Recipes


Earlier this month, we had the opportunity to visit our college girl at school on homecoming weekend.

I couldn’t arrive empty-handed!

homecoming basket

Ouachita Baptist University holds a special place in our hearts. My husband and I met there! Now our oldest is a Ouachita Tiger!

Treats for OBU Homecoming HAD to  have a tiger theme!

Tiger Tails were easy to make and yummy to eat!

First, thread three marshmallows onto a bamboo skewer.

marshmallows on a stick

Melt orange candy melts.

Dip the marshmallows into the melted candy. I actually had to spread the melted candy on my marshmallows. Just be sure you get a little of the candy on the bamboo skewer and the under-side of the bottom marshmallow. If you don’t, the marshmallows will slide down the skewer.

orange candy melts

While candy coating is still wet, sprinkle with orange sugar for extra fanciness.

sprinkled with sugar

Stick the coated marshmallows in Styrofoam to dry.

Styrofoam cooling rack

If you ever let your children use your sprinkles, you can expect cross contamination of colors.

orange and blue

I had to pick out all the blue sprinkles. I think this was pay-back for the time I had them separate sprinkles for me.

blue sprinkles

Melt some chocolate chips in a zip top bag. Once melted, clip the corner of the bag. Drizzle the chocolate back and forth over the orange “tails”. Now they really look like tiger tails! Just don’t twirl the skewer. I tried it. The stripes looked like a spiral not a tiger. Carefree and unstructured is the way to go.

tiger tail treats

Of course I had to use cellophane wrappers to make them look more professional.

I thought this would be a good opportunity to practice my decorating skills a little, too.

college gift basket

I packed up the treats in an old purple Easter basket, handle removed, with yellow shredded copy paper. I needed the paper shreds to cover the foam in the bottom of the basket necessary for the tiger tails to stand.

homecoming basket

I happened to have a big cellophane bag that could house the basket and a big purple bow! Perfect!

The tiger tails were a hit! She even shared with the roommate and suite mates!

I finally had a cookie exchange!!!

I have wanted to go to one or have one for a long time now. Read this.

Since this summer and back-to-school was so carefree–haahahahahahaha!–I decided this was the year to have a cookie exchange.

Had I lost my mind? Possibly.

I invited all the ladies from church because I knew they would love me even if there was dust on my end-tables.

Not everyone could come, but we had a pretty good turn-out. Some of them had never been to a cookie exchange either!

cookie friends

I had fun getting ready for the party.

teacher vest

I even wore my “teacher” vest I made when I was an elementary school teacher in the ’90s.

vintage school books

Old school books and a pencil “vase”

bake

Don’t you love these vintage flip cards?! More below.

back to school napkins

I found these adorable notebook paper napkins in the $1 bin at Target several years ago with the intent of having a back-to-school cookie exchange! Can you believe it?!

send

I provided some recycled Sister Shubert aluminum pans for the ladies to haul their cookies home.

gab

Gab–we did LOTS of this!

pray

chalkboard

We filled up this giant chalkboard with our kids’ names and schools. Some shared verses of encouragement. At the end of the night we spent time praying for the students as they were starting school.

chalk

For some reason my colored chalk only showed up white. I guess it was the cheap kind.

I asked the ladies to bring an appetizer as well as cookies.

I made these spinach balls. It was a recipe from  library cookbook. Sorry, I don’t remember the name of the book. Really, I’m not sorry. These looked cute but didn’t taste all that good. And the cute part was MY idea.  The spinach balls had Stove Top stuffing in them. Guess they just tasted a little too processed.  I thought the pretzels were a cute idea and made the spinach balls finger-friendly. As time went on, however, the pretzels got soggy. Points for cuteness. Negative points for flavor and sogginess. I’m not making THAT recipe again!

spinach balls

spinach dip

Thank goodness Nicole brought her yummy Spinach Dip!

guacamole

Jami made yummy guacamole. She brought it in a Tupperware bowl, so she tried to fancy it up with the napkins. We all laughed pretty hard at her!

sliders

Tammy brought these amazing ham and cheese sliders. I’ve made these sliders before but not like Tammy’s. She put soy sauce and brown sugar on the top. OH MY WORD! So yummy!

Now for the cookies…

peanut butter cookies

oatmeal cookies

salted caramel shortbread cookies

chocolate chip

variety of cookies

Someone already had labels on these cookies.

white chocolate chip oatmeal

flu fighter cookies

The little cookie name plates were left-over materials from a project similar to this one.

Some of the cookies were store-bought, which was just fine. All of the cookies were delicious!

I’ll have to check back with the ladies about the recipes. I’ll be sharing the recipe for my cookies, the Flu Fighter Cookies, soon.

What a fun time! We may have to do it again sometime.

 

 

What do you do on May 4th when your kids are super into things like super heroes and Star Wars?

Make Yoda cookies!!!  (Of course I had NO time to do something like this! What was I thinking?!)yoda cookies “May the fourth be with you!”

I am amazed by some of the fancy cookies I see out there on the Internet. I dream about being able to make fancy cookies like that some day.

I wanted to start out this post by saying, I tried to make some Yoda cookies for “Star Wars” day. 

Then I remembered the words of Master Yoda… yoda quote It’s a learning process, I suppose. You only get better if you practice.

So, I made some Yoda cookies for my kids.  yoda I just cut a circle and kinda squished it into an ovalish shape. Little triangles were stuck to the sides for ears.

Here is the pattern I followed for decorating.  I LOVE Sugarbelle’s cookies-all of them!!!

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.

Leftovers

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.

frying

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 I was a kid, my grandmother gave me a set of Rook cards for my birthday. I never played. The cards looked weird. They were different from standard cards. I could never get anyone to play with me, probably because they didn’t know how. The instructions were long and confusing.

rook cards

Last weekend, we were invited to our friends’ house for dinner and a Rook tournament. Yikes!

Dinner I was excited about-but Rook?!

It did help to learn that none of the other folks attending knew how to play either. (At least that’s what they said! I think John and Leta had played a time or two!)

We knew, of course, that we would have fun regardless of the game.

I asked what I could bring (I took Carrot Cake) and didn’t bother to ask what we were having for dinner.

Boy, was I excited to find John in the kitchen making Petitzas! Leta has mentioned John’s Petitzas several times. Always saying “Oh, we’ll have to make them for you!” Finally that day had come!

chef in action

If I had known it was a Petitza Party, I would have brought the good camera! Thank goodness for smartphones!

John has been making Petitzas for YEARS! He learned from his brother when he was seeing this Italian girl.

frying pizza dough

The Petitzas don’t seem too hard, just a little time-consuming.

I’m sure you have to get a feel for exactly how long to leave the dough in the pan before flipping it.

Don’t those pizza shells look yummy?!

pizza shells

petitzas

Leta and John have the serving of Petitzas down pat!

Check out those crock pots! Homemade pizza sauce-Italian Sausage-Hamburger

crockpots

Leta also had a sectioned Tupperware dish for all the other toppings–ham, cheese, pineapple, olives, peppers, mushrooms-whatever you like!

This was how Leta showed us to assemble a Petitza. Sauce-Meat-Toppings-more sauce

Leta's Petitza

John goes a little more extreme with his toppings!

loaded pizza

Mine was rather conservative.

meat lovers

Nice air pockets!

air bubbles in pizza dough

John said the record Petitzas anyone had eaten at one of their Petitza Parties was seven. Ugh! I ate two.

We had a great time eating Petitzas AND playing Rook. Thanks, John and Leta!

By the way, the girls won!

Petitzas
1 pkg. active dry yeast
1 tsp. sugar
1 tsp. salt
2 Tbsp. oil
3 ½ cups flour
1 cup water (warm)

Dissolve yeast in very warm water.  Stir in sugar, salt and oil and 2 cups flour.  Beat until smooth.  Stir in remaining flour to make a soft dough.  Turn out on lightly floured board.  Knead until smooth and elastic.  Place in a greased bowl; brush top with oil.

Cover and let rise until doubled in bulk. When doubled, punch down; divide in half.

Shape into hand-size shells and deep-fry.

Toppings include:

Your favorite marinara sauce
Cheeses
Onion
Sausage
Ground beef
Bell pepper
Pineapple
Mushrooms
Jalapeños

John’s Pizza Sauce
1 8 oz. can tomato paste for every 16 oz. can tomato sauce
Oregano, basil, garlic salt, onion flakes, salt, pepper, honey, Parmesan and Romano cheese.

 

Little Meats?

Sounds like something from a Chevy Chase movie–but no!

little meats

I credit my sister with the invention of Little Meats. She made them for us about 13 years ago while we were visiting from out-of-town. We all loved them! Megan loved them so much, she asks for them every year for her birthday dinner.

Little Meats are simply Chicken Fried Steak nuggets.

Never had Chicken Fried Steak?! Bless your heart!

(You can check out the wiki-history of Chicken Fried Steak if you are interested.)

There are hundreds of ways to make Chicken Fried Steak. I’ll walk you through how we make ours, the bite-sized version.

First, you get some cubed steak. Laura, my sister, pounds her meat a bit before doing anything else to it. I never do, mainly because I don’t have a meat tenderizer–mostly because I’m lazy!

cube steak

Cut the meat into bite-sized pieces. You can make strips if you would rather. We like the little pieces.

cubed meat

Get your prep station ready. Don’t you like my fancy prep pans? I got them from Pampered Chef several years ago.

Organization is really important when frying. It gets kinda crazy, so you need to have everything ready!

What you see here is the meat, flour with a little salt and pepper, and milk.  You can use buttermilk. You can add an egg. You can use cracker crumbs. You can add different seasonings. Hundreds of different versions!

Plain Jane is easy and everyone likes it.

breading station

The next step can also have multiple versions. You can go flour-milk-flour or flour-milk-cracker crumbs or milk-flour or any other combination you can come up with. A very forgiving recipe-huh?

milk wash

I go with the milk-flour routine.

breading

All of this flouring is going on while the oil is heating up in the pan. You can use a deep-fryer if you like. I just use a pan on the stove with vegetable oil. I have used shortening before and they turned out great!

flour

I always try the one had for wet and the other for dry technique. It never works for me. I end up with globby, flour hands anyway.

two handed battering

flying flour

Into the pan! I always test a little piece to make sure the oil sizzles before adding any extra meat.

frying meat

Don’t cram the skillet full of meat. If you do, you won’t get that yummy crispness that you want. Plus, it makes it harder to turn the meat when it is all crowded in there.

hot oil

Once the Little Meats are golden on one side, turn them over. I don’t know how long-just until they are done.

Put your cooked Little Meats on a paper towel-lined plate to drain.

Making Little Meats is a labor of love! It takes a long time. It is hot standing over the stove all that time. It makes a huge mess of flour and milk and grease.

prep station

It is so worth all the trouble, though! They are yummy! Plus, I get lots of hugs!

little meats

When I make Little Meats, I make a lot because they get gobbled up so fast. I plan for leftovers (planned overs) because the best way to eat Little Meats is to sneak a cold one from the refrigerator!

leftovers

One time I made white gravy to serve with the Little Meats. No one took the time to use it, so I don’t make it anymore. We do usually have homemade mashed potatoes!

There you have it, our special occasion meal–Little Meats. I’m so glad Laura made these for us all those years ago-thanks!

Do you make Chicken Fried Steak? What method do you use?

 

 

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.

YUM!

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!)

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