Monday, October 28, 2013

Butter Pecan Toffee Cookies

I've made several cake mix cookie recipes, but I can't wait to try this one that a friend was telling me about.  This Butter Pecan cake mix is made by Betty Crocker.  The pecans are optional.


1 Betty Crocker Butter Pecan cake mix
2 eggs
1/2 cup oil
1 cup chopped pecans, optional
1 package Heath brickle bits

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In large mixing bowl, combine cake mix, eggs, and oil.  Mix well. Stir in pecans and brickle bits.  Drop by spoonfuls onto cookie sheets, two inches apart.  Bake for 8-10 minutes or until bottoms are lightly browned and tops are just beginning to brown.  Cool for a few minutes on baking sheet, then transfer to a wire rack to finish cooling. Store in airtight container.
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Friday, October 25, 2013

Homemade White Cake

I needed to make cupcakes and freeze them to save some time next week when I make 65 little Minion cupcakes for our elementary school.  I didn't have any cakes mixes, but was kind of glad.  I've wanted to make from-scratch white cake, and had a few times, but wasn't completely satisfied with the results.

I think I'm now satisfied! This is a GREAT recipe!  I'll probably switch to only homemade because it's just so much better than a box....and healthier, I suppose (as healthy as a cake can get, anyway!).

Instead of typing out the recipe, I've just posted this link to is at "Add a Pinch".  Enjoy!
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Thursday, October 24, 2013


While making cookies last week, the kids wanted Chocolate Chip, and I decided to make Snickerdoodles.  I don't remember making Snickerdoodles except once before, though I don't know why.  Maybe it's because I know I would eat too many of them?  Yes, that's probably it!

This is my cousin's recipe.  It was also an entry in the school contest that I mentioned a few days ago. However, this was the 5th grade winner, placing just above that Chocolate Chip recipe!

1 cup shortening
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 eggs
2 3/4 cups flour, sifted
2 teaspoons cream of tartar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon (I used more)
2 teaspoons sugar (I used more)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a mixing bowl, combine shortening, 1 1/2 cups sugar, and eggs; mix thoroughly. Sift flour, cream of tartar, soda, and salt; stir into shortening mixture. Mix cinnamon and 2 teaspoons sugar in a shallow dish. Form dough into balls the size of walnuts.  Roll in cinnamon sugar. Place on ungreased cookie sheet about 2' apart. Bake 8 - 10 minutes. Cool before removing from cookie sheet.
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Tuesday, October 22, 2013

World's Greatest Chocolate Chip Cookies

Before I list this new recipe I tried, I'll put the disclaimer that I didn't name them.  This recipe came from a school cookbook where my sister teaches. A few years ago they made a cookbook and a cookie recipe contest in each grade level. This particular cookie won runner-up in the 5th grade.  The little girl's name was Lauren Clifton, so I'll give her credit for the name!

So, are they the world's greatest?  They were very, very good! I liked them. Three of my kids liked them.  My husband and another child were out of town, so never got to try them.  Will I make them again?  Yes!

So here is the recipe for you to try!  Note that you freeze the dough for an hour before baking!

World's Greatest Chocolate Chip Cookies
(Lauren Clifton)

12 tablespoons butter, melted
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
1 large egg
1 egg yolk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups plus 2 tablespoons flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 cup chopped nuts (I didn't use.)

In a mixing bowl, cream melted butter and sugars. Add egg, yolk, and vanilla. Blend well. In a separate bowl, mix dry ingredients. Add dry ingredients to butter mixture, stirring until well blended. Mix in the chocolate chips and nuts. Drop by 1/4 cupfuls onto a cookie sheet. Freeze one hour. (These will keep in the freezer stored in a plastic bag for weeks.). Bake at 325 degrees for 7-9 minutes on the upper rack, and then 7-9 minutes on the lower rack. Don't overbake. They should be golden brown, but still soft in the center. Cool on the cookie sheet. Makes 2 dozen.

Notes from me:  I used REAL stick butter.  I'm sure that's what the recipe means, but some think of butter as margarine and other types of spreads.  I didn't use the nuts.
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Friday, October 18, 2013

Ice Cream in a Bag

A few weeks ago, I had a 4-H meeting.  Our county extension FCS educator helped me and gave me a great idea to do with the members: Ice Cream in a bag!
I had seen it done before, but had never done it with students or my own kids.
To make the ice cream, take one quart ziplock bag.  Place 1 cup of half and half, 1/2 cup of sugar (can use 4 tablespoons for Stevia), and 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla.
Fill a gallon zip lock bag half full with ice.  Add 1/2 cup of rock salt.  Place smaller bag (zip well!) inside of larger bag.  Zip large bag well.  Shake for five minutes or until ice cream is hard.  After it hardens, remove the quart bag of ice cream from the larger bag. 
Run the bag under water to clean off the salt, taking care to get the top, near the zip lock seam.  Open the bag, grab a spoon, and enjoy!
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Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Chili Bar!

Recently we had our church youth group over for a meal and devotional.  I wasn't sure what I was going to serve them at first, but my mom suggested something she had seen somewhere - a chili bar!
It worked out perfectly, and it was lots of fun!  We had chili, hot dogs, Frito chili pie, nachos, and baked potatoes (potatoes not shown) for options.  I used big and little stainless steel bowls for serving all of the foods and condiments.
If I had time, I would have liked to make a "CHILI BAR" banner and little signs for each of the bowls. It would have been cute, but I don't think the kids would have noticed!
They only cared about getting together, eating, and enjoying playing in the yard. :) After the meal, we sang and had a short devotional thought from my husband.  The "Chili Bar" will become a standard meal for the youth group.  Thanks, mom!
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Thursday, October 10, 2013

Banana Strawberry Smoothie

Here is another recipe from my two son's Life Skills class.  It's a recipe from Taste of Home. I get the privilege of teaching my boys in the Life Skills classes today and tomorrow, as I teach them and the other students about etiquette.  They told me they were not going to talk to me....almost like they were going to pretend I wasn't their mother! Not easy to do in a town of less than a thousand people! Haha!

Banana Strawberry Smoothie

1 and 1/2 cups vanilla or plain yogurt
2/3 cup orange juice
2 medium rip bananas, cut into chunks
1 cup halved fresh strawberries
2 teaspoons honey

In a blender, combine all ingredients; cover and process until smooth. Pour into chilled glasses; serve immediately.  Yield: 2 servings.
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Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Spa Lady Cheese Ball

Isn't this the cutest cheese ball you've ever seen?  This was a snack at our ladies' retreat last weekend!  It tasted delicious, too!

Here's a link for directions on making this lovely snack:
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Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Hazelnut Mocha Smoothies

Two of our sons are in a life skills class this year. Since Home Ec was my very favorite class, and that was what I wanted to do - teach Home Ec (but they cut most of those programs from schools around here and from most colleges) I was thrilled it was being brought back and my boys were able to take it!

Fifteen year old, Jacob, needs some help in the cooking department, apparently.  Last week, in class, they were making a dessert. The recipe called for 1 1/2 teaspoons of baking soda.  The teacher caught him just as he was putting the last 1/2 CUP of baking soda in! He had already put in the whole CUP!!!  She scooped out as much as she could, but then they decided to go ahead and bake the dish! It didn't blow up, but she took it out of the oven, just as it was about to.  He'll never live it down, will he??!

He's learning, and so are the others in the class. That's what matters.

Recently they made this smoothie.  It was Jacob's favorite, since he likes getting a taste of coffee from time to time.

Hazelnut Mocha Smoothie

1 cup milk
1/2 cup Nutella
4 teaspoons instant espresso powder
6 ice cubes
2 cups vanilla ice cream
Chocolate curls, optional

In a blender, combine the milk, Nutella, and espresso powder; cover and process until blended. Add ice cubes; cover and process until smooth. Pour into chilled glasses; serve immediately. Garnish with chocolate curls if desired. Yield: 3 servings
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