Friday, July 20, 2018

Flashback Friday - Charming Chocolate Zucchini Recipes


Do hope you'll try some of these scrumptious dishes using zucchini...

How can you go wrong serving vegetables as dessert???
These are great! 

You'll get OOOHHH's and AAAAAHH's when you serve these to anyone.
Moist & flavorful...

(with a healthier option)

Moist, delicious - a perfect dessert to use up that zucchini! Love the crunchy topping.

Oh how I love being sneaky and adding veggies...and the family has no idea!
This is moist and tasty...(& you'll not guess it has the 'secret' in it!) 

Saturday, July 14, 2018

Leader Enterprise - July 11, 2018 - Farmer's Market

I'm excited that farmer's markets are up and running in the area.  Hope you'll support the local folks who take time to share their goods.  With that thread of thought, I decided to share recipes using fresh items more readily available this time of year.  Enjoy!
These tasty zucchini sticks are luscious dipped in ranch or honey mustard dressing! Be aware you need to begin prepping these early as they have to drain before baking. 

3 medium zucchini, peeled or unpeeled, cut into 3" long sticks
1 tsp. salt
1 c. Panko breadcrumbs
1/2 c. grated Parmesan cheese
2 - 3 tsp. dried oregano 
1/4 tsp. seasoned salt
1/8 tsp. garlic powder 
Olive oil spray
2 large eggs or 3 egg whites, lightly beaten
(may substitute with 1/4 c. melted butter) 
Place the zucchini sticks (do your best to cut them all about the same size) in a colander over a bowl and sprinkle with the tsp. of salt.  (I cut away the middle and use for bread or soup). Let drain for 1 hour or longer; rinse and pat dry.

Preheat oven to 425. In medium bowl, combine bread crumbs, parmesan and seasonings; set aside.  Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil; spray lightly with non-stick olive oil spray; set aside.  Dredge fries a few at a time, in the egg, then roll in the crumb mixture.  Pleace on prepared baking sheet.  Drizzle with olive oil or lightly spray with cooking spray (optional). Bake for 12 minutes, turn over and bake an additional 8 minutes, until golden brown and crisp. 

6-8 small new potatoes or 3 or 4 large ones
1 lb. green beans (fresh or frozen) 
1 medium onion, sliced
1/4 c. butter (1/2 a stick), divided
4 ozs. cream cheese 
1/2 c. milk
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
Wash and chunk new potatoes into bite sized pieces. Cover with water and bring to a boil over medium high heat. Add green beans; boil until fork tender, about 10-12 minutes. Place in colander to drain.
While veggies are cooking, melt 2 Tb. butter in large skillet over medium high heat. Add onion slices and cook, stirring often, until tender and are getting nice and brown, about 8-10 minutes. Remove from skillet, and place over veggies in colander while you make the sauce. 
In same skillet you used to brown the onions, add remaining 2 Tb. butter, cream cheese, milk, salt, and pepper. Over low heat, stir constantly until cheese melts. Use a whisk to beat lightly until smooth and creamy. Add a little more milk if you want a thinner sauce. Remove from heat. Add veggies from colander; stir to coat with luscious sauce. Sprinkle with more pepper if desired. Serve warm. 
1 c. white vinegar
1 c. water
1/2 tsp. salt (or less)
3/4 c. white sugar, or more to taste
(May use sugar substitute like xylitol or Swerve)
3 lg. cukes, peeled and sliced
sliced onion, to taste
In large bowl, add vinegar, water, salt and sugar; stir until dissolved. Add cuke slices and onions.  Eat right away or refrigerate.  These keep up to 2 weeks in the fridge (may reuse the brine a second time).  Yield 4 - 5 servings 

2 c. water
3/4 - 1 c. sugar
2 generous cups of cubed watermelon (seeds removed)
1 c. freshly squeezed lemon juice (strained) 
(about 6 - 8 lemons)
2 c. cold water or sparkling water
In a medium saucepan, bring the water and sugar to a boil.  Reduce the heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, until sugar dissolves. Remove from heat and cool.  Meanwhile, puree watermelon in blender and strain to remove any seeds.  You should have about 1 c. watermelon juice.  Add lemon juice, watermelon puree to the simple syrup (sugar water); add water; chill.  Serve over ice.
Hope to see you at Bean Days!
"Wishing to be friends is quick work, but friendship is a slow ripening fruit." -- Aristotle 

Thursday, July 5, 2018

Amish Cinnamon Swirl Bread (Copycat Bob Evans Cinnamon Bread)

If you've never been to a Bob Evans Restaurant (!) 
might be familiar with their wonderful and awesome breads!

Folks seem to LOVE the Copycat Bob Evans Banana Bread that I make
for market (Just realized I don't have a post for that...will work on that soon..)  They have great blueberry or pumpkin breads too, but this
Cinnamon Swirl Bread is fast becoming my favorite. 

My sis-in-love, Vicki, use to be a manager at a Bob Evans...she knows GREAT...and she thinks this tastes as good as the kind you get at BE!
That's quite a compliment...I dare say!!! 

Soon after my hubby began dialysis in March of our sweet friends (Thanks Cathy!) sent over a loaf of this amazing bread.  I knew I HAD to have the recipe, and was rather shocked at how simple the recipe is! 

It uses buttermilk, (You always get BEST results when you use the real thing**see note below) which explains why it melts in your mouth, and the
only 'extra' ingredient is baking soda.  HUH?  So you have the 'regulars'...sugar, butter, flour, eggs and buttermilk, the only other ingredient you add (to the batter...not including the streusel baking soda! 

So get yourself to the kitchen and try this wonderful bread. 
I love that it makes 2 loaves...You can easily cut it half to make 1...I always double the recipe when making it for farmer's market. Don't believe I've ever had any of it left over! 

I like using some raw brown sugar in the streusel topping...another special sis-in-love, Heidi, brought it back for me from the island of St. Kitts (where she and my brother have a villa)  It has bigger granules and adds a little more texture, but plain white/brown sugar (combo) works just fine too. 

It freezes nicely when wrapped in saran wrap and stored in a ziploc freezer bag or container. 

Perfect for drop in company...or not.  Enjoy a slice or two with your morning coffee...

You're gonna love this!



1 c. butter, softened
1-1/2 c. sugar
(reduced from 2 c.) 
2 eggs
2 c. buttermilk 
**(substitute by adding 2 Tb. vinegar or lemon juice to 2 c. milk...
allow to stand 5 minutes before using) 
4 c. all purpose flour 
2 tsp. baking soda


1/3 c. white sugar
1/3 c. brown 
(or all of one kind) 
2 tsp. cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350*.  Spray 2 - 8" loaf pans with non-stick cooking spray; 
set aside. 

In large bowl, cream together butter, 1-1/2 c. sugar and eggs; beat until smooth. Add buttermilk, flour and baking soda.  Pour 1/4 of the batter in bottom of each of the loaf pans. Sprinkle 3/4 of the cinnamon mixture, dividing evenly over the tops of each pan. Add remaining batter to pans; sprinkle with the last of cinnamon mixture.  Swirl with a knife or toothpick.  Bake 40 - 45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out almost clean

Cool in pan for 15 minutes before removing to wire rack to cool. 

NOTE:  You can bake this batter in muffin tins (it helps with portion control!) for about 18 minutes (be sure to check before time is up) or in 5" mini loaf pans for about 30 - 32 minutes..

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Tuesday, July 3, 2018


My dear husband (MSgt. Ronald E. Baker, Retired Air Force) served 20 years in the military.  We are still very stirred when someone takes time to shake his hand and thank him for his service.  Every now and then, someone will salute him, and it always brings me to tears. 


My handsome Marine served 4 years in the USMC - 3 tours in Vietnam...
2 years, 2 months and 22 days...when he came home (& married me!) then he went to Parris Island, SC to become a Drill Instructor. (He is  presently 100% disabled because of exposure to Agent Orange).  His strong Marine spirit keeps him going as he's on dialysis and deals with many health issues. 


He then served 16 years in the Air Force and did an outstanding job of running the base correctional custody facility at Fairchild AFB, WA.  Here he is holding drill competition and speech competition awards (2 of the 4 that were given to his class of 39 members) at the NCO Academy when we were stationed at Elmendorf AFB, Alaska. 

This next photo was one that was published in our local newspaper after I had a tea party with 2 of our granddaughters and some of their friends several years ago. (The girls are now 17 & 19!) 

As a 'team' they 'built' a flag by pushing plastic dixie cups through...our chain link fence...the neighborhood enjoyed it for the whole summer. 

fence flag 0709

Don't forget to stand for the flag! 

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Saturday, June 30, 2018

The Leader Enterprise - June 27, 2018 - Treats to help keep you cool

The ole familiar saying never grows old...I Scream, You Scream, We all Scream for Ice Cream! 

Sharing some ideas for ice cream dishes to help you 'chill' this summer.  I love these first two because they can all be made ahead and will be ready to eat when you are!

I know I've shared this first family favorite a number of times, but wanted to remind you of it because it's a real winner! You'll be ready to impress drop-in company while you all cool down. It's great for birthday parties too because you have the cake and ice cream all in one dish. 


1 - 18 ozs. devil's food or chocolate fudge cake mix
3/4 c. water
1-1/4 c. prepared chocolate frosting, divided
1/4 c. vegetable oil
1/2 gal. favorite ice cream, softened
chopped peanuts or candies, optional

Preheat oven to 350. Generously grease and flour bottom, sides and rim of 2 - 9" pie or round cake pans. In large bowl, beat cake mix, water, 3/4 c. frosting and oil on high speed for 2 minutes.  Spread 1/2 batter in bottom of each pan (don't spread up sides). Bake 25-30 minutes-don't overbake. (middle will be soft when done). Cool completely; cakes will collapse.

Spread 1/2 of ice cream in each shell.  Heat remaining frosting and drizzle over ice cream. Sprinkle with peanuts or chopped candies if desired. Wrap tightly and freeze at least 2 hours or up to 2 - 3 weeks. Allow to stand at room temp for 10 minutes before serving.

(I like to stand a few toothpicks at an angle in the pies before wrapping in the foil stays off the frosting part. (Just be sure to let pie thaw a tad before trying to remove the toothpicks...or they may break off. (Please don't ask me how I know that!!=) 


1/2 c. creamy peanut butter 
1/2 c. light corn syrup 
1-1/2 c. crispy rice cereal 
1-1/2 c. chocolate-flavored crispy rice cereal 
1/2 gal. vanilla ice cream, softened 
1/2 to 1 c. Spanish peanuts, coarsely chopped 
Optional: chocolate syrup 

Blend together peanut butter and corn syrup in a large bowl. Add cereals; stir until coated. Press into the bottom of an ungreased 13"x 9" baking pan. Spread ice cream over cereal mixture; sprinkle with peanuts. Swirl chocolate syrup over top, if desired. Cover with aluminum foil; freeze at least 4 hours before serving. Allow to warm a few minutes before cutting into squares to serve. Serves 15 to 18.

This one can be made at the last minute to enjoy with a friend or your sweetie. 


1 1/2 c. strong brewed coffee, chilled
1/4 c. chocolate syrup
1/4 c. half-and-half
1 c. chocolate or coffee ice cream
Whipped cream, to serve
Maraschino cherries (optional) 

In a blender, combine the coffee, chocolate syrup, half-and-half and 1/2 of the ice cream. Blend until smooth and frothy. Pour into 2 tall glasses and top with a scoop of the remaining ice cream. Top with whipped cream and a cherry, if desired.

PEANUT BUTTER MAGIC SHELL (Sugar free option) 

2-3 tsp. peanut butter
1 Tb. virgin coconut oil
sweetener of choice, to taste (honey, stevia drops, maple syrup, agave, etc.)

Combine all ingredients and stir until it makes a thin liquid. (Warm the coconut oil first if it’s solid when you open the jar.) Pour over ice cream, and watch it harden into Magic Shell! 


2 c. milk 
1 sm. pkg. (4 serv. size) instant pudding mix (vanilla, chocolate, lemon or banana) 
1 c. Greek yogurt

Whisk together the milk and pudding mix. Chill about 15 minutes. Fold in Greek yogurt.  Pour into molds. Freeze at least 8 hours. If you don't have molds, just pour into paper cups. Freeze half an hour, then insert a popsicle stick for a handle. 

It's not happy people who are thankful-it's thankful people who are happy. ~Unknown 

Friday, June 22, 2018

Great Buffet Salad (Or is it a dessert?)

Oh how I love a good jello salad.
And a great recipe with 5 or fewer ingredients too...

TA-DA - this recipe is both of those things! 

Seems jellos were the rage when I was a kid...our mothers would mix up a pretty jello salad instead of baking a dessert, and we were none the wiser.  

We loved them!  I can remember the first 'home party' (Tupperware) I hosted as a new bride...I made a favorite jello salad/dessert from my mom's recipe files, and thought I was 'doing it right' for sure! 

This recipe from my dear church friend Gerrie, was passed down to her from her mother-in-law and she's been taking this to family gatherings for years. 

A generational recipe!  How can you go wrong? 

This one is creamy and smooth, with cream cheese as one of the 'stars' of the dish.  And it has some nuts for crunch too.  MMM good!

NO whipped topping in this one...but feel free to add it if you want a larger, creamier salad...

I think jello salads are excellent for taking to potlucks, especially in the summertime!  So try this one at your next get together and watch it disappear. 

This recipe is included in my last (#3) cookbook, Fork Favorites
If you'd like more details about this hard cover cookbook filled with family friendly, simple and simply delicious  
recipes (200 to be exact!) check out the details at this link.
They're only $15 each (+ S & H - and OH tax when applicable) and make great gifts too. 

(I've just added FREE SHIPPING, so y'all come!) 

(hover over photo to pin)


2 pkg. (8 ozs. each) cream cheese, softened
1 lg. box (6 ozs - 8 serv. size) lime jello
2 c. boiling water
1 can (20 ozs.) crushed pineapple, undrained
1 c. chopped pecans 

In a large mixing bowl, combine softened cream cheese with dry jello until well blended.  Pour boiling water over jello mixture and continue stirring until smooth.  Add pineapple and juice.  Refrigerate; when mixture begins to thicks, add pecans.  Chill until set. 

You may also enjoy...

(so delicious and crunchy with apples, celery and nuts) 

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