Better than Bakery, Fudge Brownie Recipe

~Locate one 9 X9 baking pan. Grease or line with parchment paper.

Photo by Lina Kivaka on

Fudge Brownie Recipe

~In a warm glass bowl, place (10) Tablespoons of unsalted butter that is softened. Add 1 & 1/4 Cups of sugar, 3/4 Cup plus 2 Tablespoons of cocoa powder and 1/4 teaspoon of salt. Stir and blend. Warm if needed to blend cocoa and butter better.

~Next, add 1 teaspoon of vanilla and 2 eggs. (Whip in 1 at a time.)

~ Lightly over the top, sprinkle in a 1/2 Cup all-purpose flour. Beat thoroughly.

*The batter should begin to look well blended, but thick and shiny. If you are adding nuts, now is the time. (Optional nuts- 2/3 Cups)

~BAKE. After 22 minutes of biking the brownies at 325 degrees, you should have beautiful fudgy brownies. (You can test with a toothpick to see if they are finished.) Remove from oven and ENJOY!

Best served WARM with Old Fashioned Maple Nut Ice cream!!!

Happy Baking. Happy Homemaking!

DIY Salsa Verde (Sweet)

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Tamatillos are one of the favorite items to plant in our garden. I say one, because they are up there among the tomatoes, peppers, onions and eat before you get to the house fresh produce!

Many people consider staples to be only their rice, sugars, flours, etc. In our household, I believe ketchup and salsa are staples too. Salsa, pickles and applesauce take the majority of our canning shelf in quantity. One year we decided to branch out with some tomato experimenting of varieties, kinds, flavors and their relatives. Ground cherries and tomatillos were a hit! Unintentionally, the following year, we found they reseeded themselves and we had load of tomatillos, hence the search for a deliciously canned Salsa Verde. Here is a simple recipe that may be easily converted to your pantry canning section. Even better, it takes less that 10 minutes to make. This recipe is for either 1 (28oz) can of tomatillos OR about 20 freshly prepared tomatillos.

Tomatillo Salsa Verde

~1 (28oz) can of tomatillos OR **about 20 freshly prepared tomatillos

~3 Tablespoons of diced jalepenos ** 1-2 fresh from the garden (washed & seeded)

~1 medium bunch of cilantro

~ 1/2 to 2/3 Cup of Sugar (your preference)

Add all the items to your blender or food processor. (If you are adding canned items, drain the juice first). Blend until smooth. Add more peppers or sugar as desired to your taste buds.

Best with tortilla chips, tacos and your favorite Mexican dishes, AND fry bread. I store in mason jars in the refrigerator. However, it is not shelf stable as is, check your USDA canning guide (NIFA) for instructions.

Happy Homemaking! Enjoy!

*As with any recipe you can very finely dice your items if you do not have a blender or food chopper/ processor. (We actually prefer it this way.) You can also do what my children love to do… take a 1/2 cup of guacamole and add 3 large spoonfuls of the fresh Salsa Verde and use for toppings.

*A wonderful recipe for a quick dip or last minute gift idea. It is delicious as is, unique and healthy.

However, if you are not in a hurry, whether gifting or canning; consider roasting your tomatillos and jalapenos first for the best flavor. Also maybe add some garlic, onions and lime juice to flavor it up a bit. 🙂

DIY Fried Apples (Cracker Barrel Version)

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Stewed apples, fried apples, do I need to say more? Perhaps the only 100 % kid loving recipe. My kiddos think it’s dessert at breakfast. I usually double this recipe and serve it as a side (with my substitute version) at breakfast. Whatever is left over, I run it through a food processor or mash up with a potato masher. It then goes into snack, depending on how much is left. It works great in breakfast muffins, mini apple pie pockets, in a pancake batter in the electric mini donate maker, glazed turnovers for a special occasion, or just as a topping.

~With an iron skillet or fry pan, warm 3 Tablespoons of butter over medium heat. Cut into wedges and cored, slice and add 4 medium apples (Golden delicious works the best.)

~Add 1/4 Cup sugar, 2 Tablespoons of dark brown sugar, 1 teaspoon of cinnamon, and 1/4 teaspoon of nutmeg. Stir until everything is evenly coated and warm. Cover and cook for about 12 minutes or until the apples are soft. Transfer to the serving dish and cover to keep warm.

~In a cup, beat 1/2 Cup of apple cider and 1 Tablespoon of corn starch. Over medium high heat whisk in the same skillet as previous. Stir constantly to blend and thicken aft 1 minute of simmering. Pour mixture over the apples and serve. (This recipe is lovely on vanilla ice cream as well!)

Happy homemaking! Enjoy!!!

DIY Starbucks Pumpkin Scones Recipe

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Starbucks is known for a few things. Honestly it is not a “big” thing here. We have a few “small” non- franchise coffee shops within a 1/2 hour commute that people will pass up Starbuck any day to drive there. However, having had Starbucks several times, they do have good coffee and some baked goods not found at the local coffee shops. This is sometimes the reel that brings people in, before the coffee. Asking around, I was told the seasonal pumpkin scones are AMAZING. So here it is, a “copycat” recipe for blueberry thimble-berry scones. HA HA HA! Just kidding. Sorry, that’s MY favorite scone I cannot get at Starbucks. However, this should suffice, Starbucks copycat recipe for Pumpkin Spice Scones.

In a medium glass bowl whip together pumpkin and 2/3 cup of heavy cream. Set aside.

I a large bowl mix your dry ingredients. 2 Cups of flour, 1/3 Cup of brown sugar, 1 Tablespoon of baking powder, 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon salt, AND 1/4 teaspoon of each- nutmeg, ginger, cloves. Cut in one stick of butter. Blend and cut in well. When crumbly mixture is ready, cool for 5 minutes.

Meanwhile prepare a baking rack to cool scones once they are out of the oven. Be sure to place parchment paper under the rack to catch the topping glaze. No, it is not mandatory, but it will save you so much time during cleanup. Preheat your oven as well at 450 degrees.

Grab your dry ingredients and mix in your pumpkin/cream mixture. Mix. Stir until all your dry ingredients are moist and even in texture. (Crumbly)

Place your dough on wax paper and press into a circle. This should be 6-8 inches round. With a knife or pizza cutter, slice into 8 wedges. Place them on your baking sheet. With the 2 Tablespoons of heavy cream, brush the tops of each wedge.

Bake 13 minutes.

While baking, prepare your glazes. You can use a bowl or like us, we try to save on dishes, we just mix right in the measuring cup so we can lightly pour or drizzle from the cup. It will require at least a 1 cup measuring cup or bowl and one slightly larger, I use the 4 cup measuring cup because that is what I have. However if you have a 2 cup bowl or measuring cup, that would be sufficient.

In your smaller bowl, place 3/4 C of powdered sugar, 1 Tbl of pumpkin puree, 1 Tablespoon of heavy cream, and 1/8 tsp of cinnamon. Next just a pinch of ginger, cloves and nutmeg. Mix until smooth. If I am using a larger bowl or measuring cup, a stick blender works great. Otherwise, good ol’ fashion mixing.

In your larger bowl or measuring cup, mix 1 cup of powdered sugar with 4 Tablespoons of heavy cream. Stir in 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract. Mix.

Remove scones from over. Cool. Spread scones with a layer of vanilla glaze. Then drizzle atop with pumpkin glaze. Serve with your favorite drink.

Grab that Vanilla or pumpkin spiced latte and enjoy!

Happy Baking!

Cookies in Minutes ~ With a Recipe

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In a pinch and having some company? Or a last minute Sunday school or teaching treat for the students? Look in the cupboard and grab a box of cake mix.

Mix one package of cake mix, 1 stick of softened butter and one egg. Stir. Mix until smooth. Roll out on floured or powdered sugar surface.

Find your themed cookie cutters and cut out!

Bake 10 minutes at 350 degrees.


Frost if desired.

Share & Serve. Enjoy!

Happy Baking!!!

Kid friendly- Cheerio Treats

Kids love all things cereal. I love this recipe because it goes with the classic rice krispie bars idea, which I have yet to find a child that does not like rice krispie bars. These are just as big of a hit! Whether you are bringing a birthday treat, having a party, guests, a classroom treat or snack, or even a church function for the kids; they will love this recipe! BEST of all, you can make it fit your theme, season, holiday, birthday or special event. By changing the candies, using regular chips and sprinkles, it is so easy to personalize a simple treat!

Cheerios Treats

Grease a 13×9-inch pan.

Melt 3 tbsp. margarine in a large pan. Stir in one 10 1/2 oz. package of miniature marshmellows (6 cups) and 1/2 cup peanut butter and stir until melted and smooth.

Remove from heat.

Immediately stir in 5 cups Cheerios and 1 cup candy-coated milk chocolate candies. (The candy can be changed according to the season or holiday.)

Mix lightly until well coated.

You can do this 2 ways. 1)Press mixture into prepared pan. Cool, cut, and serve. OR 2) Drop like no bakes and let cool, then serve.

Share & enjoy!

Sweetheart Snack Mix Recipe

Dig out that giant bread bowl or xlg metal bowl.

In your extra large bowl mix 3 Cups of cherrios, 3 Cups of Rice Chex mix, 2 Cups of Wheat Chex mix, 3 Cups of Corn Chex mix and 1 Cup of small mini pretzels.

In a double broiler, melt 32 ounces of white chocolate. Continue to stir.

When smooth and creamy, quickly pour over your cereal mixture. Stir until everything is evenly coated.

Lay out a giant sheet of parchment paper and spread the mixture over top to dry. Once you have your parchment paper down, sprinkle your freshly coated cereals with your favorite valentines sprinkles. (You have to before it dries or it will not stick.) If you don’t have “Valentine’s Day” sprinkles. A simple red and then a pink bottle of cupcake “pearls” (the tiny choice) will work great. Sprinkle them over the white coated cereal and pretzels to dry.

With the clean extra large metal mixing bowl add 1 Cup of salted mini pretzels (not coated), 1 cup of pink mini marshmallows (optional) and a bag of Valentine’s Day M&M’s. Once your candy coated cereal/pretzel mix is dry, add it as well. Mix gently as to not crush the cereal. Cover and bring to your party or bag it into individual servings to pass around to your friends or colleagues. A cute package option are the Solo cups with lids they have at Wal-mart.

Happy gifting! Enjoy your Sweetheart Snack Mix!!!

DIY Valentines Gum Drops

Valentine’s Day is only a few weeks away! Fun sweets and treats are so precious to give; yet, so simple to make. Are you looking for a new recipe that is homemade AND delicious? Try these homemade gum drops that can be altered for any holiday. (Green apple for St. Patrick’s day, Cherry or Strawberry for Valentines day, etc.) So grab the kids and head to the kitchen!

We choose watermelon. So we combined 2 boxes (or 6 oz total) of Watermelon jello total and 2 envelopes of unflavored gelatin into a saucepan. We then added 1 &1/2 Cups of applesauce and 2 1/4 Cups of sugar. With all the ingredients combined in the saucepan, we brought to a boil.

Boiled 1 minute.

Next, we poured the mixture into our glass cake pan and refrigerated until set.

After it was set we flipped it onto a sugar dusted counter top. (A cutting board would work too.) Then dust the top with sugar as well.

Using our mini heart set cookie cutters, we cut out the cute little gum drops. To prevent sticking, we dusted each edge with sugar as well. Place the gum drop or sugar dusted jello on parchment paper to dry for at least and hour. Store in air tight containers or go ahead and package them in the cute little holiday or Valentine’s Day snack-size Ziploc bags.

Happy Homemaking!

Family Favorites (Seasonal Broadcasts & Audio)

Is you trip not long enough to watch a movie, but would you love to treat your kids this holiday season? With SO many TV, movie and holiday specials it is fairly easy to pop in and watch a family favorite. Perhaps while you are traveling, you’d like to instead take advantage of a radio drama or broadcast. Here are 3 great family friendly audios you can enjoy with your family. Best of all, they are: free& under 30 minutes.

Here are a few you can find on YouTube and stream (hands free of course) while you drive at no cost.

Christmas Spirit by Ron Hamilton

Christmas Carol- This is our all time, absolute favorite, that the kids ask to listen to every year. A great message, family friendly and under an hour long. (1 of 14 tracks)

Peanut Butter Christmas- Another favorite the whole family will love, especially the younger crowd. This is our youngest’s favorite this time of year.

Christmas Spirit- The newest arrangement by Ron Hamilton for the whole family as well.

To purchase these audios, along with other arrangements, check out the Majesty Website.

Happy Winter Break!!!

Christmas Lasagna

Anyone that says they do not love lasagna is probably lying. OR they just haven’t had amazing lasagna. Try this recipe! Serious. This is a recipe even lasagna lovers will bookmark!

People learn to cook or bake and that great, but my mom has ALWAYS made amazing lasagna! The best part, is her recipe is a no boil noodle, no measuring cups, just lasagna pan, dump, pour, bake and ENJOY! Here is her recipe with a few minor adaptations for our families liking, feel free to do the same.

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Items you will need:

  • 1 box of lasagna noodles (not precooked, just plain Jane noodles.)
  • 1 Large tub of cottage cheese, your favorite style. For one 9X13 lasagna we use 24 ounces.
  • Garlic
  • Parsley
  • 1 Egg
  • 1 lb of burger (traditionally I make with beef or venison) However, this works with other meat if seasoned accordingly- like other ground wild game.
  • 3 jars of pasta sauce, your favorite will do. (I change it up, depending on the crowd. For traditional we go with herbs & cheese pasta sauce.)
  • Parmesan Cheese
  • Mozzarella Cheese
  • A lasagna pan ***note if you want a stuffed lasagna or plan to adapt the recipe, the bigger/ deeper the pan, the better.
  • A fork to stir the cottage cheese & beat your eggs
  • **OPTIONAL** Onions, mushrooms, Cheddar cheese, Monterrey Jack cheese, an extra egg.

First, brown the burger. If adding onions, this is the time to saute them with the burger. Add 1 tsp of garlic powder, or fresh garlic (best flavor) as you finish browning the burger.

While cooking, grease a 9X13 lasagna pan. Open a sauce and pour 3/4 of the jar to cover the bottom of the cake pan. Place the first row of uncooked noodles in the bottom of the cake pan. Next, add the remainder of the jar of sauce. Sprinkle as to cover with Parmesan cheese. Place two large spoonfuls of cottage cheese over the Parmesan. If you are adding mushrooms, this is the time to add 1 large can of sliced mushrooms. Layer another row of uncooked noodles. Set aside.

Keep and eye on the burger ;-). Remove from heat. In your cottage cheese container, crack one egg- if you are using an over-sized deep dish lasagna pan, feel free to add the 2nd egg as well. Beat with fork. Mixing into cottage cheese, add parsley. 2 Tablespoons is sufficient, but we tend to get carried away since we often stuff our lasagna with cheese and delicious goodness! (About a 1/4 Cup)

Simply layer. One box of noodles takes approximately 3 jars of sauce to get a nice, saucy, but cheesy thick lasagna. If you do not use the entire box of noodles, it’s okay too.

Sauce, cottage cheese, noodles, repeat. If you are stuffing, after your second layer of noodles, begin to stuff your “extras” and repeat back to sauce. Layer until the pan is full, keeping the burger for the top layer. Pour remaining sauce needed over top and cover with tin foil. Place in oven at 400 degrees for 1 hour. Pull out and make sure the noodles are soft. (Check with a knife in the center.) If done, turn oven down to 375 and cover in Parmesan cheese. Warm until cheese is melted and your garlic toast or sides are complete. ENJOY! Happy Winter Break & Happy Baking!