Monday, December 15, 2008

Peanut Butter Blossoms

No need to reinvent the wheel on this one. I got the recipe off of Who can resist these babies at Christmas? These are a definite fave around here!
Yes- we are already missing a couple of cookies. Quality control was on top of things today;-)

. 48 HERSHEY'S KISSES Brand Milk Chocolates
. 1/2 cup shortening (I use butter flavored)
. 3/4 cup REESE'S Creamy Peanut Butter
. 1/3 cup granulated sugar
. 1/3 cup packed light brown sugar
. 1 egg
. 2 tablespoons milk
. 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
. 1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
. 1 teaspoon baking soda
. 1/2 teaspoon salt
. Granulated sugar

1. Heat oven to 375°F. Remove wrappers from chocolates. 2. Beat shortening and peanut butter in large bowl until well blended. Add 1/3 cup granulated sugar and brown sugar; beat until fluffy. Add egg, milk and vanilla; beat well. Stir together flour, baking soda and salt; gradually beat into peanut butter mixture. 3. Shape dough into 1-inch balls. Roll in granulated sugar; place on ungreased cookie sheet. 4. Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until lightly browned. Immediately press a chocolate into center of each cookie; cookie will crack around edges. Remove from cookie sheet to wire rack. Cool completely. About 4 dozen cookies.

Possibly the Best Ever, Banana Bread

There is no way around it. This banana bread is dang good. I have tried countless other recipes but my family always complains and asks for this one again. I have to agree with them. Usually, I make this into muffins (easier for the kids to manage & to send to work/school) but today Quinn requested that I make the actual bread. If you want to make muffins, just cut the baking time in about half and make sure your toothpick comes out clean!


1/2 c. butter

1 1/2 c. sugar

2 eggs

3 bananas (Mashed, unless you use an electric mixer like me. Then you can just pulverise them when you mix them in;-)
1 tsp. vanilla (I think it is worth it to splurge on the real thing, not imitation)
2 c. flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 c. buttermilk (I almost never have buttermilk on hand. An awesome substitute is to put 1/2 Tbsp. white vinegar in 1/2 c. measuring cup and fill the rest of the way with milk. Leave sit for 5 minutes & you will never know the difference!)


Microwave butter until nice and soft. Cream with sugar. Add eggs, banana, and vanilla and mix until well blended (preferably with an electric mixer of some sort). Add flour, baking soda, and cinnamon and mix well. Add buttermilk and mix until well combined. Pour into greased loaf pan. Bake at 350* for 1 hour.

Not the Original, Chex Mix

I combined a couple of different recipes on this one & changed things to my taste, so I am claiming it dang it!
3 c. Corn Chex
3 c. Wheat Chex
3 c. Rice Chex
2 c. Pretzel Sticks
2 c. Mixed Nuts
2 c. Mini Garlic Flavored Bagel Chips
1 1/2 Sticks Butter (yup, that is 3/4 cup baby)
4 tsp. minced garlic
3 Tbsp. Worcestershire Sauce
12 shakes hot sauce
1 1/2 tsp. Seasoned Salt
1/2 tsp. onion powder
Combine first 6 ingredients in a HUGE bowl.
Place remaining ingredients in microwave-safe bowl and cook until butter is melted. Mix well, then drizzle over chex mixture, stirring as you go to evenly coat.
Transfer mixture onto 1 very large, or 2 regular sized, baking sheets. Bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes and give it a stir every 15-20 minutes. Let cool. Store in an airtight container.

Italian Casserole

I decided that my blog will be a great place for me to keep track of recipes my family likes, not to mention sharing them with all of you! I LOVE to cook, so I foresee lots of recipes on this page. Maybe now I will be able to locate those recipes my family likes, but I inevitably seem to lose track of (the consequence of all of my culinary adventures). You will find that some of my recipes are complicated, and others are incredibly simple. Likewise, some are very health-conscious and others are an abomination by health food standards.

The first recipe I would like to share is very easy & one my whole family really likes. I actually made it twice! It is also fairly good for you. I like to pair it with a delicious salad with low-fat dressing. It made quite a filling meal!

Italian Casserole

main meals
POINTS® Value: 8
Servings: 8

If you don't want to buy a container of Ricotta for a mere 1/2 cup usage in this recipe, just use a full cup of sour cream and skip the Ricotta. I did the second time around & thought it was still very good.


4 oz low-fat Swiss cheese
4 oz light sour cream
4 oz part-skim ricotta cheese
26 oz bottled pasta sauce
2 tbsp grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup(s) onion(s)
1/2 tsp ground oregano
1/2 tsp garlic salt
1 tsp dried parsley
8 oz reduced-fat crescent roll dough
1 pound(s) cooked extra lean ground beef
1 tbsp Fleischmann's Light Soft Spread


Brown ground beef with onion, garlic salt and oregano. Add pasta sauce and cook 5-7 minutes or until thickened. Mix ricotta, sour cream, parsley flakes and swiss cheese. Spray a 9x13 pan with PAM, pour meat mixture into the bottom. Top with the ricotta mixture. Unroll crescent roll dough and place on top stretching to fit as needed. Melt margarine and brush on top of roll dough. Sprinkle with parmesan cheese and bake at 375 for 20-25 minutes or until lightly browned.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Winter Wonderland

Our weekend was filled with all things Christmas. We started it off early Saturday morning by watching Quinn's dress rehearsal for the Christmas program at our church. He has a solo in 'Away in a Manger' and is dressed as an angel. I must say, he made an adorable angel;-) I have been practicing his solo with him all week, but I was convinced he would panic when he actually had to do it IN FRONT OF PEOPLE. He is definitely a shy child when put on the spot. When they made him walk front and center I thought for sure he would hide his face and whisper his part. I am happy to say...I was wrong! He sang his little heart out! Unfortunately, the Christmas program was cancelled this morning due to the Blizzard, so we will have to wait until Wednesday for the performance.

After the practice we headed over to the mall to visit with Santa. We got there a bit before Santa so we took the opportunity to go get some ideas for The Man in Red at Target.

Yes- Grace has chocolate or something circling her mouth. Oh well, she wouldn't be Grace if she was all clean & stuff, now would she?

While we were waiting to see Santa Grace kept trying to go in front of the other kids to talk with Santa. Apparently, they are fast friends. When it was FINALLY our turn Grace hopped right up on his lap and told him that she wanted Binoculars. What?! What happened to the horse she wanted yesterday? This definitely took the cake as the oddest Santa request that has come out of any of my kids. Quinn clammed up and wouldn't tell Santa what he wanted at first. Grace came to the rescue and informed Santa that Quinn wanted Transformers. Once Grace got the ball rolling Quinn was able to elaborate on his Transformers request. Kade said he wanted Havoc Heli Laser Battle Helicopters.

After the Santa visit while we were waiting for our picture CD Grace wandered off. Where was she you wonder? Why, she was visiting with Santa again, of course! Santa was a little curious where her parents were though. Once we recovered her we were discussing where to go for lunch and Grace said, "SANTA! DO YOU WANT TO GO HAVE LUNCH WITH US?" in her loudest screaming voice. Once we told her Santa was busy she said, "Oh. SANTA! WHAT DO YOU WANT US TO BRING YOU FOR LUNCH?"

Grace, Grace, Grace. What would we have done without you making our lives so colorful?

Today the kids made, or should I say, decorated, a Gingerbread House. It was a fun, but messy project. Especially once they got bored with the 'prepackaged' decorations and broke out the fine sugar sprinkles.

Jumping on the Blogwagon

Hmmm. Me? A blogger? Maybe I will give it a shot since it seems like I am the only one WITHOUT one these days. Besides, I ran out of photo space on facebook so how will I show off my rugrats?

Maybe after dinner tonight I will even write about something.