Sunday, February 17, 2008

Breakfast report

Yesterday was our monthly family breakfast. It was raining buckets and cold-like 44 degrees or something. Fortunately, we had lots of warm food, hot coffee and conversation to keep us warm! It was a much smaller crowd than usual...only 11 of us, but it was still fun. The steak and eggs turned out well-lots of left overs, so I had a serving for supper, then Lynn and I had them again for lunch today. The boys ate the leftover pancakes. We don't do well with leftovers around here-there's usually not enough for everyone, and I stick them in the fridge "for lunch tomorrow", then someone calls and invites me to lunch or I get busy and don't eat lunch-yes, that really happens, even though you could never tell it by looking at me-and then I find the leftovers and they are GROSS and I chunk them in the trash. So, it was good that we mananged to eat twice off of one meal!

Here's a picture of the "Lodge" centerpiece. As usual, the meal was buffet style so the table was never actually "set" for me to photograph, but you get the general idea! The black and red plaid you see under the Smokey Mountain lodge is a fleece blanket off of Jacob's bed, layered over a black tablecloth. I used my white dishes and red napkins.

And here's a little display I did on the table beside the front door:

You can see our American flag behind the table...remember, it was raining and I had to bring it inside. If you could see under the table, you'd also see a pile of red, white and blue pillows and throws that live on the front porch in good weather.

And, finally, a picture of the Cinnamon Roll Bread Pudding. Man, was it good!

I'm making Chicken Noodle Soup for dinner tonight!

Tomorrow or the next day, I'll post another week of menus!

Friday, February 15, 2008


If you haven't tried the homemade Oreos, yet-you need to! They are so good! The cookie part does taste just like an oreo, even before it's baked!! The cream filling, not so much, but boy is it good anyway!! Here's some things I learned while making them yesterday afternoon:

*If you don't have a stand mixer (I don't), don't try to use a hand mixer. I almost burned up mine because the dough is so thick. I finally used a meat fork and got it mostly combined, then used my hands to mush it all together, kind of like you do meatloaf. Ina Garten (The Barefoot Contessa) says clean hands are your best cooking tool anyway!

*I used dark chocolate fudge cake mix instead of devil's food and it worked fine

*It makes a lot, and they are rich, so they go a long way.

*They are totally worth the effort!

I should have mentioned in the original post the source for this recipe. My apologies to Melis for not giving credit where credit is due.

If I can get my camera to work (it's being crazy, for some reason) I'll post pictures of both the oreos and breakfast tomorrow. If not...well...we'll see.

My plan is to decorate my table in a lodge style, using a black and red plaid blanket I snitched from Jacob's bed and my Smokey Mountain Lodge piece from my Dept 56 Snow Village. Again, we'll see!

Hope you have a great day!


Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Homemade Oreos

I haven't actually made these yet, but I plan to tomorrow. I figure, even if they don't taste JUST like oreos, with dark chocolate and cream cheese, powdered sugar and butter, how can you miss, right? If you try them before me, let me know how they are!


2 Devil's Food cake mixes
4 eggs
1 1/2 c. shortening
Mix cake mixes, eggs, shortening. Roll in prune-size balls. Bake at 350 degrees on cookie sheet for 10 minutes. Let cool on cookie sheet.

8 oz. cream cheese
3 c. powdered sugar
1/2 stick butter

Mix filling - put between 2 cooled cookies. Makes about 5 dozen.

They sound like a perfect Valentine's Day treat, don't they? Plus, non of that awful rolling out stuff. I hate that.

I'm excited about the Lodge breakfast. I'm making my grocery list today so that I can pick up the things I need for it when I buy groceries Friday.

My brother Michael bought a houseboat last spring. It's been on a lake in Louisana until last week, when he brought it home. Michael has big plans for it-he's basically going to gut it and redo it. I'm sure it will be fabulous. Better start thinking about a nautical menu or two to get everyone in the what do you serve on a boat besides fish?

Anchors away!


Monday, February 11, 2008

Strawberry Tortilla Torte

Here's another dessert that I made Saturday night for our Taco Bar dinner party. I really liked this's a lighter offering than the Margarita Cake, but just as good. I served it with vanilla ice cream...yummy.

Strawberry Tortilla Torte

10 Mission® Soft Taco Size Flour Tortillas
12 oz. low-fat Cream Cheese at room temperature
1 Tbsp. grated Orange Peel
2 Tbsp. Orange Juice Concentrate
1/2 cup Brown Sugar packed
1 1/2 tsp. Cinnamon
1 Tbsp. Granulated Sugar
2 cups Fresh Strawberries sliced and tossed with 1 Tbsp. sugar

Whip cream cheese, orange peel, juice concentrate, brown sugar and 1 teaspoon cinnamon together.
Place 9 tortillas on a dry surface and spread each evenly with cream cheese mixture. Stack the 9 tortillas on a baking sheet and top with remaining tortilla.
Brush top with melted butter and sprinkle to taste with cinnamon/sugar mixture.
Bake at 400 degrees F for 20 minutes, or until fork inserted into center comes out clean.
Cut torte into wedges and top with strawberry mixture.

Easy, peasy!!

Sunday, February 10, 2008

A week of menus and dessert!

We had guests over last night for dinner-two families who we are close to, both have a child close to our kids' ages, and we all get along well. I made a "Make your own taco bar", rice and beans, cheese dip, Mexican pizza and a yummy fruity punch!

I also made a Margarita Cake-as I explained to my guests, no actual margaritas were harmed in the making of the cake! It's very simple to make-and very good to eat!

1 white cake mix
eggs and oil as directed on package to prepare
1 can frozen margarita mix, thawed but not diluted
1 Tablespoon lime zest
1 can white frosting
1/2 cup flaked coconut

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare two 8 inch round cake pans by spraying bottom with non stick spray.

Prepare the cake mix according to package directions, but use the thawed undiluted margarita mix instead of liquid on package, and stirring in the lime zest. Pour into the pans and bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool on a baking rack in pan 10 minutes, then remove from pan and continue cooling until completely cool.

Put the coconut in a small baking pan and toast in the oven until light brown, about 5 minutes (watch closely so it doesn't burn)

Thin the canned icing with about 1/2 T. warm water, stirring well. Ice the cakes on the sides and top, then put the toasted coconut on them, using your hand to pat it onto the sides.

Note: I used a bundt pan because I don't have two round cake pans, and it turned out just fine. It looked very pretty on the pedestal cake plate.

I would imagine that you could use any juice or drink concentrate and make this in a bunch of different ways. I was thinking that pina coloda mix would be good, as would strawberry.

Try it sometime!

Here's a week worth of menus that we may or may not follow this week. I bought the basic items for this menu, but it could be changed around at the last minute, as needed to fit our schedules and whims!

Sunday: grilled cheese and ham sandwiches and vegetable soup
Monday: Swiss chicken, baked potatoes, green beans and tossed salad; hot rolls
Tuesday: Spaghetti, breadsticks and salad
Wednesday: sausage and cheese scramble, pancakes, biscuits
Thursday: roast beef, roasted potatoes and carrots, steamed broccoli and salad
Friday: Take and bake pizzas (from Wal-Mart deli), cinnamon breadsticks, salad
Saturday: Lodge breakfast and burgers and fries for supper


Friday, February 8, 2008

Oh, yeah...

I'll get to the week of menus tomorrow...I need to mull over that a little longer!!

Lodge breakfast

Here's the plans for the February breakfast!

Miller Lodge Breakfast

Steak and egg skillet
Lodge potatoes
Biscuits and Gravy
Fresh Fruit platter
Cinnamon roll bread pudding
Juice, coffee and hot chocolate

Steak and egg skillet is one of my creations. I saute green bell pepper and onion strips in a little oil, until soft. Then I add round steak strips and saute them until they are nearly done, then put in eggs, beaten and seasoned for scrambling (salt, pepper and a little water or cream). Cook until the eggs are done to your liking and serve!

Lodge Potatoes are even simpler-cut red potatoes into chunks, sprinkle with seasoning salt and pan fry. Umm....sometimes I add thin slices of onion, too.

Hope everyone has a great day!!


Thursday, February 7, 2008

Cinnamon Roll Bread Pudding

As promised, here's the recipe for Cinnamon Roll Bread Pudding. I love bread pudding more than any other dessert, I do believe. It's so soothing, so homey tasting. For Christmas Eve dinner, I made bread pudding from left over donuts (I had to hide them to even HAVE any leftover donuts) and eggnog...then made a rum hard sauce to serve on top. OH, MY, GOODNESS. It was fabulous!

This is part of our Miller Lodge Breakfast for February's family breakfast. You know me and my themes! I will share more of the menu tomorrow!

Cathy's Bread Pudding-basic recipe

1 loaf day old French bread or 8 slices of bread, cubed and left out to dry for about an hour
1/2 cup sugar
4 beaten eggs
4 cups milk, cream or half and half (or a combination)
1 stick melted butter
1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp. ground cloves

Put the bread cubes into a buttered or sprayed large casserole dish or a 13x9x2 baking pan. Mix together the sugar, eggs, milk and butter and spices, pour over bread. Let it set for about 30 minutes. Place the baking pan into a larger baking pan, and carefully pour hot water in the larger pan, until the water reaches about half way up the sides of the smaller pan. Put in a preheated 350 degree oven for one hour, or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean.

I serve mine with whipped cream or a sauce of melted butter, powdered sugar and a little rum or rum extract, all whisked together and poured over the pudding while it's hot. Oh, so good!!

*Use cinnamon rolls instead of most or all of the bread.
*Use flavored liquid coffee creamer in place of the about half of the milk. Hazelnut is yummy, and so is caramel vanilla.
*Use eggnog instead of about half the milk, and replace the cloves with nutmeg.
*Use croissants or donuts instead of most or all of the bread
*You could add any dried fruit you like-apricots, raisins, cranberries would all be good.

I hope you enjoy one or all of these! Think about me when you eat it!

Tomorrow, in addition to the breakfast menu, I'll share a week of menus!

Wednesday, February 6, 2008


I love gingerbread. I think it is a classic dessert and always reminds me of my grandmother, Mama Lody, and her sister, Aunt Daisy. They made good gingerbread. I made some the other day for my jewelry party. Since I had low attendance, there was plenty left and I've snacked on it until it's about gone. Here's the recipe I used. It's not Mama Lody's or Aunt Daisy's recipe, but it's good.

1/4 c. butter or margarine, softened
]1/4 c. sugar
1 egg
1/2 c. molasses
1 c all purpose flour
1/2 t. baking powder
1/4 t. baking soda
1/4 t. salt
1/2 t. ginger
1/2 t. cinnamon
1/8 t. cloves (I actually upped it to 1/4 t. cloves-I like it spicy)
6 T. warm water

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cream butter and sugar together in a medium sized bowl. Next, add egg and molasses, beat well. Combine flour,baking powder, baking soda and spiced together in a small bowl. Alternating with water, gradually add dry ingredients to the creamed mixture. Pour batter into a greased 8x8 baking pan. Bake 35-45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Cut into squares and serve.

You can serve it with whipped cream, ice cream, a dusting of powdered sugar or just a steaming cup of tea or coffee! It's so good on a cold day, and makes the house smell heavenly!

Tomorrow, I'll get to some details about the Lodge breakfast, as well as a cinnamon roll bread pudding recipe that is SO GOOD you won't believe how easy it is!!

Til then!

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

A good recipe and a brief update!

I haven't posted in a while, because I've been busy tending to sick folks. I think we're on the mend!

I have been thinking about the February family breakfast. I'll be posting the menu and recipes in a future post, and hopefully some pictures! Today, though, just a teaser, but I do have a good and easy recipe for you!

February breakfast will be on February 16. I don't want to get too predictable, so we're NOT doing a Valentine's theme! It's going to be a Miller Lodge Breakfast! As I said, details will follow!!

Here's that recipe I promised. It's from a Pampered Chef cookbook, and my neighbor, Lynne (not to be confused with my husband, Lynn. It's very confusing!) shared it with me. It's good and just the right amount of sweet!

S'Mores Galore

20 whole honey graham crackers, divided
6 bars (1.55 ounces each) milk chocolate candy, coarsely chopped
1 package (16 ounces) minature marshmallows, divided
6 tablespoons butter or margarine, divided
3 tablespoons milk

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Arrange a single layer of graham crackers to completely cover bottom of an 8"x8" pan, breaking crackers to fit. Toast in oven 2 minutes, then remove pan to rack to cool.

Coarsely break remaining crackers into large bowl, set aside. Coarsely chop chocolate bars and set aside.

Combine 3 cups marshmallows, 3 tablespoons of the butter and milk in a microwave proof bowl. Microwave on HIGH 1 minute. Stir until smooth. Add half of the chopped chocolate; stir until chocolate is completely melted. Using a spatula or spoon, spread marshmallow mixture over graham crackers in pan.

Melt remaining 3 tablespoons butter; toss with broken graham crackers. Add remaining marshmallows and chopped chocolate, tossing lightly. Spoon evenly over mixture in pan. Bake 8-10 minutes or until marshmallows are lightly browned. Cool 15 minutes. Cut into bars. Serve warm or cool.

Yield: 24 bars

Happy Cooking!