Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Holiday Goodies

I haven't posted in F-O-R-E-V-E-R! I feel bad about neglecting my poor blog, but this month has been crazy busy! I hope you all enjoyed a wonderful Thanksgiving. This year, we went to my parents and spent the day with them. We're blessed to live less than 10 minutes away from them, my grandparents and my in-laws. We enjoyed turkey, mashed potatoes, gravy, apple pie, pumpkin pie, green beans, rolls, sweet potato biscuits and more! I was asked to bring the canned items, so that was really nice and therefore didn't have to worry about cooking or baking anything. I must admit, sometimes.......that feels really good! :) I love to bake and cook, but's just nice when you don't need to. :)

We got to go out on Black Friday, which was a lot of fun! It has been a tradition that we started last year for our first married holidays together and we really enjoy it. We don't go out very early, but we still find lots of great deals! On Saturday, we made a quick one day trip to PA for a friend's wedding - call us crazy, but we did the whole trip to and from in one day! :)

Anyway, we now have all our Christmas decorations up and of course, that puts me in the mood for baking! I must admit that because I could and because I wanted to - I spent more than $150 on groceries this month. I bought a bunch of baking ingredients this shopping trip - you know, they kind of things you only get once or twice a year. :) I'm having two parties at our house this month and a piano recital, so I had to get stuff for those things as well.

My totally monthly purchase came to about $230 - yes, I was shocked when I saw the amount, especially since I NEVER see that amount each month for food! You should of seen my husband's face when I told him how much I spent - but of course, it's all for 1 month of groceries and I didn't waste the money. I did buy a few extra things since they were on sale and I could freeze them, which means that I didn't really spent that amount of money for just "this month".

My entire shopping trip (which including running a few errands in that time frame) consisted of 4 hours. Being pregnant also doesn't help when you want to rush through the store, because it seems like every isle you turn to go down there is some friendly stranger that wants to ask you the typical questions like: "Baby? Boy or girl? When are you due?" and then proceed to say congratulations, or go on about how many children they had, etc. I honestly wasn't in a big hurry, so it didn't really bother me to have short little chit-chats with other friendly shoppers.

Oh yes, one more thing before I post my recipes. *GRIN* You would think I would of learned some things by now - like how to word questions when shopping when you need help finding certain items. :)

Let the story begin.......

You see, Apple Date Muffins are on my list of things to make this month and I had two problems.

I was out of apples.
2. I didn't have enough dates.

And therefore I put those two items on my grocery list. I began walking into the store and checked my purse to make sure I had my list handy. I grabbed a cart and began shopping. I made my way through the produce section and picked up some baking apples and some other delicious tasting apples, which we eat when we're out hunting. I continued on my merry way grabbing this and that as I passed the items I needed to buy. Finally, I had just a few more items to get left on my long grocery list. I quickly found the remaining items and put them in my cart ---all except the dried dates. I looked several places, but obviously I hadn't looked in the right place or else I would of found them. So, what is the logical thing to do when you can't find something??? You either: Ask someone for help or you decide that you don't really need the item.

Being the friendly person whose not shy of asking for help in finding items that I need, finally found an older man stocking shelves and asked if he knew where I could find dates. Of course, that is NOT the correct way to ask that question - especially when you want dried dates and not human dates, but I figured that once it's out of the mouth it's kind of hard to take all the words back and reword it. I could see the sides of the mans mouth twitch as he tried hard to hold back a smile. He told me where he thought I might be able to find the dried dates and then proceeded to tell me that if I wait long enough.....I could find some other kind of dates too. :) I laughed and thanked him as I made my way back over to where he thought they were located. They weren't there, so I proceeded to make my way up to another man who was working nearby and asked him (properly of course) if he knew where I could find dried dates and he thankfully pointed me in the right direction. I grabbed the package of dates off the shelve and hurried to the checkout line, thankful that my shopping trip was over and I was finally on my way home! :)

Monday, I spent my day shopping and Tuesday I spent 10 1/2 hours in the kitchen baking!

Here is what I made:

*Donuts, which ended up burning a little bit - it's not an easy 1 person job. *
Sorry, no recipe for this one, but here are some pictures:

*2 Cranberry Cream Cheese Breads - totally a keeper! Love this recipe!*


8 oz. cream cheese

1 c. butter

1 1/2 c. sugar

1 1/2 tsp. vanilla

4 eggs

2 1/4 c. flour

1 1/2 tsp. baking soda

2 c. whole cranberries

1/2 c. chopped walnuts

1) Rinse & drain cranberries.

2) Blend cream cheese, butter, sugar, vanilla & eggs - beat until creamy.

(Hint: I put the cream cheese and butter in the microwave for 30 seconds or so to make them soft enough to mix.)

3) Add 2 c. of the flower and the baking soda and beat well.

4) Combine the other 1/4 c. of flour with the cranberries, fold them and the walnuts into the batter.

5) Grease 2 large loaf pans and bake at 325 for 50 minutes or until center is done.


*Cookie Dough Truffles - a traditional Christmas special that I make every year. *

1/2 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 can (14 ounces) sweetened condensed milk
1/2 cup miniature semisweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1-1/2 pounds dark chocolate candy coating, coarsely chopped
In a large bowl, cream the butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in vanilla. Gradually add flour, alternately with milk, beating well after each addition. Stir in chocolate chips and walnuts.
Shape into 1-in. balls; place on waxed paper-lined baking sheets. Loosely cover and refrigerate for 1-2 hours or until firm.
In a microwave, melt candy coating; stir until smooth. Dip balls in coating; allow excess to drip off. Place on waxed paper-lined baking sheets. Refrigerate until firm, about 15 minutes. If desired, remelt remaining candy coating and drizzle over candies. Store in the refrigerator. Yield: 5-1/2 dozen.


Monday, November 7, 2011

Recipe for Breakfast Casserole!

I made a breakfast casserole on Friday afternoon so that I could have a good, fresh, hot and different kind of breakfast (meaning: other than cereal) all ready to eat when we got up on Saturday morning! My husband and I decided to sleep in that Saturday, but set the alarm for an hour before we wanted to get up, so that I could slip out of bed, take the casserole out of the fridge and place it in the oven to bake for an hour while we went back to sleep. The idea worked perfectly!

I don't have any pictures of the casserole, but it looked just as good as it tasted! I LOVE breakfast casseroles, quiches and anything to do with eggs!

Sausage Breakfast Casserole Recipe


  • 1 lb of Italian pork sausage, (then cooked, drained, crumbled)
  • 4 1/2 cups cubed day old bread- I just ripped about 6 slices of bread - enough to layer the bottom of the pan.
  • 2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese- I used mozzarella cheese as well.
  • 10 eggs slightly beaten
  • 4 cups whole milk
  • 1 tsp dry mustard - I left this out
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp onion powder- I also chopped up some fresh onions to put into the casserole.
  • Fresh ground pepper to taste and a few shakes of salt of course! :)
  • 1/2 cup sliced mushrooms (optional)- I left those out as well since I didn't have any on hand.
  • 1/2 cup peeled, chopped tomatoes (optional) - I left the tomatoes out, but cut up some of my frozen green peppers that I grew this year to put into the mixture - yummy!


1 Heat a skillet on medium high. Break up the sausage into chunks and cook, working in batches if need be, until browned all around. Make sure the chunks of sausage have some space around them or your meat will steam and not brown. Remove the cooked sausage from the pan and let sit on some paper towels on a plate to soak up the excess fat. Crumble into smaller pieces.

2 Place bread in a well buttered 9x13 inch baking pan. Sprinkle with cheese. Combine the eggs, milk, dry mustard, onion powder and pepper. Pour evenly over the bread and cheese. Sprinkle sausage and optional ingredients over the top.

3 At this stage you can cover and chill overnight, if you want to prepare ahead. If not, let sit for 10 minutes before putting in the oven. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Bake uncovered for about one hour. Tent with foil if top begins to brown too quickly.

Serves 6-8.

We had this casserole for breakfast on Saturday morning and Monday morning I reheated it for breakfast. I think we still have two more breakfasts left before we finish the casserole! That means that a breakfast casserole lasts us 4 days!!! Almost an entire week of no cereal! I love changes. I think all women love changes and it drives me crazy to eat cereal every. morning. for. breakfast. during. the. week! I like more options to the menu like the frozen french toast, cream of wheat, oatmeal, scrambled eggs and sausages too!

What are some of your favorite breakfast foods???

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Cracker Candy!

I was browsing around through some random websites today and found a recipe for Cracker Candy! It takes about 10 minutes to put together. My mom used to make this a LONG time ago and I hadn't had it for YEARS, so I decided to make it today after I had finished teaching piano! Super quick and easy!

I'll post a picture of the finished product tomorrow morning once I get around to taking the camera card out the laptop and into the camera. :)

Cracker Candy

  • 1 1/2 sleeves saltine crackers (obviously, this is where the recipe gets it's name)

  • 1 1/4 - cups butter, NOT margarine

  • 1 1/4 - cup light brown sugar

  • 1 - 12 oz package chocolate chips

  • 1 - cup chopped nuts (pecans, walnuts or almonds) -optional (I didn't add them to mine)
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil and lightly grease it (so that the crackers do not stick to the foil). Lay crackers out on sheet in one layer. In a medium sized saucepan melt the butter and the brown sugar. Stir often and bring to a full rolling boil. After the mixture comes to a full rolling boil set your timer and boil the mixture for exactly 3 minutes.Pour over the saltines and bake for 5 minutes. Remove from oven and sprinkle with chocolate chips and wait until they are almost melted then spread the chocolate evenly all over all the saltines. Sprinkle on the nuts all over the top as evenly as possible. Refrigerate for two hours and then break up into pieces and store in a air tight container.

For an added bonus I sprinkled on some fall colored sprinkles - orange, yellow, brown after spreading the melted chocolate chips to give it a little bit of color and fall look. :)