About Me

Words to describe me include: fun-loving, kind, caring, outgoing and up for a new adventure. Some of my interests in a nutshell, gardening, crafts, cooking, the outdoors, camping, hiking, photography, and creating positive relationships.

Friday, December 31, 2010

Easy Breakfast "Hot Pocket"

Blizzard Cookies - Still need to add recipe :-)

No Wait Sausage and Egg Bake

This is quick to put together.  You can either bake it immediately, or you can refrigerate overnight and just throw in the oven in the morning.  
Bread stuffing, bread, dry mix
1.0  x  1 package (6 oz) (170g)
Cheese, cheddar
1.0  x  1 cup, shredded (113g)
Egg, whole, raw, fresh
9.0  x  1 large (50g)
Onions, raw
1.0  x  1 medium (2-1/2" dia) (110g)
Pork sausage, fresh, raw
16.0  x  1 ounce (28g)
Soup, chicken broth or bouillon, dry, prepared with water  or you can use milk instead. 
1.5  x  1 cup 8 fl oz (241g)


Cut up potato and place it in boiling water, cook while browning sausage. Dice up onion and add it to sausage. Cook until brown. Drain potatoes, onion and sausage. Spray 9x13 pan. Add Onion, sausage and potatoes to pan. Then add bread crumbs. Add cheese on top. Scramble eggs and add chicken broth. Pour on top of mixture in pan. Cover with foil and bake for 50 minutes at 350 or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean. Take off foil and bake for an additional 10 minutes. Cool for 5 minutes.

Read More http://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/recipe/1891813/2#ixzz19hh7aQ6y

Friday, December 24, 2010

Basic Chex Mix

I took a chex mix recipe, I doubled the first 5 ingredients, and this is what you have!  


- 12 tbsp margarine or butter (not the tub or spread stuff)
- 1 tbsp seasoned salt
- 4 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
- 1 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- 1 1/2 tsp onion powder
- 3 cups Wheat Chex
- 3 cups Rice Chex
- 3 cups Corn Chex
- 1 cup mixed nuts
- 1 cup pretzels
- 1 cup garlic flavored bagel chips

Heat oven to 250°. Melt margarine or butter in large roasting pan in oven. Stir in seasonings. Gradually stir in remaining ingredients until mixture is evenly coated. Bake 1 hour, stirring every 15 minutes. Spread on paper towels to cool. Store in airtight container. Makes 12 cups of snackin' fun for the whole family.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Ways to make homemade apple cider!

Variation 1:

Make Homemade Apple Cider Using a Food Processor and Slow Cooker

Sep 21, 2010 Annette Phillips
Apple Cider Using Food Processor - Jorbasa
Apple Cider Using Food Processor - Jorbasa
Make apple cider easily at home. From tree to cup in a few short steps using a food processor and a slow cooker to keep cider warm for holiday parties.
Holiday's are a wonderful time for family and friends to get together. Baby showers and weddings this time of year need not serve the usual boring punch. Instead, try something new this year. When the weather is cool and crisp what better way to warm it up than to serve warm apple cider?
Different apples result in different flavors of cider and choosing which apples to use is totally by choice. Keep in mind though, using all tart apples will result in a tarter cider. Balancing sweet and tart apples will give a sweeter flavor.

Equipment Needed to Make Apple Cider

Apple cider has been made for centuries especially this time of year. The smell of apple cider sends thoughts of hay rides, wood burning at camp fires, and crisp fallen colorful leaves racing through the minds of those within smelling distance. Although, many cider and fruit presses are available through retailers there are other ways to achieve the results desired with a few simple supplies.
  • food processor or blender
  • knife
  • cheesecloth
  • apple corer (optional)
  • container for storing cider
Apples are best if picked fresh from the tree. If an orchard is not near try a local farmer's market. Cider can be made from any type of apples. Mix it up a little using green, red, and yellow apples or ,if preferred, stick to the apples that are favorites. Avoid apples that are bruised and battered when making cider. According to TLC Cooking, it takes about 36 apples to make one gallon of cider.

How to Make Apple Cider Using a Food Processor

Wash each apple to remove dirt, then core and cut into quarters. There is no need to peel. Next, place into food processor allowing the apples to become as fine as possible. Place a cheese cloth over the container and secure the edges using a rubber band for support. Pour the pulp into the container through the cheese cloth. The cheese cloth will catch the larger pieces while the juice will strain through into the container.
After pouring all the pulp through the cheese cloth give the cloth a few good squeezes over the container to remove all the juice. The cider can be drunk straight from the container, but needs to be heated to 160 degrees Fahrenheit for pasteurization if the cider will be stored for future use. Without being heated the cider will last up to seven days in the refrigerator and up to three weeks in the refrigerator when pasteurized.

Apple Cider Recipes

If using apple cider for showers, parties, weddings, or other get-togethers a slow cooker will keep the cider nice and warm for guest. Apple cider need not be warm, it is also good cold and is only a matter of preference. By adding a few ingredients to apple cider it will spice it up a bit giving a warm holiday feeling when the aroma reaches the nose and the flavor hits the taste buds.

  • 64 ounces of apple cider
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon whole cloves
  • 1 teaspoon whole allspice
  • 3 cinnamon sticks
Pour apple cider into slow cooker and add the cinnamon sticks. Stir in brown sugar. Place cloves and allspice into a small piece of cheese cloth, tie, and add to the slow cooker. Bring to a boil, then switch to warm heat to keep warm while needed. Let cool before storing any leftovers in the fridge.
Another easy recipe is to pour 4 cups of apple cider into a sauce pan and bring to a boil. Pour into 4 mugs and add 2 teaspoons of red hot candies to each mug and stir. The candies will melt and add a twist to an old favorite. This is a terrific drink at Christmas parties.
If making homemade apple cider seems like to much work or time is short pick up some organic apple cider at a local health food store or super market and follow the recipes as directed for a quick and easy holiday delight! There are numerous apple cider recipes littering the internet try a few and decide which one is a favorite at the next party

Read more at Suite101: Make Homemade Apple Cider Using a Food Processor and Slow Cooker http://www.suite101.com/content/make-homemade-apple-cider-using-a-food-processor-and-slow-cooker-a287977#ixzz14dzoKDH9
Variation 2:
Choose Your Apples
Different varieties of apples are used for making most commercial apple ciders. However, the best apples picked up for making a sweeter cider, include Red Delicious, Jonagold, Green Delicious and Fuji apples. Granny Smith, Pink Lady, Winesap, and Macintosh, produce a tarty taste and hence, are used for making a tangy and sharp flavored apple cider. While making apple cider at home, you can either opt for mixing various apples or pick up your favorite ones. While considering different varieties, get a mixture of red, green and gold for the best flavor. Since cider tastes best when cooked from fresh apples, try to get hold of an orchard or local farmer nearby for the freshest pick. Make sure that the apples are healthy and not battered or bruised. To make one gallon of apple cider, you should have 36 apples.
Preparing Apple Cider
  • Wash off all the apples thoroughly under running water to get rid of any dirt or pesticides, especially if they are non-organic. However, even if the apples are organic, give them a good rinse to make sure that they are clean from any grime.
  • Slice the apples into half and carve out the center of each half to get the flesh. Chop the cored apples into quarters and puree them into a smooth paste in a grinder or food processor.
  • Continue processing till you achieve a finely ground pulp as the finer the pulp, the more juice you can extract.
  • Take a large container and spread cheesecloth over it.
  • Transfer the apple pulp onto the cloth and strain through the cheesecloth.
  • Gently squeeze the pulp on the cheesecloth to extract all the possible juice beneath.
  • Add flavor to your apple cider by throwing in some cloves, nutmeg, lemon peel or ginger.
  • For some holiday flair, add in a cinnamon stick.
  • Pour in a little rum and brown sugar for a harder cider.
  • Store the apple cider in an airtight container. The cider keeps good for about seven days when stored in the refrigerator.
  • If you have to store the cider for a longer period, say three weeks, pasteurize the cider by heating it at 160 degrees F (71 degrees C) and then storing it further.
  • All in all, the apple cider tastes best when extracted fresh out of the strainer. 

Broccoli, Cheese, Ham and Potato Slow Cooker Soup

2 pork hocks
1 stalk celery
1 onion
2 carrots
4 cloves of garlic
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground thyme
2 tablespoons dried parsley
2.5# potatoes
chicken boullion
3 cups of fresh broccoli (1 large head)
8 oz. velveeta cubed
1 cup colby jack shredded cheese
1 cup cheddar shredded cheese

Add pork hocks, cover with water.  Cook on low for a few hours.
Skim the fat off the surface of the water.   Remove pork from bone. 
Add chicken boullion and spices.  Finely dice carrots and celery.  Add potatoes. 
Cook for a few more hours.  Cut up broccoli, and add broccoli and cheese for one more hour.


Slow Cooker Pork Roast with Apples

This is the pork roast I am going to try to make tomorrow.  I have lots of apples, pork from my dad and potatoes to use up. 

1 Pork roast
3 Apples
3/4 cup sugar (or to taste)
2 tablespoons flour
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

Core and cut apples in pieces .Place in slowcooker.

Mix sugar, flour and cinnamon in bowl and coat pork with it. Place pork on top of apples. Sprinkle remaining mix on top.

Cook on low for 6-8 hours.

We served it with potatoes and a side of veggies. The pork is very tender and the applesauce was very sweet. Perfect with the potatoes.
This recipe from CDKitchen for Pork With Apples serves/makes 4

Monday, September 6, 2010

On the menu: Meatloaf, Asparagus, and Cream Cheese Drop Cookies with Fresh Raspberries

For dinner tonight, Steve declared this his Ultimate Favorite meal EVER!  
Edit: I now use herb flavored bread crumbs, 8 oz.

Things I changed from the recipe below: 
  • I used 1# ground turkey and 1# pork sausage.
  • I added a packet of dry onion soup mix.
  • I did not have any crackers, so I crushed up 8 oz. of seasoned croutons.  
  • It is very important to follow the directions for baking, use a 9x13 and shape it into a loaf in the 9x13 so it does not get too mushy or juicy.  



  • 2 pounds ground beef
  • 1/2 onion, chopped
  • 1 (10 ounce) package saltine crackers, crushed
  • salt to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon steak sauce
  • 2 eggs
  • 3/4 cup water


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
  2. In a large bowl, combine the beef, onion, crushed crackers, salt, ground black pepper, steak sauce, eggs and water and mix well. Transfer to an ungreased 9x13 inch baking dish. Form into a loaf about 6x10 inches.
  3. Bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 1 hour, or until center is completely cooked.
Put a little oil in the bottom of the pan, cooked until the tips started to turn brown.  Then sprinkled a little parmesan on top while still in the pan.  Take out once the parmesan is melted.  I forgot to add a fresh clove of garlic, I have done that in the past.  However, the asparagus without the garlic worked well with the meal, due to the amount of spices in the meatloaf.  
 On tomorrows agenda:
I'm going to make these cookies but I'm not going to put in coconut and candied cherries.  I will be topping them with fresh raspberries before baking them.

Cream cheese drop cookies with vanilla, coconut, and candied cherries. 
Cook Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: 10 minutes


  • 1 cup butter
  • 2 packages (3 ounces each) cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup toasted coconut*
  • pecan halves or halved candied cherries


Cream together the butter, cream cheese, sugar, salt, and vanilla. Add egg and milk; beat well. Stir in the flour and toasted coconut. Drop cookie batter from teaspoons onto ungreased baking sheet then press a pecan half or cherry half into the top of each. Bake at 325° for 18 to 20 minutes. Remove cookies to a rack to cool.
Makes about 5 dozen cream cheese cookies. *To toast coconut in the oven, spread coconut on a baking sheet in a single layer. Bake at 325°, stirring occasionally, until golden brown, about 10 minutes.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Mankato Calendar Submissions

Last year I submitted photos to the city of Mankato for their annual calendar contest.  
I had a photo that made it in!  So I am trying again this year.  
Let me know which ones you like!! :-D
I can submit 15.  Do you think I submit them all?  


I can't decide which one I like better. I feel the cold in the top picture
and the bottom has such great colors reflecting of the sun setting!  


At the Minnesota River behind the Kiwanis Dog Park

Goats at Sibley Park Zoo

After the spring thaw.  The Minnesota river was very high in Sibley Park

Mankato Symphony Orchestra playing at the new Riverfront Park

I like the boy and man holding hands

I really like the reflection of the sun in this photo.  But I am afraid they won't like the orbs.  I also like the rainbow reflecting off of this guys bike tire.  I also like the symmetry of all of the curves. 

Friday, August 6, 2010

Always loved and never forgotten.

Happy times,
How time flies
Fourteen years to be exact. 

Peaceful, Calm, at ease
Thank you for the fond memories

It is hard to think of how far you have came to where it has all ended.  
Your sweet face, lovely smile and gentle kisses have mended
a bad day
because you have a special way

So much happiness and such,
You are still loved ever so much.

You where the silent secret keeper.  
Always the happy greeter

Guardian, protector and comforter.   
Loving as a mother. 

The end was hard. 
But we must remember how you loved to play in the yard. 

Pick up a toy, chase a rabbit, roll in the grass.  
You have definately left your memory among the mass.  

You did not make enemies.  
Only fond memories. 

Running, Jumping, chasing  and playing

Protecting, comforting, always pleasing
Constantly appeasing.  

Our best friend 
to the end.  
Always loved and never forgotten.  


Monday, July 26, 2010


My dinner tonight!

Thank You Steve!!

My Chipotle Burrito:

Chipotle Fan.com

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Simple Beer Bread - via CopyKat Recipes

12 oz beer (not light or corona)
3 C. self rising flour
1/3 C. sugar
3 Tbsp. butter, melted

Preheat oven to 350.
Spray a 9″ x 5″ loaf pan with baker’s cooking spray. 
Combine flour and sugar; stir in beer (you might have to use your hands to get it mixed thoroughly). Dough will be sticky. 
Pour into prepared loaf pan; brush top with melted butter. 
Bake for 50-60 minutes or until top is golden brown. Cool slightly; remove from pan and finish cooling.

My Flickr DNA

View my photos at bighugelabs.com

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Copy Cat recipe for Noodles and Company Macaroni and Cheese.

I want to try this recipe. 

Things I think I would consider substituting to make it healthier: 
  • using whole wheat noodles
  • maybe subsitiute olive oil instead of the butter?
  • use fat free half and half
  • consider using reduced fat cheese
What do you think?


1 lb. elbow noodles
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup flour
3 cups half and half
1/2 tsp salt
3 Cups Monterrey Jack (or Colby Jack)

Cook pasta according to package directions.

In large saucepan, melt butter. Stir in flour making a roux. Gradually stir in half and half whisking until thickened. Stir in salt. Remove from heat. Add cheese, stir until cheese melts. Top with fancy shredded mild cheddar cheese.

Monday, January 18, 2010

New Blanket

Skippy always has to lay on my fabric when I'm trying to pin it together!


A closer look at the fabric pattern.

The contrast of the front and back.  (Top and Bottom)


I sewed up the sides and tied the ends.