Hope to see you soon!

January 9, 2011 at 11:51 am | Posted in event | Comments Off on Hope to see you soon!

I begin 2011 as a full time working mother.  As this may be my last post, I wanted to end on a high note…my Rainbow Jello!

Thanks for all of the kind comments and shout-outs!

It was a fun ride!

Winter Soup: Bean and Barley

January 30, 2010 at 3:25 pm | Posted in Family Meals | 7 Comments
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I stumbled upon this soup last year while searching for something for a ham bone to go into.  It was a happy little discovery, perfect to take the chill off of these cold winter nights.

Bean & Barley Soup (Recipe adapted from the 17 Bean & Barely Mix at Trader Joe’s)


  • 17 Bean & Barely Mix
  • 2 quarts vegetable broth
  • 1 cup onion, chopped
  • 1 cup celery, chopped
  • 1 cup carrot, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp Italian Seasonings
  • 1 can tomatoes with basil
  • ham, 1 cup cubed (if desired)
  • salt and pepper to taste


Soak beans overnight in a large pot of water*, then rinse and drain.  Pour 1 quart vegetable broth into a pot with the beans.  In a separate pan, cook onion, celery, carrot, and garlic in olive oil until soft.  Combine this mixture and remaining ingredients into the bean pot and cover with more broth.  Simmer covered for about 1 hour to desired tenderness.  Be sure to occasionally check liquid level and add more broth if necessary.  Salt and pepper to taste.

*To quick soak dried beans:  In a large stock pan, cover dried beans with triple their volume of cold water.  Bring water to a boil, then lower heat and cook uncovered beans over moderate heat for 2 minutes.  Remove pan from heat and soak beans for 1 hour.

Kid Friendly Shepherds Pie

January 10, 2010 at 3:01 pm | Posted in Family Meals | 7 Comments
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I knew my kids would turn their noses up and fold their arms in out-right defiance to eating this Shepherds Pie.

I also knew that if I remained calm, encouraged them to try, and threatened no dinner, they would eventually take a bite.

I also knew that the biscuit layer was irresistible, so I directed them to the top….and after one bite of that familiar layer they were sold!  My son actually asked for seconds.

Yes, it is true, my son (the reformed white eater) actually ate this and asked for more!

We’ll be having this Shepherds Pie again.  I kept the flavor profiles low so there was nothing unfamiliar here.  But that biscuit layer was the true secret to the success of this dish.  I’ll happily make it again, and I know my kids will happily eat it again.

Shepherds Pie (adapted from this recipe by Paula Deen)


  • 1 small onion
  • 1 1/2 pounds ground turkey
  • 1 15 oz can tomato sauce
  • 1 1/2 cups mixed vegetables
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 8 to 10 medium red new potatoes
  • 1 cup milk, nonfat
  • 8 tablespoons butter, divided
  • 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 1 cups instant biscuit mix


Ground Turkey Layer: Saute onions in 2 tablespoons butter. Add ground turkey. After turkey is browned, add tomato sauce. Add salt and pepper, to taste.

Potato Layer: Peel and slice potatoes 1/4-inch thick. Cook in boiling water for approximately 15 minutes or until fork-tender. Mash with a potato masher. Add 1/4 cup heated milk, 1/4 cup butter, and sour cream. Salt and pepper, to taste.  Adjust thickness by adding more milk, if desired.

Biscuit Layer: Combine biscuit mix and 1/2 cup milk. The mix should be thinner than normal biscuit mix but not runny.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Spray a 9 by 9 by 2-inch pan, or any similar casserole dish. Layer half way up with the mashed potatoes. Next, spread a layer of mixed vegetables. Then add a layer of the meat.  Sprinkle with 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese. Pour biscuit mix over meat. Melt 2 tablespoons of butter and drizzle over top. Bake for approximately 35 to 45 minutes until top is golden brown.  Allow to cool slightly, serve warm.

Favorite Caramel Corn

December 20, 2009 at 8:15 pm | Posted in Dessert | 5 Comments
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Every family has their favorite Caramel Corn recipe, and this one is mine.  It was clipped from our local newspaper back when I was a teen and it’s been a family favorite ever since.

Caramel Corn

  • 7 cups popped popcorn (or one microwave popped bag)
  • ¾ cup brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup butter
  • 3 Tbsp light corn syrup
  • ¼ tsp baking soda
  • ¼ tsp vanilla

Optional Add-Ins:

  • 1 cup M&Ms
  • 1 Cup peanuts
  • 1 cup raisins

Preheat oven to 300 degrees

Pop the popcorn and pour into a 9×12 glass baking dish and keep warm in the oven.

In a small saucepan, mix the sugar, butter, and corn syrup. Use a candy thermometer and bring the caramel mixture to 250 degrees.

Remove from heat.  Stir in the baking soda and vanilla.  Pour caramel mixture over the warm popcorn and stir.

Bake in 300 degree oven for 5 minutes. Stir and bake for another 5 minutes.

Pour mixture on wax paper and cool completely before mixing in any add-ins.  Store in airtight container.

Thanksgiving Memory Pie

November 25, 2009 at 8:55 pm | Posted in event, Pies | 4 Comments

Happy Thanksgiving!

I’ve decided that the best pumpkin pie is the pie I grew up on, and no matter how good a different pumpkin pie is, it just doesn’t compare with the memories that a Libby’s Famous Pumpkin Pie brings.  For me, this is the best pumpkin pie.

This year we are going to my parent’s house.  I’ll be bringing some of our holiday favorites…

Mashed Potatoes loaded with roasted garlic, caramelized shallots and sour cream,  simple Roasted Brussel Sprouts, and something new…Ree’s Turnip Gratin …can’t wait.  Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!

Gingerbread Skillet Cake

November 23, 2009 at 3:11 pm | Posted in Dessert | 5 Comments
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When my friend and blogging mentor (hi Gretchen!) posted her Upside-Down Pear Gingerbread cake, I knew I had to try it in my cast iron skillet.

The cake baked beautifully, the pears were perfectly caramelized, and the gingerbread had the perfect amount of spice…food blogging 101…always trust a food blogger and your cast iron skillet.

The family will love this wonderful fall dessert!

Continue Reading Gingerbread Skillet Cake…

serious cookies

November 19, 2009 at 8:43 pm | Posted in Cookies, Dessert | 8 Comments
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Seriously, go make these cookies, now!

Many thanks to Megan for posting these World Peace cookies.  Megan, they are awesome.  Seriously, I’ve made them twice in the past week…and I want more.

Continue Reading serious cookies…

Skillet Cornbread and Chili

November 13, 2009 at 8:15 pm | Posted in Family Meals, kitchen tools | 4 Comments
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I took Deborah‘s advice and made skillet cornbread in my new cast iron skillet.  AMAZING results!  Seriously, the corn bread baked beautifully.  It was perfectly cooked, had an amazing color, didn’t stick to the pan, and washed up in a breeze.

How could I have gone so long without a cast iron skillet?!!!  I’m hooked, totally sold, and will probably return to the flea market next month to pick up a 10 inch skillet.


I used this recipe for the cornbread.  Next time I will add some jalapenos because I like some zip in my food.  Plus the spicy jalapenos with some sweet honey would be amazing.

We ate it up with a nice bowl of turkey chili.  Perfect for this crisp fall night!

cornbread and chili

Turkey Chili

  • 1 lb of ground turkey
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, chopped
  • 1 green bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 can of kidney beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 large can of diced tomatoes
  • 1 small can of tomato paste
  • 3 tsp chili powder

Cook the onion, garlic, green bell pepper and jalapeno in a large pot.  Once they have become soft, remove them from the pot and set aside.  Cook the ground turkey in the same pot.  Return the vegetables to the ground turkey and stir in the diced tomatoes, tomato paste, kidney beans, and chili powder.  Bring to a boil then set on low until ready to serve.  Garnish with cheese, sour cream, cilantro…and cornbread.

Stephanie’s Cinnamon Rolls

November 11, 2009 at 9:36 am | Posted in breakfast | 4 Comments
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I don’t know who Stephanie is, but I know that she is an amazing baker.  Stephanie, (hello Sue’s friend in Michigan!), thank you for sharing your recipe with California.  These have graced my Christmas morning table, began quiet Saturday’s at home, and delivered each and every time.

cr side

But I must admit, the kneading and rising time of the original recipe (below)…well, let’s just say I wanted an easier way, so I turned to my faithful bread maker (circa my 1997 wedding).  The results are amazing!

cr open

Stephanie’s Cinnamon Rolls (bread maker adaptation)

  • 1 1/4 cups warm water
  • 1 pkg yeast
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup crisco
  • 4 cups flour (divided)
  • 1/2-3/4 cup cinnamon sugar
  • 1 stick of butter, room temperature

Mix water, yeast, sugar and salt in a small bowl, set aside.  In your bread maker, mix egg, crisco and 2 cups of the flour.  Add the water mixture to the bread maker.  Then add 1 more cup of flour.

Turn your bread maker on the dough setting and let it mix for 1 minute.  Add 1/2 cup of flour as it is mixing.  After another minute, add the last 1/2 cup of flour (make sure your flour is all in before your bread maker gets to the kneeding stage, for mine it’s minute 6).  Now just leave it alone until it has risen, 1 1/2 hours in total.

Once the dough is ready, turn out onto a lightly dusted smooth surface and shape into a 5″ x 18 ” rectangle.  Spread with butter.  Sprinkle with cinnamon sugar.

Roll lengthwise.  Pinch the seam so it stays closed.  Slice into 12 equal pieces.  Place spirals into a greased 9 x 13 pan.  (Don’t worry if they look whimpy at this point, they raise again in the oven while baking).

Bake at 325 degrees for 30 minutes.  Cool slightly before frosting.

Sour Cream Frosting

  • 1/3 cup room temperature butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 4 Tbsp sour cream
  • 1 tsp vanilla

Mix and spread on warm cinnamon rolls.  Enjoy!

Continue Reading Stephanie’s Cinnamon Rolls…

Cast Iron Skillet

November 7, 2009 at 2:36 pm | Posted in kitchen tools | 11 Comments
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I picked up my first cast iron skillet today from the Flea Market for $10!

cast iron skillet

Yes, my friend and I get up before the sun one Saturday a month and head to our local flea market looking for treasures.  And this was today’s find…it’s an 8 inch cast iron skillet by Wagner Ware Sidney.

cast iron skillet handle

Now, being that this is my first cast iron skillet, I have no idea what to make. These recipes caught my eye…

Red Flannel Hash


Caramel Apple Cake

Queenie’s Cornbread

Got any ideas?

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