Thursday, December 31, 2009

Cucumber Sandwiches



I made these for the adults at my daughter's party yesterday, and they were gobbled up incredibly quickly! I actually had a friend call me last night after the party to ask how they were made. They are great to take to get-togethers, so whip some up before your New Year's Eve party.

The cream cheese mixture that you will use is also great as a veggie dip!

Have a safe and Happy New Year!

Ingredients:
1 loaf whole wheat bread (It's best to remove the crust, but I didn't have time.)
1 cucumber (peeled and sliced thin)
1 package cream cheese
1 package dry Italian dressing mix

Directions:
In a small bowl, mix the cream cheese and dressing mix together with an electric mixer. Spread the mixture onto slices of bread, and then cut the bread into fourths. Place one cucumber slice on each piece of bread. Refrigerate until ready to serve.


Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Fruit Dip

I thought I'd share this very simple, yet delicious dip for fruit. It isn't very healthy, but for special occasions it's great to have.

Ingredients:
1 block cream cheese
1 jar marshmallow cream

Directions:
With an electric mixer, combine the ingredients until smooth. Use this to dip fruits in, spread on bread with a fruit preserve for a sandwich, or frost cupcakes with it. Enjoy!


Scones



My little girl will turn six January 12, but we're celebrating her birthday today with a tea party. The whole family is so excited! We're having a delicious arrangement of cranberry bread, cinnamon-swirl bread, scones, fruit with dip, veggies with dip, lemon curd, cucumber sandwiches, and peanut butter sandwiches. I'm using a mix for the cranberry and cinnamon-swirl breads because of time constraints, but I'm making the scones myself, so I thought I'd share the recipe. Lisa, who I know from church, makes these and they are absolutely outstanding! Eat them while still warm paired with a hot cup of coffee. . .yummy!

Ingredients:
1/2 cup craisins (cut them in half using scissors)
enough boiling water to cover the craisins
2 cups flour
3 tablespoons brown sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 cup cold butter
1 egg yolk (beaten)
8 ounces sour cream

Icing Ingredients:
1 cup powdered sugar
1 tablespoon orange juice
1 teaspoon vanilla

Directions:
Preheat oven to 400.

Put craisins into boiling water, cover, and let stand for five minutes. Drain well.

Mix the flour, sugar, powder, salt, and soda. Cut in the cold butter and mash with a fork until it is crumbly. Add the craisins and toss to coat them. Make a "well" in the center of the mixture and set it aside.

In a small bowl, combine the egg yolk and sour cream. Add to the "well" of the dry mixture and mix until combined.

Sprinkle flour onto a hard surface and turn the dough out onto it. Roll it into a seven-inch circle. Use a butter knife to cut into wedges. Place the wedges one-inch apart on a cookie sheet. Bake for 10-12 minutes.

Drizzle with the icing and serve.

**I am making two batches of these. In the first batch I am using craisins, but in the second batch, I'll be using cinnamon chips. I will not use the icing for the cinnamon scones. You can add whatever fruit or spice you desire. Have fun making them!



Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Party Popcorn



Do you need a fun treat to take to a New Year's Eve party? If so, you should try this one! My sister-in-law, Shannon, gave me a bag of this for Christmas this year, and I fell in love. . .really! I am not even that huge a fan of popcorn, but this is so tasty. I loved it so much that my husband went out and bought me my very own air popper last night so that I could have some more. It tastes great for several days, so bag it up and have a homemade snack.

Air-popped popcorn is so much healthier than microwave popcorn. You can control the seasonings and toppings that you want, and you never have to worry about the crazy chemicals that may be in it. Jeremy bought me the Presto brand air popper from Walmart, and it only cost $15. Sweet deal if you ask me!

Ingredients:

16 cups of POPPED corn (not kernels) With my popper, 16 cups was 1.5 scoops, but I'm sure that all poppers are different.
3 cups Rice Krispies
1 whole brick white almond bark (melted)
2 cups peanuts

Directions:

In a VERY large bowl, toss your popcorn, Rice Krispies, and peanuts together. Pour the melted almond bark over the whole bowl, and stir to coat all of it. Pour the whole bowl of popcorn onto large pieces of foil to cool. Store in gallon-sized ziploc bags.


Monday, December 28, 2009

The Most Fabulous Mac-and-Cheese Ever




I found a version of this recipe on The Pioneer Woman's blog. It looked delicious, but I didn't want to use all of the fancy cheeses that she used or the bacon, so I decided to take her version and make up my own from it. I am so proud of how it turned out! Healthy? Absolutely not! Delicious? You betcha!

There are several steps, but please don't be intimidated. I made this simple so that it could be enjoyed by all!!

Happy Meatless Monday!

Ingredients:
1 bag macaroni noodles
1 block sharp cheddar cheese
1 container shredded Parmesan
2 egg yolks
2 cups milk
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 stick butter
1 onion (sliced thinly)
2 cloves garlic (chopped well)
1/4 cup flour

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350.

Boil macaroni noodles for 3-5 minutes. You don't want them well done! Drain them and set them aside.

In a large sautee pan, put 1/2 stick of butter over low heat until melted. Add the onions and cook them for 10-12 minutes, or until golden brown. Add the chopped garlic and cook it for about three minutes. Set this aside.

In a small bowl, use a fork to whisk your two egg yolks together.

In a large saucepan, place the other 1/2 stick of butter over low heat until melted. Add the 1/4 cup of flour and whisk it until smooth. Pour in the milk and cream and cook over low-medium heat until it gets thick. Stir it constantly or it will stick. Add salt and pepper to taste after it thickens. Take it off of the heat once it is thick.

Take 1/4 cup of the cream sauce and drizzle it into your egg yolks, stirring constantly. Make sure not to skip this step or you'll end up with scrambled eggs in your mac & cheese! Pour the egg yolk mixture back into the pot with the sauce and stir it until combined. Add the shredded cheese and stir until melted. Add the onions/garlic/butter to the sauce and stir well.

Pour the sauce over the noodles and get all of the noodles covered. Dump the whole mixture into a 9x13 casserole dish. Sprinkle French fried onions over the top and bake for 15 minutes.


Sunday, December 27, 2009

Eggnog Oatmeal


I bought a half-gallon of eggnog the last time we did our grocery shopping so that my children could have a chance to taste it this Christmas. We have quite a bit left over, so I decided to use it to make their oatmeal tonight. Josie said, "This is better than any other oatmeal you make." It was so simple, too!

*I forgot to take the final picture before the kids had eaten it all up!

Ingredients:

1 cup oatmeal
1 3/4 cups water
eggnog
brown sugar

Directions:
Bring the water to a boil in a medium-sized saucepan. Add the oats and cook until tender and thick. Spoon into bowls and add eggnog and brown sugar to taste. Stir and serve.


Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Ravioli Soup


Do you need something quick and hearty for dinner tonight? I do! Santa is coming to our house tonight. My husband is a firefighter, and is on duty on Christmas Day, so Santa needs to come a day early. Because we're going to be super-busy later, I have decided to make this yummy meatless dish. It is perfect with grilled cheese sandwiches!!

I won't be posting on Thursday because we'll be visiting relatives, but I will try to be back on Christmas Day. Have a Merry Christmas, friends!

Ingredients:

1/2 bag frozen cheese ravioli
1/2 bag frozen okra
1 can or package spinach (dethawed and drained)
1 can rotel
1 can tomato sauce
2 cans chicken broth

Directions:

In a large pot, boil the ravioli until tender. Drain. Place them back in the pot, and dump the remaining ingredients in. Stir them all together. Bring to a boil, and then reduce the heat and allow the soup to simmer for thirty minutes.


Monday, December 21, 2009

Honey Wheat Dinner Rolls/Loaves



It has rolled around again. . .Meatless Monday is here. We're going to have a big pot of navy beans with these gorgeous wheat rolls. I have been wanting to use more whole wheat flour in my cooking, so I thought I would start with these. Some people are super-intimidated by making yeast bread, but please don't be. It is actually quite simple, and though it is time-consuming, it isn't much work. Once you start, you will not want to buy processed bread ever again!

Ingredients:
2 cups warm water
2 cups whole wheat flour
1 package active dry yeast
1 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup honey
1/3 cup vegetable oil
5 cups all-purpose flour

Directions:
Preheat oven to 375.

Dissolve yeast in warm water. Add honey, and stir well. Mix in whole wheat flour, salt, and vegetable oil. Work all-purpose flour in gradually. Throw the dough out onto a lightly floured surface, and knead for at least 10 to 15 minutes (I had to have my husband help knead it some). When dough is smooth and elastic, place it in a well-oiled bowl. Turn it several times in the bowl to coat the surface of the dough with the oil, and cover it with a damp cloth. Let it rise in a warm place until doubled, which will take about 45 minutes.


Punch down the dough, and shape into two loaves or rolls (I use muffin tins for this). I made rolls and a loaf. Allow to rise for another 40 minutes. Bake for 25-30 minutes.


Sunday, December 20, 2009

Beef Stroganoff



Last week we had dinner at our friends' home. Kevin is a firefighter with Jer and his wife Amanda writes this blog. They served Beef Stroganoff, which they were surprised that I had never eaten. It was delicious, so I asked for the recipe. It was so simple that I decided to make it for lunch today. Thanks, Amanda!

Ingredients:

1 or 2 pounds top sirloin (cubed) *I used round steak, because that's what I had.
1 package egg noodles
1 tub sour cream
2-3 cans cream of mushroom soup
seasoning to taste (She suggested using Daddy Hinkles, so I used it plus S & P.)
enough water to cover the meat
butter (I omitted this and the water because I didn't cook mine in the crockpot.)

Directions:
Place your cubed meat at the bottom of the crockpot with seasonings, a little butter, and water. Cook on low all day until really tender.

In a large pot, boil noodles until tender. These noodles cook quickly!

Add the soups and sour cream to the noodles, and then pour all of it into the crockpot. Cook it on the "warm" or "low" setting until heated through.

**I actually cooked my meat in a sautee pan without butter or water. I then added the soups and sour cream, and mixed it all together with the noodles. I cooked it on low until it was hot, so this can be done stovetop or crockpot.


Saturday, December 19, 2009

Candied Pecans



These are truly a treat! You can purchase similar pecans at festivals all over, but you would not believe how easy they are to make in your own kitchen!! Jer and I are going to munch on warm candied pecans while we watch a movie later. They would also be great as a Christmas gift. Put them in a Mason jar with a fabric square over the lid and you're all set!

Ingredients:
1 egg white
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 cup sugar
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons water
1 pound pecan halves

Directions:
Preheat oven to 250.

Lightly butter a baking sheet.


In a bowl, beat the egg white until foamy. Mix in cinnamon, sugar, salt, and water. Mix well. Stir in pecan halves, stirring until well coated. Spread on baking sheet, and
bake for 1 hour, stirring every 15 minutes.


Friday, December 18, 2009

Cheese and Fresh Tomato Quesadillas



These are quick and easy, and a fantastic way to sneak veggies in to your family! We actually had them for lunch, and the kids all asked for more.

These would be delicious made with homemade tortillas, but I just didn't have time to make them today. I definitely will next time, because my family ate those homemade tortillas up like you wouldn't believe!! Try them when you get a chance.

Ingredients:

1 package tortillas
1 package shredded cheese
1 tomato (diced)

Directions:

Preheat your griddle or skillet.

Sprinkle a generous amount of cheese on half of one side of a tortilla. Throw several pieces of tomato on top of the cheese, and then cover the tomatoes with a little more of the cheese. Fold the "non-cheese" side over to the cheese side and place on your heated skillet. Allow it to get golden, then flip to allow the other side to cook. Serve with salsa, sour cream, avocado, or eat plain.


Frugal Friday

What a busy day we have around here today! Are the days getting shorter, or am I just filling them up too much??? I am sneaking in here to do a short Frugal Friday post before I go clean the floors. Fun, huh? Today we're going to have Cheese and Fresh Tomato Quesadillas, pinto beans, and peanut butter fudge. You have seen the recipes for the last two before, but I thought they'd make great additions to the quesadillas.

1 package flour tortillas (or make your own)--$1.76
1 package shredded cheese--$1.50
1 tomato--$.45
1 package pinto beans--$1.20
1/2 cup peanut butter--$.50
2 cups oatmeal--$.35
1 teaspoon vanilla--$.10
1/2 cup milk--$.25
2 cups sugar--$1.00

Total cost of meal=$7.11


Thursday, December 17, 2009

And the winner is. . .

#17--Melissa, who writes about life as a stay-at-home-mom over at her blog called Life as Melissa. If you get a minute, pop over and say hello to her!

Melissa gets the spray bottle of Mrs. Meyer's lavender countertop spray if she gets back to me with her information in 48 hours. If I don't hear from her, I'll pick another winner on Saturday.

Congratulations, Melissa, and thanks for reading!! Thanks to all of you for entering, following on here and on Twitter, joining in over at my community, and posting comments and recipes. It was super- fun, so look for more giveaways soon!!

**I used random.org to generate the winner.


Hashbrown Casserole

This is not the healthiest thing that I have posted, but it is something that my mother-in-law makes on the holidays, and it gets eaten so fast that next year she is going to have to make two of them! We have eaten it for breakfast and for dinner, and it is so hearty that you can eat it as a meal in itself. Adding cubed ham tastes great, too! If you have a work luncheon or family brunch to attend, this just may be the recipe to take.

***Don't forget to enter my giveaway. Today is the last day. I'll be choosing the winner using random.org sometime this afternoon.***

Ingredients:
2 (10.75 ounce) cans condensed cream of chicken soup
1 1/2 cups sour cream
2 tablespoons butter (softened)
2 tablespoons dried minced onion flakes
black pepper to taste
one (2 pound) package frozen shredded hash brown potatoes (thawed)
4 ounces extra sharp Cheddar cheese (shredded)

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350.


In a large bowl, mix together the soup, sour cream, butter, dried onion flakes, and pepper. Stir in the hash browns and 1/2 the cheese. Pour into a 9x13 baking dish, and sprinkle with remaining cheese.
Bake for 45 minutes, or until cheese is melted and bubbly.


Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Millionaire Candy



Well, I'm taking a break from the chemistry books to make a batch of Christmas candy. I love making food for other people! I'm making this batch to share with my neighbor and to send to Josie's kindergarten teacher. If you want a simple gift that is sure to be loved, then give these! My mama made them every year when we were growing up. It is all her brother wanted for Christmas, so she made a batch just for him. Josie (my five-year-old) has made these with my mom during the past several years, so even little ones can do it!

Ingredients:
1 package semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 can sweetened condensed milk (YUMMY!!)
1 package miniature marshmallows
2 cups pecans (chopped)

Directions:
Melt your chocolate chips. This is tricky, so be careful! To melt mine, I take a large pot and fill it with water and let it come to a boil. I then put my chocolate chips in a smaller pot and set that pot inside the large pot. Does that make sense? They melt fast, so you'll need to stir the chips constantly. Once you see them begin to melt, take them off the heat and just stir, stir, stir. You can also melt chocolate chips in the microwave. Cook for 1-2 minutes, stir, and repeat until melted.

After the chips are melted, pour in the sweetened condensed milk and stir.

In a large bowl, toss your marshmallows and pecans together. Pour the chocolate mixture over the marshmallows and stir. With a large spoon, scoop out clusters of the candy and lay them on wax paper to dry.


Festive Tossed Salad



So I'm on a bit of a salad kick this week. You'll have to excuse me for that, but please understand that it is finals week for me (in CHEMISTRY!!), so I have very little time to do much true cooking until after Thursday. I made spaghetti in the crockpot last night and this was our side. I first had this over the summer. My friend Amy H. brought it to a Vacation Bible School volunteer lunch, and I gobbled it up. She was so sweet to share the recipe with me. . .thanks, Amy!!

Ingredients:
1/2 cup olive oil
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
3 tablespoons water
1 envelope Italian salad dressing mix
romaine lettuce (chopped)
2 medium tomatoes (seeded and chopped)
1 cup crumbled feta cheese
3/4 cup dried cranberries
almonds (thinly sliced)

Directions:
In a jar with a lid (I used a Mason jar), combine the oil, vinegar, water, and dressing mix. Shake well. In a large bowl, combine the lettuce, tomatoes, cheese, cranberries, and almonds. Toss these all together. If you're serving for a large group, pour the entire jar of dressing over and toss. If making individual salads, spoon the dressing on and then refrigerate the leftovers.


Monday, December 14, 2009

Mexican Salad

Do you love a good salad? I know I do! My mom got this recipe from her mom, so it's been in the family for a while. Good news is I'm going to share it with you guys! It's simple and scrumptious. It would be fantastic paired with a hot tortilla soup, don't ya think?

Ingredients:
1 head of lettuce (washed and chopped)
1 tomato (diced)
1 cucumber (diced)
1 bunch of green onions (diced
1 bag of Fritos (crushed)
1 can Ranch Style beans (drained)
cheddar cheese (shredded)
1 package of dry ranch dressing mix (follow the directions on the back for making it into a dressing)

Directions:
Dump all of your veggies into a large bowl. Add the canned beans, cheese, and dressing. Toss well. Add the Fritos right before serving. They get really mushy if they sit in the dressing for long. Serve with soup and crackers, or eat it by itself.


A Little Housekeeping

When I was teaching, I often had to do a little housekeeping. Housekeeping entailed things like taking attendance and organizing file folders. Today, on my blog, I'm going to be doing a little housekeeping--blog style.

First of all, did you all notice that I got a makeover??? Jessica over at This That and Your Blog hooked me up with this new look. I absolutely adore it! She does a fantastic job of taking your ideas and making something fabulous with them. Her backgrounds are SUPER reasonable, too!

I also want to thank Jessica for the giveaway that I won on her blog! I received 50 custom thank-you cards from UPrinting for entering her giveaway. This was my first blog entry win, and I was so excited! They should be in this week, and I cannot wait to see them. Thanks, again, Jessica!

My last to-do on my housekeeping checklist is to also thank Laura at 29andCounting. Her blog is super-funny, so you should definitely hop over to read it. I entered a giveaway on her blog and won it, too!! What did I win? A super-fabulous bag from 29 Cherry Blossoms (an Etsy store). I am anxiously awaiting its arrival. I love bags!!!! Thanks so much, Laura.

Okay, housekeeping is done. . .on to the kitchen for some cooking fun now.


Sunday, December 13, 2009

My First Giveaway!


Hey all you ladies (and gents) who love FREE stuff. . .I have something for you. This is literally From My Kitchen to Yours. This is my first giveaway and I am so darn excited about it!! A while back, I was introduced to Mrs. Meyer's Clean Day lavender countertop spray. It is fabulous, people! This spray will clean all non-porous surfaces and all ingredients are biodegradable and perfectly safe for your home. I love this stuff (and no, I am not getting compensated to advertise for them). It just makes me feel so much better to be cleaning my home with product that is safe around my babies. I'd love for you to have some to use in your kitchen, too.

So how do I win, you ask. It's actually so easy to get your name put in the pot. There are several easy ways to register, so do them all to up your chances. . .

#1--Leave me any old (nice!) comment following this post. (worth 1 entry)

#2--Follow me on here and leave a comment letting me know. (worth 1 entry)


#3--Follow me on Twitter. Tweet about this contest and then show me the link in a comment. (worth 1 entry)


#4--Leave me a recipe in the comments section. (worth 1 entry)


#5--Join my community and participate (or start) in a discussion. (worth 1 entry)


So, you could potentially have five entries for the spray. I'd love for this giveaway to push new people to my community so that we can help the Children's Hospital. Remember this post? The BlogFrog will donate $10 for every 20 NEW people in my community, and I'd REALLY love to be able to help out! Come on, Friends. . .just say "hi," and know that by doing so you're helping out sick children!!

You will not be disappointed in Mrs. Meyers, so get to entering. Comments will be closed on Thursday, December 17, and I'll use random.org to generate a winner sometime that afternoon.

The winner will have 48 hours to email me with their contact information. If after that 48 hours I haven't heard from you, random.org will generate another number. Good luck, Friends!!


Friday, December 11, 2009

Fresh Apple Cake



This is my mama's favorite cake, and I have to admit that it's one of my faves, too! It is delicious for breakfast. What?! You don't eat cake for breakfast?? How about brownies? Am I the only one who does this???? Anyway, it's fantastic and simple, and you just must try it (for breakfast)!

Ingredients:
3 cups apple (peeled and diced)
2 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon
3 cups flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
2.5 teaspoons vanilla
4 eggs

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350.

In a small bowl, combine apples, sugar, and cinnamon and toss to evenly coat.

In a separate bowl, combine flour, baking powder, and salt. Cream sugars and vegetable oil in a mixing bowl. Beat in the eggs one at a time and then mix in your vanilla. Fold in the apple mixture and pour into a greased bundt pan.
Bake for about 50-60 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.


Homemade Tortillas



My friend and fellow blogger, Amy (go check her blog out!) put this recipe on my community (go check it out, too!). I've always wanted to make my own tortillas, but just haven't done it until now. Thanks so much, Amy!!

Ingredients:
2 cups whole wheat flour (or white if you prefer)
1teaspoon salt
1/4 cup butter or margarine (Amy used Olive oil.)
1/2 cup lukewarm water

Directions:
Preheat your griddle or skillet. Mix the dry ingredients. Add water, then cut in the butter. Pinch off about a 1/4 up of dough and roll into a ball. Then, on a floured surface, roll the dough out into a flat circle. Put your tortilla on the griddle and cook until it bubbles, then flip (after about 30 seconds). Once it starts to bubble again, it's finished. Wrap the tortillas in a towel or put in a warm oven to keep warm.


How to Make Your Own Taco Seasoning

You can make this as spicy or mild as your family likes! Eat it in tacos, taco soups, fajitas, enchiladas, or any other way you can think of. This is the equivalent of one package of taco seasoning.

Ingredients:
1 tablespoon chili powder
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon black pepper

Directions:
Mix all of the seasonings together and use as you desire!


Tilapia Tacos


Sometimes I'm just in the mood for fish. It's light and healthy and is delicious so many ways! I also love tacos, so this recipe is perfect when you're craving something light and spicy! With this, you can use packaged taco seasoning and tortillas or you can make your own. I'll post both of those recipes separately for you.

Ingredients:
3 tilapia filets (dethawed)
1 tablespoon taco seasoning
tortillas (packaged or homemade)
toppings of your choice

Directions:
Preheat your skillet.

Sprinkle the taco seasoning on both sides of the filets. Place them in the skillet and cook until white and flaky. Break into small pieces and fill the tortillas. Top as you desire and enjoy!


Frugal Friday



It's late, but it's still Friday! I've been trying (unsuccessfully I might add) to get my Christmas shopping done today. Hauling three small children in and out of stores in freezing temperatures isn't the most fun I've ever had! So, I actually haven't cooked the recipes for today. . .I'll do that tomorrow, but I do have them ready for you!!

3 tilapia filets--$1.75
1 tablespoon taco seasoning--$.25
2 cups whole wheat flour (or white if you prefer)--$.75
1 teaspoon salt--$.10
1/4 cup butter--$.40
2 apples--$.87
2 tablespoons sugar--$.10
2 teaspoons cinnamon--$.05
3 cups flour--$1.00
3 teaspoons baking powder--$.10
1/2 teaspoons salt--$.05
1 cup sugar--$.50
1/2 cup brown sugar--$.25
1 cup vegetable oil--$.50
2-1/2 teaspoons vanilla--$.30
4 eggs--$.48

Total for today's meal=$7.45

Of course, if you decide to top your fish tacos with lettuce, tomatoes, cheese, etc., your total would be closer to ten dollars. Still a pretty cheap meal, though!!




Help Me Help BlogFrog to Help Children's Hospital



Did you get all that? I need you to help me help BlogFrog help The Children's Hospital Foundation. It's quite easy, really. All you have to do is come interact with other readers of this blog and you'll be helping The Children's Hospital at the same time! BlogFrog is sponsoring the "Give the Gift of Community" challenge to its members to inspire blog readers to connect with their peers in communities this holiday season. If this blog gets 20 new participants to start or reply to a community discussion, BlogFrog will donate $10 to The Children's Hospital, one of the top 10 hospitals in the country for kids and teens. Don't be shy, hop on over to my community here and meet your fellow readers! Happy Holidays!

Check out the Children's Hospital by clicking here.


Thursday, December 10, 2009

Meatball Subs



Supper is in the crockpot, and is making my house smell so wonderful! This is simple and kid-friendly, and the best part is that you don't have to do anything but dump in the ingredients!! You'll come home at the end of the day to a warm, delicious-smelling home. Enjoy!

Ingredients:
1/2 bag frozen meatballs
1 large can spaghetti sauce
1 can diced tomatoes
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese (not pictured)
mini-French bread loaves (not pictured)
mozzarella (not pictured)

*We love eating ours topped with banana pepper rings.

Directions:
In a crockpot, dump in the meatballs, sauce, tomatoes, and Parmesan. Stir and cook on low for 8+ hours.

When you're ready to serve, preheat oven to 400. Spoon into open-faced loaves and sprinkle with cheese. Toast the sandwiches for about five minutes, or until cheese is melted.


Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Overnight Waffles



During naptime today, I stepped away from the computer and opened up Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook to find something to make. I found these waffles and knew that I had to make them. One of the reasons was that I had one packet of yeast left over (and most of my bread recipes call for two packets). This, with a cup of hot chocolate, is going to make a perfect breakfast in the morning!

I tweaked it a little to make it my own, but it is otherwise from that terrific cookbook.

Ingredients:
2 1/4 cups flour
1 package active dry yeast
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 3/4 cups milk
2 eggs
1/3 cup oil

Directions:
Beat all of the ingredients together with an electric mixer until smooth. Cover the bowl loosely and chill it overnight (or up to 24 hours).

When you're ready to make the waffles, stir the batter and then prepare them as your waffle maker directs. Discard any leftover batter.


Peanut Butter Pie



While doing my daily naptime blog-stalking recently, I found this delicious and easy as, well, pie recipe on Kimberly's blog. It looked perfect for the playdate that I had planned for today! I made it, and I have to admit that it was FABULOUS! And for those of you who are afraid of cooking, no fear--there is none involved with this dessert!

Ingredients:
1 cup peanut butter
2 cups powdered sugar
6 ounces cream cheese
16 ounces whipped cream
1 chocolate pie crust

Directions:
In a large bowl, mix the first four ingredients together until smooth. Fill the pie crust with the mixture and set in the freezer for at least one hour.


Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Blueberry Bread



I had 1/2 bag of frozen blueberries that needed to be used, and my muffin tin rusted in the dishwasher (boo!), which meant that I couldn't make muffins today. So, bread it is! It smells so good, and I'm anxious to have a piece. This makes a fabulous and quick breakfast for your family, and I love that most people have these ingredients hanging out in their pantries. No need for processed foods when you can make your own, right?!

Ingredients:
2 eggs
1 cup white sugar
1 cup milk
3 tablespoons oil
3 cups flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
1 cup blueberries (fresh or frozen)
1/2 cup nuts (chopped)

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350.

In a small bowl, beat the eggs, and add the sugar, milk, and oil to them. Mix well. In a separate bowl, combine the flour and powder. Add the liquid mixture to the flour mixture and stir until blended. Fold in the blueberries and nuts. Pour into a loaf pan and bake for 50-60 minutes, or until done.


Monday, December 7, 2009

Alphabet Soup



Wow! It's already Meatless Monday again. The weeks are just flying by me!! It is super cold here in OKC, so I thought that a good soup was in order for tonight's dinner. This is so quick, delicious, and full of vitamins.

Ingredients:
3/4 bottle of vegetable juice
6 cups water+3 cups water
1 cup alphabet noodles
1 can mixed veggies (drained)
3 teaspoons beef granules (or three cubes beef boullion)
seasonings to taste (I used seasoned salt, pepper, and garlic powder.)

Directions:
In a large pot, dissolve the beef granules in three cups of water. To this liquid, add the vegetable juice and six cups of water, veggies, pasta. Season well! Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and allow to simmer for 20 minutes. Serve with cornbread.


Chocolate Chip Cookies



We were stuck inside all day because of the cold weather, so I decided to bake. The smell of chocolate chip cookies filling your house makes it a little less yucky to be couped up inside, wouldn't you agree?

Ingredients:
2 cups flour
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla (It seems like a lot, doesn't it?)
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 egg + 1 egg yold
3/4 cup butter (melted)
2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 cup pecans (chopped) (These are optional.)

Directions:
Preheat oven to 325.

Mix flour and soda in a small bowl and set aside. In a larger bowl, cream the butter and sugars together. Add the egg, egg yolk, and vanilla, and beat until light and fluffy. Add the dry mixture and mix until combined. Stir in the chocolate chips and pecans by hand.

Drop onto a cookie sheet. Here's a tip: cover your cookie sheet with foil and bake on that. It leaves your cookies perfect, and the mess is WAY easier to clean up. Bake for 15-17 minutes, or until the edges are golden brown.


Sunday, December 6, 2009

Chicken, Potatoes, and Carrots


My mom made this quite often when we were young. It's a simple, one-dish meal that is great for using up extra veggies before they go bad. I had a bag of carrots that were just about to "expire," so I thought today would be the perfect day to use them.

*I forgot to take a picture of just the ingredients today. Sorry!

Ingredients:
1 package chicken (You can use any, but I used boneless/skinless thighs today. They're cheap!)
1 potato/person (peeled and sliced)
carrots (peeled and sliced--I used carrot chips)
seasonings to taste

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375.

In a large baking dish, place your sliced veggies. Put the chicken pieces on top of the veggies and season well. I used seasoned salt, pepper, and garlic powder. Cover with foil and bake for one hour.

Tossing in any veggie would be great in this. . .onions, fresh green beans, bell pepper, mushrooms. Use what you have!


Woohoo! I Won My First Award!


Thanks so much to Tricia at luvsjurn3.blogspot.com for awarding me the Lemonade Stand Award. This is my first award, and it may seem silly to be so excited about it, but I love that people are actually reading my blog!

There are some rules attatched to the award, so I'll share them with you now. The Lemonade Stand Award is to be passed on to ten other great blogs. I will leave all ten of the recipients comments, letting them know that I've chosen them to receive it. I will also link back to the blog that gave me the award (check it out in my first paragraph!).

Thanks again, Tricia! I am so excited to have received this!

Here are my choices for The Lemonade Stand Award. . .go check them out!

1. Our Little Six Pack
2. It's Spelled Maguire
3. The Mykytiuk Files
4. Where He Leads Me I Will Follow
5. Welcome to the Nut House
6. 11th Heaven's Homemaking Haven
7. Life in Central Asia
8. Sharing the Pages of Life
9. Looking Up From the Trenches of Motherhood
10. Rudy Family Ruckus


Saturday, December 5, 2009

Apple Turnovers



My good friend Kathy emailed this recipe to me last week, and I couldn't wait to try it out! I love apple turnovers, especially warm ones, so I knew they'd be a hit with me! They were so easy and tasted really good. Thanks, Kathy!!

Ingredients:
2 apples (peeled, cored, and diced)
1/2 stick butter
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 can crescent rolls
flour (for rolling out dough)
1 egg (for egg wash)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 325.

In a large skillet, place your butter and begin to melt it. Dump in your prepared apples, sugar, vanilla, and cinnamon. Allow the apples to caramelize, tossing occasionally. Remove from the heat.

To prepare your dough, separate the rolls into triangles. Flour your surface and roll the triangles out just enough to make room for the apple mixture. Fill the triangles, fold over the crescent triangles, and press to seal them. Use a fork to press the edges like a pie crust.

Beat the egg in a bowl, and spread the egg wash over the top of each turnover with a basting brush. Bake for 12 minutes or until golden brown.


Friday, December 4, 2009

Fried Bananas

My kids are big banana fans. Personally, I could live without them, but I like to prepare foods that they will eat and enjoy. This is a new recipe for us, but since I was using Bisquick in my meal preparation tonight anyway, I thought I'd carry it through to our dessert.

Ingredients:
2 bananas (quartered)
2 cups Bisquick mix
1 cup milk
2 eggs
cinnamon-sugar mix to sprinkle
oil for frying

Directions:
In a skillet, pour oil about three-inches deep.

In a small bowl, combine the Bisquick, eggs, and milk. Mix until blended. Dip each piece of the banana into the batter and place in hot oil. Fry until golden brown and while still warm, sprinkle with cinnamon-sugar mix. Can be served with vanilla ice cream.


Chicken and Dumplings



As I mentioned in the Frugal Friday post, my husband absolutely loves some chicken and dumplings! He loves my mom's the best, but mine run a close second. ;) I have recipes for two different versions, but I'm only going to share one of them today. This is my friend Lacy's recipe. It's the perfect food for a COLD day like today!

Ingredients:
1 whole chicken (boiled and shredded)
2 1/4 cups Bisquick
2/3 cup milk
salt and pepper to taste

Directions:
After boiling your chicken and shredding it (deboning it, too), put the meat back into the pot with the seasoned water that it cooked in. (I like to cook my chicken with lots of salt, pepper, and garlic powder.) Turn the heat to medium.

In a small bowl, add the Bisquick with the milk and mix. Scoop small spoonfuls of the dough into the water. It will appear to clump together, but you can take a wooden spoon to stir occasionally. You'll know they're ready when they sink to the bottom and the water thickens. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve hot.


Frugal Friday

Today's Frugal Friday is warm, hearty, and so yummy! Chicken and dumplings is my husband's most favorite food in the whole world. We like to serve it with a side of pinto beans (you know how we love those). For dessert, I'm going to use the Bisquick to fry some bananas.

1 whole chicken--$4.50
4 1/4 cups Bisquick--$1.50
1 cup milk--$.40
1 bag pinto beans--$.99--
2 bananas--$.50
seasonings for beans--$.45
cinnamon and sugar mixture--$.30
2 eggs--$.18

Total cost--$8.82


Thursday, December 3, 2009

Chocolate Layered Dessert



My friend Amy H. gave me this recipe. She brought it over once for a dinner party, and I had to have the recipe! My great-grandmother made this when I was growing up (only on Thanksgiving), and Jeremy's aunt makes it (only on Thanksgiving), but I had never received the recipe. Thanks, Amy H. for getting it to me! We LOVE it!!!

Ingredients:

1 stick butter (melted)
1 cup flour
1/2 cup pecans (chopped)
8 ounces cream cheese
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 large tub Cool Whip (divided)
1 box chocolate pudding mix
2 cups milk

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350.

In a small bowl, mix the butter, flour, and chopped pecans. Press the mixture firmly into the bottom of a 9x13 baking dish. Bake for 15-20 minutes and then cool.

In a medium-sized mixing bowl, blend the cream cheese, powdered sugar, and 1/2 of the Cool Whip together. Spread it over the cooled crust.

In a separate bowl, combine the pudding mix and milk. Whisk until thick. Spread it over the cream cheese mixture.

Spread the other half of the Cool Whip on top of the pudding and sprinkle with more chopped pecans. Refrigerate to store.