Saturday, December 31, 2011

Happy New Year!!!

Happy New Year!!  Tonight Bill and I decided to just stay home for New Years.  Cally is having her friends over tonight so I have made a few appetizers for them.  I made Real Buffalo Chicken dip, bacon wrapped jalapenos and these Little Cherry Cheesecakes.  When you start eating these cheesecakes it is hard to stop.

The cheesecakes are a bit hit with Billy and his friends.  When Matt and Mike come over I make these cheesecakes for the guys.  Not only are they good but they are fast and easy.

I hope everyone has a safe and Happy New Years!!  May 2012 be your best year yet!

Little Cherry Cheesecakes

16 ounces cream cheese
2 eggs
3/4 Cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla

1 Cup graham cracker crumbs
1/4 Cup sugar
1/4 Cup melted butter

20 ounce can cherry pie filling

Line cupcake pans with liners.  Mix together crust ingredients and put about a tablespoon in each cupcake liner.  Press crust mixture down forming the crust.

In a bowl mix the cream cheese and eggs until well blended.  Mix in sugar and vanilla until smooth.  Pour into cupcake liners.  Bake in 350 degree oven for 20 minutes.

Cool cheesecakes and then top with cherry pie filling and refrigerate for at least an hour before serving.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Soup Beans

Christmas ham is now gone.  When I buy a ham I like to buy a Butt Ham.  I prefer the bone in ham because after we are done eating the ham I take what is left and cook it in Great Northern Beans.  Soup beans and corn bread hits the spot on a cold winter night!  I like to eat mine with corn bread mixed in but the guys eat theirs with corn bread and ketchup mixed in their beans.  Ketchup seems gross to me but they say it is good, they will not eat them plain.

Soup Beans

1 bag great northern beans
1 ham bone with meat still on it

I do a quick soak on my beans, put beans in a large pot and cover with water.  Bring beans to a boil and boil for 2 minutes.  Remove beans from the stove, cover and let sit for an hour.

Put ham bone and beans into a crock pot and cover them with water.  Cook beans on high for 6 to 7 hours or until beans are tender.  Remove bone from soup and pull of any meat and put it back into the soup...enjoy!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Almond Spritz and our shoe boxes were delivered to Ukraine

Billy may have a new favorite cookie.  He always favored the cooky press almond Christmas tree cookies but he really liked this new cookie.

This cookie has cream cheese as one of the ingredients.  It is a lot softer than the Christmas tree cookie.  It also has a vanilla glaze on top and then sprinkled with sugar and decorated in the middle with a little pearl ball.  Besides it being really good I thought they looked nice on my cookie trays.

Back at the beginning of the month I had blogged about Cally and I packing shoe boxes with gifts for children for Samaritan's Purse.  This organization was founded by Billy Graham's son Franklin.  Each year Cally and I along with our church fill shoe boxes for children around the world.  Cally and I paid for our shipping on line, that way we received a special bar code that went on our boxes so we could track where they ended up being delivered.  We received an email a few days ago and our boxes were delivered to 2 little girls in the Ukraine.  How fun it is to know we put a smile on the faces of 2 little girls all the way around the world.

This is a picture of the shoe boxes that our Church family filled and sent, we gathered 71 boxes!

Here the children in our Church are laying hands on the packages to pray over them and for the children that will receive them.  This is such a great ministry!

Almond Spritz
source: Better Homes and Gardens Very Merry Cookies

1 C Butter, softened
3 oz cream cheese, softened
1 C sugar
1/4 t salt
1 egg yolk
1 t vanilla
1/2 t almond extract
2 1/2 C flour

1 recipe powdered sugar glaze (optional)
small decorative candies (optional)
colored sugar (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  In a large mixing bowl beat butter and cream cheese on medium for 30 seconds.  Add sugar and salt.  Beat until combined, scraping sides of bowl occasionally.  Beat in the egg yolk, vanilla and almond extract until combined.  Beat in as much of the flour as you can with the mixer.  Using a wooden spoon, stir in any remaining flour.

Pack unchilled dough into a cooky press fitted with desired shape plate.  Force dough through the cooky press 2 inches apart onto an ungreased cookie sheet.

Bake for 8 to 10 minutes or until edges are firm but not brown.  Transfer cookies to a wire rack and let cool.  If desired, brush or drizzle cookies with powdered sugar glaze and decorate with candies or colored sugar.

Powder sugar glaze:  In a small bowl stir together 1 C powdered sugar, 1 T milk and 1 t vanilla.  stir in additional milk 1 t at a time, until glaze reaches desired consistency.  If desired, tint glaze with food coloring.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Miss Polly's Perfect Potatoes

Today has been a busy day.  I spent most of my time in the kitchen.  I was preparing out Christmas Eve dinner and also making cakes for the soup kitchen tonight.  Bill, Cally and I served dinner at the soup kitchen tonight.

For our dinner we had Ham, Green Beans, Scalloped Corn, Miss Polly's Perfect Potatoes, Spicy Sweet Potatoes, Deviled Eggs, Rolls, 7-up Salad, Lemon Meringue Pie and Cherry Pie.  I am stuffed and it was all sooooo goooood!

Miss Polly's Perfect Potatoes is a recipe that was entered in the fair for the cheese category and took 2nd place in 2005, it was made by a friend of our family, Gaybrielle R.  I think the secret ingredient of these potatoes is the french onion chip dip.  The dip makes these potatoes really flavorful.  And a nice thing about these potatoes is you do not have to peel them, I love that part!  These potatoes have become a favorite for our family.

I hope everyone has a Very Merry Christmas!!!

Miss Polly's Perfect Potatoes
source: Gaybrielle R

5 lbs red skin potatoes (I used white skin potatoes)
1/2 C butter, no substitutes
1 (12oz) container French onion chip dip
1 (8oz) cream cheese
1 t salt
1 T pepper (optional)
1 (12oz) sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
6 oz french fried onions

Place potatoes in a large stock pot, add water to cover.  Bring to a boil; cook until tender; drain.  Mash potatoes with butter, dip, cream cheese, salt and pepper.  Spoon potatoes into buttered 9 x 13 baking dish.  Top with shredded cheese.  Bake at 400 degrees for 10-15 minutes or until cheese is bubbly.  Sprinkle onions over top and bake for 1-2 additional minutes.  Serves 6-8

Friday, December 23, 2011

Cheesecake Dip

Thanks Brooke!!!  This super awesome dip comes to us from my friend Brooke.  I did make a little change since I put it in my snowman bowl.  Brooke's recipe is called Chocolate Chip Cheesecake Dip, Brooke puts mini chocolate chips in hers.  She also likes to use gingersnaps for dipping "because the spicy flavor of the cookie balances the sweetness of the dip."  I did not want a dalmatian looking snowman so that is why the chips got left out of mine  :o)

Leaving the chips out makes the dip taste like the inside of a pumpkin roll cake.  It was really good dipped on graham cracker sticks (I got scooby snacks..hehehe) and vanilla wafers.  I took this dip to a party at my Aunt Teresa's house last night.  The snowman bowl was so festive looking!

I also made the bowl.  I saw a picture of a snowman punch bowl with egg nog in it at Six in the suburbs blog and thought it was really cute and figured why not make a small bowl for a white dip...turned out perfect!

Cheesecake Dip
from Brooke B

1 (8oz) cream cheese
1 stick butter
3/4 C powdered sugar
2 T brown sugar
1 t vanilla

If you want chocolate chip cheese cake dip add 3/4 C mini chocolate chips

Mix cream cheese and butter until smooth, add sugars and vanilla.
Beat well and if making chocolate chip cheesecake dip fold in the mini chips.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Shortbread Swirl Cookies

These cookies are a shortbread cookie that I have made into a swirl cookie.  It is the same as my previous post except these cookies are a little softer than the pink swirls.  

Super easy 4 ingredient cookie.

Cally and I entered a cookie contest at the fair where we were given this recipe and everyone had to follow the same recipe and present 12 cookies for judging.  It is amazing that you can give 10 people the same recipe and they will all show up with different looking cookies.  I placed 2nd and Cally placed 3rd in this was fun!

Shortbread Swirls

1 C butter
1/2 C powdered sugar
1 t almond extract
2 C flour
food coloring is swirling

Let butter sit at room temperature for 4-6 hours.  Cream butter and sugar together til light and fluffy.  Blend in almond extract.  Add flour small amounts at a time and mix until smooth.  If you want to swirl your cookies, divide the dough in half and place one half back in the mixing bowl and color your dough.  Knead dough slightly to make it smooth.

Roll our each portion of dough between 2 sheets of wax paper.  You want a rectangle 11 x 8 1/2  inches by 1/8 inch thick.   Place white dough on table and take off the top sheet of wax paper.   Take the top sheet of wax paper off of the colored dough and flip the colored dough on top of the white dough.   Roll dough starting at the long end up like a jelly roll.

Pour colored nonpareils in a dish, roll the dough log in the nonpareils until the sides are coated.
Slice cookies 1/8 to 1/4 inch thick. I used dental floss to slice my cookies as the knife was pushing the dough down and not cutting well.  Place on Parchment lined cookie sheets at 350 degrees for 15 to 17 minutes.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Christmas Trees

This is one of Billy's favorite cookies.  It reminds me of an almond shortbread cookie.  I made these cookies with my cooky press.  The recipe is from my Mom's cooky press recipe book.  The summer before Bill and I got married my Mom and I went to garage sales looking for some household items.  Mom always made these cooky press cookies every year for Christmas.  So when I found an old cooky press (probably an antique and that must by why it is called a "cooky" my spell check is telling me this is wrong...hehehe) at the garage sale for $1.00 I had to have it.  The only thing is it did not have any recipes, but that was ok, I just copied my Mom's recipes from her cooky press.  I love this old aluminum cooky press.  I had bought a new one thinking new and improved would be better, but it quit working right away with the batch of cookies I was trying it out on so I am back to my old and trust worthy antique cooky press.

Christmas Trees

1 C shortening ( I use crisco)
3/4 C sugar
1 egg
2 1/4 C flour
1/8 t salt
1/4 t baking powder
2 t almond extract
green food coloring

Cream shortening, adding sugar gradually
Add unbeaten egg, dry ingredients, almond extract and a few drops of green food coloring
Mix well
Fill a cooky press with dough.  Form cookies on ungreased cookie sheet, using the tree plate.  Decorate with tiny candies.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

2 for 1 Cookies Chocolate-Caramel Thumbprints & Marshmallow Surprise

We originally made these as Chocolate-Caramel Thumbprints but after Cally tasted them she thought they tasted like the Martha Stewart Surprise Cookies.  After pulling out my Martha Stewart Cookies book we found that the recipes were very similar so we decided to just drop some of the dough onto the cookie sheet bake them then top them with a half marshmallow.  Martha does make a chocolate icing and she puts the icing over the marshmallow, that is how it gets it's name "Surprise"  These are Cally's favorite cookies without the icing.  They remind me of the Devils food cookies with the marshmallow in them.

To make both version of cookies we just made a double batch of dough and used half for each cookie

Chocolate-Caramel Thumbprints and Surprise Cookies
Better Homes and Gardens Very Merry Cookies

1 C flour
1/3 C unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 t salt
1 egg, separated, reserving the egg white
1/2 C butter, softened
2/3 C sugar
2 T milk
1 T vanilla

for Thumbprints you will need:
16 vanilla caramels, unwrapped
3 T whipping cream
1 1/4 C finely chopped pecans

for Surprise cookies you will need:
13-15 large marshmallows cut in half crosswise

In a large mixing bowl beat butter with mixer on medium to high speed for 30 seconds.  Add sugar and beat until combined.  Beat in the egg yolk, milk and vanilla until combined.  Beat in flour, cocoa powder, and salt.

for Thumbprint cookies:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Lightly grease a cookie sheet ( I just use parchment paper on my cookie sheets) Lightly beat the reserved egg white.  Shape dough into 1 inch balls.  Roll balls in egg white then in pecans to coat.  Place balls on the prepared cookie sheet.  Press your thumb into the center of each ball.

Bake for 10 minutes or until edges are firm.  If cookie centers puff during baking, re-press with the back of a small spoon.  Spoon melted caramel mixture into the indentations in cookies.

In a  small saucepan cook and stir caramels and whipping cream over medium-low heat until melted and smooth.  Slightly cool the caramel and spoon onto the cookies.

For surprise cookies:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Lightly grease a cookie sheet (I just use parchment paper on my cookie sheets) Using a 1 3/4 " ice cream scoop, drop dough onto prepared cookie sheets.  Bake for 8 minutes, take out of the oven and press a half of marshmallow on top and return cookies to the oven for 2 more minutes.

If you wish to make your cookies a Marshmallow surprise you may make this icing and cover the marshmallow.

3 C powdered sugar
6 T butter
1/4 C plus 1 1/2 t unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 C plus 2 T milk
3/4 t vanilla

Put powdered sugar in a medium bowl.  Melt butter with the cocoa powder in a sauce pan over medium heat, stirring occasionally.  Add butter mixture to powdered sugar.  Whisk in milk and vanilla.

Spread about 1T of frosting on top of each cookie to cover the marshmallow.  Let stand until set, about 10 minutes.  Cookies can be stored in single layer in airtight container at room temperature up to 2 days.

This icing reminds me of the icing on Schuler's chocolate cream filled donuts.


This chocolate fudge is good but I think I needed to add more chocolate chips to it.  It just has a hint of chocolate taste and the color is very light.  In my pictures you probably can not tell the chocolate fudge apart from the peanut butter fudge very well.

The peanut butter fudge is the best I have ever had.  It is smooth and just melts in your mouth...mmmmm

I used the same recipe for both fudges but I changed to all white sugar and added a bag of chocolate chips and deleted the peanut butter for the chocolate fudge.

Chocolate Fudge

adapted from Sweet Treats and More peanut butter fudge recipe

5 C sugar
1/2 butter
1 can (12oz) evaporated milk
1 jar (7oz) marshmallow cream
1 bag chocolate chips
1 t vanilla

lightly grease a 9 x 13 pan.

In large sauce pan combine sugar, butter and evaporated milk over medium heat.  Stir consistently until boiling and let boil for 7 minutes

Remove from heat and stir in the marshmallow cream until blended and melted.  Stir in the chocolate chips and vanilla until smooth.

Spread into pan and let cool.   Store in airtight container in refrigerator.

Peanut Butter Fudge
from Sweet Treats and More

4 C sugar
1 C brown sugar
1/2 butter
1 can (12oz) evaporated milk
1 jar (7oz) marshmallow cream
1 jar (16oz) peanut butter
1 t vanilla

lightly grease a 9 x 13 pan.

In large sauce pan combine sugars, butter and evaporated milk over medium heat.  Stir consistently until boiling and let boil for 7 minutes

Remove from heat and stir in the marshmallow cream until blended and melted.  Stir in the peanut butter and vanilla until smooth.

Spread into pan and let cool.   Store in airtight container in refrigerator.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Colorful Spiral Cookies

I saw these cookies on Kara B's facebook and fell in love with them.  I think the spiral dough is neat and I love the pink, red and white sprinkles on the sides of the cookie.  

I have something to confess though....I did not follow the directions in the recipe.  It says to mix these up in a food processor and I did not want to dig mine out so I just mixed them like I would a regular cookie recipe starting with creaming the butter and sugar and then going from there.  They turned out just fine.

I baked cookies all day yesterday and today I made 2 batches of fudge.  I have more to make but I am taking a break...I will be back in the kitchen tomorrow.

I have lots to share with you this week so keep checking back!

Colorful Spiral Cookies
Inspired by Kara B
adapted from Sprinkle Bakes

2 C flour
½ t baking powder
¼ t salt
⅔ C powdered sugar
¼ C granulated sugar
2½ sticks butter
2 t vanilla
2 T flour
1½ C multi-colored nonpareil decors
food coloring of choice for spiral color

Cream butter and sugars until smooth.  Add vanilla and mix well.  Mix in the 2 C flour, baking powder, and salt.
Divide the dough into 2 equal portions.  Return one portion to the mixer and add 2 T flour and your choice of food coloring color.  Mix until flour is incorporated and dough is the color you want.
Roll our each portion of dough between 2 sheets of wax paper.  You want a rectangle 11 x 8 1/2  inches by 1/8 inch thick.  Refrigerate until firm.
Place white dough on table and take off the top sheet of wax paper and lightly wet the dough.  Take the top sheet of wax paper off of the colored dough and flip the colored dough on top of the white dough.  Let sit until it is soft enough to roll the dough from the long to short end like a jelly roll.
Pour colored nonpareils in a dish, roll the dough log in the nonpareils until the sides are coated.
Slice cookies 1/8 to 1/4 inch thick.  Place on Parchment lined cookie sheets at 325 degrees for 15 to 17 minutes.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Overnight Coffee Cake

Today is the official start of my 2011 Christmas Baking.  Things get a little crazy around here when I start my baking.  Last year we probably made 50 dozen cookies.  Cally and I made cookies for our favorite Church family to take to the hospital with them as their son was having surgery last year at this time. The cookies were shared with the hospital staff and the other families staying at the hospital.  We made cookies for the firehouse and they delivered cookie trays with the meal that was fixed and delivered to shut ins in our community and we made cookies for us and to be put on trays for our friends.  So starting today I will be very busy...but you know me I will be in heaven being in my kitchen and baking up a storm!!!

Last night I mixed up this coffee cake for Billy to take to work with him at the tree farm and of course I had to make one for us...yum!!!  And the house already smells wonderful from baking these cakes this morning.  I like this cake because I can make it up the night before, put it in the fridge and then set my oven to come on and be heated up before my alarm goes off.  So I just jump out of bed 45 minutes before Bill has to leave, the oven is already hot so just put the cake in the oven and then go about my business.  This way he got to take a warm cake with him.

I do not know what I did but all my topping went to the bottom of the cake.  It is still good but it does not have a sugary topping now, so I made a topping for it.  I took powder sugar, water and vanilla and made a glaze that I drizzled over the top of the cake then I sprinkled chopped pecans and cinnamon maple sprinkles on top of the glaze.  Oh boy this cake is good, the glaze soaked down into the cake and it is so moist and just the right amount of gooey.  As you can see in one of the pictures I had to test this cake as I was posting this morning and I just might have to have another piece..mmmmm

I am on vacation this week so I will be posting all kinds of my Christmas goodies all week long!

Overnight Coffee Cake

Adapted from

2 C flour
1 C sugar
1/2 C brown sugar
1 t baking soda
1 t baking powder
1/2 t salt
1 t cinnamon
1 C sour milk (1 C milk and 1T vinegar)
2/3 C butter, melted
2 eggs

1/2 C brown sugar
1/2 C chopped pecans
1 t cinnamon

1 C powdered sugar
3 T warm water
1 t vanilla
1/4 C chopped pecans
cinnamon maple sprinkles or cinnamon sugar

Combine first 7 ingredients, add sour milk, eggs and melted butter.  Beat at low speed until moistened, then mix at medium speed for 2 minutes.  Pour batter into a greased 9 x 13 pan.

Combine 1/2 C brown sugar, 1/2 C pecans and 1 t cinnamon.  Sprinkle over top of the bake.  Cover cake with foil and put in the fridge overnight (can also bake immediately 350 degrees for 35 min)

Uncover and bake at 350 degrees for 35 minutes.

While cake is still warm mix up the glaze, combine the powdered sugar, water and vanilla.  Drizzle the glaze over the warm cake then sprinkle with pecans and the cinnamon maple sprinkles or cinnamon sugar.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Taco Casserole and Christmas Decorations

Today was a busy day around our house.  Cally and I did some Christmas shopping early this morning, then back home for lunch.  We had a simple lunch of grilled ham and turkey sandwiches, potato salad and chips.  I love having a grilled sandwich on cold days.  It was cold here in OH this morning, we woke up to 18 degrees.

We put up our Christmas tree today.  It was weird to be putting up our tree and hearing the farmers out in the fields around us picking their corn.  It has been too wet here in our area for the farmers to have picked all of their fields.  They have had to wait for the ground to freeze before they were able to get their combines in the field and not sink in the mud.  I think this is the latest I can ever remember there being corn still up in the fields.

I have been sending some goodies with Billy to work at the Christmas Tree Farm this year.  As a thank you Bev sent home a gorgeous wreath that she made for me.  We have hung it on our front door...I just love it!

Well on to our Taco Casserole we had for dinner.  This is a fast and easy meal and it is very good if you like Mexican food.

Taco Casserole

1 roll seamless crescent rolls
2 lbs ground Turkey (can use beef also)
2 pkgs Old El Paso taco seasoning
1  enchilada sauce
8 oz shredded cheddar cheese
crushed fritos

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Place crescent rolls in the bottom of a 9X13 pan.  Bake crust for about 12 minutes.  Meanwhile brown turkey and then add the taco seasoning according to package directions.  Take crust out of the oven and begin layering the casserole.  Put tacoed turkey over the crest, then pour the enchilada sauce, next add the shredded cheese and finally the fritos on top.  Return the casserole to the oven for about 20 minutes.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Hearty Sausage and Potato Bake

Tonight is our Church's turn to make food for the soup kitchen.  I have been trying to donate a crock pot of food every Wednesday night.  It is getting really cold here in Ohio and a lot of the people we help do live on the street.  I make my food and take it to my terrific friends Kathy and Sherry and they take my food along with theirs and serve at the soup kitchen every Wednesday night.

The Hearty Sausage and Potato Bake is a recipe that I received from my friend Julie.  She has entered this recipe in the dish of the day competition for pork dish at the fair and has won several ribbons.

The thyme leaves in this dish are so robust and add a fabulous flavor.  I have made a few changes to the original recipe.  I have added mushrooms, boil my carrots before adding them to the mixture and I do not brown my sausage.  I just slice my sausage up and throw it right in the pan.

Hearty Sausage and Potato Bake
adapted from:  Julie A.

1 # new potatoes, quartered
1 lg onion sliced
1/2 # baby carrots, boiled until tender
8 oz fresh mushrooms
2 T melted butter
1 t salt
1/2 t pepper
1 t garlic powder
1/2 t dried thyme leaves
1 1/2# smoke sausage, sliced

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Spray a 9 x 13 pan with cooking spray.  Combine potatoes, onion, carrots, mushrooms, salt, pepper, garlic powder, thyme and margarine.  Toss to coat.  Place potato mixture in prepared pan.  Bake uncovered for 30 minutes.  Add sliced smoke sausage to the potato mixture and bake an additional 15-20 minutes.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Grandpa's Homemade Spaghetti Sauce on Ravioli

When we got married I used spaghetti sauce from a jar, Ragu actually.  Oh boy have I learned that there is nothing like homemade spaghetti sauce.  Now I use this sauce for anything that needs a pasta sauce.  I use it for spaghetti, lasagna, 3 cheese stuffed shells and in this dish, Beef Ravioli.

Cally entered this sauce in the fair in the beef dish.  She made the sauce and added ground beef and fresh mushrooms.  It took 1st place.

We were given this recipe from my farther-in-law.  That is how it got it's name...Cally is the one who named it Grandpa's Homemade Spaghetti.  You can either simmer this sauce on the stove or as Cally did it, put it in the crock pot and let it simmer until she was ready to put the sauce over her spaghetti. The smell is amazing as it simmers.

This is Grandpa with Cally

Grandpa's Homemade Spaghetti Sauce on Ravioli
source: My Father-in-Law

29 oz can crushed tomatoes
29 oz can tomato sauce
15 oz can tomato paste
1 t Italian Seasoning
3 bay leaves
1 t garlic powder
1 t oregano
1/4 C sugar
1 t onion powder

2 25 oz bags frozen ravioli
16 oz shredded mozzarella cheese

Mix all together and either simmer on the stove for about 30 minutes or put in crock pot on low for about 4 hours.  Before using the sauce you will need to find the bay leaves and take them out.  Boil 2  25oz bags of frozen beef ravioli.  Drain ravioli and place in a baking dish, cover with the sauce.  Sprinkle the mozzarella cheese on top and bake in a 350 degree oven until cheese is melted.