Tuesday, January 22, 2013


I had the idea for this recipe a long time ago. When we had some leftover pizza ingredients, I thought it was a great way to use them up. Also, you can coordinate your toppings to each child. Keep this in mind when you need a quick and easy lunch!


Pizza Sauce
Mozzarella Cheese
Assorted toppings

Place one tortilla on a paper plate. Spread half of it with a few tablespoons of pizza sauce. Add desired toppings and cheese. Microwave about 40 - 50 seconds or until cheese is melted. Fold over and cut into wedges to serve.

My son Evan loves pepperoni, while his sisters do not. It's easy to customize each Pizza-Dilla so that everyone is happy!

If you need to put together a quick pizza sauce, try using 8 ounces of tomato sauce with about 1/2 teaspoon each basil and oregano.


Looking for more great pizza recipes?

Homemade Pizza
Stuffed Crust Pizza
Exquisite Pizza Sauce
Sunday, January 20, 2013

Almond Poppy Seed Bread

My sister-in-law Stephanie brought this bread to a couple of different gatherings over Christmas this year. I think my son, Evan, would have eaten the entire loaf if I had let him. Of course, I had to have the recipe.

I received this fancy mini loaf bread pan from my brother for Christmas, and I was itching to try it out. I thought this was the perfect recipe to use it for.

Almond Poppy Seed Bread

Add to mixing bowl in order:

3 c. flour
1/2 Tb. baking powder
3 eggs
1 c. + 1 Tb. oil (to lighten it up, replace 1/2 c. of the oil with 1/2 c. unsweetened applesauce)
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla
1 1/2 tsp. salt
2 1/4 c. sugar
1 1/2 c. milk
3 Tb. poppy seeds
1/2 tsp. almond extract

Beat 2 minutes. Pour into two 9 by 5 or six 6 by 3.5 inch greased loaf pans. Bake at 350 degreese 45-50 minutes for 9 by 5 loaf pans. For the smaller loaf size, bake about 40 minutes. Bread is done when a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

For the glaze, whisk together:

3/4 c. Powdered sugar
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1/2 tsp. almond extract
add milk to desired consistency (about a tablespoon or so)

When bread is done, pour glaze over the loaves while the bread is still in the pan. Let cool for 10 minutes on wire rack before removing from pan and allowing to cool completely.

This is a fun recipe to mix up with your kids--and they love it, too. Mine ate several slices for dessert after lunch the other day. Hope you enjoy this one, too!

Looking for other quick bread recipes?

Banana Bread
Lemon Poppy Seed Bread
Saturday, January 19, 2013

Grandma Mack's Breakfast Delight

Before I say anything else, I must tell you that I do not have a Grandma Mack. I don't know who she is, but this recipe is delightful! This is a recipe that I got from my sister-in-law, Stephanie. (She doesn't have a Grandma Mack either, but she has been a terrific recipe resource for me.) I have a great recipe for Poppy Seed Almond Bread from her as well that I hope to post soon.

I love breakfast casseroles! They are so easy to have ready, in the fridge, for the next morning. I just write the instructions on top of the Press N Seal, and Matt can slip it in the oven when he wakes up. Then breakfast is ready when the kids are up and around!

This is a very versatile and easy recipe. You can use ham, sausage, or any breakfast meat that you like. As I said before, I like to put this one together the night before so all that is necessary in the morning is to pop it in the oven.

Here's the recipe:

Grandma Mack's Breakfast Delight:

1 tube (8 oz.) refrigerated crescent rolls
2 cups cubed fully cooked ham
5 eggs
1/2 cup milk
Dash of salt and pepper
2 cups frozen hash browns, partially thawed
2 cups shredded Cheddar Jack cheese

Press the crescent rolls into the bottom of a greased 9 by 13 inch pan. Place the ham on top of the crescent rolls and the hash browns on top of the ham. Beat the eggs, milk, salt and pepper and pour over the hash browns. Top with cheese. Bake at 375 degrees for 30 minutes of until done. (When I refrigerate overnight, I have to bake a little longer.)
Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Scrumptious Turtle Cookies

I had to publish this picture because, well, I don't make cookies often. And, when I make cookies, I usually don't make ones that have several steps to prepare. Well, for Christmas this year, I did! I think these are one of the prettiest cookies that I have ever made. They were delicious, too! My brother thought they reminded him of a Girl Scout Samoa cookie minus the coconut.

I think these cookies would perfectly grace a Christmas cookie plate. They would also be a great addition to a baby or bridal shower.

What I love about these cookies:

1. They're yummy!
2. They're pretty!
3. Though it recipe had several steps, they were not that hard to do.
4. It made a small batch, so it did not take that long. I did not need that many for my family Christmas gathering. You may need to double or triple this recipe if you need lots of cookies!

Here's the recipe from The Kitchen is My Playground (I love the name of this blog!)


1 c. all-purpose flour
1/3 c. cocoa powder
1/4 tsp. salt
8 T. (1 stick) butter, softened
2/3 c. sugar
1 large egg, separated, plus 1 additional egg white
2 T. milk
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 1/4 c. pecans, finely chopped

Caramel Filling:

14 soft caramel candies (I used Kraft)
3 T. heavy cream

Chocolate Drizzle (optional):

1/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 tsp. shortening


Prepare the Cookies:

1. Combine flour, cocoa, and salt; set aside.

2. With electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add egg yolk, milk, and vanilla; mix until incorporated. Reduce speed to low and add flour mixture until just combined.

3. Wrap dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm, 1 hour.

4. Whisk egg whites in a bowl until frothy. Place chopped pecans in another bowl. Roll chilled dough into 1-inch balls, dip in egg whites, and then roll in pecans. Place balls about 2 inches apart on a baking sheet. Using a 1/2 teaspoon measuring spoon, make an indentation in the center of each dough ball.

5. Bake at 350 degrees until set, about 12 minutes.

Prepare the Caramel Filling:

6. Microwave caramels and cream together in a small bowl, stirring occasionally, until smooth, about 1 to 2 minutes.

7. Once cookies are removed from the oven, gently re-press the indentations. Fill each indentation with about 1/2 teaspoon of the caramel mixture. Cool on the pan for 10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Prepare the Chocolate Drizzle (optional):

8. Place chocolate and shortening in a small zip-top plastic bag. Set bag in a bowl of warm water to soften. Gently knead the chocolate with your fingers until melted and smooth, placing back in the warm water for a minute or two as needed.

9. Snip a very small hole in the corner of the plastic bag. Drizzle chocolate over the cooled Turtle Cookies.

Makes about 30 cookies.

The only thing I did differently was to melt the chocolate chips for the drizzle in a ziploc bag directly in the microwave. Next time I may have to try using a squeeze bottle instead of the ziploc bag for the drizzle. I think that may give me more control over the chocolate.
Sunday, January 6, 2013

Easy Elegant Lemon Chicken

My Anna loves fruit. Put somes apples, bananas, or grapes on her plate, and she is a happy camper. Often, though, she struggles to eat her meat portion of the meal. When we have chicken, I usually put five small bites on her plate. She is expected to eat that much, and it can be a bit of a battle for her to get it done. The other day, I was struggling with what to make for dinner when this recipe came to mind. It is simple enough to make for a weeknight meal, yet pretty enough to serve for company. The recipe is well known at the Methodist church in Sharon Springs --I know of at least one wedding where this chicken was the main course! "How does this story come together," You ask? Well, we put about five pieces of this chicken on Anna 's plate. Not only did it disappear in seconds, but she requested seconds. . .and thirds! The rest of the kids really enjoyed it, too. I will definitely be making it again soon!

Here's the recipe: (adapted from Sharon Springs United Methodist Church Cookbook)

Easy Elegant Lemon Chicken

8 4 oz. boneless skinless chicken breasts
2 cloves minced garlic
3/4 cup butter, melted
1 teaspoon salt if desired
2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped or use 2 teaspoons dried parsley
1 cup very fine bread crumbs (for gluten-free, use almond flour)
2/3 cup Parmesan cheese
Paprika if desired
7 T. lemon juice

Mix together garlic, butter, salt (if desired), and parsley in a shallow bowl. Mix together bread crumbs and Parmesan cheese in another shallow bowl. Dip chicken into butter mixture, then in the bread/cheese mixture. Roll chicken up and place seam side down in a greased 9 by 13 inch baking dish. Sprinkle with paprika if desired. Drizzle lemon juice over the top. You can also drizzle any remaining butter mixture over the top of the chicken as well. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 to 60 minutes or until done.

Oreo Peppermint Popcorn

The kids and I made this delicious popcorn for Christmas gifts this year. My eight year old spent a lot of time learning to curl ribbon with a scissors as we packaged various homemade gifts.

This recipe contains one of my favorite combinations--chocolate and mint. Except for a few years after I was pregnant with Maddie and developed an extreme aversion to peppermint (I was so thankful for cinnamon-flavored toothpaste or I would have been concocting my own blend!), my favorite flavor of ice cream has been mint chocolate chip.

So, what better way to improve on oreo popcorn than by adding a little peppermint flavor? I was completely into peppermint this Christmas season! (You should have seen all the recipes I was collecting on my Pinterest boards!)

Here's the recipe:

Oreo Peppermint Popcorn (adapted from Plain Chicken)

18 cups air-popped popcorn
1 24 ounce package almond bark
20 oreos, crushed
1/2 cup finely crushed candy canes or other peppermint candy

Place popcorn in large bowl. Melt almond bark according to package directions and stir into popcorn. Once almond bark is well-mixed with the popcorn, stir in oreos. After oreos are combined, stir in crushed candy pieces. Lay out on waxed paper until hardened. Then break up and store in tightly-sealed container.

I like this recipe because it provides a hint of peppermint flavor without being overwhelming. If you want to kick up the peppermint a notch, add 1/2 to 1 teaspoon peppermint extract or one drop peppermint oil to your almond bark before stirring into the popcorn.

If you, like my husband, do not care for peppermint, this recipe is fabulous without the crushed candy!

Jubilee Jumbles

This weekend we celebrated Christmas with my side of the family. When I was growing up, my mom and Grandma had a tradition of making cookie plates for family, friends, neighbors, and, well, a lot of people. Apparently, at 19 years of age, Grandma began taking cookie plates as Christmas gifts to the neighbors when she and Grandpa moved out the family farm. Over the years, making cookie plates snowballed into this large task of preparing over forty different cookies and candies and delivering seventy (yes, seventy!) cookie plates every Christmas. I can remember helping mix up and bake a quadruple batch of two different kinds of cookies in one day. Mom and Grandma had the preparation down to a science. We would begin baking the day after Thanksgiving with peppernuts--a tiny, spicy German cookie whose flavor actually improves with age. Then we would go down the list of cookies that we could freeze and store. One of the last things we would make were the frosted sugar cookies. I can still remember my mom, a veterinarian, using a small needleless syringe to pipe the tiny brown eye on over fifty reindeer cookies covering the kitchen table. Delivering the cookie plates alone took over a day!

Needless to say, though I love having this tradition in my past, I have not started delivering cookie plates yet. However, I was in the mood to do some baking this year.

I asked my brother what cookie he would like me to make for the weekend, and he requested Jubilee Jumbles. This cookie has a light, fluffy texture complimented by a brown butter glaze. My kids were able to help me make them (just one batch goes much more quickly than four!), and they thought they were delicious.

Here's the recipe:

Jubilee Jumbles

1/2 cup soft shortening (I used softened butter)
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs
1 cup undiluted evaporated milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 1/4 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon soda
1 teaspoon salt (I omit)
1 1/2 cup finely-chopped nuts (Grandma always used walnuts, but I prefer pecans)

Mix shortening, sugar, and eggs thoroughly, about 2 minutes on medium speed. Mix in milk and vanilla. Mix dry ingredients and slowly add to dough. Blend in nuts. Chill one hour. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Drop rounded teaspoonfuls two inches apart on parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake ten minutes until delicately brown. While warm, frost with browned butter glaze. Makes about four dozen.

Browned butter glaze: Heat two tablespoons butter until golden brown. Beat in two cups powdered sugar and 1/4 cup undiluted evaporated milk until smooth.

I found that I needed about 1/4 cup additional powdered sugar to get the glaze to a consistency that I liked. When you frost these, put them on a cooling rack with waxed paper underneath to minimize your cleanup time.

The original recipe recommended using a greased cookie sheet instead of parchment paper. As someone who washed countless numbers of cookie sheets during Christmas baking, I thoroughly recommend parchment paper. I use it for all of my cookie recipes--cleanup is so much easier!

This was a great recipe for my kids to practice their frosting skills on. Though nice and soft, the cookie is sturdy enough to stand up to a child's grasp. They enjoyed scooping the glaze onto their knives and spreading it on the top of the cookie. The glaze would spread out due to the heat of the cookie, so the end result looked great!

In case you were wondering, a 12 oz. can of evaporated milk contains enough to make the cookie dough and the glaze for one batch.

The kids and I had lots of fun making six different cookie recipes this year. Who knows, maybe next year will be the start of some Pearce cookie plates. . . or maybe not!

Hope you had a blessed Christmas season!

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