Friday, December 23, 2011

Parmesan Puffs

Parmesan Puffs with Marinara
Betty Crocker's picture!

Seriously!  Look at those gems!

They're perfectly delicious!

If you want a great little treat, whether for a get-together or for your family, here's an easy to fix and tasty treat!

I found the recipeon the Betty Crocker website, whipped it up, baked it and took my first bite in less than 30 minutes!

Parmesan Puffs

1/2 cup milk                             
1/4 cup butter                                                                          
1/2 cup flour
2 eggs
3/4 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
1 cup marinar sauce, heated

Heat oven to 375ºF. Grease cookie sheet.

Heat milk and butter to boiling in 1 1/2-quart saucepan. Stir in flour; reduce heat to low. Stir vigorously about 1 minute or until mixture forms a ball; remove from heat.

Beat in eggs, one at a time, beating until smooth after each addition. Stir in cheese. Drop dough by rounded teaspoonfuls 2 inches apart onto cookie sheet.

Bake about 15 minutes or until puffed and golden brown. Serve warm with marinara sauce for dipping.

Makes 30 appetizers


Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Warm Reuben Dip

Warm Reuben Spread recipe
Kraft's picture

We had company the other evening and I wanted to serve an appetizer -- but something just a bit different; something out of the ordinary.

Something we had never had before!

(I love doing that!  Trying new recipes on company!)

This recipe popped up in my e-mail and since my entire family loves Reuben sandwiches, I decided we'd give it a try!

I've made it twice this week . . .and I might make it again this weekend!

It's so easy!  I made a few minor adjustments -- the following is the original recipe.  I'll give my changes below the recipe.

Warm Reuben Dip
4 oz. (1/2 of 8-oz. pkg.) PHILADELPHIA Cream Cheese, softened
1/2 cup KRAFT Thousand Island Dressing
1/4 lb. sliced deli corned beef, chopped (about 1 cup)
3/4 cup well-drained Sauerkraut
1 pkg. (8 oz.) KRAFT Big Slice Swiss Cheese Slices, chopped
TRISCUIT Deli-Style Rye Crackers


Preheat oven to 350ºF.

Mix cream cheese and dressing in medium bowl; stir in all remaining ingredients except crackers.    

Spread into a 9-inch pie plate or shallow dish.    

Bake 20 min. or until heated through. Serve warm with crackers.    


1- 8oz package of cream cheese
1/3 cup 1,000 Island dressing
1/4 lb. turkey pastrami, cut on a #12 thickness from the deli, chopped fine
2 cups shredded swiss cheese, divided.  1 1/2 cups mixed into the mixture, the remaining 1/2 cup sprinkled on top before baking
Rye crackers, pita chips, or rye deli bread (the small square bread found in the deli section!)

The first time I baked it.  I prefer it that way because I like the brown-toasty color of it from baking it.  The second time, I warmed it in the crock pot.  The benefit of this way is that it stays warm throughout the evening; a real bonus!

Thursday, December 15, 2011


I'm not a tree-hugger or anything like that.

I'm not all into natural, or organic, or tofu, or anything that's remotely weird.

But I do think that when you can make your own stuff, it's just better.

I'm not talking mayonnaise, bath soap, or yogurt.

I'm just talking "normal" basics!

Like granola.

Most things, when you make them from scratch, not only is it tastier, but it's cheaper.

Granola is one of those things that, once you make, you'll never want to buy it again!  For one thing, you'll be eating it for a long time!  One batch will make a substantial amount!

I made a very simple granola the other day.  Both of the cherubs have eaten it every day since!  They enjoy topping their yogurt with the crunch goodness.  I find myself having a scoop for a small snack during the afternoon.  It's just sweet enough to satisfy, without being an overload.

You'll like this recipe because it's very forgiving and it's very adaptable. 


4 cups of old fashioned oats (NOT quick or 1-minute cooking)
1 1/2 cups wheat germ (I used flax seed)
1/2 cup brown sugar
cinnamon to taste (I use a lot of cinnamon because my cherubs really dig it!)
dried fruit; apricots, chopped, craisins, raisins, cherries, blueberries, apples, etc.
chopped nuts, if desired
1/2 cup oil
1/2 cup honey
1 tsp. vanilla
chocolate chips*

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Place oats, wheat germ, brown sugar, cinnamon, fruits and nuts in a large bowl.

Mix oil, honey, and vanilla together.  Pour over the granola and keep tossing until it is entirely coated.  This does take a bit, and it does eventually happen!  I use my hands to get a thorough tossing.

Pour granola onto a jelly roll pan, or the largest pan you have, that's been sprayed with Pam.  Bake for 1-1/2 hours, stirring often so that it won't burn.

Cool and enjoy!

This is great warm! 

*If you want to add chocolate chips, do so after the granola has been cooked and cooled.

**This time around, I used only 1/4 a cup of oil, I used butter rum extract from King Arthur rather than vanilla, and I left out the nuts and chocolate chips.  It all seemed fine to me!

Monday, December 12, 2011

Hands Down Easy Craft Project

 Hands down up, this is an easy Christmas
project to do with your kiddos!

We were at a fantastic school when the cherubs
were . . .little cherubs!
The teachers were always creative in the gifts
they had the children make for the parents!

(We're at a great school now, too, but my cherubs
are too old to be making cutesy Christmas gifts for
me and the Mr.!  But I wish they weren't . . .because I'd
still like those gifts a whole lot!)

The above hand towel was from our boy cherub
in 2006.
I love this hand towel.

Every year, I'm so excited to get it out and look
at those sweet little hands!
Aren't they cute?
He was 8 years old.
He was in the 3rd grade when he made it.

The above hand towel was from our girl cherub
in 2010.
I love this hand towel.
Every year, I'm so excited to get it out and look
at those sweet little hands!
Aren't they cute?
She was 8 years old.
She was in the 3rd grade when she made it.
But we were not at the same school when my girl
cherub made this towel.
We made this hand towel at home . . .all by ourselves!
I want you to have a kitchen towel
with sweet little hands too!

Here's what you need:

a clean white kitchen hand towel
(the thin kind work really well)
acrylic paint in red, green, and yellow
star cut out of sponge
a sponge brush
piece of cardboard
clothes pins

Wash the towel and iron.

Stretch the towel over the piece of cardboard, using the clothes pins,
so that paint doesn't seep through the towel onto your
kitchen table -- leaving a small "remnant" of the project,
forever outlined on your wood table.

Place a thin coat of green paint on your child's hand
and press firmly down onto the kitchen towel.
Re-touch the paint after each hand print.
Press firmly down and lift straight up off of the towel.
That is very important!

Rinse and dry hand well.
Place a thin coat of red paint on a finger tip
and allow the child to "decorate" the tree.
If you're a little obsessive, you will tell the child
EXACTLY where to place the dots . . .
by taking the child's finger and physically pressing the print
onto the towel.
If you're not controling  obsessive, you'll allow the child to do
whatever he wishes . . .and it will STILL look wonderful!
Repeat with the yellow paint.

Rinse and dry hands.

Dip the star into the yellow paint and
place on top of the tree.
Allow the towel to dry completely,
usually 24 hours.

Enjoy forever and ever,

Thursday, December 8, 2011

BBQ Pot Pie with Cheese Grits Crust

BBQ Pot Pie is hard to photograph!
I'm trying to show you the thick layer of cheese grits, piled high
on the saucy meat mixture!
Is it working?

I don't know about you, but when I cook a brisket for my family, it seems like we eat it forever! 

I'm good about freezing the leftovers -- but I think it multiplies when it's all bundled up in that ziplock bag in the freezer!

We like brisket, don't get me wrong -- but sometimes it's nice to have a change of pace, even with bbq!

I first tried this recipe in 2003 and we really liked it!

I don't make it much, because truthfully, I forget about it.

But this week, I remembered and I made it and we like it . . . again!

My girl cherub, who said she didn't like cheese grits was the first to ask for it in her lunch for the next day!

Speaking of lunch.  Let me tell you a funny story.

My cherubs usually take leftovers in their lunch a good majority of the time.

I don't know why.

Oh, yes I do.

I'm not a huge fan of leftovers, so if I can pawn them off on the cherubs, in the name of being a "good mom," that just means I don't have to eat them again, and again, and again.

But the other reason, and a very valid one is this:  Can you imagine taking a sandwich for 180 days a year for 12 years?  That's over 2,000 sandwiches!

Me either.

So I think variety in the lunch box is good.

My boy cherub was eating lunch the other day and it happened to be just plain bbq brisket.  I don't remember what else I dumped in his box, but the brisket is what caught the eye of another boy at the table.  Here's the conversation:
  • "Hey, whatta ya eating?"
  • "Brisket."
  • "I wanna know, why can't you just eat crap like the rest of us!"
That totally cracked my cherub up!  He came home and told me and said,
"Mom, I didn't think it was right for me to tell him this is all we had left at the house and that my mom needed to go to the store really bad!"

What does that story have to do with this recipe?  Nothing, really! 

Here's the recipe:

BBQ Pot Pie with Cheese Grits Crust

1 large sweet onion, diced
1 TBSP vegetable oil
1 1/2 cups thick barbecue sauce
1 pound shredded barbecued meat*

Sauté onion in hot oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat 5 minutes or until golden brown.  Gradually stir in barbecue sauce; cook, stirring constantly, 3 minutes or until mixture is hot.
Stir in meat, and bring to a boil. Remove from heat, and spoon mixture into a lightly greased 13- x 9-inch baking dish.

Spoon Cheese Grits Crust Batter evenly over hot barbecue mixture.
Bake at 425° for 20 to 25 minutes or until golden brown and set.

*I use leftover brisket, but you could use pork, if desired.

2 cups water
2 cups milk
1 cup quick-cooking grits
2 cups (8 ounces) shredded sharp Cheddar cheese
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon seasoned pepper
2 large eggs, lightly beaten

Bring water and milk to boil in a large saucepan; add grits, and cook, stirring often, 5 minutes or until thickened. Stir in cheese, salt, and pepper; remove from heat.

Stir about one-fourth of grits mixture gradually into beaten eggs; add to remaining grits mixture, stirring constantly.

Spoon hot grits mixture evenly over hot Barbecue Pot Pie mixture. Bake at 425° for 15 minutes.

Taken from:

Wednesday, December 7, 2011


During Thanksgiving, we saw all of our cousins! 

These are the grandkids on my side of the family.  There's 8 years
between my youngest cherub and "the baby!"  Oh boy!  Do we have
fun with him!

These are the grandkids on the Mr.'s side of the family.  There are 7 cousins and they are all within 5 years of each other!

The boys are sitting from oldest to youngest.

This is my cherub's only girl cousin! 
Don't misunderstand, they can give those boys a run for their money!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Easy "Canned" Soup

The other night, the cherubs and I returned home from being out of town.

We were in need of a quick meal, as we had to meet the Mr. at a Christmas program at church.

I opened the cabinet doors and starred .  .  .
 . . .we've all been there!  It's miserable!

You stand there wondering, "What can I possibly make with this?"

I looked again and saw a can of fat-free refried beans.

Then it hit me!

Soup!  I've used refried beans in a soup before -- so this time, I'll make a few little changes and it will be all new!

My cherubs liked it -- even took it in their school lunch the next day! 

Easy "Canned" Soup

1/2 onion, chopped
1-2 tsp. garlic
1 tsp. cumin
1/2 tsp. chili powder
1-2 TBSP oil
2 cans refried beans
1 can rotel, drained
1 can chicken broth

crushed chips
shredded cheddar cheese
chopped onion

In a large sauce pan, heat oil.  Add onion and sautee.  Add in garlic, and heat just a bit to release flavor.

Add beans, drained rotel, spices, and broth.  Stir until well mixed; heating thoroughly.

Ladel soup into a bowl and garnish with chips, cheese, and additional onion.

Serves 6ish!

**The amounts are only suggestions.  If you prefer thicker soup, use less broth.  Want thinner soup . . . more broth!  Don't like onions -- leave them out.  Want it spicer -- add more chili powder.  You don't have garlic -- fine, use garlic powder. 

You get the drill -- have fun trying something new!

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Peanut Brittle!

A long time ago, there was a lady who made peanut brittle.

It was her "Seasonal Job!"

Once her kids were out of school and she had done it as long as she wanted,
she made her last box of peanut brittle and handed the wooden spoon to me!

Now it's my "seasonal job!"  I've already been perched at my stove this week, stirring and smelling and waiting for the hot syrup to "spin a thread." 

Once it does . . . .

we end up with a table full of thin, golden brittle that has just the right amount of peanuts!

 Box and after box line our kitchen table, ready to be delivered!  The cherubs used to help me get the boxes ready for the brittle.
It's amazing, though, this year they're both so busy with school??!!?! 
However, neither one of them seem to be busy when it's time for a "quality control check!"

Look at that super-yummy, incredibly thin and perfect piece of brittle!

If you're in my area, it's not to late to order peanut brittle!  To order, you can reply to the comment section (or e-mail or call if you have my info!).  I'll be stirring the brittle pot until I run out of peanuts!

If you're up for making your own brittle, here's the recipe.

Peanut Brittle

2 cups sugar
1/2 cup water
1 cup light corn syrup
2 cups raw spanish peanuts
2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. vanilla
1 TBSP butter
additional butter

In a large, heavy sauce pan, place the sugar, water, and corn syrup over medium heat.  Cook until the mixture "spins a thread."  Anything less than this stage give you a very sticky candy. 

Stir in the peanuts and cook until the mixture has a deep caramel color.  Stir continually so that the mixture doesn't burn.  If you are not careful, you will end up with "burnt sugar" with peanuts which has a very bitter taste.

Remove from heat and add the butter and vanilla and stir quickly until the butter is completely melted.

Quickly stir in the baking soda until well incorporated.  Allow the mixture to rise in the pan.

Pour the hot mixture onto a large, well buttered board.  As the mixture cools, pull the edges.  If you pull too soon, it won't work.  If you don't pull soon enough, you'll end up with a thick brittle.  This part of the recipe is a "knack" thing! 

Allow to cool completely before storing.