Egg Sausage & Hashbrown Bake

So before all of you go "New Years Healthy" on me, I have to throw out one more indulgence.  Hurry up and go make it before Tuesday rolls around.  We all know that calories don't count between Christmas and New Years Eve.  But the second we hit 2013, it is nutritional law to be good little girls and boys once again.

I hoped you enjoyed your healthy eating holiday as much as I did.  I partied it up :)
This recipe has been kicking around my recipe box for 15 years and the way I make it now has very little resemblance to the original.  It is a great recipe for feeding a lot of people breakfast and being sure they are full until lunch.
I usually use shredded hashbrowns when I make this, but the grocery store was all out so I used cubes.  I definitely prefer the shredded potatoes instead!
Egg Sausage & Hashbrown Bake
1 pound sausage, browned
10 eggs
3/4 C milk
5 C frozen hashbrowns, thawed
5 green onions, chopped
1 C shredded cheddar cheese
salt and pepper

1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Spray a 9 x 13 casserole dish with nonstick spray.
2.  In a large bowl, beat together the eggs and milk.  Add all the remaining ingredients and mix together.  Pour into the prepared casserole dish and if desired, top with a bit more cheese.  Bake for 40-45 minutes, or until the center does not wiggle when you shake the dish.

Almond Poppy Seed Coffee Cake with Almond Streusel

In the demented minds of my older three children, the quality of the food I prepare is proportionate to my level of love for them that day.  For example:

Roast, Mashed Potatoes & Gravy, Lion House Rolls & Oatmeal Cake = Deep Love & Adoration

Frozen Pizza = Mom wishes she was single and childless

This coffee cake was exactly one week overdue and apparently, it is because I did not love my 15 year old son enough to make it for him when I promised I would.

Never mind the fact that I had food poisoning so severe that I thought I was going to die.  I just didn't love him enough.
I really wish I had my camera so I could show you the glorious face he gave me after his eyes beheld this gorgeous creation.  I think I was finally forgiven for my week of abandonment and bitterness (aka the week of cold cereal, corn dogs and frozen pizza).

If you are looking for an extra special treat to serve for breakfast this holiday season, this will a perfect solution.  I really thought the almond was a nice change from the normal lemon that is usually paired with poppy seeds.  The end result is dense, moist and decadent.  Perfect to go along side all those other holiday indulgences!

Almond Poppy Seed Coffee Cake with Almond Streusel
(recipe by Carole Jones)
3 C flour
2 1/4 C sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 Tb poppy seeds
1 1/2 C milk
3 eggs
1 C oil
1 1/2 tsp almond extract
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 tsp butter flavoring extract

2/3 C flour
3/4 C sugar
1/2 C slivered almonds, chopped slightly
1/2 C butter, room temperature

1 C powdered sugar
2-3 Tb orange juice

1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Spray an angel food cake pan with nonstick spray.  Mix together all the ingredients for the cake in a large mixing bowl.  Pour into the prepared pan.
2.  In a medium bowl, mix together the flour, sugar and almonds for the streusel.  Use a pastry cutter and cut in the butter until the butter is the size of peas.  Sprinkle the streusel over the top.  Bake for 70-75 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
3.  Allow to cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes, then run a butter knife around the outside of the pan before removing the outer ring.  Allow the cake to cool for another 10 minutes, then run a butter knife along the bottom of the pan before removing the center ring.  It is helpful to slide two spatulas under each side of the cake, then have someone gently push down the center ring to remove it.  Place it on your serving plate.
4.  Mix together the glaze once the cake has cooled.  You want your glaze to run slowly off your spoon and not be too watery.  Drizzle all around the top.

DIY Ruffled Apron

I'm not sure what has gotten into me this year, but I've been having way too much fun making homemade Christmas gifts.  Do I have the time?  Absolutely not!!  Which really means that all my other 
responsibilities have gone by the wayside.  Please don't come over and ask to use my bathrooms.....the sight of them right now will scar you for life!

So why have I been so crafty this year?  I blame Pinterest.  So many cute ideas and so little time.  Yes, it would have been easier to buy stuff, but I sure hope the recipients of my gifts appreciate the time and love included as well.
I came up with this apron pattern on my own after failing to find one cute enough for teenage girls.  I mean, it is an apron after all.  Not a very cool present in their eyes.  But I figured if I made them super cute, they would become a super cool gift.  
I mean, how can you see all these adorable, bright ruffles and not immediately run to the kitchen to bake something just so you can wear it?
My plan is to publish the basic instructions that I used, but please know that I know how to write food recipes, not really sewing instructions.  To make it super easy, I used either the full 45" width of fabric or exactly half of that width in all my measurements.  Please don't hesitate to drop me questions you have but again....I am definitely not any type of sewing expert.
Aren't these colors and patterns so stinkin' cute???  This is the inside lining of the apron, which matches the waistband and all the ties.  Believe it or not, I got all four of these adorable fabrics at Wal-Mart!  Shocking, I know!

DIY Ruffled Apron
Designed and created by Carole Jones

*  All seams are 1/4 inch sewn.  If you like a wider seam, then adjust your measurements accordingly.

Top Front Piece:
1 piece cut 22.5" x 14"
*  To cut out the curve for the arms down to the waistband, fold the 22.5" side in half to find the center of that piece and measure out 5" from the center point.  Mark.  Measure up 3" from the bottom along the 14" side and mark.  Draw a curved line from the top mark down to the side mark, then cut along the curve.  When opened, you have the top piece.

1 piece cut 2" by 22.5"
*  With wrong sides together, sew the waistband to the bottom of the front top piece.  Open and press flat.

Top Lining Piece:
*Trace the outline of the front piece with the waistband sewn onto the fabric of your lining.  Cut out.

2 Waist ties:
4 pieces cut 2" by 45 "
*  Place two pieces right side together and sew along three sides, leaving open one of the short sides.  Trim the sewn corners and turn right side and press flat.  Repeat for the other waist tie.

2 Neck ties:
4 pieces cut 2" by 22.5
*  Place two pieces right side together and sew along three sides, leaving open one of the short sides.  Trim the sewn corners and turn right side and press flat.  Repeat for the other neck tie.

Bottom Pieces:
2 pieces cut 22.5" x 15" (one is from the front material, one is from the lining material)
* With right sides together, sew the 22.5" side of the bottom front piece to the waistband of the front top.  Press seams open.
*  With right sides together, sew the 22.5" side of the bottom lining piece to the lining piece of the top.  Press seams open.

3 pieces cut 5 1/2" x 45"
* Using a double rolled over hem, hem all four sides of each piece of ruffle material, except for whichever ruffle will be the top ruffle.  You need to leave one of the 45" sides raw on the top ruffle.
* Run a basting stitch along the top of each ruffle and gather it so it will fit along the width of the bottom front piece, leaving 1/2 inch of the front piece on each end.  You need this 1/2 inch of each side so the ruffle doesn't get sewn into the seam when you sew the front to the lining!

*  Using your top ruffle, pin the raw edge in between the bottom of the top waistband and the bottom piece, being sure right sides are together of your top and bottom pieces.  Don't forget to leave the 1/2" space on each end!  Sew closed.  Open and press.
*  Pin the next ruffle under the top ruffle, being sure the top ruffle covers the top 1/2 inch of the new ruffle you are pinning on.  Again, be sure you leave the 1/2" space on the ends!  Sew into place.
*  Pin the next ruffle under the second ruffle, being sure the second ruffle covers the top 1/2 inch of the new ruffle you are pinning on.  Again, be sure you leave the 1/2" space on the ends!  Sew into place.

* Pin the waist and neck ties in place on the right side of the front piece.  With right sides together, pin the lining piece on top of the front piece.  It is helpful to pin the ruffles and ties out of the way of the seams you are about to sew before placing on the lining piece.  Sew all the way around the whole apron, leaving the bottom hem open.  Turn right side out and press.

*  Turn in the bottom hem by 1/2" to the inside of the apron and press.  Top stitch along the bottom of the hem.

$100 VISA Gift Card Giveaway !!!

A few weeks ago, Procter & Gamble reached out to my little blog.  They asked me to participate in the program, Have You Tried This Yet? which is designed to help us simplify and cut through the clutter of everyday life. I have never done something like this on my blog before, so I was a bit hesitant.  Being a solid user of P&G products however, I knew I would be writing about a brand and product I already used and relied upon heavily.  

Before I could begin this adventure, I had to pick a product.  As a mother of six messy children, who spends most of her free time in the kitchen making her own messes, there was one obvious choice:  BountyÆ paper towels.  BountyÆ paper towels cleans the mess with less because one sheet traps and locks the mess.

It is shocking to me how quickly the eight of us rip through a roll.  You would think my life is nothing but one messy disaster after another.  Ok ... I guess it really is.  Maybe this is what that whole "Joy of Motherhood" deal is really all about.  Someone should have warned me.
There is nothing like joy of wiping the remnants of your baby's first birthday cake off her face while quietly weeping that your baby is no longer a baby.
How about trying to remove all evidence of her big sisters' waterproof mascara before she comes home and blows a gasket because her baby sister was in her make-up ... again!

Maybe your paper towel messes don't come wrapped in as cute of a package as mine, but I know you love the convenience of having that roll of BountyÆ paper towels sitting on your counter just as much as I do.  

If you've never gone for the gold when it comes to paper towels, head on over to and print a coupon for BountyÆ.  I mean, if you are going to buy them anyway, and I know you will, you might as well save a bit of moolah along the way.

And on the subject of moolah, I am giving away a $100 Visa Gift Card to one of my readers!!! I mean, I know the most expensive time of the year is just a few weeks away, but I don't want to force this free money on anyone.  
So for those who could use some help this holiday season, here are the official instructions and rules for entering my giveaway.  Good luck to you all!

To Enter the Giveaway:
Leave a comment on this post telling me how BountyÆ Paper Towels would fit into your everyday life.  Only ONE comment per reader is allowed.
That's it!  You are entered for a chance to win!

If you would like to earn one more entry for a total of two entries, feel free to participate in one of the following ways:
#1 - Tweet (public message) about this promotion; including exactly the
following unique term in your tweet message: ""#SweepstakesEntry""; and leave the URL to that tweet in a comment on this post
#2 - Blog about this promotion, including a disclosure that you are receiving a sweepstakes entry in exchange for writing the blog post, and leave the URL to that post in a comment on this post
#3 - For those with no Twitter or blog, read the official rules to learn about an alternate form of entry.
This giveaway is open to US Residents age 18 or older. Winners will be selected via random draw, and will be notified by e-mail. You have 72 hours to get back to me, otherwise a new winner will be selected.
The Official Rules are available here.
This sweepstakes runs from 12/06 to 12/31

Be sure to visit the P&G Have You Tried This Yet? brand page on where you can read other bloggers reviews and find more chances to win!

Hawaiian Sweet Rolls

A dear member of our family is on her death bed and I will be so sad when she finally quits her noble fight for life.  My poor KitchenAid Professional 600 Stand Mixer has been my best friend for many, many years but for the past 13 months, she has been showing signs that her long, hard life is coming to a close.  

A moment of silence please......

For months, my hubby has been begging me to replace her with one of these beauties, but how will she feel when the UPS man brings such a flashy, gorgeous beast like that to my door?  I might break her heart and she will give up her fight once and for all!
I made these rolls for our church Christmas party last night and my poor mixer struggled like never before mixing in those last two cups of flour.  The poor girl.  She struggled through though and these deliciously sweet rolls fit perfectly with the ham that was served!
There are a lot of Hawaiian roll recipes kicking around out there, but I really love these ones a lot.  A lot.  The sweetness of the banana and pineapple is just perfect without being overwhelming.  Plus, the potato flakes give them a great texture which dominates those flimsy, mushy Hawaiian rolls you buy at the store!

If you don't need 30 rolls, just cut this recipe in half!  But don't complain to me later when you wish you had made 30 instead of 15 :)

Hawaiian Sweet Rolls
makes 30 rolls
(adapted from
1 C mashed banana
1 C crushed pineapple, with juice
2 eggs
1/2 C hot milk
1/2 C butter, softened
2 tsp coconut extract
2 tsp salt
2/3 C white sugar
2 packages yeast
1 C instant potato flakes
5 1/4 C bread flour

1.  Using your electric mixer with the dough hook, mix together the banana, pineapple, eggs, hot milk, butter, coconut extract, salt and sugar.  Once combined, sprinkle on the yeast and then mix it in.  Add the potato flakes and combine once again.  Add the flour, one cup at a time until all the flour mixes in, then add the next cup.  Knead for 3-5 minutes until smooth and elastic.
2.  Cover and allow the dough to rise until double, about 1 to 1 1/2 hours.  Once risen, dump the dough onto a floured surface and divide into 30 even pieces.  Roll the dough into balls and place on a lightly greased cookie sheet.  Cover and allow them to rise for another 30-45 minutes.  While they are rising, preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Bake for 18-20 minutes until golden brown.