Monthly Archives: July 2012

Peanut Butter Cup Cookies

As you all know, in this house, peanut butter cups rank way up there on the dessert menu.  Thanks to the ever-popular Pinterest, I found this little lovely recipe involving mini-Reese’s and peanut butter cookies.  Now, I will admit getting mine a little over-done, but I was trying to compensate for using regular muffin cups.  The recipe called for using a mini muffin pan, but I don’t have one.  Anyway, Nicholas likes them, and they look pretty good.  I haven’t tried one, but I will tomorrow.  This recipe can originally be found on  And with that, if you can handle the heat, get to baking!  😀



  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 40 miniature chocolate covered peanut butter cups, unwrapped*


  1. In a small bowl sift together the flour, salt and baking soda; set aside.
  2. In a large bowl cream together the butter, sugar, peanut butter and brown sugar until fluffy.
  3. Beat in the egg, vanilla and milk.
  4. Slowly add the flour mixture; mix well (at this point you can store the dough in the refrigerator until you are ready to make the cookies).
  5. Shape the dough into approximately 40 balls and place each into an ungreased mini muffin pan.*
  6. Bake at 375 degrees for 8 minutes.*
  7. Remove from oven and immediately press a mini peanut butter cup into each ball.
  8. Cool and carefully remove from pan; the chocolate will be runny for several hours.

*Note:  As I said earlier, I only have regular muffin pans, so I made 24 cookies instead of 40.  I also upped the cooking time to about 10 minutes to account for the dough balls being larger.  Since my oven cooks hotter, I also lowered the temperature to 350-degrees.


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And His Name Is…

Connor Earl

My Honey and I had a more difficult time coming up with a boy name than we did with a girl name, but a few weeks ago, we finally came up with the perfect name.  However, we thought that for the fun of things and just to savor it for ourselves for a while, we would keep it a secret for a bit.  It has driven our friends and family a bit nuts, but we have finally decided to tell everyone.  For the past several days I’ve been teasing people on Facebook with little hints.  We’ve had guessing games and a lot of fun, but today is the day of the big Baby Name Reveal on Facebook.  Since Facebook knows, I thought all of ya’ll should know, too.

Here are the hints I gave out:

  1. Starts with “C.”
  2. Origin:  Irish
  3. The sum of the alphabetical order of the letters in the name is 79.
  4.  This name doesn’t really have any nicknames, like Nic for Nicholas.

A fun fact:  Although I’m sure we read over the name Connor many times in our search for the name of our little boy, we never went with it.  It just didn’t stand out, I guess.  One day, I was sitting at the table, and the TV was on.  Hogan’s Heros had just gone off, and another show called The Rifleman started to come on.  Nic and I always switch the channel to the news when this show comes on, but we’ve seen the intro for it many, many times.  As it comes on, I look at the screen, and the opening credits are just starting.  The star of the show is named Chuck Connors, and it was then that the name Connor just stood out like a sore thumb.  That was the name for our baby boy!  And the rest, as they say, is history.

This is me today at 24 weeks pregnant.

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Three Years Today

Today in 2009 this is what I was doing:  Marrying the love of my life, Nicholas!  It was a fairly simple, relatively small wedding and reception, but it’s not the wedding that matters really.  As my daddy has said, “You’re just as married with a big wedding or an elopement.”  And that’s what matters:  the marriage.  Day 1 only lasts that one day, but the marriage will be there “till death do you part.”  I’m so grateful to be spending my life with my wonderful, loving husband.  He makes me laugh, he loves me dearly, even when I’m unloveable, and he is just perfect for me because God brought us together.  We get aggravated at each other from time to time, have our difficult days, but we still love one another and have publically vowed to never stop.  And to make things even better:  We will be welcoming our son into the world in just a few months!  God is so good!

Today, “my dear and loving husband” took off of work just to spend it with me.  We went to lunch at our favorite local Mexican restaraunt, then to the game store, where my husband got to pick out any game of his choice for his gift from me, and then to Wal-Mart, mostly to walk off some of that lunch.  But I did end up getting one of those arm-chair pillows that I hope will help me sleep more comfortably.  (As excited as I am about our little boy, he does make sleeping tough for me between bathroom runs, hunger, and just discomfort.  😉 )  After our Wal-Mart trip, we went by the post office (errands must be run) and to Sonic for slushies!  Mmmm!  Such a nice afternoon treat for such a HOT day!  (It was 102-degrees here today, real temperature!)  And then it was home for some hanging out, trying out our new gifts, taking pictures, and watching some of our favorite shows.  Nothing big, but just a nice, pleasant anniversary!

I love you, Nicholas Poe!  And I always will!

This is the one picture where Nic had his eyes open and was smiling, though both are questionable, but at least it was accomplished.  I told him he looks like Adam Sandler in this picture.  LOL!


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French Onion Steak Sandwich

In my on-going quest to introduce my dear husband to new foods, I happened upon this particular recipe.  I found it on one of my new favorite websites, Pinterest.  It looked really yummy and really simple, so I pinned it and decided to give it a shot.  It wasn’t necessarily a hit with My Honey, but he declared that it wasn’t that bad.  It may be a rare meal, but I enjoyed it and thought you might, too.



  • 1 – 1 1/2 lbs. thin, lean steak (I had a good-sized sirloin in the freezer and used that.)
  • 1 (10 1/2 oz.) can French onion soup
  • 1 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 buns
  • 3-4 Provolone cheese slices
  • 1/4-1/2 cup finely chopped onion


  1. Slice the steak into thin strips (like for fajitas), trimming off fat as you go.
  2. In a skillet, cook the meat through with the onion, Worcestershire sauce, salt, and pepper.  Drain off grease.
  3. Mix soup and meat together in the skillet again.  Bring to a boil.  Cover and reduce heat to low-medium.  Allow to simmer 15-30 minutes.
  4. Uncover and allow excess juices (if there is any) to cook out.  Remove from heat.
  5. Lightly butter both sides of buns, and broil for about a minute to toast.
  6. Divide meat onto bottoms of buns.  (Set the tops aside.)  Top meat with 1-2 slices of cheese.
  7. Broil again until cheese melts (1-2 minutes).
  8. Place top half of bun on immediately.
  9. Serve!

More topping ideas:

  • Sliced banana peppers
  • Mushrooms
  • Bell peppers
  • Au jus dipping sauce

*Note:  This recipe is also crock pot friendly.  Just cut up steak, and place it in crock pot with all the other ingredients.  Cook on low for about 8 hours or on high for about 4 hours.  I actually mostly cooked the steak in a skillet with onions, Worcestershire sauce, salt, and pepper, drained, and placed in the crock pot with the soup for about 2 hours on high to finish cooking and tenderize the meat.

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Chicken and Dumplings

Yep, it’s summer, and I don’t cook or eat a lot of soups and stews during the summer.  However, I made an exception tonight since I made roast chicken a few nights ago and had plenty of chicken left-overs.  In fact, I still have plenty of left-overs in the freezer, but I kept this out because I knew it would be a fairly easy meal and would save me from having to buy more meat for this week.  😀

A fun fact about dumplings is that they are attributed “to being a French Canadian meal that originated during the Great Depression,” according to Wikipedia.  To me, this makes perfect sense because the basic ingredients for dumplins are flour, water, chicken broth, and chicken.  It’s a very cheap meal, all things considered, especially if you do what I did by buying a whole chicken, roasting it for one meal, and using the left-overs for the dumplins.  There are plenty of other cheap ways of making this.  I have bought chicken thighs on sale and used them for the meal.  This is a chicken dish that does not require expensive breasts or other parts.  My step-mom used to buy a whole chicken also, boil it, de-bone it, use what she needed for the dumplins, and save the rest for other dishes, such as Mexican chicken, chicken pot pie, and so on.

Now there are also several ways to make the actual dumplings for the dish.  My step-mom’s recipe is very similar to her pie crust recipe, using shortening, flour, water/broth, and such.  I have used this recipe before, and it works fine.  However, it takes longer and uses more ingredients.  When my Grandma C. told the way she made them, I decided that was the way for me.  It requires two ingredients:  flour and broth.  Trust me, you can’t get any simpler, and it tastes just fine.  It does make a stickier dough, though, and I have found that it works better to roll it out on parchment paper, a large paper sack, or some kind of dough cloth. (My step-mom always used an old pillow case that she kept rolled up in a mason jar.  I have used a dish towel before.)  And now that I have bored you with all my talk of dumplin-lore, I will go ahead and give you the recipe, such as it is.



  • 2-3 thighs chicken
  • 3-4 cups water for boiling the chicken
  • 2-3 cups flour
  • salt, pepper, and other seasonings to taste
  • canned broth, if needed
  • 1 1/2 tsp. cornstarch
  • 1/2 cup cold water


  1. In a medium-large cooking pot with a lid, place the chicken thighs and 3-4 cups of water.  Cook on high to bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium, cover with a lid, and cook until the chicken is cooked through (at least 30 minutes, probably longer if in-bone).
  2. Remove pot from heat.
  3. Remove chicken from broth.  Set aside to cool.
  4. In a medium mixing bowl, combine one cup of broth from the cooking pot and 2 cups of flour.  Mix well.  If the dough is really sticky, add more a little at a time, up to about 3 cups. (You will most certainly have to add more.)
  5. Roll dough out thin on parchment paper dusted very lightly with flour.  Cut into strips, squares, or use a small biscuit cutter to make circular dumplings.  (I like the biscuit cutter, and I imagine that kids would love it, too.  The circles can overlap.  You’re going to use all the in-between peices, too.)
  6. Bring broth back to a boil.  Drop dumplings in one at a time, stirring every so often to keep them from sticking together.  Cover, and reduce heat to low-medium.  Let cook for 45-60 minutes.  (If you do not have enough broth, supplement it with water and/or canned broth.  I like to use Swanson; it’s a bit more expensive, but it tastes better.)
  7. De-bone chicken (shred if boneless).  Add to broth and dumplings during the last 5-10 minutes of simmering.
  8. Season to taste.
  9. If the broth has not thickened by the time you add the chicken, mix cornstarch and water in a small cup, and add to dumplins, stirring constantly.  Bring the dumplins back to a boil, and let it boil for about a minute, stirring frequently, being especially careful to not let the dumplings stick to the pan.
  10. Remove from heat and serve with fresh rolls, biscuits, or cornbread.

Dumplings cut with a biscuit cutter. Such fun!

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Cinnamon Rolls

I don’t think I know anyone who does not like a warm, gooey, sweet cinnamon roll.  I have made cinnamon rolls a few times and have found a roll recipe that I like, but an icing recipe has eluded me.  However, thanks to my friend Amy Kinnard and her blog Are We There Yet, I think I may have finally found a good one.

My darling husband really enjoys a good cinnamon roll, so as a surprise for him today, I decided to make a batch.  He needs a surprise every so often, and I enjoy the chance to play in the kitchen.  (Not to mention, when I make him cinnamon rolls, I get to eat some, too.)  Now, this particular recipe calls for 7 to 7 1/2  CUPS of flour, so you can only imagine how many rolls that makes.  What I do is divide the dough ball into two parts.  I make make two roll logs, wrap one up really well in plastic wrap and foil and freeze it, and cut the second log up into rolls to bake.  Then, when I want to make the second log, I let it thaw, cut the rolls, rise the rolls, and bake.  I was able to make 25 rolls from the first log.  The second log was a bit shorter than the first, but it’s safe to say that when I do cook it, I will get at least a 15-20 rolls.  That’s 40-45 rolls from one recipe.

I got this recipe from my Grandma C., and she got it from her favorite cook book.  I believe it’s a Betty Crocker book, and she recieved as a wedding gift in (I think) 1957.  The dough is a sweet roll dough and can be used with other recipes, such as babka breads and other dessert/breakfast breads.




  • 1/2 cup warm water
  • 2 pkg. active dry yeast (I buy yeast in a jar, and it was 4 1/2 tsp. to equal 2 pkg.)
  • 1 1/2 cup lukewarm milk
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 tsp. salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup shortening
  • 7 to 7 1/2 cups all-purpose flour


  • 2 tbsp. softened butter
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 tsp. cinnamon

(Icing – enough for 12 rolls)

  • 4 T. softened butter
  • 3 tsp. flour
  • ½ C. powdered sugar
  • ¼–1/2  tsp. vanilla


(To make rolls)

  1. In a large bowl, dissolve water and yeast.
  2. Stir in (or whisk) milk, sugar, salt, and eggs.
  3. Add shortening and about 3 1/2 cups flour.  Mix until smooth using a mixer with dough hooks or a pastry maker and a spoon.
  4. Add enough remaining flour to handle easily; mix by hand.  (I did this on the counter and ended up using a total of 7 cups of flour for these rolls.
  5. Knead until smooth and elastic (about 5 minutes.)
  6. Round up in a greased bowl, greased side of dough up.
  7. Cover with a damp cloth.  Let rise in a warm place (about 85-degrees) until double (about 1 1/2 hours).
  8. Punch down.  Divide dough ball in two.
  9. Roll out oblong (rectangular).
  10. Spread butter on dough.  Sprinkle with sugar and cinnamon.
  11. Roll dough up tightly, beginning at the wide side.  Seal well by pinching edges together.  This should look like a log.
  12. Stretch log slightly to even it out.
  13. Cut log into individual rolls about 1-inch thick.
  14. Place rolls a little apart in greased 9×13 pan or greased muffin cups.
  15. Cover and let rise until double in bulk (about 35-40 minutes).
  16. Bake in a 375-degree oven about 25-30 minutes or until golden brown.
  17. While slightly warm, frost with icing.
  18. Make the second log and prepare to cook or freeze, depending how many rolls you need.

(To make icing)

  1. In a small bowl, beat ingredients together until smooth.
  2. Spread onto rolls while they are still warm.

The second cinnamon roll “log” ready for the freezer. I wrapped it twice in plastic wrap, once in foil, and taped the edge of the foil down with masking tape.


Link to Amy Kinnard’s blog:

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Cracker-Coated Chicken Tenders

Chicken, chicken, chicken….There are so many ways to cook it, yet My Honey just doesn’t like most of them.  That, of course, leaves me to searching for new ways to cook chicken with recipes similar enough to my husband’s favorites and different enough to satisfy my need for something new.  For this particular idea, I must thank Rachel Ray and the Cake Boss.  I have seen them on Rachel’s show cooking crispy chicken strips using crushed crackers and/or coarse bread crumbs.  And now I welcome to the world, Cracker-Coated Chicken!  Similar to shake-n-bake yet not exactly the same thing.



  •         8 boneless, skinless chicken tenders
  •         ½ cup all-purpose flour
  •         1 egg, beaten
  •         ¼ cup milk
  •         2/3 sleeve Ritz crackers, crushed
  •         2-3 tbsp. Fiesta style Ranch dressing
  •         Salt and pepper to taste


  1.       In a small bowl, mix together flour, salt, and pepper.
  2.       In a second bowl, whisk together milk and egg
  3.       In a third bowl, mix together crackers and ranch dressing.
  4.       Rinse chicken tenders in running water.
  5.       One at a time coat tenders in flour mixture.
  6.       Dip in egg mixture.
  7.       Coat in cracker mixture.
  8.       Place in glass baking dish.*
  9.       Cook for about 20 minutes in a 400-degree oven.

*Note:  If you have it available, use a cookie sheet with a wire baking rack to cook chicken.  Place the rack inside the cookie sheet, and place the chicken tenders on the rack.  This allows the tenders to cook evenly all the way around without the bottom becoming soggy.  Perfectly crispy tenders!  Mmmm!

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