Saturday, April 14, 2018

Leader Enterprise - April 11, 2018 - Asparagus




When I think of springtime, I can't help but think of asparagus.  We oftentimes purchase a 5 gallon bucket of the green spears from a local farm. My husband loves to share with the neighbors and family. Did you know Oceana County, Michigan is the self-proclaimed asparagus capital of the world? It might be worth a trip to check it out. 

Asparagus is a tasty, versatile vegetable that can be cooked in myriad ways or enjoyed raw in salads. From the Eating well website, here are some interesting facts about this springtime veggie. 

Asparagus is packed with nutrition. One cup of cooked asparagus has 40 calories, 4 grams of protein, 4 grams of fiber and lots of potassium. Potassium is good for blood pressure and asparagus also contains asparaptine, which helps improve blood flow and in turn helps lower blood pressure. 

Asparagus is a brain booster - it can help fight cognitive decline and has anti-aging properties. It's also packed with nutrients. Asparagus is a very good source of fiber, folate, vitamins A, C, E and K, as well as chromium, a trace mineral that enhances the ability of insulin to transport glucose from the bloodstream into cells. That's good news if you're watching your blood sugar.  

This spear-like vegetable can help fight cancer and is also a natural diuretic. So eat up and get ready to enjoy the nutritional benefits of asparagus!

I've been making this favorite dish for many years. 

ASPARAGUS CASSEROLE
1 long sleeve Ritz crackers, crushed
4 Tb. butter or margarine,melted
2- (15 ozs) cans asparagus spears, drained 
(or 2 - 3 c. fresh cooked asparagus)
1 - (8 ozs) can sliced water chestnuts, optional
2 - 3 hard-boiled eggs, chopped
1/2 c. evaporated or 2% milk
1- (10.75 ozs) can cream of mushroom soup

Preheat oven to 350. Grease 9" x 9" baking dish. In small bowl, mix cracker crumbs with butter; place half in bottom of dish. Layer asparagus, water chestnuts and chopped eggs on top of crumbs. In small bowl, mix milk and soup; pour over top. Sprinkle with remaining cracker crumbs on top. Bake 30 minutes or until bubbly. May sprinkle asparagus with shredded cheese before topping with crumbs prior to baking if desired. 

I love to order quiche at a favorite restaurant in Florida, the Garden Grille.  They serve it with a side of fresh fruit, which they slice in spears and stand them upright in a pretty glass.  One of my favorite meals! I love that this recipe makes two. 

ASPARAGUS & BACON QUICHE
1 lb. fresh asparagus, trimmed and cut into 1/2" pieces
10 slices bacon
2 (8") unbaked pie shells
1 egg white, lightly beaten
4 eggs
1-1/2 c. half and half cream
dash or two of ground nutmeg 
salt & pepper to taste
2 c. shredded swiss cheese

Preheat oven to 400. Steam asparagus over 1" of boiling water; cover.  Cook until it reaches the el dente stage (tender but still firm), about 5 minutes.  Drain and cool. Place bacon in large skillet.  Cook over medium high heat until brown.  Drain, crumble and set aside. Saute onion and garlic in bacon grease if desired. Brush pie shells with a beaten egg white.  Sprinkle crumbled bacon, onion mixture and chopped asparagus into pie shells. In a bowl, beat together eggs, cream, nutmeg, salt and pepper.  Sprinkle cheese over bacon and asparagus.  Pour the egg mixture over the cheese.  Bake uncovered in a preheated oven until firm, about 35 - 38 minutes.  Let cool to room temperature before serving. 

People may hear your words but they feel your attitude. - John C. Maxwell 

Saturday, March 31, 2018

Leader Enterprise - March 28, 2018 - Peanut Butter Goodness





With exactly 100 recipes containing peanut butter at my blog, it wasn't easy to choose a few to share with you, but here you go.  Enjoy every tasty bite of these great recipes with this incredible protein. 

Keep in mind - Spring has sprung and we're on our way up!
PEANUT BUTTER CUP PUDDING COOKIES 

2 sticks (1 c.) butter, room temperature
1/3 c. white sugar
1/3 c. light brown sugar
2 eggs
1 TB. vanilla
2-1/4 c. all purpose flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 (4-serving size) box instant chocolate pudding mix
1 (10 ozs) bag peanut butter chips
1 c. miniature Reese's peanut butter cups

Preheat oven to 350. Line cookie sheet with parchment paper.  In large bowl, beat butter and sugars together until fluffy.  Add eggs and vanilla, blending until smooth. Add flour, baking soda and salt to sugar mixture. Add dry pudding mix; blend until smooth. Fold in peanut butter chips and Reese's candies; mix just until combined. 

Place heaping tablespoonsful onto parchment paper; bake for 11 - 12 minutes. (They will still look wet, but will finish baking while standing on pan). Cool on pan for 6 minutes; remove from pan to cooling rack. Cool to room temperature; store in sealed container or freeze...so they won't be so tempting under your nose.   

MONSTER COOKIE PROTEIN BALLS 

1 c. dry (old-fashioned) or quick oats
1/2 c. ground flax seed
1/2 c. (natural) peanut butter
1/3 c. agave or honey
1 tsp. vanilla
1/4 - 1/2 c. mini m & m's 
1/4 - 1/2 c. carob (or choco) chips 


Mix all ingredients together in a bowl (or food processor for a smoother texture) and chill for 30 minutes. (I prefer to mix oats/flax seed in one bowl, then combine peanut butter, honey and vanilla in another, then mix the two together). Roll into balls.  Enjoy. 

HEALTHY PEANUT BUTTER CUP SMOOTHIE 

1/3 c. old fashioned oats 
handful chopped peanuts
1 tsp. chia seeds, optional
1 tsp. flax seed meal
1 scoop (sugar free) vanilla protein powder
1/2 c. vanilla Greek yogurt
(or add 1 Tb. honey & 1/2 tsp. vanilla to plain Greek yogurt)
1/2 c. milk (or water)
1 banana, frozen
3 Tb. baking cocoa powder
1/3 c. natural peanut butter
1 Tb. carob chips for garnish, optional
8 - 10 ice cubes

Place all ingredients, except for carob chips, in blender. Add about half the ice; blend on high until completely combined and frothy, at least 30 seconds.  


This next recipe is a true favorite.  Who's going to resist cookies for breakfast?  With pb, applesauce, oatmeal, cornflakes, raisins and bacon, this is a fabulous cookie. Start your day with a tall glass of milk or cup of coffee and one or two of these filling cookies.  

BACON 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 oatmeal, 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.

Every thought is a seed. If you plant crab apples, don't count on harvesting Golden Delicious. - Bill Meyer 

Saturday, March 24, 2018

Leader Enterprise - March 8, 2018 - Peanut Butter Treats



Is spring just teasing us or what?  Sure has been great to have some sunny days!

Peanut butter has always been a favorite food for kids, and for moms, who could quickly make a lunch their kids would eat. Cooks have used it in all kinds of sweets, from cookies and cakes, to candy and beverages. We're now eating peanut butter in entrees and sides, even for breakfast. I love to spread peanut butter on toast. It's a great way to start the day with sustaining protein.

Have you ever tried to cure hiccups with peanut butter? Try eating a heaping spoonful. Many claim its a definite cure.

Try dressing up your brownies with peanut butter. Either stir in 1/2 c. to the batter or dollop it over the top of your brownies before baking and swirl. It just may become a favorite way to enjoy them.

I love adding a heaping tablespoon of peanut butter to my cooked oatmeal. (Drizzle some chocolate syrup on it for a 'no bake' cookie flavored breakfast!).

This recipe is an option for those who need to eat gluten free. And for those that don't, just use 'regular' ingredients.  Either way - these are mighty inviting!

(GLUTEN FREE) NO BAKE CHEX SNACK BARS 

2 c. gluten free pretzel sticks, broken into small pieces
1 c. gluten free Corn Chex cereal
2 c. gluten free popcorn 
(I used the Original Skinny Pop
1/2 c. unsalted butter
1/3 c. natural creamy peanut butter
5 c. (10 ozs. bag) mini marshmallows
1/2 c. peanut butter M & M's 

Line a 9" X 13" baking pan with aluminum foil (nonstick is easiest to use), allowing about 2" to hang over the end or side. If not using non-stick, spray with non-stick cooking spray; set aside. In large bowl, combine pretzels, cereal and popcorn; set aside. 

In large pan over low heat, melt the butter and peanut butter. Stir in marshmallows and stir constantly until marshmallows are melted and mixture is smooth.  Pour over cereal mixture; stir until cereal mixture is covered.  Add half the M & M's and stir, then spread evenly into the pan. Gently press down on the mixture (I like to spray the back of my large metal spatula), but not too hard.  Let cool. Cut into 16 or 20 pieces, storing at room temp for 2 or 3 days...
if they last that long!! 




This tasty oatmeal reheats well, so make it ahead and be ready for a quick start to your day. 

PEANUT BUTTER COOKIE DOUGH BAKED OATMEAL

2 c. quick cooking oatmeal
4 pkts. stevia (or 1/3 c. brown-or white-sugar)
1/4 tsp. salt
1/3 c. peanut butter
2/3 c. milk
1/2 c. unsweetened applesauce
(or a single serving cup)
1 egg
2 Tb. melted butter or (coconut) oil
2 tsp. vanilla
1/2 c. chocolate chips, divided, optional

Preheat oven to 350. Spray 8" X 8" square pan. In a large bowl, mix all ingredients, except for a handful of chocolate chips. Stir until blended.  Pour into prepared pan.  Sprinkle remaining chocolate chips over the top.  Bake about 30 minutes.  Serve warm or cold. 


Oh you're going to love me for sharing this quick-fix treat with you!  I reduced the sugar amount just a bit..so so good. 

PEANUT BUTTER FUDGE NO BAKE COOKIES 

4-1/2 c. quick cooking oats 
1-1/2 c. peanut butter
pinch of salt
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
2 c. white sugar
3/4 c. butter
3/4 c. milk

Cover a large cookie sheet with waxed paper. Place oatmeal, peanut butter, salt and vanilla in large (shatterproof) bowl. In saucepan over medium heat, combine sugar, butter and milk. Bring to a hard boil and boil for 1 minute. (Starting timing once it reaches hard boil). Remove from heat and pour syrup over peanut butter/oatmeal mixture and stir until blended smoothly, and it begins to cool. You'll be able to see it thickens when it's time to drop them. Let cool until set. Yield: 2 dozen large cookies or 4 dozen smaller ones 

Be looking for more PB recipes in my next column too. 

"Be silly, be honest, be kind!" - Ralph Waldo Emerson

Friday, March 2, 2018

Flashback Friday - Bammin' Banana Recipes to Tickle Your Taste Buds


OH.MY.DELICIOUS! Irresistible too.  A family favorite! 





A perfect flavor combo. Simple and amazingly tasty! Enjoy it for dessert. 




My most favorite banana bread recipe! Oh so popular in my corner of the world.  Moist and perfect with coffee or milk.
This bread freezes great and can be made ahead several weeks. 


A simple treat that tastes like you've worked hard to make it...but you haven't.
YUMMMM! 

Easy Orange Creamsicle Pie (Filling is 3 Ingredients!)


Here's another "I was lost, but now I'm found" recipe from my files....

I made this years ago and lost my photo...and just found it again, so here you go....yay!!

You will thank me for sharing it with you because it's so easy and so tasty! 

I love that you can make this when you're visiting someone out of town...
with these simple ingredients you can't go wrong.  Just run to the store and you'll be set to stir and wait...that's the toughest part for sure. 

This is an awesome dessert at holiday time, but of course, it's fabulous any time during the year too! 

I love that it's made by hand too...no mixer needed.  Easy cleanup! 




(hover over photo to pin) 


ORANGE CREAMSICLE PIE

1 9" prepared graham cracker pie crust
1 can (14 ozs.) sweetened condensed milk (like Eagle Brand)
1 can (6 ozs.) orange juice concentrate, thawed
(may add a drop or two of red and yellow food coloring just for a brighter filling-
I did NOT use any)
1 tub (8 ozs.) frozen whipped topping, thawed 

In large bowl, combine sweetened condensed milk with orange juice concentrate. Add food coloring if desired and stir until blended. Fold in the whipped topping, stirring until smooth.  Pour into pie crust.  Cover and refrigerate for at least 3 hours. Slice and serve with more whipped topping if desired.

Linked to Meal Plan Monday





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Friday, February 23, 2018

Flashback Friday - Jazzed up Pretzel Recipes - SO good!

WELCOME TO FLASHBACK FRIDAY!
Always so happy you stopped by....


Do hope you'll be tempted to try these easy pretzel treats...MMM! 


Pour butter flavored oil over pretzels; sprinkle with dry ranch dressing, mix and let stand until oil is absorbed. No baking involved...can you say ADDICTING??? 

Snappy Ranch Pretzels



Mix 3 simple ingredients - pour over pretzels, mix and bake.
Folks are always commenting they can't believe how easy this recipe is. 
And tasty too!!

Cinnamon Sugar Pretzels



This is similar to the saltine cracker candy that is popular.  
A wonderful sweet & salty treat! 

Saturday, February 10, 2018

Leader Enterprise - Feb 7, 2018 - Chocolate = Love

Here's a sweet notion: Eat a little chocolate each day and you could be doing your heart a favor. Chocolate really can be part of a healthy diet! A study published in the journal Heart found that habitual chocolate eaters had a lower risk of cardiovascular disease and strokes compared to people who didn't eat chocolate.

I found these thoughts at http://www.healthline.co m/ - "Studies also show that  people who eat dark chocolate 5 or more times per week are less than half as likely to die from heart disease, compared to people who don't eat dark chocolate. There are also some studies showing that dark chocolate can improve brain function, and protect your skin from damage when exposed to the sun".

So enjoy some guilt-free dark chocolate to help you celebrate this special holiday. (Sounds like a great plan to me!) 

Hope you get a kick out of these quotes about chocolate. Enjoy a wonderful Valentine's Day. Take time to let a friend or family member you care about them...and share some chocolate.  

Strength is the capacity to break a Hershey bar into four pieces with your bare hands - and then eat just one of the pieces.~JUDITH VIORST, Love & Guilt & The Meaning

My therapist told me the way to achieve true inner peace is to finish what I start. So far today, I have finished 2 bags of M&M's and a chocolate cake. I feel better already.~DAVE BARRY, attributed, Chicken Soup for the Chocolate Lover's Soul

Flowers wilt, jewelry tarnishes, and candles burn out ... but chocolate doesn't hang around long enough to get old.~ANONYMOUS, Heavenly Humor for the Chocolate Lover's Soul

There are four basic food groups: milk chocolate, dark chocolate, white chocolate, and chocolate truffles.~ANONYMOUS

These single-serving sized scrumptious bites are the bomb! 

GERMAN CHOCOLATE BROWNIE BITES

brownie mix for 9x13 inch pan 
ingredients to make brownies (water, oil and eggs)
1 tub (16 ozs.) coconut-pecan frosting

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Mix brownie batter according to package directions.
Spray mini muffin pan with cooking spray. Spoon small amount of brownie batter into muffin pan, enough to fill 1/3 to 1/2 full. Spoon about a teaspoon of frosting onto each cup of brownie batter.
Top with more brownie batter, filling a little more than 3/4 full. Bake for 15 minutes. Yield: about 36 brownie bites.


Here's a special treat for two. You might have to make 2 batches. 

MICROWAVE NO BAKE COOKIES

1/3 c. granulated sugar 
2 tsp. baking cocoa
2 Tb. milk
2 Tb. peanut butter, crunchy or creamy
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1/2 c. quick cooking oatmeal 

In medium microwave-safe bowl, combine sugar (or xylitol for sugar free), baking cocoa and milk. Microwave on high for 1 minute 15 seconds, or until it boils, stirring once.   (If using xylitol, cook for 1 minute 30 seconds). 

Stir in peanut butter and vanilla until smooth. (I used a whisk). Add oats and stir until blended. Drop by spoonsful onto wax paper lined plate, to make 6 cookies. Chill in refrigerator for about 10 minutes before enjoying.  

I've gotten lots of raves about this special cookie. And requests for the recipe too. 
WENDI'S AWESOME CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES 

2/3 c. shortening 
2/3 c. oleo, softened 
1 c. white sugar
(I use 3/4 c.) 
1 c. brown sugar (packed)
(I use 3/4 c.) 
2 eggs
2 tsp. vanilla
3 c. all purpose flour 
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
1 c. chopped nuts, optional
1 (12 ozs) bag chocolate chips 

Preheat oven to 375. In large bowl, mix shortening and oleo with sugars, eggs and vanilla; combining until well blended. Stir in remaining ingredients. Drop dough by rounded teaspoonsful 2" apart onto an ungreased baking sheet.  Bake 8 - 9 minutes or until golden brown, and not quite 'set'. 
Remove from oven and let stand to finish 'baking' for 2 minutes before removing to cooling rack. 
Yield: about 5 dozen 

All you need is love. But a little chocolate now and then doesn't hurt.~Charlies Schulz, attributed, The Red Hat Society Cookbook