Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Killer 7-Up Biscuits (4 ingredients!)

These really are KILLER biscuits. 
(It's also one of the easy recipes included in my upcoming cookbook=)

With only 4 simple ingredients, they go together quickly, and only take about 15 minutes to bake.

They are light and fluffy and the crusty buttery crust makes them 'over the top'.


In this photo, one biscuit is right side up, and the other is upside down so you can get a glimpse of that yummy buttery crust. It's difficult to see how nicely the biscuit has absorbed the butter in the one on top, but trust me, it has plenty of butter too. 
Though I reviewed at least 4 similar recipes at blogs, I have to admit I got the idea for the name of these biscuits from sweet Tonya at 4 little Fergusons. I know this recipe is all over the internet, in different forms and fashions for making them. I made up my own measurements and the process for shaping them into biscuits.

So...this is my version and we love it. When I helped in a college kitchen this past summer, cooking for about 100 teens, this recipe was made 3 times in
2 weeks. 

Great to serve with breakfast, lunch or dinner.  Would be awesome with beef stew over them or just on the side. 

YOU.WANT.SOME!!! 

KILLER 7-UP BISCUITS

6 Tb. butter, sliced
2-1/2 c. Bisquick
(I use Heart Smart)
1/2 c. sour cream
(or Greek yogurt)
1/2 c. (diet) 7-up, room temperature

Preheat oven to 450*. As you are preheating, melt the butter in a 9" X 9" baking dish in the oven, watching closely so it simply melts, and not browns. (It could burn when baking the biscuits if overdone).

In large bowl, place Bisquick, sour cream and 7-Up.  Mix with fork until blended. 

Flour your hands. Make 9 biscuits, placing on top of butter, and patting down some, re-flouring your hands as you form each one. (It isn't necessary that the pan be totally filled.) 

Bake about 12 - 15 minutes or until top is browned.

No need to serve with butter as the crust will take care of that part for you. 

I remove one at a time from the pan when serving. 

Reheat in oven or toaster oven...if you have any left.  We even enjoy them cold.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

German Baked Beans

As the food columnist for a local newspaper, each year I GET to serve beans to folks on the street (sidewalk, actually) in celebration of the town's Bean Days! It happens every 3rd weekend in July.

I filled an 18-qt. roasting pan with these yummy beans.  I made this recipe 6X over. 

It's an easy recipe to throw together.

I chose this recipe this year, and hadn't even made it first.  One of my favorite bean recipes includes sauerkraut, and this one included applesauce too.  I figured that could only sweeten it up.

There were MANY folks who said these beans were the best (there were 11 businesses serving them). The beans sweeten the sauerkraut, and they are delicious together. 

I got the recipe from a local newspaper a long time ago. I also added smoked sausage and onion, as I love both of those flavors in my beans.

We normally serve over 200 samples, but because of this year's high heat and humidity, we only served about 150+. So I got to bring some home for my hubby, whose nickname is BEAN, to enjoy.  Though he's diabetic and can't eat much at one time because of the sugar content. 

This recipe is a keeper and I hope you and your family will enjoy it sometime soon.  This dish would be awesome to take to a potluck, picnic, or reunion. 




GERMAN BAKED BEANS

2 (15 ozs) cans pork and beans
(I used half canned baked beans)
1 (14 ozs) can sauerkraut, rinsed and drained
1 c. unsweetened applesauce
1/2 c. brown sugar 
1 small onion, chopped
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. ground mustard 
1/2 - 1 lb. smoked sausage, sliced

Preheat oven to 400* 

In a large bowl, combine all ingredients. Transfer to a 2-qt. baking dish, coated with nonstick cooking spray.  

Bake uncovered for 1 - 1-1/2 hours (or cook in crockpot on low for 4 - 5 hours)

Yield: 8 servings

Friday, July 26, 2013

Ice Cream Sandwich Dessert & Weekend Potluck #77

WELCOME TO WEEKEND POTLUCK!

And...



When I share something worth sharing...again

A great make-ahead summertime dessert using ice cream sandwiches.        It's a real knock out!





Sadly, the top three recipes with the most clicks from last week's recipe party did not link back. Please remember that if you want to be featured, we need a little link within your post. If you don't want to be featured... well... carry on as usual. *-*
 

The recipe with the most clicks (and a link back) was ~

Cookies and Cream Bars
Gooey Cookies and Cream Bars by With a Blast/p>

Recipes that caught our attention ~

Slow Cooker Kalua Pork

Slow Cooker Kalua Pork by Cooking Mimi
Black Raspberry Cheesecake Brownies

And, a personal favorite ~

healthy coffee shake
Healthy Coffee Shake  by Mercy is New

Your hostesses ~

Remember that when you link up, it shows on all FIVE blogs. Plus…

We TWEET. We PIN. We LIKE.

Linky Guidelines:

If you wish to be a featured recipe or for us to promote your recipe either on Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest, you MUST follow these instructions.
  1. Please link up to your exact post and not the main page to your blog.
  2. LINK BACK HERE from your post so that others can find the fun. (Need help linking back? Read this or watch this great instructional video.) You can use a direct link within your post.
When you are kind enough to follow our guidelines, we work hard to get you as much exposure as possible so that your time here is well invested. We want this to be a fun and rewarding experience for everyone!







Thursday, July 25, 2013

Lime (or Lemon) Fluff Salad (Sugar Free)

This is a quick and easy dish...salad or dessert. 

The recipe came from one I've had for many years - 
HEALTHY EXCHANGES COOKBOOK by Joanna M. Lund.  

Actually, this is probably the very first 'healthier choices' cookbook I owned.  I learned a number of things from this book in my early days of trying to cut back on calories, fat and sugar....at the time my hubby was diagnosed with diabetes, back in the early 90's.  

I learned to use substitutes like...making your own sour cream (this is before Greek yogurt appeared on grocery shelves) by adding nonfat dry milk powder to plain fat free yogurt, or...

Making your own evaporated skim milk by combining nonfat dry milk powder and water.  Or substituting applesauce for oil in baking. 

I also learned that fat free products contain more water and they should never be beaten for long with a mixer...for best results, you should mix them by hand. 

I love that Joanne uses nonfat dry milk powder and water for a lot of simple recipes like this.  It's not only healthy, it's frugal too, and you can't even tell in recipes like this one. 

I used lime jello (sugar free) and it was yummy, but I think I would prefer it with lemon.  Orange or cherry would also be tasty. 

It is best eaten within 24 hours.  I didn't really care for the texture on day 2 or 3....it just tended to get 'loose'.  Just so you know...
(So if you're not planning to eat it all at once, I would suggest adding less water) 



LIME FLUFF SALAD 

1 sm. (4-serv. size) pkg. sugar free instant pudding mix 
1 sm. (4-serv. size) pkg. sugar free lime jello
2/3 c. nonfat dry milk powder
1-1/4 c. water
1 (16 ozs) can (about 2 cups) fruit cocktail, packed in its own juice, 
drained (reserve liquid)
3/4 c. Cool Whip Lite
1/2 c. (1 oz) mini marshmallows

In medium bowl, combine dry pudding mix, dry jello and dry milk powder.  Add water and reserved fruit cocktail liquid to dry pudding mixture.  Mix well using a wire whisk. Blend in Cool Whip Lite, fruit cocktail and mini marshmallows.  Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. 

Yield: 6 servings = 2/3 c. each

Each serving equals Calories: 120; Fat: 1 gr.; Prot: 4 gr.; Fiber: 0 gr. 

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

3 Cooling & Refreshing Summertime Beverages {Blast from the Past}

Very easy to make - a nice change from everyday lemonade...
pretty too. *-*

Watermelon Lemonade (Sugar Free Option)




Make your own Healthy Refreshment!! 
M-M-M-Good!

Copycat Orange Julius (Healthy Option)





If you want to be refreshed and get some protein too 
(not to mention getting a 'chocolate fix')...this is just the drink for you! 


High Protein Chocolate Smoothie: No Sugar Added


Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Microwave Pecan Pie

Just wanted to let you know I've updated my Facebook page in prepping for release of my second cookbook...LOVE AT FIRST BITE.   As a FB fan, you don't have to do anything different, just wanted you to be aware my page is now "The Better Baker Blog & Cookbooks".  New cookbook should be arriving in about 3 weeks.  WOOOHOOO!!  

YES!  It's true!  It's possible to make a perfect! pecan pie in the microwave.
NO.OVEN.REQUIRED!


Now I know there are controversies about using a microwave...but we all have to make our own choices, don't we?

And if you are prone to using one, here's a simple recipe you can make in a hurry.

And you don't even have to turn the oven on!  WOWZERS! 
Well, except.... 

You bake the pie crust in the oven first,and in just 8 - 9 minutes, in most microwaves, you have a delicious and tasty pie on your hands...and in your belly soon after.  

A friend gave me this recipe a long time ago and while cleaning out stacks of printed recipes, when I saw this one again, I HAD to try it.

I wasn't at all disappointed either.  A.MA.ZING!!

(This is an OLD recipe...the most common wattage back when it was printed was probably about 700 watts.  My microwave is 1500 watts. I baked my pie for 9 minutes and thought it was near perfect.  But am thinking next time I will cook it 8-1/2 minutes so it will be just a bit 'sticky')

Just watch it bubble and when you can tell it's getting 'drier' test it...remembering it will continue cooking for a little bit after it's removed from microwave.  You can always add more time if you think it's needed.

 

MICROWAVE PECAN PIE

1 - 9" baked pie crust, room temperature
1/4 c. butter (1/2 stick)
3 eggs
1 c. (dark) corn syrup
(I used half light corn syrup and half agave nectar)
1/3 c. packed light brown sugar
(I used 1 packed Tb. of Splenda Brown Sugar Blend)
1 Tb. all purpose flour
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1-1/2 c. pecan halves or 1 c. pieces

Place butter in large glass mixing bowl.  Microwave on high 40 - 50 seconds to melt.  Cool just a few minutes; add eggs, quickly whisking to mix well.  Add corn syrup, brown sugar, flour and vanilla.  Stir in pecan halves. Pour filling into pie shell.  Microwave on 50% power for 9 - 12 minutes or until top is dry and puffed.  If center is not completely set, it will firm up as it cools.

Yield: 8 servings 

TIP: BEST IF MIXED BY HAND, so NO mixer needed! 

Linked to
  Foodie Friends Friday  
Gooseberry Patch Roundup - Pies & Cakes
Freedom Friday
Weekend Potluck
Meal Plan Monday

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Homemade Iced Coffee (from Homemade Concentrate)

I LOVE coffee...and LOVE iced coffees too!  So...

I was so happy to see this cool (pun intended!) recipe from Tina at Mommy's Kitchen.

I have NO clue how I could have missed it as she originally posted it in July 2009
and I consider myself to be a 'frequent flyer' at her lovely blog. (Must have been a post before I began following her?)

The 'Golden Arches' will sometimes sell their iced coffees for $1.00 and you can be sure I will get a few at that price.  I normally ask for nonfat milk and sweetener.

NOW I can make my own...and the process is very intriguing. 
And the price is right for sure!!


After I'd made the first batch, I remembered I had several packets of flavored coffees in the cupboard, that hubby doesn't care for. When my daughter comes for a visit, she and I enjoy sharing flavored coffees and creamers, so now I can use up these yummy coffees and enjoy them all to myself!!!

(& I already had this post scheduled before I knew she would be coming today for a visit with her family!  We are going to be enjoying some Kona iced coffees while she's here!) 

My sweet hubby is the coffee maker in our family (the old joke is...we do coffee the
spiritual way...HE BREWS!=)  He is even special enough to fix my cup every morning too!!  What a gem he is.  Coffee always tastes better when shared with him....and the first few sips of the morning coffee really make my day. 

But after I've had one cup of hot coffee, I look forward to some cooling drinks during the day, and this one has become a fast favorite!

And this cold 'brewing' process doesn't bring out the bitterness that sometimes that hot brewing does.  This is easier on the stomach. 



After 'brewing' the grounds in a jar on the counter for several hours, the concentrate keeps up to a month in the refrigerator.  Isn't that just interesting???

Oh I am going through this stuff fast!!! 


HOMEMADE ICED COFFEE 
(with Homemade Concentrate) 

1 c. ground coffee (flavored, or not)
1 qt. sized mason jar
water
strainer
2 large coffee filters
gourmet flavored syrup, optional
(I love Torani caramel) 
sweetener (I prefer liquid stevia)
milk of choice 
(I used half 1% and the other half...fat free 1/2 & 1/2 for creaminess) 
ice cubes

Put the coffee grounds into the jar; fill with cold water. Cover and let stand on the counter for 12 - 15 hours.  Place the coffee filter inside the strainer; be sure to shake the jar first, then pour about half the mixture into the filter...slowly. Let it stand until strained. Remove that filter and add second; repeat the process with second half of mixture. 

To make iced coffee: Place equal parts concentrate and milk in glass.  Add as much ice as you'd like. Add flavoring and/or sweetener, to taste. 

To make hot coffee; use the same proportions, but instead of adding ice, add equal parts of water, then heat. 

This amazing concentrate keeps up to a month in the refrigerator!!

You're Welcome!  *-* 

Linked to Foodie Friends Friday 
Weekend Potluck 
Full Plate Thursday




Saturday, July 20, 2013

Leader Enterprise - July 17, 2013 - Laundry Tips and Cooling Treats


Photo: Water Sponge Toys

Hope you're enjoying the glorious sunshine. With all the rain we've had, the crops look extra good this year. Summer goes quickly, so be sure to enjoy every single day.
Whewie! I can finally breathe normally again. My second cookbook is now going through the printing process and I hope to have it in my hands by the end of August. It's chocked full of simple and easy family-friendly recipes and I'm beside myself thinking of getting to share "Love at First Bite" with you soon.
                                                                     

Photo: Frozen Chocolate Nutty Banana Pops

                              Photo: Watergate Salad (made with yogurt)
From Better Homes & Gardens: Here are a few ways to make your laundry day(s)  easier.
Customize Your Laundry Schedule: Carve out the best time for you to do the laundry. Unless you live in a small household, you probably don't have enough time to do it all from start to finish in a single sitting.


Schedule by Laundry Type: Break your laundry chores into smaller tasks. Schedule loads of laundry-by type-throughout the week. You might want to wash sheets on Monday so you can freshen bedrooms. Then do the towels on Tuesday, darks on Wednesday, and so on. This system works well for allowing you to be completely done with laundry by the weekend.
 
Sort Carefully: Avoid ruining clothing through careless sorting. New garments can bleed and stain other clothing. Wash color clothing, especially red, by itself the first time; use cold or cool water with detergent. For stains, use a bleach alternative formulated for colorfastness.(Laundry "Trick": It's like cooking-for clothes. The first time you wash something red or dark colored, pour 1/2 c. salt into wash cycle to prevent dyes in fabrics from bleeding. Do not mix colors.)



Delegate Laundry Chores: Delegate chores to children based on their ages. Most preschoolers can put away clothes that have been washed, dried, and folded. Grade-schoolers can fold and put away their own clean clothes. Middle-school and high-school kids can handle all the responsibilities related to their own laundry. (So can significant others.) For older children and all adults living in the household, divide laundry by person. Simply assign each person his or her own hamper. When the hamper is full, or that person is out of clean clothes, a load is washed, dried, folded and put away.


Avoid Laundry Mishaps: Empty pockets before washing garments to save items and prevent damage to your washer, dryer, and laundry items. Check children's clothing for crayons and small items. Reduce fading in dark clothing by turning shirts, tops, sweat suits, slacks and jeans inside out before washing in cool water. Read clothing labels. Use mesh garment bags for fragile items such as lingerie, hose and tights. The garment bag cuts down on the abrasion with other garments in the washing machine.
 After the kids have helped with laundry, they could make these fun summertime toys. Very simple to put together.And we all need time for fun. WATER SPONGE TOYS 
Purchase kitchen sponges from any grocery or dollar store. They come in packs of 4 or 6 and in all colors. (Don't buy the kind with the scouring pad). They come in  3" × 5" and or 5" × 7". I prefer the smaller size. They are easier to tie together and better for little fingers to hold. Also buy “zip ties",sold at a hardware store. Cut each sponge length - wise in thirds. Then group together 8-9 cut pieces for each sponge. Or make them smaller. Mix and match colors of the sponges.Now center a zip tie around the middle of the sponges; pull the tie through the hole, pulling tightly. Cut off excess zip tie as close as possible. Dip in bucket,or the pool and get each other wet. These are also fun in the bathtub. 

 Here's a couple of simple salads kids can make themselves too. Don't miss opportunities to teach them how to mix and measure while they're home from school this summer. They can learn to clean up their own messes too.

WATERGATE SALAD

1 sm. pkg. (4-serv.) pistachio (sugar free) instant pudding mix

1 (8 ozs) can crushed pineapple in juice, undrained

1 (8 ozs) container vanilla lowfat yogurt
2 c. Cool Whip (Fat Free)
2 c. mini marshmallows, optional
In large bowl, combine pudding mix with pineapple; stir until smooth. Add yogurt; blend.Gently stir in Cool Whip and marshmallows. Chill until ready to serve.

GERMAN CHOCOLATE FLUFF
1 sm. pkg. (4-serv.) (sugar free) instant chocolate pudding mix
1 sm. pkg. (4-serv.) (sugar free) instant white chocolate pudding mix
2-1/2 c. skim milk
1 - 12 ozs. tub Cool Whip Free
1/2 c. coconut
1/2 c. chopped pecans

In large bowl, add both boxes of pudding, then add milk and whisk until thick. Fold in Cool Whip, then blend in coconut and pecans. Chill - or eat immediately - but be sure to save some for the rest of the family.

These frozen treats are simple to make and great for cooling off with in the heat.

FROZEN CHOCOLATE NUTTY BANANA POPS 

2 Tb. toasted sliced almonds
1 medium banana
2 Tb. lite chocolate syrup

Coarsely chop the almonds; set aside. Peel banana, cut in half widthwise. Place a popsicle stick into the cut sides of each half of banana. Place on waxed paper -lined plate. Evenly drizzle banana halves with chocolate syrup and sprinkle with chopped almonds. (Using both sides of a spoon helped me) Gently roll banana halves in any excess syrup/nuts on the plate. Freeze for at least 1 hour. Enjoy! Yield: 2 servings   

Friday, July 19, 2013

Southwest Chicken Chop Salad & Weekend Potluck #76

WELCOME TO WEEKEND POTLUCK!! 

Sure hope you're keeping cool in the heat! 

AND...


When I share something worth sharing...again...

This summer-y salad with the beans, corn and other YUMMINESS is
super delicious.  And you don't have to turn the oven on! 

The recipe with the most clicks was ~

Best 7 Chicken Dinners
Best 7 Chicken Dinners by The Shady Porch

Recipes that caught our attention ~

Crock Pot Chicken Tacos
Crock Pot Chicken Tacos by Richly Blessed
Reece’s Peanut Butter Pie

Reece’s Peanut Butter Pie by Simply Savvy Recipes

And, a personal favorite ~

http://www.crumbsandchaos.net/wp-content/uploads/2013/07/Key-Lime-Pie-Milkshake_.jpg
Key Lime Pie Milkshake by Crumbs and Chaos

Don't forget...if you were featured today, be sure to grab the Featured Button below...

Weekend Potluck Featured

Your hostesses ~

Remember that when you link up, it shows on all FIVE blogs. Plus…

We TWEET. We PIN. We LIKE.

Linky Guidelines:

If you wish to be a featured recipe or for us to promote your recipe either on Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest, you MUST follow these instructions.
  1. Please link up to your exact post and not the main page to your blog.
  2. LINK BACK HERE from your post so that others can find the fun. (Need help linking back? Read this or watch this great instructional video.) You can use the button below or a direct link within your post.
When you are kind enough to follow our guidelines, we work hard to get you as much exposure as possible so that your time here is well invested. We want this to be a fun and rewarding experience for everyone!

Weekend Potluck Linky





Thursday, July 18, 2013

Ranch Burgers

These yummy burgers are a snap to make.  I do so love E-Z P-Z!

I love ranch dressing on everything, so putting the dry mix IN these burgers just made them better than ever. 

I think it works great to cook these on a Foreman grill, but 
if you want to cook them on a gas grill, I would suggest adding the seasoning to the burger, then adding the cheese when you're ready to serve.  It could be pretty messy otherwise to try to grill the burgers with cheese oozing out of them. 

Most of the time, I just fry them up in a pan...and LOVE them!! 



RANCH BURGERS

1 (1 oz) pkt. dry ranch dressing mix
1 lb. ground beef
1 c. shredded cheddar cheese
4 lg. hamburger buns

Combine dressing mix with beef and cheese.  Shape into 4 patties; cook thoroughly.  Serve on toasted buns. 

Linked to Weekend Potluck


Wednesday, July 17, 2013

3 Simple Veggie Dishes {Blast From The Past}

HAPPY 6TH BIRTHDAY TO OUR KAITLYN ISABEL
(I like to call her Kaitybel)

 We are excited that she and her family are
coming to visit us for a few days next week!
They live nearly 3 hours away so that's always 
a special treat!




This is a favorite summertime dish...and I'm not even fond of cucumbers!
Very tasty and simple.

 Cucumber Cracker & Bagel Spread



A great way to dress up asparagus...





A very popular recipe when I serve it. A healthy summertime dish. 






Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Water Sponge Toys

My granddaughters, Charlie & Chloe made these toys earlier this summer.  We shared them here once before for one of our 'Craftin' at Nana's', but since I didn't have a separate post for them, I decided it was time.

(We also made cookies and nutella danish while they were here...we Bakers GOTTA bake!)
(Chloe is on the left, Charlie is on the right)

These toys are fun and easy to make. The first time we made a bunch of them to send with our church on a missions trip where they would be doing VBS for another church, in another state. 

This time we made them and gave some away...just because I had found some sponges on sale, and couldn't resist the bargain.  These are an easy and quick craft...even for kids to make. 

Just be sure to trim the zip tie as close to the sponge as you can...read on, and you'll understand what I'm talking about.

Sorry I didn't do a tutorial, but if you'll take time to read, you'll see this is a very simple craft.


WATER SPONGE TOYS

Purchase kitchen sponges from any grocery or dollar store. They come in packs of 4 or 6 and in all colors. (Don't buy the kind with the scouring pad). 

Sponges come in  3" × 5" and or 5" × 7" sizes. I prefer the smaller size. They are easier to tie together and better for smaller fingers to hold. 

Also buy “zip ties", sold at a hardware store.  
(I think ours were 12" long)

Cut each sponge length-wise in thirds. Then group together 8-9 cut pieces for each sponge. Or make them smaller. Mix and match colors of the sponges. 

Now center a zip tie around the middle of the sponges; pull the tie through the hole, pulling tightly. Cut off excess zip tie as close as possible. 

Dip in bucket, or the pool and get each other wet. These are also fun in the bathtub.