Monday, March 31

Crazy Yummy Nuts!

To prevent confusion, the recipe is called Sweet & Spicy Nuts. However, the recipe is so crazy yummy it just seemed apropos to give you full information!

I had a specific request to post this recipe from a dear friend...shout out to Arlana in AZ-town! I featured these nutty superstars on my Thanksgiving menu and they didn't disappoint. Now, nuts in Arizona will be bathing in sweet and spicy nectar birthed in a tasty Texas kitchen.

In hindsight, using the words "birthed" and "kitchen" in the same sentence makes me queasy...and will NEVER happen again! My apologies!

No matter if you're craving a nutty snack or headed to a party (church function, baby shower, office gathering), you'll be handing out this recipe! Yes, they're "pass out the recipe cards" good!

Sweet & Spicy Nuts
(yields 2 cups, double recipe for large group)
2 tablespoons butter (melted)
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper (I use less, because I'm a spicy sissy)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon chili powder
2 cups nuts (I use mixed nuts but feel free to use whatever you like)

Preheat oven at 300 degrees. Mix butter, Worcestershire, cayenne, salt, and garlic powder until combined.

(At first glance, this doesn't look very appetizing. But when looked at with an artful eye, did you know butter + Worcestershire = green? I think it's pretty!)

Stir in nuts until evenly coated.

Add chili powder and sugar. Toss to coat.

Spread on baking sheet (line with foil or you will spend half your day scrubbing...and scrubbing...and scrubbing) and place in oven for 30 minutes. Stir every 10 minutes.

Transfer to wax paper to cool for 45 min - 1 hour. When completely cooled, serve and enjoy!

Nuts are like family members, some are spicy and some are sweet but we love them all the same!

If you enjoyed this, caring is sharing!

Saturday, March 29


**************** WINNER ***************
Lana Hamblin! Congrats!
I have your contact info, I'll get your prizes to you ASAP!

Thank you for participating! Stay tuned for more of my Favorite Things!

If you read my Chop Shop post, you know how I feel about weekly meal prep. The key to any stress-free meal is being prepared.

It's a beautiful day, the sun is shining, the windows are open, and Little Man is down for a nap. Mommy better get busy!

Ahhhh, naptime...two hours to accomplish what used to take me all day. It's amazing how productive you can be when working against the clock!

Laundry, check...make the bed, check...mop the floors, check...shower (while floors are drying), for some kitchen time.

(After typing this, I'm seriously considering decreasing my caffeine intake!)

With all the chopping, dicing, mincing, and grating, it's inspired me to do a GIVEAWAY!

Today, because I love my kitchen windows open, I love meal prep, and I love you...I'm giving away a set of three Core Kitchen Grip Strip Essential Cutting Boards!  Not only are they the most fabulous thing on the planet, they come in three delightful colors, Lime, Azure, and Teal (because only men say "green, blue, and blue/green").

Did you hear me?

Not one...

Not two...

But, three...

Yep, three! Not only are they adorable but they stack perfectly in your cabinet. No more mix and match boards that, when stacked, topple like a Jenga tower!

To enter, just comment below with your answer to the following question, "What was the last thing you chopped? Veggies? A pile of wood? Your bangs?"

Winner will be selected randomly on Monday evening (March 31st)! I hope you win! With these cuties, you'll be looking for something to slice and dice!

(Here's the link for more Core Kitchen cutting board options.)

Caring is sharing, forward to your friends!

Friday, March 28

Taco Salad

Taco salad is a seemingly simple recipe, just make a big pile! The only thing tedious is the chopping...and chopping...and sweeping...oh, the sweeping. Apparently, I need to be less vigorous with a knife!

With a week full of busy days, I needed a throw together dinner.  Super Hunk was enjoying a chips and salsa (see recipe here) appetizer, disheartened to find only tiny morsels in the bottom of the chip bag. He has very few pet peeves but tiny chips is near the top of the list.

Tiny chips, or "bagglers" (the stragglers at the bottom of the bag) as I like to call them, were my inspiration for dinner. Nothing like turning your man's frown upside down!

Iceberg lettuce was also on sale...I'm on fire! Not literally, that would be painful...and I don't have an extinguisher. Oh no, I don't have an extinguisher! Isn't there a city code for this? Am I in violation? I see a "wandering through the woods" trip to the hardware store in my future!

I suddenly have a hankerin' for a little George Strait...he can cool 'em down when they're smold'ring hot!

Sorry...whoosh...back to Taco Salad! Is it warm in here or is it just me? 

Taco Salad
1 pound ground beef
1 envelope taco seasoning
1 head of iceberg lettuce
1 can whole kernel corn
1 can black beans (drained and rinsed)
1 roma tomato (diced)
1 cup chopped bell peppers (I used red and green)
Sliced black olives (optional)
Grated cheddar cheese
Hefty portion of "bagglers" (blue corn are my favorite but any corn chip will work)
Tablespoon of sour cream (optional)
Tablespoon of salsa (recipe here)

In skillet, brown beef. Add taco seasoning and mix.

While meat is browning, rinse lettuce and chop. Side note: Do you have a salad spinner? If not, run...don't buy one. It will make you giddy! (Here's a link to my favorite brand.)

Prepare your toppings, don't forget the "bagglers"...I failed to photograph the cheese, travesty!

We had leftovers so I'm storing them for tomorrow. Taco salad once is super but taco salad twice is positively stupendous!

Layer lettuce, toppings, and cheese on plate (or bowl, I need walls for appears that I'm vigorous with a fork too).

I also prepared a mini salad for Little Man. It's adorable, don't you think?

Prepare your fork for greatness!

If you enjoyed this, caring is sharing!

Wednesday, March 26

Raising a boy, from God's perspective!

Super Hunk is one of three boys (his brothers are equally as hunky), bless his sweet Mama's heart! The irony, his two older brothers have all girls...bless their sweet hearts! Lordy, Lordy...when those girls start dating...bless that young man's heart!

When I got pregnant, I knew my chances of having the sixth granddaughter were very high. More like, the bag...set in stone! I had no doubt frilly dresses and baby dolls were in my future.

Then, as God does, He mixed things up a bit. I'll never forget the day of the gender ultrasound, I was certain there would be a pink shopping spree that afternoon. On my back, probe to my growing belly, the words "It's a boy" took my breath away. "Can you check again" was all I could say. "A boy, it can't be! It's supposed to be a girl! God, what will I do with a boy? I don't know anything about boys!"

You see, God selected us to raise this boy...a future head of household. To mold and shape him into a man of strength and tenderness. Equipping him with all the biblical principles he will need to lead a family, love a wife, and serve a community the way Jesus would.

I embraced the color blue and enthusiastically accepted God's gift, the responsibility of raising this boy became God's calling on my life.

One day, the Mommy of a precious girl, will look to my son for comfort. Knowing he is taking her daughter to continue molding her into the woman God created her to be. My job is to be a good steward of her trust, ensuring my son will be the best chapter in her daughter's life. And I will one day have the daughter I once envisioned...God's blessings are always double double!

This is raising a boy, from God's perspective!

Tuesday, March 25

Nutella Swirl Bread

One of the reasons I enjoy cooking is it challenges my creativity. Open the fridge to find a half empty jar of jalapenos and a couple lonely tortillas, what delicious dish can I create?

This is how Nutella Swirl Bread was born. I had a coupon for Nutella BOGO (add to cart) and biscuits were on sale (double add to cart). You can do a lot with biscuits and let's face it, Nutella is heavenly! Those Germans are culinary geniuses...I won't even mention my Bratwurst affection...there-are-no-words!

I also enjoy kid-friendly recipes and this is no exception. Simple enough for the little ones to help and a delicious snack for the family to enjoy! Divine!

Nutella Swirl Bread (yields 8 slices)
1 jar Nutella
1 can jumbo flaky biscuits (16 oz.)
1 egg
1 tablespoon water

Bust open that can of biscuits and separate. 

Combine dough until it forms a ball.

Sprinkle flour on counter (be sure to write a cheerful greeting, it makes baking more fun).

Roll out dough to your desired thickness (mine was about 1/2" thick) and spread Nutella evenly on surface of dough (be as generous as you'd like...warning, it WILL get messy).

Starting from one side, roll lengthwise. Once rolled, make a slit (all the way through) about an inch from the top all the way down to the bottom. 

Once sliced, begin to cross ends over each other (exposing the Nutella). Continue until completely braided.

Tada, you're so talented! Place on greased baking sheet. 

Mix egg and 1 tablespoon of water in small bowl and brush along top of braid (this will give it that gorgeous brown glow).

Bake in 350 degree oven for 20 minutes (or until biscuits are no longer mushy) until golden brown.

Holy moly, I've never met a bread I didn't like...with Nutella, I want this as my new BFF!

Slice and enjoy!

PS. I had to give some away because I can't be trusted! Remember my Pack Mule in the Running Shoes post? Yep, busted can of biscuits!

If you enjoyed this, caring is sharing!

Monday, March 24

Chocolate Chip Pecan Baked Oatmeal

If you're new to the Saucepans & Superheroes family and missed my original Baked Oatmeal post, check it out here.

Baked Oatmeal is the little black dress of recipes. So versatile, yet always a crowd pleaser! I've added fresh fruit, dried fruit, every nut under the sun (except acorns, that would just be weird) and granola...that's just for breakfast.

Today, I crossed over to the sweet side and converted breakfast to dessert. Why not?

Dessert Baked Oatmeal...your creativity knows no limits! Let the kids join in...toffee bits, marshmallows, chopped snickers, Andes dinner mints...Oh, mylanta!!

With so many sweet possibilities, I settled on pecans and chocolate chips. Crumble over a scoop of your favorite ice cream and I give you permission...go ahead, lick the bowl!

Chocolate Chip Pecan Baked Oatmeal

1/3 cup melted butter
2 large eggs
1 cup brown sugar
1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 1/8 cup milk
3 cups quick oats (uncooked)
3/4 cup chocolate chips
1/2 cup chopped pecans

Combine first seven ingredients in mixer (you can also use a hand mixer...or a whisk if you want a workout) until well combined. With mixer on low, slowly add oats to mixture.

(Hey goober, the paddle must be in the mixture in order to mix. I'm a dork!)

Add chocolate chips and pecan, stir gently until combined.Pour into favorite greased baking dish (I have also used a 9x13, it makes the oatmeal a little thinner).

You can prepare and store it covered in the refrigerator, baking it the next day! Easy breezy!

Bake in 350 degree oven for 35-40 min. If you use a larger pan (9x13), check on it occasionally as it won't take as long to cook.


(Little Man approves...obviously!)

If you enjoyed this recipe, caring is sharing!

Saturday, March 22

Hot Cross Buns, half for you and half for me!

This week, I've been sharing with you some of my Easter favorites and family traditions. Today, I'm stepping out and sharing a new Good Friday custom. Goodbye, comfort zone! Hello, wild blue carbohydrate yonder!

Hot Cross Buns (typically consumed on Good Friday) are synonymous with Easter and little plastic eggs (I have a first class inability to assemble those silly eggs, I'm seriously remedial). These carbohydrate loaded cuties are rich with history, dating as far back as the ancient Greeks. (I wonder if they had the same level of carb aversion as we do?)

Did you know if you hang a baked Hot Cross Bun in your kitchen for a full year, it will never spoil? The holy bun will also watch over all future yeast recipes, ensuring they're baked to perfection. Now, I'm not sure I believe hanging flour from a string blesses anything but I have a few recipes I can use all the help I can get! Oh, holy bun!

The symbolism of lifelong friendship is why I love Hot Cross Buns. It is said if you share one with a friend, you'll be connected for life. The ancient pastry version of "blood brothers", I suppose. I choose to believe it's the preparation and thoughtfulness that establishes an unbreakable bond, not the magical powers of a lump of dough.

Either way, no matter what you choose to believe, there's something sweet about these buns. Preparing them transports you to another place, a time when Queen Elizabeth I decreed Hot Cross Buns were too sacred to be available all year. That automatically makes this a recipe worth treasuring!

"Half for you, half for me. Between us two, good luck shall be." Quote of the Irish

(Here's my busy life disclaimer: You can absolutely make these from scratch, I'm sure Queen Elizabeth I would appreciate it. However, here's a much simpler version for the busy Mom with NO time to scratch her own buns. Sorry about the visual!)

Hot Cross Buns
1 can of crescent rolls
I/3 cup raisins (chopping is optional, I prefer it)
2 tablespoons grated lemon peel (optional but adds a nice citrus flavor)
3 tablespoons brown sugar

Icing (for the crosses on top)
1/4 cup powdered sugar
1-2 tablespoons of milk

Preheat oven at 375 degrees. Unroll crescents on flat surface (flour surface to prevent sticking).
In small mixing bowl, add raisins, zest, and sugar. Toss to coat.
Spread mixture evenly over crescents. Gently press in dough, to ensure raisins stick.
Pull part triangles and roll into ball (raisin mixture to the inside). Place on greased baking sheet.
Bake for 11-14 minutes, remove and cool on rack for 10-15 minutes.

Prepare icing by adding milk to powdered sugar and whisking until mixed. Pour in piping bag and make crosses on each bun. (You can also use Ziploc bag with corner cut.)

Lastly, quality control is crucial. Go ahead, taste one!

Keep half for you and share the other half! Happy Good Friday (tomorrow), dear friends!

The Antelope in the Living Room - GIVEAWAY! Winner!

***************** WINNER *******************
Barbara Green!
I have your contact info so I'll get your book to you ASAP!
Thank you to all who entered, I can't wait to read your suggestions!

Reading is good for my brain...good for my soul...and good for my vocabulary bank! A new word is like meeting a new friend, so down right exciting!

With a toddler, snuggling down with a good book is a little further down my priority list. It's such a calamity but laundry and dishes scream the loudest!

(Are you like me? Do you clean the house before you clean the house? Do you sort the laundry before you fold the laundry? Do you wipe the floor before you mop the floor? Ok, I might be exaggerating but you get the idea...reading is a brief vacation for me.)

I'm the rare reader who can bail on a book if not hooked in the first chapter. I can sever our brief relationship and move on, with no regrets. No pressure...

The Antelope In the Living Room is a perfect illustration of marriage in real gotta laugh! It had me giggling in the Introduction, I knew we would be fast friends! It's the kind of book that makes me wash the dinner dishes PDQ, knowing another chapter awaits!

I won't spoil it for you but I will say you'll find yourself in every chapter, comforted by knowing you're not alone in your "bats in the belfry" life!

Today, because I love you and I love sharing laughter, I'm giving one away! Woo hoo!

To enter, comment below with your answer to the following question. "What is the last thing you read? Magazine? Bedtime story? Food label? Road sign?" Winner will be selected randomly on Sunday evening (March 23).

"And that's what this book is all about. The times that brought us together and the times we were falling apart. The days we wouldn't trade for anything in the world, and the day he hung an antelope on my wall. Welcome to the story of marriage, dead animals and all." The Antelope in the Living Room

All of us deserve a good laugh, share with your friends!

Wednesday, March 19

Tasty Tomato Bake

Sharing recipes from my precious friends is one of the many reasons I love this blog. Giving their kitchen traditions a voice makes my heart happy...and my tummy!  For all my tomato lovers out there, this will tickle your fancy!

Tasty Tomato Bake
By Guest Contributor, Lana Hamblin & Nana {Hugs!}

This recipe has been in my family for years! I'm talking YEARS! This is a staple in each and every one of our family recipe books. It is best with homegrown tomatoes, fresh from the garden, (Mmmmmm, nothing better than a fresh picked tomato) I could literally eat them like an apple.

My grandfather used to plant rows and rows and ROWS of tomatoes. My Grandmother became very creative with them. Casseroles, tomato gravy, pies, or just slap it on a plate with some salt and pepper! However, I don't have a greenhouse (yet) so I can't get homegrown tomatoes in the winter.

I have used vine-ripened varieties from the store and it is pretty similar. The key to selecting the perfect supermarket tomato is to smell them.  Do you know what I mean?  That rich smell of a GOOD, deep red tomato. Can you tell I'm serious about my tomato picking?  

I spent every Summer shelling peas, canning tomatoes and eating homemade vanilla ice cream with my Nana and Great Aunt. We even topped the ice cream with peaches we picked that day. They taught me everything I know about tomatoes and I cherish every moment.

Here's the recipe, thank you for letting me share!

(For leftovers, triple recipe)
2 strips of bacon
2 cups soft bread cubes (3 slices of bread)
1/4 cup chopped green pepper
1/4 cup chopped onion
6 medium tomatoes
1 tablespoon of sugar
2 tablespoon flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon of pepper
Dash of sage
1/2 cup of grated cheddar cheese 

Peel tomatoes and cut into cubes, set aside. Fry bacon in pan then set aside. 

Add bread cubes to bacon grease and toss until coated. Add peppers and onion and sauté lightly. Add cubed tomatoes and lightly toss. 

In a bowl, combine sugar, flour, salt, pepper, and sage. Sprinkle over top of tomatoes and toss lightly. Spoon into greased 1 1/2 quart baking dish. 

Crumble bacon over the top and sprinkle with cheese. 

Bake for 20-30 minutes (until bubbly) 

Our family serves this with mashed potatoes. I'm not kidding, tomato bake and mashed potatoes are like Laverne & Shirley! 

"What you don't eat, if you put it on top of your head, you'd beat up your face with your tongue trying to get to it." That's what my Daddy always says. :)

Hope you enjoy this as much as my family does. Typing this has inspired me, Tomato Bake for dinner tonight!
(Lana's sweetie pie Grandmother, can't you see her whipping up Tomato Bake?)

 If you enjoyed this recipe, caring is sharing!