Easy Ice Cream Sandwich Dessert

If you need a dessert for the Labor Day weekend, this is the easiest one ever and it makes a lot. ice cream

Ingredients:

12 ice cream sandwiches

1 large container Cool Whip

1 jar hot fudge or caramel topping, warmed in microwave for easy pouring

3 candy bars, chopped or 15 cookies, crushed

Use a narrow, but deep container so you can make two layers.

Place 6 ice cream sandwiches in the container. Cut them to fit if you have to. Spread 1/2 Cool Whip on top. Place the remaining sandwiches next. Pour the fudge or caramel (or use both, one on each layer) on top. Finish with the remaining Cool Whip. Sprinkle chopped candy cars or crushed cookies on top. Freeze at least an hour to set. (Note. I used FatBoy ice cream sandwiches so I had only one layer since they’re super thick. No, there’s nothing wrong with eating an ice cream sandwich named FatBoy. And yes, my oven is still broken.)

Morning Glories


imageThere’s something about morning glories.

In the evening they look like weeds, snaking around my porch. It’s almost impossible to crank the garden hose in, the vine has it so tightly gripped.

But in the morning? It’s a different story. Blue flowers peer through huge green leaves, giving a completely different perspective.

Mornings do that–offer a new way to see things.

Nights can be dark and lonely, perfect places for worry and fear to hide out. Grip us tightly. Make us  feel as though there are no answers

But the morning brings new hope, changed thoughts, and fresh ideas.

We remember things are possible.

“It is of the Lord’s mercies that we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not. They are new every morning; great is thy faithfulness.” Lamentations 3:22-23

Who needs an oven?

My oven is broken and not getting replaced anytime soon, and I kinda like it. The heat index has reached 103 this summer, and the last thing I need is a sweaty kitchen.

I may change my tune next month when the brownie withdrawals set in. But in the meantime, here are a few recipes if you find yourself in the same position.

Taco Saladtaco salad

Ingredients:

chopped lettuce  (I like Romaine best.)

1 diced tomato

1 can of light red kidney beans, drained

2 cups grated cheddar cheese

½ cup diced red onion

1 lb. ground beef, cooked, drained, and seasoned with packet of Taco seasoning according to directions on packet

½ bag of Fritos

Mix the first 5 ingredients for the salad and the Fritos together.  Place in individual bowls. Spoon taco meat on top of each.

Variations:

Salsa – pour a heaping helping of salsa on top.

Thousand Island dressing – pour a heaping helping of the salad dressing on top.

Catalina dressing – pour a heaping helping of Catalina dressing on top.

Guacamole – I think you know where I’m going with this.

Chicken Bacon Quesadillas

Ingredients:

2 cups rotisserie chicken, diced in small piecesquesadilla

½ red onion, diced

½ red pepper, diced

1 cup grated cheddar cheese

1 cup grated Monterey jack cheese

8 strips of bacon, cooked and diced

Brown bacon then set aside to drain on a paper towel. Use some of the bacon grease and sauté the diced red onion and red pepper.

Spray top and bottom of the quesadilla/grill. Place one flour tortilla on it. photo (4)Sprinkle cheeses, chicken, bacon, onion and red pepper on the tortilla. Top with another flour tortilla and press until lightly browned. Cut into 6-8 triangles and serve with sour cream, tomatoes and lettuce, and black beans*.

*Sauté some garlic, red onion, and red pepper in the leftover bacon grease and add to canned black beans. Salt and pepper to taste. So good!

Note: If you don’t have a quesadilla maker, you can use a Panini press/grill. You can also use a non-stick pan on the stove, but remember to flip it to brown both sides.

I usually save the crock pot for soups and stews in the colder months, but desperate times call for new crock pot recipes.

Crock Pot Chicken Tortillas

Ingredients:

2 large chicken breasts

1 package of frozen Italian mix veggies (this is in the freezer case at Publix)

1 small can of diced green chilis

1 packet of fajita seasoning

Place the above ingredients in a crock pot and cook on low for 5-6 hours. Put a heaping helping in a warmed flour tortilla and top with lettuce, tomatoes, black beans, and cheese.

Crock Pot Barbecue

Ingredients:

2 lbs pork

1 bottle of good barbecue sauce

1/2 onion, diced

Cook the ingredients together on low for 6-7 hours. Use 1/2 of the barbecue sauce at the beginning, and add as needed. Shred the meat with two forks and serve on toasted buns.

Best Christmas Cake Ever

No, it’s not fruit cake. It’s coconut.

coconut cake

It even looks like Christmas. All that snow. I still have the Snow song from White Christmas stuck in my head. Capture

 

This recipe from Hominy Grill in Charleston, SC is posted on Epicurious

It has a classic cream cheese and butter frosting that tastes so good I make 1/3 more than the recipe calls for and frost three layers instead of the suggested two.

IMG_1549

 

 

Merry Christmas!

Happy October!

FullSizeRender (2)Sweet & Salty Fall Mix

Ingredients:

  • candy corn

  • salted roasted peanuts

  • mini marshmallows

Pour liberally and mix together. Keep snack in an airtight container unless you prefer stale marshmallows.

Great for a baseball team snack or teacher treats for Halloween.

Variations: add M& Ms, almonds, mini pretzels, Cherrios

Next up: Buddy’s Four Basic Food Groups Mix: candy, candy canes, candy corn, and syrup.

Ranch Bacon Pasta Salad

SUMMER’s here! Yay!

Time for pool parties, barbecues, and other gatherings where showing up empty-handed is frowned upon.

This pasta salad is awesome as a side. Add grilled chicken and it’s a meal. You can vary the ingredients, but I wouldn’t omit the bacon. Unless you’re a vegetarian. Or you’re satisfied with things at half-flavor. In other words, ditch the broccoli. Keep the bacon.

Ranch Bacon Pasta Salad IMG_0977

Ingredients:

Tri-color pasta noodles, cooked according to the box directions, drained well

2 cups fresh broccoli, cut in bite-size pieces

1/4 cup red onion, diced

1/3 cup red pepper, diced

4 slices of bacon, cooked and chopped

Dressing:

1 package of ranch dressing (dry package)

3/4 to 1 cup mayonnaise

1 tablespoon milk

salt and pepper to taste

Mix together the first five ingredients in a large bowl. Stir together the ingredients for the dressing in a separate bowl. Pour the dressing mixture over the pasta and stir. Chill for a couple of hours or overnight.

I’m Just a Wannabe

I posted this last Easter. I’m still just a wannabe, but this Easter I made easy peasy Banana Pudding. Happy Easter!

I’m a Cake Baker Wannabe. My problem is I lack two qualities necessary to bake a beautiful and delicious cake—infinite patience and laser focus.

I saw this beautiful Strawberry Mousse Cake in Southern Living and decided to give it a try. It was a bit complicated with three separate lists of ingredients and directions for: 1) cake, 2) mousse filling, and 3) frosting. Usually this is the sort of thing that sends me running back to something simple like triple chocolate cupcakes, but for some reason I was up for a challenge.

And to look at it, you’d think it was a huge success.

But looks can be deceiving.

Oddly, you can learn a thing or two while baking.

And not just that when faced with the choice to: a) follow the directions and chill the mousse for at least 30 minutes before spreading it on each cake layer and b) putting the mousse in the freezer for only 10 minutes, you should choose a.

Because underneath this pretty cake, was this

What a mess!

It’s amazing what a little (make that a lot) of frosting can do. It can cover a multitude of mistakes.

And so I am reminded this Easter that my Savior looks at me with all of my cracks, lack of patience, and poor focus and HE loves me anyway.

Happy Easter!

And another lesson I learned was it really only matters how it tastes, and that was great! Three sticks of butter and heavy whipping cream have a way of doing that!

Mmm Mmm Gouda!

Merchants Restaurant in Nashville serves an awesome Smoked Gouda sandwich.

And it’s super simple to copy make your own.

gouda 2

Ingredients:

smoked Gouda, sliced (find this in the Deli or special cheese section)

bacon strips, cooked

sourdough or focaccia bread slices

butter

non-stick spray

tomato soup (optional for dipping)

Spray griddle or pan with non-stick spray. Butter both sides of the bread and lightly grill one side. Flip the bread slices and top one slice with 4-5 slices of cheese and 2-3 strips of bacon. Cover with the other slice of bread and press. Flip and press the other side.

OMGouda, this is tasty! And souper easy!🙂

 

 

 

 

My Writing Process Blog Hop

I was tagged by the talented, Ronni Arno (author of Rene Reinvented), in the My Writing Process Blog Hop.

So if you’re interested in how I write, read on. If you’re here for a recipe, go to the bottom for the best banana pudding ever!

What am I working on?

I recently finished a middle grade novel, Drive-Through Miracle. It’s about a girl who’s given up all hope that anything good will happen to the people she loves.

That sounds kinda depressing, but I promise there are some funny parts. Like her mom is the head cashier at the local Piggly Wiggly. See, you can’t say Piggly Wiggly without smiling.

You can read the query here.

How does my work differ from others of its genre?

My favorite children’s author is Kate DiCamilllo. I love how she makes the reader laugh and cry throughout her books.

Remember in Because of Winn Dixie when the librarian gives Opal a Littmus Lozenge? It tastes sweet—like root beer and strawberry. But there’s also something else—a secret ingredient.

“Sorrow,” Miss Franny said. “Not everybody can taste it. Children, especially, seem to have a hard time tasting it.”

I wish children (and adults, for that matter) never had to taste sadness, but without the storm, there’s no rainbow.

A good book evokes all kinds of human emotions and leads the reader to consider all sorts of possibilities.

Why do I write what I do?

I’m a school counselor in my day job and I love helping kids find their way. One of the best feelings in the world is seeing how you’ve influenced another person.

Writing is like that. It’s reaching one reader at a time and hoping that you leave him or her somehow… different. Happier. Encouraged.

How does your writing process work?

My writing process is a simple three-step process:

1) Observe,

2) Investigate, and

3) Ask what if?

Here’s how it worked with Drive-Through Miracle.

Because I work during the school year, I do most of my writing in the summer. I try to write a first draft during June and July and then I spend the rest of the year revising – working late at night and on the weekend.

Observe. Last summer, on the way to a park where I walk/jog, I noticed a sign along the road.

FullSizeRenderI passed this sign 5-6 times a week. And each time I had the same thought: It’s hotter than Hades out here. That’s really nice of someone to sit outside and pray with somebody.

Investigate. Each time I drove by, I’d crane my neck to see the set up. The church was on a hill, and from the road all I could see was the top of a canapycanopy in the parking lot. I just had to see what the drive-through looked like.

So one hot afternoon, I packed a chilled Gatorade and my 14-year-old son in the car and we drove up the hill. I figured this was a one-time trip, so we needed to take note of everything we saw.

As we slowly drove up, we saw a man sitting in a lawn chair under the canopy. His feet were propped on a cooler and he was reading. We stopped at an orange cone and the man walked to my open window.

After some brief introductions, I handed the preacher the Gatorade and told him we appreciated that he was helping people with their burdens. He thanked us for the drink and we were about to drive off when he asked, “What about you folks?”

“Us?”

“Yeah. Can I say a prayer for you?”

My son and I looked at each other. I don’t know why we hadn’t anticipated this, but we hadn’t.

We agreed and he prayed that we would feel God’s blessing that summer.

My son and I drove to the park in silence–both considering the experience we’d just had.

Later that night we talked about how maybe we’d, in some small way, been a blessing to the preacher.

Ask what if. I wondered, what if a girl rode to the drive-through on her bike and asked for prayer? Or what if she rode up on her bike, but she hid in the bushes? And she watched as other folks asked for prayer. What if she saw her best friend ride to the drive-through? What would his burden be?

And that’s how I came to write Drive-Through Miracle.

So, yeah, I felt a blessing that summer.

And that’s my writing process.

I’ve tagged two fellow writers. They will post their writing process next Monday.

If you don’t know them, take some time to meet both. They are incredibly fun and talented writers.

Elizabeth Dunn  liz pic

http://elizabeth-dunn.blogspot.com/

Twitter: @elizabethdunn89

Ella Schwartz   OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

http://ellaschwartz.net/

Twitter: @ellaschwartz

Oh, and here’s the best banana pudding ever!

Luscious Banana Pudding

Ingredients: 1 large package of vanilla (or banana) instant pudding, 2 cups of whole milk, 1 can of sweetened condensed milk, 1 box of vanilla wafers,  4 bananas, and one large container of whipped topping.

Mix pudding and milk until firm. Stir in sweetened condensed milk and whipped topping and mix well. In a large container, alternate vanilla wafers, sliced bananas and pudding mixture. Repeat 2 more times. (For a different look, reserve some of the whipped topping and end with a layer of that on top.)

Luscious Banana Pudding

Luscious Banana Pudding

Simple Pimento Cheese

Somebody once came up with an acronym for making good presentations.

KISS – Keep It Simple Stupid.

That’s not a bad idea when it comes to dinner.pimento and salad

I’m something of a pimento cheese connoisseur and after eating it at 2 restaurants (one pretty famous by Atlanta standards) recently, I’ve decided this recipe still tops most.

The key is the grated onion, the roasted red pepper, and a touch of blue cheese.

pimento 1

It really is simple when you have a jar of roasted red peppers on hand. Sadly, I didn’t and had to roast my own. (Use two mini red peppers or half a large one. Drizzle olive oil on top, salt and pepper, and bake at 350 degrees until tender.)

Pimento Cheese

8 ounces sharp cheese, grated

4 ounces medium cheddar or Colby or any other type of cheese, grated

1 tablespoon of blue cheese (I use half a wedge that comes in the 8 oz. Laughing Cow container)

1 tablespoon of grated onion

2 tablespoons of diced roasted red peppers

1/4 – 1/2 cup of mayonnaise (depending on your taste)

salt & pepper to taste

Put all ingredients in a food processor and pulse until blended to the texture you prefer. (Sandwich Thins are used in the picture, but any bread will do fine.)

And for something sweet? It doesn’t get any simpler than this.

rice k

Rice Krispy Treats

1 package of mini marshmallows

3 tablespoons of butter

6 cups of Rice Krispy cereal

Melt the butter in a pan on medium heat, then add the marshmallows. Once the mixture is completely melted, remove from heat and stir in the cereal.

Press the treats into a casserole pan with a spatula that is buttered or covered with wax paper.

The boy and I almost ate the entire pan. Which means my pants will most likely snap, crackle, and pop tomorrow.

What’s your favorite simple meal or dessert?