Friday, October 31, 2014


Happy Halloween!  Won't be long before the neighborhood will be full of little ones (and some big ones) running around in their costumes eager to get their "treats". I do so enjoy seeing all their happy faces and usually darling costumes. But until then, I am sharing a new recipe that my husband and I really liked...Calico Beans.

"When a bowl of pork 'n beans grow up, this is what it wants to be. Each bite is a chuck-wagon blend of bacon, beans, and a brown sugar sweet sauce." That's how Hy Vee describes these Calico Beans in their Seasons magazine.

I tore the page out and have been wanting to make them for weeks, but you know how that goes. But I finally did yesterday.  My husband really liked them and said they would be good to take to a pot luck.  He's right.  They are perfect for that.  The recipe does make quite a bit and we may be tired of them by the time we finally finish eating them.  But I could be wrong.  They are that good. I added a pan of cornbread and we had a perfect dinner.


l     lb lean ground beef
6    strips of bacon
1    medium onion, chopped
2    (15-oz each) cans dark red kidney beans (I used the light red kidney beans)
1    (15-oz) can great Northern beans
1    (15-oz) can pinto beans
1    (15-oz) can lima beans
1    (15-oz) can butter beans
2    (15-oz each) cans pork and beans in tomato sauce
1    cup packed brown sugar (I used 1/2 cup brown sugar blend)
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1    tablespoon mustard
1/4 cup ketchup

In a large skillet, cook ground beef over medium heat until browned. Drain grease and remove ground beef from pan; pour into large slow cooker.

In the same skillet, cook the bacon until browned. Drain off the excess fat from the bacon (place on paper towel). Cut or break bacon into 1/2-inch pieces.  Add to slow cooker.

Drain all of the beans except the pork and beans. Add to the slow cooker.

Add the brown sugar, apple cider vinegar, mustard, and ketchup to the mixture and stir.

Cook on low for 6 hrs.

I decided to make a pan of my best cornbread in the world but added 1 cup of drained whole kernel corn.  It was just what the beans called for. You can find my recipe for my cornbread HERE.

Thursday, October 30, 2014


This apple pie recipe I am sharing with you today was made by Friend Sharon. Finding the recipe in Quick and Delicious Gourmet Cookbook by Ideals, she has been making it for years. In the cookbook, she wrote "Very, Very GOOD" and it was.


Bottom Crust

Crumble and pat in bottom and sides of a 9 - or 10 - inch pie plate:

1 - 1/2    cups flour
6            tablespoons butter
1/4         teaspoon salt

Combine and put in lined pie plate:

5           cups chopped pared apples
1            tablespoon lemon juice
3           tablespoons flour
3/4       cup sugar
1            teaspoon  cinnamon
1/4        teaspoon salt

Top Crust:

1/2         cup butter
1/2         cup brown sugar
1/8         teaspoon salt
1             cup flour

Cream butter, sugar, and salt until fluffy.  Cut in flour until lumps form, then sprinkle over top of pie.

Bake at 375 degrees for 55 minutes.

Cool before serving.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014


I LOVE THESE COOKIES!!!!!! And they are so easy.  Looking at the four main ingredients might make you wonder if the recipe is going to work, but it does.  

I needed something to take to share with the office staff on Monday when I went to get my two new crowns. So far they had liked the banana bread (HERE) and the chocolate zucchini cake (HERE) I had taken them. I wanted to take something made with apples (I have some apples I need to use soooon!), but when I saw this recipe in Lia Wilson's Quick Fixes with Mixes, I forgot all about the apples. These cookies can do that for me.  

I have made them from scratch for years, but I just had to try this recipe using the cake mix. The recipe called for a Swiss chocolate cake mix, but I didn't have one.  I also like using a sugar-free devil's food cake mix whenever I can to reduce the amount of sugar. The whipped topping I used was also sugar free. So my cookies are sugar free except for the powdered sugar.  


1        Sugar-Free Devil's Food cake mix
1        egg
4        ounces frozen whipped topping, thawed (half of an 8 - oz container)
1/4     teaspoon peppermint extract
powdered sugar, sifted (a couple of spoonful) 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Spray cookies with cooking spray.

In a large mixing bowl, combine cake mix, egg, whipped topping, and peppermint extract.

Blend on low speed until thoroughly mixed. (The mixture will be very thick.)

Using a cookie scoop (1 tablespoon size), measure out a scoop of dough 

and roll in the powdered sugar
to completely coat.

Place on cookie sheet 2 - 3 inches apart.

Bake for 10 to 12 minutes.

Remove cookies immediately after removing cookie sheet from oven or cookies will stick to cookie sheet.

Cool on wire rack.

I made 31 cookies.

It turned out that only one of my two crowns worked.  Dr. G didn't like one of them and is having it remade.  That means I have to go back again.  He promised me he didn't make that decision just so I would come back and bring something else good to eat. 

Tuesday, October 28, 2014


This Chicken Enchilada Dip is one that Friend Darlene is well known for. The group enjoyed it when Friend Linda made it for a gathering back in the summer. I didn't get to share it right away and then I forgot that Darlene had sent me the recipe. I found it when I decided to clean up (delete) some of the texts I had on my phone last night. I was so surprised and so happy. I am sure Darlene has wondered why I hadn't shared it. (So sorry, Darlene. Please forgive me. Also, I am sorry I didn't capture a really good picture of it.)  


3      4.5 oz cans Swanson's White Chicken Breast
1       can Campbell's Healthy Request Cream of Chicken Soup
1       pkg.  (8 - oz) Philadelphia Cream Cheese (1/3 less fat)
1       medium onion, diced
1/4    up Old El Paso Jalapeno Slices (pickled) or to taste
1       cup Kraft 2% Sharp Cheddar Cheese, grated (Darlene used Kraft grated Mexican is a combination of cheeses and taco seasoning)
1/4   teaspoon (rounded a little) garlic powder

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Mix all ingredients together.

Spread evenly in baking dish (that you will be using to serve it in) and bake for 30 minutes.

Serve with Tostitoes, Wheat Thins, or veggies. (Darlene likes celery sticks the best)

Monday, October 27, 2014


Our quilting group decided to get together for an afternoon of canasta at Dorothy's recently.  After having several days of really beautiful Indian Summer days, we woke up to rain in the early morning hours.  The forecast had been for early rain and temperatures in the higher 60s. But with only a couple of hours of that glorious sun midmorning, the clouds moved back in and so it was a perfect afternoon to just stay in with friends and play cards.

If you follow my blog, you know that I love to play games. You also know I enjoy winning. Well, the last two or three times we have played, I have not been on the winning team. So "winning" was definitely on my mind that morning when I was getting ready to go.  

I make a big deal out of whether I win or not, but I have to admit, winning or losing, we always have a fun afternoon when we gather. We also always have dessert....a good dessert.  And this time was no different. And as usual Dorothy was prepared for me. She knows I usually will just take a picture of the recipe. Well, this apparently is a favorite recipe of hers by the looks of her recipe card. Sweet Dorothy had rewritten the recipe on another card for me to take a picture of because she hated for me to have to take a picture of her "well-worn" card.

The Raw Apple Dessert was the perfect conclusion for the afternoon.  I know it is one I will have to make sometime soon.



1       cup sugar
1/4   cup butter or margarine
1       egg, beaten
1       cup flour
1       teaspoon cinnamon
1/4   teaspoon nutmeg
1       teaspoon baking soda
1/2   teaspoon salt
2      cups diced raw apples
1/2 - 1 cup chopped nuts

Caramel Sauce:

1/2    cup brown sugar
1/2    cup white sugar
1/2    cup butter or margarine
1        cup evaporated milk

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. 

Prepare the cake:

Cream together the sugar and butter til smooth.

Add the egg.

In a separate bowl, sift together  the flour cinnamon, nutmeg, baking soda, and salt.

Add the dry ingredients to the wet mixture.

Fold in the apples and nuts.

Spread in a 9 inch square pan.

Bake for 45 minutes. Cool.

Prepare the sauce:

Combine the ingredients in a saucepan and bring to a boil and boil for 5 minutes, stirring.

Allow to cool.

Cut the cake into 9 squares. Can serve with or without sauce. 

Oh, btw, we won by quite a bit, but they were gracious losers.

Saturday, October 25, 2014


"Pretty good.  Taste like gingerbread."  That's the response I got from my son Patrick when I asked him how the bread tasted. You see I didn't get a chance to try it out since it only made 2 mini loaves and I gave both of them to them when we visited recently. When they told me banana bread was Granddaughter Madison's favorite, I decided that was something I could easily make - and -take when we went to visit.  It's so funny...she always has to unwrap the loaf or loaves to see what the bread looks like.

This recipe is another one from the Secrets of Fat-Free Baking cookbook.  With no oil or eggs and using whole wheat pastry flour, this is another nutritious bread with only 99 calories per serving.

I decided I wanted to make the recipe again this time to share with the volunteers at Hillcrest Thrift Shop.  I mixed the pictures together for this post. I wanted to see if I thought it tasted like gingerbread. (Maybe just a hint. I think it is probably the combination of the whole wheat flour and the nutmeg. It is pretty good, if I say so myself.)


2         cups whole wheat pastry flour
1/4      cup brown sugar
1 - 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4     teaspoon baking soda
1/4      teaspoon ground nutmeg
1          cup mashed ripe banana (about 2 large)
1/3      cup honey
1/4      cup skim milk

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.  Spray one 8 x 4 - inch loaf pan or two mini-loaf pans with cooking spray.

Combine the flour, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and nutmeg, and stir to mix well with a whisk.

Add the banana, honey, and milk, and stir just until the dry ingredients are moistened.

Spread the batter in the pan(s).

Bake for 45 to 50 minutes (40 to 45 minutes for mini-loaves) for the single loaf or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the loaf comes out clean.

Remove the bread from the oven and let sit for 10 minutes.

Invert the loaf onto a wire rack, (I just had to take a picture - it was so pretty)

turn right side up, and cool before slicing and serving.

Friday, October 24, 2014


After the Tasty Bunch met for our monthly gathering at a new restaurant in Smithville called KoZak's Laketown Grill, we went back to Patricia and Gary's house for dessert and more socializing.  I had asked Gary at dinner when I was trying to decide what to order to eat, what we were having for dessert. So I knew we were having fresh apple pie that Patricia had made. The restaurant named by combining the owners' sons', Kody and Zack, names was very chic looking and decorated with original artwork by the owner on display.  I think all 8 of us ordered something different from the menu....all very good. Since the Royals were playing baseball that night, we were happy to be able to keep up with the game with the televisions in the bar area.

Patricia pulled out the cookbook, Entertaining by Martha Steward from 1982 to show us the recipe. While Martha made her own pie crust, Patricia said she just always buys the rolled up pie crust and uses them. She said she liked the taste of them and besides they were so much easier to use. 

Patricia served the pie with vanilla ice cream for those who wanted some. Either way, everyone really enjoyed it.



8 to 9 tart apples, peeled, cored, and sliced
           Grated peel of 1 lemon
           Juice of 1 lemon
1/2      cup sugar
1          teaspoon cinnamon
3         tablespoons butter, in small pieces

Pastry for a double crust.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Fit the bottom pastry into 9 - inch pie plate.

Fill pie shell with sliced apples. Mound them up high.

Sprinkle with lemon peel and juice, sugar, and cinnamon.

Dot with butter.

Cover with pastry top, making vents, sealing and crimping rim.

Bake 45 minutes, or until crust is brown.

Cool before slicing.

Thursday, October 23, 2014


The trees are all in their glory right now on our street. I should say the maple and ash trees.  The sweet gum and oaks on neighboring streets are procrastinating, but it won't be long. The temperatures are great with highs in the 70s and maybe even 80s before the week is over.

Tuesday when I went to Hillcrest Thrift Shop I was almost late. My husband and I decided to enjoy the sunshine and warm temperature by walking around the block to also enjoy the color and stopped to talk to two different neighbors we hadn't met. Fortunately I had baked my cake before I even ate breakfast that morning. 

The last few days I have been making some breads from the Secrets of Fat-Free Baking cookbook, but decided to go back to Lia Wilson's Quick Fixes & Mixes cookbook to find a dessert to make Tuesday morning. I actually had three different recipes I wanted to make and had a hard time making up my mind.  I finally decided to go with the chocolate one.  Don't worry I will be making and sharing the other two real soon.

As I said, I got to the thrift shop about 10 minutes before my shift started.  Mark was getting up to leave the room, but sat back down when he saw me come in.  Kim, who works the first shift at the register, had brought an Apple Butter Crunch Cake to share and they had eaten almost half of it. (I took a picture of my "helping" and will be sharing it tomorrow. It was really good, too.) They all found room to enjoy my cake also and had nothing but praises for it. (Yes, there were  a couple of pieces left at the end of my shift that I brought home so my husband could try it.  He really liked it!)


2 - 1/2   cups mini marshmallows
1             cup packed brown sugar
1/2         cup cocoa powder
2            cups hot water
1             devil's food cake mix 
1 - 1/3    cups buttermilk (I used 1 %)
3            eggs
1/3         cup oil
2            teaspoons cinnamon
1             teaspoon vanilla
1             (1 ounce) square unsweetened chocolate, melted
1/2         cup pecans, chopped and toasted (I didn't toast mine)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Grease and flour a 9 x 13 - inch baking pan.

Sprinkle marshmallows evenly in the bottom of the pan.

In a medium bowl, mix sugar, cocoa, and hot water. 
Pour over the marshmallows.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the cake mix, buttermilk, eggs, oil, cinnamon, and vanilla on low speed.  Slowly add the melted chocolate during this. (The chocolate hardens quickly when it hits the cooler mixture.  It combines with the mixture better, if you slowly add it to the mixture.)

Increase the speed to medium and beat for 3 minutes. Scrape the sides of the bowl as needed.

Carefully spoon the batter over the marshmallow mixture.  (This is a little tricky.  DO NOT just dump the batter in the pan. I added the batter with my rubber spatula so I could "drag" it over the mixture as it dropped. You don't want the marshmallow mixture to come up over the cake batter. It will make a pudding-like frosting on the cake when you flip it out of the pan.)

Bake for 45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the top half of the cake comes out clean.

Remove the pan from the oven and let it cool for 20 to 30 minutes on a wire rack. (I rested mine 25 minutes.)

Run a knife around the inside edges of the pan and then turn the cake out of the pan onto your serving tray.

Use a spatula to smooth frosting if necessary. I had just a couple of places where the frosting stayed in the pan, but it removed easily and I just filled it in the empty places on the cake. (I think my frosting is so dark because I had to use a little special dark cocoa to make a full 1/2 cup cocoa required for the recipe.)

Sprinkle pecans evenly over the top. (The pecans hide the uneven look it had when I took it out of the pan - above picture.)

I thought I would share some pictures of the color we are enjoying.

The view up the street. (My phone didn't do justice with the red tree in the center. It just takes your breathe away when you see it.)

Two of the trees in our front yard from across the street. The large maple is always later than the other ones in the neighborhood to turn.

The view of the ash tree from the other side coming out our front door. The purple was so pretty over the weekend. Ash trees are so beautiful in the fall. The inside leaves turn yellow while the outside leaves turn purple.

Hope you enjoyed seeing some of our fall color here in Kansas City.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014


For a change, I decided to make something just for us to eat.  This recipe attracted me because of the ingredients and the amount of calories (76) and amount of fat (0.5 g).  Hard to believe, isn't it?  

This cookbook, Secrets of Fat-Free Baking, by nutritionist Sandra Woodruff, contains "over 130 low-fat and fat-free recipes for scrumptious and simple-to-make cakes, cookies, brownies, muffins, pies, breads, plus many other tasty goodies". Most of the recipes have less than 1 gram of fat per serving. Every time I pick up the book and start flipping through the pages, I find another recipe that looks too good not to try.  Be prepared to see many more recipes from it. 


1-1/2    cups whole wheat pastry flour
1/2       cup oat bran
1/3       cup sugar
1           teaspoon baking powder
1           teaspoon baking soda
3/4      cup orange or apple juice (I used orange juice)
1/2       cup mashed ripe banana
1           teaspoon vanilla extract
1           cup coarsely chopped fresh or frozen cranberries

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray an 8 x 4 - inch loaf pan with cooking spray.

Combine the flour, oat bran, sugar, baking powder, and baking soda in a large bowl and mix well.

Add the juice, banana, and vanilla and stir til dry ingredients are moistened.

Fold in the cranberries.

Spread the mixture evenly in the pan.

Bake for about 45 - 50 minutes or just until a wooden toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Remove the bread from the oven, and let sit for 10 minutes.

Invert the loaf onto a wire loaf, turn right side up, and cool before slicing and serving.

I wrapped my loaf in foil and am storing it in the refrigerator.

Nutritional facts (per slice)

Calories: 76
Fat: 0.5 g
Protein: 2.2 g
Cholesterol: 0 mg
Sodium: 73 mg
Fiber: 2.5 g
Calcium: 12 mg
Potassium: 126 mg
Iron: 0.7 mg

Tuesday, October 21, 2014


I have found another new place to take my goodies.....Once a month the Miracle Ringers, our handbell choir at Platte Woods United Methodist Church, plays. Actually, Member Audrey is the one who thought of it. This summer when I posted a recipe on my blog, Audrey saw it and said I should share my goodies with the handbell choir when we play. I told her I would but reminded her that she would have to forego the doughnut she usually hurries to get beforehand. She laughed and said she would remember.

Sunday we played two beautiful songs. We all wore Royal attire to support the Kansas City Royals who have made it to the World Series for the first time in 29 years.  (Go Royals!!!!!) 

I found this recipe for Super-Moist Apple Bread in my Secrets of Fat Free Baking cookbook. The cookbook is by Sandra Woodruff, RD. This bread has only 89 calories per slice. Its other nutritional facts are:

Fat : 0.3 g
Protein: 2 g
Cholesterol: 0 mg
Sodium: 54 mg
Fiber: 2.2 g
Calcium: 13 mg
Potassium: 114 mg
Iron: 0.8 mg

When Sandra chose the name "Super-Moist"  for this bread, she chose the perfect name.  This is the most moist bread I have ever made and eaten. The choir members really liked it, too.


2       cups whole wheat pastry flour
1/2    cup brown sugar
1        teaspoon baking soda
3/4   cup apple juice (I used apple cider)
1        teaspoon vanilla extract
2       cups finely chopped apples (2 apples)
1/4    cup chopped dark raisins or chopped walnuts (I used the dark raisins but forgot to chop them)

Preheat oven to  325 degrees F. Spray an 8 x 4 - inch loaf pan with cooking spray.

Combine the flour, brown sugar, and baking soda in a large bowl.

Add the apple cider and vanilla extract and stir just until the dry ingredients are moistened.

Fold in the apples.

Fold in the raisins or walnuts if desired.

Spread the mixture evenly in the pan.

Bake for 50 to 60 minutes or just until a wooden toothpick inserted in the center of the loaf comes out clean.

Remove the bread from the oven, and let sit for 10 minutes.

Invert the loaf onto a wire rack,
turn right side up, and cool before slicing and serving.