Thursday, September 25, 2008


*EDITING THIS POST* to say that I'm opening the contest to any missionary currently serving on a foreign field.

This is my 100th post and to celebrate, I'd like to give a gift to one of my special readers here.
This is what the winner will receive:
A copy of one of my very favorite cookbooks: Gooseberry Patch. A set of homemade jams (Concord grape and also Peach - both made by me). And an assortment of Pampered Chef recipe booklets.

I like to give things that I like to receive and I absolutely LOVE the Gooseberry Patch Autumn cookbooks. I like the holiday ones too, but the Autumn ones, are by far, my favorites. This is the 2008 edition called Harvest Kitchens. I've already looked through it and convinced myself that I need to make another trip to Lansing to get one for myself! LOL

Here are the rules:

1. The contest will be open until 11pm EST, Sunday, October 5th. Using a random number generator, a winner will be selected and announced on Monday, October 6th.

2. One entry per person please. However, please feel free to share the good news with others.

3. Anyone may participate, as long as you have a valid mailing address in the United States (including Hawaii & Alaska) or Canada. Please
make sure you leave me a way to contact you. The selected winner must respond within 48 hours or another winner will be chosen.

4. When you leave your name, please tell me what your favorite Fall dish is. Be warned, I will probably be asking for some recipes! LOL



I LOVED the hints of citrus in this dish! Very refreshing and out of the ordinary.
I wanted to grill out so badly tonight - but my Honey is out of town for the week. I jumped in with both feet though, and muddled through. Surprisingly, it turned out yummy. I served these with grilled pineapple (was so good w/ the pork) and lemon rice. I also cooked up the other half of that spaghetti squash from last night and served that. I had my son and daughter-in-law over for dinner tonight. My grandson (age 3) wasn't too thrilled with the kabobs, I should have thought ahead and whipped up some mac-n-cheese for him.


12 wooden or metal skewers
1 (1 1/2 lb) pork loin trimmed of fat and cut into 1 1/2" chunks
3 assorted bell peppers, cut into 1 inch pieces
1 red onion - cut into 1 inch pieces
2 tsp. black pepper medley
Cooking spray

Soak wooden skewers in water for 30 minutes or longer. Preheat grill to medium (350).
Thread pork, peppers and onions alternately onto skewers. Sprinkle with pepper medley and spray with cooking spray. Grill kabobs covered with grill lid at 350 for 6 - 8 minutes on each side or until done. Serve kabobs with *honey mustard on the side.
While kabobs are cooking in their last few minutes.
For pineapple: Arrange pineapple slices on cooking grate and grill covered with grill lid for 2 - 3 minutes on each side or until tender and grill marks appear. Remove from grill.

This honey mustard is REALLY good with fried chicken nuggets too.


1/4 cup mayonnaise
3 Tblsp honey
2 Tblsp yellow mustard
1 Tblsp lemon juice
2 Tblsp orange juice

Combine all ingredients except orange juice. Stir well. Thin to pouring consistency with orange juice. Cover and chill for 2 to 3 hours.

And we LOVED this rice! Don't you just get so tired of plain ol' boring rice? Then try this new jazzed up version! You'll love it too. Don't let the lemon zest scare you off - it's quite yummy!


1 Garlic clove, minced
2 cups chicken broth
2 Tbsp butter
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup Basmati rice
1 Tbsp lemon zest

Melt butter in saucepan over medium heat. Saute minced garlic for a minute. Add chicken broth and salt. Bring to a boil over high heat. Stir in rice, cover, reduce heat to low and cook 20 minutes or until broth is absorbed and rice is tender. Stir in lemon zest and fluff with a fork.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008


WAIT A MINUTE! You come back here! Before you turn up your nose at this one, let me just tell you, it is DEElicious! If you haven't broadened your horizons yet to include spaghetti squash, you really need to put this on the shopping list this week. Squash is coming into season, and our local supermarket had it dirt cheap yesterday - 2 for $1! 1 decent size spaghetti squash will feed 4 people. As I was eating this tonight, I actually forgot it wasn't pasta under the tomato ragout! I THOROUGHLY enjoyed this dish and will definitely be making it again and again. Very "figure friendly" too. I'm not sure what the WW points on this would be, but it can't be very high. If someone wants to figure it out and let me know, I'll gladly edit this post to add them.


2 - 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
Bottled Italian dressing

1 spaghetti squash, halved lengthwise and seeded
Olive oil
1 sweet onion, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 green pepper, diced
1 1/2 cups tomatoes, chopped (I used canned and it was perfectly fine)
2 Tblsp chopped fresh basil (I used dried, but just a tad less)
Fresh spinach leaves (optional)

To begin. Take each chicken breast and insert them individually into a ziploc baggie (1 breast for each baggie). Squeeze out excess air and seal it shut. Take your metal meat mallet and pound each chicken breast to about 1/2" thick. Open bag and pour in about 1/4 cup of Italian dressing. Seal it back up and put it in the fridge to marinate for about an hour.

Now let's work on that squash. It has a tough outer skin, so use a very sharp, sturdy knife to cut it lengthwise. I usually jab the knife in and then rock it back and forth until it is mostly cut in half. The stem area can sometimes be a stickler, but I cut the whole thing around and then just break it the rest of the way by the stem end. Spray your baking pan with cooking spray. Lay the squash in the pan, cut side down. Pour in just a little water, maybe 1/2 cup. Bake at 375 for 30 minutes or until a sharp knife can be inserted through the skin with only a little resistance. Remove squash from the oven and set aside to cool just enough to be easy to handle. (I didn't wait for it to cool. I flipped it over, stuck a meat fork in one end to hold it steady and started scraping with my dinner fork. It will shred and look just like spaghetti. Place the shredded squash in a separate bowl and keep warm.

Heat a George Foreman grill. Spray with cooking spray. Remove the chicken from the fridge. Remove chicken breasts from marinade. Grill as many chicken breasts as your foreman grill will handle. Mine is small and I can only do 1 at a time. But for me, each chicken breast only took 5 minutes total. They were sooooo juicy and tasty!

Meanwhile (while you're waiting on the timer to beep for the chicken in the grill), heat olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Saute onion and peppers in oil until tender and opaque. Add garlic and saute for 2 - 3 minutes. Stir in the tomatoes and the basil and cook until the tomatoes are bubbly. Optional: add fresh spinach leaves and stir until wilted. Top spaghetti squash with tomato ragout and a big pinch of shredded mozzarella.
I was able to make this ragout while the chicken breasts were grilling. This is one QUICK supper! I loved it for that too!


Again, not the greatest pic. But photography isn't my forte' - at least until I can get a better camera (where's Terri when I need her?!) Anyway - if you like Fajitas, but are trying to watch your calories, you really MUST give this salad a try. It is probably my favorite salad. Super easy too! And the nice thing about it is, it's light, yet hearty enough to serve as a main course (if your hubby's not eating! haha) No, really my Honey likes this salad (as long as it's for lunch and not "supper!" haha


2 boneless skinless chicken breasts, sliced into bite size chunks
McCormick's fajita seasoning
1 sweet onion, sliced thin
1 green pepper, sliced thin
olive oil
Romaine lettuce, torn into manageable pieces
Tomatoes (whatever your favorite is - Cherry, grape, roma, etc)
Shredded Montery Jack or Mexican blend cheese
Sour cream
Guacamole - homemade or store bought, your choice (I like homemade best for the chunks)
Salsa (optional)
Tostitos multigrain tortilla chips

Heat a heavy cast iron skillet to medium heat on your stove. Drizzle olive oil liberally into the skillet. Add your sliced onions and peppers and fry until soft and opaque. I like them a bit caramelized too, but you can do what you like there. Turn down to low or keep warm, while you cook the chicken.
Heat a separate skillet over med-high on the stove. Drizzle a little olive oil in the bottom and swirl it around to coat the bottom of the skillet. Add the chicken chunks and sprinkle liberally with the fajita seasoning. Cook chicken 3-4 min and then flip them over and season the other side. Cook another 3-4 minutes. Remove from heat.
Take a large shallow bowl (none of this small cereal bowl stuff!) and layer your torn lettuce, tomatoes, warm chicken, onions, peppers and shredded cheese. Garnish with a dollop of guacamole in the center, along with a dollop of sour cream next to it (you can use the light version if you wish, but I think light and fat free versions are filth! I'd rather have the real McCoy and just eat less of it! haha) Add a few chips to the side and dig in!

Sunday, September 21, 2008


My daughter in law made us a FANTASTIC turkey dinner today for our Sunday get-together. She served this really tasty wild rice stuffing. When I asked her how she made it, I couldn't believe how simple the recipe was! You won't either. She got the recipe from her Momma. It went perfect with the turkey!


1 box Stove top dressing mix, prepared according to directions
1 pkg Uncle Ben's wild rice mix, prepared according to directions

Prepare dressing mix and set aside. Prepare rice using chicken broth in place of the water called for. When the rice is done, combine with the prepared stuffing mix. SUPER easy, SUPER fast, and SUPER yummy!
Thanks Mon Mon for this one and for the fantabulous dinner today! You're a gem!


We got invited to our son and daughter-in-law's house for dinner today and they asked me to bring dessert. OF COURSE I would pick a new dessert that I've never made! DUH! I know my Honey loves pumpkin pie and my son loves pumpkin chiffon pie. I had never made this one, so thought I'd give it a go. I got in a hurry and started rushing through the recipe without reading the directions at the bottom - DON'T do that! I ruined the first attempt and had to start all over on a new one! This would be a good one to make the night before, so it will have plenty of time to chill and set up nice for you.

  • 1 envelope (1 tablespoon) unflavored gelatin
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 4 eggs, separated
  • 1 1/4 cups white sugar
  • 1 1/4 cups pumpkin
  • 2/3 cup evaporated milk
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 recipe pastry for a 9 inch single crust pie
  1. Mix the gelatin and water in a small bowl, and set aside.
  2. In a medium bowl, beat the egg yolks until thick. Mix in 3/4 cup sugar, pumpkin, evaporated milk, salt, cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg and ginger.
  3. In a double broiler, cook the mixture over boiling water, stirring constantly, until thick. Mix in the gelatin. Stir to dissolve. Remove from heat and allow the mixture to thicken until it mounds when dropped by the spoonful.
  4. In a clean, dry medium bowl, beat the egg whites until soft peaks form. Gradually mix in the remaining 1/2 cup sugar, and continue beating until firm. Fold in the pumpkin mixture. Transfer to the pie crust. Chill until firm, about 1 hour, or overnight.


My TREMENDOUS thanks to Jenny at the Picky Palate, for this one! I'm always on the lookout for new treats and snacks to make for our college kids. They travel home on the weekends and back to school on Sunday nights. This is another one I whipped up for them this weekend. They couldn't wait to start nibbling on them though, and were digging them out of the baggie before they were even out the door! They LOVED them! If I keep this up, they are going to get used to it! hehe *Next time I make them though, I'll keep the oreo chunks a bit bigger*

1 stick softened butter
6 Tablespoons sugar
6 Tablespoons brown sugar
1 egg
½ teaspoon vanilla
1 ¼ Cup flour
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
8 broken pieces Oreo Cookies
1 Cup chocolate chips

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Cream butter, and sugars until well combined. Add egg and vanilla until mixed well.

2. Place flour, baking soda and salt into a large bowl, stir to combine. Slowly add dry ingredients to wet ingredients then stir in oreos and chocolate chips until just combined.

3. With a medium cookie scoop, scoop onto a parchment or silpat lined baking sheet. Bake for 7-9 minutes or until cooked, but still soft. Let cool on baking sheet for 3 minutes before transferring to cooling rack.

Sunday, September 14, 2008


I'm just a few posts away from my 100th post. To celebrate, I'm going to have a giveaway! So keep your eye on my blog. Sometimes I go crazy cooking, baking and posting (especially now with the weather change), but other times I am so busy, I hit a dry spell. It might be this week, it might be next week, who knows. Be sure to come back and check frequently. Tell your friends about it too - the more the merrier! I'll let you know when to start "throwing your hat in the ring" so to speak. I've been talking about and planning with my daughters, what to use for the giveaway. This is going to be FUN!


YEP - I'm getting a hankering for Fall! It's this change in the weather, I think. It's time to break out the sweaters and big comfy sweatshirts that have been in storage all Summer. It's time for baking pumpkin pie, fresh cookies and banana bread. It's almost time for apple picking and cider and fresh donuts.... no wait.... didn't I just say in the previous post that I'm trying to drop a few pounds? Oh! But those donuts at the orchard! OH MY SOUL are they ever stinking good! Especially with a glass of cold, fresh cider. Oh what am I doing to myself? haha I was talking about Fall. And this post isn't even about food, it's about tablescapes for crying out loud!
We didn't have guests today - we will have next week. But I wanted to do a Fall table for our Sunday dinner today. I love this brown tablecloth. I got it on clearance after the season, for less than half price. The little placemat in the middle is just a remnant of a piece of Fall fabric I had. The little pumpkin centerpiece was a total impulse buy on my part. I stopped at the store to buy one thing and ended up grabbing this as I jogged by on my way to the checkout! I love it though. The candle holders, again, clearance items from Walmart. I think they were $2 each.Same thing with the napkin rings - clearance! What can I say? I'm cheap. haha This shot looks really different without the flash on the camera. The goblets have a blue hue, but they are really clear.
~*sigh*~ I love my Fall table.


I know this probably seems like a weird thing to bake on a rainy, September afternoon. But with the recent change in the weather (chilly and RAINY) I have had such a hankering to do some baking! But I'm trying to drop a few pounds, so baking for us here at home is not a good idea right now! LOL I found my outlet though - the college kids! They come home on the weekends and then leave to go back to school, after Sunday night service. Now I can bake my head off during the week and send it all with them! WOOHOO! I know you'd think I'd be baking chocolate chip cookies or brownies or some pumpkin dessert. I'm weird though. I just couldn't get lemon bars off my mind today! I think I'm going to be the college kids' new favorite person! *hehe* Plus, whenever my daughter Sarah goes back on Sunday night, the other dorm students ask her what goodies she brought back from her Mom. haha

  • 2 sticks (8 ounces) butter
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/2 cup confectioners' sugar
  • 4 beaten eggs
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 4 tablespoons flour
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon finely grated lemon peel
  • sifted confectioners' sugar


Heat oven to 325°. Blend butter, 2 cups flour and 1/2 cup confectioners' sugar. Pat into ungreased 13x9x2-inch pan. Bake for 18 to 20 minutes. For filling, blend together eggs, sugar, 4 tablespoons flour, lemon juice, and lemon peel. Pour over first layer. Return to oven and bake at 325° for 20 minutes. Loosen around edges, cut into bars and sift confectioners' sugar over the top while warm.


This is another result of looking for a different side for a church fellowship. This jumped out at me as different, and I like that about a recipe. It's a real comfort type, side dish. And it went over really well. Will definitely make again.


1 pkg (16 oz) frozen california blend (broccoli, carrots, cauliflower)
1 can (10 3/4 oz) condensed cream of mushroom soup, undiluted
1 carton (8 oz) spreadable garden vegetable cream cheese
1 cup seasoned croutons

Prepare vegetables according to package directions. Cook until crisp tender. Drain and place in a large bowl. In a separate microwave safe bowl, combine soup and cream cheese. Give it a quick stir and microwave until just warmed through. Pour over cooked veggies in bowl and stir to combine. Transfer to a greased 1 qt baking dish. Sprinkle with croutons. Bake, uncovered at 375 for 25 minutes or until bubbly.

Friday, September 12, 2008


I'm always looking for new side dishes to take to church fellowships. This one had a boring name, so I renamed it. Actually I read down through the recipe and thought, well that's nothing more than jazzed up party potatoes! LOL It's party potatoes married to a prominent ingredient - spinach! My little party potatoes grew up and got married! At first, I thought, ewww, but then remembered that I like spinach! LOL These really were VERY good. I love party potatoes, but I honestly don't know if I'll ever make them again without adding the spinach and other extras. And a sure sign to me that they were good, is when I carry home an empty dish. And that was the case this past Sunday after we had a potluck dinner for our church anniversary. These would go really good with any meat that doesn't have a gravy. Like ham, or BBQ chicken, things like that.
And if you are dieting, you could lighten it up by using the light versions of cream cheese, sour cream and cheddar.


3 lbs Russet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch cubes
2 garlic cloves, peeled
1 (8 oz) pkg cream cheese, softened
2 Tblsp butter
1/2 cup sour cream
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese, divided
1 tsp garlic salt
1 tsp onion salt
1 (10 oz) pkg frozen, chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry

Place potatoes and garlic in large saucepan. Cover with water and bring to a boil. Cook for 20 - 25 minutes or until very tender. Drain well. In a mixing bowl, mash potatoes and garlic with cream cheese and butter. Add sour cream and 1 cup shredded cheddar, garlic salt, onion salt and spinach. Stir just until mixed. Spread into a greased 2 qt baking dish. Bake uncovered at 350 for 30 - 35 minutes or until heated through. Top with remaining cheese. Bake 5 minutes longer or until the cheese is melted.
Yield: 10 - 12 servings


If your brown sugar is dried out, put a slice of bread or a saltine cracker in with it to soften it up.

Saturday, September 6, 2008


Have you ever eaten at Texas Roadhouse? I love that place! And the funny thing is, one of my favorite picks on the menu is this dish called "Roadkill." It sounds horrible, but it is so stinking good! The last time I was there, I asked the waiter what it was and he said "Ground sirloin." So...... I decided I could make it at home too. And it's SO easy and so simple, you won't believe how good it is though!
P.S. You don't "have" to make your steaks 8 oz portions. Feel free to make smaller 4 oz steaks if that is what you prefer. Just remember, it will shorten your cooking time.

SMOTHERED STEAK (because I refuse to call it "roadkill")

1 lb Ground sirloin
1 large onion, sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 stick butter
1 large can sliced mushrooms, drained

First you get your onions sliced and cooking in your skillet. Heat up your skillet, plop in about 1/2 stick of butter and let it melt, then drizzle in a little olive oil with it. Dump in your sliced up onion and minced garlic and let it cook until they are nice and soft and slightly browned. Mmm! They smell so good!

Next you drain your mushrooms and dump those into the cooked onions and garlic. Give it a good stir until they are heated through. Keep this warm until the steaks are done.

Patty out your ground sirloin. There were 4 of us eating tonight, so I used 2 lbs. I get 2 steaks out of a pound. Heat a separate skillet over med - high heat and drizzle with olive oil. Remember sirloin is very lean , so some moisture is needed to compensate for the lack of fat. Coat your skillet with extra virgin olive oil or another favorite light oil. Place steaks in pan and season with salt, black peppercorn medley, Garlic powder, and Lawry's. Cook over medium heat. Sear the steaks quickly on one side to seal in its natural juices and then reduce the heat to med or low. Try 3 - 4 min for the first side (after searing for 30 seconds) and 2 - 3 minutes for the second side. Minutes really count here, so don't leave your steaks unattended. Take your steaks off the heat early. They will continue to cook when removed from the heat. They can go from perfectly cooked to OVERcooked in less than a minute.

Once you remove them from the heat. Load them up evenly with the cooked onions and mushrooms. Right in the skillet. Once you have all the onions and mushrooms on... see that buttery goodness left in the bottom of the skillet? Go ahead.... drizzle it right over the steaks!

Top each steak with a slice of mozzarella or provolone (whichever is your favorite) and cover until cheese melts. Serve on a bed of mashed redskin potatoes. Mmm!! Aren't you hungry now?


So tomorrow is our church's 73rd anniversary. We're having a big day with a Potluck dinner and the whole 9 yards. Grilled chicken by the men - will be soooo good! Anyway, I was tossing around the idea of making a cake for it (since I just took a cake decorating class). My daughter (who taught the class) said to go for it, and that she would help me if I got stuck. So this is sort of a joint effort. I made the cake and iced it (she smoothed it! LOL) I made the peach roses, she made the beige ones. She did the writing. LOL We had a lot of fun working on this together, tonight.


Mmm! Don't you just love fresh peaches when they are in season? I sure do! The Lord really blessed me this year with a sweet little peach "crop." I have one lonely peach tree in my side yard, but it bore over 100 peaches this year! Some of them were a little small, but still nice and sweet. I was amazed. The same thing happened with my grape vines - it was a bumper crop. I couldn't even GIVE them all away, there were so many. We harvested the peaches, my daughter, Sarah, arranged them so pretty in a basket. I finally got to them this week, and made up a batch of peach jam. It turned out soooo yummy, that I'm thinking about making another batch, because I just KNOW that most of this one will be used for gift giving.


3 lbs fresh peaches, peeled, pitted and finely chopped
Juic of 3 lemons (or 1/3 cup real lemon juice)
7 1/2 cups sugar
1 pouch Certo liquid pectin

Bring boiling water canner, half full with water to a simmer. Wash jars, lids and screw bands in hot soapy water; rinse with warm water. Pour boiling water over flat lids in saucepan off the heat. Let stand in hot water until ready to use. Drain well before filling. Prepare fruit. If using food processor, pulse to chop. DO NOT PUREE. Jam should have bits of fruit in it. Measure exact amount of prepared fruit into 6 or 8 quart saucepan. Stir in lemon juice and sugar. Add 1/2 tsp. butter or margarine to reduce foaming, if desired. Bring mixture to a full rolling boil (a boil that doesn't stop bubbling when stirred) on high heat, stirring constantly. Stir in pectin quickly. Return to full rolling boil and boil exactly 1 minute, stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Skim off any foam with a metal spoon. Ladle quickly into prepared jars, filling to within 1/8 inch of tops. Wipe jar rims and threads. Cover with 2 piece lid and ring set. Screw bands tightly. Place jars on elevated rack in canner. Lower rack into canner. Water must cover jars by 1 to 2 inches; add boiling water if needed. *(I use a dutch oven to process my jars of jelly & jam, and it works just fine). Cover; bring water to gentle boil. Process jams 10 minutes; jelly 5 minutes. Remove jars and place upright on a towel to cool completely. After jars cool, check seals by pressing middle of lid with finger. If lid springs back, lid is not sealed and refrigeration is necessary. Let stand at room temperature for 24 hours. Store unopened jams and jellies in cool, dry, dark place up to 1 year. Refrigerate opened jams and jellies up to 3 weeks.