Tuesday, April 26, 2011


The kids are always funny, but lately Easton has been blowing up our list. Many I didn't include because it's hard to convey the cuteness of the way something is said. I'll have to focus on uploading videos of that little guy. Enjoy this quick version of Dutyisms.

Taylor Joy-isms:

"I'm gonna go to the other bathroom because Beckett stinked it up in there!"


"K is for Kite. L is for Wog." (Classic)

(talking about Jesus) "He came out of the toon!"

(pointing to a picture of Adam) "Is that Jesus or God?"


"Sissy! marters!" (as he brings them to me, knowing full well that he shouldn't be holding them. The markers, that is)

"Uh uh" along with shaking his head (his response to Daddy's gestures toward him) It eventually leads to "NOOO Dah-dee!" Many times he gets confused who he is talking to and says, "NOOO Mah-Dee!" (a combo of Mommy and Daddy)

"EYE EYE EYE EYE!" (along with pointing) He gets very excited about the different body parts that he knows.

As soon as Easton wakes up from a nap, he looks around for Daddy and if Daddy isn't home he says, "Daddy! Weave! Keys!" (Daddy left with his keys is what he means to convey). Cutie pie.
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Monday, April 18, 2011

Taylor Joy's Room Makeover

About a year ago, we decided to re-do Taylor Joy's room to reflect her "big-ness." 

We gave Beckett the toddler bed, and set to designing a big girl room. It is now a year later, and we are finally about done. 

Isn't that how it always goes?

Hopefully we aren't the only ones... 

Here are some before pictures:

Here is the after:

A Custom Headboard and Pillows

Allen created the wood aspect of it, based on my dimensions, very roughly referring to this tutorial for an adult size bed (which is way bigger) and going by what I liked instead of following the rules ;)

Here are some pictures of how it all came together:

The 3 dimensional board that Allen cut and nailed together

Stapled the batting to the wood

Attached adorable fabric with a staple gun

Made some piping with contrasting fabric for in between the flat part and the "poof" part of the headboard (I'm sure there is a technical term for that...I like "poof" better)

Plus some cutie fabric flowers...

And Voila!

A Wall-Hanging made from a dishwasher wood frame

I got this piece of scrap wood from a friend and decided to wrap it in fabric and see what I could come up with. I bought the wooden words from Hobby Lobby and hung it with ribbon from the top. I tied other scrap ribbons all around the frame. Very cheap endeavor!

A Fabric Flower Garden around her name

First, I mixed up a batch of the glue. Supposedly this glue keeps it on the wall, but is also easily removeable. That will be the up to the judgment of whoever buys this house next. Not my problem. The first part of the equation is definitely true. The fabric sticks WELL. Here is the recipe for that glue:

 Fabric Glue:

1/8 C. corn starch
1/4 C. cold water
2 C. boiling water

Boil 2 cups of water. In the meantime, mix together the corn starch and cold water. Once water is heated to boiling, pour it into the corn starch mixture. Stir well. Should be away from heat and allowed to cool at room temperature.

Prep walls. For me, this meant stenciling "Joy" and painting on the stems for my flowers.

It also meant sketching out what I wanted the Flower Garden to look like...the types of flowers, the height of the flowers, how many...

And then making a pattern for my flowers so that they would end up all the same...

Laying out all my fabrics to see which ones look best next to each other and the order they should go in...
Cutting out all the flower and leaf shapes...

 Lay'em out nice, like I like them ;) 

(minus the stems)

Okay, time to apply them to the walls! Glue should be dry by now...

 Brush on a good amount, don't be stingy with it!

 Place it exactly where you want it on the wall. Smooth out any bumps starting from the middle and moving outward. (this may not look great on your walls if your walls have a lot of texture to them). The fabric will look darker with the glue on them and then lighten back up later, when they dry.


Sweet Birdies to grace her tree...

I snagged a tutorial for those birds here.

A Scrappy Curtain
(quite literally made from the scraps from pillows and the bed skirt that I made)

Plus, here is the dresser I re-did a few years ago that still matches the new decor.

There are still a few things I want to do for the finishing touches, but all in all, I am satisfied. What do you think? Does it inspire you to start a year-long project?

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Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Delectable Desserts

photo courtesy Pioneer Woman
Baked Apples a la Mode
• 4 large Mac or Empire apples, peeled and sliced
• ¾ C. brown sugar
• ¼ C. rolled oats
• ¼ tsp. nutmeg
• 1 tsp. cinnamon
• 4 T. butter
• ¼ C. chopped walnuts

Preheat to 425 degrees. Mix ingredients. Bake 20 minutes. Best with Dulce de Leche ice cream. Makes your mouth water, doesn't it?

Berry Trifle
• 1 pound cake, sliced
• 1 small jar raspberry preserves (I prefer the seedless)
• 1 pint of fresh raspberries (or whatever other kind of berry you can find fresh)
• 1 pint real whipping cream (whipped—NOT Cool Whip and not the stuff in a can)
• 1 recipe Crème Anglais (recipe is below)

In a trifle bowl (or use a salad bowl with straight sides), you are going to layer everything, starting with pound cake slices spread with a generous spoonful of raspberry preserves. Place the first layer on the bottom with jam side up.

Then a layer of whipped cream, then some berries, then more pound cake smeared with raspberry jam. Do it again. End with whipped cream on top. Garnish with any remaining berries and fresh mint leaves. Serve with Crème Anglais on the side in a pitcher.

Crème Anglais (make this anytime. It will hold up for a few days in the fridge, no problem)

This is easy to make, but you must follow the directions exactly. You don't want the half and half boiling! It will break and you will have scrambled eggs floating in your sauce. Not good.

• 1 C. Half-and-Half
• ½ C. white sugar, divided
• 1 tsp. vanilla, plus another 1/2 tsp.
• 4 egg yolks
• 2 T. unsalted butter

In a saucepan over medium heat, combine Half-and-Half, 1/4 cup of the sugar and vanilla. In a medium bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and remaining 1/4 cup sugar until smooth. When cream mixture starts to just boil, remove it from the heat. Whisk a small amount of hot cream into the egg yolk mixture, then pour egg yolk mixture into remaining hot cream and whisk together until smooth.

Return it to the heat and cook over medium heat stirring until mixture coats the back of a metal spoon and is slightly thickened. Remove from heat and stir in butter. To keep it from getting a skin on top, put plastic wrap directly on the surface. Stir in the last 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla just before putting the plastic wrap on.

Better Than Anything Cake
• 1 pkg german chocolate cake mix
• 1 can sweetened milk
• 1 jar caramel topping
• 1 container Cool Whip, thawed
• 2 C. crushed Heath bars or Skor

Bake cake according to directions. While cake is still warm, poke holes in top of cake with end of a spoon. Mix caramel topping and sweetened milk in separate bowl. Pour over top of the cake and into the holes. Spread whipped topping over top of cake and sprinkle toffee bits over top. Chill.

Birthday Cake (adding pudding to any cake is a hit, not just birthday cake!)
• 1 package plain yellow or vanilla cake mix
• 1 package vanilla instant pudding (3.4 oz.)
• 1 1/4 C. milk
• ½ C. vegetable oil
• 3 large eggs
• 1 tsp. vanilla extract
• Touch of almond extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Light mist pan with oil and dust with flour. Mix all ingredients in bowl. Beat with mixer on low speed for 30 seconds. Mix on medium speed for 1 1/2 minutes. Mixture should be smooth. Pour into pan. Bake 35-40 minutes until golden brown and springy to the touch. Spread icing on the top:
• ½ C. shortening
• ½ C. butter
• 1 tsp. vanilla extract
• 1 lb. (4 C.) powdered sugar
• 2 T. milk
Cream butter and shortening. Add vanilla. Gradually add sugar, one cup at a time, beating well on medium speed. Scrape sides and bottom of bowl often. When all sugar is mixed in, icing will appear dry. Add milk and beat at medium speed until light and fluffy.

Blueberry Streusel Cobbler (favorite ever cobbler)

• 1 pint blueberries
• 1 can sweetened milk
• ¾ C. plus 2 T. cold butter
• 2 C. Bisquick
• ½ C. brown sugar, packed
• ½ C. chopped nuts
• ½ C. sugar
• 1 T. cornstarch
• 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
• 1/4 tsp. nutmeg
• 1/2 C. water

Preheat to 325 degrees. Combine blueberries and sweet milk in bowl. In a separate bowl, cut 3/4 C. butter into 1 1/2 C. bisquick until crumbly. Add blueberry mixture. Spread into greased (9 in.) baking pan. In small bowl combine remaining 1/2 C. bisquick, sugar, and remaining 2 T. butter until crumbly. Add nuts and sprinkle over cobbler. Bake 1 hour or until golden.
For the sauce, combine all ingredients except water in saucepan over medium heat. Gradually add water. Cook and stir until thickened. Serve cobber with ice cream and sauce over the top. If you aren’t serving immediately you can also just pour the sauce right over the cobbler and let it soak in.

Butter Cake
• 1 yellow cake mix
• 4 eggs
• 1 stick butter
• 8 oz. cream cheese, softened
• 1 tsp. vanilla
• 1 lb. powdered sugar

Mix 1 slightly beaten egg with cake mix and melted butter. Press mixture evenly in a greased 9 x 13 pan. Beat cream cheese with remaining eggs and vanilla until creamy. Beat in powdered sugar until smooth, gradually. Pour over crust and bake at 350 degrees for 30-45 minutes. Serve with strawberries on top.

Carrot Cake
• 3 C. flour
• 1 tsp. salt, baking soda
• 2 tsp. baking powder, cinnamon, vanilla
• 1 ½ C. vegetable oil
• 2 C. grated carrots
• 1 small can crushed pineapple (don't tell Allen I put pineapple in his carrot cake!)
• 2 C. sugar
• 3 eggs
• 1 ½ C. walnuts, chopped

Sift dry ingredients. Add remaining items. Beat well. Put in greased cake pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 30-40 minutes. Top with cream cheese icing:
• 1 stick butter, softened
• 1 8 oz. cream cheese, softened
• 1 box powdered sugar
• 1 C. milk
• 2 tsp. vanilla

Chocolate Sheet Cake ( I think this might be Pioneer Woman recipe, but my mom makes it the same)
• 2 C. flour
• 2 C. sugar
• ¼ tsp. salt
• ½ C. buttermilk
• 2 large eggs
• 1 tsp. vanilla
• 1 tsp. baking soda
• 2 sticks of butter
• 4 T. cocoa powder
• 1 ¾ sticks of butter
• 4 T. cocoa powder
• 6 T. milk
• 1 tsp. vanilla
• 1 lb. powdered sugar
• ½ C. finely chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, and salt. Stir together. In another bowl, mix buttermilk, eggs, vanilla and baking soda. Mix with a fork and set aside. In a medium saucepan, melt the butter and add the cocoa. Whisk together to combine. Meanwhile, bring 1 C. water to a boil. When the butter is melted, pour the boiling water in the pan. Allow to bubble and then turn off the heat. Pour the chocolate mixture into the flour mixture. Stir togehter for a moment to cool the chocolate, then pour in the egg mixture. Stir together until smooth and then pour into a rimmed baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes.
For the icing, melt the butter in a saucepan over medium low heat. Add the cocoa powder and stir until smooth. Add the milk and vanilla and powdered sugar. Stir together. Dump the pecans and stir until well combined. Immediately after removing the cake from the oven, pour the warm icing over the top.

Cinnamon Crescent Roll Cheesecake
• 2 cans refrigerated crescent dinner rolls
• 2 packages cream cheese, softened
• 1 C. sugar
• 1 T. vanilla
• ½ C. butter, melted
• ½ C. sugar
• 1 T. cinnamon

Preheat to 350. Flatten one tube of crescent roll dough and press into the bottom of a 9x13 pan. In a medium bowl, mix together cream cheese, 1 C. sugar and vanilla until smooth. Spread mixture over dough in the pan. Unroll remaining crescent dough and place over top of cream cheese layer. Spread melted butter over the top, and sprinkle the top with mixture of ½ C. sugar and cinnamon. Bake for 30 min. and cool.

Delightful Dessert
• 1 C. flour
• 1 C. pecans, chopped fine
• 1 Stick butter, melted
Mix together and press into 9x13 pan. Cook until done and cool.
Filling #1:
• 1 container Cool Whip, thawed
• 1 package cream cheese
• ½ box powdered sugar
Mix with mixer and spread on crust.
Filling #2:
• 1 small box vanilla instant pudding
• 1 small box chocolate instant pudding
• 1 can sweetened condensed milk
• 2 C. milk
Mix together and let set a few minutes. Spread over other layer.
• 1 container Cool Whip, thawed
• 1 large chocolate bar, grated
Spread Cool Whip over top and sprinkle chocolate pieces. Chill until ready to serve.

Hello Dollies
• ½ C. butter
• 1 C. graham cracker crumbs
• 1 C. semi-sweet chocolate chips
• 1 C. coconut
• 1 C. pecans, chopped
• 1 can sweetened milk

Melt butter in saucepan. Blend with graham cracker crumbs. Place in 9x9 pan. Top with chocolate chips, coconut, pecans and milk, in that order. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. While warm, cut into squares.

Leon's Famous Buttermilk Pie (Makes 2 Deep Dish Pies)
• 3 eggs
• 2 C. sugar
• 1 stick butter
• 3 T. flour
• 1 tsp. vanilla
• 1 C. buttermilk

Mix in blender and pour into 2 pie shells. Bake for 1 hour at 300 degrees (325 is okay for quicker baking)

Lime Cheesecake Pie
• 1 package cream cheese
• 1 can sweetened milk
• 1/3 C. lime juice (2-3 limes)
• 1 ½ tsp. vanilla
• 2 drops green food coloring (or not, if you aren't into that)
• 1 graham crust
• 1 container Cool Whip, thawed
• Fresh lime/mint

Beat cream cheese until smooth. Add milk, juice, vanilla, and coloring. Beat until smooth. Pour into crust and chill for 2 hours. Spread with Cool Whip and chill another hour. Garnish.

Mrs. Sigg’s Peanut Butter Cookies
• ½ C. butter, softened
• ½ C. butter flavored shortening
• 1 C. white sugar
• 1 C. packed brown sugar
• 2 eggs
• 1 C. creamy peanut butter
• 1 tsp. vanilla extract
• 2 ½ C. all-purpose flour
• 1 tsp. baking soda
• 1 tsp. salt

Cream the butter, butter flavored shortening, and sugars. Add eggs and blend. Add peanut butter and vanilla. Add dry ingredients and stir until well blended. Measure out tablespoonfuls of dough and roll into balls. Place 3 inches apart on lightly greased cookie sheets. Make criss-cross pattern with fork.
Bake in a pre-heated oven at 375 degrees F (190 degrees C) 8-10 minutes until set, but not hard. Do not overbake. Leave on sheets for 2 minutes before removing. Cool, and store in covered container.

Poor Man’s Turtles
• Mini pretzel twists
• Rolo candies
• pecan halves

Preheat oven to 325 degrees while preparing. Spray cookie sheet. Place pretzels in a single layer on the sheet. Place one Rolo candy on each pretzel. Place in oven and bake 4 minutes. Immediately place one pecan half on each pretzel/candy piece. (Press to spread candy and embed pecan.)

Pumpkin Chiffon Pie
• 1 envelope Knox gelatin
• ¼ C. cold water
• 1 ¼ C. pumpkin puree
• ½ C. milk
• ½ tsp. ginger
• ½ tsp. cinnamon
• ½ tsp. salt
• ½ tsp. nutmeg
• 1 C. sugar
• 3 eggs, separated
• Pie crust

To slightly beaten egg yolks, add 1/2 C. sugar, milk, spices and pumpkin. Cook slowly until thickened. Soften gelatin in cold water and add to pumpkin mixture. Mix well and cool. Fold in beaten egg whites with sugar. Pour into baked pie crust and chill before serving. Serve with whipped cream.

Pumpkin Goodness (Allen renamed this to "goodness." He said Pumpkin Crunch didn't fit)

• 1 can pumpkin
• 1 can sweetened condensed milk
• 3 eggs
• 1 ½ C. sugar
• 4 T. pumpkin pie spice
• ½ tsp. salt
• 1 yellow cake mix
• 1 C. pecans, chopped
• 1 C. butter, melted
• Cool Whip

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine pumpkin, eggs, milk, sugar, and spices in a large bowl. Pour into a greased 9 x 13 dish. Pour cake mix evenly over the top. Sprinkle pecans on the top and drizzle butter over the top. Bake for 45 minutes or until golden and bubbly. Serve with cool whip.

• 1 box yellow cake mix
• 2 eggs
• ¼ C. oil
• Sugar
• Cinnamon

Combine cake mix, oil and eggs. Combine 1/2 C. sugar and 1 T. cinnamon. Roll dough in 1 inch balls, then in cinnamon mixture. Place 2 inches apart on cookie sheet. Bake at 365 degrees for 8-9 minutes.

You can also use different cake mixes and roll in different things. Like strawberry in powdered sugar, carrot in walnuts, german chocolate with white chocolate chips, etc. They are all good!

Strawberry Tart
• 1 1/3 C. flour
• ½ C. finely chopped almonds
• 1/3 C. sugar
• 1 tsp. grated lemon rind
• ¼ tsp. salt
• 6 T. cold butter, cut into pieces
• 1 egg
• 1 tsp. vanilla
• ¾ C. seedless raspberry or strawberry jam
• 1 tsp. lemon juice
• 2 pints strawberries, hulled and sliced
• 1 C. white chocolate chips

Stir together flour, almonds, sugar, lemon rind and salt in large bowl. Cut butter into flour mixture with pastry blender or 2 knives, until coarse crumbs form. Whisk together egg and vanilla in small bowl; stir into flour mixture until a dough forms. Shape into a disk. Wrap in plastic; refrigerate for at least 1 hour or overnight.

Preheat oven to 350. Grease and flour a baking sheet. Place dough on sheet; pat into a 10 inch circle, forming a high edge. Pierce bottom of dough all over with fork. Bake until slightly browned, about 25 minutes. Let cool completely.

Melt jam with lemon juice in small saucepan over low heat until spreadable. Spread ½ C. mixture over bottom of shell. Arrange berries on top, cut sides down. Brush with remaining jam. Drizzle with melted chocolate before serving. (chocolate chips can be mixed with a small amount of oil to make it more drizzly).

White Chocolate Oreo Cheesecake
• 4 oz. cream cheese, softened
• 1 C. cold milk
• 1 pkg. white chocolate instant pudding
• 1 container Cool Whip, thawed
• Oreos
• Graham or chocolate crust

Beat cream cheese and ¼ C. of milk with wire wisk until smooth. Add remaining milk and pudding. Beat another minute with wisk. Stir in 6 crumbled oreos. Stir in 6 oz of Cool Whip (save some for top). Spoon into crust. Chill. Garnish with Cool Whip and oreos.

White Chocolate Walnut Brownie
• 1 C. flour
• ½ tsp. baking powder
• 1/8 tsp. baking soda
• 1/8 tsp. salt
• ½ C. chopped walnuts
• 1/3 C. butter
• 1 C. packed brown sugar
• 1 egg, beaten
• 1 T. vanilla
• ½ C. white chocolate chips

Preheat to 350. Sift flour, add baking powder, soda and salt. Add nuts. Mix well and set aside. Melt butter; add brown sugar and mix well. Add egg and vanilla; blend well. Add flour mixture, a little at a time, mixing well. Stir in white chocolate chips. Spread in 9x9x2 inch pan. Bake 20-25 minutes.
• ¾ C. maple syrup
• ½ C. butter
• ¾ C. brown sugar
• ½ C. walnuts (chopped, optional)
Combine syrup and butter, cook over low heat until butter is melted. Stir in brown sugar until dissolved. Add walnuts, if desired. Serve brownie with vanilla ice cream and sauce smothered on top. Mmmm…best ever.

Yummy Brownie Trifle
• 1 package brownie mix
• 1 package instant chocolate pudding mix
• 1 package instant white chocolate pudding mix
• ½ C. water
• 1 can sweetened milk
• 2 containers Cook Whip, thawed
• 1 chocolate bar
• 1 bar of cream cheese
Prepare brownie mix according to directions and cool. Cut into 1 inch squares. In a large bowl, combine pudding mixes, water and sweetened milk. Mix until smooth and fold in 1 container Cool Whip until no streaks remain. In another bowl, combine half of last container of Cool Whip and 1 package of cream cheese, until well blended. In trifle bowl, place half of brownies, half of pudding, and half cream cheese mixture. Repeat layers. On the very top, place last half of Cool Whip. Shave chocolate onto top layer to garnish. Chill. Adding in some bits of Heath bar as an additional layer = Heavenly!

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Monday, April 04, 2011

Sensational Sides

photo courtesy freedigitalphotos.net
Corn Casserole

• 2 cans cream style corn
• 2 cans whole kernel corn, drained
• 2 boxes honey sweet cornbread mix
• 1 C. sour cream
• 1 stick of butter, melted
• ¼ C. honey

Mix all ingredients, pour into a greased baking dish and bake at 350 degrees for 30-45 minutes.

Creamy Mashed Potatoes

• 5 large potatoes (I like red with some skins)
• water (or sub chicken broth for richer flavor)
• Salt, pepper and garlic powder, to taste
• 2 T. butter
• Splash of milk or ½ and ½
• 1 C. shredded cheese

Cut up potatoes and boil until tender. Drain. Add all ingredients and blend with mixer until you reach desired consistency.

*Variation: Just blend together with a spoon and leave the big “chunks” of potatoes. Sprinkle bacon bits on top and you have what Rachel Ray calls Smashed Potatoes.

Creamed Corn

• 2 – (10 oz) packages frozen corn kernels, thawed
• 1 C. heavy cream
• 1 tsp salt and pepper
• 2 T. sugar
• 2 T. butter
• 1 C. milk
• 2 T. all-purpose flour
• 1/4 C. Parmesan cheese, grated
• ¼ C. shredded Pepper Jack cheese

In a skillet over medium heat, combine the corn, cream, salt, sugar, pepper, and butter. Once mixed, transfer some of mixture into a blender and blend. I usually blend a little more than half of the mixture, but you can alter depending on the desired consistency. The more you blend, the creamier the dish! Re-add blended mixture to the rest of the corn still on the stove top and stir in the flour and milk. Cook, stirring over medium heat, until the mixture is thickened, and corn is cooked through. Remove from heat, and stir in the Parmesan cheese and Pepper Jack cheese until melted. Serve hot!

Glazed Carrots

• 1 lb. carrots, peeled
• ½ C. chicken broth
• 3 T. sugar
• ½ tsp. salt, pepper
• 1 T. butter
• 2 tsp. lemon juice

Slice carrots at an angle. Combine carrots, broth, 1 T. of sugar, and salt in skillet. Cover and bring to boil. Reduce to simmer and stir about 5 minutes. Uncover, return to boil and cook until liquid is almost gone, about 2 minutes. Stir in butter and rest of sugar. Continue to cook until carrots are completely tender, about 3 minutes. Turn off heat, stir in lemon juice and season with pepper.

Green Bean Bundles

• 2 C. fresh green beans
• Bacon, raw, cut in half
• 1 stick butter
• 1 C. brown sugar
• ½ tsp. garlic salt

Snap green beans and divide into bundles and wrap with bacon. Secure with toothpicks and place in baking dish. Melt butter in a saucepan, add brown sugar and garlic. Bring just to a boil and pour over green beans. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.

Green Chili Potato Casserole

• 5-6 potatoes
• 1 small can green chilies
• 1 C. grated cheese
• ½ C. Velvetta cheese thinly sliced
• 3-4 strips crisp bacon

Grease casserole, Layer potatoes, chilies,, cheese and last velveeta cheese. Repeat until all ingredients are used up. Top with butter and crumbled bacon. Cover and bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour.

Mexican Rice

• 3 T. vegetable oil
• 1 C. uncooked long-grain rice
• 1 tsp. garlic salt
• ½ tsp. ground cumin
• 1/4 C. chopped onion
• 1/2 C. tomato sauce
• 2 C. chicken broth

Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat and add rice. Cook, stirring constantly, until puffed and golden. While rice is cooking, sprinkle with salt and cumin.
Stir in onions and cook until tender. Stir in tomato sauce and chicken broth; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 20 to 25 minutes. Fluff with a fork.

Roasted Potatoes

• Red potatoes, cut into small wedges
• Olive oil
• Salt, Pepper, Spices of your choice

Heat oven to 425 degrees. Toss potatoes with minimal oil (enough to coat) and liberal seasonings (favorites of mine are: rosemary, garlic salt and pepper, cayenne). Arrange in single layer on baking sheet, cover with foil and bake 20 minutes. Remove foil and bake another 15 minutes. Flip the potatoes and bake another 10-15 minutes, until golden on both sides.

Skillet Broccoli with Toasted Garlic and Lemon

• 1 bunch broccoli
• 1/2 C. water
• 2 T. olive oil
• 3 garlic cloves
• 1/8 tsp. red pepper flakes
• 2 T. lemon juice
• Salt and pepper

Cut florets, combine with water in covered skillet over high heat until simmering and turns bright green. Uncover and cook until water is evaporated. Clear center of pan and add oil, garlic, and red pepper. Mash garlic and then stir into broccoli. Remove from heat and stir in lemon juice and salt and pepper.

Sweet Potato Casserole

• 3 cooked, mashed sweet potatoes (2 large cans)
• ¾ C. sugar
• ½ C. plus 2 ½ T. melted butter, divided
• 2 eggs, well beaten
• 1 tsp. vanilla
• 1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
• 1 tsp. salt
• ¾ C. milk
• ½ C. packed brown sugar
• ¼ C. flour
• ½ C. chopped pecans

Combine potatoes, sugar, ½ C. butter, eggs, vanilla, salt, spices and milk. Mix well and place in a greased baking pan. Mix together remaining butter, brown sugar, flour and nuts. Distribute evenly over potato mixture. Bake at 350 degrees for 35 minutes or so.

Twice Baked Potatoes (Allen loves these!)

• Medium Russett Potatoes
• Cheddar cheese, shredded
• 3 T. butter
• Splash of milk or half and half
• Salt and pepper

Heat oven to 450 degrees. Poke holes in potatoes and microwave 6-12 minutes, turning halfway through. Transfer potatoes to oven rack to cook approximately 20 minutes. Cool. Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees. Slice potatoes in half and scoop out the flesh, leaving 1/4 inch shell. Arrange shells on baking sheet and bake 10 minutes. Mash flesh until smooth and stir in cheddar, butter, milk and salt and pepper. Remove shells from oven and increase temperature to 500 degrees. Spoon mixture into shells. Bake for 15 minutes, until crisp.

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