Sunday, October 31, 2010

Crockpot Chili and Halloween Perfect Recipe 4 a Wonderful Evening

I just finished putting my Halloween Tradition Crockpot Chili  on so it will be ready in perfect time for tonight.  I also put on a second batch so my husband can take it to work tonight for everyone to enjoy.

 It is wonderful to head in with our children after a cool night of Trick or Treating to a warm bowl of this delicious chili - with cinnamon rolls.  I is a great way to counter-act all the sweets from their exciting night.

I tried this recipe 3 years ago on a Halloween Night and it was an instant family favorite.  I am just excited to be healthy this year to enjoy Halloween with our boys.  The last to years I have been recovering from major surgery dealing with Cervical Cancer. 

This recipe is perfect as I can put it on in the morning before work and it is ready for supper when I get home after a busy day. Here is my recipe.


2 pounds of ground beef (can use 1 pound of ground beef and 1 pound of ground turkey)

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 large onion, chopped

¾ cup water

1 can (10 ¾ oz) Condensed Tomato Soup

1 can (14 ½ oz) diced tomatoes

2 cans Allens Kidney Beans

1 can Allens Carrots, finely chopped

¼ cup chili powder

2 teaspoons ground cumin


Brown ground beef in a skillet – pour off fat.

Mix ground beef, garlic, onion, water, soup, tomatoes, beans, carrots, chili powder and cumin in crock pot

Cover and cook on low 8 to 10 hours or high 4 to 5 hours.

* I love to use crock pot liners as it makes the clean up effortless*

Do you have any Halloween Recipe traditions?  If so please share.

And Happy Halloweennnnnnnnn!

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Cranberry Orange Cookies - What a great recipe I made my own :)

Boy the last few weeks have been very interesting with out a computer.  Yes - I said without a COMPUTER!!!  My old computer finally decided to NEVER come back to life after a power surge.  I never realized what a huge part of my life use the computer had become. 

So now I need to play "catch up" on some of the great new recipes I tried out during the time without a computer.  I think I will share one recipe I found on  If you haven't heard of you NEED to check it out.  It is great resource.  I was able to use the recipe I found and change it around to make it my own.

The recipe is for Cranberry Orange Cookies.  Let me tell you all - this recipe was a delicious smelling recipe right from the beginning.  As I was zesting the oranges it made me think of Christmas time.  The addition of Almond extract gave the cookies a wonderful balance from the tart Ocean Spray Craisins and sweet oranges.  It is amazing how adding a little bit of the almond extract leaves the person enjoying the cookies with the question of what is in there.  It is such a subtle taste, but it really pulls the whole recipe together. 

The cookies had a buttery, tart and sweet taste.  The texture was nice and light.  The cookies held together well and baked up perfectly as you can see from the photo.

The top cookie  -  I dipped the cookie scoop in granulated sugar, before scooping out the dough.  The cookie top baked up a little more brown and the top visually reminded me of a ginger snap (but there was no "snap" this cookies are so light and soft).

The middle cookie - I used a regular cookie scoop and added the orange drizzle over the top after the cookie cooled.  I added double the amount of orange zest than the original recipe called for.  I think it added a stronger fresh orange taste to the entire cookie, which helped cut the sweetness of the glaze itself.

The bottom cookie - I used the regular cookie scoop and did not add the drizzle.

It was fun making these cookies three different ways.  One of my boys love the cookies with the drizzle.  Another only liked the plain cookies.  I loved all three ways.

The best part was I shared two dozen of these great cookies with the RCIA meeting for church.  I love volunteering to bake for church events and meetings.  It gives me the opportunity to try out new recipes.

Cranberry Orange Cookies (makes 4 dozen)


1 cup butter, softened

1 cup white sugar

1/2 cup packed brown sugar

1 egg

1 teaspoon grated orange zest

2 tablespoons orange juice

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 cups Ocean Spray Craisins (actual recipe calls for fresh chopped Cranberries)
1 tsp Almond Extract (my own addition)

1 teaspoon grated orange zest (actual recipe only called for 1/2 tsp)

3 tablespoons orange juice

1 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar


1.Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).

2.In a large bowl, cream together the butter, white sugar and brown sugar until smooth. Beat in the egg until well blended. Mix in 1 teaspoon orange zest and 2 tablespoons orange juice. Combine the flour, baking soda and salt; stir into the orange mixture. Mix in cranberries and if using, walnuts, until evenly distributed. Drop dough by rounded tablespoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheets. Cookies should be spaced at least 2 inches apart.

3.Bake for 12 to 14 minutes in the preheated oven, until the edges are golden. Remove from cookie sheets to cool on wire racks.

4.In a small bowl, mix together 1/2 teaspoon orange zest, 3 tablespoons orange juice and confectioners' sugar until smooth. Spread over the tops of cooled cookies. Let stand until set.

***Note I used one large orange for the zest and it yielded enough juice for the recipe - I was a great way to use up the orange. 

Let me know if you make these and which way was your favorite.  Also what did you think of ? 

Happy Halloween everyone!!!

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Seneca Crisp Onions Gridiron Challenge

***Welcome all who are finding me from the Seneca Crisp Onion Gridiron Challenge Blog.  I am so excited that my recipe has been choose as 1st Runner-up in the Recipe Challenge.  What a great honor and I win 1 case of these great Seneca Crisp Onions!!!!  Please let me know what you think of this easy and delicious recipe.  Enjoy and happy cooking with Seneca Crisp Onions.****

I am a firm believer that football food should be portable and easy to make and enjoy. The Stuffed Helmets I created are perfect football finger food. The helmet packs a huge burst of flavor which explodes inside your mouth. The contrasting soft and crunchy textures, along with the salty but a hint of sweetness from the Seneca Farms Crisp Onions combines to create a culinary Touch Down!

The only problem I had creating this recipe was keeping the Seneca Farms Crisp Onions away from my family long enough so I could use what I needed for this recipe. I have never eaten any crisp onions that come close to comparing to Seneca. They are a great stand alone snack, let alone can be used to make an average recipe extraordinary.

I am so glad I found about the Seneca Crisp Onions Gridiron Challenge. I sure hope my new creation will win and be enjoyed by others – I know we will continue to enjoy the Stuffed Helmets at our house.

Stuffed Helmets


20 oz of fresh mushroom with stems removed

2 Tablespoons of Seneca Farms Crisp Onions – crushed

3 slices of crisp bacon

8 oz package of cream cheese, softened

6 Tablespoons fresh grated Parmesan cheese

½ teaspoon of chopped garlic

6 drops of Worcestershire sauce

Topping Ingredients:

4 Tablespoons of Seneca Farms Crisp Onions - crushed

5 Tablespoons of fresh grated Parmesan cheese


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Place the mushroom caps in a 9 X 13 glass pan.

Cook bacon until crisp, drain on a paper towel and crumble into small pieces into a bowl. Add cream cheese, Seneca Farm Crisp Onions, Parmesan cheese, garlic and Worcestershire sauce into the bowl. Mix until all ingredients are incorporated. Spoon the filling into the mushroom caps.

Combine the Topping ingredients and add to the tops of the filled mushroom caps.

Bake for 25 to 30 minutes until mushrooms are soft and he filling is browned.

**To save time I like to use pre-cooked bacon (only have to crisp it up in a skillet for a few minutes) and packaged shredded Parmesan cheese.**


Friday, October 15, 2010

The Smell of Autumn in the Air...

The Smell of Autumn in the Air….

Autumn is my most favorite season of all. I love watching the changing of the leaves from a brilliant green to the beautiful gold, red and brown. But the best part of leaves is waiting until they have all fallen down and you can crunch through them. I am smiling as I am writing this. It makes me feel like a child again.

My family also waits for this time of year to arrive because it makes me want to cook and bake all the time. They look with anticipation to see what I will be “whipping” up next. I love filling our house with all the scents of spices and aromas of food being created.

One recipe I love to make and enjoy myself is Chai Tea. After the house is quiet, and the boys are put to sleep. It is great to have a little “me” time. I love sitting down with a steaming mug of this mix. The sweet smell of the spices and velvety texture on my tongue is so relaxing.

The best part about this mix is it makes a great gift for the holidays. I love making extra when I create a batch to have on hand. I put the mix in glass jars and decorate them with seasonal ribbons and bows. I include instructions and the recipe. That way when I am invited to a Thanksgiving gathering or a Christmas party, I always have something homemade to bring along.

Go head try my recipe below and find some “me” time during the busy holiday season to enjoy.

1 cup Coffee-mate Original Creamer

1 ¼ cups Coffee-mate French Vanilla Creamer

1 Cup nonfat dry milk powder

2 ½ cups white sugar

1 ½ cups unsweetened instant tea (decaf if you don’t want the caffeine)

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon ground cloves

2 teaspoons ground ginger

½ teaspoon allspice

3/4 teaspoon nutmeg

¼ teaspoon white pepper

1 teaspoon cardamom

Combine all the ingredients into a large bowl. Place a small amount of the mixture into a blender and mix until it is a fine powder. If you do not blend it into a fine powder – when the mix is used it will be grainy and the flavors will not be incorporated properly.

Use two rounded tablespoons of mix in an 8oz mug of hot water. If you like Chai Tea richer – add some scalded milk to the mug before the hot water.

I am excited to say that I have entered this blog post to Coffee-mate as they asked me to submit a blog in regards to the holidays that may be featured in Nov or Dec of the blog- Coffee Talk!  It will be great if it is selected.  I was asked because I am a Brew Crew Member.  Wish me luck and watch the  blog - Coffee Talk and see if I make it.

What a great thing to have on my Happy List for the week.  Check out this one below.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Autumn Bread

***** Welcome all who are finding me through Gooseberry Patches Blog and or Facebook.  I am a proud winner of The Gooseberry Patch's Halloween book.  Make sure to leave me a comment or follow my blog.  I am planning on posting many more recipes.******

I just entered my recipe in the Safeway Stores Thanksgiving Recipe Challenge - please follow the link and vote for my recipe.  Thanks a bunch.
I have been baking this recipe for over 15 years now. It is one of the first recipes I make ever year when the weather cools and Autumn arrives. Yesterday was the pefect day to make it again and it turned our perfect.

As of this morning - I went from 3 loaves to 1 1/4 loaves.  My family and I just love this recipe and love Fall.

Everyone always asks for this one bowl recipe after their first taste. If you want to make this more old fashioned - bake the bread in greased/floured tin cans (coffee cans)- is a nice added touch. The white sugar covering is so tasty and added a wonderful sweetness and texture. It is beautiful fall colored and sparkled.

Go ahead and try it for yourself.

Autumn Bread

2/3 cup shortening

3 cups white sugar

4 eggs - well beaten

1 3/4 cups - canned pumpkin

2/3 cup - water

3 1/2 cups flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

1/2 teaspoon cloves

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

2 teaspoons baking soda

1 1/2 coarsely chopped walnuts

(1 cup white sugar - to roll baked loaves in)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Beat eggs in a large mixing bowl. Add the rest of the ingredients - excluding nuts - beat until mixed well. Stir in the nuts. Add batter to greased and floured bread pans (3 medium or 2 large sized pans). Bake for 1 hour or until toothpick comes out clean in the center of the loaf. Let cool for 10 minutes in the pan. Remove from pan and roll the loaf in white sugar to coat. Cool completely and cut to serve.

I entered this recipe on the Gooseberry Patch website - I hope to win one of their great seasonal prizes.  Why don't you try to win to go to .

Fiber Gummies Winner Again!!!

I can't hardly believe my luck with Fiber Gummies and Facebook.  I was chose again (3rd time winning) to be a winner of one of their frequent Facebook contests.  This is what was posted that I entered back in early Sept. 

"‎52% of our moms say their kids aren't eating enough fruits, vegetables or fiber-rich foods. Respond to THIS POST and tell us what you do to get your kids to eat more fiber-rich foods. Five responses, randomly picked 9/16 at noon ET, will get Liz Weiss' The Moms' Guide to Meal Makeovers and a bottle of Pedia-Lax Fiber Gummies!"

I posted the following idea -"I love adding veggies to my homemade pasta sauce - I puree them so the boys don't even know they are in there."

The Guide I received is wonderful and has a lot of excellent ideas and recipes.

Fiber Gummies continue to be a daily staple of  my young boys routine.  It helps keep their little bodies regular - and they love the taste of them.  This is one of the best products out on the market to help promote regularity.  Fiber Gummies are the best!  They care about our families.  Please check them out on Facebook or on their website .  You can print money saving coupons directly from the site and enter to win Pedia-Lax® Fiber Gummies "Keep Kids Moving" Sweepstakes!

Thank you Fiber Gummies - I can't imagine my family without you.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Have you heard of Pear's Gourmet?

There was no question what I would be blogging about today.  I just wanted to share this great company with everyone who will listen.  They are called Pear's Gourmet.  I suppose you are wondering how I found out about them.  Well my husband is originally from Omaha, Ne and we now live in the Panhandle of NE and he dearly missed their wonderful coffee.  Years ago, I found Pear's Gourmet on the web at .  And I have been a faithful fan every since.   They have been around since 1915!  They obviously are doing something right!

I love their coffee and being a Decaf drinker - they have a great selection, including flavored coffees.  They offer a lot more than just coffee.  I love there snacking nuts and mixes and there baking nuts are the best.  Every Christmas I order a wonderful mixed nut tray that comes out at Christmas Eve for the family to enjoy.  It has become a tradition and is looked forward to by all.

I love following them on facebook - they are listed under Pear's Gourmet - I have been enjoying there wall.  I just recently learned from facebook that they were supporting The Race for the Cure in Omaha - they were giving away wonderful pink colored packages of trial size Morning Blend Coffee.  I wish I could have attended.  I also learned they offer Maggie's Gourmet Popcorn for sale on their website.  They talked about a new delicious flavor of popcorn just hitting the market called - Cajun Cheddar made with Louisiana Hot Sauce.  I sounded so delicious - and I posted that on Facebook.

Pear's Gourmet was so kind they contacted me and sent me a surprise care package!  It had a bag of the wonderfully Spicy popcorn and two of the trial size Morning Blend Coffee!  They are so wonderful and take care of there customers.

Go ahead and give Pears Gourmet a try!  They have Gourmet products and budget prices.  If you order 3 items - shipping is only $3.  That is amazing.  And if you go online just on Sunday 10-10-10 - they are having a special  - over $25.00 and get shipping for 10 cents.  Yes I said 10 cents!  You can sign up for a great giveaway directly on their website - look for the "enter and win" tab on the left side of there website.

Let me know what you think of this great company.  Who knows may be next time I order I can set something up so I can give a Pears Gourmet Freebie item away?  What one item would you want the giveaway to include???