Thursday, May 31, 2012

Ice Cream Sandwich Dessert

Using store-purchased ice cream sandwiches and whatever kind of candy you have on hand,  you can whip up this refreshing dish in no time and be making folks smile & say MMMM Good! 


11 regular sized, or 17 miniature ice cream sandwiches

1 jar (12 ozs) caramel ice cream topping

1 (12 ozs) tub frozen whipped topping, thawed

1/4 cup chocolate syrup

1 large (7 ozs) symphony candy bar, chopped

Arrange ice cream sandwiches in an ungreased 9" X 13" X 2" dish. Cut a sandwich, or two, in half length-wise, and fill in the spaces in the dish. Spread with caramel sauce and then whipped topping. Drizzle with chocolate syrup. Sprinkle with chopped candy bar. Cover and freeze for atleast 45 minutes. Cut into squares when serving. Makes 15 - 18 servings.

My variation of this dish is simple - I don't use the syrups, but stir into the whipped topping - 1-1/2 - 2 cups chopped candies - malted milk balls, peanut butter cups, toffee pieces, (your favorite) and spread over the sandwiches. Cover and freeze. This keeps well for over a month.

Linked to It's a Piece O'Cake
            Recipe of the Week
          Mix it up Monday
          Melt in your Mouth Monday
           Show me what you got Tuesday

Fudgy Mint Cookies

Hurry! Hurry!  I think it's a great idea to get busy bakin' and putting things in the freezer now for when the temps are too hot to turn on the oven later. 

Wrap a frozen cookie or two in a paper towel and zap in the microwave for a few seconds for a warm snack.  

MMMM - my favorite! Fresh tastin' cookies from the oven!

This is a great cookie anytime, but especially nice to make for a bake sale. 

The candy on top is inviting and these seem to sell quickly.

Because this recipe uses a cake mix, it's quick to make..and bake.

My daughter-in-love, Kym, began making these cookies years ago for our annual cookie-baking night in December, and we've made them every year since.

And sometimes in between too.

It's fun for the kids to place the candies on top of the cookies.

This was a recipe I just HAD to have in my cookbook too.


1 (18 ozs) box devil's food cake mix
1/2 c. butter, softened
1 Tb. water
2 eggs
1/2 c. powdered sugar
2 (5 ozs) pkgs. chocolate covered thin mints
(we get them for $1 at the Dollar Store)

Preheat oven to 375. In a large mixing bowl, combine cake mix, butter and water.  Add eggs; mix well. Shape into 1-inch balls; roll in powdered sugar and place 2" apart on UNgreased baking sheets.  Bake 8 - 10 minutes or until set.  Before removing from pan, immediately press a mint into the center of each cookie. 

Cool for 2 minutes before removing to wire racks to cool completely. 

Yield: about 3 dozen

(We like to make them smaller so the candy covers most of the cookie so we normally use 3 boxes of the mint candies)

Linked to Creative Thursday
      Weekend Potluck
        Mop it up Monday

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

French Cheese Bread

What an easy and delicious bread to add YUM to any meal! 

We enjoyed it along taco salad.
(They're both cheesey!!) 

I was delighted to see this recipe in a cookbook gifted to me from
my dear friend Lark at Lark's Country Heart...entitled
"Our Valley Cookbook Vol. 2" 

It is one of two community cookbooks Lark has been a part of putting together.  It's full of easy, simple, delicious dishes. 

This dish will knock your socks off and your family will love it. 


1/2 c. mayonnaise
(I used light)
1/2 c. margarine, softened
(I used Smart Balance)
1 c. black olives, chopped
2 c. mozzarella cheese
(I used Italian)
2 cloves garlic, crushed
6 green onions, chopped
1 large loaf French bread, cut lengthwise
(or in slices) 

Add mayo to margarine and mix well.  Add remaining ingredients, except for bread.  Spread mixture over bread halves.  Bake at 350 for 15 - 20 minutes or until cheese is melted and browned. 

(The spread can be made ahead and even freezes well). 

Linked to 
           Weekend Potluck
           Scrumptious Sunday
            Melt in your Mouth Monday

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Homemade Pop Tarts (Easy Peasy)

When my out-of-town grandchildren recently came for an overnight visit, I had fun making some special dishes for breakfast the next morning.  

I squirted yogurt from a ziploc bag onto waxed paper to make little 'droplets' and froze them. 

They are refreshing and fun.  But I didn't get a photo of them. 

I also didn't get a photo of the pop tarts themselves, BUT...I did get photos of my cutsie granddaughters enjoying them.

These pastries are very simple to make and you can change them up however you'd like by using any favorite kind of jam, or nutella?

The frosting and sprinkles were a necessary part of the fun! 
I just wish I had taken time to tint it pink (princess color you know!=)

I just adore the 'family fun' type recipes I find at Everyday Mom's Meals.
She does Kid-Friendly meals alot. And I love them all. 

With a little supervision, older kids could make these themselves. 

For those of you who were use to seeing our Claira Ruth with curly hair...she's lost it as she's gotten older. 

What gorgeous eyes & sweet smile our 'Kaity Bel' has.
(She's always had straight hair=) 

(The girls are wearing new nighties nana got for them to spend the night. The hems are trimmed with a tulle ruffle.)


1 pkg. refrigerated pie crusts 
Strawberry Jam
(I used Polaner no sugar added) 
1 can strawberry or vanilla frosting

Preheat oven to 400. Cut dough into 3-inch rectangles. On one side, spread jam leaving about 1/2-inch on all sides. Top with another rectangle. Using a fork, crimp the edges to close. Place on a parchment lined baking sheet (or spray with cooking oil) and bake for 9-12 minutes until slightly browned. Remove and transfer to a cooling rack and place in fridge for about 5-7 minutes. (This will make frosting much easier...and we don't want those precious babes burning their mouths!). Spread frosting on; top with sprinkles.

Linked to Melt in your mouth Monday
Gooseberry Patch Roundup - 5 ingredients or less
Creative Thursday
It's a Piece O' Cake
Fabulous Friday
Mop it up Monday
Breakfast Ideas Monday
Scrumptious Sunday
Weekend Potluck
  Foodie Friends Friday
Gooseberry Patch Roundup - Kid Friendly

Monday, May 28, 2012



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. 


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 a few years ago.

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

fence flag 0709


Friday, May 25, 2012

Taco Dip & Weekend Potluck #19

Where I share a previously posted recipe...worth sharing AGAIN....

This is an all-year-round family favorite. We have it for birthday parties, picnics or any kind of get together.


1 (lg. or sm.) can of refried beans

1/2 cup mayonnaise

1 cup sour cream
1/2 pkg. taco seasoning mix

Top with your choice of:

grated cheese

diced tomatoes
chopped onions
black olives 

Spread beans on large platter or bottom of 9" X 13" glass dish.

Mix mayo and sour cream together - stir in taco seasoning and blend well. Spread over beans - then top with any, or all, of the toppings. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve. I suggest letting the flavors blend for atleast 4 hours - so it's a good 'make ahead' dish also. Serve with Tostito or Dorito chips.

I normally use fat free beans, lite mayo and sour cream - since there's no baking involved, you could use fat free if you choose. Serve with baked chips.

Onto the Par-tay!....

Last week's Weekend Potluck made it difficult for our team to choose which recipes to feature. I guess that is a good thing, right? If you missed it, go back and take a look at all the delicious recipes available. I promise that Pinterest-addicts will be very happy.

NOTE: We cannot feature the recipe with the most clicks since it was not linked back from within the post. (Please refer to the linky guidelines for more information.) That makes us sad, but we are very happy to recognize...

The recipe with the most 2nd most clicks was ~

iced sugar cookiesLofthouse Sugar Cookies by Stella B's Kitchen

Recipes that caught our attention ~

Gooey Peachy Butter CakeGooey Peachy Butter Cake by The Cannery Family
quick chicken breast recipeEasy Cheesy Bacon Chicken by Serving Joyfully

And, a personal favorite ~

Lettuce Tomato Chop Salad by Cooking with K 

If you were featured today, please feel free to grab the red “featured” button below.

Weekend Potluck Featured

Your hosts ~

Remember that when you link up, it shows on all FIVE blogs. Plus…


When you are kind enough to follow our guidelines, we work hard to get you as much exposure as possible so that your time here is well invested.

Linky Guidelines: If you wish for us to promote your recipe or want to be a featured recipe, you must follow these instructions. Please link up to your exact post and not the main page to your blog. Also, LINK BACK HERE from your post so that others can find the fun. (Need help linking back? Read this.) You can use the button or a direct link within your post. If you have a recipe to share, please be sure that you are following ALL co-hosts (The Country Cook, 4 Little Fergusons, The Better Baker, Sunflower Supper Club, AND Meet Penny) by either RSS feed, Daily Email Digest, Facebook or Twitter. Thanks so much for participating!

Weekend Potluck Linky

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Strawberry Shortcake Cake

Oh this is such a yummy dessert - especially this time of year when strawberries are in season. 

This is another delicious idea to serve for the upcoming holiday weekend!
(You could even add a few BLUEberries for a patriotic dessert!) 

I'm always excited to try Brandie's recipes...AKA -
the country cook. 

(teehee - I didn't realize I'd 'accidently' posted two of her recipes in a row...
but you can't go wrong with Brandie's recipes...not ever!!)

{She's famous you know - she doesn't like to brag, but I like to brag on her...she's been featured at Foodbuzz and Gooseberry Patch a number of times each!}  

So please stop by her blog and show her some love, and don't forget to tell her The Better Baker sent you over!

If you didn't know anything about her before now, rest assured she has PHENOMENAL recipes...down style...simple.

{I also love to tease her about being the Cake Boss "Queen" - she definitely knows how to 'doctor' a cake mix like no one else I know!!}

Thus....the recipe I'm sharing today is one that Brandie is well known for. 

I love the ease of using a cake mix and doing something different with it.

It's simple and easy - much like a strawberry shortcake, all in one pan. 

Give it a try and everyone will ask for more!

(Since I took mine to a potluck and didn't get a single serving photo...Brandie agreed to let me use hers - YUM-OOOO!)


1 box (18 ozs) white cake mix
additional ingredients to make cake according to pkg. directions..
egg whites, oil and water
1 (8 ozs) pkg. cream cheese, softened to room temp
1/2 c. powdered sugar
1 (8 ozs) container frozen whipped topping, thawed
1 container (13 - 16 ozs) premade strawberry glaze
(I used sugar free and it's ohhhh so good!)
3 c. fresh strawberries, cleaned and cut into bite sized pieces

Bake cake in prepared 9" X 13" baking dish, according to package directions.  Allow to cool to room temperature. 

Second layer: 
In medium bowl, combine cream cheese with powdered sugar until smooth. Fold in frozen whipped topping; spread over cooled cake. 

In medium bowl, combine glaze with prepared strawberries. Spread mixture over cream cheese layer. 

Slice and serve or cover and refrigerate until ready to serve. 

(You can look for prepared strawberry glaze in the fresh fruit section of the store.  It's normally where the strawberries are found.)

Or make your own if you have a favorite recipe. 


(Please be sure to Thank a Vet!!

Linked to It's a Piece O' Cake
               Thursday's Treasures
           Creative Thursday
             Scrumptious Sunday
           Mop it up Monday
             Mrs. Fox's Sweet Party
         Mix it up Monday
             Ingredient Spotlight - Whipped Topping

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Cucumber Spread

This would be a wonderful dish to make for the upcoming holiday weekend!!

I had just told my husband the day before I made this..."I'm not a cucumber girl"....

He loves all kinds of raw veggies.  I'm not as good about eating them. Whenever I get them on a salad when we eat out..hubby gets my cuke pieces! 

I prefer celery (with peanut butter of course!) and do eat cukes, but don't really enjoy them. 


Once I tried this fabulous recipe, I couldn't get enough of it!

And I had a good giggle because I first saw it several months ago at my dear blogging buddy Tonya's blog - 4 little Fergusons.  

And when I checked out her link, it led to another special blogging friend - Brandie - The Country Cook


They both added more to the title of the recipe...

Cracker Spread... 
Cracker and Bagel Spread....
(An EVERYTHING bagel???  My oh my!!) 

You can call it anything you'd'll enjoy it no matter what! 

(Reminds me of that saying...'you can call me anything you'd like, just don't call me late for dinner!')  OH YEH....

(Bear with me...I really am going to share a fabulous patient please!) 

I have to admit I was surprised this recipe kept in the fridge for a few days.  Because cukes are watery I didn't expect it to last at all,
but I controlled myself and didn't eat it all up, just so I could 'test' it, and it passed the test! 

And I DID make a double batch! 

I thought it was sooo good when I first tasted it, but both gals insisted it would taste better after it set.  I could NOT believe how much that worchestershire jazzed up this recipe. 

This is great for serving with fresh veggies on the side too. 

Photo: 4 little Fergusons


1 medium cucumber (peeled and cut into chunks)
3 green onions, chopped
1 (8 Oz.) pkg. cream cheese, softened
(I used lite)
1 tsp. worchestershire sauce
1/8 teaspoon garlic salt

To make in the food processor: Place prepared onions in food processor.  Add chopped cucumber; cover and process until coarsely chopped.  Add cream cheese, worchestershire sauce and salt. Cover and process until smooth or a little chunky.  Transfer to a medium bowl. Cover and refrigerate overnight for flavors to blend.

If preparing this by hand,  finely chop the cucumber and the green onions.  In a medium bowl combine cucumber, green onions, cream cheese, worchestershire sauce and salt.  Beat with an electric mixer until smooth.  Cover and refrigerate overnight for flavors to blend. I LOVED eating it right away, but it makes a big difference in flavor when you let it set overnight.

Serve on a toasted bagel or crackers. 

I enjoy it on cucumber slices. 

 Linked to It's a Piece O' Cake
            Creative Thursday
           Weekend Potluck
           Fit & Fabulous Friday
                Gooseberry Patch Roundup - 5 ingredients or less
            GBP Roundup - Farmers Market Favs

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Coconut Rhubarb Dessert

A friend recently 'recycled' one of those little cookbooks at the checkout stand at all grocery stores by sharing it with me.  It was a Taste of Home cake mix cookbook and this
was the first recipe I tried.  Delicious and easy.  

I'm able to pick rhubarb from my sister-in-love's garden so we enjoyed fresh rhubarb twice this spring...I put the rest in the freezer. 

I have a couple more rhubarb recipes I want to share with you soon. 

I love these recipes like this that you can use fresh or frozen rhubarb. 

This is de-lish!  Go for it! 


4 c. sliced fresh or frozen rhubarb
1-1/2 c. sugar
(use your favorite sugar substitute if desired - I used all xylitol)
1-1/2 c. water 
1/8 tsp. red food coloring, optional
1 (28 ozs) pkg. butter pecan cake mix
(I used coconut cake mix - Duncan Hines)
2 c. flaked coconut
1/2 c. chopped pecans
1/2 c. butter, melted
vanilla ice cream, optional

In a large saucepan, combine the rhubarb, sugar, water and food coloring if desired. Cook over medium heat for 8 - 10 minutes or until rhubarb is tender; cool slightly. Transfer to a greased 9" X 13" baking dish; sprinkle with dry cake mix.  Top with coconut and pecans.  Drizzle with butter.

Bake for 25 - 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.  Serve with ice cream. 

Look for rhubarb stalks that are crisp and brightly colored.  Tightly wrap in a plastic bag and store in the fridge for up to 3 days. Wash the stalks and remove the poisonous leaves before using.  One pound yields about 3 cup chopped. 

Linked to Totally Tasty Tuesday
     Weekend Potluck
          Ingredient Spotlight - Cake Mix

Monday, May 21, 2012

Leader Enterprise - May 16, 2012 - Memorial Day Foodie Ideas

The "Memorial" in Memorial Day has been ignored by too many of us who benefit from those who have given the ultimate sacrifice. Often we don't observe the day as it should be, a day where we actively remember our family members, our loved ones, and our friends who have given the ultimate sacrifice:

  • by visiting cemeteries and placing flags or flowers on the graves of our fallen heroes.
  • by visiting memorials.
  • by flying the U.S. Flag at half-staff until noon. 

  • by renewing a pledge to aid the widows, widowers, and orphans of our falled dead, and to aid the disabled veterans.

  • My dear husband (MSgt. Ronald E. Baker, Retired Air Force) is the most patriotic person I know. He served 3 tours in Vietnam and is now 100% disabled because of the effects of Agent Orange. He has been a speaker for a number of military services locally. I want to share excerpts from the speech he shared at the Pioneer Memorial Day service in 2009. To say I am proud of him barely skims the tip of the iceberg.

    "Our most precious asset as Americans is liberty. Most of Europe is free because American men fought to loose them from the bands of facism, socialism,and communism. America is free because men were willing to die to preserve and protect our liberties as spelled out in the First Amendment to the United States Constitution, the Bill of Rights. The rights and privileges of our society connot be allowed to be squandered or given away to any person or group of people, no matter their ideology.

    I believe there is a majority of Americans who want to preserve our freedoms, maintain the rule of law and order, and keep the pursuit of happiness as the forefront of our national policy. Those of us who hold to these goals will never stop fighting for freedom. We will never compromise on liberty. We will not give in to totalitarianism. We will not give in, give up, or submit to any form of government, religion or ideology that would take away what this country has long stood for in the world, namely our liberty and justic for all her citizens. We can never take our freedom for granted. Our responsibility is to preserve it at all costs. Those men and women whom we honor here have already paid that price for the way of life we now enjoy. How can we possibly violate that sacred honor by allowing our liberty to be overthrown by tyrannical powers?  

    Our freedom is the most precious legacy we can pass on to our children. There can be no alternative that would satisfy the sacrifices made by those who have defended our liberty with their very lives. As we look back today over our nation's history, we must also acknowledge those who are at this very moment fighting on other battlefields in our world to recapture or preserve freedom from the grasp of evildoers who would enslave men and families in false religious cults, dictatorial governments, and the insanely narcissistic men who consider themselves to be gods in their own eyes.

    So then, what do we owe our fallen heroes? Well, I believe we owe them our very lives. Their blood was shed so that you and I could be here secure in our freedom. Our rights to assemble, speak freely, believe in our Creator, travel and trade amongst ourselves with relatively few restrictions, are all just a few of the many wonderful opportunities afforded to a people who are truly enjoying liberty the way God intended.

    The cost has been high. It may get much higher in the near future. There are still those who would love to see our nation fall. They are of that evil empire that former president Ronald Reagan warned us about. We cannot forsake all that our nation has stood for and all that our brave soldiers ,sailors, airmen and Marines have died for, as well as those who are carrying the banner of a freedom-loving country to various other nations in turmoil around the world. We must rally around our flag once more. We must pray for those in harm's way, today and always. It is our duty. It is our responsibility. And it is our honor. Let's not fail to take a stand for freedom. Let's pay our debt as fully as those who have gone before matter the cost."

    I think it's great to have foodie fun and celebrate the holiday with red,white and blue yummies. Use r,w,& b sprinkles on cupcakes. Make a flag shape on top of white frosted brownies or dessert with berries and marshmallows. Outline the shape of a star with strawberries and fill in with blueberries. Layer blueberries and strawberries between vanilla yogurt or pudding to make a parfait. Be creative, but whatever you do:Celebrate the holiday with a special foodie dish!

    photo: Taste of Home

    This recipe below makes enough for a crowd and you'll get lots of ooohhhs and aaahhhs. It may take some time to make it, but it isn't difficult, so give it a try and see how many folks you can impress with your foodie celebration. Don't forget to take pictures. The only thing better than the taste is the presentation of this pretty dish.
    1 (3 ozs) pkg. berry blue jello
    1 (3 ozs) pkg. strawberry or cherry jello
    2 c. boiling water
    1 c. cold water
    2 c. cold milk
    2 pkgs. (3.4 ozs.each) instant vanilla pudding mix
    1 (8 ozs) carton frozen whipped topping, thawed, divided
    1 pt. fresh blueberries
    1 qt. fresh strawberries, quartered
    1 prepared angel food cake (8-10 ozs), cut in 1-in. cubes

    In two small bowls, combine each jello flavor with 1 c. boiling water. Stir 1/2 c.cold water into each. Pour each into an ungreased 9"square pan. Refrigerate 1 hour or until set. In large bowl, whisk milk and pudding mixes for 2 minutes. Let stand for 2 minutes or until soft set. Fold in 2 c.whipped topping. Set aside 1/4 c.blueberries and 1/2 c.strawberries for garnish. Cut jello into 1" cubes. In 3-qt.trifle bowl or serving dish, layer strawberry jello, half the cake cubes, remaining blueberries and half the pudding mixture. Top with blue jello and remaining cake cubes, strawberries and pudding mixture. Garnish with reserved berries and remaining whipped topping. Serve immediately. Yield:16-20 servings.

    The photo (top of page) is of a cake I made a few years ago. A pretzel rod makes a sturdy flagpole while jelly beans fill in as the waving flag.
    Enjoy a safe Memorial Day weekend and don't forget to thank a vet for their service and sacrifice.

    Friday, May 18, 2012

    Mandarin Orange Pecan Salad & Weekend Potluck #18


    Pull up a chair.....pour some tea or coffee and sit a spell with us. 
    We're very excited about all the awesome posts being linked here weekly!  And we certainly welcome YOU!!


    I am not especially fond of green salads, but give me a 'dressed up' salad like this one and I can woof down a big bowlfull...


    Romaine lettuce
    1 - 12 ozs. can mandarin oranges, drained
    pecan halves, toasted in butter then coated with a little brown sugar
    green onions, chopped


    1 dash pepper
    1/4 c. canola oil
    2 Tb. sugar
    2 Tb. apple cider vinegar
    2 shakes tabasco sauce
    1 Tb. fresh parsley

    Blend together and toss over salad.

    Wow. Last week was a super-tremendous party and it was almost too difficult to pick favorites, but we tried...

    The recipe with the most clicks was ~

    Banana Pudding Cheese Cake recipe
    Banana Pudding Cheese Cake by Recipes for Divine Living

    Recipes that caught our attention ~

    Strawberry Cream Dessert recipe
    Strawberry Cream Dessert by The Big Green Bowl

    And, a personal favorite ~

    Rhubarb Dream Bars from Grandma Loy's Kitchen 

    If you were featured today, please feel free to grab the red “featured” button from below.

    Your hosts ~
    Remember that when you link up, it shows on all FIVE blogs. Plus…

    We TWEET. We PIN. We LIKE.

    When you are kind enough to follow our guidelines, we work hard to get you as much exposure as possible so that your time here is well invested.