Thursday, December 31, 2009

Happy New Year!

Last night, Jimmy and I arrived home after being gone for 10 days. We were visiting my daughter, Kelly and her family, in Kansas. We had so much fun and we actually had snow for Christmas. That was great! We even went sledding Christmas. I had so much fun playing with the grandkids - Samantha and Austin. I miss them terribly when we aren't together.

Jimmy helping to shovel out on Christmas morning!

Kelly and I did some baking and cooking.

Samantha and Austin taste testing the Choco Cherry Nut Drops! The recipe is on my previous post.
By the look on their faces, I say they like!

Kelly made fudge. Her first time trying it and it came out delicious!
Samantha helped me make Paula Deen's Mexican Wedding Cakes. I made these last Christmas.

We also did cut out cookies. Not sure if there was more eating or frosting going on!

My son-in-law digging in to our Christmas Eve goodies

Saturday, December 19, 2009

More Baking!

Thursday was our Holiday Breakfast at work. It's when all of us employees get together, each bringing a breakfast dish and we exchange gifts (we draw names the end of November). It's alot of fun and we are stuffed the rest of the day! So much good food!

Wednesday, I came home from work and made sausage gravy for my contribution. Then, I made fudge, Hidden Kisses (Paula Deen!), and Choco-Cherry Nut Drops. (The same night I made the Star Sugar Cookies, I also made Magic Cookie Bars.)

Fantasy Fudge

I have not made this in a few years. I absolutely love it. It's not too sweet like some fudge. The first time I made it was in 1982 with my first mother in law, Betty. I remember me scooping the marshmallow creme into bowl, and her stirring!

3 cups sugar
5 oz evaporated milk
1 1/2 sticks butter
12 oz Baker's semi-sweet chocolate, chopped
7 oz marshmallow creme
1 cup walnuts
1 tsp vanilla extract


Line 9 inch square pan with foil, letting foil hang over edges.

In heavy sauce pan, combine sugar, milk and butter. Melt over medium heat, bringing to boil. Stir often to prevent scorching for approximately 4 minutes or until candy themometer reaches 234 degrees.

Remove pan from heat. Add chocolate and marshmallow creme. Stir until melted. Add vanilla and walnuts.

Pour into pan. Refrigerate til set.

Makes 3 lbs.

Hidden Kisses

The recipe was from Paula Deen's The Lady & Sons, Too! cookbook. I was looking for something else to make and these looked yummy. Another recipe I had all the ingredients for! That is always a big plus! These were really good - like a pecan sandy with a Hershey's kiss in the middle.
1 cup butter, at room temperature
2/3 cup sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp almond extract
1 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup finely chopped pecans
9 oz package of Hershey's Kisses
1 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar


In a large bowl, cream the butter, sugar and vanilla and almond extracts. Stir in the flour and blend well. Add the pecans and blend well. Cover the bowl and refrigerate the dough for one hour. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

Unwrap the Kisses. Press a scant tablespoon of dough around each Kiss, covering it completely; shape into balls.

Place the cookies on ungreased cookie sheets and bake for 10 minutes. Cool slightly, then transfer to a rack to cool completely. Roll the cookies in the confectioners' sugar (I skipped this step; and they still tasted great).

Yields: 3 1/2 - 4 1/2 dozen

Choco-Cherry Nut Drops

These are one of my absolute favorite cookies that get made at the holidays. I remember my mom making these back when I was young. I didn't make them for some reason last year, but I vow to always be sure I make them every year!

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Sift together:

2 1/2 cups flour

1 tsp. soda

1/2 tsp. salt

Cream: 1 cup butter

Gradually add 1 cup brown sugar and 1/2 cup sugar

Blend in 1 unbeaten egg adn 1 1/2 tsp vanilla

Add dry ingredients, blending well.

Stir in 1 cup (6 oz pkg) semi-sweet semi-sweet chocolate morsels

1/2 cup chopped nuts

1/4 cup copped marashino cherries.

Drop by rounded teaspoonfuls onto greased cookie sheets. Bake 10-12 minutes until golden brown.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

My Girl Paula: Star Sugar Cookies

I found this recipe in the magazine" Paula Deen's Holiday Baking 2009." I love sugar cookies. I don't like to ice them and decorate them, but sprinkling the sugar on them before baking is right up my alley!

I made these Monday night. I actually had all the ingredients, which was a big deciding factor! I didn't just make stars, tho; I made bells and trees, too.

These are really good. Hard to have just one!

Star Sugar Cookies

1 cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar

1 cup confectioners sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
colored sugar sprinkles


In large bowl, beat butter at medium speed with an electric mixer until creamy; gradually add sugars, beating well. Add eggs and vanilla, mixing well.

In a large bowl, combine flour, baking powder, and salt; gradually add to butter mixture, mixing well. Cover and chill for 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line baking sheets with parchment paper.

Divide dough in half; chill 1 portion until ready to use.

On a lightly floured surface, roll remaining portion of dough to 1/8" thickness. Using a 2 1/2 inch cutter, cut dough and place on prepared baking sheets. Repeat with remaining dough. Decorate as desired with colored sugard.

Bake for 8-10 minutes, or until edges are lightly browned. Let cool on pans for 2 minutes. Remove from pans, and cool completely on wire racks.

Yield: 4-5 dozen

Barbecue Quesadillas

For an early Christmas present to my son, Jimmy, I bought him Better Homes and Gardens Anyone Can Cook - Step-by-Step Recipes Just for You. It even comes with a dvd. Jimmy likes to cook when he takes the time to. He swears his sausage gravy is the best. No one else, but me, is allowed to make it in the family. He even does most of the cooking for his patrol when his Boy Scout troop goes camping.

Last night, Jimmy decided he wanted to make dinner. So after looking in his book and seeing what we had available in the kitchen, Barbecue Quesadillas is what we made. (Find ingredients is not easy right now since we are going to my daughter's for the holidays and I haven't shopped this week.)

These were very good, I must say. Not time consuming at all. We didn't have the tub of shredded chicken in bbq sauce, so we used Tyson's frozen diced chicken and mixed in some Open Pit BBQ sauce. I think I would add more cheese next time.
nonstick cooking spray
Four 7 or 8 inch flour tortillas
1 cup shredded extra-sharp cheddar cheese or Mexican cheese blend (4 oz)
4 oz can diced green chiles, drained (omitted)
18 oz tub refrigerated barbecue sauce with shredded chicken (2 cups)
1 cup bottle salsa
1/4 cup dairy sour cream (omitted)
1/4 cup sliced green onion (omitted)
1. Coat one side of each tortilla with cooking spray. Place, coated side down, on cutting board or waxed paper. Sprinkle 1/4 cup of the cheese over half of each tortilla. Top with green chiles and barbecue sauce with chicken. Fold tortillas in half, pressing gently.
2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a hot 10 inch skillet, cook quesadillas, two at a time, over medium heat for 6-8 minutes or until golden brown, turning once. Place quesadillas on a baking sheet. Keep warm in preheated oven for up to 30 minutes. Repeat with remaining quesadillas. Cut each quesadilla into 3 wedges. Serve with salsa, sour cream, and green onion.
Makes 4 servings.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

My Girl, Paula: Barbecue Meatloaf

This week's My Girl, Paula recipe was to make something with beef. I choice the Barbecue Meatloaf. I have had my eye on it and decided to go for it. It was so yummy! I will definitely make this one again. I split the meatloaf into two small loaves since my son doesn't like onions and I wanted some. But, I did not like the one the onions stayed so crunchy. Next time, I will make the meatloaf without the onions.

I loved the sauce that was made. I put both loaves together in one pan and basted both a few times. Yummy!


1 1/2 lbs ground beef
1 cup fresh bread crumbs
1 onion, chopped
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
two 8-oz cans tomato sauce
1/2 cup water
3 T vinegar
3 T brown sugar
2 T prepared mustard
2 T Worcestershire sauce


Mix together the beef, bread crumbs, onion, egg, salt, pepper, and 1/2 cup of the tomato sauce. From the mixture into a loaf and place in in a shallow pan.

Stir together the remaining tomato sauce, water, vinegar, sugar, mustard and Worcestershire sauce. Pour the sauce over the meatloaf.

Bake at 350 degrees for one hour, basting occasionally with the pan juices.

Serves: 6

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

My Girl, Paula: Banana Gooey Butter Cakes

This week's My Girl, Paula recipe was Pumpkin Gooey Butter Cakes. I was so NOT in the mood for anything else pumpkin. Luckily, the recipe came with three other variations - Pineapple, Banana, and Peanut Butter. I had the bananas that were very ripe, so I made that instead.

The cake was good, but not my favorite. It was very sweet and gooey. Gooey isn't bad. The cinnamon and nutmeg were yummy in it. It was easy to put together. I made it while cooking dinner and stuck it in the oven as soon as dinner came out.

The recipe can be found here.
The cake layer.
Before sticking in oven.
Right after pulled out of oven.