Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Elegant Turkey Casserole

Elegant Turkey Casserole
     Well my last post of the year. Can't believe it's going to be 2015 tomorrow! When I was a kid I always use to hear the adults saying that time is flying by. I never quite got it as a kid, but now I do.

     Anyways, I thought I'd post this recipe to end out the year. It's a recipe that I usually make after we've made a turkey, but chicken could easily be used to make this as well. It is an expected dish the next day following a turkey dinner.

     This casserole has a tangy sweet flavor and the salty chips just adds a little something to make it delicious. I never, ever have leftovers with this one. The recipe asks for water chestnuts and I try to make a point of putting them in. It gives it a little bit of crunch and no one seems to mind, not even the picky eaters. I don't always have the slivered almonds for this so one can easily leave them out and it will still taste great.

    So here's to a Happy New Year! Hope the upcoming year is a great year for everyone!

Elegant Turkey Casserole
Mix all ingredients together and put in buttered 9X13 pan. Top with 2 cups crushed potato chips. Bake 45 minutes at 350 degrees.

2 cups chopped chicken or turkey
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup green pepper
1/2 cup mayo
1 can cream of mushroom soup
3/4 cup cheddar cheese
2 cups chopped celery
2 tablespoons chopped onion
1 tablespoon worchestershire sauce
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1/2 cup slivered almonds
1/4 cup water chestnuts

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Gingerbread Bars

Gingerbread Bars
     I finally finished my Christmas shopping today. The dogs were the last ones that I had to do. I of course went to Petco and got them each an antler bone. Those things are the greatest. They don't leave a mess and it literally takes months for them to finish one of them.

     I even finished wrapping all the presents that I bought. They are now neatly tucked under the tree and I can now work on picking up those stocking stuffers. I always am picking stuff up for the stockings up until the last minute. I already know what I want to get so hopefully I can finish that on tomorrow.

   Now my next plan of attack is baking Christmas goodies. Last year at this time I had already baked several treats, but this year I'm not doing so well. I have made Reindeer Mix a couple of times though, but I'm not sure if that counts as a Christmas goodie, although my family may disagree.

     I did bake these awesome gingerbread bars this week. I decided about an hour before bedtime that I was going to whip these up. They do not take long to mix up and the baking time is very minimal. They turned out great. They actually taste like gingerbread and are chewy and taste delicious with a glass of milk. The only thing that I would do different is I would half the recipe for the frosting. I just don't like it so sweet. My husband who does have a sweet too agrees with me (which is odd) which is something I did not expect him to say.

    Nevertheless, these are still good bars and I know I will be making them again real soon.

Gingerbread Bars
1/2 Cup butter, melted
3/4 Cup sugar
1/4 Cup brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/3 Cup molasses
1 egg
2 teaspoon baking soda
2 Cup flour
1 Tablespoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ginger
1/4 teaspoon cloves
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon salt

Cream Cheese Frosting (this recipe is halved from the original)
4 ounces of cream cheese, softened
2 Tablespoons of butter, softened
1 1/2 Cups powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and grease a 9x13 pan.
In a large bowl combine melted butter, sugar, brown sugar, vanilla and molasses. Add the egg and mix well. In a medium bowl mix baking soda, flour, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, nutmeg and salt. Slowly add the flour mixture to the wet ingredients and mix well. Spread dough in 9x13 pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes. Let bars cool.

Frosting
Blend cream cheese and butter together. Add powdered sugar and vanilla and mix until creamy. Spread on cooled bars. I store my bars in the refrigerator.

Recipe from Chef in training
     

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Chicken Curry Soup

Chicken Curry Soup
     The one thing that I love about winter is the many wonderful soups that are out there. I love perusing Pinterest or simply looking through one of my many cookbooks/magazines looking for soups or stews to make on those chilly days.

     So today I've got a recipe that I kind of adapted from Taste of Home. It was basically a vegetarian soup, but I added chicken to it. I just couldn't help it. I need some protein in my soup. I ended up making a great big soup pot full. We have been eating soup for the past couple of days, but who cares it's been great, especially since it's been so darn cold out.

     It's been so cold I've been wearing my super thick socks and I've finally broken down and put my cuddle duds on. With this cold weather one just has to embrace it or the cold is going to really get to you.

     With this soup recipe it'll warm you up and you won't mind eating any leftovers.

Chicken Curry Soup
6 T butter, cubed
4 ribs of celery, chopped
3 medium carrots, shredded
1 medium green pepper, finely chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
1/4 C + 2 T flour
1 1/2 t curry powder
3/4 t salt
1/2 t pepper
1 1/2 C milk
1 carton (32 oz) chicken broth
2 C water
4 medium potatoes, peeled and cubed
1 can (83/4 oz) whole kernel corn, drained
2 1/2 C shredded cheddar cheese

2 Chicken breasts, cubed
1 T fresh parsley

1. In a 6 qt stockpot, heat the butter over medium heat. Add celery, carrots, green pepper and onion; cook and stir 3-4 minutes or until onion is tender. Stir in the flour, curry powder, salt and pepper until blended.
2. Gradually stir in milk. Add broth, water, potatoes, corn and chicken; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, covered, 15-20 minutes or until potatoes are tender.
3. Stir in cheese until melted. Add the parsley and serve.

Adapted from The Taste of Home

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Banana Cake

Banana Cake
     Well it's getting to one of my favorite times of the year! I love November. Not because of the cold and snow, but because of the anticipation of Thanksgiving coming. 

     Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays. There are so many reasons that I like this holiday. For starters it is the official kick off to the Christmas holiday shopping. Who doesn't like Black Friday shopping. All those people who brave the crowds is amazing. More power to you. 

     Now I don't actually go out to the stores and shop on this day, I do it from the comfort of my computer. It's quick. It's easy and a lot of times there is free shipping. How simple is that?!

    I also love planning the Thanksgiving meal. That is the fun part. Over the course of the next few weeks I'll be slowly picking up those items that will keep for the big day. Like stuffing mix, pickles, olives and canned goods. It just gives me the warm fuzzies.

     I also anticipate the short work week. My students are only in class Monday and Tuesday. Wednesday is reserved as a work day for us teachers. As soon as that clock strikes 4:00 we will all be making a bee line home for some rest and relaxation.

     I also get into all the Christmas music. I love that radio station that starts playing Christmas music on Thanksgiving day all day, everyday until it's December 26th.  I just love it. It's programmed on my car radio, my kitchen radio and of course the radio in the main living room.

     Although today's recipe has nothing to do with Thanksgiving I just had to share with all of you because it was the yummiest banana cake that I've ever tasted. I did not make this cake it was made by my son's girlfriend. It was so good that I asked if I could get the recipe and put it on my blog and she was kind enough to oblige. 

     This cake is a great way to use up those overly ripe bananas that we all have staring us in the face on a regular basis. She tells me it is super easy to make and after looking at the recipe it looks like it is very easy to make and who doesn't like easy not to mention it tastes great? 

     So have a go at this recipe and let me know what you think.

Banana Cake
1 yellow cake mix (any kind, super moist is best. Leave out 1egg     for the bananas)

3-4 really ripe bananas

Bake as directed on box.

Frosting
1 container of Cool Whip
1 packet of Banana Pudding mix or Banana Cream Pudding mix

For the pudding put in 1 cup cold milk and mix and let it set.

Combine Cool Whip/Pudding. Frost when cake is cool. Store in refrigerator. 
(If you use the Banana Cream Pudding mix it tastes just like you're eating Banana Cream pie in a cake.)

    

    

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Crockpot Beef Stew

Beef Stew
     Well I'm on Fall break. At least that's what my students are calling it. The kids get the whole week off and us teachers are doing training and conferences the first part of the week. I was wise and scheduled all my conferences today for the morning so I had the afternoon to work on lesson plans. So now I'm all ready with my lessons for next week and I can relax and just chill for the next 4 days.

     I've got a lot of plans for the next 4 days. First off I'm planning on sleeping in a bit. I haven't slept in for quite some time now and I really need some extra Z's. In fact I so tired that I could probably take a nap right now, but I hate to waste any time with a nap.

     I also want to do some cake decorating this long weekend. I just bought some doll cake pans and I want to practice making some doll cakes. They should be pretty easy to do. I think I'm going to make a bride and some bridesmaids with a fall theme of course.

    One other thing that I want to do is some quilting. I've got a black and white quilt that is sandwiched and ready to be quilted. Now all I've got to do is sit down and do some serious quilting on it. It shouldn't take too long. In fact I should be able to get it done over the weekend if I do a little bit every day.

     While I'm doing all these things I'm thinking that making some meals in the crockpot is probably a must. I love when I can just throw everything in the crockpot and let it do its thing. This recipe that I'm sharing today is one of those perfect recipes for just that. I made this a couple weekends ago when I was on the run. I just put it all in the crockpot and went about my business and when dinner time came it was ready. It's a great fall/winter meal that everybody will love.

Crockpot Beef Stew
3 carrots, slice
2 potatoes, cubed
2 lbs stew meat, cut into bite size pieces
2 C water
2 beef bouillon cubes
1 t Worcestershire sauce
1/2 t garlic powder
1 bay leaf
1/4 t salt
1/2 t pepper
1 t paprika
1 large onion, chopped
2 celery ribs, sliced

2T cornstarch
1/3 C cold water

Combine all ingredients in crockpot except cornstarch and 1/3 cup water. Mix well. Cover. Cook on low 8 hours. Once stew is cooked dissolve cornstarch and 1/3 cup water. Stir into meat mixture. Cook on High until thickened, about 10 minutes. (If you don't have cornstarch you can substitute 1/4 cup flour.)

    

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Sweet and Sour Chicken

Sweet and Sour Chicken
    Oh it's been a busy month. With helping my mom out and school starting again I haven't had time for much of anything. I'm even having a hard time fitting the gym in these days. I am, however, hopeful that things will start being less hectic and I can get to some real cooking and baking not to mention sewing and quilting.

     I love the fall months for making those home cooked meals. There is something about a nice hot meal when you get home from work or a good hearty Sunday supper. I also don't mind a sweet treat every now and then either.

     Well I happen to make some time yesterday to make one of my favorites,sweet and sour chicken. It is fairly quick to make and doesn't require a lot of ingredients. I could just gorge myself on this stuff. I did have self control this time and saved some to take for lunch the next day.

     This recipe makes enough for a family of four with perhaps a little left over for those that would take some for their lunch the next day. I always serve it with rice, which I make in my rice cooker. Usually I cut the green pepper into smaller pieces, but I was in a super rush so they got a little chunky. Oh well, it still tasted great!

     Hope you enjoy this one and hope to be posting a little more regularly.

Sweet and Sour Chicken
2-3 boneless, skinless chicken breast
1 T oil
1 can (20oz) pineapple chunks
1/3 C water
3 T vinegar
1 T soy sauce
1/2 C brown sugar
3 T corn starch
1 large green pepper, cut into small chunks
Hot cooked rice

Cut chicken into bite size pieces and cook in oil. Set chicken aside. Drain pineapple, reserving juice. Set pineapple aside. Add water to juice to measure 1 cup; pour into a large skillet. Add 1/3 c water, vinegar, soy sauce, brown sugar, and cornstarch; stir until smooth. Cook over medium heat until thick, stirring constantly. Add pineapple, chicken and green pepper. Simmer, uncovered for 20 minutes or until heated through. Serve over rice.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Peach Pie

 
Peach Pie
   It's peach season! If you haven't been to your local farmers market or the nearby grocer you better get there soon. Peaches are in full swing right now and they don't last long.

     I went to Bob's Produce Ranch to get my peaches. Bob's Produce ranch is a little grocer in my town that sells some of the best produce around. They also have a fabulous meat market too. But this time my mission was to get some peaches.

     Colorado peaches sell for about $40.00 a crate. That is so expensive and if you're going to buy a crate you better make something with them because you'll never be able to eat them all before they start to go bad.

     I did not, however, buy a crate this year. Instead I bought about 6 peaches that was going for $3.49 a pound and then I bought a crate of bruised peaches for $5.49. These bumped and bruised peaches were great for making peach pie. In fact I ended up making 2 peach pies in less than one week.

     I've never made a peach pie before, but I thought it couldn't be too hard. My guess was completely right. It was super easy to make the crust and peeling and cutting up the peaches was very easy too.

     The recipe that I used was from my handy dandy Betty Crocker Picture Cookbook. It is my trusted cookbook when I'm not sure how to go about making something. It also has some very good pictures for you to look at so you have an idea of what to do and how it should look.

     So why not make yourself a peach pie while it's peach season. It's easy and it tastes amazing!!!

Pastry Crust for Two-Crust Pies
For an 8"pie
1/2 C sifted flour
3/4 t salt
1/2 C shortening
3 T water

Mix together the flour and salt. Cut in the shortening using a pastry blender until it looks like course particles the size of peas. Sprinkle with water a tablespoon at a time mixing lightly with a fork until the flour mixture is moistened. gather dough together with the fingers so it cleans the bowl. Press into a ball. Roll out or keep in waxed paper in refrigerator until needed. (I put in refrigerator and roll out once the peach mixture is ready. I cut the dough in half and roll the dough ball in between wax paper.)

Peach Filling
For an 8" pie
3 C peaches peeled and sliced
2/3 C sugar
1/3 t cinnamon
1 T flour
1 T butter

Mix the peaches, sugar, cinnamon, and flour together. Pour into pie shell. Dot with butter. Put top crust on and cut slits on top. Bake at 425 for 35 minutes or until crust is golden brown.
Cool pie on wire rack. Serve slightly warm. This pie should be refrigerated once cooled.


Thursday, August 21, 2014

Carmel Nut Brownie Bars

Carmel Nut Brownie Bars
     If you know anything about me you know that I love brownies. Quoting the famous Dr. Seuss,
"I will eat them in a boat. I will eat them with a goat. I will eat them here or there. I will eat them anywhere."  I'm always up for the challenge of trying a new brownie recipe.

     Today I'm reviving an old tried, but true brownie recipe. This recipe is a very old recipe that I acquired from a dear friend many years ago. We lost contact with each other over the years, but I still love making these bars.

     The nice thing about these bars is that you start with a box cake mix. About the most difficult part of the recipe is not eating the carmels as you unwrap them. I used the microwave to melt the carmels. I just stirred the mixture about every 30 seconds until it was melted.

     Hope you enjoy these as much as I do.

Carmel Nut Brownie Bars
1package German Chocolate cake mix
1 can evaporated milk (small can)
6 ounce package semi-sweet chocolate chips

nuts ( I used pecans)
1 1/2 stick butter,  melted
1 package of carmels
1/3 C milk

Preheat the oven to 350 and grease a 9X13 pan. Combine cake mix, evaporated milk and butter. Put 1/2 of the batter in the pan and bake 6 minutes. In the meantime, combine milk and caramels in a microwavable bowl and melt in microwave, stirring every 30 seconds. Remove pan from oven and put chocolate chips and melted carmel mixture on top. Put the rest of the batter on top and bake for 15-20 minutes. Let them cool before cutting. Store in an airtight container.

    

Monday, August 11, 2014

Summer Shandy Pancakes

Summer Shandy Pancakes

     This past Saturday I went to Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin to tour a brewery. Not just any brewery, it was the Leinenkugel Brewery. It's a favorite beer for both my husband and I. It's pretty much all we drink around here for beer.

     My favorite beer is the Summer Shandy. I wish they sold it year round, but of course because of the lemon flavor it is only sold during the summer months. I usually stock up on it towards the end of summer so I can have some as we enter into fall. I did, however, get to taste the Orange Shandy while at Leinekugel's. I did like that too. This shandy comes out in the fall, so at least I'll have a comparable shandy to drink until my favorite is available again.

     I did look over their website before going on Saturday and I found some recipes. Recipes that involve beer. The first one I found was a beer batter for fish. Well I didn't have any fresh fish so I filed that recipe for next year or when someone is kind enough to give me some fish from their fishing trip. The next one I found was for pancakes and I thought why not.

     It's been awhile around here, but we are accustom to having a Sunday breakfast where we can all sit around and enjoy good food and conversation. It just seemed like the perfect weekend to do the Shandy Pancakes. (Seemed almost sinful using beer on a Sunday morning breakfast, but we got over that.) I'm sure we will make these when we go camping some time soon here.

     The pancakes were very good. I added blueberries to them which I thought made it taste even better. Surprisingly the pancakes did not taste like beer. I could taste the lemon flavor though. Now someone who doesn't drink beer regularly probably could taste the beer, but I don't think it would be an overwhelming flavor.

      If you enjoy drinking beer and want a little history/education on the process of making beer, go do the tour. We had a great time and want to do it again. In the meantime here's some pancakes for that Sunday breakfast you've been dying to have.


     Summer Shandy Pancakes
3 cups all purpose flour
2 tablespoons sugar
3 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
3 eggs
1 cup Summer Shandy
1 1/2 cup milk
1/3 cup butter, melted
1 cup blueberries, optional

In a large bowl combine flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Set aside. In a separate bowl beat eggs on medium speed until frothy. Add beer, milk and melted butter. Add the egg mixture to the flour mixture and beat until smooth.
Pour 1/4 cup of batter on a hot greased griddle. Flip pancakes when the edges appear dry.

Recipe from Jacob Leinenkugel Brewing

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Pool Table Cake

Pool Table Cake

     Well I've made another goofy cake this year. Last year it was a barn cake. The year before that it was a boob cake. I try to make something a little unique and different, although I don't think I'll ever surpass the boob cake. But I'll keep trying.

     Anyways this year I made a pool table cake, complete with pool balls. Let me tell you making those pool balls was an experience. I've never made cake pops before so this was  my first go of it.  I just want to say why doesn't the package say to add shortening or oil to the candy melts? It would have gone a lot smoother for me. So hey everybody when melting those Wilton candy melts add a little cooking oil or shortening so the candy gets pourable.

    OK, I'm off my soap box. Once the candy melts are melty and liquidity you can take your cake pop or cake ball and spoon the melted candy over it. Then just gently shake off the excess. I did mine on sticks to I could then put the stick in some Styrofoam and wait for the candy coating to harden.

    Oh about the picture I don't know what happened to the green frosting on the cake.For some reason the pictures on my phone are not streaming to my computer. And yes my photo streaming is on. Anyways I took a quick picture with my camera and this is what I got. I know it was a humid day yesterday, but I have no idea why the color changed on in the green. Oh, well I guess it's just the spills that happen on a pool table. I think next time I have such a large are to color I'm going to go and try those color sprays. I think that would have looked a little more professional.

     There really is no recipe today. I used a box mix for this cake and I used the Wilton's cake decorating frosting to frost and make the cake balls. Here's the link to the frosting recipe. I also did a lot of googling on cake pops and cake balls to figure out how to make them.

     To make the cake balls I simple crumbled up a layer cake and added some frosting to be able to form the cake into balls. I then froze them for like 3 hours and trust me I could have froze them longer. Once they were frozen I spooned the melted candy coating over the balls and let them harden.

   

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Peanutty S'Mores Brownies

Peanutty S'Mores Brownies
  If you like brownies and s'mores you're going to love these bars.
  
 Ok, so it's been a few days longer than I planned on for posting this recipe, but it seems like I'm always running. I don't think I know how to relax any more. It's just go, go, go!

     My mom got suddenly and seriously ill just before Easter and it seems like now I have become a part time nurse/caregiver. Not that I mind but it's a lot of driving around. The constant doctor visits, pharmacy trips, general shopping for essentials not to mention the care of her physically and cleaning of her apartment. Whoa! That's a lot.

     It's kind of looking like she's on the mend though and hopefully things will be getting a little less hectic for me and she'll be feeling a lot better.

     I made these brownies, but forgot to take a picture of them in the pan before I left the house. When I got back the family had already cut into them, so I had to settle for a picture of a bar. Don't think any of the pictures does it justice. They just look so much better in person and they taste divine.

      Even though I sprayed the pan with cooking spray I should have sprayed farther up the sides. The marshmallows kind of stuck on the sides so just remember to spray the pan well.

Peanutty S'Mores Brownies
8-10 whole graham crackers
1 box fudge brownie mix (plus ingredients per instructions on the box)
2 Cup miniature marshmallows
1 Cup milk chocolate stars
2/3 Cup chopped peanuts

1. Preheat oven to 350.
2. Spray a 9X13 cake pan with cooking spray. Arrange graham crackers in a single layer, breaking crackers as needed to fit in all the corners. Set aside.
3. Prepare brownie mix according to package directions and spread batter over the graham crackers.
4. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.
5. Sprinkle marshmallows over top, then chocolate stars and chopped peanuts.
6. Bake 5-8 minutes longer or until marshmallows are slightly puffed and golden brown.
7. Coll completely on wire rack before cutting.

   

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Chocolate Sugar Cookies

Chocolate Sugar Cookies
     Today was one of those days that just didn't feel like summer. It felt more like a fall day. It was very cool out. In fact I wore jeans and a sweatshirt most of the day. When its cool like this it's time for me to turn the oven on and do some baking, since heating up the house is a good thing when the temp is in the 60's.

     I was in search for something different that I hadn't tried before. I was in search of something chocolate. I found the perfect choice with these chocolate sugar cookies. They taste like a brownie. i could see adding these to a bowl of vanilla ice cream and drizzling some chocolate syrup on top.

     Now of course these cookies are superb all by themselves. One has to have some self control with these babies because they are so moist and chocolatey that you just want to keep on eating. They go perfect with a tall glass of milk and satisfy that craving for chocolate.

     So go ahead and make some. You'll be happy you did! 

Chocolate Sugar Cookies
1 C butter, softened
1 1/2 C brown sugar
2 eggs
1 t vanilla
3/4 C cocoa powder
2 C all purpose flour
1 t baking soda
1 t salt
1/2 C sugar for rolling

Cream butter and brown sugar together and mix until fluffy. Add eggs and vanilla mixing well. In a separate bowl combine cocoa powder, flour, soda and salt. Slowly add this mixture to the wet mixture. Mix well.
Refrigerate for 1 hour.
Using a cookie scoop, scoop out dough and roll into a ball. Then roll in sugar and place on a greased cookie sheet. Place cookies 2 inches apart on cookie sheet and bake at 350 for 10 minutes.
Let cookies cool 8-10 minutes on cookie sheet and remove and place on cooling racks to cool completely.

Recipe from http://chocolatechocolateandmore.com

Friday, July 11, 2014

Rhubarb Bread


Rhubarb Bread

     Aww yes! Another rhubarb recipe.

     I just couldn't resist. After all I've got a few rhubarb plants growing in my garden now and I really miss having all those yummy rhubarb treats that my mom made when I was a kid.

    I've never made bread before using rhubarb so I thought why not give it a try. I thought the cake had turned out well and I figured that the bread wouldn't be much different than the cake.

     Turns out the bread is AMAZING!!!  Super moist and full of sweet rhubarb flavor. I know you're saying right now that rhubarb is tart. Well yes it is, but in this recipe you taste the sweet tartness of the sugars mixed with the rhubarb. 

     This recipe makes two loaves. The loaves don't rise like a traditional loaf of bread. It's a little more dense. My family obviously loved it because when I got up this morning one loaf was already gone and they had started on the second one. 

     This recipe I got out of my mom's hometown newspaper, The Browerville Blade. A small town in northern Minnesota. Cute little town. I have fond childhood memories of visiting my grandparents in this town. 

Rhubarb Bread
1 1/2 C brown sugar
2/3 C oil
1 egg
1 C sour milk (1cup milk & 1 t vinegar)
1 1/2 C flour
1 t salt
1 t pure vanilla
1 1/2 C diced rhubarb
1/2 C chopped pecans

Topping
1/2 C sugar
1 T butter, melted

Combine first seven ingredients; stir in rhubarb and nuts. Mix well; Pour into two greased loaf pans. Mix 1/2 cup sugar and 1 tablespoon melted butter. Mix and spread over batter in loaf pans. It will have gritty texture. I sprinkled it on with my hands. Bake at 325 for one hour.

Adapted recipe from Browerville Blade.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Happy 4th of July!

  
Frosted Banana Bars for the 4th!
Today I'm not making the typical red, white and blue recipe that you'll find on most blogs as we get ready to celebrate the fourth. However, one could easily make this recipe red, white and blue by simply adding some sprinkles.

     As I get ready to go camping I couldn't help but notice that I've got some very ripe bananas that I needed to do something with. I thought that since my son and his girl are going to the cabin I would make a pan of banana bars for them to take with. Of course I'll jazz them up a bit and add some very colorful sprinkles so they look a little more festive for the fourth.

     I've posted this recipe before on my blog, but it is truly one of my families favorites and I thought why not put a slight twist on it to make it appropriate for the upcoming holiday. Now don't worry that no one will eat these treats, they are super moist and delicious and of course once you add the red, white and blue sprinkles who can resist.

   Enjoy and have a Happy 4th of July!

Frosted Banana Bars

1/2 C butter or margarine, softened
1-1/2 C sugar
2 eggs
1 C (8oz) sour cream
1 t vanilla extract
2 C all-purpose flour
1 t baking soda
1/4 t salt
2 medium ripe bananas, mashed (about 1 cup)


Frosting:
1 pkg. (8oz) cream cheese, softened
1/2 C butter or margarine, softened
2 t vanilla extract
3-3/4 to 4 C confectioners sugar


In a mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar. Add eggs, sour cream and vanilla. Combine flour, baking soda and salt; gradually add to the creamed mixture. Stir in banana. Spread into a greased 15-in X 10-in X 1-in baking pan or 2 9-in X 13-in baking pans. Bake at 350 for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool. For frosting, in a mixing bowl, beat cream cheese, butter and vanilla. Gradually beat in enough confectioners' sugar to achieve desired consistency. Frost bars. Store in the refrigerator. Yield: 3-4 dozen

Friday, June 27, 2014

Fresh Rhubarb Coffee Cake

Rhubarb Coffee Cake
     I'm trying out a brand new recipe today. I got it from my mom and she found it in her hometown newspaper. So when I was over at her apartment caring for her I decided to write it down and give it a try. After all I've been looking for some recipes to use the rhubarb that I have in my garden.

   This is the first year that I could use my rhubarb. I had just planted it last summer and I guess the golden rule is to wait a year before picking it. Anyways I finally got to use it. I also had to go to my mom's old house and take a little from her plants before she sells her place.

    I like the rhubarb at my mom's house because it is the thicker stalks. I think it makes better pies than the thinner rhubarb. So I did take one of the plants from her yard and planted it in my garden. Of course I did ask her permission first. I think she liked the idea that I would have one of her plants growing in my garden now that her house will be gone soon. So now I've got a little variety with the rhubarb.

     Anyways I had plenty of rhubarb to make some coffee cake and little something more that I'll share at another time. My family couldn't wait until it was done baking this morning. It did smell good and I too was anticipating eating this coffee cake for breakfast. The wait was worth it. The cake has delicious flavor and was very moist. We all had two pieces. Too yummy!

     The recipe say to serve warm with whipped cream, but I did not have whipped cream available and felt it was not necessary for breakfast. Now if I was serving it as a dessert then I would definitely top it off with some whipped cream.

Fresh Rhubarb Coffee Cake
1 C brown sugar
1/2 C white sugar
2/3 C oil
1 egg
1 C buttermilk or sour milk
2 1/2 C flour
1 t salt
1 t soda
2 C chopped fresh rhubarb
1/2 C chopped nuts ( I used pecans)
1 t vanilla
1/4 C butter, melted
1/3 C sugar

Combine sugars, oil, egg and  milk. In a separate bowl combine flour, soda, and salt; stir into egg mixture. Stir in rhubarb, nuts, and vanilla. Pour batter into a greased 9X13 pan. Drizzle butter over batter; sprinkle with 1/3C sugar. Bake at 325 for 35-40 minutes. Serve warm with whipped cream.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Rum Punch

Rum Punch
     Awe Yes! These past few days have felt so great. It has felt like summer has finally come. Now that summer is here it's time for sitting outside on the deck and enjoying a cold drink.

     Now some of you may just like to have a cold lemonade. And that's all good, but some of you like to have an ice cold beer and that's good too. But if I can at all persuade you to try something new try this drink. I guarantee you will like it.

This drink will make you feel like you are in the tropics. Or at least you can pretend for a while that you are in a nice tropical place. We drank these drinks when we visited Florida on our trip and we loved them.

     I watched the bartender carefully so I could replicate the drink at home. It is super easy to make and only one bartender had a little twist of their own that I'll share with you.

     So what are you waiting for go get some ice and read on to make this fabulous, refreshing drink.

Rum Punch
orange juice
pineapple juice
Malibu Rum
grenadine

Fill a glass with ice. Mix equal portions of orange juice and pineapple juice together in the glass. Add a healthy shot of Malibu Rum and then drizzle some grenadine on top and stir. Now it's time to enjoy your drink!

* the bartenders twist was to add a little bit of sprite to the drink.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Strawberry Mango Salsa

Strawberry Mango Salsa
     I just got back from a little vacation down in Florida. I was loving the sun, the heat and the beautiful ocean, not to mention the food and drinks. It's such a different feel when one is in Florida. Everyone is kicked back and relaxed. Seems like everyone is happy. And who wouldn't be if you could sit by the ocean and soak up the rays with a cold drink in your hand. Simply paradise.

     I'm kind of stuck on the whole tropical food and drink thing right now. So I decided to make some Strawberry Mango Salsa. Fresh fruit is so plentiful in Florida that it's a shame not to keep enjoying those same great dishes even though I'm back in Minnesota.

    It seems that everything you eat or drink is fresh. The drinks are fruity and refreshing and the food was fresh and flavorful. I started out with this salsa because of the yummy fruit flavors. It is sweet with a hint of cilantro and onion it makes it hard to stop eating. This salsa would be good with cinnamon flavored tortilla chips, but regular chips are just as good.

     The next few posts will be focused on the great food that I had on vacation, so prepare yourself for some great tropical and seafood type dishes over the next few posts. But for now enjoy this salsa. I'm sure you're going to love it.

Strawberry Mango Salsa
2 mangos
1 lb of fresh strawberrys
1/2 red onion, diced
cilantro, chopped fine
tortilla chips

Clean and cut mango into small pieces and put in bowl. Clean and dice strawberries and add to mangos. Chop 1/2 a red onion into small pieces and add to fruit. Chop cilantro fine and add to bowl. (I just eyeballed the cilantro. Add as much as you like.) Mix together and then put in the fridge to marinate.Stir salsa before serving and enjoy with tortilla chips.

Monday, May 5, 2014

Corn Dip

Corn Dip with Ritz Crackers
     I just found my new favorite dip. I just can't stop eating this stuff. It is so good that I literally have to tell myself enough and put it away.

     I first tasted this dip when a friend of mine brought it in to work. She was having it for a snack and let me try some. It was so amazing that I had to find the recipe right away. I looked on Pinterest and found a ton of different recipes, but of course I decided to kind of make my own.

    When I first made this dip it was during the winter,  a couple of months ago, when my husband and I were having our friends over. I served it with tortilla chips and it was a big hit. I soon had my daughter hooked on it too. I have finally concocted my own recipe for making this dip. It's still quick and easy and very delicious.

     You can eat this dip with tortilla chips or any kind of cracker. I really prefer tortilla chips, but choose whatever you like. You can't go wrong with the kind of dipper your using. Enjoy!

Corn Dip
1 C sour cream
1 C Mayo
2 C shredded Cheddar cheese
1-11oz can of Mexican corn, drained
1- 15.25 oz can of corn, drained
1- 10 oz can of diced tomatoes with green chilies (Rotel),drained
3- Green onions, chopped
1- 4oz can of diced green chilies

Mix all ingredients in a bowl and chill for at least an hour. Serve with tortilla chips or crackers.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Snickers Chocolate Chip Cookies

Snickers Chocolate Chip Cookies
     Right now I'm on a baking streak. A cookie baking streak. I have a few new cookie recipes that I want to try out and as soon as one batch of cookies is eaten up I'm ready to make another. This is cookie recipe #3.

     Today I decided to make these Snicker Chocolate Chip Cookies. I love Snickers candy bars and of course I love chocolate chip cookies, so it just seemed natural for these two to join forces. The combination is amazing! I can tell that these will not last long. In fact I'm sure they will be gone by tomorrow.

     The recipe makes about 5 dozen cookies. At least that's how many I got. I used my small cookie scoop to make the cookies. They are not huge in size, but they are still a nice size. They are also very chewy and full of chocolate flavor.  I found the recipe on Cooking Classy. I did alter the recipe slightly, but not by much.

     This cookie recipe doesn't take much time to mix up and bake. I was done before I knew it. Give it a try I think you'll really like them too. I know it was a big hit at my house.

Snickers Chocolate Chip Cookies
2 3/4 C all-purpose flour
1 T cornstarch
1 t baking soda
1/4 t salt
1 C butter, softened
1 1/4 C brown sugar
1/4 C sugar
2 eggs
1 1/2 t vanilla extract
8 oz Snickers Bites
1 C milk Chocolate chips

Directions
 Cut Snicker Bites into quarters and set aside.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a mixing bowl combine flour, cornstarch, baking soda and salt. Set this aside.
In a bowl mix with an electric mixer butter, brown sugar, and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs and vanilla and blend. With the mixer on low add the flour mixture slowly until combined. Add the chopped Snickers and chocolate chips and blend until mixed in.
Use a cookie scoop and place dough on a greased cookie sheet. Bake for 10-12 minutes. Let cool on the pan slightly before removing to cool on a cooling rack. I found that a metal spatula works better to remove the cookies from the pan. Store in an airtight container.

Adapted from www.cooking classing.com

Friday, April 11, 2014

Ginger Cookies

  
Ginger Cookies
  I've been trying to work out lately and be really good about eating healthy, but sometimes a girls just gotta have a little sweet treat. I mean really I can't give up everything. Besides I'm not the type of person to go hog wild eating a ton of sweets. I just need a little something every now and then.

     So last night I went to the gym and worked out a bit. I'm trying to get arms that look like Jennifer Aniston's. I mean have you seen her arms? They look amazing! She looks like she could hold her own in a scuffle. Anyways, I did my regular routine, a little cardio and then some weights for the arms.

     Now I was fighting the urge to bake some cookies before I left for the gym. I was almost ready to start baking when my daughter coaxed me into going. I gave in and went, but on the condition that I was going to make cookies when I got home. Of course she laughed at me and then said o.k. I'll help.

     So once we got home we went to work on getting these cookies mixed up and baked. They were quick to make. It was a snap to get the dough mixed together and to get them on the pans and ready to bake. The hard part was waiting for them to cool enough to take off the pan and enjoy.

     These cookies are highly addictive. They are super moist and have a taste similar to gingerbread. In fact these cookies are so good there are now no more cookies left. The recipe made about 2 1/2 dozen and they were gone in less than 24 hours. Now around here that means the cookies must have been good. I think that's a record around here.

Ginger Cookies
2 1/4 c flour
1 t baking soda
2 t ground ginger
1 t cinnamon
3/4 t cloves
1/4 t salt
3/4 C softened butter
1 C sugar
1 egg
1 T water
1/4 C molasses
4 T sugar (reserve for rolling dough in)

Directions
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Mix together flour, soda, ginger, cinnamon, cloves and salt. Set aside. In a large bowl cream the butter and sugar together. Beat in the egg, then stir in the water and molasses. Gradually add the flour mixture and mix well. Roll the dough into small 1 inch balls and roll in the reserved sugar. Place on ungreased cookie sheets and bake for 10-12 minutes. Let cookies cool on cookie sheets for 5 minutes before removing from pan and cooling on a cooling rack. Store in an airtight container. 

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

  
Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies
  I finally got the bug to bake some cookies. I don't know if it's the thought that spring is not very far away or what. All I know is I haven't been baking or really cooking at all that much lately. My meals have been from freezer to oven to table. My snack of choice has been ice cream.

     Now today I've decide to make some cookies. I couldn't think of anything better to make than cookies that have peanut butter and chocolate chips in it. Chocolate and peanut butter go so well together. It's like a little homemade Reese treat.

     These cookies were a snap to make. Not very many ingredients and nothing unusual either. If I were to make them again I might do a little mix of shortening and butter. I like my cookies to spread out a little more. With just the shortening they don't spread as much. I guess I'm use to baking with butter.

    

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies
makes 2 dozen

3/4 cup peanut butter
1/2 cup shortening
1-1/4 cup brown sugar
1 egg
3 Tbsp. milk
1 Tbsp. vanilla
1-3/4 cup flour
3/4 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp salt
1 cup chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 375ยบ F.

Cream first 6 ingredients until smooth. Combine dry ingredients & add to peanut butter mixture. Blend. Drop by teaspoon onto ungreased baking sheets. Bake for 8-10 minutes. Cool slightly, then remove to wire rack to cool completely.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Homemade Manwich

Homemade Manwich
     I can finally feel spring in the air. This past week has been a glorious week. The sun, for the most part, has been shining and working on melting that snow. The temperatures have pushed the 50's a couple of times this week too. I can finally see grass out in the backyard and the ducks have been gathering on the pond again.

     Since the weather has been so nice this week I have been starting on my regular routine of walking the dogs around the block again. Now I just need to keep this routine going next week. See I've been on spring break this past week and Monday is back to school for me. I'll have to start getting up to the alarm clock and throwing my sweats on to get the dogs out the door and on their walk before I have to hit the shower. It's a great way to start the day, especially now that the temps are getting warmer.

     In anticipation of the warmer weather I have been in the mood for more summer type food. I decided that I wanted to spice up my sloppy joe recipe a bit, so I went in search of a recipe. I found one that reminds me of Manwich. You know, that canned mix that you just add to cooked ground beef? Well I think this recipe is even better.

     I had to change the recipe slightly, but I think it still tastes really good. Now my kids still like my original recipe for sloppy joes, but they thought these were really good too.

Homemade Manwich
1 lb of ground beef
1/2 medium onion, diced
1- 14.5 oz diced tomatoes, drained
1/2 C ketchup
1/2 C Sweet Baby Rays barbeque sauce
3 T Worcestershire sauce
1/2 t garlic powder
1/2 t ground cumin
1/2 t chili powder
1/4 t paprika
hamburger buns

In a skillet brown the hamburger and onions until the beef is cooked through. Drain the meat mixture. Add the drained tomatoes, ketchup, barbeque sauce, Worcestershire sauce and spices. Stir well and cover and cook on low heat for about 15 minutes. Stir occasionally. Uncover and cook on low for about 5 minutes or until the mixture thickens up. Serve on hamburger buns.

Adapted from Big Mama's Home Kitchen

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Slow Cooker Potato & Ham Soup

Potato Ham Soup
     Everyone likes easy right? Well this recipe is super easy. My husband happen to make this soup a few weeks ago. He of course found the recipe in Simple and Delicious magazine. It was so good that I just had to share it with everyone. This recipe is basically a 2 step process. Can't much easier than that. In fact this recipe is just as easy as the recipe I posted for Wild rice soup in the crock pot. 

     This soup is so good it tastes like it took a ton of work to make, but it really doesn't. It also only takes 7 ingredients to make. Most everything I already had at home to make this. The recipe did call for deli ham, but we had left over ham, so that's what was used. It also called for a package of frozen shredded hash browns, thawed. Now my husband went and bought some, but I would have just peeled and shredded some potatoes using my saladshooter.

      It smelled so good and tasted even better. The day he made this and I came home from work and the wonderful smell just hypnotized me. I immediately walked over to the crock pot to check it out. He served this soup up with a some fresh french bread (courtesy of the bakery) and it was a wonderful meal.

     This recipe is a keeper for sure!

Slow Cooker Potato & Ham Soup
1carton (32 oz) chicken broth
1 pkg. (30 oz) frozen shredded hash brown potatoes, thawed
1 small onion, finely chopped
1/4t pepper
4 oz cream cheese, softened and cubed
1 C cubed deli ham
1 can (5 oz) evaporated milk
sour cream and chopped green onions, optional

1. In a 4 or 5 quart slow cooker, combine broth, potatoes, onion and pepper. Cook, covered, on low 6-8 hours.
2. Mash potatoes to desired consistency. Whisk in cream cheese until melted. Stir in ham and evaporated milk. Cook, covered, 15-20 minutes longer or until heated through. Serve soup with sour cream and green onions if desired.

Recipe from Taste of Home Simple and Delicious


Sunday, March 2, 2014

Banana Bread

Banana Bread
     These cold mornings are starting to get the best of me. It is just freezing and it makes it hard for me to get out of bed. Then of course when I do get out of bed all I want is some hot coffee. Now of course I need to have something to go with my coffee. Bagels or toast have been the main course lately, but today I'm mixing it up.

     I had this craving for warm, sweet banana bread. Now I know that I've posted several different recipes for banana breads on my blog, but I don't know why I've never posted this one. This recipe is the very first recipe that I ever had for banana bread. I don't even know where I came across this recipe. It was either from a friend, family member or even a magazine. All I know is it was well before internet times.

     Anyways, it is super moist and has no nuts, not that you can't put nuts in if you desire. It seems that every time I make this bread it disappears quick. Obviously it is a hit with the family. Hope you enjoy it.

Banana Bread
3 very ripe bananas sliced
1/2 C sour milk, or 1/2 C milk & 1 t vinegar
2 eggs
2/3 C melted fat (or I sometimes substitute 1/2 C canola oil)
Beat these ingredients together.
Add and beat in;
2 C flour
1 t baking soda
1 C sugar
1/2 t salt
Pour into a greased loaf pan. Bake at 325 for 1 hour and 20 minutes. Cool in pan on a wire rack.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Banana Bread Donuts with Chocolate Peanut Butter Glaze

  
Banana Bread Donuts with Chocolate Peanut Butter Glaze
     I have now found a new recipe to use those over ripe bananas. You know those 2-3 bananas that have now turned a little brown and no one wants to eat. Yeah, those! It happens to everyone. I think a lot of people just throw them away, but here's a recipe that will help you to put those old bananas to good use.

     I also like the versatility of this recipe. If you don't have the donut pans you can easily use a muffin pan. The donuts are most and taste so delicious with the glaze on top. Just imagine how a muffin would look and taste.

     The recipe originally called for Nutella in the glaze, but I didn't have any on hand. I did, however, have this chocolate peanut butter spread that I substituted instead. I would think that one could get the same result using a half peanut butter, half Nutella combination to get the chocolate/peanut butter flavor.

     The recipe makes only 6 donuts. I doubled the recipe to make an even dozen. This just made so much more sense to me since I had a couple bananas and the original recipe called for 1 small banana. Give this recipe a try, whether you make donuts or muffins I'm sure you will love it.

Banana Bread Donuts with Chocolate Peanut Butter Glaze
2 C flour
3/4 C sugar
2 t baking powder
1 t salt
1/2 t cinnamon
1/4 t nutmeg
3/4 C milk
2 eggs, slightly beaten
1 t vanilla
1/2 C mashed banana ( about 1 small banana)

Glaze
1 C powdered sugar
2 T chocolate peanut butter
2-3 T milk

Preheat oven to 325. Spray a donut pan or muffin pan with cooking spray.
In an large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Set aside. In another bowl, combine the milk, eggs, vanilla and banana. Stir dry ingredients into the wet ingredients. Mix well.
Fill the donut pan with the batter about 2/3 full.
Bake for 10-12 minutes, or until toothpick inserted comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack.

To make glaze
Whisk together the powdered sugar, chocolate peanut butter, and milk. Use a rubber spatula to spread the glaze on top of the donuts.

Adapted from Kitchenmeetsgirl.com

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Queso Chili

Queso Chili

     January has proven to be a month that just isn't going to budge on the idea of warmer weather. It doesn't seem to matter where one lives in the U.S. it is cold. Not just a little cold, but a deep freeze cold. The wind chill here has been in the -40's. Not fun!

     School has already been cancelled 3 days because of the extreme wind chills. I'm wondering if we will be closed again on Monday and Tuesday too. The wind chills are suppose to be worse than the last few days when school was cancelled. At this rate we'll be making time up in June. Something I'm not too happy about.

     Since it's been so cold out I've had to make some chili to warm us up some. In fact I've made this particular chili 2 times now.  My husband says that it tasted better the second time I made it, but I didn't do anything different from the first time. I guess it just must have been that he was more in the mood for chili the second time I made it. My son absolutely loved it both times. I like it because it's a little different from your average chili and you just throw everything in the crockpot. So simple.

     So make yourself a big pot of chili tonight. I know that the old month of January will cooperate with giving us cold winds and temperatures and this dish will warm you up . Enjoy!

Queso Chii
1 lb of Velveeta cheese, cubed
1 lb ground beef, browned
1 C frozen corn
1-15 oz can of kidney beans, undrained
2-14.5 oz cans diced tomatoes, undrained
1- 4oz can of green chilies
1 package of taco seasoning mix
Corn chips

Combine Velveeta cheese, ground beef, corn, beans, diced tomatoes, green chilies and taco mix in a crockpot.
Cover and cook on high for 3 hours.
Serve in a bowl with crushed corn chips on top if desired.

    

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Frozen Mocha Smoothie

Frozen Mocha Smoothie
     Today I'm up early and ready for work way too early. So now I'm stuck here waiting to leave for work. Now it's not that I wanted to get up at 5:30 this morning. My dog had a little to do with that. You see she was crying by my bedside this morning to go outside. It's kind of hard to ignore when she's right next to your head wimpering.

     I knew letting the dogs sleep at 7:00 last night was a mistake. I get that when we are home they don't take a nap in the middle of the day like usual, but they can't go to sleep that early or they will wake up early or in the middle of the night. Of course now they are both lounging in their favorite spot right now. No worries for them, they get to sleep today.

     Since this would be a great day to have a little extra energy I decided that I should share my recipe for Frozen Mocha Smoothie. It is similar to the one I get at the gym. I had to kind of play with the ingredients a bit to get it just right. I use my little drink mixer to make it. It is like the bullet drink mixer, but you could use a regular blender too.

     I put protein powder in my smoothie, but you wouldn't have to necessarily do that. You could opt for a little yogurt if you wanted. I just happen to have protein powder on hand. I also use almond milk, but regular milk is fine too. I think you'll like this especially if you like coffee.

Frozen Mocha Smoothie
4-6 ice cubes
1/4 C cold coffee
1/4 C almond milk, more if it seems too stiff
2T protein powder
2T mocha flavored instant coffee

Mix in drink mixer or blender until well blended. Add more almond milk if it seems too thick.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Chocolate Cheesecake Turtle Cupcakes

Chocolate Cheesecake Turtle Cupcakes
     Over the weekend I was a super busy girl. I was either making something in the kitchen or working in my sewing room. A lot of the time I had something cooking or baking in the kitchen while I was sewing down in my sewing room.

     One of the treats that I made was these delectable cupcakes. When I first saw the post for this recipe I knew I had to make these. How could I pass this up? I mean look at that picture. They just say YUM!

     These cupcakes are very easy to make, which is a plus in my book. One never knows how difficult some of these luscious goodies can be to make and I know that I don't want to toil too long in the kitchen. God knows I love to bake and cook, but I don't want to be in the kitchen forever. It needs to be quick and easy, plus taste good.

     These little cupcakes meet all my expectations and more. I am definitely going to make these babies again. They took very little time and they made a great little dessert. In fact I'm taking some of these into work for my friends to sample. I'm sure they are going to love them.

Chocolate Cheesecake Turtle Cupcakes
1 1/2 C all purpose flour
1 C sugar
1/4 C cocoa powder
1/2 t salt
1 t baking soda
1/3 C vegetable oil
1 C water
1 T vinegar
1 t vanilla

For the Cheesecake
8 oz cream cheese, softened
1/4 C sugar
1 egg

Preheat oven to 350 F and line 18 cupcake tins with cupcake liners.
In a large bowl mix the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, salt & baking soda. Mix well until combined.
In a small bowl mix oil, water, vinegar and vanilla. Make a well in the dry ingredients and add the liquid mixture. Stir mixture until it is well combined. Fill cupcake liners 1/3 full with chocolate mixture.

In a small bowl mix cream cheese, sugar and egg with an electric mixer. Blend until smooth and creamy. Use a small cookie scoop to put a dollop of the cream cheese mixture on top of the chocolate mixture.

Bake cupcakes for 20 minutes or until cream cheese is firm.
Let cupcakes cool for 5 minutes in the pan and then remove and cool on a cooling rack.

Turtle Topping
14 caramels
6 T half and half
1/2 C milk chocolate chips
1/2 C chopped pecans

Unwrap the caramels and put in a microwavable bowl. Add 3 T half and half. Microwave for 1 1/2 minutes or until melted. Stir until smooth and let cool slightly.
Place chocolate chips and 3 T half and half in another bowl and microwave for 1 1/2 minutes or until melted. Stir until smooth and let cool slightly.
Using a spoon drizzle the caramel and chocolate on top of the cupcakes and sprinkle with chopped pecans.
Makes 18 cupcakes  

Recipe from thecakeblog.com

 
 

Monday, January 6, 2014

Peanut Butter Pretzel Bites

Peanut Butter Pretzel Bite
     Well I've been home alone for the day and I've got nothing better to do than cook and sew. And as you can see by the picture I of course had to make something sweet to nibble on in between my sewing escapades.

     These goodies are similar to the famous Peanut Butter Balls that some of us know and love. These have a little bit of a twist though. They have crushed pretzels in them. It gives them a nice crunch, a little more body. One doesn't feel as if they are eating a spoonful of peanut butter when you eat these (but it's real close).

     I started out trying to figure out what I could do with this bag of pretzels that I had in the cupboard. Now it seems that my family is not big on eating plain pretzels. Not even if they have a beverage (if you know what I mean). These pretzels are even low fat and they taste good. So I looked through a few recipes and what do you know, I found a recipe that uses pretzels in it.

     These are fairly simple to make. However, they are a bit messy when rolling the peanut butter mixture into balls and let's not forget the dunking in chocolate. They are good though and require very few ingredients. Hope you enjoy them.

Peanut Butter Pretzel Bites
1C creamy peanut butter
10 T powdered sugar
2 T room temperature butter
2 C crushed pretzels
1 pkg semi-sweet chocolate chips

In a medium bowl combine peanut butter, powdered sugar, and butter. Add crushed pretzels and mix together.
Roll into 1inch balls or smaller and put them on a tray. Freeze for 1 hour.
Melt chocolate chips in microwave. (Microwave on high 1 minute. Take out an stir. Then microwave about 10-15 seconds stirring each time until melted).
Dip balls into chocolate and then put onto a parchment lined tray. Refrigerate until set. Keep refrigerated when storing.

Recipe adapted from Tasty Kitchen

    

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Homestyle Goulash

Homestyle Goulash
     As we prepare to hunker down at home for these next couple days I've had to start thinking about some good home cooked meals that will warm a persons soul. With the temps dropping and businesses potentially closing, it looks like most of us will be staying home getting some good quality family time together.

     Last night for dinner I made goulash. This is a quick, hearty meal that warms one up and just feels like home. It's the stuff my mom would have made for a quick family dinner. Add a salad and rolls/biscuits and you've got a great satisfying meal.

     One nice thing about goulash is you can add practically anything to it and you can't mess it up. I could have added some canned mushrooms to this if I wanted to. Or if you like a little spice, add some red pepper flakes or some Italian seasoning. Substitute a little jarred spaghetti sauce for the tomato sauce to give it a little Italian flare. You just can't go wrong with this recipe.

     If you happen to have leftovers just put them in the fridge and heat them up in the microwave for a take to work lunch or just a quick lunch at home.

Homestyle Goulash
1 lb of lean ground beef
1 small onion, diced
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1/2 green pepper diced
1- 15 oz can diced tomatoes
1- 8 oz can tomato sauce
2 C dry macaroni, cook according to package directions
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 C shredded cheddar cheese

Bring a large pot of water to a boil and cook the macaroni. It should boil about 8-10 minutes. As the macaroni cooks brown the beef, with the onion, pepper and garlic. Drain the beef mixture and set aside. Once the macaroni has cooked drain it in a colander. Return macaroni to the pot and add the beef mixture. Add the diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, salt and pepper (if you're doing any add ins now is the time to put those ingredients in). Mix well. Heat on low heat and then add the cheese and stir to melt the cheese. Now serve and enjoy!

Adapted from Lynda's Recipe Box

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Chicken and Wild Rice Soup

Chicken And Wild Rice Soup
     Happy New Year!!!
     Well another year is behind us and we are looking at a new year. Time to reevaluate our life and try and make some changes that are for the better. Some of us want to make changes to exercise more, or to just exercise period. Some of us want to save more money and spend less, simplifying our lives. And then some of us want to eat better. So many resolutions. Hopefully some of the things we want to change will become a reality.

     I really want to eat better and save some money so I can go on a trip somewhere. Not that I haven't done these things before, but I just want to make a point of really watching what I eat and making sure I put money aside every paycheck so I can afford to go on a nice trip this year. 

     As far as exercise goes, I'm going to make sure that I go to the gym 3 times a week and really work out. No more wimpy exercising. I'm going to make sure I work out for at least 30 minutes when I do go to the gym. Plus I'm going to make sure I do yoga once a week. It's so easy to get out of the habit of regular exercise.

    So to start my better eating I've made a Chicken and Wild Rice soup recipe that I think you're going to love. It is made in the crockpot, which makes it super easy. I wasn't so sure how the wild rice would cook, but it was very easy. It doesn't take much to whip this soup up and my family liked it better than my usual wild rice soup.

So here's to a New Year! Hope you all have a wonderful 2014!

Chicken and Wild Rice Soup
8 C of chicken broth
1 C uncooked wild rice
1 T olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
2 rods of celery, sliced
2 carrots, shredded
1/2 t pepper
2 C cooked, diced chicken
1 stick of butter, melted
1/2 C flour
2 C half and half
2 t parsley 
Siracha sauce, if desired

Add chicken broth and rice to crockpot and turn on high. In a frying pan add olive oil and heat on medium heat. Add onion, celery and carrots and saute until cooked. Add the pepper to the vegetables.  Add to the rice and broth mixture. Cook on high for 3-4 hours or on low for 6-8 hours.
Cook the chicken. ( I took 3 chicken breasts and boiled them until done. About 20-30 minutes). Cut chicken up into bite size pieces and put in the refrigerator for later.
In a small sauce pan melt butter. Add the flour and stir completely in. Then slowly add the half and half, mixing well. Add this to the crockpot mixture along with the chicken and the parsley. Mix well.
Let soup cook for another 20-30 minutes and serve.
Add Siracha sauce to individual bowls if desired.

Adapted from Simply This and that