Sunday, December 27, 2015

Spinach Mandarin Orange Pizza

My family has never been a football family. I don't know the difference between a touch down, field goal, or any of the other stuff. BUT, as far back as I can remember, my mom always had us tuned in to watch the Rose Parade.  This year I am excited to be part of Dole Packaged Foods ‘Live on Green’ Food Blogger Blast Party 2016 Rose Parade led by Dole California Cook-Off Champion Ally Phillips of Ally’s Kitchen.  

December 29th and 30th, Ally will perform live cooking demonstrations and share quick and fun recipes featuring Dole Packaged Foods’ products.  
One of the recipes Ally will be making is this Spinach Mandarin Orange Pizza. This pizza was so different. Light and fresh, making it a perfect appetizer to serve for your New Year's  (or any other) party.

On January 1, tune in to watch the Tournament of Roses Parade where Dole Packaged Food’s float, “Soaring Over Paradise,” explores the world’s rainforests. The float includes four waterfalls, a zip line that travels through the rainforest canopy and a flock of Macaws that appear to take flight over the floral gardens.

Disclaimer:This is part of a sponsored post, but all opinions are my own.

Spinach Mandarin Orange Pizza

1 packaged roll out pizza dough ( I used homemade following this recipe from What's Cookin' Italian Style Cuisine)
8 oz container whipped cream cheese
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp course ground black pepper
1/2 cup orange marmalde
1 cup sauteed and drained spinach
1 cup Dole®  Packaged Foods Mandarin Oranges, drained well
1/2 cup pepperoni, chopped

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Roll out pizza dough into irregular shape on baking sheet covered with parchment paper (I used my baking stone). Spread whipped cream cheese onto pizza crust. Over top of whipped cream cheese, sprinkle salt and pepper, then spread orange marmalade.
Place spinach, mandarin oranges, and pepperoni over top.

Bake in preheated oven 17-20 minutes, or until edges are golden. Slice and serve immediately.

#RoseParade #LiveOnTheGreen #DolePackagedFoods #DoleTournamentOfRoses
Source: Ally's Kitchen

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Sunday, December 20, 2015

Christmas Fudge

Baking weekend was a success. Cookies, Fudge, Nut Krispies, Peanut Butter Cups, Pinwheel Cookies, and maybe Gingerbread Cookies yet tonight. Not sure about that yet. Truckin' Man is even helping decorate the cookies! How cool is that? He doesn't look to have much truckin' this week, so maybe I'll see if I can get him trained in on more of the Christmas baking!

I was so happy that things went so smoothly, because this means I get to share a recipe with you! I LOVE my fudge recipe. I have been making this recipe for at least fifteen years and it has never failed me! It gets quite the rave reviews from friends and family too. 
So, if you haven't made fudge yet, give this a try!

Christmas Fudge
1 - 7 ounce jar marshmallow cream
1 1/2 cup sugar
2/3 cup evaporated milk
1/4 cup butter
1/4 tsp. salt
2 cup milk chocolate chips
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/2 chopped walnuts
1 tsp vanilla

Line 8x8 pan with foil.  In large saucepan, over medium heat, combine marshmallow cream, sugar, evaporated milk, butter, and salt.  Stirring occasionally, bring to full boil. Once at a boil, set timer for 5 minutes, and stir continuously. After 5 minutes, remove from heat, and add chocolate chips.  Stir until chocolate is melted, and mixture is smooth. Stir in walnuts, and vanilla.  Pour into lined pan. Chill overnight (at least 2 hours).  


Thursday, December 17, 2015

Some of my Favorite Christmas Treats


How are you all doing on your Christmas baking? I haven't even started!! I ended up coming down with a cold over the weekend, and then Truckin' Man has been completely super sick the last couple days. I hope we are germ free by the weekend so I can get things rollin'!

I had planned to have a couple new recipes to share with you, but that apparently isn't working out the way I had hoped. Instead, I am sharing some of my favorite recipes that I have previously shared!


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Friday, December 11, 2015

Eggnog Fudge


Welcome to the Freaky Friday Virtual Holiday Cookie Exchange! 12 bloggers got together, we were secretly assigned another blog to select a Christmas cookie/treat from. This was sooo much fun! We are all finding out the same time as you, who was assigned to each other, and to ourselves! Be sure to check out the links at the bottom of the page, and find out what recipes everyone else found for their new holiday treats!

I was so excited when I was assigned to An Affair from the Heart. Michaela has so many amazing recipes. Be sure to go over to her blog and check them out. You really will be pinning up a storm once you see all her fantastic recipes!  I was torn between Double Chocolate Peppermint Puppy Chow, and then I was drooling over the Rainbow Cookies!  But, once I saw her Eggnog Fudge, I knew what I had to do! Eggnog Fudge it was.

I haven't had Eggnog in years. Seriously, years. Not since I used to make it for my dad when I was just a wee little one, and using the recipe in my first ever cookbook.  I have missed this flavor, and am so inspired now to try more recipes with Eggnog.

This Eggnog Fudge, is my new favorite fudge! And, I am kinda surprised at that, because I am not a huge white chocolate fan, but the Eggnog, the white chocolate, the nutmeg.... Everything blends together so beautifully, that you just need to make this fudge for your friends and family!

Eggnog Fudge
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup plus 2 Tablespoons Eggnog
2 Tbsp heavy whipping cream
2 cups sugar
10 ounce white chocolate chips
7 ounce jar marshmallow fluff
1/2 tsp nutmeg (plus additional for finishing)
2 tsp vanilla

Line 9 x 9 baking pan with with parchment paper.

In medium saucepan, combine butter, eggnog, cream, and sugar. Over medium heat, bring to boil, stir occasionally. Boil for 8 to 10 minutes, stirring constantly, until candy thermometer reaches 234 degrees. Remove from heat.

Add white chocolate, stirring until melted and smooth. Stir in marshmallow fluff, nutmeg, and vanilla. Mix until well blended and smooth. Spread into pan, sprinkle top with additional nutmeg.

Let cool at room temperature. Once cooled, transfer to refrigerator and chill until firm.  Cut into squares.  Store in refrigerator.

Source: An Affair From the Heart

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Saturday, December 5, 2015

The Day it Snowed

This season has been minimal on snowfall so far. Even though we have little snow covering now. 
Once in a while it does snow.

I am always excited to see what the animals and chickens think of the first snow.
So, the chicken coop is my first stop.

Pretty view, isn't it?

Lil' Miss Australorp wasn't having anything to do with that white stuff.

Nope, that's as far as they went. No further than the little door.

Have a great weekend!

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Thursday, December 3, 2015

Hot Chocolate Snowballs

Are you ready to start your holiday baking?? I am! I have been so excited to try a couple new recipes that had caught my attention a while back, and this is one of them. These Hot Chocolate Snowballs seemed to be a pretty popular recipe, which had my hopes even higher.  So I planned these for December's Fill the Cookie Jar, to have the perfect Christmas Cookie to share with you.

The older I get, the more quickly I seem to get chilled, so I love wrapping my hands around a mug of something delicious. Just the name of this cookie makes me feel warm and festive.

These are so fast and simple to make.  Well, fast as long as you don't have cocoa mix with marshmallows and need to pick the marshmallows out! I will tell you too... I LOVE to eat cookie dough. LOVE it. This recipe does not have eggs in it, so I didn't even need to feel bad about enjoying that cookie dough! I can always tell when a cookie dough knocks my socks off, that the cookies are going to bring a big smile to my face, and these did exactly that! The perfect amount of cocoa, with the sweetness of the sugar dusting... Santa's belly would be happy to have some of these.

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!

Hot Chocolate Snowballs

2/3 cup butter, softened
3 oz cream cheese, softened
2/3 cup hot cocoa mix
1/3 cup powdered sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 3/4 cup flour
1/4 tsp salt
Additional powdered sugar for rolling

In large mixing bowl, cream together butter, and cream cheese. Mix until smooth. Add hot cocoa mix and powdered sugar. Stir in vanilla.  In small bowl, combine flour and salt, gradually add to cocoa mixture. Mix until flour is fully combined.  Cover, and refrigerator for one hour.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line baking sheet(s) with parchment paper.   With small cookie dough scoop (my scoop holds one tablespoon), roll chilled dough into balls. Place balls on lined baking sheets, and bake for 12-14 minutes. Let cool for 3-4 minutes, then roll in powdered sugar. Transfer to wire rack to cool. 

Once completely cooled, roll in powdered sugar once more, if desired.

Source: Jam Hands

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Sunday, November 29, 2015

Cincinnati Chili - Recipe Hall of Fame

Am I the only one that struggles with spelling Cincinnati? I seriously cringe when I am going to spell it, and hope that spellcheck will help me through it! 
Anyway.....  The first recipe I tried from the cookbooks was for Cincinnati Chili. 
I have always heard of this, and never had the opportunity to try it.

This truly is a different chili than any I have ever tasted. As I was adding all the different ingredients, I was getting a little worried that we wouldn't like this "new to us" version. Cinnamon, allspice, unsweetened cocoa, bay leaves. I was quickly seeing why this chili was in a class of it's own. The other thing that makes Cincinnati Chili different, is that you don't eat it in "soup" style, in a bowl. You serve it over spaghetti on an oval dish (which I didn't have!). You can add on to it in different levels, there is a method though to stay in true Cincinnati fashion.  First, with cheese, and a side of crackers.  The next level is a spoonful of onions, added before the cheese.  Then the last, is to add warmed beans, even before the onions.

We both LOVED this.  The only thing I did different from the recipe was adding quite a bit of salt, and typically we add the bare minimum of salt. I hope that this doesn't offend the purist fans of this chili!  It really was so thick and savory. Definitely the most aromatic chili I have ever enjoyed.  The consistency was more of a meat sauce than a chili, to this Wisconsin girl. 
I think it would be great over a hot dog also.

On my low carb days I enjoyed this over spaghetti squash, and it was equally delicious!

Have you signed up for the chance to win the Recipe Hall of Fame cookbooks? Be sure to do that ASAP! You have until December 3rd to get it done!

Cincinnati Chili  

2 - 3 pounds ground beef
1 quart cold water
1 - 6 ounce can tomato paste
1 1/2 cup chopped onion
1 1/2 Tbsp vinegar
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1 garlic clove, minced
2 Tbsp chili powder
5 bay leaves
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp allspice
2 cayenne peppers
1 1/2 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa
Salt and Pepper to taste (I used about 1 1/2 tsp salt, and 1/2 tsp pepper)
1 1/2 pounds cooked spaghetti

Optional toppings
Cheddar Cheese, grated
Oyster crackers
Kidney beans
Onion, chopped fine

 Add water to large pot. Crumble ground beef into the water. Add remaining ingredients (except for the spaghetti and toppings). Bring to boil. Stir often breaking up the meat. Cover and simmer for about 2 hours. Stir occasionally.

Source: The Recipe Hall of Fame Cookbook

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Thursday, November 26, 2015

Recipe Hall of Fame - Cookbook Review and Giveaway!

***Congrats to Sherri!  Enjoy your new cookbooks!***
I was so excited when my friends at Quail Ridge Press sent over their
"Recipe Hall of Fame 4-Book Set". These cookbooks truly contain the "Best of the Best"!

They have collected the best recipes from all over the country. Other cookbooks available are "Best of the Best" from each state, region, and more. Then... They took the BEST of all these and made these 4 books capturing the most delicious of all the recipes.

While I am making my way through these cookbooks, I LOVE that each recipe tells where it is from. I am a location junkie, and love knowing where my foods are made, where my recipes are from, and where things originate from.

Stay tuned this week as I share a couple of the recipes I had made, tested, and enjoyed oh so much.

I highly recommend adding this cookbook set to your collection, and while you can head right over to Quail Ridge Press and buy a set, you can also enter to win a copy right here!

How do you enter? 4 entries possible.

1.) Leave a comment below (or email me) with your email address. It's that easy.
Email address:

2.) Subscribe to my blog, you will find the box on the right hand side. 
Come back and leave another comment telling me that you signed up.

3.) Leave a comment on my facebook page telling me you want to win a copy of this cookbook.

4.) Follow me on Instagram and leave a comment telling me your all time favorite food.

Deadline: Thursday, December 3rd at 6:00 pm.CST
Winner: I will randomly choose a winner and announce it at the top of this post, and on facebook. The winner will also be notified via email; if the winner does not respond within 48 hours, another winner will be selected.

Disclosure: I received a free set of these cookbooks to review, as well as one to giveaway.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Rustic Turkey and Barley Soup

It's finally here! No, I am not talking about the snow, I am talking about soup season! I know we can eat it year round, and we do, but there is just something special about that favorite soup or chili, with some crusty bread or sandwich, on a cold, or snowy day.

I can't begin to tell you how much of this soup we have eaten in the last couple weeks. We are so in love with it. It's strange for Truckin' Man to be lovin' it so much, but I am not going to complain. It's packed with flavor, and so many good for you ingredients. 

You can change this up in so many ways based on what's in your pantry, too.
You can easily change this up to vegetarian, just skip the turkey and use a veggie stock.
No barley? Add rice.
Really love carrots? Add more.
Prefer kale? Add that instead of the spinach. 

Rustic Turkey and Barley Soup

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp oregano
40 oz chicken stock
1 cup carrots, sliced
1/3 cup barley
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1/4 cup red split lentils
1 cup leftover turkey, chopped
1/2 cup fresh spinach, chopped

Heat oil in dutch oven, or large pot, over medium high heat.  Add onions, and saute until onions are translucent, about 5 minutes. Add garlic, and oregano, cook for 2-3 minutes.  To the pot, add chicken stock, carrots, barley, salt and pepper. Bring to boil and simmer for about 45 minutes. Add lentils and turkey, cooking for another 15 minutes, or until barley and lentils are tender.  Stir in spinach.  Taste and add more salt as necessary.

Adapted from: The Iowa Housewife

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Thursday, November 12, 2015

Pumpkin Pie Cake

Brrr... there is a chill in the air today, and fall foods are certainly calling my name!
If you are looking for a great fall dessert, and some time saving steps, 
you need to check out my Pumpkin Pie Cake!

It's such a favorite recipe of ours. The simplicity of making a cake, but the taste of Pumpkin Pie!

You can find the recipe over at Cynthia's blog on Feeding Big. Cynthia is taking a little time away, and some of her friends are helping her out with some of our favorite recipes. 

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Caramel Apple Bars

Sometimes the area we live in truly amazes me. We are so fortunate to live near many apple orchards. The variety of apples we have available to us within an hours drive has me completely spoiled. It makes for a fun weekend drive to head to the orchard, get some apples, 
and maybe even a baked good.

On our last apple outing, we went to an orchard we hadn't been to before. Why? Because my mother was RAVING about the cookies she had at the bakery of this orchard. Well, that's a tease if I ever heard one, so we had to go. Once we got there, and were waiting in line, I am peeking at the bakery case and already disappointed because I don't see any of these cookies. Not a one. We finally get our turn, and I ask the lady about these cookies... Oh yes, they have them, they are already bagged and ready to go. Apparently so popular, they don't bother to put them in the display case! 
They were  soooo good!

I wanted to try and replicate this cookie! I couldn't get the cookie the way I wanted it to be, but I was able to get it into a bar! Just in time for Fill the Cookie Jar!

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!

Caramel Apple Bars

1 cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1 cup dark brown sugar
2 eggs
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp apple pie spice
1/2 tsp salt
3 cups old fashioned rolled oats
1 large apple, peeled and diced
11 ounces Caramel Bits

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line 9x13 pan with parchment paper, set aside. 
In large bowl, cream butter until light and creamy. Add both sugars, beating until fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, mix well.  In medium bowl, combine flour, baking powder, apple pie spice, and salt. Add dry ingredients to butter mixture, mixing until fully incorporated. Add oatmeal, mix well. Fold in diced apple and caramel bits. 

Press into prepared pan, and bake for 30-35 minutes, or until light golden and set. Once cooled, cut into bars. Store in airtight container.

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Thursday, October 29, 2015

This 'n That

 Harvest is completed here on our little farm. The crop dust is settling, as are my allergies.

Truckin' Man is unaware that I am publishing this photo. 
He doesn't like his photo taken, but I think it's neat.

Full and ready to go to town.

 In the mean time, our first load of wood was delivered. 

Hope you have been having a lovely fall!

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Around the Farm

It's been a while since I have shared a photo update of around the farm, so this is long over due.

My time at the farm has been limited, as I am working a longer shift for a couple weeks.

And my allergies are at their worst now that the Asian beetles are invading us.

So, time at home is minimal, and spent vacuuming beetles takes most of my free time!

Happy Fall!

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Pumpkin Bars with Cream Cheese Frosting

Sometimes there are recipes you just don't mess with. They are the ones you grew up with, and are the traditional go to recipe. Like my Pumpkin Bars. The recipe was in the first cookbook my grandmother got me many many moons ago. On rare occasion, I have tried other recipes, but I always end up back here with my never fail, delicious every time, crowd pleasing Pumpkin Bars. 

Fill the Cookie Jar was open for Halloween or Pumpkin bars/cookies this month, so I thought it was high time I share this, and get this recipe added to my blog. Some day my poor cookbook is going to fall apart, and I certainly don't want to ever lose this recipe.

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!

Pumpkin Bars

2 c. sugar
1 c. vegetable oil
4 eggs
15 oz can pumpkin
2 c. all purpose flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt
1 c. chopped walnuts (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease 12 x 15 pan, set aside.  In large bowl, beat sugar and oil until smooth.  Add eggs, and pumpkin, mix until well blended. Add flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt. Mix until completely combined. Add nuts if desired.

Bake for 30 minutes or until center springs back when lightly touched. Set aside to cool.

Cream Cheese Frosting

3 oz cream cheese, softened
1/2 c. butter, softened
3 c. powdered sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
1-2 tsp cream, as needed

In large mixing bowl, beat cream cheese and butter until combined. Gradually add powdered sugar. Add vanilla. Add cream as needed to reach spreading consistency. When bars are completely cooled, spread with frosting.

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Sunday, September 27, 2015

B.B.'s Pickled Black-Eyed Peas - The Crown of Southern Cooking

The other day I gave you a little tease of this recipe, B.B.'s Pickled Black Eyed Peas, from "The Crown of Southern Cooking".
It really is so delicious, and a bit addicting.

Not being in the south, field or crowder peas were a bit challenging to find, but Walmart did have field peas. The kind I found were well seasoned, so I gave them an extra good rinse. If you are a ways from the south, you may have to check your big stores for that ingredient. If you absolutely can't find them, I would just substitute another can of pinto, and another can of black-eyed peas.

Truckin' Man has loved this most as a side dish with his meals, while I love it most as an appetizer. But, I have enjoyed it both ways. Little bit sweet, little bit tangy, and every bit delicious.

Be sure to enter for your chance to win your very own copy of The Crown of Southern Cooking.  Your chance to win is here, or you can purchase your own copy here.

B.B.'s Pickled Black Eyed Peas 

1 1/2 cups sugar
2 tsp salt
1 tsp fresh ground black pepper
1 cup vegetable oil
1 3/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1/2 tsp dry mustard
1 large onion, diced (I used red for the color splash)
1 large green bell pepper, diced
1 large red bell pepper, diced
2-15 oz cans blacked eyed peas
2-15 oz cans field peas (crowder peas)
2-15 oz can pinto beans

Mix marinade in a large bowl. Combine sugar, salt, black pepper, oil, vinegar, and mustard.  Stir well. Add onion and bell peppers.  Mix until all are combined.

Rinse black-eyed peas, field peas, and pinto beans. Drain well.  Add to marinade, stirring gently until beans are covered. Refrigerate. Make at least one day ahead.

***Note: Can be made up to a week ahead of time. Flavor only gets better with time!

Recipe Source: The Crown of Southern Cooking