These MOST DELICIOUS cookies were a learning experience for me (I am such an amateur baker… but really trying), MAN – were they ever worth it!! So light, so almond-y, so YUMMMMM!  I only wish I had doubled the batch for my cookie trays because once my family gets home, the 30 remaining cookies do not stand a chance – shut up about the missing 6 OK??!!


Here are my notes:

*pay attention to the rolled ball size of only 1” and this will make 36 cookies

*allow your REAL butter to soften on the counter for just an hour

*make sure you allow your dough to chill for the full hour in the fridge

* use a small scoop to evenly push the ‘thumbprint in the center of the cookie

*wait until the cookies are completely cool to drizzle the glaze and be sure to use the almond extract in the glaze too


Ingredients for cookie:

1 cup butter (2 sticks), JUST softened

2/3 cup granulated sugar

1/2 teaspoon almond extract

2 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 cup seedless red raspberry jam


Ingredients for glaze:

1 cup confectionary sugar

3 to 4 teaspoons milk (did you know you can substitute water…? I used milk)

1/2 teaspoons almond extract



  1. On medium speed blend the butter and the sugar then add 1/2 teaspoon almond extract. Beat until well combined. Beat in the flour, 1 cup at a time – use a wooden spoon to stir in any remaining flour. Cover and chill for 1 hour or until dough is easy to handle.
  2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Shape dough into 1-inch balls. (roll them well and make sure they are only 1”) Place balls 2 inches apart on ungreased cookie sheets. Press an indentation into the center of each ball. (I used a small scoop as using my thumb was causing the cookies to crack) Spoon about 1/2 teaspoon of the jam (do not over fill, just to the top) into each indentation. Bake 10 – 12 minutes or until edges are light brown. Cool on cookie sheets for 1 minute. Transfer cookies to wire racks to finish cooling.
  3. For glaze, combine confectionary sugar, 1 teaspoon milk and 1/2 teaspoons almond extract. Add more milk – a tiny bit at a time – to make the glaze into a “drizzle” consistency. Drizzle the COMPLETELY cooled cookies with the GLAZE.

ENJOY…. And tell me what you think!!

Hot Chocolate Cookies… BEST Cookie EVER!!

Hot Chocolate Cookies

OOO MMMM GGGGG!! I found my BLISS, my true love… the one thing that can correct ALL the world issues… THESE cookies!!

I saw them on TV, I remembered my Gramma and my Mom making these when I was little (I actually remember cutting the marshmallows), then I looked up the recipe and found a couple that looked perfect. I played around and I FORCED my family to taste test… Just like with the amazing pumpkin cookies (HERE) I believe a true test of a good cookie is if the dough itself tastes good PLAIN… and these smelled so scrumptious and tasted even better – and that was BEFORE I put the marshmallow and fudge frosting on!!! (I am going to double the recipe for Christmas platters and make some rolled sugar cookies out of the dough as well as these!)

There are a couple steps involved, but they are easy – and OH SO worth it!! These cookies are my new all-time favorite… trust me… I would not steer you wrong!!!


Hot Chocolate Cookies




For the cookies-

*melt together on the stovetop

  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) ‘salted’ butter
  • 12 oz. semi-sweet chocolate


*sift together in a bowl

  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder


*mix on low with mixer

  • 1 1/4 cups brown sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 teaspoons vanilla extract


*cut in ½ for putting on cookie after cooking

  • 20 (??) large marshmallows

For the icing -

  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) melted
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/4 cup hot water
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Assorted sprinkles




Make the cookies-

1.) In a saucepan, melt the butter and chocolate, stirring frequently. Once melted, set aside to cool slightly.

2.) In a bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, and baking powder.

3.) With your mixer, beat the sugar, eggs and vanilla on low speed until well combined.

4.) Add the chocolate mixture and blend until just combined.

5.) Then while still mixing, add the flour mixture slowly and blend until combined.

* Refrigerate the dough for about 1 hour.

6.) Preheat oven to 325*F. and lightly grease (or use parchment paper or silpat liner) your cookie sheets. Use a tablespoon sized cookie scoop to scoop the dough, then roll the dough in your hands to create balls. Arrange about 2 inches apart. * On my first go I made the cookies too big… you should get about 40 balls. Bake the cookies about 10 minutes.

7.) Once baked, press one marshmallow half (cut side down) into the center of each cookie. Return to the oven and bake another 2 minutes – Just to toast the marshmallow.  After cooling a couple of minutes, transfer cookies to cooling racks.

8.) Prepare cookie icing by combining all ingredients in a saucepan (melting butter) and mixing together with a whisk.  Icing will be runny but will harden after it sets – don’t make the mistake of adding more powdered sugar because you think it’s too runny… cuz then you have FUDGE and that would be just awful!! Spoon a small amount of icing (I used a teaspoon) onto the top of each marshmallow, and use the back of the spoon to spread it a bit.

IMPORTANT TIP: After icing just a couple cookies, top with sprinkles BEFORE the icing dries (or your sprinkles won’t stick).


Recipe source- Rachael Ray, Glorious Treats, and Stepable



Stuffed Pepper Soup… OMG YUMMMMM


Stuffed Pepper Soup

Oh me – oh my…. DELICIOUS!!!!

Is there a food you remember from child hood as NOT your favorite? My Mom always made stuffed peppers and I wouldn’t even try them…. Insisted I did not like them (meatloaf and mashed potatoes too = weird kid, I know!) Man, did I miss out by avoiding the stuffed pepper… it is now one of my favorite foods!

And soup – who doesn’t love soup….??!!

Combine the two and BAZAMMMMM…. Your taste buds will rejoice….. YUMMMMO!!

Easy ingredients I had right on hand…. Threw it all together in a small crock and let is simmer all day…. The house smelled heavenly and the taste…. OMG…. Make it now!!!

BONUS – this soup is full of yummy veggies that the kids all ‘surprisingly’ LOVED!!! We served it with grilled cheese but truly a hearty meal all on it’s own!!



  • 2lbs fried ground beef (I always have mine fried up with diced onion and garlic…. I used 3 cups of cooked beef right from my freezer!)
  • 2 cans condensed Tomato soup (about 20 oz or 2.5 cups if you are making your own)
  • 3 beef bouillon dissolved in 3 cups water
  • 2 cups Diced tomatoes (you can use a can – or use your own delicious canned ‘stewed’ tomatoes – my favorite ingredient to have on hand)
  • 2 cups chopped green peppers
  • 2 cups cooked rice (another ALWAYS in my freezer – do you make double when you make rice?)
  • Salt and pepper to your liking…



Throw it all in a crock – seriously…. So easy! I simmered it on low for about 4 hours.



Definitely a new favorite!! Thanks for encouraging me to give it a shot Julie!

FYI – the remainder thickened A LOT in the crock… I added another cup of beef broth (may still need more) and there is plenty for a another meal!


Weekly Menu ~ Meal Plan


~ WEEKLY Meal Plan ~

Oh the week we have had…. And the week we are about to encounter…. OH MY!!!

Our Varsity Youth Football Team played and WON their playoff game and are now headed to the Championship next week… GO TROJANS!!!

I have yet to even think about Halloween and don’t know what anyone is wearing any day this week but I will make and stick to a meal plan to take one realm of stress off my plate!!


Monday –

Chicken Alfredo – I have a freezer meal already in the crock…. Definitely including this in our next session!


Tuesday –

Stuffed Shells – pulled out of the freezer to start thawing now… but I used this recipe HERE!


Wednesday –

Beef and Noodles – using up the leftovers from our Pot Roast Dinner this weekend. I just shred the remaining beef and heat in the remaining gravy, then mix with cooked spiral noodles. I usually throw in a can of peas to add a veggie.


Thursday –

Taco Bar – using my tri-crock to have ready; taco meat, warm salsa, and nacho cheese!


Friday –

SOUP – It’s Halloween; sure hope I can find costumes for these kids, Thursday at midnight when I can finally shop – hahaha – tradition says a big crock of soup to share… I am going to try Trisha Yearwood’s Tortilla Soup! HERE is the recipe


Saturday –

“FAITH, FAMILY, FRIENDS and FOOTBALL” (Totally our motto right now!)

The #1 seed, Tri-Town Trojans take the field at 5PM – be there!! ….probably PIZZA for dinner! CELEBRATORY Pizza!!


Sunday –

Me and the Food Network! Home all day – I swear, if I have to leave the house… aghhhhh, LOL!! Making the last of my frozen turkey’s… so I have room for this year’s!! TURKEY DINNER and plenty of leftovers to make my favorite turkey/chicken meals next week!!


SO  – what are you eating this week??

Menu Monday ~ Weekly Meal Plan

burger stroganoff

~ WEEKLY Meal Plan ~

Cooking through my freezer as I need room for the upcoming turkey sale! Here is this week’s meal plan…. Hope there is something you will want to try!!


Monday –

Chicken Margarita – an amazing balsamic chicken and noodle recipe from a MEAL APPEAL weight watchers meal session. It froze beautifully and reheated perfect…. For anyone that had it, I have to say I added a cup of ranch dressing …. Probably blew the WW points there but it was delicious!!!


Tuesday –

Lots of pork left from my roast last week, so I am reheating it and serving on warm tortillas = Pork Carnitas!


Wednesday –

Hawaiian Chicken – another FREEZER Meal from my collection!


Thursday –

Burger Stroganoff – created this last week and OMG was it phenomenal! I shared the recipe HERE – go ahead make a double batch!!


Friday –

Chicken Pot Pie – I have one in my freezer, it’s warm and hearty and always a big hit in my house!



Football, football, football… have I mentioned my boy is on the #1 team in the league?? We start playoffs in Medina (our game is at 8:10 PM – I know!) and our little “minis” are playing too, so we will be there from noon til midnight….probably PIZZA for dinner!


Sunday –

Me and the Food Network! Home all day – huge beef roast for the crockpot, potatoes, carrots and beans! I will come up with some amazing dessert and I hope to make at least a few jars of applesauce!

Ground Beef Stroganoff ~ FREEZER meal

burger stroganoff

Crock-Pot Ground Beef Stroganoff ~ (a FREEZER Meal)

* I know I say it alot… but some food just doesn’t look good in pictures – hahaha!  DON’T let that fool you – this was AMAZING!!!

MY NOTES – This meal was incredibly EASY, was so hearty and delicious, and most importantly of all; got all 5 thumbs up from my family – even the picky kid who always eats his noodles plain, tried it and loved it!! Dare I say, I may even prefer this over actual beef tip (stew meat) stroganoff… There is just something ultra-comforting about any type of hamburger gravy.   I may even try some over a warm biscuit – just to add some extra “love” – hahaha. All 5 of us ate (a lot) and there was still more than plenty for K’s lunch the next day. Chicken eaters (you know you 1 cup per person people otherwise known as HEALTHY eaters – LOL) could probably get 2 meals out of this! I also think you could easily substitute 4 cups of any meat – including cooked ground turkey.



  • 4 cups of cooked ground beef ( I always have some pre-made that I browned with minced onion and garlic – depending on the fat content of the beef you will need to fry at least 2 lbs. and don’t skimp on the garlic and onion – I would say I use a ½ cup of diced onion and 1 TBS garlic per lb of beef when I fry it initially.)
  • 2 cans of cream of mushroom soup (any cream soup – I am attempting to make some homemade to get away from the processed stuff – but have not succeeded yet – LOL)
  • 2 T Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 c water
  • 1 c milk
  • 1 c. sour cream
  • packet of onion soup mix
  • packet of brown gravy mix

◦chopped mushrooms (optional)

◦egg noodles (to serve over the day you cook)



Cook meat & let it cool – again I like to fry my burger with minced onion and garlic

To Freeze: Add all ingredients to a LABELED gallon size freezer bag and place in freezer.

To Prepare: When ready to use thaw in fridge overnight. Cook in Crock, on low, for 4-6 hours. You may wish to add a little more milk at the end to thin the ‘gravy’ a bit. Serve over egg noodles.


5/5 THUMBS UP – it’s a keeper!!

Menu Monday ~ Weekly Meal Plan

camp burger home

~ WEEKLY Meal Plan ~


We camped all weekend and had some of the best camp food yet! Sunday we had a tailgate party and a little chili festival, so of course chili had to be incorporated into the week’s menu! Also lots of little bits of sides to use up so I mixed up camp burgers that we can use up the sides with! We have a CRAZY busy week and I need to have all my meals ready and in the crock for the day or prepared to be thrown in the oven before we run back out to pick up kids! The weekend is a meal plan killer because…  agh FOOTBALL… and Family… and Friends…  and FUN!!!


Monday –

Camp Burgers on grilled garlic buns, with leftover cheesy potatoes, burger beans, coleslaw and taco dip.


Tuesday –

Lasagna from the freezer! Last time I made lasagna, I made a couple extra smaller pans and this will be a hearty and delicious meal that I only have to throw in the oven. I could tell you we are going to have a big salad with it but most likely it will be loaf of fresh Italian bread!!


Wednesday –

I had a small Pork Loin in the freezer, so I am covering with cream soup and cooking all day in the crock! Served with fried potatoes, applesauce and green beans.


Thursday –

Chili back in the crock and adding hot dogs. A few toppings and some toasty buns will make this a huge hit.


Friday –

We have a pep rally / bonfire and just have to bring a snack so dinner will likely be a quick sandwich or cereal…. And again, I should say we will eat quick before we go but having to work and to be there by 6PM makes the before thing highly unlikely!!

*So – a good snack for kids and adults alike… and no power and I need to make the night before… Ideas??


Saturday –

Football, football, football… probably PIZZA for dinner!

*…and it is bake sale day so I need to get cracking! Again – open to suggestions!


Sunday –

Family football party… What to make, what to make?? An appetizer… a side… a dessert…. Not sure yet… it’s a cook out… so – ideas??

Chicken Fried Rice

chicken fried rice

Hearty, delicious and QUICK – now this is a keeper!!

I was thinking of a meal… that would be resemble “comfort food”… I could make it with ingredients on hand, and it would be QUICK and DELICIOUS!

I always have cooked – cubed chicken, cooked rice and veggies on hand, so after punching my ingredients into good ole’ google and perusing a few recipes; my own CHICKEN FRIED RICE was created!



3 TBS oil (Sesame is best for this, but any will do)

1 regular onion – diced

1 TBS minced garlic

3 eggs – scrambled

3 cups vegetables (I used a bag of frozen mixed vegetables)

2 cups of cooked, cubed chicken

4 cups of cooked rice

1 cup STIR FRY sauce



  • In a large skillet, heat the oil… then fry the onion until translucent and add the garlic.
  • Add the eggs to the onion and scramble quickly.
  • Add vegetables and toss until cooked through and tender.
  • Add chicken, stirring to combine and then rice.
  • Continue stirring, until all is heated though, and add stir fry sauce – tossing to coat.


BONUS – the leftovers freeze beautifully and can be heated through on stovetop or in the micro.!!

Apple Dumplings to die for…. sweet, caramel, easy, delicious!!

apple dumplings 2

I know, I know… I need to become a better photographer!  BUT trust me – I finally made a dessert that I LOVE more than chocolate… Easy, peasy semi-homemade apple dumplings! They not only taste like heaven on earth, but the smell they create is absolutely the epitome of fall!!! I swear – you will never make an apple pie again… this recipe will replace the pie for sure!!

I love to watch Tricia’s Southern Cooking on Sunday mornings and last week she made “dumplings”… they looked and sounded good, but of course, I had to play with the recipe! I am a true lover of the “oh too sweet” apple filling in the HOSTESS pies and I wanted to add a caramel-y touch so – after a few test runs, HERE is what worked!!


  • 2 apples – Granny Smith work well!
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 1 TBS cinnamon
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla
  • 8 pack canned biscuits (worked great with Sav-a-lot cheapies even!)


Preheat the oven to 375 degrees

In a small bowl (or I prefer a shaker container) mix the ¼ cup white sugar and 1TBS cinnamon

Slice the apples into 8 slices each. Sprinkle with about a TBS of the cinnamon/sugar mix.

In a medium saucepan, mix 1 cup water, 1/2 cup of white sugar, 1/2 cup of brown sugar, the butter and vanilla. Bring the sugar mixture to a boil over medium heat – stirring constantly.

Separate each biscuit into 2 layers. (peel them apart – in ½) Wrap a biscuit layer around a slice of apple, stretching the biscuit slightly to overlap, and seal on the bottom. Place the wrapped slices, sealed-side down, in a 9 x 13 casserole dish. Pour the hot sugar liquid mixture over the “dumplings”. Sprinkle the remaining cinnamon/sugar mixture over the top.

Bake until golden brown, about 35 minutes.

apple dumplings

Scrumptious Blueberry Muffins… YUMMMMM


SOMETIMES my MIL actually brings me the BEST gifts… a big ole’ bowl of fresh blueberries is one of them!! (Left over glasses from a church sale – not so much – hahaha)

I made it my mission to perfect FRESH blueberry muffins and once again – I impressed myself!

Here they are, give it a shot… YUMMMM

I used the 2 bowl method – 1 for dry ingredients, 1 for wet… I also premixed extra cinnamon and sugar for berries and topping… yeah, yeah, that created bowl 3 and 4… so much for a 2 bowl method  – oh my!!


In small bowl, mix:

  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 1 TBSP cinnamon

Sprinkle about ½ mixture on 1 cup of blueberries and toss to coat – set aside.


First Bowl (dry ingredients), combine:

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 TBSP baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon


Second Bowl (wet ingredients), start by melting butter, then whisk in:

  • 4 TBSP butter, melted
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 eggs
  • 3/4 cup milk


Preheat oven to 350. Line muffin pan with cupcake liners.

Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and blend – just until mixed. Add coated berries and stir gently.

Scoop batter into liners – almost full. Sprinkle with additional cinnamon sugar.

Bake for 25-30 minutes. DEVOUR… YUMMMMMM!!!



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