Product Review

Today’s lunch was “smorgasbord”. Smorgasbord at our house means move all the leftovers from the refrigerator to the counter–cafeteria style.We have it at least once a month-typically either Sunday or Monday. You see, the garbage man comes on Tuesday. This is the perfect time to clean out those containers that have “science experiments” growing in them.


We always have lots of choices.

Everyone goes through and picks whatever he or she wants to eat. We have to eat in shifts though since we all have to wait to use the microwave.

Today, Katie had butter noodles-leftover spaghetti from Spaghetti and Meatballs.

Megan had the rest of the Tuna Stir-fry–stay tuned for that one!

Chip used some of the leftover brisket to make quesadillas.

I picked through the remains of a bagged salad and used up the last piece of fajita chicken.

Everyone was happy!

In an effort to use up even more leftovers, I grabbed a container of fried apples to use for our dessert– Apple Flautas.

There is nothing fancy about these apples. They are just fried apples from a can.

I was almost able to use up the last of the tortillas, too!

Fried Apples

I’ve never made Apple Flautas. I didn’t even bother looking up a recipe. Mom used to get them from Schwan’s when we were kids. Too bad they don’t carry them any more.

While assembling my Apple Flautas, I had a little vegetable oil heating in my pan. Of course, if you have a deep fryer that works great, too.

I spread a little butter on my tortilla, then added the apples.

The canned fried apples were already sweetened, so I didn’t add any extra sugar.  I did, however, add a little cinnamon.

In the picture below, you see that the fruit is in the middle of the tortilla. I realized after I took the picture that that would not work. I turned the plate and scooched the fruit to the bottom 1/3 of the tortilla.

apple flauta

See now why the fruit needs to be on the bottom 1/3?! If it is right in the middle, you don’t have anywhere to go when you are rolling your tortilla.

roll the tortilla

Fold in the sides of the tortilla. This helps hold the fruit inside the tortilla while frying. Yes, do this to both sides. I could only fold and hold one side while I took the picture.

fold in sides

Continue rolling up the tortilla.

rolled tortilla

I placed my rolled apple flautas seam-side down in the hot oil. It seemed like they would hold together better that way.


Cook until golden. Flip the apple flautas over and cook the other side. I also held them on their sides to get the browning all the way around. If you are using a fryer you don’t have to worry about this.

**Note: You need to turn the heat down a little on the second batch. I turned mine down, but I guess it wasn’t enough. With the pan and oil already hot, the second batch browned up A LOT faster. Just so you know!

fried tortillas

Look! Another leftover item from the fridge!

This caramel dip is so yummy!

Caramel is my favorite topping! There is just something about the rich, buttery flavor of caramel.

Marzetti's caramel dip

I added a few more apples on top along with the caramel sauce and vanilla ice cream and a little shake of cinnamon/sugar. I would have used a bigger scoop of ice cream, but we finished it off, too! There was barely enough to go around.

Apple Flautas

There you have it. Apple Flautas! Not bad for leftovers.

Critics’ Corner

Chip: Like an apple chimichanga with ice cream on the side. I really liked it.

Megan: I thought it was really, really good but needed more filling.

Katie: A wrapped up bundle of awesomeness!


When life gives you rotten bananas–make banana bread!

Rotton Bananas

Okay, that doesn’t flow quite like the lemons to lemonade quote.

The only time life has given me rotten bananas was the time the grocery store bought too many. They were selling bags of black bananas dirt cheap!

We buy bananas on a fairly regular basis around here. Folks like them in cereal or smothered in peanut butter.

When they start to go to the “dark side” I usually chop them up and freeze them for smoothies. Sometimes I squish them up and freeze them in a baggie.

Usually, they get black and leaky and I end up throwing them away! Wasteful!

This time I actually had time to make banana bread. Not just ordinary banana bread–

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Banana Bread!

Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Banana Bread

I made it to eat for breakfast. The kids ate it as a dessert and a snack. The loved it!

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Banana Bread

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup mashed, ripe bananas (about 2 bananas)
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 1/3 cup peanut butter ( I used crunchy Jif.)
  • 3 Tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup chocolate chips, divided (I used semi-sweet.)
  • 1/3 cup chopped peanuts

Preheat oven to 350˚F.

Spray the bottom of a loaf pan with cooking spray.

Combine flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. I find that using a whisk to combine dry ingredients works well.

Add bananas, milk, peanut butter, oil and egg. Stir until moistened.

Stir in 3/4 cup of the chocolate chips.

Spoon batter into prepared pan.

Sprinkle chopped nuts and the rest of the chocolate chips on top of the batter. I press the topping into the batter a little.

Bake about 60 minutes. After checking with a toothpick, mine took a bit longer.

Cool in the pan 10 minutes. Loosen sides from pan-remove to a cooling rack. Cool completely.


Critics’ Corner

Chip: Simply fantastic. I’ve always been an advocate for putting peanut butter on bananas. This bread does it for you — plus it has chocolate, too.

Megan: If this stuff was illegal, I would be incarcerated. Seriously-it’s that good!

Katie: This bread is INSANELY EPIC! If people were immune to sickness, I would strongly consider eating it All.Day.Long. (and then some!)

There are two camps of Thanksgiving cranberry eaters–whole or jellied.

The jellied is very easy to fix. Open a can. Jiggle it onto a serving dish. Slice. Bonus if you have a cranberry jelly server like Mom’s below.

jellied cranberry sauce

My Dad is in the jellied cranberry sauce camp.

Mom likes the whole cranberry sauce, so I got to learn how to make it.

As a kid, I never ate either kind of cranberry sauce. It was always just one of the items on the Thanksgiving buffet that was not Kraft macaroni and cheese or a pb&j.

I remember sampling the jellied sauce. It was very tart! I was WAY to picky to try the whole cranberry sauce.

The whole cranberry sauce isn’t much harder than the jellied.

Mom uses, you guessed it, the recipe on the back of the cranberry package.

whole cranberry sauce recipe

There are many recipes out there that call for adding other ingredients-apple, citrus, nuts. Since this was my first time, I decided to hold to tradition.

First you are going to wash your cranberries. I actually picked these up last year after Christmas and stuck them in the freezer! I don’t really know why I did that. Seemed like the thing to do at the time. Must have been a good sale.

rinse the cranberries

Add the sugar to the water and bring to a boil. Once boiling, add the cranberries. Mom said she dumps it all in the pan at the same time. I followed the directions on the package for this first time.

boil the cranberries

Let the mixture boil for about 10 minutes.

boiling cranberries

You will start to hear the berries pop! Aren’t they pretty?!

popped cranberries

Boil for a bit longer, until the whole concoction starts to set up a little.

reduced cranberries

Pour it into your serving dish and you are done. Serve it warm or chilled.

We made the cranberry sauce on Wednesday night.

I was a big girl and tried it. I really like it a lot more than the jellied. I think I may have to try a batch with some of that fancy stuff in it.

Need a healthy snack for your Super Bowl party?
Almonds + Food Writer = Cute Football snacks


Thanks, Party Pinching, for the fun idea!

What a way to “ring” in the new year…

This is absolutely the BEST cheese ring you will eat!
You are supposed to make it in a Jello mold. I don’t have one, so I just greased my Bundt pan really well.
When you serve this cheese ring you are supposed to put strawberry jelly in the middle. Some folks didn’t want the jelly, so we just scooped it out of the jar. Our party wasn’t too fancy–just family.


Cheese Ring
1 pound sharp cheddar cheese (I used mild.)
1 cup chopped pecans
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 cup mayonnaise
Dash of cayenne pepper
Dash of black pepper

That’s it!
Mix it all up thoroughly and press into your mold.
Chill for at least 4 hours.
Serve with strawberry jelly and crackers.

I just had to share these adorable elf cookies my Mom made.

Aren’t they cute!
I love the almond ears.
Guess what kind of cookie cutter she used. Here’s a little hint.


I LOVE pumpkin desserts! There, I said it! Hopefully, you aren’t tired of seeing pumpkin recipes just yet. I think I saw this Pumpkin Crisp recipe in a link from Southern Living.

Let me just say…yum!



I made this dish for dessert on a Friday night. It was so yummy, I had to have it for breakfast the next morning! Sitting on the porch on a cool Saturday morning with my coffee, my crisp and my man (and, of course, some bacon) made for a great start to the weekend!

You are going to want to try this one!

Have you been making things with pumpkin? What has been your favorite?

Critics’ Corner

Chip: Awesome! With pumpkin and pecans it’s hard to go wrong.

Megan: It was like eating November in a bowl. I could eat the whole pan.

Katie: Yes. Yes. Yes. Every day!

Wow! October was a crazy month! Lots of fun. Lots of good. Just lots of LOTS! It seems like we had something every night and every day!

I am thankful November is here!

I’m so behind though. If you have emailed or messaged me in the past month or so and have not heard back from me, I’m sorry. I will be trying to catch up soon.

I tried to be a good blogger and take pictures and try new wonderful dishes. However, I was doing good to grab the iPad and snap a couple of pictures here and there!

I did make some adorable Halloween cookies.

When I saw these cookies on Pinterest, they took my breath away! They are just so vibrant and FUN!

Swirly Cookies pinterest

These amazing cookies were whipped up by Toni over at Make Bake Celebrate. You will want to zip right over there for her full tutorial. She is one of my cookie crushes-shhh.

Here are some pictures from my personal adventure.

Swirly Cookies.jpg

These were so much fun to make! Although, they were a little time-consuming.

When I made my twisted “snake” I just knew my cookies were going to turn out GRAY! I was surprised how bright they were, even after baking.

This was my first time to use AmeriColor food coloring. I really liked it!

I hesitated to even put the sprinkles on there. I’m glad I did. Megan even told me she thought the ones with sprinkles were better than the ones without. (I ran out of sprinkles toward the end.)

I am so glad I tried these fancy cookies! Thanks, Toni, for sharing.

Critics’ Corner

Chip: These cookies stayed nice and moist. I like a moist cookie.

Megan: They were amazingly buttery and moist, even left over. They weren’t overly sweet. Everyone at school was impressed by them.

Katie: They were very colorful, but they just weren’t my type, I think. (Poor Katie is not a fan of sugar cookies. She didn’t want to hurt my feelings in her comment. So sweet.)

Since it is gray and rainy out today, I thought I would pour myself a second cup of coffee.

rain dripping off the roof

We have been without rain for quite a while. Folks in our little community are pretty happy to see precipitation!

One of my Facebook friends posted this appropriate verse today.

Be glad, people of Zion, rejoice in The Lord your God, for he has given you the autumn rains because He is faithful…Joel 2:23

raindrop in puddles

Such a relaxing day-sigh!

I want to tell you about the coffee I am sipping. It is delish–and no one paid me to say that!

Airship Coffee cup

Airship Coffee is an Arkansas based company who helped sponsor the conference I recently attended. We all were sent home with our own bag of coffee beans and a cool new coffee mug!

I knew we had a coffee grinder, somewhere. After digging and searching for said grinder (or is it mill?), I was victorious! Well, not completely. I did find the grinder. When I went to use it the next morning, it didn’t work! That was not a happy moment. The new bag of coffee was my only source for caffeine that morning. You can read how desperate I was over on the Pork Chop Tuesday Facebook page. (I hope you will “like” it.)

So, that morning, after running the kids to school, the first thing I did was head to Walmart to buy a new coffee grinder/mill. The selection was not huge, like TWO!

coffee grinder

Here’s my fancy new grinder. The little buttons let you select what kind of grind you want. You also click a little button to tell the machine how much coffee you are grinding. It’s a cool little grinder. It even stops automatically when it is finished.

freshly ground coffee

Don’t you wish you could smell it right now?!

I thoroughly enjoyed this coffee! Maybe I liked it so much because the beans were freshly ground. Maybe I liked it so much because I got to meet the nice Airship Coffee folks. It doesn’t matter. It’s good coffee–especially on a rainy, gray day like today.

coffee cup

Be sure to check out the Airship Coffee website for how to get your very own bag of beans. Just be sure your grinder works first!

Mashed potatoes. My family loves them! When we have mashed potatoes, I usually make enough to have leftovers. I guess you could call them “planned-overs”.  Sometimes those good intentions end up as a slimy, pink and gray mass in the back of the refrigerator in a plastic container that nobody wants to open!

No more!

The other night I decided to try something with my extra mashed potatoes. Violá! A new family favorite was born. Corn and Bacon Potato Patties.

Corn and Bacon Potato Patties

You can heat your potatoes first if you like. Just don’t heat them up too much. You want to be able to handle them without scorching your hands.

All I did was mix a little corn and bacon into my already delicious mashed potatoes. I think I may have added a little onion, too, and maybe some cheese, hmmm. Be creative with your own add-ins.

Form the mixture into patties. You can make them as big or as small as you like. Mine were kinda medium. I know that tells you a lot.

Beat an egg or two, depending on how potato patties you are making. Dip the patties in the beaten egg then cover them with Panko breadcrumbs. The Panko bread crumbs are the key, well, except for that other stuff. But the Panko bread crumbs are much crunchier than regular breadcrumbs.

Fry ’em up in the pan until golden. (I think I used canola oil.)


Critics’ Corner

Chip: “I love this dish. It’s a combination of mashed potatoes and fried potatoes nicely encased in a crunchy breading. I’ve requested that when the chef prepares mashed potatoes that she prepare more than necessary on purpose so that we will have left over mashed potatoes with which to make these little gems. They are wonderful.”

Megan: I think this is my new favorite way to eat potatoes.

Katie: Awesomeness just waitin’ to happen! Yummy!

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