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Staff Lunch – Salad Bar

Staff Lunch – Salad Bar

Summertime means I have two extra helpers for staff lunch!  Hooray!

Here’s what we had this month:

A huge pile of salad ingredients

Basil Orange Dressing

Buttermilk Rolls

Cracked Wheat Rolls

Apricots (Sprouts has good sales!)

Citrus Butter Cookies – This is a Pioneer Woman recipe, so you really just have to go to her blog to find it.  Partly because that is the kind, right, copyright-friendly thing to do.  And partly because she writes recipes way better than I do!!

If you only make one thing, make the dressing.  You won’t regret it, even if it takes a whole basil plant.  I promise.

A New Zucchini Recipe

A New Zucchini Recipe

Thanks to some big zucchini’s from friends and a few from my own garden, I spent a quiet Saturday morning making zucchini fruit snacks.  Now, lest you begin thinking of me on par with Martha Stewart or something, I must also share the new recipe I created in the process.  While making my third batch, I developed “Distracted by E-Mail Zucchini Candy.”  It turns out that if you leave your zucchini boiling in sugar water for about 3 times longer than you are supposed to, you end up with this instead…


After two days of scrubbing by my patient husband, along with half a box of Brillo pads, I think my pots might actually be usable again.


Anybody need more instructions?  You’ll never taste candy like this anywhere else…!!

(For the actual zucchini fruit snack recipe that my kids just love, check out this blog.)

Christmas Cookies

Christmas Cookies


For my die-hard recipe fans, here is the list of 2012 Christmas cookies, with links to most of the recipes…

Mexican Wedding Cookies  (no link here, used the America’s Test Kitchen cookbook)

Chocolate Gingerbread Drops

Chocolate Peppermint Stars  (These were very pretty, but probably not worth the effort.)

Raspberry Cornmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

Lime and Grapefruit Gumdrops (Nathan especially LOVES these.  I had to make a second batch of both!!)

Sea Foam Candy (Than’s favorite of the year–he’s threatening to ask for it as a birthday cake next year!)

Chocolate Peanut Butter Pretzels (a perennial favorite)

Gingerbread Whoopie Pies with Lemon Creme (not the first time I’ve made these, always look pretty on a cookie tray although my creme didn’t get very smooth this year)


Candy Cane Thumbprints (Part of my classic Christmas rotation)

Gingerbread Cutouts with Snow Icing (no link here, used the All-American Cookie Cookbook recipe)

Sparkling Gingersnaps (I’ve made these buttery gems almost every year since high school)

Peppermint Kiss Cookies (A new one this year–attractive, but not quite minty enough for me)

Chocolate Peppermint Meringues  (Super pretty and a light, crunchy addition to the lineup.  I’ll make these again!)

Classic Sugar Cookies (no link here, used the All-American Cookie Cookbook recipe)

And one more, not a cookie but something of a holiday tradition anyway…

Chai Tea Mix


More Projects

More Projects

A peek at a few more projects chosen from the pile…

Jello oranges, chosen by Nathan.  The kids had fun picking out different Jello colors during our weekly grocery run and mixing them when we got home, and everyone enjoyed eating the fun treats.  This one we’d do again!

Not everything turns out so well, though.  We tried to make a cool-looking density jar like this one…

But ours turned out more like this…

Maybe grandpa the chemist can help us figure out where we went wrong.  Oh well, the kids had fun shaking up the jars anyway!

Staff Lunch Recipes

Staff Lunch Recipes

A well-received staff lunch today–hardly anything left!!  Here’s the menu…

Shake ‘n Bake Chicken (if you only try one recipe, this one should be it!!)

Bravas Potatoes and Sweet Potatoes

Veggies for dipping

Dipping sauces–BBQ sauce, Honey French Dressing, Spicy Sweet Chile Sauce, Homemade Bleu Cheese Dressing, Ketchup, Honey Mustard, Dijon Herb Dip

Minted Strawberry Fool

A slightly sad lunch today, since my sweet helper Katya was sick and had to stay home!  (Thanks to the last minute babysitter…)  I missed her help and her company.  I was very grateful for all the extra help from the church staff to get ready on time, since I was very late coming in.  Hopefully Katya will feel better soon.  She was disappointed to miss all the fun!

Recipe Repeat

Recipe Repeat

Back by popular demand, I am re-posting the recipe for Lettuce Wraps that I made for the Superbowl.  I made them again for staff lunch and they were a hit!!  Guess you better give it a try…

Lettuce Wraps (Like P. F. Chang’s)

I also served jasmine rice, soy-glazed asparagus (Test Kitchen Recipe) and strawberry shortcake (also Test Kitchen recipe).

Thanks to Iowa Girl Eats for the original recipe.

Cookie Count

Cookie Count

Time for the annual cookie count!  I love making Christmas cookies and do it like a crazy lady all month long.  I post the cookie count not so you can be impressed or anything, but just in case you ate one somewhere this season and I promised you the recipe.  Enjoy!


(Julie’s) Candy Cane Thumbprints

(Kimi’s) Chocolate Crinkles

Chocolate Peppermint Stars (not recommended–too brittle)

Christmas Candy (vanilla, mint, and cinnamon flavor, although next year I need to use a little more flavoring oil!)

Cranberry Orange Pinwheels

Cranberry Sandies

Gingerbread Cutouts with Royal Icing (All American Cookie Cookbook recipe)

Gingerbread Whoopie Pies with Lemon Creme

Grapefruit Gumdrops

Mexican Wedding Cakes (America’s Test Kitchen recipe with 1/2 pecans and 1/2 walnuts)

Peanut Butter Pretzels (an all time favorite–the 180 pieces I dipped with a friend are already gone!)

Sparkling Gingersnaps

P.S.  If you’re a friend from Bible study, here’s the link to the soup recipe too…

Beef Soup Provencal