RECIPE #40 & #41: Moon Pies & Homemade Marshmallow Cream

While we were up at the cabin, we roasted marshmallows & made S'mores while playing games together. I'm not a huge fan of S'mores because I don't really like graham crackers (I already know I'm strange, you don't have to rub it in :O) but I do love chocolate and marshmallows. I've been itching to make homemade moon pies. So here we go...

Moon Pies
Makes: 15 large or 24 small
1/2 C softened butter
1 C sugar
1 egg
1 C evaporated milk
1 t vanilla
2 C flour
1/2 t salt
1/2 C unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 t baking soda
1/2 t baking powder
1/2 C softened butter
1 C powdered sugar
1/2 t vanilla
1 C marshmallow cream (recipe below)

Cream together 1/2 C butter & white sugar. Add egg, milk & vanilla; mix well. In a separate bowl. mix together flour, salt, cocoa, soda & baking powder. Add flour mixture slowly to sugar mixture while stirring. Mix just until all ingredients are combined. Drop the dough onto greased cookie sheet or pizza stone by rounded tablespoonfuls (large) or teaspoonfuls (small). Leave at least 3 inches in between each one; dough will spread when baked. Bake in preheated oven of 400 degrees for 6 to 12 minutes until firm when pressed with finger. Allow to cool at lease one hour before filling.

Blend together 1/2 C butter, powdered sugar, vanilla & marshmallow cream. Mix until smooth. Assemble pies by spreading 1 to 2 T of filling on flat side of cookie crust, then covering filling with flat side of another cookie crust.

Marshmallow Cream

3 egg whites, room temp
2 C light corn syrup
1/2 t salt
2 C sifted powdered sugar
1 T vanilla

Mix egg whites, syrup & salt with electric mixer on high speed for 5 minutes or until thick and volume has doubled. Reminder: If there's any, and I mean ANY egg yolk or shell in the egg whites, they will not form.

Then turn to low speed; add powdered sugar & mix well. Add vanilla. Refrigerate in Tupperware container for up to 2 weeks.

RECIPE #39: Homemade croutons

I love, maybe a little too much, homemade croutons for my salads and soups.

Melt 4 T butter over medium heat. Stir in 1 minced clove of garlic. Cook & stir for about one minute. Toss in 3 thick slices of French bread (actually any non sweet bread will work - I'm using regular white bread today), cubed. Coat. Spread onto a cookie sheet or pizza stone. Bake 15 minutes in a preheated oven at 350 or until dry & golden. To prevent it from burning, check on it every couple of minutes.

TIP #33: Seasoning and restoring your Cast Iron Skillet

I use my cast iron skillets all the time and although I should season it regularly, I don't and am guessing you don't either. Every once in a while we should. Charring and a little rusting is ok but when it starts to get too bad and too dry, you need to season it.

It's extremely easy just time consuming. So quickly do it, pop it in the oven and go shopping or clean the house.

I know there are dozens of ways to do this, but this is how I do it. It's probably wrong according to some of you :) but it works well for my skillets.

Preheat the oven to 250 degrees (I've heard anywhere from 200 to 350 degrees.)
Take a wadded paper towel and thickly coat the inside of the skillet with left over grease or oil. I used olive oil this morning.

 It should be thick but not dripping. Place a cookie sheet or even foil on the bottom rack of the oven to catch any drippings & prevent smoking. Put the skillet face down on the middle rack and close the door. Check every 2 hours or so to see when the oil or grease is "baked" in. The lower the heat, the longer it will take but I believe better for your skillet.

When done, remove from oven and let cool.

Recipe #38: Olive Garden's secret Italian salad dressing

Now I'm pretty sure this isn't Olive Garden's recipe for their salad dressing because I've heard it actually has egg in in, but it's mine and it tastes, I think, almost exactly like Olive Garden's.
What do you think?

Tastes Like Olive Garden's Salad Dressing

16 oz bottle or 2 cups Wishbone or other Italian dressing
2 T Romano/Parmesan cheese, freshly grated
1/2 t basil

Stir or shake & refrigerate.

Add lettuce, croutons, tomatoes, olives, red onions & Peppercini Italian peppers.

RECIPE #26 - #37: 12 recipes from my favorite vintage Middle Eastern cookbook

Almost a year ago, I bought a quirky vintage cookbook at a thrift store for $1. It's become one of my favorite cookbooks to date. It's a cookbook printed in 1950 called Good Food from the Near East: Five Hundred Favorite Recipes from Twelve Countries by Joan Rowland. Although I'm listing 12 recipes, I'm not going to give you a recipe from every country but some of my personal favorites I've made from it. 

from Israel
(Ryan's favorite!)

6 bunches firm grapes
3 T butter
 1/2 C boiling water
1/2 t salt
1/2 C sifted flour
2 eggs
fat or oil for deep frying
powdered sugar

Wash grapes carefully, drain and set aside to dry. Mix butter and boiling water in once quart saucepan. Bring to boiling, add salt and flour, stirring continually until the mixture does not stick to the pan, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat, beat one of the eggs in, add the second egg, mix and use at once. Thin with a little milk if too thick. Dip bunches one at a time in the batter and then put immediately into deep, hot oil/fat. Fry till the batter is cooked, about 3 minutes. Drain on thick paper towels. Serve plain or sprinkled with sugar. Yield: allow 1 bunch of grapes per person.

FUSTUQ MUSAKKAR (Sugared Pistachio Nuts)
from Syria & Lebanon

4 egg whites
2 1/2 C sugar
1 t cinnamon
1/4 t cloves
1 1/2 lb pistachio nuts

Beat the egg whites stiff and add the sugar, cinnamon & cloves, beating slowly. Add the nuts and mix well. Line a cooky (yes, that's the way the spelled it in the cookbook.) sheet with greased paper. Drop the mixture by teaspoon onto the sheet. Bake in an oven at 300 degrees, about 10 minutes or till the cookies are set and golden. Yield: 5 dozen or more.
(This reminds me of divinity.)

SHAI B I-NA'NA' (Arab Tea)
from Lebanon
(My family LOVES this when I make it.)

1 bunch fresh mint
1/2 C sugar
Juice of 3 oranges
Juice of 2 lemons
Grated peel of 1 lemon
6 C fresh hot tea

Wash the mint and shake off the water. Reserve 8 sprigs. Spread the rest on a plate and sprinkle with sugar. Let stand 30 minutes. Then bruise (or muddle) and partially mash it with a spoon. Mix with the orange and lemon juice and the lemon peel in a 2 quart bowl. Pour over this the hot tea. Let stand 10 minutes. Strain and put aside to cool. Half fill tall glasses or a serving pitcher with ice and pour in the tea mixture. Serve with a sprig of mint in each glass. Yield: about 2 quarts or 8 servings.

MAJEDRA (Esau's Pottage/Stew)
from Turkey
(Look in Genesis 25.)

1 C lentils
1 large onion, sliced (I diced.)
1/2 T butter
1 lb cubed lamb or beef
1 t salt
1/4 t pepper
1 C rice
2 C water

Wash the lentils, cover with cold water and let soak overnight in 2 qt saucepan. Then drain. Brown the onion in the butter and add the lentils. Then add the meat and water to cover, salt and pepper. Cook slowly. When the lentils are almost tender, about an hour, add the rice and the 2 C more of water, simmer, stirring only a few times until the rice is coked, 20-30 minutes. Yield: 6 servings.

TIP: Leftover Majedra may be shaped in patties or croquettes, rolled in cracker crumbs and fried.

Baluck Keofteh (Fish Cakes or Balls)
from Armenia

3 C minced cooked fish (I used cod)
2 eggs, beaten
1/2 C minced parsley
1/2 t salt
1/4 t pepper
1 C bread or cracker crumbs
2 T butter or oil
mint leaves
1 lemon, sliced

Mix the fish with the eggs, parsley & seasonings. If the mixture is too thin to be shaped, add a few crumbs. Form into balls, cakes or finger lengths; dip in the remaining crumbs. Saute in butter or oil till browned, about three minutes for each side. Serve hot, garnished with mint leaves, parsley and lemon slices, and with any preferred sauce -- mayonnaise or tomato (I made tartar sauce). Yield: 6 or more servings.

SARMI (Stuffed Cabbage Rolls)
from Bulgaria
(These are a twist to the Greek dolmas or dolmades I've had and made.)

3 lb cabbage
1 1/2 t slat
2/3 C fat (I used lard - I never said this was healthy :)
2 large onions, chopped
3/4 C rice, washed & dried
1 t paprika
2 T tomato juice
1 t chopped fresh or dried mint
1 lb lean ground pork
1/2 lb lean ground veal
2 - 3 slices bacon
1 C tomato juice

Wash cabbage and cut around stem end with sharp knife. Put head, stem end down, into a kettle (pot) and cover with boiling water. Add salt. Boil uncovered for 10 minutes. Remove, drain & let cool.

Heat fat in frying pan and cook onions in it till golden; stir in rice and cook till rice is slightly yellow. Mix in paprika, the 2 T tomato juice & mint. Add pork and veal, mix well and remove pan from heat.

Separate cabbage leaves and cut out the heavy section of each rib. Reserve 6 or 7 leave for the bottom of the casserole. On the center of each of the remaining leaves put a spoonful of the meat mixture. Roll the leaf around the filling and fold over the ends to keep the stuffing in.

Grease a 2 qt baking dish or heavy metal pan and spread reserved cabbage leaves over the bottom to make a thick layer. Pack the sarmi in lightly, one next to the other, with all the ends carefully folded under. Lay slices of bacon on top and pour the tomato juice over all. It should reach the top of the rolls, but not cover them. Cover the dish with an inverted plate to hold the rolls down. Set the dish on very low heat (I let it simmer on the stove top in a large skillet.) and let the sarmi cook for 2 to 3 1/2 hours. At the end of 2 hours remove one roll and test for doneness. The rice should be tender and the meat thoroughly cooked. Serve hot from the casserole with hot pilaf or rice. Yield: 6 servings.

ARNI SOURLAVIA (Roast Lamb on Skewers)
from Greece

1 shoulder of lamb
1/2 clove garlic, minced
salt and pepper
juice of 3 lemons
1/2 C olive oil
3 mint leaves, chopped

Wipe meat with damp cloth. Rub it lightly with garlic. Place on a spit or skewers or in a roasting pan. Season with salt and pepper. Combine lemon juice, oil and mint and rub it on the lamb. Baste every fifteen minutes until the meat is cooked. If using a roasting pan, do not cover. Cook on 350 degrees. For broiling on a spit or on skewers slowly turn the roast, basting every few minutes. Either way allow twenty minutes per pound. Yield: allow 1/4 to 1/2 lb for each serving.

AJJAT EL QUARNABIT (Cauliflower Fritters)
from Iraq

1 head cauliflower
1 tomato, chopped
1 onion, chopped
1 t salt
1/4 t pepper
2 T minced parsley
2 eggs, beaten
1/2 C sifted flour
1/2 t baking powder
1/2 C milk or water
olive oil or fat for deep frying

Cook cauliflower in salted boiling water until tender; cut or break into small pieces. Season tomato and onion with salt and pepper. Mix parsley with eggs and stir in the tomato and onion. Make a batter with this mixture and the remaining ingredients. Add flour, sifted with baking powder and gradually add enough milk or water to pieces into the batter, lift and fry until golden brown on both sides. Serve hot. Yield: 6 servings.
TIP: You can do the same thing with potatoes.

CHROOST (Fried Crullers)
from Iraq

5 egg yolks
1 T sugar
2 T rum
1/4 t salt
4 1/2 C sifted flour
olive oil or other oil for frying
sugar or salt

Beat egg yolks and sugar together until mixture is practically white. Add rum and salt and just enough flour to make a firm dough. Roll it very thin and cut into pieces five or six inches long and two inches wide. Cut a hole in one end of each strip and pull the other end through it, making a loop. Heat oil until smoking hot in a deep pan and fry the looped strips, being careful not to let them touch each other. Turn them over frequently. When done, drain on thick absorbent paper. If these are to be served at tea or for dessert, sprinkle with powdered sugar. If they are to be used with soup or cocktails, sprinkle with salt. Yield: 12 to 24 servings.

LAHM AJOUN (Meat-Bread)
from Syria

4 slices toast
1/2 lb lamb, ground or chopped
2 or 3 tomatoes, peeled & chopped OR 1 cup canned tomatoes
1 green pepper, chopped
8 stalks parsley, chopped
1/2 t allspice
1/2 t salt
1/4 t pepper
Leban or yogurt (plain or Greek)

Here's a recipe for Leban yogurt:

Lay toast in a flat greased baking pan just large enough to hold it. Mix the rest of the ingredients (but yogurt) well together and spread over the toast. Set the pan in an oven on 350 degrees till the meat is cooked, 30 minutes or longer. Serve hot, with leban or yogurt. Yield: 4 servings.

SHAYKH-UL-MAHSHI (Stuffed Eggplant)
from Lebanon

3 small eggplants
2 T fat or shortening (I used olive oil.)
1 lb chopped beef or lamb (I used ground.)
1 large onion, sliced
1 C pine nuts
1/2 t salt
1/4 t pepper
1 1/2 C condensed tomato soup
1/2 C water

Peel and quarter eggplants, or if they are very small cut them in half. Brown in fat and remove from pan. Cut a lengthwise slit or pocket in each piece. Cook the onion in the same pan, add the meat, and when it is brown, add the nuts and salt and pepper, and cook about one minute. Stuff the mixture into the eggplants and put them in a casserole. Mix the tomato soup with the water and pour over the eggplants. Bake in oven at 350 degrees until tender, about 30 minutes. Yield: 4-6 servings.

TOMATES DOLMASI (Baked Stuffed Tomatoes)
from Turkey

8 tomatoes
1 onion, chopped
1/4 clove garlic, chopped
4 T olive oil
1/2 lb ground lamb or pork
1/2 t salt
1/8 t pepper
1/2 t cinnamon
2 springs fresh marjoram OR 1 t dried oregano
1/2 C cooked rice
1 egg, beaten

Slice top off each tomato and scoop out some of the pulp. Saute the onion and garlic in the oil for 3 minutes; add meat and salt and cook till meat is lightly browned. Add the pepper, spice, herbs, rice and tomato pulp and mix well. Simmer on low heat for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and add the beaten egg, mixing well. Arrange them in a greased baking dish. Add 1 or 2 T of water to the bottom of the dish. Bake in 350 degree oven for 25-30 minutes, till tomatoes are tender and browning. Serve hot or cold. Yield: 4 to 6 servings.


My grandmother's chocolate pie is amazing!
It's a favorite in our family; hope it will be in yours too.


Combine 8 T flour, 1/4 t salt, 5 T cocoa powder and 1 C sugar. Set aside. Separate 3 eggs. Save egg whites for meringue. Heat 3 C milk over medium heat, stirring constanly. Beat in 3 egg yolks, one at a time.  Mix in dry ingredient mixture 2 T at a time. Cook on medium until thick. Then add 2 T butter & 1 t vanilla. Pour into prepared pie shell crust. Set aside. 

You can always cook it in the microwave too. Just stir every minute or two.

Beat the saved egg whites on high, add a pinch of salt & a pinch of cream of tartar.  Beat until it forms peaks. Add 1/4 C sugar slowly. Add meringue to top of pie by dobbing, then spread with back of spoon & lift the spoon in areas where you want the peaks to form. Bake in preheated oven on 350 degrees for about 15 minutes or until peaks are brown. Serve warm or chilled.

TIP: If there's any, and I mean ANY egg yolk or shell in the egg whites, they will not form.

QUESTION #3: "Veganize" Tomato Basil Soup for me please

Jennifer S. from Houston, TX asks, "Okay, here is a recipe that I need you to "veganize" for me...Tomato Basil Soup."

Here's my recipe then I'll "veganize" it for you below.

4 servings

4 peeled, seeded & diced tomatoes
4 C tomato juice
14 fresh basil leaves
1 C heavy whipping cream
1/2 C butter
S & P to taste

Put tomatoes & juice in a pot & cook over medium heat.
Simmer for about 30 minutes.
Puree the tomato mixture in blender with basil, then return to pot.
Stir in cream & butter.
Cook until butter is melted.
Season with salt & pepper.

4 servings

4 peeled, seeded & diced tomatoes
4 C tomato juice
14 fresh basil leaves
1 C heavy whipping cream VEGAN substitute (recipe below)
1/2 C Earth Balance vegan butter
S & P to taste

Put tomatoes & juice in a pot & cook over medium heat.
Simmer for about 30 minutes.
Puree the tomato mixture in blender with basil, then return to pot.
Stir in cream & butter.
Cook until butter is melted.
Season with salt & pepper.

When I was a vegan, this is what I made.

3/4 C vanilla Silk vegan soymilk
1/4 C plus 1/8 C vanilla Better Than Milk soy powder
1 T rice syrup
1 1/2 t vanilla extract
1/2 t coconut extract
1/2 C canola oil
1 T lemon juice

In a mixer, blend soymilk & powder. Let stand 5 minutes to dissolve fully.
Blend in syrup & extracts.
On high speed, slowly drizzle in oil.
Continue, slowly adding lemon juice.
Refrigerate for at least 2 hours. It will thicken and be creamy & delicious; perfect for your tomato basil soup or other bisques!

While I'm at it, here's my favorite vegan "Whipped Cream" recipe.
It will be perfect for topping your Thanksgiving desserts.
1/2 block extra firm tofu
1/2 C plain soy milk

In a blender, blend until thick & creamy & there are no lumps.
Yep, that's it!

RECIPE #23 & 24: THANKSGIVING Green Bean Casserole with "Funyun" onions

Tonight, I made an easy meal with ham steaks and green bean casserole with
 homemade "funyun" rings on top. This comes just in time for your Thanksgiving feast.
I needed to try this recipe out to see if we wanted to use it for Thanksgiving and I'm going to!

My grandmother June is here and she said it's like the way they used to do it in the "olden days."

Doesn't Ryan look like a bobble head? :)

1 medium onion, sliced thinly (I used a mandolin)
1/3 C flour
1/4 t sea salt
nonstick cooking spray

Preheat oven to 475 degrees. Spray a baking sheet with cooking spray and set aside. Combine sliced onions
& dry ingredients in bowl, tossing until totally coated with flour.
Pour out onto baking sheet and separate the onion ring slices so they are not touching each other too much.

Bake 15-20 minutes, tossing one or two times while cooking to golden brown.

1 lb green beans, trimmed & snapped into bite size pieces
2 large Portobello mushrooms, diced
2 T unsalted butter
1/2 t pepper
1/2 t garlic powder
1/4 t nutmeg
1/3 C sour cream
2 T flour
1 (14 oz) can cream of mushroom soup (NOT condensed) - Sunflower Market has a great one!

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Wash & trim green beans.

Boil green beans in lightly salted water for 5 minutes, then rinse with cold water and drain.
In large saucepan, melt butter and toss in diced mushrooms and pepper.
Stir over medium heat for 5 minutes, then add spices and flour, stirring to coat.
Cook an additional minute then add sour cream and soup and lower heat to medium low.
Cook while mixture thickens, 5-8 min.
Remove from heat and stir in half fried onions and all of green beans.
Pour mixture into large casserole dish.
Cook for 10 minutes or until bubbly.
Sprinkle remaining FUNYUNS on top and bake for 5 more minutes.
Serve warm.


This is a great thing to make ahead to put in lunch boxes or on the go. Not very messy at all if you're on the run. Keep in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. My dad was coming to pick up some stuff around lunch time on his way out to the cabin so I wanted to make him something he could sit down and eat or take with him if he wanted to. Homemade HOT POCKETS! were perfect.

Of course all these measurements are approx. since I don't measure very often.

Mix well: 9 oz ricotta cheese, 1/2 C broccoli florets (I use frozen), 1 chopped roasted yellow or red pepper, 1/4 C chopped parsley or basil leaves (optional), and any other ingredients you want...pepperoni, corn, zucchini, sausage, ground beef, Parmesan cheese (1 oz), etc. - about 1/2 C of one or more of those.  
Roll out pizza dough (even if it's the refrigerator kind) and cut into quarters. Spoon 1/4 ricotta mixture on 1/2 of each piece of dough, leaving 1/2 inch border.
Top with 2 T mozzarella each.
Fold other half of dough over filling. Pinch edges together tightly to seal and transfer to pizza stone or greased cookie sheet.
Bake in preheated oven 475 degrees for 13 to 15 minutes. I cooked them for 15 min & it was a little too long. Still really good though!

RECIPE #22: Your husband can still have a home cooked meal while you're away

To make sure your husband eats well while you're out of town, why not make him a meal he can pop in the microwave or oven?

Most of the time I'll make Ryan ratatouille or soup. It's easy to heat in the microwave. But I asked me to make him a lasagna before I left. I'm going to be going up to the cabin for Thanksgiving with my parents before the rest of the family comes on Wednesday, so there will be a couple of days Ryan will have to fend for himself. I made him a lasagna & froze it so he can put it in the oven when he gets home from work on Monday.

Since I don't measure much, I'll try really hard to explain what I did & put some type of measurements.

VEGANs: sub ricotta cheese for tofutti sour cream & vegan "mozzarella" cheese too. Leave off provolone unless you find some vegan form :)

Also these are the ingredients I used tonight. You can use anything you wish...ground meat, sausage, pepperoni, corn, spinach, pesto, fresh herbs like thyme or basil, etc. You can also layer it however you want as well.

UNCOOKED before frozen

Active time: approx 25 min
Cook time: approx 50 min - 1 hour thawed or approx 1 hr 30 min frozen
Temp: 425 degrees

Thinly slice 2 medium zucchini or yellow squash & lightly toss them with 1 T olive oil and 1/2 t sea salt. Arrange on cookie sheet and broil on highest rack for 6 min or until golden brown.

Rinse 1 bunch Swiss chard in cold water; drain, leaving some water clinging to leaves.
Cut thinly. In a large skillet, heat 1 T oil on medium. Add 1 small finely chopped onion & 2 cloves minced garlic. Cook 3 minutes. Add chard & 1/4 t salt. Cook 6 minutes or until chard is very soft, stirring frequently. Remove and set aside.

In 8x8 baking dish, add 1/2 C tomato/pizza sauce to bottom of dish. Top with 2 non boil lasagna noodles which you run under cold water before layering them. It's good to overlap them.
Add thin sliced tomatoes.
Layer broiled zucchini or yellow squash.
Add all the onion - Swiss chard mix. There will be a small amount of liquid in it. Add that too.
Crumble 1 C ricotta cheese on top.
Top with 2 more non boil lasagna noodles which you run under cold water before layering them. It's good to overlap them.
Spread 1 C tomato/pizza sauce.
Add approx 1 C mozzarella...depends on how much your husby likes.
Top with 4 slices of provolone cheese.
Cover & write in perm. marker time & temperature on the cover or piece of masking tape & put in freezer.

See, with a little bit of effort, he can still have a home cooked meal while you're away.

TIP #32: Polish serving silver & jewelry

This comes from my friend Jamie S. from Houston, TX:

"The BEST way to clean jewelry tarnish/silver service is with a toothbrush and toothpaste! The toothpaste isn't abrasive or harsh on the surface. A soft toothbrush won't leave scratches! (or for silver service you can use a soft cloth!) I used to work in retail, and we cleaned our jewelry with a jewelry cleaner. It left the jewelry sticky and stinky, and it would tarnish fast and eventually, it wouldn't get clean after being treated. We started using the toothpaste/toothbrush method, and it worked! Even if you don't have tarnish, it still helps to get that shine back!"

I told her I do this but didn't think it was a "tip" because I thought everyone did. Guess not :)

Also make sure to get those toothbrush bristles under the diamonds with the toothpaste and rinse well for a super clean shine.

RECIPE #21: THANKSGIVING Sweet Potato Puree with Browned Butter Maple Syrup

Candied sweet potatoes are GREAT!
If you're watching your sugar intake, this is a better option:

Sweet Potato Puree with Browned Butter Maple Syrup
Serves 8
Time: 1 hr 45 min

4 lb sweet potatoes
salt & pepper to taste
1 T unsalted butter
4 1/2 t pure maple syrup
1/4 C chopped toasted pecans

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Prick sweet potatoes a few times with fork. Bake on foil until tender about 1 hr 15 min. Scoop out flesh from sweet potatoes and puree in a food processor with 1 1/2 t salt until smooth. Season with pepper (optional). Set aside.

Heat saucepan over medium. Add butter. Cook swirling until deep brown with nutty aroma. Remove from heat; swirl in syrup.

Reheat puree; transfer to bowl. Pour butter mixture over top; sprinkle with pecans.

TIP: If you don't have maple syrup you can always use pancake syrup.


RECIPE #22: THANKSGIVING Cranberry Salad

I really really really hate that awful canned cranberry sauce! Here's a recipe from my mom that I love and is a great alternative:

Cranberry Salad

2 packages raspberry gelatin
2 C hot water
1/2 lb cranberries, chopped in blender
2 1/2 C sugar
2 C nuts, chopped (I use walnuts or pecans)
1 can (20 oz) crushed pineapple
1 fresh coconut, grated in blender
1 1/2 C pineapple juice

Mix gelatin with hot water. Add the rest of ingredients. Refrigerate overnight.

RECIPES #17- #20: PPPP's - Pumpkin butter, Pumpkin brownies, Pumpkin fluff dip & Pumpkin Pie Wontons

Since this is the pumpkin baking season, here are some fun recipes that are OH SO GOOD!

(with packaged ingredients)
makes 4 cups

1 (16 oz) container frozen whipped topping, thawed
1 (5 oz) package instant vanilla pudding mix
1 (15 oz) can solid packed pumpkin
1 t pumpkin pie spice

(with homemade ingredients)

16 oz heavy whipping cream, whipped
1 recipe of vanilla pudding
     Mix 5 T flour, 2/3 C sugar or baking splenda, 1/4 t salt. Heat 2 C milk then add 2 
     egg yolks. Mix altogether. Heat in intervals of 1-2 min in microwave until thick.
15 oz pumpkin
1 t pumpkin pie spice OR 1/8 t allspice, 1/4 t grnd ginger, 1/4 t grnd nutmeg & 3/4 t grnd cinnamon

In large bowl, mix together vanilla pudding, pumpkin & spice. Fold in whipping cream. Chill for at least 2 hours. Servings 20.

Serve with items you would with a chocolate dip or fondue. Bananas, cookies like vanilla wafers, apples, strawberries, cake or sweet breads like pumpkin bread, etc.


15 oz pumpkin
2/3 C apple sauce
1/2 C vegetable oil
1 C brown sugar
1 C sugar
2 C flour
1 t baking soda
1 t baking powder
1 t cinnamon
1/2 t allspice
1/2 t salt
1 container whipped topping OR cream cheese frosting (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Beat eggs, oil, apple sauce, pumpkin & sugars. Stir in remaining ingredients until evenly mixed. Pour into greased & floured 9x13 baking dish. Bake for 30 min or until center springs back when touched. Top with whipped topping or frosting (optional).


makes 16

1 C pumpkin
2 T maple syrup
3 T light brown sugar
1 t pumpkin pie spice
16 packaged wonton wrappers
sugar & cinnamon for dusting

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Mix pumpkin, syrup, brown sugar & spice. Place one wonton wrapper flat. Spoon 1 T filling into center. Moisten edges with water and fold in half to form triangle. Press edges to seal. Repeat. Arrange on ungreased baking sheet. Lightly coat with nonstick cooking spray & sprinkle each with sugar and cinnamon. bake 16 minutes. Turn & bake 2 more minutes.

servings 20

1/2 C softened butter
1/2 C honey
3 T pumpkin
1 t pumpkin pie spice

Place butter in mixing bowl & whip on high speed with an electric mixer until fluffy, about 1 minute. In another bowl, stir together honey, pumpkin & spice until well mixed. Add honey mixture to butter & whip on high with mixer until fluffy and smooth about 1 more minute. Chill for at least 2 hours...overnight is better.

RECIPE #16: Banana Pudding

There are as many banana pudding recipes as there are people to make it. 
My mom and grandmother always made homemade pudding so I can't bring myself to make it from a box...I actually think it's gross tasting because of the artificial flavors.
Here's my grandmother's recipe that I've adopted. It's easy & takes me about 15 minutes to make. Enjoy!

5 T flour
2/3 C sugar
1/4 t salt

2 egg yokes
2 C milk

1 T vanilla
2 bananas
1/4 stick butter

vanilla wafers

Any ripe bananas will work. I like to use browned, over-ripe bananas.

Combine dry ingredients.
Heat milk then mix in eggs.
Combine dry ingredients with milk mixture.
Heat in microwave in 1-2 minute intervals until thick.
Then add vanilla, bananas & butter.

Line your bowl with vanilla wafers.
Add 1/2 of pudding.
Then layer with more vanilla wafers.
Add the rest of the pudding and the last layer of vanilla wafers.
Cover & place in refrigerator. Serve cold.