Saturday, December 20, 2008

Caramel Pecan Brownies

These brownies are super-moist and very similar to a Texas sheetcake, but the cooked frosting has a wonderful caramel flavor.

1 c. butter
1 c. water
1/4 c. baking cocoa powder
1/2 c. buttermilk
2 eggs
1 t. baking soda
1 t. vanilla
2 c. sugar
2 c flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1 cup chopped pecans, toasted

Cook first three ingredients in a small saucepan over low heat until melted. Remove from heat.
Beat buttermilk, eggs, soda and vanilla with an electric mixer until smooth. Add cocoa mixture, beating until blended.
Combine sugar, flour and salt; gradually add to the buttermilk mixture, beating until just blended. Mixture will be thin. Grease and flour a 15x10 pan. Pour batter into pan and bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes until a wooden spoon inserted in center comes out clean. Cool cake on a wire rack.


1/2 c. butter
1 c. packed brown sugar
1/4 c. milk
2 c. powdered sugar
1 t. vanilla

Melt butter and brown sugar in a pan. Once melted, add milk and bring to a boil. Remove from heat and whisk in powdered sugar and vanilla. Whisk until smooth. Pour over top of cooled brownies. Top with chopped pecans.

Janet's Shrimp Dip

Janet brought this shrimp dip to our luncheon. The creamy dip and salty chips were the perfect appetizer.

1 block cream cheese
1 cup sour cream
1/2 c. mayo
2 T. Worcestershire sauce
1 c. cottage cheese
1 small can small shrimp (peeled and de-veined)

Mix the cream cheese until fluffy using a rotary mixer. Slowly add the sour cream and then mayo, mixing well after adding. If you don't pre-mix the cream cheese, you will get big lumps of cream cheese that you can't beat out. Mix in the Worcestershire sauce. With a spoon, stir in the cottage cheese and shrimp. Refrigerate before serving. Serve with plain potato chips.

Karen's Spinach Salad

My co-workers and I had a nice Christmas luncheon at my house this past week. My friend Karen brought this delicious spinach salad and I had to share it here.

1 bag romaine lettuce
3/4 c. sliced mushrooms
1 diced red onion
1 bag baby spinach
1/2 lb. cooked crumbled bacon
3/4 lb. Swiss cheese, shredded
1 cup honey roasted peanuts (or 1 cup dried craisins)

2 T. poppy seeds
1/3 c. sugar
3/4 tsp. salt
2 T. prepared mustard
3/4 c. oil
1/3 c. white vinegar
3/4 tsp. onion

Toss the salad ingredients in a large bowl and set aside. Just before serving, mix the salad dressing ingredients, pour over salad and toss. You can also add mandarin oranges and substitute mozzarella cheese for the Swiss cheese. This salad needs to be eaten immediately and does not store well in the fridge overnight.

Ribbon Salad

This salad is beautiful served with a Christmas dinner. I've been making it since I was a teenager.

1 large pkg. cherry jello
1 large pkg. lime jello
1 1/2 c. miniature marshmallows
1 cup water
1 (8 oz.) pkg. cream cheese
1 large can crushed pineapple
4 oz. Cool Whip
1 T. mayonnaise
1 small pkg. lemon jello

Make lime jello according to pkg. directions. Pour into a glass 13x9 dish. Refrigerate until set.
In a small saucepan melt marshmallows and water over medium/high heat until melted and bubbly. Remove from heat and add lemon jello. Stir to dissolve. Add cream cheese and whisk until mixed and creamy. Stir in crushed pineapple, mayo and Cool Whip. Pour over the red layer of the jello. Allow to set in refrigerator for 2-3 hours. Make cherry jello according to package directions. Pour over the top and allow to set. Cut into squares to serve.

Kami's Pumpkin Bread

This recipe was shared with me by my good friend Kami. She not only gave me a loaf of this perfectly moist bread, but also the darling dish to serve it on. Thanks Kami!

Glazed Pumpkin* Bread …(*apples, bananas or zucchini)

3 eggs
1 c. oil
1 tsp. salt

2 c. sugar
1 tsp. soda

2 c. pumpkin
3 c. flour
1 Tbsp. cinnamon

1 Tbsp. vanilla
½ tsp. baking powder

¼ tsp. nutmeg
¼ tsp. ground cloves

(1 c. nuts-optional)

Mix well in order given and pour into greased and floured loaf pans. (2 regular or 6 mini)
Bake at 325-350 degrees for 1 hr….or until toothpick inserted into center comes out clean.

Glaze: mix 1 c. powdered sugar and 2 Tbsp. warm water. Spread over loaves while still warm.

5 Minute Turtles

These bite sized "Turtle" candies are delicious. All you need is 5 minutes and 3 ingredients.

Mini Pretzels
Rolo candies

On cookie sheet, place a Rolo candy on top of each pretzel. Heat oven to 250 degrees. Place pan in oven for 2-3 minutes. Remove pan and place a pecan half on each candy and press down. Cool and allow chocolate to harden

Grandma Rita's Almond Bark Krispies

We affectionately called Korry's grandma, "Rita Mom". This is one of her Christmas candy recipes that we make every year. You can have these ready start to finish in about 10 minutes.

1 1/2 lb. almond bark (1 package)
1 c. peanut butter
2 c. mini marshmallows
1 1/2 c. salted peanuts
3 c. rice krispies

In a large bowl, mix the marshmallows, peanuts and rice krispies. Chop almond bark into pieces and place in a microwave safe bowl. Microwave on high for about 2 minutes. Take out and stir until melted and smooth (microwave longer if needed). Stir in the peanut butter. Pour almond bark mixture over the marshmallow mixture and stir until well coated. Drop by teaspoonful into mini cupcake liners or on to wax paper. Allow to cool and harden.

Sunday, December 14, 2008


I made these cupcakes for Kaycie's "ELF" party on Saturday night. The little heads are just mini cupcakes turned sideways. The scarves are sour fruit rolls, the eyes are mini chocolate chips and the noses are orange Tic Tac's. They were almost too cute to eat.
Here's another cute idea. Frost cupcakes. Cut the shape of a Christmas light out of a 3x5 note card. Lay it over the top of the frosted cupcake and sprinkle colored sugar on heavily. Remove the template and you have a little Christmas light. The "cord" is made with green gumdrops and green Sour Straw candies.
I'm giving these to my visiting teachers. They are so EASY to make. All you need is a bag of Twizzlers, a bag of Jolly Ranchers and some scrapbook paper. Cut a 12x12 piece of scrapbook paper in half (this makes a 6 x 12). Then cut a coordinating piece of paper to go on top (cut it 4x12). Wrap the paper around the licorice and tape on back, attach a label (I made these on my computer) and tie it up with a raffia bow.