Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Kraft Foods Gift Basket Giveaway!

Who would like a gift basket full of Kraft Foods products?  When a representative of Kraft Foods contacted me, I was excited to be given the opportunity to offer this giveaway to my readers.  Kraft Foods is generously providing a basket to me and a basket to one winner on this blog post.  Thank you Kraft Foods! 

The Kraft Foods Basket is filled with the following:  "4 delicious holiday recipes from the Kraft Foods Kitchens, a Zak Designs garlic peeler, an HA Mack olivewood mixing spoon, NEW Velveeta Rotini and Cheese Whole Grain, Planters cocktail peanuts, Planters pecans, Baker's semi-sweet chocolate, Stove Top, Honey Maid cinnamon crackers, Jet Puffed marshmallows, Oreos, Kraft salad dressing, NEW Maxwell House Blend coffee, NEW Ritz Brown Sugar Cinnamon crackers and NEW Wheat Thins Flatbread crackers".

Isn't that an awesome gift basket?
We have all grown up with Kraft products and we are very familiar with their brands.

Kraft Foods has recently re-launched their Facebook Fan Page (http://www.facebook.com/KraftFoods) and The Kraft Foods Channel on YouTube (http://www.youtube.com/KraftFoods).  Both of these sites have recipes and seasonal tips.  It also provides a forum to exchange ideas and recipes, ask questions and give feedback.  In addition, the YouTube channel is from the Kraft Cooking School and has many how-to videos demonstrating Kraft Foods recipes.

Kraft Foods also has a Twitter Handle for tweets of popular recipes from the Kraft Kitchens.  The link for their Twitter site is:  http://twitter.com/KraftFoods

Kraft Foods would like your feedback on these 3 different channels.  They want to hear your opinions, thoughts and suggestions.   

So, to qualify for this Kraft Foods Basket Giveaway, check out these sites and please leave me a comment letting me know what you think about any of these Kraft channels: Facebook, YouTube or Twitter.  What do you like on any of these sites?  Is there something different you would like to see?  Let me know and you will get an entry to win this basket and I'll pass on your feedback to Kraft Foods.

For a 2nd entry to win this food basket, become a follower to my blog.  See followers list towards the bottom of my right sidebar.  Then leave me another comment letting me know you're a follower.  If you already follow my blog, then just leave me a comment telling me you are a follower.

The deadline to leave a comment will be Friday, January 1st at 11:00 pm Central Time.  I will announce the winner on Sunday, January 3rd.  The winner will be randomly selected using Random.org.   

Ammended Note added 12/31/09:  This gift basket is open to US Residents only.

Mom's Cooking Club Lesson:  I want to wish everyone a very Happy Holidays and a Happy New Year!  I appreciate everyone that has visited my blog and left me comments this past year.  I look forward to 2010 where I'll be growing my blog and sharing more recipes.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Brown Sugar and Pecan Glazed Green Beans

This fabulous green bean recipe was given to me by my co-worker, Jessica.  She told me about these incredible string beans her boyfriend made for her.  I told her to please get me the recipe.  So, she immediately called her boyfriend and wrote down the recipe for me.  This is why I love the sharing of recipes.  Not only do I get to try new things and expand my recipe box, I get to share what I enjoy with all of you.

These green beans were really, really good.  I will definitely be making these over and over again.  We had them with grilled ham steaks and the green beans went perfectly with it.  

If you are looking for a special side dish for your Christmas or New Years dinner, then I would highly recommend these "dressed up" string beans.

Brown Sugar and Pecan Glazed Green Beans
Recipe made by Jamie (Mom's Cooking Club), recipe provided by co-worker, Source Unknown

Serves 4


1/2 lb. green beans, cut in half
1 small red onion, sliced in rings (I used about 1/2 cup sliced)
1/3 cup pecans, chopped in large pieces
3 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons brown sugar
3 tablespoons orange juice
1 tablespoon dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon salt


Boil green beans in water for 8 minutes.  Drain and set aside.
In small skillet, saute onion and pecans in butter until onion is tender.
Mix brown sugar, orange juice, mustard and salt in a small bowl.  Stir sauce into onion mixture for 2-3 minutes until sauce thickens.  Add beans and mix well until green beans are coated with sauce. 

Thanks for the recipe Jessica!  

 Next week I'll be having a basket giveaway so check back for the details.   


Mom's Cooking Club Lesson:  I added a printable recipe feature on this post thanks to my sister-in-law Aggie from Aggie's Kitchen.  Aggie explains how to set this up by using Google Docs.  Click here for Aggie's instructions.  Trust me, if I can do it, anyone can.  Thanks a bunch Aggie!

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Three Cheese Pasta Bake

I had to take my computer to the "Tech Doctors" this past week.  Poor thing had a terrible virus.  But it's all well now and thank goodness so I can tell you all about this wonderful macaroni and cheese dish.  I make this pasta bake quite often because it is delicious, easy to prepare and the ultimate in comfort food.  I love the combination of the 3 cheeses:  White Cheddar, Gruyere & Parmesan.  We usually eat it as the main dish and have some vegetables or a salad to go with it.  It's also a great weeknight meal because it doesn't take long to make.  If you like macaroni and cheese, you must try this version.  I found this recipe in Southern Living magazine and you can print the recipe from the Myrecipe.com website.  Click here for the recipe.  

Speaking of cheese, we all love cheese in my house.  Do you know who else loves cheese?

Maximus and MJ, that's who!  My 2 Boston Terriers are under my feet every time I take my box grater out and start shredding cheese.  But, do you know what happens when you give a Boston Terrier cheese?  Let's just say it's a gassy situation! 

I'm sorry....I guess that was WAY too much information.  Well, I'll finish up by sharing some yummy photos of the Three Cheese Pasta Bake.

Cheesy and creamy!


Mom's Cooking Club Lesson:  Gruyere cheese is a swiss cheese that is made from cow's milk.  It is a hard, yellow cheese and it was named after the town of Gruyeres in Switzerland.  It's a good melting cheese which makes it perfect in this Pasta Bake.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Cookie Exchange by Cooking Light's Virtual Supper Club

I smell cookies in the air.  It's that time of year for baking up all sorts of cookies and there is nothing like a home baked cookie.  Welcome to the Cooking Light Virtual Supper Club's December theme of Cookie Exchange.  Five bloggers come together once a month to present a themed supper club menu.  I love baking so I was excited about this month's theme (but honestly I get excited about every month's theme).  I wasn't sure how cookies would be "light".  Most of Cooking Light's cookie recipes use less sugar, butter and eggs than a full fat cookie.  All the things you think should be in a cookie.  So, was I a little skeptical?....yes!

I chose a Slice and Bake Cookie called Raspberry Strippers.  They were rated 5 stars (Outstanding) on Myrecipes.com.  Well, I have to say, we rated these cookies Outstanding as well.  These were fun cookies to make.  The cookie was tender and the combination of the raspberry filling with the glaze on top made it really special.  Within 15 minutes of my husband coming home from work, he had already eaten 4 of them (that's ok since they are low fat, right?).  They lasted less than 2 days in the house.  I guess that means I have to make another batch.  These are perfect for a cookie exchange party because they are pretty and everyone will think you are an amazing baker.  Little secret....they are easy to make.

See what the other Virtual Supper Club members brought.  We got to "exchange" some really good cookies.  Also, read about us on Cooking Light's blog, Test Kitchen Secrets.

Shelby from The Life and Loves of Grumpy's Honeybunch - Chocolate Hazelnut Thumbprints 
Aggie from Aggie's Kitchen - Peppermint Patties  
Val from More Than Burnt Toast - Orange Walnut Tassies 
Helene from La Cuisine d' Helene - Maple Date Bars    
Jamie from Mom's Cooking Club - Raspberry Strippers   

Did you know that today, December 4th is National Cookie Day.  Celebrate this time of year by baking and sharing home baked cookies.  Not only will you carry on traditions and create memories but you will put a smile on the recipient's face.

  See some more pictures below on the baking of my cookie.  Note:  the only change I made to the cookie recipe was to use an entire egg instead of just the egg white.  I think using the whole egg made the cookie tender and moist without adding that much more to the fat content.  

Divide the cookie dough into 2 equal parts

Roll each dough ball into 12 inch logs

Place dough logs on cookie sheet and take a wooden spoon handle or your fingers to make an indentation down the length of the dough.

This is the raspberry preserves that I used.  You can use a variety of other jam flavors, like strawberry, apricots or cherry.

Fill the "trench" with the fruit preserves.

Drizzle the glaze over the baked cookies before cutting in diagonal slices (I used almond extract in the glaze but you can also use vanilla extract)


Mom's Cooking Club Lesson:  Cookinglight.com has some very good cookie articles such as Cookie Swap and Cookie Basics.  Give some of these lighter cookie versions a try.  You may be surprised at the results. 

Monday, November 30, 2009

Ginger Cookies

I'm back from a wonderful Thanksgiving trip to South Carolina where we visited and spent time with some of my husband's family. Now that Christmas is around the corner, I have alot of cookie baking to do. My sister, Paula, made these cookies last year for a cookie exchange party. She passed on the recipe to me and I have made them several times. Everybody loves them and they are gone in a blink of the eye. They are called Big Soft Ginger Cookies. They have a great ginger and spice flavor and they do stay soft. The cookie dough comes together quickly and the recipe states it makes 24 cookies but I got closer to 30 cookies.

Form dough in balls and roll in sugar. I use a small glass bowl to press down the cookie dough. You could use a drinking glass as well.

Take a tin of these cookies to your next cookie exchange party. They are also perfect to give to teachers, co-workers, neighbors, your hairdresser, or friends and family.


Issaqueena Falls - Walhalla, South Carolina

I'd like to give a shout out to my husband Mike. Today is our 18th wedding anniversary. It seems like yesterday (well, sometimes) that we just got married. You are truly my best friend Mike and I'm lucky to have you as my partner through this crazy but wonderful life. I love you!

Mom's Cooking Club Lesson: Ok, enough of the mushy talk and back to the cookie recipe. This cookie dough is sticky so it is best to put the dough in the refrigerator for at least an hour before forming and rolling in the sugar. With this batch, I made the cookie dough in the morning, put the bowl in the refrigerator, ran my errands for the day and made the cookies in the afternoon. No problems with stickiness.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Nestle Toll House Chocolate and White Chocolate Chip Pan Cookies

I wanted to share a cookie classic before leaving to visit family for the Thanksgiving Holiday. I grew up with Nestle Toll House Cookies. We would use the recipe on the back of the Nestle Chocolate Chip bag. I can't remember when the pan cookie variation came out but what a way to have your favorite chocolate chip cookie.....as a bar cookie. I haven't made these in so long. I was in the mood for chocolate chip cookies but didn't feel like making all those cookies. Then I remembered the pan cookie variation. Spread all the dough in a baking pan, bake, cut in squares and your chocolate chip cookie craving is satisfied.

Slight variation to recipe: I had some leftover white chocolate chips that I wanted to use up. I had about 1/2 cup of the white morsels and I mixed that with 1 1/2 cups of the semi-sweet chocolate morsels. We loved the addition of the white chocolate chips. You really can't go wrong with any chip variation you use. Kids love these pan cookies. If you want a quick treat for your Thanksgiving dessert table, then don't forget about these classic bar cookies that everyone remembers and loves.

I want to wish everyone a Happy Thanksgiving!

I'll be back after the Thanksgiving holiday with more cookie recipes just in time for Christmas.


Mom's Cooking Club Lesson: Sometimes the best recipes can be found on the back of cans, bags and boxes of food. Classics that you grew up with that can be passed down to your family or updated recipes that become new traditions.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Pear Crisp

I have been craving a fruit dessert, so when I saw this Pear Crisp on The Pioneer Woman's site, I knew I had to make it right away. In the food blogging world, I'm sure everyone has heard of The Pioneer Woman. But if you have never heard of her or checked out her blog, you must do so for wonderful recipes, photos and her funny life on the ranch.

This is a very easy dessert to make with fantastic results. My husband said, "This is unbelievable". We had leftovers for a few days and it was still just as good reheated. The bits of crunchy crumble with the warm soft pears and the vanilla ice cream melting in is a bit of dessert magic. If you like pears and you like fruit desserts, you will love this Pear Crisp.

Chop the pecans very small

Right out of the oven

A spoonful of Pear Crisp.....what do you think? Doesn't it look good.

My new favorite dessert


Extra Side Note: Click here to read about November's Cooking Light Virtual Supper Club on the Cooking Light Blog: Test Kitchen Secrets

Mom's Cooking Club Lesson: I served the pear crisp in small ramekins (about 4 inches across) that I had bought a few years ago at Target for $1.99. These are great for portion control. If I would have picked a bigger bowl, I know I would have filled it up. The ramekins kept things at a more reasonable amount. Now, if you go back for seconds, that's something I can't control. These are many great uses for these little bowls, so I would recommend them for your kitchen.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Cooking Light Virtual Supper Club Presents Appetizers, Small Plates/Tapas

Welcome to another month of the Cooking Light Virtual Supper Club. I can't believe another month has gone by. Why does this time of year just pass by so quickly? Our November theme is Appetizers & Small Plates/Tapas. All these appetizers would be a great addition to your holiday party or family gathering. I hope we have given you some ideas to try this holiday season or anytime you are needing inspiration for small bites.

I chose 2 recipes this month. Warm Cranberry-Walnut Brie and Mini Crab Cakes w/Herbed Aioli. Both were fantastic. I would highly recommend you give them a try. I had some help filling up my appetizer plate from the other members of the Cooking Light Virtual Supper Club. Here is what they made:

Helene (La Cuisine d'Helene) - Grilled Pepper Poppers

Aggie (Aggie's Kitchen) - West Indies Shrimp & Mini Ham and Cheese Frittatas

Val (More Than Burnt Toast) - Windowpane Potato Chips & Sliders with Shallot-Dijon Relish

Shelby (The Life and Loves of Grumpy's Honeybunch) - Harvest Sweet Potato Pecan Pie Tarts

Jamie (Mom's Cooking Club) - Warm Cranberry-Walnut Brie & Mini Crab Cakes with Herbed Aioli

Visit these wonderful blogs for the details and photos on their dishes.

This is the Brie that I used for my Warm Cranberry-Walnut Brie

There is just something special about the combination of cheese, fruit and nuts. This is extremely simple and quick to make. Cut off the top rind of the cheese. Place your toasted walnuts, dried cranberries and thyme on top. Pop in the oven for 15 - 20 minutes and out comes this..........

Melty, gooey, unbelievably delicious cheese!

I just had to show you one more picture. We served this with a variety of crackers. We loved it with Sea Salt Bagel Chips. That's my husband digging in. I will be making this Brie for our family gathering at Thanksgiving. It's going to be a good day.

My second appetizer are these fun mini crab cakes. I was born in Baltimore, Maryland so I grew up with Maryland style crab cakes. This recipe was a little different from my standard crab cakes I make but we loved the variation. I did add 2 teaspoons of Old Bay Seasoning. Being a former Maryland girl, you just have to use your Old Bay Seasoning. The seasoned mayonnaise (aioli) was perfect with the crab cakes.


Mom's Cooking Club Lesson: A little history.....Appetizers are food items, usually small portions, served before the main course. Also known as Hors d'oeuvre and are served at many reception and cocktail parties. The equivalent of hors d'oeuvre in Spain is called Tapas. In Italian cuisine, it is referred to as Antipasto. In Russian cuisine, it is called Zakuski and usually consists of cured meats and fishes, pickled vegetables, prepared salads and breads. The term Zensai is a Japanese hors d'oeuvre. To me, appetizers are a great way to try different bites of food and a way to get people mingling, talking and just enjoying each other's company.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Black-Bottom Banana Bars

Ok, so I had a bowl filled with "past their prime" bananas. I could have made my go-to banana bread or some banana muffins. But I wanted to try something new so I took out a new cookbook my husband gave me for my birthday last month, Taste of Home Cookies, and searched for recipes using bananas. I came across these Black-Bottom Banana Bars in the Delectable Bars section.

Well, these cake bars were a hit. We all loved them. (even my picky eater Mariah who doesn't like banana bread went crazy over these, go figure) They stay moist for days. I've already made these twice. And will definitely be making again!

Take a pan of these Black-Bottom Banana Bars to your next holiday gathering, a teacher's breakfast, to welcome a new neighbor, a potluck or an afternoon snack for your kids. These are great anytime and any season.


Mom's Cooking Club Lesson: This recipe calls for a 13x9 in pan. I used an 11x7 in pan because I wanted my bars thicker. I just added about 10 minutes more to the baking time.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

A Special Birthday Celebration


There will be no recipe today. This blog post will be to wish my daughters, Mariah and Marissa, a very Happy Birthday! So, this will be dedicated to them today. I can't believe your father and I are parents of teenagers. Where has the time gone? You are both growing up to be wonderful young ladies.

We are very proud of both of you. You are both dedicated and hard working girls and you should be proud of your sports accomplishments, band achievements and school work. I know 7th grade is hard and there is alot of pressure and expectations on you but you are handling it well.

I want to thank my family and friends for the positive influence you've had on the girls and for loving them so much.

We love you Mariah and Happy 13th Birthday! - always keep laughing and being silly

We love you Marissa and Happy 13th Birthday! - always be yourself and stay creative

Live, Love, Laugh!!!

Marissa really enjoying her birthday cupcake at her Halloween Birthday Bash!

Mariah REALLY enjoying her birthday cupcake!

(I hope the girls don't get too upset I posted these photos but I think they look adorable with their cupcake faces)


Mom's Cooking Club Lesson: I hope my husband and I have taught my daughters many life lessons. We continue to do so every day. Through this blog and our every day life, I hope I'm also teaching them cooking, food and kitchen lessons. Recipes and skills that they will use in their adult life and pass on to their children one day.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Crockpot Sour Cream Pork Chops and Prize Pack Winner

This might not be the prettiest food on a plate but it is very good. My family loved these tender pork chops so I wanted to share with all of you. So quick and easy to put together in the morning. At dinnertime, make some vegetables along with rice or noodles and you've got a delicious dinner on the table.

The recipe says to transfer the pork chops to the oven to keep warm while you put the sour cream in the crockpot to make the sauce. I kept the pork chops in the crock pot while I added the sour cream for the last 30 minutes. I just stirred in the sour cream mixture carefully.


And the Tablespoon.com Prize Pack Winner sponsored by MyBlogSpark and General Mills is:

Comment #4: Mary from Theprovidentwoman.com who wrote:

"Do I really have to choose just one thing I like about their site? It's great. I really like the slow cooker ideas."

Congratulatons Mary! Please email me your contact information and MyBlogSpark will send out your Prize Pack to you.

Mom's Cooking Club Lesson: Crockpot tips - Browning your meat before placing in the slow cooker adds color and more flavor. Also, you can thicken juices and sauces by removing the lid and cooking on high for the last 30 minutes.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Rich Peanut Butter Cookies from Tablespoon.com and a Prize Pack Giveaway

This blog post is to share a quick and wonderful peanut butter cookie, to intoduce a new website, Tablespoon.com and to offer a prize pack giveaway from MyBlogSpark & General Mills. Tablespoon.com is a new website by General Mills where you can find over 25,000 recipes, save and share recipes. When you join the website, you can add your own recipe creations, print coupons from a variety of brands as well as the ability to rate, comment & save recipes you try.

MyBlogSpark contacted me about this new website and sent me a "Pass the Inspiration" Prize Pack that included a set of measuring spoons, a measuring cup and 2 terry cloth pot holders. They are also offering a "Pass the Inspiration" Prize Pack to one of my readers.

In order to be eligible for this giveaway, go browse the website Tablespoon.com and then leave a comment here about a particular feature that you liked on Tablespoon.com. Maybe there was a recipe that caught your eye or the printable coupons. I will choose a winner by Random.org. The deadline to leave a comment will be Tuesday, October 27th at 11:00pm (CST). I will announce the winner on Wednesday, October 28th.

Now, I want to share briefly about this cookie recipe. This is a peanut butter cookie kicked up a notch with the addition of peanut butter chips. It was so quick to make a batch and my daughters and husband were very happy to come home to these baked treats.

The ingredient list


Mom's Cooking Club Lesson
: Keep your pantry well stocked with items to bake with such as sugar, flour, baking soda, baking powder, confectioners sugar, brown sugar, different flavors of chocolate chips/morsels, cocoa powder and several variety of nuts. That way, when the mood strikes, you'll be ready to make something home baked your family will appreciate.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Shepherd's Pie

Make this and your family will love you.....I promise! Seasoned ground beef with peas and carrots with a topping of Yukon Gold mashed potatoes. What more can I say. This is a one dish meal that pleases everyone.

The recipe comes from Food Network chef Danny Boome.

Speaking of Food Network, check out the website, VickyandJen.com, a podcast and family resource site. They have a podcast series called Ask-a-Chef that feature interviews with various Food Network celebrity chefs and other chefs as well. VickyandJen.com have recipes, activities for kids and a blog in addition to their podcasts. It's a really neat website, so stop by and take a look.

Now, back to my Shepherd's Pie.

Look what's underneath that mountain of potatoes.....peek-a-boo, I see you!

Who wants a bite?


Mom's Cooking Club Lesson: Per Wikipedia, the term Shepherd's Pie, also called Cottage Pie, dates back to the 1870's. Early cookbooks show that Shepherd's Pie was made using leftover roasted meat with a bottom and top crust of mashed potatoes. With a recipe dating that far back, you know it's going to be a great comfort meal.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Cooking Light Virtual Supper Club Cooks with Wine

Cooking with Wine. That is the theme for October's Virtual Supper Club gathering. Five food bloggers (3 from the United States & 2 from Canada) get together virtually to present a menu with recipes all from Cooking Light. Cooking with Wine was a great theme. There were so many Cooking Light recipes to choose from on Myrecipes.com, their online listing of recipes. When I saw this fish recipe, Salmon with White Wine Mustard Sauce, I knew this was the meal I wanted to "bring" to our supper club. If you follow my blog, you know I love seafood and we eat salmon several times a month. This dish was simple to prepare. The sauce was so velvety smooth and worked perfectly with the salmon. When my husband said, "This tastes like it came from a restaurant", I was so happy. I know I will make this again and again.

Now, take a look and see what my other blogger friends brought to our October Supper, everything from an Appetizer to a Dessert: (click on each one to see detailed recipe)

Jamie (that's me, Mom's Cooking Club) - Salmon with White Wine Mustard Sauce
Val (More Than Burnt Toast) - Baked Rice with Butternut Squash
Aggie (Aggie's Kitchen) - Red Wine Pear Crisp with Spiced Streusel

Wow, what a menu!

Start with a beautiful piece of salmon and cut in equal fillet portions.


Mom's Cooking Club Lesson: I'm not a huge wine drinker but I do always try to keep a bottle of white wine and a bottle of red wine to use for cooking. I'm sure we are all familiar with the phrase, "cook with a wine you would drink". So, buy what you like. You don't have to buy an expensive bottle of wine to cook with. There are many good wines that are reasonably priced. Also, avoid cooking with "cooking wine" that you find in the vinegar aisle of your grocery store. Salt and food coloring has been added to these weak wine bases. Check out this Cooking Light article about Cooking with Wine for some great information about using this ingredient in your cooking.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Pecan Waffles

Here's a wonderful waffle recipe that is quick to prepare. The waffles turn out light and fluffy. The recipe is for plain waffles but my husband and I love to add pecans. I add them on the top of the batter after it's poured into the waffle maker. I have a Belgian waffle maker but any waffle maker will be fine.

I chopped up some pecans and sprinkled them on the batter before closing the waffle maker lid. If you've never tried pecans in your waffles, you need to. It is so YUMMY!


Mom's Cooking Club Lesson: Try these other add-ins to your waffle batter: blueberries, bananas, chocolate chips and how about some crumbled cooked bacon. Oh....bacon waffles! That might be on this weekend's breakfast table.

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