My favorite Cornbread

I love a good piece of warm cornbread! Doesn't it sound so yummy on a cold night, with some soup or crock-pot meat. I like it best when it is almost cake-like in texture and feeling. I am not a big fan of cornbread with a real cornmeal texture. I want it to be blended in and taste moist and fluffy! This recipe is just what I like.

My favorite Cornbread

1 cup cornmeal
3 cups flour
1 1/3 cups sugar
2 Tbs. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
2/3 cup oil
6 Tbs. melted butter
4 eggs
2 1/2 cups milk

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Mix the cornmeal, flour, sugar, baking powder and salt together in a big bowl. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and add the oil, butter, eggs and milk. Stir until it is just mixed. Bake in a 9x13 pan for 35 minutes.

Eat with lots of butter and honey. Enjoy!!


Charlotte's Chocolate Chip Cookies

I know I should be in the mood for pumpkin & apple pie and all of the other yummy Fall foods, but lately I keep thinking about Christmas cookies. I have a weakness for cookies. I can resist the Halloween candy...we have loads of it in our pantry...it doesn't even entice me. But cookies, no chance.

I couldn't resist the urge and longer and decided to make my mom's chocolate chip cookies. Everyone has a chocolate chip cookie recipe, but I promise it doesn't compare to this one. My mom used to have neighbors "pop" over to "borrow milk" so they could take a couple home. She has people taking to her about her cookies a decade after they ate them...it's true.

When I was in 5th grade I used to make these cookies and then go door to door in the neighborhood trying to sell them and make some money. Who could say no to a little girl with cookies?! It worked.

Charlotte's Chocolate Chip Cookies

1 lb. softened butter
4 eggs
2 cups brown sugar
2 cups sugar
1 Tbs. vanilla
2 tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. baking powder
1 1/2 cups oats
6 cups flour
12. oz. chocolate chips
1 cup walnuts (optional)

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Cream together the butter, eggs, sugars and vanilla. I know it seems like a lot of each of the ingredients, but don't skimp! My mom used to laugh because people would ask for the recipe after tasting hers and then come back and tell her how different their cookies tasted. After prying, it would always come out that they were trying to skimp and cut-back on the ingredients. Don't do it.

Next, add the soda, oats, flour, chocolate chips and nuts. Drop on an ungreased cookie sheet and bake for 12-15 minutes depending on your oven. I like mine to be a little under-cooked, so I always bake for 12 minutes. If you let them sit on the sheet for a couple minutes they always stiffen up!

Doesn't the dough look good! That can be a problem too...

Enjoy and think of all the great cookies coming next month!!


Apple Bars

I love the fall time when you can start baking with all of the apples and pumpkins! It is not good though, because I love to eat just as much as I love to bake.
I found this recipe so I could make something new with all of the apples we got at "Apple Hill" here in Cali. And oh my... it is perfect. In fact, it is so yummy I think I polished off about 3/4 of it myself. No exaggeration.

Apple Bars

2 cups flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 cup melted butter
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 cup white sugar
2 eggs
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup peeled and chopped apple
1 cup chopped nuts (optional)
2 Tbs. white sugar
2 tsp. ground cinnamon
** Caramel ice-cream topping

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and grease a 9x13 pan. Sift together the flour, baking powder, salt and 1/2 tsp. cinnamon and set aside.

In a large bowl, mix together the butter, and sugars until smooth. Stir in the eggs and vanilla. It should look nice and smooth, like this...

Blend in the flour mixture into the eggs and butter until just combined. Stir in the apples and walnuts. This is the mixture right before I put in the apples - you can see how much thicker the batter is now.

Spread the mixture evenly into the greased pan. In a little bowl, stir together the remaining cinnamon and sugar & then sprinkle over the bars. Doesn't it already look delicious!

Bake for 30 minutes or until the bars spring back when touched. Cool in the pan and then cut into bars. For an extra little sweet I ran some caramel ice-cream topping over the top of mine! Wow, sooo good! I have been wanting to make them again, but am positive my will power will leave me again!


Hawaiian Haystacks

This dinner has been one of my favorites since I was a little girl. Now my children love it just as much! It is a great Sunday dinner- not too hard to prepare, but tastes great! I love it because there is no need for any side dishes, everything is mixed together. It is great for dinner parties also because every plate is custom made & everyone gets exactly what they want!

Hawaiian Haystacks

Layer the following ingredients as you choose...

Steamed rice
Shredded cooked chicken
Cheese, grated
Curry Gravy Sauce (recipe below)
Tomato, sliced
Celery, chopped
Green onion, chopped
Slivered almonds
Crushed pineapple, drained
Shredded coconut
Chinese noodles
Fresh ground pepper

The order of the ingredients is important. Make sure to put the gravy on after the chicken and cheese! It makes the cheese melt and it allows the rest of the ingredients to not get soggy.

Curry gravy sauce

3 cups of chicken broth (you can save this from the chicken you cooked & shredded!)
1 tsp. curry
1 cup cold water
1/2 cup flour

Combine all the ingredients. Wisk until well blended and heat through.



Zucchini muffins

I have a child who wants a piece of homemade "cake bread" for snack recess everyday at school. I was making a big batch and freezing the extra loaves, which worked great. But, then I started making them in the little muffin tins and it was so much easier! Now I make a batch of mini muffins, freeze them & then pull out a couple each day. They are thawed out by snack recess (I eat them frozen, still taste great) and you get good portion control.

I love zucchini recipes because it seems like every summer you end up with some that look like this...
That zucchini is longer than her arms! I shred the zucchini and separate it into ziplock bags with 2 cups in each. Then I freeze it and pull it out all through the year to make more bread. Can you tell how much I love my freezer?

This recipe is one of my favorites. I have pulled together and combined all the best from different zucchini breads I have tried. This one has a little taste of fall also - with cinnamon and nutmeg. You will love it!

Zucchini bread/muffins
3 eggs
1 cup oil
2 cups sugar
2 cups flour
2 cups zucchini, shredded with the peel on
1 cup sour cream
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. soda
1 tsp. nutmeg
1 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 cup nuts (optional)
1 tsp. vanilla

Combine sugar, oil eggs and sour cream. Beat in the dry ingredients and then the zucchini. Add the vanilla and nuts last and mix. Bake at 350 degrees - for the mini muffins about 10 minutes, for a bread loaf about 60 minutes or until the center is cooked through.


Applesauce Pork Chops

Looking for another easy & delicious crock pot recipe? Here you go. This meal is so good & tastes like it took a long time to make. The good news is that it only takes about 5 minutes!
When you are done the pork chops are so tender they fall apart with a touch of your fork. The sauce is a great mix between sweet and sour - my kids loved it!

Applesauce Pork Chops

6-8 boneless pork chops
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
16 oz. can tomato sauce
1/2 cup applesauce
1/2 cup vinegar

Salt and pepper the pork chops and put in the bottom of the crock pot. I took mine out of the freezer and let sit on the counter for about a half an hour and then threw them in, don't worry about them being frozen! Then pour the applesauce on top of the chops followed by the rest of these ingredients...
When you are done it will look like this. It already looks good. Let it cook on high for 6-8 hours.
You and your family will love them! And your busy fall schedule will love it also!


Strawberry Freezer Jam

If you hurry you might be able to get one of the last flats at the strawberry stand and make some really yummy jam! I usually try and get mine made in the summer, but this summer went too fast. So, I got some last week and got it done. Thank goodness! My kids won't eat any other kind of jam - seriously, won't touch anything else. I can't blame them. I grew up with this jam too, my mom has been making it for as long as I can remember. She used to give it to friends every year for Christmas and they would wait for it. One of them wouldn't let her kids have any and would eat it alone with a spoon! It is that good. It tastes like dessert.

When you go to the road-side stand, ask them if they have any "jam ready" berries. They all know what that means. I got a whole flat of smashed and watery berries for $3!! Perfect, because I go home and mash them up like this... Actually, my husband washed all the strawberries and mashed them the night before I made the jam. Yes, he is awesome.Follow the directions for the "Quick and easy" freezer jam inside this box. I haven't ever tried the pink, lighter sugar box. Don't want to mess with perfection.

If you want to stock up for the whole year like I do, you will need to buy a big bag of sugar like this at Costco. Every batch calls for 2 cups of mashed strawberries and 4 cups of sugar. That's it! Only 3 ingredients (plus a little water.)
Yes, those are old peanut butter jars. They are perfect for little hands grabbing the jam multiple times a day. I make some in cute jars to share, but most are for us. I made about 24 jars, hopefully that will get us to next summer!


Crock pot salsa chicken

When school starts, so does all of the craziness around here! I want my kids to be able to have the opportunity to develop new talents and keep themselves active. So, when school starts so does soccer, piano, dance... which doesn't leave much time for dinner. I LOVE crock pot recipes. Love. When 3:00 rolls around I don't have the time to think about whats for dinner. Especially when I have 30 minutes to get out the door and won't be home all afternoon!

This dinner is so easy and tastes GREAT! This is all you need to make it. It should take you about 2 minutes!

1 jar Medium salsa
frozen corn
1 can of black beans

Put the frozen chicken in the bottom of the crock pot. Don't worry about it being frozen.
Pour the salsa on top of it. Make sure you use Medium salsa or else it may be a little bland. Cover the chicken with the corn (as much as you like) and the beans. Cook for 4-5 hours on high or 8 hours on low.
Chop up some good toppings...
and then put them on top of your chicken. I shredded the chicken real quick with a fork before putting in the bowl. And I always put the chips on top so they aren't soggy. One more good meal for the busy, crazy days! Enjoy!


Dinner Rolls

I love rolls. No really, love them. I could (and do) eat them all day and night. My kids too. They start eating them right off the cooking trays! I used to make them with a great recipe my mom gave me, but it called for cake yeast and had to be made the night before. I am usually going day-to-day and can only think about today! So, when I found this recipe and it tasted exactly like the other recipe, I was soooo happy!

Dinner Rolls
3 cups lukewarm water
2 packages (2 Tbsp.) dry yeast
1 cup sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
2 tsp. salt
4 eggs, beaten
8 cups flour, plus a little more
Butter to spread

Dissolve the yeast in the water in a bowl and set aside. In a different bowl mix sugar, oil, salt and eggs. Add the yeast and mix slowly. Add the flour a little at a time until the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl. Place the dough in a greased bowl, turn over and let rise until about double.

Place the dough onto a cutting board and divide into 4 equal parts.
Roll dough out into a large square or circle. I made mine a square because that is the size of my cutting board. A square shape will give you different shape rolls, which I think is fun. If you want your rolls to be uniform in shape, go for a circle.

Soften a cube of butter and spread it out on top of the dough. You don't have to use a lot. I use approximately 1 cube for all four of my batches. But, it is a step you don't want to miss! And don't use anything but real butter! Cut the dough with a butter knife into equal amounts. I did 12 in this picture - but did 16 on the next batch. It doesn't matter!
Starting at the widest part, roll down until you have a crescent shaped roll!
Stagger them on a greased cookie sheet - they need room, they are going to raise a little bit more.
Having a helper is always good!
Aren't they pretty! They wont last long.
Let them raise for another 2-3 hours, until they are fluffy. Bake at 350 degrees for 10-12 minutes. Then devour them like we do!


Chocolate Crackle Cookies

My husband brings home really yummy cookies from work sometimes. They are made at a very good cookie store, and we love them. My kids always argue over who gets to eat the Chocolate crackle cookie in the pack - no problem for me, my favorite is the oatmeal raisin! Well, one day my husband came home with more than a box of cookies. This time he brought me the recipe for the Crackles...their recipe! You are not going to believe how easy it is! This is all you need.

1 package brownie mix
1 cup chocolate chips
2 eggs
1/4 cup vegetable oil
powdered sugar to sprinkle

In a large bowl, combine the brownie mix, eggs and oil. Mix with a spoon and stir in the chocolate chips. The mix will be very thick! Refrigerate dough for one hour.

Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees. After an hour, spoon dough by rounded teaspoons into a ball. Dredge cookie in powdered sugar to coat. Place the balls of dough on a greased cookie sheet and bake for 8 minutes.

The cookies will be soft and chocolately (is that a word?) delicious!