Happy Valentine’s Day Everyone!!


This is one of my favorite holidays…..I love how it provides me an opportunity to tell the special people in my life how much I love and appreciate them! I know I shouldn’t need a day or a reason to do that….but…..I rely on this day for that! 🙂


Many thanks to the people who earned cards from my last post about Valentine’s Cards…..I had 6 winners and each of them got to select a person for me to send a valentine card to in their name…..thanks for playing gang! I love playing games like that online and it helps break up the monotony of winter for me!


A poem for my SPECIAL Valentine:


Our Romance~  


Twas the night before Sunday
When all through the bar
Oregonians were dancing
Some near, some far
 When what to my wandering eyes should appear
A handsome young Oregonian
Buying a beer


Our love story started
Right there, right then
Joy Unexplainable
Least not by pen


If I had your attention
For a lifetime or so
I could tell you about the man
I’ve come to know


He is the best husband
Now the best dad
I am living the life
I wish all could have


Years later
We stroll hand in hand
Thanking the Lord
For His Perfect Plan



Special thanks today to my friend Steve Mitzel for sharing his Pineapple Cake recipe with me 🙂 I made it today for my very own Valentine…Bryan…..I know Bryan will love this cake!!!! Steve *coached* me through the making of this cake by providing me with a few of his tips…..


1) Make SURE the eggs are room temp……check 🙂

2) Do NOT use a hand mixer for this recipe… will add too much air into the batter and could end up a disaster…..check 🙂

3) Make this cake with LOT’S of love!!!! It tastes better that way…….check 🙂

4) Enjoy!!!




2 large eggs @ room temperature

20 ounce can crushed pineapple with juice

2 cups all purpose flour

1 cup granulated sugar

1 cup brown sugar

2 teaspoons baking soda

1 cup chopped walnuts

In a large mixing bowl beat the two eggs until they are light and fluffy. Then add the crushed pineapple with juice and the flour, sugars, and baking soda. Mix these ingredients well with a spoon not an electric mixer, as too much air will get in the cake and it will fall. Then stir in the chopped walnuts when you are sure all the brown sugar is dissolved and blended. Finally pour the batter into an un-greased 13x9x2 inch pan and bake at 350 degrees for 45 or 50 minutes, check with clean toothpick for doneness. Let cool completely then frost with cream cheese ginger frosting and top with some additional chopped walnuts.


3 ounce package softened cream cheese

1/4 cup of unsalted sweet cream butter

1 teaspoon vanilla

2 cups powdered sugar

1/8 teaspoon ground ginger

In a small mixing bowl beat together the cream cheese, the butter, and the vanilla. Then has a nice smooth consistency gradually add the powdered sugar and ground ginger. Continue mixing until the frosting has a nice smooth consistency.

Happily In His Grip~


I am so fortunate to have been surrounded by so many Godly women in my life….women who showed by example how to make a house a home and how to live in such a way that pleases God….my mother being the best mother ever!!! The Lord took her home 12 years ago to be with Him and blessed our family with Rita a few years later! I have learned so much from her!!! She shines with God’s love and shares it with everyone she meets 🙂 This recipe is one that I had the priviledge of tasting back in Oct. of 2010 and loved it! She remembered….and blessed us with a sausage making kit for Christmas! Now we can make it ourselves and pay it forward! I love you Reet….for all that you are! For loving my dad like you do! We are all better for having you in our lives!
I made this for the first time this week and it was great fun! It was easy and the house smelled delicious all day long! I was able to vacuum seal four packages of two, for treats at a later date 🙂 We often get together with friends and these will be perfect for a quick appetizer!

Mama Reet’s Homemade Sausage

3 pounds ground beef
2 pounds ground turkey breast (I used ground pork)
4 tsp. black pepper (1 tsp. can be cracked peppercorns if you like)
1 Tbls. sugar
1 3/4 tsp. salt cure
1/2 tsp. cayenne (red pepper)
1 tsp whole mustard seeds
2 tsp. garlic salt ( can use minced if you prefer…1 tsp.)
1 cup water
Place meats in large mixing bowl, combine spices and mix well before adding to meat. Add spices to meat and 1 cup of water. Mix all together well….get your hands in there and mix! 🙂 Cover and refrigerate 12 hours.
Divide the mixture into 5 or 6 balls. Shape each ball into a log. Place on a broiler pan so the grease will drip down while cooking. Bake at 200 degrees for about 8 hours. Let cool. I always papertowel off the outside a bit to remove any grease that might have accumulated. Seal up and freeze….leaving one out to eat!


1 pound ziti pasta

1 pound of lean ground beef

1 pound of Italian sausage (I added that)

1 onion chopped

2 jars of spaghetti sauce

1 1/2 cups sour cream

6 oz provolone cheese slices (can use a little more)

8 oz of shredded mozzarella cheese

Parmesan cheese

(OK…..I added 1/4 cup of Merlot to this recipe! It was wonderful!)

Cook noodles for 8 minutes or al dente. Butter the bottom of a 9 X 13 pan ( I use a 10 X 14 and it is stuffed full). Cook meat and onion over medium heat until brown. Drain meat. Add spaghetti sauce to meat and simmer for 15 minutes…..after simmiering….you can add a wee little bit o’ red wine if you’d like…. (I add some garlic too). Heat oven to 350. Layer 1/2 of the pasta in the pan. Then add 1/2 of the meat sauce. cover with the provolone slices and then the sour cream. Add the rest of the pasta, add the mozzarella cheese and then add the rest of the meat sauce. Top with Parmesan cheese. Cover and cook for 35 minutes or until bubbly.

If you make ahead and refrigerate you need to cook for at least 70 minutes.

A great Big Hat Tip and THANK-YOU to my cousin Tracy for sharing this jewel with me!!! We loved it!

Tip…..This makes a HUGE batch of Ziti…..

I baked it in a 11×14 in. pan. We had a lot of it leftover…fortunately…Italian food gets better as the days go by >smile< I was able to get 4 extra meals put up in my Seal A Meal for future dinners!

I vote this fall….my favorite fall of all…..yup!! For the last 4 or 5 years, I’ve been on a search for a really good, really creamy, really rich Pumpkin Fudge recipe. I’ve tried at least a dozen recipes that either failed the quality tests or just plain failed to become fudge!


I sounded the call last week and my sweet step mom came to my rescue! Thank you Rita for sharing this treasure of a recipe with me 🙂 My fudge recipe hunting days are over…..well…..that is….my Pumpkin Fudge Recipe hunting days are over……….some Espresso Fudge…or Mocha…..or Cappaccino….something with a nice strong coffee/chocolate flavor……I’ll let you know if I strike it rich twice this fall ok!


This recipe is a real keeper!


Below are the qualities I like about it:


* Doesn’t take long to make

* Sets up beautifully

* Didn’t get hard and crumbly…at all…..this is a very nice, creamy fudge!

* The flavor is out of this world!! I did make one change in the recipe….not because I thought it would improve it but because I had some eggnog I needed to use up. I substituted eggnog for the milk and I think my husband fell in love with me all over again!!

Mama Reet’s Pumpkin Fudge~


Insulin...don't fail me now......



3 cups. sugar

1 cup milk (I used eggnog and it worked beautifully!)

3 tbsp. light corn syrup

1/2 cup pumpkin puree

1/4 tsp. salt

1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice

1 1/2 tsp. vanilla

1/2 cup butter

1/2 cup chopped walnuts

Butter a square 8 x 8 pan

Mix together sugar, milk, corn syrup,  pumpkin and salt in a large pot. Stir constantly on medium high heat until it comes to a boil. Reduce heat to medium and continue boiling but stop stirring. When it gets to the soft-ball stage, remove it from the heat.

Add the pumpkin pie spice, vanilla, butter and nuts.  Beat the mix until it thickens and loses some of its gloss.  Pour into the greased baking dish.  when it has cooled a bit, cut into squares!

Contentedly In His Grip~

This is what was on our dinner plates last night!

My husband Bryan loves Mexican food but I tend to tire of it quickly…..the zesty filling in these chops makes both of us happy!

What will be on your plates  tonight?

Stuffed Jalapeno Boneless Chop Rolls


Stuffed Jalapeno Boneless Chop Rolls

4 oz. cream cheese, softened
1-2 fresh jalapeno peppers, seeds and membranes removed, finely diced
1 t. salt
1/2 t. garlic powder
1 lb. boneless, pork tenderloins, pounded flat
Salt and pepper, to taste
3 T. melted butter
1 c. breadcrumbs
1. In a small bowl, combine the cream cheese, diced jalapenos, salt and garlic powder.

Use immediately or refrigerate for a while to allow the flavors to combine.

Spread some cream cheese-jalapeno mixture down the center of each piece of chicken.

Roll up tightly and secure with a toothpick. Season each roll with salt and pepper to taste.
Dip the chicken in the melted butter and then roll in the bread crumbs. Repeat until done.

Place in a casserole dish and bake at 375 degrees for 20-25 minutes, depending on the thickness of the chicken, until fully cooked.

Contently In His Grip~

It was somewhat of a challenging weekend for Bryan and I. He hasn’t been feeling well for about a week now…..poor guy……he is really not a typical complaining fella when he is sick. One of his co-workers said to me one time…”geez Deb….your husband is a VAULT! He could be loosing a limb or passing a kidneystone and we wouldn’t know it” So when he agreed to let me take him to the emergency room Sunday afternoon…I knew he was in pain. Diagnosis~ *Sinusitis* with impacted sinuses 😦 He is doing much better today…Praise God…but all of that to say this….I apologize for not being able to take a picture of the actual loaves of Eggnog Bread I made….I have uploaded a picture of some other loaves I took…..but you get the idea…..I hope 😉


Now….in my last Holiday Bread post…I challenged you guys to see if you could pick the 2 ingredients that someone might be inclined to either leave out of the recipe or to substitute……it was fun to hear from you guys! Alas…..I should have chosen 3 ingredients that folks might be tempted to substitute or leave out! Here they are….

* Almond Flavoring….don’t do it….don’t leave this out!

* Butter Flavoring…again…don’t do it…’ll be sorry!!!

* Orange Juice (in the icing)~ OMGOSH! Don’t use milk or anything else to thin this icing….the orange juice puts this recipe in the *Recipe Hall of Fame*


Ahhhh….before I present the Eggnog Bread recipe…..many thanks to my Aunt Jude for sharing these recipes of grandma’s with me. I appreciate it so much! My mother is now with Jesus and while I got her recipe box….some of these recipes weren’t there! I am hoping my cousins and anyone else that might have some of Grandma’s or Grandma Raffael’s recipes will be kind enough to share with me so I can try them and share them here on my blog. If you are a member of my family (on mom’s side) and you think other’s in our family will enjoy having these recipes…please share my blog link with them…I would so love to hear from them! Thanks in advance!

Mini Loaves: Hawaiian Banana Bread with Pineapple and ground flax



1  1/3  cup sugar                    1/2 cup oleo

2 eggs                                    3 tsp baking powder

2 cups eggnog                        3 cups flour

May add 1 cup mixed fruit and nuts

Cream sugar, oleo, beat in eggs.  Mix flour with baking powder


and mix alternately with the eggnog.


Fold in fruit.  Bake 325 for 1 hour and 15 minutes,


or til done. 

While warm glaze with:

1/2 cup powdered sugar        1/4 tsp cinnamon

1/4 tsp nutmeg                        enough milk to drizzle

In His Grip~

Ginger Snaps!

A fall favorite around our house 🙂 Ohhhh….my husband is going to love me! Not that he doesn’t already…..I just love seeing him smile after the scent of these delicious cookies wafts up his nose when he comes home from work. Just one of the ways I love blessing that man…..smells from the kitchen almost always work! I love that man!

Ginger Snaps ala Cottonwood Way


5 cups flour
1 tablespoon ground ginger
2 teaspoons cinnamon
4 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups vegetable oil
2 cups sugar
1/2 cups molasses
2 eggs
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

1. Mix flour, ginger, cinnamon, baking soda and salt in a medium sized bowl. Set aside.

2. In large mixing bowl, combine oil and sugar. Mix well. Add molasses and continue stirring. Add eggs one a time, mixing well after each addition.

3. Now add dry mixture in several small batches, mixing well after each addition. Dough will be firm…almost stiff
Put 1 cup of sugar into a small bowl. Roll dough in to small balls, about 1 – 1 1/2 inch in size. Roll balls in sugar and place on ungreased cookie sheets.

Bake for 10 minutes at 350 degrees. Important to watch these carefully if you like a chewy ginger snap! If you like yours a wee bit crunchy….you can leave them in for up to 2 minutes longer. We love them chewy here!

Makes 5-6 dozen~ depending on the size you make your cookies


In His Grip~

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