Pi Day That Became Pie Week

Pi Day was last week. Everybody knows Pi Day right? The day of the year that starts 3.14. That one.

Someone got really smart several years ago and named it that so we could all eat PIE on that day. I think that person is brilliant. I love pie.

My office decided to celebrate Pi Day by having Pie Week. Everyone was invited to bring in items to share. The only real rule was that they had to be round in some way. It was an awesome week of feasting for sure!

Because I love to bake (#HOHBakes on Instagram), I decided I’d do a different pie every day. This also gave me an opportunity to investigate new recipes for Thanksgiving. Because Thanksgiving = pie.

On day one, I went with the standard PUMPKIN PIE. But, I made two of them because nothing is better than a pumpkin pie than two pumpkin pies.

Pumpkin Pie - House of Hills

I’ve been using the same Pumpkin Pie recipe for YEARS and it’s basically the Libby one that is found on their website. You can see it here. The IMPORTANT thing about Pumpkin Pie is that you make it AT LEAST ONE DAY BEFORE you want to eat it. I actually recommend two days. That gives the flavors time to meld and become even more yummy.

On day two, I made a family favorite, SHOO FLY PIE. When I brought this one in, my coworkers from the North were very excited, but those who grew up here in the South were speculative. They’d never heard of it, and it had the word “fly” in it for goodness sakes.

Shoo Fly Pie - House of Hills

Now, I will admit that I’ve never made a Shoo Fly Pie that looks as good as those of my Pennsylvania Dutch extended family, but that’s never stopped anyone from eating it. Shoo Fly Pie is basically a molasses pie, and IT IS GOOD! I can’t give you the recipe (’cause it’s my Grandma’s), but if you do a web search for “Shoo Fly Pie” you’ll find a plethora of recipes.

For day three, I went to Pinterest to find something new to me. I decided to make Brownie Pie, and was very happy with my choice. So were my office mates. This one went fast.

Brownie Pie - House of Hills

This recipe was SUPER EASY and very yummy. It was even better with some whipped cream on top. I’m pretty sure it’s going to show up at Thanksgiving this next year.

On the final day of Pie Week, I decided to go big. I went for Smore’s Pie. This one hit it out of the park! OH. MY. WORD.

Smores Pie - House of Hills

People, this pie has FIVE ENTIRE HERSHEY BARS in it. The recipe called for eight Hershey bars. I couldn’t bring myself to put in that many. I might put in at least one more next time though. I highly recommend this recipe. It wasn’t hard, but wasn’t as easy as the Brownie Pie.

Not to be outdone by all my co-workers that were bringing in savory forms of “pie” during the week, I decided to bring in a Taco Ring one day.

Taco Ring - House of Hills

If you’ve never had a Taco Ring, you’re missing out on a quick, tasty dinner. It was a classic for Pampered Chef parties when I was a consultant YEARS ago, but sadly has gone out of style. Everyone at the office enjoyed it, and this recipe might be a great addition to your dinner rotation.

Did you celebrate Pi Day? What did you have?

Pinterest Recipes – The HOH Test Kitchen

I’ve turned my kitchen into a test kitchen as of late. The HOH Test Kitchen if you will. I’m testing different Pinterest recipes to see if they’re really as good as people say they are. I mean who are these people telling me something’s good on Pinterest? They’re usually not anyone I know.

Actually, what’s happening is that we’re getting into Orange season, and I’m a stress baker. I’m often a stress eater as well, but because of #HOHGetsFit I’m trying to avoid the whole eating thing. So, I’m baking and then taking it to the office. And, to mix it up a bit, I thought I’d try some of those many, many recipes that I’ve pinned but never made. It’s a win-win for everyone.

I thought I’d share this week’s recipes with you. We had three winners this week that you might want to add to your “I might make this someday” board on Pinterest.

First up was Chocolate Chip Banana Bread from Princess Pinky Girl.

Banana Bread

No idea where I got this pin from, but I am thankful for whomever it is… often. I’ve actually made this a couple times before, and it has never disappointed. Never. I think the key to this bread is letting the sugar and butter blend while you pull out the rest of the ingredients. It gets nice and fluffy that way.

This bread (all five mini-loaves of it) was gone in like four hours at the office. I’m not sure it made it much past lunch.

The next night, I looked for something else that was quick and that I had all the ingredients already in my pantry. I happened to remember that I had some cinnamon chips left over from the Christmas season, and so landed on Snickerdoodle Bread from Lil’ Luna.


Again, not sure how it landed in my Pinterest feed, but I’m thankful. If you like cinnamon or snickerdoodles or even just good stuff, this one is a keeper. It too was gone pretty quickly. Although, it lasted until after lunch. I think people were waiting to have their afternoon coffee before they grabbed a piece. It apparently goes very will with coffee. In fact, many people remarked that it tasted like those cinnamon crumb cakes that Little Debbie makes.

I was having a team meeting on Thursday, and my team LOVES chocolate. So, I searched my Dessert Pinboard for something that would do the trick. I found something called Death By Chocolate from Renee’s Exchange.


Now, to be honest there are like five things on my board that are called Death by Chocolate, but this one looked really easy. I’m sure I’ll try the others at some point.

In this recipe, you can choose to use yellow box cake or chocolate. I used devil’s food box cake mix because that was what was in my pantry.

This also did not disappoint. I’m not sure I “died,” but it was pretty good. If I make it again, I’ll use a full 8oz of sour cream I think. It could have been just a bit creamier, but I was the only one who thought that. Everyone else that ate it in my living room “died.” It didn’t make it to the office until later in the afternoon so there was still a bit left today. It will be gone soon though.

Three Pinterest recipes attempted in the HOH Test Kitchen this week, and all of them are keepers. They’re now pinned to the “Recipes I’ve Actually Used” board on my Pinterest. It’s the board with the fewest pins on it.

Have you ever had an extremely successful Pinterest recipe? Have you had a flop?

Yummy Taco Cups

My girl loves some yummy taco cups — at least that’s what we call them at the HOH. Do you ever make these for your kids?

Yummy Taco Cups

I mean, they’re really easy to make. Like minutes easy to make.

You need:

  • Tostitos Scoops chips
  • Taco meat
  • Shredded cheese (I use the Mexican blend.)

Warm up your taco meat. I’m assuming it is leftover in the fridge like mine always is.
Place a spoonful in each scoop.
Top with shredded cheese.

See, amazingly easy. Yummy taco cups for the win!

Yummy Taco Cups 2

My girl usually eats a dinner plate full for a meal OR a smaller plate (like maybe four or five) for a snack.

Oh yes! They are a great snack food too.

What’s a quick meal/snack that you like to make for your kids?

Try the Green Stuff, It’s Delicious… sorta

There’s been much buzz on my Instagram and Facebook because of this green stuff.


The biggest buzz is because as a rule I don’t eat green stuff, at least not regularly. I certainly don’t eat really good for me stuff. Ever.

However, we got a Vitamix for Christmas. I’m getting old, and not any healthier. So, add those two together, and you’ve got me trying to get more good stuff in my body.

Last week, I decided I needed to whip up a batch of my Sister-in-Law’s (David’s sister) famous green smoothie. I first encountered this smoothie a few years ago at my Father-in-Law’s house. My SIL is so dedicated to this smoothie that she brought her Vitamix with her on vacation. Since she started drinking it (and exercising), she’s gotten in thinner and healthier. She still drinks it every day. My Brother-in-Law started drinking it, and his blood pressure went down. I’m thinking it’s gotta be good for more me.

I whipped up a batch last week after a trip to Costo had me bringing home the biggest bag of spinach I’d ever seen. I quickly realized that one batch is MUCH more than I can drink in one sitting. In fact, it makes four pint jars worth. Good grief! What was I going to do with all that smoothie!

I put one in a glass to drink, one in the fridge and two in the freezer. Then, I took my first sip. It wasn’t bad. In fact, it was kinda refreshing. I sorta liked it. I drank the whole glass and wasn’t gagging.

The next day, I took one to work. I got it down again. And, kinda liked it. I pulled the two out of the freezer. I took one to work on Friday for lunch. I actually looked forward to drinking it. Looked forward to it!!

Green Stuff www.houseofhills.org

So, today, I whipped up two batches for this week. The majority is in the freezer. One is ready for tomorrow’s lunch. I’m not really sure I know what to do with that. What’s happening to me???!!!

Below is the recipe I’ve been using. There is no real exactness to it. And, I have to give credit to my SIL. And, she’s tweaking a recipe she got from someone. So, thank you to whomever that is. It’s in no way perfect. And, you can tweak it to make it the way you like it. Oh, and remember I’m using a Vitamix, which can chew up whole lemons. You’d have to adjust to your own equipment.

Step One

  • 2 cups water
  • Cilantro – I used a third a bunch from Publix
  • Kale – a handful
  • Spinach – all the way to the top

Blend that until smooth.

Step Two

  • Banana – SIL says frozen, I use regular
  • Apple – quartered
  • Pear – quartered
  • Lemon – yellow peel removed
  • Ginger – a peeled chunk of root
  • Fill with ice to the top

Blend until smooth. I use the “Smoothie” setting on the Vitamix.

Pour into four mason jars. I use the freezer safe ones.

Let me know if you make it and like it. And, if you make tweaks!


30 Day Giving Challenge Day Two 2012

The House of Hills is once again participating in the


Our goal is to give something EVERY day of the month. Big or small, every give is a gift to someone! Join the giving with us. We’d love to hear what you’re doing.

Day two’s give was once again a cooking one. Do you see a theme here? I truly do LOVE to cook and bake for others. I really enjoy baking, and I’m trying not to eat what I bake, so I just give it away. Win, win for everyone I say!

Our customer service folks were heading out on a retreat today, so I did a little baking to send along with them. All calories consumed on vacation/retreat are null and void, so I thought I’d send two yummies.

I made Scotcheroos, which are a personal favorite of mine, and my homemade brownies. (The recipe is coming soon. I promise! I took pictures while baking this batch.)

Don’t those look delightful!

I know my co-workers will enjoy them.

What’s your favorite thing to bake for others?


Follow the 30 Day Giving Challenge on Twitter and Facebook.


30 Day Giving Challenge Day One 2012

The House of Hills is once again participating in the


Our goal is to give something EVERY day of the month. Big or small, every give is a gift to someone! Join the giving with us. We’d love to hear what you’re doing.

Day one was an easy one for us. I already had a writers’ meeting scheduled for November 1st, and I always make lunch for my writing team.

About a year ago, we realized we we were outgrowing my office space for our monthly meeting so we moved it to my house. Now, my writing team arrives to a warm breakfast casserole made by the queen of breakfast casseroles, Deb, and I usually have something going in the slow cooker for lunch. The house smells of whatever dessert I just pulled from the oven, and it makes for an awesome meeting environment.

Because of the cold snap that accompanied Superstorm Sandy, I decided to make chili for the ladies. I made taco soup last month and didn’t want to repeat myself. I felt chili was far enough away but still easy to get started that morning.

I searched my Main Dishes Pinterest Board and found this chili recipe from my friend Mary. She claimed it was awesome.

My team would agree with her. It was was SO YUMMY… just the right balance of spicy and hearty. I highly recommend the recipe.

I also threw a quick batch of brownies (from a box – ack!) in the oven that morning. They didn’t seem to mind that they weren’t my usual homemade ones.

The team LOVES that Deb and I cook for them each month. And, we LOVE to do it for them. Nothing says I love and appreciate you more than a nice, home-cooked meal (in my humble opinion).

What are your favorite recipes to give?

Follow the 30 Day Giving Challenge on Twitter and Facebook.


Thank You Pinterest : Waffle Cinnamon Rolls

This awesomeness just happened in my office.

Well it didn’t just happen like it came out of nowhere.
It started like this. (Thank you Kim)

And this. (Thank you Kristie.)

Then it was this.

And, finally, this was my plate.

Doesn’t that make you just smile? It made my entire office smile. (Well, those that were here. If you worked from home today or were running late, you MISSED OUT!) You should have seen us! EVERYONE that was here was milling around in the kitchen in excitement.

Was it going to work just like on Pinterest?
Were they going to taste good?

The answer to both – OH YEAH!

So, thank you Pinterest for giving my co-workers the idea. And THANK YOU to my co-workers for bringing in the waffle maker and cinnamon rolls. You rock!

What Pinterest find have you tried and been excited about?

Recipe : Hot Cocoa Mix

I was making another batch of Hot Cocoa Mix today and realized that I have NEVER given all of you the recipe! What? A travesty of utmost proportions. I shall now remedy that.

What you need:

  • Nesquick (21.8 oz)
  • Lite Non-Dairy Creamer (22 oz)
  • Nonfat Dry Mix (what would make 9 quarts of milk) – I get the 10 pouch pack and use 9 of them.


Pour all of that into a BIG mixing bowl and stir. This is a great activity for little people once they’ve learned not to flip things out of the bowl. The girl usually does this part for me now. Actually, she can do the whole thing.



Then, pour it into whatever airtight container you would like to store it. I keep ours in a big glass jar on the counter. Yummy!

To use, fill your cup 1/3 full of mix and the rest with hot water. All the dry milk and creamer make it taste like you’ve been stirring warm milk on the stove. Oh so good!

This is also a perfect (and easy) gift for the holidays. Put some in a baggie and put it a cute mug. Or, layer it in a small jar with some marshmallows. I’ve given it to people every year.


Do you make your own Hot Cocoa Mix or do you buy it at the store?



30 Day Give : Day 10

Looking back over my 30 Day Give posts, I’m realizing A LOT of them involve food. It seems I really like to give to people in the form of a delicious bite.

I guess it shouldn’t surprise me knowing that one of my spiritual gifts is hospitality. And, knowing that my love language is acts of service. There is no greater act of service than providing a meal for someone… at least that seems to be the way I think.

Today, I served my writing team. We held our monthly meeting at my house, and I served them both breakfast and lunch. Did I have to serve them homemade food? NO. Could I have gotten it catered? YES. I will say that some of my initial motivation for cooking for them was to save a bit of money from my budget, but that’s not why I decided to really SERVE them. I served them good, warm, homemade food because I care about each and every one of them, and I wanted them to know it.

For breakfast we had sausage balls and these AMAZING cinnamon rolls that I’m making better and better each time I try. Practice makes perfect right?


For lunch I made this awesome crock pot pasta dish with a few variations. I shall blog my version soon. It is SO EASY and SO GOOD.


I also made Bubble Bread. Anyone who has been around my family long enough knows about Bubble Bread. Again, SO EASY and SO GOOD!


Both were thoroughly enjoyed by the team! I served some veggies and fruit too just to give us a bit of nutrition.

It was a great time of savoring not only the food but one another while we took a break from our massive to do list. We got a lot accomplished during the meeting, but even better we got to do it with friends.


Recipe : Taco Soup

You know those days when you need to make an easy meal for a group, maybe it’s your Bible study group or friends to watch a game… those days when you want to just throw something in your crock pot and walk away.

Those days are PERFECT for Taco Soup.


  • 2 lbs ground beef cooked (I tend to use a bit more)
  • 2 cans Ranch Style beans
  • 1 can petite diced tomatoes
  • 1 can tomato sauce
  • 1 can shoepeg corn
  • 1 can Rotelle (I use original)
  • 1 package taco seasoning mix
  • 1 package buttermilk ranch dressing mix
  • 1 cup frozen diced onion (you could use fresh, but why?)
  • 2 cups water

Throw it all in the crock pot. Stir. Turn it on low. Walk away for about two hours.

Alternately, you can put it in a pot on the stove and bring it to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer about 30 minutes.

Serve with shredded cheese, sour cream, and chips. I prefer Fritos, but then I LOVE Fritos.

A couple hints about making taco soup.

  1. You can throw frozen cooked ground beef in the crock pot with the other ingredients. Then just stir it a couple times as it cooks. So, that extra beef you cooked up the other day… Grab it and go!
  2. Taco Soup freezes REALLY well.
  3. You can make this a vegetarian meal by taking out the beef (duh) and adding in some additional beans like kidney beans and black beans. Mmmmm… beans.
  4. When you buy the ingredients for this meal, buy double the cans. You’re going to be making it again… and soon.


Do you have a variation of taco soup that you like to make? Do you have another favorite soup?