Saturday, October 19, 2013

Caramel Corn

It has only taken me 11 months, 15 days, and 1 week to finally post this recipe for my most patient friend. Okay, I don't know the exact numbers, but I do know she asked for this recipe almost a year ago! I remember making this, capturing the photos, and laying the dirty spilled on recipe card...??? Well that's just it. I did not remember where I placed the recipe card at. For months. Until I opened my pie recipe book this fall and there nestled in nicely between freshly picked cherry pie and sweet potatoe filling was the surprise of my caramel corn recipe. Still stained and much more then book-mark worthy and bringing the thoughts of my patient friend all back to me while I saved it from the pie book and placed it safely back in it's "Sweet Things" recipe box spot. So here it is, friend...sorry it took so long!

Caramel Corn (worth waiting for :)

6 Quarts Popped Corn
1 Cup Butter
2 Cups Brown Sugar
1/2 Cup Light or Dark Corn Syrup
1 Tsp Salt
1/2 Tsp Baking Soda
1 Tsp Vanilla


1. Preheat oven to 250. Coat large baking pans with cooking spray. Place your popped corn in the pans.

2. In a stove top pan slowly melt butter, stir in brown sugar, corn syrup, and salt.

3. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally.

4. Boil without stirring for 5 minutes.

5. Remove from heat and stir in baking soda and vanilla.

6. Pour over your popcorn and mix well together.

7. Bake for 1 hour stirring every 15 minutes.

 Do not use margarine or some light thing... only the real good stuff.

 Get your kids involved for this one!

 Especially since the science experiment with the baking soda looks so cool...

 Mix well so every kernel gets some lov'in

 And use a plenty big enough pan for stirring it around...

And as always, serve it with a smile and enjoy!

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Frozen Fruit Cups

I know, right... it's been awhile! That's why the return of my posting to this food blog is such a fun yummy one for a summer day such as this! I have been making these frozen fruit cups for years and my kids, my hubs, and whoever else is here when we get them out of the freezer love them. My favorite is the frozen banana pieces, my firstborn is all about the strawberries, and my second boy loves the slightly melted juice that shows up as it gets munched on. Whichever it is, you are sure to love every melting moment of this treat!

Frozen Fruit Cups

1 can frozen pineapple juice, 12 oz, thawed
1 can frozen orange juice, 6-12oz, thawed
1 Cup water or apple juice
1/2 Cup Sugar (optional)
2 Tbsp. lemon juice
3-4 Medium firm bananas, sliced
1 Quart Fresh strawberries, sliced
1 can Mandarin Oranges, drained
1 can Crushed Pineapple

18 Clear plastic cups (or I use about 12 9oz cups and 10 small clear plastic dixie cups for kid sized servings)

In a large bowl prepare all your above ingredients.  Stir well together. Spoon 3/4 full cups with the fruit mixture. Simply freeze in the freezer (setting them on a pan is helpful to avoid tipping). Ready to serve frozen fruit cups in a few hours! As always, serve with a smile and enjoy!!

A yummy, fruity filled frozen option on summer days!

I love having a freezer full of these!


Monday, March 25, 2013

Homemade Granola

In our house, we eat a lot of yogurt. There are so many tasty yogurt options and most the time we love to pile ours with fresh berries, raw honey, and granola! I came across this granola recipe from my Southern Cooking recipe book, made only a couple small changes, and it is so good...especially warm out of the oven! (And might I add, anything Southern style is usually delish! But this one you actually don't feel too guilty eating!!) I doubled this recipe for our family of 5 and it is already time to bake some more.

Homemade Granola
3 Cups uncooked regular oats
1/2 Cup flaked coconut
1/2 Cup natural sliced almonds
1/4 Cup regular wheat germ
1/4 Cup plus 2 Tbsp. Raw Honey
1/4 Cup Vegetable oil
2 Tbsp. Brown sugar
1 tsp. Vanilla extract
1/4 tsp. Salt
(Optional- 3/4 Cup Raisins or Dried Cranberries)

1. Preheat oven to 350. Combine first 4 ingredients in a large bowl and set aside.

2. Combine your honey and next four ingredients. Pour over your oat mixture and stir well. Spread granola mixture onto a lightly greased 15 by 10-inch jelly-roll pan (or large stoneware which is what I used).

3. Bake at 350 for 25 minutes or until golden brown. Not dark brown. Stir every 5 minutes or so and stir raisins or dried fruit of choice in once done cooking.

4. Eat right away or store in an airtight container. (Also so tasty served warm with a little milk poured over it in a bowl...just like cereal :) And as always...serve with a smile and enjoy!

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Blueberry Donuts

My first memories with my husband are waking up at the crack of dawn to walk over to Dunkin Donuts in downtown Chicago and get freshly baked donuts. We were on a mission trip and somehow started almost every morning treating ourselves to one of his favorite sweets. So it comes as no surprise that our middle son has a love for donuts similar to his dad's and my house of boys has been known to drive 45 minutes one way to pick up an order of their favorite baked fresh donuts from the closest Donutland. When I realized there was such a thing as a donut pan and you could bake them, not fry them, I added this to my list of wants and our roomie gifted us with a set she found on clearance for Christmas! Yeah, we all benefit! I've tried a few recipes and tweaked it a far this is our fave. Though my boys will tell you they prefer chocolate chips in theirs over the blueberries....but this ole' mama likes to sneak in their fruit wherever I can!
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 tablespoons melted butter
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/2 -1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries (or chocolate chips)

    Preheat oven to 325. Mix all your dry ingredients in a bowl together. Add yogurt, eggs, vanilla, melted butter, and oil. Fold in your blueberries. Spray your donut pan with cooking spray. Fill each donut space 3/4 full (donuts will rise above). Bake 10 minutes or until donuts seem firm and pop out of your pan easily. Cool on wire rack or wax paper.
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract
  • 3-4 tablespoons milk

    Once donuts are cooled I like to drizzle this frosting topping over the top.
     Donut pan! Best invention in the donut world!

    Your cooling donuts...also pretty tasty warm!
    Call the kids, it's time to eat! Serve with a smile and...enjoy!!

    Sunday, January 27, 2013

    Home-made Hamburger Buns (Quick)

    If you have never attempted home-made bread before, don't let this scare you off! YOU can make these...I promise! Next time you grill, surprise your family with these perfectly baked hamburger buns fresh from your very own oven.  It takes less then an hour and it is a perfect back-up if you forgot buns at the store.

    Quick Hamburger Buns

    2 Tbsp active dry yeast
    1 cup plus 2 Tbsp warm water
    1/3 cup olive oil
    1/4 cup sugar
    1 egg (room temp eggs work best)
    1 tsp. salt (I like Kosher salt)
    3 to 4 cups flour (I use basic white flour)

    1. I like to use a glass bowl to dissolve yeast in the warm water. Add your sugar and oil here and let stand for 5-10 minutes. 

    2. Add the egg, salt, and enough flour to form a soft dough (should not be sticky).

    3.  Roll onto a floured surface and knead until smooth, about 3-5 minutes. (I put butter on my hands to help keep dough from sticking to me and form together better). You do not have to let it rise.

    4. Divide dough into 12 balls and place on a greased stone-ware (or cookie sheet) about 3 inches apart.

    5. Cover with a tea towel and let rise for 10 minutes. Bake at 425 for 19-12 minutes or until a golden brown color on top. I like to rub some butter and garlic salt on top for flavor when they are almost done browning in oven.

    I love to serve these warm with burgers fresh off the grill... Yum, taste so good every time. These are a bit heavier then your typical white flour 99 cents buns from the store, but I think you'll enjoy the difference! Serve with a smile....and enjoy with your crew!

    Monday, January 14, 2013

    Sweet Blueberry Muffins

    Looking for an easy, but oh so tasty home-made muffin recipe? This will honestly take you 10 minutes to throw together and another 20ish to bake. Make it in the morning, take your shower, and they will be done when it is time to feed the crew. This is also a yummy option for afternoon guests or an after school snack or over-night guests! I love fresh blueberries and when I find a good price on them I stock up my freezer. Those come in handy for days like today...


    Sweet Blueberry Muffins

    3 cups flour
    1 cup sugar (I use only 3/4 cup for mine usually)
    4 Tsp Baking Powder
    1 Tsp salt
    1/3 cup buttermilk
    1/3 cup milk
    1 Tsp lemon juice
    1/2 cup vegetable oil
    2 large eggs (fresh from your backyard chickens if you have them!)
    1-2 cups fresh or frozen blueberries
    2 Tbsp Sugar (for sprinkling before you bake them)

    Heat your oven to 400. 

    Combine your dry ingredients in a large bowl, make a well in the center and add rest of your ingredients  Fold your blueberries in last. This will be a thick batter, just moistened enough to mix all your ingredients. Spoon into a well greased or paper-lined muffin pan. (I highly recommend investing in a good stone muffin pan for perfectly baked muffins every time! I love my Pampered Chef!) Sprinkle tops of muffins with a bit of sugar.

    Bake at 400 for 20-25 minutes. Muffins should be a light golden brown. Makes 12.

    Serve 'em up with a smile...and enjoy sweet blueberry goodness!

    Saturday, January 12, 2013

    Garlic Chicken Pasta

    Here's a little background information about me...I waitressed my way through college at one of the best family owned restaurants in town. Five years at one place and I still love going back. The Brown Bottle taught me a lot about taking care of people well during their dining experience. I actually loved this job, despite long hours on my feet and up and down the stairs, but mostly loved the people that mentored me through those years of my growing up. Today it is still, in my opinion, the best place to eat in town and I still love the owners and manager!  

    The Brown Bottle's garlic chicken is my absolute favorite dish there and I would never even come close to preparing such a fine dish...but I did attempt to make a close version of it for my own taste bud's sake. I am happy with the outcome, but if you want the real deal...head on over to the Brown Bottle in Cedar Falls!! You'll get the best service and food in town! But if you want a meal at home...may I suggest trying this?

    Garlic Chicken Pasta

    1 double breast of chicken

    veggies of choice: (for this batch I used)
    1 green bell pepper
    1 small head of broccoli
    half bag of baby carrots
    fresh mushrooms
    (could use: onion, tomatoes, pea pods, yellow bell peppers, zucchini)

    pine nuts (1 small bag or about 1 cups worth)
    olive oil
    fresh ground pepper
    garlic salt
    garlic powder
    1 box of angel hair pasta

    Dice your raw chicken and sprinkle with garlic salt. Pour 1 Tbsp of olive oil in a large skillet. Once oil is warm, throw your chicken in and cook evenly for a white but not brown look. Once chicken is all cooked through, set your chicken aside in a separate bowl for now.

    Boil your water for your pasta at this time and toss your noodles in the boiling water to cook as you start your veggies.

    As your chicken cooks, slice your veggies to your liking. I slice my baby carrots in fourths to help them cook faster. 


    Add another Tbsp of olive oil to your skillet and add your more dense veggies first. I add my carrots and let them saute for a bit, then add my peppers, next my broccoli, and last my mushrooms. This way I don't have some veggies overly done while my heavier veggies finish cooking through. As my veggies cook, I sprinkle with pepper, garlic salt, and garlic powder to my tasting. Season away as you please! 

    Once all my veggies are done, I throw in the pine nuts to toast for just a couple minutes. You might need to add a bit more olive oil if it seems dry or your veggies are sticking to the bottom of your skillet.

    Your noodles should be ready to drain by now and your veggies are done. Throw your chicken back into the skillet, drain noodles, and simply toss the skillet veggies and chicken with your noodles. 

     You should have yourself a light pasta dish ready to eat right away! I had no problem serving this dish with a smile and fully enjoying! Yum!!

    Thursday, January 10, 2013

    Cheesy Potato Soup

    If I lived by myself, I would live off of soup. But, I don't (thank goodness), so I have a hand full of soup recipes that I love and can even convince my house full of boys to enjoy for a meal or two with me! Soup is my go-to meal on weekends in the winter. You can throw it together in the morning and it is warm in the crock-pot all day. My husband says cheese is the compliment to every this cheesy potato soup might be towards his fave of the soups I place before him when I am sure he would rather have meat and potatoes!! I have been making this for years and it never disappoints. I hope you'll give it a try.

    Cheesy Potaoe Soup
    1 1/2 cups chopped carrots
    1 1/2 cup chopped celery
    5-8 cups diced potatoes (I like thicker soup, so I do more potatoes)
    2 tsp. salt
    1 can evaporated milk
    2 Tbsp fresh parsley (or flakes)
    1 cup milk or half & half
    1 lb Velveeta cheese 
    1/4 cup butter
    2 cup cubed ham or bacon (we prefer ham)
    pepper (to your tasting)

    Chop all your veggies and place in a soup pot.

    Cover your veggies just enough so the water is barely covering it. Add your salt and boil this for about 20 minutes.  Mash your potatoes just a bit as you stir it.

    Turn the heat off and add all your remaining ingredients.

    Turn your heat on medium and bring to a bubbley stage. once it is bubbely, turn to low and stir occasionally. 

    I like to let it sit for awhile to thicken, but you can eat it right away too!

    Mmm-mmm...and as always, serve with a smile and enjoy :)