September 30, 2013

Overnight Apple Cinnamon Oatmeal

I'm sure that some of you may have seen this recipe floating around on Facebook.  I'd seen it several times and decided it was time to try it out.  I love apple cinnamon oatmeal and having it ready first thing in the morning sounded like a win win to me. 

This recipe is super simple to put together right before you head to bed for the night.  I'm sure you have most of these ingredients already in your house so why not give it a try? 

Sorry for the lousy pictures below - after all I did make it right before bedtime. 

I cut peeled the apples and sliced them into chunks, rather than slices.  It's up to you. Roll them around the cinnamon mixture and lay them at the bottom of the slow cooker.

Next comes the oatmeal.

Milk and water mixture is next.

Don't stir, just turn it on low and let it cook overnight.  See? Easy. 

Perfect dish for those cold morning and for using up some of those apples you just picked at the orchard. :)

I loved the way it made my house smell.  When I first opened the lid it looked a little runny to me, but after stirring it it came right back to a good oatmeal consistency.  You can definitely taste the cinnamon and apples.  It's not overly sweet which is nice in case you want to add some raisins or honey. 
Great recipe to make those busy mornings a little easier.  

Overnight Apple Cinnamon Oatmeal
Recipe from Anita Maria via Facebook

  • 2 sliced (or cubed) apples
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • pinch of salt
  • 2 cups old fashioned oatmeal
  • 2 cups milk
  • 2 cups water
Cooking Directions
  1. Place the apples, brown sugar, cinnamon and salt in a small bowl and stir to coat.
  2. Pour the apple mixture into the bottom of a slow cooker.
  3. Add the oatmeal on top of the apples.
  4. Add the milk and water on top of the oatmeal. DO NOT STIR.
  5. Set your slow cooker for low heat and cook for 8-9 hours.

September 27, 2013

Candied Apples

Can you believe that I've never had a candied apple before I made these?

I know right?

I've always gone straight for the caramel apples (still one of my favorites). I always thought the red one's tasted like cinnamon and I didn't have an interest in that flavor combination so I never tried one. I have read through many candied apple recipes trying to figure out if they are supposed to taste like cinnamon or not.  I learned that some recipes do use those little red hot candies to melt down which do make them red and cinnamon-y but there were also recipes that didn't have that flavor.

So I had to try them, ya know, for the sake of science.

Turns out that these apples have a hard candy coating that just tastes like melted sugar.  It tastes that way because that's what it is.  Funny how that works isn't it? I'm so glad that I finally tried them.  They are very good but I honestly prefer the caramel apples more.  Having said that, at least now I know that only some of the candied apples taste like cinnamon and in a pinch I would absolutely eat this kind again.  I'm not one to turn down sugar after all.

I have only tried this one so I cannot compare how they taste with the kind you'd find at a carnival or fair.  It was yummy and fun to make but I'm glad I halved the recipe.  This much sugar in one household must be limited. :)

Candied Apples
Recipe from Martha Stewart

  • 4 medium apples (I used Honeycrisp)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup + 2 Tbsp water
  • 1/4 cup light corn syrup
  • 3 drops red food coloring (optional)
Cooking Directions
  1. Use small branches or popsicle sticks to press into the apple, at the stem end.
  2. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper and then either butter it or spray it liberally with cooking spray.
  3. Place the apples on the prepared cookie sheet.
  4. In a medium saucepan, add the sugar, water, corn syrup and red food coloring if you're using it.
  5. Bring to a boil over high heat and then lower heat to medium high. Let the mixture boil without stirring it until it reaches 300-310 degrees.
  6. Quickly dip the apples in the syrup and place back onto the cookie sheet. If you're going to use sprinkles or decorations that need to be pressed into the coating, work quickly, it will harden very fast.

September 26, 2013

Creamy New Orleans Pralines

It's that time of year again!  Time for candy making.  Well at least it is in my house.  It's finally cool enough that it's actually a pleasure to work around a hot stove. I've been busy collecting ideas for this fall/winter so if you have any you'd like to see on here, please leave a comment.

I've never actually made Pralines before so when I saw this one on Facebook that included buttermilk it piqued my interest. Don't worry, you can't taste buttermilk at all. I think it's more for color purposes then anything else. In fact, the sugar concoction doesn't taste like much at all in my opinion and in fact is just used as a basis to hold the pecans together.  The pecans are the star of the show here so if you're not a pecan fan, this recipe isn't for you.

I thought the recipe was really good.  I'd like to try a classic praline recipe as well to see what the differences are but overall I'm really happy I made these. Great fall dessert that is pretty quick coming together and dries fast so they can be ready to transport soon after making.

Creamy New Orleans Pralines
From Sonja Jones-Natt via Facebook

  • 3 cups sugar
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1/4 cup light corn syrup
  • pinch salt
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 quart (4 cups) pecans, whole or halves
Cooking Directions
  1. Line two cookie sheets with wax paper and spray the wax paper with non-stick cooking spray.
  2. In a very large pot, combine the sugar, buttermilk, corn syrup and salt. Bring to a rolling boil.
  3. Add the baking soda (it will foam considerably) and cook until it reaches soft ball stage or 235º.
  4. Turn off the heat and stir in the vanilla and the pecans. beat until the color changes and the candy thickens. It will be thick but not so thick that you can't pour it off the spoon.
  5. Drop by teaspoons onto the prepared cookie sheet and work quickly because it will harden fast.

September 23, 2013

Easy Pickled Jalapeños

What do you do with a hefty yield of fresh jalapeños from your garden? Can them.  Can you? Of course you can.  OK I'll stop.

Even if you know nothing of canning don't fret, this isn't really "canning".  These are refrigerator pickled jalapeños, much easier than the traditional canning method where specialized equipment is sometimes needed.  All you need to make these happen is some jars, some jalapeños and about 30 minutes.

One question I know you're going to ask me is how long do they have to sit in the refrigerator until they are ready to eat.  Well, it's like this.  The longer they sit the more pickle-y they become.  Technically you can eat them immediately after canning but they will develop a stronger taste the longer you wait. The good news is, they last a really long time in the refrigerator, Jami from "An Oregon Cottage" said she's still using her's after about a year!  If I still have any in a year I'll let you know.

I made a much smaller batch than the original recipe.  I like jalapeños and all but I can't eat them everyday, so I needed to tone it down a bit.  Great way to use up some of those garden jalapeños!

Oh, one more thing.  I found two red jalapeños when I went to pick these.  I had to look it up and find out what that meant.  Are they hotter? Milder? Turns out they are just more ripe but the flavor is much the same.  Adds a pretty color to the jars in my opinion.  Also, don't be afraid to add in some sliced get the nice pickled jalapeño flavor without all the heat.

Easy Pickled Jalapeños
Recipe from AnOregonCottage


  • 1 - 1 1/2 pounds of fresh jalapeños
  • 6 garlic cloves
  • 3 cups apple cider vinegar
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 Tbsp pickling salt
  1. Wash the jalapeños, cut off the tops and then slice into 1/4 inch pieces. 
  2. Cut each garlic clove in half. 
  3. Pack the sliced jalapeños into three pint sized jars and add 4 garlic clove halves to each jar. 
  4. In a medium saucepan, add the vinegar, water and salt.  Bring to a boil. 
  5. Pour the hot liquid over the jalapeños. 
  6. Screw on the tops and rings and refrigerate.  The original poster of this recipe says she has used her's up to a year later. 
  7. **If you want to "can" these jalapeños, make sure the liquid is to within 1/4 inch at the top of the jar before securing the lids.  Process in a water bath for about 10 minutes. The jalapeños will be softer than the refrigerated version but refrigeration will not be necessary until they have been opened.

September 20, 2013

Steak Sandwich

I've been looking at this recipe on The Pioneer Woman's website for a long time, thinking that I'd really like to make it but never really making the commitment.  I'm sorry I waited. Honestly, it's really good and really quick. Such simple ingredients combined to make a delicious lunch or dinner. As you can see, we added cheese to ours but it would be just as good plain.  When I recently saw a re-run of The Pioneer Woman's show on the Food Network and as she was cooking it my mouth was just watering.  It was at that moment my husband and I added it to our menu.

Ree dresses this sandwich up on her website while Marlboro Man keeps it simple but I could go either way.  The juice drizzled over the top is key so don't skip that step.  This sandwich reminds me of an Au Jus sandwich and a cheesesteak sort of all mixed up. You use cube steak which is a less expensive cut of meat, onions and rolls aren't expensive so you should really add this to your meal rotation.

Dinner in less than 20 minutes, you can't beat it!

Steak Sandwich
Recipe from ThePioneerWoman

  • 2-3 pounds cube steak
  • 1 whole large or 2 small onions, sliced
  • 2 sticks butter
  • seasoned salt
  • 1/2 cup (approximately) Worcestershire Sauce
  • Tabasco sauce, to taste
  • 4 French/deli rolls
Cooking Directions
  1. In a large skillet, add the sliced onion to 1/4 stick of butter and cook until translucent. Remove and set aside.
  2. Slice the cube steak and season with seasoned salt.
  3. Add another 2 Tbsp of butter over high heat until it's beginning to brown, then add the steak. Cook the steak in a single layer over medium high heat. Flip after about a minute.
  4. After the meat is browned on both sides, add the Worcestershire sauce, Tabasco sauce and 2 Tbsp of butter. Add the cooked onions back in with the meat.
  5. Butter each of the rolls on the cut side and place them on a hot skillet until golden brown.
  6. Scoop enough meat to cover the bottom of one roll and then add some additional juice.
  7. Garnish as desired or just eat as is.

September 18, 2013

Brownie Batter Cookies

I've been having one of those weeks, well honestly the last three weeks haven't been great.  My daughter started school and it seems like it's just been one thing after another.  She's fallen and hurt her wrist, had to have a tooth pulled so her big teeth could come in straight and now she's home sick with strep throat.  So, I'm not going to apologize for yet another cookie recipe.  When I'm stressed I bake.  I'm stressed. I needed chocolate. 

This recipe did exactly as I hoped it would.  It satisfied my need for chocolate and was easy to make.  None of that time consuming refrigeration, rolling or cutting, or ingredients I needed to run to the grocery store for.  I needed something quick and this was it.  Keep in mind, I bake a lot so I had unsweetened baking chocolate on hand but that might not be something everyone has just laying around. 

I loved how these cookies really did taste like a brownie too.  They're more on the "cake-y" side of the texture scale, they have a nice deep chocolate flavor and the chocolate chips really add a nice flavor and texture as well.  I do recommend putting them into a airtight container or bag after they cool down so they'll maintain their softness. 

Brownie Batter Cookies
Recipe from Trisha Yearwood

  • 2 sticks butter, at room temperature
  • 1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cups dark brown sugar
  • 1 ounce unsweetened baking chocolate, melted
  • 3 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 Tbsp vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
Cooking Directions
  1. Preheat oven to 350º
  2. Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper.
  3. In the bowl of your stand mixer, add the butter and both sugars.  Blend until light and fluffy on medium speed. 
  4. Add the melted chocolate and mix until smooth. 
  5. Add the eggs and mix until combined. 
  6. Sift together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt. Add the flour mixture to the butter sugar mixture a little at a time until combined and smooth. 
  7. Add the vanilla extract and combine. 
  8. Add the chocolate chips and combine briefly. 
  9. Use a cookie scoop or a Tbsp so put a heaping ball of dough onto the prepared cookie sheets. 
  10. Bake for 15 minutes and then move to a cooling rack. 

September 16, 2013

Baked Potato Casserole

I'm sure you know that I grew up in Montana, land of meat and potatoes.  This dish takes me right back to my life there.  It makes me homesick quite frankly.  If you're like me, this dish has everything you love in a comfort food dish.  Bacon and cheese mixed into mashed potatoes? Seriously, how can there be anything wrong with that? 

It's magical. 

I didn't have any green onions but I know it would have been wonderful with them sprinkled on top. 

The only extra step you make to prepare these vs regular mashed potatoes is adding them to the oven to melt the cheese. It's easy peasy. If you have your own favorite way to make mashed potatoes then by all means, do that, just add the bacon and cheese too. 


Baked Potato Casserole
Recipe from Facebook via Jarron Remington

  • 8 medium potatoes (peeled and cut into 1" chunks)
  • 1 cup evaporated milk
  • 1/2 cup light sour cream
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
  • 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese, divided
  • 6 slices bacon, cooked crisp and crumbled
  • sliced green onions for garnish, optional
Cooking Directions
  1. In a large pot, add the potatoes and cover with water, then boil until tender. About 15 or 20 minutes. Drain
  2. Preheat the oven to 350º
  3. Spray a 2 1/2 to 3 quart casserole pan with non-stick cooking spray.
  4. Put the potatoes back to the pot they were cooked in and add the milk, sour cream, salt and pepper. Use a potato masher or a blender to mash the potatoes until smooth.
  5. Add in 1 1/2 cups of cheese and half the bacon crumbles. Mix well.
  6. Put the potato mixture into the prepared dish and top with the remaining cheese and bacon crumbles. Top with green onions if using.
  7. Bake for about 3 minutes or until the cheese has melted.
  8. Serve hot.

September 13, 2013

Chocolate Cream Pie

It's a classic, right? How can you go wrong with this pie? The best part is that it's made from scratch and it's not just a box of pudding mix (not that there's anything wrong with that).

This recipe does take a little time for chilling purposes so it's not going to be done in 30 minutes or anything.  But if you plan ahead you'll be glad you took the extra time.  It's so worth it.

The filling is a deep chocolate flavor, smooth and thick.  The whipped cream topping is a perfect compliment.  I added chocolate chips to the top for texture.  In my book, this is one of those comfort foods that just makes you feel happy.  We froze ours and loved how it tasted frozen as well.  The filling never gets super rock hard so it can be eaten frozen if you wish.

Maybe this pie will make it to your holiday table?

Chocolate Cream Pie
Recipe from King Arthur Flour


  • 2 Tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1 1/3 cups semi-sweet chocolate (chips or chopped bar)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 3 Tbsp cornstarch
  • 2 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 3 large egg yolks
  • 1 cup heavy cream, divided
  • 2 cups milk
  • Pie crust - baked and cooled

  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • Chocolate chips/shavings optional
Cooking Directions
  1. In a medium bowl, place the chopped chocolate, butter and the vanilla extract. Set aside.
  2. In a medium saucepan (not over the heat) whisk the sugar, cornstarch, cocoa and salt.
  3. Whisk in 1/4 cup of the heavy cream until smooth, then add the other 1/4 cup of heavy cream. Whisk in the egg yolks.
  4. Place the saucepan over medium heat and gradually whisk in the remaining heavy cream and milk.
  5. Bring the mixture to a boil and whisk constantly for 1 minute.
  6. Remove the pan from the heat and pour over the chocolate mixture that you had set aside. Mix until smooth.
  7. Pass the mixture through a mesh sieve to remover any lumps and then put plastic wrap on the surface of the mixture to prevent a skin from forming. Chill thoroughly.
  8. Make sure you've baked and cooled the pie crust. 
  9. To make the topping: Pour the heavy cream into the bowl of your stand mixer using the whisk attachment and turn on medium high.  Slowly add the sugar and whip it until you can see lines being left in the cream from the whisk. It will look fluffy.  
  10. To assemble: Pour the chocolate cream mixture into the baked pie shell and smooth the top.  
  11. Pour the whipped cream on top of the chocolate cream mixture and smooth out. 
  12. To decorate you can either use a vegetable peeler on a semi-sweet chocolate bar to create a decoration or you can use a zester.  Top with chocolate chips if desired. 
  13. Keep refrigerated or frozen. 

September 11, 2013

Sherried Tomato Soup

I realize it's a little soon for tomato soup recipes, it's possible that I'm just ready for fall to get here. I love fall, it's my favorite time of the year.  Here's another thing I love, this soup.  I didn't know how I'd like it with the sherry in it but I LOVE it!

Want another little surprise?

My daughter LOVES it.  She does ask me to remove the "chunks" so I strain it and she gobbles it up. That was the most shocking part about this recipe for me.  She asks for it all the time and I can see why.  We all loved it.  The cream takes the acidic bite out of the tomatoes, the sherry gives a wonderful background without overpowering it.

I can't wait to try it with a recipe I saw for grilled cheese croutons.....YUM!

Definitely a new family favorite!

Sherried Tomato Soup
Recipe by ThePioneerWoman

  • 6 Tbsp melted butter
  • 1 whole medium onion, diced
  • 1 bottle (46 oz) tomato juice
  • 2 cans (14 oz) diced tomatoes
  • 1 Tbsp (up to 3 Tbsp) chicken base
  • 3 Tbsp (up to 6 Tbsp) sugar
  • pinch of salt
  • pepper to taste
  • 1 cup cooking sherry
  • 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
  • chopped fresh parsley
  • chopped fresh basil
Cooking Directions
  1. Saute the diced onion in the butter until it's translucent.
  2. Add the tomato juice, diced tomatoes, chicken base, sugar, salt and pepper. Bring to a near boil and then turn off the heat.
  3. Add the cooking sherry, heavy cream, fresh parsley and basil to taste.

September 9, 2013

Homemade Whatchamacallit KitKat Bars

I tried this recipe when I was in Montana and was immediately smitten.  My friend Veronica made them and of course I was too busy eating them to actually take a picture of them.  Oh darn, guess I have to make them again myself. :) I have to say, I'm not sure that I would call them KitKat Bars exactly, they are sort of like a Whatchamacallit Bar and sort of like a KitKat Bar but not exactly either one of those.  The one thing they are is G.O.O.D.

One of my favorite parts of this bar is the chocolatey topping.  I'm a huge fan of the chocolate/butterscotch flavor combination.  My gramma makes a Special K bar that has a similar topping and I just can't get enough of it.

Brings back such good memories.

Homemade Kit Kat Bars
Recipe from Tastebook introduced to me by Veronica W. 

  • 75 Club crackers
  • 1 cup butter
  • 2 cups graham cracker crumbs
  • 1 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
  • 1/2 cup whole milk
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 2/3 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup butterscotch chocolate chips
  1. Line a 9x13 inch ungreased dish with a layer of crackers, cutting to fit. 
  2. In a large saucepan melt the butter over medium heat. 
  3. Add the cracker crumbs, brown sugar, milk and granulated sugar. Boil for 5 minutes, stirring constantly. 
  4. Remove from the heat and pour half the mixture over the crackers. 
  5. Top with another layer of club crackers and then pour the rest of the butter mixture over the top of that. 
  6. Top with the remaining crackers. 
  7. In a small saucepan combine the peanut butter, semi-sweet chips and butterscotch chips.  Melt over medium low heat stirring constantly. 
  8. Pour evenly over the crackers and then refrigerate for at least 1 hour. 

September 5, 2013

Lemon Crinkle Cookies

I'm not sure if you've noticed my love of lemon yet on this blog.  I do love me some lemon. My gramma used to make the best Lemon Meringue Pie and yet I haven't even posted that kind of pie yet....soon to be rectified, trust me. I got off track didn't I?

Let me try again.

I've never met a crinkle cookie that I haven't liked, they are usually always soft and chewy and coating them in powdered sugar just makes this lovely to look at.  Usually there are beautiful cracks throughout and when coated in powdered sugar those cracks stand out even more making them very attractive. I'm so grateful that I found this recipe because up until now I'd only had this lemon cookie to fall back on.  It's important to have more than one lemon cookie to fall back on in my opinion.

Here's what I loved about this cookie.

  1. Lot's of lemon flavor without being so strong that you actually pucker when taking a bite. 
  2. Texture, I loved the chewy factor in this one. 
  3. Coated in powdered sugar, need I say more? The powdered sugar makes sort of a glaze in some spots that gets sort of crisp after it cools, which adds to the texture aspect. 
  4. Nothing to "melt" making it perfect for picnics or outdoor parties. 

Lemon Crinkle Cookies
Recipe from LDSLiving by Lauren Brennen of

  • 1/2 cup butter, at room temperature
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 whole egg
  • 1 tsp lemon zest
  • 1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/8 tsp baking soda
  • 1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  1. Preheat the oven to 350º and line two cookie sheets with parchment paper. 
  2. In the bowl of your stand mixer, add the softened butter and sugar and beat until light and fluffy.  
  3. Add the vanilla, egg, lemon zest and lemon juice and mix well.  Scrape the bowl and then mix again. 
  4. In a small bowl, add the remaining ingredients (minus the powdered sugar). 
  5. Slowly add the dry ingredients to the stand mixer bowl and mix until combined. 
  6. Put 1/2 cup of powdered sugar into a shallow bowl. 
  7. Roll a heaping teaspoon of dough into a ball and then roll the ball around in the powdered sugar until well coated. 
  8. Place on the prepared cookie sheet and continue with the rest of the dough. 
  9. Bake for 9-11 minutes.  The cookies will remain pale in color, you're looking for them to turn matte, not shiny and not brown. 
  10. If using a dark cookie sheet, reduce baking time by 2 minutes. 

September 3, 2013

Chewy Sugar Cookies

Happy Tuesday everyone!  How was your nice long weekend?

We made cookies yesterday and I couldn't wait to share them.  I'm a chewy cookie fanatic, and these were perfect for me. The edges were crispy but the middle was that chewy deliciousness that I crave. The flavor is the perfect vanilla that you expect from a sugar cookie, and the sugar that you roll the dough in before baking makes it have a lovely little sugar crunch with each bite.

Of course, if you wanted to stop up the sugar crunch you could always take a page out of my daughters decorating style (see picture below).

I have to put this in the "my favorite" cookie category.  It was everything I love in a cookie!

Oh, and if you do have any left after a couple of days - pop them in the microwave for a couple of seconds to get that fresh baked texture back. Enjoy!

Chewy Sugar Cookies
Recipe from A Feast for the Eyes

  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 cups + 1/3 cup sugar, divided
  • 2 ounces cream cheese, softened and cubed
  • 6 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 large egg, room temperature
  • 1 Tbsp milk
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
Cooking Directions
  1. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
  2. Preheat the oven to 350º and line two cookie sheets with parchment paper.
  3. In the bowl of your stand mixer, add 1 1/2 cups of sugar and the cream cheese and the melted butter, mix well.
  4. Add the vegetable oil and mix. Add the egg, milk and vanilla and mix well.
  5. Slowly add the flour mixture little by little until incorporated.
  6. In a shallow dish add the remaining 1/3 cup of sugar.
  7. Use a cookie scoop or two Tbsp to form a ball about the size of a golf ball.
  8. Roll each ball around in the sugar until coated.
  9. Place the sugar coated dough balls to the prepared cookie sheets and use the bottom of a drinking glass to press them down slightly until flat, but not squished thin. About 1/2 inch thick.
  10. Bake one tray at a time using the middle rack in the oven for 10-13 minutes. Oven temperatures vary so you're looking for the cookie to remain pale on top (no golden brown tops here). The bottoms will be very slightly golden. Mine took 13 minutes. 
  11. Let cool on the cookie sheet for about 10 minutes before moving them to a cooling rack.

My daughter's cookies.  She had so much fun with the sprinkles.