Family Alive

Brian, Kristine, Analise, and Josiah Toone

What’s Cookin’ – Fresh Peach Frozen Yogurt

31st August 2009

It’s peach season here in the South!  YUM!  I love fresh peaches.  And I LOVE my ice cream maker.  So when I found this recipe in a Taste of Home magazine, it was the perfect combination.  It was so easy and AMAZING!  I’ve made 3 batches of it so far 🙂  It’s very creamy and smooth.  And if you don’t have fresh peaches, I bet you could use canned, just decrease the sugar a bit and make sure they are well drained.  Let me know how you like it!!

  • 4 medium peaches, peeled and sliced
  • 1 envelope unflavored gelatin
  • 1 cup fat-free milk
  • 1/2 c. sugar
  • Dash of salt
  • 2 1/2 c. low fat vanilla yogurt
  • 2 t vanilla extract

Place peaches in a blender, cover and process until blended.  Set aside.  In a small saucepan, sprinkle gelatin over milk and let stand for 1 minute.  Heat on low, stirring until gelatin is completely dissolved.  Remove from heat, and stir in sugar and salt until sugar is dissolved.  Pour into large bowl, and add peaches, yogurt and vanilla.

Transfer to cylinder of ice cream freezer, and let process for 30 minutes or so.  It will be the consistency of soft-serve, and DELICIOUS!  Transfer the rest to another container and place in freezer.

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What’s Cooking… Bodacious Blueberry Muffins

20th August 2009

These have made it into the top tier of my “most used recipes”.   I tried them about a year ago, and when I want a GOOD fluffy blueberry muffin, this is the best.  Recently, I loaned out my recipe card, and I had to search and search all over the internet this morning to track this exact recipe down.  So I’m posting it here for my own (frequent!) personal use, and for all those of you that love a good muffin.  (I like to give credit when I can, and this was first posted at  She’s got a picture to tempt you even more, but the link is no longer valid. So whoever came up with this recipe… thanks!)

Bodacious Blueberry Muffins

  • 1 3/4 cup flour
  • 1/3 c sugar
  • 2 t baking powder
  • 1/4 t salt
  • 1 beaten egg
  • 3/4 c milk
  • 1/4 c oil
  • 1 t vanilla
  • 1 c blueberries

Mix dry ingredients in a bowl.  Mix wet ingredients in a bowl, and gently stir both together just until mixed.  Add blueberries.  Place in greased muffin tins and bake at 400 for 25 min. (12 muffins)

Crumb topping

  • 1/2 c packed brown sugar
  • 1/8 c (2 T) flour
  • 1/2 t cinnamon
  • 1 T softened butter

Mix together until it resembles cornmeal.  Top muffins before baking. (Makes enough for 2 batches)

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What’s Cookin’… Lasagna ala Lane

4th June 2009

This is good, good stuff.  My mother-in-law makes delicious, traditional lasagna.  And when I saw the beautiful Taylor Lane putting this all together in my kitchen tonight, I wasn’t sure I’d like it, as I don’t like too much onion and I REALLY don’t like sausage.  But  the sauce is amazing, and the *secret* ingredient of sour cream instead of ricotta gives a really great twist to the already deep flavor.  (How’s that for a food review?  Good food is inspiring!)

And I’ve always thought lasagna just was NOT worth the effort to make, because let’s face it… it is definitely time-consuming.  You can buy good-tasting  lasagna or get it at a restaurant.  But this just may have convinced me that I’ll make it, as this recipe is perfect for doubling so you’ll have another whole delicious pan for later.

Try it… I promise no matter what lasagna you LOVE, this one will impress you!

Lasagna ala Lane

  • 1-14.5 oz can of diced tomatoes (We used Muir Glen No-Salt-Added Fire Roasted)
  • 1-15 oz can of tomato sauce
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/8 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp garlic salt
  • 1 tsp dried parsley
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 cup chopped onion (we used half a yellow onion)
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • oil
  • 1/2 lb ground chuck beef
  • 1/2 lb regular sausage
  • 1 cup (8oz) sour cream
  • 1/2 lb grated mozzarella cheese
  • 1/2 c grated Parmesan
  • 7 lasagna strips

In a skillet, saute onion and garlic in oil until lightly browned.  Add the beef and sausage, and cook until browned.

In a large saucepan, combine tomatoes and next 7 ingredients.  Begin simmering uncovered.  Combine meat and sauce mixtures and simmer uncovered for 1 hour on low heat. (You can make ahead and freeze.  Or this would make a delicious spaghetti sauce.)

Cook the lasagna noodles, drain, rinse and separate.  In the bottom of a 2 1/2qt dish (we used a 9×13″ pan, but you could use a square pan as well), criss-cross  layer the noodles.  Top with half the meat sauce, half of the sour cream, 1/3 of the mozzarella cheese, and half the Parmesan cheese.  Repeat one more layer and end with remaining mozzarella cheese on top.

Cover with a tin foil tent and bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.  Uncover and bake for 20 more minutes to brown the cheese.


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What’s Cookin’ – Food in Review!

21st February 2009

A couple weeks ago, I shared my cooking plans.  I wanted to come back and let you know how it all turned out…

  • Asian Peanut Butter Pork – I was pleasantly surprised with how much I enjoyed this!  The onions (which I don’t normally like) were very milk, the peanut butter flavor wasn’t overwhelming, and the lime took the edge off the sweetness. The meat was falling apart when we were ready to eat, and I just shredded it.  Brian didn’t even recognize it was pork tenderloin! I served it with rice noodles, and it was a HUGE hit with Brian.
  • Pork Fried Rice Chinese Style – This was ok.  It came together quickly, and I liked it.  But Brian would have prefered another night of the Peanut Butter Pork.
  • Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Muffins – These were tasty.  VERY dense.  It felt like I was eating an oatmeal chocolate chip cookie for breakfast… without the guilt 🙂
  • Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins – These were ok for me, great for Brian.  Too much banana for my liking, but he loved them.
  • Some form of cupcakes, with some special Valentine’s decorating help from Analise for Life Group on Wednesday.
  • Spicy Sour Cream Chicken – Probably unnecessary to even rate this, but it was a big hit.  Two bags of chicken tenderloins (doubling the recipe), black beans, and taco toppings was plenty for a dinner of 10.
  • Banano con Leche – Everyone loved them, and Brian is now asking me to make them.
  • Carmelized Onion and Cheese Quiche – I just finally made this last night.  Wow.  This is a melt-in-your-mouth quiche.  Seriously, seriously good.
  • Deep Dish Pizza Crust – I’ve made this twice since I originally posted… once as pizza crust, and tonight as breadsticks to go with spaghetti.  They are a homeade version of the Olive Garden.  Yum.

Happy eating!  Feel free to come back here and post your comments if you try anything!

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What’s Cookin’ – Pumpkin Bars

17th February 2009

These have become one of my two signature desserts.  They are amazing. I keep a can of pumpkin and a block of cream cheese on hand at all times, so they can be whipped up when needed.  And they can be lightened up with no compromise to taste!

Pumpkin Bars (courtesy of

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

  • 4 eggs
  • 1 2/3 cups white sugar
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 (15 ounce) can pumpkin puree

Mix together and until light and fluffy. Combine the following ingredients:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon salt

Add to pumpkin mixture.  Pour into ungreased 10×13″ jelly roll pan.  Bake 25-30 minutes.  Cool before frosting.

Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 1 (3 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups sifted confectioners’ sugar

Cream together the cream cheese and butter. Stir in vanilla. Add confectioners’ sugar a little at a time, beating until mixture is smooth. Spread evenly on top of the cooled bars. Cut into squares.

**Notes: I have used Egg Beaters, applesauce for the oil, and half white whole wheat flour, as well as lowfat cream cheese.  No one knows the difference!  These will never fail to be a hit!

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On the menu for this week…

8th February 2009

Just thought I’d pop in and share what’s going to be cookin’ this week…

  • Asian Peanut Butter Pork – from one of my very favorite websites, A Year of Crockpotting.  Brian’s going to LOVE this, as anything Asian with peanuts is his favorite.
  • Hopefully, I’ll have leftover pork for Pork Fried Rice Chinese Style (apologies to dear friend, Corrie, who makes lovely fried rice, and I’m sure this isn’t very authentic, but it looks easy!!)
  • Some yummy Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Muffins, possibly the Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins that I didn’t get to make last week, as I’ve got a pile of bananas browning on my counter.  (I’d prefer the oatmeal, but should probably make the banana.  Last week, I really WANTED the banana chocolate chip, but went with the healthier blueberry banana muffins.  Of course, I’ll probably go with what I *should* make… )
  • Some form of cupcakes, with some special Valentine’s decorating help from Analise for Life Group on Wednesday.
  • Our friends, the Kawells, are coming for dinner on Thursday… all 8 of them!  We’re celebrating our Nicaragua trip and Abigail’s 17th birthday.  I’m making Spicy Sour Cream Chicken in the crockpot, and we’re having Banano con Leche (banana milk) for dessert.  This dreamy drink, served over ice, is served at a restaurant in Leon, and Abigail and I enjoyed it together on our last day there.
  • I’ll possibly make this savory Carmelized Onion and Cheese Quiche for the weekend.  Maybe even 2… one to freeze 🙂
  • Lastly, I’m putting homemade pizza on the menu about once every 2 weeks.  I intended to rotate through various crust recipes, but we have settled happily into this delicious Deep Dish Pizza Crust recipe.  I haven’t pinned down my exact sauce recipe, as I toss it together on the stovetop by taste.  But we sure enjoy our homemade pizza, and I enjoy knowing it’s a night I don’t have to think about what to make!

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What’s Cookin’… Key Lime Pie

4th February 2009

This couldn’t be easier, and this is an amazing tasting pie.  I’ve made it several times, and it’s never failed me!

Nellie & Joe’s Key Lime Pie (from Nellie & Joe’s website)

  • 9″ graham cracker pie crust
  • 14 oz. can of sweetened condensed milk
  • 3 egg yolks (whites not used)
  • ½ cup Nellie & Joe’s Key West Lime Juice (the only one I’ve used, and from reviews I’ve read, plain lime juice just will not work)

Combine milk, egg yolks and lime juice. Blend until smooth. Pour filling into pie crust and bake at 350º for 15 minutes. Allow to stand 10 minutes before refrigerating. Just before serving, top with freshly whipped cream, or meringue, and garnish with lime slices.

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Buns in the oven… no really! Hamburger buns!

25th January 2009

Ok, I chuckled about this title all afternoon.   Forgive me if it lead you to believe anything else!

I know it might sound crazy, but I made my own hamburger buns on Friday.  A couple friends had tried this amazing recipe, and promised it was easy and worth the effort.  So decided nervously to try it out, and let me tell you… I may NEVER buy buns from the store again!  These are so good.  And SO EASY!  I’ll post the recipe fromKing Arthur Flour (the only flour I use – it’s awesome!), and the post a few of my notes.  Again I say… these are so worth the small effort!!


* 3/4 to 1 cup lukewarm water
* 2 tablespoons butter
* 1 large egg
* 3 1/2 cups King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
* 1/4 cup sugar
* 1 1/4 teaspoons salt
* 1 tablespoon instant yeast


1) Mix and knead all of the dough ingredients—by hand, mixer, or bread machine—to make a soft, smooth dough.

2) Cover the dough, and let it rise for 1 hour, or until it’s doubled in bulk.

3) Gently deflate the dough, and divide it into 8 pieces. Shape each piece into a round 1″ thick (more or less); flatten to about 3″ across. Place the buns on a lightly greased baking sheet, cover, and let rise for about an hour, until very puffy.

4) If desired, brush buns with melted butter. Or brush lightly with egg wash (1 egg beaten with 1 tablespoon water), and sprinkle with sesame seeds.

5) Bake the buns in a preheated 375°F oven for 12 to 15 minutes, till golden. Cool on a rack.

Notes from Kristine

  • I mixed my dough in the KitchenAid mixer with a dough hook.
  • Because it’s dry here right now, I used the full 1 cup of water.  I had to add about a half-tablespoon of extra flour to get the dough soft and smooth (it was grainy and sticky).
  • I let it rise for about 1hr 15 minutes, and it still didn’t seem to have quite doubled.
  • I floured my surface, dumped it out and formed it into a log (more notes on this on the actual recipe page from King Arthur Flour). I used a piece of dental floss to cut the dough, and my pieces came out a little misformed, but that isn’t a big deal to me 🙂
  • I used the “proofing oven” idea from the recipe reviews (heat a glass measuring cup of water for a couple minutes in the microwave, and put it in the cold oven with the dough to rise).  My buns didn’t seem to rise very much, but we were in a hurry to get dinner done, so we baked them anyway.
  • They still turned out delicious, beautifully golden, and I honestly had 2 for dinner, one for breakfast and another for lunch yesterday!
  • The recipe reviews also say you can sub 2 c King Arthur White Whole Wheat Flour (which I use often!) for 2 c. of the all-purpose, you can use EggBeaters, or you can even sub honey for the sugar.

Ok, leave me a note if you try them!  I promise… I’m not an accomplished baker.  Anyone can do these!

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What’s Cookin’ – Panera at home

14th October 2008

I’ll admit… I LOVE Panera.  Their bagels are so yummy, and their sandwiches are one of my favorite lunches.  I usually get a panini with a salad.  But tonight’s dinner was just as good, and cheaper, and at home.

This summer I treated myself (as an anniversary present 🙂 ) to a grill pan.  I’ve enjoyed it for various things, but I hadn’t used it to make paninis!  I used this recipe that I’d sampled at Publix for the Turkey Apple Panini.   It worked perfectly, and the sandwiches were melty, a little sweet from the apple, and a little oniony from the salad dressing spread.  I tossed some romaine lettuce with cesaer dressing and parmesean cheese and added some restaurant-style croutons.  And I’d splurged at the grocery store and gotten some of this V8 Golden Butternut Squash Soup to go with the sandwiches.  Perfect.  The only thing that would have been better is if it hadn’t been 80 degrees outside.  Not exactly a soup night, but I’m sure we’ll do it again soon!  I’m glad I can do Panera at home!

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What’s Cookin’… Skillet Smashed Potatoes

26th September 2008

Back in July, I tried out a new recipe for Cracked Potatoes, using both this skillet recipe and this oven recipe.  I, personally, love potatoes in any form, so they both were tasty.  But the skillet version was a bit better.  The one problem was that when you “crack” the potatoes, they start to fall apart.  So I winged it, and created my Skillet Smashed Potatoes that were AWESOME.

  • Potatoes – small ones, Yukon gold or red, boiled in salted water until a knife slides in, but not super soft (15 min?)
  • Take potatoes from pan, “crack” with the bottom of a glass, trying not mash it too much.
  • Heat 2-3 T extra virgin olive oil in the bottom of a skillet.  Add 2 tsp minced garlic, and saute until it starts to brown.  Remove most of the garlic bits with a spoon so they don’t burn and bitter.
  • Add the potatoes, and let them fall apart, if they do.  Cook for 3-4 minutes on one side.  Season liberally with garlic salt and cracked pepper.  Turn the potatoes over, and let them break apart.  Cook another 5 minutes, until small pieces start to turn golden brown.


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