Thursday, December 30, 2010

Happy New Year with GLuten Free Caramel Chip Bars

New Year Myspace Comments

New Years blessings just for you!

I don't remember where I got the original recipe of this, if it was you Mary I'm sorry! :( If it was you and you would like to be connected to it as posting the original PLEASE contact me through twitter or my e-mail and I would love to connect you to it.

I have taken it and transposed it to be gluten free and it looks GREAT and better yet it taste GREAT! Sorry friends Honey and I had to try just one piece we wouldn't want it to make you sick or anything.

Caramel Chip Bars

1/2 c. butter
1 pkg. caramel bits (11-oz) or 32 caramels
1 can (14-oz) sweetened cond. milk
1 pkg. (15-oz.) gluten free yellow cake mix
1/3 c. vegetable oil
2 eggs
1 pkg. (12-oz) miniature semisweet chocolate chips
1 c. vanilla or white chips
1 Heath candy bar (1.4-oz.) chopped

In a lg. saucepan, combine the butter, caramels and milk; cook and stir over medium-low heat until smooth. Cool, in a mixing bowl, combine the cake mix, oil and eggs; mix well. Stir in chips and chopped candy bar (dough will be stiff).

Press three-fourths into a greased 13-in. x 9-in. x 2-in. baking pan. Bake at 350 for 15 minutes.

Place on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Pour caramel mixture over the crust. Drop remaining dough by spoonfuls onto caramel layer.
Bake for 25-30 minutes or until edges are golden brown.

Cool for 10 minutes; run a knife around edges of pan. Cool 40 minutes longer; cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or until served.

It's not too late bake you up some for that New Years party and again Happy New Years ya'll.

See ya next year!

Sunday, December 26, 2010

My Christmas

This has been a fun Christmas holiday, living in a new neighborhood there has been so many new things to do. We were able to do a lot of them but we only scratched the surface. I'm already looking forward to doing even more next year.

Here are a few photos to show what all has been happening this last month.

We attending two different concerts "A Visit with the Chapman's" and "Chris Tomlin's Christmas Tour" they were great. We also attend a few MSU basketball games and a "New Orleans Saints" football game.

We took Punkin to breakfast with Santa. She enjoyed the pancakes but she didn't care much for Santa maybe because it was past her nap time.

We attended several parties and a cantata which were all lots of fun also.

For Christmas Honey and I went to the farm to be with our younger children. We missed our older children sooo much but hope to spend next Christmas with them!  We left the hills on Thursday so that we could get the camp house cleaned up some before my Dad arrived to stay with us and also so that Ash and I could do some cooking.

So here is our Christmas on the farm!

Punkin just wanted to eat on Thursday night, well eat and open presents. We had to watch her really close so that we had some presents to open on Christmas morning. Ash received a package in the mail so they opened it and Punkin carried it all to PePaw, never mind that it was "Mother Love" products that PePaw could never use, it's the thought that counts right?

Papaw Thacker joined us on Friday morning and  Punkin entertained him. She read to him and talked his ears off. Papaw says she's speaking Chinese, we'll sure be glad when she converts it to English so we can understand her.

Then Christmas morning finally appeared and you can tell we had one happy little girl.

Sydney even got a present and Punkin couldn't understand why she wouldn't take it.

I was awful with my photo taking this year. When writing this blog I realized that I didn't take any of food or our fun activities. Ben and Ash both got new Wii games. I enjoyed playing Monopoly but when it came to war and dancing I just set on the sofa and observed. We had a fun lazy day and spent most of it eating and sleeping.

Friend I hope you have a fun, lazy Christmas too!!!

To see more photos click HERE!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Enter to win gluten free merchandise and have a look at my chocolate while you are doing it!

Since our trip to New Orleans I have gained two pounds needless to say when thinking about baking for Christmas I decided that nothing would be gluten-free. If I don't make it gluten free then I won't eat it, right?

Today I started making a few treats for the family. First I made chocolate covered pretzels and they are gluten free I felt this would be ok because how many chocolate covered pretzels would one eat at a time? I'll have to tell you later!

Then I had some chocolate left over and a friend called and said that one of his favorite things this year has been the chocolate covered Ritz with peanut butter. So I used my left over chocolate and made a few. These are not gluten free so no temptations there.

 My ultimate treat, but I didn't make these, I bought them in New Orleans to share and they are WONDERFUL!!!!

I hope the family enjoys them!

Ok, you must read below, this is from my friend Karen Broussard over at the Gluten Free Travel site.

IMG_6896 If you haven't already, please sign up to receive our free monthly e-letter, "Like" us on Facebook, and "Follow" us on Twitter. Besides being great ways of keeping on top of the latest gluten-free dining and travel updates, joining our online community in any of these three ways will automatically enter you in our end-of-the-month drawing to win a T-shirt, shorts, or sweatpants with the slogan, "These Buns Are Gluten Free!" We'll give three items away -- one to a new Twitter follower, one to a new fan on Facebook, and one to a new subscriber to our free monthly e-letter. Wear them with pride or give them to a gluten-free friend with a sense of humor!

On a separate note, be sure to also cast your vote in our annual "World's Most Celiac-Friendly Destination" contest by submitting a review for your favorite "gluten-free friendly" restaurant in your area -- or your favorite restaurant, hotel, or resort you've discovered while on vacation. The geographic location with the most review submissions by the end of the year will be our winner. Last year it was Orlando, Florida, due to the large number of review submissions we received for the Disney parks and resorts, as well as the surrounding area which is home to many family-friendly chain restaurants offering gluten-free menus. In 2008, New York City won, in large part because of the many independent restaurants throughout Manhattan that have eagerly embraced the gluten-free community.

Thanks for stopping by ya'll!!!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Awfully Good Chocolate Chip Cheese Bars

Honey and I had our "Strawberry Hill" Christmas party last night. We had never met most of our neighbors and this party is a huge deal for the neighborhood.

Honey had been gone all day and came in right at time to go, he had told me that he had some cheese spread given as a gift and so I went and bought special crackers so that we could carry it to share. I knew that it would take the two of us forever to eat it alone. I also made a double batch of my famous Chocolate Chip Cheese Bars because one batch is NEVER enough.

Honey finally made it home in time for us to shower and dress while my bars cooled so that I could cut them and place them on my Christmas platter. Before jumping in the shower I took the cheese spread and put it in a dip bowl to serve on a platter along side assorted crackers. After getting the dip bowl ready I licked the spoon I was using to discover that the cheese spread tasted like an expensive form of Velveeta cheese. I was soooo disappointed but decided to take it anyway after all I had all those crackers and what would I do with them?

I got dressed for the big event, at least I felt I was having a good hair day! I headed to the kitchen to get the bars ready to discover in horror that my bars had flopped! I have made these bars for years ya'll and I've never had them flop one time until last night, the middle never completely set up. It was getting late and we needed to get next door so I cut the bars and saved the outer edges, thank God I had made a large batch.

I cooked them longer than normal but next time I make a large batch I'll know that you have to cook them a lot longer.

They turned out awful but were sooo good.

This recipe is too good not to share, if you don't have to eat gluten free just use your normal cookie recipe for the crust and topping.

Chocolate Chip Cheese Bars


1 Gluten-Free Chocolate Chip Cookie Mix
1 pkg cream cheese; 8 oz.
½ cup sugar
1 egg

Mix cookie mix according to pkg directions. I add sour cream to make it moister.
For crust, press half of the dough onto the bottom of a greased 8-in. square-baking pan.
In a mixing bowl, beat cream cheese, sugar and egg until smooth. Spread over crust.
Crumble remaining dough over top. Bake at 350 degrees for 35-40 minutes.

I had most of the cheese spread left so I plan to make dips and use it in my southern grits!! Yum it will be sooo good.

I met a lot of new people and had a great time, I just hope that I wasn't literally the talk of the party.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

A Visit to the Big Easy to be with the Saints

I remember years ago attending New Orleans Saints football games and they NEVER won. I remember wearing my t-shirt and being so upset because they were so bad that I'd change or wear a jacket zipped up over it to hide it after the game. This was over twenty six years ago, it's been a while.

Honey treated me to trip to the big easy and a Saints game recently and hey THEY WON!!! The game was soooo good even Honey, who is not a big football fan, enjoyed it. After the game we spent several days looking, eating, and being lazy around the big easy. The weather was really cool but not as cold as it would have been in the Hills.

Here are photos from our trip, enjoy our stay in the Big Easy!

It's time to go let's follow the crowd for once!
Click on any photo to enlarge!

Let me introduce the New Orleans Saints and the 
St. Louis Rams.

The youg and the old Saintsations with Gumbo one of the Saint's mascots.

Drew Brees in action!!

Different kinds of Saint fans...

Bourbon Street after the game.....

Around our hotel

A trip to the Mississippi

Supper on Monday night, great food by the way.

Daisy Dukes for a great late breakfast.....

Royal St.

We took a VIP City Tour on Tuesday and it was great. We gained a wealth of information that I will not be sharing with you but if you ever get a chance take this tour. Here are a few photos that turned out it's really hard to get good photos out of a bus window!

The Lower Ninth Ward five years following hurricane Katrina.
The housing project of Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie.

The Saint Louis Cemetry No 3

The Garden District.
A beautiful part of town where many of the stars live.

Our last night in town we ate at The House of Blues on Decatur St.
It was a neat place and the food once again was really good.

This trip has been an eye opener for Honey and I or maybe a heart check I'm not sure which one. We were raised believing that all things in New Orleans were evil that nothing really good comes out of it.

After seeing the destruction still visible from the hurricane and hearing the heart beat of our tour guide, who was wonderful by the way, we have more sympathy for this city. We see there is much beauty in midst of some ugly. There are many here who desire change but still have very little hope that things will be much better than they are right now. Things are much better now  than when we visited over twenty years ago it's kind of like the the floods came and cleaned house. Everything seems cleaner and you just don't see as much ugly or evil as you use too, maybe it was due to the cold weather who knows

We may not agree with everything going on in New Orleans, Louisiana but we loved what we experienced and we are already making plans to visit in the future. So come on down ya'll and remember take the city tour!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Bakery on Main Gluten Free Granola Bar review

 I recently received an e-mail asking would I be willing to try some of Bakery on Main's granola bars. Of course I was excited and still am for that matter. In the past I had tried Bakery on Main's granola cereal and loved it but had never had one of their granola bars.

This morning I needed a snack and so I decided to eat my first one I chose the

Chocolate Almond Soft & Chewy Bar

and it was wonderful! It had just the right amount of chocolate chips and nutty taste to make it a excellent choice for breakfast or a snack... I'm sure that I will be buying more granola cereal and bars in the near future. Thanks Christine for this opportunity!

Here is more information:

Filled with chopped almonds and topped with a generous amount of chocolate chips, this dessert, ahem, bar is just as good for you as it tastes...

NO GMOs • NO Dairy • NO Casein • NO Wheat • NO Trans Fat • NO Cholesterol
Made with certified gluten free oats, Amaranth & Quinoa for a great source of whole grains
Made with flax & chia seeds for a great source of Omega 3 & Omega 6 essential fatty acids

Read what our customers are saying about our products, and share what you like about Bakery on Main Gluten-Free Granola


Monday, December 6, 2010

Garlic Shrimp and Grits

I just had a thought, holidays weren't meant to be like this!

Honey and I have been extremely busy. Last Thursday night we went to Pine Lake and saw Chris Tomlin and Louie Giglio in the "Glory in the Highest" tour. It was great and I wouldn't have missed it for the world after the concert we went to my Dad's for the night, then picked up Punkin and kept her for a couple of days. We were able to take her to breakfast with Santa Saturday morning and it was so much fun. It's not everyday that you get to do these things with your grand-children.

Sunday we attended the Christmas cantata and then spent the afternoon with Ash and the baby. All afternoon I was stressed because of all that I had to do. Our computer is out and we are trying to set up a new one, I am days behind on paying bills, payroll taxes are due, Honey has new glasses to pick up, I have prescriptions that I need to have filled, the house needs cleaned, my washer isn't working correctly, we have a business meeting in a few days and on top of it all I have only sparsely decorated for Christmas. Earlier I had shared with my family that I was overwhelmed with it all. Christmas isn't supposed to be like this, this is not the reason for the season.

So while the family slept I made an executive decision, I took out a few more decorations and decided that there will be no tree this year. At first I felt bad because this is the first year that I have not put up a tree but we are leaving to go on a trip next weekend and we are having Christmas at Ben and Ash's when we get home. Besides, spending time with my family is the most important thing right now and I was wasting my time worrying.

After I made this decision I felt so much better, and I started to straighten up the house and think about cooking supper. Now after spending all afternoon fretting I had no meat thawed and had no idea what I was going to cook. Then I remembered that I had bought the ingredients to try a garlic shrimp and grits recipe that I had copied from Southern Living magazine. It was a cold night and so this sounded really good and man oh man it WAS!!! We all loved it and so I want to share it with you.

Garlic Shrimp and Grits
Servings: 4

1 pound unpeeled medium size shrimp; cooked
3 c. water
1 c. whipping cream
¼ c. butter or margarine
1 tsp. salt
1 c. quick-cooking grits; uncooked
1 c. (4 oz.) shredded extra sharp cheddar cheese
2 garlic cloves; minced

Peel shrimp, and devein, if desired. Bring 3 cups water, cream, butter, and salt to a boil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium, and whisk in grits. Cook, whisking constantly, 7 to 8 minutes or until mixture is smooth. Stir in 1 pound shrimp, cheese and garlic, and cook 1 to 2 minutes or until thoroughly heated.

Garnish with chopped fresh chives, peeled and cooked shrimp, freshly ground black pepper if desired.

This is so good and EASY that I plan to make it often in the future!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Swensen's Chicken Noodle Soup Both Regular and Gluten Free

During Thanksgiving I made "Swensen's Chicken Noodle Soup" for my family for lunch one day. Since then Honey has asked me to make more several times but I declined because it makes a lot and I didn't have the ingredients to make it gluten free. Today Honey took me to our local "The Living Diet" store to buy pasta for some homemade chicken noodle soup.

I remember eating ice cream at Swensen's when I was a child. I always thought that their ice cream was the best and could not imagine them having anything else so good. If I had only know I bet I would have paid them more visits during the cold weather months.

That's all water under the bridge but I am so glad to now know about their soup and to be able to convert it to gluten free. Ya'll it is great, I just ate a bowl and may go back for more.

I cut the gluten free recipe down because Honey and I can't eat as much as my whole family.

Swensen's Chicken Noodle Soup Converted to Gluten Free

2 qts. water
(1.50-ounce) chicken bouillon; granulated
3/8 tsp. Lawry's Seasoned Salt
1/4 tsp. garlic salt
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
1/4 tsp. black pepper
(8-ounce) DeBoles Organic Eggless Ribbon Style Pasta
2 pkgs cream of chicken soup (I use Pacific brand it is GF in a small box)
1 c. white chicken breast; cooked and shredded

Bring water to a boil. Add bouillon and all seasonings. Add noodles and cook until tender. Add cream of chicken soup. Saute' green onions in butter in saucepan. Add to mixture. Add cooked chicken, then stir well and serve. Makes 2 quarts.

For those who can have gluten:

Swensen's Chicken Noodle Soup
Servings: 10
Cooking Time: 45 minutes
Preparation Time: 20 minutes
Source: Mississippi Magazine

1 gallon water
¾ jar (2.25-ounce) chicken bouillon; granulated
¾ tsp. Lawry's Seasoned Salt
½ tsp. garlic salt
½ tsp. garlic powder
½ tsp. black pepper
½ bag (12-ounce) extra-broad egg noodles
1 can Campbell's Cream of Chicken Soup
½ Tbs. butter
1 c. white chicken breast; cooked and; shredded
1 ½ green onions; finely chopped

Bring water to a boil. Add bouillon and all seasonings. Add noodles and cook until tender. Add cream of chicken soup. Saute' green onions in butter in saucepan. Add to mixture. Add cooked chicken, then stir well and serve. Makes 1 gallon.

So whether you can or can not eat gluten here is a great soup recipe just for you! Let me tell ya you will love it!!! Try it and let me know your thoughts!