Cinnamon and Sugar Pretzels

These are not a new concept. There's a ton of recipes out there for them. But they're fun, easy, and a nice sweet crunchy treat. Plus, I almost always have pretzels on hand so it makes a quick & fun treat to take around. And hence, they must have a home on my blog. :)

16 oz bag of pretzels (usually small twists, but big ones are fun, too)
2/3 cup canola oil
1/2 cup sugar
2 tsp cinnamon

In a small bowl, mix oil, cinnamon, and sugar. Place pretzels in large bowl and pour mixture over top, stirring to coat evenly. Pour onto a cookie sheet and bake at 300 for 10 minutes. Remove and stir and cook an additional 10 minutes. Remove and stir again, then cook an additional 10 minutes. So there is 30 minutes total cooking time. Allow to cool, then store in a sealed container. Mine usually cool & go straight into little holiday cellophane bags for neighbors. :)

Note: when I made these to post, I was out of twisty pretzels and only had the snaps. I prefer to the twisty ones. The square ones are a lot of pretzel and (to me) didn't taste quite as good. I thought they had a slight burnt taste to them because there's so much more pretzel to them. They were okay, but the others have turned out better for me. So I prefer the twisty ones to the squares. Just my opinion.

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Rolo Pretzel Turtles

My kids LOVED helping with this recipe. It was super easy and they taste great.

I'm not going to lie. This isn't a new concept. The recipe is all over the internet and on the back of the Rolo bag. But, since I use this blog as my portable recipe box, it needs to be on here!

Pretzels (we used the Snyders snaps, they are square and not butter flavored)
1 bag of Rolos, unwrapped
Pecan halves (or you can use almonds, cashews, red & green m&ms)

Recipe makes about 50 turtles, depending on how many Rolos are in the bag.

First, you need to toast the pecans. At 350, toast the pecans on a cookie sheet for 4 minutes. Stir them around and toast another 4 minutes.

Meanwhile, place all the pretzels -salt side down is my preference (it's prettier)- on a cookie sheet lined with parchment. Kids loved this part, too. Then place all the Rolos, fat side down, in the center of each pretzel. Bake at 350 for 3 minutes. Remove and immediately place a pecan in the center and press down gently. Not too hard or the caramel oozes out. If you don't like pecans, use an M&M, almond, cashew, even Reese's pieces candy. Let cool.

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Applesauce Cookies

from Jean

I got this great recipe from my neighbor. My husband LOVES these cookies. They nearly disappeared before I got a picture! I won't lie, they aren't the prettiest cookies. They're not your typical rolling out or roll-into-balls cookies. But they are flavorful and you won't be disappointed.

Cream together:
1 cup shortening
2 eggs
1 1/2 cups sugar

Mix together:
2 cups applesauce
1 tsp soda

1 tsp cloves
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp salt
1 tsp nutmeg
4 cups flour

Mix all together. If desired, add nuts or raisins or chocolate chips. We prefer not to put anything in it. We just like a light frosting on top. I will say that chocolate frosting on these cookies is best. I thought a regular cream cheese would be best, but the chocolate balances out the flavors and the cloves perfectly. Find the recipe here. The chocolate recipe is at the bottom of the post.

Drop by spoonfuls onto cookie sheet. I haven't needed to grease the cookie sheet. This recipe makes about 4 dozen depending on the size of your spoonfuls. Mine made 3 1/2 dozen but my cookies could have been a little smaller.

Bake at 400 for 10 minutes. I promise, you don't want longer than 10 minutes. :) Cool and frost lightly with chocolate frosting. These aren't like sugar cookies where you go crazy with the frosting. ;) A little goes a long ways. I didn't thin my frosting down. I think the consistency was fine with the regular recipe.

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Chicken Pot Pie

I am reposting the recipe because it has been on the blog for over 2 years and I took some new pictures. Plus, I've found making individual pot pies rather than 1 big one helps them cook better.

Click here for the recipe. I just used the dough from a previous batch and let them thaw all day to room temperature.

Roll out one crust and place it in the bottom of 9 inch pie dish. Roll out top crust and leave until your filling is done.

2 chicken breasts, thawed
Salt and pepper

Place chicken in glass baking dish and sprinkle with salt & pepper. Cover with foil. Bake chicken at 350 for about 40-45 minutes or until done. Cut up all veggies while chicken is cooking. After chicken is done, put chicken on cutting board to cool. After it is cooled, cut up into desired chunks. (Note: I've found that baking the chicken keeps it much more moist than boiling it. If you don't care, then just boil it or for even quicker cooking time, cook it in a George Foreman grill and sprinkle with the salt & pepper. This takes about 15 minutes but it's a little crisper on the edges.)

1 1/2 cups water
1 1/2 Tbsp chicken soup base
1 cup potatoes, cubed to desired size
1/3 cup carrots, chopped to desired size
3 Tbsp celery, chopped into itty bitty pieces
A couple shakes of dried minced onion

Individual foil pie dishes
(Recipe makes 5)

Boil all veggies until they are still firm, but close to done. If needed, add more water if the veggies are absorbing a lot of the water. Add 3 Tbsp to 1/4 cup cream of chicken soup. Add more chicken soup base if needed to taste. Add salt -if needed- and pepper to taste. Stir in until blended, with a taste check afterward, of course! :) (If you want your pie more runny/juicy add a little extra soup/water.) Let cool slightly. Add in chicken and pour into pie dishes. I buy the foil individual pie dishes. They come in a pack of 6. I just reuse them and wash them in the dishwasher! Super easy. The pies cook better as individual rather than one big one.

Put top crust on top and flute the edges. With a sharp knife, cut about 4 slits in the center to let steam escape.

Bake at 425 for 15 minutes. Lower oven temperature to 350 and cook for an additional 10 minutes or less... just until golden brown. (I got mine a little too golden this time... as you can see in the picture.) Maybe a little foil around the edges? I've done that for other pies, so I guess it would work for this, too.
Let set up for about 5 minutes and then serve.

Note: You could do other veggies if desired. I'm not a pea or green bean person so I opted for potatoes, celery, and carrots. If you do peas, cook them separately and throw them in at the end with the chicken. I guess you could do frozen veggies, but I've found that fresh tastes soooooo much better. It's worth all the effort to cut it all up and have it taste so yummy.

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Raspberry Trifle

I had this dessert at a baby shower and literally couldn't stop eating it. It was amazing. Should have known the secret was homemade custard! My friend was kind enough to share the recipe and took a picture of the beautiful layers as well. As great as the picture is, it doesn't do it justice. The flavor is so good and you'll find yourself licking the bowl to get the last bit of custard! ;)

from Renée

This recipe is by French Canadian cook Jean Paré

1 White cake mix, 2 layer size
Raspberry Jam

2 2/3 cup Milk
1/4 cup custard powder (Birds Eye... see link below)
1/4 cup sugar
1/3 cup Milk
3/4 tsp vanilla

1 Pkg. 15 oz frozen raspberries in syrup, thawed, syrup reserved

Whipped Cream
1 cup whipping cream
1 tbsp sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla

Make cake mix according to directions on box using 2- 8 inch round cake pans. Cool completely. Slice cake layers in half horizontally to make 2 thin layers each. Spread 2 layers with 1/4 cup jam each. Cut all 4 layers into cubes.

To make Custard:
Heat 2 2/3 cups milk in heavy saucepan on low heat until it simmers. (This is a slow process. Do not heat on high heat or it will burn your milk)

Stir custard powder and sugar together well in a small bowl. Mix in 1/3 cup milk and vanilla. Stir slowly into hot milk until mixture boils and thickens. Cool completely.

To Make Trifle:
Drain syrup from raspberries in bowl and reserve.

Spread 1/2 the cake cubes in bottom of 2 quart glass bowl. Pour 1/2 the raspberry syrup over the cubes. Sprinkle with 1/2 the raspberries. Spread 1/2 the custard over raspberries. Repeat with remaining cake cubes, syrup, raspberries and custard. Chill until cold.

Whipping Cream:
Beat cream, sugar and vanilla in small bowl until stiff. Spread over top layer of custard.


Servings 6-8

*Note: Birds Eyes Custard Powder is a British/Canadian Product. I have not been able to find it in the grocery stores in States. But you can order it online at this website:
Or through

*You can substitute vanilla pudding for the custard but it definitely does not compare to a homemade custard!! :)

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Aunt Lettie's Lemon Cake

I FINALLY got a picture of this yummy cake. So this is a re-post of an older post. The picture doesn't do it justice. I have take this cake to MANY a community/school/family function and have yet to not be asked for the recipe. It's that good. It is so simple. Totally my style!

from Aunt Lettie
-this was a family staple at family reunions and many family gatherings... so yummy

3/4 cup oil
4 eggs
3/4 cup water
1 small pkg (3 oz) lemon jell-o

Blend in blender. Add yellow cake mix. (Lemon can be used if desired). Blend until mixed well. Pour into greased/floured 9x13 pan. Bake for 30 minutes at 350. Poke cake all over with fork while cake is still hot.

Mix 1/2 cup lemon juice (I just use the ReaLemon concentrated stuff) and 2 cups powdered sugar. If you want your cake less juicy, half the lemon juice and powdered sugar. Pour over cake. And let cake cool completely.
It was near impossible to get a good picture of this cake. It is good the first day, but the second day, it is AWESOME!

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Sunshine Jello Salad

I originally found this recipe about 2 years ago and have loved it. It is perfect to take to family gatherings and there's almost never anything leftover. It's a great salad to take for funerals, too. My kids love it. I only changed 1 thing -leaving out the pineapple- from the original recipe, but left everything else. It is easy and always a crowd pleaser.

1 (6 oz.) orange Jell-o2 cups boiling water

1 cup mandarin orange and pineapple juice, reserved from the canned fruit

1 (6 oz) frozen orange juice concentrate

1 (3.4 oz) lemon pudding mix

1 (8 oz) carton of whipped topping

1 (20 oz)can pineapple tidbits, drained reserving juice (I don't use the pineapple, just the juice)

1 small can mandarin orange (I think these are like 8 or 10 oz), drained reserving juice

Mix boiling water and jello together for 2 minutes. Mix in frozen orange juice concentrate until dissolved. Mix in reserved 1 cup mandarin orange and pineapple juice. Add fruit. (If you don't include the pineapple like I do, you can use 2 cans of mandarin oranges so there are more oranges. I prefer to just use the pineapple in something else & take the juice and only use 1 can of oranges. I've never had any complaints.)

Put in a 9 x 13 dish and refrigerate until set. So that the oranges are well distributed throughout the salad, I carefully take a spoon and arrange the oranges in the pan. I usually do this while it is sitting in the fridge. Otherwise, when you move it from the counter to the fridge, all your "hard work" is out the window. ;)

Make pudding according to package directions. Pour over set jello and refrigerate for 5 min.

Drop whipped topping in several mounds on top of pudding layer and carefully spread. Look at those beautiful layers!

Note: I usually make this a day ahead. However, I do the jello part the night before and let it set up overnight. I also make the pudding and put it in a bowl. The morning of, I just take a paper towel and dab any water droplets from the jello if there is any. Then, just before I take it, I put all the layers together. It has seemed to be the most smooth process for transport and freshness.

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Roasted Red Potatoes

I realize this probably isn't anything new to anyone out there. And it isn't new to us either, but I've had people ask how we do this and I figured it was time to post it on the blog. This is about the easiest thing to do with red potatoes. A little olive oil, some seasoning, and the oven. I originally posted a recipe for cottage potatoes that is similar to this, and we do those potatoes with olive oil now as well. Much healthier and the flavor is awesome! (Just a note, you can do the same with zucchini and it is great! It takes a little less time to cook is all.)

Red potatoes
Olive Oil
Seasoning (There are a ton of different seasonings out there. Ours is a herbed parmesan mix)

Cut up red potatoes. I usually do them in quarters. In a bowl toss, potatoes, olive oil, and seasoning. I drizzle the olive oil 2 or 3 times in a circle, toss it and check to see if it is coated. You don't want to overcoat but you don't want to undercoat it or they won't cook well. Sprinkle seasoning over top and stir until covered and you have the desired amount covering all the potatoes. A little goes a long ways. It is more of a live & learn thing for how much seasoning is just right. But I'd say about a tablespoon is close for us. Maybe a little more or less depending on how many potatoes you have. We usually have a lot of potatoes.

Spread potatoes over cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. You can do it without, and it makes one side a little crunchier, but the parchment makes it so much easier to take the potatoes off without scraping. Plus, you're pan is cleaner, too. :)

Bake at 450 for 35 minutes.
We like it with bbq chicken, but it is great with any entree!

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Crispy Southwest Chicken Burrito

I got the idea for our crispy burritos here. I tweaked it to fit our family. We've made them several times now & changed one thing here or there. And they've been amazing every time. Hope you enjoy them, too.

This recipe made 12 burritos total. We made up as many as we needed the first day and then used the leftover ingredients for more the next day.

Chicken, cooked & shredded (instructions below)
1 can Mexican RoTel (it has lime & cilantro)
1/2 pkg Taco Bell taco seasoning
1 pkg Knorr Rice Sides Spanish Rice
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed well
Uncooked tortillas, as many as you need for your family
Shredded cheese
Sour Cream
1 can Green Chile Enchilada Sauce

In crockpot:
2 lbs chicken (I use mine from frozen)
1 can Mexican RoTel
A little water to cover the bottom of the crockpot

Cook on high for 3 hours.
Do not drain the juices. Push the rotel into the crockpot and remove chicken. Shred chicken with forks and return to crockpot. I always add about a 1/2 pkt of Taco Bell taco seasoning and stir until all the chicken is coated. Put the lid on and let the crockpot "keep it warm."

On the stovetop:
Cook 1 pkt of Knorr Rice Sides Spanish Rice according to pkg directions. Let sit when it is done. It's okay if it cools off a little.

On the griddle:
Heat griddle to 400. Cook tortillas according to pkg directions. It is usually about 30 seconds on each side. Ours are from Costco and are Tortilla Land brand. I can cook 2 at a time on our griddle. Don't turn off the griddle. You're going to use it soon to "crisp" the burritos. Keep it at 400 degrees.

Now it is time to build the burrito. Place the tortilla on a plate. Starting at the bottom of the tortilla, add:
spoonful of rice
spoonful of chicken
few dollops of sour cream
spoonful of black beans
Sprinkle with shredded cheese

Carefully wrap it up and place seam side down on the griddle. Once that side is "crisped," rotate to the back side, and continue with the remaining 2 sides.
I can do quite a few burritos at a time on the griddle. I just build the other burritos while the others are "crisping."

Serve hot with green chile sauce on the side. We use a spoon and drizzle it on!

I couldn't get a good picture of a cross section of these and didn't think about it until they had cooled off. But this gives you an idea....

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Snickerdoodle Cookies

I got this recipe from a lady in my community. I had one of these cookies at an open house and couldn't stop eating them! Had to have the recipe! So glad she shared! Here's a link to her recipe blog. She's got great stuff on there. We'll definitely be trying out some of her recipes.

The great thing about these cookies is that they aren't flat like all other snickerdoodle cookies I've had. They "stand up." They're super soft and so good!

In a medium bowl, combine 1/2 cup sugar and 2 tsp ground cinnamon...

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

In a large mixing bowl, combine:
1 cup butter, softened
2 1/2 cups sugar

Beat until light and fluffy.

4 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 1/2 Tbsp water

Beat until combined.

6 cups flour
2 tsp cream of tartar
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt

Mix well.

Shape dough by rounded tablespoonfuls. You can do them any size. (I made mine larger sized and baked for 11 minutes. I got 8 cookies to a pan.) Drop dough in cinnamon sugar mixture and roll around to coat the ball of dough. (I prefer to use a ziploc bag and shake!) Place on a cookie sheet. I use parchment paper. Bake 10-12 minutes or until they are golden brown. Cool on a wire rack. If there are any left, store in a tight container.

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Corn Bread

I've been looking for a good corn bread recipe for a long time now. I found this last year and we've been making it ever since. However, I didn't realize it wasn't on the blog until somebody asked me for the recipe. This is where I found the recipe. I love this recipe blog and have made several recipes from her site.

½ cup cornmeal
1 ½ cup flour
2/3 cup sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
1/3 cup oil
3 tablespoons butter, melted
2 eggs, beaten
1 ¼ cup milk

Add dry ingredients, make a well and add oil, butter, eggs, and milk into the center. Stir until just mixed (batter will be runny – don’t be alarmed!). Bake in an 8” square pan at 350 degrees for 35 minutes. (This doubles perfectly for a 9X13-inch pan.) I prefer to make an 8" pan for just my family, but if I am taking it somewhere, I either make 2 - 8" pans or I put it in a 9x13. Personally, I think 2 - 8" pans cook better.

Honey Butter:
2 sticks butter, softened
1/2 cup honey
1/2 cup marshmallow fluff

Whip all together with an electric mixer and serve at room temperature (can be refrigerated and softened). This honey butter is so good! Mmmm......

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Sweet Crescent Rolls

5th recipe from Emily

3/4 cup milk
3/4 cup water
1/2 cup white sugar
1 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
5 teaspoons active dry yeast
5 cups all-­‐purpose flour
1/2 cup margarine, melted

1. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, warm milk, water, sugar and salt. Remove from heat, and mix in the eggs and yeast.

2. Measure flour into a large bowl. Make a well in the flour, and pour milk mixture into it. Do not stir. Cover with a lid, and let stand for 20 to 30 minutes.

3. Pour melted margarine into flour, and mix well. Add more flour if too sticky. Knead lightly. Cover, and let rise for 20 to 30 minutes.

4. Shape the dough into crescent roll shape and place a little bit of butter in the middle before you roll it. Place on a baking sheet. Let rise again for 20 to 30 minutes.

5. Bake rolls in a preheated 400 degrees F oven for 15 minutes, or until done.

Approximate Prep Time: 20 minutes
Approximate Cooking Time: 70 minutes (rise and cook time)

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Beef Fajitas

We were craving fajitas one night, but we didn't have a seasoning packet. I turned to the internet and I found this homemade seasoning recipe. I cannot even find it again. It was in really random place. But I had all the ingredients on hand for it, so it is the one I used. And boy it did not disappoint.

We used homemade salsa and fresh tortillas (the kind you heat up on the skillet yourself). They really contributed to a restaurant-style fajita. I doubt I can eat a regular tortilla again. Mmmmmm...... What a fabulous meal it was! Just thinking about it again makes my mouth water. ;)

Fajita Seasoning
1 1/2 teaspoon Cumin
1/2 teaspoon Oregano
1/4 teaspoon Salt
1/4 teaspoon Red pepper
1/4 teaspoon Black pepper
1/8 teaspoon Garlic powder
1/8 teaspoon Onion powder
2 Tbsp juice from a fresh lime
Small Dash of worcestershire

Cut steak into fajita strips. Pour seasoning over steak in a ziploc bag. Zip bag and rub seasoning all over meat. We didn't let it marinate. We didn't have time. We just cooked it. But it worked out just fine. You can add peppers and onions if desired. We cooked the onions in a separate pan to caramelize. Once the steak is cooked, pour off the juices and continue cooking steak to "dry it out" a little (not really dry, but not soggy meat pieces). Serve with desired toppings.

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Hashbrown Pie

This is a re-post of a much much older post. I finally took a picture of it. It is difficult to get a good picture of any casserole, but oh-well. The taste is great. It is an all-in-one dish meal & always a kid and husband favorite. We're not huge casserole fans, but on busy nights, this dish is easy to throw together.

from a cookbook at a bed & breakfast in Utah

1 bg frozen hashbrowns
1 lb browned hamburger
1 can corn
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 can cream of mushroom soup
½ cup sour cream
½ pkg Lipton Onion Soup
Shredded Cheddar Cheese

Put about 1” of hashbrowns in bottom of greased 9 x 13 casserole dish. You can do more. I’ve just found that 1” to 1 ½” works well. That way the layers are even. Brown hamburger with Lipton Onion Soup and a dash of pepper. Layer hamburger on top of hashbrowns. Add corn. Combine soups & sour cream. Pour over corn. Sprinkle with cheese. Cover with foil. Bake at 350º for 45 to 60 min. Let sit a few minutes before serving.

Lo-fat tip: Use ground turkey and yogurt sour cream.

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