Spicy Pumpkin Seeds

Did you get a chance to try the Pumpkin Maple Cupcakes we talked about last week? If so, did you clean out a pumpkin to make your own puree? Did you clean and reserve the seeds? If you answered YES to all of these questions then you’re in luck because here’s something spicy to go with the sweet.  Spicy pumpkin seeds are just the right thing to dish up as a healthy snack or use as a hors d’oeuvre at your next fall party. Here’s the super easy recipe!

Spicy Pumpkin Seeds

Ingredients

  • 2 cups of seeds (rinsed and dried)
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon season salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 2 tablespoons worcestershire sauce
  • 6 tablespoons butter melted
  • parmesan cheese

Instructions

  1. Lay out pumpkin seeds on a parchment lined sheet pan.
  2. Mix the next 6 ingredients and pour over seeds making sure to coat all.
  3. Sprinkle desired amount of parmesan cheese on top of the seeds.
  4. Cook for 1 hour in a 300 degree F oven.
  5. Sprinkle additional parmesan cheese the last 15 minutes of cook time if desired.
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Before:

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After:

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These are a delicious snack as well as addicting…….trust me, I speak from experience!

 

 

Pumpkin Maple Cupcakes

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It’s October; do you know what that means?  You guessed it, there’s only 63 days 15 hours 5 minutes and 59 seconds until Christmas!  It’s the truth!

Here’s how I know!  As soon as we shuffle through September the world starts counting down the days until the big man in the red suit shimmies down the chimney.  Just take a quick jog through Hobby Lobby or your local department store to see Christmas trees and decor flanking the shelves.  It’s pure craziness and for a brain like mine, that can only handle one season at a time, it’s downright distracting! But let’s not panic just yet.  I’m here today to take a vow to revel in October with all of  its cooler temps, colorful glory and of course, the most important part, pumpkin season!

YES!! Yes!!! yessss!!  What other time of the year can you eat your decorations? Sounds like a WIN-WIN to me and here’s a great recipe to reel you back into Fall, Pumpkin Maple Cupcakes.  They’re heavenly and every reason not to skip the best season of all!

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I started by roasting a medium sized pumpkin. No, it’s not the ideal roasting size pumpkin but, it’s the smallest one I could find at our local grocery store and since I used it in something sweet like cupcakes, it worked.

I washed it very good with warm water and gave it a quick once over with a kitchen towel to dry it off.

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I  carved around the stem and made a lid.

aug sep oct 2014 413Then I cut it in half.  I scooped out the fibrous strands and seeds, reserving the seeds to roast later.

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Then I quarted it, only placing 2 pieces on a lined sheet pan which yielded way more pumpkin pulp than I needed!   I cooked the pumpkin in a preheated, 400 degree oven for about an hour and a half.  (Depending on the size of your pumpkin the cooking time can fluctuate more or less. You will know the pumpkin is ready when it’s tender……

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and looks like this.)  Remove the pumpkin from the oven and allow it to cool.

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Scoop out the pulp, discarding the skin.

I pureed the pumpkin pulp in a food processor and just as easy as that, it was ready to use!  (You can refrigerate any leftover pumpkin puree up to five days or freeze it up to a year. Although, some say freezing it that long may effect the taste of your baked goods. I’m not sure because I’ve never been able to keep it that long.  It seems to talk to me until I’ve used it all up within a few weeks….. I have that problem with a lot of things! I’ve never been able to keep anything I’ve canned or frozen past its season! Can I get an AMEN or am I the only one that does that?)

*An alternative to roasting a pumpkin would be to buy a can of pumpkin puree. It’s a lot quicker but definitely not as good!

O.K., now you’re ready to start making the cupcakes!

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Whisk together the flour, cinnamon, ginger, allspice, nutmeg, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside.

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Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffly, about 3-4 minutes.

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Add the pumpkin puree (doesn’t that look beautiful and way more natural then the canned stuff!) and vanilla extract.

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Beat in the eggs, one at a time.

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Slowly add the dry mixture into the wet mixture until thoroughly combined.

Place paper baking cups in 2 (12-cup) muffin pans; spoon batter into cups, filling two-thirds full. Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for approximately 20 minutes or until just firm to the touch.

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Cool completely on wire racks.

Prepare the Maple Cream Cheese Frosting as directed and pipe or spread on all cupcakes. Or serve as a muffin, without frosting, for breakfast. Either way, these are sure to become one of your Fall favorites!

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Pumpkin Maple Cream Cheese Cupcakes

Serving Size: 24 cupcakes

Ingredients

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon allspice
  • 1 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 cup pumpkin puree
  • 4 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 4 large eggs
  • Maple Cream Cheese Frosting
  • 2 cups unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 (8 oz) block cream cheese
  • 3 tablespoons pure maple syrup
  • 8 cups powdered sugar

Instructions

  1. Prepare Cupcakes:
  2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Whisk together flour, cinnamon, ginger, allspice, nutmeg, baking powder, and salt.
  3. In a mixing bowl, add butter and sugar. Beat until light and fluffy. Add the vanilla extract and pumpkin puree. Slowly add the eggs, one at a time.
  4. Slowly add the dry mixture into the wet mixture until thoroughly combined.
  5. Place paper baking cups in 2 (12 cup) muffin pans; spoon batter into cups, filling two-thirds full.
  6. Bake for 20 minutes or until firm to the touch.
  7. Prepare Frosting:
  8. Beat butter at medium speed until fluffy and creamy. Add powdered sugar, 1 cup at a time, beating at low speed until blended after each addition. When all the powdered sugar is incorporated, whip until fluffy. Add the maple syrup until blended. Pipe or spread cupcakes with frosting.
  9. * If you desire a thicker frosting simply add powdered sugar until you reach the desired consistency.
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Cowboy Cookies

I planned on sharing the cowboy cookie in a few weeks but I’ve had several requests for it lately so here it is! I’ve also included a *NEW* handy dandy little printable recipe.  I’ve always shown a step-by-step guide for my recipes and that’s fine and dandy when you’re a visual learner and have access to some type of computer gadget in your kitchen. But, it’s always nice to click on “print” and B A M….out pops a nice printed recipe so you can strategically place it in your big box or folder of recipes and proclaim…… “I’ll make that one day!”………I have a lot of those!

When it comes to these mouth watering, soft yet rugged little cookies, there’s no reason to delay! Come on y’all, let’s make some cowboys! They are undeniably the best sugar creations ever!

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Start by creaming together 1 stick of butter and ¾ cup of brown sugar until smooth.

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Beat in the egg and 2 tablespoons of vanilla extract.

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Stir in ¾ cup of coarsely chopped dates and let the mixture rest for 5 minutes to allow the dates time to soften.

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Beat on high speed for 3 minutes until…..

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the mixture is very light brown and creamy.

Combine 1 cup all-purpose flour, ½ teaspoon baking soda, ½ teaspoon salt and  ¼ teaspoon baking powder in a small bowl. Slowly add the flour mixture to the creamed mixture. (I got ahead of myself and didn’t snap a picture!)

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Combine ½ cup coconut (I use the Baker’s brand),  ½ cup granola (Nature Valley Oats and Honey is what I use), and ¾ cup chopped walnuts.

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Stir into creamed mixture, mixing well.

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Fold in chocolate chips by hand. Do not blend these in with the mixer!

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Drop the batter by tablespoonfuls…..

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onto a parchment lined pan about 1½ inches apart. Pat dough down. (One good pat is sufficient. Don’t press flat, or the cookie will come out too thin. It tastes best a little thick!)

Bake in a  350° oven for 12-15 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool on baking sheets 15 minutes. (These are gooey in the middle and need time to set.)

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And here’s that handy dandy printable recipe that I mentioned earlier.  Enjoy!

Cowboy Cookies

Cook Time: 15 minutes

2 Dozen

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 Tbsp. vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup coarsely chopped dried dates
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 3/4 cups semisweet chocolate morsels
  • 3/4 cup coarsely chopped walnuts
  • 1/2 cup sweetened flaked coconut
  • 1/2 cup plain granola

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Beat butter and brown sugar at medium speed with an electric mixer until smooth.
  3. Add egg and vanilla, beating well.
  4. Stir in dates; let stand 5 minutes to soften dates. Beat at high speed 3 minutes until light brown and creamy.
  5. Whisk together flour, baking soda, salt, and baking powder in a small bowl; add to butter mixture mixing until blended.
  6. Stir in chocolate morsels, and remaining ingredients.
  7. Drop scoops of dough 2 inches apart onto lightly greased baking sheets. Pat dough down. (One good pat is sufficient. Don't press flat, or the cookie will come out too thin. It tastes best a little thick!)
  8. Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool on baking sheets 15 minutes. (These are gooey in the middle and need time to set.) Transfer to wire racks.
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Winners for the Giveaway

I got up this morning excited to see who would be chosen to receive the free Sweet P’s loot from yesterday’s giveaway.  I sat down and quickly started to scroll through the comments on the blog and Facebook page.  It became immediately evident to me that the underlying message that everyone wrote was that summer is a time to enjoy with family; a respite in regards to the hustle of a long school year. If you don’t have children in your life right now, summer break is still an opportunity for you to enjoy while the world slows down a bit. It seems to me that the hottest part of the year is when we take the time to rejuvenate and make the most memories. I think God intended it that way. Isn’t his wisdom and timing perfect!

Summer allows us to venture out together while spending time with our families during reunions, vacations and lazy afternoons on the porch.  They’re the days our children will one day reminisce about and the days that will always be etched in our minds with fond memories.  Thank you for sharing the stories that made your summer unique and special to you. I always love reading a good tale!

Here’s the nitty gritty on the ten winner’s! Today I’m sharing their stories.

  1. Gibson Graham – “Spending time with grandchildren while school is out!!!”
  2. Forrest Julie Albritton – “Spending copious amount of time with family at the beach and in south Florida…don’t want it to end”
  3. Renee Dickerson – “Being able to be at home with my 4 year old and 8 month old….we have gone and done whatever just to make memories!!!”
  4. Sissy Skipper – “Working in the garden with my husband.”
  5. Lois Keel – “Having my granddaughters with me all day long 2 days of the week. I see so little of them during the school year and the weekends. 12 and 14 years old now, oh gosh how did it happen so fast?”
  6. Pamela Jacobs – “Having my children home from college and school. I love cooking their favorite treats and spending girl time with them!”
  7.  Dana Perry – “Getting to spend the whole summer together as a family of three. My son is in 4th grade, and my husband and I both teach. Heavenly summers!”
  8. Diane-Jack Jordan – “Spending more fun time with God’s gift to older people, our grandchildren! They love things that our kids use to enjoy like swimming in the pond, fishing, hunting, frog hunting, football, baseball and the woods and water anywhere!!!!”
  9. Kayleigh Hornsby – “This summer we moved from Montgomery, AL to Savannah, Ga! We’ve been exploring the city and local beaches!”
  10. Kadie – “I’ve spent my summer moving and shaking! It’s been a blast though!  I moved to Pike Road, started a job and helped my life long best friend finish planning her wedding!  We’ve had bridal showers, bachelorette beach weekends and all the fun that fits in between! Looking forward to finally celebrating the wedding on August 2nd! Wow, can’t believe summer is almost over!!”

Do you see what I’m talking about now? Summer was created for us to spend extra time with the ones we love while making memories that will last a lifetime!

If your name wasn’t pulled from the hat this time, don’t fret! I like to give, so keep checking back here on “Tales from a Cowgirls Kitchen” for more fun giveaways. Better yet, subscribe to the blog and don’t miss anything! Not only do I share through giveaways from time to time, I also share my recipes that were once used in my restaurant, Sweet P’s Eats and Treats, as well as tips I use everyday in my own kitchen. We have fun here; you don’t want to miss out!

As for the ten lucky winners, please private message me here on the blog or Facebook with your mailing information by Monday, July 28th, to receive your prizes.

XOXO,

Kadra

 

 

More to Share

Summer is quickly coming to a close for us and I’m already feeling the end of summer blues.  When most people look forward to shuffling their children back to school and into their normal weekly routine, I dread it.

To pick up my spirit’s, I’ve decided to share more Sweet P’s loot. That’s right, I’m selecting ten winners and giving away t-shirts, hats and more. Here’s how to play!

1.) Leave a comment on here or on my facebook page telling me what your favorite part of summer was.  Did you enjoy spending lazy days around the house, going to your favorite beach spot or sending the kid’s off to camp; so you and the hubby could eat a meal together while enjoying adult conversation?  Maybe, you finally finished the book you started reading last summer or had a chance to organize the closet you’ve been putting off since Christmas.  Whatever made your summer a success, I want to hear about it.

2.) The second way to win is to “share” a recipe from my Facebook page. Just pick one of my recipe’s that I’ve posted – Share it on your page – Comment on my page that you shared it and bam you’re in for a chance to win.

3.) If you complete 1 and 2  that doubles your chances! That’s right, leave a comment about your summer and share one of my recipes on your page and your name goes in the hat twice. Doesn’t get any sweeter than that!

sweet p's shirts

Photo Credit: Big Dreamz Creative

Remember……the prizes are chosen by me.  You don’t get to pick size, color or quantity.  Hey, it’s FREE and the whole anticipation thing of not knowing what’s going to show up in the mail is just awesome. Just ask the last ten winners!

O.K., let’s get this party started y’all! XOXO

Kadra

 

Peach Cobbler

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The South is known for a lot of delicious summer harvest’s but my favorite is the tender, juicy, aromatic fruit called the peach.  Most people think that Georgia and the Carolina’s are the best peach producing states, but I’m here to tell you that Alabama soil can make a darn good peach too. I’m fortunate to live in an area where local peaches are easily obtained. You can find me whipping up peaches in appetizers, dinner, dessert, and drinks but my favorite way of using a summer rippened peach is in a dessert called cobbler.

Here’s what you’ll need to make peach cobbler.

1 cup flour

1¼ cups sugar, divided

¾ cup milk

1 tablespoon baking powder

¾ cup butter (1½ sticks, divided)

½ teaspoon ground cinnamon

6 fresh peaches (skinned and sliced) or 4-5 cups frozen peaches


When there’s more than one peach to peel, I like to use a blanching method to remove the fuzzy skins of the peach. It makes the job of peeling them very easy and it also allows less waste of the juicy peach itself.  The process works best with ripe peaches and here’s a few good signs to judge a ripe peach.

1.) The peach should be firm, but yield to your finger when you press it.  If it’s too hard and doesn’t yield to the touch it’s not ripe.

2.) Look for peaches that have a yellow side. If they’re vaguely green, they’re not ripe.

3.) Smell the stem. If it smells like a peach, it’s usually ripe. Unripened peaches generally won’t smell yet.

4.) Make sure the peaches don’t have any mushy spots, bruises or mold. These signs can state that they are overripe.

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Once you’ve selected your peaches start the blanching process by bringing a pot of water to a rolling boil. Add the peaches to the boiling water, making sure they’re all covered in water. Allow them to boil about 30 seconds. Start timing as soon as they’re all submerged. Don’t wait for the water to boil again before timing the 30 seconds.  If the peaches are not as ripe as desired, leave them in the hot water for a few more seconds before removing them.

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After 30 seconds, remove the peaches from the boiling water and plunge them in ice water to stop the cooking process.

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You can then disrobe the fuzzy peach skin like a zipper. Being careful not to send your peach flying across the room like a missile. They’re slippery little bombs!

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Your peaches should look like this. How easy was that!  Now you can slice them and prepare making the cobbler.

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Put a ½ stick of butter (4 tablespoons) into a cast iron skillet. (You can also use a 9 x 11 dish).  Heat the skillet in a 350 degree oven until the butter is melted. This should only take a few minutes.

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While the butter is melting combine 1 cup flour, 1 cup sugar, 1 tablespoon baking powder, ½ cup melted butter and ¾ cup of milk in a bowl.

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Mix well and set aside.

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When the butter has melted in the skillet remove it from the oven, allowing it to cool slightly before adding the sliced peaches.

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Stir the peaches around, making sure to coat all of them in butter.

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Combine ¼ cup sugar and ½ teaspoon of ground cinnamon.

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Shake it to make sure the sugar and cinnamon are combined well.

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Sprinkle about 1 tablespoon of the mixture on top of the peaches. Reserving the remainder for later.

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Pour the wet mixture over the peaches. Use a spoon or spatula to spread it evenly.

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Sprinkle the remainder of the cinnamon sugar on top of the wet mixture.

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When you’ve covered it all in the cinnamon sugar mixture place the skillet in a 350 degree oven and bake for 45-60 minutes.  peach 022Allow it to cool, then scoop yourself a big ole’ helping of this summer delight. Garnish it with a few sliced peaches or add a scoop of vanilla ice cream to send it over the top!

*Note: This cobbler is delicious with peaches but it can also be substituted with apples, pears, blackberries and blueberries to name a few.

Indulge and Enjoy,

Kadra

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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tuh-may-toe or tah-mah-toe

No matter how you pronounce it, maybe you can help me!

   My husband and I plowed ground five years ago and planted a garden. It would be the first time we did so in our married life because my dad, as well as his dad, always supplied us with more then we could usually consume from their respective gardens. But that particular year, we decided to grow our own. We plowed and worked the soil, selected all of the seeds from a local seed store and planted our garden in hopes of harvesting our own fruits from our labor.  We tended the garden like it was our newborn. Our dad’s had always made the feat of harvesting summer veggies look so effortless and beautiful.  We felt sure our genetic make-up, stemming from these two fine gardeners, would surely have imbedded in us so that we too would harvest an abundance of ripened tomatoes, squash, eggplant, sweet corn, peas, okra, watermelon and cucumber. Much to our dismay, it was a complete failure. It was all going so well, that was until the temperature began to rise, bugs started to make cozy little homes on our flourishing little plants and disease strangled out what had survived the bugs.  It was utter disapointment.  The next year we were resilient in our determination to make our garden grow.  It was now us against them, bugs and disease that is.  That year would also be the same year we opened our other newborn, Sweet P’s Eats and Treats.  I bet you can all guess what happened next.  Our priorities shifted and again our little garden, that could, failed!

So, here I am several years down the road and lots of miles under my feet trying to master the “garden” again.  Except this year, it’s tiny. I decided to start with baby steps. I thought the pressure of defeat wouldn’t sting as bad if I kept it simple. But, I dislike defeat and I’m competitive by nature. I like to win so I refuse to go down easy.  This is where you come in. Can you help me win the war I’ve mustered up against my rebelling tomato plants?  If there’s anyone and I mean anyone (young, old, smart or not) that knows anything about tomatoes please give me a suggestion. I have a recipe for a Tomato Pie that has been whispering my name for several weeks and urging me to go….go pick…..some tomatoes…..from the…..tomato plants! But there are NO TOMATOES!

Problem: The tomato plants are big but they’re leggy, when the leaves should be broad and bush like.

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Their leaves are cupped

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and they aren’t producing anything. I take that back, a few are producing some tomatoes but nothing like they should be.

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Actually, the only ones making anything are the small variety tomatoes like Tiny Tim’s, Romas and Grape Tomatoes.

My Better Boys, Big Boys, Mortgage Lifters along with a few others, aren’t producing anything.

These are the suggestions from all of the wonderful gardeners I know, which by the way aren’t experiencing a lick of trouble out of their tomato plants. Zilch, Zero, NONE!

•  I’ve been told that they got too much water with all the rain in the month of May.

•  I’ve been told they weren’t getting enough water.

•  I’ve been told they have a disease.

•  I’ve been told they don’t like their soil.

•  I’ve been told they need fertilizer.

•  I’ve been told they don’t get enough direct sunlight before 10:00 a.m.

•  I’ve been told that they get too much direct sunlight in the late evening.

•  I’ve been told they would prefer pretty marigolds planted around them.

• Today, my friend told me that they don’t like the cages that they’re in. Tomatoes prefer steaks.

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“What’d you say Willis?”………sorry Tuck, I meant to say stakes! They prefer to be staked and lightly tied with twine.

So, I stopped watering them. Watered them some more. Aimlessly wondered around them trying to figure out which disease they may have, so I could then google a way to combat it, with failing luck. I added the expensive “miracle” soil, that I will not name, along with some “miracle” fertilizer that will also go nameless. I told them they were out of luck on the sun positioning because there was absoulutely nothing I could do with that problem. Finally last but not least, I accented them with the most beautiful accessory a tomato plant could ever ask for, marigolds.  But now there’s the stake issue. While I resolve that problem maybe you have a suggestion, please let me hear from you!

There may be a tomato pie recipe in your future if I can harvest atleast 1 large tomato this year.

With Love,

Your Tomato Challenged Friend Kadra

 

 

 

 

The Buckaroo’s

What’s your vision of a Buckaroo?

buckarooDoes it resemble this?

retro cowgirl 3Or maybe something like this?

I’ve found that at the slightest mention of a “buckaroo” my thoughts go directly to these mouth watering conglomeration’s,

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 the buckaroo cookie.

Here’s what you’ll need to make them:

1/2 Cup Unsalted Butter

3/4 Cup, Packed, Light Brown Sugar

1 Egg

2 Tablespoons Pure Vanilla Extract

1/2 Cup Coarsley Chopped Dates

1 Cup All Purpose Flour

1/2 teaspoon Baking Soda

1/2 teaspoon Salt

1/4 teaspoon Baking Powder

1/2 Cup Grated Coconut

1 1/2 Cups Granola

1 1/2 Cups Toasted Pecans


Start with your butter at room temperature.

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In an electric mixer cream butter and brown sugar until smooth.

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It should resemble this.

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Then add the egg and two tablespoons of pure vanilla extract and beat well. I place heavy emphasis on PURE!  Never, ever, ever use the imitation stuff when it comes to vanilla extract. There’s always a way to pinch a penny when it comes to stocking your shelves but, a good vanilla extract is something you should never skimp on. It’s illegal in all states to purchase imitation vanilla. Well, maybe not illegal but highly unacceptable in my book. I promise if you convert to pure vanilla extract heaven will open and the angel’s will sing at the aroma of your kitchen when you bake. Now that’s a fact!

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Add the dates to the cream mixture and mix well. Allow the dates to rest for 5 minutes. You want to give them time to soften. Then, turn your mixer back on and beat for 3 minutes or until your mixture is very light and creamy.  Combine the flour, baking soda, salt and baking powder in a small bowl, breaking up any lumps.

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Stir the flour mixture into the cream mixture and mix well.

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Next, stir in the grated coconut, toasted pecans and granola.

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These are the brands I use and  I’ve found that they work best.  The cheaper coconut or store brand is usually dryer and it tends to make a dryer cookie. Also, do not substitute the granola with regular oatmeal. That’s a no-no too! Purchase plain granola or honey granola making sure it’s not filled with berries and nuts. I’ve tried all of these faux-pas and they make the cookies less desirable!

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This is what your mixture should look like at this point.  Now, scoop the dough onto a parchment paper lined cookie sheet. Depending on the size of your scoop you should yield 18-24 cookies.

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I used a 1.63 oz disher to scoop my cookies. Here’s a link.disher

 There are several different sizes. This scoop makes a medium sized cookie. Not near as big as the bakery size cookies we sold at Sweet P’s but still a good sized cookie.  On another note, I still don’t understand why they call this little contraption a disher! Why not just call it a scoop. It scoops stuff like ice cream, cookie dough and cupcake batter not “dishers” it!

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Pat the dough down. One good pat is sufficient, don’t press flat. If you do so, the cookie will bake flat and these cookies taste best a little thick. Bake at 350 degrees 12-15 minutes.

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Remove  the pan from the oven when they look like this. You want them to be a golden color on the edges.

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Immediately remove the cookies from the pan and allow them to cool on a wire rack. Or you could pour yourself up large glass of milk and enjoy them hot!  That’s my preference!

Kadra

 

 

 

 

 

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Country Peach Sun Tea

We finally made it home from our Wild West Adventure and although this was one of the most memorable trips we’ve ever taken….it sure is nice to be home in the comfort of my own bed.

11 days. 10 hotels. 10 states. 4300 miles traveled. Need I say more?

One of the things we missed while we were gone was sweet tea. Some places offered it but after we crossed the Mason Dixon Line it was pretty much obsolete. So I took the opportunity yesterday while the sun was bright and the temperature was hot to brew a jug of sun tea.

This is my version of Country “Peach” Sun Tea.

Here’s what you’ll need:

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4 Large Tea Bags

2 Celestial Country Peach Passion Tea Bags

1 Peach

1- 2 Ice Tray’s

1-2 cups Sugar

A large gallon jar. (You can use a clean gallon pickle jar or a Sun Tea jar with a spout. Just make sure it’s a glass jar with a lid. Click HERE to see information on mine.)

Water

3-4 hours of Sunshine


 

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I started by slicing fresh peaches and placed them in an ice tray. I covered the peaches with water and placed them in the freezer while I worked on the tea.

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I filled my glass jar with water, added the tea bags, closed the lid and sat it in the sun.

The tiny little hand in the picture belongs to the tiny little girl who was almost as excited as me about indulging into a big ole’ glass of sweet peach tea!

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Here’s a picture of the tea after only 2 hours of brewing.

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And this one is after 4 hours of brewing.  At this point I poured in 2 cups of sugar and gave it a hefty stir.

I found the largest glass, topped it off with the peach ice cubes……

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And called it a day!

Until I had to wash 11 days of dirty clothes, fold and put away said clothes, water the garden, pick up Daisy from the vet, pick up Tuck from my dad’s house, check on all the barn cats to make sure they survived, go to the grocery store to restock the cabinets and refrigerator, and cook supper for my hungry brood……….I think it’s time for a vacation!

*(Store your sun tea in the refrigerator immediately. It only stays fresh tasting for about 24 hours. But then again, mine never lasts that long!)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Wild West Adventure

My family and I have been on a road trip traveling out West for the last ten days. I was going to wait until we got home to share some of our adventures with y’all but this part of the country is too beautiful, I can’t wait anymore. Here’s a sneak peek of what we’ve been up to for the last three thousand miles.

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We made a quick stop in Monroe, Louisiana to see our favorite uncle. Unfortunately, Si wasn’t there so we grabbed a big cup of sweet tea and kept on traveling because we were all anxious to spend some time with our friends in Ft. Worth, Texas.

We spent the next few days on the road until we breezed through Arizona to see…

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the Petrified Forest.

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Just look at how beautiful the wood is.

The next day we made it to our main point of destination…..

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the Grand Canyon! It was my first time, as well for our children, to see the canyon and it exceeded all of our expectations.

Grand Canyon 63014 172Can you tell we were excited?

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Our next stop was Zion National Park near Springdale, Utah.

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We hiked through the canyon and made our way through an area called “The Narrows”.

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Then we played in this beauty for an evening. It was a perfect ending to a perfect day! Utah holds so much natural beauty. You don’t have to look far or hard to see it either!

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During our final morning in the park our baby girl was itching to climb a mountain. Here’s a picture of the highlight of her day……

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until we saw these critters! Then we made a quick exit down.

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We traveled to the east side of Utah near the Colorado boarder and enjoyed a climate we’re not use to during our summers in the South.

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That evening we explored the Arches near Moab, Utah. While in Moab we had the opportunity to learn about their community and how the small town hit the map in the early 1950′s when a man named Charlie Steen discovered Uranium in the rugged mountains of Moab.

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The next day we made our way over to Durango, Colorado and got there just in time to catch the last raft down the Animas River. You can’t tell by this picture but our little girl (the runt) was with us too. She would hollar….more, more….yeeehaw! She loved every second of it!

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The entire trip has just fallen into place. We never pre-booked a room or made reservations for events and activities. Our main objective in our journey was to show our children a slice of America with all of it’s beauty and we didn’t want to be hindered by a schedule. I will admit I was a little concerned about traveling on the 4th of July and not celebrating the day with family at home. But the day didn’t fail to amaze me, much like the rest of our adventures!

We happened upon a small town 4th of July parade in Pagosa Springs, Colorado.  The little guy pictured above was one of my favorites in the parade.

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As well as these fellas. Check out their choice of foot wear. You just can’t go wrong with black patent leather flats.

Our independance day was filled with excitement. It was a perfect way to celebrate the spirit of America….our home!

We’re now traveling back to Alabama and we’re still excited about where our journey will take us. I’m kind of hoping for the comfort of my own bed by Monday. We’ll just have to wait and see!

Until we meet again,

Kadra