Friday, August 31, 2012

Happy Weekend!

Hope everyone has a safe and happy weekend!
If all goes well we will spend the weekend here -
need an updated summer photo but this will have to do for now :)
-reconnecting with my family and celebrating our oldest sons 17th birthday and also my sister Rosanna's 50th. Special thanks to some of ours friends for feeding our animals & watching our place while we are gone. :)
See you all next week again, when the real reality sets in that Summer is over! & Fall is right around the corner. :) I love the cooler weather and the slower pace.
She's still as happy as can be.For the complete story click here.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Baked Buttermilk Ranch Cornflake Chicken

There was a box of Corn Flakes hanging out in my cupboard for a long time. The kids prefer the sugar coated variety (I'm just as horrified with that fact as you are) and these were plain so no one ate them. I could have thrown them out but that didn't sit too well with me either, so I decided to roll some chicken strips in them. No one complained. They were actually quite happy to eat them! Served with crispy roasted waffle cut potatoes and a salad they all seemed satisfied... for a max of two hours.

It was actually less time than that when my daughter was in the fridge getting an apple. I made her wait till snack time. AND if you are interested, Son #1 ate 3 eggs, 2 pieces of toast, 2 pieces of bacon, AND a bowl of cereal with milk for breakfast this morning before school and was wishing for orange juice! And sometimes I wonder what I'm doing wrong when the grocery bill rivals the national debt. Well, maybe not quite that bad but... anyway, moving on to the real reason for this post.

1 small box Corn Flakes, crushed
1 stick butter, melted
2 teaspoons Ranch Dressing Mix
(or seasoning of your choice)
Mix together and set aside.

3½ lbs. Chicken Tenders or
chicken breasts cut into uniform strips

2 cups buttermilk
2/3 cup mayonnaise
1 teaspoon Ranch Dressing Mix
Freshly ground Sea Salt and Black Pepper, a few twists of each

Place chicken strips into a gallon sized resealable bag. Mix the next 4 ingredients and pour over chicken. Refrigerate for several hours to a day. Drain in a colander and roll in Cornflake crumb mixture. Place onto a cookie sheet (not touching) lined with parchment paper. Spray the paper with nonstick spray.

Bake at 375° for 25-30 minutes.

Sweet Blessings to you on this beautiful day!

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Quicky Orange Cardamom Pecan Mini Rolls

Fast - Easy - and Yummy!
I got a call late last evening from a niece who lives a few hours away saying they (she, her husband, and baby daughter) are in the area for a wedding and a reunion, could they stay at our house for the night? YES, OF COURSE! It just so happened that Lin and the boys were gone for the night so this worked out especially well. And I'm always happy to host family that I don't get to see real often. ☺  And it gives me a reason to serve things like these quicky rolls. ☺ I could think of other reasons too but... anyway I've had these on my mind for a while and this gave me the perfect opportunity to serve them.
Refrigerated Crescent Rolls
½ cup brown sugar
¼ cup finely chopped pecans
¾ teaspoon Cardamom
grated orange peel from 1 large orange, divided
(I added three fourths of it to this mixture, and a fourth to the glaze.)
Preheat oven to 375°.
Spread dough on a lightly non-stick sprayed surface. Press seams together and shape into a perfect rectangle. Mix sugar, pecans, cardamom, and orange peel together and spread evenly over dough.
Roll up starting from short side. Cut into 8 pieces and place into a small muffin pan generously sprayed with non stick spray.
Bake according to package directions.

Remove from pan immediately, (yes, they are hot to handle so be careful) and drizzle with an Orange flavored glaze.
For the Glaze:
Powdered Sugar
Orange Peel
Orange Juice
Combine sugar and peel and just enough juice to form a thick glaze. Drizzle over hot rolls. Enjoy!
I also made some with just plain sugar and cinnamon and plain glaze made with powdered sugar and water with a hint of orange in it.
Also delicious!
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Friday, August 24, 2012

Blackberry Lime Angel Cake Roll

The flavor combination of Blackberries and Limes fascinates me for some reason. And the colors are a lovely hue. So I decided to combine them in an Angel Food Cake Roll. It was lovely but could have had a bit more of a blackberry flavor. So I think next time I would add some blackberry extract or replace some of the sugar with an equal amount of dry blackberry jello. The filling was an ever so pale green and the roll stayed moist for quite a while in the refrigerator.
Preheat oven to 300°
1-1/3 + 1Tablespoon cups sifted cake flour,
(I use Swan's Down)
2 cups white *sugar, divided
Sift the flour before measuring and then sift the sugar and flour together three times.
2 cups egg whites,
beat until frothy-
then add:
2-2/3 teaspoons cream of tartar
2 teaspoons clear vanilla
1 teaspoon almond extract
1/3 cup blackberry pulp
(blended blackberries pressed through a sieve)
Beat until stiff peaks form-
  then add:
    1 cup sifted *sugar,
Add this sugar a few tablespoons at a time and beat until mixture looks glossy.

 Add the sifted flour/sugar mixture with a sturdy wire whisk. Again, don't add it all at once. Sprinkle a few tablespoons at a time over the batter and using the whisk, fold in towards the center of the bowl with quick wrist movements. Spread evenly into a lightly sprayed and waxed paper (very lightly spray also the waxed paper) lined 12 X 15 bar pan and bake at 300° for 15 minutes and then increase heat to 375° for another 15 minutes. Invert onto a clean dish towel that has been dusted with powdered sugar. Carefully remove waxed paper and roll cake up tightly. Allow to cool. Unroll and spread filling evenly and re-roll and chill before cutting and serving.

12 ounce tub of whipped cream cheese
8 ounce block cream cheese, softened
(You can improvise, these are the things I had on hand. The tub of whipped cream cheese made it really nice to spread.)
1-2 Tablespoons Lime Juice
zest of 1 Lime
2 Tablespoons honey
½ cup powdered sugar
4 ounces Cool Whip
tiny drop of green food coloring
Combine first 5 ingredients and mix well. Add powdered sugar; mix well. Then fold in Cool Whip.
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Thursday, August 23, 2012

Banana Bread Muffins

This is the Banana Bread recipe I've been using for the last 18 years and it always turns out delicious but I recently began adding  a few things that I think kick it up just a notch. I have a mixture of finely chopped dates, unsweetened coconut, and chopped almonds on hand that I was experimenting with for another recipe. Adding some of that to this banana bread batter adds a little bit of crunch and a lot of yummy. I also began baking the batter in muffin form because it's easier to grab and go, handier for lunches, bakes in less time, and there are less crumbs from cutting a slice.  

And I bake most of them plain, without the yummy add ins because that's what most of them prefer.☺ The add ins are for Anthony and I. He is my most willing taste tester. ☺

The mixture is as follows:
1 lb. pitted dates
1 cup sliced almonds
1 cup unsweetened medium coconut
A food processor does a wonderful job of chopping/mixing these up. They keep well in an airtight container or a Ziploc bag in the cupboard. I've used it as a part of fresh peach and yogurt parfaits and I think it would be yummy in a granola but I haven't tried that yet.

And here is the bread/muffin recipe:
2-2/3 cup all purpose flour (Gold Medal)
4 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, room temp.
1-1/3 cup sugar
4 eggs
2 cups mashed bananas
Mix in order given. With a size 20 cookie scoop (not heaping) put a scoop of batter into paper lined muffin pans and bake at 350° for 25-27 minutes. When I use the add in mixture I usually fill 2 pans (12 muffins each) and then add a 2/3 cup of the date mixture to the rest of the batter. Yields approximately 33. If you want to bake it as a loaf this makes 2 regular sized loaves and is baked for an hour.
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Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Lancaster County...

The sunset tonight was pretty ...and I happened to be close to this farm....aaaand since I've always wanted a sunset photo with a silhouette of this Amish farm I decided to give it a shot, or two, and thought I'd let you see what I saw.

Haha, that sounds cheesy.☺

I hope to take many more of this kind at various farms in the area.

...and for those of you who are curious who it is that eats the food that is created here. These are the ones... and I love them! ☺


Friday, August 17, 2012

Fresh "Canned" Salsa

I know. That title doesn't really make sense. But it will in just a bit if you keep reading.

In recent years I started mixing all my salsa ingredients and instead of heating it and then putting it into jars and then heating it again. I mix it, put it into the jars uncooked and water bath it for 20 minutes. It comes through the process looking and tasting a lot fresher than the other way around. I've also experimented with pressure canning it but found the water bath method yields a better over all product. That is just my personal opinion.

I like this method also because it's less time consuming. And I'm always looking for ways to simplify a process.

14 lbs. tomatoes, skinned and de-seeded and squeezed*
2½ lbs. Onions
10 green peppers
5 Habenaro Peppers
10 garlic cloves
10 stems fresh parsley
10 stems fresh Oregano, leaves only
Fresh Cilantro, optional
(I like it better to add this fresh when I open a jar)

Put all of these ingredients through the food processor till they are chopped to your preference.

Then add:
1½ cups Apple Cider Vinegar
3 Tablespoons Cumin
¼ cup fine ground Celtic Sea Salt

Mix well. *There will still be a lot of juice even after squeezing some out by hand. I drain a lot of this off. (And it does still make some juice in the process of cooking it.) I like it better when the salsa is less runny but I don't like the after taste of thickening agents in processed salsa. Fill pint jars up to their necks and beyond a little because it does cook down and settle more than it would if it were heated before being put into jars. Wipe the tops clean and place lid and ring on the jar. Place in a canner and cover with cold water. An inch of water over the top of the jars is good. Heat to a rolling boil and reduce heat to keep it at a gentle boil and process for 20 minutes. Remove from water and allow to cool completely. Wipe jars as needed and remove the rings if desired before storing in a cool, dry place.

Here it is (before canning) served with my all time favorite dip chips.

~Roasted Garlic and Black Bean - YUM!~

Yields 18-20 pints.

Party is here:
Weekend Potluck, See Ya In The Gumbo, Taking Time Out

Bacon (prepped & frozen)

From as far back as I remember my Mom had one of these very handy hand cranked food grinders.

We used it for lots of things! One thing in particular that I find it handy for is making 'real food' perfect bacon bits. My MIL introduced me to the uncured bacon ends from our local grocery store that are sold for a very good price and perfect for this type of thing. If I put the package into the freezer for a half hour before grinding it works like a charm. And the kids love this job! ☺

Fry and drain well. I usually drain most of the fat off like this and then pour the bits onto several layers of absorbent paper towels. Place a couple more layers of towels on top and press to remove the rest of the grease. I made the mistake recently of not pressing the grease out. Bad idea! It froze in a solid clump and had to be reheated and drained again. Store in a glass jar with a tight fitting lid and freeze. I use these on pizza, salads, or wherever else that bacon bits are called for. So handy!

Next up is the bacon I prepare and freeze for speedy breakfasts. Right now my son leaves for work some mornings anywhere from 4:30- 5:15 in the morning and he likes to eat a good breakfast even at that hour in the morning and this comes in handy because it just takes minutes to heat on the same pan as the eggs and toast I make for him. If you are lucky enough to have a Pampered Chef stone bar pan you are in business my friend! This pan makes perfect bacon in about 20 minutes at 400°. I like to buy bacon when it is BOGO but I don't like to have it hanging around in the fridge or freezer uncooked.

Drain this well too on paper towels pressing to remove all the grease before storing in Tupperware containers in the freezer. Freezing it first in a single layer is a good idea but not essential.

Happy Friday!


Open Faced Cheddar Bacon Egg Salad Sandwich

If you're hungry for something simple that has plenty of flavor and fresh ingredients, here it is. I loved the chewy-ness of the English Muffin and the crunch of the lettuce and celery along with the smooth creamy avocado and fresh tomato. mmm -YUM!  The bacon bits and Smoked Cheddar flavors along with the hint of horseradish were quite nice too!Oh and the colors are pretty too!

5 hard boiled eggs, grated
¼ cup Real bacon bits
2 ounces cream cheese
¼ cup Mayo
1 -2 teaspoons horseradish
2 Tablespoons finely chopped celery
Grated Smoked Cheddar Cheese, for topping
2-3 English Muffins
Avocado slices
Tomato slices
Lettuce leaves

Yields approximately 5 sandwiches.

In a bowl combine grated cold hard boiled eggs, bacon bits, celery, and horseradish. In a separate bowl combine cream cheese and mayo till smooth. Add to the egg mixture and toss gently.

Cut the English muffins in half and toast in the toaster. Stack the veggies on top and place a scoop (size 20) of egg salad on top of the avocado slice. Sprinkle with grated cheese. Enjoy!

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Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Fancy Filled Eggs

When my Mom would make filled eggs when I was young they were often colored with red beet juice to give them a nice color just like this. It was also a job she often gave me as a preteen working in the kitchen.

While we enjoy them just plain, this time my memory called for something from the past.☺

I made these a while ago with my new favorite crush. Vidalia Onion Vinaigrette for salads. Have you tasted it yet? You must! It's the best! It adds a lovely flavor to these yummy eggs.

1 dozen hard boiled eggs,
peeled, halved, and yolks removed
Red Beets in their own juice
¼ cup mayonnaise
1 Tablespoon Vidalia Onion Vinaigrette
1 Tablespoon Sugar
1 teaspoon salt

Cover peeled eggs with red beets and juice. Allow to marinate for several hours. Just long enough to give them color on the outside. Cut in half, I used a Pampered Chef Crinkle Cutter. Gently remove yolks and place into a small, shallow bowl. Mash with a fork. Add the other ingredients and mix just until combined. It should look a bit chunky. I used a small cookie scoop to fill the whites.

Because I like the eggs filled FULL of the goodies I sometimes don't use quite all of the whites, but divide it among all the whites if that is what pleases you. Enjoy!

Party here:
Weekend Potluck, See Ya In The Gumbo

Friday, August 10, 2012


This post has nothing to do with food. Don't say I didn't warn you.

Ever have one of those days when stuff about life doesn't make sense?
Yeah me too.
Then I'm reminded that God IS watching, and He has it under control. It may not be perfect the way I see it, because I can only see the "chapter" I'm living. But I believe there are better pages written in future chapters. Reading and rereading the same "page" simply won't do, so I move on and find the peace, serenity, and beauty that's been there all along, right in front of me.
I thought I'd share some of that with you. I hope you enjoy it. ☺ And thanks for stopping in!

"Let your hope make you glad. Be patient in time of trouble and never stop praying."
Romans 12:12

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Shallot and Herb Hasselback Potatoes

For an easy potato side dish that is a bit more dressed up than plain baked potatoes try these sometime. They paired very nicely with the Dutchman's Roast Beef and with fresh herbs readily available they turn into something special. I didn't use quite as many herbs as I should have so the flavor was a bit milder but be generous with them and work them down in between the slices. A lot of people like fresh basil but I think Rosemary and Thyme are my two favorites. Do you have any favorite fresh herbs?

Preheat oven to 375°.

4 medium russet potatoes, washed and dried
4 Shallots, finely chopped
Fresh Rosemary and Thyme, approx. 1 TBS. of each  per potato
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
Sea Salt

Cut the potatoes in slices nearly through, but not all the way through. Place in an oven safe baking dish, and sprinkle with chopped shallots and herbs. Make sure you get them down between the slices. Pour olive oil over each potato, (approx. 1 TBS. per potato) and down into the cracks. Sprinkle with salt. Bake until roasted through, about an hour and 10 or 15 minutes, or until they're soft. Mine were slightly bigger than medium so it took longer than the usual hour. Baste with the Olive oil several times during baking.

When I saw these on Cooking With Michelle I knew I had to try them. The only thing I changed was the amount of oil used and I added the shallots because I enjoy their flavor. I served a similar dish for our Christmas Dinner this past year that was fabulous. You can see the recipe here.

~Be Blessed!~

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Smoky Cheddar & Roast Beef Sliders

Last night was the last game of the season for for my guys and like usual they wanted to eat light and because I was peeling peaches most of the afternoon I also wanted something easy.

I recently discovered a bacon horseradish spread at the local grocery that I thought would taste good with these small beef and cheddar sandwiches. The flavors complimented each other very well and they disappeared in a hurry.

Simple ~ Fast ~ Delicious

12 Martin's Potato Rolls
Deli Roast Beef
Smoked Cheddar Slices
Bacon Horseradish Spread
5 TBS. Butter, melted
1 TBS. Dried Onion Flakes
!TBS. Worcestershire Sauce

Lightly spray a glass 9 X 13 baking dish with non stick spray. Cut rolls in half and place the bottoms in the pan. Spread gereously with Horserash spread.

Place desired amount of Deli Beef  and Smoked Cheddar slices on top.

Melt Butter and mix with onion flakes and worcestershire sauce and let soak a bit. Pour over cheese.

Cover with roll tops.

Cover with foil and bake for 25 minutes @ 350° or until cheese is melted.

super yummy!

Serve and enjoy!

~my ball players~Shawn (15), Linford (40), Andre (16)~

Thanks for giving it all you had! Love you guys!

The party is here:
      Weekend Potluck      
~Be Blessed!~