Friday, December 31, 2010

Dicken's Apple Pudding Cake

Hello Friends!

I've missed you. Thanks for hangin' in there during our transition. I hope you've all been merry through Christmas too!

After a two week break from blogging, we have moved from Southeast Idaho to Southwest Idaho. We are camping in temporary digs till we close our new home in about two weeks...yeah, we get to move it all one more time!

I shed some tears as we drove away from our snowy home. Thanks Mom for reminding me, "It served it's purpose." We will miss our amazing neighborhood and BYU-Idaho. We are grateful we were able to raise our family in such a wonderful place. We will cherish memories of our life in Rexburg and hope to visit dear friends in the near future.

I never want to forget the ice and snow hanging over our back deck!

Before we packed up and headed out we had one last celebration with our helpers and I made a favorite family dessert we enjoy all Fall and winter long,

Dicken's Pudding Cake with Vanilla Sauce

This can be made ahead of time, although my guy likes it warm, out of the oven with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. When you are in the middle of a mad-dash, the most time consuming part of this is grating the apples and chopping the nuts. Both are made easier with your food processor.

Bake it up, make a quick vanilla sauce and then kick back and enjoy time with your guests! Serve with a dollop of whipped cream...

or a scoop of ice-cream, or both if you are like my guy!

Serve with lots of love as you say goodbye to 2010!

Dicken's Apple Pudding Cake
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 Tbsp. cinnamon
  • 1 Tbsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. nutmeg
  • 2 cup chopped walnuts or pecans
  • 4 cups grated apples
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cream together sugar, butter and eggs. Stir in flour, cinnamon, baking soda, salt and nutmeg. Add nuts and apples and mix well. Pour into a greased 9 x 13" pan and bake at 350 degrees for 40 to 45 minutes. Serve with hot vanilla sauce and sweetened whipped cream or ice cream.

Vanilla Sauce
  • 1 cup butter
  • 1 cup cream (or evaporated milk works too)
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 Tbsp. vanilla
  • dash of nutmeg
Combine butter, cream, and sugar in a small saucepan. Simmer on low for 10 to 15 minutes. Stir once. Do not let it boil. Remove from heat and add vanilla and a dash of nutmeg. Serve over pudding cake.

Stay snuggly warm all!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Looking at Christmas

Looking at Christmas

Mother, please tell me-it's Christmas again--
Why did the star shine in heaven back then?
"Heavenly Father was happy and He
Wanted the Nephites and Wise Men to see
Jesus was born, and the star was the sign
Telling the world that the Babe was divine."

"Why was he born in a stable with hay?
Kings lived in palaces back in that day."
Jesus Christ's kingdom is heaven, you know.
Money and palaces stay here below.
He came to earth just to show us the way
We can be with Him in heaven one day."

"Presents and toys, then, are
things of this earth.
Why do we give them to honor His birth?
"That's a good question. My
child, you are wise,
Looking at Christmas through
Jesus Christ's eyes.
Love is the answer. Love is the way
To properly celebrate Jesus
Christ's day."

"God loved the world, so He
gave us His son.
Love for each other brings real
Christmas fun."
"Gifts giv'n when thinking of
only their worth,
Just like fine palaces, stay on
this earth.
Thinking of others and showing
your love
Brings happiness here and
great joy up above."

by Therese Aurich

May we feel the love of our Savior, Jesus Christ in our homes and lives this beautiful time of the year, as we celebrate His humble birth, life of service, and the gift of His Atoning sacrifice.

With best wishes for the merriest Christmas ever,

Monday, December 13, 2010

Truffled Bird Nest Cookies

Truffles, Coconuts, 'n Pecans, la la la la... 

While growing up, my Grandmas were famous for their beautiful Christmas cookie platters. My favorites were Grandma's Bird Nest Cookies. She filled them with raspberry jam and they were a heavenly combination of shortbread, toasted nuts, and jam.

I switched it up a bit combining my 4 favorite things, the same shortbread nut nest, chocolate truffles, and coconut-pecan topping.

Here’s my secret combination, Truffled Bird Nest Cookies, hope you love ‘em!

Truffled Bird Nest Cookies

Makes 16 cookies

½ cup butter
¼ cup brown sugar
1-cup flour
2 cups pecans, chopped
2 egg whites, lightly beaten
8 chocolate truffles cut in half (I buy mine at Costco)
1¼ cup pecans, chopped and toasted
1-cup sugar
1-cup evaporated milk or cream
3 large egg yolks
½ cup butter, cut into pieces
1/8 tsp. salt
1 ½ cup sweetened flaked coconut
½ tsp. Vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cream butter and brown sugar in a food processor if you’ve got one, otherwise a mixer works just great. Add flour. Cut the dough into 16 equal pieces. Roll each into a ball and then dip in the beaten egg white. Then roll in crushed walnuts.. Press center with finger.

Bake in a 350-degree oven for 8 minutes. Take out of the oven and press center again. I like to use a measuring teaspoon for this hot project. Bake 10 minutes more. Take out of the oven and gently press a half of a truffle into the middle.

Return it to the warm oven for about 5 minutes to melt the truffle. With the back of a spoon smooth the truffle out to fill “your nest.” Cool and let truffles set back up while you make the Pecan-Coconut Topping.

Toast 1 ¼ cup chopped pecans in a 350-degree oven for 8-10 minutes. Oven temps vary, so keep an eye on those nuts! Combine sugar, milk or cream, egg yolks, butter, and salt over medium heat in a saucepan. Cook, stirring until it comes to a boil. Remove from heat and let it cool. It will thicken as it cools. Spoon topping over the truffle, rounding out your nest.

Drizzle with white melted chocolate...

and leave a few chocolaty surprises out for Santa!

Merry Christmas to all,

Friday, December 10, 2010

Betty's Red Velvet Cookies

Well today's the big day!

It's time for us to link up our favorite Christmas cookies with Jodi @ Pleasant Home. I'm guest blogging at her party and I hope all of you will link your cookies and join in the fun. My thanks to Jodi who has one of the best sites in blogland. From quilting to cupcakes I love everything she shares, and often boast I am her biggest fan! I hope you like the cookies I made and have posted HERE

You may also know I am a fan of Betty's cookie mixes. Here is another 2010 prizewinner, made simple with her sugar cookie mix and cream cheese frosting. Of course you can make your own too!

image courtesy of Betty Crocker

Betty's Red Velvet Cookies

1 pouch (1 lb 1.5 oz) Betty Crocker sugar cookie mix
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa
1/4 cup butter or margarine, softened
1/4 cup sour cream
1 tablespoon red food color
1 egg
3/4 to 1 cup Betty Crocker Rich and Creamy cream cheese frosting
1/4 cup chopped nuts

  1. Heat oven to 375°F. In large bowl, stir cookie mix, cocoa, butter, sour cream, food color and egg until soft dough forms.
  2. Roll dough into 1-inch balls; place 2 inches apart on ungreased cookie sheet.
  3. Bake 8 to 9 minutes or until set. Cool 2 minutes; remove from cookie sheet to wire rack. Cool completely, about 15 minutes.
  4. Frost cooled cookies with frosting. Sprinkle with nuts. Store tightly covered at room temperature. Makes 36 cookies.
Ah-hah: Use a cookie scoop instead of trying to roll out into balls. It works just as well!

Happy Baking All!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

My Favorite Spaghetti Sauce

So I'm down to my last pot!

Even when you move, you've got to eat, and we've been trying to use up what we've got. I keep ground beef in my freezer and have appreciated this recipe on an extra snowy day, or even if I'm just too tired to think! This one just works.

My Favorite Spaghetti Sauce is a fast fix with ingredients from your pantry.

Brown ground beef, and add the above stand byes...

simmer and stir every 15 minutes for 2 hours...

and serve over your favorite pasta with a little Parmesan cheese, a tossed green salad, and lots of love for a delicious finish on a busy day.

My Favorite Spaghetti Sauce
  • 2 lbs lean ground beef
  • 1 (14 oz) can stewed tomatoes
  • 1 (6 oz) tomato paste
  • 6 oz. water
  • 1 (16 oz.) jar of pasta sauce ( I use Prego)
  • 1 envelope onion soup mix
  • 1/2 cup grape jelly
Brown meat and crumble with a fork. Drain any fat. Stir in all the rest of the ingredients. Cook and simmer stirring every 15 minutes. Serve over pasta.

Aah-ha: This is a straight out of the pantry version. Be sure to add your favorite, mushrooms, green pepper, capers, olives...whatever you like and have on hand.

Also, the way I cook pasta, bring salted water to a rolling boil, add the pasta, (I use Angel Hair) stir, cover and remove from heat. In 10 minutes it will be ready. For a low-carb treat, serve it over baked spaghetti squash.

Love to all!

Monday, December 6, 2010

Best Apple Crisp

Ho! Ho! Ho!

Look who came early to our house this year.
Guess what he delivered...the perfect family who wants to buy our home!

Yep, with so many homes for sale and lots of snow and ice outside,
we are moving for Christmas.

Instead of filling stockings and wrapping presents...

we are strapping up boxes and filling 3 of these 24 footers and moving 5 hours across our great state.

No matter which way we turn after 25 years in our beloved home we are finding it hard to say good-bye to neighbors, friends, and so many memories here. What propels us forward is knowing we will be close to family and in a warmer place.

We are leaving fruit trees; 2 sour cherry, 1 plum and 3 apple. I make lots of yummy things with all they produce. With lots of love, here's a treat for you.

Best Apple Crisp

It's easy to make, and this time of year I like to toss in 1/2 cup of fresh cranberries.

Pare, core and slice tart apples. Combine water, melted butter, salt, cinnamon and lemon juice. Pour over apples and mix. Pour into a 9 X 13" baking dish.

Cream butter and sugar; add flour and mix well. Crush cereal, (not too finely) and combine with creamed mixture. Press mixture over apples. Bake uncovered at 375 degrees for 30 to 35 minutes.

Serve with ice cream or table cream if desired, and an extra squeeze of love!

Best Apple Crisp
  • 1 quart tart apples, pared, cored and sliced
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 2 Tbsp. butter, melted
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1-1/2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 Tbsp. lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 Tbsp. flour
  • 3/4 cup raisin bran cereal
  • 3/4 cup frosted flakes cereal
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Combine water, melted butter, salt, cinnamon and lemon juice. Add the prepared fruit and gently toss to coat. Cream 1/2 cup butter and sugar; add flour and mix well. Crush cereal, not too finely. Combine with creamed mixture. Press mixture over apples. Bake uncovered in a 375 degree oven for 30 to 35 minutes until lightly browned. Serve with ice cream or table cream.

I'm hoping to check in often through this glorious month. Please know I'm trying to finish up with school and fly this coop. I plan to resume the Top 5 Hits and throw a New Year's Party, for all of you, from warmer Southwestern Idaho.

Hugs to each of you....

and Santa too!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Cranberry Barbecue Chicken

Happy December all!

In the spirit of giving, here you go Mikaela...

I'm sure I've mentioned that I'm taking a class at our local University. One of my favorite coeds, Mikaela, gave me some food for thought. Looking at my blog, she complained that all my recipes look so complicated and use too many ingredients. Instantly one of my easiest and best chicken dishes came to mind. It's a snap to create, contains only 5 ingredients, and bakes while you're busy doing other things. It's perfect for Sunday dinner, holiday parties and busy coeds everywhere!

Cranberry Barbecue Chicken will be one of your favorite go to dishes. It's delicious using pork chops or boneless ribs too, and goes well with almost any side dish.

Brown and season boneless chicken breasts, (thighs are good too).   Lay flat in a baking dish.

Chop a yellow onion and sprinkle over the chicken.

Mix whole cranberry sauce and barbecue sauce together and pour evenly over chicken. Cover tightly with foil and bake for 3 hours.

Serve with your favorite choice this time, brown rice and steamed cauliflower.

and lots of love...especially for you Mikaela!

Cranberry Barbecue Chicken
  • 6 boneless, skinless, chicken breast
  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 1 can whole cranberry sauce
  • 1 cup barbecue sauce (use your favorite, I prefer Cattleman's)
Brown chicken breast in olive oil. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Place in a 9x13" baking dish. Sprinkle onion over chicken breast. Combine cranberry sauce and barbecue sauce and stir together. Pour evenly over the chicken. Cover with foil and bake for 3-1/2 hours at 300 degrees.

Aaaha: I have served this to big groups of 50 plus and it cooks really well in a big 18 quart roaster oven. It's perfect for holiday parties and can be made ahead.

Loving how friends and food just go together.  Thanks for cheering me on!