©Life of a Foodie and Her Family 2008-2013, Lynn Tabor



Focaccia version 2

I just made this to go along with spaghetti & meatballs.

1 cup water warm
3 tablespoons olive oil
3 cups bread flour
2 tsp salt
1 1/2 tbs Italian seasoning
2 teaspoons active dry yeast

Place all of the ingredients into the pan of your bread machine. Program for Dough or Manual, and press Start.

At the end of the cycle, remove the dough from the machine and punch it down. Roll it out to form a rectangle, and transfer it to a cookie sheet, 10 x 15-inch to 12 x 18-inch. Pat the dough into the pan.

With your fingertips make indents all over the dough.

Sprinkle with kosher salt and black pepper. Drizzle a little more olive oil on the dough.

You can also sprinkle on more herbs, minced garlic, chopped sun dried tomatoes, or sauteed onions.

Preheat your oven to 450.

Allow focaccia to rise 30 minutes to 45 minutes in a warm location.

Bake focaccia for 15 to 20 minutes until nicely browned.

Oven Baked Fries

I made these last night to go along with burgers. They were really good!!!

6 Russet Potatoes
1/4 cup light olive oil
2 tsp garlic powder
2 tsp onion powder
1 tsp kosher or sea salt
1 tsp black pepper
1 tbs McKormick Parmesan blend

Preheat oven to 425 and line two cookie sheets with foil.

Wash the potatoes then cut them lengthwise into wedges as thin as possible. It is OK if some are thicker.

Place the oil and potatoes in a Ziploc back and toss.

In a small bowl mix up the seasonings.

Pour potatoes out onto the cookie sheets. Sprinkle with seasonings adding more if you prefer. Toss the potatoes a bit. Make sure they are in a single layer.

Bake for 20 minutes. Then rotate the pans and gently flip the potatoes. Bake for another 20 minutes to get very crispy.

Be aware that these do smoke a lot because of the oil. Every few minutes I would crack the oven door a bit to vent out the smoke.


Ham and Swiss Pie (with picture)

I make this Ham & Swiss Pie every Christmas break, OK well maybe three or four times over break. It is so good!!

I made one for breakfast this morning and had to take a picture of it. It is definitely a family favorite!


Italian Sausage Soup

Victoria picked this out of a magazine, but I am doubling some of the ingredients. Below is how I am making it right now.

2 pounds Italian Sausage links (casing removed and any kind that you like. I am using sweet)
1 large onion chopped
2 large carrots chopped
2 large stalks of celery chopped
8 cups chicken stock (2 boxes)
1 14.5 oz can of diced tomatoes
1 8 oz can of tomato sauce
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 tsp dried Italian seasoning
2 bay leaves
1/2 to 1 cup dried orzo pasta

In a large dutch oven, cook sausage, onion, carrot and celery over medium high heat until sausage is brown, stirring to break up meat as it cooks. Drain well.

Add stock, tomatoes, tomato sauce, garlic, Italian seasoning and bay leaves to sausage mixture. Bring to boiling; reduce heat. Cover and simmer for 1 hour.

Add uncooked pasta. Return to boiling; reduce heat. Cook, uncovered, for 30 minutes more.

Discard bay leaves. If desired top each serving with a little shredded Parmesan cheese.

Farmhouse White Bread (1 1/2 pound loaf)

This is the bread that I am making to go along with dinner.

1 cup milk (warmed slightly)
1 egg
2 tbs unsalted butter softened
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 tbs sugar
3 cups bread flour
1 1/2 tsp bread machine yeast.

Add ingredients to your breadmachine in order from the manufactures directions.

White bread setting, medium crust.

I actually took the dough out after the first rise and put it into a loaf pan. It rose for 4o minutes then baked at 350 for 35 minutes.

For some reason, my breadmachine has been baking the bread a little to light lately.

Bananas Foster French Toast

Merry Christmas everyone! I finally settled on what I am making for Christmas Morning breakfast. I usually make a savory egg casserole and something sweet. For my sweet this year I am going to make Bananas Foster French Toast!! I found this on the Betty Crocker website.

8 slices cinnamon bread, cut into 1/2-inch cubes (about 8 cups)
8 eggs
1 cup milk
2 1/2 cups real maple syrup
1 teaspoon rum extract
6 ripe bananas, cut into 1/2-inch slices
1 cup chopped pecans

Spray bottom of 13x9-inch (3-quart) baking dish with cooking spray. Arrange bread cubes in baking dish. In large bowl, beat eggs, milk and 1/2 cup of the maple syrup with wire whisk. Pour over bread in baking dish. Cover and refrigerate 8 hours or overnight.

Heat oven to 350°F. Uncover; bake 35 to 40 minutes or until golden brown along edges. Let stand 7 to 10 minutes before serving.

Meanwhile, in medium microwavable bowl, microwave remaining 2 cups maple syrup uncovered on High 1 to 2 minutes, stirring every 30 seconds, until warm. Stir in rum extract.

Sprinkle banana slices and pecans evenly over bread; drizzle with warmed syrup mixture. Serve immediately.

edited: 12/28 to add the picture



Marcel bought me a Keurig Coffee Maker for Christmas. I LOVE IT!!! It is so much easier, I can have what I like and Marcel can make what he likes.

So far I have had a cup of the Green Mountain Breakfast blend, a cup of Green Mountain Spicy Eggnog, and a cup of Van Houtte French Vanilla. Ohhh so good!

I can't wait to try some hot chocolate...


New Cookbooks!

Marcel and Victoria bought me new cookbooks for Christmas. The first one I opened was Sandra Lee's Cocktail Time, oh boy does it have some great recipes and I can't wait to try some out.

The second one is Back to Basics by Ina Garten and I have been wanting this one since it came out.

The last one, Victoria picked out all by herself. It is Emeril's 20-40-60. I looked through it and it also has some great recipes.


Easy Breakfast Bake

So for my savory breakfast item, I am making a family favorite from the Betty Crocker website. I have been making this one for years.

2 packages (12 oz each) bulk pork sausage
1 medium bell pepper, chopped (1 cup)
1 medium onion, chopped (1/2 cup)
3 cups frozen hash brown potatoes
2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese (8 oz)
1 cup Original Bisquick® mix
2 cups milk
1/4 teaspoon pepper
4 eggs

Heat oven to 400°F. Grease rectangular baking dish, 13x9x2 inches. Cook sausage, bell pepper and onion in 10-inch skillet over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until sausage is no longer pink; drain. Stir together sausage mixture, potatoes and 1 1/2 cups of the cheese in baking dish.

Stir Bisquick mix, milk, pepper and eggs until blended. Pour into baking dish.

Bake uncovered 40 to 45 minutes or until knife inserted in center comes out clean. Sprinkle with remaining cheese. Bake 1 to 2 minutes longer or just until cheese is melted. Cool 5 minutes.


Rolled Sugar Cookies

I just made a batch of rolled sugar cookies that will get decorated tomorrow. They are of course by Wilton.

1 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 egg
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons clear vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon no-color almond extract
2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt

Makes: About 3 dozen cookies.

Preheat oven to 400°F.

In mixing bowl, cream butter with sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in egg and extracts. Mix flour, baking powder and salt; add to butter mixture 1 cup at a time, mixing after each addition. Do not chill dough. Divide dough into 2 balls. On a floured surface, roll each ball into a circle approximately 12 in. wide and 1/8 in. thick. Dip cookie cutter in flour before each use. Bake cookies on ungreased cookie sheet 6-7 minutes or until cookies are lightly browned.

Recipe may be doubled.

Gingerbread Men

I just made a couple dozen Gingerbread Men to decorate later tonight or tomorrow. I love the Wilton recipe because there is no chilling involved.

3 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 cup solid vegetable shortening
1/2 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup molasses
1 egg , beaten
Makes: Makes about 2 dozen cookies.

Preheat oven to 375°F.

In large bowl, combine flour, baking soda, salt and spices. In large saucepan, melt shortening; cool slightly. Stir in sugar, molasses and egg; mix well. Add 2 cups flour mixture; mix well. Turn mixture onto lightly floured surface. Knead in remaining flour mixture by hand. Add additional flour, if necessary, to make firm dough. Roll out on a lightly floured surface to 1/4-in. thickness.

Bake on ungreased cookie sheet until lightly browned on edges, about 10-15 minutes. Cool on cookie sheet placed on cooling grid 3 minutes; remove from cookie sheet and cool completely.

*Substitute 3/4 cup light corn syrup for molasses to make Blonde Gingerbread.

I will add some pictures after they are decorated.


Swiss Chicken Casserole

I picked up the magazine, Betty Crocker's Best-Loved Casseroles the other day. There are many recipes that I have already picked out. Tonight is Swiss Chicken Casserole.

Prep Time 15 minutes
Start to finish 1 hour 15 minutes
Servings 8

4 cups boiling water
2 boxes sun-dried tomato Florentine long grain and wild rice mix (Uncle Ben's)
4 large boneless skinless chicken breasts
8 slices thick sliced cooked deli ham (about 10 oz)
1/4 cup diced red bell pepper
4 slices Swiss cheese, cut in half

Heat oven to 350. Spray a 13x9 inch glass baking dish with cooking spray. In a baking dish, stir boiling water, rice and rice seasoning mixes.

Cut chicken breasts in half lengthwise; wrap ham slice around each chicken piece. Stir in bell pepper into rice. Place wrapped chicken over rice.

Cover with roil. Bake 40 to 45 minutes. Uncover; bake about 10 minutes longer or until liquid is absorbed and chicken is no longer pink in center.

Top each chicken breast with cheese slice. Bake uncovered 3 to 4 minutes or until cheese is melted.


Mint Surprise Cookies

After a busy week I realized I didn't have enough time to make rolled cookies for my neighbor's cookie swap. While going through the Wilton Cookie Exchange Book, I found a recipe called Mint Surprise Cookies.

2 1/4 cups all purpose four
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cups unsalted butter, melted and cooled
3/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 egg
1 egg yolk
2 tsp Wilton Pure Vanilla Extract
40 to 50 Wilton Dark Cocoa Mint Candy Melts
Additional Wilton Dark Cocoa Candy Melts, melted (optional)

Preheat oven to 375. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper.

In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking soda and salt. In a large bowl, beat butter and sugars with an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Add egg, yolk and vanilla; mix well. Add flour mixture; stir until just combined. Roll dough into 1 inch balls; press one candy melt into center of each ball, shaping dough around candy to cover completely. Place cookies 2 inches apart on cookie sheets.

Bake 9 to 11 minutes or until edges are golden brown. Remove cookies to a cooling grid; cool completely. If desired, place on parchment paper. Drizzle cookies with additional melted candy and chill until set.

Makes about 4 dozen cookies.

I am going to double the above recipe.

Wilton Cookie Exchange Book

Anyone that knows me, knows that I love baking especially cookies. I picked the Wilton Cookie Exchange Book a few weeks ago at Walmart. It has loads of recipes and loads of pictures of cookie decorating ideas. I am going to make some this week for Santa. You will have to check it out the book.


Tin Can Santa

The kids are making this tonight at our last Christmas workshop. I made some changes to the directions though.


1 empty, clean metal can
white, peach and pink acrylic paint
medium pink pom pom
2 small wiggle eyes
Cotton balls
6-8 medium white or silver sparkle pom poms
1 sheet red glitter felt
2” wide x 8” long strip of white glitter felt
White craft glue
Hot glue gun

Paint entire aluminum can with white paint.

Paint a section in the front of the can peach (or whatever skin tone color you like) for the face. I used Folk Art 949 Skintone.

Take one cotton ball and stretch it out so that fits all the way around the rim of the can. Glue in place about ½” below the rim. This is Santa’s hair. (I actually used two)

Lay strip of white glitter felt on the table. With hot glue gun, fold over edges and tack in place on both sides. This will create a thick and smooth brim for Santa’s hat that will not show any uneven cutting lines. Set aside. (I tried it and it was just a little to short so I used another strip and didn't fold it over.)

Position the red glitter felt around the top of the can, above the hair (stretched cotton ball). Glue in place and let dry. You will finish Santa’s red hat in a later step.

Meanwhile, glue the white felt in place over the top of the red felt and the cotton to form the brim of Santa’s hat.

Using white craft glue, add Santa’s beard by gluing cotton balls all around the can, leaving enough room open for his face. (I did put a staple in the end of the hat just to keep it together)

To complete Santa’s red hat, tuck the red felt into a cone shape, using hot glue to tack in place if you like. Fold felt over the side of the can and hot glue to the side.

Glue wiggle eyes in place.

Glue the pink pom pom on for the nose.

Use an extra cotton ball to dab on the cheeks, using a small amount of pink paint. (I skipped that step)

Hot glue the silver or white glitter pom poms to the end of the red felt.

I also did not like the look of the plain white can so I took a few cotton balls and pulled them apart and glued them on to the back to give Santa some more hair.

Instead of hot glue, I used fabric tac. It worked pretty good.

So what do you think? Oh the reason for the green felt, was because the store didn't have a lot of red left so I bought the rest and some green.


Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer cupcakes

I totally forgot to share what I made last week at work. They are called Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer cupcakes. They came out so cute!

A cooled cupcake (baked from your favorite recipe)
Chocolate frosting
Round, red lollipops (we actually used a cherry candy)
M&M's candies (we used mini marshmallows with mini chocolate chips for the eyes)
Black decorators' gel frosting
Red shoestring licorice

To make one, first frost a cooled cupcake (baked from your favorite recipe) with chocolate frosting.

Unwrap a round, red lollipop (or a cherry candy), trim the stem slightly, and stick it into the center of the cupcake for Rudolph's very shiny nose.

For eyes, set 2 M&M's candies in place, then dot them with black decorators' gel frosting. We just used a mini marshmallows with a mini chocolate chip for the eyes.

Carefully break large thin pretzels into antler shapes (this may take some practice!) and insert them into the top of the cupcake.

Finally, add a short piece of red shoestring licorice for a mouth.


Chicken and Couscous

This is what I am making for dinner tonight. I needed something quick because I will be gone most of the day trying to start and finish Christmas shopping and then Jimmy has a doctor's appointment.

2 tbs olive oil
1 onion, chopped
1 pound chicken tenders (I am using breasts and slicing them in strips)
1 1/2 cups uncooked couscous
1/2 tsp salt
1 (14 oz) can diced tomato with roasted garlic, undrained
1 (15 oz) can chick peas, drained and rinsed
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp cumin
1 cup frozen peas
1/4 tsp red hot

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add onion; cook for 3 minutes. Add chicken and cook for 5 more minutes, stir a few times.

While chicken is cooking, bring 2 1/2 cups water to a boil in a medium saucepan. Add couscous and salt; cover and remove from heat. Let stand 10 minutes.

While couscous is standing, add tomatoes, chick peas and spices to chicken mixture and mix well. Reduce heat to medium low. Cover and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add peas and Red Hot, mix well. Cover and cook 5 minutes more or until chicken is no longer pink in the center.

Fluff couscous with fork. Serve chicken mixture over couscous.


Italian Sausage Supper

Here is what I am making for dinner.

1 pound mild Italian sausage, casing removed
1 cup chopped onion
3 medium zucchini, sliced (about 1 1/2 cups)
2/3 cup (6 oz can) tomato paste
1 cup water
1 tsp dried basil
1/2 tsp salt
3 cups cooked rice
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1/4 cup grated Romano cheese

In a large skillet, brown sausage with onion, stirring to break up sausage; drain reserving 1 tbs drippings.

Spoon sausage mixture into a greased 2 qt casserole dish. Add zucchini to skillet; saute for 5 minutes until crisp tender.

In a medium bowl, combine tomato paste, water, basil and salt. Stir in rice. Spoon over sausage mixture. Arrange zucchini slices on top; sprinkle with the cheeses. Cover and bake at 350 for 20 minutes.


Magic Reindeer Food

The kids will also be making some Magic Reindeer food to use on Christmas Eve.


1 cup rolled oats
2-6 Tbsp red colored sugar
2-6 Tbsp. green colored sugar
1 - 2 Tbsp glitter

Mix the ingredients together and place in a plastic bag, adding as much colored sugar as you like for a festive effect.

Tie with a ribbon and attach the following poem:

Sprinkle this reindeer food outside tonight.
The moonlight will make it sparkle bright.
As the reindeer fly and roam.
This will guide them to your home.

They will be putting it into a ziplock bag. I also printed the the poem onto Avery Business Cards.

Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer Ornament

This is what the kids will be making this week, during Rudolph Week.

It is the same basic instructions as the black cat that we made.

Find out how to make this fun cat craft using a clothespin and a few other supplies.Age Guideline: 6 Years and UpTime required: 30 minutes (Does not include drying time)

The above age and time guidelines are estimates. This project can be modified to suit other ages and may take more or less time depending on your circumstances.

Materials Needed:
3 Flat, One-Piece, Wooden Clothespins
Small Pom-poms
Wiggle Eyes
Craft Paint
Paint Brush


Paint the three clothespins whatever color you want your reindeer to be. One of them will be the reindeer's head and the other two will be the legs and body.

Start out by gluing two of the clothespins flat sides together so the prongs line up as they will be the reindeer's four legs.

Glue the third clothespin, flat sides together onto the two clothespins you previously glued together; however, you will turn this one so these prongs face the opposite direction of the other prongs. These will be the reindeer's ears.Now you can add the finishing touches! Glue a pom-pom onto the rounded part of the head clothespin to be the nose and glue the wiggle eyes just above it.

You can also add a cute bow by the ears or under the chin. Don't forget to add a white pom pom for the tail.

If you want to use this clothespin cat as an ornament, cut a piece of ribbon about 10-inches long and tie the two ends together to make a loop. Glue the loop to the back side of the reindeer's head.

I think we need to make a mouth somehow, maybe a white gel pen.


Snowman Soup

The kids tonight also will be making some Snowman Soup to take home.

Arrange the following ingredients in a small loot/goody bag.

1 individual pack hot chocolate mix
2 Hershey's chocolate kisses (eyes)
4 chocolate chips (mouth)
5-10 mini-marshmallows
1 small candy cane

Print a gift tag to go with the Snowman Soup. I did make one earlier this week and it is listed on my Crafty Blog.

Jolly Snowman Faces

Jolly Snowman Faces, aren't they cute? I found them weeks ago on the Betty Crocker site when I was looking for something to make for Snowman week. I am going to bake the cookies soon so they will be nice and cool for the kids tonight.

1 pouch (1 lb 1.5 oz) Betty Crocker® sugar cookie mix
1/2 cup butter or margarine, softened
1 egg
1 container (12 oz) Betty Crocker® Whipped fluffy white frosting
Red string licorice
Assorted candies

1. Heat oven to 375°F. In medium bowl, stir cookie mix, butter and egg until soft dough forms. On ungreased cookie sheets, drop dough by rounded tablespoonfuls 2 inches apart.

2. Bake 11 to 14 minutes or until edges are light golden brown. Cool 1 minute; remove from cookie sheets to cooling racks. Cool completely, about 15 minutes.

3. Frost and decorate 1 cookie at a time. After spreading frosting on cookie, add licorice for band of earmuffs and candies for ear "covers" and snowman face.

For the assorted candies, I got a couple boxes of Gummy Lifesavers for the ear muffs, semi sweet chocolate chips for the eyes, orange tic tacs for the "carrot" nose and Pull n' Peel Twizzlers for the mouth and piece that holds the ear muffs on.

I cannot wait to see how the kids do with them, I bet they will be super cute and of course YUMMY!


Snowman Soup

The kids at work will be making Snowman Soup to bring home. I made a cute set of labels/postcards to go along with it. I put four of this pictures on a a sheet of notecard paper or you could just use a good cardstock.

The recipe for Snowman Soup:

1 individual pack hot chocolate mix
3 Hershey's chocolate kisses
10-15 mini-marshmallows
1 Candy Cane

Place all in a pretty Christmas clear ziplock bag or "goody" bag.

Attach the poem with a festive ribbon.

Gingerbread Pancakes

I made these for my lunch, mmm they are really good!

Gingerbread Pancakes

1 cup all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
Dash of ground cloves
2 tablespoons molasses
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 cup buttermilk
1 egg, lightly beaten

In a large bowl, combine all the dry ingredients. In a small bowl, whisk together the molasses, oil, buttermilk, and egg. Slowly pour liquids into the flour mixture and stir until mixed, do not over mix. Cook the pancakes on a warmed, lightly greased griddle. This recipe makes ten to twelve medium-size pancakes.

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