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My favorite memories have all centered around friends and family enjoying a meal together! It might have been a special holiday or a celebration, or it might have been dinner with friends at a great restaurant. I hope you will enjoy some of my favorite recipes and take time to fellowship with those seated at your table. You might make a memory to last forever!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Christmas Cake

Last night, I began the process of making my favorite Christmas cake...Layered Coconut Cake!  It is a simple recipe, but it takes a little extra time and love!  I like to make it a couple of days before I plan to serve it, the flavors intensify and it becomes so moist!  I very rarely say that I love a cake, but honestly, I can eat this Coconut Cake for breakfast, lunch and dinner!  Probably not good on the hips...but hey, it's the holidays!  I hope you will find time to bake this moist, delicious cake during the coming year...for a special celebration or just to make someone smile!

Layered Coconut Cake

1 box white or yellow cake mix
2 cups sugar
2 cups sour cream
2 cups coconut
16 oz. cool whip
Extra coconut for top of cake (optional)

Bake cake as directed on box, for two 8 or 9 inch round pans.  Cool completely.  Cut each cake in half, horizontally. Mix sugar, sour cream and coconut; fold in cool whip.  Spread coconut mixture between each layer and on the top and sides of cake.  Refrigerate overnight.

Hints:  I use dental floss to cut the cake layers.  Holding the floss on each end, start on one side and gently pull through to the other side!

I prefer to refrigerate this cake for a couple of days. (If I have time!)

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Holiday Sweets

Today is the last opportunity I will have to make goodies to share with friends!  So, I have been real busy making cookies, candy and cakes!  You probably won't have time to make these recipes before Christmas, but there is always New Years!  Take time to enjoy every minute with your family and friends, it will be worth it! 

Merry Christmas and Blessings to you and your family!

This recipe was shared with me by a friend who has since moved away.  It may sound difficult, but if I can make this, you can!  After cooling, place in decorative tins, unusual glass jars or printed cellophane bags!  Great for gift-giving!

 Caramel Corn

5 quarts plain popcorn
1 cup butter
2 cups brown sugar
1/2 cup white corn syrup
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. vanilla

Preheat oven to 250 degrees.

Prepare popcorn and place in a very large baking dish/pan.

Melt butter in a heavy pot; stir in sugar, corn syrup and salt.  Boil without stirring for 4 minutes.  Remove from heat and stir in vanilla and baking soda.  (Mixture will become bubbly.)  Pour over popcorn and quickly begin to stir.  Stir until popcorn is coated well.  Bake for 1 hour; stirring every 15 minutes.  Cool and place in containers.

Caramel Corn

You are reading it here first!  I am sharing with you my Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe that has been locked in a vault for many years!  I'm not bragging or anything, but all who receive these cookies as a treat are more than thrilled!   They truly are delicious; crispy on the outside, but still gooey on the inside!

Stack these cookies in a slender cellophane bag and tie with a brightly colored ribbon!  Perfect for friends and neighbors!

 Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking soda
1 cup solid vegetable shortening
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
2 eggs
1 1/2 cups rolled oats
2 cups semisweet chocolate chips (1 bag)

 Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Combine flour, salt and baking soda.  Beat together shortening, sugars, and vanilla until creamy.  Add eggs, beating until light and fluffy.  Gradually beat in flour mixture and oats.  Stir in chocolate chips.  Drop cookie dough by well-rounded teaspoons onto cookie sheet. (I use a medium Pampered Chef scoop.)  Bake 9-11 minutes.  Cool two minutes before removing them to a cooling rack.
Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

Fudgy, moist, gooey, sinful...a few words to describe my Triple Chocolate Cake!  So easy to make; it starts with a cake mix and boxed pudding!  Once you make this cake, you will be asked to bring it to every get together...holidays, picnics or parties!  I have a very good friend, Pam, who shares the same thought about this cake as I do...PMS!!  Chocolate is always a perfect treat to share with your girlfriend!  Enjoy with vanilla bean ice-cream and chocolate syrup for real decadence!  For a little crunch, top with toasted nuts; or make your cake festive with a sprinkle of crushed peppermint!  Enjoy!!!
Triple Chocolate Cake

1 box chocolate cake mix (no pudding)
4 eggs
1/2 cup oil
1 1/2 cup water
2 boxes instant chocolate pudding
1 large bag chocolate chips (2 cups)

 Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Mix all ingredients in a large mixing bowl; mix until smooth and creamy.  Pour into a greased bundt pan.  Bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour.  Allow to cool for 20 to 30 minutes; turn out onto serving plate.

Triple Chocolate Cake

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Cookies and Milk

Who doesn't like cookies!?  For the past two nights I have wanted a cookie...any flavor, any size...even store bought!  Of course, if I have time, I prefer homemade cookies!  I decided to make each of my son's favorite this week and tonight it was Oatmeal Raisin for Ben!  With the addition of cinnamon, it becomes a comfort food; great for a cold, winter evening! Serve with a glass of cold milk as you snuggle by the fire!

Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

3/4 cup Crisco All-Vegetable Shortening
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
2 large eggs
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup All Purpose Flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. salt
2 3/4 cups old-fashioned rolled-oats
1 cup raisins

HEAT oven to 350ºF. Coat baking sheets with no-stick cooking spray

Beat shortening, sugar and brown sugar in large bowl at medium speed of electric mixer until blended. Beat in eggs and vanilla. Combine flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt in small bowl. Beat into shortening mixture until smooth. Stir in oats and raisins. Drop by rounded tablespoonfuls about 2-inches apart on prepared baking sheets.

Bake 10 to 12 minutes or until light brown. Cool on baking sheets 2 minutes. Place on cooling rack to cool completely.

Substitute Ingredients:
1 cup dried cranberries
1 cup chocolate chips
1 cup butterscotch chips

1 cup walnuts
1 cup pecans

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Easy as Pie!

When I first got married and moved to Auburn, Alabama, I purchased a cookbook from a well known sorority.  It has since then become my most treasured collection of recipes!  As a new bride and a rookie cook, I found many of their recipes designed just for me!  It didn't take long for us to decide on our favorite dessert...Fudge Pie!  It truly is...easy as pie!  It is best served warm with a dollop of whipped cream or a scoop of vanilla ice-cream!  To really impress your guests, drizzle with chocolate or carmel syrup and sprinkle with chopped nuts!

Fudge Pie

1/4 cup cocoa
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
Dash of salt
2 eggs, slightly beaten
1/2 cup melted butter
1 unbaked pie shell

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Combine cocoa, sugar, flour and salt in bowl.  Add eggs and butter; mix well. Pour into pie shell.  Bake at 350 degrees for 25 to 30 minutes or until set.

More Sweet Desserts!

This pie recipe is so easy to make, but your guests will think you are a pastry chef when it is served!  Chocolate Bourbon Pecan Pie was the most requested dessert during the holidays when I had my small catering business!  Nutty, Chocolaty with a splash of spirits...how could you go wrong!  This pie is a great ending to any meal; and also makes your friends smile when you give it as a gift!  Enjoy!

Chocolate Bourbon Pecan Pie

1 unbaked pie shell, chilled

2/3 cup white sugar
1 cup light corn syrup                                                              
2 Tbl. Bourbon
3 eggs, slightly beaten
1/3 cup melted butter
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. vanilla
1 1/2 cup pecans
1 cup chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Sprinkle chocolate chips and pecans in bottom of pie crust. Combine first seven ingredients; mix well.  Slowly pour over nuts and chocolate chips.  Bake for 40-45 minutes. Cool before serving.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Christmas and Candy...Great Memories

Do you like to make candy during the holidays?  When I was growing up, my Mother always made many different kinds of candy; filling every Christmas tin with delicious confections!  Today, she still makes the best fudge ever, along with other bite-size goodies!  Since she was treating us with the sugaring delights, I never had the need to learn to make candy!  However, I have tried many different recipes...very simple recipes, with success!  Be brave...try a new candy recipe this year to share with your loved ones!

This is a new recipe for me!  My favorite candy bar is, and always has been, a Butterfinger!  So, of course, I had to give this a try!  This homemade version really taste like a Butterfinger...and uses the most unusual ingredient...Candy Corn!

Butterfinger Candy

1 lb. candy corn
16oz jar peanut butter
16oz pkg. chocolate candy coating
    or 1 cup of chocolate chips plus 1 Tbl. shortening

Melt candy corn in microwave on high 1 minute. Stir and continue cooking in 15-second intervals til melted, stirring after each interval. Stir in peanut butter. Spread mixture in an 8x8 pan lined with parchment. Cool completely. Cut into squares. Dip in melted chocolate candy coating. Lay on waxed paper to set.

 You may think Candy Corn will never melt!  Keep microwaving an stirring!
  Be sure to brush off any crumbs from candy pieces before dipping in chocolate!
      You will get crumbs in the chocolate.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Christmas Is Here!

It is hard to believe that the Christmas season is already here!  For me, it is the most wonderful time of year for cooking and entertaining!  We have friends over for drinks and appetizers, office parties to attend and family get togethers; all of which are perfect for fun holiday food!  I personally think "bite-sized" foods are fun; and you get to eat more than one of everything!  Over the next few days, I will be sharing some of my favorite appetizer and dessert recipes for you to share in your home, or take to that special party!  I hope you enjoy trying these recipes as much as I like making them!

Gifts of food are a favorite with everyone and perfect for that "hard to buy for" neighbor, co-worker, teacher, hair stylist, etc.  I will be posting some of my favorite gift ideas along with fun ways to dress up the packaging!

For those of you who have overnight guests, I will be sharing some recipes for dishes that will make entertaining easier.  I know you want to spend as much time visiting as possible and less time in the kitchen!

Enjoy making many special dishes, snacks and desserts this Christmas season.  Each and every one will be made with love and a full heart!

First of all, I am going to share a few of my families favorite appetizers!

Spinach Rolls

1 pkg. flour tortillas
2 pkgs. frozen, chopped spinach; thawed and drained well
1 cup sour cream
1 cup mayonnaise
1 pkg. cream cheese, softened
1 pkg. Ranch salad dressing mix
6 green onions, chopped fine
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 can water chestnuts,  chopped fine
1 pkg. bacon bits/pieces
1 Tbl. Cajun or Creole seasoning (optional)

Combine cooked and drained spinach with remaining ingredients. Mix well.  Spread 1/4 to 1/3 cup of spinach mixture on each tortilla.  Roll up and store in refrigerator until time to serve.  Slice each roll into 1 inch pieces.

Spinach Rolls

Ham and Pickle Rolls

2 pkgs. danish ham
cream cheese, softened
Claussen Kosher Dill Pickle Spears, whole

Cut each pickle lengthwise in half.  Spread each ham slice with about 1 Tbl. cream cheese.  Place pickle slice on one end of ham and roll up.  Chill until ready to serve; slice into 1 inch pieces.

Roll-ups can be prepared, wrapped in plastic wrap and refrigerated up to 24 hours in advance. Cut into pieces just before serving.
For easier spreading, pat ham slices dry with paper towels before spreading with cream cheese.

Ham and Pickle Rolls


Party Ham Rolls

2 packages (7 1/2 oz each) small party rolls
1/2 cup butter (1 stick)
2 tablespoons prepared mustard
2 tablespoons finely chopped onion
2 tablespoons poppy seed
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
8 ounces thinly sliced ham, chopped
6 ounces Swiss Cheese

Melt butter; add mustard, poppy seed, onion, and Worcestershire sauce. Cook over low heat until onions are transparent.

Without separating rolls, slice party rolls horizontally.  Cover bottom half with ham and cheese; replace top.  Pour warm butter mixture over rolls. Wrap each package tightly in foil and refrigerate until ready to bake; one hour to overnight. 

Bake (covered with foil) at 375 ° for about 30 minutes, or until thoroughly heated and cheese is melted.  Cut into individual rolls.  Serve warm.

Party Ham Rolls

Sunday, November 27, 2011

A Favorite Side Dish

I'm ready to start sharing some of my Christmas recipes...desserts, appetizers, drinks, etc.  But first, I have to share this casserole recipe with you.  It's a very popular broccoli casserole that many of you remember your mom making, or maybe you serve it to your family now!  This dish is requested my many and always prepared by my niece for our holiday dinners!  My boys rave about this casserole, so I decided to give it a try this evening.  It is rich and cheesy and delicious, but not the same as when Regan makes it!

Broccoli Casserole
    (Revised recipe of Paula Deen)

2 (10 oz.) packages frozen chopped broccoli, cooked and drained
1 cup mayonnaise
1 cup grated sharp cheddar
1 can cream of mushroom soup
2 eggs, lightly beaten
2 cups crushed Ritz crackers
2 Tbl. butter, melted

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Spray 9 x 13 baking dish with vegetable oil cooking spray.

In large mixing bowl, combine broccoli, mayonnaise, cheese, soup and eggs.  Mix well and spoon into prepared dish.  Combine crackers with butter until all crumbs are coated.  Bake for 35 minutes or until set and browned.

(I used 2 cups of cheese and I added more butter to the cracker crumbs.  I also added salt and pepper.)

You can also add sauteed onions or mushrooms.  Add shredded chicken to make a complete meal.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

A Yummy Dessert for any Holiday!

A non-traditional, yummy dessert for your Thanksgiving feast...German Chocolate Upside Down Cake!  This recipe is also known as an Earthquake Cake to many people.  When you take the cake out of the oven, it is slightly sunken in the middle!  Don't worry, it's supposed to look like that!  This cake is requested, more than any other, by so many friends and family members. It is not only super easy, but deliciously gooey and studded with coconut and pecans!  How could anyone resist!  Enjoy with a large glass of milk after the kitchen is clean and you are ready to put your feet up!

German Chocolate Upside Down Cake
     (aka Earthquake Cake)

1 cup coconut
1 cup chopped pecans
1 German Chocolate cake mix (w/o pudding)
         Ingredients to make cake as directed on box
1 stick butter, melted
1 8 oz. cream cheese, softened
4 cups powdered sugar

Scatter coconut and pecans in the bottom of a greased 9 x 13 pan.  Mix cake mix as directed on box, pour the batter over the coconut and pecans; spread with spatula.  Combine the butter and cream cheese, mix until well combined; add powdered sugar 1 cup at a time and blend until smooth and creamy.  With a large spoon, place 12 globs of the topping on top of the cake batter.  Drag a knife through the topping to allow it to spread across of cake.  Bake the cake for 40 to 45 minutes; the center will appear jiggly, but do not over bake.  Allow cake to cool for an hour or so.  Cut into squares and flip onto plate so the pecans and coconut are on top.

Gooey and Delicious!

Monday, November 14, 2011

Tips for a "Calmer" Holiday


First things first: You need to make a game plan. Running around like a chicken with its head cut off is a surefire way to increase the amount of valuable time you waste and raise your stress level!

To prepare for the big day (or days, as the case may be) compile a master grocery list, as well as a list of all the tasks that need to be accomplished. Planning ahead keeps you from having to make split-second decisions when you are supposed to be cooking.

Buying some items pre-prepared also helps save time. It may feel like cheating, but it can really take a lot of the tension out of days that should be spent enjoying the company of family and friends.

It's a good idea to prepare your kitchen. Clean out your fridge to make room for prepared dishes and for leftovers. It’s also a good time to clean out your pantry; throwing away anything that is stale or out-of-date.

De-clutter your counter tops, making more room to prepare your holiday dishes.

Keeping your area clean is a major stress reducer, especially once the food is cooked and ready. Washing the dishes as you go along is a major timesaver. Wash a pot here and a bowl there, and you'll be amazed how much quicker after-meal cleanup takes.

Now is not the time to try to be Julia Childs or Martha Stewart! If you are trying a new recipe, do a trial run before the big day! Attempting to prepare a new dish for guests could possibly be a disaster!

Many tasks can be done a day or two ahead of time. Save yourself a little stress by cooking some dishes early and freezing or refrigerating them.

Last, but certainly not least, get some help from your holiday guests. No reason for you to slave away all by yourself!

Happy Cooking!

On To The Side Dishes!

For as long as I can remember, my Mamaw fixed this congealed salad for every holiday!  When she became ill, the recipe was passed down to me!  For years, I have been in charge of desserts; even though this dish has the word "salad" in the name, it qualifies for dessert!  It is so creamy and choc full of crunchy tidbits...apples, pineapple, pecans and celery!  Mamaw's Salad makes a nice addition to breakfast, lunch or dinner; or for me, one more spoonful for a midnight snack!  I hope you will try this delicious recipe and other special recipes that were passed to you from your Grandmother!

Mamaw's Salad

1 Lg. can crushed pineapple
2/3 cup sugar
1 box Lemon Jello
1 8 oz. cream cheese, softened
1 cup chopped apples
1 cup chopped celery
1 cup chopped pecans
1 Lg. Cool Whip

Combine pineapple with juice and sugar in medium sauce pan; bring to a boil and boil for 1 minute. Stir in cream cheese and lemon Jello; remove from heat and cool completely.  (See picture below of adding the cream cheese; it may appear curdled, but keep stirring!)

In a large bowl, combine cream cheese mixture, apples, celery and pecans. Fold in Cool Whip til smooth. Chill overnight.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Pumpkin is a Thanksgiving Favorite

It's hard to believe that Thanksgiving is only days away; do you have your menu ready?  Besides the turkey, desserts always take center stage; pumpkin, pecans, walnuts and chocolate!  Pumpkin desserts seem to be a favorite at our house...pie, cake, cookies or bread!  However, if you are not a fan of pumpkin, you should give this recipe a try!  I promise you can't eat just one!  Even though they are called Pumpkin Bars, they are so moist and the icing is so creamy, you will most likely need a fork!  I hope you will take time to enjoy dessert, as you begin to relax after your Thanksgiving feast!

Pumpkin Bars


4 eggs
1 2/3 cups granulated sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
15-ounce can pumpkin
2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda


2 8-ounce package cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup butter or margarine, softened
4 cups sifted confectioners' sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Using an electric mixer at medium speed, combine the eggs, sugar, oil and pumpkin until light and fluffy. Stir together the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, salt and baking soda. Add the dry ingredients to the pumpkin mixture and mix at low speed until thoroughly combined and the batter is smooth. Spread the batter into 2 greased 9 x 13-inch baking pans. Bake for 25-30 minutes. Let cool completely before frosting. Cut into bars.

To make the icing: Combine the cream cheese and butter in a medium bowl with an electric mixer until smooth. Add the sugar, one cup at a time, and mix at low speed until combined. Stir in the vanilla and mix again. Spread on cooled pumpkin bars.

Options: Add chopped pecans or walnuts to batter; or sprinkle over frosting.
4 eggs

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Thanksgiving Time is Here

Thanksgiving is, without a doubt, my favorite holiday. I love this time of year...beautiful foliage, falling leaves, crisp, cool days, bright blue skies and of course, the smell of Apple Pie or Pumpkin Bread baking in the kitchen! I love when family and friends come together to share a bountiful meal, prepared with love by those who are special to us.  Thanksgiving is a time to reflect on the many ways in which we are blessed every day.  We are all blessed more than we know, even though we often loose sight of this.

Of course, Thanksgiving would be my favorite...I love to cook!  It is a time to pull out those tried and true family recipes; those that you look forward to preparing for your Thanksgiving feast!  I still make dishes that my Grandmother prepared so lovingly, but, I also have added a few of my own favorites to our Thanksgiving meal.  I hope you will enjoy the recipes that I will be sharing with you over the next few weeks!

Traditional Pumpkin Pie

Pumpkin Pie is a must at every Thanksgiving table!  I've tried many recipes that add cream cheese, pecans or a praline topping; there is no replacement for the traditional Pumpkin Pie!  I use the recipe right on the can of Libby's Pumpkin and there is never a morsel left!  Add a dollop of whipped cream...a perfect Thanksgiving dessert!
Pumpkin Pie


1 (9 inch) unbaked deep dish pie crust
3/4 cup white sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
2 eggs
1 (15 ounce) can 100% Pure Pumpkin
1 (12 fluid ounce) can Evaporated Milk

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
  2. Combine sugar, salt, cinnamon, ginger and cloves in small bowl. Beat eggs lightly in large bowl. Stir in pumpkin and sugar-spice mixture. Gradually stir in evaporated milk. Pour into pie shell.
  3. Bake for 15 minutes. Reduce temperature to 350 degrees F.; bake for 40 to 50 minutes or until knife inserted near center comes out clean. Cool on wire rack for 2 hours. Serve immediately or refrigerate. (Do not freeze as this will cause the crust to separate from the filling.)

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Rustic Apple Pie with Walnut Streusel

I love Apple Pie...and if you add a crunchy, walnut streusel...even better!  This is a recipe that I have been making for several years, always delicious, always perfect!  However, if time allows, I make my own piecrust.  This apple pie recipe has many steps, so, having a piecrust on hand is a timesaver~~less time and less mess!   Brushing the crust with milk makes it extra flaky; and the sprinking of raw sugar gives the pie a beautiful, golden sparkle and a little surprising crunch!  Add a scoop of vanilla ice-cream, and, ahhhh~~~comfort at it's best!  Curl up with a loved one, under a quilt, by the fire and share this warm dessert!

Rustic Apple Pie with Walnut Streusel

½ Pkg. Pillsbury Pie Crusts

2 Tbl. Milk
2 Tbl. Sugar
     (to be used later)


4-5 large apples, peeled and cut into 1-1 1/2 inch pieces
½ cup sugar
2 Tbl. flour
1 Tbl. lemon juice
¾ tsp. cinnamon

Combine apples and remaining ingredients; set aside.


4 Tbl. butter
4 Tbl. firmly packed brown sugar
4 Tbl. flour
½ cup chopped walnuts

Make the topping first. Combine all ingredients with a pastry blender or food processor til crumbly; chill.

Roll pie crust, on lightly floured parchment paper, into a 12 inch circle. Move onto a baking pan. Place the apple filling in the center of pie crust, leaving about a 2 inch edge. Gently fold edges of piecrust over the filling. If needed, with a little water, use your fingers to “glue” any thin areas together. Bake in a 400 degree oven for 40 minutes. Reduce heat to 350 degrees. Remove from oven; crumble topping mixture over center of pie. Brush sides of crust with milk and sprinkle with sugar. Return to oven and bake for 20-25 minutes. Crust should be lightly brown and center bubbly.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Gingerbread Cake with Penuche Icing

Another tasty, Fall treat!  Gingerbread Cupcakes with Penuche Icing!  The recipe for the cake actually comes from a Pampered Chef recipe book from the year 2000!  You will be amazed at the combination of ingredients used to make this moist, spicy, and yet, light cake!  The Penuche Icing is my addition to these delightful cupcakes.  Don't let the name of this delicate icing scare you; just follow the directions and you can make a rich maple tasting icing that can be used on many different cakes!  You will impress your friends, family, co-workers or even your Pharmacist, Hairdresser or your child's teacher!  I love surprising those that help me in so many ways!

Gingerbread Cake

1 can solid pumpkin
1/3 c. Molasses
3 eggs
2 Tbls. Pumpkin Pie Spice
1 Pkg. German Chocolate Cake Mix

Combine pumpkin, molasses, eggs and spices; mix until creamy.  Add cake mix and mix until well blended.
Pour into greased bundt; bake at 350 for 40-45 minutes.  Cool before removing from pan.  For cupcakes, divide evenly between 24 regular baking cups; bake for 18-20 minutes.  For jumbo baking cups, the yield will be 18 to 20 cupcakes.  Cool before frosting.  Without the extra calories from the icing, a serving of this cake is very light, yet so moist!

Penuche Icing

In a small saucepan melt 1/2 cup butter; stir in 1 cup packed brown sugar.  Cook and stir until bubbly.  Remove from heat.  Add 1/4 cup milk; stir until smooth.  Add 3 1/2 cups powdered sugar; beat until spreading consistency.  If icing becomes too stiff, add 1 teaspoon hot water to pan and stir until well combined.

If you have any Penuche Icing left over, after icing your cake, pour into a small dish.  It will harden and become fudge-like!  Cut into bite-size pieces and watch it disappear!

                                Gingerbread Cupcakes

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Fresh Apple Cake

Granny Smith Apples, Gala Apples, Golden Delicious Apples!  I love all apple desserts; pies, cakes, tarts...you name it!  However, this apple cake recipe is one of my favorites to bake during the fall season...the aroma of cinnamon fills the house with such comfort!  Enjoy this extremely moist cake, chock full of pecans and draped in a rich, gooey syrup; share with a friend over coffee or a giant glass of milk!

Fresh Apple Cake

3 cups diced apples                                                 
2 cups sugar                                                               
1 1/4 cup oil                                                                   
3 eggs
3 cups plain flour
1 tsp. salt, baking soda and cinnamon
1 cup nuts
1 tsp. vanilla

Mix dry ingredients and set aside.  Beat eggs; add oil and sugar. Mix until well combined.  Add dry ingredients and mix well.  Add apples, nuts and vanilla.  Pour batter into well greased tube pan and bake for appx. 1 hour.

Sauce:  1 stick of butter, 1 cup brown sugar, 1/4 cup milk

Shortly before cake is done, make the sauce.  Melt butter in large saucepan; stir in sugar and milk. Bring to a rolling boil and continue to boil for 1 minute.  Pour over cake as soon as you remove it from the oven.  Let stand 1 hour, then turn out onto cake plate.

                                                               Fresh Apple Cake

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Fall Is In The Air!

My favorite time of the year is here, Fall! The beautiful colors of the changing leaves are almost at their peak and the temperatures are cool and crisp!  I call this kind of weather "Hoodie Weather!"  A well-worn hoodie is my favorite piece of clothing!  With the cooler temperatures, shorter days and football games; soups and stews are perfect for dinner, served with cornbread or a nice crusty loaf of bread!  My boys aren't big soup eaters,  but I am going to share a few that they really like!  Most soup recipes make more than enough for one meal...you can freeze the leftovers...or, even better, share with an elderly neighbor, a friend who needs a pick-me-up or someone recovering from an illness!  Most of all, enjoy and make memories!

Taco Soup

Taco Soup

1 1/2 lbs. browned ground beef                        
1 can stewed tomatoes                                      
1 can Ro-Tel Tomatoes                                         
1 can creamed corn                                           
1 can whole kernal corn
1 can pinto beans
1 can kidney beans
1 can Ranch Style beans
2 cups water
1 pkg. taco seasoning mix
1 pkg. Ranch Dressing Mix

Mix all ingredients together in large dutch oven; simmer for 2 hours, stirring occasionally.
Serve with sour cream, shredded cheese and tortilla chips.