Sunday, November 28, 2010

Thanksgiving Recap in Pictures

I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday weekend full of good food, family, and friends. I know we did. Our family visit got cut short but we enjoyed the time we did have together. This weekend, Bike Boy and I managed to get all the Christmas decorations up and the house cleaned up from the week of cooking.

Here are some pictures of our Thanksgiving feast.

Spinach Balls for Appetizers 

Whole wheat rolls. Don't you love the mini loaf of bread?

Carrots in Brown Sugar and Butter Sauce. Recipe to come soon.
I'm making No Drippings Gravy. Recipe to come soon.
The table. :)
The turkey on the grill. There is a pan of "gravy broth" underneath.

The Turkey. Isn't it beautiful?
Family getting ready to devour the delicious dinner.

Yummy Pies for Dessert!

How did your Thanksgiving dinner go? Was it a success? Now onto planning for our Holiday Party in two weeks. Love this time of year!

Saturday, November 27, 2010

12 Weeks of Cookies - It's sweet enough to be called a dessert. :)

Dear blogging friends,
I tried to make cookies. I really did. But I ran out of time. But I did make some delicious cinnamon rolls that I'm linking up; they would be perfect to make and give out as a Christmas gift. They are partly a passed down family recipe and partly my own. While I was reading the recipe, I noticed that some amounts and times were missing. Hmmm, okay. Let's see how I can make this work and if I do say so myself, they were amazing. Perfect texture of the dough, sweetness of the filling, and a just tiny bit of glaze.

OMG, yummy!

Cinnamon Rolls
  • 1 package of rapid rise yeast
  • 1 c warm water (105 -110 degrees)
  • 1 c evaporated milk
  • 1/3 c sugar
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • 1/3 margarine, softened
  • 6 c all purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup melted butter
  • 1 c brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp cinnamon

  • 1 1/3 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 tbsp milk
  • Dissolve yeast in a cup of warm water and let stand until foamy. 
  • While the yeast is proofing, heat evaporated milk to a lukewarm temperature.
  • Add sugar, salt, and softened butter in a large bowl. Pour the heated milk over the sugar mixture. Stir to combine.
  • Add yeast mixture to sugar mixture and stir.
  • Add flour a cup at a time, stirring after each addition of flour.
  • Knead dough for about 8-10 minutes.
  • Let rise until doubled in size, about 2-3 hours.
  • Combine brown sugar and cinnamon in small bowl.
  • Roll out dough into a large rectangular shape. 
  • Brush melted butter on top of dough and top with brown sugar and cinnamon mixture.
  • Roll dough into a log and cut into 1" slices.
  • Place cinnamon rolls in pan about 1" apart and let them rise again for about 30 minutes or until slices of dough begin to touch.
  • Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. 
  • While the cinnamon rolls are cooling, make the glaze by combining the powdered sugar and milk. Drizzle the mixture on the cinnamon rolls and enjoy!

Check out the delicious goodies the other bakers made this week. :-)

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!

It's Wednesday night; I have made two pies (apple and pumpkin), prepped the cornbread stuffing, brined the turkey and spent some good quality family time.

The cinnamon rolls went over amazing well and I'll post the recipe this weekend. My mom actually said they were better than her sister or niece makes so that means my first attempt at cinnamon rolls were a hit. :-)

Tomorrow I have to make the wheat rolls, sides, and of course the turkey. Gonna be a busy day. Hopefully with some sewing and shopping built in. :)

Wishing you and yours a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday. I am grateful for my absolutely wonderful husband who supports everything I do, a loving family, wonderful friends, and all my readers here on the blog. You are amazing and I am grateful to each and every one of you.

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Thanksgiving Appetizer: Spinach Balls

Spinach, either you love it or you hate it. During my lifetime, I have done both. When I was little and it was on my plate, I'm sure the word "eww" came out of my mouth. But this spinach is different. It has cheese and breadcrumbs and garlic. How yum!

I saw LouAnne made some on her blog and thought they looked delicious and was dying to try them. I made some minor adjustments to suit my tastes and here we are. Yummy spinach goodness. I definitely would have eaten these if they were on my plate when I was a child. Too bad Popeye didn't think of these babies when he was clamoring for some Spinach.

Spinach Balls
Adapted from LouAnne's Kitchen

  • I box of frozen spinach, thawed and drained (about 12 oz)
  • 1 c grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 c milk
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  • Grease a baking sheet
  • Steam the spinach in the microwave for 4-5 minutes, drain spinach
  • Mix all ingredients together until you reach a meatball-like consistency.
  • Scoop with a small cookie scoop and roll into balls.
  • Place on prepared baking sheet
  • Bake for 15-20 minutes.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

One Lovely Blog Award

I am so honored and touched that Lisa from Sweet As Sugar Cookies thought of me and gave me this beautiful award. :) Lisa, you are so sweet for thinking of me! Definitely check out her blog if you have some time. I know if I ever have a request for a pumpkin recipe, I'm heading straight there. The woman's been on a pumpkin baking frenzy! I love it!

And then I come to find a comment on the blog that Marcellina from Marcellina In Cucina thought of me as well and awarded me the One Lovely Blog award as well. Her desserts are so amazing and beautiful, I encourage you all to visit her blog too.  I love learning about recipes from the Australian Women's Weekly.

I am truly honored. My blog is fairly new; I celebrate each comment and each new follower with excitement; I yell at Bike Boy across the house, I've got a new comment or a new follower!! He's never as excited as I am but he still tries. I'm still learning and I'm glad you're joining me for the ride! I mean I still haven't settled on a design for more than a month or two!

I know I'm supposed to pass these awards on and I will...after the upcoming holiday and family visit. But for now, I'll be in the kitchen baking. :-) I've got a Thanksgiving feast to prepare for!

Happy Sunday!

Friday, November 19, 2010

12 Weeks of Cookies Week 8 - Puppy Chow

Puppy Chow might not be a cookie but it is one of my favorite treats to make during the holidays. I love the ease of the recipe and the results are delicious!

One of our friends is a huge fan of puppy chow and was so thrilled to hear that puppy chow was this week's "cookie." His smile was so wide when I mentioned it and I knew I couldn't disappoint. I'm sure he'll have his share (and more) of this delicious treat!

I compared my recipe of puppy chow to the muddy buddy recipe on the back of the Chex box and mine is a bit different. Turns out my family likes more peanut butter and butter. Ha!

Puppy Chow for People
  • 3/4 c peanut butter
  • 12 oz (1 bag) semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1/2 c butter
  • 2 c powdered sugar
  • 1 box Rice Chex (you can use other kinds but I like Rice)
  • Pour Chex into a large bowl and set aside.
  • In a microwave-safe bowl, melt peanut butter, butter, and chocolate chips. Microwave for 1 minute then stir and microwave for an additional 30 seconds.
  • Pour chocolate mixture over Chex mix and stir until well coated. 
  • Pour powdered sugar into a gallon size Ziploc bag.
  • Add Chex mix to the bag and shake well. 
  • Pour out and enjoy!

Post Linked to: I'm Lovin It Fridays
Let's see what yummy treats the other bakers have on tap this week...

Monday, November 15, 2010

Menu Plan November 15th

Getting the menu post up this week has been harder than usual. First, I can't think of a single thing to make this week. Second, this week is turning out to be one crazy week of appointments, cleaning, organizing, and prepping for Thanksgiving. My thoughts are just so jumbled. I think it's time to go for simple and easy dishes that are tried and true favorites.

Oh and this week begins the start of the Purdue Basketball season and if there is one thing you must know about me is that I am a HUGE fan of them. So my dinners on game nights will be pretty simple so I can watch them win! Boiler Up!

Menu for the week:

Sunday: Takeout after the Purdue BB game

Monday: Chicken Nuggets with Black Beans

Tuesday: Spaghetti with breadsticks or garlic bread

Wednesday: Grilled Chicken Breast and Rice (game night and Bike Boy's cooking!)

Thursday: Pulled Pork Sandwiches

Friday: Date night!

Saturday: Dinner with friends

How's your week shaping up?

Post linked up to Menu Plans Mondays

Pecan Pie

Can you tell I was playing in my photo editor yesterday? 
Earlier I posted about my grandmother's pie crust and how I would be using it to make my Thanksgiving pies. I have a confession to make. I didn't use it for this wonderful pie. I used an all butter crust and made it in my food processor. The crust was beautiful and didn't burn during the entire time the pecan pie was baking. Considering how long this pie baked in the oven, that was pretty impressive. I have to say the crust was good; it didn't overpower the pie filling but it wasn't the same as Grandma's.

I have a couple of reasons why I'll be making this again.
  1. I have a GIANT bag of fresh pecans in my pantry from Sam's that I need to use.
  2. This pie is pretty darn good.
  3. I want to try it with Bourbon. Sounds like just the thing for Christmas. 

Pecan Pie Filling
adapted from Pioneer Woman

  • I c white sugar
  • 3 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 c corn syrup (I used light corn syrup)
  • 3/4 tsp vanilla
  • 1/3 c melted butter
  • 3 whole eggs, beaten
  • 1 1/4 c chopped pecans (she called for 1 cup)
Directions for Filling:
  • Preheat oven to 350
  • Mix sugar, brown sugar, salt, corn syrup, butter, eggs, and vanilla together in a bowl. Stir until well combined.
  • Pour chopped pecans in the bottom of your unbaked pie shell.
  • Pour syrup mixture over the top of the pecans.
  • Cover top with foil and place in preheated oven.
  • Bake covered for 30 minutes; continue baking for 30 minutes, being careful not to burn the crust.
  • If the pie is too jiggly, continue to bake at 10 minute intervals until pie is not too jiggly. You should be able to move the pie without the filling shaking violently. 
  • Allow to cool for several hours before serving. 
Up close and personal with the pie. Oh yummy!

Pie Crust:
from Brown Eyed Baker
  • I stick unsalted butter, chopped and frozen for 15 minutes
  • 1 1/4 c flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp ice water

  • Cut stick of butter into small cubes and place in freezer for at least 15 minutes.
  • Combine flour and salt together and pulse together in the food processor.
  • Add butter to food processor and pulse approximately 10 times until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs.
  • Sprinkle ice water into mixture, a tablespoon at a time. Pulse for no more than 20 -30 seconds until the dough crumbles up.
  • Add additional water if the dough appears too dry.
  • Dump the dough out onto a clean surface and shape into a disc. Wrap it in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least an hour.

Brown Eyed Baker has the instructions on how to make the pie crust by hand on her website: Brown Eyed Baker.

I'm linking to TidyMom's Pie Party today, come on over and check out the other beautiful pies people are making. The hard part will be deciding which ones to make for Thanksgiving.

Love the Pie

Friday, November 12, 2010

12 Weeks of Cookies Week 7 - Cranberry Shortbread Bars

I finally found fresh cranberries at our stores and I knew I had to make something with them. I have never made anything with fresh cranberries before. I didn't know that they popped so vigorously and their juices will be all over my stove as I was making the filling for these bars. I know now and so does my stove. :-) Making the filling was my adventure of the day and it turned out wonderfully. The bars are tart and beautifully paired with a sweet brown sugar shortbread. They would be perfect for your holiday tray.

Cranberry Shortbread Bars
adapted from Joy of Baking

Cranberry Filling:
  • 8 oz. fresh cranberries
  • 2/3 c granulated sugar (3/4 c if you like the cranberries less tart)
  • 3 tbsp water
  • orange zest (I used the zest of half an orange)
Shortbread Ingredients:
  • 2 c flour
  • 2 tbsp cornstarch
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 c unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1/3 c brown sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 small bars white chocolate
  • 1/4 tsp shortening
  • Preheat oven to 375 and place rack in the middle of the oven. Grease 9" pan with butter or cooking spray. 
  • Make cranberry filling.
    • In a medium saucepan, place all ingredients in pan.
    • Then, over medium high heat, cook ingredients until boiling.
    • Continue to boil until it becomes thick and syrupy, roughly 5 minutes.
    • Remove from heat and let cool while you prepare the shortbread.
  • In a separate bowl, whisk flour, cornstarch, and salt.
  • In a stand mixer, cream butter until smooth.
  • Add sugar and beat until smooth.
  • Beat in vanilla extract. 
  • Gently stir in flour mixture until just incorporated.
  • Evenly press two thirds of the shortbread dough into the bottom of the prepared pan.
  • Then evenly spread the cranberry mixture oven the shortbread, leaving 1/4" border.
  • With remaining shortbread, crumble it over the filling. Lightly press into dough.
  • Bake at 375 for 30 minutes or until top is golden brown. 
  • Remove, and place on wire rack to cool. While still hot, cut into 16 squares. Allow to cool.
  • After the bars are cooled, melt white chocolate and shortening until smooth.
  • Microwave for 30 sec, stir, microwave for 20 sec, and stir. Drizzle over bars.

Post Linked Up to I'm Lovin It Fridays

Let's see what wonderful treats the other bakers are baking this week:

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Pie Crust

As we inch ever closer to the upcoming holidays, my thoughts turn to family recipes and the traditions I had growing up. One of my favorite things to make each year is pumpkin pie. I never eat it but I do love to make it.

My maternal grandmother didn't live long enough to teach me how to properly make her pie crust recipe but my family took all of her recipes and published a cookbook for her children and grandchildren. I remember begging for my own copy of this beloved cookbook. Luckily, there was one saved for me. I have added recipes my mom and aunt have remembered over the years and my cookbook is as well loved as my mom's. And I know that this year, my pumpkin and apple pies will be made with this pie crust.

It has 6 ingredients and makes 3 crusts. I guess when you have 5 kids and an hungry husband, you make things in bulk. :-)

Pie Crust:
midwesterngirl's family recipe 
  • 3 c flour
  • 1 1/2 c shortening
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 egg, beaten @ room temperature
  • 2 tbsp vinegar
  • 1/3 c cold water
  • Mix together flour, shortening, and salt. 
  • Add egg, vinegar, and cold water. 
  • Mix together to make dough. 
  • Divide in thirds.
  • Roll out each dough to desired size and thickness. 

Happy pie making!

Monday, November 8, 2010

Menu Plan Mondays

The second week of November, already? Wow, last week went by so quickly. I did manage to get a lot of my to do list done but there are so many more that keep popping up. Isn't that always the way it is? My goal these next two weeks is to get the house ready for the family visit. Baking, cleaning, painting, and organizing are going to be my life for a bit. Sounds like fun, doesn't it? But I did manage to schedule some girl time lunches this week so yay!

Here's what is on the menu this week:

Sunday: Leftovers

Monday: Grilled Chicken with Vegetable Rice

Tuesday: Sloppy Joes

Wednesday: Chicken Tacos

Thursday: Spaghetti with Garlic Bread

Friday: Date night!

Saturday: Stuffed Pepper Soup

What's on your menu this week?

Post linked to Menu Plan Mondays @

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Thanksgiving 2010

I finally got some feedback from my family on the potential Thanksgiving menu and I thought I would share it. After all, I do have an extra hour today. :)

Spinach balls (I may be the only one that eats these but I love them!)

Main Meal:
Smoked Turkey
Homemade Gravy
Cornbread Stuffing 
Green Beans and/or Corn
Mashed Potatoes
Fluffy Wheat Rolls

Pumpkin Pie
Apple Pie

A turkey hat my class made last year. I just had to make my own! And there is a picture somewhere that has me wearing it. :)
Holiday countdown: 16 days til family arrives and 19 days until Thanksgiving.

I'm definitely in the holiday mood, are you?

Friday, November 5, 2010

12 Weeks of Cookies Week 6 - Snickerdoodles

As I was making these cookies, I was reminded of this cookie stand in the mall we used to go to when I was little. They had the biggest and chewiest snickerdoodle cookies. I used to beg my mom and dad for a cookie. I know snickerdoodles were a favorite of ours. It's amazing to me how a cookie can bring out old memories. Love that and these simple cookies. :)

Snickerdoodle Cookies
adapted from Betty Crocker 
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 tbsp cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 sugar
  • 1 c butter, softened
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp honey
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 3/4 c flour
  • 2 tsp cream of tarter
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt

  • Mix 1/4 c sugar and 1 tbsp cinnamon together in a shallow bowl; set aside.
  • Combine flour, cream of tarter, baking soda, and salt in medium bowl and whisk together. Set aside. 
  • Beat sugar and butter together until creamy.
  • Add eggs, honey, vanilla to mixture and beat until well combined.
  • Stir in flour mixture.
  • Chill dough for 1-2 hours.
  • Shape dough into 1 1/4 inch balls. Roll balls in cinnamon sugar mixture and place on ungreased cookie sheet.
  • Bake at 350 for 10-12 minutes or until centers are almost set. 
  • Remove from cookie sheet to wire rack and let cool completely.

Linked to I'm Lovin It Fridays
Let's see what the other bakers are making this week...

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Pumpkin Bread

The cooler weather finally hit Texas this week. It's cold and rainy here today and put me in the mood to make some pumpkin bread. My house smells wonderful with all the cinnamon, pumpkin, and nutmeg aromas swirling around. It feels like fall...finally. But that means that Thanksgiving is closer and my to do list is even longer, getting ready for the family to visit. I'm hoping I can freeze one loaf of bread for the family visit, wondering if it will last that long. :) The recipe makes about 2 9x5 loaves or 3 8x4 loaves.

Pumpkin Bread
adapted from My Kitchen Cafe

  • 2 1/2 c all purpose flour
  • 1 c whole wheat flour
  • 3 c granulated sugar
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 15 oz can pumpkin puree
  • 3/4 c canola or vegetable oil
  • 4 lg eggs
  • 2/3 c water
  • 1 c chocolate chips (optional)
  • 1 c chopped walnuts (optional) 
  • Preheat oven to 350.
  • Grease your pans with cooking spray.
  • Whisk together flours, sugar, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt.
  • Add in pumpkin, water, and oil and mix to combine.
  • Add eggs and mix well.
  • Stir in chocolate chips and/or walnuts.
  • Pour batter into prepared pans.
  • Bake for about 55-60 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Darker pans will bake more quickly so you could turn down the heat to 325 to prevent burning on the bottom. 
  • Let cool for 5-10 minutes in pan and then run a knife down the sides to release the bread and transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.


Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Pulled Pork Sliders

I function way better with lists. I am a list maker. Wow, that feels good to admit. :) When I write something down, I feel like I have to get it done. It's written. I made an effort to write it down so that means it's important.

Why am I telling you this? Well yesterday on my menu post, I promised the recipe to the whole wheat slider rolls I made for dinner last night. I did write it down. So I guess I have to share, huh? Even if the sandwich bun recipe turned into slider buns?

Mmm, pulled pork sliders.

Pulled Pork
For the pulled pork, I used about a 4-5 pound bone-in pork butt and used a rub from He Cooks, She Cooks without the mustard. I cooked the pork in the crockpot all day until the meat falls off the bone. Then comes the absolute tedious part of making pulled pork, shredding the meat. It's my least favorite part. But I love pulled pork so I guess it's just one of those things you gotta do to get to the yummy part of the meal. :)

Onto the wheat rolls. These are super easy and take less than 1 hour to make. Fabulous!!

Whole Wheat Rolls
adapted from Finding Joy in My Kitchen (full recipe)

1 package of yeast (she calls for 1 1/2 T but I just used a package since my jarred yeast was dead)
1 cup of warm water (110-120 degrees)
1/3 c oil (I used vegetable oil)
1/4 c sugar
1 tsp salt
2 1/2 to 3 c whole wheat flour (I can't seem to find white whole wheat flour at our grocery stores - I suppose the next time I make these I will use 2 c of whole wheat flour with 1/2 c of all purpose flour)

  • Dissolve the yeast in the water.  Let sit for 5 minutes until yeast is foamy.
  • Add in the oil, sugar and salt.
  • Then, add in the flour, 1 C at a time stirring until incorporated.
  • Knead the dough for 5 minutes, until the dough is well formed and easy to work with.  
  • Add additional flour as needed to get the dough to become workable.
  • Divide the dough into 6 -10 sections and roll into balls. (6 if you want them larger, 10 if you want them smaller - slider size)
  • Place the rolls on a lightly greased cookie sheet.  Cover and let rise again for about 30 minutes.
  • Preheat oven to 425 and bake for 10 minutes until lightly browned.

Have a great Tuesday, my friends!

Monday, November 1, 2010

Menu Plan Mondays

Halloween was fun for about an hour then I got this crazy stomach bug and Bike Boy had to deal with all the trick or treaters by himself. By his own admission, he sucks at it. It's just not his thing. Poor guy.

I feel better this morning, still leery of food but I did manage to get some great deals on Halloween stuff @ Target this morning. Now I have to take down the Halloween decorations we have and box them up for next year. At least my pumpkins get to stay out.

And since I was so sick last night, I didn't get to plan a menu like I wanted to. Let's see what I can come up with this morning.

Sunday: We grilled a whole chicken and served it with a side of smokehouse baked beans.

Monday: leftover pulled pork sandwiches on some fresh wheat rolls (recipe posted  Tuesday)

Tuesday: Chicken Enchiladas (recipe posted Wednesday)

Wednesday: Ravioli

Thursday: BBQ Chicken Pizza (we didn't get to have it Sat. night)

Friday: Girls Night Out; Bike Boy's on his own

Saturday: Date night!

How's your menu looking this week?


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