Sausage Balls

Sausage Balls are an appetizer that most everyone loves, and this recipe is an extra yummy one with the addition of cream cheese. I made these over the weekend for a party, and they didn't last long. This is a recipe to hang on to.

Sausage Balls
1 pound hot sausage
1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
1 1/4 cups Bisquick
4 ounces grated sharp cheddar cheese

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Line a sheet pan with aluminum foil and spray with cooking spray. In a large bowl, combine sausage, cream cheese, and Bisquick; mix together until well combined. Add cheddar cheese, stir until blended. Form into 1-inch balls and place on prepared pan. Bake in preheated oven for 20 - 25 minutes. Can be served hot or at room temperature.

Combine the sausage, cream cheese and Bisquick.

Stir together until well combined.

Blend in the cheddar cheese.

Form into 1-inch balls and place on a baking sheet.

Bake for 20 - 25 minutes.

You have to try these Sausage Balls, they were gone in no time at the party. I probably should have made two batches.


High Tea Lemon Cookies

High Tea Lemon Cookies are the kind of cookies that are delicate and soft and simply melt in your mouth. These lemony little treats are perfect to serve at events like receptions, showers, teas, or parties. The ingredient list may seem a bit different from a typical cookie, but then these really aren't "typical" cookies.

High Tea Lemon cookies recipe courtesy of Linda Stradley and her web site, What's Cooking America, athttp://whatscookingamerica.net.

High Tea Lemon Cookies
2 cups butter, room temperature
2/3 cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 cups cornstarch

Bring butter to room temperature by allowing to sit out of refrigerator one hour or longer. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Prepare a sheet pan by lining with parchment paper. In a large bowl, beat butter until creamy; add powdered sugar and mix well. Beat in lemon zest and vanilla. Add flour and cornstarch, beating until well combined with the butter mixture. Roll the dough into 1-inch balls. Place on the prepared pan and bake for 15 minutes or until the bottoms begin to turn light brown. Cool on wire racks. Cookies will be very delicate while warm. When cookies have cooled spread tops with Lemon Frosting.

Lemon Frosting
2 1/2 tablespoons butter, room temperature
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 cups powdered sugar
In a small bowl, combine butter, lemon zest, lemon juice, and powdered sugar. Beat until frosting is smooth. A little more lemon juice can be added if the frosting needs to be thinned. Using a silicone brush, spread the frosting on the tops of the cookies, or if desired the cookie tops can be dipped in the frosting.

Roll the cookie dough into 1-inch balls and place on parchment paper.

Bake the cookies for 15 minutes.

Mix the butter, lemon zest, lemon juice, and powdered sugar until smooth for the frosting.

Brush frosting on the cookie tops. Let these High Tea Lemon Cookies be a hit at  your next event.


Mission Organization: Week 4 - My Cluttered Desktop

This week I tackled my desktop. The before pictures that I am posting today make me cringe to share them with you. My desk was cluttered with piles of paper that seemed to have taken on a life of their own.

This is an embarrassing shot of the desktop where I blog.

The piles of recipes and who knows what else are stacked everywhere.

My plan of attack was just to clear it all off and sort it out. I found a couple of empty electronics boxes, a big stack of papers to be filed, a huge stack of recipes and cooking magazines, 5 different product manuals, assorted catalogs, and a big pile of trash.

There was also a change jar, one of my husband's manuals, and my iPad case.

This was a big job, but the end result was worth the effort.

My entire desktop is now clutter-free with space to spare.

I love sitting down to a desk with no clutter.

The sorting took quite a while, but it was time well spent.


Crock Pot Chicken Fettuccine

This recipe was given to me more than 15 years ago by a school secretary, and I believe that it originally came from a ladies' magazine. It is so easy to throw these few ingredients into a crock pot in the morning, then prepare the fettuccine noodles in the evening when the chicken is cooked and ready to serve.

Crock Pot Chicken Fettuccine
1 onion, sliced
1 green pepper, sliced
1 1/2 pounds chicken breast tenderloins or chicken breast
1 (10 3/4 ounce) can cream of chicken soup
3/4 cup parmesan cheese
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

Fettuccine noodles, cooked according to package directions

Place the sliced onion and green pepper in the bottom of a crock pot. Place the chicken tenderloins over the onions and peppers. In a small bowl, mix together the soup, cheese, salt, and pepper; spread this mixture over the chicken. Cook on LOW for 8 hours or on HIGH for 4 hours. When chicken is done, cook fettuccine noodles according to package directions. Serve chicken over noodles.

Slice the onion and pepper.

Mix together a soup, parmesan cheese, salt, and pepper.

Layer the onions and peppers, chicken and soup mixture in the crockpot. Cover, cook, then serve over fettuccine noodles.

This recipe is so easy and quick it is almost effortless.


A Fun Weight Loss Motivator

At an earlier time in my life weight loss was really not an issue. I was blessed with a good metabolism and healthy foods were my natural choices, so extra weight wasn't a problem for me. That changed after a health issue attacked my body. Now that I have been taking several medications for a while and have a low energy level much of the time, the pounds are much harder to keep off.

In my Pinterest browsing I found a weight loss motivator that looked like too much fun not to share. This is a visual motivator that you can look at every day to help you "see" your progress.

You just need two clear containers - the size depends on how big your motivation to lose weight is going to be. You might need a pint, quart, or who knows, even a gallon if you're really motivated. You'll also need some pretty glass marbles or beads.

Label the containers with "Pounds to Go" and "Pounds Lost". Drop a marble for every pound you want to lose into the "Pounds to Go" jar. Then get busy losing some weight. Every time you lose a pound take a marble out of the first jar and put it in the "Pounds Lost" jar. Simple, but oh, so motivating to see that second jar start to fill up.

I'm keeping these jars in sight, and I'm hoping to be able to transfer all the marbles to the "Pounds Lost" jar.

Don't forget the the My Memories giveaway will the ending January 25!


A Scarf With Wooden Beads

So it looks like I have given up my addiction to hair care products just to replace it with scarf making. This is the third scarf I have made, and I bought fabric for another one today. The one I made today is from fleece and it is so cuddly warm. I made it similar to the Pull Thru Scarf that I made recently, but with a new embellishment this time. This time I found some wooden beads to trim the ends. Do I need to mention that I found these beads in the drapery trim department? I seem to remember that the draperies were quite becoming on Scarlet O'Hara, so if they worked for her I can only hope.

What you need:
1/2 yard fleece fabric
1/2 yard trim
Thread to match

This scarf is made very much like a recent scarf that I posted, but I am going to post the instructions for this one as well.
The half yard of fabric looks like this when you buy it folded in half.

I unfolded it and refolded in the other direction. The fabric is 60 inches wide, and I am using the width of the fabric for the scarf.

I trimmed off the curled ends and then straightened the edges so that the folded piece of fabric is cut to 8 1/2 inches wide. The finished scarf will be approximately 8 inches wide x 60 inches long.

The purchased beads were sewn on a twill strip.

Lay the beads across each end of the fabric and stitch to the right side of the fabric, then sandwich them between the two layers of fabric right sides together. Stitch all the way around the cut edge, leaving about a 4-inch opening to turn.

Turn the scarf to the right side and press; stitch the opening by hand.

Fold the scarf in half lengthwise and find the center back, mark with a pin.

Also mark the center fold with a pin.

From the center back, measure down a length of 9 inches and mark with a pin. Measure 3 inches from that pin and mark again.

Mark the center line between the two pins.

Using a straight stitch, sew around the center line mark between the pins 1/8 inch on either side, making a "box". Then using a sharp pair of scissors, cut an opening in the center of the box. This will be pull thru for the scarf.

Last week my addiction was hair care products, now I'm  hooked on making scarves, I'm wondering if the progression is upward or downward after that. What next?


Hummingbird Bundt Cake

This Hummingbird Cake is an old favorite that is typically baked as a layer cake, but in the February 2012 issue of Southern Living magazine it is featured as a Bundt cake. I love baking in a Bundt pan, so I wanted to try the Hummingbird Cake baked this way. This super moist fruit-filled delight reminds me a bit of a carrot cake, but no carrots, just lots of good fruit and cream cheese glaze.

Hummingbird Bundt Cake
1 1/2 cups chopped pecans, toasted
3 cups all purpose flour
2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 3/4 cups mashed ripe bananas (about 4 large)
1 (8 ounce) can crushed pineapple (do not drain)
3/4 cup canola oil
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

4 ounces cream cheese, cubed and softened
2 cups sifted powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 to 2 tablespoons milk

Prepare a 14-cup Bundt pan by greasing and flouring or use cooking spray. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spread pecans on a parchment paper lined sheet pan; bake for 8 to 10 minutes, or until toasted and fragrant, stirring halfway through.
In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt. Stir in eggs, mashed bananas, pineapple, oil, and vanilla. Mix just until dry ingredients are moistened. Sprinkle 1 cup toasted pecans in the prepared Bundt pan, then spoon batter over the pecans. Bake in preheated oven for 60 to 70 minutes or until cake tests done. Cool cake in pan on wire rack for 15 minutes; remove from pan to wire rack and cool completely.
To prepare glaze: In the bowl of a food processor, combine the cream cheese, powdered sugar, vanilla, and 1 tablespoon milk until well blended and smooth. Add the remaining milk 1 teaspoon at a time if needed for glaze consistency. Pour glaze over cooled cake, then sprinkle with remaining 1/2 cup of toasted pecans.

You'll need about 4 bananas and a small can of crushed pineapple for this cake.

Sprinkle 1 cup of the toasted pecans in the prepared pan first.

Pour the cake batter over the pecans.

Bake for 60 - 70 minutes.

Pour the glaze over the cooled cake and top with the remaining toasted pecans.

If you are a fan of cakes filled with fruit and nuts, this is a cake you'll want to try.


Mission Organization: Week 3 - My Shower

My shower is a lot like my desk. As long as you don't open it, everything is fine. Just keep the curtain closed, because when you open it you will discover that I'm a hair care product junkie. I don't wait until I run out of shampoo or conditioner to buy more. My shower is stuffed full of them.

I have them stacked on any ledge that will hold bottles.

My shower caddy is full of bottles.

Every space that has a space has bottles. Each one of those bottles has to be picked up every time I clean the shower too. What a lot of wasted energy.

I emptied the shower and counted 15 bottles, and those are just the products that are IN the shower.

I have another problem with the products in my shower. When I take off my glasses and get in the shower, I can't read the labels on the containers. Usually the shampoo and conditioner containers are so similar that I forget which is which. Can anyone relate? You probably have to be "past a certain age" to get just how annoying this is.

I decided to make my life easier and label the shampoo and conditioner. I used a Sharpie and labeled these tubes with the letters "C" and "S" in a large font so that I could read them without my glasses.

I'm working on breaking my addiction to all those hair care products. I put everything away except one shampoo and one conditioner for the shower. I'll use those until they are empty, then I'll have plenty of choices for replacements. My shower looks so much nicer without all the clutter of too many bottles. It will also be much easier to clean without all the bottles to move and wipe under. Marking the products so I can easily identify them will save me some frustration when I'm in a hurry. This might even save me some money too, I won't need to buy shampoo for quite a while.