Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Homemade Febreeze (so simple)

I love making homemade 'cleaners' for the home. Not only are they frugal, but we can know what's in them.  It's good to know I'm not spreading chemicals in the home and the environment.

I was tickled when a friend sent me this simple recipe for fabric refreshener. I'm sure there are a number of variations on the net and at Pinterest for this recipe. I didn't do any research as this recipe seemed to be worth a try. 

Can't go wrong!  Try it - you'll like it.  I added a touch of lavendar essential oil too.  


1/8 c. fabric softener
(I love Downy or Suavitel)
click here for simple recipe for homemade fabric softener)
2 Tb. baking soda
hot tap water
spray bottle (27 ozs) 
few drops of essential oil (lavendar or orange) for fragrance, optional

Using a funnel, pour fabric softener and baking soda into empty spray bottle. Fill bottle with hot tap water and shake well. (Be sure nozzle is closed before shaking). 

Spray away!!! Making your own makes for a large savings for you! 

Linked to Mop it up Monday

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Gooey Peanut Butter Bars

If you've never been to Lark's Country Heart blog...stop what you're doing now and pay her a visit.  She has an amazing talent for creating dishes of her own. 

This woman FLOORS! me with the ideas she comes up with!

And her heart is as big as the sky! I love her to pieces as a blogging buddy and appreciate her sweet spirit.  She is one of 3 (of us) co-bloggers at 
Country Cooks Across America blog.

This is a yummy bar cookie made using a cake mix.  I love the ease of not having to measure things like flour...sugar...baking powder, etc. etc., especially when I'm in a rush. 

And I think you can never go wrong making anything with sweetened condensed milk!! Click here for my homemade recipe...reducing the sugar amount. 

These cookies are a special treat...anytime...any day and would be great to make for a bake sale or a snack in a hurry. 


Click here for the full recipe....

 They will make your kitchen smell heavenly!!

Linked to Weekend Potluck

Friday, April 26, 2013

Sour Cream Rhubarb Pie & Weekend Potluck #64



Where I share something worth sharing...again...

Springtime brings fresh rhubarb...
This pie is fabulous...crunchy crust topping and oh so tasty! 

We are SO happy for all of you who come to share at our virtual table, but....
Before we head into the party, I just want to remind you to please link back to the party....ON YOUR POST ITSELF. 

Sadly, last week's 'most clicks' didn't do that and so they couldn't be featured. =(
If you care to be featured at all, it's important to follow the instructions. 

Now, let's take a quick peek back at last week...

The recipe with the most clicks was ~

Cracker Barrel French Toast
Cracker Barrel French Toast by Everyday Mom’s Meals

Recipes that caught our attention ~

Bacon Double Cheeseburger Pockets
Cherry Blueberry Pie
Cherry Blueberry Pie by Noshing with the Nolands

And, a personal favorite ~

Weekend Potluck Featured

Your hostesses ~

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


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, April 25, 2013

Caramel Apple - Topped Biscuits

I tweaked a recipe from a Taste of Home Annual Recipes 2006 cookbook for this yummy dish.

Using fresh apples, and whole wheat biscuits, it's a healthier option that you don't have to feel guilty eating. 

Try it for breakfast tomorrow!


  3 c. sliced peeled tart apples
1/3 c. brown sugar
1 Tb. quick-cooking tapioca
1-1/2 tsp. lemon juice
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
dash cloves
1/8 tsp. salt
2 - 3 Tb. water
1 tube (16 ozs) large refrigerated (whole wheat) buttermilk biscuits 

In large saucepan, combine apples, sugar, tapioca, lemon juice, spices, salt and water. Let stand for 15 minutes.  Cook over medium heat for 8 - 10 minutes or until apples are tender.  Preheat oven to 375.

Transfer apple mixture to a greased 9" deep pie plate. (Can use cake pan). 
Place biscuits over apples.  Bake 18 - 20 minutes or until biscuits are nicely browned.  Immediately invert onto a serving plate. 

Yield: 8 servings 

Linked to Weekend Potluck

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

3 Beautiful Baked Chicken Dishes {Blast from the Past}

This a favorite and I can't get enough of it.
Coating = french fried onions. Ready to eat in less than an hour. 

Our youngest son, Dave, created this luscious recipe himself! 

This recipe comes from Taste of Home Diet Cookbook!
Another one that is way delicious! Marinara sauce, mushrooms,
mozzarella - oh my!! 

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Creamy Tacos {Family Favorite}

This fabulous dish has been a family favorite for a long time. When we lived in Texas in the early 80's, one of my coworkers (teacher at a Christian school) made this for our family. 

I cannot begin to tell you HOW MANY other folks enjoy this recipe too.  Personally, it's one of my most popular. EVER.  It's laughable how many times I've been told that others have enjoyed this dish...again!! 

I know...it doesn't LOOK like a taco.  I didn't give the dish its name...it just gives you the taste of tacos. *-*...only CREAMY. 

This is GREAT to serve to company and it makes a lot. 

It's so simple too - you just brown some burger, open a few cans, heat it all up, melt some cheese in it, then pour in some whipping cream.

That's right - whipping cream. 

Eat it over tortilla chips and you've got a winner!  I'm happy to say all my children enjoy this in their own homes now. 

I can hardly believe I've never posted about this before, but I can't say 
that any more.  *-*

You can use regular canned diced tomatoes if you don't want the 'zip' from the rotel tomatoes.  If your family doesn't care for beans, use the chili without beans and only one can of beans. (You could even mash them some and 'hide' them in the rest of the YUM!) 


1 lb. ground beef, browned and drained
2 (16 ozs each) cans chili (or red) beans
1 (16 ozs.) can chili with beans (hot if preferred)
1 (12 ozs) can rotel tomatoes, drained (or regular diced tomatoes)
1 # Velveeta cheese, chunked into smaller pieces
1/2 pint whipping cream, unwhipped
tortilla chips
chopped lettuce & tomato
sour cream

In large pot, add the beans, chili and tomatoes to browned beef.  Heat until it begins to boil.  Add cheese; heat and stir until melted.  Pour in cream; keep warm, but don't boil.  Place chips on serving plates; pour creamy tacos over chips and top with choice of toppings. 

Yield: 8 - 10 servings 

Linked to Totally Tasty Tuesday
  Whatcha Whipped up Wednesday
Tasty Creations
Weekend Potluck
 Scrumptious Sunday
Mix it up Monday
Foodie Friends Friday
GBP Roundup- Favorite Casseroles
Meal Plan Monday

A Giveaway - Celebrating 5,000 Facebook Likes!! - WINNERS ANNOUNCED!



I am ecstatic! elated! shocked! delighted! beside myself!
(Ok...you probably get my drift huh?=) 

And it happened faster than I imagined...and just plain fast!

Thank you so much Facebook Friends for your interest in what I love to do here.  I couldn't be more pleased to have you joining me in the kitchen. 

Also, many thanks to The Southern Lady Cooks  for giving me the OOMPH
to push me over the top by sending her followers over to my kitchen. 

(How can I ever thank you Judy?) 

Numbers jumped...my heart jumped, and here we are.

I just love giving cookbooks away, and I think it's great to spruce up your kitchen with a new towel or two.

Since the patriotic holidays are coming soon, and I do decorate my house with red, white & blue, I thought it was only appropriate that I add some star-spangled colored towels to the givewaway.

I'm also adding a fabulous item, that may not look like much, but let me tell you - 

These Streakfree Microfiber Cleaning Cloths are a woman's best friend!
Just wet, wring and wipe.  No cleaner or paper towels needed.  They are amazing and I have helped get a lot of folks 'hooked' on them. Wash and reuse, again and again. 

So...there are 3 prize packages and this is all you have to do to enter. 

#1 - Just let me know what your favorite summertime dish is to fix....the dish you are expected to bring to a picnic or reunion...the one your family requests most often, etc.  

# 2 - Follow me at Pinterest
(and if you already do, just say so) 

PLEASE remember to leave a contact email for me to be able to find you if you're a winner!! 

That's it. 
 (Please be sure to leave each comment separately so they don't count as one)
You must comment at the blog - Facebook comments don't count as entries.

Giveaway will close on Tuesday, April 30th at 6 PM

Three numbers will then be chosen by Random.org 

Sorry - only U.S. residents are eligible for the giveaway. 

Tell your friends and neighbors! 


(Giveaway is closed) 


Taste of Home Annual Recipes 2013 Cookbook (503 recipes)

two cotton tea towels 
Streak Free Cleaning Cloth 


Food Network 1,000 Easy Recipes Cookbook
cotton patriotic hanging towel
Streak Free Cleaning Cloth 


#3 - Taste of Home Everyday Slow Cooker & One Dish Recipes Cookbook 
2 patriotic terry cloth dishtowels
Streak Free Cleaning Cloth 

Best Wishes to all who enter this giveaway!!! 

Congrats to you three winners!

Random.org has drawn these names...

Winner of prize pkg. #1 - Janice

Janice said...


I follow you on Pinterest

Prize pkg. #2 - Kay Little 

K Little said...
I have been following you on Pinterest from the start...love your pins!!

Prize pkg. #3 - Lynn Huntley 

Lynn Huntley said...
Hi~ Love Your Giveaway!! I have every Taste of Home Annual Recipe Books from 1996-2012 so I would love to win this~ Any Pasta Salad is a must and Baked Beans:) Congrats on the likes~Lynn @ Turnips 2 Tangerines

Please send me your mailing info at my email address -

You have 48 hours - if a prize isn't claimed by then, a new winner will be drawn. 

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Chocolate Chip Oat Cookies (using a cake mix)

How about something sweet to begin your week?
That's MY style for sure...=) 

I love cookies....I also love quick and easy.  

So when I saw this simple recipe in a lovely cookbook gifted to me...
(Thanks Angie!) CAKE MIX MAGIC...I knew I HAD to make them. 

They're simple to mix and there are so many variations...
using a different kind of cake mix (maybe strawberry?)
with either white chocolate chips or milk chocolate? 

Customize them to suit your family's favorite combo. 

They're so good, I do believe you'll want to make them right away! *-*


I made half a batch with chocolate chips - half a batch with white.

MMM good!


1 (18 ozs) box yellow cake mix
1 tsp. baking powder
3/4 c. vegetable oil
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 c. old fashioned oats
(I added a tad more)
3/4 c. semisweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350*. Lightly grease cookie sheets.

Combine cake mix and baking powder in large bowl.  Add oil, eggs and vanilla; beat with electric mixer on low speed until well blended.  Stir in oats and chocolate chips.  Drop dough by rounded tablespoonsful 2" apart onto prepared cookie sheets. 

Bake 10 minutes or until golden brown.  Cool on cookie sheets 5 minutes. Remove to wire racks; cool completely.

Yield: about 4 dozen cookies 

Linked to Mop it up Monday
              Weekend Potluck

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Leader Enterprise - April 17, 2013 - T Shirt Fringe Scarf, Tote & Bacon Roses Tutorials

Well here we are again for Part II of tutorials. I do hope you'll be willing to try some of these fun ideas. I love that none of them are pricey. 

FRINGE SCARF: Lay t-shirt out flat and cut across under armholes (and under the graphics) the same as for the infinity scarf. (in my last column). I prefer leaving the hem on this one as it adds stability. From the opposite end of hem, on the 'raw' edge, make a series of vertical cuts, through the back and front of the shirt, 3/4"-1" wide, extending upward. The longer the cut, the longer the fringe. (cuts can be from 2"to 12" long). Tug down on each strand to elongate. Add beads or simply tie the ends in knots if you want. Wear in a single or double loop. (I normally go to the mirror and try to pull the fringes out from under over the top layer.) You'll figure it out I'm sure. I've seen many photos of gals wearing them'messy'. 

T-SHIRT TOTE: Lay t-shirt flat. Cut sleeves off at hems. Cut a neckline: v-neck, square or round. (You will cut off the neckline of the shirt). It's your choice as to whether or not you use the hem. Personally, I think it makes for a cleaner 'fringe' to cut it off. Cut slits on bottom of t-shirt, going through both sides (as done on fringe scarf). Take one strip from the top, one from the bottom (crisscrossing makes for a more solid bottom) and tie them in a double knot. Gather the shoulder seams and tie a ribbon around them. VOILA! A great craft idea to do with kids.
I carry my bag with me when I walk as its easy on the shoulder and it stretches. I've walked several blocks bringing 2 packages home from the post office in my t-shirt tote.
While we were in Florida, hubby and I celebrated our 45th anniversary. How time flies when you're having fun! I wanted to do something special for him, so I took my muffin pans and paper liners along so I could make these really cool bacon roses to surprise him. It worked great. Since I didn't have a vase in the camper where we were staying, I stuck the flower stem down through the middle of a big paper towel. When he saw them, he stared and then asked "That's bacon huh?". Then after more staring, he ate a couple. Perfect plan I thought! Any age can make these lovely 'flowers' so I do hope you'll have fun surprising others with them. Would be a fun thing to do with your grandchildren too. Great for any celebration.

Here's what you need:
~bacon (thick or thin sliced)
~'bouquet' of fake flowers
~regular or mini muffin pan
~paper cupcake liners

Preheat oven to 375*. After placing 2 muffin papers in each muffin cup (I made 5 flowers with 1/2# bacon and had a few pieces of bacon left over)...

#1- remove flowers from stems (I suggest swishing the green part in soapy water, then rinsing and drying before adding 'flowers')

#2- on clean surface, roll two slices of bacon (just as they lay in the package...one higher than the other-the 'higher' piece being on the outside of the roll)

#3- place them, fat side down, into the muffin cup. 
#4- After baking for about 35+ minutes, I removed them from the papers with a fork, placing the grease and papers into a disposable container to throw out. 
#5- Place the roses on paper towels on a plate and if needed, microwave a couple of minutes longer to get a crisper end result. (That helps draw out the fat too.) When cool, just place roses on stems, then stand back and smile.  

Friday, April 19, 2013

Amazing Chicken Squares & Weekend Potluck #63



Where I share something worth sharing...again! 

These Chicken Squares rank among my most favorite chicken dishes! A cream cheese and chicken mixture wrapped up in crescent rolls....OH MY! 

JUST GOTTA TELL YOU....This is an exciting anniversary day here at The Better Baker!

One year ago this weekend I 'expanded' my foodie journey (not to mention waistline!) when I joined the special gals here at Weekend Potluck.  It's been an exciting ride and I am thrilled & blessed because of the sweet friendships we've built...and the awesome recipes we've been introduced to.  

Thank you all for being a very special part of this weekly linky party!

Now, let's take a quick peek back at last week...

The recipe with the most clicks was ~

Peach Crunch CakePeach Crunch Cake by Walking On Sunshine

Recipes that caught our attention ~

Chicken Alfredo CasseroleChicken Alfredo Casserole by Mommy’s Kitchen
Mini Rolo Cheesecakes with Pretzel CrustMini Rolo Cheesecakes with Pretzel Crust by That Skinny Chick Can Bake

And, a personal favorite ~

Trail Mix - Nutty, Sweet & Savory  by Thankful Expressions 

If you were featured this week, please don't forget to grab your Featured button below...

Weekend Potluck Featured

Your hostesses ~

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


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, April 18, 2013

Roasted Maple Dijon Carrots

I love cooked carrots, but hadn't thought to roast them in the oven like this, before seeing this wonderful recipe at Grandma Loy's Kitchen

Years ago, a friend taught me to 'whittle' the carrots instead of chopping them straight across.  Seems it somehow made them sweeter. (?) Yes, I know,
that just might be in my head, but I double dog dare you to try it. 

I really loved this simple glaze from Loy...two ingredients.
Maple syrup and dijon mustard.  I used sugar free syrup too and we loved it.  I'm sure it's top notch if you have pure maple syrup. 

Makes a great side dish, and you can always keep them warm in the crockpot if need be. 


8 or 9 medium carrots, peeled and chunked

(I like to 'whittle' mine)
(You may use a lb. of baby carrots too) 
1- 2 Tb. olive oil 
3 Tb. pure maple syrup
(I used our store brand of sugar free) 
1-1/2 t. dijon mustard 

Preheat oven to 350. In large bowl, combine prepared carrots with olive oil. Stir well to coat evenly.  Place in 8" X 8" baking dish. (I like lining it with nonstick foil for an easier cleanup).  Bake, uncovered, for about 45 minutes, stirring about every 15 minutes, until crisp tender. In small bowl, combine maple syrup and mustard and mix until well blended. Pour over carrots and stir until evenly coated.  Roast another 10 - 15 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes, until they reach the desired tenderness.  

Yield: 4 servings

(but I could eat atleast half in one sitting!) 


Linked to Whatcha Whipped up Wednesday
Weekend Potluck
GBP Roundup - Farmers Market Favs