Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Paula Deen's Banana Pudding - Tested and Approved

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Today I have the first in what I hope to be a "series" here on Big Rigs 'n Lil' Cookies. Due to the changes in our life and work habits, things are kind of a work in progress.
One thing that is always happening though is I am making recipes in my kitchen that other bloggers are sharing. Some of these I absolutely love. While they were huge hits, and have my seal of approval, I love them just the way they are. I'm not tinkering with them, and I may only make them once.  These are the recipes I want to share with you. 

The ones that have my seal of approval.

I'm not sharing ones that I found to fail. There's enough negativity out here I am not sharing negative experiences.  If there is a recipe you would like me to test for you, drop me a line! I would consider testing it for you. 

So anyway.... Here is the first edition which is featuring Paula Deen's Banana Pudding from South Your Mouth. I made this for a potluck at work when I was looking for something different, yet would be traditional enough to go over well with our team. This Banana Pudding was a complete hit.  I had just enough left over to bring home two pieces for dinner. I sometimes hesitate about recipes that might be to sweet, but this isn't to sweet at all. It's the perfect banana pudding. 

The recipe calls for Pepperidge Farms Chessman Cookies. I'd never heard of them before, but even I had no problem finding them. For my international friends without access to these, a nice buttery shortbread cookie is what you would want to substitute for these. 

Give it a try!




Thursday, November 15, 2018

Daily Goodie Box!

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It's that time again! Time for a Daily Goodie Box! Honestly, this is my most favorite box I've received so far!  Look at these fun, delicious, and helpful products!






A great Gluten Free cereal. Very Berry!

It taste's more like tea than coffee! I loved the Blood Orange kick in this drink.

These were great. Gummies without corn syrup. 




After only a couple days, I am already getting relief on my problematic dry elbows. This is great for many other things too, including insect bites... I'll definitely be needing this next year!

One word, Yum. One more word, Delicious!

These are sooo fun! I'd heard of them, but to see them makes me want to find an occasion to have some.  Birthday, Wedding, Anniversary, holiday, or even just a fun surprise for someone!



Yes, you read that right. Eat Your Coffee! It's a caffeinated snack bar! I will be keeping one of these in my purse!
A tasty tea to sip on after a long day at the office.
This will keep you safe in the sun. Not greasy either. 



Daily Goodie Box. It's more than just Free Samples!

Go check it out! Seriously couldn't be easier.
All you need to do after getting a box, is let them know what you think!

Monday, November 5, 2018

Apple Crisp

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Apple Crisp. In my mind, apple crisp is the ultimate fall dessert. The perfect way to enjoy the apple you picked up on your trip to the apple orchard. 



However, I've always struggled with loving an apple crisp I've made. Even the most loved apple crisp recipes just left me wanting something different. Something more. No longer. I found this recipe from Cooking with Mary. I love it! Instead of Truckin' Man asking when I am going to make apple crisp, now I am asking when he is ready for more!



You can easily double this recipe if you are serving a larger family. The perfect balance of apples, cinnamon and crunch topping! Top with a big scoop of vanilla ice cream, whipped cream, or even the whipped cream in the can is our go to!

Apple Crisp

4-5 cups apple, peeled and sliced
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 tablespoon all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/4 cup water

Topping
1/2 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/8 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 cup butter, melted

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly spray 9 inch baking dish with cooking spray. Spread apples in baking dish. In small bowl, combine sugar, flour, and cinnamon. Sprinkle mixture over top of apples. Pour water evenly over top.

In medium bowl, combine topping ingredients mixing until completely combined. Sprinkle topping evenly over apples.

Bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes or until top is golden brown and apples are tender.

Source: Cooking With Mary and Friends

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Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Daily Goodie Box

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Guess what I got in the mail?! A Daily Goodie Box! It's been a while since I've had one, so my excitement was really up there! I am having so much fun working my way through this box.  Look at all the great products I got to try this month!


Seriously excited to dig in to this box. Come take a closer look!



Herb Guru - Herbal Tea - Can't wait to try this over ice!

Minute Mixology - Cocktail Mixers Margarita - Love the single serve packaging!

Herbal Zap - Immune Support Herbal Supplement - Immune, Digestive, and Party Detox. This time of year my immune system can use that boost! I wish I would have had this Party Detox years ago!



Bubba’s Fine Foods - Blazing Buffalo ‘Nana Chips - Honestly, I was a little afraid of what a spicy banana chip would be, but it was REALLY good! Not to spicy, but just a nice flavor kick. And, very satisfying.

Sir Kensington’s - Chipotle Mayonnaise - This brought some new life to my breakfast wraps! Delish!

Fire & Flavor - Seafood Rub Spice Blend - The Lemon Pepper & Herb was delicious BOLD flavor! I loved it, but next time I will go a little lighter with it for Truckin' Man.


Essence of Vali - Sleep Mini Vials  - Just a little drop on your pillow case will help bring many more zzz's. Lavendar Oil is the first ingredient so a nice floral scent.

NeuroGum - EnlightenMint Nootropic Focus Gum - My husband has already told me I will need to order some Neuro Gum. The flavor lasts, the texture doesn't get weird, but best of all.... It has helped with his afternoon slumps and headaches. 

Procosmet - MTJ Most Rich Mascara Black I am loving this mascara, it passed the test. It stayed on through a wedding!

Organic India - Wellness Infusion Teas - Balance, Thrive, and Immunity. Great natural way to improve Energy, Digestion, and/or Immunity. I do need help on all of these this time of year. Days are shorter, germs are starting to move more, and I'm looking for help!



Daily Goodie Box. It's more than just Free Samples!

Go check it out! Seriously couldn't be easier. All you need to do after getting a box, is let them know what you think!


Tuesday, September 4, 2018

Easy Pulled Pork

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I am so excited for fall. So very excited. Since fall is my favorite season I typically am excited, but this year I am just itching for it. It must be the high humidity we dealt with so much of the summer that is making my need for cool crisp days more intense. Or maybe it's that I want the cool crisp days, so I get to make a big pot of soup, or a nice hearty meal. Mmmmm...  Bring it on!



This summer I did really try to minimize my cooking and time in the kitchen. Just ask my cookie crew, I am getting nothing but complaints!  I'll have to make them dozens of cookies soon. I promise. 

This recipe for Easy Pulled Pork is great for any season though, it just helped minimize my kitchen time since this recipe was enough to feed us multiple meals.  And I just love when I find a new recipe that rocks my kitchen cooking world! And that is what this recipe did. This recipe is still a slow cooked recipe, but in the oven. I haven't thrown a pork roast in the slow cooker since finding this recipe. 


This is so easy and you can customize it to make it your own. I typically can't find Boston Butt's much over 5 pounds, so my cooking time is usually on the lower side. Add as much seasoning as you like, and depending on your roast size. I give it a nice liberal even coating. It's sooo tender when it's done, shredding it is effortless. And the crust... I won't tell you how much I eat while I am shredding it. ;)


Msure you use your favorite BBQ sauce. I found this roast recipe from my blogging friend Lynn, when I ordered some of her sauce. If you want some amazing BBQ Sauce from South Carolina, you can order some right from Lynn's website: Southern With A Twist.


Easy Pulled Pork 

Boston Butt Roast
1/2 cup Apple Cider Vinegar
1/2 - 1 teaspoon Kosher Salt
1/2 - 1 teaspoon Black Pepper
1/2 - 1 teaspoon Garlic Powder
Barbecue Sauce

Preheat oven to 250 degrees. Place roast in roasting pan. Pour apple cider vinegar over top of roast. Season with kosher salt, black pepper, and garlic powder. Bake, uncovered, for 6-8 hours. Remove from oven and let rest 30 minutes. Remove bone, it should slide right out. Remove fat, and shred. Mix with favorite barbecue sauce.

Serve with additional sauce, if desired.

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

A Bit From the Garden

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 As soon as I seem to get a grasp on my time management, it slips away from me! I took these photo's ten days ago! How is that even possible?  But, I am still happy to share with you that the our downsized garden is doing well.

The new strawberry plants are seeming to like their new place in the garden. Sadly, the chickens have already found them. Looks like next year we will have to add some fencing to the garden.

I just love the splash of color the cosmos brings to the garden.

Since photo day, I have picked three red tomatoes!

Our carrots are so delicious! Truth be told, I oven roasted some the other night. Husband was late getting in the house, and by the time he got in there was only one lonely carrot left for him! I did make it up to him and make carrots the following night. Seriously, delicious.

Cauliflower is so far behind! Normally we have harvested in June!

Our peppers aren't having a great year. But, holding on to hope that they are just a little bit behind like the cauliflower.

Celery! Thanks to Carla for inspiring me to try raising this veggie. It seems to be doing great, but I need to get some research done so I know when it's ready.

And, then just because she's cute... The Queen of the Farm!

One final update before I go, we have cauliflower! 

How is your garden?

Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Pistachio Torte

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Pistachio Torte dessert was such a favorite of mine growing up. It was one that my grandma would make for us often.  Whenever we went back home to visit, she would pull a pan out of the freezer, and I would be so happy! 





A few years after Grandma passed, I remembered her Pistachio Dessert, and wanted to make it. I really had no idea what it entailed. I just remembered Pistachio pudding, and some other layers with Heath bars crushed up for sprinkles on top. I searched every church cookbook I had that Grandma had recipes submitted to, never with any luck. I had checked with my Gram to see if she knew the recipe. Never any luck. I'd given up hope. Then one day, one of my cousin's asked if I would like some of our grandma's recipes... WHAT?  YES PLEASE! Thankfully, she had the Pistachio Torte dessert. I was so happy. 

After seeing the recipe, I realized it had been in front of my face for a long time. South Your Mouth had posted her Chocolate Delight recipe, and I had seen her picture and read her recipe, it never occurred to me, that this recipe was so similar to the one I was looking for, but with a different flavor pudding.  My grandma had a few different twists, but it was so similar.  If I hadn't been so focused on the Pistachio, I might have had an easier time finding the recipe.  Sometimes, I get a little to focused on the details to see the big picture.   

Pistachio Torte

1 c. flour
1/2 c. butter
1/2 c. finely chopped nuts (Walnuts, Almonds, Pecans)
8 oz cream cheese, softened
2 c. Cool Whip, divided
1 c. powdered sugar
2 small (3 oz) pkg. Pistachio instant pudding mix
3 c. milk

Heath Candy Bar, chopped

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Mix flour and nuts.  Cut in butter until you have a crumbly mixture.  Pat in bottom of greased 9 x 13” pan.  Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, until light golden color.  Cool.


While crust is cooling, beat cream cheese until smooth. Slowly add powdered sugar and mix until combined.  Fold in 1 cup of Cool Whip, spread over the cooled crust. 


Mix pudding and milk until combined.  Spread over cream cheese layer.  Top pudding layer with remaining Cool Whip.  Garnish with chopped Heath Bar.  


Place in freezer for 2 to 3 hours.  Remove from freezer 20 minutes before serving. 



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Thursday, July 26, 2018

New Kids on the Block

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A while back I introduced you to the new additions. Well, they are doing great! And getting so big!

They are so full of energy, it is really hard to get a picture or two of them if it's daylight out, but I did manage to capture a couple yesterday.

This is the Buff Laced Polish Hen. Isn't she stunning? 


And, if you noticed I specified that she is a hen, that's because the other Buff Laced Polish is a Rooster! 
He has so much personality, we just had to name him, so please meet Mr. Idol. 


We typically don't name most of the flock. We did that once and bad things happened, so we have stayed away from it. Until this year. Since we named Mr. Idol, we felt the Mrs needed a name, so I'm pleased to introduce Lita.

Joan didn't want to pose pretty, but she is the solid black one.

Then we have Tina on the right, and the one on the left has yet to be named. 
 If you've picked up on my theme of names, and have any suggestions, I'm listening!


And, just because she is a ham, and LOVES attention, here is one of the old girls!

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

A Party With an Ice Cream Theme!

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This year is quite the year for my parents. They celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary in April, and then they are both turning 70 this year! With all the events going on, they decided they wanted to have a party! 

My parents left the food planning up to me. My dad had his heart set on renting a soft serve ice cream machine, and they wanted the party in the afternoon, so we decided on an ice cream theme party with some other appetizers. 

It really was so much fun. Delicious fun! We ended up with 19 different ice cream toppings! I think we had anything covered you could possibly want. So, if you ever want to do something a little bit different, here are some idea's for you!  I didn't want to have to worry about refrigeration or melting issues, so you could always have lot's more if you had that aspect covered.

I really wish I had done a better job of taking pictures this day. And of the food! 


For toppings we had:
Mini M & M's
Sliced Banana's
Maraschino Cherries
Pineapple Tidbits
Crushed Oreo's


Bacon Crumbles. Yes, Bacon!
Fresh sliced strawberries
Crushed chocolate chip cookies
Chocolate Sprinkles
Rainbow Sprinkles




Nuts
Brownie Brittle
Strawberry wafer cookies
Pirouline Cream Filled Wafers


I didn't catch them in a photo, but then we had sauces! 
Chocolate 
Sea Salt Caramel 
Butterscotch
Strawberry

And of course some Whipped Cream.

Then we had regular cones, waffles cones, or cups for the ice cream.

I would have loved to have made some of the sauces from scratch, but you know.... You have to go with convenience some times!



Sunday, June 3, 2018

Cliff's Chocolate Chip Cookies

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Guess what?! I have a new cookie recipe for you! I really was in a cookie slump and needed a new cookie. I finally found one we were both enjoying, and kept tinkering away with it until we were satisfied.  We just can't get enough of these cookies.


I really didn't know what to call these cookies to distinguish them from other chocolate chip cookies. So, I asked my husband what he would call them. He was really helpful, and gave me "Ooops, I Gained Ten Pounds Cookie", and "Gimme More". 


While this was not helpful at all... That is how good these are and how much we are loving them! Since he wasn't helpful, but loves these cookies the most, I am naming them after him. These are super soft, and the balance of chocolate chips to cookie is perfect. And if you follow my lead and top them with some sea salt, you will be sooo happy!


Cliff's Chocolate Chip Cookies

3 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 Tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon cornstarch
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
1 cup light brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs
2 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
Sea Salt, optional

In medium bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, corn starch, and salt.

In large mixing bowl, cream the butter and sugars until fluffy, about 4-5 minutes. Add eggs and vanilla, beat to combine. Add dry ingredients to butter mixture mixing until ingredients completely combined. Add  chocolate chips, stir by hand until evenly distributed.


Cover dough and refrigerate overnight, or at least 4 hours. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line baking sheets with parchment paper. Using large cookie dough scoop, drop dough onto baking sheets, 2 to 3 inches apart.  Sprinkle with sea salt (optional, but recommended) Bake for 11-12 minutes, just until edges are starting to turn golden. Cool for 2-3 minutes on baking sheet, then transfer to cooling rack.

Enjoy!!

Adapted from: Baked by Rachel

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Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Growing Up!

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The little ones graduated to their new "mini" outdoor coop! Maybe because we have never had these deluxe accommodations before for the little ones, but I have never seen a chick sunbathe the way the older hens do. It was quite entertaining to watch. Of course, the photo doesn't quite capture how much they were enjoying the beautiful sunshine, but they were!


This Black Jersey Giant was really enjoying the rays since her feathers are coming in slower then all the other chicks!

Here is the Jersey Giant again, she is a week older with a few more feathers, but still just a lot of fuzz.

The Golden Laced Wyandottes starting to show their beautiful colors.

 The Buff Laced Polish are getting super fluffy heads and lots of feathers.

Here we have all 6 of the new chicks together enjoying some green grass.


In the midst of taking care of the chicks and chickens, I finally made a cookie recipe worth raving about and sharing. I hope to make it again this weekend and get some pictures taken so you can all share in some cookie bliss with me. It's so good. It's been worth the wait!


Thursday, May 10, 2018

Mushrooms - The Wild Kind

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It's almost that time of year again. That time of year where I must make the time to go strolling through the woods looking for the prime spot to find the incredible delectable morel. But, many times these walks do not lead me to any "edible" mushrooms. Last year I took pictures to share of the other types of mushrooms I found. Of course, I can't find all of these photo's now, but did find some to share.

Leading the photo show, is the top dog. The one. The only. The Morel.

This guy is not one I will sink my teeth into. 
Gyromitra Esculenta, I was shocked to learn that people do eat this.

Pheasant Back. While very edible, and enjoyed by many, I don't have the nerve. It breaks one my mushroom rule. 
1.) If Gram didn't pick it wild and eat it, I'm not going to either.

I really have no idea what these are besides pretty.

 These area a fairly common site for me. They remind me of jelly fish. 

Do you forage for any wild mushrooms? Where did you learn what's ok and what's not?

Sunday, April 15, 2018

The Flock Grew

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One sunny April day, after much discussion we decided that we would indeed get some new chicks this year! And, we were off to the store before we could change our minds!


We are only adding six, as that is all we have room for.  Buff Laced Polish, Golden Laced Wyandotte, Americana, and Black Jersey Giants are the beauties we selected, and they are all new breeds to our flock. 

We have them set up with their heat lamp, and they are happily staying in the basement until they get bigger. Then we will move them to phase 2 until they are ready to begin mingling with the big girls and boy. I am sooo excited to watch these little ones grow up. They should all be hens, except for two that we aren't sure. So, there is a little mystery left in the mix!


Having picked up the chicks the weekend after Easter, we were feeling all nice and springy. And then this happened. 

I know it will melt quickly, but this seems to have been such a long long winter already! 


I am anxious to get to the woods picking morels, and of course to get the garden going! 
Come on Mother Nature, lets get spring in full swing!!


Are you already planning or working on your gardens?

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