Holiday Baking…whew…..

Can you see the grand girls behind the creative mess on my dining room table?

I have had a fun two days in the kitchen making a grand mess with my granddaughters and my baby college girl.

Never thought making a mess would be so fun and tasty!

Every years for as far back as I care to remember, I have been making goodie trays for my family at Christmas.

Normally every year, I spend my time alone in the kitchen cooking away. I think I kinda drive the kids out of the kitchen cause I am in the “zone” and on a mission to get everything made and wrapped up on a limited amount of time.

WELL….this year I had help. Baby College Girl took off of work and came up to hang out with me in the kitchen along with two of my granddaughter. I was a little nervous about turning over my baking and candy making to my little chefs, but I was so glad I did. They did a great job. We hung out and dipped candy, made cookie dough, melted chocolate for fudge, wrapped goodies up and had a totally perfect holiday fun in the kitchen.

Here is a few things that we made:

White Chocolate Fudge with chopped Oreos.

Peanut Butter Fudge with Nutella and Reece’scup filling.

Milk Chocolate Fudge with colored chocolate chips and sprinkle.

Baby College Girl Making PIC Grandpa’s Peanut Clusters.

Grand girls dipping the Cherry Cookies in white chocolate.

Cherry Cookies with White Chocolate.

Grand girls filling the pan with fudge puddle dough.

Fudge Puddle Cookies.

Dipped Pretzels.

This is what I still need to make!

Caramel  Toffee Pretzels

Poppy Seed Bread or maybe some Pumpkin Bread….I need to decide soon…haha…

Cracker Toffee (love this stuff!)

I also have a couple of cookies I would love to make but Christmas Eve is tomorrow…and I hardly have any presents wrapped. But, I am craving some Ranger cookies.

Don’t you love Christmas Baking????

How is your baking going?? Are you running as late as I am?

I better get back into the kitchen. If I do not show up with Caramel Toffee Pretzels, I doubt anyone would let me into the house when I arrive at Mom’s for Christmas.

Merry Christmas!






Pistachio Salad better know as “Green Stuff”

This is what my Oldest Grandgirl and her Aunt T calls the “Green Stuff.”

Green Stuff is a staple at  all our Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners. It is one of those dishes that you know your relative will always make, bring and share. Usually my PIC (other wise known as my sister in law) makes the Green Stuff. Because, being the awesome daughter that she is, she has been spending most of her free time with her dad in long term care after some major health issues, PIC was unable to make the Green Stuff!

It was so sweet that my Oldest Grandgirl came to the rescue! She volunteered to make the Green Stuff. Which just happens to be her favorite!!!

Anywho, this is the first, of I hope many, cooking post where my Grandgirls steal the show and make edible goodness in the kitchen. (as long as they wash their own dishes).

Here is what Oldest Grandgirls tells me she needs to make the legendary Green Stuff.

Two regular size cool whips, one regular size instant pistachio pudding, large can of crushed pineapple and  fruit flavored miniature marshmallows and if you like you can add some chopped pistachios or walnuts.

Drain the liquid from the pineapple.

Put the drained crushed pineapple in a bowl and add the cool whip.

Add in the pistachio pudding.

Add in the fruit flavored mini marshmallows.

Stir together!

That is all there is to making, “The Green Stuff!”


Oldest Grandgirl

Pistachio Salad

Recipe from PIC or Aunt T.


1 – 20 ounces can crushed pineapple, drained

2 – 8 ounce containers of cool whip

1 – 3 ounce box of instant pistachio pudding mix

3 cups of fruit flavored miniature marshmallows

1 cup of chopped pistachios or walnuts  (optional) We did not add extra nuts because we have some family who do not like a lot of nuts in their food. I think they are nuts…LOL


In a large bowl, add the drained pineapple, cool whip, pudding mix and the marshmallows. Stir until all the ingredients are combined. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve. 


Other post you may enjoy:


Layered Mint Brownies     Chocolate Shortbread Brownies w/macaroon     Cracker Toffee



Chocolate Pie

I love chocolate pie!

Every year around Easter, my whole family heads out, and we all meet at a church in a neighboring town and go to their annual fish fry. Besides having the best fried fish (and it is all you can eat) the little ladies of the church make all kinds of pies, (my favorite part…besides the fish).

Usually, we get about 8 different slices of various pies and pass them around and we all take a little bite. This way we get to try all the pies  and then decide which pie we want to eat a whole slice of. We are so bad!  Our strategy has worked well for a number of years until last year.  Last year we were all running late and by the time we got there, all the delicious cream pies where gobbled up already.


I even asked the servers if they were hiding some pies in kitchen. Nope, all they had left was what was out already.

We had to make do with a piece of cake….boo! There was not even a small scrap of  cobbler.

Anywho, I have been craving a nice creamy homemade piece of chocolate cream pie, for almost 6 months. So, this past Thanksgiving, Baby College Girl helped me make 3 chocolate pies. One for me, Two for me, Three for me….. Ok. Ok, I did share, but we make enough pies that there was one pie left that Company and I was able to eat a piece (or two) after Thanksgiving.

This pie is so easy to make and taste so delicious, it is so dangerous, that you will be tempted to make it all the time!

Here is what you will need to make it.

Bittersweet chocolate, butter, 4 eggs (I used my back yard chicken eggs whoohoo) vanilla, sugar, cornstarch, salt and half and half. (or you can use whole milk)

First thing that College Girl did was chop up the chocolate.

I got out a sauce pan and measured in the sugar.

Then I added the corn starch and salt.

I whisked the dry ingredients together.

College girl measured the milk and poured it in cause she told me I was not measuring correctly…ha!

Add in the egg yolks. I suggest you take a fork and beat the egg yolks up first before adding them in to make it easier to combine completely.

Cook the filling over medium heat, stirring constantly until the filling started to boil. When it starts to boil and thicken up take it off the heat.

Add in the chopped chocolate into the hot the filling.

Add in the butter.

Pour in the vanilla.

Whisk the filling until the chocolate melts completely and turns a rich chocolate color.


Pour the pudding into whatever crust you like. I used a graham cracker crust. I made two batches of filling and it made enough for 3 pies.

Chill at least 4 hours or overnight. I am amazed at how great this pie slices up.

Chocolate Pie

Adapted from Pioneer Woman

Ingredients for the filling:

1 1/2 cup sugar

1/4 cup cornstarch

1/4 teaspoon salt

3 cups half and half or whole milk (all I had was skim or half and half so I went with the half and half)

4 egg yolks

6 1/2 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped. I used part Gharardelle and Bakers Secret and it worked out fine.

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

2 tablespoons butter


Some kind of pie crust for a 9 inch pie.  I used a graham cracker crust, but homemade crust or a oreo crust would work great.

Whipped Cream. I like plain ole Cool Whip…not that I don’t like real whipped cream. ; )


Chop up the chocolate into small slivers. This makes the chocolate melt easier and faster.

In a sauce pan, combiner the sugar, cornstarch and the salt. Whisk together.

Whisk in the half and half (or milk if you are using whole milk) and egg yolks. Make sure that you whisk the yolks into the mixture completely. You do not want to see little pieces of yolk. HINT: you can use a blender and blend the milk and the yolks together first, then add.

Over medium heat, continue stirring until the mixture comes to a boil. Once it started boiling the mixture will thicken up. You want it to thicken until it looks like pudding. Take the filling off of the heat and add in the chopped chocolate, vanilla and butter. Stir everything together until the chocolate melts and fully combined.

Pour putting into a pie crust. (I used a graham cracker crust). Smooth the top. You might have extra…I sure did. Just put the extra into little cups to share….or to hid in the fridge till later : ).

Chill the pie for at least 4 hours, or overnight. Serve plain or with a big dollop of whipped topping.



Additional Post  you may enjoy:


Sugared Pecans                  Cinnamon French Toast Bake          Creamy Cherry Salad


Minnesota Hot Dish

Sorry I have been a little absent from posting on my little web page. The last month has been hectic with a major plumbing issue in my basement (Minerva, I know you can relate). What was a little leak ended up jack hammering out a 15 foot section of my basement floor and replacing the pipe…..(tearing out carpet) moving furniture having a big hole in the floor for 5 days….need I go on..haha..

Then I got the dreaded flu….I am on the mend now, and it is a good thing to, cause Christmas is right around the corner and I have a ton of baking to do for my Christmas Trays, I hand out each year.

I know that everyone out there is just as busy or more so than I am. If you are looking for something simple to make for dinner that does not take a lot of time, you might want to give this recipe a try.

It is so simple to make Oldest Daughter Who Does Not Cook can make it.

Yes, seriously, it is that easy. : )

It is called Minnesota Hot Dish.

I found this recipe last year for my foods class when we were cooking recipes by regions of the United States. I stumbled upon this recipe (although there is a ton of variations on it) and thought it would be a perfect recipe the my students at school could try. They loved it so much, I made it at home, and my kiddos and grandgirls loved it too….even Company!

In fact, I put one together today and put it in the fridge to bake this weekend.

Anything I can do ahead so I can just bake in the kitchen and not worry about at least one meal.

It only takes a few ingredients to make this simple, yet satisfying dish.

You will need two pounds of hamburger, one can of cream of chicken soup, one can of cream of mushroom soup, 1 tablespoon of garlic, 1/2  chopped small onion, season salt, frozen mixed vegetables (you can used canned if you want) and tater tots.

First thing you need to do is chop the onion. I have to chop it really fine, cause Company does not like onions, so if hid them in a dish he can’t find them.

Brown the hamburger and drain the grease.

Add in the chopped onion, a tablespoon garlic and season salt to taste. I used about a teaspoon.

Cook until the onion is translucent.

Layer the hamburger in the bottom of a 9 by 13 baking dish.

Layer the frozen vegetables on top of the hamburger.

You will use two cans of cream soup.

In a bowl, mix the cream of mushroom and the cream of chicken soup together.

Evenly spoon the cream soup over the vegetables.

Spread the soup over the frozen vegetables.

Layer tater tots on top of the soup.

Bake in the oven at 350 degrees until the tater tots are brown the layers are bubbling together.

You can serve it just like this with out cheese or………….

You can get out your favorite slice cheese.

And lay the cheese on top to melt. Then dig in. It is a complete meal in one.

Easy Peasy Nice and Easy!

Here is the recipe:

Minnesota Hot Dish


2 pounds of hamburger

1/2 chopped small onion

1 teaspoon of season salt

1 tablespoon of garlic

3 to 4 cups of mixed frozen vegetables (you can use 2 to 3 cans of different vegetables if that is what you have on hand)

1 can cream of mushroom soup

1 can cream of chicken soup

1 small bag of frozen tater tots.


Brown the hamburger and drain the grease. Put the hamburger back in the frying pan and add the season salt, garlic and chopped onions. Fry until the onions are translucent.

Layer the hamburger in the bottom of a 9 by 13 pan. Sprinkle the frozen vegetables over the top of the hamburger. Mix the cream of mushroom and cream of chicken soup together in a small bowl. Spread the soup over the vegetables. Cover the soup with the tater tots. You should have 4 layers. Bake the hot dish in a 350 degree preheated oven until the layers are bubbling and the tater tots are brown and crispy.

This is a perfect recipe to make when you are busy and do not have a bunch of time to spend in the kitchen.



Other post  you may enjoy!


Pistachio Bread                          Blackberry Blueberry Oat Cake             Molasses Cookies