Thursday, December 29, 2011

Super Duper Totally authorized Top Secret Recipes ebook

Super Duper Totally Authorized Top Secret Recipes eBookSuper Duper Totally Authorized Top Secret Recipes eBook by Todd Wilbur

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This was a fantastic ebook. I never really wanted to get a recipe book on my Kindle because I don't want to use it in the kitchen where it could get dirty, but this is an exception. Not only does it have recipes from well-known restaurants and fast food chains, it has a few paragraphs with each recipe to explain how they reproduced it.

I have one of this author's older hard back books like this, but this one is up-to-date with current dishes.

I would highly recommned this e-book and when I got it, it was a free Kindle download, which makes it all the better.

View all my reviews

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Snack Mix in a Jar

It's 13 days until Christmas and are you still stuck with what gift to get someone. Well, I have the perfect thing. This is probably the easiest jar gift you can make to give to family and friends. When I first found the recipe for it online, it said to layer the different ingredients in the jar. I found that wasn't nearly as eye appealing as mixing all the ingredients together and then putting them in the jar. I also cut out a circle of holiday cloth to put under the ring before screwing it on.

The great thing about this recipe is that there really is no set ingredients. You can add or omit whatever you want. If someone is allergic to nuts, you definitely wouldn't want to add those in. Below, I'm going to list several ingredients. I don't use all of them, but instead pick out what I think the recipients of the jar will like.

Snack Mix in a Jar

sunflower seeds
salted peanuts
fish crackers
small pretzels
M & M's
mini chocolate chips
peanut butter chips
butterscotch chips
Cheerios, or any small size cereal of your chosing
chocolate covered raisins
banana chips
various dried fruit

As you can see from the list, the sky is the limit with what you put into the mix.


Saturday, December 3, 2011

Sweet Potato Casserole

Forgive me for being brief in this post, but I'm in the middle of edits for my novel scheduled to be released in January and my time is running out. Today, I thought I would share a recipe that will be served at many holiday dinners this month, Sweet Potato Casserole. It's quick and easy to make and one that everyone loves.

Sweet Potato Casserole

3 C. mashed sweet potatoes
1 C. sugar
1 stick of butter or margarine
2 eggs, beaten
1 t. vanilla

1 C. brown sugar
3/4 C. pecans
1/3 C. flour
1/3 C. butter or margarine

Mix all ingredients well. Pour into a casserole dish and spoon topping over the mixture. Bake for 30 minutes at 350° f.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Holly Wreath Cookies

One of my aunts made these for a family Christmas dinner when I was a kid. I thought they were so cool at the time and still do. They're very easy to make, so festive, and everyone will love them.

Holly Wreath Cookies
1 stick butter
30 large marshmallows
5 C. corn flake cereal
green food coloring
red hots candy

Melt butter and marshmallows together in a heavy pan on the stove, stir well to keep from burning. Add 3 t. green food coloring, blend well. Remove from heat and stir in the corn flake cereal. Using greased teaspoons, drop onto a sheet of wax paper or a greased cookie sheet. Grease hands and shape the cookies into wreaths. Decorate with red hots. If you don't want to make wreaths, you can add the red hots to the drops of the corn flake mixture without making into wreaths. They look great that way, too.


Saturday, November 12, 2011

National Pizza With Everything Day

I think this could actually become my favorite holiday. Today is National Pizza With Everything Day. Pizza probably ranks as just about everyone's favorite foods. It's very high on my list, probably in the top two or three. I've mentioned before that I really want to write a pizza cookbook and have been collecting recipes for a long time now. Today, I'm going to share one of my favorites, Crazy Crust Pizza. If you love pizza and are looking for something a little different in a homemade pizza, I think you'll love this. The toppings that I use are pepperoni, onions, mushrooms, black olives, and I always sprinkle on a little extra oregano on top. If you are a fan of a crispy crust, this one is not for you. I've never be able to get a crispy crust out of this. Sorry.

Crazy Crust Pizza
1 c. flour
1 t. salt
1 t. oregano
pepper to taste
2 eggs
2/3 c. milk

Your choice
pizza sauce
mozzarella cheese

Preheat oven to 425°f. Grease and flour a 9x13 inch pan and set aside. Make sure the pan has sides. Combine all of the dry ingredients of the batter in a bowl. Add eggs and milk; stir. Remember, this is a batter, not dough. It will be a little thin. Pour batter onto baking pan and tilt to cover the whole bottom. Place toppings of your choosing on top of batter, except for the sauce and cheese. Bake batter for 25-30 minutes. Remove from oven and cover with sauce and cheese. Bake for until cheese melts, around 10-15 minutes.

Have a Happy Pizza With Everything Day,

Saturday, November 5, 2011

49 days until Christmas

Can you believe it? Forty-nine days until Christmas. Check out this Christmas Countdown Clock. It seems to sneaks up on me every year. I actually have a few gifts already and a list of other things to buy, but I just know that I will be one of those last minute shoppers hitting the stores on Christmas Eve.

Today, I have another gift idea to share with you. I made these Whisk Kisses and gave them to my co-workers a few years ago at Christmas. They're very easy and very inexpensive to make. I bought the whisks at a Dollar Tree store and already had the ribbon.

Fill each whisk with red, green and silver foil colored chocolate kiss candy. Attach a ribbon and tag and you're done. You can't get much easier than that.

I want to direct you to a web page that I found this idea as well as many of my homemade gifts for Christmas. It's called and I highly recommend that you go take a look. It's one of my favorites.

Upcoming post: I'm going to try a new recipe from a relative for dressing at Thanksgiving this month, but I don't want to share it until I try it first. Watch for my post about it after Thanksgiving.


Saturday, October 15, 2011

NOOK edition now available

My book, Masters & Disasters of Cooking is now available as an ebook for the NOOK e-reader on the Barnes and Noble web site.

For a limited time only, get Free Ground Shipping when you purchase the print edition of Masters & Disasters of Cooking. This would make a great Christmas gift for a cook of any level, or anyone that loves good comical stories. Visit my web site for details on the FREE shipping discount.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Butter Pound Cake

I have a Butter Pound Cake in the oven right now and it is already making the house smell good. Back in 2010, I wrote a post about Lemon Pound Cake saying that when I make it I use a cake mix with a box of pudding. This time, I'm making a Butter Pound Cake and using an easy recipe that I have which makes a wonderful cake from scratch. If you're on a diet, I wouldn't read any further. This one is rich. If the icing doesn't appeal to you, dusting the top of the cake with powdered sugar is another option.

If you look at my last post about Pound Cakes, you will see that you can use just about any type of pan. I normally use a Bundt pan, which is what is mentioned in the recipe below.

Butter Pound Cake
1 C. butter, at room temperature
1 3/4 C. sugar
5 eggs
2 C. flour
1 t. vanilla

Preheat oven to 325 f. Grease and flour a Bundt pan, set aside. With a mixer, cream the butter, sugar, and vanilla together. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each egg. Slowly add the flour a little at a time. Once the batter is mix thoroughly pour into the Bundt pan and bake for about an hour. Remove from oven and let cool slightly. Invert cake onto a plate. Let cake cool completely before applying icing below.

Powdered Sugar Icing
1/2 C. powdered sugar
1 T. butter, softened
1/2 t. vanilla

Mix all ingredients together and add boiling water a spoonful at a time until the mixture reaches the consistency to drizzle over the cake. Too thin and it will run off of the cake.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Masters & Disasters of Cooking on sale

My book, Masters & Disasters of Cooking is on sale for a limited time. Take 15% off your purchase from now until October 7, 2011. This book would make a great Christmas gift for you favorite cook or someone who loved funny stories. To purchase the book at 15% off, visit my web site. Thanks.


Sunday, October 2, 2011

Community Salad

Below is an excerpt from my book, Masters & Disasters of Cooking. It's available in both print and ebook at or in print at

I love salads, but hate to make them. With the convenience of lettuce in bags now, putting together a bog salad is much easier than it used to be. This recipe is one that we’ve made at my office several times. Each of my co-workers in the office would be responsible for bringing in at least one ingredient listed in the recipe. Just before lunch, someone puts it all together in a large bowl and we have a great healthy lunch that everyone enjoys.

Chef’s Salad

1 large package lettuce, washed thoroughly
lean ham, cut into small pieces
1/2 pkg. fresh spinach
tomatoes, diced
radishes, sliced
1 cucumber, chopped
fresh mushrooms, sliced
green or red peppers, chopped
red onions, sliced into rings
broccoli flowerets
cauliflower flowerets
1 apple, chopped
1/4 lb. Cheddar cheese, shredded
1/4 lb. ham, chopped
1 pkg. Good Seasons Italian dressing
1 packet artificial sweetener croutons, optional

Mix all vegetables together in a large bowl. Add apple and ham and cheese as a top layer. Finish with rings of red onions and tomatoes. Mix Good Seasons dressing according to directions on package, but add the artificial sweetener prior to the oil. Add the dressing to salad just before serving.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

91 Days Until Christmas

From now until Christmas, I plan on occasionally posting ideas for home-made gifts from the kitchen and maybe even some non-food gifts. Every year, I tried to make something from the kitchen for my family and friends for Christmas. I have a pretty long list and want to share some of my favorites to hopefully give you some ideas that you can use.

I'm going to start with my favorite, Hot Chocolate Cones with homemade hot chocolate mix. I've made the hot chocolate mix several times for my co-workers. The first time I made it, I found some really nifty small glass jars with hinged lids at Big Lots to put them in. I think the jars were only $1.00 each. The last time I gave the hot chocolate, I made the Hot Chocolate Cones and they were a huge success, so much so that my boss wanted to order about 50 of them for his wife to give as gifts at work. That was a little too many for me to work on in the short amount of time I had, so I had to decline, but it might be something you could think about. Just remember to check your state's health codes about making and selling food items.

Homemade Hot Chocolate

8 quarts powdered milk
1 - 15 oz. can Nestle Quick
1 - 6 oz. jar powdered non-dairy creamer
2 c. powdered sugar
1/2 bag mini marshmallows - optional

Mix all of the above ingredients, except the marshmallows, in a huge bowl. Store in containers to give as gifts. Add a tag with instructions that say "4 1/2 T. of mix to a hot mug of hot water and enjoy."

Hot Chocolate Cones

Homemade Hot Chocolate Mix, recipe above
mini marshmallows
milk chocolate chips
clear disposable cake decorating bags
wire ties

To make it less messy, each cone will use 2 cake decorating bags. In the first bag, place enough mix to make two cups of hot chocolate. Tie the bag closed with a wire tie and trim off the excess of the bag. Place that bag into a second bag. Push the top of the first bag down as well as you can and then pour about 1/8 of a cup of the chocolate chips on top and enough to cover the top of the first bag. On top of the chocolate chips, put about 1/4 c. mini marshmallows. If you want to add some pink marshmallows, or whatever they might have around Christmas, for a little color you can. Twist the second bag close with a wire tie and with the ribbon, tie a tag on it with the mixing instructions.

You can find cake decorating bags at just about any craft store and also at Walmart.


Sunday, September 11, 2011

Healthy Broccoli Cauliflower Casserole

I can never refuse Broccoli Cauliflower Casserole and I have the best recipe. While it is fairly healthy to start with since it has so many veggies in it, I think I have made it even a little more healthy by altering the ingredients just a little.

The recipe calls for Velveta Cheese, butter or margarine, and cream of mushroom soup. All of these have a high fat content, but by substituting lower fat versions, the dish can meet many diet plans. White rice is also another ingredient. I suppose you could substitute the higher fiber brown rice, but I've never tried that. I'm just not a fan of brown rice, so I keep the white rice in it.

The recipe says to bake this in the oven, however, when I prepare this I make in the microwave. From steaming the broccoli and cauliflower to the final preparation, I use the microwave which helps keep the kitchen cool.

Broccoli Cauliflower Casserole

1 - 10 oz. bag of frozen chopped broccoli
1 - 10 oz. bag of frozen cauliflower
1 c. cooked rice
1 c. Velveta Cheese 2% Milk, cut into small pieces
1 medium onion, chopped
1/2 stick low fat margarine
1 can fat-free cream of mushroom soup
Seasoned bread crumbs

Steam the broccoli and cauliflower in the microwave according to directions on the bags. Saute the onion in the margarine. Mix all of the ingredients together in a casserole dish. Spread bread crumbs on top. Bake at 350° oven for 30 minutes, or microwave on high for 5 minutes.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Brownie Power

I was contacted this week by the Administrator of BrowniePower blog about exchanging links. When that happens, I always check out the blog before I agree and when I visited this site, I was not disappointed. Come on, who doesn't like brownies? OMG, this site has the best brownie recipes on it. The first recipe I'm going to try is the York Peppermint Brownies. I highly recommend the BrowniePower Blog. This is going to kill my diet, but brownies are so worth it.


Monday, September 5, 2011

20% off on my book

My publisher is offering 20% off on all orders up to $100 from now until September 9, 2011. You can learn more about the purchase and get the discount code by clicking on Masters & Disasters of Cooking. The book is full of anecdotes of both my cooking disasters and masterpieces. This would make a fantastic Christmas gift for your favorite cook. Thanks.


Sunday, September 4, 2011

Mexican Dip

If any of you are still looking for an idea for an appetizer on this holiday weekend, let me suggest my layered Mexican Dip. This recipe is from my book, Masters & Disasters of Cooking. As the story in my book tells, I took this to a cookout when my husband first started working for the local police department. The cookout was the first time I would meet the wives of his fellow officers. I wanted to make a good impression, so I took my favorite appetizer, which is also so easy to make. Everyone loved it and wanted the recipe.

Mexican Dip

2 oz. package cream cheese, softened
1 c. sour cream
2 T. milk
2 T. chili powder
1 t. garlic powder
1 t. salt
shredded lettuce
chopped green pepper
chopped tomatoes
chopped onion
shredded Cheddar, Colby, and Mozzarella cheeses

Mix the cream cheese, sour cream, and milk together until blended well. Add the chili powder, garlic powder, and salt. Mix well. Spread on the bottom of a pan and layer on top and in order the lettuce, green pepper, tomatoes, and onion. Finish with a top layer of the shredded cheeses. Cover with aluminum foil and chill. Serve with tortilla chips, or it's even better with Nacho Cheese Doritos.

You can put this appetizer on any type of pan. I've used a pizza pan, baking dish, and even split it up into a couple of 9" round cake pans. If you're taking this to a cookout, try putting it on a disposable aluminum pan, just make sure you support the bottom when you carry it.

Everyone have a happy and safe Labor Day weekend.


Thursday, September 1, 2011

New novel coming

I'm excited to announce that my second novel, "Saved by the Sheriff" is going to be published by Secret Cravings Publishing. To read my official announcement, please visit my author's blog at


Sunday, August 28, 2011

Apple Crisp

My regular scheduled grocery shopping day is a few days away and this weekend my husband and I were craving something sweet. He offered to make his potato candy, but that would have been just a quick fix. I wanted something that would last until I could get to the store this week. So, first I looked through our pantry to see what I had that would make a great dessert.

I usually try to keep something in there to make in an emergency. Mostly, I do this in the winter when there's always a chance of getting snowed in for a few days. Today, I found a large can of peaches in there and I do make a really good peach cobbler, so that was my first option. Then, I decided to look through my recipes for an idea and that's when I found my Apple Crisp recipe.

This is perfect because I have a bag of apples that I need to use before they go bad. So, Apple Crisp it is. Below is my recipe. I only wish I had some ice cream to go with it.

Apple Crisp
3 c. of sliced apples
1/2 c. flour
1/2 c. rolled oats
1 c. brown sugar
1 t. cinnamon
1/2 t. nutmeg
1 c. water

Place apples in a buttered baking dish and sprinkle with 1/2 c. brown sugar and add water. Mix together the flour, oats, sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg until well blended. Sprinkle over the apples and dot with butter or margarine. Bake at 350° f. for 30-35 minutes or until the apples are tender. Serve warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.


Sunday, August 21, 2011

Mini Meatloaf

I will be the first to tell you that I do not like meatloaf. However, this meatloaf is one that I do like and want to share it with you. Although it is not your normal recipe, if you have someone like me who doesn't care for meatloaf this might just fit their picky eating habits.

Mini Meatloaf

1 pound lean ground beef
1 box Stovetop Stuffing mix
1 T. garlic powder
3/4 c. barbecue sauce
3/4 c. shredded cheddar cheese
1 c. water

Preheat oven to 375° f. Mix together the ground beef, stuffing mix, water, and garlic power until well blended. Spray a muffin tin with cooking spray and press the meat mixture into each cup. With a small spoon, make an indentation on top of each mini loaf and fill with the BBQ sauce. Bake in the oven for about 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and sprinkle the tops with the shredded cheese and bake for 5 minutes more minutes or until the cheese has melted.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Ground Turkey Recall

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has announced a recall of ground turkey containing salmonella. The turkey was sold across the United States in many different stores. Read about the recall here.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Hospital Food

I've spent the last two days sitting with a friend in the hospital. It didn't take more than my first trip to their cafe to find out that hospital food still isn't good.

It was about 11:00 am when my stomach informed me that it needed to be fed. I was the second to make the voyage to the basement where the cafe was located. I refer to it as cafe because that's what they called it at the hospital. I would have thought at 11:00, there would have been a good selection of food available. After all, I had just looked at a card that told that they had opened at 8 am.

I was wrong. The only thing available were cold sandwiches and cups of fruit. I should have chosen the fruit, but picked up a cold ham and cheese on wheat instead. It had no taste. I also got a cup of coffee, which was terrible, too.

The next day, I waited until lunch time and found three choices of food: pizza, chicken or fish, and hot sandwiches. Guess which line was the longest? Yep, the pizza line. I was in a hurry and decided to get a white meat chicken patty. Well, what I thought was chicken turned out to be fish and what I thought was fish was chicken. The chicken was tender enough, but had no flavor what so ever. With the chicken, I had new potatoes and corn, both of which were good. Before taking my lunch back to the room to eat with my friend, I looked for some salt. LOL, yeah right. There was no salt anywhere to be found.

After my visits to the hospital, I have decided that eating healthy my be good for you, but the flavor has much to be desired.


Thursday, July 28, 2011

Where Have I Been?

Have I been missing? I discovered last night that I haven't posted on here since June. OMG, what a surprise! I had no idea. My excuses are many.

1. It could be the heat way. It's so hot to sit and type on my laptop right now.

2. Could be the writing I've been doing on a book, but I abandoned that around the second week of July (see previous excuse).

3. I've been doing some traveling, but that was only one weekend.

4. My daughter is home from Mississippi visiting.

5. I went to a writers' convention, but that was last weekend.

6. My mom had a medical procedure done and that took five days off from work.

I guess that just about covers the month, but it's not over yet. The heat is still on and I still have a book to write. I'll be traveling again today and no computer access tonight, but will try and work up a recipe to post as soon as I can.


Thursday, June 30, 2011

Potato Salad

First, Happy 4th of July to my fellow Americans. This is the holiday of picnics, cookouts, and eating too much. One dish I normally prepare for the 4th is potato salad. It's one of about three dishes that I make without using a recipe or measuring any of the ingredients, which makes it a hard recipe to share with my readers. I subscribe to the Betty Crocker email newsletter. I highly recommend it. This week in the newsletter, it had a recipe for potato salad that is very close to my recipe. Here's the link to Betty Crocker Potato Salad. The only difference between my version and "Betty's" is that I leave out the vinegar and use sweet relish instead of celery.

Enjoy your holiday and please be safe.


Sunday, June 12, 2011

Product testing results

Back in April, I blogged that I was participating in a product testing of Miracle Whip Salad Dressing and said I report the results back on my blog. Unfortunately, I forgot until now to do that.

To the right, you will see the two generic jars of Miracle Whip that I was sent to test. I was to use the first one for one week, recording the dishes that I prepared with the dressing. Then, do it all over again the second week with the other jar. The survey instructions said to use each product as a spread or condiment on sandwiches as often as possible. In addition, use the product in salads, such as egg salad, potato salad, dips, or heated recipes. The three questions on the survey were what I liked about the products, disliked about the products, my thoughts on the products, and finally I had to list the types of foods/dishes that I used the product on.

The first week, I used jar #1 on a ham, cheese and lettuce sandwich; chicken salad; cheese sandwich; potato salad; and tenderloin sandwich. I liked jar #1. It had the normal consistency of Miracle Whip and the taste was wonderful. There was nothing I disliked about the product.

The second week, I prepared a bacon, lettuce and tomato sandwich; tuna salad, egg salad, potato salad, and tarter sauce. The consistency was the same as the first product, but the taste was not as sweet. However, I liked the second jar just as well as the first and if I had to chose which one I liked the best, I don't think I could.

The only thing I did not like about the testing was the over-use of Miracle Whip. With only one week to test each jar, I had to make a lot of sandwiches, etc. with Miracle Whip. I normally don't use Miracle Whip that often in my normal making of daily meals. By the time the second week was over, I was pretty sick of making things with that product in it. My additional comments on the survey were that the testing period needed to be spread out over more than one week for each jar.

I didn't get paid for the product testing, but I did get to keep the remaining salad dressing and kept using them. I have no idea what the difference was between the two jars, but if one of them was fat-free or sugar-free, I could not tell much difference.

This was the second product testing that I have done for the survey company. The first time, I tested mascara. I'm hoping to be able to product test for them again. I enjoy taking part and hope that my opinions can help make a better product.


Saturday, June 4, 2011

Popsicles are perfect for summer heat

The heat of summer is upon my part of the country, hitting over 100°f heat index today. Now I don't have kids at home anymore, but that doesn't mean I can't have some popsicles in my freezer to cool me off on this hot day. One problem I have with buying the frozen treats at the store is that by the time I drive home in this heat, they have started to melt and have become a little messy. Usually in the summer, I keep a Styrofoam cooler in the trunk of my car for those types of items purchased at the store, but I haven't put the cooler in the trunk yet and I don't want to drive all the way to town just for popsicles. Another reason is that I just don't want all of that sugar that I get in store-bought popsicles.

My solution is to make my own. I can always find fruit juice in my pantry and that is the perfect thing to use to make popsicles, especially if you have 100% fruit juice. Of course, if you don't mind the sugar, you can use lemonade or Kool-Aid. No matter what concoction you use, one thing you have to be aware of is the sugar content and how it relates to freezing. Think about how hard ice cubes are. They have no sugar in them and are hard as a rock.

Store-bought popsicles are a little softer because they have some sugar added to them. So, if you find that the popsicles that you made at home are too hard, then they didn't have enough sugar in them. If they are too soft, you made have added too much. Either way, it's a good way to cool off.


By they way, Popsicle is a trademark held by the Unilever company. No infringement intended.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cupcakes

Chocolate is probably the messiest thing to have around on a hot summer day, but I love chocolate and I love chocolate and peanut butter even more. Remember my earlier post about spreading peanut butter on my chocolate brownie? Yes, I have it bad and I'm craving peanut butter and chocolate right now. So, to help take care of that craving, I thought I would share my recipe for Chocolate Peanut Butter Cupcakes.

Looks a little like a Hostess Cupcake doesn't it? Oh, but it is so much better. I usually use chocolate frosting on top, but lately I have been thinking about trying a peanut butter icing. I've never made peanut butter icing, but I think if I mix together powdered sugar, peanut butter, and a little milk, it would be perfect.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cupcakes
2 T. whipping cream
2 squares of semi-sweet chocolate, finely chopped
2 t. granulated sugar
1/4 C. peanut butter

In a small saucepan, heat the cream until just boiling. Add in the chocolate and sugar and stir until all is melted. Refrigerate the mixture for about 40 minutes. It needs to be firm, but not hard.

Mix together a chocolate cake mix according to the directions on the box. Line a muffin pan with 12 paper baking cups. Fill each cup almost 1/3 full of the cake batter. Using the palms of your hands, roll the firm peanut butter filling into a ball and put one into each cup in the muffin pan. Cover each ball with the rest of the cake batter. Bake for 15-20 minutes at 350° f. or until the center springs back when touched lightly. Cool the cupcakes completely before frosting and serve. They taste the best after they have cooled.


Monday, May 16, 2011

New Discount on my book

My publisher is offering a new discount on my book, Masters & Disasters of Cooking. From now until May 31, 2011, you can get 15% off of the print edition of the book. Don't delay and miss the deal. Clock here to get the code and order the book.


Saturday, May 7, 2011

Food Tip of the Day

First, Happy Kentucky Derby Day! I live in southern Indiana near Louisville, Kentucky and love to celebrate Derby Day. It's way too wild for me to attend because I would only be able to go to the infield and believe me the infield is crazy on Derby Day. You also rarely see a horse when you're in the infield. So, I'll be watching at home, television turned up loud, drink in hand, and cheering for my horse. I haven't really studied them close, but I think I'll chose Twice the Appeal. He's a long-shot, but the name is sort of related to my day job.

Okay, so for my Food Tip of the Day, I made brownies this week so we would have something sweet in the house to eat. The pan is on the counter in the kitchen and when I went in to get a brownie, I noticed our jar of Jiffy Creamy Peanut Butter next to the pan. Hmmm, I love Reese's Cups and wondered how a brownie would taste with peanut butter spread on top of it. OMG, it was wonderful. You have to try it.


Sunday, May 1, 2011


I do believe that fried oysters are my favorite seafood. I've had a can of them on the shelf for a while now waiting for the opportune evening to fix them for supper. The reason I have to wait is because my husband does not like oysters, so I wait until he works late so I can fry them. Tonight is that night. He has to work late filling in for a coworker and it's oysters for me tonight. Now, don't feel sorry for him, he already told me not to make him anything for supper as he would probably just eat at work, or grab something on the way home. Perfect for me.

Frying the oysters is pretty simple. Rinse them off and make sure there are no shells pieces or pebbles in them. I then dip them in beaten egg and coat with crushed cracker crumbs. Fry in a hot skillet of oil until they reach the desired doneness. I really wish I could find my iron skillet because that would be perfect for the frying, but it's no where to be found.


Friday, April 22, 2011

A new story for Masters & Disasters 2?

I baked fish a few days ago for supper. It wasn't until I already had it in the over when I realized we didn't have any tartar sauce. I called my mom to see if she had any I could borrow. She didn't, but suggested that I just make some. Hmmm, how do I do that? She told me to use Miracle Whip and relish. Okay, I have both of those and this would work out great for the Product Testing I'm doing with Miracle Whip. So I asked her how much of each I use. Her answer, "I don't know, I just mix some together until it tastes right."

Why not? I throw things together like that all the time. I started by mixing equal amount of each and gave it a taste. Too sweet. I then added just a pinch of salt. Too much. How about a little sugar. Better, and I thought I had better stop or it might end up worse.

The verdict? All I'm going to say is that we ate the fish without tartar sauce, which is now on my grocery list for my next shopping trip.

I also wanted to remind everyone of the limited offer of free shipping on my book, Masters & Disasters of Cooking and tell you of a new offer. From now until April 26, 2011, you can get 20% off of the purchase price on the print version of the book. Visit my M&D web page for the codes for both offers. These offers cannot be combined, but must be used individually.


Saturday, April 16, 2011

Dandelion Jelly and a Special Offer

I was sitting in my office at my day job the other day looking out the window. With the beautiful weather on that particular day, I was wishing I was outside instead of in my office working. One thing I noticed was all of the dandelions in the yard. It looked like a yellow blanket had been spread over the whole lawn. The landlord actually came later that day to mow the grass and all of the dandelions succumbed, too. The next day, I turned my desk chair around to look out of the window again and there they were. The dandelions had returned strong as ever. Don't you just hate that?

So, today I give you my way of revenge over the ever mortal dandelion with my recipe for Dandelion Jelly. The main thing to remember when harvesting the dandelion blossoms is to not use them if they have been treated with any type of insecticide or fertilizer, and it wouldn't hurt to make sure the dog or cat haven't watered them in their own special way either. Lastly, please check below the recipe for a special offer for my cookbook, Masters & Disasters of Cooking.

Dandelion Jelly

1 quart dandelion blossoms
2 T. lemon juice
4 1/2 c. sugar
1 pkg. Sure-Jell
1 pkg yellow food coloring

De-stem and rinse dandelions thoroughly. Boil them in one quart of water for 3 minutes. Strain out 3 cups of the water and return it to the stove. Discard the blossoms. To the water, add the lemon juice, food coloring, and Sure-Jell. Stir well and bring the liquid to a boil. Add the sugar and stir. Boil again for more 3 minutes. Pour into jars and seal.

Special Offer from my publisher:
From now until April 30, 2011, my publisher is running a special offer for free shipping (up to $4.99) on orders of my cookbook, Masters & Disasters of Cooking. This would make a great gift for Mother's Day. To find out how to get this special offer and to order, visit this page on my web site.


Sunday, April 10, 2011

Potato Soup

I think I've mentioned before what a wonderful cook my husband is. Well, I'm going to remind you again and share a recent recipe of his. Here at home, we share the cooking duties for our dinners. As with most other families, we get into a rut by preparing the same things all the time. It gets old and we are always looking for something new to try. This past week, my husband decided to fix some potato soup before our potatoes went bad. I could not stop myself from telling him over and over how good his soup was.

When he decides on a new dish, he usually searches online for a recipe, even though I have hundreds of cookbooks on the bookshelf to look through. Sometime ago, he found a recipe for potato soup. It was good, but nothing to really brag about. This week, he pulled that recipe out and found that we didn't have all of the ingredients. Being the good cook that he is, he improvised and the result was the wonderful delicacy that I am bragging about. The only thing I added was a small amount of shredded cheese to my bowl. But, even without the added cheese, it was still good. I took some to work the next day for my lunch and forgot the cheese. Even without the cheese, I think it was even better the next day. Below is his final recipe after changing a few of the original ingredients and amounts.

Steve's Potato Soup
1 medium onion, chopped
1/2 C. celery, chopped
2 T. chopped parsley
5 T. butter or margarine (we use butter)
4 T. flour
2 1/2 C. chicken broth
1 1/2 C. whole milk
4 potatoes, cut into 1/4-inch pieces
dash of Worcestershire sauce
1/2 t. dried thyme
1/2 t. salt
1/4 t. chicken bouillon powder
pepper, to taste

In a large pot, saute onion, celery, and parsley, in the butter until soft, but not brown. Sprinkle in the flour and cook, stirring for about 2 minutes. Still stirring, slowly add in broth.

Add the rest of the ingredients and allow to simmer and thicken. Stir frequently to keep from burning for about 25 minutes until the potatoes are cook thoroughly. (My addition to the recipe is to add shredded cheese to each bowl and stir until melted.) Serve warm.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Product Testing

For the next two weeks, I will doing product testing with Miracle Whip Salad Dressing. I filled out an online survey last weekend and since I apparently answered the questions like they wanted, I was asked to do a product test. FedEx delivered the jars just a few minutes ago. I haven't had a chance to look over any of the material that came with it yet, but did see two boxes inside of the bigger box.

What I know from the survey last weekend is that I am to use one jar this week as a dressing on sandwiches, mixed for tuna salad, chicken salad, or egg salad, and finally in potato salad or some other dish calling for Miracle Whip. At the end of the week, I fill out another survey, then the next week I do it all over again, but with the other jar. Strict rules prohibit me from even opening the box for the second week until the first week is over and survey filled out.

In the past, I did product test for mascara, but I think this one will be more rewarding just from the fact that it's food and my husband once did a product test for Pam Cooking Spray. Check back and I will report my finding at the end of the two weeks.


Sunday, March 27, 2011

Amaretto Chicken Salad

Yesterday, I had lunch with some old friends at Christie's on the Square and it was wonderful. Good conversation and fantastic food made for a very enjoyable day. The photo on the left is not my actually food, but it was the meal that I had. I highly recommend it for anyone who lives or visits the Salem, Indiana area. My selection was Amaretto Chicken Salad, Frozen Strawberry Salad, and Poppy Seed Bread. What a wonderful combination of food. I can't wait until I go back and will definitely have the same thing again.

Amaretto Chicken Salad
2 c. cubed chicken, cooked
1/4 c. mayonnaise
1 8 oz. can crushed pineapple, drained
1 t. salt
2 T. toasted almond slivers
1 T. amaretto

Mix the first four ingredients together and serve chilled on lettuce leaves. Sprinkle almond slivers on and around chicken salad and dribble amaretto over all.

Frozen Strawberry Salad
8 oz. cream cheese, softened
1 8 oz. can crushed pineapple drained
1 8 oz. pkg. frozen strawberry, thawed
1 lg carton Cool Whip
1/2 c. sugar

Combine all of the ingredients together, except for the Cool Whip. Mix well and then add in the Cool Whip. Pour the salad mixture into a 9x13 inch pan and freeze until solid. Cut into squares before serving.

Poppy Seed Bread
2 1/2 c. sugar
3 eggs
1 1/8 c. vegetable oil
1 1/2 c. milk
1 1/2 t. vanilla
1 1/2 t. almond flavoring
3 c. flour
1 1/2 t. baking powder
3/4 t. salt
1 1/2 t. poppy seed

Combine the first five ingredients and set aside. Mix together flour, baking powder, salt, and poppy seed. Gradually add to the first mixture and mix until well blended. Pour into two greased loaf pans. Bake at 350° f. for 1 hour to 1 hour and 15 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Pork Chops and Tuna Casserole

Tonight, I announced to my husband that we were having baked pork chops, baked potatoes, and butter beans for supper. He then tells me, he is a little tired of pork chops. WHAT! How could he be tired of pork chops? I only fix them once a week, along with everything else that we fix once a week. Yes, he does a lot of the cooking, too.

Okay, in his defense, he already fixed pork chops earlier this week, but this was an emergency. My mom called me today and said she had thawed a tray of pork chops, but couldn't fix them because my brother decided not stop stop by her house for lunch. She always fixes us a great lunch on the weekends. I wasn't going to stop by because I wasn't feeling well today. She couldn't fix them tomorrow because she already planned on making vegetable soup. She couldn't refreeze them, so to not let them go to waste, I told her I'd take them. My husband said to go ahead and fix them anyway and he would figure something else out to eat. Which actually works out well, I can have one for supper tonight and another for lunch tomorrow, but I have a feeling the other three may be dog food by the end of the day.

Now on to the Tuna Casserole. My husband told me the other night that he'd like to have a tuna casserole. I am used to cold tuna on my lettuce salad or mixed with mayo for a sandwichv. The thought of eating hot tuna really doesn't appeal to me, but I'm willing to try. So, today I am asking for my readers' help. Do you have a really good tuna casserole recipe that your family loves? If so, could I please have the recipe to try? You can put in the comments sections for everyone to see, or you can email it to me at


Friday, March 11, 2011

Mint Chocolate Chip Cookies

I'm cheating today and am going to give you a link to a very good recipe. The reason I am cheating is because I am sick and stayed home from work. I have errands to run tomorrow and wanted to get this done today.

I subscribe to the Betty Crocker email newsletter and it is always full of some great recipes. The one I received this week had several recipes in honor of St. Patrick's Day. One of them was the one to the left, Mint Chocolate Chip Cookies. This is a really easy recipe using Betty Crocker's Sugar Cookie mix and adding a few drops of food coloring and mint extract. You know when you're sick, you want and need comfort food and I would love to have some of these cookies right now. But, I started a diet this week and am going to try and be good, which means staying away from the cookies. So, someone bake these cookies and tell me how good they are.

(who is heading back to bed)

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Skippy Peanut Butter Recalled

The FDA and Unilever has issued a recall of Skippy Reduced Fat Creamy Peanut Butter Spread and Skippy Reduced Fat Super Chunk Peanut Butter Spread. It is suspected that the products may be contaminated with Salmonella. Other Skippy products are not included in the recall. You can read the press release and check the Best-Used-By-Dates here.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

It's February, so it's time for Cherries

I know I'm late, but it's still February and technically I can use that title above. When you think of February, you think of George Washington. You think of other things too, but it's a themed column today, so go with me on this. We all know the story about George Washington, as a boy, cutting down the cherry tree, but is that story true? While it's a good story, no one has ever found any evidence that young Mr. Washington did indeed cut down his father's cherry tree and then profess, "I cannot tell a lie." So, when February rolls around every year, we all connect President Washington's birthday with cherries.

Now, I have to profess that I cannot lie either, I do not like cherries. Won't eat them, or anything that has a cherry flavor, with one exception. I love my mom's Cherry Delight dessert. But, when I eat it, I push the cherries to the side. My recipe for you today is one that I usually alter because you can use just about any fruit in it. Today, I have a Slow Cooker Cherry Cobbler recipe. When I make this recipe, I usually use Musselman's Peach Pie Filling, if I can find it, you could also use apple pie filling, or blackberries. Just about any fruit will work with this.

Slow Cooker Cherry Cobbler

1 - 21 oz. can cherry pie filling
1 c. all-purpose flour
1/4 c. sugar
1 1/2 t. baking powder
1/4 t. salt
1/4 c. butter or margarine, melted
1/2 c. milk
1/2 t. vanilla

Line your slow cooker with a Reynolds Slow Cooker Liner, or coat the inside of the crock with cooking spray. Pour the pie filling into the crock and spread along the bottom. In a separate bowl, mix together the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Making a well in the center of the dry ingredients, add the melted butter, milk, and vanilla. Stir until well blended. Spread the batter evenly over the pie filling in the crock. Cover, and cook on high for 1 1/2 to 2 hours, or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Serve warm with vanilla ice cream.


Friday, February 18, 2011

Onion Chip Dip

Have you noticed that some of the major grocery stores have stopped carrying name brand products? I've noticed it happening at both Kroger and Walmart stores.It's a marketing thing for the stores. They want to sell you their own store brand, but you want to buy the name brand. Let me give you an example with yogurt. I've mentioned before on here that I love Weight Watchers yogurt. It's the best I've ever tasted, but many of the Walmart stores no longer carry it. Out of five Walmart stores that I have been to, only two have the Weight Watchers brand yogurt.

I love Prairie Farms French Onion Dip. I've tried the store brands and even the other brands and none match up to Prairie Farms brand. You know what happened, my local Kroger store stopped carrying Prairie Farms French Onion Dip. The only place I can find it now is at Walmart and that's a thirty-minute drive away. So, this week I decided to try and make my own onion chip dip. How hard could that be? Well, I found out that it was pretty easy. At my local store, I bought a 16 oz. container of Kroger Sour Cream and one package of Kroger Green Onion Dip Mix. The instructions on the package didn't say anything about mixing it with sour cream, but why not? Mixing both together, I discovered a really good Onion Dip. My husband liked it so well that he nearly ate all of it and then asked me to make another batch a few days later. You can't beat how easy it was to make. Sometimes, experimenting pays off.


Addendum, February 19, 2011:
I went to Walmart today and wouldn't you know it, they did not have the French Onion Dip AND they only had three flavors of Weight Watchers Yogurt, who of which I don't like. I may have to rethink my normal shopping stops.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Chocolate Pancakes

It's the weekend before Valentine's Day and today I was sitting in a parking lot waiting for my mother to finish getting her hair done. While waiting, I notice that there were a lot of people coming out of one store carrying the same thing. No, it wasn't flowers or chocolate, it was Mylar balloons. Most of them were red and shaped like hearts. Some said Happy Valentine's Day and some said I Love You. From what I could see, there are going to be a lot of happy people in that particular town for Valentine's Day.

After my mother was finished with her hair appointment, we headed to Walmart. What a madhouse. It almost felt like Christmas. I don't know if it was because of Valentine's Day or the fact that the weather was finally nice out. The sun was shining and the temps made it above freezing.

Obviously, chocolate is a popular item to give at Valentine's Day, so today I am going to give you a different recipe, Chocolate Pancakes. If you are a chocolate lover like I am, you will love these.

Chocolate Pancakes

4 eggs, slightly beaten
2 c. milk
6 T. oil
3 c. flour
2 T. baking powder
1 t. salt
3/4 c. sugar
2 T. cocoa powder

Mix all ingredients. Batter will be lumpy. Stirring with a wire whisk helps mix it better. Pour batter onto a hot griddle and cook as you would any pancake. Top with warm chocolate sauce, whipped cream, or sprinkle with powdered sugar.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Making dill pickles into sweet pickles

My aunt was a wonderful cook and she passed on many of her recipes to me. I think I've posted a few on here in the past. Today, I wanted to share her recipe for making sweet pickles out of dill pickles. The first time I saw this recipe made, my mother did it. I was convinced that she was crazy and that there was no way you could make sweet pickles out dills. I watched as she mixed everything together and periodically turned the jar she left sitting in her sink dish rack. Amazingly, it worked and they were delicious. I was convinced. I've added this recipe to my list of what I call "Magic Recipes."

To be honest, my aunt's recipe does not list what size jar of pickles to use. It just says large jar of pickles. The best I can remember, I use a 46 oz. jar of large whole dill pickles. I like to use the large whole pickles and cut them into bite size pieces, but you can just as easily used the hamburger slices, if you want.

With this being Super Bowl Sunday, if you are in need of just one more appetizer, you might want to give this one a try.

Sweet Pickles from Dill Pickles

46 oz. jar of whole dill pickles
2 C. sugar
1 t. celery seed
4 T. vinegar

Pour dill juice out of jar. Slice or chop pickles to desired size and place back in jar. Add sugar, celery seed, and vinegar. Replace lid and turn the jar until sugar has dissolved. The pickles will make their own juice. Store in refrigerator until serving time.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Vote for Me

UPDATE: You no longer have to write my vote in. I'm now on the ballot for both my novel and as an author. I would appreciate your vote. Thanks.

I need a favor. There's a poll going on right now on the Preditors and Editors web site to vote for your favorite book, etc. I'm not listed, but there is a write-in field at the bottom of the list. I'm asking for your write-in vote for my book under the Romance category. You'll need to put my book's name, my name, link to my book, and my publishers name. I've listed the info below that you'll need. Just copy and paste the url, it's so long.

Love, Lies & Deceit
Carol Preflatish
Red Rose Publishing

Once you enter it, you'll get an email with a link in it to click to confirm your vote. It might take a bit to get the email, I just did mine and haven't got the confirmation email yet.

If you feel the spirit, you can write-in my name on the Author's Page, too.

Carol Preflatish

Thank you for your vote. I appreciate it.


Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Slow Cooker Pot Roast

We have about five or six inches of snow on the ground and this is day two of me missing work due to the snow. While cabin fever hasn't set in yet, I am really hoping the Road Dept. gets my road cleaned today so I can get to my day job tomorrow. I just hate using my vacation days because of snow.

Since it is so cold out and most of the U.S. is covered with snow, I thought that Pot Roast sounded good for supper. Even better is to fix it in your slow cooker. Mmmm, my mouth is watering already.

Slow Cooker Beef Pot Roast

1 3 - 3 1/2 pound boneless chuck roast, cut into pieces
1 rib of celery, chopped
1 large onion, peeled and chopped into bite-size pieces
2-3 carrots, cut into bite-size pieces
4 potatoes, peeled and quartered
1 C. beef broth
salt and pepper, to taste

Put the beef pieces and vegetables in the slow cooker and add broth. Season to taste. Cover and cook on low for about 8-9 hours. As with any slow cooker recipe, adjust the amounts according to the size of your crock. I have a large slow cooker.


Thursday, January 6, 2011

Paula Deen

You either hate her, or you love her. I happen to be one of the people who loves Paula Deen. Okay, so she cooks with tons of butter, but wow are her recipes great. I recently started following Paula Deen on Facebook and it has been a real treat to read the posts from her page.

Today, one of the posts was about Kitchen Basics, Setting Up Your First Kitchen. She lists the basic items needed for a kitchen. Wonderful article.

And, did you see her on Craig Ferguson show last night? I was going to record it and completely forgot. Luckily, it was posted on YouTube and I watched it there. Hillarious. Click on the link above to view.

The casino where I live recently revamped their buffet turning it into a The Paula Deen Buffet, using her recipes. I haven't had a chance to eat there yet, but I am really hoping to soon.

I am also reading Paula's biography and it's very interesting. There was so much going on with her life and she survived it. Fascinating.

Finally, I highly recommend visit Paula Deen's Official Web Site. She has some great recipes on there.