Saturday, June 30, 2012

Potato Salad


About once a year I get really hungry for the potato salad we used to make in the summer at home. And with the grilling season here it's a great as a side dish.

This was also standard fare at funeral meals when I was growing up. It's a tasty tried and true recipe. I love the crunch the celery adds to the tangy sweetness of the salad.

6 cups shoestring potatoes
7 hard boiled eggs
2 Tablespoons finely chopped onion
1 cup celery, diced

Dressing:
1½ cups Miracle Whip
3 Tablespoons prepared mustard
¼ cup milk
1 cup sugar
2 Tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon salt

Bake potatoes and cool completely. Remove the skins and shred along with the hard boiled eggs. Add the celery and onion.

In a separate bowl mix the dressing ingredients and pour over potato mixture. Stir with a rubber spatula until evenly mixed.

Happy Weekend to everyone!

Come party here!
Stonegable, Creative Blog Hop, Sunday Showcase, See Ya In The Gumbo

~Blessings!~

Thursday, June 28, 2012

White Choclate Almond Cheesecake with Black Cherry Sauce


This cheesecake idea has been bouncing around in my head for a pretty long time. I had a picture in my mind of what I wanted it to look like but knew the flavors of it wouldn't really excite any of the big eaters in my house and so was reluctant to make it until I thought of the cute little 6 inch cheesecake pan in my pantry. And I was pretty sure my neighbor Myma would be happy to see me coming again.☺


I wanted it to be fluffier than a regular cheesecake so I decided to add just the whites of two eggs beaten stiff and folded in. Worked like a charm. It's very fluffy and doesn't seem as heavy. The almond flavor is very nice with the dark sweet cherry sauce.


For the Crust:
¾ cup chocolate graham crackers
1 Tablespoon Dark Chocolate Cocoa Powder
1½ Tablespoons sugar
2½ Tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
Mix thoroughly and press in the bottom of a sprayed 6 inch Springform Pan. Bake at 300° for 7 minutes. Allow to cool.

For the Cheesecake:
8 ounces white chocolate, melted
16 ounces cream cheese, softened
1/3 cup sugar
2 teaspoons almond extract
1 cup sour cream
2 egg whites, beaten stiff

Beat the cream cheese and sugar until smooth. Add the white chocolate, sour cream, and almond extract. Mix well. In a separate bowl beat the egg whites till stiff peaks form. Fold gently into batter. Pour over cooled crust and bake at 295° for 35-40 minutes or until center is set but still slightly jiggly. Run a sharp knife around the edge immediately after removing from the oven. Allow to cool then refrigerate until fully set before removing from the pan. Garnish as desired and serve with Dark Sweet Cherry Sauce.

Sweet Cherry Sauce
1 lb. cherries,
stems and pits removed

Blend until smooth then press through a sieve to remove the skins.

Add:
1 Tablespoon sugar,
or desired amount
1 teaspoon Classic Pectin

Whisk until smooth and serve over individual cheesecake pieces.


                                                                                                                                                   

Happy Birthday Mom!


Happy Birthday today (72 years) to my very creative Mother! She taught me so many things and loved me enough to teach me how to work hard and enjoy the feeling of accomplishment that comes from using the gifts God gave me to serve others. She is happiest outside in her flowerbeds, in her kitchen (her food is wonderful!), or when she knows she is making a positive difference in someones life. Unfortunately I did not always realize the blessing and treasure she truly is to me and was not always her friend. It took me moving 400 miles away and having kids of my own to understand her and figure it all out. Now I miss and call her Friend. I would love to be able to simply stop in at the end of a long day to chat and see what they are up to, but 6 hours is a bit long for that sooo... that must be why they made telephones. ☺

Thank you Mom! ♥

~Blessings!~

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Grilled Farmhouse Ranch Chicken with Apple Wood Bacon and Smoked Cheddar


 I found a dressing at the grocery that sounded, (and tasted) really yummy but... it had that nasty ingredient, MSG! Growl, why not just leave that OUT of food?!! Anyway I decided move on and do my best to come up with something similar that is minus the chemicals. I mean, bad-for-you chemicals and the word food should never be in the same sentence. Right?! Okay, I'm gonna go ahead and climb down from my 'high horse' now and share it with you.☺ Mine was not thick like the bought stuff but had a really good flavor. It was more of a marinade than a dressing.


Ingredients:
1 cup buttermilk
½ cup sour cream
½ cup canola oil
¼ cup white balsamic vinegar
¼ cup sugar
¼ cup water
2½ teaspoons lemon juice
1 TBS. dried onion flakes
1 TBS. Roasted Garlic and Herb
Seasoning
¾ teaspoon Smoked Sea Salt
2 teaspoons cornstarch
2 TBS. fresh red bell peppers,
finely diced
Fresh Parsley
Fresh Dill

8 boneless, skinless chicken
breast halves,
pounded* or cut in half horizontally.

*I dislike pounding so I often just use a very sharp knife and cut small slashes across the grain in the thick part of the breast. Works for me.

Mix all the marinade ingredients together and pour over chicken breasts until covered. Marinate 4-8 hours. Discard marinade and grill chicken to your satisfaction.

Top with precooked Apple wood Bacon and Smoked Cheddar/Swiss Cheese. Drizzle with Ranch Dressing of your choice. ☺


~Blessings!~

Friday, June 22, 2012

Smoky Cheddar Breakfast Bake


 We spent a relaxing weekend at the family cabin in the mountains over the last weekend hanging out with my husbands family. He has two siblings out of state that we don't get to see real often now that most of us have children in school, so this is usually a good time for catching up again.


Saturday breakfast is usually prepared by my MIL and this year she made this delicious, easy to prepare breakfast casserole. The smoked and cottage cheeses add so much yummy flavor! The recipe calls for cheddar but I could only find a smoked blend of cheddar and swiss and that worked well too.

I served it yesterday at the brunch I hosted and the ladies gave it good reviews. Thanks Mom for allowing me to share it here. ☺


Ingredients:
3 cups cooked, shredded Potatoes
(I used frozen shredded hash browns, thawed.)
¼ cup butter, melted
¼ cup onion, chopped
1-1¼ lb. ham, small cubes
2 cups smoked cheddar cheese, shredded and divided
1 (16 oz.) small curd cottage cheese
6 eggs, beaten

Layer in a non stick sprayed 9X13 baking dish in the order given. Pour beaten eggs over layers and top with 1 cup shredded cheese.

I used fresh red peppers and parsley to give it a little color and baked it @350° for approximately 1 hour.

Linking to these Fun and Foodie Parties:
~Blessings!~

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Citrus Mint Tea

Cool and Refreshing!

The heat is amazing these last few days and calls for something cool and refreshing!


I hosted a ladies brunch this morning and served this refreshing Citrus-y Mint Tea. I am told my husband's Grandmother served this tea quite a bit and it became her signature drink, so I thought I would give it a try.


I had fun with the photo shoot as you can see ☺ but it really is too warm to work outside if there is nothing very pressing to do out there so I had plenty of time to play around with it. The blue hydrangeas and the calla lilies are favorites of mine too and were gifted to me a few years ago.


Ingredients:
2 cups fresh mint leaves, packed
3 cups cold water
Blend and put through a sieve.

Discard the leaves then add:
2 cups sugar
2 (12 oz.each) frozen lemonade concentrate
2 (6 oz.each) frozen orange juice concentrate

Add enough water and ice to make 2 gallon.


This would make really good slushies or Popsicles. Yum!!

Hope you're having a wonderful Thursday!

Click here for a bit of history that goes with the drink.☺

Linking to these parties:

~Blessings!~

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

The heat CAN be beat...



Today is shaping up to be VERY warm! I was out picking more raspberries and Anthony's been doing a little mowing, so I've determined we will replenish with an afternoon 'cocktail' of Spark and Rehydrate from our favourite, Advocare.


My favourite is a mix of Mango Pineapple Rehydrate and Mandarin Orange Spark. The rehydrate does a terrific job of replacing electrolytes and the Spark gives you a boost of energy and sharpens your mental focus. By afternoon on any given day who doesn't need those two things?!

Taking an Advocare break while building our new deck

For several years my husband, Linford, struggled with working in the heat. He would come home with headaches and muscle cramps and no energy for the kids. He was trying everything out there to stay hydrated, Gatorade, water, Propel, etc. etc. but nothing seemed to work. Since using Rehydrate and Spark he's a different man and has energy to spare and no headaches or muscle cramps. Yippee!! ☺☺☺

If this scenario sounds like you or someone you know check it out at www.advocare.com/11023999  I'm thinking you'll be glad you did!

~Be Blessed!~

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Berry Blessings and a Yummy Raspberry Cobbler

Delicious Summertime!


We had a wonderful all day gentle rain on Tuesday. The berry picking next morning was perfect! The berries felt clean, the air was clean, the birds were singing and there was a wonderful breeze. I really enjoy picking raspberries, in case you didn't catch on there. haha - Several years ago we planted a row of 10 Black Raspberry plants in the garden and they have faithfully satisfied us. They are much easier to pick than strawberries, although very pricker-y.


Our Small Group from church was planning to come over last evening so I thought it would be nice to serve them fresh, warm Raspberry Cobbler with ice cream. We also have a row of Red Raspberries elsewhere that we are enjoying right now, so I mixed the two together for this.


An easy dessert that is also -


DEE- licious!!


I'm enjoying the lillies in the bed by the garden.


Here's the recipe:

5 cups fresh Raspberries
1½ cups sugar

Stir together and set aside to let fruit syrup form.

2 cups AP flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup sour cream
1 cup milk
1 cup butter, melted

Combine dry ingredients and whisk together. Stir together sour cream and milk. Add to the dry ingredients along with melted butter and mix well.

Pour batter into an ungreased 9.5 X 13.5 X 2 glass baking dish. Spoon the fruit mixture over top and bake @ 375° for 55 minutes. I covered it loosely with foil towards the end to avoid over browning the top. Serve warm with ice cream.

~Be Blessed!~


Monday, June 11, 2012

Easy Roast Beef


We had a busy day on Saturday and were on the schedule as Host family at church on Sunday so I was looking for an easy meal that would kind of cook by itself. Ha, are we not all looking for something like that at times?! I didn't do a lot of meal prep Saturday because of other things we wanted to do, but I did take time to make the Pure and Simple Vanilla Bean Cheesecake with fresh fruit topping. It's a delicious way to have an elegant fuss free dessert that is always well received.

This Roast Beef is along the same lines as the other roasts I have posted but with a few different flavors. I also recently prepared it for just our family here and they all really enjoyed it so I thought I would share it with you here.

The Smoked Sea Salt adds a yummy flavor along with the Red Wine and Chicago Steak Seasoning. The gravy that develops as it cooks just begs to be paired with mashed potatoes. Delicious!

Smoked Sea Salt
Chicago Steak Seasoning

Sprinkle over a 3½- 4 lb. Chuck Roast.


Let sit at room temperature for a short time then sear on all sides in Olive Oil. Place in the crock pot.

Add another Tablespoon of Olive Oil to the saute' pan and add 1 large chopped Sweet Onion.



Saute' until tender. Add ¼ cup of Red Cooking Wine and scrape the bits off the bottom of the pan . Allow to cook for several minutes.  Add 1-1½ cups water and 1 Tablespoon Beef Base. Stir until beef base is dissolved then add 1 small can Campbell's Cream of Mushroom Soup. Stir to combine. Pour over Roast in crock pot. Cook on high heat for 2-3 hours then on low for an additional 5-6 hours for a tender, flavorfull, scrumptious roast.

We also served Mom's Fried Chicken, Mashed Potatoes, Broccoli, and Ceasar Salad for a yummy lunch. But the most important ingredient of the whole meal were the good friends, old and new, that sat around our table sharing stories and good laughs. ☺ What would life be like without good friends? 
 
Ingredient list:
Smoked Sea Salt
Chicago Steak Seasoning
3½-4 lb. Chuck Roast
Olive Oil
1 Lg. Sweet Onion, chopped
¼ cup Red Wine
Beef Base, dissolved in water
1 can Cambell's Mushroom Soup

~Be Blessed!~

Italian Meatloaf Spiral


In an effort to avoid yet another mundane meatloaf I recently decided to jazz it up a bit and prepare it as a spiral with a different flavor from the usual. It was delicious! And while it can't really be considered a thing of beauty ☺ it fit the bill for something more exciting than a hunk of burger with a ketchup sauce on it. As much as we enjoy that kind as well!


Unfortunately I served it on a night when 3 of them were playing ball. They never eat much before a game, so I ended up with lots left over. But that was okay. I turned it into an easy crock pot Lasagna for tonight. Oh, right, 2 of them play ball tonight. Sigh...


Flatten the mixture into a rectangle. Make sure you do this on parchment paper because it's sticky and this will make it easier to roll.


Spread with ½ cup Parmesan Cheese and fresh basil, parsley, and oregano, keeping away from the edge about an inch so you can seal it better.


Shape into a loaf. Coat with 1 cup Parmesan Cheese (kinda press it into the meatloaf) and sprinkle with Roasted Garlic and Herb Seasoning. Place on a parchment lined baking sheet. Bake @350° for 60-75 minutes. Or till the center is done. I baked mine for an hour and a half but it was slightly crusty on the bottom.


Serve with Angel Hair Pasta and Pizza Sauce with Cream Cheese. (Heat the pizza sauce and cream cheese till smooth and cream cheese is melted. YUM!)

Here's the recipe:

3 lbs. ground beef
1 sleeves Ritz Crackers
3 eggs
3 cloves garlic, pressed
½ tsp. freshly cracked black pepper
1 large Spring Onion, chopped fine

1½ cups Parmesan Cheese, divided
Fresh Herbs,
 your choice for the amount
Roasted Garlic and Herb Seasoning

1 pint Pizza Sauce to
¼ cup Cream Cheese
Mix together and follow directions above.

~Be Blessed!~

Friday, June 8, 2012

It's For the Birds...


Natural Beauty



On a recent Sunday afternoon I was sitting in one of my favorite Sunday afternoon spots, the gazebo, reading and watching the bluebirds feed their hungry babies. Haha, we have a lot in common. ☺


Thought you all might enjoy the pictures so here they are.


Sadly a few days later I discovered that something, probably the straying cats around here raided the nest and the babies are no more. :( GGRRR!!!


I also discovered that a Carolina Wren has a nest in the greenhouse. She gets in through a vent. Love to hear them sing.




It was amazingly WARM in there with the door closed! I thought perhaps she was one of those smart multitasking women and layed her eggs in there so they would incubate by themselves while she could be doing other things. ☺ Or maybe she's one that is willing to be somewhat uncomfortable just so she can be alone. Most likely it seemed like the safest place unreachable by those same raider cats! haha, either way I really like the way they build their nests in a tunnel shape and she has 5 eggs in it.

Happy Friday to you all and thanks for stopping in!

~Be Blessed!~

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Strawberry Rhubarb Cream Coffee Cake

Delicious!


Rhubarb has always intrigued me but I can never decide if it's a good intrigued or if I should just walk away from it because to take the tartness away you have to add so much sugar! And sugar... is the enemy


 I used to have a rhubarb plant just because it's green and it grows without much help, and you know... because it intrigued me. But 6 years ago when we moved here I gave it to my former neighbor lady. She was quite happy with it! ☺ I thought I had walked away from it but every Spring it's there again, in the back of my mind. Well this year was no different. Usually I ignore it and it goes away, which is what I should have done this time, but I didn't. So I will share with you the delicious cake I baked yesterday


Half of the cake is now at my neighbors place because I needed to get it out of the house! (Do you wish you'd be my neighbor? ha) I kept some for Lin to eat tonight but didn't quite trust myself to keep the rest of it and I knew the kids (some of them) wouldn't touch it if they knew it had rhubarb in it. Something new, too different. Whatever. I told them about the strawberries but left the part about the rhubarb out ☺ and Serena saw the cream cheese layer and was turned off! How could you not love something with cream cheese?!?! I guess I got the right kids at the hospital, they look like us, but their tastebuds don't always perform like ours.☺


Anyway, moving on. Here is what I put together for a scrumptious breakfast or tea time treat.
Recipe adapted from this one.
Crumb Topping:
1/3 cup sugar
1 Tablespoon butter
1 teaspoon cinnamon
Mix together and set aside.
Cake Ingredients:
½ cup unsalted butter
1½ cups brown sugar
1 egg
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon sea salt
1 cup sour cream
Filling:
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
¾ cup fresh rhubarb, cut into pieces
¾ cup fresh strawberries, cut into pieces
Preheat oven to 350°. Spray a 10 inch Spring Form pan.

In a mixer bowl (Kitchen Aid size is perfect) cream the butter, sugar, and egg with the paddle attachment till fluffy.

In a seperate bowl combine the flour, baking soda, and salt. Add to creamed mixture alternately with the sour cream, beginning and ending with flour mixture. Mix well.

Divide the batter in half and spread ½ in the bottom of the prepared pan.

Mix together the cream cheese, egg, and vanilla until smooth. Gently fold in the fruits. Spread evenly over the batter in the pan.

Top with remaining batter and sprinkle with sugar topping.

I baked mine for 55 minutes and lightly covered it with foil for the last 10 minutes to keep the top from overbrowning.

Bake for 50-55 minutes.

~Be Blessed~

Wicked Awesome Wednesday, Home Sweet Home, Time Travel Thursday, Wow Us Wednesday, Mom On Time Out, Dream To Reality

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Frozen Lunchbox Strawberries


For the last two weeks Monday and Tuesday were Strawberry days here at my house. I won't tell you how many quarts but I will tell you that I was quite glad to let someone else pick them for me and pay them to do it. I love strawberries but have never enjoyed picking them. Makes me cranky. Anyway some of them went into these small individual serving sized boxes for the lunches that I'm privileged to pack for my family. ☺ (Okay there was a bit of sarcasm in there. I love my family but packing lunches has never quite reached the favorite things to do level.) They are super easy to do and with the help of everyone last evening the last of them went into the freezer for this year. Yay!

7 quarts, coarsley chopped strawberries
3 cups sugar
1 box dry Sure Jell

Mix together and let stand for 10 minutes than stir again and place into freezer containers, size of your choice. They tell me that the strawberries are usually still a little slushy at lunch time when I put them in frozen in the morning. Perfect! And they all really enjoy them too.

I did this with peaches last year and they were also a hit. The measurements are slightly different though. You can find that recipe here.

~Be Blessed!~

Mom On Time Out