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.
It's the best of two worlds:
Nasty Holiday Candy
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
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
1 peanut.

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
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.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Apple Harvest Muffins

The other day, I was showing a friend of ours Pinterest.

While on there, I was looking at my boards.

Not "my boards," because I'm not on Pinterest.

My mom is on Pinterest.

I ghost pin for her.

That way, she looks cool and has followers.

I started doing that for her when she showed me Pinterest and I noticed she had followers

who were following nothing because she didn't have any boards.

How boring is that.

So I'm helping her.

I'm a good daughter that way!

On her/my board of Breakfast or Breads or something like that is this idea.

So I looked it over and made some modifications.

Here's the finished product.

See  if you like it!

*I've since made and tried these muffins.  I think they're a bit dry, not overly sweet, and needs a little bit more flavor.  You'll find my suggestions at the bottom of this post.  One of my friends who tried the muffin said she "really liked it." 

Apple Harvest Muffins

2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 egg, beaten
1 cup milk
1/4 cup oil
1/2 cup packed brown sugar (I used dark brown sugar)
2 diced Granny Smith apples

1/3 cup packed brown sugar
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup old fashioned oats
4 T  butter

Preheat oven to 375
Mix dry ingredients in large mixing bowl.

Mix wet ingredients and apples in a smaller bowl.

Add the wet mixture to dry mixture, mixing well.

Scoop into greased muffin tins.  I made jumbo muffins and it easily made 6.  This recipe probably yields 1 dozen regular muffins.

Mix topping ingredients in small bowl and sprinkle evenly over the muffins.  For the jumbo muffins I sprinkled about 2 TBSP on each muffin.  You can probably sprinkle about 1 TBSP on a regular muffin.

Bake for 25 minutes or until done.

Remove from the pan and enjoy!

*I'd add 1/4 cup more oil.  The recipe originally called for 1/2 cup, but I thought that was too much, with moistness coming from the apples.  But I was wrong!  I'd add the full 1/2 cup.

I'd add 1-2 tsp. of cinnamon or apple pie spice.  I think it needs a little something.

I used 2 apples, but you could easily use 3 and if you're a raisin fan, that might be a good addition too.

I personally liked the topping.  It was a modification from the original recipe, but I'm going to keep it as I have printed.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012


This isn't my photo; it's from the internet.
But it does look like my cornbread!

My oldest cherub's birthday was last week.

At our house, when it's your birthday, you get to have your favorite meal.

Whatever you want is what momma fixes.


Unless it's really, really weird!

This year, my cherub wanted Cornbread and Chicken.


Because of Alan Jackson's song, "Where I Come From."

Do you know it?

Here's a link to listen:

Along with the cornbread and chicken, he wanted creamed corn, sweet potato casserole, rolls (which, by the way, I did NOT allow!), and cinnamon rolls for dessert.

So, as a good momma . . . I gave that boy what he wanted!

Here's one of the recipes from that meal.


1/2 cup cornmeal
1 1/2 cups flour
2/3 cups sugar
1 TBSP baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/3 cup oil
3 TBSP butter, melted
2 eggs, beaten
1 1/4 cups milk

In a large bowl mix the cornmeal, flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt together.  Stirring to incorporate.

In a small bowl, mix the oil, melted butter, beaten eggs, and milk together. 

Pour the liquid mixture into the flour mixture and stir until well combined.

Bake in an 8 X 8 or 9 X 9 pan, or in a heated casted iron skillet, at 350 degrees for 35-40 minutes or until done.

This can be doubled and baked in a 9 X 13 pan.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Bacon Cheese Dip

We had lunch with some friends of our the other day.

I love going to their house because. . .

  •  my friend is a great cook
  • she has pretty serving pieces from Southern Living Home
  • she's got 3 darling boys that make me laugh
  • she shares her recipes with me . . .even if they aren't her recipes
OH!  I forgot another reason!

She ALWAYS has an appetizer.

As in always, never-fails, can count on her, without a doubt

she'll have an appetizer.

On the corner of her kitchen island,

where we always gather and eat

and talk

and watch her finish up last minute cooking . . .

while we eat the appetizer!

This was the last appetizer we ate at her house.

It's good!

I made it the other day and my cherubs said, "This doesn't taste like Lady J's!"

"Oh?"  I said.  "It's her recipe!"

And they ate it!

But it didn't really taste like hers!  And here's why!

I didn't measure the mayo . . .I didn't want to mess with the measuring cup!

I didn't measure the cheese . . . I was in a hurry!  It looked like a cup when I grated it!

I only had 1 1/2 slices of cooked bacon.

And I wasn't cooking more and I didn't have any bacon pieces from Oscar Mayer.

The other people at my house thought it was delicious  . . . and they didn't have anything to compare it too!

Whip yourself up some of this dip for your next football party, Sunday night social, or pity party!

You'll be glad you did!

Bacon Cheese Dip
Parenthetical notes are those of my friend
8 oz. cream cheese, softened
1 cup grated Swiss cheese (I found this already grated in a package)
1/2 cup mayo
3 tablespoons dried chives (I do a little less)
4-5 dashes garli
c salt
4-5 dashes Tabasco (I did a bit more)

Top with:
6-8 crushed Ritz crackers
8 strips crumbled bacon (I used the real bacon recipe pieces by Oscar Mayer by the croutons/salad dressing. It is easier than frying bacon.

Bake at 350 for 30 minutes. If it starts getting brown on top I put foil lightly over it.

Serve with Wheat Thins or Fritos Scoops.

**I heated mine in the crock pot then turned it to warm to serve.  It worked out nicely!  (This is not a parenthetical note from my friend; it's a pathetic note from me!)

Friday, September 14, 2012

Fried Avacados

Homemade Fried Avocados!

Last Spring, after a baseball game, we stopped to have dinner at a new taco shop in town.

My girl cherub ordered a fried avocado taco.

She couldn't stop talking about it!

She's asked me several times to make fried avocados.

"It can't be hard, mom!"  She'd say!

But, you know how things go . . . .

it seemed like I never got around to it;

until last night!

I tried my first recipe of fried avocados and we all liked it!
I think these would be great for tacos, to top grilled chicken, or on top of a salad.

I need to work on the final product; my girl cherub thought they were to "batter-y."  The Mr. and my boy cherub thought they were great.

I'm not sure how to improve that -- except to not pat the bread crumbs on, simply dredge through the bread crumbs!

You give it a try and see what you think!

Fried Avocado

Avocados (I sliced each avocado into sixths)
1 egg, beaten
panko bread crumbs

Heat oil over medium heat in a heavy pan.  I used a cast iron skillet.  I had just enough oil to fry, but not deep-fat fry.

Half the avocado and remove pit.  Peel the avocado and slice.  You'll want thick slices to hold it's shape.

In a small bowl, place equal amounts of flour and cornmeal; about 1/4 cup of each, depending on how many avocados you'll be cooking.  Season with a bit of salt.

Place the egg in a small bowl and the panko crumbs in another.

Dredge the avocado slice in the flour/cornmeal mix, dip in the egg to coat, and roll in the panko crumbs. 

Gently drop into the heated oil.  Allow to brown on each side before turning.  Since you don't have to "cook" the avocado, you are simply browning the coating.

Remove from pan to a paper towel.  Keep warm in the oven on 170 degrees until ready to serve.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

My Cherub is 14

Today, this sweet cherub of mine turned 14.

Do I wish I could still cradle him in my arms, hold him close and dress him in smocked outfits?


But am I so thankful that he's becoming a fantastic young man who would rather wear athletic shorts?


I love that my cherub is:
  • funny
  • smart
  • still a kid at heart
  • a hard worker
  • thoughtful
  • content
  • comfortable with himself
  • a Christ follower
  • reliable
  • passionate about baseball
  • loyal
  • honest
  • OK with being an indian rather than a chief
  • taller than me
  • worthy to be looked up to by his sister

This sweet cherub of mine makes our family complete.

I think my cherub is the cutest thing ever!  And not just because I'm his mom . . . just look at that smile! 

Monday, September 10, 2012

To the Pointe

My girl cherub loves to dance.
Specifically, she loves ballet.
She's been dancing for a few years now.
And one of her dreams has come true!
Pointe Shoes!
Last Friday was her fitting for her first pair of pointe shoes.

The studio where she dances had a "pointe party"
for all of the girls who are getting their first pair of shoes.
These four girls are friends and dance together!

This little "diddy" is an important part of pointe shoes.
It makes your pointe shoes more comfy.
Sort of!
Her first slip of the pointe shoe onto her foot!
I wish you could see her smile!
It was impressive!

Being fitted for shoes requires some
expert knowledge!
Getting it right is a must!

Look close!  This is her first time
"Up on pointe!"

She was very nervous!
And excited!

A little more fitting to make sure
the shoe is right!
She tried on more than 10 pairs of pointe
shoes to find the perfect fit!

Her first pair of pointe shoes have been bought!
This is my cherub with her two ballet teachers.
Ms. Leia and Mrs. Shields.
My cherub adores both of them and they are
helping her reach her ballet dreams!

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Banana Pudding Poke Cake

Remember the Oreo Poke Cake from several weeks ago?

That cake was so easy that it got me thinking!

"What else could I combine for a great tasting cake?"

Now, let me  say, that in no way am I suggesting that I'm creating something that someone else hasn't already dreamed up before me.

I'm way smarter than to think that!
To assume that I can think of something that nobody else did?!?!



Sometimes I can get fairly creative!

This week, we invited friends over for Friday night, after half time of our first home game.

Since there were several of us hanging out together, I decided that I would make two desserts.

One chocolate something.

One not chocolate something.

I had subbed all week and going to the grocery store was not an option for me.  I was going to make desserts with whatever I had at home.

After all, it was after 9:00 when I started this project!

Chocolate cake . . . done!

Yellow cake mix . . .hum!

That stumped me!
Then I thought "poke cake!"

"Poke Cake" . .  .hum!

That stumped me!

Then I thought, vanilla pudding and vanilla wafers!

Banana Pudding Poke Cake!


Banana Pudding Poke Cake

1 yellow cake mix
3 eggs
1 cup sour cream or Greek yogurt
1/2 cup of water
2/3 cups oil
banana flavoring, optional (I use King Arthur flavoring)
2 boxes instant vanilla pudding (or use banana pudding if you wish)
4 cups milk
bananas, sliced
cool whip
vanilla wafers, crumbled

Mix the cake mix, eggs, sour cream, water, oil, and optional flavoring together until well combined.

Pour into a 9 X 13 pan and bake at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes, or until done.  Do not over bake.

Remove from oven.  Using the end of a wooden spoon, poke holes in the cake.  I poke at least 24; maybe closer to 36.

Next, mix the pudding and the milk together-- do not allow the pudding to set up, otherwise you'll end up just spreading it on top of your cake!

Pour the liquidish pudding over the cake, allowing it to soak into the holes.

Allow the cake to cool completely.

Before serving, top the cooled cake/pudding with the sliced bananas and cool whip.  Sprinkled the crumbled vanilla wafers on top and serve!

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

BBQ Green Beans

Our Auntie 'Ronda is a really good cook.

She's from the South.

Alabama to be specific!

She has good recipes.

Sometimes she shares her recipes with me!

Here's one she gave me a very long time ago.

We're having them tonight with our roasted pork loin and mashed potatoes.

I think that all sounds really good tonight for dinner.

It's been a long day.

And honestly, I want something that tastes good.

Actually, I want someone else to cook that something.

And to clean up that something.

And for me to just enjoy that something.

But that won't be happening today.

Or ever, for that matter!

That's the life I live.

But these BBQ green beans;  I think you'll like them. 

They're a zippy little approach to something that could be ho-hum!

For a disclaimer:  I don't think these taste like BBQ.  I don't think they're supposed to; I think that's just the name of them.

Let me know what you think!

BBQ Green Beans
Adapted a bit from Auntie 'Ronda's recipe

1 can tomato soup
1 large can green beans
1/2 onion, chopped
1/4 green pepper, chopped
4 slices bacon, chopped
1-2 TBSP brown sugar (Auntie 'Ronda doesn't do this . . .and I don't either, but I've looked at a lot of recipes that add this ingredient.  It's your choice!)

In a large sauce pan, over medium-high heat, add the bacon, onion, and green pepper.  Cook until the bacon has rendered and the bacon is turning brown and the onions and peppers are sauteed.

Add the tomato soup and the drained juice of the large can of green beans.  Continue cooking over medium-high heat until the mixture has reduced by half.

Add the the drained green beans to the mix.  Lower the heat and continue cooking until the mixture has reduced to a thick sauce.*   By nature of cooking this long, the green beans will be nice and hot (and probably lacking nutrients too!)

*This is how I did it -- I thought it was too hot to turn my oven on today to cook.

Aunti 'Ronda says that after you add the green beans, place the entire mixture into an oven proof pan, and bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes. 

Serve along side your favorite meat.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Fried Okra Salad

Now that Summer is almost over, I'm getting ready to make this "perfect summer" salad!

I think you'd call that, "being behind the curve ball!"

Regardless, this salad is amazing!

There's nothing too complex about it.

I like the different colors of veggies in the salad when tossed with the okra.

Ok -- really, I like the fried okra!

Truth of the matter, since I recommend using frozen okra, you can have this salad whenever you feel like . . .

even if it's at the end of Summer!
Fried Okra Salad

1 large bag of breaded frozen okra, cooked according to package (fried!), and cooled
8-9 pieces of bacon, cooked and crumbled
1-2 tomatoes, chopped (you can use a container of small cherub/cherry tomatoes)
1 bunch of green onion (or a sweet summer onion), chopped
1-2 green bell peppers, chopped
1/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup oil
1/4 cup vinegar

In a large bowl, place the cooked and cooled fried okra, crumbled bacon, chopped tomatoes, onion, and bell pepper.  Set aside.

In a small container, mix the sugar, oil, and vinegar.  Place in the microwave and heat until boiling.  Stir to dissolve the sugar.

When you are ready to serve the salad, pour the dressing over the okra/veggie mix and toss to coat.  Serve immediately.

Because of the dressing, this salad is not good left over.  So plan on taking this to a party or serving it as the main dish if it's a smaller gathering.  Although I've never made half of a recipe, I'm sure you could do so with very minor adjustments.