Monday, November 28, 2011

Pumpkin Roll

3   eggs                                                    2 tsp. cinnamon
1  c. sugar                                                1 tsp. ginger
2/3 c. pumpkin                                        1/2 tsp. nutmeg
3/4 c. all purpose flour                            1/2 tsp. salt
Beat eggs 5 minutes on high speed. Add remaining ingredients and mix. Spread on a well greased cookie sheet. Bake 375 degrees for 12 minutes.

1 c. powdered sugar                                 4 Tbs. butter
1 8oz. cream cheese                                  1/2 tsp. vanilla
Mix all ingredients together. Place baked roll on a towel with a layer of powdered sugar on the towel. Roll up and let cool.
Unroll and spread filling on roll. Roll the pumpkin roll and wrap tightly in plastic wrap. Refrigerate overnight, then slice. Enjoy!


Twice Baked Sweet Potatos

6  small sweet potatos
2  Tbs. all purpose flour 
2  Tbs. packed brown sugar
2  Tbs. softened butter
1/4 c. chopped pecans
2  Tbs. softened butter
2  Tbs. half and half
1  tsp. pumpkin pie spice
1/4 tsp. salt
 Preheat oven 350 degrees. Cut each potato in half lenghways and place on a cookie sheet lined with foil.  Bake 45 minutes  until softened. Cool potatoes 10 minutes.
  Meanwhile, in small bowl, mix flour, brown sugar, 2 tablespoons butter and the pecans; set aside.
  Using spoon, scoop flesh into large bowl, being careful not to tear potato skins. Add 2 tablespoons butter, half-and-half, pumpkin pie spice and salt to potatoes. Mash potato mixture with potato masher or beat with electric mixer on medium speed until creamy. Spoon potato mixture back into skins. Place filled potatoes in 13x9-inch pan.
 Sprinkle pecan mixture over tops of potatoes. Bake uncovered 15to 30 minutes or until topping is lightly browned and potatoes are hot.

Luscious Lemon Pie

4 eggs, seperated
1 c. sugar
1/4 tsp. cream of tartar
1/2 c. sugar
3 Tbs. lemon juice
1 Tbs. grated lemon rind
1/4 tsp. salt
2 cups whipping cream or 4 cups of coolwhip

Beat 4 egg whites, gradually add 1 cup sugar and cream of tartar.  Beat until stiff.  Spread half of mixture onto bottom and sides of greased 9 inch pie pan.
Bake at 350 degrees for 45-60 minutes. Cool.
Take 4 egg yolks and beat slightly.  Stir in 1/2 cup sugar, 3 Tbs. lemon juice and 1 Tbs. grated lemon rind, 1/4 tsp. salt.  Cook until thickened on medium heat. Takes about 4-5 minutes, stirring constantly.  Cool.
Whip 2 cups whipping cream or 2 c. coolwhip and fold 1/2 of whip cream into lemon mixture.  Pour into cooled meringue shell.  Top with the remaining whip cream or cool whip.  Chill for 24 hours.

Chloe & Bella

Wanted to add a couple pics of our furbabies. These were taken Thanksgiving day. My biggest girl did not like the turkey bow and wouldn't come from under the bed.



Saturday, November 26, 2011

Maple Walnut Fudge

3 C white chocolate chips
14 oz can sweetened condensed milk
1/4 C butter
1 tsp Maple flavored extract
1 1/2 C broken walnut pieces

  1. Grease an 8x8 baking dish and line with parchment paper, leave edges hanging over the side of dish. 
  2. Melt chips, milk and butter in a microwavable bowl at 15-30 second intervals. Mix between each melting, do not over heat it the chocolate will scorch.
  3. When melted, add extract and mix till incorporated, then stir in the walnuts (work quickly).
  4. Pour into prepared pan and smooth top, chill at least one hour in fridge. Remove from pan, slice and enjoy!

Waldorf Salad

 4 apples, cored and chopped
1 1/2 c. seedless red grapes, halved
1 1/2 c. celery, chopped
1/2 c finely chopped walnuts
6 Tbs. mayo
3 Tbs lemon juice
Salt and Pepper to taste

Mix apples, grapes, celery and nuts. In a separate bowl, combine mayo and lemon juice. Pour over apple mixture and toss to coat. Season w/ salt and pepper. Chill well before serving.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Thanksgiving Turkey Cookies

I ran across these photos today and thought I would share for all you that have young children. How cute are these and very easy to make, you just need  a variety of cookies and candies and a tube of icing, to be used as glue. Would be great for a school project for the kids, let them make their own.

Olive Garden Bread Sticks copycat

copycat recipe from Todd Wilbur found on Chocolate, Chocolate and More
2 tbsp granulated sugar
3/4 tsp active dry yeast
1 cup; plus 1 tbsp warm water (105-115 degrees)
3 cups bread flour
1-1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup butter, softened

(use for topping after baking)
2 tbsp butter, melted
1/2 tsp garlic salt

Dissolve the sugar and yeast in the warm water in a small bowl or measuring cup and let the mixture sit for about 5 minutes, or until it becomes foamy on top.

Combine flour and salt in a large bowl. Use the paddle attachment on your stand mixer to mix in the softened butter to the flour. Don't worry if it still looks like flour, you just don't want to see lumps of butter.

Switch to your dough hook and add your foamy yeast mixture to the flour. Combine ingredients and then knead for 10 minutes.

Transfer dough to a lightly greased bowl and cover, let rise for 1 to 1 1/2 hours, it will double in size.

Once doubled, measure out portions to roll into bread sticks. The easiest way to roll is between your palms but you can also roll on the counter or a cutting board.  Place dough on a parchment lined baking sheet, or pam sprayed baking sheet.

Once all dough is rolled, cover baking sheet and let rise for another hour to 1 1/2 hours. Until the dough doubles in size again.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Bake the bread sticks  for 12-14 minutes till golden brown. Remove from oven and add the garlic salt to the melted butter and then brush it over the bread sticks.

Makes 12-13 bread sticks.

Buttercream Frosting

3 sticks butter, softened
2 lbs. powdered sugar (approx. 7 cups)
1 tsp  vanilla extract
whipping cream or 1/2 and 1/2 – enough to thin frosting to desired consistency

Beat butter in mixer on medium high  for 2-3 minutes or until pale and creamy.  Reduce speed to medium and add sugar, 1/2 cup at a time.  Beat well after each addition increasing speed to high after all sugar is added. Add vanilla and food coloring if desired.  Beat until buttercream is smooth.  Can be refrigerated for several days if covered.  If refrigerating, bring to room temperature before using and beat on low until smooth.

Contact Me


I love hearing from you. Please feel free to contact me if you are having trouble with any of these instructions or recipes. The whole point of this site is to help regular families cook fabulous food. So, if you are struggling, by all means, drop me a line. I'll see if I can help.
PS....I also love hearing about your cooking successes! It really puts a smile on this ladys face.
Leave me a comment or email me at:

About Me

About Me

I have been married to my wonderful husband for 20 years, blessed with 2 great teenage sons and 2 beautiful girl furbabies. This blog was created because I wanted to share my recipes with my 2 sisters and it is much easier to show rather than tell how to prepare them. I love to tweak recipes in my own special way. I will give tips on baking, gardening, canning, dehydrating food, food storage, and living a more green lifestyle-something we all need to do now for our children later.
I wanted to give a special thanks to my hubby and 2 sons for all their help on this blog, I couldn't do it on my own.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

French Bread

               French Bread recipe

(this amount makes 3 small loaves or 2 large):
2 1/2 c. warm water
2 T. yeast
3 T. sugar
2 T. white vinegar Add these ingredients together and let sit until bubbly
1 T. salt
1/3 c. oil
5 1/2-6 c. flour (or a little more if it's too soft)
Mix first 4 ingredients together and let sit until bubbly, then mix in rest of ingredients.  Dough--can be a little soft, if too sticky, add a little more flour. Knead for 2-5 minutes, then place bowl in oven with a pan of boiling water to keep it moist and rise faster. Watch the dough and punch it down when it gets to the top of the mixing bowl. Do this every time it gets to the top of the bowl, as long as you have time to babysit it (2-4 times). 

Put the dough on a greased countertop and divide into 3 sections. Spray a cookie sheet with cooking spray and sprinkle a thin layer of cornmeal on the bottom of the sheet.

Roll the dough balls into rectangle/long French bread shapes. Slash tops of bread diagonally 3-5 times and cover with a beaten egg. Let rise 30 minutes (or until doubled)on the counter, or you can put them in your oven at 170 and wait until they are the size you want to cook them at. Once they are to the right size, turn up your stove to 375 (without opening the door!) and let them bake until done. Or, just raise on the counter and bake at 375 for 30 minutes.  Serve warm. Enjoy! I baked this bread last night and it was excellent, got the recipe from Deals to Meals.


1 gallon = 4 quarts = 8 pints = 16 cups = 128 fluid ounces
1 quart = 2 pints = 4 cups = 32 fluid ounces
1 pint = 2 cups = 16 fluid ounces
1 cup = 8 fluid ounces = 16 tablespoons
1 tablespoon = 1/2 fluid ounce = 3 teaspoons
To convert ounces to grams, multiply ounces x 28.35
To convert pounds to grams, multiply pounds x 453.59
To convert Fahrenheit degrees (F) to Celsius degrees (C):°C = (°F - 32) x 5/9
1 stick of butter = 8 tablespoons = 4 ounces = 1/4 pound

Drying clothes outside

Did you  know that the dryer is the most energy consuming appliance in most homes. The typical load of laundry costs approx. 50 cents a load to dry. If you do 2 load a day, that is $30.00 a month saved off your electric bill. If you like your clothes to be a little softer after drying outside, you can toss them in your dryer on the wrinkle release cycle. The picture of the above clothes line can be bought at Lowes for $50.00, there are many clothes lines available though.

Working with Yeast

Tutorial: Working With Yeast
by Mel
While I am not an expert at yeast by any means, I do make my fair share of yeast breads and rolls – at least several times a week. I’ve received a lot of questions lately about yeast and so I want to share with you my method of doing things. It is a wonderful feeling to whip up a batch of rolls for dinner and know that you’ve done it for at least 1/10th of the cost than at the store (and done it with fantastically delicious results!).
Here we go.
First a quick note about the difference between active dry yeast and instant yeast. These are the two main forms of yeast called for in all of my bread/roll recipes.
Active dry yeast is a dormant form of yeast and needs to be rehydrated or proofed prior to using it in a recipe. This means that the yeast needs to be dissolved in warm water (a bit of sugar helps the yeast to activate more quickly since sugar acts as a food for the yeast) and left for a few minutes to activate before using in the recipe.
Instant yeast is different than active dry yeast in that it does not need to be rehydrated or proofed prior to using in a recipe. The granules of instant yeast are smaller than active dry yeast and you can add the yeast directly in with all the other dough ingredients without letting it activate in warm water first.
Here is a visual of what yeast should look like before and after proofing.
This yeast has just been added to the water and you can still see some of the granules sitting at the top.

After about 10 minutes, the yeast/water/sugar mixture now looks like this. See how the yeast has bubbled and foamed? This is the main indicator that the yeast has properly proofed and will work in the yeast dough you are making.

Some of the yeast bread and roll recipes I have on my site call for active dry yeast, others call for instant yeast. I used to only ever buy active dry yeast but about two years ago I converted over to solely using instant yeast. For me, it is a little more foolproof because I don’t have to worry about making sure it proofs first. I use it interchangeably in recipes that call for active dry yeast. Use whatever is your preference as long as you know whether or not it needs to proof before using it.
The unopened packages can be stored in a cool, dry place up until the expiration date. I store yeast directly in the freezer and use it in my recipes – no need to let it come to room temperature.
When making a yeast dough, the key is probably an obvious one – the softer the dough, the more tender the resulting baked bread. This doesn’t mean your dough should be the consistency of banana bread batter. After all, flour is an important part of a yeasted dough. Instead, the dough should have a slight tackiness to it but still be pliable and smooth.

Let me show you some pictures of the process. First, I should say that my main tool in making breads and rolls is my trusty Kitchenaid mixer. I can honestly admit I wouldn’t make yeasted goods nearly as often if I didn’t have it, BUT, I used to do it by hand all the time and I know it can be done. I just wanted to warn you that in the following pictures, you will see my beloved mixer in action. Electric mixers are a wonderful thing, but they haven’t been around forever and I know many of you make your dough by hand.
Let’s proceed.
Here is my dough RIGHT at the point after I have added all of the flour that I think I need to make a soft dough. Do you see how it still looks slightly shaggy and sticky?

I only use the flour called for in a recipe as a guideline since so much depends on humidity, how you measure flour, etc. – so I judge my dough based on the feel and look more than on how much flour I’ve actually added. I add as much flour as I need to let the dough start pulling away from the sides of the bowl and I let it knead for a few minutes to judge whether or not I need to add more flour (I’ll also stop the mixer and pull a piece off with my fingers to judge the feel – pictures to show this are below.)
If you are making the dough by hand, add enough flour so that your dough forms a ball, even though it may be stickier than the finished product, since kneading helps to smooth things out. Also, during the kneading process the flour absorbs more of the liquid and the dough can become less sticky through kneading, which is why it is important not to overflour the dough at the beginning. You can always add more flour as you go! My dough always sticks a bit to my fingers, even once all the flour has been added.
The dough continues to knead and you can see how it is starting to look a little less shaggy. This dough has been kneading for 2-3 minutes (the equivalent of about 5-7 minutes by hand).

Finally, the dough has kneaded for about 8 minutes in the electric mixer and is smooth and ready for the first rise. Remember that it is nearly impossible to ruin a dough by over-kneading but if it hasn’t been kneaded long enough, the gluten in the dough may not develop fully and the bread may not rise and bake properly.

You’ll notice from the picture above that even though my dough has the proper amount of flour and has kneaded long enough, it is still slightly sticky – you can see it pulling on the dough hook. That is ok! I promise. The dough should still be soft and slightly tacky.
Here, I’ve pinched off a piece of the dough (this is about midway through kneading). The dough is sticking to my fingers…

But after quickly rolling it into a ball in the palm of my hand, it looks like this:

It may seem like in the first picture that the dough is way too sticky and needs more flour since it is leaving a residue on my fingers, but really, it is perfectly floured, as evidenced by the dough ball holding its shape in my hand.
After the dough has finished kneading, I scoop it into a large, greased bowl.

I cover it with greased plastic wrap and let it rise in a warm place until doubled. I never heed times on a recipe – like when a recipe says, “let dough rise for 45 minutes or until doubled.” I always judge the dough based on size not time, since every kitchen can be a different temperature.
Which brings me to another point, a warm rising spot is important. The ideal temperature for dough to rise properly is about 70 degrees or warmer. If my kitchen is a few degrees cooler than this (based on the thermostat in my house), I don’t fret too much and just assume it may take longer for the dough to rise. However, if my house is unusually cool – 66 degrees or lower, I will usually turn on my oven to about 350 degrees and let the dough rise on top of the warmed oven (I have a ceramic top stove that warms up when the oven is on).
Here is my dough at the beginning of the first rise.

After about 30 -1 hour, it has definitely doubled and is ready to be shaped into rolls (or bread if that is the type of recipe you are using).

And there you have it…that is a pretty basic overview of a yeasted dough.

Creamy Hot Cocoa

                Creamy Hot Cocoa
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4-1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup half and half
  • 4 cups whole milk
  • Whipped Cream or Mini Marshmallows
  1. Stir together sugar, cocoa and salt in medium saucepan; add half and half.
  2. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until mixture comes to a boil.
  3. Simmer 1-2 minutes, stirring constantly.
  4. Add milk; stirring constantly, heat to desired serving temperature. Do Not Boil.
  5. Remove cocoa from heat; whisk or beat until frothy. Top with whipped cream or marshmallows.
Warning.....Once you try this recipe, you will not be able to go back to the store bought powdered envelopes again, this is so much better, Enjoy!

Friday, November 18, 2011

Cinnamon rolls

I wanted to share a recipe for cinnamon rolls. These are so soft and delicious. Hope you enjoy them.

The Best Tasting Cinnamon Rolls

1  c. warm milk  (between 80 & 100 degrees)
1/2  c. sugar
1 Tbs. yeast
2 eggs
1/3  c. melted butter
4  c. flour
1  tsp. salt

Put warm milk, sugar and yeast into your mixer and mix for a minute until combined. Let the yeast grow until bubbly (about 5-10 minutes). Then add the eggs, butter, flour, and salt and combine until smooth and mixed together. Let dough sit in the bowl until it has doubled in size (about 1 1/2 hours). When it has doubled, put a small amount of flour on the counter and pour the dough onto the counter. Roll dough out until it measures 16 inches x 21 inches.

1/3 c. butter (softened but not melted)
1 c. brown sugar
1 1/2 T. cinnamon
Spread butter on dough. Mix brown sugar and cinnamon together and sprinkle all over buttered dough. Roll up and cut into 16 equal rolls.

Place rolls on greased cookie sheet 4 across and 4 down. Cover w/ greased plastic wrap. Let rise until doubled in size (about 1 hour). Bake at 400 for 10-12 minutes.

1/2 c. butter, softened
1 1/2 c. powdered sugar
1/4 c. cream cheese (optioal)
1/2 t. vanilla
1/8 t. salt

Frost 3-4  minutes after finished baking.

Our Christmas Tree

We finally got our Christmas tree up and decorated.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

How to make buttermilk

Something I learned a long time ago and thought I would share. If your like me, my family does not like buttermilk so it's not something that is kept in our house but it is an ingredient needed in lots of recipes.
You can make your own buttermilk by mixing milk with lemon juice or vinegar. I like lemon juice better.
1 c. milk  ( any one will do skim, 2%,whole)
1 Tbs lemon juice

Mix these together and let set for 5 minutes, then use in any recipe that calls for buttermilk.

Easy Light and Fluffy Homemade Buttermilk Biscuits

I wanted to share my recipe for buttermilk biscuits that are light and fluffy. I've tried many different recipes and find these are the best.
2 c. all purpose flour
1 rounded Tbs. baking powder
2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1/3 c. shortening (cold)
1 c. buttermilk
Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Put 2 Tbs. shortening in pan in oven to get hot.
In a large bowl, add flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Notice my rounded Tbs of baking powder.
Next add shortening.

                                              Next cut in shortening using a pastry cutter. 

                 Cut in shortening using a pastry cutter until resembles small peas.
          Create a center well and pour in buttermilk and gently fold together until almost combined.
                                                      Pour onto a floured surface.
Fold biscuit mixture over onto itself gently about 4-6 times until mixture is smooth to roll out. Roll out to 1 inch thick and cut with biscuit cutter( I used a corn can, makes just the right size biscuits.
Then place in hot skillet , laying each biscuit in hot shortening and turning over (to coat each side) 
Bake at 450 degrees for 15 minutes. 

Remove from oven.  Melt 1 Tbs. butter and brush onto bisuit tops and place back in oven for 3 minutes, this will crisp the tops to perfection.
         Next open one up and put on jam or your favorite topping , (today ours was gravy) and Enjoy!!!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

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