Friday, December 31, 2010

A Look Back: My Best In 2010

July of 2010 was my beginning.

July is when I started blogging full-force.

My blogging friend Megan at What Megan's Making, brought to my attention this morning the coming of the end of 2010. Thank you Megan. I owe this post to you.

Did I learn anything in six months? I sure did, but first I would like to do a quick review of some of my best dishes (the most popular).

And of course, my blue ribbon masterpiece, Pumpkin Cookies

Like Megan, I have learned, or you could say created some pretty bad habits within the last 6 months. I think I prefer the word "learned".

Am I going to try and resolve any of these bad habits? No way, no how, and my blogging friends, family, and local friends will just have to accept me the way I am.

My camera has become a permanent growth on my body. So if you invite me in, I show up with camera. It cannot be amputated.

My family will have to expect interruptions at meal times so I can get pictures.

If you expect me to supply a dish, I will show up with one piece missing.

One important thing that I have learned over the last six months is, the blogging community is a nation of its own. I have created some pretty strong (cyber) friendships through my blogging.
Bloggers are one race, one culture, one nation, one community. Kind of like: "If you mess with one, you mess with us all." , "I'll scratch your back, if you scratch mine.", "I will defend you till the end." I'm sure you get the picture...

I have also found out that a blogger must have a nice comfy chair.

There is never enough hours in a day.

It is best to buy ingredients in bulk.

I want a Waffle Iron.

And heavy whipping cream has an excellent shelf life.

It is okay to create your own filing system (TNT (Tried n True) & WTT (Want To Try)).

My journey as a blogger has definitely been interesting, exciting, eventful, and creative, and I'm sure the year to come is only going to get better.
I owe so much to my fans, followers, and fellow bloggers. Without you I would not be here.
I love you all!!
I hope all of you have many blessings provided to you in the new year. I am looking forward to our journey together.
See you in 2011!!

Thursday, December 30, 2010

How Would You Look In A Superman Snuggie? Chicken Enchiladas For Christmas Dinner

Chicken enchiladas for Christmas dinner?

Yes, I have completely lost my mind.

No really, I will explain how we ended up with chicken enchiladas.

My mom's family had Christmas early this year (Dec. 11), which means we got our Christmas present from her and her husband early. The gift was money to put toward a restaurant meal for my whole family.
You know how hard it is to get adult children together on the same day, the same time, and agree on one place? Yup, pretty hard.
So, I offered the idea of putting the money toward our Christmas dinner with my kids and grandkids. Which meant many phone calls (at least three).
The kids chose a theme (okay, I kind of threw the idea out there)(Mexican), and then each family was provided the ingredients for the Mexican dish they chose to provide.

Logan and Sydney: Guacamole
Cassie and David (Ashton & Lydia): Top secret fajitas meat (yes, David refuses to share). David dumped the used marinade down my kitchen sink drain. I told him I was going to swab the pipes and send it out for testing. I NEED THOSE INGREDIENTS!!
Randi: Cookie Dough Truffles
Myself (Angie & Sean): Chicken Enchiladas, flour tortillas, corn chips, beans, cut-out cookies (a request from my son), and taco meat (with all the taco toppings)

Pretty good looking meal, huh?

Could we have done better at a restaurant? I highly doubt it.

While making the enchiladas I got distracted and didn't take as many pictures as I would have liked.

I did get a beginning picture at least.

My distractions consisted of this:

Oh yeah, someone got a Superman Snuggie for Christmas. Suits him pretty well, huh?

And this:

Opening presents with the grandkids.

And opening presents with my whole entire family. Is there anything better?

We had a lot of chicken enchiladas left-over, and this is what I have been doing with them. I'm sure they freeze well too, but I am going to try and finish them up.
I have been sprinkling chopped onion, lettuce (just a little brown from being left-over), and sour cream on top. Very good!!

The chicken enchilada recipe was created by combining two recipes together. I didn't have all the ingredients for either recipe, so I worked with them.

The recipe that I wanted to use came from Deanna Ankney's (a friend of mine) sister. It is partially there Deanna. And thank you for sharing with me.

This is what I did:

Chicken Enchiladas

1 pt. sour cream
2 (15.5 oz) cans diced tomatoes with green chilies (If you want less spice, use one can plain and one can with chilies)
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 1/2 c. shredded Mexican blend cheese
1 1/2 pounds cooked chicken
1 tsp. cumin
1 pkg. of 10 burrito sized flour tortillas
2 c. shredded Mexican blend cheese

Directions my way:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

I cooked (boiled) my chicken in a dutch oven. When my chicken was done, I emptied the dutch oven (still warm from cooking chicken), and dumped all my ingredients in the dutch oven. I heated ingredients on low until warm.
Reserve half of the enchilada mix in a different bowl and set aside. Spoon 1/2 of the mixture into flour tortillas, filling to your liking. Roll the tortillas around the filling and place seam side down in a 9 x 13 baking dish. After all the enchiladas are rolled and placed in pan, top them with the remaining enchilada filling and two cups cheese. Place in the preheated oven for 30 minutes. Let stand for 10 minutes before serving.

Serves 10

Good Luck~Happy Eating~Enjoy

"In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world." John 16:33

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Kiwi? Resolutions? & Homemade Tomato Basil Soup

When it's cold outside, do you have favorite comfort foods that you turn to to warm yourself up?

Home-made tomato soup, or any kind of soup is my warming comfort.

Is there anything better than warm tomato soup and a grilled cheese sandwich? Oh my, I think not.

Before I go any further I need to have a question answered.

How do you eat a kiwi?

Do you peel it and slice it? Or do you cut it in half and eat it with a spoon?

I cut mine in half and eat it with a spoon. I don't like all the fuzzy gunk from the skins to get on my kiwi.

When they are eaten with a spoon the fuzzy gunk is avoided. Perfect kiwi snack.

Which leads me to resolutions.

How many of you make new year resolutions and are faithful to them?

I have never kept a resolution in my life. Yeah, I make them (in my head), write them down (sometimes), but forget about them by March.

Well this year I think is going to be different. Did you see the key word there? THINK

My resolution is going to focus on ME and the #1.
I am kind of feeling like the Sesame Street Count right now.

"Hello, I am Count Van Count, and I am here to find out the number of the day. Ha, Ha, Ha."

"The number of the day is 1. Ha, Ha, Ha. And here to celebrate is 1 dancing elephant. Ha, Ha, Ha. The number of the day is 1."

And 1 dancing elephant is correct. I am the elephant (I feel like it anyway).

My resolution:

1 person (me)

1 serving

1 exercise every day, 1 hour a day

1 - 9 oz. water drank every two hours

1 freshness (which means, first picking, fresh produce, fruits and vegetables are going to be my #1 choice)

Since 2011 consists of 1's, my number choice is 1. Lose 1 pound per day until I lose 30 pounds.

You will see a change in my blog items. Salads, soups, fresh, fresh, fresh foods. I hope I don't bore you with my change, and I will need your help to keep me remaining focused. I don't want to forget about this resolution come March.

This tomato soup is just a little different than the normal tomato soup in a can. Which I think Progresso makes the best tomato soup. Better than Campbell's even.

This tomato soup has chicken in it.

After the liquids and spices have simmered for 10 minutes they are poured into a blender and pureed. The soup is then returned to the dutch oven, and the cream and chicken are added to it. Heat and serve (with grilled cheese, of course).

Basil added to tomato soup is absolutely sinful. If you make this soup, you will know exactly what I am talking about. This soup is also very filling and satisfies the largest of appetites.

Home-Made Tomato Basil Soup

1 TBS olive oil
1 carrot, chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 c. all-purpose flour
28 oz. V-8 juice (can use low sodium)
1 1/2 c. chicken broth
2 tsp. dried basil
1/4 c. heavy cream
1 tsp kosher salt
2 c. shredded cooked chicken

In a dutch oven over medium/high heat, combine olive oil, carrot, onion, and garlic. Cook, stirring occasionally until onion is soft, 6 - 8 minutes. Stir in flour until vegetables are coated, then add tomato juice. Add broth and 2 tsp dried basil. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to a simmer and cook 8 - 10 minutes.
Working in small batches, puree soup in a blender or food processor and then transfer back to dutch oven. Stir in cream, salt, and chicken. Heat through. Season to taste with salt and ground black pepper.

Makes 5 cups
Prep time: 30 minutes
Total time: 40 minutes

Quick meal to the table....

Good Luck~Happy Eating~Enjoy

"Believe in the Lord your God, so shall ye be established; believe his prophets, so shall ye prosper." 2 Chr. 20:20

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

A Turkey Solution, But Struggle With Technology

Christmas is over and now you are faced with tons of left-overs. Just a suspicion because my refrigerator is packed.

Need a good idea on how to use up that left-over turkey?

This recipe was located in my great friend Marsha's cookbook, Recipes & Recollections.
If you are interested in purchasing a cookbook, this is where you go.
Believe me I know that the cookbook created by The Better Baker makes a very nice gift; the cookbook entered my family Christmas.

You know me, I had to add my two cents to this recipe.

I used pasta combo vegetables, threw in a little thyme, and used Jiffy buttermilk biscuit mix.

This recipe turned out great!!

Here is a quick peek of the inside of The Better Baker's cookbook. Very good organization, clear printing, and simple foods for the everyday (busy) cook. The Better Baker focuses on simple, flavor, and organization. Most of her recipe ingredients can be found in your very own pantry.

My mom and her husband deliver packages of smoked turkey every year to family members. Other than the original sandwich, I wanted to find a way to really use this smoked turkey.

Easy Turkey Pot Pie was the solution.

Ha, I am quick at finding a solution using food, but when it comes to technology and solutions to make things easier for myself, I am blind.

I had myself all worked into a frazzle today dreading the 18 mile drive I was going to have to make to pay my internet bill.

Due to the sluggish economy, my local internet company had to down-size and they relocated 18 miles away. So instead of 9 miles, the drive is now 18.

I was going on-and-on today (pacing the house) about having to make that drive, the cost of gas, and just having to go out (baby, it's cold outside).

As my frazzle is heating up to its utmost limit, my significant other looks and me and calmly says, "Why don't you just make the payment online?"

OMG!! Why didn't I think of that?

I know why; because the solution doesn't have anything to do with food, DUH!!

The cheddar flavor in the vegetables went perfect with the smoked turkey.

Instead of using the cream of chicken soup you could probably use the cheddar cheese soup that is available. Mental note: good idea

The biscuit mix was poured on top and the pot pie was slipped into the oven.

A delicious 30 minute meal.

Doesn't that look amazing?

Perfectly browned, flaky crust, and the creaminess is fantastic.

Easy Turkey Pot Pie

1 (10 3/4 oz.) can cream of chicken soup
2 TBS milk
1 (16 oz.) package Freshlike pasta combos, cheddar flavor (thawed)
1 c. fully cooked smoked turkey
ground thyme to taste
1/2 c. milk
1 egg
1 c. Jiffy buttermilk biscuit mix

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Combine soup, milk, vegetables, turkey, and thyme; pour into 9 inch pie plate (I used a 9 inch cake pan with deeper sides) coated with cooking spray. In small bowl, combine milk, egg, and baking mix. Pour over vegetable mixture and bake for 30 minutes.
The Better Baker (Marsha) says she likes to pepper the crust before baking.
Yield: 4 servings (could possibly get 6 if served with a salad).

Good Luck~Happy Eating~Enjoy

"She looketh well to the ways of her household, and eateth not the bread of idleness." Prov. 31:27

Monday, December 27, 2010

Christmas Is Over & A Wedding

Did you all have a happy holiday?

Even though we all feel like this?

And it is not over yet. We have to bring in the new year with eating and celebration.

I am so glad to be back at my blog.

Did you miss me? I sure missed you.

The few days I took off to be with friends and family left me feeling like something was missing.

When a person has a daily routine and the routine is interrupted, that person feels kind of lost.

But don't worry, I have taken tons of pictures, and continued my creations in the kitchen.

Speaking of creations.

I was invited to the most beautiful wedding I have ever been too. The day after Christmas my minister (Jim Ernst) got married to the beautiful Debbie Schlechty.

I am here to tell the story.

In the beginning two people fell in love.

Jim Ernst and Debbie Schlechty.

Then one day Jim asked Debbie to marry him.

Debbie said "yes", and ran out and bought a new dress.

Jim bought new shoes.

They got all dressed up and performed the rituals of a wedding.

With the help of family and friends the ceremony began.

And don't forget the beautiful Maid of Honor. Gorgeous!!

The vows were exchanged.

The rings sealed.

The unity candle was lit in reference of becoming one.

The passionate kiss was performed to announce and seal their marriage.

And now you are looking at Rev. and Mrs. Jim Ernst.

The celebration begins.

Jim and Debbie cut their cake.

One piece of the cake missing to ingest and share in celebration.

And Debbie gets cake on her nose.

Now introducing: The Ernst family

Jim and Debbie loaded up their kids and headed to Florida to visit Walt Disney.

A honeymoon to remember, a family created, and lasting love for eternity.

"How good and pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!" Ps. 133:1

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Security & Snick-Nog Frosted Cookies

Have you ever had a frosted snickerdoodle cookie?

Me either, until now.

I located a recipe called Snickerdoodle-Eggnog Cookie Pies.

I have to apologize again, because I forgot to write down where this recipe came from.

NEW YEAR RESOLUTION: Write down everything when it comes to someone else's recipe.

I feel bad when the original owner does not get credit. I promise things will change around here after the new year.

I did make some changes to this recipe though. Instead of making the sandwich cookies I just spread the frosting on top of the cookie.

I used my own snickerdoodle recipe too.

Is there anyone out there that is a Nicholas Sparks fan?

I love Nicholas Sparks, and his newest release only took me three days to read.

Have you ever read a book that really touches home?

"Safe Haven" touched home for me.

Of course I didn't change my identity, but I was a victim of verbal, mental, and physical abuse. It took me 21 years to find my safe haven.

I took some time this morning to read a Christmas story (a short story).

The story consisted of a family that makes it a tradition every year to put together a nativity scene in their yard. The two little boys in the family took pride in making sure the baby Jesus was safe, secure, and warm (wrapped in a blanket). They checked on the baby Jesus daily. One year, just a few days before Christmas, someone stole their baby Jesus.

When we place a nativity scene in our yard, do we have to resort to chains, locks, wires, and security devices to make sure Jesus remains secure?

Is your Jesus secure?

The way I see it, the thief needed Jesus in his/her life more than that family. That family already has Jesus secure in their hearts. They are practicing the true meaning of Christmas.

Today is my last post before the holiday season.

I am wishing you and your families a safe, blessed, inspiring Christmas, and I hope you have a New Year full of blessings.

I will see you next week.

Snick-Nog Frosted Cookies

This is the same frosting that was placed on top of my Eggnog Bread.

3/4 c. granulated sugar
2/3 c. light brown sugar
1/2 c. butter, softened
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 large egg
1 1/2 c. all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. cream of tarter
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp. salt

For cookie coating:

1/3 c. granulated sugar
1 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
Combine 3/4 c. granulated sugar, brown sugar, and butter in a medium bowl; beat with a mixer at medium speed until light and fluffy. Beat in vanilla and egg.
Combine flour, baking powder, 1/2 tsp. cinnamon, cream of tarter, and salt, stirring well with a whisk. Add flour mixture to butter mixture, beat until combined. Shape dough into 1 inch balls.
Combine 1/3 c. granulated sugar and 1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon in a small shallow dish. Roll balls in sugar mixture and place 2 inches apart on baking sheets (I use baking stones that don't have to be greased) coated with cooking spray. Bake at 400 degrees F. for 8 minutes, or until tops crack.

Eggnog Frosting:

1 1/4 sticks butter, softened
1 1/4 c. confectioners sugar
dash salt
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 tsp. rum extract
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
pinch of ground nutmeg
1 1/2 TBS eggnog

In a standing mixer (with paddle attachment), beat butter at medium-high speed until smooth, about 20 seconds.
Add confectioners sugar and salt, beat at medium-low speed, until most of the sugar is moistened, about 45 seconds.
Add vanilla and rum extracts, cinnamon, nutmeg, and eggnog. Beat the mixture on medium speed until everything is combined. Beat on medium-high until fluffy.
Frost cooled cookies.

Good Luck~Happy Eating~Enjoy

"Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering." Heb. 10:23

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Luxuries: Peanut Butter Brownies

Christmas is only three days away. Are you ready?

Being the die-hard cook, baker, creator that I am, I find enjoyment in searching the internet, blogs, and magazines for the ultimate perfect foods, treats, and home-made gifts to serve during the Christmas Holidays.

Are you the same way?

Well, today I have chosen to take a break.

Three days before Christmas and you want to take a break? Are you crazy?

I chose to take today and use it as a "focus" day.

Have you ever sat back and determined what blessings you actually do have? Or do you just look past them, considering them an everyday affair?
The car you drive, the food you eat, the house you live in, and all the things that make your life easy.

The blessings I have in my life are going to be noticed (here lately, every day) today. I would like to take today and call them "luxuries".
One luxury I have is, my oldest daughter works at a frozen foods facility.

Why is that a luxury?

She brings us frozen pizza crusts, bags (big bags) of frozen pizza toppings, and sometimes the most loved pizza rolls.

Luxury #1: We are eating.

My daughter delivered two great big bags of deluxe pizza toppings that can be stored in my freezer and used for omelets, casseroles, and soups.

Deluxe pizza topping in an omelet is out of this world. I know, because we had omelets made with the topping mix just the other day.

This is our "luxury" pizza.

Luxury #2: Pantry is full.

My youngest daughter can walk into our kitchen and decide on the spot that she wants to make peanut butter brownies. All the ingredients are there for her to prepare her treat.

Luxury #3: Computers/Internet

My family also has the opportunity to use the best educational tool in the world. The internet. Where did my daughter find her peanut butter brownie recipe? Of course, the internet.

Being unemployed for over a year, this is the first Christmas I have struggled to produce my children with just one gift each.

One thing that I made sure of when my children were growing up is, they know the meaning of Christmas. They know the reason for Christmas.

Do my kids look for, or demand the most expensive gifts at Christmas time? No they don't.

Does it pain me to not be able to produce mounds of gifts for my children and grandchildren? Yes it does.

My unemployment has been a wake-up call for me. Did I take advantage of the blessings (luxuries) that came easy before my unemployment? I sure did.

Did I neglect to allow God in my life? Yes I did.

Do I have a leader now? Yes I do.

Is it too late? No it's not (never).

When the day arrives where my blessings (luxuries) come easy again, will I take advantage of those blessings? I will not.

Thank you for taking the time to count my blessings (luxuries) with me.

Are you now counting yours?

Peanut Butter Brownies

1 c. butter
2 c. sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 c. creamy peanut butter
2 c. all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking powder
2 c. semisweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 10 x 15 inch jellyroll pan with foil.
In a medium bowl, cream together the butter and sugar. Beat in the eggs, one at a time. Stir in the vanilla and peanut butter until smooth. Combine the flour and baking powder, then stir into the peanut butter mixture. Finally, fold in the chocolate chips. Spread the dough out flat on the prepared pan.
Bake for 12 - 15 minutes (my daughter's took close to 25 minutes), or until the top looks dry. Cool in pan, then cut into squares.

Good Luck~Happy Eating~Enjoy

"There is treasure to be desired and oil in the dwelling of the wise." Prov. 21:20


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