Thursday, December 3, 2009

Just in time for Christmas!

I keep meaning to write this and never do. Today, I WILL because it's awesome and you need to know that BEFORE Christmas when you still have time to gift this!

Last year, my mother bought something from an infomercial. It took a long time for that one to come in, but when it did, she was in love. So she bought my SIL one and she bought me one. You know that I LOVE to be in the kitchen, so the thought was lovely for me to get a new something to use in the kitchen. Let me introduce you to the NICER DICER.

It makes dicing onions a breeze, tomatoes are no problem. Fruit works awesome, makes short work of chopping potatoes. Seriously, YOU NEED ONE.

There are two size cutting blades. A small one for dicing finely and a larger one for chopping. It comes with two cups that attach to the cutting blade so that it catches what you are chopping so you don't have to. The cups have lids, so after you dice it full of say, an onion, and you only need half, you can twist the lid on and stash it in the fridge for later.

The blades are super duper easy to change and you don't have to touch anything sharp to do it. The whole top piece comes off and you can replace it quickly. It comes apart for easy cleaning, too! The "receiver" of the blade snaps out, too to make it super easy to clean the base! I toss mine in the dishwasher and we're good to go!

Also, it's easy to use. MY KIDS DO IT! They love that they can help me chop and I don't have to worry about them with sharp knives. They just place the object to be cut on the base and flip the cover over it and press it down. LOVE, LOVE, LOVE IT!!!

And at $20 on Amazon, they are a steal!

**This is not a paid endorsement. I just loved a gift that I got from my mom and had to share!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Rhubarb Pie

Today I taught my good friend Kelly to make pie crust. Her's turned out amazing! We used it to make Rhubarb Pie from all recipes and it was AWESOME! I'll definitely make this recipe again! Enjoy!

Rhubarb Pie

4 cups fresh rhubarb
1 1/3 cups sugar
6 tbsp flour
1 tbsp butter
pie crust for a double crust

In a mixing bowl, combine sugar and flour. Sprinkle 1/4 of this on top of the bottom pastry. Top with the rhubarb, then the rest of the flour/sugar mixture. Dot with the butter, then place the top crust. Bake at 450 for 15 min and then reduce heat to 350 and bake 40-45 min or until golden. Cool before serving.

(pie crust recipe to follow soon!)

Friday, November 20, 2009

Pumpkin Pancakes

A couple weeks ago, each of my boys bought two pie pumpkins at the store. So, imagine 8 pumpkins waiting in my storage room for me to deal with them. That's a LOT of pumpkin! I cooked some of it up last week when Tim wanted pie, so I still have 3 pumpkins to deal with and I have pumpkin in the freezer!! I love that. So, the day after I was doing all the pumpkin stuff Tim wanted to make pumpkin pancakes for breakfast. We searched a recipe out and made some modifications. OF COURSE and the results were yummy! I made them again last night. Enjoy!

Pumpkin Pancakes

2 cups flour
3 tbsp brown sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp allspice
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ginger
1/2 tsp salt

In another bowl, mix:
1 1/2 cups evaporated milk (regular milk will work, too but NOT sweetened condensed)
1 cup pumpkin
1 egg
2 tbsp canola or vegetable oil
2 tbsp vinegar

Combine the wet and the dry. Drop by 1/4 cup onto hot griddle. Spread each pancake out a bit so they aren't as thick.

Really good with whipped cream and/or syrup. Also, I made some with minced pecans and they were super, too!

Monday, November 9, 2009

AMAZING dinner rolls

My family loves breads of all kinds. Especially warm and homemade. I'll eat it, but usually I'm not a major bread noodles is another story ;) A few weeks back, the Pioneer Woman posted a recipe for Rosemary Dinner Rolls that looked pretty good. I even followed the recipe EXACTLY! That's gotta be a first! lol! They were AMAZING. I almost ate them instead of my spaghetti (and I LOVE my spaghetti!), they were that good!

Here's the link, you MUST try them!

Pioneer Woman Rosemary Dinner Rolls

Monday, November 2, 2009

M&M Bars

As promised, here are the M&M bars. These make a really nice, big pan so they are great for taking to a potluck...or bake sale. :) Enjoy!

M&M Bars

1/2 cup butter
1 cup brown sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/4 cup ap flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
2 cups quick cooking oats
14 oz pkg caramels (unwrapped)
3 tbsp water
1 cup mini chocolate chips*
1 cup chopped nuts, pecans or walnuts as you prefer*
1 cup mini m&m's*

*I don't bother to measure, usually. I just pour them on til it looks good. :)

In a mixing bowl, cream butter and brown sugar. Beat in egg and vanilla. Combine flour, baking soda, and salt. Add to creamed mixture. Stir in oats. Press into 15x10x1 baking pan. Bake at 350 for 10-15 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on a wire rack. In a microwave safe bowl, melt the caramels and water. Spread over crust. Sprinkle with chips, nuts and m&m's. Gently press into the caramel and allow to cool completely before cutting.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Bake Sale

Saturday our Boy Scout Troop is having a bake sale at the Raddison for some conference that the Oneida tribe is hosting. There are 1600 people expected to attend. The money raised will go directly into the boys Scout Savings Account to pay for things like camp, scout outings, etc. So, I will be baking my heart out the next two days. Here's what I'm planning to make:

Lemon Biscotti
Cinnamon Sugar Almonds (the thought here is maybe someone wants a "healthy" snack...or at least a bit healthier than cake and cookies...)
Caramel Apple Bread
Chocolate Mint Cookies
M&M Bars (I'll post this recipe soon!)
Pumpkin Cookies with Brown Butter Icing (maybe...)
Rosemary Brown Butter Popcorn (Is it odd to have popcorn at a bake sale? I thought it might be nice to munch on while they are in the conference...not sure...)
Some plain old popcorn (?)

So, you probably won't see me again until Monday since the kids are off tomorrow and Friday and then the fun weekend!! See you then with the recipe for M&M bars!!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Venison Stew

Friday was another cold and rainy day here in Wisconsin. Great weather if you're a duck. I'm not a duck and I'm not enjoying it. Top that off with three coughing kids and you've got a ton of fun, let me tell ya. So, we needed comforting and soothing and relaxing. What better than a vat of stew? Yes, I mean a VAT of stew. I inherited this problem from my mother...I over cook. When it was just Tim and me it was a pretty big problem, but now that I have 4 additional healthy eaters, it's a bit more manageable. We have a freezer full of venison and we've slowly but surely been eating away at it, but it's hunting season again and I still have venison in the freezer, so I guess we'll have to eat even more venison and cut back on my beloved chicken. So, I wanted a recipe for venison stew that didn't include gravy mix because 1) I'm out and 2) we don't need all the extra salt. So, online I go...and I find a recipe that I fully intended to use as written...until I started making it and realize that there is NO seasoning in it whatsoever....unless you count the beef bouillon. So, I tweaked it and added some spice and some of this and that, some more veggies (because what's stew with only 2 potatoes in it??) the results were pretty tasty. Enjoy!

Venison Stew

2-3 pounds venison stew meat
4-6 cloves garlic
4 tbsp butter
1/3 cup flour
5 potatoes, peeled and chopped
5+ carrots, peeled and chopped (adjust the amount to your liking)
1 onion, chopped
8 oz sliced mushrooms
1-2 cups chopped celery
5-6 tsp beef bouillon (1 tsp=1 cube)
1 tsp crushed rosemary
1 tsp marjoram
water (7ish cups?)

1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup flour

Cut meat into bite size pieces. Toss with 1/3 cup flour. Pan fry meat in hot skillet with butter and garlic until browned.

Dissolve bouillon in some hot water. Add browned meat and add enough hot water to cover meat by 1 inch. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer 2 hours. Add vegetables and spices and bring back to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until vegetables are tender. (I added my veggies the first time I brought it to a boil and made sure there was enough water that the veggies were covered.) Before serving, melt butter in a small pan and stir in flour. Stir this mixture in the stew and it will thicken.

**Edit 10/25/09: I made this again today, but used Country Herb Seasoning (found at Aldi's) and it was insanely awesome!!)

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Pumpkin Seeds

Rugby carved pumpkins at school on Friday. They take them to the Navarino Nature Center for their annual Fall Event (that's tonight, btw!). They have them lit and along a trail and it doesn't start until 6:30, so it's plenty dark to see them and the cool designs the kids carved into them. Normally, we don't carve our pumpkins. I have the kids paint them so that right after Halloween I can use them to make pies and the seeds are an added bonus. This year, the seeds are the main event since Rugby and Riley weren't able to be convinced to paint the pumpkins. Rugby was really excited about roasting seeds, though....he brought home 4 pumpkins worth after their carving event at school and we had 2 pumpkins that they carved here at home, so it's a nice amount of seeds to work with. Most of them were just olive oil and sea salt, but one batch I did get to make the "Martha Stewart" way. Years ago, I had seen her make these and tried them and INSTANTLY loved them. Then I forgot about them and now I haven't made them in a few years again. Today we made them and Rugby is also in love with them. Enjoy!

Martha Stewart Pumpkin Seeds

Seeds from 1-2 pumpkins
5 tbsp sugar, divided
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp ginger
1/4 tsp cumin
cayenne pepper, to taste
1 1/2 tbsp oil (I use EVOO or butter for this)

Preheat oven to 250. Line baking sheet with parchment paper before placing seeds on the baking sheet. Bake for 1 hour or until dry, stirring every 15 minutes or so.

In a medium bowl, mix salt, cumin, ginger, cinnamon, cayenne (I do a little shake), and 3 tbsp sugar. Set aside.

In a non-stick skillet, heat oil. Add seeds and 2 tbsp sugar. Cook until seeds begin to caramelize (45-60 seconds-ish). Pour seeds into the spice mixture and toss to coat. Allow to cool before eating. They will last 1 week in an airtight container...if you can resist them that long!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

LF Chicken and Dumpling Soup

The other day, while we were all sick, my mom brought me Taste of Home's BIG BOOK OF SOUP. There are a TON of recipes in this book that I'd love to make. So, expect to see some soup here soon!

So, last night, it was 4:30 and I hadn't given any thought to dinner. AT ALL. Nothing thawed, no leftovers, nothing I could just throw on the table. I opened this book and this recipe just jumped out at me. I had everything in the house and it was QUICK. Love that! So, here's the recipe...Enjoy!

Low Fat Chicken and Dumplings

1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1 1/2" cubes (I cut mine smaller because of the babies)
2tbsp butter
3 cloves garlic, minced
3 cans chicken broth
3 cups water (I used 4, just because)
4 medium carrots, chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
1 celery rib, chopped (I used a bit more since all I had were the inner ribs with the leaves...used the leaves, too!)
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp garlic powder
rubbed sage, crushed rosemary, and taste. I think I used about 1/2-1 tsp combined
1/4 tsp black pepper

In a large skillet, pan fry the chicken in the butter and garlic cloves. In your stock pot, bring to a boil the broth, water, vegetables and seasonings. Add chicken to this. Reduce heat and simmer, uncovered about 30 minutes.

3 egg whites
1/2 cup cottage cheese
2 tbsp water
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup ap flour

Beat the egg whites and cottage cheese in a mixing bowl. Add water and salt. Stir in flour, making sure to mix well.

When soup has simmered for 30 minutes, bring the soup back to a boil and drop dumplings into the soup by the tablespoonful. Reduce heat and cover. Simmer for 15 minutes longer. DO NOT LIFT THE LID WHILE SIMMERING. Serve immediately.

(Looking for a use for the egg yolks?? How about this recipe? YUM!)

Monday, October 19, 2009

Weird popcorn

This post is from the archives of It's A Boy's Life For Me. An oldie, but a goodie from August 25, 2007. This was 15 days after I had Tucker. It was probably one of the first days that I was alone with all 4 kids after I got home from the hospital. Since it involves a recipe, I thought I'd post it over here. I was craving it today, anyway. :) Enjoy!

August 25, 2007

Of all the time I got to spend in the hospital with nothing to do but watch TV, I took the time to catch up on the happenings at the Food Network. One of my favorite chefs is Michael Chiarello. There's something about him and his shows that's mesmerizing. The show that I happened to catch, he was making Brown butter, rosemary and lemon popcorn. Interesting flavors to put on popcorn, but I like rosemary and lemon so I thought I'd try it. Tonight. The flavor is really light and it's a nice change to regular popcorn. The weird part of this is though that RUGBY LOVES IT. Riley rolled his nose up, tried it, and wasn't impressed. Rugby went nuts for it. I'll make it again, I'm sure! Here's the recipe if you wanna try it yourself:

Brown Butter, Rosemary, and Lemon Popcorn
Recipe courtesy Michael Chiarello

1 cup popcorn
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 tablespoon finely chopped rosemary leaves
2 teaspoons salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon grated lemon zest

Heat the popcorn and oil in a 1-gallon, heavy bottomed pot over medium-high heat. When the popcorns starts to pop, cover the pot tightly and continue to cook until all the popcorn pops, about 2 to 3 minutes, shaking the pot occasionally. Pour the popcorn into a large bowl.

In a medium saute pan over medium-high heat, melt the butter and cook until it is brown, shaking the pan occasionally. Remove the pan from the heat. Add the rosemary to the butter and pour the butter mixture over the popcorn. Toss well. Add the salt and pepper and lemon zest. Toss well.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Lemon Biscotti

About 2 years ago, the church we were attending had a "Ladies Tea" social event. There were all kinds of yummy treats to go with the tea, too. It was a really nice night to socialize and it was NOT for the kids, so I got to go alone which was also super nice! One of the yummy treats that we had that night was Lemon Biscotti. It was AWESOME. The hostess, Dagney, was kind enough to share the recipe with me...and it's been in an e-mail folder ever since. It happened to come up in a convo the other day again and I thought it'd be nice to try and make it. It sounded easy enough. So I did and it was wonderful, just like I remembered. YAY! I love when that happens!

Friday, Tim had a bake sale at school he wanted to take something for so he had me whip up another batch. They didn't really sell. Apparently no one knew what they were. So one lady tried them and then bought a bunch. Then she told another lady about them and she bought the rest! I guess they had to know what they were, then everyone loved them!

Here's the recipe. Enjoy!

Lemon Biscotti

2 3/4 cup ap flour

1 cup sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1 tbsp lemon rind
2 tbsp fresh lemon juice, divided
1 tbsp lemon extract
1 tbsp vegetable oil
3 large eggs

2/3 cup powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 350.

In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, and baking powder. In another bowl, combine lemon rind, 1 tbsp lemon juice, lemon extract, oil and eggs. Whisk until well combined and add to flour mixture, stirring until well combined. (I start with the whisk and then finish it with my hands) It will be dry and crumbly. Turn dough out on a LIGHTLY floured surface and knead lightly 7-8 times.

Divide dough in half. Shape each portion into a log about 8 inches long. Flatten each log to a 1 inch thickness. Transfer to parchment lined (or sprayed) baking sheet and bake for 30 minutes. Remove from oven and transfer dough to cooling rack. Reduce oven temp to 325. Cool for 10 minutes. Slice diagonally into 1/2 inch wide pieces. You should be able to get 10-15 pieces from each log of dough. Place pieces, cut side down, back on the baking sheets and bake for 10 minutes. Turn cookies over and bake for another 10 minutes. Remove from oven and transfer to cooling racks to cool completely before proceeding.

To make the drizzle, stir together the powdered sugar and 1 tbsp remaining lemon juice. Add more juice a little at a time to get the drizzle to the consistency that you want. Drizzle over cooled biscotti and let it dry completely before putting away.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

New posts!

I'm working on a couple new posts. They should be ready soon!!

Monday, October 5, 2009

Banana Bread Pudding

I've been making all kinds of yummy treats lately! This one is no exception. I was in the mood for some kind of banana pudding and THOUGHT that this is what a good friend of ours had made that I'd thought was so good....I was wrong, but it was good anyway! My hubby said I better watch out or my FIL will be here all the time since this is one of his favorite treats.

Banana Bread Pudding

1 cup sugar
3 eggs
1 tsp vanilla

2 1/2 cups scalded milk

Set aside.

In a 2 quart casserole, layer:
4 slices bread (I cubed mine)
3 mashed bananas
4 more slices bread
3 more mashed bananas

Pour custard over this. Set casserole dish in another larger dish of water and bake at 350 for 30 minutes or until set. Enjoy!

**Tim said that I should have made a brandy sauce for over it and it'd have been perfect. Also, a double batch will fit in a 9x13 cake pan, but you'll need a rather large pan for the water bath to do that.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Taco Seasoning

We go through a TON of taco seasoning. Last winter, we had taco night every Wednesday because right after school the kids had church, then we had 1 1/2 hours until wrestling practice to make supper, eat and do homework before we had to be back to school so it was crazy around here those nights and tacos are EASY and QUICK. LOVE THAT!! So every Wednesday was Taco night. There was a time or two where I was out of taco seasoning. OOPS, now what do I do?! Find a recipe for some and HOPE that I have everything in the house....lucky for me, I'm a spice collector. I have oodles of spices, most are common things, but there are a few things that are for more cultural dishes. This recipe takes things you probably already have...with the exception of cumin, these are ALWAYS in my house and have always been. Cumin is something that I started to keep in the house after I found a recipe for Pumpkin Seeds. I'll have to dig that recipe out for you, too. It's another good one and 'tis the season for pumpkin seeds!

Taco Seasoning

1 tbsp chili powder
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp onion powder
1/4 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp paprika
1 1/2 tsp cumin
1 tsp sea salt (or iodized, whatever)
1 tsp black pepper
cayenne pepper to taste

Stir together. Add to one pound ground meat, add some water and fry until heated through.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Indian Tacos

We love Indian Tacos. My husband's mom has a super fantastic recipe for Fry Bread. I used to have it, but when we moved, it's lost in a box somewhere and we haven't unpacked it yet. So, I called her and she just happened to have it handy the other night when we wanted to have them. WOOHOO! This is one of those recipes that you just have to play with it. If you've made bread, you know the texture of the dough and this should be similar, but the weather plays into how much flour the dough will accept. It's worth trying, though!

Fry Bread

4 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
2-3 tbsp oil
2 cups water or milk
flour-enough to make a soft dough, start with 2 cups

Mix all the ingredients. Add more flour as needed to make a soft, smooth dough. After the initial mixing of ingredients, it works best just to work the dough with your hands. When your dough can form a ball, let rest for 15 minutes.

Heat your oil to 375. To fry, I like to use a golf ball sized piece and work into a thin, flat round like a pancake. Fry until golden, flip and fry the other side. Repeat until the dough is gone. You can vary the size of the pieces to get the size that you like, but they should be rather thin when you fry them.

Top with taco toppings for Indian Tacos. Use two as a bun for hamburgers. Make a long one to use as a bun for hot dogs. Top with butter and cinnamon sugar or you could top with powdered sugar for a dessert. They are completely yummy no matter how you use them!

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Lemon Bars

I know most of you already have and use a recipe for lemon bars, but they are another of Timmy's favorite treats. I'm just putting this here for safe keeping since I can't find the book with the recipe that I usually use I found this one online, modified it a TINY TINY bit and we loved it. Maybe I'll even make it again one day!

Lemon Bars

2 cups flour
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 cup butter

Mix (I used a pastry blender) and press into a greased 9x13 pan. Bake in a preheated oven at 350 for 20-25 minutes until crust is a pretty golden color.

While that's baking, mix:
4 large eggs
2 cups sugar
1/3 cup lemon juice
1 tsp lemon extract (opt, but I added and it was lovely)
Stir well.

Add in:
1/4 cup flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp lemon zest (opt...I didn't have any so this was skipped)

When crust is done, pour this over it and return to the oven for 20 minutes. Cool and chill before sprinkling with powdered sugar and enjoy!

(We ate them still warm, but they were even better cold!)

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Cashew Chicken

A couple weeks ago, we were in this little tiny diner in Gresham and on the counter they had this 3 ring binder cookbook. It was from a "local author" and I was looking through it and saw SEVERAL recipes that I thought sounded good...but my DH didn't think I needed another cookbook....well, I thought differently and when he went to the bathroom I bought it and stashed it in the diaper bag (I'm gonna be sooooooo sad to stop carrying that big thing!) Rugby and Riley happened to find the book about a week ago and went through it, page by page telling me what they thought sounded I set them up with a notebook and they wrote the recipe name, page and who thought it was gonna be a good, I only have to look at their sheet for TONS of dinner ideas!! And I'll actually be using the cookbook, double bonus! We made chicken quesadillas the other day that were so good, but how do you screw that up? It's pretty simple. Anyway, another one that was marked "Both" (as in they both wanted it) was Cashew Chicken. My kids love chinese food and since most of what they like is simple stir fry stuff, I was happy to make it. This recipe is no exception. VERY SIMPLE and VERY tasty! I think the sauce would be good if I could figure out the breading to make peanut butter chicken. YUM! EnjoY!

Cashew Chicken

Peanut Butter Sauce:
1/2 cup chicken broth
1/4 cup peanut butter
2 Tbsp soy sauce
2 tsp honey

Mix together until well blended and set aside.

Stir Fry:
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1" pieces
3 cups broccoli, chopped
2 ribs celery, cut into 1/2" pieces
2 green onions, chopped (I skipped this for the kids)
2 Tbsp vegetable or peanut oil (I used butter)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp grated gingerroot (next time, I might add a bit more, but I LOVE ginger)
2 packages ramen noodles, flavor packages discarded
1/2 cup cashews

In the oil, saute the chicken, garlic and ginger until the chicken is no longer pink. Remove from skillet and set aside. In the skillet, add a little more oil (or like I did: a bit of chicken broth...less than 1/4 cup) and saute (or steam if you added the broth) the celery and broccoli for about 4 minutes. Add the green onion and continue to cook, stirring often until the veggies are tender-crisp. Add the chicken back to the skillet and pour the sauce over. Bring to a boil, then turn off the heat. While you are waiting, add the ramen noodles JUST THE NOODLES, NOT THE FLAVOR PACKET to a pot of boiling water and boil for 3 minutes; drain. Add the noodles to the chicken and veggies. Sprinkle with cashews and serve.

Peanut butter flavor is very subtle, not at all over whelming. I hope you like it!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Honey Hot Wings

Sorry for the long delay in posting. The move has gone fairly well. The only thing that got broken (that we've found so far) was 4 jars of my grandma's pickled beets. I guess if that's the worst of it, that's not so bad. While we were settling in, we had my husband's parents and grandma over for dinner one night and we initiated a new grill that night, too. We needed a new one and Tim wanted to get it before he left for work so that I could still grill while he was gone. THANK YOU, HONEY!! As a kind of "thank you" to him, I made Honey Hot Wings. He LOVES hot wings. This recipe made enough for him with a couple for me, a couple for his mom, and one for his dad and grandma. Enjoy!

  • 2 pounds chicken wings, tips discarded
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • salt and ground black pepper to taste
  • 1 cup honey, separated
  • 1/2 cup butter, melted
  • 1/2 cup hot sauce (I used Frank's Red Hot, but I think next time I make them, I'll use hot sauce from Apple Acres in Indiana.)
  1. Preheat an outdoor grill for medium heat and lightly oil grate.
  2. Wash the wings well and pat dry with paper towel. Season with cayenne, salt, and pepper. (I didn't measure the s&p or the cayenne...just gave the chicken a light sprinkling of them and it was perfect!)
  3. Cook the chicken wings on preheated grill until cooked through and juices run clear, 20 to 30 minutes depending on the size of the wings. Brush the wings liberally using 1/2 cup of honey while they are cooking.
  4. Melt the butter, pour into a large bowl and mix in the remaining 1/2 cup of honey and hot sauce. Remove the wings from the grill and immediately toss them in the hot honey butter sauce to coat. Serve the wings 'wet' or return them to the grill for 1 minute per side to set the sauce.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Zucchini Jam

When I was a little girl, my mom used to make Zucchini Jam for me every year. I just LOVED the stuff. Then, either Jello stopped making apricot jello or my mom just told me that so she was off the hook....she quit making it and lost the recipe. When I married and had kids of my own, I got a bug up my rear to find that recipe again. I searched all over online and tried a recipe or two, but none of them were my mom's recipe with the apricot jello. Then, in 2005 I thought to ask my Grandma in South Dakota. OF COURSE Grandma had it!! I've made it 3 of the last 4 years and it's always so good!! I make several batches so I have enough for gifts all year, too!

Granny's Zucchini Jam

6 cups grated zucchini
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup lemon juice
1 cup crushed pineapple, drained
1-6 oz box apricot jello
2 boxes sure-gel

Bring zucchini to a boil and cook until clear, about 6 minutes. Add sugar, lemon juice, and pineapple. Boil hard for 6 minutes. Remove from heat and add sure-gel. Stir until dissolved before adding the jello and stir that until dissolved, also. Pack into jelly jars and seal. Enjoy!

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Best Waffles EVAH!

Yesterday morning, Riley asked for waffles. I had planned and started pancakes already so we had them (See this post for the recipe!) But, this morning I thought it was perfect for pancakes! When I went to the freezer to get the blueberries, they were I made blackberry topping instead! YUM! I found this recipe, read the reviews and made some pretty big we have awesome waffles! They are even kind of healthy for you and very filling! Riley could only eat 2! (My waffle maker makes 2 waffles at a time, approx. 4"x5". The batch made a lot! Plenty for the freezer! )

Margie's Waffles

2 cups whole wheat flour
2 cups bread flour
2 tbsp + 2 tsp baking powder (or 8 tsp)
1/2 tsp salt
3 cups milk
3/4 cup applesauce (I used homemade and it's rather thick)
4 eggs, seperated
1/4 cup sugar
2 tbsp vanilla

Preheat waffle iron.

In a large bowl, sift together flours, baking powder, sugar, and salt. Stir in milk, vanilla, oil and egg YOLKS and mix until smooth.

In a separate bowl, beat egg WHITES until soft peaks form. Gently fold into flour mixture.

Spray preheated waffle iron with non-stick spray. Mine uses about 1/2 cup batter per waffle. Cook until golden and serve hot.

My blackberry topping was simply some mashed berries and a little sugar.

This recipe is linked to Share My Recipe Sunday at Organize with Sandy!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Honey Garlic Vinaigrette and Grilled Venison

A few years ago, I found and made this awesome dressing. I used it on lettuce from my garden with a little leftover grilled ribeye then. I rediscovered the recipe again and remember why I fell in love with it's EASY, CHEAP and YUMMY! The ingredients are things I always have in the house which makes it even better! Last night when I made this again (with Farmer's Market lettuce) we were trying a new recipe for grilled venison. Tim's friend, Melissa, sent me the recipe on Facebook and I followed part of it. The part I did was super simple and tasty, again with things I always have in the house. (The part I didn't follow was adding grilled tomatoes, bacon and gorgonzola cheese...we didn't miss it.) I put the meat on my salad and it was an awesome concoction! Enjoy!

Honey Garlic Vinaigrette

1 cup vegetable oil (don't use olive oil as the flavor is too strong)
1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
3 tbsp honey
2 (or 3) cloves of garlic, minced (I use my garlic press)

Put in a mixing container. I've used a blender or even a pint sized mason jar. Blend well. Allow to stand 45 minutes for flavors to meld. Stir/shake/mix again and serve.

Grilled Venison

Enough venison minute steaks to feed your crowd
Soy sauce
Worcestershire sauce
Garlic powder
Black Pepper
Olive Oil (I use EVOO)

In a glass dish or baggie, place meat and sprinkle with other ingredients. Cover or close bag and allow to stand at room temp for 30 minutes. Cook with indirect heat on grill until they are done.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Mediterranean Pepper Salad

Another goodie from the Smitten Kitchen put here for safe keeping. Enjoy!

Copy and pasted from SK:

Mediterranean Pepper Salad
Insprired by one you can buy at Zabar’s, but now no longer need to

I put my own spin on this, of course. I omitted the green peppers because, well, they’re not my favorite and I quick-pickled the red onion to sweeten and soften its blow. But really, my favorite part of salads like this is is that they can be kept in the fridge already dressed, and only grow more deliciously marinated in a day or two. Should they last that long.

1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1/4 cup cold water
1 tablespoon kosher salt
2 teaspoons sugar
1/2 a red onion, cut into a 1/2-inch dice (use less if your onion is huge)
3 bell peppers, your choice of colors (I used one red, orange and yellow)
1 kirby cucumber,
1/4-pound firm feta cheese
1/4 to 1/2 cup pitted kalmata olives
1/4 cup olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste

Swish together the red wine vinegar, water, kosher salt and sugar in a small bowl until the salt and sugar are dissolved. Add the red onion and set it aside.

Meanwhile, time to practice your knife skills. Core and seed your bell peppers and chop them into 1/2-inch pieces. Chop the cucumber and feta into similarly-sized chunks. Put your peppers, cucumber, feta and olives in a large bowl.

By now, your onions will have lightly pickled, both sweetening and softening their blow. Drain them and add them to the other vegetables in the large bowl, but reserve the vinegar mixture. Pour a quarter cup of the vinegar mixture over the salad, then drizzle with olive oil. Season generously with salt and freshly ground black pepper, or to taste. Toss evenly and serve at once, or let the flavors muddle together in the fridge for a few hours.

Forgetful, who me? People, I just realized I forgot to add the cup of grape tomatoes that are usually in this salad, and that I’d purchased specifically to add to it. Like grape tomatoes? Add them! Don’t like them? Turns out you might not know they were missing.

Black Bean Confetti Salad

I need a place to put this recipe so I remember it, so I'm putting it here. Originally found here at the Smitten Kitchen. I plan to make this over the weekend. Enjoy!

Black Bean Confetti Salad

This works equally well as a small salad–even tossed with salad greens for more bulk–or alongside salsa fresca for scooping up with a tortilla chip.

2 15-ounce cans black beans, drained and well-rinsed
4 bell peppers, a mix of colors, chopped into a small dice
1/2 super-large or 1 medium white onion, chopped into a small dice
Juice of one lime
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon ground cumin
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon honey
1/8 teaspoon cayenne
Optional: If you’re the kind of person who loves cilantro, it’s a great match for this salad.

Mix beans, bell peppers and white onion in a large bowl. In a separate, smaller bowl, whisk remaining ingredients into a vinaigrette. Ideally, you’ll have a 1/2 cup of dressing. Pour it over the bean mixture, toss it well and adjust seasonings to taste.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Pork Chops

I'll be the first to admit that with my hubby out of town, I'm not into cooking much...hence the lack of posting here...but I have made some pork chops the other night that were really good...Rugby had 3 of them! So I thought I'd share...even though it's not really a recipe..

At Aldi's, they sell an herb mixture called "Country Herbs" that is a mixture of mint, rosemary, thyme, marjoram, sea salt, and some others I can't remember right now. I use this in a lot of my salads, soups and now as a rub for the meat! Generously sprinkle the meat with it. Sprinkle with garlic powder and ground ginger and grill until they are cooked to your liking. While they are still hot, fresh off the grill dab them with butter. The real thing, substitutions allowed! The kids liked dipping in Sweet Baby Ray's, but they were good without it, too.


Saturday, June 20, 2009

Corn and Black Bean Salsa

A couple summers ago (I think), my SIL Christine made this awesome salsa for the Fourth of July gathering at my husband's parents house. All of his siblings (there are 7 total) come home with their spouses, boyfriends and kids and it makes for quite the party. Tim's dad's business usually puts a float in the parade and the kids throw popsicles off the back of the truck. Good times. But, anyway, for the cookout one night, Christine brought this salsa and I have to share (And put it here so I don't lose it!) it's so good and so easy!

Corn and Black Bean Salsa ala Christine

1 can black beans rinsed and drained
1 can mexican corn - drained
1 small red onion - finely chopped (I didn't put this in) (She doesn't...I do!)
3 roma tomatoes - chopped
3 green onions - chopped
2 avocados - chopped
1 sm clove garlic - minced

MIX together

1/4 - 1/2 cup olive oil
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1 envelope good seasons Italian dressing.

I added chopped fresh cilantro. (Me, too!!)

Serve with chips. (I'm thinking Fritos scoops would be good with this!!)


Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Life got in the way

Life got in the way of my blogging (again). My DH is out of town and now that school's out, I have all four at home with me and up to TWO extras, depending on the day. Sooooooo, I hope to be back posting recipes for you soon!! My husband's cousin's wife made an awesome salsa that I need to get the recipe for to share, and hopefully I can find Christine's corn salsa recipe to share, too. I LOVE SUMMER FOOD!!

Be back soon!!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Sloppy Joes

Last night, I hadn't planned our dinner. I babysat until 4:15 and played with the boys until Tim called and said he was on his way....oops! I had 1 hour to get dinner on the table. Searching the freezer, I found 1-1 1/2 pound block of hamburger and a pound of ground venison. COOL! Tacos....but I was out of taco seasoning, so I went to to get the recipe for the taco seasoning I liked. Their front page, featured recipe was a neat sloppy joe....neat because it's not so liquidy and run down your arm messy! WOOHOO! Mom's everywhere: REJOICE! I read the reviews and tweaked it some. It was good, but missing something to Tim's and my taste, but Rugby ate FOUR of them and Riley loaded up on Granny's potatoes she sent home with us this weekend (They came in really handy last night....10 minutes in the microwave and we were set!!) So, here's the recipe, let me know what you think!! Enjoy!

Sloppy Joes

2 pounds ground meat (beef, turkey, chicken, venison)
1/2 cup chopped onion
3/4-1 cup chopped celery
3 cloves minced garlic
1/2 cup grated carrot (Optional, but I added because I wasn't going to be serving a veggie on the side)
1 can tomato soup
1/4 cup ketchup
2 tbsp cider vinegar
1/8 cup brown sugar (originally called for 1/4 cup, so use your judgement)
1 1/2 tsp Worcestershire
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp garlic powder
2+ tbsp BBQ sauce (we use Sweet Baby Ray's)
1/8 tsp-ish Hickory liquid smoke

Cook meat and veggies until meat is browned. Add rest of ingredients and cook until heated through. Serve on buns.

(Serves 8)

Monday, June 8, 2009

Fry Bread

My mom and I were talking about "Indian Tacos" this weekend while I was back home. My husband was raised in an area very near to an Indian Reservation and they attend church on the reservation. His mom has this recipe for fry bread from some of the ladies at church and it's SO GOOD!! You can top it with taco stuff, or butter and cinnamon/sugar or powdered sugar (frosting, too) or drizzle with honey or some butter and jam. Really, use it just like a bread....we've also had it for a bun of a hot dog which was good, too. Enjoy!

Indian Fry Bread

Flour-enough to make a soft dough
4 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
2-3 tbsp oil
2 c water or milk

Combine all ingredients in a large mixing bowl and mix thoroughly. (Start with a couple cups of flour and add more as needed). Knead until smooth. Let stand at least 15 minutes. Melt 1 inch of oil in a heavy skillet until hot (like for donuts) (I use my deep fryer set at 375). Roll dough out on a floured board and cut into desired shapes. Fry 2 or 3 at a time until browned on one side, then flip and brown the other side.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Lime Cookies

I made these cookies this morning. They have a really fresh taste. The lime really pops. I've used the recipe exactly as written on allrecipes, so here it is for you. I baked for a slightly less amount of time so that the cookies still had a bit of chewy left to them.

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/3 cup white sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 3/4 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon lime zest
  • 3 tablespoons lime juice

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease 2 large baking sheets. Stir together the flour, baking powder, salt, 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg, and 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon in a bowl; set aside. Stir together 1/3 cup sugar, 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg, and 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon in a separate bowl and set aside.
  2. Cream together the butter, 1 cup sugar, and lime zest in a large bowl until light and fluffy. Gradually beat in the lime juice, then the flour mixture 1/2 cup at a time. Form the dough into walnut-sized balls, and roll in the spiced sugar mixture. Arrange onto prepared baking sheets 1 inch apart. Flatten the balls slightly using a decorative cookie stamp or the bottom of a glass.
  3. Bake the cookies in the preheated oven until the edges of the cookies turn golden brown, 13 to 16 minutes. Cool the cookies on wire racks, then store in an airtight container up to 1 week.

Rhubarb Upside Down Cake

My hubby LOVES rhubarb. I make a rhubarb crunch that he claims as his favorite, but I need a little more variety than making just that one rhubarb dessert. So today I'm making rhubarb cookies with browned butter icing and yesterday I made Rhubarb Upside Down Cake while my il-laws are here. It's super simple and SO YUMMY! Enjoy!

Rhubarb....I used chopped, about 3 cups. You could leave the rhubarb in long pieces cut to fit the pan, also.
1 white cake mix (YES! I actually used a cake mix!)
ingredients for the mix
1 cup heavy whipping cream

Place the rhubarb in a greased 9x13 pan. Pour the prepared cake mix over the rhubarb and pour the cream over the cake mix. Bake according to the directions on the box. When the cake has cooled slightly, invert the cake over your serving platter so the rhubarb is up. Allow to cool completely. Use the remaining whipping cream with some powdered sugar to make homemade whipping cream to serve on top of each slice.

(Picture coming soon!)

*Tip for making whipping cream: Freeze your mixing bowl and your wire whisk attachment before preparing the whipping cream, when they are that cold, it makes it easier to whip.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Ginger Soy Chicken

I made this for dinner Tuesday night. It was pretty good. I'd have liked to have more, so I'll probably double it next time. YUM!

Marinade 1 1/2 pounds of chicken in:

1/2 c soy sauce
1/2 c sherry
4 tbsp brown sugar
4-6 large cloves garlic, diced (I use a press)
2-4 tbsp grated fresh ginger
2 tbsp EVOO

Grill the chicken. While it's grilling, boil the marinade until reduced by half.

Sesame Vegetables

carrots, chopped into 1 inch chunks
1 onion, chunked (love the technical terminology, right?!!)
(Additional veggies would be good too....whatever your family likes...broccoli, mushrooms, etc)
1/2 stick butter
1 tbsp or more (your choice) sesame seeds

Saute until onions are tender and carrots are slightly crisp and tender.

When the chicken is done, cut up into cubes and stir into the veggies. Pour the reduced marindae over this. Serve over rice noodles (or Tim thought mashed potatoes would have been good also.) Enjoy!!

Friday, May 15, 2009

Easter Dessert

For Easter this year, we went to church with my husband's grandparents who we are lucky enough to live near to! We attend their church every couple weeks and check in to see how they are and show off our boys. This year, none of their kids could be home on Easter and we weren't heading back to our other home, so we spent it with Grandma and Grandpa. We had a great visit and shared lunch with them, also. I made a really yummy dessert that I've been meaning to share for quite a while. It can be made in a 9x13 pan (which I did) or you can layer it in a trifle bowl.

Lemon Pound Cake

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 cup butter flavored shortening
  • 2 cups white sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 teaspoons lemon extract
  • 1 cup milk
  • Juice and zest of one lemon
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease and flour a 9x13 pan. Sift together the flour, baking powder, salt and nutmeg. Set aside.

In a large bowl, cream together the shortening and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs one at a time, then stir in the sour cream, vanilla, lemon extract, lemon zest and juice. Beat in the flour mixture alternately with the milk, mixing just until incorporated. Pour batter into prepared pan.

In a large bowl, cream together the shortening and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs one at a time, then stir in the sour cream, vanilla and lemon extract. Beat in the flour mixture alternately with the milk, mixing just until incorporated. Pour batter into prepared pan.

Bake in the preheated oven for 45 to 50 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Let cool in pan for 10 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack and cool completely.

You will only need about half of the cake for the dessert.

Berry Squares

1 pkg. (12-oz.) pound cake, cut into 10 slices (Cut the lemon pound cake into squares, then slice them in half so they aren't as tall.)
3 Tbsp. orange juice
2 pt. fresh seasonal berries (I used raspberries, strawberries and blueberries)
2 T. sugar
1 1/2 C. milk
1 C. sour cream
1 t. vanilla extract
2 packages (4-serving size each) vanilla instant pudding mix
1 (8-oz.) tub Cool Whip, thawed

Arrange cake slices, cut side up, in bottom of a 13 x 9-inch serving dish. Drizzle orange juice over cake. Top with berries; sprinkle sugar over berries.

Pour milk into large bowl; whisk in sour cream, vanilla and dry pudding mixes, beating just until well blended and smooth. Gently stir in 1 cup of the Cool whip and blend. Spread over berries in pan. Top with remaining whipped topping. Cover and refrigerate overnight. Garnish with fresh berries before serving.

Serves 12 to 15.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Granny's Kitchen

My mom started a food blog. She makes more salads and desserts than I do. She posted a really good Green and White Salad that I had over the weekend and it was AWESOME and really easy to throw together. Go say hi and check it out!!

Granny's Kitchen

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Cinnamon Rolls

Today is Teacher Appreciation Day. I wanted to do something for the staff at my boys' school. The teachers and staff there are wonderful! So, on the blog-o-sphere, I found a recipe for Big Batch Cinnamon Rolls. Thanks to Amy at The Finer Things in Life for posting the recipe!!

For our wedding, we were given a stand mixer. I think it was a Sunbeam. It was small, but we were newly married with no kids so we had no need for anything larger....except that we got pregnant very soon after we were married and soon had another. Somewhere about the 3rd or 4th year anniversary mark, the mixer died. I was upset! I used that mixer almost daily. My kids liked to bake with me and we were constantly making cookies or muffins or SOMETHING. I knew Kitchen Aids were good, but I didn't want to spend the money. So, I went online and found one with Wolfgang Puck's name on it. It was a stronger motor than the KA and a WAYYYYYYYY cheaper pricetag. It also came with a money back guarantee. So, I ordered it and waited. Then it came and I was surprised by how light the box was....the whole thing was plastic! Very light and I was afraid that it wouldn't last long enough for me (I was only asking for a lifetime of use out of the thing!). So, I never even took the whole thing out of the box and shipped it back. About that time, KA was having a sale, so I got the 6 qt KA with an extra bowl and 2 rubber scrapers for only $200 more than the plastic one! WOOHOO! Now, roughly 4 years later, I STILL use the KA often. I got the 6 qt one because it has a 10 cup flour capacity. I figured it could then handle a double batch of cookies or breads, etc. Yesterday I first tested the capacity! I made the Big Batch Cinnamon Rolls and it calls for 9 cups of flour! And it handled it like a champ. I loved it!! You could make these by with your mixer and knead them by hand, but I was able to do it all with the mixer and they were great!! Enjoy!

Big Batch Cinnamon Rolls

Mix 3 cups hot water with 3 tbsp yeast and 3/4 cup sugar. Let stand 2-3 minutes to activate the yeast.

Mix in 2 cups flour.

Add 3/4 cup oil, 1 tsp salt, and 3 eggs. Mix well.

Add 7 cups of flour, a couple at a time until incorporated and knead until dough is not sticky.

Set dough in a LARGE bowl and allow to rise until doubled in size (I used the ginormous tupperware bowl.) Takes about an hour.

Divide dough in half and roll into a long rectangle. Spread with softened butter, sprinkle with brown sugar, white sugar and cinnamon. Roll up and use a long piece of floss to cut into 18 pieces. Repeat with the other half of dough. Place rolls on a greased pan and allow to rise again, about 30 minutes. (I use a warm oven for the rising. Preheat the oven to about 80-100* and shut it off, it will stay warm in there and they will rise really nice!)

Bake at 350 for 15-20 minutes.

Allow to cool slightly before icing.

Cinnamon Roll Icicng

1/4 c melted butter
1 tbsp vanilla (use clear vanilla if you want to have WHITE icing)
3 tbsp milk
powdered sugar (takes almost a full bag to get to the consistancy I like)

Mix until spreadable. I like it thick like frosting, some like it thinner like a glaze, it's all personal preference. I added a touch of purple coloring (for the Bulldogs!) because it was kinda brown from the vanilla.

(I bet the brown butter icing from the pumpkin cookies I made last week would be good on these, also!)

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Chocolate Chip Cookies

Remember last week I made chocolate chip cookies that tasted good, but really flattened out on me? My friend, Erin, posted that she had a great recipe for them and she posted it! I made them today and it's my new GO TO recipe for Chocolate Chip Cookies! Thanks, Erin!! And one batch isn't nearly enough, so better make it a double :)

Here's the recipe:

"The" Chocolate Chip Cookie
2 c. all purpose flour
1/2 t. baking soda
1/2 t. salt
3/4 c. unsalted butter
1 c. packed brown sugar
1/2 c. white sugar
1 T. vanilla extract
1 egg
1 egg yolk
2 cups semi sweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Sift together flour, baking soda, and salt, set aside.

In medium bowl, cream together melted butter, sugars until well blended. Beat in the vanilla, egg, egg yolk until light and creamy. Mix sifted ingredients until well blended.

Bake for 15-17 minutes until edges are lightly toasted.

Thursday, April 23, 2009


Today Tim had to take a plate of cookies with him to work. Every month or so a different department at his school is supposed to treat the other teachers, but they haven't done it since he's been there, so this month there are 3 departments working together on it. I didn't know that until AFTER I already baked cookies. So, I thought it was just him and the other teacher so I made 2 batches, one with chocolate and one without. So, he took both batches, anyway. The chocolate chip ones that I made were good, but they really flattened out....too much for my taste. I won't be making that recipe again, but from the same book, I got this recipe for Pumpkin Cookies with Brown Butter Frosting. Tim didn't get to try them last night because I was up until 11pm making them. Apparently they were good because he woke me up to tell me they were "terrible" (He thinks that telling me they are terrible will make me make them again since I RARELY ever make the same recipe twice...) Well, I have to agree, they are pretty darn good! I love the brown butter's caramely in flavor and the color is GORGEOUS! They are a fussy cookie to make, but COMPLETELY worth it!! Enjoy!!

Pumpkin Cookies with Brown Butter Icing

2 3/4 c ap flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 1/4 tsp coarse salt
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 1/4 tsp ground ginger
3/4 tsp ground nutmeg (fresh ground if you can)
1 1/2 sticks (3/4 c) unsalted butter (I used salted and cut down on the salt above to compensate), softened
2 1/4 c packed light brown sugar
2 large eggs, room temperature
1 1/2 c (14 oz) canned pumpkin (NOT pie filling!)
3/4 c evaporated milk
1 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 375. Whisk together: flour, baking soda and powder, salt cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg. Set aside.

Cream butter and brown sugar with an electric mixer (here's when I really LOVE my KitchenAid!). Mix in eggs. Reduce spead to low and add pumpkin, evaporated milk and vanilla. Mix until well blended. Add flour mixture and mix until combined. This mixture will be rather soft.

Use a pastry bag and a #12 (or similar) tip to pipe circles 1 1/2 inches around and 1 inch apart on a parchment lined or greased cookie sheet. Bake for 5 minutes, rotate pan and bake another 5-7 minutes or until tops spring back. Transfer to wire racks to cool completely.

4 c powdered sugar
1 1/4 sticks (10 tbsp) unsalted butter
1/4 c plus 1 tbsp evaporated milk
2 tsp vanilla extract

Put powdered sugar in the bowl you want to mix in. Melt butter in a small saucepan over medium heat, swirling occasionally, until browned, about 3 minutes. Pour into the powdered sugar and scrape the browned bits from the pan into the frosting. Add evaporated milk and vanilla and whisk until smooth. Frost each cookie with approx 1 tsp of frosting. Allow to set before stacking. Can be stored in an airtight container at room temp for 3 days. (Like they'd last that long!) Makes approx 6 dozen

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Spinach and Strawberry Salad

I got this recipe last year from Clean Eating Magazine. Since I'm the only one in the house that will eat spinach, the only hard part is keeping their paws off my stawberries!

Spinach and Strawberry Salad with Orange Poppy Seed Dressing

1/2 c plain or vanilla low/non-fat yogurt
1/4 orange juice concentrate, thawed
1 tbsp poppy seeds

Stir until blended.

each serving:
3 1/2 c baby spinach leaves
4 large strawberries, quartered
2 tbsp dressing

Simple and healthy AND super YUMMY! Enjoy!

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Root Beer Cake with FUDGE Frosting

Helps with the diet, no? heee heee heee!

I got this cookbook from the library about a month ago. I'm LOVING it! I may have to look into purchasing it. (Where's the best place to get good deals on books?? I use amazon and sometimes is there something better??) I made the granola from the book and now this super yummy cake. The cake is screaming, "BOW DOWN before my awesomeness." And then with a scoop of ice cream on the side? Heaven, I'm telling you!! And this has got to be the BEST frosting I've ever put on a chocolate cake....even Tim commented that it was really good frosting. With a little tweaking, this is a GREAT cake!! Enjoy!!

Root Beer Bundt Cake

2 cups root beer (NOT diet!)
2 capfuls root beer concentrate
1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 stick unsalted butter, cut into 1" pieces
1 1/4 cup white sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
2 cups ap flour
1 1/4 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
2 large eggs

Preheat oven to 325*. Generously spray the insde of a 10" bundt pan with cooking spray and set aside.

In a medium saucepan, heat root beer, butter, and cocoa powder over medium heat until the butter is melted. Remove from heat and stir in sugar until dissolved. Allow to cool.

In a medium bowl, whisk the flour, baking soda and salt.

In a small bowl, whisk the eggs just until beaten and then whisk them into the cooled cocoa mixture (it doesn't have to be all the way cooled, just enough that you aren't going to scramble the eggs when you add them). Gently fold the flour mixture into the cocoa mixture. The batter will be slightly lumpy, so be careful not to over beat or your cake will be tough.

Bake for 35-40 minutes or until a knife inserted into the center comes out clean. Rotate the pan halfway through cooking. Transfer to a wire cooling rack until completely cool. Then loosen the edges and turn onto a cake platter.

Fudge Frosting

2 oz dark chocolate, melted and cooled slightly
1 stick unsalted butter, softened
1 tsp salt
1/4 cup root beer
1-2 capfulls root beer concentrate
2/3 cup cocoa powder
2 1/2 powdered sugar

Put all the ingredients in a food processor and pulse until smooth and shiny. Spread on cooled cake. Allow frosting to set before serving.

Serve slices with a scoop or two of ice cream for a really nice treat! It's like a root beer float...only better!

This cake is nice and moist, almost fudgy!

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

BBQ Bacon Cheeseburgers

Have your attention yet? BBQ Bacon Cheeseburgers are on Tim's top 10 list of fave foods. I needed a QUICK dinner last night since I wasn't feeling exactly wonderful and didn't make it to the grocery store as I always do on Monday's. I had ground beef and everything else for burgers...except buns which the gas stations in town both sell, so it was burger night! These are bacon wrapped cheeseburgers, I had to modify the recipe but they turned out awesome. Tim got one cold one when he got home and I had another one frying for him so he got a hot one, too. Rugby ate THREE of them. The kids I topped with shredded cheddar and ours I topped with pepper jack which was SO GOOD!! Enjoy!

Bacon Wrapped Burgers

In a large bowl, mix:
1 egg
1 small onion, diced
2 tbsp BBQ sauce (I used Sweet Baby Ray's original)
2 tbsp Worcestershire
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
2 pounds ground beef

Form into patties. Wrap with bacon (secure bacon with toothpicks). Grill over medium-medium high heat for 5 minutes per side or until cooked through. Top with cheese of your choice and allow to melt. This made 8 burgers for me and took almost 1/2 pound of thick sliced bacon.

I fried them in a skillet on the stove since I couldn't find the fire stick to start the grill. I had to pour the grease off part of the way through cooking, but other than that, it went smoothly.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Mexican Night

Last night was Mexican night at our house. Tim had asked me to make beef enchiladas and Spanish rice, but I don't like beef enchiladas so I made Steak Fajitas instead. My kids are not picky eaters, but they don't do spicy foods. Well, they weren't too pleased at last night's dinner options. The fajitas were a bit spicy and the rice had red and green peppers in it, so they wouldn't eat it. Rugby ate the fajitas and liked them, but said he didn't like the spicy part. I was so happy that he tried it!! Riley tried it, but just barely. Rugby had 3/4 of his gone before he came up for air. :) So, with the modifications, here's two more new recipes for you! Enjoy!

Spanish Rice

1 cup chicken broth
1 cup tomato sauce
4 slices bacon, cut into small chunks (a scissors works great to do this!)
1 large onion, chopped/diced
1 cup minute rice (using this takes a ton less time! If you want, use basmati or jasmine rice, but cook 35-40 minutes at the end...)
1 can diced tomatoes, drained (or 2 chopped fresh tomatoes)
1 (or 2) bell pepper, diced and your choice of colors. I used red and half of a green
1/2 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1 can corn, drained
handful of chopped fresh cilantro, add to your taste.

In a small saucepan over medium heat, bring broth and tomato sauce to a boil.

In a LARGE skillet, cook the bacon chunks until browned. Scoop out the bacon and set aside. In the bacon grease, saute the onions until tender. Add the rice and cook until lightly browned (I kinda skipped that step and it was ok). Pour in the boiling broth/sauce, tomatoes, peppers, corn and bacon. Stir in the spices. Cover and simmer until rice is cooked (I didn't cover and it only took 10ish minutes.

Steak Fajitas
WARNING: If you are used to and expecting this to be like "normal" fajitas that you have big chunks of meat that you have to tear with your teeth, this isn't it. Don't expect that. It's gonna be shredded steak but completely yummy!

1 1/2 pounds beef flank steak (I used boneless country beef ribs), sliced into strips
small-med jar of salsa (I used some home canned spicy salsa)
1 jalapeno, diced WITH seeds (or without the seeds if you don't want the heat)
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp ground coriander
2 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp chili powder
3/4 tsp salt
1 medium onion, julienned
1 green pepper, julienned
1 sweet red pepper, julienned
1/4 c butter
1 tbsp fresh cilantro, minced (I used more...probably about 3 tbsp or better)
2 tsp cornstarch
1 tbsp water
juice of one lime, microwave the lime for 30 seconds before juicing to give you the most juice you can get!
sour cream
pepper jack or cheddar cheese, grated

In a SLOW COOKER, layer meat, salsa, spices, jalapeno. Cover and cook on low for 5-7 hours or until meat is fall apart tender.

When meat is ALMOST ready, whisk the cornstarch into the water and stir into the slow cooker. This will help thicken the juices.

In a skillet, melt the butter and saute the onion and peppers until tender.

Before serving, stir the cilantro and lime juice into the meat.

****I serve this from the stove like a buffet. Each person can top with their choice of toppings. I use the burrito size tortillas. The spanish rice is good wrapped right in with the other toppings also or served on the size with sour cream on top.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Pancakes and Orange Julius

My DH loves making breakfast. It's been so nice having him home this week because he'll make the kids great breakfast before school where I'm content to give them cereal with whatever frozen berries we hauled out of the freezer. Yesterday was french toast and today was his famous pancakes. Ok, maybe not famous, but they are super fluffy, melt-in-your-mouth pancakes. I like that I don't have to remember to buy pancake mix because it's made with things I always have in the house. YAY!! And when he makes "orange julius" smoothies to go along with it. YUMMY!! Here's the recipes, enjoy!!


1 1/3 cup ap flour
2 tbsp sugar
3 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 egg
1 cup milk
3 tbsp oil
vanilla to taste

Mix the dry ingredients first, then add the wet ingredients. Mix well. Cook on a griddle or frypan until golden, flip and repeat.

Orange Julius

6 oz frozen orange juice concentrate
1 cup milk
1 cup water
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla
8-10 ice cubes

Combine all ingredients in a blender and blend until thick and slushy. Serve immediately.
1 tsp vanilla

Thursday, March 26, 2009


Ok, I've been sharing LOTS AND LOTS of success stories. Here's a disaster one for you:

The other night, I roasted a chicken for supper. Smelled a little weird, but not exactly "off" when I got it out but I was leary of it. I should have tossed it and not worried about it, but roasted the chicken in my usual way (1 tsp each of rosemary, sage, marjoram, and salt in the cavity with an onion and then another batch of the spices rubbed into the top and roasted in the stonebaking dishes I have until fall apart tender...) So, I pull the thing out of the oven and 1) it doesn't look done. Ugh. and 2) still smells weird. I cut into it and it's still a bit bloody. Lovely. Kids are sitting at the table waiting....Tim starts giving me a hard time about my inability to cook chicken and I lose it. EIGHT YEARS ago, I had a hard time with chicken, ONCE, and I am never going to live it down, but pulling that half cooked, bloody, stinky bird from the oven to his comments was more than I could handle. So, pick a plan B....Tim made reptile logs as appetizers (celery sticks with peanut butter, raisins and sunflower seeds) and I whipped up a white, alfredo-ish sauce and tossed in some leftover chicken from the night or two before. It went great with the broccoli and buttered noodles that were planned to be our dinner. ARGH! So, supper was a disaser, but some quick thinking and leftovers saved the day!

Thursday, March 19, 2009


Ever since Rugby and Riley were really little, they have gotten cupcakes and muffins confused. So, they started calling them Muff-cakes. Sounds kinda dirty to me, but they don't know the slang yet so I think I'm safe. Anyway, tomorrow (Friday) is Riley's turn to bring snack for school. He asked for muff-cakes. NO PROBLEM....except I gave my cookbook with my normal cake recipe in it away at Christmas (No, I don't want it back, Mom...but I may have you e-mail me the recipe later!) So, I went to my trusted friend, All Recipes and found a new favorite! The batter is divine and I think the cupcakes will be, too. They're still in the oven, so I'll have to report back later with the results!

Chocolate Cupcakes
makes 24

In a large bowl, mix and set aside:
2 cups flour
3/8 tsp baking soda
1 tbsp baking powder
1 cup plus 2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
1/8 tsp salt

In another bowl:
Cream 2 1/4 cups sugar
1/4 cup plus 1 tsp butter

Add 3 eggs, one at a time, beating well between each egg. Then stir in 1 tsp vanilla.

To this mixture, alternately add the flour mixture with 1 1/2 cups milk. Bake at 350 for 15-17 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

**EDIT: The kids LOVED the cupcakes. I used a good, homemade buttercream frosting with vanilla extract instead of the normal almond that I used, tinted them light, light blue and used bright colored sugars on the top. I piped the frosting on with a star tip, just in circles and sprinkled with the sugars. Riley's teacher said the kids all asked Riley for the recipe. LOL! Kindergartners want my recipe. I think that's hilarious!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

"Maple" Syrup

Last night was one of those nights. You know the ones I am talking about....nothing came together right....The weather was nice so I was outside playing with the kids when I should have been making supper, we ran out of syrup, I made too much egg wash for the stuffed french toast, the list goes on and on.....BUT! The kids had a great time burning energy in the sunshine and warmth of spring, so it really wasn't too bad....except that I didn't have any syrup for the stuffed french toast. And I didn't realize that until the first six pieces were already cooked, NOW WHAT DO I DO?? I make my DARLING husband look up a recipe online. He tried to yell it to me as I was cooking and getting kids cups and all other things that comes with making dinner and it just didn't work. But, he wrote it down (so simple!!) and then I couldn't find the maple flavoring. Ugh. He managed to find it, right there in the lazy susan next to the other extracts, but my frazzled eyes could not see it. So, anyway, I quickly threw together a double batch (I hope we like it!) and we're off and running. That's right, Mom, my kids actually got WARM syrup last night! lol!! But, I don't think that I'm going to be buying syrup anymore. This stuff was really good and totally easy to make....heck, I did it in the middle of stuffing, dipping and frying the french toast, so it couldn't have been hard, right?! Plus, I love that it doesn't have HFCS. So, for your enjoyment, here's the syrup recipe. Enjoy!

Homemade "Maple" Syrup

2 cups sugar
1 cup water

Boil until sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat and stir in 1/2 tsp maple extract.

That's it!! Easy!! A double batch is just a tiny bit too much for the normal syrup container we use, but with the 5 boys I feed, we used what didn't fit and still had plenty of leftovers, so those went in the fridge.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

BAKED Granola

Years ago, I was watching Martha Stewart and there were two dudes on there that owned a little bakery in Brooklyn called BAKED. I can't remember anymore what they were making, but I remember that it looked so good! But, like many things, it was in one ear and out the other. Fast forward to two weeks ago, one of the blogs that I read mentioned this cookbook that she read called BAKED: New Frontiers In Baking....and it was the same two dudes with the bakery in Brooklyn! So, I checked the online catalog for the library and they have it! I ordered it and got it and as we speak, I have granola baking. No HFCS here, folks, just lots of yummy goodness! I had a bit of a hard time finding hazelnuts, but the local food co-op/health food store had them...they are organic, so I guess that's a good thing, but not used to paying organic prices for things. The little bag was about $3 and there's about 1 cup in it. At least that's enough for 3 batches of granola! My house smells awesome with it baking!! Here's the recipe, I'll let you know how it is after it cools and I can add the raisins. I can't wait to try it in a fruit and yogurt parfait!!

Easy Homemade Granola

2 cups rolled oats
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp salt
3 tbsp + 1 tsp vegetable oil
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1 tsp pure vanilla
1/3 cup whole almonds
1/3 cup whole hazelnuts
1/3 cup golden raisins (I used regular because I had them)
1/3 cup dried cherries (I forgot to buy them, so didn't use)

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment. (thanks for sending that home, mom!!!)

In a large bowl, mix the oats with the cinnamon and salt.

In a small bowl, mix the honey, vanilla, brown sugar, and oil. Whisk until well combined. Pour over the oats mixture and USE YOUR HANDS to mix it up. Grab it in handfuls, make a fist. Repeat until well mixed.

Pour this on your baking sheet. Spread evenly, but leave some clumps. Bake for 10 minutes. Use a metal spatula to flip the granola, sprinkle with the almonds.

Bake another 5 minutes. Flip again and sprinkle with hazelnuts.

Bake another 10 minutes. Allow to cool completely before sprinkling with raisins and cherries. Use your hands to transfer to an airtight container. This will keep for a week. Enjoy!

**Post cooling edit: THIS IS AWESOME!! I love hazelnuts and they fit perfectly in this granola! I am having it on my strawberry yogurt this mornng. TJ loves it, too. It's EASY and totally worth the time!! Try it out!!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Kelly's Potatoes

Here's a couple conversations with my boys a couple weeks ago:

On Saturday:
Me: Riley, what should we have for lunch today?
Me: Um, ok, I'll have to see if I can find the recipe she used, k?
Riley: Yea, just make um!
(I did manage to find the recipe, Riley apparently loved them!)
On Monday: (while I was menu planning)
Me: What should we have for dinners this week?
Rugby: Meat and potatoes with corn.
Me: Ok, can do, how about we do that Tuesday?
Rugby: Ok
Me: Riley, you want to pick a night?
Riley: Kelly's potatoes!!
Me: You liked them, huh? Alrighty! We'll do them Wednesday.
Riley: NO! Mom, it's Taco Wednesday. (I promised the kids tacos every Wednesday until wrestling season is over)
Me: OH! I forgot, Thursday then.
Riley: Thanks, Mom!

So, if they're that good, I GOTTA post the recipe!

8 potatoes, peeled and sliced
3 cups milk
4 tbsp flour
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper (yes, I use it all when I make these)
1 cup chopped onion
chopped ham (optional)
Shredded cheddar cheese

Grease a 9x13 pan. In a single layer, spread out four potatoes worth of slices. Add the ham if you are adding it.

In a saucepan, bring to a boil: milk, flour, salt, garlic powder, & cayenne. Stir until thickened. Add the onion.
Pour 1 1/2 cups of this mixture evenly over the potatoes. Add another layer of potatoes over this and spread the remaining 1 1/2 cups of sauce over the potatoes.

Cover and bake at 350 for an hour. Remove cover and sprinkle generously with cheese and place back in the oven to melt the cheese. Enjoy!

Thursday, March 5, 2009

I don't think this is normal...

Do you have this many measuring cups?

(That's 7 sets and 3 individual ones)

Do you store your caramels, chocolate chips, coconut, powdered sugar, baking chocolate, mint chips, etc in a rubbermaid tub to keep them handy?

I almost always have 3 bags of chocolate chips, a bag of coconut, and a bag of powdered sugar in my tub. Usually there's more stuff in there. Like right now....there are 4 bags of chocolate chips (2 milk and 2 semi-sweet), 2 boxes of baking chocolate squares (1 semi-sweet and 1 bittersweet), 2 1/2 pounds of dipping chocolate, 2 partials and a full bag of powdered sugar, a full and a partial bag of coconut, a bag of mint chips, a partial bag of caramel chips, a large bags of caramels (the kind you have to unwrap), a partial bag of toffee chips, 2 bags of white and milk chocolate swirl chips, some craft sticks for making mini caramel apples, craft sticks for making candy, some mini cupcake wrappers, and some fat sanding sugars.

So it makes me curious, how do you store your baking goodies? My brown sugar and oatmeal each have their own storage containers that are stored in my lazy susan with a small rubbermaid tub filled with sugars and sprinkles, etc. The shortening and spices are in there, too. I have a 5"x5" rubbermaid-ish storage box for all my food coloring, too. It would be nice to have all that stuff together somewhere, but my kitchen is soooooooo small and I wouldn't be able to do half of what I do in there without my work table.

So, where do you store your goodies? Any great tips or suggestions for me?!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Pumpkin Bread

This weekend we were at some friend's house and she made some AWESOME pumpkin bread. I thought I'd share the recipe here. I'm planning to make this later today, provided kids stop throwing up long enough for me to do that.

Pumpkin Bread

3 1/2 c flour
2 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg
3 c sugar
1 c oil
4 eggs
2/3 c water
2 c pumpkin

Whisk dry ingredients together. Stir wet ingredients together. Add the wet to the dry and beat until smooth. Pour into 2 greased bread pans. Bake at 350 for 1 hour. Enjoy!

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Peanut Butter Brownie Trifle

My mom makes fruit trifles. My Rugby LOVES them!! They are probably his favorite desserts. I am a sucker for peanut butter and chocolate. So, when I saw this post this week from another blog, I knew that I had to try it!! I mean does ANYTHING say I Love You better than that?? But, being me I couldn't leave well enough! I used a baby cookie cutter (that Granny sent the kids for V-Day last year) to cut the brownies to heart shapes and used that. I also used neufchatel instead of regular cream cheese and I also use light cool whip.

Oh, and brownie mix was on sale this week, so I cheated and used that instead.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Brownie Trifle

1 2/3 cups granulated sugar
3/4 cup baking cocoa
1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
2 tablespoons water
3/4 cup butter or margarine, melted
2 teaspoons vanilla

Peanut Butter Filling
1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
2 cups powdered sugar
1 cup peanut butter
2/3 cup milk
16 ounces Cool Whip
4 peanut butter cups, chopped
chocolate syrup

Preheat oven to 350. Grease 13 x 9-inch baking pan. Combine dry ingredients in large mixer bowl; stir. Add wet ingredients and stir well.
Spread into prepared baking pan. Bake for 18 to 25 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out slightly sticky. Let cool completely.

Mix cream cheese and powdered sugar until smooth. Add in peanut butter and milk. Combine. Fold in Cool Whip until combined.
Take half of the brownies out and crumble in large glass bowl, if you have one, or in a 13×9 pan. You can also divide up between tall parfait glasses as well. Add a layer of the peanut butter mixture. Take the other half of the brownies out and crumble on top of the peanut butter mixture. Put the last half of the peanut butter mixture on top. Drizzle chocolate syrup on top.
Add the chopped peanut butter cups on top. Refrigerate until serving time.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Tim's Dessert

This fall, Tim was in LaCrosse helping some friends cut wood to heat their house. It's a tradition that the guys that hunt on their land come help wood in exchange for the hunting privileges. Tim doesn't hunt there, but he wanted to help anyway. One of the ladies that came over made a dessert that Tim fell in love with. He even asked for the recipe. AND THEN HE MADE IT!! And, he's made it more than once! That's rarely something I do. lol! It's easy and quick plus, you can change it up every time you make it depending on the flavor mood you are in.

Tim's Dessert

First layer:
1 cup flour
1/2 cup butter
2 tbsp brown sugar
1/4 cup finely chopped nuts (we use pecans because I don't like walnuts)

Mix, then press into a 9x13 pan and bake at 375 for 15 minutes or until golden brown. Cool.

Second layer:
8 oz cream cheese
2/3 cup powdered sugar
4 oz cool whip

Beat the cream cheese and powdered sugar. Fold in the cool whip. When the crust is cool, spread this layer on that.

Third layer:
2 small or 1 large package instant pudding (see note below)
2 1/2 cups milk

Beat together and spread over cream cheese mixture.

Fourth layer:
4 oz cool whip
chopped nuts or other decoration

Spread over pudding and top with decoration.

**For the pudding, we really like lemon. Chocolate is kind of bland. Vanilla is good with a layer of jam spread over the pudding before topping with cool whip (we used Cherry Rhubarb jam I made this summer). Last night, Tim made it with chocolate pudding and stirred in some toffee bits, topped with a layer of vanilla pudding and then used toffee bits and nuts for decoration. We've also made this with Oreo Cookies n' Cream pudding and topped with chopped oreos. YUM!! The lady that made this in LaX told Tim that pistachio isn't good with this recipe. Oh, we also made with white chocolate pudding and a layer of butterscotch pudding over that and it was pretty good, too.

So, you can see it's easy to transform this recipe however you'd like! Enjoy!

Thursday, February 5, 2009


Hello everyone!

This week, I had some company here. It was so nice to visit!! She's my younger cousin and was in need of some time away. Anyway, while she was here, I made our great-aunt's recipe for Spaghetti. Nothing says lovin' like Aunt Harriet's Spaghetti!! It's just sooooooooo good!! It's at the top of my list of favorite comfort foods. Sorry I don't have pictures to share, but please let me know if you try it. It's sooooo good!!


1 pound ground meat (beef or venison...I had venison so that's what I used this time)
4+ cloves garlic (amount is your preference...we like garlic so I use more, but it's your choice)
medium onion, chopped
2 cans tomato soup
1 soup can of water
2 tbsp lemon juice
Italian seasoning
(optional: cayenne pepper and sliced mushrooms)

Melt some butter in a large skillet and gently saute the onion and garlic. Turn heat up a bit and fry the hamburger until it's in small crumbles. Add the tomato soup, water, lemon juice and Italian seasoning (I sprinkle the pan to cover it once, stir, then cover again. Now would be a good to add the mushrooms if you wish and a light sprinkling of cayenne) Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer, stirring occasionally for at least one hour. I usually try to make this in the morning and let it simmer all day. It does taste even better if you simmer it one day and reheat it the next. Serve over noodles with garlic bread or just buttered dinner rolls (I made my whole wheat dinner rolls and they were awesome!!) Enjoy!

Monday, February 2, 2009

English Muffin Bread

Good Afternoon!

Today I have been itching to get some things done around the house. The weekend was beautiful and I managed to clean and vacuum my front porch. I have company coming tomorrow, so I should at least clean the bathrooms even if the rest of the house is kinda messy! I managed to scrub one bathroom (minus the shower) while I made the English Muffin Bread below. I threw it all in the bread machine and let it run! I washed my hands to get all the ick and chemicals off before lining a loaf pan with cooking spray and cornmeal and it's doing the second rising right now in the oven that I preheated to about 75 degrees and shut off. Now, I get to clean the other bathroom and both showers and I won't mind when Rach sees the house. :)

I am a sucker for a good English Muffin. Some peanut butter and my homemade zucchini jam and I'm all set. I can't wait to try this! It had good reviews on allrecipes, though I had to tweak it just a bit! And I'm too lazy to cook them on a griddle, so I'm making it as a loaf and slicing it. Should be good for toasting!! Many people suggested using an 11.5 oz coffee can and greasing that to bake the bread in to make it round like traditional english muffins, but we buy our coffee in bags or monster plastic tubs, so there aren't any coffee cans laying about waiting for re-purposing. Anyway, here's the recipe....I'll be back later with the verdict!

English Muffin Bread

In your bread maker put:
1 cup warm milk
1/2 cup warm water
1 1/2 tsp sugar
1 tsp salt
1/8 tsp baking powder
2 cups ap flour
1 cup whole wheat flour (or use AP, your choice, but I used wheat)
2 1/4 tsp yeast

Run on the dough setting.

When it finishes, spray a 9x5 loaf pan with cooking spray and sprinkle with cornmeal. BE PREPARED: Your dough will be sticky! Shape into the pan. Sprinkle the top with cornmeal. Cover an let rise until doubled in size. Mine took about 30 minutes in the oven (preheat oven to 75-80 degrees, turn off and leave the loaf inside). Bake at 400 for at least 15 minutes. You'll need to watch it so that you get your desired color and texture. It probably won't be done at the 15 minutes, so just start checking then. Allow to cool before slicing. TOAST and enjoy!

**I'm back! Straight from the oven, sliced it's not great. It's bland, but with potential! So, I waited until it cooled and then I toasted a slice, smeared it full of peanut butter and zucchini jam and OH. MY. WORD! YUM, YUM, YUM! Just as good or better than any store-bought english muffin! YAY!