Friday, February 27, 2015

Good Ol' Sloppy Joes

Best ever!

My husband and kids have always loved Sloppy Joes, and it's been awhile since I made them. 

I decided I didn't want the mix in the can, or even the packet of seasoning that we usually use.  This time I was going to make these from scratch!  It turned out to be a great idea!

I ended up doubling the recipe and I'm so glad I did...they're already looking forward to leftovers tomorrow.  If there's any left after that, I'll freeze it, since Sloppy Joe mix holds up really well in the freezer.  I did make some changes to the recipe I found and included them in here.  When I tested it before my additions, I found it way too changes made it less sweet and even slightly tangy.  Tasting is an important part of cooking, because you know what your family likes and that's the time to make your adjustments.

We used regular hamburger rolls, but I lightly buttered them and put them on the griddle for a minute until they toasted nicely.  It added a nice crunch and they all loved it.   If you've never made Sloppy Joes from scratch, try this recipe.  It's really easy and so worth cutting up a few vegetables.  It really is!


1.5 lb. ground beef
1 medium onion, chopped
1 Tbsp. mustard
1 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
1/2 tsp. granulated garlic
1/4 tsp. chili powder
1/8 tsp. paprika 
1 Tbsp. vinegar
3/4 c. ketchup
1 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. black pepper
1/2 c. chopped green or red bell peppers, chopped
1/2 c. chopped celery, diced


Cook ground beef and chopped onion. Drain fat off meat. Add back to large pan.

Add remaining ingredients; mix well.  Reduce heat to low and cook 40 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Serve with fresh bakery buns.
(Another great way to serve Sloppy Joes is in Pita bread.  Just warm them up in the oven for a few minutes, split it into two halves , and fill with the meat mixture.  We used to serve them that way at a school I worked for and they were yummy!)

"A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones." -Proverbs 17:22

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Beef Stir Fry with Veggies

It's a keeper!
Today was another fun time in the kitchen with my granddaughter, Andrea.  We decided  to make stir fry (something I've never made) and now we're already planning to make it again.
I didn't have the mushrooms and Swiss chard the original recipe called for, so we improvised with a couple of bags of mixed vegetables, broccoli, cauliflower and car
rots.  It worked out great!   Next time we're going to try it with snap peas, water chestnuts and red onion (I had to use white), so I'll have to take a trip to the grocery store to be better prepared.  Remember, this is where you get to add your favorite vegetables and experiment!  Have fun with food!
The frozen veggies we added were delicious.   We used the "steamers" and only microwaved them for half the time indicated.  They were perfect!   Best only took about 30 minutes from stove top to table.  I did slice up my own meat ahead of time, but you can probably get your butcher to do it for you, if you'd rather.
1 pound boneless sirloin steak,  sliced 1/4 inch thick
1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons cornstarch
1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
3 teaspoons soy sauce
2 teaspoons packed light brown sugar
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
3 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1/2 small red onion, cut into thin wedges
4 ounces mixed mushrooms, sliced
1 bunch Swiss chard, stems cut into 1/2-inch pieces, leaves shredded
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
Juice of 1/2 lemon
Cooked rice, for serving (optional)
Toss the beef with 1 tablespoon each cornstarch and vinegar and 2 teaspoons soy sauce in a medium bowl. In another bowl, stir the brown sugar, the remaining 2 teaspoons each cornstarch and vinegar, the remaining 1 teaspoon soy sauce, and 1/3 cup water until dissolved.
Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large nonstick skillet over high heat. Add the beef and cook, stirring occasionally, until just cooked through, 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer to a bowl and wipe out the skillet.
Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil in the skillet over high heat. Add the garlic and red onion and stir-fry 2 minutes. Add the mushrooms, chard stems, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and pepper to taste and stir-fry until the vegetables are just tender, 4 minutes. Add the chard leaves and stir-fry until wilted. Stir the brown sugar mixture and add to the skillet along with the beef, stirring, until thickened, 1 minute. Add the lemon juice and season with salt and pepper. Serve with rice.
"This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us."   -1 John 5:14

Lemon Almond Tea Bread

A wonderful, refreshing bread!

I'll never forget the first time I had this bread.  Now, I'm going back about 40 plus years, so that tells you how good it was...absolutely memorable!

Lemon and almond extract flavor this loaf of tea bread and then it's intensified with grated lemon peel.  Brush a lemon glaze over the hot loaves and there you have it. 

I couldn't believe what a great combination of tastes this would be in my mouth!   We were extremely happy, my mouth and I!


2/3 cup melted butter
1 cup sugar
4 eggs
1/2 tsp. almond extract
3 cups sifted flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
1 cup milk
2 Tbsp. grated lemon peel (I used 1 Tbsp. dried lemon zest)
1 cup chopped nuts (optional)
6 Tsp. fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup confectioners' sugar

Preheat oven to 325'F.  Prepare 2 loaf pans.  (I sprayed mine with Pam)

Combine the butter and 1 cup sugar; blend well.  Beat in eggs, one at a time.  Add almond extract.

Sift together dry ingredients; add to egg mixture alternately with milk.  Blend just enough to mix.  Fold in lemon peel and nuts.

Turn into greased loaf pans (aluminum or glass).  Bake in slow oven 325'F. for 30-35 minutes or until toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.  (If it isn't done in 35 minutes, just add 2 minutes at a time.  My loaves today took 37 minutes total.)

Mix 6 Tbsp. of lemon juice and 1/2 -3/4 cup confectioners sugar.  Immediately spoon over hot loaf in pan.

Cool 10 minutes, then remove from pan.

Cool on rack.  Do not cut until completely cooled.

Makes 2 loaves.

“Praise him for his mighty acts: praise him according to his excellent greatness.’”   -Psalms 150:2

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Snow Cream

Got snow? Got Milk?  Then you've got Snow Cream!

When we first moved to North Carolina, I didn't expect to ever see snow again.  Growing up in Upstate New York, our winters were cold and snowy...and I loved it, every kid up there did!  There were tons of hills to sled down, lakes and ponds to ice skate on, snowmen to build and mountains of snow to shovel.  It was great!

So, I was really surprised to see snow the second winter we were here!  And even more surprised when two of my neighbors children came over and asked if I had a recipe for snow cream.  "What's that?" was my reply, and that's when one of the most fun things to do with snow came into my life...MAKE FOOD OUT OF IT!  Ha!

Here's the recipe I found when we all made it. it's on the Paula Deen website.   I do hope, if you've never tried it, you will have some fun with your kids or grands and make some delicious Snow Cream!


8 cups clean snow (don't use it if it's yellow!  LOL!)
1 (14oz.) can sweetened condensed milk
1 tsp. vanilla extract


Place snow into a large bowl.  Pour condensed milk over it and add vanilla.  Mix to combine and serve immediately in bowls.

*You can also add sprinkles, chocolate chips, honey, and different flavors...what fun!

Well, that's it!  Now just go have some fun with the kids!

"A grateful heart protects you from negative thinking. Thankfulness enables you to see the abundance I shower upon you daily."   -Jesus Calling by Sarah Young

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Shrimp Scampi with Linguini

An absolute favorite!
Shrimp Scampi is an elegant dish that looks like you spent hours in preparation!  But, actually, it's quite simple to make and, if you like shrimp,  this will become a favorite meal!

Using the wine you like to drink is preferable in this dish, because you'll enjoy the flavor of your favorite wine, while enjoying the dish as a whole.

Believe it or not, I never had scampi until I was an adult, I don't know why,  and I can't recall my mom ever making it either.  Maybe shrimp was too expensive when I was growing up.   Nevertheless, it became a favorite as soon as I tasted it.  It's also my husband's favorite shrimp meal, and he loves shrimp in just about anything!   Needless to say, he's super excited for dinner tonight!  Hehe!


1 lb. linguine, cooked and reserve 1 cup cooking liquid (Angel Hair pasta works too)
4 tablespoons butter, (1/2 stick) divided
5 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1  shallot, finely chopped (if you don't have a shallot, dice up half a small onion)
5-6 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced
1 lb. shrimp, (16-20 count) peeled and deveined
1 cup dry white wine (Pignot Grigio or a Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand is our
1 lemon, squeezed and use juice (1 Tbsp. juice)
2  tablespoons fresh parsley, finely chopped
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (optional)
grated parmesan (for topping)

Melt 2 Tbsp. butter and 2 Tbsp. olive oil over medium heat in large skillet.  Add slivered garlic, shallot and red pepper flakes.  Sauté for a minute or so until the edges of the garlic start to turn a light careful not to burn it.  Now, add the shrimp to the skillet and simmer just 2-3 minutes.  Remove shrimp from pan.
Add wine and lemon juice to skillet. When mixture comes to a boil, add 2 tablespoons butter, 3 tablespoons olive oil. When butter melts, return shrimp to pan and add parsley, cooked pasta and 1/2 cup pasta cooking liquid. Toss to combine.

To be extra fancy: drizzle a little more olive oil over finished dish and sprinkle with grated parmesan!

*If you are using frozen shrimp, defrost them quickly and safely by putting the shrimp in a large bowl of lightly salted ice water (1 1/2 teaspoons of salt for every quart of water).
*Combining butter and olive oil allows you to cook at a relatively high heat without burning the butter but still enjoy the butter flavor.
*I also like to take the tail off before adding the shrimp to the pan.  It's just easier to eat that way.

Trust in the Lord, He will make a way. " It is better to trust in the LORD than to put confidence in man" Psalms 118:8

Chocolate Oatmeal In-Between Bars

Oatmeal meets chocolate and tastes great!

Here's another old recipe that my friend, Mary, shared with me.  Isn't it great to pull out an old recipe and it's full of memories?  They transport us to a certain place and time or special people who have meant so much to us.

Going back and revisiting some of these old dishes and desserts has done that for me, over and over again.  Whether it's one of my mom's or a dear friend's, I always end up smiling, because of the good memories, and am filled with thankfulness that they were in my life.

These Chocolate In-betweens are one of those recipes.  They're that perfect mixture of oatmeal cookie with a chocolate filling that tastes like fudge.  Easy to make, and even easier to eat!


1 cup butter, softened
2 cups brown sugar, packed
2 eggs
2 tsp. vanilla extract
3 cups quick-cooking oats
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt


1 (14oz.) can sweetened condensed milk
2 cups semi-sweet chocolate morsels
2 Tbsp. butter
1/2 tsp. salt
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup chopped walnuts (if desired)

Preheat oven to 350'F.

In a bowl, cream butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy.  Add eggs and vanilla; mix well.

In a separate bowl, combine oats, flour, baking soda and salt; add to the creamed mixture.

Press about 3/4 of the mixture into an ungreased 15-in. x 10-in. x 1-in. baking pan; set aside.
For filling, heat the sweetened condensed milk, chocolate chips, butter and salt in a microwave-safe bowl until chips are melted. (You can also do this in a double boiler.)
Remove from the heat; stir in vanilla, (and chopped walnuts, if desired).  Spread over top.
Drop remaining oat mixture by tablespoonsful over chocolate.
Bake at 350° for 20 to 25 minutes.  Cool on a wire rack.  
 Yield: 2-1/2 dozen.

No, O people, the LORD has told you what is good, and this is what he requires of you: to do what is right, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God.  -Micah 6:8

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Cheddar Potato Soup with Ham

You'll want seconds!

For years, my husband has wanted me to make him potato soup.  Today, he got his wish!  I know, we've been married for 47 years, so what took me so long!  I guess I have to make a never appealed to me!  I'm not a big soup eater, and when I do have it, there are just a few favorites I like to prepare.
But, today, I was checking out recipes for some leftover ham that I had, and this one came up.  Did you know you can put the ingredients into the search engine and get all kinds of ideas for meals using your ingredients.  Gotta love the new technology!  Anyway, it's a great soup, and easy to add more veggies and use up some things from the pantry.
I'm so glad I tried this, and I've got to tell you, so was my husband!  He kept saying how delicious it was and ate two bowls of it!  I even had a bowl...and enjoyed it!   This is really quick and easy and will make a filling meal with rolls, or a side salad.
2 c. potatoes, peeled and diced
2 c. water or chicken stock
1/2 c. carrots, diced
1/4 c. chopped onion
1/4 c. butter, cubed
1/4 c. all-purpose flour
2 c. milk (I used a combination of 1% milk and Half & Half)
1/4 to 1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
2 c. shredded cheddar cheese
1-1 1/2 cups fully cooked ham, cubed
1 c. frozen veggies, such as peas, corn, broccoli (optional)
In a large saucepan, combine the potatoes, water or stock, carrots and onions. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and cook for 10-15 minutes or until tender.  
Meanwhile, in another saucepan, melt butter. Stir in flour until smooth. Gradually add the milk, salt and pepper. While stirring constantly, bring to a boil; cook and continue stirring for 2 minutes or until thickened.  Add shredded cheese and stir in until melted.

Pour cheese mixture into undrained potato mixture.   Add ham; heat through. 

Yield: 7 servings.

"Learn to do right!  Seek justice, encourage the oppressed." - Isaiah 1:17

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Teddy Bear Race Treats


I just spotted these online and had to share them with you all.  Basically, because I'm a big kid and love stuff like this.

Anyway, they are so easy to make...just look at the directions!   Can you imagine the look on your child/grandchild's face when you present them with these adorable little Teddy Bear Race Treats?   I know I'll be making these soon, I'm so excited to give them away!   


1 packet of mini Mars Bars or Milky Way chocolate bars

1 family packet of M&M's or Smarties (any small round candy for wheels)

1 box of Tiny Teddy biscuits

1 quantity of icing sugar icing paste for glue (mix half cup of icing sugar and a teaspoon of cocoa powder with a few drops of hot water)

Glue each of the 4 wheels (M&M's or Smarties) on to the sides of the milky way bars.

Press into each center a tiny teddy biscuit.

Glue on a M&M or Smartie steering wheel for each one.

"He who pursues righteousness and love finds life, prosperity, and honor." - Proverbs 21:21

Monday, February 16, 2015

Pineapple Dream Cake

Calling all pineapple lovers!

You're going to love this cake, and the compliments you'll receive from it!   In fact, I haven't met anyone that's tasted it who doesn't like it's creamy, refreshing flavor.  It makes a great summer treat, but, you don't have to wait until summer to try it out.  Hehee!

Here's a little hint for even richer pineapple flavor...reserve the liquid from the drained pineapple and use it in the cake in place of the water.   Oh yes...mighty good!

I do have one warning for you from "the voice of experience".  Make sure you have enough people to help you finish this off, or you may be tempted to eat the whole thing yourself.  


1 box Jiffy Golden Layer cake mix
1 small box vanilla instant pudding
2 cups milk
1 (8oz.) pkg. cream cheese, softened
1 (20oz.) can crushed pineapple (sweetened), drained well
1 (20oz.) can crushed pineapple (unsweetened), drained well
1 large container of Cool Whip

Preheat oven to 350'F.  Prepare a 9x13" pan. (I spray with Pam)

Follow instructions on Jiffy cake mix, except pour into a glass 9x13" pan. (It will just cover the bottom to make the base for your dessert.)   Bake at 350'F. about 10 minutes or just until done.  (It takes less time because it will be thinner.)  Let cool.

Make vanilla pudding according to pkg. directions. 

Beat cream cheese until smooth, then add pudding and whip mixture until light and fluffy.  Spread evenly onto cooled cake.

Mix together the two cans of pineapple and strain well (or cake will be soggy).  When all liquid is removed, sprinkle over the cream cheese mixture. 

Spread the Cool Whip over the top and refrigerate until set, about 4 hours. 
(This is great to make the day before.)

(So pretty topped with toasted coconut, chopped pecans and a cherry on top!)

"Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable — if anything is excellent or praiseworthy — think about such things." - Philippians 4:8

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Cheesecake Creme Dip

aka "The Best Fruit Dip Ever"

My family always teases me about making the "antidote" for healthy eating.  In other words, I'm notorious for increasing the calories of foods that are meant to be good for me.   Guilty as charged! 

In my defense, when I taste something that increases the enjoyment of whatever I'm putting in my mouth, it's hard not to "share the love".  So, my family and friends are usually the recipients of my calorie addictions.

Well, this is one of those recipes, and it's been around my house for over 30 years, and we all love it!   The basic dip uses only 2...yes, I said only 2 ingredients!   How great is that?  And easy to make doesn't even describe just how easy this is to make!  There are many variations to this, just add different flavorings or spices, but this is our favorite.  Hope you all enjoy it too!


2 (8oz.) pkgs. of cream cheese, softened
1 (13oz.) jar marshmallow crème

Combine cream cheese and marshmallow crème, mixing until well blended.

Serve with assorted chunks of fresh fruit.

(If you make a fruit salad, just add a dollop of this to individual bowls before serving.  Oh, another great idea is to hollow out strawberries and fill them with the dip...awesome!)

Makes 3 yummy cups!

"Love does not delight in evil, but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres." - 1 Corinthians 13:6-7

Friday, February 13, 2015

Savory Chicken Crescent Bundles

A quick dinner after a busy day!

Here's another recipe that I've had for years.  It was given to me by my dear friend, Mary, when I lived in Michigan.   It's always been one that is easy, delicious, and satisfying.  And kids love them!

This is a great weeknight meal, because there's so little preparation, and after a tough day at work, no one wants to fuss over dinner.

I remember how it was to be a busy, involved mother and, yet, still want to make special dinners for my family.  I hope this will help you all do that, too.   We can't let those family meals around the table be lost because of our busyness, they are so important!

This makes four huge squares, but if you need more, it's really easy to double the recipe.  For the kids, just use individual crescents and roll them up with the mixture inside.  Kids love to pick them up and eat them like a little sandwich.

4 oz. soft cream cheese
2 Tbsp. melted butter

Beat cream cheese and melted butter until smooth. 

2 c. cooked chicken, cut into bite-size pieces (great with rotisserie chicken)
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
2 Tbsp. milk
1 Tbsp. minced onion
1/2 tsp. parsley
2 Tbsp. green bell pepper, diced (optional)

Mix above ingredients until well blended. 
(Here's where you can add other things, canned carrots, peas, chopped pimentos, chopped broccoli, olives...let your imagination go wild! )

1 pkg. crescent rolls (8 crescents)

Preheat oven to 350'F.

Unroll crescents and using two crescent rolls at a time (to form a rectangle).  Press perforations together to seal.

Fill with chicken mixture and pull the 4 corners to the middle, twist together to seal. 

Brush tops with melted butter and sprinkle with sesame or poppy seeds, paprika, parmesan or chopped parsley, if desired.  (So many choices!)

Bake at 350'F for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown.

*If you'd like gravy, just use your favorite jar or gravy mix.  Let's keep this, easy and quick!

"He who pursues righteousness and love finds life, prosperity, and honor." - Proverbs 21:21

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Kentucky Pecan Pie

Going back to 1974...

Anyone remember "Dear Abby" the advice column that used to be in the paper for years, and years?  Well, apparently, she also had recipes that she would post, once in a while. 

This is one I remember copying and keeping, not only because it was so delicious, but because I made it for my mom on special occasions or "just because".  Pecan Pie was a favorite of hers.

I do love browsing through these old recipe cards and remembering the times I would make one of them, and surprise a friend or family member, just to show how much they meant to me.  It's funny how delivering a favorite baked good or yummy dinner dish will light up someone's face and let them know they're loved and appreciated. 

What's that old song?  "Make Someone Happy!"  Oh, yea, this'll do it!  Go ahead, give it a'll make someone's day! 


Pastry for 9" once-crust pie (make your own or buy at the grocery store)

1 cup white corn syrup
2/3 cup dark brown sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
1/3 cup melted butter
1 tsp. vanilla
3 whole eggs, slightly beaten
1 heaping cup shelled, whole pecans (I like to coarsely chop mine)

Preheat oven to 350'F. 

Combine syrup, sugar, salt, butter, vanilla and mix well.  Add slightly beaten eggs, mix in thoroughly.  Pour into a 9"unbaked pie shell.  Sprinkle pecans over all, or add to the mixture and then pour into the unbaked pie shell.

Bake in preheated 350'F. oven for approximately 45 minutes or until filling is set.   Check after 20-25 minutes and if the crust is getting too brown, cover it loosely with tin foil.

Serve with a dollop of whipped cream or a side of ice cream.  Yummy!

"And do not set your heart on what you will eat or drink; do not worry about it.For the pagan world runs after all such things, and your Father knows that you need them.But seek his kingdom, and these things will be given to you as well."  - Luke 12:29-31

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Hot Chicken Salad

Great for lunch or dinner!

This is a wonderful dish I've enjoyed making for many years, but thought I'd lost it.  I was not happy with myself.  So today, while searching through some of my old recipes, I found it again. 

My sweet hubby volunteered to go to the store for me and he got everything we needed for this yummy, hot, chicken salad. 

My recipe calls for chow mein noodles on the top, and they give it a really nice crunch.  I'm thinking that next time, I'll replace the chow mein noodles with French's Fried Onions.  I'll bet that would be really good too.


2 cups cooked chicken, cut into bite-size pieces
1 cup celery, sliced
3/4 cup almonds, sliced
1/2 c. ripe black olives, chopped
1/2 tsp. salt
2 Tbsp. grated onion
1 cup mayonnaise
2 Tbsp. lemon juice
1 Tbsp. pimento, cut up
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1 (5 oz.) can chow mein noodles (for topping)

Preheat oven to 350'F.

Combine chicken, celery, almonds, olives, salt, onions, mayonnaise, lemon juice, cheddar cheese and pimento in a large bowl, and pour into a lightly greased 9X11" casserole dish.

Bake at 350'F. until bubbly; about 25 minutes.  Remove from oven.

Spread 1 (5 oz.) can chow mein noodles over top and bake for another 5 minutes. 

"The tongue that brings healing is a tree of life, but a deceitful tongue crushes the spirit." - Proverbs 15:4

Friday, February 6, 2015

Raspberry Poke Cake

Easy just got easier!

Poke (pun intended) around in your pantry and fridge and you'll probably find everything you need to make a "poke" cake.  Easy is even easier with a this classic recipe!

The beauty of these cakes is that you can change the cake mix and gelatin to any flavor that suits your fancy.  My hubby's favorite is "white cake with raspberry gelatin" and my daughter-in-law's is "lemon cake with lime gelatin". 

Whatever flavors you like, it's probably a possibility with a quick and easy, not to mention delicious, Poke Cake!


1 box white cake mix (baked according to box directions)
1 (4-serving) raspberry-flavored gelatin
1 cup boiling water
1 (8oz. container) Cool Whip (thawed)
Fresh raspberries to garnish top, if desired

Heat oven to 350'F.   Grease or spray 9x13" cake pan.

Make and cool cake as directed on box for 13x9"pan.

Pierce cooled cake all over with fork.  In small bowl, stir gelatin and boiling water until smooth; stir in cold water.  Pour over cake.  Run knife around sides of pan to loosen cake. 

Refrigerate 2 hours.  Frost with whipped topping.  Garnish each piece separately with raspberries.

Store covered in refrigerator.

A gossip goes around blabbing secrets to everyone who will listen, but a trustworthy person will never betray a confidence.  ~Proverbs 11:13