Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Wednesday Night Dinner

Wednesday Night Dinner

It has been raining here for two days and it is gloriously windy outside. I’ve been thrilling over the display outside my writing windows. My heirloom roses are all greenery right now but they seem to dance in the wind and continually tap the wide window in front of me as if to get my attention. “Look out here,” they seem to say… and I do. Cardinals are everywhere!

Nestled in the branches of this ever growing rose bush… a gift from my FIL so many years ago… are males and females. They sing to each other and are happier than I’ve seen them all year. They fly right through the thorns without grazing their feathers and flit from one plant to another.

Tonight, they were decorating my now all brown and branches Confederate Rose, like ornaments on a Christmas tree. The heavy rains had turned into a soft piddle paddle and water was pooling up from here to our vehicles. These startling red birds (males) and those with a watercolor red (females) were pecking all over the ground and playing in the water. It was the nicest gift from my faithful Father. He knew how dearly I could appreciate such a special sight this day.

Venison is browning slowly on the stove top for our venison chili tonight. We’ll top our steaming bowls with chopped onions and shredded cheddar and maybe even add a wee scoop of sour cream. Smiles.

A dear friend once told me (and for those of you who read the other time I shared this, forgive the repeat) to always keep the supplies on hand for making chocolate chip cookies. She said that no matter how tight the finances got… it offered a bit of comfort. I’ve found her to be very wise. I haven’t always managed to keep the supplies up with grocery prices rising but I try. I find if I have enough flour, sugar, butter, and other basics to make up something to bake…it serves us well. Just a note for those who must keep a watchful eye on the grocery budget!

My daughter adores brownies. I would say she loves them but adore sounds more emphatic somehow and this girl is very fond of chocolate-y rich brownies. With all the rain and wind going on and since we missed going to church as planned, I knew we needed something warm from the oven.

These brownies were easy, made the entire kitchen fill with a bakery like fragrance, they were very pretty and delicious! We ate our squares hot from the oven with a cold glass of milk.

Peanut Butter Brownies
2 cups sugar
1 cup flour
½ cup cocoa
1 tsp. baking powder
1 cup butter
½ cup peanut butter
4 eggs
¼ cup sweet milk
Mix all ingredients together and pour in 11 X 17-inch pan. Cook until toothpick comes clean.

Recipe used from:
“Sharing Our Best”
A Second Helping
A Collection of Recipes by: Trinity United Methodist Church

The cookbook was a gift from my mom since I always picked it up when visiting her to flip through the recipes. I found out it was very special to her because my oldest sister gave it to her in 1999 so it meant even more to me when I realized she parted with something close to her heart. I tried to not take it but she insisted I did so I think of her goodness and beautiful spirit every time I open it. I also think of my sister because she shares our mother’s giving heart.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Lauren Cooks...

Tired but still attempting to record our meals and/or recipes.
Tonight, Lauren made her first chicken and it was DELICIOUS.

One, she called her Asian Chicken and the other was Ranch Chicken. Her dad cut the chicken breasts into bite or a bit bigger size squares. She used disposable gloves my mom gave us a box of because she has the same aversion to the handling of raw meat her mother does.

Anyway, for the first recipe, she just mixed soy sauce and honey together and heated in the microwave to mix well. She added butter to the skillet and let it melt, added the chicken to the butter and let it cook just a little bit --- until it was turning white. She added the soy sauce honey mixture and finished cooking all the way through.
The second was cooked exactly the same way but she put Ranch powder over the chicken instead of soy sauce and honey. She also drizzled some olive oil over this.

The small, two batches worth of chicken provided dinner last night as well as breakfast and lunch today.
The dinner menu was: Asian and Ranch Chicken Breast Bites, Oven Roasted Potatoes, and Buttermilk Biscuits made from Gold Medal Buttermilk Biscuit Mix.

Oven Roasted Potatoes: Cut in bite sized pieces (hers are bite sized wedges) and drizzle in olive oil, sprinkle Ranch powder over them and then toss them to coat. Bake at 425 degrees until as cooked and crispy as you like.

Blake’s Breakfast Biscuits

My husband served me these in bed today! It blesses me still even typing about it!
Anyway, he split open the biscuits from last night and spread a bit of homemade apple jelly on the bottom. He topped them with the potatoes and chicken from last night and added cheese to that. He heated them in the microwave for a few seconds and they were delicious!

For lunch, I made Open biscuit sandwiches. I halved the biscuits (still from previous night) and topped with already heated up potatoes and chicken topped with melted cheese. We drizzled our last bit of balsamic vinegar over them and ate with forks!

Lauren is trying Parmesan Chicken Bites today so I’ll let you know how they turn out!

"For me, a plain baked potato is the most delicious one....It is soothing and enough." M.F.K. Fisher

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Quick Catch Up

Forgive my hurry!
If this isn’t worded precisely enough, I can blame my exhaustion. Long story.

Anyway, in my effort to keep up with my goal of recording as much as I can of what we prepare and eat around here, I’m adding as time allows. This means there will be times like now when I just share a “mixed bag” of recipes or food descriptions of what I can remember making lately.

Okay. Tonight, we had cheddar pizza and one part of it had sautéed julienned carrots. We also threw a pan of chicken breasts into the oven so they will be baked for tomorrow’s lunch or dinner.

For the pizza sauce, I just mixed some oregano, garlic powder, smoky paprika, and onion salt into tomato sauce. For the crust, I used a recipe from :

Quick and Easy Pizza Crust
Yields: 8 servings

1 (.25 ounce) package active
dry yeast
1 teaspoon white sugar
1 cup warm water (110 degrees F/45 degrees C)
2 1/2 cups bread flour (I used all-purpose)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon salt

1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F (230 degrees C). In a medium bowl, dissolve yeast and sugar in warm water. Let stand until creamy, about 10 minutes.
2. Stir in flour, salt and oil. Beat until smooth. Let rest for 5 minutes.
3. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and pat or roll into a round. Transfer crust to a lightly greased pizza pan or baker's peel dusted with cornmeal. Spread with desired toppings and bake in preheated oven for 15 to 20 minutes, or until golden brown. Let baked pizza cool for 5 minutes before serving.
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED © 2008 Printed from 12/2/2008

This crust was very easy and one of the softest and loveliest I’ve ever made. There wasn’t the texture I prefer but it was a great choice for a busy night.

We’ve made a few more batches of the Oatmeal Cookies using the recipe from the Quaker Oatmeal lid and adding chopped chocolate.

Things have been so busy around here and we were in FLORIDA (left on Wednesday and got back early Monday morning) so I don’t recall the rest. I was working on Nano Wrimo three weeks in November so I didn’t have time for much other typing!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Truly Simple Nourishment

Things have been busy and finances have been narrowed to dry purses and flat wallets for the past several weeks. Isn’t it amazing how little we really need to live on?

Habits hold true for most of us in thinking we need far more than we actually do and consuming massively above what we should.
It is good to think anyway when there is little to be so indulgent on. Smiles. . .

We have had some delicious and comforting favorites and the creativity in my somewhat disheveled kitchen has been good. We have eaten fresh Roma tomato sandwiches with mayonnaise, salt and pepper.

I’ve made white sauce with cheese (what is it called: béchamel or something like that) melted in or broccoli. Served over toast or cooked potatoes.

We’ve made pasta with butter or oil and whatever we found to skillet sauté and toss in with it. Bits of various cheeses when they were available, bits and pieces of mushrooms, squash, and so on mixed in with garlic infused pasta.

Fresh garlic has been peeled and rubbed on hot toast and this was eaten with salsa we were given as a gift.
Eggs provide protein and help fill up empty stomachs and they are awesome for the busy mama and/or wife. Just about anything you make with eggs means a quick meal and we’ve enjoyed them scrambled for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Scrambled with cheese, fried, with toast, as sandwiches, mixed in the above written of sauce, hard boiled, sliced and salted, and however one decides.

Our venison has proven a tremendous blessing and we have eaten the ground in place of hamburger meat. The tenderloin is very similar to a very tender cube steak and there is never a bite left when we these are made.
I’ve lost record on what I’ve shared and what I haven’t so if I’m repeated myself, please forgive me.
Just send me a note at and let me know or beg me to never share such things again.
In the meanwhile…

I put some all-purpose flour in a wide, shallow bowl and added salt and freshly ground pepper. Another similar bowl was used for milk and I sliced each small rectangle in half so it would cook faster and put them all in the milk. When I finished cutting both packs of meat and had them in the milk, I moved on to the next step.
I took one at a time and placed on the flour until I ran out of room. Basic flouring deal until all were covered and filled a hot skillet with some olive oil and butter. I was out of regular oil and this made sure I was out of olive oil and butter but it was worth it. I used two large cast iron skillets because I haven’t cooked one pack of meat in years for the most part.

I let each side cook on low to medium heat until it looked cooked halfway or right before halfway through and then flipped them. I let those cook about the same amount of time and then added about ½ cup of beef broth to each skillet. The meat simmered until the broth wasn’t watery anymore and took them off the heat.
So tender they were cut without using knives and delicious!

“A clever cook, can make....good meat of a whetstone.”Desiderius Erasmus, Dutch priest and scholar


I might not be the most clever of cooks but the Lord has shown me another great way to eat deer meat!

We had them with mashed potatoes and buttered toast.

So… there is a latest sharing from my fragrant little kitchen.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

A Lunch Visit

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me--practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you. (Philippians 4:8-9)

Nana & Papa brought the twins {Summer & Seth} and a delicious lunch! My D~I~Love, Laura came for a week day visit and we all had a lovely time.

Nana and I worked on getting the food from the kitchen to the table and we laughed, talked and just enjoyed our time together.
When Laura arrived, she and Papa got a rare chance to talk at the table and then she and I went outside and hung two loads of clothes on the line. She was reminded of spending time at her grandmother's when she was growing up and helping her hang laundry.

We were gifted with this delightful menu:

Homemade Vegetable Soup brought in Glass Jars
French Bread
Chocolate Chip Cookies & Cookie/Peanut Butter Sandwiches
Apple Pie
Sweet Tea

Anytime Nana brings food, she has it wrapped in sparkling clean jars, tied in bows, ribbons, or string and/or neatly stacked in top rolled bags. She can use wax paper, parchment paper and/or freezer paper better than most magazines. I've tried for years to get my food packing and storage to look as neat as she does but have yet to arrive.

This lunch was no exception!

We heated up the homemade vegetable soup and it made the entire house smell as cozy as a fireside on a cold day. While it was heating, she threw the French bread in one oven and the apple pie she brought from my sister in another. The bread got too hard but we solved it by rubbing fresh, peeled garlic cloves all over it and spreading butter over the hard crust. Mom also slathered some butter between some of the slices and this bread was delicious!

We filled our bowls with steaming soup and had a small glass bowl of sour cream with parsley sprinkled over the top on the table. Glasses were filled with ice and chosen beverage and we ate our meal while we watched leaves falling outside the dining room window.

The chocolate chip cookies came from a bucket of cookie dough Mom found at Sam's and they were SO easy. Half were made into peanut butter cookie sandwiches by spreading peanut butter on one bottom and pressing another cookie bottom to that.

The apple pie was one my sister bought at a local store's bakery and it was really good as well.

My mom told me how to follow the directions off the back of the REAL Lemon juice we buy from Sam’s for the easiest and most delicious lemonade recipe! I have a husband and at least two sons (Michael and Braxton) but maybe all of them who LOVE this beverage.
So easy.
Add 1 cup of REAL lemon juice to 1 cup of sugar and mix well with 6 ½ cups of fresh water. DELICIOUS and lovely. Lemon slices could be added like my mom suggested. Also, cherries, strawberries, raspberries and so on can add a pretty touch.

We drank our coffee and watched the kids play outside for awhile and then Nana & Papa left with the twins.

Lauren, my teenage daughter, took her five year old brother out to play while Laura and I watched a movie.

When the movie was over, Laura was leaving and our oldest son, Michael was walking in the door with his family. Right before they left, my sister, Lynda from out of town came in. It was a fun, filled, and favorite kind of day...

Mother/Daughter~in~Love & Nandy Day

Wednesday Menu:

Main Dish Gravy
With Buttered Garlic Toast
Ricotta Cheese Cake
Iced Tea

I was browsing through Meta Given’s Modern Encyclopedia of Cooking and came across an idea I used for lunch. I was in a hurry so I didn’t follow the recipe but look forward to trying it. I will share what I did and the actual one out of the book.

Some time ago, my M-I-Love shared with me one way she and Grandmother Willoughby (HER MIL) made meals stretch sometimes. She either called it Cheese Rarebit or Cheese Rabbit and I guess no one can say where such strange names came from. She told me to take a stick of butter and mix it in a skillet with ½ cup of flour until totally blended and bubbly and to add milk until it was creamy and just the thickness I wanted. Then, she said to add shredded cheese and Worcestershire sauce and serve over hot toast.
I wondered how in the world cold butter and dry flour would ever mix but somehow they do. Just a little heat and pressing the butter through the flour with a fork until it is smooth actually works.

Since that first time, I have made similar things in various ways and all have turned out good and well loved.

This day, I used the same process I just shared with the butter, flour, eventually the milk and I turned the heat off when it was starting to thicken. This can happen fast so I try to stay right there on it with my whisk.
When it was a smooth, white gravy, I added a little more than ½ cup of sharp shredded cheese and let it stir until melted. Now, this is the part I’ve never done… I followed the idea from the book and added a can of stewed tomatoes after I gave them a whir in the food processor!
We eat tomato gravy around here and we eat the cheese rabbit/rarebit but they are delicious combined!

As soon as the toast popped up, I rubbed peeled, fresh garlic cloves over them and spooned the gravy over the toast. Lastly, I added a sprinkle of shredded cheese.
Brandy had the idea to use this like a fondue and cut toast up in squares so we dipped hot toast in and it was delicious! We are looking forward to trying this again in a fondue pot.

Okay, onto the “real” recipe:

Tomato Rabbit

2 T. butter
3 T. flour
¾ cup milk
1 cup grated sharp cheese, ¼ lb (a lot of the older cookbooks say 1 cup of cheese equals ¼ lb. but 1 lb. is 16 oz. and 1 cup is 8 oz. Why isn’t it considered ½ lb? Maybe something to do with being shredded)
1 tsp. sugar
1 tsp. salt
½ cup canned or fresh tomatoes, pureed
5 slices buttered toast
5 slices pan-broiled bacon

Melt butter in top of a double boiler over boiling water. *Quick note* If you don’t have an actual double boiler set or top piece, one is easily made. Just use a sauce pan for the boiling water and put a sauce pan on top of that making sure the boiling water isn’t able to come into the top sauce pan. Blend in flour and stir constantly while adding milk, then continue to stir until sauce thickens. Stir in grated cheese, sugar, salt, cover and allow cheese to melt, stirring occasionally. Add pureed tomatoes gradually , stirring to mix well. Serve immediately on hot buttered toast. (Please do. We were feeding children and ours sat a few minutes and got too soft.) Garnish with crisp bacon. 5 Servings.

“It isn't only fictional heroes to whom toast means home and comfort. It is related of the Duke of Wellington - I believe by Lord Ellesmere - that when he landed at Dover in 1814, after six years' absence from England, the first order he gave at the Ship Inn was for an unlimited supply of buttered toast.”Elizabeth David, 'English Bread and Yeast Cookery’ (1977)

Ricotta Cheese Cake
Yields: 24 servings

1 (18.25 ounce) package
yellow cake mix
24 ounces ricotta cheese
3/4 cup white sugar 3 eggs
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/8 cup confectioners' sugar for

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Lightly grease one 9x13 inch pan.
2. Make yellow cake mix according to package directions. Pour batter into the greased 9x13 inch pan.
3. Mix together the ricotta cheese, sugar, eggs and vanilla extract and spoon over cake batter.
4. Bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for about 45 minutes. Sprinkle cake with confectioners' sugar when cool.

This cake was okay but I don’t plan to make it again. It called for at least one stick of butter, a total of six eggs, and an entire tub of ricotta cheese. I expected it to be more grand. If someone desires to make this, I heartily suggest lots of powdered sugar and cinnamon sprinkled on top!

Monday, November 10, 2008

Coconut Pumpkin Bread

We really liked this bread and it made the kitchen Autumn kissed. I cut up some chocolate from a semi-sweet baking square and pushed this into the top of the batter in one of the loaves. It was amazing!
A hint on cutting up chocolate: a serrated knife (like a bread knife) works wonders!

Coconut Pumpkin Nut Bread

3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups packed dark brown
2/3 cup white sugar
1 (15 ounce) can pumpkin
1 cup vegetable oil
2/3 cup coconut milk 2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 1/2 teaspoons ground
2/3 cup unsweetened flaked
1 cup chopped walnuts,

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease and flour two 8 x 4 inch loaf pans.
2. Combine flour, sugars, pumpkin, oil, coconut milk, baking soda, salt, and spices. Mix until well blended. Fold in coconut and nuts. Pour into prepared pans.
3. Bake for about 1 hour and 15 minutes, or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean. Remove from oven. Cover with foil tightly, and allow to steam 10 minutes. Remove foil, and turn out onto cooling rack. Tent lightly with the foil, and allow to cool completely.

ALL RIGHTS RESERVED C 2008 Printed from

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Nourishing, Nutritious, & Nurturing Breakfast

Oatmeal with

Oatmeal, flaxseed, blueberries & almonds. To me, this is the perfect breakfast. Steel-cut oatmeal is probably the healthier choice, but if you are in a hurry, the instant kind will do fine (it doesn’t have as much fiber, but the other ingredients make up for that). After microwaving the oatmeal, add ground flaxseed, frozen blueberries, sliced almonds. You can add a little cinnamon and honey (not a lot) if you’re using the non-instant oatmeal. That’s four power foods, full of fiber and nutrients and protein and good fats, with only a couple of minutes of prep time. And very tasty!
Got from somewhere online? LOVED it and want to have it OFTEN!

Toffee Brownies

Toffee Brownies

Prep Time:
24 large/48 small brownies

1 (17.6-ounce) package brownie mix with walnuts
Vegetable oil cooking spray
3 (6-ounce) candy bars with almonds and toffee chips (recommended: Symphony brand)

Prepare the brownie mix according to package directions.

Line a 13 by 9-inch cake pan with aluminum foil and spray with vegetable oil cooking spray. Spoon in half of the brownie batter and smooth with a spatula or the back of a spoon. Place the candy bars side by side on top of the batter. Cover with the remaining batter.

Bake according to package directions. Let cool completely, then lift from the pan using the edges of the foil. This makes it easy to cut the brownies into squares.

Printed from on 10/21/2008
© 2008 Scripps Networks, LLC. All Rights Reserved

*Forgive if repeat*

Meals During NanoWrimo!

My posting might be zig zagged this month and many meals and/or recipes might not be posted but I’ll make an effort to keep up to some extent.

I’m focused on writing 50,000 words in this month and I’ve signed up to do this six straight years now (this being the 6th) and never managed it.
Hoping to change it this year and make writing a stronger priority in my life.
ANYway, that all JUST to explain the infrequent meal sharings and posting!

Last night was a very simple dinner since we had to make an unexpected trip an hour away during the day, h ad company come over last night, and trying to keep from stressing over the election.

The meat I set out didn’t thaw (even though it had been in the fridge for two days) and I was going through cookbooks for something to throw together. My husband, who sees it as being very strange to look through a cookbook for something to throw together… is the KING of throwing things together. He went in while I was deeply diving through my cookbook (the one I made our menu plan with and promptly misplaced when we rearranged rooms) … HE was in the kitchen making DINNER!

I was very glad and didn’t help other than to make the green peas he cooked into a dish I got the recipe from for. It was a great meal at the table and I believe gathering there together makes any meal nicer.

Tilapia Fish Sandwiches – Oven baked tilapia seasoned with various things from the spice cabinet (sorry, but he gets kind of wild with the spices and never has a clue what goes where so I can’t be more specific) and some of us added a thin slice of cheese. We ate these on toasted buns.
Corn --- from freezer to stove top.
Peas --- turned out okay.

Cream Peas
Yields: 4 servings

2 cups frozen green peas,
2/3 cup water
1/8 teaspoon salt 3 tablespoons butter
1/3 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon white sugar

1. In a medium saucepan, combine peas, water, and salt. Bring to a boil, then stir in butter.
2. In a small bowl, whisk together cream, flour, and sugar. Stir mixture into peas. Cook over medium-high heat until thick and bubbly, about 5 minutes.
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED © 2008 Printed from 11/4/2008

Sometime after dinner, we had those marshmallow/peanut butter/cracker under the broiler things I wrote about previously. Right from my Daughter-in-Love.


Sunday, November 2, 2008

Saturday with Sisters & Nieces

My home is RIGHT between the homes of two of my sisters. I am 30 minutes to the south of Lynda and 30 minutes to the north of Sherry.

They met here yesterday to visit and for one sister to drop off her daughter and let the other sister take her for the weekend. Isn’t that nice and confusing?

Anyway, I made hot coffee and these sandwiches from the:

Farm Journal’s Country Cookbook

These sound weird but they were wonderful and we’ll be making them again! I’m typing the recipe directly --- with the original notes from the cookbook. The only changes: the tblsp for tablespoon was changed into a capital T and I didn’t have green pepper so didn’t add it. Also, I ended up using 7 buns because there was so much filling!

Cheese/Tuna Surprise

It’s fun to unwrap and eat this tasty fix-ahead family sandwich.

1 c. cubed sharp cheese (1/4 lb.)
1 (7oz.) can tuna, flaked
2 T. chopped onion
2 T. chopped sweet pickles
3 hard-cooked eggs, chopped
2 T. diced green pepper
2 T. chopped pimento-stuffed olives
½ c. mayonnaise
6 hot dog buns

• Combine cheese, tuna, onion, pickles, eggs, green pepper, olives and mayonnaise. Spread on buns, cut in halves lengthwise.
• Place sandwiches on baking sheet. Heat in very slow oven (250 degrees F.) 30 minutes. Or wrap in foil and refrigerate a few hours if you wish to make them ahead. Heat and serve in foil. Makes 6 servings.
I am assuming they had to slice the hot bungs themselves back then because cutting them lengthwise again would make a mess. I just opened up the buns, filled them, pressed the two sides together and slid the cookie sheet into the oven.

Sherry, my youngest sister and Savannah’s mom left with her other kids (Sierrah, Kyle and Konnor ) and Lynda stayed here with Savannah. To add a tiny bit more of confusion but to eliminate hurt feelings for lack of mention: the rest of Sherry’s little ones were at our parents. Kinsey, Summer, and Seth.

Anyway, we decided to make a day of our visit and after talking and the teen girls hanging out on the computer, we came up with ideas for FEEDING us. We wanted something fun for eating before watching a DVD and Savannah asked about making our own McDonald’s Chicken Snack Wraps. All agreed.

For something sweet,
I pulled out a recipe Savannah had hand written when she was younger and was still in my kitchen notebook of recipes.

We had our dinner plans!

Snack Wraps
Yummie Bars
Iced Sweet Tea
Caramel Apple Cider with Whipped Cream

I cannot believe none of us thought to get PICTURES!

We made a grocery trip and worked together upon our return. Aunt Lynda got the cutting board out and filled bowls with chopped tomatoes, shredded lettuce, shredded cheese, and chopped Rotisserie chicken.

She set out Ranch and I pulled a small tub of sour cream out. Lauren grabbed a bottle of hot sauce and a. Lynda heated the tortillas in the microwave. Lauren got out plates and made a gallon of her famous sweet tea, Savannah made the crust for the magic cookie bars and I made the cream cheese layer and washed dishes.

Everyone loved everything!

Here are the recipes:

Yummie Bars
• ½ box powdered sugar
• 2-sticks melted butter (separated)
• 2 eggs
• 1 block of cream cheese
• 1 box yellow cake mix
• 1 bag caramel
• 1 bag of chocolate chips
• 1 bag of toffee bits

1. Mix both bags of chips together in bowl.
2. Mix 1 stick of melted butter, 1 egg, and box of cake mix in a bowl. Dough will be firm.
3. Mix dough with ½ chip mix, and stir. Mash dough into 11 X 13 in. pan (ungreased)
4. Mix cream cheese, 1 egg, and 1 stick of butter together until it is a cream. Gradually add powdered sugar. Mix again and pour evenly over cake mix.
5. Sprinkle the other half of chip mix over the mixtures.
6. Cook for about 50 minutes. Check every 20 minutes.
7. Melt caramels and drizzle over the top.
8. Cool and cut into bars.

This was way, way, way too rich for me. I would use a few melted caramels instead of a bag and I would soften instead of melt the butter for the cream cheese mixture.

Apple Caramel Beverage

Heat apple cider and swirl in a couple of tablespoons of caramel ice cream topping from the jar. Top with loads of whipped cream and drizzle a small amount of the caramel over that.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Hot & Hearty "Pantry" Meal

Our dinner last night was a blessing. I didn’t know what I would fix until I threw this together! I know many prefer cooking this way because it can keep things from being boring but I am a planner… big time. I like knowing ahead of time what we’ll be eating with few exceptions. I mean, there are many times when I’ll decide to bake something out of the blue or make something new but my meals are not by the seat of my pants. Smile.

Anyway, our food budget has been pretty tight and the last time I purchased groceries was October 3rd from Sam’s. They’ve held out very well but we were getting low enough to get creative and I was just… not there.

Well, I pulled the left over spaghetti and sauce from our fridge. Did I already mention finding some mozzarella in the freezer I had forgotten I stashed? I grabbed a bag of that and greased a 9 X 13 baking dish. I emptied the bag of spaghetti, sprinkled some cheese, and covered with sauce. The sauce was too thick and there wasn’t enough to cover so I borrowed an idea I grew up watching my mom use and added some hot water. Perfect consistency and it covered the pasta completely. I covered all with the rest of the cheese and baked at 350 degrees for 35 minutes. It looked really delicious and tasted it and I served it with a Romaine salad. I found the lettuce in the fridge and it looked too plain by itself so I grabbed the last bit of Feta cheese from our container and sprinkled it on. We topped it with Ranch Lauren made the day before (added a bit of water to this as well) and some balsamic vinegar. Very satisfying meal!

I like the part of the following quote speaking of using "every wholesome article of food" but am certainly not implying anyone who might chance upon reading this is ignorant if they don't. Just a note so you know :)

“It may be safely averred that good cookery is the best and truest economy, turning to full account every wholesome article of food, and converting into palatable meals what the ignorant either render uneatable or throw away in disdain.”Eliza Acton, Modern Cookery for Private Families (1845)

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Tuesday With Laura

I got to see my new D-I-Love’s (and my son’s but he isn’t there yet) apartment and it was really nice. Just the right size and lots of safety considerations made so I feel better after being there.

I was given a delicious new lip gloss from Mary Kay purchased at a makeover I was supposed to be present for! I ended up coming later with little man.

We had a lovely visit with Braxton and Lily (the new family member… a Lhasa Apso puppy) played. Laura and I visited while getting a delicious lunch prepared. Laura’s mother made homemade macaroni and cheese the night before along with some pork loin and rice.

Laura made a very delicious treat and it was special to her. Her grandmother (no longer with her) made it for her mom after school and her mom made it for her. I wanted a picture but didn’t have a camera with me so I’ll take one the next time I make them.

I don’t know what they are called and these sound weird but they are really good!

Spread whipped peanut butter on a saltine cracker and top with a marshmallow. Broil until the marshmallows are browned and flatten with a spoon after taking them out of the oven.

A variation I just told my daughter we should try is spreading the same peanut butter on a graham cracker, sprinkled some chocolate chips over that and adding a marshmallow. Broil the same way. Worth a try!

We got to talk to my son while we were there and it made me so desperately wish he was there right then!

The visit was wonderful. We cleaned up the kitchen and headed out (all of us, including LilyJ) to drive to our house.

We heated up some Maple Pecan bread we brought from Laura’s kitchen … a gift from a family friend. It put one in mind of how Autumn air would taste.

Lauren was home from high school so we all piled back into the suburban and went across town to spend time with my sister and niece. My niece’s husband just left for Basic Training in the Air Force and she was really missing him.

The Lord really blessed us with a beautiful day…

Chocolate Cobbler ~ 2 Recipes

Chocolate Cobbler
Yields: 8 servings

6 tablespoons butter
1 cup self-rising flour
3/4 cup white sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons
unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 cup milk 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup white sugar
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
1 1/2 cups boiling water

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Melt butter in an 8x8 inch baking dish while the oven preheats.
2. In a medium bowl, stir together the flour, 3/4 cup sugar, and 1 1/2 tablespoons cocoa. Stir in milk and vanilla until smooth. Spoon this batter over the melted butter in the baking dish.
3. Stir together the remaining cup of sugar and 1/4 cup cocoa powder. Sprinkle over the batter. Slowly pour boiling water over the top of the mixture.
4. Bake for 30 minutes in the preheated oven, until set. Serve slightly warm with ice cream.
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED © 2008 Printed from 10/29/2008

Chocolate Cobbler

Melt 2 sticks of margarine in a 9x13x2" pan. In a bowl, mix 1 1/2 cups of sugar, 1 1/2 cups of self-rising flour, 3/4 cup milk, and 2 teaspoons vanilla flavoring.(I used Kay's Watkins vanilla). Drizzle this over the melted margarine. Mix 6 tablespoons cocoa and 1 cup sugar. Sprinkle this over mixture in pan. Pour 1 3/4 cups of water over the top slowly. Make sure all is wet. I use a spoon and press lightly. Don't stir.

Bake at 350*F oven for 20-25 minutes (I cooked about 30 minutes). The mixture should be moist.
Barbara Hudson

*This was the first recipe I used and I followed the lead of my dear friend, Barbara:) She used the dark cocoa powder so I tried it on this and it was really GOOD! I'll post pictures the next time I make it. We topped this recipe with whipped topping.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Fast Lunch & Simple Dinner

Our Dinner "Menu" ~

Blake was working out of town and didn't get home until dark so I put his dinner in a container in the fridge. The rest of us didn't eat together at the table and I don't want this to become a habit!

Fried Deer Tenderloin

Tossed Salad

French Bread

Nana, Papa, and Sherry (my youngest sister) came for a visit today. They brought the twins, Summer & Seth and 2 year old, Konnor. My niece and nephews!

My sister went to the store while the kids and Braxton played and Papa read some of the paper and watched some news. Nana and I talked, went through some pictures of the other grandkids from the computer and she got to see my blogs. Smiles.

The store trip yielded French bread, turkey lunch meat, cheese, pecan rolls and sugar for chocolate cobbler.

Nana split the whole loaf in half and placed turkey on one open face and cheese on the other. She broiled in the oven until the cheese melted. She put the loaf back together when it was still hot from the oven and I rubbed some butter and a fresh, cut garlic clove all over it.

Nana sliced the loaf in four sections and we grabbed wax paper squares for plates. The kids didn't want anything to do with these so they had mayonnaise sandwiches with no crusts and slice of meat.

We had ours with hot coffee, fresh water and green olives.

The chocolate cobbler I've made countless times was a waste of ingredients. I forgot to make the all-purpose flour into self rising!

That was our day in the kitchen and around it!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

A Different Dinner

My teen daughter believes this to be the strangest dinner we’ve ever had. I was just working with what we had and what was on sale because I didn’t want to spend my entire weekend over the stove. Smiles;)

Anyway, here it is:

Venison Steaks with Pan Gravy
Alfredo Egg Noodles topped with Parmesan Cheese
French Bread

Yes. That was it. Yes, we had something like venison steak with alfredo noodles and not fettuccini.
There were Alfredo sauce jars on sale at the grocery I got when we made a trip for milk so that is why I found a use for those.

I am attempting to have a place where as many of our meals are recorded in one place as possible. Actually, three places bec/ I’m making Word documents and sharing with the original email list for each one as well. This means, sharing things I wouldn’t normally share … like this meal.

Through the years, I cannot tell you the hundreds of times people have asked for specific recipes or dish names I have been asked for. I almost never had them to give because I cook so much and don’t keep records. SO… I decided to make this blog a record and I or the one searching can go to the archives and easily click to the desired meal or recipe!
We did enjoy the meal! Our oldest son and his family came and we ate, drank some delicious coffee and watched SNL reruns and laughed together.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Toffee Brownies

It was cold today (for us) and my sun streamed in kitchen waited for us to bring it to life :)
The fire in the oven was aroused and a pan of the richest brownies was slid into the heat. We weren't disappointed.
When I saw Paula Deen make these brownies on a recent show, I knew we'd be trying them here the minute funds allowed. These cost less than $10 to make (approximately 7.50 depending on where one shops) and that isn't bad compared to purchasing premade baked goods. It is high compared to other made at home options. Either way, even if you are like me and not a huge brownie fan... these are worth their weight in chocolate toffee!

Toffee Brownies
Prep Time: 8 min
Cook Time: 25 min
Level: Easy
Serves: 24 large/48 small brownies
1 (17.6-ounce) package brownie mix with walnuts
Vegetable oil cooking spray
3 (6-ounce) candy bars with almonds and toffee chips (recommended: Symphony brand)

Prepare the brownie mix according to package directions.

Line a 13 by 9-inch cake pan with aluminum foil and spray with vegetable oil cooking spray. Spoon in half of the brownie batter and smooth with a spatula or the back of a spoon. Place the candy bars side by side on top of the batter. Cover with the remaining batter.

Bake according to package directions. Let cool completely, then lift from the pan using the edges of the foil. This makes it easy to cut the brownies into squares.

Printed from on 10/21/2008
© 2008 Scripps Networks, LLC. All Rights Reserved

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Mother/Daughter-In-Love & Nandy Day

Mother/Daughter-In-Love & Nandy Day

My darling D-I-Love, Brandy, came over for our Wednesday with the littles. Emily was wearing one of her favorite dresses and looked so girly;) Caden’s outfit didn’t matter because he was quickly covered in food! He is at that hand grabbing, hand feeding frenzy stage and it is so funny to watch.
His mama might not agree on it being funny to clean though. Smiles.
We were preparing our lunch from the pantry this week and God allowed us to come up with a nice lunch.
We had a pasta dish and I made the pumpkin casserole I wrote about making before. It is on the right hand side. This link might take you right to it but I don’t know how to hyperlink yet so I’m not sure:

For the pasta, I threw a few chicken bouillon cubes into the boiling water with two garlic cloves. While a pack of angel hair pasta was boiling, I sizzled some olive oil and butter into a skillet and added cayenne red pepper, parsley, salt , pepper, and three cloves of chopped garlic.
This was tossed with the pasta along with a couple of cups of grated sharp cheddar cheese, Cajun seasoning and more salt. It tasted very bland originally so we kept adding seasonings.

Here is the original recipe:
Pasta e Olio
Submitted by: MARBALET
Rated: 4 out of 5 by 79 members Yields: 4 servings

"In just a matter of minutes you can whip up this simply splendid dish of pasta and olive oil, heady with garlic and seasoned with parsley and red pepper flakes. Finish with a generous coating of melted butter and serve warm."

1 pound spaghetti
2 teaspoons chopped garlic
1/4 cup chopped parsley 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup melted butter

1. In a large pot with boiling salted water cook spaghetti pasta until al dente. Drain.
2. Meanwhile, in a large skillet over low heat saute garlic, parsley, and red pepper flakes with olive oil . Cook until garlic turns golden in color, about 10 to 15 minutes.
3. Toss pasta with garlic mixture and butter or margarine. Serve warm.
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED © 2008 Printed from 10/23/2008

Sharing a Blog Link and a Recipe for Coconut Pie

I am subscribed to a blog I really like. I have only recently discovered "Southern Plate" but have already tried one of the recipes and look forward to trying more.
Link is below the recipe!

Here is the one I tried:

Mama's Amazingly Easy Coconut Pie

2 C milk
3/4 C sugar
1/2 C Baking mix
4 eggs
1/4 C butter or margarine
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
1 C shredded coconut

Put everything except for the coconut into the blender. Mix on low speed for three minutes. Pour into greased pie plate. Let rest for five minutes. Sprinkle coconut on top. Bake at 350 for forty minutes.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

San Antonio Chili Casserole

San Antonio Chili Casserole

1 T. corn oil (I used vegetable oil but will probably use olive oil from now on)
1 medium size onion, chopped (I used a large onion)
1 medium size green bell pepper, seeded and chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
1 pound lean ground beef chuck (can’t wait to try ground venison!)
1 T. chili powder
One (8 oz.) can tomato sauce
Salt and black pepper to taste
Two 16-0z cans kidney beans, drained, reserving ½ cup of the liquid (I used one can of black beans and one can of the new grill style baked beans)
1 cup all-purpose flour (I used whole grain, hard red winter wheat flour but might be trying the unbleached regular all-purpose next time)
1 cup of yellow cornmeal (didn’t have any so I used a cup of cornmeal mix)
2 t. baking powder
1 t. sugar
1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
2 large eggs
¼ cup (1/2 a stick) butter, melted

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 2-quart casserole and set aside.
2. In a large skillet, heat the oil over moderate heat, add the onion, bell pepper, and garlic and stir till just softened. Add the beef, breaking it up with a fork, stir till browned, and pour off any excess fat. Add the chili powder, tomato sauce, and salt and pepper, and stir. Add the beans and reserved bean liquid, stir well, and scrape into the prepared casserole.
3. In a medium-size mixing bowl, combine the flour, cornmeal, baking powder, sugar, salt and pepper to taste, and cheese. In a small mixing bowl, beat together the eggs and butter, pour into the flour mixture, and stir till well blended and smooth. Spread the mixture evenly over the meat and beans and bake till the top is lightly browned, about 30 minutes.

Makes 4-6 servings.

From: Crazy for Casseroles by James Villas
275 All-American Hot-Dish Classics


Please read!

I have this account set up to alert me by email if I get any comments but it apparently isn't working. I just happened to be trying to learn how to make categories so readers could more easily click on what they want where when I noticed some comments.

Please forgive me if it seems I just didn't respond!

JUST in case you don't get it otherwise, Melissa, I responded to your comment:

Melissa! I have my settings to alert me if I have a comment but I had none! I didn't even know you left this. I went to the posts, attempting to make categories for easier viewing and saw comments on some of the posts!
So sorry! I'll send this out in case you don't see it! Love, Sandy

Sunday Lunch

Sunday Lunch

Broccoli Chowder

Broccoli (steamed or cooked) I have a steam basket we got somewhere years and years ago. It just sits on top of any pot big enough to hold it evenly. Enough water to create steam is added to the bottom pot and the steamer basket is covered. In a matter of minutes, the freshest steamed vegetables are to be had!
Butter and Olive Oil
Any cheeses you prefer. I almost always use stray pieces and left over slices to this.

Sautee onions in a Dutch oven with some olive oil and butter.
When onions are soft and smaller in size, sprinkle flour (I used whole grain hard red wheat flour) enough for a soft paste.
Immediately, pour in some water or chicken broth (I added chicken boullion cubes to the left over water I used to steam the broccoli) and keep stirring so everything is blended well.
Add some milk (canned, fresh, half-n-half or whatever) and stir well. Add steamed broccoli and whatever cheese you’ll be using. I used two American slices (they are processed but my daughter gets them once in awhile for a treat and money is so tight we make use with whatever we have) along with two little wax covered deals the teen girl has for her lunch. I found some sharp cheddar and added it.
We ate our chowder with toasted bread on the side. I rubbed a peeled garlic clove all over the hot toast for some and buttered the others. Every bite was eaten and this fed 5 of us nicely.

Dessert was the growing -more -famous -by -the- day, Cake in a Mug.
The first one I made (a week or so ago) was better. I didn’t have chocolate chips at the time so I chopped up Hershey’s kisses. They are so much better in my opinion! Today’s version had the chocolate chips and I didn’t care for it nearly as much.

If I’ve already shared this recipe, please overlook it. I need more sleep! I didn’t have any organic ingredients and next time I’ll just make one big cake unless there are only one or two of us. Too much work and mess for making five at once in my opinion!
Regardless, here it is for anyone interested:
(I got this from the realfoodliving email list at yahoogroups I’ve shared about so often!)


Yield: as many mugs as you have chocolate cake-loving people

One cake per mug

Mug (must be EXTRA large or the cake will explode over the sides. My mugs are 16 ounces)

1/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour, freshly ground

1/4 cup organic sucanat

2 Tablespoons organic unsweetened cocoa powder

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1 large organic egg

3 Tablespoons organic whole milk

3 Tablespoons organic virgin coconut oil, melted

1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla

2 Tablespoons organic chocolate chips

Place dry ingredients in each much and mix well with a fork or small whisk.

Add the egg, milk, oil and vanilla into the mug with dry ingredients and mix briskly until all ingredients are incorporated and smooth.

Place the mug uncovered in a microwave and cook on HI for 2 minutes.
Add the chocolate chips to the top of the cake and microwave for 30 seconds longer.

Remove the Mug O' Cake from the microwave and let the cake cool slightly - about 5 minutes.

Eat as is, or top with homemade ice cream if desired.

Menu Planning (Previously Posted @ Nutmeg Notes)

Dear Sisters,

I share different things concerning menu making and planning because I have tried different ways in search for the best way for our family. Regardless of what plan I've used... it seems to be something I find myself dreading each and every time I do it.
I must tell you that I have been more excited over my menu making since receiving the email I am sharing with you than I have in a long while!
I am almost done with mine and thought I'd share the idea with you.
Prepare yourself for this is very simple but simple is exactly what I need!

*Please* Keep in mind that have this all formatted in a nice and neat Way but every time I send it in ... it is much different. Hopefully, this One will AT LEAST keep some of the order originally created with it!

I got this from Crystal Miller... a wonderful friend I met online
some years back. I feel God placed us in each other's "path" because she responded to a forum/message board or SOMETHING like that I had sent a question into related to homeschooling. She has been such a true blessing to my life since that time --- and that was the only thing I ever did on that board or whatever it was. There was a list we were on together, too, and I LOVED it.
I unsubscribed when time limits crept up for the computer but always got a lot out of that list - maybe Crystal can refresh my memory on the name and I can share that with you:).

Crystal has been married to Tobin for 17 years and home schools their 8 children. I received a picture of these kids and they are just beautiful...
Richard is 19, Carolyn 16, Hannah 13, Emily 11, Leanne 10, Jacob 7
Sierra 6, and Isaac is 3 1/2 .
The Millers have 1 dog, "too many cats", 3 rabbits, 5 goats, 17
chickens, and 2 horses! As you can imagine... there is a lot of work to be done in this home and any ways of simplifying things probably help.
Crystal enjoys many homemaker helping hobbies like cooking, baking,
sewing, herbs, reading, and learning to be more organized. Other activities she enjoys are reading with her children, family movie nights, date nights with her husband, craft projects with her oldest girls, her goats, and making homemade gifts. Of the last "skill", Crystal says: "not that I am that good at it!) and I truly believe she is being a bit too modest here!

*Update* Crystal now has a blog and a wonderful site I glean recipes from all the time! The site is: and the blog is:

From Crystal:
" the problem I have always had is that a strict menu for the next
month ability to try new recipes or the fact that something may come up and we eat out of the home. Well one day I was reading something on the Internet about making a 5 week menu and just planning 5 meals per week. And rotating this plan every 5 weeks. This give room for the things listed above. Well this idea really clicked for me so I sat down and figured out a menu as described and have been using it now for a few weeks. It works great! If you get tired of something you can remove it from the menu and replace it with something else. To give you an idea, I will show you my 5-week menu: (Crystal's)

5 Week Menu Plan

Week 1:
Baked chicken
Green chili pork
Hamburger rice pie

Week 2:
Slow cooker enchiladas
Teriyaki chicken
Tuna casserole
Potatoes and sausage in Crock Pot

Week 3:
Meatball and ravioli soup
Tacos (made w/taco rice)
Chinese stir-fry
Baked ham
Chicken gravy over biscuits

Week 4:
Baked spaghetti
Taco soup
Broccoli ham bake
Chicken tetrazzini
Roast-- beef or pork

Week 5:
Zesty Italian casserole
Mexican pasta bake
Chicken rice casserole
Marvelous meatballs
Split pea or bean soup

On my shopping day I check my menu for the upcoming week then check my pantry for any needed items before I go out and shop."
The website this was taken from is:

,which you might already be familiar with. It is a great site with lots of nice information to browse through. There is a free email newsletter available, too.

Have a GREAT day/night:). Love, Sandy

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Saturday Night Dinner

Saturday Night Dinner

Scrambled Eggs with Cheddar Cheese, A few strips of turkey breast, and Dill
With Buttered Toast from the oven.
Steaming hot coffee and pure water

I wanted some baked beans to go with this for an out of country flair but we didn’t have any beans other than garbanzo.

Husband and son were outside playing baseball and the girls were on the computer when I called everyone to our cozy little meal. The young lady who is staying with us for a couple of days has been coming here since her birth 12 years ago. It is funny because I met her mother when SHE was 12 years old! That was 20 years ago!

For dessert:

Vanilla Ricotta Cream
{Original recipe may be slightly different. I got it out of my South Beach Diet book a long time ago and make big batches of it every so often. }

I put three cups of Ricotta cheese (the only kind I really like is what I get from Sam’s --- Biazzo brand) in the food processor. To this, I add 1 ½ t. vanilla extract (or 2 teaspoons if I want moreJ) and 3 T. of Splenda .
I give it just enough of a whirl to blend well and use a rubber spatula to scrape it all into a glass bowl with a lid. I keep it in the fridge and right before serving, grate fresh nutmeg and sprinkle cinnamon over the top.

The concerns I’ve read about concerning Splenda have kept me from using it other than this recipe and rarely at restaurants. I could actually get used to using this but there are lots of conflicting reports on the safety issue with it. I also read artificial sweeteners have been proven to make you crave more of them and this might have the same properties. It is supposed to come from real sugar but the processing is pretty heavy and white sugar isn’t good for us anyway.
There is my nutrition out-loud-ponder for the day!

Friday, October 17, 2008

Our Day

I grabbed a quick shower this morning and flew through brushing teeth, spraying and wiping down sink and toilet, and gathered laundry. Made and drank coffee, did a quick morning quiet time, and grabbed Braxton on my way out the door!

We drove to get Brandy, Emily, and Caden to make a trip by the DMV or whatever it is called. The place you renew your license and things like that.
The kids and I stayed in the suburban while Brandy went in and it was funny. A lady pulled up to "hi!" and "how are you" from the kids and they played with Lego's in the back section (seat was down) while Caden went between grabbing the steering wheel and patting his hands on the window as rain drops occasionally slid down.

When Brandy came out, she took the two kiddo's from the back and led them to one of the new Charger State Trooper vehicles. She wanted to get pictures for Michael (her husband, my son) because he thinks they are so cool. {Smile}

The Troopers let Braxton wear one of their hats and stand in front of the car and pictures were taken of both of them next to it.
They had SO much fun... they smiled all the way back.

Back here, we made three pizzas. I made a batch of 3 crusts and rolled out the first one on a stone. I showed Emily how to roll it, use a fork to jab holes here and there and bake a few minutes before adding toppings. She made hers and Braxton was in the kitchen by the time the third crust was in need of the same things. We discovered Emily EATING her pizza dough before we cooked it! Hers had little "claw" marks resembling what one might see from a baby bear:)

We topped the first crust with marinara sauce, steamed broccoli pieces, shredded and steamed carrots, sautéed chicken breasts bites, mozzarella and/or cheddar cheese and onion salt. The second had sauce, two cheeses and chicken. The third (baby bear dough) is being saved for a future snack. They were very good!

Our something sweet were more of the No Bake Cookies (recipe in the right hand sidebar) we've had before. Braxton and Emily helped cookie scoop out the mixture onto wax paper sheets. They love that!

Whole Wheat Pizza Crust

Makes 3 crust

2 Tbs yeast
¾ c warm water
6 to 7 ½ cups whole wheat bread flour (I used a blend of Hard Red Winter Wheat and Kamut)
6T gluten flour (or vital wheat gluten)
1 ½ c warm water
1 TBS salt
4 ½ T olive oil

Follow directions above only dividing dough to make 3 crusts

In a mixer such as a Bosch or a Kitchen Aid add yeast and warm water. Let it sit for a few minutes to dissolve and activate. Add 2 cups of flour and all remaining ingredients. Mix dough well adding the extra flour until the dough will not stick to the sides of the bowl. Knead for about 4 minutes in the Bosch and 6 to 8 in the Kitchen Aid.

If you made this dough in a Kitchen Aid then let the dough rise for 1 hour. If made in a Bosch, skip this step.

Punch down dough and shape into a ball and roll out to fit a 14 inch pizza pan.

Add sauce and toppings and bake in a 475 oven for 15 to 20 minutes.

Recipe from my great friend of years, Crystal:

* These days with my D-I-Love and grandbabies started when Emily was a couple to a few weeks old. Brandy and I came up with the idea together (story I wrote about but lost an entire post on it!) to have Wednesdays as "our day". On these days, it kind of just evolved that we would have a lunch, a sweet, and either a movie (or rarely, two) or scrapbook. Had we recorded each one as we talked of doing, Emily (and now Caden) would have a small book's worth to look back on! The past several months have been here and there AND we tried changing days of the week but we've decided to stay with Wednesdays. This was the day of the week Brandy's appointments were when she was pregnant with Emily and I went to some of them so she came up with that day for us. *

Thursday, October 16, 2008

A Better Breakfast

"We plan, we toil, we suffer -- in the hope of what? A camel-load of idol's
eyes? The title deeds of Radio City? The empire of Asia? A trip to the moon?
No, no, no, no. Simply to wake up just in time to smell coffee and bacon and
eggs. And, again I cry, how rarely it happens! But when it does happen --
then what a moment, what a morning, what a delight!"
J. B. Priestley, British author (1894-1984)

Breakfast serves us as well as it is served. What could I mean by this?
This morning meal serves to greet us with almost intoxicating scents and
calls out to our taste buds before we make it to the table!
This first meal of the day welcomes us with steamy warmth on winter mornings
or cold fruit and crispy cereals when summer’s heat starts early.
We serve it… and it serves us.

Anyone desiring to learn how to cook would do well with breakfast basics.
Pancakes take practice and eggs require experience (pun intended:-)) but
they can be mastered easier than more complicated dinner dishes.

Even though I do most of our cooking and the kitchen is mainly my area to
keep up and work from, there are times when my husband shares this place in
our home. Sometimes, he just seems to need to brown some meat, gather hot
chili peppers, tomatoes, and more to stir together into an awesome chili.
During warm seasons (most of the year here) --- he enjoys grilling chicken
breasts, occasionally hamburgers (he and my sons insist on eating red meat
) as well as vegetables.

The one meal that he seems to enjoy preparing the most though… would have to
be breakfast.

This was the first meal he ever prepared for me. When we were dating, he
invited me over for a brunch-timed breakfast. I arrived to find scrambled
eggs with sharp cheddar cheese melted into and on top of, southern style
grits with butter, pancakes with a choice of butter and real maple syrup OR
freshly washed and sliced strawberries and whipped cream. He had bacon and
sausage heaped on a small platter and served it all with fresh orange juice
and strong coffee. I can still taste that time!

Now, we almost always have our breakfast meals in the am but my husband and
kids adore having this meal at night sometimes. I prefer to eat this meal in
the mornings but don’t mind it on occasion as an evening choice.

Regardless of when we serve this meal, it is a creative and charming array
of colors, tastes, aromas, and an all-in-all delight to the senses!
Beginning and gourmet cooks alike can have a grand time whipping this meal

For those (like me) either desiring to learn more or gain ideas for personal
inspiration, I will share some notes from our kitchen:

We serve up pancakes with real butter and true maple syrup and usually add
something of a treat:

* Bananas and walnuts --- such fluffy and delicious pancakes!
* Ginger, fresh nutmeg, and cinnamon --- I just whisk the spices up with the
dry ingredients. After doing this for years, I saw a Rachel Ray show on TV
($40 A Day of Travel Eating or something) and she visited a place in Hawaii
where one breakfast specialty was macadamia nut and ginger pancakes with
coconut syrup! It gave me an idea so I plan to add these nuts to my next
batch and find a way to make the syrup as well!
* Pecan and cinnamon --- I use pecan halves for this.
* Apples and cinnamon --- freshly sliced apples or dried
* Walnuts, toasted almonds, pecans, raisins, coconut and chocolate chips.
These are more of a dessert and almost too sweet but they take care of a
sweet tooth quickly!

There are more since the ideas are endless but these are just a few.

For eggs, we have to watch it because everyone here LOVES almost anything to
do with eggs! We make scrambled with cheese and chives as a base and we may
or may not add sautéed green peppers, onions, garlic, parsley, and anything
else we think of. If we want the egg dish to be the main meal, we’ll add
bacon bits, crumbled sausage, or grilled chicken pieces.
I prefer to make the cheese and chive eggs and preparing any vegetables on
top of the eggs and meats on the side so we do this both ways.

My husband’s specialty is omlettes. He makes them filled with a cheese
mixture, sautéed vegetables, and serves them hot:)I make them but they don’t
turn out nearly as beautiful as his!

I have made some well-known recipes with eggs and they have all turned out
great. Eggs Benedict, Quiche, casseroles, and more. Trying some of these can
be fun and pull us out of our “too ordinary” lapses and provides an easy way
to cook something new.

A little note on keeping eggs from drying out or getting those “crusty”
edges: I learned from a cooking show, book, or something, to use a small
amount of olive oil AND real butter. Does wonders with eggs to keep the
taste delicious and the eggs looking lovely for presentation!

Standards at our breakfast table are the above-mentioned foods along with
oatmeal (brown sugar and cinnamon or maple syrup or fresh/dried fruit
pieces,) Cream of Wheat (prepared with same/similar ingredients used when we
prepare oatmeal,) healthy cereals, French toast, and morning muffins filled
with carrot, pineapple, and nuts. I have it on my week’s to do list to find
another good morning muffin recipe.

Whatever we prepare and serve for breakfast, may we see the significance in
what we are doing. We are serving and “tending His lambs”, dear meal
makers:-) I pray each of us will start serving in the morning and carry it
on throughout our days!

So when they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, "Simon, son
of John, do you love Me more than these?" He said to Him, "Yes, Lord; You
know that I love You." He said to him, "Tend My lambs." John 21:15 NASB


Baking and Bananas!

Dear Creative Chefs,

My kitchen has been a place of great activity since I wrote to you last and should be so for another day or two. One might think we were starting a “banana bakery” by the looks of things. Yellow bunches with brown spots line an entire wall of counter space and call to be peeled, cut, smashed, and more!

The other day, my husband came home with a huge box of these bananas that he considered a great treasure for only $2.49! When he told me the price he paid, I must admit to expecting a bunch of black and rotting fruits. Imagine my delight at discovering beautifully ripened bananas with a yellow skin similar to sun beams from a late afternoon sky!

If you want to browse through some interesting web sites on bananas and possibly find some nice recipes --- visit this webpage:

Please visit knowing I haven’t checked out all the sites on here and have no idea what the content might be. I did find the one on Australian Bananas adorable:)

Be prepared for frustrating pop ups as I’m finding more and more need to battle lately!

The Lord provided a way to share all of the calories! Hand mixed lovein the breads and from scratch puddings I’ve made so far were available to give! There has been something to serve to my precious friend of 15 years who has been out of the US and then out of this state for some time now. Our visiting was done with a cup of coffee in one hand and a chunk of banana nut bread in the other!

There was pudding to serve ---not only to my thrilled kids (we don’t eat things like this often:) but my nieces and nephews as well.

Blake’s mom has been sick with the flu for 2 weeks and it was so nice to fill containers with the banana pudding they love so much and deliver to them. The recipe came from their nanny of many, many years. She started out when my husband was a little thing:)

Having so much to offer from my kitchen and seeing how happy it made those gracing our door reminded me of the need for prepared hospitality! I have enjoyed collecting make ahead coffee cakes for the freezer (that I lost the recipe to and could just cry over it!) quick and sweet breads, casseroles that go from freezer to oven and more. So much has been going on in our lives that these gifts for serving Christ by loving others haven’t been available. I am making a note in my book to start this beautiful tradition back and it will start with banana bread! It is just a delight to have something ready for any kind of unexpected angel!

The two recipes I used for bread came from I have my cookbooks easily accessible and hope to use more from them this year but it is nice when in a hurry to have one with reviews!

Banana Bread I
This is our family favorite. (notes from allrecipes site)

Prep Time: approx. 15 minutes.
Cook Time: approx. 1 Hour .
Ready in: approx. 1 Hour

15 Minutes. Makes 2 - 7x3 inch loaves (16 servings).
Printed from Allrecipes, Submitted by Nikki


1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup white sugar
2 eggs, beaten
1/4 cup butter, melted
3 bananas, mashed

1 Grease and flour two 7x3 inch loaf pans. Preheat oven
to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
2 In one bowl, whisk together flour, soda, salt, and
sugar. Mix in slightly beaten eggs, melted butter, and
mashed bananas. Stir in nuts if desired. Pour into prepared pans.
3 Bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 1 hour, or
until a wooden toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Janet's Rich Banana Bread

This is the moistest banana bread that I have ever
tasted. It's also very easy to make! (notes from allrecipes site)

Prep Time: approx. 10
Minutes. Cook Time: approx. 1 Hour . Ready in: approx. 1 Hour
10 Minutes. Makes 1 - 9x5 inch loaf (15 servings).
Printed from Allrecipes, Submitted by Virginia


1/2 cup butter, melted
1 cup white sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
2 medium bananas, sliced

1 Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease a
9x5 inch loaf pan.
2 In a large bowl, stir together the melted butter and
sugar. Add the eggs and vanilla, mix well. Combine the flour,
baking soda and salt, stir into the butter mixture until
smooth. Finally, fold in the sour cream, walnuts and bananas.
Spread evenly into the prepared pan.
3 Bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 60 minutes,
or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the loaf
comes out clean. Cool loaf in the pan for 10 minutes before
removing to a wire rack to cool completely.

I made 4 loaves of bread between these two recipes and 4 (13X9X2) pans of banana pudding between the following two recipes:

Miss Dovey’s Banana Pudding Recipe

Miss Dovey is in her 80’s and she started preparing this recipe from her mother’s instructions when she was 8 years old! I have yet to make it quite like hers but I’m getting closer each time I try:)

I’ll write it as I wrote it while this dear woman was making this in my kitchen as I watched.

6 eggs. Separate the whites and put them aside.

You just mix these yolks with 2 cans of milk and anything that will hold about a cup of sugar…don’t matter what it is. Stir these until they good and mixed and… oh, yeah, don’t forgit the vuhnilluh flavorin’ …a spoon or so.

When it’s good and mixed, put it in a pot on the stove at high heat until boiling … makin’ sure to never miss a stir. The stirring has to keep going without one step away from it. Once it reaches boiling like “this here” you turn down the heat a bit and keep stirring like I told you.

When it gits “like this” … (*thickens*)… take off from stove and put in a pan you already put a layer of nilla wafers in and a layer of sliced bananas over those. (Cookies, sliced bananas, then pudding mixure) and just keep layering these until you are done.

Get your oven good and hot while you are mixing up your egg whites with a teaspoon of sugar. When it is whipped up nice, spread it on top of your pudding and bake until it’s good and brown.

Banana Pudding

From: “Southern Cooking” by Mrs. S.R. Dull (a book "Grandmother Willoughby" owned)

2 dozen vanilla wafers

6 bananas

1 pint sweet milk

3 eggs

½ cup sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla

Pinch of salt

First make a boiled custard of the milk, sugar and yolks of eggs. To this add vanilla and salt. Into a pudding dish put a layer of the wafers, then a layer of sliced bananas. Over this put a portion of the custard. Repeat untl all is used; usually three layers of each is required, having bananas and sauce on top. Make meringue of the three egg whites, using three extra Tablespoons of sugar; put on top and bake in moderate oven until brown, about 10 minutes. Serve hot or cold.

As with any of the recipes I will share in these letters from my kitchen (unless there are some tried and true by others and/or very special to make exceptions to this ruleJ) --- all recipes shared here have been tried by my hand and turned out well. The banana breads and puddings went in a matter of hours!

One last “gift” I’ll share is something to make you feel nurtured after all the kitchen work!

Enjoy the following creative use of your bananas (and other fresh fruits!)

Bananas are great “grab-and-it” treats because all one has to do is peel, eat, and throw away the natural wrapper. This sweet fruit can be included in recipes from bread to meats. Another delectable way to find full use in bananas is in natural beauty treatments! In the book, “Natural Beauty For All Seasons” by Janice Cox, I found out that since bananas are rich in potassium, Vitamins A, B, and C --- they “help replenish moisture and shine”.

Even though I have written that I wouldn’t share a recipe until it was tried and true by me… I’m making an exception since this isn’t to eat! I am going to whip this up tonight and try it on my hair so if you want to wait to see if I post a horrible review of the experience before trying it yourself… feel free! :)

Banana Hair Conditioner

(from the above mentioned book!)

1 mashed banana

1 Tablespoon honey

Mix together the banana and honey until smooth and creamy. Wet your hair with warm water and massage the conditioner into your hair and scalp. Wrap your hair in plastic wrap or use a towel around your head, and let the mixture condition your hair for 20 minutes. Rinse your hair well, and shampoo and condition as usual. You will notice that your hair seems thicker and your shampoo will really lather.

Yield: 2-3 ounces, enough for 1 treatment.



©2004 Sandy Willoughby

3-Family Fast Meal

3- Family Fast Meal

We needed dinner for three families and fast last night. My menu plan got all changed around when meat prices were even higher than the last time we shopped!

I have been planning out each night’s meal in the mornings and I much prefer having a printed plan. Going with the flow of things is also called for so we’ve been doing that around here!

Anyway, last night was loved by all three families so I thought I’d share. It isn’t often I set about my kitchen without a recipe close by to follow or use as a starting point!

I divided approximately 3 pounds of lean ground beef in two cast iron skillets and let them brown while I put on two pots of water. While the meat was browning and the water boiling (with a clove of garlic and sprinkle of Kosher salt in each pot) … some garlic was chopped and previously grated parmesan cheese came out of the fridge.

I :

· Kept breaking the meat up until it was done and added chopped garlic a few minutes before that
· Added the pasta to boiling water pots for about 8 minutes and drained it
· Added a jar of Paul Newman’s Marinara sauce to each skillet of browned beef and heated thoroughly
· Added noodles to meat mixtures and
· Topped with grated parmesan

The only seasonings I add was salt and ground pepper!
So good and EASY!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Last Night of Fall Break: Dinner

Last Night of Fall Break: Dinner


Garlic Chicken
Mashed Potatoes (cheated with the instant flakes bec/ that is what we had!)
Skillet Fried Corn
Pumpkin Casserole

A quick note: I have always tried to use everything up in my baking/cooking with as little to no waste as possible. With finances being tight now, I am challenging myself to use up every drop, pinch, spoon, and scrape!
I base my meals on using up even small amounts of dishes or ingredients. The example tonight was using up frozen corn from the freezer and making use of evaporated milk left from a recipe.

Garlic Chicken
Submitted by: Carol
Rated: 5 out of 5 by 2343 members Prep Time: 20 Minutes
Cook Time: 35 Minutes Ready In: 55 Minutes
Yields: 4 servings

2 teaspoons crushed garlic
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup dry bread crumbs 1/4 cup grated Parmesan
4 skinless, boneless chicken
breast halves

1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F (220 degrees C).
2. Warm the garlic and olive oil to blend the flavors. In a separate dish, combine the bread crumbs and Parmesan cheese. Dip the chicken breasts in the olive oil and garlic mixture, then into the bread crumb mixture. Place in a shallow baking dish.
3. Bake in the preheated oven for 30 to 35 minutes, until no longer pink and juices run clear.
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED © 2008 Printed from 10/14/2008

Skillet Fried Corn

I just tossed some frozen corn kernels in a skillet with some melted butter. I let this cook until the corn was cooked all the way through and then drizzled some honey on top. I stirred this in and after a few minutes… added some leftover canned milk. Sprinkled some salt in and ground some black pepper over and it was loved!

Pumpkin Casserole
Submitted by: Lori DeLosh
Rated: 5 out of 5 by 51 members
Yields: 11 servings

2 cups pumpkin puree (I used a can of pumpkin)
1 cup evaporated milk
1 cup white sugar (I used ½ cup of sucanat and ½ cup of brown sugar)
1/2 cup self-rising flour (made my own. Took freshly milled soft wheat berries …the flour from them… and added 1 ½ t. baking powder and ½ t. salt)
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup butter
2 pinches ground cinnamon (I sprinkled more)

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
2. Combine the pumpkin, evaporated milk, sugar, flour, eggs, vanilla, melted butter and ground cinnamon to taste. Spoon into a casserole dish.
3. Bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 1 hour.
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED © 2008 Printed from 10/14/2008

I just wanted something to go with what we had. This went quite well with the chicken, corn, and mashed potatoes!
It has a very “Autumny” comforting kind of tastes! It reminds me of the crust-less pumpkin pie you see recipes for during this season.

My 14 year old daughter and I decided it would be a delightful dessert with a dollop of whipped cream on top or vanilla bean ice cream. Even a drizzle of heavy cream would be nice. We had some half-n-half and it was even good with that but I would prefer something less milk like.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Oven Roasted Squash

Butternut and Acorn Squash

Slice in half and spoon out all seeds.

Put in pan with 1/2 cup or so of water added.

Bake at 350 for 30 to 45 minutes or as long as needed to be easily pierced through with a fork.

Take out of oven, add butter and brown sugar to the scooped out parts and bake until butter and sugar are syrupy. The squash is already cooked at this point so just heating to desired look is all that is left.

Even my oldest son who doesn't like squash loved these!

We ate them as desserts:)

Shepherd's Pie

Shepherd’s Pie (Making 2 at one time)

1 ½ lbs. ground beef, browned (I browned 3 lbs. together and then measured it evenly into the two pie pans)
15 – oz. can tomato sauce per pie
2 cups frozen peas per pie
6 serving batch of dried potato flakes per pie (made according to box directions and then added more potato flakes, more butter, and more milk until they looked just like homemade)

Combine each pie’s worth of ground beef with a can of tomato sauce and pour each in the bottom of two pie pans.
Sprinkle frozen peas over the meat mixtures and cover with mashed potatoes. Press pats of butter into the top of the potatoes and sprinkle generously with paprika. Slide in the oven and bake at 350 for 30 minutes.

These two generous pies fed three families and there wasn’t a bite left! Some of the kids were coming back for second and third servings!

Based on this lovely recipe from Gooseberry Patch’s “Recipes for Comfort”:

Shepherd’s Pie (one pan worth)

1 ½ lbs. ground beef, browned
15 oz. can tomato sauce
15 ¼ oz. can peas
4 c. potatoes, peeled, cooked and mashed
2 T. butter, sliced
1 T. paprika

Combine ground beef with tomato sauce. Place in a 2-quart casserole dish. Layer on peas, then top with potatoes. Dot with butter and sprinkle with paprika. Bake at 325 degrees F. for 30 to 45 minutes or until heated through. Makes 4 servings.