12/6/12

Grinch Cookies

www.bettycrocker.com


Grinch (aka Mint Chocolate Chip) Cookies
Makes 4 1/2 dozen cookies
1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1 1/2 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp  mint extract
15 drops green food coloring
2 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
2 tbsp milk
1 bag andes mint  chocolate pieces
  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer, using the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar together.
  2. Add the eggs and beat on high for 2 minutes or until smooth and fluffy.
  3. Add the peppermint extract and food coloring and mix until all the color has been combined. Make sure to scrape the sides of the bowl to make sure all the color is incorporated.
  4. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt.
  5. In three parts, add the flour. Between each addition add a tablespoon of milk. Mix flour only until combined.
  6. Fold in the andes chips.
  7. Cover dough and place in freezer for 20-30 minutes or chill in refrigerator for at least an hour.
  8. While the dough is chilling, preheat your oven to 400 F degrees. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
  9. After the dough has chilled, scoop 1-1 1/2 inch balls onto the cookie sheet 2in apart. Press each ball gently until flat (unless you want little round ball cookies, then leave them round). The rounder the edges of your cookies, the rounder they will bake. If you like imperfection like I do… just leave them with jagged, rough edges. I pressed a couple extra dark chocolate chips into the top of a few of the cookies, just cause it’s pretty!
  10. Bake 7-8 minutes. Do not over bake! You want the bottoms to just begin to get golden, brown but not dark!
  11. Leave cookies on pan for 30 seconds before removing to a wire rack to cool completely Pin It

12/4/12

Chocolate Crinkles

Last night I made Chocolate Crinkles..One of my go to recipes for Christmas Baking.


Chocolate Crinkles
I may have even shared a recipe last year.  But this recipe was a bit different and I was intrigued.  They turned out wonderfully and I would definitely make these again.

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    • 1 (18 1/4 ounce) box devil's food cake mix 
    • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
    • 2 large eggs
    • confectioners' sugar or granulated sugar, for rolling

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350°.
  2. Stir (by hand) dry cake mix, oil and eggs in a large bowl until dough forms.
  3. Dust hands with confectioners' sugar and shape dough into 1" balls.
  4. Roll balls in confectioners' sugar and place 2 inches apart on ungreased cookie sheets.
  5. Bake for 8-10 minutes or until center is JUST SET.
  6. Remove from pans after a minute or so and cool on wire racks.
  7. *My Notes*:.
  8. I have tried these with several different cake mix brands. They all come out good, but the Betty Crocker does come out the best.
  9. I was having a problem with my cookies flattening while baking. This usually happens with the generic cake mix brands. You can play with your oven temp and try them on 375 to keep them from spreading. Adding more oil than called for will also cause the cookies to spread -- I wouldn't suggest it, they really don't need extra oil.
 

12/1/12

Chocolate Peppermint Bark

Who needs to spend large amounts of money for overpriced department store peppermint bark?  Especially when it only takes about an hour to make.  This was the simplest bark I have ever made.  I definitely will be adding this to my list to make each year.  Best of all it was only about $5.00 for this bark when a small tin would have cost me upwards of $20.00 at a specialty store.  Now I know what my friends are getting for presents this year!!




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  • 12 ounces (about 2 cups) dark chocolate, chopped
  • 12 ounces (about 2 cups) white chocolate, chopped
  • 8 peppermint candy canes
1. Unwrap the candy canes and place them in a food processor. Pulse on/off several times for 5-10 seconds each, until the canes have been crushed into small pieces. Alternately, place the candy canes in a large Ziploc bag and seal tightly. Use a rolling pin to roll/smash the candy canes until they are the size you desire.
2. Prepare a cookie sheet by covering it with smooth aluminum foil.
3. Melt the dark chocolate. Pour the chocolate onto the prepared cookie sheet and use an offset spatula or knife to spread it to an even thickness, a little more than 1/8" thick. The chocolate does not have to reach all sides of the sheet, as it will be broken up later anyhow. Place the tray in the refrigerator to firm up while you prepare the white chocolate.
4. While the dark chocolate hardens, melt the white chocolate. Stir in most of the candy cane bits, reserving about a quarter of the mixture to put on top.
5. Remove the tray from the refrigerator and spread the white chocolate in an even layer over the dark chocolate.
6. While the white chocolate is still wet, sprinkle the remaining candy cane pieces over the entire surface evenly. Press down very slightly to ensure they stick. Place the tray back in the refrigerator to firm up for 30 minutes.
7. Once the peppermint bark bark is completely set, break into small, uneven pieces by hand.

10/15/12

Menu Monday 10/15

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This week marks the best week of the year.  We attend a yearly harvest party out in the country at my husband's aunt and uncle's house.  It is a good old fashioned bonfire to give thanks for all we have achieved from the harvest this year.  It is always wonderful to catch up with the extended family and let the kids go out on a scavenger hunt through the haunted woods.  Best of all though is the wonderful food all the women cook, myself included.  Here is to a great fall and harvest season to you all!!

Here is my menu for the week:

Monday:  Crockpot pulled pork sandwiches

Tuesday: Hamburgers on the grill (Taking advantage of a 78 degree day)

Wednesday: Shrimp and tomato pasta

Thursday:  Baked chicken and potatoes

Friday:  Dinner out (we will be traveling and shopping at the outlet mall on the way)

Saturday:  Fall Harvest party

Sunday: Tacos

9/27/12

Devil Chicken

This week I have made all my dinners from scratch.  It is a bit easier now that it is fall.  I love this time of the year.  All the colors from the leaves and the cooler temperatures make it easier for me to move back into my house and focus on cooking meals I love.  This week, this was the dinner that made me love being a mom.  Smiles were on all the faces at the table and the words "this is awesome" came out of my nine year olds mouth.  This doesn't happen all that often.  Usually the word that comes out is YUCK!  I hope you try this wonderful fall recipe and the best part of all is that it is cheap. 



www.tasteofhome.com

Ingredients

  • 6 chicken leg quarters
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon prepared mustard
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper

Directions

  • Place chicken in a 15-in. x 10-in. x 1-in. baking pan. In a small bowl, combine the remaining ingredients. Pour over the chicken.
  • Bake, uncovered, at 375° for 50-60 minutes



 

9/9/12

Slow cooker Chicken Provencale

Finally it feels like fall!! I love all things France and I have been in a mood to travel.  Next weekend I am going to Vegas with the girls!!  Since this has been the case, my meals this next week are planned according to different regions of the world.  A sort of food vacation. 

I decided since today is going to be a very busy Sunday I was going to make chicken provencale in the crock pot.  The crock pot seems to be my go to appliance in the fall/winter months.  In the spring and summer I don't seem to use it as much, but lately we have been terrible at sticking to a budget and overindulging our inner child by eating out.  I am now cracking down on our spending as a whole in the family and have been planning my meals a bit more.  This is helping with the spending a bit, but I am finding myself spending $20 - $30 more a week on groceries, that with increasing gas prices and I have felt a bit depressed lately.  Just when I feel like I am getting a bit ahead something else comes up.  Isn't that how it always works.  Well enough about me and my complaints for the week.  Here is a great recipe that will get you through the fall and winter months and it is FRUGAL cooking at it's best.





Chicken Provencale
  • 8 pieces skinned chicken
  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled and sliced thinly
  • 2 bell peppers (you pick the colors), sliced in two inch lengths
  • 2 onions, sliced
  • 1 cup pitted green olives
  • 1 can diced tomatoes (15 ounces)
  • 1/2 cup white wine (red will work too)
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons herbs de Provence
  • salt and pepper
  • Directions

    1. Very lightly coat the bottom and sides of a crockpot with olive oil.
    2. Sprinkle the chicken pieces with salt and pepper and place them in the bottom of the crockpot.
    3. On top of the chicken, distribute the garlic, then the peppers, onions, and olives.
    4. On top of this pour on the tomatoes, wine, and olive oil.
    5. Finally sprinkle on top the herbs and salt and pepper (about 1/2 teaspoon each). Cover and cook on low for 8 hours.

    8/26/12

    My new favorite recipe

    I had a dinner party last night to  celebrate my graduation.  One of  my wonderful friends made Funfetti cake dip!!!  This was the best recipe I have tried.  I might have to go and get a cake mix to try out this wonderful recipe. 

          Pin It


    She found the recipe on pinterest my most favorite of places and it was from www.eat-yourself-skinny.com  I can't wait to try it out.  Here is the version my friend used.

    1 cake mix
    1 1/2 cups vanilla yogurt
    1 tub cool-whip

    Mix vanilla yogurt and cake mix together and add in coolwhip to make fluffy.  We served it with vanilla wafers, teddy grahams, and strawberries.  Can't wait to take this to my next party.

    Ground Beef Enchiladas


    This recipe was a quite fun.  I have plates that are oven safe.  Please DON"T TRY THIS if your plates are not oven safe.  It really was a simple weeknight dinner! 

    www.kraftrecipes.com

    Ground Beef Enchiladas

    6 corn tortillas
    vegetable oil
    1/2 medium onion, chopped
    1 small clove of garlic, minced
    1 pound ground beef
    3/4 teaspoon taco seasoning or to taste
    1 cup grated mild cheddar
    1 cup enchilada sauce
    sour cream

    More cheese for garnish
    Optional black olives for garnish

    Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

    Lightly fry the tortillas on both sides until they just start to get brown spots. Do not overcook or they will be stiff and brittle.
    Sauté the garlic and onion until the onion is soft and translucent.
    Sauté the burger and drain the fat from the meat. Stir in the taco seasoning.
    For the filling, mix the burger, cheese, garlic and onion together.
    Place about 1/3 cup of the hot filling in each tortilla and roll it up. Place two or three tortillas side by side on large plates. Place refried beans or black beans and Spanish rice on the plate. Pour some sauce over the rolled and filled tortillas.
    Place the plates in the hot oven for five minutes. Remove them from the oven and immediately sprinkle them with additional grated cheese and sliced black olives. If the cheese does not melt quickly, place the plates back in the oven for a minute.
    Serve hot from the oven.

    8/19/12

    Slow Cooker Golden Chicken with Noodles

    This is what we had last night for dinner.  the family loved it and there were some great leftovers for the week.  This was a new to us recipe.  I believe it has been around for a long time though and since I tend to make the same things in my crockpot week after week my family gets tired of crock pot suppers.  This recipe seemed to revitalize them though, which is great because I am working full time now and will need to  use the crockpot more now. 

    Crock Pot Golden Chicken and Noodles. Photo by MsSally

    Slow Cooker Golden Chicken with Noodles

    Since this delightful chicken dish cooks itself in the slow cooker, it's perfect for any time of year. It's a family-favorite that you'll make time and again.

    2 cans (10 3/4 ounces each) Cream of Chicken Soup (Regular or 98% Fat Free)
    1/2 cup water
    1/4 cup lemon juice
    1 tablespoon Dijon-style mustard
    1 1/2 teaspoons garlic powder
    1 teaspoon onion powder
    8 large carrots, thickly sliced (about 6 cups)
    8 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves (about 2 pounds)
    4 cups egg noodles, cooked and drained
    Chopped fresh parsley

    Stir the soup, water, lemon juice, mustard, garlic powder and carrots in a 3 1/2-quart slow cooker. Add the chicken and turn to coat. Cover and cook on LOW for 7 to 8 hours or until the chicken is cooked through. Serve with the noodles. Sprinkle with the parsley.

    Menu Week of August 20th

    This is what my menu looks like for this next week.  A lot of chicken, but that is what I have in my freezer.  I am still trying to save money and that means using what I have on hand to make some wonderful meals. 

    Monday:Slow Cooker Balsamic Chicken

    Tuesday:  Tacos

    Wednesday: King Ranch Chicken

    Thursday:  Pork chops

    Friday:  Chicken Gyros

    Saturday:  Appetizers and desserts (Graduation Party)

    8/12/12

    Menu Plan Monday Week of August 13

    The beginning of this week and I am reflecting on many different things.  I am the mom of a fourth grader (Where did the time go?), I am graduating with my BSN in nursing (Not done just beginning my Masters in January), tomorrow I begin a new job with more money, and my mom was admitted back into the hospital and she lives 3 hours away.  I am feeling a bit overwhelmed, but I can do it.  I have felt this way for the past few weeks and it seems to just keep getting worse.  I focused a bit today and came up with a meal plan.  It's easy, but still home cooked. 


    Monday: Tater tot casserole (I keep putting this on, but something comes up and it never gets made)

    Tuesday: Chicken grilled with veggies and fruit

    Wednesday: Pepper steak Crockpot

    Thursday: Leftovers

    Friday: Dinner with friends (I GRADUATE)

    Saturday:  Not sure may be going out of town otherwise it will be feta stuffed chicken breasts

    Sunday: Tacos Pin It

    8/1/12

    Twice Baked Potao Salad


    I found this salad on vacation and set out to recreate it at home.  This salad is wonderful and will make a great addition to any potluck!!


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    Twiced Baked Potato Salad

    5 pounds red potatoes, baked
    3 cups cheddar cheese, shredded
    12 ounces ranch salad dressing
    1 tablespoon prepared mustard
    1/2 cup green onions, chopped fine
    1 Large red bell pepper, chopped
    1/2 cup celery, chopped - optional
    6 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled
    Salt and pepper to taste

    Cool baked potatoes and cut into 1-inch cubes; leave skins on, unless your family insists you remove them. Combine 1-1/2 cups cheese, dressing, and next 3 ingredients in a large bowl; add potato, tossing gently.

    Sprinkle with bacon and remaining 1/2 cup of cheese. Can also substitute mayonnaise or Miracle Whip for part of the ranch salad dressing. I have also seen it made with chopped olives and chopped tomatoes.

    7/31/12

    Grilled Shrimp Scampi

    This is a great summer recipe for when you don't want to heat up your house.  I added tomatoes to my skewers for a little different twist.  You can just use shrimp if you want. I served the skewers atop a bed of lettuce and made a great shrimp salad. 



    Grilled Shrimp Scampi Skewers


    1/4 C. olive oil
    1/4 C. lime or lemon juice (I use lemon)
    3 Tbs. chopped fresh parsley
    1 tsp. dried oregano
    1 Tbs. minced garlic
    Ground black pepper to taste
    1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper
    1 cup grape tomatoes
    1 1/2 lb. raw, cleaned, shelled shrimp

    In a plastic or glass bowl, combine the olive oil, lime or lemon juice, parsley, oregano, garlic, black pepper and crushed red pepper. Stir in the shrimp and marinate for 20-30 minutes. Preheat grill. Remove shrimp from the marinade, and thread onto skewers alternating with tomatoes. If using the wooden skewers. make sure to soak them in water for at least 30 minutes before use.

    Grill for about 2-3 minutes on each side, or until done.Pin It

    7/30/12

    Summer Bruschetta

    Last evening, we finally had a ripe fresh tomato.  I look forward to tomato season, except this year we may not get many because of the drought.  This recipe was wonderful and was gone before I ahd more than 1 piece.  My husban loved this!!




    Summer Bruschetta

    1 1/2 lbs. Roma tomatoes
    1/2 cup fresh basil leaves
    1 T. fresh oregano leaves
    1 T. minced garlic
    1 T. balsamic vinegar
    1 T. olive oil
    1 t. fresh lemon juice
    Salt and pepper to taste
    1/2 inch crusty French bread slices
    Garlic flavored olive oil

    For tomato spread, seed and chop tomatoes; chop the basil and oregano. Mix with garlic, vinegar, and 1 T. olive oil and lemon juice in a bowl. Season with salt and pepper. Spoon into a serving bowl. For Bruschetta: brush bread with garlic flavored olive oil. Grill for 5 to 8 minutes or until toasted. Serve with tomato mixture. Note: the bread can be toasted ahead of time and the tomato mixture prepared and allowed to stand at room temperature for 2 hours. Do not spread ahead of time. This is best in the summer using fresh tomatoes and herbs from the garden. Pin It

    Menu Plan week of July 30

    Only 2 weeks until school starts for my children.  Wahoo! I am so ready for routines to be in place again. This week to help along the routine of nightly dinner, I am planning a crockpot friendly meny.

    Monday: Leftover BBQ pork

    Tuesday: Crockpot Pepper Steak

    Wednesday: Crockpot Chicken Fajitas

    Thursday: Chicken Carciofi

    Friday: Crockpot Jambalaya

    Saturday: Steak

    Sunday: Brats Pin It

    7/16/12

    Menu plan Monday July 16th

    The past few months have been difficult.  My mother had been ill and my menu fell to the wayside. I am on vacation this week from my 8-5 job and am thoroughly looking forward to spending some time at home organizing and cleaning.  Then next week, we are off to spend the week in Chicago.  My daughter has dance nationals there and we are planning on spending two days exploring the great city.

     If any of my readers can suggest restaurants and sights to be sure to see leave me a comment.

    Now on to my menu for the week!

     Menu Plan Monday ~ Turn Off the Oven Edition


    Monday: Pepperoni Pizza with home made herb crust.

    Tuesday: Tater tot casserole

    Wednesday: Grilled Chicken and parmesan potatoes

    Thursday: Pork Chop Sandwiches

    Friday: Chicken Fajitas

    Saturday: Clean out Refrigerator Night...We leave for vacation in the AM!!!

    7/11/12

    It has been a long few months!

    The past few months have been very difficult for me.  I have been dealing with aging parents and a mother that became severly ill in March and is still recovering from this.  Next week I am coming back to blogging a few times per week.  I feel as if my life has been on hold while I have been dealing with other issues.   I hope you all understand and watch for my feature week next week.  I am planning on cooking up some "Fair" food in honor of our yearly summer celebration.

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    6/20/12

    Homemade Peach Cobbler

    I bought some great Missouri Peaches at the farmer's market this past weekend and they started getting really soft.  I made a cobble today and it smells so good in my house.  Here is the recipe.



    Ingredients

    • 8 fresh peaches - peeled, pitted and sliced into thin wedges
    • 1/4 cup white sugar
    • 1/4 cup brown sugar
    • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
    • 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
    • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
    • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
    • 1 cup all-purpose flour
    • 1/4 cup white sugar
    • 1/4 cup brown sugar
    • 1 teaspoon baking powder
    • 1/2 teaspoon salt
    • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, chilled and cut into small pieces
    • 1/4 cup boiling water
    • MIX TOGETHER:
    • 3 tablespoons white sugar
    • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

    Directions

    1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F (220 degrees C).
    2. In a large bowl, combine peaches, 1/4 cup white sugar, 1/4 cup brown sugar, 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon, nutmeg, lemon juice, and cornstarch. Toss to coat evenly, and pour into a 2 quart baking dish. Bake in preheated oven for 10 minutes.               

    1. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, combine flour, 1/4 cup white sugar, 1/4 cup brown sugar, baking powder, and salt. Blend in butter with your fingertips, or a pastry blender, until mixture resembles coarse meal. Stir in water until just combined.
    2. Remove peaches from oven, and drop spoonfuls of topping over them. Sprinkle entire cobbler with the sugar and cinnamon mixture. Bake until topping is golden, about 30 minutes.

    6/19/12

    Pear and Blue Cheese Salad

    Hearth & Soul Hop
    This salad was a hit as a side dish with last nights dinner.  Here is the recipe.  I am currently eating many salads from my garden.  I planted lettuce this year and it is taking over part of my garden.  This has saved me much money on lettuce this year. 

    I love my garden what are you eating from yours? (leave me a comment)

    Tangy Pear and Blue Cheese Salad Recipe


    8 cups mixed salad greens
    1 cup unpeeled fresh pear slices                  
    1 cup fresh raspberries
    1/2 cup crumbled blue cheese
    1/4 cup chopped walnuts, toasted
    1/3 cup olive or vegetable oil                  
    1/4 cup cider vinegar
    1 1/2 teaspoons Dijon mustard                   
    1 teaspoon sugar
    pepper to taste

     

    Directions

    In a large salad bowl, combine the greens, pears, raspberries if desired, blue cheese and nuts. In a jar with a tight-fitting lid, combine the remaining ingredients; shake well. Pour over salad and toss to coat. Serve immediately.
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    6/17/12

    Peaches and Cream Pie

    This pie is amazing and has made our Father's Day memorable. It is so easy!

    1 pie crust
    1 large can sliced peaches, drained
    1 cup whipping cream
    1 cook and serve vanilla pudding

    Place 1/2 dry pudding in bottom of pie crust. Add drained peaches. Sprinkle remaining pudding on top of pie. Pour cream over peaches. Cook at 400 degrees for 30 mins. Decrease temp to 325 degrees and cook another 25-30 mins. Top should be golden brown.

    5/24/12

    Dilled Salmon and Veggies

    I am on a quest to loose weight and in this quest, I have totally redone all my recipes.  I am now searching for low fat and good for you foods.  I still will eat something sweet once in a while, but when I am trying to lose about 60 lbs. these times are infrequent.  In this wonderful quest for a new body and life, I found this great salmon recipe I plan to share with you.  I believe it came from Martha Stewart.  It is both flavorful and good for you.

    Dilled Salmon

    marthastewart.com
    • 1 1/2 pounds (about 3 medium) zucchini, cut diagonally into 1-inch-thick pieces
    • 2 lemons, quartered, seeds removed
    • 8 sprigs fresh dill
    • 2 tablespoons olive oil
    • Coarse salt and ground pepper
    • 4 (about 8 ounces each) skinless salmon fillets

    Directions

    1. Heat broiler, with rack 4 inches from heat. Combine zucchini, lemons, and dill on a large rimmed broiler-proof baking sheet. Drizzle with oil, and season with salt and pepper; toss to coat.
    2. Nestle salmon fillets among vegetables; season generously with salt and pepper. Broil until vegetables are tender and fish is opaque throughout, 15 to 20 minutes.

    5/7/12

    Menu Plan Monday



    This week I have no idea what my menu is going to consist of. I start my last semester of college and that will take a bit of my time getting organized this week.
    As always I am linking to www.orgjunkie.com


    Monday: Chicken Pesto salad

    Tuesday: Beef fajita/tacos

    Wednesday: Shrimp Pasta Salad

    Thursday:  Chicken sandwiches

    Friday:  Pizza
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    5/4/12

    Sliced steak and New potatoes


     


    Sliced Steak Sensation
    Rachael Ray's Book of 10 Copyright 2009

    3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
    2 teaspoons hot sauce
    1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
    2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
    salt and pepper
    1 top-round steak (London Broil),1 to 1 1/2 inches thick, about 2 pounds

    Preheat the broiler on high.

    Combine the Worcestershire, hot sauce, vinegar, EVOO, and some salt and pepper and coat the steak with the mixture. I let it marinate all day. Put the steak on a broiler pan and situate the pan on the rack closest to the flame; broil for 6 minutes per side. Remove the steak from the broiler and all ow to rest for 5 minutes, tented with a piece of aluminum foil. Then slice it thinly against the grain to serve.
     
    Lemon Roasted New Potatoes
    • 3 pound new potatoes, yukon gold or red bliss
    • 2 lemons
    • 12 garlic cloves, roasted
    • 1/8 cup rosemary sprigs
    • 1/4 cup roasted garlic oil
    • Salt and pepper
    Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

    Wash and cut the potatoes into quarter wedges. Juice lemons and with a sharp knife peel away the white pith. Cut rind into 1/4-inch strips.

    Combine the lemon rind, half the juice, roasted garlic, rosemary, and oil in a roasting pan. Add the potatoes, mix well, and marinate overnight.

    Preheat a grill.

    Drain the potatoes in a colander reserving the lemon and garlic. Grill the potatoes on the 2 cut sides, just to mark slightly.

    Using the same roasting pan, place the potatoes, lemon rinds, and garlic back in the pan and roast for 12 to 15 minutes, shaking and tossing the pan every 5 minutes.

    Season with salt and pepper, and drizzle remaining lemon juice if desired.
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    5/3/12

    Slow cooker sun-dried tomato risotto

    This is another great recipe that is very easy to throw together in the crockpot.  I love this recipe as a side dish to chicken.  It is also great all on its own. 


    Slow Cooker Sun-Dried Tomato Risotto

    1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes, oil-packed

    1 1/2 cups arborio rice -- (in a box in the rice aisle)

    4 cups broth

    1/2 cup shredded Swiss cheese -- (to add later)

    Use a 4-quart slow cooker.

    Put the sun-dried tomatoes in the bottom of your slow cooker. Add the rice and swirl it around in the tomatoes until the rice is coated with oil. Add the broth.

    Cover and cook on high for 2 to 4 hours, or until the rice is tender.

    Remove the lid and stir in the Swiss cheese. Turn off the cooker and let the risotto sit in the slow cooker for 10 minutes with the lid off before serving.

    Serves 4
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    Living below the line



    1.4 billion people around the world live on less than $1.50 a day. Can you? I’ll be participating in a campaign with BzzAgent and Live Below Line from May 7Th – May 11Th. Live Below the Line is a campaign that challenges individuals and communities to eat and drink on just $1.50 per day for 5 days.

    By exposing participants to a glimpse of some of the daily difficulties experienced by the 1.4 billion people who live in extreme poverty every day, for everything, the campaign provides a unique window into understanding the realities of life for so many.
    I’ll be updating you next week on the challenge and how it’s working for me. Thank goodness there is an online cookbook provided to help with tips on living for $1.50 a day. I know people that don’t think twice about spending triple that amount on coffee each day!


    CARE helps women and their families through poverty fighting and disaster relief programs. To learn more about CARE watch this video and take the challenge to live on $1.50 a day for 5 days.
    Check out Live Below the Line to sign up.  Just choose BZZagent Network from the drop down menu.  To join along.
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    Crock Nutty Chicken

    The name for this chicken was intriguing.  I love using my crockpot throughout the year.  I use it in the summer so that my kitchen does not get too hot and I use it in the winter when I want to cook all day.  I am a busy mom and this appliance helps me do my work.  It is also a great appliance when I don't feel like cooking.  The following recipe came from the Dinner Diva herself, Leanne Ely.  I love using the Flylady cleaning system and Leanne's recipes are a great option. 




    Crock-Nutty Chicken

    Serves 6

    1/3 cup peanut butter

    6 tablespoons soy sauce--divided

    3 1/2 teaspoons onion -- minced

    2 cloves garlic -- pressed

    several drops tabasco

    1/4 teaspoon ground ginger

    6 boneless skinless chicken breast halves

    3 tablespoons honey

    1/2 tablespoon butter -- melted

    2 cups chicken broth

    2 tablespoons corn starch



    Mix peanut butter, 3 tablespoons of the soy sauce, onion, garlic, tabasco and ginger.



    Spread peanut butter mixture inside of each chicken breast halves piece. Fold in half; close with small skewer or toothpick. Place in crockpot. In a bowl, mix remaining 3 tablespoons soy sauce with honey, butter and broth and pour over chicken. Cover and cook on low for 4 to 5 hours.



    Remove chicken from crockpot and keep warm. Transfer remaining cooking liquid to a saucepan and heat to a boil. In a small bowl, dissolve cornstarch in small amount of cold water and stir into sauce. Cook for about 5 minutes or until sauce thickens nicely. Serve with sauce spooned over the top of chicken. Don't forget to remove toothpicks before serving!



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    5/2/12

    Viva Las Vegas


    Okay ladies, I need ideas.  I am a frugal mom with not so frugal friends and we have just planned a girls trip to Vegas.  I have never been before and I am going with seasoned veterans.  How do I do Vegas on a budget?  If anyone has any ideas please comment below.



    Who doesn't love the lights and scenes of Las Vegas!  I can not wait to go!!!
      Pin It

    Pasta with red onion and roasted broccoli served with Grilled Pork Chops


    Ingredients


    Salt
    1 1/2 lbs corkscrew pasta
    3 bunches Broccoli, ends slightly trimmed
    1 Lg. red onion, sliced about 1/3 inch thick
    1/4 c. olive oil
    Black pepper
    6 Lg. garlic cloves, thinly sliced
    Zest and juice of 2 lemons
    1/2 c. Heavy cream
    1 c. Grated parmigiano-reggiano cheese. plus more to pass

    Preparation


    Preheat oven to 450

    Bring a lg. covered pot of water to boil over hight heat.Once boiling, add some salt and the pasta and cook to al dente. Right before draining, remove and reserve 1 1/2 c. of the pasta cooking water.

    Once you've got the water going. place the broccoli and sliced onion on a timmed baking sheet. Give them a healthy drizzle of olive oil, season with salt and pepper, and toss untill they are well coated. Toast untill the broccoli ends are crisp and brown and the stalks are tender, about 15 min.

    Place the pot you cooked the pasta in over med-high heat with the 1/4 c. of EVOO. Add the garlic and cook untill golden:  reserved pasta water, lemon zest and juice , and cream. Bring up to a bubble and cook for a min or 2. Add the past and the roasted broccolini and onions. Cook for 2 min to thicken up the sauce, then turn the heat off, add the cheese, and stir to combine. Serve immediately with more chese to pass at the table
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    5/1/12

    ORANGE CHICKEN

    Last night for dinner we had orange chicken stir fry.  This was a wonderful recipe and easy.  I had finished it in less than a half an hour.  Great for a busy school night. 

    Orange Chicken

    Orange Chicken

  • 3 3/4 cups water
  • 1 oranges, zested
  • 2 cups rice
  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • 1 1/2 to 1 3/4 pounds chicken breast tenders, sliced on an angle into bite-size pieces
  • 3 cloves garlic crushed
  • 1 medium yellow skinned onion, sliced
  • 1 red bell pepper, seeded, quartered and sliced
  • 1 cup shredded carrots
  • 6 scallions, cut on an angle into 2 inch pieces
  • 1 cup snow peas, a couple of handfuls
  • Satay sauce:

    • 4 rounded tablespoonfuls chunky peanut butter
    • 3 tablespoons soy
    • 3 tablespoons honey
    • 1-inch ginger root, peeled and minced
    • 1 clove garlic, crushed
    • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
    • 1/2 orange, juiced

    Garnish:

    • 2 ounces (1/4 cup) chopped peanuts or nut topping, available on the baking aisle
    • 2 to 3 tablespoons chopped cilantro leaves or flat-leaf parsley, for garnish

    Directions

    Heat water with orange zest to boiling. Add rice, return to boil, stir. Cover pot and reduce heat to simmer. Cook rice until tender, 18 minutes. Fluff with fork.

    For stir-fry, heat a large nonstick skillet over high heat. Add chicken, garlic and onion, stir-fry 3 minutes. Add remaining veggies and stir-fry 5 minutes more. Heat all ingredients for sauce together in a small pot over low heat, stirring the sauce until all ingredients are combined. Transfer stir-fry to a large platter and pour sauce evenly over the chicken and vegetables. Sprinkle the platter with chopped nuts, cilantro, and basil.  Pin It

    4/30/12

    Shrimp on Fettuccine topped with Asaparagus Cream Sauce







    ngredients
    • 1 pound asparagus tips
    • 1 pound dry fettuccine
    • Salt
    • Extra-virgin olive oil, 2 tablespoons plus some for drizzling
    • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
    • 1 shallot, thinly sliced  
    • 1/2 cup chicken stock
    • 1 can crushed tomatoes (14 ounces) 
    • 1/4 cup heavy cream, (eyeball it)
    • Black pepper
    • 2 tablespoons butter
    • 1 cup bread crumbs
    • 1 lemon, zested
    • Handful parsley, finely chopped
    • 1 pound shrimp
    Serves 4

    Preparation

    Bring 1-inch of water to a boil in a large skillet as well as a large pot of water, for pasta. When the water in the skillet comes up to a boil, add salt and asparagus and blanch for 2 minutes, drain and reserve. When the pasta water comes up to a boil, salt it and cook fettuccine to al dente.

    While the pasta water comes up to a boil, in the pan which you blanched the asparagus in, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil, over medium heat then add garlic and shallot and saute 4-5 minutes. Deglaze with wine, reduce 30 seconds then add stock, tomatoes and a pinch of saffron or an envelope of saffron powder. Simmer 10 minutes. Stir in cream then season sauce with salt and pepper, to taste.
    While sauce cooks, heat a small skillet over medium-low heat. Add butter, melt then add the bread crumbs and toast them. Add salt and pepper, lemon zest and parsley, remove and reserve. Wipe pan clean and return the skillet to medium-high heat and pre-heat until very hot. Drizzle shrimp with olive oil and cook until pink.

    Chop asparagus into 1-inch pieces on an angle and add to sauce. Drain pasta and toss with asparagus and sauce. Serve pasta with shrimp and top each plate with the breadcrumbs.
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    Menu Plan Monday 4/30


    Looks like May is upon us..It is another dreary Iowa day today.  I put a great menu together this week.

    Monday: Orange Chicken

    Tuesday: Turkey cutlets with peppers and basil

    Wednesday: tex Mex crunchy fry; chicken, o-rings, and pepper rings

    Thursday: Pork chops with pasta

    Friday: Lemon Spaghetti/ fish

    Saturday:  Sliced steak and salad with lemony parsley potatoes

    As always I am linking with orgjunkie.com  

    4/26/12

    Chocolate Mint Cookie Truffles

    Another great bake sale recipe....This is to die for...I want to thank Six Sisters Stuff for posting this recipe way back in January.  I finally got the nerve to try it and wallah

    Not Your Ordinary Recipes



    This recipe couldn't be easier

    Chocolate Mint Cookie Truffles
    1 package grasshopper cookies from Keebler or Girl Scout Thin mint cookies
    4 oz. Cream Cheese
    Candy Coating in Green (I also added mint candy flavoring to this)
    Directions:

    In a food processor, pulse the Thin Mints a few times, and then blend them down until they are crumbs.

    Next, mix the cream cheese and cookie crumbs together in a bowl until well-mixed. Roll the mixture into 1 inch size balls, and place them on a wax paper covered baking sheet. Place the baking sheet in the fridge for about 30 minutes, so the balls are easier to dip in the chocolate and do not fall apart.
    Once the truffles have been in the fridge for a while, melt the green candy coating in a microwave-safe bowl in the microwave. Heat the discs for 30 seconds at a time, stirring in between each heat burst. Repeat until the discs are all melted.

    Roll each ball in the melted coating until it is fully covered. I usually use two forks to push the truffle around until it is all covered. Then, using the two forks, carefully pick up the truffle and allow the excess mint chocolate to run off before placing back on the wax paper. Repeat with all the truffles.

    Stick the truffles back in the fridge for a couple of minutes or until the mint chocolate is hardened.



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    Best Ever Cocoa Brownies

    I found it!!  I have been searching for the best ever brownie recipe.  I have tried many recipes and trust me this is it.  I made a batch of these for a bake sale I am organizing and whoever buys these will be in heaven.

    Best Cocoa Brownies
Adapted from Alice Mendrich’s Bittersweet via smitten kitchen
    Makes 16 larger or 25 smaller brownies

    10 tablespoons (1 1/4 sticks, 5 ounces or 141 grams) unsalted butter
    1 1/4 cups (9 7/8 ounces, 280 grams) sugar

    3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons (2 7/8 ounces, 82 grams) unsweetened cocoa powder (natural or Dutch-process)

    1/4 teaspoon salt
    1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

    2 large eggs, cold

    1/2 cup (66 grams, 2 3/8 ounces) all-purpose flour
    2/3 cup walnut or pecan pieces (optional)

    Position a rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat the oven to 325°F. Line the bottom and sides of an 8×8-inch square baking pan with parchment paper or foil, leaving an overhang on two opposite sides.
    Combine the butter, sugar, cocoa, and salt in a medium heatproof bowl and microwave for 1:30 minutes. Remove and stir until the butter is melted and the mixture is smooth. Set aside briefly until the mixture is only warm, not hot. It looks fairly gritty at this point, but don’t fret — it smoothes out once the eggs and flour are added.

    Stir in the vanilla with a wooden spoon. Add the eggs one at a time, stirring vigorously after each one. When the batter looks thick, shiny, and well blended, add the flour and stir until you cannot see it any longer, then beat vigorously for 40 strokes with the wooden spoon or a rubber spatula. Stir in the nuts, if using. Spread evenly in the lined pan.

    Bake until a toothpick plunged into the center emerges slightly moist with batter, 25 to 30 minutes. Let cool completely on a rack.

    Lift up the ends of the parchment or foil liner, and transfer the brownies to a cutting board. Cut into 16 or 25 squares.
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    Snickerdoodle Cupcakes

    My favorite cookie is snickerdoodles by far!  I love them and make them about once every couple months.  So, when I found this recipe from Martha Stewart, I just had to try them out.  I made these for a bake sale I am holding to raise money for my daughter's dance team.  These cupcakes are wonderfully light and airy.  Perfect for a birthday celebration or special dessert.  I can't wait for you to make these great cupcakes. 


    Snickerdoodle Cupcakes


    Ingredients

    • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
    • 1 1/2 cups cake flour (not self- rising), sifted
    • 1 tablespoon baking powder
    • 1/2 teaspoon salt
    • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon, plus 1/2 teaspoon for dusting
    • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
    • 1 3/4 cups sugar, plus 2 tablespoons for dusting
    • 4 large eggs, room temperature
    • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
    • 1 1/4 cups milk
    • Seven-Minute Frosting


    Directions

    1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line standard muffin tins with paper liners. Sift together both flours, baking powder, salt, and 1 tablespoon cinnamon.
    2. With an electric mixer on medium-high speed, cream butter and sugar until pale and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating until each is incorporated, scraping down sides of bowl as needed. Beat in vanilla. Reduce speed to low. Add flour mixture in three batches, alternating with two additions of milk, and beating until combined after each.
    3. Divide batter evenly among lined cups, filling each three-quarters full. Bake, rotating tins halfway through, until a cake tester inserted in centers comes out clean, about 20 minutes. Transfer tins to wire racks to cool completely before removing cupcakes. Cupcakes can be stored up to 2 days at room temperature, or frozen up to 2 months, in airtight containers.
    4. To finish, combine remaining 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon and 2 tablespoons sugar. Using a pastry bag fitted with a large plain tip (Ateco No. 809 or Wilton No. 1A), pipe frosting on each cupcake: Hold bag over cupcake with tip just above top, and squeeze to create a dome of frosting, then release pressure and pull up to form a peak. Using a small, fine sieve, dust peaks with cinnamon-sugar. Cupcakes are best eaten the day they are frosted; keep at room temperature until ready to serve.

    4/23/12

    What's for Dinner Week of April 23



    Menu planning is a necessity for me.  I absolutely love trying to find my menu for the week.  Some weeks can be harder than others, but here is the plan for this week

    Monday Garlic Lime Chicken

    Tuesday Hamburgers and salad

    Wednesday Pork Chops

    Thursday  Tacos

    Friday Pizza

    Saturday Dinner out with Friends

    Sunday Roast Chicken


    As always I am linking up with Org Junkie
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    Garlic lime Chicken


    It must be all about limes week.  I am making garlic lime chicken and it smells wonderful.  This recipe was inspired by Leanne Ely from the Flylady network.  I absolutely love her way of thinking. 

     1 teaspoon sea salt
    3/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
    1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
    1/4 teaspoon paprika
    1 teaspoon garlic powder
    1/2 teaspoon onion powder
    1/2 teaspoon thyme
    1 garlic clove, minced
     6 boneless skinless chicken breast halves
    2 tablespoons butter
    2 tablespoons olive oil
    1/2 cup low sodium chicken broth
    4 tablespoons lime juice

    On a dinner plate, mix together first 8 ingredients. Sprinkle mixture on both sides of chicken breasts (or double the spice mixture if you like it a little spicier).

    In a skillet heat butter and olive oil together over medium high heat. Saute chicken until golden brown on each side, about 5 minutes on either side. Remove chicken and add lime juice and chicken broth to the pan, whisking up the browned bits off the bottom of the pan. Keep cooking until sauce has reduced slightly. Add chicken back to the pan to thoroughly coat and serve.

    I am serving this with baked garlic asparagus and also a salad.  I can't wait to eat tonight.  What is your go to meal during the week?

    Pin It

    4/22/12

    Lime in the Coconut Sugar Cookies

    This week i found inspiration from Pinterest.  I love to bake and happen to have been organizing a fun bake sale that will be held next Saturday April 28th at Encore Dance Academy in Ankeny IA. 

    If any of my local readers want to taste some of my delicious recipes, please come by and see me.  I will be there from around 7:30am until 2:00 pm.  We are holding the bake sale to raise money to help our children to be able to attend our national dance competition in Chicago Il.  This is the first of many recipes this week that will be featured.

    Lime in the Coconut Sugar Cookies
    (Inspired from My Baking Addiction)


    Ingredients
    2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
    1 teaspoon baking soda
    1/2 teaspoon baking powder
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    1 cup butter, softened
    1 1/2 cups white sugar
    1 egg
    1 teaspoon vanilla extract
    Zest of one large lime, finely minced
    Juice from 1 lime
    ½ cup sweetened toasted coconut
    1/2 cup sugar for rolling cookies (I used lime green sugar for fun)

    Directions
    1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
    2. In a small bowl, stir together flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
    3. Using a mixer, beat together the butter and sugar until smooth and very fluffy.
    4. Beat in egg, vanilla extract, lime juice and lime zest.
    5. Gradually blend in the dry ingredients and toasted coconut.
    6. Roll rounded teaspoonfuls of dough into balls, and roll in sugar. Place on ungreased cookie sheets about 1 1/2 inches apart.
    7. Bake 8 to 10 minutes in the preheated oven, or until lightly browned.
    8. Let stand on cookie sheet two minutes before removing to cool on wire racks.

     Pin It

    4/18/12

    Join me Friday to make a pillowcase for kids with cancer

    This Friday is another Friday Night Sew In.  Ususally this is a way to work on projects you have and want to complete it.  This week they are patnering with CONKERR cancer to make many pillowcases for cancer.  I can't wait to help out with this great cause.



    Pin It
    Handmade by Heidi

    4/14/12

    Chicken with Artichokes and Peppers

    This is dinner tonight.  I made this a few weeks ago and both my children and husband loved it, so I am making it again.  I hope you love it also.  I add some parmesan cheese on top of this and also add a big salad to round out the meal.

    Chicken Pasta with Artichokes

    Chicken Pasta with Artichokes
    From Saving Dinner by Leanne Ely
    3 C uncooked fusilli pasta (or other medium-sized pasta)-I used bow tie pasta
    1 6 oz jar marinated artichoke hearts, undrained
    3 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves, cut into 1/2 inch slices
    2 C sliced mushrooms
    1 clove garlic, pressed
    1 7 ounce jar roasted red peppers, sliced
    3/4 C chicken broth
    1/2 C dry white wine, optional (substitute apple juice if not using wine)
    1 T cornstarch
    Salt and pepper to taste
    Cook and drain pasta as directed on package. Drain liquid from artichokes into 10″ skillet; heat over medium-high heat. Cook chicken in liquid for 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in mushrooms and garlic. Cook about 4 minutes or so, stirring occasionally, until chicken is light brown and no longer pink. Stir in artichokes and peppers.
    In a medium bowl, mix broth, wine, and cornstarch together till well blended. Gradually stir the broth mixture into the chicken mixture. Heat to boiling, stirring constantly. Boil and stir 1 minute, till thickened. Toss with pasta, salt and pepper to taste, and serve
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    4/13/12

    Homemade Onion Soup Mix


    In my quest for ultimate frugality and to do away with packaged mixes, I found this wonderful recipe for homemade onion soup mix.  I happen to love onion dip for chips made with lipton soup mixes.  This soup mix recipe rivals that of Lipton's and is easy to make and I always seem to have the ingredients on hand.  This is even better. 

    Homemade Onion Soup Mix

    3/4 cup of instant minced onions
    1/3 cup of beef bouillon powder of your choice
    4 tsp of onion powder
    1/4 tsp of crushed celery seeds
    1/4 tsp of sugar

    In a bowl, combine all ingredients and store in an a container (airtight)

    This makes about 5 tbsp of mix (equal to one package = 1 1/4 oz.)

    P.S. To make onion dip: Mix 5 tbsp with one pint of sour cream.
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    Last night I made up 2 pounds hamburger meat.  We had nachos with some of the meat last evening and wanting to use up the rest of the meat this evening, I have decided to make htis wonderful taco salad.  This is a go to meal in the summer months or when I don't want to have to cook anything.  It is a way to use up the leftovers from a taco night.  This is the recipe I use, but I substituted my leftover cheese and olives from a previous nights dinner. 

    Ingredients

    • 1 pound ground beef
    • 1/2 cup ketchup
    • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
    • 1 teaspoon chili powder
    • 1/2 teaspoon salt
    • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
    • 1 medium head of lettuce (I use leafy greens)
    • 2 medium tomatoes, diced
    • 1 cup shredded Mexican cheese blend
    • 1 can (2-1/4 ounces) sliced ripe olives, drained
    • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
    • 1/4 cup salsa
    • 1 package (10-1/2 ounces) corn chips

    Directions

    • In a large saucepan, cook beef over medium heat until no longer pink; drain. Stir in the ketchup, oregano, chili powder, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 10 minutes.
    • In a large bowl, combine the lettuce, tomatoes, cheese, olives and beef mixture. Combine mayonnaise and salsa; pour over salad and toss to coat. Sprinkle with corn chips. Serve immediately.
    I am linking with around my family table

    4/8/12

    Samoa Pie

    Easter has been a great success this year.  I have much to be thankful for.  I was searching for pie recipes and found this one : Samoa Pie

    I adapted it as follows and created the most wonderful creation ever imagined.  I have to say I did use my coconut custard filling that has won a blue ribbon at the iowa state fair and this pie may also have a blue ribbon attached to it after this year's fair.  It is THAT good!


    Samoa Pie
    1 shortbread pie crust (I cheated and used Keebler)

    1/4 cup chocolate chips melted

    Place the melted chocolate chips in the pie crust and spread evenly.

    Topping:
    2 cups sweetened shredded coconut
    1  cup caramel sauce (I used my homemade caramel sauce recipe)
    1/4 cup chocolate chips (garnish)

    Toast the coconut for 10 minutes in a 325 degree oven. Stir often. When it is golden brown it is done.

    Mix toasted coconut and caramel together to form the topping and set aside.

    Pie:
    2/3 cup sugar
    1/3 cup cornstarch
    1/2 tsp salt
    1 cup cream of coconut
    2 cups skim milk
    4 yolks, lightly beaten
    2 tsp vanilla
    1 1/2 cups sweetened shredded coconut


    Mix together the sugar, cornstarch, and salt in a saucepan. Beat the coconut milk and milk into the yolks. Stir slowly into the sugar mixture. Heat mixture over medium, stirring constantly, until it boils. Continue cooking for one minute. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla and coconut. Pour directly into crust.  Chill pie.

    Remove plastic wrap. Crumble coconut and caramel mixture across the top of the pie. Melt the chocolate chips. Spoon melted chocolate into a plastic bag with the tip cut off and drizzle over the top of the pie for garnish. Chill until ready to serve
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    4/5/12

    Sugar Snap Peas Side Dish



    I love sugar snap peas and this great side dish graced my table over the past week.  I absolutely loved it and so did my non-pea loving family.  I can't wait to get some peas out of my garden so I can make this again.


    Sugar Snap Peas Side Dish

  • 1-pound sugar snap peas
  • drizzle of olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons minced garlic
  • 1/2 cup sunflower seeds
  • splash of cooking white wine
  • 4 fresh green onions, chopped with tops
  • 1/2-pound sliced fresh white mushrooms
  • Kosher Sea-Salt and Fresh ground black pepper, to taste


  • In a medium-size saucepan over medium heat, drizzle a little olive oil. When hot, add minced garlic and sesame seeds, toss to coat and sauté until lightly browned. Remove from pan and onto paper towel to drain. Set aside.
    Clean pan with paper towel and drizzle just enough olive oil to toss and coat chopped green onions, adding in the sugar snap peas, sauté until sugar snaps are bright green, then add a splash of white cooking wine, along with sliced mushrooms. Add minced garlic and seasame seed mixture, toss and coat well. Sauté until "crisp tender", about 3-4 minutes and all the liquid is absorbed. Remove from pan and place into a glass bowl. You can top with raw sesame seeds if you like, and then salt and pepper to taste. Toss and serve! Enjoy!Pin It

    Easter Bread


    This sweet iced bread features almonds, candied fruit, and a beautiful presentation with dyed eggs. I use mine when I make it as the centerpiece on my Easter table. 

    Ingredients

      1/4 C. Sugar
      1 tsp. Salt
     1 pkg. Dry yeast
     2 1/2 To 3-1/2 C. unbleached -flour
     2/3 C. Milk
     2 Tbs. Butter
     2 Eggs, at room temperature
     1/2 C. raisins
    1/3 C  Chopped nuts (I used pecans)
    1/2 tsp. Anise seed
     2 Tbs. Melted butter
     5 Uncooked eggs colored with -Easter Egg Dye
      Icing:
      1 C. Confectioner's sugar
      1 Tbs. Milk
      1/8 tsp. Vanilla
      colored sprinkles
    Directions
    In a large mixing bowl, blend the sugar, salt, and yeast well with 1 C. of the flour. In a saucepan, combine milk and butter, heating slowly until liquid is warm and butter is melted. Pour the milk into the dry ingredients and beat 125 strokes with a wooden spoon. Add eggs and 1/2 C. flour or enough to make a thick batter. Beat vigorously for 2 minutes. Then stir in enough flour to make a ball of dough that draws away from the sides of the bowl. Turn out onto a floured board and knead for about 10 minutes, working in additional flour to overcome stickiness. Place the dough in a greased bowl, turning to grease the top. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and put in a warm, draft-free place until doubled in bulk about 1 hour.
    Meanwhile, combine the fruit, nuts, and anise seed. Punch down the dough and return it to a lightly floured board. Knead in the fruit mixture, keeping the syrupy pieces dusted with flour until they are worked into the dough. Divide the dough in half. Carefully roll each piece into a 24 inch rope - the fruit and nuts will make this slightly difficult. Loosely twist the two ropes together and form a ring on a greased baking sheet. Pinch the ends together well. Brush the dough with melted shortening.
    Push aside the twist to make a place for each egg. Push eggs down carefully as far as possible. Cover the bread with wax paper and let rise in a warm, draft-free place until double in bulk, about 1 hour.  Bake bread in a preheated 350 F oven for about 35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in a twist comes out clean. Place on a wire rack to cool. Once the bread is cool, drizzle the icing on top between the eggs, and decorate with colored sprinkles.
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