Sunday, March 31, 2013

Happy Easter



"Give thanks for the Lord Jesus Christ: His life, His atoning sacrifice, and His resurrection."


Friday, March 29, 2013

Cheese & Garlic Wedge Biscuits



I LOVE THESE!  They are quick, easy, and taste good with almost anything!

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tbsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
5 tbsp butter
2/3 cup milk
1/2 cup grated cheddar cheese
3 tbsp melted butter
1/4 tsp garlic powder

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.  Combine flour, baking powder, and salt in food processor.  Add butter in chunks and blend until mixture resembles small peas.  Add the milk and cheese and mix until soft dough forms. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 1 min. Pat into round 9-inch pie plate and cut into wedges.  Bake for 15 min. or until golden brown.  Mix melted butter and garlic powder and brush over wedges.  Serve warm.

Source: Kym Wood

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Fresh Strawberry Yogurt Cake



I found this recipe on Pinterest and thought it looked yummy.  I was correct.  My cake, however, did not look as pretty as the one I re-pinned.  I need to find out how she baked her cake without it browning on the outside. Either way, it tastes great.  If  you like the recipe and try it yourself and can get a "blonde" cake like the one I am talking about, please let me know how you pulled that off.

Ingredients:
1 cup butter, softened
2 cups sugar
3 eggs
3 T. lemon juice, divided
Zest of 1 lemon
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, divided
1/2 t. baking soda
1/2 t. salt
8 oz. plain or vanilla Greek yogurt (I used vanilla)
12 oz. fresh strawberries, diced
1 cup powdered sugar

1.  Preheat oven to 325 F.  Grease and flour a 10-inch Bundt pan (10-15 cup)--I used baking spray that includes flour because it gets better coverage in all those little creases in the Bundt pan.

2.  Sift together 2 1/4 cups of the flour along with the baking soda and the salt.  Mix in the lemon zest and set aside.

3.  With an electric mixer, cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy.  Beat in the eggs one at a time, then stir in 1 T. of the lemon juice.

4.  Alternate beating in the flour mixture and the yogurt, mixing until just incorporated.

5.  Toss the strawberries with the remaining 1/4 cup of flour.  Gently mix them into the batter. 

6.  Pour the batter into the pan.  Bake for 60 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

7.  Allow the cake to cool at least 20 minutes in the pan--I would go 30-35 minutes.  Turn out onto a wire rack and cool completely.  Whisk together the remaining lemon juice and 1 cup powdered sugar and drizzle over cake.





Source:  Baking With Blondie, who sites a re-pin from A Spicy Perspective.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Knock You Naked Bars




Ingredients:

2 1/4 c. flour
1 t. baking soda
1 t. salt
1 c. butter, softened
3/4 c. sugar
3/4 c. packed brown sugar
1 t. vanilla
2 eggs
2 c. semi-sweet chocolate chips
5 oz. evaporated milk
1 (14 oz.) bag caramels
1/2 c. peanut butter

Directions:

1.  Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Grease a 9 x 13 pan.

2.  Combine flour, baking soda and salt in a small bowl.  Beat butter, sugar, brown sugar and vanilla in a large mixing bowl until creamy.  Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.  Gradually mix in flour mixture.   Stir in chocolate chips.

3.  Spread half of cookie dough into the prepared pan.  Bake for 8-10 minutes.  Remove from oven.

4.  While the cookie dough is baking, melt caramels and evaporated milk in a double boiler.  Add peanut butter after caramels are melted.  Melt thoroughly.  Spread over baked cookie dough base.

5.  With the remaining cookie dough, drop by spoonfuls on top of the caramel mixture.

6.  Bake for 15-20 minutes or until light golden brown.

Source:  Julie's Eats and Treats

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Trials and Tribulations

Source: Yours truly. Please, feel free to print for personal use.

I came across this quote a little while ago. Since seeing this I've had it marinating in my mind. Lately I've witnessed my family go through a myriad of trials. I know it's important for us to go through these hardships so that we can learn and grow. But man, trials are no fun to go through! This quote seemed to help it click a little better in my mind why we are given trials and why they are so important.

"Trials and tribulations SQUEEZE the ARTIFICIALITY out of us, leaving the ESSENCE of what we REALLY are and CLARIFYING what we really YEARN for." (emphasis added)

What and amazingly thorough sentence. While in the midst of hardships we really do feel like we are being twisted, stretched, and squeezed. Little do we realize that through that twisting and squeezing that the unneeded artificial things that cloud our view are being removed, then we are more easily able to see, feel, know what we want. To live with our Father in Heaven and become more like Him.

I don't know about you - but I need to read this quote daily!


Friday, March 22, 2013

Bacon Wrapped Asparagus

With Easter around the corner, I thought that this would be a great time to share my favorite way to cook and serve asparagus. Although this asparagus is wrapped in [turkey] bacon, it has a very light taste and fits easily into a healthy diet.


Bacon Wrapped Asparagus
Serves four. (I usually double this!)

Ingredients:
1 bunch of asparagus, about 20-25 spears, stems removed
4 slices turkey bacon (you could also use pork bacon)
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
1 1/2 tablespoon brown sugar
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with foil and place a wire rack on top (I used a cooling rack). Spray the rack with cooking spray.
2. In a small bowl, whisk together oils, brown sugar and garlic. Set aside.
3. Bunch together 5-6 asparagus spears and tightly wrap a piece of bacon around the bundle. Place on the wire rack seam-side down and repeat.
4. Using a brush, a spoon or hands ;-), brush the spears thoroughly with the oil/sugar mixture. Give each bundle a hefty sprinkle of sesame seeds. Roast for 35-40 minutes, or until bacon is crispy. Serve warm.

Source

Monday, March 18, 2013

Cookie Dough Brownies

If you love brownies and sneaking bites of chocolate chip cookie dough....yadda, yadda, yadda.....

Brownie Layer
Ingredients:
4 ounces unsweetened chocolate
1 cup butter, melted
2 cups packed light brown sugar
4 eggs
2 tsp. vanilla
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup mini semisweet chocolate chips

1.  Preheat oven to 325 degrees.  Spray a 9x13-inch pan with cooking spray.  In a microwaveable bowl, melt the chocolate for 30 seconds at a time, stirring in between, until chocolate is melted and smooth (if you use block chocolate you should chop it finely first....mine is in flat disk form so it doesn't need chopping).  Set aside to cool while you prep the rest of the brownie mixture.
2.  In a large mixing bowl, combine the butter and brown sugar and whisk well.  Whisk in the eggs and vanilla, then add in the melted chocolate and continue to whisk well to thoroughly combine.  Add the flour and stir together just until the flour is incorporated.  In fact, it's better to leave a little flour "showing".  Add in the chocolate chips and stir just until the chips are evenly distributed into the batter.
3.  Spread evenly into the prepared pan and bake for 30-45 minutes (yeah, i know that's quite a spread...but the original recipe said 25-35 and it took mine 45 to be done in the middle).  Test with a toothpick in the center and if it comes out with a couple of tiny crumbs it's probably done enough.  Set aside to cool completely.

Cookie Dough Layer
Ingredients:
3/4 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
3/4 cup white sugar
1 Tbsp. milk
1/2 cup peanut butter
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla
1 1/2 cups mini semisweet chocolate chips
Drizzle:
1/2 cup semisweet chocolate + 1 tsp. shortening

1.  In a mixing bowl, cream together the butter and sugars.  Stir in the milk, peanut butter, and vanilla until well combined.  Stir in the chocolate chips.
2.  Spread evenly over the cooled brownies.
3.  Melt the semisweet chocolate and shortening together in a microwaveable bowl and stir until smooth.  Drizzle over the cookie dough layer.  (I did this by pouring the mixture into a ziploc bag, sealing the bag, and then cutting off one corner to make a piping bag for drizzling.)
4.  Refrigerate until drizzle is set and dough layer is firm enough to cut.

I think next time I would cut the amounts on the cookie dough layer by 1/3 because it was just a bit too rich.  In a house full of brownie lovers, it's pretty unusual for us to not be able to finish off a second brownie!

Source:  Recipe Girl

Friday, March 15, 2013

Food Storage Chili


I always have the supplies for this on hand!  It is a great throw together meal, people like it, and it feeds a lot of people!

Add the following to a large pot (you can add straight from the can or drain some of the cans whichever you prefer, I usually add straight from the can).

2 cans chili
2 cans sweet corn
2 cans pinto beans
2 cans black beans
2 cans red kidney beans
2 cans green chilies
2 quarts diced tomatoes
1 Tbl. dried onions
Taco seasoning to taste or cumin and chili powder to taste.

Cook on medium heat until heated through (stir often) then simmer for 30 min.  Top with grated cheese, sour cream etc.  It tastes great with corn bread or biscuits.  Enjoy!

Recipe Source: My amazing mother, Sheryl Lewis.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Six Layer Casserole



This is one of the recipes that I got from my Mom years ago and I pulled it out of my family cookbook the other day to fix sometime soon.  Sometime soon is today, but we will be eating a late supper.  This has to cook an hour and a half. I really like it because it is simple, good food.  I also took this as an opportunity to use some of my food storage items--the celery and the bell pepper.  I have both of these in my pantry in dehydrated form, so after re-hydrating according to the package directions, I was able to use them in my casserole.  I substituted Mixed Bell Peppers for the minced green pepper.  I will just give you the basic ingredient list so that you can make this the first time from fresh vegetables.



Ingredients:
2 cups sliced raw potatoes (I used red potatoes, unpeeled, to save time)
2 cups chopped celery 
1 lb. lean ground beef, browned
1/2 cup sliced onion
1 cup minced green pepper
2 cups cooked tomatoes, drained
2 tsp. salt
  pepper, to taste





1.  Grease a 2 quart casserole dish.
2.  Layer potatoes, celery, beef, onion, and green pepper.
3.  Combine tomatoes, salt, and pepper and spoon over top.
4.  Cover and bake about 1 1/2 hours at 350 F.

Source: Pat Brew, Greenville, NC.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Bacon and Corn Griddle Cakes



Ingredients:

8 slices bacon, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
1/3 c. finely chopped sweet onion
1 c. flour
2 T. chopped fresh chives
1 t. baking powder
1/2 t. salt
1/8 t. cayenne pepper
2/3 c. milk
1 large egg, beaten
1 c. fresh, frozen or canned corn
1 T. oil
1/2 c. shredded Monterey Jack cheese
warm maple syrup, for serving

Directions:

1.  In a medium skillet, cook the bacon pieces until they begin to brown.  Add the onion and continue to cook until the bacon is crisp and the onion is softened.  Scoop out a heaping tablespoon of the bacon mixture for topping the griddle cakes upon serving and set it aside.

2.  While the bacon is cooking, combine the flour, chives, baking powder, salt and pepper in a medium bowl.  Stir in the milk, egg and oil, just until moistened.  Stir in the bacon mixture, corn and cheese.  The mixture will be thick.  If you'd like the griddle cakes to be slightly thinner, add a little more milk to thin out the batter.

3.  Heat and grease a griddle or large skillet.  Pour a heaping 1/4 c. of the batter onto the griddle and cook until it is golden brown, 3-4 minutes per side.  Repeat with the remaining batter.

4.  Serve stacks of griddle cakes topped with a sprinkle of the reserved bacon/onion and a good dose of warm maple syrup.

Source:  RecipeGirl.com

Monday, March 11, 2013

Homemade Chicken Pot Pie



I was thinking of giving you a recipe for a diet soup that I love, but then I thought that everyone should know how to make a delicious homemade pot pie for those days that you need a little comfort food! The diet soup can wait for another day!

I make these in batches of 4 and freeze them, and then I have something quick to pull out of the oven for dinner on a busy day. My kids LOVE these! People ask me how many one will feed, and here is my answer: It will feed me 7-8 servings, but it will feed my son Curtis, who is 16, only 2 servings. It would definitely feed 4 really hungry normal people who are not teenage boys.  (smile).



Homemade Chicken Pot Pies

Ingredients:

4 frozen pie shells (or you can make homemade crust)
4 cups cooked, diced chicken
1 large can cream of chicken soup (or 2 small cans - about 20 oz)
1 8 oz package cream cheese, softened
1 1/2 cups baby carrots cut into slices
1 cup frozen peas
1/4 cup (or more) diced onions
4 cups potatoes, diced 
1 can of corn (or some frozen corn)
2 chicken bouillon cubes (or 1 if you like less salt)
2 boxes of roll out top crust (This will give you 4 top crusts) I recommend Pillsbury brand - or you can make homemade
1/2 cup flour and 1/2 cup water
1/2 tsp of Poultry Seasoning (or  a little Thyme, Oregano and Sage)
Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

1. Put the diced potatoes, carrots and onions in a pot. Cover with water. Add the bouillon cube and some salt and pepper. Bring to a boil and cook until the potatoes are done...but not mushy and falling apart.

2. In a small bowl, add 1/2 cup flour to 1/2 cup of water and mix with a fork until smooth. Pour this slowly into boiling pot of vegetables while stirring briskly. This will thicken the water that the vegetables are cooking in. Turn off heat and let it cool down a bit.

3. In a large mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese until smooth with a hand mixer. Add in the cream of chicken soup and poultry seasoning. Mix until well blended. Add the chicken, corn, peas, and the cooked potato/carrot/onion mixture. Mix all ingredients together until well blended.

4. Add this delicious mixture to the pie shells, dividing mixture evenly between the 4 pie shells.

5. Roll out your crust onto the counter. (Cut a heart in the center for a vent hole if you would like - it's so cute!) Place the crust on top of the pie. Fold under the extra crust as neatly as possible around the edges. Then pinch the edge of the crust to seal. If you have no idea how to to that, look up a tutorial. It is so hard to explain in words. But it is easy to do, and everyone has their own way of making their crust edge pretty. 

6. If you did not cut a heart into the center of the crust, cut a few vent holes into the top crust. Just take a knife and make a few small cuts.

7. At this point, I put a square of wax paper on top of the pie, then cover with foil and put in the freezer. I suppose you could skip the wax paper if you don't have any.

8. If you want to bake one right away, bake it at 375 degrees for 30 - 45 minutes, depending on how dark you like your crust.

9. When baking from frozen, bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour and 15 minutes.

YOU ARE GOING TO LOVE THESE CHICKEN POT PIES!

Notes: 
1. Kids love to help make these! And they love eating them too!

2. These are perfect to have on hand when you need to take someone a dinner, or when you forgot to plan dinner for your own family.

3. We made these for a fund raiser at church to help earn money for girls camp. We sold LOTS of them and people liked them very much!

Source: Adapted from my friend Becky Robinson, Rock Hill, SC.





Sunday, March 10, 2013

Avoid Counterfeits, Build upon the Rock

Each week when I wrote to our son who served in the Arizona, Tucson Mission, Spanish Speaking, I would pray about what scripture would help him as a thought for the week.  One week in particular after sending the scripture, I knew that the scripture was meant as much for me as it was for him. This scripture was Helaman 5:12.  This also happened to be his Mission President's choice for "The Scripture of the Week" for their mission.

And now, my sons, remember, remember that it is upon the rock of our Redeemer, who is Christ, the Son of God, that ye must build your foundation; that when the devil shall send forth his mighty winds, yea, his shafts in the whirlwind, yea, when all his hail and his mighty storm shall beat upon you, it shall have no power over you to drag you down to the gulf of misery and endless wo, because of the rock upon which ye are built, which is a sure foundation, a foundation whereon if men build they cannot fail.

Our Heavenly Father's promises are sure!  His word is true.  All the good that is on the earth is for our benefit; that we may return to Him.  He is not a wish granter. He does lifts us, strengthens us, guides us, and blesses us. We often have to go through trials full of winds, hail, and storms, yet, the Lord is with us.  If we build ourselves "upon the rock" after the pattern of the Savior and not only believe in Him but believe Him we cannot fail.

I contrasted  this scripture with a few scriptures from that week's Gospel Doctrine's/youth lesson.  Helaman 6:27 - Helaman's son, Nephi, is teaching the Nephites.  He tells them that the secret oaths of the Gadianton robbers did not come from preserved records but came into the heart of Gadianton and other wicked ones from "that same being who did plot with Cain, that if he would murder his brother Abel it should not be known unto the world." The question that I asked my class is how many of you know that Cain killed Abel?  Did the adversary keep his promise?  No, The father of all lies, lied.. The adversary does not support his own buts wants them to be dragged down "to an entire destruction, and to an everlasting hell." - Helaman 6:28

Be aware of the adversaries counterfeits.  Do this by reading the scriptures each day - they are a source of truth and safety.

My challenge to you and me is this:  Spend time in the Book of Mormon everyday along with whatever other book of scripture that you may be reading. This will strengthen your foundation, keep you on the right path (even if it us uphill), and help you "build upon the rock".

Friday, March 8, 2013

Boston Cream Poke Cake

 I love easy desserts that taste great. I also loooove Boston Cream Pies. (and Boston Cream donuts, who am kidding?!) This is one that is sure to impress, but is super easy to make.

How simple are these ingredients? I'm sure you have these in your pantry...

Simply make the yellow cake according to the directions. Once cool, take one of your wooden spoons (since I'm a southerner - I have a few!!) and take the handle and poke the cake, make sure there are plenty of pokes - so that each piece will have some pudding goodness.

Take the pudding (that you prepared and chilled while the cake was baking) and pour onto cake, making sure that it gets into the pokes. Spread evenly. 

Then, warm up your tub icing in the microwave until pour-able. Then pour that yummy goodness over the cake. 

Spread the icing evenly over the cake... then enjoy!


Boston Cream Poke Cake

Ingredients:
1 box yellow cake mix
2 small boxes of vanilla pudding
1 tub chocolate icing

Directions:
1. Prepare yellow cake according to the directions on the box. Allow to cool. Poke cake with the end of the wooden spoon.
2. While cake is baking, prepare pudding and allow to chill in the refrigerator.
3. After cake is cool, spread pudding over cake, making sure it gets into the pokes.
4. Microwave the icing in 30 second increments until it is soft and pour-able. Pour over cake and smooth out.
5. Serve and enjoy!

Because this cake has pudding, make sure to refrigerate any leftovers.

**Also, if you are trying to watch your calorie, carb, or sugar intake, I've made this with all sugar-free ingredients (cake mix, pudding, icing) and it tasted great!


Source: My mom!!




Wednesday, March 6, 2013

No-Bake Cheesecake Bites

Recently I had some ladies over to my house for a little get together and I wanted to serve something that looked pretty and tasted good but was super easy to make.  I searched the internet and finally decided to try these tasty little morsels.  I'm glad I did.  They were a success, and I'll be using this recipe again for sure!  These are perfect for parties and showers.  You can make the filling ahead of time and fill the cups just before your guests arrive.  Definitely a keeper!

Ingredients:
2 Tbsp. packed brown sugar
1/4 cup. sour cream
1/4 tsp. vanilla
4 ounces cream cheese, softened
1 Tbsp. heavy whipping cream
15 mini phyllo tart shells (1 package)
berries for garnish

1.  In a mixing bowl, beat the brown sugar, sour cream, and vanilla together until well blended.  Add the cream cheese and beat until smooth.  Add the whipping cream and beat until light and fluffy.
2.  If serving right away, simply spoon some of the mix into each tart shell.  If you want to chill it until later, spoon the mix into a zip-top bag, seal, and place in the fridge till you are ready.  Then take the bag out, snip one corner with scissors, and squeeze the mixture through the hole into the tart shells.
3.  Garnish with berries.

Source:  Kitchen Treaty (although that recipe adds 1 heaping teaspoon of lemon zest, which I omitted)

Monday, March 4, 2013

Mustard Dip

There's a reason I don't make this very often.  Once I start popping this stuff in my mouth, I can't seem to stop!  It's one of my favorite party-type foods to serve and I always get asked for the recipe.

Ingredients:
1 cup mayo
1 cup yellow mustard
1 cup sour cream
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup dried minced onion
1 envelope ranch dressing mix
1 Tbsp. prepared horseradish sauce

1.  Combine all ingredients in a medium-sized bowl until well-combined.  Chill for at least 30 minutes to allow the flavors to meld (a few hours is better).
2.  Serve with sourdough pretzel nuggets.

Makes about 3 1/2  cups of dip, enough for 2 bags of pretzel nuggets (I use Snyder's brand)

Source:  my sister, Amy....a fellow Maven

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Feed the Flowers, Not the Weeds

Johnny Lingo.  This video is probably as old as I am, but I never tire of watching it.  Some viewings have been more humorous than others.  For instance, when I was a kid we had some Mormon missionaries bring the film over (and I mean actual film....this was before videos) to watch with our family.  They mistakenly brought a version of it that was in a foreign language.  But being resourceful, and knowing the whole film by heart anyway, they did voice-overs for us.  I still remember one of them proclaiming, "Mahana, you ugly!" and the rest of us laughing at his "acting skills".

Laughing aside, the pain of poor Mahana is something to which we can probably all relate.  Whether because of a bully or because of a voice within our own minds, we have all felt inferior at one time or another.  Maybe we start to believe those voices that try to drag us down.   Once we believe, we begin to act the part.  It becomes our identity.

But the love and hope of just one kind person can change all that, if we will let it.  Maybe it's a friend or family member who is encouraging and speaks words of hope and peace to us.  Maybe it comes not from this earthly realm at all but from a Heavenly Father who knows who we really are and loves us for it, no matter what.

Whatever the source, if we will nurture that idea and that love it will begin to grow in us like a beautiful flower.  At the same time, we must pull out the negative thoughts that have taken up residence in our minds.  And over time, the blossom will crowd out the noxious weeds of self-criticism and doubt that we have fed for so long.  Of course, we must then pluck out any weeds that will inevitably appear here and there before they take root.  We must tend to the flower and give it all the nourishment it needs.

But how?

Although all plants need water and light, they each have specific nutrient needs that foster the best possible growth and health of the plant.  And so it is with us.  Daily sincere prayer and daily scripture study are our light and water.  What we need after that may differ from person to person.  Maybe we need to use a kinder inner voice with ourselves.  Maybe we need to limit certain influences in our lives.  Maybe we need to serve others more.  All these things, and many more, will allow the beautiful flower within us to grow bigger, stronger, and more beautiful.  But we must be the constant gardener of our own thoughts if we are to make this happen.

So, my fellow constant gardeners,...

photo from Microsoft Office Clipart
photo embellishment done through picmonkey.com


Friday, March 1, 2013

Artichoke....my favorite Veggie!

Every time I buy Artichokes at the store the cashier has no idea what it is.  They are missing out!  At our home it is a special treat that would be chosen over desert any day (seriously it is my kids favorite).  So I decided that you all needed to know just how to prepare an artichoke!
 I first cut off the tip.

 I then cut off the tips of each leaf.  This isn't necessary but some of the tips are prickly and since my kids are eating them I like to cut them off. 
 I like to wash the Artichoke, again this isn't necessary but sometimes there is a little dirt in there that I like to get out. 
 Place in a pan and steam in salted water for 30-40 min.  You will know they are done when you can pull off one of the top outside leaves easily.
 While the artichoke is steaming mix together about 1/2 cup mayonnaise, juice from 1/2 a lemon, and salt to taste. (You can tweak this to your tastes).
 When the artichokes are done take one leaf off at a time, dip into the mayonnaise/lemon sauce and scrap off the meat of the leaf with your bottom teeth.  As you get deeper into the artichoke more and more of the leaf will be easily scrapped off.

Now this is the best part,  the heart.  Once you get to center scrape out the hair like leaves at the center (do not eat these).  Once they are scraped out spread the sauce on the heart and enjoy!!!