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Saturday, February 28, 2015

Merry Christmas to Me!!

    I am so excited.... there is no recipe in this post, but I had to show off my new buffet and art!  I ordered this in December and it finally came!  The Buffet is 9 feet long and the art work is 3' x 3' each so you can get an idea of how big it is.  It is BIG!! 

Friday, February 27, 2015

Nana's Cajun Crab Chowder

A deliciously creamy chili loaded with crab, corn and just enough kick to make it interesting. A Christmas Eve tradition and a favorite hearty soup! 

   It is a tradition in Nana's family to not have meat on Christmas Eve.  I love seafood, so this is a tradition that I bought into very easily.   She normally makes a really yummy salmon with lemon, dill and capers. My favorite part of the meal, however, is the soup course (followed closely by the kolacky of course).

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Overboard Bars - Made by MiMi

    If you are following along, you know that my mom has family dinners on Saturdays.  Whichever of us kids are around and available come over for dinner.  She always makes dessert too.  Usually something over the top.  This week was no exception.  She called them overboard bars... because they went a little overboard even by her standards!
It's hard to go wrong combining three of your favorites!

Monday, February 23, 2015

Pizza Pot Pie

    So I have been thinking about pot pies a lot lately.  I mean, you could really put anything in them!  I like the creamy chicken pot pie that MiMi makes so much, that I hardly ever venture from there.  But, she made a really good cheese and broccoli pot pie last time she made them and I have been dreaming about making a beef and mushroom pot pie with a wine sauce.  I mean really, how can that not be good.  It is going to happen people!  I am just not sure when.
    All the while, MiMi's head was going a completely different direction.  Why not a pizza pot pie?  I know, mind blown!  It seems a little strange to put pizza toppings between pie crusts.  But really, why not?  I mean, don't you love it when you get that takeout pizza with the buttery flaky crust?
 Do I need to give you a minute to mull that over?

   Ok. Just trust me, it will work.  See, it works!  Look at that.  Now you are starting to believe!

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Oscar Party Ideas

   When I think of the Oscars, I think of red carpets and gold statues.  So, I thought it would be fun to put together a collection of recipes that would bring red and gold to the table as well!  If you start now, there is still time to make them all!

  Here are some sweet ideas for your Oscar party:

Sweet Biscuits for Strawberry Shortcake

    Is it spring yet?!  I sure am ready.  It am so over the cold and snow.  It might not be spring here, but it is somewhere.  The strawberries are starting to look better in the grocery store.  They are big and red and look and smell wonderful.  So, if it can't be spring outside you might as well make it spring inside!
    Strawberry shortcakes are always such a treat when the berries are out.  We were raised in a house were shortcakes were sweetened biscuits.  We topped them with ice cream and strawberries and sometime whipped cream.  Yum!  We sometimes do the angel food cake variety as well, but if you say shortcake I think biscuit.  We used to have drop biscuits made from Jiffy mix and some sugar, but these homemade biscuits are even better!

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Sweet Cheese Stuffed Crescents

   These come together fast and easy.  It is a nice way to have a quick, warm, sweet breakfast without it being to heavy or filling.  It would also be a nice way to end a day if you just want something easy and sweet.  There are only a few ingredients and chances are you already have most of them.   But if you want one, you better claim it fast.  They go quickly!

Friday, February 20, 2015

Nana's White Chocolate Bugles

White chocolate bugles are the perfect mix of sweet and salty.  If you start munching, beware: it will be hard to stop!

     These white chocolate bugles are so simple to make but so big on flavor. The mix of crunchy, salty and sweet are all enticing. This is a perfect sweet snack for a party, great for game day and fun for care packages too!

Jax's Banana Pancakes

     I made all of Jax's food when he was a baby.  If it could be steamed or boiled and blended, we tried it.  I am sure none of you care too much about the weird concoctions he ate. But, this recipe is something that has broader appeal.
   Jax loved finger foods from an early age.  He enjoyed the independence of being able to feed himself.  I saw a recipe on Pinterest that was for two ingredient pancakes.  Just bananas and eggs.  A perfect food for a wee one that is just learning to eat with his fingers.  Over time I tweaked them a bit to give them a little more texture and flavor.  It felt good to give him a treat that was also healthy for him. They are sweet and tasty with no flour and no added sugar.
  I made a batch of these every other day for months!  He had them for breakfast here and took them to daycare for snacks.  Adults love them too, but they are a great baby and toddler food for sure.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

2 Ingredient Mardi Gras Fudge- Made by MiMi

   Ok, ok.  I know it, we are addicted to two ingredient fudge.  We can't help it.  It is easy, and sweet and so customizable!  Of course another holiday called for another batch.  MiMi was going to try to resist... but she couldn't.  She had to do it, and I think we can all agree we are glad she did!  Isn't it cute?
See, I told you, cute!

     There are so many fun things to make and we have had a lot of fudge lately, so she didn't want to make too much.  This is one batch, split into three and colored and then poured into a 4x6 glass dish.  She thinks it would be even more fun if you did three full batches in a 9x9 pan.  
      Mimi thought it would be fun to try both food coloring and food gel to see if there would be any difference in texture.  She used food coloring for the green and gel for the yellow and purple.  The texture was not affected, but as you can see the gel produced much more brilliant colors.  Feel free to use whatever you have on hand!

Monday, February 16, 2015

I Need Cookies Now - Sugar Cookies

EEEEEK!  I got these cookie cutters in the mail and I just couldn't wait to use them.  For those of you who don't know, I am a chemist.  Or was a chemist. Or sometimes am a chemist?  I work for a lab, how about that?  I am technically a project manager at an environmental lab.  So, I only spend a handful of days working in the lab each year. However, I started working in the lab and have worked with my fair share of glassware.  So, the nerd in me was so excited to get these cutters and I couldn't wait to make cookies for the lab!

   This is a great recipe for making cookies when you don't plan it out ahead of time. There is no need to soften the butter and no chilling the dough for a few hours before you roll it.  As you know by now, patience is not my specialty... especially when I get really excited about something.  So I had to go right to work!  This recipe also worked great for today, because it is a little smaller than my go-to sugar cookie recipe.  I didn't need to swim in nerdy cookies... I just needed enough to show off my new cutters and bring a treat to the lab.

     These are great cookies for decorating.  They are sturdy and don't rise or spread much.  So you can do your fancy decorating.  I don't get too fancy, but I do have fun doing simple icing... and my consistency isn't always perfect, so a flat cookie is nice!

Matt's Famous Trifold Omelet

   Matt thought it was about time he got a recipe on the blog.  He has a few recipes that he really likes to make.  I am sure he will show you his quesadilla recipes at some point.  He has two variations, both are really good and a little unexpected.  But what he is most famous for is his omelet.  He doesn't just fold it once, he goes for the gusto and does it twice.  That's right a trifold omelet!  His secret ingredient is bacon grease, but you are more than welcomed to use butter or oil.

   He says the key is using the right amount of milk.  He says you have to add enough to make it fluffy, but if you add too much it gets too brown.  It still tastes good, but doesn't look as good.  He was spouting off all his omelet knowledge while making them... so hopefully I remember to pass on everything important.  It is hard to take pictures, type and giggle all at the same time.  Especially with a little guy underfoot!

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Kristie's Buffalo Chicken Dip

Cheesy, creamy and spicy goodness. This buffalo chicken dip is always a hit at game day parties. Dig in with pita chips, corn chips or tortilla chips (and you might want to think about making a double batch!) 

   My sister Kristie makes some really good buffalo chicken dip.   It is always a big hit.  Last time she brought it over, she was kind of hoping to have some leftovers to bring home.  Her hopes were dashed... the dish was licked clean!

Friday, February 13, 2015

MiMi's PB&J Dip

   MiMi set out to make up a sweet cheese ball.  She thought it would be fun to make one that combined the age old classics of peanut butter and jelly.  As these things go, everything changed as she went.  So, she made a dip instead!  A yummy, sweet dip that brings back your childhood (only better).
     As we have discussed before, Jax loves to dip.  He also loves peanut butter.  He has it on toast nearly every day.  So, we knew this would be a hit with him.  What we didn't know is how much the adults would love it.  Even the big guys were getting into it between bites of buffalo chicken dip.
     MiMi made two kinds.  One with grape jelly and the other with strawberry. (Mmmmm, strawberry jelly!!)  I apologize for not getting better pictures, there was a lot going on at once.  By the time I got back to do it, they were decimated!

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Chocolate Sour Cream Cookies

    I knew I wanted to make some decorated cookies for Jax's Valentines Day treat.  Marlene's Sour Cream Cookies were at the top of my list and I knew they would be perfect for making little x's and o's.  But it seemed like there needed to be some chocolate involved.  It is Valentine's day after all!  So, I decided to try a batch of chocolate dough as well.  I have never had a chocolate sour cream cookie before, but they have to be good right?!  Yep!

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Grandma's SOS

This vintage favorite is frugal but delicious.  Sometimes the best recipes are born out of necessity and this one is a really quick and comforting dinner. SOS is on the table in less than 15 minutes!

    The way I came upon this recipe is still cracking me up.  Grandma rides along with me every once in a while when I go on a work trip.  It works out great for both of us.  I get somebody to talk to on the drive.  Then I drop her off at a Barnes and Noble (if it is next to a Michael's all the better!) and I collect her and her purchases when it is time to go home.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Pink Two Ingredient Fudge

   It turns out the football fudge was a hit.  Everyone at our party loved it.  Since it took only two minutes and two ingredients, it really begged to be made again.  Just think of the options!  With Valentine's day coming up, a pink version was in order.  If you can spare two minutes, this could be yours!

Monday, February 9, 2015

Egg in a Hole - Valentine's Edition

    So, this recipe is nothing groudbreaking.  It does bring back good memories though and it is an easy breakfast that is just a bit more fun than eggs and toast.  My mom made these for us when we were kids.  She found the idea in a magazine and held on to it.  She says it was before the days of Food Network and Pinterest, so new ideas were a little harder to come by.

    I mostly remember cutting the holes in the middle out with the top of a drinking glass.  However you could make them into any shape your heart desires.  A heart is what I desired today.  We are coming up to Valentine's Day and my little guy has been extra sweet lately.  He is growing and learning so fast.  It is amazing what he learns from day to day!  So I wanted to make him and his daddy a little breakfast to start their day off on the right foot.

     I made them plain today, but you can sprinkle cheese or ham in the middle too if you'd like!

Also, on a totally unrelated note: I ordered something I am super excited about for Jax's birthday party.  It is a few months away, so we'll see if I can keep the secret!!  It is one of a kind and soooooooo fun!

Strawberry Striped Rice Krispie Treats

   These are a fun twist on an old classic.  You can just make the strawberry layer, but the stripe of regular krispies is what makes it extra special.  They are easy to make and are cute as can be.  We found the idea on Taste and Tell Blog and we had to give it a try.

    Everyone loved them.  They turned out thicker than we were expecting, but nobody complained.  We decided if we were going to make them again, we would use larger pans so each layer would be thinner.  Below is how we would do it next time.  The picture below is using 3 9x9 pans.

    Don't they look yummy?  And so fun!  They were a hit.  When placed on a dessert buffet with many other options, they were the first to disappear!

Friday, February 6, 2015

Grandma Rees' Texas Sheet Cake

     I remember this cake was quite a treat at Grandma's house when I was a kid.  It is a great cake for a crowd because it is baked in a half sheet pan.   Which is good when there are a bunch of Rees kids running around.  The icing really makes the cake.  This is a fudgy wonderfully sweet and smooth frosting.  You just pour it over the cake, so there is no concern of getting it smooth and perfect.  Besides, it is fun to make a cake and frosting from scratch and not have to drag out the mixer!

    I have seen other recipes for Texas sheet cake, but most don't have the cinnamon.  This is a great touch that makes this cake stand apart.  It is just enough to give some character.  MMMM!

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Sweetened Condensed Milk Cookies

These cookies are sweet, soft and simple.  The secret ingredient is sweetened condensed milk.  You are going  to love them!

     If you like soft simple cookies, these are for you!  The sweetened condensed milk is a different variation.  These cookies are cute and easy.  Just be patient, they take two trips to the fridge to chill.  You can bake them as ball, or roll and cut them.  They are really cute covered in sprinkles!

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Pops' Stuffed Jalapenos (and a peak at his venison meatballs)

   We loved stuffed jalapenos!  It all started when I lived in Springfield.  My neighbors, Ben and Rodney, had the most beautiful backyard full of flowers and vegetables all grown in pots.  You should have seen it!  (I will have to ask Rodney for a picture so I can prove it.)  They grew vegetables that won ribbons in the state fair and then turned those vegetables into BBQ sauce that also won ribbons at the fair!  They helped me start and take care of my container garden too.  Mine was not nearly as large (or as pretty), but I had more tomatoes, pepper and jalapenos than I could eat!
    Each summer, I hosted a BBQ for my extended family.  It worked great because Springfield was an handy spot for family to come from Bloomington, St. Louis and Quincy.  Ben and Rodney cohosted the event, rolling over their grills and helping get everything together.  They were my guardian angels and the best neighbors a single girl in her first house could have asked for.
    So, as one of my dishes one year, I decided to put my jalapenos to use.  I stuffed them with cheese and wrapped them in bacon and cooked them on the grill.  I am not sure where I got the idea, as it seems like they weren't so popular at the time... but they were a hit.  I made dozens of pepper and they were promptly devoured.  Ever since, we have had grilled stuffed peppers in one form or another every summer.
    My dad loves to make stuffed jalapenos too.  We have them almost every week for family dinners when they are in season.  He has a huge garden at the farm, so he was a plethora of chili peppers.  He makes them into hot sauce, dehydrates them for use during the winter and makes his own red pepper flakes.  He has a huge dehydrator, and you can really tell when he is doing his hot peppers!
Anyway, he makes his peppers a little different than we do ours.  We tend to go heavy on cream cheese with some grated cheese mixed in.  Pops prefers to do his mostly hard cheese with just enough cream cheese to hold it together (and sometimes he does all hard cheese!)
   He cleaned some out last summer and stuck them in the freezer for an occasion just like this.  They turned out really yummy!  One of my sisters ate at least a dozen of them, but I won't tell you which one!!  I freeze jalapenos every year too.  I freeze them whole and slice them right out of the freezer for chili and casseroles etc. during the winter.  I have never used frozen jalapenos like this, but I may have to!

Deviled Eggs - A Guest Post by MiMi

After trying a bunch of recipes, MiMi finally settled on the best deviled egg recipe out there.  It was top secret, but she decided to share it with us! 

   I loved raising many different animals when we had the place to do so.  I was so glad when Pops said we could get chickens.  He knows how special they are to me.  My Grandma McCallum had hers off and on for years.  My dad even had a hen house blow away in a tornado when he was young. (He told me about it when we were in the basement of our house watching a tornado take a garage out a few homes away from us.)

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Bacon Cheddar Ranch Potato Salad

     Matt really loves potato salad (as long as it is a good one... and he'll let me know if it's not!), so I try to make it for him every once in a while.  This time I was in the mood for something a little different.  So, I scoured the fridge and decided ranch would be wonderful!  We like a lot of eggs in our potato salad. And we like bacon!!  And we love cheese! So, really how could this not be good?

   We were having some people over for dinner, so this was a perfect make ahead!  You can make it the night before or the morning of.  Then there is no cooking or cleanup when the guests arrive.  The first time I tried it, I felt it was a bit too heavy.  So I added some sour cream and the results were pretty darn tasty if I do say so myself.

Tropical Bread Pudding With Toasted Coconut Topping

Turn your ideas of bread pudding on it's head with this tropical bread pudding. It is dotted with pineapple and cherries and topped with a caramelized coconut topping. The result is a trip to the islands for your taste buds!

slice of tropical bread pudding with pineapple ring, cherry and golden toasted coconut topping

      Bread pudding is such a classic dessert. It is a great way to use up extra bread. While we love the classic version, it is fun to do something different sometimes. So this recipe adds lots of flavor with maraschino cherries, pineapple and a fun coconut topping. It turns it into such a fun treat!

Monday, February 2, 2015

Macarons with Raspberry Buttercream

   Oh my.  I was going to wait and make these a little closer to Valentine's day to post these.  But, it turns out I am no good at waiting!
    My sweet tooth was acting up and I was in the mood for something pink and cute.  These are certainly sweet and plenty cute.  They take a little bit of effort, but it is worth it.  Macarons aren't in my normal rotation, but I have made them a hundful of times.  They are a lot of fun even if they take a little effort.

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Indoor Pulled Pork

   I love a nice pulled pork sandwich.  My dad makes great pulled pork.  It takes all day in the smoker, but it comes out so juicy and smokey and wonderful.  I don't have a smoker... and it is really cold outside.  So, I take to the oven and do a slow braise.  It's no smoked pork butt, but it is moist and flavorful and oh so tender.

   This recipe takes quite a while, but most of it is just letting the pork sit in a hot tub of yummy juices.  The result is well worth the wait.

Pulled pork slider on a homemade Hawaiian roll

Hawaiian Sweet Rolls

   I knew I wanted to do pulled pork sliders for our football party, but using rolls from the grocery store just wasn't getting me excited.  Afterall, my team was knocked out the first round of playoffs.  I need something to keep me looking forward to Sunday!  So, I thought I would try to make something a little different for the sliders.  Why not Hawaiian rolls?

   I mean come, on look at these beauties!  So tender and fluffy and buttery with just the right amount of sweet.  I hope some make it long enough to serve at the party!