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Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Favorite Peanut Butter Chocolate Cookies

When it comes to baking I like to make homemade cookies. Many of my made from scratch cookies start out with a basic recipe and then I add a little of this and a little of that. 

 A few years ago my brother game me the recipe for my mother's peanut butter cookie recipe and it was a good recipe but I did change it by adding the chocolate covered peanut butter morsels.  Oh my gosh these cookies are delicious and are now my families favorite peanut butter cookie.

Use backside of fork to make indent in peanut butter cookies

This cookie tastes good anytime of the year. Peanut butter and chocolate are delicious comfort foods. I hope that you enjoy the recipe.

Here is a kitchen set that I designed at  It shows you what is needed to bake up some delicious peanut butter cookies, there is a apron, kitchen towels and "wanna cookie" t-shirt.  Plus all the bake ware.  If you would like to view the products shows click on the photo.
For this recipe you will need the following:
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
    1 cup brown sugar
    1 cup shortening Crisco vegetable shortening or 1 cup of softened salt free butter
  • 1 cup Smuckers Natural creamy or chunky peanut butter
    2 eggs
    A pinch of salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
    2 cups Hodgson Mill Organic unbleached organic all purpose flour
    2 teaspoons baking soda
  • ½ cup of Nestle Toll House Delightfulls Milk chocolate morsels with peanut butter filling

  1. With mixer cream the with the sugar, with shortening or the butter then add the peanut butter, vanilla followed by the eggs.
  2. Continue to beat on medium speed until the batter is smooth.
  3. Add flour salt and baking soda and mix all ingredients well.
  4. Mix in the chocolate peanut butter morsels with a spoon
  5. Line the cookie sheet with parchment paper.
  6. Drop the cookie dough by teaspoonful onto the parchment paper; space cookies two inches apart.
  7. Use the back side of the fork to press down on the center of the cookies and to make the traditional indentation in the cookie tops.
  8. Bake the peanut butter cookies at 375 for 10 minutes. Know the cookies are done by inserting a toothpick into the center of cookie and pull out. If no batter is on toothpick then cookies are done.
  9. Let the cookies cool 10 minutes before serving .
Here is a gluten free recipe for peanut butter cookies.  Enjoy!

Friday, November 21, 2014

Getting Ready for Thanksgiving

With the holidays coming soon I find that my time is not being diverting from online to offline as there is much to do now that it is time to get ready for the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday.
Recipes for Holidays

Here are a few of my families favorite comfort food recipes:

Thanksgiving is next week and not only do I have to organize my families favorite recipes I need to get the home decorated for a harvest theme. Normally the kitchen and dining room is where I feature the Thanksgiving decor theme by setting a table with seasonal table lines, dishes and then create a punkin centerpiece.

Create a perfect pumpkin centerpiece for your coffee table, foyer, dining table and it will also look good on your kitchen island. You can make this centerpiece from using a pumpkin, fresh flowers or silk for your arrangement Here's how to make and easy pumpkin decoration for Thanksgiving.

Wishing you all a very happy Thanksgiving

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Easy Pumpkin Decoration Ideas for Thanksgiving

I like to accent my Thanksgiving table with pumpkin centerpieces that I make for silk flowers. I also like to fill the hallowed out pumpkin with snacks and small pumpkin are the perfect size to hold dips for chips. Pumpkins make my holiday table look eye appealing and interesting.
For this easy pumpkin decoration I will buy a medium rounded pumpkin that has no bruises to the flesh. Shop for an almost perfect pumpkin for this party decoration.
When you get the pumpkin home wash the outside it to remove any dirt. Then cut it in half before removing the pulp. Keep the seeds because you can roast them. Keep the pulp to make puree for pie.
Then wash out the inside of the pumpkin. Make sure the strings are removed and that surface is relatively clean of any pulp. 
Let the pumpkin dry thoroughly. When the pumpkin is dry you would then fill the pumpkin with a bouquet of silk chrysanthemums cut the stems so they fit nicely in the pumpkin as a bouquet. 
Another way to  create a useful pumpkin decoration is to set a plastic container into the hallowed out pumpkin, then drape a napkin into the container and over the sides of the pumpkin before filling with snacks.
These pumpkin decorations will make your holiday gathering festive and fun.  Here is a video tutorial that will show you how to make pumping centerpiece for your holiday table.

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Harvesting Apples and Pears in Fall is a Fun Activity

This week my husband and I went to help family and friends harvest pears and apples from their orchard. The trees were really heavy with fruit and we had to remove the fruit because the upcoming bitter cold weather would cause the fruit to freeze and then the fruit on the trees would rot quickly. So we left a week ago Thursday and returned yesterday.  A full week was needed to harvest the apples and pears from the tree orchard.
apples in trees

Harvesting fruit in trees is a real workout as I was nominated to climb the ladder then the tree branches to get to the fruit at the top of the tree. Then all I needed to do is shake the branch and the pears would fall to the ground. Everyone on the ground needed to catch the falling fruit or pick the pears or apples s up off the ground and then put into boxes.
apple pear chutney
Homemade apple pear chutney in Mason jars

When the harvest was completed my husband and I had two large boxes of pears and apples. We were happy to get the fruit because my husband and I will use them for our recipes; bake goods, sauces, marmalade, jelly, chutney and for daily eating.

Easy Autumn Floral Centerpiece Instructions

One of my clients had asked me if I could make a autumn centerpiece for her.  She had seen one at Hobby Lobby that she liked but did not want to pay the asking price.  She had many craft items as well as an assortment of silk and dried autumn flowers and grasses.  

 I went to Hobby Lobby and looked at the centerpiece. I could make it and so I accepted the contract.  My out of pocket was minimal and compensation was more than enough considering I had fun making the autumn floral centerpiece.
I made the floral arrangements as seen on my clients table

For this project I used:
2- Already made craft dowel vases from craft store
Florist craft dry foam
Florist tape
Natural craft raffia 8 ounces of long strong fibers
2 bouquets of assorted wildflower and sunflower matching bouquets
Dried stems of  thistle, wheat and assorted grass plumes
Hot glue gun
To make this arrangement I cut a piece of dry florist foam and taped in the bottom of the wood vase.   I used the florist tape to wrap around the silk bouquet and natural dried accents. This ensured that the flowers would stay gathered in the bouquet and would not separate.
Add natural dried grasses to arrangement
In order to keep the flower stems from drooping hot glued them before I inserted them into florist dry foam. It is best to put the stems into the center of foam.  When the glue is dry and flower are secure then work with the flowers and grass stems to making them look pretty.  I accented this arrangement with a raffia bow. Wrap the raffia around the vase several times. The raffia bow will face to the front with long ties.  Keep the raffia in place by using your hot glue gun to attach the wrap to the wood craft vase.

And you are done. I hope you will enjoy making this pretty autumn centerpiece.

Grass arrangement in clay pot by Pixabay public domain photos: 

Recipe for Herbal Soap

In the autumn season I will harvest a variety of aromatic herbs to use in my wreaths and for making soap.  

I am not a soap expert as I have only been making herbal soap for the last two years.  However I like that is is another way that I can put good use to my herbs that I grow.  I really love aromatic herbal soaps because the scent is refreshing in the bathroom and in the kitchen.

  You can make herbal soap anytime of the year but for me I usually make in the autumn season because that is when I harvest my herbs.

You will need the following:
  1. A glass microwave bowl
  2. Dried herb leaves and flowers 
  3. Buy from craft store, plain glycerin soap.
  4. A grater to shave the glycerin soap or you can cut soap with sharp knife
  5. Buy essential oils to add fragrance to your soap. (Example I am making Chocolate mint soap. I will use chocolate and peppermint essential oil.) I am hoping the finish product will have the scent of a peppermint patty. 
  6. Soap molds
  7. Wood mixing spoon and rubber spatula

For one bar of glycerin herbal soap you would do the following;
  1. Grate or cut the soap finely
  2. Melt the soap shavings in a microwave bowl for 30 seconds on high, Stir with wooden spoon and repeat for another 30 seconds until the soap is completely melted.
  3. When the glycerin soap is melted, remove from the heat and set aside.
  4. Add 1 tablespoon of dried aromatic chopped herb leaves and flowers (you choose the herbs that you want to use). Also add 1 teaspoon of essential oil. 
  5. Mix the liquid soap and herbs and essential oil with wooden spoon. 
  6. Spray your soap molds with Crisco olive oil.
  7. When soap and dried herbs are blended you would then pour into soap molds. 
  8. Use your rubber spatula to remove the soap from the bowl.
  9. Set the soap mold on the counter for thirty minutes to allow it to harden at room temperature.

Complete the soap hardening with a cold process. Put the soap mold in the freezer for twenty five minutes. Remove the soap from the freezer and remove from the soap mold.
Set the soap on wax paper and allow it to continue to harden in a cool dry place for 24 hours.
Note: If I am going to give the soap as a gift I will add the herbal flowers as a whole toward the top of the soap because they look pretty.

View how to make Lavender herbal soap on YouTube

Homemade soap image credit: Pixabay public domain:

Apple Pear Chutney with Cranberries

In the autumn my family harvests the pears and the apples and my job is to come up with recipes for the bushes of fruit.  I make the traditional things like apple-pear pie, apple-pear sauce, apple-pear muffins but this year we also made apple pear and cranberry chutney. 

My husband helped me to get the fruit ready for the chutney and the day before we peeled and cored a bushel of apples and pears. When the peeling was done husband chopped all of the fruit and then slow cooked the fruit; apples, pears with granulated sugar, cinnamon, apple cider vinegar, apple juice and water.

The fruit cooked on the stove for several hours.  Then when the fruit was almost done my husband added the dried cranberries.  When chutney was done the sauce had thicken around the chopped fruit. We never made apple pear cranberry chutney before and thought the blending of the fruit was delicious. 

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Elderberry Apple Pie Recipe

In the fall when the weather turns cool I enjoy baking fresh berry and fruit pies.  One of my favorite pies is apple elderberry.  This recipe is not one you are going to find at your weekly recipe meet  because I came up with it because my husband likes apple pie and I like elderberry so I mixed the fruit so we both had a pie we would enjoy.

I grow elderberries in my yard for the birds but always take from the bush for my autumn recipes.  In august I harvested elderberries by cutting off the dark blue black clusters with my garden scissor and then I put the berry cluster in a colander to wash off before freezing.  

Fresh elderberries are messy; the juice stains and is nearly impossible to get out so I always freeze before using.  When I back with elderberries I always add them to recipe when they are frozen.

Gather ingredients for pie recipe:

2 Cups of fresh elderberries (I use fresh berries that I froze)
4 Cups of peeled, cored and apples
3 Tablespoons of all purpose flour
½ Teaspoon of cinnamon
1 Cup granulated sugar
2 Tablespoons of salt free butter
2- 9 Inch pie crust
Here is the recipe for elderberry-apple pie:
Add the apples, flour, and sugar to the bowl and mix all ingredients. Then add the frozen elderberries and mix gently to avoid breaking the berries.
Line your pie plate with the pie crust and then pour the apple and elderberry filling into the crust. Top the pie filling with the second pie crust and pinch the top and bottom crusts together. Use a fork to create steam release holes in the top of the crust. Then pat the crust with the butter.
Your oven should be preheated to 450 degrees Fahrenheit and oven rack should be put in the center.
Bake your pie at 450 for ten minutes and then turn the heat down to 400 and bake pie for one hour.
Test to see if the pie is done by inserting a toothpick in the center if the toothpick comes out clean then the pie is done.
Let pie cool before serving then garnish the pie with freshly whipped cream or a scoop of vanilla ice cream .  My husband enjoys his pie with Andy’s frozen vanilla custard.  It sure is good and is the perfect ending for a autumn day.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Easy Pumpkin Chocolate Muffin Recipe

It is definitely pumpkin recipe season and if you like pumpkin as much as I do then you will really like this easy pumpkin walnut muffin recipe because I add a secret ingredient that is so delicious.

Last year I made the cake mix pumpkin muffins that had 3 ingredients and muffins were moist but I thought a little bland,  So this year I did some experimenting with the flavor and came up with a recipe that I love.

This pumpkin muffin recipe is easy but oh so delicious because I am adding walnuts and secret ingredient is white chocolate.  When the chocolate bakes it melts into the texture of the muffin and when you bite into the muffin they melt in your mouth.

I made a batch of these muffins a few weeks ago and served at my women's group and the girls said they were delicious and suggested that I serve them as a cupcake with white chocolate frosting and garnished with chopped walnuts.  They are perfect for a Halloween open house or served for brunch or afternoon snack throughout the autumn season

See how nice the pumpkin muffins look of Halloween buffet table.

Halloween Theme Greeting Cards

All I can say is that pumpkin walnut with chocolate muffins or cupcakes sure are good.  Here is my recipe for pumpkin white chocolate muffins.

For this recipe you will need the following:

18.25 ounce yellow cake mix

1 can 15-ounce pumpkin puree

1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon
1/4 cup chopped walnuts
1/4 cup white chocolate morsels
Recipe steps:
• Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
• Spray the 12 cup muffin pan cups with Pam for baking with flour or use paper liners.
• Combine the cake mix with the pumpkin puree and spices in a large mixing bowl.
• With an electric mixer set at medium blend all ingredients until batter is smooth.
• With spoon fold nuts and white chocolate morsels into the batter.
• Fill the muffin cups 2/3 of the way to the top with the batter.
• Bake for 20 minutes.
• Check to see if muffins are done by inserting a toothpick into the center. If the toothpick comes out clean then this is an indication that the muffins are cooked and need to come out of the oven.
• Cool for 20 minutes on a wire rack.
This is your basic pumpkin muffin cake mix recipe, with less spice and the addition of walnuts and white chocolate.
My family enjoys these muffins and I hope your family will also.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Yummy Vegetable Casserole that Kids Love

My family consists of picky eaters and I have to hide their vegetables in chocolate zucchini cake or conceal in cheese to get them to eat any nutritious foods.  So when I found one of my mother’s recipes for a cheesy vegetable casserole for adults I knew I could modify it and make it more appealing for kids.
Cheesy casserole for kids, ready to bake

This comfort food casserole is perfect for holiday gatherings; Thanksgiving and or Christmas and a good choice for an open house or anytime when you want a hearty casserole that tastes like comfort food.

This recipe is so yummy and your kids will want a second helping; they will think it is good and will never know that it is made with vegetables.

You will need the following ingredients: 

  1. 10 ounce package of frozen mixed chopped vegetables; peas, carrots, string beans and corn are a good mix.
  2. 1-1/2 cups of Velveeta cheese
  3. 1 can cream of cream of mushroom soup (do not dilute)
  4. ½ cup PET evaporated milk
  5. Can of French fried onion rings
  6. Season with salt and pepper to taste

Here is the recipe:

  1. You will need a two quart baking dish or glass casserole to make this vegetable recipe. Grease the pan with extra virgin olive oil.
  2. Cut up the Velveeta cheese and put in a microwave safe bowl.  Melt in the microwave.
  3. In a large mixing bowl add the frozen mixed vegetables, salt and pepper mushroom soup, evaporated milk and 1 cup of the cheese. 
  4. Mix all of the ingredients together.  Pour into your baking dish.  
  5. Top with the remaining cheese and then the French Fried Onion Rings.
  6. Bake 350 for 25 to 30 minutes, let cool for 10 minutes before serving.