Homemade Orange Julius

Tangerine slices

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When I was young, probably 7 or 8, my Uncle John came to visit in the summertime to help my Dad paint our house. Looking back, it was a huge undertaking for just two people. We didn’t live in a mansion by any stretch, but it was still a good sized, two-story home.

Looking back on that summer, one of the things I remember very well is the Saga of Dad’s Broken Arm. It all started one morning when my sister and I were out playing in some large cardboard boxes on the front porch. We had decorated the boxes to be like time machines and were blasting through the space-time continuum like Thelma and Louise minus the whole driving off a cliff thing. 🙂 Anyway, after we arrived back in the 20th century, I remember my Uncle John telling us that we had to go to the hospital because my Dad fell off a ladder and they thought his arm was broken. In addition to that, he had a small gash on his forehead that was bleeding quite a bit.
Continue reading “Homemade Orange Julius”

Grandma Bev’s Pecan Pie

So… hello there! You might have been wondering what I actually filled my pie crust with the other day (two weeks ago! eek!) after my misadventures in pie crust making. It was pecan pie! My Grandma Bev was known for her pies, especially her pecan pie. Every Thanksgiving and Christmas, it would make an appearance at the table. And wow, was it good. So to honor my dear grandma, I thought I would share with you her epic pecan pie recipe. I hope you enjoy it as much as my family and I have over the years.

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Pie Crust, My Feeble Attempt

Happy Pi Day! Two days late. Oh well. I had good intentions, and since I have never been good at math, it seems fitting that I would celebrate Pi Day a little late. 🙂

Pie crusts can be rather intimidating, you know? Handling the dough too much can make your pie crust tough, something I have a tendency to mess up on. I can never get it right on the first attempt at rolling it out. Then there’s the issue of butter vs. lard vs. oil. I also read you can use coconut oil (so does pie count as a superfood then?). Sometimes it’s just easier to forget the controversy and head to Aldi and pick up a package of pie crusts for $1.49. Continue reading “Pie Crust, My Feeble Attempt”

Homemade Ranch Dressing Mix

Today is National Ranch Dressing Day. Apparently that’s a thing! I wonder who gets to determine days like that. Is there a National Wine Day? Oh wait, that’s everyday! At least in my world. Well, maybe every OTHER day…cough. 🙂

In honor of National Ranch Dressing Day, I decided to post my go-to ranch dressing mix recipe. It’s really good and you just might not ever go back to the store-bought stuff. I hardly ever buy it at the store anymore. In fact, probably in the last two years, I’ve only bought it once and that was for when I catered the dinner theater (that I still need to post about!) and had to feed 40 people. Yes, it’s that good. And you can use it to flavor other dishes too. I’ve sprinkled it on chicken and also mixed it into ground beef for hamburgers before. YUM! Continue reading “Homemade Ranch Dressing Mix”

Easy Egg Casserole

breakfast casseroles

I don’t know about you all, but I have had a very busy two weeks. The main reason? I have decided to paint my kitchen. It was green, probably what you would call a light forest green, and I needed a change. The green had to go! I liked it when we first moved in nine years ago but probably for the past couple years or so I was just kind of over it. I had been putting it off because…painting. Ugh! Continue reading “Easy Egg Casserole”

Chicken Cordon Bleu Casserole (low carb!)


Last month, I catered and directed a dinner theater. Yes really! It was complete with fancy decorations, red carpet ropes, and lots and lots of glitter! I will have more on that later, but it was SO. MUCH. FUN!! The pics and details will be coming soon, at least that’s my plan anyway. It was the biggest project I have ever done. Lots of good food, good acting, and wonderful guests! Continue reading “Chicken Cordon Bleu Casserole (low carb!)”

Artisan Bread


wheat field

Ah, bread. There’s nothing quite like the smell of homemade bread wafting through your house. I used to be very intimidated with the idea of making my own bread. I was sure I was going to mess it up somehow, and admittedly I have had some bread-making blunders over the years, but once you get the hang of it, it’s really not a big deal. And even seasoned cooks have had blunders, so put your worries aside and know that you’re not alone! Continue reading “Artisan Bread”

Easy Roasted Chicken and Vegetables

roasted chicken thighs

There is a time and a place for luxurious, fancy meals. Those can be really fun. Most days, however, I just need easy. Easy and good. This recipe serves both purposes. You just need to remember to pull your chicken out of the freezer ahead of time. Ahem. 🙂

I’ve said it before, but it bears repeating. I don’t often measure anything in my recipes so the following is kind of an estimate. You can vary it depending on the amount of people you are serving.

Easy Roasted Chicken and Vegetables

1 lb. of carrots, cut up (Use baby carrots to make it super easy, and you don’t even have to cut them up!)
3 lbs. (or so) of potatoes, cubed
3-5 lbs. of raw chicken breasts, cut up (or you can use thighs)
1-2 packets of ranch dressing mix OR 2-4 tablespoons of homemade ranch dressing mix
1 stick of butter, cut up

Toss everything together and put it in your Crock Pot on low for 6-8 hours.


Pico De Gallo

There are some things that taste like summer to me. Watermelon, lemonade, hamburgers on the grill. And pico de gallo! We love to make this recipe in the summer. It’s easy, healthy, and uses up the abundance of garden tomatoes you hopefully have! 

tomato-721603_1920It is getting to be tomato season. Are you swimming in tomatoes yet? My plants aren’t doing as well as last year, but I hope to at least get enough to make a batch or two of our favorite salsa: pico de gallo, also known as fresh tomato salsa. Now, I will warn you that with so many of my recipes, I rarely measure anything. This recipe is no exception. So much of it is a matter of personal preference. Maybe you don’t like cilantro at all so you can leave that out. Maybe you prefer a milder batch? Go ahead and leave out the jalapeno. It’s kind of trial and error really. Here is the recipe.

Pico de Gallo
Fresh tomatoes, maybe 3 or 4
1/2 to 1 red onion (I’ve used yellow and white before too.)
1/2 to 1 jalapeno, seeded (or omit this altogether)
a bunch of cilantro (This is where your personal preference will come in. Start with a smaller amount and add more if you think it needs it.)
2 teaspoons more or less of fresh minced garlic (I have also used garlic powder to taste.)
salt to taste

Now just chop everything up and mix it together. Add more seasoning if needed. Enjoy with tortilla chips!

Homemade Frozen Yogurt Popsicles


When the heat index is over 100 degrees, something cold and sweet (and preferably homemade!) is in order. Yesterday, it felt as hot as 124 according to Weather Underground. Gotta love Kansas. Unless you don’t. 🙂

Today, since the temp “only” felt like 102, I did some weeding in my garden. My poor onions were being taken over! I still have a ways to go though. That’s what happens when you are lazy about weeding busy with life. My zucchini and squash plants are doing very well and I was able to harvest one zucchini and two squash. Woot!

The kids really like homemade frozen yogurt popsicles and they are very easy to make! I don’t have exact measurements for these but I will do my best. If you like them sweeter, add more jelly/jam/preserves.

Frozen Yogurt Popsicles

2 cups regular or Greek yogurt
1/2 cup (or to taste) of your favorite jam/jelly/preserves (I used strawberry – yum!)

Mix everything together and put the mixture into popsicle molds. Freeze until solid. Voila! Done!

I hope you enjoy these as much as we do. They sure taste good on a hot summer day.