Saturday, April 30, 2011

It's Strawberry Time!!!!

4 c Fresh Strawberries crushed
1 1/2 c sugar
1 (1 5/8 ounce) pkg Ball simple creations no cook freezer jam pectin

Stir sugar and contents of package in a bowl until well blended. Add 4 cups crushed fruit (for peaches, reduce to 3 1/2 cups). Stir 3 minutes. Ladle jam into clean plastic (or glass)freezer jars. Twist on lids and let stand until thickened, about 30 minutes. Refrigerate up to 3 weeks or freeze up to 1 year.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

OMG... this stuff is good!

Let me just say I am not a huge pimento cheese fan.  I may eat it a couple of times per year and I have always bought "Stan's" at the grocery store.  This weekend when I bought groceries at my local Harris Teeter a nice lady in the deli section was giving out samples of this stuff on Ritz crackers.  She offered me plain or jalapeno and I chose the plain.  I could not believe how good this stuff was.  The right consistency, texture and not too many pimentos.  I thought it was a little pricey, but it was so good I bought it anyway.  Girl....let me just say this stuff is GREAT!  Instead of a sandwich I have eaten this stuff on crackers for lunch each day and even had it as a snack on Easter.  My container is now empty!!!  I usually end up tossing my usual stuff after a snack or two of it.  Here is there web site in case you can't find it locally, but I am warning you this stuff changed my perspective on pimento cheese.

Saturday, April 23, 2011


Although I love dying eggs and all things bunny at this time of year we must not forget the reason we are truly celebrating.  Thank you God for being my Lord and Savior.  Happy Easter to all my blog friends.  If you have not watched this video please take a moment to enjoy the music as Carrie Underwood and Vince Gill sing How Great Thou Art.

By the way here is my tentative menu for Easter dinner.

Baked Ham with pineapple
Potato Salad
Baked Beans
Deviled Eggs
Green Beans
Yeast Rolls

Pound Cake

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Bird Nests

My husband actually snapped a photo of these at the last Boy Scout meeting.  I think they are adorable and so easy and fun for kids.

These No Bake Birds Nest Cookies are super easy and fun to make with your children!

Ingredients Needed:
  • 1 package chocolate chips
  • 1/4 c. peanut butter
  • 1 can crunchy Chinese noodles
  • 1 bag of Robin's Eggs (malted candies)

  1. Melt chocolate chips and peanut butter together in the microwave. Be careful not to overheat. The best way to do that is to stir it every minute until it is smooth.
  2. Mix in the noodles and spoon into little "nests" onto wax paper.
  3. Press two or three robin's eggs into the center of the cookie. The Cadbury Mini-Eggs work really well, but you can substitute with jelly beans, yogurt covered raisins, Jordan almonds, etc.
  4. Refrigerate until hard.

**For a bit more variation you can substitute butterscotch or cinnamon chips instead of chocolate chips!

Monday, April 11, 2011

Chocolate Chip Pound Cake

  • 1 (18.25 ounce) package yellow cake mix
  • 1 (3.9 ounce) package instant chocolate pudding mix 
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 4 eggs, beaten
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1tsp vanilla
  • 1 cup milk chocolate chips
Mix together all ingredients. Stir in chocolate chips by hand. Bake at 325 degrees for 50 or 60 minutes in a bundt pan coated with Pam.

I found this recipe over the weekend at and I gave it a try.  We thought it was good, but not as great as I had hoped.  I am sure I will make it again, but we all love my original pound cake above all else.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Living Room Elements

As you know my dog passed away about a month ago.  Before he died unfortunately he was very, very sick near the end and as a result my living room carpet has to be replaced.  I have been wanting to redo this room for a while now anyway so I decided to blog about some of the elements that I want in the room.  I finally have a plan and a budget so if I can just find time and MONEY I can get started.

First I am going to paint the room Sherwin Williams Kilim Beige and place a stainmaster carpet similar to a berber that will not show traffic and look neat.
This is NOT my room...this is only an example of the paint color.
Then I need a sofa similar to this one.
With chair and ottoman to match and maybe another chair.

I want soft blue accents with perhaps paisley on curtains and maybe a stripe for accent pillows.

I already have this print in the room and the colors will work nicely together.

Add a few other accessories and the room would be done...again when I get some money dang it.

For good measure I guess I could add one of these to make the boys happy...

Complete with LARGE TV of course....and doors that close for my happiness.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011


1 bag caramels
1 stick butter
3 cups pecans, chopped
1 large Hershey bar (the big ones not the normal candy bar size)
1/4 stick paraffin

Melt butter, add caramels and melt. Stir in pecans. Drop by teaspoon on waxed paper. Cool. Melt Hershey bar and parraffin on top of stove or in microwave. Dip candy into chocolate. Cool.

These are great made ahead of time and then frozen. I hope you enjoy!

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Meal Plan - Shopping the Freezer

BBQ Pork Chops in Crock Pot

4 bone-in pork chops
10 oz. pineapple juice
1 tbs vinegar
3 tbs brown sugar
1/4 cup ketchup

Place pork chops in crock pot.  Combine pineapple juice, vinegar, brown sugar, and ketchup.  Pour over top of pork chops.  Cook on high 4 - 6 hours or low 6 - 8 hours.
This photo has peas that I do not add.
Easy Weeknight Meal - Parma Rosa w/ Smoked Sausage and Bow Tie Pasta
Prepare box of bow tie pasta (or 1/2 box if that is all you need)
Prepare Knorr Parma Rosa Sauce in small saucepan on stovetop per instructions.
Slice fat free smoked sausage and microwave until done with small amount of water per instructions.  (You can fry or grill this, but it is super moist from microwave.  Serve sauce over sausage and pasta.)  

I will also be making the cubed steaks and gravy and some dish that requires ground beef or chicken to fill in the blanks. 

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Cubed Steak and Gravy

When I was thinking of things to make this week I was shopping my freezer.  I have found that I tend to plan meals and go to the store for items I need even though I have a stocked freezer.  I decided this week I would plan my entire week based on things I already have on hand.  I saw the cubed steaks first and knew I would make cubed steaks and gravy.  I never used a recipe for this dish because I have just always know how to make them, but I started thinking that some non southern girl out there might need this information so here goes.

First start with a package of cubed steak.  I usually get a 4 or 6 pack of them but you can find larger packages at Sam's Club or Costco and divide and freeze them.

Fill a large skillet with 1/2 inch of so of canola or vegetable oil and allow it to heat while you flour each steak.  Using self rising flour fill a pie plate or other dish and make sure you cover every nook and cranny with flour.  Gently place each steak in the oil and season generously with salt and pepper.  The most important step is to now cover with a lid while cooking on medium heat.  Luckily mine is clear so I can see inside, but if yours isn't make sure you don't turn them too soon.  The goal is to allow the heat and steam to make these wonderful little bubbled areas on the side you can see while it is browning the side on the bottom.  When it appears both of those things have taken place you can use a spatula and gently turn them over to repeat the process.

Again the steam allows the side that already cooked to "ruffle" a little and make the yummy crust.  I try to limit my turning to this one time, so I don't lose any crumbs.  I also think it makes for a more tender steak.  Carefully transfer to a dish with paper towels to soak excess oil while you prepare gravy.

With the drippings (aka leftover oil) still in the pan sprinkle 2-3 heaping tablespoons of self rising flour in pan and stir to combine with oil.  This is called making a "roux" in case you like to know the technical terms.  I season at this step with salt and pepper and get the milk out of the fridge.  You want this to look like the color of peanut butter before adding milk, but you don't want to scorch it.

At this point I add my milk.  This is the tricky part because I have never measured, but I think it is about 1 1/2 - 2 cups while stirring constantly with a whisk.  I also add a dash of Worstershire sauce for flavor.  Now keep stirring until it begins to thicken.  (It WILL thicken a little more after you remove from heat to don't let it get too thick before you take it off the burner.) 

The end product should look something like this. 

Some folks also call this chicken fried steak and there are many variations, but this is how I have always done it.  I personally serve the steak and gravy separate because my picky husband doesn't like gravy.  He has even been known to make these wonderful cubed steaks into a sandwich! 

I hope you enjoy.  I usually serve them with mashed potatoes covered in this gravy and green beans. 
Note- this is the basic formula for making gravy from any "drippings", i.e. pork chops, chicken, bacon, even hamburger meat.