Morello Cherry Pie

This delicious pie is made with Morello cherries from Poland. I bought them at Aldi's ... and we always need to remember that Aldi and Trader Joe's are owned by the same company! Much of what you find at Trader Joe's as something unique and special, you will also find at Aldi's!

Morello cherries are dark deep red and they are supposed to be tart ... but I think they are sweet! They certainly are not as tart as the cherries I have growing in my back yard!

The pie sure was easy to make! I used a frozen crust and all you have to do to make two layers is place the second frozen crust upside down over the first one after the filling is in it. In about ten minutes it will fall out of the pan. Then you can make it look cute!  Mix 3 Tablespoons of corn starch and 1/2 cup sugar with the cherries (and juice)  before pouring them into the pic crust. Bake at 350 degrees for about an hour.
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Pimento Cheese Spread

My family loves pimento cheese spread.  Before I was an empty-nester, I used to keep a container in the fridge all the time for snacks and sandwiches. It was a go-to when we didn't have luncheon meat or sandwich spread ... and we wanted a quick bite. It has always been on the menu for any cocktail party we've hosted, too. It is the perfect sweet and hot bite.

I seem to always have packages of cheese left from cooking, these days. I wanted to use them up and decided to make pimento cheese. Yes, you can freeze that left over cheese, but then I just let it sit in the freezer!

My daughter has a great recipe for pimento cheese, and you can find it right here Nicole's Pimento Cheese Spread

My recipe is a little different and you can adjust the heat to your own taste!

In a food processor, blend 8 ounces of cream cheese with two big chunks of roasted red pepper, 3 cups of shredded cheddar or Mexican blend cheese, 3 Tablespoons of Sweet Chili Sauce and a drizzle of Sriracha Sauce. I'm sure you know that Sriracha is the new katsup! Blend it all really well and add more of the sauces to satisfy your own tastes. 

We love this on almost anything, but the crackers pictured are Wheat Thins in the Sweet Onion flavor. They are especially good with the spread! Don't forget to have a few fresh vegetables nearby! Crunchy radishes and carrots are perfect!

I'll be sharing this post with some of the parties on my sidebar. Make sure you visit my home page first ... You'll find something you like!

Ranch Chicken & Vegetables

I love to cook, but there are days when I don't want to stand at the stove! Today was one of those days, so I reached for one of my giant chicken breasts! I bought a couple packages a month ago and each breast half weighed about 12 to 14 ounces, so I froze each breast separately. They are easily two servings with some left overs!  I cut the breast into cubes and grabbed the ranch dip seasoning!

I added a couple Tablespoons of the dip mix to the flour for coating the chicken. I dipped each chunk in egg wash, then in the flour mixture. Bake the chicken in a little bit of canola oil at 350 degrees. Turn them once, and it only takes 30 - 40 minutes for them to get crispy done. That ranch dip flavor is yummy.

Move over chicken and make room for some vegetables. Cut a few Brussels sprouts in half and cut orange and purple carrots into bite size pieces. Drizzle the vegetables with lemon infused avocado oil and roast them for about 20 minutes.

If you have fresh dill, this is a good time to use it! Garnish the meat and the vegetables with a good sprinkle of dill.

I'll be sharing this with a couple of the parties listed in my sidebar. Be sure you look on my home page before you move on, though! You'll find something else you like!

Spicy Corn Dip!

I have eaten a dozen different corn dips in the past couple years, and I like something about each of them. I wanted to create one that had all the things in it that I love, so I just created my own recipe!  
Doesn't this look delicious?

You can see the gooey cheese! Can you see the bacon? This stuff is a meal in itself ... serve it with sturdy corn chips and skip all the rest of the food!

Recipe for Spicy Corn Dip

4 ounces cream cheese, cubed
4 ounces Velveeta, cubed
1 can crisp summer corn
1 Tablespoon chopped Cilantro
1 small slightly hot red pepper, chopped
1 Tablespoon dehydrated onion bits
2 slices of crisp fried bacon, chopped
1 teaspoon Chipotle pepper powder

All you need to do is pile all these ingredients into an oven proof dish and bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes. All the cheese will have melted and you can then stir it all together. Top it with about a cup of shredded cheddar or jack cheese before serving. Garnish with another little red pepper.

(I buy the bags of small hot peppers and toss them in the freezer. When I need one, I just cut it with my kitchen shears. No need to thaw it!)

Any kind of crisp packed canned corn works for this recipe ... and 2 cups of frozen kernels work just as well. Use what you have on hand!

I'm a big proponent of using canning jars for all kinds of storage! As a nearly perfect grandma, I have lots of snacks on hand ... and I use half gallon jars to store them after the original package is opened.

You can see our jar of Fritos right here!

In the last picture, I've focused on one of my Mother's Day presents!
Look at these adorable
Mason Jar salt and pepper shakers. I love them!

I'll be sharing this post with a few of the parties listed on my sidebar ... but make sure you visit my home page for a couple other really good recipes! You'll find something that you like. I guarantee it!  Have a great week!

Root Beer Chocolate Cake

One of my friends recently posted the old fashioned Coke cake recipe, and it made me think of my Root Beer Chocolate Cake! These recipes have been around for years and you can use any dark soda in them. Dr. Pepper is good, too! The cake is great for events because it is better if you make it the day before. The icing has the opportunity to soak into the moist and delicate cake. You can see that in the next picture!

Recipe for Root Beer Chocolate Cake

1 cup Root Beer
½ cup canola oil
1 stick butter
3 Tablespoons cocoa powder
2 cups sugar
2 cups flour
½ teaspoon salt
2 eggs
½ cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon vanilla

Gently melt the butter and whisk the cocoa powder into it.  Pour that into your mixing bowl; add the Root Beer, canola oil and sugar.  Whip until smooth. Add the eggs, buttermilk and vanilla and continue to whip. Add the flour, salt and baking soda and whip until smooth.  Bake in a prepared 13 x 9 inch cake pan at 350 degrees for 25 – 30 minutes.  The center of the cake should bounce back when you tap it. Let the cake cool for 15 minutes before pouring the icing over it.

To make the icing, melt 1 stick of butter with 3 Tablespoons cocoa and whisk until smooth.  Pour this over 4 cups of powdered sugar and add 1 teaspoon vanilla extract. Begin whipping the icing, adding 6 Tablespoons of milk … a little at a time. Whip until smooth and pour over the warm cake.  Let the cake cool at least 45 minutes before cutting. 

I'll be sharing this post with a few of the parties listed on my sidebar. Check out my home page before you click through to the parties! You might find something else you like!

First Strawberries of the Season!

When we received a text message from a friend ... that said the first strawberries of the season were available at our favorite local orchard ... we quickly jumped in the car to go get some!

On the way back home, Miss Phoebe ate plenty of the berries right out of the flat! That is so much fun! We'll take her a little later on to pick berries! Pie was on my mind, so I cleaned a quart and got everything ready to make one of my favorite pies!  All I do is mix 3 Tablespoons of cornstarch with as much sugar (or Splenda) as I think the berries will need. These berries didn't need much sugar ... 1/4 cup.

Bake the pie at 350 degrees for about an hour, until the crust is brown and the juices are bubbling!

Fresh Dill Encrusted Pork Chops!

I love dill and I love boneless pork chops! I cut my own from the whole pork loin, so I have the thickness that I like ... and because it is less expensive to do that. I'm sure you do that, too! Another bargain I stock up on are the containers of Cantadina bread crumbs. I can usually find those for just $1 a box. For these chops, I used the Four Cheese flavor of bread crumbs, and I added chopped dill to the crumbs. All I do is dip the pork chops in egg wash, then in the crumbs. I baked these at 350 degrees for about 40 minutes, turning them once. At the same time, I roasted a few chunks of green cabbage, with a little oil drizzled over it. I sprinkled fresh dill on the cabbage, too! I can never get enough of dill!

Happy Mother's Day!

Happy Mother's Day to all of my blogging friends! I hope you have a beautiful weekend! I'm posting today ... about all the moms in my life! Hope you enjoy!

This is my favorite picture of my mother! I love it because she was being funny and her garter belt was showing! That look on her face is the "chewing gum" look! This was taken on Mother's Day before evening church. She had received the new camera used to take this picture ... as her Mother's Day gift!  My mother, Doris (Schuster) Raines was born on July 23, 1923. She raised 5 children and worked hard as a homemaker. She cooked 3 meals a day, because Daddy was a carpenter who was usually home for lunch ... and was hungry! Our elementary school was just a couple blocks away, so we always went home for lunch, too.

My mother gardened and canned. She made wonderful pepper relish ... and that recipe lingers on in my household! She was a fantastic cook and made the most incredibly delicious cream pies. Of course, when we were kids, the laundry was done one day a week, using an old ringer washer. Remember those days? I was the baby of the family, so I wasn't too old when she got an automatic washer ... but she still hung clothes outside for a few years and finally gave in ... and got a dryer, too!  She never had an automatic dishwasher.

This is my Aunt Evelyn, who was a second mom to me! She was my dad's baby sister and he called her Sissy ... so we called her Sissy! She is shown here holding my daughter and loving on her grandson, so he wouldn't be too jealous of the new baby in the family! Sissy was a mess! She had red hair and the temper to go with it. Sissy lived just two blocks from us, so it was easy to walk or ride a bike to her house. She is the reason I collect dishes! She taught me, early in life, how to have the most perfect tea parties!

The preceding picture is of my daddy's mother, Phoebe (Douglas) Raines (left). This picture was taken in 1919, and she is pregnant with my daddy! The woman on the right is my dad's sister, Leta, who was the oldest in his family. Leta is also pregnant in this picture ... with Phoebe's first grandchild! Funny? Not uncommon in those days.  My grandmother was born on September 12, 1880 and she died when my dad was a young teenager. Everything I know about her ... I know from stories he told, and he treasured her. She died from what was probably ovarian cancer, which was seldom diagnosed in 1933. Her illness was lingering, and Daddy was responsible for caring for her. I learned to sew on Grandma Phoebe's treadle machine ... Daddy put an electric motor on it, so I didn't have to peddle!

The name, "Phoebe" is unique and pretty. Some of my older cousins wanted to name their daughters "Phoebe" and they would ask Daddy's permission. He always told them not to use her name because children needed their own names. When my daughter learned that she was going to be able to adopt a brand new baby daughter, she asked her grandfather for permission to name the baby "Phoebe"! I was worried that he would tell her not to ... but just the opposite happened. Seems like he clearly understood Nicole's need to give this adopted angel a big piece of the family ... and you all know about our Miss Phoebe! My daddy adored her, too!

These are my mother's parents, George and Ida (Mueller) Schuster. Grandma Schuster was one stubborn woman and my dad had a love/hate relationship with her! They lived a block away from our house and Grandma would walk up the back alley (not the street) carrying a stick to shake at all the dogs that lived along the route! Ida Dora Mueller Schuster was born on January 10, 1898. She, too, was a really good cook and almost always had something simmering on the stove! My grandpa raised concord grapes to use making wine, but Grandma would fight him to get enough to make wonderful grape jelly! I had a close relationship with Grandma Schuster. I fixed her hair every Saturday when she got older. She would tell me the same stories over and over again ... and now I'm so glad she did. She sewed using a treadle machine Grandma had several grandchildren and we always received a birthday card through the mail ...with a dollar in it! She never missed a birthday. Isn't that a wonderful memory?

These beautiful pictures are of my Grandma Schuster's parents, Jake and Anna Mueller. Anna (Neumann) Mueller was born in 1873 to parents, also Jake and Anna!  I don't remember Great-Grandma Mueller, but I have a handwritten booklet filled with recipes that are hers.  In the booklet, we find her handwriting ... my Grandma Schuster's and my own mother's! I have modernized the recipes and made them over and over!  The picture on the left is their wedding picture and the one on the right is their 50th Wedding Anniversary photograph.

These women ... in some way ... impacted my life. They taught me how to ... and how not to ... behave. They gave me many of the mothering skills I have, the cooking skills I have ... and my "Sissy" made me love all things collectible and beautiful! I've passed it all on ... to my daughter, who has become a wonderful mother in her own right! She does it all "her way" ... but she does it right!

I'll be sharing this post with some of the parties I list on my sidebar! Make sure you stick around on my home page to see some of my other posts, before you click through to the blog parties!  Have a wonderful Mother's Day!

Green Stuff Arrives!

Today was the first day of the Wednesday market stand that the University Agriculture students host! I'm on their email blast list and when I read that they would have plenty of dill ... I planned my visit! I never grow enough dill to last a whole year (in the freezer) and I love it on potatoes! I bought dill ... but I bought a big bag of fresh sweet spinach, too! They had two kinds ... one with the ruby red stem ... and I can't describe how good this tastes! What do you think I made with my fresh spinach? PIZZA! It was delicious!

Doesn't this look good? I'm going to tell you just how easy it is to make.

To make the crust, add 1 pkg of yeast, 1 tsp of sugar and 1 T. of olive oil to 1 cup of warm water. I let this sit for about five minutes before I add 3 cups of flour. I use my Kitchenaid to kneed the dough for 5 minutes. Cover the dough; let it rise for 30 minutes in a warm place. Oil your hands and push the dough into the baking sheet and make little wells in it.

Before I add the toppings on the pizza, I sprinkle the dough with parmesan cheese. I like to use flavored oils in pizza crust and for this one, I used lemon infused oil. The topping for the pizza included 1 cup of creamy cottage cheese, 1 cup shredded mozzarella and 4 cups of fresh spinach.

Use your hands to mix the 
spinach with the cheese. I use a generous grind of black pepper in this, but no salt. Salt will extract the water from the spinach and that will make your crust soggy! Mound the filling on the crust ... then top it with a few fresh mozzarella pearls and about 1/2 cup of chopped walnuts. The nuts add just the perfect crunch!

Bake the pizza at 425 degrees for 15 minutes. The crust should be crisp on bottom, but chewy ... and the topping is creamy, sweet and nutty.

I'll be sharing this with a few of the parties listed on my sidebar. Make sure you click through to see the other posts ... but take a look at my home page, first!

Buttercup Inspiration

I recently set a table that would have been perfect for a bunch of high school or college graduates!  I really wanted to challenge myself with some colors that are unusual for me and when I saw this set of table linens at TJM, I knew it was what I was looking for!   Gray and buttercup yellow!  I never use those colors.

This pattern is pretty contemporary, but I don't do much outside of traditional or country and I'd been wanting to make a centerpiece with canning jars and burlap, so I decided to combine it all!  I also wanted to make a statement with my tablescape and while shopping for art supplies for Miss Phoebe, I found some little stones with inspirational words on them!  

Imagine - Dare - Dream - Believe - Inspire - Do It!

So I began with a roll of burlap ribbon. I unraveled the edges and wrapped 5 jars.  I glued stones on two sides on some of them.

I shopped my stash of silk flowers to find all the pale yellow I could and created a light country look of wild flowers.  The centerpiece is tall, but easy to see through so it didn't cause a problem at the table!

I had a bag of tiny pebbles and I filled the jars about halfway. That helps secure the stems and holds everything in place.

Five jars ... filled with pebbles and silk flowers ... and when I'm finished with them, they can be taken apart and everything re-purposed another time!

Here's a closer look at the floral elements ... two giant flowers ... sprigs of vines, a couple unusual curling fronds and two little bunches of marigolds.

I used my Princess House Fantasia dinnerware for this table.  My pattern is "Poinsettia", but those Christmas flowers look just like the big flowers in the table linens!  Nobody ever knows that my Fantasia are Christmas dishes!  I use it year-round and enjoy mixing other patterns of Fantasia with it.  I paid too much money for my original set of Fantasia, but I have found serving pieces, mugs and glasses at flea markets and thrift shops.  People don't know what it is and it typically has a low price!   I also used some of my Milk Glass on this table.  It always says country to me!  The matte silver chargers helped bring out the gray in linens.

I made the napkin rings with the burlap ribbon, simply by folding and gluing.  I glued an inspirational stone to each one, so each guest had something to ponder! This theme guarantees positive table talk!

Imagine - Dare - Dream - Believe - Inspire - Do It!

I hope you'll visit my home page and see the other posts from the past week.  I shared an interesting story about my Civil War Veteran great-grandfather.

I'll be sharing my post with some of the parties listed in my sidebar, so click through to see the other posts.

Thanks for dropping by!

February's Family Sunday Dinner

Christmas 2020

Mary Queen of Scots Dinner Menu Booklet

Grandma Debbie's Christmas 2018

Grandma's Blue & Green Pupkins!

Autumn at Grandma Debbie's