Monday, December 30, 2013

Cappuccino muffins

Here is a yummy muffin that I like to make. I am not big on coffee but these are not heavy on the coffee flavor.

Cappuccino Muffins
2 cups flour
3/4 cup sugar
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 TBSP instant coffee
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 cup milk
1/2 cooled melted butter
1 egg beaten
1 tsp vanilla
3/4 cup chocolate chips

Mix all ingredients. Pour into greased muffin pans. Make about 18-24 muffins. Bake in preheated oven 375 degrees. 10 -12 minutes.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Sweet Potato Souffle

 Our first Christmas in Zambia was spent out at Kalwa farm. This farm was home to our friends the Waddils and Garrisons, and that Christmas they had us and the Hubbards. Out of all my Christmas' growing up, that one was the one that I remember the MOST! It was one of my favorite times! I don't remember what presents we got but I remember the amount of time we spent giving to others and enjoying each others company. It is one of those Christmas' that should be put into a Christmas Hallmark Movie! It was so simple but so rewarding. We celebrated Jesus' Birth in an "old-time" Christmas. I don't know how to explain what "Old-time" means but in Zambia it was the BEST Christmas EVER!! It was where many of my own traditions were started.

Here are some things I remember about that wonderful Christmas.

The kids, about 10 of us, put on a Magnificent Christmas play. I was Mary, mainly because I did not have any lines to memorize and I was small enough to ride on Howard's back. Howard was the oldest Waddil son and my faithful donkey who I feel off of quite a bit. It was done outside one evening on the veranda, that I thought was HUGE. Later on I found out that it was not as big as my little five year old mind thought it was. But it was a fantasy place to my imagination! It was a fantastic play, we should have all been on Broadway for sure!

I remember spending a few hours around a piano singing Christmas Carols with everybody. That is something I looked forward to every year at our own house in years to follow. I loved it when mom would play piano and we would all sing! There is just something about gathering together and singing that just puts you in the Christmas spirit!

I remember we got to go swimming on Christmas!!! Something that we NEVER did in the USA! But that is one blessing to living in a country that Christmas time is the HOT season. We went to this "river" with "GIANT" rapids that the Big boys could go down on the inner-tubes. I played in the calm area of the river. Which looking back, the river was more of a creek and the rapid was a BIG rock in the middle of the creek making the water look ferocious! In my mind it was and Adventure! I was the luckiest girl on earth to go swimming on Christmas!

 My favorite memory of that Christmas was spending the day with Uncle Tom and Aunt Lucille Waddill and their family as they gave out blankets, food and other treats to the families of the workers on their farm. That is a tradition that our family carried on every year after that. One that I looked forward to so much. It was so much fun to wrap oil, sugar, salt,  and other goodies in a box and give them to our workers. Giving gifts was not a thing that people did in the Zambian culture. But the people loved getting their boxes. For some that was their first Christmas present ever.  I loved watching their excitement over such simple presents. My mom would bake sweet breads and cookies for our neighbors.Taking your neighbor sweets was not something done in Zambia but we did it every year. I looked forward to our Christmas boxes and cookie delivery  every year!

From that first Christmas also came a recipe that has passed down from Aunt Lucille and one I have to make EVERY YEAR!! It is the most delicious, mouth watering, dish ever! It is her Sweet Potato Souffle. I don't really know what a souffle is or is suppose to be but this one is AMAZING!! This has become a holiday tradition in my family! Try it it might become a tradition in yours! So in Memory of Aunt Lucille who lost her battle with breast cancer a few years ago and for Uncle Tom, I make this! Thank you for your MANY MANY years of service to the Lord in Zambia. Thank you for making our first Christmas in Zambia EPIC! Thank you for teaching me Christmas was about more then just getting stuff but was about giving too! I love you both!

Sweet Potato Souffle
3 cups cooked sweet potatoes
1 cup sugar
1/3 cup melted butter
1/2 cup milk
1/2 tsp salt
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla

Mix all together and put in greased baking dish.

Mix together:(this makes enough for 2 souffles)
1 cup brown sugar
1/3 stick melted butter
1 cup coconut
1/3 cup flour
1 cup chopped pecans
Sprinkle over souffle and bake 45-50 at 350 degrees. This freezes great so you can make it ahead.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Date Balls

In my mind, one of my favorite Christmas treats in my mom's Date Balls. These are ALWAYS at my house for Christmas. They are habit forming and addicting and usually didn't last long at our house.  Mom would send these to school with us but RARELY ever made it off the plane. They would be devoured! They are great for parties and for treats to give friends. Try these yummy Date Balls. You will LOVE THEM!

Date Balls
In a sauce pan, bring to a boil:
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup butter or Margrine
1 box of chopped dates
Boil for 3 minutes stirring continuously
Remove from heat and add:
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup pecans
2 cups rice crispies
Mix well and then scoop out by spoonful. Roll into balls( I use one of those small Ice cream scooper, The little tiny ones that are about 1 TBSP works great and you don't have to use your hands.) Drop into coconut and roll and coat with coconut. Place on wax paper to cool. Enjoy! They really are delicious!

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Lari's Queso

This recipe is a family tradition every year at Christmas. When we are in Texas for Christmas we always have tamales and Mexican food at my Aunt Lari's house. This is the stuff I look forward to eating. She always makes it and it is always in the crockpot and hot and delicious! I could eat this all by its self as the main meal! So delicious!  I love this stuff and can't wait to get some at Christmas.  It is great for Large parties. You can half the recipe for smaller parties because this does make a lot!

Lari's Queso (this is a BIG recipe, if you want to half it you could)
 2lbs Velvetta
1 pound sausage (browned)
1 pound hamburger(browned and I think she puts taco seasoning in it)
8 oz cream cheese
1 can cream of Chicken soup
1 cream of mushroom soup
1 can rotel tomatoes
1 can green chillies
Brown meat, and put all ingredients in a crock pot. Turn on and let it melt all together. Stir occasionally.  You can melt it over the stove and then put it into the crock pot to keep it hot. Get the chips ready! DELISH!!!


Friday, December 13, 2013


These are one of my FAVORITE treats at Christmas. How can you go wrong with peanut butter and chocolate? In my opinion you can't! These are a little time consuming but fun to make.

1 1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
1/2 cup butter (soften)
1 tsp vanilla
4 cups powder sugar
Mix together well. Make into balls and lay on a pan covered in wax paper. Refrigerate for a few hours. In a double boiler melt 2 1/2  cup semi sweet chocolate. Dip balls in chocolate. Place on wax paper and let sit till chocolate hardens.

I learned a new way to melt chocolate to dip that is really easy. If you have a crockpot or slow cooker fill it with some water. In some mason jars pour the chocolate you are using. Place the jars carefully in the water. You don't want it to be to full of water that it gets in the chocolate. But heat slow cooker. When the chocolate starts to melt stir so it it melt fully. When melted you can dip whatever you need to dip. The chocolate stays melted and easy to use.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Velveeta Fudge

OK I know you might be saying eeewwww right now, but trust me this is not ew!  The first time I tried this, the lady who made it tried to have me guess what what the main ingredient. I was not even close. I loved it so much that I made a batch and took it to my husbands work. I asked everyone the same question, What do you think the main ingredient is in this fudge?  Chocolate, Nutella were all the answers. When I told them the main ingredient was Velvetta cheese, people were amazed!! It makes the fudge so creamy and smooth. I love it! You need to try it!

Velveeta Fudge
1/2 lb Velveeta
1 cup butter
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup chopped nuts
2 (16 oz) box powder sugar(8 cups)
1/2 cup cocoa powder

In a saucepan over medium heat, melt cheese and butter together. Stir continuously till smooth. Remove from heat add nuts and Vanilla. In a large bowl sift together powder sugar and Cocoa. Pour cheese into sugar and stir well. Will be stiff. Press evenly into greased 9x13 pan.
~ I added Marshmallow and made it a Rocky road flavor... Place in Refrigerator to firm up. Store in an air tight container in refrigerator. Enjoy!

Friday, December 6, 2013

Baked Sugared Peanuts

This is a treat my mom always made while growing up. She would make it and send a bunch of it to boarding school with us. Mine never lasted to long! We got this recipe from a Chinese restaurant in Lusaka. They always had a yummy bowl of these nuts sitting on the table when you sat down to eat. It was teaser because it was always a small bowl and they were always delicious! When we went home to visit Mom and Dad April of 2012, Aunt Betty made me some because she new I LOVE IT!
I don't get to make these very often because getting raw peanuts is hard here in Galena and with Kaden's allergy to eggs really causes me to miss this yummy treat. It does NOT work with Egg-replacer.  It is really easy to make and is a wonderful treat for parties or just to snack on. Just the right amount of sweetness on a crunchy treat.   This can make a great gift that you could put in a jar with a pretty bow or little gift bags. If you give some away you may want to double or triple the recipe. Try it out!

Baked Sugared Peanuts
4 cups raw peanuts
Beat 2 eggs and mix in peanuts
In another bowl mix:
2/3 cups flour
1 cup sugar
1 tsp salt
Add this to the peanuts to toss till all wet. If it is not wet add a Tablespoon of water. Place on Wax paper covered cookie sheet. Bake 325 degrees for 45 minutes. Stir every 15 minutes. Peanuts are done when they are golden brown. Let cool and break apart.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Tamy's Cranberry Jello Salad.

 This is one of my favorite dishes to have for Christmas! This Jello salad is super easy but delicious! We were introduced to this from our friend Tamy in Florida! I love Jello and making it into a delicious dish means I am all in! I love cranberry sauce too but put in Jello makes it very tasty! it adds great flavor to a turkey dinner for Christmas.

Tamy's Cranberry Jello Salad.
1 cup boiling water
1 cherry flavored Jello
Stir together till jello is dissolved
1 Can Whole berry cranberry sauce
1 small can crushed pineapple

Mix well and chill till jelled. DELICIOUS!!

Monday, December 2, 2013

Chai Spice Cookie

Well the Christmas season is here! Time to start making the cookies and treats that we all love to eat. I don't know why we wait ALL year to make them and then try to pack them into the month of December but we all do it! We all have those favorite cookies mom used to make or the delicious fudge, cranberry bars, pumpkin pies and all those delicious treats! So this month I will try to blog all of my favorite treats that I like to make during the holidays!  I hope you stay tuned as we go through this month that is my FAVORITE TIME OF YEAR!! Have a wonderful season and don't stress over it. Don't get so busy that you forget to just enjoy it! Enjoy the time with friends and family! I know I will. this will be the first year in 4 that my family will all be together for Christmas. My parents returned from Zambia, My brother is close to them and Keith and the boys and I are going to spend Christmas with all of my crazy family. I can't wait!  I will be posting recipes as we travel too so keep checking back! It will be a delicious holiday season! Yummy!

When I visit my Meema, she always has a pile of new cooking magazines that I always love to browse through. I love getting new recipes to try and these cookies I got from Better Homes & Gardens a few years ago. I thought they sounded interesting but didn't try them for a while. I was a little hesitant to make them with tea leaves, but I am glad I kept the recipe and tried them. These are a very tasty and fun to make with kids. You can cut them in cool shapes and they like to decorate them.

Chai Spice Cookie
2 spiced chai flavored tea bags
3 cups flour
2 tsp Pumpkin Pie spice
1 1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar
2 egg yokes (egg replacer works well in this recipe)
2 Tbsp Molasses

Remove tea bag contents (about 3 teaspoons of tea) discard bags. In a medium bowl combine tea, flour and pumpkin spice. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl beat butter on medium speed for 30 seconds. Add sugar and beat till fluffy and light. Beat in egg yokes and molasses. Beat in as much flour as you can, and stir in the remaining flour. Divide dough in half. Cover and refrigerate 3 hours.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease cookie sheet or line with parchment paper.
 On lightly floured surface roll half the dough to 1/4 in thick. Cut with  whatever shape cookie cutters you want. Place on cookie sheet and bake 12 minutes till edges are lightly brown. Cool on cookie sheet for 2 minutes  Transfer to cooling rack. Cool completely and decorate with powdered sugar icing.

Powder Sugar Icing
1 1/2 cup powder sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla or I like Almond flavoring
4 tsp milk
Mix all together. Stir in more milk if needed till icing is piping consistency.

Layer cookies between wax paper in covered airtight container. Store for 3 days at room temp or freeze up to 3 months.   Here is a picture from the Better Homes and Garden Magazine. Try these!