Hershey Bar Pie

I’ve been asked recently why I’ve not been posting daily as I’ve done in the past.   The main reason is lack of time.  For those that don’t know or are new to our family blog, I went back to work in May and took a short break from writing for several reasons including the new job.  Even though it’s part-time, other obligations have made it harder for me to sit down and write so that’s why there has only been a Sunday and Monday post.  On Saturday I can compile info for Sunday’s “Coming Up This Week…,” finish personalizing it on Sunday morning before I publish it.  On Sunday I start to write Monday’s post, adding a few finishing touches on Monday morning before I hit the publish button.

My goal is to return to blogging at least 3-4 times per week (hopefully soon) and maybe even make a few minor changes in content.  We’re still cooking and baking, still working on crafts and projects.  I hope you’ll bear with us during this time of transition.

Today we want to share with you a recipe for Hershey Bar Pie.  I actually made this for Joshua who is hooked on the Hershey Bar Pie from Burger King.  Although in Joshua’s eyes it didn’t compare to Burger King’s Hershey Pie, he thought it was a great runner-up.  I had one piece, papa and Joshua took care of the rest over the course of a few days.  I’d say it was a huge hit.

This pie is easy to make, light and delicious.  If you want to whip up something quick for your sweet tooth, something to serve to friends and family or something sweet to take as a “dish to pass” event, this pie is perfect.

Hershey Bar Pie

HERSHEY BAR PIE

What You’ll Need:

1 (6.0 oz.) HERSHEY’S Milk Chocolate Bar, broken into pieces
1 tub (8 oz.) frozen non-dairy whipped topping, thawed
1 packaged crumb crust – I used Chocolate – You can also make your own

Directions:

  • Place candy bar pieces in medium microwave-safe bowl. Microwave at MEDIUM (50%) 1 minute or until chocolate is smooth when stirred
  • Cool chocolate slightlyFold whipped topping into melted chocolate; spoon into crust
  • Cover; refrigerate 6 hours or until firm
  • Garnish as desired
  • Cover; refrigerate leftover pie

Makes 6 to 8 servings

Source: https://www.hersheys.com/recipes/recipe-details.aspx?id=3515&name=Easy%20HERSHEY%20Bar%20Pie

Pumpkin Poke Cake

Ah, the month of October has arrived.  With the exception of fickle weather, one day warm, one day cold, another day sunny the next few rainy, October does have several good things to offer and look forward to.

Yes, October brings with it a burst of color in the trees; red, yellow, orange, purple and brown leaves which eventually end up falling to the ground.  Soon forts and hills made out of leaves will be fun places to hide in and under or maybe they’ll be just for jumping into.  And when you’re outside, especially at night, nothing thing smells more like fall than the burning of leaves.

Of course everyone looks forward to cider mills visits for apple cider and donuts.  We visit pumpkin patches for the perfect pumpkins, one for each of us so we can scatter them around the porch and lawn with scarecrows, hay bales and dried corn stalks.

All month-long we talk about Halloween decorations and costumes.  Joshua and Papa Walt will turn our front lawn into a graveyard with headstones, skeletons and a few body parts mixed in.  We will  anxiously await the arrival of Halloween Day; the school parades, trick or treating with family and friends and of course anticipating lots and lots of candy in our bags.

October is also the time to break out those pumpkin recipes which is exactly what we started doing and we made our very first Pumpkin Poke Cake.  We love pumpkin pie and pumpkin cream cheese rolls, some of us look forward to limited time offers of Pumpkin ice cream at Baskin Robins and the absolutely, to die for, Pumpkin Cheesecake from Olive Garden.

This recipe is so easy, the cake is very moist.  Even our pickiest eater, Joshua, who also happens to be the expert on the best pumpkins pies, loved this cake.  Just a few ingredients and you have a tasty recipe that everyone will love.  Give it a try!

Pumpkin Poke Cake

PUMPKIN POKE CAKE

What You’ll Need:

1 box yellow cake mix

14 oz pumpkin puree – 100% pumpkin (NOT PUMPKIN PIE FILLING)

1 tsp pumpkin pie spice

14 oz. can sweetened condensed milk

8 oz. tub cool whip

1/2 bag Heath Bits (I used chopped nuts)

Caramel Sundae Sauce

Directions:

  • Mix together the cake mix, the pumpkin puree (DO NOT add the other ingredients on the cake mix box), and the pumpkin pie spice until a batter forms
  • Pour batter into a well-greased 9×13 baking dish
  • Bake at 350º for 35-45 minutes until a toothpick inserted comes out clean
  • Let cool completely after baking
  • Using the bottom of a wooden spoon, poke holes all over the top of the cake
  • Pour the sweetened condensed milk over the cake, aiming to fill the holes
  • Refrigerate for 60 minutes or until the sweetened condensed milk has soaked into the cake
  • Spread the cool whip over top of cake
  • Sprinkle on the heath bits (or nuts), and drizzle caramel over top (just to your liking)
  • Refrigerate for 3-4 hours, or overnight (best).

Looking For A Sign

I am looking for a sign….a sign that spring is indeed on its way.  By calculation spring should only be 3 weeks away, a mere 624 hours, better yet only 26 days away.  Sitting here in Michigan watching the snow pile up outside my window it feels and looks like we are going in the opposite direction.  Ah…but yesterday was a busy day running…running…running finally stopping somewhere around 6:30 p.m. I am now free to sit inside today to watch the snowfall through the window, still confident that spring is on its way and feeling triumphant that I don’t have to go out into this nasty weather yet sure that with every flake that hits the ground the snow is chanting “Haha….not yet Nancy!”

It’s always nice to hear when someone, anyone tries the recipes that we’ve liked and posted.  Here are just a few recent updates:

  • Mom made the three envelope pot roast on Sunday for the second time and once again mom and dad weren’t disappointed, it turned out delicious!
  • Nikki made the slow cooker chicken and gravy recipe on Tuesday and an hour in to it’s 3 hour cooking time Nikki reported that the house smelled “great already,” she wasn’t sure she could wait till it was done.  Later that day when I asked how it tasted she reported “mmmm it was yum!”
  • A few days ago I shared with everyone that Tina made the Vanilla Coconut Muffins and I was happy to report that they turned out so well Tina shared them with a neighbor….see, they are that delicious.

Today I am hoping the biggest decision I have to make will be which recipe I should leave you with, soup or brownies.  I am opting for brownies because on a day like today they are sure to take the “bite” out this nasty, snowy day!  I cannot even begin to tell you how delicious these brownies are. Joshua knew I was making brownies as soon as he walked through the front door, in fact, he surprised me when he said “Grandma can I have a brownie?”  First, Josh had just walked through the door and I never said anything about the fact I was making brownies and second, they were still in the oven.  When I was finally able to give Josh the first piece his eyes rolled back into his head, he buckled his knee’s and he said “Mmmm, grandma these are so good.”  “We should call them Triple Chocolate Death Threat Brownies.”  I think this name may have some indirect link to his love of WWE.

Walt’s reaction was pretty much the same as Joshua’s.  Walt couldn’t barely get passed the “mmmm” and the “ohhh” and the “wow.”  John was left speechless as well, “Ohhhh man….mmmmm, Oh my God….mmmm”  Yes these brownies are that good, they remind me of a brownie you’d find in a really good bakery or even in a great restaurant.

Joshua will be the first one to tell you that grandma cannot make a box mix brownie to save her life.  I can’t, I don’t know why.  I think I once mentioned in a post that even boxed cake mixes don’t work for me, each and every time I make a cake from a box cake mix it will split, no matter how long I let it cool before removing them from the tins.  Brownies from a box always seem to come out thin, hard and dry.

But these brownies, scratch brownies, are thick, chocolately, and delicious….”mmmmm” and “OMG” are the first words that come to mind when you bite into them.  Even the corner pieces, which are usually the ones no one wants, are as good as the center pieces.  Try them this weekend, they are well worth the little extra effort I promise you won’t be disappointed.

ULTIMATE CHOCOLATE BROWNIES  

Brownies

What You’ll Need:

1 cup HERSHEY’S SPECIAL DARK Chocolate Chips or HERSHEY’S Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips (I used the Special Dark Chocolate Chips)

1/4 tsp. Salt

1-1/3 cups All-purpose flour

1 tsp. Vanilla extract

1/2 cup Boiling water

2 cups Sugar

2 Eggs

2/3 cup Butter or margarine , melted and divided  (I used Butter)

3/4 cup HERSHEY’S Cocoa

1/2 tsp. Baking soda

ONE-BOWL BUTTERCREAM FROSTING (recipe follows)

Directions:

  • Heat oven to 350°F.
  • Grease 13x9x2-inch baking pan or two 8-inch square baking pans.
  • Stir together cocoa and baking soda in large bowl; stir in 1/3 cup butter.
  • Add boiling water; stir until mixture thickens.
  • Stir in sugar, eggs and remaining 1/3 cup butter; stir until smooth.
  • Add flour, vanilla and salt; blend completely.
  • Stir in chocolate chips.
  • Pour into prepared pan.
  • Bake 35 to 40 minutes for rectangular pan, 30 to 35 minutes for square pans or until brownies begin to pull away from sides of pan.
  • Cool completely in pan on wire rack.
  • Frost with ONE-BOWL BUTTERCREAM FROSTING.
  • Cut into squares.
  • Makes 24 to 36 brownies.

ONE-BOWL BUTTERCREAM FROSTING

6 tbls.             Butter or margarine, softened
2-2/3 Cups   Powdered sugar
1/2 Cup         HERSHEY’S Cocoa
1/3 Cup         Milk
1 tsp.              Vanilla extract

Beat butter in medium bowl.

Add powdered sugar and cocoa alternately with milk, beating to spreading consistency (additional milk may be needed).

Stir in vanilla.

About 2 cups frosting.

Source: https://www.hersheys.com/recipes/recipe-details.aspx?id=4315

 

Shopping Day Procrastinating

Thursday, the dreaded grocery shopping day and I’m not ready.  I still have blank spaces on my meal planner, the page as blank as my meal planning or should I say not meal planning mind.  I’m not sure what I want to do about Super Bowl Sunday, do I want to cook or do I want to go with Walt’s suggestion for a Game Day Bucket from the Colonel (KFC).  I actually may opt for the Colonel.  I am procrastinating and need to get that list done so I can go shopping because there is no doubt that the later I get out of here the more I”ll be frustrated.

Today will be a short post with just a little bit of this, a little bit of that.  First up a quick review from my mom on the Creamy Italian Chicken made in the slow cooker.  On Sunday mom made the slow cooker Italian Chicken and both she and my dad liked it. In fact my dad, the person who is really not a chicken fan in any form, told mom she could definitely make that dish again.  The only complaint my mom had was with the cream cheese, some of it did not melt even after 6 hours in the slow cooker.   Hmmm, not sure why that happened, mine melted.  Next time mom is going to mix the cream cheese into the soup mixture so it all heats and cooks evenly.

Last night was smorgash board night.  There was a little stew left from Sunday, a chicken breast and rice left over from Monday’s Swiss Chicken and a little bit of the Cincinnati Chili from Tuesday.  I had the chicken breast with rice and both reheated in the microwave really well, Walt had a little bit of the stew and a little of the chili and said both were delicious.

That’s going to wrap it up today, I really need to get focused on my meal planner and grocery list.  As I sit and look out the window, I can see that our almost 60 degree day yesterday turned into a cold snowy one day.   Only in Michigan can you get four seasons in one day!

Today I’m going to leave you with a recipe for the M&M Cookies that I made last week.  I have not made these in a long time, mostly because my favorite is chocolate chip but I recently discovered that they are one of Walt’s favorites when he grabbed a pack of Keebler’s Rainbow Cookies and said “I love these!”  In all these years he’s never mentioned them until recently so….I made M&M cookies for Walt and he loved them.

I always forget how quick and easy it is to make cookies until I start baking.  Home baked cookies are so much better than store-bought, bake up a batch today!

M&M COOKIES

Candy Cookies

What You’ll Need:

2 1/4 cup all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature

1/2 cup shortening

1/2 cup sugar

3/4  cup brown sugar, packed

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

2 large eggs

1 cup M&M’s  (If you like lots of M&M’s in your cookies add more)

Directions:

  • Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat; set aside.
  • In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking soda and salt.
  • In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter, shortening and sugars on medium-high until light and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes.
  • Beat in vanilla until well combined.
  • Beat in eggs, one at a time, until well combined.
  • Gradually add flour mixture to sugar mixture at low-speed, beating just until incorporated.
  • Gently fold in M&M’s.
  • Drop tablespoons of batter onto prepared baking sheet.
  • Place into oven and bake until edges are golden brown but center is still moist, about 9-10 minutes.
  • Remove from oven and cool on a wire rack.

Making Monday Fun At Work

Welcome to Monday everyone!  Ok I hear all that groaning and I hear of few of you saying “Yea right, the woman doesn’t have a job to go to.”  Our weather in Michigan is horrible, last night one local news station called it our “weather event.”  Trust me it’s more than an “event.”  Originally our weather people told us to expect a light snow which would turn to rain, the temperatures were expected to drop resulting in icy conditions by rush hour.

Of course some of that report was wrong, most of time our weather people are wrong.  Sometime around 7:30 p.m. last night the snow moved in, it was a heavy snowfall, it fell and accumulated fast we probably had close to or at least 3″ by 10:oo p.m.  I would say that’s a little more than a “light snow.”  Around 11:00 p.m. the snow turned to ice, you could hear it hitting the windows.  What a mess.  This morning they are reporting well over 600 school closures, yes I checked, all my babies have a snow day I can hear them cheering as well as all my teacher friends.

Then there were the power outages throughout the night, including Josh and Kaylee. Happy to say that this morning their power is back on.  I didn’t hear anything from Nikki so I don’t know if they lost power down there or not.  This morning local news is reporting that 12,000 households are still without power.  Thanks to modern technology, wireless cable and lap tops, those without power are able to communicate on-line.

So, OK, I get this is a crummy way to start the week…crappy weather (at least in Michigan) AND it’s Monday the most dreaded day of the week.  On the bright side though today is “Fun At Work Day.”   If you think about it Monday is actually the perfect day for “Fun At Work Day.”  Why you ask?  Well because most people…..

  1. Don’t like Monday’s
  2. Unfortunately just don’t like their job
  3. Have fewer co-workers which has resulted in more responsibilities creating more work stress

Which is why you should try celebrate “Fun At Work Day” today by having a little fun with your co-workers.  Here are just a few quick ideas;

  • Take a board game to work like Trouble, Sorry, Uno, Yahtzee, get a few co-workers to play a game or two at lunch
  • Make a word search sheet with words common to your workplace, have people cross them off or circle them as they hear those words used throughout the day – award dollar store prizes or candy at the end of the day to those who cross off all the words
  • Hold a paper airplane contest (best decorated) or a paper airplane race  – Give out snack size candy as prizes
  • Take in stickers like teacher’s use (you can get them at the Dollar Tree) and pass them out “Good Job!”  “Way To Go!”……
  • Go to the dollar store and pick up plastic music instruments pass them out then hold a little talent show or concert
  • Bring in helium balloons and put them at someone’s work station OR tie at least one to the desk of multiple workstations, maybe even write with marker on them things like, “Office DJ,” “Our Office Dear Abby,” “Office Candy Shop”(for the person who keeps a candy jar on their desk) and so on…….
  • Play office bingo – create a bingo sheet or several with things that are personalized to your office environment call out the items throughout the day and who ever gets a bingo wins a prize from the dollar store (treats, candles, picture frame)
  • Pass out coloring books and crayons ask everyone to color one and add a personal touch of some sort using office items (paper clips, binder clips, glue, tape, etc.) then vote for the best one
  • Have everyone draw a caricature – free hand of course – vote for the best one
  • Create certificates (easy to find on-line) and give one to everyone for things like; “You Rock – Plays The Best Music Award,” “Missing Award – Person Who Is Always Away From Their Desk,” “Candy Bandit – Person Who Is Always In the Candy Jar.”  You can get really creative with these.

Don’t forget the people in the plant, try to include them in the fun above or at least in some way.  I know as an HR Manager in plant environments there always seemed to be that invisible line, always a them and us mentality, erase that line today bring everyone in on the fun.  Ask the Plant Manager or all the Managers go out into the plant and pass out 100 Grand candy bars (you can get small ones at the dollar store) with a small tag attached saying “Thanks A Million For All You Do!”  I worked in one plant with a Production Manager who found an old fashion Good Humor Ice Cream Bicycle that we rented for the day,  he road through the plant ringing the bell and passed out ice cream to all the employees and he did it on all three shifts!!  If your plant environment allows it, spread balloons around the plant or decorate the lunch room with a sign that says “Thanks Team!”  Put small games on the lunch tables that you can get from the dollar store, checkers, chess, cards, maybe a few coloring books and crayons or even word search books (or run them off from on-line searches).

Use your imagination, get that creative streak working and make this an untraditional Monday by celebrating Fun At Work Day.  Have a little fun, bring a smile to someones face today!

WoW…I think I miss working can you tell?  This was so not where I thought today’s post would go so let’s switch gears and travel back to yesterday’s (Sunday’s) fun day which was Chocolate Cake Day and Chocolate Cake was made and eaten!  We actually made our cake on Saturday so it would be already on Sunday.  It was quite a humorous 12 hours from baking to eating.

After the cake was made and frosted on Saturday night, it was placed in our glass covered cake dish and set on the counter, obviously it became a focal point and very tempting to Josh and Walt every time they walked past it.  Both would stop to take a peek, it was really quite funny.  At one point on Saturday I asked Josh if he wanted to have a piece of cake, he said no he would wait because Sunday was Chocolate Cake Day.  A short while later I heard Josh and Papa talking downstairs and I heard Walt say to Josh “Hey Josh, why don’t you go upstairs and ask grandma if we can cut into that cake.” (Bad Papa right??)  Of course Josh told him no, telling Papa the cake was for Sunday and he would have to wait.

As we were getting ready to settle in for the night, a little TV and a game of Sorry before bed, Josh looked at me and said “Grandma tomorrow morning we are gonna wake up, eat breakfast then we were are gonna cut that cake in half.”  And that my dear family and friends is exactly what we did.  Josh actually was the only one to have a piece that early in the morning but he ate every bite and kept telling me how much he loved it.  He made grandma feel pretty good about our cake and when we were getting ready to take Josh home he asked me to cut him a couple of big pieces so he could take some home with him which he did.

These were new recipes for me, both the cake and the frosting, I found them on the Hershey website.  This is the first time in probably 30 years or more that I did not make our family favorite butter cream frosting…I’ve been making our family frosting since I was probably fourteen or fifteen so this was a BIG step for me to try a new frosting recipe especially since the cake batter recipe was new as well.

My mom will attest that at one time, when I was young and full of energy, I was the queen of everything homemade from appetizers to entre’s to cakes and desserts.  It’s only now as I get older that I look for the quick stuff, the short cuts in cooking.  I like shortcuts for many reasons, most of the time it’s my hands, however  Sandra Lee, (Food Network) is also to blame.  I watched one of her shows where she stated that when you entertain you should either make the appetizer buy the dessert or  make the dessert and buy the appetizer.  I think it’s all part of Sandra Lee’s keep is simple, keep it semi-homemade motto.  I’m getting older, sometimes I’m easily influenced much to the dismay of family who all like and prefer it when my stuff is all homemade.

I love baking cakes from scratch, I generally don’t have any problems with scratch cakes at all, I like scratch baking to box mixes.  It’s usually a box cake mix that doesn’t come out well for me, for some reason, no matter how long I let them cool they always seem to split and pull apart.  This scratch cake actually baked up beautifully, my only issue was that it was just a little bit dry and that was probably my fault.  Since this was a new recipe I should have kept a closer eye on the baking times and tested it before the 35 minute timer.

Both of these are keeper recipes with notes for a few modifications in the future:

  • I used 8″ round pans (dark) and baked them for 35 minutes before I checked on the cake.  Of course when I put the tooth pick in it came out clean so I took it out at the 35 minute mark.  We thought the cake was just a tad dry, not too bad but next time I will set the timer for 25 minutes and adjust from there.
  • The frosting is tasty, it was Joshua’s favorite part of the cake (it usually is).  This recipe only makes about two cups of frosting.  I don’t know about anyone else but we are frosting people so next time I am going to increase the frosting recipe by half or maybe even double it so I don’t feel like I am being stingy with the frosting.

If you like chocolate, try both of these recipes, you won’t be disappointed.  I have some great recipes for you this week, M&M Cookies, Sausage Gravy for Biscuits, Slow Cooker Beef Stew and more.  This is going to be a yummy foodinteresting (my new word like Rachel Ray creating EVOO) week!!

HERSHEY’S COLLECTORS COCOA CAKE

Hershy Chocolate Cocoa Cake

What You’ll Need: Ingredients

3/4 cup          Butter or margarine , softened  (1-1/2 sticks) (I used butter)

1-3/4 cups     Sugar

2                      Eggs

1 tsp                Vanilla extract

2 cups            All-purpose flour

3/4 cup          HERSHEY’S Cocoa or HERSHEY’S SPECIAL DARK Cocoa

1-1/4 tsp        Baking soda

1/2 tsp           Salt

1-1/3 cups     Water

Buttercream Frosting –  Recipe Below

Directions:

  • Heat oven to 350°F.
  • Grease and flour two 8-or 9-inch round baking pans.
  • Beat butter and sugar in large bowl until fluffy.
  • Add eggs and vanilla; beat 1 minute on medium speed of mixer.
  • Stir together flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt;
  • Add the flour/cocoa mixture alternately with water to butter mixture, beating until well blended.
  • Pour batter into prepared pans.
  • Bake 35 to 40 minutes for 8-inch layers OR 30 to 35 minutes for 9-inch layers or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean.
  • Cool 10 minutes; remove from pans to wire racks.
  • Cool completely.
  • Frost

HERSHEY ONE-BOWL BUTTERCREAM FROSTING

What You’ll Need:

6 tblsp               Butter or margarine, softened
2-2/3 cups       Powdered sugar
1/2 cup             HERSHEY’S Cocoa or HERSHEY’S SPECIAL DARK Cocoa
1/3 cup             Milk
1 tsp                  Vanilla extract

Directions:

Beat butter in medium bowl.

Add powdered sugar and cocoa alternately with milk; beat to spreading consistency (additional milk may be needed).

Stir in vanilla.

Makes about 2 cups frosting.

Source:  https://www.hersheys.com/recipes/recipe-details.aspx?id=5044&name=Collector’s-Cocoa-Cake

Am I At The North Pole?

Writing today from the North Pole, oh wait, it only feels like the North Pole here  in Michigan.  It’s a brisk 1 degree and feels like -9 degree’s.  There are school closings, it looks like most of them are in rural areas, many schools are still open including all of our school districts.  I feel bad for the kids, I know in my school district we have a lot of kids who walk to school, they pass our house everyday.  Our house is exactly a half mile from the school which means that these kids are even  further, it’s way to cold for kids to walk in this.  I also feel bad for the kids who take the bus, too cold to be waiting around for the bus to show up.  I hope parents are bundling the kids up.   Brrrrr!!

I have a coupon for a free (no purchase necessary) loaf of fresh French or Italian bread from Randazzo’s.  In fact, I have 6 coupons for free loaves of bread, one every week for the next six weeks.  Pretty awesome especially since we love the fresh bread from Randazzo.  My game plan today was to run up to Randazzo to pick up a fresh loaf of bread to go with the chicken fettuccine I plan on making tonight.  As cold as it is outside, I’m not sure I want to venture outside for any reason but fresh-baked bread (FREE bread) may win this internal battle I’m having.  I guess if my grandbabies were forced to go to school today the least I can do is make a quick run up to the corner for fresh bread to go with our chicken fettuccine tonight.

I just might have to do some baking today, maybe cookies or perhaps muffins for tomorrow morning.  Mmmmm, cinnamon-sugar muffins sound pretty good right about now and I know the house would smell delicious.  If I get really ambitious I could make both!  I guess we’ll see how motivated I am after Walt leaves for work.

The Gooey Butter Cake, aka; Neiman Marcus Brownies, Chess Squares, Cream Cheese Brownies (yes they are known by at LEAST that many names) are almost gone.  What ever you want to call them won’t change how deliciously rich these are.  They are so rich and gooey that you really can only eat one little square at a time and you will argue with yourself as to whether or not you should go back for another.

It’s funnny, how the same recipe can be named so many different things.  I found the exact same recipe for these delicious little blondes or white brownies under all of those different names on several different blogs including Pin Foody and Kevin and Amanda on Pinterest (links below).  Paula Deen also has a similar recipe, she calls it Gooey Butter Cake and her recipe has a few extra ingredients.  If you want to see Paula’s recipe you can go to Paula Deen’s website.  These are definitely a keeper, I can’t wait to make them for company!

Stay warm today, bake something yummy, I know I will!!

NEIMAN MARCUS BROWNIES (aka: Gooey Butter Cake, Chess Squares)

Gooey Butter Cake, Chess Squares

 

What You’ll Need:

1 box yellow cake mix
3 eggs
8 oz cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, melted
4 cups (1 lb) powdered sugar

Directions:

  • Pre-heat oven to 300 degrees
  • Spray a 9×13 dish with cooking spray
  • Mix cake mix, melted butter and one egg to a soft dough
  • Press into the bottom of the pan
  • Mix powdered sugar, softened cream cheese and remaining two eggs until smooth, about 1-2 min.
  • Pour on top of crust
  • Bake at 300 for 40-50 minutes until top is golden brown
  • Cool – cut into squares

Sources:

 

Terrific Tuesday With Eric

I had a great day Tuesday, I spent it with Nikki and little Eric.  It’s always an adventure with my little guy.  Eric did not know that I was coming over, we decided to keep it a secret and surprise him.  When I drove up into the driveway Eric and Nikki were sitting on the porch, the look on his face was priceless, he wasn’t sure it was me!

I pulled in the driveway, turned off the car and when I opened the door my little man came flying down the stairs and into my arms.  “Grandma what are you doing here?”  “Did you come to see me?”  I squeezed my little guy and told him that was exactly why I was there.

We went into the house and while his momma got ready Eric and I talked about where we wanted to go for lunch.  I suggested Senate Coney Island, they make the best chili cheese fries and the best, messiest, greasy, chili cheeseburger.  It has been ages since I have eaten one.  Senate is usually one of Eric’s favorite places….he surprised me when he said he didn’t want to go there.  A flat-out “NO.”

When I asked Eric where he wanted to go he said that he wanted to go to that drive through place that I took him to before.  When I asked him if it was Burger King he said “No.”  McDonald’s?  “No.”  Where?  “That place where I talked to that lady grandma.”  Then it hit me………..White Castle???  “Eric, you really want to go to White Castle??”  “Yea grandma, I like those chicken rings.”

UGH….what possed me to take Lil E to White Castle a few weeks ago??  It was a Friday and it just sounded better than McDonald’s or Burger King.  NOW…he likes it and wants it.  White Castle is not one of those places you want to have lunch at and the spend the day running around.  You know what I mean??  I finally talked Eric into Senate and we all had a great lunch.  It wasn’t easy, it was a tough sell and White Castle is still in my future.

After lunch we went to Meijer to pick up a few things.  Eric is quit the little shopper.  He was so cute when I tried to put Oreo’s in the basket and he said “Grandma, Oreo’s are not on the list.”  He is a big helper,  he will pick out what he likes and helps put things in the basket.  He does not make a scene or try to put things in the basket on his own.  He and Nikki have a great little system…..it was interesting to observe.

On our way out we had to ride the penny pony.  Amazing, this is probably the last of anything that still costs a penny.  Momma went to the car and Eric and I, well Eric… I watched, rode the pony.  We also had to check out the kiddie one arm bandits….you know, those little machines that are filled with junk that the kids just have to play, they cost a quarter or fifty cents and you get junk, rubber aliens, stickers…..Eric picked a candy one for a quarter, once purchased he was happy with that and never used his second quarter.

Once home our little man helped grandma unload the car and helped his momma put away all their groceries.  Then it was time to play.

We made wishes on seeded dandelions,

Making Wishes With Momma

Watched as Eric completed his jeep derby

Eric’s Jeep Derby

We even managed to get in a basketball game…..

Awesome Basketball Game
Through the hoop!!!!

It was a terrific Tuesday with Eric!  We’re going to do it again soon!!

Yesterday was also Cherry Turnover Day.  I got a little creative with my Pampered Chef Cut and Seal (I love Pampered Chef), some Pillsbury pie crusts, a can of cherries and an opened bag of chocolate chips.    I had the pie crusts in the freezer for “just in case I need something quick,” the cherries on hand for a cheese cake I made and never put them on top of and of course chocolate chips (always have on hand) opened from making chocolate chip pancakes on Sunday mornings for my little guys.

These little “turnovers” are really quick and easy and pretty tasty too!!

Here is what I did…..

Nancy’s Cherry Chocolate Turnovers

What You’ll Need:

1 can (21 oz)     Cherry Pie Filling Crust

1 box                   Ready made pie crust

Chocolate chips

Egg Wash (1 egg – splash of water whisked)

Directions

Roll out the ready-made pie crust

Using the cut and seal (or a large glass) make circles in the pie crust

Fill the bottom with cherry mixture and add some chocolate chips

Cover with another circle and pinch closed

Place on cookie sheet sprayed with PAM

Make slits in top crust and brush with egg-wash

Bake 425* for 15 -20 minutes

Cool on wire rack

Knocking Off Two “National Foodie” Days With One Recipe

Good morning everyone…. so we’re over the Monday hurdle here we are already at Tuesday, let’s keep the momentum moving!

Glad the storms have moved out, it was a pretty interesting morning here.  I woke up around 4:30 a.m. to the sound of thunder and a strange flopping noise outside our bedroom window.  Not knowing what it was I looked out the bedroom window and saw an aqua and white rectangle flying around the yard, took me a minute to realize it was the kiddie pool.  Unfortunately I had to wake up Walt so we could run out and secure the pool and bring in the patio chair cushions before the rain fell.  The storms have moved out for now, we’ll see if the ones predicted for later today pass us by.

Did you celebrate National Cheesecake Day yesterday?  We did!  Now I know what some of you might be thinking….”Sunday the woman wouldn’t turn on the oven for Lasagna Day, but she turns it on for cheese cake day.”  Ok, so you have a point…a little one.  Lasagna can take 45 minutes to an hour, the little cheesecake cupie cakie thingies I made yesterday only baked for a half hour.  And come on people, it’s cheesecake!!  It wasn’t going to weigh anyone down on a hot day.  That’s my excuse and I’m sticking to it.

Besides, things with the little “Cupid’s Cherry Cheesecakes” (by Kraft) didn’t go as well as it should have.  The centers of my little cheese cakes caved.  Not just a little…a lot.  Most resembled a bowl, one shrunk up so bad it looked like someone sucked the air out of it.

Look…it’s a little nest!

I have been baking for over 40 years and have NEVER had a dessert not come out the way it was supposed to.

I was so frustrated that without even waiting (I regret that instant reaction now) to taste them I rated it, gave them one star and a negative response on this recipe.  Imagine my surprise late last night when I went back into the site and they actually posted my HORRIBLE response!  My one star response is one of four out of 93.  That means that 89 other bakers gave this recipe a four or five-star rating.  Even those that claimed they’ve never baked did a much better job at these than I did.

Of course Walt, trying to help, said he thought they were suppose to sink in the middle so you can put the fruit in.  I am sure they were suppose to sink a little, just not enough to hold a cup of soup.  Walt was trying to make me feel better about it I love him for that.

When I started this blogging journey I promised that I would share the good and the bad with any new recipe we were trying.  So I am…..something I did in the baking process made them sink in the center.  Maybe I put more batter in the cup than I should have or maybe it had something to do with the temperature variance when I opened the oven for the last 30 minutes (as I was instructed to do) and/or the fact the house was cold because the air conditioning was on.  I really don’t know, but something I did in the process made a little well in the center.

We did eat the cheesecake and to be fair, they were very good.  Even though the recipe calls for cherries, I cut up some strawberries and mixed them with a little sugar and did the same with a strawberries/raspberry combination for Walt then refrigerated them for a few hours.   I had to get raspberries in there for “National Raspberry Cream Pie Day” which is later this week so Walt had the combo and we passed on the cherry topping.

After dinner I spooned strawberries over mine and the raspberry/strawberry mixture over Walt’s (I guess it was really into, not onto) and they were pretty tasty.  Actually the were more than tasty, they were sweet and very good.  Walt wanted a second one but opted out only because we had just finished a big dinner.

Cheesecake

Because I have Catholic school girl guilt, even at my age, I will go back into the Kraft site and make an adjustment to my original negative post.  All I could think of all night was hurting someone’s feeling even while rationalizing that it’s a cooking website for heaven sake.

We have some great recipes coming up for you this week and we can’t wait to share them; homemade sloppy joes, grilled rib eye steaks and Cheesy O’Brien Potatoes on the grill!!  I may even get Walt to chat about a Michigan brewed Cherry Beer he tried yesterday!

For now I will leave you with this recipe from Kraft Recipes.  If you try these little cheesecakes let us know how they turned out for you.

http://www.kraftrecipes.com/recipes/recipeallratings.aspx?recipe_id=55259&ct=1&pg=8

Cupid’s Cherry Cheesecakes 

What You’ll Need:

12              NILLA Wafers
2 pkg.       (8 oz. each) PHILADELPHIA Cream Cheese, softened
3/4 cup    sugar
2                eggs
3/4 cup    cherry pie filling (I used fresh strawberries and raspberries)

Directions:

PREHEAT oven to 350°F.  Place 1 wafer in bottom of each of 12 paper-lined medium muffin pan cups; set aside.

BEAT cream cheese and sugar in small bowl with electric mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy.  Add eggs, 1 at a time, mixing just until blended after each addition.  Spoon evenly into prepared muffin cups, filling each cup 2/3 full.

BAKE 30 minutes. Turn off oven; open oven door slightly. Let stand in oven 30 minutes. Remove from oven; cool completely. Top with pie filling.  Refrigerate at least 1 hour before serving.  Store leftover cheesecakes in refrigerator.

ENJOY!!

For A Split Second…..

Hello family, friends and fellow bloggers.  Hope everyone is having a fantastic day.

I was, then I wasn’t and now I am… back to enjoying an incredibly beautiful day sitting in my kitchen, looking out the window, jotting down my entry for today.

I can already see my brother Greg cringe as he reads this paragraph and a few of the other paragraphs that follow (and maybe even a few of you going “WHAT?”)…..I am not an overly political person.  I follow who’s who, what’s going on, I watch CNN, MSNBC, sometimes Fox, I read, I vote, I even ran for office once in the small community we lived in back in the mid 1980’s….I ran as a Democrat because, well quite frankly, 99% of the Downriver population was at the time Democrats.

So before anyone reads on…including my dear brother Greg, I want to apologize if I offend anyone.  It really is not my intent to do so, nor is this particular blog intended to start a political debate.

The information I am going to share with you from here forward is merely to give you a understanding of who I am, how I feel, what I think, I am not trying to push my belief onto anyone else.  I just need to lay a foundation so that when I tell you what happened today and how I reacted you’ll understand, because my reaction was not really who I am, I surprised even myself when I heard things coming out of my mouth.  It was more of an emotional response, rather than political.

So, with that said, here goes……

I look at political parties almost the same way I do unions.  I think at one time, when unions were first formed, that there was a need for unions, a need to protect the rights, health and welfare of workers.  But as time has moved on, the government putting more and more restrictions on companies to comply with health, safety and environmental laws, minimum wages, and maybe one day, if they ever get it figured out….healthcare, I think the need for unions has decreased.  I see unions as a corporation, a money-making entity that takes its leaders on lavish vacations….collecting money from people (workers) who could make better use of it in their paycheck and in their pocket.

As a teenager of the 1970’s and as years progressed, my father and I have had many, many discussions about unions.  I against them while my father supportive of them, even though he himself was a white-collar worker, a sport coat and tie man.  The years and our debates in itself could be a whole funny blog.  I am very proud of my dad…he stands up for what he believes in and encourages his children to do the same.

I can honestly say that I really am not a Democrat or a Republican (calm down Greg), I actually will vote based on what the person stands for, if his issues are my issues, if he has a positive track record for responding to the issues that I feel are most important to me and my family….then he/she is my candidate.

At times I wonder if we really do need parties…I mean come on, if you seriously looked at every President or politician, Democrat or Republican, you can find good things they’ve accomplished as well as major screw ups.  Both parties, neither one is immune to bad  decision-making.

Please don’t bombard with how crazy you think I am…..Freedom of Speech, I have a right to express myself which slides us right in to what happened today in front of the post office.

The post office is the second building from the corner, there is a traffic light at the corner and if you get caught at the light you have a good view of the front of the post office.  Today I got caught at the light, the very first car.  I can clearly see a table set up right at the curb, one step back and the two people behind the table would be on the road.  I can see posters hanging from the table…I can make out John Kennedy on one, President Obama on another, red, white and blue streamers.  There is a white man, a black woman manning the table.

The light changed and I pulled forward, as I wait to make the left into the driveway to go to the parking lot which is in the back of the building I can now clearly see the President Obama poster……….a Hitler type mustache etched under his nose, IMPEACH OBAMA written across the top of the poster.

I went nuts…litterally.  I parked the car and walked up the sidewalk to the front of the building (there is no back or side door for customers).  As I got closer to the front of the building the man began jumping up and down in a jumping jack fashion, arms waving over his head, jumping toward me saying….”Come here, come here, we need to talk to you!!” “We need to get Obama out of office!!!”

This is when I lost my mind…..oh…yes I did.  I put my hand out in front of me, palm out and said…”Stay away from me you idiot!”  “I don’t care what your political beliefs are or what you stand for.”  “That photo is discusting…..when did freedom of speech give you the right to be disrespectful.” 

They both took a step back….the woman said “WOW!”  I know!!! I was thinking “WOW!!!” too.  I had to look around to make sure that came out of me.  My intention was to ignore them and walk right past and into the post office but the closer I got and saw that mustache etched on that poster, the anger just shot out.

It wouldn’t have mattered who it was on that poster, it could have been George Bush Jr…..(and he screwed up really bad “in my opinion”), the bottom line is, I may not agree with politicians or a President’s politics, their decision-making or what they did or didn’t accomplish while they were in or are in office, but if nothing else, in America….our President, no matter who he is deserves a little respect.  How dare you compare our President to a killer, a mass murderer!

If you want to disagree with President Obama’s decisions and create literature showing how promises weren’t kept, what bad decisions were made, how the national debt stands, etc….go ahead, our right to free speech gives gives you that right.  Our Presidents and politicians no matter how good or how bad have continued to make sure we have that right.

Where is it written that our freedom …. YOUR FREEDOM to say, write, travel, etc. gives you the right to be disrespectful?

I may have frustrations and disagree with political choices, I still respect politicians for what they do, it’s hard enough these days to run a household, I can’t imagine what it’s like at night to lay your head on a pillow with literally the weight of the world hanging over you.

I know there are bad politicians who don’t deserve respect of title or position because of criminal activity…can anyone say Kwami Kilpatrick?  But even Kwami doesn’t deserve to have a Hitler mustache etched on his face….and trust me, I really don’t think highly of Kwami at all.  But through due process the man is no longer in office stealing from the citizens of Detroit who can ill afford it.

We live in a country that gives us the right, the freedom of choice.  You don’t think someone is doing a good job?  Recall them, don’t vote for them next time, campaign against them.  Believe it or not, politicians no matter how bad they are politically believe in your right to do so.

The people under Hitler’s reign had no choices, they had no voice, they had no freedom.

I love my country, I am proud to be an American. I can’t hear the National Anthem sung ANYWHERE without it bringing a tear to my eye, even a televised ballgame.  So, I’m taking my little 5’2″ self off the ladder (you’d never see me on a soapbox, too short), I’ve said my peace, please don’t beat me up too badly.

Today I made a Banana Split Pie because For a split second today, I went banana’s and lost my mind and my manners.  Why can’t the world be as beautiful and calm as an afternoon spent running through strawberry fields on a beautiful summer day.”     

Banana Split Pie – Delicious

Banana Split Pie (Kraft Foods)

http://www.kraftrecipes.com/recipes/banana-split-pie-109526.aspx?pf=truena

Ingredients

  • 2  cups cold milk
  • 2  pkg. (4-serving size each) JELL-O Vanilla Flavor Instant Pudding
  • 1  HONEY MAID Graham Pie Crust (6 oz.)
  • 1  cup sliced fresh strawberries, divided
  • 1  banana, sliced
  • 1  tub (8 oz.) COOL WHIP Whipped Topping, thawed, divided
  • 2  Tbsp. chocolate syrup
  • 1/4   cup chopped PLANTERS Pecans

Directions

 POUR milk into large bowl.

ADD dry pudding mixes.

BEAT with wire whisk 2 min.

SPREAD 1-1/2 cups of the pudding onto bottom of crust.

Spread 1-1/2 cups of pudding onto bottom of crust

TOP with half of the strawberries and the bananas.

Place sliced banana and 1/2 of the strawberries on top of the pudding

ADD half of the whipped topping to remaining pudding;

Stir gently until well blended

 SPREAD over fruit layer in crust.

Spread remaining pudding with 1/2 of the Cool Whip spread over fruit
Cover pudding/Cool Whip mixture with the remaining Cool Whip

SPREAD remaining whipped topping over pie to within 1 inch of edge of crust.

DRIZZLE with chocolate syrup

Drizzle with chocolate syrup

Top with remaining strawberries and pecans.

 

REFRIGERATE 3 hours or until set.

Store leftovers in refrigerator.