Ice Cream in a Baggie

The boys and I are getting bored with winter, especially now that we've got a foot of snow outside. The storm we got last Tuesday and Wednesday is tied for 6th as the biggest snowfall in IN history. Indianapolis got 12.5". Judging by the amounts of other local towns/cities, we are in the 11" range here.

To break our boredom, we made ice cream in a bag yesterday morning. The recipe is in our church cookbook, submitted by our preschool teacher's kids. Miss Lisa is the best! What a fun treat for kids to make. It melts very quickly, so eat fast! Here's the recipe:

Ice Cream in a Baggie

1/2 c. milk
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1 T. sugar
6 T. salt

Combine milk, vanilla and sugar in a small ziploc bag.

Close bag and shake to combine.

Fill a large ziploc bag 1/2 full of ice. (I filled it almost full with snow.)

Pour salt over ice (snow).

Put small bag inside large bag and close large bag.

Shake bag for about 5 minutes until ice cream becomes solid. Enjoy!

Here's a picture of our bags of ice cream. We made one with white milk and one with chocolate. The boys loved shaking them. Thanks for stopping by!

Lemon Chicken Orzo Soup

I have a few recipes that start with boiling a chicken, and I love them all. I use boneless, skinless chicken breasts for a lot of recipes, but nothing beats boiling a whole chicken. I was so excited to find this recipe in the Cooking Light magazine.

I already have a chicken noodle soup recipe that I love. It's a Paula Deen recipe called The Lady's Chicken Noodle Soup, and yes, it starts by boiling a chicken. Of course, like most of my recipes, there are a few tweaks that I make to it, but that's a post for another day.

The Lemon Chicken Orzo Soup recipe was great. We really liked it. It's totally different than the Paula Deen recipe, and both are terrific. It made quite a bit, and I ended up freezing the leftovers to pull out some cold day later this winter. Thanks for stopping by!


Quick Warm Blueberry Sauce

Yesterday while we were stuck at home with all the snow, we had hot fresh waffles from scratch for breakfast. The boys, hubby included, like their waffles with plain old syrup, but I love this Quick Warm Blueberry Sauce recipe from Family Fun for mine. It's great on pancakes and ice cream too!

I have made it with Splenda instead of sugar, and it's great! I mentioned in a previous post about blueberry muffins that I love to buy frozen blueberries when they're on sale at Meijer. You can't beat the price compared to fresh blueberries. I hope you try this one, because it's easy and fantastic! Thanks for stopping by!


Toasted Pecan Wild Rice

I tried this recipe for Toasted Pecan Wild Rice. Wild rice is sort of expensive to buy, and it wasn't as good as I would have liked. So, in a nutshell, it wasn't bad, but it wasn't good enough to buy the expensive rice for! I would consider making it for a special holiday side dish.

I'll soon be finished testing all my selected savory recipes from the December issue of Cooking Light. Then maybe I can move on to the January/February issue! Thanks for stopping by!


Cumin-Pepper Flank Steak with Horseradish Chimichurri

I've been chewing on the decision whether to post about recipes that I have tried that we haven't liked so well. Do you still want to hear about a recipe that we didn't like? Will you bother to try it yourself?

I made Cumin-Pepper Flank Steak with Horseradish Chimichurri, another recipe from the
December Cooking Light magazine. I liked it, but Jim wasn't fond of it. I actually liked it best put into some bread and eaten as a sandwich with the sauce.

I don't know if I used the proper cut of beef or not. I used some steaks from my family's beef farm in PA. In fact, I've never bought beef at a store. I've only ever used homegrown beef from the farm in PA. Thanks, Dad for the homegrown beef!


Shrimp and Grits

Unless you're a Southerner, that combination probably sounds gross--or at least questionable. When Jim and I were living in the Carolinas, he first tried shrimp and grits at a restaurant in Greenville, SC called Stax Omega. Every restaurant with a shrimp and grits dish on its menu serves it a little differently with various flavors thrown into the sauces, etc.

While we were on vacation last summer, we found a cookbook in a local restaurant, Nathalie Dupree's Shrimp and Grits. The whole cookbook was full of shrimp and grits recipes. Jim was surprised to get the cookbook as a Christmas gift. The past two Friday nights, we have had shrimp and grits for dinner, gradually trying the recipes that Jim has picked. So far, the two we have tried have been great! Thanks for stopping by!


Here We Go!

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Frosted Peanut Marshmallow Crispy Squares

Today my son came home from preschool with a snack in a sandwich baggy. He nicely shared it with his little brother, and both of them enjoyed it immensely. It was a peanut butter Rice Krispy Treat with a chocolate topping on it. I have never made them, so I set out to find a recipe so that I could make the boys some more. The Kraft Foods website is full of easy recipes such as this, so that's where I looked first. I found this recipe for Frosted Peanut Marshmallow Crispy Squares. I don't know if they're exactly the same as the preschool treat, but they're pretty darn close! Thanks for stopping by!


Slow-Cooker Chunky Chicken Chili

Once again, I'm going to sing the praises of the Kraft Foods website. I had a late afternoon appointment and wanted dinner to be ready when I got home. So I decided to try this crock pot recipe. I've tried some slow-cooker recipes in the past that did not turn out well at all, so now I'm skeptical of new ones. I have a select few that I use regularly. This recipe for Slow-Cooker Chunky Chicken Chili was better than I expected and a great dinner on a cold blustery day! Thanks for stopping by!


Maple-Glazed Baby Carrots

I tried this side dish one evening, and I really liked them. I want to incorporate more vegetables in our meals, and this was one of my first tries at a new veggie side dish. So many sides like pasta, rice, potatoes, corn and peas are starches. If you have a great veggie side dish recipe to share, please do! Just post a comment telling me about it.

The recipe I used came from the Kraft Foods website, which is terrific for easy, basic recipes. Here's the recipe for Maple-Glazed Baby Carrots. Thanks for stopping by!


Go Steelers!

Quick Black Bean Soup

I made this Quick Black Bean Soup as a side to my Spicy Chicken Sandwiches with Cilantro-Lime Mayo that you can read about a few days ago. I really enjoyed it, because I love soup in the fall and winter months. Jim liked it, but not as much as I did. He's not a big fan of beans and lentils. It was a very earthy soup. The lime juice perfectly lightens it up a little, and the ham adds a great touch as well. I added more ham than the recipe called for. (I buy the ham already diced in a 1-lb. package. It's also great for ham and scalloped potatoes or pasta salad.) Oh, and I used yellow onion instead of red.

Thanks, Lance, for the stick blender for Christmas! I got to try it out tonight making this soup! I used an immersible "stick" blender instead of pouring the soup into a blender and then back into the pan again. It worked great! Thanks for stopping by!


Woodland Park Italian Beef

A friend of mine made this recipe for a get together at her house last year. We all enjoyed it so much, we asked for the recipe. I really like freezer cooking cookbooks, so I splurged and bought the book myself on Amazon.com. I'm not sure about copyright infringement laws, but I don't think I had better post the recipe here. If you'd like to take a look at my book, let me know!

The cookbook has ingredient quantities for four different cooking quantities for every recipe. For instance with this recipe, the original recipe yields 8-10 servings. However, there are additional listings for ingredient quantities to make 2x, 4x or 6x that original quantity. I made this beef last fall in a large crock pot using the 4x quantities. My in-laws were visiting, so we ate them for lunch, and then I divided and froze the remaining beef. I pulled it out Friday to thaw and have for lunch yesterday with the French Onion soup. Yum! It was a great hearty lunch on a cold blustery day. Thanks for stopping by!


Crock Pot French Onion Soup

I have had this recipe for years, and we love it. I made it this morning to have with some shredded beef sandwiches. I'll tell you about that recipe tomorrow. It's perfect to make for fall football Saturdays. Jim loves to munch on it all afternoon. The recipe was in the pamphlet that came with my crock pot.

I've made it up the night before and let it cook all night long. I've also made it in the morning and let it cook on high for 3-4 hours.

You can make it fancy like the restaurants do by putting some soup in an oven-safe soup crock, top it with a piece of toast and some mozzarella cheese, and stick it under the broiler for a few minutes. Thanks for stopping by!

Crock Pot French Onion Soup

1 qt. beef broth
3 yellow onions, thinly sliced
3 T. butter
1/2 tsp. salt
1 T. sugar
2 T. flour
Shredded mozzarella cheese

Pour broth into the crock pot. Melt the butter in a large skillet. Cook onions in melted butter till they are translucent and tender. Remove from heat. Sprinkle on the salt, sugar and flour and stir to combine. Add the onion mixture to the crock pot. Cover and cook on low 6-8 hours. Before serving, top with cheese.


Spicy Chicken Sandwiches with Cilantro-Lime Mayo

If you've been reading my posts thinking, "Geesh, she tried new recipes a lot!" No, I don't. Well, I guess I do, but not usually day after day like this. I go in spurts. It's usually this time of year where I get stir crazy and tired of everything. So it's in my cooking that I try some new things. Strong, bold flavors can do wondrous things for your spirits on a cold, gray winter day. I try to go for that instead of sitting and eating fattening comfort food all winter. It's too hard to burn those pounds off in the spring! The cilantro in this recipe is a perfect example of a bold flavor.

If you read my post a couple days ago about the pork chops, I tried my thoughts on baking instead of frying. I made these
Spicy Chicken Sandwiches with Cilantro-Lime Mayo for dinner, but instead of frying them, I baked them. Guess what? They were great! (Even if I do say so myself!) I was afraid they'd be really hot after being soaked in a marinade with hot sauce, but they weren't hot at all. They had a great flavor.

You know I never follow the recipe exactly, so here are my substitutions: I didn't have baked tortilla chips, so I used crushed Ritz crackers. Also, I never have fresh lemon or lime juice. I always use bottled. Once again, I didn't use egg substitute, but just eggs instead. Jim and I aren't big fans of raw onions on sandwiches, so I skipped the red onion. Thanks for stopping by!


Basic Potato Latkes

In reference to yesterday's post, while I was frying, I went all out. I tried another recipe in the pan frying article for Basic Potato Latkes. I found humorous irony in the fact that I made a traditionally Jewish dish as a side to my pork main dish. That's not meant to be nasty at all, just funny since I'm not Jewish.

Anyway, these didn't turn out too bad, and I found that frying them in peanut oil works better than vegetable oil. Jim and I decided that maybe I need to use a different oil than vegetable oil to fry things in. (I need all the help I can get when it comes to frying.) Once again, I substituted an ingredient. I used eggs instead of egg substitute. Thanks for stopping by!


Parmesan and Sage-Crusted Pork Chops

Last fall a stamping friend's daughter was selling magazine subscriptions for her girl scout troop. I purchased a subscription to Cooking Light magazine. My first issue was the December issue, and December was just so hectic I never really had a chance to look at it. My second issue is here, but I am just now going through and picking out all the recipes that I want to try from the first one. I'll catch up eventually! I thought I'd share some of the recipes that I have tried along with my thoughts on them too. Maybe you'll be inspired to try one of them.

The issue had an article on pan frying, which I have never been able to do well. I always end up burning the food on the outside, and it's not done on the inside. I quit trying long ago and decided that it was probably for the best that our family doesn't eat fried foods--unless we hit a burger joint occasionally!

The article inspired me to try it again, so I started with their recipe for Parmesan and Sage-Crusted Pork Chops. I didn't disappoint; the breading of my pork chops was over done, almost burned, but at least the pork was done the whole way through! I did really like the breading on these pork chops. I was thinking that I may try to make them again and bread them and then just bake them in the oven. If I try it, I'll try to remember to post on them again and let you know how they turn out. In the meantime, if you have any tips on pan frying for me, feel free to leave a comment!

Oh, and as usual, I didn't follow the recipe exactly. I used multi-grain bread and parmesan cheese, and a large egg instead of two egg whites. My pork chops were thicker too, which probably added to the breading getting overdone by the time the pork chops were cooked through. But trust me, if you want something fried, don't ask me to do it! Thanks for stopping by!


Sylvia's Sugar Cookies

My grandmother used to make these sugar cookies, and now the recipe is one of my favorites. Someone told me these are also called Amish Sugar Cookies. I have friends who love these cookies, so if I have the occasion to make some for them, I am sure to use this recipe. I've also made them in all sorts of colors for picnics, weddings, a baby shower, etc.

You can either color the dough and roll them in granulated sugar, or let the dough uncolored and roll them in colored sanding sugar. Either way is yummy! I just made a batch of them this weekend for some friends. Instead of rolling them in sugar, I iced them with the icing from yesterday's post and some leftover buttercream icing from the birthday cake last week.

Sylvia's Sugar Cookies

1 c. granulated sugar
1 c. powdered sugar
1 c. butter
1 c. vegetable oil
2 eggs
4 c. flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. cream of tartar
1/4 tsp. salt

Cream the butter and sugars very well. Slowly add the oil and mix until well blended. Add eggs and mix just until blended. Add the baking soda, salt, cream of tartar, and flour one cup at a time. Sometimes I add a little extra flour if the dough doesn't seem stiff enough. It shouldn't stick to your hands if you try to roll it in balls. Roll into balls of about one tablespoon and roll in sugar. Bake at 350 degrees until light brown on the edges.

Thanks for stopping by!


A Great Icing Recipe

Two years ago while we were visiting family in PA, I got a great icing recipe from Jim's aunt, Janet. Have you ever had whipped icing on a supermarket cake instead of the buttercream? Well this is the closest recipe I've found to what that is like. I made some last week and used it both to ice some cake and also on some sugar cookies. I haven't ever tried to color it though. I'm not sure it would work very well.

Whipped Icing

1 c. butter
1 c. shortening
2 c. granulated sugar
1-12 oz. can evaporated milk
2 tsp. vanilla

Cream butter, shortening and sugar VERY well. This will take quite some time if you're using a hand mixer and not quite as long with a good stand mixer. I use my wire whisk attachment on my stand mixer when I make this recipe. It takes a long time to whip it to the point it needs to be. The sugar will just about dissolve in the butter and shortening so that it's not grainy anymore. Gradually add the evaporated milk and vanilla and mix until creamy with a smooth texture. Enjoy!

Thanks for stopping by!


'08 Cars Birthday Cake

As promised yesterday, here's a picture of last year's Cars birthday cake. It's been so much fun to start making the boys' birthday cakes now that they're getting older and understand what all the fuss is about at birthday time. Thanks for stopping by!


'09 Cars Birthday Cake

I'll preface this by saying I am an amateur cake decorator. Here's the Cars birthday cake for this year. We picked one we found online that Birthday Boy liked, and I tried to mimic it. Mine isn't quite as wonderful as the one I copied, but it's close enough for my little guy! I'll post a picture of last year's cake tomorrow. Thanks for stopping by!


'09 Birthday Cupcakes

We have a special birthday at our house this week. These were the cupcakes for preschool on birthday day. No fancy cooking here. These are just a boxed strawberry cake mix with some simple buttercream icing. Thanks for stopping by!


Blueberry Buckle Muffins

I have been baking up a storm today! A special boy has a birthday this week, so I was baking cupcakes for his preschool class tomorrow and a cake for the family on Thursday. We were just about out of the boys' favorite blueberry muffins, so I made some of those too. Then, I got a call about making chocolate chip cookies for church guests this week, so I baked four dozen of those. Whew!

The boys love this blueberry muffin recipe, so I thought I'd share it with you. It's from Family Fun. You can find it on their website here. Blueberries are expensive! When Meijer runs a sale on their frozen blueberries, I buy them in large quantities! Thanks for stopping by!


Happy New Year!

Have a happy, safe and healthy 2009!

Thanks for stopping by!