Thursday, June 12, 2014

Mushroom & Swiss Cheeseburger Macaroni

 One of the great things about the blogging world is all the fantastic people that you meet. Some you really connect with and love their style of living, cooking, gardening, and start following their blogs.  Bobbi's Kozy Kitchen is one of those blogs. Bobbi is an amazing cook, and she will inspire you to eat better and cook with real ingredients!

When Bobbi shared her Mushroom & Swiss Cheeseburger Macaroni, I was so excited.  I always loved hamburger helper type meals. The boxed helpers of whatever kind, where I would add the fresh meat, veg or dairy, and end up with a good meal. Then, I started learning about really "cooking", and what was in those boxes. It didn't take long for me to quit buying them completely. In my own weird way I have always missed them. But, Bobbi had a recipe for that kind of meal I was missing, yet it had "Real" ingredients!  AND, it had Swiss Cheese! I  LOVE Swiss Cheese!

This is a fantastic recipe, and a now a "go to" recipe for us. The only change I made from Bobbi's recipe was that I added pea's, because I love them so much. Don't like pea's? Skip 'em!  
Just pass up the boxed stuff and try this recipe! You won't be sorry!!

Mushroom & Swiss Cheeseburger Macaroni (Adapted from: Bobbi's Kozy Kitchen)
2 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 onion, sliced
8 ounces button mushrooms, sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 lb. ground beef
8 ounces elbow macaroni
3 cups beef broth
3 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
2 Tbsp Dijon mustard
1/2 tsp. Salt
1/8 tsp. Pepper
1 cup peas, frozen.
3 Tbsp butter
3 Tbsp flour
1 cup milk
2 cups Swiss cheese, shredded

Over medium heat, heat olive oil in large skillet.  Add onion, and saute until turn golden.  Add sliced mushrooms and cook for five minutes. Once mushrooms have sauteed, add the garlic, and cook for one minute.  Push mushrooms mixture to side of skillet, and add ground beef.  Break beef into pieces as it cooks with spoon.  Stir the mushrooms in with beef.  When beef is cooked through, add  macaroni, beef broth, Worcestershire sauce, mustard, salt and pepper. Cover and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer, and cook for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Just before macaroni has reached al dente, add pea's. Stir to combine.

While macaroni is cooking, heat milk in microwave for one minute, just until warmed. Set aside. 

In medium saucepan, melt butter over medium heat.  Add flour, stirring continuously. Continue cooking for 3-4 minutes, continuing to stir. Add warmed milk, continuing stirring until mixture is thickened. Remove from heat, and add half cup of cheese. Stir until cheese is melted. Repeat, adding cheese half cup at a time until all cheese is melted into sauce.  Add cheese sauce to macaroni mixture.  Add more salt or pepper, to taste.

Enjoy :)

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Tuesday, June 10, 2014


I am so very excited for our garden this year. We had to move it to a new location, so we are starting over in a corner of what was a corn field last year.

There was a lot of prep that went into preparing the new garden.

We are in a nice little triangle, that got really weedy... really fast!

All of the squash plants seem to be doing well!

We picked up some brussel sprouts at the local green house. They seem happy too :)

I adore pea's, so they had to be in the garden!

Somehow my onion rows didn't stay to straight! I must have been getting tired on planting day!

When I was going out to take the garden pics, I found this guy scurrying around in the tree above me.  I know they do bad things around the farm, but he's kinda cute!!

So, how is your garden growing?

Friday, June 6, 2014

Around the farm

We have been so busy since the snow melted, it's amazing how full a day can be. Truckin' Man has been trying to divide his time between trucking, farming, and the "honey do" list. Poor guy...  So much work, so little time. We hired an amazingly ambitious 15 year old young man to help out around the farm, and it is soooo nice having his help. We are making a little headway.

First project up for this year was a new chicken coop.  
Truckin' Man didn't want to buy a pre-built one, all though he says next time he will!

My dad even stopped to supervise for a little while.

Instead of picking out chicks at the local farm supply store, this year we ordered them from a hatchery. They arrived in the mail on May 20th. Best mail I have ever received!

Here we are at about three weeks old.

 We have 14 little ones. A variety of breeds.

 I am so excited to see everyone of them grow!

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Date Cookies

For this month's "Fill the Cookie Jar", the theme is Dad's Favorites. I really didn't know this one either, because for my mom and dad both, I would have said that their favorite cookie was "homemade"! So, I had to check with my dad. I decided to attempt number three on his list, since it was not on the blog already, and I was a little intrigued by it. Dad had great memories of a Date Cookie that his grandma used to make. That's what you call an old family recipe, and I had no idea how to find. My grandma, has a lot of her recipes in the local church cookbooks, so I scoured through those, no luck. I sent my cousin a message, she seems to be able to locate most of Grandma's recipes when requested. 

I went with the second of the recipes that my cousin sent, I thought it sounded more like the cookie my dad described. I really didn't know what I would think of a "Date Cookie". Surprisingly, it is pretty tasty. Truckin' Man even liked them, and grabbed several off the cooling rack.

It is more of a "cake" cookie than my normal cookie, and definitely more of a time consuming (putzy) cookie to make, but in the end, I think they were worth the time. I think this is a great cookie to go along with a cup of coffee.  Hope you enjoy, and I hope my dad enjoys when he gets to sit down with his cookies!

If you are interested in joining Fill The Cookie Jar group on facebook, fill out the form that can be found at Fill The Cookie Jar. Each month we bake a different theme for the cookie.
We bake, we share and we enjoy our cookies!

Date Cookies

1 1/2 cup chopped dates
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup chopped pecans
1/4 t. lemon extract (or 1 T. lemon juice)

Add dates, sugar, water and pecans to medium saucepan.  Cook over medium heat until thickened. Cool. Add lemon juice. Set aside.

2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup shortening (Crisco)
3 eggs, beaten
1 t. vanilla
1 t. baking soda
1 T. hot water
3 1/2  cup flour
1 t. salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line baking sheets with parchment paper, set aside.

In large bowl, cream together brown sugar, butter and shortening until smooth and creamy. Add eggs and vanilla. In measuring cup, mix together soda and water, then add to sugar mixture. Add flour and salt, mix well.

Drop dough by teaspoonful on prepared baking sheets. Make slight indentation in center. Put 1/2 tsp. date filling in center. Spread about 1/2 tsp. dough over filling (enough to cover the filling). Bake for 13-16 minutes or until light golden brown.  Cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes, then transfer to cooling rack.

Enjoy :)

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Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Magic Custard Cake

What did we ever do before Pinterest? I know I had a bazillion bookmarks and half of them I never made it back to. Now, I can keep everything neat and tidy. In the right category so I can easily pull them up if I remember just part of the name even. A huge bonus when I don't have a great memory for recipe names.

I had seen a recipe traveling around on Pinterest and Facebook for a "Magic" cake, and it was just the cake I needed for something different to serve.  It was simple, but impressive. I was called Martha Stewart for serving this, and that was meant as a compliment!

It is a VERY thin batter, so don't panic like I did, it's ok! It does make some magic in the oven, and that thin thin batter transforms. I am going to try the chocolate variation of this next. I am really excited for that twist.

Please note.... this is not lemon, and mine are extra "yellow" because of the farm fresh eggs.

Magic Custard Cake (Source: Hugs & Cookies  and   Jo Cooks)

4 eggs, at room temperature
1 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup butter, melted
3/4 cup of all purpose flour
2 cups milk, room temperature
powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 325 F degrees. Grease a 8 inch x 8 inch baking pan, then line with parchment paper.
Separate the eggs.  Add egg whites to bowl and mix at medium high speed until egg whites are stiff. Set aside.

In another bowl, beat the egg yolks with the sugar until light in color. Add the melted butter and vanilla.  Beat for two minutes. Add flour and mix until fully incorporated.

Slowly add the milk to the egg yolk mixture, beat until well combined.  Add the egg whites, folding them in, a third at a time. Once egg whites are incorporated, repeat with another third until  all egg whites are completely incorporated.

Pour batter into baking pan and bake for 50 to 70 minutes or until top is lightly golden. Insert knife near edge, if it comes out clean the cake is done.

Cool completely and dust with powdered sugar.

Enjoy :)

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