Garlic-Herb Breadsticks

Since our kids were little, we have reserved Sunday evenings as Family Nights.  We rotate through the family, taking turns choosing our activity for the night.  We have made some worthwhile memories with this tradition, and I am so thankful my husband had the foresight to put it on our calendars.

Last night was my turn to choose an activity.  The weather made my first choice a not-so-great option, so I chose Scrabble, a new breadsticks recipe and an old Ingrid Bergman/Yul Brynner film, “Anastasia”.  See, I wanted to watch an old movie, but not all of my family loves old movies like I do.  Plus, I had never seen “Anastasia”, so I didn’t even know if it was worth watching.  I basically added the breadsticks to soften up my crew with food.  It mostly worked.

These are a quick yeast bread breadstick, so don’t expect the soft yeasty-ness of Olive Garden.  They are yeasty on the inside and kind of crunchy on the outside.  Even though the recipe I used calls to make 12 breadsticks, we made 10 since there are five in our family.  We each shaped two sticks and dressed two sticks according to our preference.

These guys would be tasty with soup or with a good ol’ summer garden supper…or as a snacky bribe on your next Family Night!

1 t. active dry yeast
3/4 c. warm water
2 t. sugar
1/2 t. salt
2 1/4 c. all-purpose flour
1 T. olive oil
1 T. butter, softened
Topping Options:  More butter for brushing on top, salt, minced garlic or garlic powder, herbs

Combine yeast and water and let sit until foamy, about 5 minutes.

Add sugar and salt and stir until dissolved.

Add flour, olive oil and butter, mixing until dough forms in a ball.

Dump dough onto flour surface and knead until smooth and elastic, about 5 minutes.

Brush 2 baking sheets with olive oil.

Divide dough into 10-12 pieces.  Roll each piece into 12-16″ rope, rolling them in the oil to coat before setting them on baking sheet.  Cover pans with towel and let rise 45-60 minutes.

Preheat over to 400.  Brush melted butter over breadsticks and top according to preference.

Bake until golden, about 15 minutes.



Brown Sugar Granola


I really like granola, and this recipe is a winner. It is comprised of relatively “normal” ingredients which it is not uncommon for me to keep on-hand. It is delightful on yogurt, over fruit or stirred into a bowl of steel-cut oats. Mmm! To keep the cost down, I try to stock up on flaked coconut and nuts at Christmastime when they are at their cheapest so that I can stick them in the freezer to have in coming months. And, I’ve been known to make this without any nuts at all in a pinch—especially during peach season when crunchy granola is a must for me.

This also makes a sweet and simple low-cost gift that almost everyone will enjoy.


2 T. butter
¼ c. corn syrup
¼ c. honey
2 ¾ c. rolled oats
½ c. nuts of your choice, sliced or chopped
½ c. brown sugar, packed
¼ c. sunflower seeds or flax seed, if desired
1 ½ t. cinnamon
½ c. flaked coconut

Melt butter, corn syrup and honey in saucepan; set aside.

Combine other ingredients, mixing well.

Pour butter mixture over dry ingredients, stirring until evenly coated.

Spread in butter jellyroll or 9×13 pan.

Bake at 350 for 20-30 minutes, stirring once halfway through. Cool for five minutes or so, then break into crumbles if necessary.

Store in airtight container.

Chili Queso Dip

Screenshot of the Chili Queso Dip I shared on Indy Style.

Screenshot of the Chili Queso Dip I shared on Indy Style.

2 T. butter

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 onion, finely chopped

1 jalapeno, finely chopped (or minced in your garlic press)

1 tsp. ground cumin

1 ½ tsp. chili powder

½ tsp. salt

½ c. tomato puree or salsa

¼ c. milk

2 c. Monterey Jack or Colby Jack, grated

2 c. cheddar, grated

Saute onions in butter. Add onions, jalapenos, cumin, chili powder and salt; saute 4-5 minutes or until onions have wilted. Add tomatoes and cook for another few minutes until tomato liquid has evaporated.

Add the milk and remove from heat. Stir both grated cheeses until they are melted and combined. Transfer cheesy goodness to a 1-quart baking dish.

Bake at 320 until bubbly. (Or, you can wrap it up for the freezer.)

Grandma Milburn’s Caramel Corn


Both of my grandmas were fantastic cooks. Grandma Rayl was the epitome of a country cook–fried chicken, cubed steak with mashed potatoes & gravy, amazing pies and so on. Grandma Milburn could do those things, too, but she really liked to entertain. She had quite a knack for homemade candies. She would make a lot of the things that take too much patience for me to want to make, like toffee, divinity, from-scratch fudge and buttery caramels.

There are two of her candy recipes that I make almost every year–peanut brittle and this caramel corn. Delicious! Since World War II was a not-so-distant memory in the 1970s, Grandma’s recipe calls for margarine, but I prefer using real butter.

5 qts. popped popcorn, unpopped kernels removed as much as possible

2 sticks butter

1/4 tsp. cream of tartar

2 c. brown sugar

1/2 c. corn syrup

1 tsp. baking soda

Combine butter, cream of tartar, brown sugar and corn syrup in stockpot (non-stick if possible). Bring to a boil and boil for five minutes ONLY.

Add baking soda. Stir well. It foams up high and is HOT so handle with care!

Pour over popcorn and mix thoroughly.

Spread on buttered cookie sheets and bake in 200 degree oven for one hour. Stir with pancake turner occasionally.

Put on waxed paper and cool, then break into pieces. Keeps well in airtight container.

NOTE:  Homemade caramel corn does not look like storebought caramel corn.  Every single bit of every single fluffy kernel will not be perfectly covered with caramel.  Don’t worry about it;  just eat it.

Aunt Mary’s Dilly Crackers & Homemade Ranch Seasoning

My husband’s aunt was the first person who made these for me, so these will always be “her” crackers in my mind.

16-oz. pkg. oyster crackers

½ c. oil

Mix crackers and oil until crackers are coated, then spread out on baking sheet. Bake at 225 degrees for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Combine the following in small bowl:

1 pkt. ranch seasoning mix (I make my own; recipe is below.)

¾ tsp garlic powder

2 t. dill weed

Sprinkle seasoning mixture over crackers as soon as they come out of the oven. Gently stir until well-coated. Allow to cool on waxed paper or newspaper.


Homemade Ranch Seasoning Mix

½ c. dry buttermilk

1 tsp. dried dill weed

1 ½ tsp. onion powder

1 ½ tsp. salt

½ tsp. garlic powder

¼ tsp. ground pepper

Put in small storage container and shake until well-blended. To replace a packet of ranch dressing mix in any recipe, use one heaping tablespoon.