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Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chunk Cookies

Was there a better match made than peanut butter and chocolate?  I can't think of any.  Mr. Reese was a genius.  I don't know if he came up with the combination, but whoever did, I thank you!

Ingredients List:

1 c. creamy peanut butter
1 c. packed light brown sugar
1 large egg
1 T. vanilla extract
1 tsp. baking soda
6 oz. (1 c.) semisweet chocolate chunks


1. Combine peanut butter, brown sugar, egg, and vanilla.  With a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat on medium-high speed until well combined and the mixture is no longer gritty or granular.

2. Add baking soda and beat to fully incorporate.

3. With wooden spoon, add chocolate chunks and mix until well combined.

4. Using a medium cookie scoop, place mounds of dough onto a wax-paper lined plate.  Flatten mounds slightly, cover with plastic wrap, and chill in the fridge for at least 2 hours.  (If you bake with warm dough, the cookies will bake thinner and flatter.)

5. Once dough has chilled, preheat oven to 350 degrees.

6. Place chilled mounds of dough onto a sprayed cookie sheet, at least 2" apart.  Bake for 8 minutes, until edges and tops are barely set.  (Cookies may appear underdone, but this is OK, as the cookies will continue to bake while cooling.)

7. Allow cookies to cool on baking sheet for 10 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

8. Store in an airtight container, for up to 1 week.  The original website also states that these cookies can be frozen, for up to 4 months.

Yield: 22 cookies

Nutrition Information, per cookie: 147 Calories, 8.2 g Fat, 0.7 g Fiber, 2.8 g Protein

Source: Averie Cooks

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Succotash Soup

This is a tasty, healthy soup but it does require some planning ahead.  If you are using fresh veggies, then I would prep them earlier in the day or the day before.  I used freeze-dried foods and just had to re-hydrate them during some of the cooking time.  I found this in a really cool cookbook called Saving Dinner by Leanne Ely.  You should check it out.  Lot's of good stuff, besides recipes.  I like the way the book is organized by season, so that you are eating foods that are available and better for you during certain times of the year.

1 10-oz. bag frozen lima beans
1 cup water
2 14.5-oz. cans of chicken broth*
1 T. vegetable oil (I used olive oil)
1 cup chopped onion*
3/4 cup chopped red bell pepper*
1/2 cup chopped celery*
3/4 cup chopped green onions*
2 1/2 t. dried whole thyme
Salt and pepper to taste
Dash cayenne pepper
1 14.5-oz. can whole tomatoes, drained and chopped (or already diced)
1 11-oz. can whole kernel corn*

1. Place lima beans in a large Dutch oven. Cover with water to 2 inches above the beans.  Bring to a boil, and cook for 2 minutes.  Remove from heat, cover, and let stand 1 hour.

2.  Drain beans; add 1 cup water and broth.  Bring to a boil; cover, reduce heat, and simmer for 40 minutes or until beans are tender.

3.  Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.  Add onion; saute 2 minutes.  Add bell pepper and celery; saute 2 minutes.  Add green onions; saute 1 minute.

4.  Add onion mixture, thyme, and remaining ingredients to bean mixture and bring to a boil.  Cover, reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes.

*This is where I substituted freeze-dried veggies or other items from my Home Store.

Serves 10.  Freezes well.  Leanne suggests serving with a big green salad and whole grain rolls. Sounds like a good plan to me!

Source:  Saving Dinner, Leanne Ely, p. 133.  

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Fluffy Yogurt Frosting

This is a recipe that my mom used to make. It is just whipped cream with yogurt folded in. It is a light alternative to heavy frosting recipes. However, it is a pretty soft consistency and is best suited for sheet cakes or 9x13 baked cakes. You can change the flavor of the frosting by using different yogurt flavors and I like to garnish the cake with fresh fruit that corresponds with the yogurt I use.

1 pint of heavy whipping cream (2 Cups)
1/4-1/2 C. powdered sugar (depending on how sweet you want it)
1 or 2 containers (6-12oz.) of yogurt (flavor of your choice)

In a stand mixer of with a hand mixer, whip the heavy cream with the powdered sugar until stiff peaks form.
Fold in the yogurt.
Spread on your cake and garnish with fresh fruit. (refrigerate the leftovers-including the frosted cake)

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Raspberry Cream Cheese Pretzel Dessert

I did not grow up eating a lot of Jell-O.  I think it's a western thing, because my husband (who is from Utah) used to eat a LOT of Jell-O desserts.  From my perspective, other than funeral potatoes (which I am still clueless about), Jell-O is the ultimate Mormon food. 

My mother-in-law actually gave this recipe to me, and it is fabulous!  Take it from a Jell-O skeptic (I mean, where's the chocolate?!), this dessert is a crowd-pleaser!  My mother-in-law and I made this together to feed a large crowd at a Sunday family get-together and there were only 2 pieces left.  The grandkids (my nieces and nephew) took care of the leftovers too!  Needless to say, this dessert is a Jell-O hit!

Ingredients & Directions:

1st Layer: 2 c. finely crushed salted pretzels, 3 T. sugar, 3/4 c. melted butter

Combine above 3 items.  Place into a 9 by 13" pan.  Bake at 400 degrees for 8 min.  Cool completely.  (It is crucial to cool this layer completely before adding the 2nd layer, so the cream cheese layer doesn't melt!)

2nd Layer: 8 oz. reduced-fat cream cheese (room temp.), 1 c. sugar, 8 oz. crushed pineapple (drained), 12 oz. Cool Whip topping (thawed)

Mix together all 2nd layer ingredients.  Spread over cooled pretzel layer.

3rd Layer: 0.9 oz. dry raspberry Jell-O (1 large box plus 1 small box), 3 c. boiling water, 2 1/2 c. frozen raspberries

Dissolve Jell-O in hot water.  Cool to room temperature.  Add frozen raspberries.  Spoon onto second layer.  (Make sure this is cool before you top the cream cheese layer, so the 2nd layer doesn't melt.) Refrigerate a few hours, until firm.

Yield: 12 very large pieces (enough to feed a large crowd)

Source: my mother-in-law, Nancy Carver

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Tres Leches Cake

Has anyone out there noticed that I post a lot of recipes for Hispanic foods?  We lived in El Paso, Texas for 6 1/2 years--right there on the US/Mexico border. Oh my yum!  Last night we had the sister missionaries over for dinner.  One of them had completed her mission and was heading back home to Arizona this week. She wanted her last dinner appointment in her mission to be at our house and she wanted a fiesta!  So cool that both missionaries are Hispanic.  They know how much we love Mexican food so I was happy to oblige. Chile Rellenos, Spanish Rice, Frijoles Charros and Tres Leches Cake.  The rellenos were homemade, but I bought my favorite rice and someday I will learn to make the beans, but for now canned is great.

For those who have never had Tres Leches (3 milks), this cake is meant to be soggy.  If yours turns out dry, you didn't make it right.  Just sayin'.


3/4 cup butter, softened
1 1/2 cups sugar, divided (or not.  I forgot to divide, so my cake was a little sweeter.  Who cares?)
1 1/2 t. vanilla extract, divided
5 eggs
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 t. baking powder
1 t. cream of tartar
1 cup whole milk (I had 2% and it was fine)
1 12-oz can evaporated  milk
1 14-oz can sweetened condensed milk
2 cups heavy cream
1 T. rum (we don't drink so I used 2 T. rum flavoring--I Googled this)
Fresh fruit for garnish--I recommend mango, blueberries, strawberries, kiwi combined.
I cut them up a little bigger than a dice.  Leave the blueberries whole.

1.  Preheat oven to 350 F.  Grease and flour a 13 x 9 baking dish.  I like using glass for this, so I adjusted the oven temp to 325.

2.  Combine butter and 1 cup sugar in a large bowl.  Beat with a mixer at medium speed until fluffy.  Add 1 t. vanilla.  Beat in eggs one at a time, mixing well.

3.  Combine four, baking powder and cream of tartar.  Add to slowly to butter mixture and beat well. Spread batter in pan.  Bake 25-30 minutes, until a wooden pick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Set aside to cool.

4.  Stir together milk, evaporated milk and condensed milk.  Pour 3 cups over cake*.  Reserve remaining milk mixture to serve with cake.  Refrigerate cake.

5.  Combine heavy cream, remaining 1/2 cup sugar, remaining 1/2 t. of vanilla and rum or rum flavoring. Beat until thick and spread over cake.  Refrigerate until ready to serve.

6.  Pour leftover milk mixture onto dessert plates.  Slice chilled cake into squares and place on plates. Garnish with fresh fruit, if desired.  Serves 16.

Source:  I clipped this from a magazine, so I am guessing Better Homes & Gardens.

*no need to poke holes in the cake before you pour your milk mixture over it.  The cake does absorb the liquid very easily.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Play Dough

2 C. Flour
1 C. Table Salt
2 Tbsp. Cream of Tartar
2 Tbsp. oil
2 C. water

Combine all ingredients in a sauce pot. Cook and stir over medium heat til it comes together and clears the sides of the pot. It will get tough to stir. Remove from heat, knead the play dough and add food coloring or essential oils for colored/scented dough. Mix til smooth.

Store cooled play dough in a ziploc bag. It should last for several weeks or a couple months.