Thursday, January 27, 2011

Breakfast Cake

1 pkg yellow cake mix with pudding in the mix (or add 1 small instant vanilla pudding)
4 eggs
3/4 cup oil
3/4 cup water or 7-Up
1 tsp nutmeg

Mix all together.  Beat on medium speed for 5 minutes (set your timer).  

In another bowl mix:
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon

Grease and flour an angel food pan.  Pour in half of batter; sprinkle with 1/2 of brown sugar mixture; pour rest of batter over; top with remaining brown sugar mixture.  Bake at 350 degrees for 45-50 minutes.

NOTE:  I rarely do the nuts unless I know there are no allergies - and it is great without.  Also, I frequently make it and put it in 2 small loaf pans to bake - only needs about 30-40 minutes when cooked this way.  It is great for wrapping in foil, tying with a big bow and delivering to friends and neighbors.  I like this served slightly warm.  ENJOY!

Monday, January 24, 2011


Cut red potatoes into wedges.  Coat in olive oil; place on cookie sheet.  Sprinkle with seasonings (Old Bay, Mrs. Dash and basil.)  For a spicier potato use: McCormick Grill Mates Spicy Montreal Steak.  Divine!  Bake at 400 degrees for 30-45 minutes. Top all with Parmesan cheese. 

NOTE:  Any combination of spices can be used. 


Place ribs in crock pot; season with seasoning salt and Italian seasoning; add a bit of worcestershire and balsamic vinegar.  Cover scantly with water and cook overnight or 6 hours.  Remove from crock pot and place on foil covered cookie sheet; spray with Pam.  Coat with favorite BBQ sauce and bake at 350-400 for about 15 minutes.  Very tender and yummy!

Granny Goose Popcorn

1 cup sugar
1 cup powdered sugar
10 T milk (1/2 cup + 2 T)
1 T butter
pinch of salt

Stir until dissolved.  Boil 2 minutes.  Covers 3 quarts popcorn.

Sugar and Spice Popcorn

3 T butter
2 T sugar
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp cinnamon
2 quarts popped corn

Melt butter; add sugar and spices.  Stir until sugar is dissolved.  Drizzle over popcorn and toss to mix well.


1/2 box Corn Chex
1/2 box Golden Grahams
2 cups coconut
1 pkg sliced almonds

1 cup light Karo syrup
a cup sugar
3/4 cup butter
Boil for 2 minutes.  Pour over cereal mixture.  Spread on cookie sheet to cool.  WARNING:  This is very addictive!

Caramel Corn

Put in pan:  
2 cups brown sugar
2 sticks butter
1 tsp salt
1/2 cup corn syrup
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp vanilla
6 quarts of popcorn

Melt brown sugar, butter, and salt in pan.  Bring to a boil and stir for 5 minutes; turn to low heat and let cook by itself for 5 minutes.  Turn off heat and add baking soda and vanilla.  Pour over popcorn and stir well.  Pour onto cookie sheet and put in 200 degree oven.  Let cook for an hour stirring every 15 minutes.
Shared by my sister Karla many years ago

Chocolate Angel Food Dessert

1 T vanilla
1 angel food cake
12 oz chocolate chips
4 eggs, separated
4 T sugar
1 pint whip cream

9X13" buttered dish.  Melt chocolate and set aside to cool.  Add sugar and egg yolks mixture and blend.  Add 1 T vanilla.  Whip cream; beat egg whites.  Fold into chocolate mixture and blend.  Tear up cake.  Reserve a cup or two of chocolate mixture and mix the remaining chocolate mixture with the angel food cake and pour into 9X13" pan.  Top with remaining chocolate mixture (this allows you to have a pretty top).  Refrigerate until set.  Pecans or shaved chocolate make a nice finish to this wonderful dessert.  So yummy, but light too!

Emerald Salad

1 lg pkg jello (lime, raspberry are my favs)
1 lg can crushed pineapple (I like to whirl the pineapple in the blender first to make it more fine)
Mix together and heat until jello is dissolved; about to the simmer stage.

After jello has cooled, add:
1 8 oz pkg cream cheese
8 oz Cool Whip (or real whipped cream)
Pecans can be added if you like.  (I do, but rarely add them when taking to someone else due to the risk of allergies).  Let set (once jello cools it sets quickly).

New Logo

I am introducing my new logo/website/blog.  I have incorporated my love of cooking into my business logo!  I have been including my cooking for quite some time as I work with clients.  My new logo is "Home-Made Simple".  My old website and blog should forward you directly to my new sites, but since this is all new to me, I can't guarantee anything! :))  I am excited about the direction that my business continues to move in and all the great clients I am blessed to associate with!  My new blog is ", my website is, and my new email is ( will stay in effect as well.).     

Just 5 More Minutes

While at the park one day, a woman sat down next to a man on a bench near a playground.
“That’s my son over there,” she said, pointing to a little boy in a red sweater who was gliding down the slide.
“He’s a fine looking boy” the man said. “That’s my daughter on the bike in the white dress.”
Then, looking at his watch, he called to his daughter. “What do you say we go, Melissa?”
Melissa pleaded, “Just five more minutes, Dad. Please? Just five more minutes.”
The man nodded and Melissa continued to ride her bike to her heart’s content. Minutes passed and the father stood and called again to his daughter. “Time to go now?”
Again Melissa pleaded, “Five more minutes, Dad. Just five more minutes.”
The man smiled and said, “OK.”
“My, you certainly are a patient father,” the woman responded.
The man smiled and then said, “Her older brother Tommy was killed by a drunk driver last year while he was riding his bike near here. I never spent much time with Tommy and now I’d give anything for just five more minutes with him. I’ve vowed not to make the same mistake with Melissa.
She thinks she has five more minutes to ride her bike. The truth is, I get Five more minutes to watch her play.”
Life is all about making priorities, what are your priorities?
Give someone you love 5 more minutes of your time today! 

by: Bill Greer, Chicken Soup for the Veteran's Soul

Friday, January 21, 2011

White Trash

8 cups Chex cereal (I like Crispex cereal)
2-3 cups pretzels (the small round kind)
2 cups plain M&M's
2 cups peanuts (I use party peanuts)
1 1 lb. vanilla almond bark

Combine all ingredients except the almond bark in a large mixing bowl, toss till mixed.  Melt the almond bark over low heat in a saucepan stirring often.  Pour over cereal and toss to coat. 

NOTE:  Any combination of cereal and nuts can be used.  Dried fruit would also make a nice addition.  WARNING:  Very addictive!

Raspberry Cream Cheese Bars

1/2 pound butter, softened
1 cup sugar
2 cups flour
1 cup rolled oats
12 oz. cream cheese
3/4 cup sweetened condensed milk
2/3 cup raspberry jam (see NOTE below)

Cream butter and sugar in mixer until well combined.  Add flour and oatmeal and mix gently to make crumbly dough.  Pat 2/3 of dough into buttered 9X13" pan, set aside 1/3 dough for topping.  

Combine cream cheese and sweetened condensed milk in mixer and beat until smooth - this will be a fairly thick mixture.  Drop cream cheese mixture onto crust and spread with back of metal spoon or spatula.  Soften the jam (see my NOTE) in microwave until pourable, and spread over cream cheese mixture.

Crumble remaining dough onto top of raspberry preserves.  Bake at 350 degrees for 30-45 minutes, or until crust is lightly browned.

NOTE:  I do not use the raspberry jam - instead:

2 (10 oz) pkgs frozen raspberries, thawed
2 T sugar
2 T cornstarch
1/4 cup cold water

Mix raspberries with sugar in saucepan and heat to a boil; stirring constantly.  Mix cornstarch with cold water and add to raspberries.  Cook until thickened; stirring frequently.

This sauce is also good over ice cream, crepes, cheesecake, etc.  I make this a lot!

Truffles Made With Love

1 pkg. (18 oz) Oreo Chocolate Sandwich Cookies
1 pkg. (8 oz) cream cheese, softened
2 pkg. (8 oz each) Baker's semi-sweet baking chocolate, melted

Crush 5-8 cookies into fine crumbs in a food processor; set aside for later use.

Crush remaining cookies to fine crumbs.  Place in medium bowl.  Add softened cream cheese; mix until well blended.  Roll cookie mixture into 42 balls, about 1" in diameter.

Dip balls in melted chocolate; place on wax paper-covered baking sheet.  

Sprinkle truffles with reserved cookie crumbs.  

Refrigerate until firm, about 1 hour.  Store leftover truffles, covered in refrigerator.

Makes 3 1/2 dozen or 42 truffles.

Tip:  For easy dipping, place truffle ball in melted chocolate to coat; roll if necessary.  Lift truffle from chocolate using two forks (this will allow excess chocolate to fun off) before placing on wax paper.

Simply Sensational Trufles

2 1/2 pkg (20 squares) Baker's semi sweet chocolate, divided
1 pkg. (8 oz) cream cheese, softened

Melt 8 chocolate squares.  Beat cream cheese with mixer until creamy; stir in melted chocolate.  Refrigerate until firm.  Shape into 36 balls.  Place on wax paper-covered tray.  

Melt remaining chocolate.  Use fork to dip truffles; return to tray.  Decorate with nuts, cake decors, powdered sugar, etc.  Can also drizzle white chocolate over the top.  Refrigerate 1 hour.  Store leftovers in the fridge. 

Pretzel Bark

1 cup chopped pretzels
1/3 cup chopped pecans
1 1/2 pkg (8 oz each) Baker's semi sweet chocolate, melted

Stir pretzels and nuts into melted chocolate; spread onto waxed paper-covered baking sheet.

NOTE:  You can put any combination of things in the chocolate - nuts, chocolate hearts (white with milk chocolate, milk or dark chocolate into white chocolate), M&Ms, dried fruit, etc.  Let your imagination go wild.  You can also put the melted chocolate on the pan and then press the above ingredients into the soft chocolate rather than mixing it in a bowl first.  Have fun!  Super fast and easy and oh so yummy!

Adams Family Chocolate Chip Cookies

2 1/2 cups flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup butter, softened
2 large eggs
2 tsp vanilla
2 cups real milk chocolate chips
1 pkg. Reese's peanut butter chips

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.  Whisk flour, soda and salt.  In a separate bowl, beat sugars, butter, eggs and vanilla until light and fluffy.  Add flour mixture and chips.  Blend on low.  Roll into 1" balls, flatten slightly with spoon.  Place on lightly greased cookie sheet.  Bake 9-12 minutes.  Let rest on hot pan.

NOTE:  I sometimes substitute cinnamon chips (hard to find, but usually available around Christmas time - I buy and freeze for later in the year) and combine with the chocolate or the peanut butter.  Nice combination.   

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

On A Personal Note

This past month has been crazy!  Filled with the good, the bad, and the ugly.  Fortunately more of the good, than the bad and ugly.  We spent Christmas day traveling to Arizona to visit our middle son, Brian, and his family.  They had a new addition to the family 2 weeks before and we were anxious to kiss her cute cheeks!  Briley Nicole is beautiful and so good!  She joined big brother Crew - he is a bundle of energy and so much fun!!!.  We were able to stay about 9 days and thoroughly enjoyed our time with family.  There is nothing quite as rewarding as watching your children with their own little families and seeing the joy that it brings to them.  We have been very blessed with all of our boys and their families!  Wish we all lived closer, but it makes our time together that much sweeter!

On a different note - my father-in-law had a stroke last weekend.  It affected his left side and we were very concerned about his condition, but he is just stubborn enough to not have any of it!  He has made terrific progress and is currently in rehab.  My mother-in-law fell and broke her hip in November and is still doing rehab for that - so the two of them make quite a pair!  Nothing like these types of events to remind you how short life is and how quickly things can change.  We are grateful to still have them both around and hope to have them for years to come!

Still really struggling with the "blog thing" as opposed to the monthly newsletter - would love to hear your comments about which method you prefer.  On the plus side, I can write whenever I want to, I do not have limited space, and you can comment!  I know that some will never come to the blog however and want to stay in touch.  Thinking of doing a postcard every other month.  Would love to hear your thoughts.....

Have enjoyed your interaction on my blog - thanks so much!  Would love to hear things you would like to see me post.....Happy 2011 - hope it is going well for you all!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Neiman Marcus Cookies (shared for Meredith!)

2 c butter
2 c sugar
2 c brown sugar
4 eggs
2 tsp vanilla
4 c flour
5 c blended oatmeal (blend in blender to a fine powder)
1 tsp salt
2 tsp baking powder
2 tsp baking soda

Add: 24 oz chocolate chips, 1 8-oz grated Hershey bar, and 3 cups chopped nuts.  Bake at 375 degrees for 10 minutes.

This can be cut in half (it makes a ton).  The oatmeal flour seems to help these be soft, but firm.  If you just soften the butter rather than melting it, that will also help it to not go flat.  If the first tray is not nice and fluffy, refrigerate dough for an hour and try again.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Molten Spiced Chocolate Cakes

4 oz. semi-sweet baking chocolate
1/2 cup butter
1 T red wine (I substituted water)
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup confectioners' sugar
2 eggs
1 egg yolk
6 T flour
1/4 tsp Roasted Saigon cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp ground cloves

Microwave chocolate and butter in large microwavable bowl on high 1 minutes or until butter is melted.  Stir with wire whisk until chocolate is completely melted.  Stir in wine, vanilla and sugar until well blended.  Stir in eggs and yolk.  Stir in flour and spices.  Pour batter evenly into 4 (6 oz) buttered custard cups or souffle dishes.  Place on baking sheet.

Bake in preheated 425 degree oven 13-15 minutes or until sides are firm but centers are soft.  Let stand one minute.  Carefully loosen edges with knife.  invert onto serving plates.  Sprinkle with additional confectioners' sugar.  Serve immediately.  Makes 4 servings.

NOTE:  These are very rich and my family suggested going to a smaller ramekin (custard cup) - so I did them in the 4 oz size the second time I made them.  Seems to be the perfect size!  These are yummy, elegant and super easy!!!!!  Makes 5-6 with the smaller cups.