Monday, December 26, 2011

Christmas is Over....Wow How Quickly it Passed

I hope you all had a very Merry Christmas and that the new year will bring health and happiness.  We had a great Christmas with family, grandchildren and friends.  December rushed upon us in a roar beginning with the celebration of my Mother's 80th birthday.  We had over 60 people join us in the surprise party.  That was on the 17th, then the 18th was our son Matthew's birthday, followed by Holly's birthday on the 24th.  We celebrated with her family and Matt and Linda.  We went to Mass where little Taylor was an angel in a little program. 

Christmas Day was special with friends and family.  I made the Coconut cake with a different twist that I posted previously.  It was a big hit.  I also made sausage wontons.  I have a recipe for wontons on here that I usually make, but did a twist.  I made wontons using cream cheese and sausage.  I like the recipe that I posted here, much better.  I also tried making the wontons with a surprise chocolace kiss in  the center, but forgot about putting them in the oven and, you know the rest of that story.

So, Happy New Year.  Be Safe and Here's to a Peaceful, Healthy Happy Year.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Santa's Sleigh's from Ellyn's Place

Look what I found on Pinterest from Ellyn's Place!  It looks like so much fun to mak.

You take two candy canes, and place a strip of glue on each candy cane and glue a Kit Kat candy bar to it.
Next, layer candy bars on top of the Kit Kat bars.

Then top with bows and ribbons...After all the glue is hard and secure, glue ribbon around your "packages" and a bow on the top. That's it! so cute and fun and your recipient can keep it as a decoration or take it apart and eat all the candy!

So, so cute!!! A fun project for the little ones, too!!!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Chocolate Covered Peanut Butter Balls

  • 3 tablespoons butter or 3 tablespoons margarine , softened
  •  1 lb dipping chocolate or 1 lb confectioner's coating
  • Chopped pecans ,if desired


  1. Stir together powdered sugar, peanut butter and butter until well mixed.
  2. Shape peanut butter mixture into 1 inch balls, placing them on a baking sheet covered with waxed paper.
  3. Let balls stand for 20 minutes until dry.
  4. Melt the dipping chocolate or confectioners' coating.
  5. Drop balls one at a time in melted chocolate.
  6. Using a fork, remove from the chocolate, letting excess chocolate drip off.Peanut Butter Balls. Photo by Pvt Amys Momce
  7. Place back on the waxed paper.  Let stand till dry.

White Chocolate Martini

White Chocolate-Peppermint Marshmallow Martini
Marshmallow sundae topping
peppermint candies, crushed
1/4 cup vanilla vodka
1 tablespoon peppermint schnapps
1/4 cup white chocolate liqueur
  • 1 Dip the rim of a martini glass in marshmallow topping then crushed peppermint candies. Drizzle some marshmallow topping on inside of glass; place glass in freezer.
  • 2 In a shaker with ice, add vodka, schnapps, and the liqueur. Shake until mixed; pour into prepared glass. Sprinkle with crushed peppermint.

Coconut Cake with a Different Twist

Vegetable oil, for misting the pan
Flour, for dusting the pan
1 package (18.25 oz) plain white cake mix (my favorite is Duncan Hines)
1 cup milk
1/2 cup cream of coconut, plus more cream of coconut for brushing the baked layers 
3 large eggs
2 cups sour cream
1 3/4 cups sugar
1 container (8 oz) frozen whipped topping, thawed (Cool Whip)
3 1/2 to 4 cups sweetened flaked coconut
Place a rack in the center of the oven and preheat oven to 350. Lightly mist three 9 inch round cake pans with vegetable oil spray, then dust them with flour. Shake out the excess flour and set the pans aside.
Place the cake mix, milk, 1/2 cup cream of coconut, and eggs in a large mixing bowl and beat with an electric mixer on low speed until the ingredients are incorporated, 30 seconds. Stop the machine and scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula. Increase the mixer speed to medium and beat for 1 1/2 minutes longer, scraping down the sides of the bowl again if needed. The batter should look well blended. Divide the cake batter evenly among the 3 prepared pans, about 1 1/2 cups batter per pan, smoothing the tops with a rubber spatula. Place the pans in the oven. If your oven is not large enough to hold 3 pans on the center rack, place to pans on that rack and one in the center of the rack above.
Bake the cake until layers are light brown and the tops spring back with lightly pressed with a finger, 18 to 23 minutes. The cake layer on the higher rack may bake faster, so test it for doneness first. 
While the cakes bake, make the frosting. Place the sour cream and granulated sugar in a large mixing bowl and beat with an electric mixer on low speed for 1 1/2 minutes. Stop the machine and scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula. Increase the mixer speed to medium and beat until the sugar has dissolved, 2 minutes longer. Add the whipped topping and beat on low speed until well blended. Stir in 3 cups of coconut and beat on low speed until mixed. Place the frosting in the refrigerator to chill for at least 10 minutes.
Transfer the cake pans to wire racks and let the cake layers cool for 5 minutes. Run a sharp knife around the edge of each cake layer and give the pans a good shake to loosen the cakes. Invert each layer onto a wire rack, and then invert again so they are right side up. While the cakes cool, use a small brush to gently brush the tops of the cake with the remaining cream of coconut. Let the cakes cool completely, 15 minutes longer. When the cakes are cool, use a large serrated knife to cut each cake in half horizontally to make 6 layers.
To assemble the cake, transfer one layer, cut side up, to a serving platter. Spread the top with a heaping 2/3 cup frosting. Place another layer, cut side up, on top of the first layer and frost with 2/3 cup frosting. Repeat this process with the remaining layers and frost the top and sides of cake. Sprinkle 1/2 to 1 cup coconut on top of the cake for garnish.
This cake can be stored in the refrigerator for up to one week.
Okay, I have to make this for Matt and Holly's birthday.  They both love coconut cake.  And, this recipe sounds just awesome.  Of course, this was found on

A new Body Scrub...From

Just found another body scrub that I am going to try.  This one is from Jamaica.  I am currently enjoying the heck out of my freshly made Brown Sugar Body Scrub.  It makes my skin feel like a million bucks.  I bet the one below is good.  I just happen to have all of the ingredients so I am going to mix up a batch!!

  • 1 part cornmeal (it can be white or yellow – it is your preference)
  • 1 part epsom salts
  • 1 bottle of almond extract
  • 1 large decorative bottle
This makes a great gift.  You mix the ingredients above and put in a pretty jar and give as a gift.  You put this instructional tag with it:  Mix 1/2 cup of scrub with enough water to make a paste.  Add a tsp or almond or vanilla extract to make it smell good.  Enjoy in the shower or tub.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Homemade Gifts for the Season

I love making homemade, gifts to give.  I have already made two batches of Brown Sugar Body Scrub.  I used Brown Sugar, Grapeseed oil, Jojoba oil, a little olive oil and I added a TBSP of honey as it is good for dry skin.  You mix this all up and put it in jars (I used canning jars) and I make sure that the sugar is very moist.  I also added frankincense and myrrh essential oils in honor of the season.  This made it smell heavenly.  I also made a batch and used lemon and orange flavoring.  This makes your skin feel like a million bucks.  You just use it as a body scrub when you are in the shower.

Also, I found this recipe on Pinterest for hand cream.  Use 16 oz. baby lotion, 8 oz. of vaseline and 8 oz. of vitamin E cream.  Mix this up, add essential oils (lavendar would be good) and use as a hand cream.  You can put this into pretty little jars and this makes a wonderful gift as well. 

Can you Believe that it is Almost Christmas?

I had so many things to do and now it is getting down to the wire.  Hopefully, next week I will be able to at least do some of the baking, making, crafting things that I wanted to do before Christmas.  Why is it that time goes by so quickly?  There is never enough time.

One thing that I did this weekend and you might want to find time to do this.  I went to Kroger and bought 4 bags of Epsom Salt.  And, I purchased some clear glass containers from Michaels, along with those little animals that children play with..the plastic deer, dogs, etc.  Also, I bought miniature Santas, etc.  I found some things in my Christmas decorations that I could use...I pulled some greenery from fake pine decorations, and you could also use real pine stems.

I poured a little less than 1/2 of the bag of Epsom salt into each container.  Just enough to make it look pretty.  Then, for one container, I placed a Golden Retriever in the "snow" and a pine thingy that looked like a Christmas tree.  I sprinkled some of the salt onto the tree to make it look as if it had snow on it.  Then, I put a mini Santa, snowman in the snow.  Wallah!  What a beautiful decoration.  The salt looks just like sparkly snow.

I made several of these as gifts.  Love them. I will take a picture and post on here so that you can see for yourself.  And, I found this idea of Pinterest.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011


The ingredients you will need:
1 1/2 cups of milk
3/4 cup + 1 Tablespoon Sugar
1 egg
1 Tablespoon salt
2 Tablespoons yeast
2 cups of warm water
about 9-10 cups of all purpose flour
at least 1 cup of butter
To start out: Scald 1 1/2 cups of milk, 3/4 cup sugar and 1/2 cup of butter, in a microwave safe bowl, for about 2 minutes. Cutting the butter into pieces helps it melt faster. There will probably be some little cubes of butter still floating in the hotWe are going to add yeast to this hot mixture, but it will be too hot to just dump the yeast straight in (it would kill it!). To cool it down stir in 1-2 cups of flour, then add 1 egg and 1 Tablespoon of salt, and leave it to cool for a couple of minutes. Meanwhile, in a measuring cup dissolve 2 Tablespoons of yeast in 2 cups of warm water and 1 Tablespoon of sugar. Let it sit for a couple of minutes until it is bubbly.
**Keep track of how much flour you are adding!!!
 mixture, they Make sure your milk mixture is just warm, not boiling and add the yeast mixture!will melt.
Using a fork or wooden spoon, gradually stir in 9-10 cups of flour (counting the flour you have already added to cool it earlier). I would recommend only adding 2 cups at time and stirring in between. These rolls turn out so much better when they are mixed by hand.

At the end the dough will be dense and sticky, and may be hard to stir, you can use your hands to incorporate the rest of the flour if needed. Be sure not to add too much flour. Then smooth the dough out and cover the bowl with plastic wrap. Leave it in a warm place and let it raise
When your dough is close to raising completely, butter 2 cookie sheets and set them aside
Let the dough raise until it has doubled in size.
Cover your working space with flour to prevent the dough from sticking. Dump your dough out and divide it into 4 balls. Eyeball the sizes, then lift them up and feel the weight of each ball. Try to make them even, but they don’t have to be perfect.
Using one ball of dough at a time: roll the dough into a circle on a floured counter. Once it is rolled out spread the top with butter from edge to edge. You will use about 2 Tablespoons per circle of dough.
Cut the dough into quarters using a pizza cutter.
If you would like to add the thankful notes, now is the time!
Place one thankful note lengthwise on the triangle of dough.
Make sure you spread plenty of butter when using these notes, It will prevent them from sticking!
Tuck the tail of the triangle under the roll and place it on the buttered cookie sheet. You will make 3 rows, with 8 rolls per row. This will give you 24 rolls per pan. Two balls of dough will fill 1 pan. You will get a total of 48 rolls!

Orange Creamsicle Cookies

Orange Creamsicle Cookies

2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 firmly packed brown sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons orange zest (for me that was the zest of 2 oranges)
2 cups Guitard Choc-Au-Lait Vanilla Chips (I used Ghirardelli white chips)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

In a small bowl, combine flour, baking soda, and salt; set aside.

In a large bowl, cream butter and sugars until light and creamy. Beat in egg and vanilla until smooth. Gradually add flour mixture until combined. Stir in orange zest and chips.

Drop rounded teaspoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheets. Do not flatten cookies; it will make them dry. Bake 8 - 10 minutes or until golden brown around edges. Do not overcook! Cookies will be plump. Cool for several minutes on cookie sheets before transferring to rack to cool completely. Store in airtight container

Butterfinger Chunk Cookies

Can we have too much butterfinger stuff?  I think not.  This is from found on  Loving my butterfinger recipes.

Yield: 24 cookies
Prep Time: 20 min + chill time
Cook Time: 12 min
Both the buttery and chocolate parts of the candy bar melt into these cookies...


1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup (packed) dark brown sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups, plus 2 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 cups crushed Butterfingers (about 3 regular-sized bars)


1. Using electric mixer, beat butter and both sugars in large bowl until well-blended. Add egg and vanilla and beat until fluffy. Beat in flour, salt and baking soda. Stir in butterfingers (dough will be moist). Chill cookie dough at least 30 minutes and up to 1 hour.
2. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper. Using 1 rounded Tablespoon of dough for each cookie (I use a small cookie scooper), drop cookie dough in mounds onto prepared baking sheets, spacing 3 inches apart (about 8 cookies per sheet; cookies will spread). Bake cookies until golden brown, about 12 minutes. Transfer parchment with cookies to rack and cool completely. (Can be prepared 4 days ahead. Store in airtight container.)

Oatmeal No Bake cookies

My Mother used to make these cookies when I was growing up.  I think I may have posted this on here before under Boiled Oatmeal cookies.  I found this version on  I am making these for Sunday as a tribute to my Mama.  And, I make take a batch over to Alabama when we celebrate her 70th birthday on the 17th of this month.  Yuumy
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 stick oleo, margarine or butter (I used butter)
  • 3 Tbsp. cocoa powder
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup crunchy peanut butter
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 3 cups oatmeal (old fashioned rolled oats, not instant)
Mix the sugar, butter, cocoa, and milk in a medium saucepan.* Boil for 1 minute.
Add the peanut butter and vanilla. Mix quickly until peanut butter melts, then add the oatmeal and mix til well blended.
Drop spoonfuls on tin foil, wax paper or parchment. Allow to set and cool completely.
Makes 2 dozen 3 inch cookies.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Paula Deen's Popcorn Balls

Here is Paula's version of Popcorn balls.

Picture of Popcorn Balls Recipe


  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 1/3 cups water
  • 1/2 cup light corn syrup
  • 1 teaspoon white vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 18 cups popped corn


In a medium saucepan, combine sugar, water, syrup, vinegar, and salt. Cook over high heat until mixture reaches 255 degrees F (hard-ball stage) on a candy thermometer. Stir in vanilla. Pour over popped corn, tossing gently to coat. When mixture is cool enough to handle, press popcorn into 3-inch balls with lightly greased hands. Cool completely on waxed paper.

Popcorn Balls

Hi, yawl.  How are you doing?  Remember making these back in the day?  My Aunts and my Memma used to make these not only at Christmas time, but throughout the year.  So delicious!  I love going back to yesteryear.  I may have another recipe on here that is my Mother's recipe.  This is actually from



  • 3/4 cup light corn syrup
  • 1/4 cup margarine
  • 2 teaspoons cold water
  • 2 5/8 cups confectioners' sugar
  • 1 cup marshmallows
  • 5 quarts plain popped popcorn


  1. In a saucepan over medium heat, combine the corn syrup, margarine, cold water, confectioners' sugar and marshmallows. Heat and stir until the mixture comes to a boil. Carefully combine the hot mixture with the popcorn, coating each kernel.
  2. Grease hands with vegetable shortening and quickly shape the coated popcorn into balls before it cools. Wrap with cellophane or plastic wrap and store at room temperature.
Best Ever Popcorn Balls Recipe

Make the House Smell Yummy this Christmas

Holiday Stove Top Potpourri Mix
  • one whole orange or just the orange peel
  • 1/2 cup cranberries
  • 1 Tbsp. whole cloves
  • 3 sticks of cinnamon or a small handful of small pieces of cinnamon
  • a bit of grated nutmeg if desired
Quarter the orange.  Put all the ingredients into a saucepan.  Fill pan with water.  Place on the stove on the smallest burner, on the lowest setting.  Refill water as needed.

Another important tip is don’t allow the water to completely evaporate. I always refill the water when I turn it on.  One mix stays good for weeks.  With heating the mix does turn brown, but continues to smell wonderful, so I usually make only batch in a season.
It’s not the Holidays without the delicious scent… it makes me think of cranberry sauce or wassail.  Yum.

A stove top potpourri mix makes a perfect easy gift this season.  It is inexpensive, homemade and useful.

For a gift...

Put these instructions with it:
Quarter the orange.
Put all the ingredients
into a saucepan. Fill
pan with water. Place
on the stove on the
smallest burner, on the
lowest setting. Refill
water as needed
This is from  And the blogger is

Amond Joy Cheesecake

Almond Joy Cheesecake
Servings: depends on how many slices you make!
For the crust:
1 and 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs (I used cinnamon-flavored.  Weird, I know, but it totally worked and saved me a trip to the store)
1 and 1/2 cups sweetened flaked coconut, toasted
1/2 cup sliced almonds, toasted
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
For the filling:
4 8-ounce packages of cream cheese, at room temperature
1 cup sugar
4 large eggs
1 cup sweetened flaked coconut, toasted
1 tablespoon coconut extract
1 cup sliced almonds, toasted
For the glaze:
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
3/4 cup heavy cream
1 and 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Whole roasted almonds, toasted coconut, whipped cream, for garnish
1. For the crust: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
2. Prepare your springform pan by wrapping it with aluminum foil to allow for extra three inches or so of foil to project above the sides.  (This will help later when you need to grab the pan.)
3. In a food processor, pulse the graham crackers, almonds, coconut, and sugar to a fine crumb.
4. With the machine running, slowly add the melted butter and pulse until it resembles moist sand.
5. Press the mixture into the bottom and 1-inch up the sides of the pan.
6. Bake the crust for about 12 minutes, or until set and lightly browned.
7. Remove from the oven and let cool.
8.  Readjust oven temperature to 325 degrees.
9. For the filling: In a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese and sugar until smooth.
10.  Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition.
11. Add the coconut extract.
12.  Stop the mixer, and gently fold in the toasted almonds with a spatula until well combined.
13. Transfer the filling to the cooled crust and bake for about 1 hour and 15 minutes (until the crust is puffy and lightly browned).
14. Remove the cheesecake from the oven and let cool completely on a wire rack.
15. For the chocolate glaze: Combine the chocolate chips, cream, and vanilla in a small saucepan over medium heat, stirring frequently until smooth.
16.  Remove the pan from the heat and let cool to room temperature (this took about 10 minutes for me).
17. Pour the glaze over the cheesecake (which is still in the springform pan) and spread evenly.
18.  Chill the cheesecake overnight or until firm and set.
19.  When ready to serve, run a knife around the perimeter of the pan to loosen the cake.  Release the pan sides and serve.
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Butterfinger Blondies

Pinned Image


1 cup butter
1 cup light brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 tsp vanilla
2 eggs
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp coarse sea salt
2 cups coarsely chopped Butterfinger Bars (approx 16 “Fun Size” bars)

Preparation time: 5 minute(s)
Cooking time: 25 minute(s)

Preheat oven to 350°
Cream butter and sugars in mixing bowl.
Add the vanilla and eggs and mix until incorporated.
On low add your dry ingredients (flour, salt and baking soda) until just combined.
Stir in your chopped Butterfinger.
Spread in a 9×13 baking dish and bake for 25 minutes until center is JUST set.
Remove from oven and cool completely.

Butterfinger Buttercream:


1/2 cup room temp butter (1 stick)
1/2 cup vegetable shortening
2 1/2 – 3 cups powdered sugar
1/2 cup chopped Butterfinger Bars (approx 4 “Fun Size” bars)


Cream the butter and shortening together until smooth.
Add in you powdered sugar on low speed.  Turn speed up to medium and mix until smooth
Stir in your chopped Butterfinger. (I sprinkled mine on top rather than stirring them in!)
Spread on your cooled blondies
Preparation time: 5 minute(s)

From the Deen Bros - Lasagna Soup - Lighter version

Bobby’s Lighter Tastes Like Lasagna Soup

404 less calories
28 g less fat
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 pound Italian turkey sausage, casings removed
1 onion, chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 (32-ounce) container chicken broth
1 (15-ounce) can tomato sauce
1 (14 1/2-ounce) can petite diced tomatoes
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
4 ounces broken whole-wheat lasagna noodles (about 4 noodles)
1/2 cup chopped fresh basil
3 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese
1/2 cup reduced-fat shredded mozzarella cheese
8 Whole-wheat breadsticks or grissini (optional)
Heat the oil over medium-high heat in a large nonstick saucepot or Dutch oven. Add the sausage, onion, bell pepper, and garlic. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until the sausage is crumbled and browned, 8 – 10 minutes.

Add the broth, tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, salt, and crushed red pepper. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the flavors are blended, about 20 minutes. Add the noodles; bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until the soup thickens slightly and the noodles are tender, 10 – 12 minutes. Remove from the heat; stir in mozzarella, basil, and the Parmesan. Serve with the breadsticks, if using. (whole-wheat lasagna noodles take a little longer to cook.)
Nutritional Information:
Per Serving (1 cup) 225 Cal (27% from Fat, 42% from Protein, 31% from Carb); 23 g Protein; 7 g Tot Fat; 2 g Sat Fat; 2 g Mono Fat; 17 g Carb; 2 g Fiber; 4 g Sugar; 108 mg Calcium; 3 mg Iron; 826 mg Sodium; 53 mg CholesterolPinned Image

Divinity - From Paula Deen


 2 cup chopped pecans
1 teaspoon pure vanilla
3   egg whites
3/4 cup cold water
1 cup white corn syrup
4 cup sugar


In a heavy saucepan over medium heat, stir together the sugar, corn syrup, and water.  Stir only until sugar has dissolved. Do not stir after this point. Cook syrup mixture until it reaches 250 degrees on a candy thermometer, bringing it to a hard ball stage.
Mama’s Divinity

Mini Sausage Wreath

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Mini Sausages
Refrigerated Crescent Dough Rolls
Red Bell Pepper
Diced Rosemary
1/3 cup Butter
1/2 cup BBQ Sauce
1/2 cup Whole Berry Cranberry Sauce

1. Preheat the oven to the temperature specified on the package of Refrigerated Crescent Dough Rolls. Drain the liquid off of the mini sausages.
2. Unroll the crescent dough and separate at the perforations to create 4 rectangles. Press together the remaining perforation in each rectangle. With a knife or pizza cutter, cut each rectangle lengthwise into 8 strips making a total of 32 strips.
3. Wrap one strip of dough around each mini sausage. Lay out the crescent-wrapped sausages with their sides touching on an ungreased cookie sheet in a circle forming a wreath shape.
4. Bake for 11-15 minutes or until golden brown. Melt 1/3 cup of butter and brush the butter on top of the crescent-wrapped sausages. Sprinkle the rosemary on top of the butter.
5. Cut a red bell pepper into a bow shape for garnish. Combine the BBQ sauce and cranberry sauce in a small saucepan over low heat, stirring until heated through. Serve with wreath for dipping

Friday, December 2, 2011

Peppermint Mocha Cupcakes from Pinterest

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Peppermint Mocha Cupcakes

Makes 12 cupcakes | Preparation: Heat oven to 350 degrees F and line  wells of cupcake pan with cupcake liners.
Chocolate cupcake recipe adapted from Alice Medrich for Scharffen Berger Chocolate Maker
  • 1 cup (4.5 ounces) all purpose flour
  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons (7.3 ounces) sugar
  • 1/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons (1.5 ounces) SCHARFFEN BERGER Unsweetened Natural Cocoa Powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted and warm
  • 2 large eggs
  • ½  teaspoon  peppermint extract
  • 1 tablespoon  instant coffee (recommended: Starbucks Via)
  • 1/2 cup hot coffee
  • 3/4 cup chopped peppermint Andes
1. Add flour, cocoa powder, sugar, baking soda, and salt in a blow and mix thoroughly to combine. Add the butter, eggs, and peppermint extract and beat on medium speed for one minute. Add the butter and egg mixture and beat for 20 seconds. Scrape the sides of the bowl and add the instant coffee and the hot coffee. Beat for 20-30 seconds until the batter is smooth. Fold in chopped peppermint Andes. The batter will be thin enough to pour. Divide it evenly among the lined cups. Bake 18-22 minutes just until a toothpick inserted into a few of the cupcakes comes out clean. Set the pan on a rack to cool. Frost the cupcakes when they are completely cool. Store and serve at room temperature.
TIP: For light tender cupcakes, spoon flour and cocoa lightly into measuring cups (instead of dipping the cups into the flour or cocoa) and then sweep the measures level without tapping or shaking them.
Peppermint Swiss Meringue Buttercream
  • 5 large egg whites
  • 11/2 cup sugar
  • 4 sticks unsalted butter, diced and softened
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon peppermint extract
  1. Combine egg whites and sugar in a bowl placed over simmering water. Bring mixture to 150 degrees F while whisking constantly.
  2. Transfer mixture to stand mixer bowl, fitted with a whisk attachment and beat on medium  high speed (speed 8 on a KitchenAid stand mixer) until mixture cools and doubles in volume and forms soft medium peaks; about 10-12 minutes).
  3. Add butter in one piece at a time, mixing to incorporate after each addition. The mixture may appear clumpy and almost curdled looking at first-this is normal. Keep mixing and it will become even and smooth again.
  4. Add salt and peppermint extract and mix to combine.
Chocolate Pouring Sauce
  • 2/3 cups dark chocolate
  • 2 tablespoons heavy cream
  • 4 tablespoons powdered sugar, sifted
  • 4-5 tablespoons water, warm
  1. Place chocolate and heavy cream in a bowl over simmering water. Let chocolate and cream sit for 2-3 minutes to melt without stirring. Then slowly stir mixture to combine.
  2. Add powdered sugar and mix to combine.
  3. Add water 1 tablespoon at a time, mixing after each addition until pouring consistency is reached.
  4. Set aside and let sauce cool to warm.
To Assemble Cupcake:
  1. Frost cooled cupcakes with buttercream frosting. Freeze frosted cupcakes for ten minutes.  Drizzle chocolate pouring sauce over frosting (reheat chocolate pour in microwave as needed to keep pouring consistency).  Sprinkle chopped peppermint Andes on chocolate sauce. Finish with a peppermint candy on top.

Black Pepper Jerky

Recipe: Black Pepper Jerky

Found this recipe and am going to have to make it for my Jerky loving friends.  I found this recipe on the internet in the Food and Wine Magazine.  Going to make this for Wyatt.


  1. 3 cups amber ale or lager
  2. 2 cups soy sauce
  3. 1/2 cup Worcestershire sauce
  4. 2 tablespoons cracked black peppercorns, plus 2 tablespoons coarsely ground black pepper, for sprinkling before drying the meat
  5. 2 pounds trimmed beef top round or bottom round, about 1 1/2 inches thick
  1. DRY THE MEAT: In a large bowl, combine the ale or lager with the soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce and the cracked black peppercorns.
  2. Cut the beef into 1/4-inch-thick slices, either with or against the grain.
  3. Add the beef to the marinade, a few slices at a time, stirring well to coat each slice with the marinade. Cover and refrigerate for 6 to 8 hours.
  4. Preheat the oven to 200°. Set a large wire rack on each of 3 large rimmed baking sheets. Remove the beef from the marinade and pat dry with paper towels. Arrange the beef on the racks, leaving 1/4 inch between slices. Sprinkle with coarsely ground black pepper. Bake for about 4 hours, until the jerky is firm and almost completely dry, but still chewy. Let cool completely on the racks before serving.

Black Pepper Jerky

Meyer Lemon Marmalade

Meyer Lemon Marmalade

  1. medium organic Meyer lemons (3 pounds)
  2. 3 cups sugar
  1. Rinse the lemons and pat dry. Halve the lemons crosswise and juice them, reserving the juice. Using a spoon, scrape the pulp and seeds from the halves. Using a sharp knife, slice the peels 1/8 inch thick.
  2. In a large, heavy saucepan, cover the strips with 8 cups of cold water and bring to a boil; boil for 1 minute. Drain the strips and rinse under cold running water. Blanch two more times; the final time, drain the strips but do not rinse them.
  3. Return the strips to the saucepan. Add the reserved juice and the sugar. Simmer over moderate heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar, then skimming any foam, until the marmalade sets, about 30 minutes.
  4. Spoon the marmalade into 5 hot 1/2-pint canning jars, leaving 1/4 inch of space at the top, and close with the lids and rings. To process, boil the jars for 15 minutes in water to cover. Let stand at room temperature for 2 days before serving.
Make Ahead The processed marmalade can be stored in a cool, dark place for up to 1 year. Refrigerate after opening.

Nutty Granola - Great Gift Idea

My husband loves granola.  I am making batches of this for him to take to work after the holidays so that he can eat healthy!

Mom's Nutty Granola


  1. 3 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
  2. 1/2 cup unsalted roasted peanuts
  3. 1/2 cup unsalted roasted almonds
  4. 1/2 cup unsalted roasted pumpkin seeds
  5. 1/2 cup unsalted roasted sunflower seeds
  6. 1/4 cup wheat germ
  7. 1 teaspoon salt
  8. 1 tablespoon hot water
  9. 3/4 cup honey
  10. 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  11. 1/2 cup raisins
  1. Preheat the oven to 325°. In a bowl, toss the oats, nuts, seeds and wheat germ. In a small bowl, dissolve the salt in the hot water. Whisk in the honey and oil. Stir the liquid into the nuts to coat thoroughly, then spread on a large rimmed baking sheet.
  2. Bake the granola in the center of the oven for 40 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes, until nearly dry. Turn off the oven and prop the door open halfway; let the granola cool in the oven, stirring. Toss the granola with the raisins; store in an airtight container for up to 3 weeks.
Notes One serving 306 cal, 36 gm carb,18 gm fat, 2.5 gm sat fat, 7 gm protein, 3 gm fiber.

Graham Cracker Pound Cake - Great Christmas Gift

: Graham Cracker Pound Cake

  • Graham Cracker Pound Cake 


  1. Vegetable oil spray
  2. 1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
  3. 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  4. 1/4 cup dark brown sugar
  5. 1 1/2 cups cake flour
  6. 1/2 cup finely ground graham cracker crumbs, from half a sleeve
  7. 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  8. 1/4 teaspoon salt
  9. 3 tablespoons whole milk
  10. 2 tablespoons heavy cream
  11. 3 large eggs
  12. 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  1. Preheat the oven to 325°. Spray an 8-by-4-inch glass loaf pan with vegetable oil spray. In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, cream the butter with the granulated sugar and dark brown sugar. In a medium bowl, whisk the cake flour with the graham cracker crumbs, baking powder and salt. In a small bowl, whisk together the whole milk, cream, eggs and vanilla. Beating at medium speed, add the dry and liquid ingredients to the butter mixture in 3 alternating batches.
  2. Scrape the batter into the prepared loaf pan and bake in the lower third of the oven for about 55 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with a few moist crumbs attached. Let cool in the pan for 15 minutes, then turn the pound cake out onto a rack to cool completely.