Monday, December 31, 2007


We have a tradition in our home that every Friday night is "Fun Night". We rotate through the children, in birth order, and when it is "their night", they get to decide on the meal and more importantly, the dessert :) They also get to decide what we do that night for fun. They can choose a game to play, movie to watch, etc.
So, every Friday, I will post a new recipe for you from our dinner!
This past Friday it was Jacob's night. He is 5 and you never know what he will pick! He chose Stromboli and he likes it made with eggs, sausage and cheese. You can fill it with numerous different things. We have done italian, mexican, ham and cheese, etc.
First, you make your dough.
2C very warm water
4tsp yeast
5T sugar
2tsp salt
4T oil
5C flour
In a large bowl, mix water and yeast with a whisk until dissolved. Add sugar and salt. With a wooden spoon, stir in flour one cup at a time. After the 4th cup, I add the oil. It makes it easier to stir in that last cup. Beat until a soft dough forms. Cover and let rise in a warm place for 30 minutes. This will make one large stromboli.
Like I said, we have used many different varieties of fillings. The picture shows a filling with scrambled eggs, sausage, and cheese. When you are ready to assemble, roll out the dough to approximately 12X12 inch rectangle. Spread your filling over the entire surface of the dough. Fold in ends first then fold over sides. Pick it up carefully and place on your pan seam side down. Bake at 350 for 20 minutes or until golden brown. Enjoy!



Sunday, December 30, 2007

Cindy's Intro

I am Cindy, married to my sweet husband for 19 years and mom to 9 children (8 here with us and 1 with Jesus). I am so thankful for the priviledge of being a wife and mother, and serving my family is the greatest joy. I have always loved to cook and I want to pass on to my children the love of hospitality and service to others. I am always trying out new recipes and I would love to share them with you. I hope to encourage you as you seek to serve your family to the glory of God.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Chocolate Covered Cherries

A Christmas tradition still going strong
after 14 years.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Parmesan Chicken

I'm copying this recipe that Jessica originally posted on the Sew Chic blog because I never can find it over there. Seems like we rarely post on this cooking blog anymore, but I often find myself coming over to find one of my own or Jessica's tried and true recipes. This chicken Parmesan has become a favorite at my house, and now I'll be able to find the recipe easily. :) You can find Jessica's original post here.
p.s. This is really, really good!!!!

Parmesan Chicken
1 cup dry bread crumbs (needs to be a pretty fine consistency. We ground ours up in the hopper chopper)
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 tsp dried thyme
2 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
3/4 cup melted butter
2 1/2 lbs boneless skinless chicken but into 1" cubes or strips

Combine the dry ingredients in a shallow bowl. Dip the chicken in the melted butter, then roll in crumbs. Place in a greased 15 by 10" sheet pan. Bake at 400 degrees 15-20 minutes.

Serve with pasta topped with marinara sauce and mozzarella cheese and a good salad!

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

All Recipes review

All Recipes has become one of my favorite site to find recipes lately. I love how all the recipes have lots of reviews, and a lot of the reviewers give changes and suggestions to improve the recipes. One of the other neat features is that you can do an advanced search for the ingredients you have on hand, and it'll find you recipes with those ingredients in them.

Last week I searched bacon, pasta, tomatoes and spinach and came up with this fabulous recipe for Penne Pasta with Spinach and Bacon. I did end up using chicken instead of bacon, fresh tomatoes instead of canned, and spaghetti pasta instead of penne, but it still turned out delicious!

Last night was pork chop night...I was bored with all the usual ways I cook pork chops (we eat them a lot because they are so cheap here!), so I did a quick search and found this amazing recipe. Baked Pork chops with Spicy Tomato Sauce. Here's the recipe and picture... Both Justin and I thought the sauce was astonishingly different and incredibly tasty. He was quite impressed and kept asking me what the ingredients were! The only changes I made was to lightly bread the pork chops in flour and pepper before browning.


  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 thick cut boneless pork chops
  • 2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 (10 ounce) can tomato sauce
  • 1/4 cup water
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
  2. Heat olive oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. Place pork chops in the skillet, and brown about 5 minutes on each side. Remove from heat.
  3. In a small bowl, mix brown sugar, salt, pepper, and dry mustard.
  4. Arrange pork chops in a medium baking dish. Sprinkle with lemon juice, season with brown sugar mixture, and cover with tomato sauce. Pour water into the baking dish.
  5. Cover, and bake 1 hour in the preheated oven, to an internal temperature of 160 degrees F (70 degrees C).
Finally here's a great recipe for Pumpkin cookies. Last night I finished off 4 or 5 of these and could have eaten more, but alas, they were gone! Light, not too rich, and very, very yummy!


  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1 1/2 cups white sugar
  • 1 cup canned pumpkin puree
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

  • 2 cups confectioners' sugar
  • 3 tablespoons milk
  • 1 tablespoon melted butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, ground cloves, and salt; set aside.
  2. In a medium bowl, cream together the 1/2 cup of butter and white sugar. Add pumpkin, egg, and 1 teaspoon vanilla to butter mixture, and beat until creamy. Mix in dry ingredients. Drop on cookie sheet by tablespoonfuls; flatten slightly.
  3. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes in the preheated oven. Cool cookies, then drizzle glaze with fork.
  4. To Make Glaze: Combine confectioners' sugar, milk, 1 tablespoon melted butter, and 1 teaspoon vanilla. Add milk as needed, to achieve drizzling consistency.

Note: all 3 of these pictures are from the All Recipes site; they are not my own.

Need help with pan scum

First off, I want to say welcome Olla. For those of you that don't know Olla, she is my wonderful Grandmother-in-law.

Olla, I am so glad you were finally able to join us, and the pumpkin recipe looks really good. I'll have to try it soon!

Shannon at Rocks in My Dryer is having a backwards "Works for me Wednesday". Instead of giving a handy tip, everyone is asking for a tip. So if you read this blog and can help, please comment!

Here's my query. What can I do to get rid of the yucky, sticky, yellowish buildup that accumulates around the edges of my glass bake ware, cookie sheets, muffin pans, etc. Plain old soap and scrubbing isn't getting my pans clean, and it bothers me that I can't ever get my nice pans looking new again.


Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Pecan Pie Pumpkin Cake

When you can't decide whether to make a pumpkin or pecan pie, you might want to try this. I have served it several times recently and everyone enjoyed it.

2 cans (15 oz each) solid-pack pumpkin
1 can (12 oz) evaporated milk
1 c. sugar
3 eggs
1 t. vanilla
1 package yellow cake mix
1 c. butter, melted
1 1/2 c. chopped pecans

1 (8 oz) pkg. cream cheese, softened
1 1/2 c. confectioners' sugar
1 t. vanilla
1 (12 oz) carton Cool Whip

Line a 13x9x2 inch baking pan with waxed paper and coat the waxed paper with nonstick cooking spray; set aside. In a mixing bowl, combine pumpkin, milk, and sugar. Beat in eggs and vanilla. Pour carefully into prepared baking pan. Sprinkle with Dry cake mix and drizzle with melted butter. Sprinkle with pecans. Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour or until golden brown. COOL COMPLETELY in pan on a wire rack. Invert onto a large serving platter; carefully remove waxed paper. In mixing bowl, beat cream cheese, confectioners' sugar and vanilla until smooth. Fold in Cool Whip. Frost dessert. Store in refrigerator.

Sorry that I don't have a picture of this dessert. Will try to take one when I make it the next time.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Jacob's Birthday Cake

Today is Jacob's 7th birthday, and this is the cake he requested. Six months ago Jacob showed me this book and told me that he wanted this cake for his next birthday. At that time I told him to remind me because I would forget otherwise. Yes, I forgot, but Jacob remembered! Happy Birthday, Son!


Monday, October 01, 2007

Lobster Tales

Here are a couple pictures from our Boston trip. One of the most memorable evenings was the clambake and lobster dinner that we were served in Plymouth. Neither of us have had much experience with eating sea food, so eating whole lobsters with quite an experience! We both felt a little queasy by the time we were done, but it was still fun! I liked the lobster meat, but I doubt it will be something I'll crave in the future. Justin, on the other hand, shudders every time I bring up the mention of lobster. He was really grossed out. =)

Eating lobsters is really messy, and requires bibs, nutcrackers, and picks. And of course clean-up towels afterward! Personally I thought it was a lot of work and mess for a little bit of meat.

Our trip was a whirlwind... lots of fun, but quite exhausting. I got to see downtown Plymouth and a lot of the Pilgrim related history there, and we got to see downtown Boston together. We toured Paul Revere's home, several of the old Puritan and English churches, and the 1st State building. The museum displays in these old buildings were really well done...we got to see actual tea from the Boston Tea Party. It had been shaken out of the boots of one of the "Indians" and saved and passed on through the generations. It was pretty neat to see the actual places and things from when this country began so many years ago.


Menu Plan Monday

Here's this week's menu. I scribbled it out really fast earlier because I was on the way out the door to go to the grocery store, but then I realized that I didn't have any keys (we left them at your house, Mom!). So now I have time to sit down and refine my menu. I love planning out a week's worth of foods....I love anticipation in general, and my mouth waters all week when I know what yummy foods are coming up. It also makes the cooking more enjoyable when I have been looking forward to eating something all week.

Mac and Cheese

Speedy Chicken Stir Fry
This is a Kraft recipe, and it is SO good. Very easy and yummy. Here's a picture. =)

Pork green chili with tortillas

Ham sandwiches

Leftover chili

Scalloped potatoes with ham, salad, and apple crisp


Pizza--ham and pineapple

Bonny's German pancakes with buttermilk syrup and bacon

Spicy Skillet dinner with rice.
This recipe is great...I need to post it...chicken, taco seasoning, corn,
black beans and salsa served over rice with sour cream and cheese.


Monday, September 24, 2007

Menu Plan Monday

My menu planning for this week is super easy...Today we ate leftover pizza and bean burritos from the weekend, and because we will be out of town all weekend, I only have two days to plan for! It's a good thing too, because I spent half of this week's grocery money on some new shirts to wear on our trip!

Egg, Bacon, and Broccoli quiche with cantaloupe
Frozen Stuffed bell peppers with fried potatoes

Leftover quiche with cantaloupe
Pbj sandwiches

Wednesday night we set off on our grand adventure. Justin has a business trip in Boston, Ma. and I get to go with him!! Friday while he's in meetings, I plan on exploring Plymouth and absorbing as much history and New England culture as I possible can. That evening we are going to feast on a traditional New England clam bake meal, and then Saturday we have the whole day to tour Boston together. Both of us love history, and are so thrilled to get to see all the sights!


Yummy Breakfast!

Jeremy and I have made it a tradition in our family that Saturday mornings are the time to make a big, family cooked breakfast. Everyone helps and it's a lot of fun. Last Saturday we had a German pan cake (literally, a pan cake!) with homemade syrup (delicious!), fruit, and ham. Here's the recipe!


  • 6 eggs
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted

(tastes great on waffles and French toast too!)
  • 1-1/2 cups sugar
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 2 tablespoons corn syrup
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • Confectioners' sugar


In a blender, combine the eggs, milk, flour and salt; cover and process until smooth. Pour the butter into an ungreased 13-in. x 9-in. x 2-in. baking dish; add the batter. Bake, uncovered, at 400° for 20 minutes. Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, combine the first five syrup ingredients; bring to a boil. Boil for 7 minutes. Remove from the heat; stir in vanilla. Dust pancake with confectioners' sugar; serve immediately with the syrup. Yield: 8 servings (about 2 cups syrup).


  • 4 large, tart apples
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1/4 cup raisins
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice

Cut and peel apples into bite-size chunks. Melt butter in large saucepan. Add apples and cook until tender. Add raisins and brown sugar. Mix water and cornstarch. Add to saucepan. Bring to a boil and simmer 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat. Add lemon juice.

Serve with German pancake, homemade buttermilk syrup, and sliced ham.

Friday, September 21, 2007

The Cookie to Beat All Cookies

Like chocolate chips? Peanut butter? M&M's? Oatmeal? What not combine them all in a recipe that is sure to be a favorite with everyone! Oh yeah, and these are really good with milk...

My friend from church gave me this recipe, and it is truly amazing. Everyone loves these cookies. One interesting contains no flour. I guess the oatmeal take the place of flour.

I'm making a huge batch of these to take to a homeschool gathering at my parent's house tonight. I'm not technically a homeschool student anymore, but who says being a homeschooler is about age and grade level? I think it's more about the attitude toward learning. Anyway, tonight sounds like too much fun to miss... Justin is in charge of games for the kids, and fun stuff like tug of war, sack racing, and apple bobbing is in store for tonight!


Christine's Everything Cookies

1/2 c. butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1 c. + 2 T. brown sugar
3 large eggs
2 c. creamy peanut butter
3/4 t. light corn syrup
1/4 t. vanilla
4 1/2 cups oatmeal
2 t. baking soda
1/4 t. salt
1/2 to 1 c. m&m's
6 0z chocolate chips

Cream butter and sugars. Add eggs and next 3 ingredients. Beat well. Stir in oats, soda, and salt. Stir in m&m's, and chocolate chips. Dough will be stiff. Drop by large spoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheets. Bake at 350 for 8 to 12 minutes. Makes 5 dozen.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Menu Plan Monday

Hi y'all, it's been awhile since we've had any, in an attempt to keep this blog going, I'm going to start posting my menus for the week. I usually write them out and stick them on my fridge, but it's just as easy to type them here. Also, I would LOVE it if some of you other contributors on this blog started posting your menus. I could always use menu ideas!

If you like to see what other people are cooking this week, check out all the links here. Lots of great ideas.

Keep in mind, that Justin has school several nights a week, and has to eat in the car, hence the sandwiches for dinner!

Here it goes!

Leftover fried chicken sandwiches
Peanut butter sandwiches and bell pepper slices with ranch

Omelets with ham, bell peppers, and cheddar cheese
Steak, scalloped potatoes, green beans

Pre-made stuffed bell peppers from freezer with cantaloupe slices
Ham sandwiches with apple slices

Knorr pasta sides with cantaloupe slices and grapes
Beans with leftover homemade tortillas

Ham sandwiches with grapes
Potluck at Mom's house--take pigs in a blanket and cookies

Pancakes and bacon

Leftover pizza

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Enchilada tip

Those that know the Smith family, know that we LOVE enchiladas! Making them though can be time consuming and messy.

So here it know how it takes so long to fry the corn tortillas individually, but if you skip that step and just heat them in the microwave, you end up with really mushy enchiladas? My fabulous tip that I read is to take your corn tortillas and spray them individually with cooking spray/oil, put them on a cookie sheet and heat in a medium oven for a few minutes (like 3-4 minutes). The resulting tortillias will be softened and easy to work with and best of all, won't go all soggy. Saves time frying and maybe is a little healthier.

I tried it, and was pretty happy with my finished enchiladas....

Off to cook enchilada sauce!


Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Super Easy Hamburger Recipe

Really, it's pretty much like homemade hamburger helper, but hey, hamburger helper can be pretty tasty, right?

I like how this version has salsa and cheese in it...yummy!

Beef and Cheese Macaroni

1 lb lean ground beef
2 cups chunky salsa
2 cups uncooked elbow macaroni
8 oz process cheese spread (like Velveeta)

Brown meat in a large skillet; drain.

Add salsa and 1 3/4 cups water. Bring to a boil and then add macaroni. Reduce heat to a simmer, cover and cook 8 minutes or until pasta is just tender.

While pasta is cooking, cut cheese into small cubes. Add to skillet and cook, stirring frequently, until melted.

makes 6 servings.

(from Six Ingredients or Less, Families on the Go Cookbook)

Saturday, July 07, 2007

Whoopie! [Pies]

I pulled this recipe out this morning---good ol' fashioned, Amish, whoopie pies. Rumor has it that the name, whoopie pie, comes from the 'whoop' of exaltation one makes when they taste them. Whoopie!

3 of the 3+ dozen that I made....
[Large families like mine like it when the cooks make a mistake and end up having to quadruple the recipe instead of just doubling it.]

1/2 cup sugar
1/4 shortening
1 small egg
1 cup flour
1/4 cup baking cocoa
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 cup milk
3/4 tsp. lemon juice
1/2 tsp.vanilla
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 cup hot water
shortening or no-stick cooking spray

Beat sugar and shortening with electric mixer for 1 minute.
Add egg and beat again.
Combine flour, cocoa, and salt in a separate bowl.
Combine milk and lemon juice in a separate bowl.
Alternate beating the flour and milk mixtures into the sugar-shortening-egg batter until smooth.
Mix in vanilla.
Stir in backing soda into hot water in a separate bowl.
Pour water mixture into batter. Mix until smooth.

Heat oven to 400* and drop rounded teaspoons of batter onto greased cookie sheets.
Cook for 8-10 minutes.

1 egg white
1 Tbls. milk
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1 cup powdered sugar
1/4 cup plus 2 Tbls. shortening

Beat egg white until fluffy.
Add milk, vanilla, and 1/2 cup powdered sugar. Mix on low speed.
Add shortening and beat until fluffy.
Add the rest (1/2 cup) of the powdered sugar and mix.

Spread between cooled cookies. Top with another cookie to form the sandwich.

As I mentioned, I actually quadrupled this recipe, made them extra big, and ended up with 3 dozen complete pies. This recipe here is supposed to make 1 dozen.

Emily, admiring the pies

-Katie Marie

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Corny Days

Our friends, the Snyders, grow the best sweet corn! Mark and the kids have spent 5 early mornings at the Snyder's farm this past week helping them harvest their acres of corn. (I have spent each afternoon washing muddy and rain-soaked clothes!) The fresh corn has been delicious, and we ate some almost every meal last week. I don't get tired of corn on the cob!

Yesterday we spent the morning putting up approximately 4 and 1/2 bushels of corn for the freezer, and I thought I'd share some pictures. It's a good feeling to know the freezer is stocked with corn and that we will be able to enjoy it all winter long. I am grateful that the Snyders are so generous and allow us to help with the harvest.

The picture of Mark was taken in front of his corn, not the Snyder's corn. I thought about sending a camera on the corn-picking mornings, but with as much rain as we've been getting, the camera would probably have been ruined. Mark's garden has done very well this year. I think all the rain has helped! We've already been blessed with a wide variety of fresh produce this summer.

If you have a garden, I hope that it has also been producing well. If you need any cucumbers, come and get them! We have an abundance of cucumbers---I guess I could make pickles!
Oh, and if you want to hear lots of corny jokes, just ask one of the kids!

Friday, June 15, 2007

Katie Made a Cake!

Actually, Katie has made this cake twice in the last few months---it's that good! I have always liked bundt cakes, pound cakes, coffee cakes.... oh, yes, I pretty much like most any type of cake, but this Tucson Lemon Cake takes the cake. (Ok, you can laugh at that pun). This cake tastes fabulous with coffee in the morning!

I'll stop rambling now, and just give the recipe. :-)

Tucson Lemon Cake
16 servings

Cake Ingredients:
1 and 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 cup margarine, softened

3 eggs

2 and 1/2 cups flour

1 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

1 cup buttermilk

1/4 cup poppy seed
2 Tbl. grated lemon peel

2 Tbl. lemon juice

Lemon Glaze Ingredients:

Mix glaze ingredients together.

2 cups powdered sugar

1/4 cup melted margarine

2 Tbl. grated lemon peel

1/4 cup lemon juice

Heat oven to 325 degrees. Grease and flour 12-cup bundt pan or tube pan 10x4 inches. Beat sugar and margarine until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs one at a time. Mix flour, soda and salt. Beat into sugar mixture alternately with buttermilk. Stir in remaining ingredients except for glaze. Bake for 50 to 55 minutes. Immediately poke holes in cake with a long-tined fork. Pour 2/3 of the glaze over top of cake. Cool. Invert onto plate. Spread with remaining glaze.

Changes we made:

We only used 1/2 the amount of poppy seed that the recipe called for. Poppy seed is rather expensive and we decided to use less so that we could make this cake more often. Does anybody know where to get poppy seed at a good price? Can I save the seeds from poppy plants and use them in baking? I should do a bit of research on this.

We didn't have buttermilk the second time Katie made the cake, so she made her own by mixing some lemon juice with regular milk. I don't remember the ratio, but it's a standard buttermilk substitute.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Vegetables and Quiche

Check out all these pretty vegetables my dad gave me on Tuesday. Dad has a huge garden this year and his plants are just starting to explode with produce. I especially love the's so yummy!
Below is a quiche I made last week. Whenever I make quiche, I use this recipe that I found online once and heavily adapt it to my needs. I like this recipe because it never seems to fail, and it doesn't have any exotic ingredients in it. It's also sized just right for a small quiche for the two of us. For the quiche below, I added fresh tomatoes, fresh spinach, and diced onion as my meat. Note, I always add more then the 2 eggs in the recipe...usually 4 or 5.

Have a great day, friends!

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

What the World Eats

The link below is a facinating TIME photo essay that shows 15 different families from around the world and the foods they will eat in one week. It also shows how much they will spend for that food. Of the two American families shown, one spends $159 a week, and the other spends $341...the least spent is an African family. They only spend $1.23 for their food for one week.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Egg Drop Soup

Egg Drop Soup

I found out that egg drop soup is really easy to make and fun too! It's also very yummy!


  • 4 cups chicken broth or stock
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 -2 green onions, minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon white pepper
  • Salt to taste
  • A few drops of sesame oil (optional)


In a wok or saucepan, bring the 4 cups of chicken broth to a boil. Add the white pepper and salt, and the sesame oil if using. Cook for about another minute.

Very slowly pour in the eggs in a steady stream.

To make shreds, stir the egg rapidly in a clockwise direction for one minute. To make thin streams or ribbons, gently stir the eggs in a clockwise direction until they form.

Garnish with green onion and serve.

Nutritional Breakdown - 4 servings
Each serving contains: Calories 81, 2 g Carbohydrates, 8 g Protein, 4 g Total Fat, 1 g Saturated Fat, 106 mg Cholesterol, trace Fiber, 866 mg Sodium

Egg Drop Soup Variations

These would be added after the seasonings. After adding, let the soup cook for a few more minutes and then add the beaten egg.

  • 1/2 cup frozen peas.
  • If you are preparing the soup for someone who is ill, try adding a slice of fresh, grated ginger. Among its many benefits, ginger is believed to be helpful in treating colds and flue.
  • Egg Drop Soup is frequently thickened with cornstarch in restaurants. To add a cornstarch thickener, mix 2 - 3 tablespoons of cornstarch with 1/2 cup water. Just before adding the beaten egg, stir in the cornstarch/water mixture, remove the soup from the heat, and then add the beaten egg.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Wonton Soup

I've been wanting to try wanton soup for a while and I finally got up the courage to do it. I found a recipe on the internet and it turned out to be very tasty. It wasn't exactly like the wanton soup we had in China, but for being homemade with American ingredients we thought it was pretty close. If you've never had genuine Chinese food, you might think this has a bit of an odd flavor, but it's worth the try! They have many flavors in China that we do not have, so they like different tastes. They think some of our flavors are pretty strange just like we think some of their flavors are odd. For example, cheese to a Chinese person is one of the most disgusting things anyone could eat. How can American stand it!?

Wonton Soup

1/2 lb. ground pork
1 green onion (with tops), chopped
2 tsp. soy sauce
1/2 tsp. cornstarch
1/4 tsp. ground ginger
24 wonton skins

5 c. water
3 cans (10 3/4 oz. each) condensed chicken broth
3 soup cans water
1 tbsp. soy sauce
1 c. spinach, torn into sm. pieces or 1 c. watercress

Cook pork and green onions, stirring occasionally, until pork is brown; drain. Mix pork mixture, 2 teaspoons filling on center of each wonton skin. Moisten edges with water. Fold each in half to form triangle down and overlap slightly. Moisten one corner with water. Pinch to seal. (Wonton can be covered and refrigerated no longer than 24 hours.)

Heat 5 cups water to boiling in Dutch oven. Add wontons. Heat to boiling; reduce heat. Simmer uncovered 2 minutes (wonton will break apart if overcooked.) Heat chicken broth, 3 cans water and 1 tablespoon soy sauce to boiling in 3 quart saucepan. Add spinach. Heat just to boiling. Place 3 wonton and 1 cup hot broth in each soup bowl. 8 servings (about 1 cup each). 175 calories per serving.

I also found a sweet and sour vegetable recipe. It's a great way to dress up vegetables and make them tasty! This quick and easy sweet and sour recipe uses frozen Oriental vegetables and a sweet and sour sauce made with pineapple juice, brown sugar, and rice vinegar. Serve with rice, although I completely forgot to cook rice the first time I made it!


  • 2 1/4 cups (approximately) frozen Oriental vegetables
  • Sauce:
  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
  • 1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup pineapple juice
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • Other:
  • 1 tablespoon oil for stir-frying
  • 1/2 cup pineapple chunks


Mix together the sauce ingredients in a small bowl. Heat the wok and add oil. When oil is ready, add the frozen vegetables. Stir-fry until tender but not overcooked. Add pineapple chunks and sauce, giving sauce a quick re-stir.

Cook until thickened and serve hot. Serves 3 - 4, as part of a multi-course meal.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Waldorf Salad Supreme

Waldorf Salad Supreme

1 T. lemon juice

2 apples, coarsely chopped

1 c. chopped celery

1 can pineapple chunks, drained

1/2 cup grapes, cut in halves

1/2 c. pecan halves

2/3 c. mayonnaise


In mixing bowl, pour lemon juice over apples and toss to spread lemon juice.

Add all remianing ingredients and toss. Serve on lettuce leaf.
Serves 6-8

note: I cut this recipe in half, and it was perfect for the two of us.

This lovely salad recipe come from a vintage Texas cookbook, Black-Eyed Peas to Pralines, that my mother-in-law gave me. I've so enjoyed looking through the recipes...Thank you Julie!

Last week I made this recipe for a special outdoor tea-party lunch for Justin and me. We recently got a little patio set for our back porch, and have been enjoying eating outside. The weather has been so lovely lately....

Sopapilla Cheesecake Recipe

For those who's the recipe for the Sopapilla Cheesecake that I made for our Easter Sunday gathering. This is such an easy recipe, and it is a hit every time I make it.

2 8oz. packages of creams cheese, softened
1 t. Vanilla
1 stick real butter
1 1/2 c. sugar
2 cans crescent rolls
1 t. cinnamon

Preheat oven to 365 degrees.

Beat cream cheese with 3/4 c. sugar and vanilla till smooth.

Spray 9 by13" pan, spread 1 can of rolls in pan to completely cover bottom.

Spread cream cheese mixture over rolls.

Spread 2'nd can of rolls over mixture.

Melt butter. Stir in 3/4 c. sugar and cinnamon. Pour over top.

Bake 25-30 minutes, uncovered.


Monday, May 07, 2007

6 Loaves of Wheat Bread

I used to make bread every week, 6 or 7 loaves at a time, on schedule, without fail. Those days are past, but today I made bread for the first time in probably 9 months or more. The bread came out great, so I thought I'd post pictures. After today's success, I think I should get back into the routine of making bread again! The recipe I used is below.

I'm thankful I have the Bosch mixer which allows me to make 6 loaves of bread at one time, and I don't have to do the kneading. :-) I also have a Whisper Mill wheat grinder, but believe me, it grinds much louder than a whisper!

The following 2 pictures show how I shape each loaf. Basically, I just gather the dough into an oval shape, smoothing out the top as I go. I then pinch the dough together into a "seam" (can you tell I like to sew?) and then place the shaped loaf into my pan, seam side down.

Here are six loaves of bread after they have risen for about 20 minutes, ready to go into the oven.

Fresh out of the oven!

I always brush softened butter onto each loaf. It helps make the crust soft, and I think it makes the bread look pretty, too.

The finished bread, ready to eat!

Recipe: This is the recipe that I typed out for my older girls when I first taught them to make our bread years ago. The original copy is well worn, burned in one spot, discolored with oil and flour spills, and with a few changes penciled in. I plan on printing out another copy and teaching Ellen how to make the bread. At 11 years old she'll do just fine.

Basic Bread The Smith Way

6 cups hot tap water
2/3 cup oil
2/3 cup honey
4 tablespoons quick-rise yeast
freshly ground whole wheat flour---lots of it
2 eggs (optional, but I did use them in the bread pictured)

Mix the above ingredients all together in the Bosch bowl. (Measure the oil before the honey so that the honey will come out of the measure cup easily). Let the mixture "sponge" for 10 mintues or until bubbly. (You can be grinding the rest of your wheat during this time).

2-3 tablespoons of salt
3 tablespoons of dough enhancer (I didn't have any, so I omitted it).
2 tablespoons of vital gluten (I also omitted this).

Mix briefly, then add more flour as the mixer is running. Add enough flour until the dough cleans the sides of the bowl. The dough will feel more sticky than not sticky, but not too sticky. :-)

Note: I added about 1-1/2 cups of white flour in this batch because I like the taste and texture better than if I use 100% whole wheat.

Knead for 4 minutes on speed 2, or longer if you think it needs more.

Grease your pans (I use a non-stick spray).

Spread a little oil on your hands and on the counter, and then take the dough out of the mixer. Shape into 6 or 7 loaves and place loaves in pans. Let rise until doubled, about 20 minutes. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and then put bread into oven. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes until golden brown. When the bread is finished, turn the loaves onto a cooling rack and brush with butter.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

"Firebell" Stuffed Peppers

Justin and I really enjoy eating stuffed bell peppers. The recipe below is from my Betty Crocker cookbook, and we really like it.
Yesterday though, I tweaked the recipe to create these spicy "firebell" stuffed peppers. I used spicy sausage in place of the ground beef, red bell peppers instead of green ones, and cheddar cheese in place of mozzarella cheese. I liked how they came out so bright, and the spicy flavor of the sausage was great!

Here is the original recipe from my cookbook... I usually half it for us.

Stuffed Peppers
6 large bell peppers
1 lb lean ground beef
2 T. Chopped onion
1 C. cooked rice
1 t. salt
1 clove garlic, minced
1 can (15oz) tomato sauce
1 C. shredded mozzarella cheese

Cut thin slice from stem end of each bell pepper to remove top. If necessary cut a thin slice from the bottom so that they stand upright. Or (this is what I do), cut them in halves lengthwise to have "open-faced" stuffed peppers. Remove seeds and membranes; rinse peppers. Blanche peppers for 5 minutes in boiling water.

In 10in. skillet, cook beef and onion over medium heat until beef is browned. Drain. Stir in rice, salt, garlic, and tomato sauce. Cook until hot.

Heat oven to 350.

Stuff peppers with beef mixture. Place in an ungreased glass baking dish. Cover with foil and bake 30 minutes. Sprinkle with cheese and bake a few minutes longer until cheese is melted.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Vacuum Cleaner Giveaway

5 Minutes for Mom is giving away a Dyson Slim Vacuum, and all you have to do to enter the drawing is to sign "Mr. Linky" and then link to the contest page like I've done here.

Over the years, having 5 girls in the house with heads full of long hair has been hard on our vacuum cleaners. Just imagine all that long hair on the floors, in the carpets--everywhere. I've yet to find a vacuum cleaner that I like (and can afford!) that doesn't die a quick death over long hair. I wonder how the Dyson vacuums handle long hair? For that matter, I wonder how they would handle all the fabric scraps and threads all over my sewing room carpet? Maybe my name will be the one (of over 1300) chosen in a drawing for the free Dyson vacuum. How cool would that be?!


Saturday, March 17, 2007

Angel Food and Cool Whip

Angel Food cake box mix, Cool Whip, food coloring, and sprinkles if desired...The result? A festive, delicious, and quick birthday cake.

Yes, it's just a box Angel Food cake, but the topping makes it special--even though it's supremely easy. For years I've watched my mom mix food coloring (and maybe a bit of vanilla or almond flavoring) up with Cool Whip, and top in on the Angel Food cake with a spatula. However, yesterday for Jessica's birthday, I made and topped it myself. That proved to be even more fun than watching. No wonder my mom likes to make this cake every chance she gets!

A few weeks prior to almost every birthday in the Smith house, this conversation takes place:

Mom (Ruth): What kind of cake do you want for your birthday?
Child: Umm...I don't know.
Mom: Angel Food Cake with whipped cream?!
Child: No!!
The truth is, we kids don't abhor this cake. However, it's only keeping up with tradition in our house to deny that we appreciate it. :-) As the story continues, usually mom manages to fit her absolute favorite kind of cake--Angel Food with Cool Whip-- into every Smith birthday. I'm sure we would miss it if she didn't. :P

-Katie Marie, 3rd born to Ruth, favorite sister to Jessica

Friday, March 02, 2007

Ode to Toast

"When the girl returned, some hours later, she carried a tray, with a cup of fragrant tea steaming on it; and a plate piled up with very hot buttered toast, cut thick, very brown on both sides, with the butter running through the holes in it in great golden drops, like honey from the honeycomb. The smell of that buttered toast simply talked to Toad, and with no uncertain voice; talked of warm kitchens, of breakfasts on bright frosty mornings, of cosy parlour firesides on winter evenings, when one's ramble was over and slippered feet were propped on the fender, of the purring of contented cats, and the twitter of sleepy canaries."

--Kenneth Grahame,
The Wind in the Willows

Friday, January 26, 2007

Tuna Medley

Tuna Medley is one of my favorite lunches to make. It's fast, easy, filling, frugal, and it beats tuna-fish sandwiches any day! I'm not a huge fan of tuna, especially tuna sandwiches, but this is really good.
Normally it's best as a summer lunch because it's a cold dish, but I like it anytime.

Basically I boil whole grain spiral or mararoni style pasta till cooked and then drain. Then I mix in the following ingredients to taste. The whole mixture is chilled till cool and eaten as a main dish or as a side salad.

Miracle Whip

Canned tuna (yesterday I used 2 cans, but often I just use one)

Lemon juice
Chedder cheese, grated
Fresh vegetables--these can be anything. In yesterday's version I went simple and just used frozen peas and chopped up carrots. Other ideas that work well are frozen mixed vegetables, celery, red cabbage sliced thinly, diced onions, cucumbers, diced tomatoes, bell peppers etc.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Old Country Baked Spaghetti

If ever I had to choose just one recipe that is our family's favorite meal, it would have to be this baked spaghetti. Years ago I received the recipe from a friend named Carol. If I recall, she got it from The Old County Italian Restaurant in Denver. (I did a google search for the restaurant but did not get any results, so I don't know if it's still in business or not).

~Old Country Baked Spaghetti, ready to be baked in the oven~

I don't have the original recipe anymore, and I'm sure that the baked spaghetti I make today is something far different from the recipe I made 10 years ago. :-) It doesn't make any difference how I make it, it's always a favorite meal!

Old Country Baked Spaghetti

I don't measure the ingredients, but just throw it all together, depending on how much I'm making.

spaghetti or fetticcine noodles, cooked al dente (I used fetticcine today).
butter (approx. 1 stick for 2 pounds of uncooked noodles)
garlic powder
cottage cheese
parsley flakes
grated parmesan cheese
grated mozzarella cheese
other cheeses (optional) I usually put in a handful of cheddar or fiesta blend, just for color.

Mix the above ingredients together, place in baking dish, and bake until hot. Well, I used to layer the ingredients in the baking dish, the same way you layer lasagna. Anymore I just mix everything together before placing it in the pan. You can do it either way.

Serve with your favorite spaghetti sauce, bread, and a salad. I rarely buy bottled spaghetti sauce, and today was no exception. My sauce consists of canned tomato paste, canned diced tomatoes, water, garlic, salt, Italian spices, oregano, and either browned ground beef or meatballs. I like to make my sauce early in the day and let it simmer until dinner time.

Ellen told me that I should not share this "secret family recipe" here. Well, here it is! If you make this recipe, please let me know how you like it!


Monday, January 22, 2007

Free Food Magazine

Last week I received the current edition of the Food and Family magazine from Kraft Foods. Yes, this glossy magazine comes in the mail--the real mail--and it is free. I have been pleased with every issue I've received, and this one is no exception. The theme for the current issue is "our very best" --recipes from past issues, I believe.

We have already made the delicious mini meatloaves pictured on page 24, and there are several other recipes I plan to make. Oh, and I must mention that each issue always includes yummy-looking favorite kind of food!

Anybody who signs up at can receive their own subscription to this great magazine.


Monday, January 08, 2007

Raspberry Streusel Muffins

I made these muffins as a special treat last night, and they were so wonderful. I've never bought fresh raspberries before this, but they make the most delightful addition to muffins. This recipe, found at, is light and moist, not too sweet, and topped with an oatmeal crumble. These were perfect for dinner, and again for breakfast this morning!

Raspberry Streusel Muffins

Makes: 12-18


1/2 cup butter or margarine, softened
1/2 cup sugar
1 egg
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup fresh or frozen raspberries

1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup quick-cooking oats
3 tablespoons sugar
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons cold butter or margarine


In a mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy; beat in egg. In a small bowl, mix sour cream, milk and vanilla. Combine dry ingredients; stir into creamed mixture alternately with sour cream mixture just until moistened. Gently fold in raspberries. Fill greased or paper-lined muffin cups two-thirds full. Combine flour, oats, sugar, cinnamon and salt; mix well. Cut in the butter until crumbly. Sprinkle over muffins. Bake at 400 degrees F for 18-22 minutes or until muffins test done. Cool in pan 10 minutes before removing to a wire rack.

Bar-b-que Chicken Pizza

Bonny, your black bean pizza sounds really good. Justin looooooves pizza, so I'm always looking for something new to put on it. Here's the pizza I made last weekend...

This is a super easy, fast pizza especially if you have leftover chicken...we happened to have leftover grilled chicken, so that made it especially yummy.

Basically I just made a pizza crust dough as usual, prebaked it and then topped the crust with a layer of bbq sauce. Next came 2/3 of the chopped chicken, then handfulls of mozzarella cheese, the rest of the chicken coated with sauce, and a bit more cheese sprinkled on top. Bake until cheese is melted and crust is browned.


I tried a new recipe!

Black Bean Pizza

    I wanted to try something new, so I looked for a simple recipe that called for the ingredients I had on hand and I found this one in my Taste of Home book. It was very tasty! My husband and I enjoyed the mild flavor and healthy alternative to regular pizza. We still have leftovers for today!


  • 1 tube (10 ounces) refrigerated pizza crust
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped zucchini
  • 1 can (15 ounces) black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 can (14-1/2 ounces) Italian diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 1-1/2 cups (6 ounces each) shredded Mexican cheese blend*, divided

  • Directions:
Press dough into a greased 15-in. x 10-in. x 1-in. baking pan. Bake at 425° for 4-6 minutes or until crust just begins to brown.
Meanwhile, in a skillet, saute the onion and garlic in oil until tender. Add zucchini; cook and stir for 1 minute. Add the beans and tomatoes; bring to a boil. Boil, uncovered, for 2 minutes; drain. Sprinkle 2/3 cup of cheese over crust. Top with bean mixture and remaining cheese. Bake 8-10 minutes longer or until crust is browned and cheese is melted. Yield: 15-20 servings. Editor's Note: A combination of Monterey Jack and cheddar cheeses may be substituted for the Mexican-blend cheeses.

I made some yummy treats for Christmas, but never got around to posting them. I have mono and my ability to cook much comes and goes (just something I'm learning to live with). I've missed making homemade bread and Chinese steamed buns. I'm waiting till I get some bamboo steamers before I make the Chinese buns again. They are SO delicious! Everyone loves them! I'll share a recipe as soon as I make them again.

Happy Cooking!