Thursday, May 21, 2015

Meg's Graduation Dessert Party

Our youngest daughter just graduated from high school.  I still can't even believe it!  She is joining her sisters at Baylor University in the Fall.  We will have three girls at Baylor.  Yikes - but so exciting.  I love that they will all be together!  I may be several states away but they will have each other!

All of our graduation parties have been dessert parties - Oreo Balls, Peanut Butter Balls, Monster Bars, Lemon Bars, Almond Bars, English Toffee, White Chocolate Crunchy Clusters, Chocolate Covered Strawberries, Cheesecake, Ice Cream with homemade fudge sauce (will post soon), etc.  I love planning it and thanks to friends decorating, friends serving and family/friends helping out a ton - the party was a huge success.   I will post the recipe for Peanut Butter Balls soon..... and Oreo Balls.  I thought everyone knew how to make Oreo Balls but after a few conversations, I realized I need to post a recipe.  

We also had little bags for everyone to take treats to go.  All of the centerpieces were candy, too.        (cute black buckets with Twizzler sticks, Sour Straws, Caramel Apple Lollipops, Laffy Taffy rope, Sweet Tarts, etc.)  The CANDY BAR had cherry sours, Baylor green & gold M &Ms, French chocolate mints, Acai chocolate balls, dark chocolate sea salt caramels, ring pops, local Vic's popcorn balls, local Nebraska Baker's Chocolates, Texas Atkinsons Chick-o-sticks and Peanut Butter Logs, Sour Patch watermelon slices, and more.  It was so fun!!

A local young lady that is a sophomore in high school has a great business making cheesecakes and other desserts for parties.  She made our cheesecake and dipped over 300 strawberries for the party.  If you need a local person to make a dessert for you, Rileigh is your girl.  She is known for her cheesecakes.  She makes Original, Keylime, Turtle, Caramel Apple, Blue Ribbon, etc.  Send me an email if you want her contact information.

   Missing our oldest daughter, Annie. She is in Uganda on a mission trip.  And of course, missing my crazy fun Dad, Potter!
  The only picture we snapped of the dessert table was on Meg's snapchat.   We are missing the Oreo Balls on the top layer right and the cheesecake front and center.  The Candy Bar is in the back - most of it finsished - just haven't poured in the watermelon Sour Patch.  Busy Graduate Mom - didn't get enough pics!!  It rained a ton the day of the party and stopped just a couple of hours before the party started.  We were frantic at the end!

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Overnight Caramel Pecan Rolls

First, I want to apologize for not posting new recipes more often.  Life just gets a little crazy and I just haven't tried any new recipes to share.  I have been making a few old "stand-by" recipes.  I did make an easy Thai Lahvosh last night.  We love it.  If you have precooked chicken, it takes like five minutes to put together and just a few minutes to broil.  I highly recommend it!

Over Easter, I wanted to make Caramel Pecan Rolls.  I have been searching for a recipe that I can make at night, and then we can bake it the next morning.  I found this recipe at All Recipes and... it was perfect!  I made two rectangle pans of 12 pecan rolls.  I had a few rolls leftover so I put them in a round pan and decided to top them with frosting... instead of doing the caramel/pecan topping.  The rolls were all fabulous.  I left the pecans off one end of the rolls because my girls always say they don't like nuts.  However, all of the ones with pecans were eaten first so I won't do that again.  I did freeze one pan of the rolls.  I plan to bake when family visits in May,   I will let you know how they turn out after being frozen.  AND... I doubled the caramel pecan mixture.  You can never have enough of the yummy "goo"!!

Caramel Pecan Rolls (adapted from All Recipes)


2 cups milk
2 (.25) pkgs active dry yeast
1/2 cup warm water
1/3 cup white sugar
1/3 cup oil
1 Tbsp baking powder
2 tsp salt
1 egg
7 cups all purpose flour
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup butter
2 Tbsp light corn syrup
1 cup pecan halves (I chopped mine)

1/4 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup white sugar
1 Tbsp cinnamon


  1. Warm the milk in a small saucepan until it bubbles, then remove from heat. Let cool until lukewarm. In a small bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water. Let stand until creamy, about 10 minutes.
  2. In a large bowl, combine yeast mixture, milk, sugar, oil, baking powder, salt, egg and 3 cups flour. Beat until smooth. Stir in the remaining flour, 1/2 cup at a time, beating well after each addition. When the dough has pulled together, turn it out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic, about 8 minutes. Lightly oil a large bowl, place the dough in the bowl and turn to coat with oil. Cover with a damp cloth and let rise in a warm place until doubled in volume, about 1 hour.
  3. Heat brown sugar and 1/2 cup butter until melted. Remove from heat; stir in corn syrup. Divide mixture between two 9x13 inch baking pans. Sprinkle 1/2 cup pecans in each pan. (I doubled the sauce)
  4. When dough has doubled in size, punch down and turn out onto a lightly floured surface. Roll out into a large rectangle and spread with butter. Sprinkle with sugar and cinnamon. Starting with the long side, roll up the rectangle into a log, and slice into 1 inch wide rolls. Place the rolls slightly apart in pans. Wrap pans with aluminum foil and refrigerate at least 12 hours but no longer than 48. (I froze one pan at this point)
  5. Remove rolls from refrigerator and let stand in a warm place until doubled in size, about 30 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
  6. Bake uncovered in preheated oven until golden 30 to 35 minutes. Immediately invert pan on heatproof serving plate. Wait for 1 or 2 minutes before removing pan, so that caramel drizzles over rolls.

Cinnamon Roll Icing Recipe (If you have a few extra and want to bake separately)

2 oz cream cheese, softened
7 Tbsp butter, softened
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2 Tbsp milk
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar, sifted
1/4 salt

Beat together the cream cheese and butter with an electric mixer in a large bowl until creamy. Mix in the vanilla and milk, then gradually mix in the confectioners' sugar and salt until smooth and fluffy.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Slow Cooked Beef Ragu

I have to thank my friend Peg for this recipe.  She knows I like to cook so she recently shared this yummy recipe with me.  You will have to visit Little Leopard Book and check out all of Whitney's great recipes.  I loved looking around.

Chris and I enjoyed this meal three different nights.  He is a patient man.  With fewer of us at home, I feel like we eat the same meal for several nights!  The first night, I served it over the extra wide egg noodles you see in the picture.  The second time, we enjoyed it over polenta.  I just bought polenta in the tube, sliced it and roasted it in the oven like I do other vegetables.  The polenta was a nice change. I think I might make a bowl of creamy polenta next time.  The third time, we enjoyed it over Texmati rice.  I think that was Chris's favorite - he loves rice.

We thought this Beef Ragu had a great flavor.  I followed the recipe to a T.  My friend Peg thought it looked a little weak as it was cooking so she added one more can of tomato paste, doubled the wine, 2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar and 2 Tbsp sugar.  She loved hers too.

Give it a try and be sure to visit Little Leopard Book to check out some of Whitney's other recipes.

Yummy - you could choose to thicken the sauce with a little cornstarch

We served it over sliced polenta that we roasted with a little olive oil in the oven.  I think making a recipe of creamy polenta (kind of like grits for those that haven't eaten or heard of polenta) would be great.

Slow Cooked Beef Ragu

1 large onion, sliced
4 garlic cloves, minced or whole
2 Tbsp fresh rosemary, chopped
2 lb beef chuck roast
1 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp black pepper
2 cups beef broth
1/4 cup red wine
1 can (6 oz) tomato paste
1 can (15 oz) diced tomatoes
pasta, polenta or rice
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
sprinkling of fresh rosemary, chopped for garnish

Spray your slow cooker with cooking spray.  Add onion and garlic to bottom of slow cooker. Sprinkle fresh rosemary over the top of the onions.  Season beef with salt and pepper and add to slow cooker.  In a medium bowl, mix broth, red wine and tomato paste.  Pour mixture over the beef.  Pour in the diced tomatoes. (I cooked mine on low all day for about 8 - 9 hours.  Whitney recommends high for 6- 8 hours.  You know your crockpot or slow cooker)  Using a fork, see if the beef pulls apart easily.  When tender, use two forks and shred the beef.  Serve it over pasta, creamy polenta or rice.  Top with grated fresh Parmesan cheese and chopped rosemary.  

Printable Version

Monday, March 9, 2015

Cheesy Italian Meatloaf

I have to say... I am not a huge meatloaf fan.  My hubby lovesit so I do try to make it every now and then.  I think it is a texture issue with me.  I saw this recipe on Facebook and thought the Italian flavors and cheeses might be the perfect added touch.  Chris loved it.  I enjoyed it too - I especially liked the cheesy crunchy edges!

Cheesy Italian Meatloaf

1 lb ground beef
1/2 lb ground Italian sausage ( I used hot)
1 small onion, finely chopped ( I used minced onion)
1 tsp olive oil
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp basil
1/2 tsp parsley
1 egg, beaten
3/4 cup Italian bread crumbs (I used Italian Panko bread crumbs)
2 slices white bread, crumbled
1 T. milk
8 oz shredded Mozzarella cheese, reserve 3/4 cup for topping
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese (maybe a little extra to sprinkle on top)
1 cup marinara sauce, plus 1/2 cup or so for topping

In a small skillet, brown the onion in olive oil until tender, remove from heat.  In a large bowl, combine meat, onion, and remaining ingredient,s reserving 3/4 cup of cheese for topping.  Using your hands, combine everything very well.  Pat mixture into baking dish of your choice.  Top with the extra marinara sauce.  Bake at 400 degrees for about 45 - 50 minutes.  Remove from oven and top with reserved Mozzarella cheese, a sprinkling of Parmesan and a little dried basil.  Return to the oven and bake for about 10 more minutes.  

*Make sure meat isn't pink when serving.  Cooking times may vary.  I baked mine in a meatloaf pan that drains the fat - I love it.