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Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Fudge-a-licious!

Nothing says Christmas like FUDGE!!!!  I made chocolate fudge last month as a treat for a friend's birthday, so I decided to make peanut butter fudge for Christmas.  I like this easy fudge for 2 reasons.  The fudge that you can feel the sugar in is good, but it is SO sweet and rich and this one isn't like that.  It's rich, but you don't feel the sugar granules.  The fudge that you use cups of sugar in also has to be cooked on the stove top.  This one DOES NOT!!  Oh, 3 reasons ... this one always turns out right! Enjoy and MERRY CHRISTMAS TO YOU!

Easy Peanut Butter Fudge

2 packages of peanut butter chips
4 Tb. butter or margarine
1 can sweetened condensed milk
1 tsp. vanilla
1/4 tsp salt

Mix the first 3 ingredients together in a bowl and put it in the microwave for 1 minute.  Stir and microwave for 30 more seconds.  Stir in vanilla and salt.
Line an 8x8 or 9x9 baking pan with foil.  I used the no stick foil or you can spray regular foil with butter.  Pour mixture into pan and refrigerate overnight.  The next day, take the pan out of the refrigerator and remove the fudge.  Let it sit for an hour before cutting into small squares.

*Use milk chocolate chips if you'd rather have chocolate fudge.  OR make both and pour the chocolate fudge on top of the peanut butter fudge.  Let the peanut butter fudge chill for 2 hours before pouring the chocolate on top.  If you decide to make the chocolate peanut butter fudge, use a 9x13 pan.


Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Apple-licious Birthday!

My grandson turned 6 years old this past weekend.  I can't believe 6 years have already passed since I held that sweet little bundle in my arms and vowed to love him forever.  My heart melted that day and has been mushy ever since.  He is the sweetest, kindest boy on Earth.  I was kidding around with him this weekend and said, "Jake, I didn't bring you a present."  He perked right up and said with the most sincere expression on his face and said, "That's O.K!"  I LOVE THAT BOY SO MUCH!!!!!  Then when he opened our present, he was SO excited!  He has become interested in Ninja Turtles.  When he saw that he got a Ninja Turtle shell he could wear, a Raphael mask, and Raphael's weapons that actually fit in his shell, he was over the moon excited.  It made me feel good all over to see him so happy!  Being his grandmother is such a joy and such a blessing!

His other grandmother made baked apples and brought them for part of dinner.  I had not had baked apples in years.  OH. MY. GOODNESS.  They were SO good!  I made them as part of my dinner tonight.  They are so easy and delicious, I have to share her recipe.

Baked Apples

Apples
Cinnamon
Brown Sugar
Butter or margarine

Wash, core, and slice apples - I sliced each apple into 6 - 8 pieces.  I sprayed the baking dish with butter and put the apples into the dish.  I sprinkled cinnamon over the apple slices.  Use the amount that makes you happy.  I like cinnamon a lot, so I sprinkled it freely on the apples.  Sprinkle brown sugar over the apples.  I probably used a couple of tablespoons.  Next, slice up 1-2 tablespoons of butter and place on the apples.  Mix the apple mixture up and cover the dish with foil.  Bake at 400  degrees for 20 minutes.

The leftovers.  This will be part of my lunch tomorrow!

Saturday, October 11, 2014

I Want Something Good



I'm having one of those days where I want something.  Something good.  You know what I'm talking about.  It's one of those days where you stand in the pantry and look for something to appeal to you.  You hope that somehow something put itself in the pantry that you didn't know was there.  Why do I do that?  I'm the one who buys the groceries.  I would know if something really good was in there.  Then you go the refrigerator and do the same thing all over again.  *SIGH*  I guess I'll have to make something without over doing the calories.  I won't put the chocolate chips in my cookies because I don't have any.  Chocolate chips would make them even better if I did though!

Healthy Banana Cookies

3 over ripe bananas, mashed
1/3 cup apple sauce
2 cups oats
1/4 cup almond milk
1/4 cup raisins, craisins, and/or nuts
1 cup chocolate chips, optional
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp cinnamon

Mash bananas and applesauce together.  Mix remaining ingredients and drop by the spoonful onto a cookie sheet.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Bake for 18-20 minutes.

Makes about 2 dozen



Friday, September 26, 2014

Going Bananas!

We have had conferences at work this week.  Wednesday, I did 17 back to back conferences.  This week I have completed 25 conferences and only have one left to go.  I would have had that done, but the county cannot get a Vietnamese translator until October.  Hers will be an easy conference though.  I look forward to sharing good things with her parents.  I was exhausted by the time I got home Wednesday night.  Thursday I was able to leave work at a decent hour.  That doesn't happen very often.  When I got home, I saw the bananas I had been letting sit out and decided it was time to make banana nut bread.  I had found a new recipe and made a few changes to it as I usually do.  It made 2 loaves so I took one to work.  It was so good, even if I do say so myself.  My grade level enjoyed it and that made my heart feel good.



Cream Cheese Banana Nut Bread

3/4 c. butter, softened
1 (8 oz.) pkg. cream cheese, softened
2 c. sugar
2 large eggs
3 c. self-rising flour
4 mashed bananas
1 cup chopped pecans
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 tsp. cinnamon

Beat butter and cream cheese at medium speed with an electric mixer until creamy. Gradually add sugar, beating until fluffy.  Add eggs, beating until well blended.  Gradually add flour to butter mixture, beating at low speed until blended. Stir in bananas, pecans, cinnamon, and vanilla. Spoon batter into 2 greased and floured 8x4 inch loafpans.

Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour or until a long wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean and sides pull away from pan.  Cover with aluminum foil last 15 minutes if the bread begins to brown too quickly. 

Makes 2 loaves


Sunday, August 3, 2014

I'm Stuffed!

The kids return to school in two days.  :(  The first two weeks of school are CRAZY and I come home exhausted for the first month.  This weekend I have been cooking like a mad woman.  Yesterday I cooked sweet potatoes, asparagus, brussel sprouts, mushrooms, okra, and broccoli.  Today I made the Quinoa Zucchini I posted the other day and Tomato Bisque.  I doubled the recipe for the soup and put it in the freezer to use later.  I also made some Stuffed Zucchini.  We had half of it for dinner and the other half will be eaten later in the week.  I bet in a couple of days, instead of saying, "I'm stuffed."  I'll be saying, "I'm pooped!"  And that is the reason I cook so much on the weekend.  Otherwise, we'd starve during the week.

Stuffed Zucchini

2 large zucchini
1 cup cooked quinoa
1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes 
10 mushrooms, diced 
 2 scallions, diced 
2 Tb. minced garlic
2 Tb. olive oil
Salt to taste
1 egg
Grated parmesan cheese, optional 



Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Put the sun-dried tomatoes in a bowl with enough hot water to cover them. Soak for 20 minutes. Once the tomatoes are done soaking, drain the water and dice them up.  Cut the zucchini lengthwise and scoop out the middle to create the boat.  Dice up the scooped out zucchini.  Over medium heat, add the olive oil, scallion, and garlic in a pan.  Cover and let cook a couple minutes over a low heat. Stir. Add the diced zucchini, mushrooms, quinoa, and salt to the pan and let everything cook for a couple more minutes.  Remove from heat and mix in one egg.  Place the zucchini boats on a foil covered baking sheet. Spray or brush them with olive oil and then fill them with the mixture from the pan.  You can sprinkle a little parmesan cheese on top if you’d like.  Place in the oven and cook for 25 - 30 minutes until the zucchini is tender.  Serve hot.

     *You can also add a little ground beef to it if you’d like.

 

I forgot to take the picture until after dinner so there are only two left on the pan.  I'm sorry it's a little blurry. 

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Summer Soup

Early this summer, we had a couple of cold days.  It was strange.  We have had unusual weather this year.  My daughter made this and it was YUM-MEEEEE!  I plan to make it again once it gets cool again.

Vegetable Beef Soup

3 cans of tomato soup
3 cans of water
2 bags of frozen mixed vegetables
1 bag of chopped okra
1 pound of cooked ground beef, turkey, or Boca

Mix together and cook for an hour OR put it in the crock pot and cook on low all day.

Vacation Woes


We were on vacation last week and it rained every day.  Since we don't have cable at home, it gave me a chance to catch up on a lot of HGTV shows.  I also did a great deal of surfing the internet on my phone.  I've never used up the 4G time on my phone, but I did last week!  While cruising the internet, I found a new recipe and I'm making it for dinner tonight.  The more I looked at it, the more I felt it needed changes.  So I made the changes and here it is!  I also learned that you can freeze quinoa after it is cooked.  I never knew that before!

Quinoa with Zucchini and Spinach

2 cups cooked quinoa
2 medium zuchinni, diced
1 medium onion, diced
1 large tomato, diced
2 Tb. garlic
1 container of fresh mushrooms, diced
1/2 bag of spinach (my bag was 9 oz.)
2 Tb. olive oil
1 Tb. water
1/4 tsp salt

Dice the tomato and set it aside.

In a large pan, over medium heat, add the oil, onion and garlic. Cover and let cook for about 8 minutes.  Stir a couple of times. Next, add in the mushrooms, zucchini, quinoa, tomato, water, and salt. Cover, reduce heat to a simmer, and let cook for another 5-7 minutes. Stir every couple of minutes.  Add in the spinach and let cook another 3 minutes. 

You could add cubed chicken to the dish and make it a complete meal.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Good Times, Good Friends, Good Cake

This past weekend a bunch of my friends (aka co-workers) got together for fun, sun, and food.  One of our friends was gracious enough to open her home and pool to about 25 of us.  We had a great time full of talking, laughter, and eating.  Even our kids (grandkids in my case) had fun together.  It's sad that some of these friends won't be coming back to the same school next year, but they are moving on to better opportunities and I wish them much luck and happiness in their new positions.  These are good-hearted, dependable people.  They are the kind of friends who always look out for each other, lift you up during tough times, and can tell what you're thinking by simply looking at you.  Sweet, loving people who have your back all the time.  I'm really going to miss them.  Thank goodness EVERYONE isn't leaving!  I'd have a nervous breakdown if that happened!  Hooray for my friends who will be returning to my same school next year.  I love them so much!  You are all what make my workdays happy!

I took a cake to share with my friends.  This recipe came from my sister and it is SUPER EASY!!!  Yes, two of my favorite words when it comes to food.  It's a Lemon Strawberry cake and it's perfect for hot summer days because it's cool and light. I may have to make another one.  Soon.

Lemon Strawberry Cake

1 lemon cake mix, prepare as directed
1 16 oz. container of fresh strawberries
1 tub of Cool Whip

Prepare the cake as directed on the box.  Let it cool.  Wash the strawberries and slice them up. Lay the strawberries on top of the cake and cover with Cool Whip.  Store in the refrigerator to keep cold.


More Pasta, More Memories

Summer is a great time for cold salads; especially pasta salad.  This is a recipe a friend of mine's mother used to make when we were kids.  I got the recipe from her when I was a teenager.  I suppose it's sort of strange for your child's friend to want one of your recipes when they are still school age, but that's the kind of kid I was.  She was like a second mother to me.  I spent as much time at her house as I did my own.  Thank you Mrs. Jeffcoat for the memories and the pasta salad.

Pasta Salad

1 box tri-color Rotini pasta
3 ribs of celery, thinly sliced
1/4 - 1/2 cup pickle relish
1 package diced ham
3 diced eggs
Mayo to taste
Salt and pepper, optional

Cook pasta and drain.  Boil eggs and dice up.  Combine all ingredients and mix well.  Chill.
*You can also add shredded carrots, sliced black olives, or frozen peas if desired.



Thursday, July 3, 2014

I Don't Know

I don't even know what to call this recipe.  I had some yellow squash, zucchini, Roma tomatoes, and onions and decided to mix them all together.  I guess it's kind of like a roasted squash casserole.  Maybe that should be what it's called.  Hmmm.  If you have another idea, please share it.

Roasted Squash Casserole

4 Roma tomatoes
3 zucchini
3 yellow squash
1/2 Vidalia onion
olive oil
pepper
garlic powder

Slice the tomatoes, yellow squash, zucchini about 1/4 inch thick.  Thinly slice the onion and break it all apart.  Spread some olive oil onto the bottom of a 9 x 13 baking dish.  Layer the veggies in this order:  tomatoes, squash, onions, zucchini.  Sprinkle pepper and garlic powder on top.  You could also put a little between each layer.  Drizzle a little olive oil on top.  Bake at 425 degrees for 25 minutes. 

You could also slice up a red, yellow, or orange pepper and layer that in too.  I think I'll do that next time!

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Sounds a Little Fishy

I think I like to eat fish more than most people.  I could eat fish about four times a week.  Not everyone in my house feels the same way. Hubby loves to catch fish though.  I love for him to catch fish too!  It would be nice if he could go fishing more often.  Especially if he could catch red snapper, salmon, and talapia.  He caught a shark one time, but it wasn't big enough to keep.  (sad face)  Tonight we are having tuna salad.  YUM!!!!!  I used to have a cat and he loved it when I made tuna salad.  After I would empty the cans, I would put them on the floor and kitty would push them around the floor cleaning the cans until they were spotless.  He was very helpful in that way.

This is the recipe I grew up on (except for the cheese).  These days I'm watching calories so I leave the cheese out.  It's really good though.

Sorry this post is all over the place.  I was just typing what was in my head.  Sometimes my head is a confusing place.

Tuna Salad

3 cans of water packed tuna, drained
3 hard boiled eggs, chopped
2 - 3 Tb. pickle relish, drained
3 ribs of celery, finely sliced
1/4 to 1/2 cup mayo, to taste
1 cup of cheese, optional

Mix all the ingredients together and refrigerate.  It's better cold. 

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Let's Crank Up The Grill!

I was watching a cooking show this morning.  I don't know the name of it, but the guy named Clinton who used to be on What Not To Wear is on it.  They made a recipe that looked really good.  I went to the store to get the 3 main ingredients they used, but after I got back home, I started thinking I should have gotten some yellow squash and asparagus to put in with this.  I'm trying that next time.  I don't even know what this recipe is called.  I didn't watch the whole show.  I can't sit still that long.  They cooked theirs in the oven, but I don't know the temperature or time.  If I had to guess, I would say 425 degrees for 20 - 25 minutes.  Like I said, I didn't watch the whole show.  I'm cooking mine on the grill with some salmon.  Less kitchen clean up is ALWAYS a plus!  I suppose I'll call it Grilled Peppers, Onions, and Zucchini.  Let me know if you can think of something snazzier.  I would also like it if you could let me know what other veggies you think might be good to add to this.  My creative juices aren't exactly flowing right now.  The brain is about to be on vacation and it has started to shut down!

Grilled Peppers, Onions, and Zucchini

3 - 4 zucchini
1 red pepper
1 bunch of scallions, chopped
olive oil
pepper
garlic powder
Mrs. Dash

I cut the zucchini into lengthwise quarters and then cut the quarters into about 3 inch chunks.  I sliced the red pepper up into strips.  You can really use any color pepper you want.  Next, I took my kitchen shears and chopped up the scallions.  I spread some olive oil on a large sheet of tin foil and put all the veggies on top of it.  I topped the veggies with a little more olive oil, pepper, garlic powder, and Mrs Dash.  Wrap the foil up tightly. Place on the grill for 15 minutes, turn the packet over, and grill for 15 more minutes.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Squash It!!

AAAHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!  Summer break!  I am finishing up a class this week so my break doesn't officially begin until Friday afternoon.  However, I had today off and decided to go somewhere I have never gone before.  Trader Joe's.  Yes, I went to a grocery store I had never been to before.  Please, don't judge me for this.  My life is simple and I like it that way.  Everyone at one work talks about Trader Joe's all the time.  I couldn't stand being the only one left on God's green earth who had never been there.  Hubby hadn't been there either, so he went along for the ride. He has decided to begin eating healthy again and had nothing else to do.  Plus, he was ready to get out for a while after being cooped up in the house all week recovering from his recent illness.  I walked away with some real yummies.  We left with some 5 grain almond bars (I can't wait to try these for breakfast in the morning), edamame, butternut squash, nectarines, and chicken and turkey patties.  I was DELIGHTED to find the butternut squash was already sliced up and ready to roast!  Have you ever cut up a butternut squash before?  You almost need dynamite to get into it!  With that being said, here's your next recipe!

Roasted Butternut Squash

Sliced and diced butternut squash
Olive oil
Salt and pepper
Garlic powder

Spread squash onto a foil covered pan.  Spray pan with olive oil.  Spray olive oil on top of the squash too.  Lightly sprinkle salt, pepper, and garlic powder.  Bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes.

They look a little like sweet potatoes, don't they?

Monday, June 9, 2014

Kale Chips

I don't know why kale chips are called chips.  They don't look like chips at all.  A better name would be roasted kale leaves.  Anyway, I made some today.  My hubby was in the hospital last week with a severe case of pneumonia and dehydration.  He ended up being in the hospital for 5 days.  Once we came home, my brother and sister-in-law surprised us with a bouquet of fruit from Edible Arrangements.  I have learned that this beats out flowers any day of the week!  The pineapple, apples, and strawberries were my favorites, but I liked all of it.  As I took the arrangement apart, I learned there was kale underneath it.  YAY!  I can eat the kale too!  SO I took the opportunity to use it to make kale chips.  They are super easy to make!

Kale Chips

1 bag of kale
olive oil
salt or some kind of seasoning

Wash and pull the kale off the stems.  Spread it out on a foil lined pan that has been sprayed with olive oil.  Mist the kale with more olive oil.  Lightly sprinkle the seasoning of your choice on top and put it in the oven at 425 degrees for 15 minutes.  I used something called Mixed Up Salt.  It's a mix of salt and other seasonings.  A little garlic powder would be good too!  If you seal it in a container after it's cooked, it gets soft. Maybe you'd like it, but I don't care for it for that way.  For me, crispy is the way to go.


Sunday, June 8, 2014

Vegetable Broth

I have been saving vegetable scraps lately.  So far I have some asparagus stems, mushroom stems, baby carrots that became a little dried out, zuchinni centers, and celery.  No, I'm not cooking the scraps for dinner.  I'm making vegetable broth to use in fresh or frozen veggies and soups.  I've never made vegetable broth before, but I figured it will be sodium free and cost free, so why not give it a whirl!

Vegetable Broth

A gallon sized ziploc bag with veggie scraps
8 cups of water

Boil the veggies and water in a covered pot for 45 minutes.  Strain the veggies from the broth.  Pour the broth into freezer container or ice cube trays and freeze to use as needed.

Friday, January 3, 2014

1/2 and 1/3 measurements

A friend of mine posted this on her Facebook page and I thought this would be a useful bit of information to share.




Cutting a recipe in HALF

¼ cup
2 Tb.
½ cup
¼ cup
1/3 cup
2 Tb + 2 tsp.
2/3 cup
1/3 cup
¾ cup
6 Tb.
1 Tb.
1 ½ tsp.
1 tsp.
½ tsp.
½ tsp.
¼ tsp.

Cutting a recipe into THIRDS

¼ cup
1 Tb. + 1 tsp.
½ cup
2 Tb. + 2 tsp.
1/3 cup
1 Tb. + 2 1/3 tsp.


Thursday, January 2, 2014

Par-Snippity!

Every time I visit my daughter, I get a new food idea.  After this visit, she introduced me to parsnips.  I had heard of parsnips before, but never knew what they were.  Parsnips are actually a relative of carrots and have been around since ancient times.  They can be eaten raw, boiled, baked, or roasted.  I made my weekly visit to the Farmer's Market (I love that place!) and bought a couple of parsnips.  They look like big tan-ish, yellow-ish carrots.  I peeled them with a vegetable peeler and diced them up.  I  placed them on a roasting pan that had been sprayed with olive oil.  You can sprinkle some salt and pepper on them if you chose.
They tend to shrink up after you roast them, so buy more than you think you'll need.  This is what 2 parsnips looks like after they are diced and roasted.
I roasted them at 425 degrees for 25 minutes and stirred them around after 15 minutes.  They have a little bit of a spicy taste, but they are really good!