Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Mini Chocolate Chip Cookies

When I make cookies, I use the ice cream scooper. So, the cookies tend to be very large. The kids like it but I think it is a little much. I've tried several times to make mini cookies but I just couldn't get it right. I would burn the edges and the middle wasn't cooked right. Well, I finally figured it out. The kids were surprised they could eat the cookies in one bite. It didn't stop them from eating several of them. I love chocolate chip cookies so this recipe is great. Plus with Halloween here, it is great to eat less cookies.
Mini Chocolate Chip Cookies
2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla
2 1/2 cup all purpose flour
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 cup semi sweet mini chocolate chips

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. 
  2. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside. 
  3. In a large bowl, cream the butter with the brown sugar and sugar. 
  4. Add the eggs one at a time. Mix until incorporated. 
  5. Add the vanilla and mix well. 
  6. Add the flour, baking soda, and salt. Mix until incorporated. 
  7. Fold in the chopped chocolate chips. 
  8. Refrigerate for 1 hour.  
  9. Scoop the chilled dough into about 1 Tbsp balls onto the cookie sheet spaced about 3 inches apart.
  10.  Bake the cookies for about 15 minutes or until the edges are golden brown. 
  11. Remove from the oven and allow to cool on the pan for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
 Recipe adapted from Toll House Chocolate Chip Cookies.

One year ago..........................I made Seasoned Chicken with sweet potatoes.
Two years ago........................I made Pirate Cookies.
Three years ago......................I made Chocolate Brownie Cookies.
Four years ago........................I made Mummy Cake Pops.
Did you already know...............
-Almost half of Americans celebrate Halloween. 
-Americans will spend over $2 billion on candy for Halloween.
-Americans will spend almost $2 billion on Halloween decorations.

Monday, October 26, 2015

Apple Cinnamon Cookies

My oldest daughter went apple picking three times! Yes, three times. She does love apples. Unfortunately, I didn't make it. When we planned to go, we had bad weather. I hadn't realized how fast the year had gone. When we finally made it to the farm, we had missed apple picking by a week so we picked up so pumpkins and a bag of apples. I have been adding apples to everything. These cookies are very good.
Apple Cinnamon Cookies
2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 cups sugar
2 eggs
1/4 cup milk
1 medium apple, peeled and grated
1 tsp vanilla extract
4 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cream of tartar
1/2 tsp salt
1 Tbsp cinnamon 

  1. In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter and oil.
  2. Add the sugar and cream until fluffy.
  3. Add one egg at a time. Mix well.
  4. Add the milk, apple, and vanilla extract. Combine well. 
  5. Add the flour, baking soda, cream of tartar, salt, and cinnamon. Mix until combined. 
  6. Refrigerate for 1 hour. 
  7. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  8. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  9. Scoop about 2 inch balls of dough. 
  10. Space the cookies about 3 inches apart.
  11. Bake the cookies for 12 to 14 minutes or until the edges are slightly golden. The middle of the cookies should be soft but set.
  12. Remove from oven and allow to cool on the baking sheet for at least 5 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely.
Recipe by Jen of Sweet Morris.

One year ago...............................I made Apple Cinnamon Muffins.
Two years ago.............................I made Chili Mac.
Three years ago...........................I made Mars Alien Cupcakes.
Four years ago.............................I made Vanilla Buttermilk Cupcakes.
Did you already know......................
-The first apple trees planted in the United States were by the pilgrims.
-In an apple, the pockets that hold the seeds are called carpels.
-Apples are grown in all 50 states.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Pierogies with Kielbasa and Caramelized Onions

It sure feels like Fall. It has been cold in the morning but I'm glad it warms up during the day. I know some parts of the country have seen snow. Crazy! Well for some reason, my children have been asking for pierogies. I like to serve the pierogies with kielbasa but wanted to do something a little different. I figured I would make it with caramelized onions, spinach, and an apple. Yes, I added an apple and my son didn't even realized until my husband said something. He had saw me chopping up the apple.
Pierogies with Kielbasa and Caramelized Onions aka Goblin Face
1 tsp olive oil
1 large yellow onion, chopped
1 apple, chopped
2 cups baby spinach, chopped
1 package kielbasa, sliced
20 pierogies, potato and cheese

  1. In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium heat.
  2. Add the onion and saute for 10 minutes.
  3. Add the apple and spinach. Saute for 10 minutes. 
  4. Remove the caramelized onion mixture onto a plate. Set aside.
  5. Add the kielbasa to the skillet and brown. 
  6. Remove and add the kielbasa to the caramelized onion plate. Set aside.
  7. Add the pierogies to the skillet.
  8. Cook the pierogies for 5 minutes on each side. 
  9. Add the caramelized onion mixture with the kielbasa to the pierogies.
  10. Gently combine the mixture. 
  11. Heat for a couple of minutes.
  12. Serve immediately. 
Recipe by Jen of Sweet Morris.

Two years ago..........................I made Snail Cookies.
Three years ago........................I made Pretzel Dogs.
Four years ago.........................I made Chicken Enchiladas.
Did you already know....................
-Kielbasa originates from Poland. 
-Pierogies originate from Eastern Europe.
-The only apple native to America is the crab apple.

Monday, October 19, 2015

Sausage Gravy

Recently, we headed to Vermont for a wedding. It was beautiful. The foliage was at its peak. It was cold. Even the kids were ready to head back to the South. Being back, I decided to make a popular Southern breakfast. We had sausage gravy over biscuits. My husband loves sausage gravy. He told me that this was the best sausage gravy he ever had. Isn't he a sweet husband? He said the sausage gravy should be a food group all by it self. I tried to shape the biscuit as a skull. I guess I will have to practice a little more.
Southern Sausage Gravy aka warty skulls
1 (16 oz.) Jimmy Dean Country Mild Sausage
1/4 cup all purpose flour
2 1/2 cups skim milk
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper

  1. In a large skillet, brown the sausage over medium heat until cooked thoroughly.
  2. Sprinkle the  flour over the sausage.
  3. Stir in the flour well and cook for 1 minute. 
  4. Stir in the milk and mix well. 
  5. Allow the gravy to thicken. Stir often. 
  6. Season with the salt and pepper. 
  7. Serve when the gravy reaches the desired consistency. 
Recipe adapted from The Kitchen

One year ago...........................I made One pot Mac and Cheese.
Two years ago.........................I made Buffalo Chicken Soup.
Three years ago.......................I made Crab Rangoon.
Four years ago........................I made Pumpkin Whoopie Pies.
Did you already know...............
-The first week of October tends to be ideal to observe the foliage in Vermont and Maine.
-This week the foliage is at its peak in Connecticut. 
-The red foliage are the foliage from sugar maple, dogwood, sourwood, Luquidamber, and black gum trees.

Friday, October 16, 2015

Pumpkin Muffins

I've heard the term helicopter parents but my husband and I think we are probably more like a surveillance aircraft parents. We give the kids some distance but we can still see them. We will provide advice which some of the kids (the older ones) do not like to listen. When the kids have a problem, we are there for them but we ask them if they can handle the issue or if they need help. We will discipline the kids but we don't beat them. If they behave, they are rewarded. If they misbehave, they are either removed from the situation or they are not rewarded with their favorite technology. We don't try to control every situation. How can we? We will help with their homework but we won't do it for them. We will not clean their rooms or make their beds for them. They can do it now and they will be able to do it when they are adults. Do the kids have chores? Yes. Do the kids have manners? Yes. Do the kids have morals? Yes. Are they reminded about chores, manners, and morals? Yes. We really try to lead by example. We don't run around wild. We are not rude to others. We work hard. The nice thing is my oldest daughter has told me how she was glad I didn't do everything for her since she needs those skills as an adult. Often, I have the kids help in the kitchen. Normally, they like to help. They didn't help with these muffins besides eat them. Maybe it was a good thing they didn't help since I can only imagine the toppings they would have picked. The muffins did come out really good. I brought some to work and the ones with toppings were popular. The kids preferred the muffins with no toppings. I liked the ones with the toppings. I tried to make a pumpkin muffin which wasn't so heavy. I thought I did a pretty good job.
Pumpkin Muffins aka Jack O'Muffins
3 cups all purpose flour.
2 Tbsp pumpkin pie spice
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1/2 cup butter
2 1/4 cups sugar
1 can (15 oz.) pumpkin
2 large eggs
1/2 cup milk
2 egg white
toppings: sunflower seeds, honey roasted sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, praline pumpkin seeds

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Line a muffin tin with cupcake liners. Spray the cupcake liners with nonstick cooking spray. Set aside.
  3. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, pumpkin pie spice, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
  4. In a large bowl, cream the butter with the sugar until fluffy.
  5. Add the pumpkin, the 2 large eggs, and milk to the butter mixture. Mix until incorporated. Set aside.
  6. In a medium bowl, whisk the egg whites until soft peaks form.
  7. Add the flour mixture and mix until just combined. 
  8. Gently fold the egg whites into the flour mixture. Combine until just incorporated.
  9. Evenly distribute the batter into the cupcake liners.
  10. Sprinkle with desired toppings. 
  11. Bake the muffins for 15 minutes or until cooked through.
Recipe created by Jen of Sweet Morris. 

Two years ago..........................I made Witch Brew.
Three years ago........................I made Fried Sausage Dumplings.
Four years ago.........................I made Pork Chops with Garlic and Herb.
Did you already know.......................
-The first surveillance aircraft used were hot air balloons.
-Surveillance aircrafts are often used by government agencies for information gathering including the military and FBI.
-Surveillance aircraft are manned while drones are unmanned surveillance aircraft.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015


One of my family's favorite meal is meatloaf. Yes, meatloaf. It is not a pretty dish. It is actually scary looking. Yes, it is the perfect recipe to post for October. This is the meatloaf recipe my Mom made us as a kid. It is simple. It is fast and my husband makes it often for us. My Mom told me that she had found the recipe in a woman's magazine when we were little. The recipe was for the microwave and it was not shaped as a loaf but as a ring. I still make it in a ring since I actually think it cooks better that way. We always eat it with ketchup, mashed potatoes, and carrots. We normally have this meal at least twice a month. Simple is sometimes better.
Meatloaf aka bones and flesh
1 lb. hamburger
1 yellow onion, chopped
4 slices of bread, torn
1 large egg
2 Tbsp Poultry seasoning

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the hamburger, onion, bread, egg, and poultry seasoning. 
  3. Mix just until incorporated.
  4. Place in a baking dish and form a ring. 
  5. Cover and bake the meatloaf for 1 hour or until thoroughly cooked through.
  6. Serve warm. 
Recipe provided by Jen's Mom.

Two years ago...........................I made Two Tone Halloween Cookies.
Three years ago.........................I made Chocolate Cookies.
Four years ago...........................I made Sloppy Joes.
Did you already know...........................
-Since 5th century A.D., the Romans have made meat with fillers.
-During the Depression, meatloaf was a popular way to stretch a meal containing meat.
-Meatloaf is versatile recipe which ingredients vary by region and diners.

Monday, October 12, 2015

Buttermilk Waffles

Do you prefer waffles over pancakes? My daughter does. I prefer pancakes. When we are at a hotel, my daughter normally will make some waffles. My son just wants to use the waffle maker but he prefers eggs. Well, I surprised the kids by making some waffles. This recipe I created about twenty years ago. I didn't use the internet to look up recipes. I would use the cookbooks I had. Well, I wanted to make some buttermilk waffles but there were none listed in the cookbooks I had. So, I created this one. I served the waffles with whip cream, raspberries, and maple syrup. To serve waffles for breakfast is the best way to make my daughter a happy girl. My daughter even helped to cook some. She told me her Mickey waffles looked a little scary. I thought her Mickey waffles looked like they had been in a fight. I called her Mickey waffles: scrappy.
Buttermilk Waffles aka Bodiless Mickey
2 eggs
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup vegetable oil, plus to coat waffle iron
2 1/2 cup buttermilk
2 Tbsp brown sugar
2 Tbsp sugar
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt

  1. Heat the waffle iron. 
  2. In a large bowl, beat the eggs until fluffy.
  3. Add the flour, oil, buttermilk, brown sugar, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. 
  4. Mix just until smooth. 
  5. Carefully brush the waffle iron lightly with some vegetable oil. 
  6. Carefully, add some batter to the waffle iron. 
  7. Bake until golden brown or waffle iron signals done. 
  8. Carefully, remove and serve hot.
Recipe by Jen of Sweet Morris.

Two years ago.................................I made Roasted Tomato and Pepper Soup.
Three years ago...............................I made Roasted Vegetable Panini.
Four years ago................................I made Black Forest Cherry Torte.
Did you already know....................
-On November 18, 1928, Mickey Mouse made his first official film debut in "Steamboat Willie". 
-Mickey Mouse was created by Walt Disney and Ub Iwerks.
-Until 1947, Mickey Mouse was first voiced by Walt Disney.

Friday, October 9, 2015

Dark Chocolate Cupcakes

     When we were in Maine, my son took school a little serious. He has always found school easy. Why? It is because he is very competitive. If his sister could do it, then he was going to make sure he could do it. He would try to help her with her homework in which she would get really angry about. She didn't need his help because he is two grades lower than her. Is he any smarter than her? No but boy he really likes to win. In school, he was fortunate to have teachers who would push him. If he found a subject easy, they seemed to make his learning a little more challenging. When we moved to North Carolina, he did slack. Before, he had never even missed a spelling word. Now, he was missing a lot of words. Did he still make honors? Of course but the effort was not there. I've told my kids that what is important is there effort and not the grades. They really need to work as hard as they can. I really feel that is what makes someone go far in life. Well, my son is taking his school a little more serious again. Maybe it is because his sister really does? Whatever the reason, I am glad.
     Now to these cupcakes-my daughter loved them. I think she ate the majority of them. My two guys liked them too. It could have been the peanut butter frosting I used. I did try placing a mini peanut butter cup in a few of the cupcakes. Don't do it. The peanut butter cup sank to the bottom and burned. The guys didn't care since they just peeled the peanut butter cup away and ate the rest. Good thing I only had done it to a couple.These are some dark cupcakes. They are as dark as an October night!
Dark Chocolate Cupcakes aka Dark, very dark Cupcakes
3/4 cup milk
1/2 cup dark cocoa powder
8 oz. unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla
2 eggs
1 cup all purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Line a muffin tin with cupcake liners. Set aside. 
  3. Heat the milk for 1 minute until warm. 
  4. Mix the milk with the dark cocoa powder. Set aside. 
  5. In a large bowl, cream the butter, sugar, and brown sugar. 
  6. Add the vanilla and the eggs to the butter mixture. 
  7. Stir in the dark cocoa powder mixture.
  8. Add the flour, baking soda, and salt. Mix until incorporated. 
  9. Bake the cupcakes for 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.
  10. Allow the cupcakes to cool on a wire rack before frosting.
Recipe by Jen of Sweet Morris.

Two years ago...................................I made Apple Crisp.
Three years ago.................................I made Mace Crumb Muffins.
Four years ago...................................I made Cheesy Basil Stuffed Chicken.
Did you already know........................
-The darkest time of the night is half way between dusk to dawn. 
-In October, the constellations Aquarius and Pegasus are easy to view.
-Before dawn tomorrow, Jupiter and Venus can be viewed above the moon.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Sour Cream Chicken Enchilada

Do you ever watch scary movies? How about old scary movies? The old movies tend to be pretty funny. I grew up watching scary movies with my Dad so they tend not to scare me. I know what to expect especially when the scary movie starts or it is unusually quiet. I have a knack for predicting who will make it till the end. My husband does not watch scary movies with me. My husband is a big tough man and I love to scare him during the movie. He doesn't find this to be funny even if I do. One time, my paternal family members were visiting and they attempted to scare him. I guess it must be a paternal trait.
Sour Cream Chicken Enchilada aka creepy creature
1 Tbsp vegetable oil
1 lb. chicken breast, cut into bit size pieces
1 medium onion, chopped fine
8 (8 inch) flour tortillas
2 cups Pepper Jack cheese, shredded
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup all purpose flour
2 cups chicken broth
1 cup sour cream

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Lightly spray a 9x13 baking dish with nonstick baking spray. 
  3. In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium high heat.
  4. Add the chicken and onion. Cook until the chicken is browned.
  5. Divide the cooked chicken evenly between the tortillas.
  6. Sprinkle a little cheese over the cooked chicken.
  7. Roll the enchiladas with the sides tucked into and tortilla.
  8. Place the enchiladas into the baking dish with the seam side down.
  9. In a medium saucepan, melt the butter.
  10. Sprinkle in the flour and whisk for a minute. 
  11. Whisk in the chicken broth and bring to a boil. 
  12. Remove from heat and stir in the sour cream. 
  13. Pour the sauce over the enchiladas. 
  14. Sprinkle the remaining cheese over the top.
  15. Bake for 20 minutes or until the cheese is melted. 
Recipe adapted from

One year ago.......................................I made Homemade Croutons.
Two years ago.....................................I made Brown Butter Funfetti Cookies.
Three years ago..................................I made Stromboli.
Did you already know..................
-In 1954, the movie The Creature of the Black Lagoon was released.
-The creature in the water was played by professional diver Ricou Browning. 
-Ricou Browning had to hold his breath under water since the costume did not have a air tank.

Monday, October 5, 2015

Black Rice

Have you ever heard of black rice? We ate at a friend's place and they made this dish. I kept wanting to remake it but black rice isn't the easiest thing to find. I did find it at Whole Foods. I think black rice tends to be more chewier and nuttier than white rice. This recipe is served as a dessert. It is sweet with a coconut flavor. I really think it is a perfect dish to serve at Halloween since it is so different.
Black Rice aka Emperor's Rice
2 cups black rice
1 (14 oz.) can of coconut milk
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp salt
2 Tbsp unsweetened shredded coconut, toasted

  1. Rinse the rice to clean.
  2. In a medium bowl, soak the rice in water overnight.
  3. Drain the rice and cook according to the package.
  4. In a medium saucepan, heat the coconut milk, sugar, and salt over medium heat.
  5. Stir until the sugar is dissolved. Allow the coconut mixture simmer. 
  6. When the rice is ready, place the rice in a bowl.
  7. Gently mix the coconut mixture into the rice. 
  8. Allow the rice to rest for 15 minutes before serving. 
  9. Serve the rice in mounds with sprinkled coconut on top.
Recipe adapted from Temple of Thai

Two years ago..................................I made Meringue Ghost.
Three years ago................................I made Vanilla Dream Cupcakes.
Four years ago..................................I made Peanut Butter Oatmeal Cookies. 
Did you already know................
-Black rice was historically known as the forbidden rice.
-During the Ming Dynasty, black rice was grown only for the emperor's consumption.
-Rice can be found in a variety of color including white, yellow, brown, purple, red, and black.

Friday, October 2, 2015


Sometimes I have crazy thoughts like I should try making some sauerkraut. Why did I ever think to make sauerkraut? I have no idea. The kids thought it was strange. My husband just humored me and avoided the bag. To have a large plastic bag of cabbage sitting on your counter does seem a little strange. I guess it is perfect to make in time for Halloween. We did compare my sauerkraut with a can of store bought. My sauerkraut was a little sweeter. Plus my sauerkraut was chopped and not shredded. Will I make sauerkraut again? Who knows?
Sauerkraut aka shark teeth
5 lbs, green cabbage, shredded
3 Tbsp pickling salt
2 bay leaves
1 Tbsp caraway seeds

  1. In a large bowl, combine the cabbage, salt, bay leaves, and caraway seeds.
  2. Allow to rest for 10 minutes.
  3. Pack the cabbage mixture into a large plastic storage bag. 
  4. Place a lid on top of the cabbage mixture. 
  5. Place a clean, heavy sealed container on top of the lid to weigh down the cabbage.
  6. Allow to rest overnight.
  7. The cabbage should have released some water to emerge the cabbage. 
  8. Continue to allow the cabbage to rest at room temperature for a couple of weeks but check on it every day. If any scum appears, then skim the scum away. (I never saw any scum on mine.)
  9. Continue to allow the cabbage to rest at room temperature for a month before transferring to the refrigerator.
Recipe adapted from Alton Brown.

One year ago...........................I made Buttermilk Cheddar Biscuits.
Two years ago.........................I made Asparagus Soup.
Three years ago.......................I made Sauerbraten Roast.
Four years ago.........................I made Hamburger.
Did you already know..............
-In German, sauerkraut means sour cabbage.

-Sauerkraut is salted cabbage that is allowed to ferment.
-German immigrants would bring barrels of sauerkraut on their ships to America.