Recipes and Cooking Ideas for Homemakers and Amateur Cooks

Equivalents – this chart will make your life (in the kitchen) easier

This isn’t going to be an entertaining post with pictures and all. It’s more of a helpful post. We need to have some balance here. Not all fun and games and eating and pictures.

I guess I’ve never really put a game on here… I could though, one time I saw a bar recipe and a letter was piped on each bar and they made a crossword out of it. And I’ve also seen a meat and cheese checkers game. And one of the neatest looking things I’ve seen was square cakes frosted white and oreo cookie halves stuck on them in a pattern so the cakes looked like dice.

Warning: Sudden change of subject. I used to cook pasta and be dumping the uncooked stuff into the water and then dump in more, thinking it surely wouldn’t be enough. As it cooked, it grew and GREW and I’d end up with enough pasta to feed an army! Then, I found this info, and I haven’t cooked way too much pasta since. But I still dump in the uncooked stuff and think ‘Surely that won’t be enough’, but it always grows and sure enough, it’s enough! I know, it says on the package how much cooked uncooked makes, but it seems to always have it in ounces!

Or I would be crushing crackers crumbs with a rolling pin and empty the crumbs into a measuring cup, crush more, empty them, until I had enough. And then sometimes I crushed too many and had to decide what to do with the leftover crumbs… throw them away or throw them in.

Or I’d need 1/4 cup of lemon juice and want fresh-squeezed juice, so I’d go to the store and not know how many lemons I’d need to make 1/4 cup. So I’d buy 4 or so, just to be safe (I only did that one time, then I had a better idea of how much juice one lemon makes after that).

So, I hope this info helps you as much as it helps me! These measurements might not be exact, but it gives a ballpark idea anyway.

Macaroni               1 cup (3 1/2 oz) uncooked   = 2 1/2 cups cooked
Noodles, med        3 cups (4 oz) uncooked        = 4 cups cooked
Speghetti               8 oz uncooked                       = 4 cups cooked
Popcorn                 1/3 – 1/2 cup unpopped      = 8 cups popped
Rice, long grain     1 cup uncooked                     = 3 cups cooked
Rice, minute          1 cup uncooked                     = 2 cups cooked

Bread                      1 slice                                     =3/4 cup soft crumbs
= 1/4 cup dry crumbs
Graham crackers  7 squares                               = 1/2 cup crushed
Ritz crackers         12 crackers                            = 1/2 cup crushed
Saltines                  14 crackers                            = 1/2 cup crushed

Bananas                  1 medium                              = 1/3 cup mashed
Lemons                   1 medium                              = 3 Tbsp. juice
Limes                      1 medium                             = 2 Tbsp. juice
Oranges                  1 medium                             = 1/4 – 1/3 cup juice

Lettuce                   1 head                                   = 5 cups shredded
Carrots                   1 pound                                 = 3 cups shredded
Celery                     1 rib                                       = 1/2 cup chopped
Corn                        1 ear                                      = 2/3 cup kernels
Green pepper        1 large                                   = 1 cup chopped
Mushrooms           1/2 pound                             = 3 cups sliced
Onions                    1 medium                              = 1/2 cup chopped
Potatoes                 3 medium                             = 2 cups cubed

Almonds                 1 pound                                = 3 cups chopped
Pecan halves          1 pound                                = 4 1/2 cups chopped
Walnuts                  1 pound                                = 3 3/4 cups chopped

And while I’m at it, I might as well throw in some more equivalents that I’m sure you all know. But these still come in handy when your mind goes blank… blank like mine did this morning when I made coffee and after awhile was wondering why I didn’t smell it and when I looked at the coffee pot, there was clear water in it instead of coffee! Shannon said ‘the problem with coffee is that you need it first in order to be awake enough to make it’, or something like that… it didn’t sound as confusing when he said it.

I actually forgot what I was supposed to be writing here and had to go up and check… more equivalents:

3 teaspoons            = 1 tablespoon
4 tablespoon           = 1/4 cup
5 1/3 tablespoons  = 1/3 cup
8 tablespoons         = 1/2 cup
16 tablespoons       = 1 cup
2 cups                      = 1 pint
4 cups                      = 1 quart
16 cups                    = 1 gallon
4 quarts                  = 1 gallon

And from there, you’re on your own.

I just finished eating a fresh strawberry scone… delicious! I’ll post the recipe later. Do I mean fresh as in fresh strawberries or fresh as in fresh-baked? Yeah.


6 Responses to “Equivalents – this chart will make your life (in the kitchen) easier”

  1. barb on May 31st, 2008 9:02 am

    Awww, couldn’t you give at least one picture? Like maybe inside your spice cupboard. It’s fun to see how other people organize thiers. I use the tupperware ones. Anyway I’m just kidding about that picture.
    Great post, I need those charts in a bad way.
    I’ll email you the soft pretzel recipe later today.

  2. lisa on May 31st, 2008 11:33 pm

    i LOVE this site!
    the parmesan potatoes have become our new favorite dish. don’t know how many times i’ve made them the last month. and just today i made the oatmeal squares =) from the last post. marc was hugely impressed with them.and that recipe for meatloaf has made marc admit it can actually be good, or even delicious!
    just thought i would let you know.=)

  3. Amber on June 1st, 2008 2:40 pm

    Would shredded lettuce be the same equiv. as shredded cabbage? I need to know how many heads i need to buy for 5 gal. of shredded cabbage. (for cole slaw for a school auction) :)

  4. Sharon on June 1st, 2008 2:54 pm

    Okay…stop hinting around…now I can’t wait for the strawberry scones…fresh or fresh baked. GRRR! :-)

  5. Kay on June 1st, 2008 3:59 pm

    Amber, I researched it and yes, a head of lettuce is very comparable to a head of cabbage, but the lettuce is about a half cup more. That little bit can vary though in the size of the head. One place said that 1 pound of cabbage yields 4 cups (not counting the core that you’d take out). Hope that helps! And I hope the auction goes well!

    Sharon, strawberry scones recipe coming bright and early tomorrow morning. :)

    Barb, no thanks on the spice cupboard picture! Not until some organizing goes on anyway! I don’t buy bulk, mine are the regular ones you’d buy at a grocery store.

    Lisa, thanks for the feedback! That meatloaf is one of my favorites!

  6. Our Red House on June 2nd, 2008 11:17 pm

    It would help if you also added metric equivalents. Not every blog reader is American!


Berry-Mandarin Tossed Salad – Out of My Comfort Zone Cooking #5

Posted on May 29, 2008
Filed Under Out of My Comfort Zone, Salads

Do you ever just stop and wonder WHO decided what goes together? And who decided that scrambled eggs and pancakes are breakfast foods? And who decided that you shouldn’t eat ice cream or a Hershey’s w Almonds candy bar before 10:00 a.m.? And who decided that corndogs are a kid’s food? And WHO was the first person to have the guts to put fruit and nuts in a lettuce salad?!


But, you know what, this salad was good! Really good! I could not believe it! And I could also barely stop eating it! If you have never tried it, this recipe would be a great one to try it on. Especially the strawberries were good with it. And the dressing.

If any of you are coming up for air about anything in the first paragraph… “Hey, we eat scrambled eggs and pancakes for supper sometimes!” “Hey, c’mon, I eat ice cream every morning!” “I LOVE corndogs and I’m 27!”, I know, I know. Me too. Well, me too all except the parts about ice cream EVERY morning and being 27. But, when you have pancakes and eggs for supper, you call it a ‘breakfast supper’. And I would think my husband was the one who decided that about no ice cream or candy bars before 10:00 (yes, we’ve had these discussions), except that Dairy Queen doesn’t open till 11:00 a.m., so that’s kind of another clue. And have you ever seen corndogs on the regular menu at a restaurant? Nope, you’d have to order them off the kid’s menu. There, that oughta save some ranting in the comment section. :)

Back to this salad, it comes from the 2001 Quick Cooking Annual cookbook. There’s a picture, and it is so colorful, and it grabbed me. I also learned something… I almost didn’t put the onions in because I do not like raw onions in stuff and was afraid that the amount of them would for sure wreck it. The recipe calls for a sweet onion, so when I went shopping, I made sure to get an onion labeled ‘sweet’. It was a world of difference from the regular onions I usually buy! These were good! And not as strong. I’d still use the regular onions for cooking, but I won’t dodge around raw onions in other recipes anymore… I’ll just make sure they’re sweet onions.

Berry-Mandarin Tossed Salad

1/4 cup sugar
2 Tbsp. cider vinegar
2 Tbsp. honey
1 1/4 tsp. lemon juice
1/2 tsp. paprika
1/2 tsp. ground mustard
1/2 tsp. grated onion
1/4 tsp. celery seed
Dash of salt
1/3 cup vegetable oil

8 cups torn mixed salad greens (if you see grated carrots and red cabbage in there, it’s because my bag of ready-to-serve Romaine salad mix had them in)
2 cups sliced fresh strawberries
1 can (11 oz) mandarin oranges, drained
1 medium sweet onion, sliced into rings
1/3 cup slivered almonds, toasted
4 bacon strips, cooked and crumbled

Note: To toast the almonds, I just tossed them with about a teaspoon of melted butter in a pan, then put them in a 400 degree oven till they started turning brown, maybe 10 minutes or so, I didn’t time them, just kept checking them.
In a 2-cup microwave-safe bowl, combine the first nine ingredients. Microwave, uncovered, on High for 1 1/2 -2 minutes; stir until sugar is dissolved. Whisk in oil. Cover and refrigerate until serving.
I actually had some problems with the dressing… the oil didn’t want to blend into the rest of the stuff, the dressing got really thick after being in the refrigerator, and I thought it was too much dressing. And I did follow the recipe exactly, right down to the celery seed. It actually worked out ok and coated the salad evenly (I was afraid it would be thick in some places and none in other places). I think next time, I would put only about 2/3rds of it on though.

In a salad bowl, combine the greens, strawberries, oranges, onion, almonds, and bacon.

So pretty, huh?


Drizzle with dressing and gently toss to coat. Yield: 12-14 servings.

Maybe this type of thing is a regular dish on some of your tables, but we don’t see it much around here. I’m going to take this salad to the next fellowship meal at church… see if anyone takes any. :)

And now, I have to get an inspiration for something to make for a meal this evening… we eat in a little over an hour and a half and I have no clue what we’re going to have. Any ideas?



21 Responses to “Berry-Mandarin Tossed Salad – Out of My Comfort Zone Cooking #5”

  1. Liz on May 29th, 2008 3:53 pm

    I don’t know what we are having for supper tonight either and I really should know cause Elvie might be home in 1/2 hour. If I see this salad at church I think I’ll atleast try some. So a little bit will be gone. It looks good though.

  2. Annette33 on May 29th, 2008 3:58 pm

    Spaghetti, here! I planned it yesterday, but dang, realized I forgot to pick up the garlic bread. What’s spaghetti without garlic bread??

  3. Arla on May 29th, 2008 4:38 pm

    Hey, why not have a breakfast supper of pancakes and scrambled eggs. We actually have pancakes for supper more often than for breakfast because Elv really likes them and he’s more likely to be here at supper time that at breakfast. The salad looks wonderful. I’ve been looking at those strawberries at the store and wondering what to do with them; vetoing all those deserts we don’t need. Now, you’ve given me excuse to buy them, thanks!

  4. Shannon on May 29th, 2008 4:42 pm

    Ummm, I think I’ll still skip the onions, sweet or not sweet. :) Someone at church makes a salad with Strawberries in it. I’ll have to try some the next time I see it.

  5. lisa on May 29th, 2008 5:04 pm

    we would love this salad. unless i put the onions in. marc would quietly pick them out.

  6. cretora on May 29th, 2008 5:20 pm

    Mmmm! This looks like an awesome summer salad! So pretty and yummy looking all in one. I think you probably hit on a winner here. :)This I’ll have to try.

  7. Michelle on May 29th, 2008 5:34 pm

    Yum! I’ll have to try this. I like about any salad with fruit in it. I know it’s kinda after supper time but for what it’s worth we had the chicken squares tonite. I had kinda forgotten about that recipe until you posted it a couple weeks ago. It’s very good and easy to make!

  8. Sharon on May 29th, 2008 6:01 pm

    I will have to try this, too! I stayed away from “those kind” of salads for awhile ’cause I thought they sounded funny, but then I had a fruit and nut one at a company meal (at someone else’s place–wow! what guts! I thought) and it was REALLY GOOD! I’m with you on the sweet onions–I actually like the stronger ones, too, if it’s just a bit for flavor, but definitely sweet ones are the ones for stuff like this!

  9. Karisa on May 29th, 2008 6:19 pm

    It looks delightful!!!! I have had salads with fruit in and I love them. Last summer I had one with feta cheese and strawberries and I couldn’t get done eating it :)

  10. Kris on May 29th, 2008 7:56 pm

    I am like you and would have turned my nose up at a salad with fruit and nuts in it too at one time. Then several years ago I had a spinach salad with fruit and nuts in it, tossed with a Raspberry vinagerette. Yummy! I totally love making salads like this now. Spinach, mandarin oranges or strawberries or dried cranberries with onions and nuts are so yummy! There is a Crunchy Romaine Strawberry Salad at that is so good!

    I always buy sweet onions for my everyday cooking because my husband is sensative to strong onion flavor, and I love onions, so this is a way we can both enjoy them.

  11. Jo on May 29th, 2008 8:06 pm

    Looks oh!-so-refreshing for a muggy summer day! Will have to try this one sometime, as soon as fresh strawberries are available.

  12. Roxanna on May 29th, 2008 8:56 pm

    Have lots of salads with fruit in them around here and we love them! Annette33-here’s a suggestion for when you forget to get the garlic bread. Take regular sliced bread and butter it. Sprinkle it with garlic salt (not powder) and broil it until its brown. This is quick and easy and a great substitute in a pinch! p.s. homemade bread is REALLY good like this but boughten works great too!

  13. Lisa on May 30th, 2008 5:28 am

    I love variety in salad, since I eat lots of salad I am actually always looking for something new and different. Fruits and nuts – oh yeah! One of my favorites is apple, feta and walnuts – so good.

    Here’s a little tip for those of you who don’t like the “bite” of onion so much. Put the sliced onions in a collander and pour boiling water over them, then immediately pour cold water over them to stop the cooking process. The boiling water takes out the strong flavor and leaves you with a milder onion. Try it!

  14. Monica on May 30th, 2008 7:57 am

    It sounds good!! I didn’t used to like salads like that, but the more I have them, the more I like them!! I recently made a spinach-strawberry salad with a raspberry dressing that was delicious!!

  15. barb on May 30th, 2008 9:04 am

    My sister gave me a tip on homemade salad dressings. So many of them seperate after they have been in the fridge for a while.(like you mentioned) Just put all of the ingredients in the blender and mix for 3-4 minutes. It really works.

    I am not sure if you could do this with a cooked dressing, but it seems like it would work after you let it cool a little. That should keep the oil from seperating.

    This salad recipe looks great. Thanks for sharing another great idea.

  16. barb on May 30th, 2008 9:17 am

    I would make the peanut butter dream bars, but I would like it better if my friend/neighbor (Roxanna) would let me taste hers. HINT, HINT.

    Kay, I know I have told you before but I’ll say it again. I LOVE your site.
    I would love to do the same thing you are doing. I am always thinking of a recipe or tip that you should post on your site, so I really should start my own. I just think it would take too much of my time. How much time do you spend in a week taking pictures and doing all these post? Just curious.

    Also, could I suggest a post on soft pretzel? I have a recipe that really does taste like the ones at the mall. And you don’t have to let them raise twice like most other yeast products. So they are really easy and fast!!! Just comment back here if you are interested. Maybe I could email it to you.

  17. Kay on May 30th, 2008 9:47 am

    Thanks to those of you who put tips and suggestions into the comments, like Kris, Roxanna, Lisa, and Barb above. I love that!

    Sharon, about you being surprised someone served that to company, that was funny because I had told Shannon that I’m going to make this for carry-in, but I wouldn’t make it for company because at carry-in, they can pass it up if they want to, where with company it wouldn’t be as easy to pass on.

    Barb, yeah! Start a food blog! It is so much fun. It does take time, but we all spend time on hobbies, not? :) It’s actually more like a part-time job… if I update 5 times a week, I’d say I’ve spent roughly 20 hours/week making the food, taking pictures, posting, and managing it. I do need to cook though, so some of that cooking time would be done anyway, but it is amazing how much time it takes to take pictures, esp because I usually take several of one step, then pick the best one.

    I’ve never made soft pretzels, but I’ve always wanted to. I guess that would fit in with ‘Out of my Comfort Zone’. I’ve heard there is a knack to it and that you need certain tips and all, so I’ve always been scared to try them. I’d love the recipe though! I’d definitely try them and do a post, unless you decide to start a site, that could be your first post! Tasting like the ones in the mall sounds like a winner! :) My email address is

  18. LaDonna on May 30th, 2008 12:36 pm

    I have never tried fruit or nuts in a lettuce salad maybe I’ll take the plung and try this one. Love your site by the way I have tried several recipes and loved them. Thanks so much for the ideas and impute. I think the hardest thing about cooking is deciding what to make. You help that process along for me. thanks!

    I do have to make a comment about breakfasts foods because I totally have wondered the same thing. I have always eaten wierd for breakfast like leftovers from the night before. My family always teases me about it. But I’m like hey who says that you can’t eat chicken or mashed potatoes for breakfast. That sounds a little healthier that sausage and bacon anyway ???? There is one thing that I have found that I can not stomach before ten o’clock and that is a salad. Something about the raw veggies or something just doesn’t sit well on the stomach…anyway sorry about the ranting ;-)I’ll have to try that salad,…just not before ten o’clock.

  19. LaDonna on May 30th, 2008 12:38 pm

    Oops, that’s input not impute that’s what I get for sending a comment and not reading over it before it’s sent.

  20. Rosa on May 30th, 2008 1:08 pm

    Just wanted to tell you i LOVE your site! so interesting & practical… i love grilled food & am looking forward to the”perfect steak” post…maybe in time for Father’s Day?

  21. Denise on June 2nd, 2008 2:21 pm

    Hey, just wanted to let you know that the P.B. Dream Bars were a huge hit. I made them for that carry-in supper. There were 3 other kinds of cookies and bars. Every other kind still had some left but these bars were totally cleaned up. And I got a lot of comments on how good they were! Thanks

Peanut Butter Dream Bars

Posted on May 28, 2008 
Filed Under Cookies and bars

There are just some recipes you fall in love with when you read over them and you know you’ve just gotta try it. The recipe today was one of them. Most of the recipes like that for me are cookies, bars, or a dessert of some sort.

Sometimes I wonder why I didn’t just do a dessert site instead of a general cooking site. But, on second thought, that might not be a good idea because think of all the desserts and cookies and stuff I’d have to make to keep it updated! That wouldn’t be good for the wasteline.

In case you wonder, you pretty much get stuff hot off the press here. So, you know what we’ve been eating within the last day or two. I’m not a plan ahead person in any other area of my life (it’s something I’m trying to work on though!), so I’m not with this site, either. I have no posts made ahead. For example, I’m planning to make my ‘Out of my Comfort Zone’ lettuce salad with fruit in it today and post it tomorrow. And no-posts-made-ahead is why my site died the week I went with Shannon on a business run to PA and also over Memorial Day weekend.    

Anyway, I don’t know why I said all that just before saying this: these bars are an exception, I actually made them last week! I think it was maybe Thursday. So they are long gone by now. I only made half a batch because I didn’t want a huge pan of them around here. Way too tempting! I got the recipe from Michelle. She said, “I think the title doesn’t do them justice. I think a better name would be Peanut Butter Dream Bars. See what you think.” And I agree! Oatmeal Bars sound like a healthy something with raisins in. These would NOT fit that mental picture!!! See what you think. 


Oatmeal Bars

2 cups melted butter (starting out with melted butter… you KNOW they’re gonna be good!)
2 cups brown sugar
2 tsp. soda
4 cups quick oats
3 cups flour
1 tsp. salt
2/3 cup peanut butter
2 14-oz cans sweetened condensed milk
2 cups mini choc. chips or mini m&m’s

Mix together melted butter, sugar, soda, quick oats, flour & salt until it’s crumbly.

Set aside 3 cups. Press the rest into a greased 15×10 pan. Remember I made a half batch. I couldn’t decide what size pan would be half of a 10×15. That’s 150 square inches, so half would be something that’s 75 square inches. An 8×8 is 64, a 9×13 is 117. So I picked the 8×8. Maybe I need more baking pans. Or maybe they don’t even make 8×9 pans (72 sq in) or better yet, 7 x 10.5, that would be perfect. Um, let’s see, I forget, were we baking or having Math class?

Bake at 350 for 10 minutes.
Mix peanut butter and sweetened condensed milk. Spread over the baked crust. Pour/drizzle worked great. Yum, doesn’t that mixture look good?! It is. I licked the spatula afterwards.


Mix mini choc chips or m&m’s with the reserved crumbs. Sprinkle the reserved crumbs on top of the peanut butter and sweetened condensed milk mixture. Bake at 350 for 20 minutes.

Enlarged to show texture. And that creamy caramelly peanut buttery layer. These definitely do not fit the ‘Oatmeal Bar’ name. In a recipe that has peanut butter and M&Ms and oatmeal, WHO would pick out the oatmeal and name them THAT?! So, Peanut Butter Dream Bars they will be. They are, of course, irrestistably good. They’re a bit crumbly, for example, you wouldn’t want the kids to walk around in the house eating them. But then, who’d ever let their kids do that anyway. Thanks for the recipe, Michelle! It’s a keeper.

Edit: I made them again and put a half recipe in a 9×13 and that was perfect, they were not as crumbly as they were with the 8×8 pan.



32 Responses to “Peanut Butter Dream Bars”

  1. Annette33 on May 28th, 2008 8:25 am

    Oh, those look good! I will have to try this recipe. Yes, I am one of those moms that lets their kids walk around with crumbly food, lol. I know, one bad habit. I recommended your site yesterday to my scrappin’ friends at DMarie. I love the fact that your recipes seem simple, and look so delicious with attacked pics. Just the motivation I need to cook some scrumpcious stuff this summer.


  2. Lisa on May 28th, 2008 8:28 am

    My boys would go wild over these….heck who am I kiddin’ so would my husband and I. Do you think that a regualr 9×13 pan would work on a full batch of these? I don’t have a 15×10 pan. That recipe is for a full batch right? Thanks!


  3. Shannon on May 28th, 2008 8:37 am

    Ohhhh I’m looking for something to bake this morning and I think I just found it!!! I have to go see if I have everything. I love peanut butter & oatmeal and these look wonderful!


  4. Kay on May 28th, 2008 8:48 am

    Annette, so you’re a scrapper… me too! Thanks for sharing this site with your friends! :)

    Lisa, I’ll bet it would work. Yeah, the recipe is for a full batch. They might be a little thicker, but then mine would’ve been a little thicker too because my pan size would’ve been a little less than half of a 10×15… see Math work above. :)

    Shannon, do NOT let the chocolate out! I’m so afraid you will. And no, it wouldn’t be better with white chocolate!!!! :)


  5. Jo on May 28th, 2008 8:53 am

    Well, I don’t love PB, but everyone else in the family does. And even I liked your PB cookies. ???? So it looks like I’ll have to try these out…once I have brown sugar in the pantry again.


  6. Berneice on May 28th, 2008 8:55 am

    These are a favorite of Lorens. Not mine though, I stay pretty far away from PB. They sound so good with that condensed milk I had to try them, but still couldn’t hack that PB!


  7. Shannon on May 28th, 2008 8:57 am

    Ha ha Kay. :p I came back to write the recipe down and I see your comment. I was cosidering leaving it out but I might go with half white half choc. :)


  8. Freida on May 28th, 2008 9:39 am

    These look wonderful. Doesn’t look like I should make them for tonight, tho, since Shannon and Berneice both beat me to it. That’s ok. I’ll just make them some other time and eat them all myself. :-)


  9. Karisa on May 28th, 2008 9:58 am

    OHHHHH they look heavenly and I am going to put these on my list of things to make in the near future.


  10. Dawn on May 28th, 2008 12:06 pm

    YUM! :-)
    I love this site so much. I am such a sucker for easy recipes. :-)

    God Bless!


  11. Roxanna on May 28th, 2008 5:18 pm

    These look awesome! I’m on my way to the kitchen right now! I’m not sure they fit in my diet-but oh well-I’ll exercise more tomorrow! :)


  12. Karen on May 28th, 2008 7:48 pm



  13. Roxanna on May 28th, 2008 8:48 pm

    Yep-they’re wonderful! They are richer than I thought they would be though. I made a full recipe so some will probably go in the freezer for later! Thanks again for another wonderful recipe!


  14. Jo on May 29th, 2008 7:24 am

    Just wondering…quick oatmeal or regular, or doesn’t it matter?
    Titus is getting br. sugar for me right now, & these will be baking up in my oven sometime today. Mmmm, can’t wait!


  15. Denise Weaver on May 29th, 2008 10:50 am

    Wow!! This looks super good. And I was thinking of making some peanut butter cookies for this weekend’s carry-in church supper. The supper is planned for the chorus coming to sing and for the church folks and any other visitors. I’m on for cookies or bars. Well I already planned to make choco. chip cookies and peanut butter cookies but now it will definitely be pb dream bars! Going shopping tomorrow with my sis-in-law so, I’ll get what I don’t have. THANKS!


  16. Audrey on May 29th, 2008 1:30 pm

    Wow! Those look like they would be right up our alley! I love peanut butter and chocolate! In fact, maybe I’ll make them for company this week end! Seems like maybe they would get too thick or high for the kind of cookie sheet 15X10 pans that I have. What do you think? They only have that low edge on them? Also, is there a way to print just a recipe on your web site, instead of getting everything that goes along with it? Could I maybe cut and paste to another program or can I somehow do it right from this web site?


  17. Kay on May 29th, 2008 2:03 pm

    Roxanna, thanks for trying them and for the feedback! Yeah, they didn’t fit into my diet either. :(

    Jo, I’d say definitely quick oats… but then I never buy regular and use quick oats for everything w oatmeal.

    Audrey, I actually thought of that same thing, my 10×15 has low sides too. I should’ve made a full pan to try it, then put the rest in the freezer like Roxanna did. That gooey layer would drip over the side if it wasn’t down in the sides of the pan. Oh well, I’ll just have to make them again in a full batch. :)
    And about printing recipes, I’m going to make printer-friendly recipes (without all the progress pics and extra chatter) and attach a link, but haven’t figured out a good way to do that yet. For now, you could copy and paste into a program and delete the pictures and print it. Or scrawl it down w pen and paper.


  18. Marilyn on May 29th, 2008 6:30 pm

    I tried the bars and they were oh sooo good! Definitely a recipe to keep in my file! :-)


  19. Jo on May 29th, 2008 8:04 pm

    I just pulled a pan of these out of the oven. :-) I used half reg. oats & half quick oats—we’ll see if that makes them too crumbly. And, I used a 10×15 pan—the sides of the bars baked up higher than the edges of the pan, but nothing ran over. Can’t wait to taste them; the house smells wonderful! ???? Bring on the calories!!!


  20. Amber on May 31st, 2008 6:49 am

    My pan suggestion is a 7.5 x 11. I have 2 of them and they’re a great in-between size. :)


  21. Janice on May 31st, 2008 11:54 am

    I tried to leave a comment the other day but our internet service wasn’t good. Then I made the bars, (1/2 batch here) and can’t leave them alone. They are even better after a day or two b/c the filling sets more. While eating them, I think of the oatmeal part. :)


  22. Mary Faith Yoder on June 2nd, 2008 8:22 am

    I took these to our carry in yesterday and they were wonderful! I used my Pampered Chef bar pan and it worked out well. I was a little afraid it might run over in the oven because it was really full, but it didn’t. I probably won’t make them real often because I don’t have desserts like that around on a regular basis but the recipe is definitely a keeper and one that I will have handy for when I do want to make something. :)


  23. Suzanne on December 7th, 2008 3:03 pm

    I just made these this afternoon. They are currently still in the oven, but I am absent-minded today and didn’t read that you cut the recipe in half when you did it. I accidentally made the whole recipe and tried to squeeze it into an 8×10 pan, I think. My hubby tried the crumbly part, and said it was good. We shall see how they turn out! Oh and I only had one can of sweetened condensed milk, so I made my own. I took 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons evaporated milk, 1 cup sugar, and 3 tablespoons butter and cooked it until it came to a boil. It wasn’t as thick as the canned stuff, but it worked out okay for this particular recipe! Thanks for sharing it!


  24. bakingblonde on May 18th, 2009 6:54 pm

    I made these and loved them. I slightly modified this recipe and used a 9×13 pan like you recommended. They were so quick and easy with great results! Thanks.


  25. Christy McCullough on February 2nd, 2014 1:55 pm

    I saw this posted on facebook. Going to try them…my only question…what point do I add the chips? right before i bake them…or in the reserved topping?


  26. Kay on February 18th, 2014 4:14 pm

    Christy, mix them into to the reserved topping.


  27. Teresa on March 11th, 2014 1:39 am

    Oatmeal or Quick Oats? Because when you say oatmeal, to me that means you actually made a bowl of oatmeal and added 4 cups of oatmeal to the recipe. 4 cups of Quick Oats (not rolled oats) makes more sense, but I didn’t see anywhere on the recipe which one it is.


  28. Kay on March 12th, 2014 7:33 am

    You are right, Teresa. It should not say oatmeal. It is quick oats. I edited the recipe just now and it now says quick oats. Thanks for pointing that out!


  29. Courtney on June 12th, 2014 11:38 pm

    Just made these tonight and they were delicious! The only issue I had is the chocolate chips seemed to fall off when I cut and served them. Any suggestions to make sure they stick to the top without burning them by leaving them in too long?


  30. Kay on June 12th, 2014 11:54 pm

    I have a little problem with that when I use M&Ms, but when I use choc chips, they seem to melt into the oats mixture and stick a little better. Pressing down on it before baking seems like it would make the peanut butter layer squeeze up the sides, so that doesn’t sound like a great idea. I wonder what would happen if you’d mix the peanut butter and sw cond milk with the reserved crumbs and choc chips.??? Obviously, I’m just brainstorming here. :) Thanks so much for the feedback!! And now you made me hungry for them again… been awhile since I’ve made them.


  31. Michelle B on October 27th, 2014 2:40 pm

    Maybe a dumb question, but what size sweetened condensed milk can should I use? I have two sizes


  32. Kay on November 6th, 2014 9:02 am

    Michelle, thanks for that question! I’m going to edit the recipe to specify that. It should be a 14-oz can.


Memorial Day, Charcoal, Cheeseburgers and Gold

Posted on May 22, 2008
Filed Under Beef, Grilling, Main dishes

Hey! We’ve got a guest writer! Since I am not the griller around here (thankfully!), it seems fitting that I also shouldn’t be the writer of the grilling posts, right? So, here is my husband Shannon:

Did you read in the news this week about the restaurant on Wall Street in New York that serves a $175.00 cheeseburger? Yup, you read right, $175.00! It is Kobe beef topped with foie gras, exotic mushrooms and golden truffle mayonnaise. Golden truffle mayonnaise is made from chopped black truffles, truffle oil, and gold flakes. Gold as in “silver and gold”.  So let me get this straight… Some chef in New York decided it would be a good idea to make his gold watch into Miracle Whip? Wow. Remind me not to leave the Midwest.

This is not that burger.

Memorial Day weekend is the unofficial line between spring and summer (or if you are from up here in Wisconsin, the line between winter and summer).

Cheeseburgers sizzling on the grill… What could be a more sure sign of summer than that?

Cheeseburgers are such a basic food that you don’t even need a recipe. But here is my recipe, just the same.


2 pounds fresh ground beef. Not too lean, 80/20 would be good. I used 85/15 this time. If they don’t have enough fat, they will fall apart on the grill.

1/4th cup chopped onion.

1 chopped jalepeno. Use as much as you like. We like a bit of kick.

BBQ sauce. Your favorite brand.

Lawry’s seasoned salt. Put in as much as you prefer, but don’t be scared to use quite a bit. I use about 2 teaspoons (that is completely a guess, I have never measured). :)

1/4th teaspoon coarse ground pepper.



Combine the ground beef, onion, jalapeno, 2 tablespoons BBQ sauce, Lawry’s, and pepper in a mixing bowl.


Shape into patties. This is hand work, no Pampered Chef burger shooter or other cheating! This is a cheeseburger, keep it simple. I made 4 patties this time, but that makes pretty big burgers. Depending on your group, you may want to make them smaller.


Using a brush, brush a light coat of BBQ sauce on the patties. This is not for flavor as much as to carmelize the suger in the BBQ sauce for a nice “crust”. It may actually work better to do this step just a minute before they come off the grill.



Grill on a charcoal grill. I almost don’t want to put times here because each grill will differ in temp. I grilled them for about 6 minutes on each side. DONT LEAVE THEM ON TOO LONG! Seriously, the most common way to ruin a good burger is to overdo it. A little pink in the middle is perfect.


Put cheese on. Leave on grill for an extra minute to melt the cheese. I used provolone cheese. The buns must be grilled.


Dress to taste. I like tomato, lettuce, Bread and Butter pickles, ketchup, and mustard.


Ah, now that’s a “God bless America” cheeseburger! Serve with extra napkins.

While you are enjoying your good honest cheeseburger this weekend, remember to feel sorry for some guy out in New York whose self esteem is so low that he needs to eat a $175.00 cheeseburger with jewelry in it, just to prove he can.

Me again: Well, after a grilling post like this, I’m going to close my kitchen for the weekend and be outside. Have a wonderful Memorial Day weekend! See ya Tuesday!


13 Responses to “Memorial Day, Charcoal, Cheeseburgers and Gold”

  1. esther on May 23rd, 2008 12:32 am


  2. Shannon on May 23rd, 2008 6:38 am

    Those look good enough to eat. :) I’m a dumper and pourer kinda person when I make hamburgers. All kinds of things go in but I’ve never put jalepeno’s in mine! Not sure that would go down well here. :)

  3. Berneice on May 23rd, 2008 7:21 am

    Yummy. Tell me does gold melt that easily? I think someone had too much money or was going to confinscate the gold! :)

  4. Arla on May 23rd, 2008 7:29 am

    Wow, Shannon, I think I’ve heard it all, now. Ridiculous comes to mind. Your hamburgers sound yummy although I believe I’d better omit the peppers. BTW, that’s an ordinary charcoal grill I’m seeing on the picture, right? Is there an advantage of a charcoal grill over a gas?

  5. Kay on May 23rd, 2008 8:10 am

    Yup, it sure is a charcoal grill. The classic Weber kettle grill. I also have a gas grill that comes in handy when we are in a hurry. Why charcoal? I can think of three reasons: 1.The flavor is better when a burger or steak is grilled over a bed of coals. 2.Most consumer level gas grills don’t get hot enough to sear a steak properly. 3.I just enjoy the primitive process of starting a fire and making food over it.
    On a side note, the Weber Kettle grill is not an expensive grill, but it does a wonderful job compared to some cheap ones I have used. The basic design of the Weber has not changed since 1952. Shannon (I wonder what I need to do to get my own user name on here)

  6. Jo on May 23rd, 2008 9:09 am

    My dad has always grilled over charcoal…my husband’s family believes in gas. The proof is in the pudding—-er, the burgers & steaks. My dad’s beat the ones on the gas grills hands down. Our own gas grill finally kicked the bucket & we replaced it w/ charcoal—ah, much better!
    My mouth is watering over those burger pics. We’ll be wading into some of our own this wk/end & I can’t wait!

  7. Michelle on May 23rd, 2008 3:06 pm

    Ahh- my mouth is watering! Can I come to your house this weekend? That sandwich looks so good!!It probably doesn’t help matters that I’m really hungry right now. We’re going out to eat tonight and I just might have to order myself a cheeseburger.

  8. heidi on May 23rd, 2008 3:12 pm

    ooohh this looks really good..minus the jalepenos sorry im not a big pepper fan. the rest of it sounds mighty yummy might have to try this recipe this weekend. now im so hungry for a burger. =)

  9. Karen on May 23rd, 2008 10:35 pm

    Loved this post. It made me smile. Milt does all the grilling around here and does it on a small charcoal Weber grill….and declares that charcoal is WAY better then gas….and that Weber’s are WAY better then any of the cheaper makes. The food he makes is wonderful….one of the many reasons I like summer. We have yet to hit 70* here in the Icebox of the Nation. Maybe this weekend??!!!

  10. Patsy Clairmont on May 24th, 2008 6:56 pm

    Okay, so now I am a Shannon fan! I love your info, humor, pics, and recipe.

    You rock!

    Thanks for the smiles and the yummy burger!

  11. Amber on May 27th, 2008 11:59 am

    Awesome looking burger! I think i know what we’ll have for supper! Doesn’t hurt that burgers are my husbands’ fav. food. :)

  12. Amber on May 29th, 2008 3:17 pm

    To make them even better…put mushrooms under that cheese! YUUUMMMM!!!! :)

  13. Kay on May 29th, 2008 3:30 pm

    Great idea, Amber! Can’t believe we didn’t think of that… we put mushrooms on about everything! I’m assuming you mean sauteed, at least I think that would be best.

Carrot Pancakes – Out of My Comfort Zone Cooking #4

Posted on May 21, 2008
Filed Under Breakfasts, Out of My Comfort Zone

Does ‘carrot pancakes’ strike you as odd? It did me, for 2 reasons: 1. The thought of carrots in pancakes. and 2. These pancakes do not get served with syrup… there is a cream cheese mixture that goes on top of them instead. All my life, pancakes have gotten served with syrup. Sometimes with peanut butter underneath the syrup, but always with syrup. If we’d decide to put jam on them instead, that was not the norm.


This recipe actually sounds really good. It’s got pecans in it… YUM! and it’s got cinnamon and brown sugar in it and that cream cheese spread sounds really good!!! And they are really good, except the carrots kind of wreck them, which is unfortunate because that’s the main ingredient.

Carrot Pancakesfrom the 2003 Quick Cooking Annual Cookbook

1 1/4 cups flour
2 Tbsp. finely chopped pecans (I didn’t chop them very fine, I like running into chunks)
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. ground ginger
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
1 cup milk
1 cup grated carrots
1 tsp. vanilla
Cream Cheese Spread:
4 oz. cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup powdered sugar
2 Tbsp. milk
1/2 tsp. vanilla
Dash ground cinnamon

In a bowl, combine the first 6 ingredients. Combine the egg, brown sugar, milk, carrots, and vanilla; mix well.

Stir into the dry ingredients just until moistened.

Pour batter by 1/4 cupfuls into a greased hot griddle.
Mmmmm! Look at all those chunks! …too bad so many of the chunks are carrots, huh?

Turn when bubbles form on top of pancakes;

cook until second side is golden brown.

Place the cream cheese, powdered sugar, milk, and vanilla, in a blender or food processor; cover and process until smooth. Transfer to a bowl; sprinkle with cinnamon.
Serve with pancakes. Yield: 4 servings. This recipe makes 11 pancakes.



Next time, and I think there might be a next time, I would put in a few more pecans and considerably less carrots. They were fun to try for something different. Lexi (5) wouldn’t touch them with a 10′ pole (and I sounded excited about them to her, carrots and all), but Tiffany (2) downed a whole pancake like nothing. Shannon didn’t get a chance to taste them because he was at work, but I think his take on them would’ve been similar to Lexi’s.

Edit: I tried these again later and replaced the cup of carrots with 1/3 cup of pumpkin and doubled the pecans, but kept everything else the same. I think I should’ve added nutmeg too. Anyway, they were delicious!

I’m actually having alot of fun with this Out of My Comfort Zone series. It’s fun trying stuff I’d never try otherwise. Next week, I’m planning to try a lettuce salad with fruit and maybe nuts in it.


7 Responses to “Carrot Pancakes – Out of My Comfort Zone Cooking #4”

  1. Jo on May 21st, 2008 11:57 am

    You are braver than I! Our boys love carrots & pancakes, but I can only imagine the reaction if I’d put carrots IN their pancakes, then veto the syrup!!

  2. Sharon on May 21st, 2008 12:29 pm

    My first reaction too is that carrots don’t go with pancakes, but these sound kind of neat with the cream cheese spread–a little like carrot cake maybe? So that part makes sense. Do the carrots get soft though in just the little time it takes to fry the pancakes, or are they still a bit crunchy?

  3. Mary Faith on May 21st, 2008 12:59 pm

    I’m not usually a brave one for trying new recipes, but I think this would sound MUCH BETTER if you used sweet potatoes instead of carrots. Of course, that’s coming from a sweet potato lover! :) I think maybe I’ll try it sometime when I have sweet potatoes on hand. I think I would cook them first, though, at least a little bit…

  4. Kay on May 21st, 2008 1:13 pm

    It was kind of surprising, but the carrots didn’t need cooked first. They weren’t crunchy chunks. I grated baby carrots with a grater, so it was pretty flat little pieces. I wonder if the bought grated carrots would need cooked first though…they’re longer and thicker than mine were.

    Can’t tell you how good those pecans were in there though! I’d recommend not chopping them too fine. Pecan chunks (as opposed to carrot chunks) are a good thing. :)

  5. Rosalyn on May 21st, 2008 2:01 pm

    I was thinking too, along the lines of carrot cake, and decided these sound delicious! And I wonder how it would be to top it with syrup, after you put on the cream cheese spread??! :) (I love syrup with my pancakes) My girls would probably like it w/o the syrup…they (are going thru a phase?) don’t like syrup with their pancakes! ????

  6. Tamara Merritt on May 21st, 2008 5:20 pm

    Hmmmm I was thinking to use some canned mashe carrot instead, and maybe mix some honey in the cream cheese or either drizzle honey after the cream cheese.

    I think they sound yummy though, but heck add more PECANS…and toast the pecans before adding to bring out more of that nutty goodness.

    Sweet potatoes sound really good too! I would definitely cook them some first.

  7. Ruth on May 21st, 2008 7:26 pm

    They sound good to me. Nothing like getting your veggies. I’ve had carrot pie,carrot cake, and carrot salad and enjoyed all of them. I, personally, like gravy on my pancakes … tomato gravy or sausage gravy, then finish with syrup on my last pancake, like dessert. I find that pancakes with gravy are more satisfying than pancakes and syrup. Maybe I’m odd???

Miscellaneous thoughts and pictures…

1. I usually put fat free half & half or skim milk in my coffee. But once in awhile, I put chocolate milk in it. It gives it a mocha flavor. Try it sometime!

2. I made finger jello for the school picnic this past weekend. To make the plate more colorful, I made 2 pans of jello and made sure that the colors on the bottom and top of the pans were all different. Then, when I went to put them on a plate, I flipped some one way and some the other way and it looked more colorful with red, yellow, purple, and green on top. Do you have no clue what I mean? Here’s a picture:

As opposed to less colorful, like this:

3. I just found out that if you want an egg at room temperature because it beats nicer and fluffier, you can put it in the microwave for 10 seconds, shell and all, instead of letting it sit out till it’s room temp. I tried it and it does feel room temp when I comes out. I didn’t check if it’s that temp the whole way thro’ though.

4. And because this is a cooking site, I’ll post a couple pictures of the tables laden with food at the school picnic. The food was inside, but we ate outside. At the other end of the table in this first picture is the hot stuff… chicken breasts and shish-ka-bobs both off the grill, baked beans, hot dogs, and macaroni and cheese.
Then the salads.

Then the desserts.

What would you fill your plate with?

5. And even though this has NOTHING to do with cooking, I’m putting it on anyway. We church ladies made and quilted this friendship quilt for our school teacher this year. The school teacher is on the right. Her talented mom, who is on the left, handpainted those beautiful roses around the edge and the ones at the top. She used fabric paints and it is just so beautiful! picnic3.jpg
Ok, we’ll stick to cooking now, just couldn’t resist that one. I do see an apple on that one quilt block, though…


19 Responses to “Miscellaneous thoughts and pictures…”

  1. Alicia Whittaker on May 19th, 2008 3:37 pm

    Looking at that made me so hungry!

  2. Jo on May 19th, 2008 4:46 pm

    Wow, that quilt is beautiful—and I see more than one apple, so it’s OK to have on a cooking site. ;-)
    I’ll bet that you took an empty plate home, didn’t you? That finger jello looks like a real kid-pleaser. (It even appeals to me!) I’ll have to remember your tip; it would make a great b-day party treat, too.

  3. Susan on May 19th, 2008 5:55 pm

    What delicious-looking food! That beautiful quilt is a lovely gift!

  4. Annette33 on May 19th, 2008 6:10 pm

    How do you make the finger jello? It is so colorful!

  5. Denise on May 19th, 2008 6:32 pm

    Great idea for the finger jello. I’ll bet it took about a day to make it though, till you chilled each layer and added a new layer at a time. That quilt is positively lovely.

  6. Tamara Merritt on May 19th, 2008 6:48 pm

    Your Jell-O fingers looked FABULOUS! BIG difference doing it the way you did.

    Why, you start at the dessert table while everyone is wasting calories on the regular food table…no line either :-D

    The quilt is gorgeous! I always wanted a quilting bee before I got married, but my aunt that was going to throw one for me is now sick and bedridden :-(

    No one made me a wedding quilt *sobs* I LOVE quilts…they are such a comfort as you look at each loving stitch.

  7. Katie Mast on May 19th, 2008 7:16 pm

    wow, mouth watering deserts!!! HA! I think i would start there. Just dont let my children see, right! IT all looks so yummy.

    The quilt is gorgeous, it would look nice on my bed. lol. the roses on there are beautiful.

  8. Karen on May 19th, 2008 8:34 pm

    We’ve tried your finger jello many times…..adults love it as much as the kiddos!

  9. Kay on May 19th, 2008 9:14 pm

    Replying to the finger jello comments and questions…
    For how to do it, the ‘finger jello’ in red letters at the beginning of the second paragraph is a link to the recipe with step by step pictures. And, good news, it actually doesn’t take all day. Once everything is room temp, it takes my fridge 7 minutes to gel a layer. And it doesn’t take twice as long to make 2 pans of jello because you can do them at the same time, if you have room in the fridge for 2 9×13 pans. My friend said hers took a half hour between layers, though, when she tried it. We keep our fridge set very cold though, so maybe that’s the diff. Oh, and yeah, the plate had only a few pieces left on it when I brought it home.

  10. Our Red House on May 19th, 2008 11:57 pm

    That food looks brilliant. I love the colourful jelly you made too. I have never seen it like that before.

    Thank you for visiting my blog and leaving a comment. I love foodie blogs.


  11. Mama Bear on May 20th, 2008 12:55 am

    The Jello is amazing! I must try it.

  12. Melissa K on May 20th, 2008 5:24 am

    Okay, I’ve been lurking here for quite some time loving your posts, but I had to comment for two reasons:
    First, what a great idea to switch the colors up on the jello like that & then flip some. Duh, I never would have thought of that, yet I love how it looks!
    Second, the quilt is beautiful. What a lovely gift for the teacher. I can’t imagine receiving such a wonderful gift!!
    Loving your blog. You cook like I do: mostly simple, home cooked meals & yummy desserts!! Thanks so much for sharing so many wonderful recipes!

  13. Shannon on May 20th, 2008 6:13 am

    Ummm, I love carry in’s with food like that. :) I also love jello as much as a kid does so I bet I could eat that whole plate. :)

  14. Twila on May 20th, 2008 7:06 am

    Another way to quickly bring an egg to room temperature is to put it in hot water for a few minutes…and all that food looks delicious, although I’m not very hungry right now, after my morning coffee and bowl of cheerios!

  15. Rene on May 20th, 2008 7:30 am

    Yummm! I’m just finishing up my tea and a piece of cranberry walnut bread but I could definitely make a dent in the dessert table! I love potlucks – especially at my church, those women really know how to cook! The 2nd Thursday of each month we have a sewing group that gets together to make clothes and blankets for various orphanages around the world and we always have a potluck lunch. I think I’ll make your jello recipe for the next one. I think the ladies would get a kick out of the design – might even inspire a special blanket for some child!

    Thanks again for your wonderful blog and God bless you!

  16. Amber on May 20th, 2008 9:09 am

    Gorgeous quilt! I’m also wondering how i could get the dress the teacher is wearing… :D

  17. Julia on May 20th, 2008 12:09 pm

    You are right. Those are beautiful roses on a beautiful quilt. And the plate of finger jello was very beautiful too. Maybe I could make a quilt using those colors and designs. What do you think?

  18. Julia on May 20th, 2008 12:11 pm

    I meant… Make a quilt using the colors and designs of the plate of finger jello.

  19. Faye on May 20th, 2008 4:45 pm

    Loved seeing all the pictures of the school picnic, etc… especially seeing how the quilt turned out, it’s beautiful!! Sure thought about everyone on Saturday…always loved those days, sort of a kick-off to the summer festivities :)

Out of My Comfort Zone Cooking #3 and there were no explosions

The reason the recipe this week is out of my comfort zone in NOT because of using an ingredient I don’t like or because it seems like a weird ingredient combo. It is because right in the recipe directions there is the phrase “or the cans will explode”.

We’re talking canned cans, which are much thicker than pop cans. I have heard (but never seen) a can of Diet Coke explode. And I have cleaned up several DC can explosions in the freezer (you know, cooling it down quickly then forgetting about it) and in the car (winter time in WI). If a thin pop can can create that much of a bang and a mess, I don’t even want to be around a regular can exploding. And I just had to think of the poor people who discovered that they do explode if you let the water boil dry. Also, I just cannot imagine ‘covered with water’ being such a magical thing to keep a can from exploding. So, because of these reasons is why I’ve never made this, even though I always thought it sounded so good!

But, here we are, kitchen still intact, no wild stories to tell, and a delicious dessert eaten!

Eagle Brand Milk and Pineapple Rings

Remove labels from Eagle Brank milk cans.

Set 4 cans in 4 qt stainless steel kettle. I did only 2 cans and used a smaller kettle because I don’t have a bigger kettle, but that’s another story… what happened to my big kettle. Fill with cold water. Turn on medium high heat until it cooks, then turn down to medium.

Keep adding warm water. Do not let the water evaporate or the cans will explode. Boil for 3 hours. Cool. Drain cooled pineapple rings and arrange on plate. (One can of Eagle Brand milk should be just right for 1 can of pineapple rings.)

Open both ends of the milk cans. Remove one end and press the other end so that about 1/4″ sticks out of the end. Slice along the can with a sharp wet knife, slide onto pineapple ring.


Top with Cool Whip and a cherry.

Man, this stuff is good! That milk tastes like caramel. And caramel goes great with pineapple! I’m not scared anymore to boil cans of milk and I’ll make this again sometime! I’m also going to try that ‘caramel’ in a recipe that calls for caramel and see how it tastes. That was amazing to me how a can of white liquid could turn into a can of brown solid (soft solid).

Just thought of something I should mention yet so you don’t learn the hard way like I did. If you have a Pampered Chef can opener, it’ll go on the can like this:

That works great for the one end, but not for the other end (the end that you push on) because this can opener takes the lid off, including the rim. And the rim does not fit thro’ the can when you go to push on it!

So, use a can opener that goes on the side of the can, not the top of the can. Thankfully, I kept my old Walmart can opener when I got my Pampered Chef one a few years ago!


23 Responses to “Out of My Comfort Zone Cooking #3 and there were no explosions”

  1. Amber on May 17th, 2008 12:34 pm

    My husband loves these! I personally can’t stand them…for some reason the caramel doesn’t go with the pineapple. (even though i love them both) :) Very brave of you, though!

  2. Andrea on May 17th, 2008 12:54 pm

    mmmmm! we love these things! josh’s mom often makes these and they are so tasty! your “caramel” looks so much better than mine did!

  3. rosa on May 17th, 2008 2:49 pm

    wow, this recipe brings back lots of memories. I was in Haiti for a year of VS and we made these down there alot. I bout forgot about them and will be craving them till I find time to make em again. Thanks!!

  4. Michelle on May 17th, 2008 3:03 pm

    Hmm.. I haven’t made these in quite a while. I need to again. I’m always a bit worried too when I cook the Eagle brand milk.

  5. Freida on May 17th, 2008 3:05 pm

    Yummmm!!! Now I might be brave enough to try it.

  6. Mary Faith on May 17th, 2008 4:59 pm

    Yum, yum! Does that make me hungry, or what? I love those things! And yes, those cans DO explode if you let the water boil away and it is NOT a funny explosion! Talk about carmel ALL OVER the stove, wall, and ceiling, and floor. It was a miracle no one was right there because they WOULD have gotten hurt. The explosion itself is about enough to scare several years off your life. lol But we love them too much to get freaked out about making them again. :)

  7. Jenn on May 17th, 2008 5:19 pm

    I had to comment when I saw this….I grew up with these – we called them “Wheels” and they were a tradition for us every Thanksgiving and Christmas time. Now my husband has learned to love them too and we don’t just save them for the holidays! I like to keep a couple of cooked eagle brand cans in the frij (they keep for quite a while) and then you have a quick, fancy looking dessert. Also, always use Eagle Brand milk – store brand sweetened condensed milk doesn’t cook up as nice. Mmmmm, now I’m hungry for wheels!

  8. Tamara Merritt on May 17th, 2008 5:25 pm

    I had heard of doing lots of recipes with cooked sweetened condensed milk, but never with pineapple rings. That sounds like a weird combo to me…not saying I would not like it, it just sounds weird.

    Thanks to someone up there about the tip for only using Eagle Brand.

  9. Twila on May 17th, 2008 8:57 pm

    Hmmm…I’ll bet the Jenn that commented above is my sis. I was also going to say that I grew up with these “Wheels”, and have made them often. I like to use a deep pot so you can nearly fill it with water…then you don’t need to be adding water all the time. No fear as long as you keep that pot full! As a side note, when we were in Russia we found that you can buy the already-cooked sweetened condensed milk right off the shelf….they eat it on blini (pancakes) and maybe other things. I LOVE it!

  10. Rene on May 17th, 2008 9:18 pm

    I’ve cooked the condensed milk before but just long enough to make a caramel sauce for ice cream. I’ll have to try the longer cooking to get the more solid version. These look great!!

  11. Mary Faith on May 17th, 2008 9:41 pm

    Hmmm. The tip on using Eagle Brand is interesting. I’ve always used the stuff from Aldi. I don’t THINK that’s Eagle Brand, but I haven’t used it for awhile so I could be wrong. Anyway, I’ll have to try the Eagle Brand sometime and see if I can tell a difference.

  12. Karen on May 18th, 2008 6:59 am

    These are Rondyn’s favorite and I think off brands get grainy….?

  13. Annette33 on May 18th, 2008 9:12 am

    I’ve only eaten this carmel with bizcochos, or just by the spoonful in Colombia, South America. This is a popular sweet there, but made the old fashion way, in a large pot. I found out about the canned way when older dd had to make a dish common to Colombia. The troop loved it! I will have to make it with pineapple next time. Every six months or so, I boil a can for my Colombian-born dh.

  14. Katie Mast on May 18th, 2008 9:36 am

    O i love these as well. I first had them when I was in VS at Hillcrest, in AK. We made often there. Now my kids love them boiled just 2 hours and then they are carmel and they dip apples in it. My husband is’nt to sure it’s cheaper then buying it already made, cuz of all the gas or electric you use when boiling it. BUt i think it’s just a fun thing to do. Gld you tried it, now it’s making me hungery. I will make it this week i think.

  15. Shannon on May 18th, 2008 2:25 pm

    Ohhhh, I am sooo hungry for these again. HAVE to make them!

  16. Lisa on May 18th, 2008 4:19 pm

    This does look interesting. Hmmm, might have to try these. Oh Kay, I do have to tell you I made your Mexican Lasagna tonight and it was a big hit! Check out my blog for pics.

    My neighbors loved it too. (I share, lol). Thanks for the great recipe!

  17. Twila on May 19th, 2008 6:26 am

    I made these for the first time, too, just recently, after 23 years of marriage. I’ve always been a bit nervous about the exploding part, too. But I had no disasters, I used a very deep pot, and decided to do 3 if I’m doing it anyway. I did use an off brand, and it seemed fine except it seemed a bit soft, and I thought it should have maybe been cooked abit longer. They’re good, but I don’t think I’ll make them very often, I really don’t like cooking something for that long.

  18. Jo on May 19th, 2008 11:35 am

    Now I’m drooling. :-) Wonder if I have the ingredients in my pantry right now….???

  19. Christy on May 19th, 2008 1:30 pm

    I love this dessert, but don’t make it because Steve doesn’t care for it. In Belize the ladies cooked the milk for less time and used the carmel for icing on cakes.

  20. Crystal on May 20th, 2008 8:03 am

    If you just leave sweetened condensed milk in your cabinet for a long time (not sure how long, a year maybe) it will turn in to caramel too. I have friends that label certain cans to make sure they leave them long enough and then use them for caramel later.

  21. Anna on May 20th, 2008 12:38 pm

    I’m still scared.

  22. Melissa on May 22nd, 2008 11:08 am

    I love these and have been trying to find the recipe for a long time!

  23. Mary Faith on May 29th, 2008 10:53 am

    I made these this week and I had a most interesting thing happen. I used the Eagle Brand, just out of curiosity, and you know what? It was the first time EVER that it did NOT turn out right. :0 I think I must really be strange. lol

Chicken Squares, er, I mean Rounds

Posted on May 15, 2008
Filed Under Main dishes

At least mine didn’t turn out square! And there’s nothing else square about them except the chunked up chicken, so I’m pretty sure the ending shape was supposed to be square. But, I don’t want to get hung up on trivial details. The taste, of course, is what’s most important and that passed with flying colors! Although, depending what you’re talking about, square versus round would not be a trivial detail… for example, the tires on your car or the boxes you’re stacking.

Three things were just going on in my kitchen simultaneously (none of which were the chicken squares, so why am I writing this?)… I just got done doing the first major step of this week’s “Out of My Comfort Zone” recipe that I’ll post Friday p.m. or Saturday a.m. (by major, I don’t mean major like butching a chicken). I also just got done making layered finger jello for the school picnic tomorrow. And I just got done making a pumpkin roll, also for the school picnic. We’re supposed to bring 2 things and the hot dogs and hamburgers will be provided. If we’d have a beautiful warm day tomorrow like today was, that would be so perfect. Can you believe that we’ve already had to cancel the school picnic ball game because of snow?! And then the next year, we go home sweating and sporting sunburns! That’s Wisconsin weather for ya!

Now, back to our chicken squares. This recipe is taken from the 500 Years in the Kitchen cookbook. Isn’t that just a catchy name for a cookbook? I’d say they added up a group of women’s years in the kitchen. Or maybe they figured up how long it took to make each recipe, added it all together, and discovered that if you’d make every recipe in the book, starting with the 1-2-3-4-5 Spare Ribs on page 1 and ending with Vanilla Foaming Bath Oil on page 136, that it would take you 500 years. Ok, just kidding on that one. It would make more sense that the ladies’ years of cooking would be added up because it was compiled by the Badger Women’s Club from Hayward, WI. Wisconsin is called the Badger State, if you didn’t already know that. I know it because I live here, but I might not otherwise. I know a few others too though, like the Sunshine State and the Buckeye State and the Keystone State, but that’s pretty much it. I’d do better on states and capitals, just so you know I’m not a total geography dropout!

Chicken Squares

1 3-oz pkg cream cheese
2 Tbsp. butter
2 cups chicken, cubed
1/4 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. pepper
2 Tbsp. milk
1 Tbsp. onion, chopped
1 8 oz. carton crescent rolls
3/4 cup seasoned croutons

Tip: Fry the chicken rather than cooking it… tastes better.

Mix together everything except the crescent rolls and croutons. I mixed everything else first, then added the chicken.

Separate rolls into 4 rectangles. Press perforations to seal. Spoon a half cup of meat mixture onto each rectangle. Or just divide it out evenly among them, that’s easier.

Pull the 4 corners of each rectangle together and twist slightly to seal.

Brush tops with melted butter.

Dip in crushed croutons. Huh?! Dip them? Wouldn’t the chicken stuff fall out? Sprinkling worked great.

Bake 20-25 minutes at 350. And here they are, just out of the oven.

We had sugar snap peas and applesauce as sides.

squares9.jpg  It bugged me that the ‘cut-away’ view pictures all got blurry, but here is one anyway. I hope it doesn’t make you rub your eyes or squint.

These were great! Just great! My usual How-would-you-rate-this? question to Shannon got a “Make again, for company’ rating. So, come on over, we’ll serve you some chicken squares rounds.

Are you kind of curious about those 1-2-3-4-5 Spare Ribs? Me too. I wasn’t curious about the bath oil recipe since I can buy that at Walmart, plus I don’t even know what glycerin is, but I had to read the ribs recipe… it’s ribs plus 5 other ingredients (sherry, soy sauce, cider vinegar, sugar, and water), which make the sauce. You cook the ribs in the sauce for 40 min covered, then uncover and turn it on High and stir till no liquid remains. Doesn’t say how long it takes till the liquid is gone. Maybe 500 years or so.


11 Responses to “Chicken Squares, er, I mean Rounds”

  1. Sharon on May 16th, 2008 7:02 am

    I bet they’re supposed to look square when you bring up the four sides over the chicken. But, who cares, they still look neat and sound delicious! I bet they’d be really good with leftover grilled chicken, too.

  2. Monica on May 16th, 2008 8:02 am

    These sound really good! I’m going to try them sometime. I pretty much like anything that has cream cheese in it!

  3. Michelle on May 16th, 2008 9:05 am

    I’ve made these before and they’re really good! By the way I made the mexican lasagna and I will definatly be making it again! It was delicious!

  4. Lisa on May 16th, 2008 9:30 am

    Wow those look good. I am a little confused on one part of the recipe. It called for croutons, but I see you used what I think looks like breadcrumbs. Were they seasoned breadcrumbs? Seems to make sense to use those, cause aren’t breadcrumbs just crushed croutons really?? LOL

  5. JoAnn on May 16th, 2008 10:53 am

    I’ve made these before, too, only my recipe calls for a gravy made of cream of mushroom soup and milk to pour over the top–they are yummy! And for supper last night I made your recipe for El Paso Casserole–we loved it, and it was so easy!

  6. Kay on May 16th, 2008 11:35 am

    Lisa, yeah, I did use seasoned bread crumbs. I figured they’d be about the same as crushed seasoned croutons.

    Michelle and JoAnn, thanks for the feedback on the Mexican lasagna and El Paso. I always like to hear when people try a recipe and what they thought of it. :)

  7. Denise on May 16th, 2008 12:06 pm

    We loved the Mexican Lasagna when I made it this week. And the El Paso Casserole looks easy and good. Plan to make it sometime. As far as these chicken “rounds” go, I’ve made something similar to that, although I had no recipe. It was something my mom had made and as far as I know she had no recipe either. Now that I make it I add a few seasonings that my mom never added. Anyway I’ve always used each crescent roll seperately. And usually I used chicken I had canned. Then I added cream cheese, pepper, seasoned salt, garlic powder, liquid smoke, and chopped onion.
    I like the butter and seasoned crumbs idea. Thanks!

  8. Tamara Merritt on May 16th, 2008 1:58 pm

    YUM. I have been thinking of making this with some turkey I smoked that is already cooked in the feezer a la FoodSaver..

  9. Bobbi on May 16th, 2008 7:17 pm

    I can’t wait to try this recipe this week. I made your peanut butter cookies this week and they were fantastic. My husband and kids went crazy over them. I also made your seven layer cookie bars they are to die for. I just came across your blog about 5 days ago and just love it.

  10. Rene on May 16th, 2008 10:09 pm

    I love your site!! I’ve been reading it for a couple weeks and will definitely be trying out some of your recipes very soon. This one looks especially good! Thanks for all the time and effort you put into your site. It’s better than any cookbook I own and I have a lot (at least my dear hubby says I do!!) :-)

  11. Bill Beck on May 17th, 2008 8:59 am

    YOU ARE A BEST OF BLOG FINALIST!!! Congrats on making it to the final round and remember to tell everyone you know to head on over to to vote for your site. Oh and don’t forget to enter our Exclusive Lijit Contest for another chance to win some fantastic prizes. Winners will be announced June 2nd so gather up your faithful followers and tell them you want to be one of this year’s Best Of Blogs!

    Bill Beck
    Project Mgr.

Snickerdoodles… who named these cookies?!

Posted on May 14, 2008
Filed Under Cookies and bars

These cookies don’t have chocolate or nuts in them, so I’m not cracked over them, but I live with people who are. That’s fine with me though because it gives me a chance to bake something that doesn’t tempt me. I could inhale half a batch of monster cookies or s’mores sandwich cookies in, well, I guess I don’t really want to say how fast I could do that. Anyway, I was just looking thro’ my Cookies and Bars category and I was surprised how varied the selection is! It’s not ALL just the kinds of cookies and bars I love. There are some others in there like gingerbread men and Mary’s cream cheese cookies. And now these:


Classic Snickerdoodles

A bit of trivia first… did you know that Snickerdoodles originated in New England and the origin of the name is still a mystery. It may come from the German word Schneckennudeln, which were cinnamon-dusted sweet rolls. Anyway, I’ve often wondered where the name came from and always thought it was kinda fun to say, it just rolls off your tongue… Snickerdoodle, snickerdoodle, snickerdoodle.

2 3/4 cups flour
2 tsp. cream of tartar
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 3/4 cups sugar, divided
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup shortening
2 large eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
4 tsp. cinnamon

Preheat oven to 375. Coat baking sheets with cooking spray. Combine flour, cream of tartar, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl. Combine butter, shortening, and 1 1/2 cups sugar in a large bowl. Beat with an electric mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 1 minute. Stir in eggs and vanilla. Mix well. Stir in flour mixture. Beat with mixer on low speed until combined, about 1 minute. Mix remaining sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl. Shape dough into 1″ balls; roll balls in sugar mixture. Place balls on prepared baking sheets.

Bake until  lightly browned, 10-12 minutes. Remove from oven; let stand 1 minute.

Transfer cookies to wire racks to cool completely. Makes 4 dozen cookies. I must’ve made mine too big because it made just under 3 dozen.


They were good. I asked Shannon how he’d rate them and he said, “They’re ‘make again frequently’ quality”. And judging by the way the girls ate them/asked for more, I think they’d agree!


6 Responses to “Snickerdoodles… who named these cookies?!”

  1. Shannon on May 14th, 2008 1:12 pm

    I need to make these sometimes altho my girls do prefer choc in their cookies. :)

  2. Judi on May 14th, 2008 1:15 pm

    I love snickerdoodles. Just a nice light cookie and like you said you don’t over eat.

  3. Emily on May 15th, 2008 5:57 am

    What is for Lunch today I am Hungry!

  4. Amber on May 17th, 2008 10:40 am

    Snickerdoodles are one of my favorite cookies! I don’t make them very often, because i eat the whole batch…

    BTW, what’s your secret to keeping cookies soft? Mine are wonderful for about 2 days, then they dry out. (I keep them in tupperware) Am i baking them too long, etc.?

  5. Kay on May 17th, 2008 11:00 am

    Replying to Amber:
    So, your cookies last more than 2 days?! LOL
    My mom always put a bread crust in with the cookies. It amazingly keeps them soft! So, that’s what I do when my cookies get dry or hard.

  6. Amber on May 20th, 2008 4:19 pm

    Ha! My DH loves them the first day, and then there they sit… I don’t bake cookies very often for that reason. Thanks for the idea, i do that in my brown sugar. :)

Creamy and cheesy – El Paso Casserole

I hope there aren’t alot of perfectionists reading this site… for more reasons than one! I am the total opposite of a perfectionist. This post will be sort of along the lines of playing “Do Re Mi Fa So La Ti” on a piano without playing the last ‘Do’. I have progress pictures, but not a finished product picture.

The reason for that is because I don’t make this unless I’m making hotdish for a fellowship meal at church. So, I have pictures of it up until we left for church, then no more. And I don’t have the guts to go in the kitchen and take pictures and get strange looks from the food committee people. I and my family are used to me taking pictures of food. In fact, I literally take more pictures of food than I do of my own kids! The only time most people take pictures of food is when it’s the 4th of July and they just took a mean steak off the grill or when the baby stuffed his mouth too full or got applesauce or speghetti all over the place or when it’s a birthday and your 3-yr-old is blowing out candles on a birthday cake. But wouldn’t you think it a bit strange if you were on the food committee and someone would come to the kitchen, stir a regular ol’ hotdish, take a picture, sprinkle toasted bread crumbs on, and take another picture? It’s not exactly the definition of a Kodak moment.

El Paso Casserole

1 lb. 2 oz. Velveeta cheese
1 1/2 lbs. ham
1 lb. noodles (I use the homemade Amish noodles, as opposed to regular brands)
White Sauce:
11 Tbsp. butter
2/3 c. flour
5 1/3 c. milk (I always use whole milk)
Buttered bread crumbs or cracker crumbs, browned in oven

Cook the noodles and dice the cheese and ham.


Bring the white sauce almost to a boil in a pan. Mix the noodles, ham, cheese, and sauce all together and dump into a 4-qt. crockpot. Fits perfectly.

Turn on High till you leave for church. At church, turn it on Low for the 2 hours till lunchtime, stirring several times. Just before serving, sprinkle browned crumbs over the top. You’ll have to use you imagination for how it looks, but it looks about like it does on the last picture, only the sauce is yellower from the cheese chunks that have melted and been stirred in. Then the crumbs go on top. It tastes really good! And it’s so creamy!

If you want to do it in the oven, bake it (covered) at 350 for 1/2 hour, then stir, put buttered crumbs on top and bake another 10 minutes.


7 Responses to “Creamy and cheesy – El Paso Casserole”

  1. Emily on May 12th, 2008 2:43 pm

    I showed your site to my husband and got lots of Ohhh… Mmmmmmmm… That looks good! Then he said see if we can meet for dinner some time! I will be trying several of your recipes! Thank you


  2. Michelle on May 12th, 2008 6:34 pm

    The casserole looks really good! I really enjoy checking this site in hopes of finding a new recipe to try. Keep up the good work and am looking forward to the next post.

  3. Lisa on May 13th, 2008 6:35 am

    This is one dish my hubby and kids would go crazy for. They love ham and noodles. My mother in law sends me Kluski noodles from Ohio, have you heard of them? We can’t find them here in RI. It may be a good thing, cause I would be buying them all the time!

  4. Sharon on May 13th, 2008 7:16 am

    Bummer! I should have tried this on Sunday! Sounds good!

  5. Shannon on May 14th, 2008 1:07 pm

    Umm this looks good, and easy too. :) I’ll have to try it.

  6. Tamara Merritt on May 15th, 2008 4:21 pm

    YUM! NO fat calories I am sure ????

  7. Alicia Whittaker on May 19th, 2008 3:05 pm

    Thank you for this. I made this for a lunch when we had 70 people together and it was gone at the end of the lunch!!!

Happy Mother’s Day…

Happy Mother’s Day…

Posted on May 11, 2008
Filed Under Beverages, Tidbits

…to my mom and all you other moms, too!

Mom, I made you a mocha this morning…
Wish you were here to drink it with me. But that’s not really possible with you at home 180 miles away. We could talk and laugh till our sides hurt about the adventure it is to be a mom, even though we’re at different stages. Since I became a mom, sometimes I think back to when I was growing up and am awed at the patience you had! Always calm and taking things in stride. For example, remember that goat we had? :) I could go on and on about memories, like the creative way you gave me a life-sized doll for my 6th birthday, the fun we had having our own little garden plots out of your big garden, jumping in the car to go see the ‘billowing smoke’ that turned out to be a cloud, how I openly told my teenage girlfriends that you are my best friend, etc., but since this is a cooking blog, I’ll stick with stuff in the kitchen.

Thanks for teaching me how to cook and bake. Not every 12-year old can make pie crusts, but you taught me young. And I’m sure that in my young days, you thought about how it would’ve been easier to just make things yourself instead of dealing with stuff like batter splattered on the ceiling or having to throw the whole batch away because I got ‘teaspoons’ and ‘cups’ mixed around when I was putting the salt in. But the thing I remember the most is: “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” That was said when I’d start peeling eggs or potatoes or making some other mess right on the counter instead of putting down a paper towel or plate first. After awhile, it got to the place where you’d only have to say, “An ounce of prevention…”. Not sure why that was so hard for me to learn, but I did learn… I don’t do that anymore.

Here is a picture of my mom and my mother-in-law… another mom who’s had an impact on my life. She’s done alot of babysitting since we live in the same area and she’s like a walking medical book when one of us has a problem. Very handy and helpful! Each of the moms had 6 children… I’m second to the oldest of 3 boys and 3 girls, Shannon is the oldest of 6 boys. On the picture, they are with my youngest daughter Tiffany, who was 5 days old. She’s surrounded by grandma love.
My mom is the one in the purple holding the baby and my mom-in-law is in the black. I can’t tell you both how much you mean to me and how much I love you and how thankful I am that you love your granchildren so much! I know how blessed I am to still have my moms, and I especially think of it every Mother’s Day. Other things I especially think about on Mother’s Day are the 3 babies I lost via miscarriage, those of you  who don’t have your moms anymore, and those of you who are a mom only in your dreams. I’ll breathe prayers especially for you throughout the day.


And now, here’s the mocha recipe that I’m still sipping. Shannon is sipping black coffee because it goes better with the raspberry cream cheese cinnamon rolls that were eating. HE thinks it goes better with it anyway. I can’t handle black coffee. He usually uses cream and sugar, but not when he’s eating something sweet. How do you drink your coffee? I’d LOVE to know! And do you like it black too when you’re eating a sweet roll with it?

Mocha, but don’t think Starbucks!

1/2 cup chocolate chips
4 cups hot brewed coffee
1/4 cup half-and half cream
2 to 4 Tbsp. sugar
Whipped cream

Melt the chocolate chips and put in a plastic bag. Snip of a tiny piece of the corner and pipe “MOM” onto plastic wrap.

Put in the freezer until hard (at least 10 minutes). Stir the coffee and rest of the chocolate together.

Add the half-and-half and sugar.

Serve in mugs with whipped cream and “MOM” garnishes. Yield: 4 sevings.




6 Responses to “Happy Mother’s Day…”

  1. Shannon on May 11th, 2008 2:16 pm

    Ummm, the mocha stuff looks good. I’m gonna have to try it. ~I just started drinking coffee and I need a lot of cream with mine yet. Maybe one day I’ll be one of those all time coffee drinkers that can down a whole cup of black. :)

  2. Monica on May 12th, 2008 7:24 am

    Looks good!! But, I still like my black coffee the best!! Definitely black coffee with something sweet!

  3. Alicia on May 12th, 2008 9:17 am

    This looks really good. I love coffee!!

  4. Ruthie on May 12th, 2008 9:37 am

    I agree with you that you have two wonderful moms. And the raspberry cream cheese cinnamon rolls are wonderful with BLACK coffee.

  5. Berneice on May 12th, 2008 11:31 am

    Thanks for the recipe. I would love to know how to make lots of flavored coffees. I like my PLAIN BLACK coffee the best, but on cold winter days I need something all day long:)

  6. Dawn on May 13th, 2008 10:56 pm

    I am not a coffee drinker..never liked the taste much but your mocha makes me want to try some of that! :-)

    What a wonderful tribute to your mom and mom-in-love. What blessings they have been in your life!

    God Bless You!

Beef Open-Faced Sandwiches – use your crockpot, then your broiler

Posted on May 9, 2008
Filed Under Beef

This is one of those things that you CAN’T do last minute because it takes the crockpot, yet it doesn’t take much of your time and you CAN do it on a busy day. Or on a day where you’ll be gone all day… say, if you’d go scrapbooking about every Tuesday or something. And it would also work great for a crowd. And they are just tops!

Hey! Wait! Did someone say scrapbooking? How about we skip the beef sandwiches and just talk about scrapbooking. I love scrapbooking! And someday, I’m going to start putting scrapbooking on here now and then. Scrapbooking recipes, that is. This is, after all, Kitchen Scrapbook. To me, the definition of Kitchen Scrapbook is: The best of both worlds. I have done a few recipes and it’s actually a bit harder than scrapbooking people because there isn’t alot of personality going on, but it’s still a load of fun. But, since I wasn’t actually serious about skipping the beef sandwiches and talking about scrapbooking instead, let’s get on with them…


There is no recipe, but the ingredients are:

Beef roast
About 1/2 cup of water
Salt & pepper
Chef Paul Prudhomme’s Meat Magic seasoning (or seasoning of your choice)
2 bay leaves
Half of an onion, sliced
Barbeque sauce
Hamburger buns
Shredded cheese

Here’s what I did for a 6:00 supper. Around noon, I put the roast, water, seasonings, onions, and bay leaves in the crockpot and turned it on High. It wasn’t frozen. If you’re using a frozen roast, you may want to start it a couple hours earlier. It was also only about a pound of meat. We have my husband, a 5-yr-old, a 2-yr-old, and me, around here for diners and since I don’t like leftovers, I usually cook small.

Let it go all afternoon and around 5:00, take the bay leaves out, trim off the fat, and shred the beef. As you shed it, most of the liquid will ‘disappear’.

beef3.jpg  This is how much barbeque sauce I used. I dumped it in, then put a little water in to rinse out the bottle (I know, so thrifty… I’ll bet I kept from throwing away a whole Tablespoon of sauce!) and dumped that in too. A little more barbeque sauce and a little less water would’ve been ideal for more flavor, but I guess that’s the thing of always just doing it without a recipe… it’ll always get a little different. Plus, to do that, I’d have had to break open a new bottle of sauce, just to get a little more. Oh, what a bother.

Cover and turn the crockpot to Low.

Around 5:50, toast the buns (I used the toaster). I did not take a bit out of that one piece, part of it stayed with the bun beside it in the bag.

Oh, now would be a good time to turn the broiler on High.

Top bun halves with some beef.

Then the cheese.

Then put them on the top oven rack under the broiler (which has already been turned on High). Let them in there for 1 minute and 20 seconds, then take them out.
Perfection! Now eat them with a fork.

You could also top it with another toasted bun half if you’d prefer a regular sandwich, as opposed to open-faced. These are really good and very little effort! And it’s a hit around here… both with the cook and the diners.


5 Responses to “Beef Open-Faced Sandwiches – use your crockpot, then your broiler”

  1. Monica on May 10th, 2008 8:34 am

    I love BBQ beef sandwiches!! I can chunk beef in pints and it’s quick and easy to open up a can and mix in seasonings and BBQ sauce and bake for awhile. I never thought of eating them “open-face” with cheese. I have to try that next time!

  2. Preston Martin on May 10th, 2008 12:15 pm

    WOW that looks good! My stomach started growling and i had to go eat something after I look at the post. The beef I get here taste like it was bad and then was microwaved.

    (for those who don’t know me I am in Iraq as a firefighter)

  3. Kay on May 10th, 2008 12:26 pm

    Replying to Preston: Oh for some of those killer steaks again that you and Shannon would pull off the grill, huh?

  4. Shannon on May 10th, 2008 7:14 pm

    Ummm, looks good. Our girls looooove this sandwiches but they think they have to have their good old munster cheese!!

  5. Jennifer on May 16th, 2008 4:45 pm

    We had this for dinnner tonight! Yum!!! My husband loved it! Really good recipe, thanks for sharing!

Make these danish pastries for breakfast tomorrow morning!

Posted on May 8, 2008
Filed Under Breakfasts, Sweet rolls and Coffee cakes

An easy yummy-sounding recipe showed up in my email Inbox on Tuesday. It was from my cousin-in-law, Sharon. Is cousin-in-law a proper term? I don’t know, it sounds strange. Anyway, she’s married to my cousin. Not like you need to know that or anything. Thanks for the recipe, Sharon. They were easy and fast and delicious. And I had fun playing around with them too… bonus pictures at the end.

It only takes 4 ingredients. I like recipes like that because there’s more of a chance that I’ll have everything on hand! Although, yesterday, I wanted to make potato salad (way more than 4 ingredients) and I had everything except milk! Really, who runs out of milk?! I did have chocolate milk, but I didn’t think that would work too good. Anyway, that has gotta be one of my biggest cooking pet peeves… going to make something and not having all the stuff. That’s why I need to live nextdoor to the grocery store.

So, here’s our easy 4-ingredient recipe.

Cherry Cheese Danish

1 tube (8 oz) refrigerated crescent rolls
4 Tbsp. cream cheese, softened
1 cup cherry pie filling (or your choice) I used strawberry.
1/2 cup vanilla frosting

Separate crescent dough into four rectangles. Place on an ungreased baking sheet; seal perforations.

Spread 1 tablespoon cream cheese onto each rectangle.

Top each with 1/4 c. pie filling.

Bake at 375 for 10-12 minutes or until edges are golden brown. Cool for 5 minutes. Place frosting in a microwave-safe bowl; heat on high for 15-20 seconds. Drizzle over warm pastries. I didn’t have frosting, so I mixed 2 Tbsp butter, about 2 Tbsp. milk, about 1 1/4 cups powdered sugar, and a bit of vanilla. That made about exactly 1/2 cup!

Serve warm. Refrigerate leftovers (if there are any :) ). Yield: 4 servings.
I think I should’ve let them cool a bit more before glazing. It all ran together and you can’t see the striping anymore.
Here’s a note that Sharon wrote at the end: I don’t usually have vanilla frosting on hand, so I make my own powdered sugar glaze. I add almond extract for cherry pie filling, a little cinnamon for apple, lemon for blueberry, nutmeg for peach, etc. Don’t you just love that sentence? She’s such a good creative cook! Wish I’d think of stuff like that! They’re quick and perfect for a special Sunday morning breakfast, or for company, or for just anyhow with coffee. And they’re even good made light, which I usually do (reduced fat crescent rolls and cream cheese).

I decided to play with them a bit…




We have a regular flat one, a pinwheel, a turnover, and a spiral. The spiral turned out to have way too much filling in it and made a mess when I rolled it up (like a little jelly roll). The turnover and spiral should’ve been baked a few minutes longer.

The pinwheel was my favorite (not for taste… they all tasted the same). It was easy to do and looked a bit fancier. Next time, I think I could make them neater, too. It was Tiffany’s favorite too. She said, “I want dat one” about 10 times while I was taking the pictures and her little pointer finger kept coming into view in my camera window whenever she’d say it.


These pastries are so good! Perfect with a cup of coffee! I just made them for the girls and I, and since the girls eat about as much as a chickadee does, there was actually some left over. The next morning, I ate another one and instead of warming it up, I ate it refrigerator cold and it was really good that way too!

Try them! Try them! Try them!


7 Responses to “Make these danish pastries for breakfast tomorrow morning!”

  1. Sharon on May 8th, 2008 5:14 pm

    awwww, kay, you didn’t have to mention me…now I feel like a celebrity or something. ???? I think YOU’RE the one that’s creative–like I’ve never thought of all the different things you could do with ’em. Love that spiral too, think I’ll do that sometime!

  2. Freida on May 8th, 2008 5:26 pm

    Try them I will!!!!

  3. JoAnn on May 8th, 2008 6:10 pm

    Sounds perfectly delicious–and I have everything on hand! Sounds like a good bedtime snack!

  4. Shannon on May 8th, 2008 7:32 pm

    Ohhh, looks wonderful. I need to go get some pie filling.:)

  5. Liz on May 8th, 2008 8:40 pm

    Those look really good! I think Elvie would like them too. I have cream cheese, blueberry pie filling and apple pie filling on hand but no cresent rolls. Maybe I should head over to JoAnn’s for a quick bedtime snack.=)

  6. Susan on May 19th, 2008 6:24 pm

    Mmmm! Those look yummy! And just right for a nice cup of coffee!

  7. Roni on November 13th, 2008 5:08 pm

    Use preserves if you don’t have pie filling. Put some lemon in the cream cheese, too…

Baked Apples and Cheese – Out of My Comfort Zone Cooking #2

Quote from my last Out of My Comfort Zone post:
“Up next week on Out of My Comfort Zone cooking… Baked Apples and Cheese. Yes, they are mixed together in the same dish, and yes, that would be cheddar cheese, not cream cheese. No, I didn’t make it yet. But I’m looking forward to it.”

Well, here it is, in all its syrup-y goodness:

I was expecting rave reviews, but well, um, didn’t get any. Not even from myself. It was good, but not exceptional. While I was eating my portion, I kept thinking I should try it sometime without the cheese… the rest of it was so scrumptious and that toasted pecan streusel topping on it was to die for, I could’ve eaten that stuff plain! You know, skim along the top with my spoon when nobody was looking.

I took it to a family supper and asked for feedback on it. The feedback was that the cheese was too chewy and that apples don’t go with cheese. They said it was good though, just not ‘make again’ quality. My MIL liked it the best, although what she raved about mostly was the toasted pecans. They really were good, but then most things are good if they’re tossed with melted butter and toasted in the oven!

So, here’s the recipe and then we’ll talk about cheese problems at the end. This recipe is taken from the Famous Daves Backroads and Sidestreets cookbook. That in itself is another reason I thought this recipe would be a keeper… that cookbook is loaded with keepers!

Baked Apples and Cheese

1 cup packed light brown sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon
2 Tbsp. butter
4 cups sliced peeled Granny Smith apples
3/4 cup flour
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1 1/2 cups sharp cheddar cheese, cut into 1/2-inch cubes

Mix brown sugar and cinnamon in a bowl. Cut in butter until crumbly. Stir in apples. Mix flour and Parmesan cheese in a bowl. Add sharp Cheddar cheese, tossing to coat.
Add to apple mixture and mix well. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spoon the apple mixture into a buttered 9×13″ baking dish.

Bake for 20 minutes.

Lightly stir.

Sprinkle with Pecan Streusel Topping.

Bake 10 minutes more. Yield: 5 – 6 servings.

Pecan Streusel Topping:
1/2 cup chopped pecans
1 tsp. melted unsalted butter
2/3 cup flour
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/8 tsp. ground nutmeg
1/2 cup unsalted butter
Toss the pecans with 1 tsp. butter in a bowl.
apples-cheese3.jpg  Spread in a round baking dish. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Bake for 13 minutes or until lightly toasted, then cool.
Combine flour, brown sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg in a food processor container. Pulse in short bursts to mix. Add 1/2 cup butter. Pulse in short bursts until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs the size of peas. Stir in the pecans. Store, covered, in the refrigerator. Yield: 2 cups.
apples-cheese7.jpg This topping can be used for other stuff too… layered in the middle of coffee cakes or topping for crisps and cobblers.


Now, about the cheese… the problem was that you’d hit a patch of chewy cheese, which is a good thing on a pizza or in a grilled cheese sandwich, but it tasted a little weird surrounded by sweetness.
Here are my ideas:
—maybe shredded cheese or smaller chunks would work better
—maybe a more ‘melty’ cheese, like American, would blend in better
—maybe I should’ve served it piping hot
—maybe this recipe would be THE best apple crisp recipe after omitting the cheese completely

I want to try this on my mom sometime and see what she thinks. She loves ‘out of her comfort zone’ stuff and trying new things. I could make half a pan with no cheese and the other half with cheese, using some modification ideas that I had… or modification ideas that you might have.

Not sure what next week’s “Out of My Comfort Zone’ food will be. I haven’t had any inspirations yet.


9 Responses to “Baked Apples and Cheese – Out of My Comfort Zone Cooking #2”

  1. amy on May 7th, 2008 4:26 am

    I agree with family. Cheese and apples don’t belong.:) My mom likes a chunk of cheese and a raw apple together…but baked… The recipe sounds like it would be scrumptious-minus cheese:) especially the topping. Your family must love the good food you so faithfully make.

  2. Freida on May 7th, 2008 6:17 am

    You were brave to take it to a family supper. I would not have had the nerve. I can not seem to put the taste of apples and cheese together. :/

  3. Ali on May 7th, 2008 7:03 am

    Good for you for being brave!

    Cheddar and apples are a classic combo — but I think the cheese is traditionally baked into the crust of an apple pie. So it doesn’t get chewy or anything, it just gives a nice flavor.

    If you love streusel toppings, I have a recipe you might like for sweet potatoes w/ pecan streusel.

  4. Ruthie on May 7th, 2008 7:05 am

    Sorry, I agree with the other comments. I just can’t wrap my mind around the melted sharp cheddar with cooked apples! The pecans sound yummy!

  5. Jo on May 7th, 2008 2:35 pm

    I wonder if shredded cheese wouldn’t work better…and maybe putting it (in a lesser amount) in the topping instead of baking it right w/ the apples? I dunno…just what I was thinking. The apple pie we baked in home ec years ago had shredded cheddar cheese in the crust, and it was delish.
    I think you’re brave, too! At least it wasn’t terrible…just…weird. :)

  6. Twila on May 8th, 2008 1:16 pm

    I think maybe shredded cheese, and not sharp, but mild. I think apples and cheese can go together if done right. Do you know what snitz pies are? Like turnovers with dried apple fillin. Well anyway, I think those are good eaten with a piece of cheese. haven’t had any for a while, so I don’t remember what kind of cheese is best with them!

  7. lisa on May 8th, 2008 1:35 pm

    i love sliced apples and cheese together, but haven’t ever tried them baked together.

    do you have a good spaghetti recipe? i just use sauce from the store, cook some noodles, brown some burger, stir it all together…marc loves spaghetti, so i’d love to learn to make it better than boring.

  8. Kay on May 8th, 2008 9:04 pm

    Lisa, I don’t have a good speghetti recipe… I buy Ragu pasta sauce (the kind that says ‘Mushroom’ on it), and use bought frozen meatballs and serve that over speghetti. I usually sprinkle some Italian seasoning into the sauce too. We really like it, but yeah, mine could definitely be improved on too! My favorite thing when we have it is Lexi calling it ’skabetti’. :)

  9. Ali on May 9th, 2008 8:21 pm

    Sorry if I’m butting in, but I have a tip for Lisa.

    Adding half ground beef and half italian sausage (hot, sweet or regular, but i love sweet) makes a big difference. :)

Let’s make it Mexican!

Posted on May 5, 2008
Filed Under Desserts, Main dishes

Today is Cinco de Mayo. I’m not going to go into that and show my ignorance in history. I do, however, know that it’s not Mexico’s independence day… For a long time, I thought it was because ours is “Fourth of July” and I thought maybe that’s the format for independence holidays, using the date and putting the number first. Ok, now I’m showing some ignorance! Let’s get to the food.

One of the lines often used to describe Mexican food is ‘south of the border’. We live about as far north as you can get without being a Canadian, so around here if you use that term, you’d be most likely referring to the Canadian border, not the Mexican border. So, I’ll stay away from using that line.

The first  recipe today comes from a Country Woman magazine, the Jan/Feb 2007 issue, to be exact. I was glad to see a couple of the things at the end of the recipe having ‘optional’ at the end. Guacomole: I’ve tried it, with an open mind, and I just cannot eat the stuff. Avacados are the same way. I got a Cobb salad one time and ended up picking out all the avacado and setting it aside. Black olives: they’re ok, I don’t mind them in stuff, but I don’t eat them on purpose.

Don’t be expecting Mexican crusine here… I don’t eat REAL Mexican food except at restaurants. I love Mexican food! I get cravings for it, so it’s unfortunate that we live 1 1/2 hours away from a Mexican restaurant, not counting the fast food ones like Taco Johns. Closest I come to making Mexican in my own kitchen is Wet Burritos, Steak Fajitas, Nachos, and now today:


Mexican Lasagna

1 1/4 lbs ground beef
1 medium onion, chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced (I used the stuff from a jar, featured at the end of this crabmeat post)
2 cups salsa
1 can (16 oz) refried beans
1 can 15 oz) black beans, rinsed and drained
1 can (10 oz) enchilada sauce (I stared and stared at the shelves at the store till I finally found enchilada sauce!)
1 can (4 oz) chopped green chilies
1 envelope taco seasoning
1/4 tsp. pepper
6 flour tortillas
3 cups (12 oz) shredded mexican cheese blend, divided (I unded up using a bit more, maybe 4 cups or so)
2 cups broken tortilla chips
Sour cream, sliced ripe olives, guacomole, and chopped tomatoes, optional

In a large skillet, cook beef, onion, and garlic over medium heat until meat is no longer pink; drain. Stir in salsa, beans, enchilada sauce, chilies, taco seasoning, and pepper; heat through. Here’s a picture before it got stirred. The hamburger is almost covered, but you should be able to see all the different ingredients so far, except the onion and garlic that’s already fried w the hamburger.

And here it is all mixed together. Looked like a tremendous amount of meat mixture for only 6 tortillas!

mex-lasagna3.jpg  Spread 1 cup sauce in a greased 9×13 baking pan. Huh? Sauce? What sauce? There was no sauce in the ingredient list that doesn’t get mixed in and it calls the meat stuff ‘meat mixture’. But, I assumed it meant the meat mixture for the sauce anyway.
mex-lasagna4.jpg  Layer with 2 tortillas,

mex-lasagna5.jpg  a third of the meat mixture,

and 1 cup of cheese.

Repeat layers. Top with remaining tortillas and meat mixture. The pan will be FULL.

Cover and bake at 375 for 30 minutes.

Uncover; sprinkle with remaining cheese and top with tortilla chips. Bake 10-15 minutes more or until cheese is melted. Let stand 10 minutes before serving. I always like when recipes say that… gives me time to take pictures.

Garnish with sour cream, olives, guacamole, and tomatoes if desired. Yield: 12 servings.

I was a bit leary about this stuff because of all the ingredients in the meat mixture, but it was really good! I’d make it again. Also, I think I’ll try tweaking the Wet Burrito recipe to incorporate some of the ingredients that are in this meat mixture. The chips on top added a nice crunch. We also ate it with chips and Lexi thought it was funny that our chips were our forks, then we’d ‘eat our forks along with the bite’. It’s got some kick to it… made our noses run. It’s very filling for no more than you eat.

And for dessert, we had:

Mexican Fried Ice Cream

1 pt. vanilla ice cream
1/2 cup crushed Corn Flakes
1 tsp. cinnamon
2 tsp. sugar
1 egg
Oil for deep frying
Whipped cream

Scoop out 4 balls of ice cream.

Return to freezer. Mix crumbs, cinnamon, and sugar. Roll frozen balls in crumb mixture and return to freezer.

Beat egg and dip frozen balls in egg, then roll again in crumbs. (I had to make more of the crumb mixture, most of it was used up the first time I coated the balls.)

Freeze until ready to use. For thicker coating, repeat dipping in egg and rolling in crumbs. I did the extra coat. When ready to serve, heat oil to 350. Place 1 ball in oil. Fry for 1 minute. They floated, so I turned them with a fork a few times.

Remove from oil and place on dessert plate. I set it on a paper towel first to soak up some of the oil.   Drizzle with honey and top with a dab of whipped cream. Fry remaining balls one at a time. Balls will be crunchy on the outside and just beginning to melt on the inside. Yield: 4 servings.
I couldn’t help but put chocolate on a couple of them instead of honey. Crazy thing was, chocolate lover that I am, the ones with honey were much better!



As Dora the Explorer would say, “Yum, yum, yum, yum, yum, delicioso!”

This was fun to make and of course tasted great, but I don’t know that I’d go to the bother of making it again. It was kind of time consuming for only 4. It did settle my curiosity though that yes, you can put ice cream in hot oil for a whole minute, with only an 1/8″ wall of crust between the ice cream and oil, and not end up with a big melty oily mess. We were all pretty amazed.

Well, I need to go clean my kitchen and empty my sink. I mean, sinko. Oops, I mean, cinco.


5 Responses to “Let’s make it Mexican!”

  1. Andrea on May 5th, 2008 9:56 am

    Yum, yum, would love to eat some of that fried ice cream again! But I just don’t want to bother with all the preparing! :-) I will have to try that lasagna! Sounds good!

  2. Freida on May 5th, 2008 10:51 am

    You’ve got a friend on the guacamole and black olives. We are big huge fans of Mexican food, but the real stuff always tastes better. The lasagna looks good though. Did you ever make the fried ice cream dessert?? It tastes the same and it is so much easier!

  3. Shannon on May 5th, 2008 11:17 am

    Ummm. Sounds wonderful. For awhile Eric thought he moved to mexico I made so much mexican food. :) I tried to cut back on it, but this stuff looks good so I might have to try it. I always wondered about the fried icecream. Good to know. :)

    I make my own enchilada sauce. Like it much better then the canned stuff and it’s fairly easy. I use it when I make regular enchilada’s.

  4. Aimm on May 5th, 2008 1:36 pm

    Yep, sure does look tasty!

    Kay, a week or two ago I was looking for a Rainbow Ribbon Jello Salad . . . (I thought you had put one on your blog a long while ago and) So I came here to look for it . . . Anyway I couldn’t find it . . .could you email it to me?


  5. amy on May 7th, 2008 4:23 am

    That fried icecream looks like a picture out of Taste of Home or something. I am sure if I tried it they wouldn’t be round balls and the icecream would be melting all over. Okay, I am a pestimist.

BLTs, Fresh Strawberries, Marbled Brownies, and Summer!

Posted on May 3, 2008
Filed Under Cookies and bars, Main dishes

Two of my favorite foods in the summer… BLT sandwiches and sliced fresh strawberries with sugar.



You know those hot days when you still need to eat, but just the thought of sitting down to a cooked meal makes you sweat. BLTs fit the bill like nothing else does… it’s substantial, but not hot. And the fresh strawberries, you can’t get much more summer-y than that. Unless you eat watermelon, out in the yard, with juice dripping off of your elbows. Oh, and don’t forget about fruit pizza… that’s gotta be the ultimate summertime dessert! Makes me hungry for some now.

But, so far, I can only dream of summer… while eating my BLT and fresh sliced sugared strawberries in the house. Looking outside at the lawn that is varigated green and brown, lightly coated with snow from last night. Sighing at the thermometer that has a hard time pushing up past 55. Trying to picture the bare trees with green leaves on them again. Bending over my flower bed, looking for a sign of life from the bare spot where my tulips usually eventually show up. Telling my girls that yes, don’t you remember, it does get warm enough to run outside barefoot and with no jacket.

Here in northern WI, we’re always chompin’ on the bit for Summer to get here, but it pretty much always comes at the same time… that last snow in May (I doubt the one last night was the last), gardens being planted the end of May, several frost scares. But when our summers get here, they are BEAUTIFUL! Just perfect. That’s why we brave the ice and snow and sub-zero weather for months, just so we can get those 3 months of summer. It’s all worth it. And if you ever want to come see for yourself, don’t forget your boat… we’ve got lots of lakes around here!

Back to those BLTs…
Shannon and I were talking about BLTs several days ago and I got such a craving for them and couldn’t get them out of my mind until I made one. Yeah, cravings like that can come when you’re not pg!
So here it is.
Nothing fancy. And they’re quite easy to make. Bacon, lettuce, and tomato layered between 2 pieces of toast with mayo on them. Now did YOU get a craving for one? 🙂

And the fresh strawberries,
strawberries3.jpg  they’re going on sale pretty often at Marketplace, so I can’t resist keeping them around.

I wash and cap them (or it it uncap? decap? decapitate? whatever, take the stems and caps off), and then slice them with an egg slicer. Works great!
Then, sprinkle them generously with sugar, stir them, let them sit for at least 5 minutes, stir them again, and eat. Ok, I know you didn’t need those instructions.

Speaking of cravings that you can’t ignore… I saw these on Cookie Madness on Friday and HAD to make them. Here they are.
Try them! They are SO good! They’re called ‘Marbled Peanut Butter Brownies’ (that’s a link to the recipe). And her pictures are awesome… they make you feel like you could pick the cookies right off the computer screen. These bars taste like a candy bar. Peanut butter and chocolate. Don’t let the multiple steps scare you off. The directions are easy to follow. And they’re well worth the effort! Mmmmmmm!!!  I found Cookie Madness just recently. You will be glad to have the link. It’s a goldmine of all kinds of cookie/brownie/bar recipes, plus some other recipes and tidbits too.

Have a good weekend! And look for a couple Mexican recipes coming up on Monday… Cinco de Mayo.


11 Responses to “BLTs, Fresh Strawberries, Marbled Brownies, and Summer!”

  1. Denise on May 3rd, 2008 12:52 pm

    Looks so good. I also got so hungry for a BLT that I bought stuff for it too. As far as the strawberries. The local strawberries from Lousianna (hardly anyone grows them around here, apparently they do not grow well) are already over for the year. Was so good a couple of weeks ago to have fresh strawberry pie, shortcake and just simply crushed strawberries with sugar over ice cream. And fresh local tomatoes probably will soon be in although mine in the garden just have 1 or 2 blossoms on. And you say you get hot in the summer. I say you don’t know what hot really is till you live down South :-) I’d love your summers but I like our longer fall and spring. Can’t have it all, so guess I’ll be content where God has me placed.

  2. amy on May 3rd, 2008 12:56 pm

    Those brownies sound wonderful except I made chocolate crinkle cookies today and my stomache aches from all I ate! :( I can’t wait for tomatoes and strawberries. NO snow here,but plenty of wind.

  3. Monica on May 3rd, 2008 1:28 pm

    Mmmmm, I love BLT’s!!! Sadly, tho, I have to eat them by myself because my husband hates tomatoes!! He’s not a big meat eater and I don’t think he’d be too fond of a Bacon and Lettuce sandwich either!! I was trying to come up with some kind of sweet thing to make for this weekend and those Peanut Butter Brownies look like just the thing!! I think I’ll try them!! Can’t wait for those Mexican recipes!!

  4. Mama Bear on May 3rd, 2008 2:54 pm

    Hi! I just had to give a shout out to a fellow Menno! :) I’ve been lurking your blog for some time now and just right now realized you are Mennonite! Me too! :)

  5. Liz on May 3rd, 2008 4:09 pm

    I actually don’t ever remember having a BLT sandwich. Add a hamburger to the mixture and I am pretty sure I had that. I guess I must really be from the back sticks. I am glad you clarified that about the cravings.=) The bars look good too. I’ll have to check them out. Off to wondering how BLT’s do taste…

  6. Anna on May 3rd, 2008 5:45 pm

    My favorite sandwich is a club sandwich, but your blt might make me switch. That’s one good looking sandwich!

    Thanks for trying to brownies. I kept mine in the refrigerator overnight and found they taste even better the next day.

  7. Shari Ellen on May 3rd, 2008 6:21 pm

    My girls would have fun making the fruit pizza with me. It’s so beautiful and colorful. We just had BLTs for lunch on Friday – for the first time since last summer.

  8. Freida on May 4th, 2008 2:30 pm

    Oh wow, that all looks so good. My husband is not a huge fan of BLT’s, so I hardly ever make them. But I do love them. Our strawberries are looking good now, so I’m excited about eating them fresh from our garden in a month or so. :-) I imagine your summers are well-looked forward to and appreciated a lot, but I too am glad we have our spring and fall. Sorry, but I think Ohio is better. :-)

  9. Patsy Clairmont on May 4th, 2008 4:48 pm

    Where did you get such healthy looking tomatoes? Way too early in MI to find yummy tomatoes…but you’ve triggered fond childhood summer memories of these two-fisted sandwiches. And the aroma of bacon frying makes me levitate. Then add a touch of Miracle Whip to the trio and I’m a happy girl (ok ol’ girl).

    You know what? Tomato season or not your pictures have talked me into it–tonight is officially BLT night.

    Thanks for the motivation and the wholesome blog.

  10. Lisa on May 4th, 2008 5:32 pm

    Ok now you have me craving a BLT (hold the T for me please). Those P-Nut Butter brownies are a must make. If I didn’t already have my Mothers Day menu planned for next weekend, I would be making those….oh well there is always the next weekend.

    Oh that fruit pizza is a must make too!

  11. Shannon on May 5th, 2008 11:04 am

    I HAVE to make those brownies. :):) I’m not a tomoatoe eater so the BLT’s are out for me!

Flaky Crabmeat Bundles – Out of My Comfort Zone Cooking #1

Posted on May 1, 2008
Filed Under Out of My Comfort Zone

This week’s cooking adventure is… Flaky Crabmeat Bundles. I’d love to know, does that sound like something you’d just up and make without thinking twice?


My husband, Shannon, reads my blog… ok, yeah, I guess you’d know that since I told you he’s my tech support and the one that got it up on the web and customized it for me. Anyway, last night, I said, “You know the thing about cooking something once a week that’s out of my comfort zone?” He said, “Yeah, I saw it in your last post.” I said, “Well, first up is Flaky Crabmeat Bundles”. He was in the next room and after a slight pause, he appeared in the doorway and said, “HUH?!” I think he was afraid he had heard me right.

Well, I made them…

First, while thinking about making them, I had to get over the ‘crab’ thing. Ewwwww! And then it didn’t help matters when I opened the can. Flaky describes it for sure.

Next, there was the thing of phyllo dough. I had bought some awhile ago because it kind of intrigued me, but never got the nerve to try it. I was looking forward to that part, though.

This recipe comes from a Pampered Chef Stoneware Sensations cookbook. Since I only have one piece of stoneware, when I use that cookbook, I start by looking in the Stoneware Index (which is categorized by the different stoneware pieces used) instead of the Recipe Index. And, no, I don’t really want to own more than one piece… I should say that quietly because I know there are some die-hard stoneware fans out there. I am, however, a big fan of Pampered Chef and have LOTS of things and there are still more in that catalog that I think I can’t live without. Well, anyway, we can talk about Pampered Chef some other time, let’s get on with these crab things…

Flaky Crabmeat Bundles

2 cans (6 oz. each) lump crabmeat, drained (I couldn’t find anything that said ‘lump’ on it. Mine ended up looking more grated.)
1 container (8 oz) chive and onion soft cream cheese
2/3 cup fresh pea pods or sugar-snap peas, coarsely chopped
1/4 tsp. salt
1 medium carrot, shredded (1/2 cup)
2 garlic cloves, pressed (don’t miss the lazy man’s tip for this at the end of the post)
6 sheets frozen phyllo pastry, thawed
2 Tbsp. vegetable oil

1/2 cup light soy sauce
1/4 cup balsamic or white wine vinegar
2 tsp. peeled fresh ginger root (I used about 1/3 tsp ground ginger… I found online that 1 tsp. ground ginger is equal to 2 Tbsp. fresh ginger root, although not as good. I looked for ginger root for quite awhile in the produce section at the grocery store, but couldn’t find it. We live in a little town.)
2 tsp. sesame oil (couldn’t find that either, I used olive oil)

Preheat oven to 375. For bundles, combine crabmeat, cream cheese, pea pods, and salt in a bowl.
crab2.jpg   Shred carrot.

Add carrot and garlic to crabmeat mixture; mix well.

Unfold one phyllo sheet onto an 18″ long piece of parchment paper. (Keep remaining sheets covered with plastic wrap.) They’re not kidding about that! Those sheets are paper thin and dry out SO fast. And after they dry, they break instead of bend. Using Kitchen Spritzer filled with vegetable oil, generously spray phyllo sheet. I don’t have a Kitchen Spritzer, so I used a pastry brush. Worked ok, but a sprayer would’ve been much better. Top with second phyllo sheet; spray with oil. Repeat with 3rd sheet of phyllo and oil. Trim phyllo sheets to a 16″ x 12″ rectangle. Cut thro’ all layers of phyllo to make 4″ squares. My sheets were smaller, so I only got 6 squares out of each batch.

Using small Stainless Steel Scoop, drop rounded scoops of crabmeat mixture onto center of each square.

For each bundle, bring 4 corners together at top; pinch. Place bundles on flat Baking Stone.

Bake 15 minutes or until edges are golden brown. Remove from oven and place on nonstick cooling rack. Repeat with remaining phyllo sheets and crabmeat mixture to make 24 bundles. I just made a half batch for us.

For sauce, combine all ingredients in small bowl; mix well. Serve warm bundles with sauce. I warmed up the sauce, too. Yield: 24 bundles, 3/4 cup sauce

They were good! Shannon liked them even better than I did. I liked them better with the sauce. With or without the sauce was a toss-up for Shannon. It was definitely a different taste than what we’re used to.

They’d be great to serve at a ladies’ afternoon tea party or as appetizers for a formal meal.

Back to the phyllo dough… I have over 3/4 of the pack left. I’m looking forward to using the rest. Maybe next time it’ll be for a dessert.

Just a quick tip for garlic cloves… I’ve never bought a garlic clove or used a garlic press. I use this:
crab10.jpg  crab11.jpg

It’s fresh minced garlic, found in the spice aisle, and you refrigerate it after opening. On the side of the jar, it says, “1 tsp = 1 average fresh garlic clove”. I should compare this stuff side by side with a freshly pressed garlic clove and see if I can tell a difference.

Up next week on Out of My Comfort Zone cooking… Baked Apples and Cheese. Yes, they are mixed together in the same dish, and yes, that would be cheddar cheese, not cream cheese. No, I didn’t make it yet. But I’m looking forward to it.


21 Responses to “Flaky Crabmeat Bundles – Out of My Comfort Zone Cooking #1”

  1. Jessica on May 1st, 2008 9:24 pm

    The bundles look good. I am coming over for supper the night you have Apples and Cheese…

  2. Twila on May 1st, 2008 9:31 pm

    So much to comment on…speaking of Pampered Chef, I love my garlic press! I know beyond the shadow of a doubt that I would love these crab bundles. Now I just want to know how they’d bake up on a regular baking sheet as I own no baking stones and don’t wish to. As for apples and cheese, have you ever had an Apple Grande at Taco John’s? If your Baked Apples and Cheese is anything like that, it will be scrumptious!

  3. lisa on May 1st, 2008 10:11 pm

    we LOVE an appetizer that must be just like these. i’ll have to try these out once i go grocery shopping. IF there’s anything left to spend after buying milk, eggs, butter, diapers…

  4. Jo on May 1st, 2008 10:33 pm

    P.C. stoneware is great. Took me a long time to convert, but I’m a fan now.
    Way back in high school Home Ec class, we made a Dairy State Apple Pie that had cheddar cheese in it…we all thought that it would be so gross but we were in for a surprise! It was YUMMY.
    I love trying different things…when I have time…and extra grocery money (what a joke!). These crab bundles look great, but I’m too tired to be tempted right now.

  5. esther on May 1st, 2008 11:06 pm

    I love crab so the appetizers sound good to me. And my husband likes cheddar cheese with his apple pie. So we might do okay with your OOMCZone food. =)

  6. Mary Faith on May 1st, 2008 11:26 pm

    I have to agree with Jo on the stoneware. :) I love it but it took me awhile to get used to it, too. But, as a (used-to-be) PC consultant, I better love it. :) The garlic press is awesome too. And that recipe… I never tried it but am sure it is wonderful. This gives me the urge to try it soon. :) Course I’ve never had a PC recipe that I didn’t like, no matter how weird it sounded. ???? I’m impressed with your bravery. :)

  7. barb on May 2nd, 2008 4:39 am

    O.k. at what section of the grocery store do you find phyllo dough/sheets or whatever its called?
    They look wonderful, and they look similar to crab rangoon that you can get on a buffet at a chinese restaurant. We LOVE those. My husband would be happy if I could figure out a way to make them at home. If I can find the phyllo ????….

  8. barb on May 2nd, 2008 4:42 am

    By the way, Kay…
    I can’t get enough of your website. It is the best cooking/baking blog that I have found, and I’ve been all around and seen lots of them.
    You do an awesome job. Thanks for sharing, I love it.

  9. Freida on May 2nd, 2008 6:48 am

    These remind me of something very similar I’ve had at a Chinese Restaurant a few times. If its anything like those, they are good! Cheers for cooking out of your comfort zone.

  10. Andy Lawrenson on May 2nd, 2008 6:49 am

    I have found no difference in the jar garlic and the fresh garlic.

    By the way, why am I the only man commenting here?

    The crab bundles look good and may try that sometime, we happen to have fresh crab handy here.

  11. Christy on May 2nd, 2008 7:04 am

    Evidently the people who are thinking , “gross,” aren’t commenting today. :) This looks like the kind of thing I’d love if someone else would make so I could try it. I love eating something a little more exotic, but don’t like buying all the ingredients when it’s not something I’d normally buy. The dough reminds me of wonton wrappers. Is it similar? Michelle makes some killer sausage wontons using those.

  12. Shannon on May 2nd, 2008 7:05 am

    Hummm, something I might eat, but I doubt my family would. :) I don’t like cooking OOMYCzone but maybe I should more often cause we just eat the same things all the time. :)

  13. Katie Mast on May 2nd, 2008 7:56 am

    O how lovely. I have that cookbook and I have not tryed them yet!!! Well i better make them this week or maybe i will make them at my next show. I dont really care for sea food but i love the crab rangoons at the chinese resturants. Someone was wondering where to get the phyllo dough, you can find it in the frozen section where they would have bread dough. Now, for the garlic i never liked garlic, cuz i would buy that stuff in the jar. But wants i got a PC garlic press i couldnt believe the difference. The aroma is enough to get your taste buds watering. You will need to get one at your next show. OR become a consultant like me and get it with your kit. HUM!!!! sounds like we have a few PC lovers on here. I love my stoneware as well, once you use it for a while, that is all you want to use. I love mine, i have bought 2 pieces at yard sales, yeah!! i was so excited. Thanks for sharing all your great ideas. I love your website.

  14. Kay on May 2nd, 2008 8:09 am

    I’m glad for the positive comments on the apples and cheese stuff! I still can’t imagine that going together, but now I’m REALLY anxious to try it.

    Christy, I’ve never used wonton wrappers, but it seems like they’d be a bit thicker than phyllo. Seriously, I couldn’t believe how thin the stuff was… literally at least as thin as a piece of lightweight paper, only more delicate.

    Barb, I got my phyllo dough at Walmart by the frozen pie crusts. Not sure what else is around there… oh, yeah, probably bread dough, like Katie said above.

  15. Lisa on May 2nd, 2008 10:00 am

    I just found your website via Jadens Steamy Kitchen and I had to tell you I’m having a blast checking things out. So many great recipes. I have 2 boys and 2 hubby so easy and simple always works for me. I bookmarked you so I will be visiting often! Come check out my site too!

  16. Rick L. on May 2nd, 2008 11:07 am

    You can come here to the Outer Banks and fix those things any time you want! And we’ll make sure your crab meat is not only lump, but right out of the crab.

  17. Amber on May 2nd, 2008 12:51 pm

    OH, those look so yummy! I just wish someone would make them for me to try… :) I’m not hearing any volunteers.

  18. Arla on May 2nd, 2008 8:28 pm

    Hi Kay, Maybe you all knew the correct pronunciation of phyllo. I didn’t. The packaging that I had when I used it had (fillo) written on it or something like that right beside the phyllo word. So I was pronouncing it “fillo”. My friend Susan who knows these things laughed at me and said, “Don’t you know? It’s Fi- (long I)lo Dough.” I argued that with my own theory, and ended by looking it up. Friends,it is FEELOH dough. So, now you know.

  19. Kay on May 2nd, 2008 9:00 pm

    Thanks, Arla! I didn’t know how to pronounce it. In my mind, I say Fi(long i)lo. Glad to know now… it may become a more common part of my cooking/baking, once I get past the thing of being a bit intimidated by it. Now, if I can just get my brain to switch to a long E!

  20. Sharon on May 6th, 2008 7:28 am

    These look good, but yeah, I’d have to get a few things I haven’t ever used–although phyllo has always intrigued me. Had to comment on the garlic. I always minced fresh garlic, then found out about the jarred stuff and decided it would be much better and quicker. Well, it wasn’t for me–the fresh has just much better flavor, I think. But really, it’s probably just what you’re used to!

  21. Wendy on April 15th, 2009 8:15 pm

    I just read this post and thought I should tell you to try the sauce with the sesame oil. It will totally add a new flavor. You should be able to find this in the Asian section at your grocery store.

    Want to try these sometime soon!