Great Balls of Sausage. Part 1 of a Family Food Saga

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My family loves food. Especially the food at family gatherings. Over the next few months I will share with you the must have foods at these gatherings. Some will be ones I tweaked using recipes from Pinterest. The rest will be the exact recipes my family uses because some recipes are perfect and need no tweaking

Here is the list of my family favorites:
Sausage balls. A must have yet there is never enough. These things go fast.

Watergate salad. Not a salad at all just plain awesome dessert. This is the one I usually make unless I’m experimenting with a new recipe.

Shirley’s pineapple cake. My mom has been making this cake forever. People fight over this cake, I’m talking family feuds. She usually makes 2 of these. If she would start making 3 maybe I could bring some home for once. (That is a hint mom). I’m not sure if it has an official name. we just call it Shirley’s cake, well I call it Mom’s cake.

Anita’s cheese ball. We have this at family holidays. Weddings. Baby showers. Parties. Basically anytime we can think of an excuse to have Anita make one.

Sandra’s Spinach dip. A great dip even the spinach haters love. If Sandra neglects to make it for a gathering people get mad. MAD.

Cathy’s broccoli cheese casserole. This is always the last thing to arrive at our gatherings. Usually after everyone’s plate is made but we all make a dash for it when it does arrive. Why is it always last you ask? Because Cathy is always late for gatherings. I tell everyone if the party is at 3 tell Cathy it is at 2 and she might make it on time. No one listens to me.

Okay let’s start this series off with sausage balls. It’s a simple recipe but one that can go downhill quick if something is slightly off. When cousin Crystal makes them they are always perfect. The rest of us don’t succeed in perfect a lot with these. Usually the balls end up too dry. I decided to hit Pinterest to find a fool proof sausage ball recipe. You know what? I succeeded.

I did not get pictures of the process. My hands were covered in sausage gunk. I did not want to risk getting anything gunky on my camera. The husband would kill me, it was a gift from him. I think it was more of a bribe. His way of saying, here go pursue your photography hobby and leave me alone to watch football, racing, wrestling or the movie Gladiator for the millionth time. FYI: no matter what he watches it ends up the same way. Him asleep on the couch. Funny how he always knows when I get ready to change the channel. He sits up like a launched rocket while loudly declaring, “Stop! I’m watching that!”

Now that I got off topic let’s get back to the sausage balls. One simple ingredient added to the recipe is all it takes to prevent the dreaded dry sausage ball. Cream cheese. Thank you Pinterest pinners!

SAUSAGE BALLS

Ingredients:
1 lb. mild or hot sausage
1 8 oz. package of cream cheese. Softened.
8 oz. shredded cheddar cheese

Mix with a stand up mixer with the bread hook. Or if you’re like me and can’t afford a stand up mixer just dive in with your hands. Washed hands hopefully. Mix, squeeze, roll, fold. Get everything mixed well. Roll into 1 inch balls. Place on a baking sheet.
Bake in a 400 degree preheated oven for 20 to 25 minutes until brown.
These were tasty and not dry. I did not make these for a family gathering I just wanted to test out this recipe. What I ended up doing with all these sausage balls was dividing them up in several baggies and over the next few mornings the husband and I would just grab a bag as we headed out the door to work.

Thank you for joining me on part 1 of the family food saga. I will add other parts as I am able to get family members to part with their recipes. Hopefully they won’t hold out on me too long.

Great tasting moist sausage balls.

Great tasting moist sausage balls.

 

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What the Peep? Cake

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It is apparently cake baking week here at the crypt. I’ve been baking cupcakes or cakes everyday this week. Family gatherings, birthdays and tomorrow, Easter dinner.

A year ago I hosted a baby shower for my daughter who was expecting her first child. We had peep smores at the shower. So for Ms. Kaylei’s first birthday I suggested we peep out the cupcakes. My daughter agreed, which was a good thing since I had just bought a ton of peeps to try out the peep cake I saw on Pinterest. I had a lot of peeps. It was a peep invasion here at the crypt. So today I’m going to kill two peeps with one post.

The peep cake pin caught my attention for the simple fact. I LOVE PEEPS! I have never met a peep I didn’t love. This cake actually had peeps mixed in with the batter. Holy Peeps in a cake, Batman! I was excited to try to make this cake. I followed the pin to the website that had the full instructions.
The instructions used a spring form pan. I don’t have one so I used two round cake pans. FYI: if you have the spring form pan, use it. Before we go any further I must tell you. This cake was delicious. Mine did not turn out as pretty as the picture on the pin but I was able to live with that. I’m sure using the spring form pan would have changed the outcome of my cake. Guess maybe I need to invest in one.

To see the instructions I followed please visit the original site for Peepza Rustica. Here is my journey I took along with my peeps.

Peeps Inside the Cake Instructions:
Ingredients
Your favorite white cake box mix or white cake recipe
About 2 dozen peeps. A variety of colors.

Heat oven to your cake recipe/box instructions. Prepare your pan.
Mix your batter. Again follow the recipe/box instructions.

Now get your peeps chop those little guys up, show no mercy. The original recipe has you chopping the peeps into tiny pieces. Mine were bigger, mainly because those things are sticky. The more you chop the more marshmallow insides are exposed and the more stickier things get. I was not a happy peep slayer when things got sticky.

Butchered peeps

Butchered peeps

If using a spring form pan: Once the peeps are chopped. Pour enough batter into your prepared pan to just cover bottom. Cover batter with your half your peep parts. Layer in more batter. Layer in rest of peeps, cover with rest of batter.

If using two round pans: Once peeps are butchered. Cover bottom of each prepared pan with a thin layer of batter. Split your peep parts into half. Layer one half in one pan the rest in the other. Cover each peep layer with rest of batter.

Bake according to recipe/box instructions or until an inserted a toothpick or fork comes out clean.

pre bake and bake

I cooled my two little cakes. Once cooled I turned them out. Before I could layer them atop one another the top layer fell apart. What the peep? The cake is just so fragile when you divide it in between two pans. I then understood why the spring form pan was used. So forgive my pictures of the little slices I was able to save.

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So you see it wasn’t a pretty sight. Oh my, it tasted so good. So incredibly good. The cake did not even need frosting. I don’t think I will make this cake again. Mainly for the fact chopping those peeps up is pretty sticky business. I just can’t convey how sticky of a mess it was.

Peep Topped Cupcakes Instructions:

Bake your cupcakes. I made chocolate.
Frost the cupcakes.
Add your colored sugar or sprinkles. (optional)
Now pop a peep on top of each cupcake.
The chick peeps you just have to place on top of cupcake and push down slightly.
The bunny peeps, you need to make an indention in the icing in center of cupcake and hope the bunny stays upright when you place it on the cupcake.

Ain't no party like a Peep party!

Ain’t no party like a Peep party!

Party time with my peeps!

Party time with my peeps!

Kaylei grabbed a cupcake with a bunny on top. Crammed the cupcake into her face. When she pulled the cupcake away there was the bunny peep sticking out of her mouth. She is such a cute peep slayer. The other kids loved the peep cupcakes also. What’s not to love? An awesome cupcake with a marshmallow peep on top. Life just doesn’t get any better.

The poor peep. He didn't stand a chance.

The poor peep. He didn’t stand a chance.

I hope you try adding peeps to your next cake. Either inside your cake or placed on top as a decoration. I’m sure you and others will enjoy the amazing peep/cake combo!

Thanks for joining me on a Pinteresting peep adventure!

Candied Pecans

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Two years ago I found a pin for candied pecans, I made several batches to give as Christmas gifts to family and friends. To go off point a moment, why say family and friends? Don’t friends before all is said and done become family? Okay back to the pecans.

Thankfully I wrote the recipe down because for some reason I no longer have that pin, pinned. I have found a few pins/recipes similar it over the years but most are more involved, but have the same outcome. Why use more steps if you don’t have too? So here is the recipe. I have also made candied almonds and peanuts with this recipe.

Candied Pecans

Ingredients:
1 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt
2 egg whites
2 tablespoons water
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
1 pound pecan halves

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 250 degrees F. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
2. In a bowl, combine the sugar, cinnamon and salt, mix; set aside.
3. In a large bowl, whisk together the egg whites, water and vanilla extract. Add your cinnamon/sugar mixture, stir. Add the pecans to the bowl and stir with a rubber spatula, making sure they are all moistened.
4. Pour the coated pecans onto the prepared baking sheet in a single layer. Bake for 1 hour, stirring them every 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool to room temperature. The pecans can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 weeks. (but they will be long gone by then).

These things should be called candied crack. They are that good.

I box these up with some chocolate covered pretzels, some fudge, cookies and a few other goodies to give as gifts for the holidays.
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Duck, Duck, Baby Shower

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I am helping my demonic offspring plan Ms. K’s first birthday party.  Wow it’s been almost a year since we were graced with a granddaughter.  I have been trying to teach her the important things in life, for example: when chewing on a severed hand it is not polite to use the hand to hit people.  She also likes to push the hand along the floor like it’s a toy car.

Helping to plan Ms Ks birthday party reminded me of the baby shower I threw for my daughter. She choose rubber ducks for the theme. I have this thing for rubber ducky’s. I love them. If you take a tour through my home, every room you enter is decorated in dark and evil things. But go into the bathroom and…bam. Bright yellow walls, rubber ducks lurking about everywhere and a rubber duck shower curtain. Surprising huh? So I was pretty darn excited about that shower.

Pinterest, Amazon, and the dangerous mind contained in my skull came up with the following.

SAMSUNG

Ducks ducks and more ducks

Ducks ducks and more ducks

ducky

Stuffed ducks came from Amazon, Wal-Mart and Dollar General. Now not all were ducks, some were little chicks. It was close to Easter so chicks were everywhere. We made them work.  Ducky gift box with bag, rubber ducks, blue rocks and glass bowls came from dollar store.

Ducky S’mores (take home treat for guest)

Yes I know the peeps are chicks but I had a stern talk with them. After our talk they were okay with being ducks for the day.

To make the Ducky S’mores you need:

Marshmallow Peeps

Graham crackers

Small Hershey bars

Small clear treat bags

Ribbon and printed cards for decoration.

Ducky (no longer chick) S'mores

Ducky (no longer chick) S’mores

I would tell you how they tasted but everyone snatched them up before I had a chance to get one.  Actually, half way through the baby shower I had to run to the kitchen and assemble more.

That day was a great day. The demon I birthed was soon to birth her own. Yes little Ms. K is a little demon, I have pictures to prove it. You can look at those eyes and see she is plotting evil things.

Little Ms. K plotting evil.

Little Ms. K plotting evil.