Wednesday, December 29, 2010


Well the holidays were a little more stressful than normal since my daughter was in the hospital for an appendectomy and some female problems and she wasn't discharged until Christmas day.  Add to that our first white Christmas that was beautiful but added to changes of plans by everyone.  My daughter and my grand-dog stayed with us for a few days until she was back on her feet.  I have been tired, stressed and just feeling overwhelmed looking at all the mess.  The house, car, my purse, the fridge....everything in a huge mess.  I like order and things to be in their place so this has been a trying time and yesterday I just pouted and did a little shopping because I just could not get it going.  I found this book yesterday when we were out and I decided to start it last night at 9 o'clock.  I was immediately absorbed in it and stayed up until I finished it at 2 in the morning.  I NEVER do that!  I am usually in bed by 11 at the latest, but I loved this book.  I am so inspired by the Amish community and how they live their lives.  Family, God and community first.  I love their work ethic and how each member of the family does what is needed to keep things going and helping extended family without question.  In this book they extend their kindness to strangers.  My resolution- now that I think about it- is to live more simply keeping my focus on what is really important and make ALL my choices reflect that.  This can extend to every area of my life- work, cooking, cleaning, clothing, homework, etc.  Today I cleaned out the fridge, freezer, and kitchen cabinets and I plan to continue purging what is wasting space in my life - tangible or not.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Unforgettable Chicken Casserole

This recipe comes from one of my many Southern Living Cookbooks and it is divine. 

3 cups deli roasted chicken
2 cups finely chopped celery
1 cup grated cheddar cheese
1/2 cup slivered almonds
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup mayo
1 can cream of chicken soup
4 oz. water chestnuts, chopped and drained
french fried onion rings

Stir together first 8 ingredients in a large bowl. Spoon into a lightly greased 11X7 pan. Bake at 350 for 40 minutes. Sprinkle with onion rings and bake 5 minutes more. Let stand 5 minutes before serving.

Sunni's Pizza Casserole

3-4 cans canned biscuits (not the flaky kind)
spaghetti or pizza sauce
Toppings: pepperoni, green peppers, mushrooms, etc.

Cut each biscuit into 4 pieces. Place in 13X9 dish and cover with sauce, toppings, then cheese. Bake til done.

Stuffed Green Peppers

4 green peppers
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 can tomato soup
1 t. worststershire sauce
1/2 t. salt
1 lb ground beef
1 cup cooked rice
1/4 t. pepper
16 oz. can tomato sauce

Cut peppers in half lengthwise. Remove seeds and cook in boiling, salted water for 5 minutes. Drain. Combine ground beef, onion, 1/2 can tomato soup, cooked rice, worst. sauce, s/p and spoon mixture evenly into peppers. Place in shallow baking dish and combine remaining soup and tomato sauce and pour over peppers. Cover and bake for 1 hour at 375 degrees.

Stuffed Cornish Hens

Stovetop stuffing - chicken flavor
cornish hens
garlic powder

Prepare stuffing. Boil giblets for gravy. (use cornstarch and broth to make gravy if desired)
Stuff birds with prepared stuffing and place extra stuffing in bottom of pan placing stuffed hens on top. Rub butter inside skin of hen. Sprinkle with sage, garlic powder, oregano, and salt/pepper. Bake one hour (approximately) at 350.

Pizza Casserole

6 oz. fettuccine noodles
3 1/2 oz. sliced pepperoni
15 1/2 oz. jar pizza sauce
1 1/2 c. shredded mozzarella cheese
4 oz. sliced mushrooms
1 T. grated parmesan cheese

Boil 8 cups water and cook pasta until tender. Drain. Halve pepperoni and add to pasta with sauce, 3/4 c. mozz. cheese, mushrooms, and parm. cheese.  Top with remaining cheese. Bake til brown.

Deluxe Chicken Breasts

4 chicken breasts
2 egg yolks + 2 T water
1/4 cup bread crumbs
3 t. parm.cheese
2 T. margarine

2 T. margarine
2 T. all purpose flour
1 cup milk
1 t. worcestershire (sp?) sauce
3/4 cup cheddar cheese

Flatten chicken breasts between two pieces of wax paper. Whisk egg yolks with water. Combine flour, salt, pepper, paprika, bread crumbs and cheese.  Dip chicken into egg and then roll in crumb mixture. Place in shallow dish and bake 350 for 20 mins.

To prepare sauce: Melt butter in saucepan; stir in flour. Slowly add milk and cook simmering stirring constantly until thickened. Season with worst. sauce, parm and cheddar cheese.  Transfer to serving dish and top with sauce.
Can  garnish with sliced tomato and green pepper rings if desired.

Impossible Coconut Pie

This pie is named "impossible" because it makes its own crust.  You can omit the coconut for an egg custard variety.

4 eggs, beaten
1 3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup self rising flour
2 cups milk
1/2 t. vanilla
1/2 stick melted margarine
1 can flaked coconut
 (or 2 cups)

Blend sugar and flour, stir in eggs then remaining ingredients. Pour into two greased 9 inch pie pans. Bake at 350 for 30-40 minutes until coconut is browned and pie is set.

Individual Cherry Cheesecakes

2 packages (8 oz) cream cheese
2 eggs
3/4 c. sugar
7 T. lemon juice
1 T. vanilla
vanilla wafers
cherry pie filling

Place a vanilla wafer in each muffin liner. Soften cream cheese and mix with mixer with next 4 ingredients. Fill cups 2/3 full. Bake 15-20 minutes at 325 degrees. Cool and top with cherry pie filling.

Crescent Sweet Rolls

So simple yet soooo delicious!!!

2 packages crescent rolls
8 oz. cream cheese
1 cup sugar
1 stick real butter
cinnamon to sprinkle

Unroll one roll of crescent rolls into 9X13 pan. Melt cream cheese in microwave and add sugar. Stir until mixed well. Pour over rolls. Unroll second roll of crescents and place of cream cheese/sugar mixture. Melt butter. Pour butter over top. Sprinkle with cinnamon.  Bake according to label instructions.    Cool and then cut into squares.


Chocolate Eclair Cake

1 box graham cracker crumbs
12 oz container Cool Whip
2 packages vanilla instant pudding
3 cups milk

2 oz. unsweetened chocolate, melted
3 tsp vanilla
4 T. milk
1 1/2 cup powdered sugar

Mix pudding and milk with mixer. Blend in Cool Whip. Layer graham crackers in 13X9 pan. Spread 1/2 mixture over crackers. Spread another layer of cracker crumbs. Spread remaining mixture and end with another layer of cracker crumbs. Frost with topping. Refrigerate overnight.

Cherry Yum Yum

1 1/2 c. sugar, divided
1 1/2 sticks margarine
2 1/2 c. crushed graham crackers crumbs
8 oz. cream cheese
2 packages Dream Whip
2 cans Cherry pie filling

Combine 1/2 c. sugar and crumbs. Mix well. Beat cream cheese with 1 cup sugar; add milk and dry dream whip powder. Mix well.  Line bottom of 12X8 dish with half of crumbs. Spread 1/2 cream mixture. Spoon 1 can cherries over cream mixture. Top with remaining crumbs, cream mix, and end with cherries. Refrigerate.

Welcome Home Bars

1/2 c. butter
1 1/2 c. graham cracker crumbs
14 oz sweetened condensed milk
1 c. chocolate chips
1 c. butterscotch chips

Preheat oven to 350. Melt butter in 13X9 pan. Sprinkle crumbs evenly over butter. Pour condensed milk evenly over crumbs and then add chips. Bake 25-30 minutes. Cool, cut into bars.

Oatmeal Fudge

 Similar to no-bake cookies but in bar form...

2 c. sugar
3 T. cocoa
1/2 c. milk
1/4 c. butter or margarine
1/2 c. peanut butter
3 c. quick cook oats
1 t. vanilla

Combine sugar, cocoa, milk and butter. Heat in saucepan until in a full boil.  Remove from burner and add peanut butter, oats, and vanilla. Pour into greased pan. Let cool and cut into squares. 

Lemon Chess Bars

1 box lemon cake mix
4 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup chopped nuts
1 stick margarine
8 oz cream cheese
1 box 10X powdered sugar

Grease 9X13 pan. Mix cake mix, 1 egg, vanilla, melted margarine and nuts. Spread into pan. Mix 3 eggs, powdered sugar, and softened cream cheese. Spread mix and bake at 350 for 50-60 mins.  Cool and cut into squares.

Punch Bowl Cake

1 box yellow cake mix
large can cherry or strawberry pie filling
large crushed pineapple
large can mandarin oranges
large box instant vanilla pudding
large Cool Whip (possibly a small one too)
small package pecan chips

Bake cake in two round cake pans per label instructions. Make pudding and allow to set while cake is cooking. Drain pineapple and oranges. Place thin layer of cool whip in bottom of punch bowl or trifle dish. Top with one layer of cake pieces. Spread 1/2 of pudding on cake. Add half of fruits and then layer cool whip on top Add second cake layer and repeat steps.  Sprinkle pecan chips on top. Refrigerate several hours or overnight.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Kimba's French Toast

I found this recipe today while blogging around at and I think it looks fabulous. 

4 eggs
2/3 cup milk
1/3 cup flour
1/3 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
12 slices of bread
  • Mix together dry ingredients in a medium-sized bowl
  • Beat together eggs, milk and vanilla then add to dry ingredients and combine
  • Heat a large skillet or griddle
  • Add butter to skillet
  • Dip each slice of bread in egg mixture and flip once
  • Cook each slice for about 1 minute per side or until golden brown


I learned something about myself today.  I could not get in the "cleaning mood" as I like to call it because I really like a nice spring day full of sunshine and these chilly temps just were not cutting it.  I learned that even though I have spent the last couple of years making sure I have cleaning supplies in all my bathrooms and kitchen for convenience; I really prefer to just tote my little cleaning caddy from room to room.  This makes it feel official that I am on a mission to tackle all the messes.  I also learned that when I am fully dressed in "going out" clothes after taking the kitty to the vet I cannot get  in the mood.  I changed into a long sleeved t-shirt, sweat pants and tennis shoes and armed with my caddy I am now finally making much needed progress on my mission.  I did not realize until today that my process controls so much of my productivity.  Just thought I would share!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Broccoli Rice Cheese Casserole - Meredith's favorite

2 packages frozen chopped broccoli, thawed
1 small jar cheese whiz
1 stick melted margarine
1/2 c. onion
3/4 c. chopped celery (optional)
1 cup minute rice
1 can cream of chicken soup
1/2 soup can water

Melt margarine and add onion and celery if used and saute until onions are clear.  Add to remaining ingredients and place in baking dish and bake at 350 for 45-60 minutes.

All Season Bread

3 c. flour
2 t. soda
1 t. baking powder
1 1/2 t. cinnamon
3 eggs
2 c. sugar
3/4 c. oil
2 t. vanilla
8 oz crushed pineapple
Add 2 cups seasonal fruit (blueberries, strawberries,etc.)

Combine flour, soda, salt, baking powder, cinnamon and set aside. Beat eggs lightly in large mixing bowl and add sugar, vanilla, oil, and beat until creamy. Drain pineapple, reserving juice and stir in pineapple and fruit. Add dry ingredients. Spoon batter into 2 well greased and floured 9X5 pans. Bake 350 for 1 hr. Cool 10 minutes.

Turkey Roll Ups

12 flour tortillas
8 oz. cream cheese
1 head lettuce
6 oz. package deli sliced turkey
2 c. shredded carrots
2 c. minced tomato

Spread cheese on tortilla and top with lettuce leaves. Arrange turkey in even layers and then sprinkle with carrots and tomatoes. Roll. Cut on diagonal for sandwich option.

Spinach Roll Ups

10 tortillas
2 packages chopped, drained, thawed frozen spinach
1 package ranch dressing mix
1 cup mayo
1 cup sour cream
1/2 c. bacon bits
3 T. chopped onion

Mix and spread on tortillas. Slice into 1 inch sections no more than  3 hours before serving.

Scot's Favorite Sausage Balls

1 lb Neese sausage
1 egg, slightly beaten
1/2 c. Pepperidge Farm Herb Stuffing
1/2 t. sage

1/4 c. ketchup
1/2 c. chili sauce (near ketchup in store)
1 T. soy sauce
2 T. brown sugar
1 T. vinegar
1/2 c. water

Make meatballs and bake at 450 for 10 minutes. Drain on paper towels and then place in crock pot with sauce mixture and heat through until ready to serve.  I usually double this recipe because they are so popular.

Salsa Roll Ups

8 oz. cream cheese
1 jar salsa
10 tortillas

Mix salsa and softened cream cheese. Spread on tortillas and slice into 1 inch section when ready to serve.

Roasted Nuts - Yummy at Christmas

1 pound pecan or walnut halves
1 egg white
1 t. cold water

1/2 c. sugar
1/4 t. salt
1/4 t. cumin
zest of 2 limes or lemons (I use limes)

Beat egg white and water until frothy and not in stiff peaks. Mix separately sugar, salt, cumin, and then add to egg white mixture.  Stir in nuts. Add in zest and mix to evenly coat.  Pour onto a butter jellyroll pan. Bake at 225 for 1 hour turning every 15 minutes.  They are much more delicious than they sound!

Crab Melts

2 cans drained crab meat
1/2 back shredded colby-jack cheese
1/4 c. mayo
1 T. dill weed
1 loaf cocktail bread (rye or pumpernickel)

Mix all ingredients and spread 1/2 T or so onto each slice of bread.  Make sure mixture is moistened like a tuna salad. Broil until bubbly. Can slice diagonally and serve.

Cheese Straws

8 oz. cream cheese, softened
2 sticks margarine, softened
1/2. t. salt
1/4- 1/2 t. cayenne pepper
2 cups plain flour

Mix and roll into 1 inch balls and flatten with fork. Bake 350 15-30 minutes.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Appetizer Time - Chocolate Chip Cheese ball, BLT dip

These are recipes from Kelly's Korner Blog...they look yummy

1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
1/2 c. butter, softened
3/4 c. confectioners' sugar
2 T. brown sugar
1/4 t. vanilla
3/4 c. miniature semisweet chocolate chips
3/4 c. finely chopped pecans


  1. In a medium bowl, beat together cream cheese and butter until smooth. Mix in confectioners' sugar, brown sugar and vanilla. Stir in chocolate chips. Cover, and chill in the refrigerator for 2 hours.
  2. Shape chilled cream cheese mixture into a ball. Wrap with plastic, and chill in the refrigerator for 1 hour.
  3. Roll the cheese ball in finely chopped pecans before serving. But it can be hard to form a ball so  skip the nuts and just put the mixture in a bowl for a pretty presentation.
B.L.T. Dip

1/2 Jar Mayonnaise
16 oz sour cream
12 bacon strips cooked and crumbled
2 small tomatoes - diced
2 Teaspoons Garlic Salt

Mix ingredients together and serve with crackers.

Appetizer Time - Shrimp Dip

I have not made this yet, but my friend has let me try it and it was wonderful.  I cannot wait to make it.  This photo is the closest I could find to what is will look like, but it tastes much better than this photo depicts.

2 8oz cream cheese, softened
Mix cream cheese with:
1 t. Worcestershire sauce
1 t. Old Bay seasoning
1 t. garlic powder
Spread this mixture in the bottom of serving dish.
Cover with 1 bottle Cocktail sauce
chopped onion
1 lb precooked shrimp (with tails removed and cut in half)
Sprinkle with Old Bay seasoning and the juice of one lime and one lemon

Serve with crackers.

Peanut Butter Pie

 I found this recipe at Meadowbrook Farm's blog and I plan to make it in the future.

Peanut Butter Pie

1-1/4 cup chocolate cookie crumbs (Nabisco Famous Chocolate Wafer cookies)
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup melted butter
Mix and press into a 9 inch pie plate. Bake at 375* for ten minutes. Cool completely.

1 - 8oz cream cheese, softened
1 cup creamy peanut butter
1 cup sugar
1 tablespoon softened butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup heavy cream, whipped
Beat first five ingredients and then fold in the whipped cream. Spread over cookie crust and chill till firm.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Great Gift Ideas Under $20

1. Amaryllis - If you have never done this you must go straight to Walmart or Target and get one.  Kids and adults love them.  You start with just a bulb, pot, and dirt which is all provided for $4-7 and you can see it grow DAILY.  They make great gifts because they are beautiful and fun.

2.  Scarves- These are the new sweater.  You can use them in place of jewelry and you can dress a simple outfit up in a flash.  The extra warm across your shoulders now also provides an instant layer of warmth. $4 and up.

3. Williams Sonoma Mulling spices - This scent is wonderful for just making the house smell yummy or you can make the cider for a cozy drink.  I am going out to get some for myself today!  under $10

4. Tervis Tumbler- If you can't find these at you local gift shop or Bed Bath and Beyond you can go to their website.  They are basically a plastic cup that keeps your beverage HOT or COLD and they have a lifetime guarantee and you can buy lids for them and a logo to fit the person.  $11.50

5. Mrs. Hanes moravian sugar cookies.  This is a local company that still makes their cookies by hand and they are wafer thin packed with delicious goodness. They also made Oprah's favorite things list this year.  $19.50 for a pound on their website. Of course if you are lucky like me you can go to the store and get them for a little less.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Prayers Needed

I use this blog for my simple enjoyment and I love posting and following other bloggers.  I am writing today to ask for prayer.  I am blessed in so many ways, but I am on day 15 of being sick. I have to work 3 twelve hour days starting tomorrow and I just have no energy and I am still coughing my head off yet I have to go and take care of others and try not to let them know how miserable I am.  I have mile high pile of laundry, my decorations are not up and no shopping has been done.  I want to enjoy this season and time with my family, but instead I am still sick and I am just tired and irritated that I am not better.  If you stumble upon my blog please don't think I am selfish for asking because I know there are many other greater needs, but I ask if you have time to please pray for me and my family so I can get back on my feet.  We all know when Mom is sick things just don't flow.


Monday, November 29, 2010

Being Sick Stinks

Started antibiotics today FINALLY and now hope to get better soon!  10 days is long enough!!!!!!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Thanksgiving Menu 2010

My famous turkey and dressing (see previous post)
Mashed potatoes with gravy
Green beans
Sweet potato casserole
Broccoli Rice and Cheese Casserole
Macaroni and cheese
Deviled eggs
Cranberry sauce
Sister Shubert rolls

Pumpkin and pecan pie.  No cake this year because we are always too stuffed to eat it.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Smothered Enchiladas

Photo courtesy of google since I forgot to take one!
Smothered Enchiladas

2 lb ground beef
1 pkg taco seasoning mix
1 (4.5 oz) can chopped chiles, drained
2 cans cream of chicken soup
1 (16 oz) container of sour cream
1 jar salsa
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
package of flour tortilla

Brown ground beef in a large skillet, stirring until it crumbles and is no longer pink; drain.  Stir in taco seasoning mix and half of the green chiles; set aside.

Stir together remaining green chiles, soup, and sour cream.  Pour half of the soup mixture into a lightly greased 13x9 baking dish.

Spoon beef mixture evenly down the center of  tortillas; roll up.  Place, seam side down, over soup mixture in baking dish; top evenly with remaining soup mixture, salsa, and cheese.

Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes or until thoroughly heated.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Good Book

I read this book in the last two evenings. I found it in paperback at Sams for $4.98.  I don't know much about the author but my husband listens to him on talk radio. The book has nothing to do with politics, but it was a great way to get your heart in the right place for the Christmas season.

Thursday, November 18, 2010


I have been feeling rather depressed and blah lately so I thought I needed to re-frame my thoughts to a more thankful mentality.  Don't get me wrong. I am a very thankful person at all times, but I tend to be much to hard on myself and expect much too much from myself at all times so I just need to do this for me.

1.God- who never leaves or forsakes me.
2. My husband- he drives me nuts most of the time, but he still loves me unconditionally even at times when I give him many reasons that he should not.  He is a good man.
3. My daughter- She has grown into a wonderful accomplished young woman and I am so proud of the person she has become.  I adore her more than she will ever know.
4. My son- He is my rock even though he doesn't know it. He is a great young man who will do great things and he knows God is the most important thing and he makes sure I don't forget it.  I just love that.
5. Mom - despite her unconventional ways, I know she loves me and my family without ceasing. She worked hard to give me what she could growing up and I know our tough times made me the person I am today.
6. In-Laws- despite the struggles of blending into another family, I am thankful that my husband came from a supportive and stable family.
7. My home- although I always strive for the next thing, I am very grateful for my home and all that it represents. Anyone who knows me knows I would rather be home with my family than any other place in the world.
8. My health- even though I have way more happy pounds right now than I care to admit; I am grateful for my eyesight, hearing, taste, ability to walk and breath, and my sanity.  I see people every day in my job who have been robbed of so many of these things.  I try to never lose sight of what I have been blessed with.
9. Friends and neighbors- I know my husband would say I would talk to a tree stump and it is true.  The gift to communicate with many types of people has been a blessing I would not trade for the world. I love getting to know people and uplifting them.
10. Heat, A/C, and plumbing- I love my creature comforts. I don't mind roughing it short term, but I love me some warm showers and the ability to live indoors. Everyone does not have this privilege.
11. My work- I am thankful for my skills, knowledge, confidence and ability that allows me to help others. I believe it is my calling.  I do it each day as an act of service to my Lord and ask him to guide my path so that I may touch others according to His will.
12. Transportation- My vehicles is getting quite old now, but I am grateful she gets me where I need to go and she is pretty too.  I am grateful I do have the ability to get in my vehicle and go where I need to go.
13. food- I love some great food and I never forget what it was like when I was growing up to live on less.  I try not to be wasteful and I try to show my love through meal preparation.
14. clothing- for obvious reasons I am glad I have the ability to stay warm and dress each day.
15- My walking buddy- she encourages me and we share a great deal on those walks. 
16. The seasons- I don't think I could ever move from where I live because I love all 4 seasons. They all have beauty in their own right.  I have my favorites, but mostly I like that the cycle of beauty repeats itself.
17. Internet, computers, GPS and smart phones - I could not have imagined as a child that we could have all of this technology at our fingertips.  What a blessing this generation is having. I pray we continue to use it all for good.
18. Holidays- I love to watch my children in happy times.
19. Pets- Over the years we have had many pets. God blessed us with these wonderful companions who we can share our lives with.
20. Health care- I am thankful that I have the ability to seek care as needed and receive treatment for medical and dental problems as they arise.
21. My Bible - Obviously this list is not in the order of importance, because this would be at the top. I rely on my Bible for strength and guidance.  I really need to devote even more time to it.
22. Christmas music- As I write these things Alvin and the Chipmunks are serenading me and bringing a smile to my face.
23. Choices - I am thankful that as an American I have choices. 
24. Our Flag- Again, this represents the freedom our soldiers provide to us each and every day.
25. Diet coke - my drink of choice keeps me happy.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Apple Pie

10-12 apples, sliced
1 cup sugar
1-2 T. cinnamon
2 T. flour (or more if needed)
1 t. lemon juice

Mix  all of this together.

I use Pillsbury pies crust and brush with 2 T. milk and sprinkle with a little sugar for good looks.
Bake 425 for 45 minutes (check after 20 to see if foil is needed to keep from over browning.
(I used 2T cinnamon and it was a bit much, but I liked it. Some may prefer the regular 1T amount.)
Serve with Breyers vanilla ice cream if you want to feel like you are in heaven!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Fun to Follow

I am sure the whole world will be watching as the big plans are made.  A real life Princess!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Peach Cobbler

Easy as pie!

1 cup self rising flour
1 cup milk
1 cup sugar
1 stick margarine or butter
1 can peach slices in heavy syrup or fresh (note to follow)
1 t. vanilla

Melt stick of margarine in 350 degree oven in the pan you will use for cobbler.
Mix flour, sugar, milk with whisk in bowl.
Pour flour mixture in pan over melted butter.
Pour can of peaches with juice over that. I sprinkle a little sugar over top for fun.
(No need to stir- it will do its own magic)
Bake at 350 until browned....about 45 minutes if I recall.

Serve with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream. I have even just poured a little milk over warm cobbler just to have that yummy feeling!

Note: If using fresh peaches- peel and dice 3-4 peaches. Place in small saucepan with water and cook down until peaches are done.  Use in place of canned peaches above.
You can also used home canned peaches if you are lucky and have those.
Strawberries or blueberries also make a nice cobbler prepared in this same manner. (I use frozen and heat as mentioned above for peaches.)

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Favorite Things - Organization

My newest way to stay organized!  The Mom Agenda is a great new addition to my purse that was already full, but I am very excited. 

Toys for Boys Edition- Time tested mother approved...

Lazer Tag

I got this idea from Sarah last year and it did not disappoint.

I always like to give things that involve activity instead of just video games.
or maybe this....

Chicken Stew (Southern Style)

This is a dish in the south that is many times made in a large cast iron pot on someones farm or back yard when the weather turns cold.  You invite neighbors and friends to bring their own bowl and a dessert and you provide crackers and spoons and beverages.  When I did this I had hay bales set out for people to sit on and I decked out the garage as a little haunted room for the kids.  Neighbors just walked up and had a bowl of warm stew which kept them warm during the nice crisp fall weather.  It was a great time of fellowship and you don't even worry about what your house looks like because everyone is outside.  I am typically to insecure to entertain, but this was such a low key event and the neighbors had a nice time getting to know each other.  When we did this most houses on our street were new so this was nice to bring everyone together.  Now that I think about it most of them have sold and moved on and now we have different neighbors so maybe I need to do it again.  Most people do these "chicken stews" annually, but I am way to chicken for that.

2 hot dried red peppers (without brown stems) (I don't use these)
10-12 whole chickens (to feed 50 people)
1 large can evaporated milk
1/2 gallon whole milk
1 stick butter
salt and pepper to taste

1/2 gallon whole milk
2 cups flour (s/r)

Cook chicken and save as much broth as possible.  Cooking chickens separately will yield more broth.  Debone chicken.

Combine evaporated milk, whole milk, chicken, and broth with salt and peppers and butter in a large pot. Bring to a boil and cook for 30 minutes.

Thickening- Combine 1/2 gallon milk and 2 cups flour in a bowl.  Remove soup from heat (if on open flame) or reduce to low on stove and add flour mixture. Stir constantly to reduce lumps. If too thick add more milk.  Remove whole red peppers before serving if used.

Note- To make for regular meal I use one whole chicken and small can of evaporated milk and usually about 1/4-1/2. cup flour with milk as needed.

Serve with saltine crackers.   My husband likes to add Texas Pete to his bowl.

This dish was originally given to me by a local person who always made homemade pimento cheese sandwiches with them for chicken stews so I am including that recipe she shared in case you would like to make them as well. It is really yummy on toasted bread because the cheese melts.  (You could also buy "Stan's" name brand in the store.)

Pimento Cheese
1 large brick Velveeta cheese- softened slightly
1 small jar pimentos (less if desired) drained
sugar to taste
mayo to taste

Shred cheese in food processor and mix until desired consistency.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Pumpkin Pie

1 unbaked deep dish pie shell ( 4 cup volume)see note
3/4 c. sugar
1/2 t. salt
1 t. cinnamon
1/2 t. ground ginger
1/4 t. ground cloves
2 eggs
1 can pumpkin
12 oz. can evaporated milk

Combine sugar, salt, cinnamon, ginger and cloves in small bowl. Beat eggs in large bowl. Stir in pumpkin and spice mixture and gradually add evaporated milk. 

Pour in pie shell and bake in preheated oven at 425 for 15 minutes then reduce to 350 for 20-30 more minutes.

Note- This can be made into 2 9" pies (2 cup volume.

Ambrosia Spread - Appetizer

I could not find a photo to do this dish justice.

1 cup mandarin oranges, drained and chopped
1 container of cream cheese with pineapple
1/4 c. coconut (toast lightly in oven)
1/4 c. chopped almonds (toast lightly in oven)

Mix everything together adding oranges last so they keep some of their texture.  Serve with vanilla wafers, banana bread or ginger snaps.

Russian Tea

This is a holiday favorite that also came from my mother-in-law's recipe file.

1 package pineapple orange jello mix
2 cups Tang
2 cups Sugar
3/4 c. Lipton instant tea
1 package lemonade mix (6 oz.)
2 t. cinnamon
1 1/4 t. ground cloves

Mix all ingredients together and keep in closed container.  To serve mix 1-2 t. in hot water.  If you have never had this drink it is a warm orange spiced flavored tea.

This mix makes a great gifts for coworkers or neighbors. 

Potato Salad - Two Ways

I have always loved my mom's potato salad and when I met my husband and had his mom's version it was quite a shock because it was so different.  Eventually I came to love hers too, but at first it was a challenge.  I am posting both versions here so I will always have them.  My mom doesn't really follow a recipe so I am making estimates, but my mother in law had a recipe that we found after her death.  I now make hers mostly because she isn't here to serve it and I know it means a lot to my husband, but for the record I love them BOTH! 

My Mom's Potato Salad
2.5 -3 lbs potatoes
2 eggs

1/2 stalk celery, chopped (or celery salt for flavor)
1/4 cup sweet pickle relish (we use Mt. Olive in this area)
2 T. Mustard
1/2 -3/4 c. mayo
1/2 yellow onion chopped (I prefer red onion)
salt and pepper to taste.
paprika for dusting

Boil peeled and chopped potatoes.  Place uncooked eggs (still in shell) in water with potatoes so they can boil at the same times as potatoes.  When cooked drain potatoes and set aside egg to chop and add in.  Mix potatoes with all above ingredients including chopped egg.  Adjust mayo to desired consistency.  May increased pickles as desired. I even chop green peppers and add to this because I really like the flavor.  When mixed place in bowl and sprinkle with paprika and refrigerate.  I like it warm or cold, but most prefer if after cooled for several hours.

Mother In Law Potato Salad
2 lb potatoes
celery seed
1/2 c. finely diced red onion
1/2 c. diced sweet gherkin pickles (Mt. Olive brand preferred)
1/2 c. diced green pepper
1 cup JFG mayo (I use Kraft)
1 T. Cider vinegar
1 T. yellow mustard
1 t. salt
1/4 c. pickle juice from jar
Paprika for dusting

Boil potatoes until done about 20 minutes. Drain. Chop and mix above ingredients together while potatoes are cooking. Mix in cooked potatoes. Mash with potato mashers reducing lumps of potatoes.  Sprinkle with paprika. Refrigerate overnight.

There are two main differences.  My mom's version keeps potatoes to a chopped form and is more of a salted potato side dish.  My mother-in-law's version is much sweeter version and the potatoes are not kept in their form so the texture is a smoother potato.   I had the same difference of baked beans when I married into this family.  I will post both versions of those on another day.

Pepperoni Baked Spagetti

I make several kinds of spaghetti and baked spaghetti because it is always a family favorite.  This is one similar to a local cafeteria here called K&W. 

1 jar PREGO spaghetti sauce (flavor of choice)
1 small box spaghetti (I always use thin spaghetti)
package sliced pepperoni
1 pack shredded cheddar and 1 pack mozzarella cheese

Cook and drain spaghetti.  Mix noodles with sauce and pour in pan.  Top with pepperoni and cheeses.  Sprinkle with parmesan if desired.

Baked Macaroni and Cheese

1 box uncut macaroni noodles
1 stick butter or margarine
1 block sharp cheddar cheese
1 full size can pet milk (evaporated milk)
1 egg

Boil noodles. In the meantime shred cheese and beat with egg and small amount of the milk. Drain noodles. Stir in butter and egg/milk mixture; add remaining milk.  Save some cheese for the top but blend in most cheese.  Bake 45 minutes at 350 or micorwave 14-17 minutes.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Appetizers (The Meats Edition)

Since the holidays are coming I thought I would post a few tried and true appetizers.

These are so simple and taste so yummy.  I don't know why I am on a meatball kick this week.
1 bag prepared meatballs
1 jar chili sauce (found near the ketchup)
1 jar grape jelly

Mix and pour in crockpot on low for 6-8 hrs.  The ingredients may sound weird but but this is a staple at any gathering in the south.  They are kind of tangy.

1-2 packages of cocktail weiners (weenies as I call them)
1 bottle favorite BBQ sauce.

Again. Crockpot on low 6-8 hrs.  NOTE: You can use the grape jelly / chili sauce for these also.

Another southern staple...
1 lb. bulk sausage meat
2 cups Bisquick
1/4 cup water
2 cups cheddar cheese, grated
Form into small balls and bake approximately 25 minutes at 325 degrees.

You can use the cocktail weiners and crescent rolls or you can quarter the really cheap canned biscuits if you need to make a large quantity of them.

I have also make a main dish variety of these when my children were smaller using one crescent roll and wrapping it around one full size hot dog that has been split lengthwise with half a piece of cheddar cheese inside and then wrapped and baked them.  Either version can be served with ketchup, mustard or honey mustard. 

Ham and Swiss Tarts are another favorite...YUMMY!

This photo also shows a variety with broccoli
1 package (2 1/2 oz) processed ham
small onion (approx. 1/4 c.), chopped
1/2 c. swiss cheese, grated
1 egg
1 1/2 t. dijon mustard
1/8 t. pepper
1 package crescent rolls

Preheat oven to 350.
Chop ham and onion. Place in a bowl and add cheese, egg, mustard and pepper.
Spray mini muffin tin with Pam.
Unroll crescent rolls and press our seams. Cut into 24 squares and place one in each muffin cup.
Fill with filling and bake 13-15 minutes.

(If desired to use for a meal instead of appetizer: lay our crescent roll flat and cover with filling and bake.

SHRIMP DIP - I have not made this yet, but it sound very similar to one I tried this year so I may try it this holiday season.

1 (about 5 oz) can cocktail shrimp, drained, chopped
1 cup sour cream
1/4 cup Heinz Chili Sauce
2 tsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/2 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. black pepper
1 tsp. prepared grated horseradish
dash of Tabasco sauce or Frank's Hot Sauce
Chop shrimp into very small pieces and combine well with remaining ingredients (may use a food processor but do not over-process - use pulse mode only).Use as a dip and serve with raw vegetable sticks, tortilla chips, bagel slices, or crackers.


1 package Merita old fashioned rolls.  (prepared small rolls in aluminum pan in bread section)
6 oz ham
 swiss cheese
Sauce- 3 T mustard, 1 stick margarine, 3 T. Worstershire Sauce  (you can substitute honey mustard and omit Worstershire sauce for a sweeter version.)
Poppy seeds if desired.

Use a knife to split entire package of rolls creating a top and bottom portion.  (don't cut into individual rolls until completed.)  Layer ham then cheese and pour sauce over this and reserve some to pour over top.  Replace top rolls and pour remaining sauce. Refrigerate 2-3 hours. Cover with foil and bake 350 approximately 15 minutes.

I'll try to do additional post on other types of appetizers I make or want to try soon.

Boo Hoo

One of my favorite blogs went private.  I am sure she had her reasons, but I was sad to see it happen. Its funny how we bloggers enjoy taking part in each others day and yet most of the time never know the people on the other side.  I don't know about you, but I really enjoy my blogging time and getting to know others as I hope they enjoy their time with me.  I try to be careful and not put information out for the whole world to see because there are some bad people out there, but I hate to see one of my virtual friends vanish. Poof!  It makes me think of when children play with "imaginary" friends...ha.  Moms just like connecting with other moms to make sure we are doing the best by our families and it keeps reassuring us that we are normal and just like everybody else.  I think it is a healthy way to stay grounded so I will keep doing this because I get enjoyment from it. I think the overwhelming majority of bloggers feel the same way.  Anyway that is my two cents. I hope anyone who reads my blogs feels better after visiting!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Ikea Meatballs

I found this recipe on a blog somewhere and I can't remember where it was, but I plan to try this recipe in the next few days.

1 package prepared frozen meatballs (small grocery store sized bag)
1 can cream of celery soup
1 can french onion soup
8 oz. sour cream
small can sliced mushrooms.

Place in crockpot on low for 6-8 hours and then serve over mashed potatoes or cooked egg noodles.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Walt Disney World - October 2010

We stayed at the Caribbean Resort. 
We spent most of the first day including lunch and dinner at the Magic Kingdom.  Bryan rode Space Mountain.  We had lunch at Cosmic Rays (counter service) and dinner at The Liberty Tavern (table service). 
This is the Tree of Life at the Animal Kingdom park.

We spent a day at Kennedy Space Center / NASA. This is the space shuttle Discovery that was set to launch on November 1, 2010 and has now been postponed.

The three of us as astronauts.

Bryan trying to stay cool while getting his photo taken with a real astronaut.

EPCOT - We spent the least time here because two parks in one day is just plain overload. 

The Tower of Terror at Hollywood Studios park.  Scot rode this.  Bryan and I enjoyed some sitting in the shade during this time.

We had a really nice time at Walt Disney World.  A lot has changed since I was there last. You won't find pictures of me here because apparently I had been in denial about how large I have let myself get!!  We went to all of the parks and spent the least time at Epcot.  With a day spent traveling to KSC/NASA, we were somewhat limited on how much we could actually do. We learned to navigate the monorail, buses, and boats for transportation and we realized we NEVER want to go in the summer months after a visit in October.  We had sweat dripping from us at all times and I don't want to even imagine how much worse it would have been with crowds of people.  We only has to use one fastpass the entire trip. Wait times for rides ranged from one minute to twenty five minutes.  I think the wait time for Expedition Everest and Tower of Terror was listed as 30 minutes, but Scot was finished with both in under that time period.

We ate more than we should have.  I am listing the information about meals below to help me with future planning if we do this again. The dining plan is a must!  We has a snack, quick service meal, and table service meal for each day.  We ended up being so frugal with our snacks that we had to buy FIVE before leaving to take with us on the ride home. 

Night 1 - Whispering Canyon at the Wilderness Lodge - Very nice meal in a wonderful resort.  The food was all you could eat.
Menu item: Includes mixed greens with apple vinaigrette and fresh baked cornbread, smoked pork ribs, pulled pork, oven-roasted chicken, pork sausage, mashed potatoes, creamy coleslaw, beans, and corn on the cob. Priced per person. - $26.99
Bryan didn't want their signature skillet meal so he had steak- poor baby.

Day 2
Cosmic Rays - Burgers and fries
Dinner - The Liberty Tavern - another all you can eat with Salad, Roasted Turkey Breast, Carved Beef, and Smoked Ham with Mashed Potatoes, seasonal Vegetables, Herb Bread Stuffing,
and Macaroni & Cheese.  Apple crisp and ice cream for desert.

Day 3
Lunch at NASA- worst chicken sandwich of my life- not kidding.  Lunch was terrible and cost about $35-40
Dinner- EPCOT- Sunshine seasons.  This meal was okay, but I really wanted to eat at the Garden Grill and I could not get reservations so nothing was going to make me happy that night.   This is really a food court with some unusual items.  I had rotisserie chicken. Scot had a sandwich and Bryan ate Chinese.

Day 4
Hollywood Studios - 50's prime time cafe.  I had reservations but of course they would not locate them.  (This happened twice during our trip.) This is a neat place set up like a 1950's home. The waitress is supposed to be mom making sure you mind your manners.  Here is their entree items:
Aunt Liz's Golden Fried Chicken - Served with Mashed Potatoes, Chicken gravy, and Southern greens - $15.99   Bryan and I had this and it was really good.
Cousin Eric's Char-grilled Chicken Sandwich - Marinated chicken breast topped with cheddar, grilled onions, BBQ sauce, lettuce, and tomato on a Kaiser roll served with a House salad or French fries. - $13.49
(Scot had the grilled chicken sandwich)
Dad's Traditional Meatloaf - A blend of beef and pork topped with tomato glaze served with mashed potatoes, and green beans. - $14.99
Fish Sandwich - Fried beer-battered haddock on a crusty roll with lettuce, tomato, and tartar sauce served with a House salad or French fries. - $12.49
Mom's Old-Fashioned Pot Roast - Slow-cooked 'til fork tender served with mashed potatoes, carrots, celery, and onions. - $16.99
Stacked Sandwich - Your choice of smoked turkey or ham on multigrain bread with lettuce, tomato, Swiss cheese and mayonnaise, served with a House salad or potato chips. 

Again everything has dessert included!!!
Dinner- Ohanas at the Polynesion Resort.  Scot ranked this as the all time best meal there.  All you can eat- again. They just keep bringing skewers of grilled meat until you cannot eat another bite.
Starters: Pork fried dumplings, Corriander chicken wings, and Mixed Greens with Honey-Lime dressing. Skewers (prepared over an oak fire): Marinated sirloin steak, Asian BBQ pork loin, Mesquite grilled turkey, and non-peeled shrimp. Accompaniments: broccoli and green peas and pad Thai noodles. Sauces: peanut, chimichurri and sweet-and-sour. Dessert: 'Ohana bread pudding a la mode with Banana Foster sauce. Includes coffee, tea and soda. - $30.99  *
Day 5 
Lunch - Tusker House in Animal Kingdom - All you can eat buffet, but this seemed to remind us to much of Golden Corral with some weird foods added in, but you won't leave hungry.
Lunch Buffet - Appetizers: Spicy South African preserves, Tabbouleh, Hummus and Baba Ghanoush, Endive/Apple/Walnut salad, Caesar salad, Mixed Greens salad, Tomato & Cucumber salad, Sliced Turkey/Ham/Cheese, Tunisian Couscous salad, Green bean & onion salad, Curried rice salad and Fresh fruit. Vegetarian Table: Marrakech couscous, Vegetable samaosa, Spiced Tandoori Tofu, Jollaf rice, and Pearl couscous with sweet basil essence. Kids Selections: PB&J sandwich, Corn dog nuggets, Mac & Cheese, Corn medley, Chicken Drumsticks, Green beans, and Mashed potatoes. Adult Selections: Salmon filet, Root veggies, Seafood stew, Orzo pasta, green bean medley, Rotisserie chicken, potato wedges, mashed potatoes, Carved top sirloin and pork loin, Cape Malay curry chicken, and Basmati rice with almonds. Dessert Selections: Fruit cobbler, Warm banana-cinnamon bread pudding with vanilla sauce, and assorted pastries. - $21.99  *
Dinner- Rainforest Cafe- Downtown Disney (NOT ON DINING PLAN)
We went to this restaurant for the atmosphere of animals and thunderstorms in the restaurant. We ate burgers and onion rings. Dinner was $60.

Note- we did use two counter service meals for breakfast at the resort for convenience and because we had extra since we went to NASA.

As you can see the dining plan saves you a ton of money.  We went when we had the dining plan included in our stay which was great because dinner ran about $120 a night and lunches were usually about $50.  We ate breakfast in the room because we discovered we would be stuffed later.  With the dining plan you only have to (suggested) leave 18-20% tip which is printed out for you.  I cannot imagine eating there without the plan nor would I want the hassle of leaving their enormous property to get to some place more reasonable.