Friday, September 16, 2016

almond joy cookies

My friend Rose and I went out for a quick dinner the other night at Great Harvest, a local soup and sandwich kind of place. As part of our meals, we could pick a cookie. They were specialing a new cookie that they called an Almond Joy Cookie. We thought they were pretty scrumptious, and I thought I could easily duplicate the idea. So I did. And they were yummy. I took them to a work party, and they were quite a hit. Hooray! This recipe's a keeper.

It's basically just an oatmeal cookie with chocolate chips, almonds and coconut added in.  Any yummy oatmeal cookie recipe should work.  But for my own benefit and for future reference, this is the recipe I used. 

RECIPE: Almond Joy Cookies

3 dozen cookies

3/4 c. butter, soft
1 c. firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 c. sugar
1 egg
1/4 c. water
1 tsp vanilla
1 c. flour
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
3 c. uncooked oats
1 bag (2 c?) chocolate chips
1 c. slivered almonds
4 oz shredded coconut

Preheat oven to 375F. Beat together butter, sugars, egg, water and vanilla until creamy. Add flour, salt and soda. Mix well. Stir in oats, chocolate chips, almonds and coconut. Drop by spoonfuls onto cookie sheet/stone. Bake at 375F for 12-15 minutes. 

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

guava cake

Photo from

I stole this recipe from my Hawaii-loving friend Aubrey, and I'm so glad I did. It's soooo scrumptious! Creamy and moist and cold and scrumptious. Mmm. I'd make this everyday if health weren't an issue. Ha. Try it; you'll like it. Promise.

RECIPE: Guava Cake

1 pkg yellow cake mix
1 c guava juice/nectar
1/3 c vegetable oil
3 eggs

1 8-oz cream cheese, softened
1/3 c sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1 8-oz pkg Cool Whip

2 c guava juice/nectar
1/2 c sugar
1/4 c cornstarch

Cake: Preheat oven to 350F. Mix cake according to package directions substituting guava juice for water. Pour into a 9x13 baking dish. Bake.

Cream: In a med. mixing bowl, beat cream cheese until fluffy.  Add sugar and vanilla, beat in. Slowly fold in cool whip. Refrigerate until ready to use.

Glaze: In a med saucepan, bring guava juice and sugar to a boil. Make a paste out of cornstarch and a small amount of cold water. Remove guava/sugar from heat and stir in cornstarch mixture. Return to heat and bring back to a boil for one minute. Cool in fridge.

Assemble: Ice the cake with cream cheese mixture. Then glaze the top with guava gel. Refrigerate until ready to serve.


Monday, August 8, 2016

easy empanadas

My good friend Krista shared this idea with our bookclub when we were discussing easy, inexpensive recipes. And she hit the nail on the head with this one! It is perfectly easy and inexpensive - and absolutely yummy to boot! Her version included simply meat, onions, and cheese - kind of cheeseburger-esque. I wanted a little different flavor and changed it up a bit. But really, it'd be easy and scrumptious to change it up with any number of ingredients. Pizza pocket, breakfast scramble, you name it! Love this. Thanks, Krista. 

RECIPE: Easy Empanadas

2 pkg canned biscuits 
1 lb ground beef
1 med onion, diced
1 tomato, diced
2 Hatch chilis, seeded and diced
Garlic powder, to taste 
Pepper, to taste
1 egg, beaten (for egg wash)

Preheat oven to 400F. 

In a large skillet, brown the beef and onion over med-high heat. Add tomato, green chili, and spices. Cook until chilis are slightly soft, just a few more min. Remove from heat.

Roll out biscuit dough individually into circles. Fill circles with a Tbsp or so of filling then fold over and pinch edges (with a fork if you're feeling fancy). Cut a slit or two in the tops and brush with the egg wash. 

Then bake at 400F for 12ish minutes or until golden brown! Enjoy!

Saturday, August 6, 2016

funeral potatoes

Photo from

These are a perfect dish to make in large quantities for a community gathering, such as a funeral. Hence the name. Or perhaps they were dubbed Funeral Potatoes because they make one think of Heaven (they're that good). Whichever the reason, Funeral Potatoes is how they are known to us. And they're amazing. In fact, they are my husband's favorite food. Comfort food at its finest. And this is the best recipe I've found for them -- from my sis-in-law Mindy, who got it from her Aunt Connie. Now I give it to you. You can thank me later.

RECIPE: Funeral Potatoes

1 can cream of celery soup
4 1/2 c. frozen hashbrowns (cooked, shredded potatoes)
1/4 c. butter
1/4 c. chopped green onions
2 c. sour cream
1/2 c. shredded cheddar cheese
2-3 c. crushed corn flakes
2 Tbsp. melted butter

Melt 1/4 c. butter. Add soup, green onions, sour cream and cheese. Stir until blended well. Put potatoes in casserole dish and layer with sauce. 

Mix corn flakes and 2 Tbsp. butter. Spread on top of potatoes. 

Bake until heated through, 30 min at 350F. 

Note: This is best if made the night before or earlier in the day and then heated.

Thursday, August 4, 2016

penne pasta bake

I got this recipe from our local grocery store, when they were doing this awesome Family Value Meal, all-ingredients-in-a-bag-and-ready-for-you program. Super cool. I've altered it a bit to make it even easier (I'm super lazy, ha), but the flavor is all there. Anyway, it's become a total staple in our household. Everyone loves it. Assuming you're not dairy-intolerant (ha), give this nummy recipe a try. You won't regret it.

RECIPE: Penne Pasta Bake

1 (16-oz) pkg penne pasta
2 c. sour cream
1/2 c. grated Parmesan cheese

1 lb ground beef
1 med yellow onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 (26-oz) jars marinara sauce

2-3 c. shredded mozzarella cheese

Preheat oven to 350F. Set aside a 9x13 casserole dish (or two 8x8s).

Bring a large pot of water to boil. Add penne pasta and cook until al dente; drain. Mix in sour cream and parm. Set aside.

In a large skillet, brown diced onion, garlic, and ground beef over medium-high heat. Add spaghetti sauce and warm through.

Layer as follows: pasta, sauce, pasta, sauce. Then top with mozzarella cheese.

Bake uncovered for 25 min at 350F or until cheese melts and bubbles/browns.

**Note: This freezes wonderfully!  Bake one 8x8 and save the other. Two meals in one! Bam!

Saturday, January 10, 2015

butter chicken

You guys! This stuff is like a miracle in a packet! I stumbled across it in the grocery store the other day (international isle) and thought I'd give it a try. And boy, am I glad I did! It's spectacular!! So easy and so, so delicious. The whole family gobbled it up, and it makes a ton! It's a bit on the spicy side (I'd call it "medium" heat; nothing extreme, but I didn't feed it to my one-year-old), but you can up the cream a bit to knock down the spice. Anyway, it's fantastic. You can be sure we'll be making this again!

RECIPE: Butter Chicken

Yield: 8 generous servings 
Calories: 224 each (w/o rice)

2 Tbsp oil
1 lb chicken breast, diced
2 Tbsp butter
1 med onion, finely diced 
1 (15oz) can tomato sauce
1 packet Butter Chicken Seasoning Mix
1 c cream (more if needed to de-spice)

Basmati rice
(Opt) fresh cilantro 

Cook according to packet directions. 

** Serve over basmati rice (with cilantro mixed in if you have it). Add a side of naan if you think to snag some. And enjoy!!

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

our school lunch system

I've been packing school lunches for my boy for two years now. It's something that stressed me out immensely, so I did my research beforehand. After searching and searching online (Google and Pinterest are my friends) and perusing my local Wally World, I came up with the following basic how-to. It's stood the test of time (or a bajillion school lunches, anyway), and we're quite happy with our system.

Each year, I let him pick out a new lunchbox. He hasn't needed to, as they've lasted and been so great, but it's fun for him to have something fresh and new, I think. Both years he's had a Thermos brand box, and they've been fantastic. Standard size, insulated, zip-up lunchbox (or lunch bag). Like-a dis.

I chose to do kind of a bento-style method. The dishes I use are these: Great Value Large Entree Storage Containers from Walmart. They're $2 for a 4-pack, so pretty cheap, and they've worked great for us! They're easy for little hands to open without help, are the perfect size for a standard lunchbox, and have held up well to numerous (nuuuuumerous) dishwasher cycles (put on the top rack). I chose these over other kinds because I needed several; there's no way I was going to wash the same bento box over and over every blasted day. I'm far too lazy for that!

Inside these containers (to create the bento kind of idea), I use these. Silicone Cupcake Molds/Liners. They're colorful, durable, easily washable, and just $2 for the set of six. Find them in the Wilton cake area of Walmart. Look for the $2 ones; there are some nearby for twice as much. 

If I need to pack something liquid or leaky (like yogurt, applesauce, ranch dressing, humus, syrup, what-have-you), I put it in an old applesauce or mandarin oranges container and top it with Cling Wrap (Press N Seal?). That stuff is magical. It. Works. Wonderfully. 

I put the bento box full of goodies inside his lunchbox, stick a juice box (or Gossner's milk or Capri Sun etc) next to it and an ice pack on top. Don't forget a napkin and (if needed) a spoon! Then zip it up and send it to school! 

What system do YOU use for school lunch? Any tips?? Please share! :)

Sunday, September 21, 2014

corn bread muffins

Original recipe from ( This is a halved recipe, basically. It's moist and delicious. Yum.

RECIPE: Corn Bread Muffins

Yield: 8 muffins

1/2 c flour
1/2 c cornmeal
1/2 c sour cream
1 Tbsp white sugar
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 an egg, beaten
2 Tbsp + 2 tsp milk
2 tsp butter

Preheat oven to 400F. 

Measure and put all ingredients into a mixer/bowl. Whip until incorporated and kinda fluffy. 

Drop batter into greased muffin tin. Bake at 400F for 15 min.

Serve warm with butter and honey.