Another Snow Storm Expected In Michigan….Soups On!

The holidays are over I’m done with snow and cold weather, completely over it.  I’m ready for sunshine and warm weather. Unfortunately, living in Michigan means that I have roughly 75 days until the official first day of spring and 168 days until the first day of summer.  Our current forecast is calling for single digit temperatures and snow anticipated to start later tonight continuing into late Sunday night, early Monday morning leaving.  We’ve been told to expect an additional 6-10” of snow.  That’s 6-10” of snow on top of what we already have.  I’ll just have to suck it up and find ways to take my mind off the inevitable, the cold and snow are here for a while. 

In anticipation of the snow and cold I decided to make this a “foodie” weekend and try a couple of new recipes.  The first was “Hearty Chicken Noodle Soup” which I found through “The Country Cook” blog.  I have to say the house has smelled wonderful all afternoon as the soup simmered on the stove.  Of course I had to have a sample to make sure it was seasoned enough and Walt has been picking up the lid and peeking in commenting on how great it looks and smells.  I must say that I think this recipe may just replace my Dzia Dzia’s chicken soup!!

Of course I had to make a few changes, it wouldn’t be me cooking if I didn’t right?  The original recipe calls for 32 oz. of chicken stock or broth.  *I measured out 8 cups of water and then added three of the tubs of Knorr’s Homestyle Chicken Stock to the pot.  I brought that to a boil and then added the chicken and spices.

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 HEARTY CHICKEN NOODLE SOUP 

What You’ll Need:

2 (32 oz.) cartons chicken stock  (*NOTE:  I used 8 cups of water and added three tubs of Knorr’s Homestyle Chicken Stock)

1/2 tsp. poultry seasoning

1/2 tsp. garlic powder

1/2 tsp. onion powder

1 lb. boneless chicken (breasts, thighs or tenderloins)

1 cup diced carrots

1/2 cup diced celery

1 can condensed cream of chicken soup (undiluted)

3 cups water

3 cups egg noodles, uncooked (I used Mrs. Millers Old fashioned Medium Homemade Egg Noodles)

salt & pepper, to taste

Directions:

The rest of the recipe go to:  

http://www.thecountrycook.net/2013/11/one-pot-chicken-noodle-soup.html

Loaded Chicken And Potatoes

Today I have a special treat, a recipe from my daughter Nikki.  Nikki is a wonderful cook, like her momma she isn’t afraid to try new things or to deviate from a recipe to make it her own.  If Nikki is afraid of anything it’s the thought of me turning the blog over to her, just can’t seem to get Nikki comfortable with writing about her cooking adventures.  I’m working on it though.

We’re pretty proud of our girl.  She is going through some life changes lately some are good, a few are bad, others are sad.  But Nikki is a strong girl with a good head on her shoulders, there is no doubt she is going to come out on top of all of this.

Recently Nikki quit her job of eight plus years because of the hours and the time it was taking her away from her little man Eric who started Kindergarten this past September.  As scary as that decision was it turned out to be the right one.  Nikki immediately landed a great job with endless possibilities; a great place for her to settle into a career and not just a job.  Best of all she can take Eric to school in the morning and she is home at night with her little man.  Eric loves it and so does Nikki!   It also means that I get to spend a couple hours a day, a few days a week with Eric before Nikki comes home.  It’s a win, win, win for all three of us!

Eric and Nikki have been putting their time together to good use.  They do homework, read books, play outside, go for walks and play on ABC Mouse.  They have been cooking up a storm too!!  It’s fun watching them together, Nikki will actually ask Eric what they should make for dinner, he gives his opinion.  A family meeting resulting in a joint decision, a mutual agreement.  Needless to say I am hoping that all this cooking and experimenting over there is going to be great for our blog!

Yesterday when Nikki shared this recipe on her Facebook page and posted that she was making it for dinner last night I knew I had to get her to let me blog about it.  I had no doubt that I wouldn’t get Nikki to write the blog so we agreed that she would whip up the dish and let me know how it turned out so I could blog about it.

When Nikki took it out of the oven she sent me a picture via text and her message read; “Smells and looks fantastic!”  After she taste tested it she sent me another text; “OMG!!  Cajun instead of paprika one “hell of a kick!!”  It’s awesome!!  No doubt Nikki is my daughter, she used Cajun instead of the paprika the recipe calls for.  Not only did she make a spice switch she made sure it was spicy too!!

This dish is easy to make and can be put together pretty quickly.  Perfect for a fall evening at home while spending time with those you love.  Give it a try!

Thanks Nikki!!  Can I put my request in now for one new recipe a week?  Next I have to work on my momma, she has some great recipes I’d like to share, I just need to get Mom a digital camera for photo’s!!

Have a great Thursday everyone!!

Loaded Chicken and Potatoes

LOADED CHICKEN AND POTATOES

Ingredients:

1 lb boneless chicken breasts, cubed (1″)

6-8 medium skin on red potatoes, cut in 1/2″ cubes

1/3 c olive oil

1 1/2 tsp salt

1 tsp black pepper

1 Tbsp paprika (Nikki substituted Cajun Seasoning)

2 Tbsp garlic powder

2 Tbsp hot sauce (more if you like it HOT)

Topping:

2 c fiesta blend cheese

1 c crumbled bacon

1 c diced green onion (Nikki omitted the onion)

Directions:

  • Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees.
  • Spray a 9X13″ baking dish with cooking spray
  • In a large bowl, mix together the olive oil, salt, pepper, paprika (cajun seasoning), garlic powder, and hot sauce
  • Add the cubed potatoes and chicken and stir to coat
  • Carefully scoop the potatoes and chicken into the prepared baking dish
  • Bake the potatoes and chicken for 55-60 minutes, stirring every 20 minutes, until cooked through, crispy, and browned on the outside
  • While the potatoes are cooking, fry your bacon (about half a pound)
  • Once the potatoes and chicken are fully cooked, remove from the oven
  • Top the cooked potatoes with the cheese, bacon, and green onion
  • Return the casserole to the oven and bake for 5 minutes or until cheese is melted

Serve with any of the following:

  • Extra hot sauce
  • Ranch Dressing
  • Sour Cream

Source:  N. Kiester (Source: SuperMoms Raising Healthy Kids – Kristen Washington)

Hershey Bar Pie

I’ve been asked recently why I’ve not been posting daily as I’ve done in the past.   The main reason is lack of time.  For those that don’t know or are new to our family blog, I went back to work in May and took a short break from writing for several reasons including the new job.  Even though it’s part-time, other obligations have made it harder for me to sit down and write so that’s why there has only been a Sunday and Monday post.  On Saturday I can compile info for Sunday’s “Coming Up This Week…,” finish personalizing it on Sunday morning before I publish it.  On Sunday I start to write Monday’s post, adding a few finishing touches on Monday morning before I hit the publish button.

My goal is to return to blogging at least 3-4 times per week (hopefully soon) and maybe even make a few minor changes in content.  We’re still cooking and baking, still working on crafts and projects.  I hope you’ll bear with us during this time of transition.

Today we want to share with you a recipe for Hershey Bar Pie.  I actually made this for Joshua who is hooked on the Hershey Bar Pie from Burger King.  Although in Joshua’s eyes it didn’t compare to Burger King’s Hershey Pie, he thought it was a great runner-up.  I had one piece, papa and Joshua took care of the rest over the course of a few days.  I’d say it was a huge hit.

This pie is easy to make, light and delicious.  If you want to whip up something quick for your sweet tooth, something to serve to friends and family or something sweet to take as a “dish to pass” event, this pie is perfect.

Hershey Bar Pie

HERSHEY BAR PIE

What You’ll Need:

1 (6.0 oz.) HERSHEY’S Milk Chocolate Bar, broken into pieces
1 tub (8 oz.) frozen non-dairy whipped topping, thawed
1 packaged crumb crust – I used Chocolate – You can also make your own

Directions:

  • Place candy bar pieces in medium microwave-safe bowl. Microwave at MEDIUM (50%) 1 minute or until chocolate is smooth when stirred
  • Cool chocolate slightlyFold whipped topping into melted chocolate; spoon into crust
  • Cover; refrigerate 6 hours or until firm
  • Garnish as desired
  • Cover; refrigerate leftover pie

Makes 6 to 8 servings

Source: https://www.hersheys.com/recipes/recipe-details.aspx?id=3515&name=Easy%20HERSHEY%20Bar%20Pie

Coming Up This Week….October 13 – 19

Sunday

 

Good “SUNDAY” morning everyone!!  Hope your weekend has been a great one so far.

This week we have some fun and tasty days to celebrate.  Monday is National Dessert Day, what a fun day.  Celebrate by making a dessert to share with your family, buying one that you’ve been dying to try, take a trip to your local ice cream or sweet shop and indulge or an even better, eat dessert in place of a meal!!

Wednesday, October 16 is World Food Day.  It always amazes me that there are so many people in our country, especially children who go without food for days on end.  On this day do something to help put an end to hunger, donate non-perishable items to your local food pantry or kitchen.

And then there is Sweetest Day.  Sweetest Day is not celebrated everywhere, it’s a made up holiday who many feel for the sole purpose of making candy companies and florists a little extra cash.  I think a great way to spend this day would be to do something “sweet” for someone; visit the elderly, rake someone’s leaves, hold the door for someone, let someone go ahead of you in line.  It doesn’t have to be about candy or flowers, just something that leaves another person with the thought “Oh, how sweet of her/him.”

Also on Saturday is “Evaluate Your Life Day.”  Good day to reflect on how you think your life is going, where it’s going, the decisions you’ve made, the friends you’ve chosen, the path your on.  Is it, are they right for you?  What changes can you make on this day to make you a better person.

This a fun week filled with desserts, chocolate and pasta, good deeds and reflection.  Have fun with them, you never know who you might make smile this week.

Sunday – October 13

  • National Yorkshire Pudding Day
  • International Skeptics Day

Monday – October 14

  • National Dessert Day
  • Be Bald and Free Day

Tuesday – October 15

  • National Chicken Cacciatore Day
  • National Roast Pheasant Day
  • White Cane Safety Day

Wednesday – October 16

  • World Food Day
  • Bosses Day
  • Dictionary Day

Thursday – October 17

  • National Pasta Day
  • Four Prunes Day
  • Wear Something Gaudy Day

Friday – October 18

  • National Chocolate Cupcake Day
  • No Beard Day

Saturday – October 19

  • Oatmeal Muffin Day
  • National Seafood Bisque Day
  • Sweetest Day
  • Evaluate Your Life Day
  • International Newspaper Carrier Day

NOTE:  My sweet niece Chantell pointed out to me that in the original version I posted I had the date as September!!  Thank you Chantell – love you too!!

Pumpkin Poke Cake

Ah, the month of October has arrived.  With the exception of fickle weather, one day warm, one day cold, another day sunny the next few rainy, October does have several good things to offer and look forward to.

Yes, October brings with it a burst of color in the trees; red, yellow, orange, purple and brown leaves which eventually end up falling to the ground.  Soon forts and hills made out of leaves will be fun places to hide in and under or maybe they’ll be just for jumping into.  And when you’re outside, especially at night, nothing thing smells more like fall than the burning of leaves.

Of course everyone looks forward to cider mills visits for apple cider and donuts.  We visit pumpkin patches for the perfect pumpkins, one for each of us so we can scatter them around the porch and lawn with scarecrows, hay bales and dried corn stalks.

All month-long we talk about Halloween decorations and costumes.  Joshua and Papa Walt will turn our front lawn into a graveyard with headstones, skeletons and a few body parts mixed in.  We will  anxiously await the arrival of Halloween Day; the school parades, trick or treating with family and friends and of course anticipating lots and lots of candy in our bags.

October is also the time to break out those pumpkin recipes which is exactly what we started doing and we made our very first Pumpkin Poke Cake.  We love pumpkin pie and pumpkin cream cheese rolls, some of us look forward to limited time offers of Pumpkin ice cream at Baskin Robins and the absolutely, to die for, Pumpkin Cheesecake from Olive Garden.

This recipe is so easy, the cake is very moist.  Even our pickiest eater, Joshua, who also happens to be the expert on the best pumpkins pies, loved this cake.  Just a few ingredients and you have a tasty recipe that everyone will love.  Give it a try!

Pumpkin Poke Cake

PUMPKIN POKE CAKE

What You’ll Need:

1 box yellow cake mix

14 oz pumpkin puree – 100% pumpkin (NOT PUMPKIN PIE FILLING)

1 tsp pumpkin pie spice

14 oz. can sweetened condensed milk

8 oz. tub cool whip

1/2 bag Heath Bits (I used chopped nuts)

Caramel Sundae Sauce

Directions:

  • Mix together the cake mix, the pumpkin puree (DO NOT add the other ingredients on the cake mix box), and the pumpkin pie spice until a batter forms
  • Pour batter into a well-greased 9×13 baking dish
  • Bake at 350º for 35-45 minutes until a toothpick inserted comes out clean
  • Let cool completely after baking
  • Using the bottom of a wooden spoon, poke holes all over the top of the cake
  • Pour the sweetened condensed milk over the cake, aiming to fill the holes
  • Refrigerate for 60 minutes or until the sweetened condensed milk has soaked into the cake
  • Spread the cool whip over top of cake
  • Sprinkle on the heath bits (or nuts), and drizzle caramel over top (just to your liking)
  • Refrigerate for 3-4 hours, or overnight (best).

Coming Up This Week…Sept. 29 – October 5

Sunday

I don’t know about anywhere else but yesterday was the perfect fall Saturday in Michigan.  The temperatures were mild, the sun was shining and the beautiful baby blue sky was an unblemished backdrop for fall’s burst of color.  Red, orange and yellow leaves still hanging on the trees created a perfect picture of fall in Michigan.

Our Sunday, however, is not so perfect…it’s cooler, overcast with a threat of rain.  But it is Sunday, rain or shine and time for our “Coming Up This Week…” post.  My favorites this week are “National Coffee Day,” “Homemade Cookie Day,” “National Taco Day,” “World Teacher Day,” and “Do Something Nice Day.”

I wish I could add vodka day in there somewhere but I can’t.  I’m a sweet wine, foo-foo umbrella drink kinda gal.  Give me a “Bellagio Funky Monkey” a frozen strawberry margarita, or a nice chocolate “Amaretto Freeze” and I’m a happy lady.

As always….pick a day or two this week and have a little fun.

Sunday – September 29

  • Confucius Day
  • National Coffee Day

Monday – September 30

  • National Mulled Cider Day
  • National Mud Pack Day

Tuesday – October 1

  • World Vegetarian Day
  • Pudding Season Begins
  • Homemade Cookie Day

Wednesday – October 2

  • National Fried Scallops Day
  • National Custodial Worker Day
  • Name Your Car Day

Thursday – October 3

  • National Caramel Custard Day
  • Techies Day
  • Virus Appreciation Day

Friday – October 4

  • National Taco Day
  • Cinnamon Roll Day
  • National Vodka Day
  • National Golf Day
  • National Frappe Day

Saturday – October 5

  • National Apple Betty Day
  • Do Something Nice Day
  • International Frugal Fun Day
  • Oktoberfest
  • World Teacher Day

Coming Up This Week…September 22 – 28

Sunday

If it’s Sunday it’s time for Coming Up This Week.  There are some fun and unusual days this week….

Today is not only the first day of fall, it’s also “National Ice Cream Cone Day” yummy, that one can be mine this week.  Our Joshua will love Thursday, it’s “Pancake Lovers Day,” Mio if you’re reading it’ll be chocolate pancakes for dinner at your house!!  For my two chocolate milk lovers Eric and Kaylee Friday is “National Chocolate Milk Day.”

The one that had me laughing the most was “Dog In Politics Day,”  Dogs in Politics Day is about dogs that were part of the presidential family. On this day in 1952 Richard Nixon gave a speech to assure the public that he had not received illegal campaign contributions for personal use. However one “gift” he received was a dog that his daughters named Checkers. He said they would be keeping the dog. The speech became known as the “Checkers speech.” * 

So my family and friends, pick a day or two….be a little creative, have a little fun and have a great week!

Sunday – September 22

  • National Ice Cream Cone Day
  • Business Women’s Day
  • Elephant Appreciation Day

Monday – September 23

  • National White Chocolate Day
  • National Dog in Politics Day/Checker’s Day

Tuesday – September 24

  • National Cherries Jubilee Day

Wednesday – September 25

  • National Comic Book Day
  • Crab Meat Newburg Day
  • National Food Service Employees Day

Thursday – September 26

  • Pancake Lovers Day
  • Johnny Appleseed Day

Friday – September 27

  • National Chocolate Milk Day
  • National Corned Beef Hash Day
  • Crush A Can Day
  • Native American Day

Saturday – September 28

  • Strawberry Cream Pie Day
  • Ask a Stupid Question Day
  • National Good Neighbor Day
  • Drink Beer Day

*http://justsimplydogs.com/2012/dogs-politics-day-checkers-day

Gifts From Our Garden

Our garden was very, very good to us this year.  The best part was that 5 of the 12 corn Joshua planted actually grew and gave him 6 ears of delicious, sweet, white and yellow corn.  Joshua and papa have been planting corn for several years and each year the birds and other little critters get to it before it has a chance to produce any ears of corn.

This year, Joshua and papa decided to trick the birds and critters, they built a frame around the corn and wrapped netting around it.  As the stalks grew the netting got higher and higher.  I realize that farmers probably lose a few stalks as well, but with acres and acres of corn I’m sure they don’t miss a few, all this little boy wanted was to say was that he grew and ate his own corn….MISSION ACCOMPLISHED!!  That smile was worth all of the netting adjustments and screech-owl moving.

Joshua's Corn

Everything else we planted came in heavy as well; jalapeno’s, yellow, orange and green peppers, cucumbers and four varieties of tomatoes.  Our garden gave us many gifts, enjoyed not only by us but also family and friends.

Since our garden produced so many tomatoes and jalapeno’s this summer Walt and I wanted to try our hand at homemade fresh salsa.  After doing a little “salsa” research we came up with our own little concoction and were pleasantly surprised when it turned out delicious!!  Give it a try, let us know if you like it!

Rezich Salsa

Salsa

What You’ll Need:

3 Jalapeno’s (I seeded 1.5 and left the seeds in the other 1.5)

2 cloves of garlic chopped up fine (I might add a third next time)

1 medium onion chopped fine

5 (about 1 lb.) tomatoes chopped into small pieces (I seeded 3 and left the seeds in from the other 2)

2 tbls. Lime juice

1 tbls. Olive Oil

1/2 tsp. Kosher salt

1/4 tsp. Pepper

1/4 cup fresh cilantro (you can add more to your preferrence)

Assemble:

  • In a medium bowl mix the chopped jalapeno’s, garlic, onion, tomatoes lime juice, olive oil, kosher salt and pepper together
  • Add the cilantro to the mixture
  • Refrigerate to chill

Coming Up This Week…September 15 – 21, 2013

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Hello everyone.  Hope you are enjoying your Sunday so far, we are.  Bacon and sausage are sizzlingon the stove, pancake batter is ready to go and papa and Josh are downstairs playing some kind of RPG on the PS3.  I , with a little time on my hands in-between transferring sausage and bacon to the warmer, decided it was time to resurrect “Coming Up This Week….”  so, here we go.

Sunday – September 15

  • Make a Hat Day
  • Felt Hat Day
  • National Women’s Friendship Day

Monday – September 16

  • Guacamole Day
  • Collect Rocks Day
  • Step Family Day
  • Mayflower Day
  • Mexican Independence Day
  • National Play Doh Day
  • Working Parents Day

Tuesday – September 17

  • National Apple Dumpling Day
  • Citizenship Day
  • Constitution Day

Wednesday – September 18

  • National Cheeseburger Day

Thursday – September 19

  • International Talk Like A Pirate Day
  • National Butterscotch Pudding Day

Friday – September 20

  • National Punch Day (Or also known as “Rum Punch Day”)
  • POW/MIA Recognition Day (Third Friday of September)

Saturday – September 21

  • Pecan Cookie Day
  • International Peace Day
  • International Rabbit Day
  • Oktoberfest (Begins – dates vary)
  • World Gratitude Day

Enjoying Family Time And Good Food

The best part of “Staycation” is enjoying time with family and we’ve not had a shortage of family time since Saturday’s kickoff with Eric’s 5th birthday party AND meeting Josh and Kaylee’s new baby brother Gavin.  Of course family time wouldn’t be quite complete without a great bbq or two or three and when appropriate (no little ones around) a bottle or two of wine.

Monday night we invited Mom and Dad over for dinner so Walt decided he would  serve smoked BBQ Ranch Baby Back Ribs.  These ribs, as always, were fantastic!!  We served them with Ranch Bacon Potato Salad, baked beans and corn on the cob.  Tonight, I’m going to repost the recipe for the ribs, they are fantastic, so glad we had enough for leftovers today!!

Try them, they are so worth the time and effort!!

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RANCH HOUSE BBQ RIBS

Pit Master Amy Anderson

(Weber’s “Charcoal Grilling – The Art of Cooking With Live Fire.”)

  • Prep time:     30 Minutes
  • Grill time:     4-5 hours

Rub Ingredients

2 tbsp         Lawry’s seasoned salt

1 tbsp         Granulated sugar

1 tbsp         Pure chile powder

1 tbsp         Sweet paprika

1 tsp          Freshly grated black pepper

1 tsp          Garlic powder

1 tsp          Onion powder

1 tsp          Dry Italian seasoning

1/4 Cup    Yellow Mustard

Directions for Rub

  • After ribs have been prepared, membrane from the ribs removed, prepare your rub.
  • In a medium bowl mix the rub ingredients.
  • Lightly coat both sides of each rack with mustard, this will help the rub stick to the meat.
  • Sprinkle the rub evenly all over the racks.
  • Let the racks sit at room temperature for 30 to 40 minutes before cooking.

Sauce Ingredients

1 cup          Ketchup

1/2 cup      Cider vinegar

4 tbsp        Worcestershire sauce

2 tbsp        Light brown sugar

1 tbsp         Honey

1 tbsp         Molasses

1/2 tsp       Garlic powder

Directions for sauce:

  • While the racks are smoking, make the sauce
  • In a saucepan combine the sauce ingredients
  • Whisk until smooth
  • Bring to a simmer over medium heat stirring occasionally
  • Remove the saucepan from the heat

Grilling

This recipe originally calls for a smoker which we don’t have.  Walt prepares these ribs on a Weber Charcoal grill.

What you’ll need:

  • Charcoal
  • 4 fist size dry chunks of apple/cherry/mesquite wood chips

The Grill

  • Prepare charcoal in a chimney – when gray put it in the grill
  • Add some of the wood chips to the charcoal
  • Place drip pan with water
  • You will keep adding charcoal and chips throughout the grilling process to maintain cooking temperature

Grilling:

  • Place ribs in grill
  • Grill ribs between 225 degree’s F and 250 degree F. for four to five hours.
  • Check temperature every 30 minutes – adding additional charcoal as needed to maintain cooking temperature
  • Add additional wood chips as needed
  • Grill 4 to 5 hours maintaining temperature as stated above

Adding the sauce:

  • When the meat begins to pull back from the bone in several places it’s time to add the sauce (usually about 3-4 hour into grilling)
  • Remove ribs from rack – lay on cutting board (make sure you maintain the heat in the grill while you do this)
  • Brush ribs with sauce – place back in racks – return to grill
  • Continue to grill until done (about 30 to 60 minutes)