Monday, February 28, 2011

Best Buttermilk Blueberry Pancakes with Caramel Syrup

What kind of scoop can I serve up ending this super month of love?

A fabulous BYU_IDAHO u-tube treat and perfect pancakes will have you smiling.  Just in time, tomorrow is National Pancake Day, some of you who like to make Caramel Syrup have asked me how to make a really light and fluffy pancake.  Well it's really simple, don't over mix the batter.  A few small to medium lumps are a beautiful thing when creating pancakes and muffins.

Best Buttermilk Blueberry Pacncakes

I believe a big bowl of fresh blueberries that burst when you flip the pancake on a hot griddle make for the perfect pancake.  Go ahead, drizzle with Caramel Syrup or delectable warmed pure maple syrup for a phenomenal start to your day!

Best Buttermilk Blueberry Pancakes

Meet Dustin, our first official house guest.  He joined us over the President's Holiday three day weekend and we had such fun.  Last trimester before we moved from Rexburg to Boise, I took a Visual Media 130 class at BYU-IDAHO.  The class was awesome, my teacher Caryn Esplin, superb and I learned so much.  Dustin and his business partner, Kris, literally saved my bacon!  They were both so patient, kind, helpful and knowledgeable, working as TAs in class, and tutoring me outside of class.  I provided them with sustenance, (blog treats) and it was a win-win.  Kris is off track right now, working in New Hampshire, but Dustin is a full time student, working hard.  He needed a break and we were so glad he came to see us, making for such a memorable holiday.   

Best Buttermilk Blueberry Pancakes

I made my Best Buttermilk Blueberry Pancakes, and Dustin took down almost 2 stacks!  He is quite an appreciative eater ;D  Before we knew it our wireless printer was all hooked up and my MacBook had an awesome new toolbar, talk about love!

Best Buttermilk Blueberry Pancakes

Best Buttermilk Blueberry Pancakes

Best Buttermilk Blueberry Pancakes

Serve with lots of love...and if you're needing Somebody to Love, while dining on pancakes,
CLICK HERE for an entertaining treat created by some amazing BYU-I students!

Best Buttermilk Blueberry Pancakes
Makes nine 6-inch pancakes

  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 3 cups buttermilk
  • 4 tablespoons butter, melted (1/2 teaspoon for griddle)
  • 2 cups fresh blueberries
Heat griddle to 375 degrees.  Whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and sugar in a medium bowl.  Add eggs, buttermilk and melted butter; whisk to combine.  Batter should have small to medium lumps.  Gently fold in fresh blueberries.
Test griddle to make sure it is hot and ready.  Brush with butter or oil.  Wipe off excess.  Pour about 1/2 cup of batter on hot griddle.  When pancakes have bubbles on top and are slightly dry around the edges, (about 2-1/2 minutes) flip over.  Cook until golden on bottom, about 1 minute.  Repeat with remaining batter.  Serve warm with hot syrup.  
Note:  This recipe doubles and triples well! 

Sending hugs to all!

Sunday, February 27, 2011

How's Your Heart?

I love this quote taken from Matters of the Heart.  Henry B. Eyring shares personal examples of how he learned about prayer from his parents.

I know that our Heavenly Father lives and loves us.  He knows us and hears and answers our prayers.  We are His children and He is but waiting for us come unto Him through prayer, and will bless us with the righteous desires of our hearts.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Praline Caramel Cheesecake Bars

recipe photo
                                                                                                                               Photo courtesy Betty Crocker

I love Betty Crocker's prize-winning cookie bar recipes, and here's a doozie from 2010! It starts with my favorite sugar cookie mix. 

I made my own toffee bits.  It's a snap!   Here's how, first butter a cookie sheet.  Next just melt 1/2 cup of butter, (1 stick) over medium-high heat.  Add 1/2 cup of sugar and stir continuously until it turns a light caramel-brown color.  Do be careful because it will scorch easily, so pour it onto your prepared cookie sheet.  Then give it some time to harden, and break it up. 

I made these bars in the early morning, tucking them in the fridge to cool and set up, and they were long gone by early afternoon.  I never got a chance to put them on a pretty platter and take their picture.  So thanks to the BC gals for providing one for us!  Trust me, they are easy and sooo good... 

Praline Caramel Cheesecake Bars

For Crust and Topping:
  • 1 pouch (1 lb 1.5 oz) Betty Crocker® sugar cookie mix
  • 1/2 cup cold butter or margarine
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans
  • 1/2 cup toffee bits 
  • 2 packages (8 oz each) cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1/2 cup caramel topping (I used Mrs. Richardson's)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 egg
    1. Heat oven to 350°F. Spray bottom and sides of 13x9-inch pan with cooking spray. Place cookie mix in bowl; cut in butter using pastry blender or fork until mixture is crumbly. Reserve 1 1/2 cups mixture for topping. Press remaining mixture in bottom of pan. Bake 10 minutes.
    2. Meanwhile, in large bowl, beat cream cheese, sugar, flour, 1/4 cup of the caramel topping, vanilla and egg with electric mixer on medium speed until smooth.
    3. Spread cream cheese mixture evenly over partially baked cookie base. Sprinkle with reserved crumb topping, pecans and toffee bits.
    4. Bake 35 to 40 minutes or until light golden brown. Cool 30 minutes. Refrigerate about 2 hours or until chilled. Drizzle with remaining 1/4 cup caramel topping. For bars, cut into 9 rows by 4 rows. Store covered in refrigerator.
    Makes 36 bars

    You might win an Oscar with these!

    Wednesday, February 23, 2011

    Apricot Chicken

    Apricot Chicken
    Just the other day I heard, "I'd love some of your Apricot Chicken!"  I realized it's been a while since I made this delicious Lion House favorite for my guy. 

    Apricot Chciken

    Nectar, cornstarch and onion soup mix, combine for a simple yummy sauce.  I also like to add about a cup of snipped dried apricots.  Pour it over washed and dried chicken pieces and bake for an easy, delicious dinner good enough to roar about!

    Apricot Chicken

    Serve over rice pilaf with a simple salad for a memorable meal that will become a favorite for you too.  Be sure to serve with lots of love!

    Apricot Chicken
    Recipe from: Lion House Classics
    2 tbsp cornstarch
    2 cups apricot nectar
    1 envelope dry onion soup mix
    2 frying chickens cut up or, or 8 chicken breasts
    In saucepan, mix cornstarch in small amount of apricot nectar. Add remaining nectar and onion soup mix. Heat and stir until sauce thickens. Pour over chicken pieces that have been washed and dried and arrange in a 9x13 baking dish. Bake covered at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. uncover chicken and bake about 30 minutes or until chicken is tender. Baste several times with sauce. Makes 8 servings

    Yummy Hugs to all!

    Thursday, February 17, 2011

    Pantry Carousels = Perfection

    Moving in, I quickly unpacked food boxes willy-nilly!  I was just waiting for my new pantry carousels to arrive.

    I featured these  last summer on my Top 5 Hits.   I implement many of the good ideas from all of your blogs.  Special thanks to Emily and her dad, Phil, for getting these to me from Texas.  The design and instructions are terrific and I paid $29.99 for each carousel.  It was an easy install.

    I ordered five for the deep corners for each shelf.  They are wonderful quality and extra large.  I also ordered one for the floor to hold extra staple items. 

    Here's my pantry makeover and I'm so pleased.  None of my canned goods are lost in the corners.  I can see where everything is.  I think it will be easy to maintain too.

    My guy, you know I love him, replaced the light bulb and cover with this awesome little motion bulb that faithfully turns it's self off and on.

    Then he added this shoe pocket to hold all my odds and ends.  His grill lighter, matches, and gorilla glue are up top, genius!

    He replaced the over the door hooks, (that came with this shoe holder), with small molly bolts that are designed for hollow doors.  I cut a slit to accommodate the door handle.  I can still use the pocket, no worries.  I'm so happy with it, I'm going to use them on several different doors.  Watch for updates later.

    Now for my most recent challenge, my adorable little escape artist, Spencer.  I'm glad to be home blogging after he escaped on Tuesday.  I have been in recovery ever since he unbolted my big front door and just headed for home!  When I asked him where he was going he told me he needed to get Buttercup, his sweet, sweet dog.  Imagine if I'd been slapped in jail, charged with child endangerment.  I would have had to call my favorite defense attorney, his father!

    H-E-L-P, how does grandma childproof the door?   Gramps is not supportive of anything that will "mar his new door."

    Welcoming your ideas!

    Monday, February 14, 2011

    Chocolate Cherry Cake

    Each day we show our love, but I enjoy a special day to celebrate our L-O-V-E.  Here's my list of a few of my loves today.

    My beloved Valentine for the last 38 years.  He is the love of my life.  Since November I've hardly seen him without a drill or screw driver, taking something apart or putting it together.  My goal is to get settled and then have him find out what retirement means!  I am so proud of him.  He is an incredible husband, father, and a very Christ-like person.  I am so lucky to have him, I know.

    I'm loving the beautiful flowers he delighted me with for Valentine's Day.  He honestly delivers often, and speaking of delivering, our children are all loves too!

    Of course, here are our 15 grands that make our world go round.  I love them in their Christmas Eve PJs and a good picture of each together is impossible.  I'm predicting our drama queen in the pink will win an Oscar for "Best Actress" someday!  She is hilarious to say the least.

    I can't help myself, you will see more of my loves.  I'm loving that I am closer to some of them and missing the rest, sigh...yet feeling so blessed that they are all healthy, happy and loved by incredible parents.

    So just for you, I'm posting what my guy got with a kiss, early this morning, in bed for Valentine's.  Yes, it truly is the "way to his heart," but because I love him and it's not good for his heart it only happens once a year.  He loved the sweet wake-up...smooch and Chocolate Cherry Cake!

    This is all you need to make your sweetheart's day extra special!

    Mix the cake mix with the two eggs, fold in the can of cherry pie filling and bake in a 350 degree oven for 30 to 40 minutes.  While the cake is baking add milk, sugar and butter to a sauce pan over medium high heat.  Bring to a boil and boil for 1 minute stirring constantly.  Remove baked cake from the oven to a wire rack and cover with the hot fudge frosting.   

    Serve with whipped cream, more cherry pie filling and a chocolate heart and an extra helping of love!

    Chocolate Cherry Cake
    (courtesy of the Lion House)
    • 1 package devil's food or chocolate cake mix
    • 1 can cherry pie filling
    • 2 eggs
    • 6 Tbsp. butter
    • 1/3 cup milk
    • 1 cup sugar
    • 1 tsp. vanilla
    • 1 (12 oz.) package semi-sweet chocolate chips
    Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Spray a 13x9" nonstick baking spray containing flour and set aside.  In a large mixing bowl, combine cake with eggs, then gently fold in cherries till it's all incorporated.  Use a rubber spatula, not a mixer as it will break up the cherries.  It will be thick like a brownie batter.  Pour into prepared pan.  Bake 30-40 minutes or until cake is set.

    While cake is in the oven, combine sugar, butter and milk in a large saucepan.  Bring to a boil and boil for 1 minute stirring constantly.  Remove from heat and add chocolate chips and vanilla.  Stir with a wire whisk until the chips are melted and frosting is smooth.  Pour over warm cake and spread to cover.  Let cool on wire rack before serving.  Makes 16 servings.

    Happy Valentine's Day ALL!

    Friday, February 11, 2011

    Five On Friday


    Love in the this fabulous or what?  Thanks to Kait @ Mrs. DIY and the Tennis Guy for her Ballard Designs Knock Off  Her whimsical font and burlap combine creating a perfect pair, Valentine pillows!


    So what's not to love here?  Maleahbliss @ Little Eme promises to share her pattern next Tuesday for little mocs.  So adorable, visit Another Baby Shower Gift in the Works to make or buy some from her store.


    All the rage, Kristi @ The Speckled Dog shares a fabulous tutorial on DIY Pedestal Bowls  While you're there be sure to check out her glazing tutorial too.


    Can't get enough game time in?  Don't miss these ideas making your Valentine Parties a huge hit.  First, from my friend, Bird @ Bird's Party  FREEBIE Printables: Love Bingo!  and for the first time ever on it's a tie, cause I just love 'em both!

    B-I-N-G-O Cards  for your family or classroom party from the gals @ Eighteen 25.
    It's all there for you, just add your pics, print and grab some M&M candies!


    "Pieceful Pam" is Feeling the Love @ Glorious Applique.  I just adore all of the bright colors and pattern. Amazingly, her work of art is machine sewn with a blanket stitch. 

    Have an inspired weekend all!

    Wednesday, February 9, 2011

    How to Easily Clean Silk Plants

    Moving in frigid temps is challenging enough!  I passed along my beloved fern to a special friend who has a green thumb and packed baskets of silk foliage, easy as 1-2-3.  No bugs, soil or watering to contend with.  I love a little green on shelves and in displays.  The only part I dislike, the enemy, dull, discoloring, dust.

    Several years ago my sister, Kim, gave me a simple solution I wanted to share with each of you. 

    Kim sends her silks through the dishwasher!!!  Instead of painstakingly cleaning each leaf, she just packs them in.  So, I have been using her method for years and I promise it's tried and true.

    Before I even unpacked dishes to wash in my new dishwasher, I sent the silks through.  All you do is set the light cycle, no drying please unless you like curled leaves, and turn the thing on.  Soap is not necessary either.

    When the cycle ends, just give them a gentle shake or two and lay them on old beach towels to dry.  Now that I'm enjoying warmer weather, I spread my towels out on my patio and gave them some winter sunshine.  Have I mentioned, no snow?  I'm loving the temps!

    My leaves are all full and luscious once again.  From filthy to silky feels and looks really great!

    Join me tomorrow for a Valentine's treat!

    Monday, February 7, 2011

    Secret Steak Marinade

    When it comes to Super Bowl....

    Secret Steak Marinade

    It's not so much about the game at our house, it's all about the meat and the party.  We follow college football, you remember the Boise State Broncos, yeah we love 'em and Saturdays are our day of viewing all Fall long.  We do have a family get-together, just a fun tradition and my guy pulls out all the stops when it comes to choice rib-eyes.   He likes to put on his own show at his grill!  

    So it's tough to make raw meat look appetizing.  Actually you are looking at the pretty picture here.  If you are at all squeamish look away, but you will miss one of my best recipes ever...really!

    Years ago I came across this.  For the life of me I can't remember where!  Appropriately named,
    Secret Steak Marinade has been my secret until now!  No one can figure out what's in this, and it's not hard.  It gives any cut of steak or chop a marvelous flavor.  Give it a whirl.  I think you'll be pleased.

    Secret Steak Marinade

    The main players, soy sauce, onions, garlic, beef stock and seasoning....that's it!

    Secret Steak Marinade

    Peel and quarter the onions and toss it all in the blender.  Blend it thoroughly....

    Secret Steak Marinade

    Pour it over your meat in a zip bag.  Allow it to stand at room temperature for up to 2 hours, or in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours.  Be sure to flip the bag over several times. 

    Secret Steak Marinade

    Grill to your liking, generally 5 to 10 minutes per side over a hot grill.

    Secret Steak Marinade

    We served steaks and chicken with a favorite veggie, (the kids request), a fresh green salad and you got it, a perfect Idaho baker!  Believe me when I say dinner was a hit and this time Mom and Dad, Grandma and Grandpa, got the love!!!!  Now if we could just find the silverware....back to unpacking tomorrow!

    Secret Steak Marinade
    • 1 cup soy sauce
    • 2 large onions
    • 2 cloves of garlic
    • 1/4 cup beef stock
    • 2 tsp. Bon Appetit Seasoning
    Combine all ingredients in a blender and process 1 minute on high.  Use 1/4 cup of marinade per steak or chop.  Allow to stand at room temperature for 2 hours or in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours.  Then bring the meat to room temperature before grilling.  Grill to your liking, generally 5 to 10 minutes per side.

     Thanks for stopping by!

    Friday, February 4, 2011

    Homemade Valentines {"POP" Shots}

    While taking care of our grands in WA, we made some Valentines together.  They are a snap to get ready for the parties ahead.  

    After taking a picture holding an imaginary lollipop, upload your photo to your favorite edit page, I used Picnik.  Add borders, text and stickers and send them off to a photo developer.  It ran about $3.00 per photo for 25 @ Costco, and they were ready in a hour.   Jake, Shelby and Lizzy selected their lollipops for their friends.

    I cut a small slit above and below their hand with my exacto knife where we slipped in the lollipop and they are all ready for the big day!  No cutting, no glue, no mess, give 'em a try.

    Wednesday, February 2, 2011

    King Ranch Chicken Casserole

    The last six weeks have been crazy here!

    Plan on a few flash-back posts in the upcoming weeks. Here's a wrap-up though of why I have been MIA for so long:

    We moved twice...had all of our posterity, 27 total "home for Christmas," except we were virtually homeless...took care of three of our grands who live 5 hours away for almost two weeks while their parents attended a wedding and enjoyed a much needed get away in Central America...and now we are trying to unpack and settle in!

    Here's a big shout-out to all of my bloggy friends and followers who have emailed me. I have missed you too, appreciated your encouragement, good wishes, and love. I'm back on-line again and looking forward to some playtime together again and catching up on your lives.

    We are thrilled with our new home! We are living in the "banana-belt" of Idaho, our capital city...Boise! It's such a joy to be close to children and grandchildren. We still have to travel to see three of our families, but they are closer. Snow blowing twice a day is becoming a distant memory for my guy, and I am wearing out my snow tires on dry pavement..yippy!

    So we are in the month of extra love, and I am sending some out to you along with some extra cheese! Many of you may already have this one. My grandson, Jake couldn't get enough of Sunset Magazine's famous King Ranch Casserole.

    It's like a Mexican lasagna, easy to prepare ahead, bake and take or serve on a busy school night. My sombrero is off to all of you busy moms out there who are packing lunches, getting kids around, and tacking mounds of laundry. I had forgotten how much work all of it is . My guy and I kept shaking our heads, looking at each other and wondering where we got the energy...marveling at the fact that we raised 5 children. Yes we were back in the trenches again, checking homework, helping with projects, piano lessons and practice, scouts, trips to the vet and on and on! I think one of the secrets is getting dinner in the slow cooker or fridge by noon!

    Anyway, back to this casserole. You'll need to cook some chicken, mix up the sauce, shred the cheese, and grab some tortillas. Layer, layer, layer...

    and now it is ready to cover and refrigerate or freeze...

    Bake at 350 for 45 minutes to an hour, till the cheese is bubbly and lightly browned.

    Before you know it you will have a little fiesta going!  Ole to all and serve with lots of love!

     King Ranch Chicken Casserole

    • 1 large onion, chopped
    • 1 large green bell pepper, chopped
    • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
    • 2 cups chopped cooked chicken
    • 1 (10 3/4-ounce) can cream of chicken soup, undiluted
    • 1 (10 3/4-ounce) can cream of mushroom soup, undiluted
    • 1 (10-ounce) can diced tomato and green chiles
    • 1 teaspoon chili powder
    • 1/4 teaspoon salt
    • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
    • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
    • 12 (6-inch) corn tortillas
    • 2 cups (8 ounces) shredded Cheddar cheese, divided
    Saute onion and bell pepper in hot oil in a large skillet over medium heat for 5 minutes or until tender.  Stir in chicken and next 7 ingredients; remove from heat.  Cut tortillas into 1-inch pieces; layer one-third of tortilla pieces in bottom of a lightly greased 13- x 9-inch baking dish. Top with one-third of chicken mixture and 2/3 cup cheese. Repeat layers twice.

    Bake at 350° for 30 to 35 minutes. Serves 6 to 8.

    Note: You may freeze casserole up to 1 month, if desired. Thaw in refrigerator overnight, and bake as directed.

    It's always so nice to have you here.  Thanks for stopping by!