Wednesday, December 29, 2010

French Toast Casserole

  • 1 loaf (10 ounces) French bread, cut into 1-inch cubes (10 cups)
  • 8 eggs
  • 3 cups milk
  • 4 teaspoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt, optional

  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • Maple syrup, optional

  • Place bread cubes in a greased 13-in. x 9-in. baking dish. In a large bowl, whisk the eggs, milk, sugar, vanilla and salt if desired. Pour over bread. Cover and refrigerate for 8 hours or overnight.
  • Remove from refrigerator 30 minutes before baking. Dot with butter. Combine sugar and cinnamon; sprinkle over the top.
  • Cover and bake at 350° for 45-50 minutes or until a knife inserted near the center comes out clean. Let stand for 5 minutes. Serve with maple syrup if desired. Yield: 12 servings.
From whence it came:  Here is another wonderful recipe from wonderful Susie Cazanave.   I blogged about Susie not too long ago and told you all how marvelous she is and how blessed I am to have her as a friend.  Her French Toast Casserole is almost as marvelous as she is, but not quite!  I love you Susie!

Why it's blogable:  First of all, it's really good!  Secondly, I love recipes that you can make ahead of time and then just pop in the oven.  Another great thing about this recipe is that it's very inexpensive to make.  Yum-e, easy, cheap!  A great combo!

A little tip:  Make sure you cook this long enough so the egg is cooked all the way and it's not runny.  I cooked it in a glass dish and followed the directions exactly and mine turned out just right!

Click here to get the printable:
French Toast Casserole

Hope you enjoy stirring it up!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Fresh Cranberry Salad

1 qt. (24 oz.) fresh cranberries  (2 - 12 oz. bags)
2 cups sugar
1 ½ lb. red seedless grapes 
1 pt. heavy whipping cream
1/2 c. sugar
1 t. vanilla
1 cup chopped pecans, or more if desired

Grind cranberries in blender or food processor on medium.  (You don't want it in large chunks.)  Add sugar and stir well.  Place mixture in colander and drain overnight in refrigerator. 

In the morning, clean and dry grapes.  Cut in half and add to the cranberries.  Mix well.  Refrigerate at least two hours.  

Whip the cream until it is almost butter, very very stiff.  Slowly add 1/2 c. sugar and 1 t. vanilla to cream while whipping.  Add the whipped cream and nuts about an hour and a half before serving and keep in refrigerator so it gets cold. 

From whence it came:  One of the nicest, kindest, most generous people I have ever known shared this fabulous recipe with me.  Patty Sandner is the great gal who gets credit for this one.  Patty is twin sisters with another lady who is also one of the best people I know, Peggy Masterson.  Patty and Peggy are simply the best.  They are so much fun, and they have hearts the size of the great state of Texas.  They are always looking for ways to brighten the lives of others.  And they are both a huge bright spot in my life!  I can't say enough about these girls, or this salad!

Why it's blogable:  I tried this last week at a ladies Christmas dinner and I nearly passed out with delight.  It's just so fabulous, I don't really have the words to describe it.  It's pretty, it's got a crunch, it's sweet (and you know I'm all about sweet) and it's amazing.  Make this and you will become instantly popular.  More popular than you have ever imagined.  Possibly as popular as Patty and Peggy.  But don't become so popular that you no longer have time to stalk my little blog!

Click here to get the printable:

Hope you enjoy stirring it up!

Friday, December 17, 2010

Aztec Dessert

1 package Oreo cookies
1 stick melted butter
1/2 gallon ice cream, any flavor
Hot fudge sauce
1 8 oz. Cool Whip

Crush Oreos in large zip lock bag.  Reserve 1 cup and add melted butter to remaining Oreos.  Press into bottom of 9x13 pan.  Freeze for about 20 minutes.

Top Oreo crust with ice cream.  I normally remove ice cream from carton and slice with a big knife, then place it onto the crust.  You can also soften the ice cream and spread it over the crust.

Top with hot fudge sauce that has been cooled to room temperature, then spread Cool Whip on top.  Sprinkle remaining Oreos on Cool Whip.  Place in freezer for at least one hour.  Cut into squares and serve.

From whence it came:  We all need to bow down and kiss the feet of my sweet sister-in-law, Geralane, and thank her for this over-the-top, to-die-for recipe!  She has given me many great recipes over the years, but this one stands alone.  It's amazing, just like Geralane!

Why it's blogable:  A few reasons:  Oreos, butter, ice cream, Cool Whip and hot fudge!  Can you think of a better combo?  I didn't think so.  This recipe is a hit 100% of the time.  Everyone loves it, and it's very easy to make.  It's perfect for the holidays.  If you make it with peppermint ice cream it is wonderful, and so so pretty.  The Spy Who Loves Me has over the years requested it for his birthday cake.  It's great with Mocha Almond Fudge ice cream, or cookies and cream, or mint chip, or really any flavor you like.  You can't go wrong with this recipe, unless you decide not to make it.  That would be wrong.  Very wrong!

If you want to simplify the recipe, you can buy hot fudge sauce rather than make your own.  The original recipe calls for store bought sauce.  And it's good that way, but it's better with this sauce.  And cheaper, too.  Either way, you're gonna love this recipe!

Click here to get the printable:
Aztec Dessert

Hope you enjoy stirring it up!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Super Secret Peanut Butter Cookie Recipe

That's right, I've been holdin' out on y'all!  In all these months I have not shared my super duper top secret peanut butter cookie recipe.  To tell you the truth, I've never shared it.  Ever.  With anyone!  But today, because it's Christmastime, and because I'm a giver, I'm giving you guys the recipe.

Here it is.  Drum roll please...
Now you probably know why I've never shared it.  Because it's totally humiliating!  How can someone with a cooking slash baking blog (emphasis on baking) use a packaged cookie mix?  Easy, I just rip it open, add the stuff it calls for, and bake 'em up!

From whence it came:  SuperWalmart!  But you can get them at any grocery store.  They're cheaper at SuperWalmart, so if you're smart, and I know you are, you'll buy them there.

Why it's blogable:  Here's the skinny...these peanut butter cookies are so good.  I'm not kidding!  I have made peanut butter cookies from scratch, and they are not better than these.  I wouldn't lie.  You know I wouldn't!  I'm always so sheepish when I make these for people and they ask for the recipe, and trust me, they almost always do.  But today I'm saying it loud and proud, "Betty Crocker rocks when it comes to peanut butter cookies."  To be honest, the other cookie mixes Betty makes aren't all that great, but when it comes to peanut butter, she knows her stuff.

A couple of tips:  I only add half the water called for because it makes the cookies taller and more puffy.  Also, I always add chopped peanuts.  I don't chop them much, I leave them in pretty big pieces.  And I add a lot of peanuts.  They are so good with peanuts!  One more thing, I use a 1/4 cup ice cream scoop to form the cookies.  It makes them really big.  Big is good when it comes to cookies.  Not so good when it comes to buns and thighs, but really good when it comes to cookies!  Oh, yeah, one more thing, I always make at least two (sometimes three) packages at a time.  If you only make one you're setting yourself up for sadness, because once you taste these you're gonna realize that one just isn't enough!

Why am I giving away this huge secret now?  Because it's Christmastime, and because even if you don't bake, you can make these cookies.  Anyone can make these cookies.  A monkey could make these cookies!  And no one will ever know you used a mix.  Unless you decide to spill your guts on your cooking slash baking blog (emphasis on baking).

Hope you enjoy stirring it up!

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Almond Roca

  • 4 sticks Butter
  • 2 cups Sugar (rounded)
  • 4 Tablespoons Water
  • 2 cups Almonds, Chopped
  • 1 cup Chocolate Chips
  • ½ cups Almonds, Finely Chopped, For Sprinkling
Combine the first 3 ingredients and cook on high, stirring constantly through 3 stages:
1. Runny
2. “Cheesy”—it will look like melted white cheese
3. Runny and smooth, caramel brown color

Make sure you have the fan on your stove going, cause you’ll probably set off the smoke alarm towards the end.
When it is runny, smooth and caramel brown in color, remove it from the heat and add the almonds. Stir until combined and pour the mixture onto greased cookie sheets. Spread it into an even layer. It will harden as it cools.

While it is still warm, sprinkle chocolate chips on top and let them melt enough to get soft. Spread the chocolate in an even layer across the candy. While the chocolate is still “wet,” sprinkle the finely chopped almonds on top.

At this point, while it is still warm and soft, you can score the candy with a butter knife to make it break evenly, or just let it harden and break it into rustic pieces.

Store in airtight containers. Enjoy!

From whence it came:  I found this winner on Tasty Kitchen!  And I'm not kiddin' ya when I say it's a winner.  Easy to make and very few ingredients.

Why it's blogable:  I'm so excited!  This is the first time I have ever had a toffee recipe turn out good.  I've tried other recipes before and they've never been the right consistency, but this time it's so good!  I'm having to use my fly swatter to keep The Spy Who Loves Me and my teen son away from the stuff.  It's a problem!

You can see the step by step instructions here.  If you've never made toffee, you should read thorough it and look at the pictures.  It helped me to know how long to cook it, and that's really the only tricky part.

Oh, one more thing, I doubled the chocolate.  One cup? I think not!  Two cups is more like it!

Click here to get the printable:
Almond Roca

Hope you enjoy stirring it up!

Monday, December 6, 2010

Eggs in a Muffin Tin

1 loaf of white bread (24 slices)
1 dozen eggs
3/4 cup milk
Shredded cheese

Spray the bottom of the muffin tins with Pam, or use variation below.  Using the ring of a glass cup (3 ½ inch diameter works best), cut the bread using the cup like a cookie cutter. Mold the bread firmly to the bottom and sides of the tin, buttered side down, if you're using butter. Mix the eggs and milk together.  Season egg mixture with salt and pepper to your liking.  Fill the muffin tin until it’s ¾ full. (The eggs will expand during cooking). Top with cheese.  You can add anything else you like to the egg mixture: sausage, bacon, green onions, green chilies, etc.  Bake at 350 until eggs looked cooked. Check around 20 minutes.  Makes 24 egg muffins.

Variation:  I buttered the bread on one side rather than spraying the pan with Pam.  They didn't stick and they tasted so good!  Also, I cut the recipe in half and made only a dozen.

From whence it came:  Someone who I love more than cupcakes gave this terrific recipe to me.  Susie Cazanave is the gal and she is just as good as it gets when it comes to people.  Susie is so sweet and kind and thoughtful and fun.  And she is truly one of the most genuine people I have ever known.  And popular!  She is so very popular!  She is loved by everyone.  Everyone loves and adores Susie, but not as much as me.  I love her the most!  She is one special lady, and this is one special recipe!

Why it's blogable:  I tried this recipe out this morning for a little ladies breakfast and it was a hit.  I was nervous to try a new recipe on company, but I knew Susie wouldn't lead me astray, and I was right!  I think buttering the bread gave them a great flavor and also made the edges nice and crispy.  I added chopped green onions but there are so many yum-e things you could add.  Use your imagination.  Make them for your family.  My teen son and teen daughter both loved them!  This is a winner guys, pinky swear!

Click here to get the printable:

Hope you enjoy stirring it up!

Friday, December 3, 2010

Bacon Wrapped Dates...the trauma!!!

Today I saw this recipe on Tasty Kitchen and it brought back a Christmas memory...not necessarily a happy one!

I thought I'd share my newlywed Christmas with the in-laws horror story with you.  It's shameful.  It's humiliating!  It's caused me to need therapy.

When I was just a young bride, The Spy Who Loves Me took me to his Aunt Ruthie's house for Christmas dinner.  Ruthie was fun.  She was one of those "life of the party" kinda gals.

Ruthie was kind of fancy, too.  She had a nice home with pretty stuff.

Ruthie was generous.  She bought me my first set of Christmas dishes for a bridal shower gift, then for years my sweet Grandma Alyce added to the set every Christmas so that now I have a serving for twelve.  How cool is that!

Getting back to Ruthie and my Christmas horror story, there I was at fancy Aunt Ruthie's house, making my way around the buffet table, choosing what I thought looked good to eat.  I made a fatal mistake that night.  I chose something dark.  Something small and dark.  It looked harmless.  So I put one of the somethings on my plate.

I went over to the couch and sat down by The Spy (remember, we were newlyweds, we always sat by each other...always!) and said in a quiet voice, pointing to the small dark thing, "What do you think this is?"  The Spy looked into my eyes (remember, we were newlyweds, we were in love, we gazed into each others eyes regularly) and he said, "It's a date wrapped in bacon."  How on earth The Spy knew this I'll never know.  He doesn't know much about food.  But he is, after all, a spy, so I guess he just knows stuff.  

Anywho, my palms became clammy and I began to break out in a cold sweat!  I had NEVER heard of such a thing.  A date wrapped in bacon.  That's just about the freakiest food combination I had ever heard of.  What on earth was I to do?  Remember, I was a newlywed!  I was still trying desperately to make a good impression.  I couldn't act like I didn't like something that they had prepared.  I was in a tizzy! 

Then, just as luck would have it, I looked down and there, right next to me, was a trash can.  All I had to do was look around, make sure no one was watching, and drop the small dark thing into the can.  Problem solved.  Or so I thought.

Here's where the horror happened.  I covertly glanced around the room, grabbed the little dark thing with my bare hands, and dropped it into the can.  Believe me when I tell you that little dark thing made the loudest sound hitting the bottom of the trashcan that you can ever imagine.  Here's the problem...the trashcan was metal and completely empty.  There wasn't a single thing in it!  And, that small dark thing, well, it was very hard, so when it hit the bottom, it made a sound that was heard throughout the room!  Most likely it was heard throughout the entire neighborhood!  Everyone turned around and asked, "What was that?"

The story ends here.  I blanked out.  I have post traumatic stress syndrome.  I vaguely remember someone looking down into the can and seeing the little dark thing down at the bottom, all by itself, and me sitting next to it, my entire face as red as Rudolph's nose.  It wasn't my best moment.  And although that was nearly 30 years ago, I remember it like it was yesterday.

I still say that dates and bacon were never meant to be together.  They are an odd pair.  Don't try to convince me otherwise.  Bacon should be on a plate with pancakes and dates should be with nuts in bread.  Speaking of which, I need to share my Grandma Alyce's Date Nut Bread Recipe with y'all.  It's so good.  Not like those nasty little dark things!

Hope you enjoy stirring it up!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Gooey Toffee Butter Cake

1 (18.25-ounce) box yellow cake mix
1 large egg
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 (16-ounce) box confectioners' sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
1 cup almond toffee bits or chocolate toffee bits
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease a 13 by 9 by-2-inch baking pan.
For the cake: In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine the cake mix, egg, and butter and mix well. Pat into the bottom of prepared pan and set aside.
For the filling: Still using an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese until smooth. Beat in the eggs and vanilla. Dump in confectioners' sugar and beat well. Reduce the speed and slowly pour in butter. Mix well. Fold in toffee bits.
Pour filling onto cake mixture and spread evenly. Bake for 40 to 50 minutes. Don't be afraid to make a judgment call on the cooking time, because oven temperatures can vary. You want the center to be a little gooey, so don't bake it past that point!
Remove from oven and allow to cool completely. Cut into squares. Just remember that these wonderful cakes are very, very rich, and a little will go a long way.

From whence it came:  The queen of ooey-gooey treats, Paula Deen!   I don't know how she does it, but Paula just keeps cranking out fabulous recipes.  I think her secret is BUTTER!  You just can't go wrong with butter.  

Why it's blogable:  This recipe is very similar to the Gooey Pumpkin Butter Cake recipe that I posted a while back.  I had so much great feedback on the Gooey Pumpkin recipe that I just had to post the Gooey Toffee recipe.  They are both delicious, and this one is perfect for the holidays.

You don't have to add the toffee pieces if you don't want to.  You can just make a Gooey Butter Cake.  I've done it both ways, and both were yum-e!

Click here to get the printable:

Hope you enjoy stirring it up!

Friday, November 26, 2010

Gingersnap Cookies

½ c. butter or margarine
1 c. sugar
¼ cup molasses
1 egg
¼ t. salt
2 t. soda
2 c. flour
1 t. cinnamon
1 t. ginger
1 t. cloves

Mix together – Refrigerate for 2 hours.  Roll into balls, then roll balls in sugar.  Place on cookie sheet and bake 10-12 minutes at 350 degrees.

From whence it came:  A lady who I dearly dearly love gets the props for this must make recipe.  Carolyn Boden, you are a hero to me in so many ways.  I have learned so much by knowing you.  I haven't seen Carolyn in quite a long time, but she has left a sweet stamp on my life.  And boy oh boy can she cook!  I'm gonna let y'all in on a little something that I believe with all my heart and soul.  It's not so much about being a great cook, it's more about having great recipes.  I don't claim to be a great cook, a am just a girl with some fabulous recipes.  And this one came from Carolyn.

I made a goal this year to search the world over and find the best gingersnap recipe in existence.  I was willing to go to any and all lengths to make this happen so that we could all enjoy heavenly gingersnap cookies.  Pondering how to start this worthy and noble task, I first turned to my own box of wrinkled and smudged recipes.  In there, from many many years ago, I found a piece of paper with this recipe on it, and on the paper was written the name Carolyn Boden.  Right then I knew.  I just knew.  This was going to be a good recipe.  If it's got Carolyn's name on it, it's a winner.  It's just that simple.  And I was right!  My search for the perfect gingersnap ended almost as quickly as it began, thanks to Carolyn.

Why it's blogable:  First of all, these cookies instantly passed The Spy test.  The Spy, who is always brutally honest when it comes to my cooking, was an instant fan.  These cookies are just what a gingersnap should be.  A tiny bit crispy around the edge and oh so soft and chewy in the middle.  The sugar coating gives them the perfect touch.  Also, they turn out so perfect looking.  I used my small Pampered Chef cookie scoop and rolled them into balls and each and every cookie was exactly the same size and shape.  I'll make a confession here, that hardly ever happens for me.  Usually my cookies all look a bit different.  Each is unique.  (I justify my lack of perfectionism in cookie making by saying that, but the truth is that mostly I'm to lazy to make them all exactly the same.)  But I did make an effort on these to make them all the same, and it was worth it.  

Just in case you're not convinced, I'll tell you one more reason these gingersnaps are blogable.  We are spending Thanksgiving with my married daughter and sonny-in-law in the fabulous town of Park City, Utah.  I made these cookies to bring to Thanksgiving and was very excited to have my married daughter try them.  I offered one to her, and she kind of gave me the thanks but no thanks look.  I resisted the urge to lay down on the floor and kick my hands and feet while crying and wailing and instead I insisted she try one.  One bite was all it took.  She was hopelessly and eternally in love.  And just trust me guys, you will be too.

Start this magical Christmas season off right with a new recipe that will put a smile on the faces of those you love.  And isn't that what Christmas is all about?  

Hope you enjoy stirring it up!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Pomegranate Jello

1 large package cherry jello (regular or sugar free)
1 large pomegranate
2 ripe bananas
Cool Whip (if desired)

Make jello according to directions on box.  Put in fridge until fully set.  Using a wire whisk, break up the jello.  Stir in the remaining ingredients.  Add as much Cool Whip as desired.  I like about 1 cup but you can add more, less or none at all.

From whence it came:  The credit for this most fabulous of all jello recipes goes to either me or my mom.  I can't remember which one of us thought of it first.  We both love, cherish and adore pomegranates.  They are at the top of my "foods I just can't live without" list.  Unfortunately I am forced to live without them about 10 months out of the year because they are only in season around the holidays.  And that, my friends, is just one more reason to love the holidays.

Why it's blogable:  I am not fibbin' when I tell you that every time I make this jello people go nuts for it.  It's just the best jello you will ever eat, and it's super pretty!  You might be thinking that pomegranates are a pain to deal with, and you'd be a little bit right, but they are so worth the trouble.  You can pull them apart in a bowl full of water and avoid the squirts and stains caused when you deal with them.  Me, I like to sit with a big towel on my lap and just go at it.  (Pomegranates do stain, so be careful and don't wear your favorite cashmere sweater when dealing with them.) 

My teen son and I will sit together and devour an entire pomegranate.  He is also a lover of this heavenly red fruit.  And pomegranates are super duper healthy.  They are loaded with fiber and are rich in antioxidants that can keep bad LDL cholesterol from oxidizing.  Bet you didn't know I was such a smartie about this stuff.  I'm really not, I just Googled it to prove my point.

The best pomegranates are available at Costco.  They can be a bit pricey, but they are worth every cent.  Oh, and another favorite thing I do with them is put them on cold cereal, like granola or Honey Nut Cheerios or my very favorite cereal on the planet, Just Bunches!  It's the best!  I'm drooling just thinking about it.  Buy them!  Eat them!  Make this jello! 

Click here to get the printable:
Pomegranate Jello

Hope you enjoy stirring it up!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Terri's Sweet Potato Casserole

3 cups (about 3-4 whole potatoes) cooked and mashed sweet potatoes  
   (I like to bake them and I use a mixture of the yellow and the orange kinds.)
½ c. melted butter
½ c. evaporated milk
2 eggs, well beaten
1 t. vanilla

Mix all of the above and put into a 2 qt casserole dish.  

Mix together:

½ c. brown sugar
2 ¼ T. butter, softened
½ c. chopped nuts - I use pecans

Spread this topping onto casserole.
Bake at 350 degrees for 20-30 minutes.

From whence it came:  A wonderful gal named Terri Johansen shared this terrific recipe with me.  Terri is so great!  She is one of those people who does everything perfectly!  She is a true perfectionist.  Her home is decorated so pretty, and she cooks some really good stuff!  One time she made this pumpkin roll that was so fancy and really yummy!  Terri is wonderful and very generous to share this recipe just in time for the holidays!

Why it's blogable:
  Here's the deal - I'm breaking one of my blogging rules with this recipe.  I said that I wouldn't post recipes I hadn't made myself, and it looks like I lied a little, because I've never made this casserole.  But, before you click off of my blog and run to The Pioneer Woman or my BFF Paula Deen, you should know that I was at a party a couple of weeks ago and everyone was raving about these sweet potatoes.  They couldn't stop talking about this recipe.  I knew right then and there I just had to have it.  And, because Terri is so sweet, just like her sweet potatoes, she gave it to me.  And because she is so generous, just like the size portion I plan to eat of these on Thanksgiving, she said I could share the recipe with y'all!  So I did.  And you're welcome!

Click here to get the printable:

Hope you enjoy stirring it up!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Unfussy Rolls

1 cup whole milk
½ cup butter
½ cup granulated sugar
¾ tsp salt
3 eggs
1 tbsp dry yeast +1 tsp sugar
4 cups white flour

In saucepan heat milk, butter, sugar, and salt until scalded.  Let cool to lukewarm.  Add eggs and stir.  Dissolve yeast and 1tsp sugar in ¼ cup warm water.  Add yeast to milk and add four cups white flour.  Don’t over mix - treat like muffins.  Let rise until double in bulk.  Shape into rolls*.  Let rise again and bake 10-15 minutes at 350 degrees F.  These can be stored overnight in the refrigerator, let warm to room temp 20 minutes before baking. 

*I usually divide the dough into two portions and roll each portion into a circle about ¼ inch thick (use flour as necessary to prevent sticking).  You can brush the dough with melted butter at this point if you wish.  Cut into 12 wedges.  Starting at the end opposite the point roll the wedge into a crescent and curve the ends.  Place on ungreased cookie sheets with the point on the bottom to keep it from unrolling.

From whence it came:  One of the very best cooks I know, Janice Luncford, shared this terrific recipe with me.  These rolls are really tasty, and they're very easy to make.  Perfect for the holidays, perfect everyday!  Just like Janice!

Why it's blogable:
  Today I made jam with my friend, Kerinda.  We made lots of jam.  A whole lot of jam.  We made four kinds of jam.  I'm tired from making jam.  And from licking my fingers.  And from licking the bowls.  And from licking the spoons.  It was impossible not to lick because each batch was so good!  We made red raspberry, blueberry, strawberry, and apricot strawberry.  I can't decide which one is my favorite.  I think it's whichever one I happen to be eating at the moment.  

I don't want to sound like a snob, but I need to tell you I almost never, pretty much never ever buy store bought jam.  It's just not that good, and once you make your own, store bought is second best, by a long shot!  Homemade jam is not that hard to make, and it's worth the effort!

What does this have to do with rolls, you might ask?  Well, after we made the jam, we were so sad we didn't have any homemade rolls to spread it on.  We put it on store bought English muffins, and it was good, but not as good as it would have been on Janice's Unfussy Rolls.  And then I realized I've never posted this yum-e recipe, and now seemed like the time to do it.  Right before Thanksgiving.  Right before Christmas.  But don't wait for a special occasion to make these, make any occasion special with these delicious rolls!

Click here to get the printable:

Hope you enjoy stirring it up!

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Hot Chocolate - Comfort in a Cup

This post is a bit long because I am very passionate about hot chocolate.  I'm giving you a great recipe, and a bunch of handy hot chocolate tips.  By the end, you'll know I wasn't kidding when I said I'm passionate about hot chocolate.  Well, truth be told, I'm passionate about chocolate.  Period.  It's my one vice.  Or at least my biggest one. 

Geralene's Hot Chocolate

20 quart box of instant powdered milk
2 pound can Nesquik
4 c. powdered sugar
2 t. salt
1 pound Coffeemate creamer (powdered)

Mix all ingredients well and store in airtight container.

Add 1/3 c. hot chocolate mix to 1 c. hot water

From whence it came:  Here's another fun recipe from my sister-in-law, Geralene.  I haven't made this recipe for a long time, but my memory regarding chocolate is long.  Very long!  And I remember that this recipe is worth making.

Why it's blogable:  This hot cocoa has a great flavor.  And it's really fun to give as a gift.  Put it in a cute container and give it to someone you love.  Serve it with these cookies and your popularity will instantly increase!

I am a hot chocolate girl!  I really do love hot chocolate.  I'm one of those annoying girls who always complains that she is cold.  The Spy Who Loves Me is never cold.  Never!  I always say he could be naked in a blizzard and asking someone to crank up the air conditioning.  I find this annoying.  The Spy says that he could bake a pan of muffins in my van while we're driving because I keep the heat cranked up so high.  The Spy and I rarely agree on things pertaining to temperature.  It's a problem.  A problem I solve with hot chocolate.  I solve most of my problems with chocolate.  Someone gave me a magnet for my fridge that says, "Inside me there's a skinny girl screaming to get out - I keep her sedated with chocolate."  Yup, that just about sums up my life!

This is the hot chocolate I drink 90% of the time:
I really, honestly and truly like this no sugar added hot chocolate.  Pinky swear!  And I like it even better when I add this:
What is a Mormon doing with coffee creamer, you might ask!  Pouring it in my hot chocolate, people!  If you have never tried this, you must!  You'll never drink plain hot chocolate again.  This one is coconut, which I love, but I also love hazelnut and mint.  And my all time favorite is peppermint mocha.  I know, mocha is a coffee flavor.  Please don't judge.  It's not coffee, it's coffee flavor.  It's my only vice.  Wait, didn't I say that once before?  It's only available at Christmas time and it's pure heaven.  Our family is so spoiled that we won't even drink hot chocolate unless we have some sort of flavored creamer in the house.  Guys, this may be the best advice I've ever given to you.  And you're welcome!

If you want to be nominated as mother of the year, buy these:
I send my teenagers out the door almost everyday (except during summertime) with one of these in their hand, filled with hot chocolate with some sort of flavored creamer.  I love making it for them, and they love me because I do.  And because I'm nice.  And because I'm cool.  And because I'm never annoying.  Well, that might not be totally true.  But they do love leaving the house with a nice cup of hot chocolate.  Those little punks better nominate me for mother of the year soon or the hot chocolate's going to come to a screeching halt!

Here's my new most favorite kitchen contraption in the whole world:
It's called the Sunbeam Hot Shot.  A dear friend who ended up with two of these recently gave me the extra one and let me tell you, I don't know how I have survived the last 50 years of my life without it.  (Thank you, Kerinda!)  This amazing little machine boils water instantly.  It's incredible!  You just pour the water in the top, push the button, wait a few seconds, then push another button to dispense the hot water into your cup.  I've had it a couple of weeks and have already used it to make jello, Joyce's Buns, and a million cups of hot chocolate.  Yes, we've consumed about a million cups of hot chocolate in the past two weeks.  Please don't judge.  It's our one vice!  (I think I've lost some credibility during this post.)

The bottom line is, hot chocolate is my friend.  It comforts me.  It warms my innards.  It doesn't judge me.  It loves me unconditionally.  It makes me happy!  I have a feeling it will make you happy, too!

Click here if you want the printable:
Geralene's Hot Chocolate

Hope you enjoy stirring it up!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Super Sensational Red Chili Sauce

Red Chili Glaze

·        ½ Cup champagne vinegar
·        1 to 2 TBL red chili flakes
·        1 TBL minced garlic
·        2 TBL minced red onion
·        2 C packed light brown sugar
·        ½ C soy sauce
·        1 tsp salt
·        2 TBL tomato paste
·        1 stick sweet butter, cut into chunks

·        In a heavy saucepan, simmer vinegar, chili flakes, garlic and onion until it has reduced 50%.
·        Add brown sugar, soy sauce, salt and tomato paste and bring back to simmer for 3 minutes.
·        Remove from heat and whisk in butter chunks, one at a time.

This sauce goes well with pork, lamb, and game birds, as well as venison. It will hold for two weeks in the refrigerator.

NOTE:  For best results, use filet mignon. Trim filet of all fat, BBQ to medium rare, refrigerate overnight, cut next day (will be easier to work with firm) in 3/8” x 1 ½” strips. Serve hot or cold.

From whence it came:  This super sensational recipe came from Bob Wallace, the dad of my good friend DeAnna Andrews.  Bob is a true gourmet cook.  I'm just a cook, Bob is gourmet.  In a very fancy schmancy way.  He invited our family over for dinner a few weeks ago and served filet mignon with this sauce.  (It's really called Red Chili Glaze, but that name doesn't do it justice, so I'm renaming it Super Sensational Red Chili Sauce...because it is!)   Bob and his wonderful wife, Lucy, are so generous.  Bob cooked a masterful dinner for us and Lucy did all the dishes.  Every single dish.  She wouldn't let me help even though I begged and pleaded.  She said doing dishes is her therapy.  A twisted idea, but hey, if it works for her, who am I to interfere with her psyche.  Bob and Lucy, a million thank yous for such a fabulous dinner.  And a million more for sharing this wonderful recipe!

Why it's blogable:  I told you already.  It's super sensational!  The Spy Who Loves Me has not stopped talking about this sauce since that night.  He has begged me to make it.  I'm holding out because I am going to work this to my favor.  I'll think of something I want and in return I'll make the sauce.  Genius, I know!  

Bob made the sauce with just one tablespoon of red chili flakes and we all thought it was just right.  Not too spicy, just a little kick.  If you're into a big kick, use two tablespoons.  Bob and Lucy sent us home with a doggie bag that was to die for.  Lots of left over filet mignon and lots of sauce.  I sliced up the meat and made a stir fry with lots of vegies and the sauce.  Believe me when I tell you The Spy's eyes rolled back into his head.  He and the rest of the family went crazy for this stir fry!  Super sensational crazy!

This sauce would be great with steak, chicken, pork, or whatever you want to put it on.  It's a real winner.  You've got to try it folks.  You've just got to!

Click here to get the printable:

Hope you enjoy stirring it up!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Pumpkin Gooey Butter Cakes


  • 1 (18 1/4-ounce) package yellow cake mix
  • 1 egg
  • 8 tablespoons butter, melted



Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. 

Combine the cake mix, egg, and butter and mix well with an electric mixer. Pat the mixture into the bottom of a lightly greased 13 by 9-inch baking pan. 

To make the filling: In a large bowl, beat the cream cheese and pumpkin until smooth. Add the eggs, vanilla, and butter, and beat together. Next, add the powdered sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and mix well. Spread pumpkin mixture over cake batter and bake for 40 to 50 minutes. Make sure not to overbake as the center should be a little gooey.  Serve with fresh whipped cream

From whence it came:  The queen of butter herself, Paula Deen!  How can you not love Paula!  She is so much fun, not to mention the fact that her recipes are amazing!  And this one is no exception!
Why it's blogable:  Any recipe with the words "gooey" and "butter" in the title has a good chance of being blogable.  I'm personally not a fan of pumpkin pie, but I do love this recipe.  It's perfect for parties or for a holiday meal.

Click here to get the printable:

Hope you enjoy stirring it up!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Parslied Chicken Chowder

2 T Butter OR Regular Margarine
1/4 c Onion -- Chopped
1 1/2 c Chicken -- Cooked, Cubed 1-Inch
1 1/2 c Potatoes -- Pared, Cubed 1/2-In
1 1/2 c Carrots -- Cubed, 1/4-inch
2 Chicken Bouillon Cubes
1 t Salt
1/4 t Pepper
2 c -- Water
2 T Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
2 1/2 c Milk
Chopped Fresh Parsley 

Melt the butter over low heat in a 3-quart saucepan and cook the onion in the butter until tender but not browned. Add the cubed chicken, potatoes, carrots, bouillon cubes, salt, pepper and water. Cover and cook, over high heat, until the mixture comes to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 20 minutes or until the vegetables are tender. Meanwhile, combine the flour and 1/2 cup of the milk in a jar. Cover and shake until blended and smooth. Stir the flour mixture and remaining 2 cups of milk into the vegetable-chicken mixture. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture boils and thickens. Remove from the heat and serve with the parsley sprinkled over.  

From whence it came:
My Aunt Carol, who is a fabulous cook, gave me this cookbook many years ago, for no reason except that she is so very nice.  This soup recipe was one of the first I tried and I've made it a bunch of times since.  It's a really interesting cookbook.  The Amish are not into counting calories or fat grams.  By reading my blog and seeing how many recipes I have posted in the "Sweet Stuff" category, you might just think I'm Amish!  I'm not, but I sure do like the way they cook.  Thanks for the great cookbook, Aunt Carol.  You really are one of the best cooks I know!

Why it's blogable:  I love soup!  It's one of my favorite dinners.  The Spy Who Loves Me isn't the biggest fan of soup, but he does love this one.  It is one of our family favorites!  It's creamy and delicious, and surprisingly healthy!  It's one of the healthier recipes in the Amish cookbook.  And one of the best!

Wanna know something weird?  I never add the parsley.  No reason, I just don't.  It's great without it so I just don't add it.  You can if you want to, but you might get a piece of parsley stuck between your teeth and embarrass yourself.  If you're into living dangerously, add the parsley!  Go ahead, live on the edge!

You should serve it with this:
Amish Bread
This recipe is not from the Amish cookbook, but it is one of the best breads you will ever make, and one of the easiest!  It's perfect with this soup!

Click here to get the printable:
Parslied Chicken Chowder

Hope you enjoy stirring it up!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Apple Crisp

6 large Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and sliced
1 t. cinnamon
1/2 c. sugar

Mix the cinnamon and sugar, then pour over the apple slices and stir well. They will look like this:

Pour apples into greased 9x13" pan.

1/2 c. brown sugar
1/2 c. white sugar
1/2 c. softened butter
1 c. flour

Mix all ingredients with a pastry cutter or fork until mixtures is crumbly and butter is pretty well combined.  Sprinkle over apples.  Bake in preheated 350 degree oven for 40-50 minutes.

Serve warm with whipping cream or vanilla ice cream.

(If you're in the mood to be naughty, double the crumb topping!  It will make the crust really thick, and let's be honest, that's the best part!  I'm in the mood to be naughty almost every time I make this recipe.  Actually, I'm in the mood to be naughty pretty much all the time!  Oh, and if you're in a nutty mood, add chopped walnuts or pecans to the topping!)

From whence it came:  Another shout out to my wonderful cook of a sister-in-law, Geralene!  She gave me this recipe a long time ago, and it's a doozy!

Why it's blogable:  Because apples are healthy!  They have a lot of fiber and tons of vitamins.  You've heard it, and I know it's true, an apple a day keeps the doctor away!  So what if they weren't referring to apples covered in butter and sugar.  They're still apples!  You can put this recipe right in the fruit and vegetable food group.  I said so!

Here's the printable:
Apple Crisp

Hope you enjoy stirring it up!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Pumpkin Bread

Mix:3 c. sugar
4 eggs
1 c. vegetable oil

1 large can pumpkin

Mix in:
1/2 t. baking powder
2 t. baking soda
3 1/2 c. flour
1 t. salt
1 t. cloves
1 t. nutmeg
1 t. cinnamon

Spray your pans with Pam and bake for 1 hour to 1 hour and 15 minutes at 325 degrees.  Make sure the top is no longer gooey when you take it out of the oven.  Makes two large loaves, three medium loaves, or seven small loaves.

From whence it came:  A lovely lady named Cheryl O'Bryant gave me this recipe many years ago.  It is a great pumpkin bread recipe and Cheryl is a great gal for sharing it.  I haven't seen Cheryl for many years, but I still think of her and her sweet family.  They hold a special place in my heart!

Why it's blogable:  This bread is so easy to make.  Your house will smell fantastic while it's baking.  It's always a big hit when I make it and it makes a great gift, too.  I often make it in seven mini disposable aluminum pans and give it to neighbors and friends.  It's a perfect fall recipe!

Amazing additions:  You can add walnuts or mini chocolate chips to the batter before cooking.  It's good plain, and it's great with these additions.

Click here to get the printable:
Pumpkin Bread

Hope you enjoy stirring it up!

Monday, October 11, 2010

10-10-10 was NOT my friend!

Have you ever had "one of those days" where things just didn't go right?  Of course you have!  We all have!  I had one yesterday!

The news was reporting that 10-10-10 was supposed to be a "lucky day" and that tons and tons of brides and grooms were tying the knot on that famous day of 10's.  I'm not buying it!  And good luck to everyone who said "I do" yesterday because I found it to be a day of sheer frustration.

I'll share just two of the problems I encountered yesterday, and you'll have to trust me when I tell you these were not the only two.  They are the two that involve food, and that's why I'm sharing them on my little cooking blog.

I decided to try a new meatloaf recipe for dinner.  I've been planning on making this recipe for a while, ever since The Pioneer Woman posted it on her blog.  She titled it "My Favorite Meatloaf" which immediately caught my attention.  And, it was wrapped in bacon, which I figured would bring a smile to the face of The Spy Who Loves me and my teen son, since they truly do love all things bacon.  Let me tell you here and now, in my opinion, meatloaf and bacon have no business being in the same pan.  They just don't go together.  They are a weird combo! 

Here's the family meatloaf score board:

The Spy:  "It tastes like ribs."  (Now if I wanted to serve something for dinner that tasted like ribs, I'd serve ribs.)

The teen son:  Took one bite and said he was stuffed.  I think that's all we need to say about that.

The teen daughter:  Didn't hate it.  Ate a piece and didn't complain too much.

My momma:  Loved it!  Couldn't stop talking about how good it was and what great flavor it had.  There are a few possibilities here:  1) She didn't want to hurt my feelings, which is quite possible because my momma is a very nice person!  2) She had her taste buds removed on her way to our house.  3) She's losing it.  Either way, she boxed up the leftovers to take to a sweet couple who I love who are in need of a meal due to the hubby having surgery.  He survived the surgery, I'm not so sure he'll survive the meatloaf.  I begged my mom not to take it to them.  I love these people!  But she insisted it was delicious and would make the perfect meal for them.  At that point I threatened her that I would shave her eyebrows while she slept if she told them I had anything to do with the rib flavored meatloaf.  I'm pretty sure that when she drops it off to the she'll sing like a canary!

As if the meatloaf wasn't enough to crush my spirits, I also ruined two perfectly good Symphony candy bars while experimenting with what was already a perfect brownie recipe.  Why would anyone be crazy enough to experiment with a perfect brownie recipe?  I have no idea!  It was 10-10-10 and I lost my mind for a little while.  I decided I would "improve" on the fabulous Symphony Brownie recipe by using my Sand Art Brownie recipe instead of a box brownie mix.  This was NOT my best idea ever!  It was possibly my worst idea ever!  Or at least in the top ten.  The picture at the top of this post is proof of the lameness of my idea.  The brownies were pure goo!  And they were almost as ugly as the meatloaf.

So, that was my experience on the so-called lucky day of 10-10-10.  I sure hope your day was luckier than mine!

Hope you enjoy stirring it up!

Friday, October 8, 2010

Brownies, Butterscotch and a Bonk on the Head

My sonny-in-law deserves a treat for more than one reason.  This weekend I'm making these two treats to mail to him:

I told him he deserved a treat and after begging and nagging him to tell me what he wanted, he said Symphony Brownies or Butterscotch Cookies.  Because I'm trying my very best to be the world's most wonderful mother-in-law, I'm making him both!

If you're wondering why this poor boy deserves a treat, I'll tell you why.  For months, and I do mean months, he has been studying to take the LSAT.  (In case you don't know, that's the test you take to get into law school.  It's a big, ugly beast of a test, not for the faint of heart!)  This sonny-in-law of mine has studied until his eyes are buggy and then studied some more to prepare for this beastly test, which happens to take place tomorrow.

Then, in a series of unfortunate events, my sonny-in-law got a big bonk on the head on Wednesday night, which left him with a concussion.  Now, I've never taken the LSAT, but I'm guessing that having a concussion probably isn't very helpful!  Immediately following the bonk, his memory was greatly impaired.  Have you seen Fifty First Dates?  My sonny-in-law was doing a perfect impression of Ten Second Tom!  The drive to the hospital went something like this:

Sonny-in-law to married daughter:  "What happened to me?"

Married daughter to sonny-in-law:  "You hit your head during your soccer game."

SIL to MD:  "Oh, did we win?"

MD:  "Yes."

SIL:  "What happened to the other guy?"

MD:  "Nothing, he's fine."

Ten seconds later:

Sonny-in-law to married daughter:  "What happened to me?'

Married daughter to sonny-in-law:  "You hit your head during your soccer game."

SIL to MD:  "Oh, did we win?"

MD:  "Yes."

SIL:  "What happened to the other guy?"

MD:  "Nothing, he's fine."

Ten seconds later:

Sonny-in-law to married daughter:  "What happened to me?"

Married daughter to sonny-in-law:  "You hit your head during your soccer game."

SIL to MD:  "Oh, did we win?"

MD:  "Yes."

SIL:  "What happened to the other guy?"

MD:  "Nothing, he's fine."

I think you get the picture.  This went on for quite a while.  Being the kind, compassionate person that I am, all I wanted to know was if he still remembered his favorite mother-in-law.  He did.  What else really matters?

Because my sonny-in-law is a true stud, he has decided to go ahead and take the test tomorrow, concussion and all.  Now I don't know about you, but I think that kind of bravery is deserving of two treats!  And that's just what he's going to get!

Here are the two silly goof-balls in the emergency room!  I love that they are smiling in the midst of their troubles!

Good luck tomorrow, sonny-in-law!  We're all cheering for ya!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Crockpot Cheesy Chicken with Potatoes

6 chicken breasts
6 medium potatoes, thinly sliced
1 can cheddar cheese soup
1 can low fat cream of chicken soup
1 c. skim milk
1 T. garlic salt
1 t. pepper

Mix soups and milk, add potatoes.  Place ¼ mixture in bottom of crockpot, put in chicken, sprinkle with garlic salt and pepper.  Pour remaining sauce and potatoes over chicken.  Cook on low 6-7 hours or high 3-4 hours.  (I took the lid off for the last 45 minutes because it was pretty soupy.  It thickened it up a bit.) 

From whence it came:  Sorry guys, I don't remember.  This is a Weight Watchers recipe but I don't remember how it fell into my hot little hands.  I may have scribbled it down at a WW meeting back in the day.  Back in the day when I was riding high on the WW wagon!  I really need to drag my chubby self back onto that wagon!  And this recipe is the perfect way to do it!

Why it's blogable:
  You won't even know this recipe is healthy when you make it.  You'll swear it's full of unhealthy stuff, like butter and cheese.  But it's not.  It's full of healthy stuff, and it's really tasty!  This recipe makes 6 servings and each serving is only six points.  At least that's what it says on my scribbled recipe.  When I made this for my family they all loved it and no one even knew it was good for them!  My silly family often turns up their nose if they think something is good for them.  It's a full time job trying to trick these goofballs!  Try this if you're in the mood to be tricky!  

Here's the printable for ya:

Hope you enjoy stirring it up!