Category Archives: Food & Drink

She {hearts} brine

We’ve recently started brining our pork, chicken, and turkey. It adds a whole new level of juicy goodness to these easy-to-dry out meats!

Here’s a great article if you’d like to understand why brining works.




Pendergrass Brine

This will be enough to brine a turkey. Cut the recipe in half for smaller batches of meat.

A gallon and a half water
4 lemons
4 limes
2 oranges
2 onions
4 bay leaves
Tablespoon black peppercorns
Tablespoon thyme
2 cups kosher salt
1/2 cup brown sugar

Bring to a boil, then cool to room temperature. Put brine and meat in a container large enough so that the meat is covered. If needed, add a bit more water. Cover and refrigerate at least 24 hours. Drain brine. Rinse. Pat meat dry. Then cook and enjoy!

She {hearts} Crock Pot Creamy Ranch Chicken

I have really been looking for some new recipes for the Summer. Especially since it has been so hot, it is nice to use the crock pot instead of heating up the house even more by using the oven. I cooked this last week and we have already had it again. My husband Kenny really likes it and says it is even better the next day.

Crock Pot Creamy Ranch Chicken


Crock Pot Creamy Ranch Chicken

  • 3-4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 (10.75 oz) can cream of chicken soup
  • 1 (1 oz) envelope ranch dressing mix dry
  • 1 (14.5 oz) can chicken broth
  • 8 oz. cream cheese
  • 1/2 cup of milk
  • 1/4 cup cooked and crumbled bacon (optional for sprinkling on top)
  • Egg Noodles
  1. Spray slow cooker with cooking spray or line with a slow cooker liner.
  2. Place chicken breasts inside slow cooker.
  3. In a small bowl, combine cream of chicken soup, chicken broth and dry ranch dressing mix. Pour evenly over chicken breasts.
  4. Cover and cook on LOW for 3-4 hours or until done.
  5. Remove chicken and stir in milk and cream cheese until smooth and melted into sauce.
  6. Shred the chicken then put it back in to the slow cooker and make sure to cover with sauce.
  7. Serve over hot cooked egg noodles and pour on some extra sauce.
  8. If desired, crumble some cooked bacon over top.

she {hearts} Multi-grain Bread

I have been wanting to make a multi-grain bread for some time now.  I took my whole wheat bread recipe and tweaked it a bit.  Boy I am so glad I gave this a try because it turned out sooooo good!  Everyone in the family loved it!  One of the kids said it taste like the bread they give you at Longhorn.  Score!

she {hearts} Multigrain Bread


Cook Time: 35 minutes

Yield: 2 loaves of bread

  • 1 1/4 cups of multi grain hot cereal mix
  • 2 1/2 cups boiling water
  • 2 1/2 cups fresh milled soft wheat flour
  • 2 cups fresh milled hard white wheat flour
  • 1/4 cup agave
  • 4 tablespoons melted and cooled unsalted butter
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons of instant yeast
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1/2 cup old fashioned rolled oats
  1. Place hot cereal mix in a bowl and pour the boiling water over it. Stir occasionally, let stand for about an hour till it thickens.
  2. In a separate bowl whisk together flours.
  3. Once cereal mix has cooled, add agave, melted butter, salt, and yeast. Mix until combined.
  4. Add flour mixture to the cereal mixture slowly (1/2 cup at a time) and start kneading your dough on lightly floured counter for about 5-7 minutes.
  5. Once finished kneading, place dough ball in large bowl covered and let rise until doubled in size, about 45 minutes.
  6. Gather your 2 loaf pans and grease if needed.
  7. Take dough from bowl and place on lightly floured counter and divide in half. Knead each half for just a minute into loaf form.
  8. Lightly spray loaves with water or vegetable oil and roll each loaf in oats.
  9. Place seam side down of your bread dough into your loaf pans and cover. Let them rise again for about 30 minutes. They should double in size.
  10. Preheat oven to 375F.
  11. Bake loafs on oven rack in middle position for 35 minutes.
  12. Once finished backing, transfer pans to wire rack to cool for 5 minutes. Then remove loaves from pan back to wire rack to cool till room temperature.
  13. Slice and enjoy!





She {hearts} Zipzicles

zipziclesLogoDSC_0147copyAs a kid, I remember enjoying icy freeze pops all summer long to beat the heat!  I know they are mostly high fructose corn syrup and artificial dyes, so I haven’t given any to my girls.  I was sad about them missing out on this childhood tradition until I found Zipzicles!

Zipzicles are clear skinny bags with zip tops that allow you to make and freeze your own popsicle freeze pops!  I can make all kinds of fun flavors for my girls and customize them based on their taste preferences and allergies.  You can simply wash and reuse the bags again when you’re finished!

There are tons of great recipes on the Zipzicles website, and I can’t wait to try a bunch of them!  For my first batch, I made what I called “Pineapple Orange Dreamzicles.”  (Recipe below.)

Pineapple Orange Dreamzicles
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 can of frozen pineapple orange juice concentrate (7 ounces)
  • 1 cup Greek yogurt
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  1. In a blender, dump in water, juice concentrate, yogurt, and vanilla.
  2. Blend until smooth.
  3. Pour into Zipzicle bags (fill just to fill line) and zip shut.
  4. Place in a mug and freeze until solid (about 6 hours).
  5. Enjoy!



Our family loved the Pineapple Orange Dreamzicles!  The girls thought the concept was so cool (eating a popsicle from a bag!), and they loved getting to experience this classic summer treat.  My husband and I enjoyed them too!

The Zipzicle bags washed up perfectly and now they’re already for my next batch!

I can’t wait to try more popsicle recipes (or even just frozen juice) this summer.

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she {hearts} yogurt cookies

Today I thought I would try yogurt cookies.  Have you heard of them?  I have seen the recipe floating around the web world for some time now so I took the plunge to try for myself.  I made some changes as always from several different ones to better suit our family’s taste buds. I went with blueberry cookie with lemon cream cheese frosting.


YUMMO is right!

she {hearts} yogurt cookies
  • 1 cup honey granules (you can use 1 cup sugar if you dont have honey granules)
  • 1 1/2 cup Greek plain yogurt
  • 1 egg beaten
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 cups whole wheat flour (I used freshly ground soft white wheat grain)
  • 2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup fruit (I used frozen blueberries, but could use fresh also)
  • 4oz softened cream cheese
  • 1 cup confectioner's sugar
  • juice and zest from one lemon
  1. Start by preheating oven to 375F.
  2. Mix yogurt and honey granules together then mix egg and vanilla in separate bowl, add to yogurt mixture.
  3. In another bowl mix flour, baking powder, and salt, then mix with yogurt mixture.
  4. Add blueberries and fold in gently.
  5. Drop onto pan by spoonful about 1 1/2 inches apart (they will spread). Bake for 10 minutes. Let rest on pan for 2-3 minutes then transfer to wire rack till completely cooled.
  6. While cooling, I began my cream cheese frosting.
  7. Mix cream cheese and confectioner's sugar, add lemon juice and zest. Mix for about 2-3 minutes will mixed and fluffy.
  8. Frost cookies once completely cooled! Enjoy!
  9. I think next time I'll try strawberries with almond cream cheese frosting! By the way, since these are made with yogurt, I would store in fridge and eat within a couple days.



she {hearts} the best banana bread

I just love this banana bread! Martha does it again. The sour cream in this recipe seems to be what makes the banana bread so rich and yummy. Personally, I always add mini chocolate chips (bonus trick I learned from my mother in law: coat the chocolate chips in flour prior to adding them to the batter and they won’t sink to the bottom of the loaf, or whatever you are baking!). This banana bread is perfect for brunch or snacking (this fact has been verified by my kids on many occasions). Enjoy!

banana bread

banana bread

  • 1 stick butter, at room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups unbleached flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup mashed very ripe bananas (2-3 bananas)
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 cup chopped nuts and/or chocolate chips
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour a 9x5x3 inch loaf pan; set aside.
  2. Using a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
  3. Add eggs, and beat to incorporate.
  4. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, and salt.
  5. Add dry mixture to the butter mixture, and mix until just combined.
  6. Add bananas, sour cream, and vanilla; mix to combine.
  7. Stir in nuts and/or chocolate chips, and pour batter into prepared pan.
  8. Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean, about 1 hour 10 minutes. Let rest in pan for 10 minutes, then turn out onto a rack to cool.

She {hearts} strawberry pudding

graceOne of my favorite things about this time of the year are strawberries! Yesterday, I received the photo to the left in an email that read, “Couldn’t resist.” Grace was heading to school with her Daddy yesterday and I guess they decided to stop for a little picking time before she’d start her school day. I just couldn’t be mad, but I was a little jealous! One of my favorite things to fix with strawberries is a “Strawberry Pudding”.

It’s basically a recipe for Banana Pudding that has been tweaked to include these yummy red berries instead of bananas.



Strawberry Pudding



  • 1 eagle brand milk
  • 1 ½ cup water
  • 1 box French vanilla pudding
  • 16 oz cool whip
  • 2 quarts strawberries (or 4 bananas)
  • 2 pkgs Chessman cookies


  1. Blend together eagle brand milk and 1 & ½ cups water.
  2. Add pudding and beat medium speed until well blended.
  3. Put in the refrigerator for 10 minutes or until congealed.
  4. Remove from frig and add cool whip and stir with spoon do not use mixer.
  5. Layer cookies, pudding, and fruit and repeat layers.
  6. Garnish top with cookies or fruit!

I love to put mine in a clear trifle bowl to make it look extra nice, but if you’re having a party and want everyone to have their own individual desserts try making mini pudding cups and using a brandy snifter glass.

For more strawberry recipes, try:
Did you see Tara’s She {hearts} strawberry pie recipe?
Balsamic Strawberries over Shortbread
Croissant French Toast with Strawberry Syrup
Strawberry Napoleons
Chilled Strawberry Soup