Blogger Spotlight.... 'The Country Cook'

     Well it's that time again folks. Time for me to introduce another fabulous food blog to you all! This gal is such a sweetie! Her name is Brandie.. a.k.a  Bean... (ha, sorry, inside joke).. lol! She is the wonder woman behind the scenes over at  The Country Cook. Brandie and I have become great bloggie buddies. I believe we first became friends over at Tasty Kitchen, and then she finally got her blog up and running in January, and we've been great friends ever since!

   Brandie's blog is filled with many delicious recipes. She has such a great personality that comes through in her writing. I love blogs like that! She makes you feel like you've been one of her friends for a long time! She has a super yummy treat to share with you all today, so I'll shut up now, and let her do her thing. Here's Brandie....

Hello everyone! First let me a give a big thank you to Holly for letting me have some fun on her blog today. I just adore Holly. She really is as sweet and real and as genuine as they come.  I was so tickled when she asked me to be a guest on her blog.

Holly wanted me to first say a few things about myself and why I got started blogging.  I explained to her that I am horrible at talking about me. Now, that doesn’t mean I don’t like to talk. I’m a Southern girl, so talking comes natural. Heck, I do some of my best talking in the checkout line! But talking about me is just different.

I’ll keep this as brief as possible so we can get to the good stuff.  I’m a momma, a wife, a daughter, a sister, a co-worker, a cook and lots more (but I’m trying to keep this brief).
Before I had a blog, I started sharing my favorite recipes over at Tasty Kitchen.  I meet some great people over there just by talking about food and recipes. Then I started finding out that folks were enjoying some of the recipes I shared (and they were kind enough to tell me so).  So I started a facebook page so we could not only chat about food and recipes but also just talk about day to day life and activities.
After a bit of nudging from my husband and a few dear friends, I went ahead and started a blog so I could chat even more. It’s been a way of cataloging some of my favorite recipes as well as sharing a bit about my everyday life.

So here I am. I do my best to put supper on the table each day. It doesn’t always happen as planned but I try my darndest! I don’t cook anything too fancy or gourmet. Just simple, everyday home cooking that your family will enjoy and that just about anyone can make.

Now, let’s get to some sweet treats, shall we? I’m gonna admit, this next dessert is a bit sinful. I’m a big practitioner of “everything in moderation”.  I enjoy my sweets (just not a great big helping of them).

This cake is seriously amazing. Take it to your next potluck and find out just how popular you become. It is that good! I cannot even explain the frosting on this...oh mercy, it is heaven!

My co-workers actually renamed this cake. The actual name given to this cake is “German Chocolate Cheesecake”. However, when I told them what I was bringing to share, they were expecting cheesecake with a German chocolate topping. Noooo, it’s a German chocolate cake with cheesecake running through it, I told them. So they ask, “Well, why isn’t it called German Chocolate Cheesecake Cake?”.  I said, “I don’t know, this is just what they call it. Will you just eat it?”. And they did. And they loved it. And they keep asking for more.  They are a spoiled bunch.

German Chocolate Cheesecake Cake
(For the cake)
1 package German Chocolate Cake Mix
(plus ingredients needed per package directions, usually eggs, oil & water)

(Cream cheese filling)
2 packages (8 ounces each) cream cheese, softened
1-1/2 cups granulated sugar
4 eggs, lightly beaten

1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup evaporated milk
1/2 cup butter, cubed (not margarine)
3 egg yolks, lightly beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2-1/2 cups sweetened flaked or shredded coconut
1-1/2 cup chopped pecans

Prepare cake batter according to package directions; set aside.
In a small bowl, beat cream cheese and sugar until smooth. Add eggs; beat on low speed just until combined.
Pour half of the cake batter into a greased 13-in. x 9-in. baking dish. Gently pour cream cheese mixture over batter. Gently spoon remaining cake batter over top; spread to edge of pan.
Bake at 325° for 70-75 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool for 1 hour.
For frosting, in a heavy saucepan, combine the sugar, milk, butter and egg yolks Cook and stir over medium-low heat until thickened and a thermometer reads 160° or is thick enough to coat the back of a metal spoon. Remove from the heat. Stir in vanilla; fold in coconut and pecans. Cool until frosting reaches spreading consistency. Frost cooled cake.
Refrigerate leftovers. Makes about 16 servings

Brandie, thecountrycook

Wowza! I am making this one ASAP! Brandie, Thank you so much for sharing this dee-lish dessert with us! : )


Crockpot Chocolate Lava Cake

    Well here it is my friends. The wonderful cake I was telling you about, that was baking in my CROCKPOT! I know there are many, many awesome things you can do in a crockpot, but I seriously had never heard of baking cakes in them! I was over at Tasty Kitchen checkin out all the great recipes, when I came across this cake.

   I was so intrigued. A cake to be made in a crockpot sounded genius and amazing to me! Especially because it was a 'Lava' cake. I am in-love with the Moulten Chocolate Lava cake at Chilis restaraunt! Have any of you had that sinful treat? I LOVE it like no other. I think that Chocolate Lava Cakes are the greatest invention ever! I am such a choc-o-holic that I just could not resist printing this recipe and trying it immediatley.
   It turned out simply AMAZING. It is warm... gooey... chocolatey bliss! You have to serve it with vanilla ice cream. Theres just no other way to eat it. Period. You can thank me later for telling you about it! ; )


  • 2 cups Brown Sugar
  • 2 cups All-purpose Flour
  • 6 Tablespoons Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
  • 4 teaspoons Baking Powder
  • 1 teaspoon Salt
  • 1 cup Milk
  • 4 Tablespoons Butter, melted
  • 1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
  • 1 1/2 cups Brown Sugar
  • 1/2 cup Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
  • 3 cups Boiling Water

Directions:   For the cake: Mix together the sugar, flour, cocoa, baking powder and salt in a large bowl. Stir in milk, melted butter and vanilla until combined. Spread the batter over the bottom of a large crockpot.

For the fudge topping:  Mix together the brown sugar and cocoa. Sprinkle mixture over the cake batter.
Pour the boiling water over the top. DO NOT STIR! Cover and cook on High for 2 - 2 1/2 hours.
Cake will be very hot! Turn off heat, and remove lid. Let sit 20-30 minutes before serving, so its still warm but wont burn your mouth : )  ENJOY!!


Stuffing-Topped Pork Chops

   Hey guys! I hope everyone is having a great weekend! It's rainy, cold and ugly here in Southern Utah, so that means were chillin' and relaxing indoors : )  I made these yummy pork chops for dinner last week. They were a huge hit, even with the kiddos : )  Pork chops are such a great comfort food, and this recipe is so easy to make!  

Recipe By:  The Food Nanny
  • 6 boneless Pork chops (3/4 inch thick)
  • 1 package (6 oz) pork or chicken Stuffing mix  
  • Salt & Pepper
  • Onion Powder
  • 1 tablespoon Canola oil
  • 1 (10.75 oz) can Cream of Mushroom soup
  • 1/3 cup Milk
Directions:   Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Make the stuffing according to package directions. Set aside.
Season the pork chops with salt, pepper and onion powder. Heat the oil in a large skillet over high heat. Brown the pork chops on both sides. (This only takes a couple minutes. They will  thoroughly cook in the oven)
Arrange the chops in a 9x13 baking dish. Spoon 1/2 cup of the stuffing mixture over the top of each chop.
Mix the soup and milk together, and then pour over the chops. Cover with foil, and Bake for 35 to 40 minutes. Serve with your favorite veggies!


Blogger Spotlight.. 'Mandy's Recipe Box'

   Hi guys! I am so excited to announce my very first 'Guest Blogger Spotlight!'
I have a list of blogs that I am just obsessed with! I have to stop by them everyday to see what yummy foods they've posted. So many of the meals that have graced my kitchen table are because of these awesome blogs. I thought that I would start sharing the love and let you all know about them too!

   I am honored to announce my first guest! She is basically my bloggie BFF. If there is such a thing!  lol  She has tons of amazing recipes and we have so much in common! It has been so fun getting to know her through Facebook and Emails. She is such a sweetie! 
Okay, I'll quit rambling on. I'll let her tell her story....  

Hey everyone! It's Mandy from Mandy's Recipe Box. I am so excited and honored to be here on Life as a Lofthouse. As you already know, Holly has an incredibly delicious blog and I am happy to know her.

I am a wife to a hot farmer named Lance, and momma to 3 pretty awesome kids- Hannah, Preston, & Emma. We live in the rural (translated:middle of nowhere!) Idaho. I am from Ogden, Utah and then met and fell in love with Lance. After living in Ogden for 3 years, we moved to Idaho so Lance could join the family farm. I have definately been converted to a country girl. I love my life!
Today I want to share with you one of my favorite recipes using a grill. It is so simple, which is my motto. Who says incredible food has to be complicated? I hope you enjoy it and send some warm weather thoughts my way, would you? Thanks!

Greek Souvlaki
2 lbs. pork roast cut into bite sized chunks
Accent or Season Salt
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
1/2 Tbsp. garlic powder
1 1/2 tsp. garlic salt
 olive oil
whatever veggies you want to add

Mix all seasonings together. Place pork in a container and sprinkle seasoning over it. Toss to coat. Pour in enough olive oil to cover the pork. Cover and marinate over night. Put onto skewers with veggies (peppers, mushrooms, onions etc), wrap in foil, and cook slowly on the grill. About 20 minutes or until done. Before serving, remove foil and sprinkle with lemon juice.

I hope you like this recipe as much as I do. Be sure to come visit me at Mandy's Recipe Box. I'd love for you to say Hello!

Thanks, Mandy, for stopping by and sharing this great recipe! 


Spaghetti Braid

     I think without a doubt, my Taco Braid  is the most popular recipe on my blog! I have received so many sweet emails from you awesome readers and have also had my family and friends telling me how much they love it! It means so much to me for you all to take time from your day to email me or leave me a comment. I really do love and look forward to reading them. I want you all to know how much I appreciate it!  : )

    Because the 'Braids' are so popular, I have been trying to think of ways to create a new one for you all. I was talking to my hubby last week telling him about my idea for this Spaghetti Braid. I thought it would be so delish to put some Spaghetti fixins inside this great pizza dough, but without the noodles! (Less carbs, right?! ha)

   Kale thought it sounded awesome, and he also gave me a little idea. He told me once I wrap up the braid, I should somehow make it taste like garlic bread. I was shocked! "What a genius idea!" It sounded like a perfect way to finish it off! So thats what I did. It turned out AWESOME! Let me know if you give it a try!

Recipe By:  Holly Lofthouse
  • 1 can Pillsbury Pizza Dough
  • 1 pound lean Ground Beef
  • 1 1/2 cups of your favorite Spaghetti Sauce ( I use 'Ragu' Traditional)
  • 2 tablespoons Cream Cheese ( I used 1/3 less fat version and it was great!)
  • 2 cups shredded Mozzerella Cheese
Glaze for the top:
  • 2 tablespoons Butter, melted
  • 1/8 tsp Garlic Salt
  • 1/8 tsp Garlic Powder
  • 1/8 tsp Dill Weed
  • 1/8 tsp Italian Seasoning
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Directions:  Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Unravel roll of pizza dough and lay out onto a greased cookie sheet. Set aside.
Cook the ground beef in a large skillet and cook until browned. Drain the grease. Pour in the spaghetti sauce and heat to boiling. Reduce heat and let simmer 5-10 minutes or until sauce is thoroughly heated.
Dough should now be room temp and easy to work with. Shape it out onto the cookie sheet and form into a large rectangle. Down each side of dough, cut 2 inch wide slits with a pizza cutter.
Spread beef mixture down center of dough. Take the cream cheese and dot evenly over the meat.
Sprinkle the shredded cheese over the top and start to braid the dough over the top of the filling. Criss-crossing to form a 'braid' and making sure to cover any holes.
Microwave butter to melt completely. Add in all the seasonings and mix well. Brush evenly over the top of the braid.
Bake for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from oven. Sprinkle the braid evenly with parmesan cheese. Let stand 5 minutes before slicing.


Strawberry Chicken Salad

   Spring is finally here! That means it's time for fresh salads and barbecues. I love it when I walk into the grocery store and see all of the fresh fruits and veggies. I bought a giant case of strawberries at Costco yesterday and knew exactly what I wanted to do with them. Make this delicious salad. This is another great salad inspired from Rococo's restaurant where I worked many moons ago. It is so simple, yet really delicious.
  It has chopped fresh romaine lettuce, sprinkles of sliced almonds, sliced strawberries and grilled chicken. What really makes this salad great is the dressing. It is a combination of my beloved 'Poppyseed' dressing mixed with light Raspberry Vinaigrette. So so simple. Yet Perfect!

2 servings
  • 2 boneless, skinless Chicken Breasts
  • 2 teaspoons Olive Oil
  • Salt and Pepper, to taste 
  • 6-8 cups chopped Romaine Lettuce
  • 1 cup Strawberries, sliced
  • 1/4 cup sliced Almonds
  • 1 cup Poppyseed dressing
  • 1/2 cup light Raspberry Vinaigrette

Directions:   Start by brushing oil on chicken breasts and then season with salt and pepper. Grill chicken on your barbecue or indoor grill pan. Grill for 5 minutes on each side, or until chicken is thoroughly cooked. Set aside.
On two plates, add the romaine lettuce, sliced strawberries and almonds. Slice your grilled chicken and place on top.
Mix together the poppyseed dressing and raspberry vinaigrette together. Pour over the salad and dig in!




Frozen Mint Oreo Pie

   So here is my green recipe tribute to St. Patricks Day! ........

      Yeah I know it isnt the most intense green color, but atleast I tried! ha  This pie was amazingly delish. I found it off of Joy in my Kitchen. What a great food blog she has! She must have used a lot more green food coloring than she says in her recipe because her version looks way greener than mine! Who cares, it was really good and that's all that matters. It looks deceiving because you would think this is made of ice cream, but it isnt. It is marshmellow fluff, whip cream and milk all mixed together with some peppermint extract. Very easy. Very good. Give it a try, you wont be dissappointed!  : )
P.S.  I am FINALLY printer-friendly! At the end of each post/recipe there is a green 'printer-friendly' button so you can print off the recipe!   : )

8 servings

  • 2 cups crushed Oreo cookies
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted
  • 7 oz jar Marshmellow Fluff
  • 1/8 cup milk
  • 2 drops (1/2 tsp) peppermint extract
  • 3-4 drops Green food coloring
  • 1 cup whipping cream, whipped

Directions:   Combine cookie crumbs and butter together (Reserving 1/8 cup of oreos for topping). Press into a 9-inch pie plate.
Start beating your whipping cream in a large bowl with a hand mixer. Beat on high for atleast 5-8 minutes or until it is fluffy and thick.
In a seperate large bowl combine marshmellow fluff and milk. Mix well. Blend in peppermint extract and food coloring. Fold in the whip cream.
Spread on top of the oreo crust. Top with remaining cookie crumbs. Wrap in plastic wrap and freeze overnight!


Spicy Chicken Wonton Tacos

   Have you ever tried The Spicy Chicken Tacos at Applebee's? My friend was telling me how amazing they are, so I decided to do a little search for the recipe and found it!

  They turned out TERRIFIC! Such a great alternative to Mexican tacos. I will definitely say that they do take some time to make if you fry them. Normally, I am not into long and dragged out recipes, but these are so worth it.

   There is an art to frying these lil' guys. You need to have some patience and TONGS. I really found that using tongs is what helped me keep them together, without all the chicken falling out, when I turned them to cook on the other side. I really hope you all try these, and then report back to me and let me know what you think!

Spicy Chicken Wonton Tacos
Recipe By: Suburban Wife Life

  • 5-7 Skinless, Boneless Chicken Breasts
  • 1 Tablespoon Sesame Oil
  • 1 Package Cole Slaw
  • 1/4 cup diced Red Onion
  • 1 (4oz) can of diced Jalapenos
  • 1/2 Tablespoon Crushed Red Pepper Flakes
  • Asian Dressing/Marinade ( I used Krafts Asian Toasted Sesame dressing/ marinade)
  • 1 package square Wonton Wrappers
  • 1 cup Vegetable Oil
  • 1/4 cup Chopped Cilantro
  • Limes

Directions:   In a large bowl, mix together the cole slaw, cilantro and diced red onion.
Strain the can of jalepenos', and add desired amount into the coleslaw mix.  ( I only used 1/4 of the can because I'm a wimp and cant handle the heat. Use as much as you'd like for your own heat tolerance)

Pour the Asian dressing into the coleslaw mix. ( I used about 1/4 cup).  Mix well, cover and refigerate for atleast one hour.

Place chicken breasts in a large bowl and coat with desired amount of Asian dressing/marinade. Cover and refrigerate one hour. (Refigerate both coleslaw and chicken breasts for the same hour)

Grill chicken breasts for atleast 8 minutes or until thoroughly cooked then cut into cubes.

Heat Sesame oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Once heated, add the cubed chicken and red pepper flakes. Stir fry for about 2 minutes or until chicken is hot. Remove chicken from skillet and then set on a large plate.
Add 1 cup vegetable oil to the same skillet and heat over medium to med-low heat.

Place a 'strip' of chicken down the center of two wonton wrappers.( I doubled the wonton wrappers because one didnt seem thick enough). Fold up sides, like a taco.

Using tongs, fry the 'taco' for atleast 1 minute , turning to make sure both sides are cooked. You want it to be golden brown and crispy.

Top each taco with the coleslaw mixture and a squeeze of fresh lime. Enjoy!

*BAKED VERSION:  Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Fill the uncooked wonton wrappers with the chicken. Place in a greased 9x13 baking pan. Bake for 10 minutes or so, until wrappers are golden and crispy. Fill tacos with coleslaw mixture and a squeeze of fresh lime! Serve and enjoy ♥