Monday, January 30, 2017

Strawberry Spritz Hearts

 One of my granddaughter's spent the night with me, and we made these delightful spritz cookies.  I had remembered reading about my bloggy buddy,  Lynn's spritz cookies  here,  where she made Raspberry Spritz cookies.  I wanted to try the recipe with some Strawberry Jello. The cookies were a huge success!  Thanks Lynn, for the inspiration!


 This heart-shaped wooden bowl, which had been filled with succulents, was given to me last Valentine's Day from my youngest son and DIL.  I've turned it into an indoor fairy garden.

 My granddaughter almost always chooses this Colclough teacup that I received from  Deb, at  one of Stephanie's teacup exchanges.  I'm thinking that the cottage design just enchants her little heart. 

 Here she is pouring her vanilla chai tea from my cottage girl teapot.  We love to have breakfast in bed.

  Later, we decided to whip up a batch of cookies.  Didn't my granddaughter do well?  I'm sure her family was happy with the treats that she brought home.


Here's a sweet note that my granddaughter left for me!


yield: Quite a few!print recipe

Strawberry Spritz Hearts

This dough is a great one to use in the cookie press. My son, Mike, who doesn't like spritz cookies, loved the flavor of these!


  • 3/4 cup butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 egg
  • 1 four serving box of Strawberry Jello (not sugar-free)
  • 2 cups flour
  • sprinkles for garnish, if desired


  1. Beat butter, sugar, vanilla, egg, and Jello with mixer until combined.
  2. Add flour, and mix until just combined.
  3. Fill cookie press, form cookies on cool, ungreased cookie sheets. I actually put my cookie sheets in the freezer, as I had read somewhere that this helps with spritz cookies. Do not try to press cookies onto warm cookie sheets!
  4. Sprinkle the unbaked cookies with sparkling or colored sugar, or mini sprinkles.
  5. Bake at 400 degrees for 6-8 minutes.
  6. Cool cookies on sheet for one minute and then move to cooling racks.
  7. Store in an airtight container.
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Monday, January 23, 2017

Spicy Chicken and Black Bean Stew

 Let's enjoy some spicy stew today, shall we? 

 This is a favorite winter time mug that I bought at Kroger several years ago, along with the matching plates. 

yield: 5-6 bowlsprint recipe

Spicy Chicken and Black Bean Stew

This is a quick recipe that I clipped from the newspaper, and was submitted by Melissa D'Arabian, and adapted by me. It looks like a long list of ingredients, but it's ready to eat in no time.


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 stalk celery, chopped
  • 2 medium carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons chipotles in adobo sauce, finely chopped (or tomato paste and some chilipowder, if less spice is desired)
  • 2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 and 1/2 cups hot water
  • 1-15 oz. can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 cup frozen corn, thawed, or 1 can or corn, drained
  • 2 cups shredded cooked chicken
  •  make a slurry of about 1/2 cup cold water and 2-3 tablespoons of cornstarch
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice
  • salt and pepper
  • avocodo, cilantro, grated cheese, and lime wedges, for garnishing


  1. In a large heavy pot over medium-high heat, heat the oil. Add the onion, celery, and carrots and cook about five minutes, until they start getting tender.
  2. Add the garlic and chipotles, then stir for about 1 minute.
  3. Add the stock, water, beans, corn, and chicken and bring to a simmer. Add the water/cornstarch slurry and stir. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer for 10 minutes.
  4. Stir in the lime juice and season with salt and pepper, if needed.
  5. Ladle into serving bowls, and garnish with avocado, chopped cilantro, shredded cheese, and lime wedges.
  6. NOTE: Leftover chipotles can be spooned out onto a waxed paper lined cookie sheet, in individual clumps, with a little sauce, and then frozen. When frozen, store the chipotles in freezer proof bags. Use when needed, when a little heat is desired.
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Monday, January 16, 2017

Black-Eyed Pea Soup

 I love cooking soups in the winter, and would like for you to join me for some Black-Eyed Pea Soup.  I don't think I even heard of black-eyed peas until I moved to Texas over 30 years ago.  People in the south eat black-eyed peas for good luck on New Year's Day.  

 My friend, Barbara, gave me this beautiful teacup awhile ago, and it's a favorite of mine.  The pattern is Hazel Dell, by Copeland/Spode.  Isn't it pretty?

yield: 6 bowlsprint recipe

Black-Eyed Pea Soup

I copied this recipe down from the Today Show back in 2015, and adapted it to use canned beans. If you don't like black-eyed peas, try Great Northern beans, instead. It's a really quick, flavorful soup, and perfect for Winter.


  • 1 lb. mix of hot and mild Italian sausage
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 green pepper, diced (I used yellow, becasue that's what I had)
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 jalapeño, seeded and minced
  • 1-14 oz. can Italian tomatoes (I used petite diced and added some oregano and basil)
  • 3 cans black-eyed peas, drained
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro, for garnish, if desired


  1. Brown sausage.
  2. Add onion, bell pepper, garlic, and jalapeño and cook about 6 minutes.
  3. Add tomatoes, black-eyed peas, and broth.
  4. Season with salt and pepper, if needed.
  5. Simmer and then garnish with cilantro, if desired.
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Monday, January 9, 2017

Peanut Butter Fudge's been cold here in the Dallas area, and I thought we'd have some tea in front of the fireplace.  I've made some Peanut Butter Fudge from a handwritten recipe that my late Mother-in-Law wrote for my daughter, Molly, back in 1986.  I love, love, love pinecones, and have always collected them at different vacation spots.  The pretty pinecone plate was a thrifted find from several years ago, that I bought for 25 cents each.  The pretty teapot is from my sister, who is going to be receiving a package of the fudge in the mail, along with some pizzelles, for her birthday this week.

I made this little canning jar decoration several years ago, with some fake snow, a faux evergreen branch, a pinecone,  and a candle on a timer.

 I've left some faux evergreen branches and pinecones on my mantle. As you can see,  I just can't give up my love for teddy bears, either!

 This is one of my favorite winter teacups by Clarence.  It doesn't have a name, but has numbers of 436/68 and then a 3 .  I'm not an expert in teacups, but I'm sure someone would know what they mean.

yield: 1- 9 x 9" pan and two mini loaf pans, or 1- 9 x 13" panprint recipe

Peanut Butter Fudge

My late Mother-in-Law wrote this recipe out in 1986 for my daughter, Molly, who loved this fudge!


  • 3 cups sugar
  • 3/4 cup butter
  • 2/3 cup evaporated milk
  • 1 cup peanut butter
  • 1- 7 oz. jar marshmallow cream (the original recipe called for a 9 oz. jar, but you know how companies have cut down!
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla


  1. Combine sugar, evaporated milk, and butter. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Boil for 5 minutes.
  2. Remove from heat, and add peanut butter, marshmallow cream and vanilla, and beat until smooth.
  3. Pour into greased pan and refrigerate, then cut into squares.
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Monday, January 2, 2017

Fudgy Chocolate Chip Toffee Bars

 Christmas is over and we are into the New Year!  Let's share of cup of Tazo "Joy"  tea, that I received from a sweet neighbor, shall we?  I've made some yummy bars to eat and I'll show you some pictures of what we've been up to.

 This iron angel is the smallest of a trio set that I bought years ago, which adorn my mantle at Christmas time.

 You can have your tea from this favorite Johnson Brothers Friendly Village, the Ice House.  Isn't this the perfect pattern for winter time?

 These three sweet grands had a sleepover at my house and we made Rolo and Dove Caramel  pretzel treats (the Rolos won the challenge!), brownie cut outs, and popcorn balls. Oh, it was such fun!

 I celebrated Christmas Eve with some of my family and six of my grandchildren.

 The kids changed into their jammies that I gave them and we decorated soft frosted sugar cookies, which was a great suggestion from my daughter-in-law.  The kids had cookies for Santa!   Yes, it made a mess, but just look at those happy faces! 

 We even decorated a cookie for baby Jesus and talked about why we celebrate Christmas.  Two-year-old Harper was chosen to blow out the candle, while we sang Happy Birthday.

 My son, Mike, worked hours, upon hours creating characters for each of his nieces and nephews.  He gave them all "Uncle Bucks" when they came,  and they had to go into my sewing room (where he keeps Uncle Buck toys/gifts) and they were to choose something.  They were excited to find their own little avatar. 

When I awoke on Christmas morning, lo and behold, I had my own avatar surprise waiting for me!! 

Happy New Year Blessings to each of you!

yield: 32 bars print recipe

Fudgy Chocolate Chip Toffee Bars

These are a fudgy toffee treat that are great for feeding a crowd. They also freeze well after baking.


  • 1/2 cup butter, melted
  • 2 cups graham cracker crumbs (32 squares)
  • 1 bag (8 oz) toffee bits (1 and 1/2 cups)
  • 1 roll (16.5 oz) refrigerated chocolate chip cookies
  • 1 bag (12 oz) semi-sweet chocolate chips (2 cups)
  • 1 can sweetened condensed milk (NOT evaported)
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla


  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees (325 for dark or iconoclastic pan). Spray bottom only of 13 x 9-inch pan with cooking spray.
  2. In medium bowl, stir 1/2 cup melted butter, 1 and 1/2 cups of the graham cracker crumbs and 3/4 cup of the toffee bits. Press mixture evenly in bottom of pan. Refrigerate about 15 minutes or until grim.
  3. Meanwhile, let cookie dough stand at room temperature for 10 minutes to soften. In a 2-quart saucepan, heat chocolate chips, sweetened condensed milk and 1 tablespoon butter over medium heat, stirring frequently, until chips are melted and mixture is smooth. Remove from heat; stir in vanilla. Spread mixture over cracker crust.
  4. In medium bowl, break up cookie dough. Mix in remaining 1/2 cup cracker crumbs with wooden spoon until well blended/ Crumble mixture evenly over chocolate layer. Sprinkle with remaining 3/4 cup toffee bits.
  5. Bake 25-35 minutes or until golden brown. Cool completely, about 2 hours. Cut into 8 rows by 4 rows.
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