Fun Easter Projects and Traditions…..

Easter is soooo early this year!

I’m not quite ready to think about it….but I better get with it.

Here are some of the fun projects we enjoy doing at Easter….you can click on the title of each to be taken to the post with the how-to’s, etc.

Just this weekend I gave these to a lovely group of teen girls that spent the weekend with us…’s the how-to….

Vintage German Easter Egg Treats

basket of vintage easter eggs 2

This is our favorite way to dye eggs…..I just love the colors:

Naturally Dyed Easter Eggs

naturally dyed eggs on silver tray

Ever know the stories behind Easter Traditions?

I shared some in this post:

Easter Traditions


We had fun making these last year, too….

Vintage Sheet Music Eggs

Vintage Sheet Music Eggs main

Here’s the recipe for

Easter Story Cookies


Have you started looking for the

Pine Tree Crosses


I shared about our

Easter Egg Tree …… and how you can make your own….

easter egg tree

And we love the yearly tradition of doing a

Passion Tree

passion tree 2011

Well…those are some of our fun yearly traditions that we enjoy… you have any special Easter traditions? I’d love to hear about them!



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Glazed Rosemary Onions {Recipe}

Do you have any recipes that are always prepared for certain occasions? This recipe is one of those for us……it’s always a part of Christmas Dinner here at Oak Cottage.

We serve it at other times, too….but I think if we didn’t have it at Christmas, there’d be trouble!  It’s super easy…..and incredible! In fact….I took this before picture, and never got to take an after because they were all gone! ha! {Sorry that I don’t have an after…but you can use your wonderful imaginations!}

Glazed Rosemary Onions


8 medium yellow onions….cut into quarters

2/3 cup honey

1/4  cup melted butter (unsalted)

3 tsp. chopped rosemary

1/2 tsp. salt

freshly ground pepper to taste


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. After coating a large baking dish with cooking spray……..carefully put onion quarters in dish, try to keep them in quarters.  Pour honey and butter over onions and then sprinkle the rosemary, salt, and pepper over all.

Bake for 1 hour…or until the onions are soft.

Makes the house smell incredible, too!



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Mexican Cornbread {Recipe}

You guys are just the coolest! Thank you for all your fun birthday wishes this week…the comments and e-mails were such a treat! 🙂 I had a super day! {I use a lot of exclamation points…and no matter how hard I try, I just can’t seem to part with them. We’re tight, me and my exclamation points. Do you have to consume caffeine before you read my posts?}


Thought I would share one of our favorite go-to side dishes. We love this with Mexican meals, chili, picnics, barbecues, etc. It’s a great take on the old classic cornbread.

{In fact, I have been known to eat it for breakfast with some sweet tea!}

Mexican Cornbread Recipe


3 cups yellow self-rising corn meal

3 eggs

1 tsp. salt

1-1/4 cup oil

1 large chopped onion

1 can cream-style corn

1-1/2 cups grated sharp cheddar cheese

1-1/2 cup whole milk

3 chopped jalapeño peppers


Stir all of the ingredients together and put into a greased baking dish and bake for approximately 40 minutes.

This recipe usually fills one 9 x 13 dish and one 8 x 8 dish.

It freezes wonderfully…and is delicious cold!

{Hence, the perfect breakfast food with sweet tea! ;)}

[A fun option: cut up 1/2 a green bell pepper and 1/2 a red bell pepper and add in before baking….it adds great taste, as well as fun color.]

Let it cool before cutting it into squares.

We have been enjoying this with chili on these cold, January nights that we’ve been having around here.

What have you been enjoying on your table lately?



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Christmas Croutons {Recipe}…..

As part of our annual, big Christmas Dinner we always have some sort of salad. I also like to make homemade croutons…they are so easy; and, since it’s Christmas, it’s fun to make them in fun shapes. {You can use any mini cookie cutters to make shaped croutons any time during the year.  We use hearts in February, clover in the spring, etc.}

Here’s what you need:

small cookie cutters

bread of your choice..sandwich bread work great

melted butter

Italian seasoning

Here’s How Ya Do It:

Using the mini cutters….cut as many croutons out of each piece of bread that you possibly can. I can usually get at least 5-6 croutons from each slice of bread.

christmas croutons making christmas croutons

Lay out your lovely little creations on a cookie sheet….

christmas croutons 2

Brush with melted butter and sprinkle with Italian seasoning…..

baking christmas croutons

Bake at 325 for about 10 minutes..or until they begin to brown. Allow to fully cool and then they can be stored in an airtight container for several days-a week or more.

christmas croutons on salad

We also like to use regular-sized cookie cutters and make oversized croutons to serve with soup for the Christmas season.  You can usually only get one oversized crouton per slice of bread when you do these……

christmas soup croutons baking soup croutons

Do you like croutons on your salad…or would you rather do without?

Merry, Merry~


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Our Annual Christmas Party……..

For the past 18 years we have hosted an annual Christmas party at our home. The first year we started No. 1 Son was only a few months old and I had him in a sling all night. We initially began the party because we had just moved into Oak Cottage and didn’t know anyone…..we thought it would be a great way to get to know the neighbors. That first year we had around 50 people. We enjoyed it so much we decided to make it an annual tradition. We now have over 200 people coming through here each year… is something that our whole family looks forward to all year. For the past several years there are always many overnight guests after the party….our kids’ friends… it almost turns into a weekend celebration.

Our family is at its best when we are all together and have a home full of people. Handsome and I knew that hospitality was one of our ‘things’….but it has been neat to see that it is actually one of our whole family’s ‘things’. We love opening our home to others…whether it is just one person for coffee, or hundreds for a big party. Hospitality is wonderful ministry….and we love doing it together.

Here’s some little snippets of the preparation, etc. of our party last week.  I added in a recipe or two……

We use a whole lot of Stonewall Kitchen products around here…and one of our favorites is the Cranberry Horseradish Sauce. We mix the whole jar with 8 oz. of cream cheese….and it is the best dip ever! They also have wonderful syrups…it is the only kind we use. {No, they have no idea who I am…I just like their stuff, and so I am sharing it with you. :)}
cranberry horseradish sauce

Making these mini apple pocket pies is so much fun. To make them I use mini pocket pie molds from Williams-Sonoma, my favorite pie crust recipe, and Comstock apples……I mix lots of cinnamon and sugar into the apples, and then also sprinkle cinnamon sugar on the outside right before baking.

mini pocket pies

Love making cupcakes…regular-sized and these mini ones……I usually make a white cake with white icing. It helps with the Steeped Memories…. 😉

mini cupcakes

I am a list-maker…but also free-spirited, SO that makes me a free-spirited list-maker! ha! I have long used this fun pad of paper called The Entertainment Pad. It’s where I make lists of what will be served, what dishes will be used for each dish, what needs to be done 3 days, 2 days, day before, day of… know, it’s where it all happens. One year I accidentally left this out in the kitchen…and I noticed lots of people hovered over something on the counter, taking notes. When I walked over I realized they were checking out the pad of notes, etc. ha! They said that they learned a lot. {Probably a lot about my slight insanity……..}

entertainment pad

Some of the fun treats ready and waiting…..

party collage

Do you enjoy opening your home to others or do you prefer it to only be filled with you and your family?

I hope you have a wonderful weekend! We have a party or two and then all 3 of our kids are performing {violin} at a Christmas Tea for the historical society in a lovely old, historical home. Can’t wait to see it!

Warm Christmas Wishes for your weekend~


Taco Pie ::: {Recipe}

Everyone has those quick recipes for nights that you just don’t have a lot of time, right?

Taco Pie is one of our quickie favorites….and you can have dinner on the table in less than 30 minutes.

Here’s what you need:

2 lbs. ground beef or turkey

2 packages of taco seasoning

1 medium onion, diced

4 flour tortilla shells

1 lb. shredded cheddar cheese


shredded lettuce


any other favorite Mexican food toppings you desire!

Here’s how you do it:

Brown meat in a skillet and drain.  Mix in diced onions and taco seasoning and allow to simmer for a few minutes until well combined.

In a baking dish….or if you don’t have a size that will work, a cookie sheet will work in a pinch……put down 1 tortilla shell and a layer of meat. Sprinkle cheese on top.

Repeat the last step until all meat is used and add one more tortilla shell to the top and the rest of the cheese.

Bake in oven at 350 degrees until cheese is melted.

Slice and enjoy!

Hope you guys are having a fun week~

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Autumn Recipes ::: Treats & Eats!

I have found some absolutely scrumptious recipes the past few weeks! I thought I would share my favorites!  Fall is my favorite time of year…and I get in the mood to try new recipes and add new comfort foods to our favorites list.

Cinnamon Roll Pumpkin Vanilla Sheet Cake

Pumpkin Pie Fudge

Mini Pumpkin Pie Croissants

Pumpkin Cookies

Autumn Chopped Salad

Crock Pot Apple Butter

25 Different Fall Soup Recipes!

Pumpkin Spice Latte Pancakes

Caramel Apple Layer Cake with Apple Cider Icing

Pumpkin Cream Cheese

I’ve found lots more yummy autumn goodness… can check them all out on my Autumn Pinterest board if you’d like some more fun ideas:

Autumn Pinterest Board

Which one is your favorite?


Potatoes Romanoff {Recipe}








Todays post is from the archives!  I posted this recipe a year ago…and it almost shut the web down.  Crazy.  To this day it is one of the most popular posts from this blog. It is a wonderful dish….I apologize that the pictures are such poor quality. I took them over a year ago with my old camera. ugh. I’ll have to replace them when I get a chance to take new ones.  Hope you enjoy…..potatoes romanoff

This is a great side to have with grilled steak! {Or anything else. Or by itself. Hot. Cold. Meal. Snack. You get it……}  It’s so yummy I always hope for leftovers so I can have it for breakfast.


3 large russet potatoes, unpeeled

3/4 cup minced shallots

2 1/2 cups grated white cheddar cheese

2 tsp. kosher salt

1/4 tsp. freshly ground white pepper

1 1/2 cups sour cream


Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Bake potatoes in oven until done—about an hour.  Remove foil and let cool to room temperature.  Put potatoes on a plate, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate overnight.

Grate potatoes, including skins.  You can use a large box grater or a food processor. {I like the food processor!}  Transfer grated  potatoes to a bowl and sprinkle in shallots, 1 3/4 cup cheese, salt, and pepper.

Use your hands to gently toss together. {I guess you could stir–but you would miss all the fun.  Go ahead, plunge those hands down in there!}

Then fold in sour cream.

Transfer mixture to a 1 1/2 quart gratin dish–don’t compress {or squash, or moosh, or squish}!  Sprinkle the remaining cheese on top.

Bake at 350 degrees until the top is golden brown, about 30 minutes.  Serves 6.


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Homemade Strawberry Jam {Fun Weekend Activity!}

strawberry jam

We love strawberries, and have been wanting to try our hand at making our own jam.

So, I grabbed my best kitchen helper and we had a lot of fun the other afternoon!

homemade strawberry jam

Making your own Homemade Strawberry Jam is fairly easy…and is so much better than store bought.

homemade strawberry jam

I won’t go into “How to Can”…there are so many great sites out there that will explain that to you….but here are the basic canning supplies that you will need to make this recipe:

Large canning pot with a rack inside

Large-mouth funnel

12 8 oz. canning jars with screw-on rings

Canning tongs

If you don’t want to have to purchase these items… will probably be easy to find someone to borrow them from; and maybe even share the jam!

homemade strawberry jam

Here’s what you need:

5 pints of hulled strawberries

6 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

1 1/2 packages of fruit pectin (powdered)

10 1/2 cups of sugar

strawberry jam

Here’s How Ya Do It:

Using a potato masher…mash all the strawberries really well, but leave some chunks.  Throw them into a pot and add the lemon juice and bring them to a boil.

Add in the fruit pectin and stir to combine all the yumminess really well.

Add the sugar all at one time and stir to combine.

Bring all this great scrumptiousness to a hard boil and let it boil for 1 minute 25 seconds.

Turn it off and skim off any foam that has formed on the top.

Using the wide-mouth funnel fill each jar to within 1/4″ from the top.

Follow canning instructions to give your lovely jars a water bath.

Remove jars from their bath and allow to sit somewhere undisturbed for 24 hours.

It is so fun to hear the jars *pop*, which means they have sealed correctly.  From all over the house the day we did this everyone would be listening for *pops* and say “Oh! There goes another one!” It became very comical.

After 24 hours test each jar by pushing down on the center of the top to make sure that it sealed properly. {It should not ‘give’ when you push down on it.}

strawberry jam

If any of your jars don’t seal correctly…go ahead and put them in the fridge and use them within a few weeks.


What are you doing this weekend?  We are headed to the drive-in to see “Brave”!  Our kids have never been to a drive-in…so we are excited. {Of course we are going to be having a heat wave this weekend….over 100. We might have to borrow our friends’ car pluggy-thingy-majiggy that enables you to plug in things like FANS! 🙂 } If I melt…’s been nice knowing you.

Have a great weekend~

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Orange Lemonade…..

It was a fabulous weekend here!  Out in the garden all day on Saturday and some on Sunday—beautiful weather.  Handsome’s great grandmother, Mamo {pronounced “Maaaaaa-maw”–I never understood why they spelled it the way they did—but families do stuff like that}, passed down a fun recipe that she called Orange Lemonade.  This weekend was the perfect time for it! Handsome shared it with me when we were dating—and we’ve been making it in spring and summer since then.

What you will need:

8 oranges

5 lemons

1 cup of sugar


How ya do it:

Cut oranges and lemons in half and squeeze—be sure to get all the juice!

Pour into a 1 gallon pitcher and add 1 cup of sugar

Fill with water to make 1 gallon {this is the original recipe–we like to add only around 10 cups of water, but taste test it for yourself to make it the way you think best.  We like it more concentrated!}

Garnish with lemon and orange slices and serve over ice

Enjoy!  {It won’t last long!}

Happy Monday~

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