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.

From my Cooking Notes:

I made chicken and dumplings!
I’ve made these before but had forgotten .
I made two pots!

I just made up a biscuit mix while the two pots of chicken broth (made on a previous day with cooking water from simmering chickens) reached a boiling point.
Stirred into the biscuit mix was shredded sharp cheddar and parsley!
I rolled out the biscuit dough as in between thick and thin as I could manage and slid each dumpling … one at a time into the boiling broth. I made sure to not overcrowd and let them simmer for 10 to 15 minutes.
One pot, I whisked flour in after reading in an older cookbook to do that and people seemed more enamored with that batch. Two families loved these!

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Our Lovely Lunch

Brandy, Emily, and Caden came over today and we had a lovely lunch together!

"Small cheer and great welcome makes a merry feast."William Shakespeare (1564-1616)
Our Menu:

Chicken Salad on Whole Grain Bread
Roasted Garlic for Sides of Sandwich Bread
Marinated Asparagus (gift from my mother)
Sautéed Mushrooms to serve on top of our chicken salad
Organic Spring Salad Mix
Chocolate Cobbler topped with scoops of vanilla bean ice cream

Chicken Salad
In “The Good Housekeeping Cookbook) … I saw a recipe for Gourmet Chicken Salad. I altered it according to tastes of all involved and it was SO delicious!

Gourmet Chicken Salad
½ cup of mayonnaise (I used more of this and all ingredients bec/ I used a whole food processor bowl of cubed chicken breasts)
1 T. lemon juice
¼ tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. pepper
2 T. heavy cream
1/8 tsp. dried marjoram
4 large thick pieces of cold cooked chicken or turkey
Tomato slices (had not tomatoes)
Cucumber slices (had none)
Snipped parsley (forgot it)

Mix mayonnaise with lemon juice, salt, pepper, cream and marjoram. Use to coat pieces of chicken. Serve on greens, garnished with tomato and cucumber slices and snipped parsley. Makes 2 to 4 servings, depending on size of chicken pieces.

Filled food processor with cold, cubed, cooked chicken breasts. Drizzled heavy cream over it, added mayonnaise, salt, pepper, lemon juice, marjoram and mustard. Pulsed it until desired consistency. All ages loved it!

Roasted Garlic

I have a clay garlic roaster I’ve had and used for many years. I got it for under $10 when a Montgomery Wards store was going out of business! I’ve read you can use pie tins, baking dishes, and so on as long as they are oven safe!

I take a big knife and slice the very tips/tops of five or so heads of garlic and place cut side up in dish. I drizzle olive oil over the tops and sprinkle kosher salt and grind pepper over all. Roast at 350 degrees F. for 40 to 50 minutes.

My five year old eats this spread on his sandwiches!

Sautéed Mushrooms
I do my portabella and other fresh mushrooms the same.
I drizzle olive oil in a big cast iron skillet and put one to a few pats of butter depending on how many I’m making. I add sliced mushrooms to the skillet and sprinkle kosher and freshly ground pepper over them. Turn on high and either cook all the way through or cook to a certain point and change heat to medium.
Even my little grandgirl adores these!
Chocolate Cobbler
Rated: 4 out of 5 by 155 members Prep Time: 15 Minutes
Cook Time: 30 Minutes Ready In: 45 Minutes
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 10/9/2008

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Whole Chickens & Chicken Broth

I made two whole chickens this evening while two ovens baked pans of Turkish seasoned chicken breasts and Spicy Seasoned chicken breasts.

After that, I let the broth simmer on a back burner while dinner was eaten and cleaned up, the other chicken was put up and fresh coffee was made for my husband. He came in late tonight with a bad headache and needed the caffeine and something hot!

Boiling Whole Chickens and Making Broth

There is probably not a hard way to boil a whole chicken but I didn’t know how to do it for years. I’m sharing this for anyone… young , old and in between… who would like an easy way of it.
If I’m feeling creative, I’ll go to my cookbooks or online sites to find an actual recipe to follow but every other time, I:
Wash the whole chicken, place breast side down in a stock pot, fill with water until about half way up the chicken OR cover with water. I do it both ways just depending on what I want that day. It works either way. Sometimes, I like a little less water than covering because it seems there is more flavor left for the broth but if I’m desiring more broth in general, I start with more water.
That is it. I just bring to a boil and then lower to a simmer and let it do that until the meat is so tender it almost falls off the bones. This seems to be anywhere from 1 ½ hours to 2 ½ depending on stove.

Chicken Broth:

I just put my drainer over a bowl or small pot and carefully pour the chicken and liquid in it. I grab all the meat and put it in containers safe for fridge or freezer and keep adding until one or more are full. Lately, I’ve been fitting two whole chickens in my glass Pyrex or Anchor Hocking storage bowl with lid.
All the leftover liquid, all the skin, bones, and anything other than the meat goes into one pot and back to the stove top. I added just carrots tonight bec/ I am out of some other wonderful add ins.
Typically, it is cut up celery, carrots, onions, garlic, and just ANY left over vegetable including clean skins, stems, and so on.
Simmer for approximately four or five hours , then strain and put in containers. I freeze mine in 1-cup , 2-cup and/or 1-quart portions and neatly stack in freezer until I need them.

Lauren's Tuna Noodle Bake

Lauren's Tuna Noodle Bake

2 cans of tuna (any kind of tuna you like:)
6 hands full of egg noodles (est. 16 oz. bag but we were making from a bulk stash)
Cream of mushroom soup (any “cream of” soup will do)
½ can of water
Sharp Cheddar Cheese
Green peas (we used frozen)
Dill & poppyseeds
Toasted bread crumbs (we toasted two pieces of whole grain bread, broke in pieces and whirred in the food processor)
Melted butter

Cook noodles according to directions on packages. Drain. Mix the soup and water until not as lumpy and add noodles, cheese, (she used a left over chunk of cheese and just stirred the broken pieces on in) green peas, a sprinkle of dill and a sprinkle of poppy seeds. Cover with shredded cheese (we used maybe a cup … it was a small stash from the fridge) and sprinkle the bread crumbs all over top. Drizzle melted butter around the top of the crumbs. Bake at 350 degrees F for 30 minutes.

No Bake Cookies

"I am still convinced that a good, simple, homemade cookie is preferable to all the store-bought cookies one can find."
James Beard

Lauren and I wanted something sweet today but we didn't want to spend a lot of time or make a lot of mess. She was putting together a tuna casserole for dinner and I was batch cooking chicken. We remembered how good these no bake cookies were when her friend spent the night (thanks for the idea, Raven!) so we had a batch scooped into rows on the counter in minutes!

No Bake Cookies V

Rated: 5 out of 5 by 346 members

Prep Time: 10 Minutes
Cook Time: 1 Hour

Ready In: 1 Hour 10 Minutes
Yields: 36 servings

2 cups white sugar
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup margarine 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 pinch salt
1/2 cup chunky peanut butter
3 cups quick cooking oats

1. In a saucepan over medium heat, combine the sugar, cocoa, milk and margarine. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. Boil for 1 minute, then remove from heat and stir in the vanilla, salt, peanut butter and oats.
2. Drop by rounded spoonfuls onto waxed paper. Allow cookies to cool for at least 1 hour. Store in an airtight container.
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED © 2008 Printed from 10/7/2008

Sunday, October 5, 2008

A Clean & Orderly Kitchen

I have been working all day on my kitchen. So much work goes on in that room and it is the first area you walk into upon entering our home. It was due for a mighty make over!

My 14 year old daughter and I started in the morning and worked in sections. We would take everything off of one set of shelves, vacuum and give a good scrub and replace only the items we wanted kept there.

We kept the dishwasher running and I hand washed dishes throughout the day. There were jars, containers , and much more in need of a good washing.

We tackled two sets of white shelves (hand made by my husband) and two sets of stainless steel shelves he anchored in place a few years ago. After those, we rolled up our sleeves and we aimed for the pots and pan bar. My husband designed and built a heavy wooden beam right under the ceiling between our kitchen and dining room. He added rows of silver hooks and I have a place for two rolling pins on the front, my cast iron collection hangs all on the left and the stainless steel pots & pans are on the right. ALL of these came down piece by piece. I washed and seasoned each cast iron piece and made sure the others were clean as well. My teen girl used cleaner to get what she could clean and everything went back up. We may have to get aggressive where some stains remain after a pressure cooker shot hot grease all over it some time ago. We cleaned it immediately when it happened and I’ve tried to scrub it clean since but it just hit with such force… all of it hasn’t been easy to remove.

Cabinets, counters, and drawers all followed and every appliance was polished cleaned and rearranged. It is so nice to have spices all in one place again, baking supplies together, measuring cups and spoons nestled like babies in blankets!

Storage containers are all wiped down, every piece has a place and there is a place for everything… well, almost. There is still that junk drawer… but I won’t let that steal my joy.

I’m ready for the coming menu now and look forward to putting my now clean kitchen to use in serving those the Lord has blessed me to serve.

May His presence fill this constant used Kitchen and the humble home it lives in.

Hopeful Farm

Dearest Family & Friends,

A very precious online friend of mine sent something to me I am very, very excited and touched to share.
The place is Hopeful Farm and it is a non-profit balm serving families with special needs children.

I went to the site and following interview and it brings tears as I am typing. Blessing!

In the whole time I’ve been online, I’ve never (that I can recall anyway) sent anything like this. I cannot wait to get this email, blog post, and social network message out to reach as many hearts as possible!

I also cannot wait (and I am saying this from the depths of my heart) to donate to this beautiful place and pray God will bless me to continue.

It feels as though I’m offering you a gift with the links below and well, I guess I am.

Here it is: {please, please consider sharing this with others}

Hopeful Farm, a Kentucky based non-profit that ministers to families impacted by special needs. I've attached some email announcements that you can use or use parts of if you feel led to participate.

The benefit is here: and there is an interview with my daughter and I at

Love, Sandy

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Peanut Butter Blossoms

Peanut Butter Blossoms

{I had my grandbabies today so I made these for a treat. They loved these! My mom gave me the recipe from a magazine and the Hershey's Kisses. I found the exact same one on the Hershey's site so I am adding it instead of hand typing. I've included that link below the recipe.}
48 HERSHEY'S KISSES Brand Milk Chocolates
1/2 cup shortening
3/4 cup REESE'S Creamy Peanut Butter
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup packed light brown sugar
1 egg
2 tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
Granulated sugar

Instructions:1. Heat oven to 375°F. Remove wrappers from chocolates. 2. Beat shortening and peanut butter in large bowl until well blended. Add 1/3 cup granulated sugar and brown sugar; beat until fluffy. Add egg, milk and vanilla; beat well. Stir together flour, baking soda and salt; gradually beat into peanut butter mixture. 3. Shape dough into 1-inch balls. Roll in granulated sugar; place on ungreased cookie sheet. 4. Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until lightly browned. Immediately press a chocolate into center of each cookie; cookie will crack around edges. Remove from cookie sheet to wire rack. Cool completely. About 4 dozen cookies.

Down the Path Dining

"Once fire was discovered, the instinct for improvement made men bring food to it. First to dry it, then to put it on the coals to cook." Jean-Anthelme Brillat-Savarin (1755-1826)

Granna, Grandpa, and Mamaw live a foot beaten path away from our home.
We have lived in our home for over 14 years separated from my in-loves by some trees and this cozy path. Our oldest three sons paved it themselves… bare footed, in tennis shoes, cowboy boots, and with whatever dog was running with them at the time.

They are all three living on their own now. Hard to believe they have their own yards, own places to go… own paths back home.
They still come home and when they do, right through that path to Granna’s they go; for her Christmas breakfasts, Italian dinner welcome home dinners, and much more.

Granna & Grandpa lived in an old, big, white house with a long porch and heavy paned windows for many years. When it was time to tear down the old place, Granna planned and prepared every detail herself. She wanted happy color schemes and every room has one to go with the open, beachy, cottagy feel with lots of windows, French glass doors, and glass doors for each bedroom.

She wanted open space from the kitchen, through the dining and living room and for that to expand into the front porch and back decks. She wanted family to feel comfortable and for every visit to be a celebration. In the few years she has had this new home… it has been what she worked towards and more.

One thing Granna loves to do is have meals out on the back deck. She loves setting the table up, having white lights adorning anything they can, candles flickering all along the deck rails and kerosene lamps on the tables.
She has a small grill and it is fast becoming a dear friend. We can smell the smoke dancing through the air night after night now. Most nights, she calls down to see if we want to join them so we do.

Grandpa comes out with his walker or wheel chair and Mama comes out in hers. Everyone talks, laughs, and eats together in the soft breezes by surrounding trees. Sometimes we eat starlit dinners with twinkling lights all throughout the sky and a moon’s glow to get home by.

Lately, we’ve been having hamburgers, potato salad, and/or baked beans, and SMORES. Delicious, sticky, chocolatey smores.
I usually can't wait for the cold weather but this year... I am enjoying the pleasant temperatures as we walk to and from Granna's on our humble little path...

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Thursday Night Dinner 10.02.08

I’m sharing the dinner I had planned for last night. We got a last minute invite to walk through the foot beaten pathway to Granna’s. She had her little grill smoking with some hamburgers on the back deck and even if we could have resisted those… the smores to follow sealed the deal;)

Last night’s dinner plans carried over into this evening’s and they were a big hit for two families! Our oldest son, his wife and our two grand littles sat around the table with us. Pops played outside with bit one and bit two while we had micro bit crawling all over the floor inside.
After eating, we talked and looked over some things online before watching the Biden/Palin debate. Isn’t everything more pleasant when shared with loved ones?

Here was our simple meal. One main and no sides! We did drink down a pot of coffee hot from the vacuum pot after the meal was eaten!

Barbecued Hamburgers

Note right from the cookbook:
These spicy sandwiches are great favorites with men at country sales.

3 T. shortening
3 lbs. ground beef
3 large onions, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 T. salt
1 ½ T. black pepper
½ tsp. ground red pepper
2 tsp. chili powder
2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
¼ c. flour
1 ¼ c. canned tomatoes (I used one regular 14 or so ounce can)
¾ c. Ketchup

· Melt shortening in heavy skillet. Combine ground beef, onions and garlic. Cook in skillet until lightly browned.
· Add seasonings. Stir in flour. Add tomatoes and ketchup, mixing well.
· Simmer 15-20 minutes until thickened. Spoon between split buns to make hot sandwiches.

Makes 20 servings.

Taken from: {Farm Journal’s Country Cookbook}

The big B had his requested breakfast again this morning: Scrambled cheese eggs and two pieces of toast. A glass of fresh water to wash it all down!

For lunch, we had tortillas with some heated meat from a previous cooking session, seasoned with taco seasoning. A bit of melted cheese over that and a generous spread of homemade hummus on the hot tortilla and that was all of that meal.