Sunday, September 29, 2013

Italian Sausage Soup

I love the cooler weather as it comes with the desire to make soups and homemade bread.
This is one of my favorite soups!

Italian Sausage Soup
2 pounds Italian sausage
1 onion diced
3 cloves garlic, crushed
28 oz crushed tomatoes
1 C. red cooking wine
5 C. chicken stock
2 tsp. dried basil
1 tsp. dried oregano
4 carrots peeled and diced
1 green pepper chopped
salt and pepper to taste
1 tbsp. dried parsley
1 C. orzo pasta
2 small zucchini sliced

Brown sausage, onion and garlic. Drain grease. Add tomatoes, wine, stock, basil, oregano, carrots, pepper, salt and pepper, and parsley. Bring to a boil till veggies are not quite cooked to desired firmness. Add pasta and zucchini and boil for 15 minutes. Serve with freshly grated Parmesan!

Tuesday, September 17, 2013


I had some roast beef I needed to use and decided to try a few different stroganoff recipes. The first one is my stand-by. I like it a lot! It is tasty and the celery is a fun addition. The sour cream gives it a great flavor.

1 lb. steak, cubed
1/2 onion, chopped
1/2 cup celery, chopped
1 can cream of celery soup
1 cup sour cream
1/4 tsp. garlic salt
mushrooms (optional)

Brown meat add onions and celery saute until tender. Combine all ingredients in a slow-cooker and cook on low for 4-6 hours. Serve over hot noodles or rice.

The next one is totally different and super yummy as well! The cream cheese lends it a very rich taste.

2 pounds cubed stew meat
2 cans Golden Mushroom Soup
1 largish onion diced
2-3-4 tbsp of Worcestershire 
1/2 cup water
8 oz of cream cheese 
couple of dashes of Garlic Salt 
couple dashes of Hot Paprika 

In the slow cooker stir in all the ingredients together, (except the meat AND the Cream Cheese). Once combined add the meat and mix together.

Cook on Low for 8 hours. 

Cut up the cream cheese into cubes just before serving and turn crock-pot on high. Stir the cream cheese in until all combined.

Peachy Benefits

I love this time of year! There is something about the change in the air and the harvest that gets me all giddy. I have been making things with peaches, zucchini, and tomatoes. This is a peach pie that is super easy to make!

You can find the recipe by typing, "peach pie" in the search this blog bar. The one I made previously has blueberries instead of raspberries. Both were delicious! 
I added a new feature to my photos on this blog. You can now hover over the photo and a pinterest icon will appear enabling you to pin my recipes for future reference! Give it a try. Happy harvest!

Friday, September 6, 2013

Granola Bites!

Granola bars are delicious. I found this recipe for granola bites and am in love! These are great because they are not only scrumptious, but healthy too! They contain flax and coconut oil. Plus, you can add good things like chia seeds, dried fruit, nuts, shredded coconut, or whatever your taste buds direct.

Granola Bites
2 cups quick oats
1 cup crispy rice cereal 
1 cup creamy peanut butter
1 cup ground flaxseed
1 cup mini chocolate chips
2/3 cup honey or agave nectar
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2 tablespoons coconut oil
chia seeds and coconut or dried fruit too

Combine all the ingredients together in a large bowl, mixing gently so the crispy rice cereal doesn't get crushed. Mix until well-combined.
Roll into small balls and place on a wax paper lined cooking sheet. 
Refrigerate for 1-2 hours. At this point you can serve them or place the chilled granola bites in a large tupperware-type container or ziploc bags to freeze or refrigerate. They will stay fresh in the refrigerator for up to a week or for a few months in the freezer.
Be creative and experiment. I used butterscotch chips and next time, I will use white chocolate chips, craisins, and shredded coconut. Nice for school lunches or an after school snack!

Monday, August 26, 2013

Chokecherry Syrup

Chokecherries are so fun to gather from the mountains unless you happen to be allergic to the leaves! I have no problem consuming the stuff, but the leaves do NOT like me!
My dear Grandma gave me a bucket of already picked chokecherries last week! I still have some chokecherry jelly so I juiced them and made syrup of course!
I tried a new way to make it because last time I used pectin and it set up too solidly.
If you have never tried chokecherry syrup, you need to make it a priority! This stuff is so delicious and worth every minute it takes to make!!

Wash and remove stems and leaves from the cherries. I use a steam juicer to extract the juice.

In a large saucepan, combine 3 cups chokecherry juice and 6 cups granulated sugar. Bring to a boil over medium heat while stirring. Boil one minute. Remove from heat and add 1/4 to 1/2 tsp. almond extract. Pour in hot sterilized jars. Adjust two piece caps and process in a boiling water canner for 10 minutes.

Pour any leftover generously over pancakes, waffles, or french toast!

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Zucchini Bread

I have another zucchini bread recipe on this blog and I am undecided which one is my favorite. This is a fun one and so good! It is just hot out of the oven...I am going to go slather it with butter and some fresh raspberry jam!

Zucchini Bread

5 eggs
2 C. grated zucchini
1 C. vegetable oil
1 tsp. vanilla
2-1/2 C. flour
1-1/4 C. sugar
2 packages instant vanilla pudding mix (3.4 oz)
1-1/4 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. nutmeg

Beat eggs, zucchini, oil and vanilla.  Stir into dry ingredients until moistened.  Stir in nuts if desired.
Bake in four small loaf pans for 45 minutes at 350*. 

Can you see the steam rising?!

Waterfall Braid with a Twist!

Look up how to do a waterfall braid on youtube. It is fairly easy and fun! Then take the "waterfall" parts and braid or twist them. Place them in the lower part of the braid in sequence. You could do this to both sides and pull the back up as well for a fun night out! 

This is several four strand braids that I pinned and twisted under to create a different waterfall look.

Macadamia and White Chocolate Cookies

White Chocolate Macadamia Nut Cookies

2 C. butter
1&1/2 C. sugar
1&1/2 C. brown sugar
3 eggs
3 tsp. vanilla
5&1/4 C. flour
1&1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 small box instant white chocolate pudding 
1 pkg. white chocolate chips
1 C. macadamia nuts

Cream butter and sugars. Add egg and vanilla. Add the dry ingredients. Stir in chips and nuts.
Bake at 350* for 13 minutes.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Freezer Burritos

Need a quick easy something to feed the famished! This is the ticket. On those days when you find yourself being the taxi driver to and from soccer, piano, basketball, choir, and guitar lessons you can pop one of these babies in the microwave for 2 minutes add some lettuce, sour cream, and whatever else your heart desires; and voila! Dinner is served. 


(I hope I can remember all I put in these; you see, that is the best part, you can customize them to be as mild or spicy as your taste buds crave!)
3 cans chili
3 cans ranch style beans
1 can re-fried beans
1 can black beans
1 can tomatoes with diced green chilies
1 pint of home bottled salsa (or any other kind you like)
2 pkg taco, burrito, or enchilada seasoning mix
1 large onion, chopped
2 lbs ground beef (or a mixture of sausage and beef)

Brown beef and onion. Drain off grease. Add all other ingredients. Mix in a large pot. Simmer for an hour or two. Remove from heat. Add 1 & 1/2 lbs grated cheese. Stir. Heat tortillas in microwave and place a heaping 1/2 C. bean mixture in the center. Roll them up and wrap in plastic wrap. Wait for them to cool. Place in the freezer. Pull them out as desired and heat in microwave for about 2 minutes. Makes about 36 depending on the size of tortilla and how much filling used in each one.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Fresh Apricot Pie

Abundant apricots cause one to think of creative tasty ways to utilize them. I tried this new recipe tweaked to my own liking of course and LOVED it. I am making certain I know where I can find it in the future! Blogs are the best way to keep track of favorite recipes.


Place a heaping cup of sweetened shredded coconut in a food processor and give it a whirl. Add one stick of butter and 1/4 C. plus 3 Tbsp. brown sugar. Blend well. Add 3/4 C. plus 3 Tbsp. flour. Combine till it sticks together. Set aside this crumb topping.
Combine 6 C. quartered apricots, 1/2 C. sugar, 1/2 C. brown sugar, and 3 Tbsp. cornstarch, 1 tsp. nutmeg, and 2 Tbsp. dry tapioca.
Pour the apricot mixture into your favorite unbaked pie shell and top with the crumb topping.
Bake at 350* for 1 and 1/2 hours.

The above is a picture of the pie before it was placed in the oven.

To the right is a picture of the pie baking. I lined a jelly roll pan with tinfoil to catch any spills.

Above is a picture of the pie right out of the oven.

To the right is a picture of the pie prior to being consumed! And it was supreme!! 

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Apricot Syrup

I bottled some apricot syrup late last night and thought I had better post the recipe here lest I lose it! :)

Apricot Syrup

2 lbs of fresh apricots
puree them with 2 Tbsp. of fresh lemon juice
Add 1 C. water and 1 Tbsp. corn syrup
Pour into a saucepan and add 4 C. sugar
Bring to a boil and boil for 5 minutes
Pour into hot sterilized jars and seal with hot lids
Process in a boiling water canner for 5 minutes
Remove from canner and allow to cool for 24 hours

There is little that compares to the sound the lid makes when the jars are cooling and they seal; it is one of my favorite sounds in the whole world! 

Tried and tested. It is Yummy in my tummy!

Luscious Lemon Cake

Summertime is fun! Being invited to go up the canyon to a potluck BBQ is refreshing! I decided to beat the heat with something lemony and created this cake.
It turned out to be delicious and just the right thing for a hot summer night.

Lemon Cake

1 boxed lemon cake mix
1 small box instant lemon pudding
4 eggs
I C. sour cream
1/2 C. oil
3/4 C. water

Combine all ingredients and mix well. I poured it into a greased 9X13 pan and baked it for about 30 minutes at 350 degrees (you could use two round pans or whatever suits your fancy). Let it cool. I cut my cake in half and poked it full of holes. Pour the juice and zest of one lemon mixed with 1 C. powdered sugar over the top of the cake and allow it to absorb. 
I then spread some lemon creme on one half of the cake and stack the other half on top. 
Frost with a light lemon frosting. 
I used 1/2 C. butter, 4 cups powdered sugar, several tablespoons of lemon juice, 1/2 tsp. vanilla and some milk.

More photos from the BBQ...

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Twist on Tinfoil


Here is a great idea for a quick and easy meal! We just came home from a soccer competition where we stayed in some university dorms. I had to be creative in what I took for dinner as the kitchen was completely bare. I decided it would be easy to make some tinfoil dinners in the oven. I only had to pack the ingredients, a knife, and some heavy duty aluminum foil.

Sweet n' Sour tinfoil dinner
Place 1/2 C. minute rice in a large piece of foil that has been shaped like a bowl. Add diced raw chicken, chunks of fresh pineapple, slices of green pepper, shredded carrots, snow peas in the pod, and 3 Tblsp. of sweet n' sour sauce (homemade or bottled). Pour 1/4 C. of liquid (you can use water, sprite, orange juice....I used sparkling mineral water) over the ingredients and crimp the edges of the foil. I wrapped mine again for good measure and cooked it in the oven at 350* for 35 minutes. You can cook them over the coals or on a barbecue grill too. 

I am not a fan of minute rice, but this was delicious! 

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Fabulous Fudge!

This fudge is really to die for! 
I got the recipe from a friend and tweaked it to my liking.

4 C. chocolate chips (I used half milk chocolate and half semi-sweet)
14 oz. Hershey's chocolate bar
4 1/2 C. sugar
1 cube butter (use a good brand)
1 can evaporated milk (use a good brand)
7 oz. marshmallow creme
1/2 tsp. vanilla

Bring to a boil: sugar, milk, and butter while stirring constantly. Boil 5 minutes. Remove from heat and add all other ingredients at once. Stir vigorously till mixed. Pour into a buttered pan. It makes more than a 9X13 size pan; you could make a 9X13 without nuts and a 8X8 with nuts. I toasted some chopped almonds and sprinkled them in my pan after I buttered it. You could use walnuts or whatever suits your fancy. Allow the fudge to cool before cutting.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Homemade English Muffins

Oh my gosh! If you have never made your own English muffins, you need to put it on your bucket list. Yummy! Mmmmm...mmmm...good! Way better than store purchased!

English Muffins

1 Tbsp. package active dry yeast
1 cup plus 2 Tbsp. Warm water
1/2 cup scalded milk
2 tsp. sugar
1 tsp. salt 
3 Tbsp soft butter
3 cups all-purpose flour

Dissolve yeast in warm water. Let stand until creamy, about 10 minutes. Add sugar, salt, and milk.
Beat in 2 cups flour. Knead, cover and let rise till double. Add butter and rest of flour.
Roll out to about 1/2 inch thick. Cut rounds with English Muffin rings. Cover and let rise 1/2 hour.
Remove from ring and cook muffins on griddle about 10 minutes on each side on medium heat. Allow to cool and place in plastic bags for storage.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Guess Who Hatched

I had some crazy birds decide my wreath hanging on my front door was a suitable place to raise a family. They have been fun to watch. She laid one egg a day until there were a total of five eggs the size of peanut M&Ms.
They hatched today! I will post a picture of the babies as soon as I dare sneak one.
Here are the eggs if you look closely.

Here is the mama sitting on her eggs.

Here are the sweet babies!

Perfect Pie Crust

I love making pies and getting the crust just right can be a bit tricky. I love this pie crust recipe that you can throw together in your food processor and freeze until you are ready to use it. It only takes a few minutes to throw a pie together if you pull the crust and the filling out of the freezer like I did for this peach pie. See how flaky the crust is! 

1-1/2 cup Shortening
3 cups All-purpose Flour
1 whole Egg
5 Tablespoons Cold Water
1 Tablespoon White Vinegar
1 teaspoon Salt

Put the flour and the shortening in your food processor and pulse until it resembles a coarse meal. Add the egg, cold water, vinegar and salt. Pulse until all of the ingredients are incorporated.
Separate the dough into 3 evenly sized balls of dough and place each dough into a large Ziploc bag. Using a rolling pin, slightly flatten each ball of dough (about ½ inch thick) to make rolling easier later. Seal the bags and place them in the freezer until you need them. 
When you are ready to use the dough to make a crust, remove from the freezer and allow to thaw for 15 minutes. 

Sweet and Sour Chicken

I have had this recipe for years. I got it from an oriental friend of mine. It is scrumptious!

Sweet and Sour Chicken
Dice 4 chicken breasts and soak for at least 20 minutes in: 1 egg, 1 tsp. soy sauce, 1 tsp. salt and a little bit of cornstarch. 
Cook chicken in hot oil until done.
Dice 1 onion, 3 peppers, 2 carrots and saute them in a small amount of olive oil. When they are cooked to desired tenderness, add the chicken and a can of pineapple chunks. Add 1 Tblsp. vinegar, 3 T. sugar, 1/3 C. ketcup, 5 Tblsp. pineapple juice mixed with 3 tsp. cornstarch.
Heat for a few minutes and serve over rice.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Budding Artist

My 16 year old son is an artist. He hasn't had any formal training aside from a few school art classes. He has a natural ability for drawing, painting, and even photography.
Here are a few pictures of his latest work.

This one is a marker drawing.

This one is done with pastels.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Day of Fools

I have such a busy load at school this semester! I threw together this recipe for April Fool's Day for my kids and though I am not going to post the recipe (because it was dry and not very good), I thought you might enjoy seeing the pictures. The filling was supposed to remain inside the "cake", but as you can see, it didn't. It is a biscuit dough and a meat filling with melted mozzarella cheese on top! I am sure with some adjustment, this could be a delicious meal. 

Hope you avoided pranks and fooled someone!

Sunday, March 31, 2013

Happy Easter!

I tried a new way to dye eggs this year. Aren't they colorful?!?

I'm making a quilt out of old ties and consequently have an abundance of ties I have been collecting over the years. I picked out a few that were 100% silk. 

Cut a piece large enough to fit around an uncooked egg. Wrap it around the egg and secure it tightly with cotton string. Place in water with 3 Tablespoons of vinegar and boil for 15 minutes. Cool. Unwrap. The tie patterns and colors will have transferred onto the surface of your egg!

Super fun and easy! Just be careful not to drop one while wrapping them like I did! 

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Lucky Leprechaun Stew!

Happy Saint Patrick's Day! 
I made stew and shamrock rolls. The stew turned out fabulous! If you want an awesome recipe for stew, check the pioneer woman's blog; it offers all the details on how to make a good stew.  

This is just a basic stew recipe...brown the stew meat in olive oil and set it aside. Cook the onion and some garlic in the drippings. Throw in a can of tomato paste, some beef stock and a few dashes of Worcestershire  Toss the meat back in and cook it covered for a couple of hours. Toss in some diced carrots and turnips and cook for another 30 minutes or so until tender. Meanwhile, boil some potatoes and make your favorite mashed potatoes. Serve them with the beef stew sprinkled with parsley (had to have something green!).

The rolls are just my favorite recipe rolled into three balls and cooked in muffin tins. 

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Strawberry Tart

I received a new magazine subscription for Christmas called Cuisine at home. It is a fun collection of recipes and tips, but the best part is NO ADVERTISEMENTS! 
I tried this recipe for strawberry-frangipane tart in this month's edition and it turned out pretty.
March seems to be the best month for strawberries; they are so delicious!

In a food processor, pulse 1 and 1/2 cups flour, 5 tbsp. sugar, and 10 tbsp. cold butter until mixture is fine. Whisk 3 egg yolks and 3 tbsp. cream together. With machine running, pour the yolk mixture in and process till it forms a ball. Shape into a disk, wrap in plastic wrap and chill for at least 30 minutes. 
Roll out dough on a floured surface to about 1/8 inch thick; transfer to a 10 inch tart pan. Trim and form dough to fit pan. Cover with plastic wrap and chill 30 minutes or more. 
Preheat oven 375*.
Process (in food processor) 1 cup slivered toasted almonds, 3/4 cup sugar, and 2 tbsp. flour until smooth. Add 1 stick soft butter, 2 eggs, and 1/2 tsp. almond extract. Process until smooth, then spread onto chilled crust. Chill until firm.
Bake on a baking sheet until frangipane is golden, about 30 minutes. Cool to room temperature, then cover with plastic and chill.
In food processor, pulse 2 cups strawberries and transfer to a bowl. Stir in 1/4 cup sugar, and 2 tsp. fresh lemon juice; let sit for 30 minutes (up to two hours). Strain mixture through a sieve and discard solids. Add water to yield 3/4 cup juice and pour into a small saucepan. Sprinkle 1 and 1/4 tsp. unsweetened gelatin over the juice and let sit 5 minutes. Heat mixture over medium heat until gelatin dissolves. Cool to room temperature. Pour almost all the gelee over the tart. Arrange freshly cut strawberries on top and drizzle with remaining gelee. 
Serve at room temperature.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Chocolate-Orange Fudge Cake

This quick cake-mix enhancement turns into an elegant dessert, perfect for those you love.

Chocolate-Orange Fudge Cake

1 pkg. German chocolate cake mix
8 oz. sour cream
1/2 C. water
1/2 C. oil
4 eggs
1 small package instant chocolate pudding
1/4 C. chocolate syrup
2 Tbsp. orange zest
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 pkg. semisweet chocolate chips

Combine cake mix, sour cream, water, oil, eggs, pudding, syrup, orange peel, and cinnamon. Beat with an electric mixer until well blended. Stir in chocolate chips. Pour into a greased bundt pan. Bake at 350* for 50 minutes. Cool. Dust with powdered sugar.

You should know me by now and I must admit the things I did differently....I didn't have a chocolate cake mix and just added 4 Tbsp. of cocoa to a yellow one. I didn't have chocolate pudding and used vanilla instead. I also melted part of a dark chocolate candy bar in place of the syrup.