Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Bran Muffins

I know this seems odd- but I do love Bran Muffins! They taste so good when heated up and served with a bit of butter. I am contemplating adding some bananas to the batter before baking. I ate one of these every morning of my first pregnancy. So tasty with the breakfast smoothie to accompany it!

The ingredients:
1 1/4 cup flour
1/2 cup sugar
1 Tbs baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
2 cups All Bran Cereal
1 1/4 cup milk
1 egg
1/4 cup vegetable oil

The instructions:
In large mixing bowl combine Cereal and milk. Let stand until cereal is soft. In a smaller bowl sift together flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt (I add it all to the bowl and use a wire whisk to combine). Add eggs and oil to the cereal. Beat well. Add flour mixture stirring only until combined. Scoop into 12 paper lined muffin cups. Bake at 400ºF for 20 minutes. Store uneaten muffins in a ziplock bag for up to one week (room temperature). These freeze well.

Corn Bread

This recipe used to be one of my catch-all family favorites... then my husband was diagnosed with a condition that made it so that he could no longer enjoy corn. Since then I have been forced to shelf this recipe. But just because I can't enjoy it, doesn't mean you can't!

The ingredients:
1 can corn drained
1 can creamed corn
1 cup sour cream
1 egg
16-18 oz corn bread mix
1/4 cup melted butter

The instructions:
Mix all ingredients together and put in an ungreased 9X13-baking dish. Bake at 350ºF for 55 min.

It's as easy as that! Enjoy!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Crock Pot Honey BBQ Ribs

I think this may be one of my favorite meals of all time. Especially good in the winter. It gives you that smoky flavor as though you slaved over an outdoor grill to prepare this tasty dish. It is so tender that turning it into a BBQ pulled pork sandwich is a snap! The key to this fake barbecued flavor is the liquid smoke. IT adds the perfect touch or smoke.

The ingredients:
3 lbs. boneless pork ribs
1/2 tsp. garlic salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
1 c. ketchup
1/2 c. brown sugar
1/2 c. honey
1/4 c. spicy brown mustard
2 T. Worcestershire sauce
1 1/2 tsp. liquid smoke

The instructions:
Place pork ribs in bottom of slow cooker. Cover and cook on High for 3 hours. Drain
and discard liquid. Reduce heat to Low. In a bowl, combine garlic salt, pepper,
ketchup, brown sugar, honey, spicy brown mustard, Worcestershire sauce and liquid
smoke. Mix well. Pour over ribs in slow cooker. Cover and cook on Low for 3 hours.
Serve with rice. Or shred and serve on rolls.

(This recipe freezes well. Double the batch, and freeze half for a future dinner.)

Chicken and Black Eyed Peas

It is that time of year when I find myself extra busy, with too much on my plate and not enough time in my day. So, of course, I have a very good relationship with my crock pot! There is nothing quite so nice as preparing your dinner early in the day and then not needing to worry about it anymore! This recipe is simple, and delicious! A true family favorite. My daughters especially love the "beans" (black eyed peas).

The ingredients:
1 (16-oz.) can diced tomatoes
2 tsp. salt
1 (16-oz.) can black eyed peas, drained and rinsed
2 tsp. rosemary
1/4 tsp. pepper
1 (8-oz.) can tomato sauce
1 bone in chicken (whole or cut into pieces)
1/4 c. water

The instructions:
Mix everything together in crock pot and cook on high for 1 hour then on low for 6 more. OR- Cook in pressure cooker until rocking, turn down heat and allow to rock for 15-20 minutes. Serve over rice.

(It is pretty heavy on the rosemary- feel free to cut it back if you don't love rosemary as much as we do!)

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Breakfast Smoothie

A few years ago when I was still working full time, my hubby and I had a hard time coming up with breakfast on the fly. Cereal never seemed to cut it for us, and we would find ourselves starving within a couple hours. So we created this recipe. Not only is it good, but you can change it up daily. What a great way to start the day!

The ingredients:
1 c. juice (any kind)
2 heaping T. yogurt (Vanilla, or any other flavor)
1 frozen banana (break into pieces before freezing, store in freezer bags)
1 handful frozen fruit (preaches, berries, melon, etc.)

The instructions:

Add everything to a blender...

...and blend away!

If smoothie is too thick, add more juice, if too thin, add yogurt or more fruit.

You may have to chase away some rascals who like to eat your ingredients...

This specific concotion was Cran-Grape juice, banana, peaches, and vanilla yogurt, and it was a smash hit with my littlest monkey...

(This really isn't so much a recipe as it is a concept. My favorite combos are: White cranberry peach juice, with peaches, and either vanilla or raspberry yogurt, Orange juice with strawberries and vanilla yogurt.)

Monday, December 1, 2008

Oatmeal Bread

I don't know about you, but I am not the best bread maker in the world. In fact, I have a hard time with bread in general. For years if it wasn't a bread machine recipe I wouldn't even attempt it. But recently I went on a domestic kick and decided to try my hand at homemade bread again. I was given a recipe from a lady in my neighborhood (Thanks Natalie) and I decided to give it a whirl. And guess what?! It was WONDERFUL! I now make bread every week (usually on Mondays) and this specific recipe is a family favorite.

The ingredients:
1 c. quick oats (must be quick- not regular)
2 c. boiled water
2/3 c. brown sugar
3 T. oil
2 tsp. salt
2 pkgs. yeast (or 2 Tbs. yeast)
1/3 c. warm water
5 c. white flour (must be white- wheat overpowers the oatmeal)

The instructions:
Pour 2 cups boiling water over the oats. Stir and add brown sugar, oil, and salt. Set aside to cool. Meanwhile, dissolve yeast in 1/3 c warm water. When oatmeal is cooled down to lukewarm, add flour and yeast. Knead in the bowl until well combined. Dough should peel off hands when ready. Rise to double. Divide dough in half. Shape and put in well greased loaf pans. Rise until double. Bake at 350° for 40 minutes.

(This bread is AMAZING! And feel free if you want to, to add some dough enhancer or gluten, but it really doesn't need it...)

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Crock Pot Chili

Since I am sharing some of my favorite Sunday dinners, I figured I would add this one in as well. I adapted this recipe 5 years ago or so. It is a family favorite at my house.

The ingredients:
1 lb. Ground meat (turkey, hamburger, or pork)
1 lb. Sausage
2 cans Beans (whatever you have on hand…I like black beans)
1 can Tomato sauce
1 Bell pepper, diced
1 can Tomatoes
2 cups Diced fresh tomatoes (or another can)
½ cup Onion flakes (or one fresh onion, diced small)
1 clove Garlic
1 package chili seasoning or 4 Tbs. Chili powder

The instructions:
Brown meat, and add to crock-pot. Add all other ingredients, and let simmer on low for about 6 hours. Serve with tortilla chips, and cheese.

(Feel free to add more spice if you like it hot, or if you have hot sensitive kids, add a bit of sour cream to their bowl to tone down the spice a bit.)

Crock Pot Chicken Burritos

Happy Sunday! Hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving. And hopefully some of you scored some majorly awesome deals on Friday! On to dinner!

On Sundays I love nothing more than to crock pot a simple meal to make my dinner prep time almost non-existent. This recipe in particular is extremely easy to make and I would be willing to bet good money that most of you have the ingredients on hand right now. I LOVE this recipe, and I absolutely appreciate my neighbor for giving it to me. Thanks Mindy!

The ingredients:
1 lb. boneless skinless chicken breast (can be frozen)
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 cup salsa
1 cup minute rice (or 1/2 c. regular rice, but will have to adjust cooking time)
1 can beans, drained and rinsed (I prefer black beans, but any kind will do)

The instructions:
Combine chicken, soup and salsa. Let cook on low for 5 - 6 hours or high for 2 - 4 (may need to cook longer if you start with frozen chicken). Chicken is done when it falls apart when squeezed with a pair of tongs. Shred chicken up and add rice and beans. If using minute rice, cook for 15 more minutes. If using real rice, you will need to cook for about an hour.

Serve on flour tortillas with lettuce, more salsa, sour cream, tomatoes, and any other toppings you would like.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Soft Ginger Snaps and Pumpkin Dip

Anyone who loves pumpkin pie will love this dessert. Its a new twist on an old tradition. Sweet, creamy, and exceptionally tasty, these cookies (along with the accompanying dip) are like a mini pumpkin pie in your hand.


The ingredients:
2 c. sugar
1 1/2 c. shortening
1/2 c. molasses
2 eggs
4 c. flour
1 tsp. salt
4 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. cloves (less if you prefer)
1 tsp. ginger
2 tsp. cinnamon

The instructions:
Beat sugar, shortening, molasses, and eggs until light and fluffy. Combine remaining ingredients. Add sugar to mixture. Roll into 1" balls. Roll in sugar. Bake at 350* for 9 to 12 minutes. Serve with pumpkin dip.

(Dough balls freeze well- you can make them one or two at a time!)

Pumpkin Dip

The ingredients:
1 (15-oz.) can pumpkin (NOT pumpkin pie filling)
2 c. powdered sugar
8 oz. cream cheese
3/4 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. nutmeg

The instructions:
Cream sugar and cream cheese. Fold in pumpkin, blending well. Fold in cinnamon and nutmeg. Keep refrigerate when not in use.

(Enjoy! But don't blame me when you hop on that scale next week!)

((Pictures coming soon!))

Dessert Cheese Ball

Everyone knows that kids and husbands are some of the biggest pests come Thanksgiving Day. We love them, oh yes- there is no doubt about that, but what is more frustrating than spending all day in the kitchen slaving away only to be interrupted every 20 minutes with, "Mom! I am hungry" or "How much longer 'til dinner?" or fingers in the food... To help ease the waiting time and keep the crowds at bay I suggest appetizers placed just outside the kitchen. One of my favorites? The cheese ball! This ball is not the typical savory, nut covered, ball of goodness. This ball is sweet. And a huge hit at our family parties.

The ingredients:
1 (8-oz.) brick cream cheese, softened
1/2 c. butter, softened
3/4 c. confectioners sugar
2 T. brown sugar
1/4 tsp. vanilla
2 c. miniature chocolate chips (or chopped up regular chocolate chips), divided

The instructions:
In medium bowl, beat together cream cheese and butter until smooth. Mix in sugars and vanilla. Stir in 3/4 cup chocolate chips. Cover and chill in refrigerator for 2 hours. Using a rubber spatula (or scraper) remove from bowl and place on plastic wrap. Using the plastic wrap, form into a ball or log. Chill in refrigerator for 1 more hour. Roll ball in remaining chocolate chips before serving. Serve with graham cracker sticks, Nilla Wafers and other cookies.

Raspberry Pretzel Salad

What is Thanksgiving without a Jell-o salad? This specific salad is the perfect blend of sweet and salty, crunchy and creamy, with a touch of tart added in!

The ingredients:
Bottom Layer
3/4 c. butter
3 T. sugar
2 c. pretzels, finely chopped or crushed

Middle Layer
1 (8-oz.) brick cream cheese, softened
1 (8-oz.) can crushed pineapple, drained
1/4 c. sugar
1 (8-oz.) carton Cool Whip

Top Layer
2 (3-oz.) pkgs. raspberry Jell-O (or 1 (6-oz.) pkg.)
2 c. boiling water
1 bag frozen raspberries

The instructions:
Melt butter and sugar and combine with pretzels. Press into a 9 X 13 inch pan. Bake at 400* for 5 minutes. Let cool completely. While cooling, combine cream cheese, pineapple, and sugar together. Fold in Cool Whip. Pour over bottom layer and smooth over. Combine Jell-O and water, stir until Jell-O is dissolved. Add frozen raspberries and let sit on the counter until thick but not set (about 5-10 minutes; watch closely). Pour over middle layer and refrigerate until completely set.

(This recipe can be changed up with strawberry jello and strawberries if you prefer)

((Photos coming soon!))

Tradewind Salad

This easy salad is another recent favorite of mine. It will be gracing our Thanksgiving table this year, and many years to come. It is a nice blend of taste and texture. This recipe was given to me by a friend and neighbor. Thanks Haylie!

The ingredients:
1 box (more or less) shell noodles
2 T. butter
1/4 c. brown sugar
1 c. cheese (cubed, diced, or shredded)
1/2 c. grapes (cut in half)
1/4 c. sour cream
1 c. ham (cubed)or chicken (cubed or shredded)
1 c. pineapple tidbits (or chunks)
1/4 c. mayonnaise

The instructions:
Cook noodles. Meanwhile, in a skillet, cook chicken in a tiny bit of butter or oil (or brown ham). In a small sauce pan, combine brown sugar and butter over medium low heat until sugar is dissolved. Drain the pineapple and save the juice. Mix sour cream, mayonnaise, cheese, meat, and grapes. Add pineapple chunks and a splash or two of juice (adjust later to taste). Pour noodle over top and drizzle brown sugar/butter over the top of the warm noodles. Mix well and chill until ready to serve.

(This recipe is great the second day- I would actually suggest you make it the day before and let it chill overnight before serving)

((Pictures coming soon!))

Butterscotch Yams (or Sweet Potatoes)

In light of the fact that Thanksgiving is this week, I figured I would start out with some of my Holiday Go-To Dishes! Seeing as how this is also my first recipe posted, I figured I would start with my FAVORITE dish.

This recipe comes from my mother, and has been featured on her Thanksgiving Day table every year for as long as I could remember. It is sweet and rich and such a great addition to any holiday feast.

The ingredients:
6 medium yams (or sweet potatoes), cooked peeled and sliced
1 c. light Karo Syrup
1 c. brown sugar, packed
1/2 c. cream (for lower fat content, use Half & Half)
1/4 c. butter (or margarine)
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. cinnamon

The instructions:
Arrange yams in a 9 X 13 inch pan. Bake in a 325* oven for 15 minutes. In a small sauce pan combine Karo syrup, brown sugar, cream, butter, salt and cinnamon. Bring to a boil stirring constantly. Let boil for 5 minutes. Pour over yams and bake 15 minutes longer.

(It is a tradition in my family to use the sauce on just about everything. If you have a family member who isn't fond of yams, beg them to try the butterscotch sauce on their turkey and stuffing. YUM!)

((Pictures to come later))

Monday, November 24, 2008

In the beginning...

Welcome to my Cookbook Blog! This project that I am about to undertake is a long time in the making. Okay- well it’s been in my mind for quite some time, at least. So , without further intro, here are my stories, which when combined, help better explain what exactly I am doing…

Story #1: About a year ago I convinced my husband (whom I ADORE) that I wanted to take a course to become a medical transcriptionist. I was so psyched, and LOVED the idea of making money from home. I had all these goals and dreams about becoming an MT. So after much persuasion, I convinced my husband that it was a good idea, and I paid for the tuition to get started.

About 7 months into the program I found that I HATED it. I mean, not just a little hate. I loathed the training course! The problem was that I had paid a sizable chunk of money to this course and wanted desperately to make it work so I wouldn’t waste that money.

Yeah- that didn’t happen. I tried, I mean, REALLY I did! I tried to keep with the program, but it was not something I wasn’t even kind of enjoying. Now, I am usually the first one to speak up when someone says they aren’t enjoying school. I am a firm believer that nothing is easy, and learning a skill isn’t always going to be fun. But the difference that I see here is that what I was doing was exactly what I would be doing when the training course was over. I was listening to tapes, transcribing what was being said and hating it. If I hated it while training, what would make me like it when I finish the course?! So, with much regret (and shame) I dropped out. Since that time I have been trying to devise a way to make up the money I paid.

So here I sit. Money paid, course 2/3 finished, and a total drop out. Of course, my wonderful husband has been very supportive of my decision to stop the course. But he is concerned (as am I) about the money I spent. So I have since spent a considerable amount of time devising a plan to make up the lost money.

Story #2: About a year ago I was placed on the Activities Committee for the women’s organization of my church. In fact, I was made one of the Committee Leaders (They must not know me well, LOL!) At our first meeting, after the introductions were made, the very first thing out of my mouth was, “We soooo need to make a cookbook!” And with that I was placed in charge of collecting the recipes, typing them up, organizing them, and publishing them. I took this call very seriously, and found a great publishing company. I then proceeded to collect a BUNCH of REALLY GREAT recipes, and spent numerous hours of my own time (totally unpaid) putting this cookbook together. And you know what? I LOVED it. I learned so much about cooking and baking that it became a bit of a passion for me!

Last month the cookbook was finally proofed, RE-proofed, sent in, typed up, published and delivered. And the book looked FANTASTIC! I was so proud of it, and so happy with the final product, and so were the ladies at church. The cookbook was a HUGE success!

Combining the two stories: So, about 2 weeks ago I was talking to my husband and told him I was contemplating making a food blog. But what could make my blog different from all the other food blogs out there? Why would people want to read mine? And I puzzled over it for a few days. Then it hit me! Maybe- JUST MAYBE- I could store all of these recipes I publish on the blog (both mine and those sent in by contributors via email or comments) and turn it into a full-fledged cookbook! And to make matters even better, I could then SELL that book to try and recover the cost of my MT training gone bad.

Have fun perusing the recipes, and please help me pay for my stupidity, by eventually buying this cookbook!

(OH- and in case you want to know, this cookbook will run less than $10.00)