Saturday, December 28, 2013

Barbeque Meatball Sliders

Meatball sliders are a huge hit in my family. I often take them to church functions, where they are always well-received. I usually make Italian style sliders, but a few weeks ago I decided to switch it up for our church business meeting. I didn't stick around for the meeting, but my Hubbie and Dad loved them. My Dad is a pretty picky eater, so it makes me happy when he enjoys my food. These are quick to put together, made with frozen meatballs. You could certainly use your own homemade meatballs, or make my delicious Meatballs. These would be a great addition to any finger food buffet or Super Bowl Party.


24 Hawaiian Sweet Dinner Rolls
36 frozen Meatballs
1 cup of your favorite Barbeque Sauce
24 Pickle Chips
6 Slices of Cheddar Cheese

Preheat oven to 350°. Place the frozen meatballs in a large, microwave-safe glass dish. Heat on high until warmed through, about 5-7 minutes. Stop and stir the meatballs about 3 minutes in.
While the meatballs are heating, separate the dinner rolls and slice in half. Place the bottom halves on a baking sheet. Remove the meatballs from the microwave, toss with the barbeque sauce. Slice the meatballs in half. Place 3 halves on each bottom half. 1 meatball just isn't enough for this size roll, and 2 unsliced meatballs creates too much of a mess. Cut each cheese slice into 4 pieces. Top each slider with a cheese slice and a pickle chip. Put the top half of the rolls on. Place in the oven untilt eh cheese is melted, about 15 minutes. Stack on a platter and serve.


Thursday, December 26, 2013

Egg in the Hole

I hope everyone had a blessed Christmas! Here is an easy and scrumptious breakfast to enjoy. If you still have out-of-town guests, pull out that griddle and make this one-dish breakfast.

Growning up, I had a baby-sitter who often made these for us for breakfast, she called them Chicken in a Basket. I always loved them. My Hubbie and son love these for breakfast. My Hubbie remebers his Mom making these when he was a child, instead of cutting the hole with a biscuit cutter, like I do, his Mom let him bit the middle out. I may let my son try that when he's older. He's only 2, and a carb lover, I don't think he'd be happy about having to hand a piece of bread back. This is a very simple breakfast to make, and if you have a large griddle, you can make several at a time.

Ingredients: I usually make two for my Hubbie and one each for my son and I.

4 slices of bread
4 eggs
4 TBS Butter
salt and Pepper

Preheat a skillet or griddle over medium heat. Butter both sides of each slice of bread. Use a biscuit cutter to cut a hole in the center. Don't discard the removed bread. You'll be toasting that up too, it's my favorite part.

Toast the bread and the removed portions on the griddle until medium brown and crunchy, flip. Place a small amount of butter in the open hole of each slice of bread, crack 1 egg into each hole. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, cover with a lid and cook until the whites are just set for a runny yolk. If you like a firmer yolk, cook a minute longer. Remove from the heat, use the reserved piece to pierce the yolk, and enjoy.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Chai Spiced Citrus Tea

I made a pot of this for us to sip while watching Christmas movies a few nights ago. I had intended to made a recipe I had been given for old fashioned Russian Tea, not the instant powdered stuff, but a recipe that sounded absolutely lovely. However, I was out of oranges, whole cloves and cinnamon sticks, and I didn't want ground up spiced floating in the tea, so I improvised and came up with my own recipe with what I had on hand. My Mother-In-Law gave me a tin of delicious loose-leaf Chai Tea last time she visited, it was awesome in this recipe.

6 Cups of Boiling Water
3 Black Tea Bags
3 TBS Loose Leaf Chai Tea, or 3 Tea Chai Tea Bags
1 Cup of Water
1/4 Cup of White Sugar
the Juice of 4 Tangerines (you could use oranges)

Steep the black and chai teas in the 6 cups of boiling water for 8-10 minutes. While steeping, bring the water and sugar to a boil in a small sauce pan. Remove the tea leaves and tea bags, pour the sugar water into the tea, add the tangerine juice. Stir and enjoy.

We really enjoyed this tea. My Hubbie has requested a steady supply in the house until Spring.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Pecan Clusters

These Pecan Clusters are so easy to make. With only 3 ingredients, they are truly more than the sum of their parts. Everyone in my family enjoys these, even my two year old. They're a delightful addition to any gathering, or as a treat for a super sweet Hubbie. Don't skip the toasting step, it's mostly hands off and it really brings out the flavor of the pecans.


3 cups of Pecan Halves
3 TBS of Butter, I use salted
12 oz Chocolate Chips

Preheat the oven to 300 °. Scatter the pecans on a baking sheet. Dot with the butter. Place in the oven for 30 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes. Line a baking sheet or large cutting board with waxed paper. Place the chocolate in a large microwave safe glass bowl, microwave on high for 1 minute, stir. Continue microwaving at 30 second intervals, stirring between each interval until melted. Stir in the pecans. Drop by the spoonfuls onto the waxed paper. Allow them to set and enjoy.

How gorgeous are toasted pecans?

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Reindeer Crunch Snack Mix

I made up this snack mix to enjoy while watching Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer for Family Night. We all agreed it was a hit, and I plan to make it for our Christmas Eve get-together. Santa Claus comes through our neighborhood on a firetruck. It is a tradition we had in my neighborhood growing up, and one I am glad I can continue with my son.

This snack mix is sweet, salty, crunchy, fruity, chocolaty, you know, delicious. You can buy a bag of caramel corn instead of making your own, but I think it tastes way better this way. Also, I have fond memories of making caramel corn with my Mom as a child, and it makes me feel nostalgic to make my own. I use the Karo recipe, just like my Mom did, it's fool-proof. I'll include it in the ingredients and instructions, but here is a link Karo Syrup - Classic Caramel Corn


For the Caramel Corn:

8 cups of popped popcorn
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup Corn Syrup
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter OR margarine
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon  vanilla extract

For the Snack Mix:

1 Recipe Caramel Corn
2 cups of small Pretzels
1 cup of toasted Pecans
2 cups of Mini Marshmallows
1 cup of dried cranberries
1 cup of chocolate Chips
1 large paper grocery bag


For the Caramel Corn:
Spray a large shallow roasting pan with cooking spray. Add popcorn and place in preheated 250°F oven while preparing caramel.
Mix brown sugar, corn syrup, butter and salt in a heavy 2-quart saucepan. Stirring constantly, bring to a boil over medium heat.

Boil 5 minutes WITHOUT STIRRING. Remove from heat. Stir in baking soda and vanilla.(Mixture will foam)

Pour syrup mixture over warm popcorn, stirring to coat evenly.
Bake for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from oven and spread on foil that has been sprayed with cooking spray.

Cool; break apart. Reserve foil-lined baking sheets for the next step.

To Make the Snack Mix:

Place the cooled caramel corn, pretzels, pecans, marshmallows, and cranberries into the paper grocery bag. Shake to combine. Spread mixture out on the reserved baking sheets.

Place chocolate chips into a microwave-safe glass bowl. Microwave on high for 1 minute. Stir, return to microwave and cook on high for 30 second intervals until melted. This usually takes me 1.5 - 2 minutes depending on how cold it is. However, it is very important to stir it every 30 seconds, and stop heating it as soon as it is melted.

Use a spoon to drizzle the melted chocolate over the snack mix. You can let it cool, then break it up. Or you can place the snakc mix back into the bag as soon as you drizzle it with chocolate and shake shake shake to get the chocolate more evenly distributed, which is what I did.

Monday, December 16, 2013

White Hot Chocolate

I made this white hot chocolate as a treat for my family's Frosty the Snowman theme night. It was delicious. I had some leftover that I re-heated the next day. It made a perfect accompaniment to my Mom's Chocolate Chip Cookies. Both of these should defintely make an appearance at your holiday table or cookie swap.

White Hot Chocolate

4 cups of whole Milk
8 oz White Chocolate Chips, I used Ghirardelli brand.
1 tsp Vanilla Extract,
Optional Topping Ideas: Whipped cream, marshmallows, crushed candy canes, cinnamon

Heat milk and white chocolate chips in a medium saucepan over medium heat, stirring until melted and warmed through. Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla. Ladel into mugs, add desired toppings, and enjoy.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Christmas Movie Theme Nights: Frosty The Snowman

Sorry for the terrible pictures, all of them were taken with my iPhone. I just LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE this time of year. Christmas is such a special time of year for me. I have wonderful memories of family get-togethers, baking cookies and making fudge with my Mom, seeing Santa Claus on the Fire Truck every Christmas Eve, dancing the 12 Days of Christmas. My family had a lot of traditions growing up, these are just a few. I'm continuing several of them with my son, and adding some of our own.

One thing we started this year and we plan to continue is a Christmas movie theme night. Last Saturday was our first time, and we did Frosty the Snowman. My Hubbie got me a box set of animated Christmas classics last year, so that is what I will be using while my son is young. He LOVED Frosty. We started the day with Snowman shaped pancakes, which I didn't get pictures of, basically 3 different sized pancakes, cooked close together so they combined. Then we decorated them with chocolate chips. It was fun. That evening we had snowman-shaped white pizza for dinner and we enjoyed white hot chocolate during the movie. It was a lovely time, and all of us enjoyed it. It wasn't anything fancy, since I pulled most of it together last-minute with things I already had on hand. My snowman pizza is rather plain compared to those on Pinterest, but it was delicious.

I did get this picture on my cellphone of my son decorating a pancake for Daddy.

For the Snowman Pancakes I used my fabulous Cake Flour Pancakes recipe.

For the Snowman Pizza:
I used half of the dough my recipe makes to make this snowman. It was barely enough for 3 people. I'd suggest making two or more if you have a larger family, or serve a soup or salad with it.

Per Snowman:
1/2 recipe of my Pizza Dough
1 cup of ricotta cheese
2 cloves of garlic, minced, or grated
2 cups of shredded mozzarella
Parmesan (optional)
black olives

Preheat the oven to 400.
Roll about 2/3 of the dough out into a 10 inch round
Roll the remaining dough into a 6 inch round.
Place them on a baking sheet so the bottom of the smaller round is touching the top of the larger round.
Mix the ricotta and garlic together, spread onto both rounds, leaving about 1/2 an inch of border. Top with mozzarella, I didn't measure, but I used quite a bit. Sprinkle with Parmesan, if you like. Slice olives in half and use them to create eyes, mouth and buttons. Bake 15-20 minutes, until crust is golden and cheese is bubbly. Check at 12 minutes, and then every couple minutes after that.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Mom's Recipes: Chocolate Chip Cookies

This is my Mom's recipe for chocolate chip cookies. It makes the most perfect chocolate chip cookies in the world. I do not like crispy or crunchy chocolate chip cookies. These are moist and soft and just delicious. It is based off of a recipe that used to be on the back of Jello Instant Vanilla Pudding, but she has changed ingredient quantities and perfected it. I tried the original recipe once, the cookies didn't hold a candle to these ones. I've never met anyone who didn't love these cookies. She makes them for church functions almost every month, they are always gone, and people are constantly asking for the recipe. I love them so much, I had her make them as the favors for my wedding and I put them down in little gift boxes and tied them with ribbon. I prefer them without walnuts, but most people love the addition of walnuts, so I included them in the recipe. My Mom only makes one pan without walnuts, for my sister and I to share, the rest get the nuts. Excuse the terrible iPhone pictures. I didn't have my camera with me and I knew there wouldn't be any leftover for me to take home and photograph.


  • 3-½ cups Flour
  • 1-½ teaspoon Baking Soda
  • 1-½ cup Butter
  • 1 cup Light Brown Sugar
  • 1 box Instant Vanilla Pudding Mix, 3.5 Oz
  • ½ cups Sugar
  • 1-½ teaspoon Vanilla
  • 3 whole Eggs
  • 3 cups Chocolate Chips
  • 2 cups Chopped Walnuts (optional)

  • Preheat oven to 350.
    Mix flour and baking soda together set aside.
    Mix butter, brown sugar, pudding, sugar, vanilla and eggs until smooth.
    Slowly add flour mixture until well blended.
    Add chocolate chips and walnuts.
    Spoon dough into cookie sheet. Bake 10-12 minutes (cookies will be soft). Cool on wire rack.

    Very important: the cookies will not look browned, you don't want them to. We found that baking for 10 minutes, checking, and then baking for 1 more minute makes them turn out perfectly. When I set a timer for 11 minutes, they were too done. Weird, I know.

     Make these for your family today. They would also be perfect for a Christmas party (or ANY party). My Mom has actually made the dough, put it in a container, and taken it to people around Christmas time, so they can bake cookies at their leisure.

    Wednesday, December 4, 2013

    Natural Oven Cleaning

    I'm embarrassed to admit that I've only cleaned my oven a few times this year. It had been in need of it for a couple of weeks, and I kept putting it off. Then, last week I had no choice but to prepare Thanksgiving side dishes in it and in the process I made even more of a mess.

    So, yesterday I searched Pinterest for DIY natural, yet heavy duty, oven cleaners. I found several recipes, most very similar to what I normally use, which is a combination of Dawn Dish Soap, Baking Soda, and water. I slather it on, let it sit, then spray it with vinegar and scrub clean. It generally works very well, but my oven was REALLY bad. I found a tip that said to use salt and dish soap. So, I combined my usual recipe and the salt to make a new one. It worked really well, it didn't get everything, but my oven had some pretty badly burned on spots. I think Sweet Potato Casserole was the culprit. Burned on sugar is the worst!

    If your oven isn't absolutely horrible, I think this recipe will work quite well. I will probably end up using the self-cleaning function on mine. I jsut hate doing it because it aggravates my lungs. It's the same reason why I don't use oven cleaner. It works really well, but two years ago I accidentally burned my lungs with chemicals while cleaning, and ever since then I have been super sensitive to cleaners.


    1/4 cup baking soda
    2 TBS salt
    1 TBS dish soap
    enough warm water to make a thick paste

    This is my oven before, plese don't judge me. Use a rag to apply cleaner all oven the inside of your oven, laying it on fairly thickly oven the worst spots. Let it sit overnight. In the morning, spray with vinegar, and use a gentle nylon scrubber to clean up. Use a rag and plenty of water to remove all traces of the cleaner. This is after.

    If anyone has any suggestions on how to remove those last bits, I'd love to hear them. I've thought about trying the Norwex cleaning paste, as I've heard good things, but I've yet to actually look into it.