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Butterfinger Cookies Recipe by Leah

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Butterfinger Cookies

If you give me the chance to curl up and read a cozy mystery I’m going to take it.  Especially if it’s a series centered around a lovable woman in her 50’s who finds herself bumbling around the mysterious situations.  Did I mention that she also loves to cook?  😁

Josie Kilpack’s culinary mysteries have been a fun series with some great recipes.  This one came from book #4, Key Lime Pie.   

Butterfinger Cookies

Yield: 4 dozen


1/2 cup butter, softened

2/3 cup sugar

3/4 cup brown sugar

1 egg

1 1/4 cup peanut butter (chunky or creamy)

1 1/2 tsp vanilla

1 cup flour

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/4 tsp salt

5 (2.1-oz) Butterfinger candy bars, chopped* (about 2 cups)


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Cream butter and sugars.
  2. Add egg; mix.
  3. Add peanut butter and vanilla; mix until smooth.
  4. Add flour, baking soda, and salt.  Mix well.  Add butterfingers; mix.
  5. Roll into 1-inch balls, use a 1-inch scoopo, or drop by 1-inch spoonfuls onto ungreased baking sheet.  Bake 10 to 12 minutes, just until browned.
  6. Allow cookies to cool 2 minutes on baking sheet before moving to cooling rack.

*Do not use a food processor.  The pieces will be too fine and you lose the lovely crunch from the Butterfingers.  My 10-year old got a little overzealous trying to crush them with a rolling pin and we had the same problem.  You want the delicious peanut buttery crunch of a Butterfinger bar in the cookie.  It’s worth it to chop them.

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Stuffed Mushrooms Recipe by Leah

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I have loved stuff mushrooms for as long as I can remember.  It’s my go to starter at any restaurant and have tried so many different kinds I’ve lost track.  I decided I needed to just start making them myself and after some trial and error have created these.  They have everything I love about a stuffed mushroom – a creamy, strongly-flavored filling with some kick from the sausage and cayenne.  These are one of my most requested appetizers.

Stuffed Mushrooms

yield: 36


36 large (2 1/2- inch) while mushrooms

1 lb Italian Pork Sausage

1 Tbsp vegetable oil

2 Tbsp minced garlic

2 (8 oz) pkgs cream cheese, softened

1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

1/2 tsp ground black pepper

1/2 tsp onion powder

1/2 tsp ground cayenne pepper


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Spray a baking sheet with cooking spray.  Clean mushrooms with a damp paper towel.  Carefully break off stems.  Discard half the stems.  Chop the remaining stems extremely fine, discarding tough ends.
  2. Heat a large skillet over medium heat.  Cook sausage, breaking up as you cook, until done.  Remove sausage and set aside to drain on a paper towel.
  3. Add vegetable oil to a skillet.  Add garlic and chopped mushrooms to skillet.  Fry until any moisture has disappeared, taking care not to burn garlic.  Set aside to cool.
  4. When mushroom mixture is no longer hot, stir in cream cheese, Parmesan, pepper, onion powder and cayenne pepper.  Mix in sausage.  Mixture should be very thick.  Using a spoon, fill each mushroom cap with a generous amount of filling.  Arrange the mushroom caps on prepared cookie sheet.
  5. Bake for 20-30 minutes (depending on the size of the mushrooms) in preheated oven.  The mushrooms should be piping hot with liquid forming under the caps.

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Shredded Barbecue Chicken Over Grits

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Shredded Barbecue Chicken Over Grits


This recipe is one my sister gave me.  She saw it in a Taste of Home magazine, knew I’d like it, brought me the recipe, and volunteered to taste-test it when I made it.  She was right.  I did like it – so did she, my husband, my kids, and my parents.  The grits have a wonderful flavor.  You can tell something has been added but no one could guess it was pumpkin.  

When I served the chicken I was generous with the sauce and still had a lot leftover.  Next time I’ll make 2 lbs of chicken for that amount of sauce rather than 1 lb.  The leftover chicken would make great tacos.


Shredded Barbecue Chicken Over Grits

Prep:20 min

Cook: 25 min

Yield: 6 servings



1 lb boneless skinless chicken breasts

1/4 tsp pepper

1 can (14 1/2 oz) reduced-sodium chicken broth

1 cup hickory smoke-flavored barbecue sauce

1/4 cup molasses

1 Tbsp ground ancho chili pepper

1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

2 1/4 cups water

1 cup quick-cooking grits

1 cup canned pumpkin

3/4 cup pepper jack cheese, shredded

1 medium tomato, seeded and chopped

6 Tbsp sour cream

2 green oinons, chopped

2 Tbsp fresh cilantro, minced



  1. Sprinkle chicken with pepper; place in a large nonstick skillet coated with cooking spray.
  2. In a large bowl, combine 1 cup broth, barbecue sauce, molasses, chili pepper and cinnamon; pour over the chicken.  Bring to a boil.  Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 20-25 minutes or until a meat thermometer reads 170 degrees F.  Shred meat with 2 forks and return to skillet.
  3. Meanwhile, in a saucepan, bring water and remaining broth to a boil.. Slowly stir in grits and pumpkin.  Reduce heat; cook and stir for 5-7 minutes or until thickened.  Stir in cheese until melted.
  4. Divide grits among 6 serving bowls; top each with 1/2 cup chicken mixture.  Serve with tomato, sour cream, green onions and cilantro.




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Taco Salad Recipe

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Taco Salad


My sweet 10 year old desperately wanted to make dinner for me on my birthday.  Hmmm.  What can I ask her to make that is both tasty enough to give her confidence from her efforts and requires minimal cooking experience?  This is the recipe I pulled out for her.  She did have to ask my husband a couple questions, like how to know when the meat was done, but overall she did wonderfully and gave us all a delicious meal.  She even asked to take some of the leftovers to school for lunch the next day.  That’s what I call a success!


Taco Salad


Yield: 6-8 servings



1 lb ground beef

1 packet taco seasoning

1/3 cup water

1 large head romaine lettuce

15 oz can kidney beans, drained and rinsed

2 cups crushed Nacho Cheese Doritos

1 pint grape tomatoes, halved

1 cup chopped green onions

1 avocado, sliced

3.8 oz can black olives, drained

1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

Bolthouse Salsa Ranch Dressing (or your favorite salsa with a little ranch mixed in)



  1. Cook the ground beef in a large skillet over medium heat.  Brown the meat and break into small pieces with a wooden spoon.  Stir in the taco seasoing and 1/3 cup water.   Simmer until the water is absorbed, then remove from heat.
  2. Chop the lettuce and place in a large serving bowl.  Pile the taco meat and beans over the top.
  3. Add the crushed Doritos, tomatoes, green onions, avocado slices, olives and cheese.  Top the salad with Salsa Ranch Dressing.



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Cherry Chiffon

I thought for Serve It Sunday I’d share a super easy dessert dish just in case someone doesn’t have the recipe yet. It’s not only easy, but goes over incredibly well for gatherings and buffets. It’s really sweet, yet light and airy, with just a little tang from some pineapple. I’ll write out the regular recipe, then add my notes below it.

Cherry Chiffon
1 can (21 oz) cherry pie filling (in case you’ve never used this don’t drain)
1 can (14 oz) sweetened condensed milk
1 tub (8 oz) whipped topping, thawed
1/2 can (of a 15 oz can) chunk pineapple, drained
1 cup miniature marshmallows.

Stir ingredients together, chill and allow the dessert to set up overnight, and serve cold.

My notes: We love this dessert, but we’ve tweaked the recipe a little. First, we prefer to use crushed pineapple. It seems to incorporate a lot more thoroughly, so there aren’t just pockets of tanginess. Second, we prefer to make the chiffon creamier, so I actually use two tubs of cool whip. And last, everyone loves the marshmallows, so I add the whole bag of marshmallows. It makes the dessert a bit sweeter, but gives more umph to the texture, and people can just cut back on the portion size if it’s too sweet to them. In all of the years that I’ve made this I haven’t noticed a difference in brands of the sweetened condensed milk, but I have noticed that some brands of pie filling has a few pits in them, so watch it carefully as you dump it into the bowl. I usually empty the can into the bowl first, just so that I can double check, although Comstock brand has the least problems. The chilling is a huge part of making this dessert impressive. It gives the chiffon time to set up and get super fluffy instead of just creamy, so don’t get impatient and try to serve it quickly. I’m adding a picture of it, although it’s the picture that Eagle Brand posted of it, since they’re experienced with setting up food shots and I’m not. Mine didn’t look nearly as pretty. One thing to note though is that they didn’t let theirs set up, so it looks uber creamy instead of fluffy. Expect yours to look more like the inside of a meringue, all airy, especially if you indulge with my version.


I hope you don’t mind my posting such a basic recipe, but it’s a fantastic one that is always requested when I go to gatherings, so I figured it’d be the perfect one to share. 🙂

Chicken Frito Supreme

Chicken Frito Supreme

Hi there!  In honor of Serve It Sunday I want to share a new recipe that I found on Pinterest that will become part of our regular meal rotation.  The original recipe is at, although mine has a few changes plus a little tip.  This meal comes together without a whole lot of work, especially if you all ready have some trimmed chicken breasts ready.

We used:

2 trimmed chicken breasts, diced

1 cup salsa (due to my sensitivities I used extra mild picante instead, but it’s totally whatever you prefer, and I only had the one cup of salsa, so that’s why I went with some Ro-tel.  If you have a full jar of salsa, then use the original 2.5 cups of salsa and omit the Ro-tel)

1 can mild Ro-tel

1 can of chicken broth

5 tbsp. cornstarch (original calls for 3; if you use a picante or Ro-tel, then you will also need more cornstarch)

Grated cheddar cheese

Fritos chips

2 cups Instant Rice

Sautee the chicken until it’s cooked through (we went with two breasts because we didn’t want it as meaty, while the original recipe calls for 4), and then add the salsa/Ro-tel, broth, and cornstarch to the chicken.

ChickenFrito1 ChickenFrito2

Here’s where I take a detour from the original recipe.  It says to “let simmer while rice cooks”.  Most of the time cornstarch needs some heat to become active, just like when you make gravy, so after I stirred the mixture together (and added the extra cornstarch beyond the original recipe) and let it simmer for a while, I finally realized why the mixture was still thin and increased the heat to medium high just until it came to a boil. I then turned it down and let the mixture simmer, stirring frequently, and it thickened up well.  I cooked the instant rice with hot water as the package indicated.

(My feet have been excruciating for the past few days, so I was sitting on my knees on my walker to cook today.  I stepped down to rinse a measuring cup and when I turned back I discovered that Abby had taken advantage of my walker to check on the meal.  *laugh*  Apparently it smelled good, because she really didn’t want to get back down to the floor! *grin*)


Look how yummy the sauce looks once it thickens:


Once everything is cooked, layer rice, chicken sauce mixture, shredded cheese, and fritos on each person’s plate.

Chicken Frito Supreme

Chicken Frito Supreme

It is SO good and surprisingly hearty.  I only ate half of the plate of food.  We love cheddar, so we were pretty generous with the cheese, and I love how gooey it got after sitting on the hot chicken sauce mixture for a few minutes.  You can change up the chips, but I agree with the original blogger that Fritos really makes this dish pop.  I think it’s because of the corn flavor rounding out the almost Mexican food flavors.  If you like a meatier dish, then you can totally add more chicken.  The two breasts turned out to be the perfect amount for our preference (which is ironic, since Larry is very much a “meat and potatoes” man).  I like that the recipe is a good start that allows for a lot of versatility.  I really want to stress though that if your sauce mixture doesn’t seem to be thickening, then you need to bring it up to a boil and then let the mixture simmer, just like you would with a cornstarch based gravy.  It makes a world of difference.  If you have a really thick and hearty salsa, then I’d start with 2 tablespoons of cornstarch and add as needed, if needed.  We’re going to make this again next week and we’re going to add some sliced black olives when layering.  Mmmm.  I hope you give this recipe a try.  You serve right from the two pans, and no baking needed, so it’s a great meal for a busy day in my opinion.

If you try it, I’d love to hear about your experience and especially any tweaks you made.  Until tomorrow 🙂

Beef Sundaes

In honor of Serve It Sunday I thought I’d go with a savory twist on a sundae.  Now, before you wrinkle your nose and think I’ve gone completely off my rocker, it’s just called that because it’s layered much like a dessert sundae would be.  If you’re familiar with the KFC Chicken Bowls, then this recipe will remind you a lot of them, except this is kind of the hot beefcake cousin of that.  *grin*  This recipe has several names and variations in the Midwest and they’re even served at some fairs, so there’s a good chance that some of you will be familiar with these.  The best part is that we found some shortcuts to make this meal super quick and easy, so we can have a hot meal even on my really bad days when it’s a struggle just to get out of bed.  If you’re one of those people that likes to make everything from scratch, look away now.  *laugh*  This recipe is for those people that watch Sandra Lee’s Semi-Homemade.  😉

See, I told you it was savory

See, I told you it was savory

Are you still with me now that you’ve seen that it truly is a savory dish?  *smile*  You’re going to put a scoop or two of mashed potatoes in the bottom of the bowl, sprinkle some corn over that along with some shredded cheddar cheese, and pour some hot topping (gravy) with roast beef right over the top.  Some people add a small cherry tomato on top to complete the whole sundae thing, but I prefer to not mess with this flavor combination.  *laugh*  We take several shortcuts with this meal.  We make instant mashed potatoes to make this super quick, start with a packaged gravy mix, warm up a bag of freezer steamer corn, and even use thick cut lunch meat.  You can make less dishes for yourself if you use packaged shredded cheddar instead of shredding it yourself, too.

So, start your gravy and your mashed potatoes.  I’m not going to post any pictures of making the potatoes since there’s nothing interesting about that, other than for the two of us (one picky eater and one country boy) plus some leftovers we followed the 3-4 servings instructions.  I am going to put a few of the gravy, though, since I found out that some people have never used a gravy mix before.  We love McCormick’s Brown Gravy Mix so much that I buy it in bulk.

Start that Good Brown Gravy

Start that Good Brown Gravy

Any country fans out there?  Do you have “Good Brown Gravy” in your head now?  lol  Anyway…I wanted to make 3 cups of gravy, so I used 9 tablespoons of McCormick’s Brown Gravy Mix (if you’re using the packets I’d follow the instructions on there and make two packets worth), and added a tiny bit of water to the powdered mix.  I whisked it until it created a paste and then slowly whisked in the remaining 2 1/4 cups of hot water.  Creating the paste and then slowly whisking in the remaining water will ensure that you have a smooth gravy.

After whisking water into the paste

After whisking water into the paste

We then chopped up some leftover thick cut roast beef lunch meat, which was then added into the gravy, and simmered the combo to warm the meat up.

Chopped Roast Beef Lunch Meat

Chopped Roast Beef Lunch Meat

Add Meat to the Gravy

Add Meat to the Gravy

While the meat simmered in a delicious bath I steamed a frozen bag of super sweet corn and drained it.  Once the corn and meat are warmed up, it’s time to build your beef sundae.

IMG_1211 IMG_1212

Pour the meat sauce over and dig in!  I don’t add salt since the gravy mix has a sodium kick to it all ready, but the big guy likes to add salt and pepper to his.  The last key tidbit I’ll give is that you have to try and get all of the layers in each bite for the best flavor profile.

Mmm Hot Beef Sundae

Mmm Hot Beef Sundae

The cheese melts into that meat and gravy, then there’s the creamy mashed potato, and a bright pop of sweet corn…a delightful bite and a super easy meal!  I hope you give this recipe a try and enjoy it.  Although I’m obsessed with this flavor combo you can totally change this up so easily to fit the interests of your family.  This is a great dish to sneak in a bit of veggies into, by the way.  *grin*  I wish you a wonderful week and happy pampering.  🙂

Beef Sundae Recipe

Makes about 3 not-overly-healthy sized portions 🙂

3-4 servings of instant mashed potatoes, prepared per package instructions (which calls for water, milk, margarine, and salt)

9 tbsp. McCormick Brown Gravy Mix

2 1/4 cups of hot water

Leftover roast beef lunch meat (I use about 3 cups worth)

One bag of frozen steamer super sweet corn, steamed and drained

1/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese, to taste

Whisk a tiny bit of water into the gravy mix until it creates a thick paste.  Whisk in remaining hot water and bring to a boil over medium heat while stirring frequently.  Reduce the heat and simmer about 3 minutes.

While gravy is simmering prepare the instant mashed potatoes per package instructions.  Chop leftover roast beef lunch meat into bite sized pieces and add to the gravy after it has simmered.  Continue to simmer the gravy combo until the meat is warmed through (about 3-5 minutes usually).

While gravy is finishing steam and drain the corn.

Once the hot ingredients are all heated through build each sundae in a heat resistant bowl, starting with a scoop (or three, per preference) of mashed potatoes.  Sprinkle a handful of shredded cheese and about a quarter cup of corn over the potatoes.  Ladle the gravy and meat mixture over the top.  Add salt and pepper to taste, optional.  Enjoy!

An Easy Beef Soup

Hi there!  I’ve been a little preoccupied with some medical issues, but I figured I’d get back into the swing of things with an easy recipe.  This is one of those one pot dump soups that utilizes canned items and leftover steak.  Living in the Midwest we have quite a bit of steak or even some grilled flank steak for fajitas that works perfectly in this soup.  You could always cook some bite sized stew meat, too, of course.  I wish I could put this recipe in that handy print format for you, but I have no clue how to do that with this blog.  lol I’ll write up the recipe below the main part, so it’s easier for you to copy and paste.

In a soup pot dump one can of yellow corn with juices (sometimes I even use a steamer bag of frozen sweet corn if I don’t have canned or if I want a little sweeter corn), a can of green beans with juices, and a can of stewed or diced tomatoes.

Beef Soup Beginning

Beef Soup Beginning

Add 2-4 cups of water (you’ll have to play with this recipe to see what your family prefers.  I like mine in between, so I go with three cups), 2-4 beef bouillon cubes (equal to the amount of water you use), and then fill one of your empty veggie cans with instant white rice and add that.  Didn’t expect that, right? *grin*  Add a dash of salt (optional, I tend to add about a teaspoon, although when I’m watching my sodium intake I don’t add any and I use no sodium canned veg too) and about a teaspoon of garlic powder, to taste.  You could add a bit of pepper, too, but I have a sensitivity to pepper, so I just set out the pepper for individuals to season their own bowl to taste.  By the way, you can totally use beef broth instead of the water and bouillon.  I usually have bouillon on hand, though, and have gotten to where I prefer the taste of it this way.

Beef Soup ingredients 2

Beef Soup ingredients 2

Next add your meat.  I had a baggie of leftover flank steak from fajitas, which I dumped right on top and then mixed it all together.

Beef Soup 3

Beef Soup 3

Put the lid on the pot and bring to a low boil on medium.  Once a boil has been reached lower the heat and simmer for 30-45 minutes.  This time frame is so variable because it all depends on the rice.  At 30 minutes try your rice and see if it’s tender.  If it is, then it’s time to dish up!  I’ve noticed that sometimes in the winter when the house is cooler that it can take about 40 minutes.  Here’s how your soup should look when it’s ready.

Easy Beef Soup

Easy Beef Soup

It is so yummy and filling, perfect for a cool day and a great tasting way to get some veggies into your family’s diet (what can I say, I was a very picky eater when I was a kid and my mom started making this *grin*).  One thing that I want to warn you about so you don’t think you’ve done something wrong is that the rice will soak up most of the liquids after it sits a bit.  If you want to have a wetter soup, then add more broth/water and bouillon.  The rice is so plump and juicy from absorbing the broth that I kind of like it when it gets thick.  Here’s what it’ll start to look like.

Beef Soup 5

Beef Soup 5

I just don’t want anyone to worry when they go back for seconds or to warm up leftovers.  Make sure you don’t drain your tomatoes or veggies, though, in order to get the right flavor.

Well, there you have it.  Our secret to a hearty meal with minimal work.  *grin*  Below is the recipe itself for your convenience.  I hope you have a wonderful weekend and happy pampering!

Easy Beef Soup

Makes…plenty of servings? lol I have no clue.


1 can of green beans, not drained

1 can of yellow corn, not drained (or one bag of frozen steamer sweet corn, with juices)

1 can of stewed or diced tomatoes

1 can of instant white rice (just use one of the empty veggie cans, so no measuring cups to wash!)

2-4 cups of water (to preference)

2-4 beef bouillon (equal to cups of water used)

1 tsp garlic powder, to taste

1 tsp salt, to taste, optional

Leftover steak or diced stew meat (about a cup, but it’s to preference)

Put all ingredients into a soup pot, mix, and cover with a lid.  Bring to a low boil over medium heat, then reduce and simmer 30-45 minutes until rice is tender.

Serve It Sundays

Serve It Sundays

Until I get a little bit more into business stuff again I’ve decided to add another weekly theme.  Serve It Sundays will feature a recipe that is tried and true.  The first one is super decadent and looks incredible, so it’ll really wow everyone if you have company over.


I’ve had a really awesome friend since childhood named Leah and the friendship has gotten even better in our thirties.  The neat thing is that we have massively different talents and abilities.  One of her abilities and interests is cooking/baking.  This gal can whip up a buffet for twenty people without batting an eye while sometimes Larry is lucky if he doesn’t have to heat his food himself.  lol  I always love seeing pictures of her latest successes and when she showed me the Reese’s Peanut Butter Cheesecake I was in total awe.  What better way to start off this theme than showing you a total show stopper! 


First, credit where credit is due.  Head over to the Taste and Tell Blog for the recipe, and maybe find yourself a new blog to follow.  This blogger has some really neat stuff on her blog.  There’s no way I could do justice to her great post by writing any of it here, so make sure to take the link.  I have it pinned under my Desserts! Yum! board on Pinterest, as well, although the link won’t get you far.  I just used the name on the picture to get to the site, so I could get a printable copy.  *smile*


Now is the time to make you drool.  These are the pictures of Leah’s amazing cheesecake, so these are what you can do at home.  No photoshop, no fancy lighting, just amazing yumminess.  Make sure to keep looking after the pics, because I’ll have notes that Leah provided about the process and possible changes to try.


Reese's Peanut Butter Cheesecake 1

Reese’s Peanut Butter Cheesecake 1


Insanely mouthwatering, right?!  Just wait until you see the close up…

Close up Reese's Peanut Butter Cheesecake

Close up Reese’s Peanut Butter Cheesecake


If you love Reese’s cups you will love the bird’s eye shot, too!

Reese's Peanut Butter Cheesecake 2

Reese’s Peanut Butter Cheesecake 2


Are you moaning from how good it looks or because your mouth is watering?  This next pic won’t help. *grin*

Reese's Peanut Butter Cheesecake 3

Reese’s Peanut Butter Cheesecake 3


The final bit of torture…

A slice of Reese's Peanut Butter Cheesecake

A slice of Reese’s Peanut Butter Cheesecake


As soon as I saw the first picture I told her I wanted to feature it on my blog someday and thankfully she agreed.  *smile*  I’m still in awe that you don’t have to be a professional to make such a stunning cake!  She had a few notes to keep in mind from her experience.  First, she made it as directed in the recipe and although her whole family loved it, she is planning on making a few changes.  She will omit the Reese’s Minis from the top, because although they look cute, they made it difficult to cut and didn’t add anything to the flavor of the cheesecake as a whole.  In addition, she will try cutting 8 ounces of the cream cheese out, explained here: “It’s a very, very tall cheesecake and I think cutting out some of the cream cheese would help a little without altering the flavor too much”.  This gives you a little extra info to keep in mind when you try making this yourself.  If you try this I’d love to hear from you! 


In the meantime, I wish you a wonderful week and happy pampering! 🙂

Two Handy Tips


First off, I hope you had a wonderful Valentine’s or Anti-Valentine’s, whichever you celebrate.  *grin*  While most people were dwelling in the land of love, roses, and mushy stuff (not that there’s anything wrong with that, Larry just doesn’t care for this holiday), I was testing a couple of things from the internet and they turned out so well that I’ve written this post a few times in my head. 

Up first is a beef recipe that I hope you’ll try. I ran across it on Pinterest, but here’s the link.  It’s for a Three Envelope Pot Roast.  It took me 10.5 hours for a 4.5 LB bottom round roast to be fork tender.  The big thing is the incredible flavor of the juices!  Please, please make a gravy from these juices if you try this recipe.  I just ladled out the juices into a saucepan and warmed it on the stove, then added a water and cornstarch roux to the mixture, and stirred until the gravy was the consistency that we like.  I’m not a huge gravy fan just because the flavor doesn’t usually add much in my opinion to the food, but as you can tell in the first picture it was lip smacking, smothering everything in it, good.  *grin*



You can barely see the mashed potatoes.  LOL  I ended up saving all of the juices to make more gravy and tomorrow night we’re having egg noodles with this gravy for dinner.  I may just freeze any extra too.  *grin* 

Next I wanted to let you in on a super easy and handy tip.  If you’ve been following for a while you’ll remember that I did a few experiments with removing labels and residue from glass and plastic jars, so that I can reuse them or go all crafty on them.  I’ve done the soaking in vinegar mixture, lathering up in oil in two ways, and even the lather in mayo version, but none were super easy and pretty quick.  I was reading online on a blog about reusing jars and about fifty comments in someone wrote that they didn’t remember where they’d heard it, but that peanut butter is a great way to remove labels and residue (“plus it’s fun to play with your food” *laugh*).  I decided to give that a try.  A few months back we had bought some PB at Sam’s Club and forgot to remove it from the grocery list, so we got another double pack on the next trip.  Even with Bo, the PB fiend dog, and holiday baking, we couldn’t go through four big jars of it before the expiration date, so I had been trying to figure out what to use it on or suck it up and toss it.  What perfect timing to find this little comment buried on a random blog.  First, proof positive that it actually works.  I lathered both jars up and after cleaning the first one off I took a picture.


Now, here comes the helpful info from my experiences, since you ought to expect it from me by now.  *teasing smile*  It will help remove labels for you, but the PB is a one trick pony, so either you remove labels or you remove residue.  I recommend trying to get the label off as much as possible before you trowel the PB on, but if you have a stubborn one (a Minute Maid jug and a marinara jar come to mind), then put the PB on it and after it has soaked into the label, you’ll be able to push that label off.  Just lather the residue up and give it another rest. 

On a glass jar with just the residue put the PB on somewhat thick (I just used the side of a butter knife) and let sit overnight.  I took a pan scraper and scraped the PB off the next day, and then using a little water and my knit scrubber (picture to follow) I rubbed in a circular pattern with no muscle behind it.  There will be a residue left behind, since really this is a play on the oil concept (instead of having to try to soak rags in oil you’re using an oil based product that likes to stick where it lands, if you think about it), so just use a little degreasing dish soap like Dawn and you have a fresh jar. 


If you don’t have one (or five) of these, get one.  I buy handfuls at every craft fair I go to and use them all of the time.  They hold up for a long time, they don’t scratch most surfaces, and they can go in the wash (I just set them on top of the dryer to dry instead of putting them inside, so it’ll last longer) so you can keep them sanitized.  It’s the most frugal sponge and scrubber that I’ve found that actually works.  I use certain colors to designate for business use (since I don’t want any bath oils transferring to a food pan if the scrubber is drying on the side of the sink while I’m trying to cook and clean up my latest business experiment), kitchen, and bathroom.   

Back to the jars…if you’re doing a stubborn glass jar put a thick layer of PB over the label and let sit overnight.  Scrape a bit off that next day (I kept it on the scraper, since sometimes the labels haven’t released and I don’t see a point in using new PB when what I scraped off will still work) and see if you can remove the label.  I found that I often had to use the scraper or my nail to get the labels off, but on glass usually my nail would work just fine.  Just keep letting the PB work some magic if the label is holding firm.  Once the label comes off you can try to do the whole soap and scrubber bit, but so far it never worked for me on that first round if I was also removing labels.  *smile*  I always had to reapply PB (you can definitely use the PB you just scraped off from the label unless it has label bits and adhesive in it) and let it sit around 12 hours or so.  I tried a few different methods, just because I’m that annoying kind of person that has to test everything, and rubbing the scrubber in a circular motion seriously worked the best on the residue.  If you get a little bit of residue that’s being stubborn and you’ve removed it everywhere else, just put a little of the scraped off PB on your scrubber and use it like a paste.  Works perfectly!

Now, plastic jars and jugs require more umph usually, especially if the labels are completely glued down, as most of mine were.  These were the only containers that I had to use some actual muscle on.  If the label can peel off for the most part, then use the same trick for glass.  (Amusingly enough the peanut butter jar was the easiest plastic to remove everything from.)  I found that most plastic, especially the bigger containers, glued the entire labels down and the straight PB soak did squat.  If you run into this and you stubbornly want that gallon jug (you all ready paid for the stupid jug, not just the ingredients, you  know, so you should definitely reuse it if you want to, IMO!), then fill your sink with a mixture of blue (Original) Dawn, the hottest water from your tap, and enough plain white vinegar to make your nose wrinkle.  I didn’t measure the vinegar, so I’d say for a sink full I used about half a cup or so.  Then fill your container to the tippy top with that hot top water and immerse in the hot bath.  Let the containers soak for an hour or so (as long as the water stays warm) and while everything is still warm, but no longer hot, you should be able to work on those labels.  I found my dollar square plastic pan scraper worked great at getting the edges up so I could peel the labels off.  If this doesn’t work, I’d give it another bath.  I was able to remove the labels off of ALL of my plastic containers after this bath and hope you’ll have the same results.  Lather the residue with some PB and let sit, and use the same technique as before. 

One container, a Minute Maid OJ jug, is relaxing under a second PB treatment right now, but otherwise all of my containers are now done.  Look at all of these lovely little jars waiting to be used to hold a new batch of homemade simple syrup for tea (yeah, Apple Juice jug, I’ve assigned you a new position in this house little soldier), just waiting to get dyed or painted, or get all glittered up (*squealing with delight now that I’ve accepted that I’ve become a complete glitter whore*).  Luminaries, hardware jars, vases, and hair clip holders galore.  I suddenly have the urge to start singing “Part of your World” from The Little Mermaid…



*shaking head to clear it*  Anyway, hopefully I’ve addressed any problems you might run across and you’ve found this post useful.  I’m so tickled to have found techniques that work on both types and don’t gross me out, either. Bo wasn’t overly happy since he kept smelling the PB and looking for his favorite Kong to be filled and waiting in his treat spot (I have no idea why, but Bo picked a specific spot to take all of his treats to, so now I save him the effort, and the carpet any accidental drops, and just take his goodies to his spot.  LOL).  Poor Bo got a little new PB, but seemed pretty let down that I was slinging so much of the good stuff into the trash.  *grin*  Btw, sorry about the pictures distorting a bit in this post.  After six adjustments and saves I figure they’re probably good enough.  *smile*

I hope you get to sleep in and enjoy your holiday if you have tomorrow off.  I never got it off when I was working, so if you don’t, I feel your pain and hope it’s a light day for you.  I’m off to snuggle with Bo and a few heating pads and watch some Ballykissangel.  Happy pampering.  🙂



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