Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Cinnamon Rolls (aka Melt in your Mouth Heart Attacks)

Seriously, from dough, to filling, to frosting, this recipe took 7 STICKS of butter!

Ready for the oven

I recently lost 12 pounds on my mission to shed 40 and I'm convinced that just ONE of these cinnamon rolls would put all 12 of those pounds and then some right back on me. That's why I repeat this mantra when I look at them...


1 cup sugar
1 cup butter, melted
1 Tablespoon salt
5 eggs
½ cup milk
2 Tablespoons yeast
2 and ½ cup warm water
12 cups flour

1 and ½ cup butter
2 cups brown sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon (I doubled that)
2 Tablespoons light corn syrup
2 Tablespoons water

For Dough: Dissolve yeast in warm water. 

Mix sugar, salt and butter. Add eggs and milk and beat well. 


Add yeast mixture; mix in flour. Knead to make smooth elastic dough. 

Let rise until double. 

Divide dough in half. 

Roll one half into a rectangle ¼ inch thick. 

My little helper

Cover with filling. 

Roll up (starting with long edge) and slice into 1 inch rolls. 

Put a little filling into the pans and place rolls in pan.

 Let rise again. Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes.

The two in the back are covered with cream cheese frosting and the two in front are covered with caramel frosting

Cream Cheese Frosting

4 cups powdered sugar
4 ounces cream cheese
½ cup butter, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla
3-4 Tablespoons milk

Mix all ingredients together and frost cooled cinnamon rolls.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Healthy-ish Breakfast Casserole

Even your pickiest eater will love! I wish all my "experiments" turned out so fabulous! I took our standby breakfast casserole and transformed it into something I would serve to royalty. (If royals are so inclined to eat such things as casseroles.) I really had NO idea whether this was going to work or not when I started and when I tested it on my husband, he had not even realized I had made some major changes. Other variations at the end.

Fresh from the oven
Instead of cubed bread, I peeled and chopped up 1 medium-sized eggplant. I also incorporated fresh vegetables and herbs.

1 medium to large eggplant, peeled and chopped into small pieces. Place into a 9X13 pan.
1 pound ground sausage
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
7 eggs
2 cups milk
1 teaspoon dry mustard
1 handful fresh spinach
several sprigs of fresh parsley
1 medium onion
a few splashes of Wildtree's Smoky Chipotle Hot Sauce or hot sauce of your choice
1 teaspoon Wildtree's Rancher Steak Rub OR salt and pepper to taste

I did add 2 slices of my homemade "Rustic Cracked Wheat Bread" because I wasn't sure how absorbent the eggplant would be. (The original recipe calls for 6 slices cubed bread.)

1 pound ground sausage, cooked, drained and crumbled (We butcher our own so it is very low fat.)
Place on top of cubed eggplant

 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese. Sprinkle on top of sausage

In a medium bowl, mix together veggies and herbs of choice with eggs and milk and pour over everything. Sprinkle top with Wildtree's California Style Garlic and Pepper Blend.

If you don't have one of these awesome handy dandy Tupperware Food Choppers, you should definitely talk to my friend, Marcie! This is one of my MUST haves!

This is the egg and herb mixture to pour over the casserole
Bake at 350 for 45-55 minutes or until eggs are set. You can prepare this in the evening and bake the next morning so it is great for company, or you can bake immediately.

If you have a REALLY picky eater, put the eggs, veggies and herbs into the blender. Voila`. They will never know. I do that with smoothies all the time. My kids drink fresh spinach in their yogurt and fruit smoothies and think it is the best ever. A lot of times I throw a little fresh mint in the smoothies too, so if they see a fleck of green and ask what it is, I tell them it must be that yummy mint leaf.

This casserole really was INCREDIBLE! And I looked up some nutrition info.

For one cup of chopped cooked eggplant, you are looking at 33 calories, 0 grams of fat, 0 g cholesterol, 237 milligrams sodium, 8 g carbs, 2 g dietary fiber, 3 g sugar, 1 g protein. Info from Self Nutrition Data.

1 slice of wheat bread (if you use 6 sliced cubed as in the original recipe) is 60 calories, 0 cholesterol, 100 milligram sodium, 12 g carbs, 1 g dietary fiber, 2 g sugar and 2.5 g protein. Info from Live Strong.

VARIATIONS: We also love this casserole with fresh diced tomatoes tossed in with the bread cubes or eggplant and then Wildtree's Fiesta Salsa Mix in with the egg mixture. We also like jalapenos and other hot peppers one on end on top for mommy and daddy.

Apple Crisp

Our children love apples. I use them for baking and cooking, eating raw, sliced, diced, chopped, you name it. I had some Granny Smith apples that needed used up so I made a basic apple crisp.

Wish I would have gotten more of the crisp and less of the ice cream in the photo

5 cups sliced, peeled cooking apples
2-4 Tablespoons granulated sugar
I also added 1 Tablespoon Wildtree's Cranberry Spice Blend
1/2 cup regular rolled oats (not quick oats)
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg, ginger or cinnamon
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup chopped nuts (optional)

Place chopped apples in 2-quart baking dish. Stir in granulated sugar. (This is also where I added the Cranberry Spice Blend.) Stir well

For topping: In medium bowl, combine the oats, brown sugar, flour, and nutmeg. Cut in butter until mixture resembles fine crumbs. Stir in nuts of using. Sprinkle over top of fruit.

Bake at 375 for 30-35 minutes or until fruit is tender and topping is golden. Serve warm with ice cream or freshly whipped cream.

Grilled Cajun Blue Hake and Summer Squash

One of our favorite vegetables this time of year is summer squash. A favorite hobby of mine is coming up with creative ways to prepare it. After the first time coating it like this and grilling it, I didn't have to keep looking for different methods. This is our absolute favorite. This is great with zucchini too. We don't care much for cod, but we love Blue Hake. This is one of many ways we enjoy this fish.

I brushed the blue hake with Wildtree's Smoky Bacon Grapeseed Oil and Wildtree's Cajun Seasoning. Blend, wrapped it in foil and grilled until done. I cut the squash into strips length-wise, tossed them with Wildtree's Roasted Garlic Grapeseed Oil and Wildtree's California Style Garlic and Pepper Blend and grilled them until tender.

Citrus Pork and Roasted Vegetables

I had too many carrots and potatoes to go in the roaster with the meatloaf I made for the picnic Friday, so on Sunday I made a marinated pork roast using the rest of the vegetables.

Ready for roasting
I threw some of Wildtree's Lemon Rosemary Blend (about 2 Tablespoons) and Wildtree's Dill Dip Blend (about 1 Tablespoon) in a gallon plastic storage bag. I added about a tablespoon of Red Wine Vinegar and a splash Wildtree's Zesty Lemon Grapeseed Oil. I put the pork loin in the bag and marinated that overnight. The next morning, I placed it in the roaster and added the carrots and potatoes, making sure they were covered with the marinade as well. Then I squeezed a fresh lemon over it all and slow-roasted it for several hours. I served the sliced loin with Wildtree's Outrageous Orange Sauce and the vegetable were fabulous with the seasonings from the marinade. The pink peppercorns in the Lemon Rosemary Blend make this dish really stand out. As always, to learn more about all-natural, preservative-free Wildtree, visit my Wildtree page.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Butter Cookie Cream Cheese Fruit Bars

I took these bars to the Sadie Rose Foundation memorial picnic and balloon release too. Sorry about the long name for them, but they are a made-up recipe, using some of my favorite things. I started by using my favorite butter cookie recipe from Deer Valley Ranch, where I was one of many "kitchen chics." There, we made these buttery cookies and served them with a dip of strawberry ice cream for lunch-time dessert.

As you might notice, I forgot to take a picture before my friend, Zena, and I tried them out.

For these bars, I used that "Wonderful Butter Cookie" recipe and spread the dough in a greased 9X13 pan. I baked it as a crust, then spread a layer of Wildtree's Lemon Lime Cheesecake (prepared) and topped it off with fresh blueberries and raspberries. (If you want to make this recipe without the lemon lime cheesecake filling, simply prepare the filling recipe below without adding the cheesecake blend and it will still be a tasty dessert.)There were no leftovers from the picnic and I plan to make them again for our family camping trip this weekend.

Wonderful Butter Cookies
Recipe from Deer Valley Ranch

1/2 cup shortening (I use all butter)
1/2 cup butter (so I use 1 cup butter total and no shortening)
1 cup granulated sugar
1 egg
2 and 1/4 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla (can use 1/2 teaspoon vanilla and 1/2 teaspoon almond flavoring)

Butter cookie crust

Method: Mix all together. Roll in 1-inch balls, roll ball on sugar and press down lightly with a fork. Bake at 375 for 8-10 minutes. DO NOT over-bake or wait for them to turn "brown." These are easy to over-bake.

For the dessert pictured above, make the cookie dough recipe and spread into 9X13 greased pan. SPrinkle the granulated sugar over top of crust. Bake at 350 for 15-20 minutes. Again, do not over-bake. Cool completely. 

Topped with filling and ready for the berries

The filling ready to be spread onto cooled crust

For Filling:
8 oz. cream cheese
4 teaspoons Wildtree's Lemon Lime Cheesecake Blend
1 cup heavy whipping cream (beat with splash of vanilla and 2 Tablespoons sugar until mixture forms soft peaks) 
Mix all together and spread over top of cooled butter cookie crust. 

Top with fresh blueberries and raspberries.

Iced Coffee (Another great potluck contribution!)

Iced Coffee

4 cups strongly brewed hot coffee (regular or decaf)
1 cup granulated sugar
1-2 teaspoons vanilla

Pour strongly brewed hot coffee into 1-gallon pitcher. Add sugar and stir until dissolved. Add vanilla. Add enough ice to fill pitcher to 1/3 or 1/2 full. Pour milk into pitcher until full. Stir well and serve immediately. (If taking to a potluck, use a thermal drink container so it stays cold.) People will love you at the family reunion or summer holiday gathering for providing this special treat.)

Our Favorite Meatloaf

Our Favorite Meatloaf
Regina’s Original Recipe

This past week, we hosted our fourth annual Sadie Rose Foundation memorial picnic and balloon release to remember our children gone too soon. While everyone is invited to bring a dish, I like to fix a good-sized contribution since we are the hosts. This year, I made an 8-pound meatloaf and roasted it with potatoes and carrots. Whether you make one batch or double or triple it, this is an excellent potluck contribution wherever you go. 

Meatloaf recipes are a dime a dozen online, but this original creation of mine is our family's favorite. 

I also made some yummy bars and iced coffee for the picnic that I will share in another post.

I forgot to take a photo once it was baked, but this was the meatloaf ready for the oven. I sprinkled the vegetables with Wildtree's California Garlic and Pepper Blend.

2 pounds quality ground beef
½ cup crushed Ritz crackers
1 large egg, beaten
2 Tablespoons Wildtree Absolutely Onion Blend (an all-natural alternative to Lipton’s Onion Soup Mix)
¼ cup soy sauce
A few splashes of your favorite hot sauce (I use Wildtree’s Smoky Chipotle Hot Sauce)
A good ½ cup of milk (more if it seems too dry)
1 teaspoon Wildtree Rancher Steak Rub OR salt and pepper to taste
Add veggies to your liking. (diced peppers, onions, etc)

For a meatloaf of this size, you will need a large mixing bowl

Method: Mix together and shape into loaf. Place in greased pan. Top with glaze recipe below and bake at 350 for 60-75 minutes.(Adjust cooking time for larger meatloaf.)

½ cup ketchup
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 – 2 Tablespoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon prepared mustard
(Can add 1 Tablespoon of your favorite jelly: grape, peach, strawberry, blueberry and apple are all good.)
After glazing, I like to sprinkle some Wildtree’s Perfect Pizza Sauce Seasoning Blend over the glaze. Any Italian seasoning would work.

In the roaster, ready for glazing

Enjoying the meal

We write personal messages to our children that have died and release the balloons together

Inevitably, some balloons get stuck in a nearby tree, but still always an emotional and incredible moment as we remember our children together.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Vegetarian Taco Salad

Vegetarian Taco Salad

6 cups torn lettuce
1 cup black or pinto beans, rinsed and drained
1 cup whole kernel corn
1/2 cup sliced black olives, drained
1/4 cup green onions, chopped
1/2 cup or more of sliced or cherry tomatoes
shredded cheddar cheese (optional)

1/4 cup sour cream
2 tablespoons prepared Ranch dressings
1 teaspoon Taco seasoning

Take whole wheat tortillas and cut them in eighths.
Pour grapeseed oil in skillet and brown tortilla pieces.
Serve on the side.

Spice Cake with Quick Caramel Frosting

Spice Cake Ingredients:
2 cups brown sugar
¾ cup butter or shortening
4 eggs beaten
1 cup buttermilk
3 cups cake flour (full)
¾ teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon salt

Method: Cream shortening and sugar. Add eggs and beat until fluffy. Mix dry ingredients together in a bowl and add alternately to batter with buttermilk. Pour into pan (I use a Bundt pan) and bake at 350 for 40-45 minutes. If using a different pan, adjust times accordingly.

Quick Caramel Frosting

½ cup butter
1 cup brown sugar
¼ cup milk
2 cups powdered sugar

Method: Melt butter and brown sugar together on low heat and boil 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Add milk and heat just until boiling again. Remove from heat and cool slightly. Stir powdered sugar in until smooth.

I use this caramel frosting for many recipes! It is fabulous, delicious and so easy!

Homemade Cream of Chicken Soup

Homemade Condensed Cream of Chicken Soup - The BEST ever. I don't plan on buying condensed cream of chicken soup ever again.

A flavorful condensed cream of chicken soup base recipe for use in dishes that call for canned creamed soups. Yield: 3 cups (about 2 cans)

1 1/2 cups chicken broth*
1/2 teaspoon poultry seasoning
1/4 teaspoon onion powder** (I used Wildtree's Onion and Chive Blend)
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder*** (I used Wildtree's California Style Garlic and Pepper Blend in place of the garlic powder and the pepper and salt)
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt (or less; taste to test)
1/4 teaspoon parsley
dash of paprika
1 1/2 cups milk
3/4 cup flour

1. In medium-sized saucepan, boil chicken broth, 1/2 cup of the milk, and the seasonings for a minute or two (longer if using fresh onions or garlic).

2. In a bowl, whisk together the remaining 1 cup of milk and flour. Add to boiling mixture and continue whisking briskly until mixture boils and thickens.
Additional Notes:

*I use the broth from my oven-roasted chicken. Refrigerate broth and then take fat off the top. If you're using chicken bouillon + water for your broth, you may want to add a little extra seasonings, such as lemon pepper, extra garlic, or seasoned salt, since my broth normally has bits of those in it. You can also add bits of chicken, but if you have good rich chicken broth, you probably won't need any chicken in it.

**Or, diced onions (boil with broth for a few minutes)

***Or, fresh minced garlic (boil with broth for a few minutes)

This recipe was featured in 10 Fabulous Foods We Make At Home (Not Buy!) :)
Preparation Time:

5 minutes
Cooking Time:

10-15 minutes