April 30, 2015

Wilted Leaf Lettuce Salad

One of our favorite salads is a Wilted Lettuce Salad.   The green, leafy lettuce is the healthy part.  Leaf Lettuce is a nutritional powerhouse filled with vitamins and minerals.  The bacon grease dressing, well, the word "grease" says it all.    Do you think the bacon grease in the dressing cancels out the healthy goodness of the green leaf lettuce?  

Last night, we grilled out New York Strip steaks.  Our sides were baked potatoes and Wilted Lettuce Salad.   The star of this plate of food was the Wilted Lettuce Salad.

You can also make this salad with fresh spinach instead of leaf lettuce.  

If you want your vitamins and minerals, and if you LOVE bacon, try this salad.  You won't be disappointed!

Wilted Leaf Lettuce Salad

1 head of leaf lettuce
1 small to medium tomato
1 hardboiled egg
4 slices of bacon

For the Dressing

Bacon Grease rendered from bacon
Equals amounts of Balsamic Vinegar and Sugar (I used about 1/4 cup bacon grease, vinegar and sugar)

Cut lettuce up and place in a salad bowl.  Add chopped tomato and crumbled bacon.

To make the dressing:

In the skillet that the bacon was fried in, add Balsamic Vinegar and Sugar to the bacon grease rendered from frying the bacon.  Heat together over medium heat stirring constantly, until the bacon grease, vinegar, and sugar are thoroughly mixed together.   (If the bacon renders a lot of grease, you will need to pour out some of it.  Just use your judgment on how much you think you will need.)

Immediately pour dressing over the lettuce, tomato and bacon.  Salt and pepper to taste.  With a large fork and spoon, toss salad to make sure all the lettuce is coated.  Add sliced egg to top of salad and add a bit more salt and pepper to egg slices.

Serve to family and friends!!

April 21, 2015

Banana Pudding

Cudjoe went to the grocery store and came home with the ingredients to make banana pudding.  True story.  But I had mentioned that I had a hankering for banana pudding.  He's such a nice husband.

We've had a lot of overcast days and rain in our neck of the woods, and getting great photographs is, well, challenging.  But with a little help from iPhoto, I can brighten them up.  I am chasing the sunlight these days.  Believe it or not, these two pictures were taken in my laundry room!  That's where the light was the best.

  When I bring this dessert to someone else's home or serve it in my home, it is always a favorite.  If banana pudding sounds good to you, try this awesome little recipe!

Banana Pudding

1 - 5.1 ounce box instant vanilla pudding
1 can sweetened condensed milk
1 1/2 cups cold water
3 cups heavy whipping cream
4 bananas
1 box vanilla wafers

(I use a stand mixer.)  Mix together instant vanilla pudding, sweetened condensed milk, and water until pudding mixture is thickened.  Spoon into a separate bowl. Whip heavy cream on medium speed of mixer until thickened and soft peaks form.  Fold into pudding mixture.  Layer vanilla wafers, bananas, and pudding in three separate layers ending with crushed wafers on top.

Serve to family and friends!
They will thank you!


April 16, 2015


Do you like Snickerdoodles?  They are my second favorite cookie.  Chocolate Chips Cookies take the number one spot.  

  During Holy Week this year, I was thinking about a particular Holy Week years ago when my sons were just little boys, and I made Snickerdoodles for us.  This sweet reminder inspired me to make them for the first time in years. 

A little tip for all you cookie lovers out there.  Store the cookie dough in an airtight container in the refrigerator and bake six or so at a time (or even fewer).  That way you can have your cookie fresh from the oven.  Warm, delicious sweetness.  The dough will keep for a few days.

These little beauties will be given away this evening to family we are having dinner with.  'Cause we really don't need the temptation!


1 cup butter, room temperature
1-1/2 cups sugar
2 large eggs, room temperature
2-3/4 cups flour
2 teaspoons cream of tartar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt

For rolling cookie dough in:

Equal amounts of sugar and cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Cream butter in a stand mixer, and sugar and eggs and blend thoroughly.
In a separate bowl, combine flour, cream of tartar, baking soda and salt.
On low speed of mixer, beat dry ingredients to butter, sugar and egg mixture.
Chill dough in refrigerator for 30 minutes.

Mix together sugar and cinnamon.

Using a medium-size cookie scoop, scoop dough and roll into balls.  Roll dough balls in the sugar and cinnamon mixture.  Place on an ungreased cookie sheet and bake for 15 minutes.   (You can make smaller or larger cookies, but you will need to adjust the baking time. )

Serve to family and friends!


April 12, 2015

Arnold Palmer Cupcakes

Today our weather is going to be a sunny 75 degrees.  Perfect weather.  Do you remember when Willard Scott used to be the weather man on the Today show, and he always picked the best spot for weather for that day, and it was always a sunny, 75-degree day?  Well, that's us this afternoon!  And it will be a great day to play golf.    

We are BIG golf fans.  We love to play golf, watch golf on T.V., and love attending  LPGA golf tournaments.  We would love to see a PGA tournament, and I am adding that to our list of "things to do".

In honor of the start of a new golf season in our neck of the woods, I made "Arnold Palmer Cupcakes".  For those of you unfamiliar with the Arnold Palmer drink, it was a mix of tea and lemonade.  (Just a side note, I mixed tea and lemonade before I ever heard of the "Arnold Palmer Drink".)  Who knew?

Arnold Palmer Cupcakes

1 box of white cake mix
1 cup of milk
1 family size tea bag
2 egg whites
1 whole egg
1/4 cup of oil

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.
Place cupcake holders into a cupcake pan.

Heat milk on top of stove and add in one family
 size tea bag and allow to steep for a couple of minutes.
Add sifted cake mix, milk steeped with tea, eggs, and 1/4 cup of oil in a stand mixer.
Using your paddle attachment, mix on low for 30 seconds to incorporate all ingredients.   Turn mixer up to high and beat for two minutes.

Using an ice-cream scoop, scoop batter into cupcake holders.  Bake for approximately 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into center of cupcake comes out clean.

Lemon Frosting

1 unsalted butter, softened
1 box of Confectioner's Powdered Sugar
Three or Four Tablespoons of fresh lemon juice
 1 teaspoon of vanilla
A pinch of salt
Milk or cream

Unsalted butter goes into a mixing bowl on a stand mixer and using the paddle attachment, cream butter, add in confectioners sugar, a little at a time, add in fresh lemon juice, 1 teaspoon of vanilla, salt, and milk or cream to desired consistency.

After cupcakes have cooled completely, frost each cupcake.  I added paper straws and lemon rind for a cute little decoration.

Serve to family and friends!!


April 7, 2015

Black Bottom Cake

 My mother, grandmother, and I used to go to Lehning's Pharmacy, which had an "old fashioned soda fountain" just like the one that George Bailey went to in "It's a Wonderful Life".  My mother's first job was working at the soda fountain at Lehning's Pharmacy.   They served ice cream out of big drum-like cartons in coolers along the wall under a big window.  It always looked to me like the ice cream was packed down in there so hard that it was work to get it out!    Their sodas were mixed using syrup and carbonated water.  

Our very favorite thing to get was a Black Bottom, which was chocolate ice cream with marshmallow creme served on top of it.  It remains my very favorite sundae to this day; however I've never had one since Lehning's closed many years ago.  The closest thing to that is the Dairy Queen's soft serve with marshmallow creme.

It was quite a treat for me when my mother and grandmother would pick me up after school, and we would head over to Lehning's to get a Black Bottom.

So in memory of this wonderful sundae, I made a cake!  This cake was absolutely better the next day, after it had a chance to set overnight.  Maybe next time, I'll just make the sundae . . .

Black Bottom Cake

2 1/3 cups cake flour
1 cup Hershey's cocoa powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup hot strong coffee
1 cup buttermilk
2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
2 1/2 cups sugar
5 large eggs, at room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 squares of Baker's semi-sweet chocolate, melted and cooled

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Grease the bottom of three 8-inch round cake pans, line the bottoms with parchment paper, and grease and lightly dust the parchment paper and sides of cake pans. Shake out the excess flour.

Sift together cake flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, salt, baking powder.  Set aside.  Whisk together the coffee and buttermilk.  Set aside.  Cream butter and sugar in a stand mixer using the paddle attachment for three minutes until light and fluffy.  Add the eggs, one at a time, fully incorporating each egg.  Scrape sides of bowl, and then add vanilla and mix on high speed another four

On lowest speed on mixer, add the flour mixture in thirds, alternating with the coffee and buttermilk mixture, ending with the flour mixture, mixing until just combined.  Divide the batter evenly among the prepared pans.

Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until a toothpick (or a cute little cake tester) inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean.  (Do not over bake.)  

Let the cakes cool for 15 to 20 minutes.  Remove from pans and peel off the parchment paper and cool completely on a wire rack.  (I use Wilton Bake-Even Strips on the outside of my cake pans, however, if you don't have them, you can level your cakes with a serrated knife.)

Assembling the cake:

Place a dollop of frosting on a cardboard cake round.  Place first cake on top of round.  Frost with Marshallow Creme Buttercream Frosting.  Place the next cake on top of the first one.  Frost this cake with the Marshmallow Creme Buttercream Frosting, and add last cake to the top.  Cover the entire cake with Chocolate Ganache.  Add a cherry to the top!

Marshallow Creme Butter Cream:

7 ounces of Marshmallow Creme
1 stick of unsalted butter, at room temperature 
1 box of Confectioner's Powdered Sugar
1 Teaspoon of Vanilla
2 to 3 Tablespoons of Heavy Cream or Milk to desired consistency

Cream Marshmallow Creme and butter in a stand mixer using the paddle attachment.  Add in powdered sugar on low speed a bit at a time.  Add in vanilla and heavy cream.   Whip until desired consistency.

Chocolate Ganache

1 cup heavy cream
1 stick unsalted butter
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon of salt
1 bag of semisweet chocolate chips
1 teaspoon of pure vanilla extract

Combine the cream, butter, sugar, and salt in a double-boiler or a heatproof bowl over a pan of simmering water, stirring until the butter is melted.  Remove bowl from pan and pour in semi-sweet chocolate chips and stir until chocolate is melted.  Let the ganache cool.  Spread it onto the top and sides of your cake.

Garnish with a cherry.

Serve to family and friends!!

April 3, 2015

Confetti Rice Krispie Treats

Here is something that's fun, easy to make, pretty, and loved by everyone.   And although these were good, I have to tell you, I am a Rice Krispie Treat purist.  I like them plain, no additions like confetti, sprinkles, Nutella.    However, they are even better with miniature marshmallows stirred into the yummy krispie goodness.  Oh, how I love how sprinkles, non-perils, and confetti look on cookies, cupcakes, cakes.  You name it.  I will stop and ooh and ahh over pictures I see on the internet of such creations; however, I don't like to eat them.  (Just sayin'.)

To make these, follow the recipe on the Rice Krispie cereal box and stir in pastel confetti.  Press in a buttered pan.  Melt semi-sweet chocolate chips in the microwave oven and spread on top of the Rice Krispie Treats.

Serve to family and friends!!


April 1, 2015

Easter Birds' Nests (As Seen on T.V.)

I have a confession to make about these chocolate-covered pretzels.  My chocolate seized up.  Yikes!!         I have made chocolate-covered pretzels many times before, and this has never, ever happened.  It seems I let my water get too hot and the moisture caused the chocolate to seize up.  Lesson learned!!  Don't let this happen to you!

Hey, but they still turned out cute, and tasted fine.

To make these cute little nests, melt Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips in a bowl over a pan of simmering water.  Simmering water is the key here.  Unfortunately, I let mine come to a boil.  (Too many irons in the fire.)  You can also melt your chocolate in the microwave oven.  Dip the pretzels in the chocolate to cover them, and stack them to look like a bird's nest.   Set them in the refrigerator for awhile so they "set up".  Finally, fill each nest with Robin's Eggs.  Fun for the entire family!!