Old Fashioned Hot Fudge Sauce

I have been looking for “the one” and I think I found it.
I tried this for the first time with one of our MANY Thanksgiving desserts.
It was the perfect topping for the Peppermint Ice Cream pie.

6 Tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder (NOT sweetened hot chocolate mix)
1/3 cup boiling water
3 Tablespoons butter
1 cup sugar
2 Tablespoons light corn syrup
1 teaspoons. vanilla
Set a kettle of water on the stove to boil over high heat. Put the cocoa powder in a small pot.
When your water is boiling, measure it out. Pour about half of the boiling water into the pot with the cocoa. Stir until it forms a thick paste.
Add the rest of the water and the butter. Stir well. It will kind of look like a lumpy disaster at this point. That’s just fine. Keep going, it will smooth out as it heats up.
Set on the stove over medium heat. Add the sugar and corn syrup. Stir to incorporate.
This is important, so don’t skip this step…. As the mixture comes up to a simmer, brush down the insides of the pot with water to dissolve any rogue sugar crystals. (If you remember your high school science, one crystal will breed more, which will eventually turn your fudge sauce into solid candy.) Use a pastry brush dipped in a little cold water.
When the mixture comes up to a simmer, set a kitchen timer for 8 minutes. Simmer the sauce without stirring for the whole 8  minutes. Remove from the stove and add the vanilla. Serve hot (of course!)
Yields about 1 1/2 cups hot fudge
I found the recipe and wonderful photo instructions HERE.

Dijon Mustard

For the times you need just a bit (for a recipe and such)
and find that an investment in a full bottle
is a waste of money!!

1 tablespoon dry mustard
1 teaspoon water
1 teaspoon white wine vinegar -- (or 1/2 white wine, 1/2 white vinegar
1 tablespoon mayonnaise
pinch sugar

Mix all ingredients.

Yield: 2 tablespoons

Sparkling Apple Juice

sparkling apple juice

There are two methods I have used to make this.

12 ounce frozen apple juice concentrate
36 ounces Chilled Carbonated Water (Club Soda)

Empty undiluted apple juice concentrate into a pitcher.
Fill emptied can with carbonated water… three times.

Stir gently and serve!!

TWO (when I have leftover prepared apple juice)
Chilled Apple Juice
Chilled Carbonated Water (Club Soda)

Gently mix two parts juice with one part water.

Serve and enjoy!!

(Thanks to Karen Milling for posting her photo HERE)

Salsa Chicken in a Crockpot

This is what I have done with this recipe so far…

Served over rice. (Rice Bowl)
Served with rice in a tortilla (Burrito)
Served as a warm dip for corn chips.

1 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 can of black beans, drained and rinsed
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 cup salsa
1 package taco seasoning
3/4 cup sour cream

Pour in the can of black beans so that it's touching the bottom of the pot. 
Put the chicken, cream of mushroom, and salsa in the pot. Sprinkle taco seasoning on top.
Cook on low for 6 hours. 
Pull the chicken out after 5 hours, shred, and return back into the pot for the last hour. 
Stir in sour cream right before serving.

(Photo and Recipe from HERE)

Parmesan Asparagus Roll-Ups

A great appetizer for any occasion!

12 fresh asparagus spears
2 sheets phyllo dough (18 inches x 14 inches)
4 teaspoons olive oil
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Dash pepper

Cut asparagus spears into 4-in. lengths (discard stalks or save for another use). In a large saucepan, bring 1/2 in. of water to a boil. Add asparagus; cover and boil for 2 minutes. Drain and immediately place asparagus in ice water. Drain and pat dry.

Stack both sheets of phyllo dough on a work surface. Cut the stack in half lengthwise, then widthwise into thirds. Separate pieces and brush with some of the oil. Sprinkle each with 1 teaspoon cheese. Place one asparagus spear along one side of each piece of phyllo dough. Sprinkle lightly with pepper; roll up tightly.

Place seam side down on an ungreased baking sheet. Brush tops with oil. Bake at 400° for 7-9 minutes or until golden brown.

(Photo and original recipe HERE)

Buttermilk Substitute

On crazy days, when running to the grocery store is not a possibility,
this quick tip will help you get out of your bind (or mind, depending on the day!)

1 Cup milk
1 Tablespoon vinegar or lemon juice

Combine and let stand for 5 minutes, then use as much as the recipe calls for.

Easy Cole Slaw

My youngest daughter is away for school.
I sent her with a small collection of recipes.
but, I know I missed many of her favorites.
I told her to send me a text for any requests and I will post them for her.

It didn't take long... she has been gone a day and a half and this is her first request.

8 Cups cabbage -- chopped finely
1/4 Cup carrot – shredded
1/3 Cup sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper
1/4 Cup milk
1/2 Cup mayonnaise
1/4 Cup buttermilk
1 1/2 Tbsp white vinegar
2 1/2 Tbsp lemon juice

Be sure cabbage and carrots are chopped up into very fine pieces (about the size of rice). Combine the sugar, salt , pepper, milk, mayonnaise, buttermilk, vinegar, and lemon juice in a large bowl and beat until smooth. Add the cabbage and carrots and mix well. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2  hours before serving.

Churro Cupcakes

My daughter Kylee, a great lover of cupcakes, was the first to make these.
We have enjoyed them many time since.
Try them, you will understand why!
(I am a GREAT fan of the frosting!!)

Here is the recipe…. copied and pasted directly from her blog.

ingredients for cake
1  1/2 cups flour
1  1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
1  1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 (1 stick) cup unsalted butter - room temperature
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup milk

ingredients for frosting
4 ounces cream cheese - room temperature
4 tablespoons unsalted butter - room temperature
2 cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon cinnamon

preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
line a muffin pan with cupcake liners and set aside.
in a medium bowl, combine the flour, cinnamon, baking powder, and salt and set aside.
in a large bowl, cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy.
add the eggs, one at a time, until just combined then stir in the vanilla and oil.
sprinkle 1/3 of the flour mixture over the butter mixture and gently stir in until barely combined.
add half of the milk, mixing until just combined.
repeat these steps with the remaining flour mixture and milk, ending with the flour. do not over mix.
fill each cupcake tin with 2 tablespoons of batter, or until the cupcake tin is filled half way.
bake the cupcakes for 14 to 16 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with few crumbs.
allow the cupcakes to cool completely before frosting.
for the frosting, cream the butter and cream cheese together in a large bowl.
add the sugar, one cup at a time, beating well between each addition.
stir in the cinnamon until thoroughly combined.
then stir in the vanilla. beat the mixture well, until light and fluffy.
pipe onto cupcakes. sprinkle with a little cinnamon sugar and top with a drizzle of dulce de leche if desired.

Pudding Lush

By special request!

1 cup flour
1 stick margarine (softened)
1/2 cup chopped nuts (optional)
1 Tablespoon granulated sugar
1 cup whipped topping (Cool Whip)
8 ounce Cream Cheese
1 cup powered sugar
3 small packages instant pudding (chocolate is our favorite!)
5 cups milk
additional whipped topping

Combine flour, margarine, sugar and nuts. Pat into a 9 x 13 pan.
Bake at 375° for 15 minutes. Cool.
Beat together cream cheese, powdered sugar and 1 cup whipped topping.
Spread over crust.
Combine pudding with milk and immediately spread over cream cheese layer.
Top with additional whipped topping
Refrigerate for several hours.

photo from http://www.tastebook.com/recipes/2600791-Chocolate-Lush-Dessert
recipe from my mom!

Rice Krispies Ice Cream Dessert










1 cup butter, melted
2 cups brown sugar
3 cups Rice Krispies
1 1/2 cups chopped pecans
2 quarts vanilla ice cream
*1 package strawberry Danish Dessert (It's much better than the raspberry flavored.)
12-16 oz. bag frozen raspberries (thawed and drained, reserve drained juice)


Mix together the Rice Krispies and the chopped pecans in a medium sized bowl.  Set aside.

Mix together the melted butter and the brown sugar in a medium saucepan and cook over medium heat until sugar is dissolved.  Add the Rice Krispie/pecan mixture into the saucepan.  Mix and cool.

After this has cooled, put half of the mixture in the bottom of a 9x13 pan and spread evenly. Put the vanilla ice cream on top of the Rice Krispie layer. Spread ice cream evenly. (You may want to let the vanilla ice cream sit out for about 10 minutes so it is easier to work with.)  Put remainder of Rice Krispie mixture on top of ice cream. Cover well and freeze.

Photo and original recipe from HERE

Banana Bread Fruit Kabobs

Such an easy treat, with so many options.

banana bread kabobs_1869











Cube up a loaf or two of your favorite banana bread.
Chunk up your favorite fresh fruit. I used strawberries and pineapple.
Load them up on skewers and ENJOY!

Cheesecake Stuffed Strawberries

1 1/2 pints fresh strawberries (~20-25 berries)
1 8 oz. package cream cheese, softened (low fat will work great!)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract 
1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
1/2 cup confectioners sugar


In a medium bowl, beat the softened cream cheese, vanilla and sugar in a bowl until fluffy.
Place the filling in a pastry bag fitted with a star tip. Set aside.

With a paring knife, core the clean strawberries.

cored strawberries

Now fill the strawberries, leaving just a bit coming out the top...

If you want... melt about 1/2 cup of chocolate chips. Place in zip lock. Snip tip off and

stuffed strawberries collage

Friendship Broccoli Salad

For mothers day this year
my sister in law volunteered to bring a salad.
I gladly accepted!
Although she got sick on Mothers Day
she sent her family our way so she could get some sleep.
With 5 young children - - I could not blame her.
While we missed her deeply,  we were richly blessed!!
She managed to prepare her contribution and send it our way.
Here is her recipe for the best broccoli salad I have ever had.
Start with…
2 heads broccoli, cut into bite size pieces
2 bunches green onions, sliced
1 cup Craisins
1 cup celery, diced
1 cup cashew nuts
1 ½ cups red seedless grapes
½ lb bacon, cooked and crumbled or diced ham
(She used the ham)
Finish by…
Tossing everything together with:
1 cup mayonnaise
1/3 cup sugar
1 TBS white vinegar
Thanks Em! **As a side note I must say
Emily is a remarkable woman.
She is very gifted and talented
and a great blessing to her husband and children.
She is one of my hero’s and I am proud
to call her a sister!!

Lemon Crinkle Cookies

I took a chance and made these for the first time for an office treat.
I was not disappointed!
I found the recipe here.
What caught my eye?
1. Cookie Contest Winner
2. Lemon (a nice alternative to Chocolate)

½ cups butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
½ teaspoons vanilla extract
1 whole egg
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1 Tablespoon fresh lemon juice
¼ teaspoons salt
¼ teaspoons baking powder
⅛ teaspoons baking soda
1-½ cup all-purpose flour
½ cups powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease light colored baking sheets with non-stick cooking spray and set aside.

In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Whip in vanilla, egg, lemon zest, and juice.
Scrape sides and mix again. Stir in all dry ingredients slowly until just combined, excluding the powdered sugar.
Scrape sides of bowl and mix again briefly. Pour powdered sugar onto a large plate.
Roll a heaping teaspoon of dough into a ball and roll in powdered sugar.
Place on baking sheet and repeat with remaining dough.

Bake for 9-11 minutes or until bottoms begin to barely brown and cookies look matte {not melty or shiny}.
Remove from oven and cool cookies about 3 minutes before transferring to cooling rack.

*If using a non-stick darker baking tray, reduce baking time by about 2 minutes.

Original recipe: here

Fruit Salsa with Cinnamon Chips

Always a hit at parties.
A family favorite.
Best part… it is a very flexible recipe.
I believe the fruit listed in the recipe
are simply a guide.
I have used pears instead of apples.
Omitted the Kiwi.
Substituted Blueberries for the Raspberries.
Use what you have on hand.
Choose your favorite.
Make this recipe your own!
fruit salsa
2 kiwis, peeled and diced
2 golden delicious apples, peeled, cored and diced
8 ounces raspberries
1 lb strawberries
2 Tablespoons white sugar
1 Tablespoon brown sugar
1 Tablespoon balsamic vinegar
8 flour tortillas
3 Tablespoons butter, melted
3 Tablespoons sugar
1-1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
In a large bowl, mix fruit, sugars and vinegar. Cover and chill.
Preheat oven to 400°. Brush both sides of tortillas with butter.
Combine the cinnamon/sugar. Sprinkle over both sides.
Cut each into six wedges Place on baking sheets.
(I always make more than this!)
Bake 8-12 min, turning half way, or until crisp. Allow to cool at least 15 min.

Licorice Caramels

I made these a while ago,
and since the rest of my family are NOT fans of black licorice,
the task of eating them all was on my shoulders.

I was doing just fine,
but I knew it was not in my best interest to eat them all
so I took some over to my brothers house to share with his children,
as all good Aunt’s should do.

Today, my young niece
asked me for the recipe.

and here it is,
just as I promised.

1 cup butter
2 cups white sugar
1 (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
1 cup corn syrup
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon anise extract
black paste food coloring

Line a 9x9 inch dish with buttered foil.

In a large saucepan over medium heat, melt butter.
Stir in sugar, milk, corn syrup and salt.
Bring to a boil, stirring frequently.
Continue to heat, without stirring, to 242 to 248 degrees F (116 to 120 degrees C),
or until a small amount of syrup dropped into cold water forms a firm but pliable ball.
Remove from heat and stir in anise and food coloring.
Pour into prepared pan. Let cool completely, several hours.

To cut, turn out of pan and peel away foil. Cut with a buttered knife.
Wrap pieces in waxed paper or candy wrappers.

Aunt Heather

Roasted Chicken

I often roast a whole chicken
then pull it apart and freeze in packets,
giving me a quick dose of chicken for soups and casseroles.

For some reason,
I cannot remember the time and temp required
for a perfect chicken
so I pull out the cookbooks – EVERY TIME.
I even neglect to bookmark the page,
so I have to fumble though the book – EVERY TIME.

I repeated the process today.

Finally, I thought I better get this down in one, easy to find, place.

How long to roast a chicken…

roast chicken chart

** stuffed chickens require 15-30 minutes longer.

Peanut Butter Pretzel M&M Cookies

I have had a bag of awesome pretzel m&m’s sitting around here for a while.
Picked at, little by little.
When I came across this recipe, I knew this was a good rid my pantry of them for good…


1/2 cup vegetable shortening
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup peanut butter
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
2 Tbsp milk
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
1 3/4 cup flour
1/2 large bag of pretzel M&M’s
optional: Kosher or Sea Salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.Cream together shortening, sugars, and peanut butter.
Add egg, vanilla and milk. In a separate bowl combine the salt, baking soda, and flour, then add to dough.
Using a spoon add in candy, being careful not to break them apart.
Using a cookie scoop or spoons, form into balls and place onto cookie sheets.
Use your fingers to flatten cookies just a little. 
If desired, sprinkle a little kosher or sea salt on top (Brings out the saltiness of the pretzels!)  
Bake 10 minutes.*

*My oven only took 8 minutes.

(I found the original recipe HERE)

Sugar Cookie Cupcakes

I am a fan of Sugar Cookies, BUT they MUST meet the frosting requirement…
Orange. (Flavor, not color!)

When I saw this recipe… I HAD to give it a try.
(In fact, this is my new sugar cookie frosting recipe too!)

sugar cookie cupcakes_1731 (recipe by Baked Perfection, photo by ME)

1 cup butter, softened
2 cups sugar
3 eggs
2 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups sour cream

In a medium bowl combine the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt.
In a separate mixing bowl, cream the butter and sugar. Beat in the eggs, one at a time.
Add the vanilla; mix well. Add the flour mixture to creamed mixture alternately with sour cream (batter will be thick).
Fill greased or paper-lined muffin cups with 1/4 cup of batter.
Bake at 350 degrees F for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean.
Recipe makes approximately 30 cupcakes.

Orange Buttercream Frosting

6 cups powdered sugar
1 cup butter, softened
zest of two oranges
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4-6 tablespoons orange juice

Cream sugar, butter, orange zest, and vanilla.
Add 4 tablespoons of orange juice and beat until fluffy,
adding more if needed.

Oreo Cheesecake Bites

A quick and easy cheesecake, and an instant favorite!!
(I’ve made this twice this week…shared with friends!)

36 oreo cookies [divided]
1/2 cup butter or margarine [divided]
4 (8 ounce) packages philadelphia cream cheese [softened]
1 cup sugar
1 cup sour cream
1 teaspoon vanilla
4 eggs
4 squares baker's semi-sweet baking chocolate

heat oven to 325 degrees F.
line 13x9-inch baking pan with foil, with ends extending over sides of pan.
finely crush 24 cookies.
melt 1/4 cup butter; mix with crumbs.
press onto bottom of prepared pan.
beat cream cheese and sugar with mixer until blended.
add sour cream and vanilla; mix well.
add eggs, 1 at a time, beating after each just until blended.
chop remaining cookies. gently stir into batter; pour over crust.
bake 45 minutes or until center is almost set.
cool. microwave chocolate & remaining butter in microwaveable bowl on high 1 min; stir until smooth.
cool slightly; spread over top of cheesecake.
refrigerate 4 hours.
use foil handles to lift cheesecake from pan before cutting to serve.

original recipe here.