Wednesday, December 29, 2010

My one word goal for 2011

I ran across a great blog called "Heart for Him".  Each year the author picks one word that is her goal for the year.  Her goal for this year is humility.

For 2011 my one word is Faithfulness.

The verse that goes with it and I have written on every page of my calendar is Psalm 119:30 "I have chosen the way of faithfulness; I have set my heart on your laws."   I need to remind myself when I am looking, planning, arranging to set my heart on a way of faithfulness.  Seeking what God wants me to do, not plopping my plans in front of Him and saying..please bless what I want to do.

One of my all time favorite hymns is Come Thou Fount...
There's a line that every time I sing it that convicts me

"Let Thy goodness, like a fetter, 
Bind my wandering heart to Thee.
Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it,
Prone to leave the God I love;
Here’s my heart, O take and seal it, 

Seal it for Thy courts above."

2011 The year that I am intentional in my faithfulness.  Determined in putting God in every moment, not just in the convenient.  To deliberately set aside time to faithfully seek, prayerfully plan, purposefully obey and quietly follow.

Be blessed in 2011!

Pumpkin Whoopie Pies

I have always heard about the "whoopie pie". When I went to New England for Thanksgiving, I tasted my first whoopie pie.  It was ok.  I do love cakes with whipped cream filling but it wasn't what I expected.  So today I found on the Libby page a recipe for mini pumpkin whoopie pies.  So that is going to be one of my recipes to try out this week.

Here's the recipe and I'll post pictures and comments after I've made them!

Mini Pumpkin Whoopie Pies

Ingredients for Cookies:
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature, lightly beaten
  • 1 cup LIBBY'S® 100% Pure Pumpkin
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Cream Cheese Filling:
  • 4 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 6 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
For the Cookies:
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. 
  • Lightly grease or line four baking sheets with parchment paper.
  • Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger and salt in medium bowl. 
  • Beat butter and sugar in large mixer bowl on medium speed for 2 minutes. 
  • Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. 
  • Add pumpkin and vanilla extract; beat until smooth. 
  • Stir in flour mixture until combined. 
  • Drop by heaping measuring teaspoons onto prepared baking sheets. 
  • (A total of 72 cookies are needed for the recipe.)
  • Bake for 10 to 13 minutes or until springy to the touch. 
  • Cool on baking sheets for 5 minutes; remove to wire racks to cool completely.
For cream cheese filling: 
  • Beat cream cheese, butter and vanilla extract in small mixer bowl on medium speed until fluffy. 
  • Gradually beat in powdered sugar until light and fluffy.
  • Spread a heaping teaspoon of filling onto flat side of one cookie; top with flat side of second cookie to make a sandwich. 
  • Repeat with remaining cookies and filling. 
Store in covered container in refrigerator.

so here's what the pumpkin whoopie cushions look like :-)  The texture is a little rubbery but not too much
 no I didn't bite that one...when I took it off the cookie sheet I squeezed it too hard :-)

my sweet little clams filled with yummy goodness...

Coming up next on my recipe adventures - Mini Tollhouse Whoopie Pies

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Yummy Hot Chocolate that I remember drinking as a kid.

When I was kid, we used to go to a friend's house on Thursdays.  We'd play "kick the can" until dark, and then inside for hot cocoa, popcorn and Tom Selleck in Magnum PI...yeah it was that long ago!  How can you go wrong with that combination.
picture from

I *finally* found a recipe that tastes like the awesome hot cocoa I remember. It's Paula Deen's Dreamy Hot Chocolate.
  • 1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 6 1/2 cups hot water
  • Mini Marshmallows (optional in her recipe...but not at our house)


In a large saucepan, combine sweetened condensed milk, cocoa, vanilla and salt; mix well. 
Over medium heat, slowly stir in water; heat through, stirring occasionally. DO NOT BOIL. 
Top with marshmallows, if desired.
Tip: Chocolate can be stored in the refrigerator up to 5 days. Mix well and reheat before serving.

When it's cooled I put the hot cocoa in a 2L bottle and keep in fridge.  I've also added cooled freshly brewed coffee...a cheap mans mocha!!  If you have any questions, please ask.  Hope you enjoy the hot cocoa!

This Mommy Cooks: Sweet Treat Tuesday-Rocky Road Chocolate Cake Recipe

Picture from
This Mommy Cooks: Sweet Treat Tuesday-Rocky Road Chocolate Cake Recipe


Monday, December 27, 2010

found a new yummy snack!! Cashew Clusters

Kirkland (Costco) makes a cashew clusters with almonds and pumpkin seeds.....oh my word...awesome.

Kirkland Signature Cashew Clusters combine delicately roasted cashews, sweet tasting almonds and distinctly flavored pumpkin seeds. Not only are cashews, almonds and pumpkin seeds a good source of protein, cashews and almonds have a lower fat content than many other nuts. Cashews and almonds contain oleic acid, the same heart healthy mono-unsaturated fat found in olive oil. These tasty bite size cashew clusters are hard to resist because they taste great while being healthy too!


Sunday, December 26, 2010

Happy Boxing Day

As I try to maneuver out of my Christmas food coma.  It was a great day in Northern Virginia.  Although the weather people got my hopes up that I would get to see snow...and well that didn't happen.  Not even a flake today.  Still have January to hope that we'll get some snow.

This year for Christmas, I bucked tradition.  I know hard to believe.  We roasted a turkey breast in a bag (Butterball, which I highly recommend)  I also did a 3 lb roast beef  from our local grocer, Harris Teeter,  I made it in the crock pot.  It was really moist and well seasoned.
For sides, we had the usually suspects - mashed potatoes, green salad and rolls.  I also made a caramel apple pie.  It turned out great!

My husband's parents came down from the Boston area to spend a few days and shower the kids with gifts galore.  It was a fun day and I really enjoyed cooking!

My husband surprised me with a gift certificate for classes at Cookology in Dulles Town Center AND a new apron.  I am super excited and am having a hard time deciding which class to take!  There's a homemade ravioli class, baking classes, knife skills, I could go BROKE.  

Hope y'all have a great week!  I'm going to be trying out some new recipes this week.  Going to try a couple of recipes with the boys too.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Mandy's Caramel Apple pie

  • 1 recipe pastry for a 9 inch double crust pie
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoon pumpkin spice
  • 1/4 cup apple juice
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 5 baking apples, not red or yellow delicious, peeled, cored and sliced

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
  2.  Melt the butter in a saucepan. Stir in flour to form a paste. Add apple juice, white sugar and brown sugar, and spice and bring to a boil. Reduce temperature and let simmer.
  3. Place the bottom crust in your pan. Rub butter on the crust.  This will create a crust that won't get soggy.
  4. Fill with apples, mounded slightly. 
  5. Cover with a lattice work crust. 
  6. Gently pour the sugar and butter liquid over the crust. Pour slowly so that it does not run off.
  7. Bake 15 minutes in the preheated oven. Reduce the temperature to 350 degrees F. 
  8. Continue baking for 30 to 40 minutes, until apples are soft.

Merry Christmas from our family to yours!!

I've always loved the story of Christmas.  The angels, shepherds, wise men, and 2 pretty much innocent Jewish kids who would have their lives changed forever....would change the world...forever.  The incredible blessing of Mary to be chosen to carry the Messiah, the Creator of the universe, the everlasting God.  I can't even imagine as a teenager being told...even though you are a virgin, you're going to have a baby..her response wasn't one of having a freak out...which is what I would have what her response was "My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for He has been mindful of the humble state of his servant. From now on all generations will call me blessed, for the Mighty One has done great things for me— holy is His name." 

I pray that the Messiah will bless you this holiday. As we journey into 2011, I pray that you will have the courage of Mary and say "my soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior".

He will always be Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Wine Sunday Unique Handmade Gifts by WineSunday on Etsy

Wine Sunday Unique Handmade Gifts by WineSunday on Etsy

Found these beautiful handmade gifts today. They are so beautiful. So creative in the way it brings light into your house.

Wine Bottle Light -Gold With Brown

BBQ Ribs Recipes, Barbecue Recipes, Grilling Recipes, Baby Back Ribs, Barbecue Spare Ribs, Outdoor Cooking, Rating Barbecue Grills and Smokers

BBQ Ribs Recipes, Barbecue Recipes, Grilling Recipes, Baby Back Ribs, Barbecue Spare Ribs, Outdoor Cooking, Rating Barbecue Grills and Smokers

12 Great Christmas Gifts for your fav. #foodie

If you are looking for some last minute cooking ideas for your favorite foodie!

Meathead Goldwyn: 12 Great Christmas Gifts for the Barbecue Lover

Out of this world Cinnamon Rolls

  • Bread:
    1 cup warm milk (110 degrees F/45 degrees C)
    1/2 cup white sugar
    2 1/2 teaspoons bread machine yeast

    2 eggs, room temperature
    1 teaspoon salt
    1/3 cup butter, melted
    1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
    4 1/2 cups flour ( I have done 1 ½ cups whole wheat and 3 cups white flour)

    Sugar Filling: 
    1 cup brown sugar, packed
    2 1/2 tablespoons ground cinnamon 
    1/2 cup chopped walnuts (optional)
    1/3 cup butter, softened

    ½ cup cream cheese, softened
    1/4 cup butter, softened
    1 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar
    1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
    1/8 teaspoon salt

    Bread Machine:
    If you are using a bread mixer, put the bread ingredients in the order suggested by your machine manufacturer and use the dough setting.  Get dough out and let rest for 10 minutes before rolling out into a 16'x20' or so rectangle.  Using a spatula smooth out the butter over the dough and sprinkle with brown sugar and cinnamon and nuts if desired.  Roll the dough from the long side.  Cut into 12 pieces and put in greased 13x9 pan and let rise until doubled in size, about 30 minutes.  Cook at 350 for 15-18 minutes.

    By Hand
    In a large bowl dissolve the sugar in the warm water and sprinkle the yeast over top.  Let proof for about 10 minutes until yeast is creamy and looks like a sponge.  Add the butter and salt and add the eggs.  Add the flour, mix well, until dough is elastic and in a ball.  Remove the dough and knead on a flour surface about 10 times.  Put in a bowl and cover, letting the dough rise for about 30 minutes or doubled in size.

    Roll out into a 16'x20' or so rectangle.  Using a spatula smooth out the butter over the dough and sprinkle with brown sugar and cinnamon and nuts (if desired).  Roll the dough from the long side.  Cut into 12 pieces and put in greased 13x9 pan and let rise until doubled in size, about 30 minutes.  Cook at 350 for 15-18 minutes.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Want to brew a better cup of Coffee??

Brew a better cup of coffee by Ken Nye (Part 2)

Christmas Cookies - Russian Teacakes


Russian Teacakes (makes 3 dozen)

1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup cream cheese **see note**
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/3 cup confectioners' sugar
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup chopped walnuts

1/3 cup confectioners' sugar for decoration

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
  2. In a medium bowl, cream butter and vanilla until smooth. Combine the 6 tablespoons confectioners' sugar and flour; stir into the butter mixture until just blended. 
  3. Mix in the chopped walnuts. 
  4. Roll dough into 1 inch balls, and place them 2 inches apart on an ungreased cookie sheet.
  5. Bake for 12 minutes in the preheated oven. 
  6. When cooled enough to touch, roll in remaining confectioners' sugar. Let cool and roll a second time.

I had to add some water to make them stick together
You can also use 1 cup of butter if you don't like cream cheese.
I put the chopped walnuts in a teflon saute pan and toasted them.  Watch them so they don't burn.
I also like to roll mine in the sugar a second time.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Potato Crusted Fried Chicken

This is a total off the cuff recipe

I used approximately 1 pound of chicken tenders
I patted dry before dipping in a mixture of sour cream, Dijon mustard and a splash of white white..(about 1/2 cup sour cream, 1/4 cup Dijon and splash of wine)

I mixed together plain bread crumbs, potato flakes, dried onion flakes and my favorite seasonings.  After dipping the chicken I tossed to cover the chicken with the potato flakes mixture.  I let it sit for about 10 minutes and then fried in a 350 degree deep fat fryer.  YUM!.  If you have questions, please ask!!

Black Bottomed Mini Caramel Pumpkin Cheesecake Bites

Black Bottomed Mini Caramel Pumpkin Cheesecake Bites

Thank you to the Picky Palate for this tasty recipe!!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

I am READY for some football

It's a chilly day here in VA...not cold enough to snow but chilly enough. So it's souper bowl Sunday! I threw together a pot of soup and here it is.

Cheese Bacon Potato Soup

6 medium sized potatoes
4 cups water
1 1/2 cups chicken broth
1/2 onion chopped
seasonings to taste

5 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup cooked bacon bits
5 tablespoons flour
1 cup sour cream
1/3 cup milk
1/3 brick of Velveeta cut into small blocks

  • Boil potatoes in water, broth, seasonings and onion for 15-20 minutes until tender but not mush
  • Make the roux by melting butter and bacon bits, then whisk in flour until it thickens. 
  • Turn down heat and add by dollops sour cream and slowly add milk until it smooths out.  
  • Add Velveeta a little at a time and stir occasionally on low heat until smooth.
  • Fold into soup and heat through.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Not a food kind of day

Today wasn't a food day.  We ended up taking the boys to the Smithsonian Natural History Museum.  What a blast. Nate our four year old...loves dinosaurs and was in heaven!

Hope Diamond  my hope for Christmas??
 my sweet little bubba

DC at night

Friday, December 10, 2010

Easy Pizza for busy moms!

  • 2 1/4 tsp yeast
  • 1 teaspoon white sugar
  • 1 cup warm water (110 degrees F/45 degrees C)
  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  1. Preheat oven to 450
  2. In a medium bowl, dissolve yeast and sugar in warm water. Let stand until creamy, about 10 minutes.
  3. Stir in flour, salt and oil. Beat until smooth. Let rest for 5 minutes.
  4. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and pat or roll into a round. Transfer crust to a lightly greased pizza pan or baker's peel dusted with cornmeal. 
  5. Top with desired toppings 
  6. Bake in oven for 15 to 20 minutes, or until golden brown.
  7.  Let baked pizza cool for 5 minutes before serving.

Mandy's toppings
1 lb hamburger browned in sauce pan with minced garlic and diced onion..when cookied, drain any grease and add 1 can of diced tomatoes, drained and 1 can of tomato paste.  Cook over medium heat until thickened (about 10 minutes)  Spread on pizza crust and sprinkle with cheese...follow directions from #3

2011 Womans Day Planner . .(Life Planner) Giveaway!!! - The Homeschool Lounge

2011 Womans Day Planner . .(Life Planner) Giveaway!!! - The Homeschool Lounge

Enter soon! The giveaway is ending!!

2011 Womans Day Planner . .(Life Planner) Giveaway!!! - The Homeschool Lounge

2011 Womans Day Planner . .(Life Planner) Giveaway!!! - The Homeschool Lounge

Enter soon! The giveaway is ending!!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

A Fun Christmas Craft with Kids

I made some salt dough (playdough) to make some ornaments.  I remember the great pride I had in the ones I made for our Christmas Tree.

Recipe for Salt Dough here

It definitely needs more flour as you roll it out.

Here are the results as we put them in the oven (it takes 2-3 hours to dry them so we'll decorate them tomorrow)

Thank you to Teaching Tiny Tots

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Christmas Cookies

In trying to get in the Holiday Spirit, I decided to make some sugar cookies.  I have a KitchenAid mixer that I haven't been able to use much. I know a cardinal sin for a cook and baker.  So I dusted her off and used her to mix probably the best sugar cookies I've ever made. This recipe isn't for roll out cookies but actually drop, flatten and bake cookies.  They would be great with frosting on them, but they are really tasty without any.

Sugar Cookies

  • 2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1 1/2 cups white sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

    1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). In a small bowl, stir together flour, baking soda, and baking powder. Set aside.
    2. In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until smooth. Beat in egg and vanilla. Gradually blend in the dry ingredients. Roll rounded teaspoonfuls of dough into balls, and place onto ungreased cookie sheets.
    3. Bake 8 to 10 minutes in the preheated oven, or until golden. Let stand on cookie sheet two minutes before removing to cool on wire racks.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Sunday Menu

Having some friends over for some good eats and some hopefully good football.

We're having Lasagna, green salad, fresh baked rolls, and homemade apple crisp for dessert.
yummy!  Will post pictures once everything is cooked.

Mandy's Mom's Baked Lasagna

  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 onion, finely chopped

2 jars of pasta sauce
1 medium sized can of diced tomatoes
2 tbl Italian seasoning

  • 9 lasagna noodles, cooked and drained

  • 2 cups small curd cottage cheese
  • 1 beaten egg
  • 4 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

  1. Brown ground beef with garlic and onion.
  2. Add the pasta sauce, tomatoes, seasoning.  Simmer for approximately 30 minutes.  The longer it simmers, the better the flavor.
  3. In a bowl add cottage cheese, egg, 2 cups mozzarella cheese and 1/2 cups Parmesan cheese. (you can also add thawed and well drained chopped spinach)
  4. Lay 3 noodles on the bottom of a greased pan, add 1/3 of tomato mixture and 1/3 of cheese mixture.  
  5. Repeat layers and sprinkle with the remaining 2 cups of cheese.

Bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour.  If the edges are burning you can cover with strips of tinfoil.

Cloverleaf Rolls (makes 2 loafs or 24 rolls)

  • 2 cups warm water (110 degrees F/45 degrees C)
  • 2/3 cup white sugar
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons active dry yeast
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 6 cups bread flour

  1. In large bowl combine warm water and sugar.
  2. Mix in the yeast and leave in a warm place until the mixture is frothy. (looks like a sponge)  It should take about 10-15 minutes.
  3. Add the oil and salt.
  4. Add flour one cup at a time. Knead until smooth and elastic like.
  5. Put in an oiled bowl, cover with a damp cloth and let rise until double in size (about 30-45 minutes)  
  6. Once it is doubled, punch down.  
  7. You can either bake in 2 greased loaf pans, or make clover leaf by making small round balls and putting 3 balls in each tin of a muffin tin.  
  8. Let rise again for about 30 minutes until the dough is 1 inch over the pan or until the dough has filled the tin and is above the edge. 

Apple Crisp
  • 3 Large apples, peeled, cored and sliced 
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tsp cinnamon


  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup butter

Makes a 9x9 pan.

  1. Grease pan and set aside
  2. Peel, core and slice apples.  Toss with brown sugar and cinnamon mixture.
  3. Place in greased pan
  4. In a medium sized bowl combine all but butter.  Cut in butter until it is crumbly.
Bake in oven for 40 minutes or until golden brown and apples are tender.

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