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Pumpkin Cheesecake Trifle

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I have told at least three people recently that I had made a trifle. All three said, "oh, that's the same thing as a truffle, right?" Well, not exactly.  I had to go into great detail about what a trifle was. All three were men, so I don't know if that was why or not! LOL. Anyways, to make a trifle, you kind of need a trifle "bowl." Since I didn't own one, I went to Bed, Bath and Beyond, because who doesn't get their coupons in the mail?!?!?!?! Instead of taking the usual pumpkin pie to a Thanksgiving dinner, how about taking this dessert? Your family and friends will think you took hours to make it!

Ingredients

13-16 ounce package gingersnap cookies 14-ounces cream cheese, softened 1 teaspoon vanilla extract 15-ounce can packed pumpkin 1 cup white sugar 1 teaspoon cinnamon 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg 1 pint whipping cream 1 cup powdered sugar
In a plastic gallon size zippered plastic bag, put in the gingersnaps. Using a meat mallet,  crush into bite-sized pieces. Set …

Oatmeal and Chocolate Chip Cookies

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It's hard to believe that my mom has been gone almost six months already. Yesterday, for some reason, I was having trouble managing the grief. I read an article recently on HuffPost.com that said there are many psychological benefits to baking for others - one of them is "stress management." If you are interested in reading the article, here is the link:  https://www.huffpost.com/entry/culinary-arts-therapy_n_58ee79c1e4b0bb9638e0e02b . My mom and I spent tons of time in the kitchen and we definitely had a lot of fun!


This particular recipe card was written in my mom's handwriting, and on the back side of the card, was written "doubled from Thomas Pullen Home Economics (Patti). " Thomas Pullen was the Junior High my sister attended. "Patti" is my sister.




She lives down in Georgia and I sent her a message asking if she remembered these cookies. She said, "I still use that recipe, it's really good!" I don't remember eating these co…

Martha's Own "Spanish" Rice

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I have said it before and I'll say it again, I was the world's pickiest eater growing up. Recently, I was looking through one of my mom's old recipe boxes and found a recipe for Martha's Own Spanish Rice. It was written in my mom's handwriting on an index card. I know I didn't eat this growing up because of my extreme aversion to onions (I still can't eat raw onions). I asked my dad if he remembered mom making this and he said yes. Cool.  My dad was and still is kind of a picky eater.  He likes his food more plain with virtually no spices, but salt. My husband is kind of the opposite, he'll eat just about ANYTHING.  I had told my hubby earlier in the day, I was hoping to make my mom's recipe. The day ended up being really busy and it started to get towards dinner time. My husband goes, "so, are you still making your mom's recipe?" I told him that I was.  As I started to brown the meat, I perused the rest of the ingredients. My mom had…

"Supreme" Chocolate Chip Cookies

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*Photo courtesy of Mary Gajda  Capital Area Women's Lifestyle Magazine
Anyone that knows me even a little, knows that I love to BAKE! It's in my "genes" - my great-grandfather on my mom's side owned a bakery in Missouri.

One cookie that I have tried many times to make and failed just as many times are chocolate chip cookies!! That's just about one of the easiest cookies to make, right!?!?! Mine have turned out under-baked, over-baked, stuck to the cookie sheet - you name it and it's happened to me and chocolate chip cookies.  I make chocolate chip "bars" instead and follow the recipe on the Nestle Toll House Morsels bag! Well, I bit the "bullet" and made some chocolate chip cookies yesterday afternoon. I looked through cookbooks, on the Internet and in my mom's old recipe boxes. The basic recipe seemed to be the same ingredients, though a few had baking powder in addition to baking soda. I associate baking power with biscuits. A lot…

Cardamom and Lemon Cookies

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I have said it before and I'll say it again, I was the world's pickiest eater growing up! Never in a million years would I have ever thought of making a cookie using cardamom. Up until a few years ago, I didn't even know what cardamom was!!!  Cardamom is a spice that I think tastes like cinnamon, ginger, cloves and nutmeg rolled into one.  This is what the spice area looks like at my local Kroger, quite a selection, huh?


Yikes, thank goodness, a large portion of it is alphabetized or else I would be at a total loss!! I have really "branched" out in the past five years or so using different spices, especially when I make chicken, beef or veggie chili. A few nights ago, when I made chicken chili,  I put in cumin, turmeric and "Thai" inspired red curry powder. I also have been known to sneak in some marjoram into chicken soup. I was so excited the first time I made these cookies that I had a bit of a "heavy hand" with the cardamom. The second g…

Jeannette's Chocolate Covered "Grasshoppers"

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In less than a week, it will be two months since my mom's passing. It has been a difficult time, but I think my dad phrased it the best - you learn to "adapt." He and my mom were married for over 55 years.


While looking through two of my mom's recipe boxes today, I came across a recipe for Chocolate Covered Grasshoppers. The name certainly sounds intriguing, doesn't it?!?!?! I always thought Chocolate Covered Grasshoppers had some form of mint in it. A quick Internet search though, brought up "real" grasshoppers covered in chocolate. Um, no, I don't think so! The recipe is from my mom's friend Jeannette, who I always remember living near Miami, Florida. She has five children, all relatively close in age. I met most, if not all of her children at one time or another. I think the youngest was my age. Anyways, I can just imagine Jeannette in her hot kitchen in Florida with her children making these. They are no-bake/drop cookies, so you don't n…

Strawberry and Watermelon Popsicles

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Have you ever heard of a cookbook called, "The Sneaky Chef?" It is written by a gal that likes to "sneak" healthy foods into meals. A "white puree" consists of cauliflower and zucchini and it is incorporated into things like mac and cheese and lasagna. A "purple puree" is spinach and blueberries mixed together and put into brownies, pancakes and tacos. You kind of get the idea..... I have a much easier way to get someone to eat something they are not interested in eating - put it into a blender and make it into a popsicle!!! Lauren LOVES watermelon and strawberries, so she ate these willingly. Dominic on the other hand, turned his nose up at the watermelon. He flat out refused to eat it. This "sneaky" mom put some watermelon and strawberries into the blender yesterday afternoon, poured them into the popsicle mold and they were frozen and ready to eat after dinner. Dominic had no clue that I had "snuck" the watermelon into th…

Meat and Cheese Manicotti

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My family loves my lasagna. I have been making it for a very LONG time. Last night, I decided to "rock" my family's world by making manicotti!!



Lauren helped me out and took Dominic to a music therapy session, so I could focus on making dinner. I stuffed about half of the manicotti shells before I realized I didn't have enough mixture to put in the shells! Good grief. I had to "un-stuff" them, add more ricotta cheese and "re-stuff."  It was what you would call a learning "curve" to make these. After dinner, I asked Lauren which she liked better, lasagna or manicotti. She just recently graduated from college and hasn't had my home cooking for a while. She told me she liked the manicotti better.  I knew she learned a lot in those four years!!



Ingredients

8-ounce package manicotti noodles, uncooked
1 1/2 pounds ground chuck
24-ounce jar tomato and basil pasta sauce
1 large egg, beaten
15-ounce container ricotta cheese
2 cups mozzarella c…

Chocolate and Peanut Butter "Icebox" Pie

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*Photo courtesy of Mary Gajda - Capital Area Women's Lifestyle Magazine.


My hubby is a great cook, but with a very demanding job, I do about 90% of the meals. This past Monday, I was asking him what he wanted for dinner and he said, "I'm making my split pea and ham soup!" It was DELICOUS. Anyways, one of his VERY favorite combinations is peanut butter and chocolate. Since he made the soup for me, I made him a chocolate and peanut butter "icebox" pie. This decadent pie is quick to whip up and requires no assistance from the oven! The hardest part is waiting for it to freeze up.  My husband is a supportive and loving father to his three children, so for a surprise, I am going to make him this pie again for Father's Day!! Please don't tell him, it will be our little "secret."



Ingredients

6-ounce graham cracker crust (ready to eat)
5 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 cup chunky or smooth peanut butter
1 1/4 cups powdered sugar
3.9 ounce box chocol…

Butter Pecan Biscotti

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Up until a handful of years ago, I didn't even know what biscottiwas.  Earlier this week, for some reason, the idea of making butter pecan biscotti popped into my head. Of course I had to act on it! When I showed Dominic what I had made, he picked one up, looked at it and said "it has walnuts." I have tried multiple times to explain to him that there are pecans, not walnuts in the biscotti. I was pretty sure Dominic would eat it, because earlier in the week he ate part of a granola bar that had peanuts and almonds in it, so I figured since he had almonds (which he has never eaten before) he would eat pecans. WRONG!!  After he fully inspected the biscotti, he put it back down on the plate. I grabbed it and ate it. Dominic is missing out, these are yummy!!!!


Ingredients

1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar, firmly packed
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups white flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt

Springtime Cake

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*Photo courtesy of Mary Gajda, Capital Area Women's LifeStyle Magazine

About five years ago,  I was on my way home from the Kroger and my cell phone rang. I answered the phone and this gal said something along these lines, "I'm from the Rachael Ray Show, I'm one of the producers and we loved your "double duty" idea! can we talk?" (The idea was using powdered lemonade in a biscotti). I said, "well, I'm in the car now and have a bunch of groceries, can we chat when I get home?" I ended up talking with the woman from the Rachael Ray Show for a while and when she got to the question about how often I watch the show, being the extremely honest person I am replied, "as often as I can!" That wasn't exactly what they wanted to hear and after a few email exchanges, I never heard back! Anyways, the reason I told the above story was because when I made cake pops for the first time recently, I came up with another "doub…

Blondies

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I was stumped recently when I was trying to come up with a new recipe for a dessert!! Just for the heck of it, a few weeks ago, I asked my dad. He said, "how about butterscotch?" I immediately thought of blondies, even though I have never made them😉.  Ever since I decided to make the blondies, I have been giving my dad updates on how the recipe was progressing whether he wanted to hear it or not. LOL.  I did learn one very important thing that I didn't know about my dad - he's a big fan of butterscotch!! I already knew he liked my "tea!"

1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted 1 cup light brown sugar, lightly packed 1 large egg 1/8 teaspoon salt 2 teaspoons vanilla extract 1 cup white flour 1/3 cup butterscotch chips 1/3 cup milk chocolate chips 1/3 cup pecans, chopped
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 8x8 inch square pan with parchment paper and set aside. In a medium bowl, put the butter and light brown sugar and mix well with a large spoon until sm…

Monte Crisco

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One of my favorite things to eat out is a "Monte Crisco." They have always been so delicious no matter which restaurant I have been in. I thought you needed a special kind of "sandwich maker," and subsequently put off making one for YEARS!! Well, after tons of research, I came to the conclusion that I could make them in a frying pan. Okay, now that I had that finally figured out, I needed to look in the fridge to see if I had all the ingredients. I had ham (leftover from Christmas), mustard, mayo, one egg and sliced turkey breast. I was only missing some sliced Swiss cheese, so the next time I went to the store I picked some up!! Last week, I made Monte Crisco's for the hubby and myself for dinner. I have NEVER made them before, so I wasn't sure what he would think.  I shouldn't have worried, he gave them a 9.5 out of 10! Well, they did turn out great and were really yummy!!!



 Ingredients (For One Monte Crisco) 

One large egg
Two slices bread (I ha…