Old Fashioned Sugar Cookies

As a child it was tradition to bake sugar cookies with my mom for every holiday.  We had cookie cutters for every occasion from Easter to Christmas, and it was always a very special afternoon of baking, eating, and hanging out with my mom.

Now that I am a mom I try to carry on the traditions passed to me by creating the same yummy confections that I always felt each occasion was made more special because of. Having boys instead of girls has left me slightly bereft of those special baking days, except for the random times when one of my sons asks to bake something with me, such as was the case today.  And since it’s Halloween we decided to make Halloween sugar cookies.

Old Fashioned Sugar Cookies

3/4 C. Shortening

1 C. Sugar

2 Eggs

1 t. Vanillla

2 & 1/2 C. Flour

1 t. salt

1 t. Baking Powder

Mix shortening, sugar and eggs. Add the rest of the ingredients, mixing well. Chill for at least 1 hour or over night. Roll out dough on a floured board and cut with cookie cutters. Decorate with sugar before baking. Bake at 400* for 6 to 8 minutes. Cool and decorate with icing (optional). Makes 2 & 1/2 dozen cookies.

 

                                                         

                                                                                                              

Happy Baking!

Potluck in a Pinch

Recently we attended a memorial service in our church.  As with most funerals, a gathering of eating and fellowship followed, and it was asked throughout the community to provide something for the potluck if possible. As it happens, I was terribly busy the days proceeding the funeral and could not think of anything I could make that included ingredients readily available.

I have a few standbys, such as green beans. Does anyone else ever notice how potlucks are seriously lacking in the vegetable department? Since I normally buy green beans by the flat, I usually have several cans available to throw into a pot, heat up, and deliver to a community meal. I also add a bit of chicken bullion to the beans while they are heating up for extra flavor that is sure to leave an empty dish. Another favorite is spinach and artichoke dip. If this wasn’t so fattening I could live off it. I almost always have jars of artichoke hearts and a frozen block or two of spinach in my freezer. 

                                                        Spinach and Artichoke Dip

Whether it be funerals, other church or community gatherings, or in my case just a girls’ night of eating and hanging out, there always seems to be a need for that last-minute dish at the potluck table. So then I thought, what if I could make up a list of potluck-ready ideas? Here is a list of dishes that are potluck-friendly:

  • Deviled Eggs ~ I see these little buggers go like crazy at every potluck dinner I’ve ever been to. I don’t think it’s possible to have too many. I’ve always got eggs in my refrigerator, so whipping up a dozen of these babies is quick work. No matter how you make them (sweet or dilly) there will always be someone who loves them.
  • Salad ~ The word alone is vague because there are about a million different salads to be made. I’m not talking about starchy salads. Potatoes and pasta salads are no healthier fare on a buffet table than the desserts. But if you’re a veggie family and have fresh veggies in your crisper, then any kind of salad will do, from a traditional green salad, to a layered salad with as many types of veggies as you’ve got, to a bean salad, or even a yummy broccoli salad (sans pork bacon of course).
  • Basic Rice Casserole ~ Anything can be put into a casserole if the base is rice. If you have some broccoli or spinach, a little bit of cooked chicken or turkey (or even tuna), some cheese and a can of cream of chicken soup, you’ve got a casserole.
  • Baked Goods ~ That pretty much says it all. If you have the time to bake a batch of cookies or brownies, whatever is leftover, if any, will be welcome back at home, and also freeze beautifully.
  • Cobbler ~ Most fruits can be baked into a cobbler or a crisp, but when I buy apples I tend to buy them by the bag so that I have plenty available for a quick crisp. It’s also a good idea to keep a canister of quick oats in the pantry. You can see my recipe for Apple Crispe in a previous post called Comfort Food https://thehomeheart.wordpress.com/2011/10/19/comfort-food/
  • Super Quick Pasta ~ Prepare pasta such as Penne according to package. Melt 2 T. butter and cook in 2 cloves garlic, minced. Add in 2 T. flour and stir continually. Stir in 3/4 C. broth (any- beef, chicken, vegetable) and 3/4 C. milk until sauce it thick and bubbly. Add in 2 t. parsley flakes, 1/3 C. Parmesan cheese, and salt and pepper to taste. Toss with drained pasta. This is also a perfect base for adding meat and/or veggies.
  • Tortilla Roll-Ups ~ You’ve seen them and have probably eaten them, but they truly are a super quick and easy potluck-friendly dish. All you need is some tortillas, some lunch meat, cheese, ranch dressing or mayo, and maybe even some lettuce if you want to get adventurous. Just layer and roll, slice and secure with toothpicks. At least you won’t show up at the potluck empty-handed.
  • Mexican Layered Dip ~ Super easy. On a plate place a block of cream cheese. If you want to spread it out into a large, shallow bowl, that works too. Cover with shredded cheddar, a layer of salsa, and another layer of cheddar. Voila! Serve with tortilla chips.
  • Sliced Veggies ~ You might be surprised to know that there are some people who love to see this option at a potluck. Even something as simple as a plate of sliced tomatoes, but of course more veggies are welcome, such as sliced cucumber and carrot & bell pepper sticks. Add a small bowl of ranch for dipping and you’ve got a winner.
  • Pineapple Casserole ~ In 1 qt. casserole dish mix 1 can (20 oz)  pineapple chunks, 3 T. pineapple juice, 1/2 C. sugar, 3 T. flour, 1 C. finely shredded cheddar cheese. Crush 15 Ritz crackers and mix with /4 C. melted butter. Top Pineapple mixture and bake at 350* for 20 – 30 mins.

These are some basic ingredients that should always be stocked in one’s household:

  1. Quick Oats
  2. Corn Flakes
  3. Cool Whip
  4. Vanilla Pudding
  5. Frozen Spinach
  6. Stove Top Stuffing
  7. Cream of Chicken
  8. Canned Chicken (not as good as freshly cooked but perfect in a pinch)

Here are a few of my favorite crowd-pleasing recipes I’ve used at potlucks. Some of them require a bit more planning than others.

Swiss Chicken ~ Preheat oven to 350*. Lightly grease a 13X9 baking dish and place in single layer 6 to 8 cleaned boneless, skinless chicken breasts. Cover chicken with a layer of swiss cheese slices. In a bowl, mix together 2 boxes of Stove Top stuffing with one can cream of chicken soup, 1/2 can of water, and 1 stick melted butter. Cover chicken and cheese with this mixture. Cover with foil and bake 45 mins. Remove foil and allow top to brown and crust- about 15 more  mins. This recipe can easily be halved or doubled.

Hot Chicken Salad ~ Preheat oven to 350*. Lightly grease a 13X9 baking dish. Combine together 6 to 8 cups chopped,cooked chicken (about 4 breasts), 1 cup cooked rice, 1 1/2 cups mayo, 2 cans cream of chicken soup, 6 oz package of slivered almonds, 1 cup sliced celery, and 2 T. onion flakes. Spread into baking dish. In another bowl combine 2 cups crushed corn flakes and 4 T. melted butter, and top chicken mixture. Bake for 30 mins or until heated through. Turkey is a good substitute.

Carrot Mash Bake ~ Preheat oven to 350* and lightly grease a 1 qt. casserole dish. Take a 1 lb. bag of peeled baby carrots and place into microwave for 5 minutes. Make sure bag is on a plate or piece of paper towel, and do not pierce bag. Mash cooked carrots (I use an inversion blender, but a regular blender works too) and add 3 eggs, one at a time until blended with carrots. In separate bowl combine 2 T. flour, 1 t. baking powder, dash nutmeg, 2 T. cinnamon, and 1/4 cup sugar. Add to carrots in blender. Add 1/4 cup melted butter, and 1 t. vanilla and puree until smooth. Pour into baking dish. For topping combine 1/4 cup corn flake crumbs, 3 T. brown sugar, 3 T. butter, melted, and 1/4 cup chopped walnuts or pecans (optional), and sprinkle on top of carrot mixture. Cover with foil and bake for 20-30 mins. Remove foil and continue baking for another 20 mins.

Spinach and Artichoke Bake ~ Preheat oven to 350* and lightly grease 1 qt. casserole dish. Drain and mash artichoke hearts (1 can or jar, 10-12 oz). Thaw and drain 1/2  block of spinach of all water (reserve other 1/2 for another use). Mix together 1/2 cup mayo, 1/2 cup parmesan cheese (shredded is better than grated, but both work), 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella, 1 t. garlic powder, and add to artichoke and spinach. Mix together well and place into baking dish. Cook for 30 minutes or until hot and bubbly. Serve with tortilla chips.

There are probably many more recipes that can be added to this list. The idea was to create a list of fast and easy potluck dishes, so if you have any recipes to add, they are certainly welcome.

Potato Skins

Recently I was in Chicago for my annual visit, where my BFF and I were having dinner at one of our favorite swanky restaurants (if you’ve never been to Firkin I highly recommend it http://firkinoflibertyville.com/), when her husband text and asked for some potato skins. Firkin didn’t have any so after dinner we made our way across the street to an Irish Pub to order the skins and have a drink while we waited.

They looked so yummy. They smelled so good!

I don’t eat pork. My family stopped eating all pork products about 7 or 8 years ago when we first went “life-changing” über organic-crazy, health-nut. While I’ve figured out that not everything has to be organic, we do still maintain much of what helped us become so successful in achieving optimum health. One of the those changes we made was to stop eating pork of any kind. I won’t go into the why’s of it, but if you’re interested, you can contact me and I can tell you the biblical and health reasons why.

Not eating pork hasn’t been a problem for the most part, except for the occasional BBQ gathering where I learned early on to just provide my own hotdogs for my family, including wheat buns that no one else ever seems to think of. I also hate white bread. Just eating it makes me think of a big dough ball going down……. Ok so I occasionally do eat white bread. Sometimes you just can’t help it when there’s a lovely smelling and tasting ciabatta roll right there…… Anywho, being in the South it is common practice to have a pig pickin’ at your church celebration or wedding reception. At these times it’s best to just graze the veggie trays.

But there have been things I’ve gone completely without. Like Potato skins. And then it hit me….why not make my own with turkey bacon! Can you believe that in 8 years this never occurred to me? I still can’t.

To make these I just threw ingredients together, it wasn’t very difficult. I used 5 small brown potatoes and baked them until done. Then I cut them crosswise in half and scooped out about half of the pulp. I heated some EVOO and briefly fried both sides for that restaurant taste (but this part is not necessary and I will not likely do it every time). I cooked 4 sliced of turkey bacon, crumbled them up and divided them between the 10 potato halves. I cut up one stem from a green onion for a little bit of color and extra flavor. And then I loaded and layered shredded sharp cheddar, bacon, chives, and more cheese, and then popped it back into the oven until the cheese was melted. Add a dollop of sour cream and enjoy!

I love you, vacuum cleaner dummy

One of our favorite things to do in our house is play “The Quote Game”. We do this often when gathered together around the dinner table, usually on nights when Hubby is out of town on business and it’s just me and the boys. The purpose of the game is to say a funny quote from any movie that we are all familiar with, and the first one to guess it correctly gets the next turn. We don’t keep score and when we can’t think of a quote we pass it to someone else.

We are big movie fans in this family. About 8 years ago, Hubby and I “turned off” the TV. This meant we weren’t going to pay for cable or satellite anymore. These days picking up local stations without some super-duper rabbit ears on the roof is near impossible, and here on the island it literally is impossible. But we realized that everything on TV was just so junky that our children couldn’t possibly benefit from it anyway. Since then it’s been all DVD’s, videos, and in the last two years, Netflix. We haven’t missed it at all (except for PBS, I really do miss PBS!) And I have to admit that last year I discovered Hulu on the internet and I do enjoy watching Chopped, Super Nanny, and Glee from time to time.

So we watch a lot of movies, and consequently we own a lot of movies. There are so many great family movies out there. Disney and Pixar alone have put out many wonderful films that our whole family loves to watch. So the quote game idea was born and ever since we’ve been having a blast. I even started writing them into a notebook so I’d always have a great quote ready. It’s funny how now when we watch a new family movie, as soon as a line makes us laugh I think to myself that’s a going on the list of quotes!

And because Halloween is next week I’ll share our list of favorite family movies to watch:

  • Monster House
  • Coraline
  • The Corpse Bride
  • The Nightmare Before Christmas
  • Hocus Pocus
  • E.T.
  • Halloween Town

All right, vacuum cleaner dummy, I’m setting you down on the lawn. Don’t be scared, that’s not how you were trained. I love you, vacuum cleaner dummy.” ~ Monster House

Every Day is a Good Day

For he who would love life and see good days, let him refrain his tongue from evil, and his lips from speaking deceit.” ~ 1 Peter 3:10

I love every day of the week. There is something good to be found in each day. More often than not they are very simple things. These simple things accumulate into a life. They are what makes life worth living.

I love Sundays. Sundays are unique from every other day of the week, and should be, not just for me but for anyone who loves the Lord. Sundays are the day for church and an open, public sharing of faith and worship in His house. There is great community in this day. I also love Sundays because I always cook a large, traditional meal for my family to share after church. Often times I do not cook again this day and we will graze on leftovers later in the evening when we feel hungry again. This is the only day of the week that we as a family will pray before and after our meal. This is also our lazy family day. Most Sundays we will gather together in front of the TV and have a “movie marathon”. This is when we choose a movie that has at least one sequel and watch all day. Other times we play board games or do other activities together as a family.

I love Mondays. Mondays may not be great for the kids who have to get up early and go to school, or for those adults who have to get back to the daily grind of a 9 to 5. But for me, as a home-keeper, they are lovely, quiet, de-compressing days. I like getting back into the grind of domestic responsibilities. Time to fold that clean laundry that’s been sitting in the basket for a few days. Clean the kitchen and get the house organized for the coming week. Enjoy that first quiet cup of coffee and think about what needs to be done during the week. Do my Pilates routine that I always ignore over the weekend. Some people might think I’m crazy, but I like cleaning my house and keeping everything tidy and organized.

I love Tuesdays. Lately Tuesdays have become my shopping days, although I try only to hit the grocery store every two weeks. I love to shop, so even grocery shopping is fun to me. I also enjoy seeing how much I can buy for as little as possible. On the Tuesdays I don’t shop, I am still working on my next grocery list, and working  around the house on chores.

I love Wednesdays. We’re halfway through the week and feeling a little tired. I can’t do everything my house requires me to do in one day, so I am finishing up my domestic chores. But what makes Wednesdays good is that the homework week is almost over! It’s also Zumba night and if I’m extra lucky I will remember to go. As a bonus it’ll also be Bingo night (if I have an extra $20).

I love Thursdays. I’ve always been a fan of the underdog, and Thursdays fits that bill. Thursdays are great because the weekend is almost here and I know that it’s the last night of the week my youngest son has homework. Homework time is a struggle, and from talking to many other moms, it seems to be everywhere else, too. Gone are the nights (well, at least for a few nights) of tears and frustration. Okay, so not all nights include tears (at least not anymore). Thank God for that. Truth is, Jadon struggles with math concepts and the tediousness of grammar, but overall he’s doing quite well for someone with ADHD. And I love any day of the week just because of that!

I love Fridays. I think it’s obvious why. Funny how I enjoy Mondays so much just for what they are and then look forward to Fridays as well. Also, it’s pizza night! As much as I enjoy cooking, by Friday I am ready for a break. It’s also date night, which means I can prepare pizza for the kids, get a new release from the video store or Netflix, and then go out to dinner for some special alone time with my hubby, or a girls night.

I love Saturdays. The first (actually the only) day of sleeping in. The first day in 5 days that I don’t have to get up at 6:30 am. Sleeping in until 8 is heavenly. Saturday is the only day that from week to week is not consistent.  Lately we’ve been busy on Saturdays, from weddings to funerals, Emmaus or other community gatherings, or getting ready for an upcoming church bazaar. It’s usually a play day for Jadon with his BFF, and a work day for Brandon at the local grocery store.

There is something to be thankful for and enjoy about every day. Find what little blessings you have and every day will be a good day!

Here a recipe, there a recipe, everywhere a recipe!

I have been collecting magazines for years. I love finding new recipes, cooking tips, organizing ideas for both the kitchen and the rest of the home, gardening, exercising, and decorating tips. I also never throw a magazine away because there’s always so much great stuff inside that I just can’t do it. You know, well I might use that idea some day! So here’s a picture of about 4 years worth of 4 different magazines.

That empty spot is where a stack of Every Day with Rachel Ray mags were until recently. I’ve just started on the second stack as you can see, which was all the way to the top.

What am I doing, you ask? A new form of self-torture. I call it the “Recipe Project” and I’m going through every magazine and pulling up every recipe or article about anything that interests me or I think I can use. Good idea= BIG project. That’s okay. I want to de-clutter and at the same time I’ll be able to actually find more recipes once I’ve got it all organized.

How shall I organize it all, you ask? I’m not entirely sure but in my mind’s eye I see 3 ring binders and lots of paper protectors. I use those for everything and have many on my shelves in my office, each with a label indicating what is contained in said binder.

     Some of the things I’ve used binders for:

     PTA and Cub Scout Treasurer bank statements, receipts, spending reports

     I home-schooled my oldest during his Jr. High years and used binders to keep track of his progress reports, test scores, grades, lesson plans and assignments.

     All of our discs are listed in alphabetical order. We have a lot of DVD’s and they are all stored in disc books- not their original cases. This saves a lot of space when storing DVD’s, CD’s, CD-ROMS and the like.

This second picture is a small peek at my process and the mess I am making all over my coffee table. I am lucky my husband doesn’t mind the clutter! The stack of articles and recipes being pulled from magazines is getting higher. Once all the magazines have been gone through and discarded I will then sort through the articles and recipes, organizing them into categories and what not. The only cooking magazines I don’t take apart are the Kraft Food & Family mags. These are great magazines that come out 4 times a year and they are not real thick and heavy, nor do they have any of those filler pages that other magazines have. While I don’t use every recipe in each issue, every page is dedicated to food & cooking. These are super easy to refer to for a recipe.

Here are a few that I’ve pulled out while planning the next few weeks of dinners. If you look on the upper left corner of each magazine you might be able to see the numbers I’ve written on them. This is just for the order in which I receive them. Inside the front is a sort of table of contents, complete with little picture and page number. I circle the recipes I like or want to try. When I am planning my menus I simply write the name of the recipe and the mag#/page# so it’s super easy to pull off the shelf and find when I’m ready to cook. This also makes putting my grocery list together a breeze.

So binders it shall be, unless I get a better idea or suggestion in the meantime. I have made one before, but it is not as organized as I envision these new ones to be. I will also have separate binders for the articles, categorized into websites, couponing, diet, nutrition, exercise, gardening, and decorating tips. And whatever else tickles my fancy.

I will be sure to show the fruits of my labor upon completion. I love getting organized!

Menu Planning

One of the simple joys in my life is opening the mailbox and finding a new cooking magazine in there! I love my magazines, mostly for the recipes, and will sit down with a cup of coffee or hot tea and commit to the hour it takes to read from cover to cover, dog-earring each page I want to refer back to for some awesome looking recipe, or decorating idea, or a gardening or exercise tip. Maybe it’s just me but it’s really disappointing when a magazine that specializes in food is full of sandwich, Panini, wrap, and hotdog recipes. Seriously? I suppose there are people out there who can benefit from these recipes, but…..(sigh). Even chicken recipes. Remember that cookbook called 1001 Ways To Cook Chicken? Well, as we all know by now there are about a million and 1 ways to cook chicken, but I don’t need 20 different recipes for lemon chicken from the same cooking magazine.

I have found that the most effective way to shop and cook for my family is by planning my menus ahead of time. I started doing this about a year ago and was amazed at how much money I saved by sticking to a list in the grocery store. I am sure this is not news to most of you savvy moms. But if you have not done this I highly suggest you give it a try. Immediately I felt the relief of always knowing what was for dinner. No more staring at the contents of my pantry or freezer and trying to figure out a healthy meal. No more opting for pizza because there isn’t any defrosted meat.

So this is what I do. Some months I just can’t plan ahead for an entire month, but I will do what I can. That may be one week at a time, but more likely it’s two weeks at a time. If I lived mainland I’d be able to shop the way I want, which would be one major trip a month for basic staples (and whatever I needed for that first week or two) and then one or two other brief trips for fresh veggies, fruit, milk, etc. But that’s not very realistic around here, main reasons being there is a price markup here on the island, and the closest chain grocery store is 20 miles (gas is also marked-up considerably). However, I do find myself heading mainland often to visit family, and whenever I do I hit Sams Club and Trader Joes (two of my favorite places on earth). So this makes budgeting on a monthly basis a bit hard when I don’t always know when I’ll be able to go to these stores. So some months I can get by with only spending $250 in groceries for a family of 4 (plus dog and cat food) but this is an extreme case of not necessarily needing any shampoo or extras for that month, but on average I spend less than $400 if it’s not a Sams or T.Joes month.

Here on the island we also rely on home delivery, by either Schwans (love it!) or amazon grocery, etc. You can find great deals if you are willing and able to buy in bulk, and buying in bulk is a really good idea when you’re on an island. It is a practice that I will continue when and if we ever move mainland.  Coupons are also a huge help, which most of you already know. The coupon craze is more than just a fad and I don’t know any budget-conscience mom who doesn’t clip and save. To be sure I have no advice to share that hasn’t already been shared. But in case you are not a Harris Teeter shopper, if you live near one this is the best place to redeem your coupons. They double coupons everyday (up to 99 cent) and on a quarterly basis (sometimes more often) they have  triple coupon days. They also do super double days which double coupons up to $1.99. The closest Harris Teeter to me is about 85 or 90 miles, but it is worth it to make the trip if I have enough coupons and a long enough list.

So back to my soap box about the recipes….there are definitely days I cook something yummy just because it’s just soooo yummy. But mostly I want my dinners to be healthy because I know this is going to be the one meal of the day where my kids are going to be getting their vitamins and minerals. Let’s face it, breakfast just isn’t always what it’s cracked up to be when you’ve got school-aged kids running off to catch the bus on time. My older sons loves eggs and can eat them every day, but my younger does not. Once a week is good for him. He also does not prefer waffles or pancakes or fresh fruit. I find myself compromising with yogurt, cottage cheese, turkey sausage or turkey bacon, and a small bowl of cereal with organic milk or a muffin. So even though they are getting enough protein to boost them until lunch, I know they aren’t getting any veggie nutrients at all and that is important to me.

My kids take supplements. Jadon takes gummy multi-vitamins and gummy fiber. Brandon Takes the vitamins as well as a hefty dose of Vitamin C every morning. But at dinner time it is important that they eat lean proteins, grains, and veggies. It can be a chore to come up with new dinner ideas that incorporate all the healthy parts that make up a nutritious meal. Don’t get me wrong, we definitely have our moments. For example, Friday nights are Pizza Nights. I buy either frozen or grocery deli cheese pizzas and add turkey pepperoni. The kids look forward to it and I enjoy a night of no cooking.

Griffy Jr. (aka Pooper Dooper)

Griffy Jr. is our Brussels Griffon. He’ll be 3 years old on Dec. 20th. For those of you who are not familiar with this breed, it is best described as 1 part Pug and 3 parts Terrier. Or an Ewok.

The centerpiece came from a wedding we recently attended.  The boys and I came home Monday night after Brandon’s soccer game to find a dirty mess on my couch from where Griffy had consumed a flower from the centerpiece. I have occasionally found my little dog standing on my dinning room table. This really bothers me because I am anal about everything having a place, and on top of my dinning room table is no place for a dog.  So it was obvious that he had gotten onto the table, picked a flower from the arrangement, and then settled himself onto my couch for an enjoyable evening of flower chewing. The mess was one thing, the squeaky stomach noises were something else. I woke up in the middle of the night to find the messiest, stinkiest, most  nausea-causing  poop I’d ever had to encounter since my kids’ own diaper days. I cleaned it up best I could by covering and soaking it with 409 carpet cleaner and scrubbing it with my special handy-dandy carpet brush then went back to bed. The next morning I woke to find 3 new barf spots. Oh the joys of pet ownership.

The most disturbing part of this episode?  I only realized yesterday that one of the starfish is missing…..

Comfort Food

Today was an extra rainy day. The rain started at 10 pm last night and did not stop until about 5 pm today. There are even some parts of the road that were a few inches deep in water, which is normal around here. Makes driving slow, but I’d rather drive slow in a torrential downpour anyway.

So, what to make for dinner on a very gray, rainy day like this? Chili and Apple Crispe, of course! These are not my recipes, but I have made them so often that I now just throw things into the crock pot or mixing bowl nilly willy, based on taste and preference. For the Crispe in particular, I only made a small batch, using 3 apples which I mixed with 2 T. flour, 1/4 cup sugar, and approx. 4 or 5 T. ground cinnamon (because the recipe doesn’t call for nearly enough). For the topping I poured out about 1 c. quick oats, added 1 T. flour, 1/2 cup brown sugar, and 1/4 stick of melted butter. After I mixed it all and topped the apples with it, I sliced up another 1/4 stick of butter and placed them on top. Bake at 350 for 45 mins until the kitchen smells heavenly!

Here are the recipes. Enjoy!

Chili Con Carne

1 pound ground turkey meat, browned with 1/4 onion and 1 clove garlic                                      

In addition to the meat, put the following into the crock pot:

Remainder of onion, sliced, diced, or chopped (however you like it)

1 green bell pepper (cut however you like it, but chopped finely is not a very good idea. Larger pieces or slices are best)

2 cans (14.5 oz each) tomato sauce

1 can diced tomatoes with juice

2 cans kidney beans, drained

1 or 2 cloves of garlic, or as many to taste (chopped)

salt and pepper

1 bay leaf

Chili powder to taste (for me this is usually 4 or 5 T.)

Let it crock and roll for as long as possible, stirring occasionally.  If you don’t use a crock pot, this will cook up nicely in less than an hour on the stove. Just let it simmer for a bit, stirring occasionally.                                                                           

Enjoy with crackers, shredded cheese and/or sour cream!

Apple Crispe

4-5 cups sliced apples, mixed with 1/2 t. cinnamon, 3 T. sugar, and 3 T. flour. (as you might have noticed, I use very different amounts. You will have to play with the measurements to make your crispe personalized).

For the crispy topping you need to mix together: 1 c. flour, 1 c. oats, 1 c. brown sugar, and 1 c. cold butter. (I use a lot less flour in this part, and less butter, too. I find that melting 1/4 stick and mixing it into the mixture, it works just as well, and I use 1/2 the amount of butter called for.)