Fruit Cake

Either you love it or you hate it!

Isn’t she lovely! It’s the holiday season & the season for Fruit Cake! This is a picture of a fruit cake I made & delivered.
Growing up, during the holiday season, there were 4 things you would always see in my house. A bowl of fruit on the kitchen table, a bowl of nuts(with the nut cracker) on the counter, a fruitcake on the counter, and Hickory Farms platter on the table. I was not fond of fruit cake, but my parents were. It just didn’t look very appetizing to me. My mom would always rave about my grandmothers fruit cake that she baked in a paper bag. Yes, I said paper bag. She looked forward to my grandmother gifting her with it every year!
Now that I’m older, I can appreciate a good piece of fruit cake. Now, I wouldn’t eat it all year long, but I enjoy it during the holidays!

This fruit cake is packed with fruit & nuts! After baking, she weighed a whopping 6 lbs! I had to pat myself on the back because fruit cakes can be temperamental. I must say, I am very please with the results!

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Good customer service is EVERYTHING!

Boom Boom shrimp…..Delicious

The power of good food & service should never be underestimated! We had reservations at another restaurant in the area, but ended up eating up a Baxter’s.
I understand that we have a pandemic and that restaurants have restrictions, but I also believe that the restaurant has a responsibility to accommodate their reservations. If you know that your establishment can not accommodate more 1 party of 5 or more, don’t make the reservation!
My daughter wanted to go to this restaurant for brunch & made online reservations for 4:30 on 11/14/20. We arrive on time only to be told that they close from 4-5 to get ready for their dinner crowd. Ok, this was not posted anywhere, but we said ok and went back at 5. Well, guess what, they still were not ready! We were invited in at 5:10 only to be stopped by the manager who said she wasn’t ready and that she needed about 5 more minutes. Ok, my daughter really wanted to go to this restaurant so, we we exercising our patience. 5:20 the manager comes to the door and apologizes saying she needed to turn on the heat to dry the floor…..really! We are trying to be optimistic as she takes us to our table for 5. Ummm……you have got to be kidding me…..you really want us to sit here. I wish I had taken a picture, but picture this if you will. A column in the middle of the floor, a table up against the column, a chair on the side of the column(1 end of the table), another chair at the other end, and 3 chairs side by side on the same side of the table facing the bathroom. May I add that the bathroom is only 2-3 feet away from the table! What kind of dining experience is that? We could tell that the manager knew it would be a problem because she walked away as we were standing there looking at each other. We called her back and voiced our concerns. All she could say was she was sorry and that she meant to turn off the online reservations because they are such a small establishment & with the COVID restrictions, they can not accommodate a lot of people. Worst customer service & manager I have EVER EXPERIENCED! Needless to say, they didn’t get our money that night nor will they ever get it. She never once said what she COULD do, only what she couldn’t do!
This is where Baxter’s came in & saved our evening! We were walking around downtown Norfolk, Va & saw Baxter’s. We all agreed to give it a try & we really enjoyed the food, service, & atmosphere. If you are ever in the area, give them a try!

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Crab dip
Highly recommend
Cuban sandwich, waffle fries, & Mangover Mojito
Cowboy cheeseburger & onion rings
Dry rub wings
Pulled pork sliders & onion rings

Crockpot CheeseBurger Dip

Crockpot CheeseBurger Dip

Recipe by M.BellCourse: DipDifficulty: Easy
Servings

15

servings
Prep time

20

minutes
Cooking time

2

hours 
Calories

178

kcal

Who doesn’t love a hot dip!? I know I do! I remember the 1st time I had this dip, it was at a friends house in WV. Needless to say, I got the recipe from her that night & took the leftovers home! We often make this dip on movie nights at our house to go along with our poo poo platter! What is a poo poo platter? It is a big platter with everyone’s favorite snacks! Marshmallows, popcorn, chips, raisinettes, goldfish…..I think you get it now! I hope you enjoy this dip as much as we do, and don’t forget the tortilla chip!

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 lbs hamburger

  • 15oz jar chunky salsa

  • 1 lb velveeta (cut in chunks)

Directions

  • Preheat crockpot on high
  • In skillet brown hamburger on med-hi heat
  • Drain grease off hamburger & put hamburger in crockpot
  • Put velveeta on top of hamburger
  • Pour salsa on top & cover with lid
  • Cook on high for 30 minutes, uncover & stir
  • Continue to cook on high, stirring occasionally until dip is creamy & well combined. Approx. 1-1 1/2 hrs.

Notes

  • The leaner the meat, the less grease
  • You can use any type of salsa you like. If you like yours spicy, use HOT salsa.
  • Cook time in crockpot will vary. You can cook on high the entire time or low depending on when you want your dip to be ready.
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 15
Amount per serving 
Calories178
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 9.4g12%
Saturated Fat 4.9g24%
Cholesterol 62mg21%
Sodium 632mg27%
Total Carbohydrate 5g2%
Dietary Fiber 0.5g2%
Total Sugars 3g 
Protein 19.6g 
Vitamin D 0mcg0%
Calcium 170mg13%
Iron 9mg48%
Potassium 267mg6%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet.2,000 calorie a day is used for general nutrition advice.
Recipe analyzed by 

Smothered Pork Chops

Smothered pork chops are 1 of my faves! Add rice or mashed potatoes and I am in HEAVEN! They are always so tender & juicy, the recipe is pretty much goof proof! They always remind me of Sunday dinner when I was a little girl.

Notes

  1. I do not give measurements for salt/pepper because we use it to our taste. If you use seasoned broth, you will not need as much. If you use unsalted broth, you will need more.

2. Always adjust the temperature according to your stove. Stoves Heat differently, I have an electric stove, you may have a gas stove.

3. When making your gravy, slowly add the broth and whisk . This will prevent flour clumps and it will prevent you from making your gravy too thin or too thick. You or may not use all the broth.
4. Add whatever you like to your gravy. Some people like to add bell pepper & mushrooms. Make it your own!

Pork chops, salt, pepper, flour, olive oil, onion, garlic, & chicken broth
Season chops with salt & pepper
Lightly flour
Heat oil in skillet
Fry pork chops
Sauté onions & garlic, add browned four, & combine

Gradually add broth until desired thickness. Add pork chops to gravy

Ingredients

  • 4 Pork chops
  • salt
  • pepper
  • 1 c. Flour ( I used self rising)
  • 1/2 cup oil (I used olive oil)

Gravy

  • 1 small-medium onion chopped or sliced
  • 2 tsp minced garliC
  • 4 tblsp browned flour
  • 3 cups broth (I used chicken)
  • Salt
  • Pepper

Directions

*Preheat oil in skillet over medium heat. Put flour in storage bag.
*Salt & pepper pork chops.
*One at a time, put pork chops in bag and shake to coat with flour.  Place chops on a plate until ready to fry. 
*Once oil is hot, add chops (2at a time) to skillet and fry 4 minutes each side until golden brown. After cooking, put chops on paper towel lined plate. 
When all pork chops are finished frying, Pour off all but 2 tblsp of oil ( make sure to leave all the crumbs from frying in the pan)

Gravy

*Heat small skillet on med-hi heat & brown flour.

*Heat skillet from chops over med-hi 

*add onions and garlic to pan and cook until translucent (3-4 minutes)

*Pour browned flour over onion mixture in pan.  Stir to combine

*Slowly add broth and whisk.  Do NOT add broth all at once.  I start with 1 cup and slowly add until desired thickness.  Salt & pepper to taste.

*Add pork chops to gravy.  Lower heat, cover, and simmer until tender.

ENJOY!

Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4
Amount per serving 
Calories326
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 21g27%
Saturated Fat 7.8g39%
Cholesterol 69mg23%
Sodium 669mg29%
Total Carbohydrate 9.7g4%
Dietary Fiber 0.8g3%
Total Sugars 1.7g 
Protein 22.8g 
Vitamin D 0mcg0%
Calcium 41mg3%
Iron 2mg9%
Potassium 485mg10%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet.2,000 calorie a day is used for general nutrition advice.
Recipe analyzed by 

Pumpkin Streusel Muffins with Cinnamon glaze

Did someone say Pumpkin?! It’s November 1st and I can’t think of a better day to make moist Pumpkin Streusel Muffins! I have to admit, I never thought I would be a fan of pumpkin. I didn’t grow up eating it and I was never curious about it. How did I become a fan? My husband brought home some pumpkin bread from a wholesale club and convinced me to taste it. Needless to say, I became an instant fan! There are a lot of variations you can make. I like to add chocolate chips to mine, but today I will keep it simple.

A few notes before we begin.

1. Make your streusel topping FIRST. (You will thank me later!)

2. Cold ingredients should be brought to room temperature. Everything mixes better that way.
3. Spoon flour into measuring cup & level off. If you scoop flour out with the measuring cup & level it off, it will be very compact & you will have more flour than you need. Your result will be a very dense muffin.

4. Combine dry ingredients in separate bowl & lightly whisk.
5. Don’t over mix…..just stir until combined.
6. If you are a lover of pumpkin pie spice, use it instead of cinnamon.

7. Streusel will be hard when muffins come out the oven. Storing in an air tight container will soften the streusel & keep everything moist!

8. Muffins are ALWAYS better the next day when the flavors have had time to marry!

You can add chocolate chips, nuts, coconut, raisins etc. Just stir in after batter is mixed!

Now let’s get started making these delicious muffins!

Ingredients needed to make the muffins
Streusel topping ingredients …Flour, sugar, cinnamon, & melted butter
Dry ingredients before whisking…flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, & nutmeg
Remaining ingredients…sugar, eggs, oil, vanilla, & pumpkin

Pumpkin Streusel Muffins with Cinnamon Glaze

Ingredients

Streusel

  • 1 1/4 c. All purpose flour
  • 1/3 c. Light brown sugar, tightly packed
  • 1/3 c. Sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. Cinnamon
  • 1 stick melted butter Combine ingredients with a fork. Mixture will be crumbly. Set aside.

Muffins

  • 1 3/4 c. All purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp. Salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 c. Vegetable Oil
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 c. Brown sugar
  • 1/2 c. Granulated sugar
  • 1 15 oz can of pumpkin purée

Glaze

  • 1 c. powdered sugar
  • 1 1/2 tblsp milk
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla
  • 1/4 cinnamon

Directions

Preheat oven to 350. Prepare a muffin pan with 12 paper liners & nonstick spray.
In medium bowl, combine flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, & nutmeg. Lightly whisk together.

In another bowl combine eggs, oil, vanilla, granulated sugar, brown sugar, & pumpkin puree. Use whisk to mix ingredients,. Once combined, pour dry ingredients in with wet ingredients. Use a spatula to mix thoroughly. one combined fold in any add-ins (chocolate chips, nuts..etc).

Scoop equal amounts of batter into each liner. Bake on center rack in oven for 20-25 minutes. Insert a tooth pick in center of muffin, if it comes out clean, the muffins are done! Cool completely.

Prepare glaze by mixing all ingredients together. Drizzle over muffins & enjoy!

Moist & Delicious

I did a Thing!

Hey everybody!

The pandemic blues pushed me to do something I have been trying not to do! In a weak moment, I went to Duck Donuts! OMG, I didn’t know they would taste soooo good! They are, without a doubt, my new favorite. I purchased a dozen with 4 Maple bacon, 2 strawberry shortcake, 2 apple pie, 1 pecan, 2 lemon with raspberry drizzle & coconut, and 1 cookies & cream. The maple bacon is to die for!!!!! If you have never experienced Duck Donuts and get a chance to, you will NOT be disappointed! My whole family fell in love with these donuts.
I normally make good choices when it comes to food, but I have to admit that being in the house more than usual has made it hard to say no to junk food. The only thing that has been saving me……EXERCISE! I normally do 30 mins – 1 hr of exercise everyday. I guess you could say, I am exercising to eat. This too will pass, I just have to work on my will power.
Do you have a guilty pleasure that you indulge in from time to time?
Keep pushing, trust the process, & believe!

M. Bell

Hello

Hello friends!

Thank you for coming to visit. I am so excited to be sharing with you and hopefully, you will share with me to!

We all have families, but no 2 are the same and they all function different at different times. Wouldn’t it be great if family was harmonious ALL the time? The kids didn’t fuss, dinner was always ready on time, the house was always clean…yada yada yada….you get the point! Fact is, that’s just not realistic. For me, my emotions and energy are up and down hourly! Ok, maybe not hourly, but they definitely change throughout the day. As a wife, mother of 8 (yes, I said 8) and being gainfully employed……..life gets hectic! Never enough hours in the day to take care of my family and find time for me! This pandemic ony adds to my stress level! I know I am preaching to the choir, as spouses and parents we do what we have to do to make it work. Unfortunately, a lot of times that means WE put ourselves LAST. Not only ourselves, but our marriages, dreams, wants, and needs. My way of justifying being last was always, “my kids come before me, they didn’t ask to be here.” True statement, but I still should have made time to put me first.

Fast forward, Here I am 20 years into my marriage, my youngest is 14 and I am not sure who I am or what my purpose is. Sad, but true! I don’t have any babies. I’m at a point in life where I should be able to do me…at least a little bit! The problem is, ummmmm what am I supposed to be doing??? I was a house wife for most of the 20 years and while I was in the midst of raising my children and supporting my husband, I FORGOT about me! I know I am not alone in this revelation! I’m 49 and my brain is SPINNING trying to figure out just who I am. Everyone wants to know their purpose and gifts…..don’t they? I have some ideas of what my gifts are, but tapping into them and using them…..well, that’s another story!

That’s where my blog comes in! I know there has to be others that are walking in my shoes! Let’s figure it out together! I have some great life experiences, some not so great life experiences, and talents I want to share with you. I know some of you have some things you would like to share as well! Some times it just takes the right person to say the right thing at the right time and BOOM….it clicks! Lets encourage and empower one another! I plan to post at least once a week, sometimes more. Until then….. Keep pushing, trust the process, and BELIEVE!

Thanks for stopping by & come back soon!

M. Bell