Wednesday, March 30, 2016


I probably overdid it last week when Friend Janice and I went out on our Estate Sale Friday. I will blame Friend Fran who joined us for the day. Just kidding ... about blaming Fran. I just couldn't resist when the cookbooks were only 50 cents each. I did find some good ones, too. I have already marked about 7 or 8 recipes to try from the Favorite Brand Name Gifts From The Christmas Kitchen. If they are as successful as the first one I tried, I don't think you will regret my purchase.

I made these scrumptious Chocolate Chip Walnut Bars to take to Hillcrest Thrift Shop. They are just one of several recipes that uses the same bar cookie crust. I will have to try a few of the other ones.


Bar Cookie Crust (see below)
2       eggs
1/2    cup light corn syrup
1/2    cup sugar
2       tablespoons margarine or butter, melted
1        cup (6 - oz) semisweet chocolate chips (I used 60% cacao dark bittersweet chips)
3/4    cup chopped walnuts

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Prepare Bar Cookie Crust.

Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, beat eggs, corn syrup, sugar, and margarine until well blended. 

Stir in chocolate chips and walnuts.

Pour over hot crust; spread evenly.

Bake 15 to 18 minutes or until set. (I did bake mine the full 18 minutes.)

Cool completely on a wire rack.

Cut into bars.


2       cups flour
1/2    cup (1 stick) cold margarine or butter, cut into pieces
1/3    cup sugar
1/4    teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9 x 13 - inch baking pan with cooking spray.

In a large bowl with mixer at medium speed, beat flour, margarine, sugar, and salt
until mixture resembles coarse crumbs.
Press firmly into bottom and 1/4 inch up the sides of the prepared pan.

Bake 15 minutes or until golden brown. (I baked it 15 minutes and the edges were turning brown so I took it out.)

Immediately pour filling over top. Complete as recipe directs.

Tuesday, March 29, 2016


Remember that second pie crust I made and froze last week? I finally chose a pie recipe to make. It was really hard as I have several I really want to try.

This Country Fair Pie was contributed by Susan Schwartz of Berne, Indiana and was in Wanda E. Brunstetter's Amish Friends Cookbook. There was a beautiful picture of it on the previous page that just kept "calling" me every time I looked at the book. Mine didn't quite look the same, but I followed the directions (almost). Hers didn't actually look golden brown, just light brown.

OMG! It was so good. My husband wanted me to cut it not long after I took it out of the oven. I held him off for almost 30 minutes and then I had to cut it. I would really recommend eating it while it is still warm.


1/2       cup butter or margarine, melted
1           cup sugar (I used 1/2 cup of sugar/stevia blend)
1/2       cup flour
2          eggs
1           teaspoon vanilla
1           cup (6 ounces) semisweet chocolate chips
1/2       cup butterscotch chips
1           cup chopped nuts
1           (9 - inch) unbaked pie shell

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.

Beat butter, sugar, flour, eggs, and vanilla
until well blended.

Stir in chips and nuts.

Pour into unbaked pie shell.

Bake 1 hour or until golden brown.

Cool on wire rack.

Monday, March 28, 2016


My friend Loy shared this recipe on Facebook and said she was going to try it. I never have asked her if she did. Since I had an angel food cake mix that I needed to use, I decided now would be a good time to do that. I borrowed an orange soda from the refrigerator at Hillcrest Thrift shop (well, I was going to make them to share with the volunteers) since I only needed 1/2 cup and I don't buy orange sodas.

If you like a crispy cookie, this cookie isn't for you. The name "puff" is perfectly used with this recipe. Probably because of the angel food cake mix, the cookie almost melts in your mouth. I also discovered that you do NOT want to use parchment paper when you bake these, unless you spray it with cooking spray. That might help, although I didn't try it so I can't guarantee it. Using a diet orange soda will reduce the calories, but I did use a regular one.


1       angel food cake mix
1/2   teaspoon almond flavor
1/2   cup orange soda

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray cookie sheets with cooking spray.

Combine all ingredients in a large mixing bowl and beat until thoroughly mixed.

Using a cookie scoop, space cookies at least 2 inches apart (12 on a sheet) on a greased cookie sheet. Important -- you will need to stir the batter each time you are ready to scoop it out for the cookies. It starts getting spongy while it sits.

Bake  9 minutes or until lightly brown. Remove immediately to cool on a wire rack.

This is what happened when I used parchment paper. You can see how the last ones I removed left the bottom center of the cookie on the paper.

Friday, March 25, 2016


I have always liked sugar cookies but not always all the trouble it is to make them ... rolling them out and then using cookie cutters, rerolling, etc. That's why anytime I see a recipe for "dropped" sugar cookies, I always stop and give it a second look.

I found the recipe for these Dropped Amish Church Sugar Cookies in my The Beverly Lewis Amish Heritage Cookbook. Her note below the recipe reads, "The perfect cookie for holiday gatherings of any kind . . . and for all ages, from Indiana Amish country!"

I cut the original recipe in half so I could just make 3 dozen cookies. My husband and I have trouble eating any more than that within a several days. (lol)


3-1/2       cups flour (1-3/4)
1               teaspoon baking powder (1/2)
1               teaspoon baking soda (1/2)
1               teaspoon salt (1/2)
1               teaspoon ground nutmeg (1/2)
1-1/2        cups margarine (no substitutes) (3/4 - 1-1/2 sticks)
2              cups white sugar (1 - but I used 1/2 cup sugar/stevia blend to reduce sugar.)
1               teaspoon vanilla extract (1/2)
1               teaspoon almond extract (1/2)
2              eggs, slightly beaten (1)
1               cup sour cream (1/2 - I used fat free)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Stir together flour, baking powder, baking soda, nutmeg, and salt in a bowl.

In a large bowl, beat margarine, sugar, and extracts until creamy. (Since the margarine wasn't melted, I cut into slices to break down easier.)

Add eggs and sour cream; beat well.

Gradually add dry ingredients, mixing well.

Grease cookie sheets or line them with parchment paper. (I did the latter.) Using medium-sized cookie scoop, drop cookies 2 inches apart. Sprinkle with sugar. (I have a cookie scoop that holds 1 tablespoon of water that I use for all my cookies.)

Bake cookies for 10 - 15 minutes or until set. Don't allow cookies to get too golden.
Remove from cookie sheet and place on cooling rack.

When completely cool, store between sheets of waxed paper.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016


Several months ago I got brave enough to try making my own pie crust. Before that I just always bought either frozen pie crust shells or the rolled up pie crusts. I had even discovered Wal-mart's Great Value rolled up pie crust and decided why would I take the time to make my own, when this one tasted so good.

Well, as I was saying, several months ago I got brave enough to try one of my mother's recipes. It is so funny. I have so many recipes that my mother had in boxes. She would see a recipe that she wanted to try and would just write it down on an envelope that she would then tear down to just what the recipe covered. I have never counted how many pie crust recipes she had written down, but it is a lot. I chose one and tried it.

Well, it wasn't as difficult as I thought it would be and it tasted so good. (Even better than the Great Value one.) After that I felt guilty buying one when I knew I could easily bake one. (The only thing I need to work on is the finishing touches -- the fluting on top of the pie plate rim. I am not always happy with my attempts so I often end up just working around the rim with a fork.)

Recently Kevin Williams shared some pie crust recipes on his website Saturday when I wanted to make a pie I had seen, I decided I would check out a different recipe from the one of Mother's. First I looked in several of my Amish cookbooks, but they make so many pie crusts. I checked out Kevin's site and decided to give this Best Ever Pie Crust recipe he had shared from Rosanna Bauman. He said it was the Go-To pie crust recipe in his home. 

The interesting thing I discovered when I compared it to the one I had been using of my mother's was the ingredients were proportionally the same but it contained an egg and a tablespoon of vinegar that Mother's recipe didn't. 

Well, that egg and tablespoon of vinegar made all the difference in the world. The pie crust not only tastes is so flaky! I think this recipe will the Go-To recipe for pie crust in my house from now on also.

It did make enough for another pie crust, but I just put the rest of the dough in a covered container and put it in the frig.


1      cup butter or shortening (I did use shortening.)
3     cups flour
1      teaspoon salt
1/3  cup cold water
1      egg, beaten
1      tablespoon vinegar

Combine the salt with the flour and then "cut" in the shortening til crumbly. 

(Hint! Here is how I do that. I am used to doing this when I make my biscuits and I have always used my fingers.)

I measured the shortening in a cup measure and then scooped it out and pressed them against the side of the bowl. Then I worked around the side of the bowl, mashing up a little at a time with the flour until it was no large lumps of shortening exist.

Add the cold water, vinegar, and egg and stir til combined. (I ended up having to use my fingers to get it totally combined.)

Chill dough (if you have time) (I did chill mine for maybe 30 minutes while I mixed up the pie I was going to make.) Rosanna says you can use it immediately if you are using shortening instead of butter without any problems. 

Roll out to desired thickness. Rosanna said she likes her crust thick so that they don't tear when she puts them in the pie plate. I do also.

Add filling or bake first if necessary.

The rest of the dough, I made into another pie crust

wrapped it completely with plastic wrap to quick freeze.
After it was frozen, I wrapped it again with foil and returned it to the freezer until I am ready to make another pie which is probably going to be in a day or two. The first one didn't last long. 

Tuesday, March 22, 2016


My friend Effie sent me this recipe several weeks ago. It sounded perfect since I have changed to the first shift at Hillcrest Thrift Shop. It could be cooking in the slow cooker while I was "working" and then would be ready for me to serve the volunteers at lunch. It smelled so good cooking. I could hardly wait for my shift to be over.

It is best served hot. You could set the temperature to Keep Warm if you weren't serving everyone at the same time. I used sugar free products to save on calories, but you don't have to. Effie didn't.


1         chocolate cake mix such as Devil's Food or Chocolate Fudge (I did use a sugar free Devil's food cake mix) + ingredients to mix 
1         large (6 - serving size) instant chocolate pudding (I used a sugar free one) + ingredients to mix
2        cups chocolate chips (I used 1 cup semi-sweet and 1 cup dark chocolate chips)

Mix up the cake mix following the instructions on the box. 

Pour into the bottom of a 6 - quart slow cooker. (I sprayed the bottom and sides with cooking spray.)

Mix the pudding following the directions on the package.

Spread over the cake batter. (Do not mix)

Sprinkle the chocolate chips over the top.

Cover and bake on LOW for 3 hours or until cake is set and the pudding is beginning to bubble out of the cake. (I like to start cooking anything in the slow cooker on HIGH to begin. So I cooked it for 1 hour on HIGH and then 2 and a half hours on LOW.)

Dip out with a large spoon. Serve warm.

Monday, March 21, 2016


When I first saw this recipe, I couldn't help but think,
"Where is the spaghetti? Surely it needs something more than just what the recipe indicates?" I hesitantly followed the directions and then when I took it out of the oven and was preparing to serve it for dinner, I thought, "It's not going to come out nicely. It going to fall apart."

Well, I was pleasantly surprised in both counts ... it didn't need any pasta and it came out perfectly. (It even heated up nicely in the microwave for leftovers.) I think the biggest surprise was how tasty it was ... full of flavor!

I hope you will give it a try and be as pleasantly surprised as I was. (My husband loved it!)


1         lb ground beef
1/4     cup chopped onion
1-1/2  cups spaghetti sauce
2        cups shredded mozzarella cheese
1         cup sour cream
1         can (8 count) refrigerated crescent rolls
1/3     cup grated Parmesan cheese
2        tablespoons melted margarine

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Cook the ground beef with the onion in a skillet, stirring until crumbly and done. Drain if necessary.

Stir in the spaghetti sauce.

Cook until heated through.

Pour into a 9 x 13 - inch baking dish.

Mix the mozzarella cheese and the sour cream in a bowl. 
Spoon over the meat sauce.

Separate the rolls into 2 rectangles.
Arrange over the cheese mixture.
Combine the Parmesan cheese and margarine in a small bowl.
Spread over the dough.
Bake for 18 to 25 minutes or until deep golden brown.
Cut into squares to serve. (I didn't think it would come out in squares, but it did using a spatula.)