Thursday, December 12, 2013

Time to "Party"...

Wanna Party?

The baking day list is made.
The butter is bought and softening in the cupboard,
The nuts are chopped,
The notes written on the recipe cards remembered
(funny how my recipe cards have now 'yellowed' with love and with age)
It's nearly time to plug in the Kitchen Aid and get to work...
But wait...
The first thing we bake in our family homes
(My two daughters' and mine)
Is Chex Party Mix...
While some call it "Chex Mix"
Others call it something our houses, we refer to it simply as 
Party Mix
and we make it in double batches...sometimes 2 or 3 double batches.
(I remember my grandma pulling large coffee cans of Party Mix out of her freezer during our summer visits, to be nibbled on while the grown ups played Pinochle and we, the kids, mastered our scissor skills on the JCPenney catalog.)
When Becca was a teenager, I'd often find the Party Mix container in her room....nearly empty, she really couldn't help herself!
We like to
doctor ours up a bit, adding a little more butter, a pinch here and  a pinch there of extra spice.
We like to put Cheerios in our mix as well as Chex.
Mindy likes to add Goldfish Crackers now that she has little ones in her house.
I add Planter's Deluxe Nuts
(this year they've added pistachios to the mix!)
 Mindy uses Cashews and Marcona Almonds while Becca prefers hers without nuts.
My favorite part of the mix is the pretzel sticks...salty with a hint of Worcestershire...
We stash part of this baked goodness away, hoping at least some of it will make it to the holiday.
But, to be honest, we've normally all had our fill by Christmas
What's your favorite nibble to make during the holidays?

Our Family's
Traditional Chex Party Mix
(Single batch recipe...this will NOT be enough)

3 Cups Wheat Chex
3 Cups Corn Chex
3 Cups Cheerios
2 Heaping Cups Pretzel Sticks
1 Cup Deluxe Mixed Nuts
8 Tablespoons Butter
2 Tablespoons Worcestershire Sauce
1 1/2 teaspoons Lawry's Seasoned Salt
3/4 teaspoon Garlic Powder
1/2 teaspoon Onion Powder

*Since you are probably doubling recipe, get out your bit roaster and set the oven to 250 degrees.
Put butter into roaster and let melt in oven.
Add W. sauce and other seasonings to the melted butter, mix.
I normally pour all of the cereal and pretzels into a large bowl to mix up a bit before pouring it into the roaster/butter/deliciousness.
Add cereal, nuts and pretzels to pan, mix very well.
When mixed thoroughly, place roaster into oven, uncovered, and bake for one hour, stirring well every 15 minutes.
After one hour, remove from oven and let cool in pan.
Store in airtight tins or containers.
Will freeze very well (thanks Grandma!)
in Folgers coffee tins
Ours is nearly gone....
time to make another batch, or two!
~Merry Christmas~

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

35 years....

This lovely mommy will turn 
35 tomorrow.

34 years ago tonight, I sat, in my chair, wrote a poem and tucked it into my almost one year old's baby book.  It seems like yesterday.
This many years later, my girl, my friend.
 has taught me more than I could ever teach her.

She is steadfast in her love for her family and is a loyal friend.
She works hard and plays fair.
Happy Birthday Min,
We love you!

Daughters Becca (L) and Mindy (R) with grandsons Bentley and Clark .

Monday, July 8, 2013

here kitty kitty........


Who wouldn't want to wake up to this ?
Can't you just 'feel' her purring.....oh my!

Would you care for a saucer of cream?
Perhaps some leftover salmon?
Here, let me see what we have for a dear little kitty such as you...

What's a girl to do?

I feel as though I'm 8 years old, begging "daddy" (husband) for a kitten.
is 'Dad's' (husband's)  reply.

"But I'll feed her and clean her litter box and I promise not to let her scratch the furniture........PLEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEZZZZZZZ?!?!"


hmmmm.......let's try another approach.
After all......dear husband said "NO" to each of our two pugs, Louie & Lola, who are now his best friends, can't imagine his life without these little dogs...(you see, we've played THIS game before)

We had a cat for 13 years.
He was a beautiful cat, lovely, calm, he was the best cat in the world.
When he passed away (much too young for a house cat)
We ALL mourned the loss of our friend, we all missed him...

Well.......I've learned now that one must

Sweet husband may tell me, "NO CATS"!
But what he's REALLY saying is
"Of course you can have a cat dear,
Just remember, I'm NOT cleaning the litter box!"

Stay tuned...

Photos courtesy of google...until I have my own pics to share :)

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Frogs and snails and puppy dog tails...

I couldn't resist beginning this post with a photo of our grandsons, Bentley and Clark, taken last winter when they got to go for a ride on the garbage truck.
As with most little boys, these fellows are FACINATED with trains, planes and automobiles, especially the garbage truck and garbage men.
Imagine their surprise when a ride on the truck as well as a show of how a garbage truck works became a reality.....let's just say it was 'magical'.

Fast forward 4 months.  The landscape in Northern North Dakota looks much the same today, April 21 as it did last December.  A fresh blanket of snow fell during the night, adding to the 6 inches we already have on the ground.  Our temps are to climb into the 50's by week's end, which will be a welcome site for these folks.
Although I am a fan of winter, snow, and cozy weather, it's the end of April and we're still freezing!

You can complain all you want.
The weather has been harsh all around the country.
It could be worse so count your blessings, turn on the oven and bake something delicious.

This is a recipe for what I like to call: 

Strawberry Jam Squares


This is an old recipe, a similar one can be found in almost any recipe box or old cookbook picked up from Grandma's cupboard or a rummage sale.
What I love about these squares (or bars if you must)
Is they can be adapted to fit any type of filling one has on hand.
I've made them with Strawberry, Apricot or Raspberry Preserves.
I've used Caramel sauce mixed with a touch of flour then sprinkled chocolate chips on top   once they came out of the oven.
They're simple and delicious,

First step, gather your ingredients:

Butter, Brown Sugar, and Salt, the staff of life

Stir together all dry ingredients, including the Oatmeal.
(I used Quick Oats this time but either Quick or Old Fashioned will work)
Make sure the butter is very cold.  Cut butter into pieces and,
Using a pastry blender, cut into dry ingredients.


 until butter pieces are the size of small peas.


  Once butter is well incorporated, you are ready to press 1/2 of mixture onto bottom of buttered 9 x 13 baking dish.


Spread entire jar of fruit preserves onto (unbaked) crust.
Gently spread preserves with knife or spoon to completely cover the crumb mixture.

(blurry photo)

Sprinkle remaining crumb mixture over top of fruit, then press firmly to set the crust.


Pop into a 350 degree oven and bake 35-40 minutes or until golden brown.
Cool completely on wire rack then cut into squares.

Serve with a fork and cup of coffee, tea, or a glass of milk.

:)  :)  :)  
Have a yummy sort of day!

Strawberry Jam Squares

12 Tablespoons COLD butter, cut into pieces (1 3/4 sticks)
1 1/2 cups flour
1 1/2 cups Oats, old fashioned or quick cooking
1 cup brown sugar (packed lightly)
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp table salt
1 jar fruit preserves

Preheat oven to 350
Generously butter a 9 x 13 baking dish.
Stir together dry ingredients, including oats.
Using a pastry blender, cut in the cold butter until butter pieces are the size of small peas.

Gently press 1/2 of this crumb mixture onto the bottom of greased baking dish.
(reserving 1/2 of crumb for topping)
Spoon fruit preserves onto crumb crust and spread very gently with a spoon or knife to cover crust completely.

Sprinkle remaining 1/2 of crumb mixture over top of fruit.
Gently press topping  to help it adhere to fruit, preventing excessive crumbs.

Bake at 350 for 35-40 minutes or until golden brown.
Remove dish to wire rack and cool completely before cutting into squares.

Makes approximately 24 squares.