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Candied Pecans (Crock-Pot)

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Did you know that the world’s largest pecan is in Brunswick, Missouri??? Until I moved to Missouri I always thought of the South when I pictured pecan groves but it turns out there are quite a few in the Show-Me State. See, we all learned something today!

One of my parishioners gave me a bag of these locally grown treasures for Christmas and I knew just what I was going to do with them.  Not only do candied pecans taste delicious, your house will smell like Santa’s Christmas Village (without the reindeer stable). Did I mention I have a toddler? We have imaginary lands on the brain… And we’re back on topic.

I like a lot of flavor so I’m pretty heavy-handed with the cinnamon and nutmeg. You could live a little and throw any spice in the pot. Also, excessive stirring tore my Crock-Pot liners (side note: Reynolds Slow Cooker Liners are the greatest things EVER) so unless you want to scrub burnt sugar from your Crock-Pot, be gentle.

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Candied Pecans (Crock-Pot)

  • 1 ¼ c. white sugar
  • 1 ¼ c. brown sugar
  • 2 Tbsp. cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. nutmeg
  • 1/8 tsp. salt
  • 1 egg white
  • 2 tsp. vanilla
  • 3 cups pecans
  • ¼ c. water

Prepare your crock-pot by spraying it with cooking spray or using a crock-pot liner. 

In a bowl, mix together sugars, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt.

In another bowl, whisk the egg white and vanilla until it is frothy. Coat pecans with the mixture. Toss pecans with the sugar mixture until well coated. Cook on low, 3-4 hours. Stir every 20 minutes. During the last hour of cooking add water and stir well.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and spread the pecans on the baking sheet to cool.

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Swiss Steak

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New Year’s Resolution: start blogging again. Life has been pretty crazy with a new job (that is now 2 years in), new house, and new baby but hopefully I can get back to the blog… fingers crossed, y’all!

So, first recipe back? How about Swiss Steak? This is a regular meal around our house. It’s easy to throw together on a week night and allows me to sneak lots of veggies into the family meal without people noticing. I’ve tried it baked and in the crock pot but stove top is really the best way to make Swiss Steak.

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Swiss Steak

4 cube steaks aka minute steaks

1 onion, chopped

1 green pepper, chopped

2 stalks celery, sliced

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 can tomato sauce

1 can diced tomatoes

Olive oil

Salt & pepper

2 tsp. dried basil

1 tsp. dried oregano 

Heat olive oil in pot (I like my Dutch oven but use what you have). Season meat and sear for 3 minutes a side. Remove steaks from pan. Brown garlic and onions in pan, cook until transparent (about 3 minutes). Add green peppers and celery and cook about 2 minutes. Add meat, tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, basil and oregano. Bring to a simmer and cook about 20 minutes.

 

 

Peanut Butter Cookies (GF)

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Gracious it has been a long time since I’ve posted! Honestly, living in an apartment is not conducive to my blogging. It isn’t that I don’t bake or cook but that I simply don’t want to go to the effort to blog about it. I promise I will get back into the blogging thing as soon as we have moved to our new house. Which will be happening sooner rather than later. We bought a house and will be moving at the end of May or early June. There is light at the end of this transient-tunnel!

Today’s post is peanut butter cookies. These are amazing. Yes, they are gluten and dairy-free but this is not a case of going without gluten because these are honestly the best peanut butter cookies you can make. I first ran across the concept for these cookies in a cookbook we received as a wedding gift and now this style of peanut butter cookie is everywhere. Maybe because of the surge of gluten-free? I dunno. But try them. They are quick, easy, and delicious. My kitchen Trinity!

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Peanut butter cookies

Ingredients

  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup peanut butter (smooth or crunchy)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.

In a mixer combine ingredients, mix for a minute or so. Roll into balls and flatten with a fork.

Bake about 11 minutes and cool at least 5 minutes before removing from baking sheet. Enjoy!

Roasted Chicken

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I grew up on a farm so don’t ask my views on chickens. To put it succinctly, I believe the only good chicken comes in cellophane. Having said that, chicken is one of my favorite foods to work with. It is easy and versatile.

I adore roast chicken and chicken is one of the few meats the baby will always eat. The only problem is that many recipes make something difficult out of what is very simple. To prove how easy this is I made it on a weeknight. Read through the directions first so you have an idea of how much time to set aside. The method may sound a little strange but trust me, it works! Save the leftovers and use them in things like chicken soup and chicken salad.

This recipe is from America’s Test Kitchen. They are always my go-to source when it comes to cooking!

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Easy Roast Chicken

  • roasting chicken
  • olive oil
  • salt & pepper

Heat oven safe skillet in 450 degree oven. I just set the skillet in the oven while it was preheating. Prepare chicken by rubbing it with olive oil and seasoning it liberally with salt and pepper. Place chicken directly onto hot skillet.

Roast chicken 30 minutes or until it reaches 120 degrees.

Turn oven off. Let it continue to roast 30 minutes or until it reaches 160 degrees. Remove chicken from oven and allow it to rest 20 minutes.

Crustless Pumpkin Pie

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I’ve been doing research for quite awhile now and I have decided to take the leap. Gluten-free and Dairy-free. We’ll see how this goes. A lot of anecdotal evidence suggests that strict diets help people with MS. And while I love bread and chocolate the idea of being able to keep up with my family sounds even better. Go ahead and ask yourself why I decided to do this right before the Holidays. I honestly do not have an answer to that. It would probably take more self analysis than I am willing to subject myself to in order to find an answer.

I may be cutting out gluten and dairy but that does not prevent me from eating well! My first foray into the dessert realm was crustless pumpkin pie. Right in time for Thanksgiving! I don’t think you need to be on any sort of diet to consider this delicious. The best of the pie is the filling in my opinion.  Oh, you don’t like the way it looks in the picture? Do yourself a delicious favor and drown it in whipped cream.

Crustless Pumpkin Pie

  • 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice (I used 1/4 tsp. ginger, 1/4 tsp. nutmeg, & 1/8 tsp. ground cloves)
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/3 cup flour (Almost any will work, but not coconut flour)
  • 1/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 (15-oz) can pumpkin puree
  • 1 cup milk of choice
  • 1 tsp  cornstarch
  • 2 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 400 F, and grease a 10-inch round pan. In a large mixing bowl, combine first 6 ingredients, and stir very well. In a separate bowl, combine all liquid ingredients with the cornstarch, and whisk. Pour wet into dry, stir to combine, then pour into the pan and bake 35 minutes. (It’ll still be gooey after baking, but that’s ok.) Allow to cool completely before transferring uncovered to the fridge to “set” for at least 6 hours before trying to slice.

I’m Baaaaack!

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Wow! It has been an insanely long time since I have blogged. Life has been more than a little crazy. I accepted a new call in Missouri and we packed up and headed south. We are now (mostly) settled into our new lives in this beautiful place. I say “mostly,” anyone need a house in Council Bluffs, Iowa?????

While we are waiting for our house to sell we are renting a little townhouse so my kitchen is a bit of a downer after my previous three ovens. However, we are adjusting. But don’t expect too much from this blog until we upgrade!

So, what recipe is worth of my return post? I thought I’d share this little dandy with you today. Think the candy bar but a whole pan of them.

Peanut Butter Bars

Ingredients
1 cup butter, melted
2 cups graham cracker crumbs
2 cups powdered sugar
1 cup + 4 tablespoons peanut butter
1 1/2 cups milk chocolate chips

Directions
In a medium bowl, mix together the melted butter, graham cracker crumbs, powdered sugar, and 1 cup peanut butter until well blended. Press evenly into the bottom of an ungreased 9×13 inch pan. In the microwave, melt the chocolate chips with the peanut butter, stirring every 30 seconds until melted until smooth. Spread over the peanut butter layer. Refrigerate for at least one hour before cutting into squares.

Chocolate Mint Pie

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When I was growing up the chef at the local country club was a dessert genius! He had a million incredible recipes but one that really stood out was something he called, Tipton Pie. When I started baking I spent an inordinate amount of time trying to find this recipe but never did. However, this one is very close. If you like this recipe save it! I dug it out of an old Baker’s recipe book and you can’t find that little booger anywhere to save your life… trust me, I’ve tried.

This recipe is incredibly simple and no-bake (a nice perk considering it is 103 degrees today). If raw eggs make you nervous just get the pasteurized ones at the grocery store. Also, if you are hardcore you could make this with real whipped cream but I don’t recommend it. Strangely, Cool Whip is your best bet as it sets up better than real whipped cream. Can you believe that I am saying that?! But it is true.

Chocolate Mint Pie

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 3 ounces unsweetened chocolate, melted and cooled
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup thawed Cool Whip
  • 1 baked 9-inch pie shell (I use a graham cracker crust)

Cream butter, gradually beat in sugar and continue beating until light and fluffy. Add melted chocolate, vanilla and peppermint extract. Add eggs one at a time, beating about 1 minute after each. Fold the Cool Whip into the chocolate mixture and spoon into pie shell. Chill at least 4 hours.