Edible Solar System

Edible Solar System ProjectDid you know the solar system was actually created in a few hours and baked at 350? Millie has a school project due on Tuesday. We baked up the solar system this past Friday and today she’s decorating her heart out. Super fun.


Easy Crock-Pot Ranch Roast Sandwiches

I made this roast beef sandwich recipe for our staff a couple of weeks ago and was asked to share the recipe. It’s easy – easy is pretty much all I do anymore.

Easy Crock-Pot Ranch Roast Sandwiches

  • 3.5 pound beef roast (ish on the amount) – any kind of beef roast
  • Dry Ranch salad dressing (3 packets or 9 T from a bulk container)
  • 1.5 C water

Are you ready for easy? Here you go:

Trim as much fat off the roast as you can.

Yummy, right? Now just pop that sucker in your busy day’s best friend, the crock pot.

Then you sprinkle on the dry Ranch mix:

Then you pour the water on top of all that:

(Note: All of the following photos disappeared when I transferred the blog back over to free WordPress)

Now you put the lid on and turn the crock pot on low and cook for a very long time. I’m talking 8 hours long. I’ve put this in first thing in the morning to have ready for dinner. I’ve also put it in at midnight so it was ready to shred by morning and kept warm until lunch.

When it’s ready to shred it will look something like this:

Then you start shredding it:

Then convince your dogs that this really isn’t dinner time and no, none of it is actually for them:

After I shred it, I put it back in the juice in the crock pot. At this point, I either turn the pot to “keep warm” so I can serve it soon, or I turn the pot off and let it start to cool down so I can bag it for the freezer.

This version got bagged for the freezer:

To prepare from frozen form, just thaw it out and reheat on the stove (or in the microwave if you have one of those fancy gadgets – we don’t, so the stove it is!). It is yummy on any type of sandwich roll, hamburger bun, etc.

In this case, I scooped out what I think my parents will need (2 adults) and another bag for my family (2 adults and 4 kids). I will update this post later to see if this was an accurate serving size for 8 or if we had any leftovers. I’ll also post a photo of the finished meal.

M is for Pie

M is for Pie in two ways:

  1. Monday is Pie Day
  2. Pies are Mmmm

Chloe’s class is helping prepare a Thanksgiving dinner for a local women’s shelter this coming Tuesday. She came home on Friday informing me that she needed to bring 4 cups of chopped celery and 4 cups of chopped pecans to school on Monday. Okay.

I was your typically overly-prepared mom and went to the store at 7:30 tonight to get the celery. So imagine my surprise when one hour and $69.97 later I discovered that store was COMPLETELY OUT OF CELERY. Seriously. Who runs out of celery? But no worries because instead of celery I came home with enough butter to make Paula Deen yell, “Uncle!” and another container of Hershey’s Cocoa. I’m ready to do this Chocolate Pie thing tomorrow.

So. This is why M is for Pie.

And in case you were wondering, I did stop by another store on my way home for the celery. It has been chopped and is awaiting it’s Monday morning transport to school (which is now officially only 8 hours from now – yikes! Goodnight!).


Almost Friendship Bread

Amish Friendship Bread

You’ve probably received one. A starter for Amish friendship bread. And maybe you were excited because you’ve wanted to try it and it’s kind of fun and the bread is super yummy. Maybe that’s been you.

If you’ve been at all like me you’ve let your starter die several times. Maybe you forget to feed it. Maybe you forget to squish it. Maybe you just get tired of it. Done! In the trash.

And then you start to wonder – was this really a friendship bread or an almost friendship bread? Because what kind of friend, or potential friend, would inflict another friend with a ziplock bag full of liquid guilt?

It happened to us again a couple of weeks ago. And the funny thing is it happened on the sly. The friend in question had her kids handing out the bags of extra starter. One of the kids kind of ran up to me and tossed the bag in my lap and took off.

I had been starter-ed. My response? It was this: “No-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o!”

But my kids were exited about it, so we brought it home with us. The first round wasn’t so bad – my kids took our starter to a friend’s house and they made it there. But then my friend had some 9 new starter bags. This stuff multiplies faster than dust bunnies under my bed. That’s some kind of fast.

For the second round, I was determined to feel no guilt about it. I measured out the extra starters…straight into the trash can. I kept one for myself and didn’t inflict it on anyone else.

But that seems rather wasteful, you know?

Today I got a brainstorm (and yes, I’m sure I’m the last person on the planet to hatch this genius idea, but indulge me a minute here, okay?): I measured out one starter for me. I the poured the other three cups’ worth into a mixing bowl. The portion that remains in the original bowl is what you are supposed to use to make your bread with that day. I discovered that bit of batter is exactly 1.5 cups…bingo! I had enough batter to make 3 batches of bread.

So we now have 6 loaves of Amish Friendship Bread cooling on the counter. And I have a feeling that if I share some of this with a friend, there will be no almost about it.

A Heapin’ Helping of M&M Cookies!

I was recently asked to share my recipe for M&M cookies. I’ve shared my chocolate chip cookie recipe before and it is very similar, but I have slightly modified that recipe since moving to Missouri. (I guess the altitude did affect my baking a little bit when I lived in Colorado. Who knew?)

M&M cookies are pretty much a family favorite for holidays because they are just like our normal chocolate chip cookie with a bit of color added in. And it changes easily from season to season, thanks to the makers of M&Ms who happily sell us the current season’s colors every holiday. So nice of them, don’t you think?


Here’s my recipe for a double batch of chocolate chip M&M cookies:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.


  • 1.5 C sugar
  • 2 C softened butter (real butter, not shortening or margarine)
  • 1.5 C brown sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 t baking soda
  • 2 t salt
  • 2 t vanilla
  • 5 C white flour
  • 1 package semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 2 packages of colored M&Ms

I add these to my Kitchen Aid mixer in exactly this order and the process goes like this:

Sugar, then butter. Start mixer on low. Begin adding everything else. When I get to the flour I add it 1/2 C at a time and do stop the mixer in between to avoid a culinary snowfall in my kitchen. It has happened before and it’s not a pretty sight. After I add in the package of chocolate chips, I scoop the cookies out onto a cookie sheet and hand a bowl of M&Ms to my kids with these instructions: Please do NOT eat the M&Ms (yet). Try to get 9-10 M&Ms on each dough ball.

Put the trays in the oven and bake for 10 minutes. Pull them out at 10 even if they don’t look completely done. Leave them on the cookie sheet while the next pan cooks. They will continue to firm up on the hot cookie sheet on top of your stove.

Take them to your next party and try not to eat any before you go. I triple dog dare you.

Christmas Cookies

Megan DDP Day 4

This is the one in which we read a church email on Friday afternoon that said, “Family Night at the church on December 4! Bring a plate of cookies to share!” And we looked at the calendar and realized that December 4 was indeed that very same day, so we baked our favorite Christmas cookie of all time which also happens to be the easiest cookie in the world for us to bake and presto whamo: Christmas cookies to share.

Craig’s Favorite Apple Pie Recipe

This is the best apple pie in the entire world. And next week I won’t even have to make it because Craig’s Aunt Jan will do that for me. But I might not get a piece on Thursday. Her apple pie is so good, cousins, masquerading as grown men (one of them a pastor, the other a Bible teacher of all things), fight over this pie. I kid you not.

Here it is: Aunt Jan’s Apple Crumb Pie:

5 to 7 tart apples (5 cups)
1 9-inch unbaked pastry shell

1/2 cup sugar
3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/3 cup sugar
3/4 cup flour
6 tablespoons butter

Pare apples; core and cut in eights. Arrange in unbaked pastry shell.
Mix 1/2 cup sugar and cinnamon; sprinkle over apples.

Mix 1/3 cup sugar with the flour; cut in butter till crumbly. Sprinkle over apples.

Bake at 400 degrees for 35 to 40 minutes or till done. If pie browns too quickly, cover edge with foil. Cool. Serve with a dollop of whipped cream.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Otherwise entitled: My mom went all the way to Minnesota over Valentine’s Day weekend and all I got was this plate of cookies.

Valentine Cookies

Craig, Maddie, Chloe, Katie, and Millie, I love you and I miss you. I hope you have a fun day together today. I’ll see you tomorrow night.