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Monday, May 30, 2011

happy memorial day!

Memorial Day.

It's not just about sunshine, beaches, or fishing on a lake.  It's not just about grilling or barbecuing or stuffing ourselves silly with potato salad.  It's not just about having a day off of work.  It's about gratefully remembering and honoring those who have served, are serving, or will serve our nation...thank you for what you do.

Hopefully you get to spend some time today with a veteran or someone currently in the service.  Cookie Bandit and I are delighted to be heading over to some friends' house for a cookout.  He is serving the Air Force as a surgeon, and she is a pilot in the Reserves (amazing people!)...they also gave us this fabulous recipe for pico de gallo. :)

No matter what you are doing today, you are probably eating (and most likely with friends), so here's an easy dish to bring.  It's Cookie Bandit's specialty, actually!  The one, the only, classic deviled eggs.  And don't forget to check out This Week's Cravings below for some other great ideas for Memorial Day BBQs and cookouts (YES, there is a difference!) - be sure to link up your own!

 


Deviled Eggs
6 eggs
1/4 cup mayonnaise or Miracle Whip
1 t. mustard
1/2 t. white vinegar
1/4 t. salt
white pepper to taste
paprika

Hard boil the eggs.  Cool eggs under running cold water 5 to 10 minutes.  Peel shells from the eggs.  Cut eggs in half lengthwise.  Remove yolks into a bowl.  Mash yolks with remaining ingredients except paprika until mixture is smooth.  Fill whites with this mixture; sprinkle with paprika.

Memorial Day Cookouts and BBQs!
 
 


Thursday, May 26, 2011

my online "cookbook"

I recently discovered (thanks to my awesome mother-in-law) the coolest thing in the world....livebinders!  What is a livebinder, you ask?  Well, it's literally an online binder.

If you are like me, you have a binder somewhere filled with recipes that you've saved.  When it comes to online recipes, many of you probably print them.  I, for one, have always just bookmarked them.  Either way, it is such a hassle!  I hate looking through my physical binder because it's so unorganized.  I hate sifting through my bookmarked recipes because they are so unorganized.  See my dilemma?

Livebinders have essentially solved all of my problems.  Here's how it works...

Go to www.livebinders.com and set up a free account.  Yes, it's free!  And, by the way, this works for more than just recipes.  My mother-in-law found out about the website at a teacher's conference.

When you create an account, you can create your own "shelf" full of binders.  Right now, my shelf has three binders - one for this blog, one of recipes that I want to try from other blogs, and one of miscellaneous craft projects that I just think are cool.  I chose to make my binders "public" so that you can see them, but you also have the option of making your binders "private."

(PS - sorry that these pics are so small!  You just need to go and see for yourself!)

This is my "shelf".  As you can see, I've got three binders - two under the category of "food and recipes" and one under "crafts and hobbies."  As a viewer, you have the option of rating my binders, commenting on my binders, and even copying them!  It's pretty cool.

If we click on the binder for Delightful Country Cookin', you'll essentially find an online cookbook or recipe box.  I've organized all of my recipes under different tabs (main dishes, sides, etc.).  Under each tab, you'll see a link for every recipe in that tab. 

Here, I'm showing you my "desserts" tab.  That picture is making me hungry.

Click on one of the recipes, and guess what comes up...the blog post!  You can see the post through the binder or click a button to go to the actual blog site.


I've played around with livebinders for a few days now, and here's why I love them:
  • They allow me to see just about all of my recipes at once, allowing me to click back and forth between them to compare and make decisions about what I want to make that evening.  No more wasting time clicking over to the recipe stash and trying to scroll through everything.  With livebinders, I've got it all at my fingertips.
  • I can sort all of my online finds in a much more organized way than I used to.  I can establish multiple binders, each with its own tabs.  I love that!  It actually feels like a real binder.
  • I can share my finds with friends, family, and you!
I'm embedding the Delightful Country Cookin' binder on this site, or you can just follow this link.  Either way, be sure to check it out and hopefully make your own.  If you make one for your recipe finds, share it!  I can't wait to see what you come up with!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

german chocolate muffins


I love a good muffin...especially a good chocolate muffin!  These German chocolate muffins are deliciously light and moist.  They are also full of surprises - they only have five ingredients, are chock full of vitamin A, and are really not all that bad for you.  The majority of the fat is the good stuff that comes from the added coconut and nuts, not from eggs, oils, or butter...you can't beat that!  

The foundation for this recipe is a box of German chocolate cake mix and two cups of pumpkin.  That's right...pumpkin!


You could just stop after combining the cake mix and pumpkin and just bake that.  However, I wanted to make my muffins a tad bit more special, so I added a few more mix-ins - coconut, milk chocolate chips, and chopped pecans.


Spoon the thick batter into muffin tins and bake for about 20 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.  Serve as muffins or top with German chocolate frosting for a delicious cupcake!


When Cookie Bandit saw me making these, he wrinkled his nose.  He wasn't so sure about the pumpkin. 
But then he smelled them cooking and saw me taking a big bite out of one.  He came over and took a little bit himself.  The next thing I know, he's eaten my entire muffin and is making his way towards the pan for more!  Suffice it to say, this recipe is definitely Cookie Bandit approved.


German Chocolate Muffins
18.25 oz. German chocolate cake mix
2 cups pumpkin puree
1/2 cup milk chocolate chips (optional)
1/2 cup chopped pecans (optional)
1/2 cup coconut flakes (optional)

Combine all ingredients and spoon into muffin tins.  Bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.  Makes 18.

Nutrition per muffin (calculated with Betty Crocker's Super Moist German chocolate cake mix): 173 calories, 5g fat, 2g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 1mg cholesterol, 245mg sodium, 30g carbs, 2g fiber, 16g sugar, 2g protein, 85% vit. A, 2% vit. C, 4% calcium, 7% iron.

Made without the chocolate chips, chopped pecans, or coconut flakes (and assuming it only makes 12 muffins without the added ingredients), the nutritional information amounts to 174 calories, 2g fat, 1g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 0g cholesterol, 352mg sodium, 38g carbs, 2g fiber, 19g sugar, 2g protein, 127% vit. A, 3% vit. C, 5% calcium, 9% iron.

Friday, May 20, 2011

country creamed corn


I just love corn.  It's one of my favorite side dishes in the world...I wouldn't put it past me to eat it for breakfast!  Usually I just grab a can of corn...generally creamed corn...from the grocery store every time I go.  This time I decided to up the nutritional value and just make it myself.  The results were so amazing that I'm never going back to canned corn again!


What I love most about this recipe is that it's convenient (you can use frozen corn if you don't have fresh) and it only takes 10 minutes.  It was so easy that I'm not sure that I can really call it cooking!


Start by plopping some butter in a skillet with some green (or regular) onions.  Saute for about 2-3 minutes, or until the onions are tender.


Then, dump in a bag of frozen corn...doesn't even need to be thawed first!  Cover and leave it alone for 5 minutes, or until the corn is cooked.


Now...here's the very important step that I forgot to take a picture of (sorry!).  Mix together some cornstarch, milk, water, salt and pepper.  Stir this mixture into the corn and bring it to a boil.  Cook it for about 2 minutes, or until it's thickened.


Like I said...easy!


Country Creamed Corn
1/4 cup chopped green onion (or finely chopped regular onion)
2 T. butter
16 oz. frozen (or fresh) corn
1 T. cornstarch
1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup water
1/4-1/2 t. each salt and pepper

Saute onions in butter about 2-3 minutes, or until tender.  Stir in corn; cover and cook about 5 minutes until heated.  In a small bowl, whisk together remaining ingredients.  Stir into corn, and bring to a boil.  Cook, uncovered, for about 2 minutes or until thickened.  Serves 6.


Variation: Use almond milk or other milk substitute and dairy-free Smart Balance for a diary-free or IBS diet.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

quick and easy christmas: winner revealed!



Thanks so much to all of the comments and entries for Gooseberry Patch's new cookbook, Quick and Easy Christmas (winner of the cookbook announced below).  I get a kick out of reading all of them and only wish I had time to respond to them all.  I wish every post got as much comment love as these Gooseberry giveaway posts! :) 

As promised, I tallied up all of the results to determine which of my featured recipes got the most votes.  I think the men in your life are going to be happy... :-)

The winner...Man Bars!


These are a perfect treat to put in Christmas tins or to serve to your favorite man (or woman!) any time of year!  They are best when warm (we pop ours in the microwave for a few seconds before eating), and they taste great with coffee.  Someday, I'm going to go all out and cover them with chocolate frosting and roasted marshmallows!


The base of this recipe is graham cracker crumbs, not flour!  Now, that doesn't mean that it's gluten-free.  But, using graham cracker crumbs gives it a unique flavor that you won't find in other bar cookies.



Add chocolate chips, sweetened condensed milk, walnuts, and vanilla.  Mix it well and press it into a greased 8x8 pan.  Bake at 350 for 30-35 minutes.


Before serving, roll these beauties in powdered sugar!


Man Bars
from Gooseberry Patch's Quick and Easy Christmas
2 cups graham cracker crumbs
6 oz. semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup walnuts, finely chopped
14 oz. sweetened condensed milk
1 t. vanilla
powdered sugar

Mix together all ingredients except powdered sugar.  Press into a well-greased 8"x8" baking pan.  Bake at 350 degrees for 30 to 35 minutes.  Cut into small squares and roll in powdered sugar before serving.  Makes about 1 1/2 dozen.


And now...the winner of Quick and Easy Christmas...


ShellyRaeWood!  ShellyRae was picked using the random number generator at random.org.  She said, "Oh my family would go ga-ga for that Turkey and Cranberries.  Definitely gets my vote! :)  ShellyRae, I'm so excited that you get to try out the turkey recipe - it makes me go "ga-ga" too!

Everyone else, be sure to look for Quick and Easy Christmas at a local retailer soon or pre-order your copy from amazon.com today!

Monday, May 16, 2011

hamburger cornbread casserole

A few announcements:
  • Don't forget to enter to win a copy of Gooseberry Patch's Quick and Easy Christmas!  The book isn't even released yet, but I'm giving away one early-bird copy.  Giveaway ends Tuesday night (tomorrow!).
  • Over the weekend, we finally figured out my husband's "blog name", and he got some sweet revenge on me.  If you missed it, check it out here.  He'd love your comments!
  • This is my 200th post!!!  

May is National Hamburger Month, so in celebration we're busting out our best hamburger recipes for This Week's Cravings.

This Hamburger Cornbread Casserole was inspired by a similar dish I tried at a friend's house many, many moons ago.  I was in high school, and my mom and I were traveling together for a conference I had to attend on the other side of the state.  My friend Heather and her family graciously opened their home to us, not only letting us stay with them, but serving us a tremendous home-cooked meal.  The star of the show was this casserole...we couldn't get enough!  My mom talked Heather's mom out of the recipe (the women in my family tend to have that skill), and we've made it our own over the years. 

Heather's mom (Miss Cindy) has since gone to be with the Lord, but every time I make this dish, I'm reminded of how blessed I am to have met such a godly woman.  Her life was a testimony of faith and love.  We miss you, Miss Cindy!

Begin by chopping up an onion and green bell pepper.


Cook these with hamburger meat in a skillet until the hamburger has browned.


Then, mix in the tomatoes.  Let it simmer for a while...oh, it smells so good!


Add the beans and seasonings and simmer for another 10 minutes.



Get our your largest casserole dish and pour the hamburger mixture in it.


Top with cornbread batter.  You can either use a box mix like Jiffy or just make your own.  I generally make my own and double the recipe (I really like the cornbread part of this dish).


Bake until the cornbread has browned!


Cornbread Hamburger Casserole
2 lb. ground beef
1 can Ranch Style beans
1 can diced tomatoes
1 can Ro-Tel tomatoes with chilies
salt and pepper to taste
1 large onion, chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped
4 t. chili powder (if desired)
1/2 t. garlic salt

Brown meat, onion, and pepper.  Add diced and Ro-Tel tomatoes; cook 15 minutes.  Add all seasonings and beans; cook 10 minutes.  Pour in a large casserole dish and cover with cornmeal batter (spreading evenly to achieve a thin layer).  Bake at 400 degrees until the cornbread is done.  Serves 8-10.


Gluten-free variation - use gluten-free cornbread batter.


Hamburger!
Help us celebrate National Hamburger Month by linking up your favorite hamburger recipes here!

Saturday, May 14, 2011

cookie bandit's revenge

As my facebook followers may have noticed, my husband and I have been trying to pick out a "blog name" for him.  I suggested Mr. Delightful, but he wasn't really into that.  He also said "any reference to blue eyes or being sweet, charming, etc. is too girly."  Sigh.  He has amazing blue eyes...and he's incredibly sweet and charming...but I guess we'll have to go a different route.

Ladies and gentlemen, may I introduce to you...

Cookie Bandit!

Yes...Cookie Bandit is much more masculine. :-)

A long, long time ago, I did a post all about Cookie Bandit's food face and how cute I think it is.  He's wanted revenge for quite some time now.  Last weekend, he got it.

Here's the challenge...a tri-tip sandwich covered in relish and BBQ sauce.


...and, yes...I was the contender.


Oh, he had some fun with this.


I guess I had fun, too.  It was delicious!



Ack!  I had BBQ sauce all over my face!


And then, the delicious last bite.


Cookie Bandit, you've gotten your sweet revenge.  Just you wait!
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