Saturday, April 21, 2012

Chicken and Dumplings


   Crock pot recipes are great, but especially for church-goers on Sundays.  You can quickly put all the ingredients in the slow cooker before church and arrive home after church with lunch already cooked and smelling great.  We like chicken and dumplings in our home and I found a great recipe on polishthestars that I've tried a few times and adapted to our needs and liking.

5 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
2 Tbsp butter
2 cans (10.5 oz) condensed cream of chicken
1 can (14 oz) chicken broth
1 medium white onion, diced (I buy the frozen bag of diced onions and put about a cup in there)
8 large flaky refrigerated biscuits

1.  Place chicken in the crock pot (no need to thaw) and top with butter.
2.  Add cream of chicken soup, onions, and chicken broth.
3.  Put lid on and cook for 4-6 hrs on high or 8 hrs on low.  Do not stir while cooking.

4.  Break uncooked biscuits into pieces and stir into chicken mixture.
5.  Cook 30 minutes on high.
6.  Remove chicken from crock pot and shred with fork.  Stir chicken back into mixture and serve.

Heath Bar Delight


   Yes, I will take full credit for naming this dessert.  It's original name was "Death By Chocolate," but who likes the name "death by" anything?  It has layers, chopped up Heath Bars, and it is really good, so I think it's the perfect new name.  I make this dessert when I need to serve a large group, and everyone always comes back for seconds!  It keeps well for a few days in the refrigerator also.  It's something I can whip up pretty quickly, store in the fridge, and pull out when it's time for dessert.  This recipe was given to me by a coworker in my dental hygiene days.  Thanks, Donna!

1 large tub Cool Whip (thawed)
1 box Brownie Mix
8 Heath Candy Bars
1 large box Chocolate Pudding

1.  Bake brownies as instructed on box (crumble when still warm).
2.  Make pudding as instructed on box.
3.  Chop Heath Bars into crumbs.
4.  Layer as the following: Brownies, pudding, Cool Whip, Heath Bars, Repeat once more

* I thought I would add that the original recipe called for 2 boxes of brownie mix, 2 large boxes of Fat Free/Sugar Free Chocolate pudding, and Fat Free Cool Whip.  My revisions make the perfect amount to fill my largest glass bowl.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Teaching Our Children To Give Thanks

   Sometimes we refer to the prayer we say before a meal as "giving thanks."  This is a great time to teach our kids how to thank God for our food and other things, and we are following Christ example who himself gave thanks before breaking bread.  But I want to teach my children a lifestyle of giving thanks.  I want them to be thankful all throughout the day and notice all the "good and perfect gifts that come from above" (James 1:17).

   If you haven't read One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp, you really ought to take the time.  It has been a life-changing book for me.  I think that God brings certain books (and I often pray that He will) into my life at just the right time to teach me what He wants me to learn in a particular season or circumstance.  This book has made me a more all around joyful and grateful person in the midst of everyday craziness.  The Bible says, "In everything GIVE THANKS" (1 Thess. 5:18), and this book encouraged me to do so.  I want my children to realize all that we have to be grateful for and to live joy-filled lives.  Paul Washer is one of my favorite preachers to listen to and I heard him say recently that a study was done on families that seemed to produce happy and God-honoring children.  Apparently, the one thing all these families had in common was that their houses were filled with joy.  That's something to think about.  For me, this requires slowing down, forgetting my to-do list, and enjoying my family.  

   The Bible also says that "A joyful heart is good medicine" (Prov. 17:22).  The question is, Are we born happy or do we have to learn how to be happy?  Take a look at this short video on some research linking gratefulness with joy.

   I've definitely been challenged by the new perspective on life offered in One Thousand Gifts and recognizing the beauty in the mundane.  My plan is to have my children tell me three things every night that they are thankful for from that day.  What a great way to begin incorporating this mindset at a young age.
                            What are you thankful for today?

Banana Chocolate Chip Pancakes with Peanut Butter Syrup

   I mentioned that yesterday was my husband's birthday.  For a special birthday breakfast I made him these pancakes with bananas and chocolate chips (of course) topped with peanut butter syrup.  He thought they were delicious.  I think that next time we will just put a little of the peanut butter syrup on them and use some regular syrup also, because it tasted very rich.  I pinned this recipe from recipeshoebox.  The recipe calls for butter or cooking spray for the skillet, but I used canola oil to give the edges a nice crunch.  This is just our preference.  Sometimes I use butter for a softer version.

1 1/2 cups unbleached, all purpose flour
3 Tbsp white sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups buttermilk (you can use any type of milk)
1 tsp vanilla
1 Tbsp canola oil
1 large egg
2 ripe bananas
1/4 cup mini chocolate chips (tossed with 2 tsp flour so that they won't sink to bottom of batter) 

For syrup:
1 cup syrup
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter

1.  Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. 
2.  In a separate bowl, mix milk, vanilla, oil, and egg.  Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients until just combined.
3.  Mash bananas with a fork and fold in bananas and chocolate chips.
4.  Heat skillet to medium high and coat with butter, cooking spray, or oil.
5.  Add batter by 1/4 cupfuls.  When batter bubbles, flip pancake to cook other side.

6.  For syrup, combine peanut butter and syrup and microwave on high for 1 minute.  Stir to combine.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Pecan Pie

Being a keeper of my home involves spending much time meal planning, grocery shopping, cooking, and feeding my family.  I've been wanting to compile a digital notebook with all of my tried and true recipes for a while, and I thought this would be a good way to do so and share recipes with others.  Since joining pinterest last summer, many of my newest recipes have come from blogs.  I am appreciative of others taking the time to share their recipes, so I thought I would join the fun.  I'll also be listing several recipes from family, friends, and cookbooks.

My husband's 29th birthday is today and he requested a pecan pie for his birthday cake.  This recipe comes from his Mamaw (Joyce Dodds) who got it from her mother (Mary Nesler).  It is a very quick and easy family favorite, and no holiday is complete without it.


3 eggs beaten
1/2 cup white sugar
1 cup corn syrup (1/2 cup white and 1/2 cup dark)
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 cup melted butter
1 1/2 cups pecan halves
1 pie crust

1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2.  Place pie crust in bottom and edges of pie plate 
3.  Place pecans on top of pie crust.
4.  Beat eggs in bowl. 
5.  Add the rest of the ingredients and stir to combine.  Pour into uncooked pie crust (over pecan, they will rise) and do not pick crust.
6.  Bake 45 minutes.  Let it set for about 10 minutes after removing from oven.

This was the birthday boy's piece today - before he added a few scoops of BlueBell homemade vanilla ice cream.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Chocolate Chip Waffles

Although I'm a huge fan of the "Mama's Pancake Breakfast" at Cracker Barrel, I've always preferred waffles over pancakes.  Last Christmas, my parents gave me my very own waffle iron, so now I have the privilege of enjoying them often.  I found this recipe for classic waffles at allrecipes, and now it has become a Saturday morning favorite.  I always sprinkle a few chocolate chips over the batter after pouring it on the iron, but you could add blueberries instead, and/or top with strawberries.

2 cups, unbleached, all-purpose flour
1 tsp salt
4 tsp baking powder
2 Tbsp white sugar
2 eggs
1 1/2 cups warm milk
1/3 cup butter, melted
1 tsp vanilla extract
chocolate chips (as much as desired)

1.  Mix together the flour, salt, baking powder, and sugar.
2.  Preheat waffle iron
3.  In separate bowl, beat the eggs.  Stir in the milk, butter, and vanilla.  Pour this mixture into flour mixture and beat until blended.
4.  Spray waffle iron with non-stick spray before adding batter.  Repeat this step before making each waffle.
5.  Pour the batter into preheated waffle iron and sprinkle a few chocolate chips over the batter.  Cook until golden.  Serve warm.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Yummy Blueberry Muffins

When it comes to muffins, I usually just use the mixes and add the wet ingredients for a quick breakfast.  We like blueberry muffins with crumb toppings around here, so one Saturday I decided to try this recipe from allrecipes which claims they are "to die for blueberry muffins."  We thought they were very yummy!

1 1/2 cups unbleached, all purpose flour
3/4 cup white sugar
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp baking powder
1/3 cup canola oil
1 egg
1/3 cup milk
1 cup fresh blueberries

1.  Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Grease muffin cups or line with muffin liners.
2.  Combine 1 1/2 cups flour, 3/4 cup sugar, salt, and baking powder.
3.  Put the oil in a 1 cup measuring cup, add the egg, add enough milk to fill the cup and add this to the flour mixture.
4.  Fold in blueberries.
5.  Fill 12 muffin cups to the top.
6.  Make crumb topping...

1/2 cup white sugar
1/3 cup unbleached, all-purpose flour
1/4 cup butter, cubed
1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

1.  Mix all four ingredients with a fork and sprinkle over muffins.
2.  Bake for 20-25 minutes.