Quick and Easy Fudge

Jim's dad's birthday was over the weekend. He likes fudge, so last week I whipped up a batch of this easy fudge for him. Believe it or not, this recipe is from my high school freshman home economics class. My grandfather loved this recipe, and I used to make it for him all the time. Enjoy!

Quick and Easy Fudge

1 c. butter
1 c. creamy peanut butter
1/4 c. cocoa
2 T. vanilla
1 lb. conf. sugar

Melt butter and peanut butter in a large pot over medium heat. Remove from heat and add cocoa and vanilla. Add sugar one cup at a time and stir until smooth. Press into a square baking dish and let set until cooled. You can put it in the refrigerator to speed up the process so you can eat it sooner!

Thanks for stopping by!


Cream Cheese Squares

I made these Cream Cheese Squares for a stamping workshop at my house last night. The ladies seemed to like them. They are super easy to make, and I needed something quick and easy this week!

I did substitute low-fat crescent rolls and Neufchatel cheese to make them a little less sinful, and they were still very good. I also changed the topping. I didn't sprinkle them with a cinnamon and sugar mixture. I made a simple confectioner's sugar icing and drizzled it over them instead.

Have a great weekend! Thanks for stopping by!


Sour Cream Banana Bread

Last weekend, I made this bread for our pastors. October was Pastor Appreciation Month, but October was so busy around here that I missed it. I made this for our pastors in early November. I don't think they minded that I was a week late!

I received this recipe from my father's cousin, Crystal, back when Jim and I got married. At least I think that's when she gave it to me. As part of my bridal shower planning, my mom made up post cards for people to send me. They were to write their favorite recipe on it and send it to me. I'm pretty sure that's when she gave me this recipe.

Sour Cream Banana Bread

1/2 c. butter
1 c. sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
1 1/2 c. flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 c. mashed banana
1/2 c. nuts (optional)
1/2 c. sour cream

Cream butter and sugar very well until light and fluffy. Add eggs and vanilla and mix just until blended. Add the dry ingredients, mixing till well combined, but don't overmix. Add the banana, nuts and sour cream. Mix lightly just until blended throughout. Bake in a greased loaf pan at 350 for about one hour. Test the bread with a toothpick in the center for doneness.

Instead of baking this as a bread in loaf pans, I made it into muffins. I gave normal size muffins to our youth and children's pastors, because they have little kids at home. I made big, Texas-sized muffins for our senior and associate pastors. Sorry, but I forgot to take any pictures of them before I gave them away! Thanks for stopping by!


Fall Fling Food

Happy Halloween!

Every year on Halloween night, our church, Wilkinson Church of Christ, hosts a huge community party called Fall Fling. We fill the church with carnival games for kids of all ages, inflatables, face painting, etc. We serve a small dinner for the kids coming through too.

I've never been a part of planning the food before, but our children's pastor asked me if I would be willing to co-chair it this year with another lady who has planned it before. I thought it sounded like a challenge, so I accepted. My job, thus far, has been to plan the groceries and gather the donations needed to make food for the 400 people we have planned for.

We started the planning a few weeks ago. I started searching for festive food to serve on the Family Fun website, keeping in mind that whatever we chose would have to be made in massive quantities. We ended up choosing the following two main dishes:

Pizza Mummies

Worms on a Bun
(I just finished cutting 25 lbs.,
200 hot dogs, into 9 worms each!)

Along with those two main dishes, we will be serving orange and black nacho chips with cheese and the following festive cookies for dessert:

Fudge Stripe Witch's Hats
(See yesterday's post for a picture of mine.
I made 311 of these!)

Nutter Butter Ghosts
(See yesterday's post for a picture of mine.
I made 318 of these.)

We always hand out Popcorn Witch's Hands to the kids too.

I've seen the cookie and popcorn hands all over the web, so I have no idea who to attribute the original ideas to.

I made the cookies yesterday, and cut the hot dogs this morning to prepare them for the Worms on a Bun. I hope this all comes together well tonight! Thanks for stopping by!


Fall Fling Sneak Peeks


...and these were my project for the day.

Come back tomorrow to read more. Thanks for stopping by!


Pumpkin Pecan Pie Squares

I first tried this recipe a few years ago. I made it one weekend when my parents came for a visit. My dad and I really liked them. They were here two weekends ago, and I made these Pumpkin Pecan Pie Squares for them again.

I originally got the recipe from the cooking page of the Farm World newspaper, which ironically is published right here in Knightstown, Indiana. The clipping I have says that the recipe comes from the VeryBestBaking.com site.

Prior to writing this post, I hadn't ever tried going to the site. However, it's sponsored by Nestle and looks like a great new source of recipes! Thanks for stopping by!


Hot Caramel Apple Cider

It's been so busy around here lately that I haven't had time to share a few new recipes I've found. A few weeks ago, Meijer had gallons of apple cider on sale for $2.50. That's a super deal! I had my hubby buy four gallons!

I freeze my apple cider by the pint. I then have it to use all year long for the Cider-Roasted Pork Loin recipe that I like to make.

We've been enjoying some of it too. I don't make that pork recipe so often that I need to freeze all four gallons! I was looking for a good hot apple cider recipe, and after browsing the web for a bit, I found this one for Hot Caramel Apple Cider. It's become a new favorite hot drink of mine. I think you'll enjoy it too! Thanks for stopping by!


Pumpkin Smoothie

I love fall. I love the flavors and smells of fall baking and cooking. A few weeks ago, I was having a pumpkin craving, and I found this Pumpkin Smoothie recipe on the Family Fun webpage. I gave it a try. It was... ...interesting. It wasn't bad, but I don't think it's something I'll make again either. You should try it if you like pumpkin a lot. Thanks for stopping by!


Taste of Home Magazine

Here's an offer for Taste of Home magazine. Tanga offers a Taste Of Home Magazine one-year subscription (six issues) for $4 when you enter code ccdf at checkout. I'm not sure how long this offer will last, but I wanted to pass it on to you. You may purchase up to four years for this price per year. Thanks for stopping by!


Homemade Pizza Dough

The boys and I have made this Homemade Pizza Dough recipe twice now in the past few weeks. They have had a blast making their own pizzas. One day, they even got their Daddy to show them his expertise. He worked at Little Caesar's for a few years when we were in high school.

The second time we made it, I substituted some whole wheat flour for the regular flour. I wanted to make it just a bit healthier. It turned out great both times, and it is super easy! Thanks for stopping by!


Easy Italian Stew

Our family has officially taken the foray into organized sports with our oldest son. He's in kindergarten this year, and we have registered him to play soccer with a local youth league. We had our first practice one evening last week. We all went as a family just to watch him at his first practice. He did great! They split their team up and played a little scrimmage against each other, and he scored a goal! Yay! I am anxious for our first game in a few weeks.

I tell you all this, because once you start having practices and things in the evenings, it's hard to plan good meals for your family. I pulled out this Easy Italian Stew recipe when I was making up my menu for the week, because we had gotten some Italian sausage on sale. I wanted to use it, and this seemed like a good recipe for these cooler end-of-summer, preview-to-fall days we've been having. It was quick and easy to make once we got home from our first soccer practice. My husband raved over it, and he doesn't rave very often! Thanks for stopping by!


Have a Fantastic Holiday Weekend!

Here's hoping you make the best of your three-day weekend this Labor Day. Relax and enjoy some time with your family before summer is gone! Thanks for stopping by!

Black Bean Pinwheels

I got this recipe from a Pampered Chef consultant about two years ago at a holiday shopping open house. She had made these as little snacks for all the customers going through the place. She shared with everyone that she had snagged the recipe for Black Bean Pinwheels from Kraft Foods, and even had a printout of the recipe that people could take with them.

I was craving something different for lunch the other day, so I made some of these for myself. Yum! Thanks for stopping by!


Chocolate-Sour-Cream Frosting

Yesterday I told you about some brownies I made from scratch. Here's the recipe for the Chocolate-Sour-Cream Frosting that I added to them to make them even more decadent than they were on their own! Can you tell I was really craving chocolate last week? This recipe is another oldie but goodie from that red and white plaid binder Better Homes & Garden Cookbook that almost everyone owns.

Chocolate-Sour-Cream Frosting

1 c. semisweet chocoate pieces
1/4 c. margarine or butter
1/2 c. dairy sour cream
2 1/2 c. sifted powdered sugar

In a saucepan melt chocolate and margarine over low heat, stirring frequently. Cool about 5 minutes. Stir in sour cream. Gradually add powdered sugar, beating till smooth and of spreading consistency. Frosts top and sides of two 8- or 9-inch cake layers. Store cake in refrigerator.
Thanks for stopping by!


Brownies from scratch

One day last week, my 5-year old wanted to make brownies. I have never found a good recipe for brownies from scratch that I really like, so every time we make them, we try a new recipe. I found this one in the church cookbook that a friend of mine submitted. They were great! Thanks, Amanda, for this great brownie recipe!


4 eggs
2 c. sugar
6 T. cocoa
1 1/2 c. flour
1 t. salt
1 t. baking powder
12 T. melted butter
1 t. vanilla

Mix together eggs, sugar and cocoa. Add flour, salt and baking powder. Stir in butter and vanilla. Bake in a 9x13 pan at 350 for 20 minutes, or until they are set in the center.
I made these even more decadent by adding Chocolate-Sour-Cream Frosting. I'll share that recipe with you tomorrow. Thanks for stopping by!


Chinese Cole Slaw

I was at a picnic a few weeks ago where someone brought Chinese Cole Slaw. I sort of forgot that I even had a recipe to make this dish that I really enjoy. So I pulled out my recipe and made some over the weekend. I can't remember who gave me this recipe, but I haven't had it very long. I think there are many recipes out there for different versions of this dish. Mine is a little heavy on the soy sauce, so if you have a similar recipe you'd like to share with me, I'd love to try a different version to see if we like it better! Thanks for stopping by!

Chinese Cole Slaw

1-16 oz. pkg. shredded cabbage (cole slaw mix)
2 pkg. chicken flavor ramen noodles, crushed
1/2 c. slivered almonds
4 T. butter

Melt butter in skillet. Brown noodles and almonds in butter then set aside to cool.


2 T. soy sauce
2/3 c. vegetable oil
2 T. rice vinegar
4 T. sugar
1 tsp. pepper
6 green onions, chopped (tops and bottoms)
Seasoning packets from ramen noodles

Combine ingredients of dressing and then toss with cabbage and cooled noodles. Cool and serve.


Feta-Stuffed Turkey Burgers

I don't know why I was on a Greek kick last week when I made up my menu for this week, but it sounded so appetizing to me. Greek food is usually so light, and it just sounded tasty to me.

After having Pitas on Saturday, we had these Feta-Stuffed Turkey Burgers for lunch on Sunday. They were great--especially with some of the Tzatziki I told you about yesterday on them! (I skipped the sauce in this recipe since I had already made the Tzatziki.) Thanks for stopping by!



The recipe I shared with you on Monday for Greek Steak Pitas was great, but I added a sauce that wasn't called for which made them even better. The August issue of Cooking Light has a recipe for Tzatziki, which is a Greek condiment. I made a batch of this for us to have with our pitas. Then, we used it again on some Feta-Stuffed Turkey Burgers that I'll tell you about tomorrow. Thanks for stopping by!


Greek Seasoning

Yesterday I told you about a recipe I tried over the weekend for Greek Steak Pitas. One of the ingredients in the steak marinade was Greek seasoning. I didn't have that on hand, but I found a recipe to make your own online. Fortunately, I had everything on hand to make up my own batch. I even got to use some of my fresh spearmint growing out back! I dried it in my microwave before adding it to the mix. Thanks for stopping by!


Greek Steak Pitas

Now that school has started, we're getting back into a normal routine. I pulled out some summer issues of Cooking Light that I hadn't had a chance to really look through over the summer. So this weekend while we were home without a lot on our schedule, I tried some new recipes.

This Greek Steak Pita recipe was a nice light meal on a warm summer evening. Well, it wasn't exactly warm here this weekend, but it was a nice light meal for the summertime! Instead of pitas, I tried a new product I found at the grocery store, Aunt Millie's Slimwiches. They were really good, and we all really enjoyed them. I also omitted the onion, because none of us are big fans of raw onion.

The recipe also calls for Greek seasoning, which I didn't have, but I found a recipe online for making your own. I'll share that with you tomorrow. Thanks for stopping by!


Watermelon Pops... ...sort of

A few weeks ago, I was looking for watermelon recipes. I wanted something watermelon-themed for a stamping workshop snack. I came across this recipe for Watermelon Pops on the Kraft Foods website. I didn't make them for the workshop, but I saved the recipe for the boys and I to try someday.

We made them this week--sort of. We didn't add the mini chocolate chips, and we didn't use lime jello for the top layer, so ours don't look like watermelons at all, but they're still tasty. We used orange on the top layer instead, so they're a strawberry/orange fruity frozen snack. They're not bad, but I don't know that we'll make them again. The boys just don't have a sweet tooth or big appetite for ice cream and/or frozen novelties, so it's hard to tell how long these will remain in my freezer. Thanks for stopping by!


Grandma Kuck's Rice Pudding

A few months ago, I posted about a rice pudding recipe I had found that you made with already cooked rice. It was pretty good, but I became less impressed with it the second and third times I made it. Have you ever had that happen with a recipe you thought you really liked the first time you had it?
Losing excitement about my former recipe made me want to try some others that I had stashed in my "recipes to try someday" collection. Today, I tried this Grandma Kuck's Rice Pudding recipe from Family Fun. It is fantastic! It is exactly what I was looking for--creamy and wonderful! There's no grainy rice texture in it at all, and it's super easy! Now I guess the real test is whether I will like it the second and third times I make it, but I'm sure I will! Thanks for stopping by!


Grape Salad

Earlier this week at a stamping workshop, I made this Grape Salad recipe for our snack. At an earlier workshop, Kristie was telling me about this great dessert she had made with grapes. Then at another workshop we got to talking about the recipe again, and Sally mentioned that she had a recipe for it, and she makes it all the time. So I asked Sally for her recipe, and I made it for all the gals to try. Sally said it's not her recipe, she got it from someone else, so apparently it's a recipe that has made the rounds. It's a great fruity dessert! You should give it a try!

Grape Salad

8 oz. cream cheese
8 oz. sour cream
1/2 c. powdered sugar
2 tsp. vanilla
6 c. seedless grapes (You may use any mixture of green, red or purple grapes, just one variety, or two, or all three.)

Mix cream cheese, sour cream, powdered sugar, and vanilla until smooth. Fold in grapes. Refrigerate.


1/2 c. brown sugar
1 c. chopped pecans

Mix together and sprinkle on top of the salad. (It's best to add the topping not too long before serving.) Refrigerate.
Thanks for stopping by!


Cherry-Chicken Salad Croissants

My friend, Sally, was telling me about a really good chicken salad recipe that a mutual friend of ours had made for her when she was visiting her in June. It has dried cherries in it. When I was looking for fruity recipes to make for my stamping workshop last weekend, I thought it would be perfect to make for the ladies' lunch. I emailed Gretchen and asked her for the recipe. She sent the Cherry-Chicken Salad Croissants recipe to me and told me that it was a Taste of Home recipe that she had found. So now I'm sharing it with you! Thanks for stopping by!


Poppy Seed Lemon Bread

Last week I was looking for some new muffin recipes to make for the boys to eat for breakfast. I came across this Poppy Seed Lemon Bread recipe in our church cookbook. Instead of baking it in a loaf pan, I made muffins.

Poppy Seed Lemon Bread

1 pkg. lemon cake mix
1 small box instant lemon pudding
1 c. water
4 eggs
1/2 c. oil
3 T. poppy seeds

Combine all ingredients; beat 5 minutes. Pour into greased loaf pans. Bake at 350 for 30-35 minutes. Makes two loaves.

(Again, I used lined muffin pans and baked them for 20-25 minutes.)
Thanks for stopping by!


Sour Cream Banana Bread/Muffins

Back when I got married, my sister was my maid of honor. She was only in high school at the time, so she and my mom did most of the planning for it. One of the things my mom did was give out large index cards to everyone that were pre-addressed to me. They were to be sent as a post card with one of their favorite recipes in the weeks following the shower. She even put postage on them for everyone.

One of the recipes I received from one of my dad's cousins was a Banana Bread recipe. The boys like to eat muffins for breakfast, so instead of baking it in a loaf pan, I made it into muffins.

Sour Cream Banana Bread

1/2 c. butter
1 c. sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
1 1/2 c. flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 c. mashed banana (2-3 medium bananas)
1/2 c. nuts (optional)
1/2 c. sour cream

Cream butter and sugar. Add eggs and vanilla. Mix well. Add the dry ingredients and mix just until blended. Add the banana, nuts and sour cream. Mix well until blended. Bake in a greased loaf pan at 350 for 1 hour. (I baked this in muffin cups for about 25 min. It made 18 muffins.)
Thanks for stopping by!


Cherry Supreme

Hi! Sorry I've been delinquent for so long. It's summertime, and the meals have been quick and easy standby's, no new recipes to tell about.

This weekend, I had a stamping workshop at the house. We were making fruit-themed cards, so I made fruity snacks. For dessert, we had Cherry Supreme. It's a recipe of my mom's that she's had for years. I hadn't made it in a long, long time, so I dug out the recipe for us yesterday. I made a few changes to it, so here's my version of it.

Cherry Supreme


2 c. graham cracker crumbs
1/4 c. granulated sugar
1/2 c. melted butter

Mix together and pat lightly into a 9x13 baking dish.


1-8 oz. pkg. cream cheese (I used the reduced fat.)
1 c. confectioners sugar
1 T. vanilla
1-8 oz. tub Cool whip (I used the fat free.)

Whip together the cream cheese, confectioners sugar and vanilla. Fold in Cool Whip. Spread gently on top of crust. Chill for a few hours. Top with a can of cherry pie filling. (I used the can made with Splenda.) Chill until time to serve. Enjoy!
Thanks for stopping by!


Independence Day

Have a safe and wonderful 4th of July holiday!

God Bless the USA!


Marinade for Beef

I got this beef marinade recipe in my high school freshman Home Ec. class. Can you believe I still have it?!? It's one of my favorite marinades, and I use it pretty often.

Marinade for Beef

2 lbs. beef
3/4 c. oil
1/2 c. vinegar
3 T. worcestershire sauce
2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. oregano
1/2 tsp. pepper
1/2 tsp. thyme

Mix marinade ingredients together in a zipper bag. Add beef and marinate overnight. Prepare beef as desired.
Thanks for stopping by!


Father's Day Cake

One of the special things the boys and I did for Jim for Father's Day was to bake him a cake. I've seen those 9x13 cakes made up to look like a dress shirt and tie, so we did something similar. We made him one to look like a football official's shirt--or at least something close to it! I am by no means a great cake decorator, but I took some lessons as a kid in 4H. It's enough to get me by on some cakes for our family's special days.

A few weeks ago, we bought a cake to take to some friends' place while we were on vacation. It was a sheet cake, but they had split it in half and put a layer of icing in between. I've never seen that done to a 9x13 cake before. I decided to try it. We made a chocolate cake and put an Oreo cookie cream filling inside--to keep with the black and white theme, of course!

The cake tasted fantastic, and the decorating was ok. It's hard to get nice straight stripes! I had black decorator's dye here, so I was able to get a pretty dark gray icing for the shirt. I had it all finished and in the basement fridge. In the afternoon, the boys were playing in the basement. My 2-year old decided to "play" in the cake instead. There were little tiny finger holes poked all through the bottom of the shirt! I guess that was his way of adding his signature to the gift. Thanks for stopping by!


Strawberry Pretzel Salad

A few weeks ago, I made a dinner for a friend who had undergone some surgery and was home recovering. For dessert, I made this Strawberry Pretzel Salad recipe from my aunt, Bev. It's one of my sister and my favorites when we're home for family picnics in the summer! It makes a 9x13 quantity, but I made it in two 8x8 pans. One for my friend's dessert and the other for a stamping workshop here at the house.

Strawberry Pretzel Salad

1st Layer:
2 c. crushed pretzels (pulse in a food processor)
1/4 c. granulated sugar
3/4 c. melted butter

Bake at 400F for 6 min. Cool completely.

2nd Layer:
8 oz. cream cheese
1 c. granulated sugar
8 oz. Cool Whip

Cream together cream cheese and sugar. Fold in Cool Whip. Spread over cooled pretzel crust.

3rd Layer:
6 oz. strawberry Jell-O
2-10 oz. pkg. frozen strawberries without sugar

Dissolve Jell-O in 2 c. boiling water. Add strawberries and stir till mixed. Chill until almost thickened. Spread over cream cheese layer. Chill until serving time.
Sorry! I forgot to take a picture! Thanks for stopping by!


Veggie Pizza & Orange Cream Fruit Salad

Saturday, I hosted a stamp camp here at the house. I always make a light lunch or snacks for the ladies. This time, I made some Veggie Pizza. I've also heard it called Finger Salad. I had a recipe for this from Pampered Chef, but it used garlic and dill, and I didn't care for the flavor of the spread. My mother-in-law makes it every summer for the family reunion, so I called and got her recipe instead.

Veggie Pizza

2-8 oz. pkg. refrigerated crescent rolls
1-8 oz. pkg. cream cheese
1 c. mayonnaise
1 pkg. Hidden Valley Ranch Dressing
Assorted fresh vegetables, chopped
Shredded cheese

Note: If you purchase dried ranch dressing in bulk to make yourself, use approximately 3 T.

Note: I use broccoli; cauliflower; red or yellow bell pepper; and shredded carrots.

Roll out the crescents on a large baking sheet. Bake 12-15 min. in a 350 oven until light brown. Cool completely.

Combine cream cheese, mayonnaise and ranch dressing mix with a mixer till well combined and smooth. Spread evenly over completely cooled crescents.

Sprinkle chopped vegetables evenly over pizza.

Finish by sprinkling shredded cheese evenly over pizza, as heavily as you like it.

Refrigerate at least 30 min. before serving.

In addition to the Veggie Pizza I served some Orange Cream Fruit Salad for dessert. I was in the mood for light and healthy snacks! I've made this dish before and posted about it previously here. Thanks for stopping by!


Penguins Win the Stanley Cup!

Pittsburgh Rocks!!!

Did I tell ya' I'm a Pennsylvania girl? Woo hoo!! The Pittsburgh Penguins played a fantastic Game 7 of the Stanley Cup finals--in Detroit, nonetheless--and won the Stanley Cup!!! Pittsburgh Rocks!! Home of the Super Bowl Champion Pittsburgh Steelers and now the Stanley Cup Champion Pittsburgh Penguins!! Go Black and Gold!!! Thanks for stopping by!

BBQ Cheddar Chicken Roll-Ups

I needed something quick and easy for dinner last night, so I made these BBQ Cheddar Chicken Roll-Ups. My boys are very picky eaters, and they weren't terribly fond of them, but Jim and I liked them. Have them with a side salad, and it's a great meal filled with healthy vegetables! Thanks for stopping by!


Warm Caramel Bananas

Don't immediately wrinkle your nose and say, "Yuk!" when you read this recipe. It's actually pretty good. I had a sweet craving the other day and some bananas that were starting to get overripe, so I made some Warm Caramel Bananas. I made them once or twice a long time ago, so I made some to use up my bananas and feed my sweet tooth. I don't put the peanuts in this recipe, and I don't add the chocolate or whipped topping at the end either. I just make the sauce/syrup with the bananas. That takes some of the calories out and makes it not quite so sinfully rich, right? Thanks for stopping by!


Pasta with Zucchini and Toasted Almonds

I made this Pasta with Zucchini and Toasted Almonds from the June Cooking Light as a side dish with some grilled chicken breasts for dinner. It was great! The almonds and cheese at the end really make the dish. I was curious to see what adding fresh mint to a savory dish would be like, and it was wonderful. I didn't add the extra mint at the end as a garnish, because I didn't want it to be overpowering. This was a great summertime dish. Thanks for stopping by!


Steamwhistle Hot Dogs

These Steamwhistle Hot Dogs were a quick lunch after church Sunday afternoon. No, I don't need a recipe to make hot dogs, but these made something a little more special and tasty than just plain old hot dogs. Give them a try! Thanks for stopping by!


Sausage with Peppers and Pasta

We've been back from vacation for a week now. I made us breakfast and lunch while we were on vacation, but for the most part, we went out for dinner. Now I'm having a little trouble getting back into the routine of cooking dinner every evening! I picked some quick and easy recipes for the menu this week.

The new Kraft Foods magazine was in the mailbox when we got home, so I picked a few recipes out of it to try. This evening, I made Sausage with Peppers and Pasta, and it was pretty good--filling, but not heavy. I couldn't find Italian sausage at the grocery store, so I just used some smoked turkey sausage. I didn't have the exact blend of shredded cheese either, so I just used what I had. It turned out just fine. Thanks for stopping by!


Pens Can Go Up a Game Tonight!

The Pittsburgh Penguins have tied the Stanley Cup Playoffs with the Detroit Redwings at two games each! The Pens can go ahead tonight by winning the 5th game of the series. Go Pens! Thanks for stopping by!


Check out the labels!

I added something new to this blog today. Now, if you're on here looking for a recipe that I posted about a while back and don't want to scroll back through every post looking for it, you can look on the label list at the right side of this blog. I went through and organized my posts by recipe types, sources, etc. I hope you like it, and it simplifies looking for an old recipe! Thanks for stopping by!


Memorial Day

Have a safe and happy Memorial Day weekend!


Geist Half Marathon

I ran my fourth half marathon this morning, the Geist Half Marathon. Last fall I posted about running the Indianapolis Half Marathon. I am unable to run that race again this fall. Instead, I thought I'd plan to run the United States Air Force Half Marathon at Wright Patterson Air Force Base in Dayton, Ohio in September. To get a seeded starting position at that race, women must have run a half marathon in 1:52:00 or less--80 seconds faster than my half marathon last fall. That became my goal for the race this morning.

I didn't train as well as I would have liked to this spring. I was beset with illness for a lot of March and April. However, I was able to set another personal record this morning! I ran the race in 1:50:16, which qualifies me for a seeded position at the USAF Half Marathon in September and is a full three minutes faster than last fall's race! I can't believe I did it!

time: 1:50:16
average pace: 8:26 per mile
overall place: 529th out of 2765 participants
gender place: 112th out of 1421 women participants
age group place: 30th out of 227 women participants age 30 to 34

Thanks for stopping by!


Lemon Cornmeal Cookies

The December issue of Cooking Light had oodles of cookie recipes in it. I don't make hoards of cookies at Christmas time, because it's just us here most of the time, and I don't want to sit and eat them all day myself. (I have no will power when it comes to cookies, cakes, muffins, etc.) I do make some for gifts, but I'm always reluctant to try a new recipe for a gift just in case it doesn't turn out well.

My December issue is covered in flagged pages of new cookie recipes that I want to try. So, for my stamping workshop last week, I made a new recipe, Lemon Cornmeal Cookies. I'm happy to say they turned out well, and I will be adding this recipe to my box of favorites. (I should tell you though that I also made a batch of chocolate chip just in case!) Thanks for stopping by!


Orange Cream Fruit Salad

A little over a week ago, we had some friends over for dinner. I wanted to make a nice, light dessert, so I dug this recipe out of my box. I made it a long time ago when my in-laws were visiting. They really liked it, and I thought it would be perfect to make again.

I got this recipe years ago at a county fair dairy promotion booth. I saved this one recipe cut out of the pamphlet. Apparently, I didn't choose to save any of the rest! If you're looking for a fruit salad that's a little different from the typical, give this one a try. The creamy sauce on it is fantastic! Plus, I used fruit in light syrups, sugar-free pudding, 2% milk, and fat-free sour cream to save some calories.

Orange Cream Fruit Salad

1-20 oz. can pineapple tidbits
1-11 oz. can mandarin oranges
1-16 oz. can peach slices
1 medium apple, chopped
2 medium bananas, sliced
1 small pkg. instant vanilla pudding
1/2 c. milk
3/4 c. sour cream
1/3 c. frozen orange juice concentrate

Drain all juices from fruit. Put all fruit in a bowl. Mix pudding, milk, orange juice and sour cream with a mixer for about two minutes. Pour over fruit and mix. Chill for at least one hour before serving. Enjoy!

Thanks for stopping by!


Happy Mother's Day!

Take a look at this great Mother's Day gift from my oldest son! They made these in their preschool class. Check out that handmade card! I just love them both!

I also love the preschool that my son has attended for the past two years, Kids' Kingdom Preschool at the Wilkinson Church of Christ. Last year he attended as a 3-year old two days per week, and this year as a 4-year old three days per week. I can't believe he'll start kindergarten next year! We go to our kindergarten registration this week. Where does the time go?!? I'm trying not to get emotional over it, but I fear I will sit and bawl the whole time at his registration! I have to keep reminding myself that next year will be great, because it will be my youngest son's turn to have Mommy all to himself for a little while every day. Thanks for stopping by!


Chicken, Cashew, and Red Pepper Stir-Fry

I made this for lunch Sunday after we got home from church. Jim always makes the rice for me whenever we have anything with rice. We have a microwave cooker, and can you believe, with all the cooking I do, I can't seem to get rice to come out right when I make it?!? So Jim is the official rice cooker in our household.

Anyway, the Chicken, Cashew, and Red Pepper Stir-Fry was pretty good. If you like your stir fry with a lot of sauce, then you probably won't like this. We thought it was pretty tasty, and very light on your stomach. I added more peppers than it called for, used ground ginger instead of fresh, and didn't have any sherry, so I skipped that. Cashews can be expensive, so I'm sure it would be good with peanuts too. I happened to find some on sale, so I did use cashews. Don't ever by afraid to alter a recipe a little to use what you have on hand! Thanks for stopping by!


Lemon Pepper Shrimp Scampi

Yesterday for dinner, I made this quick and easy shrimp recipe. I know it's a little unusual to make seafood for a family meal in Central Indiana, but consider it occasionally. You can get some great deals on frozen shrimp. It's not as good as having it fresh at the beach, but a nice change of pace every now and then.

Last evening for dinner, I made this Lemon Pepper Shrimp Scampi for us. It was nice and light and perfect with a salad on the side.

Be careful when you're using precooked shrimp, which is what I usually use. I like to get them precooked, deveined, and sometimes all they have left on them are the tails. Be sure to thaw your shrimp and then only cook them for a minute or two, literally, until they are heated through. They get tough if you let them go any longer than that. Thanks for stopping by!


OneAmerica 500 Festival Mini-Marathon and 5K

Today was the OneAmerica 500 Festival Mini-Marathon and 5K in Indianapolis. My stamping and scrapbooking friend, Michelle, ran the 5K. It was just her second 5K, and she did great! Congratulations, Michelle!
Hope my cooking friends don't mind that I use my cooking blog to congratulate my family and friends who have ventured into running. I'm so proud of them!

I'll be back in the next day or so with a stamping post. Sorry I've been absent for so long! Thanks for stopping by!


Spinach Pasta Toss

Here's an easy recipe from the Kraft Food & Family magazine I got a few weeks ago. Unfortunately, it's no longer free. That's irritating. I wonder if I'll soon be getting a bill to renew my subscription? It's filled with quick and easy recipes for all sorts of things: main dishes, snacks, beverages, desserts, etc. but I'm not sure I like it so much that I'll pay to receive it. I can always just use the website, right?

Anyway, back to the Spinach Pasta Toss recipe... I made this the other evening with some grilled chicken breasts. It was a quick, easy, and healthy dinner. The boys weren't thrilled with the spinach. (Mom, do I have to eat the leaves?) I thought it was ok though. Jim did too.

Also, have you seen that mini pasta that Barilla makes? It was on sale at Meijer a few weeks ago, so I bought a few boxes. My youngest is a messy eater. Jim says eating is a full-body contact sport for him. I bought some, and I have to say it's easier for the kiddos to eat. I made this recipe with some of the mini penne pasta. It wasn't whole wheat, but oh well. I also used plain old shredded mozzarella instead of the Italian Blend too. My theory is that you use what you have if it's close enough. Thanks for stopping by!


Sausage Stuffed Manicotti

I've been on a new-recipe-trying kick lately. I made these Sausage-Stuffed Manicotti over the weekend. These were ok, probably not our favorite, but certainly not bad. I like trying new recipes, and some make it into my recipe box as a family favorite and some don't. I haven't decided yet on this one. Give it a try and see what you think! Thanks for stopping by!


Mediterranean Turkey Burgers

Saturday was a gorgeous day here, and we were all outside most of the day mowing grass, washing cars, bathing the dog, etc. I was inside long enough to whip us up a lunch of Mediterranean Turkey Burgers. I haven't ever cooked with ground turkey, but it was on sale at Kroger recently, and I got some. I am really liking the dishes I've made with it so far.

These burgers were fantastic! I really liked them, but then I really like Greek food. My youngest, who is 2 years old, thought they were great too. He wolfed them down like a champ! Oh, and as usual, I didn't use the exact ingredients. I didn't have Japanese panko bread crumbs, so I used plain old bread crumbs. Instead of arugula, I used spinach. Thanks for stopping by!


Paprika Pork

There's a dish I make occasionally called Paprika Chicken that we really like. It's a Hungarian dish, and Jim's family is Hungarian. When I saw this Paprika Pork recipe in the Cooking Light magazine, it reminded me of the chicken recipe, so I thought we'd give it a try. I made it Friday evening, and it wasn't bad. I think we still enjoy the chicken paprika recipe a little better, and I'll share it with you sometime. Thanks for stopping by!


Tex-Mex Calzones

Even though I just made regular pizza-style strombolis earlier this week, I tried this recipe for Tex-Mex Calzones too. I've never used ground turkey before, but it wasn't bad. It's definitely an alternative to ground beef or sausage if you're looking for something with less fat.

I'm not sure these will become one of my favorites, but they were something I will probably make again. Next time, I will probably try using regular salsa instead of salsa verde. Thanks for stopping by!


Stromboli, Calzone, whatever you call them!

I hadn't made homemade stromboli for my family in ages, so I made them Tuesday evening for dinner. I use my bread machine to make pizza dough, and then I just roll it out, fill it with our favorite items, seal them up and bake them at 350F until their golden brown. Serve them with a side of pizza sauce for dipping! Yum!

We normally put deli ham, pepperoni and mozzarella cheese in ours. I've also put grilled onions and/or green peppers, mushrooms, and browned hamburg or sausage in them. I usually make 2 or 3 out of a batch of dough, so I can make a few different varieties for everyone's tastes. I've never done it, but you could probably buy a can of pizza dough and do the same thing. Thanks for stopping by!


Spiced Pork Chops with Apple Chutney

I made Spiced Pork Chops with Apple Chutney Monday night for dinner. I got a new grill pan for my birthday back in February, and it was perfect for making these. Jim commented that they were very good done on the stove instead of baking them in the oven, which is what I usually do. I really enjoyed the apple chutney on them too. As shown in the picture, I even made green beans to go with them. It was yummy! Thanks for stopping by!


Broccoli and Chicken Noodle Soup

Hi, Everyone! Sorry I've been delinquent for so long. I lost a month of my life due to a sickie bug I just couldn't shake. It started in mid-March, and I am just now getting back into the swing of things. Needless to say, I wasn't in the mood to try new recipes while I was sick. I stuck to my old favorite comfort food recipes!

Late last week while making up this week's menu, I decided to dig out my Cooking Light magazines from the past two months. I hadn't had much of a chance to peruse them, so I grabbed them and picked a few recipes to try in the coming weeks.

Over the weekend, I made Broccoli and Chicken Noodle Soup. I have accumulated quite a collection of soup recipes, and I think I shall add this one to it. We enjoyed it. Thanks for stopping by!



May you have a blessed Easter.


Creamy Rice Pudding

After my Wednesday night meal was over, there were a few leftovers. I decided to look for a rice pudding recipe to make with the leftover cooked rice I brought home. Here's one that I found and tried, Creamy Rice Pudding. I made it and thought it was great! I left out the raisins, not because I don't like raisins, but I just didn't feel like having them in my rice pudding that day. Thanks for stopping by!


Texas Coconut Pecan Cake

One of the ladies at church made this cake for a Wednesday night meal a few weeks ago. Many of us asked her for the recipe, and she was kind enough to bring it to the church office to copy it for many of us. I decided to make it for my Wednesday night meal. I don't think she'll mind if I share it. Thanks, Carole, for the recipe!

Texas Coconut Pecan Cake

1 yellow cake mix
1 can coconut pecan frosting

Mix cake mix batter as directed on box. Mix frosting in with batter, beat well with mixer. Bake in a prepared bundt pan at 350F for 45 minutes or until done. Allow to cool for about 10 min. before removing from pan.


Cook 4 T. brown sugar, 1/4 c. butter, and 1/4 c. heavy cream in a small saucepan over medium heat until thick and bubbly. Drizzle over hot cake.
Thanks for stopping by!


Texas Sheet Cake

This recipe is from my mother-in-law. She makes this cake every year for the Toth family reunion, so I called her last week for the recipe. It's a very simple one. Thanks, Becky, for the recipe!

Texas Sheet Cake

Preheat oven to 375. Lightly grease a 12x17 baking sheet.

Bring to a boil in a small saucepan:

1 c. butter
1 c. water
4 T. cocoa

Allow to cool for a few minutes while preparing the following mixture of dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl:

2 c. flour
2 c. granulated sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
1 t. soda

Return to the melted butter and cocoa mixture and add:

2 eggs
1/2 c. sour cream
1 tsp. vanilla

Mix well before adding this to the dry ingredients. Mix the wet and dry ingredients together just until combined well.

Pour batter into the prepared baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes.

While cake is baking, prepare frosting as follows.

Bring to a boil in a small saucepan:

1/2 c. butter
6 T. milk
4 T. cocoa

Allow to cool for a few minutes while preparing the following in a large mixing bowl:

4 c. powdered sugar
1 tsp. vanilla

Pour butter, milk and cocoa mixture into sugar and mix well. Pour over warm cake after allowing to cool for about 5 minutes. Allow entire cake to cool before serving.
Thanks for stopping by!


Pineapple Upside-Down Cake and Carrot Cake

Once again, I am going to reference my old favorite cookbook, the Better Homes & Gardens Cookbook in the big red and white plaid binder. That's where I got the recipes for both my Pineapple Upside-Down Cake and Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting.

As usual, I didn't follow the recipe exactly. Again, I simplified the pineapple upside-down cake recipe by using a boxed yellow cake mix instead of making the cake from scratch. Hey, I was cooking for 100 people! I had to take a few shortcuts! Thanks for stopping by!


Coconut Cake

I think the next most popular cake last Wednesday night was the Coconut Cake. This is a recipe from Paula Deen, Jamie's Coconut Cake.
I did not follow this recipe exactly. In fact, I didn't use the cake recipe at all. Instead, I used a boxed white cake mix and made two round layers. I then made the filling from the recipe and applied it to my two layers as she describes.

Finally, I made the 7 Minute Frosting. This is the first time I've ever made this frosting, and I don't think I whipped it quite long enough. It was a little softer than I would have liked, so I will keep that in mind the next time I make it. No matter though, everyone that had the coconut cake thought it was great.

Stop by tomorrow for another cake recipe. Thanks for stopping by!


Peanut Butter Cake Icing

For dessert last Wednesday night, I made a variety of cakes:

  • Pineapple Upside-Down Cake
  • Coconut Cake
  • Texas Coconut Pecan Cake
  • Chocolate Cake with Peanut Butter Icing
  • Texas Sheet Cake
  • Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

The first one to be eaten was the chocolate cake with peanut butter icing. Have you ever made peanut butter icing? It's easy. There's a recipe in the red and white plaid Better Homes & Gardens cookbook, which I reference frequently, for buttercream icing. It has a few variations listed under it, and one of them is peanut butter. You simply substitute peanut butter for the butter or shortening in the recipe. Try it with your favorite buttercream icing recipe. It's very rich, but very very good. Be sure you have a tall glass of milk ready!

Tomorrow I'll share another cake recipe. Thanks for stopping by!


Hard Rock Cafe Cole Slaw

In addition to Chicken and Shrimp Gumbo, I also made rice, cole slaw and cornbread. (See yesterday's post for background story.) The rice was just some regular rice that I got at Wal*Mart. Did you know a 10 lb. bag has 100 servings in it? 100 people is our normal turnout on Wednesday nights, so that's what I prepared for.

For cornbread, I used twelve boxes of Jiffy cornbread mix. Again, that was pretty easy. I made up all the boxes and spread the batter on a full sheet pan. After it baked, I let it cool and then cut it into 96 pieces.

Finally, the cole slaw recipe is one that I have just found in the past few months. I had never found a good creamy cole slaw recipe that we liked. My mom gave me a cookbook last fall with restaurant recipes in it. I tried the Hard Rock Cafe Cole Slaw recipe, and we really liked it. Once again, for copyright purposes, I won't print the recipe here, but you're welcome to borrow my cookbook!

Tomorrow I'll tell you about my desserts. Thanks for stopping by!


Chicken and Shrimp Gumbo

Sorry I've been absent from posting lately! Things got a little hectic around here! It was my week to prepare the meal for the WCC Wednesday Family Night, which is our church's Bible study night. Women in the church take turns signing up to take care of the meal each week in the spring and fall when we have our studies.

Our traditional Christmas Eve meal is Chicken and Shrimp Gumbo. When we started staying here at our home for Christmas, we started doing some things to begin our own family traditions. Having Gumbo for Christmas Eve is one of them. Jim tells me that I need to make it more than once a year, and he asked that I make it for the Wednesday Family Night meal. So, I did.

The recipe I use comes from the Bubba Gump Shrimp Cookbook. (Yes, Bubba Gump from the movie, Forrest Gump.) For copyright purposes, I won't print the recipe below, but you're welcome to borrow my cookbook if you'd like! The recipe makes 4 1/2 quarts, which is served over hot cooked rice. I made 6 batches--3 with shrimp and 3 without. We got a fantastic deal on precooked frozen shrimp at Meijer, 2.5 lbs. for $9.99!

Come back Monday and I'll share some more of my menu. Thanks for stopping by!