Monday, October 29, 2012

Camping Granola Bars

I love when a new family tradition blossoms.  One of those for my family has been an annual cabin camping trip to Hanging Rock State Park.  A tradition within a tradition has been to have these yummy granola bars as part of that trip.  When the trip gets calendared the next thing out my kids' mouths is "You have to make those granola bars, Mom!"

8 cups oats (we use old fashioned)
1 cup butter, melted
2 tsp. vanilla
2 cups brown sugar
1 cup corn syrup or honey
2 tsp. salt

Optional ingredients:
1 cup peanut butter
chocolate chips
dried fruit

1.  Mix all together in large bowl.  Use your hands to evenly mix.
2.  Press firmly into a large, greased cookie sheet.  Bake at 400 degrees until the bars are golden brown and have begun to bubble a little.
 At this point you can sprinkle chocolate, peanut butter, and/or vanilla chips across the top if you want to.  Allow them to melt and then spread in a thin layer.

3.  Cool completely and cut into bars.

Source:  Melissa Coombs' cookbook, The Hows and Whys of the Year Supply (Chat N Chew Granola Bars)


  • I doubled the original recipe in the amounts above, so you can easily half it if you need less bars.
  • I like to wrap my bars in wax paper and tape closed.
Enjoying a rest at the top of a very long, very steep hike!

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Mormon Morsels: Who Was I?

I was preparing an activity for the young women, ages 16-18, at my church last week.  I got the idea on line somewhere--probably Pinterest.  You share a short biography of a woman that has led an exemplary, abundant life.  The girls then pretend that they are 80 years old looking back at their life  and write about it.  I chose to highlight Marjorie Pay Hinckley, wife of Gordon B. Hinckley.  I have read several of her little books, books by her daughter Virginia H. Pearce, articles about her, and I have read Pres. Hinckley's biography and learned a lot about her there.  Included in the biographical sketch that I shared were several of her favorite quotes.  The following has now become one of mine, as well.  It certainly speaks to my soul on what kind of woman I would like to be.  I hope you feel Marjorie's spirit as you read and ponder this.  Have a wonderful Sunday!

"I don't want to drive up to the pearly gates in a shiny sports car, wearing beautifully tailored clothes, my hair expertly coiffed, and with long, perfectly manicured fingernails.  I want to drive up in a station wagon that has mud on the wheels from taking kids to Scout Camp.  I want to be there with a smudge of peanut butter on my shirt from making sandwiches for a sick neighbor's children.  I want to be there with a little dirt under my fingernails from helping to weed someones garden.  I want to be there with children's sticky kisses on my cheeks and the tears of a friend on my shoulder.  I want the Lord to know I was really here and that I really lived."--Marjorie Pay Hinckley

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Potato Soup

So,  I needed a slow cooker meal to have tonight so that I wouldn't have to spend so much time in the kitchen after work because my daughter and her family might be coming over for supper and Family Night.  I also had a sack of spuds to use, leftover from a beach retreat with my sisters.  Enter my Fix-It and Forget-It Cookbook.  I love my slow cooker--really need to use it more often.  Anyway, Potato Soup sounded like a good idea and I just picked one of many recipes in the book.  SCORE!!  This was delicious!  And not as fattening as my normal stove-top recipe, because I usually add bacon drippings for flavor.  This recipe did not even need it.  Enjoy.

6 potatoes, peeled and cubed
2 leeks, chopped (I didn't have any so I just added some minced garlic)
2 onions chopped (.......used dehydrated)
1 rib celery (actually had that!)
4 chicken bouillon cubes (I used chicken bouillon powder and added it to the water below)
1 T. dried parsley flakes
5 cups water
1 T. salt (I did that, but in retrospect, it was a little much)
pepper to taste (I used about 1/2 tsp.)
1/3 cup butter
13-oz can evaporated milk (that is not in the picture, because I was debating about using it.  I did    end up using it.)
chopped chives

1.  Combine all ingredients except milk and chives in slow cooker.

2.  Cover.  Cook on Low 10-12 hours, or High 3-4 hours (mine was more like 5 or 6 hours because I was at work for 5 hours).  Stir in milk during last hour.

3.  If desired, mash potatoes before serving.

4.  Garnish with chives.  Fresh would be better but I only had dried.

Source:  Jeanne Hertzog, Marcia S. Myer, Rhonda Lee Schmidt, Mitzi McGlynchey, Vera Schmucker, Kaye Schnell and Elizabeth Yoder in FIX-IT AND FORGET-IT, 2000 ed., p. 61. 

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Danielle's Caramel Apple Popcorn Clusters


2 T. oil                                                                           12 T. (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter,
2/3 c. popcorn kernels                                                         cut into pieces
4 c. dried apple chips, broken into pieces                       Kosher salt
1 c. unsalted almonds, roughly chopped                          1/4 t. apple pie spice
2 c. apple juice                                                              1/4 to 1/2 t. cayenne pepper (optional)
2 c. packed light brown sugar
1/4 c. light corn syrup


1.  Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.  Heat the oil in a pot over medium-high heat.  Add the popcorn kernels; cover and cook, shaking the pan, until the popping subsides.  Remove from the heat and let any remaining kernels pop for 30 more seconds.  Divide the popcorn between the prepared baking sheets, discarding any unpopped kernels.  Scatter the apple chips and almonds on top.

2.  Make the caramel:  Bring the apple juice, brown sugar and corn syrup to a boil in a large heavy-bottomed pan over medium-high heat.  Cook without stirring until the mixture is deep amber and a candy thermometer registers 280 degrees, about 30 minutes (the caramel will bubble vigorously toward the end of the cooking time).

3.  Stir the butter into the caramel until melted.  Add 2 t. salt and the apple pie spice.  Add the cayenne, if using, and cook until slightly thickened, about 1 minute.  Remove from the heat.  Pour the hot caramel over the popcorn mixture and carefully toss with 2 rubber spatulas.  Let cool slightly, then separate the mixture into clusters while still warm.  Let cool completely.

Source:  Food Network

Friday, October 19, 2012

Grilled Chicken Piccata

Who says you can't grill past Labor Day? In our home, we grill year round! This is such a tasty recipe. Once you take a bite, you'll think you're at your favorite Italian restaurant. Gotta give major props to Pioneer Woman (P-Dub if you will) for this amazing recipe! 


Juice of 1 lemon (3 Tbsp)
3 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp minced garlic
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp basil or oregano
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts

2 cups dried penne pasta
2 Tbsp butter Juice of 2 lemons (6 Tbsp)
1 Tbsp minced garlic
1/2 cup half and half (or heavy cream)
2 tsp dried basil
2 Tbps capers (you'll find these by the olives at the grocery store)
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

1. Combine first 6 ingredients.
2. Place chicken in a zipper bag and pour marinade mixture over chicken. Marinate overnight in the refrigerator.
3. When ready to cook, grill.

1. While chicken is grilling, cook pasta. Reserve 1/2 cup of pasta water and drain.
2. In same sauce pan, melt butter over medium heat. Whisk in garlic and lemon juice.
3. Pour in half and half and whisk until hot. Add some salt and pepper to taste.
4. Add the Parmesan cheese, basil and capers, and heat until cheese is melted. Check the consistency of the sauce and add some of the reserved pasta water to loosen the sauce if necessary.  5. Toss in pasta. Serve in pasta with grilled chicken on top. Sprinkle with more Parmesan if desired.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Pumpkinger Bread

I know that I did a post a few months back on how much I love pineapple.  But, let me tell you about how much I love Pumpkin and Fall in general!  I mean I love this time of year!  Any recipe with pumpkin, sweet potatoe, allspice, cinnamon, chocolate, cloves, ginger bread...oh, man! I could go on, and on, and on, but I want.  Just know that if I post a recipe on this blog and it has any of the above mentioned...its good.  Really good. 

This recipe was found on pinterest! I tucked it away for this fall season and pulled it out today to make and take over to my new neighbors!  (By-the-way, they are a very nice family.) Anyhoo, this recipe makes me happy for another reason other than the pumpkin and the spices,  it make two loaves!  You gotta love that.  Because, sometimes in baking you can't just double a recipe.  You have to make it twice! And that gets old.  So, I loved that this makes two BIG loaves the first go round!

We made some cream cheese icing to smear on it and ...sorry, there wasn't any left to photograph. But it was yummy too!

3 cups white granulated sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
4 large eggs
2/3 cup water
1 (15oz) can pumpkin puree
2 tsp. ground ginger   (which is why i named this "pumpkinger" bread)
1 tsp. ground allspice
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground cloves
3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp. baking soda
 1 1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp. baking powder

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.  Lightly grease two 9x5 inch loaf pan. ( I generously sprayed Pam and it worked great!)

Mix your wet ingredients first. Beat together the following until smooth: sugar, oil, and eggs. Then add the water. Blend well. Add the pumpkin puree, and blend well. Then to the wet ingredients add the spices.  The ginger, allspice, cinnamon, and clove.

In a seperate bowl mix together your dry ingredients.  The flour, baking soda, salt, and baking powder. Add dry ingredients to pumpkin mixture and blend well. Divide the batter between the two loaf pans and bake!

Bake for about 1 hour or until your toothpick inserted comes out clean. I had to bake mine for about 1 hour and 15 minutes.

Recipe adapted from pinterest.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Milk Art

The other day while I was browsing through Pinterest searching for a project to do, I ran across a little fun art activity that looked interesting.  Since it only takes 3 common household "ingredients" I decided to hop up from the computer right then and give it a try.  It's easy, quick, and fun to watch.  Take pictures to preserve your beautiful art!

milk (2% or higher was recommended)
liquid food coloring
dish soap

1.  Take a plate and pour in some milk.   You don't need much; just enough so you can't see the plate underneath.
2.  Drop 2-3 drops of each color food coloring in the center of the plate.  Place the colors near each other.
3.  Pour 1 drop of dish soap in the very center and watch the magic!

Source:  Flutter Flutter

The food coloring will continue to move around slowly.  When it's done (or your kids are ready to do it again) rinse the plate in the sink and go again!  You can also take a toothpick and swirl it around on the plate for more action.

Have fun!

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Mormon Morsels: "Bee" Anxiously Engaged

The worldwide General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints took place one week ago.  It's a time when our leaders address members across the globe, delivering messages of hope and inspiration.  One of my personal favorites was a talk given by Elder M. Russell Ballard entitled "Be Anxiously Engaged":

I won't spoil your joy by telling you everything in his talk (he can do it much better than I can), but I will tell you that he shared some fascinating facts about bees and the beehive collective.  I found it particularly interesting that a single worker bee, in its whole lifetime, will contribute only 1/12th of one teaspoon of nectar to the hive.  I was surprised by that number!  Such a small amount.  And yet, without all the little bees collecting nectar, there'd be no honey.

Now, how does this relate to us?  To me, it's about service.

Our efforts toward service can be diminished in our own eyes in one of two ways.  We either think that our small, consistent efforts aren't enough OR we justify inaction by rationalizing that it wouldn't make a difference anyway.

Neither approach is helpful.  Nor true.

Small and simple things DO matter.  The smile we give to a stranger, the hug we give to a child, the secret prayer for a friend.  The size of the deed is not what matters but the size of the heart performing the deed.  We all matter.  We all contribute.

Elder Ballard said:
Imagine what the millions of Latter-day Saints could accomplish in the world if we functioned like a beehive in our focused, concentrated commitment to the teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ.
The Savior taught that the first and great commandment is:
“Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. …
“And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.
“On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets” (Matthew 22:37, 39–40).
The Savior’s words are simple, yet their meaning is profound and deeply significant. We are to love God and to love and care for our neighbors as ourselves. Imagine what good we can do in the world if we all join together, united as followers of Christ, anxiously and busily responding to the needs of others and serving those around us—our families, our friends, our neighbors, our fellow citizens.
Imagine what millions of people of all religions could accomplish in the world if we functioned as a beehive in bringing happiness and peace to this world.

Photo Credit:  Microsoft Office Clip Art

So, how will you collect your 1/12th of a teaspoon today?

Thursday, October 11, 2012

"Boiled" Eggs

Oh, y' have got to try this technique when you need to boil a large number of eggs.  Like a dozen or two.  So quick and easy!  I saw this on....wait for it...PINTEREST.  Yes and it was a success.  I did it quickly while I was preparing Veggie Shooters for a board meeting--which was my 9/27 post.

Eggs (can't get any simpler than that)

1.  Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.
2.  Place eggs in muffin pan.
3.  Bake for approximately 25 minutes.

Perfection and easier to peel than boiled.

Source: Pinterest. 

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Best Bran Muffins

I've never understood why bran muffins get such a bad wrap.  They are tasty and healthy.  How can they miss with that combination?  Enjoy.


1 c. wheat bran
3/4 c. flour
1 c. whole wheat flour
1/4 c. brown sugar
1 t. baking soda
1 t. baking powder
1/8 t. salt
1/2 t. cinnamon
1/4 t. nutmeg
1 egg
1 stick of butter, melted
3 heaping T. low-fat sour cream
1 can of pears (or peaches), drained and chopped
1/2 c. molasses


1.  Preheat oven to 350.  Prep muffin tin with liners or spray with cooking spray.

2.  Mix dry ingredients together.  Mix wet ingredients together, including fruit.

3.  Add wet to dry and mix until just combined.

4.  Divide among 12 muffin cups and bake for about 20-25 minutes.


Friday, October 5, 2012

Emily's Apple Crisp

This weekend is General Conference. I love Conference weekend, especially October Conferences. My whole family gathers together and spends the weekend in the North Georgia Mountains at my grandparent's mountain home. (yes, Georgia has mountains).

It's my little family's tradition to go apple picking between Conference sessions. Lucky for us, my grandparent's mountain home just so happens to be in the Apple Capitol of Georgia. I love seeing my son running around the orchards looking for that perfect apple. We usually come home with a peck (or more) of apples. We LOVE apples. What all do we do with them? Oh, I little bit of everything. One of my favorites, Apple Crisp!

Picking apples in Ellijay, Georgia last year

This recipe has been in the works for close to 7 years. It's 100% my creation and am pretty proud of how I've been able to tweak it and make it perfect!


6-8 apples, peeled and sliced (Make sure they are good cooking apples. My favorite are Rome Beauties... but you can only find those in the South :-) )
1 1/2 cup brown sugar
1 cup oatmeal, old fashioned
1 cup flour
1 stick of butter or margarine, softened
2 tsp cinnamon

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

1. Grease 9x13 glass baking dish.
2. Toss apples in a small amount of sugar and cinnamon. Arrange apples in greased baking dish.
3. Mix all remaining ingredients together. You can either use a pastry cutter or a stand mixer. I prefer the mixer, it gets the butter distributed more evenly. The mixture should look crumbly. Spread evenly over top of apples.
4. Bake 45 minutes until apples are tender and top is crisp.

Makes 6 servings

Top with fresh whipped cream or vanilla ice cream... and ENJOY!!

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Ghost Cupcakes

We brought in October by serving these little babies at a lunch date. My four-year-old daughter was SO EXCITED to help me with the eyes. They turned out cute and were a tasty treat for all!


1 (15.25 oz) box chocolate cake mix with pudding added (I used Betty Crocker's Devil's Food Cake)
1 Cup Buttermilk
1/2 Cup Vegetable Oil
3 Eggs
1 Cup Mini Chocolate Chips
4.5 Cups white candy melts or coating wafers
24 Large Marshmallows
48 Mini Chocolate Chips (about 1 Tbsp)

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Place paper baking cups in 24 regular-sized muffin cups.
2. In a medium bowl, mix cake mix, buttermilk, oil, and eggs on low speed about 30 secs, then increase the speed to Medium for 2 minutes.
3. Stir in 1 cup mini chips. Divide batter evenly between the muffin cups
4. Bake 18 - 20 mins, until toothpick inserted comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes. Remove muffins from the tins and cool completely on a wire rack.
5. In a large microwavable bowl, microwave the white candy according to package directions until nice and smooth.
6. Place one marshmallow on each cupcake and spoon the white chocolate over to cover letting the excess drip down on the cupcake. Cool slightly. This "cooling slightly" is essential to success. If you put the eyes in too quickly, you'll end up with LAAA-AAAZZZZY EEEYYYEEES.
7. Press two mini chocolate chips into the side for eyes.
8. Let stand, until set--about 15 minutes.


Note: I frosted my cupcakes (as you can see) before I put the mallows on so they would stay in place. It worked well, but the original instructions did not say to do that.

Source: Pillsbury

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Cheesy Vegetable Chowder

WOW! This is some good stuff!  I found this on pinterest! (ofcourse) It's easy to mix all together and the ingredients are items that I am sure you already have on hand.  REALLY- you have to try this! Its cheesy and yummy, and belly filling, and comforting, and scrumptious, and you can't stop eating it! Bake up some crusty bread and, wow! What else can I say? I will tell you that I doubled just about all the listed ingredients (except the cheese) to feed my family .There are six people in my family and everyone got 2nds! Also, I changed a couple of the ingredients to fit our likes.

2 TBSP butter
1/2 cup onion, chopped
1 cup carrots, thinly sliced
1 stalk celery, finely chopped
1 TBSP. garlic, minced
4 cups chicken broth
5-6 red potatoes, washed and diced into quarter sized pieces.
1 TBSP flour
1/2 cup water
2/3 cups milk
2 cups broccoli, sliced
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese

Melt the butter in a large pot and add the onion,carrots, and celery. Saute over medium heat until the vegetables are tender and stir often. Add the minced garlic and cook for an additional 2minutes, stirring often. Add the chicken broth and potatoes and bring the mixture to a boil. Stir often so the mixture doesn't stick to the bottom. Cook until the potatoes are tender. In a separate small bowl, mix the flour and water then add this to the soup.  Stir well until the soup thicken a bit. Add the milk and broccoli. Sir well, to prevent sticking. Cook until the broccoli is tender. Stir in the cheese and let it melt well, constantly stirring.  SERVE!!!

recipe adapted from

Monday, October 1, 2012

Nanaimo Bars

I recently presented the country of Canada to our homeschool geography co-op and wanted some recipes that really represented the country well.  A Canadian friend highly recommended Nanaimo Bars (pronounced nuh-NYE-mo) and kindly offered me some Canadian custard powder to use for them as well.  (I have read that instant pudding powder is a fair substitute for this custard powder if you can't find it.)  These layered bars are very tasty!

Layer 1:
1/2 cup butter, softened (1 stick)
1/4 cup sugar
5 Tbsp. cocoa powder
1 egg, beaten
1 3/4 cups graham cracker crumbs
1 cup flaked coconut
1/2 cup finely chopped almonds

Layer 2:
1/2 cup butter, softened (1 stick)
3 Tbsp. heavy cream
2 Tbsp. custard powder*
2 cups powdered sugar

Layer 3:
4 (1 ounce) squares semisweet baking chocolate**
2 Tbsp. butter

1.  In a double boiler, combine the butter, sugar, and cocoa powder stirring together until melted and smooth.  Beat the egg into a small bowl;  add a little of the cocoa mixture to the egg bowl and stir together well to temper the egg.  Then pour the egg mixture into the double boiler with the cocoa mixture and stir well until thickened, 2-3 minutes.
2.  Remove from  heat and stir in the graham cracker crumbs, coconut, and almonds.  Press firmly into the bottom of an ungreased 8x8-inch pan.
3.  In a bowl, cream together the butter with the heavy cream and custard powder.   Add in the powdered sugar and mix well.   Spread this over the crust in the pan and chill to set.
4.  Melt the semisweet chocolate and butter together until smooth (I used the microwave to do this, in 30 second increments).  Pour over chilled bars.  You can chill to set this or let the bars sit out at room temperature until the chocolate is set.  Cut into bars.

Makes 16 bars


*--I have read that vanilla instant pudding powder is a fair substitute for this custard powder if you can't find it.
**--I was out of baking chocolate so I just used 4 ounces of semisweet chips.