we have arrived...

So we did make it to Indy on Sunday after four LONG days of driving and dealing with relatives. We have been trying to unpack the moving truck, but have had to stop due to our nephews fourth birthday and the fact we have run out of room to put things. We have my brother in law, sister in law and nephew visiting to "help" move but there stuff is in the way, and their sleeping quarters take up some much needed storage space. Its ridiculous but we are spending time with them, right?  Oh yah and we are now members of the Indianapolis Childrens Museum....without kids. Hmmmm....

Pumpkin Cheesecake

The Cheesecake Factory Pumpkin Cheesecake
adapted from RecipeZaar

1-1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
5 tablespoons butter, melted
1 cup sugar, plus 1 tablespoon sugar
3 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup canned pumpkin
3 eggs
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon allspice

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Make the crust by combining the graham cracker crumbs with the melted butter and 1 tbsp sugar in a medium bowl. Stir well enough to coat all of the crumbs with the butter, but not so much as to turn the mixture into paste. 

Put foil partway up the outside part of an 8-inch springform pan. Press the crumbs onto the bottom and about two-thirds of the way up the sides of the springform pan. You don't want the crust to form all of the way up the back of each slice of cheesecake. Bake the crust for 5 minutes, then set aside until you are ready to fill it.

In a large mixing bowl combine the cream cheese, 1 cup sugar, and vanilla. Mix with an electric mixer until smooth. Add the pumpkin, eggs, cinnamon, nutmeg and allspice and continue beating until smooth and creamy. Pour the filling into the pan. Bake for 60-70 minutes. The top will turn a bit darker at this point. Remove from the oven and allow the cheesecake to cool.

When the cheesecake has come to room temperature, put it into the refrigerator. 

Apple Cider Doughnuts

Baked Apple Cider Donuts

2 cups whole-wheat flour
1 and 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 and 1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1 egg
2/3 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup apple, finely chopped (I used JonaMac)
1/3 cup pure maple syrup
1/3 cup apple cider
1/3 cup plain yogurt
3 tbsp vegetable oil
cinnamon and sugar

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Grease two donut pans and set aside. In a medium bowl whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Set aside. Chop apple into small pieces or use food processor to puree and set aside. In a large bowl combine egg, brown sugar, apple, maple syrup, apple cider, yogurt, and oil. Mix until well blended. In small amounts add in flour mixture and beat until just moistened. Spoon dough into donut pan, be careful not to overfill pans. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until lightly browned.

While donuts are baking, prepare a shallow bowl with cinnamon and sugar mixture. Once donuts have finished baking, immediately place donut in cinnamon sugar bowl and spoon mixture over donut until it is completely coated. Repeat with remaining donuts and serve warm. Preferably with a cup of hot apple cider!

Chicken Parm.

This recipe was created in hopes of making this dish loads healthier than the Olive Garden version. I love their Tour of Italy with fettuccine alfredo, lasagna, and chicken parmigiana! Yet, we all know how unhealthy that combination can be. So this is a slight update, but quite yummy and not as gut pounding heavy.

1 cup panko breadcrumbs
1 cup crushed fiber one original cereal
2 Tablespoons italian seasonings (Mrs. Dash for the lack of salt is FABULOUS!)
1 Teaspoon garlic powder
2 Tablespoons freshly shredded or grated Parmesan
(all measurements are approximate depending on the amount of of chicken needed).
Boneless skinless chicken breast or thighs thinly cut or made into strips (they cook better, trust me)
1 Cup homemade spaghetti sauce (or jarred, I've used both)
1 Cup Shredded Mozzarella cheese

Heat oven to 350 degrees.
Rinse chicken over sink. Cut into strips or thin slices.{wash hands} Mix top ingredients in ziploc. Shake. Place each chicken piece in ziploc to evenly coat all sides of chicken. Take chicken out of the ziploc and place in shallow baking dish. Continue till all pieces are coated and in dish. Place dish into oven for 20-30 depending on the thickness of chicken pieces.
While chicken is cooking, warm spaghetti sauce on stove top or in microwave remembering to cover with a paper towel to avoid the doomed sauce splatter.

When chicken is cooked thoroughly (internal temp of 160 or higher) take out of oven, spoon the warm sauce over the chicken pieces and cover with mozarella cheese. Place back into oven to melt the cheese for about a minute.

When cheese is melted, plate, serve with spaghetti, lasagna, breadsticks, salad, etc. We prefer spaghetti, chicken parm and salad.

Pork Tenderloin

I have no pictures to post, but I can tell ya that it was super yummy and delicious.

I had a smithfield pork tenderloin, mrs. Dash's tomato, basil, garlic, stove top stuffing,  and kraft's mexican blend cheese.

I took out my 8x11 pan and buttered the bottom and sides.

I sliced almost all the way through the tenderloin(making it like a hoagie roll), sprinkled mrs. dash's mix over the bare meat both inside and out and let it sit for 5 minutes while cooking the stuffing in the microwave (less heat inside the house the better!!).

After the stuffing was cooked, I stuffed the stuffing inside the tenderloin, sprinkled a little more Mrs. Dash into the stuffing and covered with mexican blend cheese.
Then I placed it into a preheated 350* oven for 40 minutes, until the internal temperature was cooked through.

I served it with peas, homemade mashed potatoes, and biscuits to put everyone in a carbo coma for extra good sleep before they left. (We've had in-laws visiting for the past two weeks!)

Lemon'd Pepper Pork Tenderloins

Mission Trip 2008. Casper Wyoming.
Three retired adults and Me, the 27 year old.(at the time!)

We cooked food from 0600 till 1300 had a two hour break and were back 1500 till 2100 most nights after clean-up. It was fun and fabulous. I was the only one who had ever ran a commercial kitchen before. Imagine the youngester taking charge?!  hehe

Anyhow, this was our favorite food we cooked, and happened upon on a whim. It was almost our most requested recipe from kids and adults we served.

The camp director had FIVE giant pork tenderloins she ordered, but had NO clue how to cook up. Moose, elk, deer she could do, but PORK? Completely blew her mind. Well, Being that we were FROM North Carolina PIG COUNTRY, we had a few ideas. I scoped the pantry and found lemon pepper unopened! SCORE!!!

Recipe: (from camp)
Pork Tenderloin
Lemon Pepper Seasoning
(directions: sprinkle lemon pepper and salt onto each piece of tenderloin chops, rubbing into meat on both sides. Let sit in fridge for 4-5 hours, cook!)

(remade since camp)
Pork Tenderloin
Freshly Squeezed Lemons
Cracked Peppercorns
Smoked Sea Salt
Roasted Garlic
Grated Lemon Peel

Mix Lemon juice, lemon peel, cracked, ground peppercorns, smoked sea salt, minced roasted garlic into a small bowl.

Slice Tenderloin into pork chop size filets. Brush lemon mixture onto each piece individually, rub solid pieces into pork on both sides. Let sit in container in fridge for four to five hours. Take pork out of fridge, let sit 20 minutes at room temp and proceed on HOT grill. Cook through. Let sit for 3 minutes, plate. DEVOUR.

Linked to :Our Homeschool Home's grill contest guest Judge is: Cheryl @ TiDYMOM


I finally made dinner again last night! It's been awhile with the husband off at training, then off visiting his dad and it's HARD to cook for one when I don't eat leftovers. So, I made this with on-hand regular everyday ingredients.

3 cups rotini (we use smart taste!)
1 package Johnsville sausages, casing peeled
1 cup chopped mushrooms
1 cup chopped red onion
3 cloves garlic
1 jar of ragu sauce ( my newest fav is mushroom and onion) and normally I make my own sauce, but it was later for dinner
1 teaspoon italian seasoning
shredded mozzarella
4 slices whole wheat sourdough or italian bread
2 roma tomatoes sliced in half

In medium saucepan bring water with italian seasoning to boil. Over high heat, place sausages into a large fry pan with a splash of EVOO. Chop with spoon to bite size pieces, place lid over pan to steam them and cook faster. Meanwhile chop onion, mushrooms and tomatoes and peel garlic. Add one garlic clove to sausages. Preheat oven to 375. Place bread on pan and place into oven to toast.
When water is boiling, place pasta into pot and stir.  Remove sausages from pan into a paper towel lined bowl. Add a splash of EVOO and a pinch of brown sugar to pan and add in onions and mushrooms. Carmelize and cook, stirring often. Take bread out of oven and rub the cloves of garlic over the tops unto they turned yellow in color. Then rub tomatoes over the tops of the bread and sprinkle cheese sparingly over slices. Place pan back into oven and remove once cheese is melted.
Place sauce into the veggies pan to heat. Drain pasta and place into veggie pan. Stir to coat pasta. Add in sausage.
Or:::: place pasta in bottom of bowl add mushroom/onion mixture, then spoon sauce over top. Add sausage on top. :::: Slide piece of bread into side of the bowl and serve fresh. This makes roughly 4-5 servings.

Tonights will be leftovers, layered in a pan and baked like a lasagna, with just adding cheese on top and a salad on the side.

I heart Faces: dessert

It's my first entry and I am kinda excited but blah because look how LAME little my blog is compared to others. But that's okay with me most days...as it's personal friends and family and I don't advertise it. It's mainly to keep my recipes in searchable internet order and share them with said family and friends without writing them down on paper that will get lost before it reaches their houses.
Don't forget to check out all the other desserts *drool*
Dessert Photos to drool by..

Ok, onto the picture. My favorite Anniversary dessert: Strawberry cake with Strawberry frosting!

Easter Dinner.

Wait a minute, we did not have an Easter dinner. Whoops. We ate Las Palapas for lunch and watched a movie in the theatre during an earthquake. When we came home, we weren't all that hungry and I wasn't going to start a HUGE dinner at 6:00pm anyhow. So, Chris ate sugar cookies and I had a bowl of cereal. Impressive, huh?

Anyhow, today will be yummy dinner time.
Boneless BBQ Beef ribs
Buttermilk Biscuits
Green Beans
It's just the two of us and since Chris is going on a short trip this week we don't need leftovers that I refuse to eat. (bleh!)

I also bought 4 pounds of strawberries for only $3.99. I haven't quite figured out what I am going to do with them because they probably won't be good once Chris gets back...but this is always a favorite of mine. I might make this for small group this week. It has ALWAYS been a hit.

2 tart apples, peeled, cored and diced
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 pint fresh strawberries, chopped
2 medium Kiwi fruit, peeled and chopped
2 tablespoons brown sugar, firmly packed
2 tablespoons apple jam

Mix all ingredients together and chill. Serve with Nilla Wafers. This is so amazingly yummy and healthy. It's quite refreshing as well. Maybe

Strawberry Shortcake, Ohio Style

 Strawberry Filling:
3 Cups sliced fresh strawberries (washed, dried)
2 Tablespoons Sugar

2 1/2 Cups reduced fat biscuit mix
1/3 Cup Sugar/sugar substitute
1 Cup plain fat free yogurt
1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Stir together strawberries and sugar in medium bowl, let sit for about one hour, stirring occasionally.

In large bowl, combine biscuit mix and sugar. Stir together yogurt and vanilla, and add to dry ingredients, stirring until just moistened. Drop by spoonfuls onto a slightly greased cookie pan. Bake 12 to 15 at 425 Degrees.

Plate with one biscuit sliced in half, fresh whipped cream, and strawberries, SERVE warm.

I don't eat chips, normally.
But these chips have been stalking me ever since I arrived in Arizona...

I HAD to try them finally....after finding a small 99c bag of them, they were opened today, two days after purchase.

I am happy to report that there are no more left in the bag. I had some, Chris had some and even Belle liked them.

Those chile limon ones look just as yummy. Actually, almost anything with lime in it is pretty good... except desserts. I like my fruit pure; all by itself or with meat...not with pastry.
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Fresh from LOCAL producers

Failed attemp at bread.

Outback Steakhouse's Bushman Bread Recipe.

yes, I tried to make it. Of course, I didn't follow directions and used a different flour, but overall it's quite similar I tried the bread machine, but with the dough being so dense, it was hard to mix it completely, so I used the kitchen aid mixer I love so dearly. I feel like tomorrow I should purchase bread flour and make it again, but we shall see. I have an interview tomorrow and am wicked excited about it. God has certainly blessed us lately.


3 packages dry yeast
1/2 cup warm water
1 Tablespoon sugar
1 Cup warm water
1/2 Cup dark molasses
1 Tablespoon salt
2 Tablespoons oil (I used olive oil)
2 Cups Rye flour
2 1/2-3 Cups Bread Flour ( I used white whole wheat..DEFINATELY not the same texture/taste)

Preheat Oven to 375.
Soften yeast in 1/2 cup warm water.
Stir in the sugar and let stand for 6 minutes or until bubbly.
In large mixing bowl combine yeast, 1 cup water, molasses,salt, oil, and rye flour. 
Mix until smooth. 
Work in the bread flour until dough is smooth and no longer sticky. 
Knead dough for a few minutes and then let it rise in a greased bowl till it's doubled in size.
Punch dough down and shape into 2 large round loaves.
Place loaves a few inches apart onto greased and cornmeal dusted cookie sheet. Sprinkle a bit of the cornmeal over the top of the loaves.
 *don't hold back on the cornmeal like I did* hehe
Let loaves rise in a warm place until doubled. 
Bake loaves at 375 for about 30 minutes or until the crust makes a hollow sound when tapped. 

Love the texture of this. yum.
I used my cookie scoop in the butter because I was feeling fancy...as well as the boring white cutting board, too. I don't have any awesome bread boards to use, so this does us for now. Notice how DENSE this bread came out compared to the REAL Outback Steakhouse Bread?


Roasted Cauliflower

Another pot-luck Bible Study Night and another new Recipe. I am really enjoying making new things with local foods. This one is super easy and yummy. Who knew cauliflower was so versatile?

 Roasted cauliflower with Parmesan, Mozzarella, and Prosciutto.

1 head cauliflower
1 package prosciutto, sliced thin and diced
1/2 Cup Butter
1/2 Cup Whole Wheat Flour
1 Can FF Evaporated Milk
1 Teaspoon chopped garlic
1/2 Teaspoon Red Pepper Flakes
1/2 Cup Parmesan Cheese
1/8 Teaspoon nutmeg
1/3 Cup Bread Crumbs
1/2 Cup Shredded Mozzarella


Preheat oven to 350 degree F.
Bring large pot of water to a boil over high heat. Meanwhile cut cauliflower into bite sized pieces (one inch size). and butter a 9 X 13 dish. 
Blanch the cauliflower for 2 minutes in pot, drain, and place into buttered dish and let cool for about five minutes.

While the cauliflower's cooling, brown the prosciutto in a small skillet over medium heat.  Transfer to a small bowl and set aside.

In the same skillet, melt the butter and create a roux with the flour, stirring until combined. Continue to stir for two minutes, to cook the flour. 
Slowly add in the evaporated milk, stirring constantly until there are no lumps. 
Add garlic, red peppers flakes, parmesan, and nutmeg.  Stir to combine. 
Pour sauce over the cauliflower evenly to cover. Top with a sprinkling of shredded mozzerella cheese and bread crumbs.
Bake until the breadcrumbs are golden and the cauliflower is cooked, about 25 minutes. Serve immediately.

Valentine's Day CuppyCakes

It was Valentine's Day & our Anniversary yesterday so we were out hiking...all.day.
Which is fine, but we forgot about that tradition of "romantic meals day". So we're having it today. We ate Pizza Hut Saturday Night and that's special to us so we'll call it even.
Today we made strawberry Cupcakes with Strawberry Frosting.  YUMMY.

What a fInd!!

I found King Arthur's White Whole Wheat Flour on Sale at the Local grocery store! I think I may grab another bag before it goes off sale on Wednesday! Apparently, it's whole wheat flour, with a lighter taste, like white bread yet it hasn't been stripped of it's nutrients. I am making this recipe below from the King Arthur Website and it looks yummy in the bread machine currently. I substituted One cup of whole wheat flour in the mix instead of using all white whole wheat flour! ( I gotta save this precious gem, it's normally $5.99/bag!!) However, if it's quite similar, I may switch all my white flours in the pantry to this product, or one similar. I also found ground flax seed, that I am going to start utilizing to make meals healthier. I cannot believe how much processed food we eat, really. And I had a 'vision' for lack of a better term that it's MY responsibility to make sure my husband and I eat healthy and are active. Yes, he's an Active Duty Marine, but they don't 'schedule' pt like most units do these days. It is my job to make sure he's getting the nutrients he needs to sustain a healthy body as a fit Marine and my job to maintain a much healthier lifestyle than what we've been undertaking recently.  Proverbs 31 is my goal... it's the only place where you'll find 'wifely' duties in God's Instruction Manual for Life aka the Bible. So, with waking with the sun and all that to provide food for my husband, I think it's my Duty to him and God that it'll be something other than toaster strudels (much to his dismay, I am sure) and orange juice.
Here's the amazing recipe from www.KingAthurFlours.com. Oh and Vital Gluten can be found at Walmart, it's about $2.00 and will last for about a month if you stick to baking homemade bread every few days.

The following recipe is one we worked out for the Zojirushi. It makes a firm, sweet loaf of golden bread. It shouldn't be hard adapting it to your own machine; all you need to know is what proportion of flour/liquid/yeast your machine functions best with. Take a look at the dough after it's kneaded for about 10 to 12 minutes or so; it should be smooth, not sticky (too little flour) or lumpy (too little liquid), forming a nice ball. If the dough looks good at this point, you're probably all set.
For 1 1/2 lb. bread machine
1 1/4 cups water
2 tablespoons olive or vegetable oil
1/4 cup honey or maple syrup
3 to 3 1/2 cups King Arthur 100% White Whole Wheat or Traditional Whole Wheat Flour
1/4 cup sunflower, sesame or flax seeds, or a combination (optional)
1 tablespoon vital wheat gluten
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 teaspoons instant yeast

Put all of the ingredients into the bread pan in the order listed. Program for basic white bread, and press Start.

Cookies Galore

Banana Cookies Recipe


  • 1/2 cup of unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup of sugar
  • 1 egg, room temperature
  • 1 cup of mashed bananas (about 2 ½ large bananas)
  • 1 teaspoon of baking soda
  • 2 cups of flour
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon of ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon of ground mace or nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon of ground cloves
  • 1 cup of walnuts and chocolate chips


1 Preheat the oven to 350°F. Cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Add the egg and continue to beat until the mixture is light and fluffy.
2 In a bowl, mix the mashed bananas and baking soda. Let sit for 2 minutes. The baking soda will react with the acid in the bananas which in turn will give the cookies their lift and rise.
3 Mix the banana mixture into the butter mixture. Mix together the flour, salt, and spices and sift into the butter and banana mixture and mix until just combined.
4 Fold into the batter the pecans or chocolate chips if using. Drop in dollops onto parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Bake for 11-13 minutes or until nicely golden brown. Let cool on wire racks.
Makes about 30 cookies.

other Cookies Made:

Peanut Butter Blossoms



I realize that it has been literally WEEKS since Thanksgiving, but I still have the memories and photographs to share. My internet connection has been wonky as of late so it's taken me some time and angst to get over the fact that my high-speed cable internet is now WORSE than dial-up or satellite. It takes way too long to process a page let alone a page with pictures. I am hoping that Hubbi fixes it or I'll start pricing the competitors' out. It's seriously that bad.

Anyhow. Thanksgiving was superb. I didn't stuff my face, but had a little bit of everything except my mum's kitchen sink salad. OOPS. Who wants to eat like a rabbit when there is homemade mac and cheese, freshly made mashed potatoes, homemade rolls, succulent turkey, and gravy? I sure didn't. But of course it did looks fabulous. If it weren't Thanksgiving, I would have had some. There were craisins, almonds, tomatoes, onions, peppers, romaine and iceburg lettuces, french fried onion strips, and feta cheese. I am not sure what to call it, so I'll go with kitchen sink salad. It seems like an interesting mix of flavors and one that my taste buds did not seem pressed to consume.
Instead I had the moist turkey, gravy, taters, rolls, mac and cheese, green bean casserole, and cherry pie and a small piece of fudge. We ate around 1400 (2pm) and didn't have a dinner per se. We munched on cheese and crackers and appetizer like things. It was great to have mum and Roger over for a Holiday. We watched GiJoe since they hadn't seen it before... and I started Christmas with the Kranks, but they left early to get home since it's a 3 hour drive.
Chris and I went shopping on black friday and got some cricut cartridges (always a plus) and accessories. We also picked up a bluray player that was actually returned last night. We traded it in because it no longer wanted to play movies of any kind, bluray or not. Boo. This one seems better, but only time will tell. The Hubbi has to set it up on-line so we can stream our Netflix and let our movie addiction continue! We're also currently addicted to freshly made bread. I made sourdough last night and we had two slices left as of this morning. It paired nicely with the pot roast I made in the crock pot. YUM!

Sweet Dinner Rolls:
1/2 Cup Warm Water (110 degrees F)
1/2 Cup Warm Milk
1 Egg
1/3 Cup Butter, softened
1/3 Cup Sugar
1 Teaspoon Salt
2 Cups White Flour
1 3/4 Cups Whole Wheat Flour
1 Package Active Dry Yeast

Place water, milk, egg, butter, sugar, salt, flour, and yeast into pan of bread machine and select dough/knead and first rise cycle. Press Start.

When cycle is done, turn dough onto a light floured surface. Roll dough into small walnut size balls and place 3 balls inside a buttered cupcake tin. Cover with clean kitchen towel and put in a warm place. Let it rise 1 hour.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees f. Bake in preheated oven for 10 to 15 minutes until golden.

mac n cheese

Ingredients Equal parts water & chicken broth to boil macaroni in
3 cups of macaroni (uncooked)
2 Tablespoons of butter
2 Tablespoons flour
1 cup chicken broth
1/2 cup half n half
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup cream cheese, softened
4 cups of finely grated cheese
Additional cheese to sprinkle on top
Black pepper
Step 1.) In a large pot,  add equal parts water & chicken broth. (Just enough to cook your macaroni in)  Bring to a boil.
Step 2.) Add macaroni and cook until al dente. About 7-8 minutes (look on back of the box for the cooking time and set your timer so that you don't overcook it) When macaroni is done, drain and set aside.
Step 3) In a large saucepan over medium heat, melt butter & whisk in the flour. Cook for about 2 minutes. Whisking the entire time.
Step 4. ) Slowly whisk in 1 cup chicken broth, half n half, & milk. Whisk until combined. You want the mixture to steam but NOT boil. Adjust your heat accordingly

Step 5.) Add in the cream cheese & stir until completely dissolved and smooth. Whisk & stir like crazy to get it smooth. I used a spoon to mash the cream cheese up a bit. This is my least favorite step.

Step 6.) Remove from heat & add in 4 cups of cheese & stir until smooth.

Step 7.) Pour cheese mixture over cooked macaroni and stir to combined. Add some black pepper if you'd like.

Step 8.) Grease a 9 X 9 inch pan with butter & pour the mac n cheese into it.

Step 9.) Top with sharp cheddar cheese and paprika. Bake for 25-30 minutes. Do not overbake to prevent it from being dried out. You want the macaroni and cheese to be somewhat jiggly when you take it out. It will set as it cool and just be the creamiest, cheesiest thing ever!

Let cool for about 15-20 minutes before digging in so that it can set completely.

Zuppa Toscana

Olive Garden's Potato and Sausage Soup
4-5 scrubbed, sliced potatoes (leave skin on)
1 Pkg Turkey Italian Sausage, casing removed, browned, fat drained
1 Package Turkey Bacon cooked, fat drained, diced
1 Bunch Kale Greens, chopped/diced
1/4 Cup half and half/whipping cream/creamer
1 Medium Onion Diced
1/2 Teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 Teaspoon chopped/minced garlic
2 Containers low sodium Chicken Stock

In dutch oven combine onions, chicken stock,garlic, red pepper flakes, and potatoes over medium heat. Cook until potatoes are soft. Add in bacon, kale, and sausage and simmer on high for 10 minutes. Add cream just before serving.
Serve with garlic breadsticks and a garden salad.

A week of soups.

Well, it certainly has been a week of soup delights here. I've made several different ones and want and crave MORE soup. Which is good considering it was COLD this week; I am talking about waking up and it's 49F degrees outside. One day it didn't even reach 70f degrees. Thankfully the temperatures are moving back towards the 90s so I can be warm and happy once again.

Here are the soups:

Smashed Tater Crock Pot Soup

4 Pounds diced taters (wash em, peel em, cut em)
1 Teaspoon garlic or 3/4 cloves
2 - 14oz chicken broth cans (low sodium or organic!)
1/2 stick butter
1/2 onion diced
8 Slices Turkey Bacon crisp cooked, drained, and chopped
2  Cups shredded cheddar cheese (2%milk or light)
1/2 Cup cream (half and half, heavy, whipping, light..most anything works here)
1/2 Cup light sour cream
salt and pepper to taste

Garnish: sour cream, slice green onions, cheddar cheese, bacon.

Place crock pot on high and add in butter, garlic, salt, pepper, and onions while prepping the taters. Add in the taters and chicken broth. If you're cooking it for only a half day, keep crock pot on high, otherwise turn crock pot on low for 8 hours until DONE.
Once taters are done, slightly mash 1/2 of them in the soup. Stir in bacon, 1 1/2 cup of cheese, the cream,  and some green onion. Heat through to warmed temperature.  (another 30ish minutes).
If soup is too thick, add in more chicken stock. If soup is too thin, add in instant mashed potatoes (or pop a tater into the microwave and bake as a baked tater and scoop out the insides and add to soup).

To serve: ladle up soup in 8 bowls, and garnish with sour cream, onions, cheese, and bacon and serve with crusty french bread.

Banana Bread Version 3

10 T Butter
2 Cups mashed ripe bananas
1 Cup Sour Cream
4 Large Eggs
3 Teaspoons Vanilla
2 Cups White Flour
2 Cups Wheat Flour
1!/2 Cups Sugar
2 Teaspoons Baking Soda
1 1/2 Teaspoons Baking Powder
1 Teaspoon Salt
2 Cups Chopped Walnuts

Preheat oven to 350 Degree F.

Grease 2 9x6 loaf pans

Puree bananas, sour creams, eggs, and vanilla in mixer. In a separate bowl, combine the flous, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, and salt and stir gently. Add 1 cup at a time to banana mixture until blended, and scraping sides of bowl each time. Gently fold in nuts. Pour mixture into pans and bake until lightly browned about 45minutes -hour. Remove from oven and cool on wire rack.


While I was walking around the grocery store the other day, I noticed that eggplants were on sale so I grabbed two of them. I was anticipating an eggplant parmesan and ratatouille. I picked out the firmest, shiniest, most perfect two out of the crop and was quite proud of my accomplishment. I was so excited to get home and attempt to cook this wonderful french dish that's provided by Julia Child in her book "Mastering the Art of French Cooking." I have been so inspired by Julia Child since I watched the movie "Julie and Julia."  I hope to one day find some old original first or second edition cookbooks she wrote before they were 'updated' with new modern conveinences.   My favorite cookbook is one from the 1950s. I think they're classic, elegant and filled with a lifetime or two of knowledge. Back to my story! I came home and started to cut up the red and green peppers, the onion, the tomato, and finally the eggplant. I sliced into it and see a brown  rotten swirl throughout the flesh/ I show the husband and he says it's normal rotting just use the normal white pieces. I was not going to use it, but I had to know what caused this in my perfect eggplant. After the knife sliced a few more pieces, I found the problem; a CATERPILLER! The brown swirls happened to be where it had reproduced its eggs.(WOW!) It makes me ill to think about it even now. I immediately washed everything I touched, the cutting board, the knife, the bowls, the counter top and I took a deep breath. I was semi freaked out about my perfect eggplant being infested when clearly there wasn't any signs of entry ANYWHERE on it.  Thankfully the husband suggested the other eggplant and I sliced it open while I held my breath. It was the perfect eggplant I had selected and did not disappoint me like it's brother did. However, the eggplants parmesan will have to wait until I go back to the store.
So I happily cut the eggplant and squash, added salt and waited 30 minutes. Once that was done, you drain the juice and towel dry each piece. I must confess that I skipped that step and threw them into the hot skillet. Once they were cooked (about 10 minutes on slow heat) you place them in a different bowl and add in peppers, onions, garlic, salt, and pepper to the hot oil. Once they're cooked, add in the tomatoes and let cook for ten minutes covered. Then baste with tomato juices and simmer to reduce the amount of juice left in pan. Add 1/3 tomato mixture into a casserole dish over low heat. Then sprinkle 1/3 teaspoon parsley on top. Add 1/3 eggplant/squash mixture and continue to layer until done. Cook on low heat for ten minutes while basting with own juices. Add salt and pepper to taste.  Remove from heat and serve warm or cold.

  • 1/4 cup olive oil, plus more as needed
  • 1 1/2 cups small diced yellow onion
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 2 cups medium diced eggplant, skin on
  • 1 cup diced green bell peppers
  • 1 cup diced red bell peppers
  • 1 cup diced zucchini squash
  • 1 1/2 cups peeled, seeded and chopped tomatoes
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley leaves
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper


Tonight at Small Group, we are celebrating the end of a Bible Study session. We are going swimming, eating, (like TRUE Baptists) and having a time of fellowship. We are having a potluck style dinner menu and everyone gets to bring something. While attending small group I have noticed that when we mention food, it's either cookies, or a mexican fare (which makes sense in location). I happen to love mexican food, actually TEXMEX, but that it a totally different story right there. So, with most of the people in our small group having next left this immediate SW area, I am bringing them some local cuisine from our travels. I am cooking up Paula Deen's Chicken Salad and Banana Pudding; two VERY southern staples that I am sure most people here have not tried.

Chicken Salad:
3 pounds cooked chicken any style/flavor
1 cup of diced celery
1 lemon squeeze
1/3 c toasted, sliced almonds
1/2 c Mayo
Salt and Pepper to taste
Dinner Rolls

Combine all ingredients minus the rolls and chill. Before serving place a hefty amount on each roll and top with a sandwich pick. It's very simple, but soo very yummy.

Banana Pudding:

1    box vanilla wafers
3   medium bananas, sliced
2 ounce (1/2 stick) butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 cup milk
4   egg yolks
2 tablespoon cornstarch
3/4 cup sugar
For the meringue topping, optional:
3 egg whites
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/4 cup sugar


Mix together sugar and cornstarch and slowly add milk. This should be cooked in the top of a double boiler, but you can cook it over low to medium heat, stirring constantly until it thickens—do not leave it unattended. Slightly beat egg yolks and temper with a small amount of the hot custard; stir well. Add egg mixture to custard pot and cook 2 more minutes. Remove from heat and add vanilla and butter. Let cool. In a 9 by 9-inch oven proof baking dish, alternate pudding, bananas, and wafers, beginning with pudding and ending with pudding. Add topping, if desired.
For the meringue topping, if using:
Beat egg whites and cream of tartar until soft peaks form. Gradually add sugar until stiff peaks form, then spread onto top of pudding mixture. Bake until golden brown.


I am getting ready for fall in my head via these recipes. I purchased some apple cider yesterday and haven't tried it yet. I DO hope it lives up to my snooty standards. I haven't found any that can compare to the local mix in Conneaut, Ohio. Ugh, I just tried it, I might as well have purchased apple JUICE! Where is the zing,  the creaminess, the glossy color? This 'cider' is great for multi-flavored apple juice, but far from great cider! Where are my cinnamon sticks? To put me in a better mood, We shall try this:


3 cups white sugar
1 cup milk
3 tablespoons light corn syrup
1/2 cup pumpkin puree
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup chopped walnuts (optional)
1.Butter or grease one 8x8 inch pan.
2.In a 3 quart saucepan, mix together sugar, milk, corn syrup, pumpkin and salt. Bring to a boil over high heat, stirring constantly. Reduce heat to medium and continue boiling. Do not stir.
3.When mixture registers 232 degrees F (110 degrees C) on candy thermometer, or forms a soft ball when dropped into cold water, remove pan from heat. Stir in pumpkin pie spice, vanilla, butter and nuts. Cool to lukewarm (110 degrees F or 43 degrees C on candy thermometer).
4.Beat mixture until it is very thick and loses some of its gloss. Quickly pour into a greased eight-inch pan. When firm cut into 36 squares.
*To make it extra cute, place a piece of candy corn on top of each fudge square!


Tried and True otherwise known as TNT.

5 Pounds assorted apples
2 Tablespoons Cinnamon
1 Cup Water

Wash off pesticides from apples with cold water and a fruit brush
Peel, Core, and Slice apples
Place into Large Pot simmering over medium high heat with a cup of water and cinnamon, then cover.

After five to ten minutes, check on the apples. If they are soft all the way through, they're done.
If you like chunky applesauce, mash with a potato masher, if you prefer smooth, slide into blender and puree. Add sugar if necessary, but most apples are sweet enough.
Pour into a dish and serve!
Homemade Applesauce is best served warm, but can be preserved in the fridge for up to a week.

An Apple a day...

Since it is fall everywhere but where we live (Arizona) I thought I would entertain the fall dishes that are my favorites. Nothing speaks of fall better than apple cider, apple doughnuts, apple pie, banana bread, maple nut buns; they're just FULL of fall flavors and yumminess. This recipe is adapted from Eating Well. 

Lighter Apple Crisp.

  • 5 medium-large crisp, tart apples, such as McIntosh, Empire, Granny Smith or Cortland, peeled and thinly sliced (about 6 cups)
  • 3 tablespoons granulated sugar or Splenda Granular
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon, divided
  • 2/3 cup whole-wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup old-fashioned rolled oats (not instant)
  • 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons butter, cut into small pieces
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 2 tablespoons fresh apple cider
  • 1/3 cup coarsely chopped hazelnuts or walnuts or pecans


Preheat oven to 375°F. Coat an 8-inch square (or 2-quart) deep baking dish with cooking spray.
Combine apples with granulated sugar (or Splenda), lemon juice and 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon in a large bowl. Toss to mix. Transfer to the prepared baking dish, cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, combine whole-wheat flour, oats, brown sugar and the remaining 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon in a medium bowl. Mix to blend. Using your fingers (or a fork or pastry blender), cut in butter until evenly distributed and there are no chunks. Stir in oil, apple cider and nuts; toss well until evenly moistened and clumpy.
Remove the foil from the baking dish and scatter the topping evenly over the apples. Bake uncovered until the topping has browned and the fruit is soft and bubbling, about 30 minutes more. Let cool for at least 15 minutes before serving.