Thursday, October 29, 2009


Yum! Do you love a good, warm, cinnamon'y' bread pudding on a chilly Fall day? This is another good Autumn recipe, and a good way to incorporate some of those apples that you've been picking. We are in the middle of our annual Faith Promise Missions Conference and we are feeding the missionaries dinner each night. We thought this one would go over well, and it surely did.
The original recipe had twice the amount of sugar called for here. It was good, but way too sweet. So we reduced the amount of sugar (since we were working with a sweeter bread). And the results were WONDERFUL! I love this because it's almost like eating baked french toast, but better. You will love the crispy, crumb topping too.


1 cup white sugar
5 eggs, beaten
2 cups milk
2 tsp. vanilla
3 cups cubed - iced cinnamon swirl bread (you can do cinnamon-raisin if you prefer)
1 large yellow delicious apple, peeled, cored and finely chopped

1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup flour
1/4 cup butter, softened
1 cup chopped pecans, optional
cinnamon-sugar mixture


1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup butter, melted
1 egg, beaten
2 tsp vanilla
1/4 cup apple juice

Preheat oven to 350. Grease a 9 x 13 baking pan. Place bread cubes in pan. Mix together sugar, eggs and milk in a bowl, add vanilla. Pour over bread cubes and allow to sit for 10 minutes. Sprinkle diced apple evenly over the top. In a separate bowl, crumble together the brown sugar, flour, butter and pecans. Sprinkle brown sugar mixture evenly over the top. Sprinkle liberally with cinnamon sugar mixture. Bake for 35 - 45 minutes, or until set (no longer 'jiggly' in the middle). Remove from oven.

For sauce: Mix together sugar, butter, eggs and vanilla in a saucepan. Over medium heat, stir together until sugar is melted. Add apple juice and stir well. Pour warm over bread pudding. Delicious served warm with ice cream!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009


Man! I love Fall! Don't you? I love the colors - the deep orange hues, the red, the gold, green, I love it all. The crisp Fall air. Warm, comfy sweaters. Fleece blankets. Fuzzy socks. Hot chocolate. I love the smells of Fall. Baking. Pumpkins. Apple orchards. Apple cider. Apple pie, apple crisp, Apple cake!! haha My daughter has been asking for this for a few weeks now. I finally surprised her with it tonight. If you like apple desserts, this one won't disappoint! Don't let the stiff, cookie dough like, batter scare you. The chopped apples. once they bake, provide just the right amount of needed moisture in the cake. This is soooo good with a hot cup of coffee on a chilly, Fall day! It's SO moist and the sugar creates a yummy, crispy top.


2 cups sugar
1 stick butter, softened
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
4 cups raw apples, chopped
2 cups flour
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
optional: 1/2 cup chopped nuts

Preheat oven to 375.
Cream butter with sugar, add eggs and vanilla and mix well. In separate bowl combine flour, salt, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon and nutmeg. Stir or sift to combine. Add to creamed mixture and beat with mixer until well combined. Don't be afraid of the stiff, cookie dough like batter, the apples will cook up and provide enough moisture in the cake. Use a good heavy wooden spoon and fold apples evenly into batter. Spray a 9 x 13 baking pan with cooking spray and spread batter evenly into pan. Bake for 45 - 50 min at 375. Remove from oven and serve warm with desired garnish.
I sprinkle with powdered sugar. You could serve it with a dollop of whipped cream.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009


I made these last night to go along with our Italian chicken and rice soup. They are so yummy and so quick and easy to make. These would also make a tasty Sunday night snack for the family or the monthly ladies meeting, or any other group of people you may happen to have over for a fellowship. And biscuits are always on sale at the store. I just used the refrigerated 4 pack regular buttermilk biscuits. The original recipe didn't call for mozzarella cheese, but we are big cheese hounds around here and just look for ways to add it to recipes! haha And I'm telling you, I wouldn't make them without it!


1 can of biscuits
1 pack of Pepperoni
Shredded Mozzarella cheese
garlic salt
butter to brush on
Italian seasoning (optional)

Roll each biscuit out flat (don't worry, it will puff back up when it bakes). Place 2 pepperoni in each half (I overlap the pepperoni on top of each other, about half way) and a pinch of shredded mozzarella cheese. Fold the biscuit in half and pinch shut along all edges. Place on greased cookie sheet. Sprinkle with Italian seasoning if desired. Bake according to package directions. When they are done, brush with butter and sprinkle with garlic. While these are baking you can heat some marinara sauce to dip them in.
I served them with soup and they were so yummy that way too!


Fall is here! My favorite time of year! Time for some yummy soup recipes. Soup just warms you up on a crisp Fall day. This recipe is ridiculously simple. But oh so tasty. If you are having a busy day and your schedule seems rushed, you should add this one to your menu. It goes together in a snap. Especially if you already have leftover, cooked chicken. I cooked my chicken on my Foreman grill, while I threw the rest of the ingredients together, and it all came together right on time. Don't be afraid of the 'spaghetti sauce' in the recipe. I was a bit nervous to add it too, but then I reminded myself that it's only tomato sauce with the seasonings "already in there!" (Little plug for Ragu there! haha)


1 (49 oz) can chicken broth (I have had trouble finding these big cans of chicken broth lately. Now they are selling it in the 32 oz size box. (This is why it's good to have homemade broth on hand). Anyway, I just mixed up 2 cups of hot water w/ 2 tsp of chicken soup base, and added it to the broth, and it was fine.
1 (26 oz) Spaghetti sauce (meatless)
1 1/2 cups cubed, cooked chicken
1 small zucchini, cubed
1 small summer squash, cubed
2 Tblsp. minced fresh parsley
1/2 tsp. dried thyme
3 cups cooked rice
1 tsp. sugar

In a soup kettle or dutch oven, combine the broth, spaghetti sauce, chicken, parsley, thyme, zucchini and squash. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer uncovered until zucchini and squash ore tender. Stir in cooked rice and sugar. Simmer uncovered for 10 more minutes or until rice is heated through.

Yield: 10 servings

Wednesday, September 30, 2009


Time for those pretty Fall tablescapes, huh? I picked up 2 1/2 yards of this pretty butterscotch colored linen at Walmart for under $3 / yd. Then I found a cute apple print fabric that matched perfectly with it! I purchased enough for a runner, but since it is so wide, I plan to sew up some matching napkins for the set also.

I have to be honest here. My tablescapes are VERY user friendly! These are actually table settings that are used by my family! This was our tablescape for last Sunday's dinner.
Sometimes when I look at all the elaborate tablescapes, as beautiful as they are, I have to wonder if people really do eat at those tables! haha So pardon me if mine seem a little 'simple.' I just try to make our Sunday dinner special for my special family ;-)

Here's a little trick you can use at your next dinner or ladies meeting. Core an apple and insert a taper candle in the hollowed out center. They fit perfectly and look so stinking cute!
I see one of mine is leaning a bit - sorry. I should have checked that before I snapped the pic. But like I said, it was Sunday dinner and my family doesn't take to kindly to photo shoots when it's time for dinner! haha No, they really are patient. They humor and encourage me in my foodie photos! Sometimes it's with a roll of the eyes and a grin, but still.... haha

I love this little galvanized steel bucket full of apple candles. They look so real!

Thanks for stopping by! Take time to look through the recipes and see if there is something you can use!


Today was Amy's birthday. She is my favorite bus kid! I used to pick her up for Sunday school when she was just a little girl. Now she is a grown young woman, graduated from Bible college. She is such a blessing to my heart. Now she works with me on my bus route. Talk about full circle! A former bus kid picking up bus kids for church! I love it! She loves cheesecake, so I made this for her birthday today. She came over after the bus route tonight and we sang to her and gave her a few little gifts and ate cheesecake with her! haha

I was surprised today as I sifted through the dozens of cookbooks I have, that so many of them didn't have a simple cheesecake recipe. Either it was a jello type cheesecake (no bake) or a full on NY style cheesecake (time consuming). Then I found this in an Amish cookbook. It turned out so yummy. After my first bite I realized it was the same cheesecake my Aunt used to make when I was growing up. I loved it then and I still love it today! This went together in a snap - so quick and easy - and so tasty!



16 graham crackers, crushed
1/2 cup white sugar
1 stick butter melted

I placed the graham crackers in a heavy duty, gallon size ziploc baggie and crushed them with my rolling pin. Then opened the bag and pour in the sugar and melted butter. Reclosed the bag and shook it to mix in the sugar and butter. Then patted it into the pan.

Press into 9 x 13 pan


2 (8 oz) cream cheese, softened
1 cup white sugar
1 tsp vanilla
2 eggs, beaten

In a large mixing bowl beat softened cream cheese with sugar until creamy. Add vanilla and eggs and beat for approximately 5 minutes more, or until it loosens up and feels fluffy. Spread over graham cracker mixture. Bake at 375 for 15 min. (that's not a typo! 15 minutes!) When cool, pour cherry pie filling over the top. Then chill. Serve with whipped cream on top. Other fruits may be substituted in place of the cherries. Blueberry would be nice too.

This is dear sweet Amy, in the middle, between my two precious girls. Aren't they all so 'perty?' She has made herself a part of our family! We all just love her!

Thursday, September 17, 2009


Pardon the pic - it's not one of my better ones. I made this for a fellowship dinner last Sunday and was in a hurry to get out the door with it, so didn't fuss much w/ my camera settings. I've been making this cake since I was a teenager. It was one of my Dad's favorite cakes. It's so easy anybody can make it. Great way to use up those peaches you just bought too!


1 butter recipe yellow cake mix, prepared according to pkg directions

1 large (28 oz) or 2 small (14 oz each) cans sliced peaches in light juice, reserve juice
1/2 cup hot water
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1 (16 oz) Cool Whip
Whole pecans

Prepare butter recipe cake mix according to pkg directions. Spray a bundt cake pan and pour batter in. Bake according to guidelines on box. Remove from oven. Wiggle cake pan a bit to loosen cake from sides. Dump upside down on cake plate. Let cool completely. Use a large serrated butcher knife and horizontally cut cake evenly in half. Lay top half on separate plate. Meanwhile... open peaches and drain (reserve juice!) Pour peach juice in small saucepan, add 1/2 cup hot water, 1/2 cup sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg. Stir to combine and heat over med - high heat until bubbly. Simmer for a few minutes, stirring constantly. Now drizzle half of this mixture over the bottom layer of cake.

*Let the other half of the syrup cool and save it to drizzle on the top* Next take your drained peaches and lay them around the edge of the cake in the same direction, letting them hang over the edge a bit. *Save some of the peaches for garnish on top* Spoon on Cool whip whipped topping (reserve some for top of cake), place top half of cake on top of cool whip. Now put one dollop of Cool Whip on each large section of cake (for my pan, it ends up being 8 sections) On top of each dollop of cool whip, lay 1 peach slice and 1 whole pecan. *I ran out of whole pecans and had to opt for chopped pecans. They don't look as nice as the whole ones do. When you slice the cake to serve it - lay the cake slice on it's side and drizzle with the reserved, cooled peach syrup. ENJOY!

Thursday, July 16, 2009


Here's a fun treat to make with the kids! The original recipe just called for sprinkles, but we decided to try a few other coatings. One that we tried was chopped up Kit-Kat bars. The end result was something similar to a S'more! The kids loved them. They go together super quick and easy. This would be fun for Grandma to do with the grandbabies when they come for a visit. I made them for our Jr church kids and they gobbled them up. Be creative with your toppings and be sure to stop back by and let me know how they turned out for you!
*The pops can also be customized to match school colors, holidays, or special occasions by rolling them in coordinating colored sprinkles, such as red and green for Christmas, or orange and yellow or red for Fall.


2 cups (12 oz) semisweet chocolate chips
4 tsp. Canola oil
36 - 40 large marshmallows
18 - 20 popsicle sticks
3/4 cup colored or chocolate sprinkles (or other coating)
1 cup flaked coconut, optional
1 cup ground walnuts or pecans, optional

In a shallow microwave safe dish, combine the chocolate chips and oil. Stir and heat for 30 seconds at a time, until melted and smooth. DO NOT over heat as they will get hard on you. Thread two marshmallows onto each wooden stick. Use a pastry brush and dip it into the melted chocolate. 'Paint' each marshmallow with the melted chocolate (this works MUCH better than dipping or rolling, and helps to keep the coating from 'sliding' off afterwards). Roll in sprinkles, coconut or chopped nuts or coating of choice, such as chopped Kit-kat bars, chopped M & M's, etc... Place on waxed paper lined baking sheets. Chill until firm.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009


If you're not a fan of oatmeal, you will be after trying this treat! What a grand way to wake your kids up in the morning.... tell them they are having ice cream for breakfast! We all love oatmeal this way. But I buy the Carb smart ice cream to keep it lower in sugar. Are you a fan of the hot / cold duos? This one will be right up your alley then. Give it a try and let me know how you liked it.


Prepare your oatmeal according to package directions. I like the quick oats that cook in 1 minute. Hubby likes the old fashioned oats.

1/2 cup prepared oatmeal
1 tsp butter
1 tsp brown sugar
1/2 cup ice cream (use good quality ice cream, so when it melts it won't be gooey)
1 fresh peach, peeled and sliced
Sprinkle of cinnamon/sugar

Place prepared HOT oatmeal in bowl, top with butter, sprinkle with brown sugar. Place scoop of ice cream on top of hot oatmeal. Top with sliced peach and sprinkle with cinnamon/sugar. ENJOY!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009


Have you ever baked homemade pizza in a cast iron skillet? Oh my soul! It is so YUMMY!
The crust gets crispy on the bottom but stays moist on top. If you have an iron skillet, you simply MUST try this some time! You won't be disappointed and you'll probably never bake it on a pizza pan ever again!


Instructions for basic pizza dough:

Preheat oven to 400.

2 pkgs. quick rise dry active yeast
1 cup warm water (120ish degrees)
3 tblsp. veg. or olive oil, plus extra for drizzle
2 tsp. sugar
1 tsp. salt
Approx. 3 cups flour, plus extra for handling

It's good to "feel" out your dough. Start with the yeast in a mixing bowl. Add the warm water, oil sugar or honey and let everything dissolve together. Begin adding flour. (This can be done in a mixer, but I prefer to mix by hand, adding the flour a cup or half a cup at a time.) After mixing in about half the flour, add the salt. Mix in the rest of the flour, and when dough can be handled without sticking too badly, begin kneading by hand until soft and elastic, about 12-15 times. Let it rest for about 15 minutes. Punch it down, knead and let it rest again, if you have the time. After the second rise, form it into whatever you want (loaf, rolls, etc.) and bake in 450 deg. oven until golden brown. But this time we're forming it into our pizza dough. So lay it on the counter and begin rolling it into a circle big enough to fit your cast iron skillet on the bottom and up the sides a little. Grease your skillet heavily with Crisco. Pat dough into skillet and push up sides of the pan a little.


1/2 cup pizza sauce
1 lb lean deli ham, sliced into thin, bite size pieces
1 cup crushed pineapple, drained (if you don't have crushed, you can use chunk, just dice it up)
3 cups shredded mozzarella cheese, divided

Spoon the pizza sauce (or pasta sauce, doesn't matter) evenly over your dough in the iron skillet. Top with 1 cup of the shredded mozzarella cheese. Layer on your ham and pineapple and top with remaining cheese. Bake at 400 for 15 minutes or until cheese is melted and bubbly and crust is light golden brown on the bottom.

*Feel free to add more or less ham, pineapple or cheese, according to your taste.

Monday, July 13, 2009


We had a cookout after Sunday night service this past week. Everyone was asked to bring a side dish to share. I had a ton of Rice Krispie's for some reason and figured I'd throw together a batch of Rice Krispie treats (which I did). But I still had a ton more cereal! So I whipped up a batch of peanut butter rice krispie treats. They were gone in a flash! One minute the platter was full, I turned my head and a minute later it was empty! LOL Who doesn't love a Rice Krispie Treat?


4 Tblsp butter
1 cup Peanut Butter
1 whole bag mini marshmallows
8 cups Rice Krispie Treats

1 cup chocolate chips
1 Tblsp oil

M & M’s

1. In large saucepan melt butter over low heat. Add marshmallows and peanut butter and stir until completely melted. Remove from heat.
2. Add rice krispies cereal. Stir until well coated.
3. Using buttered spatula or wax paper evenly press mixture into 13 x 9 x 2-inch pan coated with cooking spray. You could also wet your hands and pat it down into the pan good and tight.
4. Place the chocolate chips and the oil into a microwave safe bowl and heat for 15 - 30 seconds at a time, stirring each time, until melted. Spread evenly over peanut butter rice krispie treats.
5. Sprinkle with M & M's
Optional: Melt 1/2 cup white chocolate chips w/ a teaspoon of oil in the microwave and drizzle over the top.
Cool. Cut into 2-inch squares. Best if served the same day.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009


This dish was amazing! I found it in the Biggest Loser Family Cookbook that I just purchased at Barnes and Nobles. This even got me a high five and knuckle bump from my Honey! He LOVED it! It is so very simple to make, but packed with a ton of flavor. A little on the spicy side, but not too much. We all have different tolerances for spice, and this pleased the whole family. This one will be making an appearance on our family dinner table again and again! I purposely made extra with lunch in mind for the next day. But..... after dinner was 'over' everyone just sat around 'picking' at the leftovers in the dish, until it was completely gone. It was just so tasty. 2 thumbs up from the whole family!

*This dish cooks up quickly, so be sure to have all of your ingredients prepped before you start. Watch the meat - if you overcook it or the pan isn't hot enough when you put it in, the beef could turn out tough.
I also added sliced zucchini and summer squash to this dish and it was DEElicious!


1 lb of chuck steak, sliced against the grain, into thin strips (1/4")
1 tsp. garlic powder
Salt to taste
Ground black pepper, to taste
Olive oil spray (or cooking spray)
1 (14 oz) bag frozen broccoli (about 5 cups) (I used fresh broccoli)
1 Tblsp. freshly minced garlic
2 tsp. toasted sesame oil
1/4 cup bottled Szechuan stir-fry sauce (I used 'House of Tsang' brand)

In a large bowl, combine the steak, garlic powder, salt and pepper and toss until will combined.
Place a large non-stick skillet or nonstick wok over high heat. When hot, mist it with the olive oil spray. Add the broccoli and garlic and cook, stirring, for 4 - 6 minutes, or until the garlic softens and the broccoli is heated through and crisp tender, being careful not to burn the garlic. Transfer to a large bowl and cover to keep warm.
Return the pan to high heat and add 2 tsp of the sesame oil. When hot, add the steak in a single layer and cook, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned on both sides, 2 - 3 minutes. Return the veggies to the pan with the meat, and remove from the heat. Add the Szechuan stir fry sauce and mix well to coat. Divide among 4 bowls and serve.

Calories: 191
Carbs: 10 g
Fat: 6 g
Fiber: 2 g
Protein: 25 g

Tuesday, July 7, 2009


Boy! Where does the time go?! I need to start posting some new recipes on here that we've tried and enjoyed. In our quest to eat healthy, I'm scouring 'light' cooking books and magazines for new takes on veggies. Tonight we tried this yummy little dish called Asian grilled green beans. It was a real hit with hubby, who isn't a huge fan of veggies. It's spicy, so beware. If you tend to be whiner when it comes to spice, just use half the amount of crushed red pepper flakes. This one is a keeper, for sure.
* One thing I would like to try next time though, is stir frying this dish, rather than 'steaming' them in the foil packets. I like my beans a bit on the crisp side.
* You could also top this side dish with a sprinkle of heart healthy, toasted nuts to give it a nice crunch.


1 Tblsp. Brown sugar (I omitted this because we are cutting down on sugar, and it still turned out fabulous)
1 Tblsp. Sesame oil
1 Tblsp. Soy sauce
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes (can reduce to 1/4 tsp if you don't like spicy dishes)
1 1/2 pounds fresh green beans, trimmed
1 medium red onion, halved and thinly sliced
6 medium fresh mushrooms, quartered (I used baby bellas)

In a large bowl, combine the first 5 ingredients.Add the beans, onion and mushrooms. Toss to coat.
Place the veggies on a double thickness of heavy duty aluminum foil about 24" square. Fold foil around vegetables and seal tightly. Grill, covered, over medium heat for 18 to 20 minutes or until beans are tender, turning packets over once. Open foil carefully to allow steam to escape.

Serving size: 3/4 cup
55 calories
2 g fat
9 g carbohydrates (less if you omit the brown sugar)
3 g fiber

Diabetic exchange: 1 vegetable, 1/2 fat

Saturday, May 30, 2009


Another light treat just in time for Summer! I like to call this one "Strawberry Lemonade Salad" because that is what it tastes like! It's so light and refreshing and all of the flavors just POP in your mouth. Even my grown son enjoyed this one! That REALLY made my day!
My daughter was invited to dinner at her voice teacher's house and this was one of the dishes she served. Sarah came home just raving about it and said I HAD to make it some time!
I have to admit, again, I was a bit skeptical about the combo of red onions, cucumbers and strawberries! But believe me when I say the cucumbers and onions take a definite 'back seat' in this salad! You simply must give it a try! YUM!
*this pic is shown without the poppy seed dressing*



1/2 plastic container organic spinach leaves
1/2 plastic container organic baby greens
Small red onion, cut in half lengthwise and sliced thin (eyeball the amount you would enjoy)
1/2 medium cucumber, sliced thin
1 (8 oz) container strawberries, quartered
1/4 cup sliced almonds

Combine all salad ingredients in salad bowl and toss gently to combine.


1 lemon zested and juiced (about 4 - 6 Tablespoons of juice)
2 Tablespoons white wine vinegar
1/3 cup sugar
1 teaspoon poppy seeds

Place dressing ingredients in medium size mason jar, screw on lid and give it a few shakes to combine. Set out with salad for people to drizzle their own dressing on.

*Couple of tips*

To get more juice out of your lemon for the dressing - roll it back and forth on your countertop for several seconds, pressing firmly with the palm of your hand.

To remove the 'bitterness' from the cucumber - slice the whole cucumber in half, lengthwise. Then take a teaspoon and run it down the length of the cucumber, removing the seeds. Now slice the cucumber in thin 'half moon' shapes. I am not a fan of cucumbers at all! But I don't mind them when the seeds are removed.

Also as far as the almonds go - feel free to use any crunchy nut you enjoy. Walnuts would be nice. I happened to grab a bag of those new salad toppers for mine - it was almonds, chinese noodles and something else (the Asian blend) and it was really yummy on it!

Thursday, May 28, 2009


Just in time for Summer - Perfect Lemonade. Don't settle for the powdered kind that you mix with water! Is that stuff even real? The secret to perfect lemonade is to start by making a sugar syrup, called "simple syrup." Dissolving the sugar in hot water helps disperse it into the lemonade, rather than watching it sink to the bottom, and then try to get it stirred in. Always remember this ratio: 1 cup sugar, 1 cup water, 1 cup fresh lemon juice. Then go from there.


1 cup sugar
1 cup water - for the simple syrup
1 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice
3 to 4 cups cold water to dilute

Make simple syrup by heating the sugar and water in a small saucepan, until the sugar is dissolved completely. While the sugar is dissolving, use a juicer to extract the juice from 4 to 6 lemons, enough for one cup of juice. *Hint* If you roll your lemons one at a time, on the counter back and forth, while applying gentle pressure with the palm of your hand, your lemons will produce more juice* Add the juice and the sugar water to the pitcher. Add 3 to 4 cups of cold water, more or less to the desired strength. Add ice and fresh slices of lemon and you're ready to go! Super easy!
Serves 6

*Tips about heating lemons to produce more juice*
Heating lemons in a microwave oven really does increase the amount of juice produced. I don't know what process is at work, but once heated, the lemon becomes very soft, and very juicy. So I suspect that heating bursts the cells of the lemon pulp, and releases the encapsulated juice. It seems the hotter the lemon, the more juice that can extracted.

But be careful: If you heat a lemon too much, it may burst and spew lemon juice all over your microwave oven. Or worse yet, an over-heated lemon might NOT burst, but rather just sit quietly, waiting for you to 'pop' it. Once your knife pierces its skin, it bursts and spews hot lemon juice all over YOU! (BTW: If this does happen, as with other mild burns you can lessen the damage by putting ice on the burn immediately.)

For best results use lemons at room temperature, or even slightly warmed up in the microwave. Lemons will be much easier to squeeze and will yield the most juice.You could even let them stand in a bowl of very hot water for about 10 minutes before squeezing them.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009


Oh how I wish this was a better pic - and oh how I wish you could smell this pic! haha This is one delicious sandwich! My Honey makes a mean smoked pulled pork, but he is out of state this week! So I had to come up with an oven version of pulled pork. This one was a winner! As you read down through the recipe for the dry rub and the liquid portion, don't be skeptical like me! haha I read it, and thought WOW 2 Tablespoons of black pepper?! But.... I threw caution to the wind and just went with it. And am I ever glad I did! This was just sooooo good! IF you have leftovers, be sure to pour the leftover juice, that the meat cooked in, over the leftover meat, before you refrigerate it. It will be extra juicy when you warm it up!
Also - I have NEVER tried coleslaw on a pulled pork sandwich before (I tend to be a bit skeptical about new things) but my daughter in law and daughters all urged me to try it.... I'll never eat it without the coleslaw again! It was that good!


2 Tablespoons salt
2 Tablespoons black pepper
2 Tablespoons brown sugar
2 Tablespoons paprika
1/2 Tablespoon cayenne pepper

4 pound shoulder pork roast (boston butt would work too)

2 cups apple juice
1 cup apple cider vinegar (trust me on this)
2 Tablespoons Worcestershire
1/2 Tablespoon liquid smoke
1/2 Tablespoon garlic powder

6 soft, deli style hamburger buns
Bbq sauce
Coleslaw (recipe follows)


Preheat oven to 375. Mix the dry ingredients in a small bowl. Use a spoon to sprinkle the dry rub over each side of the meat, using only your left hand, press the rub into the pork, then rub it in good. Sprinkle it on and rub it into all 4 sides of the pork. If you only use 1 hand to rub the pork, then whatever dry rub you have leftover won't be tainted from pork juice. Seal up the remainder of the dry rub ingredients in a zip top bag and store it in your pantry until you need it again. Cover the seasoned pork with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 2 hours. *NOTE* I was rather in a hurry this day and skipped the refrigeration step and it still turned out fine. I'll try this on another day when I'm not so hurried.

Combine liquid ingredients and the garlic powder in a large measuring pitcher, pour into a large dutch oven. (I used a porcelain coated, cast iron dutch oven and it worked wonderful!) Unwrap the pork and place it in the dutch oven with the liquid. Lightly cover the pork with a piece of aluminum foil, and then place the lid on the pot. Roast in oven for 4 hours or until fork tender and shreds easily. Brush the meat with the cooking liquid every hour.
Remove from oven and let stand until cool enough to handle. Shred the pork with a fork or tongs into bite size pieces. Serve on toasted hamburger buns and top with Bbq sauce and coleslaw.


1 (12 oz) bag rainbow slaw (Green Giant)
1 (12 oz) bag broccoli slaw (Green Giant)
1 small red onion, thinly sliced
2 green onions (white and green parts) chopped
1 fresh red chile, sliced (I substituted 1/4 of a poblano)

1 1/2 cups mayonnaise
1/4 cup Dijon mustard
1 Tablespoon cider vinegar
1 lemon juiced
Pinch sugar
1/2 teaspoon celery seed
Several dashes hot sauce
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

*Special Note* If you are pressed for time, Marie's coleslaw dressing is the closest substitute for this dressing recipe. You just might want to add the few dashes of hot sauce to it before you mix it into the slaw.


Combine the rainbow slaw, broccoli slaw, red onion, green onions, and chile in a large bowl. In another bowl, stir together the mayo, mustard, vinegar, lemon juice, and sugar. Pour the dressing over the cabbage mixture and toss gently to mix. Season the coleslaw with the celery seeds, hot sauce, salt and black pepper. Chill for 2 hours in the refrigerator before serving.

Monday, April 20, 2009


This recipe goes WAAAAAY back for me. My Mom used to make this when I was just a little girl. I don't know why I've always called it "key" lime cheesecake, because no key limes are used in it! Maybe it just sounds better than plain ol' lime cheesecake! LOL At any rate, this is an old family favorite. For those of you that have been following my blog, you will notice I've been MIA for a few weeks. My mother got very ill and passed away last week. I've been doing a lot of traveling back & forth to my old home town, for the past couple of weeks. I made 2 of these pies for the funeral luncheon afterward. I heard several people talking about the lime cheesecake earlier in the week and thought it would be a nice way to remember her.
This one is super easy, I actually do a shortcut on this one that my mother never would have done. I use Cool Whip in place of the dream whip. When I have the time to fuss over it, I'll use dream whip - it does make it heavenly creamy!


2 Graham cracker crusts
1 lg box lime jello
2 cups boiling water
1 brick cream cheese, cut into chunks
8 oz Cool Whip

In large mixing bowl, pour boiling water over lime jello. Stir well until jello is completely disolved. Carefully drop cream cheese chunks into hot jello. Stir briskly with whisk until cream cheese is completely stirred in. You shouldn't see "chunks" of cream cheese anymore. Now add 4 or 5 ice cubes to it to cool your jello mixture down a bit. Stir until they are disolved. Carefully fold in the Cool Whip and stir until combined. Pour into prepared graham cracker crusts and refrigerate for 2 or 3 hours or until set. Garnish with more cool whip and fresh lime slices.
Yeild: 16 servings


My daughter made this pasta dish a couple of weeks ago and it was so delicious, I asked her to snap a pic so I could add it to my blog. It was heavenly and creamy! So good! I couldn't stop eating it! The original recipe called for it to be made into Mac-n-Cheese, but we discovered that you can use any pasta you want and it will turn out equally delicious. She used egg noodles.


3 cups uncooked elbow macaroni (or any pasta you want - egg noodles, bow tie pasta, or rotini)
1/4 cup butter plus 1 Tblsp. (divided)
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1/2 cup chicken broth
1/4 cup flour
2 cups milk
1/4 cup 1/2 and 1/2
1 tsp. salt
4 cups shredded cheddar cheese, divided
1 brick cream cheese, cut into chunks
2/3 cup sour cream
1 1/2 cups bread crumbs (can use any that you wish)
1/8 tsp. paprika

Cook pasta according to package directions; drain and place in greased 2 1/1 qt. casserole baking dish. Set aside. In a small saucepan, melt 1 Tblsp. butter over med-high heat. Saute onion until tender about 5 minutes. Add chicken broth, reduce heat and simmer until mixture is reduced by half.
Meanwhile, melt remaining butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Whisk in flour until smooth. Gradually whisk in milk & 1/1 & 1/2. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened. Stir in salt and 2 cups cheese. Continue to stir just until cheese melts. Remove from heat and stir in cream cheese chunks and sour cream. Pour over pasta and mix well.
Combine remaining cheese, bread crumbs and paprika. Sprinkle over pasta. Bake at 350 for 45 - 50 minutes or until bubbly.

Yeild: 8 servings

Thursday, April 2, 2009


Special thanks to Susan at Between Naps on the Porch for hosting Tablescape Thursday, each and every week. It's so much fun to visit all the blogs and see such creative tablescapes!

I'm coming in a bit late today. I had to wait until I got home from work to post. Last week we celebrated my Honey's 49th birthday. I made all his favorite things. Smothered Chicken, Mashed potatoes & gravy, Corn, Crescent rolls, and for dessert - Rice Krispie Ice Cream Dessert. He LOVED it! I figured since it was his special day, that I would set a "manly" table. I don't have a lot of "specialty" type dishes, plates, things like that. I don't really collect dishes. I tend to accent more with table linens, napkin rings, and other table decor or theme related items. I just do my best with what the Lord has given me.

I love anything in Adirondack style. That would be moose, pine trees, canoes, ducks, etc... We decorated our family room, master bedroom and master bath, all in that style. I find it a very peaceful, relaxing and cozy decor. Most of the items I used for the table, were taken from those 3 rooms. We have a local store called Northern Reflections, and it is dangerous for me to go in there! haha I am just a sucker for Adirondack decor. For Christmas one year, my Honey bought me a log bed - I LOVE it!

This pic turned out a bit blurry, but I think you get the idea. I just love this little canoe and set of oars.

Monday, March 30, 2009


Cooking "al carbon"--grilling over charcoal--is a great specialty of northern Mexico. One of the best ways to appreciate their cooking technique is in tacos al carbon, for which the meat, after being marinated and grilled, is coarsely diced or thinly sliced and then folded into warmed corn tortillas along with guacamole, salsa, and a grilled green onion-the standard edible garnish for this dish. (I substituted sauteed onions and peppers for the green onion)
My niece was here visiting for a while and she kept talking about this wonderful "taco" that someone made for her back in January. She gave me the name, but didn't have a recipe. So I went searching for it. I found the basic recipe and then she gave me the "spins" that this man put on it. If you are pressed for time, you can substitute pre-made, store bought salsa (Pace is best). But DO NOT try to use a substitute for the marinade. It makes the steak SO juicy and flavorful!

Step 1:


1 - 10 oz. can diced tomatoes
1 - 4 oz can, chopped chiles w/ juice (can also use jalapenos)
1/4 cup orange juice
1/4 cup vegetable oil
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 tablespoon honey
1 teaspoon fresh garlic, minced
1 teaspoon grated lime peel
1 tsp. Cumin

Place all ingredients in blender and whirl until well combined.

Use With Two Pounds:

Pork tenderloin, or
Chicken breasts, or
Beef tenderloin, or
Flank steak

Pour marinade in large resealable plastic food bag. Mix well.
Add meat, seal the bag and turn over several times to
coat meat thoroughly. Place bag in refrigerator, turning bag occasionally
8 hours or overnight.

Remove meat from marinade.
  1. Preheat a gas grill (medium high) or light a charcoal fire and let it burn down until the coals are evenly white. Adjust the rack to 6-inches above the heat source. Lay the flank steak on the rack and grill it, covered, turning the steak once, for a total of about 12 minutes for medium-rare, or until done to your liking. Transfer the steak to a cutting board, tent it with foil, and let stand for 10 minutes.
  2. Brush the green onions lightly with olive oil and lay them on the grill rack. Cover and cook, turning them once, until they are just lightly browned and becoming tender, a total of 3 or 4 minutes. Transfer them to a platter. (I substituted sauteed onions and peppers for the green onion)
  3. Carve the flank steak across the grain and at a slight angle into 1/2-inch slices. Cut the slices crosswise into 1/2-inch cubes. Serve immediately, accompanied by the grilled onions, tortillas, guacamole and salsa. The best way to enjoy your tacos al carbon is with steak that is grilled med-rare. This batch shown here is about medium to medium well. The longer you cook your steak, the tougher it gets. You can see the importance of letting it rest for a few minutes - the juice has a chance to redistribute and when you slice the meat, it's so juicy.

Step 2: Assembly

Warm flour tortillas
Grilled steak
3/4 loaf Velveeta, cut into chunks
1 large sweet onion, sliced thin
1 large green pepper, sliced thin
1 large yellow pepper, sliced thin
Pico de gallo (homemade is best - but can substitute prepared salsa)
Chopped lettuce
Guacamole (homemade is best - but can substitute store bought)
Sour cream

Heat a cast iron skillet to med high. Drizzle with olive oil. Place onions and peppers into hot skillet and saute until soft and opaque.
Place Velveeta chunks in microwave safe bowl and heat until melted. You can thin it with milk if it seems too thick. It should be a cheese sauce, not watery, but you need to be able to pour it.
Begin with the warm tortilla, place meat down the middle, top with sauteed onions and peppers, drizzle melted Velveeta over that. Top with Pico de gallo and guacamole. Fold it all up like a burrito and turn it seam side down. Drizzle with more Velveeta, sprinkle with chopped lettuce and add a dollop of sour cream.
Prepare your tastebuds for a party!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009


I made these for dessert, for a banquet, that I catered this past weekend. I wanted to go with a "lighter" dessert, rather than cheesecake, pie or cake. Everyone loved these. The funny thing is, they were SO easy to do. I made homemade hot fudge and homemade caramel sauce to top the Turtle ones with. Then my precious daughter in law, Monica, made homemade fruit compote, as a second choice.
The puffs are made with simple puff pastry. Super quick and fun. And who doesn't like ice cream?!

*Side note* Both the hot fudge and the caramel sauce, make tremendous edible gifts. Why not make a double batch and plan to give some away as a pick-me-up, to someone who needs it? You can bottle the sauces individually in mason jelly jars. Deliver it with a carton of nice, vanilla ice cream and watch their faces light up!


Vegetable cooking spray
1 (17.3 oz.) package Pepperidge Farm® Puff Pastry Sheets (2 sheets)
Vanilla Ice Cream
Hot Fudge Sauce - recipe follows
Caramel Sauce

Chopped pecans or walnuts

Thaw the pastry at room temperature for 40 minutes or until it’s easy to handle. Spray 12 (2 1/2-inch) muffin pan cups with cooking spray. Heat the oven to 375°F.

Unfold the pastry sheets, one at a time, on a lightly floured surface. Roll the sheet into a 12 x 9-inch rectangle. Cut into 12 (3-inch) squares. A pizza cutter works really well, to cut the squares. Use a small rolling pin to further press each piece into a 5" square. Prick each one with a fork, several times. Press squares into the prepared muffin pan cups.

Bake for 10 minutes or until golden. Cool in pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Using a small knife, cut a small slit in the puffed center and gently push down. Remove pastry cups from pan and cool completely.

Fill each pastry cup with a scoop of ice cream, drizzle with hot fudge sauce, and hot caramel sauce. Sprinkle with chopped nuts.


3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup Hershey's cocoa
1/2 cup evaporated milk (I used heavy whipping cream)
1/3 cup light corn syrup
1/2 stick butter
1 tsp. vanilla

Stir together sugar and cocoa in small saucepan; blend in milk and corn syrup. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until mixture boils; boil and stir 1 minute. Remove from heat; stir in butter and vanilla. Serve warm. Mmm!

This is the Fruit compote sundae that we served, as a second choice. My daughter in law, Monica made the fruit for these. You can find the recipe on her blog. I think the group was about half and half on the choices. This one was like berry pie ala mode!

You can see how large I roll out each individual pastry section. They really overlap in the pan, but they puff right up and bake up nicely in the oven.
Here it is step by step in pics so you can get a better idea how it all works.

Monday, March 16, 2009


I forgot how awful the picture was for this recipe! I just made it for a banquet this weekend too, and should have snapped a new picture of it for the blog. Oh well, next time.
I get asked for this recipe all the time. It's so delicious, moist, sweet. A real keeper! This recipe is already posted here on my blog, in the Hawaiian section, but very few can find it. So I decided to bring it to the front for those that asked about it this weekend. You can also use this same recipe to coat shrimp.


1 cup Angel Flake Coconut
1/2 cup flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper

1/4 tsp garlic powder
1 1/2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breast halves, cut into 1" strips
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/3 cup butter or margarine

Dipping Sauce

1 cup apricot preserves

2T Dijon mustard

Heat oven to 400 degrees. Mix coconut, flour, salt, pepper and garlic pwder in medium bowl. Dip chicken strips into egg, then coat with coconut mixture. Place in a shallow baking pan; drizzle with melted butter. Bake 25 minutes or until chicken is browned and cooked through, turning once. Serve with Apricot Dipping Sauce (mixture of apricot preserves and Dijon mustard) or Honey mustard.

Thursday, March 5, 2009


This is my first post on Tablescape Thursday. I've been doing them on my own, all along. Terrie told me the other day, about a group of women who get together and post pics of their tablescapes. So I jumped right in to join them! If this is something that you enjoy doing, you can head over to "Between naps on the porch" site and join in the fun!

My Honey is Irish, so St. Patrick's Day is ALWAYS celebrated in our house. We do everything green (that's probably not all Irish, but it's fun anyway!)

Here is my St Patricks Day table. I did a practice run, so I would know how I want to set it up, next week. I went with gold accents because of the Leprechaun's pot o' gold!

It wouldn't be a special day at PawPaw and MooMoo's house without a special treat for the grandbabies! So the little mesh bags in the forefront are filled w/ goodies just for them!
The "centerpiece" is just a cake stand with metallic green paper shreds. Then a wide mouth vase filled with Kelly green Christmas bulbs. I tied a wire accent around the outside of it, that has clovers entwined on it.

I made the runner for the table. I stopped at Walmart to see if they had any St Pat's material and they only ONE bolt left, and this was it. It's a sheer stiff fabric with glittery appliques on it. Wouldn't have been my first choice, if they would have had others, but it still turned out cute. Was a pain to press though! I had to cover it w/ a tea towel. I just hope nobody spills on it over dinner! haha

The little metallic wire "trees" w/ clover leaves, I picked up at Dollar Tree.

I just tied a ribbon around the napkins. I found this for less than a dollar at Walmart.

I also made little Leprchaun placecards for our guests. On the day of our dinner, I'll write each person's name on the hat.

I found these cute little plastic tumblers at Walmart - 4 for $1. I bought enough for each person to take one home, as a reminder of their visit with us that day. We plan to celebrate on the 15th (Sunday). We'll have a busy weekend. I am catering a banquet on Saturday for our church family, and several college students (friends of our daughters) will be coming in for the banquet, and staying the weekend with us. I thought it would be fun to have this dinner with them on Sunday. They probably don't get to do this kind of thing much. So we'll spoil them and love on them a little, while they are guests here.

THANKS for visiting! Erin Go Bragh!

Sunday, March 1, 2009


First of all, let me tell you, this is like no banana pudding dessert you have ever had! This one is, how does my Honey say it, "make your socks roll up and down on your legs good!" haha
I've been making this for years. It was one of my precious Father-in-law's favorites. The only thing about it is, the Chessmen cookies can sometimes be a challenge to find in your store, if you live in a smaller town. But don't substitute - it is worth the hunt for them! You can usually find them at the larger chain grocery stores, like Walmart or Meijer.


2 bags of Pepperidge Farm Chessmen cookies
6 bananas, sliced
3 1/2 cups low fat milk
2 small boxes, Instant, Sugar free, French Vanilla pudding mix
1 (8 oz) 1/3 less fat, cream cheese
1 (14 oz) can, fat free, sweetened condensed milk
1 (12 oz) Light Cool Whip, thawed

Line the bottom of a 9 x 13 pan with 1 bag of the chessmen cookies (single layer). Top with the sliced bananas (you don't have to lay the bananas neatly, just pile them evenly over the cookies). Blend milk with pudding mix and set aside. In a separate bowl, beat the cream cheese until smooth. Add the condensed milk and beat with mixer until smooth. Fold in Cool whip. Add pudding to this mixture and fold with rubber spatula until well combined. Pour mixture over the top of the bananas. Cover with remaining bag of Chessmen cookies (single layer). Refrigerate for at least an hour or two, to allow time for the pudding & cream cheese to set up and get thick. Serves anywhere from 12 - 20, depending on the size of your servings. It's a thick dessert, so I cut mine where the cookies separate and get 20 - 24 servings out of a pan.
*NOTE* Don't make this too far in advance, as the cookies will get soggy if left in the fridge too long. It's much better when the cookies still have a bit of a crunch to them.


I'm SO ready for Spring!! I just had to do a green table today, to remind me that the "official" start of Spring is only 20 days away! Yippee! But MI is known for it's snow and ice storms in late March and even April! Still, I had to hold myself back from digging out my Gerber daisy napkin rings! I thought purple and yellow flowers were rushing it just a tad. This is a simple tablescape, but hey, I'm a simple kind of woman! I think it looks clean and neat and I like things matching or at least blending. I'm not into all the mismatched shapes and designs (just yet anyway!)

If you have the extra cupboard space, and you ever find a "funky" colored set of goblets for sale somewhere (like Goodwill or a garage sale) you should totally get them! If you like doing tablescapes at all, you will love having colored goblets to pop out on the table, just for something different. I have a deep purple set and this green set and we use them quite often.
In a couple of weeks, we'll have fun doing a St Patrick's day table. I'll probably use this same linen set, but we'll jazz it up quite a bit with clovers and "green" food!