Sunday, December 27, 2015

Banoffee Pie

I made this pie for Thanksgiving this year.  And it is much more than just a graham cracker crust and some caramel.  But, I think I must have taken a picture of the final product with someone else's camera at Thanksgiving.  So, to my family members who were there, if you have a picture of my pie, could you send it to me?  This was a super rich, sweet and very delicious pie.  Try to imagine it covered in bananas and whipping cream.  Yum.

Banoffee Pie
from: many different websites, but mostly,

1 graham cracker crust
1 can sweetened condensed milk
3 bananas
1 pint heavy whipping cream
sugar and vanilla, to taste

The night before you need your pie (or at least a good few hours before), turn your sweetened condensed milk into dulce de leche.  I followed the recipe for this on Our Best Bites, but there were many different ways to make it.  Pour your can of sweetened condensed milk into a shallow baking dish, like a pie plate.  Make a water bath by setting the pie plate inside a larger dish (like a roasting pan).  Pour water in the outside dish until it is about halfway up the outside of the pie plate.  Cover the pie plate tightly with tin foil.  Bake it at 425 degrees for an hour and then check it.  It should be a nice, brown, carmel color.  If it isn't put it back in for another 20 minutes, or so and check it again.  Once it is ready, stir it until it is smooth and then let it cool a little before pouring it into the graham cracker crust.  Refrigerate it over night (or a couple of hours).  Prepare your heavy whipping cream by mixing together the cream, sugar and vanilla (I usually add about 2 tablespoons of sugar and a teaspoon of vanilla, but taste it and add more if you want). When you are ready to serve it, slice the bananas onto the dulce de leche and then spread the whipping cream over the top of that.  Grate a chocolate bar on top.  Serve it immediately.  And have a big drink of milk ready!

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Freezer Meal Chicken Alfredo

The other day I was needing something new to try, and I found this recipe.  It is a very easy homemade alfredo recipe, with a little bonus of instructions for making it a freezer meal.  This recipe is enough for two 9X13 pans, with the idea being that you will freeze one of those pans for another day.  I only wanted one on this night, so I halved it and just cooked it up right then.  But this would be a nice recipe if you were taking dinner to someone else, plus making it for your family

Chicken Alfredo (enough for two pans)
adapted from: Our Best Bites

6 Tbsp butter, plus more for baking dishes
salt and pepper
16 oz. penne pasta
1 tsp. olive oil
2 chicken breasts, cut into strips
1/2 c. plus 2 Tbsp. flour
3 tsp. minced garlic
6 c. whole milk
mushrooms (either a can of sliced mushrooms, or thinly sliced fresh mushrooms)
sun dried tomatoes
1 c. shredded mozzarella cheese
4 oz. softened cream cheese
1 1/2 c. shredded Parmesan cheese

Butter two 9X13 pans.  If you are going to freeze one, use a disposable foil pan.  In a large pot, cook your pasta in boiling water, for 3 minutes.  Drain the pasta and set it aside.  In a large skillet, heat your oil over medium high heat.  Season your chicken with salt and pepper, and cook it until it is cooked through.  Remove it from the pan.  In the same pan, saute the mushrooms and sun dried tomatoes and set them aside.  In a large sauce pan melt the butter over medium heat.  Stir in the flour and garlic.  Gradually add the milk, stirring constantly with a wire whisk.  Bring it to a simmer.  Keep stirring as the sauce thickens and then add the mushrooms and sun dried tomatoes.  Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the mozzarella, cream cheese and half of the Parmesan.  Stir it until it is smooth.  Add the chicken and the pasta to your 9X13 pans.  Pour half of the sauce over each pan.  If you are cooking it now, sprinkle the rest of the Parmesan over the top.  If you are freezing it, put the rest of the Parmesan in a ziplock bag.  Bake at 400 degrees, for 25 minutes, or until it is golden and bubbling. 

Sunday, October 18, 2015


My neighbor, Virginia, makes the most delicious scotcharoos.  This week she brought over an entire 9X13 pan for me.  To eat all by myself.  Just kidding.  Those were not her instructions.  But I did consume enough in one sitting to put myself into a sugar induced coma for the next couple of days.  The above picture is of hers, but I want and need to have this recipe documented for my further use.  So we get to see her beauties.  

by: My neighbor Virginia

3/4 c. sugar
1 c. corn syrup
1 c. peanut butter
6 c. rice crispies
1 bag milk chocolate chips
1 bag butterscotch chips

In a large pot, over medium high heat, stir together the sugar and corn syrup, just until it begins to start boiling.  Don't let it cook too long!  I put an exclamation point there, because I did let it cook too long and my scotcharoos were as hard as a rock.  My neighbor says that it really needs to just barely start boiling.  Then add the peanut butter and stir it until it is just melty.  Those are her words.  Stir in the rice crispies until well combined and pour it into a greased 9X13 pan.  In a glass bowl, combine the bag of milk chocolate chips and the bag of butterscotch chips.  Cook them for 30 seconds and then stir.  Repeat as many times as needed until they are melted.  Pour them over the top of your rice crispy mixture and refrigerate it for 30 minutes.

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Easy Cinnamon Rolls

We have a tradition at our house to eat cinnamon rolls during General Conference .  Sometimes I remember this tradition the night before, so I make a quick run to the store and buy a Pillsbury can of cinnamon rolls.  Thank goodness for those Pillsbury cans of cinnamon rolls.  But, every so often, I remember the day before, and I actually have some time, and a willing helper or two, and I make homemade cinnamon rolls!  This time, I had just a little bit of time, so I found this recipe for easy cinnamon rolls, that also only need to rise one time.  They did end up being pretty easy, which was what I was going for.  If I had more time and less busy, I think I prefer my ol' standby recipe, which has to rise multiple times and is definitely more high maintenance, but a little softer and fluffier.  But, if you have limited time, these are a great alternative (to a late night run for Pillsbury canned rolls!).

Easy Cinnamon Rolls

2 3/4 c. flour
3 Tbsp. sugar
1 tsp. salt
1 package instant yeast
1/2 c. water
1/4 c. milk
2 1/2 Tbsp. butter
1 egg

For the filling:
3 Tbsp. softened butter
1 Tbsp. cinnamon
1/4 c. sugar

In a large bowl, stir together 2 1/4 cups of the flour, sugar, salt and yeast.  In another bowl, add the water, milk and butter, and microwave it until it is hot to the touch and the butter melts.  Add the liquid mixture to the flour mixture.  Add the egg and stir in enough of the remaining flour to make a soft, sticky dough that pulls away from the side of the bowl while you are stirring.  On a lightly floured surface, dump your dough and knead if for 3-4 minutes.  Place it in a bowl that has been sprayed with cooking spray, and let it rest for 10 minutes.  While it is resting, mix your cinnamon and sugar in a small bowl and set it aside.  After 10 minutes, on a lightly floured surface, roll the dough out into an 8X14 inch rectangle, spread with the softened butter and sprinkle it with the cinnamon sugar.  Roll it up and cut it into 12 pieces.  A little trick to help with cinnamon roll cutting is to get a long piece of thread, wrap it around the roll about an inch in, and pull the two sides together.  It will cut the roll perfectly.  Does that make any sense at all?

Place the cut rolls into a greased pan (I doubled my recipe and used a 9X13 and a glass pie tin), lightly cover them with tin foil and place them in an oven, warmed to 200 degrees and then turned off.  Let them rise until doubled in size, about 90 minutes.  Bake them at 350 degrees, for 25-30 minutes.  I covered mine with the tin foil for the first 15 minutes, and then took the tin foil off for the last half of baking.  Top them with frosting and eat them warm!

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Brigadeiro (Brazilian Chocolate Truffle)

So far, I have found that I love almost all Brazilian food that I have tried.  Dustin served his mission in Brazil, so of course, he is a big fan of their food, and it is a fun treat for him when I make some Brazilian dish.  Last week we tried a Brazilian dessert, that was not only delicious, but super easy to make.  I loved it!  It combined two of my favorite ingredients (and not too many more): sweetened condensed milk and chocolate.  Mmmm.  These would be even cuter if you put them in a mini cupcake paper, like they apparently do in Brazil, but I was making them for children, and I know they didn't really care, so why waste the papers?


2 Tbsp. butter
1 can (14 oz) sweetened condensed milk
3 Tbsp. cocoa powder
chocolate sprinkles

In a medium saucepan over medium heat, combine the butter, sweetened condensed milk and cocoa powder.  Stir it constantly until it thickens and reduces down quite a bit (her website says that you will be able to see quite a bit of the bottom of the pan, and that is what happened after I had stirred it for about 10 minutes).  Take the pan off the heat and let the mixture cool to room temperature.  Once it has cooled, butter your hands and begin to roll the candy into bite size balls.  Roll each ball in the chocolate sprinkles.  You can serve them at room temperature, or chilled.  I had mine after it had chilled and it was so delicious!

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Decadent Ice Cream Sandwich Cake

I was looking for a good excuse to try a new dessert, and the 4th of July seemed like a great opportunity!  I had tasted an ice cream sandwich cake before, and so when I saw this one, I thought it would be fun to try.  It was very delicious, and super rich.  Everyone seemed to love it!

Decadent Ice Cream Sandwich Cake

24 ice cream sandwiches
2 containers cool whip
1 jar caramel sauce
1 jar hot fudge topping, warmed
1 butterfinger bar

Line a 9X13 pan with half of the ice cream sandwiches.  Spread a layer of cool whip over the top, and then drizzle the caramel and hot fudge topping over the top of that.  Repeat the process and then sprinkle the top with the crushed up butterfinger.  Freeze for 30 minutes before serving.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Ice Cream Turtle Cake, And A Small Vanilla Cake

For Avery's birthday this year she wanted this mint ice cream turtle cake.  It was super easy, and if it had a real flaw, it was that it melted as fast as I was putting it together.  I guess we can't blame the cake for that as much as my 78 degree house.  You may want to keep your house a little colder while you are making it...  As you would expect, Martha Stewart's cake looked a little better than mine.  But, the child was happy, so I was happy!  There is a cake inside the ice cream, so make sure you prepare that in advance.
Ice Cream Turtle Cake

Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream
Chocolate Ice Cream
candies for eyeballs
1 prepared vanilla cake (recipe follows)

Vanilla Cake
1 stick of butter, melted
1 1/4 c. flour
3/4 c. sugar
1 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1 egg, plus 1 egg yolk
1/3 c. milk
1 tsp. vanilla

For the vanilla cake, preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Grease and flour an oven proof, 7 inch diameter, glass bowl.  In a mixing bowl, stir all your dry ingredients together.  Add the egg and yolk, milk and vanilla and stir until it is almost combined, about 1 minute.  Mix in the melted butter.  On medium speed, mix it for 30 seconds.  Pour it into your prepared bowl and bake it for 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean (mine actually took close to an hour to bake).  Once it has cooled, gently run a knife around the edges and pop it out.  Wrap it in plastic wrap and put it in the freezer until you are ready for it.
For the turtle shell, scoop about 30 scoops of mint ice cream onto a baking sheet, and then freeze it for about 45 minutes.   Line a 12 cup bowl with plastic wrap.  Fill the bowl with the scoops of ice cream, rounded side out.  Lay them all around the bowl.  
Now that your bowl is lined with ice cream scoops, take your frozen cake and place it in the bowl, with the rounded part down.  Take more of your mint ice cream, and spread it along the bottom of the cake, until it is all covered.  Cover it with plastic wrap and freeze it for at least 4 hours.  Flip it upside down onto a serving pan, so the flat side is down.  Using an ice cream scoop, scoop out a spot on the turtle for a head and feet.  Put a scoop of chocolate ice cream on for the head and legs, and then give it some eyes, using your candy.  Serve it immediately, preferably in a house lower than 78 degrees! 

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Strawberry Spinach Salad

I made this salad for a neighborhood progressive dinner that we participated in.  It was super delicious and got rave reviews.  At first, I was going to take the dressing and let people add their own, but then I decided to just mix it all together, like the recipe stated, and I am glad that I did.  The dressing was extremely thick, which would have made it weird when people added it themselves, but when I stirred it all together, it wasn't an issue.

Strawberry Spinach Salad
adapted from:

1 Tbsp sesame seeds
1 Tbsp poppy seeds (or chia seeds, which is what I used)
1/2 c. white sugar
1/2 c. oil
1/4 c. balsamic vinegar
1/4 tsp. paprika
1/4 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
1 Tbsp. minced onion
10 oz. spinach
sliced strawberries
1/4 c. sliced almonds
Feta cheese

In a blender, blend together the sesame seeds, poppy seeds, sugar, oil balsamic vinegar, paprika, Worcestershire and onions until smooth.  In a large bowl, combine the spinach, strawberries, almonds and feta cheese.  Gently stir it all together with the dressing.  Add the dressing in a little at a time, until you get as much as you want.  I had dressing leftover at the end.  Serve it immediately.

Sunday, April 5, 2015

How To Dye Noodles (For Noodle Necklaces)

The other day I wanted to use colored noodles for a craft in Preschool on St. Patty's Day.  I found a few different recipes, but this one had a couple of good points: it was super easy, and it was edible.  You know, just in case the kiddos take it home and munch on it (and I wouldn't put it past a couple of them).

Colored Noodles

food coloring
dry noodles
ziploc bags

Place some noodles in a baggie.  Pour one teaspoon of vinegar in with the noodles.  Drop 4-5 drops of food coloring in with the noodles, too.  Seal it up and shake those noodles all around until the color is evenly distributed.  On a cookie sheet lined with wax paper, spread the colored noodles out to dry.  When they are dried, string them on some yarn for a colorful (and edible :) necklace. 

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Perfectly Baked Sweet Potato

I have recently made the switch from baked potato to baked sweet potato (at least mentally).  I am loving these!  Here is a recipe for a perfectly baked sweet potato.  I've tried it a couple of times, and it was perfect each time!  After I bake these, I prepare them just like a regular baked potato, with butter, sour cream and salt and pepper.  We've even done a little bacon bits on them, and that was extra delicious.

Perfectly Baked Sweet Potato

Wash your sweet potatoes.  Poke each of them with a fork a few times.  Line the bottom of your oven with a sheet of tin foil.  Don't wrap the sweet potatoes with tin foil, and don't cook them on a baking sheet.  All you need to do is set them directly on the middle oven rack.  The tin foil on the bottom of the oven will catch any syrup drips that fall from your sweet potatoes.  Don't preheat your oven, just turn it on to 425 degrees after you put your sweet potatoes on your oven rack.  Bake it for 45 minutes, for 2-3 inch diameter sweet potatoes (1 hour for up to 4 inches, 1 hour 15 minutes for larger).  At the end of 45 minutes, turn the oven off, but leave the door closed.  Let the sweet potatoes sit in the oven for another 30 minutes, or so.  When you eat these, the skins should come right off.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Easy S'mores Treats

Years ago, when my girls were little, I made this treat up for a change from rice crispy treats.  It is just as easy, and so delicious.  It is like having s'mores, without the mess or the open fire.  Although those are both great things about s'mores. :)

Easy S'mores Treats
by: Carolyn

1/4 c. butter
5 c. mini marshmallows
6 c. Golden Grahams cereal
1 c. milk chocolate chips

In a large sauce pan, over medium heat, melt the butter.  Add the marshmallows and melt them while stirring constantly.  Pour in the Golden Grahams and stir until they are all covered with the marshmallows.  Take it off of the heat and dump it in to a 9X13 pan.  Smooth it flat and sprinkle the chocolate chips on top.  They will get very gooey after a few minutes.  You can either cut into it and eat them in their gooey state (more s'more like) or let them cool and eat them then.  Either way, it is delicious!

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Coconut Cake

My sisters and I made this dessert one night when Nicole was in town.  As I am obsessed with all things coconut right now, it sounded delicious.  It was delicious.  However, there are a few changes that I will make when I make it again someday.  And I am going to put them into the recipe. One thing is that the original recipe calls for almond extract, but I thought it overpowered the coconut flavor.  So I say, leave it out! Or even add some coconut extract.  Also, I made mine in a bundt cake pan, but it would be so yummy as a layered cake, with whipping cream in between each layer.  Mmmm.  

Coconut Cake
adapted from:

3 c. cake flour
2 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1 c. butter, softened
2 c. white sugar
4 eggs
1 c. coconut milk
1 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. coconut extract (optional)
1/2 c. shredded coconut
fresh whipping cream for topping

In a medium bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder and salt.  In another bowl, mix the butter and sugar until fluffy.  Stir in the eggs, one at a time.  Alternate stirring in the flour mixture and the coconut milk until it is all added and well combined.  Stir in the vanilla, coconut extract and shredded coconut.  Pour your batter into a greased and floured cake pan and bake it at 375 degrees for 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.  After it has cooled, serve it with fresh whipped cream.   

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Slow Cooker Tangy Pork Chops

There is nothing like a picture of a big slab of meat to make you want to use this recipe, right?  Here was the other option:
Is it any better surrounded by delicious food, if it is half eaten?  Oh well.  Just trust me, this was a great recipe for pork chops.  I had pork chops in my freezer, but I am a little tired of the cream of mushroom soup version that I usually use.  So I found a new recipe on allrecipes, and I was so happy with the way this turned out!  The flavor was a little different, which was refreshing.  It was still very easy to prepare, and my house smelled delicious when we got home from church.  We ate ours with baked potatoes and green veggies and it worked really well together.  I doubled the sauce, which was totally unnecessary, but if you decide to do that, you could serve this over rice and there would be a lot of the sauce for your rice.

Slow Cooker Tangy Pork Chops
adapted from:

1/4 c. olive oil (I'm out, so I used Canola)
1 c. chicken broth
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbsp. paprika
1 Tbsp. garlic powder
1/2 Tbsp. chicken boullion
1 tsp. oregano
1 tsp. basil
1 Tbsp. dried, chopped onion
salt and pepper
4 pork chops

In your slow cooker, combine the oil, chicken broth, minced garlic, paprika, garlic powder, chicken boullion, oregano, basil and onion and stir it all together.  With a sharp knife, cut slits into the top of each pork chop and sprinkle them with salt and pepper.  Place the pork chops in the slow cooker and spoon some of the sauce over the top.  Cover and cook on low for 6-8 hours, or on high for 4 hours.  Occasionally baste your pork chops with the sauce while they are cooking.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Slow Cooker Brown Sugar Ham

This year, I made a Christmas ham twice.  Once for our Christmas party at church, and once for my family's Christmas party.  Both times I used this recipe and the flavor came out delicious!  It is also such an easy way to cook your ham for a big meal, like Christmas or Easter.  You can put it in a few hours before and then forget about it and focus on everything else you are cooking!

Slow Cooker Brown Sugar Ham
slightly adapted from:

7-8 pound spiral sliced ham (fully cooked)
2 c. pineapple juice
2 c. brown sugar
4 tsp. Dijon mustard
4 tsp. balsamic vinegar
4 tsp. honey

In your crock pot, stir together the pineapple juice, brown sugar, Dijon mustard, balsamic vinegar and honey, until the sugar is dissolved.  Slice your ham off the bone, and lay it in your crock pot.  Using a basting brush, gently baste the sauce over all your ham.  Do this occasionally while it is cooking.  Cook on low for about 4 hours, or until ham is hot (it should be 140 degrees).  Be careful not to over cook your ham.  I did this the second time, and it came out in tiny shreds.  But it still tasted great, and it was easier to chew, right?!