Aunt Bee’s Sour Cream and Cheese Potatoes

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Do you remember Aunt Bee from the old Andy Griffith Show? She was aunt and housekeeper for Sheriff Andy and his young son Opie. She was quite a cook and there is actually an Aunt Bee’s Mayberry Cookbook with lots of “down home” Mayberry-style recipes. I’m not sure if this recipe came from that book because I actually saw this on Recipe Lion. They said it was an Aunt Bee recipe and it sounded really good so I thought I would try it out. You can’t have too many cheesy potato recipes and this one, with lots of cheddar cheese and sour cream mixed in, sounded very cheesy and creamy–just the way I like my potatoes! :)

The original recipe says to peel the potatoes after boiling them, but after trying that, I think it might be easier to peel them before boiling. Or just leave the skins on. I started peeling some of the potatoes after they were boiled, then decided to leave the skins on the rest of them to save time. Some of the peeling will come off as you’re grating the potatoes, too.

As you’re mixing the grated potatoes, cheese, and sour cream, be sure to use an extra-large bowl so it will be easier to mix (you might also want to add in real bacon bits or pieces–I didn’t think about adding the bacon in until after I had made these, so that’s why you’re not seeing any bacon in the photo). The mixture will be quite thick, so you’ll need to spoon it into your pan or baking dish. I really loved the way these potatoes turned out–how could they not be good with all that cheese and sour cream? When you’re in the mood for some comfort food, you’ll need to try these potatoes out!

AUNT BEE’S SOUR CREAM AND CHEESE POTATOES slightly adapted from RecipeLion

Makes a 9 x 13″ pan 

  • 4 pounds red potatoes
  • 4 cups shredded or grated Sharp Cheddar Cheese
  • 24 ounces light sour cream
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • optional: stir in some real bacon bits or pieces, about 1/2 to 2/3 cup
  • optional: 1 1/2 Tablespoons finely chopped fresh chives, for garnish

Preheat oven to 350˚F. Grease a 9 x 13″ pan or baking dish; set aside.

Boil potatoes in a large pot until fork-tender. Allow potatoes to cool, then peel (or you can peel before boiling or just leave the skins on; whatever is easiest for you). Using the large holes on a grater, shred the potatoes.

Place potatoes in an extra-large bowl. Stir in the cheese and sour cream (also stir in bacon bits or pieces, if using). Add salt and pepper to taste.

Spoon potato mixture into a greased baking dish or 9 x 13″ pan and bake, uncovered, at 350˚F for 45 minutes. Remove from oven and sprinkle fresh chives on top, if desired, then serve.

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It’s really hard to stop eating these super-cheesy, super-creamy potatoes-you keep on wanting to go back for more! Keep this in mind as a side dish for the holidays–I’m sure everyone would love it! Do you have a favorite potato side dish recipe?

Pumpkin Spice Granola

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After making a few pumpkin recipes that didn’t require much pumpkin, like the Pumpkin Pie Latte and the yummy Pumpkin Pie Magic Bars, I still had some pumpkin to use from the can. So I decided to continue with the Pumpkin theme and try using it in granola! This is a pretty basic recipe as granolas go, with oats, hulled pumpkin seeds (pepitas), chopped pecans, and dried cranberries. And it’s spiced up cinnamon, nutmeg, and pumpkin pie spice. You can also add in other things like coconut flakes or sunflower seeds if you like. The hulled pumpkin seeds I used were already roasted and lightly salted, which worked really well in this granola. If you use raw hulled pumpkin seeds, you may want to add an extra 1/4 teaspoon salt to the recipe.

These dry ingredients are coated with a pumpkin-maple-honey-brown sugar coating. With those yummy fall flavors, it’s a great granola to make this time of year! Note: this is a lightly-sweet granola, so if you like yours really sweet, you may want to add an extra Tablespoon or two of brown sugar.

PUMPKIN SPICE GRANOLA by NancyC

  • 4 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 1 cup hulled pumpkin seeds (also called pepitas–I used roasted and lightly salted pepitas)
  • 1 cup coarsely chopped pecans
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1/3 cup pure maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup light olive oil (or coconut oil, melted)
  • 1/2 cup packed light or dark brown sugar
  • 1 cup dried cranberries

Preheat oven to 325˚F. Line a large 13 x 18″ rimmed baking sheet or two 10 x 15″ rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper; set aside.

In large bowl, mix the oats, pumpkin seeds, pecans, cinnamon, nutmeg, pumpkin pie spice, and salt together until combined; set aside.

In medium bowl, mix the pumpkin puree, maple syrup, honey, oil, and brown sugar until smooth and well blended. Pour over dry ingredients in large bowl and mix until everything is moistened and evenly coated.

Spread evenly onto lined baking sheet or sheets and bake at 325˚F 40 minutes total, stirring the granola after 20 minutes for even baking.

Remove from oven and let granola cool on baking sheets for 20 minutes (the granola will get crunchier as it cools). Transfer granola into a large bowl and stir in the dried cranberries.

Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 weeks.

Serve with yogurt, milk, or eat it plain as a healthy snack!

I really like making pumpkin flavored things this time of year! Have you made any unique pumpkin breakfast dishes this fall?

Linked to Fiesta Friday at The Novice Gardener and Inspire Me Monday at Create with Joy.

DIY Moisturizing Night Cream for Dry Skin

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I told myself when I ran out of my last jar of moisturizing night cream, I would try making my own. I had all the ingredients on hand, so I was ready to try this DIY recipe I had found at The Lady Prefers 2 Save. It’s supposed to be similar to Oil of Olay Regenerist Face Cream, and since I have dry skin, that’s exactly what I needed! The original recipe uses Lavender essential oil but I used Tea Tree essential oil instead since it is so good for your skin.

This homemade night cream isn’t quite as smooth and creamy as the night cream you buy and it has an oilier feel to it, but it does feel great on my face at night! It’s definitely best for those of us who have dry skin–it would probably be too heavy of a moisturizer for normal skin. And it’s definitely for nighttime use. I’ve been using it for about a month now and since it’s so easy to make, I plan on continuing to use it. There’s something nice about making your own skin care products–you know exactly what’s in it and all the ingredients are natural and healthy! You do need to keep this night cream refrigerated, so keep that in mind.

DIY MOISTURIZING NIGHT CREAM FOR DRY SKIN adapted from The Lady Prefers 2 Save

Makes enough to fill a small 2 or 3-ounce jar

  • 1/4 cup Aloe Vera Gel (you can use purchased gel or use right from an Aloe Vera plant)
  • 1 Teaspoon Jojoba Oil
  • 2 Tablespoons Coconut Oil
  • 1 Teaspoon (or 6 capsules) Vitamin E Oil
  • 3 drops Tea Tree Essential Oil

Stir the Aloe Vera Gel, Jojoba Oil, Coconut Oil, and Vitamin E Oil together, gently. Add the 3 drops of Tea Tree Essential Oil, one at a time, stirring after each drop. Let the cream rest for 10 minutes. Put cream in a small jar (similar in size to a baby food jar), then refrigerate. The cream will last for six months in the refrigerator.

Apply nightly on clean, dry skin, avoiding eyes and mouth; also apply to neck in an upward motion.

Note: Here’s a helpful tip I got from one of my readers, Mary T.–Whip the ingredients with a hand mixer for 10 – 11 minutes on high before storing it in small jars. Whipping the mixture makes it a little lighter in texture.

There are other DIY skin care recipes I want to try–it’s great when you can make your own natural products and save money, too! I still use the Green Tea Toner I posted about a year ago. Have you ever tried making any homemade skin care products?

Linked to Inspire Me Monday at Create with Joy.

Pumpkin Pie Magic Bars

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DessertMashUpsHave you ever heard of a “Dessert Mash-Up”? If you haven’t, it’s simply a yummy creation of two different desserts combined into one! It’s also the name of a new cookbook that has recipes like Blueberry Muffin Waffles, Pumpkin Cheesecake French Toast, Chocolate Cheesecake Sandwich Cookies, Snickers Cake Roll, Almond Joy Dip, and lots more. There’s also great color photos of the recipes that will make you want to start baking right away! Written by Dorothy Kern, author of the blog Crazy for Crust, the book has recipe sections for…

  • Breakfast
  • Candy
  • Cookies, Brownies, and Bars
  • Pie;
  • Cake and Cheesecake
  • Sweet Dips
  • Holiday Recipes.

There are so many yummy recipes I found in my review copy of Dessert Mash-Ups, it was hard to decide what to make! Since it’s autumn, I thought the Pumpkin Pie Magic Bars would be the perfect thing to try. I am a big fan of Magic Bars but never would have thought of adding a pumpkin pie flavor to them–what a great idea! The recipe in the book makes a 9 x 9″ pan of bars–I decided to double the recipe and make a 9 x 13″ pan instead. I had a feeling I would like these so much, I’d want a bigger batch! :) The pumpkin flavor in these bars is pretty subtle–they have more of a gingery, caramel flavor combined with the creamy sweetness of the white chocolate chips in the middle. All-in-all, these are very rich and super yummy–just the thing for satisfying your autumn sweet tooth! :)

PUMPKIN PIE MAGIC BARS from Dessert Mash-Ups

Makes a 9 x 13″ pan (I doubled the original recipe; halve these amounts for a 9 x 9″ pan)

  • 48 to 50 gingersnap cookies
  • 4 Tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 10 Tablespoons (or 1 stick plus 2 Tablespoons) unsalted butter, melted
  • 2 cups (one 12-ounce package) white chocolate chips
  • 2 cups chopped pecans
  • 1/2 cup shredded sweetened coconut
  • 1/2 cup toffee bits
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1 cup fat-free sweetened condensed milk (or you can use a 14-ounce can, which is a little more than 1 cup)
  • 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice

Preheat oven to 350˚F. Spray a 9 x 13″ pan with cooking spray or line with foil and spray with cooking spray for easy cleanup.

Grind the gingersnaps to a fine crumb in a food processor; you should have about 3 cups of crumbs. Place cookie crumbs in a medium bowl and mix with the sugar and melted butter. Press into the prepared pan.

Sprinkle the white chocolate chips, pecans, coconut, and toffee bits over the top of the crust.

Whisk together the pumpkin puree, sweetened condensed milk, and pumpkin pie spice in a small bowl or measuring cup and pour over the top of the bars. The mixture will just barely cover; use a spatula to carefully spread it to the edges.

Bake for 29 to 35 minutes, until the edges have started to brown. Cool completely before cutting. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.

Tip: Different brands of sweetened condensed milk come in different thicknesses. If it’s too thick to be pourable, you can transfer it to a microwave-safe bowl and heat it on high for 10 to 20 seconds until it becomes a little thinner.

These bars are definitely a treat–the sweetened condensed milk and the toffee bits combine to make a yummy caramel-like topping that really tastes great with the gingery crust! I think I’m going to have to try more of these dessert mash-up ideas–have you made any yourself?

Linked to Inspire Me Monday at Create with Joy.

Zucchini-Banana Bars with Cream Cheese Frosting

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Yay for Friday! It has been such a busy week, I am ready for a slower-paced weekend! And speaking of weekends, I wanted to share a recipe I made last weekend–Zucchini-Banana Bars. These bars are so moist and yummy, just as you would expect, with shredded zucchini and mashed bananas in them! And they’re flavored with some of my favorite fall spices, cinnamon and nutmeg (I added a little more spice than the original recipe called for). Not only that, they’re also topped with a thick and creamy Cream Cheese Frosting. It’s a great dessert for this time of year, or perfect with a cup of coffee or tea when you’re taking a little break. So go ahead and indulge yourself with these Zucchini-Banana Bars! :)

ZUCCHINI-BANANA BARS with CREAM CHEESE FROSTING by NancyC, adapted from Shugary Sweets

Makes a 9 x 13 pan, about 12-16 servings

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup mashed bananas (about 2 medium)
  • 2 cups all-purpose unbleached flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 2 cups shredded zucchini

Preheat oven to 350˚F. Grease a 9 x 13″ pan; set aside.

In large bowl, cream butter and sugar. Add in egg and vanilla, then stir in mashed bananas and blend everything well.

In medium bowl, blend flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg together.

Add flour mixture to butter-sugar-banana mixture in large bowl. Blend well, then fold in zucchini and mix everything well.

Pour batter into prepared 9 x 13″ pan and bake at 350˚F for 25 minutes, or until edges brown and pull from sides.

Let bars cool completely, then frost with Cream Cheese Frosting.

CREAM CHEESE FROSTING

  • 1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese or light cream cheese, softened
  • 1/4 cup butter, softened
  • 4 cups powdered sugar
  • optional: Half & Half (light cream) if you want a thinner consistency

In medium size bowl, blend softened cream cheese and softened butter. Add in powdered sugar a cup at a time, blending well after each addition (this makes a nice thick frosting–if you prefer a thinner consistency, add some Half & Half, or light cream, starting with 1 Tablespoon; then add a little more if needed). Spread evenly over completely cooled bars, then cut and serve. If serving later, keep in refrigerator until ready to serve. Also refrigerate any bars that are leftover, because of the cream cheese frosting.

These are so good, you just may want to try making them this weekend! :) Will you be having a busy weekend or a relaxing one?

Linked to Fiesta Friday at The Novice Gardener and Inspire Me Monday at Create with Joy.

Pumpkin Pie Latte

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I was ready for a nice coffee break last weekend ago and decided to treat myself to a Pumpkin Pie Latte. No, I didn’t go to a coffee shop for my latte–I made it right at home, and it was really good! I substituted honey for sugar and made it slightly differently from the original recipe. If you’ve always wanted to try making your own coffee-shop style coffee drink, you’ll need to try this, especially if you are fond of pumpkin-flavored things!

HahnsCrumbCkAnd if you really want a sweet break, you can have your latte with a yummy piece of coffee cake! I had the opportunity to try some samples of Hahn’s Old Fashioned Crumb Cakes, also known as “a taste of Old New York,” and they were so delicious! Hahn’s is a family-owned and operated business (for over 30 years) and they bake all their cakes fresh every day, delivering within 1 to 2 business days. Their crumb cakes are made with extra-large handmade crumbs that are so yummy and popular you can even purchase a “Bucket of Crumbs” to snack on! If you love coffee cakes, you’ll definitely want to try one of their crumb cakes. I sampled three of them from their variety pack: their Old Fashioned Crumb Cake, Chocolate Crumb Cake, and Raspberry Crumb Cake. They were all wonderfully dense and moist with Hahn’s signature rich, buttery crumbs on top. Since I’m partial to chocolate, I think the Chocolate Crumb Cake was my favorite, but honestly, they are all really good. These cakes would also make great gifts for the holidays–you can order the cakes and have them delivered to friends and family for a special treat!

Now back to the latte–it has a great lightly sweet-and-spicy, creamy pumpkin flavor–not overly sweet or spicy, but just right. I made mine with skim milk, but if you want yours a little richer you can use whole milk. This recipe makes one serving–to make more, just multiply the ingredients by the number of servings you want to make!

PUMPKIN PIE LATTE by NancyC, adapted from Taste of Home

Makes 1 serving

  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 Tablespoon canned pumpkin puree
  • 1 Tablespoon honey
  • 1 Tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice (or substitute ground cinnamon)
  • 1/4 cup hot brewed Easy Espresso (see recipe below; you can use 1/3 cup if you want a stronger coffee flavor)
  • Whipped cream and pumpkin pie spice (or ground cinnamon)  for garnish

EASY ESPRESSO (makes enough espresso for 2 lattes)

  • 1/4 cup ground coffee
  • 3/4 cup cold water

Place ground coffee in the filter of a drip coffeemaker. Add water; brew according to manufacturer’s instructions.

In a small saucepan, combine milk and pumpkin. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until steaming (about 3 minutes; do not let the mixture boil). Stir in the honey, vanilla, and pumpkin pie spice, continuing to heat for another minute. Remove from heat and transfer to a blender; cover tightly and blend for 15 seconds or until foamy (If you’re making multiple servings, I recommend just filling the blender no more than half full so the hot pumpkin mixture won’t overflow while blending; so you may need to blend several different batches).

Pour espresso into a mug and add the foamy pumpkin/milk mixture. Garnish with whipped cream and a sprinkling of pumpkin pie spice.

I’m no expert at making fancy coffee drinks, so I was so pleased that this latte turned out well! Do you have a favorite special coffee drink you like making?

Linked to Thursday Favorite Things at Katherine’s Corner,  Full Plate Thursday at Miz Helen’s Country Cottage, and Inspire Me Monday at Create with Joy.

Layered Black Bean Dip

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I have a big weakness for dips, so I try to just make them when I need to bring something to a party or get-together–that way, I have plenty of people to help me eat it! :) This Layered Black Bean Dip is really easy to make, and I like to think that the black beans make it a little healthier! :) I added a little plain Greek yogurt to the original recipe to make the base of the dip a little creamier and also topped it with some green onion slices. If you don’t have any parties coming up soon, this also makes a great snack when you’re watching football or other sports games on TV! This recipe probably serves about 6-8 people; if you’re making it for a larger crowd, you can double the recipe and make it in a 9 x 13″ baking or serving dish.

LAYERED BLACK BEAN DIP by NancyC, adapted from Kraft Foods

  • 1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese (regular or light), softened
  • 1/4 cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 1/4 cups canned black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 (10-ounce) can ROTEL Diced Tomatoes and Green Chilies, well drained
  • 1 cup finely shredded Fiesta-Style Four-Cheese blend
  • 1 green onion, thinly sliced (both the white part and stem)

In a medium mixing bowl, blend the softened cream cheese with the yogurt, blending with a hand mixer or by hand until creamy. Spread this mixture onto the bottom of a shallow dish or pie plate. Layer the black beans over the cream cheese mixture; then layer the ROTEL diced tomatoes over the black beans. Top with the shredded cheese and then add the sliced green onion on the very top (you can also add some chopped fresh cilantro on top if you like). Serve with tortilla chips.

Note: If you’d like to add more flavor to your cream cheese/yogurt base, stir in some dry Taco seasoning mix or Ranch Dressing mix to taste.

Dips are great because they’re so easy to make. Do you have a favorite dip recipe?

Linked to Fiesta Friday at The Novice Gardener,  Inspire Me Monday at Create with Joy, and Thursday Favorite Things at Katherine’s Corner.

October

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“This was one of my favorite books when I was growing up,” my mom told me years ago when she gave me a copy of Anne of Green Gables. It quickly became a favorite of mine, too. I loved reading about the imaginative Anne Shirley and her life on the farm with Marilla and Matthew. It was one of those books I couldn’t put down and didn’t want to end. But of course it did have a wonderful ending with an inspiring quote (“God’s in His heaven, all’s right with the world”). I read and reread the book several times, finding out much later that there were actually sequels to the book! But I always liked the first book best. I still have my copy somewhere and when I saw this quote from the book, it made me want to read it again! :)

I can just imagine what Anne would enjoy about the month of October–the beautiful colors, the cool autumn air, the gently falling leaves. Hope you find many things to enjoy about your October, too!

God has made everything beautiful for its own time. ECCLESIASTES 3:11 (NLT)

Linked to Inspire Me Monday at Create with Joy.

Apple-Zucchini Bread

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Apple-Zucchini Bread just seems so perfect for this time of year–early fall is when I’m inspired to bake apple-flavored things! This recipe not only has apples, but zucchini, too, which is great–you can never have enough good zucchini recipes for all that … Continue reading

Chocolate Chip Muffins

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I realized that it’s been awhile since I made anything with chocolate in it, so I thought it would be a great time to make some Chocolate Chip Muffins! These are nice and cake-y, with lots of chocolate chips in every … Continue reading

Pumpkin Pie Dump Cake

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I think the term “dump cake” is a little misleading–it just doesn’t sound very appetizing! It’s true that you do kind of “dump” most of the ingredients into a large bowl, stir them together, and pour in a pan…and then just sprinkle on the toppings–in … Continue reading

Avocado Hummus and a Featured Soup!

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Avocados are so good and since I was making some more homemade hummus, I decided to experiment by making an Avocado Hummus. It came out pretty much like I thought it would–really smooth and creamy, with that great avocado flavor, but … Continue reading

7 Anti-Aging Foods

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I saw an article at Sharecare.com about seven foods they refer to as “anti-aging powerhouses.” These foods may also help cut your risk of heart disease and cancer when incorporated into a healthy diet. So if you’re interested, here’s a condensed list of the seven foods–you can … Continue reading

Easy Salted Caramel Sauce

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I bought some salted caramel sauce earlier this summer at the grocery store, and I could hardly tell that it was salted! So I made a note to try making a homemade salted caramel sauce sometime, and I finally had the chance. This … Continue reading