Hot Roast Beef Sandwiches in Big Batches to Serve Now or Freeze, Great "Game Day" Fare to Make Ahead

I love these make ahead sandwiches and this roast beef dandy is the second one I am sharing with you.  I prepare them for pitch in dinners, game days, tail gating, freeze them for later, and bake some now and store in the refrigerator for later in the week.  Ree Drummond, The Pioneer Woman, inspired these on her program over this past weekend although I have adapted them for my families tastes.

The first one I featured is made with deli ham and is a family favorite too.  Here is the link if you would like to check them out.

Ingredients for Hot Roast Beef Sandwiches:

1/4 C. mayonnaise
1/4 C. coarse deli style mustard
3 T. poppy seeds
1 small red onion grated, about 1/4 C.
2 t. horseradish
good shake of Worcestershire sauce
12 stadium style buns separated and opened (I used large soft buns.)
2 pounds thinly sliced or shaved roast beef
8 ounces Colby Jack cheese sliced
8 ounces fresh mozzarella cheese sliced

Mix together the first 6 ingredients in a small bowl until well blended and adjust ingredients to taste. 

Set up an assembly line of open buns and spread the sauce over all of the tops and bottoms of the buns.

Next slice and break the Colby Jack cheese fitting to the bottom bun stopping inside of the edge. 

 Distribute the roast beef generously atop the the cheese topped bottom buns.

Top with a slice of the fresh Mozzarella cheese.  You do not need a large piece as it is soft and will really melt and spread.

Top with the remaining bun tops and wrap each sandwich in a square of aluminum foil.

Store in plastic bags in the refrigerator and bake later or double wrap and freeze for later.

I did both!  I baked a couple and served them for supper with a side of fresh made Cole slaw and bagged the rest for later.

To bake preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.   Place the foil wrapped sandwiches on a baking sheet and bake for 25 minutes for large sandwiches less if you have made sliders!  Serve and enjoy.  Yield 12 very large hot roast beef sandwiches.


Russian Tea Cakes/Mexican Wedding Cakes, Whichever You Call Them They Are DELICIOUS

Little Bites of Delicious.
The first time I tasted these I was maybe 8-9 and it was my first year of 4-H up in Hamilton county.  The recipe was in my first year cooking book and we made them as a group "FOODS 1" meeting with our leader Ruth Sproat.  I was hooked and have made them ever since.

Since all of the oatmeal cookies disappeared yesterday I made up a batch of these.  Doubting they could have been improved upon but experimenting just the same I substituted 1 teaspoon of vanilla bean paste* for 1 teaspoon of vanilla and was very pleased!  The rich deep intensity of the vanilla just packs a little more WOW into these heavenly bites.  This is a small batch of cookies only yielding 28 cookies and I doubt they last the weekend!

Ingredients for Russian Tea Cakes/Mexican Wedding Cookies:

2 sticks room temperature butter
1/2 C. sifted powdered sugar + more for rolling the warm cookies after baking
1 t. vanilla bean paste*  (or use 1 T. regular vanilla)
2 1/4 C. flour
1/4 t. kosher salt
3/4 C. finely chopped pecans or walnuts

Beat the butter, sugar, and vanilla with an electric mixer until light and fluffy.  Add the flour and salt beating just to blend.  Add the pecans just until incorporated.  Gather the dough into a firm ball and cover snugly with plastic wrap and chill 1-2 hours until firm.

Remove the chilled cookie dough from the refrigerator for 10-15 minutes to soften slightly.  Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.  Line baking sheets with parchment or use sil-pat  baking mats then set aside.

Pinch off lumps of cookie dough and roll them into balls the size of an English walnut and place 2" apart on the prepare baking sheets.  Bake about 10-11 minutes until set, only the undersides should lightly brown.   Leave them in the pans to cool slightly for 4-5 minutes then while warm remove to a pie plate of confectioners sugar and roll to coat well.  I use two tablespoons to roll and remove them to a rack or paper towels to cool.  Yield about 2 1/2 dozen cookies.

*Vanilla bean paste is a product I order from King Arthur Flour Co.  It is a suspension of vanilla bean caviar, about the consistency of honey.  One teaspoon of vanilla bean paste = the caviar of one vanilla bean or three teaspoons of plain vanilla extract.  It adds delightful depth and flavor to whatever you are making.


Amazingly Flavorful Bean Soup, Low Calorie & Highly Satisfying Simmered with Parmesan Chunks

It had long been held to save the rinds from hard cheeses to flavor soup.
I am obviously in soup mode with a high degree of comfort food woven throughout!  The day is cold, clammy, and grey.  But my house smells unbelievable.  I came across a recipe on Food52 that inspired me and I have adapted it a bit to our likes.  The combination of navy beans and great northern beans yields a bean the semi dissolves and thickens and one that does not but holds together more, which my family likes. I have flavored this with a quart of my home canned tomatoes, a couple of rinds from Parmesan cheese I had saved to flavor soups with and aromatics. 

I had enough Parmesan rind for two nice chunks.
Ingredients for Amazing Bean Soup:

1 C. dry northern beans
1 C. dry navy beans
1 large onion diced
6 large cloves of garlic peeled and minced
1-2 stalks celery in bite size chunks
1-2 carrots diced in bite size chunks
1/4 t. dry thyme
1/4 t. crushed rosemary
2-3 T. olive oil
1 T. kosher salt
1/2 t. ground black pepper
1 t. sugar
1 quart home canned tomatoes or a 28 ounce can of whole tomatoes + 1/4 C. water
3 1/2 C. good chicken stock
1-2 chunks of Parmesan cheese rinds about 2" x 1" x 1/2"

Soup, beautiful soup!
Place the beans in a large heavy bottomed kettle and cover 1" with water.  Cover and bring to a boil.   Boil exactly 1 minute.  Turn off the heat and leave covered for 1 hour.  Drain the beans and return them to the kettle.  Add all of the remaining ingredients and bring to a boil.  Reduce to simmer and cook an hour.  Taste and correct the seasoning. Remove the cheese rinds and discard.  When the beans and vegetables reach the desired tenderness serve steaming with additional Parmesan cheese.


Rehab: Modifing Window Treatments To Work and Modifing Spools of Thread for Horizontal Thread Posts

Window treatment has rings to fit a decorative pole.
One of our sons recently moved into a new home and I remarked how much I liked the window treatments gently puddled at the sliding glass door the first time I was there.  He remarked they were going because he didn't care for them!  So, he gave them to me when the new window treatments arrived!  Our whole family tends to pass things around! I think it a very nice tradition.  He sent his Grandmother some beautiful sheers she fell in love with from the dining room!

I can use these in the master bedroom here and it will have a room darkening effect for when Brian wants to take a nap as they are darker than the ones currently hanging.  They also go quite well with the paint color of the room.

I really don't want to install new rods but these have large rings to place a pole through.  Currently European rods are up that are about 2" deep and call for a deeper channel on the treatment.  I like them too!  There is also a regular rod inside shallow mounted inside the European rod.

I have been "pondering" this  for better than two months now trying to decide how much trouble I want to go to to hang these.  Those of you who follow or know me have read about my "pondering" before and find this part to be no surprise!

Close the casing by stitching 1/8" above the open edge to close.
Yesterday after measuring I decided to simply turn under the top section of the fabric at the line of stiffening so the rings are on the backside of the channel where they cannot be seen at a depth of 2 1/2" - 3"  plus, and run a line of stitches to close ( about 1/8" from the open edge of the fold) and form the channel.  Then thread them onto the European rods and I am done.  Since they are longer because they were originally hung to puddle they are just perfect loosing the extra length for our situation.

Finished front top casing to fit a European rod.
This is a beautiful as well as easy solution.  Good "pondering!"

Thread post horizontal.
The other issue that repeats since I got a new sewing machine with a horizontal thread post is the snagging of the thread on the edge of the spool. 

Traditionally there is a slit to catch a loose thread on when you have finished sewing.  Newer spools do not have this slit.   I have HUNDREDS of spools of thread, not counting the ones that are wooden spools I have removed from service.  They catch on this slit and hang up the machine as it feeds from the underside of the spool and pulls the thread right into the slit.

This one was easy because it was soft plastic.  Not always the case.
Take a knife and cut down into the slit and pulling the blade to form a shallow trough or flattened "u".  Next file it smooth so the thread will not catch.  Ready to go.

This is a pain and I have considered keeping a second machine at the ready with a vertical thread post for these types of jobs.  If you have an easier better solution PLEASE SHARE IT WITH ME!


Homemade Tomato Soup from My Fresh Canned Tomatoes or Store Bought Canned Tomatoes, FAST, EASY, DELICIOUS, sand LOW CALORIE TOO.

Ladle up a bowl of delicious tomato soup you made in minutes in one pan.
I just told my sister this soup has it all, flavor, easy, comfort food, and low calorie to boot!  I came upon the recipe this morning on  "The AM Blog" called Barbara Lynch's Spicy Tomato Soup.  It caught my eye because I have 50 quarts of canned tomatoes from this summer,  we love tomato soup, the recipe may be the easiest I have ever seen, and I don't see how it could be anything but good.  I was right!  It is delicious although I have adapted it and will give you my version with notes.

Home canned tomatoes fir the bill if you have them.
Fast and Easy Spicy Tomato Soup:

1 T. olive oil
1 T. butter
1 diced red onion (or any onion you have)
1/2 t. red pepper flakes (or more to taste)
2 quarts home canned tomatoes with garlic, basil, and onion (or use 2, 28 ounce whole store bought tomatoes or 2 quarts plain canned tomatoes and add 2 cloves fresh garlic, 1/4 C. packed loosely fresh basil leaves)
1 1/2 C. water
kosher salt to taste
freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 T. sugar (optional, I do this because my Mother always added a little sugar in all of her tomato recipes)
Shredded mozzarella cheese, for garnish (optional but yum!)

Heat the oil and butter in the bottom of a large heavy bottomed kettle and add the onions and red pepper flakes.  Saute over medium low heat until tender.

Smells like heaven.
Add in everything else but the cheese and bring to a boil.  Reduce the heat and simmer 20-30 minutes.  Remove from the heat. 
A stick blender is the perfect tool for pureeing soups.

A stick blender is the perfect tool to use or place into a regular blender in batches.  Blend until smooth.

This is a pan of summer if you ask me!
Reheat the soup until piping hot and serve topped with shredded cheese if desired.  Yield 9 cups of soup.

Note:  If you can bring yourself to skip the cheese or at least go sparingly this dish is very low calorie and just right if you are dieting.

Oatmeal, Flax, and Walnut Cookies and Trail Mix, Change Up Old Recipes and New

Trail Mix.
Oatmeal, Flax, Walnut,  & Raisins make these Oatmeal Cookies!
Munchies that pack a little extra punch are always a good thing!  This crunchy, salty, sweet, tart, chewy, and chocolate trail mix really hits all the notes!  Ground flax seeds push the nutritional score for oatmeal cookies with walnuts, raisins, cinnamon, cloves, and the less processed old fashioned oats even higher and also ups the fiber ante.   is the link to my basic recipe which I adapted by using walnuts and adding 2 tablespoons of freshly ground flax seeds.

Yesterday afternoon I got busy and made up the cookies for my husband to take to share with all of the gunsmiths at Paducah Shooters Supply where he is visiting today!  Not only is this his favorite cookie but he loves to share them with his friends.  I had already packed up the majority of them when I thought to take the picture.  My bad.

I admit to having slacked off my ongoing diet after Christmas while I have been fighting this crazy cold and enduring the winter doldrums.  But even then, I drink no calories.  I up the non starchy vegetables and try to stay away from the "white stuff".  My biggest obstacle is no good tomatoes!  Thus my staple and favorite meals of eggs and tomatoes and everything else with tomatoes runs amok!

Ingredients for Trail Mix:

1 C. cashews
1/2 C. walnuts
1 C. mixed nuts
1  1/2 C. combined of your favorite dried fruits like bananas, blue berries, apricots, cranberries, cherries, raisins etc.
1 C. chocolate chips or mixture of M & M's, dark chocolate chunks etc.

Stir altogether and enjoy! I like to have things like this around when I feel weak willed and need just a little something special.   A tablespoon or two of this and I am good to go.   Way better than a binge on something unexpected!


Hacking My Heart Out, Such a Great Excuse for a HOT BUTTERED RUM Toddy or Black Elderberry Tea!

My favorite "toddy" is this Hot Buttered Rum.
Yes dear friends, I have gone from dancing with my sweeper to hacking my heart out! Ye-ks! Not fun, and now Brian has started too.  Thank goodness our kids are grown as we would surely keep the whole house up at night.  Poor Molly our dog has gone to the back bedroom or downstairs to the family room to get some peace. 

No clue as to what in tar-nations this is.  No temperature, intermittent sore throat, cough, cough, hack, hack, then sneeze and blow your nose.  And, it is reluctant to leave.  I am going on 3 weeks with it.  Let me say it is much, much better now than the first two weeks.  But still, GO AWAY, please!

My Dr. called in cough medicine and when I went to pick it up and saw they wanted $80 some dollars for it I told them they could keep it.  I am WAY to cheap to spend that on a little bottle of cough medicine.  I went to hot toddies and black elderberry tea and have felt most comforted.  And I highly recommend both!

It is believed that the black elderberry contains properties that inhibit the reproduction of viruses.

Usually I have elderberry syrup made up or I mix 1 teaspoon of whatever tea I am  making plus 1/2 teaspoon of dry black elderberries together per cup and brew as usual.  Delicious.  Here is the link on  the making of the syrup.

After I came home from Church I sat and quilted until my fingers got sore.  Then I give it up until the next day and am sure as my fingers strengthen or callus I will go for longer sessions.  I am a sight as I peer through my bi-focal's  trying to make tiny hand stitches and hack, hack, hack away.  My salvation is a big glass of ice water I keep handy! 

Thank you all for all of the WONDERFUL comments you have left lately.  I have really enjoyed reading them and many are treasures!

Gotta go now, hacking again.  It might be toddy time.  Here is the link should you want one too!


Dancing with my Sweeper!

Since Christmas and this terrible head cold I have found it difficult to get rolling along.  Not unhappy or out of sorts just making easy recipes I make over and over and "Dancing with my sweeper."  Seems like everyplace I turn a dust bunny or clump of dog hair is lurking.  Not that I ever quit vacuuming, I haven't.  They just seem to have multiplied!  The sweeper bag seems fuller than ever  sooner than normal too!

This morning after moving my church pew and vacuuming down into every crevice I did all of the cold air returns.  Ugh, I hate them....always a clump hanging back in the inside crevices to fish around for!  So it is apt to report I spend my days of late doing the upright vacuum hustle!

Next I got busy spot cleaning the carpet another "fun" job but necessary.

Between all of this I have been wrestling with the V. A. on my husbands behalf.  I find them helpful if you can get through to someone.  Yesterday for an hour and a half they had the phones looped to keep repeating the same long repetitious messages over and over until they disconnected the caller!  That made for an "OH Rats!"  Out of me!  I do have to say there are some wonderful caring people I find at the V. A. who just are extremely helpful too.

So now I leave you, off to explore how hard I want to work on dinner tonight....I am thinking soup.  But we shall see!


Crystal's HOT Buffalo Chicken Dip with Celery Dippers, My Holiday Find and Favorite!

My niece Crystal brought this most yummy dish to our family Christmas celebration.  When I tell you it is SO delicious we all stood around the table, celery sticks in hand in unison diving into the delicious hot bubbly dish of spicy chicken and cheese!  Believe it!

Kudos go out too to Mike and Julie for the hot pizza's they brought that had a whole banquet table of little kids eating and clamoring for more and to Chris and sons for the vat of diced fresh fruit they (the table of little kids) scarfed down after the pizza!  I thought what a good idea although unplanned at the time to have something little kids could really love and dive into! 

Ingredients for Crystal's Hot Buffalo Chicken Dip with Celery Dippers:

8 ounce Philly Cream Cheese at room temperature
2 cans drained and flaked premium chicken (Save the broth and refrigerate or freeze for use in other recipes.)
1/2 C. shredded Mexican cheese blend
1/2 C. Hidden Valley Ranch Dressing
1/4 to 1/2 C. Hot Sauce, to taste  (We got a hot pepper sauce assortment for Christmas so we tasted as we went!)
Washed, cleaned celery cut into 2-3" lengths and chilled for dippers
Crackers or other assorted veggies of your liking.

Butter a deep 9" pie plate and set it aside.  Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Combine all of the ingredients using slow speed on the mixer until just combined.  Or, if you prefer a coarser texture combine everything but the chicken then flake it with a fork and blend into the mixture by hand.  Taste and adjust hot sauce as needed for desired heat.

Smooth into the prepared pie plate.  Bake 20 minutes and serve warm or at room temperature along side dippers. Cover and refrigerate any left over and reheat in a microwave for a quick snack.

Crystal doubled this recipe using a 9" x 12" baking dish o serve at a party of 30 or so adults along with with other appetizers. 


The Family Calendar, a Lovely Gift and a Good Habit

This year my 86 year old Mother gave me a calendar she had marked with all of the anniversaries, birthdays, and deaths of all of the members on our side of the family.  It is more detailed than the one I have kept.  I really appreciated this and happily added all of the information from my husband's side and of our friends.  Now it is more complete than ever and I greatly appreciate it and will cherish it.

I also keep track of appointments and shots on this calendar and transpose it onto another each year.  I am later than usual this year as is with everything else!

Actually I keep 2 copies, one in the kitchen and the second down stairs on the wall above the desk where I use the computer, pay the bills, do the taxes, and otherwise maintain an office and files.

Each time I think of this I realize what a simple thing but yet how thoughtful and valuable it is.  Mom made 5 copies this year.  One for herself and for each of her children.  This is just an example of a lovely thoughtful gift that does not have to cost a lot of money but can be priceless to someone you love.  Just thought I would share and pass it along.......

Thanks Mom!


Chocolate Chip Coconut Macaroons.....To Die for.....and so easy too!

These cookies are 5 STARS for sure!
Yes, it has been awhile since last I sat and posted to this blog.  As it so often does, life got in the way.  Our family has endured several heartbreaks since last I was here but we are strong and we endeavor to persevere.  With that I will add that my appliances have all run amok too!  We have had the washer and dryer and the dishwasher replaced and today after mixing up these macaroons I found the oven dead as a door nail and wound up baking them in the toaster oven.  The repairman is due here in the morning.

BUT THESE MACAROONS ARE DELICIOUS!  If you favor mounds bars, and coconut in general these are meant for you. Easy easy to make and just so very easy.  I can't say enough!

I found a recipe that I adapted by Googling for a Coconut Macaroon recipe and found the most appealing one at a Taste of Home, called First Place Coconut Macaroon Recipe.

Ingredients for Chocolate Chip coconut Macaroons:

7 ounce package flaked coconut
1/3 c. sugar
2 rounded tablespoons of flour
large pinch of kosher salt
2 large egg whites  (My egg whites were extra large thus the rounded tablespoons of flour.)
1/2 t. vanilla
1/2 C. mini semi sweet chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.  Place parchment paper or foil on baking sheets and set aside.

In a medium bowl stir all together all of the ingredients until well blended.  Don't bother with a mixer, just stir well.   Drop by rounded spoonfuls and shape into mounds with your fingers moistened with a little water.  Bake 18-20 minutes or until golden.  Cool.  Yield about 1 1/2 dozen.  ENJOY.