Category Archives: recipe

Back in the kitchen…

Yesterday my loving mother came over to help me clean my kitchen!

Now listen – I appreciate a ‘clean’ house – I obsessively pick up and put away dishes and toys – however, I don’t necessarily clean too often…

Like, I’ve dusted like 3 times in the last 5 1/2 years since we’ve lived here…and I try to clean my bathrooms regularly, but usually I notice they need cleaned when yellowing appears in the toilet bowl or bathtub…and I never vacuum (because that’s Joel’s job! Ha, he does it quite often though), and I LOATHE cleaning my gas stovetop and oven.  Mom knows this, so she brought her bag of tricks over to help me 🙂

While we bar-keeper’s-friended the grime out of everything, we COULD NOT get the grates on my range clean!  Of course, I looked on pinterest to find I had already pinned the easiest way to clean the ranges.  I shall try this out tonight, now that Mom dropped off some ammonia (have I mentioned she’s the best?!).  I used another pinterest trick to clean the microwave out, and finally, for the 1st time ever, successfully understood how to use the auto-clean on my oven and woke up to a clean oven! (After I swiftly wiped out the ash…).  What’s next to do after you have a clean kitchen?! COOK AND BAKE AGAIN!

After the holidays at the end of the year (filled with family time and family meals) , the hospital stay when Olson was born (where I eat for ‘free’), and our friends and family showering us with meals when we returned home – I HAVE NOT COOKED IN 2 MONTHS!

We are beyond blessed to have so much provided for us!  Yet….it all comes to an end eventually 🙂  While I do still have a few frozen meals left in the freezer, today marks the first day I have technically cooked since before Christmas!  I made our FAVORITE dish, taken from this blog: Spicy Smoked Sausage Mac and Cheese

I am not super-technical when it comes to recipes…I generally look at them once, remember the ingredients (for the most part) and then look in my cupboard and fridge and make it with what I have – adding in our favorite spices or extras of our favorite foods, and ALWAYS dumping in any vegetables I can find

So for our Spicy Smoked Mac and Cheese, I use: olive oil, smoked sausage, onion, minced garlic, 100% whole wheat pasta, canned pasta sauce, chicken broth, frozen spinach, yogurt (usually, today I had JUST dished out the last of it to the kids for lunch – so I substituted it with a package of cream cheese and some milk…because that’s the same, right?!), and shredded colby jack.

YUM – I cannot wait to eat it!

Have any recipe suggestions for me as I’m getting back into cooking?!


Oh snap.

Best frosting EVER.

Oatmeal Cake with Caramel Frosting

(Original source)

You’ll need the following:

  • 1 1/4 c. boiling water
  • 1 cup quick-cooking oats
  • 1/4 c. butter, softened
  • 1 c. packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 c. sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 c. unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 t. vanilla
  • 1 1/2 c. flour
  • 2 t. baking powder
  • 3/4 t. ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 t. baking soda
  • 1/2 t. salt
  • 1/4 t. nutmeg


  • 1/2 c. packed brown sugar
  • 1/4 c. butter
  • 1/4 c. milk
  • 1/2 t. vanilla
  • 1/8 t. salt
  • 1 1/2 c. powdered sugar

First, pour the boiling water over the oatmeal in a small bowl and let stand for 10 minutes.

Next, in a large bowl, beat the butter and both sugars until crumbly, about 2 minutes.  Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.  Then beat in the applesauce and vanilla.

Separately, combine the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, baking soda, salt and nutmeg. Then gradually add to creamed mixture. Stir in the soaked oats with a spoon.

Pour into a 13″x9″ baking pan coated with non-stick spray and pop into your oven set at 350.  The recipe says 18-22 minutes, but mine took more like 26 minutes to cook all the way through in the center. Don’t forget to check the center with a knife or spaghetti noodle. When you pull it out, it should be clean or have moist crumbs on it.  Cool the cake completely on a wire rack.

Don’t even start the icing until your cake is completely cooled!  For the icing, in a small pan, combine brown sugar and butter and bring to a low boil over medium heat, stirring constantly.  Don’t leave this alone!  Cook and stir for 1 minute.  Gradually whisk in the milk and return to a boil for one more minute.  Transfer to a small bowl and stir in vanilla and salt, then gradually beat in the powdered sugar until smooth.  Immediately spread the icing over your cooled cake. It will set quickly.

What’s been baking in your oven lately?!

Recipes I love lately

I fell in love with baking holiday treats this year…

These have been made by the dozens or multiple batches:

Chubby Hubby Bars

6 minute caramels

Salted Caramel Pretzel Bark

Peanut Butter Pretzel Truffles

Rolo Cookies
Soft Gingerbread Cookies

3/4 c. molasses

1/3 c. brown sugar

1/3 c. water

1/8 c. butter softened

3 1/4 c. flour

1 t. baking soda

1/2 t. allspice

1 t. ginger

1/2 t. cloves

1/2 t. cinnamon

Mix molasses, brown sugar, water, and butter.  Comnine flour, baking soda, allspice, ginger, cloves, and cinnamon & stir together w/wet mixture.  Cover & cool for 3 hours.  Preheat oven, roll out dough & cut into shapes.  Bake at 350 for 8-10 minutes.

Hot Chocolate Mix

16 oz Quick

1/2 c. powdered sugar

3 c. nonfat dry powdered milk

16 oz Coffeemate (dry)

Mix well & keep in airtight container.  Use 1/2-1/3 c. mixture in mug w/boiling water. We love to top with cool whip or whipped cream!

What have you been baking lately?!

What is your absolute favorite recipe for the holiday season?!

Autumn at the Draper’s

Today we have been celebrating autumn’s early arrival in our kitchen!
We got 2 bushels of apples and stayed up until 1:15am last night/this morning making and freezing applesauce!
We were at it again by 8am canning the rest of our tart and tangy applesauce
AND making some yummy desserts:
1. Apple butter
2. Pumpkin pie dip
3. Cinnamon and pumpkin cheesecake
crescent rolls layed out on bottom of 13×9, topped with pumpkin, cream cheese, and sugar mixture w/ cinnamon chips.  Top that with more crescent rolls and then cinnamon sugary butter goodness.  Bake at 350 until golden brown 🙂

Also, it is 2pm while I type this…everyone is napping in the house but me, and we still haven’t showered…

I LOVE these kind of days 🙂

And so this blog isn’t too dull and boring – a photo shoot I took with the babes in August… 🙂

What are you favorite foods to make when the weather turns colder?!

S’more please!

We still do lots of pinterest recipes around our house 🙂
In the past month I have been craving S’more recipes! (among anything that is sweet and sugary…)
I have made S’more brownies for a carry-in
S’more crescent rolls (crescent rolls stuffed with chocolate chips and marshmellows, rolled up, brushed with butter and sprinkled with cinnamon sugar) and
S’more ‘rice krispie’ treats! (um….my favorite dessert so far!)
We also made some brownie batter dip several weeks ago when our nephew, Ethan stayed with us.
This was his first time using a mixer – he did so well!
Mylin was a little concerned, but still wanted to be part of the action 🙂

Baking and freezing!

I made Honey Beer Bread and Poppyseed Bread (without the poppyseeds…) for a Mom’s group brunch a few weekends ago…
Sopapillas. DELICIOUS. Will repeat and hopefully freeze…good for breakfast, dessert, or snack – though I prefer breakfast!

(even Mylin loved them!)
My sweet friend, Brittany came and helped me make some food to freeze for baby season this summer!
We made bean burritos, Buffalo Chicken dip, and Baked Spaghetti

I also baked and froze Sour Cream Banana Bread with Chocolate Chips

And yummy Chicken Chili Spaghetti in the crock pot
(I used this recipe as a template…ours had chicken, cream of chicken, velveeta, hot chili beans, corn, onion, garlic, spaghetti, and spices)

Oops.  Surprisingly this is only like the 2nd egg I’ve broken (on accident…) since I’ve been married – which is odd because I’m clumsy, too fast, unbalanced, and don’t really pay 100% attention to much of anything…
Then came the most AMAZING desserts…
Gooey Butterscotch Bars next time I will make this with less of the goo on top – it about sent me over the edge!
And after Joel kissed me when I ate one he swore he got Diabetes… 😉

Cake Batter Brownies – this recipe also calls for these to be frosted…NOT NECESSARY!!!
These are Joel’s new favorites!
Wow.  I hope to have at least 1 more day like this to cook, bake, and freeze in preparation of baby coming!
When we had Mylin, we literally had a stockpile of food that lasted us 3 months!
That was with the kindness and generosity of my MomLife group and friends who brought meals – but I am hoping to be ahead of the game again this time around!

yummy in my tummy!

So I haven’t had as many frequent posts about pinterest recipes…BUT I have still been making at least 1 per week!

The last week we had:

French Toast Casserole
– This is SOOO delicious and will now move to the top of our ‘do again’ breakfast list!
I made it for MomLife and scurried out the door while it was still hot – so I totally didn’t get a picture of it 😦
But what I love is that you make it the night before and it just soaks together all the goodness for 12 hours before you bake it and enjoy it covered in yummy syrup 🙂


Chicken Roll-Ups (and Roasted Parmesan Asparagus – adapted from a green bean recipe)
– Wow.  I couldn’t believe how awesome these were – but again, with cheese in the sauce, in the filling, and on top, I’m pretty sure they were destined to be delicious!  We split that batch and baked half and froze half…not sure how long those will stay in the freezer before being torn out and popped in the oven and then in my mouth!


Sticky Buns
– So.  There is no picture of these because they took forever to bake and I had left before they were done…These tasted amazing! (A lot like my mom’s overnight coffeecake…but then again, nothing is as good as that.) BUT they took like 3+ the amount of baking time it said…maybe I’m exaggerating…but I had to at least double it.  I have had this problem nearly every time I try to make sticky buns or monkey bread with biscuits from a can – am I doing something wrong?!?!

Cake Batter Cookies

– These were an impulse bake Friday night and another recipe that will move to the top of our do again list!
I split the batter and made half with chocolate chips and half with butterscotch (our favorite). YUMMY.
They were one of the easiest recipes ever to make – of course, not being able to top their cousin, pumpkin muffins (the absolute easiet baked goods recipe ever.)

Next up:
I’m wanting to make Buffalo Chicken Dip and Lemon Poppyseed Pound Cake in the near future!

What’s on your menu at home this week?