“Cooked to death” green beans 


Once you try them you’ll know the name of these green beans is deceiving. They aren’t really cooked to death. More like cooked to life.  My green-eyed Irish guy and vegetables are not friends. He will grudgingly eat green beans, hiding them in the main course. Not these. He ate all of them before he ate his au gratin potatoes and ham.  He even said they were the best he’d ever had and asked why he didn’t try them before. I’m trying to pull him to the green side.  The resistance is great within this one. They’re super simple to make and only 5 ingredients including a secret ingredient. That secret is…bacon grease. Remember I always tell you to save that bacon grease and the brown bits in the bottom of the pan when you’re finished frying bacon. It is a flavor enhancer extraordinaire. Put that brown gold into a closed container and store it in the fridge. You won’t regret it. If you’d like you can also throw a ham hock or ham bone into the beans for flavor. Before serving, pull the meat from the bone and stir in. 

“Cooked to death” green beans

1 lb. fresh green beans

2 Tablespoons bacon grease (with brown bits in it)

2 Tablespoons finely diced onion

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1 teaspoon black pepper 

1/2-3/4 cup water

Wash the beans thoroughly. Cut off the ends. Cut or snap into bite sized pieces. Set aside. Heat the bacon grease in a medium sized pan on medium heat until hot. Add the onion and sauté for 2 minutes until translucent. Add the green beans. Cook and stir for 3-4 minutes. Add salt, pepper and water. Bring to a boil. Cover and reduce heat to low. Simmer covered for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add more water if necessary. Taste to see if you need to adjust the salt and pepper. Enjoy! 

Wishing you love, laughter and cake,



White Texas Sheet Cake


I’ve been under the weather this week. I caught the hookie flookie after babysitting my grandson for a few hours Monday afternoon. My daughter calls him a germ monger and for good reason. It’s settled in my chest and I’ve been coughing like crazy. My voice quickly went from mine to Minnie Mouse to nothing. You never know how much you miss things like talking and singing until you can’t do it. I’m sure hoping my voice returns soon.  I warned my green-eyed Irish guy to be prepared for lots of noise when it does. I haven’t done much of anything in the kitchen until today. I tried to atone for the absence of home cooking today by making a biscuit and sausage gravy breakfast, a cheesy chicken and rice casserole for dinner and this lovely cake for dessert. I’ve seen this on several websites for years but hadn’t gotten around to trying it. Boy oh boy am I glad I finally did!  My green-eyed Irish guy said it tastes like the ultimate sugar cookie but in cake form. You know what?  I think he summed it up pretty well. It sounds strange boiling the butter and cream on the stovetop but it works. The cake is light and moist and has an excellent crumb to it. It was still slightly warm when we ate it. Oh my goodness!  It melted in our mouths. Put on your apron and let’s make some cake. 


Hello beautiful!  Where have you been all my life?

 White Texas Sheet Cake

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter

1 cup heavy cream

2 cups all-purpose flour

2 cups sugar

1 tsp. baking powder

1 tsp. salt

1/2 cup sour cream

1 tsp. almond extract

1 tsp. vanilla bean paste

2 large eggs


1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter

1/4 cup milk

1/2 tsp. almond extract

1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

3 1/2 cups powdered sugar

Pinch of salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 15 x 10 jelly roll pan with non-stick cooking spray with flour. Set aside. Place all the dry ingredients into a medium sized mixing bowl. Set aside. Place the butter and cream in a medium sized sauce pan. Heat on medium until the mixture boils, whisking occasionally. Remove from heat and add the dry ingredients. Whisk until combined. Add the sour cream, the almond extract and vanilla bean paste and whisk until combined. Whisk in eggs one at a time until thoroughly combined. Pour into prepared pan. Rap the pan on the counter 3 or 4 times to remove air bubbles. Bake st 350 for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove from oven and place on a wire rack to cool. Meanwhile make the frosting by placing the butter and milk in a medium sized sauce pan. Bring to a boil on medium heat, whisking occasionally. Remove from heat and add the remaining ingredients. Whisk until smooth. Pour over warm cake and spread evenly over the cake. Allow the frosting to set up before cutting and serving. Enjoy!

Wishing you love, laughter and cake,


Orange You Glad Bundt Cake


   Just look at the orange zest in this cake!  MMMM-mmmm!  It came about because I had 7 very ripe oranges.  It starts with a cake mix which makes it a little easier.  It does take some time to zest and juice the oranges but trust me this is what makes this cake exceptional.  The end result is a light, moist cake that is an orange lover’s dream.  I made the rookie mistake of not moving it to the cake plate the correct way.  I just picked the warm cake up to transfer it.  You guess it.  It broke into several pieces.  I had to set it down without turning it right side up too.  Good grief!  I knew it wasn’t going to be the pretty cake I’d imagined but I also knew it was going to be a super good, tasty cake.  You can either cry over little boo-boos or you can frost those babies and eat them which is what I did.  The frosting is to die for!  I wished there was more and was thankful there wasn’t at the same time because I could’ve just eaten it with a spoon.  After the first bite I asked myself, “Orange you glad you made this cake?” Indeed I am.  Put on your apron.  Let’s make this cake!

 You can see the boo-boos in this picture.  😦

 Orange You Glad Bundt Cake


11.5 oz. box butter golden cake mix (I used Duncan Hines)

1/4 cup sugar

1/2 cup unsalted butter (1 stick), at room temperature

1 cup (for cake) plus 3-4 Tbs. (for frosting)  freshly squeezed orange juice (from 6-7 oranges)

zest from 6-7 oranges (reserve 1 tsp. zest for the frosting)

4 eggs, at room temperature

1 tsp. vanilla extract


1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature

1 tsp. orange zest (reserved from cake)

2 cups powdered sugar, sifted

3-4 Tbs. orange juice (reserved from cake)

pinch of salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Spray a bundt pan with non-stick cooking spray with flour. Set aside.  Place the room temperature butter and orange zest in a large mixing bowl.  Mix on medium speed with an electric hand mixer until pale yellow in color, 2-3 minutes.  Add the remaining cake ingredients and mix on low until combined, then increase speed to medium and beat for 2 minutes.  Pour batter into prepared pan.  Bake at 350 degrees for 33-40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Remove to a cooling rack.  Meanwhile make the frosting.  Place the room temperature butter and orange zest in a small mixing bowl.  Mix on medium speed until it’s a light yellow color. Add the powdered sugar, salt and orange juice.  Mix on low until powdered sugar is incorporated. Increase speed to high and beat until light and fluffy.  Place cake plate on top of inverted cake on cooling rack.  Pick up the cooling rack with the cake sandwiched between the rack and the stand and turn cake over onto the cake plate.  The cake should be right side up now.  Spoon the frosting over the still warm cake and allow it to cool completely before slicing.  Enjoy!

Wishing you love, laughter and cake,



Lunch Lady Brownies 


  I had kept seeing this recipe all over Facebook and Pinterest saying it was the best brownie recipe ever.  With that disclaimer, I had to try making them.  The question with brownies is cake-like or fudgy?  Personally, I usually prefer a cake-like texture to a fudgy one.  How about you?  Did you ever have these brownies for lunch at school?  I sure don’t remember having them and trust me I would have remembered them.  I slightly adapted the recipe from Life in the Lofthouse.  Let me tell you it was blunder night in the kitchen for me last night.  If I could drop it, it was dropped.  If I could splatter it, it splattered.  If it could explode, it exploded.  Seriously.  I am not kidding one bit.  Let me tell you about my cartoon moment.  I decided to melt my butter in the microwave.  Being “smart” like I am and always thinking ahead, I decided to melt my butter in the microwave covered, of course, to prevent splatters.  Well, long story short, my melted butter exploded all over the inside of the microwave.  I was not a happy camper.  I said a few Mother Hubbards and sons of a buckets.  I even went so far as to say Mother Hubbard AND her cupboard.  The brownies and frosting were finally made but not in time to have one last night.  Cheese guys!  That’s not fair, is it?  All is fair in love and brownies and today was another day.  Insomnia struck at 3:30 so I was up unloading the dishwasher, making coffee, cutting the brownies and taking pictures.  At about 4:00 one of these babies was sitting on a plate next to a steaming cuppa coffee.  They are rich and fudgy with a nice bit of frosting.  I added some espresso powder and chocolate syrup to the batter and thought about throwing in some chocolate chips.  I vetoed that idea, which was totally out of character, thinking I wanted to keep them the smooth fudge texture.  These are quite delicious.  Put on your apron.  Things are about to get messy.  Let’s make some brownies.
    Look at that fudgy goodness!  I felt like the conductor on the brownie town express.  All aboard!
 Lunch Lady Brownies


1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted

1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa

1 tsp. instant espresso powder

2 cups sugar

2 cups flour

4 eggs

4 tsp. vanilla

1/3 cup chocolate syrup (I used Hershey’s)


1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature

1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

3 cups powdered sugar

pinch of salt

1/4 cup milk (whole, 2% or skim)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line a 9 x 13 baking pan with aluminum foil extending over the ends, spray with non-stick cooking spray and set aside.  Brownies: Place the melted butter, cocoa powder and espresso powder in a large mixing bowl and mix with an electric hand mixer on medium speed until combined.  Add the sugar, flour, eggs, vanilla and chocolate syrup.  Mix until just combined.  Spread batter evenly into the prepared pan.  Bake at 350 for 25-35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Remove to a cooling rack.  Meanwhile make the frosting.  Place all frosting ingredients in a medium-sized bowl and beat with an electric hand mixer until smooth.  After they have cooled for 15 minutes, spread the frosting evenly over the warm brownies.  Allow to cool completely before cutting.  When cooled, remove from the pan by using the aluminum foil “handles”.  I cut mine into 15 bars.  Store in a tightly covered container.  Enjoy!

Wishing you love, laughter and cake,




Cabbage Roll Soup


  Soup, je t’adore.   Seriously, who doesn’t love a steaming hot bowl of soupy goodness?  It’s not just any soup though.  This cabbage roll soup tastes just like an unrolled cabbage roll in a bowl.  (Hey, I’m a poet and don’t know it.  Hehehe.)   It has all the taste without all the work.  That’s a win/win situation in my book.  It’s a stick to the bones, fill you up kind of soup that makes a meal.  I’m sorry for the sloppy bowl in the picture.  My only defense is that I was in a hurry to scoop it up with my spoon and get it into my mouth.  I posted the pictures on Facebook a few days ago and thought it was high time to get the recipe to you. My green-eyed Irish guy was having nothing to do with it.  He hates cabbage.  Boo-Hiss! So it was up to G and I to take one for the team and eat it all.  It’s a tough job, but someone has to do it.  Right?  Let’s make soup!         Cabbage Roll Soup

1 lb. ground chuck

1/2 lb.  Italian sausage

1 medium onion, diced

1 tsp. minced garlic

2 Tbs. olive oil

1 tsp. smoked paprika

1/2 tsp. dried thyme

1 tsp. salt

1 tsp. pepper

1 small head of cabbage, chopped

1/4 cup all-purpose flour

2  14 oz. cans diced tomatoes

11 1/2 oz. can vegetable juice (such as V8)

32 oz. carton beef stock or broth (4 cups)

1 beef bouillon cube

1/4 cup brown sugar

1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce

1/4 cup soy sauce

1 cup uncooked long grain rice

shredded cheddar cheese for garnish, if desired

Heat the olive oil in a large Dutch oven on medium-high heat.  Add the ground chuck, sausage, onion and garlic.  Break apart the meat into crumbles and cook until browned. Drain off excess fat.  Stir in the paprika, thyme, salt, pepper and cabbage.  Cook for 3-5 minutes.  Sprinkle in the flour and cook  for 2-3 minutes to remove the raw flour taste. Pour in the tomatoes, vegetable juice, beef stock, bouillon cube, brown sugar, Worcestershire sauce, soy sauce and rice.  Stir and combine well.  Bring mixture to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer for 15-20 minutes.  Remove from the heat and allow to stand covered for 5 minutes.  Taste and add salt and pepper if necessary.  Ladle into bowls and sprinkle with shredded cheddar cheese, if desired.  Enjoy!

Wishing you love, laughter and cake,


Cheesy Mashed Potato Soup


  Whew!  The holidays have come and gone like a flash.  I’ve done so much baking which I’ll be sharing with you over the next couple of weeks.  First of all I’d like to wish you a happy New Year.  Happy New Year!  I wish 2016 brings the best of everything to you.  I didn’t make resolutions. I last made resolutions for 2014, but they weren’t the typical ones.  Here they are from a December 31, 2013 Facebook post:

I was going to make the usual resolutions for the new year but I decided these would be mine instead:
1) Live every day to the fullest. Once it’s gone, you can’t ever get it back and there are no guarantees for another day.
2) learn something new each day. An active mind stays active.
3) count each and every blessing. Sometimes things don’t feel like it, but are blessings in disguise.
4) laugh each and every day. It’s the best medicine.
5) give more of myself to others. Blessings are best shared.
6) dance to the music. No one else may hear it or like it, but it’s mine.
7) Love, love, love. It’s what the world needs now. There’s too much hate in the world.
8) push myself beyond my comfort zone. Try new things and take a chance or two.
9) start my blog and website.
10) bake!

That’s a pretty good start.

11) Grow my blog.  Spread the love of food, cooking and baking with as many as I can.            12) Hit the books.  Get back to my love affair with reading.                                                                13) Work it!  Be more active…walk, dance, anything.  I’ve got to move it, move it!  So I             don’t lose it, lose it!                                                                                                                                    14) Volunteer in my community.  Many hands make light work.                                                  15) Make a memory each day.

Today my memory is this cheesy mashed potato soup.  It is soooooo good!  I had to share it with you right away.  It’s creamy, cheesy and filled with potato-y goodness.  My green-eyed Irish guy loved it.  It doesn’t take long to make and it’s pretty easy but you do have to plan on making it to be sure you have bacon grease and leftover mashed potatoes on hand. I always keep a little bacon grease after I fry bacon.  I scrape the brown bits from the bottom of the pan along with some of the grease and keep it in a small container in the fridge.  Then voila!  If I need a little bacon flavor, I’ve got it.  It’s like a little treasure chest of bacon gold.  My guy and I may or may not have had a second helping.  Ok.  You got me.  We did.  I feel so much better having gotten that off my chest.  And having gotten some more of that soup in my belly.    Let’s make some soup!

 Cheesy Mashed Potato Soup

8 medium potatoes, cut into about 1 inch cubes

1 small onion, diced in small pieces

1/4 cup shredded carrot

1 tsp. minced garlic

2 Tbs. bacon grease

3 Tbs. unsalted butter

3 Tbs. all-purpose flour

4 cups chicken stock or broth

1 tsp. dried basil

1 1/2 tsp. salt

1 tsp. pepper

2 cups prepared mashed potatoes

1/2 cup milk

1/2 cup heavy cream

1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar

Melt the bacon grease in a large Dutch oven on medium high heat.  Add the onion and carrot.  Stir and cook for 3-5 minutes until the onion is very soft.  Add the garlic and basil and cook for another minute.  Add the butter and stir until melted.  Sprinkle in the flour.  Cook for 2 or 3 minutes.  Stir in the chicken stock.  Add the potatoes and bring to a boil.  Cook for 15-20 minutes or until the potatoes are very soft but not mushy.  Remove about half the potatoes to a bowl and mash them.  Return them to the pot.  Turn the heat down to medium low.  Add the mashed potatoes, milk, cream, salt, pepper and cheese.  Cook until soup is hot and cheese is melted, stirring occasionally.  Ladle into bowls and enjoy!

Wishing you love, laughter and cake,


Glazed Pumpkin Sugar Cookies


  I’ve been working on my Thanksgiving menu for about a month now.  It keeps getting longer and longer.  I just can’t help it.  There’s all this tasty food I’d like to make for my lovies.  My green-eyed Irish guy asks me how many people are coming for dinner.  I say 8.  He tells me you aren’t cooking for 20 or 30 people.  You don’t have to make that much food.  But I do!

These sugar cookies would be an excellent addition to any dessert tray. They are pillowy soft and have a spicy sweet glaze on them.  They have just enough pumpkin flavor to make them an unique sugar cookie.  I don’t usually use an electric mixer when mixing cookies but I did this time.   It made them come together pretty quickly.  Just make sure your butter and eggs are at room temperature and sift your dry ingredients.  I saw them on Lauren’s Latest (recipe here) and only slightly deviated from her recipe.
   Glazed Pumpkin Sugar Cookies

Makes 32 cookies

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature

1 cup sugar

1/2 cup vegetable oil

1/2 canned pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie mix)

1/2 cup powdered sugar

1/2 tsp. vanilla

2 large eggs, at room temperature

4 cups all-purpose flour

1/4 tsp. baking soda

1/4 tsp. cream of tartar

1/2 tsp. kosher salt

1/2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice


1 1/2 cups powdered sugar

2-3 Tbs. water

1/2 tsp. vanilla

1/4 tsp. pumpkin pie spice

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silpat baking mat, if you have one.  Set aside.  Place the butter in a large mixing bowl.  Mix with an electric mixer on medium high until smooth and pale yellow.  Add the sugar and mix on medium speed until thoroughly combined.  Add in the vegetable oil, pumpkin puree, powdered sugar and vanilla and mix until combined.  Add the eggs one at a time, mixing between each addition.  Sift the dry ingredients-flour, baking soda, cream of tartar, salt and pumpkin pie spice-into the butter mixture. Mix on low speed until just combined and then increase speed to medium and mix for another 2 minutes so that everything is well incorporated. Use a 1 1/2 – 2 Tbs. cookie scoop to scoop the cookies onto the prepared baking sheet.  Place 1/8 cup sugar in a small bowl.  Dip a small glass into the sugar before flattening the cookies to about 1/2 inch thickness.  Bake at 350 degrees for 8-9 minutes.  While the cookies are baking, make the glaze. Sift the powdered sugar into a small mixing bowl.  Add the water, vanilla and pumpkin pie spice and stir with a spoon until smooth and a glaze consistency.  Set aside.  Remove cookies from the oven and allow to cool on the pan for about 3 minutes.  Place on a wire rack and spoon about 1 1/2 tsp. glaze onto each cookie while still warm.  Serve while the glaze is still oozy or allow to cool for one to two hours for the glaze to set.  Enjoy!

Wishing you love, laughter and cake,