Friday, October 9, 2015

The Best Crockpot BBQ Chicken

2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 cup BBQ sauce
1/4 cup Zesty Italian dressing
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce

It's just this simple:  place chicken breasts in crockpot, mix remaining ingredients in a bowl, pour over chicken, cook on high for 4 hours, shred and put on rolls of your choice. (You can't go wrong with chibatta rolls, they are the rock stars of sandwich rolls!) 

From whence it came:  Our married daughter gets all of the credit for finding this gem of a recipe.  She found it on Pinterest and was smart enough to pin it and then she went the extra mile and actually made it.  (Are you like me, do you have a zillion recipes pinned on Pinterest that you've never made?)  And let's be sure and give some serious props to the gal who added this to Pinterest.  Her name is Corey and you can find this recipe on her blog here.

Why it's blogable:  Because it's super good, super easy, and actually kinda sorta healthy.  Recipes don't get easier than this one, and it's a real crowd pleaser!  The spy who loves me loves this recipe!  And I'm certain that you will, too! can make a bunch and then freeze it and pull it out at the end of a day when you didn't even have time for a crockpot dinner.  Been there, done that! 

Hope you enjoy stirring it up!

Friday, February 27, 2015

Sugar Cookie Bars

Sugar Cookie Bars

1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
2 cups sugar
3/4 c. sour cream
4 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
5 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1. Cream the butter and sugar together until fluffy then add sour cream.

2. Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition.

3. Meanwhile, mix the dry ingredients together in a separate bowl.

4. Add the vanilla to the creamed mixture and then slowly add the dry ingredients.

5. Press into a greased 13 x 18 inch pan and bake at 375F for 10-15 minutes.

6. Cool and frost (see directions below).

Frosting Ingredients:
1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla
pinch of salt
4 cups powdered sugar
5 tablespoons of milk
food coloring (optional)
sprinkles (optional)

1. In a mixing bowl, beat the butter until creamy.

2. Add the vanilla and powdered sugar.

3. Gradually add the 5 tablespoons of milk until you reach your desired constancy.

5. Chill and cut.

From whence it came:  My sweet wonderful friend, Judy Durrant (who is a great cook with great recipes) made these and I felt completely obligated to try one and once I did I just had to have the recipe!  And Judy is a true friend, so she shared it with me.  She found it on Pinterest and boy oh boy am I glad she did!  These are divine!!!  

Why it's blogable:  I made these for our newest grandpunk's baby blessing last weekend and they were a hit!  They are so much easier to make than frosted sugar cookies and just as good...or maybe even better.  And the recipe makes a bunch of bars so you can share and make friends and impress your peeps!  If you've had a "Swig Sugar Cookie" I would say there are somewhat close to Swig.  And if you haven't had a Swig Sugar Cookie, drive to Utah right this minute and get one! I made a Swig knock off recipe that I found on Pinterest and you will notice that it's not on this blog, because it was not blogable.  But this recipe, this recipe is seriously blogable.

Cooks tip:  Judy told me to be careful not to over cook these bars.  I cooked them for 15 minutes and had serious doubts that they were done, but I decided to listen to Judy, because she is smart, and I'm glad I did.  They seemed underdone but after I frosted them then chilled them and cut them up they were perfect!  So, listen to Judy, don't over cook these cookies!

Hope you enjoy stirring it up!

Here's our newest little grandpunk, Brooks Anderson Labrum!
He is even sweeter than these cookies!

Friday, December 19, 2014

Peppermint Frosting


2 sticks (1 Cup) Salted Butter, Softened
5 cups Powdered Sugar, Sifted
40 whole Peppermint Candies, Crushed Very Fine
3 Tablespoons Heavy Cream, More If Needed (use 3-5)

Beat the butter to get it started, then add in the powdered sugar. Beat on low while adding the cream. When it comes together, add the crushed peppermints, reserving some for garnish. Beat the frosting for a good 30 seconds on high until it's light and fluffy, longer if needed.

Frost the cupcakes or brownies or cake however you want, then sprinkle on more crushed peppermints.

Note that the frosting will develop a light "crust" on the outside if left out.

From whence it came:  We can bow down and thank The Pioneer Woman for this festive and fabulous recipe!  I wanted to make peppermint frosting for these brownies so I turned to my dear friend, Google, and Google sent me right to PW's website.  And PW did not disappoint!  In fact, I'm gonna share the link with you to give PW the shout out she deserves:  

Why it's blogable:  Peeps, this recipe has butter, heavy cream, powdered sugar and candy in it.  Enough said!  Well almost enough said.  I was good when I made it, bowl lickin' good if you know what I mean.  But when I accidentally tried one of these bad boy brownies the next day, something magical had happened.  The little bits of peppermint had melted, or softened, or done something magical, and the frosting was even better!  So, my advice to y'all would be to make this a day ahead, or in the morning before the night you plan to eat a dozen of these problematic brownies.  They are problematic because you will accidentally try them over and over and over.  I say accidentally because I didn't mean to eat one, it just accidentally happened.  More than once.  

NOTE:  I didn't sprinkle more peppermints on top, I dumped every yummy one into the frosting.  That is after I pounded them to death with a rolling pin.  Pound 'em people!  You don't want a stray big chunk sending some one you love into the dentist's chair!

Hope you enjoy stirring it up!

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Homemade Salsa

1 small onion, roughly chopped

1 jalapeño, chopped (seeds and ribs are optional and add HEAT)

1 large garlic clove, smashed and roughly chopped

1 (28 oz can) crushed tomatoes

1 (14.5) can of diced tomatoes with green chilies

1 handful of fresh cilantro leaves

1/4 teaspoon sugar

1/4 teaspoon salt

Juice of half a lime (or a whole lime if you're a lover of limes like me)


Add the chopped onion, jalapeno and garlic to a food processor or chop everything  very finely by hand.

Pour crushed tomatoes into a medium bowl and add chopped ingredients along with the can of diced tomatoes with green chilies, fresh cilantro, sugar and salt and the juice of half a lime. Stir.

Refrigerate for a couple of hours at least before serving, but over night is best! (If you are able to accomplish this step, you have more patience than me!)

From whence it came:  Google led me to this fabulous recipe.  Thank you Google!  I originally found the recipe here, and I made it, and it was fab!  But then my mini food processor bit the dust due to complications from overuse and old age (boy, can I relate). So, I decided to try making the recipe without a mini food processor.  I simplified it and it's just as good.  You're welcome!  

SIDE NOTE OF REALLY NO IMPORTANCE:  If you know me well you know my doctor is named Dr. Google!  He is awesome!  I will do almost anything to avoid going to the doctor, so instead I just enter my symptoms into Google and voila, I have a diagnosis.  Then, I Google the diagnosis and find out the treatment.  Then I Google the treatment and find out where to get it or how to do it or if there is even hope for me. 

Why it's blogable:  Because you're gonna have to will yourself not to drink this stuff!  It's that good. Once you make this you will never want to buy store bought salsa again.  You will become a chip and salsa-aholic and you will feel the need to seek treatment.  But don't, just keep eating and enjoying!  

My little grandpunk loves this stuff so much!  He uses his chip as a spoon and just eats the salsa.  He doesn't waste his energy on chewing the chip, he saves it all for pounding down the salsa!

(Okay, so maybe he's not eating chips and salsa here, maybe he's eating fruit and ice cream, but I don't have a picture of him eating salsa and I have to show the world, or the ten or so people who read my blog, how positively adorable this little punk is!  And if you don't agree with me, may this salsa give you heartburn!)

Hope you enjoy stirring it up!

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Chocolate Mint Brownies

Brownie Base

My Favorite Brownie Recipe - or your favorite 9x13 box brownie mix


2 1/2
cups powdered sugar
tablespoons butter or margarine, softened
tablespoons whipping cream
oz cream cheese, softened (from 3 oz package)
to 1/4 teaspoon mint extract
drops green food color


cup whipping cream
1 1/3
cups (8 oz) semisweet chocolate chips
cup butter (do not use margarine)

Heat oven to 350°F (325°F for dark or nonstick pan). Grease bottom only of 9-inch square pan with shortening or cooking spray. (For easier cutting, line pan with foil, then grease foil on bottom only of pan.) Make and bake brownie mix as directed in recipe or on box. Cool completely, about 1 1/2 hours.
In large bowl, beat filling ingredients with electric mixer on medium speed until smooth. Spread over cooled brownies. Refrigerate about 1 hour or until set.
Meanwhile, in 2-quart nonstick saucepan, heat topping ingredients over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, until melted and smooth. Cool about 10 minutes or until lukewarm.
Pour topping over filling; spread to cover. Refrigerate uncovered about 2 hours or until set. Before cutting into bars, let stand 10 minutes at room temperature. For bars, cut into 5 rows by 4 rows. Store covered in refrigerator.

From whence it came:  That wonderful gal, Betty!  Betty Crocker that is.  I was in the mood to make mint brownies and I didn't have a recipe so I Googled it and Betty came to my rescue.  (I borrowed her pretty Mint Brownie picture, too.  I hope she doesn't mind.)

Why it's blogable:  Mint Brownies?  Are you kidding?  You need to know why they are blogable?  Because they are amazing!!!  These are always a crowd pleaser.  They look harder to make than they are.  They really are easy, and worth a couple of extra steps.

Make these and you will create smiles!  And creating smiles feels good!

Hope you enjoy stirring it up!

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Homemade Oreos

Makes 25 to 30 sandwich cookies
For the chocolate wafers:
1 1/4 cups (155 grams) all-purpose flour
1/2 cup (45 grams, but cocoa weights can vary greatly) unsweetened Dutch process cocoa
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 to 1 1/2 cups (200 to 300 grams) sugar [see recipe note]
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons (1 1/4 sticks or 140 grams) room-temperature, unsalted butter
1 large egg
For the filling:
1/4 cup (1/2 stick or 55 grams) room-temperature, unsalted butter
1/4 cup (50 grams) vegetable shortening
2 cups (240 grams) sifted confectioners’ sugar
2 teaspoons (10 ml) vanilla extract
  1. Set two racks in the middle of the oven. Preheat to 375°F.
  2. In a food processor, or bowl of an electric mixer, thoroughly mix the flour, cocoa, baking soda and powder, salt, and sugar. While pulsing, or on low speed, add the butter, and then the egg. Continue processing or mixing until dough comes together in a mass.
  3. Take rounded teaspoons of batter and place on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet approximately two inches apart. With moistened hands, slightly flatten the dough. Bake for 9 minutes, rotating once for even baking. Set baking sheets on a rack to cool.
  4. To make the cream, place butter and shortening in a mixing bowl, and at low speed, gradually beat in the sugar and vanilla. Turn the mixer on high and beat for 2 to 3 minutes until filling is light and fluffy.
  5. To assemble the cookies, in a pastry bag with a 1/2 inch, round tip, pipe teaspoon-size blobs of cream into the center of one cookie. Place another cookie, equal in size to the first, on top of the cream. Lightly press, to work the filling evenly to the outsides of the cookie. Continue this process until all the cookies have been sandwiched with cream. Dunk generously in a large glass of milk.
From whence it came:  We can thank the Smitten Kitchen for this doozie!!!  And I want to be sure and give Smitten Kitchen full credit!  You can find the recipe here:

I Googled "Homemade Oreos" and this was the first recipe that came up.  I've made homemade Oreos before using a recipe that used a cake mix, and they were good, but these are better.  A.Lot.Better.

Why it's blogable:  You might read the recipe and think these cookies are too much work.  They're not.  The payoff is well worth making the filling and taking the time to put it between 2 heavenly chocolate cookies.  It's really not a difficult recipe.  Make it.  Make it now!  Why are you still reading?  I said go and make these now!

Why I made them today:  We have one of the coolest people I have ever met visiting us right how and these are his favorite cookies.  So I just had to make them for him.  Because he is cool, and funny, and nice, and so many other wonderful words.  His name is Grant Gagon, but I call him Elder Gagon, or Elder G. because I first met him when he was a missionary serving in our neck of the woods.  Our family fell in love with Elder G. and eventually we met his family and we fell in love with them, too!  The Gagons are great and we are so very grateful for our friendship with the Gagons!! 

I can't believe you're still reading this post and not in your kitchen whipping up a batch of these marvelous cookies.  They have basic ingredients that you probably have on hand so no excuses.  Go make 'em.  

Hope you enjoy stirring it up!

Friday, January 25, 2013

Tortellini Sausage Soup

Tortellini Sausage Soup
3 links Italian sausage
4 cloves pressed garlic
1 onion, diced
½ c. water
2 15-oz. cans chicken broth
½ c. apple cider (don’t leave this out! I did once and it wasn’t the same…)
1 16-oz. can diced tomatoes
1 8 oz. can tomato sauce
1 c. sliced carrots
1 tsp. dried basil
1 tsp. dried oregano
2 medium zucchini, grated (great way to use your food processor if you have one)
2 tablespoons dried parsley
8-10 oz. package cheese tortellini (check the freezer section of your grocery store; if you can find it there, it will almost always be way cheaper than fresh tortellini. Also, Barilla makes a great dry cheese tortellini)
2 Tbsp. dried parsley (yes, that’s two tablespoons)
If you’re using link sausage, remove the casings and crumble into a large soup pot. To remove the casings, you can use a sharp knife to cut a slit down one side of the sausage and then peel back the casing.
Chop onion and add to pot with garlic and a drizzle of olive oil. Continue cooking until onions are translucent and your sausage is cooked. Your house will smell heavenly.
Add tomatoes, tomato sauce, juice, water, chicken broth, carrots, oregano, and basil. Cover and simmer for 1/2 hour. Add parsley and zucchini and simmer for another 15 minutes or so. Add the tortellini and cook until tender, and then serve with bread and freshly-grated Parmesan.
From whence it came:  My sweet as pie sister-in-law, Geralene, must really love me because for Christmas she gave me the new Our Best Bites Cookbook!
I've been having so much fun trying the recipes in this amazing cookbook!  I told you before that I really don't buy cookbooks anymore because you can find almost any recipe you want online.  But this book is worth having!!  Big time!  Thanks, Geralene!  Your gift hit the spot!!
Why it's blogable:  I have a talent.  It may be my only one but I do have this one.  I'm pretty good at recognizing a good recipe when I see one.  I can read the ingredients and pretty much know if it's gonna be good or not.  As soon as I read this recipe I knew!  And I was not one bit wrong.  I made this last Sunday and I ate the leftovers for lunch twice this week.  I would have eaten the leftovers every day but there were only two servings left over.  This soup is one of my all time favorites!  It is in on my top ten list of best soups ever!  (I don't really have a list like that but if I did, this soup would be on it.)  The flavor is great and it's easy to make.  Try it!!!  I beg of you!
Those wonderful Our Best Bites girls will give you step by step instructions here.  I've been trying to cook healthier, eat less and exercise more (so basically I'm pretty cranky!)  Just kidding!  About the cranky part.  Not about the healthier part.  That part is true.  I used sweet chicken Italian sausage that I bought at Sprouts.  Dontcha just love Sprouts?  Me too!  I made the butcher put his hand on this cookbook and swear the sausage wasn't really sweet.  He did and I trusted him.  He said sweet meant not spicy, and he was right.  And it was really good sausage.  And it wasn't in casings so I didn't have to deal with that ugly process.  Gross!!!  I bought the tortellini in the refrigerator section at the grocery store and it was so good!  Also, I didn't have any apple cider because I didn't remember to buy it because my brain is deprived of calories so I borrowed a packet of spiced cider from a friend at the very last minute (thank you Kerinda for saving our Sunday dinner) and it worked perfectly.  I was nervous to use it because it seems like such a strange ingredient, but I made the cider and added the right amount and the soup was fab so there ya go.  
Make this soup people!  It's a winner!
Click here to get the printable.
Hope you enjoy stirring it up!

Monday, November 12, 2012

French Dip Sandwiches


1 2.5-3 lb. beef roast (you can use a frozen roast if you want)
2 Tbsp. olive oil
salt and pepper
2 1-ounce packages dry onion soup mix
2 c. water
2 cans beef broth
6-8 large buns (or more…6 would be VERY generous servings!)
Swiss, provolone, or mozzarella cheese, shredded or sliced.

Heat oil in a large pot over medium-high heat and rub roast with salt and pepper.

When very hot, carefully place roast in pan and sear on all sides. You’re not cooking the meat, you’re just browning it quickly on all sides to add flavor and seal in the juices. 

Place in crockpot and sprinkle with onions soup mix. Pour water and beef broth over roast.

Cook 8-10 hours on low or cook 4-5 hours on high and another 3-4 hours on low. It’s hard to screw this part up; basically, the longer it cooks, the more tender it will be. But you know it’s done when you pop a fork in it and the meat just falls apart. When meat is ready, shred with a fork.

Place meat in crusty rolls. Top with cheese and broil open-faced in the oven or toaster oven for a few minutes, until bread is golden and cheese is melty. 

Ladle juices into small cups for dipping and enjoy!

From whence it came:  Here's another fab recipe from the Our Best Bites Cookbook!  I wasn't kidding when I told you it's a great cookbook!  I don't joke about things like that!

Why it's blogable:  When I tried this my family was totally wowed!  Everyone said it was their new favorite dinner and my teen son requested it for his birthday.  Both of my girls love this and my sonny-in-law and The Spy Who Loves Me are huge fans!  I just got back from visiting my married daughter and sonny-in-law and adorable grandpunk in Illinois last week and when I asked them what they wanted me to make while I was there, this was on the list.  This recipe could not be easier!  And we always have plenty for leftovers.  

Here's what I do:  Just to make it more yummy and less heart healthy, I butter the buns and sprinkle them with Parmesan cheese.  I broil them until the are just starting to brown, then take them out, put the meat and cheese on them and put them back under the broiler just until the cheese starts to melt.  You don't have to do this, but you'll be happy if you do!

Try this one soon!  And by soon I mean immediately!  Your family will thank you!

Hope you enjoy stirring it up!

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Soup made the easy way!

It's that time of year, time to enjoy a really yummy bowl of soup.  I love soup!  The Spy Who Loves Me, not so much.  He's not a huge soup guy, although there are a few soups he likes.  He's not into brothy soups (is brothy a word?)  He's more into creamy soups.  Creamy soups are fab, but they can also be pretty fattening.  I've found a way to make creamy soups without all the fat that comes from making a roux with butter and adding half and half or heavy cream.  And I'm gonna share my secret with you, and you are very welcome!

Yep, Bear Creek Soups rock!  And they are so very easy to make.  I love making soup from scratch, but if you're pinched for time or not a make it from scratch kinda person, Bear Creek is your new best friend!

This one might just be my favorite, although I have a few favorites.  My family LOVES this one, especially my teen son.  All you have to do is add 8 cups of water.  Seriously.  That's it!  Now, if you wanna get a little bit crazy, you can add some fresh broccoli pieces and then sprinkle a little bit of cheddar cheese on top of each bowl.  But you can just make it like it is and it is really really good!

This one is my new favorite.  (I told you I had more than one favorite and I wasn't kidding.)  I tried this one for the first time recently and wow, my taste buds did summer-salts.  There is a restaurant in San Diego called Croutons that has chicken and wild rice soup that I love, and this is very similar to theirs.  I added some chicken that I had baked in the oven and boy oh boy was it good.  My family loved this one, too!  I bought some for my married daughter who with the help of her husband produced the most fabulous grandpunk any grandma ever did have, and they went crazy for it!  She said they couldn't stop eating it.  And why even try?  It's that good!

I adore this one, too!  I brown 1 pound of ground beef and add it to the soup and it's awesome!  Serve it with french bread and a salad and you've got an easy yet delicious meal.

Bear Creek has so many delicious flavors.  I haven't tried one that I didn't like.  And get this, they are just over three bucks at my BFF Super Walmart!  Now that's a deal!

Like I said, you can't beat soup from scratch, but these are truly the next best thing!  Give them a try, you won't be sorry!

Hope you enjoy stirring it up!

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Homemade Salsa...So easy! So good!

1 small onion, roughly chopped
One Jalapeño, chopped {seeds and ribs are optional}
1 large Garlic Clove, smashed and roughly chopped
1 {28 oz can} Whole Peeled Tomatoes
1 {14.5} Can of Diced Tomatoes with Green Chilies
One Generous Handful of Fresh Cilantro Leaves
1/4 teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
Juice of half a Lime

Add the chopped onion, jalapeno and garlic to a food processor.

Next add the can of whole peeled tomatoes {with their juices}, fresh cilantro, sugar and salt and the juice of half a lime. Pulse until you reach a consistency you like, should be a little chunky.

Add diced tomatoes with green chilies. Give a few more pulses.

Let refrigerate for a couple of hours at least before serving, but over night is best!

From whence it came:  The Internet, baby!  There are so many great recipes out there just waiting to be stirred up!  I found this one here, and boy am I glad I did!

Why it's blogable:  Salsa?  Chips?  Really?  You need to know why it's blogable?  Because it's salsa, and you dip chips in it.  That's why.  The first time I tried this recipe The Spy and my teen son went crazy for it.  Let's be honest, they were already half way to crazy, but this recipe pushed them the rest of the way.  I've made it for lots of people and parties and it's always a hit.  Y'all need to try it!  Soon!

Hope you enjoy stirring it up!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

White Chocolate Macadamia Nut Cookies

Make this recipe but instead of adding chocolate chips, add 1 bag white chocolate chips

and 2 c. coarsely chopped macadamia nuts.  

That's it!  That's all ya have to do to make these marvelous mac nut cookies.  I figured this out all by my little old self.  Mostly myself is old, not really all that little, because myself loves cookies!

The Spy Who Loves Me said these are his new favorite cookies.  And my teen son is a fan, too!

Make these for someone you love and they are sure to love you back!!!

Hope you enjoy stirring it up!!

Monday, October 15, 2012

Teriyaki Sauce that's Good Enough to Drink

1 Tbsp. cornstarch 
1 Tbsp. cold water
½ c. white sugar
½ c. soy sauce
¼ c. cider vinegar
1 clove garlic, minced
½ tsp. ground ginger
¼ tsp. black pepper

(I don't want to take credit for the cute writing style of Kate Jones, so I'll tell you here and now that the directions below were written by her clever and creative self.  My unimaginative brain just copied and pasted.)

In a medium saucepan, combine sugar, soy sauce, vinegar, garlic, ginger, and black pepper. We’ve talked about ginger before and you can use either ground ginger as directed or about 1 1/4 tsp. of fresh ginger. Believe it or not, in this recipe, I actually prefer ground ginger; it has a slightly different flavor that I think infuses better in the sauce than fresh ginger. That being said, I used fresh here because I had a bunch of minced ginger in my freezer and I didn’t want it to go to waste. And the sauce came out great. So whatever works for you.

ANYWAY. I’m rambling. Combine your ingredients in the saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. While sauce is heating, combine cornstarch and cold water. When sauce comes to a full boil, add cornstarch mixture and stir until sauce is thickened and bubbly. Remove from heat and use any way you darn well please. You can store it in the fridge in an air-tight container for up to 2 weeks.

From whence it came:  I have a new cookbook!!!  

Well, it's not all that new, but since I haven't blogged for a million years it seems like it's new.  My super sweet sister-in-law, Geralene, gave it to me for my birthday over a year ago.  My birthday is in July (on the 2nd just in case you want to get me something next year) and her birthday is in August.  I love this cookbook so much that a month after she gave it to me, I bought one and gave it to her!  I bit of a lame and lazy gift, but she just had to have it.  It's that good!  Every recipe I have tried as been so good!  And I've tried a lot of 'em.  I really didn't think I'd be buying many cookbooks anymore since you can find almost any recipe you want on the Internet, but this one is worth having!  

Why it's blogable:  Yep, you could seriously drink this sauce, but don't, because that would be humiliating and give you really bad breath!  And then you'd lose friends because your breath was so stinky!  And then you'd be lonely because you don't have any friends.  And then you'd be depressed because you're lonely and you'd make a whole batch of this dough and eat it all by yourself.  And then your pants won't zip up because you ate a whole batch of that naughty dough all by yourself!  And then you'll need new pants.  I could go on and on, but the point is, even though this sauce is good enough to drink, use it on your favorite meat, vegies, in stir fry or wherever you want.  Use you imagination people!  I can't do all the thinking!  

Oh yeah:  You seriously need to double this recipe!  Possibly triple it!  If you don't you'll be sad.  And then you'll probably make a whole batch of this and eat it all by yourself!  At least that's what I'd do!

Hope you enjoy stirring it up!

Look who's back!!!!!

The reasons I haven't blogged for many moons are many, and they are all lame, except for one!!!!

And that reason's name is  HUDSON!!!

Yep, I have a grandpunk!  And as you can see by the picture, an adorable grandpunk!  I have a grandpunk with spunk!!  Yep, he's got spunk, just like his Grammy Pammy!  

Proud?  You bet I am!  
Happy?  Happy beyond words! 
Obsessed?  Totally and completely!  
On FaceTime 24/7 because he lives half way across the country in the land of corn?  Absolutely!  
Distracted by his cuteness?  How could I not be?  

Look at him!  So you can point fingers and wonder why I've been such a lazy blogger, and then you can look at this picture and totally understand!!!

I know, I know, you didn't log on to hear my obnoxious bragging, you want recipes!  Well recipes you shall get.  I have tried lots of new ones and I've got some doozies ready for y'all!  So hang on to your hats, Grammy Pammy is blogging again!!!

Friday, July 1, 2011

Milky Way Cake

11 whole Milky Way Bars (regular Size), Divided Use
3 sticks Margarine, Divided Use
2-½ cups All-purpose Flour
½ teaspoons Salt
½ teaspoons Baking Soda
½ cups Buttermilk
3 teaspoons Vanilla Extract, Divided
2 cups Sugar
4 whole Eggs
2 cups Powdered Sugar
1 dash Salt
½ cups Milk (more If Needed)
1 cup Finely Chopped Pecans

Preheat oven to 300 degrees F.

In a double boiler or in a saucepan over very low heat, melt 8 Milky Way bars together with 1 stick margarine, stirring to combine. Once melted, remove from heat and set aside.

Sift flour and salt together and set aside.

Mix baking soda with buttermilk, then add 2 teaspoons vanilla and set aside.

Cream 1 stick of margarine with the 2 cups of granulated sugar. Add eggs one at a time. Add flour mixture and buttermilk alternately to the creamed mixture, mixing after each addition. Add melted candy bar mixture and mix to combine.

Pour into a greased jelly roll pan or 9 x 13 baking pan and bake for 1 hour or until cake is done in the center. Remove from oven and allow to cool.

To make the icing, melt the remaining 3 Milky Way bars with remaining 1 stick margarine (in a double boiler or in a saucepan over very low heat). Add powdered sugar, dash of salt, milk, 1 teaspoon vanilla, and chopped pecans and stir over low heat. Add more milk if needed.

Pour over the cooled cake and allow to set. Cake will be very sticky! Don’t expect neat, perfect slices.

From whence it came:  We all owe The Pioneer Woman a HUGE thank you for posting this recipe on her fabulous website.  She has blessed us with a true crowd pleaser and she deserves a round of applause for this one!

Why it's blogable:
  Any recipe that has 11 Milky Way bars in it is blogable.  Period.  The texture of this cake is different than any cake I've made, in a good way!  A really really good way.  It's a little bit sticky because of the caramel in the candy but not too sticky.  Just the right amount of sticky.  The flavor is also fabulous!  I took this cake to a get together last weekend and it was a hit.  This cake will make you popular!  I promise!

Cooks tips:  I used butter instead of margarine and it gave it a great buttery flavor.  I also used walnuts instead of pecans because that's what I had on hand.  I baked the cake in a 10x15" sheet cake pan and I think it was just the right size.  I think it worked out better than a 9x13" would have.

Click here to get the printable:
Milky Way Cake

Hope you enjoy stirring it up!

Saturday, June 11, 2011

I'm a blogging flake!

I know!  I know!  I know!  I've been a blogging flake!  Actually I've been a very busy blogging flake!  We're headed to the little cabin in the woods for some fun and relaxation and when we get back I'm going to repent of my lazy blogging ways and get back to posting some yum-e recipes. 

A very big thing happened in my life recently, I got an iPad!  Believe it or not it was a thank you gift.  Who does that?  Buys someone an iPad as a thank you gift?  Someone very generous, that's who!  So, maybe I'll even blog from the little cabin in the woods.  Maybe!

Until then, I hope you'll enjoy the recipes I've already posted.  And most of all I hope you're spending time stirring it up with friends and family!


Friday, May 27, 2011

Crispy Tacos

Last night I made crispy tacos.  I had no intention of doing it.  I intended to make soft tacos with whole wheat tortillas, a much healthier choice.  But when I went to the fridge to pull out the tortillas I noticed that I had corn tortillas on hand and the urge to make crispy tacos totally overcame me.  I was powerless.  

Our family loves crispy tacos.  I don't use the word loves loosely.  When I say loves I mean loves.  I almost never ever make them.  I don't even make them once a year.  There are reasons for this that I will now share with y'all.  First of all, I don't like to deep fry.  I'm not a fan of it at all.  Not only is it unhealthy, it stinks up the house and the house smells like whatever you deep fried for a few days.  My philosophy is, if you want something deep fried, go to the county fair.  Those fair folks have no pride at all when it comes to deep frying.  Twinkies.  Snickers.  Oreos.  Avocados.  Need I go on?  I think not.  The fair is the place for all things fried.

But, every now and then, the hankering for crispy tacos overtakes my soul and there's no fighting it.  And I succumb!  And my family is happy when every now and then this happens.

Here's how I made these crispy critters.  First I browned a pound of ground beef.  Then I added a packet of this:

Just follow the directions on the package.  

Then I put about 1/4" to 1/2" of vegetable oil in my electric skillet and turn it up to 350 degrees.  Once the oil is hot, you're ready to roll.  (Test the oil by throwing in a tiny piece of torilla.  If it bubbles and floats to the top, you're good to go.)

Place a corn tortilla into the hot oil.  Immediately flip it over and place a spoonful of meat down the center.  Fold the tortilla over the meat and let it cook in the oil until it's brown.

Here they are before I flipped 'em:

Here they are after I flipped 'em:

By this point my teen son was drooling.  It wasn't pretty.  Not pretty at all.

When they are brown on both sides, make yourself a little taco teepee.  This will help the extra oil drip out of the taco and onto the paper towels.

We stuffed them with lettuce, sharp cheddar cheese and then topped them with my favorite taco sauce:
All I can say is make these.  Even if you don't like to deep fry.  Even if you don't like the mess of deep frying.  Even if you don't like your house to smell like deep frying for days.  Make these!  You'll be glad you did!

Hope you enjoy stirring it up!

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Homemade Barf and Patty Melts

I do recognize that the word "barf" should never ever be used on a cooking blog.  I get that.  But I feel the need to break a basic cooking blog rule and tell you about how I accidentally stumbled upon the perfect recipe for homemade barf last Sunday.

It all started out so innocently.  I had this recipe called Mexican Manicotti that I had been anxious to try.  I know the combination of pasta and Mexican food can be a bit risky, but this recipe caught my eye and I just had to take it for a spin.

Just so you know, I will not be posting the recipe for Mexican Manicotti on this blog.  It wasn't that the recipe was all that terrible, it's more that the sauce looked exactly, and when I say exactly, I mean exactly like barf.  As soon as I stirred it up I started to giggle.  I'm very immature when it comes to these sort of things.  I started to giggle because I knew The Spy Who Loves Me was going to flip his balding lid when he saw this sauce.  The Spy is kind of a big baby girl when it comes to these sorts of things.  More on The Spy's girly princess issues later.  Let's get back to the barf.

The sauce consisted of five very innocent ingredients.  Innocent on their own, not so much when combined.  Cream of chicken soup (a good ingredient in many recipes), green chilies (a personal favorite of mine when it comes to ingredients), chopped onion (great for flavor, but added an unfortunate element of chunkiness to this poor sauce), milk (harmless enough), and finally, the culprit, salsa!  Yes, it was the salsa that turned this sauce into something that looked exactly, trust me on this, exactly like barf! 

Like I said, as soon as I stirred it up I started to giggle.  The Spy had been sitting at the kitchen counter while I stuffed the manicotti noodles with a mixture of chicken, onion, sour cream, green chilies and cheese.  He seemed a little bit unsure watching the combination of the pasta and Mexican ingredients come together, but I assured him that it would taste great.  He walked away for a few minutes and that's when I proceeded to stir up the sauce.  As soon as I stirred in the salsa I knew that I now had the perfect recipe for homemade barf.  And I knew The Spy was going to freak out like a big baby girl when he saw it in the pan.  And I was right!

The Spy walked into the kitchen and said, "You've gotta be kidding me.  That looks exactly like barf!"  I lost it!  My giggling turned into full blown laughter as I saw the look on his grossed out face.  This is what he saw:

This picture doesn't even do it justice.  It looked worse on it's own, before being poured over the manicotti.  It was one ugly sauce.  And to top it off, it was Sunday dinner.  I must say, I was proud of The Spy, my teen son and my mom.  They all closed their eyes and ate it.  And it wasn't horrible, although it most certainly falls in the recipe file called "one timers".

Bottom line, if you ever need to make fake barf, I've got the perfect recipe for ya!  And you're welcome!

Just so you know, the next night, Monday night, I redeemed myself by making patty melts for dinner.  The Spy loves a good patty melt, and in nearly 30 years of marriage I've never ever made him one.  But because he was so brave and ate the barf recipe, I felt he deserved a dinner he would truly enjoy.  So I fried up hamburger patties, sprinkled them with Montreal Steak Seasoning, put them between two pieces of rye bread with Havarti cheese and grilled them until they were golden brown.  The Spy was happy!

Getting back to the many reasons The Spy is sometimes a big baby girl slash princess, let me just list a few.  And don't you worry about me going behind The Spy's back.  I've warned him plenty of times that if he didn't change his girly ways I was going to blog about it.  He didn't, and now I am!

Recently we went out of town for a family wedding and stayed in a very nice hotel overnight.  For reasons that I will never understand, most hotels do not use fitted sheets.  They use a flat sheet on the top and on the bottom.  During the night the flat sheet on the bottom came untucked and created a wrinkle underneath The Spy.  Are you thinking of the same story I'm thinking of?  Yep, The Princess and the Pea.  Only we'll call this one The Spy and The Wrinkle.  When The Spy woke up I asked him how he slept and out came the little princess.  He went on and on about the wrinkle in the sheet and how he barely got a wink of beauty rest the whole night.  Do you see where I'm going with this?  Princess!  I told him that I was going to start saying the word "princess" every time he had a princess moment.   There have been several since that day!

The Spy can at times be a bit high maintenance.  Take for example the other day when I made him steel cut oats for breakfast.  I topped them with these nuts and added chopped apples, brown sugar and a splash of milk.  Do you know that man had the nerve to tell me I forgot the raisins!  It took everything in me not to bop him over the head with my rolling pin.  But I refrained and instead just called him a princess.

The Spy is spoiled.  Spoiled rotten.  At least I like to tell him that he is.  He was running late for a spy meeting the other day so I made him steel cut oats (with raisins this time) to go, and even put homemade orange juice in his spy cup. (Notice the little badge on the cup.  Isn't that cute?)  When The Spy picked up the cup he asked what was in it.  I told him fresh squeezed orange juice and that little princess said, "Too much pulp.  You can have it."  People, do you see what I'm dealing with here?

Tonight The Spy and teen son are camping with other men and their sons at a church campout.  The Spy slash princess took the twin mattress off our teen son's bed, placed a clean FITTED sheet on it and stuffed it in the back of our minivan.  Some call that camping, I call it a princess sleep over.  Our studly teen son took a tarp and a sleeping bag.  That's it.  I begged him to take his little pup tent but he wouldn't do it.  He was determined to sleep under the stars.  I guess I should be grateful that he hasn't taken after his father's princess ways, at least not yet.

There's really no point to this blog post.  I just wanted to give you a little window into my life, and what it's like to live with The Princess Spy.

Hope you enjoy stirring it up!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Peanut Butter Pretzel Bites

1 cup creamy peanut butter
2 tbsp softened butter
1/2 cup powdered sugar (maybe more)
3/4 cup brown sugar (maybe more)
1 bag  semi-sweet chocolate chips

Combine peanut butter and softened butter in a large bowl with a fork or whisk, or in a stand mixer.  Add the sugars and mix to combine.  At this point if the filling will roll easily into balls without sticking to your hands you’re ready to go.  If not, add a little more of each sugar until you reach a consistency that is easy to roll (I used about 3/4 cup of each sugar).

Use a teaspoon measure to scoop the filling.  Roll each portion into a small ball, then sandwich them between two whole pretzels.  When all the balls are rolled and successfully sandwiched, stick the whole tray in the freezer for about half an hour.

Pour the chocolate chips into a microwave safe bowl and heat at 30-second intervals, stirring occasionally until completely melted.  Remove the pretzel sandwiches from the freezer and quickly dip each half-way into the melted chocolate.  Return to the tray and repeat with remaining sandwiches.  When all are dipped, return the tray to the freezer to set up completely.  Store the sandwiches in the refrigerator until serving time.

Cook's tip:  I used 3/4 cup of powdered sugar instead of 1/2 cup.  The dough wasn't thick enough with just 1/2 cup.  I also learned that refrigerating the dough before rolling it into balls and putting it between the pretzels made the process quite a bit easier.  I dipped half of the batch in milk chocolate and half in semi-sweet and surprisingly I liked the semi-sweet better.  Also, I made the mistake of accidentally buying unsalted pretzels.  Although the bites were good using unsalted, I think they would be better with salted. 

From whence it came:  My cute as can be married daughter found this recipe while stalking the blog of one of her cute friends.  My married daughter called me and told me about these and I just had to try them.  My married daughter is on my good list, not only for sharing this great recipe, but for being just as sweet as this great recipe.  Do you know that she calls her momma just about every single day to check in and say hello?  Do you know how much that means to her momma?  More than words on this silly little blog could ever express.  Oh how I love my married daughter, and oh how you'll love these pretzles!

Why it's blogable:  The combination of sweet and salty is a winner as far as I'm concerned.  You combine pretzels and chocolate and I'm gonna sit right down next to you and be your best friend.  At least until the pretzels and chocolate are all gone.  Then you go and put peanut butter into the mix and you've got yourself one sensational recipe.  These little bites might be a process to make, but they're not hard, and they're worth the effort.  The Spy Who Loves Me and my teen son totally and completely agree!

Click here to get the printable:
Peanut Butter Pretzel Bites

Hope you enjoy stirring it up!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Very Cool Pie Crust Secrets

If you're into making pie crusts, you have to check out this super cool video:

Lion House Pie Crust Secrets

Personally, I'm not a pie crust making girl.  It's an art I haven't mastered.  I think I lack motivation because I'm not a huge pie lover.  I do like pie sometimes, but it's not my favorite, so I've never taken the time to learn how to make a really good pie crust.

My mom makes a really good pie crust, and when we were kids she would make pie crust dough, pat it out into small circles, brush it with melted butter, sprinkle it with cinnamon and sugar and bake it in the oven until it was crispy.  Oh baby!  It was a huge treat for our family.  We called it Yucca Crust.  I have no idea why.  But it was really good!

If you're into pie, watch the video.  It has some great tips.  And if you've ever had a Lion House Pie, you will know that they are yum-e!  Here's their very famous recipe:

Lion House Pie Crust

1/4 Cup Butter
1/3 Cup lard
1/4 Cup margarine
1/3 Cup shortening
1 TBS sugar
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 TBS nonfat dry milk
1 1/2 cups pastry flour
1 1/2 cups Bread flour
1/2 cups plus 1 TBS cold water

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a mixer, cream together butter, lard, margarine and shortening. In a separate bowl, whisk together sugar, baking powder, salt and dry milk powder; add to creamed butter mixture and mix briefly. Add pastry flour and beat until blended. Add bread flour and mix slightly. Pour in water and beat again just until water is blended.

Divide dough into two or three balls. Roll out each ball on a floured board. Line pie pan with dough and cut off excess dough. Flute edges. Bake at 375 for 12 to 15 minutes or until light golden brown. Otherwise, fill unbaked pie shell and bake according to recipe. Makes 2 to 3 9 inch pie shells. You can substitute 3 cups all purpose flour for the pastry and bread flour called for in the recipe.

Click here to get the printable:

Click here to learn more about The Lion House - it's one of my all time favorite restaurants in the whole world! 

Hope you enjoy stirring it up!

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Yum-E Fruit Dip

1 8 oz pkg cream cheese
1 cup sour cream
1 jar (about 7 or 8 oz.) Marshmallow Creme
1 14 oz. can sweetened condensed milk

Mix all together and chill.  Serve with fresh fruit.

From whence it came:  The cutest couple shared this wonderful recipe with me, and boy am I glad they did.  They have an adorable baby boy and they are just the best little family.  Justin put up some pretty cool Christmas lights this year and nearly blinded the neighbors, but in a very tasteful way.  Justin and Michelle are the kind of kids that most of us are hoping our kids will grow up to be like.  Thank you Justin and Michelle, for the recipe, and for being so terrific.  

Why it's blogable:  Just read the list of ingredients and tell me if your mouth doesn't start watering.   Then imagine dipping fresh fruit into that heavenly dip and let the drooling begin.  This is perfect to take to a party, and when you do, you will be loved, adored and admired.  And that's a good thing!

Hope you enjoy stirring it up!