Archives for December 2011

Ingredient Spotlight Highlights and Free Kindle Books

I have a habit of looking through the Ingredient Spotlight links while I eat lunch.  I’m not sure it’s a good thing, because I just want to pull the desserts right out of the screen!  With all these delicious sweets we’ve been focusing on, we may need to have a week of spinach to recover!

Here are a few links that caught my eye this week.

These Muddy Buddy Cookies from Hoosier Homemade look amazing!  Cookies that taste like Puppy Chow aka Muddy Buddies. Yum!

This Apple Cream Cheese Bundt Cake from Picture Perfect Cooking has a praline frosting that makes the whole thing look beyond wonderful.

Bread Machine Doughnuts with Chocolate Icing from Saving You Dinero look pretty delicious.

Bananas Foster French Toast from Stockpiling Moms could be a dessert.

Chocolate Fudge Caramel Cashew Cookies – yes, please! from Bakeaholic Mama

Free Kindle Books

Everything Healthy Parties Cookbook With lots of holiday parties coming up, this looks like a good one. It’s free right now.

Casseroles: Best Recipes from Club, Church and Community Cookbooks This looks like it may have some good recipes.

The Eve Tree This novel has been likened to Barbara Kingsolver’s work. I’ve downloaded it to my Kindle. It’s free right now. *Update* This book is now free if you’re an Amazon Prime member. Otherwise, it costs $2.99.

The Holiness of God, by R.C. Sproul This book is a classic in Christian writing. You can get it free now on Kindle.

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Chicken and Broccoli “Stir Fry” in the Slow Cooker

Stir fry is a cooking method that can’t really be replicated in a slow cooker.

But you can make a pretty good fake!

I’ve made this recipe twice now.  It’s easy and quick to fix.  The chicken gets cooked in stir fry sauce for several hours.  The veggies are added later, so they don’t get mushy.

No ingredient photo this time.  I was in a big hurry both times I’ve made it. [Read more…]

Holiday Cookie Swap & Cookie Cookbook Giveaway

I’m so excited to host this cookie swap with Liz from Hoosier Homemade and Melissa from Stockpiling Moms.

We love cookies at our house, but I have to admit that at Christmas I focus more on making candy rather than cookies.  This year, I want to change that up.  I can’t wait to see what kind of recipes you have for me to try.

Here are a few of our favorites:

CocoNot Cookies – Not a speck of coconut, but you’d never know it. Fun secret ingredient.

Aunt Gerry’s Pineapple Drop Cookies – A family favorite

Oatmeal White Chocolate Chip and Cranberry Cookies – Very Christmasy!

Amish Oatmeal Cookies – Brown sugary yum and rolled in powdered sugar.  [Read more…]

Ingredient Spotlight: Vanilla and other extracts

Have you ever tried doubling the amount of vanilla in cookies or muffins?  It can make them super yummy!  Sometimes, I think we take vanilla for granted, treating it like a non-flavor.  Vanilla done right is fantastic though.

I use other flavored extracts less often, but I do like to use coconut, lemon and peppermint.  Here are a few of my recipes using extracts:  [Read more…]

Tortellini Meatball Soup with Mini Baguettes

This meal is so fast to get on the table.  The soup cooks up very quickly and Sister Schubert’s Mini Baguettes are not only the prefect accompaniment, they are also quick to the table.

Do you like dipping bread in your soup?  I do and these were perfect for doing that.  The outside of the baguette is crunchy, making them great for dipping.  The inside is soft and warm, which gives them a homemade taste.  I also really appreciate that they are individual servings, versus a whole loaf that needs to be cut.  When you need to get dinner to the table fast, every little time-saving step helps!

The other thing I love about this whole meal is that it requires no advanced planning.  It’s basically a pantry/freezer meal.  All the ingredients can be kept on hand and pulled out when you need them.  The Mini Baguettes warm in the oven while the soup comes together.   I love meals like this!

Here’s what you’ll need to make the soup:  [Read more…]

Menu, Grocery List, Recipes Year 3 Week 6

Christmas is coming so fast!  We did get our house decorated over the weekend.  But someone please tell me that I’m not the only one who hasn’t started shopping for gifts yet.  I’ve barely even started a list.  I better get busy.

Hopefully, this menu will save you some time as you’re busy this week.  There are several slow cooker recipes, plus the 50s Prime Time Meatloaf makes enough for 2 meals so you can stash one back in the freezer.

As always, you get 6 dinners and 1 dessert.  Serving suggestions are included in bold on the recipes and in curly brackets on the grocery list.

Chicken Enchilada Soup in the Slow Cooker, salad

Honey Cashew Pork Stir Fry over rice, favorite green veggie

Garlic Chicken with More Garlic in the Slow Cooker, baked potatoes, green veggie

Breakfast Burrito, fresh fruit

Mac and Cheese with Broccoli, salad

50s Prime Time Meatloaf, Mashed Potatoes, Honey Glazed Carrots in the Slow Cooker

Nutritious Bars

To print, click here:  [download id=”123″]

This menu is part of Menu Plan Monday at The Organizing Junkie.


Quick Breads Wrap Up, Free Kindle Books and Cookie Swap Invite

On Thursday, Liz from Hoosier Homemade, Melissa from Stockpiling Moms and I are hosting a Cookie Swap link up.  You’ll be able to link your cookie recipes to any of our blogs and it will show up on all of them.  It’s a great way to show off your cookie recipes and find new ones too.  I can’t wait to see what you bring!

I was amazed by all the different Quick Bread recipes that were shared on Ingredient Spotlight this week.  Here are the most clicked links:

Easy and Tasty Beer Bread from Debbi Does Dinner

Banana Nutella Bread from Mostly Food and Crafts

Snickerdoodle Bread from Crumbs and Chaos

Lemon Poppyseed Bread from The Sweets Life

A-Z Quick Bread from Grandma Loy’s Kitchen – she’s got a huge list of ingredients you can add to this bread for different variations

And one that I thought looked like a great idea – Instant Flavored Oatmeal Bread from Flour Me with Love.  Use up those oatmeal packets.



I am loving working through Truth in the Tinsel with my little girl.  We started it on Sunday.  It’s been a fantastic way to share the Christmas story together.

There’s still plenty of time left in advent.  If you’ve got little ones (I think most 10 year old kids would still enjoy this), I really recommend getting a copy.

O Little Town
This is a free ebook on Kindle right now. It looks like an interesting read. Plus, I love the cover. Please tell me I’m not the only one who really does judge a book by its cover.

The Eye of the God
This was one of the first books I read on my Kindle. I got it for free and now it’s free again. I enjoyed this story of a heist involving the Hope Diamond. The book has some history of the gem that’s interesting too.

Laugh Out Loud Jokes for Kids
I’m downloading this free Kindle book for my youngest son. He loves to tell jokes.

Slow Cooking
Another good one from Gooseberry Patch. It’s free right now.

The Best of Polish Cooking
This one is free right now on Kindle. It has good reviews.

This post contains affiliate links.

8 Easy Recipes from Crystal & Co.

This is a guest post from Crystal & Co.  Her Crockpot Ravioli is a favorite at my house.  She’s got all kinds of fantastic quick meal ideas and lots of other solutions for moms too.

Do you struggle with getting dinner on the table? Is life super busy and you find yourself scurrying to feed your family come 6:00 each night? Without my crockpot and easy recipes dinner would never be served at my house.

I am excited to share with you eight of my favorite easy recipes that are time savers, budget friendly and will keep you out of the drive thru lines. Each of these recipes can easily be adapted to meet the size of your family.


  1. Apple Butter Pork Chops in the Crockpot– apple butter season is here and these pork chops literally fell apart when they were done. The flavor was amazing. I served them over steamed rice which helped to stretch the meal even more.
  2. Italian Crockpot Chicken – do you have any idea how tender a chicken breast is after it has cooked for hours over a tomato sauce? You will be asking for seconds. Top with cheese and serve over your favorite noddle.
  3. Crockpot Lemon Chicken– can gourmet and crockpot be used in the same sentence? If you love the way lemon and Dijon mustard combine, you’re going to lick your plate clean with this one!
  4. Crockpot Chicken Enchilada Casserole– who knew you could make something like this in the crockpot? This is tasty and feeds a crowd- perfect potluck meal.
  5. Baked White Spaghetti– this is a recipe I have been making for years and it comes together very quickly. Do you keep cooked chicken on hand?
  6. Beef Tips and Noodles (made in the crockpot)– I grew up on this recipe, my grandmother and mother made it when I was growing up. My kids enjoy it as well.
  7. Crockpot Ravioli– this is another recipe that cooks fast and looks and tastes like it was baked in the oven. Family favorite at our house.
  8. Easy Pasta Casserole– ground Italian sausage, cheese, your favorite pasta shape and your favorite jarred sauce and dinner is done in no time!

Delicious, easy and simple ingredient lists- that is what makes a recipe easy! (Well, add to that anything crockpotable!) Which of these easy recipes will you be adding to your menu plan?

Crystal is the author of the site Crystal & Co., where she shares her journey of raising five boys. On her site you will find loads of easy recipes, weekly meal planning inspiration, easy craft ideas, as well as mommy solutions and resources. Join her every Wednesday where she invites you to link up and share your mommy solutions and resources!

Smoked Sausage, Cabbage and Oat Soup

A while back I shared how excited I was to find Quaker Steel Cut Oats at the grocery store.  They are significantly less expensive than the other brand I’ve seen and I like to use them for oatmeal in the slow cooker.

I never imagined I would use them in soup.

But then The Sweets Life linked up a recipe for Scotch Oatmeal Soup for Ingredient Spotlight: Cabbage.  I knew I had to try it.  The oats are kind of like barley.  They add heartiness to the soup.

I modified The Sweets Life recipe a little bit.  Hers doesn’t have any meat in it and I knew I’d get much further serving a soup full of cabbage to my family if I included some meat.  I was right.  They all ate the soup and liked it.

Here’s what you’ll need to make a pot:  [Read more…]