Saturday, November 19, 2011

Food Ideas- Cinnamon Ornaments

I got this recipe from a friend years back. When Christmas comes around I LOVE making these with the kids. They make adorable gift tags, ornaments and make your house smell AMAZING!!! I wanted to be sure to get this recipe up soon so you could make plans to make these adorable Cinnamon ornaments with your little angels this year for the holidays! :) (Btw, these are NOT to be eaten!)

Cinnamon Ornaments

1 C applesauce (non-sweetened)
3/4 C ground cinnamon
1 T ground allspice
1 T ground nutmeg
2 T ground cloves
McDonald size straw
Ribbon for adorning

Mix all the ingredients well and place on to a smooth surface and knead until all incorporated and the mixture acts like play dough. Sprinkle cinnamon if you need to use it like flour when making sugar cookies. Roll out dough into 1/4 inch thick slab and cut out shapes using cookie cutters or shape like play dough.

Use a straw (the McDonald's ones or that size works well) or something to make a hole for ribbon or string. Allow ornaments to dry separately on cardboard for 5-7 days. A dehydrator works well and they are ready overnight. Do not put in the oven, it cracks. Adorn with ribbon and hang. Makes great tags for a gift if you use a Sharpie. You can also use glue and glitter to give it some extra bling (decorate as you would sugar cookies)!  I love using the craft glitter glue and top with initials!

For those of you who have access to Winco or other bulk spice purchasing - it's a really economical little something to give at Christmas.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Main Dish- Chicken Soup with Herb Dumplings

Chicken Soup with Herb Dumplings

So, when I think of Chicken & dumplings I think of the ultimate comfort food.  I actually didn't grow up on it, but after I was married and after many trial and error, I've finally come up with our very own and favorite Chicken & dumpling recipe.  It seems that a lot of the different recipes I have tried over the years have different ideas of what a dumpling truly is.  According to Wikipedia, Dumplings are cooked balls of dough. Some of the recipes I have had "dumplings" in the name but were more like thick noodles.  This dumpling recipe below is an actual Mennonite recipe and we have loved it!  They ARE little clouds of heaven floating around in golden broth.  Mmmmm.... :)  I hope you love this recipe as much as we do!

Chicken soup:

6-8 cups water

Season salt


1 tbsp Thyme

Chicken bullion (I use the loose stuff, not cubes & just add to my taste)

Turmeric (just a pinch)

2-3 chicken breasts

1 med sweet onion, chopped

1 ½ c. Celery heart & stalk, sliced

2 large carrots, grated

2 bay leafs

2 tsp butter

2 tsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil

¼ cup Heavy cream

-Boil chicken breasts, seasonings, & bullion in 6-8 cups water. Remove chicken when cooked through reserving cooking liquid in pot. Shred chicken and add back to pot. Saute’ celery, onion, carrots, & bay leaf in 2 tbsp oil/2 tbsp butter mix with lid on, stirring and cooking through until veggies are soft. Add cream to soup pot along with sauteed veggies, taste to be sure seasonings are to your liking, adjust as needed. Bring soup to a boil, then turn down and simmer for 15-20 minutes; prepare dumplings (directions below) and drop into low boiling soup by spoonful’s. Turn down to med-low or low boil and cover for 18 minutes to cook dumplings. Remove bay leafs, serve & Enjoy!


2 c. flour

1 tsp salt

4 tsp baking powder

2 tbsp parsley

1 egg

2 tbsp melted butter

2/3 c. milk

Sift first 4 ingredients into bowl, then mix in dried parsley, then combine remaining ingredients and stir in quickly with a wooden spoon until smooth. Drop by spoon evenly around boiling soup. Cover tightly and simmer 18 minutes until done…no peeking, keep the lid on! YUM!!!


Side Dish- Slow Cooker Refried Beans

Slow Cooker Refried Beans


Hola amigos!!!  Mexican dishes must be one of my absolute FAVES.  I would always have taco/burrito night and buy a few cans of refried beans to go along with the meal.  I have tried my hand with dried beans before with little to no luck.  They never seemed to work out for me, but when I saw this EASY slow cooker recipe for refired beans I figured why not!?  Let me tell you, these we full proof!  They were so simple and sooooo satisfying.  I LOVE knowing exactly what went into my food and they really taste incredible!  I hope you take the time to give this a try.  I have made this MANY times since then and I'm never buying canned refried beans again!

Slow Cooker Refried Beans

Adapted from


• 1 onion, peeled and halved

• 2 cups dry pinto beans, rinsed

• 1 fresh jalapeno or other hot pepper, seeded and chopped

• 2 cloves garlic, minced

• ¾ teaspoons salt

• ½ teaspoon black pepper

• 1 tbsp cumin (sometimes I like a little more)

• 6 cups water

1. Combine all ingredients in slow cooker.  (This pic is missing the garlic & water...oops)

2. Cook on high for 7- 8 hours. Drain the excess liquid & reserve.   

3. Using the immersion blender, add back liquid a little at a time and blend until you reach your desired consistency.  Be sure to taste and add more cumin, salt or pepper to your taste!

That's it!  Easy peasy slow cooker refried beans....they are AMAZING!!!  If you don't own an immersion blender you can always use a potato masher or regular blender to break down your beans.  These immersion blenders are pretty amazing though, I use mine to make, baby food, smoothies, Homemade tomato basil soup, cheddar broccoli and many more as well!  :)  Enjoy!!!

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Easy Chicken Spaghetti

A sweet friend loaned me her Pioneer Woman Cookbook (Which I NEED to give back hehehe) and I found this delicious recipe and LOVE IT!  It's perfect because I can put it together earlier in the day, and then just pop it in the oven about 45 minutes before my Hubby gets home & there's dinner.  The boys devoured this up and I really liked it as well.  This would also be a wonderful meal to take to someone in need.  :)  PW's recipe is all from scratch and starts with a whole fryer chicken that you boil and simmer for 25 minutes.  With 3 kids under 3 1/2 there are just times I can't be in the kitchen for that's just the season I am in.  I have to nurse, clean and change a million diapers in there some where too!  :)  So I hope you like my easy spin off of her amazing recipe!  If you DO have the time to make it her way then GO FOR IT!!!  It will taste amazing! 

Easy Chicken Spaghetti
Adapted from: The Pioneer Woman

1 lb. Spaghetti noodles
2 cups cooked chicken, shredded or chopped
2 cups chicken broth
1 (4oz) Jar diced pimientos, diced  (These are just roasted red peppers that have been canned or bottled in liquid)
2 tsp olive oil
1 sweet onion
1/4 cup finely diced green bell pepper
2 cans cream of mushroom soup
2 1/2 cups grated cheddar cheese, divided
1 tsp seasoned salt  (I use Lantana of Texas all purpose seasoning)
Freshly ground black pepper
1/2 to 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper, to taste

Pre heat oven to 350 degrees.  Bring a pot of salted water to boil; break spaghetti noodles in half and add spaghetti noodles to pot.  boil for 8 minutes.  Drain spaghetti and your jar of pimientos and set aside.

Then finely dice the onion and bell pepper.  Heat a medium pan on the stove with 2 tsp of olive oil; saute the onion and bell pepper till soft, but not translucent.  (They will still cook more in the oven)  Set aside.

In a large bowl place the cooked spaghetti noodles, cream of mushroom soup, 2 cups of cheddar cheese, the sauteed onion, bell pepper, drained pimientos, and seasonings.  Finally add the chicken and chicken broth; stir together well, taste to check the seasonings.  If you like more spice add more cayenne pepper!

Pour the mixture into a 9 x 13 baking dish; top with the remaining 1/2 cup cheddar cheese.  Bake for 35-45 minutes, until bubbly.  ENJOY!