Thursday, May 26, 2011

Ham and Macaroni Salad

1 cup packaged dried wagon wheel or elbow macaroni
1-1/2 cups cubed fully cooked ham (8 ounces)
4 ounces Monterey Jack or cheddar cheese, cut into cubes (1 cup)
1 cup frozen peas
1 stalk celery, thinly sliced (1/2 cup)
1/4 cup finely chopped onion
2 tablespoons diced pimiento
1/2 cup mayonnaise or salad dressing
1/4 cup sweet pickle relish or chopped sweet pickle
1 to 2 tablespoons milk (optional)
Dash pepper
8 cherry tomatoes, halved
Fresh parsley sprig (optional)

Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain pasta; rinse with cold water. Drain again.
In a large mixing bowl combine pasta, ham, cheese, peas, celery, onion, and pimiento. Toss gently to mix.
For dressing, in a small mixing bowl stir together mayonnaise or salad dressing, pickle relish or
chopped pickle, milk, and pepper. Pour dressing over pasta mixture. Toss to coat. Cover and chill for 4 to 24 hours.
Just before serving, stir in milk, if necessary. Spoon pasta mixture into a serving bowl.
Arrange cherry tomato halves around the edge of bowl. If desired, garnish with parsley. Makes 4 main-dish servings.

Red, White and Blue Pie: Perfect for 4th of July

1-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup shortening
4 to 5 tablespoons cold water
1 6-ounce package (1 cup) semisweet chocolate pieces
1 tablespoon butter
1 8-ounce package cream cheese, softened
2 tablespoons orange liqueur
1/4 cup sifted powdered sugar
1 quart whole strawberries, rinsed and stems removed
1 cup mixed berries, such as blueberries and raspberries
2 tablespoons red currant jelly
1/2 cup whipping cream
2 tablespoons sifted powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon finely shredded orange peel


1. For the pastry, stir together all-purpose flour and salt. Using a pastry blender, cut in shortening
until pieces are pea-size. Sprinkle 1 tablespoon cold water over part of mixture; gently toss with a
fork. Push moistened dough to side of bowl. Repeat, using 1 tablespoon of water at a time, until
flour mixture is moistened. Form dough into a ball. On a floured surface, roll dough into a 12-inch
circle. Ease dough into a 9-inch pie plate. Trim to 1/2-inch beyond edge of plate. Fold under extra
dough. Crimp edge. Prick bottom and sides of pastry. Line with a double thickness of foil. Bake in
a 450 degree F oven 8 minutes. Remove foil. Bake 5 to 6 minutes more or until golden. Set aside.

2. In a saucepan combine chocolate and butter. Heat and stir over
medium-low heat until melted. Add cream cheese and liqueur. Heat and
stir until combined. Remove from heat. Stir in the 1/4 cup powdered
sugar. Spread in baked pastry shell.

3. Arrange strawberries and mixed berries on filling, placing strawberries stem ends down. Melt
jelly; brush over berries. Cover; chill for 4 hours.

4. To Serve: Let pie stand at room temperature for 30 minutes. Beat whipping cream with the 2
tablespoons powdered sugar and the orange peel until soft peaks form. Spoon or pipe whipped
cream into center of pie. Makes 12 servings.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Visit Branson and Enjoy the Legend of Kung Fu Package

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of Hiltons of Branson for SocialSpark. All opinions are 100% mine.

Last Spring we visited Florida.  Our vacation was wonderful however this year with gas prices through the roof we made the decision that we will be vacationing much closer to home.  Branson would make for a fun and exciting vacation.  There are so many places to go and see including Silver Dollar City where my girls would want to stay all day!

Visiting during National KidsFest would be a perfect time to visit with our girls and staying at the Hilton Promenade at Branson Landing would be ideal. 

This summer they have The Legend of Kung Fu Package available which includes 4 tickets and exclusive preshow access 30 minutes prior to Legend of Kung Fu Show.  You will also receive $25 to the Legend of Kung Fu gift shop and a  one night stay at the Hilton Promenade at Branson Landing or the Hilton Branson Convention Center Hotel for 2 Adults and 2 Children.

To me this sounds like a pretty cool deal but I think I would prefer the Best Value Package!  It is a 3-night package for 2 adults and 2 children that includes 2-day passes to Silver Dollar City which would really thrill my girls.   Not only that you get 4 tickets to the Legends of Kung Fu show for as low as $600.  Talk about a full package!

While we are there we can also visit great restaurants and shops that are not available to us here in Southern Illinois.

So tell me have you visited Branson?  Did you go to Silver Dollar City?  What was your favorite ride or show at Silver Dollar City?

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Monday, May 16, 2011

Easy Banana Nut Bread

1/2 c Butter
1 c Sugar
2 Eggs
4 sm Bananas, mashed
3/4 ts Baking soda
1/2 ts Salt
1 1/2 c Flour
3/4 c Chopped walnuts

Cream butter and sugar until fluffy; add eggs one at a time beating well after
each addition. Stir in bananas.
Add dry ingredients and mix well. Pour into bread pan, bake at 350F for 30-35

image credit

Delicious Crab Dip

1 lb crabmeat
1/2 c mayonnaise or salad dressing
1 garlic salt, to taste
2 tb onion, grated
2 ts prepared mustard
2 ts powdered sugar
2/3 c white wine

Mix together all ingredients except crabmeat. Heat slowly. Add
Crabmeat. Serve warm with crackers.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Store Brand Baby Formula Wins in Court

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of for SocialSpark. All opinions are 100% mine.

Have you ever given your baby store bought formula?  Or have you been under the impression that name brand formula is the only way your baby can be nourished besides breast milk?   Many, many years ago when my girls were on formula  things were a little difficult.  We did not have any success with breast feeding and both girls has some serious problems especially my oldest daughter.  So our option was a very expensive specialized formula.  I would have been so thrilled if I could have found a store bought formula that offered so many varieties.  I am pretty sure at least my youngest daughter would have been able to benefit from on of their formulas.

If you are struggling right now with the cost of Name brand formulas you check out  and look around.  There is a lot of information and you just made find out that you can save a lot of money by switching to store brand.  While your on their website be sure to sign up to have a coupon for Store Brand Formula sent to you.  Click, Recieve a Coupon on the bottom left-hand corner.

Recently Store Brand formula won a major victory in U.S. Circuit Court which upheld a $13.5 million false advertising claim against Enfamil Maker Mead Johnson. 

“As the litigation history of the parties demonstrates, despite having twice been restrained from disseminating misleading advertising, Mead Johnson continued to do so,” Circuit Judge Andre Davis wrote. “PBM cannot fairly compete with Mead Johnson unless and until Mead Johnson stops infecting the marketplace with misleading advertising.”

"The Court has made it clear that national brand and store brand suppliers are entitled to fairly compete and advertising abuses will not be tolerated," said Perrigo Chairman and CEO Joseph C. Papa in a statement. "We also appreciate the Court's recognition that PBM could lawfully compare its products to national brand products."

For more information on the court ruling you can read about it in Business Week.

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Friday, May 13, 2011

Family Favorite Burgers

1 1/2 lb Ground Beef
2 slices Bread; Fresh Bread Crumbs
1/3 c Milk
1/4 c Ketchup
1/4 c Onion;Finely Choppe (small)
1 tspSalt
2 tsp Horseradish
2 tsp Worcestershire Sauce
1 tbsp Mustard; Prepared

Mix all ingredients together. Shape mixture into 6 patties, each about
3/4-inch thick. Broil or grill patties, 4-inches from the heat, turning
once, until the desired doneness is reached, about 10 to 15 minutes.

Make a Cucumber Mask for Oily Skin

Do you have oily skin?  Here is a natural Cucumber Mask that you can make with ingredients you probably already have on hand.

You will need:

1/2 cucumber
1 egg white
1 T. lemon juice
1 tsp. mint

Purée ingredients in a blender and refrigerate for 10 minutes. Apply the
mixture to your face and leave on for 15 minutes. Rinse with hot, then cool

How to Make an Alexander Espresso

I LOVE my coffee! I love it hot/cold, black or sweetened. To be honest there probably isn't a way that I don't like it.

1. Alexander Espresso
• 1 cup Cold water
• 2 tb Ground espresso coffee
• ½ Cinnamon stick (3" long)
• 4 ts Crème de Cacao
• 2 ts Brandy
• 2 tb Whipping cream, chilled
• Grated semisweet chocolate to garnish

How To:
Break out your espresso machine for this one or just make really strong coffee with
a small amount of water. Break cinnamon stick into small pieces and add to hot espresso. Allow to cool for 1 minute. Add crème de cacao and brandy, and stir gently. Pour into cute demitasse cups. Whip the cream, and float some cream on top of each cup. For looks, garnish with grated chocolate or fancy chocolate curls. Multiply proportions by six and it's perfect for a party. Serves 2