Thursday, October 30, 2008

Halloween Breakfast

Alright, I know that we've been posting a lot this week. I just wanted to add this cute idea for a halloween breakfast. A few weeks ago when I got out my halloween decorations, my kids found two tins that you put tea lights in with pumpkin faces. They found the tea lights, brought them to the kitchen and put them on the table so we could have a candlelight breakfast. I thought it was so cute, that I decided that we're going to start a tradition of having a candlelight breakfast on Halloween. The other day I made these pancakes for my boys. They've been eating so much cereal lately that I decided I should make them a good breakfast. I used Bisquick just added food coloring. They loved it and there wasn't one pancake left. I was lucky to have gotten some for myself. I thought it would be fun to have different toppings for them to make a jack-o-lantern face, but I hadn't planned that far. You could use any kind of fruit for that! Tomorrow I will be making ghost pancakes with chocolate chips for the eyes, that should be a hit! Hope you all have a wonderfully spooky halloween!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Halloween Night Menu

This is my all-time favorite stew recipe. It is perfect for Halloween night. I will put everything into the slow cooker in the morning and cook it on low for 8 hours. I want it ready by 5:00 so that we can eat before the community Trunk or Treat at 6:00. This Hearty Beef Stew is amazing. McCormick has got me hooked on this one. They've got all the yummy flavors you want in your beef stew in this package pictured below. So if you are wondering what to do for dinner halloween night, give this stew a try. It will not dissapoint you. All the instructions are on the package. It calls for 2 lbs. stew beef, cut into 1-inch cubes, 5 cups cut-up fresh veggies, such as carrots, celery, onions and potatoes, 1 1/3 cups water, and 1 pkg. McCormick Seasoning for Beef Stew. It is so simple and delicious! Give it a try!

I have got to have rolls with my Beef Stew. Prudy's Honey Whole Wheat Rolls are a must. They are sweet, light, healthy, & perfect for soaking up the last of my stew. Find the recipe here: . Thanks Prudy, for sharing your recipes!

Can't forget about dessert! Pictured are my favorite Sour Cream Sugar Cookies. Unfortunately these aren't my halloween decorated ones, because I will be making them tomorrow. I love decorating sugar cookies for halloween. They are perfect for my 3 year old. After the Trunk or Treat we will come home and decorate Giant Pumpkin Sugar Cookies with yummy Cream Cheese frosting, sprinkles and candy corn, while watching Michael Jackson Music Videos. We love watching Thriller for Halloween. We don't let the little ones watch the scary monster's a little too scary. This is really the only time of year that we whip these out. It's become a halloween tradition. My 3 year old loves to dance to Michael Jackson music. His favorite is Smooth Criminal and he loves to mimick the dancing. He's getting pretty good. His Uncle Matt would be very proud of him. Matt is the one who gave me my music videos years ago. He can do the moonwalk, and he even dressed up as Michael Jackson one year for Halloween. It was the year of my first Halloween party back when I was still single. My parents were kind enough to have the party at their house. It was a rockin' party! My brother was the DJ, and we had a great turnout. I was Tina Turner with a huge fro wig with crazy go-go boots. It was awesome! I probably could talk about halloween parties all day, but I won't continue to bore you. Just make sure you make these awesome cookies. They are soft and sweet!
Sour Cream Sugar Cookies
Cream together:
1 cup shortening
1 1/2 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 cup sour cream
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp Almond extract
Stir in:
4 cups flour
1 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
Roll out dough to 1/4 inch thick. Bake on greased cookie sheet at 350 degrees for 10 minutes.
Frost with your favorite icing colored orange. Decorate with halloween sprinkles, candy corns, m&m's, chocolate chips, whatever! Yum!

Monday, October 27, 2008

Halloween Party Time!!!

Well, the day that we look forward to all year has now come and gone. I even had a hard time sleeping the night before because I was so excited. It felt like Christmas Eve. Call me crazy, but I just live for these Halloween Parties. My husband and I started this tradition 3 years ago. This was our 4th Annual Halloween Party. I can't take all the credit, because my amazing and creative husband is the brains behind most of this. He sure knows how to throw a party and have fun! We throw this bash for both sides of our family. It is a great family tradition for us. Sometimes this is the only time that our families see each other, so it is a great reunion. We have a rule at our Halloween Party that you must dress up, or you are not fed! We get the best costumes, and they get even better over the years. We all want to out-do each other. We also keep our costumes a secret from each other. That makes it a lot of fun. We had a Medieval theme for our party this year. My husband dressed up as Merlin, I was Guenevere, my 3 year old was Lancelot and our little 1 year old was King Arthur. This post is all about our Halloween party. Hopefully this will give you some ideas for your own halloween bash, spooky food, a medieval b-day party, entertaining ideas, etc.!

This was my awesome centerpiece! My husband had a time when he loved knights, wizards, & medieval times stuff. So this noble knight worked out perfect with some spider webbing to spook it up a bit. We will get onto the food later in the post, but here is a sneak peek!

We always start off our parties with something to do while we are waiting for everyone to show up. This is our Halloween Flag, to be used for all future Halloween parties. I am no artist, but my college calligraphy class came in handy on this one. The "A" & "B" are the initials of our last names. We had everyone sign the flag, including something about who they dressed up as. We got some creative one liners!

This is our backdrop for pictures. We started this last year, and it is a great thing to have at an outdoor halloween party. This is a great time to get pictures with everyone dressed up. This scene was perfect with plenty of spots to sit. those massive pumpkins we grew in our garden.
Merlin's Volcano Potion...

This was an awesome activity for the kids. I wish that I had small viles for each ingredient, but couldn't find them. My husband made him a spell book by brushing paper with lemon juice and putting it under the broiler until it browns up. This really gives an old, mystical look to anything.
The kids had a great time adding the ingredients. They couldn't touch what was inside the bag or else they would be thrown into the potion! Here is the ingredients:
Potion Ingredients
1 black cauldron
spaghetti noodles (brains)
the tips of 2 plastic knives (dracula's teeth)
small circular pancake drippings (witches worts)
corn hair (werewolf hair)
spider webbing
plastic spiders
chunks of pumpkin (smashed pumpkin from sleepy hollow)
2 long screws (frankenstein's screws)
baking soda (bone powder)
vinegar died a spooky color (spooky potion #11)
ghost call (have all the kids do their best ghost sounds into the cauldron)
You want to do this in a place where you don't mind your potion over flowing. In our case, my husband did it in our garden so that it wouldn't hurt his grass. You want to pour in the vinegar last and watch how it bubbles and boils over. The kids thought it was pretty cool.
Let the games begin...

We had some great games this year. The first one was our Gladiators game. If any of you out there remember the show American Gladiators, that is where the inspiration for this game came from. We got 2 large cement blocks that were big enough for both feet. The players face each other each with a swimming noodle. You have to have both hands in the middle. On go, they battle to try and get the other off their block. It was so funny. There were a lot of laughs, falls, brotherly-kindness, & great fun! Demonstrating is Grumpy and Peter Pan! The 2nd picture above is our Sword in the Pumpkin for the kids. We got a monster pumpkin and a strong play sword. We used some strong caulking because that was what we had. We coated the sword before putting it into the pumpkin, then loaded glue at the top too. You could use gorilla glue, super glue, just something strong. This was easy enough for the kids, and they all got to try it, even after it really had been pulled out. They all felt like they pulled the sword out themselves. The 3rd picture was our catapult. We did this a few years ago with pumpkins launched to a target. This time we used tennis balls and the target was a big cardboard box painted grey to resemble a tower. The goal was to hit the tower. We made the launcher with surgical tubing and sewed some denim jean material for the pouch. This activity is always a winner! The 4th activity was our amazing magician. He was awesome. He is a family friend, and very talented with his magic. Everyone loved it. It was entertaining for the adults and children. The set up was perfect in our garage. We decorated with halloween paper lanters hung throughout with some of my spooky curtains made from black garbage bags I found on Martha Stewart's website. We set up several straw bails for seating.

On to some yummy food! Everything we ate was a finger food. We had to use our hands. I didn't even put out silverware. We ate on black plates with black cups and black napkins. We lined up 4 long tables with black tablecloths to eat on. It was like a royal table. We wanted everyone to eat together. We drank ale (aka., sparkling cider). Because the bottle sparkling cider is so expensive we made our own with 3 liters of apple cider and 2 liters of sprite. We also had orange and green kool-aid. Here are some of the fun foods our guests brought!

These are yummy homemade bat tortilla chips. Spray both sides of tortillas with cooking spray and sprinkle with Salad Supreme Seasoning. Use halloween cookie cutters to make spooky chips. Bake 350 degrees for 8-10 minutes. Serve with favorite salsa, guacamole, seven-layer dip, etc.
This is the famous Lembas Bread from Lord of the Rings, however they put cookies inside. Lembas bread is a special bread made by the Elves, which provides nutrition and sustenance on long journeys. My sister and her family dressed up as Lord of the Rings and showed up with this as their spooky treat. Inside are her famous Jumbo Oatmeal Breakfast Cookies. They are so good. We will post them soon. She wrapped them in tinfoil and glue gunned leaves from a Hostas Plant around them. What a clever idea!

These are the famous mummy dogs! Hot dogs wrapped in crescents. You can also wrap them with breadsticks. You bake them in the oven at 375 degrees for 10-15 minutes. These go over great with the kids!

These are deviled eggs with yummy olive spiders. Very creative , spooky and delicious!

We served fried Chicken & biscuits. Of course that's not homemade fried chicken... It was definitely bought from the deli at the local market & KFC! I've learned that in planning these parties it's gotta be simple. I did bake the Pillsbury biscuits, which by the way, are amazing! You buy them in the frozen section of the grocery story. You pop them in the oven frozen and have beautiful, fluffy, buttery biscuits in 20 minutes! They were perfect. The party was great! Thank you to all of our family members who dressed up, played hard, and put up with our love of Halloween! Until next year... I'm already excited!

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Halloween Treats!

We just got back from the big halloween party! It was so much fun! These were our costumes. They turned out so cute! I am a perfectionist when it comes to these things, and they couldn't have turned out any more perfect! They were exactly what I pictured. We won the "Most Creative Costume" award. We will definetely be keeping these for future use. The kids had so much fun playing together and watching a magic show. The food was great! We had some very creative treats that we will be posting throughout the coming week. Now, I will spend the coming week planning a "little" halloween party for my kids and their friends. I say "little", but I tend to go all out for just about everything I do. It will be fun and simple. If any of you have any ideas for ages 3-5, please share. Here are a couple easy treats for halloween.

Halloween Rice Krispie Treats
Follow the recipe on the Rice Krispies cereal box. I once and a halfed it so I could spread in onto a large cookie sheet. Let cool for 30 minutes and then use cookie cutters to cut out shapes. Use frosting, sprinkles, any candy you want to dress up your Rice Krispie Treats!

Eye-ball Cupcakes
Use your favorite cake mix and follow directions for cupcakes. Frost with white frosting then put a small spoonful of blue frosting in the center. Press an M&M (peanut or peanutbutter) in the center of blue frosting. Use red "gel" (I think that's what it's called) to make squiggly lines.

Happy Haunting!
We'll be back next week with some more halloween treats!
Thanks for the great party Sara!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Chicken Pot Pie & Sweet Onion Pork Chops Freezer Meals

This week is a busy one! We're getting ready for the BIG Halloween party at my sister Sara's house! This party is huge! They give out awards for costumes, so everyone goes all out on making theirs look the best. And, we all try to keep what we're going to be a secret from everyone else. I will be spending a lot of time this week getting ours ready. I will give you a sneak peak at the bottom of this post. After the party I will show our full costumes. We're very excited. My freezer meals are coming in very handy this week. We've had 3 and I will share two with you in this post.

First, I love chicken pot pie. I should say, I love Marie Calendars' chicken pot pie. I never make it because it seems like a lot of work, but I found this recipe in Girlfriends on the Go (see my freezer meal post from 10/15). It's so easy and I couldn''t believe how good it was. My husband couldn't stop eating it and left a small sliver for me for tomorrow.

Easy Chicken Pot Pie
3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cooked and diced
1(16 oz.) bag of frozen mixed vegetables or 2 cups various veggies of you choice
1 can cream of chicken soup
1/4 cup milk or cream
1(double) ready-to-bake pie crust
seasonings to taste (I used oregano)

Mix together soup and milk until smooth. Stir in veggies. Add chicken and mix. If freezing, pour into a freezer bag. When ready to cook, thaw (mine was still a little frozen). Place one pie crust in a glass baking dish. Pour in veggie mixture. Cover with second pie crust. Cut 3-6 slices in top of crust. Bake at 400 for 30-40 minutes. Top crust should be golden brown. Cool for 15 minutes before serving.

This next recipe is amazing! I was a little leary about it, but it was fantastic. I will definitely be making this one every month! The combination of the onions, French dressing, BBQ sauce and honey are perfect.

Sweet Onion Pork Chops
8 boneless pork loin chops (3/4 inch thick)
2 Tbsp. canola oil
1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup chooped sweet onion
1/2 cup ketchup
1/2 cup BBQ sauce
1/2 cup French salad dressing
1/2 cup honey

Heat oil in large skillet and brown pork chops on both sides. In a small bowl combine sugar, onion, ketchup, BBQ sauce, dressing and honey. Stir well. Pour sauce over pork chops, then bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce heat to simmer, cover skillet and simmer for 12-14 minutes, or until meat is cooked through and tender. If freezing: cool completely. Place in freezer bags. Thaw in refrigerator over night. Heat skillet and add pork chops and sauce. Bring to a boil, then cover and simmer 5-8 minutes, or until portk chops are heated through.

I was able to split this into two meals. It was so yummy. I served it with mashed potatoes and spaghetti squash. The sauce from the pork chops was great on the potatoes.

Here's your sneak peak at our costumes. My next post will be a scary halloween treat! Something you can take to a spooky halloween party!

Monday, October 20, 2008

Whole Wheat Peanut Butter Waffles

First off, I want to thank my 2 amazing sisters who spent all weekend putting up the rest of their grapes so that I could have some yummy grape juice and grape jelly. They were done canning but still had more grapes on their vines so I asked them to pick some for me to do. They were going to bring them up to me when they come for the big party this weekend. Being the great sisters that they are, they decided just to do it for me. Thank you Rachel & Laura! Love ya! Because they did my grape juice I told Rachel that I would post today. I am very excited about this post.

I love these waffles. I have made them twice in the last 5 days. This is a perfect way to use some healthy whole wheat, and don't forget the protein from the Peanut Butter! I happened to find this recipe when I was going through a bunch of junk mail. I got an advertisement for a subscription to Cookie magazine. I don't know much about it, but I think it is a parenting magazine. Anyhow, I usually would have thrown it right away, but it said FREE stickers inside. My 2 year old really likes stickers, so I opened it so I could keep the stickers for him. It was a good thing I opened it up, because I fell across this amazing recipe. So for the lover of food and new recipes that I am, it must have been fate! I made them once and then lost the recipe, so the second time I made them, I went off my memory. The 2nd time was better than the first, so I must have done something different, but I sure liked whatever I did. I know I will find it one of these days tucked in a place that only my 2 year old would think of. These waffles are just heavenly with cut up bananas and homemade maple syrup. I also tried it with some blueberries, but didn't like it as much. I dressed up my boys' waffles with strawberry yogurt and bananas, which was a perfectly round breakfast for my little ones. My husband passed on my sugary maple syrup and went for the natural sugars in his honey. So, dress them up however you like...just be sure you make up these lovely Whole Wheat Peanut Butter Waffles for the fam. You will love them.

Whole-Wheat Peanut Butter Waffles

2 1/4 cups whole wheat flour
2 1/4 cups milk
1/2 cup peanut butter
1/2 cup oil
1 tsp salt
4 tsp baking powder
2 eggs (whites seperated if using belgian waffle maker)

Belgian Waffle Maker: Combine flour, milk, peanut butter, oil, salt and baking powder in large bowl. Seperate egg whites in seperate bowl, and add egg yolks to flour mixture. Blend egg whites on high speed until fluffy. Blend flour mixture until combined. Add egg whites and lightly stir just until combined. Pour batter in hot waffle iron and bake to your liking.

Normal Waffle Maker: Combine all ingrediants and blend until combined. Pour batter in hot waffle iron and bake to your liking.

Homemade Maple Syrup

1 cup water
1 tsp maple flavoring
1 1/4 cup sugar

Bring water to a boil. Add sugar and maple flavoring. Stir constantly for about 2 minutes to get sugar dissolved. Serve warm. Store in fridge and re-heat for your next batch of waffles. It is a very runny syrup, but delicious when your waffle soaks it up!

Friday, October 17, 2008

"Boo"tiful Ghost & Yummy Mummy Cookies!!!

These "spooky" little cookie friends are super easy for a quick class treat, party favors, or just a halloween hello! In my case, they were made just for fun. I love Halloween! It is my favorite holiday. For the last 3 years we have hosted a halloween party for our family members. We look forward to this every year. We begin planning our parties the day after the last one. We have a lot of fun. Well, this years halloween party is going to be a Medeival theme. We will be eating Fried Chicken & Biscuits. We have assigned out everyone to either bring a Spooky Side Dish, or a Spooky Treat/Dessert. We always have some great dishes that are a fright to see!!! I will be sure to post some of the pictures and some recipes. On to my cute little cookies...

Ghost & Mummy Cookies

1 package Nutter Butter Sandwich Cookies
1 Package Oreo Sandwich Cookies
1 Block Vanilla Bark, White Chocolate Chips, or White Baking Chocolate
Mini Chocolate Chips

Ghost: Melt Chocolate according to package directions. Dip Nutter Butter cookies into chocolate leaving about 1/4 of the cookie showing. Lay flat on wax paper. (I didn't have wax paper on hand, so I sprayed my tin foil and it worked great). Place 2 mini chips for eyes.
Mummy: Melt Chocolate according to package directions. Lay Oreo cookies flat on wax paper. Drizzle chocolate back and forth over cookie to make mummy bandages. Remember, its good to see some of the cookie still. Place 2 chips for eyes.

***I used a block of Vanilla Bark for mine, and one block had enough chocolate to do a package each of the Nutter Butter and the Oreo cookies. If you do White Chocolate Chips you probably would need 2 bags. For the White baking chocolate, you probably would need 5 packages. I wouldn't do the baking chocolate. It is too expensive. A lot of grocery store bakeries package their own bark, especially now getting close to the holidays, so check with the bakery.

Happy Halloween!!!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Freezer Meals

Girlfriends on the Go! by Suzie Roberts
First of all, I've been going on a freezer meal marathon. I bought this cookbook last year and have made several make ahead meals from it and wanted to share a few of these recipes with you! This is a great book. It gives a lot of tips on freezing foods and helps you to organize your own make ahead meal group. These recipes will feed 6 adults (I will usually split a meal into two. I will use 8 x 8 pans instead of the 9 x 13). Last weekend, I put together about 8 of these meals and I have the ingredients to make at least 8 more. I have found that putting these meals together gives me a little more time to be with my kids in the afternoon, during the time that I would be preparing dinner. It's a lot of work. I think it will also help me to stay within my food budget (something, I'm not so good at). Just before pay day, I'm always going through my cupboards trying to find something to throw together, I now have plenty of healthy meals already prepared. Well, here is the first of my freezer meal recipes. I will continue to post these meals and they will be kept under freezer meals for future reference. If any of you out there have any great make ahead meal recipes, please leave me a comment, I would love to get more recipes to try out.

Chicken Divan
Chicken Divan
6 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cooked and diced
2 (10 oz.) pkgs. chopped broccoli
1 cup mayonnaise (I used Miracle Whip)
2 cans cream of chicken soup
1 tsp. lemon juice
1 tsp. curry powder
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1/2 cup dry bread crumbs
2 Tbsp. melted butter

Cook broccoli as directed on package. Drain. Mix all ingredients except cheese, bread crumbs and melted butter. Place in a 9 x 13 casserole dish. Cover with cheese. Mix the bread crumbs with the melted butter and sprinkle on top. Bake at 350 for 25 minutes. Serve over cooked rice.

If freezing: slightly undercook broccoli. Place in disposable aluminum pan and cover tightly with foil. Include cheese and bread crumbs with this meal. Mix melted butter and bread crumbs and place on top before baking.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Soup, Bread & Cookies for a cold fall day...with snow on the ground!!!

I have 3 wonderful recipes to share today. Ever since we started our blog, I have become addicted to checking my favorite food blogs every day. I find so many wonderful recipes! Thank you to all you fellow food bloggers. I couldn't make this yummy food without you! All 3 of these recipes are perfect for a chilly fall day...(with snow on the ground) ...crazy!!! My first picture is Chicken Cream Cheese Soup. This soup is sooooo tasty!!! I found the recipe at The Sisters' Cafe at: . I love visiting The Sisters' Cafe! They are 5 sisters that sure know how to cook, and they have got awesome recipes. This Chicken Cream Cheese Soup really is amazing. The other day I was looking at their blog with my dinner plan already set, and seeing this plans had to change! I love Cream Cheese in soups. It makes soups creamy and delicious! I took this soup to a dear neighbor who has cancer. I wanted to take a good comfort food and this was it! I hope they liked it. We loved it. It is great if you have a lot of potatoes that need to be used, which I do. I got a 50 pound bag of Gold Potatoes for $8.50! So don't be surprised if there are a lot of potato posts coming up. On to this yummy recipe...

Chicken Cream Cheese Soup

1 lb chicken (breasts or combination)
1 onion, diced
1-2 Tbsp butter
2 handfulls baby carrots (about 2 cups sliced small)
4-5 potatoes, diced small
1 cup milk
1/4 cup flour
8 oz package cream cheese

1. Put chicken in pot and cover with water; boil until cooked. Take chicken out of water but keep the broth. When chicken is cool, shred.
2. Saute onion in butter. Put onion in pot and add carrots and potatoes. Add 3-4 cups of broth or enough to cover vegetables. Add bouillon cubes or soup base for flavor (I added 4 bouillon cubes). Bring to a boil and simmer until veggies are tender.
3. Mix flour with milk and add to soup. Soften cream cheese in microwave then add to soup in little pieces and stir until melted. Season with salt and pepper.

Easy Peasant Bread next...

I love this bread recipe! This comes from another favorite blog... Laura at Real Mom Kitchen at . She has got a great blog with simple, delicious family friendly recipes. I love visiting her blog and I always know that I can find a good recipe there when I am looking for one. I actually always go to her blog when I need a quick, yummy dinner recipe. She is very talented. This peasant bread recipe is crusty on the outside, chewy on the inside, and makes a perfect side to any meal. It is super simple! I love simple bread recipes...don't we all? Find the recipe for Easy Peasant Bread here: .

Last but not least...DESSERT! Maple-Nut Cookies with Maple Icing...

Wow!!! These little cookies were so tasty! I love the maple flavor. It is a fall taste, and these cookies are perfect for the fall. Toasted pecan halves, maple icing drizzle, and a shortbread crunch are what these cookies are all about! I found this recipe while browsing through another one of my mom's grocery store line Pillsbury fall cookbooks. These little cookbooks always have yummy recipes, and pictures to go with them. I had to try these little maple dream cookies! They taste like Pecan Sandies cookies, but so much better! They are more like a shortbread cookie. They sure were tasty, and a perfect fall cookie!

Pillsbury Maple-Nut Cookies with Maple Icing

3/4 cup pecan halves

1 cup butter, softened

1/2 cup brown sugar

1/2 tsp maple flavoring

1 egg

2 cups flour

1 Tbsp sugar


3/4 cup powdered sugar

1 Tbsp milk

1 tsp maple flavoring

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In square pan, bake pecans 6-8 minutes stirring occassionally until light brown. Spread nuts on cutting board & cool 5 minutes. Finely chop.

2. In a large bowl, beat butter and brown sugar, scraping bowl until fluffy. Add maple flavoring and egg & blend well. Stir in flour and toasted pecans.

3. Shape dough into 1-inch balls on ungreased sheet, 2 inches apart. Flatten with criss cross fork dipped in sugar.

4. Bake 11-14 minutes or until edges are brown. cool 1 minute. Place on rack to cool completely.

5. In small bowl mix icing and drizzle over cookies.

***I saved some chopped toasted pecans to sprinkle on top. It gave the cookie a great finishing touch!

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Easy Cheesy Lasagna Rolls

These lasagna rolls are simple and delicious. I served a mission for the LDS church in Italy, so, to say that I LOVE italian food would be an understament. This is one of the simplest lasagna recipes I have ever seen. It's cheesy, saucy and yummy!!! I saw this done on Everyday Italian on the Food Network and had a recipe for them, so I put the two recipes together and added a little bit of my own touch and voila, Lasagna Rolls.

Cheesy Lasagna Rolls
12 Lasagna noodles, cooked and cooled
1 jar spaghetti sauce, divided ( I used Bertolli Italian Sausage Garlic & Romano sauce)
1 container (15 oz) ricotta cheese
1 egg
1/4 cup parmesan cheese
1 Tbsp parsley flakes
1/8 tsp pepper
1 tsp garlic salt
2 cups mozzarella cheese, divided (1 1/2 cup for filling, 1/2 cup on top)

Pour half of spaghetti sauce on the bottom of a 9 x 13 pan. Mix together all ingredients for the filling. Lay noodles flat and spread filling mixture on noodles - shown below. Roll up like a sleeping bag and lay in pan. Top with remaining sauce and mozzarella cheese. Bake at 350 for 30-40 minutes.
Note: Do not over cook noodles. Follow directions on box of noodles.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Mom's Banana Bread with a Gooey, Chocolate addition!!!

I love the combo of banana and chocolate. To make that combo complete...I would add peanut butter. I've been making my mom's banana bread now ever since I was married. I guess I just always had bananas that were going bad, so I needed to put them to use!?! I soon learned a secret that all of you probably already know, but this was great advice for me! If you don't have time to make your banana bread with your dead bananas, peel them and place in freezer ziploc and put them in the freezer. Then, when you are ready to make your banana bread you can thaw out your bananas and smash them right in the ziploc. Less mess, and you aren't wasting your bananas. I love banana bread on a crisp, fall day. It is even better with the chocolate chips! The chips make it taste more like a dessert and not a breakfast bread. I will confess, we did still eat this bread for breakfast! The chocolate chips didn't stop us!!! I love this banana bread recipe. My mom used to always make it for us, and now I make it for my family. The chocolate chip idea came from a good friend of mine. She returned a piece of my tupperware with a loaf of Banana Chocolate Chip bread. It was delicious. The chocolate chips just add so much chocolatey goodness to this healthy,(wink, wink) banana bread! I don't think I will ever make my mom's banana bread without chocolate chips again!!! No offense mom...I just love chocolate!
Mom's Banana Bread with Gooey Chocolate Chips

Spray bottom of 8" of 9" loaf pan. Makes one loaf. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

1 cup sugar
1/3 cup butter (softened)

Add & mix:
2 eggs

Add & beat for 30 seconds:
1 1/2 cups mashed bananas (3-4)
1/3 cup water

Stir in remaining:
1 2/3 cup flour
1 tsp soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp baking powder

Add secret ingredient & fold into batter:
1 1/2 cup chocolate chips (fold in one cup and save 1/2 cup to sprinkle on top.)
Nuts are a yummy mix-in too!

Pour batter into pan sprayed only on the bottom. Sprinkle remaining 1/2 cup of chocolate chips to the top of the bread. Cook 8" for 1 hour 15 minutes, and 9" for 55-60 minutes at 350 degrees. Insert toothpick & if it comes out clean, it is done. Let it sit in pan for one hour or less, then move to wire rack to cool completely. Enjoy!

Friday, October 3, 2008

Yummy Caramel Toffee Apple Dip & a Speedy Race Car Birthday Cake for a speedy One Year Old!!!

I am in love with this Apple Dip. The Toffee Chips give it a great crunch. It is creamy, sweet & just heavenly!!! I love to dip my apples in it. My in-laws have an apple tree with some of the best tarty apples. They are always kind to share. We had this at my son's birthday party the other night. They made for a crisp side to some speedy hot dogs, veggies and dip, & chips. It was a hit! You really could dip any kind of fruit with it. This recipe comes from a lady who takes this yummy dip to all of her bridal and baby showers with an assortment of fruit. It is sooo yummy! You don't want to miss out on this dip while apples are in season!

Creamy Caramel Toffee Dip

1 - 8 oz. Cream Cheese (softened)
1/2 cup Brown Sugar
1/4 cup White Sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup Skor or Heath Bar Toffee Chips

Beat cream cheese, sugars and vanilla together until fluffy. Stir in Toffee Chips just before serving. Serve with fruit. You can make the cream cheese mixture ahead of time and keep in the fridge...just don't forget to add the toffee chips. They complete this dip! Store leftover dip in the fridge. It keeps well, the toffee chips just lose their crunch.

Speedy Race Car Birthday Cake!!!

It was my little boys 1st Birthday this week! I did a Race Car theme, because this little guy just loves cars. He loves to drive them back and forth with his little hands. This cake was perfect for our little racer! I got the recipe from . I just love Family Fun. They have got great ideas for birthdays, craft projects, kid games, recipes & a whole lot more!

Go here for Race Track Cake: .

I think the cake turned out perfect! The kids loved it! It was fun to look at, and of course to dig into. I love the crumbled oreo cookies for the track, and the green sprinkles were fantastic! I made my favorite Cream Cheese frosting that made it so tasty. I put my cakes in the freezer for about an hour before I frosted them, and I also dipped my frosting knife in water each time I dipped for more frosting. It helped keep the crumbs from the cake out of my frosting. I used white chocolate covered Reese's PB cups cut in small rectangles to make my dotted lines. I'm not a fan of the Good 'n Plenty's that the recipe called for. My cake sure isn't perfect like their picture, but it worked for me. My little boy loved it. He did eat a little too much cake, and was up a lot in the night with a belly ache, but're only "1" once!

I had to include this picture of our little racer getting ready to open his presents. Isn't that just the cutest back side you have ever seen! He knew what was coming! He loved opening his presents. Thanks to everyone who celebrated with us. He even performed his new walking skills for everyone! We love you bud!!!