Strawberry Pretzel Salad

If you are a fan of the salty-sweet combination, this recipe is an absolute MUST to add to your arsenal.

I first tried this dish at a bed and breakfast in my hometown (which is, unfortunately, no longer in business). Fortunately, they included their recipe in their fantastic cookbook, so their legacy lives on. A note at the bottom of the recipe mentions that this salad was one of the most requested items on their menu. Try it, and you’ll see why. It’s a versatile dish–works as a side, a dessert, breakfast, snack, etc.

Strawberry Pretzel Salad
Served at The Inn at Harvest Farms Lake

Crust:
2 c pretzels, crushed
¾ c butter, melted
3 T sugar

Mix pretzels, butter, and 3 T sugar. Press into 9×13 inch pan. Bake at 400 degrees for 8 minutes. Cool 30 minutes.

Cream Filling:
1 – 8 oz package cream cheese
1 c sugar
2 c whipped topping

Blend cream cheese and 1 c sugar. Fold in whipped topping. Spread over cooled pretzel crust.

Jell-O:
1 – 6 oz pkg strawberry Jell-O
2 c boiling water
2 – 10 oz pkgs frozen strawberries

Dissolve Jell-O in boiling water. Stir in frozen strawberries. Chill 10 minutes—watch it to be sure it doesn’t begin to congeal. Pour over cream cheese filling. Chill until set.

Yield: 12 servings

Halloween Party 2011 Menu

This year, we planned a somewhat impromptu Halloween Party for a few of my daughter’s friends. We had some yummy treats…Pumpkin Krispy Treats (see recipe below), Candy Corn Sugar Cookies (I used my favorite recipe for the dough and just doubled the vanilla and almond flavorings since there is no frosting on the cookies. At a minimum, I also recommend dipping each cookie in the coarse sugar before baking. The white candy melt or almond bark on portions of some of the cookies was quite tasty, too. I’ll do more of these next time), and No Bake Cookies transfigured into cute spiders.

There were Mummy Dogs and Candy Corn Pizza for our main course. We agreed that hot dogs wrapped in crescent dough are WAY tastier than hot dogs in a bun. We’ll be having these more often. I didn’t get around to dotting the eyes on the faces, but I think everyone still got the point.

Boo Brew. One of the comments on this recipe suggested using Peeps Ghosts instead of creating your own using whipped cream and mini chocolate chips as the recipe instructed. I went with the time saving tip and was happy with the outcome.

I also made this Caramel Toffee Dip and served with Winesap and Granny Smith apple slices from our apple picking trip the previous day. Somehow missed getting the photo. It is seriously so incredibly delicious. We made it again over the weekend, and it vanished quickly.

Pumpkin Krispy Treats
Modified from Little Family Fun

  • approximately 6 cups of crispy rice cereal (white or brown puffed rice cereal)
  • 1 package of marshmallows (I think minis are easier to melt)
  • 1/2 c. butter
  • 2 (3 oz) envelopes of orange Jell-O or Kool Aid (I used Jell-O)
  • Tootsie Roll midgets or large pretzel sticks
  • baking spray
  • wax paper
  • green icing, optional

Directions:

Melt the marshmallows and butter in microwave or on stove top. Once melted, remove from heat and stir in the Jell-O or Kool-Aid. If it is not “orange enough” for you, you can add some red and yellow food coloring to enhance the color. (I didn’t need to do this). Add the crispy rice cereal and stir well.

Spray your hands with baking spray and roll the mixture into balls and place them on wax paper. Make a dent into the top of the pumpkin and insert pretzel or tootsie roll. Mold pumpkin around the stem. Cool before piping on leaves.

Yield: approximately 2 dozen pumpkins

Ellen’s Famous Apple Crisp

I’ve been on a semi-quest, sort of, for the past couple years to find “the best” apple crisp recipe.  To be honest, it’s been a half-hearted effort, but it’s at least been on my mind during apple season.

A few weeks ago, I wanted to try the recipe that my fabulous SIL Becky loves. It comes from a friend of hers named Ellen and is apparently THE go-to apple crisp recipe amid some Bostonian circles.

At the time, we were visiting family in the DC area, and we weren’t able to find non-instant butterscotch pudding. Since Ellen’s instructions specifically state that instant is NOT to be used, we had to go with another recipe, which was good, BUT I felt compelled to try this one.

I’ve since been able to procure the proper pudding mix. It was so worth the wait. I made it for my family while visiting TN a couple weeks ago, and it rapidly disappeared amid lots of “mmming” and “yumming.”

TO. DIE. FOR!!!!!

I’ve never been one to crave apple crisp–except during apple season. Now that I’ve found this little gem, though, I’ll be craving apple crisp year round–and frequently.

Ellen’s Famous Apple Crisp

Mix the following ingredients together and pour into ungreased 9×13-inch pan.

8 cups peeled and sliced apples
1 cup packed brown sugar
2 T flour
½ cup milk
1 cup water

Topping:
1 1/3 cup flour
1 cup oats
½ cup sugar
1 cup margarine, melted
1 t salt
2 t cinnamon
2 packages dry Butterscotch pudding (not instant)

Mix topping ingredients together and crumble on top of apple mixture. Bake at 350 degrees until golden brown, approximately 45-50 minutes. (I accidentally only baked for 35 minutes, and it seemed to cook throughout, so take that for what it’s worth).

Saltine Toffee

For awhile, I’ve heard my mom rave about this recipe, but I’ve been skeptical. We’ve been visiting my family for the past week, and she made a batch for us to sample.  I can’t be sure, but it’s entirely possible that I consumed at least half. Addicting stuff!!! And super easy to make. Would make an easy and delish treat for the holidays and for gift giving.

Oct 014ed

Saltine Toffee

1 sleeve Saltine crackers
1 c butter
1 c brown sugar
1 c white chocolate chips
1 c semi-sweet chocolate chips

Preheat over to 350. Line a large cookie sheet or jelly roll pan with aluminum foil and spray foil heavily with nonstick cooking spray.

Place saltines, side-by-side, in a single layer on foil.

In a small saucepan, melt butter. Add brown sugar and bring to a boil. Boil for 3 minutes. Pour over crackers.

Bake for 5 minutes or until crackers float and sugar mixture bubbles. Remove from oven, and turn off oven.

Sprinkle white chocolate and semi-sweet chocolate chips on top & spread as it melts (Return to warm oven to complete melting, if needed).

Allow chocolate to harden. (Place cookie sheet in fridge or freezer to speed the hardening process, if desired). Break apart and serve.

Pumpkin Dessert

Time for some LONG overdue posts.

This is a recipe my Grandma H used to make. I remember the first time I tried it. It made quite the impression.

I haven’t made it in years, but recently prepared it for my husband’s family while visiting them. They loved it, too, and it was quick–very quick–to vanish.

Fall 173ed

Pumpkin Dessert

Crust:
1 yellow cake mix (reserve 1 cup for topping)
1 stick butter, melted
1 egg

Set aside 1 cup of cake mix and reserve for topping. Mix remaining cake mix, butter, & egg. Spread into greased  9 x 13 pan.

Filling:
1 quart pumpkin (I use the big 29 oz can)
6 egg yolks or 3 whole eggs
1/2 c brown sugar
3/4 c sugar
1 c cream or evaporated milk
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp vanilla

Beat pumpkin in separate bowl. Add remaining ingredients and mix. Pour over cake mixture.

Topping:
1 c yellow cake mix (reserved from above)
1/4 c brown sugar
2 T butter, melted

Cool Whip or Whipped Cream

Mix cake mix, brown sugar & butter well. Sprinkle over filling.

Bake at 350 for 45-55 minutes until toothpick inserted into pumpkin layer comes out clean. Top individual servings while still warm with whipped cream or Cool Whip.

Creamy Lemon Bars

This is a REALLY yummy treat I served at our 4th of July barbeque. I had lots and lots of requests for the recipe & really wish I had doubled the recipe. By the end of the party, there was one, lone lemon bar left on the plate. Fortunately, three friends came up with a non-violent way to share it amongst themselves.

Mom, I think you should definitely try these. They aren’t as “egg-y” as other lemon bars, so I think you’ll like them.

Creamy Lemon Bars

Creamy Lemon Bars
from Our Best Bites

20 Nilla Wafers, finely crushed
1/2 cup All-Purpose flour
1/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) cold real butter
1 pkg. (8 oz.) cream cheese (you can use 1/3-less fat cream cheese)
1 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs
2 Tbsp. flour
3 Tbsp. grated lemon peel, divided
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice (don’t even think about opening a bottle!)
1/4 tsp. Baking Powder
powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 350ºF. Line 8-inch square baking pan with foil, with ends of foil extending over sides of pan. Spray lightly with non-stick spray and set aside. (The foil isn’t too pretty, but it makes clean-up and cutting the bars a cinch!)

In a bowl, combine Nilla Wafer crumbs, 1/2 cup flour and the brown sugar. Chop butter into small pieces and then cut into crumb mixture with a pastry blender. If you don’t have a pastry blender, just use 2 knives, or even your fingers to break up the butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs.

Press crumb mixture firmly onto bottom of prepared pan. Bake 15 min.

While crust is cooking, beat cream cheese and granulated sugar with electric mixer on medium speed until well blended. Add eggs, 2 Tbsp. flour, and baking powder; mix well. Blend in 1 Tbsp. lemon zest, and lemon juice and then pour mixture over crust.

Bake 25 to 30 min. or until center is set. Cool completely. Cover and refrigerate at least 2 hours, but preferably overnight. These bars improve with time. Sprinkle with powdered sugar and remaining 2 Tbsp. grated lemon peel just before cutting into squares to serve. Store leftover squares in refrigerator. (As if you’ll have leftovers!)

Butterscotch Blondies

I served these at our 4th of July barbeque and at a subsequent pool party. They were such a hit, and several people requested the recipe.  I figured it was worth a quick blog post to share with everyone.

Butterscotch Blondies

Butterscotch Blondies
from yourhomebasedmom.com

3/4 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs
2 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 2/3 cups butterscotch chips
1 cup chopped nuts (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease 13 x 9 pan.  Beat butter, brown sugar and granulated sugar in large bowl until creamy.  Add eggs; beat well.  Stir together flour, baking soda and salt;  gradually add to butter mixture, blending well.  Stir in butterscotch chips and nuts, if desired.  Spread into prepared pan.  Bake 30-35 minutes or until top is golden brown and center is set.  Do not overbake.  Cool completely in pan on wire rack.  Cut into bars.