Sunday, November 12, 2017


The holiday season is coming soon and if you are like Olivia and I that means carry-ins, entertaining, family get-togethers, and countless other opportunities to come up with new and innovative recipes.  This one came from 

This decadent dip can be used as a snack, an appetizer, or even a easy and casual dessert.  It is rich and creamy and sure to not disappoint.  If you don't have large sizes of the liquor it calls for, check the local liquor store for small sample sized bottles or try one of the non-alcohol versions listed below.  You may like it so much you have a hard time remembering it is a dip and you might just attack it with a spoon!  Enjoy!

Mudslide Cheesecake Dip

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Yield: 1 1/2 cups dip

  • 1 - 8 ounce package cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons Irish Cream
  • 2 Tablespoons Kahlua
  • 1 Tablespoon Rum
  • (optional ideas to make this without alcohol at the bottom)
  • 1 cup Cool Whip, thawed
  • chocolate syrup
  • 1 Tablespoon mini chocolate chips
  1. Beat the cream cheese until creamy. Add the sugar and beat until smooth again.
  2. Pour in the Irish Cream, Kahlua, and Rum. Beat until creamy.
  3. Add the Cool Whip and beat again until creamy.
  4. Drizzle chocolate syrup on the inside of a clear glass dish. Spoon the dip into the dish. Sprinkle with chocolate chips. Serve with cookies or fruit.

Sunday, November 5, 2017


Crockpot Pinto Beans with Ham

This yummy soup recipe came from a site called  I have never made ham and beans using pinto beans.  The ham and beans I traditionally made for the family when Olivia was growing up included a ham hock and navy beans.  I happened to run across a ziplock bag of frozen honey ham pieces in the freezer about the same time I found a bag of pinto beans in my cupboard.  That's when I started looking for a recipe using both.

I like this recipe for a couple of reasons.  The recipe calls for green pepper.  I was a little nervous about using that because I was afraid it might overpower the soup.  It didn't.  It was perfect.  The oregano and cumin also gave it a rich, full bodied flavor.  This weekend was cold and rainy where Olivia and I live.  This bean soup was the perfect meal to chase away the chill.

Image result for pinto beans with ham

What You'll Need

  • 1 pound dried pinto beans, sorted and washed
  • 3 cups water
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 4 to 8 ounces cooked ham, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup chopped green pepper
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt, or to taste

How to Make It

  1. Put the beans in a large bowl and cover them with water to a depth of about 2 inches above the beans. Let stand overnight; drain. Put beans in a large Dutch oven or stockpot; cover with fresh water, and simmer 20 to 30 minutes, or until just tender. Drain.
  2. Place the beans in a 5- or 6-quart slow cooker with the water and remaining ingredients, except salt.
  3. Cover the slow cooker and cook on low setting for 4 to 6 hours, or until beans are soft. Stir a couple of times during cooking and add more water if necessary. Add salt, to taste.
    Serve the beans with cornbread, rice, a green salad or slaw.
    Serves 8 to 10.
    Tips and Variations
    • Instead of diced ham, cook the peas with a large meaty ham hock or two small ham hocks.
    • Replace the diced ham with about 12 ounces of diced browned smoked sausage. Add it near the end of the cooking time.
    • Add a few teaspoons of minced jalapeno pepper or about 1/2 teaspoon of crushed red pepper flakes.
    • Add 2 medium dried bay leaves to the beans.

    Sunday, October 29, 2017


    Olivia and I attended a hog roast hosted by a dear friend of her's who is a retired teacher.  It is a lovely gathering of friends, family, and church friends who all bring a dish to share and the hosts provide a delicious roasted hog that melts in your mouth. 

    One of the people brought a version of Chex mix that was a big hit.  The best part about it was that it was both sweet and salty and provided lots of room for improvising with your own additions to the basic Chex cereal.  Try this and you won't be disappointed, especially if you load it up with lots of variety and personal favorite ingredients. 


    Bring the following to a boil:

    2 and 1/2 sticks butter
    1 and 1/2 cups brown sugar
    1/4 cup corn syrup

    Remove from heat and add 1/2 teaspoon baking soda.

    Pour over 1 box corn Chex cereal.

    Microwave for 5 minutes, stirring every minute.

    Cool and add in any goodies you would like!  Here we used M & M's, dried cranberries, and pretzels.  So yummy!!!

    Sunday, October 22, 2017


    This time of years there are apples and apple cider everywhere.  Cooking with apple cider is an excellent way to get the awesome flavor of the beverage without going overboard drinking it every day until the big jug you purchased is gone.  It only remains at its peak for a short time so it is worth using every drop as soon as possible. 

    Olivia found this great Taste of Home recipe that combines two all time favorites--apple cider and pork chops.  The recipe is easy and flavorful.  The broth, butter, and whipping cream give the gravy a delightfully rich, full taste.  Add this recipe to your fall line up and you'll get rave reviews.



    • 4 bone-in center-cut pork loin chops (6 ounces each)
    • 1/2 teaspoon salt
    • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
    • 3 tablespoons dried sage leaves
    • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
    • 2 tablespoons butter
    • 2 tablespoons canola oil
    • 1/2 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth
    • 1/2 cup apple cider or juice
    • 1/4 cup heavy whipping cream
    • Minced fresh parsley


    Sprinkle chops with salt and pepper; rub with sage. Dip in flour to coat lightly.
    In a large skillet, heat butter and oil over medium heat; brown chops on both sides. Remove from pan.
    Add broth and cider to skillet; bring to a boil, stirring to loosen browned bits from pan. Add cream; cook and stir until thickened. Reduce heat to medium. Add chops; cook, covered, until a thermometer inserted in pork reads 145°, 5-7 minutes. Let stand 5 minutes; sprinkle with parsley. Yield: 4 servings.

    Sunday, October 15, 2017


    When Olivia showed me this recipe, her comment was, "It doesn't look like much, but the two groups of people we served it to loved it."  I laughed at that because I know the old adage about how you eat with your eyes first, but in this case beauty is in the eye of the beholder.  I personally think the golden brown look of this dip is a beautiful thing.  The combination of cheeses and spices paired with chorizo is a medley that can't be beat.  With fall gatherings coming up and football games to watch (which automatically means snacks to eat while watching) this delicious dip could become a crowd favorite.  Give it a try!



    • 1 pound bulk chorizo
    • 16 ounces sour cream with chives
    • 8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
    • 8 ounces Velveeta, cut into small cubes
    • 16 ounces mixture of cheddar and colby cheeses, grated
    • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
    • 1 teaspoon onion powder
    • ½ teaspoon dried ground sage
    • garlic powder to taste


    1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Coat a 9×9-inch baking dish with non-stick cooking spray.
    2. In a skillet over medium heat, cook the chorizo, crumbling it as it cooks, until browned and cooked through. Remove the chorizo from the skillet with a slotted spoon and place on a paper towel-lined plate. Allow to cool for 5 minutes.
    3. Add the sausage and all remaining ingredients to a medium bowl and stir until well blended. Transfer the mixture to the prepared baking dish, spreading it into an even layer.
    4. Bake for 1 hour, or until bubbly and golden brown. Serve warm with tortilla chips.

    Sunday, October 8, 2017


    This scrumptious recipe is from  Olivia made it and found it is a big hit.  Not only is this recipe good, made with very few ingredients, and super easy, but it could be used as a snack, an appetizer, or a side dish.  The zucchini are long gone from the garden here, but they are still plentiful in  the store.  Zucchini often gets a bad rap because when they grow they are super abundant and people run out of ways to fix them.  Add this great recipe to your zucchini line up and you will have people coming back for more. 


    • 2 medium-sized zucchini
    • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
    • Garlic salt & freshly ground black pepper, optional
    1. Place oven rack in center position of oven. Preheat to 425°F. Line a baking sheet with foil (lightly misted with cooking spray) OR parchment paper.
    2. Wash and dry zucchini, and cut into 1/4-inch thick slices. Arrange zucchini rounds on prepared pan, with little to no space between them. If desired, lightly sprinkle zucchini with garlic salt and freshly ground black pepper. Use a small spoon to spread a thin layer of Parmesan cheese on each slice of zucchini. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until Parmesan turns a light golden brown. (Watch these closely the first time you make them and pull them out of the oven early if the Parmesan is golden before 15 minutes!) Serve immediately.

    Monday, October 2, 2017


    It's that time of year again...PUMPKIN TIME!  Olivia found this delicious recipe at a site called  It is a winner and sure to delight all the pumpkin lovers you know.  The recipe bills itself as a coffee cake but this wonder is decadent enough to pass as a dessert for your fall get togethers, as a game time treat, or something really nice for a carry in.  The smell alone of this cake is enough to draw attention from a crowd.  Olivia and I hope you are enjoying this beautiful season and everything it has to offer.  We rarely met a season we didn't like to enjoy outdoors, decorate for, and of course, cook the appropriate seasonal fare. Dig in!

    Before it goes into the oven...

    When it comes out of the oven...

    With the icing....

    Pumpkin Coffee Cake with Streusel


    For the streusel: 
    • 1 cup brown sugar
    • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
    • 1/2 teaspoon salt
    • 1 1/2 tablespoons cinnamon
    • 1 cup butter, melted
    • 2 1/2 cups flour
    For the cake:
    • 3 cups all purpose flour
    • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
    • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
    • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
    • 1/2 teaspoon salt
    • 1 cup brown cup sugar
    • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
    • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, room temperature
    • 2 eggs
    • 2 (15 ounce) cans pumpkin puree
    For the glaze: 
    • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
    • 1 tablespoon milk


    1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9x13 baking dish with non-stick spray.
    2. To prepare the streusel, stir together the sugars, cinnamon, salt, and melted butter in a medium mixing bowl until well combined.
    3. Stir in the flour. Set aside while you prepare the cake batter.
    4. Add the flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt to a large mixing bowl and whisk to combine.
    5. Add the sugars and butter to a medium mixing bowl and beat with a mixer until light and fluffy.
    6. Beat in the eggs and pumpkin until just combined.
    7. Add the pumpkin mixture to the flour mixture and stir until just combined.
    8. Spread cake batter into prepared pan.
    9. Take the streusel topping in your hands and press together to form large crumbs. Top the cake with the streusel. It will seem like too much, but use it all for the best streusel experience.
    10. Bake for 50 minutes or until a tester inserted in the middle comes out mostly clean.
    11. Cool completely.
    12. Whisk together the powdered sugar and milk to make the glaze. Drizzle over the top before serving.