Archive for the ‘recipes’ Category

Summer Lunch

June 25, 2008

I had lunch today with two sweet nieces and an awesome sister-in-law. If you are looking for a simple and delicious menu, give this one a try!

We ate outside and each place had a tissue paper flower party favor filled with chocolates. I used these instructions, but used toilet paper rolls cut in half (what I had on hand at 10:00 pm) instead of the clear acetate containers. These were simple to make and inexpensive.

We ate salad with mandarin oranges and candied almonds along side a tomato pie.

Tomato Pie

4 large tomatoes, peeled and chopped
10 fresh large basil leaves chopped
1/4 cup finely chopped green onions
1/2 cup grated sharp cheddar cheese
1/2 cup grated mozzarella cheddar cheese
1/2 cup mayonnaise (I used Hellman’s light)
1/2 cup sour cream (I used light)
salt and pepper
1 9″ pre-baked deep dish pie shell

Lightly sprinkle tomatoes with salt and place in a colander to drain for at least 15 minutes. I prepared all of the ingredients early in the morning and then assembled just before baking. This gave the tomatoes plenty of time to drain to keep the crust from being soggy.

Combine grated cheeses, mayonnaise and sour cream.

Mix tomatoes, basil and onions and spread in the bottom of the pre-baked piecrust. Spread cheese mixture on top. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until lightly browned and bubbly.

Let set 15-20 minutes before serving. This is also good served at room temperature.

Mandarin Salad Dressing (from my friend Jenny)

Mix the following in a container that can be shaken:

1/4 olive oil
2 T red wine vinegar
2 T sugar
1/2 tsp salt (I use Kosher)
a dash of Tabasco pepper sauce
1 T chopped fresh parsley

I think it is best to make this dressing ahead of time to allow the flavors to come together and fully get the sugar dissolved. Shake well before dressing the lettuce. This makes enough dressing for about 4-5 nice size salads (about 6 to 7 large handfuls of lettuce)

Candied Almonds

In a dry skillet place 3 T sugar and heat over medium heat. As soon as you see any of the sugar melting add in 1/2 cup slivered almonds. The sugar will turn to syrup and coat the almonds. As soon as you see the slightest color change on the almonds– remove from heat. The almonds will continue cooking and it is very easy to burn them. Sometimes when I make these I get more of a crystallized looking coating. It doesn’t matter—is is all good!

Toss mixed greens with dressing, a regular sized can of drained mandarin oranges and the candied almonds. Serve immediately after dressing the salad.

For dessert, Miniature Cherry Cheesecakes

I used this pan, but I think these could be easily made in mini muffin tins.

Cherry Cheesecakes

1 8 ounce package of cream cheese (I used light)
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 cup sugar
1 cup ground pecans
1/3 of a stick butter melted
3 T sugar
1 can cherry pie filling

Spray pan with nonstick spray. Blend cream cheese, egg, sugar and vanilla. Set aside. Mix ground nuts with butter and 3 tablespoons sugar. Divide the nut mixture between 12 cups. Press in bottom and up sides. Fill cups evenly with cream cheese mixture. Bake about 14 minutes at 375 degrees. Let cool on rack about 20 minutes and then remove from pan. Place cherries on top. Refrigerate until ready to serve. These freeze beautifully without the cherries on top. Makes 12 miniature cheesecakes.


Oh and for drinks, try a little lemon-AID!

Here is a printable version of the recipes



Happy Easter!

March 23, 2008

Our boy decorated bunny cake


The Bunny Cake cutting diagram


Bit O’Green

March 17, 2008

Here is a little green treat for St Paddy’s Day!


Green Candied Popcorn

4 quarts popped corn
1 1/2 Cups sugar
1/2 Cup light corn syrup
2 Tablespoons butter
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar (optional, does make mixture slightly more creamy)
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon baking soda
green food coloring (I used about 1/8 teaspoon Wilton paste color in Kelly Green)

In heavy saucepan on medium heat melt butter then add sugar, corn syrup, cream of tartar and salt. Increase temperature to medium high and bring mixture to a boil, stirring constantly to dissolve sugar. Once mixture boils, add in food coloring and stop stirring. Boil for 5 minutes (Do not stir). Mixture should be about 250-260 degrees. Remove from heat and carefully stir in vanilla and baking soda. Working quickly and while mixture is foamy, pour mixture over popped corn and gently stir to coat popcorn. Place popcorn into a large roaster or rimmed baking sheet (lined with parchment paper or sprayed with cooking spray) and bake at 200° F for 1 hour, stirring every 15 minutes.

Happy St Patrick’s Day!

Happy Birthday Kansas!

January 29, 2008

Celebrate Kansas Day with some Sunflower Cupcakes.


Roll frosted cupcakes in a chocolaty cereal (leave a little space around the edge of the cupcake for the petals), pipe on some petals with a star tip and then very carefully decorate a red M&M to look like a lady bug. To make clean-up easier I attach my decorating tip to the corner of a ziploc bag. For the ladybug I cut the tiniest tip off the corner of the bag. I used a little melted chocolate almond bark for the ladybug details, but frosting would work also. Cupcakes adapted from Ladies Home Journal.

You can see last years celebration cake here along with links to Kansas coloring pages.

Have a happy day!

Happy Australia Day

January 26, 2008

Today, Australians are celebrating what is great about Australia. So I will join in and celebrate what I know to be great about Australia, my dear friend Andrea. I was lucky enough to meet her while we were both living in Germany. She is a kind, smart and generous woman. Our little girl is named after her darling daughter. Andrea and her sweet family touched our family in so many special ways and gave us so many happy memories.

So in her honor I will share her recipe for ANZAC biscuits, a famous Australian cookie. These are delicious–crunchy yet chewy!


ANZAC Biscuits

1 Cup Rolled Oats

¾ Cup desiccated coconut (I use sweetened flaked)

1 Cup flour

1 Cup sugar

½ Cup butter

1 Tablespoon Golden Syrup (I use light corn syrup)

1 teaspoon baking soda

2 Tablespoons boiling water


  • Mix oats, flour, sugar and coconut together.
  • Melt syrup and butter together.
  • Mix soda with boiling water and add to melted butter and syrup. Add this to dry ingredients.
  • Place 2 teaspoons or a tablespoon of mixture on a greased baking tray.
  • Blake in a slow (150 C or 300F) oven for 20 minutes. Watch carefully as they quickly burn if left too long. (I baked mine about 15 minutes)


Andrea’s Footnote: ANZAC stands for Australia, New Zealand Army Corp. These cookies were sent across the world to the young soldiers fighting in World War I. They store well!


Makes 2-3 dozen


Sweet Deal

January 19, 2008


Last year I wrote about making miniature heart cheesecakes. My pan is non-stick, made by Chicago Metallic and purchased from Williams Sonoma. I have found one that looks the same (I am not sure about the non-stick, but the bottoms come out so I don’t think removing the cheesecake would be a problem either way) at Amazon. I think this is a good deal at $13.49 —I paid more!


Breakfast Treat

January 15, 2008

A favorite breakfast around here is yogurt topped with granola. This granola is super easy and really tasty —very crunchy!



1 1/2 cups brown sugar OR (1/2 cup brown sugar and 1/2 cup Splenda brown sugar)
1/2 cup water
4 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 teaspoon salt (I use Kosher salt)

8 cups rolled oats (not quick or instant)
2 cup chopped nuts (I use pecans, walnuts and slivered almonds)

Preheat oven to 275 degrees F.

Combine brown sugar and water. Place in microwave (use a large microwave safe bowl –mixture will bubble) on high for 5 minutes or cook on stove top until sugar is completely dissolved. Remove from stove or microwave, add vanilla and salt.
Combine oats, nuts, and brown sugar syrup mixture. Stir until mixed. Spread the granola onto cookie sheets or a very large jelly roll pan (12 x 18) and bake 45 minutes to 1 hour or until golden and crunchy. You may add in dried fruit as it comes out of the oven. Store cooled granola in an airtight container.

Recipe adapted from Kathleen Daelemans “Crunchy Granola”

Homemade Caramel Corn

December 23, 2007

This is a sweet treat for some sweet friends. 


I use my friend Di’s recipe.  It is easy and so delicious!

Di’s Caramel Corn

½ Cup butter (1 stick)
1 Cup light brown sugar
¼ Cup light corn syrup
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
¼ teaspoon baking soda
3 quarts (12 cups) popped corn                       

In heavy saucepan on medium to medium-high heat melt butter then add brown sugar, corn syrup and salt. Bring mixture to a boil stirring constantly.  Once mixture boils stop stirring and boil for 5 minutes (Do not stir).  Remove from heat and carefully stir in vanilla and baking soda.  Pour mixture over popped corn. Gently stir to coat popcorn.  Place popcorn into a large roaster or rimmed baking sheet and bake at 225° F for 1 hour, stirring every 15 minutes.  Cool and enjoy!

Two batches of this recipe filled my three containers from Wal-Mart perfectly.

Halloween Treats

October 7, 2007

I made these pencil pops for my daughter’s bake sale at her preschool.  I think they would make really cute (and easy) favors for classroom parties at school also!


I know, a little cheating since no baking is involved! I used Almond Bark in chocolate and vanilla purchased from the grocery store. I found the plastic molds, pencil pops, bags and candy melting discs in orange at my local cake and candy supply. 


Melt the chocolate (I know this is NOT chocolate) in the microwave.  Do not overheat.   I melt it for a minute at first and then 30 intervals until smooth and melted.  I work in small batches melting only what I think I need to fill the molds.  The chocolate can easily be re-heated.  Place the plastic pencil pops in the molds.  Spoon melted chocolate into jack-o-lantern mold and ghost mold and refrigerate for about 15 minutes.  The suckers will easily pop out of the molds when thoroughly cooled.  One pound of orange candy disks makes 11 pumpkins.  One package of vanilla almond bark will make about 24 Ghosts.


Melt about 3-4 squares of chocolate almond bark.  Place slightly cooled melted chocolate into a freezer zip-loc bag and cut a tiny hole in one of the bottom corners of the bag.  Gently squeeze chocolate out of the bag to embellish the jack-o-lanterns and ghosts.


I wrapped each sucker individually in a candy bag and then tied with ribbon.  I stuck all of the Pencil Pop suckers into a block of green Styrofoam covered with black paper shreds and placed in a plastic cauldron.


Shrimp Boil

August 27, 2007

A shrimp boil is one of my favorite parties —–no dirty dishes. This is also a completely portable party. My favorite spot is on the beach. When we have a large crowd, we borrow an extra turkey fryer or two. The following recipe uses 1 large 34 quart turkey fryer with a strainer basket that goes almost to the top of the pot. One pot serves about 10-12 people.

First cover your entire table with freezer paper, shiny side up. Let the cooking begin!

Printable Shopping List and Instructions

Fill turkey fryer about 2/3 full of water. Bring to a boil and add 2 pkgs of Zatarain’s spice mix, 1/4 – 1/2 bottle Zatarain’s Shrimp and Crab oil, 1 cup of salt and garlic. Boil for 15 minutes


Add potatoes, boil for 7-8 minutes


Corn goes in next for 5 minutes (if corn is frozen you might need to turn up the heat for a minute to get your water boiling again)


Add kielbasa, cook for 8 minutes


Add onions, and squeeze lemon juice into pot and then toss the lemons into the water, boil 3- 4 minutes (oops picture is wrong – add the garlic at the beginning!)


Add shrimp and cook 5 minutes or just until shrimp turns pink.


Turn off the heat, immediately pull basket from the water and let drain.


Pour contents of basket onto your freezer paper covered table


Serve with sliced baguette sprinkled down the table and bottles of squeeze butter, cocktail sauce and spicy mustard. Remember NO knives, forks, spoons or plates allowed! This is all finger food and condiments are squeezed directly onto the table! When finished just roll up the paper and give everyone a finger wipe!


Put on some Zydeco (zi-dee-coe) music and have a great time!

What could be s’more fun?

August 10, 2007


Today is National S’more Day so it is time to get those fire pits and camp fires burning. My boys and their friend were thrilled to celebrate a day early so I could take a photo.


Well lets just say we really didn’t need a fire. Our marshmallows and chocolate were having no problem melting in the hot Kansas weather. I know, it is just WRONG to build a fire when it is still 90 degrees at 9:00 P.M.

If you want to keep cool inside try these s’more candies. They were really quick and simple. The recipe can be found here. Next time I would just use chocolate chips.  I halved the recipe and it made 18.


Look at these awesome s’more cupcakes from Sew Darn Cute.


Feeling like you should eat more fruit?



1 marshmallow

2 chewy caramels

2 green apple slices, about 1/2-inch thick

Skewer the marshmallow followed by the two caramels on the same roasting stick. Roast until golden. Slide concoction onto one of the apple slices, top with remaining slice.

“S’mores, Gourmet Treats for Every Occasion” by Lisa Adams

Still want s’more fun? Try Hershey’s S’mores for more recipes, activities, crafts, and fun facts.

Happy S’More Day!

Simply the best!

June 21, 2007


My best recipe happens to be my simplest. To celebrate the first day of summer these are a must. These soft chewy cookies are the perfect consistency when frozen for ice cream sandwiches. They are also delicious on their own.

Chocolate Cookie Ice Cream Sandwiches

1 box Devil’s Food Cake Mix (I like Duncan Hines or Aldi’s Store brand best)

1/2 cup vegetable oil

2 eggs

1/2 cup chocolate chips (optional for ice cream sandwiches but a must for the cookies without ice cream)


Mix together dry cake mix, 1/2 cup oil and 2 eggs. Stir in chocolate chips. I use a cookie scoop to make the balls. This recipe makes 20 cookies.


Bake cookies at 350 for about 11-13 minutes (Cookies are soft). Chill cookies completely before making ice cream sandwiches —-otherwise they are heavenly warm!

To make ice cream sandwiches, take your favorite 1/2 gallon ice cream in a block and slice it into about 1 inch slices.


Using a glass the same diameter of your cookie cut out a circle of ice cream


Immediately place ice cream disc between two cookies and freeze!



Happy Summer!

Say Cheese!

April 9, 2007

These were my contributions to our family Easter dinner.


Both of these cheesecakes are fabulous. They get rave reviews every-time they are made. I will say right from the start —-they are very rich, so don’t make if your palette is weak! For both recipes I use chocolate graham crackers to make the crusts. I use semi-sweet chocolate chips for the Double-Chocolate Cheesecake. Baker’s White Chocolate Baking squares work fine for the White Chocolate cheesecake, but some good quality white chocolate makes it extra nice. Both these cheesecakes freeze well before adding the toppings.

Recipe for White Chocolate and Strawberry Cheesecake


Recipe for Double Chocolate Cheesecake


I top this cheesecake with a layer of chocolate ganache. When the warm ganache is poured on it gives a beautiful smooth and shiny top. It is very professional looking (hard to see in this picture since I was trying to make it look festive for Easter!)! You probably won’t need all of the ganache for the top of the cheesecake—-the rest is great with a spoon!

Heat 2/3 cup heavy cream (must be heavy whipping cream to work)

2 Tablespoons butter

2 Tablespoons sugar

Bring to a boil. Remove from heat and add 6 ounces semi-sweet chocolate chips. The ganache can be made in the microwave. Stir until smooth and then pour on top of cheesecake. Refrigerate cheesecake.


Happy St. Patrick’s Day

March 17, 2007


Missy’s Sugar Cookies

1 cup butter

2 cups sugar

3 eggs

1 tsp vanilla

3 ½ Cups flour

1 tsp salt

1 tsp baking soda

Cream butter and sugar together. Beat in eggs and vanilla. Stir in flour, baking soda and salt. Divide dough into 4-5 portions, flatten each into a round disc and wrap well. Chill in the refrigerator a couple of hours or overnight (dough can be frozen). Roll dough out about ¼ inch thick on a floured surface in desired shapes. Bake at 325°F for 12-14 minutes on ungreased cookies sheet. Edges should be just slightly golden. Cool completely and then frost with your favorite frosting. I used this one for the shamrock cookies.  I did have to double the milk and corn syrup as mentioned in the reviews.  I also substituted creme bouquet for the almond extract.

Toll House Pie

March 16, 2007

This is the pie I sent to my son’s school for Pi day, March 14th. The middle school was having a celebration and my son requested this pie. It is delicious. It is a recipe from my dear friend, Martha. Martha taught me how to tie my shoes and how to make fancy chocolate dipped candies. She took me peach picking and fishing——so many good memories!
It is as wonderful and sweet as she was! I hope you enjoy!


Martha Wareheim’s Toll House Pie

½ Cup butter (melted)

2 eggs

½ Cup flour

½ Cup sugar

½ Cup brown sugar

1 Cup chocolate chips

1 regular pie crust- not deep dish

Preheat oven to 325°. Melt butter then set aside. Beat two eggs in a mixing bowl until foamy(I beat with a whisk just well enough to see a few bubbles). Mix in sugars and flour. Slowly stir in butter and then chocolate chips. Pour mixture into unbaked pie shell. Bake for about 1 hour. This pie freezes beautifully. Serve warm with ice cream. YUMMY! This is such a simple pie and I am always asked for the recipe.

Blarney Blessing Biscuits

March 8, 2007


These biscuits are filled with little blessings.





I took little green strips of paper, wrote a blessing and then laminated them. My basketball loving, jersey-wearing son received one that said, “May you shoot for the stars and make it.” My other son had one that said, “May you always have friends to greet you.” My husband’s said, “May your hard work be rewarded. And of course one that said, “May your sippy cup never run empty,” for our two year old.

I baked these blessings in garlicky cheese biscuits. They taste similar to the ones at Red Lobster when fresh out of the oven. I feel a little bit like Paula Deen even suggesting that someone use this much butter, but they are tasty!

Blarney Blessing Biscuits

They received their name because my friend Missy kept saying that there should be Blarney biscuits you could make for St. Patrick’s Day.

So here it goes………

2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt (3/4 tsp if using Kosher salt)
4 tsp baking powder
1 tablespoon sugar
1 cup butter, divided
2/3 cup milk
1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1/4 to 1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp of salt

Preheat your oven to 450 degrees. Stir together the flour, salt, baking powder, and sugar in a bowl. Cut in 1/2-cup cold butter with a pastry cutter until the mixture looks like peas. Stir in the milk and mix just until the dough clears the sides of the bowl. Stir in the shredded cheese. I make these totally in my food processor.

Melt remaining 1/2-cup butter and add the garlic powder and salt. Form dough into balls (about 2 tablespoons in size, makes about 18 or so biscuits). Dip each ball in butter mixture and place on ungreased cookie sheet. Place your strips of laminated paper in the middle of each biscuit. If I weren’t trying to show there was a blessing in each biscuit in the photo I probably would have folded the strips so they were hidden. Bake 10-12 minutes until golden. Drizzle any remaining butter on top and serve immediately. Since they are best served straight from the oven I made them early in the day and kept them in the refrigerator until they were ready to be baked. If you don’t have access to a laminator you could always enclose your papers in aluminum foil.


Oh the places you will go…..

March 2, 2007

making oobleck to celebrate Dr. Seuss’s Birthday today.


This stuff is amazing. My boys (okay and me too) were totally taken with this goo. Oobleck defies Newton’s third law of motion–for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. If you quickly smack oobleck with your hand it immediately turns into a solid, instead of splashing or moving. If you slowly move oobleck it reacts like a liquid. Needless to say our oobleck took a lot of fist smacking! Our kitchen was filled with lots of “Wow,” “Cool,” wide eyes of amazement and much laughter!”



To make your own mix 2 cups of cornstarch and 1 cup water in a bowl. If you want to color your oobleck like we did, add a few drops of food coloring to the water before adding to the cornstarch. It took some effort to mix the water and cornstarch. Try it out (hit it with your fist and pour it off a spoon to see if it works) before you give into the urge to add more water to make it easier to mix. When the kids weren’t playing with it I covered it with plastic wrap.

Too Cool! Really, you must give it a try!

Making bread in a bag

February 16, 2007

Last Friday my son’s fourth grade class made bread in a bag. The children were divided into groups of three and given a bread making kit. The kit included everything they needed to make three mini loaves of bread. The instructions can be printed from Kansas Wheat. More information about wheat, bread and nutrition can be found here or here.

Items needed to make a Bread-in-the-Bag Kit: (makes 3 mini loaves)


  • 1 Two-gallon, heavy-duty freezer bag
  • 1 Twist tie
  • 1 Quart-size plastic bag with 2 cups of all-purpose flour
  • 1 Quart-size plastic bag with 2 cups of whole wheat flour. NOTE: To measure flour accurately, first stir the flour, and then spoon it into a measuring cup intended for dry ingredients and level with a knife.
  • Two teaspoons of salt in a disposable container, such as a sandwich bag, small paper/plastic cup
  • One package active dry yeast or fast-rise yeast (2 1/4 teaspoons)
  • Two tablespoons sugar in small disposable cup or bag
  • One tablespoon of vegetable oil, in small disposable cup, etc.,.
  • 3 Disposable mini-loaf pan, 5 x 3 inches
  • 3 One-gallon plastic bag, for transporting bread home

Recipe for Easy Wheat Bread

Mix in a heavy-duty (freezer) plastic bag:

½ cup all-purpose flour
1 package active dry yeast or fast-rise yeast
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 cup warm water (105° to 115°F)

Close bag, release air and work with fingers until completely blended. Let rest 15 minutes.

Open the bag and add:
1 tablespoon sugar
2 cups whole wheat flour
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
2 teaspoons salt
1 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup warm water (105° to 115°F)

Mix well until the dough pulls away from the sides of the bag–about 5 minutes.


Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead 5 to 6 minutes. Knead in just enough flour to make a soft dough; it should be a little sticky. If too much flour is added, the final product will be dry and low-volume. Divide dough into thirds. Cover with plastic bag. Let rest 10 minutes.

Press the dough out flat with fingertips into a 4 x 6-inch rectangle. Beginning at a short end, roll the rectangle up tightly like a sleeping bag. With fingertips, pinch the edge to the rest of the dough forming a seam. Fold over the two ends and pinch.


Place dough, seam-side down, in pan.


Cover with bag and let rise until doubled, about 45 to 60 minutes. Bake in a preheated 350°F to 375°F convection oven 15 to 18 minutes; or in a 400F conventional oven for 30 to 35 minutes.

Remove from pans; cool on wire rack.

The children also made homemade butter with an antique butter churn.


To keep the correct rhythm while turning the crank, the children chanted this authentic poem.


Such a simple way for kids to make a delicious mini loaf of bread. We made it again at home and put the entire amount of dough in one large loaf pan.

Happy Valentine’s Day

February 14, 2007


See how to make these miniature cheesecakes here.

Happy Valentine’s Day

February 14, 2007


See how to make these miniature cheesecakes here.

You can find more information about the pan here.