Posts for Tips & Tricks Category

Cook Out Please

Dinner, Recipes, slow food, Tips & Tricks - Kayla - June 23, 2010

YEAH! it’s Summer! For me that means cook out’s! All around my neighborhood you can smell the delicious smoke of BBQ’s and smokers grilling their way to dinner perfection.

I grew up grilling and whether you consider yourself a griller or BBQ’r (yes there is a difference)  I think we can all agree if it’s cooked outside it’s better!

ok confession time…….. I am a pretty good baker, a decent cook, a seasoned canner, and a horrible griller! I am not sure if it is my impatient nature or my constant need to multi task which you cannot do while tending meat on a grill. What ever it is I have burnt everything from fish to the side of my house trying to master this backyard fair.

So I decided to bow out gracefully and just provide you with some links for your summer outdoor cooking!


BBQ pork rotisserie–Grilling/Main.aspx ·

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Cooking Shows, kitchen gadgets, Tips & Tricks - Kayla - April 22, 2010

Ok so I might be in the stone age but I don’t have a tv in my kitchen! I do have one with Tevo in the living room and have often record a cooking show to watch later. It never fails have to try out the recipe and find myself watching and pausing the show as I go running back & forth from room to room. Yes it is ok to allow yourself the mental picture and laugh at me now.

Imagine my surprise the other day when I came across this site while sipping coffee in my kitchen.  Food Tube is a whole world of self taping cooks with recipes to share. The wonder of it all is that I can get it on my netbook in my kitchen while I cook! My husband will be soooo excited not to have batter on his remote anymore.

I have only explored a few episodes and have a couple earmarked if you will for trial. I will let you know what I think. Maybe I am behind the curve here but I am excited non the less!

Anyone ever use this before? Any advise?

Heres to internet cooking!

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Tis The Season

EZ Baking, Recipes, Tips & Tricks, Uncategorized - Kayla - December 6, 2009

Ok ,so I have to admit while I like to cook all year long. I LOVE to bake at Christmas. Yes I am that girl with 15 bags of marshmallows, more chocolate squares than should be allowed, and all the assorted holiday tins from isle 7 in my cart. And that is just the day after thanksgiving trip to walmart.

It’s true  meer days into December my kitchen turns into something from a keebler elf factory scene.  Which leaves my entire house smelling amazing ,and my door bell ringing more often than usual from wood be taste testers that were just in the neighborhood. And while I might throw some extra flour in my hair and play up the complexity of my fudge recipe, I love every second of it.

So here are some of my favorite easy holiday baking recepies for this year! Put some in a tin for unexpected guest gifts or just eat them for yourself! As long as someone enjoys them I will be happy.

Pumpkin Gingerbread


  • 3 cups sugar
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 4 eggs
  • 2/3 cup water
  • 1 (15 ounce) can pumpkin puree
  • 2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Lightly grease two 9×5 inch loaf pans.
  2. In a large mixing, combine sugar, oil and eggs; beat until smooth. Add water and beat until well blended. Stir in pumpkin, ginger, allspice cinnamon, and clove.
  3. In medium bowl, combine flour, soda, salt, and baking powder. Add dry ingredients to pumpkin mixture and blend just until all ingredients are mixed. Divide batter between prepared pans.
  4. Bake in preheated oven until toothpick comes out clean, about 1 hour.



  • 3 cups semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1 (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts (optional)


  1. Place chocolate chips, sweetened condensed milk, and butter or margarine in large microwaveable bowl. Zap in microwave on medium until chips are melted, about 3-5 minute, stirring once or twice during cooking. Stir in nuts, if desired.
  2. Pour into well-greased 8×8-inch glass baking dish. Refrigerate until set.

Peppermint Brittle Recipe Pepermint Brittle


  • 2 pounds white chocolate
  • 30 small peppermint candy canes


  1. Line a large jellyroll pan with heavy-duty foil.
  2. Place white chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl. Heat in microwave on medium setting for 5 to 6 minutes. Stir occasionally, until chocolate is melted and smooth.
  3. Place candy canes in a plastic bag, or between two pieces of waxed paper. Using a mallet or rolling pin, break the candy canes into chunks. Stir peppermint into melted white chocolate. Spread evenly in pan, and chill until set, about 1 hour. Break into pieces by slamming pan on counter.

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Three things to do with one can of pumpkin pie mix

EZ Baking, Tips & Tricks - Kayla - October 25, 2009

This entry to the fall recipes actually includes three! I had a can pf Pumpkin Pie mix in the pantry that needed to be used & just started experimenting. What I found was that you can make a can of pie mix go along way. And the proceeds are delicious!

First we start off with a simple pumpkin cream cheese danish.

You will need:

  • A few spoon fulls of pumpkin pie mix
  • Cream cheese
  • Crescent rolls

What you do:

Mix the pumpkin with the cheese & spread in the rolled out crescent dough. Wrap the dough over the mix & bake as directed on the roll tube. Sprinkle with pie seasoning or cinnamon!

Ohh so good with coffee & a friend!

Well as you will notice you still have most of a can of pie mix left so lets get to it!

Yummy Pumpkin Spice Cupcakes with Autumn flavored frosting!

(Sorry no picture my family ate them all before I got my camera out. I guess that’s saying something!)

What you need:

  • 1 (15 ounce) can solid pack pumpkin 2/3 cup
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 (18.25 ounce) package yellow cake mix or spice mix (really any you have in the pantry will work)
  • 1 tbls pumpkin pie spice (unless you use spice cake in which case I would omit all together)
  • In a large mixing bowl, combine the pumpkin, eggs, sugar and oil; mix well. Add cake mix and pumpkin pie spice; beat for 2 minutes. Pour into a greased or lined cupcake pan. Bake at 350 degrees F for 18-22 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack completely before frosting!

    Autumn Frosting:

    • 1can of white frosting
    • 1block of ream cheese
    • Remainder of pumpkin pie mix
    • Pumpkin pie spice to taste

    Just start whippin until it’s fluffy, & tastes just the way you like it, which may require many spoon samples.  (Just  a note left over frosting is great on a graham cracker for breakfast! )

    Frost your cupcakes & enjoy with the ones you love by the fire with some hot apple cider!

    So there you go one can three recipes to warm your sole, fill your belly, & not take your entire day.-Happy Fall

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    Week Night Fav

    Recipes, slow food, Timesavers, Tips & Tricks - Kayla - October 13, 2009

    We are a busy family & one of my most trusted kitchen gadgets it my crock pot. So when I need a hearty family favorite with little effort I turn to my old friend crocky & whip up some french dips paired Fries, or salad, or whatever is in the fridge & my family thinks I am the coolest!

    Jenna French Dip

    One roast any kind

    One can beef broth

    One package pot roast seasoning (I likeMckormic )

    One can water

    Throw all in the crock pot  minus the rolls & cheese & cook on low for 8 hours

    When done shred meat & return to liquid. Fill each hoagie roll with meat & cheese. broil for a few seconds, you can also serve with onions or your mushrooms for some added kick.

     Use liquid from crock for dipping!

    I serve this dish with fries & it’s always a hit :) You can serve french dips with just about anything, and since the bread fills the plate you will most likely have left over meat you can reinvent for a new meal like beef pot pie, or beef quesadillas.

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    Fall Spooky Eats

    Recipes, Tips & Tricks - Kayla - October 7, 2009

    Fall means baking for our family. We love to create in the kitchen with our kids this time of year. Whether it is caramel apples, or spooky cup cakes there is always something to treat in our house  around Halloween. 

    I am going to try to post a new recipe each week that will thrill, chill, & fill your family through Halloween! To start us off My boys chose spooky haunted houses

    You will need:

    Graham crackers or gingerbread pieces

    Frosting ( I recommend a tub for gluing & several colors with decorator tips for the fine work)


    A base for your house

    Little imaginations to help

    How to:

    There reallyis no how too here! A hunted house can be any shape size or look, so just get creative & go for it. The best part of this crafty eatable creation is the time you spend doing it. So dig in & create with your kids. Don’t forget to buy your favorite candy to snack on & be careful with colored frosting’s that can stain.


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    Crowd Pleasing Smothered Ritos

    EZ Baking, Recipes, Tips & Tricks - Kayla - September 29, 2009

    This past week we had a large group in for a family wedding.  I took a night on the dinner schedule & had to feed 2o people. This was no prob with this quick recipe for smothered burritos that is always a crowd fav!

    What You’ll  need:

    1.5 lbs of ground beef

    1 chopped onion

    1-2 packages of tortillas

    1 large can Re-fried beans

    1 can sliced olives

    1large can pork green chili

    1lbs shredded cheddar cheese divided


    How To:

    Brown & drain beef, add onion & heat through (my hubby adds taco seasoning to his ground beef, but I just s&p) add beans to beef & stir until mixed. Fill shells with meat mix & half of the cheese. Place in pan & top with green chili, remaining meat, & olives

    Place in 425 degree oven covered for about 20 min, then uncover & let drown. I like them when they are a little crisp on the edges but be careful not to toast the bottoms or they will be hard to cut.

    Top with sour cream, lettuce &  tomato for a supreme burrito!

    These are great on a week night or game day! I usually just serve with chips & guacamole, & maybe a salad because they are so filling.

    *Try doubling the recipe, making  pan through the stages but don’t bake it freeze it & it will be ready to pull out and bake on a night when you are short on time.

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    Brown Bag Re-done

    healthy "fast" food, Recipes, Timesavers, Tips & Tricks - Kayla - August 24, 2009

    Whether you have a child heading back to school or you’re looking for a way to save a buck & eat healthier, sacked lunches don’t have to mean pb&j! Taking your lunch saves money & your waist line, and can be fun too.

    Check out some of these recepies  from www.parenting.comfor a wonderful brown bag surprise!

    A colorful, super-healthy lunch choice. Spread white bean dip on a whole-wheat or spinach tortilla wrap. Layer with lettuce, sliced tomato, cheese, thinly sliced cucumber (or pickle if your child is a fan), avocado and other favorite vegetables. Roll up the tortilla. Then slice into 4 1-inch cross-sections to make the wheels.

    While your child would no doubt enjoy diving into a meal of sticky sweet fruit leather, this guilt-free version offers nutrients and energy to keep her going for the second half of the school day.

    Spread blueberry or strawberry-flavored cream cheese on a whole-wheat tortilla wrap. Top with fresh blueberries or sliced strawberries and roll tortilla.

    This kid-favorite gets a healthy makeover to fuel your child’s busy body all day long. Make these the night before to save time in the morning. Top English muffin halves with jarred marinara sauce (if your child won’t object, add chopped steamed broccoli or spinach to the sauce.) Sprinkle pre-shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese on top. Bake at 350 degrees for 5 minutes. Let cool, then wrap up.

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    Chicken Pot Pie Home Made…Ok Almost

    My family loves my chicken pot pie! I get rave reviews every time I make it. It is so simple to throw together I often make it for new moms or sick friend, and get asked for the recipe every time.

    So I have decided to share it with you. Sharing this will certainly strip me of my credibility as a” cook “because it is just so simple, but I am willing to risk it!

    You will need:

    Two store bought refrigerator pie crusts 9″

    Can each of cream of Mushroom & cream of chicken

    1/4 cup milk or water

    Cooked chicken or turkey left over or purchased from the deli

    Bag of frozen mixed veggies

    One onion small & diced up


    To make:

    Pre  heat oven to 425

    Place one pie crust in pie plate on bottom set aside

    Mix soups , milk, veggies, onion, chicken & s&p to taste in bowl

    Fill Pie crust

    Top with second crust

    Cut steam slits in top crust

    Bake at 425 for 20 min or so (until crust is done & inside is bubbly)


    Use a cookie cutter to cut shapes in top crust before putting it on top

    Also try Cajun seasoning instead of s&p mmmm with a kick

    Mix it up & try any filling you like, you cannot go wrong when its warm & creamy between pie crust

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    Tip of the day

    Tips & Tricks - Kayla - August 17, 2009

    Try adding one store bought item to your dish! It really isn’t cheating if it saves you  time & you get to enjoy your cooking experaince! Short cuts are ok!

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