Daily Tidbits

Be Kind. Do Good. Love is a Verb.

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Coffee Run

I don't drink coffee, but I love the smell. The Doctor's office was open for a half day on Christmas Eve (not his choice). He wasn't working, but we were out and about finishing up some Christmas shopping and we stopped and got coffee for the front office staff and therapists.  It was cold and snowing outside. They appreciated it. It was fun to do and my car smelled amazing for two days!

Friday, December 25, 2015

Merry Christmas

The secret of Christmas,
Is not the things you do at Christmas time
But the Christmas things you do
All year through.

Monday, December 7, 2015

Peanut Brittle

  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 cup White Karo syrup
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 cups raw peanuts
  • 1 1/4 t baking soda
  • 1 T butter
  • 1 t vanilla
Cooking Directions
  1. Boil sugar, syrup and water until it spins a long thread.
  2. Add peanuts and cook until it turns a light brown color. Stir CONSTANTLY.
  3. Add baking soda, butter and vanilla. Stir til blended.
  4. Remove from heat and pour onto a greased baking pan.
  5. Let harden. Break. Eat. Enjoy.
Holly's Notes:
This is part of my mother's Christmas Goodie plate each year. She always makes an extra batch just for my brother-in-law! So yummy. I find my raw peanuts at Winco, but any store that sells bulk items should have them or a health food store.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Daytime Dates

I love daytime dates. Friday night dates are fun too, but sometimes a lunch date is just a bit more
relaxing and brunch is often just downright decadent. My husband has one day, mid week, where he is not in his office. It's a day we look forward to.

Sometimes we go to brunch. Sometimes we just run errands together.

I'm sure none of you has ever skipped school or work ;) but going to breakfast or lunch together sometimes feels like playing hooky. There are no children to worry about because they're in school. No babysitter to pay. The restaurant isn't as crowded. You're not obligated to return to work after one hour. It's just the two of you enjoying a meal. Good food and even better company.

What about you? Daytime or evening dates?  Do you have a preference?

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Saturday, November 14, 2015

Weekend Reflections 11/14

Looking outside....it's sunny, but cold. Currently 39 degrees.

Listening...to silence. I like slow Saturday mornings. The Doctor is at work and The Brother is helping with Scouting for Food and The Boy is helping at a fundraiser for the high school golf team.

Loving...friends and family and a comfortable, warm home. 

Thinking...that can't stop thinking about the attacks on Paris. I love that beautiful city. I have wonderful memories of walking her streets with family and friends. My heart breaks for her people.

In my kitchen...a cup of hot chocolate and a piece of warm, grilled naan bread right now and no idea what to do for dinner.

Wearing...BSU pajama pants and a gray turtleneck with gray fuzzy socks.

Needing...to clean the kitchen and go to the grocery store.

Reading...I have several that are overdue to be reviewed.

Today...is still somewhat up in the air.

Hoping...to relax a bit.

Planning...the next week. It's college application time. Strange to think I have one old enough to apply to colleges!

Gratitude...for a world filled with amazing, compassionate people. For all the horror of yesterday, I love the reminders that there are good people everywhere. The people of Paris opened their homes to those who were stranded by tweeting the hashtag #PorteOuverte to let others know that there were safe homes for them to stay in. Beautiful.

From my world... 

Confession time: back in our high school days, my best friend and I watched Days of Our Lives. We had our schedules figured so we could leave school, grab lunch and go to her house to watch it and then go back to school. I even watched it into my college years. While it's been a good 25 years since I've seen an episode, I well remember Days in the 80s: Bo & Hope's wedding (best television wedding ever!)...Roman and Marlena...Eugene and Calliope and...my list goes on. This fun surprise arrived in my mailbox yesterday with little post-it note memories from my girlfriend. It was a sweet walk down memory lane!

What about you? What are you reflecting on this week? How has your week gone?

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Lime Chicken

  • 1/3 cup lime juice
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 T Dijon mustard
  • 2 Garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 t salt
Cooking Directions
  1. Blend lime juice, olive oil, mustard, garlic cloves, salt, and pepper together.
  2. Place chicken pieces in a pan or plastic zipper bag.
  3. Add sauce and marinate for at least ~30 minutes. I stick mine in the fridge for a couple of hours.
  4. Grill and serve.
We like ours with baked potatoes and broccoli.

Serves 4.

Holly's Note:
My cousin served this when we visited her family. It was an immediate hit with my family and we now have it a couple of times a month. The Doctor loves taking the leftovers for lunch.  You can use chicken tenders, but I just use boneless, skinless breasts and pound them so they're even. Depending on how large they are, I slice them into smaller pieces.

You can also use lemon juice, but we prefer lime. It doubles easily for more.

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Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Pumpkin Spice Bread

Printable Recipe

  • 3 cups sugar
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup applesauce
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 (15 oz) can pumpkin (or 2 cups homemade puree)
  • 3 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 t baking soda
  • 1 t salt
  • 2 t cinnamon
  • 2 t nutmeg
  • 1/2 t baking powder
  • 1 t ground cloves
  • 1 t ground allspice
  • 1/2 cup water
Cooking Directions
  1. Combine the sugar, oil and eggs.
  2. Add pumpkin and mix well.
  3. Combine the dry ingredients; add to the pumpkin mixture alternately with water, beating well after each addition.
  4. Pour into two greased loaf pans.
  5. Bake at 350 for 60-65 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
  6. Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pan.
  7. For muffins, bake for 25 minutes. Makes ~36 muffins.

Holly's Notes:
The original recipe came from The Amish Family Cookbook.  I had just put up several batches of pumpkin puree and my husband asked for some pumpkin bread to take to his Home Teaching families for church.  I figured I'd try a new recipe since I really don't have a tried or true pumpkin bread recipe.  I searched several cookbooks before finding this recipe.  It came together easily and smelled absolutely divine while it was baking.  It was delicious, although the second time I made it, I did a 1/2 cup applesauce and 1/2 cup oil instead of the original 1 cup of oil and I doubled the spices and I did muffins instead.  We prefer the muffins to the bread and the doubled spices was perfect.  This version of the recipe reflects those changes.

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Saturday, August 15, 2015


  • 4 qts tomatoes, skinned
  • 2 1/2 cup chopped onions
  • 1 1/2 cup chopped green peppers
  • 3/4 cup chopped green Anaheim chiles (I use a mix of Anaheim/Poblano)
  • 2 t salt
  • 2 T paprika
  • 2 T garlic powder
  • 5 T lemon juice
  • 2 T seasoned salt
  • To taste chopped jalapeno peppers (remove seeds, if desired)
Cooking Directions
  1. In a large pot, miix it together.
  2. Cook for ~2 hours at a low boil.
  3. Stir to prevent scalding.
  4. Prepare pint jars for canning.
  5. Ladle hot salsa into jars, leaving 1/4 inch head space.
  6. Process in boiling water canner for 15 minutes.
Makes 8 to 10 pints of salsa.

Holly's Note:
Obviously you need to adjust this to your own personal tastes.  I've gotten to the point where I don't really measure spices or peppers any more.  I don't even take out a lot of seeds.  If I'm making it for my aunt and uncle, I leave in every last seed and put in every possible pepper!

Add some tomato paste if you think it's too spicy. 

I'm not going to do a canning tutorial here. Check out this site or others for information on how to can.

This post has been shared at Miz Helen's Canning and Preserving Foods

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Hamsters (Breaded Chicken Roll-ups)

Printable Recipe

  • 8 oz cream cheese, softened
  • 1-2 cups frozen California Mixed Veggies, parboiled for one minute
  • 1/2 t pepper
  • 2-3 chicken breasts, cooked and shredded
  • 3 tubes refrigerated crescent rolls
  • 1 cup breadcrumbs
Cooking Directions
  1. Mix cream cheese, veggies, pepper and chicken together.
  2. Roll out crescent rolls.
  3. Place ~1 to 1/2 T chicken mixture into the center of a crescent and wrap it up, sealing the edges.
  4. Roll the hamster in breadcrumbs.
  5. Place on cookie sheet.
  6. Bake at 375° for about 20 minutes.
Easily serves 4.

Serve with the following gravy:

Hamster Gravy

  • 1 can Cream of Chicken Soup
  • 1/2 can milk
  • 2 t beef bouillon
Cooking Directions
  1. In a sauce pan, mix soup, milk and bouillon together.
  2. Cook on stoptop until hot, stirring occasionally.
  3. Serve over hamsters.
Holly’s Note:

To freeze:  place unbaked hamsters on a cookie sheet and freeze until firm.  Wrap and store in freezer bags.  To cook frozen hamsters, thaw and bake as directed.

It’s really good for having missionaries over for dinner. If you want to double it, don’t add more cream cheese, it gets runny. Just keep adding veggies and chicken and crescent rolls.

I think my brother-in-law actually came up with the name “Hamsters” because we thought that rolled up, they looked like headless hamsters. Kind of gross, but the name just stuck, at least in our family!

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Monday, February 23, 2015

Butterscotch Oatmeal Cookies

  • 1 1/2 cup flour
  • 1 t baking soda
  • 1/2 t salt
  • 1/2 t cinnamon
  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 cups uncooked oats
  • 2 cups butterscotch chips
Cooking Directions
  1. In small bowl, combine dry ingredients.
  2. In large bowl, combine butter, sugar, brown sugar, eggs and vanilla.
  3. Mix well.
  4. And add oats and chips.
  5. Stir in dry ingredients.
  6. Bake at 375 for about 10 minutes.

Holly's Note:
My husband calls these cookies, "Food Heroin". They are his absolute favorite. I once made them for an office open house and they garnered me a marriage proposal!

Monday, February 16, 2015

Chicken Enchilada Soup

Printable Recipe

  • 1 (14 oz) can Red Enchilada Sauce
  • 1 (14 oz) can Green Enchilada Sauce
  • ~2 cups cooked chicken, shredded
  • 1 T Cumin
  • 1 T Chili Powder
  • 1 T Smoked Paprika
  • 1/2 T Garlic Powder
  • 1 (14 oz) can whole kernal corn (undrained)
  • 1 (14 oz) can black or kidney beans (drained)
  • 2 (14 oz) cans diced tomatoes (3-4 cups fresh diced tomatoes)
  • 1 can water
Cooking Directions
  1. In your crock pot, stir together all ingredients.
  2. Cook on low for 8-10 hours.
  3. Top with shredded cheese and whatever garnishes you like (sour cream, cilantro, etc.).
  4. Serve with tortilla chips.
Serves 6

Holly's Note:
I found the original recipe at  Eazy Peazy Mealz and immediately it sounded delicious. I modified the recipe like I always do and this recipe reflects my changes. I cooked some chicken and shredded it, but I didn't include the cooking as part of the recipe. I'd also use leftover cooked chicken another time.  I left out the coriander and I used more paprika and made it smoked paprika, not plain. I always drain my beans and used kidney, not black because The Doctor doesn't like black beans. I also used my homemade Red Enchilada Sauce but bought a can of green.   

This was a hit with my family. Easy, tasty and perfect for a wintery evening!

Friday, February 13, 2015

If you Give a Mom a Muffin

If you give a mom a muffin,
she'll want a cup of coffee to go with it.
She'll pour herself some.
Her three year-old will come and spill the coffee.
Mom will wipe it up.
Wiping the floor, she will find dirty socks.
She'll remember she has to do laundry.
When she puts the laundry into the washer,
she'll trip over shoes and bump into the freezer.
Bumping into the freezer will remind her she has to plan supper.
She will get out a pound of hamburger.
She'll look for her cookbook
(How to Make 101 Things With a Pound of Hamburger.)
The cookbook is sitting under a pile of mail.
She will see the phone bill, which is due tomorrow.
She will look for her checkbook.
The checkbook is in her purse,
which is being dumped out by her two year-old.

Then she'll smell something funny.
She'll change the two year-old.
While she is changing the two year-old, the phone will ring.
Her five year-old will answer and hang up.
She'll remember she was supposed to phone a friend to come over for coffee.
Thinking of coffee will remind her that she was going to have a cup.
She will pour herself some more.
And chances are,
if she has a cup a coffee,
her kids will have eaten the muffin that went with it.
Original Poem by Beth Brubaker

Monday, February 9, 2015

Chocolate Vanilla Wafer Dessert

Printable Recipe

  • 1 box vanilla wafer cookies, crushed
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted
  • 3/4 cups butter
  • 2 squares unsweetened chocolate
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 3 eggs, separated (whites together/yolks together)
  • 1/2 gallon vanilla ice cream
Cooking Directions
  1. Mix cookie crumbs with melted butter.
  2. Set aside 1 cup.
  3. Press remaining crumb mixture into the bottom of a 9 x 13 pan.
  4. In a double boiler, melt 3/4 cups butter and chocolate together.
  5. Stir.
  6. Add powdered sugar.
  7. Beat the egg yolks and add them to the chocolate mixture.
  8. Stir.
  9. Remove from heat.
  10. Beat the egg whites and fold into the chocolate mixture.
  11. Pour chocolate mixture over cookie crumbs.
  12. Slice the ice cream and place slices over the chocolate mixture.
  13. Sprinkle reserved cookie crumbs on top and freeze.
Holly's Note:
This is our traditional Christmas Eve dessert. My mom makes it every year and it is my favorite dessert. It's perfect for any time of year!

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Thursday, January 15, 2015

TBT: Conversation at our House

Girls have liked The Artist since pretty much pre-school. This was a conversation he had with his Dad back in 4th grade.

The Doctor: "How was your day at school J?"
The Artist: "Fine. The girls said I was handsome."
The Doctor: "The girls said you were handsome?"
The Artist: "Yes, they said I was handsome and then they chased me because they said they wanted me and so I dashed away."

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Monday, January 12, 2015

Victoria Sponge Cake

  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup flour
  • 3 eggs
Cooking Directions
  1. Cream butter and sugar together.
  2. Add eggs, mix well.
  3. Add flour, mix til blended.
  4. Pour into a greased 8 x 8 pan.
  5. Bake at 375 for about 30 minutes.
Serve plain or frost with Homemade Frosting.

Holly's Notes:
This recipe came from my British mother-in-law and is the base for The Doctor's Christmas Trifle, which I really need to get posted. The Boy, however, loves this cake plain, straight out of the pan. He can eat the whole pan himself.

It's yummy and easy and often requested at our house. Flavor-wise it's very reminiscent of pound cake.

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Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Conversation at out House

The Artist: "Mom, guess what I found in the gutter!"
Mom: "What?"
The Artist: "A really old penny."
The Boy: "Yeah, it was from 1980."
Mom: "Really old, huh?"
The Artist: "Oh, yeah!"
Mom: "Do you know how old I was in 1980?"
The Boy: "14."

1980. Really old. Yep. That's me.

Monday, January 5, 2015

Chocolate Andes Mint Cookies

Printable Recipe

  • 3/4 cup butter, softened
  • 2 T water
  • 2 cups chocolate chips
  • 1 1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/4 t baking soda
  • 1/2 t salt
  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 box Andes Mint Wafers
Cooking Directions
  1. Partially melt chocolate chips in butter and water.
  2. Pour into a mixing bowl.
  3. Add brown sugar, eggs, baking soda, salt and flour.
  4. Mix well and chill for one hour.
  5. Roll into balls, about 1 T in size.
  6. Bake at 350 for about 10-12 minutes.
  7. Remove from oven and place 1/2 of an unwrapped Andes Mint on each warm cookie.
  8. Swirl it as it melts.
A doubled recipe makes about 5 dozen cookies. You'll need one box of mints for each recipe.

Holly's Note:
I see a lot of recipes  like this one that call for chocolate cake mix. Cake mix cookies are convenient, but they're a cop out. Seriously. This one is amazing and really easy. Try it!

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Saturday, January 3, 2015

Weekend Reflections 1/3

Looking outside....it's cold, but sunny. It's been in the teens or lower all week.

Listening...to blissful silence.

Loving...a warm home, a fireplace and people to share it with.

Thinking...that 2015 is building on 2014. I'm emotionally and physically spent and the year has barely begun. 

In my kitchen...a cup of hot chocolate. Always. Today, I am enjoying Boudin sourdough toast with it though. It's a treat. We can't get good sourdough in Idaho, we must ship it in from San Francisco. My sister did just that last week. 

Wearing...red penguin pajamas and a black turtleneck, because that is my standard winter lounge wear. Today my fuzzy socks are blue though...

Needing...motivation and hope.

Reading...I finished Love Unexpected by Jody Hedlund. Not sure what to start next.

Today...some canceled plans. Probably some errands. 

Hoping...for a miracle. Our 16 year old van is dead and we need to find a means of replacing it. 

Planning...school starts next week and it's The Brother's birthday as well. 

Gratitude...it's so hard to find things to be grateful for in the midst of trial and adversity, isn't it? But, that's when it's even more important to express gratitude. So today, I'm grateful for my family. Because without them, I would have nothing. 

From my world... 

I love Christmas cards. They're a wonderful affirmation that someone is thinking of you. Today that is very comforting to me.

What about you? What are you reflecting on this week? How has your week gone?