Tuesday, November 30, 2010

German Chocolate Skyscraper Cheesecake

Posted by Lori:

Although German chocolate cake isn't one of my favorites, I thought this would be fun to try for Thanksgiving.  Unfortunately, even though the cake looks good, I realized after eating it that something wasn't quite right with the German chocolate cakes.  It took me a while to figure it out, but finally, on Saturday, I realized that I had left out the baking soda, baking powder, and small amount of salt.  My dad still liked the cake and the Junior's cheesecake itself was still delicious.  It actually is probably a good thing something was wrong with it, or else I would have eaten a lot more of it! 
Cheesecake Layer
3  (8 ounce) packages cream cheese (use only full fat), at room temperature
1 1/3 cup sugar
3 tablespoons cornstarch
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2 extra-large eggs
2/3 cup heavy whipping cream

Early in the day, preheat the oven to 350 degrees and generously butter the bottom and sides of a 9-inch springform pan. Wrap the outside of the springform tightly with foil, covering the bottom and all the way up the sides.

Put one package of cream cheese, 1/3 cup sugar, and the cornstarch in the bowl of a stand mixer (I just used a large mixing bowl and a hand mixer) and beat on low until creamy, about 3 minutes, scraping several times. Blend in the remaining cream cheese, one package at a time, scraping after each. Increase the mixer speed to medium and beat in the remaining sugar, then the vanilla. Blend in the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in the cream just until completely blended.
Gently spoon the batter into the prepared springform and place in a large shallow pan containing hot water that comes about 1″ up the sides of the springform. (Click here to see illustration.) Bake at 350 degrees for about 1 1/4 hours until the edges are light golden brown and the top is slightly golden tan, looking set and no longer wet. Remove the cake from the water bath, transfer to a wire rack, and cool in the pan for 2 hours. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate (still in the pan) until completely cold, about 4 hours. Place in the freezer, still in the pan, for at least half an hour before assembly, or overnight if you are preparing in advance.

Cake Layers
1 1/2 cup sifted cake flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 ounce bar German’s sweet baking chocolate
1/2 cup water
3/4 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 1/2 cup sugar
3 extra-large eggs, separated (you will use whites later)
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup buttermilk
(NOTE: I made my own with ¾ cup less 1 tablespoon whole milk PLUS 1 tablespoon vinegar. Allow to sit 5 – 10 minutes.)
1/2 tsp cream of tartar

Once the cheesecake is out of the oven (make sure to remove the water bath), start the cake layers. Generously butter the sides and bottom of two 9-inch round cake pans. Line the bottom of both pans with parchment paper, but don’t let the paper come up the sides.
Sift the flour, baking powder and soda, and salt together in a small bowl. Melt the chocolate in the water in the microwave or in a small saucepan over very low heat, Set aside to cool. Cream the butter and sugar together in a large bowl on medium speed until light yellow and creamy. Add the egg yolks one at a time, beating well after each. Blend in the melted chocolate and vanilla. Using a wooden spoon, stir in the flour mixture, alternating with the buttermilk and blending well after each addition.

Beat the egg whites and cream of tartar together in a clean bowl on high heat until stiff peaks form. Stir about 1/3 of the whites into the chocolate batter to lighten it, then fold in the remaining whites. Don’t worry if you still see a few specks of white, since they’ll disappear during cooking. Divide the batter evenly between the two pans and bake at 350 degrees until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with a moist crumb, about 30 minutes. Cool the cakes in the pans on a wire rack for 15 minutes, then turn them out onto the rack and gently peel off the paper liners. Let the cakes cool completely, about 2 hours, then cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to assemble the cake.

1 1/2 cup chopped pecans
1/2 cup sliced almonds
1/2 cup chopped hazelnuts
(NOTE: I used about 2 ¼ cups of chopped pecans and didn't use the almonds and hazelnuts)
4 cups angel flake coconut, plus 1/4 C for sprinkling
2 cups sugar
2 tablespoons flour
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1 cup whole milk
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Once the cakes are out of the oven spread out all the nuts on a large rimmed baking sheet and toast at 350 degrees until golden, about 5 minutes, tossing once or twice. Set aside to cool. Toast 1/4 cup coconut the same way until golden brown and set aside for garnish.

When you are nearly ready to assemble the cake, mix the sugar and flour together in a large saucepan. Add the cream, milk, butter and vanilla, and stir until well combined. Cook and stir constantly over medium heat until the mixture thickens and turns golden brown, about 12 minutes (mine took longer). Remove from the heat and stir in the toasted nuts and untoasted coconut. Refrigerate until the frosting is thick enough to spread, about 30 minutes.

Assembling the Cake
Remove the cheesecake from the freezer and let stand at room temperature for 10 minutes (if frozen overnight). Place one cake layer, top side down, on a cake plate. Spread with a generous amount of frosting. Release and remove the frozen cheesecake from the ring of the springform, then release and remove from the bottom of the pan Remove springform ring. Warm the bottom of the pan on a low burner for 30 seconds, just long enough to melt the butter that was used to grease the pan. Now, slide a metal spatula between the bottom of the pan and the cheesecake (releasing the vacuum), then lift and slide the cake onto bottom German chocolate cake layer. Spread with some more frosting. Top with the remaining cake layer, top side up, and frost the top of the cake and the sides of the top cake layer only. Sprinkle the top evenly with toasted coconut. (Note:  I added some pecan halves in a flower design as a decoration, as well.)

Refrigerate the cake until ready to serve (if the cheesecake was frozen overnight, it will take about 2 hours to thaw enough to easily slice). Use a sharp straight-edge knife, not a serrated one, to cut it into slices.

Source: Junior’s Cheesecakes Cookbook, by Alan Rosen and Beth Allen, pg. 160-161.

This post is linked to Tasty Tuesday and Tempt My Tummy Tuesday.
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Sunday, November 28, 2010

Gumdrop Trees

Posted by Donna:

While our grandchildren were here from Lubbock this weekend, I decided to let them each make a gumdrop tree. These are simple and fun to make---adults enjoy making them as well. They make great gifts for any age.

Materials needed:

White styrofoam shaped cones
bags of multi-colored gumdrops

First, break the toothpicks in half. Insert the broken ends of the toothpicks into the gumdrops and insert the sharp ends of the toothpicks into the cone. Start at the very top of the cone and work your way down and around. It's best not to have any of the white cone showing. When working with kids, though, it's best to let them do it they way they choose.

It was fun watching the kids make theirs. Blake, the oldest, had his finished pretty quickly. He really didn't plan out any system of doing it---but it turned out really cute. Emily, the middle one, wanted each row to be a different color. She also wanted the white to show between the rows. Townley, the five year old, worked very hard on hers. She was very particular and made sure none of the white cone was showing on hers. I love watching how children put their own personal touches on things.

A few years ago, I started making these. Some I gave as gifts. I also gave a couple of them as prizes when some of the ladies from church were here at my house for a cookie swap. Gumdrop trees used to be an old-time favorite decoration. They're very nostalgic. I love them!!!!!
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Thursday, November 25, 2010

How to Cook a Turkey (a 1st grader's recipe)


Posted by Lori:

Just in case you don't know how to cook a turkey, this is a recipe according to our youngest son, Tyler.  He wrote this last year, when he was in the 1st grade.  His teacher put together a Thanksgiving cookbook with all of the student's recipe for cooking a turkey.  They were hilarious!

by Tyler

10 pounds of dressing
9 cups of juice
One 20 pound turkey
9 eggs
20 cups of milk


Go shoot a turkey. Then take the skin off. Then you can use the feathers to decorate something. Wash the turkey off in the sink with some water. Put the clean turkey in a big, big pan. Put all of the dressing on top of the turkey. Bake the 9 eggs and then put them in the turkey. Then pour water on the eggs and that will make mush to go in the turkey. Take a little spoon and get some dressing out, then pour the milk where the dressing was. Then put the dressing back where it goes. If you want to put the feathers on when you're not eating it you can, then when you are gonna eat it take them off. Put the pan in the oven. Don't cover it cause the feathers might get hot. Cook the turkey and feathers for about 30 minutes. Then taste it and look at it to see if it's done. When your mom yells "It's ready!!!" then it is prolly done. Then take the turkey out of the oven and put it in the middle of the table. Take the bones out. Throw the bones to the dog. Have your dad cut it up and put it on your plate. Eat the turkey after you say a prayer. After you eat, take all your Thanksgiving stuff down and get ready for Christmas.
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Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Pumpkin Parfaits

Posted by Lori:

Today was my son, Tyler's 2nd grade class "Thanksgiving Feast".  His teacher had asked me to help provide desserts for the meal for his class and the other 2nd grade class.  I knew that another mother was making cupcakes, so decided to do something different than cake.  I didn't have time to decorate sugar cookies, which would have been my first choice.

I began thinking about pumpkin-type desserts....not really sure if many of the students would like it.  Finally I noticed some Pumpkin Spice Jello-brand pudding in the pantry.  I remember buying it last month thinking I would try to use it for a new recipe.  I came up with these Pumpkin Parfaits.  Tyler said most all of the students (and he, himself) really liked them.  In fact, there were a few left over, so my three older children ate them for after-school snacks.  They all liked them.  Four out of four - that's rare!!

Pumpkin Parfaits

2 - 3 ounce packages Jello Pumpkin Spice Pudding
2 cups milk
1 can sweetened condensed milk
1 large container whipped topping
1 pound bag of gingerbread cookies (I used gingersnaps)

In large mixing bowl, mix together both boxes of pudding mix and the 2 cups of milk.  Whisk until well dissolved.  Add sweetened condensed milk.  Refrigerate for 15 minutes.  Add 1 cup whipped topping and gently fold in to pudding mixture. 

Remove 12 unbroken, gingerbread cookies and set aside.  Crush remaining cookies. (You will not need all of them, so reserve more whole ones, if desired.)  In desired dishes, layer cookie crumbs, pudding mixture, and whipped topping. Repeat layers, ending with a whole cookie for garnish.  Whipped topping in a can could be used to decorate the top, as well.  Refrigerate until ready to serve. This dessert could also be made into one large dessert. 

I didn't see this in my pantry until later, but I had some Pumpkin Spice Ice Cream Topping (Smucker's).  That would be great to drizzle over the top, or maybe even caramel.  And, one more thing:  have you seen the new Kraft gingerbread man shaped (and flavored) marshmallows????  They are sooooo cute!  If it had been Christmas time, each child would have gotten one of those on the top, as well!

This post is linked to Tempt My Tummy Tuesday and Tasty Tuesday.

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Monday, November 22, 2010

Thanksgiving Eve Recipes

Posted by Lori:

Thanksgiving is a special time for my husband's side of the family. There are lots of traditions surrounding the holiday.

The tradition begins with singing night at the church building on Wednesday evening....Thanksgiving Eve.  My husband's family (some from here, some from out of town) come, along with many others that live here and also many visitors that are in town for the Thanksgiving holiday.  It's a great evening with our family, and other friends' families, all gathering together to begin the Thanksgiving holiday by giving thanks and singing songs of praise.

Following the singing, my husband's family (his three brothers, two sisters, their spouses, children, and in-laws....and now even one little great-grand child) gathers at my in-law's house for food and games.  There will be 35 family members together this year (with one not able to be here), but also three visitors.....so a full house, for sure!  It calls for lots and lots of food!

Listed below are a few of the recipes my kids and I will be making for Thanksgiving Eve. (Click underlined links for recipes.) Each of my children have their "certain things" they like to make for this evening every year.  We spend Tuesday night and all day Wednesday preparing the food. When I think back to when I used to do it all myself, I can't believe I ever got it all done!  They are such great helpers!  It's a fun time with all of us in the kitchen.  Usually while we are preparing the food, my husband is spending the day working on the outside Christmas lights.  I think he likes it better that way :).

A few of our "Thanksgiving Eve Recipes":

Cheese Ball
Tortilla Wrap-Ups
Hawaiian Roll Sandwiches
Mini Calzones
Potato Skins
Puppy Chow

Of course, on Thanksgiving Day, we have all of the traditional Thanksgiving food, but we also have other fun family traditions.  Thanksgiving morning we have a "Turkey Trot", which is a one mile run and a 5K run.  After the run we eat homemade cinnamon rolls, which were originally made by my husband's grandmother (who is now deceased), and then by his dad.  But now, due to his dad's failing health, the cinnamon roll making has been passed down to two of my husband's brothers.  A passed-down tradition....still just as yummy!

On Thanksgiving afternoon, we have, yet, another tradition.  Each year my husband and sons plant pumpkins, so for the past 10 years, we've had a "Pumpkin Bash".  We all gather and smash the pumpkins!  There is a "pitcher" and the pumpkins are hit with a baseball bat!  It's so much fun and a highlight for many....especially all of the neices and nephews.  New family members are initiated into the family by hitting the most squishy pumpkin that can be found.  Isn't that nice????!! :)

Here's a link about our Thanksgiving 2009.

This post is linked to Tempt My Tummy Tuesday and Tasty Tuesday.
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Thursday, November 18, 2010

Christmas Stockings

Posted by Donna:

About five years ago, Kimberly and Lori surprised me with these 13 stockings. They bought red and green plaid placemats from the Dollar Tree and made them. I wish the pictures showed the details more clearly. The names and pictures on the front were done in red embroidery. Green rickrack framed each picture, as well as a green button in each corner. Green rickrack and red pompoms were sewn around the white sleeve of each stocking. Each stocking had a different Christmas picture on it. I love my stockings, especially since my daughters made them for me.

As Lori mentioned in her earlier post, we thought it would be fun to share some craft ideas or projects that we've done. I love getting new ideas---I think all of us ladies do.

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Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Oatmeal Chocolate Florentine Cookies

Posted by Lori:

Looking through a Christmas cookie cookbook, I came across this recipe.  They are delicious and very pretty, too. I think these are a perfect Christmas cookie for giving and sharing!

Oatmeal Chocolate Florentine Cookies

2/3 cup butter or margarine (I used real butter.)
2 cups quick oats, uncooked
1 cup sugar
2/3 cup flour
1/4 cup corn syrup
1/4 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 cups (12 ounce package) milk chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Melt butter in medium saucepan over low heat.  Remove from heat.  Stir in remaining ingredients, excepts for chocolate chips.  Mix well.  Drop by measuring teaspoonfuls (Mine are a little bigger.) about 3 inches apart, onto foil-lined cookie sheets. Important step that I didn't notice at first: Spread thin with rubber spatula.

Bake 5 - 7 minutes until golden brown around edges.  (Mine took longer, as most things do in my old oven!)  Cool on cookie sheets.  Peel foil away from cookies.  (I had to put new foil every time, except for the very last batch that cooked a little longer.)

Melt milk chocolate chips over hot water (My stove top has a "melt" setting and it worked great!).  Stir chips until smooth.  Spread chocolate on flat side of half of the cookies.  Top with remaining cookies to form sandwiches. 

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Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Lighted Snowman Jar Craft

Posted by Lori:

Every once in a while, instead of a "food" recipe, we like to give you a "craft" recipe. Every year when I get out my Christmas decoration totes, it's always so much fun. On my husband's side of the family, with each of his five siblings and their spouses, we do a homemade gift exchange. This Lighted Snowman Jar Craft is something I made many years ago for that exchange. It's still one of my very favorites, though it's a little scratched up.  In fact, when it's lit, the scratches don't show up at all.

Lighted Snowman Jar Craft

1 large glass jar (I found this one at a dollar-type store.)
1 ivy bowl (non fluted is best, but I used fluted and covered the fluted part with the hat)
Material or fleece for hat/scarf
Hot glue gun/glue sticks
Christmas lights (20 or 25 count)
Sponge or sponge brush
Round sponge
Raffia/buttons, if desired

Sponge paint both jars lightly with white or ivory paint. (I used ivory.)  Allow paint to dry. Sponge black paint circles for eyes and mouth on ivy bowl and buttons on the large jar. Paint on an orange carrot-looking nose.  Allow to dry.
With choice of fabric or fleece, measure around top of ivy bowl, leaving and extra 1/2 inch or so.  For the heighth, leave it long, to desired length.  Hot glue edges together to make a seam and hot glue a cuff to hide cut edge. (Fleese might not need this step.)  Hot glue hat onto top of ivy bowl.  Bring end of fabric/fleece together and tie with raffia or ribbon.  Cut top edge of fabric in strips to make decorative top. Glue buttons on hat for decoration, if desired.
Cut strip of fleece to make scarf.  Cut strips on each end to make fringe.  Tie around neck/top of large jar.
Insert light strand into large jar.  Place ivy bowl/snowman's head on top.  Plug in the lights to light up your snowman.  (As I was typing this, I looked online and saw a similar craft using a pickle jar.  It said to drill a hole in the base of the pickle jar for the light strand.  I wouldn't have ever attempted drilling into glass, but apparently it works!) My light strand just pokes out from in-between the two jars and works just fine.
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Monday, November 15, 2010

Almond Tea

Posted by Lori:

Last week at the Christmas Open House where I have a small little gift-item booth, a customer asked if we were serving Almond Tea.  I had never heard of Almond Tea, but she said it was great.  I searched for a recipe and found this one from Southern Living.  I made it last night (I only made 1/4 of a recipe.) and it's very, very good!  It says to chill it and drink it cold, but I liked it hot.  It's fruity, with a mild tea flavor, plus the subtle hint of vanilla and almond.  It's a perfect beverage for your up-coming holiday gatherings.

Almond Tea
12 cups water, divided
4 family-size tea bags
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 1/3 cups fresh lemon juice
4 teaspoons almond extract
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Garnishes: lemon, lime, and orange slices

Bring 4 cups water to a boil: pour over tea bags. Cover and steep 10 minutes; discard tea bags.

Bring remaining 8 cups water and sugar to a boil in a large saucepan, stirring constantly; boil 5 minutes. Remove from heat; stir in tea, lemon juice, and extracts. Chill. Serve over ice; garnish, if desired.

Southern Living, OCTOBER 1997

This post is linked to Tempt My Tummy Tuesday and Tasty Tuesday.

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Sunday, November 14, 2010

Carrot Cake

Posted by Donna:

The very first cake I ever learned to make was Carrot Cake. One of my aunts was known for her delicious Carrot Cake--she was the one who taught me how to make her special cake.
A couple of years ago, my husband and I were in Hollis to celebrate this particular aunt's 85th birthday. A cousin had made this version of a carrot cake. The only difference I noted was the absence of crushed pineapple--which my aunt's recipe includes. However, it was so, so good. I thought it would be a good recipe to share.

Carrot Cake

3 cups flour
2 tsp. soda
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
2 cups sugar
1 (1 lb. ) pkg. grated carrots
1 cup Wesson oil
4 eggs

Sift flour, soda, salt, and cinnamon together. Mix the carrots, sugar, oil and eggs together. Stir in the flour mixture. It will be gooey. Pour the batter into an ungreased 9 x 13 pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 to 40 minutes. After the cake has cooled, frost with the recipe below.


1 ( 8 oz. ) pkg. cream cheese
1 stick margarine, melted
2 tsp. vanilla
1 lb. box powdered sugar, sifted
1 cup chopped nuts

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Friday, November 12, 2010

Chocolate Chip Cookie Pizza

Posted by Lori:

I didn't take a picture of this cookie pizza as soon as we made it, but it's just the same as this Brownie Pizza picture, except the crust is chocolate chip cookie dough instead of brownie dough.

My son, Jacob, and I made this for one of his cake walk desserts.  His older brother, Zachary, was determined to win it at the cake walk at our school's annual carnival. And, he did!  They were both excited.

Chocolate Chip Cookie Pizza

1 package chocolate chip refrigerated cookie dough (or use homemade)
Caramel ice cream topping
M & M's
Mini marshmallows
Chocolate syrup

Press cookie dough into pizza pan.  Bake at 350 degrees for 15 - 20 minutes or until lightly browned.  Pour caramel ice cream topping on crust and spread evenly.  Sprinkle mini marshmallows over caramel and crust.  Broil in oven until marshmallows start to brown (watch carefully!).  Remove cookie pizza from oven and sprinkle M & M's on top, followed by drizzled chocolate syrup.
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Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Chocolate Cookie Cake

Posted by Lori:

Tomorrow is our annual school carnival.  Student Council members each are required to bring two homemade goodies for the Cake Walk, one of the highlights of the carnival games.  Our son, Jacob, is one of the student council representatives so I got his input for one of the desserts, but the other one I put my daughter in charge of making.  She found this recipe for Chocolate Cookie Cake.  It was actually cupcakes, but she made it into a cake.  She also made a homemade vanilla icing instead of using canned icing.  (I would share it with you, but I don't know what it was and she's asleep!)

Here's the originial recipe from the "Taste of Home Cake Mix Treats" cookbook:


1 package (18 1/4 ounces) white cake mix
1 1/4 cups water
1/4 cup canola oil
3 egg whites
1 cup coarsely crushed cream-filled chocolate sandwich cookies (about 9 cookies) - Lauren used Oreos
1 can (16 ounces) vanilla frosting (Lauren made homemade icing)

Additional crushed cream-filled chocolate sandwich cookies

In a large bowl, combine the cake mix, water, oil, and egg whites; beat on low speed for 30 seconds.  Beat on hight for 2 minutes.  Gently fold in cookie crumbs.  Fill paper-lined muffin cups two-thirds full. Bake at 350 degrees for 18-22 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.  Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pans to wire racks to cool completely.  Frost cupcakes; sprinkle with the additional cookie crumbs. (For cake, grease and flour 9 x 13 inch cake pan.  Pour batter into pan and bake at 350 degrees for 30 - 40 minutes.)
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Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Chow Down Special

Posted by Lori:

My boys named this dish after I asked them what I should call it for a recipe post. I tease our oldest son, Zachary, that he'll have to marry someone who is a great cook because he is a food critic and also because he expects "real" food at every meal (meaning a "meat and potatoes" type meal three times a day. 

A few weeks ago his 8th grade class took a test to help them see what kind of career they might find suitable for their future.  We got a big kick out of one of his results:  a food critic!!!  How true those results were!

So, in honor of my three boys, here is the recipe for "Chow Down Special".

Chow Down Special

1 or 2 batches corn griddle cakes (Make per package directions on side of Jiffy Cornbread box)

1 1/2 pound ground beef, browned and drained
3 cans beans (I used 1 Ranch Style and 2 pinto, but any mixture will work)
1 cup water
1 teaspoon beef base (found by bouillion cubes)
1 teaspoon salt (or to taste)
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder

Mix ingredients together and simmer for 30 minutes or in Crock Pot on low for a few hours.  Serve beef and bean mixture over corn griddle cakes.  Top with cheddar cheese.  (I think it would be good with lettuce, tomatoes, and onions, too.)

This meat mixture is very good and leftovers can be used in several different ways.  We used it for an enchilada casserole one time and quesadillas the next.  It's kind of like a chili, but not spicy.
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Sunday, November 7, 2010


Posted by Donna:

This weekend was Open House for several of the businesses in town. Each store had wonderful drinks and eats for the customers. One of the stores was serving a punch that was one of the best I've ever had. The lady who made it was kind enough to share the recipe. She didn't give exact measurements---just a rough explanation of how she made it.

Apple juice


Orange slices

Combine the juice and 7-Up in a dispenser or punch bowl. Add the orange slices. I asked if the juice and 7-Up were equal amounts, and she said just about the same. These three ingredients worked well together---everything was just right.
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Posted by Lori:
It's almost that time....the time for Christmas cookies!  I needed to make some cookies for a Christmas Open House where I have my little business (a rented booth within a bigger store).  I searched through a couple of cookie cookbooks and found these.  My youngest son, Tyler, helped me make them....and eat them, too!  They are very good and look like small snowballs, as their name implies.


1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 cup butter, softened
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 1/4 cups flour
1/2 cup chopped pecans
Extra powdered sugar

In large mixing bowl, combine 1/2 cup powdered sugar, butter, and salt.  Mix well.  Add vanilla. Gradually mix in flour a little bit at a time.  Mix in pecans.  Cover dough and chill until firm.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Form dough into 1-inch balls.  Place 1 inch apart on ungreased cookie sheets.  Bake 8 - 10 minutes or until set, but not brown.  Roll in additional sugar immediately.  Cool on wire racks.  Roll in sugar again.  Store in airtight container.  (Recipe says that it makes 5 dozen. I got 4 dozen out of it.)
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Thursday, November 4, 2010

Garlic-Ranch Roasted Potatoes

Posted by Lori:

I like different types of potatoes.  They taste great and come in a variety of different colors.  For this recipe I used a mixture of Fingerling potatoes (Sometimes found at Walmart or Sam's Club, but also at local grocery stores, such as United in our area.) and a variety called "Gemstone", found at our area United.  You can use plain potatoes, as well.

Garlic-Ranch Roasted Potatoes

3 1/2 - 4 pounds potatoes
1 package ranch dip mix (I used Hidden Valley)
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 cup olive oil

Wash potatoes and place in large casserole dish.  In small measuring cup or mixing bowl, mix together olive oil, garlic powder, and ranch dip mix.  Pour over potatoes.  Cover with foil and bake at 400 degrees for 2 hours.
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Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Have it Your Way Fruit Salad

Posted by Lori:

I first heard about this fruit salad at a ladies' retreat I attended last month.  Several ladies asked the chef for the recipe.  It was super-simple and very adaptable to suit individual taste preferences.  So, I named it "Have it Your Way Fruit Salad".  It's a fitting name, I think!

Have It Your Way Fruit Salad

1 can peach pie filling (can use other fruit pie fillings and also, sugar free may be used)
Fresh fruit, frozen fruit, or canned fruit....as desired
If using bananas, add 1 teaspoon lemon juice

Combine all filling and fruits in mixing bowl.  Stir until well mixed.  Refrigerate until ready to serve.

I used both peach and cherry pie filling because I don't care for the "clear" color of the peach filling (goofy, I know!).  The mixture of the peach and cherry made a pretty reddish color.
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Monday, November 1, 2010

Cupcakes with Butter Cream Icing

Posted by Lori:

Last week was Red Ribbon Week and in most United States schools, that designated week is celebrated in some way, by encouraging students to say no to drugs.  Our elementary students had fun wearing red clothing, wearing their favorite hat, bringing their favorite stuffed animal/toy, and on Friday celebrated by wearing our school colors.  At the end of the day on Friday, the students were be treated to a "Really Red Party", hosted by the PTO.  They were served red juice drinks and red-iced cupcakes. (I used these pumpkin paper liners because that's all I had.  They really didn't go with the red icing, but I doubt the kiddos cared :).
I spent the day last Thursday baking and decorating cupcakes for some of the classes.  Maybe you already know this, but I just found it out last year - after trying to make the cupcakes for this same event.  To get the pretty swirl on top, use a 4B or larger star tip. You must start at the edge of the cupcake and work in towards the middle and getting smaller and smaller and mounding up a little on the top.  I couldn't ever figure it out last year, so searched for decorating tips online. Maybe there is at least one of YOU who also wanted to know how to get the pretty little swirl, too!

These pictures are from Red Ribbon Week and also just regular fall decorated cupcakes, using sprinkles in leaf shapes.

Here is my Butter Cream Icing recipe:

1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
1 cup shortening
2 pounds powdered sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla
1/4 cup milk
Food coloring, as desired (I use Wilton gel color)

In large mixing bowl, using electric mixer, beat together butter and shortening.  Add powdered sugar about 3 cups at a time, mixing well between additions.  Add vanilla and milk, mixing well.  Add coloring if desired.

For decorating swirled cupcakes, as shown, insert large decorator tip (No. 4B or larger star tip) into pastry bag (you may need to trim the tip of the bag to make it a little bigger for the tip).  Fill bag 2/3 full with icing. Twist or fold down excess of bag.  Gently press until icing begins to come out.  Decorate as desired.

This post is linked to Tasty Tuesday, Tempt My Tummy Tuesday, and Tuesdays at the Table.
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Baked Okra

Posted by Donna

My husband decided to plant a few seeds of okra this year. He ended up with four plants that were about six feet tall. We're not sure why they got so tall, but our local newspaper featured a man who also had okra plants just as tall. Out of those four plants, we've had an over abundance of okra. My husband would eat fried okra every meal. We were having it almost everyday, but that much fried "stuff" isn't the healthiest of choices. I had tried pouring a little olive oil on top of the okra and baking it, but didn't like that too well. One of my daughter's friends told her to try baking okra using this recipe and I liked it much better. Nothing can take the place of it being fried, but this certainly tasted good and it is much healthier.

Spray a foil lined cookie sheet with Pam.

Toss the desired amount of okra in corn meal, seasoned with salt and pepper.

Spread the okra out in a single layer on top of the foil.

Lightly spray the top of the mealed okra with Pam.

Bake at 400 degrees until slightly browned. Don't overbake. Mine took about 20 minutes.

When we were visiting in Lubbock here recently, Kimberly was out of corn meal. Instead, she used Panko crumbs and the okra turned out really well.

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