No Empty Chairs: "Stout Hearts" around the Table

No Empty Chairs. . . "Stout Hearts" around the table.

Wanna Be A Stout... Eat, Don't Pout.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010


This is a Dearman family favorite that my most wonderful mother-in-law taught me.  I'm not exactly sure why, but I have had to actually call her and ask her for the recipe several times.  Okay, I give you permission to mock me as you scroll down and actually look at the recipe.  Yup, pretty pathetic that I can't remember it!

1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 cup butterscotch chips
1 can chow mien noodles

Melt the chips in the microwave in a glass bowl.  I like to do this gradually, like in 1 minute increments at 50% power, stirring after each minute.  Once it's melted, pour the chow mien noodles into the bowl and stir it till all the noodles are coated.  Then scoop onto wax paper in small bunches.  Once they've cooled and hardened, enjoy!

Kirt's Gingerbread house

I bought this cool molded pan to make a gingerbread house. I followed a detailed recipe and turned out great and it did look very beautiful. We sprinkled powdered sugar on it and then took it to some friends.

Kirt thought is was such a cool thing that he wanted to get in on the action. Over the next few days I think he ended making about 8 and taking them to different people.

He mixed a box of brownie mix with a devil's food cake mix, did the math to see how long to cook it, etc. They were all wonderful!

I got lazy and did a few just with a devil's food cake mix, and another chocolate cake mix. His were more solid and smelled really good.

Candy Cane Fudge

1 [12 oz] pkg chocolate chips
1 cube margarine or butter
1 lb powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla
2 eggs
1 crushed candy cane

Melt the chocolate chips and butter in microwave on defrost or medium heat. Stir throughout melting. In a separate bowl mix powdered sugar, vanilla and eggs, using electric mixer. Once melted, add chocolate mixture and continue mixing.  Place in greased 9x9 square pan.  Sprinkle crushed candy cane over fudge.  Refrigerate for approximately 2+ hours.  Cut and enjoy!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Christmas Cookie Buttons


* 1/2 cup butter, softened
* 1 cup all-purpose flour
* 3 tablespoons heavy whipping cream
* Sugar

* 1/4 cup butter, softened
* 3/4 cup confectioners' sugar
* 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
* 1-1/2 to 2 teaspoons heavy whipping cream
* 1 drop each red and green food coloring


* In a small bowl, beat the butter, flour and cream.

Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour or until easy to handle.

* On a lightly floured surface, roll out dough to 1/8-in. thickness.
Cut with a floured 1-1/4-in. round cookie cutter.
Place 1 in. apart on ungreased baking sheets.
Sprinkle with sugar.
Prick each cookie 3-4 times with a fork.
* Bake at 375° for 7-9 minutes or until set.
Remove to wire racks to cool.
* In a small bowl, combine the butter, confectioners' sugar, vanilla and enough cream to achieve desired consistency.
Remove half to another bowl; tint one portion of filling with red food coloring and the other half with green.
Carefully spread filling on bottom of half of the cookies; top with remaining cookies.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Christmas Bark

Gather these ingredients:

1 sleeve of saltine crackers
3/4 cup butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 pkg. of semi-sweet chocolate (I used BAKER'S and chopped it into smaller pieces)
1 cup of chopped peanuts

HEAT oven to 375ºF.

Step 1 - Base
LINE a cookie sheet with foil and lay out crackers in a single layer.

Step 2 - Toffee
COOK butter and brown sugar in small pan on medium-high heat stirring occasionally.

Bring to boil; cook 3 minutes stirring constantly.

POUR over crackers and spread evenly. BAKE 8-10 minutes.

Step 3 - Topping
REMOVE from the oven and immediately sprinkle with chocolate; let stand until chocolate is softened.

Spread chocolate evenly over crackers.

Sprinkle with nuts.

Cool. Break into pieces. Enjoy it.

Let me know if you like this- it is easy, very addicting and probably a million calories (yikes!)

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Samantha's Appetizers for Thanksgiving

Alison was only really interested in the goldfish crackers.

Samantha slept over the night before Thanksgiving.
She made puppy chow and then in the morning she set up a whole table full of appetizers for her family to snack on when they arrived a while before Thanksgiving dinner would actually start. She made ants on a log and ants on snow.
Mostly we just found random things in cupboards and she found lots of small bowls or platters or trays for displaying them.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Orange Salad

Orange Salad

In my family, we have this funny habit of calling things by their color.  We have a pink salad, green salad, orange salad...and we all know exactly what those are.  We used to have a couple of cars:  the red car, the white car, the blue car, etc.  People think it's funny, but to us, it's pretty normal.

1 carton cottage cheese
1 8 oz pkg cool whip
1 small pkt orange jello (as powder)
1 can mandarin oranges (drained)

Mix all ingredients together very well.  Chill in fridge for 1+ hours till you are ready to serve it.

Shaunika's Notes:
I like to use fat free cottage cheese and sugar free cool whip--and it's still so yummy!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Oreo Turkey Treat

This is just one of those things that Thanksgiving means to me! 
 It's tradition! 
I made these every Thanksgiving for years as a child. 
So this year, I passed on the tradition and made them with mine.

 Scrape the Oreos.
 Glop on some chocolate frosting.
 Put the cookies together like this and add a Whopper.
 Line up some Candy Corn.
 Add a Raisinette with a little frosting as the glue.
 Use Red Gel for the gobbler thingy.
Samantha had so much fun!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Samantha makes Puppy Chow

9 cups Chex type- rice cereal squares or Crisp-ix
1/2 cup peanut butter
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 1/2 c powdered sugar

--put the chocolate chips and peanut butter in a large glass measure-cup
--heat in microwave for 30-40 seconds at a time -stirring after each time, until the chocolate chips are melted and are all stirred into the peanut butter
--mix until smooth
--measure cereal into large plastic bowl
--pour chocolate-peanut butter mix over the cereal and stir to coat it
--put the powdered sugar in a large plastic bag, add the coated cereal and shake until it is all well coated
--if you have any left after people get a chance to eat it then store the left-overs in a plastic zip-lock bag

Gingered Carrots

This was a really easy way to dress up baby carrots.

Cook them in a pot with not too much water. When it starts to boil turn the pan off and leave the lid on to steam the carrots inside the pan.

In another pan melt 2-6 Tablespoons butter, (depending on how many carrots you have cooked) add 1 T fresh snipped parsley (or dried), grate about 1 tsp. fresh ginger into the butter.

Drain the carrots, put them in a bowl and pour the melted butter mixture over them.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Oreo Turkey

Open the Oreo cookie and scrape out the frosting. Use a bunch of chocolate frosting on the bottom cookie, and put a malted milk ball on it, then more frosting on the back cookie and arrange the candy corn for feathers. Dip a chocolate covered raisin in some frosting and stick it on top of the malted milk ball for the head. Use some red gel for a little turkey gobbler.

Amish Breakfast Casserole

It was fast Sunday so we didn't let it brown quite enough, but was so yummy.

1 pound bacon, diced (I used sausage)

1 medium onion
6 eggs -lightly beaten
4 cups frozen, shredded hash browns ( I used cubed)
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
1-1/2 c small-curd cottage cheese
1-1/4 c shredded Swiss cheese

( I also added 2 cups of shredded zucchini)

In large skillet, cook bacon and onion until bacon is crisp; drain.
In a bowl, combine the remaining ingredients; stir in the bacon mixture.
Transfer to a greased 9x13-inch baking dish. Bake , uncovered, at 350 degrees for 35-40 minutes or until set and bubbly.
Let stand for 10 minutes before cutting.

Yield: 12 servings.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Bread

Source:  Taste of Home:  Halloween Party Favorites
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
4 eggs
2 cups sugar
2 cups canned pumpkin
1-1/4 cups vegetable oil
1-1/2 cups semisweet chocolate chips

In a large bowl, combine the flour, cinnamon, salt, and baking soda.  In another bowl, beat the eggs, sugar, pumpkin, and oil.  Stir into the dry ingredients just until moistened.  Fold in the chocolate chips.  Pour into two greased 8x4x2 inch loaf pans.

Bake at 350 degrees for 60-70 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean.  Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pans to wire racks. 

Sam LOVES to bake and help in the kitchen!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Pumpkin Cookies with Penuche Frosting

1 cup shortening
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
1 cup pumpkin puree
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
2 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup chopped walnuts

-preheat oven to 350
-grease cookie sheets
-in a large bowl, cream together shortening, brown sugar and white sugar
-mix in pumpkin, egg and vanilla
-sift all dry ingredients and then stir into the creamed mixture
-stir in the walnuts
-drop by heaping spoonfuls onto the prepared cookie sheets

Penuche Frosting

3 Tablespoons butter
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 c milk
2 c powder sugar

-in a saucepan over medium heat, combine the 3 T of butter brown sugar
-bring to a boil and cook and stir for one minute or until slightly thickened
-cool slightly, then stir in milk and beat until smooth.
-gradually stir in 2 cups powdered sugar until frosting has reached desired consistency.

-spread on cooled cookies

Pumpkin Truffles

This recipe uses some gingersnaps and some graham crackers, both sprinkled on the tops and inside the truffle. You can probably tell that the ones with darker crumbs on top is the one with gingersnap crumbs.

Pumpkin Truffles

• 2½ cups white chocolate chunks
• 1/3 cup gingersnap cookie crumbs, plus more for garnish
• 1/4 cup canned pumpkin purée
• 1/4 cup graham cracker crumbs, plus more for garnish
• 1 tablespoon confectioners’ sugar
• 1/2 teaspoon orange zest
• 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
• Pinch of fine salt
• 2 ounces cream cheese, softened

• Melt 1/2 cup of the chocolate in the microwave for about one minute -- Stir often to keep the chocolate from burning
• Transfer to a large bowl
• Add gingersnap crumbs, pumpkin, graham cracker crumbs, sugar, zest, cinnamon, salt and cream cheese and beat with an electric mixer until smooth
• Transfer to a shallow bowl, cover and chill until just solid enough to roll into balls, about 2 hours.
• Line a large sheet tray with parchment paper

• Melt remaining 2 cups chocolate and transfer to a small, deep bowl.
• Roll 1 heaping teaspoon of the pumpkin mixture into a ball in your hands, then drop into the chocolate
• Working quickly, gently spoon chocolate over to coat
• Using a small spoon or fork, lift the truffle out of the chocolate, shake off excess and transfer to prepared sheet tray
• Dollop a bit of extra chocolate on any parts that remain exposed, then sprinkle a few gingersnap or graham cracker crumbs over the top
• Repeat process with remaining pumpkin mixture and chocolate, then chill truffles until chocolate is completely set, about 1 hour

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Pumpkin Bars

4 eggs
1 cup sugar
1 cup vegetable oil (I used ½ cup oil, ½ cup applesauce)
1 (15-oz.) can pumpkin puree
2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt
1 (8 oz.) cream cheese
½ cup butter, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 cups powdered sugar
In a medium bowl, mix eggs, sugar, oil, and pumpkin with mixer until light and fluffy. Add flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt. Stir into the pumpkin mixture until thoroughly combined.
Spread the batter evenly into an ungreased jellyroll pan. Bake @ 350° for 25-30 minutes. Cool before frosting.
To make the frosting, cream together the cream chesse and butter. Stir in vanilla. Add confectioners’ sugar a little at a time, beating until mixture is smooth. Spread evenly on top of the cooled bars.

Saturday, October 16, 2010


I made these today! They are so good and were such a hit! Thanks to my friend Yvonne for this awesome recipe.

Click here for Brookies.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Peppermint Melt-in-your-Mouth Cookies

These are really yummy!


• 1 cup butter, softened
• 1/2 cup confectioners' sugar
• 1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract
• 1-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
• 1/2 cup cornstarch

• 2 tablespoons butter, softened
• 1-1/2 cups confectioners' sugar
• 2 tablespoons milk
• 1/4 teaspoon peppermint extract
• 2 to 3 drops red food coloring, optional
• 1/2 cup crushed peppermint candies

1. In a small bowl, cream butter and confectioners' sugar until light and fluffy.
2. Beat in extract.
3. Combine flour and cornstarch; gradually add to creamed mixture and mix well.
4. Shape into 1-in. balls.
5. Place 2 in. apart on ungreased baking sheets.
6. Bake at 350° for 10-12 minutes or until bottoms are lightly browned.
7. Remove to wire racks to cool.
8. In a small bowl, beat butter until fluffy.
9. Add the confectioners’ sugar, milk, extract and food coloring if desired; beat until smooth.
10. Spread over cooled cookies; sprinkle with crushed candies.
Store in an airtight container.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Lemon Cream Pasta with Chicken

I got this recipe from, but after making it once, I made several changes that I thought worked better, so below is my version!


· 6 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves

· 1 lemon, quartered

· 4 teaspoons garlic powder, divided

· 2-3 garlic cloves

· 2 teaspoon ground black pepper, divided

· 4 (14.5 ounce) cans chicken broth

· 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice (I used a little less)

· 1 (16 ounce) package penne pasta

· 2 cups (1 pint) heavy cream

· 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest (optional)

· Fresh grated parmesan cheese


1. Squeeze lemon over both sides of the chicken breasts and season both sides using 1 1/2 teaspoons garlic powder and 3/4 teaspoon pepper. Bake for 40 minutes @ 350° (or just sauté in a skillet, until juices run clear and chicken is no longer pink inside).

*I used chicken from the freezer that I had already cooked and chopped. I just squeezed some lemon juice over it, sprinkled it with lemon pepper and garlic powder, and heated in a skillet.

2. Meanwhile, in a large saucepan, season the chicken broth with the remaining 1 teaspoon garlic powder and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Bring to a boil and add lemon juice and pasta. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally for about 25 minutes. Then drain remaining liquid. (*I just used the pan lid to drain the excess liquid).

3. Cut cooked chicken into bite-sized pieces and stir into cooked pasta, along with the cream and lemon zest. Cook, stirring, over low heat for 5 minutes. Sprinkle parmesan cheese on top. Remove from heat and let stand 5 minutes. Stir thoroughly before serving.

Makes about 6 servings.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Rice Krispy Treats

These are practically a staple item at my house. We all LOVE them!! I'm sure everyone knows how to make them, but I still wanted to add them to the blog.

3 T butter or margarine
6 cups Mini Marshmallows
6 cups Rice Krispies

In a large saucepan melt butter over low heat. Add marshmallows and stir until completely melted. Remove from heat. Add rice krispies cereal. Stir until well coated. Pour and press into lightly greased 9x13 pan. Cool, cut, serve, and enjoy!

A Little Side Note:
Since we make these so often, we like to change it up a bit sometimes.

When pressed into pan, sprinkle some chocolate or butterscotch chips on top. Put in the oven to broil for just a few minutes (long enough to make the chips melty, but not to burn the top). Pull pan out of oven and smear the chips into a frosted-like top coating. Cool and serve!

Sometimes I also add a few scoops of peanut butter to the melting marshmallows. Makes them so yummy!

GG's Jiffy Potatoes a.k.a. Funeral Potatoes

This is Grandma GG's recipe and she calls it Jiffy Potatoes. Most people call this dish Funeral Potatoes, but I didn't want to call them: GG's Funeral Potatoes. That sounded bad.

2 lb bag of Frozen Hashbrowns
1 can Cream of Potato Soup
1 can Cream of Celery Soup
1 can Cheddar Cheese Soup
1 small carton (8 oz) of Sour Cream
1 chopped Onion (optional)
2 cups of Buttered Bread Crumbs

Mix all the soups together in a large bowl. Stir in the sour cream and onions. Fold in frozen hashbrowns. Put in 9x13 greased baking pan, top with buttered bread crumbs. Bake at 325 degrees for 1 hour, 15 minutes.

To make the bread crumbs, I broke 3 pieces of bread into small pieces and put into a small bowl. I melted 4 tablespoons of butter and poured it over the crumbs. Using a fork, I mixed it around to make sure that all the bread was coated with the melted butter.
I tweaked this recipe ever so slightly. To see GG's exact recipe, click HERE.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Zucchini Carrot Cake

My good friend Rachel gave me this recipe. I made it over the weekend and we all loved it. My Dad even said it was better than carrot cake he had at a well known restaurant!

4 eggs

1 ½ cup sugar

2/3 cup oil

2/3 cup applesauce

2 cups grated zucchini

2 cups grated carrot

2 ½ cups flour

2 tsp. baking powder

2 tsp. baking soda

1 tsp. salt

1 cup coconut

1 cup chopped nuts (opt.)

Beat eggs w/oil, applesauce, and sugar. Gradually add the dry ingredients, zucchini, and carrots. Fold in coconut and nuts. Bake in greased jellyroll (bar) pan @ 350° for 30-35 min., or until cake tests done. This recipe can be halved and cooked in 9x13 pan for same amount of time.


6 oz. cream cheese

2 tsp. vanilla

6 Tblsp. Shortening

4 cups powdered sugar

Pumpkin Oatmeal Cookies

These cookies are loved and requested by all my friends!

1-1/2 cups butter, softened
2 cups packed brown sugar
1 cup sugar
1 can (15 ounces) solid-pack pumpkin
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups quick-cooking oats
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1 cup butterscotch chips

In a large mixing bowl, cream butter and sugars. Beat in the pumpkin, egg and vanilla. Combine the flour, oats, baking soda, cinnamon and salt in a separate bowl; gradually add to creamed mixture. Stir in chocolate and butterscotch chips. Drop by tablespoons 2 inches apart onto ungreased baking sheets. Bake at 350 degrees for 12-13 minutes or until lightly browned. Remove to wire racks to cool. Yield 5 or 6 dozen.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Pumpkin Butterscotch Cookies

- 2 cups flour
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp nutmeg
- 1 cup chopped nuts (optional)
- 1 cup coconut (optional)
- package of butterscotch chips
- coconut to taste (about 1 cup)
- 1/2 cup shortening
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1 cup of raw pumpkin
- 1 egg

"Cream shortening and sugar. Stir soda into pumpkin. Add well beaten egg and combine with creamed mixture. Add sifted dry ingredients. Then add coconut, butterscotch and possibly nuts. Bake at 375* for 10 minutes."

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Apricot Ice Cream

1 can (12 oz) skimmed evaporated milk
1 envelope plain gelatin
3/4 cup sugar
6 fresh apricots, diced
1-1/2 cups apricot nectar
1 cup low-fat plain yogurt
1 tsp vanilla

1. Combine milk and gelatin in large saucepan. Heat, stirring often, until gelatin dissolves. Add sugar; heat until it dissolves.

2. Using a wire whisk, stir in apricots, nectar, yogurt, and vanilla.

3. Pour mixture into ice cream maker; freeze according to manufacturer's directions.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Fruit Smoothie

My kids are really picky, so sometimes this is one of the only ways I can get fruit into them. My mom taught me this recipe when I was about 10 or 11. I've been making it ever since.

1 cup milk
1 cup yogurt
1 cup frozen fruit
1 medium banana

Blend together till smooth. Makes 2 or 3 servings.

I've tried lots of different fruit combinations, but my favorite is this:
1 cup milk
1 cup strawberry or strawberry/banana yogurt
1/2 cup frozen strawberries & 1/2 cup frozen peaches
1 medium banana

Blue Moon Smoothie

1/2 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
1/2 cup fresh or frozen blueberries
1/2 cup chopped peaches (fresh, frozen, or canned)
1 scoop vanilla ice cream or frozen yogurt
1 scoop orange sherbet
1 Tbsp. honey
1 cup crushed ice

Combine all ingredients in blender and blend until smooth.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

No-Bake Cheesecake

1 cup sugar
1 8 oz pkg of cream cheese
1 8 oz pkg cool whip
1/2 tsp vanilla
graham cracker pie crust
cherry pie filling/topping

Beat together softened cream cheese and cool whip. Add vanilla and sugar. Beat until very creamy. Pour into graham cracker crust. Let set in fridge for about an hour. Cover with pie filling, then put back into fridge for another hour.

Serve chilled.

NOTE: I used the whole can of cherries. That was too much. You probably only need 1/2 or 2/3 of a can.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Five Cup Salad

This was always my favorite salad! I liked it so much that it was served at my wedding reception.

It gets its name because it uses a cup of five things:

1 c dairy sour cream
1 c long-shredded coconut
1 can drained mandarin oranges
1 c drained pineapple chunks
1 c miniature marshmallows

Mix ingredients together.
This should set overnight for several hours so the flavors blend.

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