rotation even though they are slightly time consuming.  I tried to make the recipe as simple to follow as possible.  ;-)

8 slices Bacon
1 lb Green Beans (washed and trimmed)
4 tb Butter (1/2 a stick)
1 tsp Salt
1/2 tsp Garlic Powder
3 tb Brown Sugar (packed)
1/8 tsp Black Pepper

Preheat oven to 400
Bake bacon for 10 minutes (you want it to be slightly brown on edges but able to bend)
Reduce oven to 350
Bring a pot of water to boil (while the bacon cools) and blanch the green beans
You will want them to cook in the boiling water for 3 minutes
Remove and run cold water over them (this stops the cooking)
Melt butter in a small pot
Stir in salt, garlic powder, brown sugar, black pepper
Now you will divide the beans into about 8 per pile
Start by wrapping the bacon around the beans and tuck the ends in the middle
Place in a dish
Pour the butter mixture evenly over the green beans
Cook for 20 minutes

Raegan Mirick's photo.

Italian Beef Cutlets

This recipe came out of the same cookbook as last night's dinner, it was pretty good, but has nothing on the Chicken with Lemon Cream Sauce.  We liked this however, I don't think it is something I will make often there are too many other things that we are in LOVE with.

1 pound Ground Beef
Salt and Pepper (I did 1/2 tsp of each)
2 tb Chopped Parsley
2 Eggs (beaten)
1/2 cup Bread Crumbs
1/4 cup Vegetable Oil
3 slices Mozzarella Cheese (halved)
1 15/8 pkg Spaghetti Sauce Mix (prepared according to pkg)
1/2 cup Grated Parmesean

Combine meat, salt, pepper and parsley.
Shape into 6 cutlets. (Mine made 5 small ones)
Dredge in flour, dip in eggs, roll in bread crumbs.
Saute in oil till brown.
Place in baking dish and top with mozzarella. (I mixed the remaining bread crumbs and egg and sprinkled on top)
Cover with sauce and top with parmesean cheese.
Bake at 400 degrees for 20-25 minutes.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Chicken with Lemon Cream Sauce

I was looking through a new cookbook marking the recipes I wanted to try and I found this one.  I am so glad that we had this for dinner tonight the sauce was AMAZING.  Hubby and I stood over the pan dipping our bread into the cream because we couldn't get enough of it.  I honestly could have ate it with a spoon.  ;-)  I think I gained about five pounds tonight just from the popovers and cream sauce.  So a big thank you to the Junior League of San Antonio for their cookbook Flavors and to Mrs Smith for submitting this recipe!

 3 lg Chicken Breast (cut into strips)
1/2 cup Milk
3/4 cup Flour (divided)
3 tsp Salt (divided)
2 1/4 tsp Paprika (divided)
1/2 stick Butter or Margarine
2 Chicken Bouillon Cubes (I only had beef so I used those)
1 1/2 cups Water
1 cup Heavy Cream
2 tsp Lemon Juice

Dip chicken in milk
Roll in 1/2 cup flour seasoned with 2 tsp salt and 2 tsp paprika
Fry chicken in hot oil until golden brown
Set aside and keep warm
Melt butter in a saucepan
Blend in remaining flour, salt, paprika, and bouillon cubes ( I didn't add the paprika mainly because of the kiddos)
Gradually add water and cook
Stir constantly until mixture thickens and comes to a boil
Stir in cream
Add lemon juice
Pour cream sauce over chicken

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Christmas Platters

I LOVE baking at Christmas (and through out the year) and taking goodies to my neighbors, teachers, friends and family.  If you are wanting to make a few platters of Christmas treats and can not figure out what you want to make, you are in luck.  I am compiling a list of yummy and easy treats that you can make quickly and impress everyone you give them too.  I hope you have as much fun whipping up these goodies as I did.  Happy Baking!

Just copy and paste the link and it should take you right to the recipe!



Rice Krispies

Snickerdoodle Cookies-


Caramel Pecan Bars-

Chocolate Pretzel Toffee-

S'more Sticks-


Menu for 12-16 to 12-22

I am going through a new cookbook I bought looking for recipes to try, hopefully I will be able to finish my menu up this afternoon.  Have a blessed Sunday I am off to get ready for church, so blessed that my Redeemer Lives!

Monday (Isabelle's Birthday)
B- Breakfast at Chick-fil-A
L- Corn Dogs (Her favorite lunch) and Chips
D- Chicken with Lemon Cream Sauce (New Recipe), Twice Baked Potatoes, Popovers and Corn

B- Pancakes and Bacon
L- Cheese Quesadillas
D- Italian Beef Patties (New Recipe), Caprese Salad and Green Bean Bundles (New Recipe)

B- Chocolate Chip Muffins
L- Sandwich and Fruit
D- Frozen Junk (I am helping decorate for the recital)

Thursday (Dance Recital)
B- Cinnamon Bread
L- Popcorn Chicken
D- Potato Chowder

Friday (School Parties)
B- Cereal
L- Cereal ( Hey I was out of ideas and the kids asked for it)
D- Beef in Red Wine Sauce (New Recipe), Broccoli Rice Casserole, and Macaroni and Cheese

B- Hashbrown Casserole
L- Meatball Subs (Hubby Requested)
D- Leftovers From Lunch

Sunday (Christmas with my parents)
B- Brunch at Church (Pecan Sticky Buns)
L- Catered lunch at Parental's
D- Leftovers

Thursday, December 12, 2013

White Bread for the Bread Machine

There are very few things that I like more than fresh bread baking and Christmas trees.  Right now I am sitting here on my couch watching Fox News enjoying the aroma of pine and bread.  This recipe takes literally five minutes to throw together and you can use it for dinner and then the next morning whip up some delicious french toast with it.  You can also use this recipe for one of my favorite dishes, I love to make one eyed sailors for breakfast (the recipe is on my blog), as you can see it can be easily adapted to fit your needs.
1 cup warm water (110 degrees F/45 degrees C)                                    
3 tablespoons white sugar                                    
1 1/2 teaspoons salt                                    
3 tablespoons vegetable oil                                    
3 cups bread flour 
2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast 

Place water, sugar, salt, oil, bread flour and yeast into pan of bread machine. 
Bake on White Bread setting . 
Cool on wire racks before slicing.

Rice Pilaf

When I hear someone say pilaf it sounds so fancy so my thought was hmm I don't think I can make that!  If you are like me and think it sounds difficult think again, it is beyond easy!!!  This was so simple but the flavors were wonderful, it wasn't overwhelming but nice and fresh.  My daughter even said this was her favorite part of the whole meal and my hubby liked it mixed in with the pecan glaze we had from our fried chicken.  All in all I think we will definently add this to our rotation.  Give it a try and tell me what you think.

1/2 cup butter or margarine 
1/2 cup vermicelli, broken into small pieces 
2 cups uncooked long-grain rice 
4 cups chicken broth 
salt, to taste

Melt butter in pan or dutch oven.
Break vermicelli in small pieces and add to pan and cook until golden brown, stirring constantly.
Add rice and stir until rice is well coated with butter.
Boil broth and add boiling broth to rice mixture.
Season to taste.
Cook, covered, over low heat until liquid is absorbed, about 25 minutes.
Stir lightly with fork.
Let stand in warm place about 10 minutes before serving.

 Raegan Mirick's photo.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Gussie's Fried Chicken

The original recipe includes the instructions to make the fried chicken however we like my recipe better so we use it and just use the glaze.  My husband HATES pecans (pretty much all nuts) but he likes this chicken and even requested it for dinner tonight.

1 cup (2 sticks) butter
1/2 cup honey
1 cup coarsely chopped pecans

To make the glaze, melt the butter in a saucepan over low heat. Whisk in the honey until well blended. Bring to a simmer and add the pecans. Simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Ladle the glaze over the hot fried chicken and serve.

Picture of Gussie's Fried Chicken with Pecan-Honey Glaze Recipe

Milk Chocolate Peanut Butter Truffle Brownies

These were absolutely delicious!  The hardest part about this recipe is waiting for the brownies to cool off.  I loved how the coffee, kahlua and chocolate work so well together, enjoy!
  • 10 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 ounces milk chocolate, chopped (this is about 1/4 cup)
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon instant coffee
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon kahlua (optional, but so good!)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 4 ounces milk chocolate chopped (oops I messed up and added 1 cup instead of 1/2 cup)
  • Truffles
  • 3 ounces semi-sweet chocolate, chopped
  • 3 tablespoons heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons creamy peanut butter
  • 1/2 tablespoon kahlua
  • 3 ounces milk chocolate, chopped (I used caramel syrup and then topped with pecans)

  1. To make the brownies. 
  2. Line an 8x8 or 9x9 inch baking dish with parchment paper or foil, letting the edges over hang from the pan so you can easily lift the brownies out of the pan. 
  3. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.
  4. Add the butter and 2 ounces milk chocolate to a medium size mixing bowl that is microwave safe. 
  5. Microwave the butter and chocolate on 30 second intervals, stirring after each interval until melted and smooth. 
  6. This takes me about 1 minute and 30 seconds.
  7. To the melted chocolate mixture add the sugar and instant coffee, whisking until completely combined. 
  8. Add the vanilla, kahula and egg and whisk until smooth. 
  9. Stir in the cocoa powder, flour and salt until smooth and just combined, try not to over mix the batter. It will be thick. 
  10. Stir in the remaining 4 ounces chopped milk chocolate. 
  11. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 25-30 minutes, until the brownies are set on top. 
  12. Do not over bake, if anything under bake.
  13. Meanwhile make the truffles. 
  14. Add the 3 ounces semi-sweet chocolate and the cream to microwave safe bowl. 
  15. Microwave the chocolate and cream on 30 second intervals, stirring after each interval until melted and smooth. 
  16. This takes me about 1 minute. 
  17. Stir in the peanut butter and kahlua until smooth.
  18. Remove the brownies from the oven and let the brownies cool 5 minutes and then lift them out of the pan. 
  19. Pour the chocolate truffle/ganache right over the brownies and smooth it out until it reaches the edge. 
  20. Melt the remain 3 ounces of milk chocolate and then drizzle it over the brownies. 
  21. Allow the brownies to set at least one hour in the fridge or two hours at room temperature (out of the sun) before cutting. I personally like them best at room temp so everything is soft and fudgey.
* I don't have a microwave (they take up to
o much room) so I just use my stove top.  ;-)
 Milk Chocolate Peanut Butter Truffle Brownies |

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

A Few Fun Tips on Keeping Food Fresh

Below are a few fun tips I found on keeping your food fresh.  Do you have any other ideas?

“To keep homemade cookies soft and fresh longer, my Aunt used to place completely cooled cookies in a cookie jar {or you could use an airtight container}, and then just place a slice of fresh bread on top.  The bread will keep the cookies soft and fresh!  If there are still cookies left after a few days, you can toss the old dried out piece of bread with a new piece of bread!”

 “My Grandmother taught me this trick… if you put a slice of bread in your bag/container of brown sugar, it will keep it moist and reduce the clumping.”

“To keep your brown sugar from hardening…. store in plastic container and leave a slightly moistened paper towel on top of the brown sugar and place plastic lid over it. Always ready to use.”

“Make sure to seal your sugar super, super tight with no air, and it stays moist.”

“If brown sugar becomes hardened just microwave for a few seconds. Microwaving it is short lived, but you can do it as many times as necessary in order to use it instead of tossing it.” (I hate microwaves so I probably wouldn't do this :-) )

To keep the strawberries fresh longer in the refrigerator, use 1 Part White Vinegar to 10 Parts Water.  Soak the strawberries, leaves and all in the vinegar/water mixture for a few minutes.  Then drain the strawberries in a colander until they are completely dry.
Then I place my strawberries in an uncovered bowl in the refrigerator.  The vinegar/water mixture kills any mold spores on the strawberries and keeps them fresh longer.  The vinegar does not affect the taste.  This also works for all kinds of berries: blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, etc.  It really works!!”

 “You may already know this… but if you separate your bananas {at the top} when you bring them home, they won’t ripen up so fast!”

Monday, December 9, 2013

Barbecue Beef Pie

I LOVE Betty Crocker's Bisquick recipes if you ever get a chance, check out their website lot's of good stuff!  We tried this tonight and it went over (not amazing but ok) well, I will say you need to double the BBQ sauce (I am glad I read the reviews before making this).
1 lb lean (at least 80%) ground beef (I use 93/7)
1 small bell pepper, chopped (1/2 cup)
1 medium onion, chopped (1/2 cup)
1/3 cup barbecue sauce(I doubled)
1 1/2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese (6 oz)
1 cup Original Bisquick® mix
1 cup milk
2 eggs
Additional barbecue sauce, heated, if desired  

Heat oven to 400°F. 
Grease bottom and side of 9-inch pie plate with shortening. 
In 10-inch skillet, cook beef, bell pepper and onion over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until beef is brown; drain. 
Stir in 1/3 cup barbecue sauce. 
Spread in pie plate. 
Sprinkle with 3/4 cup of the cheese. 
In medium bowl, stir Bisquick mix, milk and eggs until blended. 
Pour over beef mixture. 
Bake uncovered 25 minutes. 
Sprinkle with remaining 3/4 cup cheese. 
Bake about 5 minutes longer or until knife inserted in center comes out clean. 
Serve with additional barbecue sauce.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Menu for 12-9 to 12-15

B- Cereal
L- Mini Pizzas
D- Bbq Beef Pie, Corn on Cob and Campfire Potatoes

Tuesday (Jacob's Birthday and MOPS)
B- Confetti Pancakes and Bacon
L- Grilled Cheese Sandwich

B- Maple Pecan Muffins
L- Popcorn Chicken, Chips and Oranges
D- Honey Almond Chicken, Pea Salad (Hubby Requested), Rice Pilaf (New Recipe)

B- Cereal
L- Sandwich
D- Church Meeting

B- Biscuits and Gravy
L- Red Lobster (Parents took us for kids birthdays)
D- Leftovers (I have a Mops meeting)

B- French Toast
L- Pizza (Parents are coming over and bringing pizza)
D- Ground Beef and Potato Bake, Green Bean Bundles (New Recipe), Cheese Popovers

B- Cinnamon Rolls
L- Cheesy Chicken and Rice
D- Leftovers

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Jacob's Avenger Party

Today we celebrated Jacob's fifth birthday, this is a run down from his party.  He had so much fun and we really loved this theme!

Giant Backdrop
Blocks Painted to Look Like Buildings
Signs Hanging From Celing (Pow, Boom, Zap, Bam)
Avenger Buckets (for food)

Thor Hammers (Cheese Cubes with Pretzels)
Spiderman Cake
Hero Subs (Sandwich)
Catwoman Claws (Bugles)
Power Nuggets (Chicken Nuggets)
Joker's Juice (Kool Aids)
Energy Bursts (M&M's)
Hulk's Debris (Green Rice Krispies)
Crunchy Cyclones (Chips)

Photo 17 of 24: The Avengers / Birthday "Avengers Assemble!" | Catch My Party

Games/ Activities
Tattoos (5)
Decorate a Shield (15)
Diffuse Balloon Bombs (5)
Bean Bag Toss (5)
Story (5)
Superhero Academy (10) (Depending on Weather weren't able to do)
Scavenger Hunt  (10)
Parachute Game (5) (Depends on Weather)
Hammer Toss (5)
Cake/ Food (15)
Presents (15)

mighty thor hammer

Goodies (12 bags)
Bags (clearance after Halloween 25 cents each)
Tattoos (clearance after Halloween 10 cents for 36 tattoos)
Pencils ($1 for 4)
Cups ($1 each)
Masks ($2 for 4)
Puzzles ($3 for 6)
Iron Man Glider (?)

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Friday, December 6, 2013

Chocolate Bread Pudding

Hubby and I enjoyed this, the kids not so much.  It was good, however I don't think I will be making it again anytime soon.  I LOVED how easy it was though and hopefully I can find an event to take it too in the future.

Pecan Rum Flambe Sauce, optional, recipe follows
8 ounce semisweet chocolate chips
6   eggs, lightly beaten
1 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2 teaspoon pure almond extract
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup coffee flavored liqueur
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup heavy cream
3 cup milk
1   (1-lb) loaf French or Italian bread, cut into cubes

Pecan Rum Flambe Sauce:  (I didn't do this... we don't have any rum)
1 stick butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup chopped pecans
1/4 cup dark rum

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.
Lightly grease a 13 by 9-inch baking dish fill with bread cubes.
In a large bowl, whisk together the milk, cream, and liqueur.
In another bowl, combine the granulated and brown sugars with the cocoa powder and mix well.
Add the cocoa mixture to the milk mixture and whisk to combine.
In a medium bowl, add the vanilla extract, almond extract, and the cinnamon to the beaten eggs. Combine the egg mixture with the milk mixture and mix well.
Stir in chocolate chips.
Pour the mixture evenly over the bread cubes; let stand, stirring occasionally, for at least 20 minutes, or until the bread has absorbed most of the milk mixture.
Bake the pudding for 1 hour, or until set; a cake tester inserted into the center of the pudding should come out clean.
Serve the pudding warm or cold, with Pecan Rum Flambe, dessert sauce.
Pecan Rum Flambe Sauce:
In a large skillet, melt the stick butter and add brown sugar, stir together. Add the pecans and cook until sugar has caramelized over medium-high heat. Turn off the stove and pour in the rum. Stand back and carefully light with a long lighter. Be careful; a flame will shoot up above the pan. As the alcohol cooks out, the flame will die down. Serve over chocolate bread pudding.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Christmas Ornaments

I know this isn't a recipe as far as something you can eat, but it is something you can create.  One of my favorite things about cooking is making things taste and look beautiful.  Cooking is an art, so that is how I tie this together and honestly it is my blog so I can do what ever I want.  ;-)

1. Roll out the Pluffy to about 1/4″ thick {try not to make it too thin} ( I used modeling clay that I bought on sale for over 90% off)
2. Use cookie cutters to create shapes. Do as many as you can, then ball up and roll out again until there is no more Pluffy to use.
3. Put on a cookie sheet and use a thin straw or end of small paint brush to create a small hole at the top of each ornament.
4. Bake at 275 degrees for 15 minutes.
5. Let them sit until they cool.
6. Lay parchment paper down {to protect table} and let the kids decorate their ornaments with acrylic paints and glitter.
7. Let them dry overnight.
8. Use ribbon to tie onto ornaments so you can hang on the tree or on a package.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Peanut Butter and Honey Bunches of Oats Granola Bars

These were awful!  Maybe its because I used a different cereal but I also think the peanut butter was WAY too strong!  Don't waste your time or $ making these, I am sorry I did.

4 cups honey bunches of oats (with almonds, optional) ( I had honey nut cheerios so I used those)
1/2 cup peanut butter
1/2 cup honey

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Combine  cereal, peanut butter, and honey in large bowl.
3. Line a 9×13  baking dish with parchment paper (do not skip this)
4. Pour cereal mixture into prepared baking dish and press around evenly.
5. Place in oven and bake for 15 minutes.
6. Remove from oven and allow to cool for a few minutes before slicing bars. Allow to cool completely before removing from baking dish.

*Right before popping in the oven I sprinkled on a few mini m&m's just to make it a little more appealing for Nathan, Jacob, and Belle.  

Yield: about 16 bars

Store wrapped in parchment paper and in an airtight container like pyrex or a ziplock bag for about a week.

Pecan Sticky Buns

These were good in fact my kids devoured them, I liked them, however I didn't find them mind blowing amazing.  I did like the fact that I threw them together this morning before school, and I am pretty sure you could prepare them the night before and just pop them in the oven in the morning.  In all honesty anything with pecans has my vote of confidence.  Enjoy!
  • 24 pecan halves
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt, plus more for sprinkling dough
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 tablespoons butter, softened
  • Preheat oven to 400.
  • Grease a mini muffin pan with cooking spray.
  • Place a pecan in each muffin cup, top side down; set aside.
  • In a medium bowl whisk together flour, baking powder and salt.
  • Make a well in the center and pour the cream into the well.
  • Fold and stir with a rubber spatula until soft dough is formed.
  • Leave dough to rest for 3 to 5 minutes.
  • Lightly flour your working area and turn out the dough.
  • Flour a rolling pin and roll the dough out to a rectangle to about a 1/4-inch thickness.
  • Grab the soft butter and, using your fingers, spread it over the dough.
  • Combine brown sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl.
  • Sprinkle the dough with a pinch of salt.
  • Sprinkle prepared sugar mixture over dough.
  • Starting at the short end, roll the dough tightly and gently stretch to lengthen the roll.
  • Cut the roll crosswise into 24 buns.
  • Place each bun into a muffin cup, cut side up.
  • Bake for 14 to 15 minutes, or until browned.(14 minutes is PLENTY)
  • Remove from oven and turn out onto a cooling rack.
  • Serve immediately.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Meyer Lemon Pasta Salad

Hubby said this was his favorite part of last nights meal!

  • 12 oz. tricolor fusilli pasta
  • 1/4 cup roughly chopped fresh basil
  • 1/2 cup ripe green or black olives, drained and sliced into rounds
  • 1/3 cup freshly squeezed Meyer lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 tbsp mayonnaise (I used ranch dressing)
  • 2 tsp agave nectar or honey
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/3 cup shredded parmesan cheese
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Cook the fusilli pasta according to package directions till tender. 
  • Drain. 
  • Run cool water over the pasta till it returns to room temperature. 
  • Shake dry and return to pot or place in a large mixing bowl. 
  • Stir in the basil and sliced olives.
  • In a blender, combine Meyer lemon juice, mayonnaise, agave nectar and a pinch of salt and black pepper. 
  • Blend on low till well mixed.
  • Cover the blender and open the pour spout. 
  • While the blender runs, slowly drizzle the extra virgin olive oil into the dressing till the mixture is emulsified.
  •  Taste the dressing. 
  • Add salt and pepper to taste. 
  • Pour the dressing over the pasta salad. 
  • Add the parmesan cheese. 
  • Toss gently till the salad is well combined. 
  • Season with additional salt and pepper to taste, if desired. 
  • Serve at room temperature or chilled. Salad can be made up to a day ahead; refresh with additional olive oil if needed before serving.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Butter Baked Chicken

  • 4 chicken breasts (I use boneless skinless)
  • 1 can evaporated milk
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1 can Cream of Chicken soup
  • 1/4 cup water

Preheat oven to 425
First, pour a little of the evaporated milk in a small dish...just enough to dip your chicken in.
After you dip each piece of chicken in the milk, roll it in the flour seasoned with salt and pepper.
Melt butter in 13x9 pan and cook the chicken in the melted butter for 30 minutes at 425.
Mix water, can of soup, and what's left in your can of evaporated milk together.
Turn chicken over after 30 minutes of baking and pour soup mixture on top.
Bake for 30 more minutes until nice and golden brown.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Menu for 12-2 to 12-8

B- Chocolate Chip Pancakes
L- Baked Potatoes
D- Butter Baked Chicken (New Recipe), Pasta Salad (New Recipe), Corn

B- Pecan Sticky Buns (New Recipe)
L- Sandwiches
D- Meatloaf Muffins, Green Bean Bundles (New Recipe) and Crescent Rolls

B- Cereal
L- Corn Dogs and Fruit
D- Black Pepper Chicken and Rice

B- Leftover Chocolate Chip Pancakes
L- Homemade Pizza
D- Sleepover(?)

B- Chocolate Bread Pudding (New Recipe)
L- Barron's (Birthday lunch for my sweet girl)
D- Leftovers

B- Cereal
L- Jacob's Birthday Party! (Lasgna Soup before party)
D- Leftover Party Food

B-Hash Brown Casserole
L- Italian Roast, Cornbread, and Potatoes
D- Leftovers

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