Thursday, January 28, 2016

James Barber's Baked Rice Pudding

Buttery, sweet, rich and oh, so creamy!

One of my husband's favorite desserts in the world is rice pudding.  I'd never had it before, so when he told me of his love for rice pudding, the search for the best recipe was on!  Of course, I found it in my new cookbook and made it for him right away.  It was good, but, I must admit, this recipe from James Barber is the best rice pudding ever.  So, out with the "old" and in with the "new"!  I'll be using this recipe from now on.

I added the "dash" of nutmeg and the raisins because of hubby, but, if they're not your thing, that's fine too.  It's wonderful without them.   Best part of this pudding is it takes just a couple of minutes to mix in a bowl.  The hard part is waiting the two hours for it to come out of the oven, while you're taking in the delicious aroma floating throughout your house.

Right now, the smells coming from my oven is heavenly...really...heavenly.  The cinnamon, nutmeg and lemon have blended together to make a great tasting, creamy-dreamy dessert, and we're all having trouble waiting until after dinner to have some. dinner ready yet?

"Cooking is the simplest way of saying I love you."
- JAMES BARBER 1923-2007 


2/3 cups Arborio rice                                          
A beautiful, golden brown top

2 cups whole milk or cream
6 Tbsp. sugar
6 Tbsp. butter
zest of 2 lemons
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. vanilla
dash nutmeg
1/2 cup raisins (opt.)

Preheat oven to 250°.   Grease a 2 quart baking dish
(an oval Pyrex works great).

Mix the rice, milk (or cream), sugar, butter, vanilla and lemon, nutmeg and raisins together in a bowl and then pour mixture into a greased 2-quart baking dish.

Bake for 2 hours, until golden brown on top.  (If you use a deep dish, the cooking time takes longer.)

Sprinkle with some cinnamon and serve hot or cold. (We like to pour just a little bit of cream over the top.)

But those who do what is right come to the light so others can see that they are doing what God wants.  -John 3:21

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Beautiful Broccoli Salad

A great way to eat broccoli!

 When we first moved south, most of our family stayed up north.  So, when my daughter and her husband decided to follow us down here we were thrilled.  But, that first Christmas without all the rest of the family was a little sad for us.

I decided to pull out all the stops for the four of us and make a really special dinner.  A marinated roast beef tenderloin with a merlot sauce for the main course, twice baked potatoes, and this extremely lovely and delicious broccoli salad.  It didn't stop us from missing everyone, but it did create a really special dinner that night.

You can add your favorites to this versatile salad that features fresh broccoli, smoky bacon, sweet raisins and a creamy mayonnaise dressing.


5 cups fresh broccoli florets, cut into small pieces
1/2 cup finely chopped red onion
1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1/2 pound cooked, crumbled bacon
1/2 cup roasted pine nuts
1 cup golden raisins (dried cranberries during the holidays look really festive)

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and prepare a bowl of ice water. Blanch the broccoli for 1 minute in the boiling water. Plunge it into the ice water until completely cool and drain well.  Combine broccoli with all salad ingredients in a large mixing bowl; mix well.

1 cup mayonnaise
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper


Combine dressing ingredients in a small mixing bowl. Mix until thoroughly blended, using a fork or wire whisk. Add dressing to salad and mix well.

Refrigerate 1 hour.

Makes 8 servings.

Switch up the pine nuts for sunflower seeds.
Use 1/2 cup golden raisins & 1/2 cup dried cranberries
Add some blue cheese.

"Once you were alienated from God ... but now he has reconciled you by Christ's physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation." - Colossians 1:22

Monday, January 25, 2016

Italian Roasted Potatoes

A perfect side dish!

If you like potatoes, you'll love these!  The herbs in this recipe take roasted potatoes to a new level and will quickly become a one of your favorite ways to prepare them. 

Another plus is that they're super easy to make and children, as well as adults, seem to enjoy them equally.  Serve them, as a side, with your favorite meat and a fresh, green salad...the perfect meal, in my book! 


2 lbs. small red potatoes, quartered
2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
4 cloves fresh garlic, minced
1/4 cup parmesan cheese
2 Tbsp. dried parsley flakes
1 tsp. dried basil
1 tsp. dried oregano
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
red pepper flakes (optional)

Preheat oven to 400'F.

Place potatoes in a large bowl. Drizzle with oil; toss to coat evenly.

Combine the garlic, parmesan, parsley, basil, oregano, salt and pepper; sprinkle over potatoes and toss to coat evenly.

Transfer to an ungreased 13-in. x 9-in. baking pan.

Bake, uncovered, at 400° for 30 minutes.  Stir;  (At this point, you may want to sprinkle a bit more parmesan and olive oil, if they look too dry.)  Bake 10-15 minutes longer or until potatoes are tender and golden brown. 
Yield: 8 servings


Let all that I am wait quietly before God, for my hope is in Him.  -Psalm 62:5

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Bonnie Butter Cake

A real all-butter cake

One of my husband's favorite cakes is a butter cake with chocolate frosting.  In fact, it's pretty much a favorite with just about everyone.  I have to say, though, a yellow cake mix just doesn't have the same "pure" flavor that a homemade one does.  So, when I make this, I always make it from scratch.  This is one of the best and most flavorful butter cakes.

Yesterday, we were watching a TV show that featured cakes and my granddaughter, who just had a beautiful baby girl, said, "Grandma, I need cake!"  Well, that's all I needed to hear since she did such a great job giving me another gorgeous great-granddaughter.  

She and her cousin, Becky are making this great-grandma very happy.  This morning, Becky video chatted me from her home in NJ and I got to play Facetime Peekaboo with my Kendall, my first great grandchild.  Life is good and I'm so thankful for all the modern technology that allows me to do such things.

Here are pictures of my two latest loves!    Cutest little cousins ever!  Yes, I'm obsessed with both of them...sigh!   
Oh, yeah, you came here for a recipe!  Haha!  Well, here it is!


2/3 cup butter, softened
1 3/4 cup sugar
3 eggs
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla
2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
1 1/4 cup whole milk

Heat oven to 350'F.

Grease and flour baking pan, 13x9x2" or two 9" or three 8" round pans.

In large mixing bowl, beat butter, sugar, eggs and vanilla until fluffy.  Continue beating for 5 minutes on high speed, scraping bowl occasionally.

Combine flour, baking powder and salt in a separate bowl; add to butter mixture alternately with milk.  Pour into pans. 

Bake oblong for 45-50 minutes, layers 30-35 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean.  Cool.

Frost with French Silk Frosting or your favorite chocolate frosting recipe.  See recipe below.
Another classic Betty Crocker recipe
French Silk Frosting:                            

2 2/3 cup confectioners' sugar
2/3 cup soft butter
2 ounces melted unsweetened chocolate (cooled)
3/4 tsp. vanilla
2 Tbsp. milk
In small mixer bowl, blend sugar, butter, chocolate and vanilla on low speed.  Gradually add milk; beat until smooth and fluffy. 
Makes enough frosting for two 9" layers or three 8" layers.
Variation:  This cake is also delicious with a lemon frosting.
God is your source!  Everyone else is just a resource.   -Tony Evans

Friday, January 15, 2016

Lemon Blueberry Sugar Bars

Such a great combination of flavors!


I was looking through my pantry today and noticed a can of blueberry pie filling that was about to pass the "best used by" date.   Since I don't like to make a pie with anything but fresh fruit, I knew I had to think of something else to do with it.  Happily, I thought of one of our favorite cookie bars "Cherry Almond" and decided to improvise with other flavors.

The result was a really good one!  The flavor combination of lemon and blueberry is a classic, and works well with these delicious cookie bars.   I also like the fact that they're not too sweet...jut right!  These sugar cookie bars got a thumbs up from the whole family! 

2 pouches (1 lb 1.5 oz each) Betty Crocker™ sugar cookie mix
1 cup butter, softened
1/2 tsp. lemon extract
2 eggs

1 (21 oz.) can blueberry pie filling (I use the one with "more fruit")

Topping/Glaze: (to drizzle over baked cookie bars)
1 cup confectioners' sugar
2 Tbsp. milk
1/4 tsp. lemon extract

Heat oven to 350°F.  Spray bottom and sides of 13x9-inch pan with cooking spray.

In large bowl, stir base ingredients until soft dough forms.  Press 2/3 of dough in bottom of pan. 

Spread pie filling over dough.

Drop remaining 1/3 dough by teaspoonfuls over filling. 

Bake 45 to 50 minutes or until golden brown.  Cool 10 minutes.  (If the top looks like it's getting too browned, place aluminum foil loosely over it.)
In small bowl, stir glaze ingredients until smooth.  If necessary, add additional milk, 1 teaspoon at a time, until thin enough to drizzle. Drizzle glaze over warm bars.  For bars, cut into 6 rows by 4 rows.  Store covered at room temperature.

[You were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit,] who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God's possession — to the praise of his glory." - Ephesians 1:14

Monday, January 4, 2016

Chicken Cordon Bleu Casserole

A New Family Favorite!

Our dearest friends came for a visit this past week and I decided they were the perfect people to have as "taste testers" for this new casserole recipe I found on the Six Sisters Stuff website. 

They adapted it from a Kraft recipe and did a great job, because we all enjoyed it so much!   I'll definitely be making this again!

It takes a little prep work, but you can always buy the ham already cut up, and use a rotisserie chicken, instead of boiling your own. 

If your family doesn't like broccoli, add a different veggie or leave it out entirely.  But, I will tell you, the broccoli in it was delicious!

Served with a salad and rolls, this made the perfect dinner for us all.


1 (6 oz) pkg. chicken flavored stuffing mix (I use lower sodium)

1 (10 3/4 oz) can condensed cream of chicken soup (Healthy Request)
1/2 cup milk
1 tablespoon prepared, Dijon mustard
3-4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cooked and cut into bite-size pieces (I boiled mine)
3 cups fresh broccoli florets, (optional)
2 cups cooked, chopped ham
8 slices of extra thin Swiss cheese       


Preheat oven to 375ºF. Prepare stuffing as directed on package.

Mix soup, milk and mustard in medium bowl; stir in chicken, broccoli and ham.

Spoon into 2-qt. casserole dish sprayed with cooking spray; top with cheese slices and stuffing.

Bake 35 to 40 minutes or until heated through.

Tip:  Check after 25 minutes, cover loosely with aluminum foil if the top is getting too browned.

"Take delight in the lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart."  - Psalm 37:4