Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Santa Pancakes

We made these on Christmas Eve morning. The kids loved them! You can use any pancake recipe or mix. But hey....make them from scratch...you know you want to (my buttermilk pancake recipe is included below)!

As you pour the pancake batter onto the hot pan, pour it into a teardrop shape instead of a circle. This gives you the right shape to create the Santa face.

Pancake batter
strawberry or raspberry jam (or fresh strawberries/raspberries)
can of whipping cream
mini chocolate chips

Bake pancakes in teardrop shapes. To decorate, cover the top of the teardrop with jam to resemble a hat. Using whipped cream, make a mustache and beard. Decorate both the beard and the hat, ending with a dollop of whipped cream on the top of the hat. Add chocolate chip eyes. Serve warm!

Delicious Scratch Buttermilk Pancakes

1 c. flour
1 T. sugar
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. soda
1 beaten egg
1 c. buttermilk
2 T. oil

Mix all dry ingredients. Add buttermilk, egg and oil. Stir until just mixed (over-mixing will cause toughness). Batter will be lumpy. If batter is too thick, add more buttermilk to thin.

***My favorite "mix" to use when I'm in a hurry is the Cracker Barrel Pancake Mix or Hungry Jack Traditional Pancake Mix.

Sonia's Baked Chicken

My friend Sonia made this chicken for an Elder's Quorum dinner we attended. The chicken was so tender and perfectly seasoned....I left with the recipe! This was great served with mashed potatoes and vegetables, but would be equally good with baked potatoes or rice.

chicken breasts
egg (beaten)
saltine crackers
salt, pepper, garlic salt
Monterrey jack cheese
canned mushrooms

Dredge chicken breasts in beaten eggs and then in the saltine crackers (salt, pepper and season the crackers beforehand). In a skillet, heat some oil and fry the chicken on both sides until nicely browned. Transfer chicken to a baking dish and cover each piece with a slice of jack cheese. Sprinkle mushrooms all over the top. Bake at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes or until juices run clear.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Caramel Pecan Brownies

These brownies are super-moist and very similar to a Texas sheetcake, but the cooked frosting has a wonderful caramel flavor.

1 c. butter
1 c. water
1/4 c. baking cocoa powder
1/2 c. buttermilk
2 eggs
1 t. baking soda
1 t. vanilla
2 c. sugar
2 c flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1 cup chopped pecans, toasted

Cook first three ingredients in a small saucepan over low heat until melted. Remove from heat.
Beat buttermilk, eggs, soda and vanilla with an electric mixer until smooth. Add cocoa mixture, beating until blended.
Combine sugar, flour and salt; gradually add to the buttermilk mixture, beating until just blended. Mixture will be thin. Grease and flour a 15x10 pan. Pour batter into pan and bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes until a wooden spoon inserted in center comes out clean. Cool cake on a wire rack.


1/2 c. butter
1 c. packed brown sugar
1/4 c. milk
2 c. powdered sugar
1 t. vanilla

Melt butter and brown sugar in a pan. Once melted, add milk and bring to a boil. Remove from heat and whisk in powdered sugar and vanilla. Whisk until smooth. Pour over top of cooled brownies. Top with chopped pecans.

Janet's Shrimp Dip

Janet brought this shrimp dip to our luncheon. The creamy dip and salty chips were the perfect appetizer.

1 block cream cheese
1 cup sour cream
1/2 c. mayo
2 T. Worcestershire sauce
1 c. cottage cheese
1 small can small shrimp (peeled and de-veined)

Mix the cream cheese until fluffy using a rotary mixer. Slowly add the sour cream and then mayo, mixing well after adding. If you don't pre-mix the cream cheese, you will get big lumps of cream cheese that you can't beat out. Mix in the Worcestershire sauce. With a spoon, stir in the cottage cheese and shrimp. Refrigerate before serving. Serve with plain potato chips.

Karen's Spinach Salad

My co-workers and I had a nice Christmas luncheon at my house this past week. My friend Karen brought this delicious spinach salad and I had to share it here.

1 bag romaine lettuce
3/4 c. sliced mushrooms
1 diced red onion
1 bag baby spinach
1/2 lb. cooked crumbled bacon
3/4 lb. Swiss cheese, shredded
1 cup honey roasted peanuts (or 1 cup dried craisins)

2 T. poppy seeds
1/3 c. sugar
3/4 tsp. salt
2 T. prepared mustard
3/4 c. oil
1/3 c. white vinegar
3/4 tsp. onion

Toss the salad ingredients in a large bowl and set aside. Just before serving, mix the salad dressing ingredients, pour over salad and toss. You can also add mandarin oranges and substitute mozzarella cheese for the Swiss cheese. This salad needs to be eaten immediately and does not store well in the fridge overnight.

Ribbon Salad

This salad is beautiful served with a Christmas dinner. I've been making it since I was a teenager.

1 large pkg. cherry jello
1 large pkg. lime jello
1 1/2 c. miniature marshmallows
1 cup water
1 (8 oz.) pkg. cream cheese
1 large can crushed pineapple
4 oz. Cool Whip
1 T. mayonnaise
1 small pkg. lemon jello

Make lime jello according to pkg. directions. Pour into a glass 13x9 dish. Refrigerate until set.
In a small saucepan melt marshmallows and water over medium/high heat until melted and bubbly. Remove from heat and add lemon jello. Stir to dissolve. Add cream cheese and whisk until mixed and creamy. Stir in crushed pineapple, mayo and Cool Whip. Pour over the red layer of the jello. Allow to set in refrigerator for 2-3 hours. Make cherry jello according to package directions. Pour over the top and allow to set. Cut into squares to serve.

Kami's Pumpkin Bread

This recipe was shared with me by my good friend Kami. She not only gave me a loaf of this perfectly moist bread, but also the darling dish to serve it on. Thanks Kami!

Glazed Pumpkin* Bread …(*apples, bananas or zucchini)

3 eggs
1 c. oil
1 tsp. salt

2 c. sugar
1 tsp. soda

2 c. pumpkin
3 c. flour
1 Tbsp. cinnamon

1 Tbsp. vanilla
½ tsp. baking powder

¼ tsp. nutmeg
¼ tsp. ground cloves

(1 c. nuts-optional)

Mix well in order given and pour into greased and floured loaf pans. (2 regular or 6 mini)
Bake at 325-350 degrees for 1 hr….or until toothpick inserted into center comes out clean.

Glaze: mix 1 c. powdered sugar and 2 Tbsp. warm water. Spread over loaves while still warm.

5 Minute Turtles

These bite sized "Turtle" candies are delicious. All you need is 5 minutes and 3 ingredients.

Mini Pretzels
Rolo candies

On cookie sheet, place a Rolo candy on top of each pretzel. Heat oven to 250 degrees. Place pan in oven for 2-3 minutes. Remove pan and place a pecan half on each candy and press down. Cool and allow chocolate to harden

Grandma Rita's Almond Bark Krispies

We affectionately called Korry's grandma, "Rita Mom". This is one of her Christmas candy recipes that we make every year. You can have these ready start to finish in about 10 minutes.

1 1/2 lb. almond bark (1 package)
1 c. peanut butter
2 c. mini marshmallows
1 1/2 c. salted peanuts
3 c. rice krispies

In a large bowl, mix the marshmallows, peanuts and rice krispies. Chop almond bark into pieces and place in a microwave safe bowl. Microwave on high for about 2 minutes. Take out and stir until melted and smooth (microwave longer if needed). Stir in the peanut butter. Pour almond bark mixture over the marshmallow mixture and stir until well coated. Drop by teaspoonful into mini cupcake liners or on to wax paper. Allow to cool and harden.

Sunday, December 14, 2008


I made these cupcakes for Kaycie's "ELF" party on Saturday night. The little heads are just mini cupcakes turned sideways. The scarves are sour fruit rolls, the eyes are mini chocolate chips and the noses are orange Tic Tac's. They were almost too cute to eat.
Here's another cute idea. Frost cupcakes. Cut the shape of a Christmas light out of a 3x5 note card. Lay it over the top of the frosted cupcake and sprinkle colored sugar on heavily. Remove the template and you have a little Christmas light. The "cord" is made with green gumdrops and green Sour Straw candies.
I'm giving these to my visiting teachers. They are so EASY to make. All you need is a bag of Twizzlers, a bag of Jolly Ranchers and some scrapbook paper. Cut a 12x12 piece of scrapbook paper in half (this makes a 6 x 12). Then cut a coordinating piece of paper to go on top (cut it 4x12). Wrap the paper around the licorice and tape on back, attach a label (I made these on my computer) and tie it up with a raffia bow.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Tamra's Wassail Mix

One cold morning I walked in to BYU half frozen from my ten minute "hike". If you're not familiar, parking at the Y is a joke and even employees have to walk in from parking lots FAR, FAR away. Tamra was there and made me a cup of this delicious hot wassail. It warmed my hands and heart!. Thanks Tamra.

2 C. Tang 1 ¾ c. sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon ½ tsp. ground cloves
¼ tsp. ginger 1/3 C. pre-sweetened lemonade mix

Mix ingredients and place in airtight container. This makes a great Christmas gift. Tie jar or container with a bow and attach the mixing directions.

Directions for mixing: Add 2-3 spoonfuls of dry mix to a glass of hot water. Add more if you like it sweeter!

Easy Microwave Fudge

I've been making this fudge for years. It provides a perfect base for any type of topping. See suggestions below

3 cups milk chocolate chips
1 can sweetened condensed milk
1/4 cup butter

Pour ingredients into a microwave safe bowl. Microwave on high for 2 1/2 to 3 minutes. Remove from microwave and stir until smooth and thickened. Pour into a greased 8x8 pan. Top with your favorite toppings. Allow to cool and harden. Cut into squares.


chopped candy canes
chopped Oreo cookies
Reece's peanut butter cups
white chocolate chips

IDEA: You can also pour half of the mixture in the pan, place toppings (such as York peppermint patties) in the middle and then pour the rest of the fudge on top. When you cut the fudge, you can see the layers.

Caramel Symphony Fudge

picture coming soon

This is the most delicious fudge I've ever had. Kaycie came home with a few pieces from young women's on Wednesday night and I called her leader the next day for the recipe. It is smooth, creamy and delicious.

4 cups sugar
2 cups whipping cream
2 sticks butter (no margarine)
16 oz. chopped Symphony candy bars (I used the almond and toffee chip kind)

In a large saucepan, mix the sugar and whipping cream. Bring to a boil and boil for one minute. Add the two sticks of butter and continue cooking. Boil mixture until it reaches 230 degrees on a candy thermometer. Remove from heat and stir in chopped Symphony bars until melted and smooth. Beat mixture with an electric mixer for 2-3 minutes. Pour into a greased 13x9 pan. Allow to harden and cool. Remove block of fudge from pan and cut into squares. Can refrigerate if desired.

Cinnamon White Chocolate Pretzels

My cute friend Holly from Alpine District gave me a big container of these delicious pretzels. She shared the recipe with me and I've already made two batches. These are inexpensive, super easy and very delicious.

1 bag of pretzels
1/4 c. melted butter
cinnamon & sugar (mixed)
1/2 bag of white chocolate chips
1 tsp. shortening

Spread pretzels out on a cookie sheet. Brush pretzels with melted butter, then sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar mixture. Mix around to coat. In a small, microwave safe bowl, add the white chocolate chips and shortening. Melt in microwave on high for 1 minute. Stir well. Melt for a few more seconds if needed until chocolate is smooth and melted. Using a fork, drizzle the white chocolate all over the top of the pretzels. Allow chocolate to set. Store covered in jars or in baggies.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Coming Soon to a Kitchen Near You...

Hey followers. I've been so busy lately that I have neglected my little blog. I wanted to let you know that in the next week I am going to be uploading recipes and pictures of all my favorite Christmas Baking and Candy Making. I also have a couple of dinner parties next week that I am cooking for so I'll share those recipes too!

Stay Tuned! Here are the things I'll be making:

Symphony Toffee Fudge
Chocolate Fudge with toppings
Homemade caramels
Almond Bark Krispies
Dipped and Decorated Pretzels
Peanut Butter Balls
Oreo Truffles
Grandma's Drop Sugar Cookies (so easy!)
Homemade Christmas Mints (melt-in-your-mouth!)
Chex Mix (sweet & sticky)
Chex Mix (Monkey Munch style)

These recipes are all so easy that I'll be making them in one night!

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Warm Winter Chili

This recipe can simmer in the crockpot on low all day.

1 1/2 lb. ground beef

1 small onion, chopped

1 clove garlic, minced

4 small cans tomato sauce

2 (15 oz.) cans stewed tomatoes

1 small can diced green chilis

2 cans chili or pinto beans (drained and rinsed)

2 cans kidney beans (drained and rinsed)

2 pkg. chili mix

Brown hamburger with onion and garlic. Drain. Pour the hamburger and the rest of the ingredients into a crock pot and allow to simmer on low all day. If you are in a hurry, you can also make this in a pot and boil for about 20-30 minutes.

Noodle Bake

I made this quick meal on Sunday night and I'm sure it will make great leftovers on Monday.

1 lb. ground beef

1 small onion, chopped

1 can whole kernel corn

1 can cream of chicken soup

1 can cream of mushroom soup

1 cup sour cream

1 1/2 tsp. salt

3/4 tsp. pepper

1 small bag of your favorite pasta

cheddar cheese

Cook pasta according to package directions, then drain. Brown ground beef along with onion, drain. Add the rest of the ingredients and stir well. Stir in pasta. Pour mixture into a casserole dish and cover with cheddar cheese. Bake at 350 degrees for about 15 minutes until cheese is melted and bubbly.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Coconut Cream Pie

I invented this recipe a couple of years ago and it's now a family favorite. The crust isn't homemade but the filling is. You can make banana cream pie with this recipe as well.

1 baked pie crust (I use Marie Calendars frozen crusts - better than homemade)
2/3 c. sugar
1/4 c. cornstarch
1/4 tsp. salt
2 1/2 c. milk
4 large egg yolks
2 T. butter (no substitutes - don't use margarine)
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/4 tsp. coconut flavoring (optional)
1 cup shredded coconut

Bake pie crust according to package directions - set aside to cool. In a small saucepan, stir together the sugar, cornstarch and salt. Slowly whisk in the milk, a little at a time, making sure to dissolve the cornstarch (if you pour it in all at once, you will get big lumps that you won't be able to get out). Stir in the egg yolks. Cook mixture over medium high heat, whisking constantly, until mixture starts to thicken and boil. Once mixture thickens and begins to bubble, boil for 1 minute. Remove from heat and immediately pour mixture through a strainer into another bowl. Stir in the butter, flavorings and coconut. Pour into prepared pie crust. Cover with a piece of plastic wrap to prevent a skin from forming on top. Refrigerate before serving. Can serve with a dollop of whipped cream.

***TIP: For banana cream pie, omit the coconut flavoring and coconut and instead add 1-2 sliced fresh bananas.

Tepee Treats

These were a hit with the kiddies on Thanksgiving. Jay and Lou helped me make them the night before and they only took about 10 minutes.

sugar cones (desired amount)
softened ice cream (favorite flavor)
1-2 squares chocolate almond bark
fall sprinkles
pretzel sticks

Break or cut the top off of each sugar cone (I let my kids bite the tops off since they would be the ones eating them). Chop chocolate almond bark into small pieces and place in a small microwave safe bowl. Microwave on high for about 1 minute, then stir until melted. Dip the rim of each sugar cone in the chocolate and then dip in sprinkles. Place on a cookie sheet covered with plastic wrap. Fill each cone with softened ice cream. Place a dollop of chocolate on the top of the cone and stick 3 pretzel sticks inside (the chocolate will cement them in place once it hardens). Place the tepee's in the freezer until ready to serve.

Sweet Potato Casserole

This casserole is heavenly! You can use fresh sweet potatoes that you boil and mash, or keep it simple by used canned Yams that are ready to go.

3 c. cooked, mashed sweet potatoes (or canned yams)
1 c. sugar
1/2 c. butter
2 eggs, beaten
1 tsp. vanilla
1/3 cup milk

Peel, slice and boil sweet potatoes for 20-25 minutes. Mix other ingredients in a bowl. Drain potatoes and mash them up (allow to cool for a few minutes). Mix sweet potatoes in with other ingredients and beat until smooth (it will seem a bit runny, but don't worry). Pour mixture into a 13x9 pan. Sprinkle with the following topping:

1/2 c. brown sugar
1/4 c. butter
1/4 c. flour
1/2 c. chopped pecans

Smash all of these ingredients with a fork until well blended and crumbly. Sprinkle on top of casserole. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bread

I love recipes that include the use of canned pumpkin. You know that whatever you are baking will turn out moist and tender.

1 c. butter, softened
2 c. sugar
4 eggs
3 c. flour
2 t. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
2 t. cinnamon
1 t. nutmeg
1/2 t. ground ginger
1/2 t. ground cloves
1 1/2 c. chocolate chips
1 c. chopped pecans
1 1/2 c. canned pumpkin

Beat butter until smooth. Add sugar and beat until fluffy. Beat in eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Sift the dry ingredients together in a separate bowl. Mix dry ingredients in with butter mixture, a little at a time, alternating with the canned pumpkin. Stir in chocolate chips and pecans. Pour into 2 greased and floured 9x5 loaf pans. Can sprinkle with additional pecans if desired. Bake at 350 degrees for 65 to 70 minutes. Cool for 10 minutes in pans, then remove to wire rack. Glaze while warm.

Spiced Glaze:

1 c. powered sugar
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
3 T. milk

Mix ingredients well, then drizzle glaze on top of pumpkin loaves.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Apple Dumplin's

My friend Keri shared this recipe while we were shopping at Sam's Club on Saturday. These are my favorite kind of recipes! We made them on Sunday evening with the Tuckett's and everyone (even the kids) loved them. There wasn't a drop left over.

1 can Grand's biscuits (I used the buttermilk kind)
2-3 granny smith apples, peeled, cored and sliced
1 cup water
1 cup sugar
1 cube butter
2 tsp. vanilla
vanilla ice cream

Open the biscuits and cut each biscuit in half. In an 8x8 pan, place eight biscuit halves. Place sliced apples all over the top of each muffin (you can also place some extra sliced apples around on the sides and bottom of pan). Top each muffins with another half.
In a saucepan, melt the sugar, water, butter & vanilla. Bring to a rolling boil, then remove from heat. Pour sauce all over the top of the biscuits and apples. Sprinkle cinnamon & nutmeg all over the top.
Bake at 350 degrees for about 45 minutes. For the first 20 minutes, I covered the pan with aluminum foil, then uncovered the pan for the last 25 minutes to brown the biscuits nicely.
Serve with vanilla ice cream.

Dad's Goulash

This is a throw together recipe that you can make over the stove top or in a crock pot. My dad use to make this for us growing up.

1 lb. ground beef
1/2 onion (chopped)
salt & pepper
2 small cans tomato sauce
1 small can tomato paste
1 can stewed tomatoes
1 can corn (don't drain)
5 T. spaghetti seasoning mix
3-4 cups water
2-3 handfuls elbow macaroni
mozzarella cheese

Brown ground beef together with chopped onion, season with salt & pepper. Drain. In a crockpot, add the tomato sauce, tomato paste, stewed tomatoes, corn, spaghetti seasoning mix and water. Stir in the ground beef. Simmer on high for 2-3 hours. The last hour, add the macaroni. Watch and stir the mixture. If it is getting too thick, add more water. If it seems thin, cook it a little longer. Before serving, sprinkle mozzarella cheese all over the top. This is even better as leftovers the next day!

***We like to eat this with saltine crackers or bread sticks.

Pumpkin Muffins w/Cinnamon Topping

These muffins are dense, moist and full of fall flavor. I love the healthy addition of applesauce and grated apple.

2 1/2 c. flour
2 c. sugar
1 t. baking soda
1/2 t. salt
2 t. cinnamon
1 t. nutmeg
1/2 c. egg substitute (or 3 large eggs)
1 c. canned pumpkin
1/4 c. oil
1/4 c. Granny Smith apples, cored, peeled and grated

Mix the dry ingredients (flour, sugar, soda, salt, cinnamon & nutmeg) in a mixing bowl. In a separate bowl, mix the eggs, pumpkin, oil and grated apple. Add to dry ingredients and stir until just moistened. Spoon into paper-lined muffin cups until 2/3 full. Sprinkle with topping. Bake at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Makes about 2 dozen.


1/2 c. flour
1/2 c. sugar
1/4 cup butter
1/2 t. cinnamon

Mix with fork or pastry blender until a crumbly mixture is formed. Sprinkle on top of muffins before baking.

7-Layer Green Salad

I was assigned to bring a green salad to our fall enrichment dinner last night. I found this recipe in a church cookbook and altered it a bit. It looked so pretty in the glass bowl and I was surprisingly pleased with the dressing on top.


Chopped lettuce (romaine and/or iceberg)
Shredded carrots
Frozen peas (thawed)
Chopped green onion
Chopped or sliced tomatoes
Dressing (see recipe below)
Shredded Cheddar Cheese

Refrigerate overnight or for several hours before serving.


2 cups Mayonnaise (I like Best Foods or Hellman's)
2 Tbsp. sugar
1-2 Tbsp. dry ranch dressing mix

***TIP: You can omit or add any of your favorite veggies for this recipe (cucumbers, celery, mushrooms, etc.) It would be good with Feta or Bleu Cheese also.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Taco Soup

Made this on Halloween night. I love this recipe because it takes 5 minutes to throw together, can simmer on low all day and it feeds a big crowd. I got this recipe when I worked at the Family Tree Restaurant as a teenager.

1 lb. ground beef
1 small onion, chopped
5 cans of your favorite beans (kidney, chili, white, garbanzo, pinto)
1 can stewed or diced tomatoes
1 can whole kernel corn
1 small can diced green chili's
1 pkg. taco seasoning mix (mild or spicy)
1 cup water
shredded cheddar cheese
sour cream
Fritos or tortilla chips

Brown ground beef with the onion. In crock pot, place the meat mixture, beans, tomatoes, corn, green chilis, taco seasoning and water. Simmer all day in crockpot. Serve with shredded cheese, a dollop of sour cream and a handful of Fritos on top.

Sunday Roast

We went to a Young Women's dinner this week with our girls and they served the most tender, divine roast beef and gravy I've EVER tasted. I begged for the recipe, then went straight to Albertson's where all their roasts are buy one get one free this week (through Nov. 4th). The roast is simmering in my Crock Pot as-we-speak (errr...blog). You should smell my house. YUM!

1 large beef roast (I use boneless rump roast)
2 cans Cream of Mushroom Soup
1 pkg. Lipton Onion Soup Mix
(Optional: 1 TBS. Montreal Steak Seasoning)

Place roast in crock pot (no need to brown it). Pour soup over the top. Sprinkle dry soup mix over the top. Add additional seasonings if desired. Cook on low for about 10 hours.

*** TIP*** I put my roast on around midnight on Saturday night and cooked it through the night. The next morning around 10 a.m. I turned it to warm so it will be ready to eat as soon as we get home from church.

Oreo Cheeseball

We made this on Halloween night when the whole family came over to hang out. It is more of a dessert than an appetizer. Tastes just like an oreo cheesecake.

1 (8 oz.) block cream cheese
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1/3 cup powdered sugar
6-8 Oreos crushed up
Chocolate Chips

Mix the cream cheese, vanilla, sugar and crushed oreos until well mixed. Form into a ball. Roll in chocolate chips. Cover with plastic wrap and chill for at least a couple of hours.

Serve with: Graham Cracker Sticks, Teddy Grahams, Grandmas Sugar Cookies or Nilla Wafers

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Caramel French Toast

This recipe is the BEST because it can be made the night before. The French Toast slices get crispy on top, then when you remove them from the pan, the bottom is covered with a delicious caramel sauce.

French Toast
Sliced loaf of Hearty French Bread (I like the Sam's Club French Bread)
6 eggs
2 cups milk
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla

Caramel Syrup
1 cube butter
1 cup brown sugar
2 tsp. corn syrup

Over stove top, melt caramel ingredients to a soft boil. Pour in bottom of a 13x9 pan. Place sliced bread over the sauce, filling the whole pan. Beat eggs, milk and vanilla. Pour over bread and cover. Chill in fridge overnight. The next morning, bake uncovered at 325 degrees for 45 minutes. When serving, flip slice over so melted caramel tops each slice of french toast.

Easy Oven Omlet

We made this egg casserole last year on Christmas morning, but my kids loved it so much, we now make it often. The recipe was given to me by my good friend Kami.

Heat oven to 325 degrees.
Place 1/4 c. butter in a 13x9 pan and place in preheated oven just until butter melts and coats bottom of pan.

Mix together the following ingredients and pour into the hot pan:

18 eggs
1 c. sour cream
1 tsp. salt

Stir in any of the following ingredients that your family likes:
chopped ham
crumbled bacon
crumbled sausage
chopped mushrooms
chopped onion
chopped green pepper

Bake until set, but not dry (approximately 45 minutes).

When I make this for my family, I cut the recipe in half and cook it in an 8x8 pan instead. Our favorite is a simple bacon and cheese version.

Soft Sugar Cookies

I've tried about a hundred and one recipes and this one is the best! The cookies come out puffy and soft and stay that way for 2-3 days. I also love that you don't have to refrigerate the dough for hours. Just mix, roll out and start cutting shapes. Perfect for impatient kids like mine.

2 squares margarine (softened)
1 cup (8 oz.) vanilla yogurt
2 eggs
2 tsp. vanilla
2 c. sugar
6 1/2 cups flour
2 tsp. soda
1/2 tsp. salt

Combine the margarine, yogurt, eggs, vanilla and sugar. Beat for 2 minutes with an electric mixer. In a separate bowl, combine the dry ingredients, then add to the creamed mixture. Mix well. Gather dough and divide into two balls. Roll out, cut into shapes and bake @ 350 degrees for about 10 minutes.


When rolling out the dough, don't roll it too thin or the cookies will turn out crunchy and hard. I would say that it should be about as thick as a book of checks (that's the best comparison I can think of). Opt on the side of thickness rather than thinness :0)

Cooking Time:
Check on the cookies often and take them out as soon as they look puffy, loose their shine and get just a tiny, tiny, bit browned. If you let them get too brown, they will be crunchy. If the middle of each cookie looks shiny when you take them out, they will be too doughy.

Rolling Out:
I roll out my dough on a piece of plastic wrap and then just sprinkle a little bit of flour on top to keep my rolling pin from sticking. When you cut the cookies, they come right off the plastic wrap. Plus, it keeps your counter from getting messy and your cookies stay tender because they don't get too much flour rolled in.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Halloween Owls

The kids and I made these Hallowen Owls on Monday night. Start with your favorite carmel popcorn recipe (our favorite can be found in the candy section of this blog). Add lifesaver & gumdrop eyes, candy corn beak, fruit roll-up wings and chocolate licorice eyebrows and horns. Very cute and yummy too.

BBQ Chicken

I found this great new Crock Pot Recipe for BBQ Chicken. We had BBQ Chicken breasts with baked potatoes on Sunday, then on Monday night, I shredded the leftovers, added more BBQ sauce, bought some rolls from Shirley's Bakery and made sandwiches. Two meals in one.
4-6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 onion, thinly sliced
1 lemon, thinly sliced
1 (8 oz.) bottle of your favorite BBQ sauce (I use K.C.Masterpiece Original)
3/4 cup coca cola
Combine all ingredients in a slow cooker; cover and cook on low for 8 hours.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Dr. Egan's Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

1 c. sugar
1 c. brown sugar
2 eggs
1 c. butter
1 tsp. salt
2 tsp. soda
1/2 tsp. baking powder
2 tsp. vanilla
3 c. oatmeal
2 1/4 c. flour
2-3 cups chocolate chips

Cream butter and sugars. Add eggs and vanilla. Add all dry ingredients except oatmeal. Blend in oatmeal. Stir in chocolate chips. Bake at 350 degrees until lightly golden brown.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Gourmet Caramel Apples

My mom's apple trees are packed right now and I have been so excited to try a new caramel recipe I found. These are divine! If you have never made caramel before, DON'T be afraid, but DO go buy yourself a candy thermometer. You need one for this recipe.

2 cups sugar
1 1/4 cup corn syrup (I use Karo)
2 cups heavy whipping cream
1/2 cup milk
1/4 tsp. salt
1 tsp. vanilla

In a large measuring cup, mix the cream and milk. Pour 1/3 of it into a large pan and add salt, sugar and corn syrup. Cook over medium-low heat for 30 minutes until the mixture turns a pale beige. Turn up the heat and had 1/2 of the remaining milk/cream mixture. Boil for about 15 minutes more. Then add (a little at a time) the rest of the milk mixture (keep it boiling if you can) and insert the candy thermometer. Continue boiling and stirring until the mixture reaches about 230 degrees (firm ball stage). Flavor with vanilla and stir well.

For basic caramels:
Pour mixture into a greased pan and allow to cool and harden. I usually line my pan with waxed paper and spray it well with Pam beforehand. After it has set, you can turn out the square of caramel, peel off the waxed paper and then cut it in squares. It's fast and easy to wrap the caramels using small squares of waxed paper. You can also buy caramel wrappers at candy supply stores, but they are expensive.

For caramel apples:
Keep the caramel mixture in the pan and immediately begin dipping your apples (the caramel will cool and get thicker and thicker as you go). My secret for keeping it from running off the apple is that after dipping it, I hold it for a few minutes before setting it down. I continue turning it upside down and then right-side up as I see the caramel sliding up and down. Once it begins to set, you can place it on greased waxed paper.

For Over the Top caramel apples:
Dip in chocolate (white or milk), roll in nuts, sprinkles, mini-m&m's, etc. Our favorite is to dip in melted white chocolate and then roll in cinnamon/sugar.

Quick Praline Muffins

I found this great Gooseberry Patch cookbook at Cracker Barrel (40% off right now) and I'm LOVING the recipes! Here is an easy muffin recipe that Taylor and I whipped up last night for Kaycie and her friends to munch on while they watched movies.

3 T. brown sugar, packed
1 T. butter, softened
1/3 cup chopped pecans (optional)
3 ripe bananas
1 egg
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup oil
1 1/2 cups pancake mix

Stir the brown sugar, butter and nuts together in a small bowl and set aside. In a separate bowl, mash the bananas and set aside. Stir in egg, sugar and oil until well blended. Add pancake mix and stir until just moistened (don't over-stir). Fill greased muffin cups 2/3 full. Sprinkle 1 tsp. pecan mixture on top of each muffin. Bake at 35o degrees for 12-15 minutes until golden. Makes 1 dozen.

Lemon Pound Cake

One of my favorite magazines is Everyday Food. Whenever I go to the mailbox and see it there my heart does a little flutter. It's tiny and well organized and is FULL of excellent recipes. I keep a pack of mini sticky notes by my side as I read it and I tab the recipes that I want to try. This lemon pound cake came from the May 2007 issue.

2 sticks butter, softened (no substitutes)
3 cups flour
3/4 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. baking soda
2 T. finely grated lemon zest
2 2/12 cups sugar
6 large eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
1 cup sour cream

Grease and flour 2 medium sized loaf pans. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In a bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, baking soda and lemon zest. In another bowl, beat the sugar and butter until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Mix in vanilla. With mixer on low beginning adding the dry ingredients alternately with the sour cream. Mix in 1/3 of the flour, then half of the sour cream, then another 1/3 of the flour, then the rest of the sour cream, then the rest of the flour (whew). Pour the batter equally between the two prepared pans. Bake for about 55-65 minutes or until the center is set and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Check it after about 40 minutes and if it is browning too quickly, tent it with tinfoil. Cool and remove from pans.

Glaze: Mix 2 cups powdered sugar with 2 T. freshly squeezed lemon juice. Drizzle over the top of the cakes.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Jaymon's Cinni Minis

Jaymon and I made these mini cinnamon rolls on Saturday morning (Jaymon did most of the work). He was so excited to share his culinary masterpiece that he woke everyone up to come and eat.

1 tube crescent rolls

3-4 T. butter, melted

1/3 cup brown sugar

1 tsp. cinnamon

1/2 cup powdered sugar

1-2 capfuls of milk

Open crescent rolls, but don't separate them. Flour your work surface and lay out the rolls in one big rectangle, pinching the seams to seal. Roll dough with a rolling pin until smooth. Brush with butter. Mix the brown sugar and cinnamon. Spread all over the top. Roll up and cut into small rolls. Place on greased cookie sheet and bake at 350 for about 5-8 mnutes or until lightly golden brown. Mix powdered sugar and milk and stir until glaze is formed. Start with 1 capful of milk, then add another if glaze is too thick. Drizzle glaze on rolls.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Favorite Chocolate Chip Cookies

This is our staple CCC recipe. The vanilla pudding in the batter makes them soft and chewy on the inside and crispy on edges. Perfect!

1 1/2 c. butter
1/2 c. white sugar
1 c. brown sugar
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla
3 eggs
1 small pkg. vanilla instant pudding
3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp. baking soda
3 cups chocolate chips
1 1/2 cups chopped nuts (optional) OR 1 1/2 cups mini or regular sized M&M's

Cream butter and sugars. Add vanilla and eggs, mix well. Add dry pudding and mix well. Add dry ingredients and beat until combined (batter will be stiff). Stir in chocolate and nuts. Scoop onto cookie sheet and bake at 350 degrees for 9-12 minutes (cook them less if you like them super soft and longer if you like them a little crispier on the outside).

Half White/Half Wheat Bread - Anita's Recipe

I made 50% wheat bread tonight for the first time. Anita, the librarian from Park School gave me the recipe. It was surprisingly easy and I'm hoping delicious.

Mix 1/2 cup honey and 5 cups hot water in a bowl. Stir until honey dissolves
Add 2 T. active dry yeast and let stand for 10 minutes.

In a separate bowl, mix:
7 cups white flour
5 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1/2 cup wheat germ
1 1/2 T. salt

To the yeast mixture, add 2 beaten eggs and 1/2 c. canola oil. Begin adding the dry ingredients and mix in mixer (btw...you need a large mixer for this recipe). Knead until dough forms a ball and isn't sticky. If dough is sticky, add a little more flour (about 1/4 of a cup at a time).
Cover bowl and let rise 45 minutes.
Knead down the dough for about 10 minutes. Shape into 4 equal loaves. Place in greased bread pans. Cover and let rise 20 minutes. Bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes, then lower to 325 and bake 20 minutes more or until golden brown.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Sunday Rolls

Pour hot milk over the sugar, yeast and shortening.
After you mix in the eggs and flour, it will start to form a ball and won't stick to the sides of the bowl. If it is still sticky add more flour (1/4 cup at a time).
After the dough has been well kneaded, put it in a greased bowl. It won't be sticky.
After the first rise, punch down the dough, form into balls and let rise again.

I am often asked how I make my Sunday Rolls, so here goes. I've tried to take some pictures and explain as I go. I am a baker at heart and make Sunday rolls almost every week.

In a stand mixer or Bosch, place the following ingredients:

2 T. active dry yeast
1/2 c. sugar
6 T. shortening
2 tsp. salt

In a small saucepan, heat:

2 cups milk
(remove from heat just before it begins to boil - when it is hot and steamy)

Pour milk over the yeast mixture, add:

2 eggs, beaten (mix well)

Gradually add in:

6 1/2 - 7 cups flour

Beat until the dough forms a ball that centers on the dough hook and doesn't stick to the sides of the bowl. Knead for 5-6 minutes longer. Place dough in a greased bowl and let rise for 1 hour.
Roll dough into small golf-ball sized balls and place on greased cookie sheet. Let rise about 1 - 1 1/2 hours more. Bake at 350 degrees for about 15 minutes or until tops are golden brown. Makes one large cookie sheet full of rolls.