April Fools' Day Treats: Hamburger Cookies

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Looking for a great April Fools' Day treat to share with family and friends?  Look no further.  We make these little hamburger cookies every year for the kids to share in their school classes and although you'd think that the same trick would get old year after year, they never fail to be a  hit for everyone!   The best part about this April Fools' day fake-out, is that they're also super easy to make!   How easy?  Watch this....
Looks like a nice plate of delicious grilled sliders, doesn't it?

In reality it is:

Vanilla wafers
Keebler Grasshopper cookies
Red icing 
( I recommend buying pre-made red icing, since red is hard to make with food coloring)
Yellow icing (
I couldn't find any yellow icing this year, so we made ours with white icing and yellow food coloring)
Sesame seeds

Orange juice concentrate
or corn syrup (we used corn syrup)

Put a good sized gob of frosting on each vanilla wafer (one for the "ketchup", one for the "mustard")

Sandwich together like this.

Using a pastry brush, brush over the top a small amount of orange juice concentrate or corn syrup (heated in the microwave for 10 seconds).  Sprinkle on the sesame seeds.

Voila! A very realistic miniature hamburger.

Have fun tricking your family and friends. 

Click here for printable recipe.



"Perfectly Chocolate" Chocolate Cake and Frosting

Sunday, March 29, 2009

I made this cake the other day and it was gone very quickly! It is yummy and moist and addicting :)

The ingredients:

2 cups sugar
1- 3/4 cup flour
3/4 cup cocoa
1- 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1- 1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
2 eggs
1 cup milk
1/2 cup oil
2 tsp. vanilla
1 cup boiling water

1/2 cup butter or margarine
2/3 cup cocoa
1/3 cup milk
3 cups powdered sugar
1 tsp. vanilla

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour two 9-inch round pans or one 9x13 inch pan. Combine dry ingredients in large bowl.

Add eggs, milk, oil and vanilla to the dry mixture. Beat on medium speed with mixer for two minutes.

Stir in boiling water. (The batter will be thin)
Pour into pans or pan and bake for 30-35 minutes or until toothpick or knife comes out clean. Make the frosting while the cake is baking.

Frosting directions:

Melt the butter. Stir in the cocoa. Alternately add powdered sugar and milk beating on medium speed to spreading consistency. Add more milk if necessary. Stir in vanilla. Makes about two cups.

Once the cake is cooled a bit, frost it with this yummy frosting and enjoy!



Saturday, March 28, 2009

I love these gingersnaps hot and gooey fresh from the oven. My friend with milk allergies loves these too, since they're totally milk free.

Click here for printable recipe

The ingredients:
3/4 cup shortening (Crisco)
1/2 cup molasses
3/4 cup sugar
1 egg
2-1/4 cups flour
1-1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/8 tsp. ground cloves
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. ginger
~1/4 cup granulated sugar (for rolling dough balls in before baking)

Cream together shortening and sugar until light and fluffy. Add molasses and egg; mix well. Sift in flour, baking soda, salt, and spices. Mix well. Place in freezer 1 hour or chill in refrigerator 2 hours (we skip this step). Form into approximately 1-inch balls; roll in granulated sugar. Bake on greased baking sheets in 375° oven for 6-7 minutes or until they look slightly UNDER done. This will yield a softer, chewier cookie. If you like your cookies crisper then bake for 10 minutes or until golden brown. Yields about 4 dozen.



Mom's Broccoli Cheese Soup

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Our family loves this Broccoli Cheese Soup smooth rather than chunky, so I chop most of the veggies in the food processor.

4-5 cups cubed potatoes (I do mine quite small)
2 cups chopped carrots
1-2 cups celery, chopped (optional)
1 cup chopped onions
3 chicken bouillon cubes

Cook above ingredients in 4 cups water for about 20 minutes or until vegetables are done.

Add 1 pkg (10 ounces) frozen broccoli, partially thawed (put in food processor)

Heat through.

1 Tbs mustard
1/2 tsp pepper
Garlic powder to taste (optional)


3 cups milk
1/2 to 1 lb velveeta cheese, cubed
Stir until cheese melts.

Serve in bread bowls or with bread sticks.


Nacho Mama's Mac & Cheese

Monday, March 23, 2009

This recipe takes one of the all-time favorite comfort foods of macaroni and cheese and zips it up a notch. My kids loved eating it almost as much as they loved saying the name. The ingredients:
3 cups spiral pasta (I used bow tie, since that's what I had)
1 pound ground beef (I used turkey instead)

2 sweet red peppers, chopped

1/4 cup butter, cubed

1/4 cup flour

1 envelope taco seasoning

1/4 tsp. pepper

2-1/4 cups milk

2 cups (8-oz.) shredded cheddar cheese

1 cup frozen corn, thawed

1 cup coarsely crushed tortilla chips

Cook noodles according to package directions. Meanwhile cook meat and red peppers over medium heat until meat is no longer pink; drain.

Stir in the butter, flour, taco seasoning until blended. Gradually stir in milk. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened. Remove from the heat. Stir in cheese and corn until cheese is melted.

Drain noodles; add to meat mixture and stir to coat. Sprinkle with crushed tortilla chips. Makes 6 servings.



Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Ever since I started this recipe blog, I've been daydreaming about the day I would find a lemon poppy seed recipe to make and share. I don't know what took me so long, but here it is finally. Make sure you don't skip the glaze at the end. It takes these good muffins to absolutely scrumptiously moist muffins.

The ingredients:
1-1/2 tsp. baking powder
1-1/4 cups flour

1/2 tsp. salt

2/3 cup sugar

4 oz. cream cheese
1 egg
1/3 cup oil

1/2 cup milk

2 Tbs. lemon juice

1 Tbs. grated lemon peel

2 Tbs. poppy seeds


2 Tbs. lemon juice

2 Tbs. sugar

Sift baking powder, flour, sugar, poppy seeds, and salt together in a medium bowl. Cut cream cheese into 1/2 inch cubes. Add cream cheese and coat well in flour mixture (leave the cream cheese in chunks).
In separate bowl combine egg, oil, milk, lemon juice, and lemon peel.

Add dry mixture to the moist ingredients and stir just until combined (you'll still see some small cream cheese chunks--don't worry this is a good thing). Spoon batter into 12 prepared muffin tins. Bake 15-17 minutes at 375 ° or until muffins test done.

GLAZE: Combine lemon juice and sugar and brush onto hot muffins.



Curried Lentil Soup

Thursday, March 19, 2009

This savory vegetarian soup is healthy, easy to make, and perfectly combines the flavor of sweet potatoes, curry, and lentils. Serve it up with some crispy bread and a salad and you'll have a hearty, protein/vitamin packed meal!

The ingredients: 3 cups sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed
1-1/2 cups carrots, sliced
1 onion, finely chopped
3/4 cup dried lentils, sorted and rinsed
2 tsp. olive oil
1 Tbs. curry powder

1 tsp. ground cumin

1/2 tsp. salt

1/4 tsp. pepper
1 tsp. finely chopped ginger root

1 clove garlic, finely chopped

2 (14.5-oz.) cans chicken broth

1 (10 oz.) package frozen green beans, thawed

plain yogurt

Mix sweet potatoes, carrots, onion and lentils in large sauce pot.

Heat oil in large skillet over medium heat. Add curry powder, cumin, salt, pepper, ginger, and garlic, and cook for 1 minute stirring constantly. Stir in broth.
Pour spice and broth mixture into sauce pot with vegetables and stir.

Cover pot and cook on low for about 30-45 minutes or until vegetables and lentils are tender.

Turn heat to high; add green beans. Cook until green beans are crisp-tender, about 5 minutes. Top with plain yogurt and serve.



BYU Mint Brownies

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

*Perfect  for St. Patrick's Day*
Mint and chocolate together is one of my favorite flavor combinations and this knock-off of BYU's famous mint brownies combines them just perfectly.  Enjoy them as a fun Saint Patty's day treat or for a bit of Cougar nostalgia!  Go Cougs!  

Click here for printable recipe!


1 cup butter
1/2 cup cocoa
2 Tbs. honey
4 eggs
2 cups sugar
1-3/4 cups flour
1/2 Tbs. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1 cup chopped walnuts


5 Tbs. butter
dash of salt
1 Tbs. light corn syrup
2-1/3 cups powdered sugar
1/2 tsp. mint extract
1-2 drops green food coloring
3 Tbs. milk


1/2 cup butter
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/3 cup milk
4 cups powdered sugar, sifted


1. Melt butter and mix in with cocoa. Allow to cool.

Add honey, eggs, sugar, flour, baking powder, and salt. Mix well. Add nuts.

Pour batter into a greased 9-by-13 baking pan. Bake at 350° for 25 minutes. Cool.
(Don't overcook yours like I did.)  :)

2. Prepare mint icing: Soften butter. Add salt, corn syrup, and powdered sugar. Beat until smooth and fluffy. Add mint extract and food coloring. Mix. Add milk gradually until the consistency is a little thinner than cake frosting.

3. Spread mint icing over brownies. Place brownies in the freezer for a short time (~ 15 minutes) to stiffen the icing.

4. Prepare chocolate frosting: Melt butter in a medium saucepan over low heat, 2-3 minutes. Stir in cocoa powder and milk. Bring to a boil, stirring, and then remove from heat. Stir in powdered sugar until frosting is thickened and smooth.

Pour and spread warm frosting on top of the layer of mint frosting. Let them cool before cutting.

5. Enjoy!


Sausage Egg Rolls

Sunday, March 15, 2009

I had never tried anything like homemade eggrolls before, but after seeing how easy it really is and how much everyone liked them, I'll definitely be making these again soon.
The ingredients: 1/2 lb. pork sausage
1/4 cup chopped green pepper

3 Tbs. chopped onion

1/2 tsp. minced garlic

3-3/4 cups coleslaw mix
1/4 tsp. pepper

1/8 tsp. salt

16 egg roll wrappers

Oil for frying

Sweet and sour sauce

In a large skillet, cook the sausage, green pepper, onion, and garlic over medium heat until meat is no longer pink; drain. In a large bowl, combine the coleslaw, pepper, and salt; stir in sausage mixture.Place 1/4 cupful in the center of each egg roll wrapper. Fold bottom corner over filling. Fold sides toward center over filling. Moisten remaining corner with water; roll up tightly to seal.

Heat 1 inch of oil. Fry egg rolls, a few at a time on each side until golden brown. Drain on paper towels. Serve with sweet and sour sauce. Makes 16 egg rolls.


Lara's Famous Fried Rice

Friday, March 13, 2009

I've been making this hearty, flavorful brown rice for so long that my kids don't even recognize plain white rice as edible. Sauteing it in butter and onions beforehand adds a little extra time to the already longer cooking time necessary for brown rice, but your efforts will be so worth the results! You won't want to go back to plain white rice either.

The ingredients:

2-1/2 cups brown rice*
2 Tbs. butter
1 onion, diced
5 cups water
3 chicken bouillon cubes

Stirring frequently, saute dry rice and diced onion in butter until rice is slightly browned (about 5 minutes). Meanwhile heat water and bouillon until boiling. When rice is browned, add to the boiling water/bouillon. Cover. Turn heat to low. Simmer slowly for 45-50 minutes or until water is absorbed. Serves 6.

*If white rice is used, reduce cooking time to 15-20 minutes.



White Chip Chocolate Cookies

Monday, March 9, 2009

I made these cookies one time for backwards day at school, since they're reversed from the traditional chocolate chip cookie with the dark cookie and light chips. Ever since then, my kids have called them "Inside-Out Cookies". Pretty much I only make them once in a while, since we can gobble a whole batch in one sitting. They're soft, chocolatey, and oh so yummy!
The ingredients:
1 cup butter
2/3 cup cocoa
3/4 cup white sugar
2/3 cup brown sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
2 large eggs
2-1/4 cups flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
2 cups white chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350°. Beat butter, white sugar, and brown sugar in a large mixing bowl until creamy. Add vanilla and eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Combine flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt in small bowl. Gradually beat in flour mixture into butter mixture. Stir in morsels. Drop by well-rounded tablespoonful onto ungreased cookie sheets. Bake for 6 minutes (you'll want them to look slightly under-done when you take them out).



Orange Chicken

Saturday, March 7, 2009

This is one of the great recipes from the Lion House cookbook! I love the orange/onion combination and the prep time is so short it's perfect for fixing and forgetting.

The ingredients:
1/2 cup flour
1/4 tsp. pepper
1 onion, thinly sliced
1 can (6-oz) orange juice concentrate, thawed
3/4 cup water
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 Tbs. corn starch
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
2 tsp. salt
4-8 boneless, skinless chicken breasts

Combine flour, salt, and pepper in plastic bag. Add chicken pieces and shake to coat well. Place chicken pieces in baking pan. Spread onions generously over surface.

Combine orange juice, water, brown sugar, nutmeg, and cornstarch. Pour over chicken. Cover with foil and bake at 325° for 45-60 minutes or until chicken is tender and cooked through. Serve with rice.



Whole Wheat Herb Bread

Thursday, March 5, 2009

The perfect accompaniment to a savory soup on a cold winter day.

The ingredients:
2 cups warm water (divided)
2 Tbs. yeast
2 cups whole wheat flour
2-1/2 cups white flour
1-1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 cup powdered milk
1 Tbs. sweet basil flakes
1 Tbs. crushed rosemary
1 Tbs. ground marjoram
1 Tbs. crushed parsley leaves
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 cup honey
1 large egg

Combine 1/2 cup of the warm water and yeast in a small bowl and set aside. In a large mixing bowl, combine wheat flour, 2 cups of the white flour, powdered milk, salt, basil, rosemary, marjoram, and parsley and mix well.

In another bowl mix together the remaining 1-1/2 cups warm water, oil, and honey. Combine with dry ingredients and mix until well incorporated. Add the egg.

Once the egg is fully mixed in, combine yeast mixture with flour mixture. Continue to add remaining 1/2 cup flour until mixture is stiff and difficult to stir. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead until smooth, adding additional flour to prevent the dough from sticking. Once the dough is smooth, place in a lightly oiled bowl and let rise in a a warm place until doubled, about 1 hour.

After the bread has doubled, work it down and shape into three free-form loaves. Cover and let dough rise again until nearly doubled, about 1 hour. Bake a lightly greased cookie sheet for 20-25 minutes, or until lightly browned.



About This Blog

My name is Lara and while I'm definitely not a gourmet cook, I do love preparing tasty, healthy meals for my family. Finding new recipes to try and sharing the ones we've already fallen in love with is a passion I've had since college and the reason why I've started this blog! With five kids, I'm usually in a hurry, so you'll find most of these recipes kid friendly and simple to make.

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