Monday, October 31, 2011

Crockpot Beans 'n' Kraut Stew

Some of you have been waiting for this recipe...


Oh I think you're gonna love this dish. 

(even if you're one of those people who thinks they don't like sauerkraut!)

It's very simple to put together and is deliciously wonderful.

A good friend, Joan, brought her crockpot full of this delectable dish to a recent Sunday School Class potluck.

Joan got there late because she had a plumbing problem, Everyone had finished eating, but still they all had to have some of Joan's stew because the first taste testers were raving!

This recipe is very similar to my own Kraut 'n' Beans recipe here at my blog.  This is just a little different with potatoes and pork and beans added. 

And since I had everything on hand, I made it a day later. 


2 cups diced raw potatoes
2# sauerkraut, undrained
1# kielbasa, sliced or diced
1/4 c. water
1 - 15 ozs. can northern beans, slightly drained
1 - 15 ozs. can pork and beans, undrained
2 Tb. brown sugar
(or more if desired)

In 4 or 5 qt. crockpot, layer potatoes, sauerkraut, water, kielbasa, then beans. Sprinkle brown sugar over all.

Cover; cook on high for 3 - 4 hours, or until potatoes are done. Stir a few times during cooking.


(Trust me on this one Brandie=)

Linked to Gooseberry Patch Roundup - Octoberfest
Ingredient Spotlight
Meet Penny - Beans & Rice
Foodie Friends Friday
  Keep Calm & Cook On: Crockpot Recipes
Weekend Potluck
Meal Plan Monday
Whatcha Crockin Wednesday

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Painting the World PINK for a Day...

My blogging buddy, Lark, of Lark's Country Heart shared this idea with me and I'm 'Paying it Forward'.....

Today is a single day project dedicated to Breast Cancer. A Fun Day Of PINK. A host of bloggers dedicating the day to this cause(ALL PINK ACROSS THE BOARD!)  A day simply dedicated to the cause will totally be more than enough. Every inch adds on to milestones of helping spread awareness and standing to fight for this cause. I know everyone’s knee deep in Halloween projects, but I thought it’ll be fun to switch off a day and see PINK EVERYWHERE!!!

I am proud to be participating in the Part of Being the Best is Doing Good program, helping to spread the word about the Eggland's Best Eggs/Susan G. Komen partnership and “pink ribbon” eggs.

On Friday I went to our local high school (where I graduated...oh what emotions run through me to walk those halls again!) and gave presentations to two high school Home Ec (Healthy Foods) classes.

I shared this info about EBE's...
Eggland's Best Eggs have, when compared to 'ordinary' eggs, 25% less Saturated Fat, 10 times more Vitamin E, and double the amount of Omega 3s (for more related nutrition facts, click here).

And also read facts about Breast Cancer Awareness shared at the Susan G. Komen website.

I did a scrambled egg demonstration and made breakfast quesadillas, with the help of a student in each class.  A simple, but versatile recipe they can make themselves. The kids seemed to love them. I also gave them copies of 3 easy egg recipes to take home. 

I also served them PINK Poke Cake, inspired by Lisa at
Flour Me With Love.

The teens LOVED it!

One gal said it was the best cake she'd ever eaten! =)
That's always nice to hear.
I was thrilled when another said she was going to find my Facebook page & "like" me.  Yahoooie!

Many dressed up for Halloween...the kid in the orange was a 'pumpkin pie'! Clever huh?  It was nice to see him smiling at me during the presentation.

I HAD to take a closeup of the gal with the pink wig...after all, we ARE  "Painting the World PINK" today! She was doing that on Friday.

The kids were pleased with their coupons from Eggland Eggs for a free dozen eggs.  We also had a giveaway in each class - one teen from each group received an EBE apron and whisk, provided by Eggland's Best Eggs. 


Friday, October 28, 2011

Spooky Witches Fingers and more Scary Stuff....

Oh how fun to make something 'spooky' to eat & to share...
(and to make me giggle...)

I found this cute recipe idea at
They are fairly simple to make and oh-so cute! 

 1 c. butter, softened
1 c. powdered sugar
1 egg
1 tsp. almond extract
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 - 2/3 c. all purpose flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
2/3 c. whole almonds
1 (.75 ozs) tube red decorating gel

Preheat oven to 325. Lightly grease baking sheets.

Remove dough from fridge in small amounts. Using 1 TB. at a time, roll onto a piece of waxed paper, shaping into a thin finger-shaped cookie. Press one almond into one end of each cookie to give appearance of long fingernail. Squeeze cookie near tip and again near the center of each to give the impression of knuckles. You may also cut into the dough with a sharp knife at the same points to help give a more finger-like appearance. Arrange shaped cookies on prepared baking sheets.

Bake in oven until slightly golden in color, about 20 minutes.

Remove almond from the end of each cookie; squeeze a small amount of red decorating gel into the cavity; replace almond to cause the gel to ooze out around tip of the cookie.
Yield: about 40 fingers
(the recipe called for using 1 heaping TEAspoon of dough.  I found those to be too small for the almonds, so I used a TABLEspoonful instead.

Linked at Farm Girl Friday
Michelle's Tasty Creations Halloween/Fall Party
Full Plate Thursday
Meal Plan Monday


I just had to share these darling foodie ideas from Mommy's Kitchen.  She has so many of them!  Tina's done much to make things fun and easy this time of year.

Combine butter, sugar, egg, almond and vanilla extracts in a mixing bowl. Beat together with electric mixer; gradually add the flour, baking powder and salt; continue beating until smooth. Cover and refrigerate 20 - 30 minutes.


Thursday, October 27, 2011

Nutella/PB-Banana-Oatmeal Smoothie

I have thought about this recipe soooooo much since seeing the recipe at Grandma Loy's Kitchen

I woke up thinking about this the day I finally made it for the first time. 

Sometimes ya just gotta do what ya gotta do right? 

In fact, I made it TWICE the first day I tried it!!!

Loy and I crossed paths a few weeks ago and have become good email buds, sharing many things in common. 

She fits into the 'grandma' category with me and hasn't been blogging long.  I think that's just so cool and know her grandkids have to be bustin' their buttons over all she does.

She also has a part time job as a quilter! 

Very talented too!

We share very similar tastes in our kitchens. It's so fun to connect with someone who thinks like you do, isn't it?

I appreciate all the 'DIY' recipes she shares at her blog.  Always GREAT ideas. Check out her recipe for Homemade Cake Mix. Please pay her a visit and show her some love.

This is a recipe I will enjoy again and again.  It's quick, easy and nutritious.

Just in case you're not familiar with Nutella, it is a chocolate-hazelnut spread. The texture is similar to peanut butter, and oh so satisfying!

Enjoying this smoothie is a great way to begin the day or as a pick me up in the afternoon!  Bedtime snack anyone???

I'd read somewhere (sorry - I don't recall what blog?) about blending dry oatmeal into a powder to use in a smoothie.  I really liked that idea, and so that's the only change I made to this delicious treat.

Can't go wrong adding more 'healthy' eh?

(I used MORE nutella the second time around, can you tell?=)

1/4 cup oats
2 bananas, sliced and frozen
1/4 cup nutella (or peanut butter)
3/4 cup milk
(I used skim)

Put oats in blender and blend until powder-y. Add remaining ingredients and blend until there are no more chunks of frozen banana. Garnish with fresh banana slices if desired.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Pink for the Cure/Eggland Giveaway {Update}


#6 comment...Angie said...

I am a "liker" of all your stuff....

Please contact me to confirm your win. Your gift package will be mailed directly to you from Eggland's Best Eggs.

Thank you to each of you who participated!

As most of you are aware, October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

I'm honored to team up with Eggland's Best Eggs once again as they raise support to help find a cure.
From now until November 15th, Eggland's Best have turned their egg-y 'birthmark/stamp' into a pink EB and Susan G. Komen Ribbon printed on them as well.

Aren't they are just adorable!

Eggland’s Best will also be pledging $50,000 to the Susan G. Komen Foundation, which will help expand the foundation’s mission to discover and deliver the cure for breast cancer across the globe.

Right now, in the U.S. there are more than 2.5 million breast cancer survivors! This is a result from early detection and proper treatment! In the past year, with the help of great companies like Eggland's Best, SGK for the Cure has been able to invest $93 million in research, as well as provide more than 600,000 women with free screenings and over 100,000 with treatment assistance.


Read more details at this link....
Eggland's Best goes "Pink" to Fight Breast Cancer

If you want more information or are unsure about the signs of breast cancer, please visit the Susan G. Komen website. You will find answers there for any questions or concerns.

You can raise awareness by buying products, such as these, that contribute to Susan G. Komen for the Cure.

Eggland has also offered some lovely gifts for one of my lucky readers!

Check out this cool prize package...

The prize pack includes an eco bag, plush egg, spatula and an EB coupon for a free dozen EB eggs.

To enter the giveaway, all you simply do is...("Likes" below)

then leave a comment letting me know what you've done.

(Be sure to include a link or email address so I can contact you if you win)  

"Like" my "Recipes & Recollections" cookbook page at Facebook

    "Like" Eggland's Best Eggs at Facebook

"Like" Susan G. Komen for the Cure at Facebook

~Giveaway open to U. S. Residents Only~
{Must be 18 or older}

Winner will be drawn on Monday, Oct. 24th at 6:00 PM EST
The winner will be notified via email and I will share it on a blog post also.

Thanks for supporting Eggland's Best Eggs and Susan G. Komen in this awesome cause.

Disclosure: Eggland's Best provided me with coupons and is providing a prize pack to one of my readers. Source of information is provided from Eggland's Best & Susan G. Komen for the Cure


Tuesday, October 25, 2011


to our first born grandchild -
Ashtyn McCrae Baker turns 17 today!
She's a gem..and a beaut...and yes, a redhead!

With the busy busy holidays coming upon us quickly, I thought it would be good to share these great ideas for substituting ingredients in the kitchen.

I love being able to DIY, and not having to run to the store when you can use what you have on hand.

These are some of the substitutes I often use in my kitchen....

Powdered sugar: Put 1 cup granulated sugar and 1 Tb. cornstarch in the blender; Blend on high continuously until the mixture is of uniform powdered consistency. Keep the lid on the blender until the powder settles.
(Saves you $$ too)
Pumpkin Pie Spice: 2 tsp. cinnamon, 1 tsp. ginger, 1/2 tsp. nutmeg, 1/2 tsp. allspice and 1/4 tsp. cloves.

Apple pie spice: 1 tsp. cinnamon, 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg,
1/8 tsp. allspice, 1/8 tsp. ginger
Unsweetened Baking Chocolate: For each sq. of chocolate needed, add 3 Tb. baking cocoa to 1 Tb. melted butter; stir until smooth.

Semisweet Chocolate, 6 ozs. pkg. (2/3 c.) Melted:

2 squares (2 oz.) unsweetened chocolate plus 2 T. sugar

Self-Rising Flour: For each cup of all-purpose flour, add 1 1/2 teaspoons of baking powder and 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Mix to combine.

Cornstarch: 2 Tb. flour or 4 tsp. quick-cooking tapioca.

Buttermilk: Place 1 tablespoon vinegar or lemon juice in 1 cup measuring cup. Add enough milk to fill.  Let mixture stand for 5 minutes before using.

Sour Cream:
Use plain yogurt in place of sour cream.
Heavy Cream Tip: To get maximum volume when whipping heavy cream, first place mixing bowl and beaters in the freezer for about 30 minutes.

Heavy Cream:
3/4 cup evaporated milk plus 1/3 cup butter = 1 Cup Heavy Cream
Corn syrup:  1 cup = 1 c. sugar and 1/4 c. water

or 7/8 cup honey (baked goods will brown more)

Eggs: whole, uncooked, 1 large =

 1/4 c. egg substitute (examples include: Egg Beaters,
Second Nature, Scramblers)

or 2 yolks and 1 T. water (for cookies)

or 2 yolks (in custards, cream fillings, and similar

or 2 whites as a thickening agent

or (up to half the eggs called for in a baked recipe)
3 Tb. water + 1 Tb. flax seed meal, mixed together first

Tomato sauce: 2 cups = 3/4 c. tomato paste plus 1 cup water

Source: Mommy's Kitchen and Google


Brown Sugar: 1 cup granulated sugar

            1 Tb. molasses

 In a medium mixing bowl, add the sugar and molasses and use a hand mixer to combine. Use a spatula to scrape down the sides as needed and continue to beat until all the molasses is combined. It will take up to 5 minutes, so be patient and you will have light and fluffy brown sugar.

Note: If you want to make dark brown sugar, use 2 T molasses per cup of sugar.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Buttermilk Pumpkin Pancakes with Honey Cinnamon Butter

One of my favorite things about fall is PUMPKIN!  I've been making many dishes with this wonderful fall food, and am excited to share this one with you.

I had just baked up a couple of pie pumpkins (post soon to come) and had fresh pumpkin in the fridge just waiting to be used.

I'm not a big fan of pancakes.  They always seem to heavy to me...and I can't eat much of them at once. I normally prefer ordering french toast or oatmeal when we go out to breakfast.

But let this time of the year roll in, and I am ALL ABOUT Pumpkin Pancakes.  I just love them. 

I was excited to find this recipe at Making Life Delicious and made them for our dinner that very same day.

These are light and fluffy and oh so tasty. 

I love the cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and cloves combo along with the wonderfulness of pumpkin. The recipe calls for freshly grated nutmeg...I LOVE IT!


I didn't make any changes to this recipe and thought it was perfect 'as is'.

Enjoy these cooler fall days by warming up with a plateful of pumpkin pancakes.
(say that quickly 5 times!)


1-1/4 c. all purpose flour
1/4 cup sugar
(I used Splenda)
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
3/4 tsp. kosher salt
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp. ground ginger
1/4 tsp. nutmeg, freshly grated
pinch of ground cloves
1 c. buttermilk
(Place 1 TB. vinegar in 1 cup measuring cup-allow to sit 5 minutes-a great substitute)
1/2 c. pumpkin puree
(I used fresh cooked)
1 large egg
3 Tb. canola oil, plus more for the griddle

In medium mixing bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt and spiced; whisk to combine.  (It already smells like pumpkin pie - oh my!)

In liquid measuring cup, whisk buttermilk, pumpkin puree, egg and oil. Add wet ingredients to dry and stir just until combined.

Preheat griddle or electric skillet at 300*. Using a 1/3 c. measure, pour the batter onto hot griddle.  Cook first side until bubbles begin to break on top and edge starts to look cooked, about 3 minutes.  Flip and cook the second side until golden brown, a couple more minutes.

Yield: about 9 pancakes.

Serve with butter, maple syrup or even honey cinnamon butter.
This is a delicious topping for any fruit breads also - pumpkin, banana or zucchini also


1 stick butter, room temperature
2 Tb. honey (or maple syrup)
1/4 - 1/2 tsp. cinnamon

Mix together in bowl until smooth. Store in refrigerator.

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Thursday, October 20, 2011

Scrumptious Oven-Fried Chicken

I love fried chicken, but rarely allow myself to indulge in it, so my curiosity was definitely peaked when I saw this lovely recipe by my good blogging friend, Lark at
Lark's Country Heart.

Yepper - another one of Lark's awesome recipes being shared here!

Believe me when I say I have learned to trust her judgement. 

We think a lot alike in the kitchen, and she's proven to me that she's a great one to create dishes on her own.

This is a combination of a few recipes that she put together and we really enjoyed it.

The only thing I added is a little bit of parmesan to the bisquick mix.

Subway has their version of oven-crisp you can make your own at home!

I prefer Lark's photo...I took more, but mine didn't turn out, so I'll share hers as well.

Photo credit: Lark's Country Heart


6 Tbsp. margarine (I used light)
2/3 c. bisquick
1/3 c. grated parmesan cheese, optional
1-1/2 tsp. poultry seasoning
1-1/2 tsp. paprika
1/4 tsp. cumin (I didn't use)
1-1/4 tsp. salt (I used salt substitute)
1/2 tsp. pepper (I used more)
1/4 tsp. garlic powder (I used a tad more)
1/4 tsp. onion powder
4 lbs. chicken (I used boneless skinless breasts)

Preheat oven to 425. Place margarine in 9" X 13" X 2" pan and put in oven to melt.

Mix all dry ingredients together until well blended.

When margarine melts, remove from oven.  Set aside.

(Lark keeps the chicken in a bowl of water. Removing one piece at a time, lightly shake off water, but do not pat dry.)

If using skin on chicken, place skin side down in pan.

Bake uncovered for 35 minutes.  Then turn each piece over and return to oven for another 15 - 20 minutes more, making sure chicken is cooked thoroughly.

(Chicken breasts bake faster - about 40 minutes total, but be sure to check yours as oven temps vary).

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Laundry Day


Can I get an "Amen"?

I do enjoy doing laundry...with a washer & dryer! 

I love folding warm clothes, and love the fragrance of the soap and the softener...MMM!

It's a little embarrassing to admit this, but when we were first married, if I didn't have enough dirty clothes for a load, I would pull clean ones out of the drawer to add to the washer. (RED face - I know!)


We lived in military housing and they furnished a washer/dryer for us and I didn't work outside the home, so doing laundry was a 'chore' that I really did enjoy doing.

I want to share some easy and helpful hints to help you with the process of drying your laundry.

Be sure to shake and untwist items before tossing in the dryer. This not only reduces wrinkling, but allows the clothes to dry a bit faster, and this saves energy.
I love using liquid softener, but just recently began using it in a different way, after my sis-in-love suggested this idea that works well for me. In a plastic container with a lid, I mixed the softener with twice the amount of water, cut a sponge in half and put it in the liquid. When I throw the clothes in the dryer, I lightly wring out one of the sponges and toss it in the dryer. The clothes will not have static, and the product lasts much longer. I think it's a wonderful money-saving tip.

{Caution: Be careful to squeeze the sponge enough when drying white clothes, so you don't get little blue spots on them=}
Cleaning your lint filter before drying every load reduces drying time significantly - another money saving idea.

Don't overfill the dryer - it will take much longer to dry and things will be more wrinkled.
Dry loads back to back so the dryer doesn't have time to cool down, then heat up again.

A general rule for drying: If clothes were washed in hot water, most likely they can be dried on high, but if they were washed on permanent press/cooler water cycle, they should be dried at 'medium' or 'permanent press' setting also.
I believe one of the most important things to remember when drying clothes, is removing them from the dryer right away so they don't have time to get wrinkled.

Keep clothes hangers handy and don't ball everything into the basket when removing, as that can add a lot of wrinkles too. When I don't get right to my dryer when it stops, I turn it on to reheat the clothes a little bit before I remove them. Makes the task of folding the clothes a little nicer when they are warm.

(Remind yourself of the women at the river, and maybe it won't seem like such a daunting task?=)

Friday, October 14, 2011

Blueberry Morning Muffins

I had been eyeballing some blueberries in my freezer...just hearing them call my name...when I spotted this lovely recipe at Country Cooks Across America posted by my sweet friend &
co-blogger, Lark.

I really love blueberries and I spose my body was 'hankerin' for them cause it had been a while since I'd made anything with blueberries, so I hopped right on this recipe.

I'm partial to muffins too, so this recipe was perfect to satisfy my longing.

The muffins were perfect too!  Very light and fluffy.

I didn't roll them in butter after baking or dip them in cinnamon/sugar mixture. 

Instead I just sprinkled them with cinnamon/sugar prior to baking.  It was great!

Hope you'll give them a try.  They're great for breakfast, snack, or anytime. 

You'll want M.O.R.E....


2 c. flour
1/2 c. sugar
1 Tb. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1 egg
1 c. milk (I used skim)
1/2 c. margarine, room temp (I melted it)
1 c. frozen blueberries
lemon zest

Preheat oven to 375. Grease a 12-cup muffin tin.

In medium mixing bowl, stir together all dry ingredients and set aside.  Beat together egg, milk and margarine.  Stir in berries.  Add dry ingredients plus lemon zest.  Do not over beat.

Drop batter evenly into prepared muffin pan. (I like using my large spring-loaded scoop).  Bake 20 - 25 minutes.

Remove muffins from pan to cool on wire rack for 15 minutes.

While muffins are cooling, mix the following:

In a separate bowl mix: 1 Tb. lemon juice & 1/2 c. melted margarine or butter
Blend 1 c. sugar mixed with 2 Tb. cinnamon in bowl.

When muffins are cool, dip into melted margarine and then roll in cinnamon/sugar mixture. 

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Payday Cookies

(This gorgeous cutting board was a recent gift from my sweet friend Janean.
I just LOOOVE it! I love her more;-)

Oh how cool to find this fun recipe at Shugary Sweets!

My granddaughters were glad to help decorate these cookies as they came out of the oven. 

A tasty and perfect cookie for this time of year.

Adding chopped peanuts AND candy corn to a delicious cookie?

What could say FALL any better? 

I reduced the amount of sugar just a tad. With the addition of candy to the recipe, I thought there was plenty of sugar to go around here...

This recipe is easily divided in half if you don't want as many.

Enjoy every lip-smackin' bite!


1-1/2 c. butter, melted
2 c. brown sugar
(I used 1-1/2)
1 c. sugar
(I used 3/4 c.)
3 eggs
1 TB. vanilla extract (yes TB.)
4-1/2 c. all purpose flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
1 c. unsalted peanuts, chopped
2 - 11.4 ozs. bags of M &M Peanut Butter candies (not Peanut...Peanut Butter)
1-1/2 bags (12 ozs each) candy corn

Preheat oven to 375. In large bowl, combine butter and sugars.  Beat for about 2 minutes until creamy. Add eggs and vanilla.  Beat in flour, baking soda and salt. Fold in the peanuts and M & M's.

Drop by Tablespoonsful onto ungreased cookie sheet. Bake 10 - 11 minutes. Remove from oven and immediately press in candy corn (point first so it goes in easily).  Allow to cool and enjoy!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Crockpot Hash Brown Soup

Isn't it amazing how this time of year makes us think more about soup?? 

I know I've been having thoughts of soup slosh around in my head for sure!!!

Soup is good for chasing away the chills on these cooler autumn days!

And I've been using my crockpot...a.lot!  I have some great recipes waiting to be shared with you in the days and weeks ahead.

This is a wonderfully simple, and simply wonderful soup!

I found the recipe in a desk calendar from Taste of Home.

And we ALL know what great recipes they have to share!

This dish is just sooooo versatile & it's a Healthy Option besides!

There are so many ways you can 'change this up' to suit your family's taste buds.

I added diced Canandian bacon and let it simmer all day with the frozen hash browns.

I considered adding peas and carrots toward the end of cooking time, but then I found some leftover fresh cooked green beans in the fridge, so I cut them into bite size pieces and added them.

I also had a tad bit of leftover canned mushroom soup, so I diluted it just a bit and added it at the start.

You can top it with bacon & cheese, or add cheese to the soup itself. Use cheddar, swiss, Velveeta or pepper jack.

It's also easy to throw together.

Enjoy it for dinner tonight!


2 - 3 green onions, chopped
2 tsp. canola oil
1 pkg. (28 ozs) frozen O'Brien potatoes
(I think because of the length of time this soup cooks, it's best to use the chunky-not shredded-hashbrowns)
2 c. 2% milk
(I used 1%)
(I think it needed closer to 3 c.)
1 can (10-3/4 ozs) reduced-fat reduced-sodium cream of chicken soup, undiluted
6 turkey bacon strips, diced and cooked
1/2 c. shredded cheddar cheese

In a small skillet, saute the onions in oil until tender.  In a 5-qt. crockpot, combine the potatoes, milk, soup and onion mixture. 

Cover and cook on low for 5 - 6 hours or until heated through. Top each serving with 2 TB. bacon and 1 TB. cheese

Yield: 8 servings