Sunday, March 5, 2017

Candy Treats...

This post is something I started back in the winter time and just didn't get around to completing and posting.  Yes, I gave this stuff away as christmas gifts.  However, gift giving can be anytime!   Either one would make a fabulous teacher or house-warming gift!

The crock pot recipe is from a former Frisco co-worker.     Thank you LB!!!!  This particular recipe is incredible easy and makes way more than you can imagine.   I used the tiny muffin liners from Dollar Tree.  The candy sprinkles make it look particularly festive!!!!





This stuff can't get any easier!   Drop it in the crock pot and turn it on!  





The hubs friend and co-worker, PV,  made this next one for an office staff party.  He couldn't stop eating it.  Thank goodness she gave me the recipe.   This toffee is simply amazing!   Watch it close and look for the caramel color.  Not all microwaves are the same for cooking times!  Enjoy!!!



Easy Microwave Toffee
3/4 - 1 cup chopped pecans
1/2 cup butter
1 cup white sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup wter
1 bag milk chocolate chips

Grease or spray a 9 inch circle on a lined cookie sheet or aluminum foil.
Spread the pecans over this!
Spray the glass batter bowl with canola oil as well.
Add the butter, sugar, salt & water to bowl.
DO NOT STIR!
Microwave this for about 9 - 11 minutes or until it is a light caramel brown color.

Pour over pecans.  
Lay the chocolate chips over the top of the toffee and spread after about a minute.
Shake a very small amount of sea salt over this!!!




I used a small tin from Dollar Tree  and lined it with a cute doily!




Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Merry Christmas from our house to yours!!!





Yes,  I had to do it!    The ugly pajamas were calling my name.    I planned this card all year and it makes me so happy!   And yet, I didn't get the opportunity to send it.    I had all sorts of good intentions.      Here is the latest information on our clan.     

During June of  last summer, our oldest and her husband moved to Birmingham, Alabama.  She was admitted into school at Samford University in the Cumberland School of Law.  She is currently in the top 15% of her class and will soon be running the world.   Courtney is loving her life right now.  Rick is currently working with JC Penney's in their theft prevention department and has gotten a recent promotion over several stores.  Don't ask me what he does...but he seems happy doing it.  Greg & I are thrilled that life is going well for them.    Last week, they were forced into buying a new car because of his travels and found a 2006 Toyota Corolla with 30,000 miles.   It was an epic grandma car score for them!!!

Meagann enrolled into NMSU this month and is doing well.   Transitioning here to EP has been the most difficult for her but she is looking forward to the summer when she resumes marching with the Blue Stars Drum and Bugle Core.  She is still a part of their leadership team and this summer they will be performing a version of Hamilton.   This one should be amazing!!!

Greg is now employed by Mesilla Valley Transportation.   MVT is a conglomerate of several companies.  Don't ask me what they are.  I can't remember them all.  However, he is the HR man for all of them and is loving how the company is re-shaping for the future.

On the first day we arrived here  in EP,  I walked into the local high school to finish registration for our youngest child, Clay.    He was ready to start summer band camp.  He has acclimated nicely here and now has a whole new posse of friends.    That same day, I walked out with a job.   It was pretty exciting for me.    Fortunately, because of all my certifications...... special education teachers are hard to find... and there I was!    I am loving being in the high school environment and I can say that I never knew how much I would love it.   Go figure!!!  There is a huge possibility that I will soon begin the process of adding to my certifications and get a bigger degree.    Please pray for decisiveness and discernment... and maybe clarity as to when or if I begin this huge step.    The Lord works in mysterious ways and there is always a good reason for what he does.    I can say that several times during the past few years.....  I have questioned and been angry a few times at him.    At this point, I will never doubt his will again.     Moving here was a good thing for our family.   

Our desire is to move out of this rental this summer and with that get a permanent address....so next year......Christmas Cards will happen.   Finally, no excuses!  Right?    

I can't end this on a Merry Christmas but I can wish all of you a good day/month/year.   




All our love............
















Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Did someone say "Italian Cornbread" ?




A couple of months ago, my BFF made this on her food network show.   It spoke to me, loudly.  So, when Thanksgiving and cooler weather rolled around the corner,  I knew what had to be made.   Soon!

Italian Cornbread
1 cup yellow cornmeal
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 T. baking powder
1 t. kosher salt
1 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup milk
1 large egg
1/2 t. baking soda
1/2 cup grated parmesan
2 T. diced sun-dried tomatoes
1/2 t. oregano
1/4 cup + 2 T. shortening

Preheat the oven to 450*.  
Combine the cornmeal, flour, baking powder & salt.
Measure the milks and add the egg.  Stir together.
Add the baking soda and stir.
Add the parmesan, sun-dried tomatoes & oregano.
Mix it all together.

In a small bowl, melt the 1/4 cup shortening in the microwave and slowly add to the batter.  
Stir this until just combined.

In a 10-inch cast-iron skillet, melt the remaining 2 Tablespoons shortening over medium hear.  Pour the batter into the hot skillet and spread.  Cook on the stove top for about a minute.   Transfer to the oven and bake for about  25 minutes or until golden.

Cut and enjoy!


 I served it with a hot bowl of my tomato soup!   That recipe also came from my bestie, Ree.   Any remaining leftovers were combined into my recipe  for crockpot stuffing on Thanksgiving Day!!!    Oh the goodness!

Thursday, November 24, 2016

I am so thankful for the cranberry relish!!

 For years, my children have enjoyed the benefits of having a Williams Sonoma around the corner.      I have always thought..... why make it when the store bought is so good!!!    My daughter enjoys using the relish on her Thanksgiving day leftovers panini sandwich.    The gravy is also delicious!!!

Fortunately, this year, I have a jar of the gravy base...  I am good.  My daughter was set on having that relish for her sandwich.   We looked all over EP to find a jar.    Unless, we wanted something with green chili mixed in...   we were out of luck.   Here is the substitute recipe I doctored around with.   We will definitely make this again next year.   Who knows, maybe next week.   Turkey gravy is next on my list to conquer.



Cranberry-Apple Relish

1 bag cranberries
1/4 cup pomegranate seeds
1 apple, peeled and diced
1 cup maple syrup
2 oranges, zested and then the juice squeezed into the pan
maybe an 1/8 teaspoon of pumpkin pie spice

Bring to a boil and simmer about 15 minutes.   Try to crush the pomegranates and cranberries as they cook.   However, they will naturally crush and burst as they cook.  Next time, I will also chop the apple in smaller pieces.  







I plan to pour it over a block of cream cheese and use a wheat think as the vessel.    I am now ashamed to say I have bought the jarred stuff previously.   The hardest part was zesting the oranges.   I am still not sure if I did that correctly.   

Until next time friends,  I hope you all find something to be thankful for other than the cranberry relish!!   









Saturday, November 12, 2016

Kolaches!!!!!

Ok,   I have lived here on the other side of the world for 3 months.  It is obvious that I may have to learn to enjoy white queso.   It is also obvious that I may need to learn how to make it better at home.  Maybe I should do more than melt together velvetta and a can of rotel?   Who am I kidding here......  it is better like that than with the weird white cheese and chunks of green chilis!!!

However, there are some things that I may not get to eat again for quite a long time.   I will have to learn to make them!    Kolache's are on the top of the list!!!!   There is a gas station just south of Hillsboro, Texas on HWY 35.    All us Texan's refer to it as the Czech Stop.    My car just pulls off the interstate on its own and stops.   Half of the station is this cute little bakery with a case of kolaches in every flavor known to man kind.    There are always a dozen or more families lined up for this goodness.   Cream cheese, apple, strawberry, peach, blackberry, sausage, lemon.........  you name it and they have a flavor.






I found this recipe last summer in a regional Texas cookbook.    I think the next time I will substitute some apple pie filling for the cream cheese.  The cream cheese was really tasty...but I think my boys will enjoy apple a bit more.

Cream Cheese Kolaches

2 envelopes active dry yeast
1/2 cup warm water (100*-110*)  honestly, I just used really hot tap water.
1  (8 oz) container sour cream, at room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup butter, melted
1 tsp salt
3 large eggs
4 1/2 cups all purpose flour

Combine yeast & water in a measuring cup... stir and let stand for 5 minutes.
Stir together the rest until blended in a large mixing bowl.  Add the yeast until well blended.

Using the dough hook, add the flour 1 cup at a time and beat at a medium-low speed for about 5 minutes until the dough leaves the side of the bowl and pulls together.   (I used a spatula to get it off the sides a bit during mixing.)

Cover bowl with lightly greased plastic wrap and refrigerate for 8-24 hours.

Turn dough onto a well floured surface and shape into 16 (2-inch) balls.  Place about 1 1/2 inches apart on buttered baking sheets.  Let it rise in a warm place until about doubled in size.    Maybe an hour to an 1 1/2 hours...  draft free .....

Now  make the cream cheese stuff!!!

CREAM CHEESE FILLING

8 oz. cream cheese, softened
6 Tablespoons sugar
1 large egg yolk  
1 tsp vanilla
dash of salt

Combine all that until smooth.

Preheat the oven until 350*.   Form an indentation in the top of the roll with a spoon or thumb.  Spoon about a tablespoon into the top.  Brush with egg white and water combination.
Bake about 15 minutes or until golden.

Enjoy!!!






Thursday, July 14, 2016

From Kindergarten to College Graduation



Kindergarten
First Grade



We are so excited that she was promoted to first grade.  Even more excited that she has now graduated with her first big degree!!!  And it was a very pretty day!











Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Let's talk about that pasta salad.............

Pasta has never been my comfort food.  I don't crave it.  It does nothing for me.   I don't order it when eating out.  I don't even cook with it.   Please don't ask me my current thoughts about black olives.  Never, in a billion years will I order anything containing olives.  Ever.   At least they were finely chopped!  However, last summer my dear cousin Peggy changed my life.   She brought a pasta salad to the annual family reunion that literally rocked my pathetic little world.   I ate several helpings and then snagged a plate for leftovers that evening.  It was just enough to tide me over and fill my head with crazy ideas and concoctions.

For the past year, I have been thinking of it.  I have tried to add different fresh veggies to some pasta and re-create it.  Now, I have made a pretty decent replica.   It just doesn't compare with what I remembered.   I didn't  realize the salad contained pimentos.  Lemon juice?   Mayonnaise?  No way!

This past weekend I traveled back to the family reunion.    Cousin Peggy was there again.  I had completely forgotten about that salad until I noticed the light shining down from the heavens.  Angels began singing in my head.   My first thought was to snag the bowl and go hide in the corner with a fork.     But, I didn't want the others to notice I had something that good.   My next thought was to hide it on the dessert bar.   Those people would rather go straight for the "death by chocolate" than a veggie pasta salad.   Who wouldn't, right?

Quietly, I loaded the plate with a small amount of other food to sample.  I had no intention of eating the beans and chicken.   I quickly loaded the plate with 2 spoons of the "salad" and walked away.  No one noticed the salad yet.  It sat there non-chalantly near the chocolate.  It looked lonely among the sweets.    I quietly ate my salad and tossed the remaining side items in the trash.  I went back for more.   It was devine.     My next thoughts were.......   "Would she miss this bowl?"   "Could I make a quick run home to empty it and trade containers?"      Then dear Chandra waltzed over and loudly proclaimed.........  "This is amazing".    The nerve of that girl to advertise THE salad.  Thoughts of duck taping her mouth shut quickly came to mind.   Duck tape was no where to be found in the church kitchen.  Could there be a stapler somewhere?


Simply Amazing!!!


An hour or so later..........  I grabbed a clean plate and loaded it with leftovers for dinner.   Cousin Peggy noticed what I was doing and said.........  "You really do like that.  I guess I need to share the recipe now."    Now, please......what took you so long?


"Peggy's Pasta Salad".

1 package Vermicelli Pasta (cooked & drained)
1 small can diced Black Olives (drained)
1 small jar chopped Pimento (drained)
5 Green Onions (chopped)
1/2 Green Bell Pepper (chopped)

Toss all that together & set aside.

Dressing:
1/2 cup EVOO
2 Tbs Cavender's Greek Seasoning
3 Tbs Lemon Juice
1/4 Cup Mayo

Pour half of the pasta and let set overnight.  Pour the remaining dressing over just before serving.

If desired, add cherry tomatoes, diced chicken, mozzarella cheese balls or shrimp.


In case you are worried about dear Chandra,  I promise no harm fell to her that afternoon from me.