Friday, July 31, 2009


My cupboard always has a box of brownie mix in it. Always. Anytime a mix is on sale, I'll throw one in the grocery cart, because they are so versatile and a great dessert to serve to unexpected guests or when you're just having one of the those "Icouldeatanythingthatdoesn'tcrawl" moments!

I made this recipe several times, and folks always ask for the recipe, and are shocked when they realize how simple it is.

So, I'm passing my secret cheater recipe along to you.


One box brownie Mix
(and ingredients to prepare it)

1 jar Caramel Sauce or Butterscotch(Smucker's)or if you can find it, ROBERT ROTHSCHILD sauce! (I used to sell this brand in my gift shop years ago, and I think they are the best gourmet sauces on the market!)

1 jar chocolate sauce

Ice cream, whipped cream or your favorite topping (optional)

Prepare brownies according to package directions. When done, remove from oven and poke holes over all. Drizzle generously with the chocolate sauce, then the caramel.

Serve warm with ice cream on top, or your favorite toppings, or just serve as is.

*You have my permission to lick your fingers on this one!

Enjoy your weekend!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

When you see it, you'll understand....

I'm sorry I have not updated this blog for the last few days, but I've been a bit pre-occupied.

Let's just say....I think I saw God this weekend.

Here's a sampling of my photos from my trip to Fern Cliffe in my beautiful Southern Illinois.

Click here to view more photos of God's handiwork!


Thursday, July 23, 2009


This is not only a quick dinner, it was a throw together inspiration from items already in my fridge or pantry that I didn't have to go to the store to purchase.
The flavored salsa makes this meal, so you don't want to use just any ole salsa- go for the tequila Lime flavor! It gives it a little kick!

Perfect for a lazy weekend cook!


1 lb.ground beef (brown and drain)

1 pkg. taco seasoning (plus water amount suggested on pkg.)
Add to beef.

3 T. Tequila Lime Salsa (I used Kroger brand)
1 can of red beans, drained.

Add to beef mixture and cook until heated through.

1 cup Shredded cheese (I used mozzarella -of all things- only because I was out of everything else- but I'd say cheddar would be best!)

Lettuce, tomato, black olives or your favorite taco toppings.

Salsa on the side.
Bag of Tortilla chips

Arrange Chips in large plate/bowl and cover with meat mixture and your favorite toppings.


Three Ingredient Thursday- Banana Smoothie

I love a good smoothie! Especially for breakfast, and especially in the blazin' hot summertime.

I made a three-ingredient smoothie for this post, but I also wanted to add a few quickies that came stamped on the smoothie glass I purchased at the Dollar Tree.

You gonna' love em!


1 banana
1 c. milk
1/2 tsp. vanilla

Break Banana in half, and place in blender.(With about 3 ice cubes) Pour in milk and vanilla and blend until smooth.

Garnish with a strawberry.

1 cup vanilla ice cream
1 cup cold Orange Juice
3/4 cups pineapple chunks
Splash of lemon or lime juice

3/4 cup diced fresh strawberries
3/4 cup unsweetened apple juice
1/2 frozen raspberries
1 frozen banana, sliced
Blend with ice


1 1/2 cups diced honeydew melon
1 cup lemon-lime gatorade
3/4 cup fresh green grapes pinch of salt

Blend with ice


1 cup Blueberry Yogurt
3/4 cup cold apple juice
2/3 cups fresh or frozen blueberries
1 cup frozen sliced peaches
Blend with ice

Pour yourself a cold one and sit back and enjoy the rest of the summer while cooling off -Inside out!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Orange Chicken

Yesterday, I was feeling under the weather, so I skimmed through MANY cookbooks while lounging around outdoors on the patio, in my bed, and on the couch.

I finally got up and fixed this delicious recipe that I haven't made in a awhile.

It has an interesting ingredient- a GRAHAM cracker coating! I had never come across a recipe for chicken coated in graham crackers before!

The sauce for the chicken, was actually a sauce for a pork recipe I make and love, so I just combined the two!

I submitted this recipe to be printed in the Coal Country Cookin' cookbook (vol. II).
You can still order this cookbook, AND help fund the Old King Coal Festival here in my small town. Click here to learn more about it and to order your cookbook.


3 lbs. chicken breasts (I use skinless, boneless)
1/2 cup graham cracker crumbs
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. paprika
1/2 tsp. pepper
2 eggs
1 T. Milk

1/2 c. orange juice
2 T. brown sugar
2 T. orange marmalade
1 T. vinegar

Combine crumbs and spices
in a plastic bag. Mix eggs with milk and beat well. Dip chicken one at a time into liquid, then shake in bag of crumbs. Place chicken on lightly greased baking sheet. Bake at 425 degrees for 20 minutes. Turn over and bake 15 minutes longer. Mix all sauce ingredients together and spoon over warm meat.
Garnish with orange slices.

This has a refreshingly light sweet taste. Something different, for a change.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Cheesy Tomato Pie

I do not have my own garden, but I am blessed with great friends who are very generous with their garden bounty. Recently I was given many fresh tomatoes from my friend Steph's garden, and I've been eating them plain, just sliced on a little plate. One after another. Till I developed little sores in my mouth! So, I know I need to slow it down a bit, but I'm afraid they'll go bad before the last one is eaten so rather than waste perfectly good garden tomatoes, I've been making up some tomato recipes that help spread the tomato love a little.

This recipe was found on, but of course I tweaked it a bit to suit my tastes.

It is very rich, so slices don't need to be very large, but it is a perfect recipe to try especially when your tomato bounty is plentiful.

*In my photo, I took the picture immediately after I removed it from the oven. I sliced into it a bit too soon. When it cools a bit, it developes a firmer texture. Still creamy, but not like the photo shows.


1 (9 inch) pie shell (I used a premade pie crust, but of course for you die hard "everything from scratch ladies", feel free to make your own!)

5 ripe tomatoes, sliced and drained well (You don't want a soggy bottom- which is not to be confused with a saggy bottom which I have... but that's another story))

3/4 lb. bacon, cooked and crumbled
1/2 yellow onion, sliced
3/4 cup mayonnaise (not Miracle Whip)
1/3 cup shredded mozzarella cheese (plus a little more to sprinkle on bottom of pie shell and some for the top)
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
ground black pepper to taste
2 teaspoons fresh basil *
2 teaspoons fresh oregano *

*Or use 1 tsp. each if fresh is not handy.


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Bake the pastry shell until browned. While baking, fry bacon and drain grease.
When crust is baked, sprinkle a little mozzarella over crust. Then crumble bacon and place over cheese.
Slice onion and place on bacon. Slice tomatoes and arrange over onions. Add black pepper to taste.

In a medium bowl, combine mozzarella, Parmesan and mayonnaise. Spread this mixture evenly over tomatoes.

Bake at 350 degrees F for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown. Sprinkle a little mozzarella on top during last 5 minutes of baking. Once cooked, garnish with fresh herbs.


If you have some garden tomato recipes, I'd love for you to share them with me. Feel free to link up your recipe from your site in the comment section.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

A special request

I interrupt this food blog to bring you a special request...

My son's friend Tyson Serles, a Private First Class in the US Army was critically injured in a roadside bombing in Afghanistan and is now recovering in a hospital in Iraq. You can read more about his story here.

He is there without familiar faces or family, and not only is physically injured, but is mourning the loss of many of his fellow soldiers in the explosion.

His father has asked for cards and letters of encouragement to be sent to his son, so I thought I would pass along the address for those who would be willing to take 5 minutes to lighten this 19 year old boy's load.

Small sacrifice on our part, for one who has already sacrificed so much.

Would you be willing to help?

Here is his address:

PFC Serles, Tyson
FOBTF Sparta
HHT, 1-40 CAV (ABN)
APO AE 09354

Feel free to pass along this post or info on your blogs, or through emails, or prayer chains, etc.

We are trying to fill his room with cards and letters from people all over the world! Will you help?

Start your weekend off the best way you reaching out to someone in need.

I promise you, you'll be glad you did!

3 Ingredient Thursday- Blueberry Pancakes

I know I should be ashamed posting something that basically is NOT a recipe, but more of a "how to fake out the family and make them think you made something from scratch early before church on Sunday Morning". Which is exactly what I did here.

But you know what? When my hubby and son give rave reviews over something so easy, I think I should share the secret so the next time you're in a bind, you have this simple "instruction" to fall back on.

Here's what I did...

I slept in on Sunday morning but still wanted to give them somewhat of a hearty breakfast. So I pulled out the pancake mix (the kind that you only add water to- it was even a generic brand!) and added a cup full of fresh blueberries to the batter and viola! Perfect tasting blueberry pancakes! The guys were none the wiser!

I served it with syrup and a side of fresh fruit mix, Apple Raspberry Juice and a cup of Hazelnut coffee. Sunday morning never tasted so good!

Now, to make up for my unpreparedness on this lazy Sunday morning, I decided to share a REAL recipe with you by someone who obviously was prepared on Sunday. Click here for a delicious Homemade (from scratch) Blueberry Pancake recipe from the Cooking Photographer. She uses a special ingredient I think you'll enjoy.
Tell her Sherri Sent ya'!

*Hey, before you leave, today is my friend Candy's birthday! Would you hop on over to Steele the Day, just to wish her a happy day? It'll only take a minute to spread some sunshine...come on!

And the winner is....

The winner of yesterday's giveaway is: REENI!!!!

Congratulations Reeni! Your pampering gift and cookbook will be shipped to you as soon as I receive your mailing address!

I just loving giving stuff away!

I'll be back tomorrow with my THREE INGREDIENT THURSDAY recipe.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Will work for a free giveaway!

Over at my other Blog, Matter of Fact, I posted 15 work related questions for my readers to answer, because you really get to know alot about someone when you discuss their career, their dreams, their past work, etc. Click here if you'd like to read mine and play along, I'd love to get to know you better.

If you don't have time to read and play there, you can answer a simple question here, and at the same time, earn a chance to win a Pampering Gift, to relieve some stress from your workday and also a cookbook!.

All you need to do to enter is to answer this question:

Have you ever held a food-related job?
(i.e. waitress, cook,etc.)

To add your name in the hat an extra time, FOLLOW this site and your chances have doubled!
I will randomly choose a name by placing your name in a hat (1 or 2 times) and Big AL will draw a lucky winner! Come back tomorrow to find out who wins!

*I'm giving away another gift on my other site so be sure to play there as well. Click here for Matter of Fact -Are You Working Hard or Hardly Working?

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Homemade Granola

Recently, Big AL and I celebrated our 27th anniversary, and we stayed overnight at a quaint little Bed and Breakfast in Cape Girardeau, Mo., The Rosebed Inn. (This was our fourth visit!)

Here's a shot of the gorgeous room!

We continue to return because we are treated like ROYALTY in beautiful surroundings.

A delicious full gourmet breakfast was served, but the first course included a very simple homemade yogurt with granola. (Pictured).

Now, I've never made my own yogurt, but this is my granola recipe (from Alton Brown) that is delicious served atop a creamy yogurt, and served in an elegant dish, makes even an ordinary breakfast seem extraordinary.

You will need:
3 cups rolled oats
1 cup slivered almonds
1 cup cashews
3/4 cup shredded sweet coconut
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons maple syrup
1/4 cup vegetable oil
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup raisins


Preheat oven to 250 degrees F.

In a large bowl, combine the oats, nuts, coconut, and brown sugar.

In a separate bowl, combine maple syrup, oil, and salt. Combine both mixtures and pour onto 2 sheet pans. Cook for 1 hour and 15 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes to achieve an even color.

Remove from oven and transfer into a large bowl. Add raisins and mix until evenly distributed.

Pamper yourself with this simple recipe.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Momma's Salmon Patties

Growing up, Mom always made Salmon patties with mashed potatoes and sweet peas at least once each month, sometimes twice. We love this meal. My grown sons are big fans of the patties, but they eat them like potato chips, so I must make MANY to fill them up! I'll be draining them on the paper towels, and I turn around to add some more to the drain plate, and it will be empty!

Here's Momma's simple, homestyle recipe you can enjoy with your bunch.


2 cans pink salmon (remove bones/vertebrae (duh!)
1 egg
1/2 sleeve saltine crackers
minced onion, to taste (1/4 cup?)
1 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
Vegetable oil for frying

Mix all well, and shape into patties. On med-high heat, place oil in skillet, and fry patties till golden brown on both sides. Drain on paper towels.

Serve with mashed potatoes and sweet peas.

*Scroll down to previous post for the Herbed Mashed Potato Recipe! They are delcious!

Thanks Mom!

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Herbed Mashed Potatoes

"It is a mistake to think you can solve any major problems just with potatoes."
-- Douglas Adams

Okay, I know he's right in theory, but I say a potato a day keeps the gloomies away!

Don't you agree?

Here's a recipe from my Taste of Home CELEBRATIONS cookbook, that tops the list of COMFORT FOODS. Warm, rich and creamy!


You will need:

6 1/2 cups cubed, red potatoes (leave jackets on)
2 garlic cloves, peeled and halved
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup sour cream
2 T. minced, fresh parsley
2 T. minced, fresh oregano
1 T. minced, fresh thyme
1 T. butter
3/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper

Place potatoes and garlic in saucepan. Cover with garlic. Bring to a boil over Med.-High heat. Cook for 15-20 minutes or until tender:drain. Place potatoes and garlic in a large mixing bowl. Add remaining ingredients and mash.

Prepare to be comforted like you never have before...

Then contact Douglas Adams and tell him HE WAS WRONG!

Friday, July 3, 2009


Here's a quick and easy dish that your kids will love and you'll enjoy the change of pace from an ordinary quesadilla.

You will need:

1 pkg. flour tortilla
1 jar Spaghetti sauce (your favorite)
1 pkg. pepperoni slices
Shredded Mozzerella chesse
Oil for frying

Heat skillet to med. high and add oil. Place torilla in skillet, then top with sauce, pepperoni,

then top with cheese. Put another tortilla on top. Cook for a few minutes till brown, then flip in skillet with large spatula. Cook until brown on bottom. Remove from heat.

Call the youngin's and prepare to be showered with compliments.