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August 30, 2010

Dairy Free Cupcakes!

I feel like I have hit a mini jackpot with this recipe!
I have a dear friend who's daughter can not have any dairy.
Trying to be creative, make great treats and still avoid dairy is a big challenge.  I have wanted to find a recipe that I can use and adapt for this darling girl and her sisters, and I finally found it!!!
Many many thanks to A CUPPY CAKE LIFE for this recipe!

Dairy-Free Devil’s Food Cake
(Makes about 24 regular cupcakes)

2 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 ½ teaspoons baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt
½ cup vegetable shortening
1 ¾ cups sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 eggs
1 1/3 cups cold water

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line pans and set aside.
In a medium bowl, sift together flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
In a large mixing bowl, beat shortening on high for 30 seconds. Add sugar and vanilla and beat until well combined. Add eggs one at a time, mixing thoroughly after each addition. Add dry mixture and water alternately, mixing until well incorporated.
Fill liners 2/3 full and bake for 15-20 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool in pans for 3 minutes before removing cupcakes to wire rack to finish cooling.

Dairy-Free Butter cream frosting

½ cup vegetable shortening
½ teaspoon salt
4 teaspoons vanilla extract
6 cups powdered sugar
½ cup coconut milk, shaken and well mixed before measuring

In a large bowl, mix together shortening, salt, vanilla, and 2 cups of the powdered sugar. Add in remaining sugar, 2 cups at a time and alternate with coconut milk. Add more coconut milk to thin and more sugar to thicken the icing, if needed. Beat on high speed for 10 minutes until light and fluffy.

August 29, 2010

The Thrifty BA's Rice Pudding

We have this amazing friend (THE THRIFTY BA) who  happens to have a very creative, funny blog. We love following her along as she writes about her life, finding treasures, her immense crafting creativity, her obsession with all things balls, her thrifty tips, and her fantastic recipes. She is smart and truly humorous, and never fails to make us smile or LOL.
Well this past week she posted a recipe she called her "Nana's Rice Pudding", and after I read through it I started to think that BA is also a little crazy!  This recipe requires you to CONSTANTLY STIR some ingredients for 30 minutes-I can't do anything for a full 30 minutes!  But having faith in BA's recipe's, I took on this monumental challenge, and today I made Nana's rice pudding!  Yay for me!
And now I must say that THE 45 MINUTES I SPENT MAKING THE PUDDING (including the 30 minutes of constant stirring) MAY VERY WELL BE THE SMARTEST, BEST, AND MOST DELICIOUS 45 MINUTES OF MY LIFE!

Oh, I am in love!  Amazingly decadent, this rice pudding recipe will put all others to shame.

  • 1 c. uncooked, long grain rice (not Minute Rice)
  • 8 c. Milk
  • 1/2 c. Butter
  • 1 c. Sugar (divided)
  • 1 c. Water
  • 3 eggs, well beaten
  • 1 Tbsp. Vanilla extract
In a large stock pot combine the uncooked rice, milk, butter 1/4 c. sugar, and water together.  Over medium heat, bring the mixture to a boil, stirring constantly.  Continue boiling for 30 minutes and STIR CONSTANTLY! (ugh)

Next combine the well beaten eggs, the remaining 3/4 c. sugar and the Vanilla extract.  Mix very well.
Slowly pour the egg mix into the cooked rice mix, stir until completely incorporated.  Pour into a 9 x 13 pan, sprinkle with cinnamon and enjoy!
 The pudding can be served hot or cold -we prefer ours cold, but my parents (who are now life long devotees to The Thrifty BA's recipe), like to enjoy theirs while still hot with a little vanilla ice cream on the side-Yuuummm-O!
 Thank you Beth~delish!

This post is linked up with:

August 28, 2010

FUN Saturday dinner with your kids

blog has the greatest idea's for making meal times fun.
This quick and simple tutorial will be such a hit with your kids,
and it's an easy prep meal for you!

In keeping with our fun food theme we made these cute sloppy Joe cars. What do you think?
These were simple to make and will be a big hit with the kids.

You will need:
* Hamburger or ground turkey
* 1 can sloppy joe sauce
* hoaggy rolls (or you can use unsliced hot dog buns)
* zucchini or cucumber
* cherry tomatoes
* pretzel twists

We made sloppy joe filling. Super easy! I browned a pound of ground turkey (because I like to fool myself into thinking we're healthy around here) and then added a can of sloppy joe sauce. Easy peasy! But you can always make it from scratch. =o)

Then I hollowed out some of the roll. Super easy. I just cut out a rectangle and pulled out the bread.

Then fill 'er up with sloppy joe stuff.

Don't forget to add a steering wheel!

Then add on some wheels and headlights with toothpicks and you are set!

What a fun meal idea!Thank you to the amazing Erin for this creative tutorial~we believe you will never create too many great memories with your children, so start now with this excellent idea! We love it!

August 25, 2010

Caramel Crunch Brownies

I made these brownies for a family reunion, and wow were they a hit!
Each year during our summer reunion, our family brings items/gifts to be "raffled" off. We use the money from our raffle to pay for the family Christmas party each December.  We love doing this, because when the money is tight from the holiday giving this is a great way to still get together without pocket book demands!
Anyway, the person who won the platter with these brownies called me and reported that the yuuumy treats didn't even make it home-they were consumed in the car!
I know you'll love these bar brownies too, and they are easier to make than the picture looks-try them!
1 Box Family size Brownie Mix
2 c. Miniature Marshmallows
1/2 c. Light Corn Syrup
3 Tbsp. Butter
1 1/3 c. (8 oz.) Peanut Butter Chips
1 1/2 tsp. Vanilla Extract
1 1/3 c. Crisp Rice Cereal
1 1/3 c. Salted Peanuts

Heat oven to 350 degree's.
Grease the bottom only of a 9 x 9 square pan.
Make the brownies according to package directions, except after removing from the oven,
immediately place the miniature marshmallows on the brownies and return to the oven for about 2 minutes, just until the marshmallows start swelling and turning slightly golden.
In a medim size sauce pan, heat the corn syrup, butter, vanilla & peanut butter chips using medium heat.
Stir constantly until the chips are melted and all is combined
(about 5 min.)
Remove from heat: stir in the cereal, and peanuts.
Drop small spoon size dollops over marshmallow topped brownies, and then spread out evenly.
Refrigerate about 1 hour until firm, then cut into desired size pieces.

See what I mean? Easier than it looks, and I bet your mouth is watering, and your looking to see if you have all the ingredients in your pantry...
Let us know if you like these brownies!

(This recipe was adapted from Betty Crocker's Brownie Peanut Chews)

And yes, these are my own photo's-lol
Our Friend shared with us how she makes these brownie bars gluten free:  Use a gluten free brownie mix, and replace the rice krispies with Rice Chex cereal! How smart and wonderful for those who need gluten free foods! Thanks so much for sharing Becky!

Join us at Me Making Do Monday's

August 23, 2010

Aunt Edythe's Chicken Salad

Chicken Salad is a family favorite, and it seems to appear with regularity at parties and showers.
My Great Aunt Edythe handed down the BEST chicken salad recipe you will EVER taste! 
It's so delicious in croissants, cream puffs, wraps, or served on lettuce might just find yourself eating it directly from the bowl!
1 c. Diced celery
1 c. Shredded carrots
1/4 c. Minced sweet onion
(finely sliced scallions/green onions are a great substitution for the stronger onions)
3 c. Chicken, cooked and diced or shredded
1 tsp. Salt
1 c. Salad dressing
(such as Miracle Whip)
1 c. Whipping cream-unsweetened-whipped stiff 
(the secret ingredient)
1 can Chinese Noodles

Combine all ingredients except noodles,
then chill for several hours.
Just before serving stir in the noodles and enjoy!

I have made this adding other ingredients to change it up, such as grapes, sliced in half,  sliced almonds, dried cranberries, and cashews. I'm positive this recipe will become your favorite chicken salad too!

Check out our recipe for basic cream puff shells-the perfect way to create the perfect sandwich.

August 16, 2010

Fresh Pickles, you say?

What a find! THE THRIFTY BA  (a super Aunt Peg's supporter & friend) posted a recipe for fresh pickles on her awesome blog!  Well we decided we NEEDED TO TRY IT, and so this morning I jumped right in and got started...

oh pickles!

4 kirby cucumbers, quartered lengthwise
3/4 c. white wine vinegar
1/4 small sweet onion, thinly sliced
2 cloves of garlic
3/4 c. hot water
 2 Tbsp. sugar
                                1 tsp. dill seed
                               1 tsp. black peppercorns
                              1 bay leaf
                                kosher salt

Place the cucumbers in a 1 quart jar,
(I used mason jars) with a tight lid.
In a bowl, combine everything BUT
the cucumbers, and stir until sugar dissolves.
Pour the mixture into the jar with the cucumbers already inside. Leave in the fridge for at least 1 day before eating. they will only last 1 week, so eat 'em FAST! 
Now if I can just wait the 24 hours to try them...they really are super simple, and they smelled so good just making the recipe, that I can't wait!
 If you haven't checked out the thrifty ba's blog, you need to! She is funny, creative, and always interesting... don't miss her!!

August 12, 2010

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cupcakes

We love all the fantastic food blogs out there!  Kara's Party Idea's is one of them! She has amazing idea's, great party plans, adorable cupcakes, invitations, decorations, and theme's to make any party perfect! Check out her cupcake pages...divine!

I hosted a Cupcake Tea Party with my friend Lyndsey this weekend. I made these Chocolate Sour Cream Cupcakes with Peanut Butter Cream Cheese Frosting for the event! They were sooooo yummy! To see more of the cupcake party {it's a must see!} be sure and check out my party idea site, Kara's Party Ideas, or Lyndsey's awesome site, Kitchen Doughdough!
And now here's the recipe's {adapted from}....
Chocolate Sour Cream Cake

2 cups all-purpose flour
2 1/2 cups sugar
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, preferably Dutch process
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup neutral vegetable oil, such as canola, soybean or vegetable blend
1 cup sour cream
1 1/2 cups water
2 tablespoons distilled white vinegar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 eggs

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Fill your cupcake pans with cupcake liners.

2. Sift the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt into a large bowl. Whisk to combine them well. Add the oil and sour cream and whisk to blend. Gradually beat in the water. Blend in the vinegar and vanilla. Whisk in the eggs and beat until well blended. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and be sure the batter is well mixed.

3. Bake for 17 to 20 minutes, or until a cake tester or wooden toothpick inserted in the center comes out almost clean. Let cool for about 20 minutes.

Peanut Butter Cream Cheese Frosting

10 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
1 stick (4 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
5 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
2/3 cup smooth peanut butter, preferably a commercial brand (because oil doesn’t separate out)
1. In a large bowl with an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese and butter until light and fluffy.
Gradually add the confectioners’ sugar 1 cup at a time, mixing thoroughly after each addition and scraping down the sides of the bowl often. Continue to beat on medium speed until light and fluffy, 3 to 4 minutes.
2. Add the peanut butter and beat until thoroughly blended.

Sour Cherry Jam!

I found this oh so yummy recipe on one of our very favorite blogs:
I think I am going to give this a try...on Saturday...if I can find cherries...that are good... :)
Click on the links (underlined words) to go to her blog or the original recipe post.
("June Cleaver" is so creative, and her posts are always interesting, fun, and delightful to read! Plus she does great product reviews and giveaways!)

 I can't believe its already August! I have been busy in my kitchen, making lots of preserves before the summer comes to an end. I don't think there is anything better than having homemade jams in your pantry in the middle of a cold winter!  Today, I made sour cherry jam. I must say, the cherries were so sweet, though, I hesitate to call it "sour"!
First, I had to pit the cherries. I was careful to wear gloves or I would have been walking around with stained red hands all week long! That would not have been a good time. Next, I had to boil the cherries with a bit of apple juice.
Boiling the Cherries
 I then added one box of powdered pectin for unsweetened jams and jellies-I love it because it makes it possible to eliminate the sugar in any recipe, so you can use honey, sugar substitutes or just a bit of sugar if you want, provided that you are certain to add lemon juice, as it adds to the jellying process to firm up the preserves. I also added 1/2 tsp of unsalted butter to reduce foaming. Once it was at a full rolling boil, I was good to go. I fillled the pre-prepared jars using my funnel (a must have if you are canning!), cleaned the rims and then boiled them in my canning water bath.
Filling Up the Jars

Jars Filled with Hot Sour Cherry Jam-Yum!
Now, Tiny and I have been decorating our jars. We have been having fun with the fabrics but haven't figured out what labels to use just yet. That is the fun part for us! I hope we can figure that one out before we eat all of this awesome jam!
The Finished Product (Minus Labels!

August 10, 2010

**Sparkling * Pineapple * Punch**

An oldie but a goody recipe!  I'm back at our annual family Christmas party, waiting for Santa to drop by and give me a candy cane while I sit on his lap posing for a picture that my mom can't seem to take because the "camera isn't working right". LOL
Good times!
This punch recipe feeds a crowd, but is easily cut in 1/2 for smaller gatherings.
(this is not a picture of the actual punch mix, it's a photo I "borrowed" from a google search, but it's a pretty close match!) 

2 (12oz.) cans Frozen lemonade concentrate
9 c. Cold water
1 (46oz) can Pineapple Juice
1 (29oz.) can Pears, pureed in blender
1 (16oz.) can Pears, pureed in blender
32 oz. Lemon-lime carbonated beverage (such as Sprite or 7-Up)
1/2 gallon Pineapple Sherbet
In a LARGE mixing bowl combine the first 5 ingredients. Soften sherbet, then stir into punch mix.  CHILL WELL.  Just before serving add the lemon-lime beverage.
Makes approximately 9 quarts.

(You can also freeze this drink before adding the lemon-lime soda. Just allow the frozen mix to soften well before adding the soda and then serving.)
There are tons of options for changing this punch mix up...add fresh strawberries, add canned peaches instead of pears, use orange soda instead of lemon-lime...imagine...create!

This post is linked up over at:
Sumo Sweet Stuff

Books & Cooks

I found this great books & cooks idea over at the
Link on over and read the great book review and cooking idea!
What a great idea!
We want one of you great followers to create a book club that revolves around this idea...the members read the book during the month, then the hosting member makes a dish that relates to her, using the inspiration from that book! Everyone meets for the book discussions, and enjoys the dish, along with the reason why that dish connected with the book.
Awesome fun, great books, great friends, great food, great idea's, great times!!!!!

Please invite us to join the book club as soon as you get it organized.  We are too dis-organized to arrange for this ourselves...

August 7, 2010

{Fun in the kitchen}

Last evening I was searching through some older cookbooks looking for a particular recipe that I know I submitted to one book or another, and as I was browsing through my son's 1994 elementary school recipe collection book, I came across this recipe. It made me laugh and smile so I thought I would share it with you!

1 Medium size Elephant
1 Ton Salt
1/2 Ton Pepper
500 Bushels of Potatoes
200 Bushels of Carrots
4,000 Sprigs of Parsley
1,000 Gallons of Brown Gravy 
(can be packaged, but prepare it according to package directions prior to using in stew)
2 Small Rabbits (optional)

Cut elephant meat into bite-sized pieces.
This will take about 2months.
  Clean and scrub vegetable, the cut into cubes
(will take another 2 month). 
Place meat in pan and cover with brown gravy,
simmer for 4 weeks.
  Shovel in the salt and pepper to taste.  
When meat is tender add the vegetables.
  (A steam shovel is useful for this.)
  Simmer slowly for an additional 4 weeks. 
Garnish with parsley.
Serves 3,800 people.

If more people are expected, add the 2 rabbits.  This is not really recommended as very few people like hare in their stew.

Submitted by Ruth Petter

August 4, 2010


Hey Hey Everyone!
I NEED to say a few things about this blog/website I found while blog hopping through the food blogging world.

I recommend adding this to the blogs you follow, or bookmarking the site, cause it has awesome recipes. Everything from simple to gourmet, the site is easy to navigate and you WILL find whatever  your are looking for, give you great idea's, and make you want to cook!
Here is a link to one recipe that someone should make and then send to me for an honest critique!!!   ;)

And here is the related blog post...
(really, I need these...badly...intensely...take pity on me!)
Anyway, I hope you like this site as much as I do!!
You can find the Tasty Kitchen button on the right hand side of this blog too!

August 3, 2010

Spinach Salad with Poppy Seed Dressing

This is the recipe I always go to when I need a super delicious salad that will feed a crowd.
When I take this to a potluck dinner or any event, I ALWAYS get requests for the recipe!
My family loves this salad, so I just cut the quantities in 1/2 for us...
1-16oz. bag fresh baby spinach leaves, cleaned
1 small head iceberg lettuce, cored and torn into bite size pieces
1 small red onion, thinly sliced, then slices cut in 1/2
6 bacon strips, cooked crisp and crumbled
1-8oz. package fresh mushrooms, sliced
12oz. mozzarella cheese, shredded
Toss all the ingredients in a large salad bowl. Just before serving toss in the poppy seed dressing.

3/4 Tbsp. poppy seeds
1/3 tsp. yellow mustard
1/3 c. white vinegar
3/4 c. vegetable oil
1/3 c. sugar
3/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
Combine all ingredients in a blender. Process on high for 1 minute.  Chill well.  Toss with salad.

(I love this dressing, but it really is best if it has chilled several hours or even overnight.  Just be sure to shae it up before pouring it over the salad.- I also change out the white vinegar for rice vinegar.  It adds a bit more of a "bite" to the dressing.)