Friday, April 25, 2014

yummy mango lassi

One of my FAVORITE drinks in the whole world!! It is light and refreshing and so very easy and YUMMY!! You can also freeze it for a super yummy frozen treat!!

2 cups of fresh chopped RIPE mango pieces (3 or 4 MED mangoes)
2 cups REAL plain good quality yogurt (I like to use Liberté)
2 to 3 tbsp REAL cream
½ TSP cardamom powder
4 to 5 tbsp RAW sugar (sometimes I use honey when I can get it at the farmers market)
whole milk can be added to desired consistency 

Peel the mangoes and chop them. In a blender or mixer, puree the mangoes with sugar or honey. Slowly add the plain yogurt, cream, the cardamom powder and blend well until really smooth. Serve over ice and sit back and enjoy!!

Thursday, April 24, 2014

ginger oriental ramen noodle salad

Perfect for a quick yummy salad for a potluck or to compliment any meal.  Add grilled chicken to make it a complete meal!!

1/4 head purple cabbage, finely chopped
1/4 head green cabbage, finely chopped
1/4 head Napa cabbage, finely chopped
4 green onions, sliced
1 PKG Ramen noodles oriental or chicken, crushed
1 TBL BLACK sesame seeds

Mix together except the noodles and refrigerate an hour.

2 TBL sugar
3 TBL Rice vinegar
1 TSP fresh grated ginger
1 TSP Mirin Sauce
1/2 c. salad oil
1/2 tsp. pepper
Flavor packet from the noodles

Toss together just before serving!!

Saturday, September 14, 2013

candy corn ice cream

 If you love Fall's favorite treat Candy Corn you will LOVE this!!
It's so easy that you can make it again as soon as it gone!!

3 Cups of Heavy Cream
2 Cups of Whole Milk
18 oz. bag of candy corn plus 1 cup of Candy Corn

On stove top begin melting candy corn over medium/low heat into 2 cups of whole milk. Once completely dissolved, your milk will be candy corn orange :) Remove from heat and add the heavy cream stirring to combine. Put in plastic container and chill overnight. The next day make ice cream according to your ice cream maker directions :) Coarsely chop 1 cup of candy corn into small pieces. Add these into your ice cream batch during the last 5 minutes. Chill ice cream for about 3 hours they ENJOY!!

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

mac & cheese soup with bacon

What's better than homemade mac & cheese?? Mac & Cheese Soup with bacon, perfect on a cold night or anytime!!
4 ounces (1 1/2 cups) uncooked dried small macaroni
1/2 pound shredded cheddar cheese
2 tablespoons salted sweet cream butter
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon Dijon-style mustard
1 (14-ounce) can chicken broth
2 cups half & half
1 cup finely diced bacon
Salt and pepper, to taste

Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain; set aside. Melt butter in 3-quart saucepan until sizzling; stir in flour and mustard. Add broth and half & half. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring constantly, until mixture comes to a boil (4 to 5 minutes). Reduce heat to low; stir in cheese until melted. Stir in cooked macaroni and ham. Cook until heated through (4 to 5 minutes). Salt and pepper to taste.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

crockpot chicken jambalaya

Perfect for a Mardi Gras celebration at home or just a cold winters day!
1/2 pound andouille sausage cut into 1 inch pieces
2 stalks celery, sliced
1 pound boneless skinless chicken thighs, cut into 1" pieces
1 white onion, chopped 3 cloves garlic, minced
2 14 oz cans HUNTS diced tomatoes, undrained
1 Tbsp. sugar
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
1 green bell pepper, cut into 1 inch pieces
1 cup mushrooms, sliced
1-3 tsp Tabasco Sauce
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp dried thyme leaves
1/2 tsp dried basil leaves
1/2 cup uncooked long grain white rice
1 pound frozen fully cooked white shrimp, thawed (optional)

In medium saucepan, cook sausage until lightly browned and rain of fat. Combine sausage with all ingredients except rice in crock pot. Cover and cook on LOW for 6 - 8 hours. Increase heat to HIGH and stir in rice and cook for 15 minutes, or until rice is tender. Add shrimp, stir, cover and cook an additional 3-5 minutes until shrimp is heated through. Enjoy!!

Monday, February 4, 2013

15 amazing uses for cucumbers

There are two types of people when it comes to cucumbers: the ones who love them, and the ones who hate them. It’s not often that you hear a person say, “I guess they’re okay, I really don’t mind them.” If you knew all of the things you could do with cucumbers, even if you hated the taste, you would find yourself putting them in your basket at the grocery store. They are cheap, readily available, and totally green. You can even grow your own supply! Here are fifteen amazing frugal uses for cucumbers:

1. Fat busting: Do you ever wonder why women put cucumbers on their eyes to relieve puffiness? The photochemical in cucumbers makes the collagen in your skin tighten, thus the lack of puffiness. Did you know that you can rub a cucumber on a problematic spot of cellulite anywhere on your body to lessen the visibility of it? Did you also know that it has the same effect on wrinkles? Wow, it makes purchasing those fifty dollar creams seem a little silly, doesn’t it? You can also rub a little bit under your kiddo’s eyes after a long bout of crying to avoid that puffy ‘I cried for an hour straight’ look.

2. Defogger: Do you get annoyed when you get out of the shower and you have to fight the fog on the mirror? Who has time for that when the kids will be awake at any moment? Try rubbing a slice of cucumber on the mirror before you hop in and not only will you get a fog-free mirror, but you’ll have a nice smell that will boost your mood.

3. Headaches: If you suffer from headaches from chasing your babies all day, or had a little too much wine with dinner and want to avoid a hangover, eat half of a cucumber before bed. Cucumbers are high in B vitamins, sugar, and electrolytes, and they replenish the nutrients missing in your body to help you avoid a hang over or to beat that headache that’s been threatening to take over.

4. WD-40 replacement: Did you know you can get rid of a squeak by rubbing a cucumber on the hinge? Wow, now you don’t have to tear your garage apart looking for that little can with the red straw, and the baby won’t wake up when you slowly open the nursery door to check on him.

5. Crayon on the walls: Take an unpeeled cucumber and rub the crayon off of the walls in the event that your kiddo left you some art. You can also use this technique to erase a pen mistake.

6. Halitosis killer: Take a slice of cucumber and put it on the roof of your mouth. Hold it there with your tongue for 30 seconds. The photochemical that you love for cellulite and puff reduction will also kill the bacteria that is causing your bad breath.

7. Tarnish remover: If you’re finding tarnish on your stainless steel kitchen faucets and appliances? Rub it off with a cucumber slice. Not only will it remove years of tarnish, it will leave it streak free and your hands will thank you, and your kids won’t be put at risk from a dangerous chemical.

8. Energy booster: If you’re feeling tired in the afternoon, don’t give Starbucks your five bucks. Instead, grab a cucumber. There are just enough carbohydrates and B vitamins to give you a longer-lasting and healthier boost of energy than soda, coffee, or those health hazard energy drinks.

9. Munchy madness: Did you know that European trappers ate cucumbers for energy and to keep from starving to death? If those big burly manly men can eat a cucumber to keep from starving, you can eat one as a healthy choice when the munchies hit. Slice some up and take them in a small plastic container to the movies if your theater doesn’t offer healthy alternatives to munching on butter soaked popcorn.

10. Frugal facial: Slice up a cucumber and boil it in a pot of water. The chemicals inside of the cucumber will mix with the steam. Remove the pot from heat and lean over it, letting the steam hit you. Your skin will be more radiant and healthy, and you will feel relaxed and rejuvenated.

11. Shoe polish: Cut a slice off of your cucumber and rub it on your shoe. It will not only shine it up, but it will repel water.

12. Pest control: Put three or four slices of cucumber in a small pie tin and place them in your garden. The chemicals in the cucumber have a reaction that pests hate. You won’t smell it, but it will drive them from your garden all year long. Replace them periodically.

13. Sunburn: Sometimes sun block doesn’t always protect your little ones from sunburn. If you have burnt little kiddos you don’t have any aloe, rub some cucumber on them. Many doctors even use cucumber to treat patients with irritated skin and sunburns.

14. Blood pressure: Cucumber has been long used to treat high blood pressure. If you have it, add cucumbers to your daily diet. There is also ongoing research into the use of cucumbers for lowering cholesterol.

15. Constipation remedy: The seeds of a cucumber are a diuretic. If you’re constipated, try eating a cucumber. If you suffer from chronic constipation, add cucumber to your daily diet.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

natural remedy for flu

 flu season is upon us... instead of reaching for over the counter stuff that doesn't work reach for this  and you will feel beter in no time!!

crock pot teriyaki chicken

We love chicken, this is an all time favorite and sooooo easy!!

2 cloves garlic, crushed
1/3 cup teriyaki sauce
2 tablespoons rice wine
1 1/2 tablespoon cider vinegar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 1/2 tablespoon minced ginger
8 pieces chicken

Combine all ingredients in crock pot and add chicken. Cook on low for 8-10 hours. Serve over rice sprinkle with sesame seeds :)

Saturday, November 10, 2012

spiced turkey brine

To Brine or Not to Brine.... I say BRINE!! You will never have a more flavorful and juicy bird if you brine your bird in this amazing spa bath :)

What you need to brine a 16 to 20-pound turkey!!

2 cups citrus infused coarse sea salt by salt works
6 cloves garlic, crushed
4 whole bay leaves
4 sprigs fresh rosemary
6 sprigs fresh sage
4 sprigs fresh thyme
8 whole star anise pods
3 tablespoons whole black, red & white peppercorns
1 tablespoon allspice berries
3 whole cinnamon sticks
3 medium navel oranges cut into wedges (with rind)
2 large lemons cut into wedges (with rind)
2 medium sweet yellow onions cut into wedges with skin

In a large 12+-quart stock pot, bring 12 cups water, salt, garlic, herbs and spices to a boil. Stir occasionally to dissolve salt. Remove from heat and add oranges, lemons (make sure your squeeze them) and onions and then let cool. Add turkey to pot once completely cooled and add enough cool to completely cover turkey. Keep in refrigerator for 24 hours. Prepare your turkey for roasting 2 hours before you intend to roast it... remove it from brining solution (DON NOT RINSE) discard brine, pat the bird thoroughly dry with paper towels completely inside and out. You are ready to roast the Best tasting bird you have ever  had… Enjoy!!

Sunday, September 9, 2012

perfect german pancake

This is one of our families favorite things to have for breakfast or dinner ;) It's a snap to make and so light and airy.  It's also great to add your favorite berries, crumbled bacon or sausage before baking!!

7 eggs
1 cup half & half
1 cup flour
1/4 tsp salt
6 tsp salted sweet cram butter melted

Pre-heat oven to 450. In medium bowl whisk eggs and add in half & half.  Stir together flour and salt and add to egg mixture and whisk until combined.  In 9 x 13 pan coat with Pam and add melted butter to bottom of pan. Pour egg mixture in pan and bake at 450 for 15 - 20 minutes until puffed and golden brown on the edges.  Turn heat down to 350 and bake another 15 minutes. Serve with real maple syrup, buttermilk syrup or berries & cream!! Enjoy!!

Friday, June 1, 2012

watermelon "salsa"

this is a perfect yummy quick salsa for a hot summer's day!!

3 cups ripe seedless watermelon finely cubed
1 green pepper chopped
1 yellow pepper chopped
2 medium jalapeno pepper's chopped
1 cup sweet onion chopped
1 bunch minced fresh cilantro
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
salt to taste
Tabasco hot sauce to taste

Mix the above together, add salt and Tabasco to your taste and heat preference.  Cover and let salsa rest in refrigerator for  1 hour to macerate. You can serve it with fish, grilled chicken or just with tortilla chips. Enjoy!!

Monday, April 23, 2012

renee's easy sausage crockpot lasagna

 This perfect easy & yummy Lasagna will warm your heart and fill your tummy!!

1/2 LB ground beef
1/2 LB Italian Sweet Sausage
1/2 C diced white onion
1 TSP fresh minced garlic
 jar of your FAVORITE spaghetti sauce
1/2 cup water
1 15 OZ container ricotta cheese
1/2 C Heavy Cream
2 C mozzarella cheese
1/4 C grated Parmesan cheese
1 LG whole egg
2 TBS fresh chopped Italian parsley
12 uncooked lasagna noodles

In a large skillet brown beef, sausage and onion. Add garlic and cook for one minute. Drain. Add spaghetti sauce and water and simmer for about 5 minutes. Mix ricotta, 1 1/2 cups mozzarella, 2 Tablespoons Parmesan, cream, egg and parsley. Pour 1 cup of spaghetti meat sauce into a 4 to 6 quart sized slow cooker. Place half of the noodles and half of the ricotta mixture on top of the sauce. Cover with 2 cups meat sauce. Top with remaining noodles (If the noodles don't fit exactly break them to fit) and cheese mixture and meat sauce. Cook on low for 4 to 5 hours or until noodles are soft. Sprinkle with 1/2 cup of mozzarella and remaining Parmesan. Cover with the lid to melt the cheese and let it sit for 10 minutes before serving. Do not overcook and don't try to speed up the process by cooking it on high. Serve with my Parmesan Garlic Bread!!

Thursday, April 5, 2012

spiced carrot cake

One of my favorite cakes of all time and a must have for Easter!!

6 cups grated carrots
1 cup brown sugar
4 eggs
1 1/2 cups white sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 cup crushed pineapple, drained
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoons all spice
1 cup chopped walnuts optional

In a medium bowl, combine grated carrots and brown sugar. Set aside for 60 minutes. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease and flour two 10 inch cake pans. In a large bowl, beat eggs until light. Gradually beat in the white sugar, oil and vanilla. Stir in the pineapple. Combine the flour, baking soda, salt, all spice and cinnamon... stir into the wet mixture until absorbed. Finally stir in the carrot mixture and the walnuts. Pour evenly into the prepared pans. Bake for 45 to 50 minutes in the preheated oven, until cake tests done with a toothpick. Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pan. When completely cooled, frost with cream cheese frosting. Enjoy!!

Cream Cheese Frosting
2 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup butter, softened
2 cups sifted confectioners' sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

In a medium bowl, cream together the cream cheese and butter until creamy. Mix in the vanilla, then gradually stir in the confectioners' sugar. Store in the refrigerator after use.

creme egg cupcakes

Easter means one thing at our house... Cadberry Creme Egg Cupcakes!!  You will love these and they are so yummy you won't be able to eat just one!!  Happy Easter!!

24 paper cupcake liners
Batter for 24 cupcakes. I used Betty Crocker’s milk chocolate box mix. You can also use your favorite chocolate cupcake recipe.
24 regular size Cadberry Creme Eggs, FROZEN
**Freezing the 24 eggs keeps them from completely vanishing inside the baked cake.
1 batch of heavenly vanilla butter icing
yellow gel food coloring

Scoop batter into paper liner 2/8 of the way full. Place one frozen Mini Cadbury Creme Egg into the middle of each cupcake. Use a spatula to spread the batter over the egg. Bake according to the recipe you are using. Allow cupcakes to cool completely. While your cupcakes are cooking, make your icing. Remove about 1 cup of vanilla butter icing from the mixing bowl and dye it light yellow.  Frost half your cupcakes with the yellow icing and the other half with the white. Enjoy!!

Sunday, April 1, 2012

heavenly vanilla butter icing

This is the best and last "buttercream" frosting you will ever use!!  It is creamy and so light that it will compliment any cake, cookie, cupcake or any yummy creation from your oven!!

1 cup (2 sticks) salted sweet cream butter, softened
6 to 8 cups confectioners’ sugar
1/4 cup whole milk
1/4 cup heavy cream
2 teaspoons pure Mexican vanilla extract

Place the butter in a large mixing bowl. Add 4 cups of the sugar and then the milk, cream and vanilla. On the medium speed of an electric mixer, beat until smooth and creamy, about 3-5 minutes. Gradually add the remaining sugar, 1 cup at a time, beating well after each addition roughly 2 minutes, until the icing is thick enough to be of good spreading consistency... You may not need to add all of the sugar. If you want colored icing, add a few drops of gel coloring and mix thoroughly. Use and store the icing at room temperature because icing will set if chilled. Icing can be stored in an airtight container for up to 3 days. Makes enough for one 2-layer 9-inch cake or 2 dozen cupcakes*

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

strawberry peach banana smoothie

Who else loves smoothies? I love making smoothies, and it is my boys favorite breakfast. I just throw some fruit (whatever is in season), yogurt ice cubes, and some juice into my blender and in seconds I have a delicious healthy treat!

I've started buying the big containers of yogurt (I like vanilla) and freezing it in ice cube trays! I just spoon the yogurt in, freeze, and pop them out and store them in a freezer baggies and when I am ready to make a smoothie... Vuala! It is much more inexpensive than buying the frozen smoothie packages at the store and you can stop throwing away yogurt because it's expiring and freeze it!!

Strawberry Peach Banana Smoothie
1 banana, broken into chunks
handful of fresh strawberries
1 peach, cubed
4 yogurt cubes
1/4 c strawberry, orange, mango juice

Put everything into blender and blend until smooth and serve. You might want to add more or less juice depending on how thick you like your smoothie!!

Monday, March 19, 2012

ooey gooey caramel popcorn

I love popcorn and what makes it better... caramel!! I like mine really sticky and gooey, the kind you have to lick off your fingers!! If you like yours a little firmer just boil your caramel longer :)

1 cube sweet cream salted butter (1/2 cup)
1 cup light corn syrup
1/2 bag (1 lb) dark brown sugar
1 can sweetened condensed milk

Melt butter in a medium saucepan. Add corn syrup and brown sugar. Bring mixture to a boil. Once boiling mix in sweetened condensed milk. Cook for 5-10 minutes or until mixture almost reaches a soft ball stage... I like mine a little softer so I cook it until it's about 220 degrees. Pour over one large bowl popped popcorn. I use 2 bags microwave popped popcorn and make sure to takeout all the unpopped kernels. Use more or less popcorn depending on how much caramel you like on your popcorn. ENJOY!!

Sunday, March 18, 2012

edible chocolate play dough

I got this recipe from my sisiter and made it for my boys, it is so fun!!

This is a fantastic recipe especially if you have a toddler and can't keep things out of your child's mouth, at some point it may be a good idea to teach them to not put everything in there! This smells wonderful but does not taste good.

1 1/4 cup flour
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1/2 cup salt
1/2 tablespoon cream of tartar
1 1/2 tablespoon oil
1 cup water

Mix dry ingredients in a medium size pot. Add wet ingredients and stir together over low heat until a ball of dough forms. Remove play dough from pot and knead by hand until dough is smooth and evenly colored. Store in airtight container.

disposing bacon grease

I love to cook with bacon but I always struggled with how to get rid of the leftover grease.  I came up with idea and it was as easy as 123!!

Friday, March 16, 2012

creamy asparagus soup

I LOVE soup and this is one of my favorites!! It is wonderful by it self  or will compliment any meal. It is creamy, fresh and warms the soul... Enjoy!!

1/4 cup salted sweet cream butter
1 white onion, finely chopped
3 stalks celery, finely chopped
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
4 cups water
1 cup good chicken broth
4 tablespoons chicken bouillon powder
1 yellow potato, peeled and diced small
1 pound fresh pencil asparagus, trimmed and coarsely chopped
3/4 cup real cream
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground white pepper

Melt butter in a heavy cooking pot. Add onions and chopped celery; saute until tender, about 4 minutes. Stir in flour, mixing well. Cook for about 1 minute, stirring constantly. Watch it carefully as it will burn and go lumpy. Add water, chicken broth, and chicken soup base; stir until smooth. Bring to a boil. Add diced potatoes and chopped asparagus. Reduce heat, and simmer for about 20 minutes. Puree soup in a food processor or blender in batches. Return to pot. Stir in cream, soy sauce, and black and white pepper. Bring soup just to boil. Adjust seasonings to taste. Serve hot. ENJOY!!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

spring asparagus season!!

Why Eat Asparagus???

It is high in vitamins B6 and C, plus fiber, folate and glutathione, an anti-carcinogen and antioxidant, asparagus is an excellent nutritional choice. It comes in three colors: white, green or purple, although the green variety is the most common. Long considered a luxury vegetable, often with a luxury price tag, fresh American-grown asparagus appears in stores in late February. But asparagus is at its best—and is usually cheapest—in April and May. And sure, while there’s frozen and canned asparagus, which can be enjoyed year round, nothing beats the delicate flavor of fresh asparagus.

Choosing and Storing Asparagus...

Asparagus spears can be thick or thin. Some people prefer one kind over another but size is not necessarily an indicator of quality. Thicker spears may have tougher, woodier ends, but these are broken off before cooking anyway. The key is to select straight, firm, uniformly sized spears with closed tips. Since asparagus deteriorates rapidly, it’s important to select bundles that are refrigerated or on ice. For the same reason, asparagus should be used within two or three days of purchase, preferably sooner. If you do need to keep it for a day or two, the best way is to place the spears upright in a bowl (or even a small vase) of cold water. Alternatively, you can wrap the ends of the spears in a damp paper towel and refrigerate them.

What to Do With Asparagus...

To prepare asparagus, you will need to rinse the spears and break off the tough ends. After that, how you cook asparagus is up to you.
Soem people enjoy their asparagus with nothing more than a drizzle of good-quality olive oil, but you can enjoy asparagus in many different dishes: in soups, salads, stir-fries, risottos, scrambled eggs, pasta, and many more dishes.

Asparagus and Scallops

This scallops with asparagus recipe is a very simple and elegant dish. It’s only has a few ingredients, and it’s fast and easy to prepare. Scallops and asparagus are a terrific combination and the white wine butter sauce really brings them together.

1 lb medium asparagus, trimmed, cut in 1-inch pieces, tips left whole
2 tbsp olive oil
1 lb large sea scallops, trimmed if necessary
salt and pepper to taste
1/3 cup dry white wine
2 teaspoons white wine vinegar
2 tbsp cold salted sweet cream butter, cut into cubes

Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a heavy nonstick skillet over moderately high heat until hot but not smoking, then sauté asparagus, stirring occasionally, until just tender, 5 to 6 minutes. Transfer with a slotted spoon to a plate, reserving skillet off heat (do not clean). Pat scallops dry and sprinkle with pepper and salt. Add 1 tablespoon oil to skillet and heat over moderately high heat until hot but not smoking, then sauté the scallops, turning over once, until browned and just cooked through, 4 to 6 minutes total. Transfer scallops to another plate and cover loosely with foil to keep warm. Add wine and vinegar to skillet (mixture may spatter) and boil, scraping up any browned bits, until liquid is reduced by half, about 1 minute. Add any accumulated scallop juices on plate and bring to a simmer. Turn off heat and whisk in butter, one piece at a time, until incorporated. Plate scallops and asparagus, spoon sauce over and serve immediately. Enjoy!!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

butter bell

I thought I would share a great addition to my kitchen... BUTTER BELL!! I don't know how I ever lived without it before *lol* it keeps my butter fresh and always spreadable, I LOVE it!!  It holds one stick (1/2 cup) of butter and it fresh and spreadable for weeks without refrigeration!!  I got mine locally at Spoons and Spice but you can order them on-line at The Butter Bell Store!! They come in soooooo many different colors and styles that you are sure to find one for your decor.

How It Works...
I hope you will love it as much as I do!!

italian cheese stuffed shells

Pasta shells stuffed with creamy Italian cheeses and  then baked is one of my boys FAVORITE dishes. It also makes a great pot-luck dish or a wonderful dish to take to a friend.  You will love it!!

8 ounces large pasta shells, uncooked
8 ounces mozzarella cheese, shredded
8 ounces marscarpone
15 ounces ricotta cheese
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons chopped parsley
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
32 ounces favorite pasta sauce

Cook shells for 9 minutes; drain. Cool in single layer on wax paper to prevent shells from sticking together. Cover bottom of 9x13 baking dish with 1/4 cup of sauce. Combine cheeses, parsley, salt and pepper for filling; spoon into shells and arrange in single layer in dish. Cover shells with remaining sauce. Cover with aluminum foil and bake at 350 F. for about 40 minutes. Remove foil; bake 15 minutes longer. 6 to 8 servings. Serve with parmesan garlic buttered bread!! Enjoy!!

Thursday, March 8, 2012

anise caramels

Simply the BEST licorice caramels ever!! They are great for gift giving because they are divine and your recipients will thank you over and over!! Make sure to make a batch to keep home for you to enjoy too!!
1 cup butter
2 cups white sugar
1 (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
1 cup corn syrup
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pure anise oil
black paste food coloring (optional) I use red and green at Christmas!!

Line a 13x9 inch dish with buttered foil or you can sray it with PAM. In a large saucepan over medium heat, melt butter. Stir in sugar, condensed milk, corn syrup and salt. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Continue to heat, without stirring, to 242 to 248 degrees F (116 to 120 degrees C), or until a small amount of syrup dropped into cold water forms a firm but pliable ball. Remove from heat and stir in anise and food coloring. Pour into prepared pan. Let cool completely for several hours. To cut, turn out of pan and peel away foil. Cut with a buttered knife. Wrap pieces in waxed paper and ENJOY!!  Store in sealable container until gone *LOL*

Sunday, February 5, 2012

use vinegar for spotted dishes

Over the last few months, nearly everyone with a dishwasher has noticed that their dishes and glassware have been coming out more spotted and cloudy than before. The cause for this problem was recently discovered. On July 1st, 2010, all dishwasher detergent manufacturers voluntarily eliminated phosphates from their products in response to 16 states in the United States banning phosphates from dishwasher detergents. Phosphates helped the cleaning process but were banned due to their negative effect on the environment. One of the ways the phosphates helped was to eliminate or reduce lime scale inside a dishwasher in hard water areas.

What is hard water? Hard water refers to the natural mineral content in water, comprised mostly of calcium, with some iron and manganese. Hardness is commonly measured in grains per gallon (gpg). Most detergent manufacturers say that any water with hardness greater than 10.5 gpg is considered very hard. In the City of Fort Scott our water has an average hardness of 12 gpg. Under typical conditions, the majority of these minerals will stay in solution. However, in the high heat of a dishwasher, boiling pot, coffee pot, etc. the minerals tend to come out of solution and deposit onto surfaces. The minerals are simply left behind as the water is evaporated. This is commonly called lime scale or hard water scale. This inconvenience is now more pronounced on our dishes because of the elimination of phosphates in the dishwasher detergents. The phosphates helps keep the minerals ‘bound up,’ or in solution, so that they are not easily deposited on dishes.

What can be done to help prevent this from occurring? It's easy and cheap... add 1 cup of Distilled White Vinegar to your rinse cycle and turn off the heat cycle of your dishwasher!!