Archive | Cooking

Chewy Granola Bars–Totally Delicious!

My friend Darby was a blogger for years over at her site, Fly Through Our Window, and one of my favorite recipes of hers was her Homemade Chewy Granola Bars {click on the link and scroll halfway down the post to see the recipe}.

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I make them a few times a year and they never disappoint.

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{Just to note I only use sunflower seeds and not any coconut because the coconut oil leaves enough coconut flavor (in my opinion) as it is. I also put peanut butter chips & extra chocolate chips ’cause that’s just how I roll.}

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Lawson is a huge fan, but he does make one heck of a mess.

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I use this brownie pan and I can’t say enough good things about it! I use it at least once a week and it’s perfect for getting perfect size brownies/bars.

Hope you all have a great week!

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Dill Pickles {Water Bath Canning}

I talked on Monday about my affinity for pickles.

And C.’s lack thereof. Actually he hates them. If I even make him smell vinegar he starts gagging and says he’s going to puke.

And yet I still married the man. I even surprise myself.

Thankfully, all three of my kiddos LOVE pickles. Well, technically Moseby only eats the center, but they all just gobble them up. Makes my pickle-loving heart smile (and makes it say, ‘Na-Na Na-Na Boo-Boo!’ to C.).

On Wednesday I made 2.5 dozen pints of dill pickles using 18 pounds of pickles that my parents picked up for me in the mountains this past weekend. I like to use a “canning cucumber”–they’re 4-6″ long and the seeds are small. I tried a new recipe I found this year called Pop’s Dill Pickles Recipe (which can be found by clicking here). I did add a fresh clove of garlic to each jar because I think it adds another dimension to the pickle. I also didn’t get rid of the pickling spice (the recipe says to put the three tablespoons of pickling spice in a cheesecloth bag and to take it out before you put the brine (vinegar mixture) in the jars), I think a little bit of the pickling spice in each job keeps the pickles from being too bland. But that’s just my preference. 🙂

Step 1: Cut your pickles up however you want (I divide them in fourth length-wise).

Step 2: Cover with ice. Minimum of 2 hours, maximum of 8 hours. I cut mine up before I took the kids to summer camp (MM is going to cooking camp and Moseby is going to dinosaur camp this week) and to the gym so mine sat for about four hours in the ice. Drain thoroughly when you’re ready to start canning (this is also when you’ll need to turn the heat on your water bath canner (big pot) and a smaller pot of water for your lids and throw them in there (DO NOT BOIL THIS WATER). Sterilize your jars–this recipe calls for pint jars–if you have not already done so (I like running mine through a sterilization cycle of the dishwasher a couple of hours before and then put them in a 200 degree oven on a baking sheet until I’m ready for them). )

Step 3: Get your brine going. Bring to a boil and then let it simmer for 15 minutes or so (notice I am not keeping my pickling spice in a cheesecloth bag).

Step 4: While the brine is cooking go ahead and pack your jars. Put the garlic and some dill in the bottom and then put the cucumbers on top. Pack them as tight as you can (it’s an art form).

Step 5: Pour the brine in with a canning funnel leaving 1/2″ head space and put on lids and rings. Place in a hot water bath for 5 minutes (this changes depending on the recipe, by the way). Once finished place on the counter (jars at least 1/2″ part) and cover with a kitchen towel. Check periodically to make sure the jars are sealed (you shouldn’t be able to press down the center). If they don’t seal for some reason just place them in the refrigerator and eat within two weeks. If they do seal (which they totally should!) they can keep in a cool, dry place for up to a year. I think these pickles taste best after sitting at least a month, but I know some pickle lovers who just can’t wait. 😉

Here are the materials I use for canning (and have used for 10+ years–I’ve never had to replace them–it’s an investment that lasts a lifetime!):

Water-Bath Canner (with rack) for only $16 shipped.

Six Piece Canning Tool Set for $13 shipped (You’ve GOT TO have this to can)

Happy canning, friends! Feel free to ask any questions about canning–I’ll be more than happy to answer. 🙂

Past Pickle Canning Fun on the Old Blog:

2008 (Onion-Garlic Pickles, Dill Pickles, Bread & Butter Pickles)

2010 (Garlic Dill Pickles)

2017 (Ice Box Pickles)

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Sweeties for Some Special Dads {Pound Cake & Oatmeal Raisin Cookies}

I believe the whole “a way to a man’s heart is through hist stomach” is kinda true.

At least for some daddy-o’s in my life. 😉

This past Sunday in addition to a gift or two {my dad got this portable car jump starter and C. got a bottle opener for his Yeti Hopper} they each got their favorite dessert.

For my dad it would be oatmeal raisin cookies {I can’t stand raisins so I never ever make them}.

Click here for the recipe I used. I didn’t try them, ’cause ewwwww raisins, but Daddy said they were really good. You’ll have to take his word for it. I used my trusty cookie scoop ($3!) and it made exactly five dozen cookies.

C.’s favorite dessert is plain old pound cake with vanilla ice cream. I don’t really make plain pound cake but maybe once or twice a year–I’m just not a plain girl, you know?

For the recipe I used click here. It was very tasty and super moist (there’s nothing worse than a dry cake, am I right?!).

And C. was one happy pappy, let me tell you.

Hope you are all having a tasty week! I canned 19 pounds of cucumbers yesterday and can’t wait to share them with you on Friday!

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Beware: A Week of Food {Today is on Icebox Pickles}

So, I’m going to go ahead and say:

Sorry, but not sorry.

Because this week on the old blog I’m focusing on food.

Today and Friday I’m talking pickles. Pickles that you keep in the fridge and pickles that you can. On Wednesday I’m going to show y’all the sweets I made for our dads on Father’s Day.

Well, let’s get to it then:

Icebox Pickles

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If you follow me on Instagram you saw me post about these a week and half or so ago. And y’all, they are GOOD. I think it takes about 24 hours before they’re really tasty and then they keep so well in the refrigerator.

You can find the recipe here. It’s from one of my favorite cookbooks, Back in the Day Bakery: Made with Love (less than $13 shipped), and was the sole reason I bought the cookbook. I have always loved the icebox pickles they serve with their sandwiches at lunch and when they told me the recipe was coming out in their new cookbook I was on cloud nine.

‘Cause y’all, I am a pickle LOVER.

{I think there are two kinds of people: pickle lovers and pickle haters. There is no middle ground. I married the latter and everyday I feel sorry for him and what he’s missing. Poor soul.}

icebox pickles

Now, if you’re like me you’ll need to go ahead and triple the recipe so you won’t run out. Take me word on it, folks, they’re that good.

You’re welcome. 😉

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An All Around Sweet Friday

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Not one, but THREE, of three tasty sweet treats I’ve made lately.

And a sweet girls’ weekend to a Georgia winery.

And a sweetie pie kiddo.

First up, sweets!

Flourless Peanut Butter-Chocolate Chip Cookies

I know they don’t look like much, but they were good (albeit a little crumbly). So good in fact all 2.5 dozen were eaten in 24 hours by my crew. The recipe is The Southern Baker, but you can find the recipe here.

Mary Kay Andrews’ Butterscotch Brownies (scroll to the bottom of article for recipe)

This picture doesn’t really do them justice, but these were good (especially so right out of the oven). Usually I’m not a fan of a dessert unless it contains chocolate, but this one was definitely an exception.

The recipe is part of her new cookbook out called The Beach House Cookbook and it’s a great cookbook. Mom & I met her and got our cookbooks signed at her book launch party in Atlanta at the end of April.

And finally, Peach Cake

Earlier this week we went to Jaemor Farms because we had a hankering for some homemade peach soft serve ice cream (June – August is peach season in Georgia and I swear as soon as the calendar flips to June 1st I want peach everything).

After the kids were asleep on Wednesday I made this peach cake from Back in the Day Bakery: Made With Love Cookbook. (I’ve mentioned it on the blog before, but it’s a great cookbook and it’s now on sale for less than $13 shipped)

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One note on the recipe: it says to cut up ten peaches and I did. Honestly 3 peaches would have been enough for the cake. I had so many extra peaches that I tripled the recipe to accommodate all those extra peaches from the first step! (‘Cause lord knows, you CANNOT waste Georgia peaches!)


When does a “girls’ trip” officially turn into “middle-aged women’s trip”?

Just asking for a friend.

‘Cause we’re definitely not old…even though we all pledged the same sorority EIGHTEEN YEARS ago. Lordy.

We went to Helen last weekend and did a little hiking, a little gossiping, a whole lotta eating, and spent quite a few hours at Yonah Mountain Winery.

It was good. So good to be with these girls…ladies…middle-aged gals…who get me. Who knew me as I was finding myself, before I ever met C. (by a good five years!), and before I was a mama. They know me better than I even know myself. I love these ladies something fierce.


And last but not least, this cutie.

Being the third child means he doesn’t get as much one-on-one time as the other two have had in their lives. This past week the oldest two had VBS at night so it was just the two of us hanging out and it was so fun to watch his curious, goofy, funny personality come through.

Wednesday night he spent over thirty minutes hauling this giant blanket to the couch and getting himself all settled in just right with his lovey and sippy cup. Then he sat there giggling. I think he liked being an only child for a bit.

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Hope y’all have a great weekend. It’s supposed to be low 80s and sunny and absolutely perfect for being on the boat and sleeping in tomorrow. Can’t wait!

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A Week With Two Chocolate Cakes

…and could that be any better?!

Last Friday night I was craving a chocolate cake that I had seen on a blog earlier that day. It was called Chocolate Sprinkle Snack Cake and looked dark, rich, and decadent. Basically, just how I like my chocolate.

I made it that afternoon–half with sprinkles, half without (Moseby is not a fan–crazy, huh?).

And here’s my verdict:

The cake itself was hands-down the best cake I’ve ever made. Moist and rich, and devils food-like. It was perfect. The icing was meh. Something about it just wasn’t right but I couldn’t put my finger on it. Maybe it wasn’t sweet enough? (And I love dark chocolate so that says a lot!)

So yes, I would definitely make the cake again, but would use my tried and true chocolate frosting recipe.

On Monday afternoon Moseby and I made my dad his favorite cake for his birthday–a chocolate pound cake. My whole life my  mom would periodically make my dad a chocolate pound cake and he would nibble on it throughout the week. I didn’t use her recipe, but one I found here.

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And here’s my verdict:

It’s GOOD. Dare say, even better than my mom’s (sacrilege, I know!). I think it’s the buttermilk and the bit of coffee–they both really bring out the chocolate. I will say, you need to grease (I used Crisco) and flour your pan. I made a large bundt cake and a small one. With the large cake pan I greased and floured it, but with the small one I just used Baker’s Joy. Uhm no, it stuck. Big time. This is one of those recipes where a spray will just not work. And honestly, it’s not that pretty of a cake…but looks aren’t everything, right?

So would I make it again?

You betcha! (And Deddy says I better–he ate *three* pieces on his birthday!)

 

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Tour Georgia Series: Washington Farms Strawberry Picking {’17}

I mentioned last week that we are doing something fun with my dad every week for the month leading up to his 70th birthday on May 17th. Last week we went to a Gwinnett Braves game and today we went strawberry picking (so I could make him a strawberry cobbler!)…who knows where we’ll end up next week! 😉

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And just because I had people ask on Facebook (’cause I personally think I look like a hot mess express post-workout here) here’s links to my gym clothes: top. sports bra. compression leggings. tennis shoes (different color). 

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Lawson had a blast picking berries. Well, he’d pick one, squish it all in his hands, and then stuff his mouth with it. ‘Cause that’s how you’re supposed to pick them, right?

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Mary Margaret and Moseby are old pros of course.

They grabbed their buckets and started picking right away.

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And after we picked these gorgeous ladies we headed over to the picnic tables and had our fill of strawberry ice cream.

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When we got back to my parents’ house I made dinner {spaghetti and meatballs because that’s my dad’s favorite} and homemade strawberry cobbler. I used this recipe and it was PERFECT. The crust was almost cake-like and delicious.

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Definitely can’t recommend Washington Farms enough (they have TONS of berries right now!) or this cobbler enough…or my dad enough. He’s one terrific guy.


This is the fourth time you will find me talking about Washington Farms on the blog. The first was in 2011 when MM was 2. We took her again in 2012 when she was 3.  And again I wrote about it in 2014 when we took her and Moseby (she was 5, he was 2).

 

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Peanut Butter-Chocolate Chip Pound Cake with Peanut Butter Glaze

I’m always weary of recipes I see on Pinterest because you don’t know WHY they look the way they do. Is it because of good food photography? Have they altered the recipe they’re posting? What exactly is going on? I think we’ve all had a Pinterest fail or two in our lives, am I right?!

I usually go to Allrecipes or Food Network where I can see tons of ratings and comments.

But not this time. This time I went with a peanut butter-chocolate chip pound cake with peanut butter glaze (click on the link to go to the recipe) that I found on Pinterest. And it’s GOOD.

My glaze came out a little thicker than I think it should, but I was a hurry and didn’t add any more milk (maybe try 1/3 cup instead of a 1/4 cup milk if you make it?). I also added some chopped up leftover from Easter Reese’s Eggs to the top because…well, why not?!

Y’all should definitely try it. Trust me and my cake loving self–I won’t steer you wrong. 😉

Peanut butter chocolate chip pound cake with peanut butter glaze

And these are mini bundt cakes from my favorite pans (they hold about 2.25 cups each) that you see over and over on the blog. And here is a link to Amazon’s version of Silpat baking liners that I use daily.

Peanut butter chocolate chip pound cake with peanut butter glaze

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Friday Five

Before I begin, guess who has 500 followers on Instagram right now?! Yep, me! Thank y’all so much for following me and checking in daily. When I started the blog back up three months ago I didn’t know if anyone would read it anymore. Y’all do my heart good!

Ok, let’s see what we got this week in our Friday Five: fried rice, a certified farm boy, a Braves game, a quilt, and cookies.

Sounds like a winning lineup to me. 😉

  • First up: Fried Rice

My family loves fried rice. (Well, maybe not Moseby. If it’s not popcorn or hotdogs he’s not really a fan.) So I’ve come up with a recipe for a pretty great dinner by itself or alongside oven-baked salmon (MM’s fav). And what’s even better is that if you’re doing Keto or some other low-carb diet you can easily make it with riced cauliflower and it is SO GOOD. Click here to download the fried rice printable. (One note about using cauliflower: really let it dry after you wash it–I even press it between layers of paper towels after I “rice it” in the food processor. And add it to wok/skillet first before any of the other ingredients–you want it to cook. You’ll hear sizzling and that’s the water evaporating. Watch it so it doesn’t burn but make sure you get all the water out of it you can. Ain’t nobody got time for mushy Fried Faux Rice!)

  • Farm Boy

Lawson is having a ball on the farm this spring. If he is not asleep he wants to be outside with his Dah (what he calls my dad–the other grandkids call him Pops; he calls Pops ‘Dah’ and his daddy ‘DaDa’ and since they answer he keeps on doing it, haha). They water plants, prune trees, ride the golf cart, spread cow poop, feed the animals, and today they planted the vegetable garden. But if Dah is busy you better believe he is with his Mamaw. He’s obsessed with her Mule rides.

But let’s not talk about how yesterday MM was holding him so he could pet a chicken I caught {wow, how country do I sound?!} and got dropped on his face because his shoe touched her leg…in a chicken pen…that was quite muddy and uhm, chicken poopy. I’ll spare you pictures because I’m sure your imagination is enough. #thirdkidprobs

  • (Gwinnett) Braves Game

My dad is celebrating his 70th birthday on May 17th and to celebrate we’re doing a little something every week leading up to his birthday. This past week we went to a Gwinnett Braves game (Lala stayed home since it was so close to his bedtime). They lost big time but MM loved Chopper and Mo loved the footlong corndog (he ate the entire thing), the giant tub of popcorn (he ate the entire thing), and the second box of popcorn (yep, he ate the entire thing). 😉

It turned quite cold during the game because it had rained earlier and because I’m such a stellar (lazy?) mom I STILL have a garbage bag of clothes in the back of the minivan to take to Goodwill. By the end of the game we all were wearing mismatched sweatshirts and sweaters. We were quite a sight (…but warm!).

  • Latest quilt

If you are my mother-in-law, stop right here. Do not read any farther.

I’m talking to you, Ms. Kathy. No peeking.

Everyone else, lookie lookie.

I’m making this quilt for my mother-in-law’s birthday next week. It’s a great pattern–in fact, MM is working on her first quilt using this pattern!

I took it to the quilt shop on Wednesday (I don’t do quilting–I know my limit and quilting makes my eyes cross and cuss words spew out of my mouth). Can’t wait to get it back to put the binding on.

That is, if I can keep this little guy off of it long enough to put the binding on–rolling around in quilts is his favorite!

  • And last but not least, the best ever chocolate chip cookies. MM had to make them the other day for a school project and I wanted to share the recipe again. They really are the bomb dot com. I use five different kinds of chocolate chips which certainly doesn’t hurt. 😉

I hope you all have a great weekend. For once, in what seems like MONTHS, we don’t have anything to do. I’m hoping to get both a Zumba class and a yoga class in and some time on the boat. Oh, and an afternoon nap would be icing on the cake. Which makes me think–maybe I’ll bake a cake!

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Hummingbird Cake Recipe…& We’re Still in Texas

So you know how Georgia {and the Southeast as a whole} had a lot of storms on Wednesday? Well, guess who was scheduled to fly home at 4:05 from Dallas that day? Yep, us. That 4:05 turned into 5:30 then 7:30 then 9:55 then never. Once our flight got officially cancelled C. found us a hotel room near the airport (he was already in Houston at that point, yesterday he flew on to Phoenix) and booked us on the next available flight home–Friday morning at 11. Yes, almost two DAYS later. What a mess.

Anyway, the reason I tell you all this is I don’t have my guide to Waco ready just yet, but will on Monday. 😉

Hummingbird cake

Today I thought I’d post about the seven layer hummingbird cake I made my mom for her birthday last weekend. C. said it might have been his favorite thing I’ve ever made. But I have no idea how it tasted since it has cream cheese icing (ewwww) and banana in the batter (ewwww)–y’all have heard me say how I don’t do either of those things. So this is a great cake to make if you’re on a diet/watching carbs, ha!

Hummingbird cake

Look at little Lala’s photobombing foot in the corner of this picture. Man, I miss him! Can’t wait to see him later today–this is by far the longest (5 days!) I’ve ever been without seeing him!

I used Paula Deen’s hummingbird cake recipe and her cream cheese icing recipe. Both can be found in one place by clicking here. The only thing I did different than the recipe is that I make sure all my cold ingredients are at room temperature before I bake any cake (eggs, butter, milk). Trust me, it makes a difference. (Note: this recipe would have made at least nine, maybe ten, 6″ layers, but I “only” made seven layers and then made an extra smaller 3-cup bundt cake)

Hummingbird cake

I used my favorite Wilton 6″ mini pan set kit (comes with five pans). It’s only $11.44 shipped and I use it a couple of times a month at least! Each layer usually exactly one cup of batter.

I used my favorite 6″ Jadeite cake stand. I love how it looks vintage, but I know that if I ever break it I can easily get another one so therefore I use it all the time too!

Hummingbird cake

Happy Birthday, Mimi! We love you!

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