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.