Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Nacho Night

One of the easiest dinners I throw together is Layered Nachos. This may not seem to be the traditional nachos everyone snacks on, but it has a lot of the same ingredients. I adapted this recipe from one my brother makes called Seven Layer Dip. The ingredients are easy to alter depending on what you have on hand and according to your tastes. You can make it as healthy or as sinful as you want! I just throw it all together on a large plate and everyone serves themselves. Too easy :)

Layered Nachos
1 pound of ground beef or shredded chicken
1 package of wheat tortillas cut into triangles (or substitute tortilla chips)
1 can chopped olives
1 to 2 tomatoes, chopped
2 green onions, chopped
1 can vegetarian re fried beans
sour cream
finely shredded cheese

Place tortilla pieces on baking sheet sprayed with Pam. Spray tortilla pieces with cooking spray and sprinkle with garlic salt. Place baking sheet on lower rack, broil on high. Meanwhile, brown beef or chicken. Heat re fried beans. When tortillas are done, place on large plate, cover with re fried beans leaving some chips around the outside edge of the plate. Layer the beef or chicken next. Sprinkle cheese, let melt. Add other ingredients as desired. Serve with salsa.

I've added cheese dip/Velveeta, hot peppers, and even substituted crab for the beef. Canned chicken works well too. Just heat it a bit first.

"After a good dinner one can forgive anybody, even one's own relations.”
-Oscar Wilde

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Andes Candies Cookies

Do you ever get tired of the same old chocolate chip cookies? I don't (hehe!) All joking aside, I decided to try something a little different this time- Andes Candies chopped up into cookie making size chunks. I had to try it just to see how it would taste. I decided to use it with my usual chocolate chip cookie recipe and subsitute the Andes Candies for the regular semi sweet chips. It was really good! The coolness of the creme de menthe made a lot of difference. It gave a chocolate kick but with a minty zing. The only problem was the cookies came out much flatter than they do when I used regular chips. I'm not sure why. But they were still worth eating every bite!
Andes Candies Cookies

1 cup softened butter
2 1/2 cups flour
1/2 cup white sugar
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
2 eggs, room temp.
2 1/2 tsps. vanilla
1 bag Andes Creme de Menthe

Heat oven to 350 degrees. In large bowl cream butter, both sugars, eggs, and vanilla. Do not over beat.
Sift dry ingredients together. Combine with creamed mixture.
Stir in Andes pieces.
Place golf ball size portions 2 inches apart on an ungreased baking sheet.
Bake for 9 minutes, or until edges are lightly browned. Do not overbake. Edges should be crunchy and the middles soft.

The end result. Yummm!

My kids approve!

"Broken cookies don't have calories."

"I am still convinced that a good, simple, homemade cookie is preferable to all the store-bought cookies one can find."

-James Beard

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Summertime Peach Pie

A Peach has to be one of the most wonderful things God created on this earth. Nothing says summer to me more than the taste of a warm, ripe peach. Add sugar and some other ingredients, and you have yourself the second best thing- Peach Pie! We bought some peaches from the local farmer's market and I found this great recipe to try. It was simple enough that the peaches themselves were the highlight and weren't overshadowed by all the other ingredients. Enjoy!

Peach Pie
1 (15 ounce) package pastry for a 9 inch double crust pie
1 egg, lightly beaten
5 cups sliced peeled peaches
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup white sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons butter
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.

Line the bottom and sides of a 9 inch pie plate with one of the pie crusts. Brush with some of the beaten egg to keep the dough from becoming soggy later.
Place the sliced peaches in a large bowl, and sprinkle with lemon juice. Mix gently. In a separate bowl, mix together the flour, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt. Pour over the peaches, and mix gently. Pour into the pie crust, and dot with butter. Cover with the other pie crust, and fold the edges under. Flute the edges to seal or press the edges with the tines of a fork dipped in egg. Brush the remaining egg over the top crust. Cut several slits in the top crust to vent steam.

Bake for 10 minutes in the preheated oven, then reduce the heat to 350 degrees and bake for an additional 30 to 35 minutes, until the crust is brown and the juice begins to bubble through the vents. If the edges brown to fast, cover them with strips of aluminum foil about halfway through baking. Cool before serving. This tastes better warm than hot.

Adapted from All-Recipes

The egg mixture on top really makes a beautiful crust. To top with whipped cream, beat a cup of heavy whipping cream until stiff. Add a few tablespoons of sugar, to taste. Delicious!

"An apple is an excellent thing -- until you have tried a peach."
-George du Maurier

“A Georgia peach, a real Georgia peach, a backyard great-grandmother's orchard peach, is as thickly furred as a sweater, and so fluent and sweet that once you bite through the flannel, it brings tears to your eyes.”
-Melissa Fay Greene

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Down Home Southern Meat Loaf

After an extremely busy week dealing with errands and kids, I finally had time to make something decent for dinner. Every once in a while, I really crave meatloaf. Yeah, not that exciting, I know! But after trying so many different versions over the years, I finally found one that answers my cravings. It's moist, flavorful, and easy to make, and Southern to boot. And the topping is out of this world. I often make this in the morning and pop it in the oven an hour before dinner. Great for when you want a down home meal that leaves you happy and satisfied!

Favorite Meat Loaf

1 pound ground beef

1 1/4 teaspoons salt

1/4 teaspoons ground black pepper

1/2 cup finely chopped onion

1 egg, lightly beaten

8 ozs. canned diced tomatoes, with the juice

1/2 cup quick-cooking oats

Preheat oven 375 degrees. Mix all ingredients well and place in loaf pan or glass baking dish (shape into loaf if using baking dish). Pour topping over top of loaf.


2/3 cup ketchup

4 tablespoons brown sugar

2 tablespoons prepared mustard

Mix ingredients for topping and spread on loaf. Bake for 1 hour.

Adapted from The Lady & Sons Savannah Country Cookbook by Paula H. Deen.

“It's about how to make the best meat loaf or fried chicken or macaroni and cheese. It's about brilliant simple cooking, really."
-Tyler Florence

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Gingerbread Cookies

It's Christmas in August at our house today! My son has been playing Candyland the past few weeks with a vengeance and keeps talking about "Gingerbread Man boy" so we decided to indulge him a bit with real Gingerbread Man Boys! I first used this recipe for Christmas last year and they turned out nice, soft cookies. This batch was really good too. Along with the house smelling wonderful, we enjoyed making these with no Christmas rush or pressure interfering! So if you're up for some smells and tastes of Christmas, you gotta try these. Why wait till Christmas?

Gingerbread Cookies

1 3/4 cups sugar
1 cup butter, softened
1 egg
3 Tbs. molasses
1 tsp. vanilla
3 cups all purpose flour
2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. ground ginger
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt

3 cups confectioners' sugar
1/3 cup butter, softened
1 tsp. vanilla
1 to 2 tbs. milk
Raisins for decorating, if desired. (We used colored sugar)

Combine first five ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Beat medium speed, scraping bowl often, until creamy. Reduce speed to low. Add all remaining cookie ingredients (except frosting). Beat until well mixed. Divide dough in half. Wrap in plastic food wrap. Refrigerate until firm, 1 to 2 hours.

Heat oven to 375 degrees. Roll out dough on lightly floured surface, one half at a time (keep other dough in the refrigerator) to a 1/8 inch thickness. Cut with 4 to 5 inch cookie cutter. Place cookies 1 inch apart onto ungreased cookie sheets. Bake for 6 to 9 minutes or until set. Let stand 1 minute then remove from cookie sheets. Cool completely.

Frosting: Combine confectioners' sugar, butter and vanilla in a small mixing bowl. Beat on low speed adding enough milk for desired consistency. Decorate cooled cookies as desired.

Makes 2 dozen 4 1/2 inch cookies.

Cookies decorated as my kids desired!

"Think what a better world it would be if we all, the whole world, had cookies and milk about three o'clock every afternoon and then lay down on our blankets for a nap.
-Robert Fulghum

"A balanced diet is a cookie in each hand"

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Staple of The South...

I came across this article today on MSN and had to share it. I think after reading this article, it's easy to see why Sweet Tea is so important in the South, and why even up here in the North it's starting to catch on. Yeah!

Friday, August 10, 2007

Dreary August

All the clouds and rain this week has made me long for some color! If it wasn't for the oppressive humidity outside, I'd think this was winter it's so dreary. So I found some bright and definitely colorful things to look at. Different, I know, but fun! Besides, it's either this or stuff my face with chocolate. And you know which one I prefer.....

Cactus Bloom

Paper Flowers

"There are not more than five primary colors (blue, yellow, red, white, and black), yet in combination they produce more hues than can ever been seen."

"If everyone would look for that uniqueness then we would have a very colorful world. "

-Michael Schenker

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Whoa Dude, Not Possible!

I was looking around on the internet today and found a fun site. I don't believe in magic or the like, but if you take it with a grain of salt, it's really fun. I'm never sure how these things work. Maybe it's not good to know, since it would take all the fun out of it!


"Silly is you in a natural state, and serious is something you have to do until you can get silly again."
-Mike Myers

Monday, August 6, 2007

Zucchini Bread

This recipe is another favorite of mine. I had been looking for a really good recipe for Zucchini Bread for a long time. Every time I tried a new one, even ones given to me by friends, the bread didn't come out good. Too dry, too dense, no taste, etc. One day at work, a co-worker of mine told me about his mother's bread recipe. He offered to get a copy for me. His mom was nice enough to write it down and sent it back to me. First time I tried it, I knew it was the One!

Zucchini Bread

2 cups sugar

1 cup cooking oil (for a lower fat version- I have subsituted 1/4 applesauce and 3/4 oil with great results)

3 eggs

1 tsp. salt

1 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp. baking powder

1 tsp cloves, cinnamon, and ginger

1 tsp vanilla

3 cups flour

2 cups grated zucchini

1 8oz can crushed pineapple, drained

1 cup chopped nuts (optional)

1 cup raisins (optional)

Combine sugar and oil, add eggs one at a time. In a seperate bowl, mix together dry ingredients. Add dry mix to sugar, oil and egg mixture, alternating with the zucchini and pineapple. Add vanilla. Stir in nuts and raisins. Pour into 2 greased loaf pans (I've used 8 x 8 glass pans too, just watch cause it bakes faster). Bake at 350 degrees for one hour.

“Vegetables are a must on a diet. I suggest carrot cake, zucchini bread, and pumpkin pie"
-Jim Davis

Friday, August 3, 2007

Garden Harvest

I just love having a garden. I'm still far from being a pro at it, though. I've learned a lot this year just from some of the typical problems that crop up (hehe!) with growing veggies. For instance, my veggies don't seem to be growing as big as they should. I used a soil test (first time for me) and found that I need to add lime to the garden. I also learned from my neighbor that throwing grass clippings into your garden really helps. Of course, we own a lawn mower that automatically mulchs the grass very small, so I can't use it. Have to find another way around that one....

Some of the garden plants I bought from the store and some I planted from seed. I am hoping that the from seed plants I can harvest after the store bought ones are done. If the growing season lasts that long :)

Isn't this watermelon so cute?! These were planted by seed and I am hoping they get at least edible size by fall. But just watching them grow is fun too.

“To cultivate a garden is to walk with God"
-Christian Nevell Bovee

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Blogging Addiction....Moi?

This is a really interesting site that is another finding out more about yourself quiz. My score was 61%. What's yours?


A blog is an ideal way of doing a brain dump on a daily basis of what is going on right now, the weird, the exciting and the awful things ... I also wanted to have a record for myself, just for posterity."
-David Adams