Monday, January 2, 2017

Mrs. Anderson's Sugar Cookie Recipe

I have tried a ton of sugar cookie recipes and I am usually disappointed with the outcome. If they taste good, they loose shape. If they keep shape, they usually taste like cardboard.  One recipe I have always loved is my Soft Sugar Cookie recipe. They remind me of LOFTHOUSE Sugar Cookies.

The recipe I tried this year is my new Go-To for the holidays. It tastes great, and I can either roll them in balls and flatten, or cut them out. I got this recipe from my friends, Colt and Keelie Anderson. It is Colt's Mother's recipe. She is known for her sugar cookies. Everyone loves them!

I added these to my dessert tray this Christmas. I made frosting so people could spread frosting if they chose. Though I have to say, once everyone had the first bite they never even touched the frosting. These are great all by themselves!

Mrs. Anderson's Sugar Cookie Recipe
Recipe from Mrs. Anderson, Butte, Montana

1 cup sugar
1 cup powdered sugar
1 cup butter
1 cup oil
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp salt
1 tsp cream of tartar
1 tsp baking soda
4 cups + 4 TB flour

Beat well the sugar, powdered sugar, and butter
Add in the 1 cup of oil and beat well
Add 2 eggs and beat well
Add vanilla, salt, cream of tarter, flour and baking soda
Mix all together and refrigerate for 2-3 hrs or longer.  (I chilled mine overnight)
The dough is supposed to be sticky. It will harden when chilled.
Roll in balls and roll/coat in a bit of powdered sugar or sugar and flatten with the bottom of a glass to about a little thicker than 1/4 inch.
Bake at 350. Check after 9 minutes

*Don't over bake. They are still white, not brown when they come out of the oven.
*Once they are cool you can frost if you wish. (I like a homemade buttercream using extract)
*I also used this dough for roll out cookies to make Christmas Cutouts. I kept dough chilled (including putting the dough you aren't using at the time back in the fridge), rolled out on flour (or powdered sugar), and if it got too sticky, I put saran wrap between the cookie sheet and the rolling pin. I rolled them out on the pan too. If using intricate shapes, chill each pan of cutout cookie dough before going into the oven as well. 

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Caramel Rolls

Where I come from, Caramel Rolls are nothing new. But after living in South Florida, and Western New York, I have come to realize that they are somewhat of a regional thing. Nobody knows what I am talking about when I try to order a caramel roll here, or when I ask my friends if they have ever had one. In NE Montana, any Mom and Pop type cafe that is worth a darn, serves big, fluffy, messy caramel rolls. 

I found this North Dakota Caramel Roll recipe over at Married to Ginger. She is from JUST across the border. A little over an hour away. So her recipe was SPOT ON. I made these delectable caramel rolls for my friends while our husbands were out of town on a road game. All the ladies and kids came over, the kiddlets had fun ripping the house apart, and we all pretended that it wasn't happening so that we could enjoy drinking coffee, chit chat, and demolish these caramel rolls.

North Dakota Caramel Rolls
Recipe From Married To Ginger
1 pkg rapid rise active dry yeast
½ cup sugar
½ cup shortening
2 cups buttermilk
6 cups bread flour
2 tsp salt
2 tsp baking powder
¼ tsp baking soda
-Dissolve yeast in 1/2 cup of water. 
-In a large standing mixer, cream sugar and shortening. 
-Add buttermilk, yeast mixture, 2 cups flour, salt, baking powder and soda. Beat until 
-With a mixer and dough hook, stir in remaining 4 cups of flour to make a very soft 
-Turn onto a floured surface and knead 4-8 minutes or until the dough is smooth and 
-Let the dough rest for 10 minutes while you make the caramel sauce. 
Caramel Sauce 
3 cups brown sugar
2 cups heavy cream
2 Tbs light corn syrup
2-4 Tbs butter unsalted butter, softened or melted
1 tsp cinnamon
3 Tbs white sugar
-Combine brown sugar, cream and light corn syrup in a saucepan. 
-Heat over medium heat until sugar is dissolved & sauce is slightly thickened. 
-Pour caramel sauce in equal amounts in the bottom of two 9x13 pans. [I usually get 
 12-14 rolls out of one batch. In order to avoid crowding, don't place more than 6-7 rolls
  in each pan.] 
-On a lightly floured surface, roll dough into a large 10x18 inch rectangle. 
-Spread with the softened butter. Sprinkle cinnamon & sugar over the dough. 
-Starting with the long side, roll up and press to seal.  
-Cut into 1" thick slices.
-Place the rolls on top of the caramel sauce in your 2 pans. 
-Cover with a bread cloth & let rise near your warming oven until doubled in size - about 
 1-2 hours.
-Bake in preheated 375° oven for 25-30 minutes. 
-Take out and let sit for 10/15 minutes.
-Lay platter upside down on top of rolls. Then as one unit, flip upside down so that the 
 caramel rolls and the caramel lay upside down on the platter.

Friday, October 28, 2016

White Trash Sangria

I have a friend, who had a friend, who had a friend,  who worked at a place that was famous for their Sangria. People bought it by the gallon for their parties. It was the "fancy" drink. Little did they know how easy and simple it was to make. To protect the establishment, and my friend, I can't name names. But this is just too easy and good not to share. She calls it White Trash Sangria. When you look at the simple ingredients, you will know why.

If you want to float some fruit, feel free. But we are perfectly fine with the recipe as is. When the men are away for a road game, all the Mommies and their kids on the block get together for a few of these.

I dare you to make "Sangria" in a pitcher, serve, and see what people think. Don't tell them whats in it. You will look like Martha friggin' Stewart. Nobody needs to know. It will be our little secret.

White Trash Sangria

Red Wine - like Cabernet or something
Diet Sunkist (or regular)
Fresh Lemons

In a wine glass or pitcher, mix approximately 5 parts red wine to 1 part Diet Sunkist
Squeeze a slice of lemon into each glass served, or squeeze and float in pitcher.

I usually just pour red wine over crushed ice in a wine glass. Pour a few splashes of pop in, and squeeze a little lemon.

Friday, October 21, 2016

Venison Enchiladas

Dan and I both love to hunt. Bow season just opened and I am ready to fill the freezer. Last week I used some of our last ground venison to make enchiladas. I made a huge batch, so had enough for the neighbors. Everyone loved them. unfortunately they loved them so much I didn't have time to take a picture. Oh well, next time.

Those who didn't already know me were surprised that they had just eaten venison. It is recipes like this one for Venison Enchiladas that have made up my mind to process at least one whole deer into ground meat this year.


Venison Enchiladas

2 lbs ground venison
1 med/lrg onion diced
5 lrg cloves of fresh garlic, minced
2 cup finely shredded triple cheddar or cheese of your choice
1TB cumin
1 TB chili powder
2 TB Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp sea salt
1 can refried beans
12-14 smaller flour tortillas - 8 inch
28-32 oz can of Enchilada sauce of your choice
1/1.5 cups additional shredded cheese to sprinkle over top
Garnishes of your choice - I use lettuce, black olive, sour cream and tomatoes

-Brown ground venison in a pan.
-Towards the end of the meat browning, add the onions, garlic, cumin, chili powder,
 Worcestershire sauce, and salt.
-When meat is browned through and onions are about translucent, take off burner and
 stir in the 2 cups shredded cheese.
-Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
-Spray 2, 7x11 glass pans with cooking spray.
-On each tortilla, spoon and spread a couple tsp refried beans down the middle.
-Follow with meat mixture. Enough to make a nice chubby enchilada but still able to close it.
-Next, roll up the tortilla tightly and set seam side down in the pan.
-Continue to fill approximately 12/14 tortillas to make 6/7 per 7x11 pan.
-Once the pans are filled with the venison enchiladas, spoon the extra sauce over the top,
 sprinkle with the 1/1.5 cups of shredded cheese, and bake for 30-45 minutes or until
-Let sit for a few minutes out of the oven and then garnish your plated venison enchilada
 with lettuce, sour cream, tomatoes, and black olives.

Spooky Boo Cupcakes With Marshmallow Buttercream Frosting

Spooky Boo Cupcakes With Marshmallow Buttercream Frosting

These Halloween Ghost Cupcakes are fast and easy. Its been raining for days, and Colby needed a change of pace so I decided cupcakes were the way to go. He enjoyed manning the mixer, and cracking the eggs, but he got really excited about the ghosts.

You can make these as easy or time consuming as you like. I chose a cake mix and homemade frosting. You can do all homemade or all store bought. You choice. Either way these Ghost Cupcakes will provide a spooky "boo" factor this Halloween.

Cake mix and eggs water oil that box calls for
2 sticks of butter
1 tsp almond or vanilla flavoring
1 1/4 cup powdered sugar
8-10 oz Marshmallow Fluff
chocolate chips

-Make cupcakes according to box directions
-In mixing bowl beat softened butter, flavoring of your choice, and powdered sugar at medium speed until smooth.
-Fold in the fluff or mix at low speed until blended
-Transfer frosting into piping bag or gallon Ziploc.
-Cut corner off of Ziploc and make ghost bodies.
-Use chocolate chips to make eyes and mouth.
-If you need to stiffen frosting or store cupcakes for a couple days, cover and keep in the fridge.

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Cobb Dip

This Cobb Dip is made to please everyone. It was a hit with my pregnant neighbor, my one year old daughter, my husbands teammates, and everyone else whose path it crossed! I made it twice in one weekend for two different BBQ's that we were going to. It was gobbled up both times.

What I like about this dip is that you can easily tweak it to your liking, adding a little bit of this, and more of that. Cobb Dip is perfect for your next football watching party, girls night in, or potluck.

I got this recipe from Lemon Tree Dwelling. I adapted it by using quite a bit more toppings. I amped upped the measurements because I'm the type of person who likes lots of goodies on top.

Cobb Dip
Recipe adapted from Lemon Tree Dwelling

8 oz cream cheese, softened
1 cup sour cream
1 package Hidden Valley Ranch Dip Mix
1 1/2 cup chopped romaine lettuce chopped small
3/4 cup chopped and drained fresh tomato
3/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese
3/4 cup frozen sweet corn thawed (you could probably use canned sweet corn too)
1/2 cup cooked and crumbled bacon
1/3-1/2 cup blue cheese crumbles
Chips to scoop up dip 

-Put cream cheese, sour cream, and ranch mix in a mixing bowl. Beat on low/med speed
 until blended smooth.
-Spread mixture evenly over the bottom of a dish about the size or a pie pan or tart plate
-Sprinkle all of the toppings evenly over the cream cheese mixture to cover it
-Pop in the fridge covered for 30 minutes or more
-Serve with chips to scoop/dip

Saturday, August 6, 2016

Refrigerator Dill Pickles

These Refrigerator Dill Pickles are my favorite. I tried 3 different recipes this year and these were definitely the best. This recipe was given to me by my childhood friends, Dawn and Danielle. I love this Refrigerator Dill Pickle Recipe because the pickles have a crisp, fresh taste. You can adjust the dill and garlic to your liking. I made mine in gallon glass jars, and stored some in quart jars for convenience. I'm sure you could make your pickles in either quart or gallon jars. My sister has even made hers in a gallon ice cream bucket with lid.

This is my new Go-To pickle recipe. If you are harvesting your pickled cucumbers soon, I urge you you to try this recipe. These are some of the best Refrigerator Dill Pickles you will ever try.

Refrigerator Dill Pickles
Recipe Source: Dawn Hagan, Danielle Anderson

Cucumbers, sliced to your preference. (I enjoy chips, and Dawn has tried spears and likes them too.)
11 cups water
2 cups white vinegar
1/2 cup canning salt
5 tsp fresh garlic minced
8 dill heads (I didn't have 8 so used heads and minced fresh dill)
2 TB pickling spice

Bring water, vinegar, and salt to a boil and boil for 3 minutes.
Let cool to room temperature.
In gallon jar layer garlic, dill heads, cucumbers, pickling spice. Repeat layering ingredients until jar is full and ingredients are gone.
Put the lid on and let it sit on counter for 24 hrs.

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Old Dutch Puffcorn Caramel Corn

     Old Dutch Puffcorn Caramel Corn is an oldie but a goodie. My Grandma always would make this and have a huge bowl sitting out in the middle of the table. At gatherings it went fast while people would chat and snack. 

     Since, she has moved into an elderly home. When we were back visiting the farm this winter, I made a big batch and took some in to her. This way she could enjoy some, and share with all of her visitors as well. 

     This stuff is addicting! I am warning you. If you are making it, and don't want to eat it all, promise some of it to your neighbors BEFORE you make it. That way they will be waiting and you can't keep it all for yourself after the first taste. 

Old Dutch Puffcorn Caramel Corn
Recipe from Old Dutch Foods

1 Bag of Old Dutch Puffcorn
1 Cup of real Butter  
1 1/4 Cup of Brown Sugar
2/3 Cup of Light Corn Syrup
1 teaspoon Baking Soda

Preheat oven to 250°F.
Combine butter, brown sugar, and light corn syrup in a 2 quart sauce pan. 
Cook on medium heat until mixture has melted.
Once mixture has melted, add the baking soda. (Mixture will foam)
In a large roaster pan, pour the puffcorn.
Pour the caramel mixture over the puffcorn and stir until mixed.
Place in the oven for 45 minutes, stirring at le
ast every 10-15 minutes.
Remove from the oven and pour on wax paper and break apart.
Let cool, and enjoy. Once cooled, it can be stored in a airtight container or ziploc bag.

Cheeseburger Sloppy Joes

These Cheeseburger Sloppy Joes are perfect for a busy day, kid food, or football food. When Dan, the kids, and I spent the winter on the farm, we had access to all the beef a person could ever want. I was making dinner most nights, but wanted to spend as much time as I could with my family enjoying the farm. 
Here enters Crockpot Cheeseburger Sloppy Joes. I would usually make a double recipe just so we could eat it twice in one week, and I would only need to cook once for w meals. 

I LOVE my regular Sloppy Joe recipe, but this is a fun way to switch it up, and something different that not everyone has tried before. 

Crockpot Cheeseburger Sloppy Joes
Recipe slightly adapted from Mostly Homemade Mom
2 lbs ground beef 
1 medium onion chopped  
3 cloves garlic, minced  
2 tablespoons yellow mustard 
1/2-1 cup of chopped dill pickles
8 oz Velveeta cheese  
Any burger toppings you may like, like ketchup.
-Brown ground beef in a large skillet adding in chopped onions 2 minutes before the beef 
 is done. Drain well. 
-Spray your crockpot with non-stick cooking spray and toss the ground beef onion mixture, garlic, mustard, pickles, and cheese into to the slow cooker.

-Cook on low 2 hours, or until cheese is melted. 
-Scoop warm/hot mixture onto a burger bun to serve.

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Chocolate Ganache Cookie Sandwiches

Somehow I wound up with a tub of chocolate chip cookie dough. I was invited to a party and wanted to bring a few things. After making a few savory dips, I decided to make ganache filled chocolate chip cookie sandwiches. Boy was I happy I did! I made them again in the same week to give to the neighbors.

The type of chocolate chips can be changed according to how sweet you like your ganache. I liked mine as follows.

Had I known how easy chocolate ganache was to make, I would have probably broke the scale years ago. I find myself eating it by the spoonful if I am not careful.

This is a thicker ganache. Perfect for filling cookie sandwiches. If you are looking to glaze a cake, I would use a 1:1 ratio of chocolate to cream.

Chocolate Ganache Cookie Sandwiches

1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 cup bitter sweet or dark chocolate chips
1 cup heavy whipping cream
chocolate chip cookie dough

-Bake chocolate chip cookies as you usually would. (I like mine a little chewy)
-In a large bowl pour the chocolate chips. Set aside.
-In a small sauce pan, stirring occasionally, over med/med-high heat, heat the heavy whipping cream to a simmer/low boil.
-JUST as it hits a hard simmer or low boil, pour cream over the chocolate chips.
-Cover the bowl and walk away for 5 minutes
-After 5 minutes, uncover bowl and stir vigorously with wire whisk until everything is smooth and melted together. It will thicken a bit.
-Let sit until it reaches room temp. (It will harden more as it cools)
-Spoon room temperature ganache into a gallon Ziploc bag.
-Cut off bottom corner of bag (1/4 inch) and use it like a frosting bag to pipe ganache out onto the bottom of a cookie.
-Use a second cookie to top the ganache making a little sandwich.
-Allow cookies to set up a couple hours or a day before serving. (If you can resist)

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Best Baked Beans Recipe

     I made these hearty maple beans one night when we had a few of our friends over for dinner. Dan made ribs, and I made the side dishes. These beans were a favorite. I am not a baked bean person but I loved these. I've made them many times since.

     In my opinion, this is the best baked bean recipe I have ever tasted. The combo of bacon, sausage, onion are savory, while the mustard and molasses give some depth to this dish. I love that if you are planning a big dinner, you can make these days ahead of time and just heat them up before serving. I always make extra so that I have leftovers. 

Best Baked Beans Recipe
 Slightly Adapted from Taste of Home

1/2 a package center cut bacon, cut into pieces
1/2 lb smoked sausage cut into pieces
1 can (15-16oz) Butter Beans drained and rinsed
1 can (15-16oz) Kidney Beans drained and rinsed
1 small onion diced
1 can (15-16oz) Pork n' Beans
3 TB ketchup
1/2 C real Maple Syrup
3TB Yellow Mustard
3 TB Apple Cider Vinegar
1 1/2 TB Dark Molasses

Preheat oven to 350°. 
In a large oven safe skillet, cook bacon over medium heat until crisp. 
Using a slotted spoon, remove bacon and drain on paper towel. 
Drain bacon fat, reserving 1 tablespoon or so of drippings. 
In drippings, cook sausage and onion over medium-high heat until sausage is lightly browned. 
Stir in bacon and remaining ingredients. 
Bake, uncovered, 25-30 minutes or until bubbly.  

Friday, November 27, 2015

Green Eggs and Leftover Ham

Leftover Ham ✔️
Eggs ✔️
Green Dye ✔️
Dr. Seuss ✔️
Half naked child fresh out of bed ✔️

I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving! Use up some of that leftover ham on a fun "Mommy and Me" breakfast project! 1-2 drops of green dye per 3 eggs will do the trick. Mix it up and dump it in the skillet, Whalaa! Green Eggs! Serve along side a little leftover Thanksgiving Ham.


Sunday, November 22, 2015

Autumn Squash Soup

I found this recipe on Pinterest. It was perfect for the cool Autumn day that we were having. Dan got a deer with his bow last week, so we enjoyed this soup with a little venison. The perfect fall feast!

This recipe makes quite a bit, so I gave some to each of my neighbors. BOTH want the recipe. I will definitively make this again. It is fairly rich so you don't need too much to satisfy your taste buds, but you can easily make a meal out of it.

If you like Panera Bread's Autumn Squash Soup, you will love this one!

Autumn Squash Soup
Slightly Adapted from Cincyshopper

-3 lbs Butternut Squash
-1 Onion
-2 tbsp Olive Oil
-15 oz Can of Pumpkin Puree
-2 cup Vegetable Broth
-1 1/2 cup Apple Cider
-1 1/2 cup Heavy Cream
-2 tbsp Honey
-1/4 tsp Curry Powder
-1/2 tsp Cinnamon
-2 tsp Sea Salt
-1/2 tsp Black Pepper
-Pumpkin Seeds (for garnish)

-Preheat oven to 450.
-Peel and seed squash. Cut into smaller size pieces. (I bought mine prepped at the store) 
-Peel and quarter onion
-Toss squash and onion in olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper
-Cook for 25-30 minutes or until soft enough to easily smash with fork. Times vary depending on the size of your squash chunks.
-Allow to cool at least 10 minutes.
-In 2 batches, puree the squash/onion mixture in blender or food processor. (In my
 blendtec I just pressed the "soup" button.) Be sure it is pureed well.
-In a large soup pot, combine squash puree, pumpkin puree, vegetable broth, apple
 cider and cream.
-Bring to a simmer over medium heat.
-Add honey and spices and simmer for 10 minutes.
-Garnish with pumpkin seeds.

*If you prefer a little thinner soup once it is finished you can add a little bit more broth and apple cider. But I found this recipe perfect as is.

Friday, October 23, 2015

Sloppy Joes (Slush Burgers)

I grew up thinking Sloppy Joes were nasty. I don't recall my Mom ever really making them, but the ones served at school were mainly ketchup and tomato sauce with no spice at all and a couple crumbles of ground beef plopped on a bun. They were also called Slush Burgers, not Sloppy Joes.

Whether you call them Sloppy Joes or Slush Burgers, they are meant to be the same. And the are meant to taste GOOD. My sister, Crystal, made them for a gathering a couple years ago and I was grossed out at the thought. I dished up and put one on my plate to be polite. I was blown away by how much I loved them! She said she used the Sloppy Joe recipe from the Pioneer Woman. When I looked at the recipe it made sense that it would taste better than what I remembered from childhood.

I am now a Sloppy Joe fan! I gobbled up the leftovers for 2 days and was kind of bummed when it was all gone.

Here is the recipe I used. It is slightly adapted from the Pioneer Woman's recipe. Feed it to the next crowd you get. You won't be sorry.

Sloppy Joes (Slush Burgers)
Slightly Adapted from the Pioneer Woman
-2-1/2 pounds ground beef 
-Approx 1 cup onion, diced 
-5 cloves fresh garlic, minced 
-1-1/2 cup ketchup 
-1 cup water 
-2 TB brown sugar 
-3 1/2 teaspoons chili powder
-1 teaspoon dry mustard 
-1-2 TB Worcestershire Sauce
-Ground black pepper, to taste 
-Sliced American Cheese (optional)

Brown the ground beef until cooked through. Drain most of the fat and discard.

Add onions, and garlic to the meat and cook for a few minutes until the onions are softened a bit.

Add ketchup, brown sugar, chili powder, dry mustard, Worcestershire and water. Stir to combine and simmer for 15 minutes, 
Taste and add pepper if needed.
Spoon meat mixture over the bottom half of the bun, top with a slice of cheese if you want. Top with other half of bun and enjoy! 

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Easy Crock Pot Apple Sauce

This time of year in WNY is gorgeous! It's places like this that make people love Fall. Leaves are changing color, trees are filled with apples, and the evenings get just cool enough to allow you to enjoy a warm soup or casserole at the end of the day.

Dan went hunting the other day and had no luck. But he did bring back a bag of apples for me. I took 12, and made this apple sauce. It was amazing! I am going to collect as many as I can and make a bunch of bags to freeze for winter.

This recipe can be altered to taste. Feel free to use sugar over honey, no spice, more spice, more or less to sweeten, etc. I used apples that were naturally sweet already.

Easy Crock Pot Apple Sauce

12 medium sized sweeter type of apples (not tart)
1/2 cup warm water
1 TB honey
3/4 tsp cinnamon
pinch of ground clove (about 1/16-1/8 tsp)
pinch of nutmeg (about 1/16-1/8 tsp)

-Peel, core, and quarter apples
-Toss in crock pot
-Dissolve honey in water and pour in crock pot
-Put spices in
-Cook covered on low for 6 hrs
-Stir vigorously with a fork
-If you want to, you can buzz it up in blender, but I found no need as my apples
 were cooked very well after 6 hrs.
-Allow to cool before storing in fridge or freezer

Monday, October 12, 2015

Chocolate Covered Pumpkin Spice Pretzels

These Chocolate Covered Pumpkin Spice Pretzels are so much fun! Fast and easy to make, they are the prefect treat to bag up and pop in your neighbors mailbox to wish them a Happy Halloween.

These are fun for the kids to help with too if you don't mind taking the extra time, and allowing your pumpkins to possibly look a little messy. 

Chocolate Covered Pumpkin Spice Pretzels

1 bag of Nestles Pumpkin Spice Morsels (Or orange candy melts if you don't like the flavor)
Green M&M's

-Melt morsels in microwave safe bowl 1 min.
-Stir vigorously.
-If needed microwave in 10 second intervals and stir vigorously until melted smooth.
-Dip pretzels in the melted pumpkin cinnamon chips
-Lay pretzel on waxed paper or saran wrap
-Place a green M&M in the melted chip goo on the top of the pretzel.
-Once cooled and hardened, remove pumpkin pretzels to a container and store at room temp or in 

Spider Cookies

These Spider Cookies are so much fun for Halloween. You can use any cookie dough that is your favorite. I used my Flourless Peanut Butter Cookie recipe because I knew I liked it. I also think it would be fun to make with a white dough dyed orange for Halloween. Or if you are not a Reese's fan, use Rolos instead. This is a very versatile cookie. Take the idea and run with it!

Happy Halloween!

Spider Cookies

1 batch of Flourless Peanut Butter Cookie Dough (or your favorite cookie dough)
Reese Peanut Butter Cup Mini's
Wilton's Candy Eyes
Chocolate Chips approx. 1 cup
Small Ziploc Bag

-Bake Cookies according to directions
-When they come out of the oven, quickly press a Reese's Peanut Butter Mini into the
 center of the cookie. Biggest side down first.
-Let cookies sit for 2-3 more minutes to set up.
-Remove from pan to cooling rack.
-Place 2 eyes onto the soft centers
-Repeat until all cookie dough is gone
-Once all of the cookies are cooled, melt chocolate chips in the microwave.
-Spoon melted chocolate into the corner of the bag. Cut a TINY tip off of the corner of
 the bag.
-Like a frosting bag, squeeze the chocolate out of the corner of the bag to make spider
 legs on the cookies. Starting at the body and working your way to the outer edges of the

-If you want the chocolate thinner/runnier, add a 1/2 tsp of oil/butter at a time to the
 chocolate until desired consistency is reached.
-Cut the corner of the bag tiny. You can always cut it bigger if it needs to be. You can't
 make it smaller.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Low Carb Cauliflower Potato Salad

If you are looking to loose weight, eat healthier, or just stay away from starchy carbs like potatoes and pasta, then this is the salad for you!

I love potato salad, but I know I shouldn't eat too much. When I make this low carb potato salad, I can eat until my hearts content and not feel guilty at all.

Using cauliflower over potatoes really cuts the carbs. And when you slightly steam the cauliflower and cool it, the taste isn't as strong. You can barely tell that there isn't potatoes in the salad. SERIOUSLY!

I was skeptical until I tried it. Now I am a believer.

Low Carb Cauliflower Potato Salad

4-5 cups bites sized slightly steamed cauliflower cooled
4 hard boiled eggs chopped
1 1/4 c chopped dill pickles
2/3 cup onion chopped small
1 1/2 tsp yellow mustard
3/4 c mayonnaise
1/4 c dill pickle juice
1/4 c milk
(If you have fresh dill, toss some of that in too.)

-Put first four ingredients in a large bowl.
-In a smaller bowl, whisk the last for ingredients
-Pour the liquid over the other ingredients
-Stir and season with salt and pepper to taste
-Keep refrigerated until ready to serve

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Texas Straw Hats

It's been busy around here! We sold a house, bought another, moved everything we own to just one state, had a baby girl, started the 2 year old boy in preschool, our beloved dog of 11 yrs passed, and Dan started his 8th year in the NFL. Did I mention Dan was gone at camp for 1 of the past 2 months?

We are still living among a few unpacked boxes, the walls are bare, and the baby sleeps in a pack and play...when she sleeps. Some days, I have no idea which way is up. I consider a shower a victory, and it feels like I just won the lotto if I get to go grocery shopping alone at 10 PM after the kids are in bed and kitchen clean. Some days I want to pull out all of my hair. But then I make myself pause.....and just breath, then smile. These are the days. The days I will someday miss.


The hours of every day can drag. But the months and years continue to whiz on by. I try my best to slow down. Enjoy what is important. Ignore what is not.

The house is occasionally a mess. But my kids are the happiest kids you will find.


Today, Dan's 1st game of his 8th NFL Season, he met and surpassed his 800th point made in the league. We came home and celebrated with Texas Straw Hats, and baby snuggles.

Texas Straw Hats is a warm and hearty meal you can toss in the crock pot for your family in the morning. Go enjoy your kids all day. Then come back to easy dinner. It's great to serve a crowd after church, or for your friends you are hosting for the big football game!

Texas Straw Hats are perfect for warming the soul on a chilly day. The lunch ladies back in school used to make these. I cleaned my plate every time. I don't have the original recipe, so I used a version of my own. You can use your favorite chili recipe if you want, or use my tried and true one I've listed below. I suggest more goods than liquid, as liquid can make chips soggy quickly.

Texas Straw Hats

3 lbs ground beef
1-1.5 cups diced onion
1 diced green bell pepper
2 cans chili beans
1 or 2 cans pinto beans rinsed and drained
4 TB chili powder
2 TB cumin
1 tsp garlic powder
29 oz can tomato sauce
28oz diced tomatoes with liquid
1 tsp Italian seasoning
1/2 tsp sea salt
1 tsp paprika
2 cubes of beef bouillon, crushed
1 TB Worcestershire sauce
1 TB brown sugar
Frito Chips - regular or chili
Shredded cheddar

Brown beef in skillet
Drain from liquid and reserve a few tablespoons of liquid in pan
Saute onions and green pepper in reserved liquid
Put browned beef, onion/pepper, and all remaining ingredients besides the chips and cheese into the crock pot.
Turn on low for 6-8 hrs
Serve over a bed of Frito chips and top with cheese

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Cajun Black Eyed Peas

These were the best Black Eyed Peas I've ever had! Maybe even better the next day, served over quinoa. The spice is just perfect. Makes you feel like you're in the South. Mmm Mmm!

I think I will make a double batch next time, as I wanted more leftovers.

Cajun Black Eyed Peas

2 cans black eyed peas drained and rinsed
1 small/medium yellow onion diced
2-3 cloves of garlic peeled and minced
1/2 package of center cut bacon (approx 6 slices)
1tsp Cajun seasoning
1/8tsp paprika
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp chili powder
2 cups water

-Use scissors to cut bacon strips into smaller chunks about 1/2 or 1/4 inch x 1/2 or 1 inch
-Fry bacon in pan until you have your bacon bits
-Remove bacon from pan to drain on paper towel
-In bacon drippings saute the diced onion for 2 minutes. Add minced garlic for 2 more
 or until onion is iridescent.
-Add black eyed peas and spices. Stir.
-Add water. Stir.
-Simmer low, covered for 1- 1/2 hr.
-Let cool and store in fridge until ready to reheat and use.
-Serve over brown rice or quinoa with a garnish of the homemade bacon bits

Saturday, June 6, 2015

Cold Pea Salad

This salad is so simple to make, yet everyone loves it when I take it to cookouts. It is fast to throw together, and can be made ahead of time. The peas give this salad a fresh feel to it. Most come back for 2nds and even 3rds.

Cold Pea Salad 

2-16 oz frozen peas, thawed and if needed, drained
6 strips of bacon, cooked and crumbled
3/4 cup Cheddar Cheese, diced small. (Just a little bigger than peas)
3/4 cup Mozzarella cheese, diced small. (Just a tad bigger than peas)
1/2 of a red onion, diced small
1 cup mayonnaise
3 TB sour cream if you have it on hand
salt and pepper to taste

In a large bowl, mix together all ingredients except bacon.
Stir softly until well blended.
Refrigerate covered until ready to serve. 
Remove from fridge, stir in bacon and serve.

(I have also made this salad with the peas frozen. As long as there is not any frost built up on the peas, it is fine to do this. If there is frost build up, the salad could be runny when the frost melts into water. If you use frozen peas free of frost, be sure the peas are thawed in time to serve. I like to use frozen peas so that they thaw part way in the fridge, and then the salad can sit out at a BBQ before serving and be ok.

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Salted Caramel Butter Bars

     I found these Salted Caramel Butter Bars on Pinterest. In the past, I have found a handful of recipes on Pinterest that were disappointing. I think some people are just great photographers, which makes you want to try their food. Then, it's a let down. 

     This is NOT the case with these Salted Caramel Butter Bars. They are AWESOME. I cut them in a smaller size than usual, as they are rich. Their buttery base accompanied by the soft caramel layer within is like heaven in your mouth. 

     I gave away a few to a couple of my neighbors, and fed more than a few to a couple of Dan's teammates that were over for dinner. And of course, I enjoyed quite a few with my morning coffee for a couple days in a row. 

Salted Caramel Butter Bars
Recipe slightly adapted from: The Domestic Rebel

  • 2 cups (4 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 & ½ cups powdered sugar
  • 1 Tbsp vanilla extract
  • 4 cups all-purpose flour, plus 2 Tbsp set aside
  • 1 (11.5 oz) jar salted caramel sauce
  • Sea salt

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Line a 13x9" baking pan with foil, extending the sides of the foil over the edges of the pan. Spray the foil liberally with cooking spray and set aside.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat together the butter and sugar until creamy and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Beat in the powdered sugar and vanilla. Lastly, beat in the four (4) cups of flour until a soft dough has formed. Press HALF of the dough evenly into the bottom of the prepared pan. Refrigerate the remaining dough.
  3. Bake the crust for 15 minutes. Remove from the oven but keep the oven on. In a small bowl, combine the caramel sauce and remaining 2 Tbsp flour until blended. Pour the caramel mixture evenly into the crust, then crumble the remaining dough on top to cover the caramel layer. Sprinkle lightly with sea salt, and remember that there's salt in the caramel sauce, too :)
  4. Return to the oven and continue baking for an additional 25-30 minutes or until golden brown and the caramel is bubbly. Mine took about (33-34 minutes). Cool completely before cutting into squares.

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Peep Nest Cupcakes

Peep Nest Cupcakes

Kids will have so much fun making and eating these Peep Cupcakes. They will feel so sneaky making the secret nests in each Peep Cupcake. Have fun this Easter making memories with your family and friends!! 

-Cake Mix 
-Vanilla frosting
-Green food coloring
-Easter Egg candy of choice. I chose whopper eggs.
-Easter sprinkles
-Peep Chicks

-Make cupcakes according to directions.
-Once they have cooled, us a small knife to cut a little "nest" out of the center. 
-Put an Easter Egg candy and Easter sprinkles in the nest. 
-Mix green dye in the frosting until it is a green as you wish. 
-Pipe the frosting around the cupcake and place a peep on top the nest to cover the goodies.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Easter Peep Pops


This Easter, make some Peep Pops with the kiddos! My niece Chloe and I made some while Colby was taking his nap. Peep Pops are delicious little chocolate covered Peeps on a stick.

Easter Peep Pops

1 bag of Wilton candy melts (chocolate or any Easter color you wish)
2 packages of bunny peeps
Cheap zipperless sandwich bags
Microwave safe bowl
Waxed paper

-Poke stick into bottom of each Peep. Poke at least half way through.
-Cut marshmallows in half.
-Lay out a sheet of wax paper.
-Melt the candy melts according to package directions in microwave safe bowl.
-Dip each Peep into the chocolate. Use a spoon or the spatula to cover it entirely.
-With the Peep over the bowl, tap the stick on the edge of bowl to help the chocolate drop smoothly off to make a nice even coating.
-Lay the chocolate covered Peep on the wax.
-Place one of the cut marshmallows on the Peep bunny to make the tail. When the chocolate dries, the tail will stick.
-Once all of the Peeps have hardened and set up, peel them off the wax paper one at a time and place a sandwhich bag over each of them.
-Use a pretty colored ribbon to tie the bag shut.