This and That

Hello all,

I have been avoiding this blog for a while, most of the summer anyways. First just haven’t felt like writing and I was avoiding it for other reasons. We had a lot of fun with both of the fairs this summer and just still unpacking stuff… Seems like an endless project! I am loving our new home!!! We had a huge party for my grandpa’s 80th Birthday. Had about 50 people at the party. I met a lot of cousins I have never met before, so that was really great! I made my grandpa an active volcano cake. It took a lot of work and thinking about how to make it come together. But we manged the best we could with what cake pans I have unpacked so far… I have been doing a lot of volunteer time with the U of I food safety program these past 2 months and have had a lot of great questions! I love talking and helping people with their food questions! I haven’t been to active with Community Cakes. Seems like they have a lot more bakers that take all the cakes, which is fine with me. My health is declining anyway and I am not sure how much more I can do. On Oct. 4th I am having back surgery, and I am scared to death! I have to be off my sarcoid meds for 3 weeks and that scares me too, I don’t want to relapse.. After surgery I can not lift, bend or twist for 6 weeks, and I am not happy about this. I have never had to stay down this long. The only thing I am looking forward in Oct. to is being able to pass out Halloween candy this year. We haven’t been able to for so long, because of where we lived before. I do have a lot of thing’s on my mind, very stressful thing’s about my family, but I can’t write it here. Whenever I do write about it seems like they always get upset with me. I am not trying to hurt them, I just need to vent sometimes… This has turned out to be not the best place for that… The only thing I will add is that my brother and I are still not talking. We saw each other at grandpa’s party but avoided each other. I will say that I do love my brother very much and am sorry for the way things are between us. It grieves my heart and seems like this will never end. I pray for all of them, since that’s all I can do. So many bad thing’s happened between us that I don’t think we can ever really mend anything. This whole mess just makes it hard on the kids and I love them so very much… I feel misunderstood and letdown by all this… If Dave or anyone else reads this just know that I am sorry and I forgive you… I hope someday Dave you will understand… I’m sorry I didn’t mean to write so much about this..I long for heaven…. Love ya all… Mandy…

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Posted by on September 24, 2012 in Uncategorized


Soft Frosted Sugar Cookies

Hello everyone,

I am still here, I just haven’t felt like blogging much. But I did promise I would post this recipe. I hope you enjoy it as much as we have! 🙂

Soft Frosted Sugar Cookies:

For the cookies:

4-1/2 cups all-purpose flour

4-1/2 tsp. baking powder

3/4 tsp. salt

1-1/2 cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature

1-1/2 cups granulated sugar

3 large eggs

5 tsp. vanilla extract, or seeds from 2 fresh vanilla beans

For the frosting:

5 cups powdered sugar

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter melted

1 tbsp vanilla extract

4-6 tbsp. whole milk

Combine cookies ingredient’s together until you have a soft dough. Refrigerate dough for about 2 hours. Roll dough out on a clean surface dusted with powdered sugar. (Dusting with powdered sugar instead of flour help’s keep your cookies from becoming to tough.) Use any desired cookie cutter’s, but I like using a smaller round one. Place cookies 2-inches apart they can spread a bit. Bake in a 350 degree oven until cookies are just set. Cool completely before icing.

To make frosting: Beat all ingredient’s together until smooth.You can use food coloring if you want to. Frost cooled cookies.

I just wanted to update everyone on my health. I am doing ok. So far the methotrexate hasn’t killed my liver, yet…I have had some really good days and some really bad ones.. I really like my new Sarcoid Dr. He really knows what he’s doing, and it’s really an added bonus that he has his own lab. I don’t have to drive to the hospital lab to get my bi-monthly blood draws. Some of my blood levels have been off a bit and I had to increase some meds… Which is a bummer. We are still just working on unpacking boxes, some days I can’t do anything other days I can get a lot done.. I just have to take one day at a time..:)

Until next time…



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Posted by on May 28, 2012 in Cookies


Caramel Apple Spice Cupcakes

Hello Everyone,

Here is a really good cupcake I came up with the other day. I wanted to make something different for my monthly U of I Master Food Safety class. Which by the way was great, a lot of great information was covered today. Here is the yummy cupcake recipe for you all to enjoy!

Sour Cream Spice Cake:

2-1/4 cups all-purpose flour

1-1/2 cups packed light brown sugar

1 cup sour cream, not light or fat-free

1 stick unsalted butter, 4.oz. Softened

1/2 cup water

2 tsp. ground cinnamon

1-1/4 tsp. baking soda

1 tsp. baking powder

3/4 tsp. ground cloves

1/2 tsp. ground ginger

1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg

1/2 tsp. salt

2 large eggs

In a large mixing bowl beat all ingredient’s together on low-speed for 30 seconds, scraping bowl constantly. Beat on high for speed for 3 minutes. Bake cupcakes at 350 degrees, for 15-18 minutes. Makes about 30 cupcakes. Cool completely before filling and frosting.

Apple Pie Filling:

3-1/2 cups finely chopped apples, soft apples work better for this recipe

3/4 cup plus 2 tbsp. granulated sugar

1/4 cup clear jel

1 tsp. cinnamon

1/2 cup cold water

3/4 cup unsweetened apple juice

3 tbsp lemon juice

In a medium saucepan over medium-high heat whisk all ingredient’s together expect the apples and lemon juice. Bring mixture just to a gentle boil, then add apples and lemon juice. Cook on low heat just until apples are tender. Pour into a bowl and cool completely in the fridge.

Cinnamon Buttercream and Topping:

4 cups sifted powdered sugar

2 sticks unsalted butter, 8oz. softened

3-4 tbsp whole milk

2 tsp. vanilla extract

1/4 tsp. popcorn salt

2 tsp. ground cinnamon

Jarred Caramel sauce.

In a mixer combine all ingredient’s and beat until smooth.

To assemble cupcakes, cut a small hole out of the center of each cupcake with a small spoon, and save cake for another use. Fill each cupcake with about a teaspoonful of filling. Pipe or spread cinnamon buttercream on cupcakes. Drizzle caramel sauce over each cupcake.





I know I have been gone awhile, and I’m sorry about that. I had foot surgery 2 weeks before Easter, and I felt lousy! We did have Easter dinner in our new home and it was great! My mom, step-dad and my grandparent’s came over for the afternoon. We had a lot of really good food and conversation! I will post a cookie recipe later that I made that day. They were so good!!!

Well I better be of for now, I’m getting tired… Had a long couple of days..

Until next time..

Amanda 🙂

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Posted by on April 21, 2012 in Cupcakes


Chili Macaroni

Hello Everyone,

Here is a recipe I have made so many times I could make it blindfolded! Ok so maybe not blindfolded, but I have made it many times and never the same way twice! You will find in different parts of the country that it’s called by different names. American Chop Suey, and goulash are the other two names people call it. I have always called it chili mac, because to me it’s a mixture of chili, with macaroni added. It is my favorite one pot dish! Many years ago when I worked in home health, we had a client that lived with us and this was his favorite dish! He would eat 3-4 plate fulls of it and then would complain his stomach was too full! I would think well duhh, you ate too much! Sometimes you can’t tell people what to do! Wow, that was a long time ago!!! So here is the recipe, I finally took the time to write it all down, instead of just throwing it all into the pot! 🙂

Chili Macaroni:

1-1/2 lbs. ground beef

1 large yellow onion, chopped

1 large green bell pepper, chopped

2 celery stalks, chopped

4 cloves garlic, minced

1 (15 oz.) can tomato sauce, low sodium

1 (14.5 oz.) can fire roasted tomatoes, chopped

1-1/2 cups low sodium beef broth

3 tbsp chili powder, more or less to your taste.

1 tsp. salt

1 tsp. black pepper

2 cups uncooked macaroni

Heat a large cooking pot, brown the beef in batches, breaking it up with a wooden spoon. Cook just until brown. Add in the onion, bell pepper, celery and garlic, cook until the onion and celery are tender, on medium-low heat, about 10 minutes. Stirring the mixture every couple of minutes. Add in the tomato sauce, tomatoes, broth, chili powder, salt, and pepper. Bring to a boil on medium heat, then add the 2 cups uncooked macaroni. Turn heat to medium-low, and cook until macaroni is tender and some of the liquid is evaporated, I leave the lid off. Adjust seasoning’s to your taste. Sometimes I add a can or whole kernel corn, sharp cheddar cheese, canned beans and sliced black olives. Enjoy! 🙂

I know it’s been awhile since I have posted, I have been really sick. My last Dr appt she told me I am anemic, and had low vitamin D. I have been in so much pain, that all I have been able to do, is some laundry, dishes, and I try to do some sweeping. I can’t believe, how simple little chores can be very hard on me or I can’t do them at all. I can’t go on the floor on my knees, because it’s very painful and sometimes I have a really hard time getting back up. One of these days I’m afraid I will fall and break my leg, back, or my hip, then I’ll be up the creek without a paddle… My feet are completely numb, whenever I walk around the house I wear house slippers, because if I don’t I step on stuff and can’t feel it. That’s part of the reason I don’t drive much anymore. Hopefully someday I will get better, but it my future doesn’t look to good. I have thought about moving into an assisted living home at times. I feel like a burden on Ray and my family can’t help or don’t want to. I don’t hear from them too much, except for a few of them. I know they are all busy with their lives, and some are sick, so maybe that’s why I don’t hear from them.. Well sorry for sounding sad, I just needed to vent a little I guess..

Until next time, if there is a next time…


P.S. I do really love our new home! It’s really nice to have all this space!!!

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Posted by on March 9, 2012 in Meats, One-Pot Dishes, Pasta


Classis Shrimp Cocktail

Hello Everyone,

Here is a wonderful recipe I made for our Valentines dinner. It’s from my wonderful friend and blogger Mary from Apron Strings and Wedding Rings..

Classic Shrimp Cocktail:

24 large shrimp

1 lemon cut into wedges

3 tbsp. Italian parsley

1 small yellow onion, cut into wedges

6 whole black peppercorns

1 tsp. salt

enough water to cover shrimp

Place shrimp in a large sauce-pot. Place all above ingredient’s in pot and cook on medium-high heat just until shrimp is pink, about 4-5 minutes. Make sure when you clean the shrimp to leave the tails on! Drain shrimp and chill until ready to serve.

Cocktail Sauce:

1 cup chili sauce

3 tbsp. lemon juice

1 tbsp. horseradish

2 tbsp. minced yellow onion

1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce

1/4 tsp. salt

1/8 tsp. Tabasco sauce, optional

1 tbsp. minced Italian

Mix all ingredient’s together, taste and adjust seasoning’s, if desired. I served this in a Martini glass and it was delicious! Here is the picture of this plus a few more of our Valentines dinner. One picture doesn’t look the best, but it sure tasted good!


I know I haven’t posted much at all this month. I have been really sick. I saw my dr yesterday and I am anemic, and my vitamin d is really low. So, I have to take a lot of vitamin d now.. Low vitamin d causes a lot of pain, and I have been in a lot of pain… It’s been terrible.. I haven’t been able to do much, our Valentines dinner is about the only food I have cooked.. Hopefully in a week or so, I’ll get better!

Until next time..

Amanda :)


Jalapeno Popper Pizza

Hello Everyone,

I made this pizza for the Superbowl. Ray wouldn’t eat it so I ended up eating the entire pie! Within two days!! 🙂 I did make him a different pizza, I’ll list the ingredient’s below.

Jalapeno Popper Pizza:

Pizza Dough:

1 package active dry yeast

1 tsp. honey

1 cup warm water (110-115) degrees

3 cups all-purpose flour

1 tsp. salt

1 tbsp. olive oil

Dissolve yeast in water, and add remaining ingredient’s expect 1 cup flour and mix until you have a smooth dough. Knead in the rest of the flour. Let rise for 30 minutes. The dough is ready when it will stretch as it is lightly pulled. This dough will make 2, 8-10-inch pizza’s.

For the toppings:

Jalapeno pizza:

Garlic sauce:

4 oz. cream cheese, softened

3 cloves garlic

1-2 tbsp. milk

Blend all 3 ingredient’s together until smooth and creamy.

Pepper jack cheese, shredded

pickled jalapeno slices

Panko bread crumbs

Roll out dough to an 9 inch circle, spread garlic sauce on dough and sprinkle with some cheese. Layer as many jalapeno slices as you like on pizza. Top with more cheese. Then sprinkle with about a cup of Panko bread crumbs. (I used the Panko to add extra crunch to the top of the pizza.) I use a pizza board to make pizza’s on, (sprinkle the board with cornmeal), it will slide better onto the stone, then slide the pizza onto a HOT baking stone. If you don’t have a pizza board or stone you can use a cookie sheet. Crank up your oven to 500 degrees, and it will take the pizza about 10-12 minutes, watch closely so it won’t burn. It will take a little longer on a cookie sheet, about 20 minutes.




I made Ray a BBQ chicken pizza. All I did was use the same dough. Then spread some BBQ sauce on dough, sprinkle with cooked shredded chicken, then sprinkled with extra sharp cheddar cheese. You can add some thinly sliced red onion if you like, I didn’t because I didn’t have any. He loved it!




I know it’s been two weeks since my last post, but Ray and I both have been sick. First he was sick for 3 days with a cold, then I got some kind of flu. I was so sick I ended up in the ER. They tried to get an IV in my arm and they ended up poking me 8 times! They needed to draw blood, and got some from two spots but my veins kept collapsing. I was very dehydrated. They did end up putting an IV up in my shoulder, weird place but it worked.

Well better go for now…

Until next time..

Amanda 🙂

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Posted by on February 10, 2012 in Pizza


Sage Cornmeal Biscuits

Hello Everyone,

Several years ago at the county fair, I was getting the items for the judges in my department. We were on to the baking powder biscuits class and someone had entered these in that class. The judges loved them and I got to taste a little bite of them. It dawned on me that I had this recipe! It’s in my Taste Of Home special breads publication. These biscuits are really good! The judges gave the person 1st place for them! Also if you’re looking for a different way to use up that leftover sage from Thanksgiving, here is a recipe for you.. 🙂

Sage Cornmeal Biscuits:

1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 cup cornmeal

3 tsp. baking powder

1/2 to 3/4 tsp. rubbed sage

1/2 tsp. salt

1/3 cup unsalted butter

3/4 cup whole milk

In a bowl, combine the first five ingredient’s. Cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Stir in milk just until moistened. Turn onto a lightly floured surface. Roll to 3/4-inch thickness: cut with a floured 2-inch biscuit cutter. Place 2-inch apart on ungreased baking sheet. Bake at 450 degrees, for 10-12 minutes or until browned. Serve warm.

I had the MRI the other night and oh man did I hate it. The tech gave me headphones to listen to music but it didn’t help much. They even blow in air now, so you don’t feel like your suffocating. The tech had to help me sit and stand up, because after 20 minutes in that tube I literally could not move.. Should get the results this week sometime.. Well getting sleepy better go…

Until next time..

Amanda 🙂

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Posted by on January 28, 2012 in Breads, Breakfast