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Saturday, January 23, 2016

No Bake Peanut Butter Cup Cream Pie

I grew up in a family that loved to bake. All of my moms sisters and her would make some of the best dishes. The holidays were the best as you could guess with all the great sweets that were available. One of my favorite dishes is one that my own daughter makes now, a peanut butter pie. With a delicious cookie pie crust with peanut butter cups in the pie crust one knows the filling has to get even better. A sweet and fluffy peanut butter filling offers its best with bits of peanuts throughout. Top it all off with old fashioned whipped cream and more peanut butter cups and bits of chocolate.

Whether you make this scrumptious pie for a special occasion or you share it with those you love on a Monday is up to you. This no bake pie is easy to whip up whenever you feel the urge for a special treat. In about 30 minutes it will be done and ready to serve.

No-Bake Peanut Butter Cup Cream Pie

serves 12
  • 24 whole chocolate sandwich cookies
  • 40 mini Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, (wrappers removed, divided)
  • ¼ cup unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 (8-oz) package cream cheese, softened
  • 1¾ cups powdered sugar, divided
  • 1 (16.3-oz) jar chunky peanut butter, (approximately 1¾ cups)
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • ¼ cup dry roasted peanuts, chopped
  • 2 oz milk chocolate, broken into pieces
  1. In a tall bowl whip heavy cream with an electric mixer until you can start to see a defined trail through the cream. Add vanilla and slowly add ¾ cup powdered sugar. Whip until stiff peaks form. (In other words when you turn off the blender and lift the beaters out of the cream, the cream stand up on the end of the beater). Place in the refrigerator while you prepare the remaining ingredients.
  2. In a food processor combine cookies and 20 peanut butter cups. Pulse until your mixture is crumbs. Slowly pour butter in through the feed tube. Pulse until combined and crumbs are moistened.
  3. Pour crumbs into a 9” pie plate and press mixture on the bottom and around the sides to form pie crust. Place in the freezer while you prepare the filling.
  4. To prepare the filling: Combine cream cheese and 1 cup powdered sugar in a large mixing bowl. Beat with an electric mixer until light and fluffy (about 3 minutes). Add peanut butter. Beat until well combined. Fold in ½ of the whipped cream until it is completely incorporated. Pour into chilled pie crust. Smooth with a spatula. Pour remaining whipped cream over top. Place in the refrigerator while you prepare toppings.
  5. Place the milk chocolate in a microwave safe mixing bowl. Heat for 30 seconds at a time, stirring each time, until chocolate is melted. Set aside.
  6. Quarter the remaining 20 mini peanut butter cups.
  7. Sprinkle peanut butter cups over pie. Sprinkle chopped peanuts over pie. Use a spoon to drizzle chocolate over pie (or transfer chocolate to a plastic sandwich bag and cut a very small hole in the corner, then drizzle over pie).
  8. Refrigerate until ready to serve or serve immediately. Enjoy!
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foodie friday

Friday, January 22, 2016

Don't Let Cabin Fever Set In

Like many in our area and our part of the country the schools remained closed today. In fact the students have only went to school one day this week. With roads that are snow covered and slick it become hard to see the road and dangerous to head to school.

Having to stay inside and out of the snow and cold weather may eventually start to feel like a forced arrangement. Are you starting to run out of things to do inside? Creativity need a boost? Well never fear we have a few that you may just love. Have no idea what to cook to please appetites? We are here to help you with that as well.

Get in the kitchen as a family. Even the young ones can help out. Kids can help with tasks like measuring , shredding cheese, stirring and many other things. Here is an easy guide to what children can do at different ages. Together make up a batch of Roasted Vegetable Soup.

3 to 4 cups chicken broth
1 quart roasted winter vegetables
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

In a large saucepan, heat 3 cups of chicken stock. Mash or puree the Roasted Winter Vegetables and the chicken stock using a masher, food processor, or handheld blender.   Pour the soup back into the pot and season to taste. Thin with more chicken stock and reheat. The soup should be thick but not like a vegetable puree, so add more chicken stock and/or water until it’s the consistency you like.
Serve with whole wheat bread or tortillas for a great lunch or snack to warm you up when you come in from the cold!

melted snowman craft – pour Elmers Glue onto wax paper, decorate, peel off when dry.
A bit of yarn, popcorn and construction paper can help you create this snowman.
speaking of popcorn, our favorite winter time snack, don't forget to enter the Kernel Season giveaway

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sharing Saturday

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Kernel Season's giveaway

As a mother of college age kids I really thought that the story behind the start-up o Kernel Season's popcorn seasoning was a vey ingenious idea. You see, while in college Brian the founder of Kernel Season's was looking to simply spice up his popcorn. After hearing about how great his popcorn tasted the knocks on the door started. So Brian's goal to rid the world of naked popcorn began.

In fact, with the great variety of flavors available from Kernel Season's you will never have to eat naked popcorn again. There are 15 flavors all together offered at Kernel Season's. Flavors include ranch, sour cream and onion, white chocolate, milk chocolate and caramel, nacho cheddar , popcorn salt, dill pickle, garlic parmesan, kettle corn, cheesy jalapeno , cheesy caramel, caramel, butter, buffalo wing and bacon cheddar and white cheddar.

There are more than seasonings available at Kernel Season's With popcorn poppers, party kits and great tees. But like every great party it has to start with the popcorn

Popcorn is our families "go to" snack. It provides a bit of a crunch and hunger buster as well. It is also a healthy snack option. After all popcorn is a vegetable and puts  bit of fiber into our diet. Air popped popcorn has about 30 calories per cup. What puts on the calories is the extra butter that puts the calorie on. The flavors at kernel seasons will allow you to add flavor to your popcorn without adding the extra calories. The best part is that you are in charge of the flavors that you add to your popcorn. Sprinkle  a little or a lot, or even mix match some flavors.

There are even more great idea of how and when to use Kernel Season's The recipes on the Kernel Season's website include using the famous seasoning in burgers, fruit snacks and desserts, chowders and even more. With more than 30 recipes available on the website you are sure to find a few you want to try.

Kernel Season’s products are carried by many retail locations across the country. You can also purchase their products online on their official website,
You can also connect with the brand on the various social media outlets – Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and even Instagram

Kernel Seasons would like to offer a lucky reader a special Kernel Season’s prize package. Thank you Kernel Seasons!
This giveaway is open to US residents only and will end on January 31, 2016 11:59 PM (CST). The winner will be chosen at random using a random number generator from all eligible entries. The winner will be notified via e-mail and will have three days to reply or a new winner will be chosen in their place.
To enter please comment on this post and tell me what three Kernel Season’s flavor toppings you would love to try?
For extra entries you can use the Rafflecopter widget (below) but you must complete the initial entry requirement or the additional entries won’t qualify (I do check). Extra entries are optional.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Weight Watcher's Vegetable Soup

Weight Watcher's Vegetable Soup

2/3 cup sliced carrots
1/2 cup diced onion
2 minced garlic cloves
3 cups fat free chicken broth (you can use beef or vegetable broth)
1 1/2 cups diced green cabbage
1/2 cup green beans
1 Tablespoon tomato paste
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1/4 teaspoon oregano
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup diced zucchini

Spray a large sauce pan with nonstick cooking spray, heat.  Saute carrots, onion, and garlic over low heat until softened, about 5 minutes.  Add broth, cabbage, beans, tomato paste, basil, oregano, and salt; bring to a boil.  Reduce heat; simmer, covered about 15 minutes or until beans are tender.  Stir in the zucchini and heat for 3-4 minutes.  Serve hot.

Strawberry Chocolate Chip Cookies

Strawberry Chocolate Chip Cookies

1 box strawberry cake mix (I used Duncan Hines)
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 large eggs
1/3 cup canola oil
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/4 cups chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  In a large bowl mix together the cake mix and the baking powder.  Set aside.  In a small bowl (I just mixed it in a measuring cup) whisk together eggs, oil and vanilla.  Add egg mixture to the cake mixture and stir vigorously until all of the pockets of dry cake mix are gone.  Gently mix in the chocolate chips.

Put rounded balls of dough onto baking sheet.  You can put a few chocolate chips on top if you'd like.  Bake for 10 minutes--do not let cookies get brown.  Allow to cool on baking sheet for 3 minutes.  They will be very soft at first. If top of cookies seem too fat you can press them down gently with your fingers.  Put cookies on a wire rack to cool completely.

Store in an airtight container for up to one week.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

winter veggies in season

Winter: beets, cabbage, carrots, citrus fruits, daikon radishes, onions, rutabagas, turnips, winter squash.

Orange Blossom Dream Cake

Orange Blossom Dream Cake

1 box yellow cake mix
1 can mandarin oranges & juice (11 oz.)
3/4 c oil
4 eggs
Mix all together until well blended. Pour into a buttered 9x13" pan.
Bake @ 350 for 25 minutes or until a pick comes out clean.
Place on a wire rack and poke holes on the entire top with a bamboo stick or fork tines.
Spoon glaze on hot cake.
Cool on rack and then place in refrigerator until completely cool.
Ice cake with frosting and chill until time to serve.
Mandarin Orange Glaze
1/2 c mandarin orange juice
(drain another can and reserve oranges for frosting)
1/4 c powdered sugar
Mix together well and pour on top of hot cake.
Dreamy Frosting
1 9oz. container whipped topping
1 small package instant vanilla pudding
1 can crushed pineapples with juice
1/2 c sour cream
reserved mandarin oranges
Stir together until well mixed - top cake.

This is the yummiest cake ever! If you haven't made it you should because you will add it to your favorite recipe collection.
This recipe is from:

National Cheese Lovers Day and a Recipe for Root Vegetable Cheese Pot Pie with a herb biscuit crust


Do you love cheese? Be aware that you are not alone. There are many cheese lovers the world over and  you all share the same day. January 20th the national day for cheese lovers. So I wish you a cheesy day and I hope you enjoy the recipe I shared
root vegetable cheese pot pie + herb biscuit crust
Yield: 6-8 servings
  • 2 cups (200 g) fennel, 1/2" pieces
  • 2 cups (200 g) parsnip, 1/2" pieces
  • 2 cups (200 g) celery root, 1/2" pieces
  • 1.5 cups sunchoke, 1/2" pieces
  • 2 cups (200 g) carrot, 1/2" pieces
  • 1 cup (130 g) shallot
  • 2 large cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 1/2 cup (155 g) celery, diced
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • salt & fresh ground pepper
  • for gravy
8 tablespoons unsalted butter
125 g (1 cup) all purpose flour
4 cups vegetable stock (homemade or low sodium)
1 cup grated Sequatchie Cove Cumberland or gruyere cheese
1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
juice of half a lemon
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon fennel pollen (or ground fennel seed)
1/2 teaspoon of kosher sea salt for biscuit topping
250 grams (2 cups) flour
1 Tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoon cold unsalted butter, diced
1 tablespoon minced fresh rosemary
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
½ cup of Sequatchie Cove Cumberland or gruyere cheese
1 cup full fat buttermilk (if you can find it, otherwise regular)
Heat oven to 425°F.
After dicing all the vegetables, steam everything but the shallots, garlic, and celery for 8-10 minutes until tender. Meanwhile, in a skillet heat the olive oil until shimmering and sautee the garlic and shallots until fragrant and translucent. Add the celery and cook until tender. Toss with the steamed veggies in a bowl and season lightly with salt and pepper.
Make your gravy. Melt butter in your dutch oven, and then whisk in the cup of flour to form a paste and cook, being careful not to brown, for about 3-4 minutes until it smells like pie crust. Slowly whisk in the four cups of stock in about four additions. Mixture will be thick. Add in the cheese, nutmeg, cayenne, salt, fennel pollen, sugar, and lemon juice and whisk to melt the cheese completely. Simmer mixture while whisking until very thick if not already very thick. Remove from heat.
Stir vegetables into the cheese gravy in your dutch oven. Taste and adjust seasoning if desired. Set aside, stirring occasionally to prevent a skin from forming, and make your topping.
In a mixing bowl mix flour, salt, baking powder, rosemary, thyme and cheese thoroughly to combine. Cut in the butter with your fingers or a pastry cutter until no pieces larger than a pea remain. Using a fork, stir in the buttermilk to just combine.
Dollop the biscuit dough on top to cover the filling; it needn’t be perfect. Bake at 425°F for
about 15-20 minutes, until golden brown, bubbling, and the topping is cooked through. Allow to cool slightly & serve hot. Garnish with fresh herbs if desired. I like parsley & celery leaf.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

National Popcorn Day and Kernel Season's

Hope you found some time to enjoy  bit  of Kernel Season's popcorn today on National Popcorn Day. Come back here at Annies Home for a great giveaway.

Homemade Strawberry Pop Tarts

Homemade Strawberry Pop Tarts
...a special sweet treat for those you love!
You can make these little cutie pies in any shape
and fill with your favorite jam or preserves.

Homemade Pie Crust or Store-Bought
Favorite Preserves
Vanilla Icing Glaze
Roll-out pie crust and cut with desired shape or in the traditional rectangle.
Place 1 T preserves in the center of one little pie top with matching crust.
Seal the edges with a fork.
Bake @ 400 for 10 minutes or until golden brown.
Drizzle with glaze and decorate with sprinkles.

Vanilla Icing Glaze
Mix 1 cup confectioner's sugar with 1 T of milk at a time
 until the consistency of a drizzle - add 1 t vanilla.

Monday, January 18, 2016

Maple Monkey Bread Muffins

Maple Monkey Bread Muffins

2 12-ounce can refridgerated biscuits
3 T maple syrup
1/4 c melted butter
2/3 c white sugar
1 T cinnamon
1/2 c pecans, chopped fine
1/2 c butter
1 c brown sugar
1 t cinnamon

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Put cupcake liners in 12 muffin cups.
In a small pot, melt butter, cinnamon and brown sugar until bubbly.
Combine maple syrup and melted butter in a small bowl.
In another small bowl, mix the sugar, cinnamon and pecans.
Cut each biscuit in 4 pieces and roll into little balls.
 Dip each piece in butter and then roll in sugar.
Place 4-5 pieces in each muffin cup.
Drizzle the tops with bubbly butter sauce.
Bake for 12-15 minutes or until golden brown.
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Winnie The Pooh Day

One of the characters that my children grew up with is a bear named Winnie the Pooh. The fuzzy little character named Winnie the Pooh. He was a pudgy character that has a laugh all of his own. With so many fun friends and one old grumpy one named Rabbit. Yes our family has many fond memories of Winnie the Pooh.

The author of Winnie the Pooh A.A. Milne celebrated his birthday every January 18th. He was born in 1882 in England. A celebrated writer primarily of plays prior to the nilly silly bear was created Milne served in both World Wars as well.

Milne fame came with the two Pooh books about a boy named Christopher Robins. His son Christopher Robin Milne and his bear inspired Milne to author a story. Christophers bear was originally named "Edward" but renamed after a Canadian black bear named Winnie. Pooh came from a swan called "Pooh" The characters of Piglet, Eeyore, Kanga, Roo and Tigger were all toys of Milnes son but Rabbit and Owl came from his imagination. The fictional Hundred Acre Wood in the stories came from the Five Hundred Acre Wood in Ashdown Forest in South East England.

The bear was originally introduced as Teddy Bear poem. Pooh first appeard in the London Evening News on Christmas Eve 1925. The story of Winnie The Pooh was published in 1926. In 1928 the story of The house at Pooh Corner was published.

E.H. Shepard illustrated the books.

Sad Statistics

So many of you may wonder why I post what I do Well, while my first thought of a blog was recipes, menu planning and such my world started to change as my children were growing. Our lives are so much more busy and come in contact with so many different things. The subject that I want to write about today is very scary and one that I pray about daily. I have friends who work to stop the practice of human trafficking and all to often there are individuals that come victims of this crime.

Human trafficking is the trade of humans. Most often it is for the purpose of sexual slavery or forced labor. Forced marriages, the extraction of human organs and tissues, and surrogacy are all examples of human trafficking. It occurs both within a country or trans-nationally Human trafficking is a crime and a violation of human rights.  It is the trade in people, and does not involve the movement of the person from one place to another.

There are more slaves in the world today than there ever has been. The average age of  slave is 12. The trade of human trafficking is growing as fast as that of the criminal drug world.

One group the A21 was started to fight back against modern day slavery. Volunteers work to prevent trafficking and to bring awareness and education to everyone. They offer those escaping from slavery shelter, legal advice and the opportunity to help them build a future. The sad facts are:

• More than 25% of worldwide sex trafficked victims are brought in from Southern and Eastern Europe
• 90% of victims trafficked into the European Union member states end up in the sex trade
• Only 1-2% of victims are currently rescued, and only one in 100,000 Europeans involved in trafficking is convicted

• If you would like to find out more about getting involved with The A21 Campaign please visit:

Peach Cheesecake

Peach Cheesecake
(Adapted from Bon App├ętit June 2002)
here for the original recipe*

2 cups of crushed graham cracker crumb
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted

4 small peaches (about 1 1/4 pounds), peeled, pitted, sliced 1/4 inch thick
2 tablespoons plus 1 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon fresh lemon juice

2 8-ounce packages cream cheese, room temperature
1 8-ounce package 1/3 cream cheese, room temperature
3 large eggs, room temperature
1/3 cup sour cream
1 teaspoons vanilla extract

Glaze (omitted)
1/2 cup peach preserves
1 1/2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1/2 large peach, peeled, pitted, very thinly sliced

For crust:
Preheat oven to 350°F. Add melted butter to graham cracker crumb until evenly moistened. Press crumbs over bottom and 1 inch up sides of 9-inch-diameter springform pan with 2 3/4-inch-high sides. Bake crust until beginning to brown, about 8 minutes. Cool on rack. Reduce oven temperature to 325°F.

For filling:
Combine peaches, 2 tablespoons sugar, and lemon juice in heavy large saucepan. Cover and cook over medium-high heat until sugar dissolves and peaches are juicy, stirring occasionally, about 5 minutes. Uncover and cook until peaches are tender and juices thicken, about 5 minutes. Cool compote.

Using electric mixer, beat cream cheese in large bowl until fluffy. Gradually add 1 cup sugar and beat until smooth. Beat in eggs 1 at a time. Mix in sour cream and vanilla. Spoon half of cheese mixture into crust. Spoon peach compote over by tablespoonfuls, spacing apart. Top with remaining cheese mixture.

Place large piece of foil on oven rack. Place pan with cheesecake on foil. Bake until puffed, slightly jiggly in the center, about 1 hour. Then the oven off and let the cake continue to cook with the remaining heat in the oven for 30 minutes or until set. Place hot cheesecake on rack; cool 5 minutes. Run small sharp knife around pan sides to loosen. Place cheesecake, uncovered, on rack in refrigerator and chill overnight. (Can be made 2 days ahead. Cover; keep chilled.)

For glaze:
Combine preserves and lemon juice in heavy small saucepan. Stir over medium heat until glaze comes to simmer. Strain into small bowl. Release pan sides; place cheesecake on platter. Spread glaze over top of cheesecake to within 1/4 inch of edge. Chill cheesecake until glaze sets, at least 30 minutes and up to 8 hours. Arrange peach slices in center of cake and serve.

Makes 12 servings.

Brain Teaser 4 U

This is a good thought to keep in mind. Martin Luther King day is today and I believe he would agree. If you figure it out please leave answer in comment.

Happy Martin Luther King Jr.

If you can't  fly, then runIf you can't run, then walk
If you can't walk, then crawl
but whatever you do
you have to keep moving forward

I love these words spoken by Dr. Martin Luther King Whether disabled, held back for economic reasons or whatever circumstances you find yourself in take heed in these words. Perhaps you can not do it swiftly, perhaps you can not do it with lots of attention but if you keep moving toward the goal the attention will eventually be focused on you and your goal. Keep peace in your heart and do your best.

Martin Luther King, Jr. spoke about equality between the races. In marriage we call this mutuality. Is there any area of your marriage you want to be more equal (chores, parenting, income, affection)?

My take:

While I can say as a mom of 6 and a wife I would love to have more equality in chores. In the past we had a chore chart where everyone was to do their share of the work. Now that the kids have started getting older it has became easier but I still must ask for help. I hope one day that this gets to where the jobs are just done because someone sees it needs to be done

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Hot Chocolate for a Cold Morning

The weather man says beware it will be getting very cold out there. Single digits is the target for what they believe the high will be tomorrow. I know it sounds super cold and you can believe I want to be ready for it. First of all I am off work tomorrow so under the covers I will stay and second, this drink is what I will have when I get up.
3 cups (750 mL) Milk
1 cup (250 mL) 35 % cream
1/4 cup (60 mL) sugar
1/4 cup (60 mL) cocoa powder
of salt
1 tsp (5 mL) vanilla extract
In saucepan, heat 2-1/2 cups (625 mL) of milk and 3/4 cup (180 mL) of cream over medium heat, stirring often, until steaming.
Meanwhile, in bowl, whisk together sugar, cocoa and salt. Whisk in remaining 1/2 cup (125 mL) cold milk and vanilla extract to make a smooth paste. Reduce heat to medium-low and gradually whisk cocoa mixture into hot milk mixture until blended. Heat for about 2 min or until steaming hot.
In small chilled bowl, using electric mixer or whisk; whip remaining cream until thick.
Ladle hot chocolate into 4 warmed mugs. Dollop the whipped cream evenly into each mug; stir to swirl lightly. Serve immediately.


For the Adventurous: Add 1 tbsp (15 mL) coffee- or chocolate-flavoured liqueur and/or 1/2 cup (125 mL) strong hot coffee to each mug of hot chocolate before adding whipped cream.

recipe source here

Hamburger Noodle Delight

Hamburger Noodle Delight

1 (8 oz.) package medium egg noodles
1 1/2 pounds ground round
1 medium onion, chopped fine
2 small (8 oz.) cans tomato sauce
1 (8 oz. ) package cream cheese
1 (8 oz.) carton sour cream
2 cups grated Cheddar cheese

Cook noodles and set aside.  Combine tomato sauce, sour cream and softened cream cheese.  Mix until creamy and set aside.   Brown meat (I sprinkled salt, pepper and garlic powder on the meat) and onion together and drain the juices.

Spray a 2-quart baking dish with Pam.  Layer half the noodles in the bottom of the dish.  Then put the creamed mixture on top of the noodles (do not stir) and the rest of the noodles on top of the creamed mixture.  Finally place the meat mixture on top of the noodles and sprinkle with the grated cheese (remember, don't stir).  Bake at 375 degrees for 30 minutes until bubbly and cheese is melted and browned

Poor Man's Casserole

Back in the day one meat that you could buy even when low on funds was hamburger. That was back in the day when it would cost on average .99 a lb. That was awesome and I would always buy hamburger and make lots of tasty recipes for them. While I found this recipe on the internet I can well guess that it came about during that time or as a memory of that time. I hope you enjoy as it is still quite a tasty dish.

Poor Man's Hash
1 pound of hamburger
1 small onion chopped
1 small bell pepper chopped
1/2 cup uncooked white rice
1/2 - 1 teaspoon of chili powder
1 (16 oz) can of petite diced tomatoes
Salt and pepper to taste

Brown hamburger. Salt and pepper to taste. Add onion and bell pepper. Cook until onion and bell pepper are clear and cooked. Add tomatoes, rice, and chili powder. Mix together and put in a covered casserole dish. Bake at 325 for 1 hour and 15 minutes.

Cable Car

Here we come to a new and peculiar street railway…There is no steam on board. You ask how is this train propelled? Between the track and under ground is a cable running upon rollers for the length of the road…
Edward D. Holton,

Of course they are talking about cable cars. Andrew Smith Hallidie patented an improved "Endless Wire Ropeway" to make cable cars possible. Before cable cars horses were the main way to get around. It was horses who also pulled individuals over San Francisco' steep roads. Cable cars would work where slots would be placed in the roads where they would travel. The slots would work with a grip mechanism and push the cars along.

The first cable railway ran from the intersection of Clay and Kearney Streets along twenty eight hundred feet of track to the crest of a hill 307 feet above the starting point. The cable car defined San Francisco and opened the door to having more cities choose to use cable cars over horse drawn cars as well.

Home Organizing : Counter Tops Kitchen

No matter how I try I have to admit it takes a lot for me to stay organized. You know that kid that would have to stay inside to clean their desk or locker well that would be me. I have always struggled with this and I  try really hard. I can be successful but do not take it honestly. I am sad to say that my mother is not organized or a great homemaker and she would admit this to you all as well. The one thing I can tell you she is a wonderful mom. So I strive to have a house like my grandmother who was a great organizer.

One thing that I use to keep organized is lists, lots of lists. So many lists I have a binder where they all go. I plan everything out ahead of time and set a schedule to be done as well. I make my own meal plans, vacation plans, budget and etc... and keep them close by.

I plan to start sharing on regular basis more home making tips. Perhaps you have been here from the beginning but just this year I have shared several including

Now for the tip this time:
Organizing Your Kitchen Counter Tops

Do you ever want more counter space?? Do you ever wish you had everything in its own place? Well it is possible and here are a few tips to help you get that done.

Many homes may have countertops like the one shown below. Things disorganized. Most of us come into a room and lay things down. The problem is they often stay there


It's your kitchen and therefore should be created to fit your needs The key to organization is creating a way to make it functional in your space.

First thing to do after deciding what will work for you is to rid the countertop of clutter. Clean your counters of anything that does not fit the function of the kitchen. Items that you do not use weekly does not belong on countertop.

 You may want to consider storage to help you keep counter space clear. There are many great products out there that will help you keep it all neat and organized.

.start a new habit of keeping dishes down at least twice a day this will help to keep counter tops clear and counter tops looking clear

Stumbling is Possible , Don't give up

There will be days that we simply have to cheat. To say no to ourselves on something we are truly craving will just make us want it more. There will be days that you feel you are not doing as well as you thought you would. Dieting is not easy if it was everyone would be successful and the whole world would be fit individuals

Don't give up the fight you my loose a battle or two sometime along the way but its the war we are after and we want to be successful in the end. We want to reach our goal, while it may be difficult at times keep your head up be aware that you may make mistakes but you will be successful if you keep at it.

Ben's love for Apples

Apple Dumplin's

2 medium Granny Smith apples
1 8oz. tube flakey crescent rolls
1/8 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 cup butter
1 cup sugar
1 cup orange juice
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 cup chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray an 8" square dish with Pam. Peel and core apples, cut into quarters and wrap each apple section in a crescent roll. Place in dish and sprinkle with cinnamon. Combine butter, sugar and orange juice in medium sauce pan. Bring to a boil, remove from heat and stir in vanilla. Pour over dumplin's. Sprinkle pecans over top. Bake 30 minutes or until crust is golden and beginning to bubble and apples are just tender when pierced.

To serve, spoon some of the syrup from the dish over dumplin's. May serve with ice cream. Quick and easy, very good!

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Fat Free Chocolate Cake


21 oz can cherry pie filling
3 Tbls port
1/3 cup cocoa powder
3/4 cup butter, room temperature
1/2 cup white sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 eggs

2 cups flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1/4 cup bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped

Preheat to oven to 350 degrees. Place the cherry filling, port and cocoa powder in a food processor or blender, process on high until the mixture is combined and the cherries are finely chopped. Set aside.

Cream the butter and sugars in a stand mixer (or by hand). Add the eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition and scraping down the sides of the bowl if necessary.

Sift together the flour, salt, baking powder and soda. Mix the cherry mixture and the flour mixture into the creamed butter, alternating half  of each mixture at a time until well mixed. Add in the chopped chocolate last, mix just to distribute.

Pour into well greased pans, bake until an inserted toothpick comes out clean. For a full size cake, use two round cake pans; the baking should take about 30 minutes. Or try a bunch of smaller, more individual cakes. Fill small molds about half full; cooking time should take less than 30 minutes. Keep a close eye on them, you will begin to see the edges pull away from the sides.

Make the frosting and cut the cherries while the cake is baking.To finish the cake, layer the frosting onto the top of one round cake (save just a little dollop for the top of the cake.) Place the cut maraschino cherries on the frosting and top with the second cake layer. If you make smaller, individual cakes, simply cut the cake in half and place the frosting and cherries between the layers.

Spread the top layer of the cake with the melted semi-sweet chocolate. Add the final dollop of frosting on the top of the cake along with a cherry or two.

 Port Cherry Frosting

2 1/2 cups powder sugar
3/4 cup butter, room temperature
2 Tbls cherry juice
1/4 tsp almond extract

10 oz jar maraschino cherries
1 cup melted semi-sweet chocolate, for the top of the cake

Using a hand held blender or stand mixer, whip together the butter, powder sugar, port and almond until it is light and fluffy. If you prefer a stiffer filling, add more powder sugar until desired consistency is reached.

Remove the stems from the maraschino cherries and cut them in half. While decorating, I held the cherries right over the cakes and cut them in half with a small paring knife, allowing all the dripping cherry juice to soak right into the cake. It's a little messy, but gives the cake a little extra flavor, moistness and more yumminess.

Cincinnati Chili

Cincinnati Chili

Have you ever had 5 alarm chilli? Do you know what 5 alarm chilli consist of? To my mother 5 alarm chilli is a fabrication and does not exist. To my children there is nothing better than 5 alarm chilli. The steps by alarm size are as follows. First alarm would be the past of course.

2 Alarm Pasta topped with Cincinnati style chili

3 Alarm Pasta, Chili, Sharp Cheddar Cheese (and don't skimp on the cheese!)

4 Alarm Pasta, Chili, Cheese, Chopped Onions

5 Alarm Pasta, Chili, Cheese, Onions, Kidney Beans

Here is a delicous recipe for

Cincinnati Chili
1 large onion chopped
1 pound extra-lean ground beef
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 teaspoon ground allspice
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon red (cayenne) pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa or 1/2 ounce grated unsweetened chocolate
1 (15-ounce) can tomato sauce
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon cider vinegar
1/2 cup water
1 (16-ounce) package uncooked dried spaghetti pasta
Toppings (see below)
In a large frying pan over medium-high heat, saute onion, ground beef, garlic, and chili powder until ground beef is slightly cooked. Add allspice, cinnamon, cumin, cayenne pepper, salt, unsweetened cocoa or chocolate, tomato sauce, Worcestershire sauce, cider vinegar, and water. Reduce heat to low and simmer, uncovered, 1 1/2 hours. Remove from heat. Cook spaghetti according to package directions and transfer onto individual serving plates (small oval plates are traditional). Ladle chili over spaghetti and serve with toppings of your choice. Oyster crackers are served in a separate container on the side.

Oyster Crackers
Shredded Cheddar Cheese
Chopped Onion
Kidney Beans (16-ounce) can