Archive for category Recipes

Sunday’s are a special day

Today was the first Sunday of the New Year.  Our church block is now from 1:00 to 4:00 p.m. While getting ready, Emmy asked me to braid her hair. She normally doesn’t have the patience for it but it looked really cute!  Em and I decided to walk to church today, which was nice.


We took a picture after church, but it’s missing Jaron since he slept over at my mom’s house last night.


20150103_151321I love how the picture of our family has Emalee with the sticker on the front of her dress reminding her that she is giving the opening prayer in Primary next week.  We truly are at church.

After church, I made some Pina Colada fruit leather and Andy made a stir fry for dinner.  Ashlyn couldn’t wait for dinner and started munching on her giant Snicker bar that she got for Christmas.

Feeling so grateful for my life and family today. Sunday’s are my days to rest, rejuvenate and plan for the coming week.  I had time to really count my blessings today.  Heavenly Father has really watched over and blessed our family.



20150103_145413My mom came up with this pina colada fruit leather recipe.  It turned out yummy.  In your blender mix 5 c. apples, 1 c. apple juice, 2 bananas, 1 can crushed pineapple and 1/2 bag shredded coconut (7 oz. of 14 oz. bag).  You can also blend in some maraschino cherries.  I poured it out on my dehydrater sheets until they became fruit roll ups!  Yum!!

Grandma’s Girls

Lots of routine, mundane things happened today.  I got my oil changed in my van this morning, went grocery shopping,  exercised with Mimi, worked on SugarDoodle, cleaned the house and watched a movie with my kiddos.  There are only a couple more days before school starts and we’re trying to enjoy every last minute together.

IMG_2629  IMG_2630  IMG_2631  IMG_2632

20150102_180150Andy, Jaron and Trevin went to Tae Kwon Do tonight.  Ashlyn, Emalee and Amelia had a sleep over tonight at my mom’s house…a girls night out.  I’m sure they won’t be sad they missed Tae Kwon Do.  Spending time with Amelia and Grandma Kluse trumps sports any day!

I also made an awesome veggie dip today.  You just mix 2 cups of cottage cheese in the blender with one Fiesta Ranch packet.  Yum!

I had to also include a picture of my computer screen.  If I ever leave my computer for a few minutes, I know Jaron has been there because my moniter will say, “I like trains.”  Love him!


{Some new recipes….}

While Jaron worked on his homework (and played Solitaire when I wasn’t looking…..busted!!)………

….Ashlyn, Trevin and I worked on dinner.  Trevin helped me make homemade chicken noodle soup.  His job was to cut the dough into squares…he loved that job.


By the end of his task he was flour infested with a large smile.  Ashlyn noticed how much flour he had gotten all over himself and told him, “You need to go get an apron on.”  I told her it was a bit late for that.

I stuck to the recipe except for the fact that I put in some frozen corn.  It smelled soooo good while it cooked…

Meanwhile, Ashlyn was making a banana cake….all by herself…sort of.  She asked me a question here or there, but otherwise she did great!  (Our cake didn’t have near as much frosting as this photo, but it was very yummy!)


3/4 c. butter

2 1/8 c. sugar
3 eggs
2 t. vanilla
3 c. flour
1 1/2 t. baking soda
1/4 t. salt
1 1/2 c. buttermilk
2 t. lemon juice
1 1/2 c. mashed banana
DIRECTIONS: Preheat over to 275 F. Grease & flour 9×13″ baking dish (pyrex or metal). In a small bowl combine mashed bananas and lemon juice.  Set aside. In a medium bowl combine flour, baking soda, and salt.  Set aside. In a large mixing bowl, cream 3/4 c. butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs one at a time; add vanilla. Beat in flour mixture alternately with buttermilk.  Stir in banana mixture. Pour batter into baking dish.  Bake in oven for 1 hour, or until toothpick comes out clean.  Once it’s cooled, frost.

1/2 c. butter, softened
1 (8 oz.) pkg. cream cheese, softened
3 1/2 c. powdered sugar
1 t. vanilla
DIRECTIONS: Beat all ingredients in order until smooth.  Spread on cooled cake.

The rest of my evening was spent in a Stake Primary orientation meeting for another ward.  It was a great day!

{An angel in disguise}

A couple days ago we held our Relief Society Christmas party…of which was my last responsibility as the Enrichment Leader.  I have been released from the calling and it is bitter sweet.  I have really enjoyed serving in the Relief Society; however, I am excited for my new calling as Primary Pianist.

Today, in the mail, I received something from my neighbor.  At first glance, I thought she was mailing me a recipe.  Our Christmas party was a cookie exchange and we asked the sisters to share their favorite cookie recipes.  However, when I started taking a closer look at the card, it wasn’t a recipe.  Rather, it was a thank you card….and it made my day.  Who sent it to me?  Tara Hansen….a gal that I use to Visit Teach.  I love her!!

{Wheeler Farm and Family Night}

This afternoon, my friend Cindy Barnhisel and I got together and took our kids to Wheeler Farm.  It was fun to get out of the house and let the kids see some fun animals and run around.

After Wheeler Farm, I took the kids to Sub Zero Ice Cream where we shared a large ice cream.  We then stopped by the grocery store and picked up a few groceries.  We had a little BBQ for dinner tonight, which included Snicker Salad.  Jaron made it and was so excited to have some….  He couldn’t believe we were having candy bars as part of dinner.


6 Granny Smith apples
6-7 regular size Snicker bars
1 container of cool whip
1 small package of butterscotch pudding

Chop your apples into bite-sized pieces. You can leave the skin on.  Chop your candy bars into bite-sized pieces. They cut a little easier if you chill them in the fridge first. Mix together the defrosted Cool Whip with the pudding mix and then add chopped candy and apples.  Make within a few hours of serving.

We weren’t able to have Family Home Evening on Monday this week and ended up having it tonight.  Our bishopric held a combined Priesthood and Relief Society meeting this last week to address the issue of pornography and internet safety.  They encouraged each of us to dedicate a Family Home Evening lesson on the subject.  Our Family Night went really well….here is what we did.  Deseret Book has a “Clean and Safe Media” Pledge, which we took as a family.  We’ve posted the pledge in our computer room as a reminder of this commitment.

After Family Home Evening, Andy helped set up each child on the computer with their own login and passwords.  He helped get their favorite websites bookmarked.  Andy and I discussed later that this issue wasn’t a problem for us growing up.  We didn’t have cell phones or internet as part of our life.  We tried to emphasize to the kids that we are doing these things to protect them because we love them….not because they’ve done anything wrong.  All-in-all, family night went really well.

{Jeff came in town}

You never know when Jeff is going to come to town.  The last several times he’s dropped by, it’s been unexpected and a complete surprise.   This time was no exception.  He just showed up earlier this week on my doorstep.  I think he likes it better that way.  While he was here he really enjoyed cooking up a storm.  Mom gave him his Christmas present while here, so he can take it home with him….a new smoker.   Tonight we got together and enjoyed a meal together before he heads home in the middle of the night.  He smoked the meat and beans and they were so yummy!!  I don’t think there were any baked beans left over.

In fact, we made him share his recipe with all of us.  I won’t be able to smoke the beans, but they’ll be almost as good.  Here’s the recipe:

6-8 strips of bacon cut into 1/2 inch squares
1/2 Medium onion, diced
1/2 Bell pepper, diced
1 – 2 Jalapeno Peppers, diced (seeding is optional) – We used a half of a jalapeno so the kids would eat it too
1 – 55 ounce can Bush’s Baked Beans
1-8 ounce can of pineapple chunks, drained
1 Cup Brown Sugar, packed
1 Cup ketchup
1/2 – 1 Tbs. dry (ground) mustard

Saute bacon pieces in fry pan until crispy and remove from pan with a slotted spoon. Saute onion, bell pepper and jalapeno pepper until tender.

In a large mixing bowl combine beans, pineapple, brown sugar, ketchup and dry mustard. Stir in bacon pieces and vegetables. Pour into a 12X9 or a deep 9X9 aluminum baking pan. (While mixing if things look dry, add additional ketchup 1/4 -1/2 cup at a time)

Place in a 350° oven and bake for 1 hour.

Otherwise, here are a few pictures of our evening together:

Mom made homemade hamburger buns and they were sooooo good!!

Libby getting her kids food.

Mom and John (pulling his crazy faces….as usual)

Spencer and Trevin

Andy and Alton

Me and Spencer

Jeff made some sweet potato pie for dessert…..John had to smell it first and see if he wanted any.


Ali WISHING she could have some sweet potato pie.

{Summer Swim and Cookin’ Fun}

Today was the hottest day of the year (so far).  When the kids are hot, they always want to play with water.  So when Riley came over to play with the boys, I suggested they fill the little swimming pool in the backyard…and the rest was history. 

Much of the day otherwise was pretty routine….laundry, cleaning, practicing the piano with Jaron, etc.  However, the kids and I made cookies, which was fun.  We made butterscotch cookies….


I called Andy to see if he brought some dinner with him to work…(he goes to school at night on Monday and Wednesday).  He said, “Yeah….(pause…pause)…”  I then asked him, “What did you bring?”  He replied, “A soda and fiber (granola) bar.”  I just laughed….”I’ll bring you some food.”

So, I made up some dinner and we brought it by his work before he needed to leave for school.


Normally, Trevin doesn’t nap….but after dinner he was just too exhausted….and crashed.  Too much fun in one day!


“Unless each day can be looked back upon by an individual as one in which he has had some fun, some joy, some real satisfaction, that day is a loss.”

{Coconut Pinkcherry Yogurt}

We had a house full tonight.  Ryan and Martina went out on a date while I watched their kiddos.  Then, mom called and asked if I could watch Alton and Amelia while she went and exercised.  So, while the ten of them ran around and had a blast together….I decided to make homemade frozen yogurt.  It just sounded so good.  I learned that the key to making homemade frozen yogurt smooth, is to use coconut milk.   It was so delish!!!  Here is the recipe to “Cocunut Pinkcherry Yogurt”.

3 cups plain yogurt
3/4 cup Splenda (or sugar)
3/4 cup cherries (pitted and sliced into pieces)
1 tsp. almond extract
1 tsp. cherry extract
1 cup unsweetened coconut milk

I mixed everything together and then put it in the ice cream maker.  It took about a half hour to make and wowsers, it was GOOD and very creamy.

{A first for me….}

The other day I was watching a morning show and while I was watching they were featuring some chef.  She was telling everyone the “new” way to cook salmon….in the dishwasher.  Yes, you read right!!  Oh gross I thought.  After watching the whole segment, I was really curious about it and wanted to give it a try.  So I did. 

I seasoned the fish and double wrapped it in foil securing and folding the edges tightly. 



Then I stuck it in the top rack of my empty dishwasher, not putting any soap in of coarse.  Then I started my dishwasher and it steamed it through perfectly!!!  It was so good.  Never would have thought of this but it’s worth a try, at least once!


{Yum, yum, yum}

Andy and I enjoy watching Oprah together sometimes at night.  Having a DVR has changed our lives.  I LOVE being able to fast foward through commercials.  It totally frustrates me when I watch live TV.  Anyway, we can set it to record Oprah and if something interests us, we’ll watch it.  Well, the other day, Gayle, one of her best friends, was sent to see how chef Govind Armstrong made his famous sandwich.  I hadn’t ever heard of it before but after watching him make it, it is definitely something I will have to try at least once in my life.  I searched high and low and found the recipe for all of us.  I can’t wait.  Can you hear me licking my fingers???  



  • 1 Tbsp. grapeseed or canola oil
  • 2 pounds boneless beef short ribs
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/2 carrot, cut into large dice
  • 1/2 celery, cut into large dice
  • 1/2 onion, cut into large dice
  • 6 medium garlic cloves, cracked
  • sachet, see below
  • 3 cups beef broth
  • 2 pounds loaf of sourdough bread, cut into 16 slices
  • 12 ounces Bel Paese cheese, sliced thin
  • 2 Tbsp. plus 2 tsp. pickled red onions
  • 4 tsp. unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 4 tsp. grapeseed oil

Preheat the oven to 325°.

Beginning with a large saucepan or braising pan with a lid, heat the tablespoon of grapeseed oil over medium-high heat. Season the short ribs with salt and pepper. Sear the short ribs on either side until caramelized and golden brown, about 5 minutes. Remove the meat from the pan. Add the carrot and celery to the pan and cook for 5 minutes over the same heat. Add the onion and garlic. Cook together until caramelized, about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally as needed. Add the sachet (see below) and, stirring from time to time, allow the wine to reduce until almost evaporated, about 6 minutes. Pour in the beef broth and bring thebraise up to a boil. Put the lid on and place in the oven for 2 hours. Stir occasionally.

After the first 2 hours of cooking time, remove the lid. For the next hour, baste the short ribs every 15 minutes, leaving the lid off. Cook for an additional hour, until very tender, for a total of 4 hours cooking time.

Pull the short ribs from the oven and allow them to cool in the braising juices for at least a few hours. Carefully transfer the meat to a plate and strain the juices through a fine sieve, then allow the fat to rise. Remove the fat. Using a dinner fork in each hand, lightly shred the meat along the natural grains in a pulling motion from the center outward, and set aside.

To prepare each sandwich, begin by preheating the oven to 350°.

Take two slices of bread. On the bottom slice, place a layer of cheese (you’ll want approximately 1 1/2 ounces for each sandwich, just enough to cover the bread to the edges), then top with 1 teaspoon of pickled red onion, spread to the sides. Place 1/4 cup of the pulled short ribs on top, add another layer of cheese, and top with the second slice of bread. Brush each completed sandwich on top and bottom with 1/2 teaspoon butter.

In a cast-iron pan over medium-high heat, add 1 teaspoon of the grapeseed oil and allow it to get nice and hot. Place 2 sandwiches in at a time and flip so they will absorb the oil on both sides. Weight them down with a small sauté pan. After 1 minute, flip the sandwiches, return the weight, and place directly in the oven. After 2 minutes, remove the weight. Flip the sandwich one final time, and cook for 1 final minute. Pull from the oven, slice diagonally, and serve immediately. Repeat with the remaining sandwiches.

{Frozen Hot Chocolate}

Our family is consumed with beverages of all sorts.  We love them and much prefer them over food.  When I saw this, I wanted to give it a try. 

6 half oz pieces of a variety of your favorite chocolates
2 t. hot chocolate mix
1 ½ T. sugar
1 ½ C. milk
3 C. ice
Whipped cream
Chocolate Shavings

*Chop the chocolate into small pieces and place it in the top of a double boiler over simmering water, stirring occasionally until melted. Add the hot chocolate mix and sugar, stirring constantly until thoroughly blended. Remove from heat and slowly add ½ C. of the milk and stir until smooth. Cool to room themperature.

* In a blender place the remaining cup of milk, the room temperature chocolate mixture, and the ice. Blend on high speed until smooth and the consistency of a frozen daiquiri. Pour into a giant goblet and top with whipped cream and chocolate shavings.

{Crockpot Cookin’}

Anyone who knows me, KNOWS I love my crockpot.  It is the best kitchen appliance ever.  I came across these fun ideas and thought I’d pass them along.  Enjoy.

If you depend on your slow cooker to prepare dinner while you’re at the office, you know what a fabulous appliance it is. But it can do a lot more to help you than just fix pot roast or umpteen different chicken recipesespecially during the holidays.

DIPPING CHOCOLATE.  Melt batches of melting chocolate or almond bark for dipping fruit and other goodies by placing in a slow cooker on low. Stir occasionally.  (Holiday gift idea: Dip big pretzels into chocolate (white, milk or dark). Package in cellophane or other festive holiday containers and embellish with ribbons or raffia.)POTPOURRI. Make your own liquid potpourri. Turn your slow cooker on Low, and fill bottom with grape seed, canola or safflower oil; add a few drops of your favorite essential oil. Do not cover. Allow the fragrance to fill your home.

FONDUE. Serve cheese fondue from your slow cooker, set on Low.

BAKED POTATOES. If you are short on oven space, place baking potatoes wrapped in foil in a slow cooker set on High. Cook for about three hours or until they are done to perfection.

MASHED POTATOES. You can actually make mashed potatoes in your slow cooker, start to finish, and allow them to hold for hours until you’re ready to eat.

5 pounds sierra gold potatoes or red potatoes, diced with peel
1 cup water
1 cup butter, cut into chunks
1 tablespoon salt, more to taste
1 1/4 teaspoons garlic powder (optional)
3/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 1/3 cups milk, warmed

Place the potatoes, water, and butter into a slow cooker. Add salt, garlic powder (if using) and pepper. Toss to distribute evenly. Cover, and cook on High for 4 hours. Do not drain the liquid. Mash potatoes with a masher or electric beater, adding the desired amount of warm milk to achieve a creamy consistency. Keep warm on Low or Keep Warm until serving. Mashed potatoes will hold for several hours using this method.

WASSAIL, MULLED CIDER. Use your slow cooker to make these hot beverages and keep them hot during a party. Place all ingredients in slow cooker. Mix well. Cover, set slow cooker to Low and allow to simmer all day. Don’t boil. Serve hot. An unbelievable fragrance will fill the air while your guests enjoy a wonderful holiday beverage.


2 quarts apple cider
2 cups orange juice
1/2 cup lemon juice
12 whole cloves
4 cinnamon sticks, whole
1 pinch ground ginger
1 pinch ground nutmeg

Mulled Cider

1 gallon apple cider
1 quart orange juice
1 quart pineapple juice, unsweetened
1 cup lemon juice, fresh
1 cup sugar
24 whole cloves
4 whole cinnamon sticks

CHEX MIX. This classic combination of cereal, nuts, butter, and seasonings cooks in your slow cooker so you don’t have to watch it or stir while it’s baking.

Slow Cooker Chex Mix

3 cups thin pretzel sticks
4 cups Wheat Chex cereal
4 cups Cheerios cereal
1 12-ounce jar salted peanuts
1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
1/2 teaspoon celery salt
1/2 teaspoon seasoned salt
1/4 cup butter, melted
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Combine all ingredients in a 4-or 5-quart slow cooker and stir gently until well mixed, and cereal, pretzels, and peanuts are coated with the butter, cheese, and seasonings. Cover and cook on Low for 3 to 4 hours, stirring twice during cooking. Remove lid during last half hour of cooking to allow the mix to dry.

{Octopus Hot Dogs}

My mother-in-law has made these several times.  It’s really easy and fun.  To make one, cut a hot dog in half. 


Then cut one half up the long way, stopping an inch or so from the top.


Bisect it again so you have four legs. Bisect each leg so you have eight.


Boil it as you would normally and the legs will curl up. If you microwave them, pose them on a plate with their legs sprawled around them, holding them upright, so they’ll curl right.  I use ketchup to make a little face on it.  Fun to make any time….especially Halloween!

{Black Licorice Caramels}

Okay, so yesterday I told you I was going to make black licorice caramels to put inside the treat bags.  Guess what??  They turned out great!  I’ll assemble the witch bags tomorrow, but I was relieved they turned out so good.  Here is the recipe in case you’re interested:

1 (14 oz.) can sweetened condensed milk
2 c. granulated sugar
1 c. butter (no substitutes)
1/4 tsp. salt
1-1/2 c. light corn syrup
1 tsp. anise (licorice) extract
black food coloring  

Grease 9″x13″ pan with butter. Combine first five ingredients in a saucepan. Cook over medium heat stirring constantly until mixture reaches 234 degrees on candy thermometer. (This will take 15-20 minutes.)  Do not leave unattended…don’t forget to stir constantly.  Mixture will turn from pale yellow to golden brown.  Once you’re at 234 degrees, stir in anise extract and enough black food coloring to make caramel dark black. Pour mixture in buttered pan and let cool. Cut into small squares and wrap each piece in waxed paper. I used press and seal wrap instead of waxed paper because you could see the black coloring better through the wrapping….plus it sealed better around the caramel.  You could use other flavorings and colors for other holidays.

{A new look}

Okay, so last night, I got me a new look.  I had my mom whack my hair off.  You can’t really tell very well from the picture, but since my kids are asleep, it’s the best I can do….  Anyway, she cut off about a foot of hair.  Why did I cut it?  I had permanent snarls.  It was awful!  I used tons of conditioner and still couldn’t get a pick through my hair after showering.  It wasn’t worth it anymore.  It’s always nice to have a change.  


I made pumpkin chocolate chip muffins today.  It’s the first time I’ve made them.  It was fun to use a little pumpkin mold and it made little faces on each one, like these…  The kiddos really love ’em!