Friday, May 11, 2012

"Power Rice"

I really enjoy reading a lot about the healing components of food.  It stands to reason that if certain foods make you sick, then there are certain foods that can make you feel terrific and give life to your body... instead of draining you of energy leaving you with that middle of the day "draggy" feeling.  I created this recipe with the purpose of it being filling and also that each ingredient would benefit some part of our bodies.  It was quite fun and I hope to do it again.  It was so good...I even gave it to my husband for lunch cold...he said it gave him energy.  Mission Accomplished!

Before I start....if you want a vegan adaptation, use vegetable stock instead of chicken broth.  If you are gluten free take out the wheat germ.

Here's what you'll need:

4-6 cups of brown rice (really depends how much you like), cooked
1 can of organic black beans, rinsed and drained
1/4 cup of olive oil
1/4 cup of dried cranberries
1 cup of fresh spinach of 1/2 cup of frozen, thawed with water squeezed out
1 onion sliced or diced
2 carrots sliced
1 green pepper sliced or diced
2 heaping tablespoons of garlic
1 tsp. of kosher salt
1 tsp. of fresh ground pepper
1/4-1/2 tsp. of cayenne pepper, depends how spicy you like your food
1 Tab. dried or 2 Tab. fresh parsley
1/4 cup of raw wheat germ
1/2 cup of organic chicken broth

 Begin by heating olive oil in large skillet over med-high heat.
Toss in the carrots and Onions and cook until onions start to get translucent, stirring occasionally.

Toss in the green pepper and garlic and cook for about 2-3 minutes more.

Toss in the Cranberries and spinach and cook for about a minute more.

Next, throw in the beans, parsley, salt, pepper and Cayenne

Toss in the wheat germ and stir it around...If that seems won't even know its there
Stir around for a couple of mintues to let flavors blend.
Toss in the rice and 1/2 cup of chicken broth...stir it around for about 4-5 minutes.

Put in on your plate with a sprinkle of fresh ground pepper and enjoy!
This recipe is versatile...add whatever veggies you have on hand or whatever you love.
I think broccoli or red peppers would be a wonderful addition.

If your interested, here is the breakdown of each ingredient and what it benefits.

Olive Oil-liver and kidneys
Spinach-intestines, pancreas, liver, lymph, blood
Cayenne-blood (anti-inflammatory as well)
Parsley-lymph, kidneys
Olive Oil-blood, liver, kidneys
Wheat Germ-blood
Brown rice-intestines
Green Pepper-kidneys
Garlic-lymph, liver,kidneys, pancreas
Black Beans-blood and intestines

*Salt, pepper and chicken broth added for flavor but also have benefits.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Multi-Grain Chocolate Chip Cookies

Before you turn away at the sight of "multi-grain" and "cookies" in the same sentence...please don't.  From one dessert lover to another...PLEASE make these.  You will be surprised at how good they are...I'm so serious.  But...if you are against all things "healthified" feel free to substitute our the whole wheat, wheat germ and Spelt for white flour...but really there is no need because you will never know.

Here's what you need:

1 Cup of Spelt
1/4 Cup of Wheat Germ
3/4 Cup of Whole Wheat Flour
1/2 tsp. of salt
1/2 tsp. of baking soda
3/4 cup of butter, softened
1 Cup of packed brown sugar
1/2 Cup of granulated sugar
1 egg
1 egg yolk
1 T. of vanilla
1 12 oz. bag of chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 325.  Line baking sheets with parchment paper or grease if you don't have parchment.

Beat the butter and sugars until smooth and creamy.  Add the egg, egg yolk and vanilla.  Combine the dry ingredients and add to the wet mixture.  Beat until combined.  Stir in chocolate chips by hand.

Drop by rounded teaspoonfuls onto baking sheets.  You can do tablespoons if you want but maybe don't do quite as many as you would for teaspoons (eg. if you would do 12 teaspoon size cookies, do 9 tablespoon size).  Bake for 12 minutes.  Remove from oven and let cool on cookie sheet for two minutes before removing to wire racks to cool completely.

Enjoy.  It's always nice to get a dose of healthy whole grains.


Thursday, May 3, 2012

Homemade Granola

The recipe I'm sharing today is  good , easy  and Healthy. I could think of at least three uses for this...cereal, snacking or a topping for yogurt or fruit.  If your a fan of granola cereals, I encourage you to give this a try.  You'll get about three times as much as you would buying it pre-made in the store and you can add whatever you like to suit your taste.

You will need:

7 C. of uncooked oats
1 C. of wheat germ
1 C. of dried cranberries
1/2 C. of brown sugar
1/2 C. of oil
1/2 C. of water
1/4 C. of real maple syrup
1 T. of vanilla extract
1 t. salt
1 C. of slivered almonds
1/2 cup of chocolate chips

Mix all ingredients EXCEPT CHOCOLATE CHIPS in a large bowl.  Bake at 275 for 55-60 minutes.  I put mine on a large cookie sheet.  I gave it a quick stir every 20 minutes as it was baking.  Remove from oven and cool.  Once it has completely cooled, stir in chocolate chips.  Store in refrigerator.

A simple, tasty and healthy snack in just an hour...Enjoy!

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Honey Dinner Rolls

These rolls right here are bad...VERY BAD!  They should be ban in the 50 states or at least come with a warning.  They are easy to make and Oh SO Good!  I ate two, no make that three...good thing I exercised hard today...If you are what you eat then I'd look like a dinner roll.  That sounds like a bad dream after eating pizza to close to bed time...but go make won't regret that you did:)

You will need:

2 packages of active dry yeast
1 cup of warm water
1/4 cup of honey plus 1 Tab., divided
1 egg, beaten lightly
1 tsp. salt
3 cups of flour, plus a little extra
1 T. of melted butter

Combine the yeast and cup of water and let it sit for about 5 minutes until foamy.  Add 1/4 of honey , egg, salt and flour.  Knead for about 5-7 minutes (with kitchen aid) or a little longer if doing it by hand.  This dough is stickier than most so I had to add a little flour here and there just so it didn't form a sticky mess in the bowl.  Don't overdo it.  When done mixing place in a greased bowl and turn once.  Cover and let rise until doubled about 1-2 hours.  When dough has risen, punch down and divide into 12 equal pieces (I used a little flour here on my hands to keep it from sticking while I rolled it into balls).  Form into balls (they don't have to be perfect) and place in a greased, round baking pan.  Cover with greased/oiled plastic wrap and let rise for 30 minutes.  Preheat oven to 400.  Before putting in the oven, use a pastry brush to apply the remaining 1T. of honey and melted butter (mix them together).  Bake for 13-17 minutes until lightly browned.  Enjoy warm with a big slab of real butter.  If you don't use real butter, I won't hold it against you,but you don't know what your missing:)

Good Luck on eating just one!  

Smells like HOME!

Do you like your house to smell like "Home?"  Many of the memories we have are often triggered by some sort of smell/scent.  I guarantee when you put this on your stove to simmer your house will smell simply wonderful...I have some simmering right now.

All you need is:

1lemon cut  up
1 orange cut up
4 bay leaves
1 large or 4 small cinnamon sticks or 1 1/2 tsp. of ground cinnamon
Generous amount of cloves (I used ground, but whole would be fine too)

Just put all these ingredients in a medium saucepan and fill with water (not all the way to the top, but almost).  Bring to a boil and then reduce to simmer.  Simmer as long as you like adding water as necessary.  If you add new water make sure you boil and reduce heat again.  In just a matter of minutes your house will smell naturally wonderful.


Thursday, April 26, 2012

Can't wait...

What exactly is it that I can't wait for???  Well I can't wait until the the new Gooseberry Patch book "101 Best Breakfast and Brunches" comes of my recipes will be in it.  When I opened my mail to find a letter from Gooseberry Patch, I was so excited!  I've sent several in and was surprised to finally hear that they picked one of my recipes.  I think that anyone who loves Gooseberry Patch would be as delighted as me to see one of their recipes in these beloved books.

If you've never read or seen a Gooseberry Patch cookbook, you really need to get your hands on one.  They are loads with great recipes, fond memories, craft ideas and so many other fun things.  I think one of my FAVORITE things about these cookbooks is the delightful artwork.  It is just so sweet and each picture evokes happy and cozy thoughts.  I look forward to every new book that comes out and would love to have every single book in my collection...what great fun that would be! 

I forgot to mention that anytime you get a recipe published in a GP book, they also give you a free copy of the book in which it was nice of them!  If you are interested in sending in a favorite recipe click here.  You can send as many as you want as often as you want. 

Hope you all have a blessed day.  Don't forget to Count Your Blessings!!!

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Oven Baked Stew over Smoked Gouda Mashed Potatoes

I can't for sure, but I think I've done and gone to Heaven:)  If you like beef stew you have to try this recipe.  The best part is it is so easy, just throw some ingredients in the dish, pop it in the oven, and go do your nails, pop in some laundry or if your feeling particular carefree and wild, pour yourself a cup of tea or coffee and put up your feet and relax!

You will need:

For Stew:
1 14 1/2 ounce can of diced tomatoes
1 Cup of Water
3 Tablespoons of quick cooking tapioca
1 tsp of salt
1/2 tsp of pepper
2 teaspoons of sugar
1 onion, sliced or diced whatever you prefer
4 carrots, sliced
2 stalks of celery
2 pounds of stew beef
One slice of bread cubed

For Potatoes:
5 1bs. of red potatoes
4 oz of smoked Gouda (you could use cheddar, but it would be a crime against humanity)
(whatever other things you use to make mashed potatoes the way you like...Just throw the cheese in).

In a 3 Qt. casserole combine first 6 ingredients.  Mix together.  Add the rest of the ingredients stirring to combine.  Bake at 375 for 1 1/2-2 hours, until meat is tender...I did mine a full two hours just so everything kind of "meshed" together.

About 45 minutes before the stew is done, put your potatoes on to cook.  When they are done drain and fix them however you like your potatoes best.  I use half and half, butter, season salt and white pepper.  Just throw the Gouda cheese in while they are mixing.

Put a generous helping of potatoes in a bowl and ladle stew over the top.  My family loved this, even the kids.  The smoked Gouda lends a slightly smoky flavor to the potatoes that makes this meal over the top FaNtAsTiC!  Pure comfort food!

We all need a GOOD laugh!

We've all heard of "Murphy's Law" and chances are we all have had our moments when we said..."That's Murphy's law."  My Dad used to say..."If I ever meet "Murphy" I'm going to punch him right in the nose...I'm sure you agree if you've had your "Murphy Moment."  Here's some funny quotes to brighten your day...and really what makes these so funny is that we can all relate because they are all SO true.   What can you add to this list?  I'll leave mine for ya at the end:)

If there is a possibility of several things going wrong, the one that will cause the most damage will be the one to go wrong.

If there is a worse time for something to go wrong, it will happen then.

If you perceive that there are four possible ways in which a procedure can go wrong, and circumvent these, then a fifth way, unprepared for, will promptly develop.

If everything seems to be going well, you have obviously overlooked something.

Nature always sides with the hidden flaw.

Whenever you set out to do something, something else must be done first.

Every solution breeds new problems.

Enough research will tend to support your theory.

When there is a very long road upon which there is a one-way bridge placed at random, and there are only two cars on that road, it follows that: (1) the two cars are going in opposite directions, and (2) they will always meet at the bridge.

Smile... tomorrow will be worse.

Left to themselves, things tend to go from bad to worse.

You never run out of things that can go wrong.

No battle plan ever survives contact with the enemy.

If your advance is going well, you are walking into an ambush.

The only thing more accurate than incoming enemy fire is incoming friendly fire.

Logic is a systematic method of coming to the wrong conclusion with confidence.

If builders built buildings the way programmers wrote programs, then the first woodpecker that came along would destroy civilization.

An expert is one who knows more and more about less and less until he knows absolutely everything about nothing.

All's well that ends.
A meeting is Everything goes wrong all at once. an event at which the minutes are kept and the hours are lost.

Everything goes wrong all at once.

Matter will be damaged in direct proportion to its value.

You never find a lost article until you replace it

If there is someone you don't want to run into, he/she will be the first person you meet that day.

And here is my own origianl "Murphy" quote....

"If you find yourself having to use the bathroom with urgency, one of your children will have just put half a roll of toliet paper in the commode thus clogging it up causing you to say a silent prayer as you try to use the plunger to remove the clog!"

You can ask me sometime how I know this!  Have a Blessed day everyone!

Friday, March 2, 2012

Mile High Biscuits

I love me some about you?  Smothered in butter, drizzled with honey, smeared with jam...that's what I'm talking about.  I have two recipes that I love and this is one of them.  These biscuits have endless possibilities...a complement to any meal, strawberry shortcake, smothered in sausage or chipped beef gravy, ham sandwiches...use your imagination.

Here's what you'll need:

2 cups of all purpose flour
4 t.baking powder
1/4 t. baking soda
3/4 t. of salt
5 T. of  chilled butter
1 cup of buttermilk

Preheat oven to 450 and make sure you have a rack ready in the center of your oven.  In a food porcessor combine the dry ingredients.  Cut the butter in small chunks and add to flour mixture.  Pulse until the mixture resembles course crumbs (be sure not to over mix...chunks of butter make fluffy biscuits).  Transfer to a bowl and stir in the cup of buttermilk.  Use a spoon to mix until it starts to hold together.  Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until most of the mixture sticks together.  Try to work quickly so the heat from your hand doesn't  melt the butter.  Pat out into a circle about 1/2 inch thick.  Use a biscuit cutter to cut.  Continue gathering the dough and cutting until all used up (I usually get 8 biscuits)...remember work quickly with as little hand contact as possible.  Place biscuits on a pan lined with parchment paper.  Bake for about 10 minutes or until light golden brown.  Serve warm.  Enjoy...everyone needs a good biscuit in their life!

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Olive Garden Dressing Knock Off!

I've always loved the salad dressing at Olive Garden, and I'm ashamed to even admit how much salad I eat when I go there.  There are many "knock-off" recipes floating around the web and this is the second I've tried.  I have to say this is the better of the two and I'll be using it over and over.
If you don't often make your own dressings, I'd encourage you to do so...the stuff at the store just doesn't compare and making it at home makes is so much healthier.

Recipe adapted from

You will need:

1/2 cup of mayonnaise (not miracle whip...gag!)
1/3 cup of white vinegar
1 t. of veg. oil
2 T. of corn syrup
2 T. of Parm. cheese
2 T. of Romano (note:  I was all our of fresh grated Parm/Rom. cheese so I used Kraft grated Three Cheese Blend...still taste good to me, but if you have fresh use it)
1/4 t. of garlic salt
1/2 t. of Italian seasoning
1/2 t. of parsley
1 T. of fresh lemon juice
1 t. of sugar
dash of pepper

Place all ingredients in food processor and blend for about a minute.  Transfer to a cruet.  Refrigerate for one hour before serving.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Skillet Penne with With Chicken Sausage and Spinach

This is a quick and delicious week night meal!  Everything cooks together just beautifully and the taste is out of this world.  You only need one pan from start to finish...can't beat that!  My kids loved this...spinach included.  Using Chicken Sausage cuts back on the fat, but still delivers that spicy sausage flavor that is so good in pasta dishes.  Give it a might just become one of your go-to recipes.

You will Need:

1 Tab. of olive oil
1 lb. of hot or sweet chicken sausage (turkey sausage would be good too), cut into 1/2 inch pieces
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1 1/4 cup of chicken broth
3 1/4 cup of water
8 oz. of penne or rotini (I use whole wheat)
1/2 cup of oil packed sun-dried tomatoes, rinsed, dried and chopped fine.
1/2 tsp. of salt
3/4 cup-1 cup of heavy cream
6 oz. of baby spinach
1/2 cup of grated Parmesan Cheese

Begin by heating the olive oil in a large skillet just until smoking.  Add the sausage and cook until slightly browned.  Add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds more, until the garlic becomes fragrant.  Add the chicken broth, water, pasta, tomatoes and salt.  Over medium-high heat, cook until the pasta is tender and the liquid had become thicker, about 18 minutes or so...keep an eye on it.  Stir in the heavy cream (begin with 3/4 cup and then add an additional 1/4 cup after you add the spinach if you feel the sauce needs thinning). Start adding the baby spinach one handful at a time and cook until wilted.  Remove from heat and add Parmesan cheese.  Serve immediately with an additional sprinkling of Parmesan.  Enjoy.

~adapted from a recipe originally in Cooks Illustrated, May 2007

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Whole Wheat Chocolate Crinkle Cookies

So the other night I was really craving some chocolate (what's new) but I wanted to make something a little on the healthier side. Now please understand when I say "healthy,"I don't mean tasteless. I mean something that is just as good as it's "less healthier" counter part. The hubs and kiddos ate about half of these before they were even cooled. I'd say that's a pretty good sign that they were really good.
You will see that the recipe uses Succanat. If you've never heard of it, it is sugar in it's purest form(Succanat stands for sugar-cane-natural). It is completely unrefined, unprocessed which makes it a "whole" food. It was developed by a man in Switzerland as a way to combat cavities and tooth decay in children. Its flavor very much resembles brown sugar with a molasses overtone. I find it works very well in chocolate, but not so much in say, sugar cookies. You can find it in the health food section of most grocery stores. Give it a try if you like, otherwise just use regular sugar instead. It's up to you. Okay, here we go....

You will need:

1/2 cup of confectioners sugar
1 2/3 cups of whole wheat pastry flour or soft white wheat (same thing really)
1/2 cup of cocoa powder
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. of salt
1 Stick of butter, at room temperature (let's hear it for butter!!!)
1 cup of Succanat (If you're using sugar make it 1 1/4 cups)
2 eggs
1/2 tsp. of vanilla.

Preheat oven to 350 and grease to baking sheets with butter.
Put the conf. sugar in a bowl and set aside.

In a large bowl combine butter and sugar/succanat until creamy. Add the eggs and vanilla, beat until well blended. Next add the flour, baking powder, cocoa powder and salt ( you can mix these separately before adding if you like, but I use my Kitchen-Aid and just throw them all in without mixing before hand). Beat on low speed just until blended.

Grab about a tablespoon of dough and form it into a ball. Roll the ball in the confectioners sugar until completely covered. Place on baking sheet about 2 inches apart. Bake for about 10 minutes, until cracked and puffed. Don't over bake, you want them to be a little soft. They will harden as they cool. Let cool on pan for about 15 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool. Ours barely made it to the wire rack, we ate them right out of the oven...and they were good. Really made me feel like I was living on the edge eating them right out of the oven instead of letting them cool...when will the madness end??? What more could you ask for? A chocolate cookie that is healthy AND taste is very possible that this may bring about world peace;) Blessings!

Smokey Potato Bake

Pay no attention to that hole on the left side of the casserole...that's where I tested to make sure they were heated through...and I enjoyed every second of it!

Hey you not even think about NOT making these potatoes. They are fan-tab-u-lous! Seriously...sometimes I wonder how something so simple can taste so good. I served them with ham but they would probably work well as a midnight snack too or say in place of a birthday cake;) NEED to make these.

All you need is:

1 32 oz. package of southern style hash browns.
1 can of cream of mushroom soup
1 cup of sour cream
2 cups of 4-cheese Mexican blend cheese (you could use whatever you like)
About 4 drops of liquid smoke
2-4 Tab. of melted butter (for good measure)

Set aside about 1/2 cup of cheese to sprinkle on top.

Grease a casserole dish (make sure it's big enough to hold all the hash browns). In a bowl combine the soup, sour cream, cheese and liquid smoke. Place half of the hash browns in the pan. Spread half of the cheese mixture over the the top. Repeat again (potato, cheese mixture). Sprinkle remaining cheese over the top. Drizzle melted butter over all and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake at 350 for 45-60 minutes until bubbly and heated through (I checked to be sure). You can cover loosely with foil so the top doesn't get too brown, but I didn't have any problems with my oven.

Try to share some with your family:)

Sweet Potato Biscuits

These lovely little rolls you're looking at are sooo good! I really, really, love biscuits and scones, especially with a good cup of coffee. A lot of people have been turned off by scones and biscuits thinking they are just to dry...and rightfully so. If they are not made right, or handled too much they just don't have that light, fluffy quality that makes them out of this world. I'll give you a little bit of info here. I've read a lot about how to make scones that melt in your mouth and biscuits that are so light they float and here is what I found. Follow these things and your biscuits will be fantastic every time. If I'm wrong, I'll owe you a batch of cookies or pan of brownies;)

~Put your butter in the freezer...the colder the better

~Handle the dough as little as possible. The heat from your hands makes the fat warm. The fat (butter or shortening) is what makes your biscuits so light. Chunks of butter and shortening are a very good thing. During baking the butter melts and creates soft, light flaky layers.

~Put your bowl in the freezer...cold is good, very good

~Use a sharp biscuit cutter, not a glass. Using a glass kind or "welds" layers together as you cut through the dough. A sharp edge creates a clean cut resulting in fluffier biscuits.

*Please note this recipe is different than most because it melts the butter (typically you never do that). Also it uses whole wheat flour which makes it heavier than traditional biscuits, but these are still really good.

You will need:
1 cup plus 3 Tab. of flour
3/4 cup of whole wheat flour
1/2 cup toasted wheat germ
2 teaspoons of baking powder
1/2 teaspoon of baking soda
1/2 teaspoon of salt
1 1/4 cups buttermilk
2/3 cup of mashed sweet potato
1/4 cup butter
2 Tab. honey
In a large bowl, combine first six ingredients. In another bowl, whisk the buttermilk, sweet potato, butter and honey; stir into dry ingredients just until moistened.
Turn onto a lightly floured surface; knead 8-10 times. Pat or roll dough out into 3/4 inch thickness, cut with a floured biscuit cutter.
Place 2 inches apart on greased baking sheet. Bake at 400 for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown.
Serve warm with butter and drizzled with honey.

Mocha Scones

My husband is the love of my life. Chocolate and Coffee are fighting for second place. Today however the two can share the coveted second place status in these scones. These are worth the effort. Seeing that mocha drizzle dripping down the side of this chocolate studded yumminess should be enough to convince you, but in case it's not I think they are very, very good. I consider myself a scone connoisseur...these ROCK! Go make them.

By the way, wish I could take credit for these babies but I found them here.
Take some time to check out all her great recipes.

You will need:
2 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
8 tablespoons unsalted butter, frozen
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup strong coffee, room temperature
1 large egg

For the Mocha Glaze

1/4 cup strong coffee
1 ½ cups confectioners’ sugar
2 ounces unsweetened chocolate, melted (I used semi-sweet because it's what I had and they worked fine).

1. Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or grease pan and double up your pans...keeps them from burning.

2. In food processor mix flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Add cold butter (cut in big hunks) and process until if resembles course crumbs. Pour into a large bowl and stir in the chocolate chips.

3. In a small bowl, whisk sour cream, coffee and egg until smooth.

4. Stir sour cream mixture into flour mixture until the dough comes together. I typically just use clean hands for this process. Then use your hands to press the dough against the bowl into a ball. The dough will be sticky, but it will come together.

5. Place on a lightly floured work surface. Now at this point you can either pat the dough into an 8-inch circle about 3/4-inch thick and use a sharp knife to cut it into 8 triangles. Or you can pat it into a rectangle, then use a sharp knife to cut 10 even squares. Then cut 10 even squares in half to create 20 smaller triangles.

6. Place scones on prepared baking sheet, about 1 inch apart. Bake until golden, about 15 for smaller triangles and 18-22 minutes for larger triangles.

7. Cool on wire rack. Once scones are cool, prepare the glaze.

For the Mocha Glaze

1. In a small bowl, combine coffee and confectioners’ sugar and whisk until smooth. Whisk in melted chocolate until thoroughly combined.

2. Drizzle chocolate glaze over the scones (do this however you want. I used a spoon, but you could also use a pastry bag or Ziploc bag with a small hole snipped in the corner...whatever works) .

Philly Cheesesteak Pizza

~My kids wanted some plain I did half and half~

I love Philly Cheese steak sandwiches and I love Pizza. So in this recipe they meet and decide they can't live without one another. And I think I can't live without this Pizza. Give it a try!

You will need:

Dough (use your favorite recipe or even store bought if you like it)
Pizza Sauce
Pizza Blend Cheese (cheddar and mozz.)
One half of a red/green pepper...whatever you want
half and onion (or more if you like)
6 shaved steaks (like Steak-um's or Philly Steaks). They can be found in the frozen meet section.
Additional 1 cup of mozzarella
Chopped Jalapenos, if desired
Olive oil
Garlic Salt

Begin by drizzling some olive oil in a Saute pan. While that heats up break the sandwich steaks into small pieces. Add to the oil. Cook and stir until almost no pink is left. When the steaks are almost done throw in the onions and peppers. Continue to saute until meat is no longer pink and the veggies are crisp tender. Stir often to prevent meat from burning. When the mixture is done, turn off the burner throw the 1 cup of mozzarella on top and cover so it melts. Meanwhile, roll out your dough and spread sauce within 1 inch of edges. Sprinkle with pizza blend cheese. Go back to your meat mixture, give it a stir to mix up the melted cheese and then spread over the pizza. Top with chopped jalapenos if you like them and then sprinkle with garlic salt. Bake at 450 (or whatever is normal for the crust you use) for about 9-10 minutes. Let sit for a few minutes before diving in. Be nice...share with those you love:)

Doesn't It look so Good???

Pumpkin Scones

I've tried a lot of different Pumpkin Scones but these are definately my new favorite. If you are a fan of scones and pummpkin you should give these a try. I think you will be pleasently surprised at how good they are! This recipe is adaped from one I found at The Shoebox Kitchen.

2 cups all purpose flour
1/4 cup plus 3 tablespoons granulated sugar (we used turbinado)
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
6 tablespoons cold butter, cut into 1-inch cubes
1/2 cup canned pumpkin (we used our fresh pumpkin puree)
3 tablespoons half-and-half
1 large egg

Spiced Glaze
1 cup plus 3 tablespoons powdered sugar
2 tablespoons milk
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 T. of real maple syrup (use more if you need to)

*You don't want the drizzle to be watery. It should be slightly thick and drizzle at the end of a spoon.

Preheat the oven to 425 and line a baking sheet with parchment paper (if you don't have parchment paper, double pan). Combine all the dry ingredients and cut in butter until it resembles small crumbs. I use my food processor for this part because it's so much easier, but a pastry cutter will work just fine. Combine the pumpkin, half and half and egg. Add to the butter/dry ing. mixture and stir till it starts to come together. I used my hands once it started "sticking" together to gather it into a ball. On a lightly floured surface, flatten into a circle about 10 inches or so and then cut into 8 wedges. I suupose you could do a few more if you wanted, but I like thick scones. Transfer to baking sheet. Bake for about 15 minutes. Mine were done in about 12, so keep any eye on them. Combine glaze ingredients and drizzle over scones. Serve warm.

Christmas Snowflake Fudge

Here is a easy, quick and delicious recipe that you really need to try. It takes less than 20 minutes and it tastes fantastic. I already ate make that three pieces. I'm thinking I need to freeze it or give it away! This comes from the wonderful folks over at Gooseberry Patch. I'm a huge fan of theirs and want to encourage you to invest in some of their cookbooks. They are a joy to read time and time again.

You will need:

6 oz. pkg. of semi-sweet choc. chips
1 T. of shortening
1 cup of pecans, chopped
12 oz. pkg of milk chocolate chips
14 oz. sweetened condensed milk
1/2 cup of flaked coconut

For the first layer, melt chocolate with shortening over very low heat on the stove, stirring constantly to prevent burning. Add nuts and spread in a greased 9X9 pan that has been buttered (note this is not really a "layer" as much as it is nuts). I actually line the pan with buttered aluminum foil. Once its hard you can lift the whole block of fudge out, peel of the foil and cut into perfect squares. For the second layer combine milk chocolate chips and sweetened condensed milk over low heat, stirring frequently, until all chips are melted and mixture is creamy. Pour over nut layer and spread to cover. Lightly press the coconut into the top layer. Cool in refrigerator. Cut into small squares.

Go know you want to make this. Have your fudge and eat it too!!!

I'll admit that I haven't always been a huge fan of Sloppy Joes, but let's face's a quick mid-week meal and kids generally like it. Over the past few years I've tried a lot of different versions, but none of them have become my "go to" recipe. That is until this one. It's really good, in fact, that you almost forget your eating ground beef and not pulled beef...for real! I served these with a side of coleslaw. I even threw some slaw on top of my sandwich with some cheese...oh my...I even at leftovers for lunch today. So give these a try...I think you'll be surprised that something so easy can  taste so good.

You will Need:

1 lb. of ground beef
2-3 celery stalks, chopped
1 Small onion, chopped
1 (8 ounce) can of tomato sauce
1/4 cup of ketchup
1/4 cup of your favorite BBQ sauce
1 T. of firmly packed brown sugar
1 t. of dry mustard
salt and pepper
1 T. of Worcestershire sauce
1 T. of vinegar

In a large skillet, brown beef, celery and onion.  Drain the fat.
Stir in remaining ingredients, simmer covered, 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
If the mixture seems to loose, take off the cover and let moisture evaporate.
Cook until it reaches the consistency you like.

I recommend serving these on your favorite rolls, sprinkled with cheese and a side of slaw and fries. This is fast food at home...your kids will love it.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Mashed Potato Dinner Rolls

I love homemade bread and rolls, and in my humble opinion, nothing says "home" like fresh baked bread!  I made these last night for supper and they were so good.  I think I ate four, or was it five, but whose counting, anyway?  These are like a little bit of heaven on earth...warm from the oven with a big hunk of butter on top.  It's the kind of stuff dreams are made of (that and swimming pools full of chocolate, but we'll save that for another time).  Other than the rise time, these are fairly easy to make, just plan on making them about two hours before supper.  Give these a try you wont be disappointed...they are so light and fluffy...can't say it enough...they are so good!

*recipe adapted from Taste of Home

You will need:
1 package (1/4 ounce) active dry yeast
1/4 cup warm water (110° to 115°)
1-3/4 cups warm milk (110° to 115°)
1/4 cup butter, softened
1/4 cup canola oil
6 tablespoons sugar
1 egg
1/2 cup warm mashed potatoes (prepared with milk and butter)
1-1/2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
6 cups all-purpose flour
*make sure when you add warm ingredients that they are warm, not hot,  or you will kill the yeast.  Ideal temperature is between 105 and 110 degrees.

In large bowl or stand mixer, dissolve yeast in warm water. Let stand for about five minutes.  Add the milk, butter, canola oil, sugar, egg, mashed potatoes, salt, baking powder and baking soda.  Mix (with dough hook attachment) slightly.  Begin by adding four cups of flour and mix.  Continue adding up to two cups more of flour until you get a soft dough (should be a little "sticky").  I used six for mine, but always go by how your dough looks and feels, not how many cups is called for.  After a while you just know what looks right.

Place dough in a greased bowl (turning once to grease both sides) and cover.  Place in a draft free place to rise for 1 1/2 hours.

Once the dough has risen (should be about double in size) punch it down and let it rest for a few minutes.  Divide the dough in half.  Keep the half you not using covered in the bowl.  Divide the first half into 16 equal pieces and roll into balls.  Place on a lightly greased baking sheet.  Repeat with other half.  Cover both baking sheets with plastic wrap sprayed with cooking spray.  Make sure you don't "tuck" the plastic wrap under the sheets or this will inhibit rising.  Just kind of lay it over the  top.  Let rise for 30 minutes.  Bake at 375 for 15-20 minutes, until light golden brown.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Homemade Chocolate Pudding

Here is a quick and easy recipe to make for your kiddos (or for yourself) when you have a hankering for something chocolate.  You probably have most of the ingredients in your fridge and....just trust me on far surpasses the store bought stuff.  Very basic, simple ingredients that you won't need a degree in chemistry to decipher (have you looked at the back of a pudding box!?).  I'm sorry that I don't have a picture...we ate it all before I remembered to take one.  Give this a try and I hope that you will be convinced to start whipping up your own pudding instead of using that chemical laden stuff on the store shelf.

You will need:

1/4 cup of succanat (you can use brown sugar)
3 Tab. of corn starch
3 Tab. of baking cocoa
1/4 tsp. of salt
2 3/4 cups of whole milk (I used 2%)
1/4 cup of heavy cream
1 cup of milk chocolate chips (I used semi-sweet and they worked fine)
1/2 tsp. of vanilla

Put the succanat/sugar, corn starch, cocoa and salt in a saucepan.  Wisk gently.  Add the milk and cream; wisk to combine.  Add the chocolate chips and bring to a boil over med. heat, stirring frequently.  Once it boils, turn the heat down to med/low and stir constantly until thickened.  Remove from heat and stir in vanilla.  Pour into dishes and let cool (or eat warm if you like).  For an extra indulgence throw on some real whipped cream.  Enjoy!

Saturday, February 11, 2012

ABC's of Marriage-"C" is for Choose

I have been debating back and forth about what I wanted to do for the letter "C" in this series of devotionals for ladies/wives.  I had an outline all ready to type up, but for some reason the Lord kept bringing this particular thought to mind.  Have you ever heard the saying that "life is the sum total of all the decisions that we make?"  There is so much truth there because at the end of our lives that is exactly what we will be left with...the outcome of all the choices that we have made in life.  The most important choice one can make is turning to Christ for Salvation.  Maybe next in line would be whom you will marry, how many children you'll have, what kind of job/career you might choose...all these are choices that we make.  From the time we get out of bed in the morning to the time we get back in at night we make choice after choice after choice.  So as we make choices in life we should make sure that God is in all our thoughts because the alternative (leaving Him out) could be the difference between a life of peace or a life of regret and stress.  Having said that...the wonderful thing about our AMAZING God is that even when we've made the wrong choices, even when we have left Him out of our thoughts...He is always willing to help us pick up the broken pieces and get us back on track.  I don't get it and I don't have too, but I know from personal experience that this is so true.  So as we think specifically of a wife's role in marriage (certainly some of these things relate to the husband as well) some thoughts came to mind about some "little" choices we can make everyday to make our marriage better than the day before...because in the end, all the things you thought were just "little" really were the most important after all.

~Choose to forget that little "misunderstanding" you had yesterday.

~Choose to not go to bed until that argument is resolved.

~Choose to tell your husband that you love him everyday...even if you don't "feel" like it.

~Choose to focus on your husband's strength's and not all the things that you "wish he would be."

~Choose to never forget that you aren't perfect...marriage is a union of two sinners, saved by God's Grace.

~Choose to remember your husband's favorite things.

~Choose to make yourself attractive for your husband.

~Choose to be Godly, and devoted to the Lord everyday...this will make you beautiful inside!

~Choose to consider you husband before yourself...just as Christ did for you when He went to the cross.

~Choose to make your marriage a success, even if you think all hope is lost (that may mean getting help if that is the case).

~Choose to be quiet when you feel like saying that thing that doesn't really need to be it lovely, pure, just, of good report?

~Choose to be like Christ....humble and meek.

~Choose to hug, kiss and dote on your husband...everybody wants to feel loved.

~Choose to always guard your heart by never putting yourself into a compromising situation or any situation that makes your husband feel uncomfortable.

~Choose to give your marriage to the Lord from now until eternity...He can do wonders with it.

This is most definitely not an extensive list...just what came to mind.  We all would do well (myself included) to choose wisely each day of our married life!  Blessings:)

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

ABC's of Marriage-B is for "Be a "builder" not a "plucker!"

Yesterday we talked about let's think about this.

B is for Build-up

What would you think if one day while you were sitting down with your family for dinner a stranger walked into your house and started knocking out walls, breaking windows and lifting floor boards?  Silly question, but one to think about since the Bible uses a similar example when describing the foolish woman. 

"Every wise woman builds her house, but the foolish plucketh it down with her hands."

There are several ways in which we as woman can tear down our homes, and I know that we all have been guilty of some of them.  Here are just a few that I thought of.

1)  Harsh words-  As Christian woman, we should really think before we speak, listen more than we talk and when we do speak, think about how we are saying it and for what intention.  I am so guilty of this and I'll be the first to admit it.  I ask the Lord to as the Bible states..."Set a watch, O LORD, before my mouth; keep the door of my lips,"  Psalm 141:3.  How you speak to your children and your husband are so important in the message you give to people.  Do you come across as just a loud mouth, bossy woman?  No man likes this and God can't stand it most of all!  The Bible references how "It is better to dwell in the corner of the housetop, than with a brawling woman in a wide house,"  Proverbs 21:9.  Basically...It would be far more comfortable for your husband (or mine) to live on the corner of the roof than in the same house with you or I if we are being argumentative, impossible, loud and demeaning.  Acting this way is like, figuratively speaking, ripping the foundation of your marriage and your husbands leadership in the home apart one word at a time.  I know this is hard to is for me.  But I sincerely have asked the Lord to just teach me to "Be Quiet."  It is the wise woman who learns that there are times to just swallow your pride and keep your mouth quiet.  So many arguments will be avoided and there will be peace in the home.  One of the distinctive marks of a Godly, Christian lady is how she treats her husband. As I was reading this week, I felt that God said to me..."Don't you think for one minute you are being Godly if you are bucking against the leadership of your husband."  No, I don't do it all the I'm not demeaning, but there are things personally that I know God showed me that I need to always watch and you better believe I will...I don't want to have a part in demolishing my home.  How about you?  What are your areas?  We all have them, don't we?  It's the humble heart that admits their faults and then through the power of the Holy Spirit overcomes them...God already knows we aren't perfect...but he sees the heart that is willing and really wants to do right.

If you would like to read more on this topic click here or here.

2)  Having a "know it all" attitude-  Let me ask you another question...How do you feel when you try to teach your children something and they argue and argue that their way is right and you have no idea what your talking about? do you think your husband feels when you carry on and whine and complain that your way is right and that he doesn't know what he's talking about?  It is the natural tendency of woman to be this it would behoove us to learn early on that 1)  Our way isn't always right  2)  Our husbands don't have to do everything just like we do (if that's what your waiting for you will be forever disappointed)  and 3)  It isn't going to kill us to just give up the "control" issue and let our husband lead.  Don't forget that God has put the husband in the leadership position and your husband is going to have to answer for how he leads the home.  Our job is to respect our husbands (I know that there are situations where this isn't always easy) and let God do the rest.  

Click here for more great information on this subject!

3)  Holding Sexual Intimacy over your husbands head-If you want to know one thing that will send your marriage down the tubes really quick...this is it.  Withholding sex from your husband because of bitterness, strife, unresolved issues or whatever the case may be is like putting the welcome mat out for Satan to come into your marriage.  Once he has that open door he will be in faster than you can blink and eye and you'll be left wondering..."how did that happen?"  All of us wives need to be reminded of this because it is our natural tendency to forget it thinking,"It's no big deal."  On the contrary it's a very big deal because in case you have noticed we live in a very sex driven society and men are bombarded and confronted with sex, provactively dressed woman, etc...more than ever.  That's the world we live in.  So it would behoove us as wives to fulfill our husbands need for sexual intimacy before someone or something else does.  It happens ALL the time. There are plenty of Christian men who are caught up in the dangerous/addictive world of pornography...don't believe me?  There are plenty of statistics to back me up.   I've included some really great articles at the bottom of this post that I hope you will read.  I know when I did it certainly changed my thinking.  I know there are plenty of people out there who have sttuations/circumstances that make it very difficult for you as a wife to want to be intimate with your husband, I get it.  If this is the case I pray that you will sincerely seek getting those issues is so important for the health of your marriage.  As a married couple you should always be "working on things" because both of you haven't arrived and that's what makes marriage so great...two people who know they aren't perfect but really strive to be the best they can be for each other.  God honors that!  I pray that even as you read this you will consider doing something unexpected and romantic for your husband.  Put aside whatever inadequacies you think you may have and be the initiator.  Your husband will love it!  Sexual intimacy is biblical, fun and like "glue" for your marriage. 

Please take the time to read this is so good.

This article will help you understand why sex is so important to your husband.

I know I'm taking these things to heart...I hope you will too.

Monday, January 9, 2012

The ABC's of Marriage

Hey guys...I know it has been far too long since I have posted anything.  It seems that the months just got away from me with the holidays, birthdays, our Anniversary etc...I keep telling myself that I need to blog more regularly, but honestly it's hard to find the time without taking time from things that really need my attention.  Having said that, I really hope this year to be able to spend more time writing and posting...I have a million things in my head...and they are all things I'd like to share with you.

One of the things I've really been thinking about is marriage.  For no particular reason I suppose but yet for a dozen all at the same time.  Marriage isn't actually takes a lot of work.  But it is definitely worth all the work when you reap the benefits of a healthy in which both spouses give and take and both serve each other.  I thought it would be fun and helpful to go through the alphabet one day at a time and give some thought relevant to that particular letter.  I want to add that I don't think I have it all together or that I somehow do these things all the time (like I wish I did)...I'm writing them as a reminder to myself at the same time.  All of us ladies need to be reminded of how to love and respect our husbands.  It won't always come takes work and initiative on our parts.  Granted my husband is a doll and he is easy to love but it still takes work...human nature is to forget, but we need to train ourselves to remember.


I thought a good way to start this whole thing off is to give something really easy and at the same time so helpful to our marriage.  ANTICIPATE when your husband comes home for the day.  If us ladies have plans (maybe shopping, crafting, parties etc...) we look forward to it and we plan around it.  When the person "we just couldn't wait to marry" comes home we should do the same thing.  If you know your husband is coming home at a certain time...get things ready for it.  It will do wonders for your spouse if when he opens the door to home he sees the ones he's been working for all day excited to see him.  Chances are he's tired and some days really beaten down from work.  It's not easy to do the same thing day after day, putting up with tough bosses, long hours and a lot of times inadequate pay for how hard they work.  Home should be the one place he is always the hero and the one place where he knows his company is desired and needed.  It will make him feel like a million bucks to see his loved ones waiting for him.  I did some research and found some really good ideas to help us ANTICIPATE our husbands homecoming.  I found these really helpful for myself and I hope you will too!

1)  Ask your husband to give you a heads up when he's on his way home (I'll be home in 15 min).

2)  Tidy up the house.  Your husband shouldn't have to come home to a messy house and kick his way through toys and clothes.  Have some large baskets ready and when it's almost time for Dad to be home give a shout out to the kids,"Dad's almost home!"  That's their cue to grab up whatever is laying around and toss it into a basket.  Don't worry if it isn't all can do it later.  Dad will appreciate not tripping and slipping in the door.  After a while the kids will think it's a game and probably will even enjoy doing it.

3)  Tidy up the kids.  Chances are that after a hard day your husband doesn't want to come home and get jelly all over his face when he kisses the kids.  Have all the kids wash their hands and faces in readiness for Dad's arrival.  Change any soiled shirts and give a quick comb through their hair.  We do these things for school, church and company...why not do it for the most important person in our life?

4)  Tidy up yourself.  Are you still wearing sweats with your hair falling all over the place?  Go put on a decent outfit (I didn't say your Sunday best) fix your hair, make-up and give yourself a spray of perfume.  Not only will your husband enjoy seeing you fixed up but I find it always makes me feel better about myself as well. 

5)  Lastly...have all the kids ready to shower Dad with love, kisses and "Daddy, you're home!!!"
You too Mom...give your husband a kiss, tell him you love him and appreciate how hard he's been working all day.  Make him feel like the day just got better because he came home.

I know it seems like a lot to do...but that my friend is life.  All great things take work and sacrifice.  Doing things like this in marriage will not only benefit your husband but you as well.  When we respect our husbands their biblical command to "love their wives" just got easier.   Here's a news flash...when we got married we signed up for a life of service (not being a slave...I didn't say that).  Life isn't all about us.  You will find that all successful marriages are those in which both spouses serve each other...and in serving each other...both are extremely fulfilled.  God's way's always work!