Leftover Turkey Idea — BRILLIANT!

I am sorry for the poor pictures… I am sorry that this post is about two weeks late…. better late than never (which is really becoming the motto at our place lately!)  This one is just too good to not post.

Maybe some of you will eat a turkey for Christmas… if so you have to try this out.  For years, I have always had leftover turkey.  We try sandwiches, and all types of things.  Usually the turkey is completely dried out and quite frankly, I sit and wonder how a bird can taste so good on one day and be completely gross the next time around, and the third and fourth time around!  That, my friends, is a thing of the past!!!  I have my wonderful neighbor to thank for this fantastic idea.

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Sorry for the shadow… I was doing good to snap this photo!

While you are cleaning up your Thanksgiving dinner, and trying to find containers to put all your leftovers in, try this:  Dice your turkey into small cubes and put it in the bottom of a large baking dish.  We had leftover carrots, so I cut those up into small pieces as well, and layered them over the turkey.  Then I took my leftover gravy and poured it over the top of the turkey and the carrots.  ( You could really add just about any vegetable that you had in with this.)  Then, I took all my leftover potatoes, and scooped them on the top of the gravy… Ah Haa… you see where we are going with this, don’t ya?  Shepherds pie idea isn’t it?!?!?!  I then put tin foil over the top, threw it into the refrigerator.  The next day when we wanted dinner, I took it out, placed it in the oven for a little while, and we totally had another Thanksgiving dinner all in one!  It was DELICIOUS!!!  In fact, it fed my family of nine TWICE!  Once on Friday and then again on Sunday after church!!!  Not one person complained!  The turkey never once dried out!  They lapped it up so fast, I was doing good to get these few pictures!!!  I can’t wait to cook another turkey again….. Leftovers will never be the same! CAM00793


Breakfast Biscuits with a Twist!

My son has been taking early morning Driver’s Ed for the past five weeks. In order to make his busy schedule, we have been eating hot oatmeal every week day. One day, I could take NO more MUSH!! We finally had a morning where someone didn’t need to be somewhere by 6:15 a.m. I decided it was time for something different! I’ve heard of people taking refrigerated biscuits and trying something with cinnamon and sweetened condensed milk. I didn’t have any of that stuff, but I have my biscuit recipe, which I love.

I simply doubled my recipe. I took a muffin tin and put a drop of butter in the bottom of each one. I divided the dough into twenty four dough balls, (a normal batch would only make twelve) then I divided each ball into three more small balls. I took each little ball and dipped it in cinnamon sugar (the other set, I dipped in hot cocoa drink powder mix).  Each muffin got three little dough balls.  I then put a little bit of butter on the top of each biscuit muffin. I baked them in the oven at 375 for about 17 minutes or so. When they came out, I drizzled sweetened condensed milk all over the top of them…. They did NOT last long at our place!

I had children thanking me right and left….. not only where they happy to not have to eat another bowl of mush, but they absolutely loved this new breakfast twist!

Cinnamon Chip Swirl Bread


OK!  I have been wanting some cinnamon bread since a neighbor of mine brought some over to me a couple of weeks ago.  I have to admit, it is a HUGE addiction for me!  There’s just something about hot cinnamon bread!   Mmmmmm!

Today I wanted to try it out.  So I made my simple bread recipe today.  I divided my dough up into my five different loaves.  I gently flattened (just a little bit) each piece out (as though you were making cinnamon rolls or pizza).  I GENEROUSLY covered it with a cinnamon/sugar mixture.  I then added a handful of cinnamon chips on top of that–A while back, I found a bag at my local grocery store by the chocolate chips.  They were quite pricey, but I only used a handful, and since my children don’t care to eat them as candy, they have actually lasted a while.  I can probably get a few more batches out of it!!  I then folded, rolled, and shaped my bread loaves.  I baked it just as I did my regular bread and it came out HEAVENLY!  Spread a little butter on a hot slice of loaf and man o man!  Good stuff!  I gave a slice to the repair man who came to fix my dishwasher!  It was a thumbs up!

Let me know how you like it!



Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Cake with Streusel Topping!

103_0947I am in serious trouble when it comes to breads…. that will undo my last years 40 lb weight loss if I am not careful!!  Good thing there are lots of mouths at our home, that way I am not inclined to eat it all!  I have found a lot of recipes for Chocolate Chip pumpkin bread.  Well, my bread pans were being used, so I thought I would just make a cake!  It worked out Wonderfully!!!  We cut up a hot slice for lunch yesterday, put it in a bowl, and poured some milk over the top of it, and it was out of this world!!

My recipe is slightly adapted from one I found on All Recipes… I don’t even know where I found it, so if it is yours, please take the credit!

3 C sugar

15 oz of canned pumpkin puree

1 c vegetable oil

2/3 C butter milk — I put about a tsp of lemon juice in with regular milk and give it about 5 to 10 minutes when I need buttermilk

4 eggs

3 C flour

1 Tb ground cinnamon

1 Tb nutmeg — I only had Allspice so I used about a 1/s Tb of Allspice

2 tsp baking soda

1 1/2 tsp salt

An entire bag of milk chocolate chips–fold these in with spoon.

Streusel Topping:

1/4 C of soft butter

1/2 C of brown sugar  — you want more sugar and flour than butter or else it will all sink to the bottom of the loaf

1/4 – 1/2 C of flour

1 tsp cinnamon

1/4 – 1/2 C of oatmeal

Chopped nuts — as many or as little as you want

Mix it all together with a fork — You want it sort of on the dry side so that it will not sink…

Mix the cake ingredients together.  Grease and flour your pan really well…. or your bread loaves whichever you want to use.  I really like the cake method.  Spread it into the pans and sprinkle the Streusel topping over the top of it.  This topping is what makes this cake!!  Mine probably cooked about 45 minutes to an hour…. I started with 35 minutes, found out it wasn’t cooking thoroughly yet, so I turned my temperature down to 325 and it cooked for about maybe 15 or 20 minutes more.  So about an hour… I’m sorry I didn’t watch it more carefully.  My 14-yr old son begged and pleaded with me this morning that I would save him a piece for when he got home from school today… you have to understand that at our house, something like this usually doesn’t last too long!  I hope you’ll enjoy it!

Best Homemade Bread–EVER!


Fresh out of the oven with a layer of butter just smothered over the top!

As my children grow and become busy, and with the demands of keeping up a home–(cooking & laundry for nine people), helping with homework, Young Men and Young Women, Cub Scouts, merit badges, Jazz Band gigs, orchestra and play auditions, and most importantly, trying to keep our spirits fed by studying the gospel and serving in church callings, I am finding it increasingly more difficult to keep up a blog!  As it should be, my priorities are with my church and my family, and not my blogging!  You may not get too many posts this next little while… There are a lot of things happening this Spring and Summer–I’m super excited to face each new challenge and experience coming my way, but I will be quite busy for sure…. We’ll see how things go!

Having said all of that, Wednesdays at my home, are kitchen days!  It is a day that that I am trying to focus on my kitchen…. cleaning the fridge and oven, organizing the pantry, baking, etc!  I had to make some bread yesterday because we were all out, AND, while cleaning out the fridge, I uncovered a can of pumpkin that needed to be used up before it went bad on me.  SOOO, with that in mind, you are going to get TWO posts today (Homemade Bread & Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cake)….because I simply can not guarantee with the next one will be…. I wish you could have smelled the aroma from my home yesterday while these breads were baking….it was HEAVENLY!  But alas, it was not to last long!

Anyways, a few years back, my dear friend Emily gave me this bread recipe, and I have seriously never used another recipe since then!  I simply LOVE this one.  It is so easy and it really doesn’t take up all that much time.  I’m just going to give you the recipe and a few quick pointers, because I have so much work that needs to be done today.  I hope you will enjoy it!  Let me know if you try it and it if works out for you!  This recipe makes two loaves….When I double it, I can get out 5 loaves!

2 C Water

1/4 C Butter

Put these in a microwave for a couple of minutes so that the butter is melted and the water is hot–let it set for a while to cool slightly while you prepare the yeast and flour mixture.

1 C warm water

1 T yeast

1 T Sugar

Make sure your water is very warm, but not scalding hot–sprinkle the yeast over the water and sugar over the yeast.  Give it a good mix and let it sit for a few minutes.

In a large bowl, mix 6 C flour, 1 tsp salt, 1/3 c sugar or honey, 1/4 C powdered milk, 1/3 C gluten–(found on your baking isle in the stores–don’t skip this ingredient–it does wonders for your bread).

Add the hot water mixture and the yeast (make sure your hot water has cooled enough that it will not burn the yeast when you add the yeast to it). You may need to add a little more flour if necessary.  If you are mixing it in a mixer, add enough flour that when it is mixing, there is no flour on the side of the bowl…Then, cover it up and let it rise for about a half and hour or so.  Keep your house as warm as you can when you are baking with yeast.  It helps, trust me!

When it is done, spread a small amount of shortening on your counter top — do not use flour– you should have all the flour you need in your bowl… you don’t want to add more flour.  Fold and kneed it and shape it into your loaves.  Grease your loaf pans really good and put your bread into each one.  Cover the pans and let the dough rise for about another half an hour.  Preheat your oven up to 350 and let it bake for 30 minutes.

When it is all done, spread a layer of butter over the top of the bread.  Let it sit in the loaf pan for 10 minutes and then invert it to get the bread out of the pan.  It should slip out pretty slick!  Bread always slices better when it has had a chance to cool off… however, we seem to not be able to wait that long at our house for warm, fresh bread.  We enjoy every single tasty bite!  Let me know if you try it!


The lines you are seeing on the top of each loaf is the freshly melted butter I just swiped over the top of them!

Tasty Homemade Granola Cereal!


I’ve decided it’s not too easy to take a good picture of cereal!  Luckily this recipe tastes so good, a good photo is not required!  Cereal, at our house, is a RARE treat!  It’s just too expensive to purchase.  We usually eat oatmeal, pancakes, cracked wheat, or grits for breakfast.  However, on occasion, WHEN I’M FEELING PARTICULARLY KIND, I like to make this cereal in a BIG batch!  I try to make it mostly for my husband…. He leaves for church on Sunday mornings around 6 in the morning, and usually doesn’t get home until well after lunch time.  He needs a little something to fill him up.  This cereal is the perfect Sunday solution… and yes… I do have to hide it or else it would disappear in no time!

It’s really easy to make, and it’s really customizable to what you like!  My kids only like chocolate chips, nuts, and dried and sweetened banana chips in it, but you could put anything you like into it!

In a small sauce pan, combine the following ingredients:

4 TB oil

3/4 C butter

8 T honey

1 1/3 C brown sugar

1/2 tsp salt (roughly)

2 tsp cinnamon

1 to 2 tsp vanilla

Cook and stir until all the sugar is dissolved.

Pour into a large bowl with 8 CUPS of oatmeal and a large handful or two of nuts.  I like to use walnuts, or almonds, whichever I have on hand.  Mix the sauce into the oatmeal until everything is coated completely.


Stirring the sauce into the oatmeal


Oatmeal mixture spread out on jelly-roll pans just before cooking.

Spray a large jelly-pan sheet with cooking spray.  (This recipe will do two pans worth)  Spread your oatmeal mixture out on the pans and cook them in a preheated  375 oven for 10 minutes.  Let it cool completely, and then break it up and store it into a container.  At this time you can add chocolate chips, or other tasty things, such as craisins, etc., if you would like to!  Let me know if you like it!

Grandma Tillman’s Christmas Cake (Vanilla Wafer Cake)

102_6169Over the past little while, I’ve been thinking a lot about my memories of the South.  While, I only lived there a very short while, my dad is a full-fledged, good ol’ Southern Boy who was born and raised in Florida until the time he left for the army!  When I was very young, my family moved from New Mexico (where my mom was from) to Florida for a very short little while.  I have been trying to remember some of the things that stuck out in my mind the most about the South….

My Aunt Arie had this awesome home in the woods, that was to die for!  Old country charm at it’s finest.  She made the BEST chicken and rice EVER…. I could have eaten the entire bowl of that stuff whenever it was made.

My Aunt Geraldine had this home in Jacksonville, that if, looking back now, I would have had the time and money and resources, If I could do it, I would go back and redecorate that thing!  It was an absolutely beautiful home in it’s day.  Think “Meet Me in St. Louis”  beautiful home!  Unfortunately it was in such a scary neighborhood, that it was terribly frightening to stay there.  The windows had to have bars on them and each door had two or three locks on them.

My Aunt Juanita (I hope I’m spelling correctly) had this home in Tampa…. in the back yard, was this giant ORANGE tree… One year after a visit there, I came home with a giant box of freshly picked oranges, which I was able to keep all to myself!  They were amazingly delicious!  I also remember this giant iguana that ran through her back yard one day while we were there!

My Uncle Chester had as many kids as we did if not more!  We would always go swimming with them… All I can remember is how hot the concrete around the pool was on my poor tender feet and nasty old flip-flops that hurt my feet.  I would take them off because I couldn’t wear them, only to be burned on the concrete!!

Uncle Lloyd had this GIANT Rottweiler dog named Rosco that could count…. He would bark a certain amount of barks for each finger that was held up.  I thought that dog was going to eat me for breakfast–no foolin’!  “I was skeered of him as I wuz a bear!”

Uncle Ivan lived in Baton Rouge, “Looziana!”  His wife was the best cook I could think of.  She even made a plate of grits seem like a gourmet meal!  It was there that I had Crawdads for the first time.  It was also there that I acquired an insane addiction to Cajun seasoning!  I always enjoyed staying at their place.  It was always our stop over on our way to Florida!

Uncle Irvin lived in a little wooded place there in Florida.  One day while visiting there, a lightening bolt hit in the back yard…. I’ve never been that close to lightening before and I don’t ever wish to do it again!

My own memories of living in Florida include living through a hurricane.  Fortunately we were enough inland that all I remember is a rainstorm and trees being blown over, and my siblings scaring the livin’ tar out of me one day…. I was playing up in a wooded area near our home when I guess they decided to inform me that “Skunk Ape” (aka BigFoot) was chasin’ me.  I can’t remember stopping for anything all the way back to my bedroom!  I was so scared!

We visited Silver Springs  — They had glass bottom boats where you could see at least 80 feet down!  This is the place where most of the Tarzan movies were filmed.

My siblings also talked about how fun it was to go floating down the Ichetucknee Springs in Florida  — they often laughed about doing dumb things and goofing off in the water while seeing big ol’ snakes swimming around in there!  I also remember swimming in the Suwanee River.

I remember the miniature horse farms all over there — seriously, the horses weren’t much bigger than dogs!  There were also miles and miles of beautiful horse ranches with white picket fences and green fields…. Beautiful Southern Magnolia trees that, when in blossom, smelled like Lemonade to me!

Smearing peanut butter on top of pancakes, of which I still do EVERY SINGLE TIME!!!

The moss growing off the giant oak trees.

My dad reading “Uncle Remus” stories to me about Brer Rabbit and Brer Bear and the Tar baby with such the perfect Southern drawl — “I say’d HHHHOOOOWWWDDDDYYY!”

We listened to Jerry Clower ALL the time — he is one of my favorite comedians!  He passed away many years ago.

I wish you could see the memories I am seeing in my head right now!  Those were good times.

My favorite fast-food store was Popeye’s Chicken.  I sure wish one was close by to where I live, but no such luck!  Their chicken was amazing; but I remember the side dish of red beans and rice that was really tasty to me as well!

We would stop off at Louis’ Hamburgers (where my dad used to work when he was a teenager).  If I remember correctly, that little shop was located in Gainsville.  They were some really great hamburgers!

We lived in a little town called Newberry.  It was supposed to be the watermelon capital of the world! Maybe that’s why I love watermelons so much!

The fog in the mornings…. the smell in the air!  So beautiful!  I can still smell that same smell at times when we have foggy mornings in the summer!

Snakes, gaters, and the cockroaches….. Those were just a few memories I am fine forgetting about!

I wish I could remember more, but the one thing that I will NEVER, EVER forget is my Grandma Tillman’s Christmas Cake!  I don’t have her exact recipe.  I wish I could go back in time and get it from her, but it’s not possible!  So I have searched the internet over and over until I found the recipe that I think resembled her’s the most.  She was diabetic and would use honey in place of the sugar.  Since honey is such a pricey commodity at our place, I will be using sugar today instead.  It was made for every Christmas party at our house!  It was a Southern gathering staple!  I hope it will be one that you will enjoy as well!  With each bite, I intend to remember the good times!

Well, I guess I have strolled down memory lane long enough.  It’s time for a recipe!

1 C melted butter

6 eggs

1/2 C milk

2 C sugar

1 12 oz packg of crushed Vanilla Wafers — I used my food processor

1 8 oz packg of shredded Coconut Flakes

1 C pecans — The more the better!

MIx everything together and put it in a GREASED AND FLOURED pan — a vegetable spray will not be enough — it will stick.  Please use the grease and flour method–generously.  Pop it in the preheated oven of 350 degrees and let it cook for an hour!  I have used a bundt pan but I prefer to use a rectangular pan.  You might have to adjust your cooking time if cooked in a regular pan.

Serve with either cool whip, ice cream, or a caramel sauce.  I hope you enjoy it!