Thursday, October 31, 2013

Too Much Chocolate Cake

This is a fantastic cake recipe - not only is it super easy with the addition of cake and pudding mixes, but it comes out SO moist, chocolately, and delicious!! I love this one and have been using it for years. I've only used it for cupcakes - they come out great every time. It is very rich, and I love using mini chocolate chips, so you find little morsels of extra chocolatey goodness when you enjoy this recipe.

I fixed these for my son's soccer team for Halloween goodies and they were a big hit!

Too Much Chocolate Cake by Denise on AllRecipes

1 (18.25 ounce) package devil's food cake mix
1 (5.9 ounce) package instant chocolate pudding mix
1 cup sour cream
1 cup vegetable oil
4 eggs
1/2 cup warm water
2 cups semisweet miniature chocolate chips


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. In a large bowl, mix together the cake and pudding mixes, sour cream, oil, beaten eggs and water. Stir in the chocolate chips and pour batter into a well greased 12 cup bundt pan.
  3. Bake for 50 to 55 minutes (20 minutes for cupcakes), or until top is springy to the touch and a wooden toothpick inserted comes out clean. Cool cake thoroughly in pan at least an hour and a half before inverting onto a plate If desired, dust the cake with powdered sugar or top with frosting.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Harvest Pumpkin Cookies

This is a FANTASTIC cookie recipe that is PERFECT for this fall weather. It has a super moist and cakey texture, they're so soft! It's about impossible to just eat one. Which is why I baked up this batch, ate several, decided they were dangerous, and promptly took the rest to my son's soccer practice where they disappeared in about 5 seconds flat (teenage boys have empty arms and legs you know). My son loved these and almost didn't want to share them with his teammates - and to me that says a lot about a pumpkin cookie with nuts and fruit in it! We will definitely be using this one again. The recipe says it makes 48 cookies, but I made about half that to make good sized (manly) cookies. :)

This is a recipe from Splenda, but I used Stevia since that's what I had open. I used regular brown sugar in place of the splenda brown sugar blend suggested by the original recipe, and I used about 1/4 cup of chopped pecans instead of walnuts (using up what I had left) and about 1/2 cup of cranberries instead of raisins. I highly recommend using the cranberries - they work so well with this recipe!! I used Smart Balance margarine and it worked great - so feel free to use margarine in place of butter; it will work fine in this recipe. Enjoy!

Harvest Pumpkin Cookies slightly adapted from Splenda on AllRecipes
Makes 24-48 cookies

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/3 cups quick or old-fashioned oats
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup butter or margarine, softened
1/2 cup sugar substitute (such as Splenda or Stevia)
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 cup pure pumpkin puree
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 - 3/4 cup chopped walnuts
1/2 - 3/4 cup cranberries


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray baking pans with nonstick cooking spray; set aside.
  2. Combine flour, oats, baking soda, cinnamon and salt in medium bowl. Beat butter, sugar substitute and brown sugar in a large bowl at medium speed until light and fluffy. Add pumpkin, egg and vanilla extract; mix well. Add flour mixture; mix well. Stir in walnuts and cranberries. Drop by large rounded tablespoons onto prepared baking sheets.
  3. Bake 14 to 16 minutes or until cookies are lightly browned and set in centers. Cool on baking sheets for 2 minutes; remove to wire racks to cool completely.

Monday, October 28, 2013

All About Johnsonville Italian Sausage!

My family and I have all really enjoyed the chance to work with products from Johnsonville for the AllRecipes Allstar program this past month. Their website has a wealth of information on all of their delicious products, and lots of great recipe ideas!

Some of the fantastic recipes we've enjoyed using Johnsonville Italian sausage this past month include Chili, Chili Cheese Fries, Sausage and Pepper Skillet, and Sliders. They were all delicious and my boys were very happy to get to try these recipes out. The chili in particular disappeared in no time flat - my son and I LOVED using it for chili cheese fries and my husband was disappointed when I snagged the last bowl for lunch! We will definitely be enjoying the chili recipe again soon, especially with fall here it's perfect time for a warm bowl of chili at the end of the day. I love the quality of their products and the flavor of their sausage, it always hits the spot and works great in my recipes!

I am an Allrecipes Allstar Brand Ambassador (a voluntary position) and I’m not compensated for my work with

Products received from sponsors are only used for experienced-based reviews on Making Miracles. The reviews, content and opinions expressed in this blog are purely the sole opinions of Rebekah.

Secret Recipe Club: Neiman Marcus Chocolate Chip Cookies

This month for my Secret Recipe Club assignment, I had the pleasure of visiting The More Than Occasional Baker's blog to browse recipes and find something delicious to prepare for me and my family to enjoy. Since this is my first month of completing a SRC assignment with a newborn in the house (and because I was craving cookies) I decided to find a cookie recipe to try out! My son is always a good helper with preparing recipes too, and I thought he'd enjoy homemade cookies as well, and be able to help fix the recipe if I couldn't pull it off on my own. Since everything is all on baby girl's schedule, I never know just what I'm going to be able to get done in any given day!

There were SO many recipes to browse through, even though I already knew I was looking at cookies - there were over 70!! When I came across the Neiman Marcus Cookie recipe, my search was over though. This one has been on my radar for awhile now, and a good chocolate chip cookie sounded fantastic! With this recipe I had a blooper though. Everything on The More Than Occasional Baker's blog is in grams instead of cups and when I did the conversion online I think something got lost in translation and I ended up with VERY flat cookies that spread like crazy. When I looked up a version of the recipe in cups I discovered my version had only about half the flour and oats it was supposed to have... HOWEVER, this was one DELICIOUS blooper!! Yes, they were super flat and very buttery without the extra flour and oats, but oh my gosh they are so GOOD! They're so chewy and crispy at the same time, and I think I've gained back 4 lbs in the past few days eating them up. I really like the ones I over baked; they came out dark brown and so chewy and crispy and good!! So, this was one baking error I am happy to have made. However, I am sure the original recipe is really fantastic and has a texture that's easier to work with - my cookies are super flimsy and bendy!

However you make these, I am sure you will enjoy them too. They are so delicious!!

Neiman Marcus Chocolate Chip Cookies - slightly adapted from The More Than Occasional Baker

2 ½ cups rolled oats
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup (generous) brown sugar
2 eggs
1 TBS vanilla extract
1 1/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips
3/4 cup chopped nuts

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Blitz the rolled oats in a food processor until it resembles a fine powder. 
  3. Cream the butter and sugars until smooth.
  4. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition.  
  5. Mix in the flour, ground oats, salt, baking powder, and baking soda. Add in the vanilla.
  6. Finally stir in the chocolate chips and mixed nuts gently by hand. 
  7. Roll dough into walnut sized balls and place on an ungreased cookie sheet. 
  8. Bake for approximately 10 minutes or until golden brown along the bottom and edges.
  9. The cookies will still be soft but will firm up as they cool. Allow to cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely. 

Friday, October 25, 2013

Chicken with Honey Sauce - Freezer Meal

This is one of the recipes I prepped and froze back in August in preparation for our little one's arrival. This is a definite keeper! My husband, son, and I REALLY loved the way this chicken came out!! The original recipe (and the instructions below) say to cook this in the crock pot, but we grilled it on our indoor Cuisinart Griddler and it was absolutely perfect! The flavor is awesome and it goes beautifully with some pasta salad and steamed broccoli. Delicious!

Chicken with Honey Sauce from Planning for Little Baby Legg

3/4 cup honey
1/2 cup soy sauce
1/8 cup chopped onion
1/4 cup ketchup
2 tbsp vegetable oil
3 cloves minced garlic
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts

  1. Put all ingredients in freezer bags
  2. Toss and knead bag so chicken gets covered evenly in sauce
  3. Flatten bag and freeze
  4. To serve: Cook in crock-pot on low for 6-8 hours or on high 3-4 hours. Serve over rice.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Kentucky Biscuits

This is a terrific biscuit recipe that we enjoyed recently! My husband enjoyed these with a sausage patty and some melted cheddar cheese, I enjoyed mine with some melted butter and my favorite blackberry jam, and my son ate his plain and said it was great!

These have a great lightly crispy exterior and soft interior. They have a touch of sweetness to them that I really enjoyed - this is a great recipe and I will definitely use this one again.

I used a juice glass dipped in flour and made about 8 large biscuits out of this recipe. I added 3/4 TBS of vinegar to 3/4 cup of milk to make buttermilk since I don't usually keep buttermilk stocked. I didn't use the full amount of milk in the recipe - I just added enough until the dough came together in the right consistency.

Kentucky Biscuits by COOKIN4MY3BOYS on AllRecipes
makes 8-12 biscuits

2 cups all-purpose flour
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 dash salt
1 tablespoon white sugar
1/2 cup butter
3/4 cup buttermilk


  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. In a bowl, mix the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and sugar. Cut in 1/2 cup butter until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Mix in the buttermilk. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface, and knead 2 minutes. Pat or roll dough to about a 1/2 inch thickness (or preferred thickness) and cut with preferred biscuit cutter to make desired amount of biscuits.
  3. Bake 15 minutes in the preheated oven or until golden brown and cooked through. Serve hot.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Homemade Self-Rising Flour

If you need self-rising flour for a recipe and only have all-purpose on hand, this is a VERY quick and easy way to combine a few ingredients and make it yourself. I needed this when I realized I didn't have any self-rising flour left in the pantry and a biscuit recipe I was making called for it. This worked perfectly in the recipe and is a great substitute recipe to have on hand.

Homemade Self-Rising Flour - Substitute from

3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt


  1. Combine all ingredients and use in place of self rising flour.
  2. May double or triple if more is needed.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Brainless Banana Pancakes

This is a super easy and really delicious banana pancake recipe that I've been using for years. I discovered it when I used to spend time on tracking calories and exercise during pregnancy. This is one of those recipes we enjoyed enough to hang onto and pull out for a delicious weekend breakfast every now and then! My son and I in particular really enjoy this one - Kent says they remind him of banana bread, with a much softer texture. They go great with some sliced bananas (and strawberries!) and real maple syrup on top!

The more ripe and "mushy" your banana is, the better for this recipe. The riper it is, the easier it blends into the batter and gives the pancakes that much of a stronger flavor. This recipe is enough for the 3 of us for one meal, so if you have more in your family, or if some like more than 2 medium sized pancakes, double the recipe.

Brainless Banana Pancakes slightly adapted from Babyfit
Makes about 8 medium pancakes

1 cup flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 ripe banana, mashed
1 1/4 cups milk (I used 1%)
1 tbsp sweetener (Stevia or sugar)
sliced fresh fruit and maple syrup for serving


  1. In a large bowl, blend the flour, salt, and baking powder together. 
  2. In a small bowl, mash the banana with a fork and add 1/4 cup of the milk, mixing together until there are no lumps. Add the banana, sweetener, and remaining milk to the dry mix and stir together until just combined.
  3. Ladle about 1/4 - 1/3 cup of batter onto a pre-heated and greased griddle. Let sit on medium heat until bubbles appear and the edges begin to look dry. Flip pancake over and cook other side until golden brown. Repeat process until all the batter is gone.
  4. Garnish with fresh sliced fruit and maple syrup.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Chili Cheese Fries

Here is another fantastic use of delicious Ore-Ida products! Chili cheese fries are about the simplest food pleasure you can enjoy - bake up some crispy french fries, cover with good chili, and throw on some cheese (everything is better smothered in cheese, right?)!

We really enjoyed this meal of chili covered crispy fast food style french fries. My son wanted this two days in a row (and so did I)!

Chili Cheese Fries
Makes 2 servings

13 ounces (half a bag) frozen Ore-Ida Fast Food French Fries
1 1 /2 - 2 cups prepared chili (suggestion: Chiliville Chili)
1/2 - 3/4 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese

  1. Prepare french fries per package instructions. When fries are almost done, warm chili until heated through.
  2. Distribute french fries between plates.
  3. Spoon chili over prepared french fries and sprinkle cheese over the top. Microwave for about 45 seconds to melt cheese (or allow cheese to melt on its own). 
  4. Serve immediately.

I am an Allrecipes Allstar Brand Ambassador (a voluntary position) and I’m not compensated for my work with

Products received from sponsors are only used for experienced-based reviews on Making Miracles. The reviews, content and opinions expressed in this blog are purely the sole opinions of Rebekah.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Crock Pot Teriyaki Pork - Freezer Meal

I originally posted this recipe here as part of my "stock the freezer in preparation for baby coming soon"! We had the chance to pull this one out, cook it up, and enjoy it the other day and it was delicious!! We all REALLY enjoyed the way this pork came out. It was tender, and super flavorful. It was a fantastic way to prepare a pork roast. We shredded the meat and served it over both pasta and rice - the rice soaks up the sauce a little better. If I were to serve it over pasta again, I'd pull the sauce out and thicken it on the stove to make more of a gravy. Super tasty meal!! The meat would also make a really yummy sandwich I think (maybe with some grilled pineapple slices)!

Crock Pot Teriyaki Pork for the Freezer from Homemaking on the Homestead

2.5 - 3 lbs pork tenderloin (original recipe suggests dicing the tenderloin, I left mine whole)
1 onion, sliced (I used diced)
½ cup soy sauce
½ cup  brown sugar
1 tsp minced garlic
½ tsp ground ginger

  1. Put all ingredients into a large Ziploc bag. Seal the bag and knead mixture to thoroughly combine and coat meat. Press flat, and freeze. 
  2. On cooking day, dump contents into crock pot and cook on low for 8 hours, or until meat is cooked and tender. 
  3. Serve over brown rice if desired. 

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Cheesy Breakfast Potatoes

This was a delicious way to start the day! This was a variation on the Cowboy Scramble we enjoy regularly for a hearty weekend breakfast and a great way to use Ore-Ida's tasty hash browns. This has a great combination of vegetables, tender and crispy potatoes, and tasty sausage - the cheese ties it all together and makes this both very filling, and quite the treat as well! My son and I like this with a fried egg on the side and a little bit of ketchup to dip the potato mixture in.

Cheesy Breakfast Potatoes adapted from Sargento on AllRecipes

4 1/2 cups cubed Ore-Ida Hash Browns (Southern Style Diced Potatoes)
1 TBS olive oil (more as needed)
8 ounces ground sausage
1/2 medium green bell pepper, diced
1/2 medium onion, diced
2 tsp minced garlic
1 cup cheddar cheese, divided
Salt and pepper, to taste

  1. Cook sausage, green pepper, onion, and garlic in skillet for about 10-15 minutes, or until meat is cooked through and vegetables are tender. 
  2. Meanwhile, in a separate skillet heat oil over medium heat in large skillet. Add potatoes; cook 10-15 minutes, or until potatoes are browned and tender, stirring frequently (add additional oil if needed to aid in browning and prevent sticking).
  3. Add meat mixture to the potatoes and stir gently to combine. Add 1 cup cheese; stir until melted. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve immediately.

I am an Allrecipes Allstar Brand Ambassador (a voluntary position) and I am not compensated for my work with

Products received from sponsors are only used for experienced-based reviews on Making Miracles. The reviews, content and opinions expressed in this blog are solely the opinions of Rebekah.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Chiliville Chili

This is a fantastic chili recipe!! We really, really enjoyed this one. It comes together in one large pot and smells fantastic while it's simmering. I used a package of Johnsonville sweet Italian sausage, decased, for this recipe and it works very nicely - lending lots of delicious flavor to the chili. The flavors all blend together very nicely, and there is just the right amount of meat, tomatoes, and beans in this hearty dish. It is spiced just right for my taste as well - I didn't have to tweak anything. (I am a bit of a spice wimp, and it has just the right amount of heat for me!)

Kenneth likes his served over cooked brown rice, and topped with cheddar cheese. I like mine sprinkled with cheddar cheese and served with crackers on the side. However you choose to enjoy your chili, you will definitely enjoy this terrific recipe from Johnsonville!

Chiliville Chili by Johnsonville on AllRecipes

1 pound Johnsonville® Italian Ground Mild, Sweet or Hot Italian Sausage
1 pound ground beef
1 medium onion, chopped
3 celery ribs, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
3 (14.5 ounce) cans diced tomatoes with green peppers and onions (such as Rotel)
2 (16 ounce) cans kidney beans, rinsed and drained
1 (14.5 ounce) can beef broth
1 (6 ounce) can tomato paste
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons chili powder
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
Shredded Cheddar cheese (optional)

  1. In a large saucepan, cook sausage and ground beef over medium heat until meat is no longer pink; drain excess grease. Add the onion, celery and garlic. Cook and stir for 5 minutes or until tender. Stir in the tomatoes, beans, broth, tomato paste, brown sugar, chili powder, Worcestershire sauce, cumin and red pepper flakes. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 20 minutes or until ready to serve.
  2. Sprinkle with cheese if you like and serve immediately.
** Serving suggestion: Top with sour cream in addition to cheddar cheese, serve with saltine crackers, or over rice.

I am an Allrecipes Allstar Brand Ambassador (a voluntary position) and I am not compensated for my work with

Products received from sponsors are only used for experienced-based reviews on Making Miracles. The reviews, content and opinions expressed in this blog are solely the opinions of Rebekah.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Johnsonville Italian Sausage Sliders and Ore-Ida Sweet Potato Fries

I posted the other day about enjoying some delicious sliders made with Johnsonville Italian sausage - I used the leftover sliders for lunch yesterday. We topped them with sharp cheddar cheese, bacon and some of our favorite BBQ sauce and they were so good! They paired perfectly with some crispy Ore-Ida Sweet Potato Crinkle Fries! My husband is a huge fan of sweet potatoes and although I don't usually choose them over regular french fries, I really enjoyed these sweet potato french fries. There was something about the way they baked up with a very light and airy crispy outside with a soft and fluffy inside that was french fry perfection. I love the convenience of Ore-Ida products, and have been serving their potato products with our meals for years. Thanks to this month's AllRecipes Allstar challenge, I get to highlight their yummy products here and find new ways to enjoy them!

This was a delicious meal and one that we will definitely be enjoying again soon.

I am an Allrecipes Allstar Brand Ambassador (a voluntary position) and I’m not compensated for my work with

Products received from sponsors are only used for experienced-based reviews on Making Miracles. The reviews, content and opinions expressed in this blog are purely the sole opinions of Rebekah.