Friday, June 23, 2017


Our Sunday School Class called Faith Connectors always "adopts" a family at Christmas and helps make the children in the family have a merry Christmas. This year we decided to "adopt" a young girl who was a senior in high school from an unstable family situation who has goals of becoming a nurse. 

Well, our "adoption" has turned into a longer time period than just Christmas. Several in the class have been staying in touch with her weekly to make sure she gets started on her dream. They even attended her graduation last month. The class had a graduation brunch for her that morning and she was really appreciative.

This recipe for Fruit Swirl Coffee Cake was made by Friend Paula and was enjoyed at the brunch.


1-1/2       cups sugar
1/2          cup shortening
1/2          cup margarine
1              teaspoon vanilla
4             eggs
1/2          teaspoon baking powder
1              teaspoon almond extract
3             cups flour
1              21 - oz can cherry pie filling

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Blend sugar, margarine, shortening, baking powder vanilla, almond extract, and eggs in mixing bowl on low.

Beat 3 minutes on high.

Add flour.

Spread 2/3 of batter in jelly roll pan.

Spread pie filling over top.

Drop remaining batter by tablespoonfuls on top of filling.

Bake for 45 minutes.

Glaze while warm with 1 cup powdered sugar with 1 - 2 tablespoons milk.  

I made my Cinnamon Roll Biscuits


Thursday, June 22, 2017


When the Mexican Train group met at Friend Carol's house last week, she treated us to lunch before the game. What a treat it was, too! I have several dishes to share with you but I am starting with this delicious Ham and Broccoli Salad. This cold salad was just what the warm day called for. June has definitely arrived in the Northland.



1/2       cup low-fat mayonnaise
1/3       cup nonfat plain yogurt
1/4       cup low-fat sour cream
3          tablespoons white wine vinegar
1           tablespoon Dijon mustard
1           tablespoon honey, or more to taste
1/4       cup onion salt
1/4       teaspoon celery salt
White pepper to taste


4         cups broccoli florets, chopped
8         ounces ham, preferably reduced-sodium, diced
1           large red or yellow bell pepper or a combination of both, diced
Fresh ground black pepper to taste
1/2      cup shredded cheese

Combine all dressing ingredients in a bowl and stir until well blended. Season with white pepper. Taste and adjust seasonings as desired.

To prepare salad: Combine broccoli, ham, bell pepper, and cheese in a large bowl. Add fresh ground black pepper to taste. Add dressing and toss until well coated.

Cover and refrigerate to blend the flavors for at least an hour before serving.

Serve with thin bagels separated, buttered, and lightly toasted in the oven.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017


I have enjoyed a lively discussion with my friends who have been in the Kansas City area for many years regarding my purchase of another copy of Stephenson's Apple Farm Restaurant's Receipts cookbook and their memories of certain dishes served at the restaurant. Unfortunately we were not one of those fortunate enough to visit the orchard and restaurant before the original and last one in Independence closed in 2007.

Everyone remembers and talked about how much they enjoyed the Green Rice and the Baked Chicken 'N' Butter and Cream to mention just two of the dishes. So I decided to make both of them last week. I will share the Green Rice in this post and then the Baked Chicken 'N' Butter and Cream in another post. 

I followed the recipe for Green Rice just as it was in the cookbook which meant I made it for my husband. I will have to take his word that he liked it also. I did use brown rice; the recipe just said "rice". I also didn't have a green bell pepper and used a larger orange one and small red one to make 1/4 cup. I did leave out the 1/2 teaspoon of seasoned salt because I didn't have any. We don't use a lot of salt in our cooking and my husband said it was a little more salty than what he likes. Next time I will not use 1 tablespoon of salt in the recipe. I told him I decided to go on and use that much because I didn't add any salt when I cooked the rice.


3       cups cooked rice (1 cup uncooked)
1        cup chopped parsley
1/2    cup grated cheddar cheese
1/3    cup chopped onion
1/4    cup chopped green pepper
1        clove garlic, minced
1        14-1/2 oz can evaporated milk
2       eggs, beaten
1/2    cup oil
1        tablespoon salt
1/2    teaspoon seasoned salt
1/2    teaspoon pepper
1/4    teaspoon Accent
Juice and grated rind of 1 lemon

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 2 - quart casserole.

Mix rice, parsley, cheese, onion, green pepper, and garlic in a large bowl.

Blend together the rest of the ingredients - milk, eggs, oil, seasonings and lemon juice and rind.

Add to rice
and mix.

Pour into casserole dish.
Sprinkle with paprika.

Bake for about 45 minutes, or until like a soft custard.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017


This is one of those desserts I say after seeing it -
"Now, why didn't I think of that?" I think Friend Julie created this recipe herself. If she told me she saw it somewhere, I don't remember. I do remember that she mentioned considering another recipe to make instead. It really doesn't matter. It is such a creative way to have your brownies and ice cream together. As I said, I can't believe I didn't think of doing this.

I guess I don't have to tell you how much everyone liked it at Tasty Bunch. Julie reduced the calories by using sugar-free ice cream and sugar-free whipped topping. I asked her if she had used a sugar-free brownie mix and canned frosting. She said she didn't. That would have reduced the calories even more. (I am always looking for ways to reduce the calories as much as I can when I make desserts.) She made her own butter cream chocolate frosting, but if you are rushed for time, you could use a can of chocolate frosting - even sugar-free. 


1         box (9 x 13 - in pan size) brownie mix + ingredients to make according to box directions (sugar-free mix would work)
1         container chocolate frosting (sugar-free one would work) or a butter cream chocolate icing
1         half-gallon favorite ice cream (Julie just used vanilla, but said she would have liked to have used a special one.) You won't use the whole carton.
Whipped topping (sugar-free one works)
Chocolate shavings

Prepare and bake brownie mix following the box directions.

Frost the brownies using either a homemade butter cream chocolate frosting or a container of chocolate frosting in a can when brownies cool.

Place in freezer and freeze about an hour.

Remove ice cream and allow to soften slightly before spreading a layer on top of frozen iced brownies. Julie said she didn't use all of the ice cream. It was probably about an inch thick.

Return to freezer and freeze again for at least an hour.

Spread a thinner layer of whipped topping on the frozen dessert.

Grate chocolate candy over the top of the whipped topping using the larger hole side of the grater. Julie had some individually wrapped chocolate candy she used for this. 

Return to freezer and keep there until 20 minutes before ready to serve.

Remove and allow to soften slightly so that you can cut it into serving pieces.

Here is a great tip for when you are cutting the serving pieces. 

Julie filled a glass with water and after running the knife down through the dessert to cut into 3 squares, she placed the knife in the water while she used a spatula to remove the squares. Then she simply dried the knife off to use it to cut the next squares.

Monday, June 19, 2017


These Banana Oatmeal Cookies were our dessert at Mexican Train. OMG they were so delicious. I snuck a second one on my way out since I know Friend Carol reduces the sugar when she bakes by using sugar substitute. I just couldn't resist them. They were so good. Even Friend Janice enjoyed them and desserts with bananas are probably her least favorite dessert. I have made banana cookies, but these were hands down the best ones I have eaten. Thanks Carol for making them for our luncheon.


3/4       cup butter, softened
3/4       cup sugar (Carol used stevia)
3/4       cup brown sugar (Carol used 1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons Splenda brown sugar blend)
2           eggs
1            teaspoon vanilla
1-1/4     cups flour
1            teaspoon baking soda
3/4       teaspoon cinnamon
1/2        teaspoon salt
2-3/4   oats
2           mashed bananas
1            cup raisins, optional (Carol omitted)
1            cup pecans, chopped
1            cup chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Mix together butter, sugar, brown sugar, until smooth. Beat in eggs and vanilla.
Stir together flour, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt.
Gradually beat into butter mixture. 
Add bananas.
Stir in oats, and nuts. 
Use a cookie scoop to put dough on ungreased cookie sheet. (Carol likes to bake the cookies on parchment lined cookie sheets.)
Bake 8 to 10 minutes.
Cool one minute on sheet then remove to cool completely.

Friday, June 16, 2017


On the hottest day so far this summer in the Northland, I found the bestest-ever-dessert to enjoy in one of my Amish cookbooks, Wanda E. Brunstetter's Amish Friends Cookbook - Desserts. This is one of my favorite cookbooks as I have made a number of recipes from it. This one simply called Frozen Strawberry Pudding was contributed by Dianna Yoder from Goshen, Indiana.

I made it when Friends Janice, Fran, and Patricia came over for an afternoon of canasta yesterday. I have talked about my desire to win so much when we play canasta and this time it was down to the last hand with Patricia and me only a couple of hundred points down. BUT Janice and Fran had their strongest round of the afternoon to beat us almost 1300 points. Normally I would be pretty "down", but I just can't be after enjoying a serving of this dessert. 

I left the dessert set out for about 30 minutes before I cut it into squares to serve. I thought it might have been about 10 minutes too long when I cut the squares. As it was, some of the squares still had frozen strawberries and we all agreed we would have enjoyed it more had the strawberries not been frozen. So not really sure what I will do next time. I put the leftovers back in the freezer for now. It might look a little nicer cut in squares, but it might look okay spooned out in custard dishes more like pudding.

I recently have been striving to live the Sugar Busters Lifestyle and lose a few pounds I have gained over the last months after two trips we took. So far I am doing great with limiting my sugar intake and have taken off a few pounds. Dianna didn't use ingredients to reduce the calories, but I did and everyone was really happy with the dessert. It is so light and perfect for a hot day. I will present Dianna's recipe and then put my substitutions in parentheses after. I'll let you decide which you want to use.


1        (8 - ounce) package cream cheese, softened (I used fat free cream cheese)
3/4    cup sugar (I used stevia.)
1        quart strawberries, sliced (I measured 4 cups sliced fresh berries from almost two 1 - lb packages.)
1        (8 - ounce) carton frozen whipped topping, thawed (I used sugar-free frozen whipped topping.)
3       cups miniature marshmallows.

Blend cream cheese and sugar (stevia) until smooth (with electric mixer).

Add strawberries.
(Make sure you distribute the cream cheese mixture thoroughly with the strawberries.)

Add whipped topping. (Make sure you fold the whipped topping in.)

Stir in marshmallows.

Spread in a 9 x 13 - inch dish.

Freeze. (I covered my dish with its lid.)

Remove for about 30 minutes before you want to serve it. 

Wednesday, June 14, 2017


I can't believe I haven't shared this recipe with you before. I thought I had made it in the last few years. It is one of those recipes I have had forever. I remember making it when our sons were still home but haven't made it too often since. 

This is another one of those recipes that helps stretch a pound of ground beef to feed a family of 6 or more. While we are not a family of 6 or more, my husband is okay with leftovers. So I like to cook casseroles for us.


1       lb. ground beef
1/2   cup chopped onion (I just sprinkled a little onion powder as I don't do onions well.)
1/2   cup or 1 stalk of celery diced
1/4   teaspoon salt
1/8   teaspoon pepper
1       15 - ounce can of chili with beans
1       8 - ounce can of tomato sauce
4      ounces (1 cup) grated cheese (I used mild cheddar)
1        cup slightly crushed corn chips + more when serving

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

In a skillet combine meat, onion, celery, salt, and pepper;
cook til vegetables are just tender.
Add chili and tomato sauce;
Stir in cheese
and HALF of the corn chips.

Turn into a 1-1/2 quart casserole.
Top with remaining 1/2 cup of chips.

Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or til heated through.


Tuesday, June 13, 2017


When I first saw this recipe I knew I had to make it. I wanted to make it for us and use sugar-free ingredients, but when I was ready to make it, I didn't have the sugar-free chocolate cake mix. I did have the sugar-free brownie mix though. This time I decided to go on and make it half sugar-free and then the next time I will make it using the sugar-free mixes. BTW, 60% cacao chips have less sugar than semi-sweet and milk chocolate. 

I made it and took to Hillcrest to share with the volunteers there. As I expected, they loved it. I cut the slices not too thick, so when my shift was over and I went to the community room, there were still pieces left. I asked Bobbie if she had gotten a slice for her husband and gave her one when she said she hadn't. Then Vali came and asked if she could be a hog and get a second piece. So when I left, I had about six thin slices to bring home. I watched for the boys to get home next door and then gave them the rest. I gave it to them on my cake carrier and told them to keep the lid closed so the cake wouldn't dry out (since I had cut the slices). Wyatt told me not to worry, it wouldn't last past the night. My husband liked it so much that he ate two slices before I took it to Hillcrest.

I think you could probably cut the ganache in half and you would have enough icing. I had so much left. I hated the waste.


1         box chocolate cake mix (sugar-free would work)
1         box fudge brownie mix (sugar-free would work)
4        eggs
1-1/4  cups water
1         cup oil

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a Bundt pan with non-sticking cooking spray.

Combine cake mix ingredients and whisk for about 2 minutes or until most lumps are gone.
(I combined the cake mix and brownie mix together first and broke up the lumps with my fingers
and then added the other ingredients.)

Pour cake batter into prepared pan.

Bake for 50 to 55 minutes. Check donesness with a toothpick.

Cool in pan on a wire rack for about 5 minutes before removing.(I left mine inverted for about 30 minutes before I removed the pan - I had to run an errand.)

Finish cooling on wire rack.

When cool, carefully place cake on cake server
and pour ganache on it letting it run down the sides. (I poured a lot since I had so much, but still had leftovers.)


1         cup heavy whipping cream
1         bag (12-oz) semi-sweet chocolate morsels (I used 60% cacao)

Pour whipping cream in microwavable bowl
and heat in microwave for 2 minutes - just boiling.

Remove from microwave and add the chocolate chips
making sure they are all submerged. Let set for 5 minutes.

Whisk mixture
until shiny and smooth
about a minute. Doesn't take very long at all.

Pour over cooled cake.

Slice to serve.

Thanks to for the recipe.