Monday, December 21, 2009

Chocolate Chip Cheeseball

1-8oz cream cheese, softened
1/2 c butter (not margarine), softened
1/4 tsp vanilla
3/4 c powdered sugar
2 tbsp brown sugar
3/4 c mini choc chips
3/4 c finely chopped pecans
Graham Cracker Sticks


Beat cream cheese, butter and vanilla until fluffy. Gradually mix in sugars. Beat well. Stir in chocolate chips. Pour out onto plastic wrap. Shape into ball and refrigerate at least one hour. Before serving roll into pecans. Serve with Graham Cracker sticks.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Creamy Chicken Enchilada Soup

4 cans cream of chicken soup, undiluted
1 lb. mild Mexican Velveeta cheese
1 can Ro-Tel or El Paso brand diced green chilies
4 - 6 chicken breast halves, cooked and shredded
1 pt. Half & Half
2 c. milk

Boil and debone chicken breasts. Combine all ingredients. Heat over low heat stirring frequently to well heated and cheese is melted. Serve with tortilla chips(bite size or strips are best).

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Creamy Ghirardelli Fudge

3/4 cup (1-1/2 sticks) butter or margarine, softened
3 cups sugar
1 can (5 oz.) evaporated milk (2/3 cup)
11 oz pkg Ghirardelli Milk Chocolate Chips
7oz jar Marshmallow Crème
1 tsp. vanilla
1 cup chopped Walnuts or pecans (optional)

Place sugar, butter and milk in heavy 3-quart saucepan. Bring to full boil, stirring constantly. Boil 5 minutes over medium heat or until candy thermometer reaches 234°F, stirring constantly to prevent scorching. Remove from heat. Add chocolate; stir until melted. Add marshmallow crème and vanilla; mix well. Stir in nuts. Pour into greased 13x9-inch pan. Cool at room temperature; cut into squares.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Meat Temperatures

*Note before resting means while meat is cooking*

Beef
Rare
USDA Guidelines (Before Resting): n/a
Professional Kitchens (Before Resting): 115 degrees
Medium-Rare
USDA Guidelines (Before Resting): 145 degrees
Professional Kitchens (Before Resting): 120 degrees to 130 degrees
Medium
USDA Guidelines (Before Resting): 160 degrees
Professional Kitchens (Before Resting): 140 degrees
Medium-Well
USDA Guidelines (Before Resting): n/a
Professional Kitchens (Before Resting): 150 degrees
Well-Done
USDA Guidelines (Before Resting): 170 degrees
Professional Kitchens (Before Resting): 155 degrees to 160 degrees
Ground Beef
USDA Guidelines (Before Resting): 160 degrees
Professional Kitchens (Before Resting): 160 degrees

Pork
Medium
USDA Guidelines (Before Resting): 160 degrees
Professional Kitchens (Before Resting): 145 degrees
Well-Done
USDA Guidelines (Before Resting): 170 degrees
Professional Kitchens (Before Resting): 160 degrees

Ground Pork
USDA Guidelines (Before Resting): 160 degrees
Professional Kitchens (Before Resting): 160 degrees

Poultry
Whole Bird, Thighs, Legs, Wings, Ground Poultry
USDA Guidelines (Before Resting): 165 degrees
Professional Kitchens (Before Resting): 165 degrees
Boneless Chicken Breasts
USDA Guidelines (Before Resting): 165 degrees
Professional Kitchens (Before Resting): 160 degrees

Chocolate Pecan Pie

4 ounces semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
4 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 1/2 cups light corn syrup
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 9 inch deep dish pie crust (I prefer Marie Callender’s Frozen)
1 cup pecans

Preheat oven to 350 degrees, with rack in lowest position. In a heatproof bowl set over (not in) a saucepan of simmering water, melt chocolate, stirring occasionally, until smooth, 2 to 3 minutes (or melt chocolate in microwave). Set aside.

In a medium bowl, stir together (do not whisk) eggs, corn syrup, sugar, vanilla, and salt. Stirring constantly, gradually add melted chocolate. Pour filling into pie crust; place pie plate on a rimmed baking sheet. Arrange pecans in one even layer over filling.

Bake just until set (filling should jiggle slightly when pie plate is tapped), 50 to 60 minutes, rotating halfway through. Let cool completely on a wire rack, at least 4 hours before serving.

Herbed Almonds

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 cups whole blanched almonds
2 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves
Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add almonds, and cook, stirring occasionally, until lightly golden and fragrant, 10 to 12 minutes.

Stir in thyme leaves. Remove from heat. Season with salt and pepper. Spread out on a rimmed baking sheet, and let cool completely. Almonds can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature up to 2 weeks.

Great served with cheese or cheese spread!

Baked Brie with Pecans


1 small wheel of Brie or Camembert (about 9 ounces)
1/2 cup pecan pieces
3 tablespoons light-brown sugar
3 tablespoons pure maple syrup
crackers or sliced baguette, for serving

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place cheese on a rimmed baking sheet; bake until softened, 15 to 20 minutes. Transfer to a serving plate; cool about 20 minutes.

While cheese cools, place nuts on a clean baking sheet; bake until toasted and fragrant, 7 to 10 minutes. Sprinkle nuts over cheese.

In a small saucepan, combine sugar and maple syrup. Bring to a boil over medium heat; simmer until foamy, 1 to 2 minutes. Drizzle warm sauce over slightly cooled cheese and nuts; serve with crackers or baguette.

Butter Pecan Sweet Potatoes

8 medium sweet potatoes (5 pounds)
2 tablespoons olive oil
Coarse salt
2 tablespoons butter, cut into small pieces
2 tablespoons light-brown sugar
1/3 cup pecan pieces
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Peel potatoes and halve lengthwise; slice crosswise 1/2 inch thick. On a baking sheet, toss potatoes with olive oil; season with coarse salt.

Transfer half the potatoes to a second baking sheet; cook both sheets until potatoes are tender, tossing occasionally, 25 to 30 minutes.

Sprinkle with butter, brown sugar, pecan pieces, and cayenne pepper, dividing evenly. Bake until sugar is caramelized and hard, about 10 minutes. Gently toss; serve immediately.

Green Beans in Lemon Butter

1 tablespoon coarse salt, plus more for seasoning
1 pint green beans, stem ends trimmed
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1 tablespoon finely grated lemon zest (about 1 lemon)
Freshly ground pepper

Fill a medium (3-quart) saucepan three-quarters full of cold water. Set over high heat, and bring to a boil. Add salt and beans. Cook until water returns to a boil and beans are tender, 4 to 5 minutes. Remove from heat, and drain.

Immediately return beans to saucepan. Add butter and zest. Toss and season with salt and pepper. Transfer to a serving bowl; serve warm.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Pralined Pecans

2 cups raw pecans
1cup sugar
1/2 cup water
1/2 tsp salt

Boil all ingredients together on medium-low heat until mixture begins to crystalize. This is the tricky part because it's just before it starts to burn. Careful stirring at this point. You have to judge the best time to dump it onto a buttered cookie sheet.(don't let them burn) Spread nuts into a single layer.
Bake in a 250 F oven for 10 minutes. With metal spatula, turn the nuts and bake another 10 minutes. Allow to cool, and package for gift giving or set out as munchies.

Variations:
Add two tablespoons butter midway through the cooking process. It adds a nice flavor.
Add 1/8 teaspoon of nutmeg and 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon or either of them for a nice holiday flavor and scent.

Delicious Microwave Chocolate Pie

1 baked pie crust
¼ to ½ cup flour
3 Tbsp cocoa
1 ¼ cup sugar
2 egg yolks
2 cups milk
¼ cup margarine
1 tsp vanilla

Mix together flour, cocoa, sugar, and add enough hot water to mix well. Add egg yolks and milk. Cook in microwave safe bowl for 3 minutes. Stir then cook for 3
more minutes. Add margarine and vanilla. Mix well and pour into prepared crust. Can top with meringue or with cool whip.

Easy Peanut Butter Fudge

2 cups sugar
3/4 cup milk
4 T peanut butter
1 tsp vanilla
pinch salt

Boil sugar and milk without stirring until soft ball stage. Remove from heat. Let stand undisturbed until cool, then add salt, peanut butter, and vanilla. Beat with wooden spoon until stiff. Turn out into a greased 9 inch pan. Let sit until it hardens.

Mexican Candy Pralines

1 T butter
2 c brown sugar
1/2 c evaporated milk
1/4 tsp salt
1 c pecans, chopped

Cook butter, sugar, milk, and salt until mixture forms soft-ballstage, stirring constantly. Add nuts; beat until creamy. Drop by spoonfuls onto waxed paper.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Easy Plump Possum Pie

1 plump possum
2 pie crusts
2 nice taters
3 big carrots
2 cans mushroom soup


Place plump possum feet down and face up in first pie crust. Chop taters n carrots and place them around the plump possum. Pour the mushroom cans over the plump possum. Put second pie crust over the plump possum and squeeze edges down real tight. Bake until plump possum stops grinning and hair is crunchy.

The delightful delicious delectable dish definite defeats duck and all the other birds one other might offer up on Thanksgiving day.


NOTE: My precious husband, Kent, asked that I publish this recipe on his behalf. Beverly Thomas, a life long friend, commented today that for her daughter's wedding many of the recipes were taken from this site. From time to time people tell me they print the recipes gathered here. I think Kent wanted to be a blessing to others, too! :)

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Easy Berry Cream Pie

1 10 oz. package fresh or frozen blackberries or strawberries (thawed if frozen)
*3 tablespoons blackberry or strawberry jam
1 8 oz. tub of Cool Whip whipped topping (or fresh whipped cream, if desired)
1 9 in. store-bought graham cracker piecrust

Place the berries in a bowl and mash until broken up. Add the jam and mix until combined. Spoon the blackberry mixture into the crust. Top with Cool Whip and serve.
Note: use the flavor of jam as the fruit

Monday, November 2, 2009

Three Seed French Bread

4 tsp fennel seeds
4 tsp poppy seeds
4 tsp sesame seeds
1 (11 oz) can refrigerated French bread dough
1 egg white, beaten
Melted butter

Combine seeds in a shallow dish. Brush dough loaf with egg white. Roll top and sides of dough loaf in seeds. Place, seam side down, on a baking sheet. Cut and bake dough loaf according to package directions. Brush with melted butter after bread is removed from the oven.

NOTE: The initial cost for the seeds to make this brad is money well spent. You can continue to enjoy the seeds in other dishes or make more bread soon!

Creamy Lemon Tartlets

2 (2.1 oz) pkgs frozen mini phyllo pastry shells
1 cup whipping cream
2/3 c lemon curd
½ tsp almond extract
Garnishes: fresh raspberries, blueberries, mint sprigs, lemon zest or slices

Bake pastry shells according to pkg directions; cool compleely (about 20 min).
Meanwhile, beat whipping cream, lemon curd, and almond extract @ medium speed with an electric mixer until thickened and soft peaks form. Spoon mixture into pastry shells. Chill tartlets 1 hour. Garnish, if desired.

Boiled Shrimp

2 (3 oz) pkgs Zatarain’s Shrimp & Crab boil in bag
1 large lemon, halved
1 samll onion
3 Tbsp salt
4 lbs unpeeled, large raw shrimp

Bring first 4 ingredients and 4 qt water to a boil in a large Dutch oven over high heat. Cover and boil for 3 to 4 minutes. Add shrimp; remove from heat. Cover and let stand 10 minutes. (Shrimp will turn pink and shells will loosen slightly) Drain, discarding lemon, onion, and seasoning boil bag.

I prefer to serve them hot. You may prefer to peel and chill before serving.

Frogmore Stew

¼ c Old Bay Seasoning
4 lb small red potatoes
2 lb smoked sausage, cut in to 1 ½ inch pieces
12 ears frozen corn on the cob
5 lb unpeeled large raw shrimp
Old Bay Seasoning
Cocktail Sauce

Bring ¼ cup Old Bay seasoning and 5 qts water to a rolling boil in a large covered stockpot. Add potatoes; return to a boil and cook uncovered for 10 minutes.

Add sausage and corn and return to a boil. Cook 10 minutes or until potatoes are tender.

Add shrimp and cook 3 – 4 minutes or just until shrimp turn pink. Drain. Serve with Old Bay seasoning and cocktail sauce.

Pecan Cheesecake Pie

1/2 (15-oz.) package refrigerated piecrusts
1 (8-oz.) package cream cheese, softened
4 large eggs, divided
3/4 cup sugar, divided
2 teaspoons vanilla extract, divided
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cups chopped pecans
1 cup light corn syrup

Fit piecrust into a 9-inch pie plate according to package directions. Fold edges under, and crimp.

Beat cream cheese, 1 egg, 1/2 cup sugar, 1 tsp. vanilla, and salt at medium speed with an electric mixer until smooth. Pour cream cheese mixture into piecrust; sprinkle evenly with chopped pecans.

Whisk together corn syrup and remaining 3 eggs, 1/4 cup sugar, and 1 tsp. vanilla; pour mixture over pecans. Place pie on a baking sheet.

Bake at 350° on lowest oven rack 50 to 55 minutes or until pie is set. Cool on a wire rack 1 hour or until completely cool. Serve immediately, or cover and chill.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Karla Holley's Mexican Chicken Spaghetti

4 boneless, skinless chicken breast
1 stick butter or margarine
1 can RoTel tomatoes
1 small bell pepper, chopped
1 small onion, chopped
10-12 oz. spaghetti
1 lb Velveeta cheese

Boil chicken, remove from broth & cut into bite size pieces.
Melt butter in skillet & saute onion, bell pepper & RoTel. Saute for 20 minutes on low heat.

Cook spaghetti noodles according to package directions in broth from chicken (you will need to add more water). Drain.

Combine chicken, tomato mixture, noodles and Velveeta cheese. Mix well.
Poor into 11x13 casserole dish. Bake at 350 for 20 minutes.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Easy Caramel Dip

1 bag of Caramel candy squares, unwrapped
8 oz cream cheese
milk

Place caramels and cream cheese in microwave safe bowl. Heat for 2 minutes and then stir briskly for about 1 minute. Heat at 30 second intervals, stirring in between until hot and bubbly. Add milk 1 teaspoon at a time until desired consistency. Serve warm.

Serve as a dip for fruit, top coffee cakes, or serve over ice cream. DELICIOUS if served with apple wedges.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Cereal Coated Chocolate Peanut Butter Balls

1 cup peanut butter
1 cup honey
2 cup powdered milk
1 cup confectioners’ sugar
1 cup melted chocolate almond bark
1 1/2 cup crushed Sweetened Corn Flakes

Mix peanut butter, honey, and milk together to form very thick mixture. Roll out into small balls about the size of a walnut. Roll in confectioners’ sugar. Dip in melted chocolate. Roll in crushed cereal. Place on waxed paper and refrigerate until set.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

No Bake Chocolate Peanut Butter Oatmeal Bars

3/4 cup butter
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 cups quick cooking oats
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup peanut butter (smooth or chunky)

Melt butter in a large sauce pan over low heat. Stir in brown sugar, vanilla, and oats. Cook for 3 to 4 minutes. Press half of mixture in to the bottom of a buttered 8 x 8 dish.

In a microwave safe bowl, microwave the chocolate and peanut butter, stirring every 30 seconds until melted and blended. Pour the chocolate peanut butter mixture over the crust, reserving a couple of spoonfuls to drizzle over the top.

Sprinkle the remaining oat mixture over the chocolate and peanut butter, pressing gently to form a crust. Drizzle the remaining chocolate and peanut butter over the top of the bars.
Refrigerate for 3 hours before cutting and serving.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Easy Ooey Gooey Butter Cake

1 package yellow cake mix
1 stick of butter (melted)
1 egg

Mix all of the ingredients above and pat in a 13 by 9 inch pan

Topping
1 8 oz package of cream cheese (softened)
2 eggs
1 box of powdered sugar

Mix cheese until light and fluffy add eggs and mix well. Add powdered sugar and beat until all of the lumps are completely gone. Pour this mixture over cake in pan and bake a 350 degrees for 30 to 45 minutes or until topping is golden... allow to cool. Garnish sliced cake with lemon curls, powdered sugar and mint leaves.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Ideas Using Pumpkins for Fall

Pumpkin for Coolers:
  • Cut and discard the top from a fat pumpkin.
  • Hallow the pumpkin and wash the strings and seeds.
  • Add ice and bottles of your favorite soft drinks
  • If you plan to place your pumpkin on a wood service take precaution and place it on a round platter to prevent moisture from damaging the wood surface.

Pumpkin for Floral Arrangements:

  • Cut and discard the top from a tall slendor pumpkin.
  • Hallow the pumpkin and wash the strings and seeds.
  • Arrange your flowers using the pumpkin as a vase. You can place styrofoam if needed in the bottom of the pumpkin.

Pumpkin for Serving Bowls:

  • Cut and discard the top from different shapes of pumpkins or squash.
  • Hallow the pumpkin and was the strings and seeds.
  • Small pumpkins can be used for serving dips or salsas
  • Larger pumpkins can be used for serving fruits, soups, etc

Friday, September 18, 2009

Tortilla Turtles

1 sm pkg flour tortillas
Oil
½ cup sugar
2 – 3 tsp cinnamon
Chocolate sauce, recipe follows

Cut each tortilla into 8 triangle wedges. Heat oil and deep fry tortilla wedges. Remove from oil and place on paper towels. Combine sugar and cinnamon in gallon size Ziploc bag. Place wedges in bag and shake until well coated. Repeat until all wedges have been sugar coated.

Chocolate Sauce

1/3 cup heavy whipping cream
Approx 20 caramels
1 pkg chocolate chips
1 cup chopped pecans, optional

Combine cream, caramels, and chips in saucepan over low heat. Place wedges on platter. Drizzle chocolate sauce over tortilla wedges. Sprinkle with chopped nuts

Monday, September 14, 2009

Quick and Easy Cinnamon Rolls

1/4 c. sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon
2 tbsp. melted butter
1 pkg. canned biscuits

Mix sugar and cinnamon together. Dip each biscuit into melted butter. Coat with cinnamon mixture.Place in pan. Bake according to biscuit package directions. Remove from oven; loosen rolls immediately and glaze.

Cream Cheese Glaze
4 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
1 cup powdered sugar
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) margarine
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Combine cream cheese, powdered sugar, margarine, and vanilla in medium bowl. Using electric mixer, beat until smooth. Spread glaze on rolls. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Cinnamon Baked Apples

4 large baking apples, such as Rome, Golden Delicious, or Jonagold
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 cup chopped pecans or walnuts
1/4 cup currants or chopped raisins (optional)
1 Tbsp butter

Preheat oven to 375°F.

Wash apples. Using apple corer, core apples.

In a small bowl, combine the sugar, cinnamon, currants/raisins, and pecans.

Place apples in a 8-inch-by-8-inch square baking pan. Stuff each apple with sugar mixture. Top with a dot of butter

Bake 30-40 minutes, until tender, but not mushy.

Makes 4 servings.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Sausage Cornbread

1 stick of margarine
1 pound pork sausage
1 tablespoon minced onion
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 1/2 cups buttermilk self-rising cornmeal mix
1 (15 ounce) can cream style corn
1/2 cup sour cream
1/4 cup vegetable oil
2 cups shredded sharp Cheddar cheese
1/2 cup milk

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F (220 degrees C). Place margarine in 10 inch iron skillet. Heat in oven until melted.

In a medium skillet, brown the sausage and onion; crumble and drain well.

In a large bowl, combine eggs, corn meal mix, corn, sour cream, milk, and oil. Pour half of corn meal mixture into the greased pan, and sprinkle with sausage mixture and cheese. Pour remaining batter over top.

Bake for 30 to 40 minutes. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Mexican Fiesta

1 lb hamburger meat, browned and drained
1 pkg Chili Mix
1 can Rotel tomatoes and chilies
1 sm can tomato sauce
1 5 oz pkg Manhatma yellow rice
1 can cheddar cheese soup
1 cup milk
2 cups grated cheese

Add chili mix, Rotel, and tomato sauce to meat and simmer for 20 minutes

Cook yellow rice according to package directions.

Combine soup and milk and heat over low heat until bubbly, stirring often to avoid scortching.

Spread rice very thin into bottom of 9x13 sheet cake pan or casserole dish. Top with meat mixture. Pour soup mixture over meat. Sprinkle with grated cheese. Allow to sit for 10 minutes prior to serving. Serve with Mexican style chips.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Crunchy Cheddar Chicken Breasts

½ cup Hidden Valley The Original Ranch® Cheddar & Parmesan Dressing
4 Boneless, skinless chicken breasts
¼ cup each Corn flake crumbs
¼ cup finely shredded white Cheddar cheese
½ tsp. each salt and course ground black pepper

Combine crumbs, cheese, salt and pepper in pie plate. Roll chicken breasts in dressing to coat both sides. Dip, top side only, in crumb mixture and place on baking sheet. Bake at 350°F for 35 to 45 minutes, or until golden brown and crunchy.

Makes 4 servings.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Easy Creamy Tomato Soup

1 jar Roasted Garlic Ragu Marinara Sauce or your favorite variety
1 pint Half & Half
2 tablespoons butter
2 chicken breasts

Boil or pan grill chicken breasts. Dice when cooked completely. Combine marinara sauce, half and half, and butter over low heat. Add chicken and cook until bubbly. Serve with french bread or grilled cheese sandwiches.

This makes a very creamy tomato sauce to serve over pasta as well. When used as a soup it is the texture of La Madelines Tomato Basil Soup.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Play Dough

1 c flour
1 c warm water
1/2 c salt
1 T oil
1 tsp cream of tartar
food coloring

Mix all ingredients over medium heat, until mixture pulls away from sides of pan and becomes like play dough consistency. Knead until cool. Must be stored in an air tight container. Do not refrigerate. Will keep for up to 3 months.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Chocolate Pecan Pie

9-inch pie crust, unbaked
2 squares bitter chocolate
3 Tablespoons butter
1 cup light corn syrup
3/4 cup sugar
3 eggs, slightly beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup coarsely chopped pecans
1/2 cup whipped cream (see my preference below)

Melt chocolate and butter over hot water. Combine syrup and sugar in saucepan. Bring to boil over high heat, stirring until sugar is dissolved. Boil 2 minutes. Add chocolate mixture. Pour slowly over eggs, stirring constantly. Add vanilla and nuts. Stir to mix well. Pour into unbaked pie shell. Bake at 375 degrees for 45 to 50 minutes. Cool.

Top with whipped cream. I prefer beating 1 pint of heavy whipping cream until stiff peaks appear. Then had superfine granulated sugar to taste.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Back 2 School Ideas

While I don't have small children Back 2 School time is a busy time for me. Our church has a large successful school. Additionally, annually CUPC hosts a Back 2 School Bash where we distribute school supplies. Thus, I am very much aware of the time of the year.

I remember buying school supplies and uniforms. I attempted to make the supplies a fun part of our year. Once we returned from shopping we would sit in the floor, open packages, and fill pencil pouches and notebooks. Then we would nicely arrange things in backpacks. This was so much fun. Wow the memories!

Once the children returned to school I would often send lunches and snacks from home. I enjoyed finding cute napkins and including them in the kid's lunchboxes. I remember when Trent was in maybe 2nd grade finding some football shaped napkins. The first time I sent it he came home all excited. He asked that I send extras the next day because some of his buddies wanted one, too. Redonia loved sweet tarts. Occasionally a random pkg sent for a snack made her day. Kent and I would write little notes and put in their lunch boxes, too. I remember even in Junior High or High School Kent writing a note and placing it in Redonia's notebook. Of course the school is on the church campus. She found her dad later in the day and gave him a big hug and soft smile. We began the practice of putting notes in their lunch boxes in pre-k or kindergarten. Hence, Redonia has always been one to leave a note especially for her Dad.

Other lunch box favorites were heart shaped sandwiches for Redonia. I cut bread using cookie cutters. Trent liked footballs and circles. We made rice krispie treats cut them in thick rectangles, inserted popsicle sticks, dipped them in chocolate bark and garnished with sprinkles.

Sometimes we made kolaches (pigs in blankets for you non-Texans) and sent them for the entire class for a quick breakfast. We poured cupcake batter in ice cream cones and baked ice cream cupcakes. The kids helped me decorate these like ice cream cones (frosted thickly and coated with sprinkles or candies) We took those for their classmates, too.

Back 2 School time should be faced with a smile and not a dread. Moms, don't leave creativity to the child's teacher to encourage a love for school. I believe the love for school needs to begin at home. Involve yourself in school functions and parties. From the time my children were in preschool - high school I sent something for each child's class parties. Being busy, working, etc is not an excuse. You may not be able to make the party but you can send for the party.

Once our school administrator was told by a parent I am too busy to participate since I'm a pastor's wife. Since we have had several pastor's children enrolled in our school I'm brave enough to state this! lol Our administrator was appalled that this mom was too busy for her children. Moms, regardless to your calling or schedule your children must know you support them. We've had to be out of town on occasion for events. I would purchase a big bag of candy, paper goods, or something ahead for the party. I used this as a teaching time for my children. Too many people like to show up at a party and give little or no effort to contributing. Many times we made goodie bags for Christmas or Valentines for Redonia and Trent to distribute to their friends. Not only did we make wonderful memories and have fun but I endeavored to teach the children the joy in giving to others.

Moms, don't view back to school as a bad time. Of course some view it as a good time to get rid of the children. How sad is that? This should simply be another time to used to have fun, make memories, and train children.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Oreo Truffles


1 pkg Oreo cookies
8 oz cream cheese, softened
1 pkg white almond bark
1 pkg chocolate bark

Using a blender crush Oreos. Mix cream cheese and crushed cookies together. Roll into walnut size balls. Chill for 1 hr. Melt chocolate. Dip into either white or brown chocolate. Let chocolate set. Drizzle with opposite color.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Homemade Spa Treatment Recipes

A few years ago I hosted a Spa party for the ladies of CUPC. Following are some recipes that I made. Some of them I had available for use @ the party. Others were packaged to go for the ladies. Try some of them and enjoy!!!!!!!!!!

Refreshing Peppermint Foot Gel

2 tablespoons Aloe Vera gel
½ tablespoons peppermint oil

Combine ingredients in bowl or large cup. Mix and massage mixture on feet until absorbed.

Lemon Soak for Dry Feet

Juice of 1 Lemon
Warm water in container large enough to soak feet

Soak feet for 15 to 20 minutes. Use a pumice stone to gently slough away dry skin.

Lemon Exfoliant
Do not use on the face. Use on hands, feet, arms, legs, elbows.

1 cup sugar
½ cup lemon juice

Combine ingredients to make a loose paste. Rub the mixture into the top and bottom of hands, working well into cuticles. Pay close attention to callused areas, rubbing for about 5 minutes. Repeat daily until calluses have softened or disappeared.

Strawberry Hand and Foot Exfoliant

8 – 10 Strawberries
2 tablespoons Oil (olive oil, baby oil, or cooking oil)
1 teaspoon of coarse salt such as Kosher Salt or Sea Salt (found at grocery store near seasonings and normal salt)

Mix together all ingredients, massage into hands and feet, rinse, and pat dry. Strawberries contain a natural fruit acid which aids in exfoliation.

Nail Whitener

1 denture tablet
1 cup warm water

Soak fingers (and even toes) in mix for 10 minutes.


Detoxification Bath

½ cup baking soda
½ cup Epsom or Sea Salt


Add mixture to warm bath and soak for 15 to 20 minutes. A detoxification bath should be taken at least once per month. (Optional add 1 teaspoon glycerin to help soften the skin)

Remedy for Itchy/Irritated Skin

Chamomile Tea Bags

Float 2 -4 Chamomile Tea Bags in the bathwater as it is running. Soak and enjoy!

Invigorating and Uplifting Bath

Peppermint Tea Bags

Float 2 – 4 Peppermint Tea Bags in the bathwater as it is running. Swish the water around to infuse the tea into the water.

Moisturizing Bath

Lady Grey or Earl Grey Tea Bags

Float 2 -4 Tea Bags in the bathwater as it is running. Aaahh skin will be so soft!

Skin Restoring Bath

Green Tea Bags

Float 2 -4 Green Tea Bags in the bathwater as it is running. Swish the water around to infuse the tea into the water. Then use the Tea Bag to exfoliate the face.

Lemon Facial Scrub

1 cup honey
½ cup lemon juice

Mix ingredients well. Scrub face. Rinse with water. Pat Dry.


Herbal Mint Facial Toner
(Good for sensitive skin)

1 Chamomile Tea Bag
1 Green Tea Bag
2 large sprigs of fresh mint
3 cups distilled water

Combine tea bags, min and water in saucepan. Bring to boil. Turn off heat and let sit for 5 minutes. Mix equal parts of mix with distilled water in a spray bottle. This keeps well in the refrigerator. Mist on face for a refreshing feel.


Milk Bath

1 cup cornstarch
2 cups powdered mil

Mix ingredients in a large bowl. Store in airtight container or small plastic bags. Add approximately 1 handful of Milk Bath to bath water.

Sore Muscles Bath Soak

½ cup baking soda
½ cup dry milk
1 cup Epsom salt
1 cup seal salt

Mix all ingredients together. Dissolve a handful of soak in warm bath water.

Exfoliating Skin Soak

6 tablespoons Oatmeal
Muslin cloth
String or cord (not thread)

Pile oatmeal in center of a small square of cloth. Gather of edges and tie with string. Hand around the tap water as it is running allowing the warm water to run thru the oatmeal. This releases the beautiful softening agents of oatmeal. Rub the bag of oatmeal over the body for an exfoliator.


Brown Sugar Body Scrub

2 cups brown sugar
1 cup honey
3 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tsp grated ginger (optional)

Mix all ingredients together. Scrub body by handfuls.

Honey Hair Conditioner
Deeply conditions dry and damaged hair leaving it soft and luminous.

½ cup honey
¼ cup olive oil

Mix ingredients together. Using a small amount at a time, work mixture through hair until coated. Cover hair with a shower cap or wrap in a towel and leave on 30 minutes. Shampoo well, rinse and dry as normal.

Paraffin Wax Treatment

Melt 4 bars of paraffin wax in the microwave

Massage in a rich moisturizer onto feet or hands

Wrap each foot in plastic wrap tight enough to make an airtight seal. This will help the moisturizer to penetrate.

Let set for 20 minutes

Remove wrap and peel off the wax.


Quick Hand Treatments

1 tsp honey and 1 tsp oil. With damp hands apply mixture. Place hands in small plastic bags, then in a pr of gloves for 30 minutes.

Warm a cup of milk until warm, but not to hot. Soak your hand for 5 minutes to strengthen nails and hydrate skin.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

PLEA for HELP!

This week I received an email from someone who is going to be speaking to a group of minister's wives on the subject of Hospitality. The writer asked for input from me. I thought I would open this site to help with this endeavor.

First, if you were a participant in this great seminar what would be an area that would be truly beneficial to you in the interest of hospitality? Please don't include what you think others would need to hear rather something you would like discussed. Second, if you were teaching this session what would be your primary point you would endeavor to cover?

Will you be kind enough to leave input in the comment section of the blog? Come on, help a sister! From time to time each of us needs help from others.

Gracias my dear friends!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Dream, Think, Plan

My wonderful sister-in-law, Courtney, is the inspiration to this post. Courtney and I share ideas often. I enjoy bouncing mine off her and she does likewise. Today she called and asked me my favorite time of the year to decorate. I immediately said Fall. Then I said, "Well". Before I could say more she said, "No you already said Fall so Fall it is!"

Courtney is an amazing floral designer. In fact she won first place at a Houston competition, first place at a regional competition, and I believe honorable mention at the state level. She is totally amazing. She has been asked to decorate a mock dinner table for very upscale elaborate event. She was given a choice of spring, summer, or fall. After our conversation she decided on fall. She will create table settings, an arrangement, place cards, and a party favor.

I immediately realized it is almost that time of the year. Fall and Christmas merchandise is making its grand appearance in many stores. Ladies, it time to start dreaming, thinking, and planning for all of your holiday events.

Many people seem to jump straight to Christmas. I on the other hand LOVE Fall. I have beautiful plates with brown turkeys. Of course I pull out the pumpkins and fall leaves. Girls, your Fall decorations can actually be displayed longer than any other season. Put it out in September and leave it through Thanksgiving.



Plan to share your holiday decor and foods with friends and family. If you prepare ahead of time entertaining is easy! Once you've made your fall plans immediately begin making your Christmas plans.

Sketch your decorating ideas, create sample menus, and put dates on the calendar to entertain those you love.

DREAM...THINK...PLAN....these are just reasons to share your love with others! Hopefully, I can be an inspiration to you. Use the sidebar and scroll thru past posts for recipes. I will do my best to update with many new ones, too.

Blessings from our home to yours.....

Monday, July 20, 2009

13 Basic Table Manners

1. Electronic devices. Turn off or silence all electronic devices before entering the restaurant. If you forgot to turn off your cell phone, and it rings, immediately turn it off. Do not answer the call. Do not text, and if you have a Blackberry or iphone, do not browse the Internet at the table.

2. Napkin. Place the napkin on your lap after being seated. As needed, use it to gently wipe or dab your mouth. Before drinking from a glass, dab your mouth. During a restroom break, place the napkin to the left of the plate. At the end of the meal, the napkin is placed neatly to the right of the plate (not refolded, but not crumpled either).

3. Wait until everyone is served before eating. If you are a guest, wait for the host to begin.

4. Utensils. If unsure which utensil to use, remember "outside in." The outer most utensil is used first. Once used, the utensil does not go back on the table, but is placed on the plate. When finished, the knife and fork are place side by side (parallel) on the plate with handles at the 3 or 4 o'clock position. Soup spoons are placed on bowl's service plate when finished; teaspoons placed on the saucer.

5. Bread or rolls: Place your bread and some butter on the bread plate. Tear off a bite-size piece of bread before buttering.

6. Sit up straight, do not hunch over your plate.

7. Hands. You can place your wrists or forearms on the table, or hands on your lap.

8. Legs. Keep legs next to your chair. Do not stretch legs out or cross your legs as they may bump others under the table.

9. Chew with your mouth closed. Do not overfill your mouth with food. Wait several seconds before taking the next bite.

10. Removing items from your mouth. If you need to remove gristle, bone, or an olive pit from your mouth, then remove it the way it had entered (i.e. fork or fingers), and place it discreetly on your plate.

11. Avoid uncouth conduct such as talking with mouth full, burping, nose blowing, picking at teeth, grooming or putting on makeup at the table. Instead, excuse yourself from the table and go to the restroom.

12. Courtesy. Always say thank you when served something.

13. Relax, dine slowly, and enjoy the meal and your company

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Maple Pecan Ice Cream Topping

3/4 c Firmly packed light brown sugar
1/4 c Water
3 tablespoons Maple Syrup
2 tablespoons Butter or margarine
1/2 c Chopped Pecans
1/4p c Whipping Cream

Cook first 3 ingredients in a saucepan over medium heat, stirring constantly, 6-8 minutes or until a candy thermometer registers 234 degrees (soft ball stage). Remove from heat; stir in butter. Cool. Stir in pecans and whipping cream. Store in refrigerator up to three weeks. Serve warm over ice cream.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Joy Stone's Easy Pie Recipes

Fresh Peach Pie

1 baked pie crust or Graham Cracker Crust
1 can sweetened condensed milk
1/3 cup lemon juice
5 – 6 Peaches, sliced
Cool Whip

Combine lemon juice and sweetened condensed milk. Stir until thickened. Arrange sliced peaches in crust. Pour milk mixture over fruit. Top with Cool Whip. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Easy Pineapple Pie

1 baked pie crust or Graham Cracker Crust
1 can sweetened condensed milk
1/3 cup lemon juice
1 small canned crushed pineapple, drained
1 cup chopped pecans
1/2 cup coconut
1 small container Cool Whip

Mix condensed milk and lemon juice, stirring well. Then add pineapple, pecans, and coconut. Stir until well blended. Then stir in Cool Whip. Pour into pie crust. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Strawberry Sherbet


2 cups fresh strawberries*
2 cups buttermilk
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Garnish: fresh mint sprigs

Process strawberries in a food processor or blender 30 seconds or until smooth, stopping to scrape down sides. Pour strawberry puree through a fine wire-mesh strainer into a large bowl, pressing with back of a spoon. Discard solids. Add buttermilk, sugar, and vanilla to puree; stir until well blended. Cover and chill 1 hour.

Pour strawberry mixture into freezer container of a 1 1/2-qt. electric ice-cream maker, and freeze according to manufacturer's instructions. (Instructions and times may vary.) Garnish, if desired.

*1 (16-oz.) package frozen strawberries, thawed, may be substituted.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Strawberry Pretzel Salad

2 cups crushed pretzels
3/4 cup melted butter
3 tablespoons sugar, plus 3/4 cup sugar
1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese
1 (8-ounce) container whipped topping
2 (3-ounce) packages strawberry jello
2 cups boiling water
2 (10-ounce) packages frozen strawberries
Whipped topping or whipped cream, to garnish

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

For the crust, mix the pretzels, butter, and 3 tablespoons of sugar. Press this mixture into a 9 by 13-inch pan and bake for 7 minutes. Set aside and allow to cool.

In a mixing bowl, beat together the cream cheese and 3/4 cup of sugar. Fold in the whipped topping, and spread over the cooled crust. Refrigerate until well chilled.

In a small bowl, dissolve the gelatin in the boiling water, and allow to cool slightly. Add the strawberries and pour over the cream cheese mixture. Refrigerate until serving time.

To serve, cut slices and serve with a dollop of whipped topping

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Ice Cream Sundaes


After being cooped in the house Tuesday I went to the store and bought things for Ice Cream Sundaes. I planned to invite Kristi and her family over after quiz practice. Unfortunately on my way home Redonia called to inform me she was going to Kristi's to spend the night. She was perming Kristi's hair. My Sundae Night was aborted. However, yesterday, they came over for sundaes.

Ingredients for a fun evening:
one or more ice cream varieties (I prefer Blue Bell Homemade Vanilla)
Chocolate Syrup
Carmel Syrup
Strawberry Syrup
Pecans in Syrup (My favorite)
1 can Heavy Whipped Cream
Candies
Nuts
Fruits
Cookies
Brownies

You can choose as many of the ingredients as you like. Sometimes I do Brownie Sundaes for dessert. I simply use Little Debbie Brownies (of course I unwrap and place on serving dish before guests arrive), vanilla ice cream, chocolate syrup, and canned Heavy Whipped Cream.

I have served very few guests who don't enjoy a good ole sundae.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Roasted Corn on the Cob


Fresh corn on the cob
Seasonings
Butter

Preheat grill.

Remove outer husk from corn. Turn back inner husks; remove silks. Replace inner husks. Place on grill. Turn often. Roast 12 to 15 minutes. Husks will brown but corn will be delicious. Serve corn on cob with butter.

Provide toppings for guests to garnish as their taste desires. Salt, black pepper, sugar, Tony Chacheres', chili pepper, cayenne pepper, steak blend seasoning or popular seasonings. My daughter-in-law enjoys mayo on hers. I'm not that brave!

Monday, June 8, 2009

Pineapple Upside Down Cupcakes


The following recipe sounds so yummy! It was sent to me by my friend, Susy Roen. These mini pineapple upside down cakes would be great served at a brunch or gathering.

20 oz can Pineapple chunks
2/3 cup packed brown sugar
1/3 cup melted butter
1 cup all purpose flour
¾ cup sugar
1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
¼ cup butter, softened
1 egg


Preheat the oven to 350°. Spray muffin tin (12 count)

Drain 1 20 oz. can of pineapple chunks, reserving 1/2 cup juice for the batter. Place chunks on double layer of paper towels to drain completely.

In a small bowl, mix together brown sugar and melted butter. Divide this mixture evenly between the muffin pan cups. Arrange the pineapple chunks on top of the mixture (3 or 4 chunks per cup works well).

In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar and baking powder. With an electric mixer, mix in softened butter and reserved pineapple juice, beating for 2 minutes to make a smooth batter. Beat in egg.

Spoon the batter over the pineapple and sugar mixture filling each cup about 3/4 full. Bake in oven approximately 20 minutes or until tooth pick comes out clean. The cupcakes will be a golden brown color. Wait for 5 minutes or so to cool and invert onto a sheet of foil. They should come out easily

NOTE: I would probably add a maraschino cherry, drained to the center of the muffin tin when adding the pineapple. I think it would make the cupcakes pretty! Also, I like to dust these type mini-cakes with confectioners sugar when serving. Of course the image I found appears to use coconut and ice cream, not a bad choice either!

I can't wait to try these! If you try them post a comment to let me know how they turn out. I bet they will be scrumptious!

Monday, June 1, 2009

Need a New Way to Peel a Potato?

I got the following video from my friend Ronda Hurst. I thought it was funny. I'm not sure I'll try it but if some of you do, let me know what you think. Then, maybe I'll give it a try.

Happy potato peeling!!!!


Friday, May 29, 2009

Paula Deen’s Cheese Biscuits

1 cup buttermilk
¼ stick butter, melted
¾ cup grated sharp Cheddar
1/3 cup shortening
1 teaspoon sugar
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 cups self-rising flour

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In medium bowl mix flour, baking powder, sugar, and salt together using a fork; cut in shortening until it resembles cornmeal. Add cheese. Stir in buttermilk all at 1 time just until blended. Do not over stir. Drop by tablespoonfuls or use an ice cream scoop, onto a well greased baking sheet. Brush dough with melted butter. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes.

Yield 16 – 20 biscuits

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Stuffed Strawberries

The picture above is one taken by Karen Prince. Following is her scrumptious recipe. Then following her receipe is another I found. Karen's are BEAUTIFUL!!!

Cream - 1-80z cream cheese, 1 cup powdered sugar, 2 cups Cool Whip
Beat cream cheese and sugar until smooth and creamy, fold in Cool Whip.

1st - Wash the strawberries, leaving the green leaves attached, place them upside down to dry.

2nd - Cut the strawberries, from the small tip almost all the way to the green stuff.

3rd - Stuff with the cream, Karen uses this tool from Pampered Chef.

4th - Melt a little chocolate bark in a ziplock bag, barely snip one corner (the smaller the hole the better) and just start squeezing the chocolate all over. Sometimes she sprinkles with powdered sugar.

5th - ENJOY!

Cream Cheese and Pecan Stuffed Berries

20 whole large strawberries, hulled
8 ounce cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup confectioner’s sugar
1/4 teaspoon vanilla or almond extract
2/3 cup chopped pecans

Cut a thin slice from the bottom of each strawberry so the berries stand upright. Place berries, cut side down, on a serving platter. Carefully cut the berries into 4 wedges, cutting almost to, but not through, the bottoms with a criss-cross cut. Fan wedges just slightly, taking care not to break them. Set aside.

In a mixing bowl, beat together the cream cheese, sugar, and vanilla until combined but still stiff. Using a teaspoon or pastry bag with decorative tip, fill the strawberries with the cream cheese mixture. Sprinkle chopped pecans on top of the stuffed strawberries. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Southern Dinner Menu

Good Lord willing and the creek doesn't rise following will be my dinner menu for tomorrow night. It just sounds simply SOUTHERNLY delish! (granted to be totally southern I'd fry the chicken)

Grilled or Baked Chicken
Red Potatoes N Onions
Fresh Cream Style Corn
Purple Hull Peas
Sweet Cornbread
Ice Cold Watermelon

For the chicken remove the skin from chicken breasts. Then season heavily with Italian Seasoning. I'll either grill or bake @ 350 degrees for 45 minutes - 1 hour.

For the Red Potatoes select the smallest (new) red potatoes you can find. Scrub the peelings and then slice rather large. Melt one stick of margarine in a skillet and saute thinly sliced white onion rings. Add the potato slices. Add salt and coarse ground black pepper to taste. Cook until tender over medium low heat.

My recipe for FRESH cream style corn follows in a previous post. Scroll down and enjoy!

Of course I prefer fresh from the garden Purple Hull Peas. When that isn't possible I purchase frozen NEVER canned Purple Hulls. Cover with water, add 3 - 4 slices of raw bacon. Season with lots of salt and black pepper to taste. These peas require lots of salt for some reason. Cook over medium heat until tender (about 1 hour).

I cheat on my cornbread. I purchase 2 Cornkit packages. I prepare according to package direction EXCEPT add 1/3 cup of sugar. While oven is preheating to package temperature melt 1 stick of margarine in an iron skillet. Once melted pour cornbread mixture over melted margarine in skillet. Do not mix the melted & cornbread mixture. Bake until a toothpick inserted into center comes out clean. The cornbread will be crusty and pull away from the edges of skillet. Immediately invert onto dinner plate or platter. Serve with butter....Yummy!!!

During the summer we keep watermelon in the refrigerator. It's just a great refreshing snack for a TEXAS hot Summer day. It's a great Summer dessert, too!

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Butter Pecan Ice Cream

4 eggs, beaten
2-1/4 cups sugar
5 cups milk
4 cups whipping cream
4-1/2 teaspoons vanilla
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup butter
2 cups chopped pecans
1/4 cup brown sugar

In a large mixing bowl, gradually add sugar to eggs, beating until stiff. Add milk, cream, vanilla and salt and mix well. Refrigerate. Melt butter and sauté pecans. Add brown sugar and stir until melted. Cool well. Add to ice cream mixture and freeze in ice cream freezer.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Frozen Lemon Mousse

4 eggs, separated
1-1/2 cups sugar
Grated rind of 2 lemons
Juice of 3 lemons
2 (6-ounce) cans evaporated milk, chilled
Box of graham cracker crumbs


Cook egg yolks, sugar, grated lemon rind and lemon juice for three minutes, stirring constantly. Fold in evaporated milk, that has been chilled and whipped, and the stiffly beaten egg whites. Place 1/4-inch of graham cracker crumbs in bottom of 8-inch square dish. Pour in mousse. Place another 1/4-inch layer of crumbs on top. Cover with plastic wrap and place in freezer, preferably overnight. Do not remove until ready to serve.

SERVES: 8

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Ronda Hurst's Meat Sauce

2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1/2 bell pepper, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 tsp. Italian seasoning
Dash red pepper flakes (more if you want it spicy)
Salt
Pepper
Accent
1 lb. extra lean ground beef
3 fresh basil leaves, chopped (or a 1/2 tsp. dried)
1 28 oz. can whole tomatoes, chopped
1 sm. can tomato paste

Heat olive oil in a large skillet on medium heat. Add chopped onion, garlic, Italian seasoning and red pepper flakes. Cook about 5 min, stirring occasionally, until the onions are softened. Add the ground beef, season with salt, pepper and accent. Cook until brown and done. Add tomatoes with liquid. (Don't forget to chop the tomatoes). Add tomato paste and basil. Stir all ingredients well. Reduce heat and simmer, covered, for about 20 min. If the sauce is a little dry add some tomato sauce or even water.

Note: If the sauce is too acidic for your taste, add 1 tsp. sugar.

Serve over pasta of your choice. Ronda serves over Grilled Chicken Breasts with a side salad and asparagus or other vegetable.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Fresh Creamed Style Corn

12 ears of corn
1/3 cup of sugar
Salt & Pepper to taste
3 sticks of Margarine
3/4 cup water

Shuck the corn removing all silk. Wash corn. Carefully scrape all corn from the cobs. Then scrape the 'milk' from the cobs. Melt margarine in large dutch skillet. Add creamed corn and remaining ingredients, mixing well. Cook over medium heat stirring often for 1 - 1.5 hours or until tender.

This quantity made enough for 4 adults plus I froze two more servings for four adults.

NOTE: Can season with bacon drippings, that's what Mamaw Ingram would have done!!!

Monday Night Menu

This may not all "go together" perfectly but it's what I'm craving. Hence, it's what I'm grilling/cooking for dinner. Mom's out of town but Popsie is going to join Kent, Redonia, and me.

Grilled New York Strip Steak
Grilled Pecan Smoked Sausage
Baked Potatoes
Fresh Green Beans
Fresh Cream Style Corn (yes, I'll scrape the cobs!!)
Yeast Rolls with butter
Sweet Tea


I'm sure some sort of dessert will make it's way to the table, too.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Easy Spoon Cornbread

2 slightly beaten eggs
1 (8 1/2 oz.) corn muffin mix
1 (8 oz.) cream corn
1 (8 oz.) whole kernel corn, drained
1 c. sour cream
1/2 c. butter, melted
1/4 c. sugar
1 c. (4 oz.) shredded cheese

Combine eggs, muffin mix, cream and whole kernel corn, sour cream, sugar and
butter. Spread in baking dish. Bake at 350 degrees for 35 minutes. Sprinkle
cheese on top. Bake 10-15 minutes more.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Heavenly Angel Food Cake with Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting



Heavenly Angel Food Cake

2 1/2 cups sugar
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 1/2 cups egg whites
1 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice

Preheat oven to 375°. Line bottom and sides of a 13- x 9-inch pan with aluminum foil, allowing 2 to 3 inches to extend over sides of pan. (Do not grease pan or foil.) Sift together first 3 ingredients.

Beat egg whites and cream of tartar at high speed with a heavy-duty electric stand mixer until stiff peaks form. Gradually fold in sugar mixture, 1/3 cup at a time, folding just until blended after each addition. Fold in vanilla and lemon juice. Spoon batter into prepared pan. (Pan will be very full. The batter will reach almost to the top of the pan.)

Bake at 375° on an oven rack one-third up from bottom of oven 30 to 35 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center of cake comes out clean. Invert cake onto a lightly greased wire rack; let cool, with pan over cake, 1 hour or until completely cool. Remove pan; peel foil off cake. Transfer cake to a serving platter. Spread Lemon-Cream Cheese Frosting evenly over top of cake. Garnish, if desired.


Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting

1 1/2 (8-oz.) packages cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup butter, softened
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1 (16-oz.) package powdered sugar
2 teaspoons lemon zest

Beat cream cheese and butter at medium speed with an electric mixer until creamy; add lemon juice, beating just until blended. Gradually add powdered sugar, beating at low speed until blended; stir in lemon zest.

Garnish can be a small icing flower, pink rose petals, a strawberry slice with a mint leaf, a lemon curl with a mint leaf or your own creative idea.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Saucy Baked Pork Chops

6 pork chops
1 onion - sliced in thin rings
2 cans cream of mushroom soup
2 tablespoons catsup
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
Black pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In large frying pan brown chops on both sides in small amount of oil. Drain and place chops in a baking dish. Place sliced onions on top of each. Combine remaining ingredients in a bowl and mix well. Pour over chops and cover. Simmer for one hour or until done.

This recipe makes a yummy gravy! Make sure to serve with mashed potatoes or rice.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Roffie Ensey's Chicken Enchilada Recipe

In honor of Cinco de Mayo I post the following recipe. Calah, our daughter-in-law, is 1/4 Mexican. We are going to have Tres Leches Cake after Choir practice tonight, too! Any reason to have cake and celebrate is great for this Southern girl.....

Do enjoy this receipe. Sis. Ensey prepared it for a Minister's Wives Dinner I attended last month. It was delicious! It sounds so easy and I can hardly wait to prepare it for my sweet family.

1 small onion chopped
8 oz. cream cheese
15 oz. boneless, skinless chicken breast cooked and chopped
1 sm. can diced green chilies
1 Tbsp. butter
8 oz. Mozzarella Cheese, grated
1/2 pint of whipping cream or more


Sauté onion in butter. Add green chilies and cream cheese. Simmer until cheese melts and mix well. Add chopped chicken and mix lightly.

Place 1/4 cup of mixture in flour tortilla and roll up. Place in greased baking dish. When dish is full, sprinkle grated cheese on top and then pour cream over cheese.

Bake @ 350˚ for 30-40 minutes or until bubbly and heated through.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Strawberry Lemonade Cupcakes

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar, packed
1/3 cup oil
1 cup full fat coconut milk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
1 teaspoon lemon juice

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a large bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Add sugar and brown sugar and mix. Whisk together oil, coconut milk, lemon zest, lemon juice, and vanilla. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and pour in the wet ingredients. Mix until relatively smooth. Fill cupcake liners with 1/4 cup of batter (should be just under 2/3 of the way full). Bake for 20-25 minutes or until golden, and toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Transfer to cooling rack and allow to cool completely.

Frost with Strawberry Buttercream Frosting Recipe. If desired garnish with Lemonhead Sour Candies.

Strawberry Buttercream Frosting

1 cup butter, softened
2 (16-ounce) packages powdered sugar, sifted
1 cup finely chopped fresh strawberries

Beat butter at medium speed with an electric mixer 20 seconds or until fluffy. Add powdered sugar and chopped strawberries, beating at low speed until creamy. Add more sugar if frosting is too thin, or add strawberries if too thick. Makes 2.5 cups.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Creamy Lemon Meringue Pie

3 eggs
1 c sugar
1/3 c flour
1 1/2 c condensed milk
1/2 c water
Juice and grated rind from one lemon
1 T butter

Combine milk and water in saucepan. Beat egg yolks until thick and smooth and add to milk. Add lemon juice, rind, and butter. Cook 2 minutes. Pour into baked pie crust. Cover with meringue made with stiffly beaten egg whites, 3 T sugar and pinch of cream of tartar. Bake in 325 F oven for 20 minutes.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Fruit Dip Recipes

Tonight I saw beautiful watermelons for the first time of the season. I love sweet watermelons and sweet grapes dipped in yummy fruit dip. Following are a few of my favs. Enjoy!

Coconut Fruit Dip
1 Can Cream of Coconut
7 oz Marshmallow Cream
8 oz Cream Cheese

Mix together with mixer or by hand. Stir well before serving.

Rich Fruit Dip
7 oz marshmallow cream
1 can Eagle Brand condensed milk
8 oz. sour cream
4 oz. cream cheese (softened)
1 Tbsp. lemon

Mix together well with hand or stand mixer.

Easy Chocolate Fruit Dip
8 oz cream cheese, softened
¼ cup chocolate syrup
7 oz marshmallow cream

Use a mixer to beat together cream cheese and chocolate syrup. Fold in the marshmallow cream. Chill until ready to serve.

Maple Fruit Dip
8 oz cream cheese, softened
½ c sour cream
¼ c sugar
¼ c packed brown sugar
1 – 2 T maple syrup

In a small mixing bowl, combine cream cheese, sour cream, sugars,and syrup to taste. Beat until smooth. Chill before serving.


Mock Devonshire Cream
3 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
1 tablespoon sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 cup whipping cream

In a large bowl, combine cream cheese, sugar, and salt; stir until well blended. Stir in whipping cream. With an electric mixer, beat mixture until stiff. Store in refrigerator.

Fresh Lime Fruit Dip
1 cup Sour Cream
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
2 teaspoons freshly grated lime peel

Combine all dip ingredients in small bowl. Cover; refrigerate at least 30 minutes. Serve dip with assorted fresh fruit.

Taste of Texas Brown Sugar Sour Cream Sauce
(for fresh berries)

1 cup Sour Cream
1/2 cup Brown Sugar
1 tsp Vanilla

Mix together and serve over fresh berries.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Strawberry Dream Cake

The following is definitely a family favorite of Mom's cakes!

Duncan Hines French Vanilla Cake Mix

Mix as directed except use milk instead of water and add 1 teaspoon vanilla flavoring. Pour into 3 - 8 or 9 inch cake pans. Bake at 350 degress for 20 - 25 mintues or until done. Do not over bake. Allow cake to cool as directed on box.

Frosting:
1 8 oz cream cheese softened
1 cup sugar
1 cup powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla flavoring
8 oz cool whip

Fresh Strawberries, sliced or frozen sliced strawberries, thawed

Beat first four ingredients together until smooth. Stir in cool whip

Stack cake with frosting between each layer and top with berries. Then frost sides and top of cake. Garnish with sliced strawberries. Store cake in the refrigerator

Friday, April 17, 2009

Mocha Punch

Today Kent and I attended the Texas Bible College Reception in Lufkin. We enjoyed visiting with friends and family. Knowing we were going to have lunch immediately following the reception I chose only a cookie and a drink. Mom insisted I try the 'chocolate punch'. Wow! What a wonderful punch! Knowing Pat McInnis, the Food Service Manager, I made myself at home and wandered into the kitchen in search of her. I explained I LOVED the punch and asked if she would share the recipe.

Girlfriends, this punch is amazing!!!! It is a milkshake texture but has a ever so faint coffee flavor. I love frappuccinos but this is better than any I've ever had. Beside the punch bowl twere cans of whipping cream for garnish. I would probably feel the need to invest in a fancy whipping cream dispenser that uses the nitrous oxide chargers from Sur La Table. I struggled with the red can sitting on the table beside a punch bowl. I know that is weird but it just 'bothered' me.

1 1/2 quarts water
1/2 cup instance choclate drink mix (Swiss Mix for hot choc or similar)
1/2 sugar
1/4 cup instant coffee granules
1/2 gallon vanilla ice cream
1/2 gallon chocolate ice cream
whipped cream, optional for topping individual cups

In large saucepan, bring water to boil. Remove from heat. Add drink mix, sugar, and coffee. Stir until dissolved. Cover and refrigerate for 4 hrs or overnight.

20 - 30 minutes prior to serving pour drink mix into punch bowl. Add ice cream by scoopfuls. Stir until partially melted.

Guests can garnish with whipped cream if desired

Yield approx 20 - 25 servings (5 qts)

Monday, April 13, 2009

Cheeseburger Stuffed French Bread

1 lb Ground Beef
Minced onion, to taste
Black pepper, to taste
1 can Cream of Mushroom Soup
Velveeta Cheese slices or grated cheddar cheese
1 loaf fresh French bread

Brown meat with onion, drain. Add soup and pepper. Simmer over low heat until bubbly. Slice top 1/3 of bread. Hollow bread from larger piece to form bowl. Reserve 1/2 of the crumbs. Crumble reserved crumbs into small pieces. Combine meat mixture with crumbs and return to bread bowl. Top with cheese. Cover with bread top. Wrap with foil and bake in 350 degree oven for approx 20 minutes. Bake until cheese is melted.

NOTE:

I recently prepared 6 loaves for a crowd. Prior to wrapping the bread with foil and baking I sliced the loaves for serving. Once I removed bread from the oven it was ready to serve. I simply served with chips and dip. Of course I had fruit and desserts, too!!

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Cake Balls



1 cake mix
Ingredients needed for cake mix
3/4 can of frosting
1 pkg of Almond Bark or Wilton Confectionary Wafer Coating

Bake the cake according to package instructions. While warm, crumble the cake into a bowl. Using a hand mixer continue to crumble to a fine texture. Mix in frosting to make a paste.

Using a melon baller, small cookie scoop, or your hands form the mixture into 1 ½ -inch balls. (Walnut size) Place the balls on wax paper; freeze uncovered for 2 hours.

Working in small batches, remove the balls from the freezer and dip the balls into warm, melted Almond Bark Coating or Confectionery Wafer Coating, using toothpicks or forks to manipulate the balls. Remove the balls. Place the balls on wax paper to harden.

Flavor Varieties:
Birthday Cake
French Vanilla Cake Mix (add a little almond flavoring to the mix)
Cream Cheese Frosting
White Chocolate Bark or Coating

Dipped Strawberries
Strawberry Cake Mix
Strawberry Frosting
Chocolate Bark

Carmel Pound Cake
Pound Cake
Carmel icing with pecans and coconut
Chocolate Bark

Very Lemon
Lemon Cake Mix
Lemon Frosting


Decorating Ideas:

  • Drizzle with alternating color of bark. This will cause the balls to look like Truffles.

  • Place in paper candy holders to dress the appearance or gift giving.

  • For ideas & INSRUCTIONS for CAKE POPS go here. You will need to scroll down. I LOVE Bakerella!


Thursday, April 2, 2009

Easy Almond Joy Cake

Cake:
Prepare 1 box Duncan Hines Butter Recipe Cake mix using milk instead of water. Pour into sheet cake pan and bake as directed on package.


Filling:
1 cup evaporated milk
1 cup sugar
24 large marshmallows
7 oz can Angel Flake coconut

Combine milk and sugar; add marshmallows. Heat until melted. Add coconut. Pour over cake while hot.

Topping:
1 ½ cup sugar
½ cup evaporated milk
½ cup butter
1 ½ cup chocolate chips
1 cup sliced almonds or chopped pecans

Mix sugar, butter, and milk in medium size saucepan. Bring to a boil, add chocolate chips. Stir until melted over low heat. Add nuts. Pour over cake.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Easter Eggs: Chocolate Peanut Butter Eggs

3 oz. cream cheese
1 stick butter
28 oz. creamy peanut butter
1 lb. confectioners' sugar
12 oz. chocolate chips, melted

Cream butter and cream cheese until fluffy. Gradually add confectioners' sugar and peanut butter, alternating. Shape mixture into egg shapes about 1 1/2 to 2 inches long. Dip in melted chocolate chips and cool on waxed paper.

Optional: decorate the eggs with flowers, etc.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Almond Chocolate Sandies

This is probably my most favorite cookie recipe. I've been wanting to make some but just haven't taken the time. Try them and let me know what you think!

1/2 cup margarine
1 tablespoon light brown sugar
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon almond extract
1 cup flour
1/3 cup chopped slivered almonds, toasted
1/2 cup semi sweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup powdered sugar, reserve to roll cookies in

Preheat oven to 350°F.

In mixing bow, beat together brown sugar, sugar and almond extract. Gradually add flour. Stir in almonds and chocolate chips. Roll dough into small balls and bake on ungreased baking sheet for 15 minutes or until lightly golden brown.

Roll cookies in powdered sugar while hot.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Sparkling Tea

For our ladies seminar I wanted to serve a drink that wouldn't be too sweet since the menu consisted mostly of either chocolate foods or those dipped in chocolate. Of course we had ice water but I still wanted something a little more. While I know some like tea to calm the sweety taste other's aren't 'tea drinkers'. Well, I came up with a recipe that most wanted to know the 'secret' ingredients. Ok, girls....take note here it is:

1 gallon Sweet Tea
2 liters Ginger Ale

It's a pretty amber color, too! I think next time I will add a little bit of almond extract to the mix. Ok....almond goes a long way so if you opt for it you better start out with only a bit and add slowly until you get to the perfect blend.

Ok, this southern girl even took the easy route and bought Red Diamond Sweetened Iced Tea. Shhh don't tell anyone...that's just too easy!

Monday, March 2, 2009

Delicious Apple Enchiladas

1 21 oz can Apple Pie Filling
12 flour tortillas
Ground cinnamon
1/3 cup margarine
½ cup sugar
½ cup brown sugar
½ cup water

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spoon fruit evenly onto all tortillas, sprinkle with cinnamon. Roll up tortillas and place seam side down on lightly greased 8x8 baking pan. Bring margarine, sugars and water to a boil in a medium sauce pan. Reduce heat and simmer, stirring constantly for 3 minutes. Pour sauce evenly over tortillas; sprinkle with extra cinnamon on top if desired. Bake in preheated oven for 20 minutes.

Best when served with ice cream or whipped topping

Friday, February 27, 2009

Ideas Anyone????????

I LOVE gathering ideas for decorating, cooking, and entertaining. Yesterday after a very long day Kent and I returned home around 8:30 or 9:00 pm I suppose. We were really too tired to eat dinner. Now that's tired! We ran thru Arby's Drive Thru for me and Kent decided he would eat yogurt and fresh strawberries once we got home.

As I was at the table eating Kent came in with the mail. I was so excited that he was bearing a good gift. You know sometimes the mail isn't always good gifts. He had folded around the mail my March/April edition of Southern Lady Magazine. This month's edition is subtitled "The Annual Entertianing Issue". I didn't have a chance to read it last night but I did flip thru it's pages. Beautiful! The cover boasts of Spring parties, celebrate Easter, layered desserts, table settings, and centerpieces. Aaaahhhhh just the things I love!

If you need fresh ideas rush to the news stand and purchase your copy today. Make sure you get the correct issue. In fact once your purchase your copy tear out the litle card and subscribe. You will not be sorry. Thank you Sue Davidson for your generosisty in giving me a gift subscription. I LOVE it!!!! Each time I read the pages of Southern Lady I think of you, a person I only know thru blogging.

Just sitting here looking at the cover of the awesome magazine makes me want to drag out my beautiful bunnies, foil covered eggs, and grass from the attic. Is EASTER on it's way??? I think I hear the bunnies hopping. Really, I'm priviledged to enjoy the beautiful wild bunnies in my yard all the time. Also, every day I enjoy the resurrection of Christ in my heart and soul. It must be EASTER....ideas anyone???

Let's decorate! Let's celebrate!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Blueberry Seasoned Pork Roast

Definitely a deep south favorite is pork. One of my Mom's and Mamaw's favorite was the pork roast. Of course Tony Chachere's gives a little different flavor to a more traditional southern flair. The blueberry fruit spread brings it right back into line, however.

1 6 or 7 lb. Boston Butt Pork Roast (trimmed)
1 packet - Lipton onion / mushroom soup (dry)
10 oz. - Blueberry fruit spread or Blueberry Jelly
Tony Chachere's Seasonings
Black Pepper
Kitchen bouquet
Garlic powder

Rub and coat roast with Kitchen Bouquet. This allows seasonings to stick to it. Sprinkle generously with Tony Chachere's Seasonings, garlic powder, and Black Pepper. Sprinkle and pat with Lipton onion / mushroom soup mix. Spread Blueberry jelly or fruit spread over the top of the roast. Wrap very tightly with 3 layers of aluminum foil. Place in preheated oven @ 250 °F and cook slowly for 8 hours (overnight is easiest). Leave wrapped until ready to serve to hold in juices. The recipe makes its own "Au Jus ". Slice and enjoy!

Approximately 8-10 servings

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Share ..... Another word for Hospitality

I know during the holidays we have lots of house guests. In fact if your home is like mine by January you grow a little weary of entertaining. No, I didn't just say that! I never truly grow weary of entertaining it's just the work getting ready for parties that wearies me.

Today, I challenge you to share....why not share the best gift. I truly believe the best gifts aren't monetarily based or even tangible. Rather I feel the best gift is to share of one's self. An easy way to accomplish this is through hospitality. How long since you've had someone over to share of yourself?

Of late Kent and I have challenged our church to CARE. Why not think of someone that may need a little CARE shown to them? Think of what the people need most. Are they stressed with life? If so plan a relaxing evening. Are they missing joy? If so maybe find a couple of fun games to laugh and play. Do they just need someone to talk with? If so plan to sit around the living room sipping on coffee or tea and enjoy desserts.

You will be amazed how you will be blessed when you share of your hospitaility with others. It is truly more blessed to give than to receive. When the guests leave I promise you will fee rewarded. Go ahead make the time...do it...share!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Sausage Bread

1 loaf French Bread
1 lb Owens Italian Flavored ground Sausage or add Italian flavorings to mild sausage
Minced onion to taste
Black Pepper to taste
5 oz fresh grated Parmesan Cheese
8 oz Cream Cheese
½ c water
Mozzarella Cheese Slices

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Brown Sausage with Onion and pepper. Add cream cheese, water, and Parmesan cheese. Heat till melted. Slice French Bread in half. Place Mozzarella cheese on both sides of bread (insides). Pour meat mixture on bread. Top with other ½ of bread and Mozzarella cheese.

Cover with foil and bake for 10 -11 minutes.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Chicken / Sausage / Peppers / Onions

Last night I cooked one of Kent's favorites. Let me share it with you. Who knows you may enjoy it as much and he and Donie did! :)

3 boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 pkg smoked sausage (Eckrich, Chappell Hill or similar)
1/2 white onion, cut in thin rings
1 large green bell pepper cut in thin rings
coarse gound black pepper, to taste

Cube chicken breasts about 1" x 1". Slice sausage in thin circles. Combine meat and veggies on double stovetop griddle. Sprinkle with black pepper. (I use alot!) Cook until meat is done and veggies are grilled.

I complimented this wonderful entree with whole green beans, wild rice, and delicious hot buttered yeast rolls. Of course we enjoyed southern sweet iced tea, too. We decided to take our dessert next door and share with my parents, Uncle Billy & Aunt Nancy, and Scott & Courtney. I served a Southern Pecan Pie from Pie in the Sky with Homemade Vanilla Blue Bell Ice Cream.

Try it and then stop back by and let me know what you think!

Happy cooking to each of you....

Monday, February 16, 2009

Baked Ziti - Easy Italian Dinner

Baked Ziti

1 pkg. (16 oz.) ziti pasta or small penne pasta
1 can (26 oz.) traditional spaghetti sauce
1 container (15 oz.) Ricotta Cheese
1 pkg. (8 oz.) Shredded Mozzarella Cheese, divided
1/4 cup KRAFT 100% Grated Parmesan Cheese
1 lb of hamburger meat.

Preheat oven to 350°F. Brown and drain hamburger meat. (I don’t like the smell of hamb meat cooking without seasoning. I add some minced onions, salt, pepper, and some Italian seasonings) Cook pasta as directed on the package while meat is browning. Drain pasta, reserving 1/2 cup of the pasta cooking water.

Mix spaghetti sauce, Ricotta cheese and reserved 1/2 cup pasta cooking water in large bowl. Add pasta, hamburger meat and 1/2 cup of the mozzarella cheese; mix lightly. Spoon into 13x9-inch baking dish sprayed with cooking spray; sprinkle with remaining mozzarella cheese and the Parmesan cheese. Cover.

Bake 30 min. Then uncover and bake an additional 10 min. or until heated through.

Add a salad and hot buttery garlic toast and you have a easy wonderful meal. My family enjoys adding corn to the menu, too. I melt 1 stick of margarine and pour 1 small frozen bag of corn into the melted margarine. Then I add 1/3 cup sugar and salt and pepper to taste.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Valentine's Day Idea

Often Valentine's Day encompasses the popular ideas of flowers, chocolates, or going out to eat. While the femine side of us enjoys these things what about going beyond the normal or the expected? First off, as a Pastor's wife having talked to many couples or even only 'one side' of the couple let me say it's important to talk about things that the opposite in the relationship would enjoy.

While Kent may surprise me with 'what' we do or 'what' he gives me we normally discuss some ideas. This year I received a very sweet note telling me some ideas that he was considering. The note itself was really a great part of my Valentine's gift. I still enjoy receiving loving notes after almost 27 years of marriage and one year of talking/letter writing/dating. We are going to dinner tonight which is our normal for a Friday night. For Valentine's, however, he suggested doing something different. He said the day was mine...that is the best gift - spending a day together! We've decided to TRY to sleep until 7:00 or 8:00 am. Then we'll enjoy a lite breakfast at home. We are then going to take a little road trip. We haven't decided the destination. We may go west through the countryside or south to Galveston. We talked about not doing the fancy meal but rather enjoying a quaint lunch along the way. Then of course we will find coffee and dessert along the way. I love just being with him!

A fun idea is to pack a picnic and enjoy the beautiful outdoors with the one you love. What about beginning the day with coffee or breakfast in bed? Going to have manicures and pedicures together is fun, too. What about preparing a romantic table and atmosphere at home and cooking dinner together?

I truly would urge that Valentine's Day not be pressured to spend a lot of money on someone. Though giving expensive gifts may be nice love can never be bought. I think the most important part of Valentine's Day is expressing our love to those we love.

I think this Valentine's has meant more to me than any other. I have endeavored to show others that I LOVE them. I was blessed to show a great group of single adults @ CUPC with a small snack gift bag that I love them. I have given two people special to me flowers this week. I shared my day yesterday with my sisters. There is something great that happens within when I endeavor to show others that I love them.

Girls, I become frustrated when it is perceived that the husband is the one that is suppose to do all the work and giving on Valentine's Day. What a shame! Kent is MY valentine. I want to express my love to him on Valentine's and every day. I am not some little princess that he has to bestow good gifts upon. Rather I am his help mate his soul mate and we share our love one to another. I want to express my love to him just as he expresses his love to me.

This year Trent will enjoy his first Valentine's Day as a married man. I hope he learned well from Kent and me the way to enjoy a perfect Valentine's Day. I, also, wish he and Calah a loving day together. I hope they will not get caught up in the commercialized spending of a holiday but rather will cherish their love together....I'm privy to a few plans and I think they are going to have a romantic day spent together!

Feel free to leave your ideas for Valentine's Day in the comments....

Hope your day is filled with love.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Cupcake Week, Continued

Confession is good for the southern girl's soul!

Today we met Pastor & Mrs. Ted Cox of Abbeyville, LA for lunch @ Maggiano's on Post Oak. This was our first meeting with this great couple. They are more of our online friends. Wow! This is twice in 4 days. We are making lots of friends these days. I love it!

Enroute I mentioned to Kent that after we leave Maggiano's I would love to get a cupcake. Kent mentioned my silly cupcake craving to the Bro. & Sis. Cox. They had never heard of a cupcake shop and wanted to join us. Crave Cupcake was only 4 or 5 blocks away. Unfortunately when we got there they only have a bar with about 4 seats and it was full with people standing everywhere. We left the Cox's car and they rode with us about 4 miles away to Sugarbaby's Cupcake Boutique.

Sugarbaby's Cupcake Boutique is the cutest cupcake shop ever! The color scheme is black, pink, and white. It is very charming with lots of tables and chairs. The cupcakes were delicious. They serve them on little trays. I chose an Italian Cream Cupcake. It was so cute! It even had cream cheese in the middle of the cupcake. Yes...totally to die for! I had a glass of water served in a glass patterned with black toille and pink roses. Of course they serve coffee, milk, and various soft drinks. The boutique has the cutest cupcake themed gift items. They also had adorable cupcake pedestals. I really want two sets of them. They would be adorable for desserts served at each place setting. Aaaahhhh such southern charm. They are made by Wilton if anyone is interested in researching them. I think I will buy some later this week.

Remember, our friends left their car at Crave Cupcake. You guessed it when had to purchase cupcakes there when we returned. I had to get some for my babies. Of course I got one for me for a snack later tonight, too! Redonia loved hers. I just texted Trent that I bought him a 'lil edible prize. Guess what...he and Calah are coming over after choir practice to get their treat! I know I know...my daughter-in-law is just going to giggle. She loves all my lil prizes! ha

I still haven't gotten around to making any cupcakes...I've gotta do it! I can't wait to take my sisters to Sugarbaby's Cupcake Boutique - they are going to LOVE it!!!! Twice in week...hummm I may need to exercise! ha

Ok...bake some cupcakes or at least go and buy some to enjoy. If you live in Houston another great place for cupcakes is the Dessert Gallery....

Monday, February 9, 2009

Cupcake Week

Ok this is it...I declare this week cupcake week! Friday night enroute to meet someone for dinner I told Kent that I have been craving a cupcake. Saturday night I did enjoy a cupcake at a party at my sister, Kristi's, home. Then this morning Kent told me that I must go to my blogging friend, Karen Hopper's, blog. Ahhhhhhhh cupcakes!!!!

I wish I had small children to help me enjoy baking cupcakes. Redonia, Trent and I certainly baked many cupcakes. I remember dragging out the colored sugars, gel icings, sprinkles, and candies for the kids to decorate the freshly baked treats. Often one color of icing wouldn't do. One child would insist on one color while the other would firmly protest another color. Normally in these cases the food coloring would be brought out and we would do two or three colors of icing.

Another great variety to our traditional cupcakes was baking them in ice cream cones. Of course these would be frosted with either pink or chocolate icing to resemble strawberry or chocolate ice cream. Of course these cupcakes would be decorated with assorted sprinkles.

Cupcakes have always been a southern tradition. Of late cupcake shops are making a popular come back across America. Unfortunately, we don't have one in Conroe. I am blessed to live in the Houston Metro and I know of two such shops in Houston. Maybe just maybe I will make it by one of them this week! yummmmm One is Sugarbaby's Cupcake Boutique and the other is Crave Cupcakes.

I do have a cupcake stand, cupcake pans, and probably most everything to make some delicious cupcakes. My only lacking ingredient is a little girl to enjoy the fun. I'm sure Redonia would love to use her artistic abilities to help but there is simply nothing like the twinkle in a little girl's eye as she puts the finishing decorating touches on a cupcake. Then to watch her bite into her first decorated cupcake with a smile and a little bit of icing left on her lips. Maybe I will borrow my niece, Madeline this week. If so I'll be sure to post a few pics for all to enjoy.

Happy Cupcake Week....it's not official...it's just what I've been craving!

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Best EVER Grape Salad

There are several varieties of grape salads but this is truly the best I have tried! Let me know what you think....

Best EVER Grape Salad

2 pounds seedless green grapes
2 pounds seedless red grapes
1 8oz cream cheese
1 8oz sour cream
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup chopped pecans
1 cup brown sugar

Wash and stem grapes, let dry and set aside. In a large bowl cream together cheese, sour cream, white sugar and vanilla. Add grapes. Add brown sugar and pecans. Toss again. Chill 2 - 3 hours before serving or can be made the night before.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Helping Adults Learn Manners

Parents and other adults typically teach good manners to their children. This is done by example and reinforcing them with direction and praise to children. However, some parents neglect this responsibility. How can you help another adult learn social graces? Good manners are essential in social situations, professional settings, and interacting with people. Adults are perfectly capable of learning these manners; however, some of them will be resistant to instruction and guidance. Following are a few helpful hints will that can be used in a subtle and non-offensive way.

Be sure to practice proper etiquette at all times. Find a subtle way to emphasis good manners when you are in the presence of someone who lacks manners. Eventually, they will follow.

Teach and talk about good manners to your children while you are with an adult lacking manners. Be careful not to embarrass your child. Do it in a teaching fun way rather than in a correctional manner. This will enable you to offer specific instruction without actually directing it toward the offending individual.

Act as an interpreter. If you witness the adult being rude to another person or persons, take him or her aside and explain how that may have come across to other people. For example: "I'm sure you didn't mean it this way, but it sounded like you were ordering her to get you a cup of coffee. A 'please' probably would have softened the request."

Interject good manners on their behalf. For example, say "excuse us" if the unmannerly person bumps into someone. Or if he or she fails to thank someone, say "thank you," yourself. This is not as subtle as some methods, but may make a bigger impact.

A good way to help someone think about manners is by seeking their input on etiquette. Ask for their advice regarding manners in a particular social situation. Steer the conversation, if necessary, to arrive at the most mannerly solution.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Scents - I Prefer the Good Ones!

I love the smell of cookies in the oven! Yummm I'm smelling that right now. Peanut Butter Cookies with a Hershey Kiss in the middle..aaahhh

I also love the smell of my scent diffuser from Bath and Body. Currently I'm burning Carmel Apple Oil. Delish....Calah came in last week while I was burning that scent and immediately wanted to know what kind of cake was I cooking! I have about a half of dozen of Bath and Body oils at all times. I don't like the floral or perfumey scents but all the spice or food fragrances are so yummy.

I love the smell of fresh sheets on a bed. Sometimes I cheat and mist the sheets with a linen spray from Bath and Body.

I love the Mexican cleaner that our janitor at the church uses to clean with on Wednesdays....this week she used the purple bottle of Fabuloosa. Despite the commercial cleaners we keep. She always finishes up with her yummy smell....I love it!

Of late I've written cleaning tips and declutter tips. I thought I'd remind us all that no matter how clean or straight the home if it doesn't smell clean it just might not be clean to a southern girl!

There are lots of tips...boil cloves and cinnamon in water....mist a cotton boil with a fragrant oil and put in the return a/c vent...and on and on we can go.

Tonight I thought I'd just simply share the yummy scents of my home....homebaked cookies and the oil scent diffuser...

Aaahhhhh inhale....exhale...refreshed!

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Declutter Your Home

How do you feel in your home? Relaxed, in control and surrounded by things you love and that reflects who you are? If not, your home is probably being over taken with clutter.

Clutter is things no longer used, things that remind you of a difficult time in your life, or things you liked at one time but your taste or styles have changed. It may be something you paid too much for and feel parting with it would be sinful. Remember the sin was probably in purchasing costly array and not in getting rid of it. Clutter is broken small appliances, piles of unopened junk mail or old newspapers. It’s hundreds of plastic containers saved from sour cream or cool whip that might be useful one day, cans of dried up paint, or little bits of lotions.

If you aren’t someone who enjoys clutter you will immediately feel better when you start cleaning things out. The cluttery type may feel guilty for wasting money by throwing things away or like she shouldn’t get rid of presents or baby clothes. Some people are often scared that the minute they part with something they will need it. Consequently they hold onto junk. Often these feelings stem from your upbringing. Hoarding or being a packrat is a common problem in many families. My grandmother use to save bread bags and meat trays!

It’s easy to feel overwhelmed and simply do nothing about clutter. Following are some helpful tips to get you started.

1. Start today
Procrastination is the major obstacle to decluttering.

2. Work a small area at a time
If you decide to sort out your messy kitchen drawer set a timer for 10 minutes. First completely empty the drawer and wipe it out. As you pick up each item ask yourself why I am keeping this. Why do you need four sets of measuring spoons? If you feel energized after cleaning out the drawer keep going. Remember; always work on one room at a time. If you have more clutter than can be accomplished at one time set aside a little bit of time every day until the mission is accomplished.

3. Parting with old stuff
Once you have decided to get rid of things, it’s important to get them out of the house as soon as possible to avoid dragging it back out. Unwanted items can be given to charity, other people or recycled.

4. Parting with sentimental items
It’s okay to be sentimental but be selective and not keep everything. Choose a box in which to keep sentimental items. Keep a few cherished baby clothes and give the rest to someone who will actually use them. Sort pictures placing each child’s in a separate box.

5. Broken things
Give yourself a deadline for broken items to be fixed or discarded

6. Presents
Remember it is your home. If you do not like something dump the guilt and get rid of it.

7. Paper
Deal with junk mail and newspapers immediately.

8. Worry
Have you ever bought something new but refused to get rid of what you were replacing? Ever thought what if the new one breaks perhaps I will keep the old one. A useful tip is “new one in, old one out”.

9. Storage
Once you have decluttered and decided what to keep, decide how you will properly store things. To maintain a clutter free home it is essential for everything to have its place where it can be easily retrieved. Store like things together. We use 20% of our possessions 80% of the time. Put this 20% in the most accessible places. Treat yourself to adequate storage items such as filing cabinets, ‘real’ storage containers, hampers, and baskets.

10. Benefits
A more relaxing orderly home will actually save time each day. You will know exactly where to find things. An orderly home will save you money. You will know what you need and what you have. Remember when shopping a bargain isn’t a bargain if it becomes clutter.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Easy Shrimp Recipes

Tropical Broiled Shrimp

2 pounds shrimp
1/2 cup margarine
3 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon Jamaican Choice Tropical or Pickapeppa sauce
1/4 teaspoon red pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt

Wash, peel and devein shrimp. Melt margarine in saucepan. Add lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce, pepper sauce, red pepper and salt. Let simmer 5 or 10 minutes. Pour over raw shrimp in 9x12x2-inch baking pan. Place on next to lowest rack in oven. Broil 20 minutes, turning shrimp every 5 minutes. Serve shrimp in gravy with plenty of hot French bread for "dunking."


Sizzling Shrimp

1 1/2 lbs large raw shrimp, peeled and deveined
3 garlic cloves, sliced
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/2 cup olive oil

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place peeled shrimp in a 9 inch ovenproof baking dish or pie pan. Tuck slices of garlic in among the shrimp. Sprinkle with salt and pepper flakes. Drizzle oil evenly over the top. Bake shrimp in oven for 10-12 minutes stirring once or twice. Shrimp shouldbe pink and oil will be bubbling.

Serve immediately with crusty bread.