Monday, August 29, 2016


This healthier version cake is moist and delicious. The recipe showed up one day in my mailbox and being a chocolate lover I knew it was a keeper.

3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons whole-wheat pastry flour (Lighter than regular whole-wheat flour. I use white whole-wheat flour.)
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup nonfat buttermilk
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1 large egg, lightly beaten
2 tablespoons canola oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup hot strong black coffee
Confectioners’ sugar, for dusting

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Spray a 9-inch round cake pan with nonstick cooking spray. Cut a round of waxed paper for the bottom of the pan.

Whisk the dry ingredients together in a large mixing bowl. Add the buttermilk, brown sugar, egg, oil, and vanilla extract. Beat on medium speed for 2 minutes. Add the hot coffee and beat until blended. Pour the batter, it will be thin, into the prepared pan and bake at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in the center comes out clean. 

Remove cake from oven and cool in pan for 10 minutes. Remove from pan, peel off waxed paper and allow cake to cool completely. Dust the top with the confectioners' sugar before slicing to serve.

Yield: 1 round 9-inch layer
Note: File Photo

Sunday, August 28, 2016


Note: This is one of my recipes that started as a Pillsbury recipe before I changed it to suit my family. These muffins are good anytime but especially in the Fall. These are healthy muffins for the kids heading to back-to-school as well.

2 eggs
3/4 cup coconut or olive oil
1/4 cup milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp lemon extract
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup white whole-wheat flour
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 1/2 cup shredded carrots
1 cup peeled shredded apple
1/2 cup flaked coconut
1/2 cup raisins, optional (I hate raisins)
3/4 cup sliced almonds

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Grease or line with paper baking cups, 18 regular size muffin cups; set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, beat eggs, oil, milk, and vanilla with a wire whisk until blended. Add the flours, sugar, baking soda, salt and cinnamon; stir just until moistened. Using a large spoon or spatula, stir in the carrots, apple, coconut, raisins and 1/2 cup of the almonds.

Place batter in the muffin cups filling each cup about 3/4 full. Sprinkle the remaining almonds over the tops of the muffins.

Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes until a wooden toothpick inserted in the centers comes out clean. Cool in the pan approximately 5 minutes before transferring from the muffin pans to a wire rack to cool completely.

Note: Photo courtesy of Pillsbury.

Friday, August 26, 2016


1 (16.25-ounce) package white cake mix 
3 large eggs
1 1/4 cups buttermilk
1/4 cup coconut oil
1 (3 1/2-ounce) can flaked coconut
2/3 cup chopped pecans, toasted
Cream Cheese Frosting (recipe below)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Grease and flour 3 9-inch cake pans; set aside.
Beat cake mix, eggs, buttermilk and coconut oil at medium speed of an electric mixer for 2 minutes. Stir in coconut and pecans. Pour into the prepared cake pans.
Bake at 350° for 15 to 17 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Remove from oven and cool in pans on wire racks for 10 minutes. Remove from pans, and cool completely on wire racks.
Spread Cream Cheese Frosting between layers and on top and sides of cake. Chill 2 hours before slicing.
Cream Cheese Frosting
1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup butter or margarine, softened
1 (16-ounce) package powdered sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup chopped pecans, toasted
Using an electric mixer at medium speed, beat cream cheese and butter until smooth. Gradually add powdered sugar, beating until light and fluffy. Stir in vanilla and pecans. Frost cake when completely cooled and refrigerate for 2 hours before slicing to serve.
Note: File Photo

Thursday, August 25, 2016


3 to 4 tart apples, peeled, cored, cut into a total of 16 slices
2 tubes (8 count each) crescent rolls
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 cup butter
1 tsp cinnamon
1 can (12-oz) Mountain Dew

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Spray a 9 x 13-inch baking dish or pan with nonstick cooking spray; set aside.

Roll each apple slice in a crescent roll. Place in the prepared pan; no stacking.

Melt the butter; stir in the sugar and cinnamon until blended and sugar melts. Pour over the apple crescents in the pan. Pour the Mountain Dew over all.

Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes.


2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
1 cup vegetable oil
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar, divided
1 cup sifted powdered sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups chopped pecans 
1/2 cup sugar

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

In a large bowl, cream together the butter, vegetable oil, 1 cup of the granulated sugar and the powdered sugar until smooth.

Beat in the eggs one at a time, then stir in the vanilla.

In a separate bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, cream of tartar, and salt; stir into the creamed mixture. Mix in the pecans.

Roll dough into 1 inch balls and roll each ball in remaining sugar. Place the cookies 2 inches apart onto parchment-lined cookie sheets. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes in the preheated oven, or until the edges are golden. Remove from cookie sheets to cool on wire racks.

Note: File Photo

Wednesday, August 24, 2016


Note: This is one of my old recipes from the 70s or 80s.

1 9-inch graham cracker pie crust
1 can (8 3/4-oz) crushed pineapple in its own juice
1 pkg (4-serving size) lemon gelatin
1 1/4 cups boiling water
1 pkg (3-oz) cream cheese, softened
1/4 tsp grated lemon rind
3 tbsp sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup sour cream

Drain pineapple, reserving juice.

Dissolve gelatin in boiling water; add syrup and cool slightly.

Meanwhile, blend cream cheese, lemon rind, sugar and vanilla extract.

Combine 1/2 cup of the gelatin with the pineapple.

Gradually blend the remaining gelatin into the cheese mixture until smooth; fold in the sour cream.

Pour filling into the graham cracker crust. Chill until set but not firm.

Carefully spoon the pineapple atop the filling and chill until firm.

Note: File Photo

Sunday, August 21, 2016


1 cup butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup chopped pecans
Brown sugar frosting (recipe below)
Extra pecans for garnish

Beat butter with electric mixer until creamy. Gradually blend in the sugars. Add the egg and vanilla extract; beat well.

In a separate bowl, combine the flour, baking soda and salt; gradually add to the creamed mixture. Stir in the chopped pecans. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Shape dough into 1-inch balls; place on ungreased cookie sheet. Bake at 350 degrees 10 to 12 minutes or until golden brown.

Cool and frost with the following frosting.

Brown Sugar Frosting:
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup half and half cream
1 tbsp butter
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar

In a medium saucepan, combine the brown sugar and cream; cook over medium heat stirring constantly until mixture boils. Boil for 4 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in the butter. Add powdered sugar and mix on medium speed of electric mixer until smooth.

Spread icing on the baked cookies and top with a pecan half or pecan crumbs for garnish.

Saturday, August 20, 2016


2 cups fresh or slightly thawed frozen blueberries
1 carton (8-oz) low-fat vanilla yogurt
1 cup milk
1 can (6-oz) unsweetened pineapple juice
3 tbsp honey
1 1/2 cups ice cubes

Place all ingredients except ice cubes in blender container; blend until smooth. Add the ice cubes, a few at a time and blend until finely crushed.

Serve immediately.

Yield: Approximately 5 cups
Note: File Photo

Friday, August 19, 2016


1 cup softened butter
3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 tbsp vanilla
3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
1 pkg Double Stuff Oreo cookies

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugars together until well blended. Beat in the eggs and vanilla.

In a medium bowl, mix the flour, baking soda and salt together; slowly add to the above mixture. Stir in the chocolate chips.

Using a cookie scoop, form the dough into balls. Place one ball beneath an Oreo cookie and one atop the cookie. Fold around cookie to cover completely and seal edges. Place onto parchment paper lined cookie sheets and bake for approximately 13 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on cookie sheet on rack for 5 minutes before removing to wire racks to cool completely.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016


2 cans (20-oz each) sliced apples, undrained
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1 box yellow cake mix
1/2 cup butter, melted
3/4 cup chopped pecans, optional

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

Spread the apples on the bottom of the prepared baking pan or dish.

Combine the cinnamon and brown sugar in a small bowl and sprinkle over the apples.

Sprinkle the dry cake mix over the apples and sprinkle the pecans over all, if using. Drizzle the melted butter overall.

Bake at 350 degrees for 45 - 55 minutes until golden brown and bubbly.

Note: File Photo

Tuesday, August 16, 2016


3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup white whole wheat flour
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 stick unsalted butter, softened
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/4 cup mini marshmallows, divided
1 3/4 cups coarsely chopped graham crackers, divided

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Line an 8-inch square baking pan with aluminum foil; coat with cooking spray; set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk together flours, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt. In another bowl, using a mixer, bet butter and sugar until fluffy, approximately two minutes. Beat in eggs, one at a time, until well combined; beat in vanilla.

Mix the the flour mixture into the egg mixture just until combined. Fold in 1 cup of the marshmallows and 1 1/2 cups of the graham crackers.

Spread batter evenly into the prepared pan and sprinkle the remaining marshmallows and crackers over the top. Bake at 350 degrees 22-25 minutes or until a wooden toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool in pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Using the foil, lift out of pan and set on rack to cool completely before cutting into squares.

Note: This is a file photo.

Monday, August 15, 2016


1 brick (8-oz) cream cheese
1/4 cup (1 stick) butter, softened
3/4 cup powdered sugar
2 tbsp light brown sugar
3 tbsp cocoa powder
3/4 cup pecans, chopped fine

Using an electric mixer, mix the cream cheese and butter together until light and fluffy. Stir in both sugars and the cocoa powder; mix well. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm. Form into a ball and roll in the chopped pecans.

Serve with thin chocolate cookies, gingersnaps, graham crackers or let your imagination run wild as pictured below!

Note: File Photo

Saturday, August 13, 2016


3/4 cup orange-tangerine or orange juice, chilled
3/4 cup passion fruit juice or guava-pineapple juice, chilled
3/4 cup club soda or sparkling water, chilled
Ice cubes
Maraschino cherries

Combine juices in a 1-quart pitcher; gently stir in the club soda or sparkling water.

Place ice cubes in 3 tall glasses, pour drink over the ice cubes. Garnish each with a maraschino cherry.

Yield: 3 6-oz servings

Friday, August 12, 2016


2 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups granulated sugar
2 tsp baking soda
2 eggs, beaten
1 can (20-oz) crushed pineapple in heavy syrup
2 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Grease or spray with nonstick cooking spray, a 9 x 13-inch cake pan; set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, using a wooden spoon or silicone spatula, mix the above ingredients together. Turn into the prepared pan and bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes.

8-oz cream cheese, softened
1 stick butter, softened
1 3/4 cup powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 cup chopped pecans

Make the icing while the cake bakes. Blend together the cream cheese and butter using an electric mixer; add the powdered sugar and vanilla. Mix well. Spread over the still warm (not hot) cake. Scatter the nuts over the top.

Allow cake to cool completely before cutting into squares to serve.

Note: This is a file photo


Note: This is a very old recipe of mine. I love Pillsbury Bake-Off recipes and this one is from the mid 1980s.
1 box Pillsbury™ refrigerated pie crusts, softened as directed on box


can (21 oz) cherry pie filling
to 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
teaspoon salt, if desired
teaspoon lemon juice


cup coconut
cup sliced almonds
1/4 cup sugar
teaspoon salt, if desired
1/4 cup milk
1 tbsp butter, melted
1/4 tsp almond extract
1 egg, beaten

Heat oven to 400°F. 

Place pie crust in 9-inch glass pie plate as directed on box for One-Crust Filled Pie. Save other crust for another use.

In a large bowl, combine the pie filling, cinnamon, salt, and lemon juice. Spoon mixture into the crust. Bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes then remove from oven.

While pie is in oven, in a medium bowl combine all the topping ingredients; spread evenly over the partially baked pie.  Bake at 400 degrees for another 15 to 30 minutes until crust and topping are golden brown.

Thursday, August 11, 2016


1 large tub whipped topping, thawed
1 box (4-serving size) instant coconut cream pudding mix
1 large can mandarin oranges, drained
1 can pineapple tidbits, drained - juice reserved

Mix thawed whipping topping and the pudding mix together adding a little of the pineapple juice to make mixture creamier. Fold in the oranges and pineapple tidbits.

Refrigerate at least an hour before serving.

Keep any leftovers refrigerated.

Wednesday, August 10, 2016


2/3 cup sugar
1 cup real butter, sligthly softened
1/2 tsp almond extract
2 cups flour
1/2 cup seedless raspberry jam
Glaze (recipe below)

In a large bowl, combine the first 3 ingredients; beat until creamy. Blend in the flour and mix until a dough forms. Cover and chill for 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Grease cookie sheet.

Form dough into balls and place on the prepared cookie sheet. Make a thumbprint in the center of each ball. Using about 1/4 tsp of the raspberry jam, fill each thumbprint.

Bake cookies at 350 degrees about 14 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool then drizzle with the glaze.

1 cup confectioners' sugar
2 to 3 tsp water
1 1/2 tsp almond extract

Combine glaze ingredients until creamy. Drizzle over the top of each cookie.

Note: File Photo

Tuesday, August 9, 2016


I got this recipe from a Pillsbury Bake-Off back in the mid 1980s. This is why I use brand names. Normally I do not but when I use a company's recipe I feel it is important to use their brand names.

1/2 cup Kraft apple jelly
1/4 cup chopped walnuts or pecans
1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 large apple, peeled
2 cans (10-oz each) Hungry Jack Refrigerated Flaky Biscuits
1/4 cup Parkay margarine or butter, melted

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Grease a 12-cup fluted pan tube pan. Spoon the jelly evenly over the bottom of the prepared pan; sprinkle with nuts.

In a small bowl, combine the brown sugar and cinnamon; set aside.

Cut the apple into quarters; remove core. Slice each quarter into 5 slices.

Separate dough into 20 biscuits; press each to flatten slightly. Wrap one biscuit around each apple slice. Pinch the biscuit edges to seal around the apple slice. Dip each into the melted butter; roll in the brown sugar/cinnamon mixture. Stand the biscuits on end around the prepared pan. Drizzle with any remaining margarine; sprinkle with any remaining brown sugar mixture.

Bake at 350 degrees 30-40 minutes or until golden brown. Cool upright in the pan for 8 minutes then invert onto a serving plate. Spoon any topping in the pan over the ring. Serve warm.

Monday, August 8, 2016


1 cup butter or margarine
1/2 cup Hershey's Cocoa or Dutch Processed Cocoa
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
3 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/3 cups chopped pecans, divided

Heat oven to 350 degrees.
Line 2 1/2-inch muffin cups with paper or foil bake cups.

Place butter in a large microwave-safe bowl; cover. Microwave on high 1 1/2 minutes or until melted. Add the cocoa; stir until smooth. Add sugars and stir until well blended.  Add eggs and vanilla; beat well.  Add flour and 1 cup of the pecans; stir until blended.

Fill the prepared muffin cups 3/4 full each of the batter; sprinkle 1 teaspoon of the remaining pecans over each.

Bake at 350 degrees 20-25 minutes or until the tops begin to dry and crack on top. Cool completely in the cups on a wire rack.

Yield: 17 cupcake brownies

Note: This is an old Hershey's recipe from my files.

Saturday, August 6, 2016


Pastry for a 2-crust pie
4 cups sliced (1-inch size) rhubarb
3 cups fresh strawberries, sliced
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 cup cornstarch
2 tbsp quick-cooking tapioca
1 tbsp grated lemon peel
1/4 tsp ground allspice
1 egg, lightly beaten

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Roll out pastry, cut a round to fit a 9-inch pie plate. Place in pie plate, flute edges and seal to edge of pie plate; set aside.

Place the rhubarb and strawberries in a large bowl.

In a medium bowl, combine the sugar, cornstarch, tapioca, lemon peel and allspice; mix together well. Sprinkle over the strawberry/rhubarb mixture and toss to coat thoroughly. Place filling evenly into the pie shell.

Roll remaining pastry out into a 10-inch circle and cut into strips. Form strips into a lattice design over the pie filling. Brush the egg over the pastry.

Bake at 425 degrees until filling is thick and bubbly. (Use a pie shield or aluminum foil strips to cover edge of crust if it starts to get too brown.)

Cool completely on a wire rack before slicing.

Yield: 8 servings

Friday, August 5, 2016


1 pkg (10-oz) frozen raspberries, thawed
1/2 cup sugar
1 box (2-layer size) yellow cake mix
1 cup water
1/3 cup olive or canola oil
3 large eggs
Whipped cream for topping, if desired
Fresh raspberries for garnish, if desired

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Grease a 9 X 13-inch baking pan; set aside.

Drain the raspberries, saving the juice. Add enough water to the juice to make 1 1/2 cups; pour into a medium saucepan and combine with the sugar. Heat, stirring, until sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat and set aside.

In a large mixer bowl, combine the cake mix, water, oil and eggs at low speed until moistened. Beat at high speed for 2 minutes. Pour batter into the prepared pan. Spoon the raspberries out evenly over the batter and pour the warm liquid over the berries and batter.

Bake at 350 degrees 35-40 minutes or until the top springs back when lightly touched in the center.

Best served warm topped with whipped cream and fresh raspberries for garnish.

Yield: 12 servings

Note: Leftovers should be refrigerated.

Thursday, August 4, 2016


1/3 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/4 cup butter
1/2 cup fresh or frozen cranberries, thawed, cut in half
1/2 cup chopped nuts
1/2 tsp cinnamon

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Grease the bottom only of 18 muffin cups; set aside.

In a small saucepan, combine all the above ingredients and cook over medium heat until sugar is dissolved. Divide the mixture equally over the bottoms of the prepared muffin cups.

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup sugar
3 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/4 cups milk
1/3 cup butter, melted
1 egg

In a mixing bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt, stir to mix well. Add the milk, butter and egg, stirring just until flour mixture is moistened. Spoon the batter over the cranberry mixture in the muffin cups, filling each cup 2/3s full.

Bake at 400 degrees 20-25 minutes until a wooden toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove from oven and immediately invert onto a waxed paper covered cooling rack.

Best served warm.

Note: File Photo

Tuesday, August 2, 2016


What a fun cool dessert for kids on a hot day or an after school snack. (I can't believe kids are already heading back -to-school!)

2 pkgs (4-serving size) JELL-O gelatin dessert (grape is pictured but any flavor may be used)
2 cups boiling water
1 cup cold water
Frozen whipped topping, thawed
Assortment of small fresh fruit* for topping

Dissolve the gelatin in the boiling water, stirring to dissolve completely, about two minutes. Stir in the cold water. Pour gelatin into a 13-x-9-inch pan. Refrigerate at least 3 hours until firm.

To make the pizzas, pour about 4-inches of warm, not hot, water in sink. Dip pan briefly in the warm water, being careful not to get water on the gelatin. Using the rim of a large glass or a large round cookie cutter, cut out the circles. Lift carefully from the pan to serving plates.

Spoon whipped topping over the circles and decorate with the pieces of fresh fruit.

*Suggestions include white and red grapes, blueberries, raspberries, mandarin orange slices cut in half, etc.

Note: Layer the leftover pieces of Jell-O in parfait glasses with whipped topping.