Monday, February 27, 2012

Banana Nut Sheet Cake

"Learn to say 'no' to the good so you can say 'yes' to the best."

I seem to hear this quote often.  How about you?  I believe this is true and we have been called to serve a new mission.  We aren't moving to New York City this time.  We will live at home, do some traveling, and a great deal of computer work.  My husband and I will coordinate the IDAHO Area Boise Church-Service Missionary Group for the next three years.
One of the things I love most about The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the opportunities that we have to serve.  Church Service Missionaries (CSM's) do much of the humanitarian work for our church through out the world.  They serve in canneries, institutes, distribution centers, storehouses, temples, mission offices, family history centers and in so many more ways. CSMs must be 55 and older and serve for at least 8 hours a week.  Recently we helped to facilitate a call to a couple who will organize and conduct Red-Cross blood-drives in their state.  As I look at the best opportunities in my life, serving our Heavenly Father and my family are two of the things I truly love.  Both bring such joy.  I am very thankful I can help further the Lord's work and serve along side so many wonderful missionaries.   I'm excited about all we have to learn while being close to our family and I don't have to move again.  I get to live in our comfortable home!  It's a win-win!!!!

Our Family, December 31, 2011, Boise Idaho            
(photo by Jeremy Johnson)
I have made so many sweet blog friends and shared a bit of myself here.  I really hate to say, "Good-bye!"   Still blogging can't be at the top of my priority list.  February has been filled with preparations and training and we have more to come in the weeks ahead in Salt Lake City.  Just know that March is going to be a huge month for me.  My hope is that I can occasionally share something yummy and give you a glimpse into our work.  Please stop by and check to see if there's something new just for you.  We need to stay in touch!

I wish I could gather all of my blogging friends around my table for a warm cup of herbal mint tea and offer you a bit of another sheet cake my family loves.  With an abundance of ripe bananas, I often make and serve never lasts.  It's perfect when your bananas are black and you're down to the wire!

Banana Nut Sheet Cake
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1-1/2 cups sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts
  • 2 medium overripe bananas, mashed (about 1 cup)
In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugar, then add the eggs, sour cream and vanilla. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking soda and salt. Gradually add the dry ingredients to the creamed mixture, then stir in nuts and bananas.
Spread batter into a greased 15 x10 x 1 inch pan. Bake at 350° for 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool and frost. Cut into squares.

Cream Cheese Frosting:
  • 1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 3-3/4 to 4 cups powdered sugar
In a bowl, beat the cream cheese, butter and vanilla. Gradually beat in powdered sugar till creamy and smooth.  Spread on cooled cake.

Serve with lots of love,

Monday, February 6, 2012

Aussie Chicken

So, it was love at first bite, a true "down-under wonder!"

I must admit we aren't Sunday football fans, but we enjoy having our family join us for easy eats and good times.  With Mom and Dad partying at Disney World, we have been caring for three of our grandsons and so this weekend we got both.    

Meet our eldest grandson, John.  He is 14, the best; cool, sweet, and always hungry!

Aussie Chicken with baked potatoes and broccoli seemed ideal for this "growing boy!"  I tried to lighten it up by grilling chicken breast and deleting mayonnaise from the honey-mustard sauce.    It's a quick-fix, grilled chicken, topped with honey-mustard, bacon, mushrooms, and Colby-Jack cheese, baked for 30 minutes in a 350 degree oven.  All you have to do is serve with favorite sides.

If you are looking for love, and good times, this may be a good place to start!

Aussie Chicken 
  • 6 chicken breast, boneless, skinless
  • seasoning salt
  • 6 slices bacon, cut in half and cooked  
  • 1/4 cup mustard
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 2 green onions, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup fresh mushrooms, thinly sliced
  • 2 cups Colby-Jack cheese, shredded (I used a slice for each breast)
Grill chicken breasts for 20 minutes.  Arrange in a 9x13" pan and sprinkle lightly with seasoning salt.  Combine honey and mustard and drizzle over the grilled chicken.  Top with cooked bacon slices, green onion slices, mushroom slices and cheese.  Bake in a 350 degree oven for 30 minutes or until cheese is bubbly.  Serves 6.

Happy Dinnie All!

Friday, February 3, 2012

For Lovers!

"Two lovers in the rain have no need for an umbrella." ~ Japanese Proverb

Have a happy almost Valentine's weekend all...

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Winger's Original Amazing Sauce & Dressing

I just flipped my calendar to February, the month of extra love, hugs and hearts.  After posting Maple Bacon Peanut Snack Mix, I've had several requests for how to add heat when cooking.  It's true just 1-1/2 teaspoons of red pepper flakes gives it a lot of zip.  So let's add some chile hotness and steam our new month up!

Are you hot stuff?  

I admit when it comes to raw chiles I'm a whimp!  My boys have contests and take-em down in large quantities and always dump hot sauce on everything.  Even my young grand-kiddos always add tabasco to Gram's cheesy-scrambled eggs.  Imagine, I used to sprinkle a drop on my children's tongues when they said a "bad word."  It worked, they have developed quite a taste for the stuff and they choose their words carefully!

In response to how to add heat, my rule for adding chilies or chili powder is add a little less than the recipe calls for to start, especially if you have never made it before.  When using fresh chilies, my favorites are jalapenos, poblano, and serrano.  I like to roast them in the oven at 400 degrees with a little olive oil for about 10 minutes till they are brown and bubbling.  Next I toss them in a ziplock bag and let them cool.  Then they are easy to peel and remove seeds and use or freeze.  Raw or roasted, I always wear surgical gloves because they will burn your skin.  Hope that helps!

Winger's deep fried wings and original amazing sauce.  (photo from Winger's Grill & Bar)
So with love and warmth here's an easy sticky wing sauce from Winger's Grill & Bar.  It gets all of it's heat from Frank's Hot Sauce.  My SIL, Will made oodles of this sauce for New Year's Eve.  Winger's serves it with their sticky wings, quesadillas, onion rings, and crispy chicken salads.   Their chicken is breaded and fried, we grill our chicken for boneless chicken bites or chicken salads.  We love to mix it like Winger's does to make their Creamy Amazing Dressing {1 part ranch dressing/ 1 part amazing sauce} to serve on our grilled chicken salads.  Here's how to replicate their salads, but with grilled chicken.

Grill chicken breasts, 1 per salad, and 5 minutes before they are finished grilling, brush with the original amazing sauce.  Remove from the grill and brush with sauce again, let rest for 5 minutes.  Slice grilled chicken on the diagonal and serve over romaine, with thin red onion slices, chopped celery, red cabbage, shredded cheddar, Jack cheeses, diced tomatoes and croutons.

Winger's Original Amazing Sauce

  • 2 ½ c. brown sugar
  • 1/3 c. Franks Hot Sauce
  • 3 T. corn syrup
  • ½ c. apple cider vinegar
Combine all ingredients in sauce pan. Stirring constantly on medium high heat, boil for one to one and a half minutes. If you cook longer than that, the sauce will turn hard like candy. This sauce can be used on salads, wings, chicken, etc. and it will keep in your fridge for weeks, so double the recipe if you like leftovers or have hungry kids at home.

Happy February Loves!