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December 18, 2012

Creamy Bacon Crescents

I made these to take to my good friend Mindi's for a get-together.  Super Easy to make & yummy!

3 cans of Crescent Rolls, 8count (I used Garlic Butter Crescents)
1 lb. of Bacon
2 - 8oz Pkgs. Cream Cheese

Preheat oven to 375'.  
Put both packages of Cream Cheese into a bowl, to soften while cooking bacon.  Cook the bacon till crispy, pat oil off with Paper Towels.  Crumble or tear bacon into small pieces.  Add crumbled bacon to the cream cheese & mix thoroughly with spoon.  I added some seasoning to the cream cheese as well, that's optional.

Roll out Crescent dough, slice each triangle in half long ways.  Each can will make 16 snacks.  Place a tsp of Cream Cheese Mixture at the wide end of each crescent and roll till u get to the skinny tip. Place each roll onto cookie sheet.  I was able to get 16 on a small cookie sheet.  Bake for 11-13min, until golden brown.

*you don't need to worry about cheese sticking out slight from sides, the dough will poof up slightly around it.

* I do 99% of my cooking in my Toaster Oven & CrockPot, I very  rarely use my regular oven.  Most of the time I do not preheat.  So for these I set my Toaster Oven to the Bake setting and put them on for 15min without preheating.  Came out perfect!

November 02, 2012

Cooking a pumpkin from scratch

UPDATED: 11/2/12


The first Jack-o-lantern was from 4 years ago & the 2nd one is from this year.

We usually wait until the day before Halloween to buy our pumpkin & then carve it.  We don't put it outside until Halloween night & then the next day or two after I cook it.  This is how I spent a good part of my day today.  I'm warning you... it is quite a process, but it is so worth the fresh pumpkin in the end.  So here's my process:

When I cut the pumpkin up I make sure to cut off the edges that were carved because they get a little dried out.  I also throw away the top & bottom parts where the stem is.  I cut it into large chunks & then with my sharp knife I scrape the "strings" off the inside as much as possible.

Add the pumpkin chunks to a large pot, fill with water, cover with a lid & bring the water to a boil.  Once it comes to a boil turn the temperature down to a medium-high level for about 35 minutes.

Then drain the water & run cool water over the chunks until they are cool enough to handle.  As you can see from my picture I filled the bowl with cold water, but the cool water got warm very quickly so I dumped it out & had to fill it again, so it's probably more effective to just run the water over the chunks in a colander. 

Once it is cool enough to handle, use your sharp knife to peel the skin off of all of the pieces.

Then mash the pumpkin, just like you would mashed potatoes, but make sure to get all the lumps out.  After I used my masher I then used a fork to make sure there were no chunks left at all.  You may see a little water in the pumpkin & that's ok, just leave it there.  

If you don't plan to use the pumpkin right away, then measure it out & put it in ziploc freezer bags.  I measure out 1.5 cups because that's how much I use to make 2 pumpkin pies so it's already ready to just dump into the bowl when you're ready to make your pie.


I actually cook the seeds too.  I wash all the "brains" off of them & then spread them out on a cookie sheet & salt them. They are a yummy, nutritious snack.  

I've never tried these, but here's a recipe for cinnamon-sugar pumpkin seeds.  You can also plant your seeds to grow your own pumpkin (I've never tried this either, although it sounds like something I'd like to do).

Check out my mother-in-law's recipe for Pumpkin Pie.  I've made these every year since the year 2000, when my in-laws left on their mission for our church & my mil wasn't here to bake them that year.  I had to call her & get her recipe because after you've had a homemade (from scratch) pumpkin pie, you can't go back (at least I can't).

Iva's Pumpkin Pie

Iva's Homemade Pumpkin Pie
(really it's mine, but it's my mother-in-law's recipe)
1 c. sugar
1-1/2 tsp. cinnamon

1/2 tsp. of each of the following: salt, all spice, nutmeg & ginger

2 eggs, beaten

1-1/2 c. pumpkin (this is not the canned stuff, this is the real thing)

1-2/3 c. evaporated milk (tall can)

Mix all ingredients well. Fill crust half-way. Bake at 425 for 10 min. Then turn down to 350 & bake for another 40 min. more. You can see from my picture that these pies look very different from the "canned" ones. That's because these don't have all the preservatives in them & these are much more yummy!!! Enjoy!
This recipe makes 2 pies!

Note: I use the Shar's recipe for the crust (see post below). This is the yummiest crust I've ever had & it's very simple to make.

October 09, 2012

Crispy Chicken Tortilla Rollups

These looked so great when I saw them, that I had to share.  Head over to The Weekend Gourmet for the Recipe!  I plan to make them very soon!  She also has a recipe for Avocado Sauce which is made with Greek Yogurt!

October 05, 2012

Carrot Fries

I was making a Roast, Potatoes & Carrots for dinner tonight & as I was peeling the carrots.  Hubby says "hey those would be great fried" pointing at the top peels I was going to throw away.  So I threw the top layer away & peeled most of 2 carrots for him to experiment with in our deep fryer.  They were pretty thin, he just slightly salted them & they were so super yummy!  There were only a few but I devoured them to fast to think about a picture.  They came out looking like curly fries.  I will post a Good Picture when Darin makes a nice batch of them.

 These are ways you can cut them before frying.  Also make sure you blot them dry before putting them in the oil.

October 04, 2012

Cabbage Rolls

Check out my notes at the bottom.
12 leaves cabbage
1 cup cooked white rice
1 egg, beaten
1/4 cup milk
1/4 cup minced onion
1 lb ground beef
1 1/4 tsp salt
3/4 tsp ground black pepper


1- 8oz can tomato sauce
1 Tbsp brown sugar
1 Tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce


Bring a large pot of water to a boil. I like to put a little Salt & Pepper in the water.  Boil cabbage leaves for approx 2 minutes; drain.

In large bowl, combine Ground beef & Eggs.  Add S&P and mix well.  Add Rice and mix.  Add onion & mix.  Add Milk and mix well.  I like to mix with my hands so everything is combined well. Make sure you wash your hands thoroughly before & after you handle the meat!

Place one Cabbage leaf in front of you on a cutting board with the Core side facing away from you, (Step 1 picture).  

Place a large tablespoon of meat mixture at the end of each cabbage leaf (Step 2).
Roll the flap closest to you forward. (Step3)
Fold both sides inward and roll away from you towards the core of the cabbage. (Step 4)
Place each Roll in slow cooker side by side but not overlapping. (Step 5)
In a small bowl, mix together Tomato Sauce, Brown Sugar, Lemon Juice and Worcester Sauce. 
Pour Sauce over cabbage roll.
Cover and cook on Low 8-9hours.

*I have a 6qt Crock pot, I am able to get 12 Cabbage Rolls in the bottom & I also double the sauce to make sure all rolls are covered nicely & because we love things saucy.  My Crock-pot cooks really well on Low, this recipe calls for 8-9 hours but I was able to cook for 4hours on Low and they turned out great!

August 19, 2012

Chicken Fried Chicken

Wow !  I haven't posted anything here for a very long time.  I guess that's what happens when you have 6 children & run 2 businesses.  It's been crazy at our house.  

However, last week we started a new way to organize our dinners.  Our girls are getting old enough to make a lot of meals themselves now, which has been very helpful for me since I have been increasingly getting busier with my photography & sewing businesses.

I decided that Kent & I will do dinner one night (which usually is a harder dish to make) & then each of the kids choose a night of the week & they also get to choose what are going to eat.   Of course, this means they get to make the meal (usually with help from mom ;).  This is not only helpful because I don't have to make every meal, but also we are eating better meals & our children are learning to make more meals.  I am not good with teaching my children in the kitchen, because of my OCD it drives me crazy (we've tried that & it didn't work-all it did was drive me crazy).   With this new plan the younger children get to choose simpler dishes & the older ones have to choose something a little more difficult (our girls are ages 18, 16, 14, & 12 & our boys are 10 & 8).

So on to the fun stuff, for dinner tonight our Miss C (our 16 yo.) with a little help from mom, made Chicken Fried Chicken, garlic bread (from scratch) & corn on the cob.  The chicken turned out amazing.   The chicken was a recipe we have never tried before.  We used this recipe from My Name is Snickerdoodle!  I also made the gravy from that recipe.  It was very clumpy, but I strained the clumps out & then added flour at the end to thicken it up and it worked great.  The only thing I would change is adding more seasoning.  I added salt & pepper, but it needed more.  Otherwise, it was a great meal!

I forgot to take a picture of the gravy, but it was yummy!

June 21, 2012

Crab Puffs

I love Crab Puffs & they are super easy
2- 8 oz. pgs cream cheese, softened
3-4 pieces imitation crab
2-4 green onions, diced 
1 package wonton wrappers 
Oil for Frying

Combine first 3 ingredients in a large mixing bowl; stir or beat until well-blended.
Heat oil to 350-375 degrees.

It is easier to make all the puffs before frying them.  Lay wax paper out on a cookie sheet to place puffs on after assembling them.  Don't stack on top each other they will stick & make a mess.

Take a wrapper and place a small amount of filling into the center. Fold over into a triangle, and seal the edges with a little dab of water on a fingertip.

After all puffs are made, Drop approx 5-6 into the heated oil.

When they float, use a fork to flip them, and then take them out after another 30 secs. or so, when they look light brown.  They will brown more as the cool.

Drain on paper towels. They will brown more as they drain.
Serve immediately!

June 09, 2012

Mindi's German Pancakes

Not quite sure if they are German, dont think they taste like pancakes!  LoL...but they are Awesome!
Ingredients:  (Optional Add-Ins listed at bottom)
6 Eggs
1 cup Milk
1 cup Flour
1 tsp Salt
1/2 Stick Butter

Melt butter in 9x13 glass pan in oven. While butter melts... In blender add Eggs, blend on Medium.  While blender is going & after eggs are whipped, Add Milk.  Add salt, then add Flour little by little so that it mixes well with the eggs & milk.  Once it is well blended, pour blender mixer over butter in glass pan.  Bake at 400' for 15-20 min.
Can be served many ways, here are just a few ideas!
Top with:
Powdered Sugar
Whip Cream
Lemon Juice
Lemon Curd or
Diced Green Chilies
Diced Tomatoes

Optional Add-Ins 2 Blender:

Potato Bacon Soup

8 lb bag of potatoes
4 cups Broth
1 cup Water
1/2 cup chopped celery
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup chopped green onion
2 cups Milk (add later)
Salt & Pepper

 1 pkg Bacon cooked & crumbled
1/4 cup chopped green onions
4oz Grated Cheese

Peel all potatoes, rinse & chop into bite size chunks & add to the crock pot with the broth & water.  Add onion, celery & green-onions to the pot. Add Salt & Pepper then cook on low heat for about 6 hours.  About 1/2 hour before serving add the Milk to the potatoes & stir.  After serving into bowls, sprinkle with the crumbled bacon, green onions & grated cheese.

Creamy Bean Soup

1- 16oz can traditional refried beans
1- 14.5oz can Petite Diced Tomatoes, undrained
1 cup chicken broth
1/2 cup unsweetened coconut milk
(not cream of coconut)
1- 4.5oz can chopped green chiles
1- 1oz pkg taco seasoning mix
4 medium green onions, sliced

In Slow Cooker, stir refried beans, tomatoes, broth, coconut milk, green chiles and taco seasoning mix. Cook on low approx 2-3 hours.  Pour soup into serving bowls; garnish with onions.  Great served with Taquito Dippers.

Taquito Dippers

6 sticks of Sharp Cheddar
or Chipotle Cheddar cheese
1- 10.5oz pkg Soft Taco Flour Tortillas
2 TBs CRISCO® Pure Vegetable Oil

Cut each cheese stick in half lengthwise to make 2 thin sticks. Place 1 cheese stick on one edge of each tortilla; roll tortilla tightly around cheese. Brush edges of tortillas with water to seal. Place taquitos, seam sides down, on cookie sheet. Brush each lightly with oil.  Bake 5 to 7 minutes or until edges of tortillas are golden brown and cheese is melted.  Serve as an Appetizer or with Creamy Bean Soup.

Pumpkin Cookies

This makes approximately 9 dozen.  So you may need to adjust for smaller batches.

3 boxes of Spice Cake Mix
3 cups of Canned Pumpkin Pie Mix
2 eggs
1/2 cup Brown Sugar
1 tsp vanilla
3 1/2 tsp Pumpkin Pie Spice
1 cup chopped Walnuts
1 small bag Chocolate Chips

Mix pumpkin & brown sugar in large bowl.  Add pumpkin spice and mix together.  Add Eggs and mix together.  Add Vanilla and mix together.  Gradually add all  cake mixes, mixing very well as you add them.  When mixed well, spoon onto a parchment lined cookie sheet.  Bake in 350' Preheated oven for 10minutes.

This recipe is acquired from several people.  My good friend Mindi just throws her cookies together and has never gone by a recipe. So we found a recipe online and did a trial run.  So when we decided to make them for a church activity.  Two of the ladies who are on the committee with me, Dawnella and Janice, came over to bake with me and we decided they were a little too soft.  So we tweaked the recipe a bit and we think they are great!  Are great alone or with a frosting of your choice!  I love them with Cream Cheese Frosting!

Chicken Cacciatore

6 boneless, skinless chicken breast
1- 28oz jar spaghetti sauce
2 green or red bell pepper, seeded and Cubed
8oz fresh sliced mushrooms
1 onion, finely diced
2 TBs minced garlic

Put the chicken in the slow cooker.
Top with the spaghetti sauce, bell peppers, mushrooms, onion, and garlic.  Cover and cook on Low for 6 to 8 hours.  Use fork to shred chicken & Serve over your favorite Pasta or Rice.  Goes well with Angel Hair.  I've even done this several times with just the Chicken & sauce, because we didn't have the other ingredients & it still came out pretty good!