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What comes first: ingredients or recipe?

When you are thinking about meals what do you consider first?  Do you take ingredients and create a recipe or do you buy ingredients that fill a recipe?

For me it is usually recipe first and then I collect the ingredients.  I tend to be a planner and like to only go shopping once every two weeks.  Also, I hate trying to think of things to make.  In order to play to my strengths I usually browse Pinterest and collect recipes for the week.  Since I only cook for myself 3 recipes last all week (leftovers, yummy!).

This week was different.  I wasn’t really interested in any recipes so I filled my shopping list with just general things.  Then while walking the aisles I found some very pretty pork chops.

pork chops

I am very picky on how my pork chops look and more often then not I pass them by.  While I didn’t have a specific recipe in mind I decided to get them and then check Pinterest (again, obsessed).  I found this recipe for Glazed Pork Chops which I am hoping will be amazing.

glazed chops

By the time I was done cooking I wasn’t hungry anymore so I decided to make mashed potatoes and steam some broccoli to create either lunches or dinners for the week.

pork meal


What I am currently reading:  Honor’s Splendour by Julie Garwood

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I Saved the Stew!

I love soups and stews!  Both eating and making them. 

In the eating side there is nothing better than a hot bowl of soup.  For me it is very soothing and comforting; kind of like a warm hug in food form.

Olaf - Hugs

There are also endless possibilities and combinations for soups.  Creamy, clear, think, thin, chunky, smooth, spicy, hearty (can I stop? do you get the picture?).

I love taking soup to work for lunch.  It is easy to transport and heat and it has most of the food groups so it is a balance meal!

With the idea of lunch for the next few weeks I perused (did I spell that right?) my Pintrest boards (addicted remember?) and found this recipe for Amish Beef Stew.  I liked the simplicity of this recipe and the fact that it was made in the crock pot.  The one question I had was about the amount of liquid.  The recipe only calls for 1 cup of tomato juice.  For 3 cups of meat, and about 8 cups of veggies that just didn’t seem like enough and I was right (also, my crock pot couldn’t hold all of the ingredients).  My mom taught me to follow a recipe all the way through at least once and then you can make changes.  Well, sorry mom but this time I couldn’t do that.  I followed the directions as much as possible but at the time the cooking should have been done the potatoes were not cooked and there was almost no liquid.

beef stew

So, I moved everything to my stew pot and added a can of beef broth and some more tomato juice and cooked it longer.  Now, I haven’t tried the stew yet but it smell wonderful!


What I am currently reading: The Prize by Julie Garwood

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Inherited Recipe: Pumpkin Roll

Some of my favorite recipes are the ones that I have inherited from family and friends.  Some of the recipes I tweak for my personal preferences (I am kind of a picky eater) and there are some that are perfect the way they are.  This recipe is one of the latter ones.


This recipe came from my best friend’s (since kindergarten) mom.  She made this for all of her family every fall.  She even made enough to send with the hunters in her family on opening weekend.  Once she found out I loved them too she always made one for me.  Sadly I was never able to watch or help her make these so mine are no were near as perfect as hers.  They always turned out a uniform thickness and perfectly smooth.  I will just have to keep practicing till I get it right Smile.

cool down

Every time I make these rolls and share them with people I get rave reviews and tons of requests.  I will warn you that these tend to make a mess because of the flour. The good news is that the mess and time to make these is about the same for 1 roll as for multiple rolls.  I made 4 and if you cut out the waiting time it only took about 2 hours. 

pumpkin roll


For the Roll

  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2/3 cup canned pumpkin
  • 3/4 cup flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1.2 teaspoon salt


  • 1 cup confectioners sugar
  • 3 ounces cream cheese
  • 4 tablespoons butter


  • Preheat oven to 375⁰F
  • Beat eggs on high for 5 minutes
  • Add in sugar and pumpkin, mixing well
  • Stir in flour, baking powder, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and salt
  • Line a baking sheet with wax or parchment paper.
  • Spread batter evenly
  • Bake 15 minutes
  • While the roll is baking dust a tea towel or parchment paper with flour.  The floured area needs to be roughly the size of the roll you have baking
  • Turn the roll onto the floured towel or parchment paper.
  • Roll up and let cool completely
  • Once the roll is cooled mix up the frosting and spread on the inside of the cooled roll.
  • Re-roll, wrap in tin foil and refrigerate till ready to serve.


  • You can get 2 rolls from 1 can of pumpkin
  • Using parchment paper instead of a tea towel makes clean up a lot easier
  • Put the flour through a sieve or strainer to dust, you only need a light dusting
  • The batter is think so won’t self level, all lumps and variances in thickness will show in the baked roll.  This isn’t necessarily a bad thing as most people won’t even know


What I am currently reading: Ravished by Amanda Quick

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Caramel Stuffed Apple Cider Cookies

I love fall.  It is one of the things I miss most about Michigan (no mom, not enough to move back).  The air is crisp and fresh, you get to wear jeans and hoodies, apple cider and hot chocolate are readily available and the apples are in season!

Every year my family makes applesauce to last us the whole year.  We all get together at one of my aunts house (her house is the only one with 6 burners and 2 ovens) and spend the whole day hanging out and making applesauce from scratch.  Making applesauce for about 20 people for a year takes quite awhile and you have to feed everyone throughout the day too.  Sadly I haven’t attended an applesauce day since I moved to Florida.  That also means that I haven’t had applesauce in a few years.  The store bought stuff just doesn’t have any flavor.

apple cider cookies

Anyway that isn’t the point of this post.  I am telling you about these amazing Caramel Stuffed Apple Cider Cookies.  I found this recipe on Pintrest (where else do you find recipes?) last year, I think. 


  • 1 cup softened butter
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 box (10 packets) Alpine Spiced Apple Cider Instant Original Drink mix
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 3 cups flour
  • Kraft Caramels


  • Mix flour, baking powder, baking soda and cinnamon in a separate bowl.
  • Cream together butter, sugar, salt and 10 packets of cider mix in a mixer until light and fluffy. 
  • Beat in eggs and vanilla and mix well.
  • Add dry ingredients to sugar mixture until just mixed.
  • Refrigerate dough for about 1 hour (or as long as you can wait).  This step is not necessary but makes the it much easier (read less messy) to work with.
  • Preheat over to 350⁰F
  • Line cookie sheets with parchment paper
  • Unwrap caramels
  • Scoop cookie down into your palm and push a caramel into the center.  Gently roll into a ball.
  • Place on parchment covered cookie sheet about 2 inches apart.
  • Bake 12-14 minutes until lightly browned around the edges.  Don’t over bake!
  • Once you remove the cookie sheet form the over slide the parchment and cookies onto the counter to start cooling.
  • After about 15 minutes turn the cookies upside down to finish cooling.


  • Use 5 packets original drink mix and 5 packets sugar free
  • The original recipe says it makes 4 dozen cookies.  I have never gotten that many cookies out of 1 batch.  I think my cookies are thicker than hers though.

dough balls                   baked

  • Make sure there is plenty of space between the cookies. (The pictures are not a before and after but you can see how much they spread)
  • When you are ready to enjoy pop the cookie into the microwave for 5-10 seconds to warm up the caramel.  Just don’t leave the cookie in too long; the caramel gets very hot and will burn your mouth.


What I am currently reading:  Percy Jackson and the Battle of the Labyrinth by Rick Riordan

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New Recipe Sunday

(Yes, I know it is Monday.)

One of my favorite things to do on Sundays after church is to try a new recipe.  This week is a 2-for-1.  I really wanted to make some soup to take for lunches (or a quick dinner after work) so I explored the hundreds of recipes I have on Pintrest till one caught my eye.  (I have mentioned that I am addicted to Pintrest, right?)

Crock Pot Buffalo Chicken Soup

During my Pintrest exploration I noticed that I have several variation of spicy chicken soup (Chicken Enchilada, Chicken Tortilla, Buffalo Chicken….).  I think there maybe a theme there, just saying.  Anyway,  I opened several of the recipes and decided on this version of Crock Pot Buffalo Chicken Soup (it also happened to be the recipe I had the most ingredients for).  The recipe calls for shredded Rotisserie Chicken.  Now I have never bought a rotisserie chicken instead I usually use this recipe for Slow Cooker Teriyaki Chicken, since I love the slightly sweet taste it has, but for this soup I didn’t want the sweet flavor.  Instead I used the shredded chicken recipe from this Crock Pot Buffalo Chicken Lettuce Wrap but did not add the hot sauce for the last 30 minutes (since I was putting it in a soup that had hot sauce I was concerned this would be too spicy).


As you can see above I topped my soup with Blue Cheese crumbles and more hot sauce (I like things spicy!).  Next time I think I will make a few tweaks like adding some more vegetables (carrots, peppers and potatoes), definitely more hot sauce and I think I will use heavy cream instead of milk for a creamier broth (maybe half milk and half heavy cream).  All in all it turned out better than I thought it would, and I got 7 servings out of it.


What I am currently reading:  Percy Jackson and the Lightening Thief by Rick Riordan

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Belle of the Library

... the musings of a BARELY thirty-something, married, Southern librarian with a wildly inappropriate sense of humor, an inability to gauge most emotional cues, a dear best friend since ninth grade, and a stubborn, mouthy, redheaded country boy to accompany her through life.


Me, my thoughts and my life

Peanut Butter Fingers

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