Make sure to comment if you used a recipe. Let us know how it went!

Friday, May 14, 2010

Fruit Dip

This is one of the easiest recipes I know.  It not only tastes great, but will combat all those healthy attributes to your favorite fruits.  No really, I do love this stuff and it is a great addition to any party.  Also, this is the dip that I served at our last RS meeting that was the Visiting Teaching Conference.  And may I add that it was a wonderful meeting that was just what I needed.  I love that we get a chance to meet as sisters and to feel the spirit so strongly during the week.  With that said, on to the recipe!

Fruit Dip

1 large bottle marshmellow fluff
1 8oz block of cream cheese
1 tsp orange zest
1 Tbsp orange juice.

*  Whip all together and refrigerate over night.
*  This is good with all fruits.  I have not found one that it does not go with.

So there you go.  Super easy and sure to impress your guests!! 

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Love and Cream Puffs

When Jas and I first met, we did quite a few fun things on dates. One of the very first ones, was when I invited him over to make cream puffs. Strange I know. Yet now when I eat them, it takes me back to that fun date when we were first together. Many people think that these are too hard to make, but that really is not the case. So make a date with your sweetheart, and bake some creme puffs.

Cream Puffs

2 cups water
1/2 lb butter (the real stuff!)
1/8 tsp salt
2 cups flour
7 large eggs

* Preheat oven to 400 degrees
* Line cookie sheets with parchment or wax paper
* Boil water, butter and salt together in a large saucepan. Turn heat to medium.
* Add Flour all at once.
* On low-medium heat, beat constantly with a wooden spoon until the mixture forms a ball and leaves the sides of the pan. This takes about 3-4 minutes.
* Transfer to a mixer
* Beat 2-3 minutes on low with the paddle attachment. This will allow it to cool slightly.
* Turn mixer to medium and add eggs one at a time, making sure to beat after each one. Do not rush this step!
* The dough is ready when it forms together and comes away from the bowl. This could take up to 10 minutes.
* Spoon pastry into large pastry bag or use a cookie scoop.
* Pipe into eclairs or small balls using the cookie scoop onto the parchment paper. Leave a few inches in between.
* Bake at 400 degrees for 25-35 minutes or until the outside is golden brown, crisp and dry and they sound hollow.
* Let cool before filling with pudding, jelly, pie filling or frosting.
* Store unfilled puffs in a sealed container. Only fill those you plan on using.
* These freeze well, making it easy to pop out a few when you need them.

Have fun making these very easy, very yummy treats!

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cake (perfect for picnics)

I need it NOW!

I totally have been feeling this way for some time now. Not that I run out and buy chocolate every chance I get. I am one of those that eats chocolate when I get stressed, lonely, happy, overwhelmed, you name it. Oh yeah, and I love chocolate. So to finally post a recipe, it has to be chocolate.

This cake is one of my favorites. There is no need for frosting, you can top it with cool whip if you want. I just grab a slice of it straight from the pan and eat it by hand. Maybe this is why I love this cake for picnics. It is very portable. The oatmeal in it makes the cake a little bit heavier and thus you do not eat the entire pan, but feel like you got a good bit of chocolate. It is one of the easiest cakes I know how to make and always hits the spot. I hope you try it soon!

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cake

1 3/4 cup boiling water
1 cup quick cooking oatmeal

* Combine and let stand 15 min

1 cup brown sugar
1 cup sugar
1 cube butter
2 eggs
1 3/4 cup flour
1 t baking soda
1/2 t salt
1 T cocoa

* Combine ingredients and add to oatmeal mixture. Mix until butter is melted and batter is mixed well. Pour into a greased 9x13 pan and sprinkle top with milk chocolate chips and 1 c chopped walnuts (optional).
* Bake at 350 degrees for 30-40 min.
* Serve warm or cool, plain or with cool whip or vanilla ice cream.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Chicken, Lime and Tortilla soup

Bountiful Baskets was amazing this week. I was really torn as to whether or not I was going to do it, seeing as we were going to be out of town. My awesome friend Natalie said that she would pick mine up for me if I wanted. So I did, and I am so very happy. I did not take a picture of all the goodness, but if I remember right there was watermelon, potatoes, radishes, lettuce, pears, apples, peaches, 3 huge green peppers, bananas, pink grapefruit, broccoli, avocados and more! I am so excited. I may note too that I also got the bushel of peaches. Man, I love this time of year!

So, I was deciding what to make first, and what recipe to post, when 2 different people asked me what to do with the 6, count them 6 avocados that we got. To me, I would have to restrain myself from garnishing everything with avocado. Then I realized that we are all unique, just like everyone else. And many may not know the joy that is avocado. So here is one of my favorite recipes that you just can't have without avocado. This soup is so yummy, so easy, I really could have it for dinner every night. It is not too spicy and the my kids love it when the cheese melts in the soup. The homemade tortilla strips also make this to die for. Try this one soon and see why you just can't have it with out avocados!

Chicken, Lime, and Tortilla Soup

6 cups chicken stock (6 cups water and 8 chicken bullion cubes)
1 fresh lime (juiced)
1/4 cup tomato juice
2 Jalapenos (seeded and chopped)
1 Tbsp minced onion
1/2 cup cilantro chopped
1/4 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts, (cubed and cooked)
1 can corn
1/2 tsp pepper
salt to taste
12 white corn tortillas
oil for frying
1 avocado, diced
1 cup sharp cheese, (shredded or cubed)

* Place stock, lime juice, and tomato juice in a saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium heat.
* Add jalapenos, onion and 1/2 of the cilantro.
* Heat oil in a sauce pan to 360 degrees or use a deep fat fryer.
* Cut tortillas into julienne strips and cook in the oil until crispy.
* Add chicken and corn to the stock.
* You can leave it on a simmer until ready serve.
* Place tortilla strips, avocado, cheese and cilantro in bowls and allow guests to add to their soup as desired.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Homemade Blueberry Muffins

I have decided that deciding what to put on here is just as bad as "what's for dinner". I hate that questions. I often find myself too hot in the summer to even think about cooking. So to make my life easier, I am just going to start posting recipes that I will be using my produce from Bountiful Baskets. Seeing as how we are really trying to save our pennies around here, I have really liked picking up the produce and then deciding my meals around that. It keeps me out of my rut and back in the kitchen.

So if you did the Bountiful Baskets this past week, you would have received Blueberries! I was so excited about getting these. I have two recipes that I have been wanting to make, but did not want to fork out the money for blueberries. The first one is Blueberry muffins. I love these and really do not mind the "muffins out of the box" kind, but there is something about homemade.

Blueberry Muffins

1 cup Milk
1/4 cup veggie oil
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 egg
2 cups flour
1/3 cup sugar
3 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup fresh blueberries (you can use frozen if you like)

Streusel Topping:

1/4 cup flour
2 Tbsp packed brown sugar
2 Tbsp firm butter
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon

* Heat oven to 400 degrees.
* Prepare streusel topping by mixing ingredients together until crumbly.
* Grease bottoms of 12 medium muffing cups (or use paper muffin cups)
* Beat milk, oil, vanilla and egg.
* Stir in flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Mix until flour is moist. The batter will be lumpy.
* Fold in blueberries.
* Divide evenly among the muffin cups.
* Sprinkle with 2 tsp of streusel topping.
* Bake for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown.

Keep checking back for another yummy recipe I am making with my Bountiful Basket

Monday, August 3, 2009

Davis County School Peanut Butter Fingers

This one is for Kallie!

There were a few things I really liked about school lunch. The rolls for example. Loved those, and their peanut butter fingers. I would buy school lunch on the days that they made these, just so I would get one! They are that good. I am not sure that they still make these or not. Seeing as I have not had school lunch in... well, lets just say a long time. So as per request, here are the famous, super yummy, no good for you, Davis County School Peanut Butter Fingers.

Peanut Butter Fingers


3/4 c butter, softened (not melted!)
3/4 c sugar
3/4 c brown sugar
2 eggs
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
3/4 c peanut butter
2 c flour
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2 c oatmeal

* Cream sugars and butter together.
* Mix all other ingredients into sugar mixture
* Spread on greased cookie sheet
* Bake @ 325 for 8-10 minutes. DO NOT OVER BAKE!!!!! You want the cookies to look almost done. Still soft.
* While the cookies are still warm, spread a thin layer of peanut butter on top. The warm cookies will melt the peanut butter enough to be able to spread it.
* Let cookies cool before frosting.


1 cube butter, softened (not melted)
3-4 T cocoa
4 c powdered sugar
1/3 c milk

Enjoy, and yes, these will go straight to your hips!

Bountiful Baskets

(This is one of the baskets that I got)
I really feel like I need to pass along this tip. Times are tough, and I just seem to be spending more and more at the grocery store. I have tried couponing and yes, I do like it and it does help. Yet I never see any coupons for produce, just some sales. Fresh produce is one thing that we love at our house. I would much rather give my kiddos nectarines than fruit snacks. I also am a firm believer in having your milk delivered. It may cost me slightly more, but then I do not run to the store for milk and end up with Oreos, more milk to go with the Oreos, and every other thing that was on sale, even though I did not plan to participate in that sale. It seems to get me every time. For example, Alberstons had a really good deal on soda pop. (Like we need that!) But I was in there picking up 1 thing that I forgot that we were out of and ended up with a cart full of "sales". It is just better for me to stay away as much as possible and having my milk and other dairy items delivered has really helped. So when I found out about Bountiful Baskets I was excited but also skeptical. It was one of those "too good to be true" things. I also was worried about the quality I would get. Was it really worth it? So let me explain a bit about it and why I am so excited.

Bountiful Baskets (click here for their website.) is a co-op of produce. They have pick-ups every other week. (This Saturday August 8th is one of them) They have slots that you have to reserve. Reservations are open on the Tuesday before the pick up at noon, and close the next day, Wednesday at 10:00 pm. Slots do fill up, so I recommend reserving yours on Tuesday. What you do is you go online and make what they call a "donation". This is $15.00 plus a $1.50 handling fee. If it is your first time, there is a $3.00 charge as well. You can order with friends and share the $1.50 handling fee. You just need one person to reserve all the slots for everyone. What this "donation" gets you is a basket of produce. 1/2 fruit, 1/2 veggies. It has been around 30 lbs of produce each time I have gone. (So about $.50/lb.... can't beat that!) You do not get to pick what produce you get. As Kenzi says, "you get what you get and you don't throw a fit." Each time I have gone, I have loved all that I have gotten. And plan my meals with what I have. I was worried that the produce would be sub-par, and stuff that needs to be thrown out. This is not the case. All the produce is on the verge of being ripe. So you do not need to use it all that day.

Once you make your donation then you can also purchase cases of produce. The choices change each time. One time it was a case of peaches for $18.00. While another time it was 25 lbs of tomatoes for $10.00. They also do breads and speciality packs. The specialty packs I have seen are Italian and Mexican. Both come with spices and other produce to you would need to make some really good Italian or Mexican dishes. You can not purchase a case of produce, bread or a speciality pack without getting a basket. So if you are doing it with friends and one friend does get the basket, then you can add on your case, bread or pack on to theirs. You simply need to have at least one basket ordered.

If you forget to pick up your basket, or are late, (they usually only give you 20-30 minutes after the pick up starts to get your produce), they will donate it to the local fire house, where, they will either use it or donate it to a homeless shelter or other charity. There are no refunds.

Since this is a co-op, everyone is a volunteer. To volunteer, all you need to do is show up 1 hour earlier than the scheduled pick-up. Volunteers help sort the produce and help those who ordered pick up their produce. Volunteers also get to get their baskets first.

When you pick up your order, don't forget to bring a laundry basket or rubbermaid tote, something to take your produce home in. Many people bring gallon sized ziploc bags to organize their produce right there. I just take my laundry basket and sort my produce when I get home. I also recommend getting there 15-20 minutes early. The lines can be long and they fill up really fast.

You may be asking where are the pick ups? Check the website, there are many pick up locations through out Utah and Arizona. Arizona does have an organic pick up on the off weeks. Utah does not.

Wow, that is a lot of info. If you have questions, post them. I will be happy to help. I am just so excited about this that I really thought I needed to share! I love seeing the "sales" as the store and adding up what I would have paid if I had gone to the store to get all this produce. It is amazing to see the difference.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Boston Creme Pie

Horrible picture, I know. But we were running to Steph's birthday party, the camera's batteries allowed me one shot, and that is what I got before this tower of sugary joy was gone. Boston Creme Pie is one of our favorites. It is also one of Steph's favorites and so I was more than happy to accommodate. This is not a hard cake/pie to make. Since our family has grown to be quite a few people, I double the recipes for the cake and the filling. The chocolate I left the same since you do not frost the entire cake. This is the cake that you see above. If you follow the recipe as I have outlined below, you will not get as many layers. I baked 4 - 9 inch cakes. The recipe below will only make 2 - 9 inch cakes.

Also, if you find yourself with out cake flour, or simply do not want to buy it only for this recipe, substitute it with all purpose flour. However, when you measure, the rule of thumb for trading cake flour for all purpose flour is 1 cup cake flour = 1 cup minus 2 tbsp all purpose flour. You can also substitute you chocolate squares with baking cocoa. It is 1 square/ounce chocolate = 3 tbsp + 1 tbsp oil or butter melted. This is what I always do, and never had any problems. See you learned 2 tricks!

I feel I need to put a disclaimer or two in here. The first, I love this pudding. I found myself spreading it on pretty thick, but also leaving a little bowl for me to enjoy later. Yeah, it is that good. Now the second disclaimer is about the chocolate. Be warned that this is not a milk chocolate. It is a very rich, very dark chocolate. I was worried at first because it was so dark, but when it is coupled with the cake and the pudding, it is heaven! So try this one on for size and let me know how it goes.

Boston Creme Pie

6 tablespoons butter, softened 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups cake flour (1 cup of all purpose flour minus 2 tablespoons (1c - 2tbsp))
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup white sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup light cream
1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup white sugar
1 pinch salt
4 teaspoons cornstarch
2 eggs
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 (1 ounce) squares semisweet chocolate
2 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup light cream
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup confectioners' sugar


* Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
* Grease and flour two 9 inch round cake pans.
* Sift the all-purpose flour, cake flour, baking powder and salt together and set aside.
* In a deep bowl cream 6 tablespoons of the butter with 3/4 cup sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the 2 eggs, one at a time, then beat in the 1 teaspoon vanilla extract. Add the flour mixture alternately with the 1/2 cup of the milk in 3 additions, Beating the batter smooth after each addition. Divide the batter between the 2 prepared pans.
* Bake at 375 degrees for 15 minutes or until cakes begin to shrink away from the sides of the pans and centers spring back when lightly touched. Turn the cakes onto wire racks to cool.


* Combine the 1/2 cup light cream with 1/4 cup of the milk and cook over medium heat until bubbles begin to form around the edge of the pan. Immediately add 1/4 cup of the sugar and the salt, stirring until dissolved. Remove the pan from the heat.
In a small bowl, combine 1/4 cup of the milk with the cornstarch and whisk to remove lumps. * Whisk in the 2 eggs. Add the hot cream mixture in a thin stream, whisking constantly. Return to the mixture to the saucepan, bring to a boil, and cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until the custard thickens and is smooth (about 5 minutes). Remove from heat and stir in the 1/2 teaspoon vanilla and allow to cool to room temperature.

Chocolate Frosting

* In a heavy saucepan over low heat, stir the chocolate pieces and 2 tablespoons butter until they are completely melted. Remove from the heat and, stirring constantly, add the 1/4 cup light cream in a thin steady stream. When mixture is smooth, stir in the confectioners' sugar and beat vigorously. Stir in the 1/2 teaspoon vanilla.


* Spread the cooled filling over one the cooled cakes and place the second cake on top. Pour the chocolate frosting evenly over the top allowing it to spill down the sides.
***Make sure everything is cooled. If you do not, your cake may just slide right off. ***

Monday, June 1, 2009

Grandma B's Lemon Cake

So I was really wishing and hoping that I could get on the ball and take pictures when I cook. I really did. However, when ever I planned on the big cooking/photo shoot, something happened. So, major props to all those that do this on a daily basis! This time I had it all planned out. So excited. I love this recipe and it would be a really easy on to do. Then when I went to make it, so many things happened all at once, and I was forced to just hurry, make it and be done. Plus the kids and Jas had trashed the kitchen, and that is not a good back drop! So here we go.

Just a little background on this recipe. This is one of my favorites from my dear sweet Grandma B. She passed away many years ago. In fact the day of her funeral was the day that Jas flew out on his mission. It was a very sad day! She was an amazing Grandma and would make this cake. I loved it because it was not the usual chocolate or white cake from a box. Just eating it brings back so many memories. I think that recipes are some of the best heirlooms.

Grandma B's Lemon Cake

1 pkg Lemon Cake mix
1 sm pkg Lemon Jell-O
3/4 cup vegetable oil
3/4 cup water
2 cups powdered sugar
4 eggs
2 lemons

* Beat cake mix, jello and eggs for 2 minutes.
* Add oil and water and beat for 1 more minute.
* Pour into greased and floured (baker's joy!!!) pan.
* Bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes or until toothpick in the middle comes out clean.
* While cake is baking, make a glaze from the powdered sugar, grated lemon rinds and the juice from the lemons. To do this, simply blend ingredients. no heat is required.
* When cake is done, remove from oven and poke holes in the cake with chopsticks or a big fork.
* Pour glaze over the cake making sure to cover completely.
* Let stand several hours before serving.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Macaroni & Cheese

At my house, there is a dispute over which mac o' cheese is the best. Kenz will only eat Kraft brand, and it must be a shape of some sort. Twirly, Spongebob, Scooby Doo, it does not matter, just as long as it is not the regular package. Strange, I know. And Kade will only eat Kraft brand regular noodle. So no matter what I do, one of the kiddos is not going to eat. And this is Mac o' cheese for heaven's sake! Aren't all kids suppose to love it and be happy? Well, I guess my two did not get that memo. So I decided to try and make this recipe and see if that would work. It is from the Pioneer Woman. And it did for a little bit, but they found other reasons to not like what I made for dinner. I personally think that they have made a book of excuses for dinner time. I am hoping that they publish it soon. Then I can afford to make 2-3 different meals for dinner.

This recipe even surprised Jas and myself. He had two large helpings and took some to work for lunch. So I say it was a winner. Try it for yourself and let me know what you think.

Mac o' Cheese

4 cups dried macaroni
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup flour
2 1/2 cups whole milk
2 heaping tsp dry mustard
1 egg, beaten
1 pound cheese, grated
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 - 1 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp season salt

* Cook macaroni until very firm. It should be too firm to eat right out of the pot. Drain.
* In a small bowl, beat egg.
* In a large pot, melt butter, and sprinkle in flour. Whisk together over medium-low heat.
* Cook mixture for five minutes, whisking constantly. DON'T LET IT BURN!!
* Pour in milk, add mustard and whisk until smooth. Cook for 5 minutes until very thick, and reduce heat to low.
* Take 1/4 cup of sauce and pour our over beaten egg, whisking constantly to avoid cooking the egg. Whisk until smooth.
* Pour egg mixture into sauce, and whisk until smooth.
* Add cheese and stir to melt.
* Add salts and pepper. Taste sauce and add more salt or pepper as needed.
* Do not under salt.
* Pour over cooked macaroni.

You can serve this immediately or pour it into a butter backing dish, top it with extra cheese and bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes. Both ways are really good. I guess it just depends on the mood you are in.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Emily's Famous Chili

Okay, so there is one thing that I can make that just about everyone loves... even my kids. I love this recipe. It has some really great qualities to it. It is really yummy, it is easy, it makes a ton, so you can have some freezer meals. I am a huge advocate of freezer meals. If for any reason I am not home to make dinner, I can feel confident that my family will not go hungry or rush out to the nearest fast food joint. Plus, if I am asked to bring meals in to a friend, I already have some on hand, and even short notice is just fine by me! So give this one a try, I am sure you will love it.

Emily's Famous Chili

6 lrg cans diced (or crushed) tomatoes
3 lrg cans of chili with beans
4 green peppers, diced (yellow and red ones work too)
2 med red onions, diced
5 lbs of hamburger
1 Tbsp onion powder
1 Tbsp garlic powder
4-5 Tbsp chili powder
1 Tbsp ginger (optional - however, it has been proven that ginger eases the stomach which helps your family have a more quietly and less stinky chili dinner, if ya know what I mean)
salt and pepper to taste.

* Mix raw hamburger, green peppers and onions in a LARGE stock pot.
* Simmer until hamburger is cooked thoroughly. Drain fat.
* Mix in the remaining ingredients.
* If using all 4 gallons of chili, simmer until hot. If not, separate into 1 gallon freezer bags, leave some for dinner and let that simmer until hot. If you put the chili in the freezer bags when it is hot, you will have to wait to put it in the freezer.
* Lay freezer bags flat in freezer, and do not stack until they have frozen as they may stick together.


Monday, April 6, 2009

Canning cheeses

I am back. I have been super busy with work, my CPC exam, and just life in general, (aren't we all?) So here is a quick post about canning. I love to can and have food storage. I love the feeling I get when I see all my hard work on the shelf. So I think I will start some posts about canning. For my first one, I choose something interesting. So here we go!

Here are instructions for canning cheese ... real cheese! Great for pizza and other recipes we can make with our food storage, but really are better with fresh cheese!

Canning Hard cheese (like cheddar and mozzarella - I tried both)
I took shredded cheese and packed it into wide mouth pint jars. (5 lb bag filled 6 pt jars) You can also use cubes of cheese, but the shredded was cheaper when I purchased it at Sam’s club. I put the jars into a pan of water. I bought the water to a boil. The cheese melted and I continued to fill the jars till ¾ inch from the top. I then put on hot new canning jar lids and rings and water bathed them in gentle boiling water for 35 min. I let it set for a week and had to try it. I opened the lid; it came right out onto the plate. It sliced great and tasted great. I can use this to shred onto a homemade pizza. This was easy to do and you don’t need a canner, just a deep enough pan for the water bath.

I have only done this once. I will keep you posted on the progress.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Did you think I was gone, or simply have already given up on this blog, and put it up on a shelf, like so many of my other various projects. NOPE! I am just revamping (Ha! used a "vamp" word. Trying to use one everyday until Twilight comes out on DVD on Saturday.) my way of posting. Yep, pictures! So now, when I cook, the camera will be ready! I hope the pictures will be good enough. So do not give up on me, I will be posting soon, and maybe not as often, but it will be good!

And I loved doing the giveaway so much, I am so doing more, so check back for those too!

Monday, March 9, 2009


I am doing a giveaway on my personal blog. It is private, but if you need or want and invite, give me your email address and I will send you one. Good luck to all and hurry to leave your comment!

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Peach Crisp

After a long and stressful week.... Wait! it's only Thursday! This calls for a good dessert. And this one is my all time favorite! Something about putting some vanilla ice cream on top and letting it melt and ooze over the warm peaches, just makes me happy. I do think I will go and make some right now!

Peach (or apple) Crisp

2 cups flour
2 tsp baking powder
2 eggs, beaten
1 1/3 cup sugar
1 1/2 tsp salt
2/3 cup shortening, melted

* Add egg to dry ingredients.
* Stir in shortening with a fork.
* Sprinkle a little cinnamon into the mixture.
* Mixture will be crumby
* Line a 9x13 baking dish with thinly sliced apples or peaches. (fresh is best, but I often use canned peaches)
* Sprinkle a little sugar and cinnamon on top of peaches.
* Dot with tabs of butter.
* Crumble the crisp mixture over the top of the fruit, making sure it covers the entire pan of fruit.
* Sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar.
* Bake at 350 degrees for 30-40 minutes.
* Serve with vanilla ice cream (warm) or whipped cream (cool)

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Alfredo Sauce

Last night as Jason and I made waffles for dinner, we were discussing how good Olive Garden Alfredo sauce is. Then we went on to realize that dinner at Olive Garden would have tasted much better than our waffles. We could not complain since the kids both ate a lot of the dinner and that just makes us happy. So anyway, I thought that I would post the recipe for Olive Garden's Alfredo sauce. Now, we have tried to make this before. I say tried because it was good, but it was not quite the same as going to Olive Garden. Of course nothing is the quite the same as going out, right? So try it for yourselves, and let me know what you think!

Alfredo Sauce (Olive Garden)

1 1/2 cup milk
1 1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup imported Parmesan cheese, grated
1/2 cup imported Romano cheese, grated
6 egg yolks from fresh jumbo eggs
Salt and black pepper to taste

* Heat milk and cream in a heavy bottom saucepan until it begins to simmer.
* Turn off heat. Slowly whip in cheese, then remove from heat.
* Place egg yolks in a separate bowl and slowly whip in a portion of the hot milk and cream mixture.
* Slowly add egg yolk mixture back into remaining cream mixture.
* Place back on very low heat and continually stir until simmering.
* Take sauce off heat so it thickens. (This will increase temperature of egg yolks, known as tempering).
* Season to taste with salt and black pepper. Serve over your favorite pasta.

Now, If you do not want to buy or have the Romano cheese, or if you want a much simpler recipe, here is another that is a favorite at our house and always turns out great.

Mom's Alfredo Sauce

1/2 cup butter
1/2 pint cream
3/4 cup Parmesan cheese
pinch of salt

* Melt butter and cream together in sauce pan
* Add the cheese and salt.
* Mix well over medium heat.

Monday, March 2, 2009

New York Cheesecake

Last night we had our monthly FHE with Jason's family. It is a great excuse to get together and to celebrate the birthdays for the month. We have a lesson that the kids "try" to hold still for. And soon after the lesson and the birthdays does it become loud with kids playing and the adults chatting. Yeah, you can say it is chaotic, but hey, it is family! We then have a dessert, usually picked out by the whose birthday it is. Last night's choice was cheesecake. One of our favorites in this house. Usually we will go and pick out the Jello no bake cheesecake and let that be good; but every once in a while will we spoil ourselves and make a New York Cheesecake. This recipe is really not that hard and tastes, oh so good. It is a rich and thick cheesecake that is sure to fill any craving for cheesecake. Did you know that a traditional New York Cheesecake is know for being a thick and very rich cheesecake that is always topped with cherries? See the fun things you learn each day!

New York Cheesecake

1 cup graham cracker crumbs
3 Tbsp sugar
3 Tbsp butter, melted
5 pkg. (8 oz) cream cheese, softened
1 cup sugar
3 Tbsp flour
1 Tbsp vanilla
3 eggs
1 cup sour cream

* Mix crumbs, 3 Tbsp sugar and butter.
* Press onto bottom of a 9 inch springform pan.
* Bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes.
* Mix cream cheese, 1 cup sugar, flour, and vanilla with electric mixer on medium speed until well blended.
* Add eggs, 1 at a time, mixing on slow speed after each addition, just until blended.
* Blend in sour cream.
* Pour over crust.
* Bake for 1 hour and 5-10 minutes or until the center is almost set.
* Run knife or metal spatula around rim of pan to loosen cake.
* Cool before removing rim of pan. (I wait until I am about to serve it)
* Refrigerate 4 hours or overnight.
* Top with cherry pie filling (or anything else you like on cheese cake)

If you do not have a springform pan, just come borrow mine, it may cost you a slice of your cheesecake though!

Friday, February 27, 2009

Homemade Granola Bars

So in keeping with the kid friendly cooking theme from yesterday, I thought I would add homemade granola bars. I find that sometimes kids will eat stuff, if they are the ones to make it. As strange as it sounds, my kids are picky when it comes to eating just about anything. One day they will eat nothing but 1 thing. The next day, they hate it. What is a mother to do? Have them help you cook and just maybe they will eat what they are cooking. It is worth a try, right? Plus you can sneak in some talk about fractions and counting, and any other teaching moments you can think of!

Now, these granola bars are very yummy and very easy to make. I know that granola bars are not that expensive, and very handy to have on hand. But sometimes, it is just fun to make your own. See what different variations you can make.

Homemade Granola Bars

1/2 c butter or margarine
1/3 c sugar
1/3 c honey
1/4 c flour
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/4 tsp cinnamon
2 c rice crispies cereal
2 c quick oats
1 c dried fruit
1/2 c slivered almonds

* Heat oven to 350 degrees
* Coat 9x13 pan with cooking spray and set aside.
* Melt butter in a large pot on low heat.
* Remove from heat and whisk in the sugar, honey, flour, vanilla, and cinnamon
* Add remaining ingredients and mix well
* Transfer to baking sheet using waxed paper and the palms of your hands.
* Press granola firmly into pan
* Pack it evenly and flat.
* Bake for 20 minutes.
* Allow to cool for 1 hour in the pan then cool completely on wire racks before cutting into bars.
* Makes 24 bars.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Homemade Tootsie Rolls

Growing up, I remember my mom doing some pretty fun things with food. One of my favorites was homemade Tootsie Rolls. They always tasted so much better than the store bought ones and were a family favorite to make. I think it was mostly because you had to play with it to make it! Now what kid does not like that?

Homemade Tootsie Rolls

2 pkg liquid chocolate (3 Tbsp cocoa + 1 Tbsp melted margarine = 1 pkg. chocolate)
1/2 c light Karo syrup
3/4 c powdered milk
3 c powdered sugar
2 Tbsp margarine
1 tsp vanilla

* Butter hands
* Roll out and work like clay until well mixed
* Wrap in waxed paper and store in refrigerator

Masterpiece Sandwiches

With the cold weather still hanging around, it is tough to find new fun things for the kiddos to do. So try this quick and easy trick to make lunch a little more fun.

Masterpiece Sandwiches

Paper cups each filled with a few Tbsp of milk
Food coloring
New paint brushes
White Bread

* Add a few drops of food coloring to each cup of milk. (Use this as a great teaching experience with colors.)
* Using the colored milk and NEW paint brushes, paint pictures and designs on the bread.
* Toast lightly and use the slices to make your favorite sandwiches.

If you do not want to get out the paint brushes and are looking for another easy and quick way to put some fun into lunch, grab your cookie cutters and make your sandwiches into different shapes. I do not know what it is, but a star PB&J will go so much faster at this house than just a regular one!

Have fun!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Black Forest Upside-Down Cake

This is a fun recipe to try since you make a cake from your crock pot. Yeah, you read that right, your crock pot! It is a great way to have your chocolate fix with out having to turn on your oven. This is especially great in the summer when your house is just too hot! This recipe is also not that bad. It has 4 grams of fat and 213 calories per serving. Which, when compared to those really yummy Warm Delights from Betty Crocker (10 grams and 360 calories per serving), it really is a better choice. I think I can justify that every now and then!

Black Forest Upside-Down Cake

6 egg whites
1/2 cup applesauce
1 cup water
1 (18.25 ounce) Chocolate cake mix, dry (Betty Crocker Super Moist Butter recipe is a good one, but any will do)
1 (20 Ounce) can light cherry pie filling
Fat free whipped topping (optional)

* Preheat your crock pot on high
* Spray crock pot with cooking spray (Baker's Joy!)
* In a large mixing bowl, beat egg whites, applesauce, and water with a hand mixer until soft peaks form.
* Gently fold the cake mix into the peaks.
* Pour pie filling into the bottom of the crock pot
* Pour batter over the filling. Do not stir!
* Place a paper towel on top the crock pot and place the lid over the towel to cover. Cook on high for 2 hours or until a knife inserted in the middle comes our clean.
* Turn off the crock pot, and if possible take the crock out.
* Remove the paper towel and lid. Let sit for 10 minutes. Run a knife along the edges to loosen the cake.
* Place a large serving plate with an edge upside down on top the the crock, and holding the crock and the plate firmly together, flip the cake upside-down. It will be hot and steamy, so be careful!
* Serve with fat free whipped topping or ice cream.
* Good served hot, cold or at room temperature.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Sweet and sour chicken

Many of you know how I love to make my own Chinese food. Chinese is something that many people are scared to even try. And I do not blame them with many very good take out restaurants in town. Making Chinese food is no different than any other recipe. It also makes for a great change to the same old routine.
Sweet and Sour Chicken
1 boneless skinless chicken breast half per person (cut into pieces and cooked thoroughly)
1 box of TEMPURA mix
veggie oil
* Mix water and 1/2 box of Tempura mix until it makes a batter about the consistency of pancake mix.
* Dip chicken pieces in batter.
* Place battered chicken in hot oil. (I use a deep fat fryer for this, but you can do it in a deep sauce pan on the stove.)
* Cook until battered chicken is light brown. Remove and place on plate with paper towels on it to soak up excess grease.
* If needed, mix more batter to cover chicken.

1/2 c ketchup
3/4 c sugar
2 c pineapple juice
1 tsp salt
4 Tbsp cornstarch
3/4 c water
Pineapple chunks (optional)
* Heat on stove top until thick.

* Serve over rice.

NOTE: The Tempura mix can be found in most grocery stores. Walmart has been known to be less than reliable in carrying this product. So I would check places like Albertsons, Smiths, and any Associated Food Stores. Many of your Oriental Markets will carry this as well, however you will not get the same brand as in the picture. Here is what it looks like:

It is also very good for making your own chicken nuggets. My kids will eat these kind of chicken nuggets over any other. Even my little vegetarian. Go figure.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Broccoli Cheese Soup

Sick, sick, sick, sick, sick! So I got in line {again} to get the cold of the month. Yay me! I would love to make some really good chicken noodle soup, as we all know that chicken noodle soup is the best thing for a cold. But I leave that to my dear sister-in-law, Jamie. Let's hope she will share her fabulous recipe for that with us! {hint, hint}. Anywho, if I can't get Jamie's chicken noodle soup, I go to the next best thing, and it is not canned soup. Nope, it is my favorite soup ever. Broccoli Cheese Soup! Check below for recipes and tips to make your own bread bowls at home! Here is to hoping we all get better soon!

Broccoli Cheese Soup

6 c potatoes, cubed
2 c carrots, cut
2 c celery, chopped
1 c onion, chopped
2 1/2 c water
2 10 oz packages chopped broccoli
1/2 c butter
1/4 -1/3 c flour
2 c milk
1 Tbsp dry mustard
6 chicken bouillon cubes
1/2 tsp pepper
1 lb package Velveeta

* Steam veggies in water for about 20 minutes
* Add broccoli and cook until tender.
* Melt butter with flour (enough to make light to medium white sauce)
* Stir in milk, bouillon cubes, and seasonings.
* As sauce thickens, add cheese until it melts.
* Add veggies and any remaining water from steaming.

* This recipe will freeze well!

Holy Cats, that is 2 recipes that has broccoli as a main ingredient. Who woulda thought?

Bread Bowls

Nothing goes better with some hot soup than a yummy bread bowl! I love them, and hate running to the store every time I get a craving for soup and bread bowls, so here is what I do. I will give you two options to make them from home.

The first one is a great recipe from scratch!

Bread Bowls

2T yeast
1 C warm water
1T sugar

* Mix together set aside

6 C flour
1 C boiling water
1T shortening
1 egg white
2 tsp salt

* Mix everything but flour.
* Then add flour mix and add yeast mixture
* Knead, divide into baseball size balls
* Put on greased pan
* Spray rolls and cover.
* Let rise 1/2 hr or till double in size
* Bake 450° 30 minutes turn to 350° cook for 20 more minutes

The second one is a cheater's method, still great!

* Buy a package of frozen bread loaves in the freezer section at the store. (I buy the sourdough, if I can find them!)
* Defrost and cut into halves or thirds depending on the size bowl you want.
* Allow to rise like it says on the bag.
* Cook for 25 min like it says on bag.

Now go and enjoy some yummy soup in your homemade bowls!

Friday, February 20, 2009

Broccoli Salad

I am in a salad kind of mood. And that got me thinking. You know when you get asked to bring a salad to a family or friend get together, and all you can think of is "do I bring a green salad, maybe topped with tomatoes and a few other veggies, finished off with a new bottle of Hidden Valley Ranch, or do I start cooking the pasta and go buy the Italian dressing now?" Yep, that is what comes to my mind, either a green salad, or a pasta salad. Both are good in their own rights, but I like to get out of the "same old" salad mode. So today I will post 2 of my favorite salads. I have a lot of favorites, but today I chose these two.

The first one is what made Jason start to eat broccoli after a life long feud with the vegetable. I took this to a party at his house when we were dating before his mission. And to this day, he loves the stuff. It has become a regular at family parties. It is super easy to make, and makes quite a lot. I am sure it will become a family favorite of yours as well.

Broccoli Salad

5 cups fresh broccoli, chopped into bite sized pieces.
1 cup red grapes
1 cup sunflower seeds
1/2 cup baco bits, (or cooked diced bacon if you are that ambitious)
1 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded
1/2 c red onion chopped (optional)

* Toss everything in a large bowl.


1 cup mayo
1/2 cup sour cream
6 Tbsp sugar
2 Tbsp red wine vinegar
1/2 tsp salt

* Mix well and pour over salad

See, I told you it was easy!

Cuki Salad (Cucumber Salad)

This one, my good friend Natalie introduced me to. It is Cucumber Salad (lovingly nicknamed "Cuki Salad"). It is a refreshing, light, not your momma's pot luck, type of salad. Give it a try, I am sure you will not regret it. And to be honest, I was super surprised when my kids downed half of the salad. Yeah, it is kid friendly! It is awesome if you use your own home grown cucumbers too. (Start thinking about your garden! hint hint!)

Cucumber Salad

4 medium cucumbers, peeled and diced, or sliced super thin
1 (8 ounce) container vanilla low-fat yogurt
1 (8 ounce) container reduced-fat sour cream
1/2 cup diced onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbsp dried dill weed
salt and pepper to taste

* Drain cucumbers for a few minutes on paper towels.

* In a serving dish, stir together the yogurt, sour cream, onion, garlic, and dill.

* Add cucumbers, and gently mix to coat. Season with salt and pepper.

* Refrigerate for a couple of hours before serving for best flavor

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

No Bakes

Why? Well I just made some and they are a quick and easy chocolate fix that does fill you up, so you can only eat a few. Or if you are Jason, you eat a lot and end up being sick! Either way, you still get chocolate, and most everything is from my food storage, so yea food storage!

No Bakes

2 cups sugar
1/4 cup dk baking cocoa
1/2 cup milk (I use fresh, but you can use canned as well)
1/4 lb butter
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 cup peanut butter
3 cups oatmeal

* Mix sugar, cocoa, butter and milk in a saucepan.
* Melt over high heat and bring to a boil.
* Hard boil (or a rolling boil) for 1 minute (this is VERY important, only let it boil for 1 minute. If you let it boil longer, the cookies will not turn out!)
* Take saucepan off heat and stir in peanut butter.
* Add vanilla and oatmeal last.
* Let sit for about 5-10 minutes in sauce pan.
* On a cookie sheet lined with tin foil or parchment paper, separate into cookies. (I use my ice cream scoop. It is a great cookie maker)
* Put in fridge for about an hour or so. Over night is best.

Hawaiian Skewers

With all the snow and cold we have been having, I often reflect on the wonderful trip to Hawaii! I love that place. It was so nice to lay on the beach, hear the ocean lap the shore line and just soak in the sun. Yeah, I really miss it. Amazing enough too, Ms. Kenzi asks when we can go back almost on a weekly basis. For heaven's sakes, she was only 3 when we went, how can she remember it so well? I guess Hawaii has just that great of an impact on you. So onto the recipe. Here is a great dinner that you can enjoy now and make you think of warmer weather!

Hawaiian Skewers


6 Tbsp soy sauce
6 Tbsp brown sugar
4 Tbsp pineapple juice
2 T sesame oil
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp garlic powder

* Combine all ingredients in a shallow dish.

1 boneless, skinless chicken breast per person (up to 4. Any more and you will need to double your marinade)
Green Peppers
Anything else you would like on the skewer

* Cut chicken into 1 inch cubes and place in marinade. Cover and place in fridge for at least 4 hours.
* Cut remaining ingredients into bite sized pieces just before you plan to grill.
* Assemble skewers anyway you like.
* Place on grill and sprinkle a little bit of granulated sugar on skewers.
* Grill until chicken is completely cooked.

*** Excellent with rice of any kind ***

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Random Quick Tips of the Day

Just some random tips that I have picked up along the way...

If your recipe calls for eggs and shortening, crack eggs into the measuring cup you plan to use for the shortening first. The residue left by the eggs will allow the shortening to slip out of the measuring cup very easily.

Buttermilk can be made at home!
(1 cup milk to 2 tsp lemon juice)

Baker's Joy is a great tool for flowering a pan for a cake or brownies. I never use anything else.

NEVER EVER wash your aluminum pots, pans, and cookie sheets in the dishwasher. They will lose their shine and will turn dull. Trust me, I know it sucks to wash by hand, but I still have cookie sheets that look brand new and they are 9 years old.

When making sugar cookies, use powdered sugar instead of flour on your counter to roll out your dough. It will make the cookies taste sweeter and work just as well as flour.

Do not add vanilla to anything you are currently cooking. The heat will make it cook right off and it will do no good. Wait until the mixture you need it in has cooled past boiling.

An ice cream scoop is a great way to separate your cookie dough into equal sized cookies.

Check back for more quick tips and recipes!

Texas Brownies

2 cups flour
2 c sugar
1/2 c butter
1/2 c shortening
1 c water
1/4 c dk unsweetened cocoa
1/2 c buttermilk (1/2 c milk + 2 tsp lemon juice)
2 eggs
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp vanilla

* In a large mixing bowl, combine flour and sugar
* In a saucepan, combine butter, shortening, water and cocoa. Stir and heat until boiling.
* Pour boiling mixture over flour and sugar.
* Add buttermilk, eggs, baking soda, and vanilla
* Mix with a wooden spoon or at high speed on electric mixer.
* Pour into a well buttered cookie sheet
* Bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes or until brownies are done in the center.


1/2 c butter
2 Tbsp cocoa
1/4 c milk
3 1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla

* Combine butter, cocoa and milk. Heat to a boil.
* Take off heat and mix in vanilla, and powdered sugar. Stir until smooth.
* Pour over warm brownies

*** Share with your neighbors!!! ***

Super Cheesy Bacon Potatoes

1 lb uncooked bacon
2 potatoes per person you are serving
1 stick butter
1 yellow onion diced
1 lb of cheese (at least)
Lemon Pepper

*You can use a large pot on the stove, or a dutch oven.
*Throw bacon in to pot and cook until bacon is crispy
*While bacon is cooking, wash and cut potatoes into bite size pieces. You can leave the skins on.
*Take bacon out and cook potatoes, butter, and onion in the bacon grease
*If there is not much grease, 1/2 can of sprite will be needed
*Add cheese, crushed bacon, and lemon pepper to taste when potatoes have cooked thoroughly.

Slow cooked BBQ Pork Ribs

3+lbs of country style pork ribs (make sure that you buy some with little to no fat on them)
2 bottles Jack Daniels BBQ sauce (or your favorite)

*Place uncooked ribs in crock pot.
*Pour entire bottle of sauce on top of ribs.
*Set crockpot to cook on low for 6-8 hours or high for 4-6 hours.
*Once cooked, drain 80% of the juice from around the ribs.
*Pour remaining BBQ sauce and heat thoroughly

This is excellent with the "Super Cheesy Bacon Potatoes"