I have been married to a wonderful Christian man since 1976. The Lord has blessed us with two daughters and two sons. I consider each day the Lord gives me on the earth yet another chance to serve Him.

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Brown Sugar Coconut Bars

Certain foods remind people of Christmas.  This recipe would do that for my husband.  His mom made it every year at Christmas time.  They are very rich and gooey.  A small piece goes a long way.



*1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
*1 cup all purpose flour
*1/2 cup butter, melted
*2 large eggs
*1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
*1 cup brown sugar, packed
*1/8 cup all purpose flour
*1/2 teaspoon baking powder
*1/4 teaspoon salt
*1 cup finely chopped walnuts
*1 cup flaked coconut


~Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
~Grease a 8x8 inch square baking pan.
~In a mixing bowl, stir 1 cup flour and 1/2 cup brown sugar together.
~Mix in melted butter until mixed well.
~Press mixture into the bottom of the 8x8 inch pan.
~Bake for 15 minutes.
*Next step you while crust is baking.
~In same mixing bowl,  beat eggs & vanilla until eggs are light and foamy.
~Mix in 1 cup brown sugar, 1/8 cup flour and salt, until well blended.
~Mix in walnuts and coconut.
~Pour mixture over crust.
~Bake for 15 minutes, or until mixture is set.
~Remove from oven and allow to cool before cutting. 

Thursday, November 19, 2015


This bread is pretty light for a pumpkin bread.  I love the mixture of pumpkin and orange that you taste as you eat this.  You could add some dried cranberries to even make this better.

(3 loafs or 16 mini loafs)

*1 (15 ounce) can pumpkin puree
*4 large eggs
*1/2 cup vegetable oil
*1/2 cup applesauce
*zest from one orange
*2/3 cup water
*3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
*2 teaspoons baking soda
*1 teaspoon salt
*1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
*1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
*1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
*1 cup pecans, chopped
*1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
*zest from one orange
*juice squeezed from oranges (about 1/8 cup)

~Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
~Spray bread pans with a cooking and dust with flour.
~In a large mixing bowl, mix pumpkin puree, eggs, vegetable oil, applesauce, zest from one orange and water until well blended.
~Sift flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and pumpkin pie spice together.
~Add to pumpkin mixture and mix until just mixed.
~Mix in pecans.
~Pour into prepared pans.
~Bake for 50-60 minutes for larger loafs.  Bake mini loafs for 35-40 minutes.
~Remove from oven
~Allow to cool for 10-15 minutes for larger loafs and 5-10 minutes for mini loafs before removing from pans.  I like to gently run a table knife along the sides before removing the bread.
~Place on cooling rack to continue cooling.
~In a small sauce pan, mix powdered sugar, orange zest from one orange & orange juice until smooth.
~Drizzle over cooled bread and let it sit for about 10 minutes before slicing.  If I make mini breads, I just dunk them into the orange glaze.

`add 1 cup dried cranberries.
`add 1 cup chocolate chips.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Pumpkin Pancakes

Often when I try a pumpkin pancake they are to heavy.  I like my pancakes light and fluffy.  After some playing around I think I've mastered it.

(serves 6)

*1 1/2 cups buttermilk
*3/4 cup pumpkin puree
*1 egg, beaten
*2 tablespoons vegetable oil
*1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
*1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
*2 cups all purpose flour
*1/4 cup light brown sugar
*1/2 teaspoon salt
*1 teaspoons baking soda
*2 teaspoons baking powder
*1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
*1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
*1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
*1/8 teaspoon ground cloves

~In a large mixing bowl, whisk buttermilk, pumpkin puree, egg, oil and vinegar.
~In another bowl, sift flour, brown sugar, salt, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, allspice, ginger and cloves.
~Stir into pumpkin mixture just enough to combine (do not over mix).
~Heat griddle or frying pan to medium heat and spray with a cooking spray.
~Laddle batter onto the prepared grill.
~Lightly brown on both sides.
~Serve with butter, maple syrup & whipped cream.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Apple Cider Syrup

This is good on any pancake or waffle, but it is amazing over  a pumpkin pancake or pumpkin waffles.  I think this would be good over caramel apple pie too or even pumpkin ice cream.  I could go on and on and on...
If you don't have whole cloves or a cinnamon stick, you can you ground.  You could also use a good apple juice instead of the apple cider.

(makes about 1 1/2 cups)

*1 1/2 cups apple cider
*2 tablespoons butter
*1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed
*3/4 cup dark brown corn syrup
*1/2 of lemon, juiced
*1 cinnamon stick
*4 whole cloves
*1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

~In a medium saucepan, over medium heat bring all the ingredients to a full roiling boil.
~Reduce heat to low and cook for another 20-30 minutes, until mixture has reduced and starts to thicken, stirring often.
~Remove from heat and stir for 4-5 minutes.
~Allow mixture to stand at room temperature for 25-30 minutes.  Syrup will thicken up more at this time.
~Remove cinnamon stick and whole cloves and serve over pancakes.

Monday, October 19, 2015

Canning Spicy Brown Mustard

This has to be one of the easiest canning recipes.  It's not any cheaper than if you were to buy it from the store, but it's so tasty.

(makes 5 1/2 pints)

*1/2 cup brown mustard seeds
*1/2 cup yellow mustard seeds
*1 1/2 cups cider vinegar
*1 cup water
*2 teaspoons kosher salt
*4 garlic cloves, minced
*1 tablespoon onion, minced
*1 teaspoon dried turmeric
*1 teaspoon dried allspice

~In a medium glass bowl, soak brown mustard seeds in the water and apple cider vinegar over night or for at least 8 hours.
~After seeds have soaked add salt, garlic, onion, turmeric and allspice.
~Blend mixture with immersible blender until mixture is desired consistency.
~Add more water if mixture is to thick.
~Ladle into clean canning jars, leaving 1/2-inch head space.
~Make sure top of jar is clear of any residue.
~Put lids and rings on jars.
~Cook in hot bath for 20 minutes.
~Make sure all lids have sealed and store after sitting for 23 hours.

Monday, October 12, 2015

Pumpkin Waffles

If you like pumpkin, you are going to love this.  I like this with a little Pumpkin Pie Honey Butter & maple syrup  or apple cinnamon syrup and a dab of cinnamon whip cream.

(serves 4)

*1 cup pumpkin puree
*2 large eggs
*1/4 cup butter, melted
*1 cup whole milk
*1/4 cup light brown sugar
*1 1/2 cup all purpose flour
*1/2 teaspoon baking soda
*3 teaspoons baking powder
*1/2 tablespoon ground cinnamon
*1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice

~In a medium bowl, whisk pumpkin puree, eggs, butter, milk & brown sugar together.
~In a separate bowl, sift flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon & pumpkin pie spice.
~Mix the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients, just until incorporated.  Do not over mix or waffles won't be light & fluffy.
~Cook until desired doneness.  

Pumpkin Pie Honey Butter

I love this on toast, bagels, biscuits, pancakes and pumpkin waffles.  It's also pretty good on a peanut butter sandwich.  Very easy to make.

(serves 16)

*1/2 cup butter, room temperature
*1/2 cup honey
*1/3 cup powdered sugar, sifted
*1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
*1/8 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

~Mix all the ingredients with mixer until well blended.
~Refrigerate leftovers.

Steak Fajitas

This recipe is so flavorful.  I like to make my own flour tortillas for it.  It only makes it better.  This marinate is also good for chicken fajitas.  You can add guacamole to it if you like.  I like my steak medium rare.  Cook yours to your liking.

(makes 8)

*1 pound sirloin, flank or strip steak
*1 orange, juiced
*1 lime, juice
*1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
*1/3 cup olive oil
*2 garlic cloves, finely minced
*1 teaspoon cumin
*2 tablespoons fresh cilantro, chopped (or 1 teaspoon of dried cilantro)
*1/2 teaspoon chili powder
*1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
*1 teaspoon salt
*1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
*1/2 tablespoon granulated sugar
*1 large onion, sliced
*1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
*1 yellow bell pepper, thinly sliced
*1 green bell pepper, thinly sliced
*1 tablespoon olive oil
*1 tablespoon olive oil
*8 (8 inch) flour tortillas
*Sour Cream for topping (optional)
*Shredded Cheese for topping (optional)
*Salsa for topping (optional)
*Fresh Cilantro for topping (optional)
*Shredded lettuce for topping (optional)
*Chopped fresh tomato for topping (optional)

~In a gallon size zip-loc bag or a dish,  mix orange juice, lime juice, worcestershire sauce, 1/2 cup olive oil, garlic, cumin, cilantro, chili powder, red pepper flakes, salt, pepper & sugar.
~Pour half of the marinate into another zip-lock bag.
~Place steak into on of the bags and let marinate in the refrigerator for 2-4 hours.
~In the second bag place sliced red pepper, green pepper, orange pepper & onion and let marinate in the refrigerator for 1-2 hours.
~In a heavy skillet or indoor grill (I use my cast-iron) over medium-high heat, drizzle 1 tablespoon olive oil.
~Remove steak from marinate.
~Cook steak for 3-6 minutes per side depending on how done you like your steak (I cook mine about 3-4 minutes per side).
~Remove from pan allow steak to rest.
~Drizzle another tablespoon of olive oil on grill/pan.
~Remove veggies from marinate.
~Place veggies on hot grill and grill until slightly firm, 6-8 minutes.
~Remove and place on a plate.
~Slice steak lengthwise against the grain of the steak.
~While the veggies are grilling, heat up tortillas and store inside of a clean dishcloth to keep them warm. Do this either my microwave, frying pan or place tortilla over a flame of a gas grill until slightly charred.
~Place steak on tortilla, top with grilled veggies and toppings of choice.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Oatmeal Pumpkin Caramel Bars

These are a big hit when I make them.  I can only make these in the fall because I can't find the pumpkin spice chips any other time of the year.  Grab a mug of hot cider to go along with these.  Yummy!

(serves 16)

*3/4 cup butter, softened
*3/4 cup granulated sugar
*3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
*2 large eggs
*1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
*1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
*1 teaspoon baking soda
*1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
*1/2 teaspoon salt
*2 3/4 cup rolled oats
*1 (10 ounce) bag Nestle Tollhouse Pumpkin Spice Chips
*1 (14 ounce) bag caramels
*1/2 cup whole milk

~Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
~Spray a 9x13 inch pan with a cooking spray.
~In a large mixing bowl, cream butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar together until smooth.
~Beat in eggs and vanilla until fluffy.
~Add flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt and mix.
~Stir in oats & spice chips.
~Spread evenly into prepared pan.
~Bake for 25-30 minutes.
~In a medium saucepan over low heat, melt caramels and milk; stirring until smooth.
~Pour over cookie bar.
~Allow to cool before cutting.

Sunday, September 27, 2015

One Pot Pasta

Such an easy, quick, filling and yummy dinner.  If you want to make it a little less in calories, use skim milk instead of heavy cream.

(serves 6-8)

*3 tablespoon olive oil
*1/2 pound Italian sausage, sliced
*1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts, diced
*1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
*1  teaspoon onion powder
*1 teaspoon garlic powder
*1/2 teaspoon paprika
*1 teaspoon ground basil
*1 teaspoon ground oregano
*1 teaspoon salt
*1 teaspoon ground black pepper
*2 medium red bell peppers, deseeded & sliced thin
*2 medium green bell pepper, deseeded & slice thin
*1 medium yellow onion, sliced
*4 garlic cloves, sliced thin
*2 cups fresh sliced mushrooms
*1 pound fettuccine noodles
*1 (32 ounce ) chicken stock
*3/4 cup heavy cream
*1 1/2 cups fresh grated parmesan cheese
*sour cream (optional)

~In a large saucepan or pot, add olive oil and heat over medium heat.
~Add Italian sausage and cook until almost done.
~Add chicken, cayenne pepper, onion powder, garlic powder, paprika, basil, oregano, salt & pepper and cook until both meats are no longer pink (about 5-8 minutes).
~Add red bell peppers, green bell peppers, onion, garlic & mushrooms and stir.
~Add noodles over top of mixture.
~Pour chicken stock over noodles.
~Cover and bring broth to a boil.
~Reduce heat to a simmer and cover.
~Cook for 20 minutes stirring every 2-4 minutes, until noodles are done.
~Stir in heavy cream & parmesan cheese.
~Serve up hot (top with a dollop of sour cream if desired)

~Add cooked crumbled bacon over top once it's served.
~Add chopped green onions over the top once it's served.

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Canning Steak Sauce

I am not a big fan of steak sauce, but boy do I like this.  It's also good on chicken, hamburgers and meatloaf.   Easy to make.  This has a little spice to it.  If you don't like any spice leave out the hot sauce.

Canning Steak Sauce
(makes 5 1/2 pints)

*2/3 cups raspberry jam
*2 cups blackberries
*2/3 cups brown sugar
*2/3 cup Worcestershire sauce
*2/3 cup ketchup
*2/3 cup red wine vinegar
*1 tablespoon hot sauce (less or more depending on how spicy you like it)
*1/4 cup water
*1 teaspoon kosher salt
*1/2 teaspoon black pepper

~Pour all ingredients into a blender and mix well.
~Set a wire sieve over a medium saucepan.
~Push ingredients through sieve with a wooden spoon.
~Discard everything that will not go through he sieve.
~Bring mixture to a boil over medium heat.
~Reduce heat to low, and simmer for 20-30 minutes, or until thickened.
~Place steak sauce into sterile jars, leaving a 1/2 inch head space.
~Put lids and rings on jars, making sure jar is free from any residue first.
~Cook in hot bath for 20 minutes.
~Make sure all lids have sealed, and store after sitting for 24 hours.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Bleu Cheese Pork Chops

Mmmmm, I love just about anything with bleu cheese in it.   This gravy just makes the pork chops so good.  It's easy and quick to make.  You can leave a light coating off of the pork chops if you want to make it a little less starch.  I serve either linguine noodles or mashed potatoes with it.

(serves 4)

*1 cup flour
*1 teaspoon garlic powder
*1 teaspoon onion powder
*1/2 teaspoon paprika
*1 teaspoon salt
*1/2 teaspoon ground pepper
*4 thick cut pork chops (I use center cut)
*2 tablespoons butter
*2 garlic cloves, minced
*1 tablespoon onions, minced
*1/2 cup mushrooms, sliced
*2 tablespoons butter
*1/2 teaspoon ground pepper
*1 cup heavy whipping cream
*1/4 cup sour cream
*2-4 ounces crumbled bleu cheese

~In a medium bowl mix flour, garlic powder, onion powder,  paprika, salt & pepper.
~Dredge pork chops in flour mixture and shake off any excess flour.
~Melt 2 tablespoons butter in a large skillet, over medium heat.
~Fry pork chops until done (no longer pink in center), about 8-10 minutes on each side.
~Remove pork chops and keep warm.
~Add remaining butter, mushrooms,  minced garlic & minced onions.
~Cook for 2 minutes, stirring constantly to loosen up any meat residue from the bottom of the pan.
~Whisk in whipping cream and sour cream and cook for 1 minute.
~Stir in bleu cheese, stirring constantly until sauce thickens up (about 5-8 minutes).
~Serve over pork chops.

Monday, February 16, 2015

Loaded Pasta Casserole

This pasta casserole is pretty amazing.   You can add or delete whatever meats you want.  This is a little like a cordon bleu casserole.  You can substitute the bleu cheese crumbles for swiss cheese or feta cheese if you prefer.

(serves 4)

*1 (4 ounce) boneless, skinless chicken breast, cubed
*6 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled
*4 slices deli ham, chopped (I use black forest ham)
*8 ounces rigatoni, cooked for about 10 minutes and drained
*1/2 cup blue cheese crumbles
*4 tablespoon butter
*4 tablespoons all-purpose flour
*1 teaspoon chicken granules
*1 1/2 cups whole milk
*1/2 cup chicken stock
*1/4 teaspoon salt
*1/2 teaspoon black pepper
*1/8 teaspoon nutmeg

~Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
~Spray an 8x8 casserole pan with a cooking spray.
~Place cooked rigatoni in prepared pan.
~Place chicken, ham & bacon over noodles.
~Melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat.
~Whisk in flour and chicken granules until roux is well blended.
~Continue cooking for about another 3-5 minutes or until it becomes a light brown, stirring often.
~Increase heat to medium and whisk in milk and chicken stock.
~Stir until smooth.
~Cook until thickened, stirring often.
~Remove from heat and stir in salt, pepper & nutmeg.
~Pour over noodle mixture.
~Bake covered  for 20-30 minutes.

`Mix 1 1/2 tablespoons  butter,   1 1/2  tablespoon flour and 1/8 cup bread crumbs in a bowl.   Sprinkle over casserole.  Bake uncovered for 30 minutes.
`add 1 cup chopped broccoli before pouring white sauce over casserole.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Chicken Cordon Bleu Panini

I love chicken cordon bleu and I love most panini's.  Put the two together and I'm one happy momma.

(serves 2)

*1 chicken boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut in half,  to 1/4-1/2  inch thickness
*1/2 cup buttermilk
*1/8 cup flour
*1/8 cup Italian bread crumbs
*1/2 teaspoon paprika
*1/4 teaspoon salt
*1/4 teaspoon black pepper
*1 tablespoon vegetable oil
*2 slices ham (I use black forest), sliced cut thin
*2 slices swiss cheese
*1/4 cup chicken stock
*1/2 teaspoon chicken granules
*1 1/2 teaspoons corn starch
*3/4 cup heavy cream
*1 teaspoon dried basil
*4 slices of a sturdy bread
*1-2 teaspoon butter.

~In a medium bowl, place chicken in buttermilk.
~Allow to marinate for 1/2 hour.
~In a small bowl, blend cornstarch with the heavy cream.
~Heat vegetable oil in a medium stillet.
~In a shallow pan, mix flour, bread crumbs, paprika, salt & pepper.
~Remove chicken from buttermilk, dripping off any excess milk.
~Coat chicken in breadcrumb mixture.
~Place chicken into skillet and cook for about 4-6 minutes.
~Flip chicken and cook another 4-6 minutes, or until chicken is done.
~Remove from pan.
~Pour chicken stock in the same skillet that the chicken was cooked in.
~Use a whisk to loosen up chicken drippings.
~Cook until it starts to boil.
~Slowly whisk in heavy cream mixture.
~Add basil and chicken granules.
~Whisk until thicken and set aside.
~Heat a small skillet, indoor grill or panini maker, medium heat.
~Spread butter on one side of each slice of bread.
~Place two slice of bread buttered side down on hot pan.
~Place chicken, ham & swiss cheese over top of bread.
~Place remaining bread over top of cheese, buttered side up.
~If using a skillet or indoor grill set a heavy pan over sandwich (or aluminum covered brick) for 2-3 minutes of until bread is a golden brown.
~Flip and cook for 2-3 minutes on the other side or until golden brown.
~Remove from heat and use the heavy cream-chicken stock mixture for dipping or pour over sandwich.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Cornbread Chili Casserole

A wonderful comfort meal.   Cornbread and chili together, how can you go wrong?

(serves 8)

*1 pound ground beef
*1 medium yellow onion, chopped
*2 garlic cloves, minced
*1/2 green bell pepper, chopped
*1/2 red bell pepper, chopped
*5-6 cups stewed tomatoes
*2 (15.5 ounce) cans dark red kidney beans, drained
*1 (1.25 ounce) package of chili seasoning mix (I make my own)
*1 cup cornmeal
*1 cup all-purpose flour
*1 tablespoon baking powder
*1/4 teaspoon salt
*1/4 teaspoon baking soda
*1 1/4 cups buttermilk
*1 large egg
*2 tablespoons granulated sugar
*1/4 cup vegetable oil
*hot sauce (optional)

~In a large stock pot or dutch oven, mix in hamburger, onions, garlic, green bell peppers and red bell peppers, cook over medium-high heat.
~Cook until hamburger is brown.
~Drain any excess grease.
~Mix in stewed tomatoes, kidney beans and chili seasoning mix.
~Bring to a boil.
~Reduce to low and simmer for 2-4 hours (or until chili thickens up).
~Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
~Combine cornmeal, flour, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl.
~In a large mixing bowl, mix the buttermilk & baking soda.
~In a small bowl, beat the eggs and sugar until mixed.
~Add the oil into the egg mixture and beat until well combined.
~Pour the buttermilk mixture into the flour mixture.
~Mix, but just enough to make the dough come together.
~Carefully pour chili into a 9x13 inch pan.
~Pour cornbread mixture over the top of the chili.
~Drizzle a small amount of hot sauce over corn bread mixture (optional).
~Bake for 25-30 minutes.
~Remove from oven and serve.

Saturday, January 31, 2015

Caramel Snack Mix

Sweet and salty mixture that is different, but very good.   Easy to make and it will be a hit at any party.  If you want to add spice to it, add 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper to the mixture.

Caramel Snack Mix
(serves 12)

* 1 (15 ounce) bag thin pretzel sticks
*1 (12 ounce) bag oyster crackers
*1 (12 ounce) can peanuts
*1/2 cup butter
*1 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar 
*1/4 cup corn syrup
*1 teaspoon kosher salt
*1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
*1/4 teaspoon baking soda

~Preheat oven to 250 degrees.
~Spray a  jelly roll pan or roasting pan with a cooking spray.
~Add pretzels, crackers & peanuts to pan.
~Set aside.
~Melt butter in a large heavy saucepan over medium heat.
~Stir in brown sugar, corn syrup and salt.
~Bring to a full boil.
~Reduce heat and boil 5 minutes.
~Remove from heat and stir in vanilla and baking soda.
~Pour immediately over pretzel mixture.
~Stir until everything is well coated.
~Bake 1 hour, stirring every 15 minutes.
~Remove from oven and break apart when cool enough to handle.
~Store in a ziplock bag.

Friday, January 30, 2015

Red Hot Cinnamon Popcorn

This is a colorful popcorn to make for Christmas.  It tastes wonderful and can really be made all year long.

(serves 24)

*8 quarts popcorn (1 cup kernels)
*1 cup butter
*3/4 cup light corn syrup
*1 (9 ounce) package red hot candies
*1/2 teaspoon salt
*1/4 teaspoon baking soda.

~Preheat oven to 250 degrees.
~Spray a 15x10 in jelly roll pan or roasting pan with cooking spray.
~Place popcorn in prepared pan.
~In a large saucepan, mix butter, corn syrup, red hots and salt.
~Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring continuously.
~Boil for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
~Remove from heat and stir in baking soda (mixture will become foamy).
~Pour over popcorn and stir until well coated.
~Bake for 1 hour, stirring every 15 minutes.
~Remove from oven, and spread over a clean surface.
~Allow to cool completely.
~Break apart and store in airtight container or ziplock bag.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Samoa Cheesecake

This by far is my favorite cheesecake.   I mean a mixture of soma's and cheesecake how can you go wrong?  If you want you can make this recipe easier by buying your caramel sauce and buying the oreo crust.

(serves 8)

*1 (15.5 ounce) package oreo cookies
*1/3 cup butter, melted
*2 (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened
*1 (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
*1/4 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice
*1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
*2 cups sweetened coconut, shredded
*1 cup granulated sugar
*2  tablespoons light corn syrup
*2 tablespoon water
*1/8 teaspoon fresh squeezed lemon juice 
*1/2 cup heavy cream, very warm
*1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
*1 tablespoon butter, softened
*1/4 cup dark chocolate, melted

  • Directions:
  • ~Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • ~Cover a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
  • ~Spread coconut over parchment paper.
  • ~Bake for 5-6 minutes, or until it starts to turn a light brown.
  • ~Remove from oven and stir.
  • ~Bake for another 3-4 minutes.
  • ~Remove from oven and set aside until cool.
  • ~Bag toasted coconut until ready to use.
  • ~Finely crush oreo cookies.
  • ~Mix butter into cookies until well blended.
  • ~Press onto bottom and 1-inch up the side of a 9-inch springform pan.
  • ~In a large mixing bowl, mix cream cheese on medium-high speed until smooth.
  • ~Beat in sweetened condensed milk a little at a time, making sure you scrape the sides of the mixing bowl.
  • ~Beat in 1/4 cup lemon juice and vanilla extract.
  • ~Pour filling into the crust.
  • ~Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 3 hours or until firm.
  • ~In a medium-small microwave safe bowl, whisk sugar, corn syrup, water and lemon juice.
  • ~Microwave on high for 6-8 minutes, or until the mixture begins to turns light amber in color (do not over cook).
  • ~Remove from microwave and allow to sit for 4-5 minutes, or until mixture turns a dark amber color.
  • ~Add a small amounts of the warm milk and whisk between each addition.
  • ~Add vanilla and butter and whisk until combines. 
  • ~Allow to cool (it will pour easier if it's still a little warm).
  • ~Place toasted coconut into a bowl.
  • ~Mix 1 cup of caramel sauce into the coconut.
  • ~Gently spread remaining caramel sauce onto cheesecake.
  • ~Sprinkle coconut mixture and lightly mixture press down.
  • ~Stream melted chocolate over cheesecake.
  • ~Return to refrigerator for another 10-15 minutes.  

Monday, January 26, 2015

Cinnamon Bun Caramel Corn

Oh my, this is so good and may or may not be addicting.   It makes your house smell wonderful while you are cooking it.

(serves 10)

*10 cups popped popcorn, removing any kernels
*1 cup pecans, chopped
*1  cup light brown sugar
*1 teaspoon cinnamon
*1/4 cup light corn syrup
*1/2 cup butter, sliced
*1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
*1/4 merkins white chocolate, melted

~Preheat oven to 250 degrees.
~Spray a jelly roll pan with a cooking spray.
~In a large mixing bowl, place popcorn & pecans.
~In a large microwave safe mixing bowl,  combine brown sugar, cinnamon.
~Place butter and corn syrup over top of mixture.
~Microwave on high for 30 seconds.
~Stir until well mixed.
~Microwave for another 2 minutes.
~Remove and stir once more.
~Microwave for 2 more minutes or until mixture is bubbly (do not over heat).
~Remove from microwave and store in vanilla and baking soda (it will become foamy).
~Pour over popcorn and mix until everything is well coated.
~Spread into prepared pan.
~Bake for 60 minutes stirring every 15 minutes.
~Remove from oven and give the mixture one more good stir.
~Spread the caramel corn over a clean service.
~Melt chocolate and drizzle over the caramel corn.
~After the almond bark hardens on the caramel corn, break mixture apart.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Chicken Scampi Dip

If you like chicken scampi or if you like cheese, you are going to love this.  So easy to make.  If you want to make it even easier substitute the fresh cooked chicken breast with a couple cans of canned-flaked chicken breast (although fresh is always better).    This dip goes quick!

(serves 8 )

*1/4 cup butter
*1 chicken breast, cooked & shredded (about 2 cups)
*8-10 garlic cloves, minced
*1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
*1/2 cup chicken stock
*4 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
*1/2 teaspoon sea salt
*1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
*1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, room temperature
*1/4 cup sour cream
*1/4 cup plain greek yogurt
*1/4 cup mayonnaise
*1 tablespoon dried parley flakes
*1 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded
*1/4 cup fresh grated parmesan cheese

~Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
~Spray a 9x13 inch pan with a cooking spray.
~In a large skillet, over medium heat melt butter.
~Add cooked shredded chicken, garlic and red pepper flakes.
~Cook for 2-3 minutes.
~Add chicken stock, lemon juice, salt and pepper.
~Bring so a simmer and remove from heat.
~Mix in cream cheese, sour cream, greek yogurt, mayonnaise, parsley flakes, 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese and parmesan cheese.
~Spread mixture into prepared pan.
~Sprinkle remaining mozzarella cheese over mixture.
~Bake for 10-12 minutes.
~Serve while hot with toasted french bread slices, bagel chips, or crackers.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Soft Puffy Pita Bread

Once you make this recipe you will probably never buy store bought again.
Fresh, soft and tasty.  Great for sandwiches, pizza crust of just for dipping.

(makes 8)

*1 1/8 cups warm water
*1 1/2 teaspoons granulated sugar
*1 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast
*1 tablespoon vegetable oil
*1 1/2 teaspoons salt
*3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour (can substitute 1 1/2 cups with whole wheat flour)

~In mixing bowl, whisk warm water, sugar and yeast.
~Allow to proof (about 10 minutes).
~Mix in oil and salt.
~Add flour in 1 cup at a time, mixing between each addition (I use a kitchen aid mixer and use the dough hook).
~Once the flour is mixed in, knead for another 4 minutes if using the dough hook or 8 minutes if using your hands.
~Place dough into a large oiled bowl.
~Cover with a damp towel or plastic wrap for 45 minutes.
~Turn dough onto a lightly floured surface.
~Carefully roll dough into a 12-inch rope.
~Roll each into a smooth ball.
~Using a lightly floured rolling pin, roll each dough ball into a 6 inch circle.
~Cover with a clean cloth and let rise for 30 minutes.
~Preheat oven to 500 degrees.
~Place bowl of water on bottom rack in oven.
~Carefully place 4 pitas on a cookie rack (or directly on oven rack).
~Bake for 4-5 minutes, or until puffed and tops start to brown.
~Remove from oven and immediately put pitas into a sealed brown paper bag and allow to cool (if you don't have a bag, cover pitas with a damp clean towel until cooled) (about 10-12 minutes).

Monday, January 19, 2015

Cheeseburger Soup

This soup is hardy, smooth and delicious.  I love that I can throw it in the slow cooker if I'm busy that day.  You can omit the milk & flour to make it a healthier soup if you prefer.

(serves 8-10)

*1 pound ground beef
*1 medium yellow onion, chopped
*1 cup carrots, sliced thin or chopped
*3/4 cup celery, chopped
*3 garlic cloves, minced
*1 teaspoon dried basil
*1 teaspoon dried oregano
*1/2 teaspoon salt
*1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
*1 teaspoon dried parsley
*4 tablespoons butter
*2 (14 ounce) cans beef broth
*4 cups potatoes, peeled & cubed
*1/4 cup all-purpose flour
*2 cups cheddar cheese, shredded
*1 1/2 cup whole milk
*1/2 cup sour cream
*3-4 dashes hot sauce

Stove Top Directions:
~In a large stock pot, melt butter over medium heat.
~Add, carrots & potatoes and cook for 3-4 minutes.
~Add celery, onions, garlic & hamburger.
~Cook until the beef is browned.
~Add beef broth, basil & parsley.
~ Bring to a boil.
~Reduce heat to a simmer and cook, for about 12-15 minutes or until potatoes are tender.
~Add flour, stir and cook for 1 minute.
~Add milk and stir until smooth.
~Stir in cheese, hot sauce and sour cream and heat through, but do not boil.

Slow Cooker Directions:
~In a large skillet, over medium heat brown hamburger until browned
~Drain any grease and place hamburger into a slow cooker/crock pot.
~In the same skillet, melt butter.
~Add, carrots, onions, garlic & potatoes and cook for 2-4 minutes.
~Pour veggies into slow cooker/crock pot.
~Add basil & parsley.
~Cook on low for 6-8 hours or high for 2-4 hours.
~Add flour and mix let cook for another 5 minutes.
~Add milk, cheese, sour cream & hot sauce and stir.
~Cook until another 20-25 minutes.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Bacon Shepherds Pie

A really good comfort food with a little twist.   The bacon and roasted tomatoes really give it a lot of flavor.    Use canned or frozen carrots & green beans, although fresh is always better.

(serves 4)

*3 cups mashed potatoes (I used red skins with the skins on)
*4 medium carrots, cooked & mashed
*1 cup steamed green beans, drained
*6 slices bacon, cooked & crumbled
*1/2 onion, chopped
*2 garlic cloves, minced
*3/4 pound ground beef
*1 (16 ounce) container cherry/grape tomatoes
*2 tablespoons flour
*1/2 teaspoon salt
*1/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese
*1 tablespoon ketchup
*1/2 teaspoon ground pepper
*1 cup chicken stock (or beef broth)
*1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese

~Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
~Place tomatoes on a cookie sheet.
~Bake tomatoes for 20 minutes.
~Remove from oven and set aside.
~Turn oven down to 375 degrees.
~In a medium oven proof skillet, cook hamburger, onions and garlic until hamburger is browned.
~Stir in flour and cook for 1 minute.
~Add ketchup, tomatoes, salt, pepper & chicken stock.
~Bring to a boil.
~Reduce heat, and simmer for 5 minutes.
~Mix in 1/4 cup cheese & 2 pieces of crumbled (1/3) bacon.
~Spread mashed carrots over top of hamburger.
~Spread green beans over top of carrots.
~Spread mashed potatoes over green beans, getting as close to edge as possible.
~Sprinkle remaining bacon & cheese over top.
~Bake for 20 minutes.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Bumpless Cake

This takes a little while to make, but not bad.  The time it does take, is well worth the effort.   Yummy!  This is like a bumpy cake, minus the bumps.  I just spread the filling over the entire cake.

(Sorry about how the frosting looks.  I let it cool to much and it couldn't spread)

(serves 24)

Cake Ingredients:
*1/2 cup hot water
*1 tablespoon instant coffee
*1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa
*1/2 cup vegetable oil
*1 cup whole milk
*1 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
*1/2 teaspoon salt
*1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
*2 eggs
*2 cups granulated sugar
*2 cups all-purpose flour

Cream Filling Ingredients:
*1/2 cup butter, softened
*1/2 cup shortening
*3-3 1/2 cups powdered sugar, sifted twice
*1/3 cup sweetened condensed milk
*2 large egg whites
*1/2 teaspoon salt
*1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Frosting Ingredients:
*1/2 cup whole milk
*1 cup granulated sugar
*1/3 cup dark corn syrup
*1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa
*1/4 teaspoon salt
*1 cup butter, divided
*2 1/2 cups powdered sugar
*1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Cake Directions:
~Preheat  oven to 375 degrees.
~Spray a 9x13 inch pan with a cooking spray & dust lightly with flour.
~In a large mixing bowl, mix hot water & instant coffee for 15-20 seconds.
~Mix cocoa, oil, milk, making soda, salt, vanilla, eggs & sugar until well blended.
~Add flour and mix for 5-7 minutes.
~Pour into prepared pan.
~Bake for 35-40 minutes.
~Remove from oven and cool completely.
~Place in freezer, covered with plastic wrap for 30-60 minutes.

Cream Filling Directions:
~Mix butter, shortening and powered sugar in a large bowl, until smooth.
~Slowly add milk and mix until fluffy.
~In a large clean mixing bowl, whip egg whites until they form stiff peaks.
~Gradually add 1/2 cup powdered sugar.
~Mix egg whites to butter mixture.
~Add vanilla and remaining powdered sugar.
~Spread over chilled cake or put dollops of filling over cake and return to freezer.

Frosting Directions:
~In a large saucepan, over medium heat, combine milk, sugar, cocoa, corn syrup, salt & 1/2 cup butter.
~Bring mixture to a boil, stirring until everything is mixed well.
~Cook without until mixture reaches soft-ball stage on candy thermometer.
~Remove from heat.
~Mix in remaining 1/2 cup butter, vanilla & powdered sugar.
~Mix until smooth.
~Allow to cool slightly.
~Pour over cake.
~Return to freezer until frosting sets (10-20 minutes).