Friday, December 23, 2011
6 slices white bread cut into cubes
1 pound sausage, cooked, crumbled and drained
1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
2 cups milk
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon dry mustard
Put the first three ingredients in a buttered 7x11 casserole dish. Combine the eggs, milk, salt, and dry mustard and pour over the mixture in the casserole dish. Cover the dish and refrigerate overnight. Bake for 1 hour or longer, until puffy and golden brown at 350. Serve hot.
1 cup brown sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
15 - 17 slices of bread
2 cups milk
Melt butter and add brown sugar and cinnamon. Make a paste and spread over the bottom of a 9x13 pan.
Remove crusts of bread. Layer two slices over sugar mixture. Fill in sides and ends with smaller pieces
Beat eggs and milk together and pour over bread. Bake for 30 - 35 minutes at 350. Drizzle with syrup and place under the broiler until brown and bubbly.
Thursday, December 22, 2011
I love “Bark” candies because they’re easy and yet they have an elegance about them. These are three very different but great recipes. They freeze very well and they make a lot too. Great for gifts! Great for serving if you have last-minute company! Great for taking to a party!
This comes from my dear friend Delores Bailey. It’s such a great alternative to the super-sweet stuff around the holidays since it’s more salty-sweet.2 packages white chocolate chips, melted
I honestly don’t know where this recipe came from but I have fond memories of helping my mom make it when I was a kid. I don’t remember the crushing part (we probably used a hammer and a gallon ziplock bag). But I do remember having to put the paper tray of almond bark in the oven to melt it (this was before microwave ovens…sure am dating myself here!). We usually crush the peppermints very fine but if you prefer bigger pieces, that’s fine too.1 pound white almond bark
Melt almond bark and stir in crushed candy. Spread in a thin layer on wax paper until cool and firm. Break into pieces.
You can use spearmint as well (I’ve done a batch of each so I could have some green, some pink—beautiful together!).. The bark can also be molded in candy molds, if desired. Try to avoid reheating the bark once you’ve stirred the peppermints into it because they will melt and become stringy.
Cranberry and Macadamia Nut Bark
This comes from my dear friend Lisa McAmis. I have never made it so I’m uncertain of exact measurements so just pour some in. Lisa swears by this recipe and says it’s delicious…with the given ingredients, I believe her!!1 pound white almond bark
Melt bark, stir in cranberries and nuts. Spread on wax paper until cool and firm. Break into pieces.
Friday, December 9, 2011
This is my mom’s go-to recipe for gifts and Christmas. It came from her best friend’s mom. A friend of ours submitted it in a contest and won first place! It’s one of the best easy candy recipes I’ve ever made.
11 or 12 oz. bag semi-sweet chocolate chips
Melt the chips together in microwave, adding peanut butter during last 20-30 seconds. Stir until smooth. Stir in marshmallows (if chocolate mixture is hot enough to melt the marshmallows, allow to cool 10 minutes or so--I usually use medium heat on my microwave to prevent this). Pour into buttered 9x13 pan. Refrigerate until firm. Cut into pieces at room temperature.
This freezes great but be sure to freeze in slabs, not little pieces because the marshmallows will get stale.
Monday, December 5, 2011
This is by far the best fudge recipe I've tried. The texture is wonderful and while you do cook it, it's not an overly difficult recipe to make. It's honestly the only recipe that's been no-fail for me! Be sure to check out the Peppermint Fudge variation at the bottom.
1 ½ cups sugar
Saturday, December 3, 2011
Don't you love it how you gain the neatest recipes through people whose paths you may only shortly cross? This came from my brother's speech therapist when we were really little. This is one of my favorite Christmas cookies.
In my opinion, these are not your run-of-the-mill thumbprint cookies! They have such a rich flavor. I used to only make them at Christmas but I've made them some through the year for special occasions for a couple of years now. Every time I do, people really comment on them.1 cup butter softened (no substitutes)
1 cup sugar
Wednesday, November 30, 2011
1 package fresh cranberries, washed and picked
3 cups apples, peeled and sliced
1 cup sugar
1 tablespoon lemon juice
¼ teaspoon cinnamon
Mix ingredients and pour into greased 9x13 casserole dish.
1 cup light brown sugar, packed
½ cup flour
1 cup quick oatmeal
1/3 cup margarine, softened
Stir together sugar, flour, and oatmeal. Cut in margarine. Sprinkle on top of fruit. Bake for 1 hour at 300.
Tuesday, November 29, 2011
I’m using felt with fusible webbing (Wonder Under is a great brand). I’ve learned that it’s best to also sew the pieces so that they don’t try to pull up when being played with. I’ll give an explanation for each page/spread and what I would change.
Using felt has its pros and cons. It’s so easy to use, it’s pretty cheap, and there’s no need to finish the edges. Some of the cons include: it tears up pretty easily (this book will likely only last for one child, instead of the three I was hoping for! LOL), Wonder Under doesn’t work completely well with it, and there’s only one texture to it (though I did see some the other day with some texture for the first time but I didn’t feel like any of it would fit in with the book and it was pretty expensive).
I used a pattern for the shoe, corn, and flowers (Simplicity 3709). There are some other cute ideas in the pattern but some of them aren’t so “quiet.” Also, a lot of the pages online called for Velcro and I used snaps instead since Velcro isn’t exactly “quiet.” The other pages were ideas I got online and designed myself (I’m sure you can tell!). I used a number puzzle that the girls have to do the number pages.
As you will notice, I didn’t put a whole lot of details into this book. There are two good reasons for this. 1. I simply don’t have time and 2. Josie is 3 and I’m pretty sure the details would be lost on her. So for me, simple is better. Feel free to embellish a lot more than I did!
Cover: If you have an embroidery machine, I’m sure you can make yours much cuter than mine. Obviously I don’t have one so mine is pretty bad looking. But it serves its purpose.
Numbers Pages: I learned the hard way that the numbers need to sewed down (Josie took them all off the page the first day she used it in church). I was originally going to let her just match the numbers up. However, I’ve decided snaps will make it more interesting. This page still needs a lot of work: I will add snaps and blanket stitch all the numbers down. I made the moveable numbers two-ply with Wonder Under between the pieces (I will blanket stitch these as well).
Shoe Page: I used the Simplicity pattern for it and it was the first page I made. I bought some eyelets that were very easy to install (and on sale the day I got them!). I do, however, need to get a real shoelace so it’s more authentic. The ribbon is not working well for teaching her how to tie.
Flower Page: When adding buttons in the future, I’ll apply some fusible interfacing to the back of the page, then sew on the buttons through all layers. They are already showing signs of pulling the felt apart. I added a ribbon at the bottom of the page to thread the flowers on…I’m thinking it’s not necessary but it could be a good lesson on threading I suppose. The stems are just some remnant ribbon I had. The flowers are two-ply with Wonder Under between but one-ply might have worked better because they’re a bit difficult to button and unbutton.
Caterpillar Pages: One of Josie’s favorites! I ended up blanket stitching everything because they came apart during the first use. This was another easy page. The face on the caterpillar is just hand embroidered (and pretty rough, I admit!). I could have put a lot more detail into it (each circle could have a number that she has to place in order, etc.). I used gripper type snaps (installation requires a hammer and special little tool). These seem to be more difficult for Josie to use and they tend to really pull at the felt. If I use them again, I plan to add some fusible interfacing to the back of the page and install the snaps through all layers. Sew-on snaps honestly seem to work the best (size 2/0 seems to be the best so far). I added a “pocket” on the facing page for the pieces. At first it seemed a waste but Josie really likes the pockets I’ve put in the book and she uses them!
Apple Tree Page: Josie’s absolute favorite! The apples are two-ply with snaps installed. She loves the “basket” to put the apples in. She informed me that she needed more apples so I hope to have some other fruit trees/flower trees/leaves on trees type pages in the future.
Corn Page: This is the one page I wish I had embellished more. It’s from the simplicity pattern and the pattern calls for some quilting on the corn itself and a tassel. I also think different material would have been better than the felt. Josie’s known how to zip for awhile so maybe that’s one of the reasons it’s not her favorite page. I may try to embellish this page more but I may not.
To put the book together, I used large eyelets (the kit was pretty inexpensive and they are easily installed). I wanted to be able to add pages as I made them so I used ribbon to hold it together. Then I found two rings in my craft supplies so I may use them. It’s not a “fancy” way of doing things but it works for us. You could sew on a spine and make it look more professional.
These are some pages I hope to make:
Wednesday, November 23, 2011
I realize I’m late in posting this for Thanksgiving but thought I’d post it anyway. This recipe came from my dear friend Carol James. It’s the best sweet potato casserole recipe I’ve found so far and it’s my husband’s favorite. It’s sweet enough to be a dessert and it’s even delicious cold out of the fridge! You can fix the casserole the day before (including putting the topping on) and then bake it the next day.
You can use boiled sweet potatoes or you can bake them. My preference is baking them because it’s so much easier and the potatoes have more taste when baked (it also makes your house smell so yummy!). I place the washed potatoes (about 3-4 large ones for this recipe) in a 9x13 pan and cover with foil. Bake at 350 until done (1 to 1 ½ hours). Allow to cool about an hour and remove skins. Proceed with recipe.
3 cups sweet potatoes cooked and mashed (I usually do 3-4 large potatoes and it turns out to be more than 3 cups but I just follow the recipe as it’s written)
¼ to ½ cup white sugar
1/3 cup milk
1 stick margarine or butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
optional ingredients: 1 teaspoon salt and a few sprinkles of cinnamon
Mix together using an electric mixer. Spread into a greased pan (I usually do a large casserole dish or 9x13).
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/3 cup flour
1 cup chopped nuts (pecans or walnuts)
1 stick margarine or butter, cold
Stir together sugar, flour, and nuts. Cut margarine into sugar mixture. Sprinkle over casserole. Bake at 350 for about 30 minutes or until hot throughout.
Tuesday, November 22, 2011
Grape Jello Salad
Wednesday, November 2, 2011
This is one of those recipes that isn't really difficult and yet people think you're a gourmet cook! I took this to Bible study yesterday and they acted like I had really slaved...and I didn't!
Sunday, October 30, 2011
Thursday, October 20, 2011
This is a recipe that an internet friend (Donna) gave me. It's super easy and quick and very yummy! One batch makes enough for a small family...double it for company or a larger family.
Monday, October 17, 2011
This recipe comes from my dear friend Dawn Whittington. She made it the first time I came to her house for lunch one Sunday. It's easy and delicious! I must admit that I honestly don't know if this really follows her recipe...I've used it for so many years I'm sure it's changed (as all recipes do with me). But it's the gist of her recipe.
Beef tips (1-2 pounds)
Monday, October 3, 2011
1 2/3 cups sugar
Wednesday, September 21, 2011
This is adapted from The Southern Living Cookbook. It makes two loaves.
This bread was much easier than I thought it would be! I admit that I’m downright lazy when it comes to kneading…this recipe requires very little kneading! It’s not super sweet like a cinnamon roll but it’s a nice flavor combination of bread, cinnamon and sugar. The bread is soft with a crusty outside. It literally melts in your mouth!
Roll up, starting at narrow edge (like you’re making cinnamon rolls). Pinch seams and ends together the best you can. Place into a greased 9x5 loaf pan. Repeat with second loaf. Cover and let rise in a warm place for 40 minutes or until doubled.
Bake at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes (I placed the loaves on bottom rack of the oven). To check for doneness, tap the top and it should sound hallow. Remove the loaves from the pans and place them on wire racks to cool.
Friday, September 16, 2011
Monday, September 12, 2011
I’ve found the best place for rising bread is in a cold oven with the light turned out. Stick the oiled bowl in there while you mix up the bread. It’ll be nice and warm when you’re ready for it!
When making bread, bread flour is an absolute must! Believe me, it DOES make a difference!
1 package rapid-rise dry yeast
1 tablespoon sugar
1 cup warm water (105-115 degrees)
2 ½ cups bread flour
1 ½ teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil with ½ teaspoon salt, warmed
cornmeal, for sprinkling—about 2 teaspoons
Place the yeast and sugar in warm water and leave for 5-10 minutes (when it has a little foam on top, it’s ready).
In a food processor, using the mixing blade, put in the salt and flour and pulse to mix. Add the yeast, sugar, and water mixture and vinegar. Process 15-20 seconds, until the dough comes together.
Place the dough on a lightly oiled board (no flour) and hand-knead a few times.
Place dough in a bowl that’s been oiled and turn the dough to coat. Cover and rise until doubled, about an hour. Punch dough down and cut into 2 pieces. Shape into 2 slender loaves.
Place the two halves on a greased (sprinkle with some cornmeal) stone or other baking sheet (or you can use French bread pans, greased and sprinkled with cornmeal). Brush with warmed oil and salt. Make 2-4 slits in each loaf (a sharp, serrated knife works great for this). Allow to rise until doubled again, 30-45 minutes.
Bake at 425 (preheated) for 15-20 minutes or until brown. I baked for about 15 minutes on the middle rack, then moved the loaves to the bottom for 5-8 minutes so the bottom would get a little crusty. Next time I’ll probably bake the loaves on the bottom rack or next-to-the-bottom rack.
Thursday, September 1, 2011
This recipe comes from my friend Gina Montealegre. She claims she’s not a good cook but this recipe is wonderful! I love chicken parmesan but I never attempted to make it before this recipe came along. This is easy and delicious AND my girls love it! I serve it with spaghetti noodles. Gina serves it with rice, which is delicious too!6-8 chicken breasts
Monday, August 29, 2011
This recipe comes from Rachel Knight. It’s so delicious and easy! My kids love it! You can use any veggies that you want and of you can also add more than a cup if you want (I usually do).
Add veggies and onion. Cover and simmer 5 minutes or until noodles are tender and most of the liquid Is absorbed. Add soup, cheese, and milk. Mix well. Stir in chicken and pepper. Heat through.
For making your own cream of chicken soup: http://tammysrecipes.com/homemade_cream_chicken_soup
Thursday, August 25, 2011
1 cup butter (no substitutes), softened (I use salted)
1/3 cup powdered sugar
1 ¼ cups all purpose flour
¾ cup cornstarch
Beat butter until creamy. Gradually add powdered sugar, beating well. Combine flour and cornstarch; gradually add to butter mixture, beating well. Shape dough into 2 (6 inch) logs and wrap in wax paper dusted with powdered sugar (or cornstarch). Chill at least 6 hours or overnight. Can be made ahead of time and placed in the refrigerator for a few days (Place wrapped logs into a ziplock).
Unwrap dough, cut each log into 18 slices and place slices 2 inches apart on ungreased baking sheets. Bake at 350 for 12-15 minutes. Remove cookies from baking sheets immediately. Cool completely before icing.
¼ cup butter, softened
1 ½ cups powdered sugar
1 tablespoon grated lemon rind (I usually don’t use this)
1 ½ to 2 tablespoons lemon juice
Beat butter until creamy. Gradually add sifted powdered sugar. Add lemon rind and juice, beat until spreading consistency. Spread onto cooled cookies.
Wednesday, August 17, 2011
I put the juice in my large saucepan, completely forgetting that jelly foams terribly. I added my sugar (3/4 cup to one cup of juice) and lemon juice (1 ½ tablespoons to one cup of juice), stirred, and set the pan on to boil.
Let me say at this point that I had jars and lids boiling and I was also prepping pears for my pear butter at the same time. Multi-tasking when making jelly is NOT a great thing to do…
The pear mixture began to boil and very quickly outgrew the pan! So I had sticky pear stuff all over my stove and of course it was burning on the eye. Quickly, I carefully removed it from the stove and was able to pour it into my stock-pot sized pan. I cleaned the stove the best I could and put the much-larger pan on the eye. At least it wouldn’t boil over in this pan!
So, I would stir it every few minutes while working on my pear butter. When you use pectin, the cooking of jelly is just a few minutes. Without pectin, you have to cook it awhile. My second mistake was not using a thermometer. I’ve never used one when cooking jelly—I always look for the sheeting sign. So I would stir and hold the spoon up and every time it would pour off the spoon in a thin strand. Not ready.
I’m not sure how long I cooked it—probably 20-30 minutes or so (stirring every few minutes each time) but I began to smell something strange. I looked over at the jelly and realized it had turned from a pretty very light yellow color to a deep amber color. When I stirred it that time, it sheeted off the spoon—jelly’s ready! I began pouring the mixture into jars and sealing them. I let the spoon cool and tried to get the mixture off to taste. It was so hard—like a piece of hard candy!
So instead of pear jelly, I have burned pear jelly-candy…in jars. Yuck! I may even have to throw the jars away! It has taken a lot of soaking to get the thin film out of my glass measuring cup and off the spoon!
Lessons learned: No multi-tasking when making jelly, use an over-sized pan for the jelly, and use a thermometer!
Wednesday, August 10, 2011
Wednesday, August 3, 2011
If you don’t like bananas in this pudding, it’s equally delicious (at least I think so!) without the bananas. But the vanilla wafers are a must!
Don’t let the meringue scare you from trying this recipe. It’s pretty forgiving. I can never get the egg whites truly stiff, they end up more at the “soft peak” stage. I just slap it on top and smooth it out. It turns out fine.
¼ cup all-purpose flour
1 ½ cups sugar
dash of salt
3 egg yolks (save the whites for the meringue)
3 cups milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 12 oz. package vanilla wafers
3-6 medium bananas
Stir together flour, sugar, and salt in a heavy saucepan. In a separate bowl, beat together egg yolks and milk. Slowly stir into dry ingredients. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until smooth and thick. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla. Allow to cool until just warm. If you are not using bananas, then you could proceed without the cooling process (the bananas turn black if the pudding is too hot—yes, I know this from experience!). If you’re in a hurry, place some ice in a large plastic or metal bowl and put the saucepan on top. Stir occasionally until warm.
Layer 1/3 of the wafers in a 3 quart baking dish (or smaller individual dishes). Slice bananas and place 1/3 of them over wafers. Pour 1/3 of the custard over bananas. Repeat layers twice.
3 egg whites
6 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
Beat egg whites (at room temperature) until foamy. Gradually add sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, beating until stiff peaks form. Add vanilla and beat until blended. Spread over custard mixture, sealing to edge of dish. Bake at 400 degrees until golden brown (about 10 minutes).
Thursday, July 28, 2011
This is one of those dishes that looks and seems elegant (well, as “elegant” as I get! LOL) but is extremely easy. I usually make it when I have company or need something to take to a potluck. It even warms up well in the microwave.
I usually use sliced American cheese but you can use your favorite cheese or omit it altogether. Same goes for the cheddar on top.
I really like serving wild rice with this. You usually have some sauce in the pan that you can either spoon over each roll-up or over the rice. Any green veggie or salad goes well. You really don’t need any bread or rolls since it’s already in the casserole.
For a lighter version, use low-fat items (soup, rolls, cheese, etc.). If you want to make your own crescent roll recipe, you can. I did this yesterday and I noticed it takes more liquid to keep it saucy. I prefer using the canned rolls.
2-3 large chicken breasts, cooked and shredded