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We all know what time of year it is and that means making some cookies to share with all your family and friends! Although I do bake it’s not my favorite thing to do but these sugar cookies from Taste Of Home made it simple. After reading some of the reviews of this recipe I made a few small changes. The original recipe calls for vanilla extract.  I wanted something just a little different so I used lemon extract and I also added lemon zest to the batter. This recipe can be made as a drop cookie or rolled into balls.   Flatten with the bottom of a glass that has sugar on the bottom of it so it leaves a nice light coating of sugar on top of the cookies. Needless to say, this recipe is easily adaptable and it makes a lot. This made almost five dozen!

Because it made so many I was able to send some with my husband while he was flying with the Army National Guard.  During his travels, he stopped at an Air Force base where our dear friend Adam (our niece Becky’s significant other, who we love) was working and could come out and enjoy a cookie or two! Needless to say, there were some happy military people today!

 

 

INGREDIENTS
1 cup of butter, softened
1 cup of vegetable oil
1 cup of sugar
1 cup of confectioners sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract (or if making lemon, I used 1 1/2 teaspoons lemon extract)
4 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cream of tartar

NOTE– if making the lemon version you will need 3 small lemons.  I zested two of the lemons into the batter and zested 1 lemon into 1/2 cup of granulated sugar I used for the top.

DIRECTIONS
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a large bowl beat the butter, oil, and sugars. Beat in the eggs until well blended.  Add the vanilla or lemon extract. In another large bowl, add the flour, baking soda, and cream of tartar. Gradually add the flour mixture into the butter/sugar mixture and mix to combine. If making the lemon version add the zest of two lemons and mix until combined.
If making drop cookies simply drop about a tablespoon of the dough on an ungreased baking sheet and bake for 8-10 minutes until they are lightly browned. Mine took 8 minutes.
If you want to flatten them and add the sugar on the top, place about 1/2 cup of granulated sugar onto a plate, add the zest of one lemon into the sugar and mix. Roll the dough into balls about a tablespoon or so and place on an ungreased baking sheet. Using the bottom of a drinking glass coat the bottom of the glass lightly with the sugar mixture and lightly press the dough balls down to your desired thickness. This will leave a light coating of sugar on the top of the cookie. Bake for 8 – 10 minutes.

Enjoy!

 

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This is a super simple five-ingredient dish! Jim loves anything with a Mexican or Tex Mex flavor so he loved this dish! I, on the other hand, am not a huge fan of refried beans so this was not a huge favorite for me. Jim and I both agreed this would make a great party appetizer. I would slice them a little smaller than shown in the picture here.

 

INGREDIENTS
1 crusty Italian loaf
1 can (16 oz.) refried beans – I used the spicy version
1 cup sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
1 cup Monterey Jack cheese, shredded
1 1/2 cup homemade or store-bought pico de gallo

DIRECTIONS
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Slice bread in half lengthwise and then in half widthwise and place cut side up on a baking sheet. Spread about 1/4 of the can of refried beans on each slice of the cut side of the bread. Top each slice with both kinds of cheese.
Bake for 15 minutes or until cheese is melted. Cut into 1/2 inch slices and top each slice with a spoon full of pico de gallo. Serve warm.

Enjoy!

 

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I have made this cake twice in just a two-week time span, both for two groups of people. The first time I made it we were camping with family and friends and I was in charge of dessert. I actually made two desserts that night but I’ll tell you about the second one another time. Everyone loved this dish, it went fast! The second time was for a friend that works with my husband. I had a very nice message from Greg that it was enjoyed by all and an empty dish came home. so you don’t only have my thoughts, but many others!

INGREDIENTS
1 package chocolate cake mix – I used devils food cake mix
1 jar (17 ounces)butterscotch – caramel ice cream topping, I used only caramel sauce
1 carton (12 ounces) frozen whipped topping, thawed
3 health bars, chopped – can also the toffee bits found in the baking aisle.

DIRECTIONS
Prepare and bake the cake according to the package directions using a greased 9 x 13 baking dish. Cool on a wire rack.
Using the handle of a wooden spoon or just a fork, poke holes in the cake. Pour 3/4 cup of caramel (or a little more😉) over the top of the cake letting it soak into the cake. Top with whipped topping and sprinkle with candy bits. Refrigerate for at least two hours before serving.

Enjoy!

 

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Pumpkin season is in full swing and this would be a great addition to any of your fall gatherings. This is another tried and true recipe from Taste Of Home! This was easy to make and I love the cream cheese frosting so much better than the canned, but of course, if you are short on time, grab a can of your favorite cream cheese frosting!

 

 

 

INGREDIENTS
1 can solid pack pumpkin (15 ounces)
2 cups sugar
1 cup canola oil
4 large eggs, lightly beaten
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt

FROSTING
3 ounces cream cheese, softened
5 Tablespoons butter, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 3/4 cups confectioners sugar
3-4 teaspoons whole milk
Chopped nuts to sprinkle over the top

DIRECTIONS
In a large bowl beat pumpkin, sugar, and oil until blended. Beat in eggs. Combine flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt in another bowl and mix. Gradually add the flour mixture into the pumpkin mixture mixing until well blended.
Pour into a greased 15 x 10 x 1-inch baking pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack.
For the frosting, in a small bowl beat the cream cheese, butter, and vanilla until fluffy. Gradually beat the powdered sugar until smooth. Add milk until frosting reaches desired spreading consistency. Frost cake and sprinkle with nuts.

Enjoy!

 

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I made these burgers over the 4th of July weekend. Let’s face it no 4th of July is complete without a good burger! I picked this burger to make as I knew it was going to have lots of flavor and I could also caramelize the onions ahead of time as well as mixing up that special sauce leaving me a little more time for other things! Anytime I entertain I do as much in advance as possible and that includes prepping some of the food! We enjoyed these burgers, the caramelized onions and the sauce gave the burger lots of great flavor.  I will say next time I make them I will be adding some pickled jalapeño slices on top of my burger to add a little extra punch of flavor! This burger is one of my top three favorites! I will be making these several more times this summer.

INGREDIENTS
2 Tablespoons vegetable oil, and more for brushing the griddle
2 large onions, chopped
Salt
1/4 cup mayonnaise
2 Tablespoons ketchup
1 Tablespoon sweet pickle relish
1/2 teaspoon white vinegar
1 1/2 teaspoon mustard
2 lbs. ground chuck (60%)
8 hamburger buns
Pickles
Shredded lettuce
4-8 slices of tomato (I left off)
Pepper
8 slices of American cheese

DIRECTIONS
Heat oil in pan and add the chopped onions. Cook onions covered over medium heat for 30 minutes or until onions begin to turn golden brown and caramelize. Watch not to burn and stir occasionally. Remove lid add 1/2 cup of water. Allow water to evaporate. Remove onions from heat and set aside. Can be made ahead and kept in fridge.
For the sauce – mix together mayo, ketchup, relish and vinegar, mix well and set aside. This can also be done the day before.
Form the meat into 8 patties about 4 inches wide and 1/2 inch thick.  Heat griddle and lightly brush with vegetable oil. Toast buns on the griddle, split side down (or can be done under the broiler watching carefully to not burn.) Remove buns from skillet when lightly browned and set aside. Salt and pepper both sides of your hamburger patties and cook on the griddle 3-5 minutes.
Spread the top of the patties with the mustard and flip. Continue cooking on the second side for an additional 3-5 minutes. Top burger with a slice of cheese to melt. When cooked to your desired doneness remove from pan and place lettuce on the bottom bun, add the burger on top of the lettuce, add the caramelized onions and spread the sauce on the split end of the top bun and top of the burger with the bun!

Enjoy!

 

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