Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Buttermilk Bread

If I had to claim one thing as my favorite food, homemade bread would be a strong contender.  There isn't anything quite like a fresh slice of bread right out of the oven.  Plain, smothered in butter and honey or jam.  Yum!  This Buttermilk Bread is fantastic!  I love the look of the baked loaf.  It's so pretty, but so easy to make.

2 tablespoons active dry yeast
3/4 cup warm water
3 cups warm buttermilk
3/4 cup butter, melted
1/4 cup honey
1 tablespoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 cup wheat germ
9 cups all-purpose flour

In a large mixing bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water. Add the buttermilk, butter, honey, salt, baking soda, wheat germ and 4 cups flour; mix well. Gradually stir in enough remaining flour to make a soft dough. Turn onto a heavily floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic, about 6-8 minutes. Place in a greased bowl, turning once to grease top. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1 hour. Punch dough down. Turn onto a floured surface and divide into thirds. Divide each portion into thirds and shape each into a 12 inch rope. Braid three ropes together and pinch ends to seal and tuck under. Place in a greased 9 x 5 inch loaf pan. Repeat with remaining dough. Cover and let rise until doubled, about 45 minutes. Bake at 350 degrees F for 40-45 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from pans to wire racks. Makes 3 loaves.

Recipe from All Recipes.

Linked on Weekend Wrap Up Party.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Mint Brownies

Brownies seem to be my weakness.  Well, at least one of my weaknesses.  I usually make plain brownies, but sometimes I like to make "fancy" brownies.  These Mint Brownies are awesome!  The brownies are soft, chewy and rich.  And did I mention they are awesomely delicious?  Well, they are!  So delicious that I had to give most of them away to avoid eating too many (thank goodness for neighbors! :)).

Mmmm.  Chocolate, mint, and then more chocolate.  It doesn't get much better than that.

3 cups flour
3 cups sugar
1 cup butter
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup powdered milk
3/4 cup cocoa powder
4 eggs
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 teaspoons vanilla

Melt butter and combine with sugar, cocoa powder and powdered milk and beat well.  Add salt, baking powder and vanilla and mix well.  Add eggs flour and water.  Mix well and pour onto a large, greased cookie sheet.  Bake at 350 for 30 minutes.  Do not over bake.  I've made these several times, but for some reason they decided to overflow this time.  You might want to line the bottom of the oven, or the rack below with aluminum foil.  Just to be safe. :)

3/4 cup butter
1 pound powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract
green food coloring
3 tablespoons milk

Combine all ingredients and beat until smooth.  Spread on cooled brownies and refrigerate until firm.

1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
4 tablespoons butter

Melt butter and chocolate chips.  Poor over cool, frosted brownies and spread evenly.

Recipe from my old friend Lynda. 

Linked on Weekend Wrap Up Party and Sweet as Sugar Cookies

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Fluffy Pancakes

It's been one of those weeks.  The kind of week where I'm just not in the mood to cook lunch (or breakfast, or dinner).  My kids don't mind.  They actually like it.  I made grilled cheese sandwiches and Strawberry Cheesecake Smoothies for dinner last night.  My 11 year old told me it was the best dinner ever!  The little ones got pancakes for lunch and loved it.  Pancakes have always been reserved for breakfast or dinner at my house until this past week.  Not sure why.  Just the way I've always done things.  They are now reserved for any time of any day.  And my kids like that.  They're easy to please.  And that pleases me.

These Fluffy Pancakes are fantastic!  The batter pours out perfectly and they so good!  The kids liked them.  I liked them.  Maybe I should call them "Really Likable Pancakes".  Because that's really what they are.

3/4 cup milk
2 tablespoons white vinegar
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons white sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 egg
2 tablespoons butter, melted
Combine milk with vinegar in a medium bowl and set aside for 5 minutes to "sour".  Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a large mixing bowl. Whisk egg and butter into "soured" milk. Pour the flour mixture into the wet ingredients and whisk until lumps are gone.  Heat a large skillet over medium heat, and coat with cooking spray. Pour 1/4 cupfuls of batter onto the skillet, and cook until bubbles appear on the surface. Flip with a spatula, and cook until browned on the other side. 
 Recipe from All Recipes

Friday, May 25, 2012

Sweet Potato, Sausage and Spinach Hash

It's funny, I've always been me, but in the last couple of years I've realized quite a few things about myself.  Like, spring has always been my favorite season.  I always thought it was because of the flowers that start to bloom and everything turns green.  Not that that hurts, but I've realized that sun + warm weather = happy me. :)  I've also realized that I like color.  Lots of color.  Color is another thing that makes me happy.  And I like it when colors are together that make each other stand out.  That's one of the reasons I fell in love with this beautiful Sweet Potato, Sausage and Spinach Hash.  I love the contrasting orange and green sprinkled with brown and yellow.  It just makes me happy.  And to top off it off, it's delicious!  That makes me happy, too. :)

1 large sweet potato, peeled and diced
1 apple, diced (you could peel the apple, but you don't have to)
1 tablespoon coconut oil
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
2 mild Italian sausages, removed from casing (I used turkey)
2 to 3 large cups of baby spinach
1/3 cup sweet yellow onion, diced
salt and pepper to taste

In a large nonstick skillet heat coconut oil over medium-high heat.  Once heated, add diced sweet potato, onion and apple.  Add a pinch or two of sea salt and cinnamon to the pan.  Cook sweet potato, onion and apple, stirring often so not to burn, until cooked and softened.  I like my sweet potatoes slightly browned.  While the sweet potatoes are cooking, heat a large skillet over medium heat.  Crumble sausage into the pan and cook until no longer pink and completely cooked.  Add spinach to the skillet and cook until the spinach is wilted - about 1 to 2 minutes.  Once spinach is cooked add the sweet potato apple mixture to pan and stir to combine all.

Recipe from Multiply Delicious.

Linked on Weekend Wrap Up Party

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Sausage and Veggie Egg Muffins

These Sausage and Veggie Egg Muffins were fantastic!  So good and flavorful.  My favorite part had to be the fresh basil in them.  I couldn't believe how much flavor the fresh herb gave the muffins.  So much more and better than dried herbs.  It's a good thing I liked the fresh basil so much, because I panted an herb garden this year along with my regular garden.  I am so excited to pick from both this summer!

2 mild sausages, removed from casing (I used turkey)
1/4 cup red bell pepper, diced
1/4 cup carrots, grated
1/2 cup fresh spinach, chopped
2 to 3 tablespoons fresh basil, diced
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon ground pepper
10 large eggs

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Spray muffin pan with non-stick cooking spray.  In a skillet, cook sausage until cooked through and no longer pink.  Make sure to break the sausage up into small pieces.  In a medium bowl, combine cooked sausage, red bell pepper, shredded carrots, spinach, and basil.  Set aside.  In a large bowl, whisk together eggs, salt and pepper.  Add egg mixture to the sausage and veggie mixture and stir to combine.  Fill muffin cups with egg mixture up to 1/4 inch from the rim.  Bake the egg muffins for 20 to 25 minutes or until eggs are set in the middle.

Recipe from Multiply Delicious.

Linked on Get Your Brag On and Weekend Wrap Up Party.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Tex-Mex Chicken Burritos

I was in a freezer group a couple years ago and got a super yummy chicken filling for tortillas.  The lady that made the yummy chicken filling moved away before I was able to get the recipe.  These Tex-Mex Chicken burritos aren't quite the same, but are still super yummy.

4 cups chicken, cooked and shredded
1 (8 oz) package cream cheese
1 (15 ounce) can black beans, drained
1 (10 ounce) can diced tomatoes with green chilies (I used Rotel)
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon salt

Mix tomatoes and cream cheese in a large pan and heat over medium heat until cream cheese is melted.  Add remaining ingredients and heat through.  Serve in tortillas.

Recipe from The Royal Cook - an original!

Monday, May 21, 2012

Strawberry Cheesecake Smoothies

Strawberry cheesecake in a smoothie?  It's true!  Totally not kidding.  Strawberry Cheesecake Smoothies are fantastic!  But then, I don't think strawberry cheesecake anything could be anything but fantastic.  We made these awesome Strawberry Cheesecake Smoothies for dessert last night and before the kids even finished their smoothies, they requested them for breakfast this morning.  Yeah, they really are that good.

1 cup vanilla yogurt
1 cup milk
2 ounces cream cheese
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 banana, frozen
2 cups strawberries, frozen

Combine all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth.  Serve topped with graham cracker crumbs and sweetened whipped cream, if desired.  Makes 2 large smoothies.

Recipe adapted from Cupcakes & Kale Chips.

Linked on Breakfast Ideas Monday, Sweets for a Saturday, Get Your Brag On and Weekend Wrap Up Party.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Strawberry Breakfast Parfait

We love breakfast foods at my house (well, we pretty much just love food :)).  These Strawberry Breakfast Parfaits and so quick and easy and the family loves them.  They aren't just for breakfast, though.  We also make them for an afternoon snack, dessert or a 10 pm snack (like last night :))  And I don't think it hurts that they look so pretty when they're finished.

2/3 cup vanilla yogurt
1/4 cup diced strawberries
3 tablespoons granola (Susan's Granola is fabulous!)

Sprinkle 1 tablespoon granola in the bottom of a glass.  Top with 1/2 the vanilla yogurt, followed by 1 tablespoon granola, then 1/2 the strawberries.  Repeat layers.

Recipe from The Royal Cook - an original!

Linked on Get Your Brag On!, Tatertots and Jello, Breakfast Ideas Monday and Sweet for a Saturday.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Basic Granola

One of my favorite cereals growing up was granola. Even though it didn't have a cool prize in the box. I hate to admit it, but when my mom took me grocery shopping and let me help pick out the cereal, my decision was usually based on the prize. The cereal with the coolest prize usually won. :)

This Basic Granola is fantastic! It's great with milk, in a fruit and yogurt parfait, or just plain. I love that it's not too sweet and I usually have everything already on hand to make it.

7 cups uncooked oatmeal
1 cup wheat germ
1 cup coconut
1 1/2 cups brown sugar
1 cup oil
1 1/2 cups water
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 cup slivered almonds
1/2 cup chopped pecans

Mix thoroughly and bake in a large, shallow pan at 275 for 2 hours (stir after 30 minutes, then every 15 minutes) or until coconut is lightly browned.

Recipe adapted from Gluesticks.

Linked on Sweet for a Saturday and Breakfast Ideas Monday.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Yummy Non-Green Green Smoothie

My kids LOVE smoothies and ask for them almost daily. Sometimes even hourly. Like today. Most of them even love green smoothies. There are a couple that refuse to drink the green smoothies. Something to do with the color..... This Yummy Non-Green Green Smoothie is a great way to sneak some greens into the picky ones smoothies without them knowing. Really!  You can't even taste the greens. At least they won't know it unless they see me making it. Even my hubby loved it. And he thinks the only thing you should drink is Dr. Pepper.

1/2 cup orange juice
1 cup raw spinach
1 banana
1 cup frozen mixed berries (strawberries, blueberries and blackberries)

Combine juice and spinach in a blender and blend until smooth. Add banana and berries and blend until smooth.

Recipe from Six Sisters' Stuff.

Linked on Sweet for a Saturday and Breakfast Ideas Monday.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Fresh Strawberry Pie

Fresh Strawberry Pie is a fairly simple pie and is so yummy. I made this for my Mothers Day dessert and the kids licked their plates clean. Literally! Even though they know the one with the worst manners get to clear the table. My hubby even asked for seconds. That's huge!

1 prepared pie crust (I used Graham Cracker Pie Crust, but Perfect Pie Crust would be great as well)
1 1/2 cups pureed strawberries
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 1/2 tablespoons corn starch
1/4 cup sugar
4 cups sliced strawberries

Place pureed strawberries and lemon juice in a small sauce pan. Whisk together sugar and corn starch, then whisk into the strawberry mixture. Heat over medium heat, stirring often, until it comes to a boil. Pour mixture over strawberries and mix until coated. Pour into prepared pie crust and store in the refrigerator until serving. Top with sweetened whipped cream, if desired.

Recipe from The Royal Cook - an original!

Linked on Show me what ya got, Tatertots and Jello, Get Your Brag On! and Sweet for a Saturday.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Buttermilk Blueberry Breakfast Cake

I don't get the chance to bake with blueberries, or any berries for that matter, very often.  They somehow disappear almost as quick as I can buy them.  And for some reason, the empty containers magically appear under my dining room table....  I somehow managed to keep enough around long enough to make this delicious Buttermilk Blueberry Breakfast Cake.  It's moist, tender and just plain tasty. 

½ cup butter, softened
2 tsp. lemon zest
3/4 cup + 1 tablespoon sugar, divided
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups flour
2 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
2 cups fresh blueberries
½ cup buttermilk

Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Cream butter with lemon zest and 3/4 cup of the sugar until light and fluffy. Add the egg and vanilla and beat until combined. Toss the blueberries with ¼ cup of flour, then whisk together the remaining flour, baking powder and salt. Add the flour mixture to the batter a little at a time, alternating with the buttermilk. Fold in the blueberries. Grease an 8-inch square baking pan. Spread batter into pan and sprinkle batter with remaining tablespoon of sugar. Bake for 40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Let cool at least 15 minutes before serving.

Recipe adapted from from Alexandra's Kitchen.

Linked on Sweet for a Saturday and Breakfast Ideas Monday.

Thursday, May 10, 2012


Chips and salsa are a staple at our house, but we like to change things up a bit once in a while and go with Guacamole.  This Guacamole is my go-to and is fantastic!  We also use it in tacos, nachos, 7 Layer Tostadas, and more.

3 ripe avocados, peeled with seed removed
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
2 tablespoons jalapeno, finely diced
1 tomato, diced small
3 green onions, sliced
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
salt to taste

Mash the avocados.  Stir in remaining ingredients. 

Recipe from unknown source - it's been around a while. :)

Linked on Tatertots & Jello and Get Your Brag On!

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Praline Pecan Sauce

There are days when everything seems to go as planned.  There are other days when it seems nothing goes as planned.  Today was one of those days.  The kind that nothing seems to go as planned.  That's okay though, at least now that the day is over and it ended with a nice sundae with Praline Pecan Sauce.  :)  Any day that ends with a nice sundae topped with this fantastic Praline Pecan Sauce has got to at least okay.  Yep.  At least okay.

1 1/4 cups chopped pecans
7 Tablespoons butter (divided)
1 1/2 cups brown sugar
3 Tablespoons flour
3/4 cup light corn syrup
2/3 cup evaporated milk

Place chopped pecans in a microwave safe bowl topped with 3 tablespoons butter. Cook for 8 minutes, stirring after each minute. Watch closely so the pecans don't burn. In another microwave safe bowl melt the remaining butter. Stir in brown sugar, corn syrup and flour. Cook for 6 to 8 minutes, stirring every 2 minutes, until the sugar is melted. Add canned milk and pecans and mix well.  Store in the refrigerator. 

Recipe from A Southern Fairytale.

Linked on Sweets for a Saturday.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Cookies and Cream Frosting

Oh. My!  This Cookies and Cream Frosting is absolutely amazing!  My daughter wanted vanilla frosting on her cupcakes for her birthday party, but when I walked past a lovey package of Oreos at the store, the wheels in my head started spinning.  The result of the spinning wheels in my head isn't always good.  I guess I got lucky this time. :)

I had some leftover cookies so I crumbled them up and sprinkled them on the top of her cupcakes.  She loved them!

1/2 cup butter, softened
2 cups powdered sugar
1/3 cup cream
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
pinch salt
5 chocolate sandwich cookies (like Oreos), crushed (if you're piping the frosting, you'll want them crushed pretty fine, if not, feel free to leave some chunks)

Place softened butter in a medium sized bowl and beat until smooth.  Add salt and powdered sugar and mix until well combined.  Add vanilla extract and cream and mix until smooth.  Mix in crushed cookies.

Recipe from The Royal Cook - an original!

Linked on Sweets for a Saturday and Show me what ya got.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Zupas Wisconsin Cauliflower Soup

I've never been to Zupas.  Even though I have a gift card that's been sitting in my wallet for about the last 6 or so months.....  If this Zupas Wisconsin Cauliflower Soup is any indication of the food there, I think I need to stop by.  Soon.  The soup was creamy and delicious. 

2 tablespoon butter or margarine
1 medium onion, chopped
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups milk
1 1/2 cups water
1 can (14 1/2 ounces) chicken broth
1 head (2 1/2 pounds) cauliflower, cut into 1-inch chunks
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 cup sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
1 cup Pepper Jack cheese, shredded

In a large saucepan, melt margarine or butter over medium heat. Add onion and cook until golden, about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Whisk in flour and salt. Gradually stir in milk, chicken broth, and water.  Add cauliflower and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to low and cover.  Simmer until the cauliflower is tender - about 15 minutes.  In small batches, blend cauliflower in a blender until smooth (if you remove the center thing in the lid, it doesn't explode!  Well, if you are doing it in small batches.....  I still held it over the lid, but removed it to let the steam get out.)  Return soup to the pan and heat over medium heat until hot.  Remove from heat and add mustard and 1 1/2 cups cheese.  Stir until the cheese is melted.  Garnish with remaining cheese.

Recipe from Utah Deal Diva.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Amazing Ooey Gooey Bars

I can't believe this recipe wasn't on here long before now.  Not to worry though, it's here now so we can still be friends. :) These Ooey Gooey Bars (aka Carmalitas) are absolutely divine!  Not to mention addicting.  But then, I don't know what's not highly addicting that contains chocolate and caramel.  Everyone always loves them and there are never any left when I take them to a get-together.

Are you drooling yet?  Just look at the chocolate being hugged by all that gooey caramel. 

1 1/2 cups flour
1 1/2 cups old-fashioned oats
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 cups brown sugar, packed
1 cup butter or margarine, melted
1 (14 ounce) bag caramels, unwrapped (I'll sometimes use an 11 ounce bag of the caramel baking bits to save me from all the unwrapping)
1/2 cup whipping cream
2 cups milk chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350.  Combine the first 6 ingredients (flour though butter) and mix until well combined.  Press half of the mixture into the bottom of a greased 7x11 inch baking dish.  Bake for 15 minutes.  While the crust is baking, combine caramels and cream in a small sauce pan and melt over low heat, stirring often.  Sprinkle chocolate chips over the baked crust and pour caramel over the chocolate chips.  Sprinkle the remaining dough on top and bake for another 15 to 20 minutes.  Let cool before cutting.

Recipe adapted from The Essential Mormon Cookbook.

 Linked on Tatertots & Jello and Sweets for a Saturday.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

The Versatile Blogger Award

I am so excited to have received my second blogging award!  Yael at Yael's Yummies was so sweet to pass the Versatile Blogger Award on to me.  Thanks Yael!

How the award works:
Thank the person who awarded you by linking back to their post.
Pass the award on to 15 other new, or newly discovered blogs.
List 7 interesting things about yourself.

7 things about myself (Not guaranteed to be interesting.  Even my mom said there weren't 7 interesting things about me and only 5 should be required. :))

1.  I made up 2 of my girls names, only to find out that someone stole my names before I ever made them up. :) I guess that's what happens when you're from a small town and almost everyone has the name of Amber, Michelle or Jennifer.

2.  I grew up on a farm and loved to help my grandpa milk the milk cow.

3.  I love to make hair bows and bracelets for my little girls.

4.  My favorite season is spring.  I love to see the grass green up, the trees get their leaves and flowers start to bloom.

5.  I can't seem to manage to keep a house plant alive, but, have managed to keep 5 kids alive.  And with no near death scares!

6.  I graduated early from high school.

7.  I've had stitches twice.  Once on my eyebrow (my sister hit me with a Jack-in-the-box - nice, I know) and once on the back of my leg (I fell over a barbed wire fence fetching a ball my brother hit over).  Anyone else notice a pattern here?  I should have been an only child! :)

Drum roll please.  My 15 new and newly discovered (relatively on some :)) bloggers I'm passing this award onto are......

1. Susan at My Mother's Apron Strings (doesn't she have a great name? :))
2. Desi at Steak N Potatoes Kinda Gurl
3. The Brady Girls at Cookin' Up Good Times
4. Michael Ann at The Big Green Bowl
5. Kristi at Lemon Glaze
6. Jessica at Sunny Side Up in San Diego
7. Amy at Frosted Bake Shop
8. Kelly at No Empty Chairs
9. My Sweet Creations
10. Cara at The Boys Made Me Do It
11. Just A Little Sparkle
12. Juliana at Piece, Love & Cooking
13. Jen at Eat Cake For Dinner
14. Shawna at Create, Teach, Play
15. Sky at Capital B

Chicken Tamale Pie

This Tamale Pie is comfort food at it's best!  Chicken, corn bread, cheese.  And don't forget the cilantro - a total deal sealer for me. :) The entire family loved it, but how could you not?  Just look at all that yumminess! 

Oh. My. Yum!!

My mouth is watering just looking at all that yumminess!

1/3 cup milk
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 1/2 tablespoons taco seasoning, divided (The Best Homemade Taco Seasoning is fabulous!)
1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper
1 (14 3/4 ounce) can cream-style corn
1 (8.5 ounce) box corn muffin mix (such as Jiffy)
1 (4 ounce) can diced green chiles, drained
1 (10 ounce) can red enchilada sauce (I made my enchilada sauce from a packet, but an authentic brand would be great as well)
2 cups chicken breast, cooked and shredded
1 cup shredded white cheese (I used Monterey Jack)
Chopped cilantro
Crumbled Cotija cheese

Preheat oven to 400°. In a large bowl, combine the first 7 ingredients (milk through green chiles), using just 1/2 tablespoon of the taco seasoning, and stir just until moist. Pour mixture into a greased round pie plate. Bake at 400° for 20-30 minutes. While the corn bread is baking, toss the chicken in the remaining 1 tablespoon taco seasoning. When the corn bread is done – it will be just barely set and golden brown – pierce entire surface liberally with a fork (it might stick a little bit to the fork). Pour enchilada sauce over top. Top with chicken and sprinkle with 1 cup white cheese. Bake for 15 more minutes or until cheese melts. Remove from oven and let stand for 5 minutes. Serve topped with cilantro and Cotija cheese.

Recipe slightly adapted from Pinch of Yum.

Linked on Tatertots & Jello.
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