Recipes and Cooking Ideas for Homemakers and Amateur Cooks

July 4th follow-up post…

Posted on July 7, 2008
Filed Under For special occassions, Holiday cooking

First off, about the USA jello. I used a jello mold that’s the shape of the US.

The mold has teeny shallow lines between each state, so to get the different colors effect, I mixed up the blue and red jello, then used a medicine dropper to drop it into the different sections. (I don’t keep a medicine dropper around, I took a bottle of infant Tylenol out of the medicine cabinet, took out the dropper, washed it really good with hot water, used it to color the states, washed it good again, and put it back in the bottle.) In some states, there’s a mixture of both blue and pink. That happened when the dropper dropped before I was over the state I wanted or when I got too much in the state and it went over the little ‘walls’ between each state. It was a little tedious, but I thought it would look a little blah with just all one color on top. After I got all the states filled in, I put 1/2 of the white mixture in, then layered red, white, and blue from there.

To cut the jello, I followed the lines and cut it apart into states (except some of the New England states!). It was kinda nice because then you could pick your size. Lexi was declaring that she was gonna get Florida and that she’d get Wisconsin out for Tiffany. But when I finally gave them the go-ahead to dig in, she saw the size of Texas and changed her mind about Florida. Then, Tiffany wanted the biggest one too, so to save a fight, we suggested California and she was happy with that. They each ate about 1/4 of their piece, then said it was too big. Sigh. I was thinking, “So, then WHY did you guys have to get the biggest pieces?!” but instead I said, “Just wrap them up in Saran wrap and put them in the fridge. You can finish them later.”

jello-california.jpg ——————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————

We got together with some friends Friday night and grilled burgers and hot dogs before the fireworks. I made a fruit pizza for dessert. It’s this recipe, but I cut back on the amounts because it wasn’t gonna fill up the whole pan since it was shaped into a rectangle, a flag. Oh, it was so good. I didn’t count how many pieces I ate. Fruit pizza is one thing I crave, especially in the summer.


I have a few fireworks pictures, but other than that, nothing. I was lounging in my lawnchair thinking, ‘I should go get my camera and take a picture of Shannon grilling and of the kids playing and of the adults talking and capture the party atmosphere around us’ and then as I kept lounging, I lowered my standards and started thinking, “I should at least get my camera and take 4 pictures because that would make a pageful for when I scrapbook this event’, but I just kept sitting there, living the moment instead of capturing it. I actually don’t like taking pictures at social events. BUT the only thing I hate worse than taking pictures is not having pictures, so that’s what drives me to take them. Except for this time.

And with that I leave you with a little fireworks show…






7 Responses to “July 4th follow-up post…”

  1. Rene on July 7th, 2008 11:22 am

    Kay — Thanks for the explanation! I was wondering how you did the states!! Great fireworks pics!!

  2. Lisa on July 7th, 2008 11:33 am

    I bet my state would’nt fill anyone up! (Rhode Island!)

  3. Shannon on July 7th, 2008 11:34 am

    To cool. Not sure I’d have the patience to fill all the states in. :) I’d be very hungry for fruit pizza right now too. Might have to make some.

  4. Cordy on July 7th, 2008 12:29 pm

    That fruit pizza almost drives me to my kitchen right now. Oh my, that looks wonderful! I appreciate this blessing on here you give to us so very much – THANK YOU! I did wonder how you keep the bananas nice? Do you dip them in lemon juice? P.S. When Bernice drops you a note…..must tell you she also is a wonderful cook….we’ve had brunches at her place…often celebrating someone’s birthday. She loves to give everything an extra special touch. It is not only a wonderful experince with friends but she gives the whole time we’re together a meaningful start as she lifts our time together to our Lord.
    Isn’t the family of God more than precious!!

  5. Berneice on July 7th, 2008 12:35 pm

    Thanks for clueing us in on your USA finger jello. It looks cloo, but I doubt I will ever try it. Not nearly enough patience on this end :( Fruit pizza looks refreshing too.

  6. Kay on July 7th, 2008 1:08 pm

    Cordy, to keep the bananas nice, I glazed them right away as soon as I put a row of them on. The glaze keeps them from browning for awhile. I made it in the afternoon and the next morning, the bananas on the leftovers were just getting a hint of brown, not too bad, but if you’d make it a day ahead, you’d want to save the bananas to put on later for the freshest look.

    Btw, the ’stars’ on top of the blueberries are just little dollops of Cool Whip.

  7. Denise on July 8th, 2008 8:31 am

    I love fruit pizza, and that flag is just so neat. Also thanks for explaining the USA jello. I was wondering how you did it. With you showing all these neat things it makes me want to thow a July 4th party next year.

It’s Independence Day!

Posted on July 3, 2008
Filed Under For special occassions, Grilling, Holiday cooking


How are you spending the holiday? …Going out on the lake? …Firing up the grill? …Getting together with family and friends? …Going out to watch fireworks? I don’t specifically remember not watching fireworks any year, but I’m sure there was a year or two missed in there somewhere. When we lived in town, we could see them from our house. Fireworks is what I think of first when I think ‘4th of July’, then I think of my oldest brother (Happy Birthday, Tom!), then I think of grilling and burgers and brats. I know, with having a cooking blog, you’d think grilling and all would be first on my list.

Speaking of grilling, I’m sure we’ll be doing some. Here are some of our favorites:

Hot dogs, our favorites are Ball Park beef franks…

Brats, it’s gotta be Johnsonville…

Cheeseburger, this has got to go on the menu this weekend! I’ll have to talk to the guy in charge of grilling around here…

New York Strip Steak, and please don’t forget the sauteed mushrooms! Mmmmm…4th-new-york-strip.jpg

Rib-Eye Steak done medium, this was melt-in-your-mouth tender, didn’t even need A1 sauce…4th-rib-eye-medium.jpg

Shrimp and mushrooms grilled on skewers, a great appetizer…

Pork chop sandwich, last but definitely not least! This is the thing out of this whole list that we grill the most. Yup, even more than throwing hot dogs and brats on the grill. Maybe next time we make them, I can remember to get a better picture! They’re easy, at least for me, because all I do is set the table…

And then I couldn’t let the holiday go by without playing around with my beloved for-any-occassion layered finger jello! It’s a nice side benefit that it tastes good, too.
Instead of using a 9×13 pan for a batch, I used a large cookie sheet with sides so it wouldn’t get so thick. The red and blue layers each have 2 batches of jello in them and the white layer is all of the white mixture (as opposed to dividing it in thirds). When I cut it into little shapes, it looks better if it’s not so thick.

4th-stars-flipped.jpg And then you can play around with it a little more and makes squares and cut a star out of the middle, flip it over, and put it back into the hole.


And then you can play around with it a little more and make the United States of America…

And, being in the spirit of things, this is what I was snacking on just now as I wrote this post…
Red strawberries, white sugar, and blue blueberries.

Have a safe and happy holiday!


10 Responses to “It’s Independence Day!”

  1. Shannon on July 4th, 2008 7:11 am

    Oh the food looks good. But then it always does here. :) I love that jello, looks too cool in the stars and the states.

  2. Jo on July 4th, 2008 8:46 am

    Did you SERIOUSLY do that map of the U.S. in jello????? I am in complete awe. May I have your autograph? ;-)
    I was going to do layered jello like that to send w/ my husband to OH for their big doin’s tonight…but changed my mind & did a layered jello cake instead. Red on the bottom, blue on the top, iced w/ the old stand-by Cool Whip. So simple…just hope it tastes good! (since I won’t be there to check) Happy 4th!

  3. Marilyn on July 4th, 2008 3:11 pm

    love the finger jello, esp the stars, those are so cool! my kids would love them. Happy 4th of July to you too! :-)

  4. Mary Faith on July 4th, 2008 3:32 pm

    I decided to google “red, white,and blue finger jello” to find a recipe and guess what? The very first site that came up was this one. LOL It took me back to the recipe you had on here. I had forgotten you had the recipe before. So cool. :)

  5. Kay on July 4th, 2008 5:01 pm

    Mary Faith, sorry I didn’t get here to answer your question! Glad you found the answer in the meantime! :) Hope it turns out good for you!

    To get to the recipe from this post, the words “layered finger jello” in bold red up there between the pork chop and the finger jello pictures is a link to the recipe. Also, the names of some of those grilling pictures are in red… those are also links to their respective recipes.

  6. stephanie on July 5th, 2008 7:04 am

    Whoa lady! The United States? How in the world did you do that?
    Love the stars and the whole Ble, Red and White theme who were the lucky recipients of the gourmet atmosphere?

  7. Jan on July 5th, 2008 7:42 am

    Map of the US???I’m in awe. I’m not artistic so I’m always wowed by those who are. The stars are cute, too.
    I also love the photos of the little cooks in the cherry pie post. For some reason, Tiffany just cracks me up! And Lexi looks so grown up in the apron.

  8. Berneice on July 5th, 2008 8:46 pm

    Like the rest. I stand (sorry,I sit) amazed! Did you really do that map? How in the world?? Happy belated 4th

  9. Katie Mast on July 6th, 2008 7:38 am

    Happy July 4th to you. That Map is incrediable. I have a mold for that as well, but never did it like that. How did you do that? I love the star shape idea and the sq. how cool is that! I am making your meat loaf recipe for lunch today, it has become one of our favorites as well.

  10. Mary Faith on July 7th, 2008 12:34 pm

    I did the star shaped finger jello for the weekend. Took it to Cheyenne on Sat. and then again to the carry in yesterday. (I made how many batches on Fri. to make it enough!) It was definitely a big hit both places. I took some of the “scraps” along to Cheyenne and the children ate those quite freely. :) All that’s left here is a few more “scraps”.

Mini Cherry Pies – Cooks in Training #1

Posted on July 1, 2008
Filed Under Cooks in Training, Pies

Ok, we’re going to have 2 dessert posts in a row. But I’m fine with that… you know the saying, “Life is uncertain, eat dessert first”. And when Lexi tries to talk me into letting her have 2 cookies right before supper and I tell her to wait till after supper because she won’t be hungry and she reasons ‘But if I wait till after, I might not be hungry for the cookies and I’d rather eat the cookies now and not be hungry for the chicken and stuff for supper’, I see her point and actually agree with her. There are very few foods that I like better than cookies. So, yeah, she got that honestly… the willingness to ‘wreck’ a meal by eating dessert first. Which isn’t wrecking the meal at all because the cookies are better than the meal.

In case you’re getting worried, we don’t actaully eat dessert first around here. We just discuss it. I actually don’t usually even make dessert at mealtime because we’re often too full for it anyway. So our cookies and pies and milkshakes and stuff are more often an evening snack for us.

With this post, I’m starting a series called “Cooks in Training”. Guess what that is… anybody have little people in the house? Do our weekly recipe with them. They’ll love it! And you actually will too, just relax and picture the worst case scenario and hopefully you’ll be pleasantly surprised that it didn’t go too bad. :) My main job was using a rag before the messes took over my kitchen. Lexi (5) and Tiffany (2) did all the work except for the little bit that I did to show them how to do it. I’m not sure how long this will last as being weekly… hopefully I’m not burned out by the 3rd week!

We were grocery shopping one day and Lexi saw some cute little pre-made graham crusts in a pack of 6. She did a sharp inhale and exclaimed, “Mom, look at these sweet little pies! Can we get them?” They were really cute. And only $1.25 for 6 crusts, so I quite easily gave in. Here is what we ended up doing with them:


Mini Cherry Pies

Printable recipe 

4 oz cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 tsp. vanilla
1 1/2 cups cherry pie filling (or filling of your choice)
1/2 cup chocolate chips, melted
6 Keebler mini ready-made graham cracker crusts

Beat the cream cheese, sugar, and vanilla till smooth. Spread on bottom and up sides of each crust.

Between this step and the next step, “Oh! We forgot our aprons. Mom, just wait. We have to go get our aprons. C’mon Tiffany.” Their aprons were made for them by their Great Grandma, the one who makes THE BEST brown sugar pie

Put about 1/4 cup pie filling on top of cream cheese mixture.

And if any filling would happen to miss the crust and land on the counter, just lick it up. —————————————————————————
Melt chocolate chips and put in plastic bag. Cut off one corner and pipe the chocolate onto the filling.

tarts6.jpg And, uh, try not to let the bag drop into the pie. That would get cherry filling on the bag and then might get your hand messy.

tarts7.jpg   tarts8.jpg

Chill for an hour or two. Eat. They tasted great!


3 Responses to “Mini Cherry Pies – Cooks in Training #1”

  1. Barb on July 2nd, 2008 12:08 pm

    I Love your website,I’m from Illinois and it sounds like we have a lot in common I Love baking I have a daughter Courtney 10 yrs old and likes to bake, although her idea is she does the baking and Mom cleans up. I’ve been up since 2 o’clock this morning and made 9 doz. cinn rolls a batch of cookies, my friends call me crazy i call it relaxing,I want to make these little pies with Courtney sometime,she is Daddy’s girl the next 2 days he drives truck. Hey keep the recipes coming I love it

  2. Sorina on July 3rd, 2008 6:05 am

    I like the sound and look of this. I shall mark this on my to do list.

  3. Jes on July 3rd, 2008 10:54 pm

    I get pretty frustrated when I try to cook with my kids (3 and 2yr. old boys!) but I need to do it more! I will be checking this often for some good, fun ideas to do with my little ones! Thanks so much for sharing! Love it!!

Sweet Lemon Bars

Posted on June 28, 2008
Filed Under Cookies and bars

I love looking thro’ recipes, cookbooks, etc. It can keep my attention as good as any interesting book. And one nice thing about it is that it is calorie-free… the looking and reading, that is! Where I get into trouble is when something reaches out and grabs me and I can’t help but go out to the kitchen and make it. That’s why I purposely don’t keep chocolate chips on hand. Chocolate is my weakness. And I do believe that I’ve become immune to getting sick from it.

Anyway, it was raining yesterday evening and the church ballgame got cancelled, and I was in the mood to bake something. So, I started going thro’ recipes. I had no chocolate in the house, so any recipe with that was out. I also had no brown sugar, so that threw out alot of cookie recipes. Then this lemon bar recipe caught my eye, and I had everything on hand, including fresh lemons. I didn’t know if any of us even liked lemon bars, but they sure looked tempting on the picture, so lemon bars it was.


Sweet Lemon Bars …recipe taken from an Easy to Bake Easy to Make recipe card

Printable recipe 

1 cup flour
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup powdered sugar
2 eggs
1 cup sugar
1/4 tsp. salt
2 tsp. grated lemon rind
2 Tbsp. lemon juice
1 3 oz pkg cream cheese, softened

Preheat oven to 350. Line bottom of  8″ square baking dish with parchment paper. I didn’t do that, I just greased the pan well. Mix flour, butter, and powdered sugar together using hand mixer until fine crumbs form. Using drinking glass, press crumbs evenly into bottom of lined baking dish.
This was sort of a joke. I started like that, but then ended up using my hand. Worked great!

Bake until crust is lightly browned, about 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, beat eggs, sugar, and salt until light and fluffy. Add lemon rind and lemon juice. Blend in cream cheese. Pour over baked crust.

Return to oven and bake until firm in the center when touched, about 25 minutes longer.

Cool to room temperature; sift powdered sugar over top.

Cut into 9 squares and cut each of the squares in half diagonally to make triangles. Serve or store in refrigerator. Makes 18 triangles.

For the grated lemon rind and the lemon curl garnishes, I used the tool pictured below. Not sure what it’s called, maybe a lemon zester/scorer. It’s a Pampered Chef item and it works like a charm! I cut off a string of peeling with the part in the middle of the tool, then curled the peel around a pen so it would be more apt to curl on the plate later. I tried to find a utensil with a round handle and had none, so I used a pen. Yeah, even my wooden spoon handles aren’t round! The grating was actually lemon zest, done with the top part. I do it in as tiny pieces as possible so it dissolves or whatever it does that you don’t see it or feel the texture of it in the finished product.


I liked these bars the best chilled. When I told Shannon that, he said he’s tried them at every temperature from slightly warm to chilled and they passed with flying colors at all stages. They were just tops and I do know now that baked stuff doesn’t have to be chocolate to taste great and leave you coming back for more. So, we were pretty hard on them and I don’t think I’ll tell you how much of the pan is left! And we’re not sharing, so you’ll just have to make them yourself. :)


9 Responses to “Sweet Lemon Bars”

  1. Shannon on June 28th, 2008 10:57 am

    I love lemon bars!! Makes me think of Africa. Freida’s mom made them all the time when we were over there and we just inhaled them!!

  2. Rene on June 28th, 2008 12:41 pm

    I just love lemon bars! I’ll be making these soon I’m sure!

  3. Freida on June 28th, 2008 1:01 pm

    Ditto. Lemon bars are tops!!!

  4. Berneice on June 28th, 2008 2:01 pm

    Amen,amen! Love lemon bars, basically anything lemon hits the spot on a hot summer day.

  5. anita on June 28th, 2008 8:16 pm

    When I see lemon bars that ask for lemon zest i know its going to be good i’m going to have to give them a try some time….

  6. Denise on June 29th, 2008 7:07 pm

    Lemon bars are one of my hubby’s favorites. When we were dating, he would drive the 1100 miles from Mississippi to PA to come and see me. So at least one time I sent lemon bars with him. I’ve never seen or made this particular recipe. It looks too!! good!!

  7. carolyn on June 30th, 2008 2:45 am

    Ive never tried lemon bars, but thank u for sharing here, will give it a try :-)


  8. Katie Mast on June 30th, 2008 3:38 pm

    Lemon Bars are one of my husbands favorites as well. I will make these, they look great. Yes that Zestor works great, i use mine a lot to. Thanks for sharing this delightful treat.

  9. Sheila Graber on July 11th, 2008 11:46 am

    I thought these were a little too sweet and not enough lemon but it’s my fault b/c I didn’t have lemon zest and just used the recommended amount of juice instead of increasing it. The crust was perfect-I am going to use it again w/ my fav topping in a 9×13. 6 eggs-6 Tbsp flour-1 3/4 cup sugar-1 cup lemon juice-3 drops yellow food coloring. Bake an additional 25 min and they’re delicious if you like a tart/sweet lemon bar!

Italian Breadsticks

Posted on June 25, 2008
Filed Under Breads Biscuits and Rolls

I keep up with about 45 blogs via my Google Reader, but I’m slipping behind now and there are 73 unread posts. They keep faithfully updating (as opposed to me) and I only check them now and then. I do keep up with Pioneer Woman though, no matter how busy I am. And no, it’s not just so I don’t miss when she’s giving away a big beautiful KitchenAid mixer in the Cooking part of her blog!

Thanks for all your tips on the whoopie pie filling and I’m glad to know that a few others make more filling than the recipe calls for. :) I wasn’t sure if you’d agree when I said that’s what I’m going to do from now on or if you’d have fits at all the extra fattening unnecessary filling that would make.

Also, Lorinda (Hi!, by the way. Glad to see you on here!), you said you’re experimenting with homemade pizza and wondered if I have any recipes on here. I do have one recipe on here: Saturday Night Pizza. The crust is homemade and is just tops! One thing I don’t do (yet) is make my own pizza sauce. I have a friend Linda who is known for her good pizza sauce, so maybe I’ll ask her for her recipe and start with that one, then try a few others. So far, I’m just buying Ragu pizza sauce from the grocery store.

Now, for the breadsticks. This is one of those recipes that I made awhile ago, featured here, and didn’t like it how it was and said, “Next time, I’m going to…”. So, here is ‘next time’ and the breadsticks were much better AND easier and faster! These are the breadsticks I had pictured with the glazed baby carrots and the zesty mozzarella chicken.


Italian Breadsticks

Printable recipe 

1/2 cup shredded mozzarella or Italian blend cheese
Italian seasoning
1 can (11 oz) refrigerated breadstick dough
1 egg
1 Tbsp. water

Preheat oven to 375. Spray baking sheet with cooking spray. Unroll dough; separate breadsticks. Cut each strip in half crosswise. On a lightly floured surface, with floured fingertips, twist the 2 halves together. Put the breadsticks on the baking sheet and press down on the ends to prevent unraveling.

Beat egg w water. Lightly brush tops of breadsticks with egg mixture.
italian2.jpg Yeah, I know, the picture is crooked. That’s because I was holding the camera with one hand and brushing with the other hand.

Sprinkle with cheese and Italian seasoning.

Bake until golden brown, about 15 minutes. Serve warm.

I was just thinking, I wonder how it would work to put melted butter on in place of the egg and water. Would be easier and seems like it would taste at least as good. I’ll have to try some of each like that next time and compare them.


2 Responses to “Italian Breadsticks”

  1. Linda on June 25th, 2008 6:44 pm

    Here is a spaghetti and pizza sauce I love. I have access to tomato sauce in #10 cans so I often cook up a big batch. If using a #10 can I usually add a little water to come closer to a gallon. The extra sauce can be canned or frozen. I haven’t gone to the work to downsize the recipe. There is nothing like fresh cooked sauce.

    4 Quarts Tomato Sauce
    3 Tbsp. Minced Onions
    1/2 Cup Sugar
    1/4 Cup Olive Oil
    2 Tbsp. Salt
    2 Tbsp. Dried Basil
    2 Tbsp. Dried Oregano
    1 Tbsp. Italian Seasoning
    1 1/2 Tbsp. Minced Garlic

    Bring to a boil. Simmer and serve.

  2. Kay on June 28th, 2008 8:58 am

    Thanks alot for the pizza sauce recipe, Linda. I’ll have to give it a try!

Rice Crispy Treats

Posted on June 23, 2008
Filed Under Snacks

Back again. I survived the week of the 4-yr-olds. There were 7 of them… you know the McCaugheys that had septuplets around 10 years ago? Now I know a little bit of what the mom was going through when they were 4. Only, she couldn’t send them home mid-afternoon and then go home herself and take a nap.

The week actually went good though. The first day, they were all low-key, then they got progressively roudier each day as they learned the ropes a little better and we got used to each other. By the end of the week, there were more sommer-saults going on and more ‘falling’ off the bench during assembly and bringing an inchworm to class. Do you want proof of an inchworm in class? Here you go:

It’s the light green thing on the leaf. It was Sammie’s worm and she’d rip up little leaves for it to eat. That’s what she’s doing on the picture.   ——————————————————————————————————————————————————————————–

Teaching these little people was definitely more like being a mom than a teacher. For example, at lunchtime: “Can you open my juice/yogurt/pudding/lid for me?” “I don’t like this green stuff on my sandwich (lettuce). Can you get it off?” “I spilled my chocolate milk on my dress.” “Do you have a napkin? Look at my hands.” “I’m gonna go play now” as the lunch bag is thrown down beside me and on and on.

We had snacktime every afternoon… cookies, finger jello, rice crispy treats, pretzels, fish crackers, chocolate milk, juice, iced tea, etc. So, in honor of this post, I’m posting a rice crispy treats recipe. It’s nothing special, just the usual, probably what you’d get off of the rice crispy box.


Rice Crispy Treats

Printable recipe

1/4 cup butter
10 oz bag of marshmallows
5 1/2 cups rice crispy cereal

Melt the butter and marshmallows in the microwave.


Stir cereal in.

Press into a greased 9×13 pan. I spray cooking spray on a sandwich bag and put my hand inside to press the mixture into the pan.

Let sit for awhile till it cools and firms up. Cut into squares. If you’re making squares for 4-yr-olds, take extra time to cut the squares as evenly-sized as possible… this cuts down on the “Hey! She got the biggest piece!” and pawing through them, touching every piece, looking for the biggest one.

Serve with pretzels and chocolate milk.



5 Responses to “Rice Crispy Treats”

  1. Michelle on June 23rd, 2008 8:11 am

    It’s good to have you back! I missed the posts last week.

  2. Shannon on June 23rd, 2008 9:10 am

    Looks like you had your hands full. :) Good to hear from you again.

  3. Jo on June 23rd, 2008 12:09 pm

    Your rice krispie treats look like the kind I’d like—plenty of marshmallow goo! The only thing that would improve them would be to melt one cup of milk chocolate chips w/ one cup of butterscotch chips & spread it over top. :-) That’s the way my best friend used to make them…mmmhhmmm…

  4. Jo on June 23rd, 2008 12:10 pm

    I’ve been meaning to tell you…I tried your Zesty Mozzerella Chicken & your Glazed Carrots last week…they were a huge hit! Thanks for the new faves!!

  5. Rene on June 23rd, 2008 5:09 pm

    Welcome back! I’m in the throes of vacation bible school this week so I’m feeling a little bit kid overwhelmed myself! It sure was nice to walk out of church at noon knowing that I didn’t have to keep the peace any longer today. More to come tomorrow! BTW…I’ve made the finger jello a couple times now and it keeps turning out better each time. Thanks for that recipe!

Whoopie Pies

Posted on June 15, 2008
Filed Under Cookies and bars

My Father’s Day post I had planned didn’t really happen then, but Happy Belated Father’s Day anyway. Especially to the father of my daughters. And also to my own father.

I’ve got good memories growing up. Dad spent alot of time with us, from laying on the floor playing games with us to taking the family out on the boat multiple times a week in the evening in the summer.         Dad taught us children how to play chess when we were pretty young. He’d take off his queen AND give us hints. As we got older, the hints stopped and eventually the queen came back on, and we could even beat him sometimes.       We went boating and picnicking on islands and fishing alot too. I grew up here among the many lakes in the northwoods and a boat was almost as important to own as a car, in our opinions. At a certain age, Dad stopped taking the fish off of our hooks and said we were old enough to do it ourselves. I don’t remember exactly what age that was (maybe 9 or 10 yrs old), but whenever it was is when I started mostly just going along fishing for the ride and not getting my pole out. I missed seeing my bobber jerk underwater and feel the tug on the line, but it was worth giving up not to have to take a fish off the hook!         His storytelling ability is amazing and kept us very entertained and wide-eyed growing up… especially the stories involving his horse Dusty and the stories about their one-of-a-kind neighbor.    Oh, and one other thing, not alot of people grew up with yearly Donald Duck renditions by their dad of the “Happy Birthday to you” song. :)

Another thing about Dad is that he loves whoopie pies. Every year for his birthday, Mom would make him whoopie pies and at least one year, she made a whoopie pie cake. It was huge (maybe about 12″ across) and looked exactly like a whoopie pie. I haven’t made whoopie pies for years, but I did just lately. I was so disappointed that they didn’t turn out like Sheila’s OR Julia’s… the 2 people that I consider to be whoopie pie queens. But oh well, they were good anyway.

Not sure why this picture has a lavendar hue! ????

Ever wonder why whoopie pies are called whoopie pies? I didn’t really wonder it until Lexi wondered it and started questioning me like I’d just automatically know. It’s like 3 desserts all in one… they taste like chocolate cake with frosting, but you bake them like cookies, and they’re called pies! Maybe it’s one of those things that will forever be a mystery… try explaining that to a 5-yr-old! Her world is full of questions and she’s not satisfied with no answer.

Whoopie pies …recipe taken from the Tasty Favorites cookbook (Pleasant Grove Mennonite Church)

Printable recipe

2 cups sugar
1 cup shortening
2 eggs
3/4 cup cocoa
2 tsp. soda
2 tsp. salt
2 tsp. vanilla
1 cup hot water
1 cup sour milk or buttermilk
4 cups sifted flour (sift?! Does anyone out there sift?)

Mix and drop by teaspoonfuls (I did more like 2 Tablespoonfuls) on cookie sheet. I spread them out a little so they wouldn’t be so thick. I don’t like thick whoopie pies… too much cake.

Bake at 400 for 8 minutes. I baked it for 7 minutes.

2 egg whites
2 Tbsp. vanilla
4 tsp. flour
4 tsp. milk
2 cups powdered sugar
1 cup Crisco

Beat egg whites until stiff. Add vanilla, flour milk, and powdered sugar. Beat and cream, then add Crisco. Spread filling on bottom side of one cookie.

Top with another cookie. Yield: 66 cookies (33 sandwiches) Here you go, Dad… I wish you could just pick one off the screen!

This recipe tasted great, but I had a couple problems with it. The filling didn’t get white. It was a light tan. Do you think the vanilla is a misprint? Should it be teaspoons? Everything else in the filling is white except the Crisco I used is yellow, so I think it was mainly the vanilla’s fault that it got tan. The other problem I had was that the cookie part made 5 1/2 dozen cookies, which made 33 sandwiches, but the filling was gone after 24 sandwiches. And it was none too thick, either. So, next time, I’d either make 1.5 times the amount of filling or do what I did this time… filled the leftover cookies with ice cream.
That was good! They tasted like ice cream sandwiches!

On a different note: I won’t be posting on here much at all this week… we have Summer Bible School at church Monday – Friday and I’m teaching the nursery class (4-yr-olds), so that’s where I’ll be during the day. Then, the rest of the time I’ll be trying to keep up with the laundry, cleaning, etc. around here. Some wonderful ladies from church who aren’t teaching offered to make suppers, so I’ll probably be doing little cooking this week. I will be making rice crispy treats for snack time at Bible School though. :)


12 Responses to “Whoopie Pies”

  1. Shannon on June 16th, 2008 6:12 am

    The girls would love these. Mom used to make them all the time at home. I love your tribute to your Dad, sounds like fun stories growing up. Someday you’ll have to do a book for your own family. :)

  2. Freida on June 16th, 2008 7:17 am

    We are big whoopie pie fans here. I haven’t made them in awhile, but they never last long around here. These look good. I don’t like the thick ones either.

  3. Twila on June 16th, 2008 7:47 am

    I think the best part of a whoopie pie is the fluffy filling so I always make 1.5 recipes of that for every one recipe of the cookies and I load ’em up! :-) I use the recipe from the original Basics cookbook which calls for 1 T. of vanilla (but I have “tsp” penciled in). It also calls for 4 T. each of flour and milk and 4 C. pwd. sugar to 1 1/2 c. Crisco. I wonder if the butter Crisco wasn’t part of the reason for the tan colored filling. When you have time you could make them again with reg. Crisco and try clear vanilla and report on the difference. :-) Have a good week with those energetic 4 year olds!

  4. Lisa on June 16th, 2008 8:16 am

    I blogged about whoopie pies when I made them back in April. They are a huge hit at my house. When I was getting ready to post, I researched a bit about the origin of the name. I didn’t really find a straight forward answer (see link below)

    My recipe came from Leites Culinaria and made 24 pies. (48 tops and bottoms with more than enough filling). My filling only called for 1 TEAspoon of vanilla. That might be where you got the brown filling. You can buy clear vanilla, but for just one recipe, it probably isn’t worth it. Mine also look smaller than yours (I’m just judging by how big they look in your hands), so that might be the reason for running out of filling. I just might have to make whoopie pies again, your post is making me crave them now!

  5. Katrina on June 16th, 2008 9:45 am

    I’ve been lurking on your site since finding it linked on Cookie Madness a few months ago. Your stuff always looks yummy!
    I recently went on a rice krispy treats binge and made a bunch of different kinds. You can look at my blog and see some different ones, if you’d like. Choc/PB, Red/white/blue, Strawberry/Banana. The possibilities are endless.
    Have fun.

  6. Jessi on June 16th, 2008 2:32 pm

    Whoopie pies were a fav of mine, as a kid–I should try them w/ my kids now…..

    As for the icing-here are my thoughts–yellow crisco can taint the color and I think 2 TBSP is A LOT of vanilla….AND, if you made your cookies thinner–that means that you’re going to have more cookies to fill, so, therefore, you’d need more icing (b/c even though the cake part is thinner-it’s not like you’re going to go thin on the filling….ya know what I mean?)

    Okay-now my tummy is growling….teeehee!! gotta print this out, to take me w/ back “home” when I go visit my family next month.

  7. Barbara Miller on June 16th, 2008 3:25 pm

    My son is a fireman and around Christmas he mentioned whoopie pies to them and they were curious so I made some I also made pumpkin ones. They loved them.(Of course they like most anything I send) I heard?? The reason for the name is because a mom made them and the children were excited and yelled “whoopie”. Sounds good enough for me.

  8. chelsa on June 17th, 2008 6:52 am

    i had never had whoopie pies before i met my h.s. sweetheart at age 15, now my husband! :) my mother in law made them quite often back then… she would make them for my birthday, not enough time i guess anymore b/c she hasn’t made them for a few years! i have always wanted to try, but been to nervous i would mess them up! our recipe in the church cookbook (bethel mennonite, odon indiana) looks kinda hard… but yours seemed more simplified, or maybe it’s just not intimidating b/c it’s not in a book! haha! but thnaks, i’m def. going to try it soon!!

  9. Michelle on June 18th, 2008 9:36 am

    Yum… Whoopie pies are my favorite cookie! I’ve learned with making frosting for cookies you always have to make more than the recipe says.

  10. Lorinda on June 18th, 2008 12:32 pm

    Hey, cousin, this website is really cute! My mom told me about it, so this is how I found it. Ahhh, whoopie pies. I have to tell my own whoopie pie story. It was 5 days after Rose’s birth and I was hanging up laundry outside on the washline (which I really should not of been doing at that moment in my life), and this construction worker nearby shouted across his construction fence, asking if I would please bake him some whoopie pies. He said he’d pay for them. And me, being a sucker for money, baked them. And yes, I was severly sleep deprived and not thinking straight. And no, I didn’t make a big profit either. But ahhh, I could eat one right now. By the way, I’m experimenting with homemade pizza. Do you have any recipes for it on this site? I tried to search, but for some reason it didn’t work. Maybe you can direct me to the right link. Thanks!

  11. Sean on June 21st, 2008 6:41 pm

    i haven’t had these in years!

  12. Jessica on June 21st, 2008 6:41 pm

    I love whoopie pies!

Zesty Mozzarella Chicken

Posted on June 13, 2008
Filed Under Chicken and Turkey

This recipe would be worth your time. Not that it takes a bunch of time. I just really REALLY like it. The last time I made it, I was going to feature it, but I burned the chicken.

Hey, here’s a question for you… How often do you make flops? …anything from desserts not setting up right to burning something to cooking veggies too long to forgetting to cut an ingredient amount in half when you’re making half of a recipe. Maybe those don’t all classify as flops, but I mean things like that where maybe only you as the cook know they even happened. For example, if I burn garlic toast under the broiler, if it’s not too bad, I take a knife and scrape off the burnt part. Nobody ever knows the diff. And the ingredient thing, I do that quite a bit because I cook small and am often halving recipes. Anyway, I mess something up at least once a week. What about you? :)

This chicken recipe is taken from A Taste of the Country 8th Edition cookbook…


Zesty Mozzarella Chicken

Printable recipe

1 egg white, lightly beaten
2 Tbsp. milk
1 cup dry bread crumbs (I use Club cracker crumbs)
2 Tbsp. Parmesan cheese
1/4 tsp. each salt, pepper, garlic powder, cayenne pepper, and dried oregano
8 boneless skinless chicken breast halves
1/4 cup butter or margarine
1 can (8 oz) tomato sauce (instead of the tomato sauce mixed with basil, I just use Ragu pasta sauce)
1 tsp. dried basil
1 cup (4 oz) shredded mozzarella cheese (or Italian blend cheese)

In a shallow bowl, combine egg white and milk. In another bowl, combine the bread crumbs, Parmesan cheese, and seasonings.

Dip each chicken breast in the egg white mixture, then in the crumb mixture. Melt butter in a skillet; brown chicken on both sides until pink and juices run clear.

To tell if the chicken is done, I either cut into a piece to see if it’s not pink anymore or poke a fork thermometer into it.

Meanwhile, heat tomato sauce and basil until warm. When chicken is done, sprinkle with mozzarella cheese.

Remove from the heat and cover for 2-3 minutes or until cheese melts. Serve with tomato-basil sauce.

I don’t think the breading is enough for 8 pieces because I always make 4 pieces and use about 3/4 of the breading for a full recipe! So, if you do make the full 8-piece recipe, make more of the crumb mixture than it calls for. Or maybe I just like more breading than most people.

I usually serve this chicken with noodles, Pillsbury French bread, and salad.


7 Responses to “Zesty Mozzarella Chicken”

  1. Jo on June 13th, 2008 11:38 am

    My mouth is watering. :-) Can’t wait to try it! Titus is on day shift next week; I may have to put this on our supper menu for one night.
    As for flops—well, I’d have a lot more if I’d cook supper every day. But it’s kinda hard to “flop” breakfast foods.

  2. Freida on June 13th, 2008 1:42 pm

    That looks like something worth trying. Oh lalalaala. Can’t wait!

  3. Michelle on June 13th, 2008 2:19 pm

    Mmm.. This looks good. It seems like my food usually decides to “flop” when I’m making it for company or to take away. I don’t know if I try too hard or what. By the way… the breadsticks you had with your meal of chicken and carrots looks good. Wouldn’t mind to have the recipe posted sometime:)

  4. Kelly on June 13th, 2008 4:37 pm

    Mmmm…looks delicious!
    And in response to your question — it seems like I do pretty well without messing up….as long as I’m not making it for someone ELSE.

    Every time I have to provide a food for a function, it seems I run the risk of screwing it up!

  5. Melissa K on June 15th, 2008 5:25 am

    This is similar to my chicken parm recipe except I just do it all in the oven and add the sauce & cheese at the end too.

    I do flops often enough, mainly because I LOVE to cook outside my comfort zone and try new things. Some of them work, some of them don’t. I especially try new dessert recipes all the time and I don’t hesitate to try, for example, three brand new desserts for a family party. So of course mistakes happen. It’s just part of trying something new (or being very frazzled when I cook a tried and true recipe!)

  6. E on June 16th, 2008 6:21 pm

    I can only recall one flop since I’ve been married. (under 2 years) That one was because I subsituted too many things. I think my lack of flops are because of two things:
    1. Since I work part time, I only cook 2-3 times a week.
    2. I am very picky with the recipes I use and I love to try new recipes. I do very little cooking out of Mennonite cookbooks. I use recipes from Taste of Home, Pampered Chef, and Food Network that have been tried and perfected in test kitchens.

  7. Megan Boris on June 19th, 2008 7:05 am

    Megan Boris-

    I tried this and it was AMAZING! Thanks for making it available! I cut the recipe in half & used whole wheat crackers for the bread crumbs…it came out great!

Glazed Baby Carrots

Posted on June 12, 2008
Filed Under Side dishes

I’ve always wanted a recipe for this. I’ve tried recipes, but they never taste like the ones you get at restaurants, like Perkins and Cracker Barrel. Not long ago, Mama’s Southern Cooking posted this recipe. So, last night, I tried them. They were perfect! Tasted just like I hoped they would!

So, now, these will be added to my list of veggie dishes to make for meals. Tiffany (2) will be glad about that. She ate a serving spoonful, then said, “Mo’ caccots”, ate another serving, and asked for more! She ate 3 servings! They are not low-calorie by any means, but man, are they ever good!

Glazed Carrots

Printable recipe

2 pounds of fresh baby carrots
1/2 cup of butter
1/3 cup of sugar, or 1/2 cup of honey (I used sugar)
1/2 teaspoon of salt

In a small pot, add the carrots and cover with water. Bring to a boil.

Reduce heat, cover and simmer over medium heat for about 10 minutes. Drain. Set aside.

In a saucepan, melt the butter and the sugar.

Add the carrots and salt. Saute over medium-low heat until carrots are fork tender.
This could take anywhere from 10 to 20 minutes depending upon the size of your baby carrots.

carrots5.jpg Mmmmmmm! Delicious!

Here is the rest of our meal. I’ll post the other 2 recipes too (breadsticks and chicken), but for lack of time right now, that will be in later posts. That chicken is awesome. It’s breaded, fried, and topped with cheese and speghetti sauce. I make it now and then, but haven’t featured it yet.


12 Responses to “Glazed Baby Carrots”

  1. Amber on June 12th, 2008 11:38 am

    Looks like a recipe that similar to what i use, except I use Brown sugar and add a teas. of ground mustard. I need to make them again, they’re one of our favorites!

  2. Mary Faith on June 12th, 2008 12:55 pm

    I LOVE your printable recipe option. Can you do that easily enough to do it all the time??? :)

  3. Shannon on June 12th, 2008 1:08 pm

    Hum, must say if I ever made this my family just might boot me into WI. ????

  4. Kay on June 12th, 2008 2:13 pm

    Amber, brown sugar sounds like a good idea… I’m going to try that next time.

    Mary Faith, yeah, I’m planning to do the printable recipes all the time from now on and little by little, add them to past posts.

    Shannon, ha, try the carrots! I’m fine with the others booting you to WI. :)

  5. fran’s kitchen on June 12th, 2008 3:14 pm

    I am so gald to have this recipe. I absolutly love Cracker Barrels glazed baby carrots. If I can make them at home that is even better.

  6. Mama on June 12th, 2008 4:26 pm

    I’m so glad you enjoyed them Kay! I’ve been making them for years and I never have any leftovers!

  7. Michelle on June 12th, 2008 6:15 pm

    Thanks for adding the printable recipe feature!

  8. Jo on June 12th, 2008 8:14 pm

    Applause to you for the printable recipe feature! Thank-you, thank-you! And another thank-you for the glazed carrots recipe; I’ll definitely be using it sometime (hopefully soon). We all love carrots here.

  9. fran’s kitchen on June 12th, 2008 9:31 pm

    I made the crrots tonight and they were awesome.
    No leftovers here either.

  10. fran’s kitchen on June 12th, 2008 9:32 pm

    Carrots, not crrots!

  11. Elvida Yoder on June 13th, 2008 7:36 am

    They look yummy! I have a recipe that uses a packet of dry Hidden Valley Ranch Dressing mix. I have given that recipe so many times cuz it is always a hit…just cook the carrots (1 lb.)until tender as you like, then in a seperate skillet melt 1/4 cup each of butter and brown sugar, add the cooked carrots and dressing mix… cook and stir 5 minutes. They are delicious! They are also easy to make for larger dinners and have been served around this area in those instances.

  12. Ruth on June 15th, 2008 4:29 pm

    I make the glazed carrots using brown sugar, and adding approximately a teaspoon of prepared mustard. It gives the carrots just a little zip. If you can taste the mustard, you’ve probably added too much. I’m not a great mustard fan, but I rarely make the carrots without.

Food Ideas for a Baby Shower

Posted on June 10, 2008
Filed Under For special occassions

I just ran across some pictures of a baby shower that I was at recently. So, I’ll post pictures of the food in case anyone needs any ideas if you’re planning one. As I go to more baby showers, I’ll be sure to take pictures of the food and post them. I’d love to post some other pictures too, like of the washline game we played, but I guess I’ll just stick to the food. :)


This baby carriage was so cute. Someone did a good job on it! baby-shower3.jpg

The girl in the white dress is the new mother-to-be… lookin’ good for 8 months pg! We also had chips and dip, which you can’t really see on any of the pictures.



This shower was from a couple years ago. We had a baby boom at church and one of them was a first-time mom.
baby-shower5.jpg That fruit pizza was great!

baby-shower7.jpg The ice cream wasn’t out yet on this picture. We also had hot chocolate made with melted candy bars. It was SO good. I need to get that recipe from my friend who made it.


And I’m also adding a couple pictures of the baby shower that my friends did for me just before Lexi was born 5 1/2 years ago. I don’t have digital pictures of it, I just scanned a page of Lexi’s baby album, so the quality isn’t as good.


Notice there’s another watermelon baby carriage. That must be THE thing!

What other foods have you seen at or made for baby showers?


9 Responses to “Food Ideas for a Baby Shower”

  1. Jo on June 10th, 2008 2:04 pm

    We’re having a baby shower for my SIL in July…that baby carriage is a cute idea. Thanks! I’ll be checking back here for other tips.

  2. Monica on June 10th, 2008 2:58 pm

    I just helped with a baby shower at church and we did the “Little Yellow Duckie” theme. We had brushetta, a hot dip, blue and yellow finger jello cut with a duckie cookie cutter, cheese cut into ducks with crackers, mixed fruit with rainbow sherbet, and blue hawaiian punch/7Up with a few yellow duckies floating in it!! Also a yellow duck foil balloon with blue balloons around it (balloon bouquet). We had a lot of fun decorating for it and a lot of compliments, too!!

  3. Monica on June 10th, 2008 2:59 pm

    Forgot to say that the baby carriage is so cute!! I’ll have to remember that for later!!

  4. Kay on June 10th, 2008 3:11 pm

    Monica, that sounds so cute! If I’m ever in charge of a baby shower, that would be a good theme to go with. I love the idea of the ducks floating in the punch. :) And little ducks are easy to find! They’re everywhere!!!

  5. Lois on June 10th, 2008 5:11 pm

    An idea I used for a shower was “Diapers”, and was a hit. We took a square napkin and folded it to look like a diaper, keeping the corners together with a small safety pin. Then filled them with nuts/mints. Oh, we put 2 cho.covered raisin in the bottom, and found a lot of them in the trash later!!+) We had that rubber ducky theme, by accident at this shower too. And it was so cute… But a different twist to the punch was vanilla ice cream on the punch, to look like bubbles. I had a watermellon carriage at my shower too… must be the thing to have.

  6. Mary on June 10th, 2008 6:16 pm

    The watermelon carriage is adorable! Shouldn’t be too hard to make either.

    Diaper cakes are all the rage now too. If you can fold or roll diapers and tie a bow around them that makes a layer. Then just add baby stuff for decorations.

  7. Rene on June 10th, 2008 8:31 pm

    Too cute! I’ve seen watermelon baskets but what a neat idea to make a carriage instead.

  8. fran’s kitchen on June 10th, 2008 9:35 pm

    Wow, I never went to all that work when I helped with baby showers. Ours were boring compared to this. The only food I can ever remember at a baby shower is “chicken salad”. Exciting, huh?

    I hope you get the recipe for that hot chocolate. Sounds wonderful!!

  9. Jo on June 12th, 2008 8:25 pm

    Another idea for the duck theme…my cousin did this for her SIL’s shower…they made little soaps for favors, clear glycerin w/ a tiny ducky inside. Then they attached a card that said, “Thanks for ‘showering’ with us!” Love the pun! :-)

Let’s make dinner rolls in different shapes and sizes!

Posted on June 9, 2008
Filed Under Breads Biscuits and Rolls

Are Mondays crazy for you, too? They always are for me and I’m not sure why. Extra cleaning up from the weekend, more laundry, lack of energy? Anyway, today was one of them days and so the post I wanted to post this morning is happening now instead.

Speaking of Mondays, my family rarely gets anything special for supper on Monday evenings. In fact, I almost always make the same thing… fried chicken breasts and veggies and bread to go with it. That meal can be made from chicken-still-in-the-freezer to eating in under a half hour. That timing fits in well with my Monday schedule. Or lack of schedule… I don’t want to give the wrong impression here.

Last Friday evening, we tried something new. My sister was here and my mom and dad were coming for supper, so we decided to get fancy with the rolls. And if they didn’t turn out, it didn’t really matter because our extra people for supper were comfy guests. And my mom always likes kitchen experiments anyway. I took 2 loaves of thawed frozen bread dough (does ‘thawed frozen’ make sense?) and split each loaf in half, making 4 equal 4ths (I think my English is having a Monday, too. 4 equal 4ths sounds weird).


4th #1: Divide it into 4ths. Divide each 4th into 3rds. Put 3 3rds each into 4 ‘holes’ of a muffin tin. Did you at all get that? It should look like this:
rolls1.jpg Should’ve rolled each ball a bit longer to get them more smooth, but they looked better in real life. At least I didn’t notice the roughness.

4th #2: This was the easiest one. Divide it into 4 balls. They seemed too big, so I pinched some off of each ball and gave it to Lexi to play with. So, now that the 4 balls are the right size, put them in the muffin tin. Then take a scissors and snip it almost the whole way thro’, first one way, then the other way. It should look like this:

4th #3: You’ll need a bit of help from 4th #4 for this one, so don’t save it till last! Put the 2 together and roll into a 12″ circle. With a pizza cutter, cut it in half. Cut the one half into 4 or 6 triangles, then roll each one up starting at the wide end. Should look like this:

4th #4: Roll it out into a rectangle about 6″ x 6″ and butter it. With a pizza cutter, cut it into 4 strips. Then stack the strips on top of each other and cut the other way, making 4 square stacks. Lay each stack sideways into a muffin cup. Should look like this:

And now, you should have a total of something like this:

Then, let them raise for about 45 min…

Bake them for 25 min at 350.

And you’ve got yourselves a fine assortment of rolls to pick from! Those stacked ones separated while baking, must’ve been because of the butter. Next time I’d skip the buttering. Lexi and Tiffany made the crescent rolls. The reason there are 6 crescent rolls and only 4 of the other kinds is not a thought-thro’ culinary reason. It’s simply because I’d have run out of room in the muffin tin and I only have one. They would’ve been a better size divided into 6ths instead of 4ths though. Some of them got pretty big.

They were fun to make. And it added more character to the meal. Ok, that may have bumped it up a level, saying a meal had character. The rest of the meal was glazed meatloaf, twice-baked potatoes in a casserole dish (instead of putting the potato mixture back into the shells), and peas. Our dessert was chocolate peanut butter milkshakes later in the evening.

Off-the-subject tidbits:
I’m still going to do ‘Out of my Comfort Zone’ posts, but they’ll be more hit-n-miss now instead of weekly. Also, I figured out a way (um, after talking to my tech support husband… maybe that should say ‘we’ instead of ‘I’) to do printable recipes now, so one of these days, I’ll start adding one to each post. And eventually making one for each recipe all the way back to the beginning. That last sentence makes me want to run and hide. Just kidding. It’s fun.


4 Responses to “Let’s make dinner rolls in different shapes and sizes!”

  1. Sharon on June 9th, 2008 9:22 pm

    Yay on the printable recipes!!! I was wondering when you’d get to that…but I’m a mom, too, so wasn’t going to bug you about it. Figured Shannon could figure it out if you couldn’t–I have great confidence in you!!! :-)

    Reading this reminded me of where you get your knack for neat ideas and ways of writing things–your Mom! Gotta love her.

  2. Annette33 on June 9th, 2008 10:03 pm

    Yes! Good idea on the printable recipes!

  3. fran’s kitchen on June 10th, 2008 5:06 am

    Those rolls look fun. Tasty too:)
    Wow, I’m excited about the printable recipes, thanks for putting the effort forth to figure it out.

  4. Lisa on June 10th, 2008 5:58 am

    I can only dream of heating up the oven. It’s going to be almost 100 here today! We are melting!! Those rolls sure look good though!

    I found a way to do really super easy printable recipe on my site! If anyone wants info feel free to email me at and I can email you directions on how to do it. It’s a bit much to print here….but it’s easy, honest, lol.

Baking up a storm

Posted on June 6, 2008
Filed Under Tidbits

Now I want to open a bakery again. This happens every year. I bake a bunch of stuff for a bake sale and love it so much that I dream of opening a bakery. I could bake to my heart’s content. And people would come and pay me for doing it. But I don’t want to be that tied down and another major thing is I’m not sure exactly how bakeries make money! Must be the mass production and the wholesale ingredients.

I figured up my time and ingredient costs and if everything would sell that I baked, I would’ve made less than $4/hr. Yeah, my bakery would be a place of voluntary service and a non-profit organization. When I figured that up, it wasn’t figuring in heating, air conditioning, electricity, rent for the building, advertizing, appliances, or anything besides the labor and ingredients. Another thing that would help at a bakery is that it’s done every day… for example, I made 10 pie crusts (5 double crust pies) and by the 6th crust, it was going much faster than the first crust did!

So, yeah, I contribute to the bake sale because I love to, not to make a bunch of money. I’m kicking myself for not taking a picture of everything all sitting on the counter ready to go. Maybe I didn’t think of it because it wasn’t all sitting on the same counter ready to go all at the same time. But, I did the same 4 things as I did last year (monster cookies, apple pies, rice crispy roll, and fudge), so the picture would’ve looked about the same as last year’s picture. Here’s last year’s post.

I did get a couple pictures of the pie operation…

This first one was taken sometime between 5:30 a.m. and 6:00 a.m. this morning. I was going to do a self-timer picture and be dutifully peeling apples, but then I thought about it that I was in my pjs, so I just stayed behind the camera instead.


Here are the pies in the oven, almost ready to come out.

See ya later. If you need me, you’ll find me in the kitchen eating monster cookies…


4 Responses to “Baking up a storm”

  1. Jessica on June 6th, 2008 3:33 pm

    You would waste time eating monster cookies when there are things like fudge and apple pie and rice krispie anything lying about??? You are just crazier than I thought.
    I was hoping to see some cute pj’s. I am fixin to sew some and need some inspiration…

  2. Judi on June 6th, 2008 4:43 pm

    Most of the things I love to do I wouldn’t make any money for either. Maybe that’s why it isn’t a “job”. If we’re having fun or enjoying it then we can’t get paid. That’s just the way it is lol

  3. Liz on June 6th, 2008 7:32 pm

    Jessica, you obviously have never had Kay’s Monster Cookies (and yeah, that should be capitalized cause they are so good). Those were the only things I ate today of the things she bought. I wouldn’t have minded trying the pie, but I didn’t feel like buying a whole pie. But her Monster Cookies by far top fudge and rice crispie rolls. I haven’t tried her fudge recently though, but I think I would still rather have a cookie.

  4. fran’s kitchen on June 6th, 2008 7:43 pm

    Your apple pies look fantastic. They look too good to eat.
    I grew up working in my parents bakery and it was fun. I have lots of good memories (and some bad ones) working with my sisters in the bakery. Now that I am married and don’t work there anymore, it sounds even more fun. I have done my own little personal bake sales and they are a blast. It just gets in your blood and its addictive.
    I hope your sale went well.

Garlic Bread – easy and delicious

Posted on June 5, 2008
Filed Under Breads Biscuits and Rolls

I faithfully serve French bread of some sort whenever we have an Italian meal. The reason for that is because I serve hot bread or rolls or biscuits at every meal and that goes the best with an Italian meal.

Hmmm, that’s weird, I just skimmed what I wrote and it’s Italian and French and I’m saying it goes great together! I wonder what the French and Italian people would say about that theory! I’ve never been outside the US, except for Canada, so I don’t know that much about other countries, except from what I’ve read or heard. My dream is to someday fly over to Europe and spend 2 or 3 weeks there, just seeing the sites and hearing the people talk (I love the sound of French, the little bit I’ve heard) and eat a REAL authentic Italian pizza and see the Swiss Alps and then sail back to America on the Queen Elizabeth or Queen Mary. I think about that dream every time I think about anything Europe.

Anyway, this has nothing to do with France and Italy! We’re talking American-baked French bread from a grocery store bakery. Or worse yet, a popable can of French bread or Italian bread! I usually either do the popable can thing or take a bought loaf of French bread, cut it into diagonal slices, butter both sides and sprinkle garlic on one side, then broil both sides till they’re toasted. I’ve been dodging around a recipe I’d had for awhile, scribbled in my own handwriting, not sure where it came from. I was always afraid it would be too soggy and then I finally made it Tues evening to go with our meal of tortellini and Italian mix vegetables.


It was wonderful. And now I regret the last couple years of thinking about making it but saying “No, not this time.”

Garlic Bread

1 loaf French bread
1/4 cup butter
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. parsley flakes
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Cut bread diagonally into 1/2″ slices, but not quite the whole way through.

Soften butter and mix it with the garlic powder, parsley and parmesan cheese.

Spread on both sides of each slice of bread.

Wrap in foil.

Bake at 350 for 15 minutes.

Unwrap and cut the pieces the rest of the way apart. Serve immediately.

Man, that was so good! I could eat a piece or two right now! It was soft and buttery and chewy and looked good too. Sometimes I’ll still broil individual pieces of garlic bread, but this will definitely be on the menu more often! It’s so easy too! You don’t have to remember to watch it like you do when it’s under the broiler. I’ve wrecked many garlic bread pieces that way, or salvaged them by scraping off the burnt part. When I made this garlic bread, I made it a bit ahead of time and then threw it in the oven 15 min before mealtime.


8 Responses to “Garlic Bread – easy and delicious”

  1. Shannon on June 5th, 2008 9:57 am

    May I go with you to Europe? :) I want to go to Italy sometime too… and lots of other places. $$$??? Anyway back to the food, I am gonna try this. I love garlic bread.

  2. Karisa on June 5th, 2008 10:04 am

    I am going to try this tomorrow night when we have company. I think it would go wonderful with the Italian Chicken and Pasta that I am going to make. Thanks for posting this !!!! BTW — lets start to plan our trip to Europe. :)We didn’t get to Italy and that is one place I want to see someday :)

  3. Rene on June 5th, 2008 10:25 am

    That looks so good!! I usually buy the premade garlic bread but I think this would be more economical. I will definitely be trying it. Thanks for all the great recipes! My family thanks you too because they are pretty sick of my old standbys and enjoy the new creations I’ve been serving due to your inspiration.

  4. Jo on June 5th, 2008 12:44 pm

    My mouth is watering! Garlic bread is a favorite of mine, but I don’t make it often. Have to change that…

  5. Monica on June 5th, 2008 2:01 pm

    I love garlic bread and this sounds so good!!! I’ll have to try it. I’ve been to Europe, but it was not nearly long enough and I didn’t get to go to France or Italy, so I’d love to go back someday!!

  6. Lisa on June 5th, 2008 4:01 pm

    Looks great! I have been making garlic bread like this for 20 years. The only difference with mine is I use fresh chopped garlic. Either way I’m sure it’s delicious!

  7. barb on June 5th, 2008 4:15 pm

    Wow, you take such good pictures. That bread looks awesome. I am just curious, I wonder why you’re not supposed to cut all the way through?
    Thanks for another great recipe:)

  8. Liz on June 5th, 2008 4:32 pm

    That’s how my mom always made garlic bread when I was at home. I don’t think all seasonings were the same but it was the same idea.

Bacon-Wrapped Chicken

Posted on June 3, 2008
Filed Under Chicken and Turkey, Pork and ham

I’ve never made bacon-wrapped anything. I’ve had bacon-wrapped crackers and I’ve had bacon-wrapped filet mignon, but didn’t make either of them. So, here it is, the first time I’ve made a bacon-wrapped something…


Bacon-Wrapped Chicken    Recipe taken from the 2001 Quick Cooking cookbook

6 boneless skinless chicken breast halves
1 carton (8 oz) whipped cream cheese with onion and chives
1 Tbsp. butter or margarine, cubed
Salt to taste
6 bacon strips

Flatten the chicken to 1/2″ thickness.

Spread 3 Tbsp cream cheese over each. Dot with the butter and sprinkle with salt. Have you ever tried spreading cream cheese on slippery raw chicken? It’s hard!!!

Roll up. Wrap each with a bacon strip. Place, seam side down, in a greased 9×13 pan.


Bake, uncovered, at 400 for 35-40 minutes or until juices run clear. Broil 6″ from the heat for 5 minutes or until bacon is crisp. Yield: 6 servings. Look at the difference in the pan of the picture above and the picture below! The bacon sizzled and splattered while baking. We could hear it.

We had creamed peas and Red Lobster biscuits with it.

This bacon-wrapped chicken actually looked REALLY good and sounded like it would be top notch, as in put it on the make-for-company list. The combo of chicken and bacon was really good, but the chicken was a bit dry and it wasn’t really all that extra flavorful.

Next time, I’m going to skip the cream cheese thing and sprinkle other seasonings inside instead. Then, I’ll bake it covered (so the splattering bacon doesn’t total my oven!) and uncover it for the broiling at the end. I think the chicken would stay more moist that way. And then we could eat it with barbeque sauce. Bbq sauce didn’t seem like it would go with that cream cheese mixture.

But it does look kinda neat, doesn’t it? One thing that surprised me was that the bacon stayed on, even when it ended at the top. I didn’t have to tack it down with toothpicks or anything!

One of these weeks, I’ll have to do a week of re-doing recipes that I’ve tried. I say ‘next time’ and then just keep making new recipes and ‘next time’ doesn’t really happen, although I did try something different with those carrot pancakes… I traded the cup of carrots for 1/3 cup of pumpkin and doubled the pecans. I kept everything else the same, but maybe should’ve added nutmeg. It was much better than the original recipe!


10 Responses to “Bacon-Wrapped Chicken”

  1. Annette33 on June 3rd, 2008 12:00 pm

    I think I’ve tried this one before, and I didn’t like the cream cheese filling. I may just have to try it again, making your change suggestions. If you decide to redo the recipe, you could call it Recipe Remix, or Seconds with a Twist, lol.

  2. Shannon on June 3rd, 2008 1:55 pm

    Interesting. I rarely buy bacon… might be something I have to try.

  3. Kelly on June 3rd, 2008 2:41 pm

    Mmm..this looks good. I think I would take your advice, remove the cream cheese, put some herbs in, and then use some BBQ sauce.

    Looks delish!

  4. Freida on June 3rd, 2008 2:44 pm

    Those look yummy! The only time I ever bacon-wrap anything is for shish-kabobs. I wrap it around fresh mushrooms and put it on there. Never thought of putting it on chicken. I’ll have to give it a try.

  5. barb on June 3rd, 2008 3:59 pm

    Looks really good Kay. I have never bacon-wrapped anything either. They do look really neat. I am glad you tried them first, because I don’t like dry chicken. Isn’t it funny how some recipes are that way. You just know they will be good. With the ingredients it calls for, its got to be good. But then it just isn’t that great. It’s a good thing there are cooks like you that can re-do a recipe and make it taste wonderful.

  6. Elizabeth on June 3rd, 2008 4:07 pm

    It sounds good though! you should try bacon wrapped hot dogs!! grilled of course. its really good!

  7. Cheryl on June 3rd, 2008 6:21 pm

    One summer we had a favorite of marinating the chicken breasts in Italian dressing and then we put onion and pepper strips in the center and rolled the chicken and wrapped them in bacon. If you like peppers and onions…its really good, at least we liked it. We grilled them. I want to say there was some swiss cheese in there too but don’t remember for sure. I’m not sure how you would keep it from running out the ends.

  8. Angela on June 4th, 2008 1:49 pm

    You might want to try grilling this recipe, that would bring out more flavor. My husband says if you wrap bacon around anything it will taste better! =)

  9. barb on June 4th, 2008 8:08 pm

    I guess I am going to try blogging my kitchen experiences. Thanks to you, it just got me motivated. I went ahead and did a post on soft pretzels, but I still want you to. People need to know how to make them:)

  10. Jo on June 4th, 2008 8:54 pm

    We’ve sometimes put a slice of pineapple on top of a burger, wrapped bacon around it, and grilled it. Mmm, mm, good! (A challenge to manuever on the grill, however!)
    I’d second your idea of covering the chicken during the baking time. Maybe a bit of lemon juice & water in the bottom of the pan, too…I despise dry chicken breasts!!!!

Katie’s Strawberry Scones

Posted on June 2, 2008
Filed Under Breads Biscuits and Rolls, Breakfasts

I don’t know who Katie is, but her scones are GREAT!!!! This was one of those recipes that I saw and right away knew I had to make. I got the recipe off of a new cooking blog I found last week: Kelly Cooks…and Other Amazing Feats. I had fun browsing thro’ her other recipes too.

One thing that grabbed me about these scones was that they take fresh strawberries. We don’t have fresh strawberries around here yet, but I’ve still been getting them regularly because they’re perpetually on sale at the grocery store. And that has got to be one of my favorite fruits, especially cut up and mixed with sugar. As the season wears on and I’ve had lots of strawberries and foods with strawberries in them, I get over my craving, but for now, strawberries it is. Second to chocolate… which of course is a helpless non-stop year-round craving.

Katie’s Strawberry Scones

2 1/4 – 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (depending on how ripe your strawberries are) I used 2 1/4 cups.
1/4 cup granulated sugar, plus extra for sprinkling
1 Tbsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1 stick (8 Tbsp.) butter, chilled and cut into small pieces
1 egg
1/4 cup yogurt (I used strawberry yogurt.)
1/4 cup milk
2 tsp. orange zest  (I didn’t have oranges on hand, so I skipped this.)
1 cup fresh strawberries, diced

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. In a small bowl, combine egg, yogurt, milk, zest; whisk to combine thoroughly and set aside. In large bowl, combine flour, sugar, powder, salt, and whisk to combine. Using pastry cutter and two knives, cut butter into flour until all pieces are smaller than pea-sized. Add strawberries, and toss to coat.

Add wet ingredients to dry and mix in lightly with fork until dough just comes together. Turn dough out onto well-floured work surface and pat into large ball. Cut the dough ball in half.

Shape half of the dough into a flat disk shape and cut into 8 slices. Place on baking sheet and repeat with other half of dough. Sprinkle tops of scones with sugar. I shaped the disks right on the baking sheet. One thing I wasn’t sure about is if the wedges were supposed to be separate or still in a circle for baking. But it turned out great like this!

Place in the oven. Bake until slightly brown, about 25 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool on a baking sheet for 10 minutes.

ransfer to a wire rack and let cool.

I think they’re best if you eat them while they’re still warm. To serve, I cut one in half and spread butter inside, then put a dollop of whipped topping on top. Just delicious!!!


These got rave reviews around here from all of us! I’d like to experiment a little with using different yogurt flavors and maybe even different fruits, in addition to or instead of the strawberries. Also, I’ll bet the orange zest really adds something too. I want to be sure and have that on hand next time.


7 Responses to “Katie’s Strawberry Scones”

  1. Kelly on June 2nd, 2008 6:11 am

    They look amazing! Good call on the baking separate or together — it never even occurred to me LOL

    I baked mine separated out, but, as you found out, it works both ways.

    Katie gave me one more AMAZING strawberry recipe, if you’re interested…they’re the best cupcakes I think I’ve ever had. Hands down.


  2. Arla on June 2nd, 2008 7:19 am

    Kay, you ought to try serving those with Devonshire whipped cream. Devonshire takes scones to a whole new level, trust me.

  3. Anna on June 2nd, 2008 7:40 am

    Those look good! My daughter’s teacher and teacher’s assistant both love scones. I think I’m going to make a little collection of good scone recipes and give it to them on the last day of school. This one is going on the list.

  4. Berneice on June 2nd, 2008 8:25 am

    these look wonderful. I had some of the best choc chip scones over the weekend. I might have to try it in here.

  5. Shannon on June 2nd, 2008 8:29 am

    We had wonderful scones over the weekend. I’m gonna try these!!

  6. Lisa on June 2nd, 2008 9:07 am

    Oh it’s almost strawberry picking time here in Rhode Island, so I think I will be saving this recipe for some fresh berries! Thanks!

  7. Rosalyn on June 2nd, 2008 1:32 pm

    I love scones…I’ll definitely have to try these when my strawberries are ready! :) Yummy! :)

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!

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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!!!