Friday, August 31, 2012

Breakfast Pitas

Posted by Lori:

This morning I tried something new for breakfast for the kids.  I scrambled eggs, added some chopped up already-cooked bacon, and a little bit of cheddar cheese....and filled 1/2 of a whole wheat-flax pita pocket with the mixture.

The Breakfast Pita was a big hit with all of them, except the youngest who doesn't like eggs.  As I displayed them on the little plates and began serving them, the oldest son said, "Mom, this looks like something from a fancy restaurant!".  I'd say this new breakfast was a success!  Hooray!
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Tuesday, August 28, 2012

"I Spy" Christmas Ornament.....Sort Of

Posted by Lori:

I thought I had a great idea for a craft last week.  Not trying it out beforehand, I took all of the supplies to the first 4-H meeting of the year and had the members make crafts for the local fair that was held last weekend.

I purchased clear glass ornaments, miniature Christmas charms, trinkets, and novelties....and the mini-mini styrofoam balls to make snow.  The plan was to put about 8 or 10 little things into the glass ornament and fill it with the "snow".  I thought it would be so much fun "spying" the snow - trying to find the mini goodies.  But my idea failed - BIG TIME!
As you can see, the "I Spy" ornaments don't have much to spy at all.  I see a glimpse of red and green, but nothing that looks like a jingle bell, a cookie cutter, a light bulb, a gingerbread man, a snow man, a snow flake, etc.  Nothing!  I really thought all of those mini items would be heavier than the styrofoam mini balls, so they would sink to the bottom, but no.
You may be asking, "Why did you post this?"  Well, I still think the idea sounds fun and thought maybe YOU could help me by giving ideas of what to do!  I can "Google" it or "Pinterest" it (that's a new phrase, I'm sure!), but want to get your ideas first.

Let me know what you think!

By the way......I still entered the ornaments in the fair.  The 4-H members would have been disappointed if I hadn't!
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Monday, August 27, 2012

Broken Window Glass Cake

Posted by Lori:

I remember making this cake many, many years ago for Easter.  In fact, by the side of that recipe it says, "Easter 1990".  That's been a long time!!

I suppose I didn't ever make it again because #1:  It was very time-consuming, and #2:  I don't like Jello.  I'm sure that is the biggest reason because it was a beautiful cake!  So, I thought I would share it with you.

This recipe is from the cookbook, "Best Recipes from the backs of boxes, bottles, cans and jars".  This particular recipe is from The New Joys of Jello-O - a 1973 cookbook.

Broken Window Glass Cake

1 - 3 ounce package Jell-O Brand Orange Flavor Gelatin
1 - 3 ounce package Jell-O Brand Cherry Flavor Gelatin
1 - 3 ounce package Jell-O Brand Lim Flavor Gelatin
3 cups boiling water
1 1/2 cups cold water
1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
1/2 cup butter or margarine, melted
1 - 3 ounce package Jell-O Brand Lemon Flavor Gelatin
1/4 cup sugar
1 cup boiling water
1/2 cup canned pineapple juice
1 - 8 ounce container whipped topping (The original recipe says to use BirdsEye Cool Whip, which I'm not sure is still even made.)

Prepare the orange, cherry and lime gelatins separately, dissolving each in 1 cup boiling water and adding 1/2 cup of the cold water.  Pour each flavor into separate 8-inch square pans.  Chill until firm, at least 3 hours or overnight.  Cut into 1/2-inch cubes.  Mix crumbs with butter.  Set aside about 1/4 cup for garnish, if desired, and press remaining crumb mixture evenly over bottom and up sides to within 1 inch from top of 9-inch springform or tube pan.  Chill.  Dissolve lemon gelatin and sugar in 1 cup boiling water; add pineapple juice.  Chill until slightly thickened.  Blend in whipped topping.  Fold in gelatin cubes.  Spoon into crumb-lined pan.  Chill overnight or until firm.  Just before serving, run a spatula around sides of pan; then gently remove sides.  Garnish with reserved crumbs or with additional whipped topping and flaked coconut, tinted, if desired.  Makes 12 to 16 servings.

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Thursday, August 23, 2012

Layered Zebra Birthday Cake

Posted by Lori:

A few days ago I was asked to make a zebra birthday cake for a young lady who was turning 16.  I was excited about making it, but not sure about the zebra stripes.  I think they would be easy, but didn't have the time to test it out like I would have wanted.

To me, a layered birthday cake is just as easy as a flat cake, but looks even better.  For this cake I used two cake mixes (I prefer Pillsbury) and baked 2 - 8 inch round cake pans, a 6 inch round cake pan, and a small spring form pan - probably 4 inches.

I used this BUTTERCREAM ICING recipe.

So, back to the zebra stripes:  I had a small roll of zebra ribbon and cut it to go around the top layer.  I liked it and it was perfect for the zebra effect!  Hobby Lobby had other zebra ribbon rolls in various sizes, so I bought them to go around the middle and bottom layers.  It worked out perfectly!  I will say that it would be BEST to put the ribbon on BEFORE the black border, but I didn't have time to do it that way.  I just had to be very, very careful with the ribbon.

To finish off the cake, I found an "A" cake topper - also at Hobby Lobby, and sprinkled hot pink sugar crystals around the edges of each layer.  Finally, 16 zebra-striped candles were added to the middle layer and the birthday girl's special cake was ready.
The birthday girl was very proud of her cake!  What a fun cake to make for her special day!
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Monday, August 20, 2012

Corn Casserole

Posted by Lori:

I haven't made this recipe in a while because I'm the only one in my family who likes cream cheese, but it's a delicious side dish for those of you who do!  I like making things like this for fellowship dinners, that way I can have some, but don't have any leftovers to deal with afterwards.

Corn Casserole

2 cans whole kernel corn, drained
1 stick margarine or butter, softened
1 - 8 ounce package cream cheese, softened
1 small can green chilies, diced

Place all ingredients in a medium mixing bowl. Mix thoroughly.  Pour into casserole dish and top with crushed cheese flavored crackers, if desired.  Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes, or until heated through.
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Friday, August 17, 2012

Back to School Breakfast Ideas

Posted by Lori:

Every year, on the first day of school, our PTO provides breakfast for the school.  We are a small school, with three main buildings for grades K-12 all on one campus, so the breakfast is taken to those three places.  This year I had many who volunteered to help with the breakfast!  The teachers and staff are always very appreciative of the meal and snack on it during the day, as well.

The PTO also serves breakfast at the end of school, during Teacher Appreciation Week.

I thought I would share with you some of the items I have made in the past for the meal.  This year I just handled the parfaits because my oven element was out!  Not great timing, but better than Thanksgiving when it went out before :).

Breakfast Pizza
Back to School Breakfast Dish
Bisquick Breakfast Pizza
Cinnamon Biscuit Muffins
Very Berry Breakfast Parfait
J.P.'s Big Daddy Biscuits
Breakfast Muffin Cups

Other items that are often brought for the meal: donuts, cinnamon rolls, muffins, juice, fruit.

I thought I had posted another parfait, but apparently haven't yet.  Layer vanilla yogurt, granola (our Walmart stores sell a Canadian Valley Honey & Oat granola that is great), blueberries, and strawberries.  It is a favorite of the teachers, and I actually just tried to copy the yogurt parfaits that McDonald's sells.

The breakfast casseroles are also something I usually make for my own children on the first day back to school.  It's not something I want them to eat all of the time, but just ever so often as a special morning treat to tie them over until lunch time.

What do you serve for "Back to School"?
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Thursday, August 16, 2012

Jacob's Plan

Posted by Lori:

After our son Jacob came back from visiting my parents for a week, he made a goal to eat healthy and to quit eating junk.  I think they fed him way too good! :)

Jacob has always known - since he was in elementary school - that too much sugar bothered him.  I remember him saying it made his thinking "fuzzy".  Sometimes we could tell that he was a little upset with something - almost angry at times - and figured out that it had to do with sugar.  He wasn't diabetic, but seemed to be very sensitive to sugar.

Our kids are only allowed one soft drink a week - two on occasion - and they eat pretty healthy, for the most part.  But, as with most kids and some adults, too, sugar often the go-to food of choice if it is in close proximity.

Jacob began eating only healthy foods....meats, fruits, vegetables, and some whole wheat bread and cheese.  He began running almost every day and playing golf quite a bit, too.  He has lost a little weight and also grown taller this summer, but most importantly - he FEELS better!  He knows the way he is eating now has made a HUGE difference in the way he feels, thinks, acts, and even looks (that was not his goal - to lose any weight, but he can just tell his pants are looser!).

I don't believe sugar is good or necessary for any of us, but I know for a fact that for some people it is just really, really bad.  It doesn't affect me (visibly, that is).  It does affect my husband.  Maybe it affects you or your child.

It's extremely important for us to realize that food matters.  I'm not an expert on health and I certainly don't always follow what I know is good advice on the food I eat, BUT for children and adults who struggle with syndromes, diseases and problems in focusing and learning, food must be considered as a possibility.  A well known doctor who my husband has heard speak many times and I've had the privilege of speaking with on a plane flight home many years ago said she never treats any one with medication.  She alters their diet and sees amazing changes!

If you are struggling with your child's behavior problems, please consider the foods he/she eats.  Changing their food, instead of giving them some medication with scary side effects, may be just what the doctor ordered!  It may be just what they need.  It may be just what you need.

If you have any comments or questions about this or any of the info from the doctor, please let me know. I'll help you any way I can.

In the meantime, let Jacob encourage YOU as he has encouraged ME.  I tease him that if HE can do it, I can, too!

Note:  This doesn't mean I won't still post unhealthy recipes, though. :)  The rest of us aren't ready for the total plunge like Jacob is doing.  Baby steps.....
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Monday, August 13, 2012

Chocolate Chip Cookies

Posted by Lori:
I found another great recipe for chocolate chip cookies!  I always like trying different recipes searching for the "best" chocolate chip cookies.  This one is very, very good!  I made "Doozies" out of them for a church youth rally, so they were definitely a big hit with the teens.

This recipe was found on  Dora posted them.  Thanks, Dora!

  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons hot water
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Cream together the butter, white sugar, and brown sugar until smooth.  Beat in the eggs one at a time, then stir in the vanilla. Dissolve baking soda in hot water.  Add to batter along with salt.  Stir in flour, chocolate chips, and nuts. Drop by large spoonfuls onto ungreased pans.  Bake for about 10 minutes or until edges are nicely browned.

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Friday, August 10, 2012

Herb Butter

Posted by Lori:

Last summer one of my sisters-in-law grew herbs in her garden and then made herb butter.  I had intentions to make some myself with bought fresh herbs, but haven't yet.  She made hers into a loaf, but I think there are butter molds that would be great for this, as well.

Here's the link for her recipe from her blog post:
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Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Vegetable Casserole

Posted by Lori:
This is one of my Grandma Sibyl's recipes. I remember her serving it for every holiday dinner at her house. I always really liked it, although I don't think I had any idea what was in it at the time, or I might not have eaten it!

I am going to give you her original recipe, followed by the recipe with my own adaptations. By looking at the ingredients and directions, you may prefer one over the other, according to your taste preferences. My recipe is also doubled, since I always cook BIG!

1 can whole kernel corn, drained
1 can French-style green beans, drained
1/2 cup celery, chopped
1/4 cup green bell pepper, chopped
1/2 cup onion, chopped
1/2 cup sour cream
1 can celery soup
1 cup grated cheddar cheese
Cheese nips

Mix together and pour in 9 x 9 dish. Cover with crushed cheese nips. Melt 1/2 stick oleo and pour over nips. Bake at 350 degrees until bubbles, about 30 minutes.

2 cans whole kernel corn, drained
2 cans French-style green beans, drained
1 - 4 oz. can chopped green chilies
1 - 8 oz. carton sour cream
1 small onion, chopped
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 can cream of mushroom soup (I've used all cream of mushroom soup, too)
2 cups grated cheddar cheese
Cheese flavored crackers, crushed (ex. Cheez-Its, Goldfish, etc.)
2 sticks butter or margarine

In small skillet, cook chopped onion and 1 stick butter or margarine until onions are translucent. In large bowl, combine corn, green beans, chilies, sour cream, soups, and cheese. Mix in cooked onions. Pour ingredients into 9 x 13 casserole dish. Top with crushed crackers. Melt remaining stick of butter and pour over crackers. Bake 45 minutes (or until bubbling) at 350 degrees.

If you are making it ahead of time, refrigerate casserole until needed. Add crackers and melted butter or margarine just before baking.

I take this casserole to church potluck dinners and serve at Thanksgiving dinner with my husband's family. It always makes me think of Grandma!
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Monday, August 6, 2012


Posted by Lori:
This is one of my mother-in-law's recipe, but also one of my kids' very favorites. Years ago when I worked part-time, she babysat them and the oldest two would help her cook. This was a regular dish they would help her prepare. One of my sons still wants to help when I make it now.

I've seen this recipe in other cookbooks with different names, such as "Tallerilla" and "Tallyrila". Wonder where the name came from? Maybe someone's last name...


1 pound ground beef
1 tsp. chili powder
1 small jar chopped olives and juice (I mince them even smaller in the food processor to "hide" them for my youngest two children!)
1 can whole kernel corn and juice
1 - 1 pound pkg. egg noodles
1 can diced tomatoes and juice
1 pound cheddar cheese, shredded
1/2 tsp. pepper
1 tsp. salt

Brown meat and green pepper in large skillet. Season with chili powder, salt, and pepper. While this cooks, cook noodles until tender and drain. Add noodles to meat mixture. Add diced tomatoes and juice, corn, and olives and juice. Mix all together and pour into large casserole dish. Cover with shredded cheese.

This is always served with crackers - according to my children.  That's what their Grammy always that's what I do.  It really doesn't need anything anything else because it has all of the food groups, but a salad would be good to serve with it, if you just "had" to have something!

A few years ago, I added a lot of beef broth and made it into a soup. It was really good, as well.  In fact, I have a theory about casseroles.  If you chill them, most could be a salad (maybe not with hamburger meat.) and if you water them down, they're a soup!  Three meals from one basic recipe, right?!!  Maybe so!
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Friday, August 3, 2012

Special Ingredient Pancakes

Posted by Lori:

While we were at camp this summer, I told my brother-in-law, Ken, that the best pancakes I had ever eaten were some he had made for our youth group trip to Colorado nine years ago.  I assumed it was because they were cooked on an open fire and also because he used Krusteaz brand pancake mix.  When I mentioned that mix, he replied, "Oh, no! I wouldn't ever have "just" used a pancake mix.  I would have added something else to it."  I was thinking....."well, of COURSE he would have! (ha ha.....because everything he makes is delicious and never just "normal". :)'s his special recipe, just for YOU:

1 cup pancake mix
1/4 cup yellow cake mix

Make pancakes as directed on package and enjoy!!  How easy is that?!

Thanks, Ken!
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Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Cookie Cups

Posted by Lori:

I found this cute recipe from Family Fun for cookie cups.  Wouldn't they be perrfect for birthday parties?    The link for the recipe is under the picture.

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