Wednesday, August 31, 2011

We have an Eggland Winner!

I'm thrilled to announce the winner of the Eggland's Best Egg Giveaway...

CONGRATULATIONS TO....(drum roll please)

Comment #5 -

Anonymous said...(Roxanna Warfield in disguise!) 



When you have eggs, you have a meal! Thanks to Egglands Eggs, you have a healthier meal. I never want to be without my Eggland eggs. Scrambled with shredded cheese is good for any meal. Deviled eggs are a must for all family gatherings along with potato/macaroni salads. An omelet full of veggies, meat and cheese make a yummy meal. A breakfast sandwich with fried egg, slice of ham and cheese on an English muffin is great. Homemade ice cream and baking are my favorites. Poached in the microwave is quick. Also, boil eggs, peel and eat with salt and pepper..can reheat in microwave and snack on them...yum. aka:LUCY

Please contact me within 24 hours.

I will be contacting Emily Prager at Eggland and she will be sending the gift pkg. out soon.

Thanks to all who entered!  Keep trying...there will be more giveaways ahead.

And we bloggers LOVE comments!  *-*





Good News!

I truly enjoyed time with daughter Deb and family last week.  Little Sam is doing great recovering from surgery. Drs. removed 20% of his large intestine and he's now eating like a champ and his system is definitely a 'go'...if you know what I mean.  =)  Sam smiles so much and I just had to share one of my favorites shots of him...Thanks again for your prayers on his behalf. God is good...all the time!

He has the biggest blue eyes that just melt your heart!

MORE GOOD NEWS....

My taco chicken recipe was #1 viewed at Jane Doiron's Melt in Your Mouth Monday #27 last week.  I feel very honored....especially since there were 96 other recipes linked there. 


AND....


at Mandy's Recipe Box's Totally Tasty Tuesday too.  I've followed both of these blogs for some time...two of the very first I began following...and am blessed to be featured there.

If you haven't tried this tasty dish yet...I suggest you check it out.  It's definitely a popular family favorite.

THANK YOU TO ALL WHO SUPPORT ME!!!

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Cherry Quick Bread

IT'S 'BREAD' WEEK HERE AT THE BETTER BAKER!

Have you ever been to Bob Evans restaurant and enjoyed their cherry bread?

It's OHHH SOOO Good!


Even if you haven't tasted it before, now you don't have to wonder, and can make it yourself!

I was very excited when I saw this recipe at my dear blogging partner at Country Cooks Across America, Libby at Cooking with Libby because I have always loved this bread, but B.E. doesn't always have it available. I added a little more cherry juice...love that pink color too! I also baked it a shorter time. 

The next time, I will coat the cherries with flour before adding them to the batter.  That should keep them from sinking to the bottom.

This wonderful bread would be great for gift giving...any time of the year.

If you like maraschino cherries..You won't be sorry...I promise.

Anyway - here's the recipe for you to try. It's also a very easy dish to prepare because you mix everything at once. 

I love simple & easy!  Not to mention T.A.S.T.Y!!


CHERRY BREAD

2 eggs, slightly beaten
1 cup sugar
1/3 c. cherry juice
1-1/2 c. flour
1-1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 small bottle of maraschino cherries (without stems)

Preheat oven to 350. Grease and flour a 9" loaf pan. Mix first 5 ingredients together - coat cherries with flour, then add to batter. The batter will be thick, but don't panic. It's fine. Pour batter into prepared pan and bake 45 - 50  minutes, or until toothpick placed in center comes out clean.



(TIP:  One of my 'trick's for being sure you have a moist loaf, is to wrap it in foil as soon as it's removed from the pan) 



Friday, August 26, 2011

Caramelized Vegetable Trio - Great Side Dish!

I'm excited to share this one with you...

It's a favorite and I think it makes a great side dish for any meal.

I hope your family enjoys this even half as much as we do!

My Alaska friend, Wanda, who doesn't do much cooking, shared this recipe with me and we have enjoyed it so much. She manages to come up with some real winners...she just doesn't realize her talent! *-*

This recipe is a great way to serve fresh summer veggies in season. It's not too late to get fresh green beans and red taters.

MMMMMMMM!!!  MMMMMM!!

It's easy, delicious and impressive!  If you're having company and need a side dish, this is a great one.  First, you'll want to check to be sure they 'do'
onions...as many don't, but we love this!

Try it...you'll like it.


First you clean and chunk the potatoes and green beans, and while they're cooking, you caramelize the onions.  I browned them a few minutes longer after taking this picture. You want them nice and brown.

Then you mix balsamic vinegar and brown sugar together (I use Brown Sugar Splenda - half the amount called for) and add it to the onions, then pour that over the top of the drained veggies.  I can eat a whole plateful of this sooo- good dish!

(For Curious Minds...The 'other' thing on the plate is a burger
with sauteed fresh mushrooms topped with sour cream - YUM!)

CARAMELIZED VEGETABLE TRIO
(From The Better Baker)

2 lbs. small red potatoes, cut into 1" chunks
1 lb. fresh green beans, cleaned and snapped in half
(may substitute 2 cans canned green beans, drained)
1/2 tsp. salt
1/3 c. margarine
2 lg. sweet onions, chopped
1/4 c. cider or balsamic vinegar
1/4 c. packed brown sugar
1/4 tsp. salt

In Dutch oven, bring 1-1/2" of water to a boil.
Add potatoes and beans; cook until tender, about 10 - 15 minutes.
Drain - set aside. While vegetables are cooking, melt margarine
in 12" skillet; add onions and cook until tender and browned, about
10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in vinegar, brown sugar
and 1/4 tsp. salt. Pour onion mixture over potato mixture;
stir to coat.  If desired, top with freshly ground pepper
before serving.


ENJOY EVERY SWEET 'N' SOUR BITE!


Thursday, August 25, 2011

Eggland's Best "Plate Date" and a Giveaway!

You may, or may not know, but I recently had the special honor of teaming up with Eggland's Best Eggs.  We 3 gals at Country Cooks Across America each signed a contract with EBE and they helped us throw a "Plate Date" at their expense.

It's a first for me, and I certainly hope it won't be a last.

Eggland's Best Eggs not only have awesome, healthier and tastier eggs, they are an EGGS-celent (couldn't help myself=) company to 'work' with.  I enjoyed every step of the way and want to sing their praises.


Doncha just love the little stamp on each egg!?  I'd sure love to see just how they do that.  I honestly think I could get much joy from doing that monotonous job.


I had 15 people in attendance for my Eggland "Plate Date" brunch and 5 of them were these sweet kids. (No - they're not all my grandchildren!) 

The theme was to use kid friendly dishes to get kids start the school day with a healthy breakfast.  I shared recipes with the moms and grandmas to help.


 
Here are a few of the recipes I made...

The first one is 'easy peasy'. You mix everything in the blender - it does the work for you!

I gave the kids each a little condiment cup with their choice of syrup or peanut butter to dip the sticks in.


INVISIBLE BANANA FRENCH TOAST STICKS

2 eggs
1 banana, sliced
1 Tb. milk
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
6 slices bread (I used Texas Toast)
1 Tb. margarine
1 Tb. oil

Place eggs, banana slices, milk and cinnamon in blender. Blend until smooth.  Pour into bowl; heat margarine and oil in skillet. Dip bread into batter and fry. Serve with peanut butter or warm maple syrup.

(Actually, I baked them this time and it worked great to do a bigger batch at once!  I placed them on non-stick foil and baked at 375 for about 10 - 12 minutes - turned each over when brown on the under side...then baked about 6 or 7 minutes more until brown.)

May cool to room temperature, spread on lightly greased cookie sheet and freeze.  (This way they won't stick together and you can remove one at a time.) Remove and place in ziploc freezer bag. On busy mornings, just heat as many as you need in the microwave and you have a warm breakfast in no time.

Here's another delicious "grab 'n' go" quick and nutritious breakfast recipe that folks were pretty impressed with. Have you ever had a cookie with bacon it it?  It's really good with a peanut butter base.

I know it really isn't an 'egg' dish, but it does have an egg in it, and it makes for a great breakfast on the run.  It has peanut butter, oatmeal, cornflakes, applesauce and bacon.  YES!  BACON.  Try it...you just might like it.
Your kids might too!  (I'm pretty sure they will!) These kids did.

Some kids don't care for raisins, so I purposely made some without.  Can you tell by looking at them.  Personally, I prefer raisins. 

Either way, these are really good and good for you!

BREAKFAST COOKIES

1/2 c. butter, softened
1/2 c. peanut butter
3/4 c. sugar
1 egg
2 Tb. applesauce
1/2 c. all purpose flour
1/2 c. oatmeal
1/4 tsp. baking soda
10 bacon strips, cooked and crumbled
2 c. cornflakes, slightly crushed
1/2 c. raisins, optional

Preheat oven to 350. In large bowl, cream butter, peanut butter and sugar until light.  Beat in egg and applesauce. Combine flour and baking soda; gradually add to creamed mixture.  Blend thoroughly. Stir in bacon, cornflakes and raisins. Drop by rounded tablespoonsful 2" apart on ungreased baking sheets. Bake about 12 minutes or until golden brown.  Store in the refrigerator.
 

I also served one of my all-time favorites...Special Egg Salad.  It has cream cheese and garlic powder.  It's hard to 'beat' it.  =)  I made sandwiches and cut them into heart shapes.  I also served it in a bowl along with cracker sticks for those who didn't want the bread.

There were a couple others at the Plate Date who have the same problem I do...they couldn't quit eating it. 

Click 
here to see this recipe already posted at my blog. 
All of the opinons above are my own. EBE's provided me with coupons and a giftcard to help purchase the items necessary to make these recipes. I was also provided with a package similar to the one available in the giveaway.
FUN! FUN! FUN!


WE ARE HAVING ANOTHER GIVEAWAY!!!

ONE LUCKY FOLLOWER WILL BE WINNING

A PRIZE GIFT PACK FROM EGGLANDS BEST.

All these things are included in the gift pack...

~2 Free EB Dozen coupons (any variety)
~1 Free EB Hard Cooked and Peeled variety coupon
~4 EB ramekins
~1 EB apron
~1 EB whisk
~1 EB spatula
~1 EB egg timer
~1 EB ecobag
~ EB plush egg


You MUST be a follower of The Better Baker

(click here to 'like' EBE if you haven't done so already)

To enter the giveaway, please leave a comment below telling me how you use
Egglands Best Eggs.

The contest will end at noon on Wednesday, August 31st.

~Open to U. S. Residents only~


Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Peach-Blueberry Crisp

I LOVE BLUEBERRIES!


And they're sooo good for you! They're loaded with vitamins and are high in fiber and low in fat. Recent studies tell us that of all fresh fruits and vegetables, blueberries provide the most health-protecting antioxidants, those valuable elements which prevent cancer-causing cell damage and may limit the changes wrought by age related diseases.

When a friend served me this dish, warm from the oven, topped with ice cream, I knew I had to have the recipe. It's one among many delicious recipes in my cookbook "Recipes & Recollections from The Better Baker".

(If you'd like to know more about my cookbook filled with 300 easy recipes, click here)

What a delightful combination the peaches are with the blueberries. Peaches are great for your skin too.

 


PEACH-BLUEBERRY CRISP
(From The Better Baker)

3 - 4 peaches, about 1-1/2#, peeled and sliced into wedges
2 c. blueberries, cleaned
1 hp. TB. cornstarch
2 TB. lemon juice
1/3 c. sugar

TOPPING:
2/3 c. all purpose flour
1/2 c. old-fashioned oats
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp. salt
3/4 c. light brown sugar
5 TB. (unsalted) butter, cut into small pieces

Preheat oven to 350. Lightly grease a 2.5 qt. baking dish. In a large bowl, combine peaches, blueberries, cornstarch, lemon juice and sugar; set aside. In small bowl, combine flour, oats, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt; stir in brown sugar, then butter, mixing by hand until blended and crumbly. Spread fruit mixture in prepared baking dish and sprinkle with oatmeal mixture. Bake 45 minutes or until golden brown. Serve warm with ice cream or whipped topping.

Yield: 6 - 7 servings

Linked to Wonka Wednesday
        Ingredient Spotlight - Berries







Monday, August 22, 2011

I'm so honored!

I am just stunned...and honored too!

My recipe for Taco Chicken was the #1 viewed at a Jane Doiron's 'Make Ahead Meals for Busy Moms' Melt in Your Mouth Monday linky party last week. 

Jane Doiron is an amazing blogger, and a dear email buddy of mine.  She's done many things to help me, as a newbie to the blogging world. I have been so touched by the time she shares with me. She's SUCH a busy lady.

I just love Jane's website.  She's so professional and I continue to learn from her.

In fact, I've got Jane's cookbook packed to take to my daughter's with me. *-*

She has a lot of traffic Gals - NO wonder my numbers climbed so drastically in the last week. 

WOWZERS!!!

THANK YOU TO ALL OF YOU WHO HAVE A PART IN MY GROWING FAN NUMBERS!

AND THANK YOU JANE TOO!!!!

OK...if you haven't viewed this delicious recipe yet...go check it out here   You'll want to make it soon.  It's been a family favorite at our house for years. It can be made a day ahead too....which is what Jane's website and cookbook are all about. 
(BIG CYBERHUGS TO YA'LL!)

Friday, August 19, 2011

Tasty Three Bean Salad

Stay tuned...I'm hosting a "Plate Date" in my home tomorrow
sponsored by Eggland's Best Eggs. I look forward to sharing
recipes and pictures with you in the days ahead.  I'll be at
my daughter's all next week enjoying time with 5-mo. old Sam, as he recovers from surgery this week, and his dear sisters.  I'll be missing ya'll!

**********************************

I recently got this recipe from my precious friend, Roxanna. 

Some of my favorite recipes have come from her, so I knew this was going to be tasty.

She is my 'Lucy'...and I'm her 'Ethel'.  Occassionally we get crazy and act like the other. ha  She is my 'sidekick' & definitely a sister of my heart.

This is a wonderful, easy and terrific side dish. 

And it keeps well for nearly a week...if it doesn't get eaten up sooner.


It tastes best if it has 24 hours to marinate.

When I made it, my hubby {Bean is his nickname you know) REALLY liked this...he commented how good it was, more than once, so I knew it was going to be a 'must have again' dish in this house.

Trust you'll enjoy it too....



THREE BEAN SALAD
(From The Better Baker)

1 - 16 ozs. can green beans, drained
1 - 16 ozs. can wax beans, drained
1 - 16 ozs. can kidney beans, rinsed and drained
chopped green pepper to taste (I'm not a fan of peppers, so they were omitted)
chopped onions to taste
3/4 c. sugar
1/2 c. apple cider vinegar
1/3 c. salad oil
1 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper

Mix beans and vegetables in large bowl. In medium bowl, combine sugar, vinegar, salad oil, salt and pepper. Blend well; pour over beans. Marinate at least 24 hours before serving, stirring a few times.

Enjoy a lovely weekend!



Thursday, August 18, 2011

Ice Cream Pies - A Family Favorite



Today is National Ice Cream Pie Day!

I've had this easy and special treat in my files for some time, and figured today is the day to finally reveal this wonderful recipe.

It's a 'secret' NO more! *_*



I found this simple recipe - only FIVE ingredients - on a cake mix box in the late 70's and it's been a family favorite ever since.

My kids have often asked for it for their birthdays...a simple combo of cake (brownie like) and ice cream - all in one.

Wish I would have taken a picture of a piece of it OUT of the pan...it would make for more mouth-watering.

Trust me...this is a dish that's sure to have you score 'points' with your family.

Never fear - the cake part WILL fall after it's baked - it's suppose to. 

I remember having overnight guests, and when she saw my cake she said "Awww - it fell".

I proudly told her it was suppose to! (You fill it in with the ice cream!)

Choose a favorite ice cream - make ahead and you'll be ready to party (for whatever reason) and there will be no last minute rush.

The base of this dessert is like a fudgy brownie - OOOOO SOOOO GOOOD!


ICE CREAM PIES

1 - 18 ozs. devil's food or chocolate fudge cake mix
3/4 c. water
1-1/4 c. prepared chocolate frosting, divided
1/4 c. vegetable oil
1/2 gal. favorite ice cream, softened
chopped peanuts or candies, optional

Preheat oven to 350. Generously grease and flour bottom, sides and rim of 2 - 9" pie or round cake pans. (I always use the cake pans).

In large bowl, beat cake mix, water, 3/4 c. frosting and oil on high speed for 2 minutes.  Spread 1/2 batter in bottom of each pan (don't spread up sides).

Bake 25 - 30 minutes - don't overbake. (middle will be soft when done). Cool completely; cakes will collapse.

Spread 1/2 of ice cream in each shell.  Heat remaining frosting and drizzle over ice cream. Sprinkle with peanuts if desired. 

Wrap tightly and freeze atleast 2 hours or up to 2 - 3 weeks. Allow to stand at room temp for 10 minutes before serving.

(I like to stand a few toothpicks up at an angle...in the pies before wrapping in foil...so it stays off the frosting part.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

"Lightened" Strawberry Pizza

I'm happy to be sharing this delightful summer dessert, and wanted to be sure I shared it before summer comes to an end.

In my humble opinion, fresh summer strawberries can't be beat! Add cream cheese, and a crunchy crust and you've got a real winner!



The dear friend I received this recipe from, always chooses to share this recipe whenever she gets an email recipe exchange request.

(Thank you Kristal!)  

It's easy enough to put together and will be gone quickly, so make sure you have the ingredients to make another....pronto!

{It was good enough to add to my cookbook too.}

Changes I made: I cut the butter by 1 Tb. for the called amount. Not that it makes much difference, except it isn't as sticky when pressing into the pan. Instead of the block of cream cheese, I found an 8 oz. tub of strawberry cream cheese spread - 1/3 reduced fat - hiding out in my fridge.

Because it was already sweetened, I didn't add the powdered sugar. (You can always substitute splenda if you need to watch the sugar intake). I also used the sugar free glaze.

It is so delicious. I ate my first piece for breakfast - right after I made it. And another piece for lunch.

You get the idea I'm sure.


STRAWBERRY PIZZA

1-1/2 c. all purpose flour
1 c. cold butter, cut into chunks
1/2 c. brown sugar
1/2 c. chopped pecans
1 - 8 oz. cream cheese, softened
3/4 c. powdered sugar
1 - 8 oz. tub Cool Whip, thawed
4 c. cleaned, sliced fresh strawberries
1 - 16 oz. pkg. strawberry glaze

Preheat oven to 350. In lg. bowl, combine flour, butter, brown sugar and nuts. Spread on 14" pizza pan or 10" X 15" X 1" cookie sheet.

Bake 12 - 15 minutes until browned. Cool.

In medium bowl, combine cream cheese and powdered sugar; beat until smooth. Fold in whipped topping and spread over cooled crust. Refrigerate for 15 minutes to set up.

In large bowl, combine fresh strawberries and glaze until coated. Spread out over cream cheese filling, then top with dollops of Cool Whip to serve. Keep leftovers refrigerated.

Enjoy every tasty bite!!!!

Weekend Potluck

Monday, August 15, 2011

500 Fans & a Giveaway!! (Update & Winner!)

CONGRATS & HURRAY!  The winner of the first item (cookbook) in this giveaway goes to comment #1 - silbook.

Winner #2 - the holiday recipe cards goes to
comment #14 - catfish_kisses@yahoo.com

Please contact me within 48 hours.


YAHOOOOOOOOOOOIE!!!

I am SOOO doggone beside myself to know I actually have 500 'likes' at Facebook!

That absolutely blows.my.mind!

THANK YOU ALL SOOOOOOO MUCH!  You are the best and I am honored that you are willing to be a follower of my blog.
I decided a while back that if/when the time came to reach 500 fans, I would use this lovely Taste of Home Christmas cookbook as a giveaway, and a second giveaway would include these cool holiday recipe cards that are
4" X 6".


The cookbook has gorgeous photos and recipes like...
- Cranberry Sweet Potato Bake
- Gingerbread Pancakes
- Praline French Toast
- Coffee Punch
- Cookies 'n' Cream Fudge
- Eggnog Fruit Bread...
and MUCH more!


YES!  There's going to be TWO gifts!

#1 -The cookbook and #2 - two sets of lovely holiday recipe cards.

The first name chosen will win the cookbook...the second will win the cards.

There are only 2 things you HAVE to do to enter.

1. Must be a Fan of Recipes & Recollections from The Better Baker at Facebook.

2. I want to know about one recipe I have posted that you have made or you want to make.

**For an EXTRA entry....

Become a Follower of The Better Baker blog, then come back here and tell me.


LADIES & GENTLEMEN...START YOUR OVENS....ER, UH....RATHER...

LET THE COMMENTS BEGIN....
(Be sure to leave your email address if need be)

(Winner will be chosen next Monday, August 15th)
Contest will close at noon.

SPREAD THE WORD PLEASE!!!!!!!!!








Fun Summer Day Cooking & Crafting at Nana's

Summer slips by so quickly...and somehow those grandkids seem to grow more in the summertime.

HOW DOES THAT HAPPEN?
Earlier in the summer, I began planning a day to spend with granddaughters, Charlie (12) & Chloe (10), so we could make memories in the kitchen, before they went back to school. They live just a few minutes from us and that makes it so nice!

What a fun day we enjoyed!  We were VERY productive too!

The first thing they did was make a dessert for them to take home, using swiss cake rolls. It was filled with pudding and needed to set. They cut the rolls into 1/8's and lined the bottom of sides of a springform pan.
(I lightly greased the pan first)


TA-DA!!!

Click here for a copy of the Chocolate Swirl Delight recipe at Taste of Home.

They enjoyed 'octopus & seaweed' for lunch....they loved it!
(ramen noodles tinted green)

It's difficult to see, but this octopus had a ketchup smile & eyes...or you could use mustard.


For instructions for making Octopus and Seaweed click here

And for dessert, I surprised them with 'fish sticks' (vanilla sugar wafer cookies coated with peanut butter, then dipped in crushed corn flakes) and mini burgers (mint pattie between two vanilla wafers - red frosting(ketchup)...white frosting(mayo)...and coconut tinted green for the 'lettuce')


We made paper towel butterflies and they took a 'flock' of them home...



For instructions for Paper Towel Butterflies at Skip to My Lou, click here

We also tried our hand at making tissue paper flowers.  The girls are soo crafty and talented I often feel like they're teaching me!  They did a beautiful job!


To watch a simple video with instructions for making these flowers, click here
(I'm a very visual person and seeing this made it so much easier to do)

We also made homemade ice cream...outside.  A simple and fun recipe in the "Kid's Corner" of my cookbook, and one I love to share. The girls often ask to make this cooling recipe - it's just too fun!

KID-FRIENDLY ICE CREAM IN A BAG

1 c. light cream (I used half vanilla flavored creamer) MM!
3 Tb. sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
qt. size ziplock freezer bag
2 gallon size ziploc freezer bags
crushed ice
rock salt

Mix first 3 ingredients together and pour into the qt. bag. Squeeze the air out and place it into a gallon bag (for safety sake). Squeeze out the air and seal. In the bottom of the second gallon bag, place some ice cubes and rock salt.  Place the other bags on top, then fill in the sides with more layers of ice cubes and rock salt so that it is higher than the level of cream. Then this is what you do...(it took us about 10+ minutes)

and this is what we got...

...with chocolate syrup on top...

Next....

I love recipes that require the kiddos to unwrap candies, so we made Rolo Brownie Bites with Caramel Cream Cheese Frosting.  OH MY!

These were simple to make and very tasty.
Photo credit: Cook Lisa Cook

Check out this cool recipe at Cook Lisa Cook

A.MA.ZING!

We also made Cow Pies (Candy)....a simple and easy Taste of Home recipe that even young kids to help with.

Click here for this easy 4-ingredient recipe.

This is a our "Grand Finale" picture with everything we did this fun day...
(Except the ice cream of course, cause it was gone)

We also played a couple of games of Sorry too!

What a sweet memory-making day!  I hope when the girls are grown, and I'm gone to my Heavenly Home, they will treasure these times in their hearts as I do now.  

I think we all slept good that night! *_*

(Eventually, I'll repost these recipes one or two at a time...)