Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Kettle Corn Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

Roasted pumpkin seeds are always a fun tradition in October. Every year I always want to just throw everything away after we finish carving the pumpkins, but I just can't bring myself to do it! So this year we tried out a new recipe for the seeds. I am one who prefers sweet and salty over savory, so this recipe was a hit for me! And so far everyone has really loved these seeds, so much so, that certain family members are contemplating buying another pumpkin just for the seeds!

2 cups pumpkin seeds
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
2 tablespoons sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt

1. Preheat your oven to 300 degrees. Spray a cookie sheet well with cooking spray. (If you're like me and hate the clean up, then I suggest putting down some foil and then spraying that. Clean up was a snap!)
2. Rinse your pumpkin seeds. In a bowl, combine seeds, oil, sugar and salt. Mix until seeds are well coated.
3. Spread the seeds on your lined and sprayed pan.
4. Bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour. Stir about every 10 minutes. They are done when they get a nice golden color.
5. When they are done cooking, take them out of the oven and let sit for 5 to 10 minutes. This is really just so you can touch them with your fingers and not give yourself some nice looking burns!
6. When cooled enough to the touch, spread the seeds on a piece of wax paper. They will be kind of stuck together, so just separate the seeds.
7. Sprinkle additional salt on the seeds. Let cool completely and enjoy!

This is a very easy recipe. And I found that the extra salt at the end really added a lot to the flavor of the seeds. We also use kosher salt in our cooking. We really like the flavor and texture, but I am sure that regular table salt would work just fine! We hope you enjoy them as much as we have!

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Texas Trash Warm Bean Dip

This delicious dip quickly became one of our favorite Mexican appetizers!  Interestingly enough, it just happened to pop up on one of the facebook recipe pages Aaron follows, so we decided to try it.  It is DELISH!  If you like it spicy, feel free to add a can of chopped green chiles to the mixture, or substitute spicy jalapeno refried beans for the regular.  :-)

1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
1 cup sour cream
2 cans (16 ounces each) refried beans
1 packet (1/4 cup) taco seasoning
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
2 cups shredded monterey jack cheese

Preheat oven to 350.  Mix cream cheese and sour cream together in a large bowl.  Stir in refried beans until combined.  Stir in taco seasoning.

Spray a 9x13 baking dish wih nonstick cooking spray, and spread mixture evenly in pan.  Sprinkle both cheeses over the top.  Bake in preheated oven for 25-30 minutes, or until cheese is melted and slightly browned around edges.  Serve with tortilla chips.   

Monday, April 22, 2013

Million Dollar Spaghetti

Love this recipe! So delicious and easy! Try it for yourself you won't be disappointed!

  • 1 lb. of Ground Beef
  • 1 can of Spaghetti Sauce
  • 8 oz of Cream Cheese
  • 1/4 cup of Sour Cream
  • 1/2 lb. of Cottage Cheese
  • Whole Stick of Butter
  • 8 oz. of Noodles
  • Bag of Sharp Chedder Cheese (I don't always have this on hand so I just use what I have, which is normal cheese that my kids like to eat!)


  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Boil your noodles. Once they are cooked, drain them and set aside. While the noodles are boiling, Mix up the cream cheese, sour cream and cottage cheese with a blender (or in your mixer). Make sure that it is mixed really well.
  2. Cook your meat. Once it is browned, drain it. Pour spaghetti sauce over the meat.
  3. Take a few slices of butter and put that in the bottom of your casserole pan.
  4. Layer HALF of your noodles into the pan. Next, Spread the cheese mixture over the noodles. Then put the other half of your noodles on top and put a few more slices of butter on the noodles.
  5. Now pour the red sauce on top and spread that out. Place it in your oven and cook for 30 minutes.
  6. After 30 minutes, take out the spaghetti and top it with cheese. Then put it back into the oven for another 15 minutes.
  7. Enjoy!!

source: http://ashleykaitlin.blogspot.com

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Andrea's Chocolate Chip Muffins

While visiting Southern California during spring break, we visited overnight with Aaron's Sister Andrea.  She is an AMAZING baker.  She always has something delicious for us to try, and these muffins are no exception.  She made them for a take-a-long snack for us when we went to Disneyland, and our girls loved them!

1 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 egg
2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup milk
1 cup chocolate chips

Mix together brown sugar, butter and egg until fluffy.  Add flour, salt, baking soda, and milk.  mix just until combined (don't overmix).  Stir in chocolate chips.  Spoon into paper lined cupcake pans and sprinkle each muffin with additional chocolate chips, if desired.  Bake at 350 for 18-20 minutes or until golden brown. 

Yield:  12-18 muffins, depending on size. 

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Classic Waffles

Aaron and I have been really into making things from scratch around here lately. So we have been making waffles from scratch. I love them a lot. It took the kids a couple tries to really get used to them after we switched from that boxed stuff, but now they love it too!


2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
4 teaspoons baking powder
2 tablespoons White sugar
2 eggs - separated
2 cups milk
1/3 cup butter, melted
1 teaspoon vanilla extract


1. preheat waffle iron to desired temperature.

2. In a bowl, separate the eggs. In the bowl with the yolks add all your ingredients and mix well. Beat the egg whites to stiff peaks. Add to the batter and fold in.

3. Ladle the batter into your waffle iron. Cook the waffles until golden and crisp. Serve immediately.

source: www.allrecipes.com

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Baked Sweet and Sour Chicken

We love Chinese food at our house, and this is an excellent way to satisfy our craving right in our own kitchen, without pricey takout!  We usually serve this with Heather's Fried Rice, and egg rolls or potstickers from Costco.  It takes a bit of extra time and planning ahead to prepare, but it is sure worth every bite!

3-4 skinless, boneless, chicken breasts
salt and pepper
1 cup cornstarch
2 eggs, beaten
1/4 cup canola oil

Sweet and Sour Sauce:
3/4 cup sugar
4 Tbsp. ketchup
1/2 cup white vinegar
1 Tbsp. soy sauce
1 tsp garlic salt

Preaheat oven to 325.  Rinse chicken breasts in water and cut into bite-sized cubes.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.  Dip chicken into the cornstarch to coat and then dip in eggs.  Heat the 1/4 cup oil in a large skillet and cook chicken until browned but not cooked through.  Place browned chicken in a greased 9x13 baking dish.  Whisk sauce ingredients together in a bowl and pour evenly over the chicken.  Bake in preheated oven for 1 hour, gently stirring chicken every 15 minutes.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Mile High Biscuits

This morning we wanted to make Biscuits and Gravy for our Saturday breakfast.  Usually, we just break out the Bisquick and make our biscuits.  It works fine, but Heather had found this recipe online this week and wanted to try it.  We are SO glad we did!  They are incredibly flaky, tender, and SO much better than from any mix we have ever tried!  Enjoy!

3 cups flour (can use 1/2 white flour and 1/2 wheat flour if desired)
1-1/2 teaspoons salt
1 Tablespoon sugar
1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 cup butter
3/4 cup buttermilk (you can also substitute 'homemade' buttermilk- 3/4 cup milk + 2 Tablespoons lemon juice- which is what we did.  They still turn out amazing).  Feel free to also use our tip using buttermilk powder!
1 egg
1/4 cup water

Preheat oven to 425 Degrees.  Using a pastry blender or two knives, combine flour, salt, sugar, baking powder, and butter until crumbly.  Mix in buttermilk, egg, and just enough water to make a workable dough  Mix the dough until it is just barely combined (DON'T OVERMIX!)  Roll the dough to 1 inch thickness on a floured cutting board.  Cut with a 2 inch biscuit cutter (or circle cookie cutter, or round glass)  Place biscuits on a greased baking sheet, touching one another, and bake 12-15 minutes or until golden brown.  Makes about 12-15 biscuits, depending on size and thickness.


  1. ONLY hand mix your dough!  Don't bother with your fancy Bosch or Kitchen-Aid mixer on this recipe.  Go old school.  If you use your mixer, your dough will become too dry.
  2. Don't over mix!  The best way to mix the dough is with a pastry blender or two knives, cutting the dough back and forth.  This method takes a bit longer, but will ensure the perfect biscuit.  You want little pieces of butter throughout your dough.  This is the secret to light and flaky biscuits!
  3. Keep your dough fairly thick (1 to 1-1/2 inches).  A tall and thick biscuit is much better than a thin and hard one.  Keeping it thick will ensure a soft, chewy, delicious biscuit. 

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Olive Garden Alfredo Sauce

We love with a capital L-O-V-E the Alfredo sauce at Olive Garden! It is just so addicting. So we decided it was high time we search for a similar recipe. What we found was the actual recipe straight from Olive Garden! We couldn't believe it! So we made it, then we made it again, and so on and so forth. It was delish! Clearly we can't make this all the time, but if we could afford the calories we would probably have this a lot! We've had it with homemade bread sticks and we've had it over pasta. Either way, you are going to love it!


1 1/2 cup milk
1 1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup imported Parmesan cheese, grated
1/2 cup imported Romano cheese, grated
6 egg yolks from fresh jumbo eggs (I only ever have large eggs so that is what I use)
Salt and black pepper to taste

  • Heat milk and cream in a heavy bottom saucepan until it begins to simmer. Turn off heat. Slowly whip in cheese, then remove from heat.
  • Place egg yolks in a separate bowl and slowly whip in a portion of the hot milk and cream mixture. Slowly add egg yolk mixture back into remaining cream mixture. Place back on very low heat and continually stir until simmering. Take sauce off heat so it thickens (This will increase temperature of egg yolks, known as tempering).
  • Season to taste with salt and black pepper. Serve over your favorite pasta.

source: http://www.olivegarden.com/Recipes/Sauces/Alfredo-Sauce/

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Chex Scotcheroos

These bars are INSANELY good.  We took them to a friend's house for game night, and everybody had thirds and fourths.  Be prepared to give out the recipe!

6 cups Rice or Corn Chex
1 cup light corn syrup
1 cup sugar
1 1/2 cups peanut butter
2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
2 cups butterscotch chips
1/2 cup peanut butter
1 teaspoon vanilla

Grease a large round bowl and pour the cereal in. Set aside. Grease a 9x13 inch pan. Set aside.
In a pan on the stove, combine the corn syrup and sugar. Stir over medium high heat until it comes to a boil. Immediately remove from heat and stir in 1 1/2 cups of peanut butter. Immediately pour this mixture over the cereal and fold in. Pour into the 9x13 pan.
In a microwaveable 4 cup measuring cup (or other microwave save dish) combine the butterscotch chips, chocolate chips, 1/2 cup of peanut butter, and vanilla. Microwave for 30 seconds at a time, stirring very well after each interval, until it is completely melted and smooth. It should take about 1 minute and 30 seconds. Pour over the bars. Allow to cool completely at room temperature before cutting.

Cheese Ball

Everybody tends to break out their favorite cheese ball recipe during the holidays.  This is our favorite version, from our friend Sarah Feil.

1- 8 oz. package cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup finely grated cheddar cheese
3 green onions, finely chopped
4 to 5 black olives, chopped, or 1 small can chopped olives, drained
garlic powder, to taste
chopped walnuts

Beat cream cheese and butter together until combined.  Fold in remaining ingredients except walnuts.  Form into a ball, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm.  Just before serving, unwrap ball and roll in chopped walnuts to coat.  Serve with your favorite crackers and/or fresh vegetables. 

Saturday, February 9, 2013

April's Pancakes

Lately, Heather and I have tried to cook from scratch a little bit more.  It does take a tad bit more time, but it isn't too bad if you plan ahead just a little bit.  We realized that it was expensive buying all different kinds of convenience foods and mixes to make things, when we really had all the from-scratch ingredients on hand anyway.  Not only does cooking from scratch save money, but also makes you feel like you're eating a little bit healthier too, with less preservatives, additives, salt, etc.  Heather's sister April introduced us to these pancakes.  They are SO easy, and now we can push the cart directly past the Krusteaz pancake mix at Costco with confidence.  Also, this recipe makes about a dozen pancakes, which is PERFECT for our family.  No more wasted leftover pancakes!

1-1/2 cups flour (feel free to use whole wheat flour!)
1 teaspoon salt
1 Tablespoon baking powder
2 Tablespoons oil
2 eggs, separated
1-1/2 cups milk

In a large mixing bowl, combine flour, salt, baking powder, oil, egg yolks, and milk.  With an electric hand beater (or exceptionally strong arm) beat egg whites in small bowl until soft peaks form.  Gently fold egg whites into batter.  Pour batter by 1/4 cup-fuls onto hot greased griddle. 

Makes about 12 pancakes

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Cranberry-Cashew-White Chocolate Chip Cookies

We first had these cookies last Christmas at Heather's Parent's house.  They are SO delicious!  And yes, we give you permission to call these "healthy" cookies, because they have fruit in them!

1 cup butter, softened
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
2-1/4 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 package (10-12 ounces) white baking chips
1 cup chopped cashews
1 cup dried cranberries

In a large bowl, cream butter and sugars until light and fluffy.  Beat in eggs and vanilla. 

Combine the flour, baking soda, and salt; gradually add to the creamed mixture and mix well.  Stir in the chips, cashews, and cranberries. 

Drop by rounded tablespoonfuls 2 inches apart onto ungreased baking sheets.  Bake at 350 for 9-11 minutes or until golden brown.  Remove to wire racks to cool.

Yield:  4-1/2 dozen

Source:  Taste of Home Annual Recipes 2012