Friday, July 29, 2011

Kraut 'n' Beans...LOTS of 'em! And a Tribute....

I'm dedicating this post to my sweet father-in-love...


He would have been 91 today. He's remembered fondly & lovingly.

He loved me as his own daughter and was a dear friend.

John William Baker was a true patriot who was taken from us much too early.
He was the father of 10 children.

He worked as an electrician and was electrocuted on the job the month before he turned 50.

My life was impacted by his love and friendship. He was a great man and I'm so thankful for his influence in making my husband the awesome guy he is today...a close 'carbon-copy' of his father.

No doubt, heaven is celebrating this great man with us today.



Onto the recipe....

Did you know that not only is July NATIONAL ICE CREAM's

I recently made this delicious recipe (and 10X'd it!) to serve samples on the street for the newspaper that I write a monthly food column for....for the Bean Days celebration...held annually in July, in Montpelier, Ohio. 

(My dad-in-love always led the Memorial Day parade in this same town,
and then spoke at the his son (my sweetie) has done a few times).   

(My hubby's nickname is Bean!=) NO JOKE! He only had one teacher in high school who called him Ron...everyone else has always called him Bean....we still do. {More about that in another post one day}.
Some folks in our little hometown here don't really know what his real name is!!

This dish is always a hit and I received many comments about it being the best served that day. (There were 20 entries, so that was pretty cool).

The first time I enjoyed this wonderful dish was at a Girlfriend's Potluck. I asked the gals to bring a dish that begins with the letter of their first daughter-in-love, Kym, brought Kraut 'n' Beans and was asked for the recipe by several.

This picture was taken before cooking - a roasterfull!

This great any-time-of-the-year dish only has 5 basic ingredients.
It goes together quickly and not only is's a great conversation maker too.

Who can believe it actually has sauerkraut in it? It tastes so sweet!

This is a picture after they simmered a few hours.


Give 'em a try...and a toot! (teehee)


1 (40 ozs) jar great northern beans
1 qt. sauerkraut, drained
1 (16 ozs) pkg. polish kielbasa sausage, diced
1 heaping cup brown sugar
3 Tb. ketchup
diced onions if desired

Mix all ingredients together and bake at 350 for about 3 hours, stirring occasionally.  Or bake in slow cooker on low for 6 - 8 hours.

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Thursday, July 28, 2011

Beef Cabbage Crescent Rolls - OH SO Yummy!

I am chuckling to think I'm finally posting this recipe.

I found it while cleaning out some recipes a while back, and know that I've had this recipe for nearly 20 years, and this is the first time I've actually made it!

It is SO delicious.  I guess you could say it was worth waiting for!

It's rare that I repeat recipes, but this one will be enjoyed again soon.

I made a few minor changes and am very pleased with the results.

Anything wrapped in crescent rolls has to be good! 

I have a similar recipe with a chicken filling that's been in my drafts for weeks, but since this was something we just tried, I was anxious to share it with you all.

I began by browning the beef, chopped onion, and minced garlic, then adding shredded cabbage and water to simmer.

(I also thought it would be good to add shredded carrots to cook with the cabbage, but didn't take the time to do that).

Then you make a rectangle with two of the crescent rolls and fold them around the filling.

I'd love to know if you come up with other ideas to season this delicious entree.

(From The Better Baker)

1# lean ground beef (I used chuck)
chopped onion and minced garlic to taste
1 sm. head cabbage, finely chopped
(about 2 cups)
1/8 tsp. garlic salt
salt & pepper to taste
1/3 c. water
1-8 ozs. pkg. crescent rolls (I used reduced-fat)
1 c. grated cheddar cheese, optional
(I used 2% reduced fat fiesta cheese blend)

Brown meat with onion and garlic; drain. Add cabbage, garlic salt, salt, pepper & water; stir. Cover - cook 15 minutes over medium heat until cabbage is cooked and water is evaporated.

Place 2 crescent rolls to form rectangle on lightly greased baking sheet, being sure to seal perforations.  

Spoon meat onto rolls; fold 2 opposite corners to center, then add other 2 corners. Twist at the top and seal sides.

Bake at 375 for 10 - 11 minutes, until lightly browned. Remove from oven; rub (or spray) tops with butter. Divide cheese over top; bake 2 minutes longer.

Serve immediately.  Yield: 4 servings

            Recipe of the Week

Microwave Corn on the Cob - The BEST!

 (To pin, hover over photos)


This is how we always fix our fresh corn on the cob.

We learned this 'trick' a long time ago, and continue to think it's the best way to prepare it.

One time, my dear hubby processed a whole bushel of corn on the cob, like this - 4 at a time! - while I was at work...then cut it all off the cobs for the freezer.

Bless his sweet sweet heart!

He just loves it prepared this way.

Can you imagine how surprised that made me?  WOW!!!

This is all you do...

I usually take off a couple/few of the outer layers of husk, and tear off as much of the silk as I can from the outside, but you want several layers of husk left on.

Wet a paper towel and lay it in the bottom of your microwave.  Lay 4 ears on top of the towel.

(Our microwave is 1200 watts, just so you know)

We turn it on high for 4 minutes, turn the corn over on its other side, and then zap it for 4 more minutes.

Let it cool a few minutes. I get a couple of paper towels and wad up in my hand, and then begin to peel the corn holding it by the paper towel.

The silk brushes right off and you'll have some nice juicy ears to enjoy.

(U{DATE: A new 'trick' I've learned is to cut the cob off right at the bottom of the ear before cooking....shake the ear, and it pops out the bottom with very little silk on it) 

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Are you familiar with 'Baking Up A Cure'?

My blogging buddy Lark is an amazing woman!

She's having a Virtual Bake Sale this week and I'd love for you to participate.

I copied the info below from her site and wanted to be sure you are aware.

Please check out her webiste at Baking Up a Cure.
Oh how I appreciate all this giving and generous-hearted lady does to 'pay it forward'.....

Read on...then please get involved!

This is a picture of the cookies I'll be making & mailing...MMMM!  Lots of yums to choose from.

When is the Bake Sale? The Bake Sale is OPEN for bids Wed. July 27th@ 12:01 am

closes on Friday July 29th @ Midnight.

How does it work?

"Bakers" will provide a photo and description of the baked goods they are donating. Each item will have it's own post on the Bake Sale day.

This is where you will go to BID.

ALL Bidding will start at $15.00

Comments will NOT be moderated, so make sure you out bid

the previous highest bidder. When bidding you MUST leave your email

address, in the event you are the winner.

The WINNERS of each item will be notified through an email. Telling you what item(s) you won and the TOTAL donation required to pay. You will then have 48 hrs. to submit the donation.

**Donations MUST go through the 3-Day for the Cure Link!

Located on the right hand side bar on the Home Page.

When can you expect your Goodies? Once Lark has been notified by the Komen Foundation that your donation has been made, the "Bakers" will be sent your email and shipping address information. From there the Bakers will get in contact with you via an email, telling you when they will be sending out your baked goods.

**We have asked the Bakers to have the baked goods shipped out with in a week of being notified.**

How do I Volunteer to become a "Baker"? Go to the Register page to get all the information.

What is the quantity for the baked goods I will receive? We ask that the Bakers donate a minimum of at least 2 doz. cookies, 12 muffin/cupcakes, a full loaf of bread, 8x8 pan of bar/brownies. *However each baker will list on the item page what the quantity is.*

Allergies? If you need to know what ingredients are in the baked goods, send an email Here and your question will be forwarded to the Baker.

Please pass the word! Tell everyone, post about it on your own blog.

Be sure to link it back to Baking Up a CURE

Tweet about it, put it on Face Book. Anything to get the word out.

***Our Goal is to make $2300.00***

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Loaded Morning Glory Muffins

Talk about loaded!! *-*

Think....carrots/pineapple/coconut/apples/raisins/nuts and you get just a taste of this amazing muffin!
{I added the "Loaded" name to this recipe title.}

Rest assured, with all those tasty ingredients, this is a very moist muffin.

I found the recipe online at Taste of Home online.

It's hard to stop at just one, but you can't eat very many at once either because they are very filling.

Confession...I tried eating several and ended up with a belly ache - they were sooo good I couldn't stop!

I'd eaten 2 before I thought about putting cream cheese on them, so of course I had to go for a couple more!  lol

(Needless to say, this was my 'dinner'...I didn't feel like eating anything else at mealtime=)

But oh how I enjoyed every delectable bite!

I made this recipe from scratch when serving in a college kitchen this past June. I made a quadruple (5X) batch to make 10 dozen because we needed to use up the carrots/pineapple in stock.

I didn't get to taste them that day as we headed for home before they were finished baking, (a big storm was on the way!) so naturally I had to try them at home.

And I'm SOOO glad I did!

A few of them went into the freezer - I pull them out in the morning, wrap in a paper towel and warm in the microwave.  Oh sooo good with my morning coffee!

Here's the recipe - with a couple of healthy tweaks I added for our own eating plans.
(From The Better Baker & Taste of Home)

2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
(I substituted 1 c. of whole wheat)
1-1/4 cups sugar
(I used 3/4 c. Splenda & 1/2 c. sugar)
3 teaspoons ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 eggs
(I used a healthy substitute of 3 Tb. of flax seed meal mixed with 1 Tb. water for 1 of the eggs - it adds fiber and a touch of nuttiness)
3/4 cup applesauce
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups grated carrots
1 medium tart apple, peeled and grated
1 can (8 ounces) crushed pineapple, drained
1/2 cup flaked coconut
1/2 cup raisins
1/2 cup chopped walnuts

In a large bowl, combine the first five ingredients. In another bowl, combine the eggs, applesauce, oil and vanilla. Stir in carrots, apple, pineapple, coconut, raisins and nuts.

Fill greased or paper-lined muffin cups two-thirds full. Bake at 350° for 20-24 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool for 5 minutes before removing from pans to wire racks.

 Yield: 2 dozen.

Linked to Miz Helen's Country Cottage
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Recipe of the Week
     Ingredient Spotlight: Tea

Friday, July 22, 2011

Double Berry Crisp

Blueberries are still in season - I hope you'll give this awesome dish a try.

I made this delicious treat for our July 4th celebration and am just getting the post typed up. 

What a busy summer it's been!!

After I won a dessert contest online back in March (click here to see the post about my prizes) I've been anxious to use these darling star-shaped ramekins.

On the morning of July 4th, it dawned on me...I already had what I needed to make this recipe and divide it up into my new ramekins.

I was soo excited!

OH HOW I LOVE SPECIAL TOUCHES!  And using these for July 4th was perfect!

You cook the berries (I threw in a handful of frozen blackberries also) with sugar, cornstarch, orange juice and orange peel; place the sauce in the ramekins, then top with the crunchy mixture.

I prefer using cornflakes instead of flour for a bigger CRUNCH in the topping, but you can choose.

A great dish any time of year...and another favorite from my cookbook.
(I do hope you don't get weary of me telling you that!=)

I enjoy my crisp best when it's warmed, topped with ice cream.



1 c. sugar (I use half xylitol)
1/4 c. cornstarch
(I like to add a tad more if using frozen berries)
2 Tb. orange juice
1 tsp. grated orange peel
2 C. fresh or frozen raspberries
2 c. fresh or frozen blueberries


1 c. old-fashioned oats
1/2 c. crushed cornflakes
(for less crunch, use all purpose flour)
1/2 c. packed brown sugar
(I use 1/4 c. Splenda Brown Sugar Blend)
1/2 tsp. cinnamon or nutmeg
1/4 tsp. salt  (I omit)
1/4 c. butter, melted

Preheat oven to 350. In large saucepan, combine sugar, cornstarch, orange juice, orange peel and berries until blended.  Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened and bubbly.  Pour into a greased 8-inch square baking dish. In a bowl, combine the oats, cornflakes, brown sugar, cinnamon and salt; using a fork or pastry blender, blend in the butter.  Sprinkle over top of berry mixture.  Bake 25 - 30 minutes (less time if using Splenda) or until filling is bubbly.  Cool for 10 minutes before serving. 

(If using frozen berries, do not thaw before adding to berry mixture before cooking)

I've also used strawberries in this recipe - use what you have, and you're sure to enjoy every tasty bite!

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Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Easy "Homemade" Ice Cream Flavored-up!


This is something fun I found at USA Weekend & Three Many Cooks blog.

USA Weekend is a weekly paper 'magazine' that is tucked into our newspaper.

I'm not a huge ice cream fan...mostly because I like to have something to BITE into...I don't just want smooth and soft...I want crunch too.

So this idea really appealed to me.  And I've included a fun video (at link above) to watch this mom and her two daughters at Three Many Cooks create some yummy ice cream dishes with B.I.T.E. 


These are DIY instructions to have your own "Cold Stone" ice cream!

credit: Three Many Cooks
Be sure to watch the video to get all the details.
1. Start with 1 pint of store-bought premium ice cream.
2. Smash in your favorite flavors.
3. Enjoy the party for your taste buds.

Tips for Mixing: Don't soften the ice cream too much - you want it firm but pliable.
 Quickly cut the carton away from the ice cream and then cut the ice cream into chunks on a work surface to facilitate folding.

Return the ice cream to the freezer to firm up and for flavors to blend -- 30 minutes to 2 hours. After that, the crunchy ingredients start to soften.
Here's a couple of vanilla variations...

Lemon Meringue: Fold 1/4 c. prepared lemon curd, 1 cup crumbled meringue cookies and 1 cup crumbled graham crackers into vanilla ice cream.

Strawberry Shortcake: Mix 1 cup sliced strawberries with 2 Tbs. strawberry jam.  Fold into vanilla ice cream along with 2 slices pound cake (about 1-1/2 cups crumbled) and 1 cup crumbled meringue cookies.  

Chocolate variations...

Turtle: Stir 1/4 cup caramel sauce, 1/2 cup chopped pecan pralines or candied pecans and 1/2 cup chopped semi- or bittersweet chocolate into chocolate ice cream.

Chocolate-Hazelnut: Stir 1/4 cup Nutella, 1 cup crumbled Famous Chocolate Wafers and 1/2 cup roasted chopped hazelnuts into chocolate ice cream.

(Sounds Scrumptious!!)
Coffee variation..

Cookies and Coffee:  Stir 1 cup crumbled refrigerated chocolate chip cookie dough and 1 cup crumbled chocolate chip cookies into the slightly softened coffee ice cream.

Hope this helps you keep 'deliciously' cool this summer!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Wanda's Strawberry Spectacular Dessert

As the saying goes...LIFE IS SHORT...EAT DESSERT FIRST! 

You'll thank me for sharing this simple and scrumptious dessert with you! 

I took pictures as my sweet Alaska friend, 'Wanda Lou' (Her real name is Wanda Denise, but we gave her this nickname long ago and it stuck) made this fantastic dessert while we were in Spokane together, which was lots of fun, because it's rare that I ever get hands in my foodie pictures!

It was oh-so delicious!  I'm not overexaggerating when I made up the name. *-*

It goes together quickly and is delicious and always a winner!


Tear the angel food cake into bite size pieces and place in 9" X 13" pan.

Mix softened cream cheese and sweetened condensed milk together
and drizzle over cake pieces...

These are the ingredients you will top the recipe with..

(From The Better Baker & 'Wanda Lou')

1 baked angel food cake (large size, you'll need more than one small)
1 (8 ozs) box of Cream Cheese
1 (14 ozs) can Sweetened Condensed Milk
1 (12 ozs) Large container Cool Whip
2 (10 ozs) containers frozen (sweetened) strawberries in their juice, thawed.
Enough fresh strawberries to decorate the top

Break angel food cake into bite size pieces into a 9" x 13" dish. Fill the pan nicely..not clear full (some cakes are smaller than others, so be sure you have enough)

Cream together cream cheese & sweetened condensed milk and drizzle  over the pieces of cake.

Pour thawed strawberries, juice and all, over the top, then
cover with Cool Whip - then top with fresh strawberries

(hover over photo to pin) 

You can imagine how good that looks dished up!  But we took it to a funeral dinner and I didn't take pictures I guess you'll just have to try it to see for yourself!


Did you see my guest post?

Hello Friends and Fans...

My intention was to repost this on Monday.....I forgot, so here you go.

Just in case you didn't get to see my guest post at Lark's Country Heart last Friday - check it out. I shared two of my most favorite blueberry recipes...MMM!

Peach-Blueberry Crisp

Friday, July 15, 2011

Apple Blueberry Crisp

I'm SO excited to be doing a guest post at Lark's Country Heart today - sharing TWO more blueberry recipes.  Check it out at the link above...

I am partial to blueberries - they are so good for you! Since they're in season now, I'm using them in recipes often.

Blueberries are rich in Vitamins A, C, E and beta-carotene as well as rich in the minerals potassium, manganese, magnesium. They are very high in fiber and low in saturated fat, cholesterol and sodium. But this is just the tip of the nutritional iceberg, for 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.

WOW huh? 

So...I was excited when I came across this recipe, as I had some apples that needed to be eaten.

I honestly can't recall where the recipe came from.

This is a great combo of flavors.  The recipe calls for orange juice concentrate to be added to the fruit. It's very tasty.

And I always enjoy a crunchy oatmeal topping with fruit...and ice cream too.

I listed my changes below in bold print.

(From The Better Baker)

4 c. peeled and sliced tart apples
2 c. fresh or frozen blueberries
1/4 c. packed brown sugar (I used 2 Tb. Brown Sugar Splenda)
1/4 c. orange juice concentrate
2 TB. all purpose flour (I used 3 Tb. because I used frozen berries)
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
(I added about 1/2 tsp. fresh grated nutmeg also)

Preheat oven to 350.  Spray 9" X 9" square baking dish with non stick cooking spray.  In a large bowl, combine all these ingredients and pour into prepared pan.  

(Doncha just love it when you can mix all the ingredients at once?!  And by hand? I do!)

1 c. old fashioned oats
1/2 c. packed brown sugar
(I used 1/4 c. Splenda Brown Sugar Blend)
2 Tb. all purpose flour
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/3 c. cold butter, cubed

Combine first 4 ingredients in medium bowl; cut in butter until mixture is crumbly; sprinkle over fruit.
(I added about 1/3 c. more oats)

Bake for 30-35 minutes or until topping is golden brown and fruit is tender.  Serve warm with ice cream or whipped topping.


                               Fit & Fabulous Friday
         Made it On Monday
             This Week's Cravings

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Simple Potato Pancakes

I was so tickled to see this recipe for tater pancakes at Joelle's blog. I made them and they tasted just like the ones my mama use to make when I was growing up.

Joelle cooks much like I do...simple and frugal dishes.  Please be sure to check out her blog.

This is a simple recipe and you can make as few or many as you'd like.  The recipe below just gives you guidelines.

I had some leftover mashed potatoes and was so comforted to enjoy this delicious dish.

I'm sure I could have eaten them all by myself.....but I didn't...(but almost!)

I didn't change a thing in Joelle's recipe so I share it with you right here...

Potato Pancakes

2 cups leftover mashed potatoes
1 egg, slightly beaten
1/4 cup finely minced onion, (white, red or green)
1/4 tsp each garlic & onion powder
3 T. flour (need a couple of additional tablespoons as well)
seasoned salt & pepper to taste
oil & butter for frying

In bowl mix cold mashed potatoes, egg, onion, garlic & onion powder, 3 T. of flour and seasonings, Mix well.
On plate sprinkle the additional 2 T. flour. In large frying pan melt a couple of tablespoons of butter and a couple tablespoonfuls of oil. Heat till hot.
Make patties one at a time using about 1/4 cup of potato mixture. Dredge patties in flour and place into hot oil mixture. Fry for about 3 minutes per side until each side is crispy and golden brown. Turn patties over and fry until that side is crispy and golden.
When patties come out of the pan sprinkle with a little more seasoned salt & pepper. Add additional butter & oil to pan and repeat process until all are done. I usually turn the oven onto about 300 degrees and place the finished ones on a baking pan to keep warm while I am frying the next batch.
Serve with either ketchup, applesauce, sour cream or toppings of your choice.
(I love ranch dressing on most everything!)
Yield: about 6 - 7

Linked to Made It On Monday
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Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Mandarin Orange Pecan Salad

I am not especially fond of green salads. 

I don't eat enough of them, unless I have this in front of me.

Then I can woof down a whole plateful, and more...

Easy, simple & delicious.

That's all that needs to be said...


Romaine lettuce
1 - 12 ozs. can mandarin oranges, drained
pecan halves, toasted in butter then coated with a little brown sugar
green onions, chopped


1 dash pepper
1/4 c. canola oil
2 Tb. sugar
2 Tb. apple cider vinegar
2 shakes tabasco sauce
1 Tb. fresh parsley

Blend together and toss over salad.


Linked to Weekend Potluck

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Beloved Banana Chocolate Chip Bread

This recipe is definitely a beloved family favorite.

Both my daughter-in-loves make this often for their families.

A revised version of this recipe made it into my cookbook.  It has added peanut butter and peanuts.

It's something I've made for many years after writing the recipe into a 'make your own' cookbook. The page is very stained and torn out of the book.  The corner of the page has been taped back together...

Yet it's very treasured just the same.

Like family should be...loved and accepted as we are. 

This is what the dough looks like before baking.

And this is the beautiful bread after baking - MMM!


2-1/2 c. flour
1 tsp. baking soda
3/4 tsp. salt
1-1/4 c. sugar (I use half Splenda) - it bakes faster
1/2 c. oil (I use half applesauce)
3 eggs  (I use 2 whole eggs and 2 egg whites)
1-1/2 c. mashed ripe bananas (about 3 large)
3 Tb. sour milk
1 c. semisweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 325. Generously grease 4 - 6"X3"X2" foil loaf pans. (Or use 2 medium & 1 small)  In medium bowl, stir flour, baking soda and salt; set aside.  In large mixer bowl, at medium speed, beat sugar, oil & eggs; add bananas, then milk; beat in flour mixture at low speed just until blended.  Stir in chocolate chips.  If using medium pans, begin checking after 35 minutes. I don't really have baking time written down, so just keep checking - with a toothpick stuck in the middle - to see if they're done. 

Cool 10 minutes before removing from pan to rack to cool.  Store overnight before serving. 

These loaves freeze nicely.

Or bake them as muffins - about 15 - 20 minutes...YUM!

Hints:  To make your own sour milk, add about 2-1/2 TB. milk to a bowl, stir in 1/2 tsp. vinegar; let stand about 5 minutes. (I use 1% milk).

I freeze my bananas whole, in the peel.  Just thaw and they pop right out of the peel.  This adds a lot of moisture to anything being baked.

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