Dec 27, 2007

Buttermilk Pancakes

Can you imagine how surprised I was last week when the UPS man came to my door to deliver this beautiful Kitchenaid Mixer?

VERY surprised to say the least! My amazingly sweet husband ordered this for me for Christmas. It is such a wonderful machine! I had the chance to use is for the first time yesterday and so far I have made pie crusts, corn bread and THE best buttermilk pancakes, all with terrific results! Not to mention I was able to make double batches of all of these without worrying about overfilling the bowl!

This mixer is a Kitchenaid Professional 5 Plus. If you are considering buying one I would highly suggest this model. It has a 5 quart bowl which can mix up to 12 cups of flour (yes, you read that right, TWELVE cups!) The motor is 450 watts and it comes with the spiral dough hook as opposed to the 'C' hook that most of the Kitchenaids come with. The spiral hook is much better at mixing large quantities of heavy dough such as bread dough.

Here's the recipe for the buttermilk pancakes, they are SO GOOD! I made a double batch so we now have breakfast in that freezer that will last a couple of weeks :0)

Buttermilk Pancakes

(adapted from The Joy of Cooking)

3 c. all-purpose flour
6 Tbsp. sugar
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. salt
3 c. buttermilk
6 Tbsp. butter, melted
4 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla

Combine all dry ingredients and mix well. Add buttermilk and eggs. Mix well. Slowly add butter and blend in well. Stir in vanilla. Heat griddle or skillet to medium-high and pour pancakes by the 1/3 cup full. Allow to cook until bubbles form and edges look dry. Flip then cook until the center springs back when pressed down. Serve hot with your favorite pancake toppings. Makes about 18 pancakes.

Dec 22, 2007

Merry Christmas!

Since I probably won't get a chance to be on-line over the next several days, I just wanted to take this opportunity to wish you all a very Merry and Blessed Christmas. We are busy getting ready here and don't have any new recipes to share this year. I am using many of my favorite tried and true Christmas favorites. I do have a new recipe I will be sharing soon after Christmas so stay tuned for that. While I was looking up some of my favorite blogs today I found a fun Christmas Meme over at Chef Paz's blog so thought I would post that today. If you would like, post your own answers on your blog and tag some of you blogging friends. Have a safe holiday and let's not forget the reason for Christmas!

1. Wrapping or gift bags? Wrapping paper! It's more fun to open!

2. Real or artificial tree? I prefer real for the wonderful smeel but we usually have artificial.

3. When do you put up the tree? It all depends. This year we still haven't put up the tree yet!

4. When do you take the tree down? By the end of January usually.

5. Do you like eggnog? Love it!

6. Favorite gift received as a child? Pretty baby dolls with lots of clothes to change them into.

7. Do you have a nativity scene? Yes, that is our main Christmas decor.

8. Worst Christmas gift you ever received? Can't think kof one, I always appreciate gifts!

9. Mail or email Christmas cards? Postal mail.

10. Favorite Christmas movie? The Charlie Brown Christmas Special (Does that count as a movie?)

11. When do you start shopping for Christmas? Usually in December.

12. Favorite thing to eat at Christmas? Cookies!

13. Clear lights or colored? Colored, and lots of them!

14. Favorite Christmas song? Silent Night.

15. Travel at Christmas or stay at home? STAY HOME!

16. Can you name all of Santas reindeer? Dancer, Prancer.... Rudolph.... uh... I know there are more but don't know their names!

17. Angel or star on the top of your tree? I'd prefer and angel but right now we have a star.

18. Open your presents Christmas Eve or Christmas morning? Depends on the year, hubby often works on Christmas.

19. Most annoying thing about this time of year? People who forget Christmas is about Jesus, not Santa and gifts and spending lots of money.

20. What do you leave for Santa? Nothing. We celebrate Jesus not Santa.

21. Least favorite holiday song? Can't think of one.

22. Specific theme or color? Celebrate Jesus! That is always our theme.

23. Favorite ornament? A pretty colorful silk fish my mom bought in California when I was a child, it is so pretty!

Dec 10, 2007

Meme Monday

I haven't participated in a meme in a while and I have been tagged a couple times the past week so here are the answers. Thanks for the tags! I love memes, they are a lot of fun!

Mothering From Day To Day tagged me first so here goes...

1. I have been married for 8.5 years.

2. I have an college degree in General Studies.

3. I have no pets!

4. I love to read!

5. I am addicted to cooking and quilting.

6. My favorite dessert is anything with chocolate.

7. I rarely go on summer vacation but I can't wait to take my kids to Disneyland!

The second meme tag comes from Moomettesgram's Musings.

Here are my answers...

1. My favorite foods are anything ethnic. I love bold flavors and brightly colored foods that are fun!

2. The things I miss most are having time ALONE with my dear hubby (as in before our lovely babies were born) and having more spare time to quilt (also B.K. (before kids)). I love my kids but time is something I often long for :)

3. Some places I have never been to are Europe, Africa and Australia. I would love to visit them all some day.

4. Some favorite places I have been to are Cancun Mexico, Canada, California and Vermont.

5. My unluckiest moments... I long believe in luck, but one of my saddest moments was when I moved away from home when I got married because I am very close to my family and I really missed them.

6. My luckiest moments... Well, again, I don't believe in "luck" so I will tell you my most blessed moments. Meeting my husband, the birth of each of my children and the most blessed moment of all was when I accepted Jesus Christ as my personal Lord and Savior.

7. Now that I'm older... I am MUCH wiser than in my younger days and I praise God daily for blessing me with His grace!

I don't have any particular person in mind to tag, so if you are reading this consider yourself tagged! Post your replies on your blog and link back to me then leave a comment and let me know that you answered the questions. Tag as many of your blogging pals as your like and let's keep the meme moving! :)

Nov 29, 2007

King Ranch Casserole

It's been a while since I have posted a new recipe. We've all been sick here over the past couple of months so our Thanksgiving was a quiet and simple one. Praise God we are doing fine now!

As most people do, I tire quickly of turkey after Thanksgiving. So, I recently brought out some of my favorite cookbooks to find some nice warming family meals that do not involve turkey. I found this one in The Joy of Cooking. I have yet to be let down by one of their recipes and this is no exception. Reminiscent of chicken enchiladas, this casserole is warm, soothing and was a quick hit with my whole family.

King Ranch Casserole
(adapted from The Joy of Cooking)

12 corn tortillas, cut into quarters
4 cups cooked, cubed chicken
1 large onion, chopped
12 slices American cheese, sliced diagonally in half
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 can cream of mushroom soup
2 c. chicken broth
1 can diced tomatoes, drained
1 can green chilies, drained

Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees. Spray 9 x 13 in. dish with cooking spray. In a bowl, mix together soups, broth, tomatoes and chilies. Layer in the pan as follows: 1/2 tortillas, 1/2 chicken, 1/2 onion, 1/2 cheese, 1/2 soup mixture. Repeat layers. Bake for 50 minutes or until well browned.

Oct 26, 2007

Great Frugal Living Site!

I just found out about a website called Money Saving Mom. Not only are there ideas for saving money on food but many, many other things as well. I'm adding this blog to my Frugal Living Sites page. Check it out!

Oct 20, 2007

Banana Bread

I have always loved banana bread. However I find it very hard to find a banana bread that I like. Moist loaves seem to be too dry, to "burnt" tasting, too browned on the outside, to bland, too sweet or just lacking in banana flavor. I have tried several recipes over the years. I do enjoy my recipe for Easy Banana Bread when time is short, but this recipe here is my absolute favorite. It is so moist, flavorful and so pretty too. The flavor and color of the bananas really shine through. I adapted this from The Joy Of Cooking.

Banana Bread

Makes 1 Loaf

3/4 stick (6 Tbsp.) butter, softened
2 eggs
1 cup mashed ripe bananas (about 2 bananas)
1/4 c. plain or vanilla yogurt
2/3 cup sugar
1 1/2 cup all-purpose unbleached flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder

In a large bowl, combine butter, eggs, banana, yogurt and sugar. Mix well. In a small bowl combine flour, salt and baking powder. Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients and mix until just combined well. Spoon into a well greased loaf pan. Bake at 350 degrees for one hour or until golden and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow to cool in pan about 20 minutes before removing. Cool completely then slice.

Oct 19, 2007

Chicken Curry

I made the most amazing Chicken Curry tonight. The recipe is on my Crock Pot Blog. Check it out if you get a chance, it was really good!

Oct 16, 2007

Oatmeal Dinner Rolls

While blog hopping last night, I read on my buddy Paz's blog that today is World Bread Day. I had no idea such a day existed! :0) I decided right away that I must try a new bread recipe in honor of this special day ;0). This is one I have been wanting to try for some time now. I found the original recipe in Southern Living Magazine and modified it to fit what I had on hand and to work with a bread machine. These turned out fabulous!

Oatmeal Dinner Rolls

2 c. water
2 c. quick cooking oats
3 Tbsp. butter, softened
1/3 c. firmly packed brown sugar
1 1/2 tsp. salt
3 1/2 c. bread flour
1/2 c. whole wheat flour
2 tsp. quick rise yeast

Combine all ingredients in your bread maker in the order suggested in the manual. Select the DOUGH cycle. Divide dough into 16 equal pieces. Put into two greased 9-inch round cake pans. Allow to rise for 30 minutes or into double in size. Bake at 375 degrees for 15 minutes.

Oct 15, 2007


One of my favorite soup recipes comes from my mom. This is a traditional Mexican recipe and found in many Mexican restaurants. When the weather starts to cool off I can't wait to make this satisfying soup for my own family. It is great served with warm tortillas or homemade bread.


For the Broth...

3 qt. water
1 medium onion, chopped
3 medium tomatoes, chopped
1 bunch cilantro, chopped
2 tsp. dried oregano (crush in the palms of your hands to maximize flavor)

For the meatballs...

2 lbs. ground beef (use fresh beef, defrosted beef will make the meatballs look uncooked inside)
2 cloves garlic, minced fine
2 eggs
1 tsp. salt (or more to your taste)
1/2 tsp. pepper (or more to your taste)
4 Tbsp. masa harina (corn masa flour, found in the Mexican food isle - if you can't find this, use regular flour, do not use corn meal!)
3 fresh mint leaves, minced or 2 Tbsp. dried crushed mint
1/2 c. uncooked long grain white rice

In a large stock pot, bring water to a boil. Chop cilantro, onion and tomato. Mix together along with oregano. Add to water. Mix ground beef, salt, pepper, garlic, eggs, mint and masa harina. Make into meatballs the size of walnuts. Add to broth, reduce to a simmer. Cover and simmer at least 30 minutes, skimming scum as needed. Serve with warm tortillas or fresh bread. We like to top ours with cheese and a dollop of sour cream or a spoonful of salsa. Corn chips would be great with this as well!

Sep 5, 2007

Fruit Pizza

Here is another recipe shared with my by my dear friend at church. We LOVE this dessert! You can decorate with any fresh fruit you would like. I used a 9 x 13 inch pan here but my friend uses a Pampered Chef bar pan and it makes a bit larger pizza with a thinner "crust". Either way, it is yummy!

Fruit Pizza

1/2 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup white sugar
1 egg
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese
1/2 cup white sugar
2 teaspoons fruit juice

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a large bowl, cream together the butter and 3/4 cup sugar until smooth. Mix in egg. Combine the flour, cream of tartar, baking soda and salt; stir into the creamed mixture until just blended. Press dough into an ungreased pizza pan. Bake in pre-heated oven for 8 to 10 minutes, or until lightly browned. Cool. In a large bowl, beat cream cheese with 1/2 cup sugar and fruit juice until light. Spread on cooled crust. Arrange desired fruit on top of filling, and chill.

Aug 29, 2007

Baked Oatmeal

I want to start off by saying that I have been wanting to post this recipe for a few days now but I can't seem to get a picture since my children devour it so fast both times I have made it! So, even without a photo, I hope everyone will want to try this, it is really good! I first tried this type of oatmeal after our youngest daughter was born earlier this year. A dear friend from church gave us this as part of a "welcome baby meal". I promptly began searching my cookbooks for a recipe then never got around to trying it until last week. Since then I have it twice. I got this particular recipe from the Fix It And Enjoy It cookbook which has many great recipes. Slightly modified to suite what I had on hand.

Oh, and I also updated the Soft Fluffy White Bread recipe. I forgot to include yeast when I first typed it up! You'll have to forgive my "mama brain", we are quite busy around here these days :0)

Here's the oatmeal recipe.....

Baked Oatmeal

1/4 c. light olive oil (vegetable oil or canola oil works too)
1/2 stick butter, cut in small pieces
1/2 c. brown sugar
2 eggs
3 c. old fashioned rolled oats
2 tsp. baking powder
1 c. milk
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
chopped nuts, raisins, chopped apples or other dried/diced fruit (optional)

Combine all ingredients and spread into a greased 8 x 8 inch pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Serve with milk, hot or cold. Makes enough to feed three hungry children and one hungry mom on a busy school morning :0)

(Note: I mix this up at night, put it in a bowl in the fridge and put it in the pan and bake it in the morning, works great!)

Aug 20, 2007

Speaking of Bread

I just found this awesome new blog just about bread. I can't wait to gain a bit more time so I can thouroughly check it out.

Aug 9, 2007

Soft Fluffy White Bread

** See Updated Below Recipe!**

I have been looking for a good recipe for white bread since I got my bread machine back around Christmas time. All the recipes I have found are tasty but don't have that store bought fluffiness that my husband loves. Although I know white bread is not really healthy, my hubby loves it so I have been on a quest to find the perfect recipe. After much trial and error I have finally succeeded. This bread is nice and soft and so much better than store bought. I usually make a second batch of dough while the first is rising so we have enough for about 2 days.

Soft Fluffy White Bread

1 2/3 c. water
2 Tbsp. sugar
2 Tbsp. light olive oil (NOT extra virgin, it is too strong of a flavor for this bread)
1 1/2 tsp. salt
4 c. bread flour (don't try to use all-purpose, it won't work... not enough protein in the flour)
1 heaping Tablespoon Vital Wheat Gluten (I buy this at Wal Mart right near the yeast and flour)
2 tsp. quick rise yeast

Put the ingredients into your bread maker in the order suggested in the manual. Select the DOUGH cycle. When the dough is done, punch it down, divide it in half, form it into loaves and put it into buttered loaf pans. Cover it and let it rise about 45 - 60 minutes. Heat your oven to 350 degrees. Bake bread for 45 minutes. Remove loaves from oven and cover with a kitchen towel for about 10 minutes or until you can easily shake the loaves out of the pans onto a cooling rack. When bread is cool enough to handle, put into plastic bags and tie shut, or you can slice the bread with an electric carving knife at this point and then put it in bags.

* NOTE: For added nutrition, you can substitute 1 c. of whole wheat flour for one cup of the white flour. You will still get a nice soft loaf, but it will not be completely white.

** Update**

Some people seem to have had problems with this recipe. I'm not sure why because it always works great for me. However, to offer all of you readers an alternative recipe. If you purchase a bag of Bob's Red Mill Brand All Purpose Flour there is a GREAT recipe on there for white bread that is just as soft and fluffy as this one, maybe more! I use it all the time and love it. Just a note, it is intended for a bread machine. However, I make it in my Kitchen Aid mixer and use 1 pkg. of yeast per loaf. Works GREAT! I make 4 loaves at time with no problems. Happy Bread Baking!

Jul 11, 2007 Coupon Codes has come great coupon codes this week. You can find the link to their site on my right sidebar. We love ordering from Safeway, especially in the summer when it is HOT! :0) At check out you will be prompted for the codes, just type them in. Happy Shopping!

EASY7 - Free delivery on your FIRST order of $50 or more
SHELF - FREE delivery on your order of $150 or more (good until 7-17-07)
FREE - buy two Nabisco products and receive a free pack of Capri Sun drink pouches.
SNACKS - buy 4 Nabisco snacks and save $4
SOFT - save $1 on the purchase of 2 Angel Soft bath tissue products
NAPKIN - Save $1 on Vanity Fair napkins
TOWELS - Save $2 on Brawney paper towels
NORTHERN - Save $2 on the purchase of 2 Northern bath tissue products
PANINI - Buy one get one FREE on Stouffers and Lean Cuisine Paninis

Jul 3, 2007

Mexican Lasagna

I have been wanting to create a Mexican themed lasagna for some time now. I love any kind of lasagna and of course Mexican food is a favorite around our house too. I apologize for the lack of a photograph, I just realized that my digital camera needs new batteries. Here is the recipe.

Mexican Lasagna

1 lb. ground beef
1/2 package taco seasoning (or use a combination of salt, pepper, garlic, oregano, cumin and chili powder to your taste)
1/2 c. water
4 cups refried beans (I used homemade but you can use canned, just make sure to heat them up with a little milk mixed in to loosen them up)
1 bottle taco sauce (or you could use salsa)
1 small can tomato sauce
1 can diced tomatoes
1 lb. cheddar cheese, grated
9 no-boil lasagna noodles

Brown ground beef with taco seasoning and water. Mix taco sauce, tomato sauce and tomatoes in a bowl. In a 9 x 13 pan, spread a little of the taco sauce mixture. Next add 3 lasagna noodles, then 1/3 of the refried beans, 1/3 of the meat and 1/3 of the cheese. Repeat layers starting with the taco sauce mixture and ending with the cheese until all the ingredients are used. Cover dish with a double layer of foil. Bake at 425. for 1 hour. I always set a cookie sheet on the bottom oven rack in case of any drips. Serve with diced scallions, chopped cilantro and sour cream.

Jun 12, 2007

Coconut and Lime

Hey y'all! One of my favorite blogs, Coconut and Lime is up for an award. Please take a visit and if you like what you see stop by and register at this site then vote. If you do you could win a cool cookbook :0)

Jun 2, 2007

Homemade Salsa

Salsa is one thing I make very often. We love Mexican food and the stuff in the jar just does not compare to fresh homemade salsa. Normally I like to use fresh tomatoes for this salsa, but I have listed here my recipe using canned tomatoes so that you can prepare this any time of year. For fresh tomatoes, just substitute about 2 cups, chopped. When using fresh I prefer to use Romas .

Homemade Salsa

1 (28 oz. can diced tomatoes) preferably organic or fire roasted for maximum flavor
1/2 can of diced green chilies
2 cloves garlic
4 scallions
2 handfuls fresh cilantro (use leaves and stems)
juice of one key lime or half a regular lime
1/2 tsp. ancho chili powder
1/2 tsp. dried oregano
1/8 tsp ground cumin
1/8 tsp. black pepper
salt to taste

Put all ingredients in the food processor or blender and process until slightly chunky but mostly smooth. Refrigerate until ready to serve. This is always better the second day as it gives the flavors time to develop as it rests in the refrigerator.

Jun 1, 2007

Chicken with Creamy Dill Sauce

I finally feel like it's time to try some new and exciting recipes again. Our little one is content to sit in her swing as I chop, saute and rush about the kitchen so all is just about back to normal in our house these days. Here is a new recipe I had been wanting to try recently. I changed it up by substituting dill for the chives originally called for and adding some lemon juice to brighten the flavor. I served this over linguini with spinach on top of the linguini. It was a hit!

Chicken with Creamy Dill Sauce

(adapted from Eating Well's Healthy In a Hurry Cookbook)

1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breasts, trimmed of fat and pounded to 1/2 inch thickness
1/4 c. plus 2 Tbsp. all-purpose flour, divided
3 tsp. extra virgin olive oil, divided
2 shallots, minced (I used 2 tsp. dried shallots from Penzey's)
1/2 c. dry white wine
1 (14 oz.) can chicken broth (or use homemade)
1 Tbsp. lemon juice
1/3 c. sour cream
1/2 Tbsp. Dijon mustard
1 Tbsp. dried dill
salt and pepper

Season chicken with salt and pepper then dredge in 1/4 c. flour. Heat 2 tsp. olive oil in a heavy skillet and cook chicken about 4 minutes on each side, until nicely browned over medium high heat. Place chicken on a plate and keep warm. Add remaining olive oil and shallots to the skillet and saute until golden. Put remaining flour in skillet and stir until combined. Add broth, wine and lemon juice. Stir well and bring to a simmer. Place chicken back in skillet. Add sour cream and Dijon mustard and stir well. Allow to simmer about 7 more minutes, until heated through and chicken is no longer pink in the center. Sprinkle with dill. Serve.

May 23, 2007

Garlic Olive Oil Bread Dip

One of my husband's favorite restaurants is Carabba's. They serve nice warm sourdough bread with this amazing bread dip that keeps you coming back for more. The last time we had spaghetti I tried to duplicate this dip. The attempt was a success and now I make it as often as we have something to dip. Last night I made it to go with Stromboli and it was excellent. For the Strombolli I just used me pizza dough recipe, made two 8 x 12 rectangles, topped it lightly with sauce and toppings, rolled it up, pinched shut and baked at 400 degrees for 20 minutes. Here's the recipe for the bread dip.

Garlic-Olive Oil Bread Dip

1/2 c. extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 tsp. sea salt
1/4 tsp. course grind black pepper (or freshly ground)
3 cloves garlic, smashed and coarsely chopped
1 tsp. Italian seasoning
1/8 - 1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes

Combine all ingredients and mix well. the longer this is allowed to set the more intense the flavor. It can be made ahead of time and stored in the refrigerator, but let it come to room temperature before serving. Serve with nice crusty bread or any Italian type bread. It is also wonderful drizzled over pizza or spaghetti.

May 17, 2007

Pacific Island Chicken

It's been quite a week here. Our new little one is growing so fast... right before our eyes. It's always amazing to watch a new baby change and grow. The days seem to be passing instantly and before I know it I take a peek at my blog here and realize it's been days since I have posted.

I have been sticking to old stand-bys mostly when it comes to dinner. The other day we had a recipe I haven't made since before I started this blog. I'm not quite sure why because we all loved it and it was really easy too. The recipe is listed below.

I also found a cool new (to me anyhow) food blog that I really enjoyed so it's been added to my list of favorite food blogs. Take a look at Cooking Is Medicine.

Pacific Island Chicken

1 1/2 lbs. chicken breasts (I have made this with boneless-skinless, bone-in or chicken tenders, all work well)
1/2 c. soy sauce
1/4 c. brown sugar
1 can pineapple chunks (including the juice)
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
1/4 c. cold water
3 Tbsp. corn starch

Place chicken in crock pot and top with soy sauce, brown sugar, pineapple chucks, garlic and ginger. Whisk corn starch into cold water then pour over all. Cook on low for 6 hours or high for 4 hours. I serve this with broccoli seasoned with salt, pepper and shallots and Jasmine rice.

May 14, 2007

Rice Pilaf

I just made a great rice pilaf in the crock pot. I posted the recipe on my crock pot blog, so check it out if you're looking for an easy and delicious side dish that won't have you standing over a hot stove. Here's the link.

May 4, 2007

Crock Pot Lasanga

We are finally getting back into the swing of things here. I didn't do much cooking the first two weeks after Serena's birth because our wonderful and generous church family blessed us with meals for dinner every night. This past week we stuck to some tried and true favorites like posole, spaghetti and lentil stew. Tonight our 7 year old, Kiah took over in the kitchen and with a very small amount of help from me, prepared her first dinner for the family. The meal was wonderful and a very happy mom and dad are much appreciative of her willingness to help in the kitchen! Here's a picture of her culinary masterpiece and the recipe :0) Great work Kiah!!

Crock Pot Lasagna

1 box farfelle ("bow tie") pasta
1 lb. ground beef, browned and drained
( season beef to taste with salt, pepper, minced onion, garlic powder and Italian seasoning)
1/2 bell pepper, diced
2 c. grated mozzarella cheese
2 jars spaghetti sauce of your choice
sliced pepperoni

Spread a small amount of pasta sauce in bottom of crock pot. Layer ingredients in crock pot in thirds as follows: pasta, sauce, meat, bell pepper, cheese. Top last layer with pepperoni. Set on low and cook 3 - 5 hours.

Apr 15, 2007

New Arrival!

Our new little one arrived into the world on Tuesday. Serena Annalise weighed 6 lbs. 7 oz. and was 19 inches long. She is just a doll and such a good, calm, sweet baby. We don't post pics of our kids online but trust me, she is a cutie pie :0)

Thanks everyone for your well wishes and prayers!

New recipes will resume in a couple of weeks (give or take). In the meantime, here's one of my favorite sites for recipe inspiration.

Apr 7, 2007

Homemade Graham Crackers

Happy Easter everyone! I am not going to be preparing a big holiday meal this year but I do have some of my favorite Easter recipes listed here.

I recently had the chance to pick up a new very cool looking product to try. Have you seen Philly Cream Cheese's new Ready-To-Eat Cheesecake Filling. Awesome idea for people like myself (my whole family actually) that LOVE cheesecake in any form. The tub of filling costs a little under $5 which is comparable to the amount you would probably spend when buying the ingredients to make your own cheesecake filling. I first planned to just purchase (or make) a graham cracker crust to serve this new found confection, but when I remembered a recipe I had seen on The Baking Sheet for Homemade Graham Crackers, I couldn't resist making them. We made "Cheesecake Sandwiches" with them and the new Philly filling and were they good! If your grocer offers this product I highly suggest you give it a try :0)

Here's the Graham Cracker recipe...

Homemade Graham Crackers
(from The Baking Sheet)

1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 3/4 cups whole-wheat flour (I used Organic Graham Flour from Hodgson Mill)
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 cup cold butter, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
2 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoon molasses
1/4 cup cold water
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

In a food processor, mix together the flours, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon. Add the cold butter and process until the mixture resembles coarse meal, about 30 seconds or so. Add the honey, molasses, water, and vanilla. Mix until the dough starts to come together in a ball, another 30 seconds. Scrape dough out of the mixer.

Between 2 sheets of waxed or parchment paper, roll the dough 1/8-inch thick. Chill for at least 1 hour, until firm (I chilled for several hours).

Preheat oven to 350F. Retrieve dough and roll it a bit more if it is not yet 1/8-inch thick. With a sharp knife or pizza cutter, cut into 2-inch squares. Arrange the crackers on parchment lined baking sheets. With a toothpick, prick several holes in each cracker.

Bake for 15 minutes, until lightly browned at the edges. Remove from the oven and let cool on the pan.

Yield: 48 crackers

Apr 5, 2007

Winding Down For A While...

It's been a busy past few days for us... our 2 year old had a penicillin reaction and broke out in an awful rash. It was very scary for us but praise God she is doing so much better now!

I went for my 37 week prenatal appointment a few days ago and was told by my doctor that my blood pressure is high. So it looks like I will be winding things down here on the blog for a while. I am scheduled to be induced on Tuesday. Baby girl will be here two weeks earlier than we expected!

This afternoon I baked two quiche for the freezer to add to my "post-baby food stocks" :0) So far I have pancakes, pinto beans, chili, pepper steak, and baked beans all frozen and ready to go. It sure does make a difference if you don't have to cook after arriving home with a new little bundle of joy!

I have a couple of recipes I plan to post over the next couple of days but after that if I seem to disappear for a while you'll know why.

I'm so excited to meet our new baby girl! :0)

Mar 26, 2007

Monster Cookies

My girls were in the mood for homemade cookies today. I took a quick inventory of what we had on hand and went to my cookbook pile to find something new to try. I had seen recipes for "Monster Cookies" for a long time, but whenever I wanted to make them we seemed to be missing one ingredient or another. Today was finally our day to try them. I'll be honest, I still prefer plain old oatmeal raisin cookies, but all in all these were very good and not nearly as rich as you'd think by the ingredient list. I got this recipe from Penzeys "ONE" Magazine. The original recipe makes 4 times as many cookies but we had to cut in fourths to make a manageable sized recipe. If you like M & M's this is a must try recipe!

Monster Cookies
(adapted from Penzeys "ONE" Magazine)

3 eggs
1 stick butter, softened
1/2 c. brown sugar
1 c. white sugar
1 Tbsp. vanilla extract
1 1/8 c. peanut butter
2 tsp. baking soda
4 1/2 c. quick oats
1/2 c. chocolate chips
1/2 c. M&M's

Preheat oven to 350°. In a large bowl, cream together eggs, butter, sugars and vanilla extract. Mix in the other ingredients by hand to form a stiff dough. Make sure the oats are the quick cooking variety, as they make the cookies fluffier than regular oats. Bake tablespoons full of dough on a greased cookie sheet for about 10 - 12 minutes.

Mar 13, 2007

Skillet Bread

With our new baby due so soon I have been really tired and my back has been aching so I haven't felt much like cooking. This morning was no exception. Then I remembered a quick recipe I knew my girls would enjoy. My grandmother used to make this bread for me when I was growing up. These are kind of like fried biscuits. They are really soft inside and go wonderfully with butter and jam or honey. They were such a hit today and I didn't even get an opportunity to take a picture :0)

Skillet Bread

2 c. all-purpose flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1 1/2 tsp. sugar
1/2 c. milk
1 c. water

Combine all ingredients in a mixing bowl and stir until well combined. Heat 3 Tbsp. oil or butter in a skillet over medium - medium high heat. Drop batter by large spoonfuls into the skillet. As soon as bread begins to set enough that you are able, turn them with a spatula and press down on them to flatten a bit. Lower the heat and cover the skillet and allow them to steam to cook the inside. Keep a close eye on these, the outsides will burn easily!

Mar 3, 2007

Pina Colada Bread Pudding

I always save the ends of bread in a freezer bag for bread pudding. The difference this time is that all the bread I have saved lately is from fresh, homemade bread... yum! So in honor of the "special bread ends" I decided to make a special pudding. This recipe is adapted from a few I found on-line. I just tweaked it a bit to fit what I had on hand. It's cooling right now and smells wonderful!


12 thick slices day-old bread
1/4 c. softened butter
6 eggs
1 box banana pudding mix
1/2 c. brown sugar
1 (15 oz.) can crushed pineapple in juice
1 c. grated coconut
1 cup coconut milk
2 1/2 cups milk
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/4 c. sliced almonds

Spread butter on bread slices. Place in a 9 x 13 in. dish, overlapping slices. Beat eggs with brown sugar in bowl. Add pineapple, coconut, coconut milk and milk. Blend well. Add vanilla extract and pudding mix. Blend well again. Pour over and in between bread slices. Sprinkle with almonds. Allow to soak 15 minutes. Bake 45 minutes at 350 degrees. Allow to cool before serving. This would be wonderful served with whipped cream or ice cream on top!

Feb 3, 2007

Chicken Sour Cream Enchilada Casserole

My mom always made this dish when I was growing up. It was always the dish we served when company came over... not only by mom's choice but by many requests from guests. It is still one of my favorites as well as my husband and children. We serve this with various side dishes, depending on our mood. Some favorites include refried beans, Spanish rice, Spanish slaw, green salad, marinated tomato slices or calebacitas. My mom always made this in the traditional "enchilada style" with each enchilada rolled separately but I find it quicker and easier to make this like a casserole. Either way, it is delicious!

Chicken Sour Cream Enchilada Casserole

1 lb. chicken breast (boneless/skinless) cooked and diced (I use a food processor)
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 can Progresso brand cream of mushroom soup (If you can't find Progresso, use any brand with 1/2 soup can of milk added)
1/4 c. sour cream
1 can diced green chilis, drained
2 c. grated cheddar or Monterey Jack cheese
1 onion, minced
18 corn tortillas

Heat oven to 350 degrees. In a blender, combine soups and sour cream plus 1/2 c. of the cheese. Pour soup mixture into a sauce pan and heat through. Ladle a small amount of the soup mixture into a 9 x 13 in. pan. Add a layer of 6 corn tortillas, spread out to cover the bottom of the pan. Next add a layer of 1/3 of the chicken. Then add a layer of 1/3 of the onions. Then add a layer of 1/3 of the cheese. Then add a layer of 1/3 of the soup mixture. Then sprinkle with 1/3 of the green chilis. Repeat layers twice. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until hot and bubbly and the cheese is melted.

Feb 2, 2007


We have been sick for a couple of days now so I thought a nice crock pot full of soup would be just the thing to hit the spot. I made Posole yesterday and found a great recipe for the bolillos to go along with it. They turned out great! Sorry I don't have a photo to share but here is what they look like and here's the recipe.


1 package active dry yeast
1 1/3 cups water
1 tablespoon honey (I use Agave nectar)
1 tablespoon butter or margarine, melted and cooled
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
3 1/4 - 4 cups bread flour
1/4 cup cold water
1 teaspoon cornstarch

1. Sprinkle yeast over the warm water in a large mixing bowl; stir and let stand 5 minutes.
2. When the yeast is working a bit stir the honey, lard and salt into the yeast mixture.
3. Add 2 1/2 cups flour.
4. Mix at low speed and then beat at medium speed until the dough is very elastic, about 5 minutes.
5. Gradually stir in as much of the remaining flour as needed to make a soft dough.
6. Knead on floured surface until dough is smooth in texture and very elastic, 15-20 minutes (use a dough hook on your mixer and knead for about 10-15 minutes).
7. Place dough in a greased bowl, turn the dough so all surfaces have a sheen of oil.
8. Cover and let rise in a warm place until it has doubled in size, about 1 hour (I turn on the light in the oven and place the dough in there to rise, do NOT heat the oven!).
9. Punch the dough down and knead briefly on a floured surface.
10. Divide dough into 10 pieces and roll into balls.
11. Work with the palms of your hands and start at the center of each ball to roll out into ovals.
12. Each piece should be about 5 1/2" long and 2" in the middle, tapering to each end.
13. Place rolls on a greased baking sheet, cover and let rise until almost doubled, about 25 minutes.
14. Meanwhile heat oven to 375F degrees.
15. Mix cornstarch and cold water, heat stirring constantly to boiling, boil until thickened and clear about 2 minutes.
16. Brush each roll with the cornstarch mixture.
17. Slash each roll down the middle stopping about 1/2" from each end and cutting about 1/2" deep.
18. Bake until the rolls are brown and sound hollow when tapped, about 30-35 minutes. Remove from baking sheets and cool on racks.
19. Serve warm & fresh from the oven.

Our little container garden that I spoke about a couple posts ago has died out on us. The unexpected cold snap did not give the plants a good start at all. We are planning to replant them directly outdoors at the end of this month when the weather is a little warmer. Stop back by and I will continue to post our progress.

My oldest daughter's birthday was last week and she put in a special order for a cheesecake :) She created this cheesecake herself, "Mama" was just the chef. Here's a picture of her special birthday creation.

It is an orange flavored cheesecake with dulce de leche swirled in... chocolate chips and strawberries on top and whipped cream of course! I can hardly believe my baby is 7 years old!

Jan 19, 2007

One Of Those Days...

Have you ever had "one of those days" when it comes to preparing a meal for your family? I woke up this morning excited about the dinner I was planning to prepare for my family tonight. I was planning to prepare a recipe I had found a few years ago and we had really enjoyed when I made it the first time. The recipe is called Turkey Breast Peruvian and I found it in a Weight Watchers cookbook. It is so flavorful and I could just taste it! I proceeded to prepare the marinade this morning, got some dough for dinner rolls going in the bread machine this afternoon and had the turkey in to roast right on time. After a while I could hear a slight sizzle and figured that the pan must have gone a bit dry and a little water was needed as not to create smoke. Forgetting that my pan is made of Pyrex and the water from our water cooler is COLD I proceeded to pour water into the pan. Thankfully I was standing far from the oven door as I poured and the kids were in the other room. The next thing that happened was a very loud POP as the pan exploded in the oven. Needless to say the meal for tonight (and the leftovers I had planned for the next two) are ruined. **Sigh**. The pan is still cooling so now I'm figuring out how I will clean out the stove and what we will eat for dinner. Hoping to buy another turkey breast soon so I can share the recipe and some nice photos to go along with it. Stay tuned....

Jan 16, 2007

Container Gardening

When my oldest daughter was two years old, I decided to endeavour into the world of gardening. I have never been one to take much of an interest in plants, but my deep love for cooking pushed me towards trying to grow our own vegetables. At the time we were living in a small apartment with a tiny patio. Although the space was adaquate for a small container garden, the sun exposure was minimal and our success was minimal. Now that we have moved into a house with nice sunny windows and more yard space, I thought we would try our hand at growing some of our favorite veggies and herbs once again.

This week our homeschool studies have tended towards learning about plants so what better time to get started on our seedlings. In our growins zone (AZ9) it's really important to get the seeds planted in January because the intense summer heat can start as early as April or May.

This year we have seeds started for tomatoes, cucumbers, squash, Anahiem chilis, okra, mini bell peppers, cilantro, basil, dill, chives, garlic chives and flat leaf parsley. We planted all of these about a week ago and so far the cucumbers, basil and squash are peeking out of the soil. In a few weeks I will be transplanting them into 5 gallon buckets and setting them out on tht patio. We are also planning to start (directly from seed) some oregano, rosemary and a couple different kinds of flowers.

If all goes well I should have some more pictures to share in a week or two when all the seeds have sprouted :)

Jan 13, 2007

Potato Rolls and Classic Country Bread

I have been spending a lot of time this past week baking bread since I got the new bread machine. So far I have been very happy with the results. I've only baked one loaf in the machine. I prefer to use the "dough" setting and bake the loaves in the oven to get a more authentic shape and crust. So far, aside from the Whole Wheat Flax Seed Bread, pizza crust and a sourdough loaf. I have also made a couple of Classic Country Bread loaves from a recipe found on a package of Red Star Yeast.

All the recipes have turned out very well expect I think I will reduce the olive oil for the pizza dough next time when I make it in the bread machine. The dough was very sticky and hard to work with. The recipe I used (I doubled it for the machine) would have made 4 pizzas but we ended up with three because I botched the first one due to the extra sticky dough. I'm not quite sure why it works fine when done by hand but not in the machine. I'm sure I will figure it out sooner or later :)

Today I found a couple lonely baked potatoes in the fridge, just begging to be used for something. So of course, I had to try a recipe I saw in one of my cookbooks for Potato Rolls. They turned out great!

Here are the recipes for the Classic Country Bread and Potato Rolls. Sorry for the lack of a photo for the Country Bread, but the kids ate it too quickly!

Potato Buns
(Originally from Old World Breads - modified for ingredients I had on hand)

1 c. milk
2 tsp. canola oil
2 tsp. sugar
1 egg, lightly beaten
2 small potatoes, baked then mashed (boiled would work well too I'm sure)
3/4 tsp. salt
2 c. bread flour
1 c. whole wheat flour

Add ingredients to bread machine in the order suggested by manufacturer. Set on "dough" cycle. When dough is ready, remove from machine and cut into 12 equal pieces. Form each piece into a ball and place balls into a greased muffin pan. Cover with a clean kitchen towel and allow to rise for 45 minutes. Bake in a pre-heated 350 degree oven for 20 minutes. For a golden crust, brush with butter or margarine before baking. Makes one dozen rolls.

Classic Country Bread

1 1/2 c. water
2 Tbsp. canola oil
1/3 c. molasses
2 1/4 tsp salt
2/3 c. oatmeal (I used Bob's Red Mill 5 Grain Cereal)
1 1/3 c. whole wheat flour
2 1/2 c. bread flour
2 tsp. quick rise or bread machine yeast

Put all ingredients in bread machine in the order suggested by the manufacturer. Set on "dough" cycle. When dough is ready, split into two equal pieces and form into loaves. Please each loaf into a greased bread pan. Cover with a clean kitchen towel and allow to rise for 45 minutes. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 50 minutes. Remove from pans to wire racks and allow to cool before slicing. Makes 2 loaves.

Jan 6, 2007

Whole Wheat Flax Seed Bread

Although I have a multitude of small appliances, one I have been wanting for a long time is a bread machine. My wish finally came true this Christmas. I was able to order a breadmaker on-line a couple days after Christmas and it finally arrived yesterday.

I did a lot of research before I chose this breadmaker. I needed to find one in my price range but that had good ratings among consumers so I wouldn't have to replace it after a few months like some of the appliances I have had in the past. I finally settled on the Sunbeam Bread Maker. It makes 1.5 and 2 lb loaves and had 12 different settings. It can dely baking up to 13 hours. It can even be used to make jam! A word of caution... if you ever purchase this model, the manual has many recipes but from all I have read on-line the proportions are incorrect and the loaves turn out awful. So be sure to find a good bread machine cookbook or find recipes on-line from reputable websites if you buy this model.

I made my first loaf today and I must say I am in love with this machine. It is so easy to use, easy to clean and quiet. I found this recipe on-line and tweaked it a bit to fit what I had on hand. Here's the recipe. I'm sure it would turn out very well made by hand as well. It is moist and delicious.

Whole Wheat Flax Seed Bread

1 1/3 c. warm water (I microwave room temp. water for 20 seconds)
2 Tbsp. canola oil
1 Tbsp. honey
2 Tbsp. molasses
1 1/2 c. bread flour
1 1/3 c. whole wheat flour (I prefer King Arthur brand)
1/2 c. ground flax seed
1 1/2 tsp. salt
2 tsp. bread machine yeast (fast acting or quick rise yeast will work fine as well)

Add ingredients to bread machine in order suggested by manufacturer. Select basic setting and light crust. Makes one 1.5 lb. loaf.

Jan 5, 2007

Crock Pot Potato Soup

The weather has been dreary and a bit cold lately... perfect weather for warm comfort food. Today I decided to make potato soup. This is a recipe I adapted from several I found in different cookbooks... taking what I know my family loves best to make a nice satisfying dinner. We're having Garlic and Herb Sesame Rolls to go along with it.

Crock Pot Potato Soup

8 potatos, peeled and diced
2 carrots, diced
2 leeks or 4 scallions, sliced
1 stalk celery, diced
2 onions, diced
1 c. diced ham or crumbled cooked bacon
5 c. water
4 tsp. chicken boullion
1 Tbsp., dried parsley
1 Tbsp. chives
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. dill
1/2 tsp. pepper
1/4 c. butter or margarine
1 (13 oz.) can evaporated milk
1/2 c. shreded sharp cheddar cheese
1/4 c. sour cream

Add all ingredients except milk, cheese and sour cream to crock pot. Cook 6-8 hours on high or 10 - 12 hours on low. During the last hour add the milk, cheese and sour cream, stir well then cover again and allow to cook until cooking time is done.

Jan 4, 2007

Happy New Year!

I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas and New Years! We were quite busy with out of town guests and then my huband and all three kids got sick so I haven't been on-line much lately. We were truly blessed this Christmas and as always enjoyed celebrating the birth of our Lord and Savior.

I got a new cook book yesterday and wanted to share a review with you.

Years ago I had picked up an old copy of The Joy of Cooking at a second hand bookstore. It was (and still is) my very favorite cookbook. Dispite the lack of color photographs that all the new cookbooks seem to have in abundance, the wealth of knowledge contained in this book is beyond measure. If I could choose only one cookbook to own it would be this one. In it you will find recipes for everything from simple things like boiled eggs to very elaborate dishes, menues, cooking techniques and ingredient and nutrition information.

My original copy was ruined when a storage closet in our old apartment was flooded by the hot water heater. So I was very excited to see this new 75th Anniversary Edition available. It is just as good as my old copy... in fact better! It contains over 4500 recipes and is an invaluable tool for anyone who enjoys cooking.