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.

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).