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Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Mashed Potatoes

Printable Recipe

Heat a pot of water until it's boiling.
Peel and chop however many potatoes you need.
Add them to the already boiling water.
Cook until the potatoes are done...15 minutes maybe?
Drain the potatoes.
Return the potatoes to the pot and place back on the burner. Stir the potatoes for a minute or until all remaining water is gone. I like to add minced garlic at this point.
Heat a good-sized chunk of butter (not margarine, because margarine is yucky) and a splash of real whipping cream (not milk, not water, not half and half: real whipping cream, preferably heavy whipping cream) together until the cream is warm and the butter melted.
Add the butter/cream mixture to the potatoes and mash it all together with a potato masher.
Season with Pepper.  Pepper is important.

Place it in a bowl, and serve. Preferably with a yummy gravy.

Holly's Note:
By adding the potatoes to the already boiling water, they absorb less water. By returning them to the hot pot after draining, you heat away any remaining water. Trust me when I tell you that this makes a big difference in taste and texture. When you heat the butter and cream before adding it to the potatoes, you don't cool them down and again, trust me when I tell you that it makes a difference. The cream alone makes a much better, much creamier mashed potato.

I like to add minced garlic after I've drained the water and put it back on the burner. 1-2 cloves, depending on your taste.  

My son calls them the best mashed potatoes in the world.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Andes Mint Chunk Cookies

Printable Recipe
~3 dozen cookies

1/2 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
1 t. baking soda
1 t. baking powder
2 t. vanilla
2 eggs
1 package Andes Creme de Menthe Baking Chips
2 2/3 cups flour

Cream together butter and sugars. Add baking soda, baking powder, vanilla and eggs. Stir until mixed. Add Andes Baking Chips and then flour. Chill for approximately 1 hour (I don't do this). Drop by spoonful onto baking sheet. Bake at 350 for ~8-10 minutes.

Holly's Note:
This recipe is found on the back of the bag of Andes Creme de Menthe Baking Chips. It was pretty good. I think that next time, I'd add some regular chocolate chips too.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Freezing Cookies

I don't like to freeze cookies. I do, however, love to freeze cookie dough. Just mix up your favorite cookie recipe like normal. Use a medium-sized scoop and place drops of dough on a cookie sheet or other kind of pan. Place that cookie sheet in the freezer for a couple of hours. Once the dough is frozen, remove from the pan and place in a storage container. I use an old Otis Spunkmeyer tub that came from an over-priced fundraiser at the school. However, it is perfect for storing your own cookie dough, after you've used the good, yet over-priced stuff.

When you want to bake cookies, simply preheat your oven to 325 and place the frozen dough on the cookie sheet. Bake for 16-20 minutes or until done.

You can have fresh-baked cookies any time, in any amount. Want a whole dozen? No problem. Want just 3 or 4? No problem. 

Holly's Note:
This is such a life saver. I normally bake one or two sheets of cookies and then just freeze the remainder of the dough.

I was asked to take some cookies to a church social this weekend and I just pulled out a bag of frozen Snickerdoodles, baked them up and delivered them.  My boys love eating the frozen cookie dough though, so often I think I have dough and then I go to get it and I don't!

I haven't found a recipe yet that doesn't work frozen or with the 325, 16-20 min combination.

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Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Chocolate Mint Bars

Printable Recipe
~16 bars

2 eggs, beaten
1/2 cup butter, melted
1 cup sugar
2 squares unsweetened chocolate, melted
1/2 t. peppermint extract
1/2 cup flour

Mix together, well. Pour in a greased 9 x 9 pan and bake at 350 for 20-25 minutes. Cool.

2 T butter, softened
1 T. milk

1 cup powdered sugar
1/4 t. peppermint extract
green food coloring (optional)

Spread on top of cooled brownie. This is a thin layer. Chill

Melt together:
~1 T. butter
1 square unsweetened chocolate

Stir in 2 T. powdered sugar. Spread over mint layer. Chill and store in fridge.

Holly's Note:
These are simply divine. Easy to make and yummy. Trust me when I tell you that it's really easy to eat the whole pan. Not that I've ever done that of course...

Saturday, September 13, 2008


Printable Recipe

1 cup shortening
1 1/2 cup sugar
2 eggs
2 3/4 cup flour
1 t. baking soda
2 t. cream of tartar
1/2 t. salt

Cream together shortening and sugar. Add eggs, beat together. Add dry ingredients, mix well. Chill dough for about an hour. Roll into balls, and roll those balls in a mixture of cinnamon and sugar: 2 T. sugar/2 t. cinnamon.

Bake at 350 for 8-10 minutes, or until lightly brown, but still soft.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

9/11 Never Forget

Where were you that September day?
Is your flag flying today?
Are you registered to vote in the upcoming election?
Have you forgotten?
Do you think it's important to remember?

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Lime Slush

Printable Recipe

Combine in a large sauce pan:
4 cups water
4 cups sugar

Bring to a boil and simmer for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool.

In a large 2-3 gallon container, mix:

1 small package lime jello
juice of two lemons
juice of two limes
7 cups cold water
1 large can (~48 oz.) pineapple juice

Add cooled, sugar water. Stir it all together and freeze. (A big plastic bowl works well for this.)

Every 8 hours, mash the mixture with a potato masher. Do this for several days, until the mixture is frozen, but slushy.

The key to this is mashing it for several days. The more you mash it, the fluffier it gets. You get more slush and more volume.

To use:
Mix 1 part slush with 1 part Sprite (lemon/lime soda).

We fill a 2 quart pitcher with slush and mix it with 1 liter of soda.

This recipe should make at least 4 large punch bowls (2 qt pitcher to 1 liter of soda).

Holly’s Note:
This is perfect for entertaining, especially church functions or receptions.

Marshmallow Fudge

Printable Recipe

1 can evaporated milk
4 3/4 cup sugar
15 oz. Hershey bar
2. pkgs semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 t. vanilla
chopped nuts, to taste
1 jar marshmallow creme

Mix chocolate, nuts and marshmallow creme. Combine milk and sugar and boil for not more than 5 minutes. Pour over chocolate mixture and mix together. Pour onto a greased jelly roll pan, spread and allow to cool. Cut into squares.

Holly's Note:
This is one of my mom's traditional Christmas treats. It's divine.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Root Beer BBQ Sauce

Printable Recipe

1 cup root beer
1 cup ketchup
1/4 cup lemon juice
3 T. Worcestershire sauce
1 1/2 T. dark brown sugar
1 T. molasses
1 t. liquid smoke
1/2 t. grated lemon peel
1/3 t. ground ginger
1/2 t. garlic powder
1/2 t. onion powder
1 T. honey
some soy sauce

Combine all ingredients in a heavy saucepan. Bring to a boil, stir occasionally. Reduce heat to medium. Simmer and sauce is reduced to about 1 1/2 cups--about 20 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Cool slightly. Transfer to bowl, cover and refrigerate. Can be made 2 weeks ahead of time.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Chicken Tortilla Soup

Printable Recipe
Serves 4-6

1 cup chopped onion
1 t. minced garlic
3 cups chicken broth
1 can diced tomatoes
1/2 t. chili powder
1/4 t. cumin
1 1/2 lb. boneless chicken breasts, cut into cubes
1 t. taco seasoning
1 t. Mrs. Dash Chipoltle seasoning
1 can corn, drained
1 can kidney beans, drained
2 T. cornstarch
1/4 cup cold water

In a large saucepan, saute the chicken in a bit of oil for about 5 minutes. Add onion, garlic, broth, tomatoes, spices and vegetables. Simmer for 10 minutes or until chicken is done. Combine cornstarch and water and add to soup to thicken it. Bring to a boil and cook for a minute or two.

Top with cheese and serve with tortilla chips.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Maple Glazed Ham

Printable Recipe

1 4-6 lb ham
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup maple flavored syrup
1 T. mustard

Mix it together and spoon it over your ham, the last 1/2 hour of cooking.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Beef Stroganoff

Printable Recipe
Serves 4-6

Round steak works well--probably a pound or two, I don't know. Cut it into strips and flour it, then brown it in oil or butter

2 c. water
4 beef bouillon cubes
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 can mushrooms, drained

Stir together and let simmer for an hour.

1 c. sour cream right before serving

Serve over noodles (1 box or 1 lb package: twistie or farfalle work well) and fret that it’s not as good as your mom's.

Holly's Note:
This is my mom's recipe and no matter what I do, it’s never as good as hers. So every time she visits, we have her make it for us!

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Maple Bacon Breakfast Muffins

Printable Recipe
Makes about 12 muffins

2 cups flour
8-10 bacon strips, cooked and diced
3 t. baking powder
1/4 t. salt
1 egg
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup oil
2/3 cup maple syrup

Combine flour, bacon, baking powder and salt. In another bowl, beat the egg, milk, oil and syrup. Stir into dry ingredients until just moistened.

Fill muffin cups about 2/3 full. Bake at 400 for 16-20 minutes or until done.

Holly's Note:
I like more flavoring, so I don't drain the bacon too well (I know, I know) and I add a bit of maple extract too. This recipe originally came from a Quick Cooking magazine.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Peanut Blossoms

1/2 cup butter, softened

1/3 cup peanut butter
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
1 egg
1 t. vanilla
1 3/4 cup flour
1 t. baking soda
1/2 t. salt

Cream together butter and peanut butter. Gradually add sugars. Mix well. Add egg and vanilla. Mix well. Add dry ingredients.

Shape dough into balls and roll in sugar. Bake at 375 for 8 minutes. Remove from oven and place and unwrapped chocolate kiss in the center. Press firmly and bake 2 minutes longer.


Holly's Note:

I've also done these in mini muffin tins. Just roll a small ball of dough, dip in sugar and place in a greased or lined mini muffin tin. Press an unwrapped chocolate kiss upside down into the dough. Bake at 375 for about 10 minutes. I actually prefer these cookies done this way.