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Jen’s Famous Sweet Pecan Rolls

Blog, Recipes

Its sweater weather and my favorite time of year. With the cool fall breeze, comes all sorts of delicious goodies, including my famous Sweet Pecan Rolls.

This is a recipe I adapted from an old Amish Cookbook I got right after Nate and I got married. I changed it to our liking and its pretty much one of my favorite recipes and everyone is ALWAYS asking me for it. Its super easy because you make it the night before, let it sit on the counter covered overnight and stick it in the oven in the AM. Its gooey, its sticky, its DELICIOUS.


Sweet Pecan Roll’s

2 loaves frozen bread dough (found in the freezer isle, usually by whipped cream, frozen fruit)

1 small box of butterscotch pudding (NON INSTANT)

1  1/2 sticks butter

1  1/2 cups brown sugar

3 TBSP milk

3 TSP cinnamon

1 cup of pecans


Let bread thaw 1-2 hours (or until you are able to slice), then cut into 20-25 pieces. Grease a 9×13 pan and sprinkle nuts on the bottom then place bread slices on top. *Sprinkle the entire box of butterscotch pudding on over bread slices. In a sauce pan,melt the butter, add the brown sugar, milk and cinnamon. Bring to a boil, then drizzle over the bread dough. Cover with aluminum foil and let sit overnight. Bake at 350 degrees for 20-30 minutes.

*I have laid out my bread before and fallen asleep to find my bread busted out of the bag. I ended up pulling apart the dough and putting it in the pan, letting it rise again for 30 minutes and then doing the rest of the steps and resting again until the bread had risen to the top of the pan (additional 10-15 minutes) and was ready to be placed in the oven. It still turned out perfectly!


Grandma Mary’s Cowboy Cookies

Blog, Recipes

Anyone that knows me, knows I LOVE baked goods. Like, LOVE. I can’t count the number of times as a little girl that my red-headed bestie and I snuck in the backroom in our basement to steal some cookies from her stockpile in the freezer. I am almost 29 (again) and I still sneak in my Mom’s freezer and break into her cookie stash. Ive gotten caught with my hand in the jar and wiping crumbs off my chin so many times, that its not much of a secret anymore (Sorry Mom). And as Shakira says “My hips don’t lie.” #sorrynotsorry

Yesterday at a meeting with some of my team, my husband insisted that I needed to add a cookie recipe and I should “do it tonight!”. *eye roll*. Obviously, I am a sucker for his good looks and devilishly handsome smile.


These cookies are some of my husbands favorite. Its a recipe handed down from his Grandma Mary and I vividly remember sitting at her kitchen table in Everett, PA copying this recipe down (and every other recipe my then-boyfriend, loved). Obviously this was the very moment my now-husband, probably decided I was “the one”. While we love the cookies just the way they are, we really love setting aside half of the chocolate chips to melt and drizzle on top and then sprinkle with coconut.



Grandma Mary’s Cowboy Cookies

1 Cup Shortening

1/2 Cup Sugar

1 1/2 Cup brown sugar

2 eggs

1 Cup flaked coconut

12 oz chocolate chips (set 6 oz aside for melting)

2 Cups of flour

1 tsp soda

1/2 tsp salt

1 1/2 tsp vanilla

2 Cups oatmeal

Preheat oven to 350. In a stand mixer (I love my Kitchen Aid) mix sugars with egg. Add vanilla, soda and salt- mix. Add oatmeal, coconut and flour followed by 6 oz of chocolate chips, mixing on low speed. Drop by spoonfuls on greased baking sheets. Bake at 350 for 11 minutes or until lightly golden brown. Let sit on sheet to cool for 1 minute, then move to cooling rack.





Freezing Tomatoes


This is our second season putting vegetables up for the winter and we have been putting up a TON of tomatoes. In fact, I just had to do a complete overhaul of my ridiculously, messy freezer in order to fit it all. It was either that, or buy another freezer. Between the meat from my husband hunting, freezer meals and veggies and fruits from our garden, our freezers were both bursting at the seams. A real “first world” calamity.


I knew all about freezing most of what we grew and I have frozen tomatoes a variety of ways, but I wanted an easy way to freeze some cherry tomatoes we had this year. No chopping, just throwing them in there whole. I did some research in some homesteading books we have and found it can indeed be done, quite easily. I even grabbed the kids and let them help out. I am always short on time, so this was an awesome way to not waste all we had gathered that day. If you choose to freeze cherry tomatoes this way, they are best used in a salad dressing, vinaigrette, or pasta salad and probably NOT on a fresh salad as you would normally use them. I know I have wasted one too many cherry tomatoes by using what I need for a salad and then forgetting about the poor little guys, to find them wilted at the back of the veggie compartment in the fridge. This is a simple fix.




To freeze your cherry tomatoes, grab a cookie sheet with sides to keep them from rolling off and line it with parchment paper. Use the aforementioned children (or borrow a neighbors) to wash and dry the tomatoes and then place them (spaced out without touching) on the pan. Place them in the freezer until they freeze (about 2-3 hours), then place them in a freezer bag. . Doing it this way allows you to use as many as you need without them being completely frozen together. You grab as many or as few as you need. That’s it. So easy. If you have some specific recipes you make a lot and need to measure out your portions with a kitchen scale, like I do, you can. I use a Ozeri Kitchen Scale, shown below with some chopped tomatoes, that I found on amazon. It was relatively cheap and I KNOW I am doing it the right way, by weight, not volume. Happy Freezing.



Fried Okra

Blog, Recipes

Ok, so I am not southern. Well, technically I AM south of the Mason- Dixon line (by about 30 minutes) but my husband, who hails from South Carolina has called me a Yankee since he met me. Thankfully, he loves me despite my “northern” roots. He loves me so much that he shared with me a recipe for Okra about 6 years into our marriage. I guess he was making sure I was the real deal before he gave up his momma’s recipe. I don’t know. Anyways, if you have never had okra, it looks a little strange, honestly. I highly recommend fresh, but it can be hard to find. Having lived all over the US, I know for sure it can be found in the freezer section, both whole and chopped. If you are going to buy it frozen, buying it chopped is easiest. If you HAVE had okra before and NEVER had it this way, I highly recommend you give this a try. Most people cook okra by steaming it and its extremely slimy….and quite frankly gross. Frying it and tossing those babies with salt might not be the healthiest but it IS. SO. GOOD. In fact, my two older kids love Fried Okra so much that they ask for it for their “special meal” for their birthdays. It is also one of my husbands favorite. We planted a whole gaggle of it this year.

The “recipe” my husband gave me goes something like this…. “oil pan well, heat. Put okra in colander and mix with salt. Add cornmeal on bottom. Add okra to pan. Sprinkle cornmeal on top”. Helpful. Typical man. Lots of details.

I thought a woman’s version might be a bit more helpful here.



2TBSP Olive Oil

4 cups Okra, chopped, stems removed, dethawed.

3/4 cup Cornmeal, 1/2 cup cornmeal, divided




Heat Olive oil on medium in pan until it sizzles. While oil is heating, toss the chopped okra with salt (to taste, usually about 1 1/2 tsp). Add 3/4 cup of cornmeal to the pan and put Okra on top. Put the other 1/2 cup of cormeal on top of the okra. Let it sit for a few minutes until well heated, tossing around the pan until done, about 4-5 minutes. Cornmeal should appear slightly toasted when done.






Basil and Bacon Bruschetta

Blog, Recipes

About 4 year ago, my husband and I were home for “leave” (aka vacation) after he had returned home from Afghanistan. We were enjoying a few days at my parents place in Ocean City and in the midst of the chaos of traveling with two kids under 2, I became a culinary genius. Ok, that’s a bit dramatic, but, really, I am a rule follower, so branching out and making my own recipe, took a bit of courage for me. We were making a basic bruschetta “recipe” (a little this, a little that…voila…bruschetta) we had enjoyed at friends house when I realized we had some left over bacon from a breakfast earlier in the week. And there in lies the full clogging of my arteries with a second hefty helping of the ever delicious bacon. What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.



1 pkg bacon

2-3 tomatoes

6 oz mozzarella cheese

3-4 basil leaves

1/8-1/4 cup Balsamic Vinaigrette


Cook Bacon as directed. If some of it burns while you answer a phone call (give said burnt bacon to child who will gleefully enjoy it..or eat it yourself)-not that, that has ever happened to me or anything. While bacon is cooking, chop tomatoes and mozzarella into small cubes. Finely chop basil. When bacon is done, chop or run it through a food processor (I love my ninja). Mix together all ingredients adding the Balsamic Vinaigrette. Serve alone, as a side dish or on lightly buttered toast to enjoy as a sandwich.

Blurry photos are not essential to enjoy this dish, but occur only when holding a small screaming child and trying to work. #momlife