"It's the company, not the cooking, that makes the meal!" ~Perilee 
(Hattie Big Sky by Kirby Larson)

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Homemade Granola Bars

This recipe was recently shared at a recipe/menu exchange group I created a year ago called My Girlfriends Kitchen.  It is a group that shares our tried and true favorite recipes based around a chosen theme for the month.  The month of September I thought I need new ideas for home lunches for school and after school snacks.  Many great ideas were shared, but this one was my favorite! Annette is a fabulous cook and baker and cake decorator extraordinaire.  Check out her blog to see for yourself.   http://www.violetscustomcakes.blogspot.com/

Homemade Granola Bars—Annette Moss

1 cup sugar (granulated or brown)
1 cup corn syrup or honey
1/2 cup peanut butter (or almond butter)

Stir until combine


2-3 cups old fashioned oats
2-3 cups rice krispy cereal

Combine and add more oats if needed.  (More oats make it drier/crunchier, less oats makes it chewier).

At this point stir in whatever you want like:

Chocolate chips
PB chips
Pretzel pieces
Graham crackers/ Marshmallows/ and chocolate chips s’mores flavor

Line 9 x 13 pan with parchment paper so it comes up to the sides.  Dump granola bar mix into the pan. Press flat and cut into bars. Wrap individual bars in plastic wrap and store in an airtight container.  (If they last that long!)

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Jell-O Marshmallow Fondant

Jell-0 Marshmallow Fondant adapted from a recipe I found
last year for regular fondant (see post about Elsa cake) and 
one off of pintrest this year for Jell-O fondant.  I am not one to 
eat much of the fondant on any cake, but this jello version is 
probably my favorite. I love the different flavors it had; so
did the kids and guest.  Very little fondant on the cake made it to the trash.  

I am a frosted cake kind of girl, but I sure love the way a
fondant cake looks. I have to say if you ever bawk at what a 
cake decorator charges, don’t this little cake took me at least
$20 in supplies, baking and building time, time to freeze it
before crumb layer of frosting, then 8 hours to roll, just, and 
place the fondant.  You do the math! I think that their prices 
are probably not as bad as you think!  Why do I make my own 
then you ask? I was asking the same question as I was 
putting this together.  I do it because I love seeing the reaction 
on my kids face when they see the final product or the time it 
gives us to work on something together making a memory.

Jill's version of Jell-O Marshmallow Fondant
3 oz Marshmallows Microwave about 30-35 seconds
1/4 lb Powdered Sugar (4-4 1/2 oz)
4 tsp. Jello Mix
1/2 tsp. water 
After water and marshmallow have been heated together Add 

1/2 teaspoon Extract flavor of choice. (Vanilla or Coconut is what I use.) 
1/2 tsp corn syrup

*I actually measure powdered sugar and Marshmallows on my kitchen scale so that each batch turns out exactly the same.  If your fondant seems too wet no big deal just need in more powdered sugar.  It is always going to take what it takes.

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Salted Caramel Granola

I love granola! I love making it for my family and friends. I came upon this recipe when I was searching for some recipes for a special shower I was hosting at my house for a friend of mine who was a surrogate mother for her dear cousin.  One special gal! So I wanted this shower to be simple yet have a variety.  I made several homemade granolas and this one took the prize. It is more like a treat than it is a tree hugging "granola" snack.  Probably why everyone devoured it.  Its a keeper for sure!



4 cups oats
½ cup flax seeds (optional)
⅛ cup chia seeds (optional)
1 cup pecans
1 cup of pretzels
½ cup honey
½ cup of coconut oil
½ cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
½ stick of butter
½ cup of brown sugar, packed
2 tablespoons milk or heavy cream

1 Preheat oven to 350. Spray a cookie sheet or use a silicone baking sheet.
2 Mix together the oats, flax seeds, chia seeds, pecans, and pretzels.
3 In a saucepan, bring the honey, coconut oil, brown sugar and vanilla to a boil.
4 Allow to cool then mix together with the dry ingredients.
5 Press the mixture onto your cookie sheet and bake for about 20 minutes,or until it starts to turn golden brown.
6 Remove and allow to cool for a few minutes.
7 While its cooling, bring the brown sugar, butter and milk or cream to a boil on the stove stop. Whisk constantly.
8 Allow to boil for 3 minutes then remove from heat.
9 Pour over the granola and place it back in the oven for another 10 minutes.
10 Remove, let cool and break into pieces!

11 Enjoy!

Monday, September 7, 2015

Apples with Toffee Dip

I was introduced to this yummy fall treat years ago when we were grad students in Connecticut. Our dear friend Lynnette was such a gourmet cook that it was always great when she shared something so simple like this that I could put together. She has inspired me to learn more about cooking and enjoying it over the years of our friendship. Here is her recipe word for word:

Every time I make this I get requests for the recipe, so here it is. I know it seems a little pampered chef-like, but I promise it's really good. Don't use fat free cream cheese because it turns into a watery mess. Also, the toffee bits will eventually dissolve, so you might want to wait to stir them in at the last minute. 

¾ cup packed brown sugar
½ cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 (8-ounce block) 1/3-less fat cream cheese, softened
¾ cup toffee bits
apples for dipping

Combine first 4 ingredients in a bowl, beat with a mixer at medium speed until smooth. Add toffee bits, mix well. Cover and chill.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Fried Ice Cream

Boy of boy! This was a dangerous recipe for me to discover I could do! I loved it, as did my family. Got 5 stars all around! Now I can make it from the comforts of my own home; everyone can have their own serving at a fraction of the price of our favorite Mexican restaurants. If you love fried ice cream you will thoroughly enjoy this sweet find. There are several fried ice cream recipes I have pin from pintrest, I started with this one from The in The Loft House blog and modified it to our liking. I may not be trying an others because this is so simple and so delicious! And it doesn't require I get my big fryer out!

Fried Ice Cream

6-8 cups of Corn Flakes crushed (you need 3-4 cups total after it is crushed.)
3/4-1 cup sugar
3/4-1 cup ground cinnamon
1/2 cup butter or margarine
1 cup toasted sweetened coconut flakes (I do this separately in a fry pan until its golden brown)

Combine corn flakes, sugar,  and cinnamon. Melt the butter in a large fry pan then add the cornflake sugar mixture. Pan fry for 5 minutes on medium high heat, until the cereal starts to toast. Watch it carefully, stirring frequently, you do not want to let it burn which it can do quickly. When cereal is done frying toss in the toasted coconut and stir until mixed in.

Press half the cornflake mixture into a 9 x 13.  Top with a quart of your favorite vanilla ice cream, then top with the second half of the fried cornflakes.  Transfer to the freezer until it hardens. Top with drizzle of chocolate sauce, a dollop of whipping cream (I like to use the spray can kind on desserts like this.) and top with a Maraschino Cherry.

If you really love the cinnamon flavor you can soften your ice cream and stir in another 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon and a tub of cool whip if desired. (I have tried it both ways. I don't think that the cool whip really adds that much to the dish other than more expense and calories.) If you choose to soften the ice cream to spread it into the pan than plan for 5 hours to set back up.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Garlic Oven Roasted Cabbage

My sister-in-law EC asked me if I had ever tried or seen the roasted cabbage idea on Pintrest.  I hadn't so I went looking.  We enjoy cabbage one of my 10-year old sons loves it! It just wants to crunch and munch on it plain.  When I am shredding it up for a salad or a stir-fry he has a hard time keeping his little paws out of the pile.  Makes me happy that he enjoys a few healthy things in his diet to balance out our sweet tooth we all have.

This recipe was great.  I made one modification to it. I minced my garlic and put it in a small bowl with olive oil then brushed it on both sides of my cabbage before roasting.  I did note that if it isn't slices thick enough it tends to roast a little to quickly and dries out, turning brown and tasting a little burnt. So learn from me don't throw those loose ends on the pan with it, toss them in your salad bowl instead.  This got rave reviews from my family.  Thank you Everyday Maven for a great recipe to add to our favorites.

Garlic Rubbed Roasted Cabbage Steaks
By: Everyday Maven via Pintrest
Serves: 4

1 (approx 2lb) head of organic green cabbage, cut into 1″ thick slices
1.5 tablespoons olive oil
2 to 3 large garlic cloves, smashed
kosher salt
freshly ground black pepper
spray olive oil OR non-stick cooking spray

Preheat oven to 400F and spray a baking sheet with non-stick cooking spray. Pull outer leaf off cabbage (it’s usually dirty and nasty looking), cut cabbage from top to bottom (bottom being root) into 1″ thick slices.
Rub both sides of cabbage with smashed garlic.
Use a pastry brush to evenly spread the olive oil over both sides of the cabbage slices.
Finally, sprinkle each side with a bit of kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper.
Roast on the middle rack for 30 minutes. Carefully flip the cabbage steaks and roast for an additional 30 minutes until edges are brown and crispy. Serve hot and Enjoy!

Rueben Deli Sandwiches

I got inspired by the Taste of Home website when I was looking for a easy main dishes to feed my family for St. Patricks day.  It was a toss up between a Reuben Soup or a Reuben Sandwich.  With March madness of all sorts whirling around on our calendar I opted for the quickest and easiest meal plan.  We served it with oven roasted garlic rubbed cabbage and a lime/pear green jell-o.  It really hit the spot.

Knowing that my children love a good Rueben like their daddy I may just have to try the original recipe that has more of a kick to it and is made more like a chicken salad but with corn beef.   

Reuben Deli Sandwiches Recipe

The classic Reuben sandwich. The filling is easy to prepare and keeps well in the fridge. Add a salad and dessert, and you have a delicious meal

TOTAL TIME: Prep/Total Time: 30 min.

Wishbone Thousand Island Dressing
1 can (14 ounces) sauerkraut, rinsed and well drained
3/4-1 pound sliced deli corned beef
        Swiss cheese Deli Slices
Slices rye bread
Butter, softened
Spread Thousand Island dressing on bread like you would a mayo.  Top one slice with cheese, sauerkraut, corn beef another small piece of cheese (I like to put a small slice of cheese on both sides of meet when I made grilled sandwiches to make them hold the bread and toppings together.) top with remaining bread. Lightly butter the outsides of bread. Toast sandwiches on a hot griddle for 4-5 minutes on each side or until golden brown. 

Yield: 6-8 servings (depending on how much meat you use per sandwich)