It’s a Test, I tell ya……

I have a couple of recipes I want to share but are testing them first.  I can’t give y’all anything that’s not fit to eat!  Mercy.   

So in the mean time, let’s give something away.   It’s getting close to Mother’s Day, and for those who still have their Mothers around, that’s so precious.   Remember that, because what my mama always said, “you’re gonna miss me when I’m gone.”  Little did she know she had literally said the words of a future country song.  She’d be so proud!   But the important thing, she was right.   Dead on, right.  

While she has been gone 8 years this July, (wow!) I still find myself wanting to pick up the phone and tell her funny stories of an incident.  Or wishing she had been sitting on the patio this past Sunday when that bird decided to land on my head and start scrimmaging around to see if it wanted to pull a few hairs for (1) a nest or (2) just go ahead and make its nest right then and there!   Where’s the camera when you need one? Right?  

 

Back to Mother’s Day – and give-a-ways.  Since it is getting close to Mother’s Day, I want to give you a chance to either make yours a little brighter or be able to shop to make your mom’s (or wife or sister or friend or whomever you choose) a little brighter.  So, if you are chosen, the first selected winner will win a $100 Target Gift Card, and the next two selected winners will win $50 gift cards each.  That’s right – three Target Gift Cards – one $100 gift card and two $50 gift cards.

Want to be in the drawing?   Just leave a Comment below and tell us what you will be doing on Mother’s Day, which by the way is Sunday, May 11th.     You will have until Monday, May 5th to leave a comment.  3 winners will be selected and posted Monday.

Have a great rest of the week and try and stay dry.

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Almond Chicken Salad –

We all have favorite places to eat/purchase our chicken salad.  And we all have our favorite recipes and variations in making our homemade chicken salad.   I love Chicken Salad Chic Jalapeno Holley Chicken Salad with those chopped up jalapenos (those sliced kind from a jar usually used on nachos, i do believe).  

The recipe below has been made numerous times and served numerous times for showers, luncheons at work, and well, just plain eating.  Now, while it isn’t my husband’s favorite (not enough of the fluff in it like the old fashioned recipes) and when my mother was alive, i can tell you hands down, she did not like it. If it didn’t have her boiled eggs and a little chopped onion, and a smidgen of pickles in it, well, it just wasn’t chicken salad!  I really think she just wanted to give me a hard time! (teeheehee)

Try it and see how you like it.  If you like a clean, fresh take on Chicken Salad to have on hand to eat for a lunch with some fresh fruit and maybe some of those good sliced tomatoes on the side, serve a scoop of this on a bed of mixed greens or on a beautiful butter lettuce leaf and some side crackers of your choice.  

And remember, this recipe can certainly be adapted to your taste, a little more of this, a little less of that.

 

Almond Chicken Salad

2 half chicken breasts, cooked or 4 split breasts

2 celery stalks, chopped

2 Tbsp. fresh parsley, chopped

1 Tsp. fresh lemon juice, or more for taste (doesn’t hurt to zest a little of the lemon before squeezing either!)

1/4 cup almonds, chopped

Mayonnaise just to moisten

Salt and pepper to taste

Cook chicken breasts.  Chop, tear or pulse chicken in food processor (depends on what texture you like yours – i pulse mine in food processor). Add to bowl for mixing.  Chop celery stalks fine and add to chicken in bowl (you can pulse in food processor also to desired consistency).  Finely chop parsley (or you can again throw it in the food processor toward the end of chopping the celery and pulse it to desired consistency-you don’t want to puree the parsley – you want it in a fine chop consistency) and add to bowl.  If you purchase the almonds already chopped you can just add to the bowl or if you want a smaller chop, throw them in the food processor and pulse a few times and throw them in the bowl.   Add lemon juice and sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste.   Mix in a small amount of mayonnaise and toss to mix.   Use your judgment as to how much mayonnaise to add.  You only want just enough to moisten.   

 

The lemon and parsley in the recipe is what gives it such a fresh taste, and with the crunch from the celery and almonds, well, its just plain delicious and separates it from the others.  Hope you choose to make it and enjoy some!

Biscuit Bliss

Well I made more biscuits this weekend – and they turned out oh so good.   More on that recipe comes later.

This recipe has been seen all over pinterest, other blogs, just about everywhere.   If you haven’t made them, you need to because once you do, you may never turn back to any other biscuit recipe again.   Just make a pan and see what I mean.

 

7-up Biscuits

2 cups Bisquick Mix

1/2 cup sour cream

1/2 cup 7-up

1/4 cup melted butter (salted or unsalted – doesn’t matter)

 

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.  Pour melted butter in a 9″ square pan. Cut sour cream into bisquick mix.  Add 7-Up and stir to combine.  Dough will be a soft, sticky dough.  Sprinkle counter with Bisquick and dump dough on to counter.  Sprinkle top of dough with small amount of mix in order to knead dough.  Pat out dough to 3/4 inch thick and cut with biscuit cutter or cut into squares and place in pan with melted butter.   Place in oven and bake approx. 15 minutes or until golden.

 Makes about 9 – this recipe easily doubles if you need to make more.

 

These fluff up so pretty and are so incredibly good.  So if you have made them, let me know how you like them.  If you haven’t, make some and come back and tell us how yours turned out.   Have a great week!

 

Another one bites the dust….

We have another grandkiddo to graduate this year – high school – which puts 4 of our grandkiddos in college – in the fall of 2014 we will have in college a senior, a junior, a sophomore, and a freshman.  Stepping stones!   And to celebrate we always gather together and partake of some bodacious viddles.   This year we are mixing things up like I previously said and brunch will abound.  Another recipe we will have will be one we will be drinking – Applewood Julep! If you have ever been to the mountains of Tennessee, you may  have enjoyed this at the Apple Barn Restaurant.   This is so good and refreshing.   And just right for breakfast or brunch.  Make some this weekend and sit out on the veranda (or your back porch or stoop) and enjoy the birds!

Applewood Julep

1 quart unsweetened apple juice, chilled

1 cup unsweetened pineapple juice, chilled

1 cup orange juice, chilled

1/4 cup lemon juice, chilled

fresh mint sprigs (optional)

Combine first 4 ingredients with ice cubes, mix well.  Garnish servings with mint if desired.   Makes about 6 1/4 cups.  

Cabbage Rolls – Beef or Turkey

i made Cabbage Rolls this weekend – I divided the ingredients in half in two bowls and used 1/2 lb ground beef for hubby and 1/2 ground turkey for me.  I used 6 of the 12 cabbage leaves for hubby’s and 6 (actually only 5 – ground turkey is less dense than ground beef and I only got 5 out of the turkey which was fine for me) so we both got rolls (with 2 you get egg rolls…name that movie!)

So you see….. just about any recipe can be adapted to your tastes/likes.   The sauce for this recipe is so good – it is so much more than just a can poured over your rolls and gives so much flavor to the cabbage rolls – make some for your supper.  I don’t think you will be disappointed.

Stuffed Cabbage Rolls

Meat Stuffing:

12 cabbage leaves

1 pound ground beef

3/4 cup cooked rice

1/2 cup finely chopped onion

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 egg, lightly beaten

2 teaspoons salt

1 teaspoon pepper

1/2 cup milk

Sauce:

1 can (8 oz.) tomato sauce

1 can (14.5 oz) diced tomatoes, un-drained

3 Tbsp sugar

2 Tbsp vinegar

1/2 cup water

2 Tbsp cornstarch mixed with 1/4 cup cold water (will be used to thicken the sauce after rolls are cooked)

Drop cabbage leaves into boiling salted water (I find by cooking 6 at a time they do better); cover and cook for 3 minutes.  Drain well.   In bowl, combine meat, rice, onion, garlic, egg, salt, pepper, and milk.  Mix well and divide between all 12 cabbage rolls, placing in center of each cabbage leaf.  roll leaf around filling, fasten with toothpick.  Place in baking dish.  

For sauce, combine tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, sugar, vinegar and water and pour over cabbage rolls.   Bake covered in a preheated 350 degree oven for 45 minutes.   Remove rolls and discard toothpicks.  Place pan with juices (if metal pan you can place directly on stove eye – if you used a glass pan pour juices in to a sauce pan); over medium heat and stir cornstarch/water mixture into the sauce; bring to a boil and cook and whisk until thickened.  pour thickened sauce over cabbage rolls or serve on the side.  

Hope you enjoy this recipe as much as we have!   Enjoy your week!  

I can’t believe you ate the whole pack!

If you make these – they will eat the whole pack…and if they don’t, you will.   Man, these were good.   Hubby especially liked these for some reason.   I can;t make these too often, as I believe he would eat the whole pan right by himself.   I hope those of you who live up north have Sister Schubert Rolls, and if not, find some that are close to these.     

These Italian seasoned garlic buttered tops  with sprinkled on Parmesan cheese were so good – and by slicing the rolls with a knife in half ( just take a small knife and go around the pan and slice the rolls in half – you want to be able to just pinch off a piece of a roll – like monkey bread) you get a “sliva” of a piece of heaven.  Yep – that good.  But if you want, just leave them like they are for a larger portion.  We liked the smaller “bite size” portions, though.  

Go get you some Sister Schubert Rolls – and make my take on these –

Italian Seasoned Parmesan pull apart rolls

 1 package of Sister Schubert Rolls, thawed

1 stick butter, softened

2 tsp Italian seasoning (or any combination or brand of Italian seasoning mix you prefer-or blend your own)

1/2 to 1 tsp garlic powder (your preference as to how much – some like more than others)

Pinch of salt

1/4 cup Parmesan cheese (I used the kind you find on the Italian aisle as that is the kind I had – the kind you sprinkle on pizza-but you can use fresh grated if you want)

Heat oven to 350 degrees.  Blend softened butter, Italian seasoning blend garlic powder and pinch of salt in small bowl.   Spread this delicious mixture over top of rolls, making sure to cover all.   Sprinkle with 1/4 cup parmesan cheese.   Bake for 15 – 20 minutes, or until the rolls are golden around the outside.  

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Enjoy!

Peanut Butter and granola – make it today!

I made just about the easiest granola I have ever made this weekend.  4 ingredients!  How easy is that?  (ok – i added one more to hubby’s – he has to have raisins in just about everything he eats).

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This peanut butter granola is so good, you will find yourself munching on it as a snack!  Next time I make this I am adding some chocolate chips and chopped pecans to my batch – hubby can keep his raisins!  

Here’s the handy dandy recipe – did i mention how easy these 4 ingredients are?

 

Peanut Butter Granola

2 cups old fashioned oats

1/4 cup creamy peanut butter

1/4 cup honey

2 Tbsp packed light brown sugar (note: I used my  Splenda Brown sugar – worked fine!)

Directions:

1.  Preheat oven to 325 degrees.  Pour oats in to mixing bowl, set aside.

2.  In a microwaveable mixing bowl, combine peanut butter, honey and brown sugar and heat in microwave until runny and smooth, about 25-40 seconds, stirring once during process.   You can also use a small saucepan and add peanut butter, honey and brown sugar and heat on medium until just runny and smooth, stirring while heating.  Pour mixture over oats and stir until oats are evenly coated.

3.  Spread mix onto a silpat or parchment lined baking sheet in an even layer and bake until golden brown, about 20 minutes, stirring once halfway through baking.  Allow to cool completely (it won’t get crunchy until it is cooled), and store in an airtight container.   

 

I store mine in mason jars, as you can see.   I love my mason jars!   Make yours and let us know what you serve yours on.  Happy Monday!

Mini-Cinnis or Cinni-Minis – Good no matter what you call them

A tradition started by our oldest grandson’s graduation from high school, our family gathers sometime in May to celebrate the graduating senior’s accomplishments and wish him/her well as he/she departs into their next grown-up (or almost grown-up) steps of life – wherever it is taking them.

This year Grandchild #4 graduates high school and as tradition has it, we are gathering again.  This time, we are changing up a bit and having a Graduation Brunch for the family!  What fun, and what food!   We also hope it accommodates one graduating senior with her work schedule! HA! Got to make that money!

One item we will be serving is quite simple and quite delicious – these cini minis – or mini-cinis, whichever you prefer to call them.  And when they use refrigerated crescent rolls, you can’t get any easier than that.  Make some at your house and they will vanish – just like they will at our shindig.

Now the recipe is certainly a guide – add-subtract on any of the amounts below – make this your recipe with more or less of the flavors you like!  I have asked one of the kiddos to bring this for me to the shindig and she will certainly make the recipe how she sees fit!  And it will be awesome.

Cinni-Minis (or Mini-Cinnis) – you pick the name!

(double for a crowd!)

2 (8-ounce) cans refrigerated crescent rolls

6 tablespoons butter or margarine, softened

1/3 cup firmly packed brown sugar

¼ cup chopped pecans

1 Tablespoon sugar

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

2/3 cup powdered sugar

1 Tbsp milk or half and half

¼ teaspoon almond or vanilla extract

1/8 teaspoon salt

Unroll crescent rolls and at this point you can either keep it in one long roll and pinch seams together, or if you work better with smaller portions, separate into 4 rectangles and press diagonal perforations to seal.  

Stir together butter and next 4 ingredients; spread evenly over 1 side of each rectangle.  Roll up jellyroll fashion, starting at long end.  Gently cut eachlog into 1-inch thick slices (makes about 6) using a serrated knife.   Place rolls, ¼ inch apart, into 2 (8-9nch) greased cake pans.  Bake at 375 degrees preheated oven, for 5-18 minutes or until golden.  Stir together the powdered sugar and remaining ingredients.  Once the rolls have cooled for about 5 to 10 minutes, drizzle over warm rolls.   – If you like more icing, just make more and coat those babies!   Eat and enjoy!

Le Creuset….you don’t say!

Congrats to the following who are now in the winning lane!  If you want the pictures of the actual random.org, email me – since there are 4 I won’t put the pictures up – just the winners that were drawn.

Let’s give away the beautiful stoneware 3-quart pots –

Winner #1 – random.org selected #13 – Susan Lambert! Susan will get the beautiful blue 3-quart Le Creuset stoneware casserole dish

Winner # 2 – random.org selected #12 – Margaret McGuire! Margaret receives the white 3-quart Le Creuset stoneware casserole dish

Winner #3 – random.org selected # 22 – ChristiL – ChristiL receives the Sisal (the brown) 3-quart Le Creuset stoneware casserole dish

And the final winner – random.rog selected # 20- Jenny – and she will receive the set of 3 – 8-ounce bowls that has all three colors!

 

Congratulations to all 4 winners and stay tuned for more recipes and giveaways!   At least until December 2014! Retirement is coming quickly!

Happy April Fool’s Day! No Joke on this Giveaway

One of the grandsons is away at college and while we miss seeing him, on today, it could be a good thing.  Because if he were here, there surely would be a prank on his grammy.   He does love to try and prank his grammy on April 1 and always could pull one off.  What can I say – I am quite gullible. 

That’s the last thing I want to do on April Fools Day is get pranked!   But I am excited because Le Creuset is releasing their three new colors today….. Mineral Blue, Sisal, and Cotton.   They are so pretty and are a Matte color and if you haven’t seen them you need to!

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This little set of three is so cute and has all three colors in it! These 8 ounce sizes are perfect for French onion soup – brown off that cheese and dig in! 

I love this 3 qt round casserole in their Stoneware line – this little baby will go in the freezer, the oven, the microwave, the dishwasher and is a great size for that pot pie, those veggie casseroles, and cobblers.  And this comes in the three new colors.

 

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Today, because it is April 1st, and because someone may have played a joke on you (teeheehee) I am giving away 1 (3 piece set) of the 8-ounce mini cocottes (has one of each color!) and I am giving away three(3) of the 3-quart round casseroles in the stoneware line – one in each color!    That means 4 of you have the chance to win!  

To be in the drawing to win one of the 4 Le Creuset prizes, just leave a comment and tell us if you were “pranked” or if you “pranked” someone!  Winners will be drawn Thursday morning, April 3rd so hurry and comment. Have a great and fun April 1st!