Recipes


Go ahead and add these Coconut Pecan Pralines to your holiday baking list!!! They are sinfully delicious!

coconut-pecan-pralines

My husband and I recently had a dinner meeting with some of our friends. When I asked our hostess what I could bring, she said dessert. Then her daughter chimed in and begged for No-Bake Cookies. Fine by me! I LOVE NO-BAKE COOKIES!

I had seen a new “No-Bake Cookie” recipe on Pinterest a while back. I thought I would try this new recipe along with the old faithful No-Bake Cookies and see what folks thought about them.

two-cookies

I had a little trouble with these new “cookies”…well, at least I thought I had.

They didn’t set up in time for me to take them to the meeting. UGH! I was a little frustrated. So, what else could I do but start eating the gooey cookies right off the waxed paper with a spoon! Oooohhhh! They were so yummy! Still a little warm…WOW!

I looked back at the recipe. I had not let the mixture boil quite long enough. I probably didn’t stir long enough either. The name of these “No-Bake Cookies” was actually Coconut Pecan PRALINES! I have made pralines in the past, successfully and unsuccessfully. The unsuccessful time, the mixture set up way too quickly. Maybe I cooked them too long. I was unable to set out the batch as individual pralines! It did make a fine topping for ice cream though.

As the afternoon went on, and I fixed a second batch of No-Bakes to take with me, I noticed my pralines starting to set. There was still no time for them to be ready for the meeting. So, I took a double batch of regular chocolate peanut butter No-Bakes to my friends’ house. Their daughter was excited that I left a bunch for their kitchen!

Back at home, however, I had a whole batch of Coconut Pecan Pralines! Oh, poor me! Well, it would be “Oh, my poor pants!” if I didn’t get rid of some of them~and fast!

It was just a couple of days later when we learned of my death of my husband’s 92 year old grandmother. You may remember Mamaw and her Lemon Jello Cake  being featured here as a “guest chef”.

cake with milk

Perhaps you remember some of her handiwork…

Chip's Mamaw made this plastic canvas mail box. Katie loves how it really opens.

We have so many special memories of time spent with Mamaw.

I took the Coconut Pecan Pralines to share with family after the funeral. Everyone loved them. I have to think Mamaw would have loved them too.

no-bake-cookies

No-Bake Cookies

2 cups sugar

1 stick of butter

3 Tablespoons cocoa powder

1/2 cup milk

1/2 cup crunchy peanut butter

1 teaspoon vanilla

3 cups oats

Bring first four ingredients to a boil. Stirring to avoid scorching. Boil one minute.

Remove from heat. Add peanut butter and vanilla. Stir until peanut butter melts.

Add oats. Stir.

Spoon onto waxed paper in bite-sized mounds. Work quickly! They set up pretty fast.

plate-of-pralines

Coconut Pecan Pralines

2 1/2 cups sugar

1/2 cup evaporated milk

1/2 cup corn syrup

1 stick of butter

1 teaspoon vanilla

2 1/2 cups chopped pecans

2 cups coconut

Combine the chopped pecans and coconut in a mixing bowl. Set aside.

Bring the first four ingredients to a boil, stirring to avoid scorching. Boil for 3 minutes!

Remove from heat. Stir in vanilla and coconut-pecan mixture. Stir until mixture starts to thicken~about 4 minutes!

Spoon onto waxed paper in bite-sized mounds.

A couple of these in a cellophane baggie with a ribbon and you may as well move to the North Pole!

 

 

 

When we lived in Indiana, my husband had a meeting in the northern part of the state in a little town called Whiting, IN. Whiting sits right on Lake Michigan. Chicago is a stone’s throw away. The part of the meeting he remembers the most was the potluck, or as they say in Indiana, pitch in. The tables and tables of delicious casseroles and desserts were breath-taking. It wasn’t until a fella brought out four huge pans of mostaccioli that my husband thought he had died and gone to heaven! The man had a heavy Chicago accent, so it wasn’t mostaccioli, it was MAStaccioli.

In case you were unaware, the Chicago Cubs won the world series!!!!

cubs-win-the-series

We are Cubs fans here at our house–not bandwagon fans. We have loved the Cubbies for a long time!

When they made it to Game 7 I figured I needed to make something Chicago-ish for dinner. I thought about deep-dish pizza. I thought about brats. Then I remembered the Whiting experience and decided to make mostaccioli!

I didn’t, however, make four huge pans of mostaccioli. One huge pan was plenty!!

Cheesy Mostaccioli

This recipe comes from an old Pampered Chef fundraiser cookbook. My sister bought it for me when she was in college. (By the way, The Pampered Chef company is based in the Chicago area–Bonus points!)

Pampered Chef cookbook

We barely made a dent in that pan!

Hooray! Leftovers!

Easy Weeknight Dinner

Enjoy!

Cheesy Mostaccioli

1 package mostaccioli pasta (16 ounces) cooked according to package directions

1 1/2 pounds ground beef, browned and drained

1 jar (28 ounces) of your favorite  spaghetti sauce

1 can condensed cheddar soup (11 ounces)

1 tsp black pepper

1 tsp dried Italian seasoning

3 cups (12 ounces) shredded mozzarella, divided

***cook’s note***You could replace some of the ground beef with some ground Italian sausage. I’m not a fan, so I stuck with the ground beef. I think next time I will add just a little more Italian seasoning-not too much more though.


*Once your meat is cooked and drained, add spaghetti sauce, soup, pepper and seasoning.

*Stir in pasta and 2 cups of the mozzarella cheese.

*Transfer everything to a  4 quart baking dish that has been sprayed with cooking spray.

*Sprinkle last cup of cheese over the top.

*Bake in a 350˚ oven for about 40 minutes.

Critics’ Corner

Chip-I LOVE this dish. I once enjoyed it at a “pitch in” (Indiana for “pot luck”) at Whiting Baptist Church in Whiting, Indiana. It was so good I almost made myself sick. This batch is like being “back home again in Indiana.”

Katie- I thought that it was sooo tasty! The soft cheesy noodles at the bottom were my favorite. I felt so “Chicago” eating it! Go Cubs! 🙂 

Megan-off at college

 

 

I wasn’t really planning on this blog post today. If I had planned it there would’ve been more pictures! Since this little experiment turned out so great, I had to share.


I had some apples on the counter that were past their prime and quite wrinkled. No one wanted to eat them. I just hated to throw them away. So, I decided I would try to make apple chips!

I’ve tried to make apple chips before. They just never turned out quite like I hoped. I think I just didn’t get them sliced thin enough. Here’s what I did today…

Take five small withered apples  (OK, they don’t have to be small, and they don’t have to be withered.  Any size or freshness will probably work.)

Wash your apples and leave the skins on.

Core your apples. I used an applecorer that I had. Use whatever method you prefer.

Cut the cored apples into quarters. Carefully slice each quarter into about 12 very thin slices.

As I sliced my apples I placed the slices in a bowl filled with leftover Sprite. The citrus in the Sprite helps keep the apples from turning brown immediately. This step is probably not necessary since the apples will brown in the oven.

Spray a cooling rack with nonstick cooking spray. Place the apple slices on the cooling rack in a single layer.


I placed my cooling rack on a cookie sheet lined with aluminum foil. My apple slices filled two cookie sheets with a few leftover for snacking.

Place the apple slices in an oven preheated to 225° for 2 1/2 hours. I rotated my pans halfway through.

The apple slices won’t be completely crispy when you first pull them out of the oven. They will, however, crisp up as they cool. I really hope there are some of these left by the time my family gets home this afternoon!

Well, hello there! Long time no see! Last fall I tried to jump back in to blogging. I was finally getting back in the swing of things. I had seven posts in three months! That was news! Then, as I was ready to post about some delicious Christmas cookies, I ran out of storage on my free WordPress account.  At the time, I just was not ready to commit to paying money for my blog. Today I bit the bullet and signed up for the premium plan. I’m sure there will be new things to learn, but I now have extra storage for my blog. Hooray!!!

You’ll have to excuse my Christmas decorations. Maybe you’ll have a Christmas in July party?! Actually, these cookies are so yummy, you will want to keep them in the freezer year round.

Cranberry Walnut Swirl Cookies

Now that I’m seeing my pictures again, I’m excited. I love Christmas decorations~and Christmas cookies!

chopped cranberries

Can you even find cranberries this time of year?

chopped walnuts

I used my food processor to chop up the cranberries and walnuts.

orange zest

Do NOT leave out the orange zest! It makes the recipe!

butter and sugar

marked parchment paper

I got a little technical with my parchment paper. I did use edible markers! (If you want to mark up your parchment paper, you can also just turn it over if you use regular pens.) The recipe says to roll the dough into a 10 inch square. When adding the filling, you are to leave a 1/2 inch border on two sides. I left a little too much.

cranberry mixture

The filling smells so good! It must be the orange zest.

rolled cookies

pretty swirled cookies

swirled cookies

swirled cookie

I do feel I should warn you about these cookies. You will need to plan your baking time. Chilling and freezing time are a factor.

Cranberry Walnut Swirl Cookies

  • ½ cup butter (1 stick), softened
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon sour cream
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1½ cups all-purpose flour
  • ¼ teaspoon baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup finely chopped fresh cranberries, packed full
  • ⅔ cup walnuts, finely chopped
  • 1 Tablespoon grated orange rind

Whisk together flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.

In a mixing bowl, beat butter and sugar at medium speed until light and fluffy. Add the sour cream, egg and vanilla, combining well between each addition.

Gradually add the flour mixture and beat until well combined. (Do not overbeat)

Cover the cookie dough and chill for one hour.

Combine cranberries, walnuts and orange rind.

Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface or parchment paper and roll into a 10-inch square. (About ¼ inch thick.)

Sprinkle with the cranberry mixture, leaving a ½-inch border on 2 opposite sides.

Roll up dough, jelly roll fashion, beginning at a bordered side. Cover and freeze 6 hours or up to 1 month. (Do not skip the freezing part! The cookies are too soft to cut otherwise!)

Cut roll into ¼-inch thick slices. Place slices on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake on top oven rack at 375˚F for 14 to 15 minutes or until lightly golden browned at the edges.

Cool completely on wire racks.

 

Christmas cookies

Merry Christmas!  I mean…Happy, uh, School’s Out!? I’m glad to actually have a new post on my blog. Hopefully there will be more soon!

If you have followed this blog for a while, you may have discovered a pattern. I tend to have good ideas that take a while to get accomplished! Well, this post is one of those I’ve-been-planning-to-do-it posts.

Meet Claudia…

Claudia

Claudia and I have been friends for several years. We sang together in Top of the Rock Chorus. Our kids are close in age, so we always had plenty of chatting material.

I love just listening to Claudia speak. Claudia is from Germany. I don’t know if it is a German thing or a Claudia thing, but she seems to use words so eloquently. There are not a lot of “you knows” or “ums” in Claudia’s conversation. It’s not that she over-uses big words or anything like that. She just chooses much more descriptive words. I’m sure I’m not explaining this well–not like Claudia would!

For years Claudia and I have talked about getting together for her to teach me how to make some German cookies. Well, life got busy, as it always does, and we never got together–until now!

We finally got together last weekend! Claudia taught me how to make Moklaplätzchen and Weihnachtsschikoli.

We started with the Weihnachtsschokoli since it needed some time in the fridge.

Weihnachtsschokoli

This is a recipe Claudia found when she was a teenager and has been making it since then!

Claudia asked that I bring a pound of butter for our cookie baking. Oh! You know it is going to be something yummy when you need a pound of butter!

As you can see above, all the measurements are in metric proportions. Many cooking show hosts suggest measuring your ingredients by weight. Most recipes, however, only give you the standard measurement. Luckily, Claudia weighed the ingredients then figured out the approximate measurement for me!

Weihnachtsschokoli

made 46 cookies

250 grams unsalted butter, softened (2 sticks + 2 Tablespoons)

100 grams powdered sugar (a scant cup)

1 teaspoon vanilla sugar or 1 German packet of vanilla sugar [approx. 1 Tablespoon]

250 grams cornstarch (2 cups loose)

25 grams flour (1/4 cup)

30 grams dark cocoa powder (1/2 cup)

1 teaspoon cardamom

1 teaspoon cinnamon

I don’t know that I had ever had cardamom before having it in these cookies. I suppose a little goes a long way. I could definitely taste it in the cookies. They were amazing!

•Cream the softened butter

•Blend the rest of the ingredients together. Add to the butter. The mixture will be very dry and crumbly!

•Add 50 grams more of flour (1/2 cup). I know! It seems crazy! It is so dry and you want me to add MORE flour? Yes.

•Use a dough hook or knead by hand until the dough comes together. Claudia turned the dough out on a kitchen towel. She used the towel to smash the dough together.

ingredients on a towel

working the ingredients

If I had not seen it with my own eyes, I don’t think I would have believed the ingredients would actually come together to form a dough!

work dough into a ball

•Roll the dough into logs that are approximately 1 1/4 inch in diameter. Seems like Claudia had three logs.

roll dough into logs

•Place the logs on a plate. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes to an hour. This will give the butter plenty of time to chill.

At this point, Claudia and I switched to the other cookie recipe. Makes sense-huh? No need to sit around watching the first batch chill in the refrigerator! To avoid confusion, I will continue with the Weihnachtsschokoli recipe.

•Remove the dough logs from the refrigerator. Slice into 3/4 inch slices.

half-inch slices

slice and bake cookies

•Place a whole hazelnut on top of each slice.

top with hazelnut

•Work the dough around each hazelnut.

working in hazelnuts

surround hazelnut with dough

Claudia said that Trader Joe’s has the best price on hazelnuts. If only Trader Joe’s would put a store in central Arkansas!!!

Trader Joe's hazelnuts

•Once you have all your dough and hazelnuts rolled up, bake at 375˚ for 20 minutes. Cool completely–Claudia recommended cooling on a paper sack or cardboard box.

all rolled up

•While you are waiting for the cookies to cool, melt some chocolate bark–about 4 squares–in the microwave according to the package directions.

chopping almond bark

•Once cooled, use a pastry brush or BBQ brush to paint the chocolate on top of the cookie. I asked Claudia if she had ever tried dipping the tops in the chocolate bowl. The cookies are quite fragile. Remember how crumbly the dough was? Painting was the way to go!

painting with chocolate

cool on a paper sack

•Let the chocolate cool–if you can stand it!

Click here for cookie pronunciation.

Click here for cookie pronunciation.

Next up…Mokkaplätzchen! You can tell by the paper that this is a well-loved recipe by Claudia’s family.

Mokkaplätzchen

 

Mokkaplätzchen

made 56 cookies

120 grams (1 cup) unsalted hazelnuts-measured whole then ground finely. You can roast the hazelnuts for a bit for more flavor. [1 1/2 cups ground]

cup of hazelnuts

2 sticks + 2 Tablespoons  softened, unsalted butter

180 grams (1 heaped cup) sugar

2 eggs

220 grams flour (approx. 2 1/4 cups)

2 Tablespoons instant coffee dissolved in approximately 1/2 Tablespoon hot water

measuring ingredients

•Beat the butter

•Blend in sugar

•Add eggs one at a time-blending after each addition

•Add flour and dissolved coffee–blend

•Add the ground nuts. Mix well.

•Scoop onto a greased or parchment-lined baking sheet.  Bake in a preheated oven for 8-10 minutes. The recipe says 200˚C. That translates to 392˚F.

scoops of cookie dough

We decided after the first batch got a little dark around the edges that parchment might help.

oops! a little burned

•Cool the cookies completely. Top with Coffee Icing

Coffee Icing

2 Tablespoons instant coffee dissolved in approximately 1/2 Tablespoon hot water

1 cup powdered sugar

•Mix together. Should look like tempered chocolate.

cookie drizzle

•Paint the icing on the cookies using a pastry brush.

painting cookies

•Immediately top with a Mocha Bean

cookie with mocha bean

mocha beans

or dark chocolate chips.

substitute with chocolate chips

Click here for pronunciation

Click here for pronunciation

Thank you, Claudia! I had a fabulous time catching up on chit-chat and baking cookies with you! I’m so glad it finally happened!

by the steps

Are you cooking for a crowd this holiday season?

These Pumpkin Pie Bars will surely be helpful. Rather than baking two or three pumpkin pies, just whip up a pan of Pumpkin Pie Bars! You will get about 24 servings from this recipe. The crust is so yummy you might want to account for 2 servings per person though!

Pumpkin Pie squares

First, mix up the crust–flour, oats, brown sugar pecans and butter–I told you the crust was yummy!

Press into a 10×15 jelly roll pan.

pie crust

Bake for 15 minutes at 350˚.

While the crust is in the oven, mix up the filling–pumpkin, sweetened condensed milk, spices and eggs.

pumpkin and spice

Pour over baked crust and bake an additional 30-35 minutes.

Pumpkin pie filling

Pumpkin Pie for a crowd! Whipped Cream is optional but let’s get real…you want it!

Pumpkin Pie squares

 

Pumpkin Pie Bars

Crust:

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

3/4 cup oats (quick or old-fashioned)

1/2 cup packed brown sugar

1/2 cup chopped pecans

2/3 cup melted butter

Filling:

4 eggs

2 cans (15 ounce each) pumpkin

2 cans (14 ounce each) sweetened condensed milk

2 tsp ground cinnamon

1 tsp ground ginger

1/2 tsp ground nutmeg

1 tsp salt

*Preheat oven to 350˚F

*Combine crust ingredients. I mixed the dry ingredients together first, then added the butter.

*Press into a 10×15 jelly roll pan.

*Bake for 15 minutes.

*Meanwhile, whisk the filling ingredients together. Be sure your bowl is big enough. I used a 2 qt. bowl and it barely fit!

*Bake 30-35 minutes–until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted in the middle. Mine took 35 minutes.

*Cool at room temperature. Cut into squares. Top with whipped topping and, if you are feeling fancy, a pecan half!

 

Is it just my imagination or have apple dishes taken a back seat to pumpkin spiced EVERYTHING over the past few years?! I have always loved pumpkin treats! I have shared that love here many times. I have made pumpkin pancakes, pumpkin waffles, pumpkin cheesecake, pumpkin cookies, pumpkin pies, pumpkin crisp, and pumpkin fudge. I have decorated with pumpkins. I have dressed my children as pumpkins. I’ve even supported pumpkins for a cause!

So, yes, I guess it is safe to say the apple has taken a back seat to the pumpkin. Let’s not forget this fabulous apple cake recipe or these applesauce cookies with frosting that is to die for! We have also had apples in savory dishes and “craft” projects.

Last fall, I purchased this lovely cookbook. (Ha! It didn’t come with Pork Chop Tuesday on it.)

Fall Baking

The pictures were all so lovely, and the recipes all looked so yummy!

The first one I tried was Cream Cheese Oat Bars. They were delicious! I didn’t think the name was quite right though, so I renamed them Apple Butter Bars. It was nice to have a non-pumpkin fall treat.

Apple Butter Bars

I had every intention to blog about these bars last fall. The above photo is from a couple of weeks ago. I was not happy with the ones I took last year. I tried to be all fancy–like I was a food stylist or something.

acorn plate

hay bales and denim

The lighting wasn’t right. My “props” weren’t quite right. Blah, blah blah!

So, my pictures sat there in my to-do file for a year.

This year I had plans to make the photos better, complete with step-by-step photos.

pantry ingredients

chopped cashews

I got as far as the chopped cashews and forgot to take any more photos. I started to scrap the whole post.

The recipe is just too yummy to not share. I hope you will try it along with some of the others listed at the top of this post.

Apple Butter Bars

2 cups all-purpose flour

2 cups quick-cooking oats

2 cups chopped salted cashews

1 cup sugar

1/2 tsp baking soda

1 cup butter, melted

2 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, softened

3/4 cup sugar

2 eggs

1 T lemon juice

2 tsp vanilla

2 cups apple butter

•Preheat over to 350˚. Spray a 9×13 inch pan with cooking spray and set aside.

•Stir together flour, oats, cashews, sugar and baking soda. You’ll want to use a pretty big bowl.

•Add melted butter and stir well.

•Set aside 1 1/2 cups of the mixture to used as the topping.

•Press the rest of the mixture into the prepared pan.

•Bake 15 minutes. Cool completely.

•Beat cream cheese and sugar in a medium bowl at medium speed until creamy.

•Add eggs one at a time . Beating well after each one.

•Add the lemon juice and vanilla. Beat to combine.

•Spread apple butter over the cooled crust. Spread the cream cheese mixture over the apple butter. Sprinkle the reserved oat mixture on top.

•Bake until cream cheese layer is set–35-40 minutes. Cool completely before cutting into squares.

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