Saturday, December 22, 2012

Christmas Break


It's almost here . . .

the celebration of Christmas!

My cherubs are finally out of school and today is their first day to sleep in!
Never mind that it's a Saturday!

Sleeping in is sleeping in!

With the festive lights, fun family activities, and the wrapping paper and ribbons that surround this season, I have decided to not make any recipe posts until after the Christmas celebration and the ringing in of the new year. 

May you know the truth that is wrapped in the gift of Christmas; Jesus! 

 . . .until 2013!

Friday, December 14, 2012

White Chocolate Peppermint Jumbles

White Chocolate-Peppermint Jumbles Recipe
 
 
While looking through cookbooks, trying to make my grocery list, I saw this recipe.
 
I remember seeing it a few years ago and thinking, "that might be good."
 
But I never made them.
 
Until this year.
 
I thought, "this might make a great gift."
 
I bought the stuff and followed the recipe.
 
And had a small mess on my hands!
The "new" crockpots must be hotter than the "old" crockpots.
 
Because in less time than the recipe called for, my chocolate was beginning to burn.
 
But I didn't know it until I went to stir my chocolate.
 
Then discovered that I may have ruined the whole thing.
 
But thankfully, I hadn't!
 
I just scooped out the good stuff; left the bad stuff and went on about my business!
 
The only down-side:  the recipe said it would yield 8 dozen.  I only got 5 dozen .  . . but I'm not complaining!
 
White Chocolate Peppermint Jumbles
(one slight adaptation was made from this Southern Living recipe)
 
2 (16-ounce) packages vanilla bark coating
1 (12-ounce) package white chocolate morsels
1 (6-ounce) package white chocolate baking squares
3 tablespoons shortening
1 (16-ounce) package pretzel nuggets ( Snyder's of Hanover Sourdough Pretzel Nuggets)
1 (8-ounce) package animal-shaped crackers (3 cups)
1 cup coarsely crushed hard peppermint candies (I substituted soft peppermints instead)
 
Combine first 4 ingredients in a 6-quart slow cooker. Cook, covered, on LOW 1 hour and 30 minutes or until vanilla bark and chocolate look very soft. Uncover and stir until smooth. Stir in pretzels, crackers, and crushed peppermint candies.  (The 1 1/2 hours was way too long in my crockpot!)  Watch carefully . . . .that should be in the directions!

Drop candy by heaping tablespoonfuls onto wax paper. Let stand 1 hour or until firm.

Package up and enjoy!
 


Wednesday, December 12, 2012

12 Days of Christmas

Ever since my cherubs were little cherubs;
since the time when we only had one cherub,
Mimi has been doing the 12 days of Christmas.
She stole  borrowed this idea from a friend at work.
Each day, starting on December 13, the cherubs get to open one gift each.
One little something.
One little treasure.
One little surprise that counts down to Christmas.
When the cherubs where small the gifts were a little easier.
Now the cherubs are bigger and the gifts are a little harder.
But Mimi is Mimi and nothing is impossible for Mimi!
Here's how it works:
Mimi wraps 12 small gifts for the boy cherub and 12 small gifts for the girl cherub.
Each gift is in its own gift sack
Each cherub has their own sack color/design.
Each day, each cherub can pick whatever sack they want to open.
They call Mimi in the morning and, while on the phone with her, they tear open the sack and tell her what their surprise of the day is!
It's that simple!
When the cherubs where small cherubs, Mimi would give 1 gift on the first day, 2 gifts on the second day, 3 gifts on the third day, etc, etc, etc!
Such as:  day one may have been one can of playdough, day two may have been a pair of socks, day three may have been three playdough tools, and day four may have been four quarters; and so it goes!
But now that they're older, that's too much work! 
Now it's things like their favorite gum, some slimy junk that you can throw and it'll look like yack, or some other crazy and fun trinket.
The idea is to keep it inexpensive and fun for the kids!
It's a fun way to celebrate Christmas!


Saturday, December 8, 2012

Pumpkin Cream Cheese Pie


It's a Paula Deen recipe.

Enough said!

I know -- with her it's either love or hate.

Nothing really in between.

Regardless, she does have some good recipes.

Remember when my hair dresser gave me the lemon pie recipe?

Well, he also said this was amazing.

As in, A-M-A-Z-I-N-G!

I'm going to trust him.

Here's why.

He said he doesn't really care for pumpkin pie.

Me either!

It's just not my thing.

But my boy cherub loves it.

As in, really loves it!

But when Darren said he doesn't like pumpkin pie, but this was fantastic; I'm gonna say it's fantastic.

So here you go.

Give it a try and see!

Pumpkin Cream Cheese pie

1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened
2 cups canned pumpkin, mashed
1 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 egg plus 2 egg yolks, slightly beaten
1 cup half-and-half
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) melted butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger, optional
1 piece pre-made pie dough
Whipped cream, for topping
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Place 1 piece of pre-made pie dough down into a (9-inch) pie pan and press down along the bottom and all sides. Pinch and crimp the edges together to make a pretty pattern. Put the pie shell back into the freezer for 1 hour to firm up. Fit a piece of aluminum foil to cover the inside of the shell completely. Fill the shell up to the edges with pie weights or dried beans (about 2 pounds) and place it in the oven. Bake for 10 minutes, remove the foil and pie weights and bake for another 10 minutes or until the crust is dried out and beginning to color.

For the filling, in a large mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese with a hand mixer. Add the pumpkin and beat until combined. Add the sugar and salt, and beat until combined. Add the eggs mixed with the yolks, half-and-half, and melted butter, and beat until combined. Finally, add the vanilla, cinnamon, and ginger, if using, and beat until incorporated.

Pour the filling into the warm prepared pie crust and bake for 50 minutes, or until the center is set. Place the pie on a wire rack and cool to room temperature. Cut into slices and top each piece with a generous amount of whipped cream.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Small Problem

I'm having sort of a small problem.

I like to post with pictures.

I think it makes a difference.

Sometimes it's the picture that "sells" you!

But, I must admit, there are times when I see a picture and think, "No way!" 

 . . .and maybe that's what happens when I post pictures on the blog!
But back to my problem

I've tried to post some recipes with pictures, but I keep getting  a message that I'm out of space.

"Out of space?"

I don't even have "space."

So how am I out of it?

I'm confused!

No matter how many times I try, and keep clicking the button, hoping to fool the computer into thinking that something has changed, I keep losing the battle!
Not only am I posting a little less these days because of my schedule, but as of right now, unless I can borrow use some pictures from the internet -- my posts will be naked!

Bear with me (no pun intended!); I'll get it figured out.

It may not be until the Spring!

But as my dad used to say, "Ya got nuthin' but time!'

Until things change, keep reading the recipes and try something new! 

Cheeseburger Pasta



I'm working full-time now.  But it's not full-time forever; it's full-time for now!

I have a long-term sub job while the teacher has her first baby.

It's a great class of 4th grade kids! 

Last week was our first full-week together.

I think it went well! 

But I have really big shoes to fill! 

Even though I'm enjoying this new experience, I still adore my responsibilities at home and I don't want things to change.

But I'm learning how to balance it all without losing my own "balance!"

One of the quick dinners I created last week came out of the need for a one-skillet, easy cleanup kind of meal!
I had a thought of what I wanted, so I began my search on the internet.

You know my saying:  "If I can think of something "new," then I know it's already out there!  There is absolutely NO WAY that I'm smart enough to come up with something entirely unthought of!"

Sure enough, there were several recipes, but none exactly as I was thinking.

So, I took a general look and then went to my kitchen and did a little bit of adapting!

Cheeseburger Pasta was a new dinner creation for us!
We all liked it.

But do you know what my boy cherub asked, "Mom, is this like Hamburger Helper?"

Now I'm not knocking Hamburger Helper.  But I've never served that to my cherubs! 

I've never had a real interest in it!

But -- in an effort to not sound snoody, maybe this is like a gourmet Hamburger Helper!

Finally, this recipe will probably drive you crazy if you want specific measurements!  I really created by looks:  did it look saucy enough, did it look like enough pasta, did it look like I squeezed enough condiments in . . .you get the idea!

With that said, I will try to give you amounts, but they are purely guesses!  Go with your instinct!

Cheeseburger Pasta

1 pound ground beef, cooked and drained
8-12 ounces elbow macaroni, cooked and drained
2 TBSP butter
3-4 TBSP flour
milk
4 ounces cream cheese
2 TBSP ketchup
1-2 TBSP mustard
2 TBSP dill relish
1/2-1 onion, chopped
1/2 can diced tomatoes, well drained
1 cup cheddar cheese, grated, divided

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a skillet add the butter and melt.  Slowly add the flour, gently stirring to incorporate into the butter.  Keep adding flour until you have enough "mixture" that looks like cake batter.  Keep stirring to cook the flour.  You are making a roux.  Cook long enough that the flour and butter mixture has a slight golden color, but isn't browning.

Slowly add the milk.  Maybe 1 cup -- more or less.  Stir until there are no lumps and it is thick like a gravy.  If the milk is quickly absorbed into your flour mixture, add a bit more milk at a time.  If it seems to thin, keep cooking a bit to see if it thickens.  If not, don't worry.

Once your white sauce is made, add the cream cheese, in cubes, and stir until melted.  Add in an additional 1/2 cup of shredded cheese.  Stir until melted.

Add in the ketchup, mustard, dill relish, onion, and tomatoes.  Stir until incorporated.  Add the cooked pasta and meat and stir well.

Top with the additional cheese.

Place in oven and heat thoroughly and until the cheese on top is melted.




Thursday, November 29, 2012

Lemon Pie

Zesty Lemon Pie Recipe

So I'm getting my hair cut last night and we're talking about Thanksgiving . . .

 . . .and all of the crazy things that happen when family is around!

We talked about what we had . . .

 . . .and didn't have.

In the midst of that conversation, the guy who cuts my hair said that after they went home on Thanksgiving, he made a pie.

A really GOOD pie.

He made a lemon pie!

When I think "lemon," I don't usually think "Fall!"

But he said it was soooooo yummy!

Well, he didn't say "yummy!"

He said, "good!"

When they finished the last bit of it the other night, his wife said, "you're going to have to make another one of these!"

Naturally, when I hear someone talk about a new recipe, I ask for it!

Scripture says, "Ask and you shall receive!"

I asked.

I received!

When Darren was telling me about the pie and how good it was, he said, and I quote, "What can be bad with Eagle Brand Milk?" 

And honestly, I agree!

But what he DIDN'T say was that this recipe has

2 cans of Eagle Brand Milk!

It must be doubly yummy!

Lemon Pie
Southern Living, 2010

1 cup graham cracker crumbs
3 tablespoons powdered sugar
3 tablespoons butter, melted
6 egg yolks
2 (14-oz.) cans sweetened condensed milk
1 cup fresh lemon juice
1 cup whipping cream
2 tablespoons powdered sugar
Preheat oven to 350°. Stir together first 2 ingredients; add butter, stirring until blended. Press mixture on bottom and up sides of a 9-inch deep-dish pie plate. Bake 10 minutes. Let cool completely on a wire rack (about 30 minutes).
Whisk together egg yolks, sweetened condensed milk, and lemon juice. Pour into prepared crust.
Bake at 350° for 15 minutes. Let cool completely on a wire rack (about 1 hour). Cover and chill 4 hours.
Beat whipping cream at high speed with an electric mixer until foamy; gradually add powdered sugar, beating until soft peaks form; dollop over chilled pie. Garnish, if desired.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Southwest Chicken Enchilada Soup

Image from the Internet

Thanksgiving has come and gone.

And while Thanksgiving was leaving, our company was just coming!

It was a busy and fun weekend with The Nutcracker performances, friends and family, and getting back into the routine!

Because our schedule included many hours spent at the theater for our girl cherub dancing in The Nutcracker, I wanted to serve something easy to our friends who were staying at our house.

I found this recipe for soup and it sounded perfect.  What caught my attention is that it wasn't a "brothy" chicken enchilada soup.  I liked the thought of that!

What I wish I had known was that it wouldn't really be soup weather!
Oh well!  We just turned on the air and pretended!

I'm going to give you the recipe as I made it.  However, we decided while we were eating that it could have used a bit more "stuff" in it!  I'll make that notation for you! 

Then!  You decide how you want to make it!

Southwest Chicken Enchilada Soup

1 onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 can chopped green chilies, undrained
1 can beef broth
1 can chicken broth
1 can cream of chicken soup
8 oz cooked chicken, chopped (it called for 1 small can of chunk chicken . . . but I didn't use canned)
1 1/2 cups water
2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp. chili powder
1 tsp.cumin
1/4 tsp. ground black pepper
12 oz. Velvetta cheese, cubed

Place the onion, garlic, and next 10 ingredients into a crock pot.  Turn on high and heat thoroughly, and until the onions are cooked. 

About 30 minutes before serving, place the cubed Velvetta cheese in and stir to melt.

Serve with cornbread and a salad.

*I doubled this recipe, but didn't double the Velvetta and it was great!

**I would considering adding:  corn, black beans, and/or hominy (all drained), diced tomatoes (drained), or chopped carrots.

Top with shredded cheese, crushed tortilla chips, and chopped avocado, if desired.



Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Thanksgiving

We are thankful for the abundant blessings the Lord has given to our family.
Whether we are in times of trial or walk in pleasant pastures, God's faithfulness is true.  During this time of  "Thanksgiving" -- we know that it's not just a day to set aside, but it's a way to live.
Happy Thanksgiving Living; from our family to yours!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Pine Cone Cheese Ball

Image from the internet

It's not often that the Mr. cooks at our house.

The Mr.'s job in the kitchen is "helper."

As in:
  • help clean the dishes as we go
  • help get out the things I need
  • help put things in the oven
  • help take things out of the oven
 . . .you get the idea!

It's not that the Mr. can't cook . . .

it's just that most of what he cooks isn't the tastiest!

In all fairness, there are four things the Mr. does very well in the kitchen
  1. breakfast
  2. coffee
  3. grilling
  4. helping
When we were in college, he was proud of pasta noodles with "flaked" tuna.

As in, he'd cook plain 'ol spaghetti, drain it.

Open a can of tuna and drain it (see the common thread here?)

Put the noodles in a bowl and "flake" the tuna onto the noodles.

Toss and serve.

Seriously.

That's what I ate at his apartment one night.

I'm not sure that he ever cooked for me again!

But at the holiday time, the Mr. would make this.

For a college boy, this was very fancy!

I remember it tasting good.

But remember what I had to compare it too!

We found the recipe the other night and I've whipped it up to serve with crackers on Thursday.

We'll see if it really is good or if I was just so in love I didn't know any better!  (Wink, Wink!)

However, I didn't ever eat the tuna and noodle mess again . . . so at some point I was in my right mind!

Pine Cone Cheese Ball

1 8oz package cream cheese
1/2 cup mayonnaise
3 slices bacon, cooked crisp and crumbled
1/2 tsp. dried dill
1 TBSP chopped green onion
salt and pepper to taste
1 1/4 cups whole roasted almonds
rosemary for garnish

Combine cream cheese and mayonnaise; mix until  well blended.  Add the bacon, dill, and onion.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.  Cover and chill for an hour.

Form chilled mixture into a pine cone shape.  Starting at the bottom, press almonds into the cheese mixture at a slight angles, forming overlapping rows to resemble a pine cone.  Insert rosemary sprigs at the wide end and cover loosely until ready to serve.

Serve with assorted crackers and crudites.



Saturday, November 17, 2012

A Caramel Sauce I can Make



Now you know my true confessions of my unsuccessful attempts at making Ina's caramel sauce.

I'm sorely disappointed in myself!

But I didn't stop trying . . .

I just stopped trying her recipe!

I went for something a little more simple.

Not so simple as to use condensed milk . . .

but sort of a cheaters way of making caramel sauce!

I searched the web and found different recipes . . . read the mixed reviews and finally decided to
try a combination of 3 recipes!

And I was successful!

It tasted delicious on my favorite apple!

It also tasted delicious directly off of the spoon.

It took three spoonfuls to know I liked it.

Sometimes I'm a slow learner!

Caramel Sauce

4 TBSP butter
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
1 TBSP vanilla

In a sauce pan, over medium heat, melt the butter and brown sugar together, until the sugar is dissolved.

Add in the heavy whipping cream.  It will sizzle and bubble -- but don't worry.  Keep stirring and everything will be fine!  Cook over medium heat, for 2-3 minutes, to thicken slightly and incorporate ingredients.

Remove from heat and stir in vanilla.

Allow to cool slightly before pouring into a jar or container.

I stored our in the refrigerator. 





Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Holy Cow! Caramel

Picture of Caramel Pecan Sundaes Recipe
Ina Garten's Caramel Sauce, from the Food Network


I idolize Ina Garten. 
When I was young, and didn't know to appreciate things.

She bored me.

Seriously bored me.

I didn't get her.

Now I'm grown up and mature  and I have seen the errors of my ways and I'm just here to say that Ina Garten R.O.C.K.S!
I think I'd rather meet her over Paula Deen.

Serious!

The other day, I caught the very end of her making a "basic caramel sauce."

I didn't know there was a "basic caramel sauce."

This stuff looked like a pot of gold just waiting to be devoured!

Get the biggest, prettiest serving spoon a girl can handle and scoop out a glop of that stuff and eat it up! 

I'm just saying, this stuff is probably not safe in my refrigerator if I'm at home by myself!

This sauce will make a perfect gift anytime of the year!

So I made the sauce.

The recipe is listed below.

I made it twice.

Failed both times.

Failed.

But I'm listing the recipe, because maybe one of you can succeed.

Let me know.

Ina's Caramel Sauce

1 1/2 cups sugar
1/3 cup water
1 1/4 cups heavy cream
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Mix 1/3 cup water and the sugar in a medium heavy-bottomed saucepan.  

Cook, without stirring, over low heat for 5 to 10 minutes, until the sugar dissolves. Increase the heat to medium and boil uncovered until the sugar turns a warm chestnut brown (about 350 degrees F on a candy thermometer), 5 to 7 minutes, gently swirling the pan to stir the mixture.

Be careful; the mixture is extremely hot! Watch the mixture constantly at the end, as it will go from caramel to burnt very quickly.

Turn off the heat. Stand back to avoid splattering and slowly add the cream and vanilla. The cream will bubble violently and the caramel will solidify.

Don't worry!

Simmer over low heat, stirring constantly, until the caramel dissolves and the sauce is smooth, about 2 minutes. Allow to cool to room temperature, at least 4 hours. It will thicken as it sits







Sunday, November 11, 2012

Kim's Spicy Chicken Pasta



My friend, Kim, is a great cook.

Matter of fact, when we have dinner together, my boy cherub wants her to make biscuits.

It doesn't matter what we're having, he wants to know if she can do the biscuits.

I've tried to make her biscuits -- and honestly, they don't taste the same.

But close.

But not the same.

I keep trying!

This pasta dish is one of Kim's "go to" dinners at her house.

She has a house of boys and this is a crowd pleaser!

What I like about this is it's easy and tasty!

Two very important things!
It also reheats beautifully!

So for lunch the next day, people will be drooling over your impressive left-over dinner.

 . . .and you can keep it a secret that it's easy!

Kim's Spicy Chicken Pasta

Noodles (I prefer linguine because it holds sauce well)
chicken (left-over grilled chicken, rotisserie chicken, roasted or baked chicken)
onions, chopped
bell peppers, if you want them, chopped
mushrooms, if that floats your boat, sliced
olive oil
Tony Chachere's Creole or Blackening spice, to taste
Red pepper flakes, to taste
Parmesan cheese, grated, to taste
heavy cream . . . oh heck, you can use 1/2 & 1/2 or evaporated milk, amount depends on how much   sauce you want/need.

Cook your noodles according to the package directions.  Drain.

In a skillet, heat a small amount of olive oil and saute the onions, peppers, mushrooms, and any other veggie you want to add!  Throw in the diced, pulled, or chopped cooked chicken.  Cook until hot.  Add the heavy cream and Parmesan cheese.  Stir until cheese is melted.  Add the creole spice and red pepper flakes to taste.  Dump in the noodles and stir until well coated.

Serve.

**I made the chicken cream sauce and then divided it to season one mild, for the girl cherub, and one spicy for the rest of the family.  It was totally easy and tasted great.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Peanut Butter (and Something) Muffins

Peanut Butter muffin filled with Nutella!


This was time change weekend.

By the time we left for church on Sunday morning, I had:
  • tried a new coffee
  • done three loads of laundry
  • dealt with e-mail
  • found a new muffin recipe and made it before the cherubs woke up
  • put the breakfast dishes in the dishwasher before we left
Do you know what the Mr. said when I told him all I had done?

"We need time change every weekend!"

That's not funny.

Because my cherubs love peanut butter, I decided to make peanut butter muffins.

My idea was to make peanut butter and jelly muffins.

I thought that sound fun.

So I baked some with jelly in the center and some were just plain.

But on my way to church I thought "filled muffins would be good."

So after lunch today, I hollowed out the center of the plain and filled some with strawberry jelly and some with nutella spread.

Actually, I thought that I would mix the peanut butter and jelly together and fill the hole, because both of the cherubs said the muffins needed more "peanut butter taste."

But when I gave them the option, they just wanted jelly or chocolate.  No peanut butter.

So, maybe next time . . .but for now, we have peanut butter muffins filled with jelly or nutella.

That can't be all bad, can it?

Peanut Butter Muffins
(Adapted from Kids Health)

2 eggs
1 1/2 cups milk (I used buttermilk)
1/4 cup peanut butter
1/3 cup vegetable oil
2¼ cup flour
1½ tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda

Preheat oven to 350° F.

In a small bowl, break the eggs and use a fork to beat them a little bit.

In a large bowl, combine the milk, peanut butter, vegetable oil.  Stir until well mixed.  Add the eggs and mix with a  spoon until the mixture is creamy.

Add the flour, baking powder, and baking soda into the large bowl. Mix until the dry ingredients are moistened, but do not over stir.

Line a muffin tine with paper liners or lightly spray with nonstick spray. Spoon in the muffin mix. Fill each muffin cup about 2/3 of the way up.

Bake for about 15 minutes or until done.

When your muffins are finished baking, remove from muffin tin and cool them on the wire rack.

I was able to make 15 muffins.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

State Fair-Like Indian Tacos



As soon as the weather changes, I start getting inspired to try new things.
This week, on the menu, are Indian Tacos.
I'm not sure that I've ever made these for the Mr. and the cherubs.
But as a kid, I remember going to the Oklahoma State Fair and getting an Indian Taco.
We could only buy our tacos from one certain Indian Taco stand.
Oh, there were others at the fair.
But they were impostures, I tell you!
But I am not at the fair this week, so I had to make my own.
There are several recipes on-line, so I just picked one. 
I'm listing it here.
After we make it, if we aren't particularly fond of it, I'll try another recipe; but until then, here's what we've got!

We topped the fry bread with taco meat, cumin-seasoned pinto beans, shredded lettuce, chopped onions, diced tomatoes, grated cheese, and some salsa. 

It was good!
Indian Fry Bread
(slightly adapted from the original recipe)
1 cup flour
1/4 tsp. salt
1 1/4 tsp. baking powder
1/2 cup water
Vegetable oil for frying
Extra flour to flour your hands

Sift together the flour, salt, and baking powder into a large bowl. Pour the water over the flour mixture all at once and stir the dough with a fork until it starts to form one big clump.

Flour your hands well. Using your hands, begin to mix the dough, trying to get all the flour into the mixture to form a ball. You want to mix this well, but you do NOT want to knead it. Kneading it will make for a heavy Fry Bread when cooked. The inside of the dough ball should still be sticky after it is formed, while the outside will be well floured.

Cut the dough into four (4) pieces. Using your floured hands, shape, stretch, pat, and form a disk of about 4 to 5 inches in diameter.  

In a deep heavy pot, heat the vegetable oil to about 350 degrees F. You can check if you oil is hot enough by either dropping a small piece of dough in the hot oil and seeing if it begins to fry, or by dipping the end of a wooden spoon in and seeing if that bubbles. Your oil should be about 1-inch deep in a large cast-iron skillet or other large heavy pot.

Take the formed dough and gently place it into the oil, being careful not to splatter the hot oil. Press down on the dough as it fries so the top is submersed into the hot oil. Fry until brown, and then flip to fry the other side. Each side will take approximately 3 to 4 minutes to cook. Place the cooked Fry Bread on a paper towel to absorb excess oil.

Indian Fry Bread can be kept warm in a 200 degree F. oven for up to 1 hour. They refrigerate well and can be reheated in a 350 degree F. oven for 10 to 15 minutes before serving.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Is It Really November?

I'm not sure about where you live,

but where I live you'd have no idea that it's Fall if you're using the weather as your guide.

Not that I do that.

Oh heck, what am I saying!

Of course I do!
Thanksgiving is in the Fall.  It's time to wear sweatshirts.

Christmas is in the Winter.  It's time to wear sweaters.

Fourth of July is in the Summer.  It's time to wear as little as possible!

But here it is, November 1st, and where I live it's in the mid 80's.

As in -- that's great weather for Summer.

But it's terrible weather for Fall.

Thanksgiving is coming, but who'd know?

Except for this little Turkey.

Click on the turkey and get in the holiday mood!


http://images.businessweek.com/ss/05/11/egreetings/image/01.swf


Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Taco Soup


Go ahead.

Moan.

Say it!

"Is this all you've got?"

I know.

Really?

With everything out there, isn't there something "new" to post?

Probably.

But sometimes, the old stuff is some of the best stuff.

And truthfully, I haven't made this in such a long time.

As in, maybe two or three years.

Yes, years!

This is not my go to soup.

However, a weekend or so ago, when I thought it would be cooler, I bought the ingredients for this tried-and-true soup.

We ate.

I froze the left-overs.

We had it again just last night.

This soup throws together in a flash and freezes great.

And if you need it to feed more, you just add more stuff. 

You can't ask for much more than that!

Taco Soup

1-2 pounds ground beef
1 onion, diced
2 cans pinto beans
1 can whole kernel corn, drained
2 cans  can tomatoes with chiles
1 can diced green chiles
1 package taco seasoning mix
1 package ranch salad dressing mix
Corn chips, for serving
Sour cream, for garnish
Grated cheese, for garnish
Chopped green onions, for garnish
Pickled jalapenos, for garnish
Brown the ground beef and onions in a large skillet; drain the excess fat, then transfer the browned beef and onions to a large slow cooker or a stockpot. Add the beans, corn, tomatoes, green chiles,  taco seasoning, and ranch dressing mix, and cook in a slow cooker on low for 6 to 8 hours or simmer over low heat for about 1 hour in a pot on the stove.

To serve, ladle soup in a bowl and top with chips, sour cream, cheese, green onions and jalapenos.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Mom's Easy Apple Crisp



Several years ago, a friend of mine made this easy dessert.

Matter of fact, she threw it together as we sat around the table.

Which, in my book, means it's a great recipe to have on hand.

Now that Fall weather has settled in, I decided to make this the other night.

I halved the recipe.

There were only 4 of us for dessert and I didn't want a lot left over.

It worked out perfectly!

The original recipe doesn't use oatmeal. 

But I like the oatmeal.  I reduce the amount of flour and make it up with old fashioned oats.

I also like that this recipe makes it's own delicious sauce.

Just perfect!

Mom's Easy Apple Crisp

6 apples (peeled, cored, and sliced)*
1/2 cup sugar
2 tsp. lemon juice
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 cup water

Crumb Topping

1/2 cup packed brown sugar
3/4 cup flour (or reduce the flour to about half and add old fashion oats)
1/4 tsp. salt
6 TBSP butter, melted

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Toss the apples with the sugar and cinnamon.  Add the lemon juice and water.  Toss to coat.

Pour into a greased 8 X 8 pan

For the topping; mix the brown sugar, flour (and oats, if using) and salt together.  Add the melted butter and stir until coarse crumbles form.

Sprinkle over the apples and bake for 40 minutes.

Serve warm.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Pumpkin Streusel Coffee Cake



My mom was coming this weekend and I wanted to have something already made that we could have for breakfast each morning.

 .  . . And maybe each evening for dessert too, if we wanted!

I saw this recipe and it caught my eye.

Knowing that my cherubs love just about anything pumpkin, I knew they'd be great with it too!

I made a couple of minor changes to the recipe that I found.  Next time, I think I'm going to put a ribbon of cream cheese in the center of it before baking -- just because!  You may want to try that too!

Pumpkin Streusel Coffee Cake

1/2 cup butter, softened
1 1/2 cups brown sugar
15 oz can pumpkin
3 large eggs
2 1/2 cups flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 TBSP cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp. ground cloves
1/2 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. pumpkin flavoring from King Arthur
Streusel Topping:
1/4 cup flour
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
2 TBSP butter, melted
1/3 cup pecans, chopped

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Spray the inside of a tube or bundt pan with nonstick spray; set aside.
In a large mixing bowl, beat the butter and sugar on medium speed until well blended. Add the pumpkin and eggs and mix thoroughly.
In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, cloves and salt. Add the flour mixture to the pumpkin mixture. Mix on medium speed until combined.
Pour the batter into the prepared pan.
Prepare the streusel topping: In a small bowl combine the flour, sugars, cinnamon, melted butter and walnuts. Sprinkle the streusel over the cake batter.
Bake for 50-55 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack for about 15 minutes. Slide a knife around the pan so the cake doesn’t stick when removing it. Invert the cake onto a plate. Then invert the cake onto another plate, so that the streusel is on the top. Cool completely.  Top with browned butter icing, if desired.
**If all of the flipping of the cake drives you nuts -- then just put the streusel topping in the bottom of the prepared pan before you pour the batter in the pan.  Once you turn the cake out, everything will be on top!  The reason for all of the flipping, is that you end up with a flatter and wider surface of the cake; it's just something a little different.
Cover and store at room temperature.
Browned Butter Frosting
1 1/2 TBSP butter
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
heavy cream or milk
In a small saucepan, heat the butter over medium heat until it turns a golden brown. Whisk in the sugar and add cream, one tablespoon at a time until you have pourable icing. Drizzle over cooled cake.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Old Fashioned Caramel Popcorn


Image from the Internet


My boy cherub is raising money for a trip that he will go on this Spring.

He is raising money in two different ways.


First, he is willing to be "hired" to do small jobs around the house:  lawn mowing, leaf raking, grocery shopping, and the likes.

The second way might surprise you.

He is selling "treats of the month."

That's right!

I'm helping him with different treats that people have ordered.

This month, it is caramel corn.

The "old fashioned" kind!

I told him, perhaps we should have thought through what we were doing!

Each recipe takes about 1 1/2 hours to make from beginning to end!

But I love this recipe because it starts with fresh popped corn.

Like the kind that you pop in a pan.

I guess you could use microwave popcorn for this recipe.

But I don't.

I get out the popper and we go to town!

If you're looking for something fun to do with your family -- maybe gathering in the kitchen and making caramel corn is the answer!

Old Fashioned Caramel Corn

6 quarts fresh popped corn (about 2/3 cup of unpopped kernals)
1 1/2 cups pecan halves, optional
1 1/2 cups raw peanuts, optional
1 1/2 cups brown sugar, packed
3/4 cup butter
3/4 cup light corn sytrup
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 tsp. baking soda

Place the popped corn in a large bowl or roasting pan.  Add the pecans, if desired.

In a lage sauce pan, add the peanuts, if using, along with the brown sugar, butter, and corn syrup.  Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly.  Boil for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Remove from the heat and stir in the vanilla and soda.

Pour the sugar mixture over the popcorn and stir with a lightly greased wooden spoon until the popcorn is well coated.

Bake at 250 degrees for 1 hour, stirring every 15 minutes. 

Remove from the oven, and immediately pour mixture onto wax paper, breaking it apart as it cools.

Store in an airtight contaners at room temperature.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Vanilla No-Bake Cookies

Image from the Internet!
I thought I took a picture, but can't find it!

The other day, when I was trying to make a non-chocolate cookie, but make it quick, I kept coming back to "no bake cookies."

But I couldn't make those because they're chocolate.

And I needed no chocolate.

But I kept thinking that surely those could be make without chocolate.

But I couldn't really get it figured out.

I knew it was more than just not adding the cocoa.

And maybe not the peanut butter too.

And as any good person does -- I went to the Internet.

I heart the Internet.

But!  The dilemma was the cookies I found had pudding in the mix.

I'm not being rude -- because I haven't tried it -- but that didn't really sound like something I was looking for.

Maybe it's good.

Maybe I'll try it.

Because the recipe I did find isn't just perfect for me.

It's good.

It has a good flavor.

But it's not "spot on" for me.

My one complaint is that they are too dry.

But I'm giving you the recipe as I've made them.

Maybe you'll like them.

Or maybe you'll make them and figure out that they're "almost" there, all we need to do is . . .!

And we'll do it and then we'll have the perfect no bake vanilla cookie!

What I do love about this recipe is that no bake cookies are so easy.

But the Mr. doesn't like regular no-bakes.

Because they have peanut butter in them.

Really?

We're going to disregard an entire cookie because of a little peanut butter?

Whatever!

The Mr. does like this cookie; so here you go -- try it and let me know what you think!

Vanilla No-Bake Cookies

3 cups quick cooking oats
2 cups sugar
1/2 cup milk
1 stick butter
2 tsp. vanilla

In a large bowl, place the dry oats.

In a medium sauce pan, cook the sugar, milk and butter. Bring to a boil and boil for 2 minutes till good soft ball stage.  Add the vanilla.

Pour over all other ingredients and stir until well mixed.

Drop by teaspoonfuls (if you're on a diet) or by a tablespoonful if you're wanting more than one bite, onto waxed paper to cool.

Enjoy!

Friday, October 12, 2012

Sausage and Parmesan Cheese Grits

Sausage and Peppers With Parmesan Cheese Grits Recipe
Picture from "My Recipes."

I found Italian sausage on sale a few weeks ago while at the grocery store.

My boy cherub really likes Italian sausage.

He really likes the Italian sausage and peppers that I make.

But I wasn't in the mood for that the other day.

I was in the mood for grits.

Which is weird.

I don't really ever crave grits.

But I was that day.

And since I was the one cooking, I gave in to my wants.

That's the beautiful thing about "owning" the kitchen!

So I thought, "Self!  Italian sausage and grits would probably taste really good together!"

And since I'm smart enough to think of it, I was rather certain that someone else had already thought of it too!

That started my google search!

And sure enough!  Someone had already figured it out for me!

I love that!

I found a recipe that sounded great and I made it for dinner and the whole family liked it.

It was also great reheated for leftovers.

And I'm NOT a leftover girl.

I pawn those off to the cherubs for their lunch, remember?

But for this recipe, I was the one having it for lunch the next day!

Italian Sausage and Parmesan Cheese Grits
(From Southern Living)

1 (19-ounce) package sweet Italian sausage
3 red, yellow, or green bell peppers, cut into strips
1 large sweet onion, cut in half and thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 to 2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper

Remove sausage casings, and discard. Cook sausage and next 7 ingredients in a large skillet over medium-high heat, stirring until sausage crumbles and is no longer pink and vegetables are tender.  Serve over the cheese grits.

Cheese Grits

1 cup grits
4 cups water
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon butter or margarine

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Tater Tot Casserole



I can NOT believe I haven't posted this recipe.

This is an easy, have-on-hand, throw-together-quick dinner.

That's a winner!
The Mr. was more excited about this last night than the cherubs where!

From the kitchen, I hear him say, "Yeah!  Tater Tot Casserole!  I love that stuff!"

And he does.

And so do the cherubs.

And so I'm glad to make it!

What's funny about this casserole:  I only make it in the Fall and Winter.

That's it.

I've relegated it to a seasonal casserole.

That's OK.

It makes the family more appreciative!

Tater Tot Casserole

1 TBSP oil
1/2 onion, chopped
1 green pepper, chopped
1 carrot, peeled and chopped
1- 1 1/2 pounds ground beef
1 can condensed cream of mushroom soup* (see below for gluten free substitution)
pepper
salt (I don't salt because of the soup, but you can if you want!)
cheddar cheese, grated
1 16oz  package frozen tater tots**

In a pan, heat the oil.  Add the onions, green pepper and carrots.  Saute until tender.  Add the ground beef and cook until no longer pink.

If your pan is large enough and oven proof, add the soup and stir until well combined.  If not, transfer your meat mixture to a casserole pan that's been sprayed with cooking spray, and mix the soup into the meat mixture.

Top with the grated cheese (I probably use 1/2 cup of cheese).  Go more or less, depending on your taste.  Top with the frozen tater tots and season with pepper, if desired.  Sprinkle a little cheese on top if you wish.

Bake at 350 degrees for 30-45 minutes, or until hot and the tater tots are browned and crispy.


*If you need this to be gluten free, substitute the condensed cream of mushroom soup for 1 can Progresso gluten free cream of mushroom soup.

**Ore-Ida brand tater tots are gluten free!

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

18 years and Counting


The Mr. and I celebrated 18 years of joy yesterday.

We were young when we got married.

We didn't think about "what would be."

Like what it would "really" be!

We just thought of what we THOUGHT  it would really be.

But now, we know.

Now, we've got a house, 2 cars, a dog, 2 cherubs and a busy schedule.

We no longer eat dinner on the bed and watch t.v. after work.

We no longer can clean the house in 45 minutes.

We no longer wonder on the weekends, "what can we do next?"

We no longer can go one week with one gallon of milk.

We no longer sleep in on Saturday.

We no longer rush home on Sunday, throw together a sandwich, and make it down for a nap all before one o'clock.

Heck!  We don't even get a Sunday afternoon nap anymore!

We wouldn't change it, though!

I was 18 when I met the one who would become my Mr.

We were in college.

We were friends for 4 years before we started dating.

Once we started dating -- it didn't take long to become engaged.

One year later, we were married.

It hasn't been perfect.

But it's been great.

And this IS my happily ever-after!






Saturday, October 6, 2012

Spiced Pecan Honey Butter




To go on the waffles I made the other night for dinner, I thought it might be fun to have a flavored butter.

You know, you can buy that in the store -- but I never do.

When I thought about the Fallish waffles, I thought Fallish butter.

Can there be such a thing?

In my world, there's room for most anything I want.

But only when I'm the only one in my world.

Which, by the way, doesn't happen real often!

But I basically took the same spices from the waffles and added to it for the butter.

I didn't think I could go wrong.

And if I did go wrong, it was only for me . . .and the Mr. and the two cherubs.

Who of us would complain?

At least I cooked, right?

So, here it is!

Spiced Pecan Honey Butter

½ cup butter, softened
a good squeeze of honey
1 to 2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon powdered ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 to 2 tablespoon brown sugar
½ cup chopped pecans

In a small mixing bowl, add the butter and all of the ingredients.  Using a hand mixer, blend until all of the ingredients are well incorporated.

Taste.  Make any adjustments for taste or consistency.

Mix again, if necessary.

Place in the refrigerator until ready to serve, if you like your butter firm.

Leave it out if you like your butter soft.

Either way, just enjoy!

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Spiced Waffles

Image from the Internet


It's October and, until now, there's not been even a hint that it's Fall.

But my mind tells me that it's Fall . . .because it's October.

October = Fall.

October + Pumpkins = Fall.

October + Candy Corn + Peanuts = Fall.

In 27 short days, my cherubs will want to wear some costume and go door to door trick-or-treating.

Therefore, I must pretend it's Fall!

We decided we'd have breakfast for dinner the other night.

I had spent the day subbing at school and wanted to make pumpkin waffles for my boy cherub.

But I didn't really have the time.

So, I made this up as I went along.

We all decided the waffles tasted kind of gingerbread-y.

Which we liked.

I made extra and stuck them in the freezer for a fast Fall breakfast!

Whether Fall ever gets here or not!

Fall Spiced Waffles

Your favorite pancake/waffle mix
AND the ingredients it calls for (usually milk, egg, and oil)
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 tablespoon ginger
1/8 tsp. pumpkin flavoring (King Arthur brand) OR 1 tsp. vanilla

Preheat waffle iron.

Add the dry pancake/waffle mix to a bowl.  Add the cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, and ginger.  Add the egg/s, oil, optional flavoring, and milk.  However, I reduced the amount of milk by about 1/4 cup or smidge more.  I wanted a thicker waffle batter.

Ladle the batter into the heated waffle iron and cook until desired doneness.

You can keep waffles warm in a 170 degree oven until ready to serve or cool completely and freeze and reheat in a toaster oven or microwave.

Enjoy with butter and maple syrup, or our favorite, apple butter.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Rainbow Pasta Salad

Image used from the Internet . . . but it looks
pretty close to what my salad looks like!


I met Melba about 15  years ago.

We ended up teaching 3rd grade Sunday School together, with another friend of ours, Judy. We three taught together nearly 10 years!

There is nobody like Melba!

She's a mover and a shaker and if you need something done -- just ask Melba!

She'll grab the bull by the horns and do her job . . .and maybe your job too!

Melba is also a good cook!

One day she told me about this pasta salad.

You're not going to believe it when you read the ingredients.

But I'm telling you -- any time that I serve it, I'm always asked for the recipe.

I don't know what it is about this salad, but it's a hit!

It's called Rainbow Pasta Salad.

But really, I ought to call it "Melba's Pasta Salad!"

Rainbow Pasta Salad

1 bag Rainbow Pasta, cooked according to directions
2 carrots, cleaned and shredded or chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 purple onion, chopped
1 small can sliced black olives, drained (if you like black olives! Completely optional!)
1 can Eagle Brand Condensed Milk (not evaporated -- but condensed)
1 cup mayonnaise
1 cup vinegar
3/4 cup sugar
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. pepper

Place drained pasta in a large bowl. Add the veggies.

In a smaller bowl mix the condensed milk, mayonnaise, vinegar, sugar, salt and pepper together and whisk until well combined.

Pour over the pasta and veggies and toss to coat.

Refrigerate 8 hours or until ready to serve

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Candy Corn and Peanuts

If ever there should be a marriage, this is it.
Candy Corn and Peanuts.
It was meant to be.
Promise!
It's the best of two worlds:
Nasty Holiday Candy
and
Dry Roasted Peanuts!
In no other recipe would you mix the two.
But here, it works!
And if that's not enough.
It's a science of two great elements!
And you have to find the right concoction that fits best with your taste.
For me:  2 to 1.
2 candy corns
to
1 peanut.
I line them up on the counter in their little family groups.
And if it turns out with an uneven mix,
I'll fix it.
2 candy corns
to
1 peanut.

Always!
I only allow one bag of candy corn and one container of dry roasted peanuts into the house during the Fall.
When it's gone . . .
I cry!


Monday, September 24, 2012

Creamy Limade Pound Cake



This week a friend of mine celebrates her birthday.

She doesn't like chocolate.

Other than that, she's a perfectly normal lady!

She listed off all the flavors she DOES like . . .and I think I remember lime and lemon, among others.

I searched for a recipe and found this one on the Duncan Hines website.

It just sounded good.

You know, sometimes you can read a recipe and think "this is a winner!"

While I haven't tasted the cake, I did taste a bite of the batter and I liked it.

I'm sending this to the office with the Mr. tomorrow, with no taste-testing!   Will the Mr. bring home an empty plate from the office or will there be cake left on the plate?

We all know what the tell-tell sign of a good cake really is!

Creamy Limeade Cake

1 package plain white cake mix
1 cup sour cream
1 container (12 oz.) frozen limeade concentrate, thawed; divided*
3 oz. cream cheese, at room temperature
3 eggs
Glaze:
confectioners sugar
1/2 of the thawed frozen limeade concentrate*
lime zest, optional
Place a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly mist a 12-cup bundt pan with vegetable oil spray, then dust with flour. Shake excess flour off pan. Set aside

Place the cake mix, sour cream, lemonade concentrate, cream cheese, and eggs in a large mixing bowl.

Blend with an electric mixer on low speed for 1 minute. Stop and scrape down sides of bowl.

Increase the mixer speed to medium and beat 2 minutes more, scraping sides as needed. The batter will be well-blended.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan, smoothing it out with the rubber spatula. Place the pan in the oven.

Bake the cake until it springs back when lightly pressed, 40-45 min.

Remove the pan from the oven and place it on a wire rack to cool for 20 min.

Meanwhile, prepare the glaze. Whisk together the confectioners sugar, lemon juice, and lemon rind in a small mixing bowl.

Run a long, sharp knife around the edge of the cake and invert it onto a serving platter.
Spoon the glaze evenly over the warm cake so that it drizzles down the sides and into the center.

**Can substitute frozen lemonade or pink lemonade in place of the limeade.