Monday, February 20, 2012

New Year...New Stuff!

Lots of things going on around crumbs and crayons-ville.
First off, if you haven't heard already,
the time has come to separate the two.
Sad and painful as it may is time.

You will now find Free Recipe Friday on it's very own space
The 'crayons' portion can now be found at

Cooking and drawing will always be my thing,
only now, cleaner and more organized...
who doesn't need more of THAT in their life!?!?

Hope you'll continue to follow along
as I trudge thru technology, hoping not to drown!

Happy day to you!

Friday, February 3, 2012

Free Recipe's Peppuh Time!

Superbowl Weekend + Stuffed Peppers = Ooooh yea!!!
These may look like ordinary stuffed peppers
that you've had at many a gathering,
but these are not made the 'standard' way around here.
The recipe to this particular way of stuffing peppers
is a bit of a sentimental one.
(Que the violins)

Long, long ago there was a sweet little family we grew to know and love
as a result of my husband being involved with
a prison ministry that his sister and her husband headed up.
(whew...longest sentence ever)
Those leading this ministry would gather often for prayer...and food.
Husbands, wives, tons of kids running around...did I mention lots of kids?!?
And some of the most memorable prayer times I have ever experienced.

As part of that ministry we got to know a little hispanic family.
A hispanic family that made the most awesome stuffed peppers EVER.
The pepper angel's name was Cynthia.
The wife and mother of this little family and she
made these peppers before anyone in the south
knew what stuffed peppers were.
Like I said, it was a long time ago.... more than 15 years.
After first tasting and then begging
for her to bring these peppers to every gathering,
she finally shared this secret recipe.

Here is all you will need:
1 - 12 oz pkg sliced bacon
1 1/2 - 8 oz pkgs cream cheese
1 - 26 oz can whole pickled jalapenos

First things first...set out your cream cheese to soften a bit.
Next.........the peppers
You must buy whole pickled jalapenos in a can.
Around here, there are only a couple of brands available- either is fine. the can and go find a bandana to wrap around your face...
because unless you are brave....
(not that these peppers are poisonous gas),
there is something about standing over a bowl full of peppers
slicing and seeding about 15 of them
that just seems to make me have a coughing fit!
Also, if your hands are sensitive, you should wear some gloves.
I've had my fingers burn for hours afterward sometimes
and no matter how much you wash up,
if you touch your eye at any point during the rest of the day,
you will be reminded you should have worn gloves!

Okay, so back to the peppers....
these peppers need to be drained
(feel free to save the carrots inside to chomp on if yours has those).
Slice each pepper in half lengthwise.
Do this over the sink...they are lots of juices inside the peppers.
Using your fingers (the peppers are pretty soft),
grab the seeds/stem out and quickly rinse the pepper.
I do all of this under cool running water.
Lay the seeded, rinsed pepper on some paper towels to dry a bit.

Now it's time to get your hands really dirty!
You need to grab a wad of cream cheese and smush it into each pepper.
There's no need to get all fancy and try to
spread the cream cheese in with a knife or spoon...
the peppers are a bit too fragile for that.
Your hands work best.
I kind of grab a handful of cream cheese, make a bit of a snake
and just smush or lay that into the pepper.

Now, it's time for a lovely bacon wrap! Mmm.
Cut your bacon slices in half.
Wrap each pepper individually with one half strip of bacon.
No toothpicks required.
Just stretch the bacon a bit when wrapping around the pepper
and as the bacon cooks and shrinks,
it will hang on to the pepper all by itself.
Lay these heavenly treats on a Pam sprayed wire rack
that's been placed in a baking pan!

Bake uncovered in preheated 375-400 degree oven, for appx 45 min to 1 hour.
You will begin to smell the amazing aroma when they are close to doneness.
Cook until your level of bacon crispness is achieved.

One large can of peppers, 1 1/2 pkgs cream cheese and 1 lb of bacon
made us about 30 stuffed peppers.

Please use canned peppers instead of fresh ones for this recipe.
It is so nice to bite into a soft, tangy pepper wrapped with crunchy bacon....
NOT a crunchy, half-cooked jalapeno!
I don't mean to step on any southern toes here, just try it.
We are just not big fans of raw crunchy peppers.
My husband warned me that I might lose my 'Texas card'
if I dis the crunchy pepper thing too much, so...I will leave it at that.
If you like your peppers half-cooked and crunchy,
then, crunch away....but if you want to be adventurous,
you might just want/need to try these!

Yes, please....end of story.
The End

Friday, January 27, 2012

Free Recipe's CRUNCH time!

Have your side dishes gone to sleep?!
Are you tired of baking that routine chicken breast
and plopping open a can of plain ol' green beans to go with it?!
......snore, yawn, zzzz........
Does your meal need a little ZING or a little POW added to it?!?
Well, if you like beans and corn 
then you're gonna LOVE this weeks Free Recipe!!!!
It's not just ANY bean and corn casserole...
this one reigns SUPREME!
It's got great crunch to it and a GREAT alternative
to the old green bean/mushroom soup/fried onion casserole standby!!!!!

(do I like all caps, the ... pauses and exclamation marks much?!???
sorry, it's a SICKNESS............!!! ahhh)

Here's all you'll need!

1 can french style green beans, drained
1 can shoepeg corn, drained
1 can cream of celery soup
1/2 onion, diced
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup cheddar cheese
- - - - -
1 sleeve of Ritz crackers, crushed
1 stick butter, melted
1/2 cup almonds, sliced or slivered
(ours were whole that we ran thru the food processor)

Spray a 9x13 pan and dump the first 5 ingredients in.

In a separate bowl, melt butter, then add
a crumbled sleeve of Ritz crackers - stir to combine.
Add cracker mixture to bean/corn mixture and stir.
Lastly, sprinkle the mixture with almonds and bake at 350
until golden - appx 45 minutes or longer.
Let cool for 10-15 minutes to avoid lava hotness :)

(Side note - for a family of 6, we doubled this so we could have leftovers!)


Friday, January 20, 2012

Free Recipe Friday....SOUP!

Are you like going to the grocery store
one of your 'leastest' favorite things to do in the whole world?!??
Then today's Free Recipe Friday is just for YOU!
It's one of those
'my pantry is empty so what can I make' kind of meals.  
It is so very easy and the ingredients can be 
as basic or complex as you want them to be.
Have a few potatoes hanging around from that big ol' bag you bought?
Have an almost empty jug of milk about to go bad? 
(THAT sounds scary, but we've ALL been there!)
Then you should make some yummy Potato Soup!!!!!!!!!!
Potato Soup can be as basic or as fancy as you want it to be.
It can be 'Rustic' or more like a 'Loaded Baked Potato' kind of soup...
it all depends on you, your pantry and your fridge!

Our Free Recipe Friday Potato Soup
is of the loaded type...OF course....
because we love pork and dairy!
But the addition of bacon or sausage and cheese
can easily be omitted!  Easily!


- 6-8 bacon strips, diced OR
1/2 lb. bulk pork sausage

- 1 medium onion, chopped

- 2 cloves garlic, minced

- 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

- 2 teaspoons salt (or more, to taste)

- 1 teaspoon pepper (or more, to taste)

- 6 cups chicken broth (canned, low salt OR 
chicken base, paste with water added)

- 4 large baked potatoes, washed and cubed
(peeling them is also optional)
*side note: feel free to substitute YOUR fav potatoes
such as yukon gold, or red potatoes - just be aware
these are less starchy and the soup will not be as thick)

- 2 cups half-and-half cream or milk
- appx. 2 cups cubed Velveeta
(this stuff gags me, but is great for soups!) 

Items for garnishing:
Shredded Cheddar, Sour Cream, Green Onions/Chives

In a heavy medium size stockpot,
pour in your chicken broth and diced potatoes.
Bring to a boil until potatoes are just barely tender.
While those are cooking, in a seperate saucepan, 
cook bacon or pork sausage until crisp. 
Drain, reserving several tablespoons of the drippings. 
Set bacon/sausage aside. 
Saute onion and garlic in the drippings until tender. 
Stir in flour, salt and pepper; mix well. 
Gradually add a cup or two of the broth out of your potato pot
into your onion/bacon/flour mixture.
Whisk until smooth.  Now pour bacon/sausage mixture from your saucepan
into your stockpot with broth and potatoes.
Stir for several minutes. Turn down to low.
After mixture has stopped boiling and is down to a simmer,
add cubed velveeta.
Continue to stir.  Add cream...heat through but do not boil.
Check for seasoning (salt/pepper).
Garnish with bacon, cheese, sour cream, chopped green onions or chives.

Add a salad, crackers on the side....or don't add one single thing.
It's that good!
And if you used remnants from your pantry and fridge, it cost you pennies!
Well, maybe a few dollars.
BUT, you didn't have to go to the store! Yippeeeeee!

Friday, January 13, 2012

Free Recipe Friday. . .Grapes and Mayo

It's Free Recipe Friday and we're baaack!!!!
And before you say GRAPES and MAYO, whaaaat???
Stick around, your taste buds will be glad you did.
Even though it's not springtime just yet, we just had to throw in
one of our favorite family quick fix meals.
It's Chicken Salad!  But not just ANY chicken salad.
This is the very same chicken salad that we made at
The Tuttle House Tea Room.
(Raise your hand if you ever had lunch there!?!!???)
This recipe originally came from a Southern Living Cookbook...
probably circa 1983 or 84?!
Who knew that putting GRAPES into mayonnaise could be THIS delicious!

CAUTION:  If you are one that can only cook by measuring exact ingredients
and following precise instructions, then this my friend will be a stretch for you!
But it will be a good stretch indeed.

(we fed our family of 4 plus the newlyweds and a few servings leftover)

Grapes - we used a whole bag of red grapes - sliced in half
(yes, each one sliced in half - one by one -
monotonous I know, but it is a great job for your kids
to do with a butter knife that has a few serrated teeth on it!)

Celery - diced
we used appx a half of a 'bunch'

Chicken - cooked and chopped (we always boil ours)
we used a 3 lb. bag/boneless-skinless breasts
(you could certainly use a rotisserie chicken
or other chicken pieces-but you may need to adjust
the remainder of ingredients accordingly - 
you will definitely need less mayo with a rotisserie chicken)

Mayo - Miracle Whip
gasp - we used almost 2 cups here
you can use less if you will be eating it immediately -
the chicken tends to absorb some of that mayo/moisture
if made ahead or eaten as leftovers, thus the need for excessive mayo!
(and WE personally prefer Miracle Whip to Mayonnaise for this recipe)

Nuts - appx. 1 cup or your favorite - optional of course -
the original Southern Living Recipe called for cashews
(which I used in this batch)
but be forewarned, they should be added right before serving
as they tend to get a bit mushy after a day or two in the fridge.
At The Tuttle House Tea Room,
we used chopped pecans was magical!

You can certainly increase or decrease this recipe easily to your liking.
Only need chicken salad for one or two?
Chop up only the amount of chicken you will need - one or two pieces -
continue to add as many grapes and celery as you'd like.
We prefer a little less celery sometimes, 
so we only put in the amount of 'crunch' we want!
That's why this recipe isn't really measured - again, be flexible...
let loose in the kitchen and don't be scared!

Although back in 'The Tuttle House days' (as we call them),
we would serve this on a big yummy croissant with a nice piece of leaf lettuce
and a few potato chips on the side (or some homemade soup!).
These days we don't seem to bother with 'extra filler' like bread,
we just eat the chicken salad STRAIGHT - maybe a few crackers on the side.
Our whole family loves this chicken salad - even the kids!

Hope you are able to try this recipe really soon - you'll be so glad you did!
Have a great, warm, snugly weekend!!!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

A New Year with Passion!

Is everyone still fasting from all of the holiday madness??? 
Wow!  I hope you all had an amazing Christmas and start to the New Year! 
Around our household there has been much partying, traveling, 
eating and a little bit of resting. 
Our back to reality 'routine' officially just began today!
Yes, just now on January the 9th!
Our youngest back in school,
myself starting back to work tomorrow and
our middle and oldest daughters will be back at college in a few days.
The biggest treat to the New Year for me???
My sweet husband is no longer working nights!!! Hip-Hip-Hooray!!!!!
It has been nice to have had so much family time
these past few weeks.

We are finally recovered from our trip to Atlanta, Ga.
that we took last week with about 25 college kids!
A drive that took 13 hours coming and going, whew!
I am so thankful we were able to take our group and attend
the Passion Conference again this year. WOW!
What a powerful week and how our eyes were opened
to so much tragedy that is going on in this world.
So excited that this generation is making a difference!
Approximately 45,000 college kids gave over 3 million dollars
to help end modern day slavery/sex trafficking.
It. Was. Amazing!!!!

I am so thankful for 2011
and for all of you faithful Crumbs & Crayons fans!!!
Looking forward to this year...
consulting classes with the great Holli Conger coming up soon
and promoting our 'Crumbs in YOUR Kitchen' venture is going to be great fun!
I can't wait to see what all God has in store!
We are also looking forward to being back on Friday with a new recipe!
Have a great week!

Friday, December 23, 2011

Free Recipe Friday. . .It's Breakfast Time!

If you've ever been to any kind of large family function, potluck, etc.
you have most assuredly had some form of a breakfast/sausage casserole.
There are as many variations of this casserole as there are
bread types!  If you have never attempted to make one,
this one is a pretty good and easy start.
Ellen Watson of Kilgore gave me this recipe
(along with many others) more than 20 years ago.
I don't believe I ever attempted to make it until about 5 or more years later.
It's funny how it has since become
a Christmas tradition in our household.
Even though we have since acquired other favorite breakfast foods....
we just can't stop making THIS one for Christmas!
It's just tradition.

You will only need a few basic ingredients,
and you can most certainly add to these...
such as throwing in a few hashbrowns, etc...
half this recipe or double it. 
It is VERY can easily fudge
the quantities of any of the ingredients!

1 lb. ground pork sausage, cooked
10-12 large eggs, beaten
3 cups milk
2 tsp. dry mustard (or a few squirts of reg. mustard)
2 tsp. salt
1-2 tsp. black pepper
8-10 slices of bread, cubed or torn (any kind or a mixture)
2 -3 cups shredded cheddar

Brown sausage, crumble while cooking and drain.
In a separate, medium size bowl, whisk eggs.
Add milk and remaining ingredients.
Stir well.  Toss in cooked sausage and pour all into 
a Pam sprayed 9x13 casserole dish.
Bake in a 350 oven for 45-60 minutes.
Remove from oven and let sit at least 15 minutes.

The original recipe says to prepare the casserole the night before...
and bake the next morning.
That was actually what enticed us to make this for
an early Christmas morning breakfast to begin with!
We have since learned we can whip it up quickly
in the wee hours of Christmas morning
AFTER viewing Santa's bounty.
We toss it into the oven while everyone
oogles over their gifts and while we wait for it to cook,
James cuts open boxes, adds batteries to toys
and we both slurp down our coffee.

The deliciousness comes out of the oven about 45 minutes to an hour later.
We traditionally (as if the casserole was not enough),
heat up some flour tortillas, get out the Albert's Hot Sauce
and turn our servings of this casserole into a breakfast burrito...
along with a few slices of good naval oranges or clementines!

Mmmm...I can smell that orange peel NOW!
We can't wait to have this on Christmas morning...
we hope you will be enjoying something yummy as well!

Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Free Recipe Friday. . . Mas Queso!

Many years ago, I came across an amazing website.
On this site, much research is done to remake
restaurant favs like Domino's Pizza,
Little Debbie's Snacks, Dippin' Dots,
Outback's 'brown bread' and
bloomin' onion and bazillions more.
The catch is that you can recreate these
in your very own kitchen!
With ingredients purchased in your local grocery store!
The guy we can thank for this is Todd Wilbur - an amazing Food Hacker
and he has a website, books, etc. - Top Secret Recipes !
He has most recently even had his own television show
- and boy, is he gutsy!
Our Free Recipe Friday THIS week features
one of his most dandiest discoveries ever in my book.
A staple in the Taylor household, it is
Chili's Chicken Enchilada Soup recipe...mmmm.
I actually discovered this recipe on TSR's site,
way before I had ever tasted this soup in a Chili's restaurant.
And I must say, the home version is way better...
or at least that is what we were used to!
This soup is SO delicious and perfect for this cold, dreary weather,
I really hope you get to try it soon.
Here's the basics of what you will need...

1.  Chicken - preferably boneless, skinless breasts
2.  Chopped onion
3.  Large can of enchilada sauce
4.  Chicken broth (or 1 tablespoon paste w/ water)
5.  Velveeta/cheddar cheese
6.  Masa Harina

(if you measure)

1 tablespoon veg. oil
3-4 boneless chicken breasts
1 small diced onion
2 teaspoons chopped garlic (give or take)
4 cups chicken broth
1 cup masa harina
3 cups water
1 can mild enchilada sauce
16 oz. velveeta - cubed
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 teaspoon cumin

grated cheddar cheese, crumbled tortilla chips
and sour cream for garnish -
all are optional of course!

What to do:
Start by *cooking your chicken. (see below)
Pan fry it in the veg. oil, in a large stockpot,
4-5 minutes on each side.
Set cooked chicken aside. Cook onion/garlic
in the hot oil until clear and then pour in chicken broth...
scraping yummy bits off the bottom of the pot.
In a separate bowl, combine masa harina with
2 cups of the water. Stir to combine and pour into the pot.
Add remaining water, enchilada sauce, velveeta cheese and spices.
Bring to a boil.  Shred chicken into bite size pieces
and add to the pot.  Reduce heat and simmer until thick.
Serve soup in bowl and garnish.

*You can also boil your chicken in chicken broth,
then remove it to chop up - bake the chicken
and then chop or pan fry it as the recipe suggests.
Pan frying or even baking the chicken
and giving it a golden color will DEFINITELY
add more flavor to it vs. it being boiled. 
But the ease of this recipe is that you
should do whatever is best and easiest for YOU.
You could even use a rotisserie chicken!

Now, "how easy is THAT?"
- in my Barefoot Contessa voice!

Friday, December 2, 2011

Free Recipe Friday. . .say CHEEEEZ!!!

I don't know WHERE my brain was this Thanksgiving.
(BIG surprise!)
This Cheese Log is one of my most favorite things in the world.
Maybe because CHEESE is one of my most favorite things in the world!
I don't know how far back this recipe goes...
but I always remember my mom making it
at Thanksgiving and/or Christmas.
For many years now, it seems that most holidays I have made this dip....
but this year, it was 7 days AFTER Thanksgiving
before I even THOUGHT about it.
It is so yummy and EASY...please don't ever buy a 'cheese' ball from
the grocery store ever again!

Do you have a food processor?
Then this is all you will need -

2 cups cheddar cheese or more (I rarely measure!)
1 8 oz. pkg cream cheese - softened
1/2 yellow onion (not pictured)
appx. 1 tablespoon lemon juice
appx. 1 tablespoon worchestershire
1-2 teaspoons minced garlic
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper

1 tablespoon chili powder
1 tablespoon paprika

I guess if chili powder and paprika are not your thing,
you could definitely roll the log in chopped pecans...
just like those cute little tasteless things in grocery stores.

Begin by tossing cream cheese and onion into
the food processor. Mix well - until onion is minced nicely.
While processor is running, add all other ingredients
(except chili powder and paprika)
saving the cheddar cheese for last.
You will need to stop the processor and scrape down
the sides a couple of times during the dip making.
Mixture is ready after it is completely smooth.

See? Was that so hard??? complete the can go two different routes
(or more if you use your imagination!)
Scrape the mixture into a bowl,
top with chili powder/paprika mixture and serve...

OR roll into a log.

To make a Cheese 'Log,' first you need to
tear off a sheet of wax paper and lay it on your work surface. 
Sprinkle your chili powder/paprika mixture down the center of the wax paper. 
Now scrape the cheese mixture out of the food processor onto the spices.

(I promise that the mixture above is on wax paper...
it is just hard to see.)
Next, fold the wax paper on top of the mixture
to make the ends of the wax paper match up.

You can even sprinkle more spice mixture on top of
the cheese mixture to cover any missed spots
and to make sure it gets coated well
for a more even look and to keep the mixture from sticking
to the wax paper and making a big mess.

Now, grab a baking sheet and slowly push against the
blob of cheese mixture...this will form a log.
You can make the log as narrow or fat as you'd like,
depending on how much you push on it.
Now roll up the wax paper and and refrigerate until firm.

After the Cheese Log is chilled, you can unroll and cover
any missed spots with more spice mixture!


Free Recipe Friday...with a twist!

Welcome back to free recipe BLACK Friday!
The day after thanksgiving when we are all so sick of food
that we should really just fast for a few days!
I hope you all had an amazing holiday....
with whomever you shared it with....
and spent some time reflecting on the many many things
we have to be thankful for!
God is good to us, He is gracious and loves us
even though we are undeserving...
I hope you've taken some time to thank Him for that.

(melody's homemade pies)

This thanksgiving was not unlike
many others we've had for my side of the family....
we have had years when my dad would make homemade egg rolls,
years when we would have deep fried turkey,
years when we would have Italian.


So this year was not unusual in that we chose to have Mexican food-
our menu consisted of yummy homemade salsa, green dip,
tamales, award winning chili, chalupa beans, 'moms' enchiladas
and more desserts than we could count!
Today, we will travel a bit and dine with james' family
for the traditional Thanksgiving meal.
The twist for today's free recipe Friday is that there is no 'recipe' -
because the thought of concocting one more meal
makes me want to barf!
The fridge is packed full of leftovers
and we are heading out to consume more!

(beautiful cousins)

This week, we want to know what foods were your favs this year??!
Did you enjoy any new things on ur table ???
I hope everyone had/is having a great thanksgiving this year!
And remember to 'count your blessings name them one by one,
count your blessings see what God hath done'
See you next Friday!