Tag Archives: dessert

Back in the Saddle Again…

8 Jun

Yeah, yeah, yeah…I know it’s been a while, ok a LONG time, since I last posted anything. I apologize.

Upon returning from a date night with my hubby, I thought it would be fun to make cookies with the rug-rat.  He didn’t really seem too enthused, until I started asking for a “special cookie maker.”  That got him excited, go figure.  So, I started looking at the ingredients I had on hand and Grandma’s trusty recipes.  I was missing a key ingredient for a cookie I thought looked easy enough: Mincemeat Cookies.  I ran out of pear mincemeat at Christmas and didn’t have any other jars on hand.  However I did have three jars of fig preserves from my Aunt Barbara.  She and her daughter, Haley (my oldest cousin), are always good for a few jars of this and that when I’m home.

So, I used chopped fig preserves.  If you have never had mincemeat, I suggest you try some.  Unless your great-aunt Gertrude still makes it the “real” way (with the meat of a hog’s head), a jar of modern mincemeat is usually a mix of spices, sugar and various “hearty” fruits like pears and apples.  While figs are a little softer in texture, their flavor is a similar profile and mincemeat.  In other words, it worked.

There was no indication as to the yield in the recipe.  It made about 48-60 cookies I think (give or take the “tester” cookies).  So here it is, the first recipe of the year.  Better late than never!

Mince Meat Cookies

  • 3 1/4 cups flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp soda
  • 1 cup shortening (I used butter)
  • 1.5 cups sugar
  • 3 eggs (well beaten)
  • 1 cup of mince meat, or preserves of your choice

Sift the flour, salt, and soda together.  Cream butter and sugar then beat and add eggs.  Stir in mince meat.  Add the dry ingredients and mix.  Drop by the spoonful (or see option below) onto a greased baking sheet.  Bake at 400* for about 12 minutes, or until cookies are golden.  Option: make bake in thin sheet and cut into bars.


Gave him a cookiephoto(2)

First biteHe likes them!He liked it!

The mix seemed a little dry while mixing, so I poured in some of the fig preserve liquid to moisten it up a bit.  It worked well and the cookies taste amazing!  The hubby just came out of the kitchen exclaiming, “Wow, that made a lot of cookies!”  Another note: The hubby is not a fig eater but enjoyed these cookies, so they must be good!


Grandma’s Notes: 9/20/98- Went to church; crocheted some.  THANK YOU LORD FOR YOUR CLOSENESS TO ME IN MY EVERYDAY LIFE.


Dairy free, egg free, no junk added ice cream

1 Feb

So, I’ve done a lot of reading and researching and decided that I’m changing up how I eat. Since the main issue I’ve had has been with dairy, I knew I’d needed to figure out how to change recipes and my usual go-to snacks (I LOVE me some queso)!

I am an over-ripe banana hoarder. We buy them, all nice and yellow, only to forget about them and watch them all but peel themselves off the banana hook (although I have been standing next to the kitchen counter when one decided to peel…creepy). They then get tossed into the freezer where they await their fate: bread, smoothie, and the pièce de résistance ICE CREAM.

That was tonight’s challenge, which I gladly accepted! The picture below is all I had left after I realized I should have taken the picture at the beginning.

Oh well.

Amber’s Pb & Cocoa Ice “Cream”
• 2 frozen bananas peeled
• 1-2 TBSP peanut butter
• 1/4 to 1/2 cup vanilla almond milk ( mine is unsweetened)
• 1 tsp cocoa powder
• 1 short squirt/dash/splash agave nectar

Throw everything in the blender and mix until smooth. The variance in milk depends on how much you need to keep the mixture moving in the blender. I then poured it into a Tupperware container and plopped it into the freezer for about a hour-and-one-half hour. After an hour, or so, I took it out and stirred it (the edges freeze quicker). I added pecans to top it, but you don’t need anything!


Enjoy, and let me know how yours turns out!

Chocolate mint chip cookies

14 Dec

When I went shopping for groceries, I wanted to make sure I stocked up on staple baking ingredients. So, I got flour, sugar, chocolate chips, pecans, and the. I splurged and picked up some Andes Mints chips. If you haven’t had or seen them, you are sorely missing out! I remember, every Christmas morning, going through my stocking and loving all he little toys and trinkets; but, I loved that there was always a box of Andes Mints left on the mantle. That meant they were fair game for whomever wanted some. I think I ate most of shared them.

Fast forward to today. I stared blankly at the chips and the recipe found on the back of the package. This just wouldn’t do. I thought the chips needed a good, strong chocolate cookie to match the minty goodness I had grown to love. So, searched online for a good base cookie, but everything I saw was a chocolate chip cookie-like base with…well, with chocolate added. I needed something with more of a cocoa base. Since I didn’t find anything, I decided to just make my own recipe.

Before I give you the recipe, I will give you a couple pointers. This is a very dry recipe, so when you add the dry to wet ingredients, use your hands. It’s the best way to feel how well it’s mixed. These cookies, unlike most, do not expand when in the oven. If you put the dough in a ball shape or flatten it out, it will stay that way. I wasn’t sure how they would bake, and I ended up flattening half of the first batch before they finished baking. Finally, like any baked good, they will continue to bake, even after out of the oven. So, used parchment paper and bake only for the time indicated. The parchment paper will keep them from sticking.

Amber’s Chocolate Mint Cookies
• 1.5 sticks softened butter
• 1 cup granulated sugar
• 1/2 cup light brown sugar
• 2 eggs
• 1 tsp vanilla
• 2 & 3/4 cups flour
• 1/4 cup cocoa powder
• 1 tsp baking soda
• 1/2 tsp salt
• 3/4 bag of Andes Mints baking pieces

In a large bowl cream sugars and butter, add eggs and vanilla thoroughly. In another bowl mix dry in ingredients. Add dry to wet ingredients and mix with hands. Add chocolate mint chips well.
On lined cookie sheet, drop rounded (or flattened) spoonfuls about and inch apart. Bake at 375* for 8.5 minutes. Allow to cool approx 2 minted before transferring to cooling rack.



You can see the difference in the rounded cookies vs. the flattened ones. They both tasted amazing. Just ask my two-year-old that ate three as soon as he woke from his nap!


Mincemeat Cake

9 Dec

So, it felt great to get back to the store to shop today.  I never thought I would enjoy shopping, but I did.  I went with my list and made sure I re-upped my staples (sugar, flour, eggs, milk, chocolate chips, etc.)  What I didn’t do was take my cookbook with me to make sure I had all the random ingredients for specific recipes.  Needless to say, I had a small panic attack was able to calmly decide what to make when I realized I didn’t have any enchilada sauce, tortillas, or powdered sugar (not the same recipes).

So, I went back to the pantry and looked at what I had available: fig preserves, pear mincemeat from this post, and other various pantry staples.   I remembered a recipe, back in May, that called for mincemeat.  That would have to do.  I also had all the other ingredients.

I was excited to be able to use a preserved item that I preserved myself.  I even had to use a knife to unseal the lid, it was THAT well-sealed!  I remember having to do that when opening my grandmother’s preserves and jams.  I guess I did it right?!  And when I added it to the mix, i had to taste the concoction (since it had been January since I made it)…umm…YUM!

Anyway, the cake is fairly simple and the mincemeat could easily be substituted with other fruit preserves.  I think fig would probably work well. *note: I have not tried it with other preserves or jams, so I can not attest to the consistency of a cake made with them.

This cake was a fairly wet mix and I had a hunch that the baking time would need to be increased.  I was right.  I tested the center of the cake at the end of the stated time and needed to increase the time 5 minutes TWICE.  I also used a ceramic corningware dish.  It calls for a 13x9x2 pan with no specificity of the kind, but I’m sure it was supposed to be an actual metal pan.  However, the result was DELISH!


Mincemeat Cake

  • 1.5 cups sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup homemade mincemeat (I used pear mincemeat)
  • 1 cup milk, or buttermilk
  • 1 tsp soda
  • 2 cups flour
  • pinch of salt

Beat together sugar, butter, and eggs.  Add mincemeat.  Mix soda in milk; add  to creamed mixture alternately with flour and salt.  Pour into 13x9x2 pan.  Bake at 375* for about 20 minutes (test center to determine done-ness).  Top with recipe below


  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1 TBSP grated orange peel
  • 2 TBSP orange juice
  • 1.3 cup coconut (or nuts) I used 1/6 coconut & 1/6 pecan
  • 2 TBSP softened butter

Mix together all ingredients and pour on top of warm cake.  Broil in oven until top of cake is bubbly


Grandma’s Notes: 5/27/95- Lance and Marcus came; Marcus plowed the garden.  6/4/95- Church service was good.  When we think about it, how terrible life would be without love.  Barry Monroe was at church with Haley.  Went home and finished book.  I think I’ll read it again.  Started reading; then to bed.

When life hands you lemons…

27 Jul

…you make lemonade, or margaritas, or take shots of tequila.  However, when you don’t have lemons but your son wants to help you bake something, you improvise.  In order for me to get back into the swing of making things, I needed something simple- something that didn’t require me getting back into my car and going to the store in the 10000000% humidity that is a Florida summer.

Enter Lemon Bread.  This recipe could easily be made into lemon-poppy-seed, lemon-nut (which is what this one called for but I had no nuts), or even a Lemon-Berry…think: Sonic Lemon-berry slush in bread form…oooh!  But I digress.  This recipe was relatively quick to prepare, but did take a solid 80 minutes to bake through.

Lemon Bread

  • 3/4 cup margarine
  • 1.5 cups sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 2.25 cups sifted flour (I didn’t sift and I only had 2 cups, the last 1/4 I used whole wheat flour)
  • 1/4 tsp soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk vanilla almond milk (unsweetened)
  • Grated rind of one lemon 1 tsp lemon extract
  • 3/4 cup chopped nuts I didn’t have any, and hubs doesn’t like citrus or nuts.  So I figured it was one or the other for him to even try it
  • For the Glaze: Juice of two lemons 2 TBSP lemon juice in 3/4 cup sugar (dissolved)

Preheat oven to 325* and grease and flour a corningware glass ceramic loaf dish 9x5x3 (2-qt size). I only have a metal loaf pan, it worked fine.  Cream margarine and sugar; beat in eggs.  Sift dry ingredients together and add to batter, alternating with milk.  Mix well.  Stir in lemon extract (and nuts here).  Pout into prepared dish and bake at 325* for 1 hr 20 min, or until cake tester (aka toothpick in our house) inserted in center comes out clean.  Cool 15 minutes in dish.  Remove from dish and cool completely on wire rack.  Pierce in many places and spoon glaze over it.

The little corner cut out was for the boy.  Now, this glaze that was supposed to be all glazy and everything, was not a glaze at all.  It ended up being more like sugar mixed in lemon juice.  I’m not really sure how you would be able to dissolve 3/4 cup of sugar in the juice of 2 lemons.  From what I remember regarding juicing fruits, you never get as much juice as you want.  So, I figured using 2 TBSP of lemon juice from the fridge would help…it didn’t.  Now don’t get me wrong, though, the taste is amazing!  Just not so glazy.  And, when I went to cut a slice this morning, the sugar had formed a sort of crystallized force-field on top of the bread (kind of like a royal icing on a cookie).  It’s crunchy, but not hard, and the lemon flavor is spot-on.


Grandma’s Notes: 7/25/93- Meeting Frank in Van.  April is coming to visit.  Enjoyed visiting with Frank’s family.  Sunday, April sang “Do Lord” and a little worship chorus at church.  In the evening service Ashley and April sang “In the Garden.”  I THANK YOU LORD, YOU ARE THE ONE AND ONLY GOD; HELP ME IN MY COMMITMENT TO YOU.



Bad Dates…

1 Jun

If you can name that quote, you are just as much of an Indiana Jones junkie as I am.  Sallah has to be one of my favorite IJ characters.  Not only because of his jovial, people-pleasing ways, but because he save Indie from certain death in a scene in Raiders of the Lost Ark:

“Bad dates”

Sadly, the monkey was not saved soon enough.  The quote is sort of true even if dates are not poisoned.  Dates are a VERY sweet fruit.  I can not say that I even know what a non-dried one tastes like, or if it’s even edible.  Actually, nevermind, they are eating fresh ones in the movie…I digress.  I do know that its dried counterpart is extremely sweet.  Eating a serving size would certainly put me into a sugar coma for some time.  The dried dates are also prone to having pieces of pit still stuck inside them (more so than prunes or dried cherries, in my experience).  So, careful examination of them is necessary when baking with them.  My son liked them though and a good friend suggested using them instead of sugar in recipes.  I might just take her up on that!

Here is what I came up with:

Date Loaf


It wasn’t too bad…or really bad at all.  Just, well, different.  I think dried cherries or blueberries would taste a bit better.  This is also one of those loaves that needs to be enjoyed almost as soon as it cools enough to eat or within the next day.  After about 48 hours, it takes on a pseudo-fruitcake persona- NOT good!


Grandma’s Notes:n6/8/93- To Della Tempin’s; got potato slips.  Anthony and Ashley spent the PM.  Put out potato slips.  6/13/93- Sebastian and Peaches (Marcus & Haley’s dogs) have run cats and calf till neither could eat.  They have trouble keeping them home.  Haley spent weekend with Stutts twins at their dad’s.  THANK YOU FOR MANY PROMISES IN THE BIBLE.  HELP ME TO RELY ON THEM.


This Pie is Pear-y Good!

19 May

So, let me reiterate that you I really need to read recipes thoroughly, prior to beginning.  I skimmed this recipe and knew I already had a pie crust left over from my buttermilk pie last week.  However, I then reread the ingredients AFTER I returned from the grocery store: DOUBLE crusts…blah!  Instead of having to go back to the store, I decided to just use the cast iron pan and just used the pie crust on top.  It worked out well and tasted good too!

For the sake of simplicity, I will give the recipe as written, but just keep in mind I used only one crust (on top).

Pear Pie

  • 3.5 Cups sliced pear
  • 3 TBSP flour
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg (I used clove, pumpkin pie spice, and cinnamon)
  • 1 TBSP lemon juice
  • grated rind of 1 lemon
  • 1 TBSP butter
  • 1 9″ pie crust <—-THIS is why I got tripped up!  USE TWO CRUSTS!
  • Mix flour, sugar, salt, & spices.  Add pears, lemon juice, grated lemon rind to mix.  Mix well.  Place one crust into pan and add pear mixture.  Dot top with butter.  Top with upper crust and bake in 425* oven for 25 minutes.

This would be great with a cinnamon cream or ice cream.

Grandma’s Notes: 5/15/97- Haley Monroe send an orchid corsage for mother’s day; ate lunch with Lance’s family.  Frank called.  Zach and a friend fixed the mow and mowed all.  Barry loaded all the old windows and hauled away.  5/23/97- Played bridge.  I went with Lance and Barbara to Zach Horton’s graduation.  PRAISE THE LORD THERE IS WORK TO DO.  LET ME BE PREPARED.

Load ’em Up!

14 May


So, I didn’t realize how far behind I have been!  My trip to Boston really messed up my schedule.  I am making stuff, I just get so lazy and neglect to enter it here.  This entry is a doozy!  Three post-scripted recipes and a current recipe in the oven!  I apologize for the shoddy pictures.  I always wait until late at night to bake and then the camera has to use the flash, making all kinds of crazy shadows and such.  anyway, I think you will get the gist of them!


This first one is not really worth sharing the recipe.  It is a buttermilk custard pie.  Anyone that has known me for any length of time knows that my go-to recipe is a buttermilk pie.  This one has more eggs and milk, making it more of a custard consistency.  This one also calls for you to chill the pie.  It was definitely better that way.  If you ever get a chance to try a real buttermilk pie, however, you will want to try it warm!

Grandma’s notes: 5/6/96- Lance plowed the garden and Barbara used a hoe.  I fertilized 2 or 3 more rows.  5/11/96- THANK YOU LORD FOR THE RAIN LAST NIGHT.  5/12/96- Ate with George’s family, as did Lance’s family.  Cheryl’s mom moved to N Richland Hills to be near them.  LORD HELP ME TO DO WHATEVER YOU HAVE PLANNED FOR ME TODAY.  Went to Marcus’s graduation.


I just noticed that I didn’t get to eat a piece of this next baked good!  I tried it upon taking it out of the oven, but I never got a slice.  What a bummer, because the tiny bit I did have was yummy!  Doesn’t it look good?!

Applesauce Cake

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 tsp soda
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 TBSP cinnamon
  • 1 TBSP allspice
  • 1 cup raisins (I used chopped prunes)
  • 1/2 cup butter, melted
  • 1.5 cups unsweetened applesauce (I used 3 applesauce pouches of my sons, because we were out otherwise)

Sift flour and soda.  Mix all dry ingredients.  Add butter and applesauce.  Add raisins.  Bake in a square pan 40-50 minutes or in a loaf pan about 90 minutes at approximately 350*.

Ok, so I used a loaf pan and I’m glad I did.  It baked the outside to a nice crisp texture, holding in the dense, moist flavor.  I did NOT, however, bake it for 90 minutes!  I think I started with 60 and it was more than enough.  It also wrapped very well in plastic wrap.  I’m always afraid the wrap will stick to the finished product, but it didn’t.  The finished product then went to Kissimmee with us, to the hubs’s aunt and uncle from England.  I hope they enjoyed it!

Grandma’s Notes: 5/15/94- Went to Lance’s for dinner after church.  Bro. and Mrs. Oliver were there and Barry Monroe.  Such a good meal.   Talked to Clarice Hataway, Alma Gary, and Loyce Bush.  THANK YOU FOR YOUR KINDNESS.  HELP ME REPAY YOU BY PASSING YOUR KINDNESS TO OTHERS I MEET EVERYDAY.


Once of my favorite recipes is for banana nut bread.  Funny thing is, I NEVER have a recipe handy (nor do I ever have all the ingredients).  So, I am constantly doing a quick search online for recipes that have the same ingredient-omissions as me.  I did, however, have everything for this one. 🙂

Banana Nut Bread

  • 1/3 cup margarine or butter
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar (lightly packed)
  • 3 very ripe bananas, mashed
  • 2 eggs beaten
  • 1.5 cups flour mixed with 1 tsp soda & 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup chopped nuts

Beat margarine and sugar until well mixed.  Add bananas and eggs.  Mix well.  Add milk and flour gradually.  Stir in nuts.  Pour into greased loaf pan (I used 4 mini pans).  Bake at 350* 45-50 minutes until toothpick comes out clean.

It’s that simple!  Never-mind the piece torn off one end there…hahah…quality control.  That one stayed home and the other three went to work with me for a change.

Grandma’s Notes: 5/8/93- Barbara plowed.  Haley worked in yard.  I helped some.  Haley brought me an orchid for Mother’s Day.  Frank sent card.  5/9/93- Lunch Joe’s cafe with Lance’s family.  Ashley and Anthony came; picked berries.  Zach came; brought lovely pot plant (I’m SURE this should read, “potted”) & carried children home.  THANK YOU LORD FOR A MOTHER THAT LOVED ME.  HELP ME OFFER THAT LOVE TO OTHERS.


Jam Session

5 May

While enjoying my new-found love for the television show Glee, I realized I needed to get back on the cooking ball (so to speak).  I recently spent a few days in Boston, and was unable to cook while there.  I wish I had.  Boston is expensive to visit.  I could have easily made all the recipes I missed, just by not eating out.  But, no biggie.  Here I am…back at it!


This cake is really good.  I think that if I actually had the three layer pans it calls for, the end result would have been even better.  I made-do with what I have and it still tastes good!  I think I would omit the raisins and perhaps use fresh blackberries instead of nuts.  The recipe, as-is, though works fine.  The end result is just a little different than what I would expect.

Jam Cake (with Caramel Frosting)

  • 3/4 cup butter
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup blackberry jam (I used seedless)
  • 4 cups flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 tsp cinnamon (I didn’t have nutmeg, so I doubled this)
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 tsp soda
  • 1 cup raisins
  • 1 cup nuts

Cream butter and sugar.  Beat eggs and jam.  Add to creamed mixture; sift flour, salt, and spices.  Mix buttermilk and soda.  Add alternately with flour mixture to the creamed  mixture.  Add raisins and nuts.  Pour into three 9-in layer pans.  Bake at 350 for about 25 minutes.  Once cooled, put together with caramel frosting.

before icing

caramel frosting

  • 3 cups sugar
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 TBSP butter
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla

Use two sauce pans.  Melt one cup of sugar in a small pan.  In a large pan, start the remainder of sugar and milk to cooking.  When sugar is melted, pour gradually into milk mixture, stirring constantly so as not to curdle.  Continue cooking until syrup forms a soft ball when tried in cold water.  Add butter and remove from fire.  Allow to cool until lukewarm.  Add vanilla and beat until creamy and of right consistency to spread on cake.

*Make sure you heat the milk and sugar enough to be close to the temperature of the other sugar.  Otherwise, when you add the sugar, it hardens instantly and sticks to your spoon/whisk.  When it is near the right temperature, the milk/sugar mix will bubble up when the sugar is added.  It then becomes a beautiful amber color.

Look at that!


Since I stole a piece from the corner, the icing took that space over.  Whomever gets those pieces near the corner will have a sweet treat!  I couldn’t resist cutting a piece for myself and I just took the icing a drizzled it over the cake.


A little crumbly, but still delicious.  Also, the baking time needed to be almost 20 minutes longer, since I used one large pan.  The cake, overall was a bit drier than I would have liked.  However, the tops and sides were almost caramelized and were a great crunchy texture.


Grandma’s Notes: 5/5/95- The elders need to be examples to the younger couples.  Francis Moore brought a pineapple coconut pie and visited for a while; pie was so good.  Anthony and B.J. McCurdy won the tennis tournament in Nacogdoches.  THANK YOU LORD FOR MY EVERYDAY BLESSINGS.  HELP ME FOLLOW YOUR PLANS FOR ME.

Say, “CHEESE!”

18 Apr

OK so it’s been a while since I posted…sorry!  But in looking at my calendar, it’s not my fault.  It just turned out that way.  Let me start by saying that this has to be one of the EASIEST recipes to date!  Four ingredients, mix, pour, bake, enjoy!  How super simple is that?!

Only 4 Ingredients!

Cheese Cake

  • 2 (8oz) cream cheese (I used the whipped variety)
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • graham cracker crust

Mix all ingredients together well.  Pour into graham cracker crust and back at 350* for 30 to 40 minutes.


That’s it!  I made sure I mixed mine until smooth.  I didn’t want any rogue globs of cream cheese floating around!  I also baked mine about 35 minutes.  I set the timer for 30, heard it go off, and then kinda forgot about it until my son came to me and said, “Dah-puhr.”  So, en route to change said “dah-puhr” on the boy, I remembered to take out the cheese cake.  It turned out to be fine and a nice golden color on top.

I even got the thumbs up from the hubs and cheese cake is one of his favorite desserts!


Note: Marcus married Rena Smith on April 18, 2008 at Haley’s house which was Grandma’s house (front cover).  Rena is the third of three children born to Gregory and Donna Smith on July 6, 1982.  Their children are Sidney Taylor, born December 4, 1996; Kai Christopher, born June 19, 2002; and Isaac Gregory, born July 28, 2005