Monday, December 16, 2013

BLT Penne Pasta (Bacon, Leek, Tomato)

I have a real treat for you today.  Not a sugary treat, but a super yummy dinner kind of treat.  That's ready in less than 30 minutes.  I like that kind of treat!

This BLT Penne Pasta was loved by the entire family (even if some of the littles picked out the leeks).  I'm still convinced you just can't go wrong with bacon.

I have a friend who claims cream cheese frosting can make anything taste good, even dirt!  I like cream cheese frosting well enough, but bacon is that magical thing for me.  Well, and chocolate.  Pretty sure bacon could make dirt taste good.  As long as you could get past the gritty texture.

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)
1/2 pound lean smoky bacon, diced
3-4 medium leeks, halved lengthwise, sliced 1-inch thick, then washed and dried
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons fresh thyme, chopped
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/2 cup chicken broth
2 pints cherry tomatoes
1 pound penne rigate
2 cups Pecorino Romano cheese, grated

Bring a large pot of water to a boil for the penne. Heat the EVOO in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the bacon and crisp; about 5 minutes.  Drain off all but about 1/4 cup of the oil/bacon drippings. Add the leeks, garlic, thyme and pepper. Sauté for 5-6 minutes, then add the chicken broth and scrape the bottom of the pan to get anything that may be stuck off. Add the tomatoes and cover the pan. Cook the tomatoes until they burst, 10-12 minutes, shaking the pan occasionally. Salt the boiling water and cook the penne to al dente. Add a little of the starchy cooking water to the sauce just before draining the pasta. Toss the pasta with the sauce and 1 1/2 cups cheese. Serve garnished with remaining cheese.

Recipe adapted from Rachel Ray.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Biscoff Fudge

I held off trying Biscoff as long as I could, but curiosity finally got the best of me.  I just had to see what all the hype was about.  I have to admit, I finally understand.  I can eat the stuff by they spoonful!

Wanting to add to my fudge recipe collection, I decided to make some Biscoff into fudge.  If you haven't tried Biscoff yet, you may want to head to the store.  Like now.  So you can break into the world of biscoff with this super tasty Biscoff Fudge.

1/2 cup butter
2 cups brown sugar
1/2 cup milk
1 cup Biscoff spread (I used half creamy and half chunky)
1 tsp vanilla
3 cups powdered sugar

Line an 8-inch baking dish with foil and lightly grease. Melt butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add brown sugar and milk. Bring to a boil and boil 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and add Biscoff spread and vanilla. Pour powdered sugar into a large bowl and pour hot mixture over the top; mix smooth. Pour into prepared pan and let cool completely.

Recipe adapted from Creations by Kara.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Pumpkin Waffles with Cinnamon Maple Syrup

I know fall has come and gone (at least it feels like it.  It's 5 degrees here today.  BRRR!!!!), but I still can't seem to get enough pumpkin goodness.  The entire family really like these delicious Pumpkin Waffles with Cinnamon Maple Syrup.  Even the skeptic 12 year old had seconds!

2 cups buttermilk
1 cup canned pumpkin
4 eggs, beaten
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
1/3 cup butter, melted
1 cup pure maple syrup
1 cinnamon stick
1 1/2 cups flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt

Heat waffle iron according to manufacture's directions.  In a small lidded pot, over medium heat, combine maple syrup and cinnamon stick.  Cook, uncovered, until it steams (do not boil).  Turn off heat, cover and let stand for 15 minutes.  Remove cinnamon stick to serve.  In a large bowl combine buttermilk, pumpkin, eggs, brown sugar and butter; mix well.  Stir in dry ingredients until smooth.  Cook waffles until lightly browned.

Recipe from Family Circle magazine.

Monday, December 9, 2013

Oven Tacos

Sometimes I see something and think "Who comes up with this stuff!?"  These Oven Tacos are one of those things.   And not in a bad way.  In a I-wish-I-had-time-to-sit-around-and-come-up-with-cool-ideas kind of way.  They take a little more work than "regular" tacos, but the entire family loved them.  Devoured them.

One of the great things about these Oven Tacos is the shell gets tender at the bottom where the meat is so they don't crack when you take a bite.  Not that it bugs me when my taco shell cracks, but for some of the littles, it's pretty much the end of the world. :)

These Oven Tacos make a ton!  Like, I can feed my family 1 1/2 times with a single recipe.  And that's really saying something when I have a husband, a 14 year old with a hollow leg (He has to!  I can't see where else he would put all that stuff he puts away!), and a 12 year old with a hollow leg.  Seriously.  She ate 5 tacos!  In one sitting.  I ate 2.  And she's such a skinny little thing.  Maybe I should play soccer, too....

2 pounds ground beef
1 small onion diced
1 (4 ounce) can diced green chilies
1 package taco seasoning
1 (8 ounce) can tomato sauce
1 (16 ounce) can refried beans
2 cups cheese, shredded (I used cheddar)
30-36 hard taco shells

In a large skillet brown ground beef and onion over medium heat. Drain off any excess liquid. Add chilies, refried beans, tomato sauce, and taco seasoning. Mix well and simmer for 5 minutes.  Remove from heat and let sit for 30 minutes.  If you don't have 30 minutes to spare, I hope you're a more careful taco filler than I am.  That meat stuff is HOT!  Spoon the taco meat mixture into the taco shells and place into a 9 x 13 inch baking dish (or 2) standing up. Sprinkle cheese over the top of the taco meat in each shell. Place into the oven and bake at 400 for 10 to 12 minutes, or until the cheese has melted and the tacos are heated through. Remove from the oven and top with desired topping (I just used lettuce and diced tomatoes).

Recipe adapted from Mommy? I'm Hungry!

Thursday, December 5, 2013

BYU Creamery Mint Brownies

Before we start, I have to confess.  I've never been to the BYU Creamery.  I haven't ever even tried one of their Mint Brownies.  So... I can't honestly say how these compare.  But that's okay, because even if these BYU Creamery Mint Brownies taste nothing like the original thing, they're still freaking delicious.  My 12 year old asks me to make them again almost every day!

If you aren't much of a sweets fan, you might want to look the other way.  I even promise not to be offended.  These things are loaded with sugar!  Brownies topped with frosting.  And since one layer of frosting isn't enough on brownies, another layer of frosting tops the first layer frosting.

1 cup butter
2 cups sugar
2 tablespoons honey
4 eggs
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1 3/4 cups flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup chopped nuts, optional

Mint Frosting:
1/3 cup butter, softened
1 tablespoon corn syrup
2 1/3 cups powdered sugar
3 tablespoons milk
1/2 teaspoon mint extract (not peppermint)
2 to 3 drops green food coloring

Chocolate Frosting:
2 cups powdered sugar
1/4 cup butter, softened
1/4 cup cocoa powder
2 tablespoons milk

In a large microwave safe bowl, melt butter; mix in cocoa and allow to cool. Add honey, eggs, and sugar; mix well. Stir in flour, baking powder, and salt until moistened. Add nuts. Pour batter into a greased 9 x 13-inch baking pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes. Cool completely.

For the mint frosting, combine butter, corn syrup, and powdered sugar. Beat until well mixed. Add mint extract, food coloring and milk. Spread on cooled brownies and refrigerate for 30 minutes to 60 minutes to firm up the frosting.

For the chocolate frosting, combine butter, cocoa powder and powdered sugar; mix well. Add milk and beat until smooth. Spread over mint frosting.

Recipe from Utah Deal Diva.

Linked on Pinworthy Projects.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Party Cereal Mix

My kids love this stuff.  In a big way.  I love the stuff, too.  This Cereal Party Mix is easy to make, makes a ton, and is loved by pretty much everyone.  That (in my opinion) makes it a pretty near perfect treat.

The neighbors love it when I make a batch of the Cereal Party Mix.  I end up sharing lots so I don't eat WAY more than I should.  Heck, I eat WAY more than I should.  I share so I don't eat the whole batch by myself!

If you're looking for an easy and tasty neighbor gift for Christmas, give this Cereal Party mix a try.  It's always a hit!

1 (7 ounce) bag coconut (flaked, shredded, etc)
1 (14 ounce) box corn Chex cereal
1 (12 ounce) box Golden Grahams cereal
1 cup slivered almonds
1 cup plain M&Ms
1 cup butter
1 1/3 cup sugar
1 1/3 cup corn syrup

Combine butter, sugar and corn syrup in a medium sized sauce pan and heat on the stove over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally.  When the mixture comes to a boil, boil 3 minutes, stirring constantly.  Remove from stove.  While the mixture is heating, pour both cereals, coconut and almonds into a large (HUGE) bowl.  Butter 2 large cookies sheets and set aside.  Pour hot syrup over the cereal mixture and mix until everything is well coated.  Add M&M and mix to evenly distribute.  Pour Cereal Party Mix onto the 2 buttered cookie sheets and let cool.

Recipe adapted from my friend Jennifer.

Linked on Pinworthy Projects.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Cinnamon Almonds

One of my favorite things about the fall is the smells that are associated with it.  Like the warm spices.  When I made these Cinnamon Almonds they made the house smell like fall (or the holidays!)  All the kids that tried them really liked them.  Even the sweet little 5 year old who initially turned her nose up at the sight of them.  The hubs really liked them, as well.

These Cinnamon Almonds would make a great addition to the goodie plates that seem to abound around the holidays. :)  They're also delicious in a green salad.

Speaking of salad......I went grocery shopping earlier this week.  As I walked through the produce sections a lovely tub of  Spring Mix salad greens caught my attention.  I thought it would be a nice change from the usually greens I use (spinach, romaine, iceberg and red and green leaf lettuces), so I bought the tub.  I got home and made myself a lovely salad with the mix, fresh berries and sugared almonds.  As I was eating my lovely salad, I kept thinking it tasted like what I imagine weeds would taste like.  I looked at what kinds of things were in the mix and found Dandelion greens listed.  No wonder it tasted like weeds!  I spend all spring and summer trying to keep them out of my grass and there are people eating them.  On purpose!  At least now I know the weeds are good for something.  At least if we're starving. :)

3 cups whole almonds
1 cup sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/4 cup water

Combine sugar, cinnamon and water in a large skillet and heat over medium-high heat until the sugar is dissolved.  Add almonds and stir to coat them in the syrup.  Cook, stirring constantly, until the sugar crystallizes and starts to look sandy; 5 to 10 minutes.  Remove from heat and pour onto a sheet of parchment paper to cool.

Recipe from Something Swanky.

Linked on Pinworthy Projects.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Salisbury Steak

I've never had the pleasure of eating Salisbury Steak until just recently.  To be honest, I didn't even really know what the stuff was.  The kids asked what was for dinner and when I told them we were eating Salisbury Steak, they all gave me a deer-in-the-headlights look.  So then I told them we were having meat loaf and they were as happy as can be.  They all LOVE meat loaf!  Salisbury steak takes a little more work than meat loaf, but it's worth it.  This stuff was good!

1 (10.5 ounce) can condensed French onion soup
1 1/2 pounds ground beef or ground sirloin
1/2 cup rolled oats (oatmeal)
1 egg
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1/4 cup ketchup
1/4 cup water
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1/2 teaspoon mustard powder

In a large bowl, mix together 1/3 cup condensed French onion soup with ground beef, rolled oats, egg, salt and pepper. Shape into 6 oval patties. In a large skillet over medium-high heat, brown both sides of patties; about 3 minutes on each side. Pour off excess fat. In a small bowl, blend flour and remaining soup until smooth. Mix in ketchup, water, Worcestershire sauce and mustard powder. Pour over meat in skillet. Cover and cook for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Recipe adapted from What 2 Cook.

Linked on Pinworthy Projects.

Monday, November 11, 2013

The Best Brownies

Seriously!  I know that's kind of a bold statement, but to me, these really are The Best Brownies.  They're soft and chewy and can be made to suit any kind of chocolate lover.  You like dark chocolate?  These brownies are for you.  You like milk chocolate?  Not a problem, these brownies are for you.  You like white chocolate?  Still the brownies for you.  What!?  You don't like chocolate!?  Still the brownies for you!  How, you ask?  Just use the kind of chocolate chips that you like.  Dark, semi-sweet, milk, white.  You could even use mint, butterscotch or peanut butter flavored chips if you don't like chocolate.  Do people like that really exist?  Feel free to mix and match your chocolate chips until your sweet little heart's content.  I used up 2 partial bags with this particular batch, semi-sweet chips and butterscotch chips.  They were still amazingly delicious!

1 (12 ounce) bag chocolate chips, any kind you like!
1 cup butter 
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
4 large eggs
1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a medium saucepan, over low heat, combine the butter and chocolate chips. Stir constantly until chips are melted, then remove from heat. In the same pan, blend in the sugar and vanilla. Then add eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each egg. Add flour and salt and beat until air bubbles form in the batter. Pour into a greased 9x13 inch pan. Bake for 20 minutes. Turn heat down to 325 degrees and bake for 10 more minutes.

Recipe from Mel's Kitchen Cafe.

Linked on Pinworthy Projects.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Slow Cooker Creamy Green Chile Enchilada Soup

One of my favorite things about the weather starting to turn cold is all the yummy soups I get to make.  There's just something about a hot bowl of soup when it's cold outside.  This is a perfect soup for those cold fall/winter days.

1 (32 ounce) carton chicken both
3 to 4 chicken breasts, bonless and skinless
3 (10 ounce) cans green enchilada sauce (I used my Green Tomato Salsa Verde)
1 (4 ounce) can diced green chilies
3/4 cup water
2 tablespoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 cup of frozen corn 
1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese
3/4 cup instant rice, uncooked

Pour the broth, green enchilada sauce, green chilies, water, and spices into your slow cooker.  Add chicken and cook on low for 6 to 7 hours.  About 30 Minutes before serving, remove chicken from slow cooker and shred.  Return shredded chicken to slow cooker along with the rice, corn and cream cheese.  Cook until cream cheese is melted, then mix until it's all mixed in.  

Recipe adapted from Scattered Thoughts of a Crafty Mom.

Linked on Pinworthy Projects.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Ice Cream Party

Summer has officially left us here and we wanted to send it out with a bang.  No better way than with an Ice Cream Party!  Oh, and we wanted to celebrate my little pixy turning 5. :)

 The paper ice cream cones turned out so dang cute!  Love the cherries on top.

 Brownie Balls

 "Melted Ice Cream" Cake (Moist Chocolate Cake and Vanilla Buttercream Frosting)

Super Cute Rag Banner

 The Sundae Bar

"Root Beer Float" 

 Marshmallow Ice Cream Cones

 Gummy Ice Cream Cones

I LOVE tulle!

"Shaye's Ice Cream Shop" Banner

All the printables came from Just a Little Sparkle.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Soft Sugar Cookies

If you're looking for a soft sugar cookie recipe, give this one a try.  The cookies are soft and delicious!  Even without the frosting.

3 cups flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 cup butter, softened at room temperature
1 cup sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla

In a large bowl, combine softened butter and sugar.  Mix until smooth.  Add in egg and vanilla and mix well.  Add baking powder and flour, 1 cup at a time.  Mix well after each addition.  Dough may start to crumble, but keep mixing and the dough will pull together.  When the dough is mixed, roll into a ball and wrap in plastic wrap.  Refrigerate for 30 minutes.  Preheat oven to 350.  Sprinkle the counter with flour (or powdered sugar - I like to use powdered sugar instead) and roll dough out to 1/4 inch thick.  Cut with a cookie cutter, then transfer to a greased cookie sheet, about 2 inches apart.  Bake for 6 to 8 minutes (I pull them out when the top no longer looks moist).  Let cool on cookie sheet for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire cooling rack to cool all the way.

Recipe from Make Bake Celebrate.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Country Club Chicken Spaghetti

Calling all mushroom lovers!  This Country Club Chicken Spaghetti is for you.  Even if you don't like mushrooms, there's bacon in this Country Club Chicken Spaghetti.  Bacon makes anything good, right?

My little 3 year old threw his normal fit when we sat down to dinner, but after I finally got him to try it, he ate all that was on his plate and then started picking off my plate.  In fact, all the kids ate it really well.

1 pound spaghetti
4 chicken breasts, boneless and skinless
1 large onion, diced
1 pound mushrooms, sliced
2 (10.75 ounce) cans cream of mushroom soup
4 slices bacon
1/4 cup chicken broth
2/3 cup sharp cheddar, shredded

Cook bacon in a large pan, over medium heat, until crisp.  Set bacon aside on a paper towel to cool, then crumble.  Generously salt and pepper chicken.  Cook chicken in the bacon grease until browned on the outside, but not cooked through; 3 to 5 minutes per side.  Place browned chicken breast in a 9x13-inch baking dish and set aside.  Add onion to the pan with the bacon drippings and cook for 3 minutes.  Add sliced mushrooms and cook for an additional 3 to 5 minutes; until softened.  Add cream of mushroom soup, chicken broth and crumbled bacon.  Stir until well combined, then stir in the shredded cheese; mix well.  Pour sauce over chicken and bake at 350 for 25 to 30 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through and the sauce is bubbly.  While the chicken is baking, cook spaghetti according to the package directions.  Serve chicken and sauce over spaghetti noodles.

Recipe adapted from Kayotic Kitchen.

Monday, October 7, 2013


Happy Monday!!  How about we start off the week with a little giveaway.  Like a super, way cool, SkySlicer the Allosaurus™ from VTech.

My little guy (and even my little girl) LOVED this toy.  He played with it and played with it. For. Hours!  And that was just the first day.  He loved the sound and that he had 2 toys in one.  Even though he mostly played with it as an airplane.

I quite liked the toy as well.  I loved that it was a "learning" toy, without really being a learning toy.  When it's in the Allosaurus mode, it gives some little facts about the Allosaurus.  I also loved that it was easy to switch from the SkySlicer (airplane) to the Allosaurus.  I was able to figure it out in just a minute without needing any instructions.  It was so easy even a guy could do it! ;)  It took the little guy a while to figure it out himself (he's 3), but now he can do it without my help.

SkySlicer the Allosaurus™

  • SkySlicer the Allosaurus transforms from a jet plane into a fierce Allosaurus!
  • Play in jet plane mode by choosing your pilot on the 1.5" LCD screen, or have fun with the high-flying wings and realistic jet plane sound effects.

  • Switch to dinosaur mode to see SkySlicer‘s animated dinosaur eyes, his powerful arms and big, strong tail.
  • Sound effect buttons play realistic dinosaur sounds and phrases that teach pre-historically awesome dinosaur facts!
  • Join SkySlicer on his favorite adventure…this guy loves to hunt!
  • Ages 3-8 years, MSRP: $15.99
  • Available: Fall 2013

The ultimate kid’s toy, Switch & Go Dinos® easily transform between a dinosaur and a vehicle in a few simple steps.
  • Each of the collectible Switch & Go Dinos® features high-quality electronics and a unique transformation feature to provide a 2-in-1 imaginative play experience.
  • In dinosaur mode, sound effect buttons emit realistic dinosaur sounds and phrases that teach facts about each dino, providing kids with fun and enriching playtime.
  • Additional Dinos in the Switch & Go line include Jagger the T-Rex™, Blister the Velociraptor™, MC Roar the Giganotosaurus™, Stompsalot the Amargasaurus™, Quiver the Stygimoloch™, Torr the Therizinosaurus™ and Akuna the Velociraptor™ - collect them all!

Disclousure - I was provided with a sample to review by VTech.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Edible Sugar Cookie Dough

My kids, especially my girls, can't seem to get enough edible cookie dough.  I make it for them at least once a week, if not once a day!  For those of you who are not huge chocolate fans (is there really such a thing?!?), so aren't really into my Edible Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough, try out this Edible Sugar Cookie Dough.  And even if you are a huge chocolate fan, still try it out.  It's delicious!  My 12 year old and her bestie have decided they like it even better than Edible Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough.  That's pretty big.  Especially if you've ever seen the way they devour the stuff!

I'm pretty sure sprinkles make everything taste better. :)

1/4 cup butter
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup flour
1 tablespoon milk
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
1/8 teaspoon orange extract
1/8 teaspoon baking soda
1/8 teaspoon baking powder

Combine sugar, butter, vanilla, orange extract and milk.  Mix well.  Add flour, baking soda and baking powder and mix until combined.

Recipe from The Royal Cook - an original!

You can also find me on Facebook and Pinterest.  I'd love to have you follow along!

Linked on Pin It Thursday and Pinworthy Projects.

Monday, September 30, 2013

Liege Waffles

There's a waffle truck that comes around every once in a while.  There's always a line and, for the life of me, I couldn't figure out what would make waffles so fantastic that people would wait in line for them.  And not just any line, but a loooong line. Don't get me wrong.  I really like love waffles.  So I decided to stand in that long line to see what all the fuss was about.  Oh. My. Goodness!  The waffles were not just your ordinary waffle, they were Liege Waffles.  They served them with Biscoff spread, fruit and an amazing amount of whipped cream - like a scoop the size of ice cream!  They were delicious.  They were amazing.  They were rich and (I'm sure) very fattening.  These waffles aren't as chewy as the one from the waffle truck, but are still delicious.

1 tablespoon yeast
1/3 cup warm water
1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 cups flour
3 eggs
1 cup  butter, softened
1 cup pearl sugar

Mix yeast, water, sugar and salt, and let develop for 15 minutes. Place flour into a large bowl. Make a well in the center of the flour and pour in yeast mixture, begin to knead. Continue to knead while adding eggs, one at a time. Continue kneading while adding the butter, 2 tablespoons at a time. When thoroughly mixed, cover and let dough rise until doubled in size (approximately 1 hour). Gently mix in pearl sugar and let rest for 15 minutes. Heat Belgian waffle iron. Separate dough into balls about the size of a golf ball. When your waffle iron is hot and ready, place dough ball in iron. Cook 3-5 minutes, until waffles are lightly brown on top.

Served with fresh berries, sweetened whipped cream and Biscoff spread.

Recipe from Lemon Glaze.

Linked on Pin It Thursday and Pinworthy Projects.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Zucchini Meatloaf

I've been putting zucchini in everything.  The family is starting to be suspicious of anything and everything I make.  And for good reason!  I've put zucchini in pie, brownies, bread, and now meat loaf.  And they've loved every bit of it.  They might have complained a little, or maybe even a lot, when they realized I added the lovely green squash, but ate it all and even came back for seconds.  That's always a good sign.

2 eggs
2 cups zucchini, shredded
1/3 cup uncooked oat meal
1/3 cup onion, chopped
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 1/2 pounds ground beef
2 tablespoons packed brown sugar
1/4 cup ketchup
1 tablespoon mustard
Preheat oven to 350. In a large bowl, mix all meat loaf ingredients until well blended. Press mixture into an ungreased 9.5-inch deep-dish pie plate and bake 35 minutes. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, combine the topping ingredients. Remove meat loaf from the oven; pour off drippings. Spread topping on the meat. Return to the oven and bake for 10 to 15 minutes longer, or until thoroughly cooked in center and meat thermometer reads 160. Let stand 5 minutes before serving for juices to set up.
Recipe adapted from Real Mom Kitchen.

Linked on Pin It Thursday.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Party In Your Mouth Bars (Chocolate, Caramel, Peanut Butter and Pretzels)

I love a good party.  Especially in bar form.  These Party In Your Mouth Bars take all the good things out there and put them into a single bar.  Chocolate, caramel, peanut butter, and pretzel.  The kids thought I was super way weird throwing pretzels in the mix, but love the bars.  Loved them so much that I had to make 2 batches.  In just 2 days.  They devoured the first batch before I could get out my camera!

3/4 cup corn syrup
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup peanut butter
1 1/4 cup pretzels, broken into pieces, divided
2 1/2 cups crispy rice cereal
1 cup caramel bits
3/4 cup M&Ms, divided
1/2 cup milk chocolate chips

Combine corn syrup and sugar in a large pan.  Cook over medium heat, stirring often, until the mixture come to a boil.  Boil for 1 minute, then remove from heat.  Stir in peanut butter until completely melted.  Add 1 cup pretzel pieces, crispy rice cereal and caramel bits; mix until evenly coated, then stir in 1/2 cup M&Ms.  Pour into a greased 7x11-inch baking dish and press lightly to even out.  Let cool completely.  Melt chocolate chips and drizzle over bars.  Sprinkle with remaining pretzel pieces and M&Ms.

Recipe from The Royal Cook - an original!

Linked on The Weekend re-TreatPinworthy Projects and Feed Me Friday.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Peaches and Cream Pancakes

I love the farmers market.  I love all the delicious treasure I find there.  The fresh baked goods, dips, veggies and especially the fresh fruit.  I bought an entire box of peaches one weekend, just for eating.  The majority of them were eaten plain, but a few got used in something tasty, like these Peaches and Cream Pancakes.

I have to admit I was a little surprised that my kids ate them as well as they did.  Sometimes it takes them a while to warm up to something new, but they downed these tasty Peaches and Cream Pancakes just like they do any "normal" pancake I make.  The pancakes were delicious and the syrup topped them off perfectly.

Peach Puree:
3 fresh peaches, skinned and pitted
1/4 cup lemon juice
Place in a blender and blend until mostly smooth. Set aside.

Pancake Batter:
1 cup peach puree (from above)
1 1/2 cups milk
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup butter, melted
1 cup sour cream
1 tablespoon baking powder
teaspoons baking soda
1 tablespoon vanilla
6 eggs

4 cups flour

Place the peach puree, milk, sugar, butter, and sour cream in a large bowl and whisk until smooth. Add the remaining ingredients and mix the batter until combined. Heat griddle to 350 and lightly grease.  P
our 1/2 cup of batter into pancakes on the griddle. Cook until bubbles form on the top of the pancakes and the bottoms are light golden brown, about 2 minutes.  Flip the pancakes and cook until they are light golden on the bottom.  Top with the peach syrup.

Peach Syrup:
3/4 cup peach puree
1/2 cup butter
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup sour cream
teaspoon vanilla

Place the peach puree, the butter, and sugar together in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat and let boil for 1 minute, stirring constantly.  Remove from heat and whisk in the sour cream and vanilla until the sour cream is melted and syrup is well blended.

Recipe adapted from Deals to Meals.

Linked on The Weekend re-TreatPinworthy Projects and Feed Me Friday.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Zucchini Pie

First...I'm guest posting on Just Us Four today.  Hop over and check it out, it's a super tasty (non-zucchini :)) treat!

I was just getting ready to announce to my neighborhood that I have extra zucchini.  And then I made this Zucchini Pie.  I don't think I will ever look at zucchini the same way again!  This pie tastes just like a good old pumpkin pie.

My husband is a pumpkin pie lover.  After dinner last night I announced I made a pumpkin pie for dessert and asked if he wanted a piece.  As I was cutting his piece he asked if I put zucchini in it. :) I handed him his piece and asked him if it looked like there was zucchini in it.  He told me it didn't, but he'd know as soon as he took a bite.  He still thinks it's pumpkin.  And I don't blame him for thinking I might have put zucchini in it.  I've been putting zucchini in everything!

1 (9-inch) pie crust, unbaked (like Perfect Pie Crust)
2 cups zucchini puree
1/4 cup honey
1/3 cup sugar
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon ginger
1/4 teaspoon allspice
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1 cup evaporated milk
2 eggs

To make the puree, peel the zucchini and cut into chunks.  Place in a microwave safe bowl and cover with plastic wrap.  Poke a few small holes in the top of the plastic wrap for steam to escape.  
Microwave for 8 to 10 minutes, stirring half way through, or until zucchini is tender.  Pour off any water and place zucchini in the blender and puree.  Mix zucchini puree, honey and dry ingredients together.  Combine milk and eggs and mix.  Add to to zucchini mixture and blend well.  Pour into unbaked 9-inch pie crust.  Bake at 425 for 10 minutes, then reduce heat to 350 and bake for 40-45 minutes longer; or until knife inserted slightly off center (about half way between the center and edge) comes out clean, center will be wobbly.  Cool completely before serving.

Recipe from

Linked on Pinworthy Projects and The Weekend re-Treat.

Looking for the nutritional info?  

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Moist Zucchini Bread

I finally gave in and announced to the neighborhood that I have extra zucchini.  I let everyone know it was sitting on my porch and practically begged for it to be taken.  I expected it to sit there all afternoon and all evening, but to my surprise, it was whisked away in less than 15 minutes!  And there was quite a bit.  I even have people asking for more.  WOW!

Before I gave away my zucchini, I made some awesome Moist Zucchini Bread.  It's SO moist and delicious with just the perfect amount of spice.  I left it out on the counter, uncovered, over night and it was still perfect.  That's the kind of recipe I need.  

1 pound zucchini 
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon allspice
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 eggs
1/3 cup plain yogurt
6 tablespoons butter, melted

Preheat oven to 375.  Generously grease and flour a 9x5-inch loaf pan. Chop the ends off the zucchini and finely shred (with the peel still on). Place the shredded zucchini in a clean kitchen towel, wrap the towel, and wring the ends (like a tootsie roll wrapper) to squeeze out all the excess water. You should have about 1 to 1 1/2 cups of dry zucchini. Set the zucchini aside. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, allspice, and salt. In a smaller bowl, whisk the sugar, yogurt, eggs, and butter until combined. Gently fold the yogurt mixture and zucchini into the flour mixture, until just combined. Pour the batter to the prepared loaf pan. Bake until golden brown and a think knife or skewer inserted in the center comes out with a few crumbs attached, 45-55 minutes. Cool for 10 minutes then turn out onto wire rack to cool. 

Recipe adapted from Mel's Kitchen Cafe.

Linked on Pinworthy Projects and The Weekend re-Treat.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Zucchini Brownies

I FINALLY have zucchini growing (almost) out my ears.  The last few years I was still buying the stuff all summer long, even though I had zucchini plants.  I must have done something right this year, because I haven't had to buy any.  Not even once!  I've been doing my best to use it up and not waste any, and these Zucchini brownies were a great way to use some of the zucchini.

My daughter took a brownie and was half way through eating it when....

"Mom, these are really good.  What recipe did you use?"

"They're zucchini brownies."

She made a disgusted face, returned the brownie to the kitchen, then walked off.  They must not have really been too bad, I caught her sneaking them throughout the rest of the afternoon and evening. :)  The neighbors even loved them (I made sure to let them know that the brownies weren't moldy when I delivered them...).

2 cups flour
1/3 cup cocoa powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups zucchini, shredded
1 1/2 cups sugar
3/4 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup chopped walnuts, optional
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1/4 cup butter, cubed
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup milk
1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup miniature marshmallows
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup chopped walnuts, optional
In a large bowl, combine the zucchini, sugar, vanilla and oil. Stir in dry ingredients until blended. Stir in walnuts, if using. Pour into a greased 13x9-inch baking pan. Bake at 350 for 35-40 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool for 30 minutes. In a large saucepan combine butter, sugar and milk. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring frequently. Cook, stirring constantly, for 1 minute. Remove from the heat and add chocolate chips and marshmallows.  Stir until melted and smooth, then add vanilla. Spread over brownies and sprinkle with nuts, if desired. 
Recipe from Real Mom Kitchen.

Want the nutritional information?  You can find it here.  

Friday, September 13, 2013

Edible Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough

My favorite part of making cookies is sampling the dough before it gets baked.  It's my kids favorite part too.  They LOVE cookie dough.  Sometimes they ask me to make cookie dough just to eat.  I'm sure they would eat an entire batch of "normal" cookie dough if I would let them, but who needs that much cookie dough besides pregnant ladies or someone going through a break up?  This Edible Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough is just enough for all my kids to get some without going overboard.  And did I mention it doesn't have any eggs in it?  So it's totally safe to eat!  And....It tastes just like the real stuff (the kind with eggs in it).  That you bake.  Just don't bake this stuff, your cookies won't be pretty.

1/4 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup flour
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon milk
2 tablespoons chocolate chips

Combine butter, brown sugar, milk and vanilla and mix until well combined.  Add flour and baking soda and mix well.  Stir in chocolate chips.

Recipe from The Royal Cook - an original!

Linked on Pinworthy ProjectsThe Weekend re-TreatFeed Me FridayPinworthy Projects and Sweet and Savory Saturdays.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Flour Tortillas

We go through a lot of tortillas around here.  From casseroles, to tacos/fajitas/burritos, to wraps, or just eating heated with butter and maybe a little cinnamon sugar.  The kids aren't too picky about their tortillas, but I can hardly bring myself to eat a store bought tortilla unless it's the kind I get to cook myself.

These flour tortillas take a little more time than opening a bag of pre-made tortillas, but are worth the time and effort.  I set them out with corn taco shells and store bought tortillas and they disappeared before anything else was touched!  The family was a little disappointed that I only made a single batch.

2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup water
3 tablespoons olive oil

In a large bowl, combine flour and salt. Stir in water and oil. Turn onto a floured surface and  knead 10 to 12 times.  Add a little flour or water if needed to achieve a smooth dough. Let rest for 10 minutes. Divide dough into eight portions. On a lightly floured surface, roll each portion into a 7 inch circle. Heat a nonstick griddle to 350. Cook tortillas for 1 minute on each side or until lightly browned.

Recipe from Taste of Home

Linked on Pin it ThursdaySweet and Savory Saturdays and Pinworthy Projects.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Zapple Crisp

3 Or 4 years ago I decided I needed a garden.  I just couldn't live any longer without one, so..... I nicely asked the hubs to build me a garden (box).  The first year I rushed to the store and bought some lovely tomato plants, summer squash plants, pea plants, and cucumber plants.  I planted the in my lovely box, watered them, weeded, and watched not a whole lot happen.  I did get a lot of tomatoes, but they didn't ever ripen.  So I made lots and lots of Green Tomato Salsa Verde.

Last year I decided to do things a little different and hopefully have a little more success.  I planted more of just a couple things.  Just tomatoes, zucchini and yellow squash.  The cherry tomatoes produced really well for about half of the season, then the plant died.  I don't even remember if I got any regular tomatoes.  And the squash?  I picked 1 (ONE!) yellow squash and 3 or 4 ( THREE or FOUR!) zucchinis!  I couldn't even grow zucchini!

This year I decided to give it one final try.  I planted only zucchini and tomatoes and actually have zucchini (practically) growing out my ears!  I fried, and fried, and even Fried Zucchini some more.  I made zucchini bread, zucchini brownies (recipe coming soon!), zucchini relish (shh! Don't tell Papa it's zucchini!), zucchini casserole and then some Zapple Crisp.

Let's talk about the Zapple Crisp for just a second.  Did you know you can make a crisp with zucchini?!?  It even fooled the hubs and kids.  They had no clue they were eating veggies for dessert!  If you like apple crisp, you'll likely love this Zapple Crisp.

8 cups zucchini, peeled and diced
2/3 cup lemon juice
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup flour
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 tablespoons butter

1 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup flour
3/4 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup butter, cold and cut into small squares
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt

Place diced zucchini in a large sauce pan.  Add the lemon juice and cook over medium heat for 15 minutes (until tender).  Combine flour, sugar, cinnamon and butter in a small bowl.  Add to the cooked zucchini.  Mix well and continue cooking until thick.  Pour into a greased 9x13" greased baking dish.  Combine all topping ingredients in a medium sized bowl.  Mix with a pastry blender until well combined.  Sprinkle topping on the zapples and bake at 350 for 20 minutes.

Recipe from The Royal Cook - an original!

Linked on Pin it ThursdaySweet and Savory Saturdays and Pinworthy Projects.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Slow Cooker Chicken Taco Filling

There's something magical about a slow cooker.  Throw in a few things in the morning, plug it in (and make sure it's on) and at dinner time, Voila!  Someone out there is a genius!

Ranch dressing mix is pretty magical as well.  Add a little to a recipe and it takes it from ordinary, to WOW!  It's the secret ingredient in Susan's Cheese Ball and in Hawaiian Haystacks - No Canned Soup!  That one ingredient's a game changer.

This Slow Cooker Chicken Taco Filling was pretty awesome.  We even loved the leftovers in quesadillas and on tostadas.  Good stuff!

3 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 packet taco seasoning
1 packet ranch dressing mix
1 (14.5 ounce) can chicken broth

Place chicken and broth in the slow cooker and sprinkle with taco seasoning and ranch dressing mix.  Cover and cook on low for 5 to 6 hours.  Remove chicken and let sit 5-10 minutes.  Shred the chicken and return it to the slow cooker.  Stir the chicken into the remaining juices and serve.

Recipe from The Royal Cook - an original!

Linked on Pin it Thursday.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Costco Turkey, Provolone, Pesto Sandwich Melt

I can't think of a single thing to say about these awesomely delicious sandwiches other than they are awesomely delicious.  They are a nice change from the standard bread, mayo, meat sandwich that we eat more often for lunch than I would like to admit.  Some of the kids had a hard time getting past "the green stuff", but once they tasted them, they were sold!

5 square sandwich rolls (Torta or Cabaccia rolls)
1/2 cup pesto
1/3 cup mayonnaise
1 pound sliced turkey breast
1 large tomato, thinly sliced
1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
5 slices provolone cheese

Slice the rolls in half and lay them on a large baking sheet covered with foil.  Combine mayonnaise and pesto and spread evenly on both sides of the rolls.  Place sliced tomatoes and onions on the top half of the rolls, and the sliced turkey breast on the bottom half of the rolls.  Place a provolone cheese slice on top of the onion and tomato on the top half of the roll.  Bake sandwiches at 400 for 10 minutes, or until the cheese is melted.  Turn the oven onto broil and cook until the cheese is lightly browned (I leave the rack in the same spot as when I bake the sandwiches so they don't burn quite as easily). 

Recipe from Jamie Cooks It Up!
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