Monday, October 31, 2011

Harry Potter Butterbeer

I found a recipe on Pinterest for Harry Potter Butterbeer and was so excited to try it.  I made it, but was disappointed with the flavor of the actual drink (the topping was pretty good).  But I decided it was worth trying to salvage so I tried again.  The original recipe calls for butter flavoring and rum extract in the cream soda, but I found that this made the soda taste diet-y and weird so I just used plain cream soda.  Hence, there is no "butter" in this "beer".  But I ran this by a ten-year-old expert who has been to the Harry Potter theme park and tasted "real" Butterbeer....he liked it.  So I guess I'm good to go.

2-liter bottle of cream soda*
1 cup whipping cream
7 oz. jar marshmallow creme
1 tsp. rum extract

1.  Chill the soda completely before "assembling".
2.  In a mixing bowl, combine the whipping cream, marshmallow creme, and rum extract until smooth and combined.
3.  Pour cream soda into cups, allowing head room.  Drop the topping by spoonfuls into soda.  It will float and fizz.  Serve!

Source:  adapted from Design Dazzle Blog

*The first time we tried this we bought A&W Cream Soda, but didn't realize until after we drank it that it has caffeine.  I was able to find a no-caffeine cream soda at Lowe's Foods....Polar brand soda.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Refiner's Fire

My life, like everyone's, has been full of ups and downs.

And every time I thought, "This is it. This is the one from which I'll never recover."

Amazingly, I was wrong. Every time. I not only recover but I come out stronger. Every time.

Most recently I was diagnosed with breast cancer. At age 31. With two young children. And that nagging "I'll-never-recover" thought took on a whole new meaning.

Throughout the first week of my diagnosis the phrase 'refiner's fire' kept popping into my mind, so I took a moment to look into it and found references throughout the Old Testament, 3rd Nephi, and the Doctrine and Covenants.

The phrase refers to how a refiner of metal uses fire to not only rid the metal of impurities but also to make it more flexible so it can be molded or re-shaped.

Symbolically it is referring to the Savior as the refiner and the cleansing of the earth in preparation for the Second Coming. And I know that it applies to us individually as well. That the trials we go through in this life are a refining fire and how, if we let Him, the Savior can rid us of impurities and mold us into His image.

In a 2006 General Conference message, President James E. Faust states, "In the pain, the agony, and the heroic endeavors of life, we pass through a refiner's fire, and the insignificant and unimportant in our lives can melt away like dross and make our faith bright, intact, and strong. In this way the divine image can be mirrored from the soul."

The good news is that, once again, I have recovered - emotionally, spiritually and even physically. And I have learned so much through this adversity that I never would have otherwise.

In 2nd Nephi, Chapter 2 we learn that there must be opposition in all things because without it we could not discern the bitter from the sweet. My life has proven repeatedly that the blessings and tender mercies of the Lord far outweigh any trials I may face.

I am a daughter of a loving Heavenly Father who has even more in store for me.

[If they were yours, you'd want to show them off too.]

Saturday, October 29, 2011

German Pancakes

2 eggs
1/2 cup milk (we used 2%)
1/2 cup flour
3 tablespoon butter

1.  Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
2.  Crack eggs into medium bowl and add milk.  Whisk to combine.
3.  Add flour and use a whisk or hand blender to mix until batter is smooth.
4.  Put butter in pie plate and melt in oven.  When butter is melted pour pancake batter slowly in the center of your pie plate.
5.  Bake 15-20 minutes or until puffed up and golden brown.  Serve with fruit, powdered sugar, or syrup!

Source:  Somewhere online

Pasta Pomodoro

This makes a lot, so if you want to make less than 8 servings, I suggest halving the ingredient amounts. The original recipe doesn't include a meat but you can add one; I added Italian turkey sausage so I've included it here.

2 (8 oz.) packages angel hair pasta
Italian turkey sausage, to taste (I used 1 package which is 5 links but won't use as much next time)
1/4 C olive oil
1/2 onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced (I used 4 t bottled minced garlic)
2 C diced Roma tomatoes (I used 2 cans of Italian-style diced tomatoes)
2 T balsamic vinegar (I thought I had this and didn't so I substituted balsamic vinaigrette dressing--it worked!)
1 (10.75 oz) can low-sodium chicken broth
crushed red pepper to taste
freshly ground black pepper to taste
2 T chopped fresh basil
1/4 C grated parmesan cheese

1. Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add pasta and cook until al dente (about 8 minutes); drain.
2. Cook Italian turkey sausage. I did mine in the skillet. I had never worked with Italian turkey sausage until then and found it kind of hard to work with b/c the casing starts to peel--I removed the casing once the sausage was cooked and before cutting it up. It was tasty, though!
3. Pour olive oil in a large, deep skillet over high heat. Saute onions and garlic until lightly browned. Reduce heat to medium-high and add tomatoes, vinegar, chicken broth, and sausage; simmer about 8 minutes.

4. Stir in red pepper, black pepper, basil, and cooked pasta, tossing thoroughly with sauce. Simmer for about 5 more minutes and serve topped with grated cheese. (I prefer mine without cheese.)

I included this in freezer friendly because I assume the sauce freezes well.

Source: Slightly adapted from recipe submitted to by DEBNJAMES

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Sticky Gooey Monster Jaws

You'd better take a bite before they do!  I adapted this from a cute idea found on Our Best Bites Easy Halloween Party Food, using a few of my kids' favorite ingredients! But by all means...have fun and make it your own...I DARE you! 

Apples (1 apples serves 4)
Water with a little lemon juice for dipping 
Peanut Butter
Raisins, chocolate chips, slivered almonds...any of these things could work for teeth
  1. Quarter your apples and remove the seeds.  
  2. Then cut a wedge out of the center of the side with the peel still on it.  
  3. Now, dip the apple quarters in the water/lemon mixture to keep them from browning.
  4. Smother some PB into that monster mouth and give him/her some teeth of your liking.  
  5. Give it some eyes using PB to make 'em stick.  
*The eyes look super cute when they're buggin' out on 2 pretzel sticks...too bad I didn't have any.  =( HAPPY HALLOWEEN!  =)

Banana Chocolate Chip Bread

Simple and good, not to mention a GREAT way to get rid of those blackening bananas that are sitting on the counter. Did I say "Blackening"? I meant, *ahem* "Overly brown" because bananas would NEVER get black on MY counters.

1 C Sugar
1/2 C Shortening
1/2 tsp Salt
2 Eggs
3 mashed bananas
2 C Flour
1 tsp Baking Soda
1/2 C Mini Chocolate Chips* (optional). I used regular chips in this recipe and you can see they sink a little. Mini chips don't sink, but I didn't have any, ok? sheesh... :)

1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.
2. Cream together sugar, shortening, salt and eggs until smooth and creamy.
3. Add Bananas, flour and baking soda. Mix well.
4. Add your chocolate chips (if you so desire) and stir until evenly incorporated.
5. Pour into a greased loaf pan and bake for 70 - 80 minutes or until springy to the touch.
6. Cool thoroughly and dump out.

* We also use nuts in addition/place of. You may omit them or use one or the other.

Source: My Aunt, Janae


Chicken Vegetable Casserole

Tonight for supper I decided to try a meal from food storage.  I get automatic shipments of foods from THRIVE.  I really want to make this work for our family. I have the THRIVE cookbook so that I can use and rotate the foods in normal use.  This recipe is from that cookbook.  

Sprinkle a little dill weed on it for color and flavor!

I cup THRIVE Chopped Chicken (freeze dried)
4 cups THRIVE Egg Noodle Pasta
1/2 cup THRIVE Sweet Corn (freeze dried--I don't have this yet so I used canned corn on hand)
1/2 cup THRIVE Celery (freeze dried)
1/2 cup THRIVE Carrot Dices (I used dehydrated carrot dices canned previously)
1 tablespoon THRIVE Chopped Onions (freeze dried--I used dehydrated minced onions canned previously) 
1 teaspoon THRIVE Iodized Salt (I used salt on hand)
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon dried thyme
2 cups THRIVE Classic Gravy (see recipe below)
1/4 cup THRIVE Powdered Milk, rehydrated (3/4 tablespoon powder + 1/4 cup water--I used previously canned non-fat dehydrated powdered milk)
1 cup Parmesan, shredded

1.  In a small bowl, cover chicken dices with warm water.  Let sit for 5-10 minutes or until softened and rehydrated.  Drain.

2.  Preheat oven to 350 F.

3.  In a large pot of salted boiling water, cook egg noodle pasta according to directions on can.  Drain noodles, then toss with gravy and milk in a large bowl with the vegetables and onion until completely coated.  Add salt, garlic powder, and thyme.

4.  Toss mixture with chicken and stir to combine.  Pour into casserole dish (I used a 9 x 13) and top with 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese.

5.  Cover casserole with foil and bake at 350 F for 20 minutes, or until bubbly.  Take off foil and top with remaining 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese.  Bake an additional 15 minutes.

THRIVE Classic Gravy
4 tablespoons butter (I used 5 tablespoons from two partial sticks so that I could use them up)
1 cup THRIVE Powdered Milk,dry (I used non-fat powdered milk on hand)
1/4 cup THRIVE White Flour (I used all-purpose flour on hand)
3 cups water 
3 teaspoons THRIVE Chicken Bouillon
3/4 teaspoon THRIVE Iodized Salt (I used salt on hand)
3/4 teaspoon pepper

1.  In a medium saucepan, melt butter.  Whisk in powdered milk and flour.  

2.  Gradually add the water to the powdered milk mixture and whisk in the chicken bouillon.

3.  Add salt and pepper and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly until gravy is thickened and smooth.  Remove from heat.

Source:  Shelf Reliance THRIVE Cookbook

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Sunday Pot Roast With or Without Gravy.

They say that necessity is the mother of invention. Time constraints also bring about "invention". The browning of the meat step was omitted by accident while trying to get young ones dressed and out the door a number of years ago. The end result... the meat was more tender than when browned. I love it when an oops works out to your advantage.

This is our favorite Pot Roast and works well with beef or Pork.

To my friends who have asked for a good pot roast recipe. This one is for you.

3# Sirloin Tip Roast or 3# of meat of your choice
Canadian Steak Seasoning
1 1/2# mini carrots - rinsed
5 medium red potatoes scrubbed and cut into 6Th's - I use Red Skin Golden Potatoes
Garlic Powder
1 medium onion chopped or equivalent in dried onions
1 1/2 cups water

1. Spray roasting pan with non-stick spray
2. Place roast in pan and sprinkle lightly with Canadian Steak Seasoning
3. Place carrots around roast in pan and sprinkle lightly with garlic powder and half of the chopped onions.
4. Place potatoes around roast in pan and sprinkle lightly with garlic powder and rest of onions
5. Add water
6. Cover and bake at 350 for 4-5 hours.

Crock pot directions:
1. Do the same as above through number 5
2. Cook on high for 7 hours or on low for 9-10 hours

Beef Gravy:
2 cups water
1 1/2 tsp Beef Soup Base
1/3 cup flour
1/2 tsp black pepper

1. Place all ingredients in small sauce pan and turn heat to med high
2. Whisk all ingredients together until smooth while liquid is heating up.
3. Whisk as needed until liquid becomes thick and bubbly.

The gravy can be used two ways. Either add it to the pot roast and it will cook in the gravy - this works best in the crock pot and gravy will be a thinner sauce or use as traditional gravy.

This freezes well after it is cooked. Just place all ingredients together in a zippy bag or freezer safe container. Store for 6 weeks.

Source: A Jennie Original

BBQ Meatballs

I'm a sucker for appetizers and party food, but when it comes to meatballs, I'm a snob (in addition to buttercream). These are the real deal. My mom has been making them for years and acquired the recipe from a lady that attended church with my grandmother. I'm giving a shout-out to the meatball lady from West Virginia! As you will see from the ingredients, this sauce is sweet.

1 lb. lean ground beef
1/4 cup celery, finely chopped
1/4 cup onion, finely chopped
1/2 T worcestershire sauce
3/4 cup bread crumbs
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

1 T chopped onion
1 T butter
1 cup ketchup
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 T mustard

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
2. Combine all ingredients for meatballs in a large bowl. Mix together with hands.
3. Shape into meatballs. I roll mine to about the size of 2 tablespoons.
4. Place metballs in a 9x13 inch baking pan and bake, uncovered, for 25 minutes.
5. Drain grease from pan and set meatballs aside.
6. To make the sauce, melt 1 tablespoon of butter in a frying pan and sautee 1 tablespoon of chopped onion for 3 minutes.
7. Add ketchup, brown sugar and mustard. Simmer for 10 minutes.
8. Pour sauce over meatballs. Cover pan with foil and bak an additional 30 minutes at 375.

* These are very sweet and are best served over rice.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Pumpkin Cupcakes

I had had this recipe written on a random sheet of paper for a few months (okay-actually more like a year). Finally decided to try it out (they are yummy!). Worked great-for the cupcake portion. Under the "frosting" label I wrote "see web site for more". That could work great too-if you wrote down the website. Which I didn't do. I'm sure I was thinking it wouldn't take a whole year for me to get around to trying out the recipe.

Honestly though I liked them without the frosting. So I'd just as soon call it a muffin (since I have no frosting) but you can call it whatever you want.

1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp coarse salt
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
1/8 tsp allspice
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup butter, melted and cooled
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
7.5 ounces pureed pumpkin

1-Preheat oven to 350.
2-Line or grease muffin tins.
3-Whisk dry ingredients together in one bowl.
4-In another bowl mix sugars, butter and eggs.
5-Add the pumpkin puree to the sugar mixture and mix.
6-Add the dry ingredients to the pumpkin mixture and mix until blended.
7-Fill muffin cups half-way.
8-Bake for 20-25 minutes.

Source: unfortunately unknown.

Broccolli and Cheese Soup

This is soo scrumptious! And it's really good with some crusty french bread.

cooking spray
1 cup chopped onion
2 garlic cloves, minced
3 cups fat-free, less sodium chicken broth
1 (16 oz) package broccoli florets
2 -1/2 cups 2% reduced -fat milk
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
8 oz. light processed cheese, cubed (such as velveeta light)

Heat a large nonstick saucepan coated with cooking spray over medium-high heat. Add onion and garlic; saute 3 minutes or until tender. Add broth and broccoli. Bring broccoli mixture to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce to medium; cook 10 minutes.
Combine milk and flour, stirring with a whisk until well blended. Add milk mixture to broccoli mixture. Cook 5 minutes or until slightly thick, stirring constantly. Stir in pepper. Remove from heat; add cheese, stirring until cheese melts.
Place one-third of the soup in a blender or food processor, and process until smooth. Return pureed soup mixture to pan.

Pumpkin Crisp

I thought I had died and gone to pumpkin heaven when I first tasted this recipe! This can be made in (2) 8x8 pans instead of a 9x13. This way you can share a batch with a good friend. Enjoy!


1 12 oz. can evaporated milk
2 15 oz. cans pumpkin
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 box yellow cake mix (I like to use cinnamon swirl)
1 cup chopped pecans, toasted
2 sticks butter, melted
1 t. cinnamon


8 oz. cream cheese, softened
1 1/2 c. powdered sugar
8 oz. cool whip


1. Grease 9x13 pan. Mix milk, pumpkin, sugar, eggs and cinnamon. Spread in pan.

2. Sprinkle with cake mix and pour butter over this. Sprinkle with nuts. Bake at 325 for 60 minutes. Cool.

3. Combine icing ingredients and spread over cooled cake.

Source: Unknown

Monday, October 24, 2011

Pizza Stromboli

This is a really versatile recipe (see notes below).  It makes a great lunch and is super easy to make.

1 package Pillsbury French Loaf (or store brand if you are lucky enough to have it)
1 package pepperoni slices
1 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese

1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Open up the dough package.  Find the seam and unroll the dough carefully onto a greased cookie sheet.
2.  Cover the dough with pepperoni slices to within 1/2" of edges (use as much as you like).  Sprinkle with cheese.
3.  Roll dough back up and center the loaf on the cookie sheet, seam side down.  Pinch ends and tuck under slightly to seal ends.  Make a few shallow cuts along the top with a serrated knife.
4.  Bake for 20-25 minutes.  Let rest 10 minutes and slice.  Serve with marinara, pizza, or spaghetti sauce.

  • I like to use the extra large pepperoni slices for this.  Makes it easier to roll up the dough because those slices are usually thinner.
  • Variations with other deli meats:  roast beef with cheddar, turkey with provolone, ham with swiss.
  • Serve the deli versions with mustard, dressing, or other condiments for dipping.
Source:  Quick Cooking magazine

Sugar Cookies with Marbleized Icing

A good sugar cookie can be hard to come by. Who wants to eat cookies that are to floury, cakey or dry? This is a great basic sugar cookie recipe that is sure to be a hit! Crunchy on the outside and tender in the middle.

1 C. real butter
1 C. sugar
1 egg
1 1/2 t. vanilla or almond extract
3 C. flour
1 1/2 t. baking powder
1/2 t. salt

1. Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy (about 2 minutes). Add in egg and extract and mix until incorporated.
2. In a separate bowl combine flour, baking powder and salt. Slowly add the flour mixture to the butter mixture and mix until completely combined.
3. Separate the dough into 2 balls and wrap each in waxed paper or plastic wrap. Flatten to speed up chilling time. Place in the fridge to chill about 1-2 hours.
4. When the dough is properly chilled, sprinkle a small amount of flour on a work surface and roll dough out with a rolling pin. Roll to about 1/4 inch thick. (don't use excessive amounts of flour while rolling. It toughens the dough.)

* lets take a break for some sugary cuteness!
5. Use cookie cutters or a paper pattern and knife to cut out your cookies to desired shapes.

*So easy a toddler can do it!
6. Place on an ungreased baking sheet and bake at 350 degrees F. for 8-12 minutes. The longer you bake, the crunchier your cookies will become. For soft cookies, go for about 7-8 minutes. Remove from pan to cool completely on a wire rack.

Now let's get to the marbleized icing technique! The icing is a powdered sugar glaze, which stays bright and slightly glossy when it dries. Gorgeous!

1 lb. powdered sugar
6 T. whole milk
6 T. light corn syrup (gives it that nice gloss)
1 t. vanilla or almond extract.
food coloring of your choice

1. Wisk sugar and milk until smooth. Then stir in the corn syrup and extract. Glaze should be slightly thin and slowly run off a spoon.
2. Separate glaze to desired containers before adding different food colorings. If you want to have brown icing, use a spoonful of cocoa powder.

To marbleize the icing, start by spreading a base color all over the cookie.

Lightly drizzle a second color in a random stripes or dots on top of the base color. Then, run a toothpick through the glaze in several stripes diagonally, then again in the opposite direction diagonally. The glazes will run together and make a marbleized effect.

Let the icing dry completely, about 2-3 hours before trying to package them. Have fun and be creative!!

Sources: and Martha Stewart

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Mormon Morsels: The Race of Life

From almost the very moment we are born, competition lurks around every corner. Even if you find yourself saying, "I'm not a competitive person," I'm sure there has been some point in your life where you compared yourself to someone else. For example, "Our baby is DEFINITELY cuter than their baby," "Is our kid as fast as their kid?" "Am I as smart as her?" "Do I talk, sing, dribble a basketball like him/her?" "Am I as skinny or as stylish?" "Is my car as shiny?"

Our Saviour taught about the Prodigal Son. I'm sure we've all heard the story, but as Elder Jeffry R. Holland points out, sometimes we get so caught up in the plight of the son who loses his way, that we forget the story of the second son. You know who I'm talking about. The son who was ever loyal, never faltered in duty, and was his father's right-hand-man.

The point of the Second Son's story is that yes, he was loyal. Yes, he was dependable, but when push came to shove, he himself was guilty of comparing himself to his wayward brother. As Elder Holland says, "the older brother lives in some confinement, too. He has, as yet, been unable to break out of the prison of himself. He is haunted by the green-eyed monster of jealousy. 2 He feels taken for granted by his father and disenfranchised by his brother, when neither is the case. He has fallen victim to a fictional affront."

Do we not all fall victim, in some way or other, to these very things? Do we find ourselves saying, "Why does that person get that recognition when WE have done it all along?"

Elder Holland asks, "Who is it that whispers so subtly in our ear that a gift given to another somehow diminishes the blessings we have received? Who makes us feel that if God is smiling on another, then He surely must somehow be frowning on us? You and I both know who does this—it is the father of all lies. 3 It is Lucifer, our common enemy, whose cry down through the corridors of time is always and to everyone, 'Give me thine honor.'”

It is hard to remember sometimes. I think for most people, if not everyone. It is so easy to find fault with ourselves or others around us. I think one of the most important things we can do is to be generous, uplifting, and supportive to those around us. Remember that we are ALL children of our Heavenly Father, doing the best we can to get back to Him. Our Father in Heaven sees us each, individually, as we TRULY are and loves each the same as the other. And so must we learn to see.

We are ALL apart of this race of life, but as Elder Holland so eloquently puts it, "The race is against SIN, not against each other."

*Photo courtesy of

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Broccoli Soup with Homemade Croutons

4 tablespoons butter
1 1/2 pounds fresh broccoli
1 large onion, chopped
1 carrot, chopped (I used a handful of large baby carrots)
salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons AP flour
4 cups chicken broth
1/2 cup cream

1.  Melt butter in a large pot over medium-high heat.  Add broccoli, onion, carrot, salt, and pepper and saute until onion is translucent.

2.  Add flour, cook for a few minutes or until flour has changed to a light brown.  Add chicken broth and bring to a boil.

3.  Simmer uncovered until broccoli and veggies are tender (about 15 minutes).  Add cream.  Use an immersion or countertop blender to puree soup.  If using a countertop blender you'll have to puree soup in small batches. 

4.  Return soup to pot and add additional salt and pepper (if needed).  Serve hot with homemade croutons.

day old french bread (I used ciabatta)
olive oil
salt and freshly ground black pepper

1.  Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
2.  Cut bread into cubes and drizzle with olive oil, salt, and pepper.
3.  Spread seasoned cubes onto a jelly roll pan and bake for about 15 minutes, turning once.

*This soup makes only 3-4 servings.  I would double or triple the recipe for a family.
*If you don't have french bread you can use any bread you have on hand for the croutons.  I've used regular white, wheat, and multi-grain sandwhich bread as well as french and ciabatta.  ALL of them taste good!  

Friday, October 21, 2011

Southwestern Chicken Barley Chili

I love chili, especially non-traditional ones. I first had this chili at a church chili cook-off about 3 years ago, it left a big impression on me! So much that, three  years after the fact I finally got around to getting the recipe. I made it the night I got it (for another chili pot luck). It comes together so easily and I bet you have most of the ingredients in your pantry. I also love that it uses barley. I'm always looking for new ways to introduce healthy grains into our meals.

 Southwestern Chicken Barley Chili

Makes: 11 - 1 Cup Servings
Prep/Cook Time: 30 minutes

1 can (14.5 oz) diced tomatoes
1 can (16 oz) tomato sauce or salsa
1 can (14.5 oz) fat-free chicken broth
1 cup Quick Barley (I used Quaker brand)
3 cups water
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 teaspoon cumin
1 can (15 oz) black beans, drained and rinsed (mine were seasoned)
1 can (15 oz) whole kernel corn
3 cups cooked chicken breast, cut into bite-sized pieces(about 1-1/2 lbs boneless before cooking)

In 6-qt saucepan, combine first 7 ingredients. Over high heat bring to a boil; cover and reduce heat to low. Simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Add beans, corn, pepper and chicken; increase heat to high until chili comes to a boil. Cover and reduce heat to low. Simmer for another 5 minutes, or until barley is tender.
If upon standing the chili becomes too thick, add more chicken broth or water until chili is desired consistency.

(Recipe Source: Quaker Barley Box)

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Honey Chicken

This is one of my kids' favorites! It can also be done in a little over an hour and has only 5 ingredients. WHO CAN BEAT THAT?! Don't let the curry fool you. This recipe has a sweet, savory flavor that is fabulous on the tongue.

1/4 C (1/2 stick) Butter, melted
1/2 C Honey
1/4 C Mustard (your favorite. We use regular ol' French's)
1 tsp Salt
1 tsp Curry
3 - 5 Large Chicken Breasts

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
2. In a small bowl, mix first five ingredients.
3. Lay the Chicken in the bottom of a shallow baking dish.
4. Poor honey mixture over and bake, covered, for 1 hour.

Look at this bubbly goodness!

We serve this over rice with a little of the juice drizzled on top.

NOTES: 1. I have used thawed or frozen chicken with little difference. You may have to adjust cooking time, but it really turns out the same.
2. This is also GREAT in the crockpot!! 3-4 hours on Medium heat should do it.

Source: My Grandma


Apple Annie Coffee Cake

We wanted to take a General Conference invitation to our neighbor across the street a couple of Sundays ago so I thought I would sweeten the deal with something homemade from the kitchen.  I quickly checked out the recipes for coffee cake in a cool Bed & Breakfast cookbook that I picked up at a Scholastic Book Fair years ago when the girls were at Helen Ball Elementary School in El Paso, Texas.  This is the recipe I chose because, well, I had all the ingredients and it looked quick and easy.  It was.  I took it right out of the oven and we headed over to Annette and Rodney's farmhouse.  She brought the empty pan back the next day, raving about how good it was and that she and Rodney were fighting over who got the last of it. Thought I had better fix some and see for myself.  I might take this to our Relief Society Fall Activity this month--it's going to have to be a double batch, or I might have a one-man mutiny at my house.

2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup vegetable shortening (I used Crisco)
1 egg
1/2 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups peeled, thinly-sliced apples (I used Galas)
1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon grated nutmeg (I used ground)
1/3 cup melted butter

1.  Preheat oven to 400.
2.  In a medium bowl, sift together flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt, then cut in shortening.
3.  Combine the egg, milk and vanilla, and beat lightly until well mixed.
4.  Add to the dry ingredients and mix until moistened--batter will be stiff.
5.  Spread the batter into a well-greased 8-inch square pan.  
6.  Arrange the sliced apples evenly over the top of the batter.
7.  Combine the cinnamon, nutmeg and brown sugar and sprinkle over the apples.
8.  Drizzle the melted butter over the sugar and spices.
9.  Bake about 25 minutes.
10.  Serve warm.  MAKES ABOUT 6 SERVINGS.

Source:  Angel Arbor Bed & Breakfast Inn, Houston, TX, as published in "Rise & Dine America."

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Bow Ties with Pesto, Feta, and Grape Tomatoes

This is in honor of one of my favorite grocery stores (Kroger) that has since closed in our area. This recipe came from a conversation with a "guest chef" at a Kroger while we were in Ohio. (Do you spend too much time in a grocery store if the guest chef knows you?) It has been adapted by one of our daughters and is a favorite "go to" recipe for a side or a Main dish.


1# Bow Tie Pasta (farfalle) 4 oz Angelino's Pesto (or other brand with Basil)

3-4 oz (to taste) flavored crumbled feta cheese (we use the one with sun dried tomatoes)

1/2 pint Grape Tomatoes or 2 medium Roma tomatoes chopped

8 Fresh Basil leaves chopped or 1/2 tsp dried basil

Kosher Salt and fresh ground black pepper if desired

1. Bring a large pot of water to boil. Stir in the bow ties and cook, stirring occasionally, until al dente, about 10 minutes.

2. Drain the pasta and run it under cold water just until it stops steaming.

3. Put the pasta into a large serving bowl and stir in the pesto until pasta is coated.

4. Toss in feta, basil and tomatoes.

5. Season with salt and pepper if desired

Main Dish Ingredients:

2 Cups diced or shredded chicken or beef
1 cup shelled Edamame
3/4 cup pine nuts (optional)

Source: Adapted from a Kroger's Chef's recipe

Tuesday, October 18, 2011


I saw something like this last October passing by a Singles Ward Potluck.  "That's too cool!"  I said to myself.  So here it is:  a simple spooky snack!

Pretzel Rods
Vanilla Almond Bark
1 T Crisco (vegetable shortening...not oil, butter or margarine.  It says so on the almond bark package =)
Green food coloring
Twizzlers Nibs

  1. Have a piece of wax paper ready on a cookie sheet or such. 
  2. Melt the candy coating and shortening using your preferred method (microwave/double boiler) and stir in a few drops of green food coloring to form a Frankenstein skin tone.
  3. Dip the pretzel rods into the candy coating, leaving about an inch or more for holding onto
  4. Lay the pretzel rod out on the wax paper to dry and immediately press 1 "Twizzlers Nibs" onto the end of the pretzel rod for the red fingernail.  Dry at room temperature or in the refrigerator.  
Enjoy...Mwaaa ha ha ha ha!

      Taco Pizza

      This is easy and yummy! The kids will love this crust, and ask you to make cheesy breadsticks with the leftovers for an after school snack!

      1 tsp Active Dry Yeast
      1-1/2 c warm water
      4 cups all-purpose flour
      1 tsp. kosher salt
      1/3 cup olive oil
      1 can (14 ounce) Black Beans
      1 tsp. Taco seasoning
      4 whole corn tortillas, sliced into thin strips
      1/2 cup canola oil, for frying
      1 cup grated sharp cheddar
      1 cup grated monterey jack cheese
      1 head green leaf lettuce, sliced/shredded thin
      2 whole rip tomatoes, diced
      1/2 cup cilantro leaves
      1/4 cup sour cream
      3 Tbsp. hot sauce (more to taste)

      Make the pizza dough: Mix yeast with warm water and set aside for 8-10 minutes. Mix flour, salt, and olive oil in a mixing bowl. With speed on low, drizzle in yeast/ water mixture. Allow to mix until totally combined. Cover bowl with a towel and set bowl in a warm, draft-free place. Allow to rise for 1-2 hours.

      Pour black beans into a saucepan. Add seasonings to taste and heat up beans over med-low heat. Use a potato masher to mash the beans to desired texture. Continue cooking /heating beans over md-low heat, stirring occasionally, until no longer runny (should be the texture of refried beans). Set aside.

      In a small skillet, heat canola oil over med heat. When hot enough to fry, drop in the tortilla strips in batches, frying quickly and removing from oil with a fork when crisp - about 30-40 seconds per batch. Transfer to paper towel-lined plate. Set aside.

      Place oven rack in the bottom position in the oven. Preheat oven to 500 degrees. Remove half the pizza dough from the bowl. Place remaining half in a large plastic bag and refrigerate, saving for another use. With hands, spread pizza dough on an oiled baking sheet, making sure its relatively thin. Spread layer of beans all over pizza crust. Sprinkle mixed grated cheeses over the top. Place pan on bottom rack in oven and bake for 9 to 12 min. Watch it to make sure crust doesn't burn.

      Remove pizza from oven. Sprinkle on shredded lettuce, diced tomatoes, and cilantro leaves.

      Mix together sour cream and hot sauce, adding enough hot sauce to make the mixture pourable. With a spoon ( or you can put it in a pastry bag) drizzle mixture over finished pizza.
      Sprinkle with tortilla strips. Cut into squares and serve immediately with good quality salsa.

      recipe from The Pioneer Woman

      Field Greens With Roasted Bacon-Wrapped Pears

      2/3 cup pecan halves
      12 fully cooked bacon slices
      3 large pears, peeled and quartered
      Wooden picks
      6 cups mixed salad greens
      2/3 cup shaved Parmesan cheese
      Apple-Ginger Vinaigrette


      1. Preheat oven to 350. Bake pecans in a single layer in a shallow pan 8 to 10 minutes or until lightly toasted and fragrant. Wrap 1 bacon slice around each pear quarter; secure with a wooden pick. Place pear quarters on a wire rack in a 15x10 inch jellyroll pan. Bake 10 minutes.

      2. Arrange salad greens on 4 serving plates; sprinkle with pecans and Parmesan cheese. Top with pears. Serve with Apple-Ginger Vinaigrette.

      Apple-Ginger Vinaigrette:
      Makes about 2 cups

      1/2 cup apple jelly, melted
      1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
      1 T. Dijon mustard
      3 T. chopped fresh chives
      2 T. light brown sugar
      2 t. grated fresh ginger
      1/4 t. salt
      1 cup vegetable oil


      1. Whisk together first 7 ingredients; gradually whisk in oil in a slow stream, whisking until well blended.

      Source: Southern Living Test Kitchen

      Monday, October 17, 2011

      Chicken Tetrazzini

      This is a great "base" recipe. This means that you can prepare the recipe and add whatever your family likes (peppers, carrots, broccoli, etc.). This is also a great recipe because one recipe makes two 9x13 in pans. So it's great if you have a crowd to feed or if you want to freeze one.

      Chicken Tetrazzini
      1 package spaghetti (I prefer angel hair for everything-it cooks so much faster and I like the thinner noodles)
      2 cans cream of chicken soup
      2 cans of water (use the cream of chicken cans)
      1 small can of mushrooms & stems (drained) (Optional)
      1 stick unsalted butter
      2 large cooked chicken breasts or 2 cans of chicken
      2 cups shredded mozzarella
      1 cup parmesan

      1-Cook spaghetti and drain.
      2-Combine drained spaghetti, cream of chicken soup, water, mushrooms, butter, and chicken in pot.
      3-Cook until bubbly.
      4-Separate into 2 9x13 pans.
      5-Add whatever else is desired (peppers, carrots, broccoli, etc) and stir to mix.
      6-Top with cheeses.
      7-Freeze at this point OR bake and 350 until cheese is bubbly.

      Source: Friends Eva Carman and JoAnna Robinson

      Peanut Butter Chocolate Squares

      We love, love, love the classic combination of chocolate and peanut butter at my house.  This particular recipe is probably the most requested treat in our family.

      1 cup butter, melted
      1 cup peanut butter
      1 (16 oz.) pkg. powdered sugar
      1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
      1 (12 oz.) pkg. semisweet chocolate chips, melted

      1.  Combine butter, peanut butter, powdered sugar, and graham cracker crumbs in a mixing bowl.  Stir together until well blended.  Press into ungreased 9"x13" pan.
      2.  Pour melted chocolate over top, spreading evenly.  Cut into bars when chocolate is set.

      • You can speed the process of the chocolate setting by putting the pan in the fridge.  Just remember to take it out at least a half hour before you want to cut it.  When it's cold the chocolate will crack.
      • We have often wanted to make these bars but not had the graham cracker crumbs.  We've experimented with substitute ingredients with pretty good results (All Bran cereal and Honeycomb cereal to name two; pulse in the blender).
      • One of our latest variations on this has been to add coconut into the peanut butter mixture.  SO GOOD!  
      Source:  My Mom

      Sunday, October 16, 2011

      Our Most Important Assignment

      "Our most important and powerful assignments are in the family. They are important because the family has the opportunity at the start of a child's life to put feet firmly on the path home."
      Help Them on Their Way Home

      On a recent week-long trip to Western North Carolina, my husband and I were able to introduce our one-year-old to the beauty and wonder of the mountains. She waded in cold pools below waterfalls, collected acorns, stood on a granite cliff, and fell asleep watching a campfire. With joy we watched our daughter discover a new world.
      This experience reminded me that I am responsible for providing experiences of discovery not only in the natural world, but within my daughter's spiritual world as well. It is my "most important and powerful assignment," because these experiences will shape her life eternally. Helping our children grow in the Gospel should fill us with extreme joy. We can know that we are setting them on a path that will lead them back home to their Heavenly Father.

      Saturday, October 15, 2011

      Pesto Pasta Bake

      This recipe comes from the gd kitchen.  A while back my sister-in-law's sister blogged about the website and showcased some amazing looking casseroles.  From the pictures alone, I was hooked (I love me some step-by-step pictures!).  The recipes are easy to follow and taste delicious.  I served this pesto bake with a veggie salad and crusty bread.  Mmmmmmm :)

      1 pound of small pasta (I used radiatore pasta)
      1 cup basil pesto (I can't remember what brand I used.  I purchased it at Sam's club)
      7.5 ounces of ricotta cheese
      24 ounces marinara sauce (store-bought or homemade)
      1 to 1 1/2 cups mozzarella cheese

      1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
      2.  Cook pasta until al dente.  Drain and return to pot.
       3.  Add pesto.
       4.  Add ricotta cheese.
      5.  Pour pasta into 9x13 baking dish.
      6.  Spread marinara sauce over top and sprinkle with mozzarella cheese.
      7.  Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes.  Remove foil and continue baking until cheese is slightly brown and bubbly. 

      *  The pesto flavor was surprisingly mild.  I think I might add more next time!
      *  This recipe can easily be doubled and freezes well.

      Source:  the gd kitchen

      Best Liz-agna Ever

      I first had this lasagna when the Activity Day girls of our ward had a daddy/daughter dinner. It was the best lasagna I had ever tasted in my whole entire life and I wasn't the only one raving about it. (Don't let the picture scare you. Unfortunately, I forgot to take a picture of the finished product in the dish before digging in for dinner with family and the missionaries, so this is a reheated portion that I had later. And the flavors are even better the second time around!)

      2 lbs. ground Italian sausage
      1 clove garlic, minced
      1 T = 1 t crushed (preferably fresh) basil
      2 t anise seed - anise seed is the flavoring used for black licorice. I found it at Food Lion but not at our Wal-Mart. (Don't worry, the lasagna won't taste like black licorice!)
      2 1-lb. cans stewed tomatoes
      2 6-oz. cans tomato paste
      9 oz. water (fill one of the 6-oz. tomato paste cans 1-and-a-half times)
      olive oil, to taste
      9 oven-ready lasagna noodles
      3 eggs
      4 C cottage cheese
      3/4 C grated Italian blend or Parmesan cheese
      3 T parsley flakes
      1/2 t salt
      1 t pepper
      2 lbs. grated mozzarella cheese
      fresh spinach (opt.)

      1. Brown meat and drain grease. Add next 6 ingredients. Add a little olive oil to this tomato sauce for extra flavor. As you stir to combine, break up the large tomato pieces with a wooden spoon. Simmer uncovered 1-2 hours.
      2. In a separate bowl, beat eggs, add cottage cheese, Parmesan cheese (or Italian cheese blend), parsley flakes, salt, and pepper.
      3. Preheat oven to 375.
      4. Brush the lasagna noodles generously with olive oil (otherwise they don't soften properly).
      5. In a 9x13 glass casserole dish {actually I would use a larger one if you have it, like I did, because it will be full to the brim and could boil over} greased with olive oil, layer ingredients--beginning with half the cottage cheese filling, noodles, half the meat/tomato sauce, spinach, and mozzarella cheese. Repeat. Use the spatula that you probably used for spreading the ingredients to tuck the top edges in a bit (to help avoid boiling over). If made in advance this is easily frozen.
      6. In case the lasagna still boils over (like mine, despite the tucking and using a larger dish), put a cookie sheet lined with foil under the dish in the stove. Bake at 365 for 30 minutes, 45 if cold. Let stand before serving. Serves 10-12.

      The original recipe does the layering differently. It has you put the noodles down first, then, "half the cottage cheese filling, add layer of fresh spinach, add layer of mozzarella cheese, and half the meat sauce. Repeat." I did follow the instructions of the original recipe (besides adding the extra mozzarella on top), but it gave me some noodles that didn't cook all the way (despite following its instruction to generously grease the noodles with olive oil). I figure the layering I've provided should help with that. Who knows, maybe you won't even need to add olive oil to the noodles. Let me know how it works for you!

      Source: my friend Liz. C. (hence the name "Liz-agna") made this for the afore-mentioned activity; she got the recipe from her mother

      Friday, October 14, 2011

      Ghostly Cereal Treats

       This recipe would be great to make with your kids. I've made these before, but am excited to get my three year old involved.

      Ghostly Cereal Treats

      6 c. Count Chocula Cereal
      1/4 c. butter
      1 (10 1/2 oz.) bag miniature marshmallows
      2 Packages (16 OZ) Vanilla  Candy Coating
      1 tube black decorating icing
      12 (3 oz.) Dixie Cups


      1. Prepare Dixie cups with nonstick cooking spray.
      2. Microwave butter in large mixing bowl on high for 45 seconds or until melted.
      3. Add marshmallows; stir to combine.
      4. Microwave 1 1/2 minutes or until smooth, stirring after 45 seconds.
      5. Add cereal; stir until well coated.
      6. Press mixture into Dixie cups.
      7. Cool for at least one hour.
      8. Use scissors to cut along the sides of the Dixie cups, and peel the cups away to remove the cereal treats.
      9. Place cereal treats on wax paper.
      10. Melt candy coating according to package instructions.
      11. Using a spoon, coat cereal treats until they are fully covered.
      12. Let dry for 1-2 hours.
      13. Use black icing to create eyes and mouths on the ghosts.
      14. Store leftover ghosts in an airtight container.
      15. Enjoy!

      (recipe from

      Thursday, October 13, 2011

      FABULOUS Peanut Butter Chocolate Bars

      These things are so delicious, they're DEADLY.

      Bar Ingredients:
      1.5 C (3 sticks) Butter
      1.5 C White Sugar
      1.5 C Brown Sugar
      1.5 C Peanut Butter
      (you're already seeing the DEADLY part, aren't you?!)
      3 eggs
      1.5 tsp Baking Soda
      3/4 tsp salt
      1 Tbsp Vanilla
      3 C Flour
      3 C Rolled Oats (we use instant)
      1 bag chocolate chips

      1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
      2. Cream together butter, sugars, peanut butter, and eggs.
      3. Add Soda, salt, and vanilla.
      4. Alternate adding flour and the rolled oats by the full 1 cup.
      5. Spread in a Jelly Roll Pan and bake for 15 mins.
      6. When you remove the bars from the oven, immediately sprinkle the chocolate chips over the top. Let them sit until they get wet looking and are melty to the touch. (That's a technical term: Melty.) Then, spread the chocolate over the entire surface of the bars.
      7. While this is cooling, make your frosting:

      Frosting Ingredients:
      2 C Powdered Sugar
      3 Tbsp Peanut Butter
      4-8 Tbsp Evaporated Milk
      1 drop Vanilla

      8. Spread the frosting over the chocolate. You can do it carefully so all you see is the frosting, or you can marble them together. (This is a source of conflict between Mr. Blue Eyes and myself. I like it marbled. It's pretty that way.) Either way these are FABULOUS and DEADLY!!

      Source: My FABULOUS sister-in-law, Debbi