Thursday, April 30, 2009

Recipes from My Clippings Box

As promised, these are recipes passed to me, clipped from newspapers, box tops, magazines, etc. that I have yet to try. The recipes qualify for this box if they sound good to me, are quick to prepare, have few ingredients or are inexpensive, yet nutritious.

Dad sent me the first two in separate e-mails. He knows that I love to cook and blog, so he keeps an eye out for anything that I might want to try. Thanks to him, we have a unique-sounding cake recipe to start with today:

Hornet's Nest Cake

Cook 1 large box of vanilla pudding. Cool 10-15 min. Add 1 box dry yellow cake mix. Pour into 13x9x3" cake pan (lightly greased).
Mix 1 12 oz. pkg, butterscotch chips and 1/2 C chopped pecans together. Sprinkle over cake batter. Bake 40 to 50 min. at 350 degrees.

Chicken Broccoli Alfredo

1 Ready-roasted chicken from the store, or a chicken you've roasted at home
1 jar Bertolli Alfredo sauce
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 bunch fresh broccoli, chopped
1 16 oz. pkg of noodles

Chop chicken into bite-sized pieces. Cook noodles and drain. Par-boil broccoli and garlic. Add vegetables to sauce and heat through. Pour over noodles. Serve with French bread.

Mammam had copied this recipe down, from a friend, I think. I don't remember having tried it so it landed in the box of clippings. It sounds very basic; you could make frosting any time you need it without running to the store. (It sounds similar to the frosting recipe that my mother-in-law, Louise, makes for her Red Velvet Cake.)

Hillbilly Frosting

5 TBSP. flour
1 C sweet milk
Cook together and let cool.

1 C powdered sugar
1 C Crisco shortening
1/4 C butter
1 tsp vanilla
Mix all together.

Happy cooking! I'm joining other recipe swappers at Joy@JoyofDesserts today!

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

The Best Cleaning Book I've Ever Read

I promise you that I'm not in any way trying to sell you books. I just read a lot, and frequent used book stores and estate and yard sales looking for unusual, old books with practical information. Today, I've got a "cleaning encyclopedia of what to use and how to use it" for you; it's called How To Clean Everything by Alma Chestnut Moore (published in 1961 by Simon & Schuster). After looking through, and reading many other hints and tip books from "cleaning gurus," I found this old book to be the best.

You know the saying, "Everything old is new again" because trends seem to run in cycles. Well, the trend of using natural household products such as vinegar and baking soda has become the "It" way to clean your house because you're being "green". What's funny to me, is that many housewives have used these products for years, basically, for their cost effectiveness and trust in great American brands such as Arm & Hammer, Morton's and Heinz. It doesn't take a genius to figure out that if you're not sure of how to pronounce all of the chemicals in the spray bottle, you might not want to rub the stuff all over your baby's high chair!

The knowledge of the use of vinegar to clean windows has been passed down from grandmas to moms to daughters for years. Table salt has had many uses since Roman times (when it lost its savor it was tossed out into the streets). Baking soda is a wonderful cleaner that is non-abrasive so I always clean my cook top with it. And, recently, my Dad just sent me a long list of uses for hydrogen peroxide. The notable thing about this book from 1961, is that most of the ingredients listed to clean with are these old stand-bys that you can buy at the dollar stores or the grocery store. This book is written for quick reference; because every cleaning problem or particular item to be cleaned is in alphabetical order it's very handy to use.
So, if your little one just spilled...Oh, I don't know...Pepto Bismol on your carpet (that's right, I raised three boys!) you can quickly look up what you should do next. (I once knew a woman who's children "buttered her couch" with soft spread margarine while she was on the phone making trip arrangements with a travel agent! Just thought I'd throw that in because it's funny to me every time I think of it!)

Anyway, I hope you have luck in finding this useful cleaning tool. Have a great Wednesday. Tomorrow, I will be giving out some recipes from my clippings box of ones that I want to try soon. Please leave me a comment if there's any old recipe that you've been hunting for. I probably have it here...somewhere.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

My Pepper Steak, Sugar-Free Jam and Oven Toasted Corned Beef Sandwiches

I'm getting my "Travelers" ready today: laundry, ironing, picking up prescription refills. They are excited to go, but there's a lot of little details when you're getting ready for a trip. That reminds me, I need to get the suitcases down from the top shelf in our closet. We have the kind that roll through the airport as you pull on the handle; these are great, especially if you have to get your luggage through a large airport in a short amount of time!

Excuse my travel chatter, because I realize that today is when I enjoy sharing family favorite recipes with you. I pulled three from my wooden file box on Sunday afternoon. Here they are:

This first recipe is the way that I prepare Pepper Steak with Rice. My husband and two of the three sons do not like slices of green pepper in theirs, but I cook it with the peppers because they give the steak that wonderful flavor, but I don't give them any peppers on their plates when I serve it.

Pepper Steak in the Crock Pot

1 lean, trimmed tip roast (about 5 lb.)
1 large green Bell pepper cut into strips
1 large Vidalia onion (or Texas Sweet) cut into strips

Place roast in the crock pot and sprinkle generously w/ garlic salt. Cover with green pepper and onion strips (salt also). Pour 1 can tomato sauce or 1 can tomato soup (which ever you have) over all. Turn crock pot to High.

Fix steamed rice in separate pan or rice cooker. Pull the piece of meat out of the crock. Pour a small amount of white sauce in to thicken the juices. Slice meat. Pour meat and sauce w/ peppers and onions over the rice.

Eric and Cae are good friends of ours from church. They brought these delicious warm sandwiches to a New Years Eve party and they just disappeared off of the plate. They are so good and easy to fix.

Warm Corned Beef Sandwiches

1 pkg. onion buns
mayo or Miracle Whip to taste
1 can of corned beef (like Hormel)

In a bowl mash the corned beef up with a fork. Then add: 1 tsp mustard, 1 onion chopped fine, 3 stalks celery chopped fine. Mix together well.

Butter the insides of both halves of each bun. Add 1 slice of American cheese and spread a layer of the meat mixture. Wrap each sandwich in foil and place on cookie sheet. Bake at 325 degrees for 20 to 30 min.

This Sugar-free recipe came from Aunt Sis' collection.

Sugar-Free Strawberry Jam

3/4 C diet lemon-lime soda
1 pkg. (3 oz.) sugar-free strawberry jello mix
1 C mashed fresh or frozen strawberries
1 1/2 tsp lemon juice

In sauce pan bring soda pop to a boil; remove from heat and stir in jello until dissolved. Stir in strawberries and lemon juice. Pour into jars; cover and refrigerate up to 3 weeks. Do not freeze!

Go to Blessedwithgrace and for more great recipes.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Menu Plan Monday

We've got a busy week coming up. Two members of the family will be traveling (going separate directions on separate flights!) We, who remain, will be eating simply as there will be a "cook's holiday" beginning on Wednesday. I enjoy sandwiches, soups and salads when everyone is not here. We will eat when we're hungry and there's little clean-up.

Monday, April 27

Lemon Pepper Fish w/ sour cream tarragon sauce
red potatoes with parsley
fresh green beans

Tuesday, April 28

Ham and Scalloped Cheese Potatoes in Crock Pot
Green salad w/ tomatoes
hot rolls

Wednesday, April 29

Jimmy Dean Sausage and Egg Biscuits (microwave)
fruit salad

Thursday, April 30

Pizza Buns
tossed salad

Friday, May 1

Chinese Lo Mein (take-out)
egg rolls
orange slices

Saturday, May 2

Bagels w/ cream cheese
scrambled eggs
spiced apples

Campbells Chicken Noodle Soup
grilled cheese sandwiches

Look for other menu ideas at Orgjunkie MenuplanMonday!

Gardening Tips

I know that it's not my practice to blog on Saturday, but I'm up before the rest of the family and remembered a gardening tip that I meant to share this past week. I'm afraid that if I wait until next week I'll forget; it's sad to have the attention span of a gnat!
When I was down on my hands and knees putting in a couple of pepper plants this past week, I dug the hole, put some water in and then threw in 2 or 3 matches. That's right, matches from a matchbook! Pepper plants like the sulfur. Another tip: don't throw away those old coffee grounds; sprinkle them around your azalea bushes. Azaleas like the acidity.
We're going to the Kiwanis Pancake Breakfast this morning, so I've got to go for now. Have a great Saturday!

Friday, April 24, 2009

Better Homes and Gardens Salad Book

I imagine that this colorful cookbook was a hot seller in its day, but I was disappointed in many of the recipes. The book this week is the Better Homes and Gardens Salad Book published in 1958 by Meridith Publishing Company. I had to really search to find recipes that would be usable for our family.
Although the book is full of colorful photos of the recipes, the ingredients make for some unusual combinations. I think this may be where some of the jokes about 1950's lime jello concoctions originated; so many of the recipes offered contain either lime jello, boiled eggs or mayonnaise as ingredients. In one of the recipes it suggested stacking a pineapple slice on an onion slice; it just doesn't sound like a taste treat to me. Another recipe combines cranberry sauce, celery, cream cheese and ripe olives...that ensemble is just wrong! All I can say is they must have been fond of aspic and molded salads in that time period because the book is full of them and they are prominently featured in the pictures.
To its credit, I will admit that anyone who wants some traditional salad recipes can find them in this cookbook. There's everything from Green Goddess to Perfect Potato Salad and Basic Waldorf Salad. Also, for the beginning cook, it gives the recipes to make your own mayo and salad dressings (they always taste better than bottled).

P. 82 Tomato Accordions

I did find a clever idea for serving egg, potato, or tuna salad this summer: take a large summer tomato and slice it without cutting all the way through; then fill the tomato's slits with the salad mixture. It's a pretty way to serve it. Here are a couple of sample recipes from the appetizer section of the cookbook.

P. 98 Shrimp Cocktail with Chili Hot Sauce

3/4 C chili sauce
1/4 C lemon juice
1 to 2 TBSP horse-radish
1 tsp minced onion
2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
4 drops Tabasco sauce
dash of salt
Fresh-cooked shrimp

Combine ingredients except shrimp. Chill thoroughly. Makes 1 C hot sauce. Serve in individual cocktail cups. Hook shrimp over rims of glasses.

This recipe for a seafood dip will be a great way to use some tarragon from my herb garden.

P. 98 Sour Cream Tarragon Dip

1 C sour cream
2/3 C mayo or salad dressing
1 tsp vinegar
1/4 tsp seasoned salt
1/2 tsp tarragon

Combine ingredients and chill. Serve with seafood. Makes 1 2/3 C.

Go to Grocerycartchallenge for today's recipe swap!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

"Summer Refreshers" or Drinks for When You Collapse After Gardening

I'm still working at trying to get plants out (herbs and a small vegetable patch) and keeping the new trees and shrubs watered (part of our landscape overhaul). I'll tell you...I've always admired people who live in the country and farm for a living, but I have a new-found appreciation just for small-time gardeners! They make it look so beautiful and effortless; it is so much work, time, and dedication to using a garden hose until those plants get established...then comes the weeding. I have to say, though, that there is such a sense of accomplishment and self sufficiency when you get done watering, hoeing, weeding... or whatever and plop into the lawn chair for a cold drink and a "sit" to admire your handiwork.

That made me think that since I'm short on time today, and hot and thirsty, I would share some summer drink ideas.

Sassafras Tea (Mammam used to make this in the Spring when I was little)
Lina Michael/Paden City, WV

Wash roots well.
Put 6 roots in pan or coffee pot with about a quart of water.
Soak overnight.
Place on fire and boil until you have a fairly strong tea.
Add water and sugar (or Splenda) to taste.

(She used to claim that this drink, "cleaned out your system"-like a spring tonic!)

Sparkling Apple Juice (got this one from an older lady at a Ladies' Club Tea)

1/2 C apple juice
1/2 ginger ale

Combine. This makes a single serving, but you get the part apple juice to one part ginger ale.

Southern Punch
(Miss Betty Robb/ Fort Deposit, Alabama)

1 12 oz. can frozen pink lemonade
1 12 oz. can frozen orange juice
1/2 container Crystal Light Iced Tea Mix

In large pitcher, mix lemonade, OJ, and tea mix.
Add water to taste.
Chill at least 2 hrs. prior to serving.
Serve over ice.
Add sprig of fresh mint (opt.) Makes 1 1/2 to 2 qts.

Pineapple Lemonade
(Marcia Jeffries/ Oklahoma City, Oklahoma)

1 46 oz. can unsweetened pineapple juice
4 C water
2 C fresh lemon juice
1 1/3 C sugar

Combine all ingredients, stirring until sugar dissolves.
Serve over ice. Yield: 3 quarts.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

My Best Meatloaf Recipe and a Couple of Salads, too

I spent yesterday putting in my herb garden. I was lucky to find a buy-one, get-one sale on potted vegetable plants and herbs Sunday afternoon. I planted: sweet basil, lemon basil, tarragon, sage, Italian parsley, and rosemary. I'm still going to get some mint and oregano. I like lemon balm and lavender, but didn't find any.

I did see an unusual herb while I was shopping that I'd never heard of, it was called "chocolate mint". I may have to plant a pot of it on my porch (my reading spot) just so I can smell it blowing in the breeze. If you happen to have a great recipe using herbs let me know about it; I don't have many. I basically use them in sauces and to grill meat with. I enjoy putting the lemon flavored herbs or mint in iced tea in the summer. That's about it for my use of herbs, but I love to look at them and enjoy the aroma they provide.

The children who were neighbors and friends of my son, Ben, at our old house used to come to my deck to sample the mint and lemon leaves. I showed them the corner of my deck that was herbs and explained the "safety rules" about never putting plants in your mouth that you're not sure of. I always shared with the other moms so they could also taste the flavors in their food and iced tea.

Well, speaking of flavors and recipes, let's get down to business as I share some family favorites. After all, it is Tuesday!

Here's my best meatloaf recipe. I think it's origin is an old Heinz ad from years ago. After I started making this version, and noticed that all the guys ate it and didn't grumble about it being "meatloaf night" for dinner, I knew it was a keeper. The trick for our family is that the vegetables in the meatloaf must be diced very small and saute'd to a transparent state. After I discovered this recipe, I threw the other meatloaf recipes away.

Fiesta Meatloaf

1 medium onion, chopped

1/2 C chopped celery
1/4 C chopped green pepper

2 TBSP butter

1 bottle Heinz Chili Sauce (12 oz.)
1 1/2 lb. lean ground beef
1 C crumbled butter crackers (Ritz)

1 egg
salt and pepper

Saute' onion, celery, and green pepper in butter until tender (can use microwave). Mix together ground beef, chili sauce (reserve a little for the topping), cracker crumbs, egg, salt and pepper to taste. Form into loaf. Spread rest of chili sauce on top and bake at 350 degrees for 1 hr.

The next two salads are ones that I sometimes make on Mondays to stick in the fridge for after-school snacking. They are salads that my teenager will eat a whole bowl of, and both stay good for several days...if they last that long!

3 Bean Salad

1 1 lb. can cut green beans
1 1 lb. can cut wax beans
1 15 oz. can dark red kidney beans
1/2 C finely-chopped red onion
1/2 C finely-chopped green pepper

1/2 C sugar (or same amount of Splenda)
2/3 C vinegar
1/3 C salad oil (I use Canola)

1 tsp salt

1/4 tsp pepper

Drain beans. Combine sugar, vinegar and oil. Pour over vegetables; add salt and pepper. Chill overnight. Every once in a while open the fridge and shake the container (with tight lid) around to coat the salad evenly.
You can add chick peas or any variety of beans that you like to this to up the nutritional value. In fact, I've put corn in it before.

Chinese Coleslaw

1 head of cabbage thinly shredded

1 pkg. broccoli slaw (opt)
4 pkg. dry, broken ramen noodles
1 C sunflower seeds
1 C chopped pecans

Put cut vegetables and broken up noodles in a large plastic container w/lid. Pour 1 bottle of Kraft Poppy seed Dressing over all and mix to coat.
Refrigerate for several hours. When ready to serve, toss in seeds and nuts.
This makes a lot! If you're taking it to a dinner that's a good thing, if not, and you don't have a teenager at your house, you might want to cut the recipe in half.

Today is the recipe swap at BlessedwithGrace and

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Menu Planning Monday

Today, for my main meat for the week, I'm roasting chicken breasts as I do laundry. So, as you'll see, my menu will reflect that. There will be two nights that we'll have chicken dishes and I'll have extra to make chicken salad (with a little mayo and hot sauce, for lunch sandwiches).
Here we go:

Monday, April 20

Baked Chicken Ziti Alfredo
tossed salad
French bread

Tuesday, April 21

Spicy sausage and rice
carrot and celery sticks

Wednesday, April 22

Chicken Caesar Salad
Wheat crackers
Jello w/ fruit

Thursday, April 23

Beef Stroganoff
green beans

Friday, April 24

Homemade pizzas

Saturday, April 25

Biscuits w/ bacon and milk gravy
Fruit mix

Grilled salmon
Red potatoes w/ parsley
spicy corn casserole

Check out Orgjunkie today for other menu ideas!

Friday, April 17, 2009

Cookbook also for "Camping-Challenged"

I'm dedicating today's Old Cookbook Review to the hearty souls among us who call themselves, "campers". I've experienced camping with my family, and as an adult, I'm still trying to figure out and understand its popularity. I guess I'm a non-camper by nature. Actually, I think "nature" is my problem; I do not enjoy cold (or hot/humid) outdoor co-existence with bugs and poison ivy. Call me crazy, but a vacation where I'm able to sleep at night, in peace and comfort, between all the activities of one day and another, is for me; I've been told that I'm less grouchy that way! Fortunately, today's cookbook, Betty Crocker's Outdoor Cookbook, is for both campers and back-patio-grillers, alike.

This cookbook was printed in 1961 by General Mills Inc. Its Library of Congress catalog number is 61-9892. This is a small wire-bound cookbook that is actually part of a set of cookbooks offered by Betty Crocker in the 60's. I own the set, and we will review others from it in the future. They are all very handy in size and have lots of good recipes. The covers are made of material that can be wiped off if you need to clean them.

As I said, this cookbook is great for campers, but also includes the rest of us who like to picnic, grill, hike, fish, or have a clam-bake at the beach. It gives basic information on fire starting, outdoor cooking equipment, and which electric appliances are the most useful when you're on the move in your camper.

There are illustrations and full-color photos of folks in the woods, at the beach, poolside (in suits and summer dresses with pearls and heels, staring at the water...told you it was from the 60's) and on a boat. Even though the pictures are outdoor action shots of people and large spreads of food, there's not a bug in can of fly swatter; I want to live in that world!

In the middle of the book, it gives pictures and detailed instructions as to how to set up a clam bake sight on the beach; always wondered how they did that. Just as the outside activities are varied, so are the recipes. There are recipes for primitive type camping where you only have a campfire for cooking, as well as, foil-wrapped foods for the back patio grill. For the beginner, it gives tips on everything from "how to pack a brown paper bag lunch" to "hamper picnics" and what to take on a boat trip.

Most of the recipes in the book are fairly simple and require minimum preparation time; that's good no matter where you're eating in the spring and summer months. I think anyone who enjoys outdoor activities...or just eating food that's cooked outdoors, would enjoy owning this book; it would make a great gift for a couple who owns a camper, for their cookbook shelf.

Pg. 150 Bayonet Bread

Make biscuit dough: Add 2/3 C milk all at once to2 C Bisquick; stir with fork into a soft dough. Dip your hands in dough and pick up a small piece. Roll between your hands to form a ribbon about 5" long and the width of your little finger. Heat a peeled green stick over the fire (Willow is good for this) . Wind a ribbon of dough spirally around the stick, pinching tightly at each end to hold it onto the stick. Toast over hot coals, turning to bake evenly. With a good bed of coals, the bread will bake in just a few min. and slip easily off the stick. Serve with jam or butter.

Pg. 129 Foil-grilled Zucchini

Slice zucchini crosswise in 1/4" slices. Place portions (one per person) on double thickness of heavy duty aluminum foil. Sprinkle each with salt, freshly-ground black pepper, grated Parmesan cheese, and 1 TBSP. water; dot with 2 tsp of butter. Wrap foil securely. Cook on briquets about 15 min. or on grill about 20 min., turning once.

I learned to make this camp dessert years ago at 4-H camp in "Outdoor Cookery" class.

Pg. 156 Banana Boats

Cut a v-shaped wedge lengthwise in banana. Fill the groove with mini marshmallows and chocolate chips. Wrap tightly in aluminum foil and lay on hot coals. Grill about 10 min.

Check out Grocerycartchallenge today for the recipe swap!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

One Old Cookie Recipe and Two Great ones for Chicken

I'd like to say, before I begin with the recipes that I want to share, how much I appreciate your comments. I don't always reply personally, but I read every one of them; some days it's a challenge just to get the blog done. It is such a treat for me to get to hear from bloggers from all over the country...and other blogger buddies from abroad! I have recently gotten comments from readers in Australia and Paraguay! I think anything that is a positive connection between people in this world today should be encouraged and supported. We're more alike than we are different. Thanks again for your comments!

OK...we've had our PSA for the day! On with the recipes! I found this first one in my clippings of recipes to try. It is so old that the newsprint is faded and yellow. I don't know how it got lost in the shuffle all these years-although, it may be one I inherited from Aunt Sis' stash of recipe clippings. I notice that the woman who sent the recipe in is from Walcottville, Indiana (Mrs. V. Bokon). I want to try it because I love to find recipes that use up leftovers and " dabs" of this and that.

"Cleaning Out the Kitchen" Cookies

1 C shortening
2 eggs

1 1/2 C flour

2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. nutmeg
1 C sugar
1/2 tsp. baking soda

1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla
1 C leftover jam, sauce, fruit (combine whatever "bits and dabs" you might have). 4 C fine crumbs (cake, cookie, bread, oatmeal, or other cereal).
Nuts, raisins, dates, coconut (as much or as little as you like).

Cream shortening and sugar, add eggs and jam mixture and vanilla.
Add dry ingredients.
Work in crumbs.
Add nuts, etc. Chill in refrigerator for one hour.
Drop by spoonfuls onto greased cookie sheets. Bake 12 to 15 min. at 350 degrees.
These are always different-according to what leftovers you use.
Note: If you use juice with your fruit, etc you might need to add a little more flour or crumbs to get the proper consistency for the type of drop cookie your family prefers.

Juanita is a lady from our past church in WV. What a good person and great cook. She is a Hospice volunteer and a devoted grandma. She made this Baked Chicken Salad for many of our church dinners and it was so popular, that it was served for a Secret Sisters luncheon that the ladies had.

Juanita's Baked Chicken Salad

4 C cooked chicken, cubed
1 1/2 C chopped celery
2 8 oz. cans water chestnuts, sliced
1 C mayo
1 can cream of mushroom soup

1/2 C milk
1 (8 oz.) can baby frozen peas

Drain chestnuts; slice, and mix all ingredients together. Put in greased 9x 13" baking dish. Add following topping and bake for 40 min. at 350 degrees. Topping: 3/4 C margarine 1 8 oz. pkg. stuffing mix Melt margarine; add stuffing mix w/ seasoning. Spread on top and bake.

And finally, here is one of my recipes that we really like. It's a change from sloppy joes. The chicken and spicy sauce is really good on buns with potato salad or coleslaw as a side dish. I usually double this recipe if all three of my boys are home.

BBQ Chicken Sandwiches

1/2 C chopped onion
1/2 C diced celery
1 garlic clove, minced
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp black pepper
1 TBSP butter
1/2 C salsa
1/2 C ketchup
2 TBSP brown sugar
2 TBSP cider vinegar
1 TBSP Worcestershire sauce
1/2 tsp chili powder
2 C shredded cooked chicken

In saucepan, saute' onion, celery, and garlic in butter until tender. Stir in salsa, ketchup, brown sugar, vinegar, Worc. sauce, chili powder, salt and pepper. Add chicken; stir to coat. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 15 min. Serve on buns. 6 servings

Have a good day and keep leaving those comments!
For more recipes look at today. Also Joy@JoyofDesserts for Vintage Recipe Thursday

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Tame Tangled Computer Cords

A great way to tame the wild mess of cords that lurk behind/under your computer desk is to "divide and conquer"! You know the white or yellow rip ties that come with garbage or lawn bags? Well, these ties are a useful tool in "home tech organization".
First, get down on floor level with your dust cloth, rip ties and a fine point permanent marker. Next, untangle the cords and dust them off. Finally, double or triple the cord up neatly, leaving some room to give. Bind each individual cord bundle with a rip tie. Label each tie with your marker such as: printer, modem, speakers, lamp. If you have a label printer, you could just stick your ready-made labels to the rip ties.
When you have a problem or a connection seems like it might be loose, you can easily see which cord goes to each item. This cuts down on frustration level and time, not to mention ease of cleaning! P.S. I use rip ties to organize strands of Christmas lights for storage, too.

Join me at for more great tips on WorksformeWednesday!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

From My Recipe Box To Yours

Just like any good politician, I watch the numbers. And my hits counter is still telling me that my Recipe Box Tuesdays and Old Cookbook Reviews on Fridays are my most popular, so I'll continue that trend. I just made a great "stand-by" dessert yesterday, in fact, and it's almost gone! I will start with that recipe today. As you can see, it's an easy one , using a cake mix. You can make different variations of it by changing the cake mix and another ingredient, which makes it user-friendly and versatile. I think an additional variation that's not mentioned might be spice cake with raisins added to the cream cheese layer. I plan to try that on the next one that I make.

Butter Bars

1 18 oz. yellow cake mix
1 egg
1/2 C butter, melted

1 8 oz. pkg. cream cheese
2 eggs
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 stick butter, melted
3 C powdered sugar

Combine crust ingredients and pat into two 9" square pans (nice if you need to take one to something and want one for home) or one 9"x13" pan. Beat cream cheese, eggs, and vanilla until smooth. Add butter and sugar and mix well. Pour over crust. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 min.

1. Use chocolate cake mix for crust. Add 1 C peanut butter to filling. Sprinkle with chopped nuts and drizzled chocolate.

2. Use lemon cake mix and zest of one lemon for crust. Add zest and juice of one lemon to filling.
(I made the lemon version yesterday).

Got leftover ham? Here you go...

Aunt Hazel (Bell's) Ham Balls

1 1/2 lbs. lean pork
1 lb. ground ham
2 C soft bread crumbs
1 tsp salt
1 C milk
4 1/2 oz. pineapple chunks
1 C brown sugar, firmly packed
1/2 C cider vinegar
1 tsp dry mustard
her note: I use all ham and no pork, and instead of bread crumbs I use Peppridge Farm Cornbread Stuffing.
Heat oven to 350 degrees. Mix meat, crumbs, salt and milk. Shape into balls. Put balls in single layer in baking pan. Bake uncovered 30 min.
While baking, drain pineapple and reserve 1/2 C juice. Place juice, brown sugar, vinegar, and mustard in saucepan; heat to boiling.
Discard fat from pan of ham balls. Pour sauce over balls and bake uncovered for 30 min.; baste once in a while. Add pineapple chunks and bake 15 min. more.

Aunt Hazel was a good cook. When I got married, she was constantly sending me great recipes and bits of advice on cooking, from her Retirement Village in Arizona. She and my Uncle Clarence were very social, and were crowned King and Queen of their community one year; I have such a cute picture of them wearing their crowns and sitting on their lawn chair "thrones". I still use a little set of cheese spreaders with painted glass fruit-shaped handles that she sent me (amongst other useful items).

Here's a recipe for using up leftover mashed potatoes:

Creamy Potato Bake

3 C mashed potatoes
1 8 oz. carton sour cream (I use light)
5 to 6 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled (I use Hormel Real Bacon Bits)
3 small green onions, chopped
1 C (4 oz.) shredded cheddar cheese

Spread potatoes evenly in a lightly greased 10"x6"x2" baking dish. Top w/ sour cream; sprinkle w/ bacon and green onion. Top w/ cheese. Bake at 300 degrees for 30 min. 6 servings.

My sister, Becky, gave me this recipe.She has brought it to family get-to-gathers and it's always a big hit. I use it after holidays, or any time I have leftovers from a vegetable tray to use up. (Della, a friend from our church in WV, used to put her veggies through a salad shooter to top this. That would be fast and easy and it makes it look very pretty!)

Becky's Party Squares

Combine 2 (8 oz.) pkg. cream cheese
1 C Miracle Whip
1 pkg. Original Ranch Dressing Mix

2 large cans crescent rolls
Press down w/ fingers on a rectangular cookie sheet to form a crust. Bake 10 min. Let cool.

Cut up:
assorted vegetables that you like: raw cauliflower, broccoli, celery, carrots, green and red peppers, etc.

Spread cheese topping on crust. Sprinkle w/ vegetables and cut into squares.

Check out BlessedwithGrace and for two great recipe swaps today!

Monday, April 13, 2009

It's Menu Time, Again

The Easter weekend was a wet one here, but the southwest needed rain so badly that we considered it a blessing. We are so thankful for the people who have tirelessly been fighting the grass fires in our state and neighboring ones!
I'm sure that some of you find my menu-planning Mondays boring and tedious, but it is a necessity to keep me organized through the week. I am not alone in this way of thinking, if you want to see a bunch of other menu planners' ideas for the week you might want to check out a site called OrganizedJunkie. Here's how our week pans out:

Monday, April 13
Cornbread and pinto beans
Fried ham and potatoes
lemon bars

Tuesday, April 14
Dinner out for us
Guys-beef stew
fruit salad

Wednesday, April 15
garlic bread
tossed salad

Thursday, April 16
Baked chicken
Dirty rice
fresh green beans

Friday, April 17
Teen/college movie night for guys
Dinner out for us-Date night!

Saturday, April 18
Lemon pepper Tilapia
teriyaki noodles
Caesar salad

Friday, April 10, 2009

Death By Chocolate Cookbook

Did you know... that if you're someone who keeps empty Godiva chocolate boxes in your lingerie drawer (just so you can smell chocolate first thing in the morning) you might be a "Chocophile"?! I didn't know that there was a label for us....except for maybe "strange" or "unusual".
Well, Chocophiles get ready! Today's the chocolate cookbook review that I've been promising. The title is Death By Chocolate and it's written by Marcel Desauliniers of the Trellis Restaurant in Williamsburg, Va. It was published in 1992 by Rizzoli International Publications (Kenan Books, Inc.) and its ISBN is 0-8478-1564-1.
Now that you know about my Godiva boxes, I'm also willing to admit that as a cookbook hoarder, I have several with chocolate themes, but this is one of the best. It's written by a chef who's clear passion is all things chocolate; you can tell by the tone of his writing how much he enjoys the subject. I like the beginning of the book where he quotes "Baron Von Liebig":

"Chocolate is a perfect food, as wholesome as it is delicious, a beneficent restorer of exhausted power; but its quality must be good, and it must be carefully prepared. It is highly nourishing and easily digested."

I wanted to sign the Baron up as my personal physician until I realized that he was a fictitious character. It's refreshing to find a chef who specializes in "chocolate miracle creations" and has a sense of humor; sometimes folks with a "claim to fame" can be such Divas (i.e. TV chef/commentators).
On the practical side, he starts the book by saying that all ingredients used in the recipes are easy to find in a common grocery store. "The point," he says, "is that first class desserts can be produced at home with ingredients that are readily available". He goes on to recommend using "real chocolate such as Baker's, Hershey's, or Nestle's, and large eggs in all recipes". More basic information includes: the history of chocolate, grading its quality, proper storage, and identifying the various types used for the book's recipes.
I have to add, the photographs of these wonderful desserts, alone, make the book worth owning. Photographer, Michael Grand, makes the food look so beautiful that the reader feels as if she could dip her finger in the chocolate.
Although there are only five chapters to this coffee table-sized book, it's full of take-your-breath-away desserts with step-by-step instructions and tips from the chef in the side margin. Admittedly, these are recipes that take some extra effort; they're not weeknight "throw-a-cake-together" recipes. These are special desserts and would be perfect for guests or special occasions!
For me, the only thing that can improve a chocolate dessert is the addition of a coffee flavor to the mix, so that's how I chose today's sample recipe (my apologies to the non-coffee lovers among us!)

Pg. 73 Mocha Java Sorbet

2 C water
2 C granulated sugar
1 1/2 C brewed coffee, full strength
6 oz. unsweetened chocolate, broken into 1/2 oz. pieces
2 oz. semisweet chocolate, broken into 1/2 oz. pieces

1 tsp pure vanilla extract

Equipment: Measuring cup, measuring spoons, 2 1/2 qt. saucepan, 2 stainless steel bowls (1 large), whisk, spoon, instant-read thermometer, ice cream freezer, rubber spatula, 2 qt. plastic container with lid.

Heat the water, sugar, and coffee in a 2 1/2 qt. saucepan over med. high heat. Whisk to dissolve the sugar. Bring the mixture to a boil. Place the unsweetened and semisweet chocolates in a stainless steel bowl. Remove the boiling liquid from the heat and pour 1 C over the chocolate. Allow to stand for 5 min. Vigorously whisk until completely smooth, about 3 min. Add the remaining hot liquid and whisk until smooth.
Cool in an * ice-water bath to a temperature of 40 to 45 degrees, about 18-20 min. When cold, add the vanilla and stir to incorporate.

Freeze in an ice-cream freezer following the manufacturer's instructions. Transfer semifrozen sorbet to a plastic container, securely cover the container, then place in freezer for several hours before serving. Serve within 2 days.

*Ice-water bath: Large stainless steel bowl partially filled with ice and water. There should be enough ice and water in the bowl so that the outside surface of the container to be cooled will be surrounded by ice and water. If the volume of the container is larger than can be accommodated by your largest bowl, then consider using the kitchen sink.

Look at Grocerycart challenge and Lifeasmom for more recipes and frugal ideas today!

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Kids Hunt for Eggs-Moms Hunt for Groceries

After my school-drop this morning, I went immediately to the grocery store. Today is Thursday, and yesterday was the start of a big sale this week at Country Mart. I was "killing two birds with one stone"; wanted to get all the great specials before they were sold out, and avoid the mad rush of people who will be last minute shopping on Friday and Saturday. Although, Country Mart was quite busy...and it wasn't even 9:00, yet!
I had a fistful of coupons with me (Country Mart near me doubles up to and including $1.00 coupons) and my ad paper, and I was a woman on a mission! I got several great deals plus double coupons on top of that! I was such a happy camper! Here are some of my buys:

Honeysuckle White turkey breast .99 per lb.
Miracle Whip 2.50 (plus 1.20 coupon)
Imperial sugar $1.49/5lb. bag
large eggs $1.00/doz.(plus coupon for free 2 liter of pop)
Gold Medal flour $1.79/5 lb. bag
Philadelphia cream cheese .99/each
Kraft bottled dressings 3/$5.00 (plus $1.50 coupon)
4-12 packs of Pepsi products/$10.00
fresh green beans .99/lb.
Pillsbury cake mix .88/each

My total savings was $51.00, which was 42% off my grocery bill. I love when that happens! If you have a Country Mart near you , you might want to check out their specials this week. This sale goes until next Wed. here, I think; their ad papers usually run from Wed. to Wed. Join me for my Old Cookbook Review tomorrow...I've got a chocolate book off the shelf!

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Cute Easter Cupcake Idea

I just got back from taking the youngest son to school. It was a bit nerve-wracking since he rode the whole 15 minute trip with two covered bakery-type trays of cupcakes on his lap. But we, and the cupcakes, arrived at the high school safely and on time. Which brings me to my short blog for today (I have a Spring Tea to attend).
I made the cupcakes to help support the DECCA club. It's a club at the high school for students who are interested in business. They attend competitions where they present their business plans. The money raised in their food stand (staffed by DECCA students) helps with the club's expenses.
I have to first say, that the cute idea for these cupcakes came from a Peep's ad; you know, the little marshmallow bunnies and chicks. They come in so many colors now; they didn't use to have them in green and orange and blue.'s the idea.

Frost any flavor cupcake with white frosting. Put green colored coconut or green sugar sprinkles on a plate; roll cupcake edges in the green. Gently push a Peeps bunny or chick into the middle of the cupcake.
These were so colorful and cute; I hope they sell like crazy!

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Tried and True Easter Recipes

I've been looking forward to today's blog. I just love holidays. Being so far away from our extended family takes away a little of the specialness and excitement for me, but I still love the traditions and memories that holidays bring with them.
For me, Easter is a time of remembering my mom making us stand under blossoming trees in our yard to take pictures of our "Easter outfits"(which were simply, new clothes to add to the roster of "church clothes" that we would wear every Sunday during Spring and Summer!) My brother, Greg, was usually in a tie, and Becky and I would have on colorful dresses and new sandals. I recall that one year crocheted ponchos were in style, and "Mammam" did not fail us; there we are (in the faded photos) in our Easter outfits with frilly ponchos over them.
One Easter that I remember fondly (though all are special to me) , is the year Aunt Sis and Uncle Dave came in to visit from Indiana and held an Easter egg hunt for the three of our own yard! It was so well-remembered by my siblings and I, that years later we had one for all of our children in Nana and Pappy's big yard. My Dad would give out hints as to being "hot" or "cold" as they hunted, and then tease the grandchildren about sharing their candy with "Pap". Even though it was Sunday, non of them were very charitable!
Our family was blessed to have plenty to eat, and Easter dinner was no exception. It is my favorite type of holiday meal because I love ham, deviled eggs and sweet potatoes. Today, I'm including some recipes that are some of my favorites. Happy Easter to all!

Sweet Potato Casserole with Praline Topping

3 C mashed sweet potatoes (fresh cooked or canned)
1 C sugar
2 eggs, well-beaten
1 stick butter
1 C canned evaporated milk
1 tsp vanilla

Mix and pour into greased 13x9 baking dish.

In separate bowl combine:
1 C brown sugar
1/2 C self-rising flour
1 C chopped nuts

Mix in 1 stick of melted butter using pastry cutter (or two forks). This should be crumbly. Sprinkle evenly over potatoes. Bake at 350 degrees for 35 min. May need a little longer depending on your oven.

Make Ahead Mashed Potatoes (For After Church)

Fix mashed potatoes as you usually would, but a little wetter. Put in greased casserole dish. Cover tightly with foil. When needed, put in oven at 325 degrees for 40 min.

Pickled Easter Eggs (To Use Up Leftover Eggs)

2 C white vinegar
2 TBSP prepared mustard
1/2 C water
1 C sugar
1 TBSP salt
1 TBSP mustard seed
2 TBSP celery seed
12 hard-boiled eggs
1 large onion, sliced

Microwave method: Combine all ingredients except eggs and onions and microwave 4 min. on High. Cool completely. Peel eggs and place in 2 Qt. jar with the onion slices. Pour the vinegar mixture into the jar and cover. Refrigerate overnight. For a festive touch, use a few drops of food coloring (I like purple).

Fun to make with the children: Easter Bunny Bags

Cut a V in the middle of a brown paper lunch bag (or any size brown paper bag) to make the ears. Cut out eyes, whiskers, teeth and nose from construction paper and glue on for the face. Let dry and fill with Easter grass. I made these for treat bags at the boys' schools in past years and they were a big hit.

Petite Easter Baskets:

Use the green plastic strawberry baskets from the grocery store. Twist the ends of a long colored pipe-cleaner from the craft store through the plastic on either side to make the handle. Fill with colored Easter grass.

Chrissy Henthorne's Pea Salad

1 can LeSeur peas
1 can French green beans
1 can shoepeg corn
1/2 C each: finely chopped onion, celery, and green pepper

1 C sugar
3/4 C white vinegar
1/2 C vegetable oil
Bring to a rolling boil and then cool. Pour over vegetables. Cover and chill several hours in the refrigerator.

Vivian Boston's Candy Easter Eggs -Tyler County Newspaper

2 lbs. confectioner's sugar
2 sticks margarine (I like butter)
evaporated milk
Flavoring (see variations below)

Work together sugar and margarine with hands until mixture is crumbly. Add a few drops of evaporated milk at a time until right consistency is reached for molding the eggs. Blend in one of the following combinations for flavor:

- 2 tsp vanilla plus a few drops of milk
- 1/2 C maraschino cherries, chopped very fine plus three TBSP juice from the cherries
- 3 tsp nut flavoring plus 1/2 C finely-chopped nuts
- 3 heaping TBSP peanut butter plus a few drops of milk
- 2 tsp peppermint flavoring
- 1/2 C shredded coconut, plus 1 tsp vanilla and a few drops of milk

After the eggs are flavored and molded, dip them in the coating, made by melting two cakes of bittersweet chocolate and one cake paraffin wax over hot water. Let stand until icing sets.

These are the eggs that I used to make for family members as little gifts at Easter-makes them feel special because you can make each one's favorite flavor; peanut butter for Dad and coconut or cherry for Mom! Uncle Dave likes any kind that is available! You can use Royal icing and a decorator bag and make the tops pretty if you have extra time on your hands; if not, wrap each in saran wrap and put a sticker that tells what flavor the filling is inside.

Note on Dipping Chocolate: This was written several years ago, so now there are candy melts (craft stores) you can use, or melt white or chocolate almond bark that you can find in the baking section at Walmart. Dana likes milk chocolate, so I melt Family size Hershey bars with some paraffin to dip mine in.

Sugar Free Fudge (For Those Who Can't Have Easter Eggs with Sugar)

1 6 oz. pkg. cream cheese
2 oz. unsweetened chocolate, melted and cooled
12 pkg. sweetener (2 tsp per pkg,)
1 tsp vanilla
2 TBSP sugar-free chocolate fudge pudding mix
1/2 C chopped pecans

In small mixing bowl, beat cream cheese, melted chocolate, sweetener and vanilla until smooth.
Beat in dry pudding mix. Stir in pecans. Spread in 8" dish lined with foil. Cover and refrigerate overnight. Lift out by foil and cut into squares. Makes 16 pieces.

Pet Easter Chick Necklace for Children:

I have made these for Ben's kindergarten class, as well as my little ones in Bible class, and they cherished them.

Plastic colored pull-apart eggs
Little yellow fuzzy chicks (craft store)
Hot glue and glue gun
Thin ribbon or twine
hole punch

Take top off of the egg. Punch a hole in either side of the bottom part of the egg near the top rim. Run a piece of ribbon or twine through each hole and knot it on each side to make the necklace part (measure one child that size so you know how long to make it). Place a drop or two of hot glue in the bottom of the bottom half of the egg and immediately press down the fuzzy chick with it's head sticking upright. Set these in empty egg carton to let them dry completely. Fasten top back onto egg so the child opens it to find their surprise Easter pet! For fun, have them each name their chick.
Note of Caution: These are not for very young children who might get the string tangled around their necks or put the small pieces in their mouths!

Recipe swaps today:
Tempt My Tummy Tuesday at Blessedwithgrace
Kitchen Tip Tuesday by


Sunday, April 5, 2009

Try Menu Planning and Save Time and Stress

It's time to sit down and make my menu for the week. If you're not used to making a menu, I hope that you might consider trying it out for a month. For me, it saves the hassle of thinking every morning, "what will I fix for dinner tonight?" I don't know about you, but that gets really old with me! I'd much rather sit down when the house is quiet on Sunday afternoon and plan my strategy for the week. I have a little planning desk in my kitchen where I can look up at my calendar and see what's going on that week. I find that planning ahead also helps me to make healthier meals and use leftovers. This method of meal planning will also help you remember to thaw meat or dough out ahead of time. If you don't usually use a weekly menu and you try it out, let me know how it goes for you on my comments.
Well, here I go for this week:

Monday. April 6
Yankee Beef Roast w/ potatoes, carrots and onions
creamed peas

Tuesday. April 7
Chicken Enchiladas
fruit plate

Wednesday, April 8
BBQ Beef on buns
Lemon Pepper Squash
Red Potato Salad

Thursday, April 9
Potato Soup
Jello/fruit salad

Friday, April 10
Pinto beans and cornbread
fried hash browns w/ onions

Saturday, April 11 * (Bake Coconut Lemon Cake for tomorrow-see Friday's post for recipe)

Waffles w/ syrup
orange slices

Pork chops on grill
macaroni and cheese
green beans
hot rolls
iced tea

Sunday, April 12 (Easter Dinner)

Baked Ham
sour cream and chive potatoes
Brussel sprouts
hot rolls
candied dill pickles/olives
iced tea
*Coconut Lemon Cake (made in bunny-shaped pan!)

-Go to Orgjunkie for more menu ideas!

Friday, April 3, 2009

Cookbook Offers Lemon Coconut Cake Made with Splenda

I know that Easter's on the way, and if you're like me you are starting to go through your recipes looking for that special dessert that everyone will love. I'm aware that that's a little more of a challenge for folks with diabetes. So our Old Cookbook Review is especially for you today.
My brother, Greg, likes to cook, and tries to keep it healthy. We are recipe-swapping buddies (we've even chatted about pot roast recipes... as I grocery shopped... via the cell phone). So this may be a cookbook that he'll want to look for at yard sales or on the internet (he's a computer bug , as well).
The book today is Unbelievable Desserts with Splenda; Sweet Treats Low in Sugar, Fat, and Calories by Marlene Koch. It is dated 2001 and is published by M. Evans and Company. It's ISBN is 0-87131-964-0. I give the book a thumbs-up today because it is chock full of recipes that I would actually make. Sure, there are a few recipes like Mousse and Torte that aren't usually on my to-do list, but three fourths are great recipes for sweets that are common to most folks; Coconut Cream Pie, Apple Pie in a Bag, Blackberry Cobbler (a big, "Oh Yeah") and Chocolate Cake. Plus, there's a section on beverages, and any book that includes a recipe for Creamy Iced Coffee is O.K. with me. You might want to start the search for this one!

P. 95 Lemon Coconut Layer Cake

3 egg whites
2 TBSP granulated sugar
3 TBSP canola oil
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 C low-fat buttermilk
2/3 C Splenda Granular
1 large egg
1 C + 2 TBSP cake flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 C lemon curd (or sugar-free lemon pudding)
1 1/4 C light whipped topping
1/3 C shredded coconut

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray an 8-inch cake pan with non-stick baking spray. In a medium bowl, beat 3 egg whites until frothy. Gradually add sugar and continue to beat until soft peaks form when the beaters are lifted from the whites. Set aside.
On medium speed mix oil, vanilla, buttermilk, Spenda and egg in a large bowl and blend until smooth. Gently fold in the beaten egg whites. Spoon into prepared pan and smooth top. Bake for 20 min. or until center springs back when lightly touched. Cool cake in pan on rack for 10 min. Loosen cake from pan by inverting briefly. Let cake layer cool completely.
Set cake on plate and slice horizontally to make two layers. Mix the lemon curd (or sugar-free pudding) and whipped topping together in a bowl. Place 1/2 C of the frosting on the first layer of the cake. Place second layer on top and frost top and sides with the remaining frosting. Sprinkle coconut over the top of the cake. Refrigerate until serving. Makes 8 servings. Keeps very well in the fridge for several days.

(These numbers are accurate if using lemon curd in the recipe).
calories 175
carbs 22 (sugar 7)
protein 4 grams
Diabetic exchange=1 1/2 carbs, 1 1/2 fat
fat 8 grams (sat. 1.5)
fiber 0 grams
sodium 200 milligrams

P. 133 Lemon Curd

2/3 C lemon juice
2 TBSP water
1 large egg, beaten
1 large egg yolk
2 TBSP cornstarch
2/3 C Splenda Granular
2 TBSP light butter

In a med. non-aluminum saucepan thoroughly whisk together the first 6 ingredients. Place pan on stove and turn heat to med. Cook, whisking constantly, until mixture comes to a boil. Boil, whisking for 1 min. Mixture should be thick and clear. Remove from the heat and stir in the butter. Cool. Fourteen servings (1 TBSP each).

Per serving:
calories 25
carbs 4 grams (sugar 0)
protein 0 grams
Diabetic exchange=1/4 carb
fat 1.5 grams (sat. 0.5)
fiber 0 grams
Pium 0 grams

Go to Grocerycartchallenge for more recipes at the recipe swap today.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Chicken Bacon Club Pizza

Last night we had Wednesday night Bible study at church and I teach the 2nd through 5th grade class. My husband usually flies through the door just in time to take off his tie, grab a bite of supper and back out the door we go! So, on Wednesday it has to be something quick for our evening meal.
I realized that I had "smothered chicken" and broccoli and cheese sauce on the menu...for Wednesday?! I don't think so! What a mistake, so I had to do a quickie menu shuffle.
We ended up having a favorite of ours which is "chicken bacon club pizza". Luckily, I discovered my mistake early in the day (I usually check the menu on the side of my fridge first thing in the morning). So, I laid out two loaves of frozen bread dough to thaw on greased pizza pans; I also grease tops of loaves and cover with wax paper). I, of coarse, had my roasted chicken breasts stored in the fridge from Monday. It made it easy to swap meal plans for that evening. Because we had pizza, we used paper plates...oh, I love quick and easy on Wednesday! Here's the recipe in case your Wednesdays-or any night is a supper challenge.

Chicken Bacon Club Pizza

2 loaves of frozen bread dough, thawed
1 jar Ragu alfredo sauce
1 1/2 C Hormel Real Bacon Bits
2 cooked chicken breasts, cubed
2 C mozzerella cheese
(Ham bits, broccoli, mushrooms-optional)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Spread dough on two pizza pans and make a crimped edge. Half bake the crusts til they don't look moist any longer. Spread with alfredo sauce,and all toppings except parsley. End with mozzerella layer. Bake until the crust is the way you like it and cheese is melted. Pull out of oven and sprinkle with parsley.
(We had cantaloupe on the side.)

Here's a tip: If, after Thanksgiving or Christmas you are "turkey-ed out" on sandwiches and want something different, you can make this great pizza with turkey instead of chicken!

_Thursday's Ultimate Recipe Swap is hosted by

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Why God Gave Labrador Retrievers Such Great Personalities and Looks

As I was Swiffering the black dog hair off my floors this morning, I pondered the plight of all indoor- Lab owners. We want them inside because they are adorable creatures. They have to be one of the most people-friendly breeds ever created. But do you know WHY? I have a theory on this subject: God gave the Labrador Retriever a great personality and looks because he knew that with some of their other (unintentionally-annoying) traits, they were going to need looks and charm to survive!
What follows may sound like complaining; it is not! It's just observations that I've made over time:
A Lab can clear a coffee table with one swipe of her tail...which is wagging feverishly because she is excited to see you (or the prospect that you might take her O-U-T-S-I-D-E). After" said run", the Lab comes in the house to slurp water at the same fevered pitch! Water around the bowl and up the wall...making me thankful for tile floors. I think the reason the drinking is messy when she is really thirsty is because of the soft palates that Labs as to not bruise the game birds that they might retrieve. Again, not her fault.

The fact that Labs shed their coats like an old Christmas tree sheds pine needles is well-known. Indoor Lab owners would put the Swiffer static mop on their list of this century's greatest inventions. They have an under coat, so they need regular brushing; luckily Stormy considers this "pampering" instead of "torture"! I, on the other hand, love the way her coat looks when I'm done, but having dog hair stick to my sweaty hands and arms as I brush her outside in the summer is not a treat. Again, this falls in line with my theory; that beautiful sleek black coat makes these dogs look absolutely regal, but we owners pay the price by mopping up hair every other day.

I guess for everything that's really worthwhile in life there is a price to be paid and a little sweat involved. As in everything else that he created on this earth, God knew what he was doing. Once you own one of these sweet tempered, lovable dogs...well, what's a little mess?!

-Enjoy WorksformeWednesday hosted by WeAreThatFamily