Friday, November 28, 2014

Cherry Pie Cookies

Oh my goodness, get out of town, these cookies are delish!

There weren't any notable dishes or recipes in the cooking magazine we just got in the mail until the very last pages, when hubby spotted the ad for Lucky Leaf Cherry Pie filling.  The ad featured a plateful of delicious looking cookies and a recipe for Cherry Pie Cookies.

We all love cherries, so I tried the recipe right away, and then made them again for Thanksgiving.  The cookies were a big hit and now they are a new family favorite.

The easy to bake cookies are almost magical...their disappearing act is amazing.

Cherry Pie Cookies
by Lucky Leaf

Makes 2 dozen cookies
Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.

1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup margarine, softened
2 cups flour
3/4 cup powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1 (21 oz) can of cherry pie filling
1/2 cup white chocolate chips or milk chocolate chips (I used Wilton candy melts)

Mix butter and margarine until fluffy.  Add flour, powdered suage and vanilla just until combined and soft dough is formed.

Roll the dough into two-inch balls.  Place on greased baking sheet or baking sheet lined with parchment paper.  Press thumb into center of cookie to make a well.  Place cherries into each cookie.

Bake for 12-15 minutes.  Allow cookies to cool.

Melt chocolate according to package directions.  Drizzle over cookies.  Let chocolate set and serve immediately or store in an airtight container.

Notes:  I made my balls a little smaller than the recipe calls for, about 1 1/2 in., and did not push down the center so the cookie does not get to thin in the center and break.  I placed 3 cherries in each cookie, and came up a bit short on cherries.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Shredded Chicken Sandwiches

Shredded chicken sandwiches are a regional dish of Ohio and are served at potlucks, concession stands, parties and even restaurants. 

These sandwiches cook up super fast with my new Instapot, but you can also cook the chicken in a regular pressure cooker, crock pot, or start with a rotisserie chicken or canned chicken for a quick and yummy dinner.   

Shredded Chicken Sandwiches:
Make a gravy with about 1/4 cup of flour, 1 can of chicken broth, and 1 can cream of chicken soup 
Add 1-2 lbs. cooked shredded chicken
1-2 sleeves of ritz crackers (crushed), season to taste
Serve warm on buns with a slice of American cheese

To cook the chicken in a Instapot or pressure cooker:
Add 1 can of chicken broth and chicken, (about 5 breasts or 2 lb of tenders) to pressure cooker.  Season.
Use the poultry setting or pressure cook for 15 minutes.
Remove chicken from pot and shred.  In the pot make a gravy using the Saute setting.
Stir in crackers and chicken, serve warm on bun with a slice of American cheese.

You can make these quick sandwiches at home to enjoy anytime you need a quick meal, or just craving a bit of the Midwest. 

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Double Chocolate Banana Bread

Sixty four cents for a bag of ripe bananas, "yes, please!"

The best way I know of to use ripe bananas is to whip up a batch of yummy banana bread.  But instead of the typical banana bread, I wanted to try adding chocolate.  I was dreaming of a full blown deliciously moist chocolate and chocolate chip banana bread.  mmmm, mmmm.

This is one of those rare recipes that came together on the first try, and oh, is it soooo good.  So easy, and so chocolatey you will want to run to the produce department for marked down bananas :)

Double Chocolate Banana Bread
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Spray a 9 x 5 bread pan with butter flavored cooking spray. 

Mix the following until blended:
1/2 cup melted butter
1/2 cup brown sugar packed
2 eggs
2 1/3 cup mashed bananas
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp baking soda
1/8 cup plus 1 Tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 cup sour cream
1/4 tsp salt

1 1/2 cup flour
Fold in:
1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips

Pour into prepared pan and bake for 1 hour and 10 minutes or until a cake tester or knife inserted into the center comes out clean.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Yay! :: Boo! Crockpot Labeling...and Crockpot Fail

One of those grab and go genius moments.

I was thinking of a way to label my crockpot with the kind of soup I was making for our church potluck.  It was time to leave and still no label, so I grabbed a dry erase marker and wrote on my crockpot lid. Yay!  The label stayed put all through our potluck lunch, and wiped off easily once I got home.


And for the Boo! part, well, lets just say my crockpot's plastic handle did not like my barbeque too much.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Mother-in-Law's Coming to Dinner Chicken

Don't you just love the name of this recipe? I've been putting off posting this recipe until I got a good photo, but this chicken always disappears way to fast...and this recipe is too good not to share!

One of my most asked for recipes is not mine, it's from my friend Sharon Morgan, who got it from her friend Loretta Trafton.  So glad this generous lady shared her recipe.  I use it when I'm making lots of food for company, to take to a sick friend or when my family requests it.  For three pounds of chicken tenders, this recipe takes me about 1 hour to prepare and 1 hour to bake, but it always turns out soooo gooood.  A no fail family favorite :)

Mother-in-Law's Coming to Dinner Chicken

2 eggs and 1 cup milk, beat with a fork
Italian seasoned bread crumbs (about 2-3 cups)
Japanese style seasoned Panko (optional, about 1 cup)
2 cups of chicken broth
grated Parmesan cheese (not the kind that is powdered)
vegetable oil for pan frying (I sometimes use 2 pans or change the oil halfway)
3 lbs of chicken tenders

preheat vegetable oil, enough to cover the bottom of your pan to about 1/2 inch.

  • Fry chicken breast strips that have been dipped in egg/milk mixture and coated in seasoned bread crumbs.
  • Brown lightly on both sides. Remove from pan and drain on paper towel, then line them up in a baking dish.
  • Pour chicken broth over them until broth is about 1/2 to 3/4 way to the top of the chicken.
  • Heavily sprinkle parmesan cheese over chicken.
  • Cover with foil and bake at 350 for 45 minutes. Uncover and bake 15 minutes more.

Allow to rest 10-15 minutes, the chicken will absorb the chicken broth.

Here are few more pictures to show you how I prepare Mother-in-Law's Coming to Dinner Chicken.

egg milk mixture on left, breaded chicken on right
preheat oil, cook chicken on both sides then drain on paper towels

ready for the over  :)

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Easy Light Baked Potato Soup


Middle of a winter snow storm, baked potato soup was the request for dinner but I didn't have any of my go to ingredients like bacon.  So I tried making the soup anyway, minus the bacon, and minus the onion, and realized my baked potato soup didn't have any flavor.  (Insert lightbulb going off).. so I added a jar of Bertolli Light Alfredo Sauce, and my soup came together effortlessly. 

Wow!  everyone liked my soup, and it's lower in fat than my loaded bake potato soup. This recipe is so quick and easy we may never eat the full fat version again.

This recipe makes a very thick soup, about 5 servings. Add a bit more milk if you want it thinner. 

Souper  Easy Baked Potato Soup
8 medium potatoes
3 cups skim milk
1 Tablespoon butter
1/4 cup flour plus 2 Tablespoons
1 jar Bertolli Light Alfredo Sauce
Cheddar cheese for garnish
season to taste with:
1/2 teaspoon garlic
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
Optional: onion, bacon
Note: you can substitute instant potatoes for some of the flour to help thicken the soup.

Rinse the potatoes and poke with a fork or knife then cook in microwave until done.  I like to cook the potatoes in 2 batches, so about 8 minutes on high power to cook 4 potatoes.  Allow potatoes to cool, remove skins and rough chop into 3/4 inch pieces.

To a large saucepan add butter, flour and milk and stir with a spoon.  Add potatoes, alfredo sauce, and season to taste with garlic and black pepper.

On Medium high heat, stir until hot and thickened.  You must stir this soup constantly or the bottom will scorch.

The star of this recipe, Bertolli Light Alfredo Sauce

Monday, January 6, 2014

Our Eccentric Projects - Making Hats for Chemotherapy Patients and My New Sewing Addiction

My niece Michelle from Africa was visiting this summer and shared with us her love for knitting and crocheting.  She knits squares for a charity called Knit-a-Square where knit or crocheted squares are used to make blankets for abandoned babies, children, and AIDS orphans in Southern Africa. She got my Mom and Aunt "hooked" and they are all making loads and loads of squares.  It warms my heart knowing their blankets are helping to keep babies warm.  Yes, it gets cold in Africa.

Over Christmas break my neighbor Juanita shared with me some pictures of hats she is making for chemotherapy patients.  Her hats are being snapped up at Hope Boutique in Columbus, Ohio, because they are comfortable, colorful, soft and beautiful.

All of these women inspired me to get busy, so I dusted off my crochet needles, bought lots of yarn and jumped in making chemotherapy hats.

The Cancer Research Center in Lancaster, Ohio, where I dropped off my first batch of hats, had lots of crocheted hats but they desperately need headbands and sewn hats.

With my first check from this blog ($85) and a few extra bucks thrown in, I was able to purchase a sewing machine online at a reasonable price.  I am supposed to receive it tomorrow.  I hope it works, because I purchased a lot of material to sew hats and headbands.

Quick Update: I love my new sewing machine, and I have been sewing up quite a few hats. I'll have to write more later.  I gave my neighbor some hats for Hope Boutique and the report back was that every single hat was gone almost as soon as they were put out.  Wow!  Here is a picture of my favorite of the sewn hats so far, a pink camo hat that is super soft and comfy.

My fav hat so far, pink camo hat

I lost track of how many hats and headbands I've donated or given away, somewhere around 75. So, to supplement my new sewing addiction I've started selling hats in my Etsy store, AllThingsBlooming.

Here are my crocheted hats.  I am sharing my pattern for the easy flapper hat inspired by Downtown Abbey with you and a quick and easy headband (below).  The other hats were made from free patterns available online.
Downtown Abbey inspired Hats, pattern below

First batch of crochet hats dropped off at the Cancer Research Center in Lancaster, Ohio


Child sized Polar bear hat pattern from Repeat Crafter Me

Downtown Abbey Inspired Flapper Hat Pattern with Bow

DC = Double Crochet
Gauge: 2" width = 6 stitches,  2" height = 3 rows
Crochet hook = I-9, 5.5

Notes: Increase rows 1-8 only.  First 10 rows main color, 3 rows accent color (stitch in back loop if you want a decorative line in your crochet, as shown above), Rows 15-16 1 row main color and 1 row single crochet main color to finish.

Row 1,  Magic ring, 11 DC, join, chain 2
Row 2,  2 DC each, join, chain 2 (22 DC)
Row 3,  2 DC, 1 DC, repeat, join, chain 2 (33 DC)
Row 4,  2 DC, 1 DC, 1 DC, repeat, join, chain 2 (44 DC)
Row 5,  2 DC, 10 DC, repeat, join, chain 2 (48 DC)
Row 6,  2 DC, 11 DC, repeat, join, chain 2 (52 DC)
Row 7,  2 DC, 12 DC, repeat, join, chain 2 (56 DC)
Row 8,  2 DC, 13 DC, repeat, join, chain 2 (60 DC)
Rows 9-15 DC, join, chain 2 (60 DC)
Row 16 single crochet each, join, fasten off

For bow:
Notes: Make a rectangle then wrap yarn around the center to make a bow

Row 1:  single chain 14, turn
Row 2:  Double chain 12, turn, chain 2
Row 3:  Double chain 12, turn, chain 2
Row 4:  Single crochet all around entire rectangle to give it a finished edge

Weave yarn to center edge and pinch rectangle to make a bow.  Wind yarn around several times to keep bow pinched then with a darning needle, sew bow to hat around center adding more yarn to center.  Sew corners to hat if desired, fasten off.

Here's a quick and easy crocheted headband I made this morning while waiting for everyone to wake up.

Easy Crochet Headband Pattern

DC = Double Crochet
SC = Single Crochet
Gauge: 2" width = 6 stitches,  2" height = 3 rows
Crochet hook = I-9, 5.5 

Main color yarn: Vanna's Choice Oatmeal
Accent color yarn: Black, Soft Red Heart

Row 1:  Single chain 66 (measure your head to see if it fits, will stretch a bit), join
Row 2:  SC each, join, chain 2 (65 SC)
Row 3:  DC each, join, chain 2 (65 SC)
Row 4:  DC each, join, chain 2 (65 SC)
Row 5:  DC each, join, chain 2 (65 SC)
Row 6:  DC each, join, chain 2 (65 SC)
Row 7:  DC each, join, chain 1 (65 SC)
Row 8: half double crochet each to finish, fasten off.  

And just for hat when I work son's Happy Puppy food cart.

Dear son and hubby said they wouldn't wear one, lol.
 Pattern from Repeat Crafter Me, see link for polar bear hat above