Peach Crisp…Dreamy!

I am a big cheater on this one.  In the past, I’ve gone through the trouble of blanching fresh peaches, then into ice water, peeling the skin, pitting and cutting up the peach.  I made this dish in winter and purchased the frozen, ready to use peaches….I could not tell the difference. Prep time for this dish is about 20 minutes.

Peach Crisp
For the peaches:

2 lbs. frozen peaches, thawed
½ cup sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch
2 tablespoons lemon juice, fresh or bottled


¾ cup brown sugar
1 cup flour
1 ½ cups oatmeal, quick or old fashioned
1 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
One pinch nutmeg
1 stick butter, softened

1) Butter or using cooking spray, coat  a  9 x 13 baking dish. Set aside. Place thawed peaches in a large heavy pot. Add sugar, cornstarch, and lemon juice. Cook over medium heat, stirring often, until it comes to a bubble, this should take 5-7 minutes.   Pour into prepared baking dish.
2) Preheat oven to 350’. In a medium bowl, combine all dry ingredients well.   Work butter in with your fingers.  Sprinkle crumbs evenly over cooked peaches.
3) Bake for 25 minutes. Serve warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. Serves 10-12.

*If you make ahead, refrigerate. It is best to warm, uncovered,  in the oven at 350’ for 20-25 minutes to make the topping crisp again.

Best Butter Pie Crust….

Butter Pie Crust


1 ¼ cup flour
6 T. cold butter, cut into ½” pieces
½ t. salt
5-7 T. ice water

In a large bowl, mix flour and salt;  add cubed chilled butter. With a pastry blender, incorporate butter into flour. This will take a few minutes, it should resemble cornmeal. One tablespoon at a time, add the water. Mix using a fork. Once most of the flour seems to be moist, use your hands to bring together into a ball of dough, you may need to knead about 4-5 times. You do not want to over handle the dough as this will create too much gluten and warm the butter, it will yield a tough result.   You may refrigerate for up to an hour or immediately roll out on floured surface, trying not to “stretch” the dough.  Roll out from the center to make a large enough circle for the pie plate to sit in the middle with at least 1 1/2″ past the outer edge of the plate.  Flute the edges with your fingers.

True Homemade Cherry Crumb Pie…..

When was the last time you had an honest-to-goodness piece of homemade cherry crumb pie?  If you think you’ve had it at any chain restaurant,  think again.  My friend Kandace was kind enough to invite me to her back yard to pick from her beautiful sour cherry tree.  What a treat!  After arriving home from picking, I got busy.   After a thorough rinsing,  I tried using a “cherry pitter,” but quickly learned that it was much quicker and easier to simply use my thumb nail to remove the pit.  Also, I decided to cook the fruit with the sugar and flour on the stove to cut baking time in half.  I absolutely adore crumb topping.  It is such a treat to have a little crunch on top of the deliciously sweet cherry filling.  Of course, you must top with a dollop of fresh whipped cream or my favorite, a healthy scoop of real vanilla ice cream.   I love Breyer’s Natural Vanilla.   There are only 5 ingredients listed.    Enjoy this recipe made with real  ingredients.  Try comparing to a store bought pie ingredient list, you will be amazed!  You will find the recipe for real butter crust below.  Enjoy!!
Homemade Cherry Crumb Pie

For the filling:
4 cups pitted sour cherries
¼ cup flour
1 cup sugar

For the crumb topping:
½ cup flour
¾ cup sugar
½ teaspoon cinnamon
5 tablespoons softened butter

One single pie crust, recipe below

1) In a large sauce pan, add cherries, sugar, and flour. Mix well. Cook over medium heat until it comes to a bubble, allow to bubble for a couple of minutes. Remove from heat.
2) Preheat oven to 375’. In small mixing bowl, add all crumb topping ingredients. Blend together with fingers until you have a crumbly mixture. Set aside.
3) Prepare pie crust and put into 9” pie plate. Flute edges. Pour in warm cooked cherry filling. Sprinkle crumb mixture over filling. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until crust is nicely brown.

**tip**I bake pies on a piece of foil to catch any potential drippings from messing up my oven.  Cut a large enough piece to fit under the pie and curl up the edges.

Pumpkin Squares with Cream Cheese Frosting….

This is one of those “go to” recipes for just about any gathering.  It is made in a jelly roll pan, so you get many servings out of the recipe.  This is another one bowl recipe that goes together in minutes and will become a family favorite, I promise!  There is nothing like your loved ones requesting something YOU make.  Again, this is a sweet treat that is made with REAL ingredients, so bake with love and enjoy!

Pumpkin Squares with Cream Cheese Frosting

2 cups flour
2 cups sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon soda
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup vegetable or canola oil
4 eggs
1 15 oz. can pumpkin

1) Evenly coat a 18 x 13 x 1” jelly roll pan with cooking spray. Preheat oven to 350’.
2) In a large mixing bowl, add flour through salt and mix well. Make a well in center of dry ingredients and add oil, eggs, and pumpkin. Mix well, do not over mix. Pour into prepared pan. Bake 20-25 minutes. Test with a toothpick for doneness.  Cool completely before frosting.

Cream Cheese Frosting

1 8 oz. package cream cheese, softened
1 stick butter, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 cups powdered sugar

With an electric mixer, beat butter and cream cheese until smooth and creamy. Add vanilla and powdered sugar. Add milk a teaspoon at a time until you get a good consistency to spread over cake. Ice cooled cake. Refrigerate.

**Note** you can lighten up the frosting by using only 4 tablespoons of butter and increase the powdered sugar by 1 cup.   You will need to add more milk at the end.

Fresh Pineapple Cake with Caramel Sauce…..

This is soooo amazing!  This moist cake is a one-bowl recipe, so simple.  I used fresh pineapple in the cake and for the garnish.  Serve with a scoop of vanilla icecream and a drizzle of caramel.  So versatile, serve all by itself, as shown above, or with cream cheese frosting.  (recipe below)  Enjoy!

Fresh Pineapple Cake

2 ¼ cups flour
1 ¾ cups sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons cinnamon
4 eggs, beaten
¾ cup vegetable or canola oil
¾ cup pureed fresh pineapple
1 cup finely diced pineapple
Caramel sauce, optional
Vanilla icecream, optional

1) Preheat oven to 350’. Coat a 9 x 13” pan with cooking spray, set aside.
2) In a large mixing bowl add flour through cinnamon and mix well.  Make a well in center and add the rest of the ingredients.
3) Mix until just blended, do not over mix. Pour into pan and bake for 45 minutes. When a toothpick or cake tester comes out clean it’s done. Cool completely.

Cream Cheese Frosting

1 8 oz. cream cheese, softened
1 stick butter, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 cups powdered sugar

Beat cream cheese and butter until well blended. Add vanilla and powdered sugar. Add a small amount of milk if necessary to get the conistency you like.  Ice cooled cake. Refrigerate covered and let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes before serving.

Pumpkin Spice Bread Pudding

I like to freeze the ends of wheat bread and when I’ve accumulated a good amount, I make my own bread crumbs or make something sweet and delicious like this bread pudding.  I love the ends because they add a bit of texture to the dish.  The beauty of this simple dessert is you can make them ahead, all the way up to baking and refrigerate.  Forty minutes before you want to serve dessert, pop them in the oven.  The smell of pumpkin and cinnamon fill the air.  Serve warm with fresh whipped cream or a small scoop of vanilla icecream.  YUM!
The ramekins at the top make for the prettiest presentation.  They also make for very easy serving.  I like to serve with a fresh ripe strawberry or raspberries on the side.  Beautiful and delicious! 
Pumpkin Spice Bread Pudding

6 cups stale bread ends, whole wheat is best (about 10 pieces)
1 1/4 cup brown sugar
1 cup whole milk or half and half
1 12 oz. can evaporated milk
1 15 oz. can plain pumpkin
4 whole large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoon cloves
¼ teaspoon nutmeg
Pinch of salt

1) Preheat oven to 350’ and butter a large casserole dish (2 ½ quart) and set aside. Or, you can use 6 oz. ramekins, butter 8 and set aside.
2) Tear bread into small pieces and place in a small bowl, set aside.
3) In a large mixing bowl, add brown sugar through salt, whisk until well blended.
4) Add bread to liquid mixture and stir gently to coat well.
5) Pour into casserole dish or divide evenly among ramekins. They can be filled to 1/4” from the top.
6) Bake casserole for 35 minutes. For ramekins, bake for 25 minutes. Serve warm with a dollop of fresh whipped cream or a small scoop of vanilla ice cream. Add a tiny pinch of nutmeg over the top.

Let me know what you think, comments are always very welcome!


Coconut Macaroon Cookies Dipped in Chocolate

I love this recipe, it’s beautiful and festive and doesn’t involve that much time for decorating.  Dipping them in chocolate is optional, I perefer them with chocolate, of course!  I also love that the ingredient list is so short, you just mix the first three ingredients together, top with a cherry, & bake. 

I also love to package my cookies in a small goodie bag, I usually put 1/2 dozen in each bag and tie with a pretty ribbon.  These make the most beautiful gifts, and I feel like I’m sharing a small piece of my heart!  Merry Christmas!


1 14 oz. package sweetened flaked coconut
3 tablespoons flour
1 14 oz. can sweetened condensed milk
1 jar of maraschino cherries, halved
1 ½ cup semi sweet chocolate chips (optional)

1)  Preheat oven to 350’.  Line your cookie sheet with parchment paper-very important!
2)  Empty bag of coconut into a large mixing bowl.  Measure flour into coconut and toss to coat.
3)  Add vanilla and pour condensed milk over coconut mixture.  Mix well.
4)  Using a 1 ½ teaspoon cookie scoop, portion out onto parchment paper, being sure to level off when scooping to make for evenly sized cookies.  There is no levening in this cookie, so you can place them pretty close together on your sheet.
5)  Top cookie with maraschino cherry, I cut them into pieces if they’re too large.
6)  Bake for 20 minutes.  Remove from oven, slide entire sheet of cookies off of baking sheet onto cooling rack.  Cool completely.
7)  Pour chocolate chips in a microwaveable glass dish, shallow enough to dip the bottoms of your cookies into.  Microwave in 30 second increments, stirring between, do not over heat chocolate, it will burn!  You want to stir until smooth and all chips seem to be melted.  It does not have to be hot.
8)  Carefully dip each cookie bottom into the chocolate and place right back onto your parchment paper.  Allow to set up.  To move the process along, you can place the entire sheet in your refrigerator.  When they’re set you’re good!  They can be packaged or put onto a tray without mess.


French Silk Parfaits

Bottom crumb layer:

1 ½ cups graham cracker crumbs
¼ cup sugar
3 tablespoons melted butter


¼ cup sugar
3 tablespoons cornstarch
1 ½ cups milk
1 cup semi sweet chocolate chips
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 tub cool whip topping
1 large Hershey bar for garnish

In a small mixing bowl, combine graham cracker crumbs, sugar and melted butter, mix well to combine.  Divide evenly among 6-8 margarita or martini glasses. (depending on the size)  Set aside.

In a medium sized sauce pan, whisk sugar and cornstarch together, add milk and whisk until blended.  Stir constantly over medium-low heat until it thickens and comes to a boil.  Remove from heat and add chocolate chips, mix well.  Place pan into a large bowl with ice for quicker cooling.  When cooled completely, spoon into a medium size bowl and fold in half of the cool whip until nicely blended.  Divide evenly among prepared dishes.  Top with remaining cool whip.  Using a vegetable peeler, make chocolate curls to top your beautiful dessert.  Refrigerate until you’re ready to serve.  Enjoy!

Apple Crumb Pie

6-7 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored & sliced
½ cup sugar
½ t. cinnamon
2 T. lemon juice
2 T. flour

 ¾ cup flour
½ cup brown sugar
1/3 cup chilled butter
½ t. cinnamon

One prepared pie crust.

Preheat oven to 400’.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the filling ingredients, mix well to evenly coat the apples.  Pour into prepared pie crust.

Using your pastry blender, combine the crumb topping until all ingredients are incorporated and you don’t have large butter clumps. Top apples with crumb topping.

Bake at 400’ for 15 minutes, lower temperature to 350’ for an additional 35-40 minutes. Serve with real vanilla ice cream.  Simply fabulous!   (single pie crust recipe below)

Butter Pie Crust (single)

The main thing to remember is that you want to handle the dough as little as possible.  You want to incorporate the butter into the flour/salt mixture very well, you do not want chunks of butter in your crust.  Also, don’t be afraid to handle it when you are forming the ball of dough, you need to knead it a few times so that you have a nice smooth ball.  When rolling it out, start from the center of the dough and roll, try not to stretch the dough.  Make sure you make your circle for your pie pan large enough so that there is no need to stretch it to fit.  If you stretch the dough, it will shrink during baking and the crust will cave in.

1 ¼ cup flour

6 T. cold butter, cut into ½” pieces
½ t. salt
5-7 T. ice water

In a large bowl, mix flour, salt, & add cubed butter.  With a pastry blender, incorporate butter into flour.  This will take a few minutes, you want it to resemble cornmeal.  One tablespoon at a time, add the water.  Mix using a fork.  Once the flour seems to be moist, use your hands to bring together into a ball of dough, you may need to knead about 4-5 times.   You do not want to over handle the dough as this will create too much gluten and it will be tough.  Wrap with saran and refrigerate for up to 2 hours.