3 girls, me, and a recipe

Welcome! I hope you enjoy reading about the passions in my life, my family, cooking, gardening, my pets and making memories that my girls will pass on to their children.

Saturday, November 29, 2008


Hello everyone, I hope that everyone had a very nice holiday! Our Thanksgiving was great. We celebrated with family and friends and had some great food. I am an only child and my mother and father come to my house to have our meal. I made turkey, dressing, broccoli rice casserole, green bean casserole, mashed potatoes and my buttery butterhorns. My mom made, squash, and fruit salad. Oh, and we also had the obligatory cranberry sauce. Now for dessert we just go a little nuts. My daughter made a cream cheese pound cake that was just wonderful! I made pumpkin delight (a casserole type that I have been making for about 10 years). And I made a chocolate pie my husband requested. I am sad to say that is the only recipe I can blog about today. The last few days have been a blur. With all the cooking and preparation I just didn't think. I would love to share all these recipes but I had so many things going at once I just didn't get a chance to grab my camera! We also have a tradition of waking up early and going shopping with our best friends Priscilla and Ron. Yesterday we had alot of fun and just went all day!! We make it fun with a long lunch and a stop at Starbucks for one of their seasonal drinks. Any of you who know me know that I have a love affair with Starbucks. I could sit in there all day and just smell! We had alot of fun. We already look forward to next year. This year we ended the day with a movie. I finally saw Twilight. I have read all the books and the movie was very good. We also found time (before Thanksgiving) to put up our Christmas tree which is my favorite thing to do of all time. It is just magical and we love talking about each ornament and the story behind it. I am going to post a few pictures and then I will show you the best chocolate pie in the world!

Our Christmas Tree. I wish I could show you all the ornaments. It turned out beautiful!

My beautiful daughters, Lauren (in back), Sara, and Jena up front.

My kitchen tree! I am showing you unlit because with the lights on you cant see the "kitcheney" ornaments!

Now.....on to the cooking. Here is the best Chocolate pie ever!

Joans Chocolatey Pie

3 squares unsweetened chocolate
3 cups milk

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 tsp. butter

1 cup sugar

3 tbsp. flour

3 tbsp. cornstarch

3 egg yolks

1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla

Deep dish pie shell, baked

Heat 2 cups of milk and chocolate on medium heat until it boils. Mix all dry ingredients in a bowl. Add egg yolks, vanilla and 1 cup of milk. Once milk-chocolate mixture boils, add other ingredients. Return to a boil and boil 1 minute. Pour into baked pie shell. Cool completely and top with Cool Whip and chocolate chips.

This is the ingredients you will need.

This is your milk and chocolate squares, just bring it on to a boil

Add the rest of the ingredients and cook til thickened.

Pour your filling into an unbaked pie shell.

TaDaaa! All you gotta do now is put your Cool Whip and choc chips or choc shavings and its done!

It is so good!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Easiest, Creamiest Tortilla Soup

A few years back I went to lunch with a girl that I worked with and I ordered this soup. Although I wasnt officially given the recipe, I went home and made the closest I could get to it. After a few tries I feel like I got pretty close. It is so yummy. It is a great cold night soup. Although it has corn tortillas chopped up in it I still like to have it with jalapeno cornbread! My kids and my husband have given it a thumbs up so I have added it to my recipes that I consider my family favorites. Soon to be a cookbook!

These are the ingredients you will need.

Brown your ground meat with the chopped onions.

Simmer meat, tomatoes, broth, cream of mushroom soup and water.
Add your seasonings at this point as well.

Add your corn, chopped tortillas and cheese, cubed.

This is your delicious soup! I have been told it looks like cheese dip but it doesn't taste like it!

Easiest, Creamiest Tortilla Soup
1 1/4 lb. ground meat
1 can chopped tomatoes, undrained
1 can beef broth
1 can whole kernel corn
1/3 large loaf of Velveeta
1 can cream of mushroom soup
7 corn tortillas chopped into pieces
1 table spoon chili powder
1 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon pepper
dash of salt
1/2 teaspoon garlic

Brown ground meat with onions, drain. Add beef broth, tomatoe, and 2 cans of water. Add your spices at his point. Simmer about 20 minutes. Add your cream of mushroom, tortillas, and velveeta, chopped into cubes. Simmer just until cheese is melted.

Awards!! Yoo Hoo!!

Nicole over at Heart4myhome.blogspot.com sent me not one, but TWO awards and I just love them!! She must somehow know exactly what I love!! I love Marie Antoinette and Butterflies!!
Thank you so much Nicole, I am honored considering just how much I love your blog!!

Take a lookie:

I would like to send these on to:
Priscilla at Priscillas Baking Adventure
Tina at Mommys Kitchen
Kristy at Franceskas Journey Home
Lauren at Just another day being Lauren
Sara at Adventures of a smiling college girl

ALL of you inspire me in ways you will never know!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

THIS JUST IN---Giveaway at Priscillas Baking Adventures!!!!

Please click on over the Priscillas Baking Adventures. She had the most awesome giveaway and I have to say I sure hope I win something!!! Its as simple as leaving a comment for her! Go, Go, Go......

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Just a little sweet....

I am pretty sure that everyone has heard of these. Dont they look like turtles? They are just the easiest little candies in the world! Great for our upcoming holidays. All you do is place a rolo candy (chocolate covered caramel) on top of a pretzel knot, bake at 250 degrees for 4 minutes and then smush a pecan half over the top. Voila!! So easy for when you want just a little sweet....

Monday, November 17, 2008

Easy Sausage Strata renamed "Kirstens Breakfast Casserole"

My daughter Lauren has a sweet friend that she works with named Kirsten. She turned 21 last week so I made this casserole for Lauren to take to work. I think it would be a great casserole for Christmas morning or Thanksgiving morning because it is one you prepare the night before so it can sit in the fridge overnight. I used regular wheat bread but I think it would be great with day old croissants. I am all about how something smells when it is cooking and this smelled really good. My dream is for my house to smell like Williams-Sonoma. I like to just go in there and smell!! Strange, I know. I recently just bought a small crock pot and I have been putting oranges, lemons, cinnamon sticks, whole cloves, a little ginger, and just about any spice I think would smell good with that. I even added some fruit juice. I had a couple packets of spiced cider mix and I threw that in. Ever since I was a little girl I can remember getting great comfort from good smells wether it was clean sheets, fresh mown grass or just my grandmas house. Talk about getting way off track! Back to the recipe. Try it and let me know what you think.

1 pound pork sausage
6 slices bread, cubed (or whatever you want, biscuits may be good too!)
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese (I used sharp and it was good)
6 eggs
2 cups milk
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground dry mustard

Brown sausage, drain, and set aside. Layer bread cubes, sausage and cheddar cheese in a lightly greased 7 x 11 inch baking dish. In a bowl, beat together eggs, milk, salt, and mustard. Pour the egg mixture over the bread mixture. Cover this and refrigerate at least 8 hours or overnight. Remove casserole from refrigerator 30 minutes before baking. Preheat oven to 350. Bake for 45-50 minutes until knife inserted in center comes out clean. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.

Spread the bread cubes over the bottom like this.

Layer the sausage and cheese.

Pour the milk mixture over everything and refrigerate.

This is the baked cheesy casserole. Smelled and looked delicious!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

"Won Over Coffee Cake" and I am "Won Over"!!!!!

I know how everyone loves coffee cake (right?). I know I do. I would almost prefer a really good coffee cake over any kind of cake if I have a steaming cup of coffee. I love all kinds, but cinnamon is just the most heavenly smell when its cooking. This coffee cake is no different, as a matter of fact, I think its is probably the best coffee cake I have ever had. Thats a high compliment! This cake is moist, and VERY cinnamoney. Seriously, you have got to try this! I took this recipe from Priscilla at Priscillas Baking Adventure. See her blogsite on the right upper had corner. You must go over and see her blog. Keep this in mind-THIS GIRL IS ONLY 16!!!

"Won Over Coffee Cake"

1 box yellow cake mix (plus ingredients on the back of box)
2 sticks cold, salted butter
2 1/4 cups flour
1 1/2 tablespoons cinnamon
1 3/4 cups sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons vanilla
Powdered Sugar (for dusting)
Preheat oven to 350. Prepare cake mix in large bowl according to package directions. Spray a 9x13 pan with non stick spray. Pour batte into pan. Bake at 350 for 15-20 minutes until center is just barely set. While cake is baking, prepare crumb topping. In a large bowl of electric mixer combine butter, flour, cinnamon, sugar and vanilla until all crumbly. (This takes a minute or two). IMMEDIATELY after cake is removed from oven, break crumb topping into marble sized pieces with your fingers, sprinkling it over the top. Put back in oven to bake an additional 15 minutes or so. Let cool fully and dust with powdered sugar using a sieve. Cut into squares and serve.

These are the ingredients only I didn't get the butter out because its supposed to be cold, yea right-I forgot!

This is the topping over the yellow cake, remember, the cake shouldnt be completely baked!

This is the finished cake. It is so delicious. The aroma coming out of my oven was wonderful.

Have a great evening everyone and thanks so much for reading!

Biltmore Estate

Give Away!!

Go see Dana at oldredbarnco.blogspot.com. She is giving away quilts. Yea! I love quilts. They are the perfect thing to drape over your legs while eating some of the great comfort food that I post about. Go take a look at her pretty blog.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Super Tender Pot Roast~

Hi everyone, I hope everyone had a super day. I spent the day with my oldest daughter shopping and it was so relaxing. This is my daughter that is so much like me its scary sometimes. I dont know if its good or bad!! Lauren had the day off for Veterans Day, so we got to spend some time together. I feel lucky to have her, shes such a great kid. Anyway, on to the cookin'.
Since I am all about the comfort food, today, I want to share my pot roast with you all. I have been making this the same way for most of my marriage (22 years). If I vary from this recipe everyone freaks out. I have to put up with the wary glances and the rolling eyes and just the sheer pouting that everyone does when it doesn't taste "the same". My family just loves this so am stickin' to it. Hope you try this because you will love it, I KNOW it.
This is what you will need:
Pork Roast-whatever size fits your family!
Seasoned Flour
Lipton Recipe Secrets Onion Mushroom
Olive Oil
1 large onion
2 large cloves garlic
Coat your roast in the seasoned flour really good patting it in as you go.
Brown about 1/3 of your onion and one clove of garlic in about 3-5 tablespoons of olive oil.
Throw the roast in on top of garlic and onions and brown the roast really fast on high heat-dont forget the sides.
Put in your trusty roaster your mom gave you, cover with the rest of the onions and garlic (put your garlic through a crusher) and sprinkle the dry soup mix on top. Add about 1 cup of water. Bake this at 300 degrees for about 2 1/2 hours.
Cover with carrots and unpeeled, quartered potatoes. (Dont forget to wash em'). I had a few red potatoes so I threw those in. Bake this another 45 minutes to an hour.
The water you added will make the most wonderful gravy. If it needs thickening, you can thicken it with a little seasoned flour. This is making my mouth water just posting this. I can even see the steam coming off of it. I think its the low temp. that makes it so tender but I have never had this not turn out great. My kids love it and the leftovers-well, they dont last long!!
Have a wonderful night!

Monday, November 10, 2008

We are back and we had fun!!

I am so glad to be back and I am ready to cook! I am in the process of putting a slide show together with my pictures of the Biltmore Estate. When I say this place is stunning that doesn't even begin to cover it. It is huge with some unbelievable pantrys and kitchens (my favorites), bedrooms and it had 63 christmas trees in it! It was just gorgeous. I couldnt take any pics inside per their rules but I did take some of the outside. This is my daughter and I resting in the grass on the front lawn. We were tired after walking all day. I cant wait to share these pics with you.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Biltmore!! Yea!!

Hi everyone! I just wanted to let you all know that I am going to be away for a couple of days. My husband is taking me and my middle daughter Sara to Asheville, North Carolina tomorrow afternoon. We are going to tour the Biltmore Mansion. We have a tour reservation for friday evening. It is a all lit by candles, firelight and christmas lights. There will be ballerinas, nutcrackers and carolers. This place is supposed to be beautiful as well as the grounds. I have read there is a rose garden and a winery, and the stables have been turned into a restaurant. Our tour friday night is by headset but saturday we get to explore on our own. There is actually 4 restaurants and you can also eat inside the house in their dining room. (That one is supposed to be fancy). We have always thought of Sara as a little victorian girl all her life. I'm not sure why, she just has that aura about her. I will be sure and post pictures when I get back. I also have a couple of posts I havent put together yet but you can look forward to a pot roast, potatoes and carrots when I get back!!
Everyone have a great weekend!

Monday, November 3, 2008

Pear Salad

Okay, I know I have posted three times today but I just had a really good food day! My youngest daughter Jena has been asking for this salad for two weeks. It is her absolute favorite. We had this alongside of our supper tonight and she has some packed up for her lunch at school tomorrow. If you are looking for something a little different, you must try this! The ingredients are great but what makes it is this dressing from Briannas. I got it at our local grocery store H.E.B. The name of it is New American. It is a creamy balsamic vinagrette.

This is what you will need. Yes, thats pears.

All you do is layer baby spinach, honey roasted pecans, gorgonzola cheese and peeled, sliced pears. Top with salad dressing. Yum!

Southern Plates Mexican Wedding Cookies

These cookies are fantastic! They are also very quick! Go over and see Christy at http://www.southernplate.com/ and check 'em out. Just dont try to eat them so fast that you inhale the powdered sugar~looks around to see if anyone saw me~ LOL!

Cucumber Salad

I realize that I am probably gonna lose some lookers by that title. I promise ya though, if ya try it, your gonna like it. This is great next to a big bbq brisket sandwich. I actually like it as a nice change from cole slaw sometimes. The key to this is to let the marinade do its magic. I put it in the fridge and I find myself grabbing a couple of pieces of cucumber out just passing through the kitchen. There always seemed to be someone bringing this everytime we had a family get together because it was usually pot luck and well, we are southern.

Cucumber Salad

3 large cucumbers, thinly sliced
1 large green bell pepper (Just for color I added half of a green and half of a red)
1 cup thinly sliced onions
1 tablespoon celery seeds
1 tablespoon salt
1/2 cup cider vinegar
3/4 cup sugar

1. Combine cucumbers, bell pepper, onion, celery seeds and salt in a large bowl.
2. Cover with plastic wrap and let stand at room temp. 1 hr.
3. Drain cucumber mixture in a colander, shaking off excess liquid. Return mix to bowl.

4. Add vinegar and sugar, toss gently. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate 6 hours to overnight. The salad may be stored in fridge up to 3 weeks.

It seems the longer it sits, the more it tastes like a crunchy, crispy bread and butter pickle!
This is what you will need. Just this looks good.
Just mix the chopped veggies in a big bowl.
Put the celery seeds and sugar over it and let it sit.

After all the marinade is on, I just keep it in a jar. It just keeps on getting better.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Chocolate Sheet Cake

I hope everyone is having a wonderful, relaxing Sunday. I have been relaxing in the kitchen and I want to share another amazinging easy recipe. I have had this cake for as long as I can remember. I find myself trying to go real fast when I make this because it tastes so good. I think it has a better taste than a regular chocolate cake. Please try it, it will become a regular at your house too!

Chocolate Sheet Cake

Sift together:

2 c. flour

2 c. sugar

Put in a pot and bring to a rapid boil:

1 stick butter

1/2 c. shortening

1 c. water

3 tbsp. cocoa

Pour into sugar/flour mixture, mix well. Add:
2 eggs

1/2 c. buttermilk

1 tsp. soda
1 tsp. vanilla

Bake in a greased and floured cookie sheet with sides (15 1/2 x 10 1/2 x 1) for 20-25 minutes at 350 degrees.


Start the icing during the last 5 minutes of baking. Use the same saucepan as for cake.


1 stick butter, 2 tbsp. cocoa.
Take off heat and add:

1 box powdered sugar, 1 tsp. vanilla, 1/2 cup nuts, 6 tbsp. milk.
Stir well and ice as soon as cake comes out of the oven

Okay, these are supposed to be the ingredients and I have no idea how that Bakers unsweetened chocolate got in there! You wont need it!

This is the butter, shortening, water and cocoa.

This your batter, spread into a cookie sheet. Always try with your finger, it just doesnt get any better than that!

Spread the frosting over the cake, again, try with your finger or it wont taste right, LOL!

This is the finished cake. It is just scrumptious!!