Posted in Recipe

Eggplant Pizza Bites – Kid Approved!


few days ago I made these Eggplant Pizza Bites and they went over quite well, especially with the kids. And when my 20 year old son says, “Wow mom, these are good”, not only will I make them again, I thought I’d share it here!  Plus, they are pretty easy to make, and easy to make in a variety of ways to suit your tastes!  

Eggplant Pizza Bites with Recipe

So, I thinly sliced up three small baby eggplants. You do not want the big ones.  They are too seedy for this.  And definitely cut them up thin.  A few I cut up too thick and those were the last to be eaten.  Once they were all sliced up, I thinly coated each with melted coconut oil on both sides, sprinkled with sea salt & pepper and placed them on a wire rack for about 30 minutes 425°.  I also had the rack on top of a cookie sheet to catch the drips.  

In the meantime I roasted some thinly sliced tomatoes in the toaster oven.

Once they were lightly browned, I brought them out and topped each piece with about a teaspoon of our favorite onion/garlic spaghetti sauce and minced onion.  Then about half of the eggplant slices I put a piece of roasted tomatoes on it.  Not all my kids like tomatoes.

Eggplant Pizza Bites with Recipe

Next each piece was topped  with shredded mexican cheese (it’s all I had)
and stuck them back in the oven for an additional 8 minutes.   

Eggplant Pizza Bites with Recipe

They came out perfect – great for a late night snack –
would be great for an after school snack!  AND they are gluten-free!  

Eggplant Pizza Bites with Recipe

Now that I have made them once, I have numerous ideas for having some varieties – such as spinach and cheese, mushrooms, spinach and swiss cheese, turkey pepperoni, a variety of different peppers including green peppers and banana peppers, pineapple tidbits and bacon, etc!  And it would be a great snack to let the kids decorate themselves with what they like and us moms are sneaking in the healthy eggplant!  

Let me know if you make these and how they came out!

Posted in Family, Meme, Recipe

Inspire Me Monday: {Made on Tuesday} Hot Caramel Apple Pie


e are surrounded by many apple orchards.   There are numerous orchards that hold yearly carnival attractions at it.  So, we eat many apple dishes when it is this time of year.  And, we always have to have some type of apple pie.  The kids and I had already made caramel apples, and one of them asked about making a Caramel Apple Pie . . . and we did, and it was wonderful!  The kids had a lot of fun helping me make it, because we had to unwrap 20 caramels and then split each in half. Needless to say, it was a good thing I had more than 20 caramels!  

So while the kids were slicing up 5 cups of apples for me (we did not peel them, like most recipes say to) and then they were unwrapping, eating and accumulating 20 caramels to cut and set aside, I made a taffy sauce that would be poured over the apples: 

Melt a 1/4 cup butter and add to it, 1/2 cup brown sugar and 1/3 cup of flour.  Wisk together well and set aside.  

Pie1Then I took those 5 cups of sliced apples and mixed them up in a mixture of: 2/3 cup sugar; 3 Tablespoons flour; and 2 tsp. cinnamon until they were all well coated and put HALF of these coated apples into the apple pie dish (that already had the bottom pie crust in it).  

Next we put half of the taffy sauce and half of the cut up caramels over the apples; put another layer of apples over, poured the remaining taffy sauce and put rest of caramels over it; and covering up with the top pie crust.

Pie2We baked it first for 30 minutes with the outer rim of the crust covered with aluminum foil; removed and baked for another 20+ minutes at 350.

AND IT WAS GOOD!  It definitely is best serving it very warm.  We had a bit left over the next day, and the cooled off caramel with it just did not taste as good, but certainly edible!

The pictures here are not the best.  I had to use my phone for pictures as my other batteries were dead in my camera. 😦


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Posted in Baking/Cooking, Recipe

One Minute Cupcake in a Mug!


One Minute Cupcake in a Mug! (recipe)

f you are on Pinterest, one of the things, that is going around quite a bit is various ways to make mini cakes from mixing a cake mix with Angel Food cake.  Well, I decided to try it.  One of the main combinations that are going around is mixing a box of Angel Food cake and devil’s food cake.  I just never have liked even having his name in our home – even for fun.  He tries to get in well enough without even trying.

So, I tried an Angel Food Cake with a Chocolate Cake.  I mixed the two real well together and put into a sealing glass jar.  I did NOT label it!  You see, this will be mom’s emergency relaxation dessert or a special treat I can make for a child that deserves a reward.  Once mixed well, put 3 tablespoons of the mix and 2 tablespoons of water in a cup and mix well with fork.  Then microwave for one minute.  Yup, that’s all!  

One Minute Cupcake in a Mug! (recipe)ONE MINUTE to a quick dessert! I used a knife around edges, and tipped it over a plate and it’s ready to eat.  But, I added a splat of whipped cream and a few strawberries – so many another minute for the deluxe edition!  

One Minute Cupcake in a Mug! (recipe)

The cake has a wonderful light airy taste to it.  Eating it warmed up with some of the whipped cream melting into it was wonderful! And, I even shared it! (this time!).

I’ve read various versions of this cake and would like to try some others out with different flavored cake mixes.  And, I thought, what a great “mix in a jar” gift this could be for Christmas gifts. It could even be fun for a small group gathering to have various cake mixes and each can make their own along with having various toppings such as whipped cream, sprinkles, frostings, fudge, strawberries, etc.

If you have tried a different variety, let me know!

After posting a friend told me how she has done this for her college-aged kids, putting it in zip-lock baggies!  Great idea!  Maybe it’s possible to do for those in the service as well! 

Posted in Family, Recipe

Minty Brownie Gooey Goodness

Cooking Border


e do buy the box mixes for brownies, for those quick chocolate fixes.But we usually add something to the brownie mix, such as a handful or two of chocolate chips or nuts.  But this last time . . .  we really doctored it up, and OH MY!  They were so good!  And it was pretty easy!  

We just took a brownie mix, mixed up as directed on the box, and poured half of it into the pan.  And then, comes the fun part.  We sprinkled in about a cup of mini-chocolate chips, cup of chopped nuts and then, snack sized York Patties, cut them into forths and sprinkled them all over. I’d say we did about 10 of them.  

Then covered it all over with the rest of the brownie mix and baked – probably a good 7 minutes longer than it said on the box.  Now, if no one knew what you put in it, it will be quite a yummy surprise!  Getting the bites of peppermint is just wonderful taste explosion of goodness!

My kids LOVED it – and have asked when we will make them again.  

Minty Brownie Gooey Goodness - recipe

Minty Brownie Gooey Goodness - recipe

Minty Brownie Gooey Goodness - recipe

Posted in Recipe

Easier than Pie Rhubarb Cake!

Don’t miss entering for the Holley Gerth book giveaway!

Easier than Pie Rhubarb Cake!


have made something similar to this through the yearsbut today, it was just, dump-and-see-what-happens and it was gone in no time!  And, it was so easy!  I used the Jello I had on hand.  It just was wonderful!  If the kids liked it, it will be made again! 🙂

  • 4 cups sliced fresh rhubarb
  • 1 – 3 oz. pkg of Cherry-Lemonade Jello
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/3 cup melted butter

Directions: After spraying an 13×9 pan, put rhubarb on bottom & then sprinkle over the Jello, sugar and cake mix.  Pour water over the dry ingredients as evenly as possible and then the melted over the top.

Bake at 350 degrees for an hour.



Don’t miss entering for the Holley Gerth book giveaway!

Posted in Family, Recipe

Ham & Asparagus Stuffed Crescents


 saw a recipe similar to this, then improvised for our large family and tastes.  The original one did not have any veggies in it.   It turned out SO good . . . no one in my family complained and I’ve already had requests to make it again!  Here is how it came out for me:


  • 3 cans of crescents (8 in each)
  • 8 oz. cream cheese, room temperatureP4080370
  • 6 TB butter, room temperature
  • 1 bunch of asparagus, blanched
  • 2 stalks green onions, diced
  • 1 clove minced garlic
  • 1/2 cup Swiss Cheese (I used sliced cheese)
  • 2 cloves (or to taste) minced garlic
  • 1 cup shredded Swiss Cheese (for sauce)
  • salt & pepper


  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 5-6 tablespoons flour
  • 2 cup chicken broth
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 cup Swiss cheese
  • chopped green onions, for garnish

P4080364Get ready a large glass or metal pan and spry generously with some cooking oil.  Next, blanch the asparagus until just under-cooked.  Set aside.  Mix together the cream cheese and butter and then add in the asparagus, diced onions, minced garlic, salt & pepper. Add asparagus and ham in and hand mix until all is well covered and blended.  

P4080366Open the crescents and peel apart each triangle.  Put a heaping tablespoon on each triangle, place a half of a slice of Swiss cheese on top and then roll up and pinch seams and sides shut and place in greased pan.  

Heat up sauce mixture.  Melt butter, once melted add in the flour one TB at a time, continually stirring with whisk   Once thickened,  add in broth and milk and stir often.  Pour over filled crescents and put in oven.  Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes – until bubbly and nicely browned. 


Many of the ingredients could be interchanged for what you may have on hand – such as chicken for the ham; carrots and/or corn for the asparagus.

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Posted in Health, Recipe

My “instant” overnight COLD oatmeal breakfast – YUM!



am not dieting . . . but I am trying to eat healthier – and I am hoping it helps me to lose weight. The one thing I’ve been terrible with is eating breakfast.  My mornings can be so busy and I really am not hungry, so I don’t eat. Sometimes I don’t  eat anything until 3 in the afternoon!  So, I am tying to start off my mornings better.  I cannot remember where I found this recipe, but it’s cold oatmeal.  At first I thought, ewwwww… but I had read so many good comments on it, I tried it.  YUMMM!  I make it the night before, stick it in the fridge, and I have my breakfast all ready!  I tried warming it up once in the microwave.  Didn’t like it nearly as well.  

So here’s the recipe, with my changes in the ( ) :

  • 1/2 cup steel-cut oats (1/4 cup steel-cut oats & 1/4 cup old fashioned oatmeal)
  • 1/2 cup milk  (light vanilla soy milk)
  • Raisins or Blueberries (about 10 frozen blueberries – I may try dried cranberries in it sometime)
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • (1 tsp chia seeds or flax seeds)

I just stir it all up in my cup, put plastic wrap over it, and stick it in the fridge.  I have been thinking that this might even help me throughout the day with the munchies by making another one to eat later in the day or even for lunch which can be another meal I skip and then snack too much before dinner.  This might be kinda like the oatmeal diet.  And oatmeal is good for you too (can help reduce cholesterol and possibly help lower the risk of certain types of cancer). 

Let me know if you try this!   🙂 

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Posted in Baking/Cooking, Books, Recipe, REVIEW

Book Review: Don’t Panic–Quick, Easy & Delicious Meals for Your Family


 very much enjoy trying out new recipes.   So when I was given the privilege to review Don’t Panic–Quick, Easy, and Delicious Meals for Your Family, in exchange for an honest review, I was quick to say yes!  I am thankful I did!  I have enjoyed looking at this book and trying out several recipes.  This recipe book has normal every day recipes in it, that many times, I have most of the ingredients, or at least know of them and can pronounce them!  It is also very easy to understand and follow.   

One of my favorite sections in the book is the “Crockpot Collection” with over two dozen recipes.  I am looking forward to trying some of these when we start school.  My crockpot becomes my maid so I don’t have to cook for dinner!  There’s also some wonderful “Easy Baked Oven Dishes” such as an Apricot Chicken I want to try soon!  With numerous recipes it shows how to triple the recipe for freezing the extra meals.  There’s some great ideas in the “Breakfast, Breads, and Brunch” section, which would be great to bring for a bridal shower for my daughter next month!

This past weekend was my twin’s 21st birthday and we finally all got together.  Of course, what girl does not like chocolate, especially since they take after their mother!  🙂   Because the recipe yield is for 8 servings, I doubled it and baked it in a large glass pan.  It turned out WONDERFULLY!  It was so moist and chocolaty!  I did put a light cream cheese frosting on it.  I wanted it a little more decorated for their birthdays!

Crazy Good Chocolate Cake

Recipe Yield: 8 servings;   Prep Time: 15 minutes;
Total time: 45 minutes

  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 t. baking soda
  • 1 cup cold water
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 T. distilled white vinegar
  • 1 t. vanilla

Directions:  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Place first five ingredients in an 8x8x2 nonstick metal pan.  Using handle of a wooden spoon, poke 3 holes in dry ingredients.  Combine cold water, oil, vinegar, and vanilla in a large glass measuring cup.  Pour liquid ingredients into three holes in dry ingredients (there will be some overflow). Using a fork, stir gently until batter is smooth. Bake until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, about 30 minutes. Cool completely in pan on rack.

Dust with powdered sugar and serve . . . no frosting needed on this delicious snack!

Nutritional Information (per serving): Calories: 271.8; Total Fat 9.7g; Cholesterol Omg; Sodium 304.5mg; Total Carbohydrates 44.9g; (Dietary Fiber 1.8g); Protein 3.1g

From Don’t Panic–Quick, Easy, and Delicious Meals for Your Family, page 225

I have certainly enjoyed trying out various recipes and plan to try some more!

Don’t Panic–Quick, Easy, and Delicious Meals for Your Family
Available August  2012 at your favorite bookseller from Revell,
a division of Baker Publishing Group. 

Posted in Information Article, Recipe

Old Recipes & New Ones to Try


hings have finally calmed down here since our daughter’s wedding,  and so I did some things today that I really enjoy doing – sewing and baking.  It’s been awhile since I have done some from scratch baking and I even tried something new!  I made some bagels.  

And they turned out pretty good!  It’s a lot like making bread, but one step, after making them into the bagel shape and letting them rise for about 15 minutes, is boiling them in sugar water for 7 minutes and then baking!

I also made five loaves of whole wheat bread, and I do this all from scratch too, including grinding the wheat!  I love fresh, warm, just-out-of-the-oven bread.  And, it’s a good wholesome food for our kids.  For the whole wheat bread I use honey instead of sugar.  It’s very good!

As I was looking for the bagel recipes, I also looked at this partial recipe, which is Red Beans by Russell A. Solomon.  It’s not the full recipe, but it looks like an original from Louisiana that I would really like to try.  I imagine the recipe listed is a good start, and could be adapted for a slow cooker.   So, I will have to do some more researching on this.  It sounds like a good fall recipe!

Posted in PLINKY, Recipe

What’s your favorite way to cook eggs?

What’s your favorite way to cook eggs?


e raise chickens and have lots of eggs so I cook eggs in various ways.  You’d think with all the eggs we have that I’d never order eggs in a restaurant.  But I do!  One of our favorite places to go is just a family owned local restaurant (or as my husband calls it, a “greasy spoon” restaurant.  We always order their “two eggs & toast” – the eggs over medium; homemade wheat toast for me; homemade white toast for hubby and one side of bacon.  And, it’s the best!  The two slices of toast for each of us is super thick and the eggs are made just right – done, but runny.  🙂

We make egg meals in so many different ways – lots of quiche and breakfast casseroles.  I just saw two recipes on Pinterest – one being an avocado egg salad, another for an egg baked in an avocado, and lastly, and a similar one,  Egg in toast with Avocado.
Yes, I love avocados too, and I cannot wait to try out these recipes.
Posted in Family, Recipe

Recipe: Ham & Peas Casserole

Do you have an easy recipe the whole family can enjoy?
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his is one of my husband’s favorite recipes. However, anything with peas in my kids are usually disgusted by, so I use other veggies including brussel sprouts or broccoli (which my children love).  I also double this recipe for our family. This recipe was on a card in the magazine, Everyday with Rachael Ray.  Enjoy!  And if you try it, let me know!

Ham and Peas Casserole
(serves 4-5; prep time 25 minutes; bake 45 minutes)

  • 1/2 lb sliced baked ham, torn into small pieces (about 1 1/2 cups)
  • 7 ounces cornbread, torn into small cubes (2 cups) (I make from scratch cornbread in 8×10 pan and use all of this with my doubled recipe)
  • 1 cup frozen peas, thawed (or substitute other “liked” veggies)
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 3 eggs plus one yolk, lightly beaten
  • salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Lightly putter a 2.5 quart baking dish.  In a bowl toss ham, cornbread, peas and thyme, transfer to the baking dish.  In the same bowl beat together the milk, eggs, and yolk and 1/8 teaspoon of salt.  Pour into baking dish.  Let stand for 15 minutes.

Bake until the custard is just set in center, 40 – 45 minutes. Let stand for 10 minutes before serving.

Posted in Baking/Cooking, Books, Recipe

Book Review: Family Feasts for $75 a Week by Mary Ostyn

Fbookamily Feasts for $75 a Week: A Penny-wise Mom Shares Her Recipe for Cutting Hundreds from Your Monthly Food Bill by Mary Ostyn, is a handbook that should be in every home!   The author is a homeschooling mom of ten children (from three countries), and blogs at Owlhaven.  Her book is based on eating great on just $75 a week, for a family of four.  In the first four chapters the author/homeschooling teacher shares lessons in helping you towards baby steps of big savings, learning how to be frugal and how and where to cut corners, building a pantry along with fruit and vegetable storage, learning how to comparative shop to find the best prices, coupons, etc.  I loved all the tips and ideas for saving money.

One of my favorite tips in Family Feasts for $75 a Week was how to measure shortening.  Imagine you need a 1/2 a cup of shortening.  Fill a 2 cup glass measuring cup to 1 cup with water.  Then add in enough shortening – yes, in the water – until it reaches 1 1/2 cups.  Empty out the water – and there is your 1/2 cup of shortening.  It’s so easy!

Next comes eight chapters of wonderful everyday and ethnic recipes. These are not over-your-head recipes, but easy yet, many unique ones.  Our family tried the Orange Chicken, which took a little longer to make, but the end results were “when are you going to make this again, mom?!?!?!” The last chapter of the book is various recipes to make your own mixes (or as she labels, “pantry items”) – from Homemade Pancake Syrup to DIY Shake and Bake to Cream of Anything Soup Mix.  I am one who likes the “convenience” items in the store, but she has encouraged me that I can make many of these items and have them on hand, for the convenience and save money.

Family Feasts for $75 a Week is a wonderful book for the mom who has been cooking for a houseful of kids for over 20 some years (that’s me) to the newly wed who is just getting started.  This book would make an ideal bridal shower gift, baby shower gift, Christmas or birthday gift (or treat yourself to it – you won’t be disappointed!)  Be sure to also check out her blog, Owlhaven, where she gives wonderful tips and you will find she is giving additional copies away on her blog right now!

This book was provided for review by the author.

The giveway entries for this book have ended.  Winner is announced in comment section.  Thank you to all who entered! The a

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Posted in Recipe

The Bread with the “Secret” Ingredient (Tomato Soup Bread)


Soup made this recipe below yesterday, and most of the kids did not see me make it, so they did not know what was in it. We had a friend over for dinner, and I had them guessing what my "secret" ingredient was in it.  They did not guess it!  It was a can of tomato soup! It sounds weird – but it was yummy and they all liked it!  It is a good "fall" bread – would be great for the Thanksgiving Dinner too. 

Tomato Soup Bread

2 cups flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup shortening
2 eggs
1 can (10 3/4 ounces) condensed tomato soup
1/2 cup raisins
1/2 cup chopped walnuts

Prepare two breadpans, grease and flour. 

Preheat oven to 350.  Sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda and spices. Set aside. Cream together sugar and shortening. Beat in eggs, mixing well. Add dry ingredients alternately with tomato soup. Fold in raisins and nuts.

Pour into pans and bake 45 minutes until knife in center comes out clean.

Posted in Recipe

Something New – Humble Apple Pie


eing surrounded by apple orchard after apple orchard in this part of Michigan, you’d think apple pies would almost be a main course here!  Well, I will let you in on a secret.  Until a few days ago, I had never made an apple pie from scratch.  Actually, I had never made a full pie, with a from-scratch-crust before.  Nope – never.  My mom always said pies were so hard to make that she rarely made them.  My mother-in-law makes beautiful pies – the kind that could win at every state fair if she’d enter one.  But, we were given bags full of apples.  My husband commented on how he wished he could have one of his grandmother’s apple pies.  He was having a rough day with a customer, so I told the kids, "Let’s surprise daddy and make an apple pie."  I prayed that it was not too much of a surprise – one that would turn out horrible and would make his face wince even more!  I couldn’t cheat with premade pie crusts and canned applie pie filling.  We didn’t have any.  So, we made apple pie, and though it was nothing like his mom’s, it was very eatable, and they are all asking when we are going to make it again. 

Since the Make It From Scratch challenge for next Monday  "is to make something you never have before", my apple pie qualifies!  It’s simple – nothing elaborate about this pie – and I am sure there are better ones out there.  But, it’s my first, and it put a big smile on my husband’s face . . . and my kid’s too – and yes, even me.  (Maybe I should call it Humble Apple Pie!)

Crust (it really was easy!)

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 tsp. salt
  • 10 TB unsalted butter
  • 1 whole egg – lightly beaten
  • 4-5 TB cold water

Place flour and salt in bowl – cut in butter (TB sizes) until resembles a coarse meal.  Add egg and water, stiring mixture with fork to make the dough.  Add a  little more water if it’s too dry.  (I did not need to).  Divide into 2 balls – wrap each in plastic and chill for 30 minutes.  Makes two pie crusts.

Apple PiePie

  • 5 to 6 cooking apples
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 3 tablespoons corn starch
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice or 1 tablespoon vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • dash of salt
  • 2 pie crust (top and bottom)

Peel and slice apples. Add lemon juice and toss. Sprinkle a small amount of sugar and cinnamon in bottom of crust. Add 1 tablespoon of corn starch. Put half of apple slices in crust. Add half of sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg and 1 tablespoon corn starch, sprinkling over top of apples. Repeat layering of apples, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg and cornstarch. Apples will pile high in pie crust. Dot with butter. Top apples with second crust and seal (pinch) crusts together. Cut vents in top. Bake 50 to 60 minutes or until done.   ENJOY!

Posted in Recipe

Hashbrown Potato Pancakes


ur hens have been good to us, giving us an abundant supply of eggs. With feeding a large family, we look for different ways of using these eggs.  We just had this, and the kids loved it.  This recipe makes more than enough for our family of 12.  You can easily cut this recipe in half.

  • 8 cups frozen hash browns, thawedHashbrowns
    (I use one 32 oz. bag regular hash browns & one 20 oz. bag cheezy hash browns)
  • 3/4 cup flour (I use freshly ground whole wheat flour)
  • 1 finely chopped onion
  • 3 teaspoons salt
  • 2 teaspoons garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 6 slightly beaten eggs
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 3 tablespoons oil
  • (optional:  add in tomatos, green peppers, bacon, ham, etc)

Combine potatoes, flour, onion, and seasonings in large bowl. Combine slightly beaten eggs, milk and oil. Stir into potato mixture. Let potato batter stand 5 minutes. Drop in 1/4 cup portions on hot griddle. Brown both sides.

We don’t take the flavor away with syrup!  Some of our children like ketchup on it.  ENJOY!


Psssstttt! Take a peek at my picture below and guess at what’s next to the baby.  There’s even a prize!