Apple and Fennel Salad Recipe

Well, it took 2 days but I finally found my the cord to download my photos from camera to computer! Jeesh! Sorry for the delay on sharing the Apple and Fennel Salad recipe I mentioned the other day.


Anywhooo, it’s apple season! One of my favorite things about fall is the flavors. I’m talking about apple, cinnamon and pumpkin. We normally go apple picking at least once in the fall. The kids love it and it gives us an excuse to visit the mountains. But somehow we always come home with too many apples so I have to find recipes to use them up. This one I tore out of Southern Living in September 2010. And yes, I just now got around to making it! But I’m glad I did because it was yummy!


Here are your ingredients…

apple fennel salad

Dressing: 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil, 1/4 cup lemon juice, 1 shallot, minced, 1 Tbsp. brown sugar, 1 tsp. Dijon mustard, salt and pepper to taste. Whisk together first five ingredients. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Salad: 1/2 cup coarsely chopped walnuts, 1 Gala apple, 1 medium fennel bulb, 1 celery rib, 5 oz. package fresh arugula, 1 cup loosely packed fresh parsley leaves

chopping fennelToast walnuts either in pan on stove or in oven. Thinly slice apple, fennel and celery. (If you’ve never used fennel, cut off the stalks and bottom end and slice like an onion.) Coarsely chop parsley.

apple fennel salad

Place arugula in a bowl and top with parsley, apples, fennel, celery and walnuts.

IMG_5398apple fennel salad

Toss with dressing and serve immediately.

apple fennel salad

If you are unfamiliar with fennel it has a wonderful licorice scent and flavor. I have used it only once before this recipe, and it was cooked, so I was a little hesitant, especially eating it raw. But it was absolutely delicious! It really compliments the sweetness of the apples and the peppery arugula.

fennel and apple salad

You can find the original recipe here.

Oh, I have one more thing to share. The winner of the giveaway never contacted me. SO, that means I get to pick a new winner!

Screen Shot 2013-10-10 at 10.41.22 PM

Congrats #7, Kris S!

Screen Shot 2013-10-10 at 10.42.15 PM

PLEASE contact me Kris to claim your prize!

Itty Bitty Pumpkin Treats (revisited)

I’d like to say happy fall y’all. I don’t know which part of the country (or world) you are in, but I hope you are able to enjoy some fall-like weather. Here in South Carolina it was 87 degrees today. In parts of Colorado, I heard it was snowing. What happened to fall? Did Mother Nature forget about it this year?
Well, besides the weather, fall is showing its colors and everything is apples and pumpkins. This is an old post, but I thought I’d re-share because it’s a really cute idea for a fall treat.
These little guys are “Itty Bitty Punkin’ Treats!” They may be tiny but they are pure deliciousness!
Here is what you need:
1 box powdered sugar
1 small jar peanut butter
1/2 stick of butter
red & yellow food coloring
chocolate chips
Mix powdered sugar, peanut butter and softened butter in a bowl just until combined.
 Mix red and yellow food coloring with 1/4 cup of water until you get the desired orange.
This was a good job for Little Man #2.

Add the food coloring, a little at a time, to the peanut butter mixture and mix well.
Roll the dough into small teaspoon size balls. Little Man #2 had fun helping me with this.
Use a toothpick to create criss-cross markings across the top of the balls.

Top each ball with a chocolate chip and you have your little punkins!
You can share or save them all for yourself! :)
I should note that the first time I posted this recipe I had a lot of emails asking about the bake time. There is no baking!

 By the way, forgive the appearance of my blog! Not sure what happened but something removed the buttons on the sidebar and also the design of the blog. Oops! Anyway, a new design is in the works and I can’t wait to reveal!

Fun Fall Peanut Butter Cereal Treats

peanut butter cereal fall halloween treats

I found the recipe for these bars last year in a magazine. I can’t remember which one. I thought they were really cute for a fall treat and the recipe sounded yummy. Plus they are simple enough that the kiddos can help. They are basically Rice Krispy treats using a different cereal and adding peanut butter and M&Ms. I found these red, brown and yellow ones for fall. If you can’t find them, you can always use regular and take out the blue and green.

You’ll need: 30 large marshmallows, 3 Tbsp butter, 1 Tbsp peanut butter, 6 cups Cap’n Crunch peanut butter cereal, and 1 cup M&Ms.

Add marshmallows, butter and peanut butter to a large saucepan.

Cook on medium heat, stirring often, until melted and combined.

Add the cereal…

and M&Ms…

and stir, just until combined. Don’t over stir because the M&Ms will start melting and breaking.

Transfer mixture to a greased 9×13-inch pan. Press firmly to cover bottom of pan.

Allow to cool and then serve!
I decided to cut them into bite-size squares and serve them on a lollipop stick!

peanut butter cereal fall halloween treats


peanut butter cereal fall halloween treats

A Few Fall Recipes {Revisited}

Fall is officially here! That means pumpkins, apples and spice! I love fall flavors!
Today I’m revisiting a few of my favorite recipes that I’ve shared with you in the past. Enjoy!
pumpkin pie dip scissors and spatulas
  This dip is soooo good! And you can make a fun fall presentation by serving it out of a pumpkin! I wish I could call it my own, but I got it from Southern Living.
It’s very easy.

Recipe for Pumpkin Pie Dip 

pumpkin treats scissors and spatulas
These little guys may be tiny but they are pure deliciousness! Not to mention, adorable!
And they are simple enough that the kiddos can help!
You can get the recipe here.
apple brown betty recipe scissors and spatulas
It’s apple season! We always head up to the mountains to do some apple picking. This recipe uses both fresh apples and apple cider.
You can get the recipe here.
pumpkin chili scissors & spatulas

I have to say I was a bit skeptical of this recipe at first. But I’ll try anything once, so I went for it. So glad I did! The pumpkin gave the chili a rich, nutty flavor.

The ingredients are pretty basic. You can find the measurements here. The recipe calls for 2 jalapenos but I didn’t even use a whole one. I used white kidney beans (cannellni beans) because I thought they would go better with turkey than dark kidney beans. I also used fire roasted diced tomatoes because I really like the flavor.

Happy fall y’all!

Grilled Garden Salad

I found this recipe for Grilled Garden Salad from Kraft quite awhile ago but completely forgot about it until the other day when I was going through my piles (and piles) of recipes that I’ve torn out of magazines! I figured I’d better hurry up and try it since summer is on it’s way out the door and fresh veggies won’t be so fresh pretty soon.
So I made it yesterday (Labor Day) to go with some ribs and it was good! And really pretty too! Here is my version…

Ingredients: 1 large squash, 1 large zucchini, 2 ears fresh corn or 1 can corn, 2 small tomatoes, 6 large basil leaves, 1/4 cup zesty Italian salad dressing, 1 clove garlic,  2 Tbsp. lemon juice and salt and pepper to taste.

Chop zucchini and squash lengthwise into three sections.

Just as I was going to put these on the grill, the skies opened up! Dang!

Luckily I have this fabulous grill pan from Pampered Chef!! I heated about 1 Tbsp oil in the pan.

And grilled the zucchini until tender, turning once.

While the zucchini and squash are cooking, chop the tomatoes.

You can also chop the basil.

Remove the zucchini and squash from the grill and chop.

The original recipe calls for fresh corn which is also grilled. I felt like taking the easy route and using canned corn. I threw it in the grill pan after the squash to give it a little grilled flavor.

Place corn, squash and zucchini in a large serving bowl.

Add tomatoes and basil.

Mix dressing, garlic (Love this Tastefully Simple Garlic Garlic! Makes my life easy!) and lemon juice.

Pour over vegetables.

Toss to combine all ingredients.

 Sprinkle with parmesan cheese!

Gently toss again. Now it’s ready to serve!

You can find the original recipe from Kraft here.

TennTucky Blackberry Cobbler with Bourbon-Butterscotch Sauce

 DId y’all see this recipe for TennTucky Blackberry Cobbler in the July 2012 issue of Southern Living? 

TennTucky Blackberry Cobbler southern living july 2012

Did you try it? I did. Wanna know how it was? Phenomenal!

I made the cobbler and dressed it up just like in the photo…{courtesy of Southern Living Magazine}

TennTucky Blackberry Cobbler southern living

layering it with vanilla ice cream and Butterscotch-Bourbon Sauce. It was DE-LISH!

When I saw this recipe in the July issue of Southern LIving, I knew I had to try it! My boys LOVE to eat fresh blackberries so I had a bunch in the fridge. {It wasn’t quite 6 cups though, so I added some frozen mixed berries I had in the freezer.}

Start by mixing 3 Tbsp cornstarch and 1/2 cup sugar in a medium bowl.

Add 6 cups berries to the cornstarch mixture

and toss to coat.

Spoon into a lightly greased 11- x 7-inch baking dish.

Beat 1/2 cup softened butter at medium speed with an electric mixer until fluffy. Gradually add remaining 1 cup sugar, beating well.

Add 2 eggs, one at a time, beating just until blended after each addition. Set aside.

Combine 1 1/2 cups flour and 1 1/2 tsp. baking powder in a medium bowl.

In a separate bowl, stir together 8 oz. sour cream and 1/2 tsp. baking soda.

Add flour mixture to butter mixture alternately with sour cream mixture, beginning and ending with flour mixture.

Beat at low speed just until blended after each addition. Your batter will be thick, kind of like cookie dough.

Spoon batter over berry mixture.

 Bake at 350° for 45 minutes. If necessary, shield loosely with aluminum foil to prevent excessive browning, and bake 20 or until a wooden pick inserted in center of cake topping comes out clean.

For the sauce: Cook 1 1/2 cups firmly packed brown sugar and 1/2 cup butter in a large heavy saucepan over medium heat. Stir constantly, 3 to 4 minutes or until butter melts and mixture is smooth.

Gradually stir in 3/4 cup whipping cream. Bring mixture to a boil, stirring constantly.

 Boil and continue to stir constantly for 3 minutes. Remove from heat, and stir in 3 Tbsp. bourbon. 

Now to assemble the dessert.

Layer cobbler, vanilla ice cream and Butterscotch-Bourbon Sauce.

Repeat layers.

Alright, Southern LIving’s picture is much better than mine. But mine tasted just as good!

TennTucky Blackberry Cobbler southern living

You gotta go try this one!
You can find the original recipes here:
TennTucky Blackberry Cobbler
Butterscotch-Bourbon Sauce 


Georgia Peach Trifle Recipe

Peaches, my second favorite (the first being tomatoes) summer fruit. The original recipe for Georgia Peach Trifle came from an old (2004) issue of Southern Living Magazine. I’ve had it forever, but this is the first time I’ve tried it and it was yummy! I did make a few adjustments however. This version is with my adjustments. Here it is, Georgia Peach Trifle, made with South Carolina peaches!

Southern Living Georgia Peach TrifleWe are fortunate to have a well-known peach farm smack dab in the middle of our town! And we eat lots of Springs Farm peaches all summer!

Obviously Georgia Peach Trifle calls for peaches. Here are the other ingredients.

Georgia peach trifle ingredients1 (3 1/2-ounce) package instant vanilla pudding mix, 2 cups cold milk, 6 large fresh peaches, (peeled and sliced), 3 tablespoons granulated sugar, 1/3 cup bourbon, 1 small loaf pound cake, 1 cup whipping cream, 2 tablespoons powdered sugar, 1/2 cup sliced almonds, toasted

Mix the pudding and 2 cups milk according to package directions. Cover and chill for 5 minutes.

Toss peaches with sugar and bourbon.

Cut pound cake into 1-inch cubes.

Place half of pound cake in bottom of trifle dish.
**Here is where I changed the recipe based on my experience making it the first time. The original tells you to drizzle the bourbon over the cake. However, I found it hard to drizzle such a small amount evenly over all the cake so I ended up adding a little more and it was too strong. It’s not that I don’t like the flavor of bourbon, I actually really like bourbon. But it was a little strong for this dessert. So instead I thought to just mix with the peaches and sugar mentioned above.**

Georgia peach trifle

Top with half of peaches.

Georgia peach trifle

Then half of pudding.

Georgia peach trifle

Repeat layers using remaining ingredients.
Cover and chill for at least two hours.

Georgia peach trifle

Beat whipping cream until foamy. Gradually add powdered sugar and beat until soft peaks form.

Spread over trifle and top with toasted almonds.

Southern Living Georgia Peach Trifle

Enjoy! It’s delish!

Adapted from Southern Living Magazine.

Recipes for Ruby: Tomato Basil Meatloaf

Hey Y’all! You may recognize the recipe I’m sharing today. Tomato Basil Meatloaf is a recipe I’ve shared before. The reason I’m sharing it again is because it’s the prefect freezer recipe for the virtual baby shower I’m participating in today.

You may be wondering what on Earth I’m talking about, so let me explain. My sister-in-law, Ilke, knows a fellow food blogger, Shelley, who is expecting her first baby in August. She’s calling her Ruby (isn’t that adorable?!). Since it’s pretty much impossible to gather a group of long distance blogger friends, Ilke came up with the idea to host a virtual baby shower in which we post easily prepared meals or freezable meals. When she asked me to participate, this was the first recipe that came to mind. It’s by far my favorite freezer meal and it’s a staple that I use when I need to make a meal for a friend.

{From Etsy Shop of}
At the end of this post you will find the list of all the friends who will be providing a recipe for Shelley and Ruby all week long. Most participants have already posted and the recipes look fantastic so be sure to stop by!

 Tomato Basil Meatloaf
{Original recipe from Southern Living Magazine}
I was skeptical because I, personally, do not like meatloaf! But hubby does and I wanted to make if for him. It was, and still is, one of my favorite meals! So if you usually turn your nose at meatloaf, give this a try! I promise, you won’t be disappointed!

Here is the recipe, adapted from


  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 pound mild Italian Sausage, casings removed
  • 1 (14.5-oz.) can diced tomatoes with basil, oregano, and garlic, drained
  • 1/3 cup marinara sauce
  • 1/3 cup Italian-seasoned breadcrumbs
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/2 cup {or more} shredded mozzarella cheese

Drain the tomatoes {do not forget this step} and process in a food processor for a few seconds, until slightly chunky.

Combine meats, tomatoes, and all remaining ingredients except the Mozzarella cheese in a large bowl.

Using your hands, mix ingredients gently but well. Do not over mix!

Okay, here is the great part! Once the meatloaf ingredients are combined, divide into two portions. Shape the meat mixture into two equal loaves. Not only does this recipe make enough to give to a friend, it also makes enough to keep for yourself!
Place one loaf on a wire rack over a foil-lined cookie sheet.

Okay, yes, this may seem strange. Isn’t meatloaf supposed to be baked in a loaf pan? Not this meatloaf! The pork sausage will yield a lot of fat and you probably do not want your meat sitting in it. I’ve experimented cooking this meatloaf several other ways, but this is the one that works for me. I take a jelly roll pan and line it with foil. I use the inside of my roasting pan on top. It fits perfectly. The fat falls below and the foil makes for easier clean up!

Bake in a 375* for one hour.

Wrap the other loaf in plastic wrap and then foil and stick it in the freezer for a meal to share! It just needs to be thawed overnight, unwrapped and baked.

Remove meatloaf from oven after one hour. Sprinkle shredded mozzarella cheese on top and place back in oven for another 15 minutes.

Yum! {See what I mean about all that fat down there?}

Use a large spatula to remove meatloaf from the wire rack. Allow to sit for five minutes before slicing. {NOTE: the meatloaf will be reddish inside. It’s the tomatoes! Don’t cook any longer!}

I like to serve tomato basil meatloaf with spaghetti and extra marinara sauce. They are the perfect accompaniment!

shower shelley Summer Corn Chowder to Welcome Ruby
I’m honored to have been able to participate in Shelley’s virtual baby shower! Be sure to check out the other participating bloggers’ recipes. You won’t be disappointed!

Ilke from Ilke’s Kitchen

Anna from Keep It Luce  

Carrie from Bakeaholic Mama

Christina from Girl Gone Grits

Elaine from   California Living  

Esra from Irmik Hanim

Jennie from Pastry Chef Online

Jennifer from Scissors and Spatulas

Lana from Bibberche

Lisa from Lisa Is Cooking

Renee from Sweet Sugar Bean

Robin from A Chow Life

Sarah from Snippets of Thyme


Caramelized Vidalia Onion Quiche Recipe

Check this out. . .

I really don’t have much to say except that you MUST try this recipe! Even if you don’t like onions! I promise, it’s so rich and delicious and not “oniony!”
I found this recipe in Southern Living March 2012 and made it for dinner (with a few modifications from the original) a little over a week ago. Here is how I did it.

Caramelized Vidalia Onion Quiche Recipe

Slice 2-3 large sweet Vidalia onions.

sliced vidalia sweet onion

Cook onions in 2 Tbsp hot olive oil for 15-20 minutes until they are a nice caramel color.

caramelizing onions

caramelizing onions

caramelized onions

While the onions are caramelizing, grate, cook and crumble 6 slices of bacon.

Add bacon and 1 tsp chopped parsley (1/4 cup chopped fresh) to the pan.

Stir to combine.

Lay prepared pie crust in a 9-inch pie pan.

pie crust

Add half of onion mixture to the pie crust.

Grate 8 oz of Gruyere cheese (enough to equal 2 cups).

grated gruyere cheese

Add half of the shredded cheese on top of the onions.

Repeat the layers with remaining onions and cheese.
In a bowl, mix 4 eggs, 1 1/2 cups half-and-half, 1/2 tsp salt, 1/4 tsp ground pepper and 1/4 tsp of ground nutmeg (I added a dash more).

Whisk until well combined.

Pour the egg mixture on over the onions and cheese. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 45 minutes or until set.

Let me warn you that this smells DIVINE while it cooks!

Ready to see the inside?

Oh my gosh y’all, this was SO good. I couldn’t stop eating it out of the pan after dinner! Even if you don’t think you like onions, be brave and try it, please?!

Caramelized onion quiche

I served it along side some grilled tilapia and green salad. This would also make a great luncheon dish with a salad and fruit!

Go get some Vidalias and try this! You won’t be disappointed!
Recipe adapted from Southern Living Magazine.

Cool Whip Buck-Eye Bars

AdvertisementThank you COOL WHIP for sponsoring this post. Join us on Facebook for inspiration and recipes for everyday treats. What you add makes it. #coolwhipmoms

I grew up on COOL WHIP whipped topping! Mom used it on strawberry shortcake, Jello, pumpkin pie and more!

But COOL WHIP has come a long way. It’s not just for topping anymore! Several years ago, Kraft started a magazine, Food and Family, that included a collection of recipes using Kraft products. The recipes were really simple and used Kraft products in ways I would never have thought! COOL WHIP is one of Kraft’s products and I was amazed at some of the recipes that used COOL WHIP in them, not just as a topping!

These Buck-eye Bars are one of the recipes that use COOL WHIP as an ingredient rather than a topping. And the ingredient list is small and pretty basic.

2 cups powdered sugar, 1/2 cup softened butter, 3/4 cup Nilla Wafers, 3/4 cup crunchy peanut butter, 1 cup chocolate chips and 1/2 tub COOL WHIP.
Start by beating peanut butter and butter until blended.

Add Nilla wafer crumbs (I crush mine in the food processor) and mix well.

Gradually add the sugar.

Mix until all ingredients are blended and mixture is dough-like.

Press into bottom of a foil-lined pan. The recipe calls for an 8×8 pan but this dessert is really rich so I spread it out a little more by using a little bit larger pan.

Combine COOL WHIP and chocolate chips in microwaveable bowl.

Microwave on HIGH 1 minute.

Remove from microwave and stir.

Microwave 15 to 30 sec. or until chocolate is melted; stir until well blended.

Pour over peanut butter.

Spread evenly over peanut butter.

Refrigerate for at least two hours. Remove from pan using tinfoil as handles. Peel tinfoil away from dessert.

Cut into small squares.

I like to place these little treats in cupcake liners.

And sometimes, I like to add COOL WHIP Whipped Topping just for fun!

Yummy! You gotta try this simple treat! It’s just like the traditional buck-eye balls. You can find the original recipe for Buck-Eye Bars here.

Sponsored posts are purely editorial content that we are pleased to have presented by a participating sponsor. Advertisers do not produce the content. I was compensated for this post as a member of Clever Girls Collective, but the content is all my own.

Fossilized Lemon Tracks: Cooking with the Kiddos

My boys love the How Do Dinosaurs? books by Jane Yolen and Mark Teague. In fact, Jackson was obsessed with these books starting when he was about 18 months old, so he’s been reading them over and over again for almost 3 years!
I recently found this one, How Do Dinosaurs Eat Cookies? and like the others, they love it!

Inside the book was two recipes for cookies. Last night Jackson asked me if we could make these Fossilized Lemon Tracks. It was the perfect activity for this cloudy day!

 And the recipe was easy enough that the boys were able to do most of it themselves.
The ingredients are: 1 cup softened butter, 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar plus extra for dipping, 2 eggs, 1 1/2 tsp lemon extract, 1 tsp vanilla extract, 1/2 tsp salt, 1 tsp baking soda, 2 3/4 cups flour.
Cream butter and sugar. Add eggs and extracts and mix well, scraping sides if necessary. Sift flour, baking soda and salt and add to butter mixture. Mix until dough forms.

Roll the dough into small balls.

roll cookies into ballroll cookies into balls

Roll the balls of dough in reserved sugar.

roll in sugar

Place on a baking sheet and flatten slightly with the palm of your hand.

flatten dough

Use a chopstick or other kitchen utensil to create tracks in the dough.

mark tracks

I showed the boys like this, but let them do it however they liked.

mark dino tracks

Sprinkle the cookies with sugar and put in a 375 degree oven for 9-12 minutes.

Allow to cool for 2 minutes before removing them from the pan.
Did they turn out to look like dino tracks? Not quite. There were a few that looked like footprints. Most of them looked like scallop shells!

But the boys didn’t care!


They loved them!


Fossilized Lemon Tracks (modified from How Do Dinosaurs Eat Cookies?)

1 cup softened butter
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar plus extra for dipping
2 eggs
1 1/2 tsp lemon extract
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
2 3/4 cups flour

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. 
Cream butter and sugar. Add eggs and extracts and mix well, scraping sides if necessary.
Sift dry ingredients in a separate bowl. Gradually add to sugar mixture and blend until dough forms.
Roll dough into small teaspoon-size balls. Roll in sugar and place on a baking sheet. Flatten with palm of your hand. Use a chopstick to mark tracks int he cookies and sprinkle with sugar. 
Bake in oven for 9-12 minutes or until done. Allow to cool 2 minutes before removing from tray. 

Sautéed Cheese & Corn Casserole Recipe

Back when I did my vlog post for Philadelphia Cooking Creme, I received a cookbook in the mail full of recipes using Philly cream cheese. The book is called Cooking with Pheeling and there are some incredible looking recipes in it!
I’ve only tried one recipe so far. I was looking for a vegetable side dish when this picture caught my eye.

The recipe was for Sautéed Cheese and Corn Casserole. I made it and it was delish!
So I wanted to share it with you. I couldn’t find a link to the recipe anywhere online. Below is the recipe from the cookbook with a few minor changes.

Sautéed Cheese & Corn Casserole

Start with 1/4 cup chopped onion & 1/2 cup finely chopped mushrooms.

chopped mushrooms and onions

Sautee onions and mushrooms in 2 Tbsp melted butter over medium-low heat

sautee mushrooms onions

until tender.

sautee mushrooms onions

Add 1/4 cup flour and cook for 2 minutes, stirring often.

Add 1 can creamed corn to the pan. Stir to combine and cook until heated through.

cream corn

In the meantime, grate 1/2 cup Gruyere cheese.

grated gruyere cheese

Add one can corn, drained, 1/2 cup chive & onion cream cheese, grated cheese and salt and pepper to the pan. Remove from heat and mix until combined.

corn mixture

Finely crush 1/2 cup buttery round crackers (Ritz) with a rolling pin. Mix with 3 Tbsp melted butter.

crush crackers crumbs

Pour the corn mixture into a greased casserole dish. Top with cracker crumb mixture.

corn casserole

Bake in a 350 degree oven for 30-45 minutes or until casserole is bubbly and topping is golden brown.

sauteed cheese corn casserole

So delicious!

sauteed cheese corn casserole


Strawberries & Cream Pie Recipe

The boys and I went to pick strawberries again the other day but the fields were closed. Apparently they’ve had so many people come to pick that they’ve had to close the fields during the week to allow the plants to replenish the fruit. So this year picking is only on the weekends. Guess my hometown’s best kept secret has gotten out!
Even though we didn’t get to pick berries, we didn’t leave empty-handed. We took home a gallon of juicy ripe strawberries!
fresh cut strawberriesLast time we picked I shared a couple of my favorite strawberry recipes with you. I also shared a new recipe I found on Pinterest that I was going to try. Well, I tried it and I liked it! No, I take that back. I didn’t just like it, I LOVED it! I loved it so much that I made it again! So much that I’m going to share it with you! Ladies and gentlemen. . .
Strawberries and Cream Pie
{Adapted from the recipe found at Just Putzing Around the Kitchen.}
First you need a graham cracker crust. You can make your own or, if you’re in a rush, just use a store-bought crust. This recipe makes a lot of filling so if you use store bought, you will probably have to leave some out.
crush graham food processor
If you’er making your own, you can crush your graham crackers in a food processor. The original recipe calls for 9 full crackers, but that didn’t yield enough for my crust to come all the way up the sides of the pie dish last time. So I used about 12 this time.
homemade graham cracker crust
Add a stick of butter to the crushed grahams and mix with a fork. {Note: I added more crackers than the original recipe, therefore I added more butter as well.}
homemade graham cracker crust
Press the crumbs firmly over the bottom and around edges of a pie dish.
homemade graham cracker crust
Bake the pie crust in a 350 oven for 10 minutes to set. Allow to cool before adding filling.
In the meantime, you can start on the filling. Ingredients: 2 – 8 oz. blocks of softened cream cheese, 2 cups + 2 TBSP heaving whipping cream, 2/3 cups sugar, 2 tsp vanilla, 1 cup chocolate chips and about 2 cups cut strawberries.
strawberries cream pie ingredients
In a medium bowl, whip 2 cups whipping cream on high until firm peaks form. Set aside.
In a separate bowl, beat cream cheese, sugar and vanilla until creamy and there are no lumps.
whip cream cheese
Gently fold about a third of the whipped cream into the cream cheese mixture. Continue with the remaining whipped cream just until blended and smooth.
how to fold in whipped cream
Spoon into the pie crust.
cream filling
And gently spread evenly over the crust.
cream filling
Add the cut strawberries to the top of the cream cheese mixture. The original recipe uses much less and arranges them prettily over the top of the cream cheese. I wanted lots of strawberries on mine!
cut strawberries
In the microwave or using a double-boiler, melt 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips plus 1 TBSP of reserved whipping cream. I followed the recipe the first time I made this but decided to use more chocolate this time because it was soooo good on the strawberries!
melt chocolate double boiler
Place melted chocolate in a small Ziplock bag, seal, and cut off the tip. Drizzle the chocolate over the pie.
strawberries and cream pie
Refrigerate for at least an hour to allow the center to set.
Oh my gosh, you are going to LOVE this! I’m getting hungry just looking at the picture.
{BTW, I didn’t get a photo of the sliced pie. I got too excited to eat it an forgot. So I’m borrowing this one from here.}
strawberries and cream pie
Strawberries and Cream Pie
12 full graham crackers, crushed
1 stick of butter
2 – 8 oz. blocks of softened cream cheese
2 cups + 2 TBSP heaving whipping cream
2/3 cups sugar
2 tsp vanilla
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
2 cups fresh cut strawberries
  • Prepare crust by combining graham crackers and butter. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 10 minutes. Set aside to cool.
  • In the meantime, beat heavy whipping on high speed until firm peaks form. In a separate bowl, mix cream cheese, vanilla and sugar until smooth and creamy. Gently fold in 1/3 of whipped cream into the cream cheese mixture. Fold in remaining whipped cream just until blended and smooth.
  • Spread the cream cheese mixture evenly into the cooled pie crust. Add strawberries to the top.
  • In a double boiler, melt chocolate chips and reserved 2 TBSP whipping cream until smooth. Place melted chocolate in a small plastic bag and cut off the tip. Drizzle chocolate over the strawberries.
  • Refrigerate for at least one hour to set.

Freezable Meal Swap with Brooke

Who can resist a freezer full of home cooked meals to grab on the days life just get too busy…by pass that drive-thru and head home for dinner that someone else cooked!
A freezer full of home cooked meals?  There is an easy way to get it without cooking 10 different meals at one time and filling up your freezer…can you imagine the cost, time or mess that would make?!
Here is your answer: host a freezer meal swap with your family and friends.
Here are the simple steps to fill your freezer:
1) Send out the invitation explaining a “meal swap” to your family and friends to see who is interested in participating.  Our group uses Evite (a free online invitation website) and we have found it to be a great place to communicate with each other on who is participating and what they are bringing each month.
  • We choose to limit the number of participants to 10 a month.
  • You will need to set a date and place for the swap.  Our group meets the second Tuesday of each month at the same location and same time.
2) Each participant will RSVP and list the home cooked freezer meal that they will be preparing.
3) One week before the swap you will need to send out an email to all participants with the number of meals they will need to prepare (ie: if there are 8 participants each person will need to make 8 of the same meal, 7 to swap and one for their family).  The meals need to have 4-6 servings and be prepared in a 8×8 or 9×9 disposable/freezable dish or a freezer zip-lock bag.
Here is the process of my April meal exchange:

I chose a meal that was simple and only a few ingredients (I strive to keep my meal exchange cost at $50-$60…some times it does go over depending on the number of participants and number of ingredients I need).   I also try to shop the sales throughout the month to save on the ingredients…this month I got buy 1 get 2 free on my chicken!

Here are my meals (4-6 servings) prepared and ready to package.
It does take a few hours of a day to prepare these dishes, but boy are they worth it when dinner time creeps up on you and you have not thought once about it…or when you know your day is going to be busy and you want to feed your family a home cooked meal over a drive-thru.

I placed the prepared chicken in press n seal package and then placed in a freezer zip-lock bag that has the name of recipe, cooking instructions and participants name (having names on each meal helps out during the swap part to ensure everyone leaves with your dish).  If you use an 8×8/9×9 dish make sure you use plastic wrap/press n seal then foil on top and write the name of recipe, cooking instructions and participants name on top w/a sharpie.

Placed in my freezer, ready for swap day.
We all meet for a quick “swap” with our coolers.  We unload the meals we cooked and head home with a variety of new meals to stock our freezers with!

Some notes to remember when doing an exchange:
  • Each participant can print out their recipe to include with their meal OR you can have everyone email the recipe to you and you email it to everyone in a file or save in a google share file for all to look up.
  • If someone can not make it to the swap you can have them drop off their cooler of meals to take for them.
  • You can choose to do MAIN dish only but if the recipe calls for noodles/rice or bread, include a 4-6 serving amount with your dish.
  • Some ladies have opted to do 2 meals a month (if you don’t have 10 participants signed up) to help stock a new mom’s freezer once she has had her little one.
  • If your normal 10 participants opt not to participate for several months you may want to let them know that if they do not participate for 3 consecutive months you will need to try and fill their spot with a new participant.
  • You can also have an alternate list of participants who can’t participate each month but would like to know if a spot opens up one month to participate.
Time to start Swapping Meals and Stocking Your Freezer!

Strawberries are Here!

The boys and I look forward to strawberry season ever year. We are so lucky to have a strawberry farm right down the road. And even luckier that they offer the opportunity to pick your own! This year, the picking season started early. Since we had such a mild winter and temperatures warmed up early here in the South, the strawberries are already growing and the fields are open! So I took the boys for our first trip to pick. We will be back at least one more time! We can’t get enough strawberries!

and they’re off. . .

The kids were so excited! We are so lucky to be able to do this every year! This really is one of our favorite family traditions!

Parker Reese had fun picking. “Mommy, is this one okay?” he would say.

Jackson just liked eating. He even argued and begged when I told him, “Enough!” I’m pretty sure he ate a gallon himself! I swear, one minute his box was half full and the next time I looked it was practically empty! This boy LOVES strawberries!

Jackson nagged at me about the photos. “Do we have to take pictures?” he asked. Of course! “But that takes too long,” he whines. My response, “Oh well. You’ll appreciate them later!”

All I had to do was promise he could eat more strawberries and I got a smile!

Onward, to pick {and eat} more strawberries!

Parker finally joined in and discovered how fun and delicious it was to pick and eat!

And I’m telling you, Jackson didn’t stop!

In the end, I had to pick them myself because the boys just kept eating them! While the boys napped, I cleaned up the berries. Here is the inventory. . .

Whole berries for snacking, cut berries to freeze for smoothies, cut berries for a dessert. Large, pretty berries to make chocolate-covered strawberries.  And I even had some to give to my SIL.

Here are a few of the recipes I shared from last year’s strawberry season.

{chocolate-covered strawberries}

{strawberry walnut bread}

{baby blue salad}

And here is a new dessert I’m gonna make. I found one version in my Southern Living Cookbook but also found another, similar version on Pinterest. Ready to drool?

I’ll let you know how it turns out! Hope you have a fabulous weekend!

Olive-Stuffed Pork Tenderloin Recipe

My mom has a really yummy recipe for an olive-stuffed pork tenderloin. I wanted to make it one day, and I can’t remember why, but I couldn’t get the recipe from her. I assumed she probably got it online so I did a search. I couldn’t seem to find a recipe that sounded like it would taste like hers, but I did come across one from Robin Miller of Food Network that I decided to go with. This recipe for Olive-stuffed Pork Loin had a sweet sauce. The one my mom makes is more savory. But it still sounded good, so I thought I’d give it a try.

Two ingredients I modified: red wine vinegar for sherry vinegar and pork tenderloin instead of pork loin. Other ingredients: dijon mustard, honey, olive oil, thyme and pitted kalamata olives, salt and pepper.

Let me warn you that the next couple of photos aren’t exactly the most appealing! Raw meat doesn’t photograph well! 🙂

Using a knife, poke several deep slits in the pork on all sides.

Stuff the olives deep in the slits. {I told you it wasn’t pretty!} Sprinkle pork with salt and pepper.

Heat 1 Tbsp. olive oil in a skillet over med-high heat. Sear the pork on all sides. You might loose a couple olives during this process. Just shove them back in. Remove pork from skillet and place in a greased baking dish. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

In the meantime, whisk together 2 Tbsp each mustard, vinegar, honey and olive oil and 1 tsp dried thyme.

Pour mustard sauce over the pork. Place in preheated oven for 30 minutes or until center reads 150 degrees. Remove from oven and let rest for five minutes before cutting.

Be sure to drizzle the sauce in the pan over the slices of pork tenderloin! Yummy! I served the olive-stuffed pork tenderloin with roasted butternut squash and tri-colored potatoes.

You can find the original recipe from Robin Miller at Food Network.

Nutella & Banana Shake

Sunday I was in the mood for a milkshake. I hadn’t made myself a milkshake in ages! It used to be one of my favorite snacks! I was going to make just plain old vanilla but at then decided to get a little creative.

What I came up with was a Nutella & banana milkshake. It was so good, and so easy, I made another one yesterday!

Get out your blender. You’ll need 3 T Nutella, 5 scoops vanilla ice cream, 1 banana and 13/ to 1/2 cup milk {depending how thick you like your shake}. Now you might be thinking my bananas look a little “aged,” but remember, riper bananas are best in smoothies and shakes because they are sweeter!

Put all ingredients in the blender.

Stir it up! It will take a little while for the Nutella to completely mix with the other ingredients. Just watch for it to become smooth. I also learned that the Nutella should be added last at the top. Otherwise you will have to scrape the sides.

When it’s all smooth, you’re ready to enjoy your treat!

I made a little banana  & Nutella sandwich to go along with it! You can never get enough Nutella!

You gotta try this! I think I might just make another for myself today!

Featuring You Friday. . .on Thursday

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of Triad Retail Media for SocialSpark. All opinions are 100% mine.

Hi Friends! Welcome to another Friday where I am featuring YOU! Yeah, I know, it’s not really Friday. But I have something else I want to share with you tomorrow so I thought I’d do FYF a day early. Last week I  made dinner for my parents and wanted to try some new recipes. So I headed over to my Pinterest boards to do some browsing. After just a few minutes I had my meal planned out. I called it my “Pinterest Dinner!” Those recipes turned out fabulous and they are the included in my FYF this week! But first I want to share with you a couple new products that I’m digging.

I recently had an opportunity to try out some products from Glade®. I received the new Glade® Expressions™ oil diffuser and new Glade® Expressions™ fragrance mist in the mail to review. I was excited when I opened the box and saw the new look of Glade®. The design of the products was trendy and modern, making it easy to display them among the other decor in the house. Definitely a step up from the  Glade® products I remember.

The new Glade® Expressions™ oil diffuser is spill-free and requires no electricity so you can put it in any room, any where!    I love that the diffuser actually looks like a decoration and will fit right in with my other home decor! I received the Pineapple & Mangosteen fragrance which I am loving! I’m not kidding when I say that I when walk in the room and get a whiff it makes me happy. Probably because it reminds me of a tropical place! And because the diffuser scents will last 30 days, the scent is still as strong as it was on day one!

The other product I received was the new Glade® Expressions™ fragrance mist in Cotton and Italian Mandarin. I love the sleek design of the easy to spray, refillable container. You simply squeeze the bottle to release the scent. I put mine in the bathroom to quickly cover up, well, you know what! The fragrance is clean and fresh, but not too overpowering for my tiny powder room. And the bottle is pretty enough that I don’t have to hide it!

Glade® Expressions are available in these fragrances:

  • Pineapple & Mangosteen {LOVE this one}
  • Cotton & Italian Mandarin {mist only}
  • Fuji Apple & Cardamom Spice
  • Lavender & Juniper Berry

Glade® Expressions™ offers fragrance satisfaction guaranteed or your money back. Just mail the original UPC and receipt within 30 days. {Fill out form here if unsatisfied.}

Be sure to get your coupon for $1.50 off of any Glade® Expressions™ that can be used at Walmart to take advantage of their everyday low price! 

Okay, ready to see my Pinterest Dinner along with my other picks of the week? 

First course: Autumn Chopped Salad

I know it’s not Autumn, but this salad looked to good to pass up! The recipe can be found at Espresso & Cream. Two things I did differently: used blue cheese and champagne gorgonzola vinaigrette dressing.

Main course: Creamy White Chicken and Artichoke Lasagna

Yes, this tasted as good as it sounds {and looks}! For the recipe, visit One Good Thing.

And for dessert: Banana Coconut Upside Down Cake. Holy yumminess!


This cake tasted very similar to bananas foster! I served it warm with vanilla ice cream. YUM! You can find the recipe over at one of my NEW favorite recipe sites, The Girl Who Ate Everything. Everything I’ve made from her site so far has been fabulous! And I’ve found them all on Pinterest!

Okay, a few more things I’ve found around Blogland that I want to try!

I love these fabric-lined mason jars from Que Linda.

You know I love a good knock-off!  Check out the original versus this Anthro-inspired floral vase at It’s Overflowing. {Shhhh. I like the knock-off better than the original.}

painted kids table and chairs

Can you say, fabulous?! I adore what Lovely, Etc did to pull a mismatched table and chairs together to make an adorable set for the kids!

There you have it! My features of the week! If you were featured and you’d like to grab a button to share the love, you can find it on the right sidebar. Thanks for sharing your creativity with us!

Visit Sponsor's Site

Roasted Butternut Squash & Tri-colored Taters

 If you have a Trader Joe’s nearby then you know that one of their best selling tactics is offering tastings of their products: coffee, wine and my favorite, the food samples. They always offer samples of dishes they’ve created using products from the store. And I almost always end up buying these products after tasting the samples! That is where this recipe came from.

Isn’t it pretty? This recipe is so easy and there is just a few ingredients.

Trader Joe’s sells small bags of these tri-colored potato medley. It’s a combination of baby reds, yukon gold and purple potatoes. I washed them and cut them into equal size pieces.

TJ’s also sells pre-cut butternut squash. You’ll find it in the refrigerated produce section. If you don’t have a TJ’s near you, you’ll just have to peel and cut it yourself.

Place the vegetables on a baking sheet and drizzle with a couple tablespoons of olive oil. Generously sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Chop 2 small cloves of garlic. I had some fresh rosemary and still growing in my garden and I thought it would be a nice addition to this recipe. This ingredient is optional.

Add rosemary and garlic to the pan and toss well (use your hands, it works best).

Place in a 400 degree oven for fifteen minutes. Remove from oven and gently stir. Cook for another 10-15 minutes or until vegetables are tender and slightly browned.

That’s it! Easy, healthy and delish!

Shrimp & Broccoli Fettucini with PHILADELPHIA Cooking Creme


Thank you to Kraft Foods for offering me the opportunity to recreate a recipe with PHILADELPHIA Cooking Creme. Please click here to learn more about all the PHILADELPHIA Cooking Creme flavors and recipes.

I’m sure you’ve seen Philadelphia’s Cooking Cremes in the store. There are
a variety of flavors available to help create an easy, quick and delicious meal using just a handful of ingredients. Have you tried any of them yet? If you haven’t, you don’t know what you’re missing! I was introduced to Philadelphia Cooking Creme several months ago when my mother-in-law used the Santa Fe blend to make Santa Fe Chicken Casserole}. It was a fantastic combo of chicken, tomatoes and black beans with a spicy cream sauce, tortillas and cheese all baked into a yummy casserole. She told me all about the new line of cooking cremes and at my next trip to the grocery store I found myself having a hard time deciding which flavor to choose! I ended up going with the Italian Cheese & Herb flavor. I didn’t know what I was going to do with it, but it sounded yummy!

Once I got home I found a recipe attached to the lid for a Tomato Basil Pizza. I figured I would try that. It was easy, it was quick and it was delicious! I was so impressed that I shared it with you in a post I called, “Winner, Winner Pizza Dinner!”

You can actually find this recipe and many more for all the different Cooking Creme flavors on Philadelphia’s site. All the recipes use a small list of simple ingredients but the Cooking Creme is what brings big flavor! But you can also add a couple of your own favorite ingredients to these recipes to accommodate your family’s taste buds.

Like this one for Shrimp & Broccoli Fettucini using the Lemon & Savory Herb Cooking Creme. The original recipe was fine, but you know me. I can never leave a recipe just as it is.

Just in case you didn’t watch my Oscar-winning performance video or in case you need step by step visuals (like myself), here is the recipe.

Ingredients: 1/4 lb.fettuccine, uncooked; 1 cup broccoli florets; 3/4 lb.thawed cooked shrimp {I used fresh raw}; 1 clove garlic, minced; 1 tub(10 oz.) PHILADELPHIA Savory Lemon & Herb Cooking Creme; 1/4 cup milk; 1/4 cup chopped tomatoes. I also added 6 slices bacon and 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil.

Cook bacon in skillet until brown and crispy. Remove to paper towels and drain fat from pan, reserving 1 tsp.

Return to burner and add shrimp and garlic. Sauté shrimp and garlic, stirring frequently {cooked shrimp for two minutes, uncooked shrimp, cook 5 minutes, until pink}.

fIn the meantime, cook fettucini according to pacakge instructions, omitting salt. Add chopped fresh broccoli during the last three minutes of cooking.

Stir in 1/4 cup milk and PHILADELPHIA Savory Lemon & Herb Cooking Cream to shrimp. Cook on med-low heat, stirring often for 2 minutes, until combined.

Drain pasta and broccoli.

While still hot, combine pasta, broccoli and sauce with tomatoes, basil and bacon. Toss to combine.


You gotta try this stuff!

Thank you again to Kraft Foods for sponsoring this blog post. I was selected as one of 20 bloggers by Technorati Media and Clever Girls Collective to participate in the Kraft Foods PHILADELPHIA Cooking Creme signature recipes campaign. While I have been compensated for my time and received the product, my opinions and experiences are my own.


Tomato Basil Meatloaf Recipe

Happy Monday y’all! I hope you had a fantastic weekend! Today I have to share with you one of my favorite recipes, Tomato Basil Meatloaf.

 I found this recipe in an issue of Southern Living Magazine several years ago. I was skeptical because I, personally, do not like meatloaf! But hubby does and I wanted to make if for him. It was, and still is, one of my favorite meals! So if you usually turn your nose at meatloaf, give this a try! I promise, you won’t be disappointed!

Here is the recipe, adapted from


  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 pound mild Italian Sausage, casings removed
  • 1 (14.5-oz.) can diced tomatoes with basil, oregano, and garlic, drained
  • 1/3 cup marinara sauce
  • 1/3 cup Italian-seasoned breadcrumbs
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/2 cup {or more} shredded mozzarella cheese

Drain the tomatoes {do not forget this step} and process in a food processor for a few seconds, until slightly chunky.

Combine meats, tomatoes, and all remaining ingredients except the Mozzarella cheese in a large bowl.

Using your hands, mix ingredients gently but well. Do not over mix!

Once the meatloaf ingredients are combined, divide into two portions. Shape the meat mixture into two equal loaves. Place one on a wire rack over a foil-lined cookie sheet.

Okay, yes, this may seem strange. Isn’t meatloaf supposed to be baked in a loaf pan? Not this meatloaf! The pork sausage will yield a lot of fat and you probably do not want your meat sitting in it. I’ve experimented cooking this meatloaf several other ways, but this is the one that works for me. I take a jelly roll pan and line it with foil. I use the inside of my roasting pan on top. It fits perfectly. The fat falls below and the foil makes for easier clean up!

Bake in a 375* for one hour.

If you are feeding a small family or a family with small children, one loaf is plenty. That’s another reason I love making this! I wrap one in plastic wrap and then foil and stick it in the freezer for another meal! If you are feeding hungry teenagers or a larger group you’ll want to cook both loaves.

Remove meatloaf from oven after one hour. Sprinkle shredded mozzarella cheese on top and place back in oven for another 15 minutes.

Yum! {See what I mean about all that fat down there?}

Use a large spatula to remove meatloaf from the wire rack. Allow to sit for five minutes before slicing. {NOTE: the meatloaf will be reddish inside. It’s the tomatoes! Don’t cook any longer!}

I like to serve tomato basil meatloaf with spaghetti and extra marinara sauce. They are the perfect accompaniment!

Pear Gorgonzola Salad

Over the summer, while on my MOPS steering retreat, I discovered how much I liked the combination of pears and gorgonzola. Just in case you are not familiar with gorgonzola cheese, it’s like blue cheese. I think it might be slightly creamier, but don’t hold me to that. I’m not a cheese expert, I just know that I like it! Anyway, during the retreat I enjoyed a pear, caramelized onion and gorgonzola pizza and a pear and gorgonzola salad with a delish vinaigrette from Trader Joe’s.

Today I’m sharing with you the SIMPLE salad recipe. And don’t be afraid of it! The sweetness of the pear and bitter gorgonzola make a fantastic combo!

The basic ingredients are very simple. There are several substitutions you can use. This is just what I had on hand.

Mixed salad greens, fresh or canned pears, gorgonzola or blue cheese and Trader Joe’s Champagne Pear Vinaigrette. Red onions and/or chopped toasted walnuts are also a great addition to this salad. If you do not have a TJ’s nearby, you can make a pear vinaigrette using the juice of the canned pears, champagne or white vinegar, crumbled gorgonzola cheese, seasoning and olive oil.

Place the mixed greens in a large bowl. If you are adding red onion, thinly slice it and add it to the top of the greens.

Peel fresh pears or drain canned pears. Slice into 1/2-inch segments.

Throw them on top of the greens.

Next add your gorgonzola cheese. Add toasted walnuts on top of the salad, if desired.

Just before serving, add dressing. Start with 1/2 cup. You can always add more later.

Toss and serve!

This salad really is delicious! Especially in the winter when the fruits and veggies aren’t so fresh.

Broccoli Cheese Soup for a Freezing Day

Baby, it’s cold outside! Winter has finally arrived here in SC. After a December full of comfortable 60 degree weather {closer to 70 some days} and barely needing to wear jackets, we have a high of 37* and a low of 18* today. It’s cold and the wind is blowing!
The only great thing about this kind of weather? It’s soup time, baby! I love soup! Love, love, love it! I have several soups that I’ve Pinned that I can’t wait to try! But here is an oldie but goodie. Nothing like a nice bowl Broccoli Cheese Soup to warm you up.
As usual, I got the recipe from but made my own modifications.
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 large clove garlic, minced
  • 2 Tbsp flour
  • 1 (16 ounce) package frozen chopped broccoli
  • 1 (32-oz) carton chicken broth
  • 1 (1 pound) loaf processed cheese food, cubed
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder

  • {Hey, I never said it was healthy, I just said it was delicious!}
Melt butter in a large pot over medium-low heat. Add chopped onion and garlic and saute until tender.
Add 2 Tbsp flour and stir to combine.
Cook, stirring frequently for about two minutes.
Add broccoli and the carton of broth. Cover and simmer for about 15 minutes, or until broccoli is tender.
Slowly add the milk and cheese, stirring well in between.
Cook on low for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally until cheese is melted.
Serve with shredded cheddar and fresh croutons!

Last Minute Semi-homemade Gift Ideas

Can you believe there is just two days left until Christmas Break? That means only two more days to put together your child’s {children’s} teachers’ gifts. Buying teachers’ gifts can be expensive, especially if you have more than one child who may have more than one teacher. But teachers love getting gifts {remember, I was once a teacher} and they totally deserve them! But you don’t have to spend a fortune. Just get a little creative! Give them something homemade! Or better yet – semi-homemade! Here is what my boys’ teachers are getting. {I hope they haven’t stumbled upon my blog yet!}
These cute little buckets filled with homemade white chocolate popcorn mix and a personalized ornament. The total for each gift ended up being about $10. 
I found these cute “paint” buckets at Hobby Lobby. At 50% off,  I think they were $3. 
I decided to fill them with my yummy white chocolate popcorn mix. This recipe isn’t new. I’ve posted it before when I shared my “Ready to Pop” baby shower favors. Actually, I make this mix all the time and modify the colors and ingredients to match the occasion. I’ve found that I really like the addition of pretzels. If you are making it for kids, marshmallows are good in it as well.

Ingredients: popcorn, mini pretzels, premier white chocolate morsels, M&Ms. 
Melt white chocolate in microwave at 50% power for about 2 minutes, stirring every 30 seconds, just until melted. Do NOT burn!

Add popcorn, pretzels and candy to a very large bowl.
 Pour about 1/4 cup melted white chocolate over the popcorn and stir. 

Repeat two more times until popcorn is generously coated in chocolate. Be sure to save some to drizzle over the top.

Pour popcorn mix on a cookie sheet lined with wax paper. Using a spoon drizzle remaining melted chocolate over popcorn.

At the last minute I decided to add red and green sprinkles to give it a little more holiday flare! Allow the popcorn mix to cool and harden for about an hour and store in an air-tight container until ready to use.

I love to buy these food and bread bags to use for Christmas goodies. They are perfect for packing up homemade goodies and fit nicely into any size container. So I lined the bucket with the bag. . .

and filled it up with the popcorn mix.
This cute personalized ornament serves as a gift and gift tag! It was just $5. I tied the ornament on with some coordinating ribbons that I had in my craft supplies. And that was it! 

White Chocolate Popcorn Mix Recipe
3 bags microwave popcorn, popped
3 cups mini pretzels
1 – 12 oz. packages premier white chocolate morsels
1 – 12.6 oz. bags chocolate coated candies (such as M&Ms)

Mix popcorn, pretzels and candy in a large bowl. Melt white chocolate morsels in microwave at 50% power for about 2 minutes, stirring every 30 seconds, until melted. CAREFUL NOT TO BURN!!! Drizzle a small amount {about 1/4 cup} of chocolate over popcorn and stir to coat. Continue adding chocolate, a little at a time, until popcorn mix is fully coated. You will use about 2/3 of the white chocolate. 

Spread popcorn mixture on a cookie sheet lined with wax paper. Using a spoon, drizzle remaining white chocolate over popcorn. Allow to cool for 1 hour before breaking popcorn mix into large chunks.

Here are a few other handmade ideas for you. These are items I made in Stamp Club made from Stampin’ Up products, but you can use any materials you have.
Stocking gift card holder. A few great giftcards for teachers: Target, the bookstore, Dollar Store, restaurants. Those were always my favorite. 

This cute little goodie sack is made from a paper lunch bag and scrapbook paper. 

A cute little box with a removable rosette flower. Everyone loves rosettes! You could even attach a pin back to it.
You probably shouldn’t send wine to school, but this tag could be used for any bottled drink. It would fit nicely on a bottle of Monin syrup accompanied by a bag of coffee.
These also are fantastic gifts for co-workers, bosses, neighbors, service people, etc. And they are so easy to throw together at the last minute. But because they are semi-homemade, the recipients will think you put a lot of time and effort into making them!

On the Menu and Tinsel & Twig

Creamy White Chicken Chili
I’m a huge fan of white chili. I have several different versions that I typically make. Some with shredded chicken and another with ground turkey. But I must say, this is my new favorite! I found the recipe on Pinterest and made it that night! It was delicious! I followed the recipe exactly but I think I added extra seasoning to suit my taste. I can never get enough cumin! Anyway, give it a try on a chilly day. It’s soooo good!
I just wanted to share with you a few other things I’ve been up to. These are items that are in my holiday shop Tinsel & Twig. This is a shop that I started last year where I sold my handmade Christmas wreaths, garlands and centerpieces. This year I’ve added a few paper items. A couple have been sold, but I can make more if you see something you like. I really would have liked to add more, but I’ve not had as much time as I would have liked and the holidays are coming so quickly! Anyway, I just wanted to show you a few things I’ve made that are for sale.
Santa’s Key
These days Santa can’t always drop down the chimney to deliver the goodies! Having a hard time explaining to your child how Santa will get in? Try this! Santa’s special key! Hang it inside as a decoration until Christmas Eve when you hang it outside on the front door. The poem reads: 

“This key is very special, you see. 
It will not work for you or me… 
Hang it just outside your door. 
And go to sleep, worry no more… 
Close your eyes and close them tight. 
‘Cause Santa Claus comes tonight!”

Santa’s Little Book
This is Santa’s secret book of names, listing those who’ve been naughty and nice! An adorable Christmas decoration to remind your little ones that Santa is watching!

 Stop by Tinsel & Twig to see my other items. I know I’ve been promising and promising, but the Scissors & Spatulas shop will be opening soon!

Chocolate Brownie Trifle Recipe

This is one of my hubby’s favorite desserts! I found it years ago on It is really yummy and definitely a crowd pleaser. Even better? It’s so easy to make!
These are your ingredients. A box of brownie mix, a can of sweetened condensed milk, one small box of instant chocolate pudding, a lot of Cool Whip {20-oz}, and toffee chips.

Mix and bake the brownies according to the package instructions.
Let the brownies cool and cut them into one-inch pieces.
Mix the pudding, sweetened condensed milk and 1/2 cup water in a bowl until smooth.
Fold in the small container {8-oz} of whipped topping unti no streaks remain.

In a trifle bowl, layer half the brownies, pudding mixture and 6-oz of whipped topping.
Repeat the layers.

 Top with 1/2 cup chocolate toffee chips. Really you can use whatever you want. The original recipe calls for chocolate candybar shavings. I really like the addition of the toffee though. Chopped peanut butter cups would be great, so would chopped chocolate mint candies.
Cover and refrigerate for 6-8 hours. 

This really is a great dish to take to holiday gatherings or parties. It can be made the day before and it travels really well.

{original from}


  • 1 (19.8 ounce) package brownie mix
  • 1 (3.9 ounce) package instant chocolate pudding mix
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 (8 ounce) container frozen whipped topping, thawed
  • 1 (12 ounce) container frozen whipped topping, thawed
  • 1 (1.5 ounce) bar chocolate candy, toffee chips, or other candy pieces


  1. Prepare brownie mix according to package directions and cool completely. Cut into 1 inch squares.
  2. In a large bowl, combine pudding mix, water and sweetened condensed milk. Mix until smooth, then fold in 8 ounces whipped topping until no streaks remain.
  3. In a trifle bowl or glass serving dish, place half of the brownies, half of the pudding mixture and half of the 12 ounce container of whipped topping. Repeat layers. Shave chocolate onto top layer for garnish. Refrigerate 8 hours before serving.
Oh yeah! I have to pick a new winner of the Fish Foam window cleaner since I never heard from the original winner. 
Jen said…
I am so like you! With 3 kids and a husband, I have totally gotten over my dirty window complex. Mine are always dirty, it’s inevitable! I have an adjacent dining room and living room with big picture windows on each side. 3 kids, big windows…..need I say more, lol!
Jen, please, please email me to claim your prize! You’re gonna love this stuff! jen at scissorsandspatulas dot com